07
December
December 2017(EDITION 12, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
Given Pakistan’s location and capability to influence regional and extra regional stability, Pakistan offers vast opportunities but is also confronted with a host of challenges. However, the responsibility to protect its people from internal and external threats by applying....Read full article
 
Written By: Rasul Bakhsh Raees
On a broader level, the geopolitical location of a country and regional dynamics of security, peace or war constitute the fundamental elements of national security. In this sense, geopolitical conditions can be benign or malignant, or these might change over time for good .....Read full article
 
Written By: Vice Admiral Taj M. Khattak (R)
Pakistan has been confronted with the issue of contested borders since its independence from the British rule in 1947, but the challenges faced by the country as a result of the constantly changing regional and global kaleidoscope have rarely been more serious than at present moment.....Read full article
 
Written By: Moeed Pirzada
Given this regional context and expected increase in hostilities, visit by Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assumes even greater importance. It serves to assure Iran of Pakistan’s neutrality in....Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
In May last year, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a deal to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar and also to develop a trade and transit corridor through Afghanistan that could, when fully operational, halve the time and cost of trading with Europe. Concerns were raised....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Zia
The Muslim world has suffered the most at the hands of terrorists and it has no option but to win this war against terrorism and extremist ideologies. The good thing is that many leaders of the Muslim world realize that wars cannot be won in the battlefields .....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Hilal Desk
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Iran from November 5 to November 7, 2017. During the visit he held meeting with top Iranian civil and military leadership and discussed issues of mutual interest to further strengthen the bilateral....Read full article
 
Written By: Atia Ali Kazmi
This October, Pakistan and Russia successfully concluded joint military exercise on counter-terrorism operations. DRUZBA, Friendship 2017, promising augmentation of defence ties between the two countries. More than 200 special forces from both sides conducted joint hostage......Read full article
 
Written By: Lt. Gen Masood Aslam (R)
It is so painful to relive the period when during my command of approximately three years, we lost close to 1500 shuhada from Army and Frontier Corps alone. It was therefore very difficult for me to motivate myself to pen down some of those unforgettable.....Read full article
 
Written By: Captain Sagheer Ahmed
Pakistan Navy’s history is replete with examples of glorious combats, exquisite maneuvers, and tactical marvels yet Operation Somnath is one of those unique instances where a numerically superior enemy did not exhibit any worthwhile contest to a small but potent naval force.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Mumtaz Malik (R)
This is the story of another Commander Kulbhushan S. Jadhav, who was also captured red-handed while spying for India. However, he was caught on the border whereas Kulbhushan Jadhav was apprehended deep inside Pakistan territory operating for many years conducting terrorist activities....Read full article
 
Written By: Zubair Torwali
The Swat Valley in northern Pakistan is usually referred to as the Switzerland of Asia but a learned friend, who paid a visit to Swat recently, put it thus: “Switzerland is [the] Swat of Europe”....Read full article
 
Written By: Mrs. Maj Hussain
Let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan Army which has recognized the sacrifices of its men to the optimum. Though due recognition to earlier shuhadas had always been there but the motivation and ownership in the present era is above par. Motivated from this fact.....Read full article
 
Written By: Air Vice Marshal Abrar Ahmed
It was October of 1962. Seemingly, humanity was coming to an end through repeat of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, while, Kremlin and White House were busy averting World War-III during the Cuban Missile Crises, China launched a two pronged land offensive, about 1000 miles.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
On Quaid’s birth anniversary, the crucial question that arises is ‘How has Pakistan performed over the years in the context of Quaid’s well-established norms?’ The answer is hardly encouraging. Indeed, it is downright dismal.....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan (R)
This article recounts my experiences of 1971 in erstwhile East Pakistan and the Flight of 4th Army Aviation Squadron to Burma just prior to the surrender of our forces on December 16, 1971. It will be necessary to briefly recall some of the major happenings of the time, because.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
For example, why so much anger at a ban on a modern consumerist trend, the Valentine’s Day in Pakistan? We must understand that terrorism can only be tackled effectively if we curb certain unsavory events which are just not part of our culture. Same way, the ban.....Read full article
 
On special instructions of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed, Pakistan Army is financially sponsoring talented young cyclist Samar Khan from Dir, Malaknd Division, KP for her participation in mountain.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti
Imet Major Uqbah from Pakistan Army at Kristiane Baker’s sufi-flavoured dinner in Central London where we were all introduced to Salman Sahib, the direct descendant of the great sufi saint of Ajmer Sharif, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Subsequently, Major Uqbah invited my husband.....Read full article
 
Written By:Sara Raza Khan
Pakistan’s music is rich and famous for its class, depth and impact. It is distinct and its identity is message of love, harmony and culture expressed through instruments like Sitar, Violin, Tabla, Bansuri, Rubab.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Anum Hussain
FC Balochistan conducted IBO in Tump, Turbat on a terrorist hideout. Two terrorists were apprehended during the operation and 18 hostages including, 2 Pakistani and 16 foreigners.....Read full article

 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee, visited Azerbaijan officially and interacted with the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chief of State Border Services (SBS). Matters related to.........Read full article
 
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Strike Corps at Mangla and witnessed the ongoing training and addressed the officers and troops......Read full article
 
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Headquarters Southern Command, Quetta in connection with execution of ‘Khush Hal Balochistan’ (KHB) initiative. COAS.....Read full article
 
Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Royal Navy UK was received by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy clad in ceremonial dress presented him Guard of Honour. The visiting.....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited Naval installations at coastal areas including Turbat, Gwadar and Jinnah Naval Base Ormara to review operational readiness of Pakistan Navy units in the area and port security measures. This was the first visit of coastal....Read full article
 
On his arrival at Air Headquarters, the distinguished guest was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI(M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air.......Read full article
 
Pakistan hosted 13th High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Heads of Asian Coast Guards Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) in Islamabad. Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) hosted the meeting as the Director General PMSA, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar is the Chairman....Read full article
 
Pakistan Rangers Delegation including representatives from Ministry of Interior and Anti-Narcotics Force, headed by DG Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) held delegates level talks at BSF Headquarters New Delhi during 44th meeting with Indian Border Security Force.....Read full article
 
FATA Youth delegation from all 7 agencies of FATA visited ISPR. The delegation acknowledged Pakistan Army for their efforts and sacrifices for bringing back peace in FATA. The delegation conveyed their feelings for....Read full article
 
4th All Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest was held at Karnal Sher Khan Cadet College Swabi KSKCCS. Major General Muhammad Saleem Raza, Commander Peshawar Log Area was the chief guest on the occasion. Sixteen institutions participated in the competition including Government College University....Read full article
 
A group of 60 students from Islamia University of Bahawalpur and 50 madrassa students and faculty members belonging to Madrass Jaamia-tul-Siddiqia, visited Bahawalpur cantonment to spend a day with Army on October 31 and November 6, 2017 respectively. The programme was organised by....Read full article
 
07
December

Written By:Sara Raza Khan

Pakistan’s music is rich and famous for its class, depth and impact. It is distinct and its identity is message of love, harmony and culture expressed through instruments like Sitar, Violin, Tabla, Bansuri, Rubab etc. Pakistani musical gharanaes and other artists have been successful in the past to create deep impact on regional music, too. Even today, Pakistani artist are producing such melodious music that it transcends the borders to reach the world. Pakistani music presents a soft image of Pakistan – the real Pakistan which is the land of love, beauty, peace and harmony!

Pakistan is truly an unmatched blessing with alluring seasons, breathtaking locations, numbers of cities having great historical importance, exceptionally rich culture and what not! Pakistan has it all – an enchanting melody, a mixture of haunting cords with beautifully dominating vocals that collectively make a promising artifact ‘music’. Among all other blessings and things of ornamentation: pearls, gold, diamonds; music is yet another blissful gift. Music is an international language which creates a huge impact without even using words; lyrics are an additional beauty. If a soulful voice is added to good lyrics, an instant hit of all times is created. Sufi saints often used this medium to spread their magical words all over the world. In short, divine lyrics, heart touching melody, and a passionate vocalist makes its way deep down in the hearts of music fans. It’s a strange way to reach hearts and the same happened in my case. I don’t really know when my songs and performances for international competitions touched the hearts of millions. Pakistan’s music is rich and famous for its class, depth and impact. It is distinct and its identity is message of love, harmony and culture expressed through instruments like Sitar, Violin, Tabla, Bansuri, Rubab etc. Pakistani musical gharanaes and other artists have been successful in the past to create deep impact on regional music, too. Even today, Pakistani artist are producing such melodious music that it transcends the borders to reach the world. Pakistani music presents a soft image of Pakistan – the real Pakistan which is the land of love, beauty, peace and harmony!

 

thesoufulpak.jpgIn the same context, let’s talk about why in today’s world my culturally enriched country and its artists are not working the way they used to in the past. Musicians are not getting the fame as before when we had prodigious musical legends like Madam Noor Jehan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Aziz Mian, Sabri Brothers, Malika Pukhraj, Nayyara Noor, Zubaida Khanum, Reshma and so many others. The question is why did it come to a stop? Also we had so many reasons and festivals to celebrate with music. There used to be concerts for all age groups, classical mehfils, qawali nights in every city, overcrowded stadiums, and spring carnivals with oscillation of happiness everywhere. What got in the way of our happiness and celebrations? Are we scared of terrorism? Actually, we have won this war. A brave nation like ours can never surrender and let the enemies succeed in their mission. Moreover, I feel we have forgotten to find happiness and contentment within the circle of our family and friends. We are all so busy picking out flaws, weaknesses, imperfections of every single department and person that we have stopped thinking about how as an individual we can contribute to make our beautiful country exceptionally affluent in all aspects of life again.


In order to rediscover the wealth of music, we can take steps such as arranging music weeks on a smaller level as students of different genres depending on our choices from rock, pop, retro to ghazal or sufi etc. Also in our residential areas or housing schemes, we can arrange small competitions or occasional get-togethers to create more harmony. On a bigger scale, all Art Councils in every province should arrange music festivals, whether big or small, by engaging our local singers and musicians so that they may continue to learn the dying arts.


But one thing is extremely important that in all these musical events we should only invite genuine musicians and singers. We should not expect birds to swim and fishes to fly because that way we won’t be able to get quality and more legends like Madam Noor Jehan and others listed above. To prevent this and make it easier, we should at least have one national level board/organisation for music auditions where everyone can appear for an audition to become a musician. There’s no way any unskilled musician can represent us globally without being selected from the board. The same platform could provide an opportunity to the talented musicians so that they can showcase their talent. After getting selected from this organization, they should get training and the relevant department can then sponsor their audio albums and chain of concerts where their fans can enjoy “Pakistan-made musical stars”. This can thus help in presenting a softer positive image of Pakistan to the world.

 

The writer is a famous Pakistani singer who has won a national and international music/singing awards.

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

 
07
December

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

Imet Major Uqbah from Pakistan Army at Kristiane Baker’s sufi-flavoured dinner in Central London where we were all introduced to Salman Sahib, the direct descendant of the great sufi saint of Ajmer Sharif, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Subsequently, Major Uqbah invited my husband, Arsallah, my son, Ibrahim and myself to visit him at Sandhurst Military Academy, UK where he was based for two years.


Major Uqbah was the first ever Muslim and only Pakistani teaching at Sandhurst. At the station, Major Uqbah himself came to receive us in his smart Pakistan Army khaki uniform and green hat. The Pakistani flag badge on his uniform shirt glittered proudly on his chest. We drove off in his Mercedes car towards Sandhurst as he explained all the historical buildings and the very distinguished people who were at Sandhurst. Major Uqbah told there were many Pakistani students at Sandhurst Academy. Like Major Uqbah, I admired the English method of education and training which attracted so many students from around the world to its schools, universities and training centres.

 

anafternonnwith.jpgMajor Uqbah walked us through Sandhurst’s halls and corridors which were aligned with numerous pictures of soldiers and battles from the subcontinent. The pictures below show an array of officers, including those in battle.


One of the main entrances led to a large hall where the name “Waziristan” was engraved on one of the stained glass windows: a Pukhtun soldier stood proudly with his patkay and his rifle and looked straight into the eyes of the beholder. As a young girl I spent a few happy years in Waziristan as my father was posted as Political Agent in Wana and Tank areas of Waziristan. My childhood memories of playing with the children of local Wazirs who were always proud, friendly and helpful are still fresh.


In another room of Sandhurst accessible only to senior army officers, there were placed souvenirs from different countries: Pakistan had gifted a small bronze statue of a rider tent-pegging on a fast riding horse chasing his target.


In a time when Pakistan’s image abroad has not been most desirable in the media, I was impressed with the respect Major Uqbah received: English students and soldiers saluted him and even politely and respectfully stopped for him on their way. Major Uqbah always had a friendly greeting in return for each one of them. But Major Uqbah said he drew the line of loyalty. In the entrance hall, there was a striking large painting of Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Major Uqbah told that he did not take his oath at the feet of this painting. Perhaps, there was nothing personal against the royal family, but the oath taken under the Green Flag has always held deep meaning for a Pakistani soldier and nothing can subsitute that.


After a very ‘English lunch’ of fish and chips in the formal hall, and tea in the private rooms of the ‘officers only’, which reminded me of the formalities of Oxbridge Colleges, we visited the library.


Major Uqbah showed us the books he had donated on the Quaid-i-Azam, the founder of Pakistan, who was a lawyer trained in England and who had fought hard for the rights of minorities, which resulted in the second largest Muslim nation on earth, Pakistan. Maj Uqbah also showed us his name honoured under the title “Overseas Sword” along with the names of others.


In reciprocity, I donated our Centre’s peacebuilding textbooks to the library on Teaching Acceptance with the hope that young cadets will learn about an inter-disciplinary method of peace-building and also learn to fight for peace, not just by the sword, but with the more powerful tools of respect and empathy for other nations and peoples. It was a wonderful visit to Sandhurst Academy and the fact that Major Uqbah showed us around in the best possible manner-Pakistani hospitality made this trip very special for us all.

 

The author is a PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Presently she is Director at Centre for Dialogue and Action, FCCU, Lahore.

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07
December
Pakistan Army Assures Support to Girl Cyclist of KP
newsqomicyclistr.jpgOn special instructions of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed, Pakistan Army is financially sponsoring talented young cyclist Samar Khan from Dir, Malaknd Division, KP for her participation in mountain cycling event in Tanzania. She is the first Pakistani female Cyclist who has cycled on glaciers in Karakoram Range and now would be scaling the highest peak Kilimanjaro in Africa. COAS believes that youth is the future of Pakistan and needs to be encouraged, enabled and facilitated in all fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07
December

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

You are blinded by the Mohenjo-Daro culture. Even India is moving away from this culture. To them Afghanistan is the new Mohenjo-Daro and to the Afghans, New Delhi is the new Khyber Pass. India banned beef because they love Afghanistan.

So much has happened this year. So much to condemn, so much to mourn, so much to think about. Where are we headed? What will happen next? Why does whatever that happened, happens? Where to begin and where to end? What to say, what not to? What to ban and what more to? And I say this in the contextually contextualized context of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


For example, why so much anger at a ban on a modern consumerist trend, the Valentine’s Day in Pakistan? We must understand that terrorism can only be tackled effectively if we curb certain unsavory events which are just not part of our culture. Same way, the ban on cow slaughter and eating beef in India is perfectly fine. This will lead to a peaceful, progressive India ready to conquer peacefully progressive Afghanistan in a peacefully progressive manner. The reason Pakistan floundered to gain any support in Afghanistan was because its inhabitants eat beef. And celebrate the Valentine’s Day.

 

suptheban.jpgIt is correct to ban events such as Valentine’s Day and Basant. Even singing ‘happy birthday to you’ should be banned. Or saying ‘hello’, ‘hi’, and ‘bye’; or watching Hollywood films. Or any film, for that matter. Or soap operas on TV, or listening to pop songs. Or any song, for that matter. Or using Twitter, or Facebook. Or the computer, for that matter. I will throw mine in the trash can after I finish writing this article. In fact, I will stop writing. Period. Especially in English. Then in Urdu. Then in the regional languages. Not part of our culture.


This will clear our heads to understand exactly why the Afghans seem to like Indians more than they do Pakistanis. Banning beef and calling for the dishonoring of secular women and performing yoga have strengthened the antma of Indians. This was best described by the famous Indian philosopher, scholar, linguist and basketball legend, Amitabh Bachchan when in his weekly show on the philosophical nuances of Sanskrit he said, ‘Ashun tarak kay shakuntala mein, antma rajniti ravan gosht ka sawal hai …’


Awesome.
So we should also ashun tarak ourselves and completely ban the Valentine’s Day. I must emphasize the importance of this. Such a banning is a wonderful initiative, really, especially in a country like Pakistan where babies simply fall from the sky on the waiting laps of abu and ami. It is because of the fact that so many Pakistanis still want to celebrate the Valentine’s Day that the Afghans don’t like them. The Afghans would rather have John Rambo, that great American soldier of fortune and a man of profound mumbling and those gallant heroes from India’s prime military institution, Bollywood, to ride into Kabul and make everything there fine. And then do a group dance, also called an ‘item number’ by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.


You who are ill-informed still ask, why ban Valentine’s Day? Silly question. It is banned because otherwise babies will stop falling from the sky. Only hellfire will rain! You are blinded by the Mohenjo-Daro culture. Even India is moving away from this culture. To them Afghanistan is the new Mohenjo-Daro and to the Afghans, New Delhi is the new Khyber Pass. India banned beef because they love Afghanistan. This might sound strange because Afghanis are big time beef eaters, but what Pakistanis don’t know is that the Afghan intelligence agency were so pleased by India recognizing Afghanistan as the new Mohenjo-Daro, that it banned the sale of beef in Kabul. That’s why one can only find chicken, rabbit, deer, bison, duck and buffalo meat in Kabul, but never cow meat. Like, never.


As the great Pakistani physicist, philanthropist, chemist and cyclist, Oreo Famous Janam once said, ‘Gosht gosht hota hai. Chahey gaye ka ho ya bakri ka.’ So true, even though he did ask the state and government of Pakistan to ban the display of bakris in public. Such a sensitive man.


Brothers and sisters (actually, no, not sisters). Brothers, you ought to think long and hard about the fragility of our society’s moral fabric. Such a fabric is fragile. Its fragility is being tested constantly by Mohenjo-Daroan onslaughts. We must become defenders of this fragility because this fragility, like a woman, is fragile and vulnerable. Be the man this nation is asking you to be. Be the man this fragility is asking you to be. Or are you willing to become fragile yourself by blindly following all which is not part of our culture?


I hope I have already convinced you. But if you need more convincing, then I suggest you stop eating chocolate. Or smelling roses. Or blowing balloons. None of these are part of our culture. Eat nihari, smell guavas and blow your nose, instead. Then run towards a date-palm tree and hug it. You will see how good it feels. Or you can just blow yourself up, for that matter. As the great poet, thinker, author, intellectual and gymnast, Brother Sami Haq said, this is part of our culture. Not Valentine’s Day.


Attack that heart-shaped-balloon just like the Indians are attacking beef eaters. Such balloons must not make their way to a woman. She is fragile like our moral fabric. Defend her, because she is too weak to do it herself. Otherwise, like the Indians, troll her on Twitter. Call her names and threaten to cut her nose off. You will get a lot of retweets. You can then relax by doing yoga.


Keep those balloons and roses away from her because then she will stop being part of our culture and so will you. You will become a man of no culture. Or worse, of foreign culture. And she will become a houbara bustard. Hunted. The date-palm will reject both of you. Do you recall Jack and Jill?


Well, that’s that, I guess. I should not sound longwinded and tiresome. Because if one is rational, logical and cultural in the contextualized contextual context of our culture and fragile moral fabric, then he or she should have no problems at all to appreciate the advantages of the ban of events such as the Valentine’s Day. Or birthdays. Or Father’s Day. Or Mother’s Day. Or Sunday. Or any day, for that matter.


But what has all this to do with India and Afghanistan? Everything. Because do you know what the Indian military chief sent the Afghan military chief on this year’s Valentine’s Day? A yoga manual, a cow and a red parachute. Like, awesome. Like, no?

 

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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07
December
A Group of University and Madrassa Students Spend Time with Pakistan Army
newsagroupoftame.jpgA group of 60 students from Islamia University of Bahawalpur and 50 madrassa students and faculty members belonging to Madrass Jaamia-tul-Siddiqia, visited Bahawalpur cantonment to spend a day with Army on October 31 and November 6, 2017 respectively. The programme was organised by 31 Corps to familiarize the students with working of Army and introduce them to military equipment i.e., tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers and small arms firing. The aim is to enhance the morale and motivation of Pakistan’s youth and build their confidence in Pakistan Armed Forces. The students also enjoyed the tank rides. The students and faculty members interacted with the Brigade Commander and other officers. Students displayed keen interest in the programme and commended the sacrifices and resolve of Pakistan Army officers and troops in the ongoing war against terrorism.
A Group of Students from Rawalpindi Spend a Day with Pakistan Armyy
newsagroupoftame1.jpgA group of 400 students and faculty members from various universities, schools and colleges of Rawalpindi spent a day with Pakistan Army. The programme was specifically organized by Rawalpindi Corps to enlighten students about functioning of Pakistan Army, its organization and defence capability. The visitors laid wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada monument in Chaklala. Visitors were given demonstrations of the combat worthiness of troops through combat riding, unarmed combat and heli rapelling. The students were shown various military equipment and given experience of small arms firing. The students applauded the state of morale, commitment and professional competence of Pakistan Army and expressed their gratitude for being provided an opportunity to interact with Army troops.
07
December
4th All Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest 2017 Held at Karnal Sher Khan Cadet College, Swabi
newsfourthallpak.jpg4th All Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest was held at Karnal Sher Khan Cadet College Swabi KSKCCS. Major General Muhammad Saleem Raza, Commander Peshawar Log Area was the chief guest on the occasion. Sixteen institutions participated in the competition including Government College University Lahore, Army Burn Hall College Abbottabad, Cadet College Kohat, Cadet College Swat and Pakistan Scouts Cadet College Batrasi. The chief guest gave away Champions Trophy to the winning team, Pakistan Scouts Cadet College Batrasi and certificates to the contestants. The chief guest emphasized upon the significance of communication skills, Iqbaliat and Islamic perspective of education and appreciated college administration and the faculty for organizing this mega event in a befitting manner.
07
December
FATA Youth Delegation Visits ISPR
newsfatayouthdel.jpgFATA Youth delegation from all 7 agencies of FATA visited ISPR. The delegation acknowledged Pakistan Army for their efforts and sacrifices for bringing back peace in FATA. The delegation conveyed their feelings for future of FATA. DG ISPR thanked the delegation for support by the brave Pakistanis of FATA and conveyed them assurance on behalf of COAS that achievements gained through great sacrifices made by people of FATA and the security forces shall not go waste. Our efforts are now to move from relative peace to enduring peace and stability and for this Army shall continue to play its role in support of state institutions in line with aspirations of the people of FATA.
07
December
Pakistan Rangers Delegation Headed by DG Rangers Sindh Hold Talks with BSF in New Delhi

Pakistan Rangers Delegation including representatives from Ministry of Interior and Anti-Narcotics Force, headed by DG Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) held delegates level talks at BSF Headquarters New Delhi during 44th meeting with Indian Border Security Force.

newspakrangerdel.jpg

07
December
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Hosts 13th High Level Meeting of HACGAM

newspakmaritimesecty.jpgPakistan hosted 13th High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Heads of Asian Coast Guards Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) in Islamabad. Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) hosted the meeting as the Director General PMSA, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar is the Chairman of this regional forum for one year. The HACGAM is an annual high-level multilateral forum. The heads and delegates of Coast Guards, Maritime Security and Safety Agencies and Organizations from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Bahrain and Brunei Darussalam represented their respective countries in the forum.


The HACGAM brings together various Asian maritime organizations for sharing their law enforcement and benign ops experiences and discussing issues relating to law and order at sea and common good of the region. The forum was instituted by Japan in 2004. Maritime issues such as search and rescue, security, pollution control and law enforcement at sea remain the core focus areas. Additionally, capacity building of Coast Guards as well as maritime security and safety organizations, cooperative engagements and overall maritime security and safety issues are also discussed amongst member states to promote safe and secure shipping and member states to make cooperative efforts. PMSA became member of this forum in 2006.


The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi graced the opening session as the chief guest. Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Defence, and Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Naval Staff along with senior military and civil officials attended the session. The Prime Minister in his address he said that Pakistan remains fully committed to maintaining good order at sea and is always ready to cooperate on maritime issues of global concern. Earlier, in his welcome address, Rear Admiral Jamil said that ‘a stable maritime environment is the key to global peace and progress’. He also said that ‘all the organizations represented in this forum are committed to continue cooperating in combatting the contemporary maritime security challenges’.


The role of PMSA as the sole maritime Law Enforcement Agency of Pakistan remains vital to enforce national and international laws in the maritime zones of Pakistan. To undertake constabulary and humanitarian operations at sea, PMSA is equipped with numerous potent sea-going platforms as well as aircraft, including newly acquired patrol vessels and fully functioning coastal bases.

07
December
Commander Royal Jordanian Air Force Visits Air Headquarters

Major General (Pilot) Yousef Ahmad Al-Hnaity, Commander Royal Jordanian Air Force visited Air Headquarters Islamabad.

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On his arrival at Air Headquarters, the distinguished guest was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI(M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force presented the Guard of Honour.


Later on, he called on Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman in his office. Matters of professional and mutual interest were discussed during the meeting. Commander Royal Jordanian Air Force appreciated the sound professionalism of PAF personnel. He also lauded PAF’s role in fighting the war against terrorism and expressed his desire to learn from its experiences. Air Chief highlighted that both countries enjoy cordial and brotherly relations and reiterated his resolve to further enhance the existing cooperation between the two countries. He also offered assistance and support in the field of aviation and military training to Jordanian Air Force. The visiting dignitary also attended a briefing at Air Headquarters on the organization, role and functioning of Pakistan Air Force.

07
December
Chief of the Naval Staff Visits Coastal Areas

newscoasvisitkostal.jpgChief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited Naval installations at coastal areas including Turbat, Gwadar and Jinnah Naval Base Ormara to review operational readiness of Pakistan Navy units in the area and port security measures. This was the first visit of coastal area by Naval Chief after assuming the Command of Pakistan Navy.


Upon arrival at Naval Air Station Turbat, the Naval Chief was received by Commander Pakistan Fleet Rear Admiral Mohammad Amjad Khan Niazi. The Naval Chief was given a detailed briefing on operations of PNS SIDDIQ, operational preparedness, prevailing security situation, ongoing developmental plans for socio-economic uplift of local populace and measures taken for nation building.


Chief of the Naval Staff expressed satisfaction over operational preparedness of Pakistan Navy and envisioned that PNS SIDDIQ Naval Air Base, as a significant milestone towards enhancing PN’s operational capability, would lead to commercial flying activities, which would act as a catalyst for economic development in the hinterland of Balochistan. Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi also highlighted that other civic facilities including PN Model School Turbat will provide local populace access to quality services at their doorstep and set off a new era of prosperity in the region in consonance with Pakistan Navy’s resolve of nation building efforts.


The Naval Chief also visited Pakistan Navy units at Gwadar and Ormara and was briefed on various ongoing and future Pakistan Navy projects and plans as well as operational activities and security aspects of Gwadar Port particularly with respect to maritime components of CPEC Project.


While making an overall appraisal of the prevalent security environment, Chief of the Naval Staff expressed satisfaction over operational preparedness of Pakistan Navy for prevalent maritime challenges. The Naval Chief while expressing Pakistan Navy’s resolve to ensure seaward defence of vital maritime infrastructure and protection of the maritime interests of Pakistan against all threats, reiterated that Pakistan Navy would safeguard maritime frontiers of Pakistan at all costs. Chief of the Naval Staff also interacted with officers and men deployed at Turbat, Gwadar and Ormara.

07
December
First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Royal Navy, UK Visits NHQ

First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Royal Navy UK, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC was on an official visit to Pakistan on the invitation of Chief of the Naval Staff.


Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Royal Navy UK was received by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy clad in ceremonial dress presented him Guard of Honour. The visiting dignitary was then introduced to Principal Staff Officers.


Later, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, called on Chief of the Naval Staff in his office, where he held discussion on professional matters. Various avenues of cooperation between the two navies were also discussed in detail. A comprehensive brief on Pakistan Navy’s role in regional maritime security situation and operational developments in the Indian Ocean was also given to the visiting dignitary. First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Royal Navy UK also laid floral wreath at Shuhada Monument at NHQ to pay homage to PN Shuhada.


In the second leg of his visit, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC also met Naval Field Commands at Lahore and Karachi. He also delivered a lecture at Pakistan Navy War College Lahore.

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07
December
COAS Visits HQ SC in Connection with the Execution of Khush Hal Balochistan Initiative

newscoasvisithqsc.jpgGeneral Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Headquarters Southern Command, Quetta in connection with execution of ‘Khush Hal Balochistan’ (KHB) initiative. COAS and CM Balochistan were briefed in detail about the socio-economic and security environment and plan for execution of KHB. Provincial administration and military commanders were also present. The plan was discussed in details including the few aspects that required further deliberation at staff level which will be finalized accordingly in next few days. All aspects in security domain were approved by the COAS. Details of complete KHB initiative will be shared soon.


COAS said that Army shall provide full support to Federal and Provincial governments for success of KHB program. He said that the program in fact is ‘Khush Hal Balochistan-Khush Hal Pakistan’.


CM Balochistan appreciated contributions of security apparatus for improving stability in the province and support for execution of KHB plan.


Earlier, upon arrival, COAS was received by Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

 

 

 

 

Commander Southern Command Visits Awaran

Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa visited Awaran district on November 17. Besides reviewing operational aspects, he also visited newly renovated Government Girls High School, Gajjar, which was destroyed due to an earthquake and met with students and faculty. Commander Southern Command urged the students to acquire quality education and professional skills. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan Army has provided 400 chairs for students, two school vans, established Physics, Chemistry and Biology labs and re-built two primary schools on the demand of local population to promote the standard of education in the area. As per details, a self-employment initiative was also launched to boost socio-economic condition in the agricultural sector, establishment of a mini market and capacity building of the Vocational Centre run by Pakistan Army. To cater for the medical facilities in the area, Commander Southern Command donated an ambulance, complete medical equipment and medicines for the Rural Health Centre. He also met a large gathering of local population, including notables, who lauded the efforts of Pakistan Army and opined that prevailing peace and rapid development works ensured by Pakistan Army will bring prosperity to the province.


General Officer Commanding Major General Nadeem Zaki Manj accompanied the Commander Southern Command during his visit.

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07
December
COAS Visits Strike Corps at Mangla

No Power Can Undo Pakistan!

newscoasvisitstrike.jpgGeneral Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Strike Corps at Mangla and witnessed the ongoing training and addressed the officers and troops.


While interacting with Mangla Corps troops, COAS appreciated the state of high morale and standard of training. He said that ‘despite our commitments on western border and internal security duties we cannot remain oblivious of the perpetual conventional threat which demands high standards of training and operational readiness’.


Talking about challenges being faced by Pakistan, COAS while quoting Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said that ‘no power can undo Pakistan and for this purpose the nation and its state institutions shall continue to cohesively perform in best interest of the country’.


Upon arrival at Mangla, COAS was received by Commander Mangla Corps Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi. Inspector General Training and Evaluation Lieutenant General Hidayat-Ur-Rehman was also present on the occasion.

 

“We have come a long way in responding to the challenges and inshAllah Pakistan is bound to rise. The only thing needed is to stay steadfast and remain united as a nation.” COAS
07
December
CJCSC Visits Azerbaijan

Matters Related to Security and Defence Cooperation Discussed

newscjsctoazarbijan.jpgGeneral Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee, visited Azerbaijan officially and interacted with the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chief of State Border Services (SBS). Matters related to security and defence cooperation between the two countries were discussed. Chairman also visited Command and Control Centre at Ministry of Defence.

 

Both sides assured full support to each other’s stance on the issues of Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh and reiterated the resolve for peaceful resolution of the issues in accordance with UN Resolutions.

 

Chairman also delivered a lecture on “Hybrid Wars and Challenges of 21st Century Warfare” at Military College of Armed Forces Baku. Earlier upon arrival at Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence, he was presented Guard of Honour.

06
December
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad

newsoptradulfasad.jpgFC Balochistan conducted IBO in Tump, Turbat on a terrorist hideout. Two terrorists were apprehended during the operation and 18 hostages including, 2 Pakistani and 16 foreigners (Nigerians and Yemenis), recovered. A large quantity of arms and ammunition including IEDs have been recovered from the hideout.

 

In an another Operation FC conducted an IBO in village Panodi located 25 Kms Southeast of Balnigur in Makran Division. Two terrorists of proscribed organisations were killed. During exchange of fire with terrorists Sepoy Nasir Mehmood embraced shahadat while two other soldiers sustained injuries. These terrorists were involved in different activities like destruction of a bridge on M-8, planting of IEDs and attacks on security forces.

06
December

Written By: Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan (R)

This article recounts my experiences of 1971 in erstwhile East Pakistan and the Flight of 4th Army Aviation Squadron to Burma just prior to the surrender of our forces on December 16, 1971. It will be necessary to briefly recall some of the major happenings of the time, because it has been almost five decades since these events took place and our younger readers may not be familiar with the sequence of events which were precursors to the 1971 War and the subsequent emergence of Bangladesh. In December 1970, a devastating cyclone struck the East Pakistan in which millions of East Pakistanis either drowned or were uprooted from their homes. It was a colossal calamity which probably occurs once in a century. Unfortunately, despite Pakistan Government’s best efforts towards disaster management and the sympathetic support of almost the whole world, the devastation was so widespread and enormous that the overall impact of the rehabilitation efforts were considered grossly inadequate. These conditions allowed India to exploit the growing dissatisfaction amongst the affected populace to the detriment of East Pakistan.

 

flighttofreedom.jpgThe Pakistani general election of 1970 and its aftermath provided further grist for India to advance its nefarious designs against Pakistan. Resultantly, by March 26, 1971 East Pakistan was in the throes of a full scale rebellion/civil war against the Federation of Pakistan. In February 1971, India further added to Pakistan’s woes when her well planned ‘Ganga Hijacking Conspiracy’ gave her the opportunity to ban all Pakistani inter-wing flights over Indian territory. This greatly handicapped West Pakistan’s ability to reinforce its East Wing and counter India’s diabolical moves.


My involvement with the 1971 events started on April 8, 1971 when I, along with six army aviators, was ordered to immediately move to Dhaka and reinforce the Flight of 4th Army Aviation Squadron. At that time there were conflicting stories circulating regarding the fighting in East Pakistan and we did not know what to expect. On April 10, we took off from Karachi on a PIA flight and arrived at Dhaka around 2 a.m. Against our expectations, there was total peace at the airport. With some difficulty we located the Flight Headquarters nearby and settled down till such time our Squadron buddies woke up.


Flying Environment

In the post-election period, political environment in East Pakistan was fast becoming hostile to the Government of Pakistan and the landing of Pakistani aircraft in an unsecured place was fraught with grave danger but after the action of March 25, 1971 it had become suicidal.


Helicopters have more moving parts than fixed-wing aircraft because of which they not only require more maintenance but are also more prone to malfunctions. In case of an emergency, larger helicopters in comparison to small helicopters are more difficult to auto-rotate/land safely.


Communication aids are essential for safe navigation of aircraft. Unfortunately, these aids were almost non-existent in East Pakistan. The absence of these navigation aids meant that Pakistani aircraft flying in East Pakistan had to resort to ‘Dead Reckoning’ which to say the least, was a very dangerous handicap.


Once open war was declared, the absence of navigational aids when coupled with the total Indian air superiority restricted Pakistani helicopters to only low-level night flying, which was akin to flying blind. When all these handicaps are put together, it created a near suicidal flying environment. In such a dangerous flying environment, it was nothing short of a providential miracle of Almighty Allah that Pakistani helicopters and the crew came out unscathed from the operations in East Pakistan.


Pre-War Operations

I flew my first mission as a co-pilot on a MI-8 to Pabna in the northwest of Dhaka. Apparently, after the initial fighting at Dhaka on March 26, the Army troops had fanned out in different directions to quell rioting in the outlying areas. The flight to Pabna was uneventful and we returned to Dhaka by the afternoon.


Apart from the routine liaison, supply, and casualty evacuation missions, Heliborne Operations were the main type of duties, which the Army Aviation undertook during this period. In the Heliborne Operations, we transported Special Services Group (SSG) and Infantry troops for assault operations in difficult and inaccessible areas of the East Pakistani riverine terrain. Brief details of the prominent Heliborne Operations are given below: -


Bhairab Bridge. This was a large prominent bridge on River Brahmaputra, which was strongly held by the rebels of East Bengal Regiment (EBR). Its early capture was important because all road communications to the North East ran through this bridge. A Heliborne Operation employing SSG and Army Aviation, with the PAF in support, was planned and such was the stealth and shock of the assaulting troops that the well dug in defenders were very quickly overwhelmed. The surprise was so complete that the defenders were unable to actuate the reserved demolitions and the bridge was captured intact.


Some smaller Heliborne Operations were also undertaken to overcome rebel positions at Patuakhali, Barisal and Khulna.


Belonia. It is a small indentation on the International Border near Feni, which was occupied by an East Bengal Battalion. This position was an extremely well-prepared defensive position and was the last surviving rebel position within the territory. The position was so strong that earlier it had thwarted attempts by two regular Pakistan Army battalions to evict them. Finally, a small heliborne force of two ad hoc SSG and infantry platoons were put together and heli-dropped at night in the middle of this strongly held battalion position. The enemy troops were so taken aback by this daring operation that they literally ran away and abandoned some of their weapons and wireless sets. This successful operation was undertaken in June 1971, and was the last position which had been illegally declared as Bangladeshi territory after the rebellion of March 25, 1971.


By August ‘71 the Mukti Bahini and the rebel East Bengal Battalions had regrouped and with the close support of regular Indian Army troops again began making incursions inside the territory of East Pakistan. By October, almost two regular Indian Divisions had attacked Khulna, Comilla and Jessore Sectors and despite dogged defence of the thinly spread Pakistani troops, gradually achieved fairly deep penetrations inside Pakistani territory.


Open War
On December 2-3, 1971 all-out war was declared between India and Pakistan and as a result of the complete Indian air superiority; Pakistani Army aviators were compelled to resort to Nap-of-the-Earth night flying. This presented its own set of difficulties but I am proud to mention that we all coped most admirably with these difficult conditions.


We rested during the day and in the evening, our Commanding Officer (CO) visited the Eastern Command Headquarters to receive orders for our missions for the night. Sadly, the war was not progressing in Pakistan’s favour but all of us fulfilled our missions with great success. This routine continued till the fateful evening of December 15/16. When our Commanding Officer returned from Eastern Command Headquarters he brought the news that the surrender ceremony was to take place the next day at 11 a.m. and as such we were to prepare our helicopters for demolition at night. After we recovered from the shock, we suggested to our Commanding Officer that all of us were ready to escape from East Pakistan towards Burma or Nepal and as he should get us permission from Eastern Command Headquarters for this.


The Commanding Officer returned in a short while with an affirmative answer and after some discussions we decided to attempt the escape to Burma, which was agreed upon. The rest of the night was spent making last minute preparations. Our instructions were that every helicopter was to have one set of pilots and one crew chief/mechanic. Also, that this information was not to be shared with anyone else and that Eastern Command would undertake to inform our passengers consisting of women and children.


Since our helicopters were dispersed all over Dhaka Cantonment, it took us 10 to 15 minutes from our residences to reach these parked helicopters. This journey in vehicles was always very perilous because we encountered numerous nervous sentries enroute who were quite ready to fire at the smallest provocation.


For this journey to Akyab (Burma) on December 16, our helicopter was second in the order of take-off. Regrettably, since our helicopter was slightly damaged it was not cleared to carry any load; when we reached our helicopter we found ten women and children already sitting in the helicopter. We tried to explain the situation to them but they did not much care for what we said and replied that since we were taking the risk of flying this helicopter, they would also do so. A brave but wise decision which we accepted and proceeded as per plan. After approximately three hours plus of nervous low level flying we recognized Akyab Airfield but before landing we made a detour over the sea to dump our weapons and sensitive papers in the sea. After landing at Akyab, when I came out of the helicopter I was met by an armed Burmese soldier who enquired in Urdu if I was a Pakistani and a Muslim; when I replied in the affirmative he greeted me with an “Assalam-o-Alaikum” and smilingly informed me that he also was a Muslim and his name was Mustafa Kamal. He was probably a Muslim from Arakan, whom we have recently recognized as Rohingyas.


Within an hour and a half of our touchdown three other MI-8s and three Alouette-3s also landed at Akyab. We were a total of approximately 170 uninvited Pakistanis (mostly women and children) who had landed at Akyab.


All of us thanked Almighty Allah for our safe journey and having been saved the ignominy of being taken as Indian/Bangladeshi Prisoners of War (POW). Soon, an official of the Pakistani Consulate at Akyab arrived at the airport to take care of us. The Burmese Government was most kind to us and after three days the women and children were flown to Rangoon and another three days later they were repatriated to Pakistan. The men were kept in Akyab for a week after which we were allowed to fly our helicopters (under Burmese guards) to their Air force Base at Meiktila. We left our helicopters at Meiktila and were then taken in a Burmese Air Force aircraft to Rangoon. While at Rangoon, we were free to move around the city and make our first contacts with our families in Pakistan. After three weeks in Rangoon, a PIA aircraft was diverted to Rangoon, which took us all back to Pakistan. Thus ended our eventful sojourn of 1971 in the East Pakistan.


In all the tragedy that befell Pakistan in the fateful year of 1971 and the grossly unfair circumstances that our countrymen and soldiers faced, I am very grateful to Almighty Allah that He saved us all the ignominy of surrender to India/Mukti Bahini/Bangladesh. I am also proud to have been a member of 4th Army Aviation Squadron, the only Unit of Pakistan Army in East Pakistan which did not surrender. The soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army fought bravely and sacrificed their lives, but could not win the war fought under most unfavourable conditions. In all humility, I pray to Almighty Allah for presenting an opportunity for Pakistan to redress this slur from our history. Ameen.

 

Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan (R) Commanded 10 Corps and Retired as Chief of General Staff, Pakistan Army.
 
06
December

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

We wish our people to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of the people.

 

On Quaid’s birth anniversary, the crucial question that arises is ‘How has Pakistan performed over the years in the context of Quaid’s well-established norms?’ The answer is hardly encouraging. Indeed, it is downright dismal.


First, a word or two about Quaid’s norms or guidelines as have been handed down to us from his public pronouncements. Fortunately for us, these norms or guidelines were succinctly summed-up in just one sentence, on the day of the launching of the Pakistan demand in Lahore on March 23, 1940. In his presidential address Quaid spelled out the rationale thus: “We wish our people to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of the people”. And his numerous pronouncements during 1940-48 are, in a sense, an explication and elaboration of the ideal(s) enshrined in this quintessential quote and the components therein encompass the entire fabric of national life.

 

pakperformance.jpgWhat, then, are the legacies and guidelines which Pakistan received from the Pakistan movement, Quaid’s pronouncements, and his political conduct and behavior?


In terms of constitution-making, Pakistan received three major legacies from the freedom movement: (i) Islamic aspirations (ii) federalism, and (iii) a democratic orientation. First, leaving aside the single-factor analysis/paradigm, which Pakistani historiography on partition has been obsessed with for the most part, Islam was used as the cultural metaphor not as a theocracy for galvanizing Indian Muslims under the Pakistan canopy, and their penchant to preserve and foster Islamic values in their demographically-dominant regions was decisively at the centre of the Pakistan Movement. Second, as Professor Richard S. Wheeler points out: “The history of the Muslim League and of the Muslim separatist movement itself committed Pakistani political leaders to a federal structure, tempering an overriding belief in Muslim unity with a recognition of the geographical and cultural facts of provincial diversity”. Third, Jinnah had committed the Muslim League to constitutionalism, throughout his and its career. “In heart and mind,” says Frank Moraes, a leading Indian editor, “Jinnah had a great respect for law as it stood and therefore for constitutional institutions”. Moraes quoted another leading Indian editor during the 1940s, Joaehin Alva as saying, “If constituted authority is to be overthrown what will happen to the country?”. A query that Jinnah had posed at the height of the Civil Disobedience Movement during 1920-22, to which he ostensibly and obviously received no satistfactory answer. Hence, Wheeler’s contention that “the League’s dedication to constitutionalism, epitomized in Jinnah’s career, predisposed the [Pakistani] leaders to seek solutions within the democratic parliamentary tradition, avoiding a radical break with the past”.


When it comes to a democratic orientation, it needs to be noted that throughout the struggle for Pakistan, Jinnah sought a verdict on the Muslim demand through the ballot box. At the height of the general elections of 1945-46, which were to decide the fate of Pakistan, he categorically affirmed on October 10, 1945 that, “If the Muslims’ verdict is against Pakistan I will stand down”. A week later, he reaffirmed his commitment to a democratic choice, saying, “We want the verdict of the electorate, such as it is constituted, of Muslims, whether they want Pakistan or whether they want to live here as an object minority under Hindu Raj....”


Three years later, in his broadcast to the American people in February 1948, when he presided over the destiny of the fledgling state, he reaffirmed, “. . . I am sure it [the Pakistan constitution] will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam.”


Earlier, in his first public pronouncement in Pakistan on August 11, 1947, he expounded the concept of a common nationality encompassing all those who resided in Pakistan, no matter what their race, colour, language or religion. This was, in essence, a call for a paradigm shift of the pre-partition two-nation theory which had envisioned Hindus and Muslims as two separate nations entitled to the right of self-determination in their respective demographically dominant regions. What he meant was that since the substratum in Renan’s nationality framework had changed with the nation having acquired statehood in the emergence of Pakistan, the two-nation theory, albeit being valid in the pre-partition subcontinental context only in terms of Hindus and Muslims (as now two nation states Pakistan and Hindustan have been established comprising diverse population in faith and creed), had somewhat changed in the emerging Pakistani nationhood context. Now Pakistanis and Indians are two nations and those living in respective country define that nationhood. Tragically though, many Pakistanis, like Indians, being “hostage” to the pre-partition ideas and stock arguments as well as the partition syndrome, were psychologically unprepared to comprehend the full implications of his call and translate it on the ground. History provides solid foundations for future contextualisation yet change is inevitable and past can’t be re-lived. All Pakistanis living in Pakistan are part of the nation including Hindu, Sikhs, Christians and others.


Oft and anon, Jinnah did talk about “embodying the essential principles of Islam” within Pakistan’s body politic, but what he meant was that Islam would not politicize it but would provide it with its ethical foundations. Pakistan being predominantly Muslim, he envisaged that Islam would become the principal source and basis for its code of public morality. Thus, when it came to Pakistan’s polity and political structure, he was emphatic that ‘Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission’. Jinnah had invoked Islam because, as he had repeatedly said, “Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. Islam has taught equality, justice and fairplay to everybody. What reason is there for anyone to fear democracy, equality, freedom on the highest standards of integrity and on the basis of fairplay and justice for everday.... Let us make it (the future constitution of Pakistan). We shall make it and we will show it to the world.” Thus, he stood for the democratic face of Islam; he stood for the pluralist face of Islam.


That this version of an Islamic democracy was in accord with the views of Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani indicates beyond doubt that the ideologue, the founder, the first Prime Minister and the foremost religious leader of the day were thinking on the same wavelength. This certainly was fortuitous for Pakistan in its formative years. The Allama, on his part, gave stolid support to the Objectives Resolution, and categorically ruled out theocracy as the structural framework of Pakistan’s constitution, arguing that “an Islamic state does not mean the government of the ordained priests. How could Islam”, he asked pointedly, “countenance the false idea which the Qur’an so emphatically repudiated in Sura al-Tauba, IX, verse 31?”


Jinnah stood not only against theocracy, but also against sectarianism. “Islam”, he said, “does not recognize any kind of distinction of caste and the Prophet [PBHU] was able to level down all castes and create national unity among Arabs.” Unfortunately though, sectarianism has raised its ugly head in Pakistan during the last twenty years, making such a mess of Pakistan. Curbing religious extremism and marginalizing jihadi and terrorist groups are, indeed, among the most critical challenges confronting Pakistan today, and the future face of Pakistan depends for the most part on how we go about tackling these critical tasks.


All through his life Jinnah was reputed to have an eye for details – whether he was pursuing a case in the courts or presenting his case across the negotiating table. Indeed his mastery over details had made him such a hard bargainer and this, along with his cold-blooded logic, was the key to his success in his numerous political battles. No wonder, when Pakistan was demanded and established, he not only enunciated ideals, principles and norms of public policy at the macro level but also enumerated problems confronting the would be or newly born state at the micro level. And he availed his August 11 presidential address to the Constituent Assembly to focus on some of the problems confronting Pakistan, which are still live issues in contemporary Pakistan.

 

Jinnah stood not only against theocracy, but also against sectarianism. “Islam”, he said, “does not recognize any kind of distinction of caste and the Prophet [PBHU] was able to level down all castes and create national unity among Arabs.” Unfortunately though, sectarianism has raised its ugly head in Pakistan during the last twenty years, making such a mess of Pakistan. Curbing religious extremism and marginalizing jihadi and terrorist groups are, indeed, among the most critical challenges confronting Pakistan today, and the future face of Pakistan depends for the most part on how we go about tackling these critical tasks.

Now, consider how relevant are the “things” he drew attention to for the contemporary Pakistan. And of them the core things are as follows.


i) “… the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state.”


ii) “One of the biggest curses … is bribery and corruption. We must put that down with an iron hand…” (Remember, this includes political bribery and corruption, of which we hear so much today.)


iii) “Black-marketing is another curse… and they (black-marketers) ought to be severely punished…”
iv) “… the evil of nepotism and jobbery … must be crushed relentlessly … I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me.”


v) “… everyone… no matter to what community he belongs, … no matter what his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations… we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state.” (This dictum in the present context should logically be extended to include various sects and ethnic groups).


vi) “I shall (i.e., rulers in Pakistan should) always be guided by the principles of justice and fairplay without any… prejudice or ill-will, in other words, partiality or favouritism.”


As his August 11, 1947 address, his pronouncements on various occasions during his tenure as Governor General provide us with certain guidelines for building up a strong and stable Pakistan, and for public conduct in various spheres of national life.


Consider, for instance, his exhortation to the civil servants “to do your duty as servants” arguing. “… you are not concerned with this political party or that …, that is not your business. It is the business of politicians to fight out their case under this constitution or the future constitution that may ultimately be framed. You, therefore, have nothing to do with this party or that. You are civil servants. Whichever (party) gets the majority will form the Government and your duty is to serve that Government as servants, not as politicians….”


Interestingly, Jinnah also foresaw how even democratic institutions and structures could be abused. He warned, “Representative governments and representative institutions are no doubt good and desirable, but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal aggrandizement, they not only lose their value but earn a bad name, let us avoid that and it is possible only if we subject our actions to perpetual scrutiny and test them with the touchstone not of personal or sectional interest but of the good of the State” (Address to Quetta Municipality, June 15, 1948).


To an observer of the contemporary Pakistani scene, I don’t have to say which of the above guidelines have been translated into social action and which transgressed, and how far the successive regimes have addressed the sore problems Jinnah had pointed at in his August 11 address.


These are being dilated upon, almost ad infinitum, by scores of columnists in Pakistani newspapers day in and day out and hence I refrain from repeating or paraphrasing them.


Finally, one word about democracy in Pakistan. Fortunately, a democratic dispensation in terms of its apparatus, structure and institutions has returned. Whether it is functional, dysfunctional or malfunctional is beside the point. But what is important is that it isn’t, as yet, informed by a democratic ethos.


Remember, democracy is meaningless unless it is utilized in pursuit of the creation of a welfare state which ensures the promotion of the hallowed principles of the sanctity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, curbs abuse of power, tyranny and exploitation, and ushers in equity, social justice, human development and an egalitarian, civil society principles, pursuits and values, sanctified both in the democratic framework and by the Islamic ethos. And that constitutes the litmus test for the present regime.

 

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
December

Written By: Air Vice Marshal Abrar Ahmed

It was October of 1962. Seemingly, humanity was coming to an end through repeat of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, while, Kremlin and White House were busy averting World War-III during the Cuban Missile Crises, China launched a two pronged land offensive, about 1000 miles apart, against India across the Himalayas. The Chinese political aim was to employ military force to re-establish her territorial integrity which had been compromised after the intrusion of Indian army and establishment of 43 border posts across the McMahon Line in North West Aksai Chin region and across Subansiri River in North East Frontier Region (NEFA), India.
Since independence, India was following a ‘Policy of Expansionism’. After successful capture of the independent states of Hyderabad, Junagadh, Munawadar, Kathiawar, Jammu & Kashmir and Goa between 1948 and 1961, India felt confident and experienced to take on China. Therefore, the Indian army was ordered to occupy Chinese territories namely, Tawang and Aksai Chin. Nehru asserting himself as the Indian political visionary leader and named this risky military adventure as his ‘Forward Policy’ against China.


While her smaller and weaker neighbors could not fight Indian expansionist policy, China was strong. Nehru failed to comprehend this and China imposed war on her. India could have halted Chinese aggression, but Nehru failed to use all elements of national power. Nehru’s most crucial mistake was not to use Indian Air Force. To understand the whole perspective of war, the prevalent international environment and domestic situations of India and China are briefly covered in the following paragraphs.
In the context of prevalent international environment at the time, the Cold War was expanding. Besides NATO, SEATO and CENTO had been established to ensue containment policy. India was determined to stay out of Cold War rivalries and had instituted and was a leading member of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Although concerns were being raised at United Nations about Indian military aggressions against her weaker neighbors, U.S. and USSR were silent because both of them wanted India on their side in the Cold War. In the same context, though Indian capture of Goa was not taken well by United States, Kennedy administration took no action against it in spite of Portuguese request.


Domestically, China was facing U.S. supported Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan. Relations with USSR were at low ebb after the exodus of Uyghur Muslims from Sinkiang into Soviet Union resulting in withdrawal of Soviet economic aid and return of Russian military and engineering experts after 1960. In South, China was faced with contradictory Indian slogans and words. Nehru advocated Indians and Chinese are brothers (‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’) and had also signed the Panchseel Agreement on Tibet in 1950. Indian port of Calcutta was being used by China for Tibet bound imports. However at the same time, India had granted political asylum to Dalai Lama and his 100,000 followers and was supporting CIA to train Tibetans for insurgency against China. China thought Indian dubious policy was only meant to gain economic and military concessions from the super powers. Economically, Chinese situation was hopeless in 1962. She had suffered typhoons, floods and droughts and was facing food shortages and even political disturbances in some regions. In spite of all problems, Mao Zedong still enjoyed complete authority. Mao Zedong was concerned about Indian intrusions and decided to gain advantage from Cuban Missile Crisis to retake his lost territory. He employed diplomacy to persuade Soviets to remain neutral and United States not to support Chiang Kai-shek to attack China. Therefore, India could now be dealt with, without any other distraction.


On the Indian side, Nehru was dominating Indian National Congress which was the single largest political entity in India. Poverty, illiteracy, disease, unemployment along with political and economic exclusions were rising but Nehru was focused on concentrating power in his dynasty. He had weakened important national institutions like Foreign, Defense, Interior and Information Ministries. Nehru wanted these institutions to blindly follow his dictates. Nehru sent Army Chief General Thimayya on retirement for voicing concern over manifestation of ‘Forward Policy’ and replaced him by General Kaul who did not belong to a fighting arm. This adversely affected military morale and Generals now abstained from providing worthwhile advice to Nehru on issues of national security. The 1961 capture of Goa had also emboldened Nehru. Therefore, Pakistani President Ayub Khan’s offer for joint Indo-Pakistan defense was arrogantly rejected by Nehru. U.S. backed initiatives to let Britain (head of Commonwealth) help India against China were also dismissed by over-confident Nehru.


Prior to military invasion, China made multiple futile diplomatic and non-lethal military attempts to convince India to roll back her 43 out of 60 military posts established on Chinese soil. Nehru frustrated China by refusing to even recognize these territorial disputes. Initially China decided to employ diplomacy backed by military. Therefore, a Chinese Army battalion surrounded an Indian post inside Tibet border to simply cut off its supply line without firing at it. However, the Indians began supplying this post with Mi-4 helicopters thereby totally diluting the effect of Chinese move. After this incident, China decided to employ military backed by diplomacy. Hence in a final diplomatic signal, China told India to come to Peking on October 15 and discuss the issue or choose to play with a fire that might consume India. Indian military and intelligence reports of likely Chinese invasion were also disregarded by Nehru as mere skepticism.


The eventual calibrated Chinese advance from October 20 to 24, 1962 recaptured all areas occupied by Indian soldiers while still respecting the McMahon Line. This action resulted in minor Indian losses with no mentionable Chinese loss. Having defeated entrenched Indian Army, Mao Zedong again offered political negotiations. Nehru dismissed the Chinese offer and vowed to fight back. He declared national emergency, imposed war tax and created war hysteria against China and began seeking U.S./USSR support against China.


Chinese were closely monitoring Indian military dispositions. When Indian Army began concentrating for counter offensive by November 14, 1962, China launched its full military might and mauling two Indian divisions, captured territories 50 kilometers in depth, forcing population evacuation from entire Assam. Similar advance resulted in capture of whole of Aksai Chin. This second offensive also lasted from November 17 to 20, 1962 but it was fast, brute and unstoppable and resulted in death of almost 1400 Indian soldiers, more than 1000 wounded and another 4000 POWs.1 This shattered India, and panic gripped Delhi where people feared that it was only a matter of time before Chinese Army will parachute into Delhi and burn it as forewarned by Mao Zedong. China however, without asking for negotiations again, declared unilateral ceasefire on November 21 and also moved its forces 20 kilometers behind McMahon Line dictating India to do the same lest China resumes the offensive.


India possessed a strong Air Force consisting of Hunters and Mysteres for Air Defense and Canberra aircraft with a bombing range of 2000 miles. Similarly, Tezpur, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Hasimara and Dibrugarh airfields could readily support air operations in the theatre of war. Chinese main Lines of Communication (LoC) in the entire war zone were very vulnerable to Indian air action. On the contrary, due to discontinuation of Soviet military assistance, China severely lacked in aircraft, fuel, and ammunition. Moreover, small air strips in Tibet being at high altitude were not feasible for combat air operations. Indian Air Force, therefore, could interdict LoC, target fuel, ammunition and ration depots and also provide Close Combat Air Support to Indian troops. But Nehru elected not to apply air power only to ward off the possibility of Chinese retaliatory strategic bombing, notwithstanding the fact that Chinese PLAAF did not possess such a capability.


Indian military defeat raised many important questions about Nehru’s assumptions, his assessment of ends-ways-means, his appreciation of Indian and Chinese domestic situations and, most important of all, his entire decision making during the war. The critical evaluation of Nehru’s strategic analysis and decisions pertaining to this war are as follows:


a. Faulty Assumptions. Nehru’s decisions, actions, parliamentary and media conversations reveal under mentioned assumptions.
i. China will not react militarily to Indian border provocations.
ii. Superior Indian Army will defeat PLA.
iii. China is internally too weak and embroiled to fight a war with India.
iv. In a Chinese imposed war, USSR and USA will support India.
v. If India uses Air Force, China will undertake strategic bombing.


b. Failure to Develop ‘Ends-Ways-Means’ Paradigm. Nehru’s end objective was Indian territorial expansion into China and Tibet using the military instrument. However, he did not seek specialist military advice in the event of Chinese military response. The honest advice given by General Thimayya was brushed aside. The diplomatic instrument was employed reactively and no assurances were sought from super powers due to Nehru’s Non-Aligned Movement policy initiative. Even economic homework to support defensive war effort was lacking as evident from the panicky imposition of war tax after first Chinese attack. The media (information tool) was directed mainly at domestic audience. Letter to U.S. President seeking immediate air intervention was meaningless without offering anything in return.


c. Imperfect Appreciation of Chinese Political Will and Domestic Situation. Nehru heavily relied on Indian ambassador in China and U.S. ambassador in India to develop his evaluations about Chinese inability to fight a war due to their domestic problems. He neglected using his intelligence tools, aerial reconnaissance and advice from neutral foreign diplomats in Delhi. His strategic blunder lay in his inability to assess ‘Chinese political will’ to defend their homeland which was amply manifested in Mao Zedong’s statements. Moreover, the recent Korean War had vividly demonstrated this aspect when China engaged nuclear capable U.S. Hence, it was naive to militarily encroach on Chinese territory without inviting war.


d. Skewed Decision Making. This is the most crucial area where Nehru simultaneously lost a number of wickets to a single Chinese spin ball. Following faulty decisions led to stumbling of (Clausewitzian trinity) Indian Government, public and Armed Forces.


i. Nehru’s rebuffal of the Chinese offer for political negotiations after initial setback of October 20-23, without having military means to defend against similar recurrence in future.
ii. Scapegoating Indian defense minister for ‘Forward Policy’ failure.
iii. Seeking USAF intervention without first using Indian Air Force.
iv. Soliciting U.S. intervention made a mockery of his NAM initiative.

 

Nations have to protect their interests at their own peril, super powers like to use others rather than get used by others, the territorial integrity is still a vital interest of all nation states, therefore, an infringement on territory will invite military response, and notwithstanding all of the aforesaid, when a war is imposed on a nation state, the least its leadership can do is to use its armed forces in defense of motherland.

e. The Decision “not to use Indian Air Force”. The decision of not employing Indian Air Force caused national pain and anger and remains widely debated since the 1962 war. It was this single decision that could have changed the course of history and kept Indian pride intact. Apparently, Nehru had amassed too much political authority in him. From the military standpoint, the depository of all military and political authority in a single person often leads to major disasters as is evident from Napoleon’s Waterloo and Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa.


Nehru’s assumption like General Lee (of U.S. Confederate forces during American Civil War) and actions like Hitler were amazingly confusing. While facing military defeat on the battlefield he chose not to accept Chinese offer for political negotiations. He was seeking 12 squadrons of U.S. combat aircraft while his own Air Force was sitting idle. Many Indian Air Force Chiefs now claim that employment of Indian Air Force could have changed the outcome of this war. However, this claim cannot be fully substantiated. Similarly, Indian Army officers who were in the fight also say the same. The military inquiry into this war by Lt Gen Henderson Brookes remains classified to-date, probably to protect the Nehru dynasty whose fourth generation is now actively engaged in Indian politics of the so called “democratic India”. Looking at Nehru through Thucydide’s lens, his Forward Policy landed India to the fate of defeated Mytilenians but Mao Zedong’s (like Diodotus) declaration of unilateral ceasefire saved India from further destruction and humiliation.


Nations have to protect their interests at their own peril, super powers like to use others rather than get used by others, the territorial integrity is still a vital interest of all nation states, therefore, an infringement on territory will invite military response, and notwithstanding all of the aforesaid, when a war is imposed on a nation state, the least its leadership can do is to use its armed forces in defense of motherland. Nehru probably found it too hard to live with his failure in this war and died soon afterwards, in 1964.

 

The writer is Commandant Air War College Faisal (Karachi).
 
06
December

Written By: Mrs. Maj Hussain

Let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan Army which has recognized the sacrifices of its men to the optimum. Though due recognition to earlier shuhadas had always been there but the motivation and ownership in the present era is above par. Motivated from this fact, I thought that I must also communicate to Hilal readers my story as the widow of a shaheed.

 

 anunsunghero.jpgEnter Summer 1972 – a son of this soil anxiously paces in his room, engrossed in his thoughts when he is startled by a knock. Before he has time to think, the door opens. On seeing a familiar face, he heaves a sigh of relief. “You have a package,” murmurs the delivery boy as he drops it and runs. He does not know but this is the highlight of the soldier’s month. Overcome by excitement he leaps towards the box, opening it ever so slightly. Joyous yet cautious, completely aware of how precarious the situation is. One misstep and it could be the end for him.


With his back to the door, he pulls out the contents – a book, a fresh pair of clothes and some sweets. Tears well up in his eyes, it all smells of home. He holds the book to his chest as he rummages through the clothes. There has to be something, he thinks, not ready to let go. He sticks his hand in the pockets, and they meet something. With trembling hands he unfolds the picture he had just pulled out. A defiant tear escapes his eyes as he stares at the picture of his newborn. In this moment he feels like captive; captivated by the beauty of his daughter’s face.


The jubilation in his heart knows no bounds, for expressions such as these keep his hope unscathed.
This is the story of many of our country’s daring men who have sacrificed their lives for their motherland. Below is the account of one such son of the soil.


Let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan Army which has recognized the sacrifices of its men to the optimum. Though due recognition to earlier shuhadas had always been there but the motivation and ownership in the present era is above par. Motivated from this fact, I thought that I must also communicate to Hilal readers my story as the widow of a shaheed. My husband PA-6776, Major Muhammad Hussain, Ordnance Corps succumbed to the torture of our callous enemy and eventually laid his life during captivity after the 1971 war in Meerut, India.


This unsung hero gave his life for the nation in the most perilous situation. This story began on March 4, 1942 when Maj Muhammad Hussain was born in a military family of village Buchal Kalan, District Chakwal. After receiving early education in Chakwal and Karachi, he joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul with 27th PMA Long Course in November 1960. Upon graduation from PMA he joined Ordnance Corps in April 1963. His first posting was to Quetta followed by stays at various places in Pakistan. On October 30, 1970 while serving as a Major, he was deputed as an ATO in 9th Division HQ, Kharian. Soon after taking over the post, the Division moved to East Pakistan.


As the 1971 war ended, the officers and troops were sent to various camps in India. One such camp was Number 40 in Meerut where Maj Hussain was imprisoned. At home, Maj Hussain was assumed missing until his name was published in the POW (Prisoner of War) list.


Although a detailed account of the day-to-day occurrences is not available, many of Maj Hussain’s colleagues elaborated on his general routine at the camp. Coupled with the few letters received from the officer it can be inferred that the general behavior of the Indian army towards POWs was cruel. In captivity, the officer was often taken to unknown places. However, what he endured there was neither shared by him nor the perpetrators. According to fellow captives who narrated on return, Maj Hussain would often complain of headaches and stay quiet for hours. This was in stark contrast to how his friends and family knew him: as a jovial and lively individual.


All captives at the camp were fed substandard foods, despite having received clear quality standards and instructions from World Health Organization (WHO). The food they were fed was mixed with grinded pieces of glass due to which many officers developed serious health conditions.


As a result of the torture inflicted on the officer, he developed some health issues. According to the letter received, meningitis took him over. However, according to his fellow POWs it was not a natural disease but was inflicted upon him through various tortures and other medical means. Maj Hussain was admitted in CMH Meerut on May 15, 1973. He was unable to identify faces at first but on May 17 or 18, he went into a coma, and on May 21, 1973 he passed away. He sacrificed his life but chose not to succumb to the demands of his enemy.


Major Muhammad Hussain left behind a wife and three year old daughter. He embraced shahadat and became a source of motivation and strength for the Army and his family.


His funeral was held in the Muslim graveyard at Meerut after which he was buried there as ‘Amanat’. At that time it was declared that the body would be returned to the family later on. In accordance with the promise, efforts were made by his family to get the body buried in Pakistan but the request was denied by the Indian Government. Today, I, his wife and my daughter find not his grave to meet him but know well that his soul must be around in his beloved Pakistan. The Indians were cruel then to kill a helpless POW, and cruel still to deny a grave to the family of a martyr!

 
06
December

Written By: Zubair Torwali

The Swat Valley in northern Pakistan is usually referred to as the Switzerland of Asia but a learned friend, who paid a visit to Swat recently, put it thus: “Switzerland is [the] Swat of Europe”.


The people of Swat often compare it with a paradise. In a poem I wrote on Swat in 2012 I described it as “Home to ancient Darada, Buddhist and Gandhara; Where pilgrims from China, and from central Asia, came for eternal solace; As it was such a place.”

 

anewdistrict.jpgCertainly we love our land but unfortunately our ‘love’ has ruined this beautiful valley by virtually stripping it off its magical beauty and serene peace. Excessive love for one’s land, community, ideology or nation shuns any form of critique and eventually gives birth to narcissism which further stagnates growth, and consequently we move in a vicious loop of suffering and ignorance.


We believe that the recent militancy in Swat was a product of various factors. Nobody from Swat could ever figure out the course of the future in the initial days of the Talibanisation of the population. No grand jirga was held to voice the peoples’ concerns. No notable family or leader tried to raise a voice. Finally Pakistan Army came to the rescue of the people. Pakistan Army not only defeated the terrorists and rehabilitated the TDPs but also steered the normalcy in Swat.


We, the people, allowed ourselves to be used as foot soldiers in that war. No doubt, we made great sacrifices by bearing the brunt – either in the form of the largest internal exodus or in burying our near and dear ones. This could have been avoided had we paid any heed to the lessons learnt in the early 1990s. This is what we did to the peace of our paradise.


When my friend visited the beautiful forests in Kalam he was appalled at the trash scattered in the forests. I blamed tourists for this and inexorably tried to distract him from the heaps of trash and dirt flowing down to Swat River on its stony banks in places like Bahrain, Madyan and Malam Jabba. To my misfortune, he saw locals dumping trash. In Mahudand, the beautiful lake in the valley of Kalam, he saw product wrappers floating on the surface of the emerald water. On the way back, I, fearing more shame, convinced him not to enter the city of Mingora – which has now become one of the most chaotic, mismanaged and unplanned cities of Pakistan.


Swat has now a contorted image both internationally and among the urban elite of Pakistan. Very few eco-friendly or research-oriented tourists visit Swat. In the summer months, we see crowds of tourists who are fleeing the sweltering heat in nearby cities and taking temporary refuge here.


According to the census held this year, the population of Swat district is more than 2.3 million – in an area of about 5,337 square kilometres. The population growth rate in Swat is 3.24 percent, among the highest in the country.


It is perhaps a near-impossible task to reverse the ruin of this beautiful valley but the deterioration can at least be stopped in its tracks through administrative measures. Recently, the district of Kohistan has been administratively divided into three separate districts although the sum total population of all the three districts is just one-third of the population of Swat. By that formula, the present district of Swat could be seven districts instead of the incumbent seven sub-divisions. However, this would be too idealistic.


Many people of Swat, especially of Upper Swat, demand that Swat be administratively split into two districts. The current government was thinking of such a measure last year but could not do so then because of political pressure. The debate started once again after the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recently spoke about Upper Swat district during his visit to Madyan.


The opposition to the proposal includes certain media persons based in Mingora city, from a political group and few others. The provincial assembly member from Khawazakhela and people from the upper parts of the valley favour the proposal. The other powerful traditional political leaders from Upper Swat have yet to speak on this issue. Their silence is dubious. The apprehensions pushed forward by the opposition demand an objective analysis from them. The naysayers see this project as division of this ‘land’, something that is incomprehensible to many.


The demand for making two districts of Swat is based on administrative issues, which means trying to achieve effective and easily accessible management of public affairs of the valley so as to minimise the risks to good governance and speedy dispensation of public services. It is not going to be on ethnic lines as in both the districts Pashto speakers would still be in majority.


The people living in the upper hilly parts of Swat are in favour of this administrative division because they hope that their areas may get more attention and funds when the valley is divided into two districts. These hilly beautiful areas draw a lot of attention from tourists. At the moment, these areas are the most underserved, inaccessible and ignored.


The current district of Swat desperately needs an administrative division with two districts so as to make it easy to govern and administer the area. Swat should now be divided into two districts with an increase in National Assembly seats from two to four and provincial assembly seats from the current seven to twelve. Any name can work – for example, Upper Swat and Lower Swat.

 

The writer is a journalist based in Swat.

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

 
06
December

Written By: Amir Zia

The Muslim world has suffered the most at the hands of terrorists and it has no option but to win this war against terrorism and extremist ideologies. The good thing is that many leaders of the Muslim world realize that wars cannot be won in the battlefields alone, but they also need to be won in the hearts and minds of the people. The IMCTC envisions to fight this war on both the fronts – which is a good beginning.

Pakistan’s decision to join the 41-nation Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) enjoys a broad national consensus, but a handful of skeptics want Islamabad to stay away from the Saudi-led alliance as they fear that it would bring more harm to the country than good.


The anti-IMCTC arguments stem from three core apprehensions.
Firstly, the 41-member alliance is seen by some as an anti-Iran bloc, carrying sectarian overtones. They believe that it would strain Pakistan’s relations with Tehran and is likely to antagonize at least a section of the country’s Shi’ite Muslims, who comprise roughly 15-20 percent of the population.


Secondly, there are fears that Pakistan – being the alliance member – might inadvertently be sucked into some Middle Eastern conflict, resulting into disastrous domestic and regional implications.

 

alliedagainst.jpg

Thirdly, some see this entire exercise as a non-starter because of rivalries among the IMCTC member states and their different requirements, challenges and priorities in the war against terrorism.


Indeed, given simmering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders will have to perform a delicate high-wire act to ensure that on one hand Islamabad’s time-tested strategic and economic relations with old, dependable brotherly Muslim country Saudi Arabia continues to grow and expand, and on the other they address concerns of the immediate neighbour Iran regarding this newly formed coalition.


Although staying away from the IMCTC as advocated by some fringe element and handful of politicians is no option at all, Pakistan has opted for the right strategy of playing an active role in the coalition as a major military power of the Muslim world and simultaneously soothing anxieties of Tehran.


The process of reaching out to Iran has already started. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in early November made a three-day visit to Tehran – the first ever by Chief of the Army Staff in more than two decades – where he announced Islamabad’s determination to expand ties with Iran in all spheres. According to Iranian media reports, General Bajwa in his meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other top leaders called for expanding military and defence ties and collaboration between the two countries for regional peace and security.


General Bajwa’s Iran visit came ahead of the IMCTC’s first meeting of Ministers of Defence in Riyadh under the slogan ‘allied against terrorism’ held on November 26. The impressive moot, inaugurated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pledged to boost its military capabilities to dismantle terrorist organizations.


General (retired) Raheel Sharif, commander-in-chief of the IMCTC, in his address at the conference again categorically stated that the objective of the coalition is “to fight against terrorism and it is not against any country, sect or religion.” Sharif gave a similar message in his October 16 address in Bahrain where he shared Pakistan’s experience of turning the tide of terrorism.


The repeated assertions by the top IMCTC military commander as well as Pakistan’s civil and military leaders’ commitment about taking on terrorists should put at rest all speculations about coalition being an anti-Iran bloc. The presence of Pakistan and countries like Turkey in the IMCTC would ensure that the alliance sticks to its declaration unveiled in Riyadh conference in which terrorism has been identified as a “constant and growing challenge to peace” and the member states have vowed to counter it “through education and knowledge.”


The four-point master-plan focuses on countering terrorist ideology, developing factual media content to counter terrorist narrative, halting terror financing and building anti-terrorism capabilities of military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the member countries. The declaration and statements by the IMCTC commander-in-chief focuses on the faceless violent non-state actors who challenge and threaten member states in one way or the other.


A day after the Riyadh conference, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Saudi Arabia with a message that Pakistan fully “endorses and supports” policies of its ally in the region. The Prime Minister Office said that Abbasi “lauded efforts of the Saudi leadership in bringing peace and stability to the region and assured the King (Salman bin Abdulaziz) of Pakistan’s full support….”


This active diplomacy by Pakistan’s military and civil leaders with Saudi Arabia and Iran underlines Islamabad’s commitment of fighting terrorism along with the other Muslim states as well as its resolve of maintaining friendly ties with neighbouring countries.


Pakistan has also more than once demonstrated determination of not getting involved in any Middle Eastern conflict, but in line with the desire of overwhelming number of Pakistanis, Islamabad has also expressed commitment of defending the holy lands in Saudi Arabia.


The third apprehension that traditional rivalries and contradictions among some IMCTC member states would prevent it from taking off does not take into account the fact that these countries have more reasons to cooperate with one another to combat terrorism than basis for non-cooperation. The dangerous phenomenon of terrorism remains the biggest challenge to peace and stability in the 21st century world, especially for Muslim countries where terrorists misuse the sacred name of Islam in an attempt to legitimize their activities.


General Raheel while highlighting the gravity of the threat posed by terrorists said at the conference that “in the last six years, approximately 70,000 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide, resulting in more than 200,000 deaths.” He added that, “over 70 percent of terrorism related deaths occurred in the Islamic World, most affected were Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.”


Pakistan remains the only country in the world, which turned the tide of terrorism single-handedly despite active support to terrorist networks by hostile neighbours like India and an anti-Pakistan lobby within the Afghan government. Yet, Pakistan has managed to put the terrorists on the back foot.


The IMCTC member states can certainly learn from one another’s anti-terrorism experience and supplement efforts in this non-conventional war which is being described as “extremely complex and resource intense.”


The initiative taken by His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is historic and path-breaking in a sense that it managed to bring most of the Muslim countries on one platform to counter the common threat of terrorism.


The coalition aims “to utilize the expertise and resources of member and friendly countries” and provide them support to build capabilities of military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Joint exercises and anti-terrorism training remain important pillars of the strategy in which the battle-hardened Pakistan Armed Forces – especially the army and the air force – will take the lead in providing training to the forces of IMCTC allies.


The IMCTC also plans to establish “a state-of-the-art intelligence and information sharing platform to counter terrorist networks, their facilitators, abettors, sympathizers and financiers.”


As the IMCTC is a unique and first of its kind initiative in the highly polarized and divided Muslim world, skepticism and doubts about its role and future are understandable.


But should obstacles or fears of failure stop the Muslim leadership from trying bold and imaginative new initiatives? The grand idea behind the IMCTC is to unite Muslims against the scourge of terrorism, expose the misinterpretation and abuse of Islam by terrorists and build a counter narrative while taking decisive steps to weed out terrorists.


The Muslim world has suffered the most at the hands of terrorists and it has no option but to win this war against terrorism and extremist ideologies. The good thing is that many leaders of the Muslim world realize that wars cannot be won in the battlefields alone, but they also need to be won in the hearts and minds of the people. The IMCTC envisions to fight this war on both the fronts – which is a good beginning.

 

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @AmirZia1

 
06
December

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu.

 

In May last year, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a deal to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar and also to develop a trade and transit corridor through Afghanistan that could, when fully operational, halve the time and cost of trading with Europe. Concerns were raised in Pakistan that this was an attempt to reduce the potential importance of Gwadar, and also provide a way for India to bypass Pakistan when it comes to direct trade with Afghanistan. However, these concerns were countered with skepticism as to how quickly the Chabahar project could get off the ground and whether this circuitous route could ever practically replace the more direct Pak-Afghan trade route.

 

theaghanistan.jpg

In the meantime, Pak-Afghan relations and trade ties continued to deteriorate, as attacks from terrorists based in Afghanistan began to escalate, leading to Pakistani authorities sealing Pak-Afghan border crossings as a punitive measure. While possibly effective in the short-term, this was at best an ad hoc decision which caused losses to traders and businessmen not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan, and gave Kabul an additional impetus to favour the Chabahar route and project.


A ray of hope came when COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Afghanistan this year and held fairly cordial meetings with President Ashraf Ghani. It was one of the all-too-frequent ice-breaking meetings between Pakistani and Afghan officials, but as per routine it didn’t take long before yet another freeze came.


Soon after, Kabul once more conveyed to Pakistan that it wanted to delay the meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination body, which was already overdue to meet and which had on its agenda the resolution of long-standing issues bedeviling Pak-Afghan trade. The reason given this time was that the Afghanistan wanted India to have a place on the table before proceeding with the meeting. This condition was dismissed by Pakistan which argued that there was no need to include a third party in what was essentially a bilateral forum, and the meeting was delayed once more.


Then came the follow-up: On October 23rd, 2017, Ashraf Ghani issued a decree banning Pakistani trucks from entering Afghanistan via the Torkham and Spin Boldak crossings. Henceforth, Pakistani trucks would only be allowed up to the border crossings, at which point the trucks will have to off-load their goods and transfer them to Afghan trucks.


"The Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) has expired. Before this Pakistan did not allow Afghan trucks to enter its territory. So we [will] do the same, and after this Pakistani trucks will be unloaded at borders and Afghan trucks will carry the goods to Hairatan and Shir Khan ports," Afghan Transport Ministry Spokesman Hekmatullah Qawanch said.


The immediate effect of this was that Pakistani truckers would face losses, as the work they previously performed would now be taken up by Afghan truckers which would undoubtedly benefit the Afghan economy, but work to the detriment of long-term Pak-Afghan relations and trade.


For those who were wondering why such extreme steps were being taken by Kabul, the answer came on November 11 this year, when the first shipment of Indian wheat reached the Afghan province of Nimroz, via the Iranian port of Chabahar. The jubilation was expected: Senior Afghan officials and the Indian ambassador to Kabul, Manpreet Vohra, attended a ceremony to inaugurate the new trade route – which according to them will help Afghanistan overcome its dependence on other trade routes, including Pakistan.


“With the opening of Chabahar Port, Afghanistan will no longer be dependent on Karachi Port,” Nimroz governor Mohammad Samiullah said.

 

This new route Chabahar-Zaranj, isn’t operating in isolation: In June this year a plane loaded in Kabul with 60 tons of medicinal plants landed in New Delhi, raising hopes of giving a major boost to commerce between landlocked Afghanistan and India. This was followed by a subsidized shipment of wheat flour from India to Afghanistan. The subsidy is in place in order to defray the costs of the air freight and make the product competitive in the Afghan market with the goal of edging out Pakistani exports of flour.

Manpreet Vohra was even more jubilant as he tweeted: "1st India wheat shipment via #Chabahar welcomed into Zaranj #Afghanistan with traditional song, dance and joy! Proud moment!!"


Vohra said that pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decorated Zaranj as the shipment arrived.


This new route Chabahar-Zaranj, isn’t operating in isolation: In June this year a plane loaded in Kabul with 60 tons of medicinal plants landed in New Delhi, raising hopes of giving a major boost to commerce between landlocked Afghanistan and India. This was followed by a subsidized shipment of wheat flour from India to Afghanistan. The subsidy is in place in order to defray the costs of the air freight and make the product competitive in the Afghan market with the goal of edging out Pakistani exports of flour. Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry adds: “Iran is charging very minimal rates for port usage. Afghanistan is importing from the world through Iran. Afghanistan's imports have increased but Pakistan's exports to Afghanistan have decreased. And that share by and large has been taken by India through Iran.”


Pride Comes Before a Fall
For years, authorities in Pakistan have convinced themselves that Afghanistan has no real alternative to routing trade through Pakistan, and has responded to recent incursions of militants from Afghanistan by sealing the border crossings in what was meant to both boost security and as a punitive measure. The operating logic seems to be that while this will hurt Pakistan’s economy, it will hurt Afghanistan even more, thus theoretically providing an incentive to prevent such attacks. As a result of such measures and the

Our loss has been India and Iran’s gain: Indian officials estimate that the air corridor alone will boost annual trade between the two countries from $700 million to $1 billion in three years and give a lift to exports of Afghanistan's agricultural and carpet industries. Afghanistan’s increased reliance on Iranian flour has caused immense losses to the over 200 flour mills operating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which were previously the main suppliers, and some mills have reportedly even been forced to shut down as a result.
Afghanistan’s increased reliance on trade with and via Iran, Pak-Afghan trade over the years has dropped by approximately 40% from about $2.5 billion to an expected $1.5 billion this year. This also does not take into account the equivalent $2.5 billion of ‘informal’ cross-border trade, taking the real volume of Pak-Afghan trade to about $5 billion in the past. Note also that the trade balance here is about 80:20 in favour of Pakistan and you can see that the loss of revenue is immense, and profoundly worrying. This figure, though staggering, does not take into account losses from decreased trucking, transit fees and also the reduction in revenues from cargo handling and other revenue streams at Karachi port. There is a multiplier effect at play as well: the decrease in trade volume also affects the business of entire support industries, all the way down to the hotels that cater to truckers.

 


Our loss has been India and Iran’s gain: Indian officials estimate that the air corridor alone will boost annual trade between the two countries from $700 million to $1 billion in three years and give a lift to exports of Afghanistan's agricultural and carpet industries. Afghanistan’s increased reliance on Iranian flour has caused immense losses to the over 200 flour mills operating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which were previously the main suppliers, and some mills have reportedly even been forced to shut down as a result.


Canary in the Coal Mine
Again, none of this should come as a surprise. Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been sounding the alarm for years, but to no avail.


Earlier this year, he said: “The government must realize the value of trade with Afghanistan. Already half the wheat flour mills and related businesses have closed down in Peshawar while we take steps to increase the trade deficit rather than decrease it…, the government needs to understand that there is no difference between dollars coming in from the U.S., the EU or Afghanistan. This is our market that we are losing out on.”

 

All is not lost; Pakistan remains the easiest route for Afghan trade and there is room for cooperation with Iran on Chabahar. Furthermore, Pakistan has also joined the Lapis Lazuli corridor, which aims to foster transit and trade cooperation between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey by reducing barriers facing transit trade.

He lamented that frequent border crossings have played havoc with trade, and that the last two closures resulted in the rotting of hundreds of trucks worth of perishable goods being exported to Afghanistan.


Mr. Motiwala also expresses his frustration when it comes to dealing with the various branches of the Pakistani state. While acknowledging that Ghani is certainly under Indian influence, he also notes that Pakistani authorities do not seem to have a comprehensive plan to counter this economic warfare. Let us be clear that Pakistan’s security concerns are indeed paramount, but this does not mean that the economic loss we are suffering is inconsequential. Far from it. Earlier this year, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa addressed a seminar on the “Interplay of Economy and Security’ in which he said: "Our region in general and the immediate neighbourhood in particular has failed to take off due to peculiar security challenges. I sincerely believe that the region will sink or sail together – that is how it has played out across the world. I want to use this opportunity to earnestly convey to our neighbours to the East and to the West that our destinies are inextricably linked.”


Pakistan’s security concerns can be allayed by setting up a system of security checks at the border crossings and by increasing documentation requirements and so on, but we need to realise that our current actions and lack of planning are in fact benefitting our adverseries and causing losses that our economy can ill afford.


All is not lost; Pakistan remains the easiest route for Afghan trade and there is room for cooperation with Iran on Chabahar. Furthermore, Pakistan has also joined the Lapis Lazuli corridor, which aims to foster transit and trade cooperation between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey by reducing barriers facing transit trade. This corridor, taken in conjunction with CPEC and OBOR, has the potential to further integrate the region, and while it does prima facie offer competition to the Pakistan route, it is also an avenue for cooperation.


Unfortunately, it seems that while our opponents are playing chess, we are busy playing ludo. I’ll explain: in chess, one achieves victory by anticipating the opponents’ moves and planning for each possible contingency. Victory does not come from linear thinking but from a cool appraisal of the board and the myriad possibilities it encompasses. Ludo, on the other hand, depends largely on praying for a six on the die.


It is unfortunate that the state does not follow up effectively on high-profile visits and diplomatic outreach in a coordinated way.


Foreign tours by civil and military leaders are rarely followed by the tours of business and cultural leaders that are needed to actualize policy and cement gains. We work in isolation, and often at odds with no real understanding of the big picture, or that the challenges we faced cannot be dealt with in isolation by a single branch of the state, or indeed of civil society. As this piece began with a quote from Sun Tzu, let’s end it with another:


"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."


It is up to us to choose which warrior we want to be… and time is not on our side.

 

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

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06
December

Given Pakistan’s location and capability to influence regional and extra regional stability, Pakistan offers vast opportunities but is also confronted with a host of challenges. However, the responsibility to protect its people from internal and external threats by applying all available national power potentials lies with the state. National security is a key derivative of national power potentials that helps in formulating policies and strategies to mitigate the domestic as well as external threats to the core values and interests. These components are closely inter-linked and even if one of them is weak, national security as a whole is weakened correspondingly.


While its external challenges are real and visible, internal threats are interchangeable and dynamic in nature. Pakistan is concerned about the increasing involvement and sinister activities of its eastern neighbor in Afghanistan as well as the increasing presence of Islamic State (ISIS) that poses potential threat to our national security. The spoilers or elements opposed to peace in the region have many a times attempted to obstruct any peaceful developments in Pak-Afghan relations by the use of proxies to carryout terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. COAS’ visit to Kabul in October was yet another effort to resolve the misunderstandings through dialogue, strengthening bilateral security cooperation and border management. Recent spate of acts of terrorism in both countries should also be seen in this context and its ill effects can be minimized through maintaining trust and dialogue. Despite many ups-and-downs, Pakistan‘s commitment to peace is unwavering and it is up to others now to give peace a chance by showing flexibility and prudence.


Pakistan and Iran’s agreement to improve border control mechanisms to deny terrorists any space for exploitation during COAS’ recent visit to Iran is another step towards ensuring peace in the region. “The Pak-Iran border is one of peace and friendship”, said the COAS during the visit. The support of Tehran for Pakistan’s diplomatic initiative that seeks regional consensus on enduring peace in Afghanistan should play a noteworthy role towards regional peace.


At a time when we are securing our borders and fighting the war on terrorism, we need internal security more than ever. It has been reiterated unequivocally by Army Chief that the prerogative of declaring jihad rests only with the state and the armed forces are a state instrument for application of state policy. Besides Armed Forces having defense capabilities, national cohesion is fundamental to our security. It is also important to emphasize here that Pakistan Armed Forces and people of Pakistan are chained in bonds of deep love and loyalty to Pakistan. Application of force and violence is not the only method for dealing with any issue while aiming at peace and stability in the country. The means applied are subservient to the end objectives and not vice versa. It is vital for us to shun all notions that could lead to anarchy, internal strife and further widen the internal fault lines.


Pakistan is committed to peace at home as well as in the region and the world. Our commitment is visible through our actions, sacrifices and meaningful parleys. Others need to recognize it and emulate by meaningful steps.

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06
December

Written By: Vice Admiral Taj M. Khattak (R)

Pakistan has been confronted with the issue of contested borders since its independence from the British rule in 1947, but the challenges faced by the country as a result of the constantly changing regional and global kaleidoscope have rarely been more serious than at present moment. While searching for an answer as to why Pakistan wanders into a tight spot every now and then, I came across some interesting categorization of external environments experienced by nation states, which has been spelled out as either convulsive, deliberate, spirited or habitual.


Convulsive environments relate to major changes in a country’s strategic environment leading to drastic changes in its foreign policy. Deliberate environments pertain to the altering of environments by a country in a deliberate manner through exerting external influence so as to achieve its national interest. Spirited environments refer to a low level of strategic change while habitual environment is the normal strategic environment. It is evident from the reactive nature of our policies and periodic high level shifts at regional and international level that in the past seven decades, we have had anything but normal strategic environments. It can be argued that, in a complex world like today, can a developing country realistically expect normal strategic environments. Perhaps not, but then have we ever really responded appropriately to the challenges faced by our country.


An apt illustration of our spasmodic foreign relations would be our recognition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan before 9/11 – even lobbying with other countries to follow suit – and literally the next moment post 9/11, we were partners in fighting the U.S. war. The blowback from this action is all too obvious to be repeated in this space. Going further back in history to the 1950s era, we joined the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) against the spread of Communism in this region, from which Pakistan faced no real threat. That cost us dearly in 1971 when former Soviet Union and India signed a Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation which provided India with what it needed to break-up Pakistan.

 

The point to note is that Pakistan has all the elements of national power such as economic output, military capability, strategic purpose, territory, national will, a hardworking population and nuclear deterrence against any existential threat. However, there is a need to exploit and employ these elements properly to achieve larger national objectives

These days we have joined the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) and, at the very least, we may well have unnecessarily overstretched our already long list of ‘core national interest’. The point to note is that Pakistan has all the elements of national power such as economic output, military capability, strategic purpose, territory, national will, a hardworking population and nuclear deterrence against any existential threat. However, there is a need to exploit and employ these elements properly to achieve larger national objectives and gradually move towards an environment other than mostly convulsive so that we do not have to be in a reactive mode all the time.


General Qamar Javed Bajwa has done well to visit Tehran to strike a delicate balance in its ties with Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has been made ample clear that Pakistan-Iran relations should not be viewed with the prism of alliance/animosity vis-a-vis any other country. Being neighbours, Pakistan places special attention and focus on important relations especially given that peace and close cooperation between two countries is of vital importance. Tehran is again taking center stage regionally and globally, both as a target and a player in the context of murky proxy wars. There is a strong perception in Iran that U.S. and Saudi Arabia seek to destabilize the regime in Tehran, just as Riyadh feels that militias supported by Iran in Yemen and Lebanon are encircling the Saudi Kingdom. Recently, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced dismantling of terrorist teams affiliated with ‘global arrogance’. Earlier, it had announced clearing up an area in West Azerbaijan that borders Iraq and Turkey. Some months ago, it said it had disbanded some 100 terrorist groups in south, southwest and southeast of the country.


If Iran’s concerns remain unaddressed, it may well balance its threat and extend its support beyond Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to Talibans in Afghanistan. This will not augur well for Pakistan and hence the need for the two neighbors to be on the same page. But we must remember that for a robust and long lasting relationship with Iran, military-to-military relations will have to follow political relations between Tehran and Islamabad and not the other way around. Our political relations with Iran must take the lead so that we break the barrier where our mutual relations are stuck in a grove for the last so many years.


The COAS had earlier paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and Iran felt apprehensive about Pakistan joining the Saudi-led coalition. There is a difference in perception as Pakistan feels that the coalition will help fight terrorism while Iran fears that it might further widen the sectarian divide in the Muslim world. Iran has allowed Indian shipments of wheat to Afghanistan from Chabahar. If it was for trade alone, Pakistan would have had no issues, but we can’t be too happy with the Indian presence so close to our western border. Especially when till only recently, the nabbed Indian RAW agent, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (an active service Indian Navy Officer), had been operating from Chabahar and was responsible for numerous incidents of terrorism and subversion on Pakistani soil.


Indian Navy ships patrol the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy missions which are notified by New Delhi as ‘National Tasking’. Recently marine commandos (MARCOS) from one of its ships boarded a merchant ship which was the third such incident in recent months. It was hyped up by Indian media as hijacking attempt by pirates although authorities in Combined Task Force (CMF) in Bahrain, who co-ordinate and monitor anti-piracy activities of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 and from which India has withdrawn some years ago, has not acknowledged these incidents as acts of piracy. So what’s happening? What is Indian Navy up to and with what purpose in mind? Our security establishment should view this with seriousness that it deserves.


The recent resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia, is a disaster in the making with implications for Pakistan. It has escalated Saudi-Iran tensions with firing by Yemeni Houthi rebels of a ballistic missile at Riyadh international airport. There has been publication of a blueprint to destabilize Iran using Pakistan’s soil and flow of funds to militants in restive Balochistan province. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman hasn’t helped matters much by his statement about the fight with Iran to take place inside Iran. This doesn’t augur well for peace and harmony in the Muslim world. How General (Retired) Raheel Sharif, Commander of Islamic Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), copes up with this brewing storm, only time will tell.


President Trump’s announcement not to re-certify the U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and imposition of punitive sanctions, and Iran’s response not to cut back on its missile program, is spawning a new set of convulsive external environments with obvious implications for Pakistan. In Afghanistan, there is no end in sight for the 16 years old war although both Pakistan and Afghanistan are beginning to realize that the time has come to take practical steps towards creating an atmosphere of mutual trust. It was with this goal that COAS recently visited Kabul and held fruitful discussions with President Ashraf Ghani which covered regional security, bilateral relations, peace and stability, the war on terror, commerce and transit between the two countries.


But this mutual Pak-Afghan desire for peace in the region and for an Afghan-led peace process is likely to remain overshadowed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s new South Asia policy, which is an open-ended commitment to war in Afghanistan and is void of any universally acknowledged definitions of targets or timelines for withdrawal. NATO also plans to increase its presence from 13,000 to 16,000 in 2018. Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Army General John Nicholson, during a press talk in Brussels, has again blamed Pakistan for undermining the stability of the entire region. He was generous enough to concede that Pakistan has fought hard and suffered heavily against those terrorists focused on its government and now ‘we are asking them’ to focus on the terrorists that are attacking Afghanistan and attacking the coalition.


How could General Nicholson overlook so evident a fact that Afghan Taliban control more than half of Afghanistan where they enjoy support of the local population and they do not need any sanctuary in Pakistan. From the frequency and success of an ever increasing number of ‘Intelligence Based Operations’ (IBOs), it is clear that the insurgency in FATA does not enjoy local support which is so crucial for guerrilla warfare. On numerous occasions, Pakistan has taken U.S. delegations to FATA to see for themselves how it has acted against the scourge of terrorism but the moment they step on U.S. soil, they chant a different mantra. In these circumstances, it is natural for Pakistanis to conclude that if there ever was an adult version of Aesop’s Fable with the moral ‘Tyrants need no excuse’ – this is it.
So peace will remain elusive largely due to continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan, not so much to fight terrorism as the U.S. claims, but with an eye on its rare earth metals. These minerals are critical for cutting-edge technology for the future. To paraphrase Bill Clinton’s famous election cry – ‘It’s the minerals, stupid’ and not any terrorism which is keeping U.S. in this region. In fact, just as Trump was announcing his South Asia policy, there were discussions going on in the White House with renowned mineral extracting firms. And Afghans, as the world knows, have the resolve to fight till end of time to throw out occupational forces from their land. The best Pakistan can therefore hope is for some improvement in the situation after completion of its ambitious border management program which includes fencing of a long and torturous border.


A silver lining on the horizon is Russia’s willingness to finance a gas pipeline from Iran to India via Gwadar ignoring opposition from U.S. which has fiercely opposed laying down of an Iran-Pakistan pipeline. This will give a boost to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to which U.S. is opposed but the project is a huge opportunity for economic development of the region. Russia controls huge reserves of gas in Iran and fears loosing western gas market over its differences with the EU over the annexation of Crimea and, thus, the new found enthusiasm for two South Asian starved countries – India and Pakistan. India, too, is keen as it needs energy and laying down a pipeline in Iran or Oman south of Pakistan’s EEZ (now extended) has monumental technical challenges and exorbitant cost.


The Chinese joke amongst themselves about their government having made only one good friend in the entire world (Pakistan) in the last 70 years – something which Pakistanis may also be wondering. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to South Asia left no doubts that he is determined to contain Sino-Russian axis in the global struggle for economic and military supremacy. China is Pakistan’s time-tested friend and our relations with Russia are picking up fast. The world is a place full of opportunities as the recent U.S.-Vietnam collaboration has shown. But we must tread our steps very carefully and not repeat mistakes of the past.

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy and and eminent expert on national security issues.

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06
December

Written By: Hilal Desk


coasvisittoiran.jpg

 

• Meets Iranian military and civilian leadership
• Positive developments for bilateral cooperation
• Pakistan and Iranian Army agree on enhanced bilateral security cooperation
• Border of Peace and Friendship

 

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Iran from November 5 to November 7, 2017. During the visit he held meeting with top Iranian civil and military leadership and discussed issues of mutual interest to further strengthen the bilateral relations between two brotherly Muslim countries.


On November 6, 2017, COAS met Iranian Chief of General Staff (CGS) Major General Muhammad Bagheri at General Staff HQ where he was presented guard of honour and laid floral wreath at Martyrs Monument. Delegation level talks were also held.


COAS also held meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential Palace.


Iranian leadership thanked COAS for his visit and acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in the war against terror, contributions towards regional peace and the important positive role that Pakistan is playing in this regard.


During the meetings, COAS discussed issues related to geo-strategic environment, defence and security and economic cooperation at bilateral as well as regional level. Afghan situation, growing threat of ISIS in the region and Pak-Iran border security also came under discussion.


COAS termed Pak-Iran international border as ‘Border of Peace and Friendship’ and emphasized its better security management so as to deny its exploitation by the terrorists being a common enemy. Both sides agreed to further the proposals for its formalization.


COAS has said that Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly neighbors with shared history, culture and religion. Both armies also have history of defence collaboration and cooperation which has great mutually benefiting potential for its enhancement.


Leaders of both sides agreed to stay engaged for enhanced bilateral cooperation while jointly working to assist in bringing positive developments in other issues concerning the region.

 

Border of Peace and Friendship

coasvisittoiran1.jpg

 

No third party will be allowed to use Pakistan-Iran soil against each other

coasvisittoiran2.jpgOn November 7, COAS met Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and visited Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) HQ where he interacted with their senior leadership. Iranian Defence Minister thanked COAS for his visit, acknowledged achievements of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism and expressed his country’s willingness to enhance defence cooperation. He said that ‘our policy is to develop relations with our neighbors and Pakistan has a special place in Iranian foreign policy’.


COAS highlighted that with improved special measures by Pakistan on Pak-Afghan border, ‘terrorists are likely to exploit Pak-Iran friendly border and both countries need to put in efforts to deny its use by them’.


Both sides agreed to ensure that their soil is not used by any third party against any of the two countries. In this regard steps including establishment of hotline communication between the field commanders along Pak-Iran border, fencing by Iran on their side of the border, coordinated border patrolling, intelligence sharing and more frequent interactions were agreed upon.

 

‘our relations with Iran are not at the cost of our relations with any other country and vice versa’.

 

DG ISPR and Gen Staff Officer Iranian Army Address Joint Press Conference in Tehran

coasvisittoiran3.jpgDirector General Inter-Services Public Relations and Gen Staff Officer Iranian Army addressed joint press conference at Tehran, Iran on November 7, 2017. Major General Asif Ghafoor briefed Iranian media about Pakistan’s efforts, achievements and sacrifices in war against terror and towards regional peace. Salient points of the press conference are:
 
 
 

Maj General Asif Ghafoor, DG ISPR

• COAS has brought message of friendship and cooperation. General Qamar Javed Bajwa has termed Pak-Iran Border as ‘Border of Peace and Friendship’.
• Pakistan wishes peace in Afghanistan and supports all initiatives towards this end. We have done everything on Pakistan’s side of the border. There are no terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan.
• ISIS is growing in Afghanistan as a threat to the region. A regional approach is required to defeat this threat.
• Pakistan has taken effective measures on Pak-Afghan border. Terrorists are likely to exploit friendly Pak-Iran border. Enhanced Pak-Iran border security is in mutual interest.
• Pakistan's soil will not be used against any country including Iran. Iran has given the same commitment.
• Thanked Iranian supreme leader for his supportive statement on Kashmir. Kashmir is a long pending dispute between India and Pakistan. Regional peace and security remains at stake unless it is resolved to the aspiration of Kashmiris in line with UN Resolutions.
• Pakistan and Iranian Army leadership have agreed to continue bilateral engagements for enhanced security cooperation.
• Pakistan has stated that ‘our relations with Iran are not at the cost of our relations with any other country and vice versa’. We greatly value our relations with Iran which have a positive history bonded by history, culture and religion.
• Pakistan Armed Forces are capable to thwart any threat with support of Pakistani nation. In Pakistan we say that prerogative of declaring jihad rests only with state and Armed Forces are the state’s instrument for its application against anti-state elements.
At the end of the Conference, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said, "The Pakistani delegation is leaving Iran with positive feelings and strengthened relations."

Iranian Spokesperson

• Acknowledged successful visit.
• Supportive of suggestions made by COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
• Assured that ‘Iranian soil shall not be used against Pakistan’.

 
06
December

Written By: Brig Mumtaz Malik (R)


A personal account of a war veteran who fought in both 1965 and 1971 wars.

 

This is the story of another Commander Kulbhushan S. Jadhav, who was also captured red-handed while spying for India. However, he was caught on the border whereas Kulbhushan Jadhav was apprehended deep inside Pakistan territory operating for many years conducting terrorist activities. It was well over half a century ago, on April 4, 1961 and well before RAW was even created, in 1968. Army Number IC-3837 Lt Col Gunindra Lall Bhattacharya MA, LLB, psc, Assistant Director Intelligence (AD Int) of Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, Calcutta-19, was arrested while involved in espionage in East Pakistan. He was tried by a Military Court (FGCM) at Dacca (Dhaka) and awarded 10 years’ Rigorous Imprisonment (RI). The Court comprised of Colonel Allah Dad, the Deputy Director General of East Pakistan Rifles as the President, Lt Col A. T. K. Haq of the East Bengal Regiment and a civilian Magistrate as members of the Court. Incidentally, Col G.L. Bhattacharya who was MA, LLB himself, had all the facilities of full defence which included an eminent Indian Barrister, Mr. Gurru Ghattak and another Hindu Advocate from the Indian Supreme Court. A team of leading Hindu Advocates of Dacca High Court with all the local support was provided as well which was also arranged by the Government of India. Besides, he was provided with a Law qualified Lt Col of Pakistan Army as ‘Friend of the Accused’. Col Bhattacharya himself and almost a platoon of his highly experienced defence counsels intensely grilled the little Captain, the main prosecution witness and the main target, for a full one week (August 28-September 4, 1961) almost continuously and in the most aggressive manner. However, the little Captain, the only prosecution witness, quite successfully braved and defeated such a massive onslaught for no less than a week continuously from morning till evening, so confidently and bravely.

 

thestoryanother.jpgI was the young Captain with just about 6-7 years’ regimental service in my battalion (famous 4 FF Regiment) and had been posted to 614 Field Intelligence Unit (FIU) at Jessore in erstwhile East Pakistan about a couple of years earlier. This was my very first ERE (Extra-Regimental Employment) away from my parent unit and the regimental service. Since this unit belonged to 14 Division and directly under the Divisional HQ at Dacca (Dhaka) but located at Jessore Cantt, I enjoyed relative independence and freedom of action like any independent Officer Commanding of a field unit.


In mid-February 1961, a suspicious letter from one Sukumar Sen addressed to Dr. C. N. Datta M.D. on address of Calcutta-19 was intercepted at RMS (Railway Mail Service) Ishurdi Railway Junction while sorting the mail for India by train from Ishurdi to Calcutta. In fact, accidentally the envelope containing a letter with coded writings pertaining to army units and their movements etc., wrapped in a magazine, fell open at RMS Ishurdi, an Eastern border town in district Pabna. This led to a hectic and high intensity operation for my unit to locate our man out of nowhere and with almost no clues to go by. I placed all my unit personnel, including myself, at high alert working almost round the clock. This included full surveillance of all civilians especially the suspicious ones of MES, Unit’s Canteen contractors and their staff, vendors etc. in Jessore Cantt; closely watching all entries into the Cantt and keeping very vigilant eyes on all visitors. Station Workshop Canteen and the adjoining Recreation Room, from where one of the Orders Part I were found in the intercepted mail, were placed under watch. We also started censoring all the mail at Jessore Central Post Office for duplication to over ensure which proved to be a very fruitful activity. Working day and night, we prepared a list of suspicious people and gradually shortlisted it. All we had was the handwriting on the envelope and its contents. In this connection, quietly we checked the books of all the unit canteens, MES offices etc. in order to identify the hand writing. I personally visited all the banks at Jessore very discreetly and quietly went through the applications of all the account holders, made lists of suspects and continued shortlisting them. All this was a colossal task. Very laboriously and carefully we shortlisted and narrowed down around the Indian Spy, our target, for good about a month or so. Additionally, we played other tricks like leaking out startling but fake intelligence, through Unit Orders Part I by pasting them on unit Canteen Notice Board in order to attract the spy and to watch his reaction. The luck was on our side and finally when he removed the planted Routine Order from the notice board under watch, we spotted him. Once we were sure, we nabbed him on the night of March 27/28, 1961. He happened to be Raffiuddin Ahmad, Accountant of Station Workshop EME, Jessore. He lived in Jessore Town but came to the Cantt daily and left every evening on his bicycle.


Instead of going mad with joy at the initial success, very patiently and painstakingly, I continued to work on him and having successfully doubled him, continued the clandestine communication uninterrupted between the Indian spy and his handler in Calcutta. After gaining full confidence of the latter, it was planned to promise exciting intelligence, including important documents such as Pakistan Army List, GHQ Telephone Directory etc. supposedly from a clerk of the local Brigade HQ in exchange for immediate delivery of money for the documents. In the first communication we asked Col Bhattacharya to meet at the border in order to collect the documents and to deliver the money as soon as possible. Furthermore, in order to look natural, we asked him to select the place of his choosing and the date/time for the RV, so that there was no suspicion. Then suddenly, creating an emergency situation i.e., danger of being located/caught up with the big books/documents etc., we forced him to rush up immediately to a point on the border which had been used as an RV once before, between 4-6 p.m. on April 4. We didn’t leave him much time to think and it did work. It was a battle of wits between the Indian Col Bhattacharya, MA, LLB, psc, and the little Captain, who finally won the battle of wits. Col’s innocent excitement was obvious from the two movie tickets, later found in his bag, for the movie he had earlier planned to enjoy along with his wife that evening. My deepest apologies to the lady for missing the movie that evening in the company of her spouse.


In the meantime, I had carried out reconnaissance of the ambush site unobtrusively all by myself and made the plan of operation. On April 4, 1961, along with my ambush party consisting of three Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and three Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) of my unit, all armed with rifles, while I carried a Sten Gun we reached the site. We left Jessore along with Raffiuddin in two civilian jeeps of my unit, at about 3:30 a.m. early morning and reached the site just before daybreak, as planned. Hiding the jeeps well behind in a clump of thick trees, we were deployed and ready for action before the first light, although the action was expected in the evening. Three on top of trees and the other three on the ground, the riflemen were deployed in a semi-circle, well tucked up and camouflaged in thick growth. Raffiuddin and I placed ourselves in a ditch and thick undergrowth. Raffiuddin was briefed to stay in front of me in the open, visible from the border boundary pillar. He was thoroughly briefed, and repeatedly rehearsed, that he would not look back while he spoke to me or when I called him.


After rather a taxing wait for almost the whole day, while we were ready to receive our guests impatiently, two fairly tall men in civvies appeared approaching the boundary pillar at about 0445 p.m. They stopped near the boundary pillar and refused to move forward towards us. Repeatedly, they were signaling and urging Rafiuddin to come to them. I was crouched just behind him in the ditch. As he had already been well briefed, I had also told him that in case he disobeyed me or moved forward, I would shoot to kill him. He told me that he had recognized them, the older/heavier one as Col Bhattacharya and the younger/smarter one as Inspector P. K. Ghosh. Since they were not moving forward, I asked Raffiuddin to take just a couple of steps forward, show them the bag, supposedly carrying documents, and signal to them to come forward, which finally they did. On approaching Raffiuddin, Col Bhattacharya opened his own bag to show him the money he had brought, but in the process Rafiuddin also got a glimpse of the loaded revolver and panicked. He turned towards me and started shouting, “Sir, he has brought a gun. Sir, he will kill me!”. Suddenly they also panicked, immediately took out their revolvers and ran back towards the boundary pillar. I opened fire to shoot them down but they were running for life. I was also running after them and firing with my sten gun, while all the six riflemen were also firing at them. Inspector Ghosh who was young and athletic ran fast and escaped into Indian territory. Since I was running through ploughed fields and uneven ground, I almost missed Col Bhattacharya. Although I was classified as a Marksman and captained Regimental PARA Team in Army Championship in 1956-57, it was a very poor showing indeed. It so happened that I emptied the entire magazine, but perhaps it was about the last bullet that just grazed against the right side of the waist of the Colonel, and he raised his hands. If he had the slightest courage and presence of mind, and had turned on me with the loaded revolver in his hand, he could have killed me and escaped because my gun was now empty. Again the lady luck was on my side. I pounced upon the bleeding Colonel and disarmed him. In the meantime my men also rushed up and handcuffed him. I sent one jeep in advance, at top speed straight to CMH Jessore with a message to CO CMH, to keep the operation theater ready for the bleeding Colonel. I followed slowly along with the wounded prisoner. Suddenly, I had become a national hero although rather short-lived. I had hit the headlines. Brig Sardar Ali, SK, MC, Acting GOC 14 Division, Governor East Pakistan, Gen Azam Khan and Begum Azam hugged me and eulogized me.

 

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06
December

Written By: Captain Sagheer Ahmed


One morning our Navy – just before dawn,
One morning, ere sunrise, to D’warka had gone.
They smashed this proud bastion, ere they did leave,
And India her prestige must now sadly grieve.

 

Pakistan Navy’s history is replete with examples of glorious combats, exquisite maneuvers, and tactical marvels yet Operation Somnath is one of those unique instances where a numerically superior enemy did not exhibit any worthwhile contest to a small but potent naval force. Pakistan Navy challenged the adversary’s very justification of a naval force by going well into limits of enemy’s supposed bastion – Dwarka. In the backdrop, it was just another but important day at Karachi harbour on Monday, September 6, 1965. The port was doing business as usual of unloading vital cargo that was required for much of national economic activities. A usual high pitched bosun’s call which is traditionally used to convey commands at sea had revved the day for in-living officers and men who were unaware of the storm lurking ahead. While the ships of Pakistan Navy (PN) Fleet were getting ready for both watches – an official commencement of the day’s operational activities – the Action Alarms sounded. It was a call for warning of an imminent air raid for the crew to take pre-assigned stations. That was instantly done. What followed was an Order by the Commander Pakistan Fleet (the Operational Commander responsible for the entire PN Fleet) for the Fleet to put to sea. The ships were already preparing for a routine sea exercise programme that day and were in good state of preparedness. Hence, all naval fighting units left harbour as early as 0845 hours. As they were disturbing calm waters of Manora anchorage, the Indians had already attacked Pakistan at Wagah, Kasur and Bedian sectors.

 

pnindianoccean.jpgAt sea, the Force Commander was onboard Flagship Babur (cruiser). The other ships of the Force were Destroyers Khaibar, Badr, Tippu Sultan, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Alamgir which were assigned to patrol in respective sectors of the formation. The Force was deployed to patrol on an arc of 100 miles from Karachi to achieve war principles of ‘concentration of force’ in attacking the enemy as one group. The Task Force had two main responsibilities; defence of coast particularly Karachi Port and ensuring continuous essential supplies from sea for the motherland. In the meantime, Ghazi, the only Submarine available to Pakistan Navy which had sailed earlier on September 2, 1965, had taken war station off Indian principal port. Its objective was to take-on heavy naval combatants i.e., Vikrant, Mysore and Delhi as primary targets. The entire Pakistan Navy Fleet fully prepared in all respects was charged with emotions to encounter the enemy at sea. Their only aspiration was to ‘crush India’.


The enemy on the other hand, much constrained by news of Ghazi out at sea, could not put its naval combatants to action. In effect, all naval units had bottled up at harbour through a classical example of blockade by a single subsurface platform against a numerically superior enemy. On September 6, 1965, one destroyer, two new and two old frigates were deployed on the eastern coast of India. Vikrant and Delhi were under refit at Bombay while most of the remaining destroyers and frigates had just returned to Bombay after completing their exercises at Vishakhapatnam. It so happened that the Indian Navy was caught unguarded right at the outset of an impressive naval action.

 

Operation Somnath is one of those unique instances where a numerically superior enemy did not exhibit any worthwhile contest to a small but potent naval force. Pakistan Navy challenged the adversary’s very justification of a naval force by going well into limits of enemy’s supposed bastion – Dwarka

It was an operational compulsion that Karachi harbour be defended and radar station at Dwarka was providing vital information to enemy air raids aimed at this asset. It was, therefore, planned to carryout naval bombardment at Dwarka to serve following objectives:


• To draw the heavy enemy units out of Bombay for the submarine to attack.
• To destroy the radar station at Dwarka.
• To lower Indian morale.
• To divert Indian air effort away from north.


It was a well thought-out mission by Naval Headquarters and very precisely assigned to the Force Commander through a signal in these words:


“Task Group comprising Babur… Tippu Sultan is to be in position 293 degrees – 120 miles from Dwarka Light House by 071800 E/Sep with maximum power available, thereafter to carryout bombardment of Dwarka about midnight using 50 rounds per ship…”


At 0024 hours, the ships had finally formed up on a north westerly course in firing formation. What followed afterwards was a combination of Kiai and K'ihap – a perfect bombardment on pre-designated targets with split second synchronization, intensity and precision. The old gunnery dictum of “hit-first-hit-hard and keep on hitting” had been perfectly manifested by making an important radar station out of action. The bombardment commenced when ships were 5.5 to 6.3 miles from Dwarka lighthouse and it took only few minutes to complete the firing with altogether 350 rounds on the target. It is an achievement that all personnel of Pakistan Navy endear and hope to repeat such feats in all future naval endeavours.


It is not merely a tale of the past but a connection to our future as a maritime nation. We need to recognize our greater elements of sea power – most coming from sea. One of the greatest advocates of sea power A. T. Mahan outlines six such elements, three of which affect development of the sea power namely: geographical position, physical conformation and extent of territory, while the remaining three relate to realizing such needs namely; number of population, character of people and character of government. Mahan puts Navy in the centre of national policy and provides rationale for navy to be at the centre stage. As follow-up, U.S. has till date maintained its navy as key expression of preponderance. Without going into many details, a broader generalization of Mahan’s sea power theory suggests that physical conditions as well as human factors are equally responsible for one, realizing the importance of sea power and two, developing this according to national needs.

 

Pakistan has a significant maritime interest and naval foot-print in the IOR. The valour of past may be remembered and celebrated but the future depends on right choices that we make as a nation. Since sea continues to hold its importance and due relevance with regard to maritime commerce, we need to utilize our enormous maritime potential to our advantage where Pakistan Navy can act as a key enabler.

What does the sea give us? Today two-thirds of the entire world population lives in coastal regions. Served by over 4,000 major ports and approximately 89, 464-plus commercial ships, 90 percent of intercontinental trade is sea-borne. Sea is the most economical mode of transportation which is approximately 10 times cheaper than rail, 45 times cheaper than road and 163 times cheaper than air. Therefore, sea has a universal appeal and would continue to hold its significance as a preferred medium of trade and connectivity.


Now let us examine the ocean we are more interested with. Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has great geo-strategic importance. As a conduit of commerce, the energy flows are estimated at around 36 million barrels per day which is equivalent to about 64 percent of world oil trade. It is rich in natural resources as forty percent of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin. Here fishing accounts for almost 15 percent of the world’s total. According to the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, more than 80 percent of the world’s seaborne trade in oil transits through Indian Ocean choke points; with 40 percent passing through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and 8 percent through the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. Half of world’s container traffic passes through Indian Ocean, the ports in this ocean handle about 30 percent of world trade. In addition, 55 percent of known world oil reserves are present in the Indian Ocean, and 40 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves are in its littoral states.


The importance of Indian Ocean is also noteworthy in terms of Pakistan’s maritime interest. 95 percent of Pakistan’s annual trade from its total 38 million tons is routed through sea. Every year, about 36,000 ships transit through Pakistan’s area of interest. Pakistan is geographically situated at crossroads of three important regions: the Middle-East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Due to its vicinity to the global energy highway near Gulf of Oman and Straits of Hormuz; Pakistan acquires a special place. Today Pakistan has an enormous stretch of sea area having roughly over 1000 km coastline extending from Sir Creek in the east to Gwadar bay in west. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Pakistan is 240,000 sq km along with extended Continental Shelf of over 50,000 sq km.


The most important development in our region is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project with investments worth USD 46 billion. Gwadar Port will act as its lynchpin, thus, giving further importance to Pakistan’s geo-strategic needs. This project will integrate regional economies particularly China will benefit from shortest access to the Indian Ocean to reach the markets of Middle East, Africa and Europe. Pakistan Navy is pursuing to develop a special port security force to look after the security needs of our Chinese friends working in the area. Once fully operational, the approaches and sea lines of communication to/from this port will need to be guarded against possible threats while Pakistan Navy would have to deploy additional resources to ensure smooth commercial activities through sea.


Pakistan Navy is a regular contributor to international efforts for peace and stability in the IOR. Combined Task Force 150 is one of the three Task Forces within the ambit of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) which is a multinational coalition for counter-terrorism operations. Its mission is to promote maritime security at sea, deter, deny and disrupt acts of terrorism while countering related illicit activities at sea. As these lines are being penned down, this is the 10th time that Pakistan has been given the command of the naval coalition which is rotated between participating nations on a four to six-month basis. Similarly, CTF 151 is another 35 nations’ Task Force. Its mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation. Pakistan has commanded this task force for 8 times on rotational basis. These two international engagements speak volumes of Pakistan Navy’s professionalism and ability to integrate into international standard naval operations with great interoperability skills. Pakistan Navy also holds AMAN series of multinational naval exercises every alternate year since 2007. The exercises aim to demonstrate the allied nations’ capabilities to fight terrorism and other maritime threats, as well as to provide a platform for participants to hone their skills, and build cooperation and friendship to promote peace and stability. Pakistan Navy is also an active member of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and an observer of Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS).


Pakistan has a significant maritime interest and naval foot-print in the IOR. The valour of past may be remembered and celebrated but the future depends on right choices that we make as a nation. Since sea continues to hold its importance and due relevance with regard to maritime commerce, we need to utilize our enormous maritime potential to our advantage where Pakistan Navy can act as a key enabler. This would entail development of maritime industry, making use of maritime resources, generating fishing and other commercial activities at sea, developing the coastal areas, enhancing maritime awareness at national level while at the same time remaining alert to developing maritime threats. Commemorating Navy Day on September 8 is important but we should also remember that a strong and potent navy holds the key to our maritime aspirations, safety and security of sea trade and prosperity of the whole nation.

 

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06
December

Written By: Lt. Gen Masood Aslam (R)


And don’t call them ‘Dead’ who die in the cause of Allah, they are Alive only you can’t understand

Surah Al Baqarah (2:154)

It is so painful to relive the period when during my command of approximately three years, we lost close to 1500 shuhada from Army and Frontier Corps alone. It was therefore very difficult for me to motivate myself to pen down some of those unforgettable memories of acts of valour and sacrifice of our brave young men in uniform which remained hidden to a large portion of our nation. Losing even a single soldier in battle is not easy for a commander but it’s the faith in the cause which overtakes the concern for security and achievement of the objective becomes supreme. Great nations remain ever indebted to these martyrs and never hesitate in honouring their sacrifices. It’s impossible to do justice with all these shuhada, what to talk of those who lost their limbs or other ghazis. At the outset I would therefore seek forgiveness from the shuhada and their families/units for my failure to include all of them in this brief article. My fading memory is also responsible for this inability which may please be overlooked.

 

memoofsacrifice.jpgThe security situation in FATA and KP in 2007 is difficult to comprehend, especially when one sees such relative peace and security prevailing in the country today. This peace has not been achieved easily. Hundreds of young men in uniform under 25 years of age happily embraced death for the future of the country (not undermining the sacrifices of our civilians as well as senior men in uniform. Pakistan Army is probably the only military where our shuhada include senior officers of the rank of Generals to a Sepoy). I am trying to share memories of some sacrifices which may be an eye opener for many.


Dera Ismail Khan is a small town on the bank of Indus River in Southern KP. Close proximity to South Waziristan makes it a sensitive Divisional Headquarters. Two young boys named Atif Qayuum and Zeeshan grew up studying and playing together in this town. Besides being class fellows and good friends they were always striving to be better than the other. After intermediate both decided to join army and then were commissioned from the same course in Infantry. Atif joined 28 Sindh Regiment while Zeeshan was commissioned in 41 Baloch Regiment. Atif’s unit was the first to move into Swat in July 2007. His unit was tasked to secure Najia Top height on the night of November 24/25. This young officer with less than two years of service was the leading platoon commander and despite the most arduous ridgeline led his platoon through pitch dark night to the hill top. The feature is named “Asmani Sar” but Fazlullah had named it as Najia Top (it is the highest feature on west of River Swat dominating entire valley including Kabbal, Kanju towns and Saidu airport). The top was held strongly by the terrorists who had prepared proper weapon positions. Despite stiff resistance Lt Atif ably led his men to the objective. He destroyed three of the terrorists’ bunkers and was in the process of clearing the last bunker when got hit by a number of machine gun bursts from the flank. Though he continued with the assault and cleared the last bunker, he fell down and breathed his last. When his troops picked him up he had received dozens of bullets and his hand was still stuck on the trigger while the barrel of his SMG and hand had also been hit by the hail of bullets. It was the indomitable courage and resolve of Atif Shaheed that the whole formation operation succeeded. Reportedly, when Lt Zeeshan attended his burial, he said, “O’ my friend, we have always been in touch for almost two decades and I never accepted losing to you but today you have outshone me in the actual test”. However, destiny plays its own games; Zeeshan’s unit was moved into North Waziristan within next year. As the army had greater priorities in clearing Swat and handling the Mehsood threat, the environment in North Waziristan was to be managed politically. This was to the dismay of a large number of youngsters and officers like Zeeshan. Once clearance of Swat had been achieved to a great extent, formation in Miranshah was tasked to clear off the area between Gharlamai and Alwara Mandi (the area of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the Taliban Commander in NWA). This was the opportunity which Zeeshan had been looking for since long. He volunteered for the most difficult task of establishing a blocking position to deny any reinforcements from other areas as well as acting as an anvil for the unit to destroy them completely. He accomplished his mission but under repeated attacks by the terrorists to link up with their bottled up colleagues he also received serious injuries. He stuck on to his position but by the time the unit was able to linkup with his position he could not survive the excessive bleeding and met his Maker. Thus in less than a year and a half of Lt Atif’s shahadat, Lt Zeeshan lived up to his promises and sacrificed his life to join his bosom friend in Jannah creating a unique history of sacrifice by two childhood friends.

 

Losing even a single soldier in battle is not easy for a commander but it’s the faith in the cause which overtakes the concern for security and achievement of the objective becomes supreme. Great nations remain ever indebted to these martyrs and never hesitate in honouring their sacrifices.

I shall now very briefly allude to a few more officers whom I feel need to be mentioned at least. One sees youngsters like Capt Maeraj Shaheed, sword of honour from PMA, Armoured Corps officer who came on attachment with FC but volunteered to continue and was made commander of the SOG (Special Operation Group). During May/June 2009 while moving as reserve he heard of his troops being stuck in Ambeyla Pass (known as a graveyard of attacking troops) and rushed forward with his small number of available troops. During broad daylight he used an extremely difficult approach to reach the terrorist bunker and destroyed it. In the process he was badly wounded and couldn’t survive the injuries. I am also recalling Maj Zubair of 22 Punjab sitting in Mingora in August 2009. The Valley is peaceful and the entire TDPs have returned to their homes. Suddenly a report of some terrorists hiding in the outskirt of the city is received. Maj Zubair with the available Quick Reaction Force (QRF) rush towards Nawankilli. On reaching the site he finds out that some terrorists had taken refuge in a small house. They surround the house and ask the terrorists to surrender but no one comes out. In order to ward off any chances of innocent casualties, Maj Zubair decides to storm the house rather than blowing it up. He decides to lead the charge and breaks through the front door. He was met by a hail of bullets but kept rushing forward. Seeing this the terrorist blew up his suicidal vest and Zubair took the entire blast. His troops tried to move ahead but the officer had protected his entire team and saved the citizens of Mingora from a suicide bomber. Zubair shaheed was blessed with a son few months after his shahadat. Despite knowing his wife’s condition the officer never hesitated in leading from the front. To him the country and his men came first while his family and self later. Similarly, there are streams of images flowing in front of my eyes but to wind it up, however, I would very briefly mention the valour and indomitable courage displayed by numerous other individuals.

 

I have no words to offer accolades to each one of the unsung heroes from the junior most soldier to General officers who displayed exemplary courage, grit, sense of responsibility and patriotism in performance of their duties beyond the call of duty. I would be amiss if I do not recognize the services of KP Police and Frontier Constabulary in bringing normalcy in the province and the Frontier Regions.

The shuhada have written sagas of insurmountable courage, resolve and valour to sacrifice the last ounce of their blood yet the Ghazis especially those being severely wounded need a mention too. Today when I see Maj Gen Zahid commanding a division running around with an artificial leg, I am reminded of Lt Col Zahid commanding 63 FF Regiment in Bajaur leading his men through a myriad of obstacles, mines and defence works securing one objective after the other. In one such encounter, he had a mishap of stepping on an IED, blowing off his leg. Nothing deterred them from moving forward and clearing their objectives. I can go on but unfortunately will still miss many. To sum up, I would like to highlight that it wasn’t the young officers only but a large number of NCOs, JCOs and senior officers who made exemplary contributions. Gen Javed Sultan shaheed didn’t have to fly in bad weather and visit a company position soon after the ceasefire in Operation Tri Star. Brig Hussain Abbas Shaheed decided to lead a platoon deep inside Tirah Valley to rescue the crew of a Cobra helicopter as the challenge was too big to be left to a subaltern.memoofsacrifice1.jpg Similarly, Major Karim 30 FF, the wing commander of Ladha Fort, and the way he defended a totally cut off fort deep inside Mehsood territory for more than a month has been etched into my mind. I really am at a loss on how to bring an end to my sojourn in history but would like to first pay homage to hundreds of thousands of those brave men of army and FC who served under me during the most challenging times of our history in KP and FATA. I have no words to offer accolades to each one of the unsung heroes from the junior most soldier to General officers who displayed exemplary courage, grit, sense of responsibility and patriotism in performance of their duties beyond the call of duty. I would be amiss if I do not recognize the services of KP Police and Frontier Constabulary in bringing normalcy in the province and the Frontier Regions. Though there were numerous incidents of the policemen even stopping the suicide bomber by embracing sure death, yet one person, IGP Safwat Ghayyur, has to be mentioned in golden letters. This brave policeman came as the CCPO when the terrorists had made life difficult for the citizens of Peshawar. Despite serious handicaps of equipment and training he infused a new life in this force by his personal example. With close coordination of the Corps Headquarters, soon the entire Ring Road, Badaber and Karkhana area were totally secured. On being promoted as IG Frontier Constabulary he worked tirelessly to reorganize and motivate the entire force. He was in the forefront in clearing Darra Adam Khel with his FC undertaking joint operations with the Army troops. The shaheed was specially targeted by the terrorists with inside support and attained martyrdom through a suicidal attack just outside his office.


December is round the corner and it brings with it the pain and reminder of the sacrifices of scores of our innocent youth who also became unwitting victims of these beasts known as terrorists. The incident of Parade Lane Mosque of December 4, 2009 took away from us around 40 military personnel and their wards who had gone to the mosque to offer Friday prayers. They included 17 children of ages between 7 to 21 years, taking with them not only the hopes and aspirations of their parents but also the hope of the nation. Since it involves a personal loss of my only son Hashim, I would only speak of the loss of Ali, the only son of Col Qaiser or Waleed, son of Brig Mumtaz or sons of Col Shukran, Brig Sadiq, Col Durrani and many others. Five of these youngsters were Hafiz-e-Quran. The silent questions of the mothers and sisters of these shuhada remain unanswered as the nation has forgotten to even make a passing reference of their tragedy. Besides these young boys, even serving individuals and their fathers embraced shahadat. I want to specially mention the shahadat of Maj Sohaib whose only child was a disabled handicapped daughter, who through her own determination and resolve of her mother has completed her PhD, a fact not known to many. The daughter of the shaheed needs support and recognition to lead an honourable life and support her mother.


This remembrance will be incomplete without mention of the most barbaric and tragic incident of APS Peshawar. Though the incident helped in forging a consensus across the board in the nation yet the callousness and dastardly act of targeting hundreds of young kids of our nation needs to be condemned widely. The loss of over 130 budding youth can never be recovered. I would like to pay my sincere homage to the shuhada of Parade Lane and APS Peshawar and offer my heartfelt condolences to the parents and families of those innocent kids. While paying homage to all these shuhada I would like to remember the sacrifices of over 70 thousand of our innocent Pakistanis. It’s time to show our resolve that we shall not desist from giving any sacrifice to preserve peace and stability of our homeland. At the same time, I shall like to express my gratitude to the families of our heroes for their ultimate sacrifice for the country. May Allah bless their homes with greater peace of mind and heart and grant blessings in abundance to the shuhada. Aameen


Note: As the war against terrorism is still on, Hilal requests all the commanders/staff and participating officers and soldiers to share the untold stories of valour, sacrifice and commitment to duty.

 

Lt Gen Masood Aslam (R) commanded 11 Corps from 2007 to 2010. The Corps has valiantly fought the war against terrorism in KP/FATA.
 
06
December

Written By: Atia Ali Kazmi


This October, Pakistan and Russia successfully concluded joint military exercise on counter-terrorism operations. DRUZBA, Friendship 2017, promising augmentation of defence ties between the two countries. More than 200 special forces from both sides conducted joint hostage rescue and cordon-and-search operations. DRUZBA 2016 had brought 100 Russian military men to Pakistan for joint drills with Pakistan Army. In recent years, Russian and Pakistani officials have participated in various multilateral and bilateral forums. These arrangements, being watershed moments for the two countries, have provided them a chance to register shared security concerns and accentuate their uniquely intertwined interests.

 

pakrusiarel.jpgIt is time that the two powers forge a new degree of mutual trust and consideration for each other. This emerging new alliance calls for specificity of goals and objectives to realize balanced cooperation in the immensely interconnected deltoid realms of politics, economics, and defence. At present, this relation is experiencing a fresh era of rendezvous and there is a growing desire for getting closer.


Russia is resurging and is attempting to retain a geographical buffer against the expanding influence of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) along its borders. In pursuit of security and a global goodwill, Moscow appears to be in an evidently intricate competition with the U.S.-led NATO in rebuilding its own power and creating a multipolar world order. Russia’s plentiful natural wealth, its enormous expanse, and its hard power are its mainstays against the U.S., which it often names the major threat to its security. The challenge is that America is still ostensibly the smartest power on the basis of its abundant hard, soft and unrivaled technological strength. NATO’s steady ingress in former Russian zone of influence and shift in its antagonist’s strategy to contain China’s rise has made Moscow and Beijing natural allies, who, at least temporarily, have set aside their bilateral pugnacity.


Russia is strengthening relations through its economic strategies such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and a number of diplomatic channels. Similarly, China’s grand foreign policy embodied in its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is an entirely new enterprise for the world that incentivizes major players across Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Multipolarity serves Beijing and Moscow’s interest of defeating all possible development that contributes to their containment. That is perhaps why Russia and China are co-managing with great interest many inter and intra-regional forums such as BRICS, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the SCO.


Moreover, China’s western region and Russia’s eastern flank are set to undertake massive evolution under these plans. Though focused on harnessing all modes of strengths, they depend more on economic cooperation and integration rather than meddling into an unending irrational competition and power struggle to gain hegemony. For instance, the Russian energy giant Gazprom together with China National Petroleum Corporation plans to build 3,000 km long Power of Siberia gas pipeline from Yakutia to Blagoveshchensk (Chinese border) – one of the biggest projects involving the two states, won after more than a decade of negotiations.1


Promoting regionalism is also in mutual Russian and Chinese interest and that is one of the reasons why Pakistan and India have been simultaneously awarded full membership of SCO. In a visible realignment, India is entering an axis with the U.S. to contain Chinese rise and Russian resurgence, besides pursuing a “special and privileged strategic partnership”2 with Russia. It, however, appears that Moscow and Beijing have not given up on New Delhi. A half-aligned India in SCO is better than an India fully associated with the U.S., provided the former refrains from intensifying its power ambitions and exhibits a conscious desire of coexisting peacefully in the region. Pulling India into SCO is one of the several leverages Russia patiently desires to exercise.


On the other hand, Russia and America have active cooperation in space exploration, including joint work on the International Space Station. This is one of the few domains where cooperation has not been stained by tensions over issues such as Syria and Ukraine. The USD 100 billion worth ISS has been orbiting Earth since 1998 as the world’s largest space program. The Russian space agency Roscosmos and USA’s NASA will cooperate on a NASA-led program of building the first lunar space station, based on their cooperation on building systems and technical standards needed for its organization. Russian designs will be used to create the station’s future elements. They also mulled using the Russian Proton-M and Angara rockets for creating the infrastructure of lunar spaceport.3 The Russian space program relies heavily on the funds it receives for rocket engines and riders for NASA astronauts to the space station.4


Pakistan-Russia relations are warming up in this geopolitical context marked with incidents of cooperation between states against the realist tendencies of competition. Taking sustained baby steps in this regard will be more pragmatic for Russia and Pakistan, rather than rushing into a frail and inconsistent partnership. That process has already started.

 

Regional Geopolitical Imperatives
Russia appears driven towards improvement of relations with Pakistan and appreciates Islamabad’s balanced view on Syria, Ukraine, and shared view on Afghanistan.5 The Afghanistan factor affects and to some extent, determines most of the contemporary geopolitical debate of this region. For Russia, Afghanistan is an important feature in the reset of its relations with the U.S., the eastward expansion of the NATO, and gaining access to beneficial regional destinations. There are also deep implications for Moscow’s role as a leader in the Central Asian security arena.6


On the Russian side, there is an understanding that Pakistan is a responsible key player in the region and emerging threats, such as the problem of drug trafficking in Afghanistan, cannot be resolved without Pakistan’s help.7 Afghanistan can now set their relations on a new constructivist note. This by far is a mutual realization. Thus, Russia’s support for Pakistan’s inclusion in SCO paves way for more coordinated work on regional stability, and urge for the revival of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, that had remained stalled since 2009.8 The Group’s meeting was hosted by Moscow on October 11, 2017 and was a re-launch of the consultative process to support Afghanistan “in the fight against terrorism, drugs, and criminality, as well as helping the country with its sustainable development process within the SCO’s economic cooperation framework”.⁹ Pakistan and Russia are the two key pillars of any strategy framed to realize this goal of peaceful Afghanistan.


Placing Pak-Russia future relations on sound footing requires adept diplomacy from both sides. Pressures ascending from Russia’s decades long strong bilateral relations with India no longer bar it from extending the strategic olive branch to Pakistan. Nevertheless, unlike Pakistan, it would be a challenge to moderate the unpredictable Indian behavior. New Delhi’s ambitious plans span out to gradually align with the U.S. and also enjoying further leverage with both the U.S. and Russian camps while maintaining its independent and assertive foreign policy and safeguarding its interests in the region and beyond.


State of Affairs
The contemporary Russia is warming up to the external world, softly outspreading the strength of its hard power through a renewed foreign policy. From having military alliances with the post-Soviet states such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), to converging their economic interests through the EEU, Russia is resurging and finding deeper leverages. President Putin is keen to establish multifaceted relations, as articulated in his idea of Russian creed in words of Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin: “Not to eliminate, not to suppress, not to enslave other people’s blood, not to stifle the life of different tribes and religions – but to give everyone breath and... to honor all, to reconcile all, to allow all to pray in their own way, work in their own way, and engage best in public and cultural development”.10


It was his vision that Russia joined as Observer Member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) for enhancement of economic cooperation, of which Pakistan was one of the leading proponents.11
Russia has recently expressed interest in expanding trade with Pakistan, in a fashion similar to China. As strategic partners, Russia and China are advancing the Sino-Russian “The Belt and The Union” (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union) and a comprehensive Eurasian partnership.12 The multimodal CPEC thus gains weight.


China and Russia seek to enhance economic cooperation to its optimum potential. Commenting on the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 2017, President Putin expressed keen interest in maintaining “great cooperation plans” with China. While expressing great trust on his “personal friendship” with President Xi, he said that they were “moving forward, instead of going round”.13 This tango is unique in its collective pursuits of economic integration. Sino-Pakistan relations remain time-tested and mature and Russia’s decision to engage with Pakistan and vice versa, will be another promising step.


Forging A New Era of Relations
Pakistan can prove to be a new land of opportunities for Russia. The request for using Gwadar Port for the movement of Russian exports has already been approved by the Government of Pakistan.14 Similarly, many projects in Pakistan owe their success to the Russian support and are momentous symbols of friendship. Pakistan’s renowned JF-17 Thunder aircraft used the Russian Klimov RD-93 engine.15 Dozens of Pakistani officials have received anti-narcotics training in Russia. The Russian and Pakistani counterparts are working in a number of policy domains:


Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability was established in 2003. Its 10th meeting was held on April 26, 2016 in Islamabad, that comprised deliberations on the issues of arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament.16


Dushanbe Four is a group that includes presidents of Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan focused on curbing terrorism and drug trafficking in the region.


The bilateral strategic dialogue’s first round was organized in 2013. The initiative seeks a multifaceted relationship in the fields of commerce, defence, and energy. A defence cooperation agreement was signed during the 2014 visit of Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu, first visit of its kind since the end of Cold War. The agreement provided for ‘exchange of information on politico-military issues; cooperation for promoting international security; intensification of counter-terrorism and arms control activities; strengthening collaboration in various military fields, including education, medicine, history, topography, hydrography and culture; and sharing experiences in peacekeeping operations’.17


The technical cooperation agreement was initiated for facilitating sale of Russian defence equipment to Pakistan. In September 2015, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced the prospects of delivery of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan and expressed faith in improvement of Pak-Russia ties.


The Russian Business Council for Cooperation with Pakistan’s (RBCCP) St. Petersburg branch was founded on June 15, 2011 which holds the mission to develop trade and economic relations and to create a bond between their enterprises and businessmen by finding them partners, helping them enter new markets, and creating joint ventures.


The Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economics, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (IGC) supports the progress of collaboration in the fields of science, technology, education, trade and economy.


Five working groups were agreed by the two countries, under the IGC initiative in November 2015 on food and agriculture, energy, industries, banking, and trade and finance. On recommendations of these groups, an agreement was achieved to complete the North-South Pipeline between Lahore and Karachi with an estimated cost of USD 2 billion, to provide three-dozen helicopters to Pakistan for curbing drug trafficking, to start negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and launch a joint naval exercise. A significant development at the occasion was the settlement on a twenty-years long dispute of USD 117 million between the two countries.


The Joint Coordination Commission (JCC) was formed in order to review project implementation timelines. Russian companies will explore oil, gas, and LPG besides providing gas turbines. Russia also agreed to support Pakistan for Tarbela and Dasu hydropower ventures and CASA-1000 power projects.18 Both sides expressed willingness to cooperate in sharing of seismic and geological data, construction of LNG terminals, liquefied petroleum gas processing facility, North-South gas pipeline stretching from Gwadar to Nawabshah, gas purification plants and innovative technology solutions in coal industry and renovating various existing power generating units in Pakistan, particularly those of Russian origin.


In a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of 2017 SCO Astana summit, President Putin had shown keen interest in closer ties between Pakistan and the Eurasian Economic Union and an FTA, provided Pakistan submitted a statement. In the absence of any political relations with Armenia, a member of this Custom Union, Pakistan will not be able to ink such a deal. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan has been directed to work out the rationale of this formal statement desired by the Russian president.19


The Way Forward
Many quid pro quos can strengthen Pak-Russia bilateral relationship. Pakistan is not only a land bridge to the east and south but also a significant conduit to the resource abundant Muslim world. Pakistan’s teeming youth and untapped natural and human resource promise innumerable dividends to any friendly country which seeks to play its part for a win-win as a responsible global citizen.


Likewise, there are opportunities for Pakistan. Russia has taken a clear position on issues pertaining to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and the SCO, which proffers solutions and is not a problem in itself. In case of Yemen-Saudi conflict, Russia urges all stakeholders to resolve the issue through negotiations and an all-inclusive dialogue under the patronage of United Nations. Moscow respects the sovereignty of nation states. It has outrightly opposed the Western concept of the Responsibility to Protect, which advocates foreign intervention in countries and threatens their independence and territorial integrity.

 

Pakistan-Russia relations are warming up in this geopolitical context marked with incidents of cooperation between states against the realist tendencies of competition. Taking sustained baby steps in this regard will be more pragmatic for Russia and Pakistan, rather than rushing into a frail and inconsistent partnership. That process has already started.

Both countries view terrorism and extremism as major threats to their national and international security. SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) shall be a strong forum for dealing with issues of terrorism, separatism, and extremism. Five major steps will be useful in managing a sustainable relation:


Step-I: The cultural foundations of both Pakistan and Russia reflect the shades of oriental heritage and understanding of each other’s culture will be mutually beneficial. More Pakistanis should know Russian geography, history, culture, literature, and people, and vice versa, with a well-chalked out role of their diasporas.


Step-II: Building trust and synergy among institutions and fully implemented formal frameworks of their cooperation will add value to ties – some of the institutions being government and corporate bodies, institutions of higher learning and public policy such as think tanks, and the academic and expert communities.


Step-III: Although regular meetings of established forums are being held, maximum and tangible gains are yet to be reaped. These are possible only if the strategies and progress remain unimpeded by the disruptive campaigns of any third party. The expansion of mutual cooperation must lay emphasis on building Pakistan’s capacity through trainings, technology transfer, incubation and commercialization, joint production, and strengthening of Pakistan’s defence industry.


Step-IV: Robust economic relations thrive on balance of trade and smooth flows of foreign direct investment (FDI). Russia is the 16th largest export and 22nd import economy, while Pakistan positions at 54th export and 44th import economy out of 120 economies worldwide.20 Neither of the two countries are among top fifteen trade partners of each other.21 The trade and investment relations are far below potential, as the trade keeps switching over between a meager USD 400 to 600 million. Russia’s 85 regions could benefit from Pakistani products. An increase in Pakistani consulates and direct flights in Russian cities – from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok – will serve the purpose. The CPEC offers investment and co-work in projects such as smart and safe cities, special economic and free trade zones, rail, road and other mega infrastructure, and education cities.


Step-V: Pak-Russia greater relations will give impetus to their energy sectors. Russia hosts few of the world’s most proficient energy firms that find myriad opportunities of reforms and investment in the Pakistani energy market.


The shift toward a multipolar world order calls for pragmatic, mature, and considerate strategies by the responsible nation states to ensure sustainable global peace, security, and development. The culmination of Pakistan-Russia prospective multidimensional relationship would be the best example of constructivism for the region and world at large.


In the spirit of regionalism, both Russia and China have shown strategic vision in giving permanent membership of SCO to Pakistan. It is equally important that Russia and China should be given formal role in South Asian region and offered membership of SAARC. Likewise, Pakistan should be considered for observer status that leads to membership of BRICS because the country is a rising regional power. This realization exists within their political, defense, and academic spheres and can be termed as the onset of a promising Asia Century, with positive externalities.

 

The writer is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst at NUST Global Think Tank Network.

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

 

1 “Large section of Russian gas pipeline to China completed,” Russia Today, October 18, 2017.
2 Arun S, “Russia – a forgotten trade partner?”, The Hindu, April 09, 2017.
3 “Russia and U.S. will cooperate to build moon’s first space station,” The Guardian, September 27, 2017.
4 Eric Berger, “Russian official on new U.S. sanctions and NASA: ‘Nothing lasts forever’”, ARS Technica, July 31, 2017.
5 “Pakistan, Russia agree to form five working groups,” Board of Investment Pakistan, November 21, 2015.
6 M.K. Bhadrakumar, “India Displays Multi-Vector Diplomacy”, Asia Times, December 9, 2009.
7 “Pakistan, Russia agree to form five working groups,” Board of Investment Pakistan, November 21, 2015.
8 Lailuma Noori, “SCO’s Afghanistan Contact Group Meeting held in Moscow,” The Kabul Times, October 15, 2017.
9 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Afghanistan Contact Group Meeting, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, October 11, 2017.
10 Anna Mahjar-Barducci and Giuseppe Rippa, “Understanding Russian political ideology and vision: A call for Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, Middle East Media Research Institute, March 23, 2016.
11 Glenn Diesen, Russia’s Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia (New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2017), 129.
12 “Russia’s joining of CPEC to enhance China, Russia, and Pakistan cooperation,” Pakistan Today, January 7, 2017.
13 “China’s reform will lead to sustainable growth: Putin,” China Daily, October 20, 2017.
14 “Russia’s joining of CPEC to enhance China, Russia, and Pakistan cooperation,” Pakistan Today, January 7, 2017.
15 JF-17 Thunder, http://www.jf-17.com/engine/
16 Press Release, Embassy of Pakistan (Doha), http://www.mofa.gov.pk/qatar/pr-details.php?prID=3686
17 Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Pakistan, Russia sign landmark defence cooperation agreement,” Dawn, November 21, 2014.
18 “Pakistan, Russia agree to form five working groups,” Board of Investment Pakistan. November 21, 2015.
19 “Pakistan has no FTA with Russia, NA told,” The Nation, September 22, 2017.
20 The Observatory of Economic Complexity, http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/rus/
21 World’s Top Exports, http://www.worldstopexports.com/russias-top-import-partners/

 
06
December

Written By: Moeed Pirzada


Given this regional context and expected increase in hostilities, visit by Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assumes even greater importance. It serves to assure Iran of Pakistan’s neutrality in any emerging regional scenario. Pakistan’s improved political stock in Tehran may, at some stage, be an asset in terms of reducing misgivings between Iran and the GCC countries.

Indian and Western media – and many so called liberal commentators in Pakistan – have often claimed that Pakistan has acquired hostile neighbors all around, and that this list includes Iran. This impression has been changing in the last few months but in November Indian and Western political pundits were rudely shocked when Pakistan’s COAS was seen visiting the Headquarters of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).


Pakistani Army Chief’s visit to the Headquarters of Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in full glare of TV cameras, came days after Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, issued a warning to the whole world that anyone doing transactions with IRGC would be doing that at his own expense. Pakistan’s subtle message that our country is “free to choose its friends” was obvious. This visit was important also because of another reason: it came at a time when new hostilities surfaced between Iran and the Saudi-led GCC countries. Pakistan, that maintains close relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE, was doing the delicate balancing act. Pakistan’s ex-Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif has a leading position in the Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) organized by Saudi Arabia.

 

pakiranmovintowards.jpgIt was in this complex international and regional setting that Pakistan and Iran, after series of meetings in the first week of November between Iran’s civil and military leaders with Pakistan’s visiting COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, gave signs of a growing consensus on several issues including peace in Afghanistan, threat of ISIS, border management in Balochistan and Kashmir dispute.


Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was on a three-day visit to Iran to improve operational coordination and consensus on shared regional concerns, expressed hope that the relations between the two countries will further improve and that their differences will be resolved amicably through dialogue. Both countries have smoothed the chinks that surfaced in their relations when Indian intelligence agency RAW’s officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav was caught inside Pakistan, close to the Iranian border. Paksitan produced the evidence that Kulbhushan was running a RAW (Research & Analysis Wing) intelligence and sabotage cell, from the Iranian port of Chabahar, against Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Pakistan had unearthed the interlinked evidences which showed that Kulbhushan who was a naval expert on deputation to RAW from the Indian Navy, was assigned to direct operations, utilizing Indian supported assets in Balochistan against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


Pakistani intelligence sources confirm that Iranian authorities have booted out the RAW cell that was organized by Kulbhushan Jadhav in Chabahar. However, they suspect that RAW might have had some success in replacing that unit with newer outfits that remain undetected. Iranian territory remains attractive to Indian intelligence for destabilizing Balochistan – this can also haunt Iran at some stage, and Pakistanis are eager to convince Iranians on this.


On their part, Iranians, since the Islamic revolution of 1979, have suspected – and at times accused – that Pakistani territory in Balochistan is being used by either the Western or the Gulf state agencies against Iranian interests and for stoking insurgencies in their territory. So when Western and Indian media mention Iran’s reservations towards Pakistan to prove that Pakistani policies are injurious to all its neighbors, they often deliberately ignore the fact that Iranian suspicions have centered around the abuse of Pakistani territory by Western or Western backed interests against Iran. While Pakistani intelligence sources believe that Baloch insurgents like Dr. Allah Nazar have taken refuge in Iran, they are also clear that Iran shows this flexibility to only maintain a leverage for itself and Iran and Pakistan have no real strategic, historic or territorial disputes.


General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during his November visit, held series of meetings with virtually everyone in Iran’s executive structure. He met with President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, Head of Iran’s military, Maj-General Mohammad Bagheri, and visited headquarters of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – setting new levels of deeper institutional engagement. Summing up his interaction, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said: “Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly neighbors with a shared history, culture and religion,” adding that, “both armies also have a history of defense collaboration and cooperation which has great mutually benefiting potential for its enhancement.”


Ali Khamenei’s support for Kashmir?
In a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor thanked Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for his supportive statements on Kashmir. Both sides reaffirmed their resolve for peace in Afghanistan, their concerns on the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan and announced measures for better border management and coordination.


Pakistani side alerted Iranian counterparts that given their actions against terror outfits and strong management of border with Afghanistan, elements supported by other powers may try to create disturbances on Pak-Iran border. Iran agrees to fence its border; both sides agreed for hotline contacts between their field commanders, better coordination and intelligence sharing.

 

Pakistan Army Chief visit’s immediate importance lies in developing a common regional view towards the situation in Afghanistan, and Balochistan and the shared resolve that both countries won’t let any third power use their territories against the other. Visit and meetings reinforce the Pak-Iran understanding that greater force projection, by the U.S. in Kabul won’t work. This is a position that is increasingly being shared by Russia and China – seeds of a new regional order are already here.

These meetings, as earlier mentioned, came at a time when not only the Trump administration is trying to increase pressure upon Tehran, threatening to unilaterally abrogate the U.S.-Iran Nuclear deal but tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are also exacerbating. Saudi Arabia has berated and blamed Iran for the missile attack by Houthi rebels in the Saudi capital Riyadh in the first week of November, terming it as an “act of war”. Moreover, the resignation of Saad Hariri from the premiership of Lebanon (citing Iranian intervention in internal affairs of his country as a reason) has increased tensions between the two Middle Eastern countries – though Iranian and Lebanese government have blamed Hariri’s resignation on Saudi strategies to create instability in Lebanon.


Given this regional context and expected increase in hostilities, visit by Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assumes even greater importance. It serves to assure Iran of Pakistan’s neutrality in any emerging regional scenario. Pakistan’s improved political stock in Tehran may, at some stage, be an asset in terms of reducing misgivings between Iran and the GCC countries.


However, Pakistan Army Chief visit’s immediate importance lies in developing a common regional view towards the situation in Afghanistan, and Balochistan and the shared resolve that both countries won’t let any third power use their territories against the other. Visit and meetings reinforce the Pak-Iran understanding that greater force projection, by the U.S. in Kabul won’t work. This is a position that is increasingly being shared by Russia and China – seeds of a new regional order are already here.

 

The writer is a known TV Anchor, Editor Strategic Affairs with a private TV channel and a prominent blogger, columnist and political commentator. He

tweets at: @MoeedNj.

 
06
December

Written By: Rasul Bakhsh Raees


The post-9/11 developments in the regional and on global level have negatively impacted Pakistan’s national security. Besides the debris of the unending Afghan war falling on Pakistan in the form of religious extremism, rise of militant groups and millions of refugees, we have been witnessing a gradual strategic shift in American policy in the region away from Pakistan towards India. In the background of war in Afghanistan, an evolving strategic partnership between India and U.S., whatever its justification, has created a negative effect on Pakistan’s security.

On a broader level, the geopolitical location of a country and regional dynamics of security, peace or war constitute the fundamental elements of national security. In this sense, geopolitical conditions can be benign or malignant, or these might change over time for good or worse depending on changes within the regional states or transformation of their ties from hostility to friendship and cooperation or from good neighbourliness to hostility.


Other equally broad set of influences on national security spring from the internal features of the state — the state-society relations, nature of politics, economy, social cohesion or slow integration, and most importantly the character of the political elites and their commitment and capacity to ensure political stability, order and satisfaction of the populations. Failure in governance and declining capacities of the state to deliver necessary services to the people in developing countries has often produced dangerous ethnic, religious and extremist movements.

rethinknationsec.jpgWith this brief preface, let us consider the basic elements of national security confronting Pakistan in the light of prevailing geopolitical conditions. Much of the internal national security threats and problems have connections to the geopolitical order both as proxy intervention by adversarial powers and the non-state actors. But at the same time, the state and society have accumulated problems of ungovernability – failure of the ruling elites to establish rule of law and justice or pursue consistent development policies to raise the standard of living of the common people. Therefore, we need to look at the elements of national security as an integrated set of factors, rather than see them in fragments or parts.


There are two external elements of geopolitics of Pakistan that constitute a constant factor in Pakistan’s national security thinking. First, it is north-western borderlands stretching from Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the border with Iran on the Arabian Sea. The peace and order along this long border and the neutrality of Afghanistan or its ‘buffer’ status had prompted the British colonialists to secure their imperial interests in British India. Pakistan inherited this geopolitical order without the power, influence or resources of the British global position. Worse, Pakistan, since independence, has seen the threats from the western border and beyond grow more complex than the British had faced. For instance, never did the British confront the Russians in Afghanistan; just the fear of it coming this way had prompted them to pursue ‘forward’ policy and wage self-destructive wars against Afghanistan. Pakistan has seen the predecessor of Russia, the Soviet Union, invade Afghanistan and stay in occupation for a decade. That event alone changed the fundamental dynamics of the conventional geopolitical order of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The millions of refugees, the rise of Mujahideen resistance, the American-led counter intervention of which our country was a frontline state and the mobilisation of Muslim youth by invoking sentiments of Jihad are the major factors causing the change.
In the 1980s, Pakistani State and society got sucked in to the Soviet-Afghan war in which imperatives of national security, Cold War politics and dangerous alliances with the non-state actors played a great role, leaving great negative imprint on the internal national security. As Pakistan was coming to grips with the post-Cold War regional realities, a new cycle of war — a third in row — began in Afghanistan with American-led military intervention in 2001. The war is now entering its 16th year, but the victory for the U.S. and its allies remains elusive.


Afghanistan has been, and will be, a strategic backyard of Pakistan. Its insecurity, instability, and wars have a direct impact on Pakistan’s stability and security. The militant groups on both sides of the borders as well as from Central Asia and the Middle East have found the empty spaces of Afghanistan a good refuge to hide and plan terrorist acts against Pakistan and other states/targets. Some of these terrorist groups have become proxy actors for hostile powers like India to destabilise Pakistan. The TTP leaders and militants are operating from sanctuaries within Afghanistan. Similarly, Baloch militants engaged in terrorist activities and those involved in sectarian targeting in Pakistan are also based in Afghanistan. Either the Kabul government is not in a position to control all its territories that allows anti-Pakistan militants to use its space or certain elements within its fragmented power structure are sponsoring these groups against Pakistan. In either case, threat from across the Western borders is real and has created a situation of two-front war with India.


The post-9/11 developments in the regional and on global level have negatively impacted Pakistan’s national security. Besides the debris of the unending Afghan war falling on Pakistan in the form of religious extremism, rise of militant groups and millions of refugees, we have been witnessing a gradual strategic shift in American policy in the region away from Pakistan towards India. In the background of war in Afghanistan, an evolving strategic partnership between India and U.S., whatever its justification, has created a negative effect on Pakistan’s security. The U.S. has encouraged India to play a much bigger role in Afghanistan in the name of trade and development assistance. India’s traditional influence with a certain constituency of Afghan leaders and groups now backed by the U.S. has weakened Pakistan’s relative advantage with the Afghan population. Despite cultural and historical ties, and enormous sacrifices in support of Afghanistan’s war against the former Soviet Union, Pakistan finds Afghanistan becoming increasingly under the influence of hostile intelligence agencies.

 

Pakistan has adequately prepared itself for meeting the challenge of Indian threat by maintaining a robust conventional defence and developing flexible nuclear deterrence capability. Our counter-force strategy has thwarted the Indian Cold Start Doctrine. This is one of the many reasons it has opted to use Baloch and Taliban proxies. Thus the situation at hand presents Pakistan with the challenge of an unconventional, low-intensity conflict. This might be a long and difficult war, but there is no escape from fighting it out by all means necessary. Not doing so or facing defeat is not an option.

It is, and will be, an enduring imperative of Pakistan’s national security to deny Afghanistan as a space for adversaries to plan and carry out hostile acts against our citizens, security forces and national security interests. The choices that the Afghan leaders make about their allies and partners will have to be carefully evaluated in terms of security impact, and adequately responded to in order to prevent the use of Afghanistan as a base against our interests. There is material evidence in the present situation as well as from the past that some of the Afghan leaders and regimes have connived with our adversaries to harm us. While we strive for a friendly, peaceful and unified Afghanistan, we will have to work hard with the government in Kabul to prevent hostile use of the Afghan territory.


There are unilateral security measures that Pakistan has rightly adopted to neutralise threats emanating from Afghanistan. Firstly, clearing the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan from the militants that had kept local populations hostage for many years was a painful but necessary first step towards ensuring national security. The TTP had been using the region as a sanctuary for militancy against the Pakistani state, citizens and security forces. With the cooperation of local population, which suffered enormous difficulties as internally displaced persons, the TTP has been defeated. However, its remnant elements have found safe havens in the adjacent tribal regions of Afghanistan.


Attacks by militants from across the border have influenced a new security paradigm: security along the international border, that had been left largely porous in the previous decades, would be the first line of defence against militants across the border. Pakistan has undertaken an ambitious, bold and much needed initiative to control the movements of peoples and contraband through this border. As a consequence of multiple sources of border control mechanism, after more than one-hundred and twenty years, the international border (old Durand Line) is going to change from soft to hard power. This will check smuggling, drug trafficking, inflow of terrorists and illegal immigrants from Afghanistan.


The unending war in Afghanistan is the primary source of conflict spillovers into Pakistan. It is in our interest to help regional and global powers to end this war. Peace and security of Afghanistan will have positive effects on stability and social order around its neighbours. But Pakistan alone, and no single power for that reason can end the war in Afghanistan. The real change has to occur in the strategic outlook of the United States and allies with the realisation on their part that continued war will hurt their interests in the region around Afghanistan.


Hostility of India, its occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and regional designs remain at the heart of Pakistan’s security calculations. We have a long history of unresolved disputes, wars and proxy intervention by India. Its military intervention in the East Pakistan crisis in 1971 was a watershed event in the strategic outlook of Pakistan. India initially provided sanctuary and support to separatist elements that its intelligence agencies had nurtured, and when it saw them losing ground, it militarily attacked East Pakistan, separating it from rest of the country. This was yet another lesson for Pakistan in realpolitik and a demonstration of the Indian intentions toward the country.


Hardly has India’s security outlook toward Pakistan and the region changed. Rather, it has become more aggressive and expansionist in political designs and strategic calculations. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise to power on the wings of Hindu nationalism with overly anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan tones, relations have touched the lowest point in decades. India is pursuing a policy of destabilisation by supporting Baloch and Taliban terrorist factions, and it is investing heavily in groups inside Pakistan to work against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. There is considerable evidence to show that India is using Afghanistan as a base for supporting these elements to carry out its agenda of destabilisation — a proxy war through use from the ‘empty’ places of Afghanistan.


Pakistan has adequately prepared itself for meeting the challenge of Indian threat by maintaining a robust conventional defence and developing flexible nuclear deterrence capability. Our counter-force strategy has thwarted the Indian Cold Start Doctrine. This is one of the many reasons it has opted to use Baloch and Taliban proxies. Thus the situation at hand presents Pakistan with the challenge of an unconventional, low-intensity conflict. This might be a long and difficult war, but there is no escape from fighting it out by all means necessary. Not doing so or facing defeat is not an option.


Pakistan has been in a war against terrorism for more than a decade. We have succeeded in evicting the TTP from Swat and from all tribal agencies of FATA. Populations once displaced from these regions have been rehabilitated with the support of new road and infrastructural development. Insurgency in Balochistan has been withering away, wearing out in the face of resentment within the Baloch populations against the militants. There are positive signs of contribution to the development and integration of Balochistan under the extensive CPEC projects that would be linking larger part of the province with all other provinces and China. The geo-economics of the Corridor is futuristic, historic and a powerful new element in the national security order of Pakistan. It is also a symbol and reflection of shifting alliances and strategic partnerships for stability and prosperity in the region.

 

The writer is an eminent defence/political analyst who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. Presently he is on the faculty of LUMS.

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

 
07
November
November 2017(EDITION 11, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
People of Pakistan, its Armed Forces and the Law Enforcement Agencies have been able to deny success to the forces of disorder and restore order significantly. This unique feat is unparalleled in contemporary world where terrorism mostly succeeded in destroying the states, institutions....Read full article
 
Written By: Sardar Masood Khan
There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and.....Read full article
 
Written By: Mushahid Hussain Syed
In no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, all voluntarily part of OBOR, which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Ishrat Hussain
At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited an extremely weak and fragile economic base and infrastructure. LIFE Magazine had predicted in its issue of January 1948 that Pakistan would collapse within six months as it would not be able to sustain itself economically....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem
On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between our government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal ....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif Al Mujahid
In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly.....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Hilal Desk
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the key note speaker while eminent speakers who addressed the seminar included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan, Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Dr. Aynul Hasan, Dr. Salman Shah, and Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General, Frontier Works Organization....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Hilal Desk
The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Abdul Hanan Mustafa (136 PMA Long Course).
Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Muhammad Iqbal was awarded with President’s Gold Medal (136 PMA Long Course)......Read full article
 
Written By: Sidra Babar Khan
Baba, the mere 4 years, 9 months and 23 days of my life I spent in your presence are something I will always cherish. My earliest memories are of you wearing your uniform, for no particular event but just you as a strong man in his soldier’s uniform. I have no idea.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad
Asight to rejoice and an experience to cherish was seeing the flying horse of Pakistan hockey, our sports icon Sami Ullah Khan cheering local players in the sports gala and participating in Bahawalpur walk; local students energetically taking part in sports matches.....Read full article
 
Written By: S. M. Hali
It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.....Read full article
 
Written By: Hassan Khan
It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation of the two countries....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood
Old ideas of services being non-transportable and non-tradable no longer hold for a number of modern impersonal services that are traded over the internet, digitized and stored electronically, and have become part of growing international businesses. Trade in services over the last.....Read full article
 
Written By: Syed Mohammed Ali Raza
In 1962, Pakistan established the National Investment Trust (NIT) with the express purpose of strengthening and supporting the stock exchange by broadening the long-term investor base and providing an investment vehicle to small investors for participation in .....Read full article
 
Written By: Abbas Majeed Khan Marwat
Introduction
Each agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is administered by a Political Agent (PA), who is either a member of the federally recruited Pakistan Administrative Service or the Provincial Management Service. The PA.....Read full article
 
Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal
We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State.....Read full article
 
Written By: Shah Faisal
Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig/Ambassador Tariq M. Mir (R)
We felt we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview.....Read full article
 
Report By: Maryam Razzaq
The value of freedom to observe the religious congregations with peace and tranquility cannot be fathomed neither can it be expressed being a unique feeling within heart and soul. Intolerance in a society can be minimized through comprehensive campaign and by ensuring.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Muzaffar Ahmed
Tale of a gallant hero – martyr of IBO (Intelligence Based Operation) who started as a Cavalry Charger and ended as a Spymaster.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Anum Hussain
How do you define beauty? If you ask this simple question from different age groups you may get a diverse response. For example, a teen’s reply would be different from a 25-years-old adult. Their answers will be based on a certain defined.....Read full article

 
Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza
Moving ahead from Islamabad – the Capital, looking beyond the bending roads, one can dance with snow, play with the sunshine, scatter the rainbow and flow with the freezing turquoise water. This is what one experiences in the North of Pakistan, a .........Read full article
 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat HI (M), NI (M), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee visited an Operational Air Base of Pakistan Air Force. On his arrival at the Base, he was received.....Read full article
 
On October 7, 2017, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was sworn in as Chief of the Naval Staff during an impressive Change of Command Ceremony held at PNS ZAFAR Islamabad. The President of .....Read full article
 
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army, during his two days official visit to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ.....Read full article
 
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff UK Army, called on Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt at Corps Headquarters Peshawar.....Read full article
 
Commander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various sectors of LOC and expressed his deep concern and sorrow over recent deaths of two minors as a result of deliberate....Read full article
 
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pak-UK bilateral relations, Pakistan Air Force arranged a mesmerizing air show at Sea View, Karachi. The pride of Pakistan JF-17 Thunder along with internationally.......Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy conducted Exercise BURQ VII at Creeks area aiming to evaluate Pakistan Navy’s operational plans for the defence of Creeks area. It also included the re-evaluation of Air....Read full article
 
Pakistan Army team won Gold Medal in “Exercise Cambrian Patrol” held in UK in the second week of October. A total of 131 army teams from across the world participated.....Read full article
 
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07
November

Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza

Moving ahead from Islamabad – the Capital, looking beyond the bending roads, one can dance with snow, play with the sunshine, scatter the rainbow and flow with the freezing turquoise water. This is what one experiences in the North of Pakistan, a land truly blessed with unsurpassed beauty and striking tourist destinations. A land of towering mountains, valleys, beautiful lakes and rivers, amazing wildlife with exotic culture. The alpine beauty of this region with three of the mightiest ranges in the world i.e., Karakoram Range, Himalayas and Hindukush is definitely a delicious feast for the eyes.

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Karakoram mountains are the most condensed clusters of high peaks found in the world. This range contains the world’s largest glacier fields outside the polar regions. The second longest glacier, Siachen is located in these ranges. Another attraction of these ranges is the world’s second highest peak, K-2. This pyramid of a mountain is right in the heart of the Karakoram Range. It is a jewel in the crown of mystical Karakoram mountains and the snowy peaks are kind of a magnet for the mountaineers and tourists from all over the globe.


The 1300 km long KKH route moves through these ranges. Karakoram Highway connects Islamabad with Kashgar (China) via Abbottabad, Mansehra, Thakot, Besham, Pattan, Chilas, Gilgit and Hunza across the 4733 meters high Khunjerab Pass. The Highway, built by the Pakistani and Chinese engineers, has been described as a marvel of civil engineering and even as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’. Karakoram highway snakes through the superb landscape that stands matchless on earth. A fantastic and unforgettable spectacle is the passage of the highway along the Batura Glacier, rated as the world’s seventh largest glacier, The Khunjerab Pass which the highway crosses, and the nearby Mintaka Pass, lie astride the fabulous ancient Silk Route that extended from Europe to Asia and over which history’s most famous tourists once traveled.


Since 1954, when the Karakoram Range of Pakistan was opened for climbing and trekking expeditions the mountains and glaciers of the north have become an international playground-cum-travel destinations.


Hindukush Ranges are considered dangerous due to the passes, and difficult stretches between the peaks. It is home to Tirich Mir, the world’s highest mountain peak outside the Himalayan-Karakoram range.


The Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world. The highest peak of this mountain ranges is Nanga Parbat. In this mountain range are present the most beautiful valleys including the valley of Kashmir. Himalayas are not simply the peaks, it offers the best opportunity for all adventure sports. From trekking to mountain climbing and cycling to hiking, the range offers variety of options to the travelers. The climate, rainfall, soil conditions, and altitude of this range are quite diversified, generating a vast variety of plant and animal species.


The spectacular region of Gilgit-Baltistan is famous for its scenic beauty. Baltistan is situated amid the great Himalayas and Karakoram ranges on either side of the mighty Indus River and its tributaries, surrounded by Gilgit and Hunza Valleys in the west. It is also known as “Little Tibet” because of its proximity as well as ethnic, cultural and linguistic bonds with Ladakh and Tibet in the east. The whole of Gilgit-Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers and anglers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare flora and fauna.


One of the sightseeing destinations of this region is Skardu, the gateway to an endless high alpine adventure. Skardu has various lakes which invite visitors to see their beauty and fall in love with them. The most famous lake is Shangrila Lake (Lower Kachura) in Kachura region. Shangrila, also known as “heaven on earth”, is nestled amongst some of the world’s highest peaks. It encircles the heart-shaped “Kachura Lake” and is surrounded by fruit-laden orchards and flower-filled gardens. Some sites have become synonymous with beauty and with amazing scenery and Shangrila is one such site. Just a few minutes walk from Shangrila Resort can take you towards green lake of Upper Kachura which is a natural lake and its warm waters welcome swimmers to enjoy there. The area of the lakes is such that it is covered with snow in the winter but during the summer season this area is full of vegetation. There are many trees that bloom only in the summer months and almost all of the local flowers bloom in the summer. The trees which are common to the area are the Subalpine Conifer trees which include many species of hardwood and are prized all over the world. One of the most unique trees in the area is of the wild apricot. This is one of the most beautiful trees in the area and many birds such as Blue Jays, Warbles and Blue Tits come to nest in these trees. With all these marvels of nature, this lake remains to be on top of the list for many who want to explore the nature reserves found all over Pakistan.


The Satpara Lake is one other lake in heart of Skardu City. This blue color lake is the biggest lake in Skardu region with big stock of clean water. The lake is fed by Satpara stream. It works as a key water supply source for the Skardu Town. Satpara Lake with its marvelous and breathtaking beauty is considered one of the most charming lakes among tourists. The lake’s crystal-clear waters present a marvelous view to visitors by mirroring the icy mountains encircled around the lake. One can do fishing, motor boating and rowing at the lake.


While moving ahead come the Deosai Plains, which is a high-altitude grass plateau. ‘Deosai’ means ‘the land of giants’. Deosai has the country’s second largest National Park. There is a significant brown bear population within its boundaries, the endangered snow leopard and Indian wolf. The Plains are also home to the Himalayan ibex, red fox, golden marmot locally called Phia, and over 124 resident and migratory birds. The most enchanting feature of Deosai is its huge field of alpine flowers, the scale which is largest in the Karakoram and Western Himalayas. In spring, it is covered by sweeps of wildflowers and a wide variety of butterflies. One can see full bloom of purple, yellow, red and mauve sheet of flowers covering the entire slope. The colorful plateau changes into a burning yellow carpet in autumn under a clear sky. It is a perfect site for summer camping. The park has many vast meadows and the Sheosar Lake is located near flat surfaces of Deosai plateau. Sheosar Lake gains attention as being one of the highest lakes in the world. The place around the lake offers striking views of far-flung peaks and an amazing view of the plains. When the weather is clear, Nanga Parbat’s snow-covered peak can also be seen from here. For tourists who love adventure, this place in the Northern Areas of Pakistan has unadulterated natural beauty. The mountains, crystal clear streams of water, glaciers and flower filled meadows offer a great place to spend quality time.


Hunza, known as “heaven on earth”, is the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is a beautiful mountainous valley located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Situated in the north-west of the Hunza River, it is surrounded by several high peaks including Rakaposhi, Hunza Peak, Ghenta Sar, Ultar Sar and Ladyfinger Peak.


The valley offers different beautiful natural sights for tourists. Among these attractions, the Baltit and Altit Forts are most famous. The Baltit Fort, after renovation, has recently been turned into a heritage museum. It has won numerous awards including Tourism of Tomorrow Award, Asia-Pacific Heritage for Cultural Conservation-Award of Excellence (UNESCO). The Time Magazine-Asia Edition awarded Best of Asia Award in 2005.


In Hunza, the bazaar of Karimabad is famous for its local handicrafts, handmade rugs, traditional embroidered caps, shawls, hand woven cloth (paffu) and its gemstones which are famous all over the world, particularly Ruby. The Ruby mines are famous tourist attraction. The local specialty dish of Hunza is ‘fittis’ which is very delicious and worth tasting. These are basically cakes made up of wheat flour, milk, butter and salt, baked on a hot stone. Apricots, apples, plums, peaches, cherries and grapes are various fresh fruits grown in this region. When talking about foreign visitors, grape extract known as ‘Hunza water’ is very popular among them.


The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border of Pakistan with China, and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. Its name is derived from Wakhi 'Khun' meaning ‘home’ and 'Jerav' meaning ‘spring water/water falling’. For those who love the high mountainous regions, snow and cold weather, this place is a must go. The nearest town from Khunjerab is Sust which is also home to the immigration and custom post.


A miracle of stillness, epitome of perfect shades of blue, a beauty in tragedy, Attabad Lake is Pakistan's largest artificial lake created by a severe landslide in Attabad village, Gojal Valley back in 2010. Bluest of all, this lake connects the glorious Hunza Valley to the Serene Passu in Gojal Valley. The 45 minutes boat ride in the lake to the nirvana on the other end is an unforgettable experience. As the boat meanders through the turquoise colored lake lapped by high rugged colossal mountains, the journey seems to imprint in your mind and heart forever where every scene tends to have multiple makeovers. During the summer, the warm climate soothes the soul and the glistening sunshine onto the sparkling still water where the only ripples created are because of the boat. In winters, one can even walk over frozen 10 km pathway of Attabad Lake.

 

thepicque.1jpg.jpgWhile approaching the town of Gilgit or on way back to Naran, comes the famous Babusar Top, a junction that connects Chilas (Karakoram Highway), Naran and later on leads to other destinations including Gilgit and Skardu. It is not merely a simple top, rather it is one of the most amazing spots of Kaghan Valley. If you are lucky enough to have good weather then it will seem like a heavenly piece of earth with beautiful views in every direction. Standing on the top you might get lucky and get a panoramic view of Malika-e-Parbat on a clear day. There is also astonishing view of snow covered peaks of Kashmir. You can see green plateaus, winding roads; small streams and mountains as far as the sight goes. The area near the top is full of great species of birds, animals, flowers and bushes. The forests near the top are of hardwood trees. Snowcock and snow pigeons are the birds most likely to be seen near the pass and hawks and eagles are seen in the area as well. Mammals such as small marmots and wild sheep can also be seen.


If any tourist treks the amazing lakes of Pakistan, one of the very first items on their itinerary is the heavenly Lulusar Lake located in the national park called Dudipatsar, Lulusar National Park in Kaghan. The name of the lake derives from the word “sar” which means either “lake” or “high mountain”. In case of Lulusar, the word is used to denote the high mountains with perennial snow-covered peaks that are around the lake, creating a magnificent valley. The snow of the mountains has been the reason that the lake has never dried up as in summer season the snow melts and fills the lake. The lake is surrounded by snowcapped hills whose purple and white forms are reflected in the green-blue waters of the silent lake, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the valley. Lulusar’s enchanting beauty and its view remains in the mind of a tourist for a long time.


Then comes Naran, Pakistan’s favorite holiday destination. Tourists from across the world come to Naran to see its undulating terrains that are dotted with crags and massifs as well as pristine lakes. Here you’ll depart from the River Kunhar and on both sides of road there are vast fields. The place is taken as the base station or the principle entryway to goals like Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Lalazar, Babusar, Noori Valley and Purbi Valley.


A dusty, meandering track connects Naran Valley to the strikingly beautiful Lake Saif-ul-Malook. Once you’re here, you wouldn’t want to leave because the place is like a magic spell. After 11 km trail distance from Lake Saif-ul-Malook comes the Ansoo Lake, a tear shaped lake adjacent to Malika-e-Parbat. If you’re more of an adventure-seeker, you can walk your way from Malika-e-Parbat to reach the lake. Trekking takes about 4-5 hours.


The Kaghan Valley attracts many tourists from not only Pakistan but also from the whole world. Laying in lower Himalayan mountain ranges, the Kaghan Valley is famous for its bewitching splendor and natural beauty. The valley has everything you can think of when planning a great vacation. It has glaciers, mountains, dales, streams, lakes, waterfalls, ideal villages, forests and more. The spring season in Kaghan Valley witnesses the most admirable natural beauty. After the extreme cold weather which often restricts people to their houses, the spring season seems like giving new life to the nomads.


In a nutshell the whole region is a trekker’s paradise. With breathtaking views, these areas have ideal environment for trekking and hiking.


No doubt that the Northern Areas of Pakistan are heaven on earth with breathtaking views and beauty that captures the hearts of tourists. Journey to these areas becomes a soulful adventure, as sometimes human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of men, so when you stop and look around you feel that life is amazing!

 

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07
November

Written By: Dr. Anum Hussain

How do you define beauty? If you ask this simple question from different age groups you may get a diverse response. For example, a teen’s reply would be different from a 25-years-old adult. Their answers will be based on a certain defined criteria set in their minds, for instance; skin tone, height, and hair, whilst others would decide based on different factors of persona like self-belief, speaking style, dressing sense, etc. but this isn't the end; additionally you may receive responses like beauty is directly proportional to age. According to them, if he/she crosses certain line of age then they aren't eligible to be called beautiful and sadly majority of the crowd would assume this false belief as a universal criteria. Now you must be thinking a doctor would provide you a catalogue of anti-aging treatments like botox, rehydrating fillers, meso-therapy, photo-facials, non-surgical facelifts and a never ending list of treatments. Being a doctor I clearly admire the outstanding progress in medical and health science. Allow me discuss some vital facets that are normally neglected in the process of achieving beauty targets or simply looking young.


Take a deep breath and accept the fact that aging is a natural process and there's no direct or inverse relation between age and beauty, Why? Because the former is simply a number and latter is a mixture of mind and personality. This growing old process affects every single cell of your body including all your internal and external organs. In general skin is the largest external organ of human body and usually this organ is our main concern. With advancing age skin becomes fragile, bruised, tough, and slack due to thinning of dermis and loss of support around the blood vessels. So in case you are thinking about the usage of anti-aging creams or are in search of anti-aging treatments and you think it is going to make you younger then please take a moment here and think about those billions or trillions body cells that make your other vital organs like heart, kidneys, liver, muscular tissues, and bones, etc. They are also growing old. Don’t they need anti-aging treatment too? Now you need to understand this phenomenon just like you are worrying about your nasolabial fold lines, crow feet, sagging cheeks or wrinkles etc., you should pay equal attention to your whole body because this aging process is targeting it all.


It is very crucial to maintain weight according to BMI because a lot of health conditions are directly associated with weight gain and it can be a major cause of the underlying conditions. In the process of growing old, it becomes difficult to get rid of excess weight as your muscle tissues certainly shrink and lose mass. Your ligaments and tendons might also end up inflexible with age and may lose tone, even with everyday exercise. You could have constrained strength and endurance required for exercise. Hormonal changes in older women and men may contribute to muscle loss. This gradual decline in musculoskeletal system directly affects your activities of daily living (ADLs) and limit your physical activities, which in turn causes slowdown of your metabolism and ultimately leads to unburned calories that are likely to become fat deposits. The fat deposits further deteriorate your another major body system i.e., cardiovascular system. With advancing age, blood vessels also undergo aging process including arterial stiffening and thickening. These structural changes play important part in developing hypertension (high blood pressure). The fats already stored in the body due to limited physical activity build up inside the arteries. This accumulation of fat is known as atherosclerosis. It speeds up the process of aging in arteries leading to further fatty buildup and narrowing which may result in blocking major arteries that supply blood to heart and brain and the results could be devastating i.e., heart attack or stroke. Now you can clearly see all body systems are interconnected and problem in one directly affects another. But it is not very difficult to overcome these age related issues – all you need is a little attention and time for your body.

 

Growing older is no regret but dying before one’s actual death is. There is no rewind button in life, so value the time you have and value the gift of life. Avoid negativity and add positivity. Don’t limit yourself under the label of age to live a purposeful and healthy life.

First of all, it is important to monitor your weight on regular basis. If you notice any fluctuation you can take measures. I mentioned earlier that as you are growing old you lose muscle mass so add proper amount of protein in your diet plan e.g., meat, poultry, fish, salmon, trout (contains heart healthy omega 3 fats), eggs, beans and nuts etc. Also your bone health is important for maintaining your overall musculoskeletal system so dairy food with calcium and vitamin D must be a portion of your diet plan.


It is important to maintain recommended cholesterol levels to avoid fatty buildup in blood vessels. Total cholesterol level (lower than 200mg/dl) LDL i.e., low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol (100mg/dl or low) HDL i.e., high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol (40mg/dl or high) and triglycerides (149mg/dl or low). Like protein we also need fats for our body but this is mandatory to choose right fat or heart healthy fat. Saturated fat or animal fat raises cholesterol level so strictly avoid butter, cream or cream based sauces, hard margarine fats on meat, processed meat like sausages, burgers, cake, chocolates, heavy cream, milk etc. Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, peanut oil, unsalted peanuts, cashew nuts and almond help replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats and protect your heart as it lowers cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fat also reduces cholesterol level and is found in oily fish (omega 3 fat), sunflower oil (omega 6 fat), sesame oil, walnuts and hazelnut. But you must always keep in mind that all these types of fats, either saturated or unsaturated, contain equal amount of fat and calories so it is essential to avoid their excessive use. It is better to go for small meals rather than heavy meals because your metabolism slows down as you age but never go much longer than 3 hours without eating.


Hydration is important as nearly all of your systems in body depend on water. Moreover, this is a tip for anyone who wants to lose weight. With advancing age, the hypothalamus (which controls our hunger and thirst) becomes desensitized and our body can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need. Dehydration leads to high cholesterol, (produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss from cell), high blood pressure (because blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow in arteries), constipation, tiredness, fatigue and weight gain. So, drink plenty of water (best is about 8 glass/day). You can also compensate by eating hydrating food i.e., cucumber, watermelon, bell pepper, pineapple, carrots, apple, grapefruit etc.


Balance food intake with proper physical activity. If you think skipping above mentioned dietary ingredients or in other words “starvation” will prevent the side effect of accumulation in the body, you are totally wrong because on one side your body needs all the above nutrients to keep your body systems young and healthy and on the other side your body also needs to utilize these calories in the form of physical activity. Make your schedule and assign one hour of the day for physical activity. It can include mild fitness programs like walking at medium pace, or swimming to strength training programs. My recommendation is to choose the activity according to your body needs e.g., if your task is weight loss at 35 or 45 you can freely engage in heavy exercises but if you are above 60 you must keep in mind that now your bones have lost much calcium and muscle mass. Moreover, if you are having any comorbid condition (hypertension, coronary artery disease etc.), you should prefer modified plan according to your body demand; better if it is under the supervision of a trainer. Don’t skip this portion because physical activity has direct effect on all of your body systems, so picking the best one according to your body demand will be beneficial. Set some goals and tasks before starting any fitness program.


Alcohol and smoking are the root cause of many medical conditions ranging from mild to life threatening conditions. They not only cause serious damage to respiratory system but also adversely affect our other body systems including circulatory, immune and reproductive systems. If you are a smoker or alcoholic, you have two choices: either arrange your bills for a long stay in hospital or simply quit this habit.


Just like your physical health is important, your mental wellbeing should also be part of your goals. Whatever your age is, value yourself and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies even if you find time once in a week. Communicate with good and ambitious people because your company has an effect on your lifestyle and your goals. Meeting with positive people will have a positive effect. Good company will not only motivate you but also boost your energy for your tasks. Break monotony and try new things or modify your existing activities like change your walking track, meet new people or add some recreational trips even if it is only once in a month. Stress is a part of life, whatever the age is, it can strike you anywhere, anytime, the important thing is to know how to cope with it. Check out triggers for your stress and how you react. It can help you to avoid triggers and learn how to manage them. Avoid overthinking because nothing is permanent, whatever the reason of your stress. Always keep in mind that everything will get better although it can take some time. The best approach in adverse situations is to avoid taking stress that will ultimately lead to anxiety and depression, further deteriorating your physical health. Try to think positive because “problem isn’t a problem until the mind says it’s a problem”


Growing older is no regret but dying before one’s actual death is. There is no rewind button in life, so value the time you have and value the gift of life. Avoid negativity and add positivity. Don’t limit yourself under the label of age to live a purposeful and healthy life.

 

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07
November

Written By: Maj Muzaffar Ahmed

Tale of a gallant hero – martyr of IBO (Intelligence Based Operation) who started as a Cavalry Charger and ended as a Spymaster.

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It is not always easy. Your successes are unheralded – your failures are trumpeted”
(President John F. Kennedy, CIA Headquarters, November 28, 1961)

Times of chaos and disarray will not remain forever; sons of the soil are offering the best – their lives – in guarding the country.


Ali called, “I am committed. Rushing towards Army Public School Warsak Road”. There was a distinct note of agony in his voice as he said, “Terrorists have attacked Army Public School Peshawar. They are brutally killing innocent children. Saman you should go to school yourself and fetch Shahwaiz back home”. Saman hurriedly turned on the television and saw the horrific tickers being displayed. She was stunned and motionless for a while. After she regained her senses, however, with anguish and fear, she dragged herself towards Army Public School Cantonment Junior Branch and brought Shahwaiz back. Aah! It was all terrible.

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Thirty-years-old Ali had witnessed bloodshed of parents’ loving lads with sorrowful eyes. Saman narrates that she could sense Ali grief-stricken for many days after the dreadful event. Though grief and moaning of this national tragedy started settling but the cold blooded massacre had shaken Ali’s personality. He started seeing Shahwaiz in every innocent martyr and injured of Army Public School Peshawar, which ultimately guided him to seize the perspective of every passing moment and give it a shape, value and substance for contributing towards prosperity in the country. His self-commitment still echoes in Saman’s ears that every cloud has a silver lining and it is now the turn of terrorists’ bastions to stand the blow of wrath even in their most remote and safest hidings.


Hailing from Lahore, Ali was curious from teenage to maintain his ancestral legacy of soldiering. The medium built, amiable Ali, always used to attract everyone’s attention due to a distinct smile on his face. Ali Salman’s childhood best friend Ali Sohail recollects their nostalgic bond, “We met each other in Army Public School Peshawar Cantonment in class five and with the passage of time became close friends of each other. Our fathers were serving in the same city in their respective Army Ordnance setups. To my dismay after one year Ali’s father (Lt Col Nasir Mahmood) was transferred to Lahore Cantonment, but coincidentally we were re-united again in Garrison Academy for Boys Lahore Cantonment once my father was also transferred to Lahore.

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My friend was a shining, lively and jolly figure of our class not only for excelling academically but also because of fervent love for nature and laughter. At his home, he was mostly found busy in exploring ways to behaviorally nurture, serve and manage his caged parrots, rabbits, lambs and plants. Keeping his mother’s evenings busy by asking for french fries was visible from his appearance that’s why he also got fame as Dambry (cartoon character) among colleagues. Due to visiting each other’s homes almost daily, I could make out that he was very compassionate, loving and fun seeking brother of his two sisters. The bond of our friendship grew stronger with each passing day. I cannot forget his joyous company, especially partnering in cricket, kicking football and visiting Lahore zoo for many hours. As adulthood approached and we got into intermediate level education, I could observe his behavioral inquisitiveness transcending into seriousness and aspiration to attain something in life i.e., from aimlessness to knowing what he wanted. The iconic image of his father and uncles served his motivation to be a flag bearer and join Pakistan Army. Though his parents neither forced, nor stopped him from pursuing goal of joining Army, however; being the only and obedient son, he eloquently convinced his mother about his decision. Ali’s motivational lectures and ethical jolts did not spare me even. His giggles, fun filled routine and narration of challenges at Pakistan Military Academy inspired me as well to join Pakistan Army. I often miss him dearly!”


Ali’s colleagues from 112 PMA Long Course also cannot forgo cherishing memories of his perseverance and jovialness even during times of rigorous and taxing training activities. On completion of training at Pakistan Military Academy in 2005, he joined 13 Lancers, a glorious and decorated Armored Corps unit located in Quetta.


Enthusiastically responding to the unit’s grooming modules, Ali turned out to be a responsible and professional Cavalry Charger in very less time in line with the expectations of his seniors and subordinates. His unit officer, Lieutenant Colonel Aaitizaz Asbuq Waheed remembered him as an opponent in squash court and a close comrade, “We used to hang out in evenings, playing squash together. Ali’s aggression, gaming strategies and spirit to win the contests of squash and will to fight back for any game lost, were all admiring. Youngsters Hammad, Waqas and Noman used to pose immense confidence in his guidelines, mentoring sessions and timely elderly directions. Moreover, his love for good music was also a talk of the unit. Due to day and night earnest endeavors and buckling down, the under-command troops started loving him as he remained their Adjutant – custodian of discipline, the Quartermaster – responsible for feeding, health and hygiene and the Squadron Commander in thick and thin. Besides 13 Lancers, while he was posted to serve with another unit 25 Cavalry at Razmak in Operation Al-Mizan in year 2010, the CO (Commanding Officer) of the unit found him at the front lines as Squadron Commander and talked highly of him. During the course of professional building up, Ali remained an instructor in an Armour Division Battle School at Gujranwala. Thereafter, he started realizing and discussing with seniors in the unit that his inclination and mental faculties are probably more suited for intelligence tasks. Thus year-2014 proved to be a turning point in Ali’s life which parted him from 13 Lancers for a new venture but his association, interaction and contacts with the unit were never broken.”


“Yay! Saman, I have been selected to serve in Corps of Military Intelligence and need to undertake the intelligence course in School of Military Intelligence in Murree. I am happy to join Pakistan Army’s highly professional frontline force – the spymasters. I will use my potentials to the best of the service interests”. To prove himself best-suited for the upcoming assignments, he strived extra hard. His fellow course-mates said that he proficiently grasped the art of being invisible and an extraordinary intelligence operator and could disguise, surveil, detect and solve with near-perfect masteries. His skills are reflected through his securing first position in Officers Military Intelligence Mid-Career Course.


At the end of year 2014, Ali was posted to Peshawar for intelligence field works. Having witnessed the Army Public School massacre, he frequently started motivating his team individuals through his spyglass, “The spirit to avenge the blood of innocent victims of terrorism in the country remains fresh in my heart. Pakistan and the scenic valley of District Dir, its loving people and Panjkora River don’t deserve bloodshed and can’t be deprived of peace and prosperity.” To offset the game plans of enemy, he acquired reasonable grip over local Pushto dialect, demography, behavior, culture and traditions of people of the area in a very short span of time. Then discretely started unearthing, fixing and destroying the active and passive networks (sleeping cells) of terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat and other splinter groups operating in District Dir and adjacent areas. Covert efforts of his team succeeded in averting numerous bomb blasts and led towards recovery of huge caches of ammunition and explosives. A testimony of his achievements is the letter of appreciation from Commander Peshawar Corps, Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt. As an influential humane intelligence operator, local notables of the area and Village Defence Committees applauded cordial relations of his team with the masses. His comrades were also admirers of his leadership qualities and affection for subordinates as stated by his driver Nobel Masih.


After completing three years’ eventful stay at District Dir, he received orders to pack up for next duty as an instructor at School of Military Intelligence Murree. While saying goodbye to the affiliates, the District Police Officer and the District Coordination Officer of Dir spoke highly of him and felt downhearted on his departure.

 

stalkingdir3.jpgOn August 5, 2017, with renewed spirits and happy feelings of being posted to new location, Ali and his family reached Peshawar for their farewell dine out. After the ceremony Ali told Saman, “Today’s words of appreciation and good wishes by the Commander and my colleagues have supplemented and strengthened my job satisfaction”. On August 7, amidst fine memories of service in Peshawar and District Dir, Ali left for Dir for his final pack-up. Then came Sunday – August 8, 2017, a usual sunny day with unusual loud chirping of birds around the residence; an eternal day of test for Ali and his teammates. His eagle eye estimated through grapevine about the presence of four high value terrorists from Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat in Sherotkai village of Sultankhel, Upper Dir, who were actually on his watch-list for quite sometime. These terrorists were planning to sabotage our Yaum-e-Azadi celebrations by attacking at a mass gathering of innocent people thus turning the day into a national tragedy for the country. Though Ali was over with his responsibilities in the area and was ready to move for the new assignment in Murree, but his pneuma conscience forced him to handle these terrorists. He discussed the situation with his senior Commanders and planned an IBO (Intelligence Based Operation). Under the shadows of parents’ prayers and wife’s hope of success, he left his base in the evening with the team – Havildar Akhtar, Havildar Ghulam Nazir and Levies Sepoy Kareem Khan along with Sher Dil Task Force, part of Army’s SWAT Division, led by Lieutenant Zeeshan. Vehicle driver noticed and asked Ali, “Sir, you seem very excited today and the glow is visible on your face”, to which he responded, “Dear! Yes, I am happy because Almighty Allah has confidence in me that’s why He has again afforded me an opportunity to contribute, and Allah be willing our team will succeed.”


Once it was dark, Ali briefed the Sher Dil Task Force Commander about the target, which was a house where terrorists were hiding. On reaching the site at around midnight, Sher Dil Task Force established a cordon around the hideout of terrorists. After 10-15 odd minutes, upon not detecting an imminent danger, Major Ali Salman made an attempt to trace out and feed Sher Dil Task Force Commander the exact location of terrorists in the rooms. While he was approaching the terrorists with his team, one of the terrorists got alerted but he was overpowered by fire. Then in a span of few seconds, in an attempt to apprehend the terrorists alive, Ali and his team-mates briskly jumped over three terrorists and firmly gripped them. After overpowering the terrorists once clearing the terrorists for the weapons and explosives was in process, one of the terrorists blew himself up. Destiny came into play. This resulted in raising of the nation’s four brave sons (Major Ali Salman, Havildar Akhtar, Havildar Ghulam Nazir and Sepoy Kareem Khan) to the highest pedestal of martyrdom (Shahadat) and averted a national tragedy planned by terrorists. Then a fire exchange started between Sher Dil Task Force and the remaining terrorist, who was shot down in a little while. There ended chapter of Ali’s life which fulfilled commitment with Army Public School Peshawar by foiling another big terrorist plot and saving innocent human lives.


Back at home, at around 01:45 a.m. midnight, his younger sister received a call, however; tremblingly handed over the mobile phone to the father with the fear that Ali’s request to sisters for praying for his shahadat has probably come true. His father could also sense the reason, thanked Allah and stated, “Ali has won over me by giving sacrifice for the country”. The courage, fortitude and patience of such fathers is really praiseworthy.


Later, with wet eyes, his mother recalled that Ali used to take care of her, loved her cooking especially daal maash but now there is a vacuum as he will not be there to appreciate her cooked food.


His wife Saman, 29, standing as a rock of conviction said that Allah had selected Ali and his comrades because He wanted to correct those who had gone astray. She painfully expressed that Ali had the intuition of his shahadat before commencing his final journey for the high-level operation. A day prior he briefed me, “If I am not with you one day, don’t worry, then whatever decision you take for our kids, Shahwaiz (6 years) and Abdullah (2 years), it will have hundred percent support of mine”. This courageous lady has to pass through the marathon of life without her husband but her determination is matchless as she intends offering Ali’s sons Shahwaiz and Abdullah to Pakistan Army as protectors of the country.


Ali’s love for his sons is irreplaceable. He fulfilled all the wishes of his sons. Mention of two long awaited wishes is heart wrenching. Shahwaiz wanted to take rides of a tank and helicopter. His son’s wish of the tank ride was fulfilled by him once he took Shahwaiz to his unit to the utter pleasure of little lad. The other wish was also fulfilled but that was after Ali’s departure from the world when the family was flown on helicopter for funeral ceremonies.


After Ali’s sacrifice, though there was a temporary vacuum but other brave spymasters immediately filled the place and resumed the missions with full zeal and zest to block nefarious acts and designs of external and internal enemies of Pakistan. Ali, his team-mates and many others are those heroes who were confided by the destiny for glorification, however; there are numerous other unsung spymasters who silently keep working for the honor and love of the Green Flag and contribute towards bringing peace. These spymasters are the real asset of our nation who strike terror into the hearts of the enemies by their invisible presence everywhere thus making it difficult for the actors of chaos and terror to operate easily.

 

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07
November
07
November
Street Children Football Players from AJK Win Tournament in Moscow
A team of 8 street children football players from Mirpur, AJK, Pakistan won the "Future Depends on You Football Tournament" held in Moscow on October 26-27, 2017. Teams from 11 countries participated in the tournament. Pakistani team won by beating teams from Brazil, India, Belarus in league and Russia in the final. The tournament was organized by a charitable organization "Children Football" in collaboration with Russian ministries of Foreign Affairs, Sports and Education and Russian football Union. The President of Russian Football Union was the chief guest at the opening.

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07
November
MoU Signed Between NDU and DHA Bahawalpur

newsmousignedbet.jpgMoU Signing Ceremony between National Defence University, Islamabad and Defence Housing Authority, Bahawalpur was held on October 12, 2017 for the creation of NDU sub campus. Commander Bahawalpur Corps Lt Gen Sher Afgun graced the occasion as chief guest. During his address he emphasized on the importance of education and said that ‘due to NDU in Bahawalpur the standards of education will be raised and more opportunities would be available to the locals’. He thanked the NDU administration for selecting Bahawalpur for establishment of sub campus.


Acting President of NDU, Maj Gen Samrez Salik also addressed the occasion and emphasized on the role of NDU in training of country’s leadership. Project Director Brig Arif Rasheed Kayani said that ‘due to the establishment of NDU Bahawalpur in Education Enclave of DHA Bahawalpur, people of the city will get high standard educational facilities’. Renowned universities of Pakistan will make their campuses in this educational enclave. MoU signing between NDU and DHA Bahawalpur is the first step in this direction. He said that ‘DHA Bahawalpur has timely formulated and initiated all the projects and is working day and night to complete them’. In the end he thanked all the guests and expressed hope that the people of South Punjab will soon be the beneficiaries of all these facilities and initiatives.

07
November
Graduation Ceremony Held at PAF Academy

newspafgraduation.jpgThe Graduation Parade of 138th GD (P) Course, 84th Engineering Course, 94th Air Defence Course, 19th Admin & Special Duties Course and 3rd Logistics Course was held at PAF Academy Asghar Khan. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, NI (M), HI (M) Chief of Army Staff was the chief guest at the occasion. On his arrival at the Academy, he was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force.


A total of 129 aviation cadets including 5 cadets from Royal Saudi Air Force, 1 from Royal Jordanian Air Force and 6 Lady Cadets graduated at the occasion. The Chief Guest awarded branch insignias to the graduating cadets and also gave away trophies to the distinction holders. The chief guest awarded Quaid-e-Azam Banner to No 3 Squadron, the new Champion Squadron of the Academy.


Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for best performance in Flying Training was clinched by Aviation Cadet Sergeant Mohid bin Shahbaz, while the coveted Sword of Honour for Overall Best Performance in College of Flying Training was awarded to Aviation Cadet Academy Under Officer Muhammad Ashad Amir. Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for Best Performance in Engineering was clinched by Aviation Cadet Sergeant Ammar Murtaza; whereas, the coveted Sword of Honour for Overall Best Performance in College of Aeronautical Engineering was awarded to Aviation Cadet Wing Under Officer Mohammad Hamza. Trophies for overall best performance in 94 Air Defence and 19 Admin & Special Duties were won by Aviation Cadet Squadron Under Officer Zulfiqar Qurban and Aviation Cadet Junaid Anwar respectively. Aviation Cadet Sergeant Hamza Farooq won the trophy for Overall Best Performance in Logistics course. Aviation Cadet Wing Under Officer Mohammad Hamza was also awarded Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Trophy for Best Performance in General Service Training.


The ceremony was witnessed by high-ranking military and civil officials, diplomats, foreign dignitaries and a large number of guests of graduating cadets.

07
November
Pakistan Army Team Wins Gold Medal in Exercise Cambrian Patrol

newsexcercisegembarian.jpgPakistan Army team won Gold Medal in “Exercise Cambrian Patrol” held in UK in the second week of October. A total of 131 army teams from across the world participated in the event that is known as one of the toughest patrolling tests for military personnel. Cambrian Patrol a is physically challenging and arduous exercise which concentrates on teamwork for achieving the mission held in the most unforgiving mountainous terrain of mid-Wales, UK, amid tactical and technical challenges, testing the leadership, self-discipline, courage and determination of the participants.

This is the fourth time Pakistan Army has won Gold Medal in the Cambrian Patrol. Pakistan Army had won the competition last year as well.

07
November
Pakistan Navy Exercise BURQ VII

newspnexcburq.jpgPakistan Navy conducted Exercise BURQ VII at Creeks area aiming to evaluate Pakistan Navy’s operational plans for the defence of Creeks area. It also included the re-evaluation of Air Defence plans and combat readiness of Air Defence Battalion deployed in the Creeks area. Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) were lead elements of the exercise.


Commander Coast Rear Admiral Abdul Aleem also visited the forward posts of Pakistan Navy in Creeks area to witness the tactical phase of exercise. During the visit, the Commander Coast expressed his satisfaction over high degree of professionalism and combat readiness displayed by the various segments of Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) during the Exercise.


BURQ series of exercises are tactical level exercises conducted by Pakistan Navy Coastal Command to evaluate and enhance the defence of Creeks area wherein Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) participate. Assets of Pakistan Navy Fleet, Maritime Security Agency, and Pakistan Air Force also participated in the exercise.

07
November
PAF JF-17 Thunder and Red Arrows Present Stunning Aerobatics Display at Sea View Karachi

newspafjfthunderred.jpgTo commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pak-UK bilateral relations, Pakistan Air Force arranged a mesmerizing air show at Sea View, Karachi. The pride of Pakistan JF-17 Thunder along with internationally acclaimed Red Arrows aerobatics team of Royal Air Force presented a scintillating aerial display for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Governor Sindh, Chief Minister Sindh, British High Commissioner, Commander Karachi Corps, along with political leaders, parliamentarians, high ranking civil and military officials witnessed the breathtaking mega event. Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command received all the dignitaries at the venue.


The air show started with the spectacular aerial display by the indigenously manufactured JF-17 Thunder aircraft which was flown by Wing Commander Yasir Muddassir. Moments after the departure of the roaring JF-17 Thunder from the venue, the world renowned aerobatics team of Royal Air Force, Red Arrows appeared on the horizon. The nine member team led by Squadron Leader David Montenegro performed jaw dropping aerobatics in the red painted Hawks aircraft.


Earlier in the day the pilots of the Red Arrows Aerobatics team interacted with PAF pilots and students from various schools and colleges. Pakistan Air Force enjoys cordial relations with the Royal Air Force since independence of Pakistan in 1947. High level delegations have been visiting each other to further enhance the mutual cooperation and friendly ties between the two Air Forces. Earlier this year Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force visited Pakistan as a guest of honor in the graduation parade at PAF Academy Asghar Khan. He also flew an exercise training mission in F-16 fighter aircraft during his visit to the elite No. 9 Squadron of Pakistan Air Force. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force has also visited UK on the special invitation of Royal Air Force.

07
November
Commander Rawalpindi Corps Visits Troops Deployed at LOC

newscomanrwpcorpvisit.jpgCommander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various sectors of LOC and expressed his deep concern and sorrow over recent deaths of two minors as a result of deliberate firing by Indian Army. He said ‘targeting innocent civilians living peacefully along LOC is a very non professional and inhuman action by Indian Army’. While interacting with soldiers, he lauded the motivation and spirit of the troops and said that ‘our professional ethos and moral obligation bars us from responding in kind, as same civilians (our blood) are living on other side of the LOC’. Commander 10 Corps also acknowledged the resilience, sacrifice and high morale of our civilian population who stand by their Armed Forces in defence of motherland. He also appreciated the effective and befitting response by our troops.


Earlier on arrival, he was received by Major General Azhar Abbas General Officer Commanding 12 Division followed by a detailed and comprehensive briefing regarding prevailing situation at LOC.


Corps Commander also visited Rakhchikri sector and expressed deep concern over recent ceasefire violations by Indian Army targeting innocent civilian population. He appreciated effective and befitting response by own troops. While interacting with troops and civilian population of the area, he lauded the motivation and spirit and said that the only restraint for us is the professional ethos and moral obligation, which bars us from responding in kind when Indian troops target innocent civilians.


He expressed satisfaction over affective and befitting response by own troops inflicting heavy losses to the enemy.


Corps Commander also visited CMH Rawalpindi and enquired about the health of the injured persons.

07
November
CGS UK Army Visits Corps HQ and Khyber Agency

newscgsusarmyvisit.jpgGeneral Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff UK Army, called on Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt at Corps Headquarters Peshawar on October 14, 2017.


The general officer was given a detailed briefing on Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, border management, TDP return and the mega development and rehabilitation projects undertaken by Pakistan Army for the uplift of tribal people in different parts of FATA.


During his visit to a forward post at Khyber Agency, he was briefed on the achievements and culmination of Operation Khyber-IV and Pak-Afghan border fencing. Later on, General Nicholas visited historical Khyber Pass and witnessed the traditional legacy of tribal culture.


Earlier, on arrival at Corps Headquarters, General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada and paid tribute to the martyrs of Pakistan Army. Commander 11 Corps, Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt accompanied the visiting dignitary during the visit.

07
November
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, CGS UK Army Calls on COAS

newsgensirnicolas.jpgGeneral Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army, during his two days official visit to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ.


Matters of mutual interest including strengthening of bilateral security and defence cooperation between the two Armies were discussed during the meeting. The visiting dignitary acknowledged Pakistan Army's achievements in the fight against terrorism and continued efforts for peace and stability in the region. He said that UK greatly appreciates Pakistan’s sacrifices in this regard.


Earlier on arrival at GHQ, CGS UK Army, laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented the guard of honour to the visiting dignitary.


The visiting dignitary addressed participants of National Security and War Course later that day.

07
November
Pakistan Navy's Change of Command

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On October 7, 2017, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was sworn in as Chief of the Naval Staff during an impressive Change of Command Ceremony held at PNS ZAFAR Islamabad. The President of Pakistan appointed Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi as Chief of the Naval Staff upon completion of tenure of service of Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.
In the farewell address, the outgoing Naval Chief, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah thanked Almighty Allah to have bestowed upon him the sacred onus of commanding Pakistan Navy for the defence of motherland. The Admiral acknowledged that there was no greater privilege and honour for him than to have been associated with such a noble profession and an array of dauntless, devoted and capable officers and men. The outgoing Naval Chief congratulated Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi for assuming the command of Pakistan Navy and expressed his heartiest felicitations.


Later, new Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi laid floral wreath at shuhada monument at Naval Headquarters and offered fateha. Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, a smartly turned out contingent clad in ceremonial dress presented him the Guard of Honour.


Newly sworn in Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on assuming command of Pakistan Navy said, “On assuming Command of Pakistan Navy, I thank Allah for his countless blessings and pray to him to grant me wisdom and sagacity to shoulder this great responsibility. I expect all officers and men to rededicate themselves to the defence of motherland with honesty of purpose, devotion to duty and above all faith in Allah. I hope that together we will prove equal to the task and come to the expectations of the nation.”


The change of command ceremony was attended by a large number of civil and military dignitaries, former Naval Chiefs, media representatives, CPOs/Sailors and Navy civilians.

 

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Chief of the Naval Staff

Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi NI(M)

Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi NI (M) was commissioned in Operations Branch of Pakistan Navy in June 1981. The Admiral undertook initial training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, UK. On commissioning, he won the coveted Sword of Honour from Pakistan Naval Academy. During his distinguished career, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi attained vast experience of both command and staff appointments.


His command appointments include Command of Surface ships, Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy, Commander 25th Destroyer Squadron, DG Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Commander Coast, Commander Logistics, Commander Pakistan Fleet and Command of Multi-National Combined Task Force 150 at HQ NAVCENT Bahrain.


His key staff appointments include Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans), Chief Inspector (Navy), Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (Operations) and Chief of Staff at Naval Headquarters.


Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi is a graduate of National Defence University Islamabad and Royal Australian Navy Staff College.


In recognition of his meritorious services, the Admiral has been awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military).

07
November
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi Calls on COAS

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited GHQ and called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on October 10, 2017. Matters of professional interest were discussed. COAS congratulated Admiral Zafar on assumption of command of Pakistan Navy. Earlier, on arrival at GHQ, CNS laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada and offered fateha for martyrs of Pakistan.

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Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Calls on COAS

Mr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ on October 20, 2017.

COAS strongly condemned recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, including the attack on Afghan National Army Base in Kandahar. He expressed his sympathies with the bereaved families. COAS said that both countries have suffered a lot from terrorism and such attacks shall not deter our resolve and commitment for peace in the region.

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07
November
CJCSC Visits an Operational Air Base

newscjscvisitoptairbase.jpgGeneral Zubair Mahmood Hayat HI (M), NI (M), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee visited an Operational Air Base of Pakistan Air Force. On his arrival at the Base, he was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. The CJCSC visited newly established Airpower Center of Excellence and attended a briefing on the ongoing operational exercise. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, ACE is a premier institution which would train the combat crew of PAF as well as personnel of friendly air forces by conducting multinational training exercises. The CJCSC was also informed that the first ever multinational exercise is going to be held in current month with participants from 19 air forces.


During his visit, the CJCSC also flew an exercise training mission in F-16 aircraft of the prestigious No 9 Multirole Squadron. The Air Chief, sitting in another F-16 aircraft also participated in the training mission.


After flying the mission, the CJCSC interacted with the combat Air and Ground crew of the squadron and remarked that PAF has led from the front in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and together with the sister services has been instrumental in turning the tide. PAF’s cutting edge aside, what makes it second-to-none is the high morale and thorough professionalism of its personnel. While talking at the occasion, Air Chief reiterated his resolve to provide in synergy with the armed forces an impregnable aerial defence of the country. He further added that Pakistan’s security and sovereignty is paramount and PAF would make all necessary measures to ensure the defence of its aerial frontiers.

06
November

Report By: Maryam Razzaq

The value of freedom to observe the religious congregations with peace and tranquility cannot be fathomed neither can it be expressed being a unique feeling within heart and soul. Intolerance in a society can be minimized through comprehensive campaign and by ensuring the writ of the state. As a response to volatile situation in the country, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have successfully countered the threat and have been instrumental in defeating the nefarious designs of the terrorist organizations thereby creating peaceful environment for masses.

 

The negative propaganda by world's media aside, positive image of Pakistan has been acknowledged by the relevant quarters and the present influx of tourists and pilgrims visiting their Holy places inside Pakistan is a testimony to the trust displayed by them. The most recent example is of the 40,000 Bohras, including 12,000 Indians who gathered at Karachi to observe their annual congregation i.e., Ashara Mubaraka from September 16 to October 10, 2017.

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Pakistan Army shouldered the responsibility to provide a peaceful and conducive environment to the participants during the period of their stay. The comprehensive security plans, seamless coordination amongst various elements of LEAs and Intelligence Agencies and its flawless execution has made the visit memorable as expressed by the visitors. Furthermore, the management of cross-border entrance through Joint Check Post Wagah of around 8000 Indian Bohra pilgrims has been applauded and appreciated by the visitors. The role of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) in establishing a facilitation center to ensure convenience and security of the visitors was hailed with gratitude and sense of relief by Bohra Community while departing for India.

 
06
November

Written By: Brig/Ambassador Tariq M. Mir (R)

We felt we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview. He spoke in a low soft voice. PM Bazergan explained our presence. The Imam expressed his pleasure and satisfaction that Pakistan had been the first country to recognise the Islamic regime as he had expected that and looked forward to a close brotherly relationship. His kindness was enough to convey the deep and strong relation between Iran and Pakistan.

 

In September 1978, I was serving as Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Division, also Secretary to the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, when I was offered a lateral entry into the Foreign Service for appointment as Charge-de-Affairs of our Embassy in Tehran. Iran was then in the throes of a revolution. Due to uncertain conditions then prevailing, many states had temporarily re-called their ambassadors and some had even suspended their mission for lack of security. This was indeed the third great revolution of the twentieth century. In the circumstances it was not thought expedient, at this stage to accredit an Ambassador.


I had earlier served in Iran for many years and had many friends who were kind enough to receive me with great warmth. Many officials holding high and sensitive assignments had been fellow students in UK and U.S. colleges, and we were able to renew social contacts. At the higher echelons of government, the feeling appeared to be that the aspirations of the people would be fulfilled because a liberal social and democratic program was in the offing. However, among the lower functionaries one could detect sympathy for the revolution. The Army command appeared firm and disciplined. Diplomatic life in North Tehran was undisturbed while unrest appeared to be centered in South Tehran. The wealthy citizens appeared anxious and insecure while an exodus, albeit a trickle, had already started.


The uprising of the people was universal and unrest was throughout the country. Villagers flocked to the cities and demonstrations were widespread. Civic services were disrupted. As foreigners, we assessed that social discontent was due to glaring inequality; minimal outlets for political participation and suppression of protest; SAVAK repression; imposition of alien culture; all seemed to have aroused the nation. The masses surged with discontent, and seemed to embrace all shades of political thought. Some opposition groups were organized while others remained underground. We were able to establish that no foreign hand was involved. No externally based religious scholars had any input. However, the bazaars were disrupted. The law enforcement forces appeared to be in a state of withdrawal with limited presence.


We tried to make contact with the organizers of this massive revolt but without any worthwhile success. However, we did obtain tapes of Imam Khomeini’s speeches which were under clandestine circulation, and were apparently fuelling the movement. The Imam, since October 6, 1978 was in Paris, having been exiled in 1984. He was clearly the established national hero and the single unifying force. Even the Tudeh leaders were ready to swear that his image had been seen on the moon! Eventually after much effort, with the help of kind friends I was able to have an audience with Ayatollah Shariat Madari in Qom. He had declared support for the opposition ten months earlier (May 10, 1978). I gathered in discussions with him and other clergymen that it was a movement to restore the "centrality of religious edicts in everyday life and to bring a sense of spiritual happiness and fulfilment”. Luxurious lifestyle of the rich had all helped to accentuate inequality. In 1905 the clergy had also intervened in similar circumstances. However, religion, it was said, did not inhibit the acquisition of western knowledge, technology and the advancement of science because of its contribution to a happier, healthier life. Also, the people regarded the ‘monarchical’ regime as the family of a military officer who had illegally usurped power some fifty years ago and hence, the people’s demand was to restore demoratic rule.


Much later after the change of regime in February 1979, I was able to meet Dr. Mahmud Beheshti later Chief Justice regarded as the Chief Organizer of the people’s movement and probably no. 2 to the Imam. He was a man of a towering personality. Fluent in European languages and well versed in all the modern trends in international politics, economics, sciences and jurisprudence. He had a vision for a future Iran. He agreed Iran and Pakistan were connected by strong bonds of brotherhood. His assassination a few months later, along with other leaders, was a grievous loss for Iran and the Islamic World.


On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr (November 1979) the Heads of Islamic Missions were invited to the palace and instead of the usual salaam ceremony, the ambassadors, after the presentation, were asked to be seated. The Shah had a brief discussion on the situation and inter alia said “Every Iranian citizen has a standard of living the peasant in India still dreams about. Household appliances, cars and homes are common possessions. What does the Iranian man want?” He was later (on November 5, 1978) to address the nation with the famous speech “Sadai Shuma Shenidam”. “I have heard your voice”. Alas too late!


The people’s uprising gathered momentum, there was general strike covering bazaars, universities, schools, oil installations, banks, ministries, post offices, railways, newspapers, customs, etc. Everyday life was severely disrupted. At night a blackout was imposed. In the darkness, seemingly the entire populace came out on the roof tops and in unison recited the Kalma. It was a soul stirring experience. Foreigners were frightened. A mass exodus commenced. Later, we visited the scene of the most violent protests. It was amazing to see that the flower beds had not been trampled, street lights were not broken or shop windows damaged. It was the culture ingrained over several centuries of civilisation, that had infused civic sense among the people. One evening an Iranian grandee and his wife dropped in for a cup of tea. On learning that the family of a mutual Pakistani friend had gone to Pakistan to attend a wedding and noting that the guest with us at the time was Mr. Altaf Hussain, Editor Urdu Digest who had just arrived from Pakistan, the Iranian lady could not restrain herself. She stood up with tears of anguish streaming from her eyes and said “Poor proud Iran, the families are being sent away and journalists are coming in”. Indeed, the hotels were swarming with journalists from all over the world.


Events began to proceed rapidly. Shah Hussain of Jordan arrived to help devise a settlement; emissaries were sent to meet members of Marja (Ecclesiastic Council) in Najaf; Huyser mission commenced work; An Ashura resolution called for abdication; Shapour Bakhtiar, a respected nationalist opposition leader was appointed as Prime Minister, though the impact was nullified as he had to act under a Royal Council. Finally on January 16, 1979 the Shah left Tehran. The diplomatic corps were not informed in time to see him off. The situation, thereafter, changed dramatically. On February 1, 1979, Imam Khomeini on arrival from Paris, received a tumultuous welcome with 5 million people lining the streets. On February 4, 1979, he announced a Revolutionary Government, with Mehdi Bazergan as Prime Minister and called upon all embassies to recognize the new government or face expulsion. With Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in the chair and the Army intact, the most difficult time in the life of a diplomat commenced. The large Pakistani community influenced by the fervour in the streets looked towards the embassy for guidance.


General Huyser mission was a mystery. Many versions, including one by the General have appeared and documents of the period have been declassified. However, a source report which we received at the time but appeared much later in the press and is therefore authentic, reported that between February 7-9, General Gharabaghi, Chief of Joint Staff had convened a series of meetings with military commanders to discuss the future role of the military. The point under discussion was the attitude and reliability of the soldiers in the present crisis. It was decided that in order to preserve the integrity of the Army, it should declare neutrality and withdraw to barracks. The officers present did not know how and whom to contact to convey the decision of the Army. To the surprise of everyone, as the meeting progressed, a foreign officer who was also present, provided the telephone numbers of leaders in the opposition with whom negotiations could be opened. Perhaps, as a result of this meeting the withdrawal of troops from the streets began. This development was greeted with joyous acclamation by the public and the withdrawing troops were showered with flowers and greetings. However, very soon we heard that General Amir Hossein Rabii, the Air Force Commander, the Imperial Body Guard Commander (who was well known to us) and few other General officers, all later executed, were planning a counter coup to restore a situation which was slipping away fast. It was said that General Gharabaghi, son of a respected cleric and a very religious man himself, justified his decision to withdraw the troops because Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar had dismissed the Royal Council on January 23, and therefore, loyalty to the monarchy was no longer an imposed obligation. The Shah, in exile, was to declare Gharabaghi a traitor.


On February 9, disintegration within the military apparently began to take shape. Late in the evening, we saw mobs storming an army base and the troops fleeing while the people armed themselves and freed the prisoners. As we roamed the streets at night, we witnessed a rebellion at the Air Force Academy and saw the public rejoicing and joining in the demonstration. On February 10, Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar declared martial law and tried to impose curfew. We learnt that attempts were being made to re-constitute the military and intelligence services with new leaders. The situation was described to us by an erstwhile Chief of Intelligence. He said such attempts were too late and utterly futile. We heard reports that the loss of control and slide towards anarchy could become irreversible. Late at night on February 10, I discussed the situation with higher authorities in Pakistan. They were sympathetic to the revolution and delegated the decision to me for recognizing the revolutionary government at the appropriate time.


At 7 a.m. on February 11, I told the assembled embassy officers to fan out in the streets and observe the law and order situation. At 9.30 a.m., I decided we should recognize the change of regime and accompanied by a few officers, we were ushered into the presence of the Foreign Minister (a former ambassador to Pakistan). He was taken aback. He stood up and flung the letter on the ground, loudly proclaiming that I had come to the wrong place and that a counter attack was in progress to restore the writ of government. In the circumstances he could not vouch for the safety of the Pakistani community in the country. (He was later executed). As we left the office, Mr. Techkavi, a DG in the Ministry, who had accompanied us said, “This is great news”. He thereafter joined us and took us through the many alleys of Tehran before stopping at a door. As we entered, Mr. Mehi Bazergan was on the phone and on learning the purpose of our visit jubilantly announced on the phone that Pakistan had recognized our government – “Nukhasteen! as expected from brothers. He explained that he was talking to revolutionaries who had just captured the radio station.


On return to the embassy I began to get calls from fellow diplomats to confirm the radio news. A Soviet diplomat called and said according to his information Bakhtiar was still in office. A U.S. diplomat called to say the revolutionaries had captured the radio station and were broadcasting fake news. The gravity of the situation dawned on us and I become very concerned about the Pakistani community who it was reported had joined the street celebrations. At 12 p.m. President Zia-ul-Haq called and said that he had heard the news on BBC. I confirmed the news and explained the situation. At 14:30 p.m. news came that mobs had overrun the Prime Minister’s office and Shapour Bakhtiar had fled. The streets were filled with joyous crowds and many brought huge baskets of flowers to our embassy and also to the consulates. It was really a remarkable moment. Incidentally, during the blackout at night, with non-existent police, and the populace armed, the traders including jewellers, remained open for business.


On February 12, Revolutionary Committees were formed and the government agencies and administrative offices resumed work. In response to my request, to meet the Imam, Prime Minister Bazergan, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi, myself and officers of the embassy were taken to a school building in the poor section of Tehran. The outer courtyard was swarming with armed revolutionaries. As we passed through rooms we saw clergymen busy on several telephones. These were the control rooms that had played a vital role in directing the people’s movement. At last we entered a large bare room with no furniture or floor covering. In the far corner, we observed the Imam seated on a prayer carpet. Silence and calm prevailed. No telephones, files, messengers, protocol officers, secretaries, or even a desk cluttered the surroundings. We felt that we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview. He spoke in a low soft voice. PM Bazergan explained our presence. The Imam expressed his pleasure and satisfaction that Pakistan had been the first country to recognise the Islamic regime as he had expected that and looked forward to a close brotherly relationship. His kindness was enough to convey the deep and strong relation between Iran and Pakistan. We took our leave. We were then conducted to another corner of the room. We sat on the floor with Prime Minister Bazergan and Foreign Minister Yazdi. A lunch of boiled rice and curd was served. A new era had dawned.


Foreigners were impressed with the zeal and sense of duty displayed by the revolutionary leaders as they valiantly tried to bring profound changes and to shape society in keeping with the aspirations of the people. In these attempts they had to be mindful of the immutable traditions of their glorious heritage.


The Iranian Revolution, although Islamic and universal was a combination of several schools of thought i.e., communists, Tudeh, Mujahideen Khaliq and in social ideology ranging from left to right in various degrees. However, the clergy group covered a broad spectrum from the left leaning Ayatollah Taleghani to the more conservative Ayatollah Shariat Madari and Ayatollah Rafsanjani. By February 18, within 7 days, Ayatollah Beheshti had formed the Islamic Republican Party with top aides, Ayatollah Bahonar, Khomeini, Hashim Rafsanjani etc. Many clergymen aspired for a leadership role and various power centers erupted. The situation became very complicated for diplomats.


Many Pakistani citizens, over the years, while on visit or pilgrimage to Iran, had established very close friendship with some Iranian clergymen who had now risen to prominence. One such Pakistani millionaire businessman was well known for his many endowments to shrines etc. Another Pakistani international shipping magnate claimed to have known the Imam’s family when they were in exile in Najaf, Iraq. He claimed to have contacts at the highest level. Many of these Pakistanis now descended on Tehran and began to flood the authorities at home with information and advice which often resulted in recriminations. A sage advised us that ‘in a crisis, a diplomat should always deal through the ministry and remain anonymous.’


In the aftermath of the revolution, the Iranian government organised tours for citizens and diplomats to be taken on visits to see the houses and opulent living style of the rich and of the Royal Palaces. One such tour concluded in a Royal Palace, and the diplomats who were invited for snacks, were seated around a gold leafed table, served by liveried servants. A European diplomat observing the scene cracked aloud “Déjà vu, back to normal”! A young clergyman, probably educated abroad, jumped onto the table and said, “No, we despise this luxury, a waste of the people’s money”. I asked to take a photograph of him sitting on the table, to which he agreed saying, “It is a People’s Revolution.”


Events of those far off days are perhaps no longer relevant but I write to convey the flavour of the world’s third revolution of the 20th century. Internal divisiveness did not detract from national unity and solidarity when faced with a foreign threat. The Iranian nation are the custodians of a noble and glorious heritage.

 

The writer is a former Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Iraq.

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06
November

Written By: Shah Faisal

Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people from this community. While they perform their tasks with utmost diligence braving the odds at sea, surely not many of us know about problems that are being faced by the Pakistani mariners.

 

Like every year, International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the auspices of the UN, held World Maritime Day on September 28, 2017. This year, theme of the Day was “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”. These are the three main pillars on which the Global Maritime Industry thrives. According to IMO, this day is held to highlight the significance of maritime sector, international seaborne trade and its relationship with the world economy. While we all understand and acknowledge the importance of first two components of this year’s theme that are Ships and Ports, the third component i.e., People (the Mariners; who serve onboard ships), despite being the most important of all, is often less acknowledged. As the world celebrated this day, for Pakistani mariners it passed as an ordinary day full of challenges and hardships of sea-life with no or little recognition at home.


Mariner is a term generally used for those brave men who choose the daring profession of serving onboard ships. Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people from this community. While they perform their tasks with utmost diligence braving the odds at sea, surely not many of us know about problems that are being faced by the Pakistani mariners.


Seafaring is a respectable profession filled with adventure, excitement and promising returns. Yet, not many among Pakistani youth choose it. First and the foremost reason is the fact that despite being located at an important geostrategic location in the Arabian Sea, awareness about the seas and their importance is almost nonexistent among the general populace in Pakistan. For instance, you may ask young college students some basic questions about maritime geography and you would be astonished to find that the results are dismal.


Talking about maritime training and education in Pakistan, we find that we have a historic institution in the government sector that is Pakistan Marine Academy (PMA), located in Karachi since 1971 and a handful of private institutions. PMA conducts pre-sea cadets training for marine officers and almost 150 cadets pass out every year belonging to both Nautical and Engineering branches. PMA also conducts General Purpose crew training for ratings who can then search jobs onboard ships. Equipped with large training infrastructure with adequate facilities, PMA is the only government academy in maritime field. Despite challenges like funding and manning issues, PMA has been doing its job tremendously. However, do these cadets and seamen possess necessary basic competencies to compete with cadets from other countries searching for the same jobs in the field? It remains a simmering question keeping in view the tremendous competition that they face in the international maritime market. Another contributing factor in this regard is that unfortunately, Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) does not have sufficient number of ships to accommodate these fresh mariners who do not have any practical experience. Resultantly, these young fellows have to apply for jobs in international market through manning agents. There are instances where they have paid hefty amounts as commission to get initial sign-in on not-so-safe and seaworthy ships. Furthermore, some of them have even been deprived of their money by fake and fraudulent agents. According to one former PMA cadet, almost 40% of his batchmates failed to secure initial sign-in despite concerted and prolonged efforts after completion of their training. Resultantly, as he sadly narrated, some of them even switched their fields thus abandoning their dream of becoming a mariner.

 

When it comes to maritime training and education in Pakistan, we find that there is only one institution in the government sector and that is Pakistan Marine Academy (PMA), located in Karachi since 1971. PMA conducts pre-sea cadets training for marine officers and almost 150 cadets pass out every year belonging to both Nautical and Engineering branches. PMA is the only government academy in maritime field and it has large training infrastructure with adequate facilities.

Problems of the mariners do not end after completing their basic mandatory service. Even after completing their initial sign-in and having gained considerable experience at sea, they face further challenges in addition to the inherent risks of the life at sea. Pakistani seafarers despite being hardworking and efficient crew members have also suffered due to the menace of terrorism. Although no significant terrorism related incident has occurred in the maritime arena involving Pakistani seafarers, however, precarious security conditions in the country particularly in the past and Pakistan’s negative image have contributed towards strict visa restrictions. Many countries deny/delay visa to Pakistani seafarers and some even do not allow them to step down from the ships when visiting their ports. There were some 7300 Pakistani seafarers prior to 9/11 which later reduced to less than 6000. Such problems have not only rendered these skilled men unemployed, rather Pakistan’s economy has also lost substantial foreign exchange as they get paid in foreign currencies. Although, our seafarers possess computerized requisite documents including machine readable passports but the problem still persists due to negative image of the country.


Let me highlight another worth mentioning factor that this all is happening in an industry which is currently short of manpower, particularly in officers’ cadre. According to one estimate there is a requirement of 0.8 million officers worldwide and there is a shortage of approximately 16,000 officers. Pakistan’s share among the global seafarers has reduced over a period of time. Presently, countries like China, Indonesia, Russian Federation, the Philippines Ukraine and India form mainstay of global demand. Interestingly, population of the Philippines, Ukraine is almost half of Pakistan but it is often ranked second in the list of seafarers providing countries after China.


Hence, there is an urgent need to address the issues being faced by mariners. Ministry of Ports and Shipping can resolve problems concerning employment of Pakistani seafarers. PMA should be supported to conduct training of our seafarers on modern lines so as to produce efficient cadets and seamen at par with their counterparts of other nationalities. Moreover, system may be devised to facilitate employment of our mariners particularly new graduates. In this regard, suitable arrangements/signing of MoUs with friendly maritime nations may be considered so as to accommodate our inexperienced cadets and seamen. And lastly, their reservations about delay and denial of visas for boarding ships should also be addressed.

 

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06
November

Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal

We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State”.


In this speech, on the eve of Pakistan’s independence, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah laid the foundation of an enabling society that creates equal opportunities for all. In these two simple yet profound sentences, the Quaid shared the blueprint for what we have failed to realize – the benefit of a nation-state based on meritocracy. This principle is the underpinning of a successful nation-state as it can create shared values and aspirations that unite all factions to lift Pakistan in the league of nations.

meritocracy.jpg
While merit is an individual characteristic, meritocracy is a characteristic of societies. A system which allows citizens equality and progression based on their character and effort, hence distributing wealth and power more widely and justly. A society should find a natural equilibrium towards a meritocratic system of governance because of the strong linkage between merit with justice and justice with peace.

 

Meritocracy and Economic and Political Inclusiveness

The Industrial Revolution facilitated the transition from tribes and clans to nation-states based on supply of two ingredients, labor and capital. The Industrial Revolution broke the subservient relationship between landlord-and-labor and empowered a type of labor called entrepreneur, who, for the first time could accumulate capital and hence power in a society. As a result, power shifted to self-starting entrepreneurs from a concentrated minority of hereditary landowners and thus authority was distributed more widely. This gave birth to an egalitarian system based on entrepreneurial effort. In doing so, it unleashed creativity of the previously dispossessed; leading to a period of not only the largest wealth accumulation but also of wealth dispersion.


History has witnessed Aristocratic governing systems, where power was maintained by a privileged nobility through exercise of force or patronage. Such systems proved to be unsustainable for two reasons; the reduction of patronage immediately unraveled the system. It also meant that no clear succession plan was devised, and people’s roles in society were not matched with their capabilities; preventing able people from holding positions of power and influence. This governance form is known as Plutocracy and diverged from the ancient Greek concept of “Aristocracy of talent” or rule by the best; first explored by the philosopher Plato. Plutocracy is a society ruled by a handful of its wealthiest citizens, who consider it their right bestowed by birth rather than being earned.


Western societies formed at the advent of industrialization experienced an evolution from Plutocracy to a form of Aristocracy of talent. More popularly referred to as democracy; or rule of the people, for the people, and by the people. Thereby creating a system that awarded power on the basis of performance, as deemed fit by a majority of citizens, through one-person one-vote principle. This form of Aristocracy of talent enabled citizens who previously did not belong to the nobility to hold governing office or wealth. Hence, allowing the most suitable leaders to ascend in a society. Abraham Lincoln is one such example; he came from a humble background and rose to become the most transformational president of America.


Meritocracy and State-Building
A nation-state is formed on principles of shared values, where regardless of differences in caste, ethnicity or language, the citizens have a common identity and strive towards mutual goals. It is a state with equal opportunity for upward social mobility, without divisions of lineage or tribe; a state with distribution of governance to the most deserving. It is a state of meritocracy. Examining some of the most successful nations like Norway, Sweden, and Germany, we see that the rationale of their success is a system of meritocracy and level playing field with equal opportunity for growth.


In non-industrialized societies, tribalism operates under the guise of democracy. In such tribalistic-democratic systems, position in society is determined by family connections, and even the electoral mechanism is rigged to re-enforce advantages of lineage and inheritance creating a perpetual ruling elite of electables.


Francis Fukuyama, author and intellectual in his book “The Origins of a Political Order” makes the case for a transparent system that ensures protection and promotion of everyone on the basis of merit. He advocates a system which breaks the bond of tribalism and kinship and replaces them with a sense of collectivism elicited by trust in the system to reward their hard work. Tribalism is highly sub-optimal as it causes citizens to supersede tribal loyalties over state interests. Fear and lack of trust in the system is compensated for by tribal and personal affiliations to give a sense of safety and security. On the other hand, a meritocratic society allows movement towards mutual goals – ultimately a nation state, instead of a series of tribes and kinship held together within a geographical boundary. Fukuyama supports the viewpoint of Alexandere Kojeve; a French Philosopher, that the progress of history must lead toward the establishment of a "universal and homogenous" nation-state, incorporating elements of a meritocratic democracy.


Islam, A Meritocracy in Tribal Arabia
All successful self-sustaining states of the past and the present have one thing in common; they have, at their core, a strong element of meritocracy and upward socio-economic mobility of wealth and power. The early Islamic States of Medina and Makkah are an example of a meritocratic system which empowered women, slaves and immigrants alike. Islam is a religion, whose very basis is a just and meritocratic society, and the Prophet’s (PBUH) message called for equality and accountability of all before God.


Taqwa is a fundamental principle of Islam and is mentioned over 100 times in the Quran. It implies God-consciousness in avoiding misdeeds that earn His displeasure. It is stated that a believer who practices Taqwa is closest to God. Hidden within the most fundamental principle of Taqwa, is concept of meritocracy and equality of all – good deeds alone will determine closeness to God, and that is accessible to all. Therefore, Islam propagates that every individual is created equal and has an equal opportunity to rise in the eyes of God through his/her deeds only. Our religion laid the foundation of equality and upward social mobility of the ordinary, elevating their social, political, and economic position, irrespective of their color or creed. It is no coincidence that the first adherents of Islam were a woman, a boy and a slave – all marginalized underclasses of the society at that time. They were emancipated by Islam.


Meritocracy and Pakistan’s Struggle for Nation-State
Pakistan was created as a Muslim nation-state with protection and rights for minorities; the green and white flag depicts a commitment to all citizens irrespective of lineage, tribe or religion. We were meant to be a nation-state based on the framework of meritocracy; a notion that we have drifted away from. Today, we have an eroding sense of national identity, scarred by tribalism, ethnicity, religious and linguistic schisms. Ranking the second worst country in the world for gender equality, the State is nearly functioning as a collection of tribes and ethnicities; not as a congruent, united or cohesive state.


For a country or a nation to flourish, it is imperative to elevate itself from tribal and hereditary systems and promote meritocracy. Taking examples from thriving modern societies, it becomes evident that the source of their success has been rewarding people based on their character and effort. Few policy recommendations for infusing such a meritocratic culture are:


1) Promoting genuine entrepreneurship (versus rent-seeking), as it enables upward social mobility and visible demonstration of flow of rewards with effort.
2) A sound publicaly funded school and university system so that education is available to all. This creates a level playing field.
3) Create a strong, independent judiciary so that citizens have recourse to justice and trust that their rewards and rights will not be usurped.


A modern meritocratic democratic system is one which rewards positive character and effort rather than tribal, social or linguistic connections. This is exactly the same in Islam, which has given us the fundamental privilege that all individuals have equal opportunity to be close to God and that they will be rewarded only on their deeds. The elements of equality and meritocracy we need to inculcate within our society and the governing system, to become a nation-state that realizes its potential.

 

Malik Ahmad Jalal is an economic development expert.

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06
November

Written By: Abbas Majeed Khan Marwat

Introduction
Each agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is administered by a Political Agent (PA), who is either a member of the federally recruited Pakistan Administrative Service or the Provincial Management Service. The PA is responsible for the policing as well as administrative functions in FATA. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) coupled with Riwaj Act-2017 gives unprecedented powers to the office of the PA enabling him to perform his duties as the policeman, prosecutor and the judge simultaneously. It will not be out of place to say that FATA reforms and its subsequent merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have ramifications, as the current criminal justice system in FATA is outdated and hence, ineffectual to tackle the growing challenges in this region. Therefore, the lacunas in the Criminal Justice System simply cannot be addressed by the FCR or Riwaj Act. It is pertinent to mention that the procedural, penal, local and special laws that are applicable in rest of Pakistan in general and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular are also outdated that also needs to be revisited. Thus, the criminal justice apparatus is obsolete in this modern era to cope with the growing local and regional challenges. A modern policing system needs to be complemented and supplemented by a robust criminal justice system. In a nutshell, the edifice of an effective policing system is pillared over a strong criminal justice system.


Reforms Pertaining to Policing in FATA
The FATA reforms enunciated that the Levies should be reorganized for performing policing function in the FATA. Furthermore, it was chalked out that the Levies performing in different agencies should have standardised basic training at the time of recruitment, while in-service and specialized training should be imparted with the assistance of Army, Frontier Corps and Police. The FATA reforms also stressed on the provision of arms and ammunition and surveillance devices to the Levies. The War on Terror and subsequent militancy has played havoc with the basic infrastructure of the Levies that is severely hindering the performance of the force. In addition to this, the reforms committee also suggested increasing the strength of the Levies by 20,000. It is quite evident from the recommendations of the reforms’ committee that they expressed their unanimous concern for revamping the Levies in the FATA. However, in order to aid the Levies, they also recommended to strengthen the border management system by creating more wings of the Frontier Corps.


Existing Security Apparatus in the FATA
The law and order in and around the FATA is managed by a number of security agencies. With the likely merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the stakeholders in this transition are going to be a number of security forces that include: Levies, Khasadars, Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Khyber Pakhtunkwa Police and Pakistan Army.


The security forces mentioned above may seem quite a lot to police the FATA, however it is not the case. The Levies and Khasadars lack proper training that is required by a modern police force. Furthermore, the only cohesive forces performing security duties in the FATA are the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army. The Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkwa is an 80,000 men strong force. The Frontier Corps draws its senior hierarchy from the Pakistan Army and is tasked with securing the area between international border and the FATA. However, at the moment the major security duties in the FATA are performed by the Frontier Corps along with Pakistan Army. Conversely, the under-utilized force is the Frontier Constabulary. The Frontier Constabulary is a federal paramilitary police force that was created by amalgamating Border Military Police (BMP) and Samana Rifles (SR) in 1913. The senior hierarchy for the Frontier Constabulary is drawn from the Police Service of Pakistan. The recruitment in the Frontier Constabulary as well as Frontier Corps is made on the basis of tribes in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The mandate of the Frontier Constabulary is to police the area between FATA and settled areas. However, at the moment the 26,000 men strong Frontier Constabulary is tasked with VVIP duties and at times threatened with disbandment.


Likely Scenarios in Case of a Merger
It is pertinent to mention that a similar scenario had also emerged in Balochistan where the province was divided into A and B areas. The “A” areas were manned by the Police and the “B” areas were manned by the Levies that were later merged into Balochistan Police. The Levies personnel were not trained at par with the policemen that resulted in a vacuum. Resultantly, the law and order situation deteriorated. Likewise, in order to curb the militancy in Malakand, Special Police Officers (SPOs) were recruited. The SPOs lacked proper training and as a result it did not yield fruitful results, since the recruitment process was hastily carried out. The help of Pakistan Army could only clear out the area. Though, there was a patch when paramilitary style policing was in vogue due to surge in militancy. However, due to different operations by the Army, the backbone of such terrorist organisations has been broken. Resultantly, a change from paramilitary style to community policing is required. By the same analogy, it can be said that leaving policing affairs to the Levies in FATA will be detrimental to the administration in the long term. Policing is a specialised area that can be best performed by police officers trained for the purpose.


Conclusion and Recommendations
The people of FATA have suffered for long and it is high time that they are given their due rights guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan. It is imperative that, since it is proposed to be merged into the Khyber Pakhtunkwa, therefore a similar policing system must be in place that is supervised by police officers at the levels of a beat, police station, sub division and a district. Similarly, the police is divided into watch and ward and investigation. There must be a separate prosecution branch at the district level. Above all, there must be a district judge who is totally separated from executive functions to try the cases. There must be separation of executive functions from judicial functions if the criminal justice system has to function efficiently. It is only after these steps that a robust policing system can be implemented in FATA.

 

The writer is a member of the Police Service of Pakistan and currently serving as Senior Superintendent of Police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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06
November

Written By: Syed Mohammed Ali Raza

In 1962, Pakistan established the National Investment Trust (NIT) with the express purpose of strengthening and supporting the stock exchange by broadening the long-term investor base and providing an investment vehicle to small investors for participation in the stock market. The step to establish NIT was taken to address two key predicaments, firstly to provide small investors an opportunity to invest in the stock exchange which was largely the domain of the rich and privileged and secondly, to attract long term investors. Small investors who participate in the stock market tend to be long-term investors (often saving for a purpose like wedding, home purchase, retirement etc.) and are less inclined towards speculation and unable to manipulate markets (due to their small investment size).


Interestingly, Pakistan took this step well in advance of India, which followed in 1963 with the establishment of the Unit Trust of India (UTI). Pakistan, during the 60’s, overtook the per capita income of India and demonstrated foresight in financial decisions and policy making. We did this by being “early adopters” and pioneers in banking and finance.


Fifty plus years later, unfortunately Pakistan is no longer the “early adopter” of investment vehicles and financial pioneer it once was. There is an unfortunate reliance on debt, and funding requirements for development are either unmet or arranged in simplistic ways.


With the signing of the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), there is an urgent and pressing need to undertake the development of Pakistan’s infrastructure. This is the first time in the history of our 70-year-old country, that a bankable opportunity has presented itself by virtue of our geographical location. Otherwise, for the longest part of recent history, we had all heard about just how strategically important Pakistan’s geographical location was, first as a base against the Soviet Union and later as a transit economy to connect Central Asia with India via Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline etc.


That was all talk, TAPI never could materialize and was a complex undertaking involving four states, two of which were hostile to Pakistan. But CPEC is different and it is very much real. A bilateral trade corridor between two staunch and time tested allies with both standing to gain from the corridor’s success.


Also real is the need to develop the infrastructure, not just for CPEC but also for the rest of Pakistan. Few countries in the world have ready resources and sufficient idle public funds at hand to undertake the development of infrastructure on the scale required here, and Pakistan is no different. The funding gap for developing the infrastructure required is clear, and we as a country need to take the right steps and make CPEC a success for Pakistan.


Borrowing to build infrastructure is not the solution, for the sheer quantum of funds required will burden our economy and place significant pressure on foreign reserves over the long-term. The solution lies in developing a combination for the financial mix, and this includes private equity and long-term debt financing.


Over the past twenty years, private equity based infrastructure funds have risen to global and regional prominence. Originally developed and utilized in Australia and Canada, private equity based Infrastructure Funds offer a transparent investment vehicle to long-term investors who desire stable returns. Private Equity (PE) based infrastructure funds are raised and managed by a professional fund management company, or a General Partner (GP), for a stated investment objective and mandate from investors, or Limited Partners (LP), who desire to participate in the investment opportunity.


The lifespan of the fund is limited to under 10 years, however for PE based infrastructure funds these can often span between 12-15 years. Fund management companies, or GP’s, will wind up the fund at the end of fund’s lifespan and return the proceeds to the investors, or LP’s. The fund management company charges a management fee to manage the fund (between 1.5 – 2%), and as per industry practice also has a share in the profits earned (usually around 20% of profits) after exceeding a benchmark rate of return.


Fund managers carefully plan the wind-up of the fund by exiting portfolio positions either by sale of portfolio company via private placement or by listing the portfolio company on the stock exchange. Throughout the lifespan of the fund, the investors have access to their fund managers, and are provided with regular portfolio updates, full performance reporting and financial disclosures.


Large pension funds, high net-worth individuals, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds are prominent investors in PE based infrastructure funds because the infrastructure assets (e.g. toll road) are a long-term investment and provide inflation hedged and stable returns (e.g. the toll increases to keep pace with the inflation rate). Internationally, PE based infrastructure funds have raised USD 283 billion in 2016 alone.1


India has utilized PE based infrastructure funds with great success, and was an early adopter of this investment vehicle. It now has an ever increasing number of foreign and local fund managers. As of 2016, India had USD 9 billion in available funds from PE based infrastructure funds ready for investment deployment for suitable projects, this excludes the tens of billions of dollars already deployed across infrastructure projects in India over the previous years.2 Virtually every large fund manager either has a sizeable allocation for Indian infrastructure or an India specific fund.


Many notable sovereign wealth funds, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (recent commitment of USD 1 billion made to India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund in October 20173), Kuwait Investment Authority, Qatar Investment Authority, Government Pension Fund (Norway), Brunei Investment Agency, GIC4 and Temasek to name a few are investors in Indian infrastructure. Multilateral Banks and agencies are also no strangers to the Indian infrastructure space, and the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) all have invested. The newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also approved an investment of USD 150 million in June 2017 for a PE based Indian infrastructure fund.5


India now looks to export its services as an infrastructure fund manager, and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) of India is collaborating with the Saudi based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to launch and manage a USD 1 billion fund for 28 countries in Sub Saharan Africa.6


In line with the regional success stories of China, India and many South East Asian countries, Pakistan should urgently work towards launching PE based infrastructure funds. There are a multitude of entities who understand infrastructure and are active in the sector, including the Army Welfare Trust, Fauji Foundation and even several bilateral Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) conceived specifically for boosting investments and trade such as Pak-Kuwait Investment Company, Pak-Oman Investment Company, Pak-Iran Joint Investment Company (now PAIR), Pak-Libya Investment Company, Saudi-Pak Industrial & Agriculture Investment Company, Pak-China Investment Company and Pak-Brunei Investment Company.


Most of the mentioned DFIs represent countries with active sovereign wealth funds who intimately understand PE based infrastructure funds, and can very well be targeted for foreign investment in Pakistani infrastructure.


Even the State Bank of Pakistan, via its publication “The Pakistan Infrastructure Report”7 recommended the establishment of an infrastructure focused development finance institution in line with regional success stories. Pakistan had taken a few steps in the right direction by setting up the Infrastructure Project Development Finance (IPDF) and Infrastructure Project Finance Facility (IPFF) under the Ministry of Finance. The IPDF was conceived to facilitate investments across government departments and the IPFF to facilitate the financial close of qualified projects.


IPDF and IPFF can collectively remove many of the bureaucratic and legislative impediments often faced by sponsors and originators of infrastructure projects. However, both the IPDF and IPFF need to be geared up and strengthened to perform in their intended capacities so that the combination of PE based infrastructure funds and long-term debt can take effect.


In an increasingly competitive global environment, attracting foreign investments is no easy task, but it is very much possible. Pakistan’s economy and the investment opportunity it represents, has all the merit for making a solid investment case. All that is missing, is a transparent investment vehicle foreign investors are familiar with and comfortable investing in.


I’ve experienced this firsthand, in 2005, I was part of a team which raised close to USD 40 million from foreign investors for Pakistan’s first dollar denominated mutual fund. Our fund was domiciled in Cayman Islands and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, and it provided foreign investors a professionally managed investment vehicle and a transparent structure they were familiar with.


Pakistan is blessed with competent and professional human capital (worth mentioning that some of the Gulf based Sovereign Wealth Funds were initially run by Pakistanis), vibrant capital markets and is close to several of the sovereign wealth funds currently active in infrastructure investment in our region.


In the past, Pakistan demonstrated its financial savviness by launching investment vehicles required for economic development along with policy making and planning. Through this we earned a reputation of being a regional leader, to the extent that aspiring “Asian Tigers” modelled their growth plans on Pakistani blueprints. It is now long overdue that we act in the same spirit, and utilize the platform(s) of our many entities (as named earlier) and launch Pakistan’s first PE based Infrastructure Fund to ensure the success of CPEC and Pakistan’s lasting prosperity.

 

The writer is a financial professional and has led Investment Banking and Asset Management teams for financial institutions in the United States and Pakistan.

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1http://www.infrastructureinvestor.com/uploadedFiles/Infrastructure_Investor/Non-Pagebuilder/Aliased/News_And_Analysis/2016/November/Magazine/II77_II50_Nov16.pdf
2http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/india-private-equity-report-2017.aspx
3http://www.lightsandbox.com/pressreleases/niifindia/
4Published in the UAE publication The National, http://www.nishithdesai.com/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/India-s_allure_for_sovereign_wealth_funds.pdf
5https://www.aiib.org/en/projects/approved/2017/india-infrastructure-fund.html 6https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/ilfs-pe-arm-to-raise-1-bn-infrastructure-fund-from-pension-funds-in-japan-south-korea/articleshow/59746533.cms
7http://www.sbp.org.pk/departments/ihfd/InfrastructureTaskForceReport.pdf

 
06
November

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood

Old ideas of services being non-transportable and non-tradable no longer hold for a number of modern impersonal services that are traded over the internet, digitized and stored electronically, and have become part of growing international businesses. Trade in services over the last 2-3 decades has become a dynamic component of international trade but has been rather neglected in the Pakistani policy debate on trade and economic development.


Services have become a primary economic activity and play a key role in infrastructure building, enhancing competitiveness and trade facilitation. They have a crucial role for growth and efficiency across a wide range of industries, and overall performance of the economy. Services are essential inputs into the production of virtually all other goods and services, and producers depend on services to deliver their outputs to end-users. Because the price and quality of the available services have major impacts on all sectors, services sector related policies and efficiency enhancing reforms, including regulatory and institutional changes, thus have major implications for economic performance. Services sectors, such as transport, telecommunications, tourism and financial, are key determinants of the conditions in which peoples, goods and services move across borders. Infrastructure services, such as financial, transport, telecommunications, water and energy, are fundamental to develop essential services including water, energy, health and education, which are critical in meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

 

tradeinservices.jpgCurrently, services account for approximately 70% of global gross domestic product (GDP). The share of services in GDP tends to rise significantly with income. Services account for 73% of GDP on average in high-income countries, against 54% and 47%, in middle and low-income countries, respectively.
In 2015, developing countries accounted for 32% of total world exports of commercial services, out of $4.68 trillion. Participation by developing countries in global trade in services varies considerably by type of service. Travel and transport account for bulk of developing countries’ exports of commercial services. Specifically, travel services account for 37% followed by transport services (20.2%), information-communication services (9.1%) and financial services (4.1%), and the rest consists (29.6%) of host of other business services.


In low-income countries, the production of services is also a fundamental economic activity, whose contribution to GDP is more than both industry and agriculture together. For instance, in Pakistan, the share of services in GDP is about 60%. The services sector provides jobs to 42.24% of employed workforce in Pakistan. On average, monthly wage provided by the services sector is 56% higher than the commodity producing sectors. Commercial services exports as a percentage of goods and services exports in FY 2015 was 19.6% out of $29.969 billion. Although, Pakistan imports ($8.843 billion) more than it exports ($5.5880 billion) of the commercial services yet it exports ($821 million) more of telecommunication services than it imports ($396 million), which is an encouraging sign. Whereas, export of goods fell by an annual growth rate of 2.91% between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the services exports went up by 2.2% during the same period. This speaks of the upcoming opportunities for Pakistan from trade in services.


Services matter a lot for economic development due to there being a source of export diversification, an input into the production of goods and services and because of their contribution to employment generation and poverty alleviation. Revolution in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has transformed the tradability of services. The recent development experience of South Asia for increasing tradability of services supports this position. This experience shows that growth has been led by services exports and that labor productivity levels in services can be higher than those in manufacturing industries.


Professional services are vital for economic development. Accounting, legal and engineering services contribute directly and indirectly to economic growth. They also lower transaction costs and create spillovers of knowledge to other sectors. Greater usage of professional services is associated with higher labor productivity for industries in general and for small firms in particular. While professional services are among the fastest growing services, their weaknesses and underdevelopment adversely affect their contribution to economic growth.


Services help alleviation of poverty through direct and indirect channels. Directly, they provide the largest source of new job growth. Indirectly, they provide income that, when spent, raises further demand for goods and services and for the jobs to produce them. In addition to direct job creation, some studies suggest that the indirect effect of a growing services sector can be larger than its direct effect. According to certain estimates, for every job created in the ICT sector, four additional jobs are created in the rest of the economy. A World Bank study covering 50 developing countries over the period 1990-2005 found that ‘growth in the services sector was more closely correlated with poverty reduction than growth in agriculture’. Lack of access to different services has been shown to be a critical constraint on economic development.


Factors that adversely affect the participation of Pakistani firms in trade in services, include the following:


• Lack of access to export financing. Services exports often require relatively low capital. They benefit from the possibility of access to foreign capital via international partnerships. Firms in Pakistan often face difficulty in building foreign client base that can act as their platform for export financing.
• Lack of access to efficient and cost-effective infrastructure. Unreliable telecom services adversely impact outsourcing or direct export potential, while a lack of reliable energy and transport services raises costs for all the service sectors. Thus, weak infrastructures affect the ability of export firms to provide reliable services and therefore create credibility problem with foreign clients in particular.
• Non-availability of formal and informal networks and institutional facilities necessary for trade. These include a sound domestic legal environment for business and links with other exporters and business networks. For services, especially, for their close linkages between services sector, problems arise for services firms with lack of availability of supporting services.
• Limited availability of trained staff and vocational training facilities. One major constraint to setting up new service operations is finding either suitable and qualified or experienced staff. This can be further compounded by absence of the necessary vocational training.


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is likely to generate massive and very specialized demand for services. Given the presence of the above mentioned factors that may adversely affect Pakistan’s ability to meet the demands of CPEC-related projects and the prospect for trade in services coming from the international market, the government needs to pay special attention to develop the services sector to gainfully exploit opportunities by transforming the services sector to produce cost-effective, time-efficient services that meet standard of international quality services.

 

Whereas Pakistan can develop an indigenous program to develop the services industries, it can also benefit from the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) offered by donor countries and agencies in addressing the above mentioned supply-side and trade-related infrastructure constraints. AFT can play a complementary role, notably by helping put in place the appropriate conditions for developing a modern services sector. Pakistan has successfully transformed some of its trade-related merchandise under the UNIDO’s trade-related technical-assistance (TRTA) over the past 6 years. Now it’s time that we seek such an assistance for the services sectors too.


All in all, trade in services is providing alternative opportunities to Pakistan to find niches beyond manufacturing. By specializing in services and scaling up their production, the country can achieve very high growth rate that the commodity producing sectors are not currently delivering. Furthermore, as the international experience suggests, the gains stemming from the liberalization of services could potentially be larger than in all other areas of international trade; therefore, there is a need to introduce efficiency enhancing reforms and requisite regulatory and institutional changes to fundamentally revitalize and transform the trade-related services sector in Pakistan.

 

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad.

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06
November

Written By: Hassan Khan

It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation of the two countries.

 

Commenting on the maiden visit of Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul and meetings with Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal in his tweet termed the exchanges as “candid, positive, respectful, constructive and encouraging meeting in a long time. I'm proud to have played a facilitating role in all this.”


Indeed, Omar Zakhelwal should be the most proud person on the occasion. Because his long untiring background work for more than a year not only materialized the visit of Pakistan’s top soldier to Kabul but also made it a highly successful one by simultaneously working on his own president who had, otherwise, adopted a very tough and inflexible position vis-a-vis contacts with Pakistan.

 

breakingice.jpgGeneral Bajwa visited the Afghan capital on October 1 amidst highly tense environment when prospect of talks on subjects like peace, stability and cooperation in countering terrorism were dim due to ongoing distrust and blame game.


“I believe,” Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhelwal told a delegation of Pakistani journalists at his residence in Islamabad, “the visit was highly successful keeping in view its immediate results.”


What are the immediate results? “The instant effect is on the highly negative narratives against Pakistan prevalent both at official and non-official levels in Kabul.”


The bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries were touching the lowest ebbs since April this year when President Dr. Ghani categorically declared, “Kabul will no longer seek Pakistan’s role in peace talks with Taliban.” Ghani severed direct contacts with Pakistani top leadership following the deadly terrorist attack on Afghan security forces headquarters in Kabul on April 19.


Dr. Ashraf Ghani – believed to be a hard nut to crack – visited Pakistan only once in November 2014 just a month after taking oath as head of the state. Since then he has rejected official invitations to come to Pakistan twice.


In May this year a delegation of senior Pakistani politicians visited Kabul under the leadership of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and extended an invitation to the Afghan President to visit Pakistan.


“I will not go to Pakistan till the perpetrators behind the attacks on Mazar-i-Sharif, American University [in Kabul] and Kandahar attacks are handed over to Afghan authorities and until Islamabad takes concrete action against Afghan Taliban militants on Pakistani soil,” Ghani was quoted as saying while unequivocally rejecting the invitation.


The fact is the long disengagement between top political and military leadership of both countries has widened the gulf of mistrust between the two neighbors and led to more misunderstandings and misconceptions.


People of both the countries started believing what their respective government leaders were telling them about the worsening security situations on both sides of the border.


Afghans primarily accuse Pakistan to be providing sanctuaries and safe havens to the Afghan Taliban and the dreaded Haqqani network. Both the militant groups are believed to be the perpetrators in a number of deadly terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan targeting security forces and innocent civilians.


Similarly negative narratives are also widespread on this side of the international border. Almost every Pakistani seemed to be convinced that Afghan government and its intelligence agency are providing safe sanctuaries to terrorists and their outfits who are launching terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and killing innocent civilians.


This situation has reached a level where leaderships of both the countries never feel shy of accusing each other freely at international forums for the prevailing instability in the region.


The ears of Pakistanis are still buzzing with the nasty venomous speech of Dr Ashraf Ghani, who pointing finger at Pakistani delegation at Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar, thundered, "We need to identify cross-border terrorism and a fund to combat terrorism. Pakistan has pledged $500m for Afghanistan's development. This amount can be spent to contain extremism…. As a Taliban figure said recently, if they had no sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn't last a month."


In November the same year, Afghanistan joined India to boycott SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad which resulted in its postponement.

 

Pakistan’s position on resolution on the Afghan conflict via dialogue is gaining popularity and finding more takers now. There is now increasing realization that there is no military solution to the conflict. And there is a need of pursuing the course of sustained dialogue in order to restore complete peace and stability to the war ravaged country.

It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation between the two countries.


The visit of the top commander to Afghan capital followed a very important meeting of national security committee in Islamabad that fully authorized him to take decisions.


Besides, having an impact – as stated by the Afghan ambassador – on the prevalent negative narratives against Pakistan, the other immediate visible impression was softening of the very tough-going Dr. Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan leadership including former President Hamid Karzai who has otherwise left no opportunity to chastise and accuse Pakistan for every wrong – minor or major – on Afghan soil.


“I call, once again on Pakistan to intensify the state-to-state dialogue with us to secure regional peace and security,” said Dr. Ghani while speaking to Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Kabul. He also urged Taliban militia leadership to shun violence and join the peace process.


Terming the development as a ‘beginning of new era,’ Ghani was quoted as saying, “Good opportunities of cooperation are [being] provided and both countries should get the most out of the current situation.”


It seemed a complete U-turn by Afghan President from his earlier hardline position on ‘not-engaging Pakistan’ in any way until it hands over perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.


Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the development as an opportunity for Pakistan and Afghanistan to sit together like brothers and resolve their differences through talks. “I want Pakistan to increase friendship and cooperation with Afghanistan,” Karzai said in an interview with BBC.


These are, no doubt, positive vibes emanating from Kabul. In another major policy shift the Afghan President accepted an invitation – extended by the Pakistan military chief – of visiting Pakistan at an appropriate time.


The visit, if materialized at the earliest, will cement the broken bilateral ties and provide a good opportunity to the leadership to work together for achieving common objectives of peace and stability.
Pakistan’s position on resolution of the Afghan conflict via dialogue is gaining popularity and finding more takers now. There is now increasing realization that there is no military solution to the conflict. And there is a need of pursuing the course of sustained dialogue in order to restore complete peace and stability to the war ravaged country.


Another important aspect of General Bajwa’s visit was not being restricted to the security side of relations with Afghanistan, it included all issues concerning the bilateral relationship.


A statement issued by Afghan’s Presidential office stated General Bajwa and Dr. Ghani discussed ‘various important issues including security in region, bilateral relationships, peace and stability, anti-terror efforts, business and transit relationships, and mid-term and long-term relationships between Afghanistan and Pakistan.’


A similar statement from General Headquarters via ISPR, referring to the same issues, stated, “…issues related to long-term peace, cooperation against shared threats, coordination between respective counter-terrorism campaigns to restrict space for non-state actors, intelligence sharing, trade and commerce, and people-to-people contacts were discussed.”


However, one must be mindful of the fact that such interactions between top leadership of both the countries in the past also led to an environment of euphoria and lofty rhetoric.
If past is the witness, this not the first time that both sides, as they did again on October 1, vowed to forget the past and work hard for a better future.


Simultaneously, Pakistan’s leadership also needs to be cautious in raising expectations of ordinary Afghans vis-a-vis measures for restoring peace in the war-torn country and sanctuaries of Afghan militants.


There shall also be restraints in issuing statements from leadership level loaded with lofty promises like ‘new season of relationship’, ‘forgetting the past’, ‘moving ahead’, ‘shrinking space for anti-state actors’ etc. In the past the same were instrumental in hiking expectations of ordinary Afghans. Instead a realistic approach be adopted to normalizing relations with an important neighbor whose peace and stability equally guarantees Pakistan’s own security and stability.


However, instead of sounding cynical by all standards the current understanding between the leadership of both the countries is a big step in the right direction. And again there is nothing to doubt the sincerity of the leadership of both the countries in working together with dedication and devotion to ensure peace, stability and economic prosperity in both the countries. The need is to pursue the peace efforts with perseverance and determination, not succumbing to stray happenings on either side of the border.


However, last but not the least, both the leaderships shall be vigilant to the spoilers of good brotherly relationships between Islamabad and Kabul. Because there is no shortage of such elements within both countries coupled with some foreign ‘friends’ whose interests in the region are ensured only when both Pakistan and Afghanistan are at daggers drawn positions.

 

The writer is a senior journalist, analyst and anchorperson.

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06
November

Written By: S. M. Hali

It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s visionary One Belt, One Road (OBOR) mega development venture. CPEC commences from the deep sea port of Gwadar and terminates at Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, from where it merges into OBOR and fans out to the Central Asian States to the north and through mainland China to the east. OBOR is also known as the New Silk Road (NSR) and its essential component is the Maritime Silk Road.

 

armedforcessup.jpgThe CPEC holds hope for the people of Pakistan but has also given rise to controversies based on fallacies created by few objectors. The current government, which is the prime mover for the project in Pakistan, has tried to allay doubts regarding the mega project. It has also explained its various dimensions, which somehow have been overlooked by a few fickle minded people. Finally, broad consensus appears to have been reached and the project is gradually moving forward.


It is imperative to realize the OBOR or the NSR project, of which the CPEC is but one part since it promises prosperity and development not only for China and Pakistan but also for many countries located on the ancient Silk Road, particularly the landlocked Central Asia. This project has pinned hopes for progress, prosperity, growth and development on an infrastructure akin to the historic Silk Road. The zeal is cognisable because developing industries demand new markets; technological innovations facilitate international cooperation; better transportation and logistics increase trade efficiency; and growing energy demands require international cooperation. The advent of New Silk Road projects will act as a catalyst towards generating regional cooperation, building political flexibility, enhancing economic growth, offering trade diversifications, investing in transportation, mining and energy sectors.

 

armedforcessup1.jpgCentral Asian Republics bounded by the closed economy of the erstwhile USSR and limited by their geographical location, offering inadequate connectivity, are now being presented with an epoch making opportunity to play their destined roles in world economy. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds because suddenly they are being proffered the unique opportunity to become part of not one but a wide array of infrastructures, circumnavigating the entire globe. Traditionally, it was envisaged that media had shrunk the world to a global village and now it is the Silk Road concept which is bringing nations, races, continents and people closer in a tight-knit community sharing their resources of production, services, energy, information and understanding.


The CPEC is a comprehensive 15 year development project between Pakistan and China spanning 2015-2030 that entails the linking of Gwadar Port to China’s north-western region of Xinjiang through highways, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and an optical fiber link. Strategic energy cooperation between the two countries had been implemented before the proposal of the conception of the corridor. During the former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan in December 2010, the National Energy Administration (NEA) of China and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of energy working-group mechanism. The first meeting of this group was held in August 2011, during which both sides had a thorough exchange of views on the development of electricity, coal, oil, gas and new energy industries. A cooperative program was generated to help Pakistan alleviate energy shortages at the second meeting in Pakistan in May 2012. The group was absorbed in the framework of the CPEC in 2013. At the third meeting in January 2014, both the countries reached consensus on nuclear power, electricity, coal and renewable energy, and agreed to set up a research team to promote energy cooperation for the construction of the CPEC, mainly including coal exploitation, oil and gas extraction, mining and transportation, and electric wire net arrangement, etc.


It is worth mentioning that Pakistan Army had already explored the possibilities of an inter-linked road network in 1997.¹ President Xi Jinping envisaged the project in 2013; subsequently, it was floated in Pakistan during the visit of China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang in May 2013. Although Pakistan had just undergone General Elections in 2013, Premier Li met Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister, President Zardari and Prime Minister designate Nawaz Sharif to reach important consensus on planning and constructing the CPEC. In February 2014, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain visited China to discuss the plans for an economic corridor in Pakistan. During Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China in July 2013, the construction of the CPEC was reiterated. April 2015 was a historic month for Sino-Pakistan relations when Chinese President Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif signed an agreement worth USD 46 billion for the CPEC.


A discussion on the technical, financial and logistical dimensions of CPEC is beyond the scope of this article but it is imperative to note that the mega project faces a number of challenges. Major threat to the CPEC is from the risks to Pakistan’s security and stability. Militants in the tribal areas, insurgency in Balochistan, violence in Karachi, and growing religious extremism are believed to be serious causes of concern.


India has strong reservations regarding the CPEC – prior to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing in September 2014 – it formally registered a strong protest against the construction of CPEC. According to Indian media, Chinese Ambassador to New Delhi was summoned by the External Affairs’ Ministry and informed that since the project was also being routed through Kashmir over which India staked claims, it had serious reservations.² President Xi had dismissed the objections, describing the economic corridor as a “commercial project.”³


Reportedly, in addition to opposing the CPEC, Indians have unleashed their spy agency RAW to sabotage the project. Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior officials have stated that their Chinese counterparts in a special briefing have expressed these fears. The arrest of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a senior RAW operative from Balochistan proved Pakistan’s allegations correct. Commander Jadhav sang like a canary and divulged that he is a serving Indian Navy officer, who had been recruited to operate from Chabahar in Iran and establish a terror network in Balochistan, to enlist Baloch youth, train them for the use of deadly weapons, arm and incite them to wreak havoc to sabotage CPEC. Commander Jadhav’s incarceration, trial and sentencing may have impeded Indian machinations but reportedly, contingency plans have been put in place and RAW is working overtime to disrupt CPEC.


Besides India, there are other detractors of CPEC and OBOR. According to the ‘String of Pearls’ theory, coined in 2005 by the U.S. consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, China will try to expand its naval presence by building civilian maritime infrastructure along the Indian Ocean periphery.⁴ This corridor is one of the many mega-projects planned by China in Central, South and South-East Asia for expanding its political and economic influence to counter the relatively better established U.S. sphere of influence in the region. The U.S. has a similar agenda in the form of ‘Pivot to Asia’, which is aimed at countering China’s economic and military expansion in Asia-Pacific. According to a report published in 2013 by the London-based policy think tank Chatham House, ‘The increasing complexity of the Asia-Pacific region demands U.S. attention, and the United States remains well-positioned to play a pivotal role in the region through the 21st century.’ Resultantly, the U.S. has partnered itself with key players in the region such as India, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore to prevent China from spreading its influence.


The big power game has placed Pakistan in a unique position. It can potentially balance the major power rivalries and promote trade cooperation in the region as it enjoys good relations with both the West and China. Historically, there is precedence when a similar initiative had been taken by General Yahya Khan’s regime in 1970 that brought the two great powers China and the U.S. on the diplomatic table and, in current scenario a trade-oriented diplomacy by Pakistan can help reduce the complexities of this rivalry.


The U.S. opposition to CPEC and OBOR has now come out in the open with Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis’ briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. opposes the OBOR project since it runs through disputed territory. $56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an important element of OBOR passes through Pakistan’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.


Paradoxically, the OBOR and CPEC are development projects and aim to bring economic prosperity to the region including the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.


Pakistan Army has deployed the Special Security Division (SSD), a newly raised division of Pakistan Army tasked with providing security to the under construction CPEC and the workforce employed on the project. Operating under the command of a Major General, the 15,000 men force will guard CPEC and provide aerial support and state-of-the-art surveillance and monitoring systems to pre-empt terror attacks. The unit comprises 9 army composite battalions (9,000 personnel) and six civil armed forces (CAFs) wings (6,000 personnel). The security force consists of highly trained Special Forces potent enough to counter any threat emerging to the mega project of CPEC. The first convoy of goods shipped from Kashgar was guarded during transit by units of the Pakistan Army all the way to Gwadar, from where the containers were put on board different merchant vessels bound for various destinations.

Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


Pakistan Navy has also taken up the cudgel to secure the CPEC from maritime threats. To meet the challenge, PNS Akram, established at Gwadar, serves as a surveillance station and is considered the eyes and ears of Pakistan Navy, from where it monitors activities at the Gwadar Port as well as in the North Arabian Sea.


For the protection of Gwadar, there is also PNS Siddiq in Turbat, which is the primary airbase for fixed wing aircraft. The unit also provides facility to anchor to foreign naval units. Additionally, there is PNS Makran at Pasni, which is the secondary airbase for naval aviation and is used for both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. The naval base at Jiwani is another surveillance station coordinating with the maritime headquarters in Karachi. The 3rd and 4th battalions have been raised to protect the Gwadar Port and provide harbour defence.


Besides ensuring the maritime security of Gwadar Port, Pakistan Navy has been entrusted with the defence of the fish harbour, the entire hammerhead-shaped peninsula, including Koh-i-Batil, and the Chinese nationals residing in Gwadar. To safeguard the Gwadar Port, the navy has also raised the maritime security Task Force-88 on December 13, 2016. The area of responsibility of Task Force-88 starts from Gwadar Bay to Basol, extending seaward up to six nautical miles from the baseline of Pakistan. This includes the approaches to Gwadar Port as well.


Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is fully committed to provide impregnable security to CPEC project, which is of great strategic significance in synergy with sister services and other law enforcement agencies. PAF has a comprehensive security plan catering to Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, which is essential for smooth completion of CPEC projects. The same was amply demonstrated in Operation Zarb-e-Azb. PAF has full capability to effectively undertake specialized roles of medical evacuation, search and rescue operations, area scanning and kinetic operations on CPEC.


Recently, Air Headquarters hosted a one-day symposium on “CPEC vis-à-vis Opportunities for Aviation Industry and Way Forward”. It was concluded that in effect, aviation is destined to play a principal role in generation of sustenance of economic dynamics. The unexplored aerial dimension of CPEC will be the real game changer for Pakistan. This dimension will exponentially expand the reach of CPEC and would be a key element in making Pakistan the next business hub of Asia. Air Silk Route and plans to meet the future aviation requirements will necessitate the establishment of New Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) setups, trained manpower, new airlines, joint ventures and rightly placed infrastructure to handle the need of future economic hub of South Asia. The formation of a working group under the Joint Cooperation Committee of Pakistan Air Force and Aviation Division can lead the integration of aviation dimension in CPEC.


While the government and the nation are geared to reap the benefits accruing from CPEC, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have picked up the gauntlet to ensure the security requisite for the successful completion of this mega project.

 

The writer is a former Group Captain from Pakistan Air Force who also served as Air and Naval Attaché at Riyadh (KSA).

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1. When an internal research paper was prepared for the GHQ Rawalpindi called “The Army’s Role in Nation Building” by Brigadier Riaz Ahmed Toor. This paper highlighted the need to develop a strong transportation network across all provinces by linking Gwadar and Karachi with the rest of the country for both peacetime and wartime periods. The CPEC’s road network project can be considered as the true practical face of this research paper published some 20 years ago. Hassan Khan, ‘Is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor really a game changer?’, Pakistan Today (Lahore), June, 13, 2015
2. NDTV report, “Before PM Narendra Modi's Trip, India Objects to China’s $46 Billion Economic Corridor with Pakistan”, May 12, 2015. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/before-pms-trip-india-objects-to-chinas-46-billion-economic-corridor-with-pak-762533
3. “India raises objections over China Pakistan Economic Corridor”, The Express Tribune (Karachi), May 12, 2015.
4. Virginia Marantidou, “Revisiting China's 'String of Pearls' Strategy’, Issues & Insights, vol. 14, no. 7. Washington: D.C. Centre for Strategic & International Studies (Washington DC), June 24, 2014.

 
06
November

People of Pakistan, its Armed Forces and the Law Enforcement Agencies have been able to deny success to the forces of disorder and restore order significantly. This unique feat is unparalleled in contemporary world where terrorism mostly succeeded in destroying the states, institutions, peoples and societies. This all came through paying a huge cost in men and material. Not complacency, but the success demands reinvigorated spirits and efforts to rebuild/reclaim the lost spaces. Of course, the regained security, peace and stability would not operate and succeed in isolation. A prosperous and peaceful Pakistan in the long run demands a stable economy, institutional stability and autonomy, and merit based rule of law. The security and stability of a modern day nation-state is deeply intertwined with economic stability. The sudden collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union is a recent example where a withered economy became a major cause of the disintegration. Therefore, despite other positive indicators, any federal state needs the economic glue to keep the various federating units intact.


The decade-long War on Terror fought by Pakistan imposed a new set of costs on our economy as terrorism is designed to impose costs through economic and social disruption, frightening consumers so that they stay away from shopping districts, or destroying key parts of the financial infrastructure. Pakistan has weathered this storm in significant part because of the ballast provided by the law enforcement agencies as they foreclosed attacks from disabling the economy. However, the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fassad, and emerging international and regional geopolitical power play necessitate a robust economy as well as strong security apparatus to safeguard country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It may be noted that an economy relying on ‘borrowed resources’ has direct implications on national security policy making which comes under duress.


The economy and national security should be looked at from both macroeconomic and microeconomic points of view, with the macroeconomic issues centered on the budget and deficit reduction while the microeconomic issues focusing on providing for the general well-being of the people and in supporting other components of national security. Highlighting this interplay, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa said in a seminar organized by FPCCI and ISPR in Karachi on ‘Interplay of Economy and Security’: “It would not be wrong to say that economy is reflection of quality of our life. It reflects the wealth of a nation, but in doing so, it also indicates the nation’s health, including the strength of its institutions and the trust of its people.” Pakistan can surpass economic challenges as a nation, just as we dealt with the challenge of terrorism. Economic growth of Pakistan requires both sufficient demand on the macroeconomic level and increased productivity at the microeconomic level. Referring to emerging modern-day realities COAS also said, “All nations today are reviewing the old dilemma of “Guns versus Butter”, that is; how to achieve a balance between economic viability and national security. Countries like Pakistan never had the luxury of such a review. We live in one of the most volatile regions of the world, dealing with multiple crises since inception, but increasingly so during the last four decades. Therefore, we must be able to evolve on the way. We have to continuously ensure a viable balance between economy and security. Only then will we arrive at a future that ensures sustained peace and happiness for our people”.


In today’s Pakistan, signs of improvement in realm of security and economy are clearly visible, but we haven't reached the destination yet. It is more important than ever to coordinate economic and national security policies at both the conceptual and operational levels. A time will come that we will be among the successful nation states with our economy profusely integrated into the mainstream of the world economy by charting clear policies, enhanced institutional arrangements, bringing in fiscal discipline and ensuring continuity of viable economic policies.


We as a nation need security and economy prong complementing rather than operating in isolation for long term survival, peace and prosperity of the state.


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06
November

Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad


Asight to rejoice and an experience to cherish was seeing the flying horse of Pakistan hockey, our sports icon Sami Ullah Khan cheering local players in the sports gala and participating in Bahawalpur walk; local students energetically taking part in sports matches; renowned poet Syed Tabish Alvari sharing his mesmerizing poetry on a glittery mushaira night; ladies blissfully shopping from cultural stalls, and joyful youth dancing to the beats of our singing sensations, Fakhir and Aima Baig. These were the most pleasurable ten days (October 5-14) of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur organized by 31 Corps.


Bahawalpur, the largest division of Punjab, boasts a treasure of history and national heritage. Noor Mahal palace – the face of Bahawalpur – was built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines. The Cholistan Desert locally known as Rohi sprawls 30 kilometers from Bahawalpur and this land of forts comprises approximately 400 forts, some dating back to 1000 BC. Such strategic geographical location and enriched history magnifies the importance of Bahawalpur to no bounds.

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Bahawalpur has been the cradle of many civilizations and the epitome of antiquity. And to honor and pay tribute to this pride, a 10-day celebration of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur commenced on October 5 with the theme of promotion of national spirit and integration and social harmony through the active involvement of people from all walks of life.


Several programs were organized by 31 Corps during the festival providing an opportunity to the people to celebrate the event that began with a dazzling opening ceremony at Noor Mahal. Commander Bahawalpur Corps Lieutenant General Sher Afgun, HI (M), graced the occasion as chief guest. National and cultural songs left the audience mesmerized followed by a march past carried out by the contingents of different educational institutions, sports teams, Punjab Rangers and Pakistan Army.


The festivity right away engaged individuals of every age group and with every passing day engulfed them in different activities. A Jashn-e-Bahawalpur walk was organized in which a humungous crowd of children, women, young students as well as senior citizens participated. Presence of the tallest and shortest man of the region and pride of Pakistan hockey player Sami Ullah Khan added charm to the complete activity. Walking beside the old historic buildings of the city made us travel back in the past. The event ended with a spirited 'tug of war' match at Noor Mahal where local participation and passion displayed by participants was unprecedented.


Sports Gala was one of the most thrilling events of festival which was held from October 6 till 12. Sports competitions (cricket, hockey, tennis, volleyball, badminton and golf) were also held among the teams of Army, different educational institutions from surroundings and local clubs. Every new visitor to Bahawalpur aspires to get a chance for witnessing the mesmerizing Light and Sound Show at Noor Mahal and Darbar Mahal. Special shows were held on October 7, 8 and 13 which were made open to public, especially for students and sports teams.


The core motivation of this Jashn was pulling people out of their busy lives and providing an occasion to celebrate the privilege to be Pakistani. The festivities were spurred on by holding art and literary events which were attended by large number of students and artists. Quiz competitions buzzed an atmosphere of competitiveness among our young kids, declamation contest brought the best orators out, Mehfil-e-Mushaira satiated the literary taste of people and painting and arts exhibitions refined the knack of creativity among university students. An overwhelming participation of students and local artists made us realize that talented Pakistanis just need the right platform to hone and display their skills.


Women, being the most significant and integral part of our society, were given an open chance to enjoy their favorite sport – shopping. Cultural stalls at the exhibition emphasized the culture and history of Bahawalpur bringing highlights from inner streets of the city and providing an open opportunity to shop all at one place. Horses dancing on the dhol beats, traditional local dancers enjoying moves in colorful clothes and stunning pelicans in the lake of Gulzar-e-Sadiq (central park) left the visitors equally fascinated.


Show stealer was the star studded closing ceremony attended by a large gathering. Musical performances, motivating documentaries and spectacular fireworks marked the culmination of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur. Locals of Bahawalpur welcomed and celebrated the festival like a wave of fresh air, revitalizing and energizing them to promote national harmony.

 

Maj Wajiha Arshad is presently serving as Public Relations Officer Bahawalpur Corps.

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06
November

Written By: Sidra Babar Khan

“What I Wish I Could Tell You Now”
Daughter of a martyred officer writes to her father!


Baba, the mere 4 years, 9 months and 23 days of my life I spent in your presence are something I will always cherish. My earliest memories are of you wearing your uniform, for no particular event but just you as a strong man in his soldier’s uniform. I have no idea how old I was at the time nor any perspective of what we were doing – just an image of you looking at me from above with a loving smile.


I have very vague memories of you Baba but I get very proud when people (to this very day) talk about what a fantastic man you were, how you made them laugh, and lent them an ear. You were always there for people when they needed help. Your generosity and selflessness is inspiring and unmatched. You’ve left people with a lot of good memories of you. It gives me a feeling of warmth to hear these things about you and inspires me to be the kind of daughter you’d be proud of.

 

alettertomyfatehr.jpgEven though you left this world so early I wouldn't want anyone else to be my father, I wouldn't trade you for the world. I am so thankful to Allah that he made me your daughter and it makes me really happy when someone tells me I resemble you in some way. I am so thankful to you that even when you weren't around you made sure we had a steady source of income, I still remember how proud I felt when I used to see my mother’s pension book knowing you were still catering for our needs. Similarly whenever I fell sick and had to visit the CMH I felt so thankful to you every single time and even though you weren't around all those doctors in uniform made me feel at home. I am also very thankful for the army family you gave me, the other day we got to attend 78 PMA Long Course’s get together and all your coursemates welcomed us with an open heart, I saw a glimpse of you in them and they treated me with as much love as you would. It was really heartwarming to see them acknowledge us even after 20 years of your death.


I am also thankful for the amazing brother I have, even though younger than me he protects me as an elder and has been very responsible. Saif has almost completed his Engineering in Telecom, and takes pride in attributing himself to you as son of a Shaheed. I'm sure you are proud of him, too.


Above all, thank you for finding the strongest woman I’ve ever known to be your spouse and my mother. She turned out to be more than you could have ever wanted. She is strength, courage, and a light of patriotism. For years, I have watched her grow with me. At that time I didn't know it, but now I see that she has struggled a lot. She wanted only the best for me and my brother and has done an amazing job trying to fill in for you. She did whatever she could so that we would have it all. My mother played both roles of a mother and a father and I couldn't be more proud of her and I am sure you too would be very proud.


I count how long you’ve been gone in milestones, be it moving apartments, special occasions, birthdays, getting admissions or graduating; you have always been with me in my heart, being my guardian angel. You are and always have been with me at each step of my life’s journey.


I have heard that you were ecstatic when I first joined pre-school, you made sure I was having a good time and you even kept my first notebook with you. I really wanted to make you proud, and because of my love, respect and the strongest urge to be a source of pride for you I not only graduated with a Gold Medal in my Bachelors but also completed my Masters with the honor Magna Cum Laude and will soon receive a silver medal. My efforts are a tribute to your love and dedication to the country and I hope I can play my role for the betterment of my country as well, I hope I can be as strong, courageous, brave and as selfless as you were. Your love, honor, and integrity lives within me.


A very major event of my life is coming up Baba, I am getting married. I’ve found myself saying, “What would my Baba do?” with any wedding dilemmas. I wasn't ready for the questions from vendors: “Will your father be joining us? What is his vision for this? Will you want to schedule another meeting so your father can join?”. I’ve found myself yearning more than ever for you. There have been so many times during this process I’ve looked at Maa, and thought, “How is she going to survive this wedding without you?”


Even after going through many life events without you, it still doesn't get any easier. None of that pain feels the same as the pain not having you there on such a life-changing day and as my wedding draws closer, the reality sinks in just a little further. It is a very emotional time for me, and I find myself breaking down in tears more often than ever. My heart aches as I write this and I know going through my wedding day without my father will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.


So many people, our friends and family have come forward to be the part of wedding planning and I am grateful to them beyond words. Our family has showered me with so much love, your unit, your coursemates, they have all gathered as if they were invited by you. And even though nothing can ever fill your void, I have found you along my side on every step, it is true when they say a Shaheed never dies because I have felt your blessings all along. You will be there with me and with all of us. I know how elated, proud, and excited you are that I am about to take this next step in life. The truth is, I’ve felt you during this whole process and I know you are here with me and will continue to go through life with me, just in a more special way. I have found comfort in knowing that you are still and will always be there for us in every step of the way.


Your death has made us a stronger family Baba. I now realize that my mother, I and my brother faced all the hardships with the courage that comes by being a part of Army soldier's family. Everyone who belongs to an army family would agree that even though it's a source of immense pride, it also involves sacrifices like relocations and absences. I am proud to be the daughter of a soldier.


With love,
Your daughter, Sidra.

 

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06
November

Special Report By: Hilal Desk

The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Abdul Hanan Mustafa (136 PMA Long Course).
Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Muhammad Iqbal was awarded with President’s Gold Medal (136 PMA Long Course).


Passing Out Parade of 136th PMA Long Course, Graduate Course 36, Technical Graduate Course 29 and Integrated Course 55 was held at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul on October 14, 2017. The cadets from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Turkmenistan and Libya were also among the passed out cadets.

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General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army was the chief guest on the occasion. The CGS UK Army reviewed the parade, gave awards to distinguished cadets and addressed the parade. The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer Abdul Hanan Mustafa from 136th Long Course, the President’s Gold Medal to Company Senior Under Officer Muhammad Iqbal from 136th Long Course, the Overseas Gold Medal to Gentleman Cadet Hudayberenov Eresh from Turkmenistan (136th Long Course), the Chief of Army Staff Cane to Gentleman Cadet Muhammad Arslan Yousaf (Graduate Course 36), and Company Junior under Officer Saad Hamid (Technical Graduate Course 29) and the Commandant’s Cane for the best cadet was awarded to Gentleman Cadet Taimoor Azam Khan (Integrated Course 55).

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The hallmark of passing out of 136th PMA Long Course is receiving the two prestigious awards, the Sword of Honour, and, President’s Gold Medal, by two ex-cadets of Military College Sui, Balochistan. On achieving these awards, both newly passed out officers shared that Military College Sui has provided them a platform to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to refine their skills. The College has been an emblem of hope for the disadvantaged and marginalized youth of Balochistan, readied to be integrated into the national mainstream by Pakistan Army since 2011. Through relentless efforts of Pakistan Army and FC Balochistan, the youth of Balochistan is being provided enabling and conducive environment to receive quality education at their doorstep particularly in remote areas. The two officers mentioned the tough competitive environment and merit-based evaluation system at PMA Kakul to assess the performance of the Gentleman Cadets. However, it were the traits of confidence, resilience and hard work, they learnt at Military College Sui, that helped them to perform in an exceptional manner during two years traning at PMA Kakul.


Both the officers, now 2/Lt Abdul Hanan Mustafa and 2/Lt Muhammad Iqbal have expressed firm resolve to serve the country and leave no efforts undone in the defence of the motherland.

 
06
November

Special Report By: Hilal Desk


ISPR, in collaboration with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) held a day long seminar on “Interplay of Economy and Security” in Karachi on October 11, 2017.

 

fpcciandispr.jpgCOAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the key note speaker while eminent speakers who addressed the seminar included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan, Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Dr. Aynul Hasan, Dr. Salman Shah, and Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General, Frontier Works Organization. A large number of people from the business community attended the seminar.

 

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed while speaking at the seminar said that there should be zero tolerance for corruption and ‘crafting a new narrative is the way forward and we need to take a collective approach’.

 

National security today, is a wide-ranging subject. Leaders across the world understand clearly that security is the product of an interplay of factors that encompass the political, economic, military, social, human and environmental facets. That makes security a very complex issue.

 

fpcciandispr1.jpg• We need a comprehensive effort to pursue National Action Plan and remove vulnerabilities well before they turn into threats. Many of the planned measures, if implemented timely, will contribute directly to the economic and even political stability of the country. Police and judicial reforms are obvious examples. Madrassah reforms are also vital. We cannot afford to leave a large segment of our youth with limited options.
• Today, Pakistan is a strategically challenged state. External actors are attempting to assert control and dictate our security priorities that have strong linkages with our economic future.
• CPEC is the future of our people, a vital national interest on which we will never compromise, regardless of the loudness of opposing voices. It is also an example of regional cooperation and a break from politics of confrontation – we want all to benefit from this project.
• Our region will sink or sail together – that is how it has played out across the world.
• I want to use this opportunity to earnestly convey to our neighbours to the East and to the West that our destinies are inextricably linked.
• We have to ensure that Balochistan, Interior Sindh, FATA, Southern Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan also join us on the trajectory of growth and then move forward. It is with this integrated approach, that we will fulfil the vision of Quaid.
In today’s world, security does not come cheap. It is dependent upon economic prowess. It is here that our entrepreneurs must contribute by producing and exporting more.

Excerpts from COAS’ speech at the seminar,

October 11, 2017.

 

fpcciandispr2.jpgDr. Ashfaq Hassan, while speaking on CPEC said that, ‘leadership, policy and reforms will determine the size of the benefits Pakistan will reap from the CPEC. China wants to relocate its industries in Pakistan’. He further said that serious efforts were required for the betterment of our higher education. He was critical on the lack of seriousness to share details of CPEC with public or at least the stakeholders. He also rejected apprehensions of China becoming East India Company and claims of CPEC passing through disputed territory referring to the history of KKH and Mangla Dam.


Dr. Farrukh Saleem talked about threats to economic security within national security matrix and highlighted the threats to economic security. He concluded with help of data that Pakistan needs to focus on economic growth while capitalizing on improved security environment and said that, ‘Pakistan has everything, the only thing we lack is leadership’.


Dr. Aynul Hassan while talking on Asia's transition into the 21st century presented a comparison of Pakistan's economy with rest of the Asian countries. He also discussed the important role played by traditional economic theories in the economic well-being of countries and said that ‘social sector investment is a long term and continuous proposition’.


Dr. Salman Shah while talking on the importance of CPEC and making Pakistan a global powerhouse said that ‘an economic corridor generally connects regional economic centers in the most efficient and convenient manner. CPEC will create economic and trade connectivity within Pakistan’. He said that ‘software of CPEC is more important than hardware’. ‘China is now the world's largest economy and can prove to be a big source of investment capital, technology and know-how for Pakistan’s economic progress, and we should learn from China how to manage and maintain economy’ he added.


Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) highlighted the geo-strategic and geo-economic significance of CPEC and Gwadar Port, which is the cornerstone of the whole concept. He said, ‘Pakistan is blessed with precious minerals and coal resources and we must exploit this potential. It is the first time that we kept Khunjerab Pass open during last winters to keep the CPEC functional’. He also said, ‘FWO has also undertaken a project in collaboration with the Pakistan Railways to improve the railway infrastructure and the most important among them is dedicated freight corridor along ML-2’. ‘FWO is also planning oil refinery in KP in collaboration with the KP government. A project for cement manufacturing plant of 5000 MT per day is also being planned’ he shared with the audience.


Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Former Governer of State Bank of Pakistan delivered a talk on "Economy of Pakistan: Past and Future". He discussed three possible scenarios which are optimistic, muddling through and pessimistic. He highlighted the wastage of civil resources and said that ‘anything new is glamorous and attractive but poor maintenance and indifference to exercising the existing policies brings lots of losses to the country’. He also mentioned that ‘CPEC is a good strategic option for progress’.


Mr. Zubair Tufail, chairman of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted the role of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce in the economy of Pakistan. He said, ‘if we want to be economically strong, we should follow the footsteps of China. Private sector, by providing jobs, can play very vital role for the strong economic position of the country’. He also said, ‘we must also allow the third world countries to invest in Pakistan. We should ask China to open more markets for Pakistan and lauded the role of Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers for eradicating the menace of terrorism across the country’.

 
06
November

Written By: Prof. Sharif Al Mujahid


In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly fruitful life of ceaseless effort and progress. Second was the restless activity of the people in Europe, their energy, their initiative, their immense capabilities for innovation and invention, and their resolute will to work for the amelioration of the common man. Third was the credo of capitalism and nationalism, which dominated Western life, both individually and collectively, and had led to such cut-throat competition between man and man, and between nation and nation. While he admired and applauded the first two aspects, he was irretrievably dismayed by the third one. His dismay was compounded when he found that Europe was also swayed by racial prejudice.

 

Under the impact of nationalism and in order to build up their own separate nationalistic altars, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Iranians and the Arabs had tended to emphasize their particular racial origins and their racial separation from each other. This, in turn, had ravened the Islamic Ummah concept, enfeebled the Muslim world, and had, in consequence, laid it all the more open to Western aggression, exploitation and designs, as never before.

 

Islamic or Muslim nationalism is a via media between unadulterated pan-Islamism and unalloyed nationalism. A blend of these two competing ideologies, Muslim nationalism, while recognizing the multiplicity of nations within Islam, strives to promote the solidarity, identity of outlook, and close cooperation between the various Muslim nations on the basis of their religious affinity and cultural coherence.

 

Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a man of great many ideas – sublime and serene, dynamic and romantic, provocative and profound for most of the time. He was both a great poet and a serious thinker at the same time but in poetic works lies enshrined most of his thought. Platitudinous to say, but important to note is the basic fact that a poet is essentially a man of moods, commanding a sort of poetic license, which is scrupulously denied to a prose-writer. Since a poet usually gives utterance to his reactions, often charged with emotions, to a given situation, his utterances and ideas need not always be compatible with one another. Such was the case with Iqbal as well.


However, since Iqbal is acclaimed national poet and his poetry had a profound impact; Pakistan emerged as a country and as a nation over the decades. His poetry and messages are both complex and profound, therefore there is a dire need to understand them in perspective and carry it forward to new heights of interpretation. Unless we do this we would be at a tremendous loss.

 

iqbalnational.jpgDuring his poetic career, spanning some four decades, Iqbal had imbibed, approved, applauded and commended a great many ideas – ideas which occupied various positions along the spectrum on the philosophic, social and political plane. Thus, at one time or another, he commended or denounced nationalism; propagated pan-Islamism and world Muslim unity; criticized the West for its materialism, for its cut-throat competition and for its values while applauding the East, its spiritualism and its concern for the soul; and condemned capitalism as well, while preaching “a kind of vague socialism”. On the one hand, he steadfastly stood for “the freedom of ijtihad with a view to rebuild the law of Shari’at in the light of modern thought and experience”, and even attempted somewhat to reformulate the doctrines of Islam in the light of twentieth century requirements, he, on the other hand, also defended the orthodox position and Indian Islam on some counts. Though “inescapably entangled in the net of Sufi thought”, he yet considered popular mysticism or “the kind of mysticism which blinked actualities, enervated the people and kept them steeped in all kinds of superstitions” as one of the primary causes of Muslim decline and downfall.


It is rather common knowledge that prior to the paradigmatic shift Iqbal had undergone during his sojourn in Europe (1905-08), his thought and poetic outpourings beginning with his maiden presentation of Nala-i-Yateem to an attentive Lahore audience at the annual moot of the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam in 1898, were dominated by the triad philosophies of mysticism, romanticism and nationalism. This early phase was characterized by three categories of poems – (i) ghazals and lyrics (e.g., Gul-i-Pashmurdah), (ii) romanticist and nature-poems (e.g., “The Himalayas”, “Kashmir” and “On the Bank of Ravi”), and (iii) patriotic and nationalistic poems.


It were the last set of poems that had made Iqbal famous in the initial years. Largely inspirational in nature, they were meant to arouse and motivate his fellow countrymen of all denominations. To this category belong Hindustan Hamara, Hindustani Bachoon Ka Qaumi Geet, Naya Shiwala, and Taswir-i-Dard. To Iqbal Singh, a renowned biographer of Iqbal, Hindustan Hamara “remains to this day [1947] the best patriotic poem written by an Indian poet in modern times”.


More importantly, the shift from ghazals to nationalistic poetry was not merely a change of subject, but also a radical shift in Iqbal’s tone and tenor. From giving expression to his subjective feelings, he had moved on to giving utterance to the mood of the nation. The individual mood of the poet gave way to the collective mood of the people, and Urdu poetry, thus, came to be introduced to performing a higher function – such as the criticism of the people’s life-style, their ideas and myths that had brought them to such a sorry pass. To an abrupt end, however, did this nature-lover and nationalist phase come during Iqbal’s three year sojourn in Europe (1905-08).


During these years Iqbal had pursued his studies seriously, specializing in philosophy and law, earning a degree in philosophy from Cambridge, a doctorate from Heidelberg, and a law degree from Lincoln’s Inn in 1908.


There was, of course, nothing unusual about it because students from the subcontinent had gone to England to earn degrees, both before and after Iqbal. But what puts Iqbal in a different category was that unlike other students and visitors to the West he refused to be overwhelmed by the overpowering glitter and awe-inspiring grandeur of the West. Unlike others, he went beyond and behind its facade. His sensitivity as a poet enabled him to see much further than the usual run of students and visitors, his penchant for keen observation and his grounding in Western philosophy enabled him to study the West, its pros and cons, rather seriously and critically.


In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly fruitful life of ceaseless effort and progress. Second was the restless activity of the people in Europe, their energy, their initiative, their immense capabilities for innovation and invention, and their resolute will to work for the amelioration of the common man. Third was the credo of capitalism and nationalism, which dominated Western life, both individually and collectively, and had led to such cut-throat competition between man and man, and between nation and nation. While he admired and applauded the first two aspects, he was irretrievably dismayed by the third one. His dismay was compounded when he found that Europe was also swayed by racial prejudice.


In any case, his live contact with Western life, his grounding in Western philosophy, and his initiation into modern Western thought had acted as a catalyst, enabling him to perceive things in a wider perspective and in clearer terms. From the vantage point of a European base, Iqbal could easily see that the onward march of nationalism had bred racialism in several Muslim countries. Under the impact of nationalism and in order to build up their own separate nationalistic altars, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Iranians and the Arabs had tended to emphasize their particular racial origins and their racial separation from each other. This, in turn, had ravened the Islamic Ummah concept, enfeebled the Muslim world, and had, in consequence, laid it all the more open to Western aggression, exploitation and designs, as never before.


And this obviously disillusioned Iqbal with the nationalist credo beyond repair. Not only had the political misfortunes of the Muslim peoples, but also their civilizational decline goaded his thinking towards pan-Islam. In this ideal did Iqbal see the salvation of the Muslim world, even as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839-1896) had a few decades earlier. Thus, Iqbal who had left India as a staunch nationalist returned to it in 1908 as a firm believer in Islam and in an integrated Ummah.


And for now, Iqbal’s world was the Muslim world – the vast stretch from Morocco to Indonesia, inhabited by scores of peoples and races, but spiritually linked with each other, with a common moral consciousness and ethical code, cultural ethos and civilizational mores, indeed with a distinct weltanschauung.


This obviously caused a paradigm shift in Iqbal’s thinking and posture. Iqbal, who had left India in 1905 as nationalist, returned to it in 1908 radically transformed – all the way, for now he was a pan-Islamist and almost a puritan. Not that he loved India and Indians less, but that he loved Islam and its ideals more. In a conceptual sense, he was, consciously or otherwise, treading the seldom trodden path delineated by Albert Schiller, the German philosopher, when he proclaimed, “I write as a citizen of the world who serves no prince. I lost my fatherland to exchange it for the great world. What is the greatest of nations but a fragment?”


This credo, inter alia, is also symmetrical at another level, with one of the Prophet’s (PBUH) sayings, “The whole of this earth is a mosque (unto me)”. In tandem, Iqbal would, for now, say, “Every country is our country because it is the country of our God”. The fatherland to which he now owed supreme allegiance to was the Muslim world.


Thus, Iqbal gradually came to take upon himself the immense task of poet-prophet. No wonder, his poems came to shift ground to keep pace with the newly developed phase of his thinking. No wonder, he sang the glories of Islam and Muslims, for now.


For the outside world, his nostalgic piece on Sicily, which he penned as the ship carrying him back home glided past the southern shores of the once Arab dominated island, heralded Iqbal’s intellectual development taking a new turn in the direction of Islam. The sight of the island on the occasion reminded Iqbal of its glorious Arab past, propelling him to break out into a touching elegy. Sadi, the famous Persian poet, had once bitterly cried over the brutal destruction of Baghdad in 1258. Ibn Badran, the renowned Moorish poet, had lamented pathetically over the fall of Banu Ayaz in Andulusia; and Dagh Dehlawi had mourned touchingly on the blood sack of Dehli in 1857. For now, it was Iqbal’s turn to focus the search-light on the desolation of Sicily, once a proud center of Islamic civilization in the west. The first three bards, long entrenched in their own right in the literary history of their respective languages, had done their elegies movingly and magnificently. And Iqbal could do no less.


And, with the years, Iqbal’s poems would increasingly reflect troubles and travails of the Muslim world. Not inexplicably though, they would, also mirror the agitated mood of the Indo-Pakistani Muslims over the troubles. To quote Hamilton A.R. Gibb, the famed orientalist and an insightful observer, “Iqbal reflected and put into vivid words the diverse currents of ideas that were agitating the minds of Indian Muslims. His sensitive poetic temperament mirrored all the impinged up on it. Every Indian Muslim dissatisfied with the state of things – religious, social or political – could and did find aspirations as an adviser who bade him seek the way out by self expressions.”


Perhaps, nothing reflected his new ideological orientations as did his famous Tarana-i-Milli (Islamic anthem), and his soul stirring poem on Trablas (Algeria). The Tarana-i-Milli composed in the same meter and rhyme as the erstwhile Tarana-i-Hindi, was, in effect, a public statement of Iqbal’s adoption of Schillerian credo. To Iqbal, for now, his focus of interest and attention was the sprawling world of Islam – that vast stretch of land that spanned the extensive swathes of territories from Mauratia on the northern eastern shores of Atlantic to Indonesia on the western most edge of the Pacific. Moreover, a land which was inhabited by scores of races and people that are organically and spiritually linked with one another that are imbued and informed by a moral consciousness of their own, a consciousness inspired by an ethical code, cultural ethos and civilizational mores. This newly formulated passion for the world of Islam demonstrated beyond doubt how far afield had Iqbal travelled ideologically from his early phase, when he had sung so eloquently about his motherland, and put India on a pedestal higher than Egypt, Greece and Rome.


Above all, what Iqbal had wished for was that Muslims and the people of East should come into their own at all costs. He bemoaned that warmth had departed from the soul of the East. “It knows not what the task of living is”. On his own role, he adds, “I found the (Muslims) lands lacking in the spirit of life. I breathed my own spirit into thee.”


Despite his advocacy of pan-Islamism, Iqbal was a keen and insightful observer of Muslim affairs. Hence he could not escape perceiving the harsh fact that his panacea of pan-Islam in its idealistic and classical form was not propitious or relevant to his own age – i.e., in the 1920s. For one thing, several Muslim countries had opted for nationalism and for politics based on asabiyat – i.e., racial and/or linguistic unity. For another, they were looking up to a nationalist altar, and seeking nationalist solutions to their problems. Indeed, nationalism was a dominant fact of life in almost all the Muslim countries.


Iqbal could not have possibly ignored all this – and much more. “True statesmanship”, he told his audience at the Allahabad League session (1930) “cannot ignore facts, however unpleasant they may be. The only practical course is not to assume the existence of a state of things which does not exist, but to recognize facts as they are, and to exploit them to our greatest advantage.”


Hence it seems but logical that deeply concerned as Iqbal was to see the Muslim people remain firmly anchored to their pristine Islamic legacy and heritage, he tried to resolve the conflict between nationalism, the fact of life, and pan-Islamism, the ideal towards which he would like to see them strive. Thus, Iqbal, like Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, arrived at the concept of Islamic – but, more accurately, Muslim nationalism.


Islamic or Muslim-nationalism is a via media between unadulterated pan-Islamism and unalloyed nationalism. A blend of these two competing ideologies, Muslim nationalism, while recognizing the multiplicity of nations within Islam, strives to promote the solidarity, identity of outlook, and close cooperation between the various Muslim nations on the basis of their religious affinity and cultural coherence.


Iqbal, the ideologue, who had diagnosed the malaise of the Muslim world in his famous Reconstruction, came to the conclusion that “For the present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self, temporarily focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a living family of republics. A true and living unity, according to the nationalist thinkers, is not so easy as to be achieved by a merely symbolical overlordship. It is truly manifested in a multiplicity of free independent units whose racial rivalries are adjusted and harmonized by the unifying bond of a common spiritual aspiration. It seems to me that Islam is neither nationalism nor imperialism but a league of nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizon of its members.”


Thus, in his Allahabad League address (1930) Iqbal finally arrived after a long odyssey of some three decades, after the “Nala-e-Yateem” Indian nationalistic phase, at the consolidated Muslim Northwest State (a province) in India’s Northwest region – if only to find a territorial basis for the deflated population based Muslim nation in India. It is significant to remember that few studies have chronically traced out Iqbal’s proposal to the core.

 

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
November

Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem


On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between our government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal deficit is the root of most financial ills – and our fiscal deficit, in absolute terms, is the largest ever in our history. For the record, the twin deficits – current account and fiscal – add up to over 13 percent of GDP.

Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history have our exports declined for five consecutive years. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history has our current account deficit hit a high of $12.1 billion in one year. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history have we imported goods and services worth $52 billion in one year. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history has our trade deficit hit a high of $32 billion in one year (trade deficit is the difference between our imports and exports).


On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal deficit is the root of most financial ills – and our fiscal deficit, in absolute terms, is the largest ever in our history. For the record, the twin deficits – current account and fiscal – add up to over 13 percent of GDP.

 

 thedireneed.jpgPakistan’s economy is vulnerable like never before. And a country’s economic security is deeply interlinked with her national security. The three major threats to our economic security are: One; the enormous trade deficit and the impending balance of payment crisis. Two; the fiscal deficit and the impending debt trap. Three; multi-billion dollar penalties from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on account of Karkey Karadeniz (the Turkish company that operated a rental power plant); in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on account of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and a ruling against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.


Imagine, we have paid $50 billion in debt servicing just over the past four years (while the accumulative allocation for defence was $30 billion over those four years). A historically high trade deficit means additional debt. A historically high budget deficit means additional debt. Our current trajectory will take us right into a strangulating debt trap whereby it will become impossible to service the accumulated debt and we would have to borrow more just to repay the billions borrowed earlier. Who is going to lend us those billions to pay back our debt? IMF? The World Bank?

thedireneed1.jpg
To be certain, the IMF is not just a financial institution it is also a political tool with financial power projection by its owners. Look at the IMF Members’ Quotas and Voting Power: Pakistan’s number of votes is 21,775; America’s number of votes is 831,407. Imagine: Andrew Baukol, America’s representative to the IMF, raises just one hand and 831,407 votes are up.


Back into the IMF’s lap and back to the IMF’s dreaded conditionalities. Remember, the U.S. has veto privileges and a blocking minority. Remember, the U.S. has “near-absolute control of the IMF’s activities”. And yes, the U.S. uses “the IMF to peddle its own agenda”.


Pakistan must take corrective measures urgently. The Ministry of Finance must take corrective measures urgently. Pakistani exporters must be engaged; their problems must be resolved and their stuck-up refunds must be refunded. The import regime must be rationalized (the recently imposed regulatory duties on tooth paste and poultry are too little, too late). The value of the Rupee must be adjusted downwards. And the cost of doing business in Pakistan must be brought down.


The Ministry of Finance must take corrective measures on the budgetary side as well. The power sector loses Rs. 400 billion a year. This must end. The Public Sector Enterprises – PIA, Railways, Steel Mills etc. – also manage to lose Rs. 400 billion a year. This must end. The government’s entire stream of expenditures must be rationalized. Yes, the entire stream of expenditures must be rationalized before burdening the poor taxpayers with additional taxes. Yes, the tax base needs to be broadened but that means adding new taxpayers – and not burdening the existing taxpayers with additional taxes. Yes, the cost of compliance with the tax regime must also be brought down.

 

Yes, our economic security is under threat – under threat like never before. And yes, our economic security continues to be the most neglected element of our national security.


To be sure, putting economy right is no rocket science. The remedy lies in prioritizing the emerging economic crisis. In sound economy lies the soul of Pakistan’s future and it demands focus, dedication and integrity.

 

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

Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh

 
06
November

Written By: Dr. Ishrat Hussain


At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited an extremely weak and fragile economic base and infrastructure. LIFE Magazine had predicted in its issue of January 1948 that Pakistan would collapse within six months as it would not be able to sustain itself economically. Many other experts had similar views. Pakistan not only inherited a shattered economic base but also had to face several serious adverse shocks in the first forty years of its existence. These were:


(i) Absorption and rehabilitation of 8 million refugees or one fourth of the population.
(ii) The 1965 war against India.
(iii) The breakup of the country in 1971.
(iv) The nationalization of industries, banks and educational institutions.
(v) The war in Afghanistan beginning in 1979.

 

ecoofpakpast.jpgDespite the grave consequences arising from these shocks Pakistan not only survived economically but stunned its prophets of doom by ranking among the top ten performers in the developing countries. Its average annual growth rate of 6 percent between 1950-1990 could be matched by only a few countries. India was stuck in the same period with Hindu rate of growth of 3 percent annually. India’s economy was only five times bigger while its population was eight times larger than Pakistan. The per capita incomes were higher in Pakistan and social indicators were better. Pakistan was able to spend up to 6 to 7 percent of GDP every year in building its defence capability as well as nuclear capacity for ensuring robust external security.


Since 1990s, Pakistan has lagged behind many countries in the region such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. Economic growth rate has come down to 4-4.5 percent annually between 1990-2015. If we exclude the period 2002-2007 when Pakistan’s growth was 7-7.5 percent the average would be below 4 percent. During this period of high economic growth a Special Fund of Rs. 100 billion was established to meet the needs for equipment and capital goods required by the Armed Forces. The subsequent poor economic outcomes resulted in curtailment of our defence expenditure to around 3 percent of GDP and the Fund could not be replenished because of the paucity of financial resources. This happened at a time when the challenges of internal security also became overwhelming. The interplay between security and economy becomes quite obvious from this particular episode. When the economy was booming and growing, the beneficiaries were not only people of Pakistan but also the Armed Forces who are responsible for our security. In the mid 2000s, Pakistan had reached an investment ratio of 23 percent which led to 7 percent growth rate. Today, investment ratio is down to 15 percent which has limited our growth to 4 percent average.


Since 1990s the Indian economy has been growing at a rapid rate and has become eight times ours, and their per capita incomes exceed that of ours. Investment ratio in India is twice to Pakistan. Their billion dollars orders for defence equipment and insistence on location of defence manufacturing industries in India is a reflection of their economic strength. While we have lost our market share in global export markets, and thus our capacity to earn hard foreign exchange, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam have increased their share significantly and accumulated sizeable foreign reserves to meet any future crises without the risk of destabilizing their economies. Bangladesh’s exports which were a fraction of ours now amount to over $30 billion while ours have gone down from $25 billion to $21 billion. The reasons for this decline are manifold that include:


(i) Lack of continuity in economic policies, programs and projects.
(ii) Security issues.
(iii) Political instability.


However, the most predominant factor for this decline was the gradual decay of the institutions of democratic governance during the last twenty five years triggered by:


• The growing politicization of the Civil Services and political interference in the postings, promotions and actions. As a consequence, the civil servants have lost professionalism, competence and capacity to perform. The selection to top positions is made on the basis of loyalty rather than merit. Responsibility is too diffused and therefore accountability cannot be pinned down. Corrupt officials are hardly taken to task while the honest officers are no longer prepared to take actions due to fear of NAB, FIA, the media etc.
• Processes and procedures have become cumbersome and complex. Decision making has become highly centralized and top down and therefore the limited ownership of decisions creates hurdles in implementation. Rules are bent and exceptions made to confer patronage to the supporters of the ruling parties thus tilting the level playing field against genuine businesses. Risk taking has been replaced by rent seeking.
• Access to basic services such as education, health, law and order and justice is unavailable to those without financial means or political connections. Poor social indicators and growing income and regional inequality are manifestation of this unequal access.
Local Governments which are the main points of connection between the citizens and the government have been disempowered and deprived of the authority and financial resources for delivering services to the citizens.
• Frequent judicial intervention in the executive and policy matters such as declaring privatization of the Steel Mills as illegal, rescinding agreements with foreign companies, disallowing contracts of LNG imports when the country was facing severe energy shortages, suspending orders of promotion of civil servants and protracted litigation with stay orders in tax collection, loan defaults etc. has created many hurdles in the smooth and orderly management of the economy.
A highly disturbing trend has affected public finances, economic productivity and social equity but has not been given any attention by successive governments whether elected or military. This has to do with the poor maintenance and inefficient operation of the existing capital assets built with huge investment of trillions of rupees made in the past decades. It is more rewarding to build and inaugurate new projects to demonstrate your performance with little realization that an ordinary citizen feels satisfied if he is able to obtain basic services from the existing facilities. Today, we are faced with losses of the exchequer of approximately 1 trillion rupees annually because of the following:
• Water losses in the irrigation system from river inflows to farm gate is amounting to almost 50 percent of the total water inflows. These losses equal three times the capacity of the three big dams we have.
• Transmission and distribution losses from the power system and non recovery of dues coupled with generation plant inefficiency. At the same time we have to pay fixed charges for capacity whether we get any power from the IPPs or not.
• Unaccounted for losses of the gas system which have gone up from 4 percent to 15 percent in a short period of time. Because of these losses we have to import 400 million cubic feet of LNG every year.
• Road network outside the national highway and main trunk roads is in poor shape.
• Operations of railways and airline result in losses of billions of rupees annually.


It is estimated that 1 percent improvement in infrastructure services (at an aggregate level) can boost GDP growth by 1.25 percentage points. Water productivity which is one third of that of India can go up if the tail enders are provided water which is being wasted by those at the head by applying 4 to 5 times water in relation to the actual requirement. Poor farmers at the end of the distributary end up with low yields per acre.


Another problem is the misallocation of resources under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP). Too many projects are included in the PSDP and token allocations are made to each of them without evaluating the inter-se priority and their possible contribution to the economy. The throw forward of all the ongoing projects included in the PSDP would take 20 years to be completed at the current level of allocation every year. The result is cost overruns and diminished benefit stream making a large number of projects economically unviable. If external borrowing is resorted to finance these, we are in worse of both the worlds — inability to repay the loans as income from these loans is negative and the shortages and congestion continue to persist.


Future Prospects of Pakistan Economy
How do we assess the future course of Pakistan’s economy? We have constructed three possible scenarios – optimistic, muddling through and pessimistic:


(i) Optimistic: Pakistan is able to strengthen and reform its institutions of democratic governance, establish effective coordination mechanisms between the federal and provincial governments, the provincial and local government, government and the private sector and pursue outward looking economic policies with continuity and stability. CPEC investments begin to generate positive outcomes that boost economic growth and overcome energy shortages.

Expected outcome: Per capita incomes are likely to grow by 4 to 5 percent annually.


(ii) Muddling Through: Reforms are implemented half-heartedly, there is no broadly shared consensus on the direction of economic policy, tension between the various tiers of government and, government and private sector continues with ups and downs and economic management remains reactive but CPEC investment flows in at the envisaged level.


Expected outcome: Per capita incomes likely to rise between 2 to 3 percent annually.
(iii) Pessimistic: The country suffers from political instability. Macroeconomic pressures such as widening fiscal and current account deficits persist, exchange rate shows volatility and investors face uncertainty. Implementation of CPEC projects is slow and lacklustre. Poor economic management, over regulation and over taxation of organized private sector and lack of coordination between various tiers of government create unpredictability for investors and raises cost of doing business.

Expected outcome: Per capita income is likely to stagnate or rise very slowly.


Many studies have shown that Pakistan is capable of becoming one of the top 20 ranking economies in the world by 2025. This would require that the government, opposition parties, the private sector and the civil society work in unison and harmony to make this happen. But we have a mindset of negativity so deeply ingrained that many of our intellectuals and commentators dismiss this as a pipe dream. They consider this as a figment of imagination of the foreigners who do not comprehend the “ground realities” of Pakistan. To them, the country is at the brink of economic disaster and these doomsday pundits are unable to reconcile their view of the economy with the facts, evidence and analysis pointing in a direction contrary to theirs. There is another group which is continuously creating fear in the country about the CPEC projects and China becoming an East India Company. Nothing can be far from truth but this tune is heard frequently. The change in this negative mindset is a prerequisite for attainment of rapid shared growth.


The above scenarios do not take into account the possible impact of the newly declared Trump policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. The consequences would depend upon our response capacity. If we set aside our differences, divisions and factions and work hard in unison to introduce austerity in our public expenditures, mobilize taxes from those outside the net and reduce waste and inefficiencies, the adversity would be minimal. However, if we continue on the path of the business – as usual where the political atmosphere remains vitiated, the quality of economic management is unaltered and the mistrust and suspicion among various segments of the population remains ingrained, we should be prepared for quite tough times.


Agenda for Sustained Economic and Social Development
What are the actions and measures that would help in translating the optimistic scenario into a reality? Of course, the journey forward would not be smooth but bumpy. External environment may turn out to be more harsh than envisaged. Other unanticipated shocks may create difficulties but a relentless pursuit of the agenda described below may lead to successful outcomes enhancing the resilience capacity to face these shocks. The agenda can be divided in two parts – Short term and Medium to Long term.


Short Term
• As across-the-board institutional reform is not politically feasible, therefore, select a few key institutions critical to growth, security, equity and accountability, and, restructure and revitalize them.
• Devolve administrative powers and financial resources to local governments to deliver basic services such as education, health, drinking water, sanitation, roads etc. to the common citizens.
• Reduce budgetary deficits by bringing in 2 million taxpayers who are eligible but are outside the tax net, tax real estate and capital gains and privatize loss making public enterprises particularly in the power sector to stop the ever growing circular debt problem.
• Unleash the entrepreneurial energies of the private sector by easing excessive regulatory requirements and reducing tax burden on the organized sector particularly manufacturing sector.
• Revamp laws and institutions of accountability so that the honest and competent civil servants act fearlessly and the corrupt are taken to task. The present environment of Too much Accountability coexisting with Too little Accountability has to be replaced by a fair and judicious process.
• Reduce trade imbalances by lowering the cost of production and logistics to make our exports competitive and encourage import substitution of goods based on emerging technologies.
• Align closely with the Chinese value chain by supplying intermediate inputs to their industries. Renegotiate FTA with China to facilitate relocation of labour intensive export oriented industries in the Special Economic Zones in Pakistan.


Medium to Long Term
The major challenge facing us in the future would be: how to absorb 1-1.5 million youth in the labour force annually while moving up on the technology front to maintain our competitiveness in the world market. To strike this difficult balance, we have to:
• Enhance the quality of exports by producing goods and services that are in heavy demand in the international markets particularly Asia by increasing efficiency and enhancing productivity thus improving competitiveness of Pakistani products.
• Invest heavily in producing quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates who can push Pakistan towards innovation, technology assimilation and sophistication.
• Promote vocational and technical skills training as the employment opportunities for general degree holders are receding and the demand for para-engineers, para-medics, technicians, para-scientists, mechanics etc. are rising rapidly.
• Subsidize the research and development activities in the defence, public and private sectors for developing new products and processes.
• Take maximum advantage of the country’s strategic location by becoming a hub of regional trade and transit. CPEC projects particularly pipelines, motorways and railways connecting Gwadar to Kashgar should be expeditiously completed.
• Improve the maintenance and operations of the existing capital assets – irrigation systems, railways, energy infrastructure that are causing huge financial losses to the exchequer; recover user charges for meeting this expenditure.
• Introduce internationally accepted standards certification and tests such as FDA approved food and pharmaceutical products for our industries.


If this agenda is faithfully implemented by every successive government and policies, programs and projects are not altered every time there is a change in the government, the chances of Pakistan regaining its lost space in the international league appear quite promising.

 

The writer remained the Governor State Bank of Pakistan from 1999 till 2005. He has also served as the Dean of the Institute of Business Administration.

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

 
06
November

Written By: Mushahid Hussain Syed


In no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, all voluntarily part of OBOR, which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.

Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.

Following up on the unveiling of President Trump's flawed South Asian strategy on August 21, 2017, U.S. Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2017 that the U.S. has reservations on the 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative of China.


Jim Mattis, in what is the first such public statement from an American high official on OBOR said that "In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself in a position of dictating 'One Belt, One Road'." He added another ground for the U.S. opposition, when in an oblique reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship and pilot project of OBOR, that 'OBOR also goes through disputed territory'.


The statement of Secretary Mattis is surprising and inexplicable as it is contrary to previous American policy and both his reservations are quite baseless. Three aspects are noteworthy.

 

cpecandindoame.jpgWhen China hosted the OBOR Summit in Beijing in May 2017, with 110 countries and international organisations in attendance, the United States sent an official delegation led by Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to President Trump, and Senior Director in charge of East Asia in the National Security Council. His participation like that of other countries was an endorsement of OBOR and no reservations were expressed on this count.


Second, after the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty resulted in the decision to build new dams, the American government enlisted U.S. contractors to build the Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir, and the U.S. then never expressed reservations that it is 'disputed territory'.


Third, in no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe – all voluntarily part of OBOR – which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.


Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.


Mattis’ statement of October 3, comes on the heels of President Trump's August 21 South Asia strategy, where Trump handed over the Afghan policy's execution to the Pentagon, which, in turn, is keen to rope in the Indians as their 'junior partners' in this 'New Great Game'.


The U.S. has already announced a troop surge in Afghanistan, and the intention to stay put in Afghanistan for the long haul.


The U.S. military presence of some 16,000 will be supplemented by another 10,000 from its NATO allies, plus a matching presence of armed military contractors hired by the Pentagon, which means 50,000 plus men under arms. This presence will be beefed up by the under-construction American Embassy in Kabul, one of the biggest in the world.

 

CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opening to build better and more prosperous lives.

What would the American presence be in Afghanistan for? Obviously, the force won't be big or strong enough to militarily defeat the Taliban, who already control 45% of Afghanistan, so what else could keep them busy? An educated guess can read the military minds of the Trump Administration.


With 400 American military bases already circling China in Asia, the U.S. military presence is vital to keep an eye on China next door, since its sensitive Xinjiang province has a 90-kilometre border with Afghanistan on the Wakhan Corridor.


Additionally, with Trump bent upon scuttling the Iran nuclear deal, keeping an eye on Tehran would be an added incentive. And then with Putin being constantly demonised, Russia's 'near abroad' (the Central Asian Republics that border Afghanistan like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), would be another convenient target.

 

So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, while, India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.

Loud whispers from Washington also speak in hushed tones about what is being left unstated, namely, the Pakistan nuclear program. The American journalist, David Sanger, in his book 'Confront and Conceal', writes: "There was another reason to establish an 'enduring presence' in Afghanistan after 2014 – a reason the White House did not want to discuss. It was Pakistan. The United States could live with an Afghanistan that was messy, even with some parts of the country under de facto Taliban control once the international forces pulled back. But stability in Pakistan – and the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal – was another story. The American forces in Afghanistan had a role as a 'break the glass' emergency force if Pakistan and its (nuclear) arsenal, appeared to be coming apart at the seams".


In his analysis of the Trump strategy, informed American journalist David Ignatius wrote something similar in The Washington Post, August 23, 2017, about the prolonged U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: "It sustains a base that will allow the United States to keep watch on nearby Pakistani nuclear weapons".


With the balance of economic and political power shifting from the West to the East in the 21st Century, which is being talked about as the 'Asian Century', two clear trends are discernible, in fact, two distinctively different pathways to the future.

 

The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.

There is OBOR, which is promoting globalisation through corridors and connectivity with its centrepiece CPEC, seen as the hub of a new regionalism driven by economy and energy, ports and pipelines, roads and railways, pushing for progress and prosperity with win-win cooperation.


CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opportunity to build better and more prosperous lives.


Conversely, there is an attempt by the American military-industrial-complex to spark a new Cold War by conjuring up the 'China threat', seeking to contain China, whose centrepiece is the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), a military pact, signed by the United States and India in August 2016, which, for the first time, allows American access to military bases in India, something which India had long derided Pakistan for. So, now the United States and India are formally military allies.


So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, nor India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.


Additionally, the Modi regime has proven to be divisive by actively promoting politics of hate, bigotry and extremism against liberal Hindus (some independent voices like Arundhati Roy are either being stifled or driven out of India), Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.


The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.

 

The writer is Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Defence Committee. He is an eminent scholar and practitioner of international repute on issues of security, international relations and politics. He has been the Editor of a prestigious national English daily, and author of three books. As Leader of Pakistan's Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission at Geneva in 1993, he was proactive in promoting Pakistan's position on Kashmir and Siachen.

www.mushahidhussain.com

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

 
06
November

Written By: Sardar Masood Khan,

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir


There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and, despite the cyclical pattern of this relationship, both countries have accomplished many shared goals from time-to-time. Now being totally partisan to Pakistan’s strategic adversary does not sound like good judgement. Some semblance of balance would be a very healthy choice.

In a testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on October 3, 2017, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that “... the One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory and, I think, that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.” It was an indirect and fleeting reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as his main onslaught was China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR), saying, “In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘one belt, one road’.”


The remark pertaining to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was hailed in India as an endorsement of India’s opposition to the CPEC and as an indictment of both China and Pakistan. Indian analysts said that Mattis had made this statement following his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during his recent visit to India.

 

chinapakecocoridor.jpgIn Pakistan, expectedly, this remark kicked up a furore and the United States’ stance was widely repudiated because it was seen as Washington looking at the CPEC, a seminal undertaking for Pakistan, through the Indian Government’s prism. Pakistan officially stated that the CPEC was a project for development, prosperity and connectivity and highlighted the gross and massive violations of human rights by India in the Occupied Kashmir. China chose to downplay Mattis’ comment and Indian hype about it by saying that it was not trying to impose any project and pointed out that its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects were based on the concept of “discuss, build, share”. China has all along maintained that the CPEC is designed to promote economic cooperation and connectivity and that it has no links with the sovereignty issues.


Why did Defence Secretary Mattis make such a sweeping statement? To put things in perspective, he did so in response to a very pointed and detailed question asked by Senator Charles Peters regarding China’s policy on OBOR: “The One Belt, One Road strategy seeks to secure China’s control over both the continental and the maritime interest, in their eventual hope of dominating Eurasia and exploiting natural resources there, things that are certainly at odds with U.S. policy. So what role do you see China playing in Afghanistan, and particularly related to their One Belt, One Road?”


As is obvious from the context, the reference by Defence Secretary Mattis to the CPEC and Jammu and Kashmir is forced and gratuitous. This is also a departure from the United States’ traditional policy of not making public remarks about the CPEC, its reservations on it notwithstanding. Officially Washington has always been prudent in its pronouncements on CPEC and has in fact on occasions said that China and the United States’ interests converge in regard to Pakistan’s stability and prosperity. “Non-official Washington” of course has been concerned because of the perceptions that the project has made Pakistan more assertive, riled up India and left the U.S. disconcerted.

 

The inflows of investment in Pakistan will benefit China and other foreign investors, including from the United States. Under existing and new bilateral agreements, the U.S. should encourage its high-end corporate sector to participate in the CPEC projects, especially those related to energy, infrastructure, industrialisation and ICT. This would help create a win-win situation. The U.S. and Pakistan should revive their macroeconomic cooperation as part of their strategic engagement, as already agreed between the two sides.

In Pakistan, the reaction was neuralgic because the U.S. statement had touched a raw nerve and the Indian media celebrated that Washington had vindicated Delhi’s hostile stance towards Pakistan. This is no ordinary project; it is Pakistan’s Marshall Plan after being ravaged for nearly four decades by the toxic detritus of Afghan wars, terrorism, asymmetric warfare and slow economic growth. The project is to give a huge boost to Pakistan’s economy and put bread on the table for the poor and lower middle class people. More importantly, it would put Pakistan in the list of top twenty economies of the world, a place it deserves to secure because of its population of 200 million, pivotal geographic location, abundant natural resources and rich human resource. In that sense for all segments of Pakistani society, it is pretty much a bread and butter issue. By the end of 2016, all political parties of Pakistan and the provincial governments had forged consensus on the CPEC. Opposing CPEC amounts to snatching bread from Pakistan's table. Nobody would understand the strategy in this context.


There is no doubt that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and for the past 70 years its people have been waiting for a just and lasting solution on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolutions. Simultaneously, they have been demanding an end to India’s brutal repression in the occupied territory. The U.S. recognises Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and late last year President Donald Trump volunteered to mediate on Kashmir, an offer which was quickly rejected by India. But by any standard, it is counterintuitive to dictate that there should be no economic development in a disputed territory or that no foreign entrepreneurs should participate in economic enterprises in that region.

 

chinapakecocoridor1.jpgThis is skewed logic; because if that were an accepted political or legal norm at the international level, in the 1960s, Bennie and Partners of London would not have designed the Mangla Hydropower Dam, located in the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and it would not have been built by a U.S. consortium led by Guy Atkinson Company.


Neither international law nor judicial precedents and decisions nor practices in the disputed territories proscribe or limit economic transactions by third countries or nationals. Such activity is one hundred percent legitimate as witnessed in other disputed territories – Northern Cyprus, Nogorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, Crimea, Western Sahara, Palestine and the Falklands/Malvinas, to name a few. Foreign investment flows to these disputed lands have not been blocked. International law and state practices allow a permissive rather than a restrictive approach to third countries, international consortia and multilateral development banks. Pending resolution of a dispute, the people of the territory have their recognised rights to receive foreign investment and enter into economic and commercial agreements.


Raising his concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with President Xi Jing and Premier Li Keqiaq during his visit to Beijing in May 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had termed the project “unacceptable” because it was passing through a disputed territory. At that time, Mr. Modi sounded petty and his objections were brushed aside by the Chinese leaders by responding that it was only an economic project. Since then, India’s visceral and tenacious opposition to the project leads one to conclude that India does not want Pakistan or any other country in the region to prosper and succeed economically. After all, the Karakoram Highway passing through the same territory has been operational since the late 1970s but India’s hostility to it was never so vehement as it is for the CPEC. The only difference between the Highway and the Corridor is that the latter promises more prosperity for Pakistan and has the potential to make Pakistan a regional investment and commercial hub.


The U.S. has a robust trade relationship with China; and it officially attended the Belt and Road Initiative Forum hosted by Chinese leadership in Beijing in May this year. Prior to attending the Forum, the U.S. Government said that it recognised the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative. Besides, the UN Security Council in March this year endorsed OBOR and the U.S. went along. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the UN, after the adoption of the resolution in New York, said that support to the “Chinese concept” of OBOR by the Security Council showed “consensus of the international community” and recognised “huge Chinese contribution to the global governance”. The CPEC is the flagship project and an integral part of OBOR and it too would contribute to global economy. Disaffection with both of them seems to be an afterthought which would not serve long-term U.S. interests.

 

Pakistan and China are leveraging their economic geography to make Pakistan a part of regional logistical value chains, but India invokes the disputed nature of Gilgit-Baltistan, while itself obdurately impeding a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan should steer clear of this provocation and indeed a trap, stay the course, and not be distracted by India’s attempts to embroil it in a conflict with the malign intent to deny Pakistan a historic opportunity to realise its full potential as an emerging economic power.

It is not appropriate for Pakistan, or for that matter Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, to tell major global powers what is in their best interest, but neither should Pakistan be hectored about what development projects it should implement for its people and what foreign development partners it should choose. Pakistan has not been directly criticised by any country except India for embracing CPEC. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Far East see huge opportunity in it. India is in the habit of blowing out of proportion even the slightest critique of OBOR and CPEC.

To show the significance it attaches to the BRI, in October this year the Communist Party of China incorporated it in its constitution. This should bring some relief to the Pakistanis distressed after the U.S. statement on the CPEC.


The real value of the CPEC is that it will help usher in an era of social stability and help Pakistan put itself firmly in the league of emerging economies. Pakistan has transitioned from being a frontier market to an emerging economy, as per a determination made by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) early this year. The CPEC provides space to Pakistan to grow to its potential. Pakistan’s private sector will gather mass and traction, which in turn would help eliminate poverty and wean elements in the youth of violence and extremism. Economic progress, coupled with enhanced good governance, will bolster Pakistan as a pillar of peace and security in the region; and Pakistan would become a connective node for adjoining neighbourhoods.


These developments should in fact create a new convergence between Pakistan, China and the U.S., as well as between South Asia and Central Asia. Pakistan is important for the U.S. as a positive force in the region and in the Muslim world, not just as a stakeholder in regard to the situation in Afghanistan.


The inflows of investment in Pakistan will benefit China and other foreign investors, including from the United States. Under existing and new bilateral agreements, the U.S. should encourage its high-end corporate sector to participate in the CPEC projects, especially those related to energy, infrastructure, industrialisation and ICT. This would help create a win-win situation. The U.S. and Pakistan should revive their macroeconomic cooperation as part of their strategic engagement, as already agreed between the two sides.


In the past, the U.S. has shown interest in helping Pakistan enhance its economic connectivity in the region through the Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, the Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA) and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline project, among others. The CPEC and all these projects are complementary and in fact the CPEC will not only buttress them but open new avenues for growth, investment and prosperity.
Let India remain a spoiler for the time being, until it realises that this game-changing mega-project, the CPEC, will benefit her too in the long run.


The CPEC is driven by geoeconomics, not geopolitics. Yet, some would say that this mega-project tends to obscure the distinction between the two. Pakistan and China are leveraging their economic geography to make Pakistan a part of regional logistical value chains, but India invokes the disputed nature of Gilgit-Baltistan, while itself obdurately impeding a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan should steer clear of this provocation and indeed a trap, stay the course, and not be distracted by India’s attempts to embroil it in a conflict with the malign intent to deny Pakistan a historic opportunity to realise its full potential as an emerging economic power.


It is not appropriate for Pakistan, or for that matter Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, to tell major global powers what is in their best interest, but neither should Pakistan be hectored about what development projects it should implement for its people and what foreign development partners it should choose. Pakistan has not been directly criticised by any country except India for embracing CPEC. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Far East see huge opportunity in it. India is in the habit of blowing out of proportion even the slightest critique of OBOR and CPEC. Defence Secretary Mattis’ remark got Pakistan worried only because of the United States’ growing India-centric policies which hurt Pakistan’s interests.


There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and, despite the cyclical pattern of this relationship, both countries have accomplished many shared goals from time to time. Now being totally partisan to Pakistan’s strategic adversary does not sound like good judgement. Some semblance of balance would be a very healthy choice.


China’s counsel in regard to the new international order is sound: major countries should cooperate rather than confront each other. Talking to digital economy entrepreneurs in September 2015, President Xi Jinping had said, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap1 in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.” China has no appetite for building an empire; and the days of empires, even of virtual empires, are long gone.

 

Pakistan’s friendship with China will remain resilient as ever; and Pakistan is on the right track to explore more partnerships in the region and beyond, not just to safeguard CPEC, but to reach its destination of a developed economy and optimum human development.

A confrontation between the U.S. and China is by no means inevitable nor desirable. No doubt there is turbulence in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. But China is cautious and the U.S. is decreasing its fixation with the pivot to Asia. A delicate nuclear balance makes an all out war unimaginable. And yet a catastrophe is looming and it can be averted not by opposing but by backing One Belt, One Road which creates jobs and businesses for the most marginalised segments of society across Asia and Africa by developing infrastructure and investing in energy, industry, agriculture and telecommunications. The project itself is a catalyst and a roadmap for transformation. It does not foist a single country monopoly or ownership. It is not exclusive; it is inclusive and it does not preclude, nor it can, construction of new transportation corridors by other countries.


To the opinion leaders and analysts in Pakistan, I would say that while remaining vigilant, they should not torture themselves by building wild and doomsday scenarios. The CPEC is there to stay and will reach fruition. Let’s also remember that, despite being a transformative project, the CPEC is a building block and a massive stimulus in Pakistan’s economy, but it is not the whole economy, which will have a much larger scale in the decades to come. Keeping this larger picture in mind, it would be judicious to have a working and workable relationship with the U.S., which Pakistan, as an emerging major economic and political power, would need to operate in the international milieu. Pakistan’s friendship with China will remain resilient as ever; and Pakistan is on the right track to explore more partnerships in the region and beyond, not just to safeguard CPEC, but to reach its destination of a developed economy and optimum human development.

 

The writer is the President of the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and former Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

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

 

1 When a rising power emerges and is perceived to be threatening the interests of a rival existing power (or powers), the most likely outcome is war. “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this instilled in Sparta, that made war inevitable.” - Thucydides

 
05
October
October 2017(EDITION 10, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
Pakistan’s contributions to the global war on terror are matchless and phenomenal. In the last 16 years, thousands have lost their lives in the country’s fight against the world’s most notorious terrorist groups. On the internal front, Pakistan Army launched ....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Gen Talat Masood (R)
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been one of the most discussed and written topics in Pakistan. It has been subject of great interest and also apprehension by friends and foes of Pakistan. Few enterprises have been viewed so dramatically different as CPEC.....Read full article
 
Dr. Nazir Hussain & Amna Javed
The national narrative depicts the consensus and resolve of the nation for its future progression and sets the direction for its role in the regional and global dynamics. It describes a nation’s prized values and norms through history and paves the way for future direction.....Read full article
 
Written By: Hussain H. Zaidi
Like it or lump it, the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan are increasingly becoming susceptible to religious extremism. The 2015 Safoora Chowk carnage, the shocking death of Mashal Khan at the hands of his fellow students, and the recent....Read full article
 
Written By: Waseem Iftikhar
Before theorizing structural violence, Johan Galtung talked about Personal or Direct Violence. Defining violence he argued that, “Violence is present when human beings are being influenced so that their actual somatic and mental realizations....Read full article
 
Written By: Raheel Suleman
Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass, is susceptible to environmental hazards such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, heat waves, cold waves and droughts.....Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
There is no shortage of commentary and outrage on the horrific atrocities being perpetrated on the Rohingyas. Hunted by a malevolent regime that specializes in ethnic cleansing, the Rohingyas are being subjected to pogroms, rapes and summary executions aimed at forcing them....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Rizwana Karim Abbasi
What purpose did Short Range Nuclear Weapons (SRNWs) or Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) play in the history of nations’ security policy? Why did the U.S. make the TNWs during the Cold War? Did this weapon introduce stabilizing or destabilizing effects? During the ......Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Mehmood
In the midst of slow socio-economic growth, negative export growth and rising unemployment, Pakistan has signed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with China as a part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. OBOR is not merely a trade connectivity route, it has a pro-development.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Complete unanimity of views on the basics of a polity between the lender and his chief lieutenant is a phenomenon that seldom occurs. For instance, it did not in the case of Gandhi and Nehru, Soekarno and Nasir, Naguib and Nasser, Ben Bella and Boumediene. But it did.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maryam Razzaq
China has been a time-tested friend of Pakistan and it acknowledges Pakistan’s historical recognition of China’s republican transition in 1949. While people of both countries enjoy traditional eastern cultures, their state-to-state relations are cemented at an even deeper....Read full article
 
A two week long joint exercise DRUZBA 2017 between special forces of Pakistan and Russian Armies started in Minralney Vody, Russia. The opening ceremony was attended by senior military officials of special forces of both countries. The joint exercise will focus on counter terrorism....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)
During Operation Rah-e-Nijat, after initial phases, search and cordon operations began in South Waziristan Agency. In Kotkai area search began in a house located at the end of the village, that stretched along the highroad, over a hill point.....Read full article
 
Written By: Muhammad Yusuf Malik
Launch ceremony of the book “Kashmir Crisis (Unresolved Issue of Muslim Ummah) Opinions & Analysis” written by Mr. Omar Mohammad Nazzal Al Armouti was held at Amman, Jordan on August 16, 2017. The event was attended by approximately 600 individuals from all walks.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Umar Ismail Sajid Garewal, Lt Col Shaukat Naeem Khan & Lt Col Muhammad Farid
akistan’s journey with UN peacekeeping began in July 1960 when first Pakistani contingent was deployed in Congo. Since then, Pakistan has contributed more than 160,000 troops in 41 UN missions in 23 different countries. 144 Pakistani peacekeepers including 23 officers have sacrificed their lives while.....Read full article
 
Written By: Capt Ali Ahmed Malik
"Because I don’t fit in your definition of normal," throwing pebbles in the water, gazing at the horizon, with his thoughts at unrest, being at par with the oceanic waves in front, his words disappearing in the sound of splashes, still being the only sound making sense to his fiancée’s ears. He continued "Someday I may meet your standards of being normal", as he sat facing her.....Read full article
 
Report by: Asif Sohail
After determined and successful conclusion of Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists in North Waziristan and ongoing successful Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, it became imperative to demonstrate before the world that peace has been restored and the.....Read full article

 
Written By: Omair Alavi
Cricket may not be the national sport of Pakistan but it is celebrated as one, considering it is one of those sports where Pakistan has excelled in all formats. During the last few months, Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading cricket teams – Misbah-ul-Haq held the Test Mace last.........Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed
Biologically speaking, life started when some complex chemical molecules in the primordial soup in high energy environment of the hot deep-sea plumes mimicked a biological cell and divided into two. Biological division of a cell is the starting and crowning point of life. Progressively.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
The Pakistan cricket team hasn’t played a Test match against India since 2006. India considers Pakistan to be an unsafe place to tour and has often accused Pakistan of facilitating ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir. Pakistan accuses India of the same, especially after .....Read full article
 
H.E. Mr. Muhammad Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. During the meeting, matters related to regional security with emphasis on human rights violations by.....Read full article
 
H. E. Mr. Martin Kobler, German Ambassador to Pakistan met Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on September 21, 2017. Issues of mutual interest including security situation were discussed. The ambassador said that ‘Germany is grateful to Pakistan for its fight against.....Read full article
 
Lieutenant Arsalan Alam Satti Shaheed was buried with full military honours after namaz-e-janaza in his native town Ghell, New Murree. He embraced shahadat while he was participating in Operation Khyber IV in Rajgal Valley....Read full article
 
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force held meetings with the government and military officials of Azerbaijan during his official visit to the brotherly country.......Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited parents of Lieutenant Arsalan Alam shaheed on September 25, 2017 at his village near Murree who embraced shahadat at ....Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy conducted the premier Maritime Security Workshop (MARSEW) on the theme “Secure Seas – Prosperous Pakistan” at Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore. MARSEW continued from September 11-25, with the aim to create maritime awareness, enlighten the participants.....Read full article
 
Colombo Defence Seminar 2017 was held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) from August 28-29, 2017. The seminar, which was initiated as an annual forum in the year 2011 by the Sri Lankan Army, has grown into an internationally accepted round-table for interaction on matters pertaining to national....Read full article
 
Around 75 participants of National Security Workshop headed by Maj Gen Samrez Salik, HI (M), DG ISSRA (Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis), National Defence University visited Gilgit. The participants were briefed in HQ FCNA about the role of FCNA in Gilgit-Baltistan....Read full article
 
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) inducted and commissioned two Ex-U.S. Island Class policing ships – Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) Sabqat and PMSS Rafaqat. These ships, after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, have undergone complete overhaul....Read full article
 
The Pak-China Joint Air Exercise “Shaheen-VI”, commenced at Korla Air Base, China in the month of September 2017. PAF contingent comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew participated in this bilateral exercise. JF-17 Thunder, Mirage....Read full article
 
There is a palpable sense of resurgence and normalcy in all fields of our social life owing to great sacrifices of our men in uniform. Men in red track suits have also not lagged behind to bring back peace and élan to project soft image of Pakistan.....Read full article
 
05
October

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The Pakistan cricket team hasn’t played a Test match against India since 2006. India considers Pakistan to be an unsafe place to tour and has often accused Pakistan of facilitating ‘terrorism’ in Kashmir. Pakistan accuses India of the same, especially after capturing an Indian spy in 2016 who confessed of funding and facilitating terrorist groups in Balochistan and Karachi.


India’s concern that Pakistan is unsafe for cricket is ironic because never has any Indian cricket squad been threatened with violence in Pakistan; whereas it was in India that the Pakistani cricketers were threatened in 1999, 2013 and then again during the 2016 T20 World Cup held there.

intothesnake.jpg
One of the most prominent examples in this respect stretches back to Pakistan’s 1999 tour of India where it played 3 Test matches. This was Pakistan’s first Test tour of India after 1987. The relations between the two countries had nosedived in 1998 when both the governments conducted multiple nuclear tests.


In January 1999, a 16-men-squad captained by Wasim Akram landed in New Delhi. The players had not even left the city’s Indira Gandhi Airport when reports of a possible attack on the team’s hotel began to circulate. Newspapers had earlier quoted some members of a Hindu nationalist group in Delhi who said they would storm the hotel where the Pakistani players were to stay and put them back on a plane to Pakistan.


Even though the players managed to make it to the hotel, Shiv Sena activists entered the stadium in Delhi (which was to host the second Test) and dug up the pitch, destroying it completely. Then as the Pakistani players flew to Chennai to play the first game, a Hindu nationalist outfit asked the spectators to stay away from the game because they were going to release hundreds of poisonous snakes in the stands.


After the police closely inspected the stands, the Pakistan’s squad reached Chennai’s Chidambaram Stadium to play the team’s first Test match in India after 11 years. The stands were packed with people, even though security personnel could be seen on the concrete gables above the stands and outside Pakistan team’s dressing room.


The pitch had some grass on it but seemed good for batting. Akram won the toss and elected to bat. Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi opened the batting for Pakistan. But with the score at 32, Afridi was squared up by a zippy Srinath out-swinger and caught by Ganguly at first slip. At 41 Pakistan lost Anwar and then quickly collapsed to 91 for 5.


Yousaf Youhana (later Muhammad Yousaf) and wicket-keeper Moin Khan stabled things a bit for the tourists and took the score to 154 when Yousaf was trapped LBW. Moin was joined by Akram and both pushed the score to 214 before India managed to dislodge Moin for a gritty 60. However, Pakistan were eventually bundled out for just 238 an hour before the close of the first day’s play. In this hour Indian openers struck a quick 48.


Pakistan got its first breakthrough in the first session of the second day’s play when Akram removed the stylish Laxman with the score at 67. 67 for 1 soon became 71 for 2 when Akram also removed the second opener, Sadagoppan Ramesh. Almost immediately, prodigious off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq got the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, caught by Saleem Malik. India was now tottering at 72 for 3. Azharuddin went at 103 but Dravid and Ganguly managed to stem the rot and pushed the score past 150 when Dravid fell, padding up to a straight one from Saqlain.


Ganguly’s fifty and some last minute hitting from Sunil Joshi helped India reach 254 (all out), gaining a 26 runs lead. Saqlain picked up five wickets. In its second innings, Pakistan lost Saeed Anwar early and at the end of the second day’s play Pakistan were 34 for 1, just 8 runs ahead.


After the day’s play Akram was quoted by Indian newspapers as saying that Pakistani players were still receiving threats of violence but the team had decided to just concentrate on playing cricket. On day 3 of the Test, Ijaz Ahmed was sent packing very early but Inzamam-ul-Haq and the 20-year-old Shahid Afridi added a quick-fire 92 for the fourth wicket, both sprinting past their fifties in style.


With the score at 139, Inzamam fell but Afridi continued to score freely. He soon posted his first ever Test century. But when Afridi lost his wicket with the score at 279, rest of the batting collapsed. Pakistan were all out for 286. India had 271 to chase with two days of the Test remaining. Now favorites to win the Test, India’s chase began disastrously. Rippers from Akram’s fellow fast bowler Waqar Younus removed the Indian openers cheaply. At the close of the third day’s play, India were reeling at 40 for 2. On day 4, Pakistan reduced India to 82 for 5 by lunch. The Pakistani players were jubilant and enjoyed their lunch. But Akram told a BBC reporter that the political and sporting pressure on his men and him was immense. But now they were sensing a win.


However, after the lunch break, as Tendulkar and Mongia went about repairing India’s innings, Pakistan began to slightly panic. The pair first took India past 150 and then 200. Soon, India just needed 52 to win with five wickets still in hand.


Tendulkar was playing brilliantly; middling the ball and making the Pakistani bowlers (suddenly) look rather ordinary. He quickly reached his century. Mongia began playing his shots as well but with the score at 218 he tried to loft Akram out of the ground but only managed to sky the ball towards Waqar who ran in and held the most important catch at mid-off.


Joshi came in and just blocked, letting a Tendulkar do all the scoring. The pair took the score past 250. Then at 254 India just needed 16 to win and it still had four wickets in hand. Surely, Pakistan was staring at defeat now? It seemed that way until Tendulkar tried to lift Saqlain over mid-on for a boundary. The ball seemed to hang high in the air for ages. Akram ran in and placed himself underneath it and cupped it successfully. A deafening silence descended over the packed stands.


Just two runs later, Pakistan grabbed another two quick wickets, leaving India 14 to get and with just one wicket in hand. The tables were being turned. Srinath and Prasad added two runs and India now needed 12. But Saqlain produced a jumpy off-break to Srinath which the batsman went back to defend. He was successful, but the ball hit the ground and rolled back to hit the stumps. Pakistan won.


It was the most esthetic victory for a team under threat of violence. Even though Pakistan lost in Delhi it came back to post a win in Kolkata. Pakistan’s manager, Shahryar Khan later wrote that this was the tensest and most stressful series he had ever been a part of. He added that relations between the two teams were cordial but the crowds (especially in Delhi and Kolkata) were hostile and threats of violence from Hindu nationalists never stopped. But Pakistan managed to come out the better side.

 

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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05
October

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed

Biologically speaking, life started when some complex chemical molecules in the primordial soup in high energy environment of the hot deep-sea plumes mimicked a biological cell and divided into two. Biological division of a cell is the starting and crowning point of life. Progressively thereafter, the high energy environment led to the explosion from simple single-cell life to complex multicellular forms that include mammals. There are over a trillion cells in the human body and the growth in the growing years and ageing in waning years still takes place at the cell level through healthy division, sluggish division or mutation as the case might be.


When a fertilized egg cell divides at the starting point of conceptual life, slight imperfection in division known as mutation causes genetic variations leading to a wide array of biodiversity. The body remains youthful as long as the adult cells continue to divide efficiently. However, brain cells do not divide as the production of new cells could result in the loss of memory. The synaptic connections continually reformat that maintains the brain health and function. This reformatting takes place during sleep at night and deeper the sleep, better is the mending of the brain. Similarly, cells of the heart muscles also do not divide, possibly because the fresh cells created might not be strong enough to contract to the required extent as the old cells for sustaining the required pressure in the blood vessels. It is now considered that about 3% of the heart cells do divide but that is not enough to repair the damage suffered in a heart attack. If a way could be found to induce the heart cells to divide, it could lead to the repairing of the damage to the heart suffered in an heart attack without any surgical intervention. Rest all cells in the body continue to divide during the life. Progressively with age, cells become sluggish or stop to divide that causes ageing. The retired cells reside next to the active cells which in due course become sites for inflammation that causes myriad problems and damages to the body tissues.

 

It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration.

Human Growth Hormones (HGH) operate at cell level and stimulate active cells to prolong their life of efficient division. The body produces its own growth hormones which provide a good index of ageing in advancing years. Although, one could take HGH as supplements also but this is not as effective in prolonging youthfulness as the body’s own energized growth hormones.


The central idea of this article is that there are ways through which one could stimulate body’s own growth hormones. This secret was revealed during the biological experiment of the procreation of the sheep ‘Dolly’ in 1996 by a team of British scientists. They picked two genetically different types of sheep and started with an egg cell of one sheep but enucleated it by removing the nucleus, leaving only the proteins inside the cell membrane. Then they took the differentiated adult cell from the mammary gland of the second sheep and inserted the nucleus of this adult cell into the enucleated cell of the other sheep. They were trying to grow the clone of the sheep that had provided the adult cell. Cloning of a mammal from its adult cell had never been achieved before this experiment.


During the course of the frustrating experiments, hundreds of attempts led to no breakthrough as the adult cell did not start dividing to replicate life. What they observed in these failed attempts provides a very intelligent clue to the secret of the cell division. When there was excessive protein food around the adult cell nucleus, the cell would grow bigger and bigger, become sluggish and not divide. On the other hand when there was too little protein food, the adult cell became emaciated and died. When they accidently hit upon the optimal level of the protein food, the miracle happened and the cell started dividing that led to the development of 'Dolly'. The sheep lived about six years and produced 5 lambs.


These observations provided an evidence that excessive food protein or very low food protein suppress growth hormones leading to lethargy, inactivity or death of adult cells in human body. It points to the secret of finding an optimal level of food protein to stimulate the health of the body cells. The individuals who consume excessive food suffer from inactive cells which becomes the cause of various health issues and faster ageing. The starvation on the other hand causes early death of body cells leading to the loss of muscles and bone mass that advances the process of ageing.


It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration. Translating it into a daily routine the requirement can be achieved if one takes the last meal of the day along with the required amount of water in the late afternoon at say 5p.m. and the only second meal of the breakfast at 9a.m. Except these two timed meals one observes intermittent fast. Apart from energizing growth hormones it has other spectacular health effects. Between 5p.m. and sleep, say at 9p.m., the food gets digested and there is no need for the heart to continue to pump the blood into stomach during the sleep. When one goes to sleep with all the food digested, the heart, kidneys and the brain all can sleep at night. The sleep is undisturbed and one gets up very fresh the next morning. This quality of sleep is conducive to synaptic reformatting and the repairs in the brain. This routine can improve health, check or slow ageing and increase active hours adding vitality to life.


As a general guide, eating moderately especially in advancing years is a recipe for better health. Most health issues arise from eating excessively especially the unhealthy food. We heard a golden rule from the elders to stop eating, leaving some appetite unsatisfied. Energizing body's own growth hormones is an effective way to slow down ageing and prolong healthy life. Although the humanity continues to make spectacular advances for treating diseases there ought to be sufficient development for promoting a style of life that supports good health in the first place. A flurry of fads, exacerbated by the globally connected social media, often sponsored by vested interest-groups continue to add confusion to what to eat and how much to eat. An intelligent recourse to eating less and selectively would save resources, increase food security and above all promote health and extend useful life span adding to the well-being of the human society. Eating less is the end secret.

 

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.

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05
October

Written By: Omair Alavi

Cricket may not be the national sport of Pakistan but it is celebrated as one, considering it is one of those sports where Pakistan has excelled in all formats. During the last few months, Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading cricket teams – Misbah-ul-Haq held the Test Mace last year while Sarfraz lifted the ICC Champions Trophy by defeating arch-rival India a few months back. Naturally, the followers of Pakistan cricket team were anxious to see their players in action at home, and the issue was resolved by the Pakistan Cricket Board in general and Najam Sethi in particular who convinced the best players in the world to visit Pakistan and set an example for others to follow. Let’s analyze the World XI tour and find out how it will help Pakistan cricket in coming days.

 

The security was excellent and the players and the officials felt at home in Lahore. Had there been a lapse in security, things would have gone haywire but thanks to the Pakistan Army and Law Enforcement Agencies, everything happened according to their plan.

The Matches
First Match: The World XI won the toss and elected to field in the first match of the series; Pakistan had a shaky start as they lost their swashbuckling opening batsman Fakhar Zaman for 8. However, Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam took the score forward and when the former was dismissed for a 34-ball 39, the team total was 130 for 2 in 14.1 overs. Hard hitting from the experienced Shoaib Malik and an entertaining 52-ball 86 by Babar Azam saw Pakistan post 197 runs on the board for the loss of 5 wickets. The World XI started well but with Rumman Raees, Sohail Khan and Shadab Khan in the form of their lives, the visitors could only score 177 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs. Captain Faf du Plessis and Darren Sammy managed to top score with 29 runs each and although Sammy was there until the end, he couldn't save his team from going one-down in the three-match series.


Second Match: Then there was the second match where the World XI looked better prepared than the hosts. Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed elected to bat first and thanks to Babar Azam's 45, Ahmed Shehzad's 43 and Shoaib Malik's 39, the hosts posted a healthy score of 174 for the loss of six wickets. The visitors managed to reach the target on the penultimate delivery of the match, thanks to a quick-fire 19-ball 47 not-out by Thishara Perera; although Hashim Amla scored 72 runs off 55 deliveries and remained not-out, Perera's innings changed the momentum and helped the World XI level the series with a 7-wicket win. Pakistani fielders couldn't take the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd and dropped many catches, resulting in a loss that could have been a victory.


Third Match: Pakistan outclassed World XI in the grand finale of the Independence Cup; the visitors managed to win the toss and elected to field but the decision cost them the series as Ahmed Shehzad struck 8 fours and 3 sixes in his 55-ball 89. Babar Azam ably supported him and continued his golden run with the bat with a 31-ball 48. Chasing 184 to win the match and the series, the World XI faltered in front of the much-improved bowling and fielding display from the hosts. David Miller and Thishara Perera were the only ones to show some resistance with 32 runs each; due to the failure of the rest of the team, the World XI managed 150 runs for the loss of eight wickets, losing the match by 33 runs. Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets for 28 runs.


The Positives
Breaking the Barrier for Good!
For more than 8 years, Pakistan’s Cricket team has been playing its home series away from home because international teams didn’t think it was a safe place to visit and play. There were a few instances where international teams such as Zimbabwe visited Pakistan for T20 and ODIs but that wasn’t enough to convince the best in the world. That’s one of the reasons why the ICC was approached with the idea for the Independence Cup – independence from being ignored, independence from being isolated and independence from being dictated to play away from home. The best players in the world agreed to visit Pakistan led by South African captain Faf du Plessis and the rest is history. The Sri Lankans currently playing Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates also have agreed to visit Pakistan for the T20 Internationals and their tour is subject to security clearance. The West Indians might also visit Pakistan later in the year and if that happens, cricket will turn out to be the eventual winner.

cricreturntopak.jpg
International Level Coverage and Security
The grand finale of the Pakistan Super League was a disappointing affair as international broadcasters refused to travel to Pakistan and the host nation had to rely on local broadcasters who couldn’t take the pressure of international level coverage. However, in the matches between Pakistan and the World XI, the coverage was at par with any international sports channel. The greenery of the stadium was televised as green (pun intended) while the players really looked like international cricketers donning the Pakistan jersey. The security was excellent and the players and the officials felt at home in Lahore. Had there been a lapse in security, things would have gone haywire but thanks to the Pakistan Army and Law Enforcement Agencies, everything happened according to their plan.


Dream Come True for Most Players
UAE may be Pakistan’s home away from home but playing in front of the local crowd has a different feeling. From the current team only Sarfraz Ahmed, Sohail Khan and Shoaib Malik had played in front of local crowds in Pakistan before the World XI series. The rest of players who made their debut after 2009 felt proud as well since the cheering of the local crowd, their involvement, their appreciation is what cricketers around the world long for. Add to this the outstanding performance of youngsters making their debut at home and you get to see a fancy picture of Pakistan Cricket where everyone is a match-winning individual with the potential to give tough time to anyone, anywhere, anytime.


Youngsters Who Perform, Get Praised
The Independence Cup helped Pakistanis know what the whole world knows and that’s the fact that Babar Azam is a world-class cricketer. He may have missed scoring a century in the series but his consistency helped Pakistan coming out as the better team. Thanks to his 89 runs in the grand finale, Ahmed Shehzad ended the series as the second highest scorer – 171 runs to Babar Azam's 179. Shoaib Malik strengthened the middle-order with his gutsy innings and scored 94 runs in the series at a strike rate of 188. That was the best from the entire Pakistan side.


As for the bowlers, Rumman Raees emerged as one of the leading The top T20 bowler in the world, Imad Wasim took two wickets, the same number of wickets were taken by Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan. The crowd appreciated Hasan Ali’s celebration style and loved watching young sensation Shadab at home, something they termed priceless after the series.


The Negatives
Multiple matches, Multiple Venues
As a top cricket nation, Pakistan went into seclusion after the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. The Board’s decision to restrict international cricket to Lahore for logistics purposes was understandable but then it should have hosted just one match instead of three. There are many cricket crazy cities in Pakistan including Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad etc. and hosting matches in those cities would have been like giving importance to their residents. The Multan stadium is outside the city and would have been ideal to host the match(es) as would have been Karachi’s National Stadium where the last complete Test hosted in Pakistan was held. The more the venues, the better the message would have been to the international community.


Ticket Fiasco
Pakistan Cricket Board blundered by pricing the tickets high and they had to admit to the fiasco as the series progressed. Even the visiting team’s captain was surprised to see that the stadium wasn’t full in the first match and the Board’s overconfidence is to be blamed for that. Many of the tickets were not available at the designated banks but that’s something that has been part and parcel of Pakistan Cricket, be it in the 1980s or 2010s. One hopes that the next time when an international team visits Pakistan, such issues would not arise due to better handling.


Overall, the PCB deserves full appreciation for making this mega event a success. Pakistan won, Cricket won; and Peace won!

 

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05
October
Pakistani Athletics Team Wins 4 Gold Medals in Indoor Asian Games

newspakateletewins.jpgThere is a palpable sense of resurgence and normalcy in all fields of our social life owing to great sacrifices of our men in uniform. Men in red track suits have also not lagged behind to bring back peace and élan to project soft image of Pakistan to the whole world. In the recently concluded indoor Asian Games at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, three out of four flying horses of Pakistan Army helped Pakistani Athletics Team win 4 gold medals in 400 meter relay race. This feat was achieved after almost 3 decades; last time was when a Pakistani policeman secured a gold medal in 1990 Asian Games for Pakistan. Gunner Nokar Hussain, Lance Naik Mehboob Ali and Sepoy Nishat Ali also won silver medals in Islamic Solidarity Games in February 2017.

 

Army Sports Directorate, since then pinned hopes to win a gold medal at continent level games, which they did. This is second gold medal won by Pakistan Army at continent level games in less than two years. First being won by Sepoy Muhammad Afzal in triple jump in 1st Youth Asian Games 2015. Though, during this time Pakistani athletes have won many medals in different events but winning gold medal at Asian Games and World/Olympic games has its unique flavor. When the green flag flies higher than the rest and national anthem is played, patriotic emotions are electrified and work as a fillip for others to perform equally well.

05
October
Pak-China Joint Air Exercise ‘Shaheen-VI’

newspakchinjointexc.jpgThe Pak-China Joint Air Exercise “Shaheen-VI”, commenced at Korla Air Base, China in the month of September 2017. PAF contingent comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew participated in this bilateral exercise. JF-17 Thunder, Mirage, F-7PG and ZDK aircraft from Pakistan Air Force along with People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s J-8, J-11, JH-7 and KJ-200 AWACS aircraft took part in the air exercise. The exercise further strengthened the working relationship between both the Air Forces and helped in learning from each other’s experiences.


Pakistan Air Force emphasizes on the combat training of its air and ground crew and regularly undertakes air exercises with Air Forces of friendly countries. “Shaheen-VI” is the sixth in the series of joint air exercises with PLAAF, which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis. PLAAF contingent participated in “Shaheen-V” which was conducted in Pakistan last year.

 

 

 
05
October
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Inducts Two Island Class Ships

Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) inducted and commissioned two Ex-U.S. Island Class policing ships – Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) Sabqat and PMSS Rafaqat. These ships, after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, have undergone complete overhaul in the USA prior to being sold to the PMSA.

 

newspakmartimesec.jpgPMSA is a maritime Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) raised in 1987 under the ambit of Ministry of Defence and is akin to coast guard agencies of the world. The Agency is mandated to safeguard good order against criminal activities like poaching, smuggling, narco-trafficking within maritime expanse of Pakistan. The Agency functions with patronage of Pakistan Navy, and it undertakes a number of benign operations also at sea including search and rescue, prevention of marine pollution, protection of fishermen and assistance to other state departments.


Induction and commissioning ceremony for the new ships was held at Karachi on September 22, 2017. Vice Admiral Tayyab Ali Dogar was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Senior military, government officials, and U.S. Consul General also attended the ceremony. Director General PMSA, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar addressed the gathering and acknowledged the government’s efforts and support of Pakistan Navy in optimising operational resources of PMSA to safeguard the maritime security compulsions and CPEC imperatives. This will add a great deal to the security fiber not only for the CPEC but for all maritime zones of Pakistan.


DG PMSA, Rear Admiral Raja Jamil Akhtar said that in light of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), PMSA’s importance and responsibility has increased manifold. To fulfill these challenges, PMSA has been working aggressively on resource-building and fleet expansion. These Island Class ships are equipped with latest technologies and capabilities that enable them to effectively undertake patrolling, surveillance, search and rescue, and other law enforcement operations.


With these 2 ships, a total of 5 modern ships have been inducted in the PMSA fleet during this year. Earlier this year, 3 maritime patrol ships from China – PMSS BASOL, HINGOL and DASHT have been inducted to existing fleet of Shanghai Class corvettes being operated by PMSA for constabulary and benign operations in the maritime zones of Pakistan. A number of PMSA platforms are under construction at Karachi shipyard and in China. The biggest ship Kashmir, weighing 1500 tonnes, is under construction and would soon join PMSA fleet enhancing maritime security capability of Pakistan. DG PMSA said that PMSA also suggested that they plan to improve upon the present aviation wing of 3 fixed-wing Defender aircraft.

05
October
National Security Workshop Participants from NDU Visit HQ FCNA
newsnationalsecwork.jpgAround 75 participants of National Security Workshop headed by Maj Gen Samrez Salik, HI (M), DG ISSRA (Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis), National Defence University visited Gilgit. The participants were briefed in HQ FCNA about the role of FCNA in Gilgit-Baltistan. In a question-answer session, Commander FCNA, Maj Gen Saqib Mehmood Malik briefed the participants regarding operational readiness of the troops. The participants were highly appreciative of FCNA for the role it is playing in development/uplift of Gilgit-Baltistan besides fulfilling operational obligations along with efforts for ensuring peace and stability in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

05
October
Colombo Defence Seminar 2017

newscolombodefseminar.jpgColombo Defence Seminar 2017 was held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) from August 28-29, 2017. The seminar, which was initiated as an annual forum in the year 2011 by the Sri Lankan Army, has grown into an internationally accepted round-table for interaction on matters pertaining to national, regional and international security. This year 87 delegates from 17 countries participated in the seminar in different capacities. President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest for inaugural session.


The seminar served as an audience for providing intellectual connectivity amongst those who seek strategic, sub-regional, regional, and global partnerships by assembling noticeable national and international scholars, think-tanks, and diplomats around this particular theme. The seminar was designed with sequenced sessions comprising presentations, panel discussions, and participant-oriented group discussions to optimize the discourse and to enhance knowledge on the entire gamut of “Violent Extremism” and its influence on global peace.


Three members delegation from Pakistan headed by Brig Shahzada Shahid Nawaz (accompanied by Col Sajjad Ali, DA) participated in the discussion, whereas Lt Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt, Commander 11 Corps represented the COAS at the seminar as special guest. Mr. Muhammad Abbas Hassan was invited by SLA as lecturer on extremism-based issues related to West Asia.

05
October
Maritime Security Workshop 2017

Pakistan Navy conducted the premier Maritime Security Workshop (MARSEW) on the theme “Secure Seas – Prosperous Pakistan” at Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore. MARSEW continued from September 11-25, with the aim to create maritime awareness, enlighten the participants on vast maritime potential of Pakistan and its significance for overall economic growth of the country.


Stretched over two weeks, Maritime Security Workshop comprised one week of on-campus activities and one week visits of Pakistan Navy installations and units at Karachi, Creeks and Coastal areas and other national maritime installations/setups.

newsmritimesecrty.jpg
The first phase of the workshop included on-campus discussions on maritime potential of Pakistan, the maritime environment, blue economy, and national maritime policy and strategy. During this phase of the workshop, an array of prominent speakers dilated upon various aspects of maritime security through seminars, presentations of research papers, table- top discussions and other interactive sessions. A brief overview was also given to the participants on the under development, "Maritime Doctrine of Pakistan". The speakers included Former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral M. Asif Sandila, Vice Admiral Asaf Humayun (R), Vice Admiral Iftikhar Rao (R), Rear Admiral Pervaiz Asghar (R), Commodore Obaidullah (R), Commodore M. Azam Khan (R), Dr. Salman Shah, Dr. Ali Sultan, Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Dr. Zafar Jaspal.


During the second week the workshop participants visited Pakistan Navy installations and units at Karachi, Coastal and Creeks areas for orientation and familiarization. The members visited Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW), HQ Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) and Sindh Fisheries Department. The participants also had a sea trip on board Pakistan Navy destroyer and later briefed on Pakistan Navy’s command structure and coastal as well as Creeks area defences. Tour of Gwadar Port and briefing on the in-progress CPEC maritime related projects constituted high point of the visit. The delegation also visited Naval Headquarters Islamabad and was briefed on Pakistan Navy’s roles and tasks in safeguarding the sea frontiers of Pakistan.


The closing ceremony of Maritime Security Workshop (MARSEW) was held at Pakistan Navy War College Lahore on September 25, 2017. The President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain was Chief Guest on the occasion. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was also present at the ceremony besides senior civil and military dignitaries.


Speaking on the occasion the Chief Guest lauded efforts of Pakistan Navy in organizing the ground-breaking event and termed it as reflection of “forward looking” leadership of Pakistan Navy. He underscored the importance of oceans in twenty first century and specifically appreciated Pakistan Navy for its significant role towards protection of sea frontiers and development of maritime infrastructure. He said that Pakistan Navy should be given ample resources to spearhead initiatives which shall contribute in overall growth of the country.


While praising Pakistan Navy’s efforts and initiatives for ensuring maritime security, the President highlighted that the indispensable and historical contribution of Pakistan Navy in protecting and advancing the cause of national maritime sector cannot be overstated. He further added that Pakistan Navy’s initiative of Maritime Security Workshop will pay rich dividends in terms of understanding of maritime sector and the widespread responsibility of Pakistan Navy.


Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the workshop. The Naval Chief also appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Navy War College for arranging the maiden Maritime Security Workshop and desired such workshops be organized in future as well. Commandant Pakistan Navy War College, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas also gave a brief rundown on the workshop activities. The participants were later awarded certificates by the Chief Guest.


Conducted under the banner of "Secure Seas – Prosperous Pakistan", the two week long maritime security workshop was attended by parliamentarians, bureaucrats, academicians and representatives from media and senior officers from the Armed Forces of Pakistan. The members of the delegation expressed satisfaction over Pakistan Navy's operational preparedness, progress on CPEC and Gwadar Port projects and nation-building efforts and highly lauded Pakistan Navy’s strenuous efforts and initiatives for safeguarding the maritime interests of Pakistan.

05
October
COAS Visits Parents of Lieutenant Arsalan Alam Shaheed

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited parents of Lieutenant Arsalan Alam shaheed on newscoasvistimurre1.jpgSeptember 25, 2017 at his village near Murree who embraced shahadat at newly established Pakistani border post in Rajgal, Khyber Agency on September 23. COAS offered fateha at grave of the shaheed and interacted with the great family. While paying tribute to shaheed Lieutenant Arsalan Alam, COAS said, “Army and the nation is proud of their shuhuda who have rendered supreme sacrifices in the line of duty. Lieutenant Arsalan Alam being the only son of family with three sisters preferred his country over himself and his family. No power can harm us till the time we have such valiant sons of soil and their brave parents in Pakistan.” He further said, “On the contrary, some people/hostile agencies from abroad are trying to destabilize our country and also criticize Army. They fear Army being a hurdle to achieve their nefarious designs.” COAS also said, “Pakistan Army shall continue to perform in the best interest of the country and will stand by with the nation against all challanges. Pakistan’s enemy is our enemy. Use of force is the prerogative of state alone.” COAS also stated that we shall restore peace and rule of law, whatever sacrifices it may cost.

05
October
Air Chief Visits Azerbaijan

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force held meetings with the government and military officials of Azerbaijan during his official visit to the brotherly country.

 

newsairchiefazerbaijan.jpgAt the start of the visit, the Air Chief laid floral wreath at the grave of the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev and his wife Zarifa Aliveva. Later on, he met with Mr. Yaqub Eyyubov, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Colonel General Kamaladdin Heydarov, Minister of Emergency Situation of Republic of Azerbaijan. During the meetings, Air Chief underlined the importance of expanding mutual cooperation and resolved to take it to further heights. He talked about Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and reiterated that Pakistan would stand with Azerbaijan in the hour of need. He also thanked the Azerbaijan government for their support to Pakistan on the burning issue of Kashmir.


The Air Chief also called on Lieutenant General Ramiz Tahirov, Air Force Commander of Azerbaijan in his office. Both dignitaries remained together for some time and discussed matters of professional and mutual interest. The Air Chief pledged to meet the timelines of the contract for the provision of Super Mushshak aircraft to Azerbaijan. Moreover, he also discussed the prospects of training Azerbaijan Air Force personnel at PAF institutions.


Later in the day, the Air Chief visited Military Academy of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan to deliver a lecture on “Application of Airpower in Asymmetric Warfare”. Addressing the audience, the Air Chief said that air power with its basic characteristics emerges as the best option in asymmetric warfare and its unique attributes and capabilities provide a wide array of opportunities for application in this form of warfare. He also highlighted PAF’s pivotal role in the fight against terrorism and said that PAF, in synergy with armed forces, had successfully rooted out the menace of terrorism from the country. He further said that although Pakistan had suffered the most in the war against terrorism, yet it had not diminished its resolve to fight for ensuring peace in the region.

05
October
Heroes Die Young

Lieutenant Arsalan Alam Buried with Full Military Honours

newscoasvistimurre.jpgLieutenant Arsalan Alam Satti Shaheed was buried with full military honours after namaz-e-janaza in his native town Ghell, New Murree. He embraced shahadat while he was participating in Operation Khyber IV in Rajgal Valley against the terrorists. The officer had repulsed attack by the terrorists bravely before he received a bullet on his forehead and embraced shahadat. He was the only son of his parents.

Commander 10 Corps, Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza, General Officer Commanding 12 Division, Major General Azhar Abbas and large number of Army and civilian dignitaries attended namaz-e-janaza of the shaheed. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented guard of honour. Floral wreath from COAS was also laid on the grave of shaheed.

 

 

 

 

05
October
German Ambassador Meets COAS
newsgermanambas.jpgH. E. Mr. Martin Kobler, German Ambassador to Pakistan met Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on September 21, 2017. Issues of mutual interest including security situation were discussed. The ambassador said that ‘Germany is grateful to Pakistan for its fight against terrorism’ and assured of his continued efforts in improving bilateral relations between the two countries.

 

 

 

 

 

Members of Defence Committees of Senate and National Assembly Visit GHQ

newsmerdefcome.jpgA delegation comprising members of Defence Committees of the Senate and National Assembly headed by Senator Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum (R) visited GHQ on September 18, 2017. The delegation laid wreath at GHQ’s Shuhada Monument and was given a detailed briefing on evolving security environment including situation on the borders and Pakistan Army’s efforts for peace and security. The delegation also had an interactive session with Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The session concluded with a resolve to continue our struggle against the menace of violent extremism through a synergetic, whole-of-the-nation approach based on the principle of ‘collective potential and shared responsibility’.

 

05
October
President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Calls on CJCSC
newscjscazadkashmir.jpgH.E. Mr. Muhammad Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. During the meeting, matters related to regional security with emphasis on human rights violations by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir came under discussion. President Azad Jammu and Kashmir praised the resolve of Pakistan Armed Forces to deter and defeat any aggression by India against Azad Kashmir.

 

 

 

 

 
CJCSC Attends “Pacific Chiefs Defence Conference 2017”

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, attended “Pacific Chiefs of newscjscpeacfic.jpgDefence Conference 2017” at Victoria, Canada from September 4-6. The Conference was titled, “The Future Security Environment, Challenges, Complexity and Cooperation,” and attended by Chiefs of Defence Staff of 25 countries from around the world. The core areas discussed during the Conference included: 'Trends in the Indo-Asia Pacific, Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism and Peace Support Operations.'

During the discussion on 'Trends in Indo-Asia Pacific', three major concerns: Demography, Water Security and Climate Change were identified. Chairman highlighted the issues being faced by Indus Water Treaty and the existing challenges faced by the mechanism to resolve water issues. On the sidelines of the Conference, the Chairman held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from seven different countries. During the meetings, matters of mutual professional interest with particular reference to global and regional security environment, were discussed. All the dignitaries remained appreciative of the high professional standards of Pakistan Armed Forces and their valued contributions in regional peace and stability. They also acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistan in war against terrorism.

04
October

Written By: Muhammad Yusuf Malik

Launch ceremony of the book “Kashmir Crisis (Unresolved Issue of Muslim Ummah) Opinions & Analysis” written by Mr. Omar Mohammad Nazzal Al Armouti was held at Amman, Jordan on August 16, 2017. The event was attended by approximately 600 individuals from all walks of life including ministers, members of Jordanian parliament, think tanks, diplomatic community and Pakistani community, making it one of the biggest gatherings in Amman for any book launch.


This is the first ever book written by a Jordanian/Arab author in Arabic language on Kashmir crisis and the first book that has a comprehensive chapter of striking similarities between Palestine and Kashmir issue duly depicted through pictures. The book has been organized in three parts covering historical perspective, opinion of key influential figures and pictorial coverage of the issue, adequately addressing all the concerns of a general reader. Dignitaries present at the launch ceremony appreciated the efforts and dedication of Mr. Omer Muhammad Nazzal Al Armouti for publishing quality work on Kashmir issue for the orientation of Arab world.

 

jourdnaniaauthor.jpgMr. Armouti visited Kashmir till Line of Control (LoC) to interact with Kashmiri refugees, Kashmiri top leadership including the President and Prime Minister to have first-hand knowledge of the ground situation.


His Excellency Mr. Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, Ex Minister of Information condemned human rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and appreciated the effort of Mr. Armouti in projecting Kashmir cause through his book.


His Excellency Mr. Zeid Ul Muhaisan, President Pakistan Graduate Club mentioned that Kashmir and Palestine issue must be resolved for peace in the region.


His Excellency Mr. Marwan Fauri, member of Global Moderation Forum said, “This is where our role at the world forums for mediation appears which is to defend every humanitarian issue by means of intellectual and cultural tools. Our role will be complementary to all international organizations and bodies that seek to delight mankind, bring justice and achieve peace in Kashmir.”


His Excellency, Senator Lieutenant General Dr. Ghazi Tayyab (R), Member of Congress voiced his concern over recent sufferings of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir and hoped that this book written by Mr. Armouti would help in reviving the Kashmir issue.


Colonel Muhammad Yousaf Malik, from Embassy of Pakistan mentioned that in the recent uprising, after the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, there are serious human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir with a prolonged curfew. Mosques, schools, markets, telephones, internet and hospitals are closed. In the last one year, Indian security forces have killed more than 190 Kashmiris, wounded around 21,000 and blinded more than 1200 by use of pellet guns. It has been declared as the first biggest blinding activity of the human history by human rights organizations.


Mr. Omer Muhamamd Nazzal Al Armouti said, “The book will project Kashmir issue to the international community especially the Arab World.” He also mentioned that sufferings of people he had seen during his visit to Kashmir could not be explained in words.


His Excellency Lieutenant General Shafaat Ullah Shah (R), Ambassador of Pakistan to Jordan said, “Recent human rights’ violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir are serious in nature and deserve special attention of international community. The book written by Mr. Armouti will help in reviving the Kashmir issue in the Arab World.”

 

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04
October
A two week long joint exercise DRUZBA 2017 between special forces of Pakistan and Russian Armies started in Minralney Vody, Russia. The opening ceremony was attended by senior military officials of special forces of both countries. The joint exercise will focus on counter terrorism operations, hostage and rescue, and cordon and search operations. The joint exercise will enhance and further strengthen military ties between both the countries and share Pakistan Army's experience in the war against terrorism.

druzba2017.jpg

04
October

Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)

During Operation Rah-e-Nijat, after initial phases, search and cordon operations began in South Waziristan Agency. In Kotkai area search began in a house located at the end of the village, that stretched along the highroad, over a hill point.


The house stood on steep slopes terminating at the bridle path, connecting few more houses at a distance. The fences rounded a solid gate, few carts painted green, stood in a shed. Within the house the paths were straight and a foot bridge over a stream had been built with handrails.


Once search commenced and while passing through the house, a well-dug 60 metre long tunnel inside the house was discovered that ultimately opened towards Tankzam river, overlooking the steep banks of the river.


The zigzag tunnel inside the house consisted of a threshing floor, unsophisticated outhouse, a crude bathhouse and a number of large brick curves having semicircular façade. These separated the course of tunnel; beside, it had in course of construction two rounds 20 metres apart that created space for a group to conference.


Similar fidayeen camps were discovered in various parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Swat Valley and, Malakand Division; drawing around 90% of Pashtun fidayeen and later number of non-Pashtuns also grew in various camps.


In South Waziristan Agency, fidayeen camps were especially set up to train suicide bombers in abandoned schools, or in houses of hardcore militants of North and South Waziristan, Orakzai, Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies.


The most prominent camps in South Waziristan Agency included: Kotkai, Nawazkot, Deeley, Karama, Kazha Pangha, Barwand, Karikot, Ladha and Tangay. In Swat these were set up in Charbagh and Peochar. In Orakzai Agency: Galjo and Ferozkhel; in Mohmand Agency Chinaari and Mohammad Ghat.
The fidayeen camp in Kotkai area was one of the most organized camps, run by Qari Hussain, a senior Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) member, popularly known as “Trainer of Suicide Bombers”. The Kotkai, was also hometown of Hakeem Ullah Mehsud, Amir of TPP.

 

intosusidecamp.jpgA lot of material was recovered from these fidayeen camps, suggesting Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) on drills of continuously switching the location for the purpose of security, organization under Rahbars (guides), instruction on the strength of each camp that varied from 30-35 fidayeen, procedure of coming in and out and guards on each camp. However, no one was allowed to leave the camp area after Isha prayers.


The adults and juniors had different camps. Adult camps had trainees from age 16 years and older, while the junior camps had fidayeen from seven years to maximum 15 years of age.


The dates and months appended on the black boards or in attendance rolls of various camps suggested that training was conducted during good weather and away from the reach of law enforcing agencies. The writings on black boards recorded two languages, Pushto or Urdu.


However, some camps trained inmates for sensitive missions, where adults were trained to wear suicide jackets during sensitive missions; trained not to surrender rather blow themselves up, should such eventuality occur.


The training material contained weapon training of AK-47, Indian-made Light Machine Guns, 12.7 mm guns, 14.5 mm guns, 82 mm mortars, 75 mm Recoilless Rifle, Russian SPG-9, Chinese Single Barrel Rocket Launcher and myriad forms of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


The trend of recruiting children increased after military operations, as adult suicide bombers found it increasingly difficult to hit their targets. Therefore, children were seen more recruitable simply for being children.


Few trainees were retrieved by their parents and few left the camps at their own as revealed in the registers maintained by the Rahbars.


The records recovered from the camps suggested a network of recruitment mostly from the kinship or family friends of children. Majority of children were recruited from Madrassas being prime recruiting ground, streets or from low-income neighbourhoods brought by a network linked to the relatives, family friends and guardians of children.


However, many suicide bombers were attracted to these camps due to curiosity, proximity of the camps to villages and towns, unemployment or under-employment, poor academic options (most dropped out of school early), boredom, lack of entertainment or adventure through the network of recruiters.


The network of recruiters lured the children by offering a path out of boredom and drudgery of poverty that would promise them of ending all their problems. They are shown scenes of paradise, where rivers of milk and honey flowed, in exchange for giving up their lives.


Such a lax interpretation is contrary to Qur’anic message of peace, tolerance and mutual respect and certainly denies the persistent disaggregation and contextualization of an element of defining a supreme concept of human activities to be an ideological warfare, while it seems least to do with gaining deeper understanding of religion as faith (Iman).1


The militants exploited religious laxity of the concept with blurred persuasion without deep and intrinsic connections with concept of jihad, which is not only a religious obligation, but emphasizes all human endeavours for betterment of humanity, community, personal and collective.


In the camps, the ideological differential was motivating factor based on themes, such as atrocities against Muslims, taking revenge of helpless Muslims whose daughters and sisters are dishonoured by non-Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq and incitement of stories like Muslim women languishing in the prisons of infidels.


In the camp, Rahbars perfected the art of inflaming passions through all means, listing a litany of recognizable political grievances to ignite these passions, professing unhurried mutilation of infidels siding with the infidels.


Most lectures consistently emphasized on the religious permissibility of suicide attacks against non-Muslims and even their Muslim allies. In many sermons, atrocities against Muslims were argued, since Pakistan Army and other security forces are working in collaboration with the United States, hindering jihadist activities; therefore, suicide bombings against the army, security forces and even all government employees were in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.


Similarly, killing of Shias with suicide attacks or any other means was accorded in the lax religious injunctions. For this purpose, references were given from Holy Qur’an, Hadith, decrees of religious scholars, citing of the precedent of famous commanders and companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Khalid bin Walid. Stories of past suicide bombers were told to new fidayeen who had appeared in dreams saying that they were in jannat (paradise).


Lectures were adroitly prepared that satisfied fidayeen that innocents killed in suicide attacks are martyrs, and therefore, fidayeen would indeed be awarding shahadat to them. There were discoveries of videos of previous bombers planning their operations; but post-blast scenes were not shown as the images of carnage could have demoralized the recruits.2


The training material was carefully prepared. It helped to radicalize fidayeen to such an extent that they competed for the chance to be launched, preferably against Americans and Pakistan Army.


The fidayeen were pampered for winning jannat for giving up life for Allah in exchange. They would enter jannat as soon the explosive detonated, whose pain is not more than a prick and in afterlife they would recommend seventy people to be placed in jannat. Therefore, fidayeen were treated superior to other jihadists – for their supreme sacrifice for Allah.


Camp routine was very carefully programmed; starting from tahajjud (night vigils), recitation of the Holy Qur’an until fajar (morning prayers), breakfast, training of driving and maneuvers on cars and motorcycles and preparation for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIED) to be used for suicide bombing.3


In the evening, besides recitation of the Holy Qur’an, they received lectures on Jihad and watched jihadist videos on a DVD player to be followed by mesmerizing emotional speeches by Rahbars like Qari Hussain. Every sermon contained countless references from Holy Qur’an and Islamic history to conclude the need of imposing Shariah as the way forward to justify armed struggle.


The two most well-known books in the camps were Islam aur Fidai Hamlay (Islam and Suicide Attacks), written by Mufti Abdul Bashar Qasmi, and Fazail-e-Jihad (Virtues of Jihad), written by Maulana Masood Azhar. However, famous lessons were from numerous stories narrated for an hour before going to sleep.
The targets are given only by the Amir (head of TTP for example) to Rahbar and fidai, who leaves behind either a note or “video wills” before departure; to be released after the mission or given to their families. The fidai before attack must take bath, shave his pubic hair, wear clean clothes (not new), recite Qur’anic verses until the actual blast.


The fidai is trained to follow the instructions of Rahbar, who takes the fidai to predetermined target either a few days before the attack, or on the actual day. As per recorded procedure, the fidai reserves the right to disobey Rahbar if he changes the venue of the attack, attempts to hand him over to another handler, or asks him to attack an impossible target or one that will result in too few casualties (less than 10), however, there is an exception to VIP targets.


The fidayeen are given code words, for example, assassination code of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was “the meal is ready”. The fidai is asked to recite Ayat-ul-Kursi or a verse from Surah-e-Yaseen as it is believed that he would be invulnerable to law enforcement detection.


The fidai on the instructions of Rahbar, pulls the ring of the striker sleeve. However, intoxication is not generally administered to fully motivated fidayeen and sermons of Rahbars revealed that there was no abnormal physical reaction of fidayeen such as sweating, dry mouth, restlessness, heart palpitations, or abnormal movements of the body.


However, some fidayeen were found anxious either due to fear or being puzzled about missing their targets, such as detonating their explosives was either early or too late. This could be due to intoxication as during raids a large quantity of syringes were recovered from the camps.


As per the recorded procedure, Rahbar visits the family of suicide bomber if close in the vicinity and normally no compensation is paid contrary to the general public’s perception. However, there have been cases where extremely destitute parents of fidayeen were given a small amount of financial assistance, therefore, posthumous compensation package is largely a myth.

 

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1 This is albeit Holy Qur'an prohibits such actions. Verse 4:29 reads “O you who believe! Do not consume your wealth in the wrong way-rather through trade mutually agreed to, and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is Merciful toward you.” Verse Al-Anam 6:151 reads “and take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law”.
2 Militants filmed actions of Fadiayeen, kidnapping of soldiers, journalists and diplomats and torturing and brutally killing of innocent civilians. They also filmed slaughtering of soldiers in the hands of teenagers.
3 IEDs are basic technique of preparing suicide bombers or vehicle borne suicide bombers. It is a product of reckoning cycle of human mind and militants’ gained expertise in making IEDs with magnetic field, sound, photo electric cell, delay action charges and collapsible circuits to produce effects from waves through blast pressure, fragmentation and incendiary. In Pakistan militants used conventional high explosive (HE) charges, commercial explosives like Wabox and Wabonite, Home Made Explosive (HME) made of urea, soap, diesel and unexploded ordinances (UXOs), like mines, rockets, artillery and motor blinds with plastic explosive to prepare suicide bombers and IEDs.

 
04
October

Written By: Maryam Razzaq

Interview with Dr. Zhang Daojian,Head of Confucius Institute Islamabad

China has been a time-tested friend of Pakistan and it acknowledges Pakistan’s historical recognition of China’s republican transition in 1949. While people of both countries enjoy traditional eastern cultures, their state-to-state relations are cemented at an even deeper level to harmonize the geo-strategic policies affecting the geo-political situation. The sincerity and loyalty to national interests of each other, reflected and exhibited at different forums of world, is a testimony of the everlasting cordial relations between the two countries.

 

pakchinafriend.jpgThe start of new era in the shape of CPEC ushering the financial and developmental activity in recent past has been the result of trust, confidence and belief between the two nations. CPEC will be instrumental in exchange of ideas, technical expertise, elevating the quality of life and above all, fusion of culture in the shape of language, values and way of life. The major barrier of effective communication i.e. language has been amply addressed and for this purpose Confucius Institute Islamabad was established in 2005, through collaboration of Hanban Headquarter, Beijing Language and Culture University, and National University of Modern Languages. It is the first Confucius Institute in the Islamic world which has won the award “Confucius Institute of the Year” four times, “Individual of the Year” twice, and also won “Confucius Institute Pioneer Prize” in 2015. It was also honored as the “Model Confucius Institute” in 2016. The main job of Confucius Institute is to teach Chinese language and promote Chinese culture in Pakistan. Not only it is a center for teaching but also a center for cultural exchange in Pakistan.


While Pakistan congratulates China on celebrating its 68th National Day, Dr. Zhang Daojian, Head of Confucius Institute Islamabad was interviewed to represent a common view of Chinese on this auspicious occasion especially with reference to people of Pakistan.


Q: Pakistan and China have the most cordial and strengthened relations at state-level. How do you see people-to-people relations between the two nations?
In the past five years, I have spent most of my time in Pakistan and so, I can say with conviction that people of Pakistan are the most welcoming and kind people I have ever known. In China, we call Pakistan as, “Iron Pakistan”. In Chinese language, this phrase is used to describe the most loyal and most faithful friends who will never betray each other. To promote the people-to-people communication between Pakistan and China, our Confucius Institute organizes a Summer Camp of around 100 campers to visit China every year. Also, I believe that the individual-level relations and people-to-people contact between Pakistan and China is destined to further improve with the actualization of CPEC.


Q: With CPEC fully operational, how do you see cultural fusion between the two nations?
I would like to use the phrase “cultural communication” rather than “cultural fusion”, because “fusion” seems to make two cultures become one. The facts are not like that. Communication means bilateral benefits. Communication enriches both cultures instead of fusing them into one. With CPEC’s operationalization, our ties will further deepen and contact will increase manifold, which is why we shall put in extra effort to shorten the time needed for cultural adaptation. Language teaching is one of most effective ways to solve the problem.

 

pakchinafriend1.jpgQ: How do you see the future of Pak-China friendship under the changing geopolitical settings?
I personally see the future of Pak-China friendship rising from higher than the Himalayas to higher than the skies. We have a famous proverb in China that says, “Cope with shifting events by sticking to a fundamental principle”. I believe, one fundamental principle of China’s foreign policy is to sustain Pak-China friendship. You can read it in the announcement from different Chinese leaders on the relationship between Pakistan and China. Now, with the promotion of CPEC, the ties in politics, economy and culture between two countries have greatly improved. We understand each other better and trust each other more than ever before. So I believe that in the future, Pak-China friendship will further strengthen. So even though, leaders change regularly in both countries, the friendship will never change.


Q: Pakistan and China’s growing economic and security ties have been criticized by few regional and international players. In your view what are the challenges?
Any great project comes with a lot of challenges. We have a saying in Chinese language that “a tall tree catches the wind”. I think the challenges emerge from all sides, the international actors and their interests, the cultural and language barriers, the problem of interest distribution and so on. But, in my opinion, we should listen to the critics and do research to promote the CPEC for its ultimate success. Challenges will not cease to exist so we basically need to be vigilant, make predictions and try to avoid the likely mistakes.


Q: Besides sound economic policies, which other factors, particularly cultural, have helped in China’s phenomenal economic growth?
That’s a very good question. Allow me to explain in cultural terms that what led China to develop its economy so fast. Chinese people have a great tradition of ‘home-state feelings’, which is the feeling and enthusiasm that leads you to love your country and hometown and family members. When the Chinese work hard to earn money, they don’t do so for themselves but for the whole family, their hometown and the country. Chinese wouldn’t waste their money rather they’d spend on someone in dire need of it. If one becomes successful in economy, he would like to leave the big cities and come back to his hometown to help the town fellows. That’s one of the reasons why Chinese people’s wealth accumulation develops so fast.


Q: Chinese civilization is one of the oldest civilizations. How do you see issues of terrorism, violence, and instability at regional and global level? And what measures do you suggest for a peaceful future?
I believe lack of communication and poverty are two of the main reasons for these problems. We should make efforts to eliminate poverty and increase the international communication and exchanges in political, economic and cultural fields. Pakistan and China set a great example to the whole world by close cooperation in these areas. CPEC is the project collaborated by both countries to increase economic activity and eliminate poverty. Confucius Institutes (CIs) aim to increase cultural communication between two countries. At present, there are four CIs in Pakistan and more are expected to be launched soon. I hope the CIs play a role in clearing misunderstandings and improving understandings. Meanwhile, NUML set up a branch in Xinjiang Normal University, NUML International Center of Education (NICE) which is functional now. Such Institutes are bridges to communicate between countries. We need more bridges.


Q: Decades of Pak-China strategic partnership are a thorn in the enemy’s eyes. What would you like to say on that?
I believe that Pak-China friendship will not harm anyone else’s interests, and we won’t be anyone’s enemies. The wisdom of both countries can deal with any problem. Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, peaceful co-existence) are Chinese government’s fundamental policy. Therefore, maybe some countries are hostile to Pak-China relations, we should make clear that we are peaceful powers, and we’d like to promote co-prosperity in the region and the world.


Q: CPEC is already termed as a “Game Changer” for the region, what more, in your opinion, can Pak-China friendship do for the wellbeing of the region?
There is no doubt that CPEC will bring benefits for all interested parties. China and Pakistan envisage making the region stable and prosperous. We wish to improve the economic conditions of Pakistan and China as well as the region. Both countries are willing to share CPEC facilities with international partners in order to fetch common benefits and improve people to people contacts.


Q: How has your experience been living in Pakistan?
It’s quite pleasant and memorable. As you know I live here and consider Pakistan as my second home. I love it and enjoy my life here. Everybody is very kind to me. Whenever someone comes to know, I am a Chinese, they would call me “brother” and take photos with me. Pakistani people are very kind and loving. Let me share a story. This January, when I went to Wagah Border with my family members, I met a middle-aged Pakistani man who didn’t speak much English. I was parking my car and he was in his van. He was very happy to see a Chinese around and so he hugged me. Then he asked me if I had had lunch to which I said, no. What happened next really moved me. The man went back to his van without a word and brought some Naans (bread) to us. I knew that was his lunch so I refused at first but as he insisted, I took his food. That is a great example of what I have experienced in Pakistan. And I want the world to know how kind these Pakistanis are.


Q: On a lighter note, Pakistani and Chinese cultures are already amalgamating, how close do you see our Chinese foods to the actual Chinese food? Also, what is your favorite food from Pakistan?
It’s a very interesting question. There are four major Chinese cuisine: Shangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Cantonese Cuisine and Jiangsu Cuisine. I like them all but my favorite is my wife’s cooking, which is quite personalized. The Chinese food in Pakistan is very special and localized, for example in Chinese food, we seldom use curry but in Pakistan curry is used a lot. The Pakistani food in China also has to make some changes to meet the local taste. Globalization and localization indeed go side by side.


My favorite Pakistani food is Barbecue. It’s really amazing. I visit some Barbecue restaurants regularly. Sometimes, I feel myself just like a greedy child when I sit before the delicious mutton. I keep telling myself to eat less else I would put on weight but the mesmerizing smell of the Barbecue makes me fall prey to the temptation. Lassi is my favorite Pakistani drink. I have loved it since my first days in Pakistan.


Q: On China’s 68th National Day which also marks 66 years of Pak-China friendship, what message would you like to give to the people of China?
Long Live Pak-China Friendship! Pakistan is developing very fast, I have witnessed it! Please come to Pakistan to create a new life! Start your new career here! Start your new Business here!

 

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04
October

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Complete unanimity of views on the basics of a polity between the lender and his chief lieutenant is a phenomenon that seldom occurs. For instance, it did not in the case of Gandhi and Nehru, Soekarno and Nasir, Naguib and Nasser, Ben Bella and Boumediene. But it did in the case of Jinnah and Liaquat.


Thus, in conformity with the Quaid’s concept, Liaquat visualized Pakistan as “a State where there will be no special privileges, no special rights for any one particular community or any one particular interest. It will be a State where every citizen will have equal rights and equal opportunities. It will be a State where people will have equal privileges…”


This he affirmed on August 11, 1947 while moving a resolution for approval by the Constituent Assembly of the design of Pakistan’s national flag, adding, “As I visualize the future constitution of Pakistan, it will stand for Freedom, Liberty and Equality of all the citizens of the Pakistan State.”


And by these principles, Liaquat had stood to the end of his all-too-brief tenure. For instance, during the debate, when Sris Chandra Chattopadhyay, the leader of the Congress Party in the (first) Constituent Assembly, remarked that Pakistani nationals were only Hindus or Muslims, Liaquat checkmated him, saying, “I say we are both, I do not see any contradictions in this statement. You can be the nationals of a State, with equal rights, equal privileges and equal responsibilities and yet remain Muslims and Hindus.”

 

quidemillat.jpgDespite mounting pressure from the extremists, Liaquat opted for a progressive interpretation of Islam, an interpretation which was acceptable even to the foremost spokesman of the Left in Pakistan’s formative years – Mian Iftikharuddin. Those who cavil at the sovereignty clause in the Objectives Resolution would do well to have a look at the actual wording and the context. It says, “Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through the people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust…”


Whether or not, the members of the Constituent Assembly were clear on some issues, they were quite explicit in resolving that if Pakistan were to become an “Islamic democracy”, it should be by the choice of its citizens. This explains why the Resolution recognizes the people – all the people, and not the followers of any particular faith – the vehicle of the authority delegated by God to the state of Pakistan.


No wonder the Resolution speaks of or refers to “the people” in four clauses and lays emphasis on the rights of the people, the representation of the people, the prosperity of the people, their place in the comity of nations, and the exercise of power and authority by the chosen representatives of the people. Thus, the Resolution tends to be people-oriented. But this salient feature has generally lain ignored in most recent discussions on the Resolution.


As in latter day discussions, the main objection to the Resolution raised by the critics relates to the statements “that power is derived from God”, which they characterise as a “theocratic” approach. The speeches by Liaquat Ali Khan, Mian Iftikharuddin and Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar sought to clear their doubts and clarify their “misunderstanding.”


Now which religion and which people in the world do not affirm the sovereignty of God Almighty/Ultimate Reality over the entire universe? What, however, is more important is that, as Liaquat argued, “All authority is a trust, entrusted to us by God for the purpose of being exercised in the service of man, so that it does not become an agency for tyranny and the selfishness.” Moreover, “that authority has been delegated to the people and none else, and it is for the people to decide who will exercise that authority”.


Furthermore, the Resolution affirms that “the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.” “This”, argued Liaquat, “is the very essence of democracy, because the people have been recognized as the recipients of all authority and it is in them that the power to wield it, has been vested.”


And when all power and authority are vested in the people, the question of the establishment of a theocracy does not arise. For, as Liaquat argued, “In its literal sense, theocracy means the Government of God; in this sense, however, it is patent that the entire universe is a theocracy, for is there any corner in the entire creation where His authority does not exist? But, in a technical sense, theocracy has come to mean a government by ordained priests, who wield authority as being specifically appointed by those who claim to derive their rights from their sacerdotal position…. Such an idea is absolutely foreign to Islam. Islam does not recognise either priesthood or any sacerdotal authority, and therefore, the question of a theocracy simply does not arise in Islam. If there are any who still use the word theocracy in the same breath as the polity of Pakistan, they are either labouring under a grave misapprehension, or indulging in mischievous propaganda.


In this context, a perusal of what Mian Iftikharuddin said on the occasion is both enlightening and rewarding: After felicitating Liaquat for bringing in the Resolution, the Mian Sahib said, “The objections that have been raised by the members... on this Resolution relate to the statement that power is derived from God. It has been said that it gives the constitution a theocratic approach. Sir, I assure the members... that the wording of the Preamble does not, in any way make this Objectives Resolution any more theocratic, and the more religious than the Resolution or the statements of fundamental principles of some of the modern countries of the world. We know, Sir that the constitutions of many countries start, if not with exactly the same, at least by somewhat similar words. Ireland is not the only country that I know of having the constitution which starts with somewhat similar words about God. Practically every country of the British Empire derives its authority through the agency of the King from God. It is always mentioned, the King Emperor, by the Grace of God, and, so on. The members need feel no more nervous than do the subjects of British Empire or the citizens of the Irish Free State on the wording of the Resolution.”


The more important thing, however, is that in the ideological controversy engulfing the new state, Liaquat opted for a sane, balanced and constructive approach, an approach that induced a broad consensus. And much to the consternation of the extremists, he opted for democracy as against theocracy. Interestingly, the Resolution received extensive attention in the Western scholarly circles.
To quote Professor Grunebaum, “On the theoretical level at least, as good an integration of traditional and Western ideas has been reached in this document as one might reasonably expect.” To him, the attempted bridging of the gap between the Muslim tradition and the Western idea of the nation-state deserves the greatest attention (Modern Islam). Likewise, renowned Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith has commented favourably and extensively on the Objectives Resolution (Islam in Modern History).


Finally, what Liaquat aspired to accomplish was succinctly spelled out in his address: “…We want to build up a truly liberal government where the greatest amount of freedom will be given to all its members. Everyone will be equal before the law, but this does not mean that his personal law will not be protected, we believe in the equality of status and justice…. At present our masses are poor and illiterate. We must raise their standards of life, and free them from the shackles of poverty and ignorance. So far as political rights are concerned, everyone will have a voice in the determination of the policy pursued by the government and in electing those who will run the State, so that they may do so in the interests of the people. We believe that so shackles can be put on thought and, therefore, we do not intend to hinder any person from the expression of his views…. In short, we want to base our polity upon freedom, progress and social justice…”


For those of our esteemed intellectuals who find the references to Islam in the Resolution a little problematical, it is pertinent to remember the ideological environment of the period in which the Resolution we are trying to dissect, analyse and interpret today, was formulated. It was already a bipolar world, smitten by the gathering Cold War, symbolized by the Berlin Blockade and the Berlin Wall (soon to be raised). The great ideological divide had warped simple and long familiar words (such as freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, state, sovereignty, justice, and tyranny) with ideological overtones. Hence, these concepts had to be qualified to mean what they actually stood for.


Hence, when the Resolution talks of the principles of democracy, etc. within an Islamic context, it was giving notice that what was meant was not the standard Western type nor the Soviet brand of people’s democracy, but a sort of “Islamic democracy” which, while retaining the institutional appurtenances of a democratic structure, is congruent with Muslims’ ethos, aspirations and code of morality. And, as Mian Iftikharuddin argued, “no one need object to the word ‘Islamic’”.

 

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.
 
04
October

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mehmood

In the midst of slow socio-economic growth, negative export growth and rising unemployment, Pakistan has signed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with China as a part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. OBOR is not merely a trade connectivity route, it has a pro-development agenda and outlook for all its 68 participant countries having population of over 4.4 billion and 40% of the world GDP.


For CPEC to play its role in powering the intended socio-economic transformation, adequate and efficient production structures and infrastructures must be in place. In this context, one of the key components of CPEC is the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) in Pakistan. SEZs are expected to provide an impetus to stimulate economic activity along the trade corridor. Thus, well-planned SEZs are considered hugely important in achieving sustained and inclusive socio-economic growth. China and Pakistan are planning to establish nine SEZs in Pakistan. It is worth noting that at present there are about 3000 SEZs in 135 countries, which have created 68 million direct jobs with more than $500 billion worth of trade-related production.

 

awinwinprop.jpgLearning from Foreign Experience
Global experience suggests that SEZs are an important source for diversification of the economy, reduction in regional disparities, clustering of economic activities for complementarity generation with local industries, skill development of local labor force, transfer of technology and dissemination of know-how, promotion of ancillary industrial activities, development of local entrepreneurship, creation of competition, attraction of local and foreign direct investment, especially towards under-privileged regions, generation of employment, promotion of exports, and last but not the least, ease of administration and management.


SEZs are generally self-contained in the procurement of raw materials (from local and international markets), power generation, mitigating pollution, sewage treatment and support services. They practically have everything from transportation to cultural and educational facilities. So, they are perceived to provide significant insulation from the uncertain external/outside environment.


Laws and regulations of SEZs are different from generally applicable laws and regulations in the rest of the country. SEZs are generally duty-free enclaves for both trade and manufacturing. Several fiscal and regulatory incentives are offered to investors within these zones by national, provincial and local governments. Nonetheless, international experience suggests that decision to invest in SEZs is rarely based on financial incentives alone; indeed such incentives are not the key to SEZs’ success that may attract weaker firms. Success factors for them include efficient and cost effective infrastructures, and governance (or absence of over-intrusive governance) that distinguish them from other parts of the country. Success of SEZ inspires rest of the economy, encouraging more effective provision of public services and infrastructure, and forcing the policy makers to introduce economic reforms to achieve what was not achieved before.


Thus, successful SEZs introduce structural change throughout the country relatively quickly through a combination of linkages and demonstration effects with local industries. As a result of leaping up value chains and triggering positive externalities, they create economic space for their entry into basic and intermediate manufacturing. Too often, SEZs generate and allocate resources for socio-economic uplift of the adjoining areas for their acceptability by the locals.


In the end, it is worth noting that despite gainful role played by SEZs worldwide, in some countries the zones have been criticized for being less legal and socially protective for workers, misusage of allotted land for real estate speculation and tax evasion. International experience suggests that the main reason as to why SEZs fail is “rent-seeking” by interest groups, exploitation of incentives and other benefits, weak governance, bilateral disputes, regulatory issues, lack of a dispute resolution mechanism, etc. To avoid such problems and to ensure effective management, countries assign decentralized decision-making roles to private-public partnership arrangements of SEZs with inclusiveness of local communities and institutions.


Existing SEZs and Industrial Estates in Pakistan
Virtually every district headquarters of Pakistan has an industrial estate or area having infrastructures and offers incentives of various natures: The Punjab has 26 industrial estates, whilst Sindh, Balochistan and KP, have 30, 7 and 12 industrial estates, respectively. Some of these are successful, while others are unsuccessful, because they are established in remote areas lacking necessary skilled workforce or basic amenities for workers.


Some big cities also have industrial clusters on the basis of their strength in skilled workforce, raw materials, support institutions and deep historical links with local and global supply chains. These clusters include: sports and surgical clusters in the city of Sialkot, textiles cluster in Faisalabad, fan cluster in Gujrat and engineering cluster in Gujranwala to name the major ones.


Existing SEZs in Pakistan include: (1) Karachi Export Processing Zone (Karachi); (2) Risalpur Export Processing Zone (Risalpur); (3) Sialkot Export Processing Zone (Sialkot); (4) Gujranwala Export Processing Zone (Gujranwala); (5) Khairpur Special Economic Zone (Khairpur); (6) Rashakai Economic Zone (Rashakai-Mardan, M1); (7) Gadoon Economic Zone (Gadoon-Amazai Swabi); and (8) Hathar Economic Zone (Hathar-Haripur). In addition, there are some Industrial Parks in Pakistan: Rachna Industrial Park (Lahore), Marble City (Lahore), and Textile City (Port Qasim).


Some of the newly established industrial estates are: Value Addition City (Sheikhupura-Faisalabad Expressway), M-3 Industrial City (Faisalabad), and Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park (M-2 Lahore).
For peculiar reasons, Chinese companies are not interested in investing in the existing industrial estates of Pakistan. They are only interested in SEZs to be exclusively established for them along the trade corridor.


Chinese Interest in Pakistani SEZs
China, as one of the pioneering and successful countries in establishing SEZs, has been showing keen interest in investing in SEZs that Pakistan has committed to establish exclusively for Chinese companies. In fact, back in 2001, a joint-venture between a Pakistani company and a Chinese company has established a successful industrial park near Lahore. Since 2002, this company has been producing and assembling electrical and electronic products including refrigerators, deep freezers, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens, televisions, and laptops.


Despite this successful venture, some interest groups in Pakistan are creating an impression that China intends to relocate its private industries that have lost their competitiveness, either because of rising labor costs or that the industrial technology has become obsolete in China. They claim that for this purpose, China is promoting the idea of establishing exclusive industrial zones in Pakistan, where its industries can be relocated and benefit from the policy incentives and business environment. Another perspective is that, given the new stage of development in China, it does not want to provide policy support to such industries anymore and that is why it intends to relocate its old industries. Still another viewpoint shows that with huge surplus Chinese companies in any way want to invest closer to their markets provided they get desired skills, infrastructures, as well as conducive work and business environment.


Private investors from Chinese SEZs are accustomed with special economic policies and flexible governmental measures, allowing them to utilize economic management system that is more attractive for foreign and domestic firms to do business than in the rest of mainland China. In SEZs, investment is conducted without any authorization of the Chinese central government. SEZs offer tax and business incentives to attract foreign investment and technology. So the challenge for Pakistani policy makers is to provide corresponding, if not better, incentives, infrastructure and business environment to Chinese investors than they are used to with at home. It is pertinent to note here that in May 2010, China designated the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang as a Special Economic Zone, which is going to compete with Pakistani SEZs, to be established exclusively for Chinese companies and also with existing industries in Pakistan. To attract Chinese investors to establish industries in Pakistani SEZs, some extra measures and effort is required to provide them with fiscal incentives, the most cost-effective and efficient infrastructures and support services as well as investor-friendly governance.


Pakistan, on its part, is anxiously looking for foreign investment and technologies to apprehend high and sustained export-oriented growth to generate employment. Pertinent questions arise, whether Pakistan is ready to welcome such industries? And, once Chinese companies establish themselves in SEZs, will there be any global market to sell goods produced by SEZs’ firms or will they penetrate Pakistani markets and displace local industry? Despite desperate need for foreign investment, my suggestion is to develop a well thought and focused scheme for SEZs to welcome Chinese companies that should create pro-inclusive sustained growth, subject to minimum socio-economic costs. This should ultimately achieve our long term goals of gaining access to new and modern technologies as well as penetrating international markets. So, a policy challenge is to prepare local workforce, infrastructures and institutional systems, and mechanisms in Pakistan to attract and welcome Chinese investors to reap maximum and sustained benefits.


Government-Proposed Pak-China SEZs
Keeping at front the Memorandum of Understandings signed by the governments of China and Pakistan, Pakistani government has proposed following nine SEZs to be established in all five provinces along with industries:


1. Rashakai Economic Zone: (M-1, Nowshera): Fruit/food/packaging/textile stitching/knitting.
2. China Special Economic Zone Dhabeji: Type of industry will be determined at feasibility stage.
3. Bostan Industrial Zone (near Quetta): Fruit processing, agriculture machinery, pharmaceutical, motor bikes assembly, chromite, cooking oil, ceramic industries, ice and cold storage, electric appliance, and halal food industries.
4. Punjab-China Economic Zone, (M-2, Sheikhupura): Mix industry.
5. ICT Model Industrial Zone (Islamabad): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
6. Development of Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel Mills Land (Port Qasim): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
7. Bhimber Industrial Zone: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
8. Mohmand Marble City: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
9. Moqpondass SEZ (Gilgit-Baltistan): Marble/granite, iron ore processing, fruit processing, steel industry, mineral processing unit, and leather industry.


Under the CPEC project, the government has proposed mineral economic processing zones besides above nine SEZs in four provinces. In Punjab, proposed Minerals Economic Processing Zones include Salt Range (antimony) and Chiniot (iron ore). In Sindh, Thar (coal) and Lakra (coal). In KP Dargai (chromite), North Waziristan (chromite), Kurram (antimony), Waziristan, (copper), Chitral (antimony), Besham (iron ore, lead), Nizampur (iron ore) and Mohmand (marble). In Balochistan, Khuzdar (chromite, antimony), Chaghi (chromite), Qila Saifullah (antimony, chromite), Saindak (gold, silver), Reko Diq (gold), Kalat (iron ore), Lasbela (manganese), Gwadar (oil refinery) and Muslim Bagh (chromite).


Strategic Directions for SEZs
Tenets of SEZs
Economic characteristics of SEZs in Pakistan should be represented by the following tenets:
1. Investment, in general, in SEZs should be by the Chinese companies, but they should be encouraged to have joint partnerships from Pakistani investors. This will ensure sustainability of SEZs.
2. Target value added activities and link them with the existing industry clusters in Pakistan.
3. Target niche industries, where production concentration in minute parts of a long international value added chain would yield high export returns.
4. Goods produced in SEZs will be principally for foreign export markets but up to a certain percentage can be exported to the Pakistan territory.
5. All services to SEZs may be provided by the government on cost-recovery basis but preferably government should engage a private company for the purpose.
6. Role of government should be limited to making legal and infrastructure arrangements.
Additional Proposals for SEZs’ Structure
Earlier, I reported a list of the government proposed SEZs along with industrial activities. In addition to these, I suggest some industrial activities that are more practical and hopefully will enable to reap more benefits. Keeping in view the interests and absorption capacity in provinces, I propose the following specific industries to be incorporated in SEZs:


• Balochistan: Fish and marine, dry fruit processing and packaging industries, water resource management technologies.
• KP: Focus on small turbines producer industries and their allied industries.
• The Punjab: Solar power plant producing industries and allied industries, engineering-based small and medium industries, technology producing industries, and food products producing industries. Establish Agricultural Technology Park near Faisalabad and link it with agricultural technology producing companies in a SEZ near Faisalabad.
• Sindh: Windmills producing industries and allied industries, packaging industry, plastic and petrochemical industries.


For the above SEZs and industries, each provincial government must ensure: skills, infrastructures, and institutions to be required by SEZs. Furthermore, link all SEZs with NUST Industrial Technology Park being established with assistance from China. This will not only fulfill research and development needs of the guest industries but will become a source of attraction for high-end production industries.


Proposed Policy Stance and Measures

Given their importance, development of SEZs should be made part of the overall growth strategy of Pakistan. Only in this way shall we be able to achieve the goal of pro-inclusive and sustained growth. If Pakistan has to offer virtually everything to attract foreign investors in SEZs, it should reciprocally secure benefits for the country. To begin with, Pakistan should make a careful choice of industries to be invited in SEZs, develop a system where targets with a timeline are effectively monitored to meet agreed export and local employment targets; encourage Chinese firms to produce intermediate inputs to be exported internationally or to non-SEZ companies in Pakistan. If firms produce finished products, they should be primarily for the export market. Besides, ensure that exports from SEZs should also aim at Chinese markets and not just the markets of the third world countries and negotiate with China to secure duty free status to all exports originating from SEZs. Pakistan should promptly conclude special trade agreement for SEZs in addition to the existing bilateral free trade agreement and create a synergy/complementarity between Pakistani and Chinese SEZs for mutual advantage.


To attract Chinese investment to meet our cherished national objectives, provide competitive fiscal incentives, efficient infrastructure and conducive business environment, of course, subject to performance committed in the contract. In addition, following specific measures need to be provided:


1. Start organizing SEZ workshops with potential industrial leaders in China and Pakistan to develop an agreed-upon set of rules of engagement with respect to how these zones should operate to ensure greater success.

2. SEZ planners should then organize roadshows to mobilize potential investors to promote SEZs.
3. Promote SEZs as incubators of good practice and self-containment, supported by good infrastructure and service provider firms. Preferably government should use a private firm to develop and manage the SEZ, while the government should be an active player in improving transport, electricity, water, telecommunications, waste disposal, and other infrastructure to link SEZs with global and local markets.
4. Ensure, as far as possible, that firms are established in SEZs complements and not substitute local industries. This is because SEZ companies producing similar goods and benefiting from privileged incentives will displace Pakistani firms in the international market.
5. Streamline storage, transportation and packaging industries for export of fruits, vegetables and fresh flowers.
6. Link SEZs with well-known skill and technology development institutions of the country.
7. Accord complete and secured property rights protection to ensure sustainability as well as attraction of Chinese firms who would then like to transfer technology and produce innovative goods.
8. SEZs should establish such activities as day care center, school facility, clinic, housing colonies, shopping center, restaurants, etc.
9. Do not allow the lessee of the land in SEZs to use land other than the pre-specified purpose.
10. Prepare and modernize domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the provision of ancillary businesses and locate them near to SEZs.
11. Allow duty-free import of new machinery and equipment to establish Chinese enterprises in the SEZs. Provide 100% tax holidays only to export and innovative products producing firms for first ten years, followed by 50% for next ten years provided the companies show the set performance and modernize their technologies.
12. Chinese investors, who wish to relocate their industry out of Pakistan, should pay some pre-defined service charge. This is to discourage the footloose investment, where investors enjoy the benefits and soon after leave the country.
13. Provide a mechanism for single-window clearance for SEZ companies.
14. Provide a mechanism for resolving matters concerned with labor, pollution authority, etc.
15. Provide full rights of hiring and firing any employee in SEZs. Investors will be free to set their pay packages and terms of work. Government should not intervene in such decisions. Investors should be, however, required to observe all the employment and social protection conventions and laws set by the International Labor Organization and other global organizations. A Committee comprised of SEZs administration and local authorities should be set-up to oversee observation of internationally accepted rules and laws. The Committee will try to resolve all disputes amicably. Alternatively, a time-bound dispute resolution mechanism should be established for the satisfaction of parties involved in the disputes.
16. Preference will be given to Pakistani and in particular local labor, but in case expertise is not available in Pakistan, Chinese workers can be hired.
17. Ensure that (dry or sea) port and market access through efficient transportation system is available. This will guarantee just-in-time availability of raw materials as well as delivery of produced goods.
18. Local transportation may be handled exclusively by Pakistani transport companies or joint Pak-China companies who need to be bounded by certain regulations for the provision of cost effective and smooth flow of cargoes coming in and going out of SEZs.
19. Create a special cadre of customs officials and staff who can facilitate SEZs’ trade on efficient basis, especially minimizing time involved in various procedures. By cutting delays, bureaucratic hurdles and corruption trade costs will be cut down for export-oriented industries.
20. Every zone should have its own power generation facility and provisions be made that WAPDA supplies are available on immediate basis in case of a breakdown of SEZ’s electric plant. Also make full provision of gas, petroleum and other utilities at internationally competitive rates.
21. Skills' gap often frustrates SEZ firms because then they have to devote an unproductive amount of time to micro-managing staff. So Pakistan urgently needs to prepare its workforce to bridge any potential skills' gap.
22. All ministries must work harder, better, and smarter to ensure speedy implementation of SEZs’ projects to seize the upcoming opportunities.
23. All the provincial and federal governments should work together as ‘one team’ for the success of the SEZs.
24. Last but not the least, foolproof security should be guaranteed by all provincial and local administrations for the safety of SEZs and their workforce.

 

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad.