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).

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