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

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

Written By: Sadia Sattar

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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

 

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

Khurum Khan and Muhammad Feroze Khan

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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

 

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


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

 

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

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

 
07
April

Written By: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri

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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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

 

The writer heads Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

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

 
07
April

Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan

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


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

 

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

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


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

 

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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

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

Maj Adnan Alam Satti

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


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


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


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

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

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

 

 

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


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


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


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

07
April
Russian Military Delegation Visits North Waziristan

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

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

07
April
COAS Visits HQ 34 LID (SSD)

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

 

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

 

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

07
April

Written By: Sagheer Ahmed

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

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


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


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

 

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

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


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

 

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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

 

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07
April

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan

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

 

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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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

 
07
April
COAS Visits Bahawalpur Garrison
newscoasvisitgarrison.jpg

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

newscoasvisittochina1.jpg

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

 

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

07
April
Federal Defence Minister Calls on CJCSC

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

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

CJCSC General Zubair Mahmood Hayat Visits Bahrain

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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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

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06
April

Written By: Brian Cloughly

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


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

 

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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

***

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

 

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

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06
April

Written By: Noureen Ehsan

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


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

 

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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

 

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06
April

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO’s History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan’s Founding Father.
 
06
April

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

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

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy.

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

 
06
April

Written By: Maria Khalid

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

unitedwerise2.jpg

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

 

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

 

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

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


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

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

 

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


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


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

 

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


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

06
April

Written By: Tooba Khurshid

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

 

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


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

UN Resolutions Passed over IOK

UNSCR 47, April 21, 1948

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

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

 

UNCIP resolution August 13, 1948

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

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

 

UNCIP resolution January 5, 1949

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

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

 

UNSCR 80, March 14, 1950

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

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

 

UNSCR 91, March 30, 1951

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

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

 

UNSCR 98, December 23, 1952

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

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

 

UNSCR 122, January 24, 1957

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

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

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

 

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


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


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


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

Indian Commitment to Hold Plebiscite in IOK

October 27, 1947

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

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

 

October 28, 1947

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

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

 

November 21, 1947

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

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

 

August 16, 1950

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

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

 

February 12, 1951

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

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

 

June 26, 1952

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

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

 

August 20, 1953

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

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

 

May 18, 1954

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

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

 

March 31, 1955

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

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

 

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


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

 

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

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

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

 
05
April

Written By: Didier Chaudet

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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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

 

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

Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)

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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 
10
March
Read 258 times
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10
March

Written By: Lt Col Danish Javed

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 
10
March

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

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

 

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

 


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

 


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

 

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10
March

Written By: Omair Alavi

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

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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

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10
March
President AJK Visits Corps Headquarters Mangla

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

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

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Commander 11 Corps Visits Swat, Dir and Chitral

 

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

10
March

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

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


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

 

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


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


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

 

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10
March

Written By: Ummar Shahzad

6th JCC Meeting Held in Beijing

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

(President Mamnoon Hussain)

 

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

 

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


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


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

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

 

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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

 
10
March

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 
10
March
Ukraine Dominates in Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup

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

 

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

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

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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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


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

Foreign Heli-Skiers’ Visit to ISPR

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

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

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


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


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


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

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10
March
Commander U.S. NAVCENT Calls on CJCSC

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

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

Student Delegation Visits Gwadar

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

 

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

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10
March

Written By: Lt Col Malik Noor Mohammad (R)

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

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

 

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


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

 

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


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


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


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

 
10
March

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Written By: Osman Asghar Khan

Government policies have a major role to play in promoting economic growth, while reducing income inequality and concentration of wealth in the country. Article 38 of the Constitution requires the state to promote the social and economic well-being of the people. This includes removing disparities in the earning and income of individuals. Unfortunately, the state has broadly failed in this constitutional duty. The economic managers of the country have often claimed for macro-economic stabilization, increase in foreign exchange reserves and improved tax-to-GDP ratio. But the people are always more concerned with employment, with access to high quality healthcare, education and, speedy and inexpensive justice. Whether it is 4% or 5% per capita growth in GDP, it is largely a jobless growth. It is a fact that inequality in all its manifestations is increasing in Pakistan. There is inequality of income, assets, education, health, public services, and inequality between the different regions and provinces of Pakistan. This inequality in turn retards economic growth opportunities, which means that millions of Pakistanis cannot earn a decent livelihood, and an entire generation of our youth is condemned to lead wasted lives. This inequality also breeds resentment and hate. These feelings of hate and resentment very often end up manifesting themselves in vicious acts of terror and extremism that have cost thousands of Pakistani lives. It has, therefore, become essential that we take notice of the threat growing inequality poses to our national security and that the state take steps to reduce inequality and promote economic growth.

 

inequalitypak.jpgInequality is often looked at in two ways:one is inequality of outcomes, and the other is inequality of opportunities. Equality of outcomes is somewhat unnatural because all of us have different talent and abilities. But the state must at least strive to ensure equality of opportunity, and this is where we have been failing. Ensuring equality of opportunity requires at a minimum that all citizens, particularly the children of the poor, are given access to quality education and healthcare, that they can compete for any job for which they have the necessary skills and abilities, and that all citizens have equal access to justice and an equal stake in the political process.


In today’s Pakistan, we see inequality of both outcomes and of opportunities. We see inequality in earning; while we argue whether the per capita income has increased by 4% or 5%, the earning of the average investor in the stock market has increased by close to 40%. We see inequality in access to capital, with 7% of borrowers getting 93% of the loans, while small and medium sized businesses are starved of funding and citizens cannot get mortgage finance to buy their own homes. Many poor people are unable to afford their own homes – the HBFC loses billions of rupees every year but gives out only something like 2,000 loans. On the other hand, some real estate companies are highly profitable and the beneficiaries of multiple tax amnesties. The cement prices are among the highest in the world. We see many corporate sectors making huge profits, with rates of returns above 30% in sectors such as the power sector, the banking sector, the automobile and the cement sector, but with no benefit to consumers or the workers employed in those industries. While our agriculture sector is dying, the fertilizer companies continue to be highly profitable.


While our top private schools send students to some of the best universities in the world, millions of other children are out of school, and the standard of public schooling is mostly poor. There are great disparities in the standard of healthcare offered by most public hospitals and the best private hospitals. There is a disparity between the different regions of the country; for instance, the infrastructure, the economy, the education systems and the employment opportunities in different parts of the country.


Pakistan is not alone in seeing growing inequality, it is a phenomenon seen in many different parts of the world. The divide between the haves and have-nots continues to grow deeper and wider. The shocking election results in the United States is partly a reaction against this phenomenon.


As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said, “Inequality is a choice” that we make because of the policies that a government promotes. The state policies must therefore address the causes of inequality. There is a need for radical reforms in our government education system. There is a need to focus on the quality of primary school education and the quantity and quality of secondary school education. There is a need to help the children of the poor. There is likewise a need for radical change in our public healthcare system, not only in the large cities of the country, but particularly in the rural districts of Pakistan.


Agriculture policy needs to be focused on increasing the productivity of our farmers.
Industrial policy must favour those sectors that create jobs. Pakistan has South Asia’s lowest rates of participation of women in the workforce. We must encourage our women to play their due role in the development of our economy.

 

There is inequality of income, assets, education, health, public services, and inequality between the different regions and provinces of Pakistan. This inequality in turn retards economic growth opportunities, which means that millions of Pakistanis cannot earn a decent livelihood, and an entire generation of our youth is condemned to lead wasted lives. This inequality also breeds resentment and hate. These feelings of hate and resentment very often end up manifesting themselves in vicious acts of terror and extremism that have cost thousands of Pakistani lives.

While we want to encourage our business community, regulation must deal with market failures, particularly monopolies and cartels, and ensure increased competition in markets where companies are highly profitable. The interests of consumers and the need to promote investment for job creation must be kept paramount. Over the last few years the corporate tax rate has been progressively lowered and yet the corporate sector has not invested more nor created the jobs needed to employ the millions that enter the labour force every year.


Trade unions must be strengthened; not to paralyze and destroy good businesses but rather to ensure a more equal distribution of power between management and labour. The minimum wage must be set at an appropriate level and enforced throughout the country.


Financial inclusion, particularly ensuring that all citizens have access to credit as well as the means to build up and get a positive return on their savings should be another focus of government policy. This means that banking policy must ensure that private banks extend their branch networks and bring down the fees that they charge for use of banking services. The state must also ensure that banking policy promotes home-ownership in the country. Regressive indirect taxes must be reduced. Greater reliance must be placed on income tax, property tax and wealth tax.


Inequality has always been a fact of human life. It would be naïve to think we can live in a perfectly equal world. There is no simple solution to reducing inequality. What is clear is that the state must take the lead in addressing this issue and must do so urgently.

 

The writer is the Honarary Consul for Ireland in Pakistan.

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10
March

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

After the complete fall of the Muslim empire in India in the 19th century CE, most Muslim thinkers responded to the fall rebuffing the putrefying reminiscences of their imperial past. They began to espouse certain notions of nationalism to find their place in the shifting standards of global order.
One main outlet of early Muslim nationalism in South Asia encouraged the embracement of ‘modern education’ and the sciences so that an educated and informed Muslim nation could emerge in India to face the challenges of British colonialism and the rise of Hindu nationalism.


This pursuit was academically driven by an emerging Muslim middle-class. It saw the Muslims of India as a distinct cultural unit, united by an urge to refresh its shared faith through a more rational reading of the Muslim sacred texts.

 

returinigtoidea.jpgA major element of this Muslim nationalism also undermined pan-Islamism because it believed that the ethos and social demeanor of Muslim culture in South Asia was largely separate from how Islam had evolved elsewhere. Pakistani nationalism, which emerged from this strand of Muslim nationalism, was thus inherently pluralistic. But politically it was exclusivist. Till the mid-1970s, the government and state institutions of Pakistan continued to explain Pakistani nationalism as a modernistic and progressive expression of Islam.


But some dire happenings, such as the East Pakistan debacle in 1971, split the Pakistani polity. An insistent feature of this polarization began to be expressed through certain convoluted pan-Islamist alternatives. These alternatives succeeded in prompting a popular response from a new generation of middle and lower-middle-class Pakistanis impacted by the 1971 debacle. The emerging pan-Islamic aspect of the changing notion of Pakistani nationalism was also backed by certain oil-rich Arab regimes who had seen modern Muslim nationalism as a hazard to their idea of faith and politics.


As a reaction to the mounting acceptance of this alternative version of Pakistani nationalism, the Pakistani state began to readjust the country’s ideological status quo by co-opting various features of pan-Islamism; even to the extent of forgoing many of the state’s original ideas of Pakistani nationalism. The gaps created by the gradual attrition of the original nationalist narrative began being filled by ideas which, ironically, had been shelved by the early Pakistani and Muslim nationalist intelligentsia.


The emerging alternative was opposed to the original Muslim nationalist narrative. It censured it for going against ‘Islamic universalism’. But many decades after such ideas managed to root themselves in the state and polity of Pakistan, the country was thrown in an existentialist catastrophe. For instance, many young Pakistanis today seem to be detached from the original ideas of Pakistani nationalism because as students they were bombarded by ideas of an amalgamated pan-Islamic version of Pakistani nationalism. A version which was never a part of the idea of Pakistani nationalism weaved by the country’s founders.

A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

Many young Pakistani men and women are not quite sure what being a Pakistani today means. Does it mean being a citizen of a Muslim country which emerged along the mighty River Indus and is part of this area’s 5000-year-old history; or does it mean being a citizen of a pending universal theological idea?


Such a muddled mindset was impelled by the steady corrosion of the original idea of Pakistani nationalism, and the upsurge of a rather ambitious concept of a divergent idea of nationalism. This has also made a whole generation vulnerable to the ways of those who are now promising the same convoluted theological utopia, but through unparalleled violence against the state and its citizens.


Even though the Pakistani state now seems to have accepted the fact that much of the sectarian, ethnic and religious violence of the past many decades has been nurtured by a rather complicated and divergent version of Pakistan’s nationalist narrative (which we have been touting ever since the 1970s) there is still uncertainty about what could such a deep-seated narrative be replaced with.


I believe the solution is present in the increasingly elapsed elements of early Pakistani nationalism. A refreshed version of the original notions of Pakistani nationalism just might help future generations of the country to feel more self-assured of being entities defined by their shared cultural heritage of a region that was encapsulated and bordered by coherent nationalist notions of state and society — and not as some convoluted bastion to bump-start a theological utopia from.

 

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

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The great majority of us Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).... But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.

(Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Broadcast talk to the people of Australia, 19 February 1948)

 
09
March

Written By: Hasan Khan

The fresh wave of terrorism, particularly the deadly terrorists’ attacks in Lahore and Sehwan Sharif, has forced the government to launch a countrywide security operation against militants, their facilitators and sanctuaries.


The campaign – Radd-ul-Fasaad – having major focus on urban centers, is believed to be long anticipated and needed too; following the purging from militants the ‘peripheries’ particularly the tribal areas and adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the hard-fought military actions.


Apparently seemed to be launched as a reaction to the fresh wave of terrorism, however, well informed quarters believe that this campaign is part of the grand military strategy prepared and followed for years now. When this grand strategy was formed, the fear of militants was widespread in society. In certain areas, they were having physical control of territories and predominantly targeting personnel of security forces, law enforcement agencies and government installations.

 

The campaign – Radd-ul-Fasaad – having major focus on urban centers, is believed to be long anticipated and needed too; following the purging from militants the ‘peripheries’ particularly the tribal areas and adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the hard-fought military actions.

It was decided then to go gradual. Starting from scrubbing the crust of the earth first, denying the militants from holding any physical space before targeting the militants and their facilitators in their underground sanctuaries particularly in the urban centers of Punjab.


No doubt, by its very nature, Radd-ul-Fasaad is not going to be an easy exercise. It’s going to be tougher and more complicated as it brings the war against militants into the streets of densely populated centers.


Additionally, it’s not area specific but covering the entire country. Here the law enforcement agencies have to go deep and clear the underground sanctuaries instead of sweeping the crust.

 

radulfasadfinal.jpgIn all the earlier military offensives, the battles were limited to certain geographical areas, with options of evacuating the entire population, isolating terrorists and their sanctuaries; and more freedom to use heavy weaponry including artillery, gunship helicopters or jet fighters. Radd-ul-Fasaad has no such option of isolating the terrorists by evacuating the population. And being fought in urban streets there is limited or no option of using artillery or gunship helicopters.


So it was primarily planned to be an intelligence-based offensive, where the target was to be first identified through actionable intelligence before going and fishing them out from the midst of the populace.


However, since its launch on February 22 till date, the way this ‘final showdown’ against the-now-invisible enemy is carried out; one does not find the tempo and impetus of previously conducted operations, which were conducted in a conventional military style. It was planned to be an intelligence-based countrywide affair, in order to convey a strong message to the enemies and their facilitators, that now they can’t run or hide from a certain area to another and avoid action.

 

No doubt, by its very nature, Radd-ul-Fasaad is not going to be an easy exercise. It’s going to be tougher and more complicated as it brings the war against militants into the streets of densely populated centers.

Besides Pakistan Armed Forces, the operation also includes police and other LEAs. From initial action of police, it seemed to be the typical random ‘pakhar dakhar’ of police. From the word go, the very first impression somehow created, was that the campaign is aimed at targeting persons of a particular ethnic background or those belonging to specific areas. This unintended consequence is detrimental not only for the operation but also a negative to be exploited by the enemies of the federation of Pakistan. Particularly, Pakistan Army leadership must take notice of it and curb this practice without delay.


Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was planned to be a precise, result oriented exercise having an element of ‘surprise’; not striking randomly or arresting people on the basis of mere doubts or having certain complexions. As of now, on many occasions we see the typical policing mentality is in the working. The way it was initiated gave an impression that the personnel of law enforcement agencies already knew where the militants and facilitators were hiding and they were just waiting for orders. The usual target areas are the slums and localities where low income or poor people are living. This police activity including intelligence setups appears good for optics or a typical police ‘karguzari’ aimed at furnishing a ‘sub-acha’ report. Terrorists and militants are not ordinary thieves or street criminals to be brow beaten by going in an utterly disorganized way or creating a chaotic situation by exercising the hit-or-miss option. The sooner we realize to re-organize our actions the better; otherwise this ‘national campaign’ may not produce the desired results. And we must make all efforts to make it a success; a final decision blow to the enemy.


By virtue of the fact that the battleground is lying deep in populations’ centers, Radd-ul-Fasaad is, no doubt, a most complicated battle. It is a test of both the political and military leadership where failure is not an option at all.


To create the desired national impact and send a strong message to the enemies; that there is no place for them to hide; the political leadership, both in government and opposition, the civil society and all law enforcement agencies have to be on the same page.


Due to sheer propaganda on ethnic persecution, by creating a rift – or a sense of rift – in the society vis-à-vis the campaign, we are reinforcing our failures to the benefit of enemies and their facilitators both within and abroad.


The current state of random and haphazard style must be shunned immediately. It has to be made a national campaign where all arms of security apparatus including the Army, Air Force, Navy and Rangers be involved in the true sense and law enforcement agencies be assisted through actionable intelligence.

 

To create the desired national impact and send a strong message to the enemies; that there is no place for them to hide; the political leadership, both in government and opposition, the civil society and all law enforcement agencies have to be on the same page.

No doubt, failure is not an option for the nation but here the success too is not an easy goal. As believed to be a ‘final showndown’ we shall be ready for a long drawn nerve wrecking exercise.


We shall be mindful of the fact that once the ‘direct or latent terrorist threats’ are eliminated, the next phase will be definitely targeting the sectarian and other extremist organizations. It is part of the grand purging strategy. As such organizations may not pose immediate or direct threat, however, they are instrumental in radicalizing the society and bringing bad name to the country. Facts are also revealing that majority of the militants who joined the terrorists or jihadi organizations were once part of different sectarian groups.


It’s going to be tough for reasons that unlike past anti-militant adventures, where heavy weapons were used, here we will be combing the entire population for picking the bad boys through sheer intelligence. For successful intelligence we need to have the confidence of the people which is possible only through winning their hearts and minds.


It has be made indiscriminate and broad based while targeting the militants and their organizations with no leniency for ethnic or political backgrounds. Otherwise, potentially, it can spoil the gains of past military offensives to the benefit of the enemy.


Moreover, the new leadership of the army has to be conscious of the fact that irrespective of which law enforcement agency is conducting the campaign, people expect results from them.


Military has to its credit the conduct of the toughest of campaign against militants and Radd-ul-Fasaad shall prove to be a culmination of all the anti-militant campaigns. So it’s a test of the new military leadership.


Of all the military operations, Rah-e-Rast – launched in May 2009 in Swat valley by former COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani – was the most difficult military offensive. Militants had taken over physical control of Swat valley following a peace deal with government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


The campaign displaced almost 2.5 million people, however, within a span of three months, not only the entire valley was cleared and handed over to civilian administration, but all the displaced people were rehabilitated.


Former COAS Gen Raheel Sharif too has to his credit taking the wars to the most difficult terrains and heavily forested valleys of Shawal and Tirah in North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies by launching Zarb-e-Azb, and destroying the command and control centers of hardened militant organizations. The era of Gen Kiyani and Gen Raheel was the era of clearing the peripheries.


Today as the fighting against militants has entered the urban centers, the people have more but genuine expectations from the new commander of Pakistan Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa – who no doubt is new on the seat but has been on the scene for very long.

 

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

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09
March

Written By: Muhammad Azeem

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad aims at cleansing the society from the menace of terrorism and uprooting the terrorists’ sympathizers, facilitators and remnants. This noble cause would need comprehensive and wholehearted participation of the society to achieve the desired end state. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, has already achieved significant successes in fight against terrorism in North Waziristan in particular and the FATA and other parts of the country in general. With the clearance of the Shawal Valley, the last stronghold of terrorists in North Waziristan Agency, Operation Zarb-e-Azb reached its culmination, though the terrorist threat has transited to our urban areas with implicit support of few elements of the society and full backing of foreign intelligence agencies. In order to counter the threat which is imbedded in the public and lies beyond the police capacity, Radd-ul-Fasaad is the way forward to stabilize the security situation. As stated by ISPR, operation Radd-ul-Fasaad will be jointly conducted by Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Rangers and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), focusing on the ingress of the terrorists in the society. Scope of such a large operation demands active public participation to achieve the desired results. Systematic inclusion of society in this endeavour of national significance would be of paramount importance.


During pre-partition era, the British established a well-orchestrated system of public participation in running state affairs. In comparatively settled areas, Zaildar and Lumberdari system was established for revenue collection and their appointments were also used in extending the writ of the state to the far flung areas. Village headman was de-facto state representative in the village. While dealing with the tribal society particularly in Balochistan, the British invoked the most powerful institution of Sardars and Nawabs. These tribal heads were assisted by an elaborate mechanism at every tier of tribal society, starting from the Nawab to the Chief of tribe, Muqadam, Mir, Wadera and finally, till the lowest tier of Sirtakery (village headman). Levies Force was authorized to them for enforcing the state writ within their tribal jurisdictions.


After independence, these local community based institutions lost their importance due to lack of state patronage. Politically motivated local government system could not replace this very effective lowest tier mechanism of governance, however, the potential benefits of such a system should not be lost especially in an environment demanding security consciousness. Based on my experience of serving in Balochistan and FATA, there is a vacuum of governance at the grassroot level through community participation. The proposed system shall replace the colonial system of community participation in governance and help in establishing the writ of the state. Proposed system should be fine-tuned in the existing local government system with least financial effects. This will help achieve the objectives of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and make the gains sustainable in the long term. As envisaged, neighbourhood communities shall be created and registered at street/mohallah/village levels comprising 10-40 houses. The clusters of neighbourhood should be grouped under Ward Councilor in the existing local government system and the tier of Ward Councilor improved to include the security aspects. In addition, National Guards formed under 1973 Act, shall also be integrated in this concept.


In this concept, neighbourhood refers to a small community (10-40 houses) which is living in the same contiguous locality. The residents of this community may or may not be relatives or from the same ethnic or sectarian/religious background. Every neighbourhood member/house shall register with their mutually nominated elder. Neighbourhood elder should maintain the complete profile of his neighbourhood and record any changes within his community. He should report to his Ward Councilor in case of any unusual happening which is not in line with the NAP or government policy laid down from time to time.

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Responsibilities of neighbourhood elder should include maintaining profile of his neighbourhood community and submitting monthly report to his Ward Councilor for any change in profile. As the system matures, various phone applications can be developed for updates. He should also report any unusual happening in his neighbourhood to the authorities. Every house of the neighbourhood should be registered with neighbourhood elder and each house should have the following tag on his house gate:
The proposed system will help in extending the writ of the state. Neighbourhood elder, being part of the community, can keep an eye on his neighbourhood. Any unusual happening leading to an act of terrorism/human-induced disaster involving people from his neighbourhood should make him answerable to the state apparatus. LEAs will have an established contact person (neighbourhood elder) in each neighbourhood. Any household which refuses to abide by the laid down policy would be liable to questioning by the LEAs.


In the cities, neighbourhood community may not be homogeneous and may resist registration. Therefore, legislation and motivation by local leadership/LAEs will be required to make them part of this system. Ethnic/sectarian division in the society may also impede the implementation of this concept. Proposed system must ensure that special provisions are made to ensure protection of vulnerable members of the society/neighbourhood. Neighbourhood elders should be made responsible for ensuring safety of vulnerable community members living in his jurisdiction.

 

Structure of Proposed System

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Implementation of this concept should involve the local community in sharing their responsibilities toward establishing the writ of the state. LEAs will be facilitated and chances of incidences like Osama Bin Laden compound going unnoticed will be minimized under the proposed system. As a pilot project, proposed concept can be introduced in Tehsil Kalar of District Rawalpindi. Being constituency of the current Interior Minister, implementation of concept is likely to be facilitated.

 

The writer is a Disaster Management scholar.

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09
March

On February 22, Pakistan Army launched yet another operation all over Pakistan after a series of deadly attacks that exacted tremendous civilian toll; a move of hostile elements against the strategic shift of the country towards peace and prosperity. The returning normalcy and sustained peace wasn’t seen as favourable by the terrorists who are on the run and exploiting the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan to regroup and mount attacks inside Pakistan.


Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad with coordinated and clear lines of engagement will focus and advance efforts for zeroing in on terrorist infrastructure and network of terrorists throughout Pakistan. It is continuity of previous operations especially Operation Zarb-e-Azb to indiscriminately eliminate residual/latent threat of terrorism consolidating gains of operations made thus far. In the previous operations terrorist sanctuaries in FATA were destroyed and multiple successes in Balochistan and Karachi were also achieved during the same time frame. However, it seems to be an unending battle because of the enemy sympathizers within Pakistan and a confluence of external destabilizing factors that put Pakistan in a place of strategic vulnerability and disadvantage.


Although attacks are planned and the attackers are provided training in Afghanistan their sympathizers, abettors and facilitators inside Pakistan give undoubted impetus to their plans. Pakistan is making efforts to get hold of these abettors and facilitators and ensure effective prosecution of those engaged in preparing terrorists for the attacks, their training and recruitment. Pakistan is also welcoming recent proposal from Afghan authorities to take forward the mutual coordination and exchange of information for a result oriented effort against terrorism.


During Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Rangers, Frontier Corps, Police and intelligence agencies will work together in the light of National Action Plan to eliminate violence. The operation will provide the much necessary cleansing in populated areas where the terrorists had relocated during the previous operations. The nature of this operation is more sophisticated and complex as avoiding collateral damage would pose a big challenge to our LEAs. The operation envisages steps and measures that go beyond mere kinetics and will involve a sustained country-wide surge against terrorist facilitation networks.


In the meantime, denouncing the radical preachers of hate for the due course correction in order to prevent young people from embracing violent extremism and de-escalate the crises they feed off in the nearest possible term must take a stronger position in the national fabric. Terrorists, regardless of their origin, must be held accountable for destroying our social structure, killing innocent children and elders and disturbing civic infrastructure on the whole.


The ongoing operation is a reflection of Pakistan Army’s commitment to control borders and the key desideratum to bringing peace within the country and ensuring long-term stability. In the words of COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, "Each drop of nation's blood shall be avenged and avenged immediately. No more restraint for anyone”. We will never let the nefarious designs of our enemies to undermine our resolve to fight back and to negatively project Pakistan as an unstable country succeed at any cost!

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09
March

Written By: Dr. Mirwais Kasi

Pakistan-China friendship hardly finds a parallel in modern international relations as it is based on mutual respect, mutual advantages and equality and it has the potential to maximize the advantages for regional countries. Pakistan-China relation has displayed durability which has adjusted itself according to changing regional and international scenarios. This bilateral relationship has undoubtedly emerged as a very strong friendship which serves as an exceptional example for the rest of peace loving nations.

Pakistan and China enjoy time-honoured and time-tested friendship which has often been termed as “higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans".Pakistan-China relations, though bilateral, yet offer opportunities for regional and international peace. Whether it is South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa or other contiguous regions, Pak-China relations in some way promote peace, prosperity and stability. In this context, the Central Asian Republics (CARs) are also attracted towards Pakistan-China partnership for obvious advantages. Pakistan-China alliance and its positive effects on Central Asian States are determined by their security needs, economic advantages, and their desire to serve as the energy corridor. This approach of mutual cooperation also strengthens the peace prospects in the entire region. Pakistan gave enhanced focus to relations with CARs in the early 1990s. Pakistan shared history, religion and ethnic affinities with these countries. Further, Pakistan also offered a natural trade route for Central Asian states to reach out the world markets; thus lower their trade and economic dependence on Russia. Pakistan also developed institutionalized arrangements to promote cooperation in the economic and commercial fields. Similarly, after disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union, CARs also got a pivotal position in the region. Therefore in the fall of 1992, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) expanded and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan were included as seven new members of ECO. Member states set the common objective of establishing a single market for goods and services. The ECO states have great potential for promotion of regional trade and economic development, which is yet to be exploited. Through the ECO, many schemes and projects for intra-regional cooperation are rapidly emerging. Although, currently ECO is not a customs union nor common marketplace or a close economic bloc, but with the passage of time there is a possibility for the ECO – which is basically an economic association of regional countries – to assume a political responsibility on geopolitical canvas. In any such case the growing collaborations and understanding between Pakistan, China and CARs from the forum of ECO will improve in scope and significance towards regional peace and stability.


On the other hand, the sudden disintegration of the USSR presented both challenges and opportunities for China. One of the landmarks of Chinese foreign policy is that it has been peacefully dealing with all the challenges to explore new opportunities in the Central Asian region. China not only peacefully resolved its border disputes with Central Asian countries, but it also initiated economic relations with them. Central Asia has rapidly turned into a raw material supplier for China, while China on the other hand has emerged as a supplier of finished product in the shape of machinery, chemicals and hi-tech equipment for CARs. Several free economic zones have been established for promotion of trade activities between the two sides aiming at mutual advantages. China has been assisting various Central Asian Republics in exploration of oil and gas resources and has been involved in the construction of several oil and gas pipelines connecting different channels. Beijing is also trying to expand its military cooperation with CARs, particularly, with its two immediate neighbours, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, Shanghai Five forum – predecessor of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), also played a significant role in bringing China closer to the CARs and leading them towards similarity of opinions and interests on a wide range of areas aiming to explore common interests. With the rise in non-traditional threats and vulnerability of CARs to these non-state actors, the security agenda of the Shanghai Five gradually began to expand.

 

Pakistan in this regard, through Gwadar Port and the CPEC, will play the role of bridge and the shortest link between China and African states. Also due to its Islamic ideological identity and OIC forum Pakistan wins the goodwill of many Muslim African stakeholders. Pakistan and China have thus gained valuable diplomatic support of African nations to defend their international interests.

Pakistan-China friendship has also played a positive and constructive role for Central Asian States. In 1995, Quadrilateral Agreement for Traffic in Transit; a transit trade agreement was signed between Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Later, Tajikistan also became a signatory of this transit trade agreement, which stipulates effective utilization of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) for trade between Pakistan and SCO member states via Kashgar. Although the agreement is still going through a transitional phase but in years to come its scope and significance will be expanded and it will attract more countries towards it. Furthermore, Pakistan’s entry into the SCO has a positive impact not only on Pakistan-China relations and CARs, but Pakistan-Russia relations as well. The SCO has been merging the interests of all these actors on regional and international level at a great pace and has been leading towards the rise of a new military, economic and resource-rich region in the world.


Similarly, China has provided all-out assistance for the development of Gwadar deep sea port in Pakistan and due to its strategic location, Gwadar has the potential to become a gateway to Central Asia and Xinjiang. Similarly, through a road network Pakistan-China will also offer outlets to Russia towards warm waters as well. Through KKH even Iran can access China via land route from Pakistan, and, CPEC also provides an opportunity to India for access to Afghanistan, CARs and Iran via Pakistan. Pakistan and China have been working on up-gradation of KKH realizing its importance. The up-gradation of the KKH is a Pakistan-China initiative to generate north-south and east-west economic corridors. Pakistan and China's commitment to establish an economic corridor gained momentum after Chinese President's visit to Pakistan in 2015 which assured Chinese heavy investment for CPEC having the potential to achieve regional connectivity objectives.

 

The smaller states of South Asia have seen some real Indian interference and military quests since 1947. India is the only South Asian state which has fought the most wars with its neighbours. Besides that India has also been involved in water sharing conflicts with three important states of South Asia namely; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In addition, India not only nuclearized South Asia, but also promoted nuclear and missile race in the region.

Pakistan-China relationship also plays an important role in South-Asia, although India enjoys a little better position in the region due to its size, population and political clout. However, though India has failed to convince the South Asian neighbours to take India as an opportunity rather than a grave threat. India is seen as a problematic entity by most South Asian states and as an irritant and an unbalancing actor in South Asia because of hegemonic Indian objectives in the region. The smaller states of South Asia have seen some real Indian interference and military quests since 1947. India is the only South Asian state which has fought the most wars with its neighbours. Besides that India has also been involved in water sharing conflicts with three important states of South Asia namely; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In addition, India not only nuclearized South Asia, but also promoted nuclear and missile race in the region. Pakistan-China relationship became a positive balancing factor in South Asia. Even sane indian voices admit the positive balancing effect of Pak-China collaboration on the region. It has helped in maintaing nuclear balance and thus minimized conventional arms race. Such developments changed the aggressive nature of India towards its small South Asian neighbours. Since the border agreement was made between Pakistan and China the situation in Kashmir got a bit complex for India. As China became a stakeholder, it shattered the Indian dreams of gaining control over the whole of Kashmir against the will of Kashmiri masses by negating their right to self-determination.

 

pakchinfriendsjip.jpgLikewise, this bilateral relationship has relevance and significance for U.S., Africa and Gulf region as well. Pakistan-China relations with the United States of America saw many ups and downs and it's difficult to describe the nature of the relationship between Pakistan and U.S. and U.S. and China. During the Cold War era Pakistan and U.S. were allies against the communist bloc, however, Pakistan-China collaborations, which began in late 1950s, initially became an irritant between Pakistan and the U.S. Later because of Pakistan, the U.S. and China came closer. The 1990s saw strained relations of the U.S. with Pakistan and China, the main divergent factors being Chinese assistance to Pakistan in missile and nuclear sectors. However, after 9/11 Pakistan became an ally of the U.S. in the War on Terror without compromising its close links with China, and, on the other hand China emerged as one of the biggest economic partners of the U.S. while both continue to be strategic adversaries of each other and their interests do clash at various points on trajectory. Despite many diverging elements, considering U.S. relations with Pakistan and China, the significance of Pakistan and China and their bilateral relations' significance for the U.S. cannot be ruled out completely. The economic partnership between the U.S. and China, Pakistan-U.S. partnership during times of crisis and the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan makes Pakistan-China partnership significant and relevant for the U.S. The United States has also been seeking Pakistan and China's assistance in achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan and addressing climate change, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and promotion of human rights. The U.S. seeks Chinese support particularly in Asia-Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea and East China Sea. Similarly, the geo-strategic location of Pakistan also attracts the U.S. because it can serve as a gateway to CARs and offers a route from energy efficient states to energy deficient states. Chinese role in the development of ports, roads and railway network facilities make Pakistan-China relations relevant and significant for the U.S. as well.


In case of Africa, Pakistan and China attach great importance and relevance to this region as well. Both China and Pakistan have been sympathetic to the African position on many international issues and they have often sided with African countries in the UN Security Council. Pakistan and China, in terms of their relations with African states have turned to a new page with better understanding and cooperation with the objective to gain maximum advantages. Currently, Pakistan and China are interacting with African states on two levels:

 

Pakistan is also vital for Persian Gulf States since most of them strengthened their ties with the emerging super power China through Pakistan. Similarly, through land route Pakistan is the easiest and shortest choice in linking the Persian Gulf region with China, coining it as gateway between them. The strategic location and construction of Gwadar Port provides transit trade and oil supplying opportunities to China and Persian Gulf States through economical and secure options.

I. Through bilateralism via diplomatic, political, social and economic sectors.
II. Through multilateralism via regional, ideological and international forums.
China in particular provides alternate options to African states, by offering them aid and assistance without preconditions and dictations. China seeks natural resources while African nations need her support to explore their resources; consequently the two sides' interests converged to explore mutual advantages. Pakistan in this regard, through Gwadar Port and the CPEC, will play the role of bridge and the shortest link between China and African states. Also due to its Islamic ideological identity and OIC forum Pakistan wins the goodwill of many Muslim African stakeholders. Pakistan and China have thus gained valuable diplomatic support of African nations to defend their international interests.


In addition to above, counter-terrorism has also enhanced the understanding between Pakistan, China and African states. Terrorism became a global problem and African nations are also suffering because of it. They keenly observe Pakistan-China role in the war against terrorism and want to follow the same strategies to eliminate safe havens of terrorists from African land. In this regard, Pakistan and China's contributions are countless; they are not only exporting arms to governments of African countries, but through UN peacekeeping mission they train the local security forces to combat terrorism. As a result, Pakistan-China relations and relevance for African nations became more dynamic and constructive contribution towards peace and stability.


Similarly, in order to comprehend Pakistan-China relations' worth for the Gulf countries, it may be concluded that their ties have been framed through bilateral and multilateral collaboration in diplomatic, security and socio-economic sectors.


Religious similarity, Pakistan’s strategic location and its identity of being a military power among Islamic states have made Pakistan a natural ally of Persian Gulf States. Pakistan, despite its economic and social problems in recent years remains the ultimate hope for many of the Persian Gulf States, particularly after growing distrust towards the western powers. Similarly, Gulf States, particularly Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, i.e., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain, are important from economic perspective for Pakistan as they always assisted Pakistan during the time of crisis.


Pakistan is also vital for Persian Gulf States since most of them strengthened their ties with the emerging super power China through Pakistan. Similarly, through land route Pakistan is the easiest and shortest choice in linking the Persian Gulf region with China, coining it as gateway between them. The strategic location and construction of Gwadar Port provides transit trade and oil supplying opportunities to China and Persian Gulf States through economical and secure options. China’s emergence as regional economic and military power and its expertise in the high-tech sector are attracting Gulf States towards China. Both Pakistan and China significantly developed friendly ties with Persian Gulf States without getting involved in their internal differences. Pakistan and China also maintained a balance between their relations with Iran and other Arab countries which is not less than a landmark of China and Pakistan's foreign policies. Both Pakistan and China now represent themselves as time-tested, credible, cordial and capable allies of Persian Gulf states and GCC members in particular.


To conclude, it can be said that Pakistan-China friendship hardly finds a parallel in modern international relations as it is based on mutual respect, mutual advantages and equality and it has the potential to maximize the advantages for regional countries. Pakistan-China relation has displayed durability which has adjusted itself according to changing regional and international scenarios. This bilateral relationship has undoubtedly emerged as a very strong friendship which serves as an exceptional example for the rest of peace loving nations. With the development of the CPEC, the Pakistan-China alliance presents opportunities that may lead towards security, prosperity, peace and regional and international balance that makes this bilateral relation significant and relevant not only for regional actors but for the rest of the world as well.

 

The writer is Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

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09
March

Written By: Sylvie Lasserre

Three days after the attack on an Indian military base in Uri on September 18, 2016, the Indian media reported the arrest of two Pakistani school children living in a village within an hour's walk from the Line of Control (LoC), which they had inadvertently crossed, having lost their way. During this attack, 17 soldiers were killed as well as the three militants. India, of course, immediately accused Pakistan, who rejected the claim saying: "No sane individual can suggest that Mujahideen carried out this attack to damage the Kashmiri cause”.


Yet, reassuring news for the families of the teenagers came out as, according to the Hindustan Times, an Indian daily, it was a mistake and the two 16 years old boys, Ahsan Khursheed and Faisal Hussain Awan, were expected to be repatriated the following day: "After careful investigation, we established that the boys said the truth and had no criminal intent," an official, under cover of anonymity, confessed to the famous daily.

 

atrocitesinkashminr.jpgHowever, the teenagers did not reappear, and a few days later, the Indian media were radically changing the story: sixteen-year-old boys became 19-year-old men who, after interrogation, reportedly guided the terrorists, although the teenagers were arrested on September 21, which was three days after the Uri attack. One knows what interrogations can be in Jammu and Kashmir... One had to accuse Pakistan, these teenagers were “perfect” to constitute the missing "proof".


Indeed, strangely, the Uri attack occurred just four days before Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 22. When one wants to kill his dog, one says that he is rabid. In fact, this is what happened: the Indian delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations represented by the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Modi being absent, brandished Uri attack as "the worst attack on human rights" to justify the violence and atrocities committed in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Despite the curfew, the Kashmiris regularly go out on the street, braving the Indian security forces which do not hesitate to fire. Since July, more than a hundred civilians have been killed, about ten thousand wounded, several hundreds of whom have lost their eyesight due to the pellet shots of the Indian Army, including women and children.

According to a Pakistani security report, some extracts of which were reported by the Pakistani newspaper The News, "The attack was deliberately designed and carried out by some sections of the Indian security establishment, in order to deflect perceived pressure at the UN over the Kashmir uprising". And indeed, the recent uprisings in Kashmir are totally indigenous and are conducted by a new generation of Kashmiris who have risen up against the occupation of India and demand freedom. Burhan Wani is their symbol.


Moreover, the Indian government seemed so annoyed at the perspective of its atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir appearing under the spot light at the General Assembly of the United Nations that it used illegal means to silence the human rights defenders who were to talk at the 33rd UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: On the morning of September 14, Khurram Parvez, a well-known Kashmiri human rights defender, was detained at Delhi Airport and prevented from taking his flight to Geneva. "I was stopped at the immigration desk. I told them that there was no charge against me and that therefore they could not prevent me from leaving the territory. But they replied that they knew nothing more and only carried out the orders," deplored Khurram Parvez. The following day, September 15, he was arrested at his home without charge and released two and a half months later: "They detained me illegally for 76 days before releasing me, thanks to international pressure and the decision of the High Court of Justice of Jammu and Kashmir, which stated that my arrest was illegal," said the human rights activist, who is also president of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), adding that “they were also about to arrest Parvez Imroz and Kartik Murukutla, two human rights lawyers who were travelling to Geneva as well, but on another flight. An administrative error went in their favour and they were able to take their flight and deliver their report". In fact, India had to prevent them at any cost from denouncing the atrocities committed by the Indian Army on the civilian population of Jammu and Kashmir.

atrocitesinkashminr1.jpgHuman rights abuses by the Indian Army are recurrent in Jammu and Kashmir. The population, which claims its right to self-determination, lives in perpetual fear of the army, especially since the turmoil of the summer of 2016 following the death of Burhan Wani, the young and adulated commander of Hizb-ul-Mujaheedin, killed on July 8, 2016 by Indian security forces. Here, everybody is convinced that the 22-year-old militant was murdered – as the witnesses testify – and not killed in a fight as the army claims.
On the day of the funeral, an impressive human tide, nearly 200,000 angry people, some waving the Pakistani banner, participated in the burial of Burhan Wani whose body was wrapped in the Pakistani flag although they were in Kashmir administered by India. In fact, there, some people dream of becoming a part of Pakistan. On July 15, as protest movements rumbled in the valley, the Indian state imposed a curfew that lasted 79 days. Mobile networks and the internet were also paralyzed.


Despite the curfew, the Kashmiris regularly go out on the street, braving the Indian security forces which do not hesitate to fire. Since July, more than a hundred civilians have been killed, about ten thousand wounded, several hundreds of whom have lost their eyesight due to the pellet shots of the Indian Army, including women and children. Raids in villages, arbitrary and illegal detentions, enforced disappearances, acts of torture against civilians succeed one another in the valley. Testimonies of the brutality of soldiers abound, such as this one, for example: "First the electricity was cut off, then the soldiers began to attack our house, they beat us, including my ten-year-old niece," told a man to Agence France-Presse (AFP) from his hospital bed. "During the raid, the army and the Special Operations Group (SOG) men entered the houses, ransacked supplies and beat the occupants, injuring a dozen people, including women and children. The soldiers also took some 30 young people with them to their camp where they were beaten," said the residents of a village where the lifeless body of a 30-year-old school teacher, Shabir Ahmad Mangoo, beaten to death, was found in the streets on the morning of a raid. It should be noted that the number of soldiers deployed in Jammu and Kashmir is over 700,000, which is one soldier for about 15 civilians, making it the most militarized region in the world.


How far will the greatest "democracy" in the world go in order to continue its abuses against the population without grabbing the attention of the international community? If it could hinder Khurram Parvez, who is an Indian citizen, India could not prevent Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, from attending the 33rd United Nations General Assembly, where he devoted half his speech to the violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir: "On behalf of the Kashmiri people; on behalf of the mothers, wives, sisters, and fathers of the innocent Kashmiri children, women and men who have been killed, blinded and injured; on behalf of the Pakistani nation, I demand an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished".


After Uri attack followed what India calls "surgical strikes" against Pakistan, from the other side of the LoC, that have killed dozens of innocent civilians. In fact, many villagers, including children, were hit by the Indian soldiers. On October 24, 2 people including an infant were killed. On the 28th, three people, one woman and one girl were killed; on November 19, four teenagers; four days later, eight passengers on a bus were killed and nine injured and on December 16 a school bus was targeted leaving one child dead and four injured. The killings have continued ever since.


Today, more than four months after the abduction of Ahsan Khursheed and Faisal Hussain Awan, their families are extremely desperate and still without any news. However, a glimmer of hope is beginning to emerge since an official from the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) began to speak anonymously to the Indian press. According to him, there was no evidence of guilt at the end of January and he mentioned the possibility that the boys "may have been frightened or constrained when they gave their first testimony." By the end of January, a senior official of the Union Home Ministry told The Hindu, an Indian daily: “We will decide on the fate of the two Pakistani boys in a month. So far, there is no evidence of them having guided the terrorists to the Uri camp. We are still verifying the details and their antecedents”.


Meanwhile, the elder brother of Faisal Hussain Awan, Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, who is a medical practioner working in Lahore, is multiplying the contacts in order to try to find some providential help and get the two boys freed. As a last chance, he has written to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. But there is still no news. Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum told Indian media that their mother could not sleep anymore, and that he had to tell her lies, like: the boys were fine, well treated and fed and kept in a juvenile centre and that he could talk to them on the phone from time to time. The truth is that they are trapped by the political game of India and that no news regarding them and their health has emerged.


As for now, brutalities and human rights violations against the Kashmiri population continue in Jammu and Kashmir, despite regular denunciations to the United Nations.

The writer is a renowned French journalist.

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09
March

Written By: Maj Samad Ashfaq

(South Kiere, DRC Congo)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire is the 2nd largest country in Africa spread over 2.3 million square kilometers i.e., almost three times the size of Pakistan. United Nations initially stepped into the country in July 1960 against external aggression when 20,000 military personnel were deployed under the title of “United Nations Mission Operation in Congo (MONUC)”, which ended in June 1964. MONUC was renamed as United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) on July 1, 2010. South Kivu Brigade (SKB) as part of Force Component of MONUSCO, comprises Pakistan Army Units (4 Infantry Units and 1 Aviation Unit) as a dominant sub-component along with allied contingents from China, Uruguay and Egypt.


Working hand in glove, this international blend of exuberant professional outfits is committed to the sacred cause of restoring peace in South Kivu province of DRC. Joined together under the blue flag of the United Nations, these sub-units make parallel efforts to promote their respective vibrant culture and lively traditions. One such joyous occasion was when the Chinese contingent celebrated their “Spring Festival” for the Chinese New Year starting January 28, 2017 – gateway to the Year of Rooster. To express the spirit of friendship between the two neighbours since their inception, Pakistani contingent decided to celebrate the joys of Chinese brethren at their own abode, inviting them as the guests of honour.

 

brotherbeyondborder.jpgSaturday, February 4, was chosen as the day for this pulsating gathering at Adikivu Camp. Clad in uniform, traditional Chinese outfits, Pakistani shalwar qameez and all the colours of spring, the guests were given a roaring welcome by the military band of the hosts, the glorious Al Momin Ba-Waqar of the Punjab Regiment. Besides Chinese contingent members, worthy guests included the top brass of Uruguay, Egypt and Chiefs of MONUSCO civil sections as well. Escort to the venue was provided by traditional Luddi party. Pakistani gesture of sharing the joy was reciprocated by Chinese counterparts with matching fervour. Each event kick-started with the announcement made first by a Pakistani officer, followed by an equally enthusiastic Chinese lady co-host attired in traditional Pakistani dress.


In fervour and excitement, the audience got overwhelmed by the ecstatic blend of Pakistani traditional dances, dynamic acts of Kung Fu, unarmed Combat skills of personnel ex-Special Services Group, dragon dance, Bian Lian (face mask changing) and much more. The hosts took the function to a more interactive level and the spectators became the players. Funny skits, musical chair, egg and spoon race and tug of war culminating at dhamaal by all, left everyone exhilarated. Deep rooted Pak-China friendship throbbed and displayed at its peak when the whole Chinese contingent stood up and chanted “Dil Dil Pakistan”. Spirit of friendship was displayed by presenting Pakistani traditional dressing items to the winning contestants by Commander SKB, Brigadier Ansar Zafar Kazmi and Mr. Charles Frisby, Head of Office MONUSCO, Bakavu.

 

Honourable guests were then taken to the spicy cruise of Pakistani cuisine that was fully relished by the guests. The entire celebrations sparkled with the glittering colours and essence of eternal Pak-China friendship. Gratified with the sense of affection, Chinese brethren were bidden farewell amongst cheers, embraces and revels; while the day casted long lasting imprints on the minds of all participants.

Long Live Pak-China Friendship!

09
March

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Written By: Lt Cdr Nazia Iqbal

Ships of Pakistan Navy and other participating Navies of the world make an arrow formation at the conclusion of multinational exercise AMAN-17 in North Arabian Sea

 

Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 came to its conclusion on February 14, 2017 with spectacular sea maneuvers and Fleet Review in the North Arabian Sea, amid a joint resolve of 37 countries – “Together for Peace”.


Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was the chief guest on the occasion. Upon arrival onboard Pakistan Navy Ship Nasr, the chief guest was received by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.


Defence Minister, Secretary Defence, Governor Sindh, Chief Minister Sindh, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, Sri Lankan Naval Chief, National Security Advisor to PM, ambassadors, Consul Generals, diplomats and other high ranking civil and military officials were also present on the occasion.

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The Prime Minister was briefed on the overall conduct and operational perspective of the exercise and was given a detailed account of the sea based activities.


The chief guest witnessed different operational serials of the exercise conducted at sea by participating naval ships, aircraft, helicopters and PAF fighter jets. These serials comprised replenishment of men and material from one ship to another, Rockets Depth Charge (RDC) firing and surface-to-surface firing on pre-determined targets. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also presented an impressive fly past by various aircraft and helicopters of PN, PAF, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), and participating countries including Japanese P3C Orion aircraft. At the end, all participating ships of different countries skimmed past PNS Nasr in a column formation and presented salute to the dignitary. All the coalition ships also formed up for traditional “AMAN Formation” to signify unity and harmony amongst the participating nations against seaward crimes and maritime terrorism.

 

aman2017two.jpgExpressing his satisfaction, the Prime Minister lauded the strenuous efforts of Pakistan Navy for the successful conduct of Exercise AMAN-17, which is a manifestation of Pakistan’s policy of constructive engagement with the comity of nations for peace and stability in the maritime commons. He further added that ‘presence of such large number of foreign navies is reflective of confidence of world navies on Pakistan’. He also stated that ‘with this state of operational readiness, Pakistan Navy is fully prepared and committed to ensure seaward defence and safeguard maritime interests of Pakistan.’


37 countries participated in the Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 which was conducted in two phases; the harbour phase spanned from Feb 11-12, and the sea phase from Feb 13–14, 2017. The harbour phase comprised International Maritime Conference. On the theme "Strategic Outlook in the Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond – Evolving Challenges and Strategies" in which eminent scholars from Australia Brazil, Canada, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand UK and USA participated there were seminars, table talks, cross ships visits, call-ons, international band display and maritime counter terrorism demonstration. Whereas, the sea phase included practical execution of operational plans and activities finalized during harbour phase.

 
09
March

Written By: Raheel Suleman

"We are proud of being Pakistanis" All set to celebrate 23rd March in A befitting manner

 

People of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan are gearing up to celebrate momentous day of March 23, 1940 with national enthusiasm and fervour. Even those who were misguided by some disgruntled and anti-state elements have changed their hearts and minds and now raise the slogan of Pakistan Zindabad! This change did not come easy, rather it was the collective effort of civil-military leadership and, of course, the masses. The year 2017 will commemorate the 77th year of Pakistan Resolution – a great day for all of us, indeed.

 

On March 23, 1940, Lahore Resolution which is popularly known as Pakistan Resolution was presented by Maulvi A.K. Fazlul Huq at Minto Park in Lahore now renamed as “Iqbal Park”, in which it was unanimously decided to create a separate homeland for Muslims of the Subcontinent. Due to the dedicated efforts of our leaders under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and after immense sacrifices of Muslims of the Subcontinent, they finally achieved a separate homeland. Till that time Muslims were meted out step-motherly treatment by the Hindu majority. Today we are free to shape our own destiny. It gave us our identity as citizens of an independent Muslim state.

 

Authorities in Balochistan, including the military have made plans to mark the day with befitting celebrations throughout the province. There is an air of celebration in Balochistan as masses, from the depths of their hearts, acknowledge the great sacrifices of the freedom movement leaders for giving them a separate homeland.

Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, covering almost 44% of the total area of Pakistan. People of Balochistan stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim League leadership for the creation of Pakistan.


The foundation of the Muslim League in Balochistan was laid by a young known lawyer of Balochistan, Qazi Isa. Father of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah personally visited Balochistan many times.

 

 

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It was in 1938 that Qazi Isa paid a visit to Quaid-i-Azam at Bombay on his return from studies in England and was so impressed that he accepted the invitation of the Quaid to form and organize the Muslim League in Balochistan. Quaid-i-Azam also made a highly successful four day visit to Kalat on personal invitation of Khan Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, ruler of Kalat State.


Like other parts of Pakistan, Balochistan is also geared up to commemorate the 77th year of Pakistan Resolution. Authorities in Balochistan including the military have made plans to mark the day with befitting celebrations throughout the province. There is an air of celebration in Balochistan as masses, from the depths of their hearts, acknowledge the great sacrifices of the freedom movement leaders for giving them a separate homeland.


Bebargh Marri who is a vendor in Kechi Beg area of Saryab, once a stronghold of Baloch separatists, upon being contacted quipped that those who are now living a luxurious life abroad and operating from outside against Pakistan are not loyal with Baloch people, Balochistan and Pakistan. "They are just filling their pockets by pleasing their masters and have done nothing for us," he said adding, "such fake leadership now stands fully exposed and we reject them outrightly". Marri vowed that he, along with people of the area, will celebrate 23rd March with fervour and maintained that they love Pakistan and are ready to render any kind of sacrifice for their motherland.


India is now openly supporting handpicked and so-called separatists in Balochistan, as they have invested three times bigger amount to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as compared to the amount they spent in erstwhile East Pakistan. Fact of the matter remains that China and Pakistan's strategic initiative CPEC is a big blow to India. India felt isolated in the region after CPEC was launched as a part of greater One Belt, One Road (OBOR) to link three billion people of South Asia, Central Asia and China. It is estimated that CPEC will add 2.5% to 3% in the country’s annual growth.

 

The people of Balochistan, especially youth are all geared up to celebrate 23rd March in the most befitting manner as they celebrated the country’s Independence Day last year. A marked change is now evident in Balochistan – the mindset stands changed – this goes for all age groups, particularly the youth of Balochistan who are more than eager to serve their great motherland in the best possible manner. They now openly reject the anti -state leaders and vow to serve their country.

Double standards of our extremely shrewd neighbour stand exposed to the world. On the one hand they talk about peace process in the region, but on the other their National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who is also a former police officer has openly declared Cold Start Doctrine as a strategy against Pakistan. Despite the fact we need to enhance coordination level among provinces, we as a nation must strive hard to give a befitting response to the enemies of Pakistan by showing complete unity.


Pakistan Army with Government of Balochistan is thriving to improve literacy rate in Balochistan, for that purpose many schools of highest standards have been established by Pakistan Army in Balochistan. Over 17,000 Baloch students have been selected for education in various schools and colleges run by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps.

 

youtofbalcoh1.jpgMs. Fazila Bugti, a resident of Dera Bugti who is a student of Pharmacy at the Balochistan University remarked that, "Pakistan Army is sincere with the people of Balochistan. "She informed that her own sister had learned technical skills from Balochistan Institute of Technical Education and was now earning a respectful livelihood for her family.


Moreover, Pakistan Army is also imparting education to over 7000 Baloch students in the schools and colleges of Federal Government administered by Pakistan Army and FC. No doubt the youth of Balochistan are second to none, they only require some guidance.


Government of Pakistan needs to form a comprehensive National Youth Policy and education must be included as the top priority. Our National Youth Policy must work on principles to make our youth grow and be resilient, to enable them to acquire skills and confidence so they can participate and contribute to the social and economic growth of the country.


In short, the people of Balochistan, especially youth are all geared up to celebrate 23rd March in the most befitting manner as they celebrated the country’s Independence Day last year. A marked change is now evident in Balochistan – the mindset stands changed – this goes for all age groups, particularly the youth of Balochistan who are more than eager to serve their great motherland in the best possible manner. They now openly reject the anti-state leaders and vow to serve their country.

Pakistan Zindabad!

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09
March

Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal

For a healthy cohesive nation, strong horizontal people-to-people linkages are needed in addition to vertical authority-to-people relationship by developing shared values and purpose. This will ensure that maintaining social harmony and unity is not only the responsibility of the state or an authority figure, but the civic society can also galvanize to respond to the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional challenges. Fused by common values and principles – all segments of a nation state can work in unison and more effectively play their respective roles – to steer the country to its objectives.

Significance of the Question –Who Am I?
Path to self-actualization begins with the central questions – ‘Who am I and what do I stand for?’. Taking stock of one’s life path, and role within the unfolding world, a man or a woman discovers the underlying values and principles that fuel life’s direction and purpose.


In the absence of this journey of evolution, life becomes meaningless and directionless. It is then defined by imitating others or living per external expectations. The same principle applies to the individuals, organizations as well as nations. We can either be defined by events and external factors or seek own shared values (principles) that keep us united and on-path towards our collective goal. These shared values act as a nation’s ‘North Star’, guiding principles, and reminders of “What is our purpose”, amidst crises that may deflect us from our destiny. In the words of Viktor Frankl: “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'”.


The Case of Singapore: Identifying Shared Values
In October 1988, Singapore’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong mooted “shared values”, termed the “National Ideology” at the time. The rationale was to identify what the Singaporean nation stood for or wanted to achieve as a collective. In a globalized world, how could they progress by maintaining their distinct Asian identity? It was the leadership’s understanding that in times of dissent and disruption, these values would be the cohesive glue that would cement national identity and direct collective action.

natioidenty.jpgPrime Minister Goh noted the influence of Western culture in nudging the Singaporean society towards individualism. He shared the fear that this would compromise social cohesion and ultimately undermine national security and economic progress.


This led to the formation of a committee tasked to identify values shared by all Singaporeans, regardless of ethnicity or religion. There were three guiding principles to this process:


• Identify inclusive values, so the underlying values were equally shared by all.
• Ensure that the values reflected a balance between the interests of the individual and those of the society.
• Avoid political agenda in order to ensure purity of the process and social cohesion.
The proposed values were intensely debated by the Parliament, which approved a series of shared-value statements for all citizens. Some of these shared values relevant to Pakistan are:
• Nation before community and society before self.
• Family as the basic unit of society.
• Racial and religious harmony.


The real challenge was to create ownership and inculcate these values among the citizens. While there were propositions to enforce these by law; it was ultimately decided that the most effective way to instil these values would be through education. As a result,the Ministry of Education introduced ‘Civic and Moral Education’ (CME) as part of the curriculum to promote these values.


The CME syllabus focused on respect, responsibility, care and harmony. Upholding these values is seen as intrinsic to being a Singaporean and recognized as ingredients that will prepare the youth to become able citizens, equipped to fully participate in modern life.


The Case for Shared Values of Pakistan
In a nation comprising multiple ethnic and religious groups, ideologies and priorities, it is critical to define an understanding of what we collectively stand for. This creates ownership for an inclusive future and drives collective action. This collective action was evident in the freedom movement for Pakistan when varying sectarian, ethnic, and political differences were set aside by a common value and goal of political and economic autonomy under the green and white flag.


It is our national misfortune that these values only guided till the creation of Pakistan. Losing the leadership that achieved Pakistan’s independence in the country’s infancy, and the firefighting that accompanied the new state’s creation, fostered a vacuum that prevented us from identifying and cementing our shared values as an independent nation.

 

The success of Pakistan in the world depends on its people living in harmony, unity and a sense of direction defined by their shared values. A population that enjoys upward socio-economic mobility on merit and inclusive security; not fragmentation across economic and social groups. Strong and positive people-to-people linkages as well as respect and trust in authority will propel us towards realizing the immense potential of our country. And it all begins with a serious inquiry into answering ’Who are we and what do we stand for?’.

It may be rightfully argued that ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’ characterizes the shared value for the Pakistani state and all Pakistanis. However, these values exist in no more than empty slogans as there is limited reflection or implementation of these in our work ethic, the academic curriculum or even in our politics. Thus for all practical purposes, Pakistan is yet to take this first step towards an ideological unity and camaraderie of all its people. A prime example of our forgotten value is our national flag; green reflecting our dominant Islamic heritage, yet white that strongly advocates inclusiveness; respect and protection for the minorities – a value that is often neglected.


Our ideologues, philosophers and leaders have not actively forged shared values that can unite us. We are left with defining ourselves by what we oppose – “shadow of the other” – rather than what we stand for; actions driven by fear rather than passion for a positive identity and vision for Pakistan. The drawback of this is apparent each time there is a national crisis. Instead of collective purpose and vision guiding us, we turn insular to seek protection within our sectarian groups, ethnic tribes, and biraderi system. We may survive the crises, but not assuredly as a nation that has its destiny in its own hands. In today’s globalized world, we the people, cannot leverage our strengths externally, if there is no internal social cohesion.


A study of the particular phenomenon of fragmentation of nations shows causality with weak “horizontal linkages” between communities, which results in low social capital and trust across community boundaries and people-to-people relationship. The weakness in horizontal linkages is compensated by an over-reliance on the “vertical linkage” between citizens and the country’s prevailing authority for orienting, maintaining unity and directing collective action.


An example of strong vertical linkages to authority without shared values or horizontal linkages amongst the populace was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). As long as the Communist Party ruled with diktat and force, the system seemed stable and united. However, when the authority of the Communist Party was undermined, the entire system collapsed and USSR broke down along national, religious and linguistic lines. On the other hand, Tunisia had been ruled by two strong men since its independence in 1957. When the second ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali abdicated as a result of the Jasmine Revolution, there was a period of turmoil. The civic society collaborated to avoid disintegration in the absence of strong central authority. This required maturity by the leaders – particularly by the Al Nahda party that gave up government even after winning elections – driven by population’s adherence to shared values and purpose that overcame political self-interest. By comparison, its neighbour Libya split along tribal lines after the fall of the Qaddafi regime and to-date has not been able to coalesce as a united body politic.


Therefore, for a healthy cohesive nation, strong horizontal people-to-people linkages are needed in addition to vertical authority-to-people relationship by developing shared values and purpose. This will ensure that maintaining social harmony and unity is not only the responsibility of the state or an authority figure, but the civic society can also galvanize to respond to the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional challenges. Fused by common values and principles, all segments of a nation state can work in unison and more effectively play their respective roles to steer the country to its objectives.


When a nation is on the move, individual members may disagree on what the best route or method is, but as long as they agree on their shared values, principles and vision, they can overcome their differences on methods. However, in the absence of a clear identification, any group can be undermined or is mission thwarted by individual differences.


In the context of Pakistan, this is highly pertinent and has led to emergence of perceived fault lines: inter-provincial, civil-military and liberal-religious – rather than each group determining what they can contribute to achieving our shared values purpose.


Pakistan’s Path to Self-Actualization
What values do we collectively aspire to? What are the dreams of our Founding Fathers and our children for the kind of Pakistan we want to live in? What values live at our core; as family units, as a community and country? Without answering these existential questions, our dream and potential of actualization as a nation will remain an unfulfilled promise.


Pakistan’s current paradigm is marked by heavy government involvement, donor dependence and lack of support for social inclusion. Undertaking this journey of discovery of shared values and reinforcing them will lead to policy cohesion at all levels of the government and across the society.


The success of Pakistan in the world depends on its people living in harmony, unity and a sense of direction defined by their shared values. A population that enjoys upward socio-economic mobility on merit and inclusive security; not fragmentation across economic and social groups. Strong and positive people-to-people linkages as well as respect and trust in authority will propel us towards realizing the immense potential of our country. And it all begins with a serious inquiry into answering ’Who are we and what do we stand for?’.

 

The author is a former investment banker and an economic development expert.

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

Twitter: @ahmadjalal_1

 
The great ideals of human progress, of social justice, of equality and of fraternity..., constitute the basic causes of the birth of Pakistan and also... [provide] limitless possibilities of evolving and ideal social structure in our State. I reiterate most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of human soul in a society based on caste. Now that the soul is free to exist and to aspire it must assert itself galvanizing not only the State but also the Nation.

(Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Address, Public Meeeting, Chittagong, 26 March 1948)

 
09
March

Written By: Abdullah Khan

It is a long war and despite remarkable successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, terrorist attacks cannot be stopped completely unless some major political and security issues around Pakistan are not resolved. Our security forces will have to remain alert and well prepared to minimize the damage while the public will have to keep its morale up. Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear state with the most organized Armed Forces, state institutions that function better than many in the region and a major role in regional connectivity through CPEC.

The recent wave of terror in Pakistan has jolted the nation. Questions are being raised on sustainability of gains of Zarb-e-Azb and national policies against terrorism are also being grilled. It is a natural reaction because in four days, from February 13 to February 16, terrorists carried out 12 attacks in which 129 people were killed including 103 civilians and 22 security forces personnel and 365 people were injured including 356 civilians and nine security forces personnel. Four of these twelve attacks were suicide attacks carried out in Lahore, Mohmand Agency (FATA), Peshawar, and Sehwan Sharif (Sindh).

 

Although the reaction is natural as mentioned earlier, however, if the situation is seen in an overall context then one can do a better analysis. Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies’s militancy database shows that average militant attacks in 2014 before Zarb-e-Azb were 161 attacks per month. With Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, Operation Khyber I and Khyber II in Khyber Agency, targeted operation in Karachi, intelligence based operations in mainland and adoption of National Action Plan at political level, the violence dropped to an average of 42 militant attacks per month during the last two and half years. In fact, the number of militant attacks dropped below the year 2007 when a sudden rise was seen in violence against the state after Lal Masjid Operation. The same year in December, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was formed which subsequently captured areas in South and North Waziristan and vast areas in Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

 

thewarcounties.jpgAs the current wave of violence in Pakistan is in one way or the other linked with international terrorism we can better comprehend gains of our security forces by comparing them with other countries fighting against terrorism. It is a matter of fact that during the last fifteen years, no other country except Sri Lanka could reclaim such a vast area from militants as Pakistan Armed Forces did. Pakistan also played a vital role in supporting Sri Lankan Armed Froces in defeating Tamil Tigers in Jafna. Pakistan Armed Forces set an example by clearing Malakand Division, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, South and North Waziristan agencies. During the same period, across the border in Afghanistan the world’s best armies led by the United States were struggling to contain militant threat. Taliban spread to far long areas like Badakhshan and other northern parts of the country. Most of the rural area of our neighbouring country is practically ruled by Taliban insurgents. America and her allies failed to contain violence in Iraq which is spread across Syria and now most of the Middle East is on fire due to failure of western military interventions. Libya was also pushed into civil war by western military intervention while Yemen and Somalia are also engulfed in civil wars. In contrast, Pakistan Armed Forces can be seen distinct from the rest of the world with lots of success stories in defeating militants despite facing financial and technological constraints.


Thanks to Zarb-e-Azb, it is for the first time during the last fifteen years that no area or even a pocket of area is under militant control. Major militant groups fighting against Pakistan faced serious defections. TTP split in to at least four sub-groups, one of them is Jamat-ul-Ahrar. All these groups were flushed out from FATA and now they are operating from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. They are being fed by anti-Pakistan forces active in the region. Unless there is sustainable peace in Afghanistan and writ of the state is established in all parts of our neighbouring country, groups like TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami, BLA, BRA, and others will keep flourishing and their activities cannot be completely diminished. Negative role of Afghan government and its National Directorate of Security (NDS) is one of the major impediments in this regard.


Afghan government is not serious in dialogue with Taliban and instead passes the buck on Pakistan for its own ineptness. NDS is involved in patronizing those groups which are active against Pakistani interests. It is believed that NDS is hand-in-glove with Indian intelligence agency RAW in targeting Pakistani interests. There cannot be a bigger manifestation of shortsightedness of NDS that to weaken Taliban insurgents, it kept supporting Daesh in the country. It should have been known to everyone that Daesh would not serve anyone’s interests in the longer run. It carries an agenda of destruction of everyone. Afghanistan or any other country, regional or extra regional forces who thinks they use Daesh for their interests must realize that they are actually being used by Daesh. The group is gradually strengthening its roots in Afghanistan and poses a serious threat to regional security. Its presence will drag more forces into Afghanistan, which is already facing serious law and order situation due to the presence of foreign troops on its soil.

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Although operational network of Daesh could not make a point in Pakistan but the group has found some useful local partners such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Islam, and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Especially, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalami is providing its infrastructure in Balochistan and Sindh to the Middle Eastern group. According to sources, Daesh has an agreement with LeJ-A and other groups that information about certain high profile attacks will be passed on to Daesh to claim responsibility. The attacks on Lal Shabaz Qalander’s shrine in Sehvan Sharif, Sindh and Shah Noorani’s shrine in Khuzdar, Balochistan are prominent examples of such an agreement. Both the attacks were carried out by LeJ-A while responsibility was accepted by Daesh. Objective of such collaboration is to highlight the attacks at international level and put Pakistani government and armed forces under immense pressure. According to a PICSS security report, commanders of TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Isalam and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-Al-Aalami held a meeting in Khost, Afghanistan last year and decided that they will target Pakistan with joint efforts. It was also decided that local groups would pass on information of certain attacks to Daesh to claim responsibility. Certain attacks in Peshawar claimed by Daesh were also actually carried out by the local groups.


The spat of violence in February 2017 resembles the sudden surge in violence in January 2016 when militants carried out suicide attacks against polio workers in Quetta, Khasadar Force in Karkhano area of Khyber Agency, Bacha Khan University in Charsadda and other attacks. However, security forces managed to control the situation and overall violence in 2016 saw a further 27 percent decline in number of attacks and resultant deaths. Average militant attacks per month further dropped in 2016 from 60 to 42 which was 161 before June 2014 when Operation Zarb-e-Azb started. During the two and a half years that followed Zarb-e-Azb, the country witnessed 68 percent reduction in militant attacks, 62 percent decline in resultant deaths and 48 percent decrease in injuries.

 

thewarcounties2.jpgPattern of violence shows that capability of terrorists to frequently target security forces has significantly diminished due to Zarb-e-Azb and IBOs thus, they have resorted to hit soft targets. Selecting civilian targets create chaos in the society, and creating mistrust between people and the armed forces is one of the objectives the militants want to achieve. One of the major reasons of targeting civilians is to revive financial pipelines of militants. Pakistani security forces have dismantled kidnapping for ransom networks largely, which was providing a major source of income for militants.


It is a crucial time for Pakistani society to stand up to the threat of terrorism and not budge under pressure. It is high time for Pakistani media, civil society, political and religious leadership to guide the populace and help them stand against terrorism united.

 

It is a crucial time for Pakistani society to stand up to the threat of terrorism and not budge under pressure. It is high time for Pakistani media, civil society, political and religious leadership to guide the populace and help them stand against terrorism united.

Unfortunately, a section of our media is playing a central role in demoralizing the public in the face of terrorism. Despite apparently absolute freedom of expression, in the United States, the media downplays losses in War on Terror. There is an official ban on the coverage of funerals of dead soldiers and media cameras are not allowed in graveyards during these funerals. The objective of such restrictions is to avoid demoralizing public. In stark contrast, we demoralize our public by showing the dead and injured and their funerals, as well as live coverage of terror attacks. It has been pointed out so many times that live coverage of militant attacks should be avoided yet only occasional restraint has been seen in the practice. While analyzing propaganda videos of militants in Pakistan, one notices that a major chunk of material is obtained from video clips of Pakistani TV channels.


It is a long war and despite remarkable successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, militant attacks cannot be stopped completely unless some major political and security issues around Pakistan are not resolved. Our security forces will have to remain alert and well prepared to minimize the damage while the public will have to keep its morale up. Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear state with the most organized Armed Forces, state institutions that function better than many in the region and a major role in regional connectivity through CPEC. Therefore, it attracts a variety of enemies for a number of reasons. We will have to stand up against all threats and cannot lower our guard for a single moment. Pakistan has a bright future ahead and these are testing time for the nation. Let us stand firm against all negative forces that are active against Pakistan.
Pakistan Zindabad!

 

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

He tweets at @Abdullahkhan333

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09
March

Written By: Ayesha Irfan

WE STAND FOR OUR NATION: COAS

 

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Each Drop of Nation’s Blood Shall be Avenged

Pakistan Army launches 'Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad' across the country. The operation aims at indiscriminately eliminating residual/latent threat of terrorism, consolidating gains of operations made thus far and further ensuring security of the borders. Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Civil Armed Forces (CAF) and other security/Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) will continue to actively participate and intimately support the efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country.

 

The effort entails conduct of Broad Spectrum Security/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations by Rangers in Punjab, continuation of ongoing operations across the country and focus on more effective border security management. Country wide de-weaponization and explosive control are additional cardinals of the effort. Pursuance of National Action Plan will be the hallmark of this operation.

 

Afghan Embassy officials called at GHQ. Given list of 76 terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. Asked to take immediate action/be handed over to Pakistan.
As part of ongoing countrywide Operation Radd-ul-Fassad, FC and intelligence agencies conducted a joint targeted operation in Killi Shah Karaiz near Loralai, Balochistan on February 22, 2017 against TTP/JuA network led by Wahab Zakhbail. 23 IEDs were recovered during the operation. Reportedly, the IEDs were transported to the area by TTP elements to target LEAs vehicles and Loralai University buses carrying students. Timely action of LEAs averted a major terrorist incident.
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad continues across the country. Punjab Rangers conducted over 200 search operations in various areas of Punjab including Karor, Layyah and Rawalpindi. Suspected houses, madrassas and shops searched. 4 terrorists were killed in exchange of fire while over 600 suspects including few Afghans apprehended. Jihadi material and weapons were recovered. Few facilitators of Jamat-ul-Ahrar were also arrested.
Pakistan Army, Pakistan Rangers Punjab and Police established joint check posts on M-1 and M-2 (Motorway) to enhance security and surveillance.
During sanitization of village Shirrani, Datta Khel, North Waziristan Agency, Army troops recovered another huge cache of arms and ammunition which had been left behind by terrorists.

We Shall Defend and Respond

During an intelligence based operation in Mullagano area, Jani Khel, FR Bannu, 4 terrorists were killed. During an exchange of fire with terrorists an officer Lieutenant Khawar and Naik Shehzad embraced Shahadat.
IBOs and combining operations are in progress across the country including Punjab. Over 100 terrorists have been killed and sizeable apprehensions have also been made.
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad continues across the country. Pakistan Rangers Punjab conducted search and sanitization operation in DG Khan, Rajan Pur, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Attock.
Intelligence agencies are making progress to unearth networks behind recent terrorist incidents.
No cross-border/unauthorized entry will be allowed into Pakistan from Afghanistan. Security forces have been given special orders in this regard to have strict watch all along the border.
Terrorists’ hideouts of Pak-Afghan border have been effectively targeted.

COAS said, “Army is for security of people of Pakistan against all types of threats. Nation to stay steadfast with full confidence in their security forces. We shall not let the hostile agenda succeed whatever it may cost.”

 
09
March

Written By: Dr. Mujeeb Afzal

On February 01, 2017, the Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, presented the annual budget for the year 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. It includes allocation of 51 billion dollars for the salaries and pensions of the defence personnel and expenditure for the modernization programmes of the Armed Forces. These allocations represent 2.25 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product), and a 5.6 percent increase in the 2016-17 defence budget. This article is an attempt to understand the nature and targets of the new Indian budget, its meaning in the emerging strategic milieu that is demanding and according a new role to India and its impact on the already existing power disequilibrium between India and Pakistan.


The Indian defence budget for 2016-17 is higher than that of 2015-16, which was 36 billion dollars and was 1.75 percent of the GDP. The present budget would have been even higher if the expenditure on pensions, border security forces and nuclear and missile development had been included in it. Besides, the allocations for research and development and for Defence Ordnance Factories have been shifted from the Ministry of Defence to the capital budget. In spite of this shift, the capital expenditure has received an increase of 20.6 percent as compared to the previous allocations. If only pensions had been included in it, this would be 2.3 to 2.4 percent of the GDP. Despite this, the apportionment for defence in this budget is about 12.78 percent of the total expenditure of the government of India, that is 21.47 lac crore. In line with the past practice, the Army, which is perceived to be the main instrument against China and Pakistan, has received 52 percent, followed by the Air Force with 22 percent and Navy's 16 percent while 5 percent has been allocated to DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization). The upward spending on defence is a deep-rooted trend in the behaviour of the Indian state. In the 1960s, it had a defence budget of 600 million dollars and it was 2.1 percent of the GDP. Subsequently, it jumped up to 4.5 percent of the GDP; that was meant to assert India as a real strategic power at the regional and international levels. In the 1990s, the defence budget rose to 5 percent of the GDP; and in real terms it was 7.5 billion dollars. After that, its economy was on the rise by more than 7 percent and India planned to acquire capability to fight a two-front war with both China and Pakistan. During 1995-2005, the Indian defence budget grew on average over 5.5 percent annually. Its overall defence spending registered an increase of 30 percent; and in 2001, its budget was around 11.1 billion dollars. By 2012 India’s defence budget was growing by 13 and 19 percent although its GDP growth was about 7.6 percent. A significant push came in 2014, when Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a 10 percent increase in the defence budget and took the budget figures to $36.3 billion. India’s sustained efforts have contributed to its strategic importance. At present, it has a standing force of nearly 1.5 million personnel and its defence budget is the fourth largest in the world after the U.S., China and the UK.

 

India under the Modi administration is trying to seize the vulnerability of Pakistan to change its behaviour with reference to plebiscite in Kashmir and its demand for a fair treatment in the South Asian state system.

India, under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has witnessed a sharp rise in the Indian defence budget which is justified with the help of two emotive themes: one, it is meant to reform the accumulated obsolescence of the country’s strategic infrastructure; and two, it is to ensure the promise of autonomy and self-sufficiency in the defence production by ‘Make in India’ programme. It is argued that a large part of the Indian defence equipment is of little use for an emerging major power because it is of low quality and has aged as well. Moreover, the average infantry soldier of India is technologically at least one generation behind in comparison to his counterpart in the modern armies of the industrialized states. Therefore, its protagonists contend that if India wishes to balance both China and Pakistan and also play the role of a major power at the regional and international level, then it needs to change its old low-tech weapon systems. Additionally, it is considered essential that a major power like India should have more autonomous standing by reducing its dependence on imports; that it should achieve greater self-sufficiency in the production of sophisticated defence equipment. Consequently, successive defence budgets have provided lavish funds for domestic defence research and development as well as defence industry. In the present budget, the DRDO, which is responsible for the development of nuclear and missile systems, has received 14819 crores. This organization is involved in the development of short range 700 kms Agni-I, intermediate range 2,000 kms and Agni-II surface-to-surface missiles. It is also developing contemporary weapon-locating radar and the main battle tank (MBT), the Arjun, for the Army. In recent years, India has opened up its domestic weapons industry to foreign investment; and the foreign investment limit in the domestic defence industry has been raised from 26 percent to 49 percent. Apart from this, India is the largest weapons importer in the world; in just one year (2013), it spent $6 billion on buying equipment. India is expected to spend $100 billion over the next decade on a defence modernization programme. Its armed forces desire to get 22 Apache helicopters, 50 Chinook helicopters, 197 light utility helicopters, 135 lightweight howitzers, 6 submarines and 16 multirole helicopters for the Navy. It has already approved a project worth 13 billion dollars to increase its national defence preparedness. The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has decided to build within India six submarines, purchase 8,356 anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft with improved sensors from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and 362 infantry fighting vehicles.


India’s economy is on the rise. It has grown from a contested regional power to one of the pre-eminent regional powers along with China and Japan. It has more resources at its disposal to spend on the defence sector. Although in terms of GDP the defence spending has decreased from 2.9 percent in 2009 to 2.3 percent in 2015 – now around 2.25 percent of GDP – but in terms of resources it has reached the capacity of 51 billion dollars. The resources available to its defence institutions are more than their capacity to absorb; for example, the utilization of the defence budget in 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 95 percent and 91 percent, respectively. Similarly, it has repeatedly underspent funds that were allocated for capital acquisition; this was 11 percent in 2012-13, 9 percent in 2013-14, 13 percent in 2014-15 and 15 percent in 2015-16. At the domestic level this trend may reflect bureaucratic incompetence but at the external level it indicates the rising Indian comfort to accumulate and exert power. This trend becomes even more significant with the decline of its poverty indicators from 44 percent to 26 percent within the last twenty years. This argument should be read with the fact that India faces no immediate threat from any of its neighbours near or far from its border. It is strategically in a comfortable state and faces no threat to its survival and extended interest from within or abroad. According to the logic of power, it is moving towards domination over others. The continuous rise in the defence budget reflects this trend in the behaviour of India regionally and internationally. It has serious territorial and water disputes with Pakistan and China. In line with the logic of power it has closed the door of negotiation with Pakistan and demonstrates no particular urgency to resolve its issues with China as well. Though it is too early to declare India a major international power or even regional hegemon, its share in the international defence spending was 1 percent in 1995 and 3 percent in 2015. Notwithstanding the Indian low international strategic standing, its arrogant attitude in its relation with neighbours is a cause for grave concern.


India’s exaggerated claims of power and consequent stubborn diplomatic behaviour is the result of two developments: one, the rise of Hindu nationalists to power at the domestic level; and two, its evolving strategic cooperation with the USA at the international level. Since its independence, India has considered itself a major player at the international level. It believes that it is its legitimate right to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council like China, in order to have a meaningful role in the governance of the international system. With the leadership of its first Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, India attempted to play a major role at the international level as an opponent of the power politics and the champion of the rights of the Afro-Asian people against western economic and political imperialism. At the same time, it struggled to attain economic and strategic power to assert its claim of a major power in a forceful manner. India under Nehru and his successors exerted to achieve national cohesion on the principles of composite-culture, secularism and liberal democracy and at the international level it sought strategic autonomy by staying away from the power politics of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and USA. At the regional level, Nehru’s India wanted to impose the Delhi view of one strategic unit for South Asia and wished to keep it free from the influence of outside powers. After the Indo-China border clash of 1962, India tilted more towards the Soviet Union than the USA for technology transfer, heavy industry and sophisticated weapon systems. The Hindu nationalists challenged Nehru’s vision of India as an attempt to impose a western vision to deprive its people of their Hindu tradition and heritage. They presented the concept of Hindutva and integral-humanism based on the ethos of Hinduism that they argued were based on common blood, common laws and rites, and common culture of the Hindu people. It was argued that in the past India was subject to foreign subjugation of the Muslim invaders followed by the British imperialists because of its internal fragmentation. The Hindutva ethos is considered the only way to evolve a cohesive national identity that will provide the requisite Shakti-power to defend India. At the international level, the Hindu nationalists find the integral-humanism closer to the capitalist system. They aspire to expand their relations with the West and consider themselves the natural allies of the USA. Simultaneously, they want to increase India’s military power and assert its regional and international role. Modi government shares the view of the Hindu nationalists and wants to build a strong Indian national identity based on the ethos of Hindutva in which Hindu and Indian interests take primacy over any other consideration at the domestic and regional levels and see in the post-Cold War era an ideal opportunity to attain the rightful place for India by building closer ties with the West particularly USA. The internal and external opponents of Hindutva are advised to accept the new realities of Indian power and adjust themselves with the priorities of Hindus and India.

 

The continuous increase in the Indian defence budget is not good news for Pakistan. India remains, in terms of its strategic capabilities, the principal threat to its security. The growing conventional asymmetry between the two states undermines the regional stability and negatively impacts upon the balance of strategic deterrence.

In the post-Cold War era, the rise of China as a potential strategic power and the good performance of Indian economy are the two factors that are determining the India-U.S. relations. India perceives the U.S. as an ally in future for two reasons: one, as a possible source of modern weapon systems and technology; and two, as a power that can provide an existing strategic structure to channelize the rising Indian influence at regional and international levels. It may facilitate India’s admission into such international institutions as Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) easy and assure permanent membership of the UN Security Council. On the other hand, the U.S. looks at India as a good rising market for its goods both civil as well as military, as a balancing factor for the rising Chinese influence in the Afro-Asian countries, and share the burden of security at the regional level especially against potential strategic competition from China. The U.S. is willing to upgrade the strategic potential of India to achieve these objectives and extend active diplomatic support to India to get the membership of international institutions that may formalize the regional power status of India as a useful ally. That is the reason successive U.S. administrations especially that of Barack Obama have strongly supported India's case for the NSG and Security Council membership. At the domestic level the U.S. political elite has enthusiastically received support for the alliance with India. The U.S. Congress has passed the India "Defence Technology and Partnership Act" that provided a strong legal framework for the Indo-U.S. defence relations and formalized India’s status as a major partner of the U.S. On its part the Obama administration instituted the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and established an "India Rapid Reaction Cell" in the Pentagon to deal with bureaucratic hurdles in the way of strategic cooperation between the two states. Additionally, President Obama encouraged the coordination with India on an annual basis for the development of military contingency plans for addressing threats to mutual security interests of the two countries. India sees a great opportunity for the strengthening of its technological industrial base with the help of U.S. assistance and technology. The Indian flagship indigenous projects such as the aircraft and tanks have not been very successful; therefore, it would be happy to use facilities under the DTTI structure for the U.S.-India defence trade. The strategic cooperation with the U.S. will be difficult for India; it will generate an impression of India as a contract ally who is paid to protect the U.S. regional interest especially against China. India is internally a diverse soft-state that cannot afford to have open hostility with China and expose its national integration for others’ strategic gains. That is why it has accepted the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S. that allows the two countries to access each other’s supplies, spare parts, and services from military bases and ports but has refused joint patrol of U.S. and Indian Navies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific waters. Despite certain reservations, the Indian strategic alliance with the U.S. can help India establish a regional hegemonic relationship.


The continuous increase in the Indian defence budget is not good news for Pakistan. India remains, in terms of its strategic capabilities, the principal threat to its security. The growing conventional asymmetry between the two states undermines the regional stability and negatively impacts upon the balance of strategic deterrence. The recent increase in the Indian defence budget has taken place when the Modi government has taken an increasingly belligerent stance towards Pakistan. It is repeatedly using hostile language and violent clashes are reported along the Line of Control (LOC) and the Working Boundary. The changed international strategic environment places Pakistan in a disadvantageous position. It uses to balance India in conventional term with the help of better trained manpower and western sophisticated weapon system. The U.S. tilt towards India disturbs greatly the strategic calculations of Pakistan. It is gradually finding it difficult to balance rising India with its mere 7 billion dollar defence budget and becoming more and more dependent on nuclear deterrence. The nuclear weapons are essential for the deterrence purpose and cannot be used for fighting a conventional war. In an asymmetrical conventional balance of power Pakistan is becoming more and more dependent on the nuclear weapons which limit the strategic options of a state to defend its autonomy. Therefore, military capabilities are essential for conventional defence and internal security of a state. India under the Modi administration is trying to seize the vulnerability of Pakistan to change its behaviour with reference to plebiscite in Kashmir and its demand for a fair treatment in the South Asian state system. It has refused to negotiate with Pakistan and is putting pressure through threats of hot pursuit in Kashmir in order to call, what the Indian strategic thinkers have described a nuclear bluff. At the international level, India under Modi is using its new-found economic power and closeness with the U.S. to create diplomatic difficulties on the issue of war against terrorism and is attempting to put constraints in the access to high-end technology. Though the Indian challenges are not very great at this moment but in future if the asymmetry in the economic strength continues to expand, India will be in a position to create serious problems for the security and extended national interests of Pakistan. Additionally, if the strategic tensions surge between the U.S. under President Donald Trump and China, then Pakistan will be forced to take the Chinese side and preserve its strategic alliance with China. This probability can greatly increase Indian access to the Western markets and technology and can hurt Pakistan’s strategic options.


The economic rise of India is a significant phenomenon for the regional and international political calculations. Gradually, it will have more resources available for investment in its armed forces, although it will still be treated at the international level as a trading nation and an almost insignificant strategic player. But at the regional level, its increased military muscle might create serious security risks for the sovereign existence of the medium and small states of South Asia. The states of South Asia will be forced to increase their defence budgets and look for external alliances or surrender to the Indian dictates. Pakistan, the second largest state of the South Asian state system, will face the same dilemma though at a lesser level. It will have to increase its resources and widen its cooperation with the regional powers. Before doing that, it must strengthen its domestic politico-economic and social structures and then develop alliances at the regional and international levels.

 

The writer is on the faculty of Quaid-i-Azam University (School of Politics and International Relations)

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

 
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.
 
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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!


apqgefrsoldier.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
 
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Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal
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Written By: Commodore Tahir Javed
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