15
May
May 2017(EDITION 05, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
On account of the great promise of the advanced technology for communication, it has become a norm to communicate effortlessly and efficiently beyond the borders. Technology as the foundation of today’s modern society also governs its dynamics....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmed Quraishi
This is a watershed moment in Kashmir in the 69th year of Indian invasion and occupation of the disputed region. For regional and world peace, this moment should not pass without action.....Read full article
 
Written By: Farzana Yaqoob
A land once referred to as paradise, has been hell in the last century for the people of Kashmir. So much has been written about Kashmir. Its history, present condition and the aspirations of Kashmiris have been discussed time and again....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
India, presently, is undertaking its Middle East policy very seriously due to its energy needs, internal security challenges, regional/global politic....Read full article
 
Written By: Hasan Khan
The two-day Moscow Conference on Afghanistan held on April 14 and 15, in the Russian capital, asserted to coordinate regional efforts and facilitate the process of ‘national reconciliation’ to stabilize Afghanistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Huma Kirmani
Karachi, a city by the Arabian Sea, which was once known as the "City of Lights", is now bickering in its misery of infinite apprehensions and anticipation; though circumstances are quite blatantly streaming in sea breeze of this terror inflicted city....Read full article
 
Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Five years old Omran Daqneesh sits clueless in an ambulance. He has just been pulled out of rubble along with his family. Omran looks into camera, self-consciously he tries to fix his hair matted with blood sticking to his forehead. His own blood.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed
Violence is mostly understood and associated with religious extremism despite the fact that it has many shapes and forms – and all need to be condemned and countered. This is more so when a Muslim commits an act of violence, which as a result is associated with Islam....Read full article
 
Written By: Abdullah Khan
Reintegration of militants into the national fold is an uphill but essential task that the State of Pakistan has to accomplish. Majority of the militants fighting against us are our own citizens. We need to think seriously about how to bring those who fell in the hands....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem
How do we keep a pulse on the economy? How does one evaluate the real health of an economy? Broadly speaking, an economy can be divided up into the internal sector and the external sector. Economic indicators are then used to ascertain or judge the current.....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil
The remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood Azad
The estimated mid-2015 population in Pakistan stands at 199.0 million, which ranks 6th amongst the highest populated countries in the world following China, India, United States, Indonesia and Brazil. With the ongoing pace and momentum the population of Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Maryam Razzaq
As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag everyone just stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success.....Read full article
 
The winter session Passing Out Parade of 135th PMA Long Course, 54th Integrated Course and 7th Mujahid Course was held on April 15, 2017. The Reviewing Officer and Chief Guest of the parade was His.....Read full article
 
A stable, peaceful and normalized Pakistan with terrorists' freedom of action significantly curtailed through a comprehensive approach of consolidating gains in the Western Zone, cleansing.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz ahmed
Man possesses two distinct traits of individuality and personality. Individuality makes him a unique part of the natural and social whole of the mankind. Personality gives him a unique spiritual self-determination. In the social context, man is highly interdependent.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
The new CM of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Satiyanass Adityanath, has termed his appointment as the start of a glorious era in India. A modest, simple yogi, Adityanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant.....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Atta
If there’s anything that the World Wars have shown the nations, it’s that you always have to stay ahead of everyone in terms of military strength. Following the Second World War, countries across the world have become wary of direct conflict and have instead adopted.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Asim Ishaq
The United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a joint African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007 to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur .....Read full article

 
 
Written By: Aqeel Malik
Sports have always been the hallmark of Pakistan Armed Forces besides high standard of professionalism in their respective fields. The apex performance of men/women in uniform in various sports activities, both inland and abroad, have always been applauded and acknowledged.....Read full article
 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, addressed combined faculty and students of Command and Staff Colleges, Quetta, Pak Navy War College and Air War College............Read full article
 
Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Evolving regional security matrix and other issues of mutual interest were discussed.....Read full article
 
Command and Staff Conference of Pakistan Navy was held at Naval Headquarters, Islamabad. The Conference was chaired by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. Matters related to operational .....Read full article
 
Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4 being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad....Read full article
 
Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017 concluded at the newly built Lahore Garrison Shooting Gallery (LGSG) in a graceful ceremony. Commander Lahore Corps Lt General Sadiq Ali was the Chief Guest....Read full article
 
It was yet another historic day in the remarkable history of Pakistan Air Force No 9 Multirole Squadron, when it was declared the twin of the renowned No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force in a grand ceremony ....Read full article
 
2nd Pak Army Team Spirit (PATS) competition concluded at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) near Jehlum. A total of 10 foreign military teams including China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives....Read full article
 
The first ever Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was conducted in the adjoining waters of Malacca Straits. Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising Sword Class .....Read full article
 
09
May

Excerpts from DG ISPR’s Briefing on April 17, 2017

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad Strategy
End State
A stable, peaceful and normalized Pakistan with terrorists' freedom of action significantly curtailed through a comprehensive approach of consolidating gains in the Western Zone, cleansing terrorist support base, illegal weapons and explosives control in the country, thereby restoring public's confidence.

Cardinals
Stable, peaceful and a normalized Pakistan
Only the state has the authority to use force.
Stabilization of Western Zone – Denial of freedom of action to terrorists.
Dismantling terrorist support base in heartland – Dilution of residual potential of terrorists.
Support implementation of National Action Plan as whole-of-nation approach.
Support policy initiatives included national counter narrative.
Army fights the terrorists; terrorism and extremism are fought by the Law Enforcement Agencies (whole-of-nation approach).

Manifestation
Broad spectrum security/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations by Rangers in Punjab, continuation of ongoing operations across the country.
Focus on more effective Pakistan-Afghanistan border security management.
Countrywide de-weaponization and explosive control long term reforms.

 

optbrief1.jpg

Border Management
Fencing
Total border FATA / KP - 1172 Km (Total border with Afghanistan 2611 Km)
Fenceable area - 744 Km
Non Fenceable area (Dir/Chitral) - 428 Km
Pri 1 (Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber) - 100 Km

Border Posts/Forts
Completed - 43
Under construction - 63
Pipeline - 338 (2019)
Census

6th Population and Housing Census commenced on March 15, 2017. Census process is divided into two phases spread over 72 days with a 10 day gap in between the phases. There are total 168,274 blocks, 20645 circles, 3312 charge and 458 census districts in the country. First phase of census which commenced on March 15 successfully completed despite few odd attempts to disrupt the process. 7 soldiers laid their lives including 5 victims of Lahore suicide bomber attack while 15 (9 suicide bomber attack, 6 road accidents) were injured. Phase 2 is commencing from April 25 to May 25. Army considers this a national undertaking and will do everything that is necessary for accomplishment of the process.

Development Work (Countrywide including FATA)
o Infrastructure - 86 Projects
o Roads: Constructed - 14820 Kms; Ongoing - 1363 Kms; Total - 16183 Kms
o Bridges - 833 Nos
o Build operate transfer projects - 9 Nos
o Thermal Projects - 26 Nos
o Air Fds - 62 Nos
o Rly Projects - 376 Kms
o Laying Fiber Optics - 6910 Kms
o Tunnels - 15 Nos
o Canals - 533 Kms
Schools/Colleges FATA Specific
o New - 67 Nos
Cadet Colleges - 4 Nos
Others - 63 Nos
o Reconstructed - 147 Nos
Health Related Projects
o Water Supply System (WSS)
11 Major Projects (Including Projects like Gomal Zam Dam, Khanpur Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam)
343 Water Supply Systems all over FATA/Balochistan
Pers
o Children Studying in APS&C Across Pakistan
FATA - 1195 Nos
Balochistan
Studying in APS - 545 Nos
Chamlang Students - 4375 Nos

 

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COAS
o Pakistan Army is a state institution working for security and stability as force of peace and order, and acknowledges support of the nation which is hallmark of our commitment and motivation.
o Radd-ul-Fasaad is an operation in which every Pakistani is a soldier. We have to clear Pakistan of Fasaad and Fassadies together while staying united.
o Social media has become a menace because of its misuse. We must educate ourselves especially youth for its purposeful use rather than falling prey to hostile agenda/design.

Thanks to all stakeholders for supporting Army and participating in Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.

optbrief3.jpg

 
 
09
May

Written By: Aqeel Malik

Sports have always been the hallmark of Pakistan Armed Forces besides high standard of professionalism in their respective fields. The apex performance of men/women in uniform in various sports activities, both inland and abroad, have always been applauded and acknowledged.

 

theacmeofskils.jpgCISM (Conseil International Du Sport Militaire) is an international sports association, established in February 1948 in France to promote sports activities and physical education between armed forces as a means to foster world peace. Pakistan, Argentina, Egypt, USA, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were a few of its initial members in early fifties. At the moment CISM comprises 135 member nations. CISM organizes over twenty World Military Championships annually. It also holds Military World Games every four years with approximately 6000 participants including Olympic medalists and World Champions.


Pakistan was the first Asian country which organized the CISM Annual General Assembly Congress at Lahore in 1959. Pakistan has the honor to organize four world military sports events including hockey, sea sports, golf and sailing championships since then. Pakistan Armed Forces have won four gold, one silver and five bronze medals in CISM individual as well as team sports events from 2005 to 2015 including golf, boxing, taekwondo, cricket and wrestling. In 2016 alone Pakistan Armed Forces won two silver medals in CISM Golf and Sailing Championships held at Netherlands and Pakistan respectively.


Besides team sports events individual officers of Pakistan Armed Forces have also been conferred with distinct honors and awards by CISM. Commodore Zafar Mehmood of Pakistan Navy was appointed CISM President for Golf from 2008 to 2012. CISM awards of merit “Grand Knight” have been conferred on Colonel Muhammad Asif Zaman of Pakistan Army and Captain Ansar Mahmood from Pakistan Navy in 2013 and 2016. Pakistan Armed Forces hence remain the flag bearer of the CISM axiom “Friendship through Sports”.


(Aqeel Malik)

 
09
May

Written By: Amir Atta

If there’s anything that the World Wars have shown the nations, it’s that you always have to stay ahead of everyone in terms of military strength. Following the Second World War, countries across the world have become wary of direct conflict and have instead adopted a more subtle approach of stealth, sabotage and infiltration.

 

everythinguneed.jpgAircraft have seen the biggest improvement in this sector as a fighter jet’s success depends on its ability to infiltrate enemy's lines, hit its targets and get out unnoticed. Such airborne jets can easily succumb to enemy's fire after being detected by radar systems. Thus the need to nullify enemy's radars in order to improve the effectiveness of jet aircraft arises.


How Does Stealth Technology Work?
Stealth jet fighters are designed to diffuse signals from all types of radars. While it is not possible to make aircraft completely invisible, conventional radars can be made ineffective against stealth aircrafts.

 

everythinguneed1.jpgStealth is a combination of passive low observable features and active emitters. These, alongside planned mission maneuvers, reduce an aircraft’s radar cross-section (reflection of radar signals). Turning or opening the bomb bay can double a jet fighter’s radar signal return.


However, beating radar signal is only one of the five factors in making a truly stealthy design. The designers also need to make it harder for heat-seeking missiles to detect a plane. Naked eye identification and noise are two factors which can let anyone identify the location of a jet. Radio transmissions to (and from) an aircraft also need to be controlled such that the enemy cannot triangulate the location using the communication signals.


At the very least, a stealthy aircraft needs to comply with the following guidelines:
● Hide thermal emissions
● Alter general configuration, like split rudder, to minimise radar detection
● Reduce radar detection when opening weapons bay
● Avoid detection in adverse weather conditions


Limitations
The goals for designing a stealth based jet fighter are relatively simple when you consider the several limitations of such designs.

 

everythinguneed2.jpgInitial designs had minimal radar interference but they faced control issues. Such planes required constant flight corrections from a fly-by-wire system. The most popular stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, was based on an unconventional design from 1940s to increase stability.


The hot exhausts sonic boom when flying faster than the speed of sound and surface heat from flying at such speeds increases infrared footprint. Designers had to sacrifice maneuverability to deal with the issue. More recently though, at least three stealth jet fighters have the latest performance characteristics, thanks to superior flight control systems, engines, airframe designs and materials.


Even with current technology, stealth aircraft are vulnerable to detection during and immediately after using their weapons or releasing payloads. Even older radars can detect stealth jet fighters when hidden weapons surface. Even though aircraft can reacquire their stealth after using the weapons, any fast surface-to-air defence system has the opportunity to engage the aircraft.


Workarounds are employed to avoid temporary detection. Bomber aircraft take flight at very high altitudes which can make it virtually impossible for defence systems to engage the plane. Fighter aircraft (only two until now) can open bays, release payload and return to stealth mode in less than a second, reducing the overall vulnerability time. There still are problems when some weapons require the weapon's guidance system to acquire the target while still attached to the aircraft. Trade-offs have to be made when deciding between the destructive ability of a plane and its stealth capability.

 

everythinguneed3.jpgSince stealth aircraft carry all fuel and armament internally, the payload has to be reduced in weight or size.


Modern stealth jet fighters make use of a sensitive signal absorbent skin called Radar-Absorbent Materials (RAMs). These materials contain carbon black particles and some have tiny iron spheres. Other materials are classified and still not known. This material can be damaged very easily.


Stealth aircraft require large amounts of investment, usually in billions of dollars, before a working unit can be manufactured. The cost of such jets is usually much higher than conventional models. One of the U.S. programs for stealth jet fighters costs nearly $1 trillion.


Passive radars, bistatic radars and multistatic radars can detect some stealth aircraft. Modern radar systems like Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Associative Aperture Synthesis Radar (AASR) can employ inexpensive means to locate low observable targets.


Similarly, Schlieren (atmospheric disturbances) can also be used to identify stealth aircraft. Passive signature intelligence can be used to detect objects between space and earth. Once a plane is detected, its stealth signature can be loaded into a library such that it can enable live satellite search for stealth fighters.


According to some analysts, Infra-red search and track systems (IRSTs) can be used to nullify the stealth system of some aircraft by using their frictional heat to identify them. Long Wavelength Radars are also effective against some stealth technologies. OTH (over-the-horizon) radar is a new technology which can overcome certain stealth characteristics.


China also claims to have developed a radar system capable of detecting all stealth aircraft with impunity.


Modern Stealth Jet Fighters
Until now, only the U.S. has used stealth aircraft in combat. It was used first in Panama in 1990 followed by the Gulf War, Kosovo conflict, Afghanistan, Iraq and recently in Libya. Some of the stealth fighters and bombers are listed below:


● F-35 Lightning II (USA)
● B-2 Spirit (USA)
● F-22 Raptor (USA)
● Chengdu J-20 (China)
● Shenyang J-31 (China)


Unmanned stealth aircraft are owned by several military forces while working manned aircraft are still scarce. Most have faced issues leading to cancellation of such projects. Russia, India, Iran, Sweden and the U.S. are in process of developing new stealth aircraft.


Due to the large investments and huge amounts of research required for such projects, it is hard to say major improvements or newer models from any of the countries could be seen in the near future.

 

The writer is a Data Network expert. He is the founder and CEO of ProPakistani.pk

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

 
09
May

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The new CM of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Satiyanass Adityanath, has termed his appointment as the start of a glorious era in India. A modest, simple yogi, Adityanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant zoologist and better looking than Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan.


In fact he has issued orders banning the entry of both the Khans into UP until they publicly declare their admiration of Adityanath’s spiritual, political, zoological and physical prowess. He also wants them to milk his cows and feed his monkeys.

 

thusspokeadiyanath.jpgAdityanath was made UP’s CM by Indian PM Narendra Modi after his Bharatiya Danga Party (BDP) swept last month’s state elections in UP. Modi, who is a modern-day manifestation of the ancient and hallowed Red Indian Chief, Mogambo, believes that Adityanath is the right man to make UP what it was originally supposed to be: i.e., Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki – an ancient Cowtopia where men and cows co-existed in complete harmony because there were no Muslims; and the evil dark-skinned people were never allowed to venture out of their natural abodes in the city’s sewerage system.


As a first step to build a new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki, Adityanath has decreed that for every fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu woman dishonoured by a Muslim man, fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu men are allowed to dishonour 102 Muslim women. He added that if a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu man dishonours a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu woman, then he will have to give two cows to the family of the woman.


He said, to a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu man, giving away his cows was the worst possible punishment. After saying this, Adityanath began to weep and spent the rest of the day hugging his cows.

 

A modest, simple yogi, Adiyanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant zoologist and better looking than Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan.

During a speech he was delivering to a group of orangutans at a zoo in UP, Adityanath lamented that decades of the Congress rule has turned Hindu men into becoming Muslim women.


He said: ‘Muslims were allowed to freely slaughter cows and eat them whole. Their cholesterol levels went through the roof and their brains became overwhelmed by fatty tissue, making them stupid and violent. In other words, they became Pakistanis.’
He then added: ‘Meanwhile, the cows which the Muslims did not eat fell into depression after watching their comrades being so mercilessly slaughtered. As a consequence, they stopped giving healthy milk. The unhealthy milk consumed by fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu men made them physically weak. They became women. Or worse, they became liberals. They began to lose their Aryan complexion and started to look like fat Muslim men or worse, dark-skinned residents of the city’s otherwise excellent sewerage system.’ ‘No more!’ Adityanath shouted. ‘I don’t care what the liberals think about my ideas. I am not scared, because mard ko dard nahi hota.


After saying this he spent the rest of the day feeding on medicinal plants to ease the pain he was feeling in one of his toes.


The new UP CM is yet to fully unveil his plan to turn Uttar Pradesh into Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki. But he has told the media that the plan is elaborate and involves some bold steps. He said that the plan also includes the setting up of a university which will revive the sciences invented by ancient Indians millions of years ago.

 

He claimed that the barbaric Muslim invasions of India subjugated fair-skinned Hindu Aryans, destroyed their technology and sciences, slaughtered their cows, made them drink date-wine and eat nihari and turned the word Batinda into tind. He said he was now here to set things straight and take revenge for all the atrocities committed by fat Muslims. ‘There is no place for Muslims in the new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki,’ he said. Then showing the reporters what looked like a plastic toy gun, he said he will vaporize all the Muslims with this ancient laser gun.

He told reporters that the ancient people of Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki were travelling on flying machines, using nuclear-powered vacuum-cleaners and using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, millions of years before fake white Aryans of Europe and America re-introduced them in the 20th and 21st centuries.


He showed reporters a rusty device which he claimed had been discovered at an archeological site in UP. He said it was an ancient nuclear-powered vacuum-cleaner which could also be used as a shaver.


He added that he has been using the device to clean the carpets of his office, and that he also regularly shaves his head with it. He informed that the Urdu word tind is derived from the old Sanskrit word, Batinda, which means ‘one who has a pure hairless Aryan head.’ He then showed the reporters his own tind and said, ‘like this.’
He claimed that the barbaric Muslim invasions of India subjugated fair-skinned Hindu Aryans, destroyed their technology and sciences, slaughtered their cows, made them drink date-wine and eat nihari and turned the word Batinda into tind. He said he was now here to set things straight and take revenge for all the atrocities committed by fat Muslims.


‘There is no place for Muslims in the new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki,’ he said. Then showing the reporters what looked like a plastic toy gun, he said he will vaporize all the Muslims with this ancient laser gun.


When a reporter pointed out that the laser gun was a plastic toy, most probably made in China, Adityanath got him arrested for eating beef. After the reporter was dragged away by the police, Adityanath said, Mogambo khush hooa.


He then retired for the rest of the day to hold discussion on important spiritual and political matters with the cabbages in his garden.

 

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of two books ‘End of the Past’ and ‘The Pakistan Anti-Hero.’

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

 
09
May

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz ahmed

Man possesses two distinct traits of individuality and personality. Individuality makes him a unique part of the natural and social whole of the mankind. Personality gives him a unique spiritual self-determination. In the social context, man is highly interdependent on fellow beings and brings its unique personality into interactions with them.


The interaction is historically centered on his creative bargaining for exchange of goods, services and social order. Bargaining for advantage has been an essential aspect of human life. Understanding bargaining outcomes forms an important part of human and social psychology. Everyone intuitively learns the art of negotiation for survival in life. Negotiation is an important aspect of leadership and good leaders are invariably effective negotiators.

 

theartofnego.jpgNegotiation, in the context of this article, is a formal process of bargaining in complex situations. For those who carry public or corporate responsibility and negotiate on behalf of institutions, businesses and states need to learn the art as a part of their responsibility.


Negotiation may be done to create something new that either party cannot do on its own or it may be done to resolve differences and disputes. Parties involved in the negotiation are interdependent with one another for achieving their objectives, which are often interlocked. If you are not interdependent with other parties you may not need to negotiate with them. Managing interdependence with other people is an important part of the psychological processes involved in negotiation.

 

Communication is the essence of psychological processes of negotiation. It may be one of the most important factors of success in negotiation. Communication is the response actualized by the cognitive process of perception. A good communicator can say difficult things in a manner that does not provoke emotional or irrational responses. Cultural considerations are important for understanding the tactics and building the confidence.

In negotiation each party tries to maximize its gain. The art of negotiation leads you to maximizing your gain and equally importantly keeping the other party/parties to remain committed to the outcome. It generally is not a win-lose or a zero-sum game. Successful negotiation generally means a win-win outcome for all parties. This is essential for stability and success of the negotiated outcome.


The art of negotiation may be strengthened by the natural attributes of the negotiator’s personality but to a large extent, it is a matter of conscious learning. Negotiation skills can be improved by active learning and effective preparation. It is a growing discipline in psychology and is a subject of intensive research for a better understanding of the dynamics involved. It builds extensively on decision analysis, behavioral decision theory, and game theory leading to interactive decision making.


The article aims at introducing the vast field of negotiation to generate a quest for further reading for better understanding the dynamics of negotiation to sharpen leadership and management capacities.

Preparation
Preparation is the first step towards a successful negotiation: it starts with the definition of own goal(s) which leads to formulation of strategy that leads to identification of issues and stages leading onward to options and finally the tactics for conducting the negotiation.


It aims at gathering knowledge and developing an understanding of the issues as well as the working of the other parties of the negotiation. It is expected that all negotiating parties would have adequate knowledge of the agenda items but it is important that a successful negotiator has comprehensive knowledge of the broader aspects of the issues beyond the agenda items.


The negotiator needs to go over some case-studies to survey the comparative outcomes by other negotiators for similar issues. The accuracy of information and the knowledge of implications of various options/scenarios prepare, equip and guide the negotiators through the dynamic and fluid process of negotiation.

 

In negotiation each party tries to maximize its gain. The art of negotiation leads you to maximizing your gain and equally importantly keeping the other party/parties to remain committed to the outcome. It generally is not a win-lose or a zero-sum game. Successful negotiation generally means a win-win outcome for all parties. This is essential for stability and success of the negotiated outcome.

It is of vital importance to frame the theme of the dispute carefully as well as intelligently. Inappropriate wording can lead to misconception, bias or defensiveness in the minds of the other party/parties even before the start of the negotiation.


Negotiation objectives need to be defined very unambiguously. The objectives in complex situations are often interlocked and it is important to analyze scenarios with the inter-play of various permutations while defining the objectives during the preparatory work.


Then there is the strategy, tactics and plans/steps to achieve the defined objectives. The drawing of the agenda or the sequence of the deliberations may appear innocuous but this could become a cardinal point affecting the outcome. Thorough preparation leads you away from an emotional approach to negotiation, which results from limited knowledge, inadequate preparation and subjective effort.


Approach to Negotiation
Negotiation may be approached as a competitive or integrative game. The competitive approach seeks win-lose or zero-sum outcome. A win-lose game is like haggling for a bargain. Bargaining may serve some situations but has no relevance with high-stakes complex negotiations. If both parties narrowly stick to winning there is no agreement.


There is an important term that experts often use in negotiation. It is known as the “Best Alternative to No Agreement (BATNA)”. One can improve the outcome by improving the BATNA and worsening that of the other party.

artofnego1.jpgThe timing of negotiation can also be a strategic consideration for improving the BATNA. If there is a weak BATNA, it may result in a weak outcome in case of agreement or may be more damaging in case of no agreement.


The integrative approach by comparison aims at a win-win outcome. The real life situations offer ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and diversity of scenarios for increasing the size of the pie, which may create opportunities for a win-win outcome.


Integrative approach is essentially a problem solving approach and one party alone may not be able to solve problems involved. Negotiating resources of all the parties are needed to resolve complex issues. Problem solving approach requires thorough knowledge not only of one’s own imperatives and drivers but more importantly that of the other party/parties.


Problem solving approach may not be mistaken for compromising. In a compromise both parties gain less due to lack of effort as both parties may operate at the level of their BATNAs. But in problem solving they take the outcome to a higher level of gains. Figure 1 shows a Dual Concern Matrix:
(1) if we show inaction all stand to lose; (2) if we yield, we stand to lose and others gain; (3) if we contend we may stand to gain while others lose; (4) in a compromise all will gain something but all will stay short of achieving best outcomes; and finally, (5) if we adopt problem solving approach all stand to gain best outcomes.


Inter-dependence can lead to synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is not a prescription for all kinds of negotiations. Different situations may suit different approaches of integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding or compromising.

 

Legitimacy/Power
Legitimacy/power of the negotiator is an important aspect of negotiation that can also lead to increasing the size of the pie. Everything in real-life complex negotiations is not black or white. There are intermingled shades, inter-bedded dimensions and inter-locking objectives. Perspectives and opportunities keep varying in the dynamic flow of a negotiating process. It is a fluid battle of wits, like the game of chess. (There is a big difference though; chess is bound in closed box logic but the real life situations are often unbounded and open-ended.) As every move in chess creates a new situation for a different response negotiation continues to create new situation for a dynamic process.


A competent negotiator with knowledge, exposure and responsibility in real life could add new dimensions and seek different permutations of achieving the defined objectives. The legitimacy or authority or power or responsibility or commitment of a negotiator is a crucial factor for successful negotiation. Power can provide the negotiator leverages to persuade and pressurize the other party to a more favorable outcome.


There are three major sources of power: information and expertise; control over negotiating team/resources; and negotiator’s position in the organization. For an integrative approach to yield an outcome both negotiators need full freedom within their defined objectives. Greater the degrees of freedom more are the chances for increasing the size of pie and achieving optimal and lasting results.

 

What Makes an Outcome Optimal or Successful?
Negotiation is successful when its outcome is better than the BATNA of all the parties involved. Successful negotiations build relationships that could be used to advantage for future opportunities. Developing understanding and building relationship may even be stated as parts of objectives for the negation.

 

Psychological Sub-processes
Negotiation involves the psychological sub-processes of perception, cognition, dynamics of communication, persuasion and leveraging, and ethical judgment.

 

artofnego2.jpgPerception is making sense or picture from the stimuli received through the sensory inputs. Perception leads to the response that a negotiator makes. Intuitively information may be perceived and potentially distorted in the perception process leading to systemic errors in responses. Intuition in negotiation may result from inadequate preparation and lack of effort during negotiation. Intuition does not lead to problem solving and is not an appropriate approach in important negotiations.


One has to guard against the intuitive approach at any stage of the process. During the flow of a negotiating process new information may be exchanged, unforeseen points raised and tactics played to throw the opposing negotiator off balance that leads to its adopting an intuitive approach.

Strategies that could be used against Intuition
1) Identifying situations that call for extra vigilance and slower, more conscious, effortful, logical and deliberate negotiations, and keep updating the list.
2) Avoiding getting into time pressure that usually leads to intuitive responses. Typically real estate agents or the car dealers create time-pressure to extract better deals.
3) Partitioning negotiation into multiple sessions, patience often generates significant dividends. It may be unnecessary or difficult to complete complex negotiations in one session. It is better to structure a process that allows rethinking for re-strategizing.
4) Adopting an outsider lens, when a negotiator uses an insider lens for making judgment while deeply immersed in a particular context or situation, he tends to rely on intuitive judgment. By contrast when a negotiator uses an outsider lens of being removed or detached from a particular situation, he uses a rational approach. The insider focuses only on the current situation, while the outsider is better at integrating information across multiple episodes and dimensions. Sometime it may be helpful to actually engage an outsider as consultant/adviser for keeping an outsider perspective.

 

It would be helpful to illustrate this point by a so-called Prisoner’s Dilemma where-in rational but uncoordinated and self-interested behavior can result in awful outcomes.


• The District Attorney knows that the two prisoners are indeed guilty of a crime (that carries a punishment of 5 years), but he does not have acceptable evidence to convince the jury. The prisoners too know this fact.
• The prisoners are kept separated and cannot communicate with each other at all.
• The District Attorney speaks to each prisoner separately and gives him a choice of Confessing or Not Confessing: (1) if both don’t confess they would one year each. (2) If both confess they get three years each. (3) If one confesses and the other does not, the confessor gets off scot-free and the non-confessor gets the maximum punishment of five years. Figure 2 illustrates the Prisoner’s Dilemma. If each prisoner confesses hoping to get scot free following intuition and self-interest and thus both end up confessing, both get 3 years each. In a win-win case both do not confess and both get away lightly with one year only as a case of problem solving for minimum punishment.

 

Communication
Communication is the essence of psychological processes of negotiation. It may be one of the most important factors of success in negotiation. Communication is the response actualized by the cognitive process of perception. A good communicator can say difficult things in a manner that does not provoke emotional or irrational responses. Cultural considerations are important for understanding the tactics and building the confidence.

Ethical Standards in Negotiations
Negotiators are often faced with the ethical question of what information they aught to share during the course of a negotiation. The ethics may vary from situation to situation; a few standards advocated by philosophers are presented:


End-Result Ethics practice is based on the thinking that ends justify the means. The rightness of an action is determined by considering the consequences. It raises the concern of how does one judge the consequences in their entirety.
Rule Ethics emphasize that decisions be based commonly on moral rules or standards or principles. Accordingly, the rightness of an action is determined by considering the laws and standards. It raises the concern of what rules are to be followed.
Social Contract Ethics are based on community and culture. Societies and organizations determine what is ethically appropriate for them. The rightness of the action is determined by considering social norms and customs of the community. It raises the concern of establishing the general will of the community and is opposed by those who challenge the morality of the existing social order.
Personalistic Ethics suggest that people are guided by their own conscience while making a determination. Thus the rightness of an action is determined by one’s own conscience. This raises the concerns of uniformity and cohesiveness.
Negotiators may use each of these approaches to evaluate various strategies and tactics.

 

Conclusion
For crucially important situations matching a negotiator in asset value, knowledge, communication, wit, energy, exposure and commitment with the objectives is crucially important. The negotiator should have the ability to see the whole but feel the parts. Let the person have the required information, resources, time and opportunity to prepare thoroughly and carry the legitimacy and power to seek the best outcome.

 

The writer holds a PhD degree from Stanford University, California USA. He is a former Federal Secretary and has been CEO/Chairman of OGDCL and Chairman NEPRA.

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

 
09
May

Written By: Tahir Mehmood Azad

Nuclear weapons are considered as the most horrifying and destructive weapons ever built by mankind and they have shed dark shadows over humanity since 1945. After United States' nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Second World War, no [nuclear weapon] state could gather courage to use it again. However, it would be difficult to predict whether nuclear weapons could be used in future or not. Definitely, it is very complicated to state whether over the last 70 years, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons has reduced or amplified because there are both positive and perilous trends ongoing. A nuclear explosion would also create considerable fallout, potentially contaminating large areas. A one ton (a unit of weight equivalent to 1000 kilograms) surface detonation would theoretically result in fallout with gamma radiation levels in excess of 500 radiuses to a distance of 30-100 metres from the point of the explosion, with lesser amounts settling over a wider area.


It has become an Indian strategy to accuse Pakistan for any incident that happens in its territory. In the recent past, India has blamed Pakistan for attack on its Parliament (2002), Mumbai (2008) and Pathankot airbase (2015). Recently, for the attacks on its military base in Uri, Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed, India accused Pakistan. In reaction, India threatened Pakistan for surgical strike on its territory. On September 29, 2016, Indian military officials claimed that India had carried out surgical strike on militant camps in Pakistani territory. Pakistan rejected India's claim of surgical strike and warned India of serious consequences to any such activity.


After every single terrorist incident in India, whether it is carried out by local terrorists or separatist organizations, Indian civil and political elite put blame on Pakistan. These tensions further lead to unhappy and unhealthy environment for both states which ultimately affect the South Asian region. It is a bitter reality that any type of military adventure such as surgical strike or limited war carried out by India would lead to full-scale war and that would ultimately lead to nuclear war.


Pakistan and India, with estimated combined numbers of 250 nuclear weapons (130 and 120 respectively)1 and roughly total amount 6.3 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU-235) and 5.26 tons plutonium (Pu-239) for military uses, remain on the verge of war. Any type of military adventure, either surgical or limited war waged by India, would escalate to full-scale war and ultimately to nuclear war. Both states have advanced nuclear weapons' technology and nuclear war between them could be more catastrophic and will have long lasting health, environmental, psychological, socio-economic and global consequences. More than 21 million people would die in minutes from the direct effects of the weapons.2 Entire population of Pakistan and India which is about 200 million and 1000 million respectively, would suffer from the radiations for many decades. All major cities on both sides would be annihilated completely. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation would increase and that would negatively affect human, animal and plant life. Drinking water and food shortages would cause hundreds of millions of people to starve to death during the years following the nuclear war.


Neither the United States nor any other state in the world is distantly ready to handle the consequence of nuclear war. For example, the need to care for thousands of wounded, burned and irradiated sufferers, the need to vacate hundreds of thousands of natives in the path of the fallout, the enormous challenge of restoring essential services to a partly burned and irradiated city, and more. Further than the instantaneous physical harm done by a nuclear war, the sociological, psychological, and financial impacts of such an aggression would be destructive. Like natural calamity, a nuclear attack may happen without admonition, leaving small probability for preparation. An attack in a metropolitan part would not only execute huge figures of citizens but it could also make the region practically squalid for an extensive period of time. The suffering of such an assault would leave lasting mental and emotional scars on the survivors. The blast wave can destroy buildings, spread debris, and overturn trees. The thermal pulse can ignite exposed combustible materials, causing many sustained fires. These are the main direct effects. The magnitude of the effects is different depending on whether the explosion occurs; on the ground or above the earth.4 If a nuclear weapon was detonated at ground level, the area destroyed and the casualties probably would be smaller, even though ground particles would get picked up and made radioactive and then dumped downwind for hundreds of miles.5 Li Bin has given the consequences of nuclear terrorism attack in four scenarios.6


1. A nuclear device is exploded on the surface of water by seashore and the yield is 20 kilotons or less. The effects of a nuclear explosion include shock waves (or referred as air blasts for an explosion in the air), thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and residual nuclear radiation.


2. A nuclear device is exploded at a population centre. The yield is about 20 kilotons. The damage in this scenario would be much bigger because the population density would be much higher. The casualties would be at the level of those in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima attacks or even larger.


3. An operational reactor releases a significant amount of vapourized nuclear materials, including spent fuels and fission products after suffering an attack. Nuclear materials released from an operational reactor are harmful to human beings. They could cause immediate effects in a few days, mid-term effects in a few years and long-term effects in tens of years. Immediate effects include acute radiation sickness caused by exposure to large-dose radiation, scalding by hot venting, and injuries by solid debris.


4. A "dirty bomb" with radioactive material is exploded at a population centre. The effects of the explosion of a "dirty bomb" are highly dependent on the type of nuclear materials used, the form of dispersal, and the weather condition after the explosion. Main effects would also be psychological and economical ones.7


International health organizations and experts believe that nuclear war consequences of India-Pakistan would be very dangerous to the affected community. A successful attack in major cities of both states would be very likely to cause large numbers of instant fatalities. Victims would be confronted not only with immediate destruction and disability imposed by the initial event but also with the fear of future effects on their own health, and the health of loved ones, or that of future generations.8 Although it would have the potential to affect extensive areas of land and cause large number of cancers, its impact would depend on how effectively appropriate contingency plans were implemented.9 Even an unsuccessful attack could have economic and social repercussions and affect public confidence in nuclear activities such as power generation.10


The entire region would face the consequences of radioactivity. Furthermore, it would have extra-regional impacts such as health, environmental, economic and trade, ecological, and socio-political. Therefore, India must avoid any kind of war option i.e., surgical, limited or all-out war. The bilateral disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner. Kashmir is the core dispute and it should be resolved as per the UNSC resolutions. Major powers should play their effective roles to normalize the situation between the two countries. India must change its aggressive policies towards Pakistan and both states should settle their issues in a friendly environment. India can escalate and initiate a war, but it will have to pay the price that would be very costly and endure over centuries!

 

The writer is pursuing PhD in Strategic & Nuclear Studies at National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad, Pakistan.
 

1 Shannon N. Kile and Hans M. Kristensen, "Trends in World Nuclear Forces, 2016," SIPRI, Fact Sheet, June 2016, p.2.
2 Abheet Singh Sethi, "The Global Cost of a Nuclear War between India and Pakistan," September 29, 2016.
3 Ashton B. Carter, Michael M. May, and William J. Perry, "The Day After: Action in the 24 Hours Following a Nuclear Blast in an American City," A report based on a workshop hosted by the Preventive Defense Project (Cambridge, Mass. and Palo Alto, Cal., Harvard and Stanford Universities, Preventive Defence Project, May 2007).
4 "Understanding the Risks and Realities of Nuclear Terrorism," Center for International Security and Cooperation Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.
5 Ibid.
6 Li Bin, "On Nuclear Terrorism," Working Paper, 2nd Pugwash Workshop on East Asian Security, Beijing, China, March 7-9, 2002.
7 http://nuclear-news.net/information/.
8 T. F. Ditzler, "Malevolent minds: The teleology of terrorism," in F. M. Moghaddam, and A. J. Marsella (Ed.), Understanding Terrorism: Psychosocial Roots, Consequences, and Interventions, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001, pp. 187-188.
9 "Assessing The Risk of Terrorist Attacks on Nuclear Facilities," Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology London, U.K, POST Report 222, July 2004, p.2.
10 Ibid.

 
08
May
First Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Exercise MALPAK-17

newsmalpak17.jpgThe first ever Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was conducted in the adjoining waters of Malacca Straits. Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising Sword Class Guided Missile Frigate SAIF with embarked Z9EC helicopter and Combat Support Ship NASR with embarked Seaking helicopter participated in the exercise. From Malaysian side, Royal Malaysian Navy Frigate KD LEKIR with embarked FENNEC helicopter and Patrol Ship KD SELANGOR participated.
The premier Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was aimed at strengthening bilateral relationship, enhancing interoperability between the two navies through development of combined naval tactics, techniques and procedures as well as to provide impetus to growing mutual naval collaboration between Pakistan and Malaysia.


The Exercise was conducted in two phases: harbour phase and the sea phase. The harbour phase comprised table top discussions on professional topics, practical boarding drills and planning conferences. Whereas, the sea phase included entire spectrum of maritime/naval operations including Cross-Deck Helo Operations, Torpedo Counter Measures, Gunnery Firings and Joint Maritime Interdiction Operations. Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy have been interacting since long, however, Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 is unique being first ever bilateral Naval Exercise which will be conducted biennially in Malaysian and Pakistani waters on alternate basis. This exercise will further enhance naval collaboration between Pakistan and Malaysia besides capacity building of the forces and contributing in regional maritime security.

08
May
Pakistan Army Team Spirit (PATS)

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2nd Pak Army Team Spirit (PATS) competition concluded at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) near Jehlum. A total of 10 foreign military teams including China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Thailand and UK along with 8 Pakistan Army teams enthusiastically participated in the toughest military competition held from April 1 to April 5. The teams of 1 Corps, 30 Corps and China won Gold medal whereas Southern Command, 4 Corps, 10 Corps, Sri Lanka, Turkey and UK clinched silver medal. Bronze medal was won by 5 Corps, 31 Corps, 2 Corps and Malaysia.


The foreign teams entered the competition where they were tested for their physical fitness, endurance and team spirit. Team Spirit is a narrative based competition held under very challenging environment. A patrol from every participating team is tasked to infiltrate in terrorist infested area, carry out a task and exfiltrate.


Earlier on April 1, 2017, on the commencement of the competition, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Pabbi and met foreign military teams.

 

newspatas1.jpgCOAS interacted with foreign teams and highlighted importance of physical fitness and spirit of team work. COAS said that 'terrorism is affecting the whole world and requires collective response approach. Pakistan is a peace loving country and has significantly contributed towards peace and stability. World acknowledges our efforts in this regard and your presence here is the evidence. Those who propagate to isolate Pakistan should see how Pakistan is actually valued and honoured by our global friends.'


Lieutenant General Ikram ul Haque, Commander Gujranwala Corps who was chief guest on the last day of the competition awarded prizes to the winning teams. While congratulating the winners Lt Gen Ikram ul Haque applauded the professionalism, dedication and skills of the participating teams. He said that 'participation of teams from friendly countries offored an opportunity to all the participants to learn from each other's professional experience in the domain of counter-terrorism.' He thanked all foreign military teams for participating and showing confidence in Pakistan. Lieutenant General Hidayat ur Rehman, Inspector General Training and Evaluation and Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi, Commander Mangla Corps were also present on the occasion.

08
May
PAF’s Elite No 9 Squadron Declared the Twin of Illustrious No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force

It was yet another historic day in the remarkable history of Pakistan Air Force No 9 Multirole Squadron, when it was declared the twin of the renowned No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force in a grand ceremony held at PAF Base Mushaf. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force was the guest of honour at the ceremony. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was also present at the occasion.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman highlighted the contributions of four British Commander-in-Chiefs of Royal Pakistan Air Force, who laid the foundation of a nascent Pakistan Air Force. He added that keeping the traditions of these inspiring leaders in high esteem, the succeeding commanders of Pakistan Air Force made earnest efforts to transform it into a potent air-arm of Pakistan. He further said that No 9 Squadrons of both the Air Forces have a rich legacy and have been frontline squadrons since their raising. He reiterated that the twinning of these squadrons would help us in learning from each other and strengthening our cordial relations.


While addressing on the occasion Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force said that 'Pakistan Air Force is respected world over due to its sound professionalism and it has brought many laurels to the country'. He further said that ‘the twinning of these renowned squadrons would further develop their capabilities and lay a foundation to build on the legacy of our predecessors.’


Earlier in the day, the Chief of Royal Air Force witnessed the fly past of four-ship formation of F-16 aircraft. It was followed by a thrilling solo aerobatic display of F-16 aircraft. To mark this momentous occasion, both the Air Chiefs also flew a mission in separate aircraft of No 9 Multirole Squadron. It was the first time that a foreign Air Chief participated in a joint mission with the Chief of Pakistan Air Force.


A large number of former squadron commanders, and high-ranking PAF officers also attended the ceremony.


No 9 Bomber Squadron of Royal Air Force was raised in 1914 and it has actively participated in many wars ever since. Presently, stationed at RAF Marham, Pathfinders (call sign) are currently operating Tornado aircraft.


No 9 Multirole Squadron of Pakistan Air Force was raised in 1943 at Risalpur, and it made its operational debut in Burma during World War II under the command of legendary Air Marshal Asghar Khan (then Squadron Leader). The squadron has a glorious history and has been in the frontline of Indo-Pak wars and WoT. Commonly known as Griffins, the squadron is currently flying F-16 Fighting Falcon.

08
May
Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017

Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017 concluded at the newly built Lahore Garrison Shooting Gallery (LGSG) in a graceful ceremony. Commander Lahore Corps Lt General Sadiq Ali was the Chief Guest on the oceassion.

 

newslahoregarrisongala.jpgPakistan Army has established LGSG, which is spread over 20 acres of land, with a unique aim to provide multiple services ranging from patronizing and encouraging shooting sport to grooming young shooters in the country. The Gallery is equipped with modern ranges and gadgets of international standard and it can be used for national and international shooting competitions.
The LGSG will patronize long range shooting in the country and provide a platform for armed forces, civilians, and educational institutions as well. It will help to promote the sport of shooting with the provision of qualified instructors and coaches to train upcoming youngsters inspiring to become future shooters.
As many as 400 shooters participated in various categories of the 3-day Gala. They demonstrated their skill, concentration, patience and excellent control over their weapons in various competitions.

Commander Bahawalpur Corps Views Progress of Census in Bahawalpur

newslahoregarrisongala1.jpgCommander Bahawalpur Corps Lieutenant General Sher Afgun visited different areas of Bahawalpur city in connection with ongoing census. Speaking on the occasion, the Corps Commander said that ‘census is a national responsibility which is progressing smoothly due to good coordination between civil administration and Army authorities’.

Earlier, Corps Commander was given a detailed briefing in a Divisional Headquarters regarding the ongoing census. Corps Commander expressed his satisfaction on overall arrangements and commended the efforts of both civil and military departments to make the census operation a success in Bahawalpur region.

08
May
Keel Laying of Fast Attack Missile Craft

Another Landmark in Indigenisation and Self-Reliance

Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4 being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was the Chief Guest at the occasion.


Fast Attack Craft (Missile) is a state-of-the-art, multi mission vessel with steel hull and aluminum super structure and is equipped with indigenously developed weapons and sensors.

 

newsfastattackmisc.jpgWhile speaking on the occasion, the Naval Chief highly appreciated the achievement of this important milestone ahead of schedule. He said that 'the indigenous construction of this Craft is a giant leap towards self-reliance as the construction of this warship will not only open new avenues of design and ship-building but also accelerate our progress towards achieving the goal of indigenisation. This project once completed, will demonstrate Maritime Technologies Complex and Karachi Shipyard’s design and construction capability in entirety. '


While highlighting geo-strategic and socio-economic significance of CPEC, the Naval Chief said that 'the trade activities are poised to increase manifold with the developments taking place owing to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project which has the potential to transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub. This would place additional premium on the responsibilities of Pakistan Navy to ensure safe and secure maritime environment for uninterrupted maritime activities to take place. FAC (M)-4 will add to Pakistan Navy’s operational capability upon its induction'. He also assured Pakistan Navy’s all possible support to KS&EW to make this strategic setup in transforming as a vibrant, productive and strategic element of the maritime sector. He further said that 'We are pursuing establishment of new shipyards with Government to further boost our ship-building industry.'


Earlier Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah MD KS&EW in his welcome address said that 'the project being the first indigenous design is a result of strenuous hard work by Karachi Shipyard and Maritime Technologies Complex, which has given enough confidence to undertake such a challenging project.' He also highlighted that the ship will serve our country for decades as national symbol of our indigenous efforts. He gave a brief outlook of ongoing projects which included PN Fleet Tanker, FAC(M) No. 3, MPVs for PMSA, Bollard Pull Tugs, Multi Purpose Barge and Bridge Erection Boats for Pakistan Army. He also highlighted KS&EW’s future plans and said, 'we have started preparation for mega project of construction of submarines for Pakistan Navy.'


MD KS&EW thanked Ministry of Defence Production and especially Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah for his visionary approach and solid support behind all projects.


The ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from GoP, Pakistan Navy, corporate sector and KS&EW.

08
May
Pakistan Navy Command and Staff Conference

Command and Staff Conference of Pakistan Navy was held at Naval Headquarters, Islamabad. The Conference was chaired by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. Matters related to operational preparedness, prevailing security situation and developmental plans of Pakistan Navy were reviewed. Chief of the Naval Staff was given detailed briefings on various ongoing and future projects and plans of Pakisstan Navy.

newspncomandconfr.jpgWhile taking stock of the prevalent security environment, Chief of the Naval Staff resolved that in the midst of complex, challenging and evolving contemporary security environment, Pakistan Navy would continue to play a significant role in sustenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region. The Naval Chief also reiterated Pakistan Navy’s unflinching resolve and determination to safeguard maritime frontiers of Pakistan against all threats. He also urged the commanders to remain at highest state of preparedness and maintain a constant vigil in their Area of Responsibility (AoR).


Chief of the Naval Staff lauded concerted efforts of all field commanders for successful conduct of Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 at Karachi, in which 37 countries participated with assets and observers which was a clear testimony of the poise and confidence by regional and extra regional countries.


Besides assessing the war preparedness of Pakistan Navy, the participants of the conference also reviewed the priorities pertaining to the security of Gwadar Port and maritime components of CPEC.

Pakistan Navy Conducts Test Launch of Anti-Ship Missile

Pakistan Navy conducted successful test launch of land based anti-ship missile. The missile has advanced technology and avionics, which enables engagement of targets at sea with high accuracy.


The trial was conducted from coastal region and missile secured hit on the target placed at sea. The event was witnessed by Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Saddique. Senior officers of Pakistan Navy were also present on the occasion. Vice Chief of the Naval Staff commended the successful accomplishment of the objectives of this trial and lauded the hard work and efforts of all those who were involved, especially crew of the missile unit.


Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, in his message, felicitated the officers and crew and said that 'this weapon system has added a new dimension in the operational reach of the Pakistan Navy as Pakistan Navy would be able to further bolster seaward defense of the nation by having the capability of launching long range anti-ship missiles from land.'

08
May
United States National Security Adviser Calls on COAS

Gen H. R. McMaster, U.S. NSA called on COAS at GHQ on April 17, 2017. The visiting dignitary was briefed about Pakistan's war on terror and its contributions to regional and global stability. It was highlighted that distinguished feature of Pakistan's counter-terrorism effort is focused against terrorists of all hue and colour. COAS said that while Pakistan itself is victim of state sponsored terrorism it strongly rejects allegations of employing proxies from its soil. U.S. NSA acknowledged Pakistan Army's efforts in eliminating terrorists and their infrastructure, assuring U.S. support to bring peace and stability in the region and the world.

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Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Calls on COAS
Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Evolving regional security matrix and other issues of mutual interest were discussed, including measures against common threat of terrorism. COAS said that ‘Pakistan greatly values historic Pak-Iran relationship and the same shall continue based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s interests.’

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08
May
CJCSC Addresses the Staff/War College Students

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, addressed combined faculty and students of Command and Staff Colleges, Quetta, Pak Navy War College and Air War College.

 

Matters related to regional security, emerging threats and response postulates were focused upon in his talk to the forum. The talk was followed by a vibrant and candid question and answer session. Student officers' questions focused on national security issues including Kashmir. Earlier upon arrival at Quetta, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was received by Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz.

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08
May

Written By: Abdullah Khan

Reintegration of militants into the national fold is an uphill but essential task that the State of Pakistan has to accomplish. Majority of the militants fighting against us are our own citizens. We need to think seriously about how to bring those who fell in the hands of terrorist organizations back and reintegrate them into the society. The first step is to develop realization that these are our own citizens who fell in wrong hands because of various factors. Ownership of the mistakes and our citizen will lead us to the right direction.


There are several aspects of a possible reintegration program. Unless we develop customized policies and subsequent action plans for every aspect mentioned in coming paragraphs, the overall program of reintegration cannot become productive and result oriented in the long run. Following are some of the aspects our State will have to take into account while planning for a policy of reintegration of militants.


• Strategic Aspect: There are two schools of thought who blame state policies for promoting violent extremism. One school of thought believes that more than required role of religion in state as well as national affairs and Pakistan’s participation in Afghan jihad against the USSR are the major reasons for promoting religious extremism and subsequent terrorism in the country. The other school of thought believes that current wave of militancy started after 9/11 because of sudden U-turn by Pakistani state from certain policies and state’s alleged patronage of activities taking people away from religion. Although both point of views are identically opponent to each other but they have a common factor and that is Pakistan’s alliance with the United States. If siding with U.S. becomes root cause of promotion of extremism in our society then we need to do some cost-benefit analysis of our defence ties with the super power. Improvement in defence ties with Russia and investment coming through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides us an opportunity to lessen if not completely end our defence reliance and financial dependence on the U.S. Unless we set our strategic direction right and fix the mistakes we have made no plan of national reintegration of militants can yield long term sustainable results.

 

• Ideological Aspect: Militant groups fighting against the state can be classified into four categories:
a. Anti-State based on religion and foreign sponsored (TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Islam etc.)
b. Sectarian groups (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipa-e-Muhammad etc.)
c. Anti-State secular groups (BLA, BLF, BRF etc.)
d. Proxies of political parties (Lyari War Gangs, militant wing of political parties etc.)


Every category has different set of ideological tools to motivate their fighters. Militants have to be detached from their ideology before they can be merged back into the main society. Especially the militants motivated by religion need special attention as religion plays a major role in their recruitment and motivation. Most of the militant attacks and subsequent deaths in Pakistan occurred in attacks perpetrated by militants motivated by religion.


• Financial Aspect: Although militants have people from rich to poorer to the poorest but majority comes from poor class in Pakistan’s context with low education rate, almost no job opportunities, and least exposure to the modern world. When some or more of them will be ready to shun violence, we as a nation need to have sustainable financial plans for them so that they are not hijacked again by their respective militant groups.


• Social and Societal Aspect: Those militants who will be selected for reintegration into national folds, their families and relatives need to be taken on board, too. Generally, more than one person from a family is found infected with extremist ideology, however, one or two become hardcore militants while others provide them moral and financial support. For reintegration of a militant, the strategy needs to incorporate requirements of whole family. Even if none of the family member other than the militant subscribes to the militant ideology, the family can play a crucial role in persuading the militant to denounce violence and come back to normal life. Families can be encouraged to report activities of ex-militants and they need to have a trust in the system that any such thing will not create any trouble for them and it will actually be helpful to keep their loved ones away from extremist groups.


Also, one cannot overlook bitter reality that the militants supposed to be integrated into the national fold remained members of such organizations who are involved in killing thousands of Pakistani citizens. It is a tough question that whether society will accept them or not. Any reintegration plan needs to be backed by the society. Sensitivities of the society need to be taken into consideration and incorporated into national reintegration policy.


• Legal Aspect: Any reintegration policy needs to be within the legal framework of the country. Are we going to reintegrate those who were involved in killing of our citizens and law demands they must be tried in the court of law? However, there is a counter argument that if we do not detach them from militancy they can kill more citizens. Those who are known for killing and are wanted in cases of murder cannot, and should not, get away with their crimes. Such elements may not get absolute amnesty; however, State can lure them with lesser degree of sentences from court in case they surrender.


There are also militants who may have or may in future complete their prison terms. There should be a policy for them as well, as they should not fall back in the hands of militant organizations.


• Constitutional Aspect: Any reintegration program will be within the framework of constitution. Those who want to come back will have to accept Pakistan’s constitution. It is a matter of fact that Pakistan’s constitution is the best reply to militant’s narrative but unfortunately never properly presented and promoted in that context. Our constitution sets absolute sovereignty of Allah, the Almighty and no law can be promulgated against Quran and Sunnah. No logic or argument can stand in front of the fact that picking up arms against Pakistan cannot be justified by any valid teachings of Islam. Thus, Islamic aspects of our constitution need to be highlighted and presented as counter argument to those who commit Takfeer in our State and justify violence in that pretext.


Any reintegration program will also need constitutional cover so that no upcoming government reverses the program for any reasons. Any such move can endanger lives of those officials who will be associated with the program. Any reversal can also make future peace process difficult to the impossible extent.


Any reintegration of militants will definitely be in DDR order (Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration). However, question is that should Pakistan target groups or individuals for reintegration? In case of individuals, it will be simply disarmament and reintegration process. While involving groups will be a complex and least productive approach in Pakistan’s context. For the time being militant groups are less likely to join a peace process for a variety of reasons. One of the sectarian extremist group Sipa-e-Sahaba (Jamat Ahl-e-Sunnat) has recently expressed its willingness to disband itself during a think tank’s activity. However, they are not operating as a militant group, thus reintegration of Sipa-e-Sahaba or Tehreek-e-Jafria does not fall in the domain of reintegration of militants. Their possible reintegration falls under reintegration of nonviolent extremist groups.


Therefore, instead of approaching to militant groups, Pakistan should approach foot soldiers and commanders of lower ranks. This will snatch base support from top leadership, which may eventually think to denounce violence in case State decides to accept them.


Role of the former militants can also play crucial role in motivating militants to denounce violence and get into the reintegration process. They can be presented as role models as well as hired to interact with those who have denounced violence and willing to come back but are skeptical of the prospects.


We have to realize the need to bring back our citizens who fell to deviant violent ideologies and traps. We have to devise a national reintegration program which has customized sub policies and action plans as per different categories of the militants. Any such program needs to take care of legal aspects as well as should have constitutional cover. The program must have backing of the society to be productive and sustainable.

 

The writer is Managing Director Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies. He is an expert on militancy and regional security. He tweets at

@Abdullahkhan333

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08
May

Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Five years old Omran Daqneesh sits clueless in an ambulance. He has just been pulled out of rubble along with his family. Omran looks into camera, self-consciously he tries to fix his hair matted with blood sticking to his forehead. His own blood. But that’s all he does. No cry. No talk. This little video clip reduced a CNN anchor to tears on live television. But that wasn’t for the first-time that human suffering in Syria had shaken us all.


Almost a year ago the body of three years old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. The family of the young boy was trying to reach the Greek island of Kos only 4 kilometers away. 16 people in an inflatable boat meant for eight. Within five minutes the boat capsized in the Mediterranean and Aylan’s lifeless body was soon found face down on a shore near Bodrum, Turkey. A Turkish photojournalist took the picture of the boy in that state. This heart-rending photograph also spread around the world in no time. Shock was on display everywhere. But nothing was done. Nothing probably could be done.

 

understanyamancrisis.jpgWhen a civil war destroys a country, it brings civilization crashing down into a heap of rubble, and human loss can seldom be quantified. Since the start of the war five hundred thousand Syrians have been killed and over 7.6 million have been displaced. Many fleeing their homeland have not just brought the heartbreak, the nightmares and the memories of broken dreams to foreign lands but also a destabilizing effect. Since the exodus began and Turkey initially accepted refugees, its economy has slowed down. In Europe their arrival has caused a backlash and given xenophobic far-right an opportunity to whip up support.


Terror groups like the so called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also gained international attention not in Iraq but primarily in Syria. And given that there is no way to know for sure that no ISIS member smuggles himself disguised as a refugee, incidents of violence have been blamed on asylum seekers from Syria. It is a human catastrophe that doesn't seem to stop.


And recently after Donald Trump decided to carry out punitive missile strikes in Syria following the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government, the world has held its breath fearing the possibility of armed conflict between Russia and the United States. There is nothing ordinary about the Syrian conflict and nothing normal. It has the potential to single handedly transform our world into a dystopia. Let us study its origin, current dynamics and the best possible solution.


How It All Began
“Ejak el door, ya doctor” or “It’s your turn, Doctor”. The Syrian civil war began with this simple sentence spray painted on the external wall of a school by a group of teenage boys. It was meant to be a prank. But it went awry. Within no time, Bashar al-Assad’s secret police was upon them. They were arrested and tortured. The Arab spring in neighboring countries had already started shaking the moorings of authoritarian rule. The panic of Syrian dictator was palpable. But incarceration and torture of its kids, a bunch of 7th graders, for random pranks was too much for the people of Daraa, a city on the border of Jordan. And when the parents contacted the authorities they were told to forget their children. Around a month after the arrests, fearing for the children’s lives thousands poured out on the streets demanding their release. When police failed to quell the protest, special forces were flown in from Damascus. They opened fire on the protestors, killing two and injuring many. Next day the forces opened fire on the funeral procession killing a child. Protests only increased. When the authorities saw the unmanageable size of the pushback they released the arrested boys. But instead of calming the crowds, the battered condition of the released kids only added fuel to fire and the protests continued. When the army employed brute force the protests spread to other cities including Latakia, capital Damascus, Homs, Baniyas, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa. Thus, began the violent uprising.


As the violent protests and the crackdown continued some members of the armed forces defected and joined the protestors. Even before the uprising, every Syrian citizen was bound by law to go through an obligatory military duty. That too came handy during the start of the resistance. And as the clashes continued, the law and order vacuum was exploited by the external forces and many countries got involved.


Historical and Geographical Context
Syria is located in a very tumultuous region. It shares borders with Lebanon, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, and Jordan to the south. According to a rough estimate its population is around 23 million. Around 90 percent of its population is Arab. Kurds, Armenians and others make the rest of the population. Unlike neighboring Iraq, its population is predominantly Sunni. Of its 87 percent Muslim population, 74 percent is Sunni, 13 percent Alawites, Ismailis and Twelver Shias. Rest of the population includes 10 percent Christians and 3 percent Druze, an ethno-religious esoteric group. Administratively Syria is divided into 14 governorates and 60 districts.


After its freedom from France in 1946, Syria remained a hotbed of political intrigue, coups, frail attempts to democratize, unstable governments and bloodshed. It was in 1963 that the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party finally managed to form a relatively stable government. Palace intrigues were to continue until 1970 but the party’s grip on power was not to waver.


Ba’ath Party which emerged as a pan nationalist Arab movement was only successful in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, an Alawite Shia Defence Minister Hafez al Assad finally managed to depose the sitting ruler and formed a government in November 1970 that was to continue until his death. After the 1963 coup the government had imposed a state of emergency in the country that would continue for almost 40 years curbing free speech, the peaceful right of assembly of more than five people and other rights that were taken for granted.


Under Hafez-al-Assad’s leadership Syria formed a military alliance with former Soviet Union. The USSR established the first and the only naval facility in the Mediterranean Sea at Tartus, Syria because of the strengthening relationship. This arrangement continued even after the demise of the communist bloc and modern day Russia inherited the base. In recent years the two states have agreed to convert it in to a permanent Russian base for its nuclear armed warships. Russia has waved off $9.8 billion Soviet era loan to the country. In addition to the above mentioned naval base, Russia now operates an air force base in Palmyra apart from two or more secret spy bases elsewhere.


Another key relationship worth mentioning here is that between Syria and Iraq. While Syria and Iraq shared common political platform, Saddam Hussein after assuming power in 1979 accused Syrian government of plotting against him. This almost immediately ensured continued hostility between the two countries. A noteworthy fact is that while Iraqi population is predominantly Shia, Saddam was a Sunni and it was other way round in Syria where majority is Sunni but its longest serving ruler Assad senior belonged to minority Alawite Shia population.


After the Iranian revolution’s success in 1979 the relations between Iran and Syria grew rapidly. With Assad senior, Iran got a crucial ally in a region dominated by an ocean of Sunni regimes. The relationship was also beneficial to Tehran because it gained a space to arm and train the Shia Hezbollah militia against Israel. In the Iran-Iraq war, Syria supported Iran. Despite such close relations between the two countries Hafez al Assad never visited Iran during Ayatollah Khomeini’s life for the simple reason that the late Ayatollah didn’t consider him a Muslim.


The senior Assad died in 2000 and his reluctant second son Dr. Bashar al-Assad, an ophthalmologist by profession, inherited the throne. After the demise of the Soviet Union his father and later he himself had tried to open and liberalize the economy which led to the rise of a rich urban class like an island in the sea of poverty. Between 2006 and 2011 the country endured a devastating drought in which 75 percent of the country’s farms and 85 percent of its livestock perished forcing around 1.5 million citizens to migrate to urban centers like Damascus and Homs.


The economic disparity increased dramatically under the son and so did the sense of deprivation. It was after the spread of unrest that Dr. Assad decided to lift the state of emergency and tried to replace it with self-serving counter terrorism laws. But it was too late by then and the disaffected masses continued the revolt.


The Current Field of Play
A detailed list of the groups fighting in Syria will most likely crowd out all discussion on these pages. To an estimate by the end of 2013 there were around one thousand-armed opposition groups in Syria and that was before the stunning emergence of the ISIS. But today the warring forces can be divided into four broader groups. 1) ISIS, 2) Syrian government and pro-Assad militias, 3) opposition groups, and 4) soldiers of Rojava, or the Kurdish dominated regions.


By 2014 ISIS controlled one third of the Syrian territory. Its fortunes have dwindled since then but it remains a potent force in the country. This offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq seeks to erase the border between Iraq and Syria and form a new state. It has been mostly successful in undermining the border and creating an environment where its presence in Syria boosts its positions in Iraq. There is a broad consensus among most domestic and foreign forces in the country that it poses the biggest threat to the region and the entire world. However, the hatred towards Assad’s regime among the major opposition forces ensures that the front against ISIS remains divided and fragmented. Russian forces in Syria have claimed to go after ISIS. However, they have often been accused of targeting anti Assad forces in Syria in the garb of fighting ISIS.


Assad’s forces have seen a sharp decline since the start of the civil war. Before the outbreak of war they boasted of having around 220,000 soldiers. However, since then they have declined to around 25 thousand mainly due to deaths and defections. In 2013, the western allies learned that Assad regime had used chemical weapons against his own citizens. That was the time when the United States came the closest to sending its troops to Syria. Yet, primarily because of Russia’s aggressive advocacy and posturing and the diminishing appetite for war among Americans, President Obama stopped short of formally joining the Syrian conflict. Russia also worked out a deal with the Syrian government which resulted in the regime voluntarily surrendering its chemical stockpile to the international agency. At that time, the United States was satisfied with the arrangement and believed that all facilities had been dismantled. However, recent developments have contradicted that assertion and the West now believes that Assad still retains chemical weapons capacity.


Apart from Assad’s own forces, pro-government militias include Hezbollah which initially sent military advisors and later brought in its elite military units. The Lebanese Shia militia initially proved very useful to the Assad regime. However, since then it has endured numerous military reverses and attracted Israeli airstrikes. Other militias include foreign Shia groups.


Among foreign forces supporting Assad, Iran has been of critical importance. It has sustained Syrian government’s economy despite facing sanctions at home and has provided the regime with the needed military hardware. Apart from that it initially sent roughly 2000 members of its elite al Quds force. But till today the true extent of its military involvement is unknown and often underreported.


Russia’s support has been vital to the regime’s survival because it provided the crucial air cover. Even as the U.S. missile attack destroyed a substantial portion of the regime’s airpower, Russia has vowed to rebuild it.


The Syrian opposition groups mainly include secular Sunni forces and nationalist Jihadis. The most significant among them is the Free Syrian Army. It is a willy-nilly coalition of military defectors, small militias and ragtag groups. Despite its ambitious name it doesn’t have a centralized command. It has suffered recently at the hands of Assad’s army.


Another important group is Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra or The Nusra Front). It originated as the local wing of Al Qaeda. The group is known for its brutal tactics mirroring methods used by the ISIS. Qatar and other Arab countries have made hectic efforts to convince its leadership to sever ties with Al Qaeda so that they can aid and arm it. Last year the efforts paid off and the group announced its separation from Al Qaeda and rebranded itself.

 

When a civil war destroys a country, it brings civilization crashing down into a heap of rubble, and human loss can seldom be quantified. Since the start of the war five hundred thousand Syrians have been killed and over 7.6 million have been displaced. Many fleeing their homeland have not just brought the heartbreak, the nightmares and the memories of broken dreams to foreign lands but also a destabilizing effect.

Various other nationalist religious militias have also been chipping in to challenge the country’s leadership. But all above mentioned opposition groups have been on the retreat since the fall of Aleppo late last year. Assad’s forces now have control over five major cities and they have consolidated power there.


The fourth major player in the Syrian mix is Rojava or the Kurdish majority districts bordering Turkey. The YPG or the People’s Protection Units are its militia arm. The Kurdish groups have mainly been fighting ISIS and since the withdrawal of Assad forces from the Kurdish dominated north have been more tolerant of the central government. Occasionally they have come in direct conflict with pro-Assad militias. However, their vociferous pushback against ISIS onslaught has earned them support from the United States as well whose military advisors are embedded with some of the units. But the U.S. support has irked neighboring Turkey and ensured its involvement in the conflict. Since the Kurdish want to use their fellow Kurds in neighboring countries this has not gone down well with the other Arab countries either which have Kurdish populations to worry about.


In short, Syrian stalemate resulting from the foreign and local royal rumble threatens to destabilize the entire region and can even lead to a great power conflict affecting the entire world. It is incumbent upon all stakeholders to find a lasting solution.


The Way Forward
All sides accept that the biggest threat in Syria facing the world is the presence of ISIS. However, don’t confuse it with a consensus that could lead to a joint effort. The foreign forces will not unite until something is done about Assad’s rule. Given that the high ranks of the Syrian army are dominated by the minority Alawites even Assad’s success would mean continued instability in the country. There are reports that though they do not acknowledge it publicly Assad’s two main boosters, Iran and Russia are also growing wary of his shenanigans. Assad himself seems to be cracking under pressure and is said to have developed a tick in the left eye due to anxiety. But his removal from power will not be possible if moderates lose power in Iran or the U.S. does not actively convince Russia that his departure from power will not result in a change in Russia’s sphere of influence. However, all must join hands to end hostilities and massacre of civilian population. It is a great human tragedy and must be stopped without any further power politics.

 

The writer is an Islamabad-based TV journalist.

twitter: @FarrukhKPitafi

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08
May

Written By: Huma Kirmani

Karachi, a city by the Arabian Sea, which was once known as the "City of Lights", is now bickering in its misery of infinite apprehensions and anticipation; though circumstances are quite blatantly streaming in sea breeze of this terror inflicted city. The contemplating feature of Pakistan’s largest city and commercial hub, a place that contributes half of the total revenue collected by the FBR and the deplorable conditions of roads, mounds of uncollected waste, stagnant pools of un-drained rainwater and lack of development make it clear to any observer that Karachi is in steep and perceptible decline. Karachi’s overflowing gutters and garbage dumps can show how grotesque the provincial policy is which is a great disconnect, and has translated into gross mismanagement and general malaise.


Karachi has an estimated population of approximately 20 million; since the last census was done 17 years ago, putting the city’s population at 9.3 million then, one has to go with educated guesses and an area of over 3,500 square kilometres. Karachi is said to be mini Pakistan, reputed to have more Pashto speakers than Peshawar itself, and with over a million Bengalis, Afghans, Iranians, Palestinians and Burmese, Karachi is also home to practically all of Pakistan’s ethnic and language groups. Karachi has a distinct cosmopolitan and urban feel to it, far more as a carrier of the most heterogeneous culture. In lieu of its highly diversified cultural phenomenon, Karachi has its own lacerated ambiance of dread as almost 75 percent militants on terror watchlist for their alleged links with over a dozen proscribed organizations are untraceable in Karachi, some of them might be behind the recent wave of violence in the metropolis.

 

Karachi is said to be mini Pakistan, reputed to have more Pashto speakers than Peshawar itself, and with over a million Bengalis, Afghans, Iranians, Palestinians and Burmese, Karachi is also home to practically all of Pakistan’s ethnic and language groups. Karachi has a distinct cosmopolitan and urban feel to it, far more as a carrier of the most heterogeneous culture.

In the month of February 2017, Pakistan Rangers Sindh have killed notorious Lyari gang war commander Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla in a shootout in Lyari Town area of Karachi. Two of Baba Ladla's close associates, Sikandar alias Sikko and Mohammad Yaseen alias Mama, were also killed in the encounter. During the operation, Head Constable Fayyaz and Constable Tufail were also martyred. Karachi operation often moves into a higher gear as terrorists flee to mask their presence, nevertheless the Rangers said 364 terrorists associated with various banned organizations including al-Qaeda, different factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were also killed in gunfights with the force. Up to 7,312 weapons and 348,978 cartridges have been seized in the past two years while 27 soldiers from Rangers lost their lives.

karachiyouths.jpgViolence in Karachi emerges from multiple factors, which act together to magnify the impact of sublime criminal gangs and capitalize on perceived disenfranchisement and societal conflicts among different communities. The city has been bedeviled with targeted killings, ethnic and sectarian clashes, turf war by different political and criminal groups, extortion activities, bank looting, robberies and other street crimes. The unabated violence and chronic energy crises have made the city's situation more complex as ethnic groups from other provinces migrated to Karachi and increased number of groups have put the situation at stake as the current conflict dynamics in the city involve dozens of sectarian and militant organizations, thus making the city a battleground for more than 200 gangs.


All this chaos created ripples in overwhelming youth of this city that among youth is widely thought to stem from political, ethnic, religious and sectarian segregation within the city. The major reasons cited for young people’s involvement in violence are poverty, illiteracy and limited access to positive social interactions. These dreadful shadows of vicious tyranny generate violent culture in youth who become more violent, much to the advantage of the high profile facilitators, who sit behind scenes and control youth through various channels to meet their vested interests – as many of the political, ethnic and religious groups in Karachi have a ‘militant wing’. These wings recruit youth from colleges and universities or after their pursuit of higher education and they become an asset of these parties. These groups provide incentives including weapons and money to new recruits of the ‘youth wings’ in order to safeguard their interests. The parties attempt to enhance their economic and political status through these youth groups. There is a new trend emerging in which these parties are also using youth for extortion and blackmailing and have started recruiting violent youth to safeguard their interests and businesses in Karachi. Many youth have joined drug mafia as well. They are trained in order to protect and deliver drugs. These youth groups sell drugs to people all across Karachi including the elite. Only a small number of them are ever arrested by the police. Since the police is invariably unable to produce any evidence against them, they are released without any charges. Drugs are available everywhere, even at the most reputable institutes. There arises a question regarding the socio-political attitudes amongst youth in elite universities, that is, youth becoming radicalized followed by a conservative thought pattern that may be construed by some as bordering on radicalism. Youth from affluent socio-economic background and those, who have better career opportunities can fluctuate between being socio-culturally liberal but have a closed approach in matters pertaining to geo-politics, geo-strategy and identity politics. There is, in fact, evidence of the presence of pop-politics which itself is highly reductive and tends to follow a thought pattern which then feeds into ‘clash of civilizations’. The problem, therefore, is absence of intelligent thinking and an alternative narrative discourse in the society which would allow the youth to think ‘out of the box’.

 

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08
May
CGS Visits Afghanistan

newscgcvisitafg.jpg

On the direction of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, a high-level Pakistan Army delegation, headed by Chief of the General Staff (CGS) Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar, visited Afghanistan. The delegation met Afghanistan's acting Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahramee and General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghanistan's Chief of the Army Staff. The CGS expressed condolences on behalf of COAS on the loss of innocent lives in the Mazar-e-Sharif terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with the Afghan forces and people.

 

Free medical treatment in Pakistan to the injured of the Mazar-e-Sharif attack was also offered by the delegation. The delegation held talks on bilateral border coordination measures. Afghan authorities were conveyed that the Pakistan Army has control in all areas on the Pakistan side of the border and shall not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan. Terrorists are common threat and shall be defeated.

 

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff strongly condemns terrorist attack on Mazar-e-Sharif. Grieved on loss of innocent lives and expressed solidarity with Afghan security forces and Afghan brotherly resilient nation. "Terrorists are our common enemy and we shall defeat them", he said.

Afghan Media Delegation Visits ISPR

newsafghanmeddel.jpgA thirteen member Afghan media delegation visited Pakistan. The delegation included journalists from renowned Afghan Media. The delegation visited MOFA, Ministry of SAFRON, Ministry of Commerce, HEC, HQ FC KP, NSA and ISPR. The aim of the visit was to let Afghan media know about the efforts made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism which is a common threat to both brotherly countries.


The delegation visited ISPR on April 7, 2017 where representatives of Pakistani media were also present. Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) gave them a detailed briefing about Pak-Afghan border and efforts made by Pakistan thus far. Director General ISPR shared details of meeting of Afghan Defence Attaché with Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to UK. COAS while expressing his views during the meeting had said, “Every Afghan is dear to me as every Pakistani, I am as hurt for every Afghan who is a victim of terrorism as much as I am for every Pakistani.”


The visit is expected to enable better understanding of Pakistan’s perspective and efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region. It was concluded that menace of terrorism has affected both the countries and necessitates greater cooperation based on mutual trust.

08
May

Written By: Hasan Khan

Instead of taking a solo approach, Russia initiated the process of ‘Moscow consultations’ taking all the regional countries along to come up with regional strategy for Afghanistan.

 

The two-day Moscow Conference on Afghanistan held on April 14 and 15, in the Russian capital, asserted to coordinate regional efforts and facilitate the process of ‘national reconciliation’ to stabilize Afghanistan.


A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry stating the representatives of all participating parties including Russia, China, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan called on the parties to shun violence and seek negotiated settlement for the conflict.


“A call has been sent to the Taliban movement to abandon its line for a military solution of the Afghan conflict in favor of direct talks with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the issue of national reconciliation,” the statement said.


Reports also suggested that Russia and China – the two regional powers – separately committed to convince Taliban militia to ‘focus less on fighting against Kabul’ and ‘more on the more imminent threat’, the growing influence of international terror syndicate, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) – a regional offshoot of ‘Islamic State’. Russia has also offered to host the intra-Afghan talks for peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban.


To be more realistic, it is this growing threat of Daesh, also called ISIS, in the eastern parts of Afghanistan with potentials of destabilizing the entire region that has forced Russia to get engaged in the Afghan conflict 37 years after Soviet invasion in December 1979. However, instead of taking a solo approach, Russia initiated the process of ‘Moscow consultations’ taking all the regional countries along to come up with regional strategy for Afghanistan.


Besides Russia, the growing influence of ISKP is also a matter of concern for China, Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan is sharing 2611 km border with Afghanistan and IS militants operating in the border regions were also behind various deadly terrorists’ attacks in Pakistan. Iran also fears Daesh due to its anti-Shia agenda.


Moscow process of consultation has grown over the time from a trilateral consultation initially involving Russia, China, and Pakistan in to dialogue involving all the neighboring states of Afghanistan and the regional powers.


Russia also invited the U.S. to participate in this third round of regional consultations for initiating political negotiations on Afghan issue, however, it refused [to participate] and instead branded the process as “unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region.”


While initiating the process, its founding members China, Russia and Pakistan were in agreement over the fact that the continued fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban would ultimately strengthen the ISKP and increase its influence in the entire region.


Furthermore, there was an increasing concern among regional stakeholders that after facing defeat in Syria and rest of the Middle East, IS militants are fleeing and searching new abodes – and a destabilized Afghanistan was a prime attraction.


It is already evident that Russia has played a crucial role in defeating ISIS in Syria through counter-terrorism operations and infiltrating ethnic Chechens in the militant ranks, in the face of resistance from the U.S. and allies. Russia also successfully weakened the U.S.-installed regime in Libya and strengthened the opposition there.


Due to these U.S.-Russian proxies in the Middle Eastern countries, experts are of the opinion that the U.S. itself is involved in now shifting Daesh militants to Afghanistan in order to destabilize Russia by infiltrating IS militants into Central Asian States and also keep sorts of checks on growing economic and political influence of China.

 

The U.S. and Russia have a major difference of opinion in resolution of Afghan conflict. The U.S. want to continue its military engagements – though led by the Afghan national security forces – till the total annihilation of armed militia of Taliban. However, Russia, Pakistan and China think otherwise. Their approach towards resolution of Afghan conflict is manifested in this statement where the conference called on “ensuring a national reconciliation using political methods in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions” to resolve this decades old conflict.

ISKP is currently carrying its activities in limited eastern areas of Afghanistan close to Pakistan border. However, once strengthened, it will definitely extend its activities from its current abodes in east to north of Afghanistan. And from there it can easily infiltrate into the bordering Central Asian Republics – known to be the soft belly of Moscow – thus undermining Moscow’s national security interests.


The aggressive posturing adopted by the U.S. and Russia over the perceived threat of IS militants in the region are clear signals that both the super powers are once again flexing muscles for new proxies on the traditional Afghan turf.


Despite the Russian clarification that its involvement in Afghan affairs is exclusively for its own national security interests and for checking growing influence of IS, Washington is deeply annoyed over the development alleging that by establishing links with Taliban insurgents, Russia is jeopardizing her years-long campaign in Afghanistan.


Commenting on the growing Moscow-Taliban links, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told media recently, “I am not willing to say at this point if that has manifested into weapon and that sort of thing, but certainly what they (Russians) are up to there in light of their other activities gives us concern.”


On supplying arms and weapons to Taliban, CENTCOM Commander Gen Joseph L. Votel minced no words when speaking to members of Senate Armed Services Committee, he said, “(Russia) may be providing some kind of support to them (Taliban) in terms of weapons or other things… I believe what Russia is attempting to do is, it is trying to be an influential party.”


However, looking into the format of Moscow process, it appears all these countries are members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). So by its composition, it is the SCO making efforts to formulate a strategy for preventing Afghanistan falling to IS terrorists, which may further infiltrate into SCO members. Stabilizing Afghanistan, the SCO members believe, is necessary to make sure that terrorism does not spread further into the region.


In Moscow process this common concern over growing terrorist activities in Afghanistan was echoed. It stated, “The parties [concerned] had a frank and thorough exchange of views on the current political and military situation in Afghanistan as well as on its prospects and expressed common concern over growing terrorist activities in the country leading to rising tensions and increasing violence which adds to the predicament of the Afghan people.”


The U.S. and Russia have a major difference of opinion in the resolution of Afghan conflict. The U.S. wants to continue its military engagements – though led by the Afghan national security forces – till the total annihilation of armed militia of Taliban. However, Russia, Pakistan and China think otherwise. Their approach towards resolution of Afghan conflict is manifested in this statement where the conference called on “ensuring a national reconciliation using political methods in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions” to resolve this decades old conflict.


However, after all the U.S. is too crucial to the conflict to be ignored. Its refusal to participate in Moscow consultation will definitely thwart the prospects for achieving a stable Afghanistan. Besides, keeping the Afghan current dispensation intact by financing all its expenses including those of national security forces and police, the U.S. also has 8400 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. And by all definitions, Washington is a major stakeholder to the Afghan conflict, and not being onboard, it will be very much difficult for surrogate – the Kabul regime – to agree to a process not supported by Washington.


Interestingly, Washington has already diverted attention of the world from the Moscow conference by dropping powerful bombs on alleged hideouts of IS in Afghanistan. It will become clear in days to come whether the attacks on IS hideouts is a policy shift to checkmate Russian efforts for elimination of IS threats or just distracting tactics. However, peace in Afghanistan is very crucial for peace in Pakistan. Therefore, Pakistan supports all efforts that in some way contribute towards resolution of Afghan conflict by involving all stakeholders.

 

The writer is a senior journalist, analyst and anchor person.

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08
May

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

India, presently, is undertaking its Middle East policy very seriously due to its energy needs, internal security challenges, regional/global political and economic objectives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has revamped India’s Middle Eastern approach to boost economic and military engagement with the regional leading actors and also compete with China and Pakistan for influence in the West Asia. Though the regional strategic environment is complex and volatile, yet New Delhi is shrewdly encountering the regional internal divisions and rivalries, engaging Iran, Saudi Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council, remarkably. Besides improving its bilateral relations with the leading Middle Eastern Muslim countries; India is intelligently maintaining its robust commercial and defence relations with Israel.

 

indiamiddleeast.jpgThe critical examination of India’s Middle East policy underscores that New Delhi has successfully cultivated better diplomatic relations with all the major actors of the Middle East, especially with Israel, Iran and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) since the end of Cold War. In this context, the Indian diaspora (seven million expatriates) is playing a critical role. The Indian diaspora remits $33 to 35 billion back to India every year. It is also facilitating New Delhi in cultivating better relations with the Middle Eastern ruling elite and business community. Indeed, these countries are competing among themselves for their hegemony in the region, but India is intelligently maintaining close relations with all the relevant regional actors for the sake of its “Look Middle East” Policy.


India always considers Middle Eastern states important for its energy needs and for the pursuit of its political, economic, and military objectives in the regional and global politics. Nevertheless, today New Delhi’s main focus is on the Persian/Arabian Gulf states, with only minimal interest in the Maghreb and the Levant. Historically, New Delhi was very close to Cairo. The former used its amity with the latter for boosting its role within the Non-Aligned Movement. The end of Cold War and demise of former Soviet Union immensely altered the global politics. The transformation in the global setting makes India attractive for the United States and its likeminded nations. India intelligently seizes the moment for maximizing its stature in the community of nations and improving its relations with the Indian Ocean rim states. Consequently, during the last two decades, an impressive shift has taken place in India’s bilateral relations with the leading regional Middle Eastern States. Precisely, New Delhi has not only improved its image in the Middle East, but it also structured it relations with each Middle Eastern state in a bilateral and separate fashion.


New Delhi has established very close diplomatic relations and defense cooperation with Israel despite the continuity of Palestinians problem. Rhetorically, New Delhi remains an ardent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Realistically, however, India has been distancing from Palestinian cause. For instance, “India abstained both in July 2015 and in March 2016 from supporting a Palestine-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to launch a probe by the International Criminal Court against Israel for war crimes during the 2014 Gaza crisis”.


Ironically, the Middle Eastern states including Saudi Arab and Iran did not object the warming bilateral relations between Israel and India. New Delhi and Tel Aviv maintained informal relations for many decades. Nevertheless, both announced formal diplomatic relations in 1992. Prior to the 1990s, New Delhi was keeping clandestine contacts with Tel Aviv for refining its missile program and hatching conspiracies to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear program. The review of literature proves that the weaknesses in India’s indigenous missile program obliges it to approach Israel with the connivance of the United States to overcome the technological obstacles. For instance, the leading Indian missile scientist, Dr. Abdul Kalam (latter became President of India) visited Israel in June 1996 and in the early months of 1997. He visited Israel to receive its assistance in the development of the Indian missile program, especially Agni project. He had shown interest in Israel’s developments in the surface-to-surface missile and theater missile defence systems (Arrow) technology and components.


The Indo-Israel Defence Partnership has constructive contribution in India’s armed forces modernization. Since 2006, Indian Defence Research and Development Organization and Israel’s Aerospace Industries have been working closely. The latter transferred sophisticated technology and equipments to India. On February 22, 2017, India’s Cabinet Committee of Security, a government body headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and responsible for military procurements, approved 17,000-crore ($ 2.5 billion) a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for the Indian Army. The missile has a range of 50-70 km. The missile is designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as cruise missiles and combat jets within the range of 50-70 km.


India, recently, finalized $2.5 billion dollars deal for MR-SAM with Israel. Five regiments of the Indian Army would be beneficiary of this new Indo-Israel missile contract. The deal is for 200 missiles for five regiments, each getting 40 units. It was reported that: “The system will be based on the older Barak system of Israel, which is in use in India. It is being changed as per requirements.” In March 2017, New Delhi initiated negotiations with Tel Aviv for purchasing two more long-range Phalcon Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS). In addition, New Delhi would also purchase high-tech military equipments from Israel. These developments manifest that Indo-Israel defence cooperation is supplementing Indian military buildup and modernization.

 

New Delhi has established very close diplomatic relations and defense cooperation with Israel despite the continuity of Palestinian problem. Rhetorically, New Delhi remains an ardent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Realistically, however, India has been distancing from Palestinian cause. For instance, “India abstained both in July 2015 and in March 2016 from supporting a Palestine-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to launch a probe by the International Criminal Court against Israel for war crimes during the 2014 Gaza crisis”.

Since early 1990s, India has fostered strong strategic partnership with Iran. The strategic partnership was further cemented in the beginning of twenty-first century. Though Bush Administration declared Iran as a member of ‘axis of evil’, yet India augmented its defence cooperation with Iran. India and Iran formally entered into a bilateral defence pact in November 2003. Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) assisted practically Iranian nuclear establishment. On September 23, 2004, the Bush Administration under the authority of the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act sanctioned two Indian scientists for their activities in Iran. Dr. R. C. Surendar and Dr. Y. S. R. Prasad, both former directors of the Nuclear Power Corporation India. (The Washington Times, Thursday, October 21, 2004). On December 21, 2005, the administration sanctioned Sabero Organic Chemicals Gujarat Ltd., etc. again under the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act, for transfers of certain chemicals to Iran.


The Indo-Iran defence agreement was revitalized in 2009. It’s an open secret; Iran has been facilitating India in the materialization of its sea, road and railway connection with Central Asian States through Afghanistan. For instance, in 2014 India invested more than 85 million US dollars at Chabahar Port. India managed to engage Afghanistan through Iran. India and Iran’s strategic convergence on Afghanistan received a boost with the establishment of the Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor on 23 May 2016. The trilateral transport and transit corridor, certainly, reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan. Simultaneously, it increases India’s access to Afghanistan. Ironically, Iran severely condemns Israel, but it has been nurturing better relations with New Delhi. Similarly, India has been maintaining close relations with Iran despite the United States serious reservations on the Iranian political system and its nuclear program.


India has gradually been improving its bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In February 2014, the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Saud visited New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first two Middle East visits were to Abu Dhabi in August 2015 and Riyadh in April 2016. His visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates resulted in stronger diplomatic, economic and defence engagements. According to the India–Saudi Arabia Joint Statement issued on April 3, 2016, both states cooperate to “dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states.” Though, details of New Delhi’s strategic understanding with Riyadh remain largely unknown, yet in the realm of counterterrorism Riyadh has been cooperating with New Delhi. For instance, Saudis deported Indian terrorist Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, also known as Abu Jundal in 2012.


The United Arab Emirates is also strengthening its ties with India. The Indian diaspora was permitted to build a temple in Dubai, during the visit of Premier Modi in 2015. Moreover, immediately after Modi’s visit, the UAE seized the Dawood Ibrahim’s possessions, and deported Afsha Jabeen to India. Sheikh Moahmmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was invited by Premier Modi as the Chief Guest at the 2017 Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. Presence of the Crown Prince at the parade ground substantiates both states deepening bilateral relations. Importantly, India and Qatar bilateral relations impressively improved during the last decade. In 2008, New Delhi committed “to protect Qatar’s assets and interests from external threats”. Similarly, Bahrain and India signed memorandum of understanding for defence cooperation.


The preceding discussion reveals that the ruling elite of the Middle Eastern states seems more interested in economic and military cooperation with India. They are deliberately ignoring the growing dominance of Hindutva forces in the Indian politics under the leadership of Premier Modi. Importantly, the Hindutva ideology portrays Islamic religion and civilization as intolerant, hostile to Hindu values, proselytizing, expansionist, repressive, and violent and therefore condemns it strongly. The right wing Hindu nationalists have not given up their dream of regaining the lost territories (the sacred lands of Hinduism and Buddhism lost to Islam during the second millennium, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council, puts it) and restoring the Hindu supremacy over the entire Akhand Bharat (undivided India). Moreover, today, the Indian Muslims' condition is miserable. On April 25, 2017, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) led government announced an end to holidays for Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Jumma-tul-Wida. Precisely, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been using the Hindutva slogan to exploit the anti-Muslim feelings for mustering the support of the Hindu vote for winning the elections.


To conclude, the positive trajectory in the Indian economic growth, military advancement and New Delhi’s multidimensional relations with the United States have enhanced India’s significance in the Middle Eastern nations' foreign policy. Rich Middle Eastern nations ruling elite view India a possible venue for their investment. While, India is endeavoring to use its current advantageous position in the region to dilute Pakistan’s influence in the Middle East. Therefore, it’s imperative that Islamabad ought to revamp its policy to enhance its economic and diplomatic connectivity with the Middle Eastern states.

 

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

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08
May

On account of the great promise of the advanced technology for communication, it has become a norm to communicate effortlessly and efficiently beyond the borders. Technology as the foundation of today’s modern society also governs its dynamics. It is only normal that terrorists also benefit from it and have reached the global dimension, with only a few tools and a free internet network forming the pillars of this new strategy to disseminate terror. Technology has assumed a crucial role for terrorists who optimize the use of social media and communication platforms to elude monitoring by the intelligence agencies. The violent extremists have also become increasingly adept at creating dense networks to garner support online at a global scale, creating networks that help them run virtual circles without any economic constraints and offer unrivaled outreach opportunities.


Countering violent extremism (CVE) has been a challenge for many states. It reflects the growing focus on preventive approaches to dissuade individuals or groups from mobilizing towards violence, including terrorism, organized crime, and conflict by the non-state actors to further their negative objectives. The threat at home has subsided but it isn’t yet over. We can defeat terrorism, but unless we extinguish the underlying extremist ideology and grievances which help motivate scores of recruits to join these violent extremists, we cannot succeed. However, until recent past, our primary focus has been on kinetic threat which is essential for removing terrorists from the battlefield and disrupting their plots, whereas, awareness about the shifting labyrinth of non-kinetic challenges and the threat they pose to our national security has now been placed under critical scrutiny and is being responded to in a comprehensive manner i.e., launching of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. The Operation is achieving successes on various fronts, however, the challenge is enormous and demands a determined national response. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in a recent message to the nation has vociferously enunciated that each member of the nation is a soldier of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. This personifies will of the nation to fight alongside the armed forces of Pakistan to defeat this menace.


It goes without saying that our defense forces and credible nuclear deterrence promise a formidable response in the kinetic domain. Hence, we need to focus on the non-kinetic approach where ideology beats ideology and for that we need the whole-of-nation approach where civil society, government, media, academia and other segments of society play their part. Our books, television, films and online media should support a strong state and peaceful society that believes in peaceful dialogue thereby eroding the acceptability of militant groups by challenging their narratives within an appropriate nationalistic framework. That should help with the fundamental issues such as where to draw the line between the core doctrines of Islam and the interpretations and distortions of Islamic teachings by militant violent extremists. There is also a need to ensure enforcement of Article 5 ‘loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law’ and Article 256 of the Constitution ‘private armies forbidden’, which clearly states that “no private organization capable of functioning as a military organization shall be formed and that any such organization shall be illegal”, to prevent such groups from functioning.


The long term solution to CVE requires more creative ways of assessing attitude and behavioral changes over time. In the meantime we must invest in social cohesion, peace building and conflict mitigation which in turn will play a role in preventing marginalization, social exclusion and radicalization which leads to violent extremism.

 

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08
May
Death Sentence Awarded to Kulbushan Jadhav Under Pakistan Army Act

Indian RAW Agent/Naval officer 41558Z Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3, 2016 through a Counter-Intelligence Operation from Mashkel, Balochistan, for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan. The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded death sentence. On April 10, 2017 COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM.

RAW agent Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav was tried by FGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of official Secret Act of 1923. FGCM found Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav guilty of all the charges. He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.

The accused was provided with defending officer as per legal provisions.

(No PR-193/2017-ISPR April 10, 2017)
 
08
May

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

The remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy.

 

India has adopted an increasingly belligerent posture towards Pakistan in the last few years – suspension of composite dialogue, strained diplomatic relations and severed cultural ties, and calling Pakistan a terrorist state. At the same time, India has been heavily building up its conventional capabilities, tremendously expanding its naval capabilities and even operationalising its nuclear capable submarine fleet. The latest in India's race towards a more belligerent posture is its move away from a nuclear no-first use (NFU) posture. This is indeed a worrying development in an already volatile nuclear theatre like South Asia.

 

nofirstchange.jpgThe NFU refers to a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. India adopted the NFU policy in the wake of its 1998 nuclear tests. India's draft nuclear doctrine of August 1999 asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of "retaliation only". It further states, "India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail."1 Later, in a speech at the National Defence College on October 21, 2010, India's then National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, said that Indian nuclear doctrine advocates no first use against non-nuclear-weapon states. This raises the question whether the use of nuclear weapons was an option against non-nuclear weapon states. Again, in November 2016, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "Why do lots of people say that India is for no fist use? Why should I bind myself?"2


Recent claims by an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy, Vipin Narang, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology are worthy of some attention. At a conference held by Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in 2017, he said, "There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first." He asserted that India may abandon NFU and launch a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan if it believed that Pakistan was going to use nuclear weapons or most likely the tactical nuclear weapons against it. He further claimed that India's pre-emptive strike may not be conventional and would also be aimed at Pakistan's missile launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads. He went as far to say that India's strike may be a full 'comprehensive counterforce strike' that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of all its nuclear weapons eliminating the possibility of a retaliatory strike. However, of greater concern is his claim that this change in thinking does not come from fringe extreme voices but from no less than a former Commander of India's Strategic Forces, Lt Gen B.S. Nagal, and also from the influential former national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, who suggested in his 2016 book 'Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy', that "Serious voices, who cannot be ignored, seem to suggest that this (abandoning NFU policy) is where India may be heading, and certainly wants to head."


Pakistan has always been sceptical of India's claims of NFU. However, the remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy. Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Ehsan ul Haq (R), who has remained closely associated with Pakistan’s nuclear thinking while speaking at the launch of a book said, "The development is a cause of concern against the backdrop of extremist Hindutva agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party government." He further said, "Our conventional understanding of South Asia's nuclear dynamics and who, in fact, might use nuclear weapons first and in what mode may need a hard rethink given these emerging authoritative voices in India who are not content to cede the nuclear initiative to Pakistan." This indeed would be a major shift in India's nuclear policy. It would surely have a response by Pakistan making adjustments to its nuclear doctrine. However, if Vipin Narayan's remarks are to be taken seriously then it might not only be abandoning of NFU by India but doing away with the escalation ladder leading to a strategic nuclear strike. Noteworthy in this context are his remarks that India may conduct a comprehensive counterforce designed to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. While this may not be possible in practice since Pakistan's nuclear assets are well dispersed with high survivability, it does reflect the extremist turn in India's nuclear thinking. This is a worrying development for Pakistan since India has adopted a more aggressive stance against Pakistan under the BJP-led government. It is also worrisome in the light of the ballistic missile defence (BMD) system that India is developing and is already claiming operational with the ability to protect two Indian cities. Although BMD systems are not foolproof and hundred percent effective, they would give Indian decision makers a false sense of security making them act with aggression in a crisis. If indeed Indian nuclear thinking is moving towards a pre-emptive nuclear strike, then the decision makers would feel more secure knowing the BMD system would provide protection against any missile that Pakistan launches in retaliation.

 

Noteworthy are Vipin Narayan’s remarks that India may conduct a comprehensive counterforce designed to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. While this may not be possible in practice since Pakistan's nuclear assets are well dispersed with high survivability, it does reflect the extremist turn in India's nuclear thinking.

Pakistan has already stated its displeasure on any notions of pre-emptive strike. On April 6, 2017, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson stated that, “It goes without saying that the talk about pre-emption in a nuclearized South Asia is highly irresponsible and dangerous and will not help the cause of promoting strategic restraint and stability in the region.” He further highlighted that, “In taking appropriate security measures, Pakistan has to consider capabilities and not intentions which can change anytime."3


A move towards pre-emptive strike would be a dangerous and destabilising one in South Asia. It will surely accelerate the arms race in South Asia including nuclear. It might necessitate changes in force planning, postures, and deployment protocols. It would likely move the two countries towards nuclear readiness which also increases the chances of accidental and unauthorised use.


Some analysts have described the Indian references to pre-emptive strike "a storm in a teacup," and not to be taken seriously. It may be so. However, if Indian strategic circles are discussing the possibility of a crippling first strike against Pakistan, Islamabad cannot afford to take it lightly. It does not mean that Pakistani decision makers need to go off in a flurry and make adjustments to its force posture immediately. But it would be a good idea to keep a close watch on India's nuclear policy. In the long run, Pakistan would have to adjust its nuclear policy to cater for a first nuclear use Indian policy. Pakistan can use tactics like dispersion, camouflage and mobility to ensure the survivability of its nuclear arsenal. Moreover, Pakistan can develop sea-based nuclear capability which would give it an assured second strike capability. It is already working on a sea based nuclear deterrence. In January 2017 Pakistan announced that it had successfully carried out the first-ever test of its nuclear-capable Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) from a submerged platform. The Babur-3 SLCM is ultimately designed for use with its Agosta 90B diesel-electric submarines. This would give Pakistan a second strike capability. It would also ensure that all of Pakistan's nuclear weapons are not destroyed in a pre-emptive strike. An important lesson to take home is what the foreign office spokesperson said: "Pakistan has to prepare against the adversary's capabilities and not intentions." At the same time one must not miss the point – Indian talk of abandoning NFU is an indication of the extremist turn in the country's security and foreign policy. It is the harbinger of yet more conflict and instability in the region. Perhaps, the most important step Pakistan needs to take is to build international pressure on India to abandon its aggressive posture and move towards dialogue and conflict resolution. For nuclear weapons are not meant to be used to wage war, their primary role is to prevent war.

 

The writer is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and focuses on nuclear and arms control & disarmament issues.

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

 

1 Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine, Äugust 17, 1999, http://mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?18916/Draft+Report+of+National+Security+Advisory+Board+on+Indian+Nuclear+Doctrine
2 "Why bind ourselves to 'no first use' policy, says Manohar Parrikar on India's nuke policy", Economic Times, November 12, 2017
3 "India’s no-first-use of N-doctrine a ploy: FO," The Nation, April 7, 2017, http://nation.com.pk/editors-picks/07-Apr-2017/india-s-no-first-use-of-n-doctrine-a-ploy-fo

08
May

pmapoparade.jpgThe winter session Passing Out Parade of 135th PMA Long Course, 54th Integrated Course and 7th Mujahid Course was held on April 15, 2017. The Reviewing Officer and Chief Guest of the parade was His Excellency Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, Defence Minister of Qatar. Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Defence Minister of Pakistan was also one of the distinguished guests. Besides, dignitaries, representatives of foreign embassies in Pakistan, retired and serving senior officers of the armed forces of Pakistan, parents of passing out cadets also witnessed the parade.

135th PMA Long Course,

54th Integrated Course,

7th Mujahid Course

The mega event commenced with the performance of the Pakistan Military Academy brass band in the Rafiullah Drill Square. The ‘markers’ then marched in and took their respective positions followed by the marching cadets raising slogan of “Allah-o-Akbar”, presenting a breath-taking display. On the arrival of the Chief Guest, General Salute was presented in the honour of the Chief Guest. The Reviewing Officer then reviewed the Parade accompanied by the Commandant, Battalion Commander 3rd Pakistan Battalion and the Academy Senior Under Officer. This was followed by spectacular march past by the complete parade. After the immaculate march past, the Academy Adjutant Major Muhammad Nouman handed over the Parade to Academy Senior Under Officer Imran Faiz.

pmapoparade1.jpg

 

PRIDE OF NATION

The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Academy Senior Under Officer Imran Faiz of 135 Long Course, while the President’s Gold Medal was awarded to Battalion Senior Under Officer Ahmed Jawad of the same course. The Overseas Gold Medal was awarded to Allied Under Officer Ashraf S.F. Sbaihat from Palestine who also passed out with 135 Long Course. Commandant’s Canes were awarded to Course Under Officer Umar Nawab from 54th Integrated Course and Course Under Officer Farrukh Ali Memon from 7th Mujahid Course. Tipu Company was declared the Champion Company.

 

The Senior Division took oath to reinvigorate their resolve to serve the motherland with the best of their potential. In a dignified manner and synchronized with tune played by the PMA Band, Senior Division left the drill square in slow march. It is the cherished dream of every cadet to step up the stairs leading to the Battalion Mess and become a part of the Pakistan Army Officers’ fraternity.

pmapoparade2.jpg

 
08
May

Written By: Maj Asim Ishaq

The United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a joint African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007 to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan while peace talks on a final settlement continue. Its initial 12-month mandate was extended to July 31, 2010. The mandate is for a force of up to 19,555 military personnel and 3,772 police, along with a further "19 Formed Police Units comprising up to 140 personnel each." The peacekeepers are allowed to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian operations. UNAMID is the first joint UN/AU force and the largest peacekeeping mission. Major troop contributing countries are Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania.

 

spiritpakcel.jpg

March 23, 2017, was chosen as the day for medal parade at Al DAEIN super Camp in East Darfur. Clad in uniform and smartly turnedout Pakistan Contingent – PAKBATT 4 (43 Punjab Sadiq Battalion) presented relishing display of military parade.

 

The force commander Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, Contingent Commander Brigadier Syed Mazhar Hussain attended the Medal wearing ceremony along with 23rd March celebrations. The guests were given a warm welcome by the military band of PAKBATT 4, Parade Commander Major Assad Mehmood Khan with his roaring request asked the chief guest to review the parade. The force commander and contingent commander then decorated medals on all soldiers and officers.

 

Force Commander was then ushered by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Attiq Ahmed Khan Anjum to the traditional stalls laid out in beautiful colours and aesthetics. A group photo marked the end of the ceremony.

 

To reciprocate our care for people of Darfur Contingent Commander ordered establishing of a free Medical camp in Neem IDP camp in East Darfur, hosted by Pakistan on March 24. It included Specialist Doctors who flew all the way from Nyala South Darfur, free medicines and detailed checkup. A total of 1486 patients were treated who bore a smile on their faces, thanking for a much deserved relief.

 

DISTANT WE ARE; BONDED WE STAND

LIVE LONG PAKISTAN

PAKISTAN ARMY ZINDABAD!

 
08
May

Written By: Maryam Razzaq

An interview with the team "TAME" from NUST which won the first place in Stanford Longevity Design Challenge 2017.

 

As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag everyone just stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success as we proved to them that innovation is not limited to a geographic region.

 

Acceptance to divine’s will is a tool of contentment. While contentment brings happiness and acceptance to life, the same also halts the very endeavor and struggle one makes to change and improve the current situation. The case of elderly persons with physical impairment like tremors is an example where society has widely accepted their condition with no recourse to treat and cure.

 

theworldno1.jpgAmazingly, a group of students from NUST has embarked upon a project to develop and introduce a device called TAME-Tremor Acquisition and Minimization which seeks to develop wearable technology for the suppression of real-time pathological tremors without hindering the voluntary movement of the patient.


The students Arsalan Javed, Awais Shafiq and Hooriya Anum not only qualified to present their project at Stanford Longevity Design Challenge 2017, held in Stanford University California but they also won the competition defeating the world’s top universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Virginia Tech, University of Sao Paulo, Beijing University and Stanford University itself . Their achievement of raising our national flag at such a prestigious platform filled every Pakistani’s heart with pride.


The initiative and the progress made by this group of young students so far has to be shared with different segments of society to provoke their thoughts and invite the assistance they can offer to the group to materialize their project. Therefore Hilal arranged an interview with the group and salient of discussion are as under.

 

theworldno12.jpgQ. Firstly can you explain to the readers what your project was about?
Hilal’s readers may have an idea about tremors. It’s a human body disorder which involves unintentional, involuntary, rhythmic muscle movement including to-and-fro movements (oscillations) of one or more parts of the body commonly affecting the movement of hands, arms, head, face, voice, trunk, and legs. The tremor of hands is especially the most disabling one. So, what we created as our Final Year Project (FYP) is a device called TAME-Tremor Acquisition and Minimization. It is a wearable device which seeks to diagnose and suppress the involuntary movement of the muscles thus controlling pathological tremors.


Q. When did you start working on this project and what was the motivation behind it?
We started this project back in December 2015 as our FYP and what motivated us was that we could relate to it at a personal level as we actually saw this particular disease of tremors in our families and friends leading them to struggle with the basic daily tasks. And thus we wanted to find an engineering-based solution for the disease.


Q. Tell us something about your journey from NUST to Stanford Longevity Design Challenge?
Awais: It has been a long journey as research and innovation take their time. During our graduation we didn’t expect much from our project since being engineering students we had little knowledge of medicines but what we had in mind was that we wanted to make a difference. We wanted to use our engineering knowledge to help the people who couldn’t do their basic tasks. With that motivation in mind we did what we could. And Alhamdulillah we came up with a minimal viable product which we tested in Fauji Foundation Hospital on a couple of patients. And Stanford Longevity Design Challenge was a perfect fit for us because the whole theme and purpose of it was to optimize the lives of human beings.


Hooriya: The journey from our final year project in graduation till now has literally been a roller coaster ride because we have faced a lot of difficulties to be able to make this bio-medical device; from finding enough research on it to practically making and experimenting it, keeping the limits in mind. The journey was never easy but Alhamdulillah our work and persistence paid off.


Arsalan: More than anything this has truly been a great learning experience. Today, we are entirely different people than what we were one-and-a-half-year ago. This journey has not only made us better engineers but also better people.


Q. What was it like to be winning against the world’s top universities including the very prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Virginia Tech, University of Sao Paulo, Beijing University and Stanford University itself?
Arsalan: No doubt the challenge was really daunting because it wasn’t like some of the top, but the top universities of the world were competing against us. We took it as an exciting challenge.


Hooriya: I would say we were quite anxious. It was interesting; the teams were very confident as some of them had their products ready while others had their research to share. The only thing that kept us going was that we had to represent Pakistan and pay back to the country what it has given us.

 

Awais: Just the feeling itself of being at such a prestigious institute and competing against the world’s top universities was something I can’t really put into words. And I think this never could have been possible without my team. Our prime objective at that time was not as much to win but to represent our country in the best possible way. We were nervous standing next to the top ranked universities and when our name was called as the winners, we were definitely overjoyed.

 

Winner of Stanford Longevity Design Challenge –Team "TAME" from NUST meets COAS

theworldno14.jpgNUST students who bagged the first position at Stanford Longevity Design Challenge held in California, USA on March 30, 2017, met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in GHQ. 20 countries participated in the competition. The theme for participants was to focus on improving the quality of life for individuals ageing in their homes. 3-member NUST team comprising of Awais Shafiq, Hooriya Anam and Arslan Javed was selected to top 9 teams from different universities across the world by a panel of judges of industries from Silicon Valley. NUST team designed Tremor Acquisition and Minimization (TAME) and defeated MIT, Virginia Technology, Stanford, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Waterloo, Canada, Cornell, California, Berkeley and Beijing universities in final stage held at Stanford University. TAME is a wearable device for real time pathological wrist tremor suppression to enable tremor patients perform their routine task without assistance. COAS congratulated the team on this outstanding achievement. "Our youth is our asset and we are proud of their achievement for keeping the green flag high", COAS emphasized.


Q. Watching you on TV surely filled our hearts with pride; how did you feel, holding and waving our national flag at such a prestigious platform?
As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag, everyone stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success as we proved to them that innovation is not limited to a geographic region. We knew at that very moment that it wasn’t just us who had won but Pakistan had won. We had won for the country which enabled us to be who we were today, it was for the nation that supported us, it was for the institute that opened avenues for us, it was for the teachers who instilled knowledge in us, and it was for all those people who invested in us.


Q. How has your experience been at NUST?
Arsalan: It might sound cheesy but NUST is the best thing that has ever happened to me. There is so much to learn over here. You get exposed to not only a lot of research but the environment that NUST provides helps you to interact at international level.


Hooriya: I will second Arsalan’s opinion that NUST exposed us to international platforms and different avenues. Not only it has helped us academically but also has groomed us to be the people that we are today.


Awais: Well, apart from the study point of view it is absolutely true that whatever I am today is because of this prestigious institute. The ability to present at a platform like Stanford and the confidence to deliver among the tech leaders has all come from this university.


Q. What would you like to say about the faculty and your supervisor?
We went with the idea of TAME to Dr. Raza Kazmi who was very supportive and we couldn’t have done this without him. He is the one who connected us to the Fauji Foundation Hospital and there in Foundation University Islamabad we met Dr. Khalid, Dr. Tassawur Hussain, Dr. Rabiya and Dr. Saira. Dr Khalid and Dr. Tassawur are like celebrity doctors. And I think it is because of them that we were able to expedite the Ethical Committee review which gave us access to the patients.


Q. Are you satisfied with your final project or would you like to further improve it?
TAME for now is in the prototype phase. Although the minimal viable device that we have made has been widely accepted, the final product still needs to be made and launched in the market. So we are working on it constantly.


Secondly, as we are satisfied with our project, our main focus is to make it affordable for all the tremor patients. So we are already working to further improve it.


Q. You must have received offers from various companies for assisting you in materializing your project and converting the TAME prototype into an actual product. So, how do you plan to do that?
Well we certainly have gotten a lot of offers from big names but one of the problems in Pakistan is that people like to play it safe. They prefer to invest in software because it gives you a lot of return. For hardware you actually need a lot of money to make something. And since this is specifically a bio-medical project, there is limited capital, limited resources and limited mentorship available for taking it to the next level.


After the graduation we received multiple job offers which we rejected as we wanted to further work on our project to convert it from prototype to a real time device available in the market. This device can certainly be made in Pakistan but due to limited resources the time span to actualize it and bring it to the market will be relatively long. We have actually been offered sponsorship from abroad so let’s see.


Q. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get your project completed?
Hooriya: The biggest challenge for me I guess was getting the Ethical approvals. Also, even after having made the device and setting its algorithm and everything, one cannot be sure if it will function unless it is tested upon a human patient.


Arsalan: I think I’d second Hooriya that the biggest challenge in our way was to get the Ethical approval and then test the device on patients.


Awais: The biggest challenge for me I’d say was to actually make the device.


Q. Did you have several ideas for your project or TAME was the one you settled on straight away?
Well we can go on and on about this. This team has been together for more than three years and we have done a lot of projects together. The focus has always been on learning, we have won quite a few competitions before TAME, of which some were in healthcare and other in counter-terrorism department. We were initially confused whether to pursue TAME as our FYP as it was to be a bio-medical product and we had little or no medical knowledge. But like we said we could relate to the tremor disease and thus we finally settled on TAME.


Q. Is TAME, the wearable device for controlling pathological tremors one of its kind and how effective is it to practically control tremors?
There is no product currently in the market for suppressing tremors and as we progressed along, there were certain prototypes that were using different techniques but then again they are still in the prototype phase. However, we must point out that just a small amount of research has been done on this particular technique for this particular disease. But there is no such product in the market.


And well the prototype that we used to experiment on tremor patients in Fauji Foundation Hospital yielded us positive results. And in many cases we could actually see the visual suppression of the tremors while in all of the cases we could actually see the tremor patients successfully performing their everyday tasks. So, if we consider the ability of the patients to overcome tremors the merit of success, then we can say that our project has been successful and effective.


Q. When can the world expect this miraculous prototype to develop into a product and be available in the market?
Actually we are working on a bio-medical product and the problem attached is that before bringing it into the market and getting it approved for different standard testing, we have to generate a specific dataset i.e., we have to test it on say three hundred patients and once the results are found positive only then we can get it approved and certified by the standard testing authorities in Pakistan. Right now we can’t say the exact time it will take to bring this product to market but hopefully soon.


Q. 100,000 U.S. Dollars is a big amount, have you planned on how to spend this huge prize money?
It was our prize money and not a research grant so on a lighter note we could do whatever we want. But as a matter of fact as we have this money, we are going to use it to the advantage of our project just as we have done with prize money before.


Q. What advice would you give to students who aspire to achieve big for the country like you have?
Arsalan: Well, I personally believe that though we belong to a developing country, we have no dearth of talent. Given the right environment and the right opportunities we can and we will take the world by storm. The only message I would give to all the Pakistanis out there is that don’t stop trying. Don’t be daunted by a task which seems impossible and just go for it. Well as Hooriya says, what’s the worst that can happen?

 

theworldno13.jpgHooriya: Yeah well that was my message, thanks for copying it Arsalan (chuckles). My message would especially be to the girls that don’t shy away from opportunities because you can achieve everything as big as your male counterparts could or even better since you can be more persistent than the guys (chuckles). And to the parents I would especially request to let their daughters choose the field they’d like to join. Girls can be engineers, too.


Awais: While these two people sitting beside me are brilliant students, I have always been an average student but with that I have also been sincere to myself. I try to learn what is being taught to me. I try to polish my practical skills although I am not that focused on the theoretical part of the degree but I believe that I am a good engineer because I can practically apply my skills and learning into real world problems. And to the students I’d say that we often complain that there are a lot of problems in Pakistan but what we need to realize is that these problems are opportunities for us that only need to be recognized. So yeah, dream big and do your best to materialize it.

 

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08
May

Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem

How do we keep a pulse on the economy? How does one evaluate the real health of an economy? Broadly speaking, an economy can be divided up into the internal sector and the external sector. Economic indicators are then used to ascertain or judge the current or future health of the economy. Here’s a review of our economy’s external sector based on exports, foreign direct investment, foreign exchange remittances and external debt.

 

ourecoextr.jpgExports: Pakistan’s exports as a percent of our GDP are at a 25-year low. In 1992, our exports stood at 17 percent of our GDP while the same now stand at 7 percent; what a steep fall! In dollar terms, our exports have come down from $25 billion just five years ago to a current figure of around $20 billion; a steep fall of around 20 percent in just five years. Amazingly, Bangladesh’s exports over the same five – year period have grown from $24 billion to $35 billion – a 45 percent jump.

ourecoextr1.jpgIn 1991, Pakistan’s share in world exports stood at 0.18 percent which has since come down to 0.14 percent. In 2004, Pakistan’s trade balance as a percent of our GDP stood at [plus] 1 percent of GDP; the current trade balance is [minus] 7 percent of GDP. As far as the trade balance is concerned, the year 1985 was even worse but the deterioration over the past thirteen years is a serious matter.


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): In 2007, Pakistan attracted $5.59 billion FDI. The current figure on FDI is around a billion dollars – 80 percent drop in ten years. In 1996, our share in world FDI stood at 0.26 percent which has since come down to a paltry 0.12 percent of world FDI – 55 percent drop.

 

ourecoextr4.jpgImagine; in 1960, we were 1.5 percent of world population and now we are 2.56 percent of world population while our share in world exports is shrinking and our share in world FDI is also on its way down. To be certain, we are missing the boat.


Imagine; five years ago our labor force numbered 61 million which now numbers nearly 70 million but our exports have gone down from $25 billion to $20 billion over the same period. Aren’t we missing the boat?


Remittances: Pakistani workers sending back their hard-earned dollars back to Pakistan have been and continue to be the backbone of our external sector. A year ago, Pakistanis sent back a colossal $20 billion back to Pakistan and that covered around 40 percent of our import bill. Of the $20 billion roughly 65 percent comes from five countries: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.


Foreign workers from all over the world working in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman have been remitting back a wholesome $100 billion a year to their home countries. No more (courtesy of the oil price crash).


For Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is the source of 30 percent of our workers’ remittances and Saudi Arabia’s budgetary deficit has now ballooned to $100 billion. Saudi Binladin Group, the construction giant, has already laid-off 50,000 of its 200,000 workforce. For Pakistan, remittances from Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and the UK are down 6.2 percent, 6.9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

 

ourecoextr2.jpgExternal Debt: This is the portion of our national debt that has been “borrowed from foreign lenders including commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions. These loans, including interest, must be paid in the currency in which the loan was made.”


Over the past three years, additional loans to the amount of $25 billion from foreign lenders have been taken. Of the $25 billion, an amount of roughly $12 billion went back towards the payment of previous loans. Net foreign borrowing thus amounted to $13 billion (in addition to domestic borrowings of over Rs. 3 trillion).


The economy seems headed into a ‘debt trap’ whereby we must borrow more just to pay back what has been borrowed in the past. In 2016, state-backed Chinese banks rescued us by lending $900 million. In the first three months of 2017, we borrowed an additional $300 million from the Chinese (Pakistan’s trade deficit with China has doubled over the past few years).


Pakistan is now seeking an additional $600 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the name of Public Sector Enterprises Reforms Tranche-II and III. Pakistan is now seeking an additional loan of $100 million from the French Development Agency (AFD). Pakistan is also seeking an additional loan of $750 million on commercial terms from China for Pakistan to pay back a $750 million, 10-year Eurobond that was floated back in 2007 (and is maturing this year).


In 1971, our total debt (external plus internal) stood at Rs. 30 billion. In a matter of 46 years our public debt has moved from Rs. 30 billion to Rs. 22,000 billion.


In 2008, the per capita debt – debt owed by each man, woman and child in the country – stood at Rs. 40,000. The same has since gone up to Rs. 115,000.


The truth is that our exports have now become uncompetitive in the world market because input costs in Pakistan – electricity and natural gas – are now the highest in the region. Additionally, the cost of doing business in Pakistan is now the highest in the region and our rupee has become grossly overvalued. Our return back to another IMF rescue is inevitable. Pending things for elections is not leadership but expediency.


Lo and behold, we refuse to accept that our external sector is in deep trouble. As a consequence of the refusal, there’s no policy to turn things around; one must first recognize that there’s a problem for problem solving to begin.

 

The writer is an eminent analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media.

Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh

 
08
May

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed

Violence is mostly understood and associated with religious extremism despite the fact that it has many shapes and forms – and all need to be condemned and countered. This is more so when a Muslim commits an act of violence, which as a result is associated with Islam. The widespread violent extremism in the Muslim world and the individuals or groups involved in or supporting violence has been a subject of interest for policy makers and practitioners. Unfortunately, there is dearth of comprehensive approach to explore the drivers of violent extremism in the Muslim World.
It is an accepted fact that terrorists in their anxiety for validation and justification cite religion – Islam – for justifying their acts of violence. Frustration with the local and global political milieu, besides ideologically motivated thoughts is behind violent actions. Additionally, in many cases, shared dedication to a particular vision about how a society ought to be organized and moral justification for it, bring violent extremists together.

 

countervoilentext.jpgAt present, besides terrorism, the phenomenon of violent extremism, in the form of religious, sectarian and ethnic strife is a major challenge that Pakistan faces today. In recent years, the incidence of violent extremism by terrorist organizations and their linkages to hostile foreign agencies are not only disrupting the social fabric but also adversely affecting national economy and development. Moreover, Pakistan is also facing the effects of crises in Syria, Yemen and other sectarian conflict-prone sub-regions in the Middle East.


Since independence, Pakistan has seen phases of diverse but inter-related conflicts of all sorts, resulting in violence. Pakistan endures the most of ethnic, sectarian and religious radicalisation that is aided by both internal and external actors who are not only providing a narrative but also funding for both religious and non-religious militancy. However, the intensity of violent extremism has increased manifold since Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in the WoT as it has deeply shakened the social fabric of society.


The rise of terrorism after 9/11 has badly affected the security situation in Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered a great deal in terms of lives, economic opportunities and has also borne damages to schools, hospitals and other infrastructural facilities. However, the yearly losses from terrorism declined in 2014-15 by a third to U.S. $4.5 billion, in part due to military operations in tribal areas and the Karachi Operation.

 

However, the global image of Pakistan is largely defined by the misperceptions about its role in international terrorism. Pakistan has been rejecting these allegations, insisting on the role of foreign interferences in its territory resulting in disorder, which unfortunately, has been ignored by international community. These concerns were raised when Pakistan shared three dossiers with the UN, carrying evidences about Indian interference in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi to fuel ethnic and religious violence.

 

Sandwiched between Afghanistan and India, Pakistan is a geo-strategically important country in the South Asia. With its strategic importance for the U.S. and the rest of the world, Pakistan can play a constructive role with regard to CVE (countering violent extremism). Pakistan’s importance and its stance on countering violent extremism was highlighted in an article in Forbes as:


Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story, and that the U.S. will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner. Because the Western headlines on Pakistan today gloss over the progress on the security front, the increased political stability, and incremental progress on the economic front. In spite of this potential for Pakistan, it continues to suffer from a terrible country brand that has not caught up with realities on the ground. Pakistan’s improving security dynamic is the first change to note. What has not sunk into international perceptions about the country is the tangible consensus among government, military, and Pakistani citizens against violent terrorists including the Pakistani Taliban and the alphabet soup of other terrorist groups in and around the country.


Initiatives
Despite heavy losses, Pakistan has remained committed to eliminating terrorism and violent extremism. Considering the factors contributing to violent extremism, countering it is a huge task that not only depends on the intent of government of Pakistan but also on international support.


Realising that violent extremism in all its manifestations poses a serious threat to national harmony in Pakistan, the Government made an effort to apply a comprehensive CVE strategy. This strategy can be said to have adopted an international model of CVE, i.e., of engagement and de-radicalisation on one hand, and counter-radicalisation in the form of use of force, on the other. Pakistan’s CVE policy is two pronged: de-radicalisation and counter-radicalisation. Rehabilitation programmes for indoctrinated youth are introduced under the supervision of Pakistan Army. Similar programmes are introduced in parts of the Punjab, some supervised by Counter Terrorism Department, others are conducted in collaboration with some non-governmental organizations.


Pakistan’s National Assembly passed the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill in 2013. Taking another step on February 25, 2014, Pakistan announced its first ever National Internal Security Policy (NISP) based on three elements: 1) dialogue with all stakeholders; 2) isolation of terrorists from their support systems and; 3) enhancing deterrence and capacity of security apparatus to neutralise the threats to internal security of Pakistan.


Of capital importance is the decision to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15, 2014, in the tribal areas and recently Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad on February 22, 2017. These operations are proving to be successful in debasing and dismantling the organisational structure of militant outfits active in different parts of the country including FATA. It helped in improving the security situation inside the country and provided space for better regional coordination to counter-terrorism and promote stability in the region.


Another step to counter the violent extremism was initiation of National Action Plan (NAP) after the brutal attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. The 20 point NAP very clearly defines the government’s counter-radicalism and counter-terrorism strategy. Various steps including raising a counter-terrorism force, conviction of the terrorists through military courts and reformation of criminal system were suggested in NAP. To counter violent extremism of all shades, madrasah reforms and scrutinising of religious material were made necessary to prevent the spread of hate speech and material. FATA reforms, issue of Afghan refugees, Balochistan reconciliation and taking the Karachi Operation to its logical conclusion were the other major steps that NAP vows to accomplish. However, the general perception is that the military component of NAP has been implemented efficaciously and there is a strong expectation that civilian aspect of the NAP be flashed out and operationalised. This would help the government to deal with the threat of violent extremism.


The government’s decision of zero tolerance with regard to hate speech and fanning of sectarianism is a step in the right direction but it is to be implemented fully and comprehensively. Moreover, auditing of madaris accounts and transfer of their fund through banks will go a long way in monitoring of madaris. In addition, the efforts of the government to block terrorists' funding through Hawala and Hundi have proved successful. Statistically speaking, the past two years showed positive trends from a security perspective as a downward trend was noted in the number of overall incidents of violence.

 

Realising that violent extremism in all its manifestations poses a serious threat to national harmony in Pakistan, the Government made an effort to apply a comprehensive CVE strategy. This strategy can be said to have adopted an international model of CVE, i.e., of engagement and de-radicalisation on one hand, and counter-radicalisation in the form of use of force, on the other. Pakistan’s CVE policy is two pronged: de-radicalisation and counter-radicalisation. Rehabilitation programmes for indoctrinated youth are introduced under the supervision of Pakistan Army. Similar programmes are introduced in parts of the Punjab, some supervised by Counter Terrorism Department, others are conducted in collaboration with some non-governmental organizations.

The growing radicalism leading to violent extremism calls for strengthening of internal security based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders. It is because the major hurdle for Pakistan in tackling this menace is weak governance. Good governance will help in building institutions besides bringing systematic unity among all relevant institutions and society as a whole. It will also help in bringing political and economic stability, a prerequisite to meet external challenges.


All the factors discussed are interdependent, which need to be addressed as it is in the interest of Pakistan to grow economically and politically. To tackle the menace, it is the responsibility of civil, political and religious leadership to refute the notion that terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda or Taliban represent Islam, because it is a misrepresentation that holds the terrorist narrative. If such ideas are not contested and condemned, extremist groups will continue to regroup no matter how many terrorists are eliminated.


It is important to introduce political, economic and educational reforms and take bold initiatives to prevent future threats. It is an accepted fact that investing in education and socio-economic development can lead to development and stability and hence a peaceful and harmonious society.


We, as Muslims, have to put our own house in order. Unless we devalue the notion that the West is at war with Islam, we will become fodder for extremists’ propaganda and will never be able to address our own problems. In nutshell, there is no magic bullet to cure the problem, but we must continue our quest for a peaceful harmonious society by investing in education and socio-economic development.

 

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

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08
May

Written By: Farzana Yaqoob

A land once referred to as paradise, has been hell in the last century for the people of Kashmir. So much has been written about Kashmir. Its history, present condition and the aspirations of Kashmiris have been discussed time and again. Different solutions have also been discussed but nothing seems to be actually happening. We have to start thinking towards a future and then work backwards to the current situation. This exercise would bring clarity as to where we actually are, what do we want to achieve, and how can we shape up future that the people of Kashmir deserve. As easy it might sound but that is easier said than done.


It is a conflict between the most powerful Muslim state and a state which is going to have the largest Muslim population in the world. The idea of land swap or sale and purchase of land is not an exercisable option. Reason being that as much as it is a land issue, people are involved, too. They already feel the pain of divided families. Kashmir can play the pivotal role of harmonizing these two states by being the connection between a Muslim state on the one side and Muslims in a non-Muslim state on the other side.

 

kashirfightfreedom.jpgAll the voices that are discussing Kashmir seem to be more interested in the affairs of the two adjacent states rather than Kashmir itself. The atrocities occurring in Kashmir get covered by an overarching blanket statement that the struggle of freedom fighters is an illustration of aggression. And that these activities are being supported by Pakistan thus, they are separatist activities and have to be dealt firmly by India. The rhetorical battle starts; Kashmiris get ignored and Kashmiris are forgotten. The actual story is that Kashmiris are not happy with the Indian rule and they have never accepted it. For a peaceful exit from this unjust rule, the Kashmiris prefer the UN resolution asking for the plebiscite. Plebiscite was carried out successfully in recent history, like in the case of East Timor. Such exercise needs to be carried out in Kashmir as well, in the presence of UN representatives.


Elections are contested and votes are given in the hope of development. This does not, in any manner, mean that people have given up on their aspirations. The general impression of the elections is that the movement is diluting and dying down. But the fact that every Friday prayer ends with protests, is weekly evidence to the contrary. The Kashmiri educated youth is absorbed in the freedom movement. Young people are aspiring to be freedom fighters. The calendars, printed by the local people, now carry photos of these heroes. Some have perished and some are still struggling, but they have evolved as the icons of hope.


There is a perception among certain thinking quarters that Kashmiris are unable to unite and come up with a solution. Kashmiris are united on the fact that the Indian rule is unjust and they reject the Indian occupation of their homeland. There is a small pocket of intelligentsia, who discuss independence as a solution but most of the people and the leaders consider joining Pakistan as the only workable solution.

kashirfightfreedom1.jpgThere is a strong belief among the Indian strategists, that Kashmir is an integral part of India and if by some miracle independence is achieved, Kashmir will have to face extreme difficulties in protecting itself from the economic challenges in order to survive. Knowing this, the leadership in Kashmir believes that the sustainable solution is to join Pakistan.


For any solution to be practical, assent of both the states is necessary. Pakistan has shown its intentions on different forums but India has persistently resisted any such discussion. The few points that need to be considered in making any solution viable are:


1 Kashmir shall not be divided.
2 Kashmiris shall have the right to return to Kashmir.
3 Kashmir was a Muslim state before partition, although ethnic cleansing is going on and the non-state 4 subjects are becoming residents, but the status of being a Muslim state shall not be changed.
5 Human rights violations should be taken to court and the criminals must be apprehended and punished.
6 The freedom fighters should be considered as political activists.


Kashmiris have shown perseverance. The new generation is committed to the fight for freedom. The desire to have their basic fundamental rights to free movement and choice has been harnessed by the youth. The youth is now leading the cause. Their fervour is giving momentum to the movement and this momentum is receiving coverage and acceptance by the world. Recognition is leading to increase in discussion about Kashmir. Kashmir is becoming more relevant to the global realities, as the truth about Kashmir is spreading globally. The youth of Kashmir is finding new ways to interact with the world. They are connecting through the internet and other telecom tools. It is the youth that is going to decide the future of Kashmir. The freedom movement will gain importance and will be recognized internationally. Recognition will lead to further discussions and then workable solutions will be carried out of existing realites.


Different solutions that have been discussed so far are including: i) plebiscite, ii) independent Kashmir and, iii) the Chenab formula. All the solutions affect the territorial integrity of India or Pakistan. However, Kashmiris always aspire, dream, and struggle to join Pakistan. The people of Kashmir want their struggle for freedom to get more recognition internationally and that will lead to more discussions for finding a permanent solution. The Kashmiri people hope that the international bodies will show more honesty and fairness towards the people of Kashmir to uphold their basic human rights. Pakistan has always stood by this just cause of their Kashmiri brothers. The rest of the world must also come forward and resolve this dispute which is hitherto a stigma for a free and just world's conscience.

 

The writer is the former Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development for the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Her services have won her the title of “Young Global Leader 2017” by World Economic Forum.

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08
May

Written By: Ahmed Quraishi

This is a watershed moment in Kashmir in the 69th year of Indian invasion and occupation of the disputed region. For regional and world peace, this moment should not pass without action.


The by-elections in Kashmir on April 9, 2017 ended with an unprecedented humiliation for India. This was the worst electoral exercise in the 69 years since India invaded and occupied the region in 1948. Never did the Indian ruling elite in New Delhi, especially the Hindi-speaking northerners who drove Kashmir conflict from the beginning, face this kind of utter failure and defeat in the scenic valley. This prompted the former interior minister P. Chidambaram to say ‘Kashmir is nearly lost for India,’ in a rare admission from a key member of the Indian establishment that echoed widespread despondency in Indian political and military circles.


Kashmir spun out of control of the world’s third largest army by size after July 2016. India has filled several unmarked graves in Kashmir with the bodies of young Kashmiri men but the extrajudicial execution of Burhan Wani, the handsome and charismatic 22-year-old social media activist was a lesson that taught Indian generals that impunity has a price. With his boyish looks and political determination that made him Kashmir’s Che Guevara, Wani’s murder by India has unleashed one of the most impressive and determined freedom movements underway anywhere in the world today.


The Indian army in Kashmir is demoralized. Cellphone video footages that spread online in the second and third weeks of April 2017, after the Indian occupation authorities in Kashmir lifted the internet blackout, include stunning videos. In one video, Indian soldiers carry assault rifles as they walk back to their camps but are too tired to respond to heckling by a jeering crowd of young Kashmiri men and boys, mostly unarmed but some wielding sticks. In another video, Kashmiri boys shield and protect beleaguered Indian soldiers who were on polling booth duty as they withdraw back to their camps.


These videos and pictures are spreading like wildfire across India and eating away whatever little image the Indian military built after the alleged ‘surgical airstrikes’ inside neighboring Burma and Pakistan in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Both strikes have already been exposed on Indian social media as hoaxes. The humiliation in Kashmir is real and documented. It is hurting morale within the Indian military. The commanders have bluntly told the closest aides of India’s extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi they can no longer implement New Delhi’s policy in Kashmir. Some of the Indian commanders have been too blunt. They told Modi’s government the Indian army cannot be responsible for the failures of Indian politicians and governments in Kashmir. Outside India, New Delhi’s friends are increasingly warning India that ‘Kashmir is slipping away,’ as The Diplomat did in this June 2016 article, which was published almost a month before India killed Burhan Wani.


The alienation in Kashmir is complete and irrevocable. There is little chance India can now suppress and reverse the demand by educated young Kashmiri women and men who say, ‘we are not Indian. We want freedom.’ Take the case of Insha Malik, the 14-year-old. She represents over 200 Kashmiris whose eyesight was lost under an Indian Army policy of targeting the eyes of young peaceful protesters with pellet guns. Modi and his coterie in New Delhi are unable to understand how this matter is not limited to 200 persons and their families. This policy of creating what The New York Times has called an ‘Epidemic of Dead Eyes’ has sent an unmistakable message to the fourteen million or so Kashmiris: India will not hesitate to kill as many Kashmiri civilians, including school-age students who participate in protests, if that is what it takes to keep Indian rule over Kashmir.


And if this was not enough, we have two more images that will haunt India forever. One is of a young Kashmiri man tied up to the front of an Indian army jeep and paraded across Kashmiri villages. And the second of an Indian army soldier caught on camera firing a gas shell from underneath the Government College for Women at Nawakadal, Srinagar, Kashmir. Many girls, who were peacefully protesting, were seriously injured. Both of these incidents happened in April 2017.


There is no chance that dust will settle in Kashmir. And it is increasingly clear that India has decided to kill Kashmiris and keep the land. Kashmiris are overwhelmingly against the forcible and illegal Indian occupation and annexation, and Indian actions violate UNSC resolutions and India’s commitments under Geneva Conventions and the international humanitarian law. In just three months after July 2016, Indian army has burned 25 schools in Kashmir. Now the Indian army is firing shells inside colleges. Hate attacks have increased dramatically against Kashmiri students who study in India. In the northern Hindi belt, where the Hindi-speaking minority rulers of India come from, billboards have sprung up asking Kashmiris to leave.


This is the time for Pakistan to act. Pakistani diplomats have put on an impressive show at international forums, and especially at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. On April 21, Nafees Zakaria, the Foreign Office spokesman, declared during a weekly briefing that ‘India is waging an all-out war against Kashmiri students’ studying inside India.


Pakistani action at this time does not mean complicating matters for India or disturbing the precarious regional situation. It means mitigating the humanitarian disaster and the killings that India is engaged in inside Kashmir, ensuring injured Kashmiris get access to medical aid, and convincing India to resolve Kashmir Conflict.

Here are five things Pakistan’s leaders should contemplate doing now:


1. Elevate Kashmir in National Politics
Kashmir is an international conflict that affects Pakistan more than any other country. Natural ethnic, cultural, geographic and historic links between Kashmiris and Pakistanis means any humanitarian crisis in Kashmir will destabilize Pakistan, the region, and the world peace. This is happening now. Pakistani politics are fractious and chaotic, a little more than many democracies. So, Pakistani politicians need to take a conscious decision to keep Kashmir in the news through numerous small gestures they can take.


2. Kashmir Desk at Pakistan Missions
Without creating more bureaucracy, the Government of Pakistan can appoint non-bureaucrats to this position. The persons taking charge of the Kashmir Desk in one country can preferably be picked from the Pakistani diaspora in that country or region. They can engage with the local media, politicians and researchers and encourage more coverage for Kashmir developments.


3. Engage Top Politicians in Important Capitals
Already many politicians in important world capitals have spoken on Kashmir. The international media too has increased its Kashmir coverage to levels not seen in years, if not decades. Pakistan can add consistency to this by engaging with these politicians, and creating opportunities for them to speak at events, speak to Pakistani media, and organize events on home turfs.


4. Create a National Database on Kashmir Genocide
The freedom movement in Kashmir is one of the most impressive movements for self-determination in the world. There are stories of bravery, of tragedy, of selfless devotion to cause, of women joining men in a national mission. Except for some activists in Indian-occupied Kashmir working to document the milestones in Kashmiri movement with limited resources, not much else is being done at an organized level. This can only happen through government support, and Pakistan is in the best position to do this. The Government of Pakistan can establish a Kashmir Research Library, whose sole task should be to professionally and meticulously document the Kashmir freedom movement and provide instant and online access to researchers, journalists, activists and decision makers worldwide to help formulate policy.


5. Designate a Goodwill Ambassador for Kashmir
Pakistan’s new generation is talented, resourceful and well positioned to engage the world. We have fine actors and actresses, artists, writers, authors, musicians, and novelists. Many of them are engaged in social causes. The State must encourage them and support them to get involved in resolving Kashmir Conflict and bring lasting peace. Pakistan can designate a Goodwill Ambassador for Kashmir whose mission would be to help mobilize the world for a humanitarian and political intervention in Kashmir, arrange for medical evacuations, assist needy school boys and girls, and help the world understand why peace is necessary in Kashmir.


The Kashmir freedom movement is irreversible. India cannot stop in Kashmir what Britain could not stop in India seventy years ago. India’s ruling elite should heed the call of Gandhi. You cannot stop freedom even if you have the third largest army in the world. India should withdraw from Kashmir, allow the Kashmiris to decide their future, and normalize relations with the Kashmiris and with Pakistan. We all can benefit from peace.

 

The author is a researcher, television host, and writer.

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

 
14
April
April 2017(EDITION 04, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
In the recent years Pakistan has achieved multiple successes in its war against terror. However, we are aware of the fact that there exist certain internally motivated and externally supported people who keep attempting to disrupt national peace and to kill....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)
There is an ongoing debate in Jordan amongst scholars on the clear definition of extremism prominently iterated in a news item published in the February 28th issue of Jordan Times, stating that....Read full article
 
Written By: Brian Cloughly
In May 2016, India’s Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, established a committee with the remit to “Recommend Measures to Enhance Combat Capability and Re-balance Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces”. Its Chairman, Lt Gen (Retd) D.B. Shekatkar....Read full article
 
Written By: Didier Chaudet
When one talks about Afghanistan’s regional environment, one thinks first of Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries: they have been the ones suffering the most of the Afghan wars and foreign interventions. But it would be a mistake to forget two other neighbours....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan
Pakistan-Afghanistan relations have always seen ups and downs due to various reasons. Although, there have remained several expressions of friendly relations from the leadership of both the countries from time to time, the mistrust and blame game towards each other....Read full article
 
Written By: Sagheer Ahmed
In recent times the notion of power has seen some fundamental changes. One, hard power alone may not guarantee victory as in most cases political ends are not achievable through sheer application of military force. Nor necessarily does the stronger ....Read full article
 
Written By: Tooba Khurshid
Kashmir dispute is a major source of tension between India and Pakistan since 1947. The issue is also one of the oldest items on the agenda of the United Nations (UN). Despite numerous significant resolutions and debates on Kashmir, the issue still stands unresolved. Many.....Read full article
 
Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan
Globalization describes the era that is emerging from the shattered glacis of the old Cold War divide. As a process of growing international activity in many areas, globalization is creating ever closer ties, enhanced interdependence, and greater opportunity....Read full article
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
March 23, 2017 dawned with 31 gun salutes in the federal capital and 21 gun salutes in the provincial capitals as per the tradition. The sun and marching columns rose from the east, half covered with clouds and morning breeze fluttering the flags held....Read full article
 
Written By: Sadia Sattar
On a beautiful morning of 23 March 2017, I uttered these words expressing my heart and soul. These were not the words of a routine TV commentary I was doing, but were articles of faith for me. Such is the depth and intensity of love I share with millions.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri
Ever went to a physician and asked her/him to prescribe you some medicine for any disease? Any disease, because you don’t know what is wrong with you? You even don’t know the symptoms of your ailment? And you are not sure how you are different from....Read full article
 
Khurum Khan and Muhammad Feroze Khan
The estimated mid-2015 population in Pakistan stands at 199.0 million, which ranks 6th amongst the highest populated countries in the world following China, India, United States, Indonesia and Brazil. With the ongoing pace and momentum the population of Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Taj M. Khattak
After hanging on to this falsehood for years, Indian Navy finally stated the truth after destroying all records pertaining to the incident when its former naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash declared in a national.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Abdullah Haroon was actively associated with the All India Muslim League (AIML) for barely five years (1937-42), yet he stood high in its second cadre leadership echelons from 1938 onwards. All said and done, what had set him apart was essentially his pioneering role in conceptualizing.....Read full article
 
Written By: Noureen Ehsan
During the last decade, the threat of terrorism has evolved into a multifaceted complex riddle where various ideological dogmas are colliding violently, turning the world into a battlefield. In this precarious situation, another type of terrorism has emerged quietly.....Read full article

 
 
 
Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Defence Minister, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. Matters.....Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited China during a 3 days official tour. The visit included his interactions with Chinese senior political and military.....Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahawalpur Garrison on March 28, 2017. He was given detailed briefing on operational preparedness, ongoing internal security operations and other aspects of Corps functioning....Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Headquarters Special Security Division (SSD). On arrival, COAS was received by GOC SSD Major General Abid Rafique....Read full article
 
Russian Military delegation headed by Deputy Chief of General Staff, Colonel General Israkov Sergi Yuryevich visited Miran Shah, North Waziriastan Agency. The delegation was briefed about Pakistan Army's efforts....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was conferred with U.S. Legion of Merit by United States Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, in an impressive ceremony held at US Navy Yard....Read full article
 
Pakistan Army Air Defence is undergoing regime transformation with induction of long range weapon systems on its inventory. In this context, first combat unit of LY-80 Low to Medium Altitude Air Defence System.....Read full article
 
07
April

Written By: Sadia Sattar

Resilience,
Bravery,
Fearlessness,
Is the forte of the armed forces of Pakistan,
Courage
Valour
And,
Precision
                                Are their traits

When it comes to any evil eye towards the defence of the motherland! 

 

On a beautiful morning of 23 March 2017, I uttered these words expressing my heart and soul. These were not the words of a routine TV commentary I was doing, but were articles of faith for me. Such is the depth and intensity of love I share with millions of Pakistanis that they feel for Pakistan Armed Forces. This emotional bonding, fervor and proud patriotism was all on abundant display in parade venue for Pakistan Day Parade. Never once did the thought cross my mind while doing anchoring in front of the mirror since I was a toddler that I would ever be a TV host of 23rd March Pakistan Day Parade. But I got this everlasting honor.

 

It was a position far more elevated than what I ever dreamt of in my whole career. All the childhood memories were alive as soon as I got a call to be one of the commentators for this very special event. I remember the days when Pakistan Day Parade was done near the Presidency. The sensational national tracks, enthusiastic commentary and marching steps of Pakistan Army always gave me goosebumps. 2015 was the first time that military parade was conducted after a gap of seven years and was historic for the very same reason. Being part of that memorable event is one of the most cherished memories of my career till-date. 2017 is the second one. Sitting in the commentary cabin from rehearsals to the final day was a unique and incomparable experience that could never be elaborated in words. Right in front were the portraits of the Quaid and Iqbal with green flag in the middle, fluttering high in the sky. There was the march past of the flag bearers with their immaculate steps and I could feel the resolve depicted in every step, while holding the green flag with utmost respect and love; I felt that their feelings were very relatable to mine feeling the same for the "parcham"... a feeling of doing everything possible and impossible to keep the green flag sky high till the last drop of blood. Each contingent one after the other marching with same pride and zeal touched the core of my heart.

 

All the valiant soldiers and officers who sacrificed their lives in Operations like Zarb-e-Azb, Raah-e-Rast, Rah-e-Nijat and others in the most treacherous and difficult terrain of FATA, those guarding the snow clad high peaks in Siachen, those ever-watchful along Kashmir border, those who fought and defended Pakistan in all wars with India, all those families and mothers I interviewed till date were flashing back throughout the march past. I could feel that this spirit is unstoppable and more resilient with every passing day to make Pakistan secure, peaceful and prosperous for those who would be living their lives on this beautiful land. Pakistan has defenders that are matchless, their will to defend the motherland is un-diminishing and unconquerable.


At the end of the parade, we met Maj Gen Tahir Bhutta, GOC SSG; who led tri-services SSG free fall paratroopers team carrying the green flag in high skies. Amazing when it came to the skill and precision! These are angels-defenders of my country who descend as a wrath from above on the enemies of my motherland. When we went to meet him, the way he greeted us is unexplainable, with the love and fatherly affection, the way he appreciated us for our minor efforts in the commentary cabin was extremely encouraging and memorable.


I asked him that he got injured a day prior and still managed to do free-fall jump on the final day, his response was: “I am their leader, and I ought to be leading from the front. No second choice!” Leadership is nothing but leading from the front for the officer corps of Pakistan Armed Forces.


I felt in the deepest core of my heart that Pakistan is in the safest hands as I saw leadership at its best.
Incontrovertibly no power on earth can undo Pakistan.

 

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
07
April

Khurum Khan and Muhammad Feroze Khan

The estimated mid-2015 population in Pakistan stands at 199.0 million, which ranks 6th amongst the highest populated countries in the world following China, India, United States, Indonesia and Brazil. With the ongoing pace and momentum the population of Pakistan in mid-2030 and 2050 will reach to the tune of 254.7 and 344.0 million, respectively. One of the main reasons for this perseverant rise in population size during the recent years could be attributed to a marked difference between crude birth rate (CBR) and crude death rate (CDR) due to steep decline in the death rate in Pakistan, which (7/1000) compares favourably with more developed countries of the world.1


Thus, the death rate in Pakistan matches the rest of the word, while the CBR at 30/1000 is one of the highest in the world, which created an imbalance between CBR and CDR that resulted in unprecedented population rise. The developed countries and some of the Asian countries attained a balance in population growth by reducing CBR by virtue of adopting advanced contraception methods and popularizing the concept of small family norms in their societies; their rate of growth has almost become zero. Similarly, other demographic indicators have remained disproportional and unresponsive to economic growth as in Pakistan (table 1).

 

populationexplo.jpgOne of the important determinants of fertility is Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), which is known to be directly proportional to fertility (i.e., if IMR reduces, the fertility comes down) – with low IMR, parents feel safe and don’t plan larger families. Unfortunately, the IMR at 69/1000 and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) at 3.8 live births (per women during her reproductive age) stands as the highest one (as demonstrated in table 1). Concomitantly, the expected life at birth has not risen to more than 66 years whereas; in developed countries it is more than 80 years such as Canada, UK, USA and France etc. and in developing countries like Iran, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and China etc. The low level of life expectancy at birth in Pakistan is due to poor health facilities resulting in high IMR, high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and incidence of high poverty rate.2


This disproportional rate of population growth and IMR has generated a broad-based population with age less than 15 years representing 36% of the overall population. Such a high rate of increase coupled with high IMR doesn’t support the major part of population to reach 65 years of age (this proportion in Pakistan being 4%) and it might require more than 20 years to achieve a stable or stationary population structure which is attained when TFR becomes 2.3 (still 3.8 in Pakistan) while most of the countries, except Philippines (2.9), have already witnessed this level.


Besides these factors, an overwhelming majority of population (62%) in Pakistan still lives in rural areas, in contrast to other countries where urbanization has been spread to more than 80% of the population. The higher rural population leads to lack of awareness of hazards associated with bigger family size and consequently a low Contraception Practice Rate (CPR). The country could not exceed the CPR beyond 35% while the CPR in majority of the countries achieving large per-capita income is above 80%. It is worth noting that CPR in some of the Islamic countries is also very high such as Turkey (74%), Bangladesh (62%) and Iran (82%). Early age at marriage has also been identified as an important factor of proximate determinants of fertility.3


A recent tendency in the rates of early marriage rose from 15 years to less than 18 years in countries such as Bangladesh (65% to 29%), Ethiopia (41% to 16%), Egypt (17% to 2%) and Peru (19% to 3%) because of the realization that early marriage undermines the rights and livelihood opportunities of young girls pushing them to vulnerable hazards of early pregnancy and neo-natal complications.4 Whilst the Bangladesh government has launched a programmes of appointments of young girls in garment factories in a bid to lower the chances of early marriage and other countries have launched media public awareness programmess to encourage the frequent use of modern methods of contraception in order to enhance its effectiveness in preventing births, such awareness plans have significantly lacked and failed in Pakistan despite the fact that population welfare programmes has been striving in the country for more than 60 years with an aim to raise CPR.5


An important aspect of this article is to relate the ability of demographic indicators either by responding or depleting the economic growth in the country. The economic growth is defined as the increase in a country’s productive capacity in terms of goods and services as measured by Gross National Product (GNP) in the current year compared with other countries during that year. The GNP per capita as per 2015 World Bank data sheet at $5,100 per person per year in Pakistan shows a substantial difference when compared to other countries of the region such as Philippines ($8,300), Sri Lanka ($10,270), China ($13,110), Thailand ($13,950), Malaysia ($23,580), Japan ($37,920) and Singapore ($80,270); whilst the GNP in the West is consistently and expectedly high (for e.g., $38,370 in UK, $45,840 in Germany and 55,860$ in U.S.). Similarly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Pakistan at 243.6 billion displays a grim picture of the country’s economy particularly since a significant number of countries in the region have actualized their GDP in billions and trillion of dollars (Table 2).

 

populationexplo1.jpgThe consequences of this situation have been unemployment and poverty still at 22.3%, whereas, it has reached 6.7% in Sri Lanka and 0.6% in Malaysia. Ironically more than 60% of the people in Pakistan have no access to basic necessities of life. Consequently, poor health facilities, one of the basic human necessities, has led to increased MMR (170/100,000). More people as a result of this situation are emigrating to urban cities, further worsening the situation in the absence of adequate resources or emigrating to other countries (2% per year) causing brain drain in their home country (Table 2).


In fact, the demographic and economic growth factors are inter-related and interwoven. The rate of population growth is the core factor in deteriorating the economy or accelerating the pace of economic growth as explained in (Figure 1).

 

populationexplo2.jpgThe aforementioned discussion highlights the urgent and unmet matters which require immediate steps in order to bring a meaningful change in the current scenario. Some of the steps that may help change the current preposition are:


1) Government should announce a realistic and achievable population policy in order to increase demographic indicators for achieving considerable increase in economic growth.
2) Entail social milieu in favour of small family norm by propagating the benefits of small family size
3) Enhance the level of CPR to at least 60% for attaining TFR of 2.3; an essential requirement of population stabilization.
4) Enrich quality of data by introducing effective and regular monitoring system and by implementing proximate determinants of fertility; viz, increased age at marriage, promotion of breast feeding and continuous use of contraception would enhance CPR, as the mono-purpose family planning couldn’t reduce the rate of population growth.
5) Engage youth to enhance economic growth by raising the income through newly established small industrial set-ups in rural areas, even on loan basis under the supervision of provincial governments.
Finally, it is imperative that the government takes serious steps to bridge the gap between the demographic indicators so as to accentuate the pace of economic progress of the country.

 

Dr. Khurram Khan is a cancer specialist based in UK and serves at honorary Assistant Professor at Aga Khan University.Dr. Feroze Khan is a professor at Karachi University & NIDA.
 

1 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_09.pdf.)
2 (http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/pakistan-life-expectancy)
3 Khan MF, Shirmeen A. Proximate determinants of fertility and reproductive health. Ulster Medical Journal. 2007 Jan; 76(1):6-7.
4 (http://www.dawn.com/news/11603260)
5 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_planning_in_Pakistan)
6 http://data.worldbank.org/topic/economy-and-growth

 
07
April

Written By: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri

Ever went to a physician and asked her/him to prescribe you some medicine for any disease? Any disease, because you don’t know what is wrong with you? You even don’t know the symptoms of your ailment? And you are not sure how you are different from now and when you were “healthy”? The idea seems absurd, is it not? The physician would require some information for accurate diagnosis. The same holds for governments (and non-public sector service providers) for effective planning, policy making and policy implementation. Like diagnostic medical tests which are required to have an accurate baseline of our state of health, population census is required to have a demographic baseline of a country. Demographic baseline includes number of total inhabitants living in Pakistan; their age, geographical distribution; ethnic, religious, and gender composition; educational level; income level; and employment level etc.


Unfortunately, population census, which in other parts of the world is a routine statutory activity, turns highly difficult and complicated in Pakistan. The fifth population census was due in 1991 and was held after a delay of seven years in 1998. The sixth one was due since 1998 and is being held now after a gap of 9 years and that too because Supreme Court has given a deadline to conduct it. One may argue that since 1998, successive governments of Pakistan had been planning and executing all sort of policies, plans and strategies – ranging from economic, social, political, foreign, environmental, and defence etc. – in the absence of any accurate demographic baseline.


The lack of accurate numbers not only affected decision making at government level, but also turned Pakistan into a place where guesstimates take precedence over realities; where sentiments are superior to evidences; and where whimsical decision making becomes rule of the game.

 

populationcensus.jpgThe thumb rule is that larger the number (population), larger the share in divisible pool of resources. Currently population gets 82.5% weightage in National Finance Commission Formula (the formula to distribute resources between federal government and provinces and among provinces). The accurate number comes from population census. During last nineteen years (since last census) the demographic trends in Pakistan have changed to an extent where all provinces seemed comfortable with a delayed census.


The Punjab was comfortable with a delay because its population as percentage of total population of Pakistan may reduce and so would its share in divisible pool. Sindh was comfortable with a delay because any change in its ethnic composition and rural-urban settlement patterns revealed through population census, would have had an impact on political economy of the province. The influx of internally displaced persons from FATA, presence of Afghan refugees, and migration from KP to other parts of Pakistan due to security situation has changed the demographic trends in KP forcing the political leadership to ask for some corrective measures before conducting Census. Balochistan was concerned with any change in ethnic composition of province due to the presence of Pushto speeking Afghan refugees in the province and wanted the latter to be excluded from Census.


Let us see how an updated population census would affect the current scheme of things;
• It would affect the provincial shares in federal revenues.
• It would affect the seat share of each province in the National Assembly, which hinges on population data.
• It would also affect the demarcation for national and provincial constituencies. There would be a process of delimitation of constituencies based on the census outputs before the 2018 General Elections.
• It would affect the quota for recruitment to federal posts, which is worked out on the basis of population ratios as given by the census.
• It would affect the provincial share of target subsidies provided by federal government.
• It would also reflect the number of intra-country migrants in largest metropolitan Karachi, which, according to different analysts, would increase the share of Sindh in Pakistan’s population.
• It would also reflect accurate ethnic composition of provinces; Punjabi and Seraiki in the Punjab, Sindhi and Urdu speaking in Sindh, Baloch and Pashtuns in Balochistan, and Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns in KP. An altered ethnic composition would result in “bigger the population, bigger the share”.
• It would also reflect the accurate number of non-Muslims in Pakistan. This would have direct implications on the number of seats reserved for non-Muslims in jobs as well as in the parliament and provincial legislative assemblies.
• It would also reflect the accurate proportion of men, women, and transgender in Pakistan, highlighting the need for gendered policies.


The above-mentioned effects would not automatically result into a positive change. However, the census would at least help in diagnosing who merits what on the basis of their share in population. This diagnosis would hit the interests of status quo lovers.


Partly because of the above mentioned political economy reasons which had potentially culminated into mistrust among different federating units, and partly because of security reasons, it was decided by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) represented by all Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister of Pakistan that Census were to be held through support from Pakistan Army. Army’s support was required not only to ensure security but also to ensure transparency in collection of data.
In compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders, the Census has started. It has started amid reservations from different stakeholders, and many of those reservations are quite valid. For instance;


• A near lack of women enumerators for data collection.
• Failure to capture ethnic and religious diversity prevailing in Pakistan by giving limited choices for “mother tongue” and “religion” in the machine readable forms and clubbing many of them under “any other” sections. Thus Sikhs have filed a petition in the court as they would be clubbed under any other religion.
• The concern on not counting the unemployed population, neither the reasons underneath unemployment.
• The concern on not counting the exact number of people who migrated from other parts of Pakistan.
• The concern on not counting the mortality and fertility rates.
• The concern on how to accurately count internally displaced and temporarily displaced persons in KP/FATA.
• The concern that while respondent may be penalized for providing the inaccurate information, there is no such penalty for enumerators if they temper with the provided information.


There are also concerns by smaller federating units that Federal Government (to them the Punjab) would try to manipulate the population numbers for other provinces to secure its share both in the divisible pool as well as in the national assembly seats.


Despite these concerns, one must take the glass as half full. The mere fact that we would have a head count after 19 years is a big step forward to an evidence based decision making. In an ideal situation all procedural and technical flaws in census should have been removed. However, census is not taking place in an ideal situation. We all know that Federal Government was not ready for it and had to conduct this exercise under the Supreme Court’s orders.


Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has tried to ensure transparency through providing the individually barcoded forms in registers. The forms are not to be detached from the registers. To add further scrutiny the army official accompanying the enumerator would also note down total numbers of persons counted per day. At the end of the working day both civilian enumerators and army personnel would tally their counts to identify any discrepancy. This may not be a very fool proof arrangement. However, one should consider PBS innocent until proven guilty. Let us wait for the summary results which should be released in July 2017, before starting criticism on the process and on its outcome.


There is a provision of “Post Census Evaluation” (PCE) where data can be verified through random checks after the census. We can make the most of that provision and a parliamentary committee on census or the ECNEC itself may double check the results wherever they have doubts.


Due to paucity of time, PBS had planned to conduct a survey after census to capture the trends of disabilities, unemployment, migration, and fertility. They had prepared form 2-A for this survey (for the interests of the readers, Form 1 is used for housing census, 2 for population census, and 2-A would be used for survey on the above mentioned four indicators). Under the directions of the Supreme Court the data on transgender and on disabilities would now be collected on population census form. However, the original forms had no codes for these indicators. In original forms “1” would be circled for male respondents and “2” for female respondents under the question “Gender”. The court has directed to manually enter 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively for transgender, male with disability, female with disability, and transgender with disability under the question gender. This manual entry would certainly create confusions and the output of these fields would have to be double checked to ensure the enumerators in peripheries and remote areas are able to follow the directions of the superior courts.


Likewise, absence of women enumerators would certainly have negative effect in capturing the answers from female respondents especially in KP, FATA, Balochistan, and even in rural areas of other parts of Pakistan. This again highlights the importance of verifying the results through PCE.


As far as the ethnic mix in Balochistan is concerned, PBS is neither mandated nor equipped to check the originality of citizenship of Pakistani nationals. NADRA is the agency to cancel fake CNICs. PBS’s job is to count everyone living in Balochistan during the reference period of census. As the aliens headcount would be kept separate so the political leadership may take measures to exclude refugee population while deciding on delimitation of national and provincial assemblies constituencies.

 

Population census, which in other parts of the world is a routine statutory activity, turns highly difficult and complicated in Pakistan. The fifth population census was due in 1991 and was held after a delay of seven years in 1998. The sixth one was due since 1998 and is being held now after a gap of 9 years and that too because Supreme Court has given a deadline to conduct it. One may argue that since 1998, successive governments of Pakistan had been planning and executing all sort of policies, plans and strategies – ranging from economic, social, political, foreign, environmental, and defence etc. – in the absence of any accurate demographic baseline.

Through a non-inclusive census we would not know many demographic features in Pakistan such as accurate ethnic composition, number of unemployed, accurate number of people who migrated, and accurate number of people with special disabilities. However, we would be better off than having no data at all.


In the absence of census, Household Integrated Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2010-11 computed poverty in Pakistan to be 35 per cent based on the estimate that its population was 130 million. The same year Economic Survey of Pakistan (ESP) cited Pakistan’s population as 177 million. Forty seven million, here or there, may be nothing among friends. However, when we are talking of human beings, assessing the poverty level in a country, and planning to give relief to them, then every single individual matters. With the type of data which over or underestimate population of Pakistan by 47 million, one should not wonder why our performance on “millennium development goals” was one of the worst in the region. The confusion persisted in 2016 too when National Institute of Population Studies estimated Pakistan’s population as 198 million whereas (ESP) reported it to be 195 million.


To me current census is like going for general medical tests. If they don’t help you in absolute diagnosis of a disease, they may point out anomalies on the basis of which specialized tests can be taken and further probing can be done to reach to an accurate diagnosis. So let us hope there is no anomaly in the first place and be mentally ready to go for specialized tests if an anomaly is found.

 

The writer heads Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

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

 
07
April

Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan

Globalization describes the era that is emerging from the shattered glacis of the old Cold War divide. As a process of growing international activity in many areas, globalization is creating ever closer ties, enhanced interdependence, and greater opportunity and vulnerability for all. Events at far corners of the earth are now affecting each other, countries and regions are being drawn closer together, key trends are interacting as never before, and the pace of change is accelerating. The 21st century is undeniably the first truly 'Global Century'.


Helping shape this era is an energetic economy powered by the accelerating pace of transport, telecommunications, and information technology. The sprouting global order is also rapidly eroding old partitions between foreign and domestic affairs as well as between economics and national security. In previous centuries, the course of world history was determined largely by events in only few regions, but now the future is shaped by the actions and interactions of countries and people all over the world. Nobody knows what globalization will eventually produce, but it is here to stay.

 

Maritime affairs in the age of globalization are becoming increasingly prominent in strategic calculus. Roughly 90 percent of the global trade is handled via the shipping industry and transferred to more than 4,000 ports worldwide, making these vital arteries responsible for handling goods worth more than USD 4 trillion annually. In this backdrop, maritime security was among the top critical issues to be addressed in the wake of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Maritime affairs in the age of globalization are becoming increasingly prominent in strategic calculus. Roughly 90 percent of the global trade is handled via the shipping industry and transferred to more than 4,000 ports worldwide, making these vital arteries responsible for handling goods worth more than USD 4 trillion annually. In this backdrop, maritime security was among the top critical issues to be addressed in the wake of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


According to renowned analyst Robert Kaplan, the Greater Indian Ocean, stretching eastward from the Horn of Africa past Arabian Peninsula, the Iranian plateau, and the Indian Sub-continent, all the way to the Indonesian archipelago and beyond, may comprise a map as iconic to the new century as Europe was to the last one. The Indian Ocean region includes 36 littoral and 11 hinterland states making a total of 47 independent states. The region is home to some 2.6 billion inhabitants making up 40 percent of the world's population. It also accounts for 10 percent of the global GDP.

 

paknavyinera.jpgThe littorals on the fringes of Indian Ocean boast 80 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and 17 percent of natural gas. Asia is projected to experience by far the world’s greatest surge in energy demand into the medium term. With more than a third of the world’s oil exports coming from the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and with the vast majority of known reserves in the Arabian Gulf sub region; energy-surplus nations have assumed increased importance in the global economic hierarchy.


The Indian Ocean is currently the world’s most important route for the movement of long-haul cargo. 33 percent of global commerce and 50 percent of the world’s container traffic navigates on its highways. Here, too, are the principal oil shipping lanes, as well as main navigational choke points of world commerce; the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, Hormuz and Malacca. Forty percent of seaborne crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz at one end of the Ocean, and 50 percent of the world’s merchant fleet capacity is hosted at the Strait of Malacca at the other end making Indian Ocean the busiest and largest in terms of connecting the states.


The region is however teeming with multiple challenges of diverse natures like maritime terrorism and smuggling hashish and other contraband items. Since 2005, the world witnessed the most dramatic rise in the modern day piracy which was minimized due to concerted efforts of world navies including Pakistan Navy. The spike in the regional demand for fossil fuel, piracy, maritime terrorism, the delimitation of boundaries, climatic changes, and a conglomeration of failed states have merged to render Indian Ocean a mishmash of multifarious challenges. This brings with it a clash of strategic interests, competing economies and power struggles between regional and extra-regional powers.


Pakistan’s economic destiny is wedded to the overwhelming percentage of commerce which is sea-based. Oil provides 32 percent of the country’s primary energy requirement while its share in power generation is 38 percent. The annual oil imports of the country are around 20 million tons. Bulk of this oil is imported via sea. For Pakistan therefore, energy security and maritime security are two sides of the same coin – inseparable twins.

 

Pakistan’s economic destiny is wedded to the overwhelming percentage of commerce which is sea-based. Oil provides 32 percent of the country’s primary energy requirement while its share in power generation is 38 percent. The annual oil imports of the country are around 20 million tons. Bulk of this oil is imported via sea. For Pakistan therefore, energy security and maritime security are two sides of the same coin – inseparable twins.

It is in the aforesaid backdrop that Pakistan Navy has transformed into a reckonable regional force and realigned itself as a consequential international player for preserving maritime security order in the wider arc of the Western Indian Ocean. In 2004, Pakistan Navy joined the U.S.-led Multi-National Combined Task Force-150. As the maritime component of Operation 'Enduring Freedom', the Task Force continues to work with regional navies to conduct theatre level maritime security operations against terror networks and crime syndicates. As an inexhaustible regional participant, Pakistan Navy has distinguished itself by completing nine command tenures of Combined Task Force-150.


In January 2009, with the specter of Somali piracy assuming menacing proportions, the Coalition Maritime Forces Headquarters in Bahrain created a dedicated Task Force CTF 151. It comprised ships and aircraft from over 20 countries that were to aid the international drive against piracy. Pakistan Navy joined the effort and has commanded this Task Force CTF-151 for record eight times.


The most significant initiative of Pakistan Navy in the field of maritime defence diplomacy was the institution of Multinational Exercise AMAN in 2007. The biennial exercise preceded by International Maritime Conference has since become a regular mega event in Pakistan Navy calendar. It is a powerful initiative towards reinforcing maritime security and stability. The concept of AMAN centers around information sharing, identifying areas of common interest for participating navies and a shared understanding on maritime security operations, counter terrorism operations and operations related to humanitarian assistance. The fifth of AMAN series exercises “AMAN-17” was held from February 10 to 14 at Karachi in which 37 regional and extra–regional countries participated.


Ocean space is unarguably vast and the maritime interests of nations are widely dispersed. It is virtually impossible for a single nation to monitor large swathes of ocean 24/7/365 much less respond to activities that might endanger legitimate national or international maritime interests. The extensive unregulated spaces in the maritime domain consequently become fertile ground for criminal networks to pursue their illegitimate activities. Having knowledge and ability to project influence outside the maritime domain is therefore an indispensable need.


Augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) both in its own area as well as the wider tracts of Indian Ocean is a cardinal goal of Pakistan Navy. A ‘Joint Maritime Information and Coordination Center’ (JMICC) has also been set up. It aims to coordinate the efforts of all national stakeholders including various ministries and agencies to construct data on all water borne vessels and craft operating in the country’s maritime jurisdiction. The keel laying of the 'National Centre for Maritime Policy and Research’ (NCMPR) in 2007 as adjunct to Bahria University was another endeavour of Pakistan Navy in the said direction. NCMPR acts as a think-tank for multi-disciplinary study and maritime policy research in the country.


Indian Ocean is home to a vast number of rising economies whose fate and prosperity is inextricably linked to sea. The contemporary era is characterized by interdependence and there is a need to work cooperatively. This applies more to the stakeholders associated with the Indian Ocean than perhaps any other region in the world. Pakistan is a peace loving country that believes in regional security and stability. Pakistan Navy’s active participation in international coalitions, holding of Multinational Exercise AMAN and other initiatives is a testimony of its commitment to promote peace and stability through a collaborative architecture.

 

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

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

 
07
April
Induction of LY–80 LOMADS in Pakistan Army Air Defence: Leap Towards Range and Lethality

Maj Adnan Alam Satti

newsly80lemoda.jpgPakistan Army Air Defence is undergoing regime transformation with induction of long range weapon systems on its inventory. In this context, first combat unit of LY-80 Low to Medium Altitude Air Defence System (LOMADS) has arrived Pakistan in January 2017. This Chinese origin weapon system is capable of tracking and intercepting multiple targets including Fighter Aircraft, Cruise Missiles, Air to Ground Missiles, Anti-Radiation Missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Armed Helicopters at longer ranges.


The weapon system has excellent electronic counter measures and high kill probability. The system is fully capable of providing low to medium altitude area air defence to national and strategic assets, field formations and maneuvering forces. Digitized Surveillance Control and Reporting node has also been configured in LY-80 LOMADS for its complete integration with Air Defence System of Pakistan.


Procurement of LY-80 weapon system necessitated training of troops of Army Air Defence for its dexterous employment. The training was organized at Shanghai China, wherein officers and soldiers of Army Air Defence acquired knowledge of operating, deploying and maintaining the weapon system. After comprehensive training by the Chinese experts, the trained air defenders are fully ready to exploit the true capabilities of LY-80 LOMADS against wide spectrum of aerial threat at all times. 


Induction of LY-80 LOMADS is indeed beginning of a new era in Army Air Defence. It has strengthened the Sky Shield of Pakistan and enhanced the capabilities of Army Air Defence manifold. Availability of LY-80 LOMADS would add to deterrence against an intruder aerial platform due to its range, lethality and accuracy.

07
April
Chief of the Naval Staff Conferred with “United States Legion of Merit” by U.S. Chief of Naval Operations

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was conferred with U.S. Legion of Merit by United States Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, in an impressive ceremony held at US Navy Yard.

 

 

newsunitedstates.jpgA Full Honours Ceremony was held at U.S. Navy Yard in the honour of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. Upon arrival at U.S. Navy Yard, the Admiral was received by U.S. Chief of the Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. A smartly turned out U.S. Navy contingent presented him the Guard of Honour. Subsequently, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was conferred with United States Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) by U.S. Chief of the Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. U.S. Legion of Merit is one of the highest Military Awards of the U.S. Armed Forces that is bestowed for exceptionally meritorious conduct.


Later, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah called on U.S. Chief of the Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson in his office at Pentagon. During the meeting the Naval Chief dilated upon matters of mutual interest including bilateral naval collaboration and security environment in Indian Ocean Region. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah also thanked U.S. Chief of Naval Operations for active participation of U.S. Navy in Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 conducted by Pakistan Navy at Karachi. U.S. Chief of Naval Operations highly appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Navy personnel and active role being played by Pakistan Navy for maritime security and stability in the region and congratulated Pakistan Navy for successful conduct of Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17.


Earlier, during the meetings with Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ms. Laurel Miller, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Ms. Tina Kaidanow, and Congressman Brad Sherman, matters of mutual interest were discussed. The Admiral highlighted Pakistan’s commitment and performance in fight against terrorism in general and Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maintaining regional peace and security in particular. The dignitaries highly appreciated the role and contributions of Pakistan in spearheading various initiatives for maintaining peace and stability in the region.


Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah also met Deputy Commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Vice Admiral Richard Breckenridge at U.S. Fleet Forces Headquarters Norfolk Virginia, wherein he was given detailed briefings regarding U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

07
April
Russian Military Delegation Visits North Waziristan

newsrusianmilitrydeligation.jpgRussian Military delegation headed by Deputy Chief of General Staff, Colonel General Israkov Sergi Yuryevich visited Miran Shah, North Waziriastan Agency. The delegation was briefed about Pakistan Army's efforts to clear FATA from terrorists of all hue and colours. The delegation was also briefed about the Pak-Afghan border management and socio-economic development projects in the area for enduring stability.

The delegation acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s achievements in fight against terrorism and efforts to bring stability in the region. Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt, Commander Peshawar Corps accompanied the delegation.

07
April
COAS Visits HQ 34 LID (SSD)

newscoasvisithq34.jpgChief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Headquarters Special Security Division (SSD). On arrival, COAS was received by GOC SSD Major General Abid Rafique. Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar was also present at the occasion.

 

GOC’s briefing encompassed raising of SSD in record timeframe, extensive training of its outfits and operationalization on CPEC projects across the country. COAS appreciated the state of preparedness, commitment and resolve of SSD troops for ensuring foolproof security arrangements in order to make CPEC a success and also assured his full support to this unique formation.

 

COAS reiterated Pakistan Army’s commitment to ensure security for CPEC and the work force involved in this national endeavor. COAS also highlighted that Army is fully aware of hostile agenda against CPEC and vowed that the security forces are fully prepared to defeat their nefarious designs. After briefing by GOC SSD, COAS also interacted with SSD troops and congratulated all ranks of SSD on their performance and contribution in this national undertaking.

07
April

Written By: Sagheer Ahmed

Nature of warfare has altered manifestation of power as nuclear weapons have reduced war-fighting to deterrence.

In recent times the notion of power has seen some fundamental changes. One, hard power alone may not guarantee victory as in most cases political ends are not achievable through sheer application of military force. Nor necessarily does the stronger win always. U.S. war in Vietnam was lost despite massive strategic bombing campaign and a powerful army. U.S. interventions in Iraq too could not be concluded to desired ends. They rather made the region more unstable by eruption of small power groups and other factors – ISIS in the neighborhood, Kurdish Peshmerga, sectarian polarization and ineffective writ of incumbent government to name a few.


Two, nature of warfare has altered manifestation of power as nuclear weapons have reduced war-fighting to deterrence. In Bernard Brodie’s words, “the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars. From now on, its chief purpose must to be avert them. It can have no other useful purpose.” Although there is a long debate on purpose of nuclear weapons but to many the chief purpose of nuclear weapons remains to be deterrence. Three, direct application of force is not possible on non-state actors in the age of terrorism. This remains to be the prime concern of asymmetric warfare. Apart from many asymmetries that are compared, e.g., magnitude, type etc. the actual asymmetry lies in the morphed nature of ‘the enemy’.


Four, use of hard power is not a cost-effective and preferable way of achieving the objectives if the same can be done through softer means by following Sun Tzu’s dictum:“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting... To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

 

Every 18 minutes, a crime is committed against a Dalit every day and two Indians die every minute because of air pollution.

Five, apart from traditional elements of national power there is much pronounced, more versatile, far-reaching and quick social media transcending the whole world on a single click. Probably social media is the most effective tool of soft power appeal but in some cases it might turn otherwise. The five fundamental changes suggest that apart from hard power there are host of other means available to forward agendas and achieve objectives – these are soft power strategies.


So what exactly is soft power? Explaining the great influence that U.S. had despite declining relative military hard power dominance, Joseph S. Nye in his famous 90s article coined the term ‘soft power’. Borrowing Shashi Tharoor’s simplification, “Nye argued that power is the ability to alter the behaviour of others to get what you want, and there are three ways to do that: coercion (sticks), payments (carrots) and attraction (soft power). If you are able to attract others, you can economize on the sticks and carrots.” Nye’s soft power explanation was preceded by hard power obsession before 90s but this was also short lived as he himself introduced a new term called ‘smart power’ in 2003 that echoed most in the international discourse. In essence smart combines both hard power and soft power strategies – combination of all tools at the disposal of a state. Some similar conceptualization exists in terms of hybrid warfare which as per U.S. discourse is mostly narrowed to Russia, especially studying Crimea episode of 2014.

 

fallacyofindian.jpgAlthough gains of Soft Power appeal are difficult to quantify it is still convenient to gauge how a particular country is represented and known by the world masses at large. It is surely not by how a country typically wants it to be seen rather a product of different experiences observed during various eventualities and conduct of groups of people both; inland and abroad. For instance in 2010, Copiapo mining accident in Chile left a remarkable impression in our memories. In this incident 33 miners who were trapped 700 metres underground and about 5 km away from mine entrance survived for 69 days before they were uniquely rescued. The calm and composed stranded miners and the unique rescue operation where each person was wriggled out one by one tells a lot about the character of that very nation and faith they have on their governments. Take a look at Fukushima incident. While there was tremendous effects of disaster at nuclear power plant, the composure of people tells a story of its own. No one entered any house that was open due to sanctity of private place and respect for peoples’ ‘personal life’ and of course there still was no chaos. These events cannot be manifested/manufactured or articulated but appear out of natural consequences. Can you stage-manage these?


The above construct places us perfectly into viewing Modi’s India. India has been characteristically famous for its soft appeal through ancient Hindu tradition, Gandhi’s pacifism, Nehru’s idealism, display of culture, colourful traditions, scientists’ contribution to Silicon Valley, films of Bollywood, Ayurveda and yoga. The effects of these glittering exhibitions – akin to glittering generalities – has been so scintillating and startling that world has not been able to view the real image of India or the most boasted concept of Indian-ness prior to Modi’s government. Many masks have started to be removed in post-Modi era. Modi has a legacy as Mushahid Hussain notes, “[he] is a life-long member of RSS, a para-military Hindu organization inspired by fascist movements of Europe… suffering from deep-seated Mahmood of Ghazni complex”. In this context, Gujarat massacre of 2002 under Nerendra Modi’s watch, when as many as 2000 people (mostly Muslims) were killed due to riots, is still fresh in most minds. Considering this, U.S. had denied him visa in 2005. He could only set foot on U.S. soil once he visited as Prime Minister of India after a decade in 2014. Once, he took the oath as PM, it was a time that public discourse was replete with a lot of criticism on Two Nation Theory and the need for a separate Muslim state. But soon the real Indian face started to expose out of various cover-ups. The anti-Muslim extreme right groups have taken the whole Indian soft power to hostage. Every now and then a ‘cow incident’ happens. The scholars and literary people have started refusing to take their degrees in protest to intolerance. The visitors and tourists are pursuing rape cases while the new ones are being welcomed with specific travel advisories. The cricket, art and music too have become hostage to these extremist groups. Many artists have been banned to perform, the legend Om Puri due to his open views is suspected to be murdered. Shabana Azmi in an interview stated that she could not own a flat in Mumbai because of being Muslim. So was the case with Saif Ali Khan, and this is a narrative that is building on. Due to consistency of such incidents the very ‘cultural collage’ of Indian ‘soft empire’ has become tainted. These events and happenings cannot be masked in the age of social media and continue to expose ‘the Indian-ness’ that is in the conduct of daily life events.

 

India has been characteristically famous for its soft appeal through ancient Hindu tradition, Gandhi’s pacifism, Nehru’s idealism, display of culture, colourful traditions, scientists’ contribution to Silicon Valley, films of Bollywood, Ayurveda and yoga. The effects of these glittering exhibitions – akin to glittering generalities – has been so scintillating and startling that world has not been able to view the real image of India or the most boasted concept of Indian-ness prior to Modi’s government. Many masks have started to be removed in post-Modi era.

It is also important to have a look at some of the facts that are otherwise circulating on the web. You would not wonder if you had ‘Google searched’ for most corrupt prime minister of the world and find images of Prime Minister Modi at the top. Dig more and you would find that rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to Indian National Crime Records Bureau annual report, 36,735 rape cases were reported across India in 2014 which is a 9% increase to 2013. In this age of modernity, technology and development, a staggering 70% of Indians living in villages – or some 550 million people – defecate in the open. Even 13% of urban households do so. The situation is so bad that open defecation is more common in India than in poorer countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Burundi and Rwanda. People do it despite building of toilets by the state because it is a ‘cultural norm’. As a visitor from outside you might suffer from ‘Delhi belly’ which is resulted from eating contaminated food. As per suicide rate per 100,000, India scores 21.1 which is 11th in the world. As per UN report data, one third of the world’s 1.2 billion extreme poor lived in India alone that ranks 1st in the list. As per a report, 64 million people, representing one in six urban residents, live in slums with unsanitary conditions ‘unfit for human habilitation’. Every 18 minutes, a crime is committed against a Dalit every day and two Indians die every minute because of air pollution.


The sorry state of affairs of a common man, despite being 7th wealthiest country, 3rd largest military, and 6th largest defence budget , is thus not a secret. In Shashi Tharoor’s words “If America is a melting pot… India is a thali — a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate.” In this so called thali there are 30 armed insurgency movements which reflect an acute sense of alienation on the part of the people. The pellet bullet atrocities and murder of Burhan Wani in Kashmir’s indigenous struggle is also not a story of a past. Social media is replete with images of celebrities and Indian leaders photoshopped with pellet wounds just to create awareness and feelings in general public.


With all the great elements of national power; its military strength, area, geography, economy, and aspiration for a great power status, India needs to correct its internal accounts which are otherwise boasted to be the exuberant soft power attractions. India might have understood the aim of Nye’s soft power and carried it along for good times, but the present events under Modi’s watch have definitely altered the manifestation of Indian ‘soft empire’.


As these lines of article are being penned down the real Indian face continues to be exposed on regular basis e.g., proposal by an MP on death sentence for cow slaughter and installing a far right oriented Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh with well known extreme ideas. The world in general and West in particular needs to relook on its infatuation with Indian soft appeal, which in real sense is contrary to what is commonly believed. In reality, colours of holi are smeared with the blood of innocent minorities. The Indian music is trying to mask the plight of Muslims, Kashmiris, Dalits and other minorities. The ‘thali’ boasted to be representative of all Indian segments even does not allow for Muslim cuisine (beef). The world must take notice of this beguile and fallacy sooner than later.

 

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07
April

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan

Pakistan-Afghanistan relations have always seen ups and downs due to various reasons. Although, there have remained several expressions of friendly relations from the leadership of both the countries from time to time, the mistrust and blame game towards each other could never help bring the two countries on the same page with regard to various challenges that the two countries are faced with. As the two are important regional countries, there exist socio-economic and political opportunities, however, both countries have remained suspicious of each other. Both continue to remain at cross-purposes, which will further harm their long-term security and economic interests. Scholars suggest that relations between both the states are an account of mistrust and a display of 'Prisoner’s Dilemma'.

 

pakafghanrelforces.jpgThe Prisoner's Dilemma is a typical model of a game examined in game theory that illustrates as to why the two individuals, though rational, might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interest to do so. In other words, it is frequently used to indicate the decision of two interacting actors/players under certain conditions. That is to say that in Prisoner's Dilemma the actors have to make a choice between colluding or betraying. According to Robert V. Dodge (2012): Prisoner’s Dilemma is a game theory and a model with wide ranging applications. It is a competition between individual self-interest and group motivation, but the game represents a direct challenge to basic assumption of classical market economies. In Prisoner’s Dilemma the players have two choices: to cooperate or not. Cooperating involves trust, which makes the game complex. Schelling's (2012) idea, on the other hand, to halt the defections was to find common grounds in his “if and only if” approach.1


Similarly, Usman and Khan (2017) argue that Prisoner’s Dilemma revolves around the pay-offs, which grows out of making different decisions. Individual policy makers, their thoughts structure the inclinations towards each other. It is further suggested that in case of Pakistan and Afghanistan, if they want to attain cooperation both need to alter the pay-offs in such a way that cooperation becomes a first choice and collective rationality prevails. The iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, which is the repeated play of Prisoner’s Dilemma, studies the long-term decision-making where the actors have a shared future and interaction. This phenomenon can best be seen in Pak-Afghan relations.2


Not dwelling on the initial unpleasant relationship of the two countries when Pakistan became independent as a sovereign state, the relation between the two, after Taliban, is an unfolding era of mistrust when both the countries are swapping accusations against each other, which has put the relations in reverse gear. The major obstacle in the way of cordial Pak-Afghan relations is continuing cross-border terrorism. Each suspects the other of covertly supporting the Afghan Taliban and the fugitive leaders of the hibernating Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), respectively. Afghanistan continues to blame Pakistan of harbouring Afghan Taliban, particularly the Haqqani group. They also accuse Pakistan of arming and funding Taliban fighters who conduct terrorist activities in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil. Per contra, Pakistan is also suspicious of Afghanistan’s India-centric policies, which result in insurgency and unrest in FATA, Balochistan, Karachi and different parts of the country. Unfortunately, both countries, despite having several commonalities and being allies in the War on Terror, could not bridge trust gap bilaterally. Consequently, the violence in both the countries has permitted regional powers to interfere in their affairs and manipulate the situation for their own interest.


When Hamid Karzai took over, he was more inclined towards India and wanted more role for the latter in Afghanistan due to which he often criticized Pakistan for destabilization in the country. After Karzai, Pakistan and Afghanistan relations saw a qualitative change with improved bilateral relations. President Ashraf Ghani showed his willingness through his actions to work closely with Pakistan to eliminate terrorism. It was a major change in Afghan foreign policy, which upset Northern Alliance and alarmed India.


The recent waves of violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan have further fanned the blame game. On January 10, 2017, twin suicide blasts near the Afghan parliament killed and wounded dozens of people. Two other attacks elsewhere in the country killed 12 people and wounded several more, including the United Arab Emirates' Ambassador to Afghanistan. Pakistan was once again blamed for the attack on an American University which claimed 16 lives. Many analysts argue that it was a security lapse on the part of Afghan security agencies, since attacks carried out in Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar were all in security zones.

 

When Hamid Karzai took over, he was more inclined towards India and wanted more role for the latter in Afghanistan due to which he often criticized Pakistan for destabilization in the country. After Karzai, Pakistan and Afghanistan relations saw a qualitative change with improved bilateral relations. President Ashraf Ghani showed his willingness through his actions to work closely with Pakistan to eliminate terrorism. It was a major change in Afghan foreign policy, which upset Northern Alliance and alarmed India.

Similarly, Pakistan saw a rise in terrorist attacks in 2017. On January 21, around 21 people were killed and more than 90 were injured in a bomb explosion in Parachinar, Kurram Agency. On February 13, a suicide attack outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore during a protest killed 14 persons including 6 policemen and injured more than 85 people. Another deadly suicide attack was carried out on the Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif, Jamshoro in Sindh, which killed more than 88 people and injured 343 other. Many other cities were hit by a wave of terrorism killing and injuring tens of people. Pakistan did not blame Afghanistan directly but stated that acts of terrorism were being carried out from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan to foment violence in Pakistan. Moreover, a list of 76 suspected terrorists was handed over to Afghan Embassy, demanding immediate action by Afghan government and their extradition to Pakistan.


Despite the fact that ISIS has claimed responsibility for various attacks, Afghanistan's government has persistently blamed Pakistan for the disorder, insurgency, sponsoring terrorism, etc., in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s repeated assurance that cooperation in regional security issues is in the common interest of both and that they should work together to address the challenges, unfortunately, could not change Afghanistan’s stance. It is also important to note that both the TTP and the Afghan Taliban share same ideological narratives and support each other when in hot waters. As a result, the Afghan Taliban and the TTP have continued to take full advantage of such increasing mistrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan by organizing deadly terrorist attacks on both sides of the porous border.


In his address at the 6th annual conference of Heart of Asia in December 2016, President Ghani, while blaming Pakistan, declined Pakistan’s pledges of $500 million for Afghanistan's reconstruction and stated that Pakistan should use this fund to contain extremists because without peace, any amount of assistance will not meet the needs of his people. On the other hand he praised Indian role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. It is imperative to mention that Afghanistan has lately rectified an impractical geostrategic and geo-economic policy supported by Indian economic and strategic thinkers.
On another occasion President Ghani threatened to block Pakistan’s trade access to the Central Asian Republics (CARs) if Pakistan did not officially permit Afghanistan to import Indian goods through the Wagah border. The reality, however, is that Afghan government is obviously mistaken about totally blocking Pakistan’s trade access to Central Asia through Wakhan Corridor; revoking its abiding transit agreement with Pakistan and subsequently accessing India through the Chabahar Port.

 

Despite the fact that ISIS has claimed responsibility for various attacks, Afghanistan's government has persistently blamed Pakistan for the disorder, insurgency, sponsoring terrorism, etc., in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s repeated assurance that cooperation in regional security issues is in the common interest of both and that they should work together to address the challenges, unfortunately, could not change Afghanistan’s stance.

It is important to mention here that Afghanistan's decision will only harm Afghan regional economic interest because Pakistan has an alternative option, that is, after completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan will be able to use other routes to export and import goods and energy resources from the region. Nonetheless, the non-cooperative conduct signals mistrust, blame games and the mud slinging that will certainly harm the mutual socio-economic and security interests of both, for example, obstructions and logjams for the TAPI gas pipeline which will help meet the energy requirement of both the countries. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has successfully dismantled the organizational structures of the TTP and its splinter groups; yet some Afghan terrorist groups still find centres of activities in north-western Balochistan and FATA from where they are believed to be planning attacks in Afghanistan. Therefore, after any terrorist attack in Afghanistan, Kabul blames Islamabad.


In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, where the two actors are interacting, the initial lesson drawn can be disappointing. It shows a zero-sum situation where one actor must lose in order for the other to win. To avoid losing, each actor is driven to practice a winning strategy, however, the collective result is unproductive, at best; and destructive, at worst. Therefore, it is absolutely clear that the aggressive and obstructive geo-economic policies of Afghanistan towards Pakistan will hurt both the countries as both are faced with challenges like poverty, unemployment, terrorism and militancy. Therefore, It is in the interest of both to cooperate rather than pursuing antagonist policies. Both, Pakistan and Afghanistan, cannot afford mistrust and hostility in their relations, which, as discussed, has adverse effects on their relations. Moreover, both need to adopt mutual cooperative strategies to break Prisoner’s Dilemma, maintain mutual trust by transforming limited cooperation into full cooperation.


Pakistan and Afghanistan need to come out of the Prisoner’s Dilemma as their future and fate is linked. An unstable Afghanistan has a direct impact on stability in Pakistan. It is important to mention the development of their trust that can best be achieved through frequent interaction is vital for regional peace and security. Both have to realize that to achieve their objectives they have to compromise and cooperate on various issues. It is a fact that cooperation has better pay-offs. In order to come out of this dilemma, transparent and consistent policies need to be adopted. Pakistan realizes that in order to secure its western border and to secure trade routes to CARs for the pursuit for oil and gas, it needs to work closely with Afghanistan; whereas Afghanistan being land-locked will benefit from constant and sincere interaction with Pakistan free from Indian influence. In this regard, major powers like the United States, China and Russia can play an important role to break up the Prisoner's Dilemma between the two and facilitate and encourage them to cooperate and work together for their socio-economic, political and regional stability.

 

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

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

 

1. Robert V. Dodge, Schellings Game Theory: How to make Decisions, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2012.
2. T. Usman and Minhas M. Khan, Pak-Afghan Relations (2001-2017): A Prisoners’ Dilemma Analysis, 2017.
3. Smith, M. Shane, (August 2003), "Game Theory." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado: Boulder.

 
07
April
COAS Visits Bahawalpur Garrison
newscoasvisitgarrison.jpg

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahawalpur Garrison on March 28, 2017. He was given detailed briefing on operational preparedness, ongoing internal security operations and other aspects of Corps functioning.


COAS expressed his satisfaction on state of operational preparedness of the Corps for conventional war as well performance in ongoing internal security operations. He said that experience of war against terrorism has made our Army battle-hardened which makes our soldiers better prepared for conventional war.


Addressing garrison officers, COAS apprised them about security environment and cardinals of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (RuF). He said that RuF shall bring lasting peace and stability in our country. He praised exemplary performance of young officers and sacrifices rendered by them during the security operations. He said that ‘young officers are his pride and nation also owes peace and stability to their patriotic devotion’.


Addressing the soldiers, COAS acknowledged their role in ongoing security operations and said that ‘they are the real strength of the Army’. COAS apprised them about various welfare measures being undertaken at Army level for them and their families including health care, education and quality of life.


Later, COAS inaugurated Combined Military Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) at Bahawalpur. The institute will have first batch of 100 MBBS students this year while another 50 BDS students will be added next year onwards. COAS said that ‘Army is significantly contributing towards nation building and CIMS Bahawalpur is another addition in this regard’.


Earlier, on arrival, COAS was received by Commander Bahawalpur Corps Lieutenant General Sher Afgun.

Commander Gujranwala Corps Expresses Satisfaction on Progress of Population and Housing Census
newscoasvisitgarrison1.jpgLieutenant General Ikram-ul-Haq, Commander Gujranwala Corps visited the civil and military personnel involved in the conduct of 6th Population and Housing Census at Sialkot. He was briefed about the progress of the Census by the civil and Army including representatives of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Corps Commander expressed his satisfaction on smooth conduct of Census and appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders.
07
April
COAS Visits China

newscoasvisittochina.jpgChief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited China during a 3 days official tour. The visit included his interactions with Chinese senior political and military leadership.


COAS held meetings in Beijing with Mr. Zhang Gaoli Executive Vice Premier, General Fan Changlong Vice Chairman Central Military Commission, General Fang Funghui, Chief of Joint Services Department and General Li Zuocheng Commander People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Matters related to regional security, economy, defence cooperation and mutual interest were discussed.


The Chinese leadership expressed complete understanding of the geo-political, economic and security environment of the region and its implications for both the countries. They acknowledged positive role being played by Pakistan towards peace and stability in the region with special mention of Pakistan's role in eliminating terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda (AQ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), from Pakistan. Chinese leadership expressed their concern on Afghan security situation and growing potential threat of ISIS/ETIM in Afghanistan. The Chinese leadership expressed their confidence in security arrangements for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and satisfaction on progress of the project.


COAS thanked Chinese leadership for their support in defence and cooperation which is a source of strength for all-weather friendship between the two countries and their people. He reiterated that Pakistan Army shall continue to positively contribute towards regional stability and security. COAS thanked Chinese leadership for sending PLA contingent for participation in Pakistan Day Parade.
Both sides agreed to continue and further increase their military to military cooperation.

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also met Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi at Chinese Foreign Office Beijing. The minister expressed complete understanding of challenges faced by Pakistan, its geo-political relevance and contributions towards regional peace and stability. He said that China appreciates Pakistan's efforts to maintain good relationships with its neighbours including India and Afghanistan despite challenges. The minister thanked Pakistan for time tested support to China on core issues, and appreciated Pakistan's efforts for realization of CPEC as part of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). He reiterated Chinese full spectrum support to Pakistan.

 

COAS thanked the minister and China on their acknowledgements and support. He said that Pakistan greatly values its strong friendship with China and looks forward to carry on with same zeal. COAS thanked the minister for Chinese diplomatic support to Pakistan on core issues.

07
April
Federal Defence Minister Calls on CJCSC

newscjscfederal.jpgMr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Defence Minister, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. Matters related to national security and defence came under discussion during the meeting.

Armed Forces' readiness and capacity building was also discussed and it was reiterated that necessary steps will be taken towards enhancement of the same. The Defence Minister lauded high professional standards of the Armed Forces and acknowledged their sacrifices in defence of their country including war against terrorism.

CJCSC General Zubair Mahmood Hayat Visits Bahrain

newscjscgenzubairhayat.jpgGeneral Zubair Mahmood Hayat, CJCSC, who was on official visit to Bahrain, called on HE Field Marshall Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Commander in Chief, Bahrain Defence Forces. Upon arrival he was presented with the Guard of Honour. Matters related to bilateral security and defence cooperation were discussed. Both sides agreed to further enhance cooperation between the two Armed Forces.

 

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat also called on PM HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Later, CJCSC delivered a talk on 'Emerging geo-strategic environment and multifarious security challenges' at Royal College of Command & Staff and Civil Defence.
06
April

In the recent years Pakistan has achieved multiple successes in its war against terror. However, we are aware of the fact that there exist certain internally motivated and externally supported people who keep attempting to disrupt national peace and to kill interdependence and harmony among our communities. 23rd March celebrations are a clear manifestation of the fact that the entire nation stands united against this ominous threat and extremists’ vision of a bigoted, bloodthirsty country.


The billboards with the message “united we rise” sparked patriotic fervor as they were displayed across the country. Pakistan roared to life on its 77th Pakistan Day as thousands of people went to see the 23rd March Parade in Shakarparian Parade Ground set against the stunning cityscape framed by the Margalla Hills. Our national narrative against extremism has been shaped over the years; a narrative that was retold in varying ways during this year’s Pakistan Day Parade. "The nation is to stay steadfast for cleaning 'our Pakistan' from fasaadis. Enemies of Pakistan to lay off", said the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.


Because countries subsist in an environment where internal and external threats to security are a commonplace phenomenon and ever-present; the effectiveness of military muscle becomes the yardstick of national power. 77 years after the 1940 Resolution for a separate homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent, Pakistan has greatly evolved militarily and its army is stronger and well equipped to deal with any kind of aggression. Over the years Pakistan has made use of every single advantage it had, rising on the world stage as a major emerging commercial hub, a main player of CPEC as well as a global player.


This year, as a nation of over 190 million people, Pakistan Day was celebrated with renewed resolve to make collective efforts coupled with social collaborations to own Pakistan and work towards peace and harmony beyond geographical, ethnic, and political differences. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad should succeed and it will if we unite and collate our strengths for the success of this operation that we should not call an operation launched by the security forces rather an operation launched by Pakistan itself.


History shall wittingly credit the strong character of our people who sacrificed and bore the brunt of the enemy and yet stood firm and aligned with the security forces for the total elimination of terrorists. Every citizen must play his role for Pakistan’s future, inter-provincial coordination, collective efforts and ironing out of sectarian differences to ensure solidarity and prosperity of the country.

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06
April

Written By: Brian Cloughly

In May 2016, India’s Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, established a committee with the remit to “Recommend Measures to Enhance Combat Capability and Re-balance Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces”. Its Chairman, Lt Gen (Retd) D.B. Shekatkar, presented his report last December and although there has been no public notification of its full content, it is apparent that the committee proposed some measures that if adopted would save money and improve the combat capabilities.


One major recommendation that is unlikely to be adopted, however, is to increase the defence budget to at least 2.5 percent of GDP. It is doubtful that any government in Delhi would be prepared to implement such a significant rise unless the country was actually at war or about to be so committed. As has been evident from societal reaction in some NATO countries to President Trump’s insistence that they increase their defence budgets to two percent of GDP, any diversion of scarce funds from such spheres as education and health can be not only economically sensitive but politically unpopular and socially divisive.

 

indiadefspending.jpgIn its February 2017 national budget the Indian government notified core defence expenditure of INR 2.74 trillion (USD 40.6 billion) for FY 2017/18, which is an increase of 5.6% over the revised budget for 2016/17. While the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute places India sixth highest of international military spenders (Pakistan being 28th) and its armed forces are the world’s third largest, at 1.3 million as against China’s 2.3 and the United States’ 1.4, there are major deficiencies in India’s defence preparedness and capabilities.


A significant factor militating against clarity in defence outlay is that the authorized expenditure of Rs. 2.74 trillion quoted by the finance minister is at variance with the Ministry of Defence figure of Rs. 2.62 trillion because the MoD considers the approximately 12 billion difference to be part of the Civil Estimates, as is the substantial Rs. 85 billion (USD 1.3 bn) defence pensions bill. The confusion is compounded by the fact that the ongoing annual underspend of money allocated for capital expenditure involves forfeit of unspent funds. The amount surrendered in FY 2016-2017 was a massive Rs. 6.9 billion, representing about 8 percent of the allocation.


As noted by the Indian parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence in April 2015, “Such underspending leads to a situation where the preparation of Defence Forces [is] nowhere near the target,” and although the committee advocated a system of non-lapsable funding, no action was taken, largely due to obstruction on the part of the ministries of defence and finance.

 

The report also noted that “India was the largest importer of major arms in 2012-16, accounting for 13 percent of the global total,” while noting that from the period 2007-2011 to 2012-2016 India’s imports increased by 43 percent and were far greater than those of China and Pakistan. Of increasing significance is the growth in supply of advanced military material to India by the U.S., which has included C-130 Hercules, Globemaster strategic transports and P-8 Maritime Surveillance aircraft.

Bureaucracy is crippling India’s defence planning, and it is apparent that the procurement system is being adversely affected by a combination of lack of funding, reluctance on the part of politicians and bureaucrats to accept strategy-based assessments of long-term requirements in force structure and equipment, and public complacency concerning national invincibility.


In one example of inconsistent defence planning, in 2015 India’s negotiations with France for purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft were abandoned and a decision was made to reduce the number to 36 in an entirely separate arrangement. This was not the result of a revised assessment of what the Indian Air Force (IAF) would require in the light of a perceived threat; rather it was a political choice that was forced upon the IAF without taking into account any strategic considerations. The history of India’s Rafale acquisition programme highlights some of the difficulties faced by defence planners.


In 2007, India published a request for proposal for 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for which the original contenders were Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin’s F-16, UAC’s MiG-35, and Saab’s Gripen. In 2011, it was announced that the Typhoon and the Rafale had been shortlisted, and following further evaluation the Rafale was selected in 2012.


Negotiations began, and contract finalization was expected in 2013, but the target was missed in a period in which there was considerable inflation and a substantial fall in the value of the rupee. This led to an increase in the overall cost. After the 2014 elections the newly-appointed Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, and his visiting French counterpart agreed to speed up the negotiation process, but in January 2015 Parrikar said there had been ‘complications’ that he would attempt to resolve during a forthcoming visit to France. He also stated, somewhat ominously for Dassault, that upgrading the IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft would make them a viable alternative to the Rafale. It is not known if the IAF provided any basis for his announcement.


During a visit to France in April 2015 by Prime Minister Modi, he and French President Hollande announced that India would acquire 36 Rafales directly from France. The 126 aircraft deal was dropped, apparently without reference to the Chief of Air Staff whose reaction was not known when Parrikar stated that “by buying 36 Rafales instead of 126, I have saved the cost of 90 Rafales. . . We will use this money to buy Tejas LCA.”


However, for the IAF, the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft project has been unsuccessful. Development began in 1983 and although there has been much positive publicity about the project, India’s Comptroller and Auditor General has been most critical of the programme. In 2015 he noted that because of delays the IAF had been required to take many temporary measures including upgrading existing aircraft rather than retiring them and stated that “LCA Mark-I, which achieved Initial Operational Clearance [in December 2013] has significant shortfalls (53 permanent waivers/concessions) in meeting Air Staff Requirements (ASR) as a result of which it will have reduced operational capabilities and reduced survivability, thereby limiting its operational employability when inducted into IAF squadrons. . . LCA Mark-I does not meet the ASR. The deficiencies are now expected to be met in LCA Mark-II by December 2018”.


There are other examples of unsatisfactory defence procurement, notably in artillery, and Indian Defence News noted in February 2017 that, “Even though the army in 1999 initiated a USD 8 billion Artillery Modernization Programme or Field Artillery Rationalization Plan (FARP) aimed at acquiring between 2700-3600 guns over the next 15 to 20 years (2020-25), things have virtually remained stalled with there being no new inductions”.


Given the comparative budget allocation to defence and the parlous state of so many major procurement programmes, it is not surprising that the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempts to deflect attention from what appears to be ineffective direction of the nation’s defence planning by concentrating on increasing tension with Pakistan.


When Mr. Modi stopped briefly in Pakistan en route from Kabul to Delhi in December 2014, his action was greeted with much approval internationally. His cordial meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was hailed as a major step forward in contributing to regional stability and the statement that “it was agreed to continue and enhance bilateral contacts and work together to establish good neighbourly relations” met with international praise. It seemed, even to many cynical observers of sub-continent affairs, that an era of trust might begin; but alas we were wrong.

 

Given the comparative budget allocation to defence and the parlous state of so many major procurement programmes, it is not surprising that the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempts to deflect attention from what appears to be ineffective direction of the nation’s defence planning by concentrating on increasing tension with Pakistan.

Modi tweeted that he “spent a warm evening with Sharif family at their family home” and was “personally touched” by the fact that Nawaz Sharif met him at the airport. This was especially notable because of Modi’s ultra-nationalistic approach to policy, both domestic and foreign, but the sweetness did not last, and Modi reverted to his former attitude of distrust and aggression. He justified this by accusing Pakistan of committing terrorist acts in India, and refuses to acknowledge that Pakistan has suffered more from the atrocities of extremist fanatics than has India.


India-Pakistan relations were complicated by the attitude of the last U.S. President, Barack Obama, who met with Mr. Modi seven times and was guest of honour on Republic Day 2015.


In 2008 Mr. Obama had a comparatively open mind about the Sub-continent and was made aware of the Kashmir dispute about which he said that the U.S. “should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis”. That positive approach disappeared very rapidly after India reacted negatively, and during his entire eight years in power Obama did not lift a finger or say a word to help resolve what remains an internationally-recognized territorial dispute.


The greatest prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, told the Indian Parliament on February 12, 1951 that concerning Kashmir, “We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision”. As the BBC put it concisely: “When Lord Mountbatten, India’s first Governor-General, accepted Kashmir’s accession, he said it should eventually be settled by a reference to the people. India’s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also pledged a plebiscite or referendum for Kashmir under international auspices. This was later enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions”.


UNSC resolutions are as resolutely ignored by Delhi as are the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Few things are uncontestably predictable in this world, but it is obvious to all but the most ingenuous optimists that India will never allow a plebiscite and will be supported by the United States in its stance. Although it is unlikely that President Trump knows anything about Kashmir, there is little doubt that he will follow the example of his predecessor in declining to assist in defusing tension between India and Pakistan.


In spite of the fact that President Trump had a cordial exchange with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in January 2017, calling him “a great guy” and referring to Pakistan as a “fantastic country” it is unlikely that U.S. support for India, politically and economically, will be sacrificed in the interests of India-Pakistan rapprochement. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Modi signalled bilateral intention to forge closer ties, and the February 2017 visit to India by two U.S. delegations totalling 27 Senators and Congressmen indicated that commercial considerations are uppermost in American policy, not least in the military sales sector.


In its report of February 21, 2017 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded that “[arms manufacturing] companies based in the United States continue to dominate the top 100 with total arms sales amounting to $209.7 billion for 2015”.


The report also noted that “India was the largest importer of major arms in 2012-16, accounting for 13 percent of the global total,” while noting that from the period 2007-2011 and 2012-2016 India’s imports increased by 43 percent and were far greater than those of China and Pakistan. Of increasing significance is the growth in supply of advanced military material to India by the U.S., which has included C-130 Hercules, Globemaster strategic transports and P-8 Maritime Surveillance aircraft. Also, as noted by The Diplomat, the countries have “signed contracts for procurement of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. India will, in all likelihood, equip its new AH-64E fleet with the Stinger missile. In addition to the Stingers, India has also placed an order for 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, and 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles as part of the overall $3.1 billion India-U.S. defence deal”. There is a great deal of money to be made by providing weapons to India, and no U.S. President will countenance policies that might affect the arms trade. As India’s Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat stated in January 2017, “The [US-India] economic partnership will grow stronger and everything else will fall into place”.


While the Indian armed forces continue to be disadvantaged by an erratic and unsatisfactory procurement process that is inexorably affected by parochial political considerations, the flow of weapons from overseas and the level of confrontation with Pakistan will continue to grow.

***

It remains to be seen what Lieutenant General D.B. Shekatkar’s detailed recommendations might be, but it is not surprising that he encapsulates his approach to regional defence matters with the observation that “Pakistan has adopted Jihadi philosophy of war. China is combining philosophy of people's war with conventional war. Therefore, India needs to change its outlook towards war”. India’s defence budget may have any amount of increase, and it is not yet known what any change in outlook could produce in terms of doctrine or strategy, but given the attitude of the Indian government there is little reason to be optimistic that tensions will ease and that there will be moves to rapprochement.

 

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

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06
April

Written By: Noureen Ehsan

During the last decade, the threat of terrorism has evolved into a multifaceted complex riddle where various ideological dogmas are colliding violently, turning the world into a battlefield. In this precarious situation, another type of terrorism has emerged quietly which offers the terrorists new ways to inflict serious damage to the critical infrastructures and global economy while remaining completely anonymous in an endless cyberspace.


Today’s cyber technologies and environment have revolutionized everything by presenting unlimited opportunities for interaction, commerce, creativity and even governance, but there is an equally unsafe side of this technological revolution posing threats to everything an individual, society or state does online. Apart from unique technical aspects of cyber domain, there is a temporal factor which is unprecedented. The cyber technologies and ecosystem have evolved so rapidly that everyone in this domain has struggled and is still struggling to keep pace with the challenges of its legal, economic, and societal mechanisms to ensure privacy, confidentiality and security. Satisfactory solutions that balance the priorities of stakeholders will require building partnerships among public and private organizations to chart out new legal frameworks acceptable to global community, establishing mechanisms and incentives to foster routine information sharing and collective defence, and educating all the stakeholders about their roles and responsibilities amidst increasingly sophisticated attacks.

 

theageofvilent.jpgDebate about cyber security goes way beyond this basic premise of seeking mechanisms and frameworks to build a collective defence. From a realist point of view, nation states and national interests like national security are complex variables where nation states strive to practice utmost discretion and privacy about the operational aspects of any kind of national security strategy and cyber security is no exception to this rule. Cyber space is contiguous so is the national security paranoia due to which sometimes even the allies don’t trust each other and that becomes a stumbling block in finding a collective defence against cyber threats.


Within a nation state, cyber domain has challenged the traditional concepts of exclusive internal and external axis of national security. As globalization has erased the boundaries between the nations, cyber space has dismantled this traditional national security architecture where internal and external axis of national security are governed and managed with an exclusive approach. Threats in cyber domain have become universal, demanding a new thought process of national security. Unlike conventional security, in the cyber realm the balance of power has a very different definition and concept. A bigger and more prosperous nation state becomes the most attractive target as it offers a larger target footprint to the enemy’s cyber troopers while the attacker only needs a computer with an active internet connection and in some cases even that is not required.

 

Within a nation state, cyber domain has challenged the traditional concepts of exclusive internal and external axis of national security. As globalization has erased the boundaries between the nations, cyber space has dismantled this traditional national security architecture where internal and external axis of national security are governed and managed with an exclusive approach. Threats in cyber domain have become universal, demanding a new thought process of national security.

A number of events were triggered in the aftermath of the fall of erstwhile USSR in 1991 which can be considered as the initial precursors of growing role of information technology in the realms of both national and international security. The U.S. troops stationed in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, demonstrated novel information technologies enabling real-time information fusion for quick decision making. Satellite media boom, explosion of new communication technologies and platforms like the internet which enabled the media to cover any global event instantaneously and rise of the hacker community during the early 1990s are a few examples depicting the irregular, unmonitored and non-quantified growth of cyber space which suddenly emerged as a defensive tool and a weapon of attack, simultaneously.


Post 9/11 world is governed by its own rules. For the first time after World War 2, international laws failed to prevent a major war (in Iraq) and now it has become a regional disaster. Iraq War started in 2003 after a massive U.S. propaganda through cyber space about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) which were not there to be found once Iraq had been captured. Now in Iraq and Syria multiple Violent Non-State Actors (VNSAs) are fighting as proxies of nation states to secure the turf. Cyber technologies have greatly enhanced the complexity of this crisis as so-called Jihadists (Al-Qaeda, ISIS) have deployed cyber technologies for propaganda, psy-ops and fresh recruitments. Violent ideologies are being exported to the other regions of the world as well and no one has any idea which website, portal or social media group is being run by whom. Every party of war in the Middle East is using cyber space to spread the ‘threat images’ as a tool of political agendas. Once these images get across the internet they immediately start impacting their target audience to become part of this war.


There is a need of an enquiry into the nature of cyber frontiers, their correlation with physical borders, various threats to these frontiers and possible strategy to deter these threats. Understanding this nature is critical in order to understand the interplay of various dynamics of cyber space, national security, international law and international relations.


Securing cyber space has emerged as the biggest national security challenge even for a nation as advanced as the U.S. Recent accusation against Russia by the CIA on hacking the U.S. election 2016 must be considered as a precursor of an era of much more impactful events in near future, where it would be possible to trigger geopolitical and geostrategic changes without indulging into a kinetic conflict.


How can this particular case (if true) of alleged hacking of the U.S. elections 2016 be described? If such events happened in reality then should they be categorized as cybercrime or must these be categorized as an act of cyber terrorism or cyber war? How can a line between cyber war and cyber terrorism be drawn? And most importantly, how can an unlimited and contiguous cyber space be managed by nation states with limited geography and reach? These are complex questions and are getting more compounded after every new cyber space security incident. The threats to national security assessed during the Stuxnet event have become a folklore now, as for the first time the grand strategic impact of cyber threats made its mark!

 

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06
April

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Abdullah Haroon was actively associated with the All India Muslim League (AIML) for barely five years (1937-42), yet he stood high in its second cadre leadership echelons from 1938 onwards. All said and done, what had set him apart was essentially his pioneering role in conceptualizing the idea of “Pakistan” as it later came to be embodied in the Lahore Resolution of March 1940. To quote Reginald Coupland, who did a three-part Report on the Constitutional Problem in India (1942-44), Abdullah Haroon was “the only Muslim politician of any standing who had so far [till early 1939] taken a public part in the constitutional discussion” on the Pakistan proposal. Thus, though Haroon did not live long enough to see his “dream” come true, he had yet etched for himself a niche in the national pantheon as one of the founding fathers of Pakistan.

 

sirabdulaharoon.jpgBy the late 1938 when he seriously launched upon a campaign to popularize the Pakistan idea, Abdullah Haroon had been in politics and public life for some twenty-five years. He had entered public life in 1913, if only as an extension of his role in advancing social causes designed to help materially the indigent, the orphaned and the disadvantaged to become educated and skilled, so that they become job-worthy and financially self-reliant, thus ceasing to be a burden on the society. In conformity with this penchant he had helped to build institutions in the spheres of education, health and human resource development – institutions that would help make groups and communities become productive and self-sustaining, step by step, in terms of their requirements in these areas. And he liberally opened his coffers to dole out huge sums to finance a good many social causes, all through his life. In fact, his philanthropy knew no bounds when it came to alleviating the sufferings of the poor, the orphan, and the needy.


Ere long, however, he found that social awareness among the downtrodden masses was a must, in order to accelerate the accomplishment of these goals. Hence he barged into public life. This he did once he had securely established himself in business. And by the late 1890s, he became increasingly involved with civic problems and activities in Karachi. By 1917, when both the pan-Islamic movement and the demand for Home Rule had gathered momentum, he decided to barge into national politics. And except for Rais Ghulam Mohammad Bhurgri (1878-1924), he was among the foremost Muslim leaders of Sindh whose activities had impacted significantly on the all-India mainstream politics. Thus, he was active, at one time or another, with the major all-India political organizations – the Indian National Congress (1917 f.), the All India Khilafat Committee (1919-29), Sindh Provincial Political Conference (1920-30s), the All Parties Conference (1928-29), the All Parties Muslim Conference (1930-34), the Azad Sind Conference (1930), and the Muslim League (1937 ff.).


A strenuous advocate and campaigner for the separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency since his induction into the Central Assembly in 1923, he came to realize that without the active support of the pan-Indian Muslim community at the all-India level his cause for an autonomous Sindh would have no takers, and would indeed be lost forever. Hence, he strenuously lobbied for it, proposing resolutions at all-India moots such as the AIML session at Aligarh in 1925 and the Lenders’ Conference in Delhi in 1926. He repeatedly urged the Aga Khan (1877-1957), who led the Muslim delegation to the Round Table Conference (1930-1932) and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) to get the Sindh separation issue settled favourably during the London confabulations. Along with Muhammad Ayub Khuhro (1901-1980) and Syed Miran Mohammad Shah (1898-1963), Haroon had played the leading role in getting Sindh acquire an autonomous provincial status in the Act of 1935.


This certainly was one of Haroon’s great political accomplishments. Yet it would be overshadowed by his pioneering role in canalizing the course of mainstream Muslim politics, late in the 1930s. His electoral defeat early in 1937 led him to wind up the Sindh United Party which he had set up along with Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto in 1936 to fight the provincial elections. While Bhutto opted for a government job and a safe sanctuary in Bombay, Haroon undauntingly chose to face the music. For one thing the emerging political scenario was obviously unchartered and unpredictable, but he swerved not from boldly undertaking the almost impossible task of canalizing the miniscule Sindhi political elite towards playing its due part in all-India politics. And what helped him the most at this juncture was that he had the vision, the imagination and the intuition to see the problems of Sindh in an all-India context. He, therefore, sought to establish organic linkages between Sindh and the sprawling pan-Indian Muslim community, and inducted Sindh into the mainstream Muslim politics. That the politics at that juncture were encompassed by the AIML. Hence he not only joined the Muslim League in 1937, but also followed it up by establishing contacts and rapport with its top leadership at Lucknow in October 1937, and organizing it subsequently at various tiers in the province. And that to a point that, in concert with Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi (1889-1978) and Pir Ali Muhammad Rashidi (1905-1987), he was able to successfully organize the First Sindh Provincial Muslim League Conference in Karachi, early in October 1938.


Except for its nomenclature, it was by all means an all-India moot. Participated in by some twenty leaders of all-India standing and presided over by Jinnah himself, it included, among others, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, Nawab Ismail Khan, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Begum Mohamed Ali, Raja of Mahumdabad, Raja of Pirpur, Maulana Jamal Mian of Farangi Mahal, Syed Ghulam Bhik Nairang, Maulana Abdul Hamid Badayuni, Nawab Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani, and the premiers of the Punjab and Bengal – Sir Sikander Hayat Khan and Fazlul Haq. Such a galaxy had never assembled at a provincial moot before. Indeed, it read like a “who’s who” of Muslim India at the moment. Nor were the topics discussed or the decisions taken confined to Sindh.


Here, Haroon who was Chairman, Reception Committee, called the shots. Indeed, his welcome address set the tone for the conference. Uncharacteristically radical and militant, his address commended an ideological goal. Unless adequate safeguards and protection for minorities were duly provided for, declared Haroon, the Muslims would have no alternative but “to seek their salvation in their own way in an independent federation of Muslim states”. He drew a parallel with Czechoslovakia which had been partitioned to provide safeguards to the Sudeten Germans, and warned, almost prophetically, that the same might happen in India should the majority community persist in its “present course”. “We have”, he declared, “nearly arrived at the parting of the ways and until and unless this problem is solved to the satisfaction of all, it will be impossible to save India from being divided into Hindu India and Muslim India, both placed under separate federation”. This was indeed radical stuff. No one had spoken from the League’s platform in such a strain before.


In contrast, Jinnah, who spoke next, was characteristically mild and moderate. Yet he could not help getting infected by Haroon's tone and tenor. Thus, at two different places, he did make some vague references to the Sudeten German case, and to the Congress trying to create "a serious situation which will break India vertically and horizontally", warning the Congress at the same time to "mark, learn and inwardly digest" the lessons provided by Sudeten Germans. Fazlul Haq and Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, who followed Jinnah, also made fighting speeches.


In a more pronounced way was the main resolution at the conference cast in Haroon's mould. Though formulated by Abdullah Haroon, he allowed it to be moved by the unpredictable Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi because of the latter's threat to walk out on the conference were he was to be denied the privilege. Though diluted in the Subjects Committee deliberations at the insistence of Jinnah himself who was characteristically not too keen to show his hand prematurely before Muslims were fully organized and public opinion galvanized behind the ideological goal, the resolution yet retained enough of its clout to become a trend setter and to warrant attention.


For one thing, it had put forth a common position by the Muslim leadership in the majority and minority provinces. The Lucknow League (1937) had lambasted the Congress for its totalitarianism, for exclusion of Muslims from the portals of power in the Hindu majority provinces, and for its blatant Hindu bias in administration, in its educational, social, cultural and linguistic policies, but it was silent on the Congress' machinations in the Muslim majority provinces. This the Sindh Conference focused upon, along with the Congress' conduct in the Hindu provinces. Thus, inter alia, the resolution charged that “the Congress has in open defiance of the democratic principles persistently endeavoured to render the power of the Muslim majorities ineffective and impotent in the North-Western Frontier Province, Bengal, the Punjab and Sindh by trying to bring into power or by supporting coalition ministries not enjoying the confidence of the majority of Muslim members and the Muslim masses of these provinces". This conjunction of interests of the Muslim majority and minority provinces represents a milestone in evolving a common goal for the entire Muslim community and towards enunciating the concept of Muslim nationhood. And the resolution argued the case of separate Muslim nationhood, not merely in terms of transient factors such as "the caste-ridden mentality and anti-Muslim policy of the majority community", but more importantly, in terms of durable factors such as "the acute differences of religion, language, script, culture, social laws and outlook on life of the two major communities and even of race in certain parts". Thus, the concept of Muslim nationhood was spelled out not merely in political and immediate terms, but on an intellectual plane, spelling out the basics and bases of that nationhood. Equally significant, this was also the first time that the Hindus and Muslims were officially pronounced by the Muslim League as two distinct "nations".


The operative part of the resolution ran as follows:
This Conference considers it absolutely essential in the interests of an abiding peace of the vast Indian continent and in the interests of unhampered cultural development, the economic and social betterment, and political self-determination of the two nations known as Hindus and Muslims, to recommend to [the] All-India Muslim League to review and revise the entire question of what should be the suitable constitution for India which will secure honourable and legitimate status due to them, and that this Conference recommends to the All-India Muslim League to devise a scheme of Constitution under which Muslims may attain full independence. (italics added)


And in the historical perspective, this resolution became the precursor of the Lahore Resolution of March 1940.


Between this conference and the Lahore session, Abdullah Haroon had also made by far the most significant contribution in popularizing the ideal of a separate state for Muslims. He chaired the Foreign and Domestic Sub-Committee of the All-India Muslim League, which produced working papers and literature, and corresponded extensively with prominent Muslim leaders throughout the subcontinent.


Abdullah Haroon also availed of the Aga Khan's presence in India to seek his guidance. And the Grand Old Man wrote back in matter-of-fact terms: "Is your League likely to advocate Pakistan as the final policy of Moslems? If so the sooner the public opinion is prepared gradually the better." A week later (December 28, 1938), Abdullah Haroon assured him, "The League, I feel, has no other alternative but to secure a separate Federation and the trend of thought in the League circles has lately begun drifting in that direction".


Presently, in order to give a jump start to the partition proposal and psychologically prepare the intelligentsia for it, he got Dr. Syed Abdul Latif's book on The Muslim Problem In India (1939) published and circulated. In his "Foreword", he shunned the circumlocutory language of the Karachi resolution for a more categorical enunciation of the still evolving Muslim goal, asserting that:


The Hindu-Muslim problem in India has grown so serious since the inauguration of the Provincial Autonomy in the country that the Muslims see no other way of consolidating their future except [for] carving out cultural zones or separate homelands for themselves. What they insist upon is equality of freedom for every community – freedom for all and not for the majority community only … the Muslims are anxious to have for themselves separate homelands where they might live a life of their own and from where they might be in a position to work with their Hindu brethren living in similar homelands of their own for the common good of their country as a whole.


Finally, the sub-committee, which he headed, prepared a comprehensive report which became the basis of the Lahore Resolution. This explains why Coupland had singled out Abdullah Haroon as having made a significant contribution to the constitutional debate of the late 1930s, leading to the partition demand.


In perspective, the resolution sought to break new ground: it was truly epochal. Indeed, it represented the penultimate step to, and prepared the ground for, the adoption of the Lahore Resolution at the Muslim League session in March 1940. And herein lies the significance of Haji Abdullah Haroon as a trend-setter in modern Muslim India’s politics, and as a “shaper” of history in the larger sense. Thus, Abdullah Haroon carved out for himself a niche as one of the founding fathers of Pakistan, although, as indicated earlier, he did not live long enough to see his dream materialize in 1947.

 

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.
 
06
April

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

After hanging on to this falsehood for years, Indian Navy finally stated the truth after destroying all records pertaining to the incident when its former naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash declared in a national security conference in 2011 that Ghazi had sunk under mysterious circumstances. Earlier in 2010, Lieutenant General J.F.R. Jacob, who was serving in Eastern Command in 1971 as a Major General, and had been an accomplice in making this false claim as part of official record, also set the record straight by stating that Ghazi met an accidental end and Indian Navy had nothing to do with its sinking.

PNS/M Ghazi, formerly USS Diablo, was leased to Pakistan Navy in 1964. It was the first submarine to be inducted in South Asia region and even as a 26 years old vessel, it had an impressive endurance of 75 days at sea and a phenomenal range of over 11,000 nautical miles. It was the pride of Pakistan Navy and had played a pivotal role in 1965 Indo-Pak War when it effectively blocked a numerically superior Indian Navy fleet in Mumbai harbour, enabling Pakistan Navy to assume control of North Arabian Sea for unhindered commerce activities into Karachi Port during the conflict.


Six years later in 1971, once again it was tasked around 2,200 nautical miles from home base for yet another deployment of huge strategic impact to mine approaches to Vishakhapatnam (Zone Victor) in order to sink or incapacitate INS Vikrant – Indian Navy’s only aircraft carrier which had been deployed in support of an amphibious landing at Cox’s Bazaar from where Indian troops could carry out a pincer movement and close in on Chittagong. A crack in the boilers of INS Vikrant had reduced its maximum speed to around 16 knots and it would have been a great contest but then fate intervened and it sank mysteriously just outside Vishakhapatnam even before the opening shots of war were fired.

 

ghazieternal.jpgMining by a submarine is a dangerous operation especially if the latest survey data on depths and tidal conditions in the zone of operations is not available. It was known to submarine operating authority that underwater maneuvering of a large vessel like Ghazi (over 300 feet long) at slow speeds in restricted waters in unpredictable and strong tidal conditions, and accuracy in distance apart between laid mines and their axis posed serious challenges but Ghazi’s crew was proficient to undertake the assigned task, the strategic aim of which was neutralization of enemy’s seaward pressure on defensive military effort in erstwhile East Pakistan.


First news and evidence of Ghazi’s misfortune came when some fishermen arrived at Indian Navy’s Eastern Naval Command Headquarters in Vishakhapatnam with pieces of wreckage and reported an oil slick stretching out from mouth of the harbour which was subsequently confirmed as wreck of PNS/M Ghazi. Over three decades later in 2003, ‘India Today’ cited Indian Navy’s underwater inspection reports of how in death Ghazi teemed with life as marine life of all hues and colours swirled all around it. It was found to be resting on an even keel and its rusted thin outer hull had all but peeled off, exposing the steel skeleton which covered internal pressure hull and grid of pipes and fittings. The aft escape hatch had been blown open and lay exposed to sea. The fishing nets around the hull suggested its entanglement resulting in reduced maneuverability.


The ‘India Today’ report also mentioned that divers had blasted their way into the stricken submarine and brought out six bloated bodies of its crew. One of them was identified as a Petty Officer Mechanical Engineer who still tightly grasped a wheel spanner in his fist while another had a parting note to his fiancé in his chest pocket – ‘I don’t know if you will ever read this, but we are here separated by thousands of miles of sea…’. These dead sailors should have been left alone in their sea grave as is the norm universally or the bodies should have been handed over to their next of kin in Pakistan. Respect for dead comes at the top of all considerations amongst all nations and in all faiths – more so for Muslims as they believe in life hereafter for which burial and a closure is necessary to help the deceased go forward towards another phase of their lives.


War history can be subjective where victors have all the bragging rights and so it was when India claimed Ghazi’s ‘kill’ without caring that the explosion from ill-fated submarine was heard all over Vishakhapatnam a few hours before the actual outbreak of 1971 Indo-Pak War. A detailed account of Ghazi’s unexplained sinking was published in January 1972 in The Illustrated Weekly of India – a magazine edited by that indefatigable and independent journalist Khushwant Singh for whom seeking the truth always was ever so important. The report was unambiguous in its conclusion and clearly belied Indian Navy claims about sinking of Pakistani submarine.


After hanging on to this falsehood for years, Indian Navy finally stated the truth after destroying all records pertaining to the incident when its former naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash declared in a national security conference in 2011 that Ghazi had sunk under mysterious circumstances. Earlier in 2010, Lieutenant General J.F.R. Jacob, who was serving in Eastern Command in 1971 as a Major General, and had been an accomplice in making this false claim as part of official record, also set the record straight by stating that Ghazi met an accidental end and Indian Navy had nothing to do with its sinking.


It was Indian Navy’s wartime chief, Admiral S. M. Nanda, who allowed his Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Command, Vice Admiral Krishnan, to spin the yarn about involvement of Indian Navy units in the sinking of Ghazi. But intriguingly, while his autobiography dwells at length about missile boat attacks on Karachi harbour during 1971 war, he says next to nothing about INS Rajput’s much publicized depth charge attack on PNS/M Ghazi. But these disclaimers have probably not reached cinematic community in Bollywood which is used to churning out all kinds of chauvinistic trash using a 50-50 mix of truth and fiction as cheap entertainment for its public. Its latest such production, based on this formula, is about Ghazi’s sinking and obviously a distraction from Indian Navy’s glaring shortcomings like recent sinking of a Kilo Class submarine INS/M Sindurakshak in harbour and capsizing of a guided missiles frigate INS Betwa while undocking. Such incidents are highly unusual anywhere but indeed are in a category of its own for a navy with blue water aspiration.


What happened to Ghazi remains an enigma even today nearly 45 years after that fateful December night. A widely acknowledged view is that only an internal explosion of sufficient intensity could have opened up the submarine’s bow. But the six bodies recovered from forward section reportedly showed no signs of being charred. Whether over thirty years old human remains in sea water could be expected to have such evidence is for the medical practitioners to enlighten. Another theory suggests an explosion of gases built up inside the submarine while its batteries were being charged. This too has been discarded for some very obvious reasons.


The official accounts of Pakistan Navy suggest that one of the mines onboard got somehow triggered and the ensuing explosion tore through forward section where most of torpedoes and mines were stored. The shockwave blew open the knife-shaped bow, crumpling the hull and open cracking the watertight compartments. As the rate of flooding in the vessel became greater than its capacity to pump out water and situation worsened by electrical short-circuiting and darkness, the submarine careened out of control and crashed to seabed. The crewmen in the forward compartment probably died instantly while those in aft compartments some hours later when the oxygen supply ran out.


This version comes closest to the exhaustive explanation in his book by Vice Admiral G. M. Hiranandani (R), titled ‘Transition to Triumph’, who concludes that the submarine almost certainly suffered an internal explosion but its causes are debatable. The truth about Ghazi’s unfortunate sinking lies somewhere between these different versions. Given the state of India-Pakistan relations, that truth is unlikely to ever surface.


Pakistan meanwhile has built a simple monument in memory of its 92 brave sons who dared to sail a thousand miles and more to eastern seaboard of India. Their entombed mortal remains in the sunken hull of PNS/M Ghazi are sacred for Pakistan Navy and for every Pakistani citizen. For now, PNS/M Ghazi, as the submariners community would like to describe it – is on an eternal patrol in Zone Victor – last position about four nautical miles east of Dolphin Light in approaches to Vishakhapatnam Harbour.

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy.

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

 
06
April

Written By: Maria Khalid

United We Rise Joint Staff Pakistan Day Parade 23rd March 2017

March 23, 2017 dawned with 31 gun salutes in the federal capital and 21 gun salutes in the provincial capitals as per the tradition. The sun and marching columns rose from the east, half covered with clouds and morning breeze fluttering the flags held in position by the flag bearers followed by columns of troops with their upright necks and broad chests facing the wind. The columns marched to the side of parade ground and assumed positions to receive flag bearers carrying national standards.

 

It was a beautiful morning and pleasant wind was blowing. Islamabad Expressway was lined with vehicles rushing towards parade ground since the first light. Long lines of cars were entering the parade ground parking area by various laterals marked with different colours and despite this meticulous planning thousands of people were doing all they could do to reach the parade ground well in time. An elaborate and stringent security procedure was being implemented to check and neutralize any undesired entry.

 

Sufficient guiding arrangements were also made to guide the spectators towards their respective stands. As we reached the parade ground and passed through passages to spectator stands we could see the large parade venue decorated with colourful seasonal flowers and panaflexes. Standing on the other side were two sixty feet tall portraits of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

 

The dais was located centrally, left and right of which were made the seating arrangements. The smartly dressed up uniformed troops stood in formation waiting for proceedings of Pakistan Day Parade to commence. Flag bearers carrying their national standards took their place opposite the dais across the marching venue. Marching columns entred the Parade ground led by Infantry and stood in marching order.

 

As the Parade was handed over to Parade Commander Brig Amir Hussain Nawaz, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and Vice Chief of Air Staff Asad Abdur Rehman Khan Lodhi (who was representing the Air Chief) arrived at the parade venue. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mehmood Hayat and Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif reached before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived.

unitedwerise.jpg
Arrival of President Mamnoon Hussain was announced by the call of trumpeters. President arrived with a smart group of President Body Guards who have a unique honour of being awarded the National Flag by Father of the Nation on June 7, 1948. A team of 57 horses escorted President to the dais and he was saluted by the parade at his arrival on the inspection dais.

 

unitedwerise2.jpg

National anthem was sung in unison by all participants of the parade and audience, greatly reflecting the unity of the nation. President Mamnoon Hussain reviewed the parade on invitation by the Parade Commander by standing in an open military jeep and inspected all the participating columns.

 

Aircraft of Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy presented fly past in compact form to honour the President. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman flew over the parade venue in his F-16 and presented salute to the President by performing a vertical roll over the parade square. Fly past of Eagles of Pakistan Air Force followed with the first group of F-16, JF-17 and F-7. Worth mentioning here is that Mirage Aircraft have completed their 50 years of induction in Pakistan Air Force. This year seven of these aircraft participated in the parade. The Mirages displayed linear bomburst, followed by PAF AWACS led by KK-3 and yet following them were combat supplement IL 78 and C-130, and then the P3-C Orions of Navy. 

 

After the blood warming fly past of PAF and Navy aircraft, the parade commander cautioned the parade. Formal proceedings started with the recitation of Qur’aan followed by President Mamnoon Hussain’s address to the nation. During his speech he not only stressed the need to unite and fight against terror but also elaborated upon the necessity of the peace for progress of the nation. He said Pakistan was fighting terrorism for the last many years and country’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies had been acting with courage in this war against terror. “It is because of the sacrifices of our martyrs that Pakistan today is safer than before. Let me make it clear that after Operation Zarb-e-Azb, actions against the remaining terrorists under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad will continue till their elimination,” he said. The President during his speech thanked Gen Zakaria Shoke Chief of South African National Defence Force and Major General Li Jianbo of Chines Liberation Army. He also appreciated participation of Chinese contingent, Saudi Special Forces group and Turkish Band in Pakistan Day Parade. Chief of South African National Defence Force, General Zakaria Shoke witnessed the parade among other dignitaries.

unitedwerise3.jpg
At Qaumi Naara the entire parade participants, 18 Punjab Regiment, 21 Frontier Force Regiment, 10 Northern Light Infantry, 760 Mujahid Battalion, Frontier Corps Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Rangers Punjab, contingents of Navy and PAF, Islamabad Police, Lady Officers, Armed Forces Nursing Service, Girls Guide, Boy Scouts and SSG 5 Commando Battalion raised slogans in one voice. March past started led by the parade commander Brig Amir Hussain Nawaz. The soldiers marched in a fine array, and their heels struck the ground at the beat of drum with great panache; upright chins, swing of arms and strike of heels everything was in perfect coordination. Most impressive to the spectators was the march past of SSG commandos as they ran across the parade ground saluting with their weapons held high chanting Allah Hu with every alternate step touching the ground.


In a break with tradition, the synchronized, aligned, very smartly dressed, and diligently marching column of People’s Liberation Army Honour Guards took part in the parade. A 90 member contingent arrived for parade in Pakistan, out of which 72 members participated. The PLA Honour Guards take part in every significant event and welcome ceremonies for foreign leaders in China. Earlier on a rehearsal day of the parade, Major General Li Jianbo, head of China's 90-member contingent said, "We have come here to convey a message of friendship to Pakistan on behalf of the Chinese people and the Chinese army. We sincerely hope that Pakistan will progress day by day and its army will be stronger and stronger." President Mamnoon Hussain noted that the participation of Chinese troops marked a “historic moment.” This rare foray by Chinese Armed Forces underscores Beijing’s increasingly strong partnership with Islamabad.

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It was followed by the President Body Guards marching across the parade ground saluting the dais with trained and tamed horses and smartly donned up riders.   Armoured columns, artillery guns, radars and their towing vehicles roared as they passed, saluting their command. Mechanized columns were led by main battle tanks including, Al-Khalid, Al-Zarrar and T-80 UD. APCs (Armoured Personnel Carriers) including APC-borne TOW missiles (tube-launched-optically tracked-wire guided missile system), were also part of the spectacle. These were followed by Heavy and Medium Artillery including various guns present in the inventory of Artillery Regiments such as M-11-A2 guns and 155mm howitzers, which can fire up to 30 kilometres, and 130mm medium guns having a range of 27km. SPD float carried Buraq, Shahper and Uqab drones. Nasr, Babar, Shaheen and Ghauri missiles passed as people looked mesmerized at these huge missiles. Army Air Defence contingent comprised Sky Guard Radar and 35mm Oerlikon Guns, one of the best air defence guns in the world. The contingent also included FM-90 system which can shoot down not only fighter aircraft of the enemy, but also cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles, drones and armed helicopters. LOMADS LY-80 system which has recently been inducted also made its maiden appearance as part of the Army Air Defence column . PAF Air Defence contingent comprised Mobile Pulse Doppler Radar, SPADA-2000, and the Air Defence Command and Control System. The Army Engineers and Signals contingents with state-of-the-art equipment also galvanised the morale of the spectators. 

 

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The emotionally charged crowd gave a standing ovation to the Turkish military’s Janissary Mehter band. All present at the parade venue waved national flags, repeating after the tunes played by the Turkish band. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also praised and thanked the Turkish band, members of which were attired in traditional Ottoman-style dresses.


A noteworthy development in this regard is the increasing defence cooperation between Islamabad and Ankara in the recent years. In November 2016, Ankara announced that it would buy 52 Super Mashaak training aircraft from Pakistan, in addition to a $75 million deal signed in May last year, under which Turkey would upgrade Pakistan Air Force's F-16 fleet. The fly past of Army Aviation including Cobra Attack Helicopters, Fennec, Bell 412, Puma, MI-17 and Zulu-10 attack helicopters was stunning, with the spectacular feat of hanging soldiers by a sling.


After Aviation, PAF Sherdil team comprising 6 jets performed aerobatics and did criss-cross maneuvers, wingover and parallel loop displaying perfection. Aerobatics of JF 17 Thunder and F-16 took the breath of audience away before disappearing in the sky.

 

As the aircraft disappeared, free fall of tri-services sky divers from 10,000 ft took over the show. GOC SSG Maj Gen Tahir Masud Bhutta who led the skydiving, presented National Flag to President of Pakistan. The parade also featured colourful floats showcasing the culture of the country’s provinces. The parade ended with a colourful entry of children and the beautiful song “Hum sub ka Pakistan” by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan inspiring awe in the ever-so-patriotic audience.


The breathtaking display of military prowess during the national day parade reinforced the notion that in these modern times, a country’s security can’t be served by obsolescence and technologically backward equipment that undermines the country’s combat capability. The parade remains a splendid corroboration of military prowess and the resolve of the Armed Forces that any aggressor who attempts to march on the country’s sovereignty would be crushed.

06
April

Written By: Tooba Khurshid

Kashmir dispute is a major source of tension between India and Pakistan since 1947. The issue is also one of the oldest items on the agenda of the United Nations (UN). Despite numerous significant resolutions and debates on Kashmir, the issue still stands unresolved. Many people believe that it is a territorial dispute, however, owing to its human dimension, the issue has become a humanitarian crisis which warrants early resolution and demands right of the people to self-determination. 

 

kasmirantheirr.jpgIn Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) defenceless Kashmiris are subjected to massacres, encounters, detention, arrests and tortures. Whenever Kashmiris demanded their rights, they have been subjected to massive abuses. Gross human rights violations perpetrated by Indian Occupational Forces since July 8, 2016 had resulted in deaths of 177 civilians. More than 19310 people have been injured in human rights abuses. Indiscriminate use of force and pellets against unarmed civilians has become a state policy of India. An estimated 7398 people have been hit by pellet guns so far, at least 1180 are partially blinded, 309 are on verge of becoming blind and 42 have lost eyesight completely. Unprecedented massacre of Kashmiris by Indian Occupational Forces have made the region a very dangerous place. Indian endeavours to kill the courage and strength of people of IOK are well documented by Indian as well as international human rights organizations. Amnesty International in its 2016 and 2017 human rights report criticized India for excessive and arbitrary use of force against unarmed civilians and called it 'inherently inaccurate and indiscriminate.' Despite, the brutalizing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian atrocities continues with impunity.


The right of self-determination, that people of IOK are demanding, is enshrined in numerous UN resolutions passed over Kashmir which upholds their right to determine their future freely.

UN Resolutions Passed over IOK

UNSCR 47, April 21, 1948

"Noting with satisfaction that both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India and Pakistan should be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/47(1948))

 

UNCIP resolution August 13, 1948

Part III: “Pakistan and India reaffirm that future status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions" whereby such free expression will be assured.”

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/1100)

 

UNCIP resolution January 5, 1949

"Question of accession of Jammu and Kashmir should be decided through the democratic methods of free and impartial plebiscite"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/1196)

 

UNSCR 80, March 14, 1950

"To exercise all of the powers and responsibilities devolving upon UNCIP by reason of existing resolutions of the Security Council and by reason of agreements of parties embodied in UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5 1949"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/80(1950))

 

UNSCR 91, March 30, 1951

"Reminding the governments and authorities concerned of the principle embodied in its resolutions 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948... and UNCIP resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 that the final disposition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebecsite…"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/91(1951))

 

UNSCR 98, December 23, 1952

"Recalling the provisions of UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 which were accepted by the Governments of India and Pakistan and which provided that the question of the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir would be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of UN"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/98(1952)

 

UNSCR 122, January 24, 1957

"Reminding the Governments and authorities concerned of the principle embodies in its resolutions 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948... 80 (1950) of 14 March 1950...91 (1951)...UNCIP resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 that the final disposition of the state will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic methods of a free and impartial plebiscite...Reaffirm the affirmation in its resolutions of 47, 1948, 1949, 91 and 98"

(http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/122(1957)

Source: http://www.un.org/en/sc/documents/resolutions/

 

However, India is crushing this fundamental right of Kashmiris through excessive use of force and whatever is happening in IOK is the worst form of subjugation of humanity.


Moreover this right is also inherently available to the people of IOK under other international declarations. United Nations Charter Article (1) acknowledged the development of friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as one of the Organization’s objectives. This principle is also referred to in Article (55) of UN Charter, Article (15) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), Article (1) of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and Article (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In these Declarations human rights are deemed universal rights shared by the whole of mankind.


Furthermore, by virtue of right of self-determination to indigenous people and against any colonial subjugation Kashmiris have the right to determine their future. Article (3) of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. Also Article (2) of Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples which declares that "All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".


India, through various commitments, had also agreed to hold a plebiscite in IOK.

Indian Commitment to Hold Plebiscite in IOK

October 27, 1947

“In regard to accession also, it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision.” (Telegram No. 402-Primin-2227 by Jawaharlal Nehru dated 27 October 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to Prime Minister of United Kingdom)

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/They-can-file-a-charge-posthumously-against-Jawaharlal-Nehru-too-Arundhati-Roy/article15718475.ece

 

October 28, 1947

“…….the people of Kashmir would decide the question of accession. It is open to them to accede to either Dominion then.” (Telegram No.413 dated 28 October 1947 by Jawaharlal Nehru addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan)

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/They-can-file-a-charge-posthumously-against-Jawaharlal-Nehru-too-Arundhati-Roy/article15718475.ece

 

November 21, 1947

“We are anxious not to finalize anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide. And let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state.”

(Letter No. 368-Primin dated 21 November 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan by Jawaharlal Nehru), J. C. Aggarwal, S. P. Agrawal, Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement (Concept Publishing Company, 1995), p. 469

 

August 16, 1950

“The most feasible method of ascertaining the wishes of the people was by fair and impartial plebiscite.” (in telegram dated 16 August 1950 Jawaharlal Nehru addressed to the U.N. Representative for India and Pakistan: S/1791 : Anne 1(B))

http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85

 

February 12, 1951

“We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, 12 February 1951)

http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85

 

June 26, 1952

"I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy that we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but everywhere. " (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, June 26, 1952),

http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85

 

August 20, 1953

“People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.”

(Joint press communiqué of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan issued in Delhi after their meeting on 20 August 1953), http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85J. C. Agarwal, S. P. Agrawal, Modern History of Jammu and Kashmir: Ancient times to Shimla Agreement (Concept Publishing Company, 1995), p. 469

 

May 18, 1954

“But so far as the Government of India is concerned, every assurance and international commitment in regard to Kashmir stands.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Council of States; 18 May 1954),

http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85

 

March 31, 1955

“We had given our pledge to the people of Kashmir, and subsequently to the United Nations; we stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide.” (Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian Parliament, 31 March 1955),

http://www.na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=85

 

Despite, India over the years backed away from its commitment to hold a plebiscite. All the above legal justification establishes the fact that denial by India of the inalienable rights of self-determination cannot be permitted. No one country can decide the future of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Indian claims over IOK are illegitimate, repressive and unproven. Indian non-implementation of UN resolutions cannot negate the fact that final disposition of the IOK will be made in accordance to the people's aspirations expressed through democratic methods of an impartial plebiscite.


The right to self-determination for the people of IOK is imperative but is not different than anywhere else. What makes the issue different than other parts of the world is the Indian inflexible attitude and reluctance to agree on any viable course to hold a plebiscite. Such resistance to self-determination, as shown by India, results from the fact that a considerable number of currently existing states still exercise authoritarian power, and hardly respect the aspirations or expectations of people. Indian barbarism in IOK has exposed the Indian democracy as "fake" because democracies never allow or facilitate violence. Despite Indian brutalities events of past years have made it very clear that people of IOK stood firm for their right to self-determination and against Indian tyranny. However, given the level of atrocities perpetrated by India, it is for all civilized and responsible states of international community to ask India to stop the bloodshed and send a clear message of the necessity of upholding the sanctity of UN resolutions. To ensure peace and stability in the region it is pertinent to stand by the Kashmiris in their just cause.

 

The writer is a Research Fellow at Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI).

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

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

 
05
April

Written By: Didier Chaudet

When one talks about Afghanistan’s regional environment, one thinks first of Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries: they have been the ones suffering the most of the Afghan wars and foreign interventions. But it would be a mistake to forget two other neighbours, less connected to Afghanistan by history, human links or cultural ties, but with greater means at their disposal to influence the fate of this country: China and Russia. Indeed, the Chinese-Afghan border is only 92.45 kilometres long, according to the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And as for Russia, it is not one of Kabul’s neighbours in the geographical sense of the world. It can be considered so only if one takes into account the symbiotic relationship between the Russian Federation and its “Near Abroad” in terms of security. But those two Great Powers have shown a greater interest in Afghanistan recently, and they seem to share a political will to invest in resolving the never-ending civil war.

 

chniaanrusia.jpg‘Security’ seems the key word to understand the Afghan foreign policy of those two regional Great Powers. And their recent diplomatic choices could have a positive impact on Pakistani national interests.

 

Russia: A Diplomatic Evolution of Afghanistan and Pakistan
The Russian evolution on the Afghan issue is particularly striking, from a rejection to accept any talks with the Taliban to a support for an inter-Afghan reconciliation. On December 27, 2016, Russia, with China and Pakistan, called for “integrating the armed opposition into peaceful life” and said it will support the idea to get Afghan Taliban leaders delisted from UN sanctions’ list. It is oversimplification to believe, like some American sources seem to do, that there is an “alliance” between the Kremlin and the Taliban. The reality is much more pragmatic: the Russians have accepted that the Taliban were not merely terrorists, but rather rebels representing a political force in Afghanistan, a force strong enough to make a pure military solution for the Afghan conflict strictly impossible.


The best way to understand the Russian evolution is the Chinese influence on this subject: clearly the Kremlin has been influenced by Beijing’s initiative towards Afghanistan. Broadly speaking, this evolution can be seen as Russia adapting to a geopolitical situation that has evolved over the last few years. Most importantly, there is a specific jihadist risk for Central Asia and Russia in Afghanistan now: Daesh. This is very clear from the discovery of a Russia-Taliban dialogue in December 2015, and the press release following the meeting in December 2016 reminded above: the Russians see the Taliban as the best option to fight ISIS in Afghanistan, as the Afghan legal government seems unable or unwilling to make it a priority. For Zamir Kabulov, the head of the Asia and Middle East department of the Russian foreign ministry and special envoy of the Russian president to Afghanistan, there are now 10,000 IS fighters in Afghanistan, and as he said to Russia Today in April 2016,“They are being trained against Central Asia and Russia”.


Even if the Russian numbers about IS in Afghanistan seem overblown, the Kremlin is right to worry about Daesh. After Arabic, Russian is the most important language in the so-called ‘Caliphate’. Militants from the Northern Caucasus became well-known fighters fighting for this terrorist organization or for Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. If one focuses on Central Asian fighters alone, numbers can still be a source of concern for the post-soviet countries: between 3000 and 5000 so called jihadists have travelled to fight for Al-Baghdadi in Iraq and Syria since 2013. And many of them were recruited in Russia itself, while they were working there, which means that ISIS has been able to build some sort of network, at least for recruiting, in the country. The fear that those terrorists could come to Afghanistan in order to strike later, Russian and Central Asian interests, is not a fantasy: from December 2016 to February 2017, Iranian authorities arrested individuals passing through their country to go to Afghanistan to fight in the name of the Islamic State of Khurasan Province (ISKP), following Daesh’s orders. A view is that ‘ISKP’ in Afghanistan is partly made up of anti-Pakistan Taliban formerly from the TTP and Central Asian jihadists from the ‘Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’, it is clear that Daesh will seize any opportunity to strike Russia’s post-Soviet southern neighbours. In Afghanistan itself, it represents at least 7000 to 8500 militants (fighters and the ones supporting them) according to the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI). And despite some important victories won against the ISKP by the Taliban, it seems to be able to resist any action to eliminate it from the Afghan battlefield. Actually, the terrorist attack against a military hospital in Kabul, on March 8, 2017, that caused the death of nearly 50 people, is proof that Daesh is resourceful and could be a source of worries for Afghanistan and its regional environment.


Besides, Russia had to adapt to real geopolitical evolutions on the ground. To stick to a policy close to the one from India – opposing any talk with the Taliban – would not change the military situation on the ground, and the fears related to security in Central Asia. If the Russian “big brother” is unable to deliver concrete actions that could help protect its Near Abroad, the Central Asian leaders would have to look elsewhere for protection. Therefore, the Russian fear to lose its influence on them should not be underestimated. It was very clear when Moscow seemed to panic over the proposal of a military bloc between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, made by General Fang Fenghui, the Chief of General Staff of the Chinese Army, in March 2016. The notion of this becoming a “Central Asian NATO” spread in the Russian media, with some Russian analysts seeing the Chinese proposal as a way to put Central Asia under its influence. The Chinese were able to calm such wild theories, but such a reaction proved that Russia is uneasy with China's rise. The fears caused in Central Asia because of the Afghan issue, and the fact that China is getting involved there, made it difficult for Russia to not do the same. Their previous approach did not help to make them more influent, and going against the Chinese involvement would make no sense, as China stays an important global ally to Moscow. Hence the only choice the Kremlin had was to strengthen its influence, reassure the Central Asians, and stay relevant on the Afghan issue. An evolution that looks a lot like the Chinese policy towards Afghanistan, as we will see in the second part of this analysis.

 

China: Looking for Peace in the Name of the “Big Picture”
China does not have a policy to mingle in another state’s internal affairs. It follows such a non-ideological vision of international relations much more strictly than Russia nowadays. Still, China showed concern and desire to influence positively the Afghan issue before the Russians themselves.


It is linked to concerns related to internal stability and security, most particularly in Xinjiang. It was clearly said by the Chinese Foreign Minister himself, Wang Yi, during a visit to Afghanistan in February 2014. The visit was as significant as its previous visit had been in 2002, when he was, then, the Vice Foreign Minister. It was the symbol of a rising concern to see Uyghur jihadists using Afghanistan to strike on Chinese soil. The local tensions in Xinjiang are manageable, and could be taken care of through police work against separatists and through the economic choices China has made to develop the region. Indeed, even if there is a fear of separatist/terrorist anti-China activities in Xinjiang, this territory is much more stabilized than North Caucasus in Russia. But the situation might become more volatile if “professional” jihadists/terrorists come from overseas. And they very much could. Li Wei, head of the counterterrorism research at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) said during an interview in April 2016 that 300 Uyghur jihadists were affiliated with ISIS. Uyghur jihadists have associated themselves with Uzbek radicals from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), who have been very active in Afghanistan, especially in the north. Al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s leader, and al-Baghdadi, so-called “Caliph” for ISIS, have both recently declared that China was one of their enemies. It has been confirmed by propaganda videos made by Daesh and Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, respectively on February 25 and 27, 2017. Hence, the terrorist threat targeting China specifically has become more serious over the last few years; and China can only share Russia’s fears exposed above. Besides, during the same few years, Xinjiang has become even more important with the Silk Road Economic Belt project. This importance has been clearly proved this year, as the region’s authorities will inject no less than USD 24.8 billion in local infrastructure, mostly roads. It is more than the total funding for such infrastructure between 2011 and 2015. Clearly, Beijing is serious about making Xinjiang an important part of the One Belt, One Road Project. Hence, to counter any risk for its stability is of paramount importance.


In order to protect its own interests, China decided to push for peace in Afghanistan, still the best way to avoid the latter’s instability to be a weapon in Uyghur separatists and in Daesh’s hands. It seems Beijing carries the understanding that the Afghan Taliban are a part of the Afghan political spectrum, even after the fall of the “Afghan Emirate” (according to American sources like Foreign Policy). Since 2012 the exchanges between Chinese emissaries and the Taliban seem to have been more regular. At first to protect Chinese interests; then, from 2014, Chinese diplomacy has been an active force supporting a peace process between the Kabul government and the Taliban. The USA had failed to make its ideas of peace-talks a reality after Hamid Karzai, the then-president of Afghanistan, derailed American-led project in June 2013. Beijing clearly became part of such effort by being one of the states associated to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the USA. It met officially the first time in January 2016, but seemed to have been clearly limited by different views on what the peace process should be, the Americans and part of the Afghan government having difficulties to accept a true negotiation with what it implies, i.e., finding a compromise. The fact that the Americans killed the then-leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour, in May 2016, a few days after the last meeting of the QCG, is proof enough of a difference of perception of how peace should be achieved. Nowadays it seems that China is the main power truly active to achieve peace in order to solve the Afghan issue. It continues to talk to the Taliban: a delegation led by the Taliban Qatar office chief Sher Abbas Stanikazai visited China in February 2017, to discuss with Beijing the possibility to revive the peace process.

 

A Positive Evolution for Pakistan
Of course, Beijing’s policy is clearly in tune with Pakistan’s national interests. China, contrary to the USA or India, does not put blame of Afghan problems on Islamabad. On the contrary, it works with Pakistan on its Afghan policy. From the Fifth Heart of Asia Conference in 2015, it became clear that Chinese officially considered Pakistani involvement in the peace process as necessary for such process to have a chance to work. It appears clearly that, contrary to part of the Afghan elites in Kabul and to the American leadership, Beijing has understood that Pakistan had knowledge and some influence over part of the Afghan Taliban at least, but no full control over them. This more subtle, less simplistic approach from the Chinese made them understand that the Pakistani idea opposing a fragmentation of the Afghan Taliban was the right approach, as Taliban with a weak leadership would be unable to impose peace on their rank and file. Broadly speaking, Chinese diplomatic victory in Afghanistan would also be a victory for Pakistan.


Actually, Afghanistan gives another opportunity for Beijing to work together, with their diplomacies strongly aligned. The military cooperation between the two countries is already strong, and seems to have been further strengthened by the Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa’s three-day recent trip to China. And, of course, there is the CPEC: the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at the core of the “One Belt,One Road Project" is itself at the heart of President Xi’s diplomacy. On this project, the shared Chinese-Pakistani initiative for Afghan peace is particularly important: a stable Afghanistan would be helpful to make the CPEC a success, and also to diminish the possibilities for Baloch separatists to find external support.


This changing evolution in Russia’s policy revolving Afghanistan problem has also been a good news for Pakistan. It should be remembered that the erstwhile USSR had been an antagonist for Pakistan. In 1971, the Kremlin gave weapons and helped organize training camps for guerilla forces against the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan, soon to become Bangladesh, in 1971. And after the Cold War, the Russians continued to have an unbalanced foreign policy towards South Asia. Russian's recent evolution in foreign affairs does not mean that Pakistan and Russia would become “allies” in no time: this simplistic approach would not take into account the fact that pro-India forces in Moscow are still strong and active. But such evolution means that they should arrive to a point where India-Russia links do not pose hurdles anymore to a good Russia-Pakistan bilateral relationship. Since 2007, when the then Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov paid a three-day visit to Pakistan, there is a slow but constant positive evolution in the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Working on the Afghan issue together will strengthen this trend in the long term.


The regional environment nowadays makes it clear that the countries in Afghan neighbourhood are in agreement that there is a need of an Afghan peace process, as military force alone cannot change the situation. The only ones that seem to oppose such an approach, shared by Russia, China, Pakistan, as well as Iran, are ‘disconnected’ from Afghan reality. They see this country only through the lens of their opposition to other nations: India first, but also the USA. The former is on a quest to be the only great power in its regional environment. And to be more than an economic power, it needs to break the opposition of the other regional power in its neighbourhood, i.e., Pakistan. It sees China’s desire to gain back its role as a natural Asian Great Power as a threat to its own ambitions. As for the Americans, even if they gave their blessing to the idea of an Afghan peace process since the beginning of this decade, they seem unwilling to accept that other great powers could be capable of being “honest brokers” the USA was unable to be itself. Some, in Washington D.C. also have a problem with the Afghan policy designed in Beijing and in Moscow, as it includes Iran and Pakistan as part of the solution, not of the problem. Those two countries have often been used as scapegoats by Americans and some of their Afghan colleagues as an easy explanation for their common inability to win against the Taliban.


Hopefully, such division will soon disappear: with the danger that is Daesh, and the other hotspots in the world, to find a common ground for peace and stability in this region. The Americans, in particular, have lost 2300 soldiers so far in a war that has been costing the astronomical sum of 1.5 trillion dollars. Despite the temptation to oppose Russia and China, it should be easy for cooler heads to prevail. It would be good news for the Afghan regional environment as a whole, but also for the Afghan people itself.

 

The writer is the Editing Director of CAPE (Center for the Analysis of Foreign Policy). He is also a non-resident Scholar for IPRI (Islamabad Policy Research Institute). He is a specialist of geopolitical/security-related issues in Central Asia and South-West Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan).
 
05
April

Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)

There is an ongoing debate in Jordan amongst scholars on the clear definition of extremism prominently iterated in a news item published in the February 28th issue of Jordan Times, stating that, "there is still no clear definition of ‘extremism’ in Jordan, experts warn". I am certain the same confusion is prevalent in many other countries which may also include Pakistan. Drawing on my military training which enables discerning black and white from shades of gray, I thought it imperative to contribute my views in endeavouring at a definition that could serve as the foundation for evolving a strategy to fight radicalism by all the elements of national power of any nation. It could also help launch a debate to arrive at a broadly acceptable definition of extremism, which is a prerequisite for devising a counter strategy.

 

Extremism
The dictionary definition of extremism states that ‘it is the quality or state of being extreme or advocacy of extreme measures or view’. Nowadays, the term is mostly used in a political or religious sense, for an ideology that is considered to be far outside the acceptable mainstream attitudes of a society. The term “extremism” is usually meant to be pejorative and expresses (strong) disapproval. However, it may also be meant in a more academic, purely descriptive, non-condemnatory sense. Extremists are usually contrasted with centrists. Political agendas perceived as extremist often include those from the far-left politics or far-right politics, as well as radicalism, fundamentalism, reactionism and fanaticism.

 

defanextremter.jpgThere have been many different definitions of “extremism”. Peter T. Coleman and Andrea Bartoli have provided more elaborate definitions. Extremism is a complex phenomenon, although its complexity is often hard to see. Most simply, it comprises activities (beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies) of a character far removed from the ordinary. In conflict settings, it manifests itself as a severe form of conflict engagement. However, the labelling of activities, people, and groups as “extremist”, and the defining of what is “ordinary” in any setting is always a subjective and political matter. Thus, any discussion of extremism should be mindful of the following: the same extremist act will be viewed by some as just and moral (such as pro-social “freedom fighting”), and by others as unjust and immoral (anti-social “terrorism”) which depends on the observer’s values, politics, moral scope, and the nature of relationship with the actor. In addition, one’s sense of the moral or immoral nature of a given act of extremism (such as Nelson Mandela’s use of guerilla war tactics against the South African government) may change as conditions (leadership, world opinion, crises and historical accounts) change. Thus, the current and historical context of extremist acts shapes our views.


The terms ‘extremism’ or ‘extremist’ are almost always exonymic i.e., applied to a group by others rather than by a group labelling itself as extremists, as in the case of political radicals. There is no political party that calls itself “right-wing extremist” or “left-wing extremist”, and there is no sect of any religion that calls itself “extremist” or which calls its doctrine “extremism”. The term extremist is often used with reference to those who use or advocate violence against the will of society at large, but it is also used by some to describe those who advocate or use violence to enforce the will of the social body, such as a government or a majority constituency.


In the light of the foregoing, a rational definition of extremism could be, “An individual or a group which has extreme views, in conflict with the rest of the society, considers right only his version of views and imposes his views on others, if needed, by force”.


This definition has four distinct facets. It encompasses individuals, groups and organizations. Extreme views which may be in the realm of religion, politics, economics and social behaviour and are at variant or a contrast to popular beliefs of the rest of the society, considers that only his views or beliefs are righteous and others are on the wrong path and uses all means, pre-dominantly force, to instill these views into others. In the light of this definition, if we analyze the existing extremist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Taliban etc. they embody these provisions. Their defining principle is ‘the imposition of the organization’s views on other segments of the society by the use of force and violent methods’.


In view of the ambiguous definitions provided by the Western societies regarding extremism and radical Islam, which could be subject to exploitation, it is the prime responsibility of Muslim scholars and states to define these terms in a rational perspective acceptable to Muslims all over the world. Extremism is outside the ambit of religious beliefs and dogmas. Narrowing its scope to Islam alone is a prejudiced approach. History is replete with examples of extremism manifested in other religions and societies.


Terrorism
While terrorism is an old phenomenon that has existed since antiquity, today we face a novel and a far more complex variant. It has changed its character and meaning over time. What was true for one terrorist group in a certain place, at a certain time, does not necessarily apply to another in a different country, at another time, reflecting different politics and traditions. As a result, consensus has become elusive over a universally accepted definition of terrorism. Conceptual problems positioned over the years can be reflected in the popular statement: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”.
The absence of a universally agreed definition, however, does not mean lack of definition, or criminalization of terrorist acts within national jurisdiction. The diversity of contexts in which this kind of violence appeared over history and the many and often contending political causes, whose advocates use the definition for their own purposes makes it a difficult proposition. 9/11 created a new international dynamic that sought to de-legitimize any political violence aimed at civilians, irrespective of context and unwilling to distinguish this from resistance to state terrorism or foreign occupation.


The Resolution 1373 adopted by the United Nations Security Council on September 28, 2001 imposed wide ranging obligations on member states to combat terrorism in the absence of a definition of terrorism. Such ambiguity has served to emphasize the role of domestic legislation to criminalize terrorist offences. International counter-terrorism measures could not be implemented effectively due to the lack of a proper definition for terrorism. The United Nations has already adopted major international conventions or protocols (between 2001 and 2017), in addition to regional legal instruments, to provide the legal framework to prohibit various forms of terrorist behaviour.


The concept of “state terrorism” has been rejected by many Western countries on the grounds that the actions of states are already governed by rules of international law relating to state responsibility. This view has been endorsed by the UN Secretary General as well as the Report of his High Level Panel. But for many the question of states contravening international law remains an important and real one.


An agreed definition of terrorism enunciates, “Any action which is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such an act by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization, to do or to abstain from any act”. Any definition that is not backed by consensus can have a divisive effect and hinder international counter-terrorism efforts.


These stipulated definitions of the most serious threat facing mankind today could provide a common ground for identification and initiation of a punitive response or at a minimum basis to initiate a debate to coin all encompassing definitions. To define these phenomena in clear terms is also essential for an internationally accepted interpretation to devolve an efficacious response and develop a counter-narrative.

 

The writer is presently serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He has also been Commander Lahore Corps and remained Military Secretary to the President. He is author of 'Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan' (published 1983).

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

 
10
March
Read 365 times
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10
March

Written By: Lt Col Danish Javed

The airport lounge was full of people waiting for flights to their destinations. Three friends busy in chatting arrived at the busy lounge and started looking for a place to sit. Finally, they found seats near the escalator. These men seemed well-educated and were appropriately dressed, but at times, our perception is contrary to the reality.


“Look towards him; what is the need to wear sun glasses inside the lounge?” said one of the three young men with a cynical smile. The other two colleagues had yet not identified the person being commented upon. “What a fool to be even wearing hand gloves in this weather!” he said again, this time in a more insolent tone. “Who you are talking about?” asked the other two. He winked his eyes and pointed at a man in uniform, coming down the escalator. “What do they think of themselves in uniform?” He made a few more comments on the officer’s demeanour.


This man was an army officer named Lieutenant Colonel Kashif. He radiated pride in a starched khaki uniform with shinning stars on the shoulders and a chest decorated with medals. The officer started walking in the direction of the three colleagues and approached one of them named Ahsan. The other two looked on as Ahsan got up and hugged the officer he hadn’t met for years.


Ahsan held his old friend affectionately by the shoulders and said, “What a surprise! It is good to see you so many years after school”.
Kashif responded with equal affection, “Same here, dear friend”.
Hesitantly, Ahsan enquired, “Why are you wearing glasses? Hope everything is fine with the eyes?”
The colonel replied, “Yes, everything is fine, just lost one eye while fighting terrorists when they attacked a university in our city”.


There was pin-drop silence for a moment. Ahsan stared at him with shock and disbelief but recovered quickly and said, “I feel sorry for this loss, but dear friend you made us all proud. You and your soldiers took no time to kill those barbarians, saving us from a great human loss”.


When the truth is revealed to us and it is contrary to our perception, it jolts us from within like an earthquake. We might desire to stop the truth from unveiling itself and leaving us baffled, but when it begins to unravel it does so completely, without giving us time to gather our thoughts and composure. The same was happening with Ahsan’s colleague who had mocked the officer out of ignorance but now felt embarrassed and ashamed.


Ahsan looked at Lt. Colonel Kashif with compassion and held his right hand. But Kashif’s hand felt unusual and disturbingly unfamiliar. Ahsan looked at the hand more closely and asked the reason for wearing gloves and why his hand felt so different.


The officer smiled and said, “I lost my hand in the same battle as well”. Silence prevailed again. The officer’s replies had left Ahsan and his friends completely perplexed and dumb founded.
A few moments later, Ahsan asked Kashif where he was headed to.


“I am going back to my place of duty. My regiment is busy fighting the enemies of Pakistan and I do not want to be left out. I do not want to miss the chance of fighting the enemies of Pakistan,” the officer replied in a firm tone about his destination.


Ahsan was stunned again, “You have a big heart dear friend but I don’t understand how someone can go to the war zone again after losing an eye and a hand?”


“When your purpose is great, even life doesn’t matter; what to talk of an eye and a hand? I am ready to sacrifice everthing for the peaceful future of Pakistan,” Kashif replied with a smile on his face.


Ahsan could not believe his calmness, satisfaction, pride and conviction of purpose and felt lost for words. “I have no words to thank you sir, no expression of gratitude can do justice to your sacrifices. That was our university where the terrorists had attacked and you saved our lives”.


Now that the reality had unfolded, they felt guilty of their wrong perceptions. They very silently but firmly vowed to fight against the wrong perceptions spread around by the enemies of their motherland.

 
10
March

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

A soldier had died ‘in the line of duty’.

 

prideinanguish.jpgThe little boy with the schoolbag on a shoulder was trying to catch the man moving ahead of him. The man was moving with a normal pace; a father that was to lead his son. But the son was too eager to match the pace that was little more for his tiny steps. The father used to carry the schoolbag but not for many days as the son wanted to lower his burden. The father dreamed for the days once his son would relieve him from much worries of life… The father had gone old, and son turned into an exuberant youth. Life was filled with hope; but the hope was to die soon. The day came, and the young soldier’s casket was wrapped in the national flag. He had died ‘in the line of duty’. He fought bravely but death was the final bid for honour. The father was too old to cry aloud, but his worn-out heart was struck too deeply. He wept bitterly; but in sighs with rolling tears of silence. He had dreamed for his son to lead him in life, but his casket was leading the procession to the burial ground. He was proud to have a son like him, the pride will live with him till his remaining days; but the son’s beautiful smile had been lost forever.
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He had dreamed for his son to lead him in life, but his casket was leading the procession to the burial ground. He was proud to have a son like him, the pride will live with him till his remaining days; but the son’s beautiful smile had been lost forever.
A year ago, she was giggling, chatting, laughing and living with pride. It did not take her long after finishing her studies to marry a soldier. The soldier was a handsome lad; an enthusiast in fun and mischief, but stone-faced ‘in the line of duty’. It was customary for him to present flowers to his bride. The garlands of red and white roses made life a joy never to end. But, fairy-tales always have ‘the end’. The soldier’s grave was laden with flowers; red and white roses. He had died ‘in the line of duty’ and even not bothered to look back for a while; not even for his bride that had become so fond of him. So deceptive are the smiles and tears that bear the burdens of soldiering.

 


The soldiers are trained to die; they die willingly but their loved-ones become living-dead due to their sudden departure. The soldiers enter into the heart with a bang but leave quietly on unknown journeys never to fall back. The girl now visits the grave daily, and places garland of roses on the grave that the man once had gifted her. Her life has become an empty page of the book, nothing written on it to be read by life anymore. The soldier was her pride; both in life and in death. But the tears were unstoppable forever!
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The soldiers would always go the battle zones. Life will go on; and so would the pride and anguish. The soldiers deserve a silent prayer, a rolling tear, and a solemn remembrance by those who live on the beautiful land that was once marred by blood, sweat and tears!
The two old women were sitting side-by-side; not far away from a fresh grave. One had just lost the valued jewel of her life. A soldier had died ‘in the line of duty’. The old lady cried, wept, laughed and fainted time and again. Her sequence of anguish was changing every time but not the anguish itself. The son had died in defending the motherland. The soldier had died to keep the honour and glory of the mother and sisters. The pride was overwhelming and so was the gloom! One loves not to depart but to live together forever; but not in the case of soldiers. Their love is intense and so is the pain.

 


The second lady was weeping too, but trying hard to allay the anguish of her friend through self-assuring whispers. She wanted to utter few words but her talk was empty. Her heart was sinking as her soldier-son was too on the battlefield. It did not take long for the ‘news’ to reach. Her son had died ‘in the line of duty’, too. The two women now drag the wounded souls. The motherland is proud of the sons who sprinkled their blood to save her pride and honour. Pride resides in the bosom of the anguish!
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They were all continuously on move while chatting and laughing. The were young comrades-in-arms; the soldiers. They all looked towards the commander’s face which was grim and determined. He nodded his head silently and the soldiers moved with quick steps to cross the ridge line that brought them face-to-face with the enemy. This time they were silent but not stopping at all. Probably they could sense the fate but it was not ‘them’ to shy away from approaching death. Sooner the ‘lead’ was flying all across making many to kiss the ground forever. They fought valiantly amidst death and falling bodies of the comrades-in-arms. They silently looked at each others’ face with fainted smiles, but eyes beaming with pride; of dying for the cause much bigger than the mortal life itself. They died with a pride to live in the memory of their brothers and sisters forever!
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The nation remembers the fallen soldiers, but with diminishing pride and anguish each year. The remembrance-days are gradually celebrated with much fanfare but lack soul of the cause, pride and anguish that once defined their pristine sacrifice. The fallen soldiers are a memory that once lived on the face of the earth that today personifies life and peace; all that came not through embellished talk but blood offered silently ‘in the line of duty’.
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The soldiers would always go the battle zones. Life will go on; and so would the pride and anguish. The soldiers deserve a silent prayer, a rolling tear, and a solemn remembrance by those who live on the beautiful land that was once marred by blood, sweat and tears!

 

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10
March

Written By: Omair Alavi

The state of sports in Pakistan has worsened during the last 20 years; some blame the local associations and federations for not doing much; others blame the lack of talent. What no one talks about is the grass root level and with that I mean the level where budding sportsmen are picked, nurtured and trained before being unleashed into the sporting arena. Yes, I am talking about lack of sports facilities in schools and what can be done to improve the situation, if we are to do well in sports.

 

The state of sports in Pakistan has worsened during the last 20 years; some blame the local associations and federations for not doing much; others blame the lack of talent. What no one talks about is the grass root level and with that I mean the level where budding sportsmen are picked, nurtured and trained before being unleashed into the sporting arena. Yes, I am talking about lack of sports facilities in schools and what can be done to improve the situation, if we are to do well in sports.

Pakistan remains one of those countries where children go to schools mostly because their parents want them to. The stale syllabus doesn’t attract them and neither does the way of teaching in most of the schools across the country. However, the free periods or those allotted for outdoor activities used to be something that pulled the students towards their educational institutions, and also towards studies.


That was back in the day when all leading schools – big or small – actively participated in sports and they had teachers with an eye to spot genuine talent. Nowadays, parents prefer schools that have air conditioners in their classrooms and give no thought to the lack of grounds, sports teachers and activities that might help students become sportsmen. Had the situation been the same in the past, Javed Miandad might not have become a test cricketer, Jahangir Khan might not have held the squash racket and Sohail Abbas might not have represented Pakistan at all.


Former test cricketer and coach of Pakistan cricket team Mohsin Khan once said in an interview that until and unless the government makes it compulsory for all educational institutions to have healthy activities and grounds, the state of sports in Pakistan will remain unchanged. Mohsin Khan had represented Pakistan in the late 70s and most of the 80s and when he spoke about grass root level, he meant it considering he had been a terrific badminton player before taking up cricket. He knew how things were managed at all levels and what was the root cause of the decline in sports.

 

Matters were made worse when authorities allowed influential people to open schools in residential areas as it not only damaged our educational system but also any hope of nurturing talented individuals. These schools hardly had space for the morning assembly, thinking about sports would have been deemed criminal in such institutions

Dr. Irfan Ullah also concurs with Mohsin and believes that playing outside the comfort zone is integral for a youngster as his body develops the more he plays outside. The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Dr. Irfan explains, "Playing and learning outdoor improves muscular strength, co-ordination, balance and dexterity. It has been documented that when they took part in outdoor activities and learning children performed significantly better on achievement tests and expressed higher interest and well-being and low anger, anxiety, and boredom".

 

notgroundfor.jpgDr. Irfan explains it beautifully and one must agree with him that sports and outdoor activities contribute significantly to mental well-being as well. "Today children tend to spend most of their time indoors and live in a virtual world, when not in school (or in tuition centres). Parks and recreational grounds are also vanishing and people living in apartments do not have a lot of interaction with their natural environment. This is a cause of concern because until and unless they go out, the future generation will spend most of its time sulking indoors and learning nothing significant. School grounds, on the other hand, provide a cheap, safe and ready access to the outdoors. It is important to bring up the issue of safety in the school grounds as it is a controlled and disciplined activity. Schools are safe and cheap vis-ä-vis parks and commercial places like gyms and sports clubs."


Parents are also to be blamed here because they don’t go for proper schools, rather they opt for the ones that don’t promote outdoor activities. Unfortunately, our education system treats all students the same way and had it been upto them, the world’s fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar might not have seen the cricket ball, let alone make Pakistan proud. Students who have the capacity to do well in sports are nowadays treated as second rate because of the ‘he plays, doesn’t study’ phenomenon that parents and teachers accept wholeheartedly. Look at the example of current Pakistan Captain Misbah-ul-Haq–he achieved what many others haven’t in Pakistan by completing his MBA and also acing in the cricket field. If he can do it, why can’t others provided we give them a chance to show their skills.


Nearly all those who were young cricket enthusiasts in the 90s remember the Lombard Under 15 Cricket World Cup that was played in England in 1996. Pakistan and India qualified for the final and both the teams had players who would go onto represent their country’s national side in the coming years. Pakistan fielded Hasan Raza (youngest test player in the world), Taufeeq Umer (future Test opener), Faisal Iqbal (Captain, stylish batsman), Kamran Akmal (future wicket keeper), Shoaib Malik (future captain, all-rounder) and Bazid Khan (future cricketer and commentator) and would have won the event had it not been for India’s Reetinder Singh Sodhi who guided his side to victory with an unbeaten 82. The competition between both the teams was tough for most of the 55 overs (in those days, limited overs matches in England had 5 overs more than standard) and any team could have won the match. This shows that 20 years back, Pakistan was on equal grounds with India and it was after that mega event that things began to go haywire on this side of the Wagah.

 

Unfortunately, our education system treats all students the same way and had it been upto them, the world’s fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar might not have seen the cricket ball, let alone make Pakistan proud. Students who have the capacity to do well in sports are nowadays treated as second rate because of the ‘he plays, doesn’t study’ phenomenon that parents and teachers accept wholeheartedly.

According to Faisal Iqbal, the test cricketer who led Pakistan in that event, the management in general and Pakistan Cricket Board in particular is to be blamed for this decline in standard of the game. ‘I have been a cricketer all my life and have come through a system that no longer seems to be working. There used to be inter-school and inter-collegiate matches in our days that were super competitive and provided budding cricketers a chance to show their skills. Our school as well as those who participated in the event had huge grounds to practice in and it was because of that we managed to give our best performances. There were no video games, no play stations or other consoles to distract us and we only had two things to do – either study or play sports. Sadly, things have changed for the worse as not only have parents lost interest in extracurricular activities of their children, the schools have either sold their grounds (to builders) or leased them for easy money, making it difficult for upcoming cricketers to flex their muscles.’


Faisal Iqbal may have a point because all over the country, playgrounds and empty spaces where once budding sportsmen used to play cricket, hockey, football and other sports have now been replaced by shopping malls, residential complexes and/or barbed wires to ensure nothing happens to what could be a golden goose in coming days. There is no excitement left in street cricket, there is no competition left in club cricket and due to prevailing law and order situation in the country, parents confine their children to their homes rather than allowing them to go out and play.


Matters were made worse when authorities allowed influential people to open schools in residential areas as it not only damaged our educational system but also any hope of nurturing talented individuals. These schools hardly had space for the morning assembly, thinking about sports would have been deemed criminal in such institutions. In some such educational institutions, the standard of education was excellent whereas in others, it was pathetic. Not having their own facility for sports added insult to injury for the pathetic schools because some of the students might have made them famous via sports, as had been the case in the past.


With the success of Pakistan Super League’s second edition, cricket in Pakistan has sort of gotten the boost it so dearly missed. Youngsters are once again taking interest in sports, budding cricketers are being selected on merit and not on their connections and things are moving in the right direction. However, the authorities must realize that there are other sports as well in the country and in order to make players understand their potential, they must bring a law that orders schools and colleges to have a separate facility for talented students. Having 'sports day' once a year isn’t enough as no one takes it seriously; sports activities are as important as educational ones and if we want to move ahead as a country, we must give equal importance to both. After all, whenever we think of our heroes, more often than not does the image of Sami Ullah, Jahangir Khan, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram comes to mind.

 

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10
March
Roll-Out Ceremony of 1000th Overhauled Aircraft held at PAC Kamra

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Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra achieved another historic milestone when in a grand ceremony the 1000th aircraft was rolled out after complete overhaul. This event was celebrated as a major benchmark in aviation history of Pakistan. Mr. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Defence Production was the chief guest at the occasion. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force also attended the ceremony. Vice President of China National Aero-technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) and other senior civil and defence officials were also present. While addressing at the occasion, the chief guest appreciated the efforts and dedication of officers and technicians of PAC Kamra for their contributions to the national cause of self-reliance in defence industry. He also lauded the role of Chinese friends for their continued and uninterrupted support and patronage. He highlighted that the Pak-China relationship has matured into a strategic partnership with more opportunities of development and professional growth. The Air Chief, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the contributions of PAC in sustenance of PAF operations. He said, "The aircraft produced by PAC have not only saved valuable foreign exchange but also enabled Pakistan to emerge as a self-reliant country in the field of aviation". ACM Sohail Aman also appreciated the close cooperation between the aviation industries of China and PAC and said that the achievement was yet another remarkable milestone in the history of Pak-China defence cooperation. Managing Directors of Aircraft Rebuild Factory and Avionics Production Factory presented the overview and brief history of these factories, respectively. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra has emerged as a well-equipped manufacturing and service base for producing 2-seater Mushshak aircraft as well as JF-17 Jet Fighter aircraft which has become the standard workhorse of the Pakistan Air Force.

 

10
March
Diplomats Visit Corps Headquarters Peshawar and North Waziristan
Diplomats from China, France and Russia visited Corps Headquarters, Peshawar and North Waziristan. The ambassadors and defence attachés were briefed about the role being played by Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism with particular reference to the military operations in FATA.

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10
March
President AJK Visits Corps Headquarters Mangla

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Mr. Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan visited Headquarters 1 Corps on January 31, 2017. President AJK was received by Commander 1 Corps Lt Gen Umar Farooq Durrani. On his arrival, President laid wreath at the Shuhada Monument. Later, he held a detailed meeting with Corps Commander and discussed a number of issues relating to mutual interest. Corps Commander apprised the President about current commitments of the formation in general and Mangla Garrison in particular.

President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan highly appreciated the role of Army in multifaceted security spectrum. He reiterated the gratitude of people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir for Pakistan Army’s continued support in the last earthquake and various other occasions of assistance in aid of civil power. The President later interacted informally with officers of the Corps Headquarters.

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Commander 11 Corps Visits Swat, Dir and Chitral

 

Conewsajk11corps.jpgmmander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt visited Swat, Dir and Chitral. He was given detailed briefing on operational matters, progress on establishment of Swat Cantonment and relief work being undertaken including construction of Lowari tunnel. During his two days visit, he interacted with troops deployed on the forward posts and expressed his satisfaction on operational performance and morale of the troops.

10
March

Written By: Col Amin-ul-Haq (R)

World Cancer Day is an international day observed each year on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma.


Having emerged as a survivor of cancer myself, I decided to support cancer patients and families and established the “Hayat-e-Nau Welfare Trust”. Since its inception, the platform has been regularly utilized for organizing various events/sessions to raise cancer awareness and support suffering individuals and families. Latest in the series was “Cancer Day” which was organized at CMH Rawalpindi on February 4, 2017. There were two different programmes, one for Oncology Ward (Male & Female) and second for Paediatric Oncology. Volunteers from Army Medical College and members of CMH Nutrition Department deserve ample thanks, as they actively augmented the efforts of our Trust.

 

cancerdayrep.jpgOncology Ward
Oncology Ward was beautifully decorated with balloons and colourful buntings. Maj Gen Zahid Hamid, Commandant CMH Rawalpindi and Maj Gen Iftikhar Hussain, DG Medicine and Advisor Oncology CMH Rawalpindi were the chief guests. As the respected Commandant could not make it due to some emergency, Deputy Commandant Brig Muhammad Sarwar Khan attended the event. Other participants included cancer patients, their families, volunteers, a group of survivors, oncologists and nutritionists. Importance of the day was highlighted, followed by address from Maj Gen Iftikhar Hussain, who informed the audience about how the Army was looking after its patients including affected personnel. Candles were lit by the cancer survivors as a symbol of hope for the patients. Later, a team of volunteers/survivors along with the chief guest visited Oncology Ward to distribute gifts and informative booklets on cancer. At the end, certificates of appreciation prepared by the Trust were awarded to the volunteers by the chief guest. The event ended with Duaa by Lt Col Nadeem Paracha (Oncologist) for the recovery and well-being of all patients.


Paediatric Oncology/Family Wing
Here, Begum Maj Gen Zahid Hamid, Commandant CMH Rawalpindi was the chief guest, who had been very keen on holding such cancer awareness programmes. There were around forty young patients along with their families. Volunteers had been busy decorating this ward


for the past few days. On February 4, we spent time with the young patients and indulged in some playful activities, like face paintings etc. to cheer them up. Special cakes were prepared and cut at this occasion. Gift hampers with coloured pencils, writing pads, toys and information booklets were distributed among kids and their families. The colourful activity was a source of delight for the innocent young patients as they were happy to see so many people showing love and care for them. Overall, the event was a source of great satisfaction for the organizers as well as the participants.

 

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10
March

Written By: Ummar Shahzad

6th JCC Meeting Held in Beijing

“The economic corridor project would serve as a game-changer for the region and usher a new era of prosperity”.

(President Mamnoon Hussain)

 

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has kicked off with dozens of projects under implementation in all regions of the country. CPEC is a flagship project of Chinese broader vision of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). It has been rightly termed as “Economic Game and Fate Changer”. It will not only bring prosperity to Pakistan and China but also benefit the region at large. CPEC will open doors to immense economic opportunities for the people of South Asia and connect China to markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. The CPEC land route upto Gwadar will shorten the existing circuitous sea route of almost 16,000 kms to about 3,000 kms, greatly reducing the travelling time and economic cost. Notwithstanding the controversies being aired against CPEC, successful realization of CPEC will result in meeting the energy shortfalls, in addition to building the development and communication infrastructure.

 

cpecturnreality.jpgPursuant to the consensus reached by the leadership on promoting and developing CPEC, 6th meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held in Beijing that reviewed the progress made so far and discussed the long term plan of CPEC. Security was also kept on agenda and relevant input was sought over the practical steps taken for the security of Chinese personnel involved in the development work. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform (PDR), Mr. Ahsan Iqbal presided the JCC meeting from Pakistan’s side, while Mr. Wang Xiaotao, the Vice Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), chaired on behalf of the Chinese government.


The agenda points of the meeting were:
• Progress review including long term planning for energy, infrastructure and Gwadar Port projects.
• Development of crucial short term projects for improvement of road and rail infrastructure, rehabilitation work and rail-based mass transit systems.
• Industrial cooperation and development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
• Disaster prevention and mitigation measures.
• CPEC security.


Progress Review of CPEC
The formal session began with progress review of ongoing CPEC projects in which main focus was laid on timely completion of Early Harvest Projects (EHPs). Minister PDR apprised the progress achieved after the 5th JCC meeting and highlighted impediments in fast track development work. Both sides concurred that, the overall progress of CPEC is satisfactory. Both sides focused on timely completion of EHPs, which would essentially help in maximizing benefits for both countries. Sector wise progress review is:

cpecturnreality1.jpgEnergy Projects
12 CPEC energy projects including Sahiwal and Port Qasim coal fired power plants and others under construction are nearing completion. A total of 8130 MW energy will reach national grid with investments of over $16 billion by 2018. JCC agreed that China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company (CET), which is a subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation, will sponsor Matiari-Lahore and Matiari-Faisalabad transmission lines projects. JCC also agreed to form a mechanism on the development of hydro projects along the Indus River including Bhasha Hydropower Project.

 

Infrastructure Projects
Satisfaction was shown on two mega infrastructure projects i.e., Havelian-Thakot section of Karakorum Highway (KKH) and Multan Sukkur Section of Peshawar-Karachi Motorway. Three short term projects including, Thakot-Raikot road (136 kms), Khuzdar-Basima road (110 kms) and upgradation of Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob road (210 kms) also came under discussion, where feasibilities have been completed and the loan requests for investment have been given to Chinese. The expansion and upgradation of Main Railway Line (ML1) from Peshawar to Karachi was declared as strategic component of CPEC. It was agreed that work on ML1 will be implemented on fast track for the realization of benefits to both strategic partners. In infrastructure, four mass transit lines including Orange Line have been approved on the proposal of provinces: The details are:


Orange Line (formally announced as part of CPEC).
Karachi Circular Railway.
Greater Peshawar Region Mass Transit System.
Quetta Mass Transit System.

 

Development Work at Gwadar Port
Gwadar Smart City Master Plan and related projects were discussed in depth. It was agreed that, early completion of Gwadar International Airport, Free Zone and social sector projects will bring a message of hope and much needed support from the local community. Construction of additional multipurpose berths at Gwadar Port including development of breakwater and dredging work is planned to commence during late 2017.


Industrial Cooperation
Substantial focus was laid on China-Pakistan industrial cooperation and a number of agreements were signed in fields of energy, steel and industrial parks. Chairman Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BOI), Mr. Miftah Ismail led conversations over industrial cooperation and proposed development of one project in each province, federal capital, FATA, AJ&K and Gilgit-Baltistan. BOI will host investors from Chinese side in early January-February to dwell upon the locations of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).


Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
JCC agreed on Early Warning System and strengthening of emergency response for the all CPEC projects.
CPEC Security
A special session was arranged for discussing security matters during JCC. Commander Special Security Division (SSD), Major General Abid Rafique apprised the forum about comprehensive security mechanism and measures taken by law enforcement agencies of Pakistan to ensure foolproof security. He apprised the house that Pakistan Army’s SSD will lead and articulate the security of CPEC. The forum was briefed about the speedy raising and operationalization of SSD and successful completion of security undertaking of First Trade Convoy from Khunjerab to Gwadar and back. It was highlighted that the Chinese need to follow security advisories inside Pakistan to ensure security. The Chinese were found eager to learn about security and were satisfied with the overall security arrangements.


The 6th JCC meeting was conducted in an atmosphere of cordiality, friendship and mutual understanding for achieving the shared vision of development of CPEC. Practical steps have to be taken for timely completion of EHPs, which would help build confidence and forestall all anti-CPEC developments for both Pakistan and China. Besides that, sharing of long term plans with all the stakeholders is a healthy sign, which has been time and again stressed upon for maintaining overall transparency of CPEC. As regards to the new projects, the Joint Working Groups of ministries/departments should plan the feasibility works at priority and ensure timely initiation of projects. Another milestone achievement was inclusion of industrial zones/SEZs in CPEC projects. Such socio-economic development through focused steps in KP, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would ensure creation of secure enabling environment which is vital for the future of CPEC.


Chinese concerns on security need to be allayed through continuous engagement and sensitization on security environment. Realistic security assurances need to be made with Chinese as both Pakistan and China remain key stakeholders for security as shared responsibility.

 
10
March

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed

Physics is essentially the science of matter, light and energy. It deals with the processes and phenomena of the physical nature in the universe. The modern day physics is organized into classical physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, etc. It aims at observing the patterns, behaviours and consequences of the physical phenomena. Physicists often use thought-experiments and mathematical models and develop hypotheses, which on confirmation through experimentation achieve the status of scientific theories. Theories are then used for understanding the present and predicting the future results and outcomes. Physics was established as a discipline of science in Archaic Greece about four centuries BC. Pioneering works of legendary philosophers and scientists like Archimedes, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were treated as authority right till the beginning of the 17th century. Although in the intervening period Muslim scholars preserved, translated and in many important ways extended the Greek science, in essence it was a new wave of scientific revolution brought about by the liberation of mind from the religious dogmas in Europe during the course of Reformation and Renaissance preceding the 17th century that laid the base for modern physics and the 17th century came to be known as the Century of Science. Science has since then witnessed spectacular advances and has succeeded in rationally explaining many unknowns which in the past used to be attributed to supernatural phenomena.

 

surprisecountdown.jpgGlossing over the recent history, physics got a boost by the pioneering work of hitherto unknown Einstein at the start of the 20th century. He published three important papers in 1905. One of these was on photoelectric effect for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. In this work he followed the idea of Max Planck that electromagnetic energy like light does not travel in the form of a continuous wave but in discreet packets of energy called quanta. He experimented with various metals using light of varying intensity as well as frequency (various colours of the spectrum) and produced varying streams of electrons. The second paper presented the Theory of Special Relativity which explained the relationship between space and time, and provided the mathematics for analyzing the relativistic motion close to or at the speed of light. As a precursor to Einstein's Special Relativity Theory Maxwell had, a century earlier, established that light was an interaction between moving electricity and moving magnet and was an electromagnetic wave. Einstein theorized that it would be a self-supporting wave only if it moved at a fixed speed in all reference frames. This distorted the previously held fundamentals of time and space. According to Special Relativity both time and space contract along the direction of motion i.e., the space contracts and time slows down. The moving observer himself sees no difference in his own frame of motion but another observer in a different inertial frame (frames moving with constant speed or zero acceleration) measures the relativistic changes. The magnitude of contraction was calculated using the equations already developed by Edwin Lorenz, George Fitzgerald and Henry Poincare. As an object approached the speed of light it would contract in the direction of motion to a singularity and become very heavy approaching infinity and it would be impossible to accelerate it further. No kind of matter is thus able to achieve the speed of light which serves as a fundamental limit on physical motion. Photon is a particle of light, which itself is not an object but an electromagnetic interaction, and it travels at the speed of light because it has no mass and moves at a constant speed of 3x10^8 metre/second. The speed of light is constant in all directions regardless of the fact that the light source is moving with constant speed or accelerating. Special Relativity is built on this edifice which has become a fundamental of modern physics. Having no mass, photons do not need a medium to propagate and light can travel through vacuum and that is why we see the galaxies in outer space. Einstein's ground breaking work on mass and energy equivalence by his epochal equation of E = MC2 together with Special Relativity provided another view of the impossibility of matter achieving the speed of light. As the mass approached infinity it would need infinite amount of energy to accelerate it to the speed of light. Time dilation postulated in the theory was later practically proved by sending two accurate atomic clocks on board scheduled flights eastward round the world twice and similarly placing two clocks on westward round the world flights twice and then comparing the time with an identical clock placed on the ground in USA in 1971. Time dilated and onboard clocks slowed down by a fraction of a second exactly as predicted by the Theory of Special Relativity. In his third paper published in 2005, Einstein proved the existence of atoms creating the foundation for the Standard Model.


In 1915 Einstein produced the General Theory of Relativity, which provided a theoretical model for predicting the motion of accelerating frames of motion like the galactic bodies. It provided mathematical basis to Newton’s model of calculating gravity presented a century earlier. Newton’s model gave accurate force of gravity for objects moving at ordinary speed and was not able to handle objects moving close to the speed of light. General Relativity works for relativistic motion near the speed of light and vindicates Newton's theory of gravity at slow speeds. Newton's mathematical model provided a method of calculating the force of gravity; it did not explain the origin of gravity. Einstein's General Relativity provides an understanding of the origin of gravity as a consequence of the time-space warp. Any massive body bends or warps the four dimensional (time and three space dimensions) grid giving rise to the force of gravity. The greater the mass or higher the speed, the greater is the warp and hence the force of gravity. For example, gravity on the surface of the Earth is six times that on the surface of the Moon. Gravity at the event horizon of the Black Hole at the centre of our galaxy Milky Way may be billions of times higher than at the Sun. When Einstein had originally developed the mathematical model of General Relativity, it predicted an unstable and expanding universe. Einstein, thinking that an unstable universe would be hard to believe, fudged it by adding a cosmological constant that made it unchanging. He later recanted and called it as his greatest mistake in 1929 when Edwin Hubble proved that the universe was actually expanding.


Physics witnessed a big surprise when it was discovered in 1998 that the universe was not only expanding but accelerating. The acceleration part cannot be explained by the known fundamental forces and new explanations are required posing major challenges to the physicists. Einstein's General Relativity Theory had predicted that light rays would bend as they passed by the massive bodies. This prediction was practically proved concurrently by a British team, led by astrophysicist Arthur Edington, and a German Team by observing light rays emanating from the stars behind the Sun, which normally cannot be seen, during a solar eclipse in the islands of South America in 1919. The light rays bent precisely by the amount predicted by the theory which catapulted Einstein into an unprecedented fame. From then onward this theory has passed every test and challenge. The toughest test it passed happened only recently in 2013. Einstein had predicted generation of gravitational waves in the universe from massive bodies moving at high speeds. He had predicted that a massive system of binary stars revolving around each other at very high speed would emit gravitational waves as the system dissipated its energy. He had further provided that as a result of the loss of energy and hence the mass from the generation of the gravitational waves, the time period of the revolution would keep reducing. The gravitational waves had, however, never been detected directly or indirectly till recently. A few years back scientists had identified a massive binary system only about 7500 light years away from the Earth. One of the two binary stars was a neutron star whose mass was over two times that of the Sun but it occupied a space only about 17 kilometre across. The other star was a white dwarf compressed to a small size with its mass close to that of the Sun, which is revolving around the massive twin nearly 300 times a second. Scientists thought that this massive system moving at such a high speed could provide an opportunity of putting the General Theory of Relativity to the toughest test so far by detecting the generation of gravitational waves indirectly through reduction of its time period. After painstaking observations and calculations it was established that the time period of the binary system was reducing by 8 millionth of a second every year which is exactly in line with the amount predicted by Einstein's theory. Very recently an American observatory directly detected the gravitational waves emanating from the collision of two black holes on February 10, 2016 proving Einstein right in the toughest test yet.


One of the most fascinating results of the theories of relativity is the theoretical possibility of travelling through time. Theoretically it is possible for someone to travel into the future of others left behind, by time travel. Similarly the Theory of General Relativity allows the manipulation of space-time for travelling into the past. Practically, however, it might not be possible to surmount the real challenges to time travel.


Theoretical physics is indifferent to the direction in which time flows and it is theoretically possible for the time to run backward. Maxwell's equation for the interaction between electricity and magnetism, which explained the nature of light, had a strange implication. It had two equally valid solutions: one produced 'retarded waves’, of the light, as we understand and the other 'advanced waves' which started from the destination and ran backward to the source. The latter made no sense and therefore the other solution was ignored. Over a century later American physicists John Wheeler and Richard Feynman were studying the behaviour of an atom as it emitted quanta of light or a photon. They observed that a photon is emitted by a single electron from an atom and that the atom experiences recoil as the photon leaves. They tried to explain the recoil by considering the forgotten advanced waves that travel backwards to the source. They think that two photons are involved in the self-interaction: one photon leaves the atom and is absorbed by another atom; the absorbing atom also releases another photon which reached the source atom in time to cause the recoil, through the quantum leap, by travelling back in time. This is still a speculative area of physics and could have more surprises in store!


Special and General Theories of Relativity provided classical mechanics the capacity to treat systems of motion of large galactic bodies moving at relativistic speeds. But a new branch of physics was developing at the onset of the last century which was to handle the physics of the very small, the quantum particles, which reveal the nature of matter and light. It had become quite evident to the physicists that classical physics that dealt with the certitude of motion of the heavier bodies, would not provide a handle on the probabilistic motion of the quantum particles. The probability function was presented by Schrodinger’s famous Wave Function, a bizarre possibility of all the particles could have equal probability of being everywhere at the same time. It was the act of observation or measurement that created the reality by fixing a particle. The Wave Function that gives the sum of all probabilities collapses to a definite state in the act of measurement. Known as Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty it requires that if you fix the position of a quantum particle you disturb its momentum which is needed to predict accurately its future position. Equally strange is the behaviour of the entangled particles which seemed to act like one entity even if separated over long distances. It appears that if a measurement is made on one of the entangled particles, the other knows this fact along with the outcome of the measurement instantly even though there appears no known means of communication between the two. Quantum Entanglement implies an interaction between two particles which while remaining separate act like one instantly. Nothing actually travels between the entangled particles; it is only the information that reaches there instantly. Einstein had referred to it as the spooky action at a distance. It was because of these bizarre possibilities that he had disagreed with the uncertainties of quantum mechanics saying that God does not play dice with the universe. He believed that there was a hidden reality in the quantum world that had yet to be discovered. Einstein spent his remaining life looking in vain for that hidden reality. Meanwhile, quantum mechanics, though bizarre looking, has met all experimental confirmations and has led to numerous technological breakthroughs.


With the help of classical physics and quantum mechanics, we could separately handle massive bodies as well as quantum particles moving close to or at the speed of light. All attempts to-date to integrate the mathematics of the large bodies and that of the quantum particles have broken down as there is no way yet of integrating the force of gravity with the other electromagnetic forces, weak and strong. A major conundrum is thus posed by some cosmological objects that are very large in mass but very small in size like a black hole. Classical and quantum physics together do not provide mathematics of the physics of a black hole that may have a mass of thousands of suns but the event horizon of only a few kilometres. The escape velocity from the event horizon of a black hole is so high that not even light can escape it. The time is therefore stationary at the event horizon. No information is available about what goes on inside black holes; that continues to remain a mystery to physics. It poses a new frontier for understanding the universe. Such problems cannot be solved until we achieve the unification of the gravity and non-gravity physics, which is what the so called, Theory of Everything (TOE) is loosely referred to.


Four fundamental forces (Electromagnetic, Weak, Strong and Gravity) acting through corresponding quantum particles known as gauge bosons (photon for electromagnetic, W and Z particles for weak force, gluon for strong force and yet to be discovered illusive graviton for the force of gravity) together are the cause of actions that shape and govern the universe. Electromagnetic and weak forces were unified at high energy level by Abdus Salam, Glashow and Weinberg in early 1970s and they were jointly awarded Nobel Prize for this work in 1979. The Strong and Electromagnetic interactions are unified in nature. Negative charge of an electron which forms part of electromagnetic interaction and positive charge of the three quarks of a proton which forms part of Strong interaction is perfectly balanced resulting in neutrality of the matter. However, all attempts to achieve the Grand Unification Theory (GUT) of Strong and Electro-weak interactions have remained elusive so far. Proving of GUT requires creating those particles that require very high energy levels which are not likely to be achieved in the HADRON in the near future. Meanwhile, scientists are looking beyond the unsuccessful GUT and ambitiously attempting to unite all the four forces including gravity into a Theory of Everything (TOE).


A novel concept of creating a single building block of all quantum particles hit the minds of the scientists. They visualized it like a vibrating quantum string which at different frequency and energy levels represented different quantum particles. String Theory will overcome the major limitations of quantum physics by eliminating the singularity and explaining the quantum interaction of gravity by its force carrying hyper-dimensional particle graviton when it is successfully finalized. It will be able to explain the interactions of all the four forces during the early moments of the universe before the splitting of the particles and forces. No one has seen the quantum string in any experiment but this conceptualization provides some interesting options of quantum representations. There had come about a number of String Theories which have been combined into one theory called M Theory. It postulates an 11 dimensional graviton: one of time, 3 of physical space and 7 additional curled up dimensions for quantum connection. It might be that after the Big Bang the energy level was such that the three space and time dimensions inflated, creating space and time but the other 7 dimensions remained curled up and compacted and are embedded in space and time everywhere. The string requires the seven curled up dimensions to create all the particles known to be part of the Standard Model through various patterns of vibration. Superstring Theory proposes the length of the curled up 7 dimensions to be in the order of 10-35m (close to the Planck Length) and this would require energy of particle collision in the order of 1019 GeV to detect the higher dimensions. This is about a million, billion orders of magnitude larger than can be achieved in the HADRON presently. If the extra dimensions are somehow discovered physics will change fundamentally and it will succeed in unifying gravity and non-gravity physics through the TOE that Stephen Hawking called a simple and elegant equation that will handle all interactions in the universe right from the earliest time. TOE would enable the scientists to go back in time right to the limit of know-ability at the Plank Time of 5.5x10-44 seconds after the Big Bang revealing the secrets of the early universe from presently known limit of 10-33 to the know-able limit of 5.5x10-44 seconds. The HADRON Collider has not yet been able to detect particles smaller than quarks which could explain the TOE.


Humanity has always been very curious to understand the universe, and at all times it had a leading model of some sort for its physical visualization. In 340 B.C. Aristotle gave a metaphysical model that the earth was stationary and in the centre and the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars moved in circular orbits around it. A new model was presented by Copernicus in 1514 that the sun was stationary at the centre and the earth and the planets moved around it in circular orbits, which was further advanced by Galileo about a hundred years later. Newton in the 17th Century rejected the centrality or hierarchy of any heavenly body by rejecting metaphysics and gave a rational model of the universe where all heavenly bodies obeyed the same laws of physics without any distinction. This liberated the universe from the supernatural connections and brought it in the realm of science. Einstein, by his General Relativity Theory, presented a scientific view of the universe and explained the origin and action of gravity that played a key role in shaping the universe and presented the model of the expanding universe. This remained as a guiding model till it was challenged recently in 1998 when it was observed beyond doubt that the universe was not only expanding but is accelerating with increasing speed. This model is in line with the original model developed by Einstein before his fudging it by the insertion of the cosmological constant. If Einstein had not arbitrarily made the universe stationary by inserting the cosmological constant, we would have known in 1916 what was then discovered in 1998, saving nearly 80 years for advancing physics. The acceleration of the universe is an enigma that physics has yet to find new frontiers to unfold the unknown secrets.

 

A new model was presented by Copernicus in 1514 that the sun was stationary at the centre and the earth and the planets moved around it in circular orbits, which was further advanced by Galileo about a hundred years later. Newton in the 17th Century rejected the centrality or hierarchy of any heavenly body by rejecting metaphysics and gave a rational model of the universe where all heavenly bodies obeyed the same laws of physics without any distinction. This liberated the universe from the supernatural connections and brought it in the realm of science. Einstein, by his General Relativity Theory, presented a scientific view of the universe and explained the origin and action of gravity that played a key role in shaping the universe and presented the model of the expanding universe.

Since it was established by Edwin Hubble in 1929 that the universe was expanding, scientists had been observing that farther the galaxies they could see faster were they moving away from one another by analyzing the red shift of the light reaching the earth. It was logical to think that billions of years back the universe must have been much smaller and back at zero time it would be a singularity of zero size. It is to the credit of the living giant of a physicist Stephen Hawking that he postulated the beginning of the universe in his book on “the Beginning of Time”. Einstein’s General Relativity Theory also leads to the beginning of the universe from a singularity. As all mathematical laws including the General Theory of Relativity break down at a singularity, it is not possible to predict the nature of the universe that came out of it. Friedman had also described the universe right back to the Big Bang. The time that we measure every day, the space that we encounter and the matter that we see was not there before the Big Bang. The time is passing, space is expanding but it is not known whether the matter is also changing, increasing in some unknown form like dark matter or staying constant or decreasing.


Soon after the Big Bang the universe was very hot and as it expanded the matter or radiation in it cooled which would have played a major role in shaping it. In fact even the type of particles that would have existed in the early universe was linked with the temperature. One second after its birth it would have cooled to about ten thousand million degrees, which is about ten thousand times the temperature at the center of the sun. As the universe expanded with the speed of light, nearly 3x108 m/s, after the big bang it reached a size of 1.65x10-35meters in 5.5x10-44 seconds. This is the smallest distance that is at the limit of quantum determination and is called Planck Length. For distances smaller than this that correspond to the time earlier than 5.5x10-44 seconds there is quantum confusion as defined by Eisenberg Principle of Uncertainty. So our knowable universe starts at the Planck’s Time. At this time quantum particles had not yet started separating and there existed only one unified force. From 10-37 to 10-33 all quantum particles separated creating the four fundamental forces one by one. The first to separate at 10-37 second was the force of gravity. The next was the Strong Force that separated with its particle gluon at 10-35 second. Last to separate were electro-weak interactions through their corresponding photon, W and Z gauge bosons at 10-33 second. It is for this reason that unifying the force of gravity and the strong force with the electro-weak interactions is so challenging.


If we want to study the universe from 10-33 to the limit of know-ability i.e., up to the Planck Time (5.5x10-44 seconds), we need to unify all four fundamental forces into one mathematical model. That is what is behind the global quest for a TOE. But why are we so fixated to know the secrets of the early moments of the birth of the universe, it is because by looking into the past we would be in a position to better visualize the future of the universe. Unification aims at searching the particles that were released at very early time after the Big Bang. Such particles that separated at very high energy levels require equally high energy physics to separate them. The largest particle smasher Hadron is constantly being upgraded through more and more powerful super conducting magnets to achieve speed of racing protons close to that of light which on collision create very short lived particles of interest but it is still not able to that the required level of speed of collision.


There are other models of universe competing with the Big Bang concept like the universe being a sequence of contraction and expansion instead of a time and space singularity at the start of the Big Bang. Similarly, the concept of multiverses co-existing but not interfering with one another except at the time of some cataclysmic events is full of future surprises. Looking at the big surprises in physics that continue to be discovered every now and then provides a bizarre contrast with once held view that physics had all been fully discovered. It was a result of the ongoing endeavour that the hitherto illusive Higg’s boson was discovered in 2013 at the Hadron to complete the Standard Model of physics. Higg’s boson creates Higg’s field which is responsible for giving all matter its mass. This has been an epochal development. The standard model of the constituent parts of matter that started with Dalton's theory of indivisible atoms grew to the generation of the elementary particles of protons, neutrons and electrons and finally to the latest generation model of two broad categories of particles (fermions that include quarks, compound protons and electrons) and gauge bosons. Fermions constitute the matter in the universe and the gauge bosons carry various forces or interactions. The fermions carry spin in multiple of halves (1/2) and the gauge bosons have the spin as multiple of integers. To-date 17 particles have been discovered which include 12 kinds of fermions (6 quarks and six leptons or electrons) and five gauge bosons, including the latest discovery of Higgs Boson in 2013. The quantum theory predicts a total of 18 elementary particles and the remaining particle called graviton that provides the interaction of gravity is yet to be discovered. The Standard Model therefore describes only the interaction among three fundamental forces of electromagnetic, weak and strong to the exclusion of the fourth force of gravity. The discovery of graviton would lead to the unification of all four forces into a Theory of Everything. A key particle of this model that was predicted in 1964 by Edwin Higgs among others that later came to be called as the Higgs particle remained elusive till 2013, casting doubt on the robustness of the iron-cage Standard Model that had been successful in predicting many other particles that were later discovered but the non-ending quest for Higgs particle had posed a big conundrum. Its discovery after all has nearly completed the Standard Model. Even then the Standard Model with its known particles can explain structure of at the most 5% of the material universe. The rest defies our explanation; there may also be what is called dark matter, which is sensed only by the gravitational pull on astronomical objects like the visible galaxies and also on the rays of light. The unproven supersymmetry (SUSY) theories propose the possibility that there are massive electrically neutral dark particles of mass in the order of 1019 times that of a proton which might be stable enough to seed the dark matter. No evidence of the massive particles has however been detected so far. But there is more in the universe that is not known and that is the dark energy. While drawing an energy balance scientists estimate the universe is composed of 4% normal baryonic (protons and neutrons) matter, 23% dark non-baryonic matter and 73% illusive dark energy. Physics thus faces monumental challenges to explain the dark matter and the dark energy and it is far from being complete as was once thought. Dark matter gravitates and is an object in space but dark energy presents an enigma. It does behave like gravity and is something connected with the space itself. It acts against gravity and may be responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe which was detected through the motion of farthest galaxies. The mysterious force that might be responsible for the observed acceleration in the expansion of the universe against expectation could be the dark energy.


Dark energy's origin is still elusive. It is associated with the vacuum of the free space and causes a negative pressure in regions devoid of gravity-attracting matter and causes the empty space to inflate unlike the positive pressure that causes deflation due to attraction. Dark energy might be a fifth fundamental force that has yet to be understood and explained. Physics cannot rest on its laurels; physicists have to explain the universe that has kept its mystery still to itself. It may be interesting to recall when Max Planck was attending university towards the end of the 19th Century and was considering pursuing a career in physics or music, his physics professor advised him to pick music as theories of physics were complete and there was little left to do in this field. Lucky that he still picked physics and was later to discover that the new surprises would blow apart everything his predecessors had assumed to be true. It perhaps is truer now than it was then. Physics has never been at a brink of completeness.


The largest particle collider Hadron restarted its operation on April 05, 2015 at twice the previous power to discover how the universe works, which may enable it to discover the dark matter and perhaps the extra quantum dimensions that may prove the TOE. Will the newly achieved speed of racing particles in the Collider lead to unfolding more of the hitherto held secrets of reality should be happening in the near future? Once thought to be complete, physics faces numerous conundrums and is set to meet many surprises!

 

The writer holds a PhD degree from Stanford University, California USA. He is a former Federal Secretary and has been CEO/Chairman of OGDCL and Chairman NEPRA.

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

 
10
March
Ukraine Dominates in Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup

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CAS Karakorum Ski Championship and Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup, both international events were held at the enchanting resort of Malam Jabba, Swat. Ukrainian skiers outclassed their rivals in both men and women categories at the magnificent ski slope, which hosted this international event for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force and Air Marshal Asad Lodhi, Vice Chief of Air Staff who is also President of Ski Federation of Pakistan awarded the medals to the winners of different categories of these two international events.

 

50 male and 10 female skiers from Pakistan and 8 international skiers from Morocco, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Tajikistan participated in the CAS Karakorum Ski Championship and Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup in the scenic valley of Swat. During these events Jan Jakubco from Slovakia won 6 gold medals whereas Ivan Kovbasnyuk from Ukraine won 2 gold medals in men’s category. In women’s category Tetyana Tikun from Ukraine won 7 gold medals whereas young Pakistani skier Ifra Wali won 1 gold medal.

10
March
We Owe Our Independence to the Sacrifices of Our Shuhada: COAS

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Siachen and laid wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada of Gyari. He said, “We owe our independence to sacrifices of our shuhada. Nothing is nobler than laying one’s life in defence of the motherland”.


While talking to troops at Goma and Gilgit Sectors, COAS said, “We are all proud to be soldiers of Pakistan and defending it irrespective of terrain or weather difficulties”. He also said, “Despite facing internal security challenges, we are fully prepared for effective response to perpetual threat from the East”.


Later, COAS interacted with notables of Gilgit-Baltistan. COAS assured them that Army is extending full support to all initiatives aimed at ensuring the rights of GB as part of the federation.


Earlier, on arrival at Skardu, COAS was received by Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza.

 

10
March
COAS Calls on Prime Minister of Qatar, Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was on an official visit to Qatar met Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The Prime Minister acknowledged Pakistan's contributions towards development and growth of Qatar. He also hailed Pakistan Army's contributions towards regional peace. He said, "People of Qatar greatly value people of Pakistan and trust their time-tested commitment for working in Qatar. He expressed his desire to learn from Pakistan Army's experience in security domain and also seek assistance during forthcoming Football World Cup in Qatar including provision of manpower.

 

newscoascallongatar.jpgThe Prime Minister also shared his desire to move forward with Pakistan on multiple fronts including cyber security, defence production and ease of travel. COAS thanked the Prime Minister for his expression and assured him all possible cooperation in the desired fields.


During his meeting with Major General Muhammed Ali Ghanim Al Ghanim, Commander Qatar Emiri Land Forces, the host appreciated Pakistan Army's professionalism and performance in ongoing fight against terrorism. He showed his interest for joint training and field exercises. Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa thanked the Commander while also assuring him to work for undertaking training cooperation. COAS also visited the Qatar Emiri Guard Headquarters and met Major General Hazza Bin Khalid Al Shahwani. COAS visited Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College where Pakistani tri-services contingent of 166 members is imparting training.

Foreign Heli-Skiers’ Visit to ISPR

A heli-ski team comprising 38 foreigners from 12 different countries visited Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate at GHQ Rawalpindi. The team was on a week long tour to Pakistan through a joint collaboration of Training Recourse Group (TRG) and ISPR, for heli-skiing and to explore beauty of Pakistan. The team was briefed by Director General ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor about security environment in Pakistan for sports. The visitors appreciated the role of Pakistan Armed Forces in war against terrorism and improved security environment. The team also visited Northern Areas under arrangements by ISPR for heli-skiing before their departure.

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10
March
Indian CFVs Have a Design. These Will be Responded to Effectively: COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited troops on Line of Control (LOC) at Mattewala, Munaawar Sector. General Officer Commanding (GOC) briefed COAS about operational situation. While appreciating operational readiness of the troops, COAS directed that unprovoked Indian Ceasefire Violations (CFVs) be responded to effectively. He said that ‘Pakistan Army’ soldiers are known for their professional competence, motivation and selfless devotion for the defence of our motherland and are the backbone of Pakistan Army’.


COAS said, “Indian CFVs have a design. On one side it is an effort to divert the world's attention from her atrocities against innocent Kashmiris; on the other it is an attempt to dilute our response against terrorism and militancy. The targeting of civilians along LOC is deliberate and highly reprehensible. We are fully aware of Indian design and her support to terrorism in Pakistan and the region. Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadev is one such evidence of these efforts and his case will be taken to the logical conclusion”.


He also said, “Pakistan Army will perform its duty to protect people of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir against all forms of Indian aggression. We will continue our solidarity with people of Indian Occupied Kashmir who are struggling for their right to self determination”.


Earlier on arrival at LOC, COAS was received by Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lt Gen Nadeem Raza.

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10
March
Commander U.S. NAVCENT Calls on CJCSC

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Vice Admiral Donegan, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. Matters of mutual interest with emphasis on geo-strategic environment were discussed during the meeting.

Commander U.S. NAVCENT acknowledged the role of Pakistan Armed Forces in fighting the menace of terrorism.

Student Delegation Visits Gwadar

A delegation comprising 230 students and teachers of Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lasbela educational institutes visited Gwadar. On arrival at Gwadar, the delegation was received by representatives of Army, civil administration and students of local colleges. The visiting dignitaries were given detailed briefing on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, development of Gwadar Port and different projects by Gwadar Port authorities and Gwadar development authorities.

 

Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz also had an interactive session with the students and answered their queries. He also participated in a 'peace walk' along with students organized by the locals and later on hosted a dinner in the honour of visiting delegation. The initiative of Youth Exchange Programme was launched in 2015 with the aim to create harmony among the students of different provinces and provide more opportunities to the students of less developed areas of Balochistan to learn from the students and faculties of other provinces. Such visits are now a regular feature of Youth Exchange Programme.

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10
March

Written By: Lt Col Malik Noor Mohammad (R)

From a veteran’s pen who shares account of his valiant martyred son.

On January 18, 1983 in Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Multan, amidst people waiting to be examined or to visit their relatives, I was waiting patiently for my son. At 05:45 hours I finally got the news of his birth. No one knew the future of this baby; only Allah Almighty knew as He himself had written his fate.

 

chasindownthe.jpgAs he grew up, his determination to join Pakistan Army also became intense. He applied for 107th PMA Long Course and after clearing the preliminary tests he proceeded for the final test at Inter Services Selection Board (ISSB), Malir Cantonment. He had to stay there for four days as per the scheduled tests. On the third day he got seriously injured while participating in ‘group task’ test in the field; he received injury on his leg and his shin bone was affected badly. The administrative staff of ISSB decided to send him back as he would not have been able to do well in the leftover tests where complete physical fitness was required. This decision was communicated to Jahanzeb but he refused to go back and pleaded that he wanted to appear in all the tests. On his insistence he was produced before the President of ISSB Malir Cantonment Brigadier Shafqat. Before the President he said, “I would prefer to die in ISSB rather than going back home as an unsuccessful candidate”. He further said, “I would only go back if I am called back by my father”. Considering his high morale, strong motivation and enormous enthusiasm, the President allowed him to continue the remaining tests at his own risk. He had a bandage wrapped around his injured leg firmly and started taking his remaining tests. He was selected for the army, completed his training and joined 3 Frontier Force Regiment.


Much later, Major Jahanzeb Adnan joined his parent unit as Delta Company Commander in Frontier Region (FR) Peshawar to take part in the war against terrorism. 3 Frontier Force (FF) Regiment was given the responsibility to clear the terrorists from the area starting from Bara extending upto Dara Adam Khel. Major Jahanzeb Adnan initially conducted operations as a company commander and later on he was appointed second-in-command of his battalion. Besides his administrative duties he volunteered to participate in field operations. He was an exceptionally brave, highly consummate, professionally trustworthy and extremely determined officer. The spirit of sacrifice, devotion and commitment to the motherland and professional excellence displayed by him in different operations against the terrorists had always been admired by his superior commanders. While discharging his duties he participated in various operations and led his troops from the front.

 

chasindownthe1.jpgIn the last operation he conducted, he led his troops and moved to Bazargai village, a continuation of Hasan Khel village near Khikanaboo Hills. Because of increased terrorist activities in Frontier Region Peshawar, Operation Bazargai was planned as that village was being used as an operational and administrative base by the miscreants. On February 16, 2014, I received a message from my son with a request to pray for his success as he was on the move for an important operation.


Major Jahanzeb Adnan took fifty soldiers along with another field officer Major Siraj-un-Nabi. They carried out a classic march and reached near Bazargai village on February 17 at 0800 hours. As per source information terrorists were to come out on February 18 so he moved to Azakhel Dam. He was on the move throughout the day and reached Azakhel Dam at night where he carried out search operations and managed to clear Azakhel village. Without taking rest, early in the morning he moved back to Bazargai village. On reaching Bazargai, Major Jahanzeb confirmed the presence of terrorists and regrouped his troops. One party under Major Siraj-un-Nabi was sent by him to cordon off the village. Major Jahanzeb Adnan took along a few soldiers and decided to smash the terrorists himself.


When he was establishing his positions he suddenly saw a few terrorists headed by their leader, Tariq (alias Hazrat Ali), the most notorious miscreant who had been involved in many terrorist activities (including slitting throats of Pakistan Army soldiers and FC troops) entering the street of Bazargai village. Major Jahanzeb recognized him and ran towards him in order to not miss the opportunity of killing that high value target. While attacking the terrorist, he yelled, shouted and challenged him to surrender. In the process, Major Jahanzeb fired at him and the terrorist received bullet on left arm, ran for cover like the coward he was and managed to get into a shop to save his skin. During the scuffle the other terrorists fired at Major Jahanzeb who was alone at that time as his other comrades got pinned down due to intense fire. He got severe injuries but he returned fire on the other terrorists. Subsequently he managed to kill all of them.


After elimination of those terrorists, Major Jahanzeb followed the terrorist leader and entered the shop. During this encounter Major Jahanzeb also got a burst of fire by few other terrorists seeking hideout inside the same shop. He received seven bullets, one in the head and six on the body and succumbed to his injuries, embracing shahadat on the spot. He did not fall down but stood firmly on his feet with his back touching the wall. Out of fifty soldiers only he embraced shahadat and nobody else was injured. His last fight was a supreme act of valour and I am proud of my son who laid down his life in the defence of Pakistan.

 
10
March

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

The publication and accessibility to researchers of documents concerning the last decade of the British Raj call for a fresh look at the events and developments during the decade, and for a revision of the historiography of the period. They have shown several assumptions taken for granted during the period to be false, and several myths unfounded.


One of the myths so consistently and so vehemently propagated by the Congress’ leaders, polemicists and propagandists during the epochal 1937-47 decade was the “collusion” between the Muslim League and the British government. And when the Pakistan demand was raised in 1940, it was immediately put down as being British-inspired – as a “stumbling block” on the road to freedom. Indo-Muslim journalism, so far as the English-language press was concerned, was nebulous and exceedingly weak at the time, so that it could not really join the issue.
In so characterizing the Pakistan demand, the Hindu leaders and publicists conveniently brushed aside the cardinal fact that the Pakistan demand was anti-British, both abinito and ipso facto. After all, it was pax Britannica that had swung the pendulum towards centrepetalism, systematically and institutionally, the most for the first time in all the annals of Indian history, and that had made the nebulous concept of Indian unity a “reality” during the ninety-year (1858-1947) British imperial rule. Britain had given the subcontinent not only a unified political structure, but also a unified system of administration, justice, and education, and had turned the vast country into a “geographical entity” through a comprehensive and well-knit communication network. And for almost a hundred years, almost every British statesman had alluded to this “achievement”, which they had proudly and rightly considered as the greatest “gift” of British imperial rule in India.

 

In order to nail the Congress’ myth(s) to the counter, it would be interesting to see how Jinnah took on the British after he had tackled the “haughty” Congress and after it had taken to political wilderness in late 1939. This calls for a brief review and reappraisal of events and developments during the 1937-47 decade.

Such being the case, how could any British statesman be expected to have a soft corner for the Pakistan demand which portended the undoing of their greatest “contribution” to India in history? And, indeed, none had, as revealed in the documents and in the memoirs published since 1947. As Prime Minister Clement Attlee (and others) have since confessed, they were forced into partitioning India because, all said and done, there was really no way out, the harsh ground reality.


Even otherwise, the unity of India and an indivisible, single polity were concepts that were never at the centre of Indo-British tussle, nor at the centre of the disputations between the Indian National Congress and the imperial power. What, however, were in dispute were the pace of reforms and the quantum of self-government.


However, because the Muslim League and Jinnah were arrayed against the Congress since 1937, the Congress charge sounded plausible for a short while. More surprising, it was repeated ad nauseum even at the academic level (e.g., Ashok Mehta and Achyut Patwardhan The Communal Triangle in India, and Uma Kaura Emergence of the Demand for Pakistan), and that not in the heat of the acrimonious debate during 1940-47, but long after.


In order to nail the Congress’ myth(s) to the counter, it would be interesting to see how Jinnah took on the British after he had tackled the “haughty” Congress and after it had taken to political wilderness in late 1939. This calls for a brief review and reappraisal of events and developments during the 1937-47 decade.


Of the three main parties – the British, the Congress and the Muslim League – on the Indian political scene during 1930s and 1940s, the League represented the weakest side in the Indian political triangle. Such being the case, the League could not be expected to take on both the foes at the same time. It tried very hard to come to terms with the Congress initially, but its offer was spurned with high disdain, after the latter had become “heady” with its unexpected but spectacular success in the 1937 elections. The Muslims were kept out of the portals of power as a community; Pandit Nehru laid down a “two-forces” dictum, ruling them out as a religio-political entity; he also launched a mass contact programme to wean Muslims away from their accredited leader and organization on the basis of “bread and freedom”.


This was the background to Jinnah’s marathon campaign against the Congress which he had launched at Lucknow in October 1937. Its central theme was the exclusion of Muslims from the portals of power in the Hindu majority provinces and the Congress’ designs in the Muslim majority provinces, and a promise to restitute power to Muslims. This telling theme explains the rather astonishing response to Jinnah’s clarion call from both the Muslim political literati and the masses. Jinnah’s greatest problem at that juncture was two fold: (i) to get the Congress to recognize the pan-Indian Muslim constituency that the Muslim League claimed to represent, and (ii) to guard that constituency from getting evaporated, eroded or from being splintered into easily digestable or manageable micro-constituencies, from the Congress viewpoint.

 

If the Pakistan demand was inspired by anything, it was by the concept of the Muslim religio-political identity, which may be traced back to Shah Waliullah. If Jinnah and the Muslim League had worked in collusion with any one, it was only with the Muslim nation. That explains why the Muslims voted for the Muslim League and for Pakistan so overwhelmingly in the 1945-46 general elections.

Fortunately, for Muslim India, Jinnah’s blitzkrieg against the Congress worked incrementally. Fortunately the Muslim constituency, instead of getting eroded or splintered, became increasingly consolidated. Fortunately, for both Jinnah and Muslim India, the Congress blundered into resigning in the late 1939, upon the outbreak of the war; that it did with a view to blackmailing the British into conceding all of its demands. Fortunately, again, the British, though disturbed by Congress’ moves and motives, still stood firm, and refused to surrender to Congress blackmailing.


Against the background of this rupture with the Congress, the British needed Muslim support in the war effort all the more; they tried to make amends for ignoring the League in the past and conciliate Jinnah and the League. Thus, for the time being, there was a congruence of interest between the League and the British government. Jinnah, the strategist and master tactician that he was, knew well what permutations and combinations would pay him dividends, and he tried, as any shrewd politician in his position would have surely done, to exploit the war situation – to strike a hard bargain. The League’s resolutions during 1939-40, and his pronouncements, and his correspondence with the Viceroy during the period provide a clear indication of the aims he was pursuing at the time, and the ultimate goals that were at stake. And by his tactical moves and shifts, he was thus able to secure for the Muslims virtually the power of veto over the shape of India’s future constitutional framework. This he did in the Viceroy’s declaration of August 8, 1940.


Actually, by a fortuitous configuration of forces and events, both the British and the League needed each other at that critical juncture – to help advance their respective interests. And this is amply clear from both the utterance of Jinnah and the correspondence of Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy. In the course of his speech at the League’s Patna Session (December 1938), Jinnah had strongly refuted the allegation that the League was an ally of British imperialism, probably the most telling but hackneyed charge preferred by the Congress. He said that there could be no “greater falsehood”, adding:


I say the Muslim League is not going to be an ally of anyone, but would be the ally of even the devil if need be in the interest of Muslims. It is not because we are in love with imperialism; but in politics one has to play one’s game as on the chess-board. I say the Muslims and the Muslim League have only one ally and that ally is the Muslim nation, and one and only one to whom they look for help is God!
Nor was the Viceroy under any illusion about the League’s or Jinnah’s ultimate course of action, despite their sympathy and conditional support for British war effort at the time. In his letter to Lord Zetland on October 23, 1939, Lord Linlithgow had this to say:


The Muslim League resolution, so far as it goes, is very satisfactory. I hope we shall be able to cover Jinnah’s points... in the (House of Commons’) debate and I trust that when the time comes for me to see him I shall not find him too intransigent. I do not at the same time regard the Muslim League as necessarily something which we can hope to depend on in all circumstances. I feel pretty certain that the nationalist leaven will begin to work in that body also, at any rate among its younger members before too long and that is a factor of which count must be taken.”


And, for sure, Linlithgow was hundred per cent correct. Once the Congress had been, ‘tackled’ and had, moreover, gone into political wilderness – that is, once the Congress’ “threat” had receded – Jinnah took on the other side – viz., the British – step by step. Although the Punjab and Bengal Leagues stood for unequivocal support to the war effort, Jinnah had made the League’s support contingent on certain conditions. When those conditions were not met, he got the League to call upon Muslims not to serve on provincial or district War Committees, in June 1940.


Later, in August 1941, when the Viceroy nominated Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, Fazlul Haq, and Sir Mohammad Sadullah, the Premiers of the Punjab, Bengal and Assam respectively, on the National Defence Council, Jinnah moved swiftly, and called upon the Premiers (and other Leaguers) to resign from the National Defence Council or face disciplinary action, Sikandar and Sadullah gave in immediately, and Fazlul Haq, who tried to put up a defiant posture initially, also resigned two months later. Such Leaguers as did not heed the call (e.g., Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz and Sir Sultan Ahmad) were expelled from the League.


In the middle of 1936, when Jinnah had begun preparing the League for the 1937 provincial elections, it was moribund, coming to life only when an all-India issue loomed large, and existed on paper for all practical purposes. He sought support wherever it was forthcoming, enlisted candidates with little discretion and devised a political machine of a sort to fight the elections. The League Parliamentary Board was weighed in favour of the pro-Congress Khilafatists, Ahrars and the Muslim Unity Board, and he himself was pledged to create a progressive “nationalist bloc” which would cooperate with the Congress and like-minded groups in the legislature. At that juncture, he represented the “radical” wing in the League; he brought the League close to the Congress and went along developing, something like a “concordat” developed between them in the U.P. and Bombay. And till after the elections he also offered the olive branch. But after elections, when the Congress spurned his offer with high dislain, offered terms to the U.P. League which amounted to “absorption” instead of “partnership”, and initiated measures for the dissolution of Muslims as a political entity, he reacted sharply. He wielded his influence with the U.P. League leadership to isolate the pro-Congress elements, bringing them in line with new League’s posture to withstand Congress’ diktat, or getting them purged. This occurred during June-September 1937, when the League went in for a confrontation with the Congress.


In the late 1941, the National Defence Council issue provided Jinnah an opportunity to show his hand in respect of the British, expose and isolate the pro-British elements, and establish his authority over them, once and for all. By then, the League was no more even a nominal ally of this or that interest or party; it was the professed ally of only one interest – that is, the Muslim nation. By the same token, the charge that Jinnah or the League was in “collusion” with the British should have sounded too hollow by then. But the Congress’ publicists indulged in them till the end, and the Congress-oriented scholars long after.


By early 1943, Jinnah felt that the League had developed sufficient muscle power to throw off its cover and come into “the open”. This is attested to, among others, by the ‘Note’ of the proceedings of the Delhi League Session (April 1943), prepared by the Intelligence Department and sent to Secretary State (MSS EUR F. 125/38; reproduced in The Transfer of Power, volume III, pp. 918-23).


Since this Note (marked “strictly secret”) represents the official British interpretation of Jinnah’s developing posture of confrontation, it is extremely instructive and relevant in interpreting and assessing the vicissitudes in his attitude and the galvanizing of Muslims under its banner.


This Note finally clinches the issue posed by the Congress’ charges of the Pakistan demand having been inspired by the British, and of Jinnah and the Muslim League working in collusion with the imperialist power. If the Pakistan demand was inspired by anything, it was by the concept of the Muslim religio-political identity, which may be traced back to Shah Waliullah. If Jinnah and the Muslim League had worked in collusion with any one, it was only with the Muslim nation. That explains why the Muslims voted for the Muslim League and for Pakistan so overwhelmingly in the 1945-46 general elections.

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO’s History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan’s Founding Father.
 
10
March

Written By: Osman Asghar Khan

Government policies have a major role to play in promoting economic growth, while reducing income inequality and concentration of wealth in the country. Article 38 of the Constitution requires the state to promote the social and economic well-being of the people. This includes removing disparities in the earning and income of individuals. Unfortunately, the state has broadly failed in this constitutional duty. The economic managers of the country have often claimed for macro-economic stabilization, increase in foreign exchange reserves and improved tax-to-GDP ratio. But the people are always more concerned with employment, with access to high quality healthcare, education and, speedy and inexpensive justice. Whether it is 4% or 5% per capita growth in GDP, it is largely a jobless growth. It is a fact that inequality in all its manifestations is increasing in Pakistan. There is inequality of income, assets, education, health, public services, and inequality between the different regions and provinces of Pakistan. This inequality in turn retards economic growth opportunities, which means that millions of Pakistanis cannot earn a decent livelihood, and an entire generation of our youth is condemned to lead wasted lives. This inequality also breeds resentment and hate. These feelings of hate and resentment very often end up manifesting themselves in vicious acts of terror and extremism that have cost thousands of Pakistani lives. It has, therefore, become essential that we take notice of the threat growing inequality poses to our national security and that the state take steps to reduce inequality and promote economic growth.

 

inequalitypak.jpgInequality is often looked at in two ways:one is inequality of outcomes, and the other is inequality of opportunities. Equality of outcomes is somewhat unnatural because all of us have different talent and abilities. But the state must at least strive to ensure equality of opportunity, and this is where we have been failing. Ensuring equality of opportunity requires at a minimum that all citizens, particularly the children of the poor, are given access to quality education and healthcare, that they can compete for any job for which they have the necessary skills and abilities, and that all citizens have equal access to justice and an equal stake in the political process.


In today’s Pakistan, we see inequality of both outcomes and of opportunities. We see inequality in earning; while we argue whether the per capita income has increased by 4% or 5%, the earning of the average investor in the stock market has increased by close to 40%. We see inequality in access to capital, with 7% of borrowers getting 93% of the loans, while small and medium sized businesses are starved of funding and citizens cannot get mortgage finance to buy their own homes. Many poor people are unable to afford their own homes – the HBFC loses billions of rupees every year but gives out only something like 2,000 loans. On the other hand, some real estate companies are highly profitable and the beneficiaries of multiple tax amnesties. The cement prices are among the highest in the world. We see many corporate sectors making huge profits, with rates of returns above 30% in sectors such as the power sector, the banking sector, the automobile and the cement sector, but with no benefit to consumers or the workers employed in those industries. While our agriculture sector is dying, the fertilizer companies continue to be highly profitable.


While our top private schools send students to some of the best universities in the world, millions of other children are out of school, and the standard of public schooling is mostly poor. There are great disparities in the standard of healthcare offered by most public hospitals and the best private hospitals. There is a disparity between the different regions of the country; for instance, the infrastructure, the economy, the education systems and the employment opportunities in different parts of the country.


Pakistan is not alone in seeing growing inequality, it is a phenomenon seen in many different parts of the world. The divide between the haves and have-nots continues to grow deeper and wider. The shocking election results in the United States is partly a reaction against this phenomenon.


As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said, “Inequality is a choice” that we make because of the policies that a government promotes. The state policies must therefore address the causes of inequality. There is a need for radical reforms in our government education system. There is a need to focus on the quality of primary school education and the quantity and quality of secondary school education. There is a need to help the children of the poor. There is likewise a need for radical change in our public healthcare system, not only in the large cities of the country, but particularly in the rural districts of Pakistan.


Agriculture policy needs to be focused on increasing the productivity of our farmers.
Industrial policy must favour those sectors that create jobs. Pakistan has South Asia’s lowest rates of participation of women in the workforce. We must encourage our women to play their due role in the development of our economy.

 

There is inequality of income, assets, education, health, public services, and inequality between the different regions and provinces of Pakistan. This inequality in turn retards economic growth opportunities, which means that millions of Pakistanis cannot earn a decent livelihood, and an entire generation of our youth is condemned to lead wasted lives. This inequality also breeds resentment and hate. These feelings of hate and resentment very often end up manifesting themselves in vicious acts of terror and extremism that have cost thousands of Pakistani lives.

While we want to encourage our business community, regulation must deal with market failures, particularly monopolies and cartels, and ensure increased competition in markets where companies are highly profitable. The interests of consumers and the need to promote investment for job creation must be kept paramount. Over the last few years the corporate tax rate has been progressively lowered and yet the corporate sector has not invested more nor created the jobs needed to employ the millions that enter the labour force every year.


Trade unions must be strengthened; not to paralyze and destroy good businesses but rather to ensure a more equal distribution of power between management and labour. The minimum wage must be set at an appropriate level and enforced throughout the country.


Financial inclusion, particularly ensuring that all citizens have access to credit as well as the means to build up and get a positive return on their savings should be another focus of government policy. This means that banking policy must ensure that private banks extend their branch networks and bring down the fees that they charge for use of banking services. The state must also ensure that banking policy promotes home-ownership in the country. Regressive indirect taxes must be reduced. Greater reliance must be placed on income tax, property tax and wealth tax.


Inequality has always been a fact of human life. It would be naïve to think we can live in a perfectly equal world. There is no simple solution to reducing inequality. What is clear is that the state must take the lead in addressing this issue and must do so urgently.

 

The writer is the Honarary Consul for Ireland in Pakistan.

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10
March

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

After the complete fall of the Muslim empire in India in the 19th century CE, most Muslim thinkers responded to the fall rebuffing the putrefying reminiscences of their imperial past. They began to espouse certain notions of nationalism to find their place in the shifting standards of global order.
One main outlet of early Muslim nationalism in South Asia encouraged the embracement of ‘modern education’ and the sciences so that an educated and informed Muslim nation could emerge in India to face the challenges of British colonialism and the rise of Hindu nationalism.


This pursuit was academically driven by an emerging Muslim middle-class. It saw the Muslims of India as a distinct cultural unit, united by an urge to refresh its shared faith through a more rational reading of the Muslim sacred texts.

 

returinigtoidea.jpgA major element of this Muslim nationalism also undermined pan-Islamism because it believed that the ethos and social demeanor of Muslim culture in South Asia was largely separate from how Islam had evolved elsewhere. Pakistani nationalism, which emerged from this strand of Muslim nationalism, was thus inherently pluralistic. But politically it was exclusivist. Till the mid-1970s, the government and state institutions of Pakistan continued to explain Pakistani nationalism as a modernistic and progressive expression of Islam.


But some dire happenings, such as the East Pakistan debacle in 1971, split the Pakistani polity. An insistent feature of this polarization began to be expressed through certain convoluted pan-Islamist alternatives. These alternatives succeeded in prompting a popular response from a new generation of middle and lower-middle-class Pakistanis impacted by the 1971 debacle. The emerging pan-Islamic aspect of the changing notion of Pakistani nationalism was also backed by certain oil-rich Arab regimes who had seen modern Muslim nationalism as a hazard to their idea of faith and politics.


As a reaction to the mounting acceptance of this alternative version of Pakistani nationalism, the Pakistani state began to readjust the country’s ideological status quo by co-opting various features of pan-Islamism; even to the extent of forgoing many of the state’s original ideas of Pakistani nationalism. The gaps created by the gradual attrition of the original nationalist narrative began being filled by ideas which, ironically, had been shelved by the early Pakistani and Muslim nationalist intelligentsia.


The emerging alternative was opposed to the original Muslim nationalist narrative. It censured it for going against ‘Islamic universalism’. But many decades after such ideas managed to root themselves in the state and polity of Pakistan, the country was thrown in an existentialist catastrophe. For instance, many young Pakistanis today seem to be detached from the original ideas of Pakistani nationalism because as students they were bombarded by ideas of an amalgamated pan-Islamic version of Pakistani nationalism. A version which was never a part of the idea of Pakistani nationalism weaved by the country’s founders.

A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

Many young Pakistani men and women are not quite sure what being a Pakistani today means. Does it mean being a citizen of a Muslim country which emerged along the mighty River Indus and is part of this area’s 5000-year-old history; or does it mean being a citizen of a pending universal theological idea?


Such a muddled mindset was impelled by the steady corrosion of the original idea of Pakistani nationalism, and the upsurge of a rather ambitious concept of a divergent idea of nationalism. This has also made a whole generation vulnerable to the ways of those who are now promising the same convoluted theological utopia, but through unparalleled violence against the state and its citizens.


Even though the Pakistani state now seems to have accepted the fact that much of the sectarian, ethnic and religious violence of the past many decades has been nurtured by a rather complicated and divergent version of Pakistan’s nationalist narrative (which we have been touting ever since the 1970s) there is still uncertainty about what could such a deep-seated narrative be replaced with.


I believe the solution is present in the increasingly elapsed elements of early Pakistani nationalism. A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

 

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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The great majority of us Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).... But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.

(Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Broadcast talk to the people of Australia, 19 February 1948)

 
09
March

Written By: Hasan Khan

The fresh wave of terrorism, particularly the deadly terrorists’ attacks in Lahore and Sehwan Sharif, has forced the government to launch a countrywide security operation against militants, their facilitators and sanctuaries.


The campaign – Radd-ul-Fasaad – having major focus on urban centers, is believed to be long anticipated and needed too; following the purging from militants the ‘peripheries’ particularly the tribal areas and adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the hard-fought military actions.


Apparently seemed to be launched as a reaction to the fresh wave of terrorism, however, well informed quarters believe that this campaign is part of the grand military strategy prepared and followed for years now. When this grand strategy was formed, the fear of militants was widespread in society. In certain areas, they were having physical control of territories and predominantly targeting personnel of security forces, law enforcement agencies and government installations.

 

The campaign – Radd-ul-Fasaad – having major focus on urban centers, is believed to be long anticipated and needed too; following the purging from militants the ‘peripheries’ particularly the tribal areas and adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the hard-fought military actions.

It was decided then to go gradual. Starting from scrubbing the crust of the earth first, denying the militants from holding any physical space before targeting the militants and their facilitators in their underground sanctuaries particularly in the urban centers of Punjab.


No doubt, by its very nature, Radd-ul-Fasaad is not going to be an easy exercise. It’s going to be tougher and more complicated as it brings the war against militants into the streets of densely populated centers.


Additionally, it’s not area specific but covering the entire country. Here the law enforcement agencies have to go deep and clear the underground sanctuaries instead of sweeping the crust.

 

radulfasadfinal.jpgIn all the earlier military offensives, the battles were limited to certain geographical areas, with options of evacuating the entire population, isolating terrorists and their sanctuaries; and more freedom to use heavy weaponry including artillery, gunship helicopters or jet fighters. Radd-ul-Fasaad has no such option of isolating the terrorists by evacuating the population. And being fought in urban streets there is limited or no option of using artillery or gunship helicopters.


So it was primarily planned to be an intelligence-based offensive, where the target was to be first identified through actionable intelligence before going and fishing them out from the midst of the populace.


However, since its launch on February 22 till date, the way this ‘final showdown’ against the-now-invisible enemy is carried out; one does not find the tempo and impetus of previously conducted operations, which were conducted in a conventional military style. It was planned to be an intelligence-based countrywide affair, in order to convey a strong message to the enemies and their facilitators, that now they can’t run or hide from a certain area to another and avoid action.

 

No doubt, by its very nature, Radd-ul-Fasaad is not going to be an easy exercise. It’s going to be tougher and more complicated as it brings the war against militants into the streets of densely populated centers.

Besides Pakistan Armed Forces, the operation also includes police and other LEAs. From initial action of police, it seemed to be the typical random ‘pakhar dakhar’ of police. From the word go, the very first impression somehow created, was that the campaign is aimed at targeting persons of a particular ethnic background or those belonging to specific areas. This unintended consequence is detrimental not only for the operation but also a negative to be exploited by the enemies of the federation of Pakistan. Particularly, Pakistan Army leadership must take notice of it and curb this practice without delay.


Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was planned to be a precise, result oriented exercise having an element of ‘surprise’; not striking randomly or arresting people on the basis of mere doubts or having certain complexions. As of now, on many occasions we see the typical policing mentality is in the working. The way it was initiated gave an impression that the personnel of law enforcement agencies already knew where the militants and facilitators were hiding and they were just waiting for orders. The usual target areas are the slums and localities where low income or poor people are living. This police activity including intelligence setups appears good for optics or a typical police ‘karguzari’ aimed at furnishing a ‘sub-acha’ report. Terrorists and militants are not ordinary thieves or street criminals to be brow beaten by going in an utterly disorganized way or creating a chaotic situation by exercising the hit-or-miss option. The sooner we realize to re-organize our actions the better; otherwise this ‘national campaign’ may not produce the desired results. And we must make all efforts to make it a success; a final decision blow to the enemy.


By virtue of the fact that the battleground is lying deep in populations’ centers, Radd-ul-Fasaad is, no doubt, a most complicated battle. It is a test of both the political and military leadership where failure is not an option at all.


To create the desired national impact and send a strong message to the enemies; that there is no place for them to hide; the political leadership, both in government and opposition, the civil society and all law enforcement agencies have to be on the same page.


Due to sheer propaganda on ethnic persecution, by creating a rift – or a sense of rift – in the society vis-à-vis the campaign, we are reinforcing our failures to the benefit of enemies and their facilitators both within and abroad.


The current state of random and haphazard style must be shunned immediately. It has to be made a national campaign where all arms of security apparatus including the Army, Air Force, Navy and Rangers be involved in the true sense and law enforcement agencies be assisted through actionable intelligence.

 

To create the desired national impact and send a strong message to the enemies; that there is no place for them to hide; the political leadership, both in government and opposition, the civil society and all law enforcement agencies have to be on the same page.

No doubt, failure is not an option for the nation but here the success too is not an easy goal. As believed to be a ‘final showndown’ we shall be ready for a long drawn nerve wrecking exercise.


We shall be mindful of the fact that once the ‘direct or latent terrorist threats’ are eliminated, the next phase will be definitely targeting the sectarian and other extremist organizations. It is part of the grand purging strategy. As such organizations may not pose immediate or direct threat, however, they are instrumental in radicalizing the society and bringing bad name to the country. Facts are also revealing that majority of the militants who joined the terrorists or jihadi organizations were once part of different sectarian groups.


It’s going to be tough for reasons that unlike past anti-militant adventures, where heavy weapons were used, here we will be combing the entire population for picking the bad boys through sheer intelligence. For successful intelligence we need to have the confidence of the people which is possible only through winning their hearts and minds.


It has be made indiscriminate and broad based while targeting the militants and their organizations with no leniency for ethnic or political backgrounds. Otherwise, potentially, it can spoil the gains of past military offensives to the benefit of the enemy.


Moreover, the new leadership of the army has to be conscious of the fact that irrespective of which law enforcement agency is conducting the campaign, people expect results from them.


Military has to its credit the conduct of the toughest of campaign against militants and Radd-ul-Fasaad shall prove to be a culmination of all the anti-militant campaigns. So it’s a test of the new military leadership.


Of all the military operations, Rah-e-Rast – launched in May 2009 in Swat valley by former COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani – was the most difficult military offensive. Militants had taken over physical control of Swat valley following a peace deal with government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


The campaign displaced almost 2.5 million people, however, within a span of three months, not only the entire valley was cleared and handed over to civilian administration, but all the displaced people were rehabilitated.


Former COAS Gen Raheel Sharif too has to his credit taking the wars to the most difficult terrains and heavily forested valleys of Shawal and Tirah in North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies by launching Zarb-e-Azb, and destroying the command and control centers of hardened militant organizations. The era of Gen Kiyani and Gen Raheel was the era of clearing the peripheries.


Today as the fighting against militants has entered the urban centers, the people have more but genuine expectations from the new commander of Pakistan Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa – who no doubt is new on the seat but has been on the scene for very long.

 

The writer is a senior journalist, analyst and anchor person.

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09
March

Written By: Muhammad Azeem

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad aims at cleansing the society from the menace of terrorism and uprooting the terrorists’ sympathizers, facilitators and remnants. This noble cause would need comprehensive and wholehearted participation of the society to achieve the desired end state. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, has already achieved significant successes in fight against terrorism in North Waziristan in particular and the FATA and other parts of the country in general. With the clearance of the Shawal Valley, the last stronghold of terrorists in North Waziristan Agency, Operation Zarb-e-Azb reached its culmination, though the terrorist threat has transited to our urban areas with implicit support of few elements of the society and full backing of foreign intelligence agencies. In order to counter the threat which is imbedded in the public and lies beyond the police capacity, Radd-ul-Fasaad is the way forward to stabilize the security situation. As stated by ISPR, operation Radd-ul-Fasaad will be jointly conducted by Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Rangers and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), focusing on the ingress of the terrorists in the society. Scope of such a large operation demands active public participation to achieve the desired results. Systematic inclusion of society in this endeavour of national significance would be of paramount importance.


During pre-partition era, the British established a well-orchestrated system of public participation in running state affairs. In comparatively settled areas, Zaildar and Lumberdari system was established for revenue collection and their appointments were also used in extending the writ of the state to the far flung areas. Village headman was de-facto state representative in the village. While dealing with the tribal society particularly in Balochistan, the British invoked the most powerful institution of Sardars and Nawabs. These tribal heads were assisted by an elaborate mechanism at every tier of tribal society, starting from the Nawab to the Chief of tribe, Muqadam, Mir, Wadera and finally, till the lowest tier of Sirtakery (village headman). Levies Force was authorized to them for enforcing the state writ within their tribal jurisdictions.


After independence, these local community based institutions lost their importance due to lack of state patronage. Politically motivated local government system could not replace this very effective lowest tier mechanism of governance, however, the potential benefits of such a system should not be lost especially in an environment demanding security consciousness. Based on my experience of serving in Balochistan and FATA, there is a vacuum of governance at the grassroot level through community participation. The proposed system shall replace the colonial system of community participation in governance and help in establishing the writ of the state. Proposed system should be fine-tuned in the existing local government system with least financial effects. This will help achieve the objectives of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and make the gains sustainable in the long term. As envisaged, neighbourhood communities shall be created and registered at street/mohallah/village levels comprising 10-40 houses. The clusters of neighbourhood should be grouped under Ward Councilor in the existing local government system and the tier of Ward Councilor improved to include the security aspects. In addition, National Guards formed under 1973 Act, shall also be integrated in this concept.


In this concept, neighbourhood refers to a small community (10-40 houses) which is living in the same contiguous locality. The residents of this community may or may not be relatives or from the same ethnic or sectarian/religious background. Every neighbourhood member/house shall register with their mutually nominated elder. Neighbourhood elder should maintain the complete profile of his neighbourhood and record any changes within his community. He should report to his Ward Councilor in case of any unusual happening which is not in line with the NAP or government policy laid down from time to time.

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Responsibilities of neighbourhood elder should include maintaining profile of his neighbourhood community and submitting monthly report to his Ward Councilor for any change in profile. As the system matures, various phone applications can be developed for updates. He should also report any unusual happening in his neighbourhood to the authorities. Every house of the neighbourhood should be registered with neighbourhood elder and each house should have the following tag on his house gate:
The proposed system will help in extending the writ of the state. Neighbourhood elder, being part of the community, can keep an eye on his neighbourhood. Any unusual happening leading to an act of terrorism/human-induced disaster involving people from his neighbourhood should make him answerable to the state apparatus. LEAs will have an established contact person (neighbourhood elder) in each neighbourhood. Any household which refuses to abide by the laid down policy would be liable to questioning by the LEAs.


In the cities, neighbourhood community may not be homogeneous and may resist registration. Therefore, legislation and motivation by local leadership/LAEs will be required to make them part of this system. Ethnic/sectarian division in the society may also impede the implementation of this concept. Proposed system must ensure that special provisions are made to ensure protection of vulnerable members of the society/neighbourhood. Neighbourhood elders should be made responsible for ensuring safety of vulnerable community members living in his jurisdiction.

 

Structure of Proposed System

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Implementation of this concept should involve the local community in sharing their responsibilities toward establishing the writ of the state. LEAs will be facilitated and chances of incidences like Osama Bin Laden compound going unnoticed will be minimized under the proposed system. As a pilot project, proposed concept can be introduced in Tehsil Kalar of District Rawalpindi. Being constituency of the current Interior Minister, implementation of concept is likely to be facilitated.

 

The writer is a Disaster Management scholar.

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09
March

On February 22, Pakistan Army launched yet another operation all over Pakistan after a series of deadly attacks that exacted tremendous civilian toll; a move of hostile elements against the strategic shift of the country towards peace and prosperity. The returning normalcy and sustained peace wasn’t seen as favourable by the terrorists who are on the run and exploiting the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan to regroup and mount attacks inside Pakistan.


Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad with coordinated and clear lines of engagement will focus and advance efforts for zeroing in on terrorist infrastructure and network of terrorists throughout Pakistan. It is continuity of previous operations especially Operation Zarb-e-Azb to indiscriminately eliminate residual/latent threat of terrorism consolidating gains of operations made thus far. In the previous operations terrorist sanctuaries in FATA were destroyed and multiple successes in Balochistan and Karachi were also achieved during the same time frame. However, it seems to be an unending battle because of the enemy sympathizers within Pakistan and a confluence of external destabilizing factors that put Pakistan in a place of strategic vulnerability and disadvantage.


Although attacks are planned and the attackers are provided training in Afghanistan their sympathizers, abettors and facilitators inside Pakistan give undoubted impetus to their plans. Pakistan is making efforts to get hold of these abettors and facilitators and ensure effective prosecution of those engaged in preparing terrorists for the attacks, their training and recruitment. Pakistan is also welcoming recent proposal from Afghan authorities to take forward the mutual coordination and exchange of information for a result oriented effort against terrorism.


During Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Corps, Police and intelligence agencies will work together in the light of National Action Plan to eliminate violence. The operation will provide the much necessary cleansing in populated areas where the terrorists had relocated during the previous operations. The nature of this operation is more sophisticated and complex as avoiding collateral damage would pose a big challenge to our LEAs. The operation envisages steps and measures that go beyond mere kinetics and will involve a sustained country-wide surge against terrorist facilitation networks.


In the meantime, denouncing the radical preachers of hate for the due course correction in order to prevent young people from embracing violent extremism and de-escalate the crises they feed off in the nearest possible term must take a stronger position in the national fabric. Terrorists, regardless of their origin, must be held accountable for destroying our social structure, killing innocent children and elders and disturbing civic infrastructure on the whole.


The ongoing operation is a reflection of Pakistan Army’s commitment to control borders and the key desideratum to bringing peace within the country and ensuring long-term stability. In the words of COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, "Each drop of nation's blood shall be avenged and avenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone”. We will never let the nefarious designs of our enemies to undermine our resolve to fight back and to negatively project Pakistan as an unstable country succeed at any cost!

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09
March

Written By: Dr. Mirwais Kasi

Pakistan-China friendship hardly finds a parallel in modern international relations as it is based on mutual respect, mutual advantages and equality and it has the potential to maximize the advantages for regional countries. Pakistan-China relation has displayed durability which has adjusted itself according to changing regional and international scenarios. This bilateral relationship has undoubtedly emerged as a very strong friendship which serves as an exceptional example for the rest of peace loving nations.

Pakistan and China enjoy time-honoured and time-tested friendship which has often been termed as “higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans".Pakistan-China relations, though bilateral, yet offer opportunities for regional and international peace. Whether it is South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa or other contiguous regions, Pak-China relations in some way promote peace, prosperity and stability. In this context, the Central Asian Republics (CARs) are also attracted towards Pakistan-China partnership for obvious advantages. Pakistan-China alliance and its positive effects on Central Asian States are determined by their security needs, economic advantages, and their desire to serve as the energy corridor. This approach of mutual cooperation also strengthens the peace prospects in the entire region. Pakistan gave enhanced focus to relations with CARs in the early 1990s. Pakistan shared history, religion and ethnic affinities with these countries. Further, Pakistan also offered a natural trade route for Central Asian states to reach out the world markets; thus lower their trade and economic dependence on Russia. Pakistan also developed institutionalized arrangements to promote cooperation in the economic and commercial fields. Similarly, after disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union, CARs also got a pivotal position in the region. Therefore in the fall of 1992, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) expanded and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan were included as seven new members of ECO. Member states set the common objective of establishing a single market for goods and services. The ECO states have great potential for promotion of regional trade and economic development, which is yet to be exploited. Through the ECO, many schemes and projects for intra-regional cooperation are rapidly emerging. Although, currently ECO is not a customs union nor common marketplace or a close economic bloc, but with the passage of time there is a possibility for the ECO – which is basically an economic association of regional countries – to assume a political responsibility on geopolitical canvas. In any such case the growing collaborations and understanding between Pakistan, China and CARs from the forum of ECO will improve in scope and significance towards regional peace and stability.


On the other hand, the sudden disintegration of the USSR presented both challenges and opportunities for China. One of the landmarks of Chinese foreign policy is that it has been peacefully dealing with all the challenges to explore new opportunities in the Central Asian region. China not only peacefully resolved its border disputes with Central Asian countries, but it also initiated economic relations with them. Central Asia has rapidly turned into a raw material supplier for China, while China on the other hand has emerged as a supplier of finished product in the shape of machinery, chemicals and hi-tech equipment for CARs. Several free economic zones have been established for promotion of trade activities between the two sides aiming at mutual advantages. China has been assisting various Central Asian Republics in exploration of oil and gas resources and has been involved in the construction of several oil and gas pipelines connecting different channels. Beijing is also trying to expand its military cooperation with CARs, particularly, with its two immediate neighbours, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, Shanghai Five forum – predecessor of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), also played a significant role in bringing China closer to the CARs and leading them towards similarity of opinions and interests on a wide range of areas aiming to explore common interests. With the rise in non-traditional threats and vulnerability of CARs to these non-state actors, the security agenda of the Shanghai Five gradually began to expand.

 

Pakistan in this regard, through Gwadar Port and the CPEC, will play the role of bridge and the shortest link between China and African states. Also due to its Islamic ideological identity and OIC forum Pakistan wins the goodwill of many Muslim African stakeholders. Pakistan and China have thus gained valuable diplomatic support of African nations to defend their international interests.

Pakistan-China friendship has also played a positive and constructive role for Central Asian States. In 1995, Quadrilateral Agreement for Traffic in Transit; a transit trade agreement was signed between Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Later, Tajikistan also became a signatory of this transit trade agreement, which stipulates effective utilization of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) for trade between Pakistan and SCO member states via Kashgar. Although the agreement is still going through a transitional phase but in years to come its scope and significance will be expanded and it will attract more countries towards it. Furthermore, Pakistan’s entry into the SCO has a positive impact not only on Pakistan-China relations and CARs, but Pakistan-Russia relations as well. The SCO has been merging the interests of all these actors on regional and international level at a great pace and has been leading towards the rise of a new military, economic and resource-rich region in the world.


Similarly, China has provided all-out assistance for the development of Gwadar deep sea port in Pakistan and due to its strategic location, Gwadar has the potential to become a gateway to Central Asia and Xinjiang. Similarly, through a road network Pakistan-China will also offer outlets to Russia towards warm waters as well. Through KKH even Iran can access China via land route from Pakistan, and, CPEC also provides an opportunity to India for access to Afghanistan, CARs and Iran via Pakistan. Pakistan and China have been working on up-gradation of KKH realizing its importance. The up-gradation of the KKH is a Pakistan-China initiative to generate north-south and east-west economic corridors. Pakistan and China's commitment to establish an economic corridor gained momentum after Chinese President's visit to Pakistan in 2015 which assured Chinese heavy investment for CPEC having the potential to achieve regional connectivity objectives.

 

The smaller states of South Asia have seen some real Indian interference and military quests since 1947. India is the only South Asian state which has fought the most wars with its neighbours. Besides that India has also been involved in water sharing conflicts with three important states of South Asia namely; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In addition, India not only nuclearized South Asia, but also promoted nuclear and missile race in the region.

Pakistan-China relationship also plays an important role in South-Asia, although India enjoys a little better position in the region due to its size, population and political clout. However, though India has failed to convince the South Asian neighbours to take India as an opportunity rather than a grave threat. India is seen as a problematic entity by most South Asian states and as an irritant and an unbalancing actor in South Asia because of hegemonic Indian objectives in the region. The smaller states of South Asia have seen some real Indian interference and military quests since 1947. India is the only South Asian state which has fought the most wars with its neighbours. Besides that India has also been involved in water sharing conflicts with three important states of South Asia namely; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In addition, India not only nuclearized South Asia, but also promoted nuclear and missile race in the region. Pakistan-China relationship became a positive balancing factor in South Asia. Even sane indian voices admit the positive balancing effect of Pak-China collaboration on the region. It has helped in maintaing nuclear balance and thus minimized conventional arms race. Such developments changed the aggressive nature of India towards its small South Asian neighbours. Since the border agreement was made between Pakistan and China the situation in Kashmir got a bit complex for India. As China became a stakeholder, it shattered the Indian dreams of gaining control over the whole of Kashmir against the will of Kashmiri masses by negating their right to self-determination.

 

pakchinfriendsjip.jpgLikewise, this bilateral relationship has relevance and significance for U.S., Africa and Gulf region as well. Pakistan-China relations with the United States of America saw many ups and downs and it's difficult to describe the nature of the relationship between Pakistan and U.S. and U.S. and China. During the Cold War era Pakistan and U.S. were allies against the communist bloc, however, Pakistan-China collaborations, which began in late 1950s, initially became an irritant between Pakistan and the U.S. Later because of Pakistan, the U.S. and China came closer. The 1990s saw strained relations of the U.S. with Pakistan and China, the main divergent factors being Chinese assistance to Pakistan in missile and nuclear sectors. However, after 9/11 Pakistan became an ally of the U.S. in the War on Terror without compromising its close links with China, and, on the other hand China emerged as one of the biggest economic partners of the U.S. while both continue to be strategic adversaries of each other and their interests do clash at various points on trajectory. Despite many diverging elements, considering U.S. relations with Pakistan and China, the significance of Pakistan and China and their bilateral relations' significance for the U.S. cannot be ruled out completely. The economic partnership between the U.S. and China, Pakistan-U.S. partnership during times of crisis and the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan makes Pakistan-China partnership significant and relevant for the U.S. The United States has also been seeking Pakistan and China's assistance in achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan and addressing climate change, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and promotion of human rights. The U.S. seeks Chinese support particularly in Asia-Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea and East China Sea. Similarly, the geo-strategic location of Pakistan also attracts the U.S. because it can serve as a gateway to CARs and offers a route from energy efficient states to energy deficient states. Chinese role in the development of ports, roads and railway network facilities make Pakistan-China relations relevant and significant for the U.S. as well.


In case of Africa, Pakistan and China attach great importance and relevance to this region as well. Both China and Pakistan have been sympathetic to the African position on many international issues and they have often sided with African countries in the UN Security Council. Pakistan and China, in terms of their relations with African states have turned to a new page with better understanding and cooperation with the objective to gain maximum advantages. Currently, Pakistan and China are interacting with African states on two levels:

 

Pakistan is also vital for Persian Gulf States since most of them strengthened their ties with the emerging super power China through Pakistan. Similarly, through land route Pakistan is the easiest and shortest choice in linking the Persian Gulf region with China, coining it as gateway between them. The strategic location and construction of Gwadar Port provides transit trade and oil supplying opportunities to China and Persian Gulf States through economical and secure options.

I. Through bilateralism via diplomatic, political, social and economic sectors.
II. Through multilateralism via regional, ideological and international forums.
China in particular provides alternate options to African states, by offering them aid and assistance without preconditions and dictations. China seeks natural resources while African nations need her support to explore their resources; consequently the two sides' interests converged to explore mutual advantages. Pakistan in this regard, through Gwadar Port and the CPEC, will play the role of bridge and the shortest link between China and African states. Also due to its Islamic ideological identity and OIC forum Pakistan wins the goodwill of many Muslim African stakeholders. Pakistan and China have thus gained valuable diplomatic support of African nations to defend their international interests.


In addition to above, counter-terrorism has also enhanced the understanding between Pakistan, China and African states. Terrorism became a global problem and African nations are also suffering because of it. They keenly observe Pakistan-China role in the war against terrorism and want to follow the same strategies to eliminate safe havens of terrorists from African land. In this regard, Pakistan and China's contributions are countless; they are not only exporting arms to governments of African countries, but through UN peacekeeping mission they train the local security forces to combat terrorism. As a result, Pakistan-China relations and relevance for African nations became more dynamic and constructive contribution towards peace and stability.


Similarly, in order to comprehend Pakistan-China relations' worth for the Gulf countries, it may be concluded that their ties have been framed through bilateral and multilateral collaboration in diplomatic, security and socio-economic sectors.


Religious similarity, Pakistan’s strategic location and its identity of being a military power among Islamic states have made Pakistan a natural ally of Persian Gulf States. Pakistan, despite its economic and social problems in recent years remains the ultimate hope for many of the Persian Gulf States, particularly after growing distrust towards the western powers. Similarly, Gulf States, particularly Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, i.e., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain, are important from economic perspective for Pakistan as they always assisted Pakistan during the time of crisis.


Pakistan is also vital for Persian Gulf States since most of them strengthened their ties with the emerging super power China through Pakistan. Similarly, through land route Pakistan is the easiest and shortest choice in linking the Persian Gulf region with China, coining it as gateway between them. The strategic location and construction of Gwadar Port provides transit trade and oil supplying opportunities to China and Persian Gulf States through economical and secure options. China’s emergence as regional economic and military power and its expertise in the high-tech sector are attracting Gulf States towards China. Both Pakistan and China significantly developed friendly ties with Persian Gulf States without getting involved in their internal differences. Pakistan and China also maintained a balance between their relations with Iran and other Arab countries which is not less than a landmark of China and Pakistan's foreign policies. Both Pakistan and China now represent themselves as time-tested, credible, cordial and capable allies of Persian Gulf states and GCC members in particular.


To conclude, it can be said that Pakistan-China friendship hardly finds a parallel in modern international relations as it is based on mutual respect, mutual advantages and equality and it has the potential to maximize the advantages for regional countries. Pakistan-China relation has displayed durability which has adjusted itself according to changing regional and international scenarios. This bilateral relationship has undoubtedly emerged as a very strong friendship which serves as an exceptional example for the rest of peace loving nations. With the development of the CPEC, the Pakistan-China alliance presents opportunities that may lead towards security, prosperity, peace and regional and international balance that makes this bilateral relation significant and relevant not only for regional actors but for the rest of the world as well.

 

The writer is Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

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09
March

Written By: Sylvie Lasserre

Three days after the attack on an Indian military base in Uri on September 18, 2016, the Indian media reported the arrest of two Pakistani school children living in a village within an hour's walk from the Line of Control (LoC), which they had inadvertently crossed, having lost their way. During this attack, 17 soldiers were killed as well as the three militants. India, of course, immediately accused Pakistan, who rejected the claim saying: "No sane individual can suggest that Mujahideen carried out this attack to damage the Kashmiri cause”.


Yet, reassuring news for the families of the teenagers came out as, according to the Hindustan Times, an Indian daily, it was a mistake and the two 16 years old boys, Ahsan Khursheed and Faisal Hussain Awan, were expected to be repatriated the following day: "After careful investigation, we established that the boys said the truth and had no criminal intent," an official, under cover of anonymity, confessed to the famous daily.

 

atrocitesinkashminr.jpgHowever, the teenagers did not reappear, and a few days later, the Indian media were radically changing the story: sixteen-year-old boys became 19-year-old men who, after interrogation, reportedly guided the terrorists, although the teenagers were arrested on September 21, which was three days after the Uri attack. One knows what interrogations can be in Jammu and Kashmir... One had to accuse Pakistan, these teenagers were “perfect” to constitute the missing "proof".


Indeed, strangely, the Uri attack occurred just four days before Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 22. When one wants to kill his dog, one says that he is rabid. In fact, this is what happened: the Indian delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations represented by the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Modi being absent, brandished Uri attack as "the worst attack on human rights" to justify the violence and atrocities committed in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Despite the curfew, the Kashmiris regularly go out on the street, braving the Indian security forces which do not hesitate to fire. Since July, more than a hundred civilians have been killed, about ten thousand wounded, several hundreds of whom have lost their eyesight due to the pellet shots of the Indian Army, including women and children.

According to a Pakistani security report, some extracts of which were reported by the Pakistani newspaper The News, "The attack was deliberately designed and carried out by some sections of the Indian security establishment, in order to deflect perceived pressure at the UN over the Kashmir uprising". And indeed, the recent uprisings in Kashmir are totally indigenous and are conducted by a new generation of Kashmiris who have risen up against the occupation of India and demand freedom. Burhan Wani is their symbol.


Moreover, the Indian government seemed so annoyed at the perspective of its atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir appearing under the spot light at the General Assembly of the United Nations that it used illegal means to silence the human rights defenders who were to talk at the 33rd UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: On the morning of September 14, Khurram Parvez, a well-known Kashmiri human rights defender, was detained at Delhi Airport and prevented from taking his flight to Geneva. "I was stopped at the immigration desk. I told them that there was no charge against me and that therefore they could not prevent me from leaving the territory. But they replied that they knew nothing more and only carried out the orders," deplored Khurram Parvez. The following day, September 15, he was arrested at his home without charge and released two and a half months later: "They detained me illegally for 76 days before releasing me, thanks to international pressure and the decision of the High Court of Justice of Jammu and Kashmir, which stated that my arrest was illegal," said the human rights activist, who is also president of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), adding that “they were also about to arrest Parvez Imroz and Kartik Murukutla, two human rights lawyers who were travelling to Geneva as well, but on another flight. An administrative error went in their favour and they were able to take their flight and deliver their report". In fact, India had to prevent them at any cost from denouncing the atrocities committed by the Indian Army on the civilian population of Jammu and Kashmir.

atrocitesinkashminr1.jpgHuman rights abuses by the Indian Army are recurrent in Jammu and Kashmir. The population, which claims its right to self-determination, lives in perpetual fear of the army, especially since the turmoil of the summer of 2016 following the death of Burhan Wani, the young and adulated commander of Hizb-ul-Mujaheedin, killed on July 8, 2016 by Indian security forces. Here, everybody is convinced that the 22-year-old militant was murdered – as the witnesses testify – and not killed in a fight as the army claims.
On the day of the funeral, an impressive human tide, nearly 200,000 angry people, some waving the Pakistani banner, participated in the burial of Burhan Wani whose body was wrapped in the Pakistani flag although they were in Kashmir administered by India. In fact, there, some people dream of becoming a part of Pakistan. On July 15, as protest movements rumbled in the valley, the Indian state imposed a curfew that lasted 79 days. Mobile networks and the internet were also paralyzed.


Despite the curfew, the Kashmiris regularly go out on the street, braving the Indian security forces which do not hesitate to fire. Since July, more than a hundred civilians have been killed, about ten thousand wounded, several hundreds of whom have lost their eyesight due to the pellet shots of the Indian Army, including women and children. Raids in villages, arbitrary and illegal detentions, enforced disappearances, acts of torture against civilians succeed one another in the valley. Testimonies of the brutality of soldiers abound, such as this one, for example: "First the electricity was cut off, then the soldiers began to attack our house, they beat us, including my ten-year-old niece," told a man to Agence France-Presse (AFP) from his hospital bed. "During the raid, the army and the Special Operations Group (SOG) men entered the houses, ransacked supplies and beat the occupants, injuring a dozen people, including women and children. The soldiers also took some 30 young people with them to their camp where they were beaten," said the residents of a village where the lifeless body of a 30-year-old school teacher, Shabir Ahmad Mangoo, beaten to death, was found in the streets on the morning of a raid. It should be noted that the number of soldiers deployed in Jammu and Kashmir is over 700,000, which is one soldier for about 15 civilians, making it the most militarized region in the world.


How far will the greatest "democracy" in the world go in order to continue its abuses against the population without grabbing the attention of the international community? If it could hinder Khurram Parvez, who is an Indian citizen, India could not prevent Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, from attending the 33rd United Nations General Assembly, where he devoted half his speech to the violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir: "On behalf of the Kashmiri people; on behalf of the mothers, wives, sisters, and fathers of the innocent Kashmiri children, women and men who have been killed, blinded and injured; on behalf of the Pakistani nation, I demand an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished".


After Uri attack followed what India calls "surgical strikes" against Pakistan, from the other side of the LoC, that have killed dozens of innocent civilians. In fact, many villagers, including children, were hit by the Indian soldiers. On October 24, 2 people including an infant were killed. On the 28th, three people, one woman and one girl were killed; on November 19, four teenagers; four days later, eight passengers on a bus were killed and nine injured and on December 16 a school bus was targeted leaving one child dead and four injured. The killings have continued ever since.


Today, more than four months after the abduction of Ahsan Khursheed and Faisal Hussain Awan, their families are extremely desperate and still without any news. However, a glimmer of hope is beginning to emerge since an official from the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) began to speak anonymously to the Indian press. According to him, there was no evidence of guilt at the end of January and he mentioned the possibility that the boys "may have been frightened or constrained when they gave their first testimony." By the end of January, a senior official of the Union Home Ministry told The Hindu, an Indian daily: “We will decide on the fate of the two Pakistani boys in a month. So far, there is no evidence of them having guided the terrorists to the Uri camp. We are still verifying the details and their antecedents”.


Meanwhile, the elder brother of Faisal Hussain Awan, Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, who is a medical practioner working in Lahore, is multiplying the contacts in order to try to find some providential help and get the two boys freed. As a last chance, he has written to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. But there is still no news. Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum told Indian media that their mother could not sleep anymore, and that he had to tell her lies, like: the boys were fine, well treated and fed and kept in a juvenile centre and that he could talk to them on the phone from time to time. The truth is that they are trapped by the political game of India and that no news regarding them and their health has emerged.


As for now, brutalities and human rights violations against the Kashmiri population continue in Jammu and Kashmir, despite regular denunciations to the United Nations.

The writer is a renowned French journalist.

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09
March

Written By: Maj Samad Ashfaq

(South Kiere, DRC Congo)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire is the 2nd largest country in Africa spread over 2.3 million square kilometers i.e., almost three times the size of Pakistan. United Nations initially stepped into the country in July 1960 against external aggression when 20,000 military personnel were deployed under the title of “United Nations Mission Operation in Congo (MONUC)”, which ended in June 1964. MONUC was renamed as United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) on July 1, 2010. South Kivu Brigade (SKB) as part of Force Component of MONUSCO, comprises Pakistan Army Units (4 Infantry Units and 1 Aviation Unit) as a dominant sub-component along with allied contingents from China, Uruguay and Egypt.


Working hand in glove, this international blend of exuberant professional outfits is committed to the sacred cause of restoring peace in South Kivu province of DRC. Joined together under the blue flag of the United Nations, these sub-units make parallel efforts to promote their respective vibrant culture and lively traditions. One such joyous occasion was when the Chinese contingent celebrated their “Spring Festival” for the Chinese New Year starting January 28, 2017 – gateway to the Year of Rooster. To express the spirit of friendship between the two neighbours since their inception, Pakistani contingent decided to celebrate the joys of Chinese brethren at their own abode, inviting them as the guests of honour.

 

brotherbeyondborder.jpgSaturday, February 4, was chosen as the day for this pulsating gathering at Adikivu Camp. Clad in uniform, traditional Chinese outfits, Pakistani shalwar qameez and all the colours of spring, the guests were given a roaring welcome by the military band of the hosts, the glorious Al Momin Ba-Waqar of the Punjab Regiment. Besides Chinese contingent members, worthy guests included the top brass of Uruguay, Egypt and Chiefs of MONUSCO civil sections as well. Escort to the venue was provided by traditional Luddi party. Pakistani gesture of sharing the joy was reciprocated by Chinese counterparts with matching fervour. Each event kick-started with the announcement made first by a Pakistani officer, followed by an equally enthusiastic Chinese lady co-host attired in traditional Pakistani dress.


In fervour and excitement, the audience got overwhelmed by the ecstatic blend of Pakistani traditional dances, dynamic acts of Kung Fu, unarmed Combat skills of personnel ex-Special Services Group, dragon dance, Bian Lian (face mask changing) and much more. The hosts took the function to a more interactive level and the spectators became the players. Funny skits, musical chair, egg and spoon race and tug of war culminating at dhamaal by all, left everyone exhilarated. Deep rooted Pak-China friendship throbbed and displayed at its peak when the whole Chinese contingent stood up and chanted “Dil Dil Pakistan”. Spirit of friendship was displayed by presenting Pakistani traditional dressing items to the winning contestants by Commander SKB, Brigadier Ansar Zafar Kazmi and Mr. Charles Frisby, Head of Office MONUSCO, Bakavu.

 

Honourable guests were then taken to the spicy cruise of Pakistani cuisine that was fully relished by the guests. The entire celebrations sparkled with the glittering colours and essence of eternal Pak-China friendship. Gratified with the sense of affection, Chinese brethren were bidden farewell amongst cheers, embraces and revels; while the day casted long lasting imprints on the minds of all participants.

Long Live Pak-China Friendship!

09
March

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Written By: Lt Cdr Nazia Iqbal

Ships of Pakistan Navy and other participating Navies of the world make an arrow formation at the conclusion of multinational exercise AMAN-17 in North Arabian Sea

 

Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 came to its conclusion on February 14, 2017 with spectacular sea maneuvers and Fleet Review in the North Arabian Sea, amid a joint resolve of 37 countries – “Together for Peace”.


Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was the chief guest on the occasion. Upon arrival onboard Pakistan Navy Ship Nasr, the chief guest was received by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.


Defence Minister, Secretary Defence, Governor Sindh, Chief Minister Sindh, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, Sri Lankan Naval Chief, National Security Advisor to PM, ambassadors, Consul Generals, diplomats and other high ranking civil and military officials were also present on the occasion.

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The Prime Minister was briefed on the overall conduct and operational perspective of the exercise and was given a detailed account of the sea based activities.


The chief guest witnessed different operational serials of the exercise conducted at sea by participating naval ships, aircraft, helicopters and PAF fighter jets. These serials comprised replenishment of men and material from one ship to another, Rockets Depth Charge (RDC) firing and surface-to-surface firing on pre-determined targets. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also presented an impressive fly past by various aircraft and helicopters of PN, PAF, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), and participating countries including Japanese P3C Orion aircraft. At the end, all participating ships of different countries skimmed past PNS Nasr in a column formation and presented salute to the dignitary. All the coalition ships also formed up for traditional “AMAN Formation” to signify unity and harmony amongst the participating nations against seaward crimes and maritime terrorism.

 

aman2017two.jpgExpressing his satisfaction, the Prime Minister lauded the strenuous efforts of Pakistan Navy for the successful conduct of Exercise AMAN-17, which is a manifestation of Pakistan’s policy of constructive engagement with the comity of nations for peace and stability in the maritime commons. He further added that ‘presence of such large number of foreign navies is reflective of confidence of world navies on Pakistan’. He also stated that ‘with this state of operational readiness, Pakistan Navy is fully prepared and committed to ensure seaward defence and safeguard maritime interests of Pakistan.’


37 countries participated in the Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 which was conducted in two phases; the harbour phase spanned from Feb 11-12, and the sea phase from Feb 13–14, 2017. The harbour phase comprised International Maritime Conference. On the theme "Strategic Outlook in the Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond – Evolving Challenges and Strategies" in which eminent scholars from Australia Brazil, Canada, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand UK and USA participated there were seminars, table talks, cross ships visits, call-ons, international band display and maritime counter terrorism demonstration. Whereas, the sea phase included practical execution of operational plans and activities finalized during harbour phase.

 
09
March

Written By: Raheel Suleman

"We are proud of being Pakistanis" All set to celebrate 23rd March in A befitting manner

 

People of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan are gearing up to celebrate momentous day of March 23, 1940 with national enthusiasm and fervour. Even those who were misguided by some disgruntled and anti-state elements have changed their hearts and minds and now raise the slogan of Pakistan Zindabad! This change did not come easy, rather it was the collective effort of civil-military leadership and, of course, the masses. The year 2017 will commemorate the 77th year of Pakistan Resolution – a great day for all of us, indeed.

 

On March 23, 1940, Lahore Resolution which is popularly known as Pakistan Resolution was presented by Maulvi A.K. Fazlul Huq at Minto Park in Lahore now renamed as “Iqbal Park”, in which it was unanimously decided to create a separate homeland for Muslims of the Subcontinent. Due to the dedicated efforts of our leaders under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and after immense sacrifices of Muslims of the Subcontinent, they finally achieved a separate homeland. Till that time Muslims were meted out step-motherly treatment by the Hindu majority. Today we are free to shape our own destiny. It gave us our identity as citizens of an independent Muslim state.

 

Authorities in Balochistan, including the military have made plans to mark the day with befitting celebrations throughout the province. There is an air of celebration in Balochistan as masses, from the depths of their hearts, acknowledge the great sacrifices of the freedom movement leaders for giving them a separate homeland.

Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, covering almost 44% of the total area of Pakistan. People of Balochistan stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim League leadership for the creation of Pakistan.


The foundation of the Muslim League in Balochistan was laid by a young known lawyer of Balochistan, Qazi Isa. Father of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah personally visited Balochistan many times.

 

 

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It was in 1938 that Qazi Isa paid a visit to Quaid-i-Azam at Bombay on his return from studies in England and was so impressed that he accepted the invitation of the Quaid to form and organize the Muslim League in Balochistan. Quaid-i-Azam also made a highly successful four day visit to Kalat on personal invitation of Khan Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, ruler of Kalat State.


Like other parts of Pakistan, Balochistan is also geared up to commemorate the 77th year of Pakistan Resolution. Authorities in Balochistan including the military have made plans to mark the day with befitting celebrations throughout the province. There is an air of celebration in Balochistan as masses, from the depths of their hearts, acknowledge the great sacrifices of the freedom movement leaders for giving them a separate homeland.


Bebargh Marri who is a vendor in Kechi Beg area of Saryab, once a stronghold of Baloch separatists, upon being contacted quipped that those who are now living a luxurious life abroad and operating from outside against Pakistan are not loyal with Baloch people, Balochistan and Pakistan. "They are just filling their pockets by pleasing their masters and have done nothing for us," he said adding, "such fake leadership now stands fully exposed and we reject them outrightly". Marri vowed that he, along with people of the area, will celebrate 23rd March with fervour and maintained that they love Pakistan and are ready to render any kind of sacrifice for their motherland.


India is now openly supporting handpicked and so-called separatists in Balochistan, as they have invested three times bigger amount to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as compared to the amount they spent in erstwhile East Pakistan. Fact of the matter remains that China and Pakistan's strategic initiative CPEC is a big blow to India. India felt isolated in the region after CPEC was launched as a part of greater One Belt, One Road (OBOR) to link three billion people of South Asia, Central Asia and China. It is estimated that CPEC will add 2.5% to 3% in the country’s annual growth.

 

The people of Balochistan, especially youth are all geared up to celebrate 23rd March in the most befitting manner as they celebrated the country’s Independence Day last year. A marked change is now evident in Balochistan – the mindset stands changed – this goes for all age groups, particularly the youth of Balochistan who are more than eager to serve their great motherland in the best possible manner. They now openly reject the anti -state leaders and vow to serve their country.

Double standards of our extremely shrewd neighbour stand exposed to the world. On the one hand they talk about peace process in the region, but on the other their National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who is also a former police officer has openly declared Cold Start Doctrine as a strategy against Pakistan. Despite the fact we need to enhance coordination level among provinces, we as a nation must strive hard to give a befitting response to the enemies of Pakistan by showing complete unity.


Pakistan Army with Government of Balochistan is thriving to improve literacy rate in Balochistan, for that purpose many schools of highest standards have been established by Pakistan Army in Balochistan. Over 17,000 Baloch students have been selected for education in various schools and colleges run by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps.

 

youtofbalcoh1.jpgMs. Fazila Bugti, a resident of Dera Bugti who is a student of Pharmacy at the Balochistan University remarked that, "Pakistan Army is sincere with the people of Balochistan. "She informed that her own sister had learned technical skills from Balochistan Institute of Technical Education and was now earning a respectful livelihood for her family.


Moreover, Pakistan Army is also imparting education to over 7000 Baloch students in the schools and colleges of Federal Government administered by Pakistan Army and FC. No doubt the youth of Balochistan are second to none, they only require some guidance.


Government of Pakistan needs to form a comprehensive National Youth Policy and education must be included as the top priority. Our National Youth Policy must work on principles to make our youth grow and be resilient, to enable them to acquire skills and confidence so they can participate and contribute to the social and economic growth of the country.


In short, the people of Balochistan, especially youth are all geared up to celebrate 23rd March in the most befitting manner as they celebrated the country’s Independence Day last year. A marked change is now evident in Balochistan – the mindset stands changed – this goes for all age groups, particularly the youth of Balochistan who are more than eager to serve their great motherland in the best possible manner. They now openly reject the anti-state leaders and vow to serve their country.

Pakistan Zindabad!

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09
March

Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal

For a healthy cohesive nation, strong horizontal people-to-people linkages are needed in addition to vertical authority-to-people relationship by developing shared values and purpose. This will ensure that maintaining social harmony and unity is not only the responsibility of the state or an authority figure, but the civic society can also galvanize to respond to the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional challenges. Fused by common values and principles – all segments of a nation state can work in unison and more effectively play their respective roles – to steer the country to its objectives.

Significance of the Question –Who Am I?
Path to self-actualization begins with the central questions – ‘Who am I and what do I stand for?’. Taking stock of one’s life path, and role within the unfolding world, a man or a woman discovers the underlying values and principles that fuel life’s direction and purpose.


In the absence of this journey of evolution, life becomes meaningless and directionless. It is then defined by imitating others or living per external expectations. The same principle applies to the individuals, organizations as well as nations. We can either be defined by events and external factors or seek own shared values (principles) that keep us united and on-path towards our collective goal. These shared values act as a nation’s ‘North Star’, guiding principles, and reminders of “What is our purpose”, amidst crises that may deflect us from our destiny. In the words of Viktor Frankl: “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'”.


The Case of Singapore: Identifying Shared Values
In October 1988, Singapore’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong mooted “shared values”, termed the “National Ideology” at the time. The rationale was to identify what the Singaporean nation stood for or wanted to achieve as a collective. In a globalized world, how could they progress by maintaining their distinct Asian identity? It was the leadership’s understanding that in times of dissent and disruption, these values would be the cohesive glue that would cement national identity and direct collective action.

natioidenty.jpgPrime Minister Goh noted the influence of Western culture in nudging the Singaporean society towards individualism. He shared the fear that this would compromise social cohesion and ultimately undermine national security and economic progress.


This led to the formation of a committee tasked to identify values shared by all Singaporeans, regardless of ethnicity or religion. There were three guiding principles to this process:


• Identify inclusive values, so the underlying values were equally shared by all.
• Ensure that the values reflected a balance between the interests of the individual and those of the society.
• Avoid political agenda in order to ensure purity of the process and social cohesion.
The proposed values were intensely debated by the Parliament, which approved a series of shared-value statements for all citizens. Some of these shared values relevant to Pakistan are:
• Nation before community and society before self.
• Family as the basic unit of society.
• Racial and religious harmony.


The real challenge was to create ownership and inculcate these values among the citizens. While there were propositions to enforce these by law; it was ultimately decided that the most effective way to instil these values would be through education. As a result,the Ministry of Education introduced ‘Civic and Moral Education’ (CME) as part of the curriculum to promote these values.


The CME syllabus focused on respect, responsibility, care and harmony. Upholding these values is seen as intrinsic to being a Singaporean and recognized as ingredients that will prepare the youth to become able citizens, equipped to fully participate in modern life.


The Case for Shared Values of Pakistan
In a nation comprising multiple ethnic and religious groups, ideologies and priorities, it is critical to define an understanding of what we collectively stand for. This creates ownership for an inclusive future and drives collective action. This collective action was evident in the freedom movement for Pakistan when varying sectarian, ethnic, and political differences were set aside by a common value and goal of political and economic autonomy under the green and white flag.


It is our national misfortune that these values only guided till the creation of Pakistan. Losing the leadership that achieved Pakistan’s independence in the country’s infancy, and the firefighting that accompanied the new state’s creation, fostered a vacuum that prevented us from identifying and cementing our shared values as an independent nation.

 

The success of Pakistan in the world depends on its people living in harmony, unity and a sense of direction defined by their shared values. A population that enjoys upward socio-economic mobility on merit and inclusive security; not fragmentation across economic and social groups. Strong and positive people-to-people linkages as well as respect and trust in authority will propel us towards realizing the immense potential of our country. And it all begins with a serious inquiry into answering ’Who are we and what do we stand for?’.

It may be rightfully argued that ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’ characterizes the shared value for the Pakistani state and all Pakistanis. However, these values exist in no more than empty slogans as there is limited reflection or implementation of these in our work ethic, the academic curriculum or even in our politics. Thus for all practical purposes, Pakistan is yet to take this first step towards an ideological unity and camaraderie of all its people. A prime example of our forgotten value is our national flag; green reflecting our dominant Islamic heritage, yet white that strongly advocates inclusiveness; respect and protection for the minorities – a value that is often neglected.


Our ideologues, philosophers and leaders have not actively forged shared values that can unite us. We are left with defining ourselves by what we oppose – “shadow of the other” – rather than what we stand for; actions driven by fear rather than passion for a positive identity and vision for Pakistan. The drawback of this is apparent each time there is a national crisis. Instead of collective purpose and vision guiding us, we turn insular to seek protection within our sectarian groups, ethnic tribes, and biraderi system. We may survive the crises, but not assuredly as a nation that has its destiny in its own hands. In today’s globalized world, we the people, cannot leverage our strengths externally, if there is no internal social cohesion.


A study of the particular phenomenon of fragmentation of nations shows causality with weak “horizontal linkages” between communities, which results in low social capital and trust across community boundaries and people-to-people relationship. The weakness in horizontal linkages is compensated by an over-reliance on the “vertical linkage” between citizens and the country’s prevailing authority for orienting, maintaining unity and directing collective action.


An example of strong vertical linkages to authority without shared values or horizontal linkages amongst the populace was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). As long as the Communist Party ruled with diktat and force, the system seemed stable and united. However, when the authority of the Communist Party was undermined, the entire system collapsed and USSR broke down along national, religious and linguistic lines. On the other hand, Tunisia had been ruled by two strong men since its independence in 1957. When the second ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali abdicated as a result of the Jasmine Revolution, there was a period of turmoil. The civic society collaborated to avoid disintegration in the absence of strong central authority. This required maturity by the leaders – particularly by the Al Nahda party that gave up government even after winning elections – driven by population’s adherence to shared values and purpose that overcame political self-interest. By comparison, its neighbour Libya split along tribal lines after the fall of the Qaddafi regime and to-date has not been able to coalesce as a united body politic.


Therefore, for a healthy cohesive nation, strong horizontal people-to-people linkages are needed in addition to vertical authority-to-people relationship by developing shared values and purpose. This will ensure that maintaining social harmony and unity is not only the responsibility of the state or an authority figure, but the civic society can also galvanize to respond to the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional challenges. Fused by common values and principles, all segments of a nation state can work in unison and more effectively play their respective roles to steer the country to its objectives.


When a nation is on the move, individual members may disagree on what the best route or method is, but as long as they agree on their shared values, principles and vision, they can overcome their differences on methods. However, in the absence of a clear identification, any group can be undermined or is mission thwarted by individual differences.


In the context of Pakistan, this is highly pertinent and has led to emergence of perceived fault lines: inter-provincial, civil-military and liberal-religious – rather than each group determining what they can contribute to achieving our shared values purpose.


Pakistan’s Path to Self-Actualization
What values do we collectively aspire to? What are the dreams of our Founding Fathers and our children for the kind of Pakistan we want to live in? What values live at our core; as family units, as a community and country? Without answering these existential questions, our dream and potential of actualization as a nation will remain an unfulfilled promise.


Pakistan’s current paradigm is marked by heavy government involvement, donor dependence and lack of support for social inclusion. Undertaking this journey of discovery of shared values and reinforcing them will lead to policy cohesion at all levels of the government and across the society.


The success of Pakistan in the world depends on its people living in harmony, unity and a sense of direction defined by their shared values. A population that enjoys upward socio-economic mobility on merit and inclusive security; not fragmentation across economic and social groups. Strong and positive people-to-people linkages as well as respect and trust in authority will propel us towards realizing the immense potential of our country. And it all begins with a serious inquiry into answering ’Who are we and what do we stand for?’.

 

The author is a former investment banker and an economic development expert.

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

Twitter: @ahmadjalal_1

 
The great ideals of human progress, of social justice, of equality and of fraternity..., constitute the basic causes of the birth of Pakistan and also... [provide] limitless possibilities of evolving and ideal social structure in our State. I reiterate most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of human soul in a society based on caste. Now that the soul is free to exist and to aspire it must assert itself galvanizing not only the State but also the Nation.

(Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Address, Public Meeeting, Chittagong, 26 March 1948)

 
09
March

Written By: Abdullah Khan

It is a long war and despite remarkable successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, terrorist attacks cannot be stopped completely unless some major political and security issues around Pakistan are not resolved. Our security forces will have to remain alert and well prepared to minimize the damage while the public will have to keep its morale up. Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear state with the most organized Armed Forces, state institutions that function better than many in the region and a major role in regional connectivity through CPEC.

The recent wave of terror in Pakistan has jolted the nation. Questions are being raised on sustainability of gains of Zarb-e-Azb and national policies against terrorism are also being grilled. It is a natural reaction because in four days, from February 13 to February 16, terrorists carried out 12 attacks in which 129 people were killed including 103 civilians and 22 security forces personnel and 365 people were injured including 356 civilians and nine security forces personnel. Four of these twelve attacks were suicide attacks carried out in Lahore, Mohmand Agency (FATA), Peshawar, and Sehwan Sharif (Sindh).

 

Although the reaction is natural as mentioned earlier, however, if the situation is seen in an overall context then one can do a better analysis. Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies’s militancy database shows that average militant attacks in 2014 before Zarb-e-Azb were 161 attacks per month. With Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, Operation Khyber I and Khyber II in Khyber Agency, targeted operation in Karachi, intelligence based operations in mainland and adoption of National Action Plan at political level, the violence dropped to an average of 42 militant attacks per month during the last two and half years. In fact, the number of militant attacks dropped below the year 2007 when a sudden rise was seen in violence against the state after Lal Masjid Operation. The same year in December, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was formed which subsequently captured areas in South and North Waziristan and vast areas in Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

 

thewarcounties.jpgAs the current wave of violence in Pakistan is in one way or the other linked with international terrorism we can better comprehend gains of our security forces by comparing them with other countries fighting against terrorism. It is a matter of fact that during the last fifteen years, no other country except Sri Lanka could reclaim such a vast area from militants as Pakistan Armed Forces did. Pakistan also played a vital role in supporting Sri Lankan Armed Froces in defeating Tamil Tigers in Jafna. Pakistan Armed Forces set an example by clearing Malakand Division, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, South and North Waziristan agencies. During the same period, across the border in Afghanistan the world’s best armies led by the United States were struggling to contain militant threat. Taliban spread to far long areas like Badakhshan and other northern parts of the country. Most of the rural area of our neighbouring country is practically ruled by Taliban insurgents. America and her allies failed to contain violence in Iraq which is spread across Syria and now most of the Middle East is on fire due to failure of western military interventions. Libya was also pushed into civil war by western military intervention while Yemen and Somalia are also engulfed in civil wars. In contrast, Pakistan Armed Forces can be seen distinct from the rest of the world with lots of success stories in defeating militants despite facing financial and technological constraints.


Thanks to Zarb-e-Azb, it is for the first time during the last fifteen years that no area or even a pocket of area is under militant control. Major militant groups fighting against Pakistan faced serious defections. TTP split in to at least four sub-groups, one of them is Jamat-ul-Ahrar. All these groups were flushed out from FATA and now they are operating from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. They are being fed by anti-Pakistan forces active in the region. Unless there is sustainable peace in Afghanistan and writ of the state is established in all parts of our neighbouring country, groups like TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami, BLA, BRA, and others will keep flourishing and their activities cannot be completely diminished. Negative role of Afghan government and its National Directorate of Security (NDS) is one of the major impediments in this regard.


Afghan government is not serious in dialogue with Taliban and instead passes the buck on Pakistan for its own ineptness. NDS is involved in patronizing those groups which are active against Pakistani interests. It is believed that NDS is hand-in-glove with Indian intelligence agency RAW in targeting Pakistani interests. There cannot be a bigger manifestation of shortsightedness of NDS that to weaken Taliban insurgents, it kept supporting Daesh in the country. It should have been known to everyone that Daesh would not serve anyone’s interests in the longer run. It carries an agenda of destruction of everyone. Afghanistan or any other country, regional or extra regional forces who thinks they use Daesh for their interests must realize that they are actually being used by Daesh. The group is gradually strengthening its roots in Afghanistan and poses a serious threat to regional security. Its presence will drag more forces into Afghanistan, which is already facing serious law and order situation due to the presence of foreign troops on its soil.

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Although operational network of Daesh could not make a point in Pakistan but the group has found some useful local partners such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Islam, and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Especially, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami is providing its infrastructure in Balochistan and Sindh to the Middle Eastern group. According to sources, Daesh has an agreement with LeJ-A and other groups that information about certain high profile attacks will be passed on to Daesh to claim responsibility. The attacks on Lal Shabaz Qalander’s shrine in Sehvan Sharif, Sindh and Shah Noorani’s shrine in Khuzdar, Balochistan are prominent examples of such an agreement. Both the attacks were carried out by LeJ-A while responsibility was accepted by Daesh. Objective of such collaboration is to highlight the attacks at international level and put Pakistani government and armed forces under immense pressure. According to a PICSS security report, commanders of TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Isalam and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-Al-Aalami held a meeting in Khost, Afghanistan last year and decided that they will target Pakistan with joint efforts. It was also decided that local groups would pass on information of certain attacks to Daesh to claim responsibility. Certain attacks in Peshawar claimed by Daesh were also actually carried out by the local groups.


The spat of violence in February 2017 resembles the sudden surge in violence in January 2016 when militants carried out suicide attacks against polio workers in Quetta, Khasadar Force in Karkhano area of Khyber Agency, Bacha Khan University in Charsadda and other attacks. However, security forces managed to control the situation and overall violence in 2016 saw a further 27 percent decline in number of attacks and resultant deaths. Average militant attacks per month further dropped in 2016 from 60 to 42 which was 161 before June 2014 when Operation Zarb-e-Azb started. During the two and a half years that followed Zarb-e-Azb, the country witnessed 68 percent reduction in militant attacks, 62 percent decline in resultant deaths and 48 percent decrease in injuries.

 

thewarcounties2.jpgPattern of violence shows that capability of terrorists to frequently target security forces has significantly diminished due to Zarb-e-Azb and IBOs thus, they have resorted to hit soft targets. Selecting civilian targets create chaos in the society, and creating mistrust between people and the armed forces is one of the objectives the militants want to achieve. One of the major reasons of targeting civilians is to revive financial pipelines of militants. Pakistani security forces have dismantled kidnapping for ransom networks largely, which was providing a major source of income for militants.


It is a crucial time for Pakistani society to stand up to the threat of terrorism and not budge under pressure. It is high time for Pakistani media, civil society, political and religious leadership to guide the populace and help them stand against terrorism united.

 

It is a crucial time for Pakistani society to stand up to the threat of terrorism and not budge under pressure. It is high time for Pakistani media, civil society, political and religious leadership to guide the populace and help them stand against terrorism united.

Unfortunately, a section of our media is playing a central role in demoralizing the public in the face of terrorism. Despite apparently absolute freedom of expression, in the United States, the media downplays losses in War on Terror. There is an official ban on the coverage of funerals of dead soldiers and media cameras are not allowed in graveyards during these funerals. The objective of such restrictions is to avoid demoralizing public. In stark contrast, we demoralize our public by showing the dead and injured and their funerals, as well as live coverage of terror attacks. It has been pointed out so many times that live coverage of militant attacks should be avoided yet only occasional restraint has been seen in the practice. While analyzing propaganda videos of militants in Pakistan, one notices that a major chunk of material is obtained from video clips of Pakistani TV channels.


It is a long war and despite remarkable successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, militant attacks cannot be stopped completely unless some major political and security issues around Pakistan are not resolved. Our security forces will have to remain alert and well prepared to minimize the damage while the public will have to keep its morale up. Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear state with the most organized Armed Forces, state institutions that function better than many in the region and a major role in regional connectivity through CPEC. Therefore, it attracts a variety of enemies for a number of reasons. We will have to stand up against all threats and cannot lower our guard for a single moment. Pakistan has a bright future ahead and these are testing time for the nation. Let us stand firm against all negative forces that are active against Pakistan.
Pakistan Zindabad!

 

The writer is Managing Director Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies. He is an expert on militancy and regional security.

He tweets at @Abdullahkhan333

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09
March

Written By: Ayesha Irfan

WE STAND FOR OUR NATION: COAS

 

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Each Drop of Nation’s Blood Shall be Avenged

Pakistan Army launches 'Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad' across the country. The operation aims at indiscriminately eliminating residual/latent threat of terrorism, consolidating gains of operations made thus far and further ensuring security of the borders. Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Civil Armed Forces (CAF) and other security/Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) will continue to actively participate and intimately support the efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.

 

The effort entails conduct of Broad Spectrum Security/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations by Rangers in Punjab, continuation of ongoing operations across the country and focus on more effective border security management. Country wide de-weaponization and explosive control are additional cardinals of the effort. Pursuance of National Action Plan will be the hallmark of this operation.

 

Afghan Embassy officials called at GHQ. Given list of 76 terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. Asked to take immediate action/be handed over to Pakistan.
As part of ongoing countrywide Operation Radd-ul-Fassad, FC and intelligence agencies conducted a joint targeted operation in Killi Shah Karaiz near Loralai, Balochistan on February 22, 2017 against TTP/JuA network led by Wahab Zakhbail. 23 IEDs were recovered during the operation. Reportedly, the IEDs were transported to the area by TTP elements to target LEAs vehicles and Loralai University buses carrying students. Timely action of LEAs averted a major terrorist incident.
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad continues across the country. Punjab Rangers conducted over 200 search operations in various areas of Punjab including Karor, Layyah and Rawalpindi. Suspected houses, madrassas and shops searched. 4 terrorists were killed in exchange of fire while over 600 suspects including few Afghans apprehended. Jihadi material and weapons were recovered. Few facilitators of Jamat-ul-Ahrar were also arrested.
Pakistan Army, Pakistan Rangers Punjab and Police established joint check posts on M-1 and M-2 (Motorway) to enhance security and surveillance.
During sanitization of village Shirrani, Datta Khel, North Waziristan Agency, Army troops recovered another huge cache of arms and ammunition which had been left behind by terrorists.

We Shall Defend and Respond

During an intelligence based operation in Mullagano area, Jani Khel, FR Bannu, 4 terrorists were killed. During an exchange of fire with terrorists an officer Lieutenant Khawar and Naik Shehzad embraced Shahadat.
IBOs and combining operations are in progress across the country including Punjab. Over 100 terrorists have been killed and sizeable apprehensions have also been made.
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad continues across the country. Pakistan Rangers Punjab conducted search and sanitization operation in DG Khan, Rajan Pur, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Attock.
Intelligence agencies are making progress to unearth networks behind recent terrorist incidents.
No cross-border/unauthorized entry will be allowed into Pakistan from Afghanistan. Security forces have been given special orders in this regard to have strict watch all along the border.
Terrorists’ hideouts of Pak-Afghan border have been effectively targeted.

COAS said, “Army is for security of people of Pakistan against all types of threats. Nation to stay steadfast with full confidence in their security forces. We shall not let the hostile agenda succeed whatever it may cost.”

 
09
March

Written By: Dr. Mujeeb Afzal

On February 01, 2017, the Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, presented the annual budget for the year 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. It includes allocation of 51 billion dollars for the salaries and pensions of the defence personnel and expenditure for the modernization programmes of the Armed Forces. These allocations represent 2.25 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product), and a 5.6 percent increase in the 2016-17 defence budget. This article is an attempt to understand the nature and targets of the new Indian budget, its meaning in the emerging strategic milieu that is demanding and according a new role to India and its impact on the already existing power disequilibrium between India and Pakistan.


The Indian defence budget for 2016-17 is higher than that of 2015-16, which was 36 billion dollars and was 1.75 percent of the GDP. The present budget would have been even higher if the expenditure on pensions, border security forces and nuclear and missile development had been included in it. Besides, the allocations for research and development and for Defence Ordnance Factories have been shifted from the Ministry of Defence to the capital budget. In spite of this shift, the capital expenditure has received an increase of 20.6 percent as compared to the previous allocations. If only pensions had been included in it, this would be 2.3 to 2.4 percent of the GDP. Despite this, the apportionment for defence in this budget is about 12.78 percent of the total expenditure of the government of India, that is 21.47 lac crore. In line with the past practice, the Army, which is perceived to be the main instrument against China and Pakistan, has received 52 percent, followed by the Air Force with 22 percent and Navy's 16 percent while 5 percent has been allocated to DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization). The upward spending on defence is a deep-rooted trend in the behaviour of the Indian state. In the 1960s, it had a defence budget of 600 million dollars and it was 2.1 percent of the GDP. Subsequently, it jumped up to 4.5 percent of the GDP; that was meant to assert India as a real strategic power at the regional and international levels. In the 1990s, the defence budget rose to 5 percent of the GDP; and in real terms it was 7.5 billion dollars. After that, its economy was on the rise by more than 7 percent and India planned to acquire capability to fight a two-front war with both China and Pakistan. During 1995-2005, the Indian defence budget grew on average over 5.5 percent annually. Its overall defence spending registered an increase of 30 percent; and in 2001, its budget was around 11.1 billion dollars. By 2012 India’s defence budget was growing by 13 and 19 percent although its GDP growth was about 7.6 percent. A significant push came in 2014, when Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a 10 percent increase in the defence budget and took the budget figures to $36.3 billion. India’s sustained efforts have contributed to its strategic importance. At present, it has a standing force of nearly 1.5 million personnel and its defence budget is the fourth largest in the world after the U.S., China and the UK.

 

India under the Modi administration is trying to seize the vulnerability of Pakistan to change its behaviour with reference to plebiscite in Kashmir and its demand for a fair treatment in the South Asian state system.

India, under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has witnessed a sharp rise in the Indian defence budget which is justified with the help of two emotive themes: one, it is meant to reform the accumulated obsolescence of the country’s strategic infrastructure; and two, it is to ensure the promise of autonomy and self-sufficiency in the defence production by ‘Make in India’ programme. It is argued that a large part of the Indian defence equipment is of little use for an emerging major power because it is of low quality and has aged as well. Moreover, the average infantry soldier of India is technologically at least one generation behind in comparison to his counterpart in the modern armies of the industrialized states. Therefore, its protagonists contend that if India wishes to balance both China and Pakistan and also play the role of a major power at the regional and international level, then it needs to change its old low-tech weapon systems. Additionally, it is considered essential that a major power like India should have more autonomous standing by reducing its dependence on imports; that it should achieve greater self-sufficiency in the production of sophisticated defence equipment. Consequently, successive defence budgets have provided lavish funds for domestic defence research and development as well as defence industry. In the present budget, the DRDO, which is responsible for the development of nuclear and missile systems, has received 14819 crores. This organization is involved in the development of short range 700 kms Agni-I, intermediate range 2,000 kms and Agni-II surface-to-surface missiles. It is also developing contemporary weapon-locating radar and the main battle tank (MBT), the Arjun, for the Army. In recent years, India has opened up its domestic weapons industry to foreign investment; and the foreign investment limit in the domestic defence industry has been raised from 26 percent to 49 percent. Apart from this, India is the largest weapons importer in the world; in just one year (2013), it spent $6 billion on buying equipment. India is expected to spend $100 billion over the next decade on a defence modernization programme. Its armed forces desire to get 22 Apache helicopters, 50 Chinook helicopters, 197 light utility helicopters, 135 lightweight howitzers, 6 submarines and 16 multirole helicopters for the Navy. It has already approved a project worth 13 billion dollars to increase its national defence preparedness. The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has decided to build within India six submarines, purchase 8,356 anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft with improved sensors from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and 362 infantry fighting vehicles.


India’s economy is on the rise. It has grown from a contested regional power to one of the pre-eminent regional powers along with China and Japan. It has more resources at its disposal to spend on the defence sector. Although in terms of GDP the defence spending has decreased from 2.9 percent in 2009 to 2.3 percent in 2015 – now around 2.25 percent of GDP – but in terms of resources it has reached the capacity of 51 billion dollars. The resources available to its defence institutions are more than their capacity to absorb; for example, the utilization of the defence budget in 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 95 percent and 91 percent, respectively. Similarly, it has repeatedly underspent funds that were allocated for capital acquisition; this was 11 percent in 2012-13, 9 percent in 2013-14, 13 percent in 2014-15 and 15 percent in 2015-16. At the domestic level this trend may reflect bureaucratic incompetence but at the external level it indicates the rising Indian comfort to accumulate and exert power. This trend becomes even more significant with the decline of its poverty indicators from 44 percent to 26 percent within the last twenty years. This argument should be read with the fact that India faces no immediate threat from any of its neighbours near or far from its border. It is strategically in a comfortable state and faces no threat to its survival and extended interest from within or abroad. According to the logic of power, it is moving towards domination over others. The continuous rise in the defence budget reflects this trend in the behaviour of India regionally and internationally. It has serious territorial and water disputes with Pakistan and China. In line with the logic of power it has closed the door of negotiation with Pakistan and demonstrates no particular urgency to resolve its issues with China as well. Though it is too early to declare India a major international power or even regional hegemon, its share in the international defence spending was 1 percent in 1995 and 3 percent in 2015. Notwithstanding the Indian low international strategic standing, its arrogant attitude in its relation with neighbours is a cause for grave concern.


India’s exaggerated claims of power and consequent stubborn diplomatic behaviour is the result of two developments: one, the rise of Hindu nationalists to power at the domestic level; and two, its evolving strategic cooperation with the USA at the international level. Since its independence, India has considered itself a major player at the international level. It believes that it is its legitimate right to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council like China, in order to have a meaningful role in the governance of the international system. With the leadership of its first Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, India attempted to play a major role at the international level as an opponent of the power politics and the champion of the rights of the Afro-Asian people against western economic and political imperialism. At the same time, it struggled to attain economic and strategic power to assert its claim of a major power in a forceful manner. India under Nehru and his successors exerted to achieve national cohesion on the principles of composite-culture, secularism and liberal democracy and at the international level it sought strategic autonomy by staying away from the power politics of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and USA. At the regional level, Nehru’s India wanted to impose the Delhi view of one strategic unit for South Asia and wished to keep it free from the influence of outside powers. After the Indo-China border clash of 1962, India tilted more towards the Soviet Union than the USA for technology transfer, heavy industry and sophisticated weapon systems. The Hindu nationalists challenged Nehru’s vision of India as an attempt to impose a western vision to deprive its people of their Hindu tradition and heritage. They presented the concept of Hindutva and integral-humanism based on the ethos of Hinduism that they argued were based on common blood, common laws and rites, and common culture of the Hindu people. It was argued that in the past India was subject to foreign subjugation of the Muslim invaders followed by the British imperialists because of its internal fragmentation. The Hindutva ethos is considered the only way to evolve a cohesive national identity that will provide the requisite Shakti-power to defend India. At the international level, the Hindu nationalists find the integral-humanism closer to the capitalist system. They aspire to expand their relations with the West and consider themselves the natural allies of the USA. Simultaneously, they want to increase India’s military power and assert its regional and international role. Modi government shares the view of the Hindu nationalists and wants to build a strong Indian national identity based on the ethos of Hindutva in which Hindu and Indian interests take primacy over any other consideration at the domestic and regional levels and see in the post-Cold War era an ideal opportunity to attain the rightful place for India by building closer ties with the West particularly USA. The internal and external opponents of Hindutva are advised to accept the new realities of Indian power and adjust themselves with the priorities of Hindus and India.

 

The continuous increase in the Indian defence budget is not good news for Pakistan. India remains, in terms of its strategic capabilities, the principal threat to its security. The growing conventional asymmetry between the two states undermines the regional stability and negatively impacts upon the balance of strategic deterrence.

In the post-Cold War era, the rise of China as a potential strategic power and the good performance of Indian economy are the two factors that are determining the India-U.S. relations. India perceives the U.S. as an ally in future for two reasons: one, as a possible source of modern weapon systems and technology; and two, as a power that can provide an existing strategic structure to channelize the rising Indian influence at regional and international levels. It may facilitate India’s admission into such international institutions as Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) easy and assure permanent membership of the UN Security Council. On the other hand, the U.S. looks at India as a good rising market for its goods both civil as well as military, as a balancing factor for the rising Chinese influence in the Afro-Asian countries, and share the burden of security at the regional level especially against potential strategic competition from China. The U.S. is willing to upgrade the strategic potential of India to achieve these objectives and extend active diplomatic support to India to get the membership of international institutions that may formalize the regional power status of India as a useful ally. That is the reason successive U.S. administrations especially that of Barack Obama have strongly supported India's case for the NSG and Security Council membership. At the domestic level the U.S. political elite has enthusiastically received support for the alliance with India. The U.S. Congress has passed the India "Defence Technology and Partnership Act" that provided a strong legal framework for the Indo-U.S. defence relations and formalized India’s status as a major partner of the U.S. On its part the Obama administration instituted the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and established an "India Rapid Reaction Cell" in the Pentagon to deal with bureaucratic hurdles in the way of strategic cooperation between the two states. Additionally, President Obama encouraged the coordination with India on an annual basis for the development of military contingency plans for addressing threats to mutual security interests of the two countries. India sees a great opportunity for the strengthening of its technological industrial base with the help of U.S. assistance and technology. The Indian flagship indigenous projects such as the aircraft and tanks have not been very successful; therefore, it would be happy to use facilities under the DTTI structure for the U.S.-India defence trade. The strategic cooperation with the U.S. will be difficult for India; it will generate an impression of India as a contract ally who is paid to protect the U.S. regional interest especially against China. India is internally a diverse soft-state that cannot afford to have open hostility with China and expose its national integration for others’ strategic gains. That is why it has accepted the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S. that allows the two countries to access each other’s supplies, spare parts, and services from military bases and ports but has refused joint patrol of U.S. and Indian Navies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific waters. Despite certain reservations, the Indian strategic alliance with the U.S. can help India establish a regional hegemonic relationship.


The continuous increase in the Indian defence budget is not good news for Pakistan. India remains, in terms of its strategic capabilities, the principal threat to its security. The growing conventional asymmetry between the two states undermines the regional stability and negatively impacts upon the balance of strategic deterrence. The recent increase in the Indian defence budget has taken place when the Modi government has taken an increasingly belligerent stance towards Pakistan. It is repeatedly using hostile language and violent clashes are reported along the Line of Control (LOC) and the Working Boundary. The changed international strategic environment places Pakistan in a disadvantageous position. It uses to balance India in conventional term with the help of better trained manpower and western sophisticated weapon system. The U.S. tilt towards India disturbs greatly the strategic calculations of Pakistan. It is gradually finding it difficult to balance rising India with its mere 7 billion dollar defence budget and becoming more and more dependent on nuclear deterrence. The nuclear weapons are essential for the deterrence purpose and cannot be used for fighting a conventional war. In an asymmetrical conventional balance of power Pakistan is becoming more and more dependent on the nuclear weapons which limit the strategic options of a state to defend its autonomy. Therefore, military capabilities are essential for conventional defence and internal security of a state. India under the Modi administration is trying to seize the vulnerability of Pakistan to change its behaviour with reference to plebiscite in Kashmir and its demand for a fair treatment in the South Asian state system. It has refused to negotiate with Pakistan and is putting pressure through threats of hot pursuit in Kashmir in order to call, what the Indian strategic thinkers have described a nuclear bluff. At the international level, India under Modi is using its new-found economic power and closeness with the U.S. to create diplomatic difficulties on the issue of war against terrorism and is attempting to put constraints in the access to high-end technology. Though the Indian challenges are not very great at this moment but in future if the asymmetry in the economic strength continues to expand, India will be in a position to create serious problems for the security and extended national interests of Pakistan. Additionally, if the strategic tensions surge between the U.S. under President Donald Trump and China, then Pakistan will be forced to take the Chinese side and preserve its strategic alliance with China. This probability can greatly increase Indian access to the Western markets and technology and can hurt Pakistan’s strategic options.


The economic rise of India is a significant phenomenon for the regional and international political calculations. Gradually, it will have more resources available for investment in its armed forces, although it will still be treated at the internatio