09
February
February 2017(EDITION 02, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
The defence mechanism of a country is interconnected and integrated in such a way that if one part is missing, others cannot function properly. Impregnable defence of a country depends both on high quality manpower as well as a robust defence industry to meet the emerging....Read full article
 
Written By: Taj M. Khattak
How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts....Read full article
 
Written By: Zamir Akram
Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made....Read full article
 
Written By: Arhama Siddiqa
The future of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was put in a limbo after its 19th Summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was cancelled. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India would boycott the summit....Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
When Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far, it’s time to take note. Known as the power behind the throne during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, the former vice president and neo-con extraordinaire developed a reputation as a cynical manipulator....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil
India and Pakistan have been seeking the membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group comprising 48 states that seeks to regulate nuclear trade with the view to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology. Both India and Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Usman Ansari
A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan.....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood
The struggle for the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir goes on unabated, but any process for its realization, bilateral or multilateral, is stalled because of India's obdurate opposition. Kashmiris are right now facing....Read full article
 
Written By: Shaukat Qadir
I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Sardar Atif Habib
I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)
As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups....Read full article
 
Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary
Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and.....Read full article
 
Written By: Javed Hafiz
Having returned from my posting in Saudi Arabia in 1992, I volunteered to be sent to the National Defence College (now known as National Defence University) and my request was granted. Back then, Foreign Service officers were exempted from domestic training courses because of their.....Read full article

 
Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti
As the habit of reading books seems to become a thing of the past, with the pervasive use of internet and computers, I was delighted to have the privilege to get my hands really dirty whilst cleaning up and dusting a few old books of the Nawab, or Lord of Hoti....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Armeela Javaid
Winter brings delicious food and irresistible dry fruits in front of our fire places. We enjoy the juicy citrus fruits, gajar ka halwa and Kashmiri pink tea with the festivities of New Year celebrations. It also brings cold, wind, rain, sleet, ice and sometimes snow....Read full article
 
On January 24, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful flight test of Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers. The missile is capable of delivering.....Read full article
 
On Jaunary 9, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful test fire of Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 having a range of 450 kilometers, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. The missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform ....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah called on Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain National Guard, Chief of Staff Bahrain .....Read full article
 
On January 21, 2017 Pakistan Army returned Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan, an Indian Army soldier, who was stationed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and had deserted his post at LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders.....Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Strike Corps at Multan Garrison on January 23, 2017. He laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e Shuhada and offered fatiha for the martyrs. Corps Commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar.....Read full article
 
Commander 11 Corps Visits North Waziristan Agency....Read full article
 
 
The passing out parade of Aero Apprentices was held at PAF Base, Korangi Creek, Karachi on January 20, 2017. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the occasion....Read full article
 
Winter Collective Training in Bahawalpur....Read full article
 
Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza visited Chor to witness training exercise, where he was briefed about the ongoing military exercises.....Read full article
 
09
February

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

As the habit of reading books seems to become a thing of the past, with the pervasive use of internet and computers, I was delighted to have the privilege to get my hands really dirty whilst cleaning up and dusting a few old books of the Nawab, or Lord of Hoti, Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Akbar Khan Hoti – the paternal grandfather of my husband, Arsallah Khan Hoti. Akbar Khan Hoti was son of Khwaja Muhammad Khan Hoti. Born in 1885, Akbar Khan Hoti was a smart army officer who studied at Chief’s College (now Aitchison), Lahore, and at the Imperial Cadet Corps, Dehradun.


In 1904-5, he joined the Indian land forces and accompanied Sir Louis Dane’s mission to Afghanistan where he was on special duty with the Amir of Afghanistan in 1907. He was Orderly Officer to Inspecting Officer, Frontier Corps, Peshawar in 1907-8. He served with the Imperial troops in Egypt in 1914, and in Gallipoli in 1905. And with the 3rd Ambala Cavalier Brigade in France in 1916. Finally he retired as Major in 1922 while he was member of the Council of State of India. Sir Akbar was awarded a KBE in 1931.

 

anarmyoff.jpgDespite his military background, foreign travels and many commitments, he dreamed to build a library, which would hold almost every book on every subject published. He had taken pains during his lifetime to collect a large and a most impressive collection of books, ordering books from far and wide at personal expense. His library in Hoti, Mardan, built of some of the finest woodwork in the region, would grow to become larger than life. The famed U.S. Foreign Service officer who once served in Pakistan, James W. Spain, had remarked that this was one of the largest libraries in South Asia at the time (Spain, James W., The Way of the Pathans: 1973). It is undoubtedly a national treasure of Pakistan, the value of which must be reaffirmed in our modern, fast-paced world.


What often gets lost in today's world is the rich value of books. They help us with acquiring and appreciating different perspectives and celebrating diversity. They open our minds and help us delve into different times and different ideas in ways that no other medium can quite match. They are our best teachers and friends. And at this time when so many in Pakistan and around the world feel lost in the swirls of the modern world, books can fetch us back our human values and ideals.

 

anarmyoff1.jpgThe Nawab’s collection of books was breathtaking because it spanned over such a diverse range of topics. For instance, on religion alone, the collection ranged from a 1957 Holy Bible to more contemporary works. For example, there was a book on History of the New Testament Times: the Time of Jesus (London: 1878). I found one fascinating old book, Christian Dear, published and printed in London by James Parker and Co., owned by John Slater, and signed by him in 1876, which began with the wisdom of a Biblical verse from Isaiah XXX. 15: “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”. Another book called David of Judah (London: 1937) by Richard Blaker, stated in its subtitle, “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.


I had heard that the Nawab had in his library the hand written Qurans by the emperors of Mughal India with their seal on them. I even learned there were also some precious Arabic and Persian books in the original collection, and even a handwritten manuscript by the great Pashtun scholar, Khushal Khan Khattak. The Nawab’s collection revealed a refreshing reverence for different faiths and the knowledge that they can pass to us regardless of our own belief systems. Just think of the rich quotes from the Bible and other sacred texts above and their deep universality. This is a practice which we could all learn to adopt from Akbar Khan.


One surprise though was the discovery of a book titled Mahomedan Law by Moulvi Mahomed Yusoof Khan Bahadur. Although it was an old book dating back to 1895 the title was an objectionable misnomer for Muslims especially because it was written by a supposed Moulvi, or Islamic religious scholar. Apart from going along with an orientalist image of his own faith, he was androcentric in his laws on women and Islam.


The Nawab’s collection of historical texts spanned the globe and the great expanse of human history. Peoples of All Nations consisted of volumes of fascinating descriptions of people from Palestine to Russia and so forth. There were also several volumes of The Cambridge Modern History (1907) books, from the Story of Spain to the Story of Venice. The Story of Spain, Al Andalus, was particularly thrilling for me, as I had visited Spain on my research project Journey into Europe with my father, Professor Akbar S. Ahmed. Al Andalus gave the world an idea of coexistence called La Convivencia, where people of different faiths and cultures, as one humanity, could live together in mutual respect and focus on creativity, knowledge and art. This was a brilliant culture – a model for today’s world – that one does not need a flight to Spain to learn all about. All one needs is a good book on the history of the era, one which could easily be found in so rich a library.


Continuing the historical tour de force offered by this library, another book, Historians’ History of the World Vol VIII (London: 1907), covered a wide array of topics ranging from “The Scope and Influence of Arabic History” to the Crusades. This was a beautifully bound book, reflecting the practice of a century ago of publishers to take great trouble giving the inner covers of a book a marbled effect, creating a work of visual art to go along with their written word. Another work, titled Racism by the Law, by Magnus Hirschfeld (1938), teaches, “Racial fanaticism” is “a phantom that bodes destruction”. The book continues: “There may be no defence against gas attack but there is a defence against false ideas, which can be dispelled by critical truths”. This book is a “critical counter-blast to the poison of racial fanaticism”. This is just more evidence that the lessons needed for our divided modern world are hiding within the pages of old books that just need some tender care to spring back to life.


For the romantic and thoughtful, there was a book on The Romantic Folk Tales of Pakistan by Behram Tariq and another on the Ninety Short Tales of Love and Women from the Arabic (London: 1928). To give a flavour of this rich collection, here is a small story from Ninety Short Tales, called The Afflicted Palm Tree by Nuzhat-ul-Udaba: “I saw in a certain land two palm trees, and one of them was dead. The other groaned and wept for a long time, so that the caravans that passed drank of its tears and watered their beasts with them, thinking that they came from some hidden spring”. As these tales reveal, we need to take this story of Akbar Khan’s love of books to the younger generations – some of whom may be undoubtedly struggling with facing a consumerist world dominated by materialism and superficiality and some of whom could use some philosophical conversations and fables like the ones posed by ul-Udaba: what is the story about? On what level can it be read and interpreted? As a lover pining for his lost love or simply the ignorance of mankind who blame their life’s good fortunes on the idea of fate.


The measure of a successful society is through its love and respect for books: all societies that have libraries and value books grow strong and prosperous, as Al Andalus did with its multiple magnificent libraries. Furthermore, Muslims, have long valued books, just like their Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic brothers and sisters. Indeed, the Quran, the book of God, is derived from Iqra (read) in which God says, “Today I have perfected your religion for you” because in the Quran, God demonstrates how He values thought, reason and knowledge. God even calls all human beings who have knowledge “Ahl-e-Aql” i.e., “People of Thought”. Muhammad Asad, the famed translator of the Quran, whose grave I visited in Granada, Spain, dedicated his Quranic translation to “People who Think”. As Pakistan is a Muslim majority country, it too must come to once again value books.


Yet sadly, books seem to be losing their value around the globe. Children today spend a large part of their time on their gadgets and access the world through the internet. One wealthy English speaking Pakistani woman whom I asked what she was reading, answered, “I do not read. Full Stop!” Mr. Barmak Pazhwak, who has spent years promoting peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan and who works at the U.S. Institute of Peace, once told me that during war in Afghanistan his ancestral books at home were used by soldiers to make fire and keep themselves warm in winter. This saddened me. Nawab Akbar Khan’s priceless books too have suffered similar adversity – apparently they have become food for termites, they have been stolen and sold in the Islamabad market for minimal sums, and some have simply been discarded. While some remain in private homes of his descendants, they are very little read by those who give full focus to material consumerist goods – such as designer shoes and bags.


Akbar Khan had written a number of booklets and also interestingly drawn up his genealogy from the time of Adam, literally naming every ancestor in line. One of his little booklets is his Presidential Address in Simla 1933 on the 15th of September in which he writes: “No one in Athens should prefer wealth to virtues but should always prefer virtues to wealth” (page 4), but he also adds, “the path of righteousness and truth is full of dangers, and is extremely difficult to traverse” (page 11). In this speech he addresses a Shi’a audience and quotes Jesus. In his words, he seemed to reflect great tolerance and acceptance of the ‘Other’. He writes, “According to Islam, Muslims should not interfere with any place where people worship their God, be it a church, temple, fire-temple or any other place of worship”. He also seemed to be compassionate about women and the elderly saying, “No Muslim army has the right to molest females, the aged, children, the priests or to destroy their crops, gardens or buildings of any kind”.


In line with Sufi tradition, he even quotes the interfaith Muslim saint, Mian Mir, who laid the foundation stone of the Sikh temple in Amritsar. Indeed Mian Mir, whose grave I have visited in Lahore, was the teacher of Prince Dara Shikoh – the eldest and favourite son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh himself wrote on inter-cultural understanding, such as his book Majma Al Bahrain. Despite being brought up as the next Mughal Emperor, Dara Shikoh kept his humble attitude in all his spiritual and profound writings. Because Nawab Akbar Hoti was treading the path of tolerance, I was highly impressed by him. In this booklet he openly celebrates and yearns for “religious tolerance” (page 16) and he says “may it be that the same tolerance and unity [that once existed] again be witnessed amongst” the people of what is now the South Asian region. Olaf Caroe writes that Akbar Khan Hoti was “a man of great learning in history and philosophy, Islamic and other, he was the possessor of what was probably the finest private library north of Delhi… and he often did unlooked-for kindnesses to the poor and needy, concealing his generosity from the public gaze” (Olaf Caroe, The Pathans, pg 425-427).


Apart from his generosity and charitable spirit, the most valuable, special legacy of Akbar Khan Hoti, known for his great writings on accepting the other, is his effort in acquiring knowledge (ilm) and his love of books. This collection of books covering a diverse array of topics shows his sense of acceptance and of his appreciation of diversity. What made Akbar Khan Hoti a great leader and a great human being was not the shoes he wore or the bag he carried, but his work quenching the human thirst for knowledge. If coupled with humility, this message will resonate not just for his descendants but also for younger Pakistanis and for all global citizens. As our forbearers did, we all must rediscover books and begin to value them for the wonderful treasures and companions they are.

 

The author is a PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Presently she is Director at Centre for Dialogue and Action, FCCU, Lahore.
 
09
February

Written By: Javed Hafiz

Having returned from my posting in Saudi Arabia in 1992, I volunteered to be sent to the National Defence College (now known as National Defence University) and my request was granted. Back then, Foreign Service officers were exempted from domestic training courses because of their peculiar service conditions. These officers are posted around the globe and it is, at times, difficult to pull them out for a few months. National Defence University (NDU) was not very popular in the Foreign Ministry either as officers did not want to stay out of the mainstream for good ten months. I, however, looked at this differently. Having performed similar duties for over twenty years, I was yearning for change. And NDU, with its different environment, offered variety and intellectual stimulation. There one had to come up with practical solutions to complex national issues on a regular basis.

 

nationalndu.jpgNDU was in Ayub Hall, Rawalpindi then and we used to call it University of Lalkurti jokingly. Those living in Islamabad would take a coaster from the Naval Headquarters in the morning and return in the afternoon. Those coaster-rides are still etched in my memory because of a regular flow of jokes and laughter. That was our last chance to act like college boys while all of us were in our late forties! And we made ample use of that chance. Another good thing about this course was that assessment was on the basis of classroom discussions and the quality of questions asked by the participants. There was no written test to grade the participants.


A written road map of all course activities was handed over to the participants in the beginning which, I thought, was pretty impressive. All the lectures to follow and their dates were given. To the best of my knowledge, no other educational institution in Pakistan is so well organized as to publish its full yearly schedule in advance. What was even more impressive was the fact that the schedule was actually followed. Dress code, discipline and punctuality were underlined by a senior Directing Staff (DS) on the very first day. We, the civilians, thought of landing in a straight jacketed environment for a long period of ten months. However, by the time we completed the course, it looked like a happy episode that ended too soon and a great learning experience.


Initial activities included a getting-to-know-each-other dinner and a joint lecture by our Commandant Lt Gen R. D. Bhatti. I still remember the lecture revolved around various geo-political theories. Mackinder and his theories were repeatedly mentioned. One learnt that according to him domination of the Heartland was a pre-requisite to dominate the world. Interesting, concepts like Inner and Outer Crescents were discussed. Realizing that the lecture could be somewhat boring for the civilians, the Commandant had laced it with jokes, mostly about golf. While Mackinder still remains a big name in geo-political thought, some of his ideas have become diluted because of wide application of technology in the area of defence. In the age of cruise missiles, the Heartland is no more impregnable.

 

nationalndu1.jpgThe National Defence Course had an interesting mix of officers from diverse backgrounds. There were twelve army officers of Brigadier rank, two Air Commodores of PAF, two Commodores of Pakistan Navy, eight civilians of grade twenty and nine allied officers from various countries. The countries represented included the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Australia. Iran sent two officers, one from the Air Force and the other from the Passdaran. This reflected the importance that Iran attached to its neighbour and our training courses. The civilian officers also had various backgrounds like Finance, Foreign Affairs and District Administration, etc. This variety of backgrounds made our classroom discussions quite interesting and fruitful.


In the very first week, a syndicate of four officers was formed and assigned the task of defining national goals and objectives. I was part of this syndicate and we worked hard before presenting our ideas to the course participants. Our presentation, over the next three days, was rather impressive but the end result was not quite delightful. We had not been able to conclude our discussion in time. We were also told that some syndicate members were too individualistic and that the much needed team spirit was missing. Our syndicate received good grilling from the DS. Time management and team work are essential principles of any successful organization.


Tea Break was a good time to meet some of the War Course participants. This lot had a number of outstanding colonels. One of those colonels later became the Army Chief. In the military institutions work and sports go hand in hand. Sports also create an urge to excel, enhance physical fitness and provide an environment of bonhomie which is the hallmark of good soldiering. Two wings of our college played a cricket match and the agile colonels were too good for the aging brigadiers! In the round of golf, Brigadier Ghafoor Raja, a keen golfer, brought some respect to our performance.


Domestic tours took us to the four provincial capitals, Skardu, Muzzafarabad and Gwadar. We got a chance to meet all Governors and Chief Ministers. Our very first internal tour was to Skardu where we travelled in a C-130. We stayed at the picturesque Shangrilla and to our good luck, got stuck there due to inclement weather. We utilized this time trekking in the nearby hills and watching some picturesque lakes. Trip to the Northern Areas was followed by journey by bus to Muzzafarabad. Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, the President of AJK received us in his office and spoke about the Kashmir issue in great detail in English, because of the Allied Officers. For his modest formal education, late Sardar Sahib was very articulate and quite convincing in a foreign language. He was a great freedom fighter, an outstanding leader and a good spokesman of the Kashmir cause.

 

nationalndu2.jpgIn Quetta, the Governor spoke in Urdu and I was asked to interpret in English. He was rather candid and, among other things, said that some ministers in his province had accumulated lots of wealth after assumption of office. I translated his talk without mincing a word and that was appreciated. In Karachi, we were taken aboard a naval ship by helicopters. A military plane took us to Gwadar for a day long trip. Local administration gave us detailed briefing about development plans. Gwadar Port was on the anvil but work had not yet started, in right earnest. In Peshawar, trip to Torkham border and visit of the fabled Khyber Rifles Mess were memorable events. Lunch at the mess was followed by a lively display of famous Khattak Dance. During our trip to Lahore, the Chief Secretary organized a memorable evening of music and songs at Alhamra Arts Council.


Apart from affording an opportunity to see our own country, this course also enabled us to listen to and meet some outstanding persons. The speakers were told in advance that they would be free to speak out their minds without any fear. Some speakers, I vividly remember, were quite candid in expressing their views. Mr. Altaf Gohar, I still remember, said that defining the national interest should not be the sole prerogative of military establishment. Mr. Javed Jabbar impressed us so much as a speaker that the course participants recommended he be invited once again. He was probably the only speaker to get the distinction of delivering talks twice to the same participants. Dr. Maleeha Lodhi was very candid and convincing in her views about Pak-U.S. relations.


Research paper was an essential part of the course and each participant was assigned one topic. I was told to analyse the evolving situation in Indian Punjab and predict the way it was heading. Popular opinion in Pakistan back then was that the independence movement in Indian Punjab had wide popular support and would gain momentum with the passage of time. My research clearly indicated that Khalistan movement would whittle down, sooner than later. In fact, while I was writing my paper in 1992, this movement already appeared somewhat weak and confused. I discussed the matter with Rear Admiral Wasi Haider, our Chief Instructor. He told me to remain very objective and shun all wishful thinking. His guidance enabled me to reach the right conclusions.


Foreign Study Tour was one of the last activities of this course. I went to Turkey, Hungary and UK. Turkey has historically been very friendly to Pakistan and that feeling has been strengthened with the passage of time. In Turkey, every Pakistani is called Kardesh, or brother. We stayed in lavish military messes, called Urdu Evi, in Istanbul and Ankara. The Hungarian Ambassador in Islamabad had called our group for dinner before our departure. Hungary and its capital Budapest were equally beautiful. I still remember the graceful and elaborate parliament building in Budapest. In London, our visit to the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) and our discussions there were very useful. We were given a detailed briefing at the British Foreign Office as well.


Each NDU is supposed to come up with one or two solid and doable proposals to enhance national security. One proposal discussed by our course was introduction of compulsory military training for Pakistani youth, in order to reduce defence expenditure. This proposal was opposed by some participants saying that in a country of feudal environment, low literacy rate, ethnic and sectarian fault lines, such a proposal could be counterproductive. This view was quite persuasive and the proposal was dropped. Horrendous destruction witnessed by Syria in recent years proves validity of this view. Syrian youth has received obligatory military training for decades.


When General Asif Nawaz died suddenly, we all went for the funeral prayers. I myself saw numerous jawans crying during the prayers. This strong bond between the commander and his men is an essential ingredient of military life. As our Commandant was senior to the next Chief, in the hallowed military tradition, he opted for retirement. He was replaced by Lt Gen Assad Durrani who took great interest in our deliberations. He would come to our class room regularly and listen attentively to various ideas. The General had to leave the college when yet another political turmoil ensued in 1993. He later became Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia. He is still an active speaker and writer and our bond of friendship and mutual respect continues to this day.


Each NDU course participant presents a National Strategy Paper at the end of the course. This task used to be assigned to four participants jointly. However, because of the peculiar political environment in 1993, our Commandant, General Iftikhar Ali Khan decided that one course participant should present a paper on behalf of all. This task was given to Mirza Hamid Hasan, who later became a Federal Secretary. The main argument in his paper was that growing national debt was as potent a threat to national security as possibility of external aggression. It is a pity that successive governments, particularly since 2008, have opted to ignore this stark reality.


As the course ended, our military colleagues started keenly awaiting their next assignments and possible promotions. Two Brigadiers, one Air Commodore and one Commodore were promoted to become two star generals. Four out of eight civilian participants were promoted in later years to the highest grade. Two of us became Additional Secretaries. Throughout the course, our military colleagues were very keen to perform well. This was understandable as it was their last chance for promotion. The civilians, on the other hand, were quite relaxed. My own conclusion was that a relaxed (but not too casual) attitude actually enhances course performance. Regular reading of relevant material is very useful but book worms do not necessarily excel. Good briefing skills and low golf handicap are as important as precision at the firing range.


To my understanding, this course enhances civil-military understanding as both sides benefit from each other. The participation of Allied Officers brings an international ambiance and a realization that in our globalized world no nation can remain exclusive.

 

The writer is a former ambassador of Pakistan.

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09
February

Written By: Dr. Armeela Javaid

Winter brings delicious food and irresistible dry fruits in front of our fire places. We enjoy the juicy citrus fruits, gajar ka halwa and Kashmiri pink tea with the festivities of New Year celebrations. It also brings cold, wind, rain, sleet, ice and sometimes snow. To cope with the cold, people have to turn on the heating in their houses. The combination of the cold and the damp outside, together with the heat and the dryness inside can cause skin issues for some individuals. These may range from minor skin dryness to severe dryness in which the skin cracks and bleeds. Sufferers of such seasonal skin ailments can take some steps to minimize their discomfort and in some cases eliminate the issue completely. With the right solutions and treatment, we will be better able to enjoy the season.
 
skinissueone.jpg

01 Dry Skin

The cold weather outdoors and the dry heat indoors can sap moisture from skin. Skin that was smooth and hydrated during the summer months can suddenly become dry and flaky. Some indications that the skin is too dry include tightness, flaking, roughening, and cracking. Usually, the regular application of moisturizers can help with this kind of problem.

 

Choose the Right Moisturizer

The best moisturizers typically include a number of key components and a few of these vital ingredients are described below.

 

Humectants

within a moisturizer that draw moisture out of both the air and the environment surrounding the user. They then attract that beneficial moisture to the skin where it can be used. Some examples of humectants include hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Too much oil can cause skin

 

Oils

to beak out. However, the right natural oils in the right amount actually create a barrier that seals moisture inside the skin. Some effective natural oils include argan oil, avocado, hazelnut, and rosehip oil. Moisturizers that include the right ingredients are more likely to provide sufficient moisture for skin. Users must check the ingredient lists on any creams, moisturizers or lotions before purchasing them.

 

Cut Back on Exfoliants

moisturizer, a light cream cleanser can do wonders for skin during winter. This type of cleanser may have the word "hydrating" or "hydration" on the bottle. People who suffer from mildly dry skin will likely want to cut back on any exfoliating products or harsh scrubs. The ingredients in exfoliants sometimes include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and retinol all of which can be effective in removing dead skin but can also exacerbate dryness during the winter.

 

02 SCALY SKIN

skinissutwo.jpgSometimes, people experience extreme dry skin during the winter. This dryness can result in scaly rough patches that are both uncomfortable and unsightly. An effective hydrating cleanser and moisturizer may not be sufficient to get rid of such patches. In these cases, an exfoliant may be necessary to get rid of the scaly patches before the skin can be properly treated and hydrated. Microbead scrubs that gently exfoliate rough patches typically work well. Users may also want to invest in an electronic scrubbing brush. Brushes like these facilitate the exfoliating process. In addition, some moisturizers may include glycolic or lactic acid both of which can function as chemical exfoliants. However, chemical exfoliants can be harsh on some skin types.

 

03 CRACKED LIPS

skinissuthree.jpgDuring the fall and winter the lips are exposed to harsh wind, sleet, rain, and snow. Sometimes users pull a scarf over their faces for protection but the cloth or yarn from scarves can dry out the lips as well. Sometimes the dry skin condition affects the lips as Eczema does. When lips become chapped and cracked they may peel or look crusty. Chapped lips are both irritating and unappealing but they can be treated easily. First, users should buff them with tooth brush to remove the flakes of dead, dry skin. Next, users will need to apply a layer of lip balm over both the bottom lip and the upper lip. Ideally, the lip balm used should include natural oils from plants, natural waxes such as beeswax, and shea butter.

 

04 ITCHY, IRRITATED SKIN

In some cases, dry skin may become so parched that it cracks open causing redness, itching and possibly even bleeding. This is especially common for the skin on hands and fingers, especially if an individual uses a lot of soaps and hot water throughout the day. To relieve the inflammation and itching, sufferers should slather the skin cracks with a substance like aqueous cream or pure petroleum jelly. Directly after applying it, users should cover their hands or feet with gloves or socks to seal in the moisture. They will also need cortisone cream to alleviate itching and to prevent infection.

 

05 OILY SKIN

Some men and women may sense the onset of dry skin and apply moisturizers and lotion to prevent it from becoming worse. Occasionally, they may overcompensate by applying too much moisturizer. If users begin to notice that their skin looks shiny or oily long after they have applied moisturizer, they may be using a stronger moisturizer than needed or they may be applying it too often. Breakouts and facial or body acne can be another indication of over-moisturizing. In such cases, users should cut back on the amount or the frequency with which they apply the moisturizer, cream or lotion. They may also want to try a different brand of moisturizer, one that is lighter and contains natural oils.

 

06 CHAPPED SKIN

If people engage in winter sports or spend a good deal of time outdoors with friends and family, the combination of wind, cold and moisture can chap the skin. Many people think of the face as the exposed area subject to chapping, but the wrists and the hands can also fall prey to this problem. To alleviate this condition users should gently wash the affected area, pat it dry with a soft towel and then apply a generous amount of an oil-based moisturizer. This treatment should soothe the irritation and return some much-needed moisture to the skin.

 

OTHER SOLUTIONS

Drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive hot air can be crucial to preventing skin dryness. If the heat needs to be on due to cold weather, users may want to consider purchasing a humidifier or two for their home. They should also avoid taking very hot baths and showers since the heat can further dry out the skin. Taking certain vitamins and natural oils such as vitamin E, evening primrose oil and omega 3 fish oil can also help the body retain its moisture.

Winter should never be anything less than a delightful time of the year in which families and friends can enjoy spending quality time together, sharing traditions and participating in favourite activities. However, for those who suffer from winter skin problems, the fun can be lessened by discomfort. If users are diligent about applying proper skin creams and if they take steps to make environment comfortable for their skin they will experience rapid results. With clear, hydrated skin, both men and women alike will be better able to enjoy the food, the friends, and the fun that comes along with the winter holidays.

 
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Our bodies are around 60% water, give or take. It is commonly recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule). Although there is little science behind this specific rule, staying hydrated is important.

1. It helps you exercise better
2. It boosts your metabolism
3. It gives you younger skin
4. It cures headaches
5. It boosts productivity
6. It's good for your immunity
7. It improves digestion
8. It'll increase your energy
9. It puts you in a better mood
10. It reduce the risk of cancer
11. You are less likely to get cramps and sprains
12. It regulates body temperature

(“12 Reasons to Drink More Water “ , Cosmopolitan Magazine, http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/body/health/a24610/12-reasons-to-drink-more-water-2887/)
 
09
February
Commander 5 Corps Witnesses Field Training Exercise

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09
February
Winter Collective Training in Bahawalpur

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09
February
Passing Out Parade of Aero Apprentices
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The passing out parade of Aero Apprentices was held at PAF Base, Korangi Creek, Karachi on January 20, 2017. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the occasion.


While addressing the Aero Apprentices, the Air Chief said,“PAF is passing through a revamping stage because the technology of air warfare is changing rapidly. We have no choice but to match the speed of change and make PAF a potent force – second to none. To meet these challenges, we are inducting sate-of-the-art weapons and must train hard to acquaint ourselves with these modern systems.” The chief guest further said, “I would urge you to fully devote your time and energy to your profession and work with resolute commitment to attain mastery in your respective trades. Remember! There is no room for complacency or short-cut in a challenging profession like yours.”


A total of 823 Aero Apprentices including personnel from Jordan and Pakistan Navy successfully completed their technical training. The Air Chief awarded trophies to the distinction holders.
The ceremony was witnessed by high-ranking military and civil officials, foreign dignitaries and families of the graduating Aero Apprentices.

09
February
09
February
Commander 11 Corps Visits North Waziristan Agency

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09
February
Chief of Naval Staff Calls on Dignitaries During Visit to Bahrain

newscnsvisitbehrin.jpgChief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah called on Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain National Guard, Chief of Staff Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain Coast Guard and Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) during an official visit to Bahrain.


Meetings were held with dignitaries where matters of mutual interest, including defence and security collaboration were discussed. The Naval Chief highlighted Pakistan’s commitment and performance in the fight against terrorism in general and Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maintaining regional peace and security in particular. The dignitaries acknowledged warm and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Bahrain, based on strong foundations and historical ties. They lauded Pakistan Navy's efforts and focused commitments in support of collaborative maritime security in the region and extending cooperation in diverse fields to Royal Bahrain Naval Force.


Earlier, the Admiral had also called on Commander U.S. NAVCENT, Vice Admiral Kevin M. Donegan.
Upon his arrival at U.S. NAVCENT Headquarters, the Naval Chief was warmly received by Vice Admiral Kevin M. Donegan. During the meeting, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah dilated upon matters of mutual interest including bilateral naval collaboration and security environment in Indian Ocean Region. Commander U.S. NAVCENT highly appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Navy personnel and the active role being played by Pakistan Navy for maritime security and stability in the region. He said, "The near permanent presence of Pakistan Navy units in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) has greatly helped in shaping a secure environment for freedom of navigation in the region".

09
February
Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Babur-III

On Jaunary 9, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful test fire of Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 having a range of 450 kilometers, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. The missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy. Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December, last year.

newsbaber3.jpgBabur-3 SLCM incorporates state-of-the-art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems. The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to certain stealth technologies important for an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.


Babur-3 SLCM in-land attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence. While the pursuit and now the successful attainment of second strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone, it is a manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.


The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, DG Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Lieutenant General Mazhar Jamil, Commander Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC), senior officials, scientists and engineers from scientific strategic organizations. The CJCSC and three services’ chiefs congratulated all the officials involved, on achieving this highly significant milestone. He also highlighted that the successful test fire of SLCM demonstrates confidence on our scientists and engineers in fostering the technological prowess through indigenization and self-reliance. Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing policy of credible minimum deterrence.

09
February

Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)

As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms to maintain his feats of strength. He was simple, humble, firm and focused.

The euphoria, applause and excitement of the recently released film of Indian romantic sports drama Sultan is not yet over. Sultan Ali Khan is a fictional, middle-aged, ex-wrestling champion from Haryana whose successful career creates a rift in his personal life. The film grossed approximately 6 billion worldwide to become the 5th highest grossing Indian film of all time and was featured in the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India.


The film mirrored the taste of Pakistani audience in genre epic drama, whose filmic elements included sound design, reception, acting and cinematography. This elevated the celluloid experience in cinemas to grip their armrests, sway with the turns of the hero’s wrestling trick when he swoops in, dodging the opponent, maneuvering just on the edge of defeat, the music coming up and the fall of the opponent.

 

theledgence.jpgThe Bollywood film was nothing but a copy of The Wrestler, produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures in 2008; based on American sports drama depicting an aging professional wrestler who, despite his failing health and waning fame, continues to wrestle in an attempt to cling to the success of his 1980s heyday.
Standing by the grave of Captain (Hon) Faiz Muhammad, a legend, with nothing much to say except “sorry it turned out like it did” and 21 guns for his 32 years of his service in the wind, I decided that I will tell the story of a real celebrity from 5th Battalion of the Azad Kashmir Regiment, who became an Olympian in serendipity. The discovery of the legend was by accident. The 77 year old Faiz took his last breath on the morning of October 29, 2014, leaving behind a legend waiting posthumous gratitude from its own people who he had once made proud.


President’s Pride of Performance Olympian Captain Faiz won three successive gold medals (1962, 1966 and 1970) in the British Empire Commonwealth Games. He was an Asian gold medalist and winner of national wrestling championships in different weight categories from 1957 to 1984. He represented Pakistan’s wrestling team in three Olympics (1956, 1960 and 1964), coached Pakistan’s wrestling team for a long time, became referee of the International Wrestling Federation and flag bearer in SAF games.
As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms to maintain his feats of strength. He was simple, humble, firm and focused. Every year he would visit the unit even after his retirement and irrespective of his national and international commitments to train the unit wrestlers.


After sorting out administrative details, I asked him about his journey to national and international fame. Engrossed in his thoughts he said, “sahib every soul has luck hanged on its forehead, which is an oily hair strung around and upon catching it slips away. It was the fortunate happenstance that I managed to catch and hold it. He stared at me with his deep, drooping hazel eyes wrinkled in his skin and began narrating the happenstance which is nothing but a story of passion.


In another casual conversation, I asked him as to why he came every year in the unit to train wrestlers, he said, “sahib my mission is not merely to survive as a retired wrestler, but to thrive to do so with some passion, some compassion and search for passion that was born in my unit.”


As a young soldier in the deployed unit, he was sent to the company’s cookhouse and nobody asked him what he could do for his nation, rather admonished him for the bad lunch he had prepared. He was sent to the unit’s wrestling team practicing downhill with the instructions to ‘rub him well’. That was the beginning of his fortunate happenstance.


The hour long thrashing, bruises and insults did not discourage him, instead it sparked within him new hopes. His courage was not without fear; rather it was about catching the strung oily hair on his forehead, which he predicted more than his trepidation. Few weeks later he availed two month long privileged leave in Gujranwala; where his Kashmiri family had settled after migration from held-Kashmir.


He had heard stories of the wrestler Ghulam Muhammad, better known as The Great Gama, the greatest wrestler to have ever walked the surface of the earth. He idealized him. Faiz believed in the fact that heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with. Everyday much before dawn he went to the fields to replace plough bullocks with his shoulders and began cutting the hard clay with the sharpened blade of the plough.


He inquired about the training methods and feats of strength of the Great Gama and like Great Gama, Faiz included two gallons of milk per day mixed with a pound of crushed almond paste and fruit juice to his diet. He trained everyday, performing 3000 squats and 3000 pushups. He also included Santola and Zor on daily basis and performed squats while wearing apparatus of 100 pounds, besides conventional wrestling workouts he also used chakki, lizam and mugdar twice a week. He engaged a team of wrestlers from the nearby akhara to rub him with dry mustard after every workout session.


It was the era of pehalwani, the akhara was ruled by Bholu Pehalwan, Aslam Pehalwan, Azam Pehalwan, Akram Pehalwan and Goga Pehalwan, but he went to a small akhara. He began focusing on Pehalwani of the subcontinent style and combined former malla-yuddha with Persian kushti.


This was difficult as it required learning tricks of gaining and losing weight and above all the art of being fantastically ambitious in the pursuit of his passion. In the end he said, “Sahib no hero is braver than anyone else, he is just braver five minutes longer”.


Back in the unit he was detailed on sentry duties, but instead of only standing guard, he started performing squats and pushups. This did not remain unnoticed and soon he was summoned before the duty NCO. This practice continued whenever he would stand on duty and finally the matter was brought before the Commanding Officer who inducted him in the unit’s kushti team. The notion of fortunate happenstance had completed and the oily hair began swinging on his forehead.


In his 32 year long career, 16 years less than the career of Great Gama, he won more than hundred national and international medals, remained national wrestling champion for 27 years (1957-1987), became the winner of British Empire Commonwealth Games, Asian gold medalist, Olympian and achieved the Pride of Performance.


Standing on his grave I reeled the romanticism of tragedy that existed in his life, because his life was full of rage; perhaps he had challenged the life full of rage. I said goodbye to his fated journey hand in hand with Great Gama whom he had never met but who had given him the passion that surged the immensity in his life. The laughter we all could see, but his tears were unseen. I wonder why great heroes need great sorrows and half of their greatness goes unnoticed. Perhaps, it is all part of the fairy tale called life.

 

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09
February

Written By: Maj Sardar Atif Habib

I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family.

Who am I?
I’m being questioned by this loneliness since long; loneliness at midnight on an isolated post, nothing breaking the silence but the intermittent screams of jackals. The only entertainment with me are a few pleasant memories, glimpses of which take me back to a small village where I see my two-year-old daughter who has been searching for her “baba” for the last eighty five days. I bear this alone and keep fighting; to keep this mind alive and this heart beating. A mysterious sensation doesn’t let this courage shatter. I still live for an unknown hope. I stand up, muster all my courage and look into the sun and talk to the sky. Tell them all not to underestimate my will. I’m the custodian of this territory, in its defence lies the survival of us all. I am the son of soil, I am a soldier!


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I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem.

I have multiple advents! I’m a guardian, saviour, defender, fighter, struggler and a warrior. My entire journey is exploring, defending, serving and fighting for the national cause. I remain steadfast to protect my nation against any adversity, from natural calamities to full-fledged all-out war. Whether I guard the snow covered mountains or fight the felonious conflicts, patrol the nook and crannies of my borders or rescue people from natural disasters, serve the plains or dominate mountains – from the Himalayas to the deserts far in Africa; I fight for the sovereignty of my country. Serving this country is a part of my faith. Although I do not have any apparent wealth, I am contended with whatever I have. His secret auspiciousness augments my few coins to meet all my needs as He fulfils my wishes before I even know, I’m always compensated by the Omnipotent in tragic times, He stands with me when I fight in the cause of His will. He never leaves his soldiers alone. No one can feel the essence of this strange romanticism except my comrades – my symbiotic “buddies”, who will never leave my body behind.

 

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Lt Usama Nazir

Snow Abode

Dark skies, deeper nights
High posts, sleepless nights
Lantern light under K2’s shadow
The smell of oil in snow melted water
Want to call home but the country calls
To thwart the enemy in the frozen gorge
Five beams on the roof, that’s where counting stops
Loneliness, me and my soldiers on the mountain top
These Men of Steel, iron-willed,
Stand firm under the enemy’s cannonade
In this isolation, the Self is my companion
I will return but for now this is my abode,
Tall peaks, snow, my comrades and I
Under the fluttering flag and the open sky!

I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family. Sacrifice my family life for the time I spend in hard areas. I dedicate my fascinating teenage to war zone rotations, one after another. I willingly opt for the life threatening operations to save my streets from bloodshed, often missing family gatherings, weddings, birthdays and funerals. My better-half equally suffers from fears and uncertainties of the life ahead. All that keeps me going is the support of my countrymen because it sheds all my sadness away when I feel my nation is standing beside me.


I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem. It rejuvenates my blood when I witness tribal hospitality with locals throwing flowers on a passing convoy. There is no match to such late night energizers when an RJ dedicates a favourite song to a soldier guarding the highest mountain peak. It sheds my sadness away when I receive a letter full of love and praise from my near and dear ones.


Without a doubt, such expressions of my people strengthen me to fight until this menace ends; fight for those who have faith in us; fight till I sacrifice my blood and bring back peace to my homeland for those who are peace lovers. To fight as a “soldier” is to fight with pride. And I am proud to be a soldier!

 
09
February

Written By: Usman Ansari

A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan to efficiently and cost effectively safeguard CPEC and its EEZ as well as Extended Continental Shelf from aggression.

For Pakistan a powerful navy is an essential guarantor of its seaward defence and prosperity. Its economy relies overwhelmingly on the sea as some 90 percent by volume and 70 percent by value of its trade is seaborne. This will only increase in importance when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) becomes fully operational. However, though balanced and capable, the navy is presently understrength, and cannot meet this requirement without expansion and considerable modernization. This may appear daunting as out of the three services the navy is the most expensive in terms of unit/running costs of its platforms, and expansion/modernization will require tens of billions of dollars. Achieving this critical requirement need not be a quandary though. A base-line multi-role platform (reconfigurable from Offshore Patrol Vessel to fully armed warship) to be operated by Pakistan Navy and Maritime Security Agency (MSA), to replace a range of vessels operating in territorial waters and Extended Economic Zone (EEZ), will deliver long term lower operational costs and guarantee a credible conventional deterrent against aggression.

reconfigwarship.jpgThe workhorses of the Pakistani fleet are the destroyers and frigates that operate on the outer periphery of the EEZ and beyond. However, Pakistan Navy and MSA also operate a larger number of smaller vessels that can be replaced with a single multi-role design to lower long-term operational costs and increase Pakistan’s defencive capabilities. When the need arose to maintain operational requirements within restricted budgets, some countries examined more affordable multi-role platforms (generally corvettes/OPVs or light frigates) to sustain numbers/presence in less threatening environments. Unfortunately, a true multi-role capability is expensive, leading to acquisition of lightly armed patrol vessels for fisheries’ protection, search and rescue, pollution control, EEZ policing, and other coastguard type duties. However, though more affordable to acquire/operate they have limited war fighting capability. Consequently, when purchased instead in place of fully capable warships, the navy will probably not be able to fulfil its main role of national defence due to being inadequately equipped. Under these circumstances a resource constrained nation essentially cannot 'afford' a ship that cannot fight, as necessity dictates every ship be able to defend itself and actively participate in wartime operations. This is especially true for Pakistan Navy, which faces threats having to undertake anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare in a heavy electronic warfare measures and high air/missile threat environment, (and expect saturation missile attacks under these conditions). This, therefore, requires an affordable design that can replace a range of vessels and perform the full spectrum of roles, but still be credibly armed for wartime.


‘Affordable’ can be defined in terms of acquisition or operational costs. Low acquisition costs generally mean higher through-life operational costs. The formula is generally reversed when considering high acquisition costs mainly due to the cost of advanced technologies that help reduce operational/through-life expenditure. An affordable warship today could be powered by an integrated electric or combined diesel propulsion system, be highly automated to reduce manning levels, and be equipped with sophisticated radar and other sensors in an integrated mast for air and surface search, acquisition and fire control. Weaponry would consist of a package to deal with the conceivable spectrum of threats, such a ship would be expected to act alone or in conjunction with other warships. However, the physical footprint of some weaponry and sensors could dictate the feasibility of their inclusion on smaller vessels such as corvettes, requiring dedicated space for mission dependent modules. Consequently such designs may have common baseline weaponry such as a medium calibre gun, remotely operated small calibre guns, a gun and missile CIWS, and possibly ASW rocket launchers. There can be a temptation to only rely on a gun CIWS for air defence, but they are not (and never should be) the first line of defence against air threats, especially not in the environment Pakistan Navy operates. ASW rockets like the RDC-32 can be used against unmanned underwater/swimmer delivery vehicles. Further weaponry, such as varying anti-ship missile loads, ASW torpedoes, and mines, can be installed as and when required. Advanced air/surface search radar, electro-optical sensors, and hull-mounted sonar, would be pre-requisites on a baseline design, with additional modular sensors such as active towed array sonar for example, installed as and when required. However, even with this ability to swap or leave out equipment, including the previous list of characteristics in a ship design will see its cost rapidly escalate, therefore making a low tech single role vessel more attractive despite its inferiority.


However, meeting the expense of a multi-role capability can be mitigated by the modular concept of retaining dedicated space for mission dependent modules, but choosing not to include systems until they become affordable under the 'fitted for but not with' concept. This allows for systems to be installed when they become available, but does not delay service entry of the vessel itself, therefore having a reduced impact on operational availability especially at the lower end of the threat spectrum. Such a design could also have a dedicated reconfigurable stern compartment able to accept mission dependent equipment. For example, in the OPV role for the MSA this may include an 11m RHIB; for MCMV missions it could include a dedicated counter mine module to locate, classify, and destroy mines; or an active towed array sonar package for ASW operations. This space could also accommodate anti-ship/land attack missiles if they could be raised and fired through the flightdeck. Additionally space could also be used for containerized mission payloads. Such flexibility would allow one baseline design, configurable per mission requirements, to replace a range of vessels usually tasked with patrol and defence of territorial, EEZ and adjoining waters.


Additionally, propulsion options can further reduce costs. Gas turbines have high fuel consumption and are thus expensive to run, contributing to high operational costs. However, integrated electric propulsion has the benefit of reducing operational costs due to the lower levels of maintenance required. It also frees up internal space for other use due to the ability to place the diesel or other engines/generators in alternative areas, and the electric motors thereby reducing the length of the drive shafts. Acquisition costs are high however, but propulsion costs can also be reduced if alternative fuels are considered. Research is ongoing into various possibilities including organic biofuels such as biodiesel or that derived from plants such as camelina, organic derived additives such as ethanol, or even breaking down sea water. Pakistan’s sugarcane industry can produce ethanol in quantity, and this plus other biofuel alternatives such as biodiesel must be explored. At the very least, diesels are an affordable, economical, and reliable propulsion option that considerably reduce operational costs.


Including or excluding helicopters (the most powerful and flexible weapons on any warship), can also reduce costs as they entail added expense of acquisition, maintenance, and operations through fuel and expandables, plus crew training. However, a modular design, allowing vessels to be built with or without a hangar will allow operations requiring longer range/endurance to be handled by vessels equipped with a hangar to embark a helicopter. Missions closer to shore could be handled by those only built with a flight deck to allow resupply, plus refuelling and rearming shore-based ASW helicopters. Alternatively, operating rotary UAVs could keep overall costs down, but still maintain a larger operational footprint.


Warship designers presently offer platforms configurable to customer requirements. However, these are commonly built to certain specifications, and generally not reconfigurable once in service. The Danish STANFLEX system achieves this to a large extent as it allows mission specific modules and equipment to be included as and when required. Newer (some as yet un-built) warship designs have incorporated such concepts to achieve multirole flexibility. Of note in this regard is the U.S. experience of the Littoral Combat Ship Programme and its efforts to achieve this level of reconfigurable flexibility. Despite the programme’s teething troubles the concept is still the way forward. Unfortunately, most western designs are generally quite large, and have excessively high acquisition and operational costs, especially for Pakistan which needs such vessels in volume. However, such a concept is still a realistic option for Pakistan, one that features the above characteristics that will enable it to be fully multi-role, able to undertake the full spectrum of peacetime patrol to ‘hot’ conflict operations. This may require a tailor made solution with maximum public/private industrial involvement, but lacking the necessary domestic design experience Pakistan’s naval planners will have to seek foreign co-operation, which, due to financial and geopolitical reality narrows the field down to China and Turkey. China is an increasingly capable warship designer and its Type-056 corvette/OPV could form the basis for such a design. As a source of affordable technology co-operation with China would make such a programme feasible.


Whereas navies can be convinced of the need to spend money to save it (and lives) though, high acquisition costs may potentially deter decision-makers, (who generally think short term). However, the prospect of affordably delivering a credible defence capability at lower operational cost, (plus a steady work for KSEW that ultimately benefits local industry and the national exchequer), is a powerful counter argument. A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan to efficiently and cost effectively safeguard CPEC and its EEZ as well as Extended Continental Shelf from aggression.

 

The writer is currently Chief Analyst for the British-based naval news monthly, Warships international Fleet Review. He is also Pakistan’s correspondent for the U.S.-based Defence News and has contributed in various international defence publications.
 
08
February

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

India and Pakistan have been seeking the membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group comprising 48 states that seeks to regulate nuclear trade with the view to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology. Both India and Pakistan formally applied for the membership in 2016 which was denied. There were two meetings in 2016, one in June and one in November where the question of membership of non-Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states was debated. There has been intense lobbying from both countries to sway the votes in their favour. The NSG has mainly been divided among those who want to admit India immediately, creating an exception for it, and those who oppose membership on exceptional basis and instead argue for criteria-based approach to NSG membership.


The existing criteria for NSG membership requires states to be either a party to the NPT, or a member of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (NWFZ), have comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and have good non-proliferation standing as well as have the capacity to export nuclear items. One criterion on which both India and Pakistan clearly fail is that they are not party to the NPT.

 

Given the grossly discriminatory nature of the proposal many countries like China, Turkey, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Belarus, Italy, Switzerland among others have raised objections to the proposed criteria developed by Grossi. The objections have ranged from procedural aspects such as lack of transparency and selective engagement but also over the clear absence of impartiality and objectivity of the proposal. Russia has also called for greater transparency and the need for due process of consultations.

The U.S. has led the campaign to welcome India to the club on exceptional basis. The U.S. also won an India-specific waiver from the NSG in 2008 for export of nuclear technologies for its nuclear energy programme. This was followed by civil nuclear deals with the U.S., France, the UK and most recently with Japan. In effect, the 2008 waiver was partly motivated by commercial gains. It had politico-strategic significance as well. It was part of U.S. grand design of building India up as a regional power and a strategic counterweight to China. India is central to the U.S. Pivot to Asia policy, forcefully promoting India’s case for NSG is, thus, part of the U.S. larger geostrategic design.


The U.S. gained the waiver for India on non-proliferation arguments that the regime would be strengthened with India’s membership. However, India has clearly disregarded the essential norms of non-proliferation by keeping its nuclear reactors outside IAEA safeguards, continuing to produce fissile materials, continuing to refuse signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and continuing to pursue modernization of nuclear armament, including sea-based nuclear capability and development of thermonuclear weapons. This is a clear disregard for the non-proliferation norms.


In 2008, some members of the NSG did express concern about India expanding its nuclear arsenal by diverting the fissile materials for the production of nuclear weapons. There are also international reports on how India has expanded its nuclear arsenal after the NSG waiver. During a U.S. senate hearing, Senator Markey said, “Since 2008, when we also gave them the exemption, India has continued to produce fissile materials for its nuclear programme virtually unchecked. At that time Pakistan warned us that the deal would increase the chances of the nuclear arms race in South Asia”.


There has been growing support within NSG for developing criteria for non-NPT states. China has led the campaign for a criteria-based approach. In the November 2016 meeting in Vienna, China proposed a two-point approach for induction of new non-NPT states to the NSG. Step one would be to find a solution applicable to all non-NPT applicants through consultations. Step two would be to discuss admission of specific non-NPT countries into the NSG. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Chinese stance was that ‘the solution should be non-discriminatory, applicable to all non-NPT members and must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT’. According to reports, during the Vienna meeting about a quarter of NSG members supported the criteria-based approach, while another quarter supported India’s sole entry into the group and the other half did not take any specific positions. Besides China, the countries that supported the criteria-based approach included Russia, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey.


Argentinian Ambassador Rafael Grossi, who was appointed Special Envoy by the NSG chairperson to develop a consensus regarding the entry issue, presented a nine-point proposal for NSG membership on December 6, 2016. There are a number of issues with these points which largely favour India and seem tailored to win membership for India while keeping Pakistan out of NSG.


One point of the proposed membership criteria is regarding the separation of current and future civilian and nuclear facilities. India has already notified a separation plan as part of the requirements of the 2008 NSG waiver. Pakistan has separate military and civilian facilities but has not formally notified its separation plan to IAEA. At present, if the current proposal is adopted, this point would make Pakistan technically ineligible for NSG membership.

 

In the unlikely event that Grossi’s criteria is adopted then India can claim that it has already taken all measures according to NSG guidelines, while leaving Pakistan at a disadvantage. The biggest problem with the latest proposed criteria is that it seems tailor-made to smuggle India in the group. It would not only be discriminatory but would also make a mockery of the non-proliferation regime and principles. This would be of grave concern for Pakistan which is lobbying hard for a non-discriminatory approach to the issue whereby it hopes to get admitted to the group alongside India.

The second point proposes that states must have signed IAEA’s Additional Protocol. This point also favours India since it has already signed the Additional Protocol. In principle Pakistan has no problem with signing the Additional Protocol but it would take some time which means that India would have advantage over this point as well. Another point is that the candidate must commit to not conduct any nuclear explosion in future. Both India and Pakistan are eligible as per this criterion if they undertake not to conduct nuclear tests in the future. In fact, Pakistan has time and again proposed to India simultaneous signature of the CTBT and even a regional test ban agreement. All such proposals have been rejected by India.


Another point is a commitment not to use any item transferred either directly or indirectly from an NSG Participating Government or any item derived from transferred items in unsafeguarded facilities or activities. Both India and Pakistan can easily fulfil this criterion.


The most interesting point is: “An understanding that due to the unique nature of the non-NPT party applications, [non-NPT applicant] would join a consensus of all other participating governments on the merits of any non-NPT party application.” The last clause implies that there is a pre-condition on India that it will not oppose Pakistan’s entry. This clause has the inbuilt assumption that India would be admitted first, while Pakistan may enter later when it fulfills the new criteria. It is imperative that a simultaneous rather than sequential consideration of the two countries’ applications should take place. Once India is a member, it would not let Pakistan become a member. The countries that are lobbying for India’s entry into the group could lobby to keep Pakistan out as well.


Given the grossly discriminatory nature of the proposal many countries like China, Turkey, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Belarus, Italy, Switzerland among others have raised objections to the proposed criteria developed by Grossi. The objections have ranged from procedural aspects such as lack of transparency and selective engagement but also over the clear absence of impartiality and objectivity of the proposal. Russia has also called for greater transparency and the need for due process of consultations. Pakistan has also rejected the proposal. Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said: “This would be clearly discriminatory and would contribute nothing in terms of furthering the non-proliferation objectives of the NSG.” He further said that Pakistan continues to emphasize the imperative for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for the NSG membership of non-NPT states in a non-discriminatory manner which would also advance the objective of strategic stability in South Asia.


In the unlikely event that Grossi’s criteria is adopted then India can claim that it has already taken all measures according to NSG guidelines, while leaving Pakistan at a disadvantage. The biggest problem with the latest proposed criteria is that it seems tailor-made to smuggle India in the group. It would not only be discriminatory but would also make a mockery of the non-proliferation regime and principles. This would be of grave concern for Pakistan which is lobbying hard for a non-discriminatory approach to the issue whereby it hopes to get admitted to the group alongside India.


Even international analysts see these proposals as very flexible and in essence designed to accommodate India. Daryl Kimball of Arms Control Association in the U.S. says: “The formula outlined in Grossi’s draft note sets an extremely low bar on NSG membership and its wording is vague and open to wide interpretation. Furthermore, this formula would not require India to take any additional non-proliferation commitments beyond the steps to which it committed in September 2008 ahead of the NSG’s country-specific exemption for India for civil nuclear trade.”7


The Obama administration has tried its best to win NSG membership for India. However, it is now upto the new U.S. administration on how aggressively it wants to pursue the matter. The NSG Chair has postponed the scheduled December informal NSG meeting till February 2017. During this period, he intends to engage in further consultations in an effort to develop consensus. For the time being Pakistan has scored a small success by working with principal countries to prevent India’s membership on preferential basis. However, the struggle for impartial and equal treatment as an aspiring member for NSG is far from over for Pakistan.


The matter of India and Pakistan's membership of the NSG will remain a much debated and pressing one. For Pakistan, it would be prudent to be well prepared once the matter of membership is debated by the NSG. According to the latest proposal, the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities and signing of the IAEA additional protocol are two main issues over which Pakistan’s candidature may be rejected. Pakistan should formally notify IAEA of its separation plan of civilian and nuclear facilities and signing and ratifying the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement so that Pakistan can enhance its credentials for NSG membership.

 

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

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

 

4,7 Daryl Kimball, “NSG Membership Proposal Would Undermine Nonproliferation,” Arms Control Association, December 21, 2016, https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/ArmsControlNow/2016-12-21/NSG-Membership-Proposal-Would-Undermine-Nonproliferation

 
08
February

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

When Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far, it’s time to take note. Known as the power behind the throne during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, the former vice president and neo-con extraordinaire developed a reputation as a cynical manipulator and is widely credited with being the driving force behind USA’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. Lest we forget, that’s the very same invasion that destabilized Iraq and eventually led to the destabilization of the entire region and the birth of the terrorist organization known as Daesh.


Reacting to Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Cheney said that it "goes against everything we [the USA] stand for and believe in". He is joined by a chorus of condemnation from prominent American politicians and policy-makers, all of whom are decrying what they see as the negative fallout of Trump’s executive order.


But while Cheney and others are framing it in terms of American values, what is probably of greater concern to the former VP, the State Department and Pentagon is the damage this move will do to American standing in the region and the effect it will have on future U.S. military adventures.


To illustrate that, let’s take a look at the tale of Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who was detained and questioned for hours at JFK airport shortly after the ban was announced and who was only released after lawyers intervened. Darweesh was no ordinary Iraqi; he was one of the many Iraqis who had collaborated with the U.S. army during their occupation of Iraq and had spent ten years serving as an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, a position which placed his life in danger. Now, he and many others like him stand disposed by the very country they served and were promised safety by. Regardless of whether the ban remains in place, the damage to American credibility is permanent and has been noted by its current and potential allies. Speaking of allies, the Iraqi parliament has also recommended a ban on Americans entering the country in response to Donald Trump’s move to suspend U.S. visas for its citizens – quite a comedown for a power that not too long ago effectively ruled Iraq.

 

themiddleeastr.jpgMeanwhile, miles away in the Kazakhastani city of Astana was another sign of the USA’s waning influence as Russia, Iran and Turkey sat down to hammer out a Syrian peace deal. Not only were Western countries conspicuous by their absence, the very choice of venue – a country once part of the USSR – was a message in and of itself and that message is that the U.S. was no longer relevant in the Middle East.


The talks came shortly after the fall of East Aleppo, which marks not only a major shift in the ground situation in Syria, but also the culmination of major strategic shifts in the Middle East with effects that will resonate far beyond the region.


At the local level, it marks the end of the urban rebellion against Bashar Al-Assad and a major milestone towards Damascus reasserting its control over the rest of the country. Indeed, a heartened Assad has called Aleppo the ‘tipping point’ in the conflict and a step ‘on the way to victory’.
Congratulatory rhetoric aside, it is unclear exactly how much say the Syrian government will have in the final dispensation of Syria.


After all, the fall of East Aleppo is not due to the Syrian Arab Army – a largely ineffective and undisciplined fighting force known more for looting and atrocities than for martial prowess – and is a factor of the indiscriminate use of Russian air power combined with ground forces in the shape of militias trained, financed and deployed by Iran. Hezbollah has also played a major role in Syria as a whole and when rebel fighters made a final attempt to break the Aleppo siege in October last year, it was Hezbollah fighters – possibly the most experienced and battle-hardened of the regime’s allies – that defeated the attempt. Bolstering these forces are troops belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) itself.


Going forward, it will be interesting to see how these diverse allies manage their competing interests. Already we see the beginnings of some tensions, with Damascus displaying annoyance against not being included in earlier talks on Syria held between Iran, Russia and Turkey in Moscow. However, so long as mutual interest ties these forces together no major spats should be expected – at least in the short term. Assad will remain beholden and subordinate to Russia and Iran in order to secure the territory he holds and in order to gain more territory and will have little political space to maneuver on his own.


On the macro level, intervention in Syria has yielded many benefits for a resurgent Russia, distracting the West from its actions in Ukraine and Crimea. Tactically, the support they have lent Assad has also secured Russian access to the Mediterranean in the shape of the port of Tartus, and Moscow recently dispatched Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the largely obsolete Admiral Kuznetsov, to the Mediterranean in a symbolic show of force. Syria has also proven to be a testing ground for Russian weaponry and tactics, an advertising campaign of sorts and a rather successful one, given that many states, from Iran to the gulf monarchies, have expressed interest in purchasing Russian weapon systems.


But most importantly it was a message to the world that the Bear still had claws and was more than capable of taking advantage of the retreat of American power in the Middle East. This pays dividends for Russia in several ways, one of which is as the Middle East’s new power broker. Take for example, the crisis that erupted between Turkey and Russia when Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November 2015. Ankara and Moscow were soon at loggerheads, hurling threats and imposing punitive measures on one another. But a little over a year later, both countries are sitting down together and discussing the future of Syria in a relatively amicable atmosphere. Here, one of the reasons for this shift in Turkish policy is a recognition that Ankara’s Syria gamble has failed and that the Russians are very much here to stay.


It is indeed a bitter cup that the Turks have to drink from, given that despite their efforts the regime of Bashar Al-Assad looks more secure now than any point since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. To add to Ankara’s miseries, it is now being targeted both by Daesh and Kurdish extremists while also facing internal threats and divisions. Faced with the prospect of a Kurdish statelet on its borders, Ankara has little choice but to reach out to Moscow and Tehran to secure its strategic interests, and that it has done so also speaks of the importance of flexibility when it comes to foreign policy. Regardless, Turkish influence in the region should not be underestimated and thus far Erdogan is sticking to his stance that “a united, peaceful Syria will [not] be possible with Assad remaining in power”.


While any settlement in Syria will be difficult to achieve, reports now say that a de facto division of Syria into ‘zones of influence’ with a face-saving exit and guarantees for Bashar Al-Assad and his family is one of the options being considered. While there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, one thing is certain: Iran will have a major say in any future dispensation in Syria, and indeed it is Iran that has emerged as one of the greatest victors in this conflict.


It is hard to imagine that just a decade ago think tanks in Washington were actively advocating regime change in Iran, whether through covert means or a full-fledged invasion like that of Iraq. Heavily sanctioned and largely isolated in the region, with U.S. troops firmly ensconced in both neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran seemed surrounded.


Just eleven years later, the entire strategic outlook has changed – largely thanks to the U.S. itself. The removal of Saddam Hussain created a vacuum in Iraq, allowing militias like that of Moqtada Al-Sadr to mobilize freely for the first time. The dismantling of Iraqi security forces also allowed other non-state actors and terrorist groups to fill the void, notably Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, which would later morph into Daesh. The sectarian attacks by Zarqawi further polarized Iraqi society, something that was exacerbated by the perceived sectarian leaning of successive Iraqi governments, creating resentment and a recruiting pool among Iraq’s once-privileged Sunni tribes.


As the chaos deepened, Iran began making inroads into Iraq’s political spheres, and the depredations of Daesh in Iraq finally provided the opportunity for a more direct role – as exemplified by the growing influence of the head of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, General Qasem Sulaimani in Iraqi politics and policy-making. With this, the Iranian sphere of influence now extended to Saudi Arabia’s borders. Then came the Syrian civil war, and this too provided the space for Iran to further extend its influence, albeit in a low-key way at first. While Iran tended to initially deny deploying combat troops in Syria, state media and leading governmental figures now report on, and pay tribute to, Iranian military casualties in Syria and those casualties are now said to exceed 1000. Other groups recruited, trained, funded and deployed by Iran in Syria are the Al-Zenabiyoun and Al-Fatimiyoun militias, comprised of Pakistani and Afghan recruits respectively, and then there is Hezbollah, the role of which has already been discussed. A cursory look at the map of the Middle East thus shows us that Iranian influence now extends in an unbroken crescent from Iran, across Iraq into Syria and Lebanon right up to the Israeli border. Buoyed by battlefield success and flushed with cash as a result of the unfreezing of Iranian funds after the nuclear deal, Tehran is now openly boasting of its success in Syria, in contrast to the more ambiguous tone of the past.


Seyed Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a former military commander and currently an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khameini even went so far as to say: “Aleppo was liberated thanks to a coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah”, and that, “Iran is on one side of this coalition which is approaching victory and this has shown our strength. The new American president should take heed of the powers of Iran”.


The reference to America is particularly interesting, given that the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal was supposed to (at least as far as its American proponents thought) usher in a new era of reconciliation with the U.S. However, Iran’s regime has successfully portrayed this as the result of its unwavering stance on the issue, even going so far as to imply that it was a show of American weakness in the face of Tehran’s resolve. Actions on the ground seem to confirm this; just last year the capture by Iran of two U.S. naval vessels and their crew was portrayed by state TV as a victory for Tehran and a sign of American impotence, and in January this year a U.S. destroyer fired warning shots at advancing Iranian attack boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Add to that the opportunity for grandstanding provided by Trump’s immigration ban and you see Tehran also occupying the moral high ground.


The unfreezing of funds and the eagerness of Western companies and states to do business with Tehran is yet another sign of how Iran has now emerged as a major power broker in the Middle East region.
But there is such a thing as overreach, and Iran’s very success carries within it the seeds of failure. The use of militias may be cost-effective and convenient but such non-state actors have a tendency to act independently as they accrue more and more power and influence. Add to that the sectarian slogans and imagery used to motivate these militias and you see the seeds of a possible pushback from those on the other side of the sectarian divide. There are reportedly murmurs of dissent within Hezbollah itself, as fighters question whether involvement in the Syrian conflict is distracting from the group’s original mission. Subhi Al Tufaili, the first Secretary General of Hezbollah, even vociferously condemned Hezbollah for its ‘aggression’ in Syria and for siding with the Russians against their co-religionists. In a fiery sermon, he even went so far as to relate Aleppo to Karbala.


If and when stability returns to Iraq and Syria, the respective governments of these countries are also likely to assert themselves and look for ways to counter-balance Iranian influence. However, at this point in time, these are distant concerns at best.


Finally, the Iranian ascendancy is causing alarm bells to ring in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, which are scrambling to develop counter-measures and responses.


Saudi Segment
Iran’s gain has been Saudi Arabia’s loss, and that country is now faced with the prospect of its ultimate strategic nightmare quickly becoming a reality; that of de facto encirclement by its regional arch-rival Iran. With a country the size of Western Europe and a population less than that of Sindh, Saudi Arabia is largely geographically indefensible and home to vast energy reserves – a dangerous combination if ever there was one. Riyadh’s problems are compounded by the fact that the bulk of its oil reserves are located in the eastern province, where members of the Shia minority are dominant and it has been a long-standing fear of Saudi planners that any unrest there could potentially jeopardize oil supply and production. Indeed, that scenario almost came to pass in 1979 – the year of the Iranian revolution – when a revolt in the Eastern Province coincided with Juhayman Al-Oteibi’s bloody takeover of the Masjid Al-Haram. Since then, Saudi Arabia has been wary of the prospect of unrest in that economically and strategically crucial province.


Saudi Arabia watched the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal unfold with a sense of alarm and betrayal, given Riyadh’s decades-old position as a major ally of the United States. Differences with U.S. policy in Syria and litigation against the Saudi government by 9/11 survivors and their families also deepened the growing divide between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, relations with Iran fell to an incredibly low ebb following the execution by Saudi Arabia of cleric Nimr al-Nimr and the subsequent attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which led to the breaking of diplomatic relations. Adding to Riyadh’s woes are financial hardships caused largely by low oil prices and also a very costly and practically unwinnable war in Yemen along with the constant threat of attacks by terrorist groups like Daesh and Al-Qaeda. The challenges are immense, and Saudi Arabia has responded in a variety of ways such as attempting to build a coalition of states to check Iranian influence. This includes the gulf emirates and also Bahrain, the rulers of which are terrified of the prospect of a possibly Iranian-influenced revolt has openly aligned with Riyadh, even going so far as to sever diplomatic relations with Iran. The row even spread to Africa, where Sudan threw in with the Saudis by expelling the Iranian ambassador. While Sudan is a peripheral player at best, Saudi diplomacy did achieve something of a win by getting Oman – which has usually tried to avoid being drawn into an anti-Iran alliance – into its multinational ‘anti-terror alliance’, an alliance which pointedly does not include Iran and Iraq. This is significant when you consider that Muscat acted as a broker in the recent rapprochement between Iran and the West.


Parallel to this, both Saudi and the Gulf states have embarked on a weapons buying spree (much as Iran has) and Riyadh spent $9.3 billion on arms purchases in 2015 alone, a major increase over previous years. Similarly, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have purchased weapons – ranging from attack helicopters to ballistic missile defence systems to precision guided munitions – worth $33 billion from the U.S. alone in 2015.


On the domestic front, Saudi Arabia is also belatedly planning for the economic future by launching an incredibly ambitious restructuring of its economy which aims at lowering its dependency on oil revenues and public spending in favour of a more production-driven growth model. To make matters even more difficult, economic reform in Saudi Arabia is not possible without social reform, notably when it comes to increasing the participation of women in the country’s economy. A study by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security puts it like this: “Due to the rapidly changing economic situation, Saudi families now need two incomes if they want to maintain their lifestyles. According to Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics and Information, employment of Saudi women has increased by 48 percent in the last five years, more than double the rate for Saudi men.


Despite the need for increased female labour participation in the kingdom, it remains extremely difficult for women to work in a country where laws and customs prevent them from doing so. Women now make up 49.6 percent of Saudi university graduates, yet they make up only 16 percent of Saudis with jobs, and are limited in the work they are allowed to do”.


This is perhaps why Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, recently called on his country to lift its ban on women driving cars, saying it was a matter of economic necessity.


This could be seen as a trial balloon to gauge the extent of the reaction from Saudi’s conservative and influential clergy which has in the past reacted violently to such proposals.


It is likely that chaos in the Middle East is improbable to end with the fall of East Aleppo and that increased confrontation and rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be the ‘new normal’. Here one hopes that cooler heads do finally prevail and both rivals manage to hammer out, at best, an agreement to respect each others’ zones of influence but if history is any gauge, such an agreement is unlikely. While it is easy to consider the current stand-off in the Middle East as primarily sectarian in nature, this merely obscures the reality of the basic struggle for power and influence that is at the heart of the conflict. However, we cannot afford to ignore the sectarian undertones, given that it is this dimension that could prove to be the most destabilizing for Pakistan and we must make all efforts to avoid being entangled in this power play.

 

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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08
February

The defence mechanism of a country is interconnected and integrated in such a way that if one part is missing, others cannot function properly. Impregnable defence of a country depends both on high quality manpower as well as a robust defence industry to meet the emerging requirements of modern-day warfare. Pakistan is lucky in this regard; Armed Forces of Pakistan comprise the best of soldiership, and a growing defence industry which is booming with each passing year. Our soldiers have been fighting the War on Terror for over a decade now; yet braving the hardships and offering unparalleled sacrifices without a word of complaint. They have been accepting all tasks and achieving them regardless of the circumstances with a ‘can-do’ attitude encapsulating the very ethos of their training, discipline, spirit and high morale.


In order to effectively meet new challenges posed by the transformed regional and global security dynamics, modernization and up-gradation programmes of defence equipment is mandatory. However, unless the country’s defence industry is capable of indigenous production, the country remains dependent on imports. In 1947, with no existing infrastructure for manufacturing ammunition or other defence equipment to meet the security challenges, we have come a long way; from the confined role of repairing and maintaining, we have now manufactured tanks, guns, Armoured Personnel Carriers, fighter and trainer aircraft, and have even acquired the expertise to manufacture drones. Development in technology and resources has brought about such a revolution in the defence and aviation industry that public and private organizations can now meet the requirement of Pakistan Armed Forces very efficiently as well as export our products to other countries. In the recent years Pakistan’s defence production industry, with Chinese assistance, has emerged as one of the most sophisticated military-industrial complex in the region. Pakistan now offers complete end-to-end solutions, making it an enticing source for customers across the globe.


Pakistan Armed Forces are always working on measures to maintain the deterrence equation with the hostile expansionist neighbours. Babar-3, the sea-based variant of Ground Launched Missile Babar-2, completed the nuclear triad and added second strike capability to the already existing land combat power. Also, the strategic forces of Pakistan achieved vital technological and deterrence capability with the introduction of a Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry (MIRV) compatibility missile Ababeel, becoming the seventh country in the world to possess this technology. This missile can carry multiple warheads and hit multiple targets with a single launch, greatly increasing the potency of our strategic nuclear arsenal.


Pakistan is committed to discouraging arms race and promoting the motto of ‘arms for peace’ but technology can only be fought with technology, and this has assumed greater importance with the proliferation of smart missiles and other modern systems in many regions across the world. The missile launch is a manifestation of absorbing and assimilating technology, an aspect crucial to a country’s development, and the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.


The spirit of our Armed Forces remains unconquerable and indefatigable as they stand committed to guard our borders. Like the COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa said while addressing the troops, “Our experience of counter-terrorism operations has made us battle-hardened which is a valued add-on for operational preparedness…. [I] am proud to be COAS of a brave and highly professional army.” Pakistan Army is at the very top, be it in training, combat readiness, weapons production or resolve; our soldiers and officers are ever ready to defeat all kinds of emerging conventional and unconventional threats.

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08
February

Written By: Arhama Siddiqa

The future of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was put in a limbo after its 19th Summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was cancelled. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India would boycott the summit, citing “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country”.


South Asia is a region inundated by many crises, menaces and problems such as poverty, unemployment, bad governance, corruption, illiteracy and terrorism, to name a few. The SAARC was established in 1985 in Bangladesh as a platform for promoting economic development and prosperity of the South Asian people. A quick review of the organization’s history showcases a turbulent one – an obvious cause being the Indo-Pak rivalry.


It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the 19th Summit was shrouded in dark clouds from the beginning. The boycott of Indian Foreign Minister Arun Jaitley of the Ministerial Conference of SAARC in August, the sudden jumping out of the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh from the SAARC Interior Ministers' meeting, the refusal of four SAARC member states (India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives) to send their finance ministers to the Ministerial Conference in Pakistan and the refusal of India for bilateral talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of SAARC were all bad omens for regional peace and cooperation. These were also clear indications that India was not willing to use SAARC forum for any sort of conflict resolution or regional cooperation. It also exerted its negative influence on other smaller countries to show restraint and cold gestures towards this forum.


In its thirty years of existence, the performance of SAARC has been far below its potential. This organization presented an opportunity for all the countries to unite and create a representative consortium for the South Asian people. It had all the components to have made a serious impact in the international arena. Unfortunately, the opportunity has all but vanished. Alternatives like forming sub-regional groups are being seriously pondered upon as the only way forward. India has been spearheading the idea of another regional grouping for a long time. In fact, Delhi has launched a well-orchestrated effort with its might behind several initiatives in the region to bring together its allies in South Asia, leaving Pakistan detached with its longstanding “SAARC minus Pakistan” policy. Diplomatic sources say India aims to get behind two forums in earnest – BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – and also to forge a new development platform for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. Already, a beginning has been made in the form of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).


On the surface India blames increasing terrorism for its decision to boycott the conference especially post-Uri attacks for which Delhi solely blames Islamabad. Evidence linking the attack either to militants based in Pakistan or to the country’s intelligence agencies has yet to be provided. India’s dramatic exit may even be a cover to deflect spotlight from its ongoing struggle to quell popular disturbances in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Moreover, India’s push for a South Asian isolation of Pakistan is also driven by the fact that it received less than expected support on the world stage and at the UN General Assembly for the Comprehensive Convention on International Terror (CCIT), where it had hoped to corner Pakistan. Added to this is the criticism India received at the UN Human Rights Council over Kashmir. The most recent show of bellicosity was seen at the sixth ministerial Heart of Asia (HoA) conference held at Amritsar in December 2016. In its frustration over the futility of its efforts to “isolate” Pakistan, the Modi administration condescended to new lows by diverging from diplomatic etiquette by embarrassing the Pakistani delegation led by Sartaj Aziz. Indeed, it was conduct unbecoming when one of the highest echelons of the Pakistani government was not even seated at the centre table at the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Modi. Moreover, the scene caused by Indian officials who tried to stop the Pakistani High Commissioner from speaking to Pakistani journalists was incongruous to say the least.


This makes it evident that ‘Hindutva’ inspired logic of New Delhi compels India to pursue becoming economic, strategic, and military hegemon in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

 

By boycotting the 19th SAARC Summit, India has confirmed that all its claims about regional integration and cooperation are nothing but a hoax. India not only sabotaged the SAARC summit but it also coerced other small SAARC members to follow in its footsteps thus aiming at isolating Pakistan. The forum despite being weak could still have been used for bilateral and multilateral dialogue. In a globalized world where cultures, economies and interests are becoming increasingly interdependent and interlinked, South Asia is probably the only region which is deprived of good opportunities for integration because of Indian insolence and pursuance of hegemonic agenda.

China’s demand for full membership in SAARC challenges India’s dominance thus India opposed China’s entry into SAARC at the Kathmandu Summit in 2014. China’s successful diplomacy, trade and investment policies, and many cooperative agreements with SAARC nations inevitably give her greater influence in South Asia. It is fair enough to say that China’s entry in SAARC as a full member can give a push to the organization to grow as a regional bloc since China’s global economic influence can help provide the boost it needs. At the 2016 summit, Pakistan was expected to repeat its demand that Beijing be granted full membership in SAARC; Modi left no stone unturned to block that. Cleverly using information warfare campaign and a willingly agenda-driven Indian media, he promulgated his country’s economic and societal potential while marginalizing the need for conflict resolution.


In the current South Asian theatre, Pakistan, enabled by its prime geographical position, seeks to bring and maintain a balance of power in the region by brokering and balancing the power dynamics with and between bigger powers like China, Russia, the United States, and regional powers like Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council States, and India. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) strategically aims at providing links between the overland Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road and has been made open for all regional countries, including India, although it seems Modi has decided to pass on the opportunity and has instead decided to seek to destabilize the project.


By boycotting the 19th SAARC Summit, India has confirmed that all its claims about regional integration and cooperation are nothing but a hoax. India not only sabotaged the SAARC summit but it also coerced other small SAARC members to follow in its footsteps thus aiming at isolating Pakistan. The forum despite being weak could still have been used for bilateral and multilateral dialogue. In a globalized world where cultures, economies and interests are becoming increasingly interdependent and interlinked, South Asia is probably the only region which is deprived of good opportunities for integration because of Indian insolence and pursuance of hegemonic agenda.


There is no question that the SAARC subterfuge will have visible impact in the short run. Nonetheless, it is designed to fail. If the hands-on support from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh can be labelled a geopolitical victory for India, the silence of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives is nothing short of a victory for Pakistan. For the sake of their own nations and the regional progress and prosperity, the leaders of all the member states need to put their differences aside and return to the negotiating table for a peaceful and durable resolution of existing issues. The trust deficit can be reduced only by discussion, dialogue and communication. However, if SAARC does not revert due to India’s stubborn attitude, Pakistan will have no option but to forge new alliances with all regional countries. This time CPEC should be the pivot of new alliances and regional grouping.

 
08
February

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts in the world routinely express the view that India will pay an unacceptably huge price if it ever embarked on an adventure against Pakistan? It would have been more prudent had India shown the intensions and invested sincere efforts in seeking resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN charter instead of wasting time and energies on a futile doctrine.

Soon after assuming command of Indian Army, its new Chief General Bipin Rawat, acknowledged existence of Cold Start Doctrine in an interview to the media. This was rather surprising as India had been in denial mode for nearly fifteen years since it first announced it in the aftermath of Kashmiri militants’ attack on Indian parliament in 2001. Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh had gone to the extent of stating publicly, “There is no Cold Start Doctrine. No such thing. It was an off-the-cuff remark from a former Chief of Staff. I have been defence minister of the country. I should know”.


In 2011, Indian Army Chief, General V. K. Singh also reiterated similar views, stating, “There is nothing like Cold Start, but we have a ‘proactive strategy’ which takes steps in a proactive manner to achieve our objectives”. Such assertions led some analysts to erroneously believe that India had abandoned Cold Start Doctrine and would adhere to structure of Strike Corps organizations and doctrinal concept. Public pronouncements aside, India had been validating and re-validating its Cold Start Doctrine from time to time.

 

To this specter of a ‘nuclear overhang’ India has lately added its own pantomime version of ‘surgical strikes’. A surgical strike, conducted anywhere in the world, has always spoken for itself through results on the ground. Nowhere has its conduct needed to be defended to such nauseating ends except the Indian version where ‘sneak attempts’ at three locations along a heavily defended LoC and ‘retreat at the double’ were hyped up to fictional heights.

In 2011 India conducted ‘Operation Vijayee Bhava’ with 50,000 soldiers in Bikaner and Suratgarh area with stated aim of reducing mobilization time which it claimed to have cut down to just 2 days from 27 days in ‘Operation Parakaram’ in 2001-2002. This was followed by ‘Operation Sudarshan Shakti’ – India’s largest war games in two decades in which nearly 60,000 troops and 500 armoured vehicles participated. More recently, its 2 Corps (Strike Corps, Kharga) conducted ‘Exercise Brahmashira’ in Rajasthan to practice swift multiple offensives deep into enemy territory. India also upgraded its tactical level weaponry and inducted solid-fuel 150 kms ballistic missiles to provide effective fire support in such operations.


India’s aggressive designs against Pakistan first began to surface when its former Defence Minister George Fernandes famously lamented that India had ‘an archaic, non-aggressive, non-provocative defence policy’ and called for a shift. Fernandes, basically was referring to ‘Sunderji Doctrine’, a successor to Cold Start, according to which seven defensive ‘holding corps’ with relatively limited offensive power, were deployed near Pakistan’s border while Indian Army retained its offensive capabilities in ‘Strike Corps’ made up of mechanized infantry with extensive artillery support but stationed further away from the border. Indian defence planners believed that such a strategy was advantageous to Pakistan in mobilization and resulted in extra-regional powers to exert pressure on India thus preventing it from taking punitive actions against Pakistan at a place and time of its choosing.

 

Cold Start Doctrine was designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner but it rested on a grossly flawed premise – that it will not trigger nuclear retaliation. It underestimated Pakistan’s resolve to go full spectrum in its defence for a fundamental reason that it just cannot allow any loss of territory to India.

In 1987, General Sunderji, even with a more conventional and defensive doctrine in place, and no mass agitation and large scale unrest in Kashmir to use as an excuse against Pakistan, exposed his country’s real intentions when Indian Army conducted ‘Exercise Brass Tacks’ close to Pakistan’s border. With over 400,000 troops, it was the largest since WW-II and bigger than anything NATO had ever conducted. It was after BBC’s Mark Tully’s disclosure that India was using live ammunition in open boxes that General Zia delivered his stern message to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

 

reguritincold.jpgPakistan took serious cognizance of the emerging threat environment and evolved doctrinal responses which it later validated against various hypotheses in large-scale field exercises. Pakistan also bolstered its defence through development of a solid fuel battlefield ballistic missile capable of carrying a low yield nuclear warhead and expressed an unflinching resolve to use it should a situation so demand.


In its more ambitious formulations, Cold Start Doctrine is a ‘limited war’ concept under proactive strategy where India’s conventional forces undertake aggressive and offensive armoured thrusts, in a compressed time frame, with infantry and air support. It is aimed at seizing Pakistan’s territory and holding it, while simultaneously perusing narrow enough objectives to deny Islamabad any justification to escalate conflict by opening additional conventional fronts – all under a ‘nuclear overhang’, a phrase coined by Indian defence establishment and used with increasing frequency in a dangerously insouciant manner.


To this spectre of a ‘nuclear overhang’ India has lately added its own pantomime version of ‘surgical strikes’. A surgical strike, conducted anywhere in the world, has always spoken for itself through results on the ground. Nowhere has its conduct needed to be defended to such nauseating ends except the Indian version where ‘sneak attempts’ at three locations along a heavily defended LoC and ‘retreat at the double’ were hyped up to fictional heights.

 

But, with a neighbour opposed to our very existence, Pakistan cannot ignore its security concerns. Only recently we were reminded, and by a person no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that in 1971 India had played an iniquitous role in the break-up of Pakistan. One look at today’s battle hardened Armed Forces of Pakistan and it leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are deeply imbued with the spirit of a higher mission in life. They will acquit themselves with honour and glory – should any challenge be thrown their way – Cold Start or whatever!

The change of tack from denial to an acknowledgement of Cold Start Doctrine’s existence warrants clarity – whether it is just doing away with erstwhile semantics of ‘ambiguity by design’ or the Indian Army has indeed streamlined its ‘limited war’ concept and now feels more confident under Modi government to flout it more openly. Whatever be the case, it begs the larger question whether it could serve India’s interest any better in these uncertain times than it did when it was first announced amidst apprehensions that it would incur a diplomatic and security cost without delivering corresponding deterrence benefits.


Those fears proved to be well founded as protests and agitations in Kashmir, the root cause of problems between India and Pakistan, and raison-d’être for Cold Start Doctrine, have transformed in nature from grievances against Indian state to outright hatred against its illegal occupation. How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts in the world routinely express the view that India will pay an unacceptably huge price if it ever embarked on an adventure against Pakistan? It would have been more prudent had India shown the intensions and invested sincere efforts in seeking resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN charter instead of wasting time and energies on a futile doctrine.


Cold Start Doctrine was designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner but it rested on a grossly flawed premise – that it will not trigger nuclear retaliation. It underestimated Pakistan’s resolve to go full spectrum in its defence for a fundamental reason that it just cannot allow any loss of territory to India. Besides, a host of such factors as lack of strategic surprise, terrain and defensive deployment of Pakistan’s Army will mitigate, to a considerable extent, any mobilization advantages that Indian Army may have accrued through Cold Start Doctrine.


Tim Roemer, U.S. Ambassador to India from 2009-2011 also raised the other important question about New Delhi’s political will to pursue Cold Start option, due to fears that it might achieve only ‘mixed’ results, especially its decision to shy away in 2008 when Mumbai incident provided a perfect ‘casus belli’ if it ever wanted to undertake military action against Pakistan. He called the doctrine a ‘mixture of myths and reality’ where its real value lay more in its existence on paper than any application on ground.


Pakistan does not want war as wars are no answer to resolution of outstanding disputes between India and Pakistan. There are huge poverty and illiteracy issues in both countries towards which all resources and energies need to be channeled. Our political process needs to take deeper traction over a longer timeline and economy requires space to stretch itself in the evolving global trade regimes.


But, with a neighbour opposed to our very existence, Pakistan cannot ignore its security concerns. Only recently we were reminded, and by a person no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that in 1971 India had played an iniquitous role in the break-up of Pakistan. One look at today’s battle hardened Armed Forces of Pakistan and it leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are deeply imbued with the spirit of a higher mission in life. They will acquit themselves with honour and glory – should any challenge be thrown their way – Cold Start or whatever!

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy.

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

 
08
February
“Soldiers of Pakistan Army are the best in the world”: COAS

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Strike Corps at Multan Garrison on January 23, 2017. He laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e Shuhada and offered fatiha for the martyrs. Corps Commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar briefed the COAS on operational preparedness and administration of troops. Later COAS addressed soldiers and officers at the garrison.

 

General Qamar Javed Bajwa appreciated the troops' participation in the ongoing counter terrorism operations in FATA and KP. He especially praised them for concurrently keeping themselves fully trained and prepared to thwart challenges of conventional war. The COAS said, “Soldiers of Pakistan Army are the best in the world. The Army is what its soldiers are. I am proud to be the commander of a brave and highly professional army.” He also said, “Our experience of counter terrorism operations has made us battle hardened which is a valued add-on in operational preparedness.” He directed officers and soldiers to keep themselves fully trained and abreast to defeat all types of threats. The soldiers freely interacted with COAS and expressed their pride and eagerness to selflessly serve the country and the nation. Earlier, on arrival at Multan, COAS was received by Lieutenant General Sarfraz Sattar, Commander Multan Corps.

newsoldierofpak.jpg

08
February
Pakistan Hands Over Indian Soldier As Goodwill Gesture
On January 21, 2017 Pakistan Army returned Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan, an Indian Army soldier, who was stationed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and had deserted his post at LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders. He had willfully crossed LOC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army. As a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of Pakistan’s efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and WB, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan was handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds.

newsindisoldieras.jpg

08
February
Pakistan Conducts First Flight Test of Ababeel, Surface-to-Surface Missile

newsababeel.jpgOn January 24, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful flight test of Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers. The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology. The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.


Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars. Development of Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment. This will further reinforce deterrence.


Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff congratulated the scientists and engineers on successful conduct of the missile test. The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan also conveyed their appreciation to the team involved and Armed Forces of Pakistan on this landmark achievement.

08
February

Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary

Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and below average mentorships on ‘entrepreneurial ventures’. It is becoming seemingly obvious that all repetitive jobs will be automated. So what would the next wave of work look like? This wicked disconnect is the ‘Aspiration Deviation Factor’

Could it be possible that we are investing into a future that is in direct contradiction to our facts, reality and the ‘context’ as the New World Order struggles with notions of legitimacy against the urgent sense of acceptability. The understanding of the emerging world order and the people have been classified into bits and bytes. However, the sovereign opportunity lies in the local context.


There’s nothing profound in anything or about anyone unless it is measured by way and means of impact and that too has to be based on principles of trust. Pakistan can be a victim of engineered circumstances, or a champion of its own destiny.

 

thewickeddisc.jpgSo, what reputation does Pakistan have? What’s its character?
These two questions are incredibly significant. They determine integrity, motivation, responsibility, disruption; value-factor all systematically layered and anchored as an indisputable leverage. How the country looks at itself is often not necessary than how the global powers look at it. This stupendous lack of clarity and deliberate ambiguity diminishes credibility over time, increases vulnerabilities creating the institutionalized underpinnings for policy failures, trust deficit, deer in the headlight.

 

The definition of power in the last decade has at a glacial pace redefined. The inverted pyramid is the prism through which we would be required to construct our national security paradigm. Technology, the key driver in this case, can either fuel trust between people and systems or will completely polarize the communities. The bad investments will lead to contextual decay of the society.

The message this year at the Davos 2017 ‘Responsible and Responsive Leadership’ was clear and incisive; it is not anti-globalization rather a wake-up call for the systems to become resilient and not the governable. The pressure is on the leadership and they will be held accountable. Davos leaders agree: share more wealth, or face the consequences. And in the process of this accountability, nations will suffer. They will suffer like they have in the past. Popular sloganeering will be Trumped by ingenuity. In the past, as the population started to increase and technology became cheaper – today the case remains the same – however, the systems and the mindset are still undigitized. Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and below average mentorships on ‘entrepreneurial ventures’. It is becoming seemingly obvious that all repetitive jobs will be automated. So what would the next wave of work look like? This wicked disconnect is the ‘Aspiration Deviation Factor’ [This term was coined by a 15 year old student at the Buraq Space Camp 2016] – how long will it take for our institutions to adapt to the changing times? The time is now on peoples’ side. The power to connect to create is no longer in the hands of the few.


What is Pakistan’s local context?
In heightened complexities, the literature that substantiates Pakistan’s experiential findings are phenomenally narrow and sorry-speak. The interpretation of chaos and calm indicates that the tools and instruments required for the 21st century knowledge and information systems simply do not exist. The system’s thinking pivots on used futures. This alone is a national security threat which will contribute immensely to the dynamics of fragility. The policy stability can only come from when the system recognizes the need for alternate ‘new-thinking’; trust-based approaches that create the stimulus to focus on attitudes and behaviours.

 

There’s nothing profound in anything or about anyone unless it is measured by way and means of impact and that too has to be based on principles of trust. Pakistan can be a victim of engineered circumstances, or a champion of its own destiny.

Pakistan is generous. But not generous enough. It is shackled in a colonial dream. In the coming ten years it would need to take a critical stock of the investments it will make – this investment whether in form of strategic posturing or public service delivery mechanisms if in contradiction to facts, context and reality would have the potential to translate this investment into liabilities leading to a complete paralysis of systems. Pakistan has a window of 15 years to ramp up its capability across all spectrums. The wall needs to be brought down. The normative constraints that are used as an excuse, are no longer relevant. It would need to strike a balance between what is legitimate and what all that is acceptable, this needs to be streamlined into the national discourse. And there will be no national discourse without bringing in the creative wisdom to infuse indigenous arts, culture and languages. Power has been organized and codified for centuries; now imagine in time and space where it is neither organized nor codified. The definition of power in the last decade has at a glacial pace redefined. The inverted pyramid is the prism through which we would be required to construct our national security paradigm. Technology, the key driver in this case, can either fuel trust between people and systems or will completely polarize the communities. The bad investments will lead to contextual decay of the society.

 

Pakistan is generous. But not generous enough. It is shackled in a colonial dream. In the coming ten years it would need to take a critical stock of the investments it will make – this investment facts, context and reality would have the potential to translate this investment into liabilities leading to a complete paralysis of systems whether in form of strategic posturing or public service delivery mechanisms if in contradiction to Pakistan has a window of 15 years to ramp up its capability across all spectrums. The wall needs to be brought down.

What is Technology to Pakistan?
Beyond WhatsApp and microwave, technology is the one enabler that will help us learn and create opportunities for the country’s future generations. But the time starts now. In the era of hyperconnectivity when almost anything and anyone can be understood in 01001011; the country needs to develop a much more sophisticated understanding and clarity on how it identifies challenges, what contributes towards human judgment and then how should all this be classified and, prioritized for co-creating informed futures.


The sheer sense and scope of responsibilities can only be shared. If it is shared only then the systems will be modernized and equipped to hold decision-makers accountable, until then the space for integrity will continue to shrink. And the pendulum of blame will shift from one political rhetoric to an even worse form of mind-numbing reckless narrative.


The range of incentives could only be explored when data thinks information, thinks knowledge, thinks value, as it continues to remain an iterative process, would give the leadership the ability to navigate through uncertainties with a relative degree of clarity. What is more important than ever before is to benchmark where the country is winning and where it is losing without compromising on the human imperative. To imagine the wicked problems, to come to terms with a gray rhino is as agonizing as winning an honest electorate. Harnessing technological advancements should encourage the decision-makers to graduate their thinking patterns to a higher-order policy approaches; nothing less will be expected of them in the coming decade.

The context is changing fast.

 

The writer is Futures Researcher and Strategic Narrative Professional Founder and President of a think tank AGAHI.

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

Twitter: @puruesh

 
08
February

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups. In essence, this means that there is a need to assimilate or get assimilated into other cultures but to respect them for what they are.

The vulnerability of a federal polity against the thrust of internal diversity is a phenomenon that is worldwide. Except in well established federal polities such as the U.S., which are sustained by durable institutions, fool-proof mechanisms and crystallized conventions, de-limiting the powers, obligations and boundaries of the state and federal governments.


Even a seemingly durable federation such as that of Canada has been rocked by the Quebec-based incremental French diversity over the past few decades. Hence, it shouldn’t be too surprising if the Pakistani polity today is plagued by internal divisions and diversities. Even so, the thrust of diversity wouldn’t have assumed such gigantic proportions had Pakistani rulers attempted periodically, on continuing basis, to resolve the diversity-based challenges, process and channelize the demands and grievances underlying them, and formulate policy outputs to resolve them, thereby balancing unity with diversity.


Both India and Pakistan had started their existential career as federal as well as centralized states, being governed by the Government of India Act, 1935 (as adapted) till the promulgation of their respective constitutions. But some seventy years down the road, they have developed along different, indeed divergent, paths. Since the Indian constitution was promulgated on January 26, 1951, India has been able to develop a centre – i.e., the federal polity – that holds it together, even strengthens it. And this chiefly for the outworking of two factors. For one thing, it has been able to control the narrative which determines the core aspects of the state’s identity. And her identity has been internalized to a point that its core attributes are never disputed. Thus the federal bargain, as originally conceived, is irretrievably entrenched in the people’s consciousness. For another, the centre has periodically recognized and accommodated diversities, both vertical and horizontal, except in Indian Occupied Kashmir.


Soon after the enforcement of the constitution in 1951, New Delhi was confronted with a vertical diversity: the demand for linguistic provinces. The Punjab and Bombay were problematical, but Nehru finally did bow to the persistence of the demand and got them bifurcated. And the process of creating new provinces is still going on – for instance, Jharkhand, Mizoram, etc.


Horizontal diversity, as represented by split mandates, has as well plagued New Delhi since the rise of a Marxist regime in Kerala in 1957. In a fit of fury and frustration, Nehru had it dismissed, but had to retract later. Since then accommodation on political diversity became a rule, rather than an exception, in the evolving Indian political system. Again, it was political accommodation that had won over in 1962 the Tamil Nadu’s DMK/AIADMK, which was burning the Indian flag and the Indian constitution throughout the 1950s.


In contrast Pakistan has failed to control the meta narrative and get the core values/aspects of her identity internalized in the people’s consciousness. Some of the core values of the 1956 Constitution and most of those of the 1962 Constitution were in dispute and the lack of recognition and accommodation of the out-groups’ demands had played havoc, hurtling united Pakistan finally to such a sticky end in 1971.


That sticky end, compounded by the euphoria generated by the success of the Bangladesh venture, obviously provided a ballast to centripetal forces in the post-1971 Pakistan. But, fortuitously, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was there, at the helm of affairs, and he saw to it that the regionalist and separatist forces had their outstretched wings clipped and that the federal polity was sustained and strengthened beyond measure, especially by the crafting of the 1973 Constitution by consensus. He also launched upon a series of measures which strengthened the federation and crystallized the Pakistani identity. For instance, his deliberate choice to give his state banquet address in Urdu in Dhaka on June 30, 1974 during his official visit to Bangladesh. In so doing, he was reaffirming the Pakistani symbolism represented by Urdu.


Today, forty-five years down the road, Pakistan is home to a string of commonalities and a host of diversities – the commonalities which provide a common space for one and all, whether it leaves enough room for diverse cultural practices, and for ethnic identities to exist and develop or not. Briefly stated, these are as follows:


(i) An agreed 1973 Constitution which has stood the test of time. Especially after the 18th Amendment, which provides for devolution of power to the provinces and more equitable opportunities to the various provincial units.
(ii) The 2009 NFC Award which provides for considerable fiscal autonomy to the provincial units.
(iii) Urdu as the National Language and English as lingua franca for the elite, business and entreprenuer classes. In tandem, Urdu has also served as the link-language for the masses – as Hindi serves in India, though dominant only in two states, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – unless we unwittingly opt for a chaotic Tower of Babel scenario. Equally important: Urdu’s claim and clout are also buttressed by its ubiquity and universality; hence Bhutto called it “a common denominator”. Even if all the languages are designated as national languages, we would still need a link-language for the masses across the regions that is understood and spoken throughout Pakistan. One major indicator is that the two most outstanding Urdu poets during the past six decades belonged to non-Urdu mother tongued regions. And that would still be Urdu.
(iv) The emergence of two major, though dynastically oriented, political parties – the PPP and the PML – at national level besides strong sub-national parties within the constituent units especially the MQM, ANP and the JUI-F. MQM’s endeavour to shed its linguistic and urban Sindh origins, getting itself transformed incrementally into a Muttahida Qaumi Movement avatar and inducting itself into the mainstream politics, though generally unappreciated and misconstrued, is still a positive development. So is its sponsoring non-Urdu speaking candidates against Urdu speaking ones in some dominant Mohajir constituencies.
(v) Political parties from various provinces have been conceded more or less equal opportunities to stake their claim for power at the federal level. Otherwise the Sindh-based PPP wouldn’t have ruled five times, totalling some 13½ out of 18 years of civilian rule since 1970, and the three top offices wouldn’t have been occupied by Sindhis. At another level, the presidential office has seen occupants from various provinces except Balochistan. Most groups and/or territories are accommodated in the federal cabinets and decision-making bodies. The provincial quota in the services ensures representation of backward or less developed areas in the services. So does the rural-urban quota system in Sindh.


On the other hand the major problems representing the thrust against a viable federal polity are: few elements in Balochistan with their demand for full jurisdiction over powers relevant to ethnic survival, economic upliftment and nation building projects, and control over its resources; Karachi with its mayhem and lawlessness, and the lack of political will on the provincial government’s part; Executive-Judicial confrontation off and on; and the fault lines in ethnic federalism with the burgeoning demand for new provinces.


Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups. In essence, this means that there is a need to assimilate or get assimilated into other cultures but to respect them for what they are. Although the endeavour to balance diversity with unity is a continuous process, there is a dire need to develop multiple identities. Whatever be one’s racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious identity, everyone inhabiting Pakistan is first and foremost a Pakistani, and his Pakistani identity comes first.

 

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

Written By: Shaukat Qadir

"The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind, is to get an old one out."

(B. H. Liddell Hart)

I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life. But almost all were looking ahead at what they could do despite their injuries and handicap. These were men with wounded bodies but hearts and a will of steel that was infinite!

In my generation of soldiers, I was fortunate to spend a little more time in combat zones than most others, but obviously, less than some others – not by design, merely by default. However, when I total the entire period of my combat experience, I cannot go beyond three and a half years out of thirty odd.
Today, Pakistan Army’s young officers of ten years’ service have more combat experience than I.


When I was on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, in 1997, I wrote a paper on ‘Why Peacetime Soldiers Cannot Produce Wartime Leaders’ and sent it to the Military Training Directorate at GHQ. It was highly appreciated but, none of my recommendations were heeded.
It seems that fortune has led us to an unending war, merely for me to have a glimpse of the Pakistani soldier and officer groomed by years of combat.


Now, it has been more than fifteen years since Pakistan entered the affray of GWOT, the Global War On Terror and, over time, the number of troops in constant combat have risen to about 300,000.
The bulk of the troops in combat are, of necessity, infantry. But, despite the fact that almost two thirds of combat troops in the Pakistan Army are infantry, these are insufficient for both roles; defence of the international border and anti-terrorist operations.

 

The point here is that, though not unanimous in their opinion, some psychiatrists are of the view that soldiers who see their superiors of high ranks expose themselves to combat, are less likely to suffer from battle fatigue and related subjects.

Consequently, all the “arms” in the army have been rotating to take turns in combat in what is called “Infantry Role” i.e., for a specified period, troops and officers from Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, Signals, all go into battle as if they were infantry.


All infantry units and, to a slightly lesser degree, other units seem to be in combat zone endlessly. They are moved out from anti-guerrilla operations to be deployed at, either the LOC/Working Boundary between AJK and IOK or the international border.
A stint on border defence is considered peacetime station. It is during this period that units get to train troops.

thepaksoldier.jpgI was not aware of the fact that there is an international index on Troops to Officers’ Casualty Ratio (TOCR), among other related indices, until it was pointed out to me one day in a discussion abroad, when I was a Lt Col. The context was that the Pakistani TOCR was very high and, therefore, the Pakistani officer was, by inference, naturally foolhardy or was trained to be so.
Even then, I protested this inference.

 

I am proud of having been an ordinary soldier, not even a “has-been” but, a never-was in an army that has bred such proud soldiers in all ranks.

But now, I have studied the subject. Yes, the Pakistani TOCR is high; it has always been. Until we entered GWOT, it was as high as 1:12 i.e., to every 12 soldiers we lost an officer. Now it has risen further; it is 1:9.


I am very proud of this because our young officer leads from the front; dies but not buckles!
Wherever the officers lead, the troops invariably follow. Where the officer merely commands, troops may still go but their performance is likely to be less enthusiastic. And where troops are always merely commanded, their enthusiasm will wane more and more.

 

thepaksoldier1.jpgDuring the Second World War, the American general George S. Patton slapped a soldier who had been admitted to hospital due to “battle fatigue”. Patton, being obviously unfamiliar with the reality of this disease, accused the soldier of malingering.


The hospital staff complained and it came to the notice of Patton’s superiors and Patton had to tender a public apology or lose his command. He apologized.
The point here is that, though not unanimous in their opinion, some psychiatrists are of the view that soldiers who see their superiors of high ranks expose themselves to combat, are less likely to suffer from battle fatigue and related subjects.


If this contention is true, then Patton may have been the victim of a verdict which was harsher than it could have been; merely because Patton was among the generals who also led.
But, when I learnt of this index, I also learnt of other related ones i.e., Battle Fatigue Ratio (BFR), Ratio of Suicide in Combat (RSC), etc.


Until this last experience, our wars had been too brief to result in such consequences. This experience has made up for lost centuries. And yet, we have an amazingly low ratio of those suffering from battle fatigue or related mental disorders; under 0.5%.

 

Many of our today’s officers may have never heard of a “Mess-Night” or “Dinner Night”. They may have no appetite for attire and refined niceties and, may use their hands to feed themselves, instead of a fork or knife, they may even be incapable of small talk. But give them a weapon, give them a section to command and you can sleep well; confident that your country is well guarded.

Admittedly, due to lack of awareness among troops, there may be some suffering from problems who have not reported it. But still, it is amazingly low.
There has not been a single instance of suicide in the combat zone. Some soldiers have committed suicide after returning home. Perhaps a couple of dozen. The majority among them could be suffering from either post-combat disorders or post-retirement domestic pressure. Even so, the percentage is closer to nil than to a number.


About two decades ago, a rather unfriendly neighbour was in a similar situation fighting numerous domestic insurgencies. Though considerably better off than we have been, their infantry units were rotating at the rate of 3:2:3 i.e., three years in combat zone, two years in a peace station and again three years in combat.


I recall the concerns being expressed by their general staff about, not only the increasing number of suicides among soldiers but also of “combat murders”. Murders of NCOs/JCOs/officers by soldiers during combat.


There is not a single recorded instance of murder in combat in the last fifteen years in the Pakistan Army.

thepaksoldier2.jpgYes, indeed, this is a battle hardened army with veteran soldiers of all ranks.
Many of our today’s officers may have never heard of a “Mess-Night” or “Dinner Night”. They may have no appetite for attire and refined niceties and, may use their hands to feed themselves, instead of a fork or knife, they may even be incapable of small talk. But give them a weapon, give them a section to command and you can sleep well; confident that your country is well guarded.


I am the patient of an insatiable and incurable disease: curiosity. So, despite the fact that I shed my uniform a little under two decades ago, I have had occasion to see this army grow in stature and ability.
In 2009, when forces were assembling for the assault on South Waziristan, I spoke to few of the soldiers. My chief concern was that they were going to assault an area where their brethren resided. But they were grimly determined and sure of their being in the ‘right’. Even the Pashtun among them knew they were fighting an “enemy”.


I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life. But almost all were looking ahead at what they could do despite their injuries and handicap. These were men with wounded bodies but hearts and a will of steel that was infinite!


Those who seemed depressed, were being cajoled by other wounded. They could laugh at their own sufferings, share concerns of their fellows, and grieve their dead and yet, dream of their future. I was amazed and I still weep unashamedly as I narrate this heartwarming and chilling incident.
In 2014 and ’15 again I met soldiers and this time they could smile through their determination. These were genuine veterans.


I am proud of having been an ordinary soldier, not even a “has-been” but, a never-was in an army that has bred such proud soldiers in all ranks.


No wonder Gen (R) Raheel Sharif could warn our enemies not to take this army of veterans lightly. Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa could well do the same and say, “Don’t take this army of veterans lightly. These are the finest of fighting soldiers”.


While it would remain unsaid but implicit in the statement above is that it is led at each level, not commanded.

 

The writer is a retired Brigadier, former Vice Pesident and founder of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)

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

 
08
February

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

interview_sardar_masood_khan.jpg

Kashmiris in IOK are suffering grievously;
the world must come forward and help us rescue them; it is our collective responsibility;
not just of Pakistan
and the people
of Kashmir.

Sardar Masood Khan

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Q: Where exactly do we stand at this point in our struggle for achieving right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir?
Ans: The struggle for the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir goes on unabated, but any process for its realization, bilateral or multilateral, is stalled because of India's obdurate opposition. Kashmiris are right now facing an existential challenge; how to put an end to killings and mass blindings unleashed by Indian security forces since July 8, 2016. An estimated unarmed 12.5 million Kashmiris are pitted against 700,000 Indian occupation troops which are armed to the teeth. Out of which, some 400,000 troops terrorize, kill, maim and torture the 7 million residents of the Valley of Kashmir. Mass graves of thousands have been discovered; thousands have been victims of enforced disappearances; 'half widows', mothers and families wait forever for those who have "disappeared". The UN and international community have, practically, washed their hands off the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan extends moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris, but for their physical self-defence they are on their own. This is one of the biggest calamities of our times.


Q: No matter what means are used by the oppressors, history tells us that freedom movements for individual and collective rights have always won. Under the historical framework, are the recent brutalities by India a part of self-defeating mechanism?
Ans: Yes, freedom movements have always succeeded but at a huge cost. Kashmiris are paying that cost with their blood and honour. Imperialists coerce and brutalize subjugated nations to assimilate and exploit them. India is doing precisely that. Using colonial tactics, it is making the price of freedom so prohibitive that, they hope, Kashmiris would be terrorized into submission; dissent would be silenced; and the flame of liberty would be extinguished forever. And yes, despite India's killings and depredations, the flame of freedom burns to its full in Kashmir. For the past seven decades, in order to make IOK part of India's body politic, Delhi has used brute military force to crush the will of the Kashmiris, tried to win them over through blandishments for economic development, nurtured and propped up local political parties sympathetic to India, and demonized Kashmiris as terrorists being supported by Pakistan. As if killing Kashmiris was not enough for Indians, they have been targeting and killing scores of civilians and soldiers on our side of the Line of Control (LOC), too.


Nothing has worked for India. All its plots and machinations have failed, but that has not meant any reduction in the pain and suffering of the Kashmiris. In fact, with each coming year, Indian occupation forces are using more lethal methods and weaponry to escalate state terrorism in Kashmir. India's terror machine in IOK will not dissolve on its own. We need urgent intercession to put an end to Indian acts of genocide and crimes against humanity in Kashmir. Left to its diabolical devices, India's barbarity will become more vicious and will continue in perpetuity. Intercession is needed.


Q: Usually Kashmir Dispute is seen through the prism of so-called Instrument of Accession with India by Maharaja Hari Singh and a revolt by Kashmiris; whereas the struggle for fundamental rights of Kashmiris is much older and deeper. The original sin is attributed to the British who sold it off to the Sikh Maharaja that later Hindu leadership conspired and annexed at partition in 1947?


Ans: Kashmiris were treated as chattel by the British; they are still being treated as colonial subjects by India. The dark night of the people of IOK under foreign occupation and alien domination has become darker. Historically, both – Britain and India – are guilty of inflicting injustice on a peaceful and proud nation.


Q: Historians like Alastair Lamb have questioned the legitimacy of the Instrument of Accession as before it became effectual, the Indian forces had landed on Srinagar Airport on October 27, 1947 Does that make them invaders outrightly?

 

• Despite India's killings and depredations, the flame of freedom burns to its full in Kashmir.
• With each coming year, Indian occupation forces are using more lethal methods and weaponry to escalate state terrorism in Kashmir.
• Left to its diabolical devices, India's barbarity will become more vicious and will continue in perpetuity. Intercession is needed.
• One cannot trust India when it comes to Kashmir.
• Historically, both – Britain and India – are guilty of inflicting injustice on a peaceful and proud nation.
• India is guilty of illegal occupation of Srinagar and later of the Valley of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh on October 27, 1947.
• The blame that Pakistan did not withdraw the troops first as per UNSC resolutions and thus did not initiate the Plebiscite process is factually incorrect; historically a misnomer.
• India made a sinister plan to attack Azad Kashmir and occupy it after withdrawal of Pakistani troops in 1950s.v
• Indian Deep State is following the policy of ‘continuous encroachment’ towards Kashmir.
• Simla Agreement does not reduce the Kashmir dispute to a bilateral issue.
• Despite all machinations, India has not succeeded in integrating Kashmir into India.
• September 11 incident has been exploited by India. The Kashmiris have the right to defend themselves.
• Western powers see profit and strategic benefits in their relationship with India.
• No matter what move or counter-move Indian occupation forces make, Kashmiris have vowed to continue their struggle. They will prevail.

Ans: Alastair Lamb's meticulous research is seminal on this question. He has established authoritatively, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the so-called Instrument of Accession is a fake document and therefore, by corollary, India is guilty of illegal occupation of Srinagar and later of the Valley of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh on October 27, 1947. This document has never been communicated to Pakistan or to the UN; nor its original or a satisfactory copy has been produced. The Maharajah could not have signed that document on October 26, 1947, as claimed by India, because on that day he was travelling between Jammu and Srinagar. All evidence points to the fact the Maharajah did not sign the documents and the Indian occupation forces landed in Srinagar on October 27 to beef up some Indian troops which had already secured the airport in mid-October. The irony is that India is not amenable to such fine legal points which it expunged from its lingo early on and has always owned its forcible entry into IOK to establish its illicit writ. It makes no bones about it and flaunts the thin veneer of its (il) legitimacy in Kashmir.


Q: How do you see Gandhi and Nehru’s role in genesis and perpetuation of this problem?
Ans: Gandhi very strongly advocated for a united India and his pre-Partition stance towards Kashmir falls in the same category. After Partition, in all fairness, Gandhi once said in one of his prayer meetings, "If the people of Kashmir are in favour of Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so... they should be left free to decide for themselves..." But Nehru is a different story. He made promises to hold the plebiscite to ascertain the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and he did agree to implement UN Security Council resolutions; and then he reneged on his promises. This kind of duplicity and dissimulation permeates India’s foreign policy. You can't trust them when it comes to Kashmir. The world knows that Kashmir does not belong to India; and Indians know that too because Kashmiri men, women and children hold a plebiscite every day to say ‘GO INDIA, GO BACK, LEAVE OUR KASHMIR’.


Q: Few scholars, particularly Indian and Western scholars, blame Pakistan for not withdrawing troops after the UN Resolutions in 1950s and thus failing to create the right conditions for the Plebiscite?
Ans: This is not true. One needs to read Security Council Resolution 98 of December 30, 1952 that provided that 3000 to 6000 Pakistani troops would remain on the Pakistani side (Azad Kashmir) and 12,000 to 18,000 on the Indian side (IOK) to pave the way for the holding of a UN-supervised plebiscite. Disagreement arose when India demanded that Pakistan should withdraw its forces first, whereas Pakistan insisted that this be done simultaneously. Pakistan saw through India's sinister plan in 1950s: to make Pakistan vacate Azad Kashmir so that it could attack and occupy it later. Again this is a fine point and disingenuous stance by Delhi about the implementation of the UN resolutions, because India had already started underhand, specious and illegal political and constitutional processes to integrate IOK into the Indian Union. In July 1952, Sheikh Abdullah signed Delhi Agreement with India to establish Centre-State relationship and to attain an "autonomous status" for the State. The real objective was to annex the occupied territory. In November that year, the so-called Constituent Assembly (the one rejected by the UN Security Council as being a substitute for the plebiscite) passed a resolution to formally abolish the Maharajah's rule and replace it with Sadar-i-Riyasat. All of this was happening in 1952. Where was India's intent or action to withdraw its troops?

 

interview_sardar_masood_khan1.jpgQ: Since 1947 Indian policies towards Kashmir follow a pattern of ‘continuous encroachment’. What next moves do you expect from Indian Deep State which has followed this policy of encroachment irrespective of any political government in New Delhi?
Ans: After the assumption of office, the BJP Government has taken a series of steps to accelerate the pace for the permanent annexation of the IOK into the Indian Union. Its main objective is to scuttle the special status given grudgingly to IOK, change the demography of the occupied territory and further squeeze the space for Kashmiris. It has encouraged and orchestrated steps to abolish Article 35 (A) of the Indian Constitution, an offshoot of Article 370, that gives special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir in regard to employment, acquisition of immovable property, settlement in the state and scholarships. The BJP, backed by the Hindu extremist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is also taking incremental steps and preparing the ground for the repeal of Article 370 itself; and this was in fact its stand during the 2014 elections. Right from the beginning this article was all but a thin veneer to "legalize" India's occupation of the territory and with extensions of Indian legislation to IOK it has been all but eviscerated. In addition, the 2002 SARFAESI
(Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act is being imposed on IOK for seizure, auction and sale of the mortgaged immovable properties to non-Kashmiris. In yet another "encroachment" on the rights of the Kashmiris, nativity certificates are being issued to the so-called West Pakistan refugees to increase the population of Non-Kashmiris in the IOK. Illegal settlements for ex-Army personnel and Pandits, on the pattern of Israeli settlements, are being built. Above all, through electoral maneuvers, the BJP is elbowing out even pro-India Kashmiri, but essentially Muslim, political parties – the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party – to dominate the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly so as to "legitimize" all these steps.


Q: Indians often tell the world that after Simla Agreement in 1972, Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two countries. What are your views on this Indian claim?
Ans: The Kashmir issue never was and will never be a bilateral issue; it is a trilateral issue involving Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite repeated misinterpretations by India, the Simla Agreement does not reduce the Kashmir dispute to a bilateral issue. Nowhere does the treaty say or imply that. Article 1(i) of the agreement invokes the principles and purposes of the UN Charter; Article 1(ii) states that the two countries would settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them; Article 4(2) highlights the recognized positions of both sides; and Article 6 talks about the final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir. I think the Ceasefire Line in Jammu and Kashmir should not have been called the Line of Control; that was a mistake. That said, the Indian claim to the Indian Occupied Kashmir is not recognized in the agreement. Most importantly, the agreement does not overrule the rights of the Kashmiris or override the application of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and international law upholding the right to self-determination. A reference to the UN, though not stated explicitly in the agreement, remains intact.

 

interview_sardar_masood_khan2.jpgThe real harm has not been done by the Simla Agreement but by the elusive bilateral dialogue process. While Pakistan sincerely tried to pursue this path, India has used it to (a) reduce the core issue of Kashmir to one of the eight or ten agenda items; and (b) acquire a veto over the commencement and timetable of the dialogue. India would scuttle the process on the slightest pretext and push Pakistan to a position of begging for dialogue. Talks on Kashmir, if they ever start, India tells Pakistan there will be no dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir because it is an integral part of India; and the only thing the two sides can talk about is terrorism. India used these tactics to cause inordinate delays in the possible resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute so that the status quo in Kashmir gets legitimacy. Despite all such machinations, India has not succeeded in integrating Kashmir into India.


Q: How much has September 11 affected Kashmir Freedom Movement in its claims for legitimacy?
Ans: The stark irony is that Indian Army, one of the largest and most equipped armies of the world, has waged a full throttle, ferocious war against the people of IOK, the most unarmed people in the world. Indian Army is killing non-combatant civilians, who are demanding their freedom from Indian subjugation and their right to self-determination. Indians are calling this demand terrorism. Pakistan and people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are extending their moral, diplomatic and political support to the people of Kashmir. The Kashmiris have the right to defend themselves. If the most powerful nations on earth have the right to defend themselves according to the UN Charter, why is it being denied to the people of Kashmir? To allow India to persevere in its carnage? One thing is clear: the struggle for freedom and self-determination, such as that of Kashmiris, is not terrorism.


Q: Where do you see the UN, USA and the international community supporting the cause of Kashmiris and taking it to the logical point of exercising the Right to Self-determination?
Ans: The bitter truth is that right now Kashmir is not on the radar screen of the global powers or even the United Nations. This does not mean we will be discouraged or disheartened. We will continue to knock on their doors until we get their attention. Western powers see profit and strategic benefits in their relationship with India. I call it rank mercantilism and misplaced strategic alignments. But let's not get into that. We are confident that our message will resonate in world capitals and like other peoples of the world, the Kashmiris too would get their rights. President Trump, the newly elected President of the U.S., has hinted that he would like to play a role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute; and the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has given indications that he would use his good offices. So let's not lose hope. The world order is in flux and we hope that the emerging global order will address the suppression of people under foreign occupation and alien domination, such as in Kashmir.


Q: India is implementing demographic changes by New Hindu Settlements (NHS) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) particularly in Muslim majority areas. Is any role being played by the UN as seen in case of Jewish Settlements by Israel?
Ans: The Palestinians got that break in the UN Security Council after a long time. And that victory appears to be evanescent because the new U.S. Administration has resolved to reverse this decision. Israel has become even more defiant. This teaches us one lesson; we should be resilient. We should continue to send communications to the UN Security Council, the Secretary General, and the Human Rights Council about these illegal settlements that are altering the character of the state that is yet to decide its political future. We, the people of Azad Kashmir, IOK and, above all, Pakistan should be the primary custodians of the parameters for the UN resolutions on Kashmir.


Q: How do you view the ongoing indigenous struggle in IOK and Indian counter-moves?
Ans: No matter what moves or counter-moves Indian occupation forces make, Kashmiris have vowed to continue their struggle. They will prevail.


Q: What basic steps would you recommend towards the resolution of this historic issue which has the potential to become a nuclear flash point?


Ans: Here are the eleven points:

(1) Hold India accountable for its atrocities at all international forums.

(2) Revive the international dimension of the Kashmir dispute and pursue your case with full vigour.

(3) Do not abandon the path of engagement with India despite its obduracy; and maintain your moral high ground on a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute through diplomacy even if this track seems unproductive in the short-term.

(4) Continue to develop Pakistan's nuclear and conventional capability.

(5) Continue to invest in strategic restraint and responsibility.

(6) Consolidate the strengths of your diaspora community, especially in North America and Europe.

(7) Use the tools of communication, including the traditional and modern media, at the strategic level to get your message across.

(8) Use all possible avenues to express solidarity with the people of IOK.

(9) Make Pakistan strong economically and bring it on par with other emerging economies.

(10) Make Azad Jammu and Kashmir a model state in terms of economic development and governance.

(11) Reach out to Indian civil society to persuade them to speak up for the rights of Kashmiris and not be a party to India's crimes against humanity in IOK through silence which amounts to acquiescence.

 

Q: What is your message to the people of AJK, IOK, Pakistan, India, and the world?

Ans: Kashmiris in IOK are suffering grievously; the world must come forward and help us rescue them; it is our collective responsibility; not just of Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.

 
08
February

Written By: Zamir Akram

Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

Pakistan and India are currently in a race to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a cartel of 48 countries that regulates the trade in nuclear materials and technologies. Membership of the group is considered by both countries as acceptance into the nuclear mainstream and recognition of their status as responsible nuclear weapon states – a status that has been denied to them since their nuclear tests in 1998. Membership can also help them overcome their energy crises by easy access to nuclear energy. Since NSG decisions are taken by consensus, all NSG members have to agree to accept Pakistan and India as members but evolving such consensus is both complicated and contentious.

 

racefornsg.jpgNuclear technology is dual use – it can be used for civilian or peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and for developing nuclear weapons. To contain the spread of nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons 'proliferation', the major nuclear powers – the United States and the (then) Soviet Union – negotiated an international treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT in 1968 according to which the countries that had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968 were accepted as Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and the others, the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) undertook not to acquire nuclear weapons in return for assurances that they would receive international assistance for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and that the NWS would engage in efforts towards ultimate nuclear disarmament. Apart from the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the UK, France and China, which had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968, were recognized as NWS by the NPT while the others were forbidden to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. At the time France and China refused to join the NPT while among the NNWS, India, Israel and Pakistan also refused to sign the NPT. Whereas India described the treaty as discriminatory, Pakistan argued that owing to its security concerns vis-a-vis India, it would join the treaty only if India did so. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), created in 1957 to promote only peaceful uses of nuclear energy, was tasked to ensure implementation of the NPT.

 

This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.

However, the first Indian nuclear test in 1974 demonstrated that despite the NPT and the IAEA, a country could use its peaceful or civilian nuclear facilities to clandestinely develop nuclear weapons capability by illicitly diverting nuclear fuel and technology from civilian to military purposes. As a result, the 1974 Indian nuclear test led to the creation of the NSG in the same year to plug the gaps and prevent clandestine diversion of nuclear materials.


The Indian test also led to the enactment of several laws in the U.S. aimed at preventing further acts of nuclear proliferation through sanctions. However, neither the U.S. nor any other NWS did much in practical terms to punish Indian proliferation. The French even sent a congratulatory message to the Indians! On the other hand, focus shifted towards preventing Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons through such laws as the Glenn and Symington Amendments and then through the Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment which was used to put sanctions on Pakistan in 1990. Earlier, the U.S. also extended extreme pressure on France to cancel its Reprocessing Plant agreement with Pakistan. This was the start of the discriminatory treatment of Pakistan compared to India by the U.S. and its Western partners which continues till today. Only China has extended cooperation to Pakistan in the civilian nuclear field, even after it joined the NPT and the NSG on the basis of the “grand father” clause that it signed before joining these organizations.


The next major Indian act of nuclear proliferation was the tests in May 1998. Washington was caught totally unaware by these tests as its focus had been entirely on Pakistan despite the newly elected BJP government’s declared intention of acquiring nuclear weapons as well as fore-warnings by Pakistan about the preparations for these tests by India. The Western reaction, led by the U.S., was to pressurize Pakistan not to respond by conducting its own tests. However, Pakistan’s compulsion to ensure the credibility of its deterrence in the face of dire Indian threats led to the tests by Pakistan a few days later. In response the U.S. and its partners made no distinction between the culprit and the victim, imposing sanctions on both and leading the international community in castigating the two countries through a UN Security Council resolution that called for discontinuing all forms of nuclear related cooperation with India and Pakistan.

 

For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

Within a couple of years, however, the global strategic dynamics, especially the growing American objective of containing a rising China, brought about a change in U.S. policy towards India motivated by the objective of using India as a counter-weight to China. This trend started by the Clinton administration was taken further by succeeding Presidents Bush and Obama. In a major departure from U.S. non-proliferation policy, Bush engineered changes in U.S. laws and pushed through in 2008 a country-specific waiver for India from the international non-proliferation and safe-guards regime including the NPT and the NSG, enabling India to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with several countries. Obama has taken this policy even further, promising to ensure Indian membership of the NSG and other technology control cartels like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is, indeed, ironic that the U.S. is pushing Indian membership of the NSG despite the fact that this group was set up in response to the Indian nuclear test of 1974. This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.


Meanwhile, the nuclear sanctions against Pakistan were waived in view of the U.S. need for Pakistan’s assistance in its so-called War on Terror following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.

Such discrimination at the policy level has been supplemented by American/Western efforts to build-up a negative narrative about Pakistan’s strategic program through manipulation of the western media, academics and think-tanks. This alleges that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program, which is at risk of being taken over by terrorists and extremists and that is destabilizing security in South Asia. These wild allegations are not supported by facts nor are they consistent with existing realities. The fact is that compared to India, Pakistan has far less nuclear facilities and that India has been producing nuclear weapons and fissile material for nuclear weapons as well as their delivery system before 1974, much before Pakistan launched its own strategic program. Moreover, after the 2008 waiver for India, it has been able to use its indigenous sources of fissile material exclusively for nuclear weapons production without needing to divide it between civilian and military use as Pakistan is forced to do. Add to this the fact that India has also been clandestinely diverting nuclear fuel imported under the 2008 waiver from civilian to military purposes. As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.


The question, therefore, arises as to why this discrimination against Pakistan? In my personal view, the real reason is that the U.S. and the western powers in general are uncomfortable with a Muslim country like Pakistan possessing a nuclear weapons capability even though Pakistan has always stated that this capability is for its deterrence against India and not against any other country. With the change in the global strategic environment wherein the U.S. is trying to contain China, an added factor has become the U.S. need to build-up India against China, owing to which Washington is actually helping India’s military build-up while seeking “restraint” by Pakistan.


A critical part of this U.S. strategy and a principal demand by India to partner with Washington is to ensure India’s inclusion and acceptance in the nuclear mainstream which would lead to India’s recognition as a de-facto if not de-jure member of the nuclear club – the P-5. Since Indian entry to the NPT as a nuclear weapon state is time barred and it is extremely difficult to amend the NPT deadline owing to opposition by the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) and China, the next best option is to have India accepted as a member of the NSG. That is the real reason for the concentrated efforts by the Modi-Obama clique to push Indian membership of the NSG.


For this reason it is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG. For sure, Pakistan’s credentials for NSG membership are at least equal if not better than those of India. Pakistan did not introduce nuclear weapons in South Asia. It is not responsible for the nuclear and missile race in the region – in fact after the 1998 tests, it proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia to prevent further development of de-stabilizing weapons – Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), nuclear Sub-marine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) – as is being done by India. Nor is Pakistan pursuing India’s lead in developing a hydrogen bomb which it is doing in Karnataka according to Adrian Levy in Foreign Policy (December 2015). Unlike India, Pakistan voted in favour of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the UN and observes a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. It has also offered a bilateral test ban arrangement to India which New Delhi has rejected. Pakistan also has a transparent and robust Command and Control System as well as effective fire-walls for the safety and security of its strategic assets consistent with IAEA guidelines. This has been recognized by the Director General of the IAEA. It is also noteworthy that Harvard University’s Belfer Center report of March 2016 quotes U.S. officials as stating that “India’s security measures are weaker than those of Pakistan” and that President Obama and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have repeatedly expressed confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear safety arrangements. As regards the specific work of the NSG, Pakistan has been implementing comprehensive export controls that are fully harmonized with those of the NSG.

It is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG.

Since applying for membership last June, Pakistan has reached out to all NSG member states and called upon them to consider its request on the basis of equitable, impartial and non-discriminatory criteria. These countries, while considering requests from both India and Pakistan, confront the central issue of how to deal with countries that are nuclear weapon states but not parties to the NPT, which is the existing criteria for NSG membership. The Obama administration, in its hurry to push through Indian membership before end of its tenure in office, has argued that India is already “like-minded” and should be given membership on that basis. However, sensing reluctance of some states to accept such a biased approach, most notably China, the U.S. agreed to evolve new criteria but advocated that it be no more than the commitments India has already given for its 2008 waiver. Accordingly, using intense pressure, the Americans persuaded the outgoing Chair of the NSG, Ambassador Grossi of Argentina and the current Chair, Ambassador Song of South Korea, to put forward a proposal in December 2016 designed to suit India but exclude Pakistan. According to this formula, the applicant state must separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities; accept an Additional Protocol with the IAEA; not divert any imported nuclear material to unsafeguarded facilities; enter into a safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all its existing and future civilian facilities; not to conduct any nuclear test and describe its policies in support of the CTBT. These are conditions that India has already accepted for the 2008 waiver or can give without compromising its nuclear program or position on the CTBT. The other elements of this proposal that are designed to virtually scuttle Pakistan’s membership are that it implicitly calls for Indian membership before Pakistan since it mentions that as a member India will not oppose other membership requests, an assurance that would be worthless for Pakistan; and, that even when Pakistan becomes a member it will still need to obtain waiver in order to be eligible for nuclear trade with other NSG members – a condition that can always be denied by India (or the U.S.) since the NSG works on the basis of consensus.


This formula is so fundamentally biased in India’s favour that more than 10 countries have expressed their opposition to it, including China, Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Turkey among others. Consequently, the NSG meeting scheduled for December last year had to be postponed till February-March 2017. These countries have also asked the ‘Chair’ to engage in a transparent consultative process with all NSG members and pursue the two stage process agreed at the Seoul NSG Plenary meeting in June 2016 according to which the group shall first agree by consensus on the membership criteria and then consider the applications of Pakistan and India.


Pakistan’s principled position on the need for an equitable and non-discriminatory criteria has, therefore, been vindicated and the attempt by the U.S. and other Indian supporters to give India preferential treatment has been defeated. President Obama will, therefore, not be able to fulfil his promise to his friend Modi. It remains to be seen whether the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, will carry on with this policy. Given the strategic convergence between the U.S. and India, it is likely that he will.


For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

 

Former ambassador Zamir Akram is currently Advisor to the Strategic Plans Division, Government of Pakistan. He remained Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations.

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10
January
January 2017(EDITION 01, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
As we enter into the year 2017 we stand proud of our successes as achieved so far; though it all came through trials and tribulations. To recapitulate, the year 2016 encompassed the terminal stage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and tackling....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Samar Mubarakmand
It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems....Read full article
 
Written By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali
How do we measure our country sixty-eight years down the road since its creation? It will be unfair to state that Pakistan is a near-failed state as many political pundits are fond of saying. At the time of creation of Pakistan even the socks of our army jawans were made in England....Read full article
 
Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh
Many in Pakistan were of the view that given India’s refusal to attend the SAARC summit, that was to be held in Islamabad and which led to the postponement of that meeting, it would have been right for Pakistan to refuse to attend the Heart of....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai
In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
The global strategic chessboard would remain complex in 2017. The conversion in the global strategic environment continues. The transition in the global politics appeases the dynamical forces and alarms the status quo legatees. Professing about the developments in....Read full article
 
Written By: Syed Muhammad Ali
Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald.....Read full article
 
Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal
Brexit, and a gradual rise of nationalism in Europe is actively challenging the very idea of a merged European Union. The threat always existed in subtle forms of migration, financial and identity crisis. It has taken a more direct form as far-right, eurosceptic parties are....Read full article
 
Written By: Commodore Tahir Javed
The rapid changes in politico-military situation across the globe are greatly transforming regional security paradigm. Resultantly, a shift is being observed in the overall national security mechanisms through structural and technological improvements. In the prevailing environment....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad
Majestically, the sparkling snowflakes fell delicately from the white cloudy skies on our cold faces to welcome us in Beijing. Falling snow looked like tiny angels making the sky glow in the dull mist, indescribably. The world-class Beijing airport is comparable.....Read full article
 
Written By: Bilal Ali
Taftan is a town located 600 kms southwest of Quetta, in Chaghi District of Balochistan. It is Pakistan's only legal official border crossing point into Iran and is famed as the Road to London because of its linkage with western....Read full article
 
Written By: Capt Ali Raza
The day you enter the prestigious Quaid Gate, you are basically airborne on a skydive to an unknown destination at least for the next two years. You never know where this journey is going to take you, but thrill, adventure and memories accompany you for the rest of your life....Read full article
 
Written By: Haseeb Abbasi
Haseeb Abbasi who won two gold medals for Pakistan in Asia-Pacific Games held in Australia, pens down his hopes, dreams and the challenges he faced being an Autistic child.....Read full article
 
Written By: Rear Admiral (R) Pervaiz Asghar
The most significant feature of Pakistan’s coastline is not the hammerhead of Gwadar jutting out majestically into the sea but the Indus Delta region covering the entire south western swathe of the coast. This topographical landmark is prominent.....Read full article

 
Written By: Samina Rizwan
In September 1965, Squadron Leader Rais Ahmad Rafi commanded No. 8 Squadron and lived with his wife and two children, my brother and I, at PAF Station, Mauripur, Karachi (now PAF Base Masroor). I must have been an exceptionally bright four year-old because, defying biological....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Atta
I want to be a spy”. That is what everyone dreams about when they are younger. To become a war hero or at least like a spy who uses futuristic gadgets. With the advancement in technology, these spy gadgets are now a reality. Some can be easily procured while others are....Read full article
 
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahadur Ranges near Attock on December 29, 2016 and witnessed Pak-Jordan joint exercise “Fajr-ul-Sharq 1”. It was a two weeks long joint counter terrorism training.....Read full article
 
While addressing the troops he said that it was a matter of great pride for him to be part of the ceremony and to celebrate the success and happiness of Baloch brothers. “The fully alert faces of the recurits reflecting determination and resolve are a testimony....Read full article
 
Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visited Khyber Agency and interacted with the troops. He appreciated their resolve and said that ‘the people of Khyber Agency have....Read full article
 
On December 14, Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of the indigenously developed Babur Cruise Missile. Babur Weapon System version-2 incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy....Read full article
 
Aiming to ensure security of Gwadar Port and CPEC in the maritime domain, Pakistan Navy has raised the Task Force-88 at Gwadar. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the chief guest of the ceremony....Read full article
 
In an impressive demonstration, the frontline combat unit of Pakistan Navy undertook live missile firing in the North Arabian Sea. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Chief of the Naval Staff witnessed the live missile firing onboard ship. Surface-to-surface anti-ship....Read full article
 
China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) features the display of real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying display. It is a gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase.....Read full article
 
10
January

Written By: Rear Admiral (R) Pervaiz Asghar

The most significant feature of Pakistan’s coastline is not the hammerhead of Gwadar jutting out majestically into the sea but the Indus Delta region covering the entire south western swathe of the coast. This topographical landmark is prominent from an ecological angle also as around 25 creeks drain into its 150 km wide mouth, with the port city of Karachi continuously intruding into its western extremity.


This delta used to be historically interspersed with thousands of natural river courses, which braided with smaller tributaries, and formed a natural yet intricate drainage system. However, since the British era when this irrigation and drainage system had been conceived and executed, things have gone from bad to worse. Most of these waterways, hardly 10% of which are lined, now stand abandoned, afflicted by the ravages of time, nature and plain outright neglect. Construction work undertaken over decades, inclusive of irrigation canals, road networks and illegal settlements, played no small part in the obstruction of these dhoras as they are locally referred to. Such obstructions, along with an attendant lack of drainage capacity, have made the delta vulnerable to the multiple scourges of sea intrusion, salinity, water-logging and flooding. These calamities have combined to lay waste millions of acres of prime agricultural land and deprived the area of its freshwater fishing sanctuaries.

 

theindusdelta.jpgThe combined impact on the local communities, which were completely dependent on these once-flourishing agricultural lands and freshwater lakes for their livelihood, was nothing short of catastrophic. Most of the people have been forced to relocate to seek alternate work. Those who chose to remain are plagued with malnutrition and climate sensitive diseases, with healthcare facilities virtually non-existent.


All problems which stalk this unfortunate land are ironically interlinked. A near absence of waste treatment facilities in industries, hospitals and municipalities gives rise to all types of toxic and chemical polluting agents. Drastically reduced freshwater flows downstream of Kotri, throttled to near zero for almost nine months of the year, result in widespread deforestation of the largest arid climate mangroves in the world, while preventing the flushing out of the accumulated impurities at the same time.


A mangrove forest is nature’s gift to the coastal environment. Apart from acting as a bulwark against natural disasters, it serves as a life-sustaining ecosystem for nourishing all types of flora and fauna. It is an invaluable source of nutrients as well for both freshwater and marine fisheries. Its roots provide a natural protection against coastal erosion, retarding the process through their ability to hold the soil together by trapping suspended particles. The lack of a natural freshwater flushing mechanism, so vital to preserving their health, has resulted in wiping out almost all the luxuriant mangrove species except for the most salt tolerant one, Avicennia Marina.


On a positive note, organisations like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund – Pakistan (WWF-P) keep prodding stakeholders like the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, the Sindh Forest Department and the Pakistan Navy (PN) towards a mangrove preservation and revival program. IUCN’s partnership-based regional initiative Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is playing an active role in addressing such challenges to Pakistan’s fragile coastal ecosystem. As an active member of MFF’s National Coordinating Body, Pakistan Navy is doing whatever it can to improve environmental awareness as a prerequisite to combatting pollution. With MFF’s moral and financial backing, it has set up a Reed Bed Sewage Treatment Plant at Manora to help reduce marine pollution and more importantly, it is spearheading a campaign to generate awareness of environmental issues, starting with PNs own personnel. PN has also accomplished 50% of the target it had set for itself for plantation of a million mangroves in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan within a period of three months.

theindusdelta1.jpgIt is, however, distressing to note that the British era irrigation and drainage system has not been improved upon, while polluting components in terms of saline seepage, saline groundwater, excess irrigation water, rainfall run-off, industrial effluents and municipal waste have increased manifold. The solution proposed and executed by the World Bank was to create a Left Bank Outfall Drain. The idea faltered because of a very basic and avoidable design flaw: the 41 km long Tidal Link meant to drain the water into the sea was built at a lower level as compared to the sea it was supposed to discharge into. So not only are the pollutants and saline-laden water being pushed back, the periodical floods that occur wreak maximum devastation by spreading impurities all over the low-lying deltaic plain.


In addition, our apparent inability and possibly the will to keep pollution in check in Karachi’s urban environment results in unimaginable amounts of waste products through domestic, commercial, industrial and hospital sources all being unceremoniously dumped into the Arabian Sea, as if it was some type of a giant garbage bin.


Karachi harbour, where till the early seventies at least, dolphins and fishing tackles were a common sight, is now a wasteland, polluted to an extent that not even a single National Environmental Quality Standard can be met. The extraordinary levels of toxic elements like chromium, lead, chlorides and sulphates, coupled with the low conductivity experienced forms a corrosive mix that apart from decimating all types of marine life, whittles away at the submerged port infrastructure and causes extensive damage to ships berthed inside the harbour. This accelerated corrosion of ships’ hulls as well as seawater-based machinery and pumps has a huge impact on naval vessels, reducing their lifespan by as much as 50% and drastically enhancing their preservation and maintenance costs. Presence of solid waste and plastic bags in the water tends to choke seawater intakes resulting in more frequent machinery failures.


Though control of pollution in Karachi harbour is the preserve of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Pakistan Navy, smarting under its massive impact, lobbied hard with the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production to reactivate the Marine Pollution Control Board, which during its formative years i.e., 1994-99 under the chairmanship of the Chief of Naval Staff had made substantive progress in combatting marine pollution. Regrettably though, despite PN’s best efforts, the Board again went into a hibernation mode soon after being reconstituted in 2009.


As a supplementary measure, an indigenously constructed mechanised Debris Collection Boat is being used to collect solid waste floating around the warships. Another locally constructed multipurpose barge is being utilised for collection of oily compensating water secreted by submarines in harbour.


After our organisational, operational and functional inadequacies stood exposed during the Tasman Spirit oil spill disaster of 2003, Pakistan Navy took the initiative of formulating a National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan. The experience gleaned from the conduct of simulated oil spill exercises involving the active participation of other associated stakeholders like Maritime Security Agency, port authorities and oil marketing companies has enabled Naval Headquarters to go in for the Plan’s update.
The obvious solution which has somehow evaded everyone’s notice is to invest in the setting up and maintenance of sewage treatment plants for the safe disposal of waste. A few companies are indeed collecting trash for free from some military establishments for generating electricity. Other municipal authorities may do well to profit from such enterprises too. Hospitals and industries likewise need to be pressurised by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe disposal of their toxic and unhygienic waste products.


We are unfortunately living in a dreary present where everything we touch, eat or drink is tainted in one way or the other. The impurities laden seawater has already intruded upto 70 km inland in places and is on the verge of encroaching upon the vegetable basket of Karachi, Malir. The sort of legacy we want to pass on to our coming generations is in our hands. Will we rise to the occasion by harnessing the forces of nature towards a shared goal of health and prosperity or should we continue to give it free rein to devastate our living resources? The future can only belong to us if we join hands to eliminate the perils that dog this land of plenty.

 

The writer is a retired Rear Admiral of Pakistan Navy and a Maritime Researcher. He has served as the Director General of the National Centre for Maritime Policy Research at Bahria University, Karachi.
 
10
January

Written By: Haseeb Abbasi

Where hopes and dreams of people with intellectual disabilities come to reality

 

Haseeb Abbasi who won two gold medals for Pakistan in Asia-Pacific Games held in Australia, pens down his hopes, dreams and the challenges he faced being an Autistic child.

 

My name is Muhammad Haseeb Abbasi. I’m 18 years of age. I’m proud to be part of more than 19000 registered athletes, their families, 1500 coaches and 3800 active volunteers of Special Olympics Pakistan which through the power of sports is striving to create a better culture in the country by fostering acceptance and inclusion of all people.

 

specialolympics.jpgBeing autistic, I can understand that accepting people with differences is difficult, especially when the difference is a disability and that too invisible, like mine. Autism is an intellectual disability which impacts the normal life and development of one’s brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills and cognitive functions. Individuals with autism mainly have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and sports activities. Autism is not a disease; it is simply part of one’s identity. It has taken me 6 to 8 years to learn to accept myself and my diagnosis. Although I am not there yet, but one day I will be able to truly accept my condition. I was born healthy and my early development was normal except for verbal speech which was the only thing that made me different. I was only able to say a few words by the age of 8 and even those were not comprehensible for everyone.

 

specialolympics1.jpgFortunately, one of the leading private schools gave me admission because of my calm temperament. School teachers were very supportive but I struggled everyday as I was unable to communicate with my teachers and fellow students, always wanted to sit alone, avoided eye contact and never had a chance to make friends and enjoy their company. I wanted to be part of their conversations and to play but due to my disability I never tried to join them. In my heart I thought ‘Why me?’ Why did people stare at me? Why couldn’t I understand things the way all other children and why did people call me a disabled child? This made me very lonely and isolated. My dream was to be like everyone else, to have easy eccess to happiness and love. I wanted people to understand my abilities and I wanted to feel like I belonged.


As I progressed from one class to the next, my problems enhanced. I was struggling with exams so things were getting quite tough. Finally, by the age of 12, my family got the help of my aunt Dr. Farzana Siddiqui to visit UK for the diagnosis where I and my brother were formally diagnosed with autism spectrum.


On returning I was enrolled in Nasheman College for Special Education, Wah Cantt from where I passed my secondary school examination, secured more than 76% marks and got a scholarship from Chairman Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF), Wah Cantt. Recently I have completed my Diploma in Special Education with A grade.


With the help of the school coach Mrs. Irfana Kayyani, I was introduced to the world of Special Olympics Pakistan that organizes sports activities and competitions in all parts of the country. They accepted me the way I was, and I was welcomed by everyone. This helped me gain confidence and courage to compete

Uptil now I have learned that every individual matters, regardless of winning or losing. That is what Special Olympics is all about. It’s about celebrating individual abilities. Special Olympics Athletes Oath is:
“Let me win
But if I cannot win,
Let me be brave
In the attempt”

Special Olympics

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of olympic-type sports for children and grown-ups with intellectual disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other special olympics athletes and the community. It is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, with the first International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA. Every day and all around the world, our athletes train and strive to achieve their very best. Special Olympics competitions are held all around the world – including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 108,000 events a year. These competitions include the Special Olympics World Games, which alternate between summer and winter games. Special Olympics World Games are held every two years. The most recent World Summer Games were held in Los Angeles, California in 2015. This year Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, Austria.

 

Special Olympics Pakistan joined this movement in 1989, held its first National Games at Karachi in 1991 with 75 athletes. For over 25 years, Special Olympics Pakistan has used sports to fight for the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disability within the country. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about attitudinal change in the way people with intellectual disabilities view themselves and are viewed and treated by others; replacing misunderstanding and fear with respect, acceptance and inclusion. SOP offers training in: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball (unified), Bocce, Cricket (unified), Cycling, Football (unified), Power-lifting, Table-Tennis, Tennis, Snow-Shoeing, and Alpine Skiing.

The most recent participation of Special Olympics Pakistan was with 52 athletes who competed in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Los Angeles, USA and bagged 35 medals.
Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, Austria. Special Olympics Pakistan joined this movement in 1989, held its first National Games at Karachi in 1991 with 75 athletes. For over 25 years, Special Olympics Pakistan has used sports to fight for the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disability within the country. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about attitudinal change in the way people with intellectual disabilities view themselves and are viewed and treated by others; replacing misunderstanding and fear with respect, acceptance and inclusion. SOP offers training in: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball (unified), Bocce, Cricket (unified), Cycling, Football (unified), Power-lifting, Table-Tennis, Tennis, Snow-Shoeing, and Alpine Skiing.

in sports. Soon I was able to participate in our regional and national games. I was selected for Asia Pacific Games held in Australia where I won two gold medals in bocce. In the 2014 National Games, I competed in 10 km road cycling and won a silver medal.

 

specialolympics2.jpgMy life has completely changed and now I am fully involved in all the activities of Special Olympics. Beside sports, I joined their Athletes Leadership Program which helped me gain my self-esteem and confidence. Now I feel more empowered with my skills and abilities. In February 2016, I was invited by TEDx Lahore to deliver a talk about myself and my journey in front of a large audience.


I have been selected from the Asia Pacific region of Special Olympics along with over 1.4 million athletes from 26 countries to attend Special GenUin Social Impact Summit to be held in March during the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, 2017. I am very excited and looking forward to being part of such a big summit where youth leaders will gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities. We will learn how to equip ourselves to influence change, drive impact and achieve results. We will also hear from dynamic speakers including professional athletes, entrepreneurs and social innovators. The conference will be held in Graz from March 15 to 20.


I also host a program Farishtay for the intellectually challenged children on a private digital channel Lahore TV.

Special Olympic Games-2017

For many of our athletes, attending World Games is the dream of a lifetime. Special Olympics Pakistan’s eight member team will be part of the 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from around the world during the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. These athletes will be participating in Snow Shoeing and Alpine Skiing. They have trained very hard and we hope they will bring further glory to Pakistan. Austria will welcome almost 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from 110 nations to compete in nine olympic-type winter sports. At these games, the entire Special Olympics movement comes together to see athletes in action and celebrate their victories over huge odds. For the athletes and their families, the experience opens doors to unimagined possibilities. For volunteers, coaches and other supporters from all parts of the world, the games inspire hope and belief in a brighter future of global acceptance, understanding and unity.

Our Message

At Special Olympics, we believe that sports can teach us important lessons. When we train and strive to achieve a goal, it teaches us to dream. When we struggle, it teaches us determination. When we win, we find joy. And if we lose, we can find the strength to try again. The goal is to foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance. We need to move away from marginalization and pity for the intellectually and physically challenged. Instead, there is a need to build a society where those with differences feel appreciated, are integrated into the community and have a sense of belonging.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
10
January
PAF JF-17 Thunder at China Air Show

China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) features the display of real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying display. It is a gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase the latest technology and products in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force attended the opening ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show-2016. One JF-17 aircraft was put on static display during the show while the other aircraft performed the aerial display. Large number of professionals, aviation enthusiasts and representatives of aviation industry from China as well as from all across the world with more than hundred aircraft participated in the air show.

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10
January
Pakistan Navy Conducts Firepower Demonstration in North Arabian Sea

In an impressive demonstration, the frontline combat unit of Pakistan Navy undertook live missile firing in the North Arabian Sea. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Chief of the Naval Staff witnessed the live missile firing onboard ship. Surface-to-surface anti-ship missile was launched from Sword Class frigate PNS Aslat. The missile successfully destroyed its intended target with pinpoint accuracy, reaffirming the weapon’s lethality and offensive punch of Pakistan Navy’s fleet.


Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah expressed his complete satisfaction over the operational readiness of Pakistan Navy's fleet. The Naval Chief stated, “Live missile firing reaffirms credibility of deterrence at sea and reassures Pakistan Navy’s commitment to safeguard the country's maritime frontiers against all threats.”


The successful conduct of missile firing by Pakistan Navy is reflective of a high state of readiness and professionalism. It also demonstrates the efficacy and lethality of modern weapon systems operated by Pakistan Navy.

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09
January
Pakistan Navy Raises Dedicated Task Force-88 for Protection of CPEC and Gwadar Port

Aiming to ensure security of Gwadar Port and CPEC in the maritime domain, Pakistan Navy has raised the Task Force-88 at Gwadar. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the chief guest of the ceremony.


While addressing the ceremony, CJCSC lauded the initiative taken by Pakistan Navy in raising a dedicated task force for maritime security of CPEC. He said that the initiative by Pakistan Navy would contribute significantly towards the success of CPEC. The Chairman also acknowledged Pakistan Navy's role in ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment which is an essential pre-requisite for the economy to flourish. "The role of Pakistan Navy is deeply embedded in the maritime operationalization of CPEC as it will be required to shoulder greater responsibilities to ensure the protection of growing maritime trade and to provide security to our sea lanes,” Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat said on the occasion.


Earlier in his address, Vice Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbassi, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Operations, remarked that ‘Viability and assured dividends of CPEC related projects are intrinsically linked with the security of maritime domain. Therefore, providing security to CPEC on land as well as making its maritime prong safe is vital for the projects’ success. In this regard, ensuring maritime security remains an important responsibility of Pakistan Navy which is set to grow in the coming years. Accordingly, Pakistan Navy is gearing up to meet the challenge’.


During his welcome address, Chairman Gwadar Port Authority thanked Pakistan Navy for ensuring security of Gwadar Port and highlighted the importance of Gwadar Port for the prosperity of Pakistan.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee also handed over the traditional 'Command Telescope' to the first commander of Task Force-88, Commodore Muhammad Waris, on the occasion.


The ceremony was attended by federal ministers, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and other civil, military and foreign dignitaries.

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09
January
Pakistan Conducts Successful Test of Cruise Missile

On December 14, Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of the indigenously developed Babur Cruise Missile. Babur Weapon System version-2 incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy, at a range of 700 km. It is a low flying, terrain hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.


It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational technologies of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all-time Digital Scene Matching & Area Co-relation (DSMAC) which enable it to engage various types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation. Babur Weapon System is an important force multiplier for Pakistan’s strategic defence.


The launch was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Army Strategic Forces Command, scientists and engineers of strategic organizations. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee congratulated the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone of great significance. He appreciated the technical prowess, dedication and commitment of scientists who contributed to the success of the launch.


Expressing his full confidence in the Strategic Command and Control System and the Army Strategic Forces Commands’ operational preparedness, CJCSC stated, “This test has further strengthened Pakistan’s deterrence capability”. The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan congratulated the scientists and engineers on the successful conduct of the missile test.

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09
January
CGS Visits Khyber Agency
newscjvisit.jpg Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visited Khyber Agency and interacted with the troops. He appreciated their resolve and said that ‘the people of Khyber Agency have sacrificed a lot in the war against terror’. He also said, “the TDPs are being provided with maximum assistance during the resettlement process and efforts are being made to complete the rehabilitation process within the stipulated time”. Earlier, Lt Gen Bilal Akbar also visited HQ 11 Corps where he was briefed in detail about the prevalent security situation in KP and FATA, the stablization operations, return of TDPs and the ongoing development work.
 
 
09
January
COAS Witnesses Passing Out Parade of Baloch Recruits

COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Quetta to witness the passing out parade of Baloch recruits. The contingent included troops of Pakistan Army, FC Balochistan and Balochistan Police.

 

While addressing the troops he said that it was a matter of great pride for him to be part of the ceremony and to celebrate the success and happiness of Baloch brothers. “The fully alert faces of the recurits reflecting determination and resolve are a testimony to the high training standards. Pakistan Armed Forces, FC, Rangers and the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are not only reflective of national unity but are also its custodians,” COAS said on the occasion. He also remarked that Balochistan is making significant contribution towards national integration and progress.

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09
January
COAS Witnesses PAK-Jordan Joint Exercise Fajr-ul-Shaiq I

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COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahadur Ranges near Attock on December 29, 2016 and witnessed Pak-Jordan joint exercise “Fajr-ul-Sharq 1”. It was a two weeks long joint counter terrorism training event to share experience of both armies.

 

Speaking on the occasion, COAS congratulated the participants on successful conduct of the exercise and appreciated high standards of professional competence displayed by the troops. He said that ‘conduct of such joint exercises helps improving professional expertise in conducting CT operations’. He also said, “The nature and character of war has changed where direct conflict has become an un-preferred choice. While Pakistan Armed Forces are fully trained and ready for response to full spectrum threat, our achievements in counter terrorism operations are being taken as successful case studies. Pakistan has successfully defeated terrorism and is now in consolidation phase. Such engagements are a source of mutual sharing, learning and benefit”. He thanked Jordanian Army and the contingent for their participation in this first special forces collaboration and expressed his desire to continue this engagement.

 
09
January

Written By: Bilal Ali

Taftan is a town located 600 kms southwest of Quetta, in Chaghi District of Balochistan. It is Pakistan's only legal official border crossing point into Iran and is famed as the Road to London because of its linkage with western countries extending up to UK with high volume of trade activities of Asian, Indian, and Afghan traders being carried out before partition. Its name is derived from a volcano of a similar name in Iran. The border crossing point on the Iranian side is at Mirjaveh. Besides being a trade route, Taftan remained famous amongst the travelers and pilgrims due to easy access towards the west and religious sites in Iran and Iraq.


Since independence, no major infrastructural development had been made in the area. On the Pakistani side there were no allied facilities worth mentioning like immigration terminal, dry port, custom yard and custom terminal.


FC Balochistan, under the auspices of the Southern Command of Pakistan Army took the initiative of improving the border control mechanism with the funds provided by Pakistan Customs and commenced the construction of the gate on July 16, 2016. The gate was completed in the stipulated period of five months and was inaugurated by Commander Southern Command, Lieutenant General Amir Riaz on December 21, 2016. Outgoing and incoming IG FC Balochistan, Lt Gen Sher Afghan and Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum along with notables of the area were also present on the occasion.


The facility comprises two gates, one constructed right on the border and the other 200 meters inside Pakistani territory at a dominating ground, visible from even a distance of 2 kms. The gate reflects a combination of modern architecture blended with Baloch mud architecture and has a modern steel trestle top. Whereas, latest CCTV cameras and SVAS system for verification of travel documents have also been installed. There are offices of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Pakistan Customs and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Security is multi-tiered and is provided by the Levies and the Frontier Corps. The second phase of the project will commence shortly, which will include an immigration terminal and a rest area for those traveling between Iran and Pakistan.
A yard of the National Logistics Cell will also be built to manage commercial activities.


The inauguration is a milestone in uplifting the infrastructure of the town, which will boost the economic activities in the region and will serve as a economic hub for perceived trade linkages with the western world in times to come.

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09
January

Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad

Maj Wajiha Arshad pens down her experience as a participant of Fifth Pak-China Young Officers Seminar held in Shijiazhuang, China.

 

Majestically, the sparkling snowflakes fell delicately from the white cloudy skies on our cold faces to welcome us in Beijing. Falling snow looked like tiny angels making the sky glow in the dull mist, indescribably. The world-class Beijing airport is comparable to any airport in the U.S. or Europe and it was perhaps the first indicator of China’s remarkable economic success and rapid modernization. The weather change was yet to be assimilated when we started off with the chase of the ‘flag lady’, our transport-manager-cum-guide with a flag stick in hand, leading us to the high speed train platform with the fear of missing it. It brought back memories of the assault course during PMA training and added to the overall thrill.


As the famous Chinese saying goes:
“It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books.”
I was part of a group of thirty officers from Pakistan Armed Forces travelling to Shijiazhuang, China on a seven day visit to participate in “Fifth Pak-China Young Military Officers Seminar”. The real taste of companionship during our seven day visit which incised enduring impressions and first hand familiarity, was as per the Chinese saying, better learning than reading books on Pak-China bilateral relations.


The conduct of the seminar every year started in 2012 and this was the fifth consecutive annual session arranged at Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy, the only mechanized infantry commanding academy of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Shijiazhuang is headquarters of the 27th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of the three Group Armies that comprises the Beijing Military Region responsible for defending China's capital. The city is the capital and the largest city of North China's Hebei Province, about 263 kms southwest of Beijing. We were introduced to our Laison Officer (LO), Major Liana, who remained a focal point of reference throughout the visit for all administrative and seminar related matters assisted by Capt Sarah. Interestingly, it was revealed that a majority in China these days have English names along with their traditional Chinese names. Since their native names are quiet difficult to pronounce, we easily called the attached Chinese officers with their English names. After our introductory session with conducting Chinese officers at Beijing airport we had a fascinating journey enjoying the scenic beauty of nature pronounced by snowfall on a high speed train to Shijiazhuang where buses were waiting to take us to the Academy. International students from around fifty countries enjoy a diversified campus life at Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy. The group members received a warm welcome there and felt at home.

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The seminar started from the very first day with a warm banquet hosted by the head of the academy, Colonel Wang Jing and other faculty members at their foreign officers’ mess. Pakistani officers dressed up in the elegant and graceful respective uniforms of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, and Pakistan Air Force in company with their Chinese group members, presenting a mesmerizing aura of diversity in the mess. The lunch was followed by an inaugural and welcome address by the Commandant, who joyously described Pakistan as China’s ‘iron brother’ and made all at ease with his cheerful welcome. The seminar room was situated in the Foreign Officers’ block of classes where the participants from both countries met for the first time and stood for national anthems of both countries before the formal start of the first session. After the inaugural speech of Chinese and Pakistani heads of delegations, the first presentation was delivered on Pak-China relations by Liu Nan, Director for Policy on South Asia, the policy officer for China-ASEAN military cooperation. The most inspiring part of his lecture was the survival of an all-weather relationship and brotherhood between Pakistan and China in the present day neo-realist world. It was followed by an interactive question and answers session and group photograph of participants at the end of the day.


We woke up the next day to a splendid view of snow covered trees and a temperature of -6o C, however, the warmth of hospitality kept us going and helped in catching up with the second day schedule. The day became more interesting with a campus tour that included the academy’s ecological waterfall. It is a marvellous piece of work that re-cycles water waste and runs the water down the waterfall after purification. Armoured equipment visit, followed by sniper course and shooting center visit were also part of our schedule. The shooting center is an enclosed structure with artificial lighting and ventilation. The training system adopts the live-image target scoring technology to conduct not only live firing in all-around, multi-angled, three-dimensional subjects but also laser simulation firing to meet the training requirements of infantry, special operations and counter-terrorist drills. The later half of the day comprised of two lectures: one by Chinese naval officer Dr. Capt Zhao Yi on counter-terrorism; the speaker covered major terrorist organizations operating within inclusive and modern political systems, their modus operandi and techniques to counter-terrorism in an interconnected and globalized world. Second presentation was by Dr. Wang Xingu on improving U.S.-Russia counter-terrorism cooperation. The question and answer session brought participating officers from both groups closer in a fruitful, interactive and intellectual discussion.


A fascinating experience for many of us was seeing a Chinese officer warmly meet a Pakistani officer and share old memories of serving together on a UN Mission few years back. The interaction between the two officers reminded us of the ‘all-weather’ term often used for Pak-China bilateral relationship that trickles down to people-to-people contact in true essence. With passing days we were well adapted to the atmosphere, weather and Chinese cuisine in particular, especially modified as per our taste. The experience of one-to-one interaction with Chinese officers bonded both the groups together firmly. A panel of four Pakistani military officers headed by Col Syed Hasnain Ahmed from Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) delivered a presentation on counter-terrorism strategy and operations. The presentation highlighted Pakistan’s role as a frontline state against terrorism, military operations in FATA and synchronization of Pakistan Armed Forces to tackle the internal and external security threats. The discussion won applause from the seminar participants as they praised the experiences shared by our panel and showed appreciation for Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts. Later that day we visited Shijiazhuang Junlebao Dairy Co., Ltd., that was established in 1995 and now after 21 years of development has nine production plants. Junlebao is the largest dairy enterprise in Hebei Province. Being the center for dairy trade, the city is headquarters of the Sanlu Group. Sanlu is Shijiazhuang's largest taxpayer being the largest formula seller. Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, had observed that Sanlu became "an invaluable asset for a city otherwise struggling to attract industry and investment on a par with China's premier metropolises." The day ended with a small trip to a shopping mall and a delicious dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel, Shijiazhuang.


Fourth day was the last day of the seminar at Shijiazhuang and the next three days were scheduled in Beijing. Group discussions of that day included eight officers from each side to exchanging views and answering each other’s questions on matters relating from training to the decision-making level. Each Chinese panel included four instructors and four post-graduate student officers with their subjects varying from military command to military equipment. The group discussion was followed by a closing speech by both the delegations’ heads declaring the seminar closed as rest of the days to follow included visits. We travelled to Beijing the same day; a four hour drive took us from an industrial city to the modern gateway of China with sky scrapers and the hustle and bustle of city life which demonstrated the energetic strength of Chinese culture. The official visits included a visit to 3rd Guard Division where a splendid demonstration of anti-terrorism squad was held that integrated short and long range shooting of static and moving targets, mechanized infantry, tanks, self-propelled artillery and anti-aircraft artillery.


Recreational tours of Beijing kept everyone charged with high spirits for last three days of the visit; highlights were the Chaoyang Acrobatic Theatre the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Performed by highly-trained Chinese acrobats, the acrobatic show is indeed a thrill to watch. The motorbike globe stunt made our hair stand on ends. This highly dangerous stunt involved six motorcyclists cycling inside a transparent globe that was about 18 meters high. Walking across the ancient stones in the square, crossing the Golden River on the arched, carved, marble bridges and walking up the Imperial Staircase to the Dragon Throne, Forbidden City is a thrill no words can describe. Tiananmen Square, the front yard of the Forbidden City, is a Chinese name for "Gate of Heavenly Peace"; self explanatory with the political history attached to it. The Great Wall, presents a spectacular view and one is compelled to look at the tower windows and wonder about the ancient soldiers who watched for the Mongolian enemy from their lofty stone perch. Social interaction with locals revealed to me the shy, yet hospitable and gracious behavior of Chinese people. The short tour of the most visited tourist attractions of Beijing left us mesmerized by the history of China that we had only read in books and remotely pictured traveling through.


I would never have understood, if not given the opportunity to be a part of this memorable visit, how a few days spent with true friends leave behind lifelong memories. The seven days of professional and personal experience made us travel through 65 years of Pakistan-China friendship and diplomatic relations which are constantly moving on an ascending trajectory and gaining strength with the passage of time.

 
09
January

As we enter into the year 2017 we stand proud of our successes as achieved so far; though it all came through trials and tribulations. To recapitulate, the year 2016 encompassed the terminal stage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and tackling the root causes of terrorism as an investment towards a safer future. Given the multifaceted dimensions and magnitude of the problem, we have achieved a relatively higher degree of stability and peace in 2016; albeit the final destination is yet to be traversed.


Alongside active operations in FATA and few other areas, Pakistan Armed Forces and LEAs also conducted numerous Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) and defeated the forces of terrorism. As part of a comprehensive strategy, Pakistan Armed Forces have also given special emphasis on securing the borders particularly the unguarded portions of the border on the west to check the flow of violent forces inside the territory of Pakistan. All efforts are being made for effective border management. Only through stringent measures and effective border control mechanism, will we succeed on long term basis. Pakistan’s efforts towards border management on the western borders with Afghanistan and Iran are to be seen in the same context. As far as international border with Afghanistan is concerned, Pakistan has deployed troops along the border to stop the cross-border movement from illegal points, introduced biometric systems on few legal border crossing points, and has also taken actions to minimize the traffic on unfrequented routes. However, despite all sincerity and positivity, the response from Afghan government on this issue is negative to lukewarm.


Pakistan’s ties with Iran are growing stronger and both states look after each other’s solidarity and respect each other’s laws. The construction of Pakistan Gate at Taftan is one such example which will facilitate secure border crossing between the two countries. The Gate was inaugurated at Pak-Iran border in December 2016 which marked the culmination of the first phase of construction of the border terminal comprising two gates separated 200 meters apart. The facility is equipped with requisite security apparatus to verify the ID related documents. The second phase of this project will entail an immigration terminal as well a yard for managing commercial activity. The whole project was completed with mutual coordination, cooperation and in an environment of amicability between the two brotherly countries, Iran and Pakistan.


The above example of coordination and cooperation also demands from Afghanistan to respond in the same manner while dealing with issues related to international border with Pakistan. However, ironically in the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference, Afghanistan considered it suffice to blame Pakistan for allegedly sponsoring terrorism. It is not the first time that Afghan government has criticized Pakistan for its alleged lack of cooperation in the fight against terror. During the previous HoA conference, similar accusations were made but whenever Pakistan takes a border management initiative to stop the movement of terrorists, a great dichotomy emerges in the shape of strong unfriendly protests from the Afghan side. It is highly paradoxical to expect secure borders and yet oppose all efforts of border control mechanism.


As we are taking concrete steps and are ready to extend any kind of cooperation to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan, they should too, as blaming Pakistan for Afghanistan’s domestic problems is not a solution.


Pakistan Armed Forces are committed to securing Pakistan’s borders from cross-border terrorism from all extra-territorial forces. We have successfully eliminated the domestic sources of terror forces and their facilitators and abettors, and would leave no stone unturned to secure our borders. We expect others to join us in our efforts to strangulate the movement of forces of terrorism.


A secure Pakistan is vital for our national survival and prosperity.

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09
January

Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal

Are EU’s Days Numbered?

Dramatic changes in the social and political landscape of EU pose serious doubts!

Brexit, and a gradual rise of nationalism in Europe is actively challenging the very idea of a merged European Union. The threat always existed in subtle forms of migration, financial and identity crisis. It has taken a more direct form as far-right, eurosceptic parties are gaining dramatic momentum. Far-right nationalists in Austria and Denmark have won their respective elections. Political entities openly denouncing the idea of European Union are gaining crucial support in Germany, Netherlands and elsewhere. Their progress varies across Europe; but France's Marine Le Pen, presently Europe’s most feared far-right politician is taking a good shot at the presidency, summing up the overall grim situation. With nationalism rearing its “ugly head”, is European Union past its partially-achieved prime?

 

theriseinnat1.jpgFrance and Frexit
France is of particular importance to EU’s integrity. Its historical role in the formation of EU in contrast to Britain’s which always appeared rather disgruntled and the current political might it possesses reinstates how Frexit could put EU in all sorts of jeopardy. What makes this even a possibility? Marine Le Pen, the nationalist leader contesting for presidency has openly attacked the idea of Euro and open borders. In 2015, her party, National Front bagged 6.8 million votes – their highest ever. The presidential elections are to be held in April 2017, and Le Pen is not facing a very convincing opposition. Most polls have rated her chances of success high: IPsos giving her a 14 points lead compared to Nicolas Sarkozy. She is known for anti-immigration policies and has often made headlines with her anti-Muslim remarks. The 48-years old re-established her strength as a politician in 2015 when she expelled the founder of the party, Jean-Marie Le Pen for his controversial statements.


Migration Crisis Forging Strong
Refugee influx is arguably the deepest-seated reason behind the consistent surge of nationalism in Europe. It is linked with other economic and social concerns like unemployment, weak law and order, and identity crisis in Europe. “Open borders” form an active part of rhetoric by the far-right politicians. Germany has been the refugee paradise for long, receiving more than a million refugees in 2015 – courtesy Angela Markel, the German Chancellor and apparently the last flag-bearer of Liberal Europe. The public perception is not equally welcoming. Markel will be seeking 4th term as the Chancellor but her party is losing ground to the opponents promising anti-migration policies.

 

theriseinnat.jpgThe refugee crisis is only getting worse with over 60 million people displaced worldwide. Europe is a relatively easy access for Syrians, with Germany being the favourite country. As Syrian crisis has no end in sight, Europe feels pressed to close the borders.


Anti-Establishment Sentiments
A strong public perception can make or break the government. The rising popularity of nationalistic views among people comes as the most discernible symptom of mounting nationalism in Europe. Interestingly, public sentiments do not always portray the situation on ground. They are often triggered taking little reality in account. Consider France as an example: the common belief is that Frenchmen are worse-off today. An overview of France’s performance suggests otherwise with a stable unemployment rate of 10%, lower than many other European nations. The other economic indicators are not bleak as suggested by the prevailing perception.


Mega Terrorist Attacks
The overall negativity in Europe fueling nationalism is largely augmented by major terrorist attacks since 2014. Charlie Hebdo, Paris; Nice and Brussels attacks reinforced the idea that Europe is gravely vulnerable. It fortifies a thorny opinion that this danger comes from the outsiders and has now seeped deep into the society. Revelations such as the Paris attack terrorists hailed from Brussels, reminded people how open borders are doing more harm than good. Nice attacker was a Tunisian-French, weakening the “multicultural Europe” stance and strengthening the anti-immigration belief now widely-held. Hate-incidents and Burkini bans are contributing to an exceedingly hostile atmosphere. The rising sense of insecurity is cashed-in by the far right political players. Terrorism, however, is not a simple phenomenon. It is a result of decades old policies and wars steering the situation into a vicious cycle. And a social boycott of a certain fraction in society is unlikely to get any favourable outcomes.


The Uncertainty of the Future
As evident from the case of Brexit; leaving EU cannot be an overnight matter. Legal obstacles and economic repercussions make it a lengthy bureaucratic process. Nationalist parties try maneuvering Brexit to their advantage, citing it as an example to follow. However, the subsequent economic crunch and the overall “guilt” sentiment in UK – at least in the short-term – may actually thwart their attempts. Frexit may seem a far-fetched idea, but so did Brexit at one time. Even if Frexit realizes, which is still quite improbable, the EU is likely to hold itself with Germany assuming the sole-leader role. Sub-blocs within EU may spring up and EU could lose its prominence in world politics. That being said, this strong wave of nationalism may recede before a major change is realized. In any case, Europeans remain unconvinced by years-old promises of how globalization will make their daily lives better than before. A rollback was thus imminent.

 

The writer is a visiting student at EDHEC Business School, France.

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09
January

Written By: Syed Muhammad Ali

Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald Trump looks at Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy will not only determine the peace, security and stability of Asia in general and South Asia in particular but also the long-term U.S. economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific.

The tumultuous month of November 2016 will long be remembered in world history. The election victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential elections led to nationwide protests and stunned Washington’s key allies including the UK, Germany, France and Japan. If Donald Trump manages to keep his promise and actually demands from NATO and other key allies to dig deeper into their own pockets, to ‘do more’ themselves for their individual security needs and depend less on Washington, it would reflect an unprecedented ‘U.S. security commitment fatigue’ and growing significance of domestic economic concerns for the new Republican administration. A declining U.S. security commitment towards both its traditional Western European and East Asian allies by the new Republican administration could encourage them to shed their own nuclear restraint and accelerate their individual efforts towards their heightened national security needs.


Another major event within four days of the U.S. election, somewhat eclipsed by Trump’s historic victory over Mrs. Clinton, is the signing of an extraordinary nuclear deal between Japan and India. The Japanese nuclear deal is unique and extraordinary for five reasons. First, Japan is the only country in the world which has actually suffered two nuclear attacks during war and its sterling commitment towards non-proliferation and principled stance on arms control has traditionally been exemplary. However, the signing of this new deal, despite India possessing the developing world’s largest and oldest unsafeguarded nuclear program, now raises new questions regarding the future of these Japanese commitments. Second, this latest deal would help expedite various additional nuclear deals that the other States have earlier signed with India. Both French company Areva and U.S. nuclear giant Westinghouse use key Japanese components such as reactor vessels for their reactors. Third, this deal has been put together even more hurriedly than the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal by compressing the 123 Agreement, reprocessing, administrative arrangements and NSG into one. This is perhaps to ensure its swift implementation before the Obama administration leaves office. Four, this deal has a cursory mention of principled Indian Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) adherence and hardly expects a significant non-proliferation commitment, sans non-testing of nuclear weapons by New Delhi, in return for exceptional Japanese technological access and support. Five, this deal symbolizes the growing strategic Indo-Japanese partnership and reflects their mutual desire to counter-balance China in East Asia and Asia-Pacific.


Another significant and related event was the NSG’s meeting held in Vienna on November 11 to discuss the “technical, legal and political aspects of Non-NPT States’ Participation in the NSG”. According to informed sources, although the U.S. tried its best to gain maximum support for Indian’s NSG membership, a large number of member States including Russia, said that further discussions were still needed before individual membership cases could be evaluated. This indicates that the support for a criteria-based approach for considering additional members is growing and gaining momentum within the 48-nation group managing the international nuclear trade and cooperation.

 

A declining U.S. security commitment towards both its traditional Western European and East Asian allies by the new Republican administration could encourage them to shed their own nuclear restraint and accelerate their individual efforts towards their heightened national security needs.

The impression some observers have attempted to internationally present is that basically the tussle between the U.S. and China will eventually determine the outcome of the new NSG membership cases. However, the outcome of this latest meeting indicates that the reality is far more complex than popularly presented. The divisions between the three camps supporting exceptional membership, criteria-based membership and swing states are starker and deeper than initially anticipated, and achieving consensus by either group is not likely in the foreseeable future. Therefore, Obama administration’s agenda of hurriedly making India an NSG member before the Democrats’ term runs out has essentially failed.


This provides the incoming Republican administration with an opportunity to look at all Democrat-led initiatives and agendas afresh and with skepticism. Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald Trump looks at Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy will not only determine the peace, security and stability of Asia in general and South Asia in particular but also the long-term economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific. Amidst serious domestic economic challenges, militarizing Asia-Pacific excessively and further escalating tensions with China could increase, not reduce threats to the long-term U.S. vital economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific.


Throughout history the Republicans have traditionally maintained a more careful balance in the delicate and complex U.S. relationship with both Pakistan and India than the Democrats. The presidencies of President Nixon, Reagan, Bush Senior and Bush Junior have demonstrated a better U.S. understanding of Pakistan’s regional security concerns towards India, leading to a relatively more stable regional order, reduced tensions, better crisis management and lower nuclear escalation risks.


One hopes that the new Republican administration will seek and shape a fresh and more prudent security agenda towards both Asia-Pacific and South Asia, which can make the nuclear-armed region more stable and less conflict-prone. It should include a comprehensive review of the U.S. policy towards South Asia and a fresh approach based on supporting a robust composite dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad, sustainable cooperation with Pakistan in its efforts to defeat terrorism and stabilize Afghanistan, and supporting simultaneous NSG membership for both Pakistan and India. This new security agenda will enable the Republican administration to devote its attention, energies, resources and capabilities towards more urgent and graver challenges to the U.S. national security such as terrorism, ISIS, managing relations with China and Russia and putting its own house in order. Like always, ignoring Pakistan instead of working with it, will harm and not improve U.S. long-term national security interests both regionally and globally.

 

The writer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

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09
January

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

The global strategic chessboard would remain complex in 2017. The conversion in the global strategic environment continues. The transition in the global politics appeases the dynamical forces and alarms the status quo legatees. Professing about the developments in 2017 necessitates both the prerequisite of the understanding of the theories of international relations and proper awareness of the tangible developments in the international and regional affairs during the recent past. The following discussion precisely mirrors prospective developments at the 2017 global strategic chessboard in general and South Asian strategic environment in particular. The discussion is limited in scope because it focuses only on those issues which would be having impact on Pakistan’s external relations.


The nuclear weapons will not lose their significance in the strategic policies of the nuclear weapon states in 2017. The vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons would continue. It was reported that United States was going to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. Washington’s modernization plan included the development of more-reliable and more-accurate missile systems, aircraft, and submarines, as well as replacing existing nuclear warheads. Therefore, it is planning to spend about $1 trillion for modernizing its nuclear weapons over 30 years. The advancement of the American nuclear arsenal would reignite an arms competition or have a chain reaction entailing lethal vertical proliferation. The trends indicate that Russians would invest immensely in their nuclear capable delivery system to defy the Americans’ ballistic missile defence system. Importantly, the United States missile defence program would be having decisive effects on the global and regional powers’ military arrangements.


The strategic competition between India and Pakistan would sustain nuclear arms’ race in South Asia. The trends indicate that both New Delhi and Islamabad would advance their nuclear capable delivery vehicles, such as ballistic and cruise missiles. The new inventory of nuclear weapons and New Delhi’s mega investment in the procurement of conventional weapons from the advanced military industrial complexes necessitate the transformation in the nuclear doctrines of both India and Pakistan. Since the tests of Pakistani battlefield NASR missile and Indian Prahaar (both are cataloged as tactical nuclear weapons) in 2011, the Indian strategic pundits have been debating the relevance of ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear policy and strategy of ‘massive retaliation’. Many Indian strategic analysts have a consensus that the introduction of tactical weapons in both states’ arsenals obliges refurbishing of India’s nuclear doctrine. During the 2014 general elections, BJP leadership committed that it would “study in detail India's nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”. The Indian strategic discourse, however, received serious attention from the international security analysts after the statement of the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on November 10, 2016, i.e., “India should not bind itself to a 'no first use policy’ on nuclear weapons”. He added: “Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking”. Perhaps, New Delhi is going to revamp its nuclear doctrine. Though the shift in India’s nuclear doctrine would not be having much impact on Pakistan’s current nuclear posture, yet it demands vigilance from the Pakistani strategic enclave. Indeed, Islamabad needs to constantly invest, without getting trapped in arms race, in sustaining the credibility of its full-spectrum deterrence capability.

 

The Kashmiris will be sustaining their freedom movement in the Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2017, which will have a frustrating impact on Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist associates. Instead of addressing the Kashmiris’ legitimate concerns, they will continue to accuse Pakistan. They seem convinced that warmongering would frighten Pakistanis and they would stop assisting Kashmiris politically and diplomatically. Though, it is their wishful thinking, yet it has potential to escalate the conflict at the Line of Control between the two nuclear-armed belligerent neighbours. The best option for Pakistan to save Kashmiri lives from the Indian armed forces’ brutal atrocities is to approach the United Nations Security Council formally to: investigate and condemn India’s human rights violations in Kashmir; call for a halt to Indian violations of the LoC ceasefire; and agree on steps to implement the Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the nuclear non-proliferation regime is in a state of inertia. Indo-U.S. nuclear deal in 2005 and subsequent amendment in the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to accommodate India and above all Nuclear Suppliers Group’s India specific wavier on September 6, 2008 (India’s immunity from comprehensive international safeguards as a condition of nuclear trade) had eroded the regime’s credibility. Nothing much is expected in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in the near future. United States and its likeminded states, including India’s stance on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and other core items of CD and Islamabad’s principle stance on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, endure the existing stalemate in the CD at Geneva, Switzerland. Both India and Pakistan neither join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor sign the draft of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Islamabad and New Delhi would maintain their previous stance in the Conference on Disarmament, whose first session will commence from January 23, 2017 to March 31, 2017. Despite, their identical stance at the CD, New Delhi and Islamabad will vigorously pursue the full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2017. The biggest obstacle in the entry into the group of non-NPT member states is India and its western allies including United States, which are not ready to accept ‘non-discriminatory, criteria-based approach’ while admitting a new member in the club. Such a stubborn, unjustifiable attitude might wear away almost five decades of international consensus on nuclear proliferation.


Since the United States presidential election on November 8, 2016, security analysts have been making guesses about the Trump Administration’s strategic policy. They seem anxious to hear the State of the Union speech of President Donald Trump, which is scheduled in January 2017. Because, during the campaign candidate Trump had paid little attention to the strategic issues United States is currently confronting. Nevertheless, the realistic fact is that Trump Administration would not depart from President Obama’s legacy, straight away. Therefore, the new American administration will continue to fight radical terrorist groups in Middle East and Afghanistan and will also remain engaged in resolving the civil war in Syria, Libya, etc. Though United States is a pre-eminent power in global politics, yet its worldview seems to be lacking support and thereby it could probably be challenged in a few regions of the world in 2017. The developments in Asia-Pacific and Europe would be decisive in the formulation of Trump Administration’s military strategy and framing of new strategic alliances.

 

The emerging strategic competition at the strategic chessboard immensely influences the developments in the South Asian strategic environment in 2017. Washington’s cementing strategic partnership with India to check Chinese rise in Asia directly would affect the national security of Pakistan in particular and other regional actors in general.

The sustainability of the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership is significant for both the regional and global strategic chessboards. The general impression is that India’s economic potential is the primary determinant of Washington and New Delhi’s cordial relationship. The critical examination of their bilateral agreements highlights that India is very significant in United States’ military calculations. On December 8, 2016, during his visit to New Delhi, United States Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter signed an agreement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar to declare India as a major defence partner of the United States. Being a major defence partner, India is qualified to receive not only military equipment, but also defence technology. In simple words, the major defence partner agreement ensures uninterrupted defence trade and transfer of sophisticated military technology to India. Perhaps, the American Military Industrial Complex would be the major beneficiary of India’s military shopping spree. Indo-U.S. strategic partnership may receive positive trajectory in 2017. Conversely, Pakistan and United States may continue their bilateral strategic dialogue, but the developments are not favourable for both the states’ cordial relations in 2017. The latter’s strong inclination towards India alarms the former. Many analysts acknowledge probability of the worst-case scenario, i.e., the likelihood of American sanctions.


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project’s early harvest schemes would be near completion in late 2017. Indeed, improved connectivity and better infrastructure would attract investment from the neighbouring countries, such as Iran, Russian Federation, etc. At the same time, Premier Modi is likely to continue his diplomatic and military efforts to subvert the CPEC. Therefore, one can expect Indian intelligence agency RAW’s clandestine support to the radicalized militant groups for conducting terrorist attacks within Pakistan. Hence, Balochistan would remain vulnerable to RAW-sponsored terrorist groups’ nefarious activities during 2017. Though Government of Pakistan has already announced and executed preventive/defencive apparatus, yet the threat demands more countermeasures.


Russian Federation has been increasing its engagement with Pakistan and other regional actors. On December 14, 2016, Pakistan and Russia held their first consultation on regional issues at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. The Russian side was led by Alexander V. Sternik, Head of the Third CIS Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia while the Pakistani side was led by Ahmad Hussain Dayo, Director General (West Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This meeting indicates the convergence of interest between Islamabad and Moscow on the regional issues. For instance, Pakistan, Russia and China share common concerns in Afghanistan such as the threat of Daesh, terrorism and narcotics. On December 17, 2016, in an interview on Radio Pakistan, Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y. Dedov highlighted that CPEC is an important project for regional connectivity. He also stated that ‘CPEC is a component of China’s Silk Road and Russia was also working on a similar Eurasian Economic Union’. It was reported that Moscow and Beijing are holding discussions to merge the CPEC and Eurasian Economic Union. The merger of these projects certainly enhances the vitality of CPEC as well as Gwadar port.


Russian Federation is also in contact with the Afghan Taliban. Kabul protested and demanded Moscow to end its contacts with Taliban. Russian Ambassador in Kabul, Alexander Mantytskiy defended Moscow’s outreach to Taliban in December, 2016. While appearing before the Afghan parliament’s upper house, the Ambassador stated that if U.S., Britain, Italy, Qatar and Saudi Arabia maintain contacts with them then why is it an issue if “we are also talking to them”. He added: “Our limited contacts are aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table and to ensuring the safety of Russian citizens”. The Russians believe that Taliban is a legitimate interlocutor for peace in Afghanistan and it can only check the rise of Daesh/Islamic State in the country. The increasing role of Russians in Afghanistan alarms the Americans and their NATO partners.


Prime Minister Modi and President Ghani have launched an aggressive campaign to malign and isolate Pakistan since 2015. They accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in their respective countries during the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, India in December 2016. President Ghani stated that Pakistan has been supporting insurgency in Afghanistan and thereby he rejected Pakistan’s offer of $500 million in economic assistance. On December 4, 2016, while addressing the Heart of Asia conference, the Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan criticism on Pakistan. Nevertheless, the trends indicate that New Delhi continues to spoil Islamabad-Kabul relations. In addition, the Indian intelligence agency RAW with the connivance of its Afghan counterpart would endeavour to ruin the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.


The current intifada (uprising) in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, which started due to the martyrdom of a 22 year old pro-freedom Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016 continues in the following months. Concurrently, Indian military atrocities are bleeding the innocent Kashmiris. Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist cohorts would not succeed in quashing the intifada and thereby they maintain tension at the Line of Control and Working Boundary. Islamabad, which is a legitimate party to the conflict, is trying to draw the attention of the international community towards the atrocities of the Indian forces in Kashmir. Conversely, India is using its hard and soft power to punish Pakistan for politically and diplomatically supporting the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination.


The Indian ruling elite’s warmongering would continue in the first-half of 2017. Hence, there are inconsequential possibilities for the restart of a dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi till the completion of elections in the four Indian states, i.e., Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Manipur. The increasing mistrust certainly alarms about the escalation of the conflict between the nuclear armed belligerent neighbours. Perhaps, Premier Modi’s tactics (such as use of force at Line of Control, warmongering, sponsoring terrorist activities to bleed innocent Pakistanis and reiterating to isolate Pakistan, etc.) to coerce the Government of Pakistan and also muster the support of the Hindu fundamentalists in the forthcoming elections in aforementioned states is immensely risky. It could lead to the unthinkable – a nuclear clash between India and Pakistan. The Indian strategic pundits, military industrial complex’s profiteers and above all Indian military establishment would use the current tension between India and Pakistan to increase India’s 2017-18 defence budget. The international community, the big powers, international institutions, including the United Nations, would remain apathetic during 2017 from the deteriorating South Asian strategic environment. Precisely, the international community seems least interested in easing the current tension between Pakistan and India.


The Kashmiris will be sustaining their freedom movement in the Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2017, which will have a frustrating impact on Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist associates. Instead of addressing the Kashmiris’ legitimate concerns, they will continue to accuse Pakistan. They seem convinced that warmongering would frighten Pakistanis and they would stop assisting Kashmiris politically and diplomatically. Though, it is their wishful thinking, yet it has potential to escalate the conflict at the Line of Control between the two nuclear-armed belligerent neighbours. The best option for Pakistan to save Kashmiri lives from the Indian armed forces’ brutal atrocities is to approach the United Nations Security Council formally to: investigate and condemn India’s human rights violations in Kashmir; call for a halt to Indian violations of the LoC ceasefire; and agree on steps to implement the Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, Islamabad’s formal approach to the United Nations Security Council definitely enrages Premier Modi. Consequently, the Indian armed forces will increase fire along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and target Pakistani civilians living near India-Pakistan border. The response of the Pakistani border forces may result in Indian aggression inside Pakistan. Hence, strategic vigilance and investment in solidifying defencive fence is imperative to hinder India’s military adventurism.


To conclude, the preceding discussion underscores that the emerging strategic competition at the strategic chessboard immensely influences the developments in the South Asian strategic environment in 2017. Washington’s cementing strategic partnership with India to check Chinese rise in Asia directly would affect the national security of Pakistan in particular and other regional actors in general. Therefore, the likely transformation at the strategic chessboard obliges Islamabad to be vigilant and prepared to revamp its foreign policy to guard as well as pursue its objectives in the anarchical international society.

 

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

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09
January

Written By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali

How do we measure our country sixty-eight years down the road since its creation? It will be unfair to state that Pakistan is a near-failed state as many political pundits are fond of saying. At the time of creation of Pakistan even the socks of our army jawans were made in England, Pakistan having not one factory to produce them. It was such an underdeveloped country that there was nowhere to go but up! Industries boomed, production of goods of all kinds went up and up. In 1960s the country was viewed as a model for other developing nations to follow. Upon the inception of the country, Pakistan did not boast of institutions, personnel and the resources that were intrinsic to put the country on the road to development. Pakistan fought against all odds. The one thread of inconsistency that had led to a ‘two step forward, one step back’ status for the country, was a completely diametrical approach of how to run the country by successive leaders. In Bhutto’s regime, the focus was more on nationalization of companies, immediately after, Zia’s eleven years focused on private enterprises to achieve the set targets. The problem all these individualized policies created for Pakistan was a mix of many at odds with others. In spite of different leaders trying to put their own brand’s stamp on Pakistan, on May 28, 1998, Pakistan became a nuclear power when it successfully carried out five nuclear tests at Chagai, in the province of Balochistan.


Without question, the creation of Pakistan has shaped the mindsets and the institutions not just in Pakistan but also in India. The open sore of Kashmir has never allowed both nations to enjoy neighbourly good relations with each other. If Pakistan’s policies have been ‘India-centric’, India’s have been ‘Pakistan-centric.’ Kashmir has always loomed like a dark shadow over any bilateral relations both may have sought to have. There have been baby steps over time to move towards a relatively normal relationship, however, the core issue of Kashmir remained unsolved due to Indian obduracy – making the process circular in nature.


In spite of this issue that has unquestionably had a far from welcome impact on Pakistan’s policies may those be foreign, trade or others, Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potential. The country is located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East and is thus at the fulcrum of a regional market with a vast population, large and diverse resources, and untapped potential for trade.1 The same World Bank report goes on to state: ‘According to official statistics, Pakistan has made substantial progress in reducing poverty. The Government of Pakistan has recently adopted a revised poverty line. Using the revised poverty line, the headcount poverty rate has declined from 64.3 percent in FY01/02 to 29.5 percent in FY13/14. The number of people around the poverty line remains high, which results in significant vulnerability to poverty. This steady decline in poverty has occurred despite periods of moderate growth. Growth incidence curves illustrate the pro-poor nature of Pakistan’s growth with consumption of the poorest growing faster than mean consumption.2


Pakistan and U.S. relations are at an all-time low. Things do not seem rosy with Trump’s in-coming administration, considering Tariq Fatemi’s futile visit to U.S. cooling his heels to be granted audience with any senior official of the new Trump administration. Interestingly, Daniel Runde writing for Forbes states that: “Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story. I recently spent time in-country listening to a wide range of perspectives and I am convinced that U.S. policymakers and business leaders need to look at Pakistan beyond the security lens. Getting our relationship right will require deeper thinking and action on issues around trade and investment, education, and broader economic development. The United States ought to be Pakistan’s preferred partner given its 70-year relationship. But in order to participate in the upside of the Pakistan story, the United States will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner.”3


Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. The porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the instability within and Indian role in sharing the degree of instability in Pakistan puts greater pressure to focus on cleansing members of banned outfits and handle the destabilizing factors. Zarb-e-Azb has been a phenomenal success under General (R) Raheel Shareef. In July 2016, John McCain led a four member high powered delegation including Senator Joseph Donnelly, Senator Benjamin Sasse and Senator Lindsey Graham, who visited the tribal agency infiltrated by Taliban and their foreign supporters till Zarb-e-Azb was launched in June 2014 to effectively squash their heads. “During his visit to North Waziristan Agency on Sunday he [McCain] praised Pakistan’s ‘enormous successes’ in its counterterrorism campaign, saying he was “very impressed with the progress [on the ground]”. Commander-designate U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lt Gen John Nicholson, had said in a written response to a question by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, “The military operation being carried out by Pakistan’s Army in the tribal region is critical to defeating terrorism”. The exit of Gen (R) Raheel Shareef in a given physical time took care of one phase of operations. Gen Bajwa takes over at a second phase; that of consolidating the gains made by his predecessor in North Waziristan and other areas will be his first challenge. This phase must be consolidated with implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) – the steps that the civil government must accomplish. Without this, military operations can be viewed as temporary relief only.


Upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is seen as a game changer. The government understands the need to clamp down on terrorist activities to make the project a success. So does the military. It is mandatory for a successful CPEC to have peace within Pakistan. Soon after the inauguration of the project during President Xi’s visit the military had announced setting up a 10,000-strong special force for safeguarding the projects under the CPEC, not only during the construction phase but also during the later fully operational stage. The force also aims to give protection to the Chinese workers associated with them.


CPEC promises great potential for the whole region, not just for a progressive Pakistan; economic development not just for Gwadar but also setting up of huge infrastructure to positively inject all areas the route passes through. With various developmental projects including industries, educational institutes, airports, ports and shipping infrastructures, rail links and upgradation of Mainline 1 (ML-I), also the establishment of New Dry Port at Havelian (Buldhair) District Haripur under CPEC. It is an extremely ambitious project that aims to involve many countries to invest and derive benefits from a well-planned and a well laid out transit line. Impressive progress has already been made including advanced civil work progress of Sahiwal’s 2x660MW Coal-fired Power Plant; detailed design of mining under progress for a surface mine in Block II of Thar Coal field, 6.5 metric ton per annum (mtpa); the HUBCO Coal Power Plant 1X660 MW, Hub Balochistan. The list is long and work is underway to make CPEC in totality with the envisaged projects as soon as possible.


In politics, ground realities can change pretty fast. Economics drive policies – generally speaking. Iranian President Rouhani met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on sidelines of UNGA with a wish for Iran to join CPEC. Following Iran and Turkmenistan, Russia has also decided to use the Gwadar Port for trade to have an access to warm waters. In addition, Russia aspires to develop strategic defence ties with Pakistan. Islamabad has responded positively allowing Russian use of Gwadar Port for trade. During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s two day visit to Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow, disregarding the protocol, came to his hotel to have a meeting with him. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced building railways, road and fiber-optics along with Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India (TAPI) 1,680-kilometer-long gas pipeline to enhance connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia for the benefit of about half of the world population living in this part of the world. (The News, Nov 26, 2016)


In the field of sports, Pakistanis adore cricket. In August 2016, Pakistan was jubilant when its Test Team bagged number one place in the ICC Test rankings. This was the second time in the history of Pakistan’s cricket that it clinched the number one slot. The first time Pakistan’s Test Team made it to the top was twenty eight years ago.


In spite of the hiccups and many challenges, Pakistan has recently made many right moves. However, for a turnaround to take place and the upcoming time to become more purposeful and productive, we need continuous national determination to address the issues plaguing our state and society.

 

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.’

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

She tweets at @yasmeen_9

 

1 The World Bank; Pakistan Overview; www.worldbank.org, (accessed May 17, 2016).

2 Ibid.

3 Forbes Magazine; Daniel Runde, Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story? ; August 3, 2015.

 
09
January

Written By: Amir Atta

”I want to be a spy”. That is what everyone dreams about when they are younger. To become a war hero or at least like a spy who uses futuristic gadgets. With the advancement in technology, these spy gadgets are now a reality. Some can be easily procured while others are still years away from reaching the masses. Let us take a sneak-peak into the world of spies with gadgets that are either made for the average user or for espionage and military use.

Industry Level Gadgets

These are meant to spy on commercial rivals, enemy countries, or by intelligence agencies for monitoring. Being industry exclusive, these tools cannot be found in the market. Rather, these might not even be available for years to come, all due to obvious reasons.

 

Cellular Surveillance Device

celularser.jpgAmong the recently leaked information published by “The Intercept”, there were details about a Cobham (British manufacturing company) project. This project includes development of tools for wide scale public monitoring and espionage. One of the most notable devices is a cellular surveillance device. It is an interception device with the ability to pose as four base stations simultaneously. This means it can pretend to be four different mobile operators or four base stations from the same operator.

 

It can monitor up to four calls at a time and the operational distance is up to 2 km for 3G and much greater for 2G networks. These devices can identify the target phone at a rate of 200 devices per minute. This sort of device is portable and called 3G-N. It can cause wide cellular blackouts and can be used for bulk data collections. All of this can be controlled via a laptop. Other than that, Cobham manufactures a cellular antenna like device with huge output power, a handheld device to control target phones or to shut off signals to a device and a couple of handheld devices which can be used to track anyone while on the go. It is, shocking and scary. Probably all governments have similar technologies by now.

 

Quantum Stealth Camouflage

quantemstealth.jpgThis may seem like an idea from a far off futuristic science fiction movie; a suit that renders the wearer completely invisible to not only the naked eye, but also infrared, night vision and thermal vision to the point that even the wearer’s shadow is invisible. It is currently being developed in Canada by Biotechnology Corp and has the full support of the U.S. government and the Canadian government. Quantum Stealth is a material that makes the wearer completely invisible by bending light waves around the target, it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

 

Prototypes were displayed a few years ago, so the final product might already be completed. It is mainly aimed at use for fighter pilots that have to land in hostile territory but its practical uses may be limitless. From corporate espionage to breaching otherwise impassable borders, once completed, will be an indispensable asset to the bearer of the technology.

 

SPY ROCK

spyrock.jpgIf you thought the stone age was gone, you might be “slightly” wrong. It seems rocks are the next big thing in military espionage. And the armies won’t be throwing them at each other, instead, these will be used to snoop on the enemy.

Association of United State Army (AUSA) meeting held the secret announcement of a new surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network). It is so small and covert that this wireless sensor network can be used inside rocks. It is being said that the technology can provide maximum coverage at small costs. Initial reports say that the sensors can remain in the battlefield for years as they won’t need any maintenance. These rocks will be powered by solar technology. This technology might be sold to countries around the world (an easy way to spy maybe) since the final technology is almost ready to go. All they need is a war to try it out.

 

Hybrid Insects

hybridinsect.jpgHybrid Insects may seem like a cross bred species of insects, but is actually a project of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a part of the U.S. Department of Defence. The idea is to be able to create machine-like insects, not simply miniscule robots, but actual living organisms indistinguishable from other insects that can be remotely controlled. This is done by placing micro-mechanical systems inside the target insect during infancy (metamorphosis stage), turning them into a cyborg-like creature.

 

The aim is to be able to access heavily guarded areas to access information or even locate targets. Another viable application is surveillance; remotely using the insect to monitor the actions of any target while staying undetectable, as no security system in the world is capable of locating and dealing with insects. The project is past the theoretical stage with actual control over the movement of the target insect.

 

Photonic Disruptor

photoniuc.jpgIf there is one thing everyone fascinated with, it’s lasers. Laser weapons have become so advanced that they can now be used for law enforcement by common police officers. While the current lasers for the police aren’t strong enough to cut someone’s arm, they can still be used as a distraction or for self-defence. They are intended for military and law enforcement use only. The laser beams aren’t strong enough to cause any permanent damage but can be used to disable the target’s eyes for a certain amount of time and even cause dizziness. We already know that the U.S. military owns large scale laser weapons. This, however, isn’t meant for that sort of use, hence, residing in the spy gadgets category.

 

CONSUMER LEVEL

There are some consumer level spy gadgets as well. These tools or gadgets are easily available in markets and anyone can use them to make their life more adventurous.

SPY PEN

spypin.jpgThe prospect that a pen can house a full HD mini camera is alarming as much as it is amazing. It is something you would expect James Bond to have. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you are the victim), it is now possible for everyone to have one. These pens make use of a small sensor capable of making good quality videos. There’s even internal storage, USB support and sometimes even micro SD card support so you don’t run out of space when recording.

 

It is something investigative journalists use these days to apprehend criminals red-handed with undeniable evidence. Of course, other uses are for recording events without letting others know. These pens are cheap and available at most gadget stores throughout the world.

 

Book Safe

booksafe.jpgIn the movie “From Russia With Love” A Soviet spy manages to hide his weapons inside a book titled Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. You won’t necessarily have the same thing with this similar looking gadget, though it is indeed a possibility. The faux book basically holds a compartment for the user to hide their precious items. There’s no technology involved.

This plain old book can be useful for hiding precious items, keeping secrets or storing weapons. The real looking enclosure will always look like a book to the onlookers.These faux books are available for around $10 and can be easily acquired from gadget stores.

 

Cell Jammer

celljammer.jpgIf one intends to spy, disrupting their target’s communication might be an important part of the mission. With so much wireless communication going on, it is difficult to prevent remote monitoring and other similar activity. That is where a cell jammer comes in. Whether it is 2G, 3G, 4G or GPS communication, a cell jammer can disrupt the signals making these communication methods worthless. While these devices have been around for a long time, nowadays you can disrupt signals by only using a handheld device with the press of a button. These devices send out random signals over the aforementioned communication frequencies and nullify the signals. These devices have a limited range though; being handheld means the working radius is pretty small and the active duration is quite limited. Cell jammers can be bought but are illegal in most countries.

 

GPS Tracker

gpstracker.jpgIt is now easily possible to find out where the target is in real-time. While this wasn’t so common in old spy movies, the current advancements have made it possible to track even pet animals.

 

GPS trackers come in all shapes and sizes. Hide them in clothes, attach them to a car, put them in a purse, you name it, they have it. All these trackers need is a couple of batteries and they are good to go. If you get one with a SIM card you can even track the target in real-time. Otherwise, you will have to access the tracker and transfer the log to your PC. Prices vary depending on the features available i.e., battery operated, 3G support, size, etc.

 

Wallet Lockpick

walletlock.jpgWhat is a spy who doesn’t go to places where he isn’t supposed to go? Of course, that means accessing places and locks. Shomer-Tec has advanced the Locksmith’s art of creating keys by producing a stealthy item that can be easily hidden inside a wallet and can be used to pick locks. The “Access Card” is a stainless steel sheet with a quartet of lockpicks punched out. You can simply snap one out of the card, use it and discard it. You get a feeler pick, a ball pick, a diamond pick, a hybrid pick and a tension wrench. Despite being thin, these pins are quite resilient and can take on some force without getting damaged. They can even be used to uncuff oneself.

 

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

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09
January

Written By: Samina Rizwan

In September 1965, Squadron Leader Rais Ahmad Rafi commanded No. 8 Squadron and lived with his wife and two children, my brother and I, at PAF Station, Mauripur, Karachi (now PAF Base Masroor). I must have been an exceptionally bright four year-old because, defying biological impossibility, I remember!


As the bombardiers took off every night with Abbi (my father) at their helm, a gaggle of women with all sizes of children in tow would gather in one flat, I think Uncle Bey’s, to collectively pray for a successful mission and the bombers’ safe return. Uncle Bey was probably from admin branch and tasked to look after the families, a responsibility he did not take lightly. Shotgun in hand, he would patrol the family compound every hour (later, Abbi and he would laugh about this for many years), then step into the flat, take a cup of tea and exchange words of encouragement with the women before heading for his rounds again. Uncle Bey’s flat was probably unsafe. As per SOPs, he should have been directing us to the trenches recently dug by the MES “fatigue” alongside the family barracks. But every night, even before the hooter shrieked, he and Auntie would throw the doors to their modest flat open and everyone would file in.

 

thesepofmy.jpg

Uncle Bey knew his wards, “Bhabhi-ji and Beta-ji” all, preferred companionship over safety and he was not about to withhold compassionate hospitality just to fulfill SOPs. There would be rounds of tea, constant prayer, and a slumber party adventure for the children... all by candle light for fear the enemy may spot a lit bulb and attack. I remember being loved by many mothers and playing with many brothers and sisters. Against the surreal harmony of soft sobs and loud Allah-o-Akbars, a vague recollection of President Ayub Khan’s resonant voice over radio rekindles in me a child’s fear that her mother may be the one crying, and that could not be good. I remember searching Ammi’s face for signs of despair but never finding any. Ammi never cried, at least not in my presence. During those seventeen most dangerous days and nights of my life, I felt as secure as ever a child could because my mother’s demeanor conveyed courage and confidence and I internalized both. Of course, all was not well, and in the wee hours of the morning, as slumber overtook exhausted children, our mothers would count the sounds of load-lightened bombers landing not far away. “Yah Allah, Aaj do kum hain” (O’God, two are less today!) one of them would say. Stoically, those brave women would step out of dear Uncle Bey’s flat and head for home to await their fate.

 

Come September again, I hope to be sitting with my siblings, our children and grandchildren, telling them stories of those fateful seventeen days when I was introduced to courage under fire by the most dashing and graceful of all couples, a Pakistan Air Force pilot and his wife.

Every morning, upon his return from a mission, Abbi would mumble something to Ammi and, after putting Haroon and I to bed to catch up on missed sleep, they would both leave. I didn’t know then, but they would be headed to the homes of a pilot and a navigator (they went in twos, on B-57s) to break unbearable news. Their loved ones would not be returning home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that, sometimes, dads go away forever although I did not understand how the choice was made. Surely there was some formula, otherwise why would Abbi return home and Uncle Alam Siddiqui not? In the following years, my parents would recall their difficult assignment, as Squadron Commander and wife, of being daily bearers of bad news. Ammi said it was exhausting and she felt drained. Abbi remembered that he remained high spirited through missions but the moment his aircraft touched down safely, he would feel a weight descend upon him so heavy that he could barely unharness himself and alight. Many times he wished someone was carrying his news rather than vice versa, so he said. The bomber squadrons of Mauripur suffered heavy casualties in 1965 and were awarded equally generously. Abbi wore his Sitara-e-Jurrat with pride but also with tremendous humility, in memory of his lost air comrades. My parents never forgot the heavy price their community paid for the defence of our land.

 

thesepofmy1.jpgMany of my September recollections are in fact accounts etched in my memory by my storytelling father. I don’t directly remember them, but I carry them in the tradition of tales told by one generation to another. Abbi loved to tell stories and I would rather do nothing than listen spellbound. Later, my siblings joined the audience, but I admit that I consider myself a privileged patron. I am responsible for imparting these precious jewels to our children, and I do so with utmost detail, as accurately as possible – as told to me by the air warrior himself.


While nights were devoid of normalcy, days were almost routine. Abbi slept a lot, but we would often climb into the Beatle and head out to town for a meal. South China Restaurant, Beach Luxury Hotel, Chandni Lounge at Intercontinental and Salatin’s were Abbi’s favourite eateries. Our Karachi ended at Karsaz and the best of it existed around Victoria and McLeod Roads, Elphinstone Street and Saddar (Today’s Karachiites will have difficulty wrapping their heads around this). Ammi had no preferences and other than enforcing drill sergeant like discipline 24/7, she was quite satisfied to let Abbi and I haggle over choice of venue. Abbi would let me win often but regardless of where we finally settled, I recall that the restaurant management would refuse to let Abbi pay the bill. We were regulars, they knew us well. They also knew that Abbi was flying nightly missions. It was their way of thanking him.

 

The last time my father broke the news of a slain air warrior, with Ammi by his side, was to me about my Shaheed (martyred) husband. “I had all the practice I needed”, he told me years later when we had supposedly reconciled with our loss, “But the weight that descended upon me was heavier than ever.

The officers of No. 8 Squadron had a favourite pastime. Every evening, I presume at the outset or conclusion of their mission briefing, they would decide what songs would be good accompaniment to take-offs. A junior officer would be charged with calling Radio Pakistan to request a particular “milli naghma”. I believe Radio Pakistan transmitted live in ‘65, so I have no idea how this was executed, but Abbi insisted that Madam Noor Jahan came to Lahore radio station and sang “Ae watan ke sajeeley jawano” when he conveyed a “farmaish”. Abbi was given to embellishment and drama no doubt, but others have confirmed that not only the great lady, but Mehdi Hassan with “Apni jaan nazar karun” and the inimitable Alam Lohar with Abbi’s favorite “Jugni” also obliged. Indeed, Abbi had in his substantial music collection, all on looped tapes, a recording of Noor Jahan saying “Yeh merey shaheenon ke liye…” and launching into the goose-bump inducing “Ae puttar hataan te naeen vikde”. Abbi flew many a mission listening to “Jugni javari hal warey” before his bomber would cross the border and the airwaves would be silenced.


At the end of September, many of my friends left Mauripur or moved into alternate living quarters. They had lost their fathers. Their mothers either started working or they were all taken away, into the “civilian” world, to live with grand parents. The same happened in 1971 when yet more friends lost their fathers. Many years later, in 2003, it happened to us, my children and I. The last time my father broke the news of a slain air warrior, with Ammi by his side, was to me about my Shaheed (martyred) husband. “I had all the practice I needed”, he told me years later when we had supposedly reconciled with our loss, “But the weight that descended upon me was heavier than ever. I truly wished it was he carrying the news about me, rather than me telling you about him”. He could never quite recall how he did it or what he said, but I remember.

 

February 20th, 2003:
Abbi, on the phone with me as I am on a work assignment in Karachi, the first time I am speaking to him since the crash. “Samina, you are a Ghazi’s daughter, now a Shaheed’s wife. There are very few in this world like you. Be proud. Shahadat Mubarak.” When stressed, Abbi resorts to my full name instead of the more endearing “Seemi”. I can hear the tremor in his voice.


Ammi, as I step out of the car and walk into my unrecognizable home filled with a sea of concerned faces. “Aap meri bahadur beti hain, himmat ke saath… acha beta… Razi ko sharminda nahin karna” (You are our brave daughter, be courageous, my darling... do not let Razi be embarrassed by your loss of heart...), forever the disciplinarian, Ammi is trying desperately to hold back her tears. It is not working.


The resolute courage of my community, air warriors and their wives, has reverberated around me all of my life. I was baptized with it in September 1965, retaining memories while nearly all other, unrelated ones of that age are forgotten. Perhaps I was being prepared for my fate, as if some divine power felt compassion and decided to ease me into my tragedy so that I would be spared trauma. It almost worked.
Come September again, I hope to be sitting with my siblings, our children and grandchildren, telling them stories of those fateful seventeen days when I was introduced to courage under fire by the most dashing and graceful of all couples, a Pakistan Air Force pilot and his wife.

 

The writer is wife of Air Commodore (Shaheed) Raja Rizwan Ullah Khan (T.bt.)

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09
January

Written By: Capt Ali Raza

The day you enter the prestigious Quaid Gate, you are basically airborne on a skydive to an unknown destination at least for the next two years. You never know where this journey is going to take you, but thrill, adventure and memories accompany you for the rest of your life. In my case this has been the story so far. On entering the Cradle of Leadership I could never have imagined where this journey would take me. And that ultimately, I would climb up the historical Old College Steps of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst to commission in Pakistan Army.


My recollections of PMA are rich, full of memories and thrill. The First Term is the never-ending (punishment) term in which many cadets wish to run away from the academy. During those zero days of never-ending nights and chilly winds of Kakul, Sergeants and Corporals were an integral and lethal part of my first term, as in every cadet's life. I had the opportunity to have the best people as my Directing Staff, either it was the corporal, sergeant or platoon commander. The Second Term passed the fastest in the amalgam of boxing, exercise Yarmuk and a number of other activities. Time flew and before we knew it, the Third Term started and we were there for the reception of 132 Long Course just as our corporals had been exactly a year back. Being a corporal was quite challenging and a learning experience. Alongside this responsibility the cat and mouse game between us and our seniors kept us busy. Field exercise TM Raiders and Panipat flew by.

 

 

frompmarma.jpg

The selection test for Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and Royal Military College, Duntroon, Australia started. In few days, we underwent various tests to fulfil the selection criteria such as physical tests, assault course, rappelling, extempore speeches and many others. The top 50 cadets of our course started off with the tests initially and only 13 of us were left after panel interviews and finalization of merit list. Interview with the Commandant PMA was the next step which went quite well. And a week later we were jumping with excitement on hearing the news of going to GHQ, Rawalpindi for interview with the Inspector General Training and Evaluation (IGT&E). Eight of us got interviewed and it was a big day for all of us. With our fingers crossed we headed back to the academy. A few silent days passed by without any news. Then one day a platoon mate came rushing to me and conveyed the news of my selection for Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. It felt like a dream coming true. Two other cadets got selected for RMC. The moment was inexpressible and there was an air of jubilation in our halls of study. The memories of pre-departure formalities and my final few days at PMA are very vague as time seemed to rush past.


Being amongst the finest people from the top armies of the world was a different experience altogether. The descent from being the senior-most at PMA to the junior-most at RMA felt like a jolt at first. But as they say, "No pain, no gain". From Aurangzeb-1 at PMA to 14 Platoon of Gaza Company, I had definitely come a long way. First Term was all about soldiering the basic skills in barracks and field. Soon I felt the importance of PMA chachas (room bearers), who were dodgy at times but mostly useful. From polishing shoes to ironing clothes, Skype was my buddy throughout this time. The weekends in London were full of enjoyment and we waited eagerly for those. Week ‘one to five’ of junior term were quite busy due to strenuous routine, however, it eased with the passage of time. Being part of the academy cricket team earned me a few extra privileges as well. Life in barracks at Sandhurst was quite relaxed and comfortable, however, field exercises were the great adventure! Every now and then we used to be out in the field for some field exercise for days and even weeks.

 

frompmarma1.jpgFrom temperature dropping below zero degree celsius to day-long attacks fused with CBRN1 effects made our beds back in the barracks dearer to us than anything else. Most of our exercises were conducted in Brecon (Wales) which is commonly known as 'Hell on Earth' among the cadets. The black mountains of Brecon combined with the wet weather and soggy fields made those more arduous. The ‘Junior Term’ exercises consisted of basic platoon and section level attacks. ‘First Term’ came to an end with the Sovereign’s Parade. I made trips to Blackburn and Oxford on long-weekends as well. ‘Intermediate Term’ was waiting for us as we returned back to the academy. Getting back to work is always difficult, however, PMA had moulded us well. The next strenuous task was Exercise First Encounter which is termed as Exercise Yarmuk by Pakistani cadets at Sandhurst. With 72 hours of non-stop digging combined with sleepless nights, it brought us back to the early days of PMA. Preparing field defences with an offensive spirit was the main theme of this field exercise. However, with unwavering determination it went by quickly and soon we were back in the camp.


Faraday Five was soon to follow which was basically five long weeks of academics and routine work in the academy. PowerPoint presentations and case studies kept us busy at the camp. I took up squash as my sport and soon became part of the academy team. Another field exercise consisting of urban operations came by which was quite a learning experience. Next to follow was our trip to France and the famous beaches of Normandy and Gold Beach. It was good fun combined with the thrilling experience of revisiting World War sites. After returning from France, drill competition and log race competitions were held. We couldn’t do very well as a platoon, however, it brought back the memories of RDS and PMA drill staff. The experience with drill staff at PMA is inexplicable as such things are not to be found in any other military academy of the world. Another Sovereign’s Parade came entrusting me with the responsibility of being the senior-most Pakistani cadet at RMA.

 

frompmarma2.jpgThe New Year began with the ‘Senior Term’ and the vow of commissioning at the culmination of the term kept strengthening with every passing day. Participating in a field exercise in the snow had always been my dream and there it came true. Exercise Broadsword was one of the most educating and exciting exercises any soldier could undergo. With public order, operations in built-up areas, forward operating base, rural and urban phases, it was one of the best field exercises I have undergone so far. Snow added to the excitement. Days passed by with growing excitement and thrill of the commissioning day. And then the final exercise came, famously known as Exercise Dynamic Victory, which ultimately recapitulated the whole training. Fifteen long days in the field scared us in the beginning, however, in anticipation of the D-day every day passed swiftly. Graefonwohr (U.S. Army base in Germany) was the destination for this exercise. Live firing attack at platoon and section level during the exercise was the most realistic training experience one can have in his military career. It was followed by six battlegroup level attacks in complex scenarios and with the best equipment. Being appointed the Company Sergeant Major for the final attack was challenging. It later proved to be one of the best experiences of my life. With a company in command, from personal administration to battle preparation, everything was in my hands. With the best possible battle preparations, I tried to uplift the morale of my company by raising slogans during the night of attack. The attack went pretty well with casualties piling up and CSM trying best to manage them all. Finally, the 'stop' was called which marked the culmination of the exercise. However, this 'stop' was different from all the stops we had been hearing at Sandhurst. This was the final one which meant we were qualified to climb the Old College Steps.2 It was one of the happiest moments of my life.


On return from Germany, nothing much was left to do except the drill. April 10 was the D-day and one of the most important days of my life. I was finally going to commission in Pakistan Army after two and a half years of training by climbing the prestigious Old College Steps.2 These were the historical steps to have been climbed by Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Sultan of Brunei, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and many other eminent personalities around the globe. Climbing these steps was an inexpressible and intense moment as all the highlights of PMA and RMA flashed in my memory, bringing tears of joy.


On entering PMA, I never had the slightest clue that I would be leaving the Cradle of Leadership to get commission from RMA, Sandhurst. Now, when I look at my journey from the outset to being a Captain in the Special Services Group of Pakistan Army, it overwhelms me. To sum it all up, I feel honoured and privileged to serve in one of the top armies of the world after training from two of the finest military academies in the world, PMA and RMA. I will cherish the memories and experiences forever and take great pride in it. Long Live Pakistan Army!

 

1 Chemical Biological Radiological And Nuclear Warfare

2 Similar to the Red Stairs in PMA.

 
09
January

Written By: Commodore Tahir Javed

The rapid changes in politico-military situation across the globe are greatly transforming regional security paradigm. Resultantly, a shift is being observed in the overall national security mechanisms through structural and technological improvements. In the prevailing environment, defence industry has become one of the major pillars of economic pursuit of the nation. In this context, Asia being economically a more vibrant region has now emerged as one of the major markets for defence products. In line with that Pakistan’s defence industry is in the quest to seek international stature to meet the requirements of its armed forces and the growing needs of the regional defence forces. Pakistan’s own defence products being the mix blend of indigenous and foreign technologies offer unique opportunities for international defence collaboration.

 

pakdefproduction.jpgIn the present security milieu, international arms trade is a significant economic activity. Though internationally, defence budgets are being curtailed, however, international defence trade is still highly lucrative. As the defence industry is closely associated with many other industrial sectors, defence technologies create synergized effects with other industries, allowing growth and development in technology and services in both public and private sector. Hence, defence industry may not be seen exclusively as military related industry and rather be considered as a multidimensional industry sector that helps in enhancing the economic potential of the country.


In this backdrop, IDEAS-2016 was held at Karachi Expo Centre from November 22 to 25, wherein large number of exhibitors, trade visitors, defence and security analysts, and delegations from various countries participated. It was the best opportunity for our defence industry to showcase their defence equipment to the world for better marketing and signing of MoUs with prospective international partners. It enabled the buyers to evaluate the technology vis-a-vis cost potential of Pakistan’s industry. IDEAS also served as an excellent platform to project the realistic image of Pakistan at international level.


Establishment of DEPO
Upon successful culmination of International Pakistan Navy Defence Show in 1999, the idea was conceived to establish a Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) for promoting the defence export of Pakistan around the globe. Hence, the Pakistan Naval Defence Show was transformed into International Defence Exhibition and Seminars (IDEAS). The first IDEAS was held in year 2000 and is now a biennial event conducted at Karachi Expo Center.

 

pakdefproduction1.jpgDEPO was established in year 2000 under Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) to provide a platform for promotion, facilitation and coordination of defence exports to public and private sectors. Presently, DEPO conducts defence exhibitions, seminars and conferences related to defence exports and facilitate participation of both public and private Defence Production Establishments (DPEs) in foreign exhibitions through pro-active marketing strategy. One of the major roles of DEPO is to conduct IDEAS which is the major defence exhibition of International stature in Pakistan.


IDEAS
The foremost purpose of IDEAS is to provide a single forum for the convergence of international and domestic exhibitors, international delegations, defence and security analysts and top level policy planners for the creation of new opportunities and promotion of mutual cooperation in the field of defence. At the same time, IDEAS provides opportunities to our defence industry, both from public and private sectors, to display their products under one umbrella and interact directly with international community for better marketing, promotion, joint-venturing, out-sourcing and further improving Pakistan’s defence products through collaboration with international partners. IDEAS provides a perfect interactive forum for the defence forces to assess and evaluate the products and technologies which suit their requirements. It presents a unique opportunity to trade visitors for sharing views, gaining an understanding of latest developments of technology in the defence industry and finding innovative and affordable solutions to defence related challenges. The occasion not only serves as an opportunity for net-working and connectivity of defence industry for joint ventures, but also facilitates in achieving national policy of “Arms for Peace” which reflects Pakistan’s principled stand that a more balanced arms equation amongst neighbouring countries acts as an effective counter-balance.


IDEAS-2016
A high profile inauguration ceremony was held on November 22, 2016. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was the chief guest. The Minister of Defence Production, Minister of Defence, Chief Minister Sindh, Service’s Chiefs and other dignitaries within and outside Pakistan alongwith exhibitors, trade visitors and foreign delegations attended the ceremony. Upon completion of the inaugural session, the chief guest along with federal and provincial ministers and armed forces’ chiefs visited the stalls.


Being the biggest defence exhibition in Pakistan for showcasing defence equipment, weapons, systems and technologies, it provided opportunities to both national and international DPEs to introduce their technologies and products as well as acquaint them with the opportunities that Pakistan can offer in the different avenues of defence. IDEAS-2016 also provided an excellent forum for Business to Business (B2B) networking, connectivity and meeting opportunities to exhibitors, trade visitors, and foreign delegations from different countries as well as decision makers from Pakistan.


During IDEAS 2016, response from exhibitors, trade visitors and foreign delegations was very encouraging. Total 418 exhibitors from 34 countries participated. 90 foreign delegations including trade visitors from 43 countries visited the exhibition and had numerous meetings with senior civil and military officials of Pakistan.


The exhibition provided a platform for our defence industry to display their entire range of products for better promotion, out-sourcing and marketing with prospective partners. In addition, various Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) were also finalized with various potential buyers under auspices of MoDP.


Some of the major indigenously developed products were showcased during IDEAS-2016 which included Main Battle Tank Al-Khalid, JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft, K-8, Super Mushshak, Premium Grade Military Hardware, FAC (M), UAVs, Armoured Personnel Carriers and related technology.
The new inventions by POF, HIT, NRTC and GIDS during IDEAS-2016 were:-


• POF brought 3 new inventions during IDEAS-2016.
(1) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG PK-16).
(2) Light Sniper Rifle (LSR).
(3) Electronic Time Super Quick (ETSQ, FUZE).
• HIT showcased 2 new security vehicles:
(1) Armoured Security Vehicle Dragoon (Stanag 4569 Level III).
(2) Armoured Security Vehicle Protector (B-7 Level Protection)
• NRTC exhibited new security system in the defence exhibition:
(1) Jammers RCIED
(2) Intelligent Equipment
(3) Security and Surveillance System
(4) Robotics
(5) Tetra Solution
• GIDS displayed 3 UAV’s during IDEAS-2016 wherein foreign delegation took keen interest in the following displayed UAV’s:
(1) Shahpar UAV System.
(2) Uqab UAV Tactical System.
(3) ISCOUT Mini UAV System.
During IDEAS-2016, 14 MoUs were signed with different contries regarding defence production import protocols with Pakistan.


A seminar was arranged at the Movenpick Hotel wherein eminent speakers – two from Pakistan and three from Russia, China and USA each – participated and shared their views on the seminar’s theme, “Stability and Economics of Regional Peace in South Aisa”. Moreover, different conferences at Expo Centre between companies and armed services were also arranged. Participants presented on how to foster better relations and meaningful association amongst Pakistan defence enterprises and their counterparts around the world, hence allowing the exchange of technological information, volume of research and training aspects of defence experts and academia for high quality and more valuable defence products and knowledge.


Besides participants from Turkey, China and various parts of Europe and Asia, three companies from Russia namely Rosobronexport, Global Security and Russian Helicopter participated during IDEAS-2016. This time nine more countries i.e Luxembourg, Denmark, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Nigeria, and Romania participated for the first time in the exhibition. This will usher a new era in collaborating their technology, knowledge and equipment related to defence sector, thus, enhancing the significance of this event for the global defence market.


The objective of the IDEAS-2016 was to showcase own products, demonstrate our organizational skills to plan and execute a grand event of international stature and provide an international platform to convey our viewpoint on security issues concerning Pakistan. Moreover, it is an excellent opportunity for our defence related industry, both in public and private sectors, to display their products and interact directly with the defence industry of the developed world.

 
09
January

Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai

In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.

What’s ticking between Pakistan and India is not the nuclear bomb, but the water bomb. For years international relations strategists have warned that wars in the future would be over resources. Post-recent tensions in South Asia, Prime Minister Narendera Modi suspended meetings of the committee that oversees water sharing between India and Pakistan, using water as a diplomatic weapon. International experts are of the view that Delhi is using the water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. The Indian strategy is to build huge storage facilities and canals over and around the rivers that flow through Indian administered Kashmir but most of the water is allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. The 56 year old treaty is under strain, and Modi’s stance and strategy is not conducive to its continuity. Like it is said, sharing the waters of the Cauvery has been an issue for decades but it is particularly contentious now. The latest development is that Pakistan has yet again approached the World Bank to address the violation of the Treaty by India. India has successfully stalled the appointment of the chairman of the Arbitration Court of Justice, which Pakistan had requested, by immediately moving in with a request for a neutral expert.


This new twist to the treaty has come at a time when Modi government has chosen to publicly threaten Pakistan with the abrogation of the treaty. India is threatening to cut Pakistan’s water access. The 56 year-old water sharing agreement has run into trouble as tensions have escalated between the rivals, post-Uri attack. Statements by Prime Minister Modi calling for a review of the Treaty where he said that blood and water cannot flow together, and then hinting at revoking the treaty were seen as confirmation of these apprehension.


However, this is not new. India has been following a policy of ‘dewatering Pakistan’ since long. India already has 20 hydro projects on the three western rivers allocated to Pakistan. It is now building another 10 and more are being planned.


In the past also, Islamabad has complained to the international court that the dam in the Gurez Valley, one of dozens planned by India, will affect Pakistan’s river flow and is illegal. The court had halted any permanent work on the river for the moment but India got the permission to continue tunneling and building other associated projects. In 1987, upon Pakistan’s objection, Delhi had to suspend the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum River. As per a BBC report, sources within Indian Water Resources Ministry have hinted that the project could now be revived. As part of Modi’s aggressive water policy, this will directly have an impact on Pakistan’s agriculture.


The former chairman of Indus River System Authority, Engineer Fateh Ullah Khan Gandapur said on record that India is using water as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ to convert Pakistan into a desert and is diverting the entire flow into the Indian territory of Rajasthan. Salman Bashir, former foreign secretary of Pakistan, categorically said that diversion of Indus water by India will lead to war. Prime Minister Modi in one of his pre-election speeches in Batinda said that water that belongs to India should remain in India. Diverting the waters of Indus is not realistically possible, and cannot be done without triggering a war between the two countries.


Pakistan, India and Afghanistan Water Triangle
India has also tried to use its influence to start interfering with the flow of water from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Islamabad has shown its concern over New Delhi’s increased help to Kabul for development of a number of storages on the Kabul River without addressing Pakistan’s concerns. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his visit to Afghanistan back in 2011 had pledged $1.5bn in development assistance, with special interest in dam-building on the Kabul River. This commitment, apart from other heads, is meant for building 14 small and medium dams with total water storage capacity of 7.4MAF. International financial institutions including the World Bank have agreed to provide $7.079bn for these projects. In 2016, Indian experts completed the feasibility and detailed engineering of 12 projects to be built on River Kabul. If these 12 projects are completed, they will store 4.7 million acre feet of water, squeezing river flows to Pakistan. Moreover, in the absence of major dams in Pakistan, Pakistan will eventually end up buying electricity from Afghanistan, which may be the underlying purpose of this extensive 12 dam plan of the Afghan government with Indian collaboration. India and Afghanistan are actively exploring Chenab like run of the river projects on Afghanistan eastern rivers as a strategic offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan does not have any water treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flow of Afghanistan’s eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunar and Chitral into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles. Pakistan in retaliation had hinted at diverting Chitral River before its entry into Afghanistan in the event of attempts made to deprive it of its due share. The strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the constant Indian manipulation of the conflict also has Pakistan’s water security at stake. A latest policy brief by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan titled “Hydro-diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan” says “planned water projects on Kabul River by upper-riparian Afghanistan will adversely affect lower-riparian Pakistan. It is critically important to arrive at a consensus by understanding issues, maintaining historical rights and arriving at benefit sharing options for both countries through the use of Kabul River waters.”

 

We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting.

India has never underestimated the significance of river waters to strengthen its geostrategic interests in the region. It is now working on a double-squeeze water policy against Pakistan by constantly building on the western rivers in occupied Kashmir and facilitating projects on the Kabul River. The establishment in Delhi has a very aggressive water mindset towards Pakistan. It has under successive governments, talked about reviewing the Treaty “to teach Pakistan a lesson”. Modi is just more vocal about it.


The statement by P.M. Modi was not taken lightly by Pakistan, and it immediately approached the World Bank to appoint a chairman for the Court of Arbitration because Pakistan claims that the design of the 330 MW Kishanganga Project violated the treaty. India followed with the demand for the appointment of a neutral expert. The World Bank’s take on the situation is that both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that potentially endanger the Treaty. Thus, the pause is to address this impasse. Arbitration has been halted over two Indian hydro-electric projects on the Chenab River; 850 MW Ratle and 330 MW Kishanganga. The World Bank has counseled bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan. It has urged both the countries to sort out differences and problems by January 2017. The bank had initially agreed to initiate both the processes simultaneously, but decided to pause them post Indian objection.


India has welcomed the decision and is ready to talk to Pakistan bilaterally to resolve the issue. This sudden desire to talk to Pakistan over water has arised because it suits India for several reasons to achieve its end objectives. One; India has initiated this new twist in the Treaty by continuous violation and hurling threats at Pakistan. Two; India has been stonewalling all initiative for dialogue except on the Treaty, this happened only after the issue was taken to the World Bank. More interestingly, India has habitually sidelined the permanent Indus Commission, established under Article VIII of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the primary channel of communication between the two countries. Now the question arises why this sudden desire to resolve the water issue through dialogue? It is also important to note here that India, which is ready for bilateral negotiation with Pakistan after Pakistan approached the World Bank, had even suspended routine bi-annual talks between the Indus Commissions of the two countries, and had taken a principle decision to restart work on the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum.


The last time bilateral dialogue on the Treaty brought some success was in 1978. The situation between India and Pakistan is different today and we are in state of dispute paralysis. The trust deficit between the two countries is at its highest level. The LoC keeps blowing hot and cold. The theatre of conflict now also includes Afghanistan. Indian opposition to CPEC is an open secret. The atmospherics for dialogue to resolve a contentious issue, like water seem unlikely.


The Indian strategy of continuous building of projects and at the same time, threatening Pakistan with revoking of the Treaty and resorting to dialogue only are a time-gaining strategy because of international pressure to achieve its nefarious designs, does not induce any confidence. Pakistan has made it clear that it will not accept any modification or changes in the IWT. Pakistan’s reaction to the World Bank brokered pause is not positive. Since it is seen as an Indian strategy of gaining time to continue building, till it becomes fate accomplished. A review of the Treaty is also not acceptable to Pakistan. The review, as already stated by Indian experts, is aimed at more rights over the western rivers, which is Pakistan’s agriculture’s lifeline.


Legal status of the Treaty
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, an eminent Pakistani lawyer’s take on the Treaty is that “The Treaty has no provision for unilateral “suspension”. It is of an indefinite duration and was never intended to be time-specific, event-specific or regime-specific — but rather state-specific. It will not expire with regime change. It is binding on both the states equally and offers no exit provision. The Treaty survived the two wars as well as other Pakistan-India conflicts because none of them was termed a war under international law.


In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the Treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal”. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.


India is playing with fire using water as a tool of aggressive diplomacy to mount pressure on Pakistan. Using a mutually used resource to gain geo-strategic advantage is a recipe for trouble. On the other hand Pakistan should not take this lightly. India has time and again successfully manipulated the World Bank brokerage to its advantage because of Pakistan’s delayed response and weak water diplomacy. Pakistan needs to put its act together now, both internally and externally. Giving foreign policy statements, largely just for the consumption of the internal audience without any real plan on the ground, will not work. We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting. Pakistani authorities have so far done nothing to develop water uses on River Kabul. There is also no progress on the Munda dam. It paints a very grim picture of our water resources, like it is said, wars in today’s world are not fought on the conventional front but on the diplomatic, intellectual and economic front.

 

The writer is an eminent analyst and anchor person. She is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at IBA, Karachi.

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

 
09
January

Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh

Many in Pakistan were of the view that given India’s refusal to attend the SAARC summit, that was to be held in Islamabad and which led to the postponement of that meeting, it would have been right for Pakistan to refuse to attend the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Amritsar on December 4, 2016. The reasoning appeared to be that this would be appropriate retaliation and would show that Pakistan was not being cowed by India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan regionally and globally.


Pakistan’s decision to attend was therefore roundly criticised as an invitation to the adversaries to refocus attention on the so-called role Pakistan played in fostering terrorism in the region, specifically directed against both Afghanistan and India. This, in the view of the Pakistani media did happen. Both the Indian representatives and the Afghans did criticise Pakistan. What did not attract enough attention was the fact that the Russian representative publicly articulated, what most representatives at the conference felt – an international gathering was not the forum at which bilateral disputes were to be made the focus.


After all, the principal purpose of the conference was to help Afghanistan overcome the many difficulties it was facing and to promote the efforts needed to effect reconciliation. For no other participant in the conference saw peace and stability in Afghanistan as important as it was for Pakistan, because given the virtual absence of control on cross border movement, instability in Afghanistan spilled over into Pakistan assisted in no small measure by the presence of Afghan refugees and Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.


Border management to ensure that all movement across the border was governed, as between any other two countries, was moving forward but it was recognized that many years would pass before this management became as good as it needed to be. Refugee camps were being better regulated and efforts were being made to facilitate the return of the refugees to their home country. This too was bound to be a slow process when many of these refugees had been in Pakistan for their entire lifetimes and were reluctant to return to a country torn apart by disorder engendered by years of civil strife and plagued by maladministration.


Pakistan in its own battle against the forces of extremism and terrorism has achieved some notable successes. While there is no doubt that more is needed to be done on the internal front there is also the problem of the TTP elements having found sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they continue to plan and execute terror attacks on targets in Pakistan. This problem can only be resolved when a stable Afghan government establishes its writ and cooperates with Pakistan in eliminating these terrorists and more importantly, eliminate the foothold that Daesh has established in Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan.


It wpakandhte.jpgas imperative therefore, for Pakistan to participate in any and all regional and global efforts to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan. It was imperative for Pakistan to use such conferences to tell the world that even while it was accused of being “selective” in its battle against terrorism, it had a very real cause for worrying about the use of Afghan territory for harbouring terrorists and anti-Pakistan elements. Against this backdrop, there is no doubt in my mind that Pakistan had no choice but to attend the Heart of Asia conference even though it was held in a country that had deliberately sabotaged the SAARC conference.


It was known and expected that terrorism and the threat that it posed not only to Afghanistan but also to the region would be highlighted at the conference. After all the international community in offering support to Afghanistan has made no attempt at hiding its fears that in the absence of such assistance, Afghanistan would once again become the site from which terrorist organizations could plan and launch another 9/11 attack. The Amritsar Declaration states, “We recognize that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, stability and cooperation in our region. We encourage the international community to continue to assist the Government of Afghanistan. We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, including dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terrorism”. Earlier the declaration says, “We will also work towards regional consensus on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, which is critically important for good neighbourliness between countries of the region, and for peaceful co-existence as independent and sovereign nations, and re-affirm our commitment to these principles”.


While some may seek to interpret these statements as being aimed at Pakistan, particularly when the terrorist organizations listed in the declaration contain the names of many that allegedly are based in Pakistan, the fact is that Pakistan desires concerted action as called for in the declaration to eliminate terrorist organizations that have their bases in Afghanistan and concerted action to prevent the use of Afghan territory to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs.


What are the prospects for reconciliation? There have been many reports in recent days suggesting that the Taliban allegedly based in Pakistan have shifted to Helmand Province in Afghanistan. An AP report of November 26 quotes an anonymous Taliban as saying that the Taliban shura had moved to Southern Helmand Province reinforcing a statement by a recognized Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, that the leadership shura had moved to Afghanistan some months ago.1 A more recent report of December 22 on Radio Free Afghanistan, quotes Commander Raziq, the powerful Police Chief in Kandahar as telling a gathering of tribal leaders that at least six Taliban leaders – all members of the movement’s leadership council – have moved into neighbouring Helmand Province.2 Both the reports suggest that the move has been made to allow the Taliban leaders freedom from Pakistan’s pressure: but on the one hand these reports are part of a continuous campaign to malign Pakistan for sheltering/providing safe havens to Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. On the other hand – supposedly if we take these statement as true – it can be deduced that Taliban have found Helmand safer than Pakistan. Now Afghanistan needs to leave this blame game and take actions needed at the home front.

 

While some may seek to interpret these statements as being aimed at Pakistan particularly when the terrorist organizations listed in the declaration contain the names of many that allegedly are based in Pakistan, the fact is that Pakistan desires concerted action as called for in the declaration to eliminate terrorist organizations that have their bases in Afghanistan and concerted action to prevent the use of Afghan territory to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

Will this promote reconciliation? There have been reports that Afghan government representatives have been meeting with Taliban representatives in Doha where the Taliban office has been reconstituted.3 These meetings have been held without any Pakistani involvement and that is all to the good since it is clear that the only talks that will succeed are talks which are Afghan led and Afghan owned. A report in The Guardian maintained that there was also American presence in the Qatar meeting while the Taliban delegation included Mullah Abdul Mannan Akhund (brother of Mullah Omar).4


There is, nevertheless, a role for the Quadrilateral group – Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the USA – to facilitate such negotiations by identifying and encouraging the groups within the Taliban who favour talks and taking whatever action is needed in Kabul to ensure that such efforts are not sabotaged by those warlords and rent seekers who have a vested interest in keeping Afghanistan unstable.


It will perhaps take quite some time for genuine reconciliation to be worked out and for a stable and effective administration to be restored in Afghanistan. Every day that the current situation prevails, problems will exist for Pakistan. Pakistan cannot therefore afford to let any opportunity to rectify the situation go by even if it means having to face criticism from certain quarters and only lukewarm understanding from others. That is the context in which the Amritsar meeting should be viewed. Pakistan’s efforts and sincerity to bring peace in Afghanistan should also be seen in the same context. It will be good for Afghans to understand Indian moves against Pakistan and stop allowing India to continue these devious games which are detrimental to the regional peace.

 

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and contributes regularly for print and electronic media.

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

 

1 Taliban leaders may have moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan, AP, November 26, 2016.

2 Are the Taliban Leaders Back in Afghanistan?, December 22, 2016, Radio Free Afghanistan.

3 Kabul-Taliban talks, Editorial, Dawn, Oct 20, 2016.

4 Taliban and Afghanistan restart secret talks in Qatar, The Guardian, October 18, 2016.

 
09
January

Written By: Dr. Samar Mubarakmand

It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems, fighter aircraft, missile boats and small and medium sized naval vessels in a country with 70% of its population tilling the land and growing wheat and cotton! Our country is bestowed with unlimited resources of fresh water crashing down from glaciers at heights of 7000 meters to irrigate our fertile plains and generate hydroelectricity. We should recognize the gift of Providence who has given us unlimited mineral resources beneath our soil. But the greatest asset of Pakistan is its high intellect human resource which has lifted the country from the scarce situation of 1947 to the present position of strength and promise.

At the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947 the defence potential as well as the economic and social indicators were dismal. The city of Lahore was being run on D.C. electricity being supplied from India and it was switched off without warning, throwing the streets of Lahore into darkness. The total power generation inherited by the country at the time of its creation was 60 MW for a population of 31.5 million yielding a per capita consumption of 4.5 units. With the creation of Water and Power Development Authority and by the induction of the private sector into electricity generation several milestones were crossed rapidly. Hydel power generation became 636 MW in 1964-65, and rose to 3000 MW in 1980. Currently, total power generation of Pakistan stands at 24830 MW including 7030 MW from hydel and 16961 MW from thermal plants. A total of 3560 MW electricity from Pakistan’s nuclear reactors is expected to be connected to the national grid by 2022.

pakby2030.jpgThe majority of military assets and hardware were held back by India against the decision of division of assets at the time of partition. In the absence of any armament factory the country could not produce even a rifle bullet.


Pakistan of today can claim a full spectrum deterrence against an adversary six times its size. The nuclear and missile defence of the country has grown to a level where Pakistan is projected to dominate India by a considerable margin. The ranges of our missiles cover the farthest corners of the sub-continent and the accuracy and reliability of the weapon systems ensure that any installation once targeted will be destroyed irrespective of its size or distance.


In the next fifteen years Pakistan will continue to meet all challenges in the defence of the motherland. One may see great progress in the manufacture of most sophisticated submarines capable of ensuring Pakistan’s second strike capability. In addition to these achievements big strides are expected in the conquest of space. The design technology of satellites for different applications has already been achieved and demonstrated. More satellites are expected to be launched in the coming years. With the acquisition of capability of our own satellite launch systems, our country would become a full-fledged power in space technology.

 

pakby2030one.jpgThe cancer of terrorism has almost completely been wiped out of Pakistan with the valiant efforts of our brave armed forces. Our soldiers have fought in the harsh and difficult terrains in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to eradicate the infrastructure of different terrorist entities. It goes without saying that great sacrifices of life have had to be made by our soldiers to achieve this difficult goal which could not have been obtained by a 15 year effort of the combined strength of NATO forces in Afghanistan.


The nefarious design of our enemy was seriously targeting the economy of Pakistan by destabilizing our economic hub i.e., the city of Karachi. It is always difficult to defeat the enemy once it is entrenched in a city of over 20 million. The painstaking effort of our valiant Sindh Rangers have restored peace in Karachi which has resulted in a resurgence of industrial and economic activity. This has manifested itself in the Karachi Stock Exchange becoming the most rapidly advancing stock exchange in Asia.


There is continued democratic dispensation in the country for the last 8 years. The civil and the armed forces of Pakistan are jointly committed to having a stable political government in the country. With the restoration of peace and stability our country has attracted the biggest ever single foreign direct investment in the shape of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The unique trade location that the country enjoys was recognized several centuries ago by the Chinese when they established the Silk Route for opening up their country’s trade and communications with the world. Currently an investment of nearly $50 billion has been launched in our country to establish highways connecting the Khunjerab Pass with the Gwadar Port – which is not only a gateway to the Middle East but also a link to Europe through the Suez Canal. This route, which has already been established, links East Europe, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, China and countries of the Pacific Rim to the Middle East, South Asia and Western Europe. This linkage is several thousand miles shorter and saves several weeks of sea travel via the already existing old route of trade from China’s East Coast down to Singapore around Sri Lanka and then on to the West.

pakby2030two.jpgIn the years to come, CPEC will evolve into a thriving industrial land route with several manufacturing zones established along the way. Chinese, Pakistani and other foreign manufacturing industries will be established utilizing the cheap electricity provided to the industrial zones with special tax concessions to encourage foreign investment. Pakistan’s hydroelectric power generation will have convenient short distance transmission from suitable locations in the north of the country to provide uninterrupted power at very low cost. Almost half of the CPEC investment will be for power generation.


The intense growth of industrial activity which is bound to build up in the next couple of decades will inevitably provide several thousand jobs to our technical manpower. Pakistan is known to have a very special flare for entrepreneurship. Our highly talented youth which has a tendency to seek their futures in the West will begin to return to their homeland and play a very active role in boosting the economy of the country. A similar phenomenon was witnessed with the rising of the Chinese economy in the last three decades. Thousands of Chinese scientists, engineers, technicians, economists and businessmen streamed back home to not only contribute to the boosting of their own economy but to reap the fruits of economic success. Our great friend China has joined hands with Pakistan to launch CPEC not only to benefit their own trade and economy but to also provide us with an opportunity of a lifetime to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger.


The world’s largest deposits of shale oil and shale gas are lying under two third of Pakistan’s land area. This great discovery is a finding of the Energy Information Administration of the United States (EIA). It has been verified on the ground by several foreign teams which are drilling for oil and gas in the country. In due course the country will have to launch a national project to exploit the valuable resources of 105 trillion cubic feet of shale gas along with 9.1 billion barrels of shale oil. The technology of Horizontal Directional Drilling using smart magnetic targeted guidance is already in extensive use in the country not only by international oil drilling companies but also locally at the project of Underground Coal Gasification in Thar coal fields.


The pakby2030three.jpgworld’s biggest deposit of copper, gold, silver and several strategic metals exists in a 100 Sq Km area of Balochistan at Reko Diq. More than 1500 personnel trained in mining and refining of these metals have been trained at Saindak project over the last 15 years and are now available for Reko Diq. Once the world’s biggest mineral resource, valued at $800 billion, is inducted into Pakistan’s economy one can imagine the exponential increase in our GDP.


The third largest deposit of coal in the world is situated in Tharparker coal fields and is estimated to be 175 billion tons. Our brilliant scientists and engineers have already established the technology of Underground Coal Gasification and are successfully generating electricity at Rs. 6 per unit for the last 18 months. There are no harmful emissions from this power project that would damage the environment of Pakistan. Millions of cubic feet of coal gas being produced from the low grade lignite coal of Thar, without resorting to mining, is not only cheap for domestic consumption but can also generate cheap electricity, diesel, fertilizer and a range of pharmaceuticals.


Successful discovery of valuable minerals is also occurring at several locations in the country. Recent discoveries of high grade iron ore, high grade copper ore and high quality precious stones have been made in Punjab, FATA and KP. All these activities are backed by our own technical manpower and entrepreneurs.


Pakistan has come a long way from a situation of extreme economic and defence plight at independence in 1947 to a robust economy and unassailable defence 69 years later. The scientific and technical manpower of the country has proven it in the past and will ensure it in the future that Pakistan’s strategic defence meets all challenges which are thrown at in the future.

Successful discovery of valuable minerals is also occurring at several locations in the country. Recent discoveries of high grade iron ore, high grade copper ore and high quality precious stones have been made in Punjab, FATA and KP. All these activities are backed by our own technical manpower and entrepreneurs. Pakistan has come a long way from a situation of extreme economic and defence plight at independence in 1947 to a robust economy and unassailable defence 69 years later. The scientific and technical manpower of the country has proven it in the past and will ensure it in the future that Pakistan’s strategic defence meets all challenges which are thrown at in the future.


With the advent of CPEC as well as the existence of several possibilities for mining the immense mineral wealth of Pakistan, there is a great promise for the economy to make progress by leaps and bounds. Current and future political governments and our valiant armed services will continue to join hands to offer Pakistan as a safe haven to the world for intense manufacturing and economic activity.


It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems, fighter aircraft, missile boats and small and medium sized naval vessels in a country with 70% of its population tilling the land and growing wheat and cotton! Our country is bestowed with unlimited resources of fresh water crashing down from glaciers at heights of 7000 meters to irrigate our fertile plains and generate hydroelectricity. We should recognize the gift of Providence who has given us unlimited mineral resources under our soil. But the greatest asset of Pakistan is its high intellect human resource which has lifted the country from the scarce situation of 1947 to the present position of strength and promise. This valuable gift will take the country up to great heights of economic prosperity and strategic strength in the decades to come, wherein our future generations will live and prosper with dignity, pride and prosperity among the comity of great nations of the world.

 

The writer is an eminent scientist who led the team of scientists and engineers to conduct Pakistan's Nuclear Tests at Chagai in May 1998. He did his masters in Physics with academic “roll of honour” from Government College Lahore in 1962 and later did his DPhil in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the University of Oxford in 1966. He was later appointed Chairman of NESCOM in 2000. On joining the Planning Commission of Pakistan he was responsible for conceiving and implementation of the Reko Diq Copper Gold Project and the Underground Coal Gasification Project at Thar Coal Fields.
 

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