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

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

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


Yousaf Youhana (later Muhammad Yousaf) and wicket-keeper Moin Khan stabled things a bit for the tourists and took the score to 154 when Yousaf was trapped LBW. Moin was joined by Akram and both pushed the score to 214 before India managed to dislodge Moin for a gritty 60. However, Pakistan were eventually bundled out for just 238 an hour before the close of the first day’s play. In this hour Indian openers struck a quick 48.


Pakistan got its first breakthrough in the first session of the second day’s play when Akram removed the stylish Laxman with the score at 67. 67 for 1 soon became 71 for 2 when Akram also removed the second opener, Sadagoppan Ramesh. Almost immediately, prodigious off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq got the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, caught by Saleem Malik. India was now tottering at 72 for 3. Azharuddin went at 103 but Dravid and Ganguly managed to stem the rot and pushed the score past 150 when Dravid fell, padding up to a straight one from Saqlain.


Ganguly’s fifty and some last minute hitting from Sunil Joshi helped India reach 254 (all out), gaining a 26 runs lead. Saqlain picked up five wickets. In its second innings, Pakistan lost Saeed Anwar early and at the end of the second day’s play Pakistan were 34 for 1, just 8 runs ahead.


After the day’s play Akram was quoted by Indian newspapers as saying that Pakistani players were still receiving threats of violence but the team had decided to just concentrate on playing cricket. On day 3 of the Test, Ijaz Ahmed was sent packing very early but Inzamam-ul-Haq and the 20-year-old Shahid Afridi added a quick-fire 92 for the fourth wicket, both sprinting past their fifties in style.


With the score at 139, Inzamam fell but Afridi continued to score freely. He soon posted his first ever Test century. But when Afridi lost his wicket with the score at 279, rest of the batting collapsed. Pakistan were all out for 286. India had 271 to chase with two days of the Test remaining. Now favorites to win the Test, India’s chase began disastrously. Rippers from Akram’s fellow fast bowler Waqar Younus removed the Indian openers cheaply. At the close of the third day’s play, India were reeling at 40 for 2. On day 4, Pakistan reduced India to 82 for 5 by lunch. The Pakistani players were jubilant and enjoyed their lunch. But Akram told a BBC reporter that the political and sporting pressure on his men and him was immense. But now they were sensing a win.


However, after the lunch break, as Tendulkar and Mongia went about repairing India’s innings, Pakistan began to slightly panic. The pair first took India past 150 and then 200. Soon, India just needed 52 to win with five wickets still in hand.


Tendulkar was playing brilliantly; middling the ball and making the Pakistani bowlers (suddenly) look rather ordinary. He quickly reached his century. Mongia began playing his shots as well but with the score at 218 he tried to loft Akram out of the ground but only managed to sky the ball towards Waqar who ran in and held the most important catch at mid-off.


Joshi came in and just blocked, letting a Tendulkar do all the scoring. The pair took the score past 250. Then at 254 India just needed 16 to win and it still had four wickets in hand. Surely, Pakistan was staring at defeat now? It seemed that way until Tendulkar tried to lift Saqlain over mid-on for a boundary. The ball seemed to hang high in the air for ages. Akram ran in and placed himself underneath it and cupped it successfully. A deafening silence descended over the packed stands.


Just two runs later, Pakistan grabbed another two quick wickets, leaving India 14 to get and with just one wicket in hand. The tables were being turned. Srinath and Prasad added two runs and India now needed 12. But Saqlain produced a jumpy off-break to Srinath which the batsman went back to defend. He was successful, but the ball hit the ground and rolled back to hit the stumps. Pakistan won.


It was the most esthetic victory for a team under threat of violence. Even though Pakistan lost in Delhi it came back to post a win in Kolkata. Pakistan’s manager, Shahryar Khan later wrote that this was the tensest and most stressful series he had ever been a part of. He added that relations between the two teams were cordial but the crowds (especially in Delhi and Kolkata) were hostile and threats of violence from Hindu nationalists never stopped. But Pakistan managed to come out the better side.

 

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

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05
October

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed

Biologically speaking, life started when some complex chemical molecules in the primordial soup in high energy environment of the hot deep-sea plumes mimicked a biological cell and divided into two. Biological division of a cell is the starting and crowning point of life. Progressively thereafter, the high energy environment led to the explosion from simple single-cell life to complex multicellular forms that include mammals. There are over a trillion cells in the human body and the growth in the growing years and ageing in waning years still takes place at the cell level through healthy division, sluggish division or mutation as the case might be.


When a fertilized egg cell divides at the starting point of conceptual life, slight imperfection in division known as mutation causes genetic variations leading to a wide array of biodiversity. The body remains youthful as long as the adult cells continue to divide efficiently. However, brain cells do not divide as the production of new cells could result in the loss of memory. The synaptic connections continually reformat that maintains the brain health and function. This reformatting takes place during sleep at night and deeper the sleep, better is the mending of the brain. Similarly, cells of the heart muscles also do not divide, possibly because the fresh cells created might not be strong enough to contract to the required extent as the old cells for sustaining the required pressure in the blood vessels. It is now considered that about 3% of the heart cells do divide but that is not enough to repair the damage suffered in a heart attack. If a way could be found to induce the heart cells to divide, it could lead to the repairing of the damage to the heart suffered in an heart attack without any surgical intervention. Rest all cells in the body continue to divide during the life. Progressively with age, cells become sluggish or stop to divide that causes ageing. The retired cells reside next to the active cells which in due course become sites for inflammation that causes myriad problems and damages to the body tissues.

 

It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration.

Human Growth Hormones (HGH) operate at cell level and stimulate active cells to prolong their life of efficient division. The body produces its own growth hormones which provide a good index of ageing in advancing years. Although, one could take HGH as supplements also but this is not as effective in prolonging youthfulness as the body’s own energized growth hormones.


The central idea of this article is that there are ways through which one could stimulate body’s own growth hormones. This secret was revealed during the biological experiment of the procreation of the sheep ‘Dolly’ in 1996 by a team of British scientists. They picked two genetically different types of sheep and started with an egg cell of one sheep but enucleated it by removing the nucleus, leaving only the proteins inside the cell membrane. Then they took the differentiated adult cell from the mammary gland of the second sheep and inserted the nucleus of this adult cell into the enucleated cell of the other sheep. They were trying to grow the clone of the sheep that had provided the adult cell. Cloning of a mammal from its adult cell had never been achieved before this experiment.


During the course of the frustrating experiments, hundreds of attempts led to no breakthrough as the adult cell did not start dividing to replicate life. What they observed in these failed attempts provides a very intelligent clue to the secret of the cell division. When there was excessive protein food around the adult cell nucleus, the cell would grow bigger and bigger, become sluggish and not divide. On the other hand when there was too little protein food, the adult cell became emaciated and died. When they accidently hit upon the optimal level of the protein food, the miracle happened and the cell started dividing that led to the development of 'Dolly'. The sheep lived about six years and produced 5 lambs.


These observations provided an evidence that excessive food protein or very low food protein suppress growth hormones leading to lethargy, inactivity or death of adult cells in human body. It points to the secret of finding an optimal level of food protein to stimulate the health of the body cells. The individuals who consume excessive food suffer from inactive cells which becomes the cause of various health issues and faster ageing. The starvation on the other hand causes early death of body cells leading to the loss of muscles and bone mass that advances the process of ageing.


It is interesting to know that the optimal level of food is a touch towards starvation than to overeating. When the stomach is empty with a long gap after eating the food, the growth hormones are stimulated which promotes healthy cell division that checks or slows ageing. This condition can be achieved by intermittent fasting for about 16 hours. In practice it is comparable with religious fasting, except that in intermittent fasting one could take simple water any number of times to avoid dehydration. Translating it into a daily routine the requirement can be achieved if one takes the last meal of the day along with the required amount of water in the late afternoon at say 5p.m. and the only second meal of the breakfast at 9a.m. Except these two timed meals one observes intermittent fast. Apart from energizing growth hormones it has other spectacular health effects. Between 5p.m. and sleep, say at 9p.m., the food gets digested and there is no need for the heart to continue to pump the blood into stomach during the sleep. When one goes to sleep with all the food digested, the heart, kidneys and the brain all can sleep at night. The sleep is undisturbed and one gets up very fresh the next morning. This quality of sleep is conducive to synaptic reformatting and the repairs in the brain. This routine can improve health, check or slow ageing and increase active hours adding vitality to life.


As a general guide, eating moderately especially in advancing years is a recipe for better health. Most health issues arise from eating excessively especially the unhealthy food. We heard a golden rule from the elders to stop eating, leaving some appetite unsatisfied. Energizing body's own growth hormones is an effective way to slow down ageing and prolong healthy life. Although the humanity continues to make spectacular advances for treating diseases there ought to be sufficient development for promoting a style of life that supports good health in the first place. A flurry of fads, exacerbated by the globally connected social media, often sponsored by vested interest-groups continue to add confusion to what to eat and how much to eat. An intelligent recourse to eating less and selectively would save resources, increase food security and above all promote health and extend useful life span adding to the well-being of the human society. Eating less is the end secret.

 

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

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05
October

Written By: Omair Alavi

Cricket may not be the national sport of Pakistan but it is celebrated as one, considering it is one of those sports where Pakistan has excelled in all formats. During the last few months, Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading cricket teams – Misbah-ul-Haq held the Test Mace last year while Sarfraz lifted the ICC Champions Trophy by defeating arch-rival India a few months back. Naturally, the followers of Pakistan cricket team were anxious to see their players in action at home, and the issue was resolved by the Pakistan Cricket Board in general and Najam Sethi in particular who convinced the best players in the world to visit Pakistan and set an example for others to follow. Let’s analyze the World XI tour and find out how it will help Pakistan cricket in coming days.

 

The security was excellent and the players and the officials felt at home in Lahore. Had there been a lapse in security, things would have gone haywire but thanks to the Pakistan Army and Law Enforcement Agencies, everything happened according to their plan.

The Matches
First Match: The World XI won the toss and elected to field in the first match of the series; Pakistan had a shaky start as they lost their swashbuckling opening batsman Fakhar Zaman for 8. However, Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam took the score forward and when the former was dismissed for a 34-ball 39, the team total was 130 for 2 in 14.1 overs. Hard hitting from the experienced Shoaib Malik and an entertaining 52-ball 86 by Babar Azam saw Pakistan post 197 runs on the board for the loss of 5 wickets. The World XI started well but with Rumman Raees, Sohail Khan and Shadab Khan in the form of their lives, the visitors could only score 177 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs. Captain Faf du Plessis and Darren Sammy managed to top score with 29 runs each and although Sammy was there until the end, he couldn't save his team from going one-down in the three-match series.


Second Match: Then there was the second match where the World XI looked better prepared than the hosts. Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed elected to bat first and thanks to Babar Azam's 45, Ahmed Shehzad's 43 and Shoaib Malik's 39, the hosts posted a healthy score of 174 for the loss of six wickets. The visitors managed to reach the target on the penultimate delivery of the match, thanks to a quick-fire 19-ball 47 not-out by Thishara Perera; although Hashim Amla scored 72 runs off 55 deliveries and remained not-out, Perera's innings changed the momentum and helped the World XI level the series with a 7-wicket win. Pakistani fielders couldn't take the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd and dropped many catches, resulting in a loss that could have been a victory.


Third Match: Pakistan outclassed World XI in the grand finale of the Independence Cup; the visitors managed to win the toss and elected to field but the decision cost them the series as Ahmed Shehzad struck 8 fours and 3 sixes in his 55-ball 89. Babar Azam ably supported him and continued his golden run with the bat with a 31-ball 48. Chasing 184 to win the match and the series, the World XI faltered in front of the much-improved bowling and fielding display from the hosts. David Miller and Thishara Perera were the only ones to show some resistance with 32 runs each; due to the failure of the rest of the team, the World XI managed 150 runs for the loss of eight wickets, losing the match by 33 runs. Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets for 28 runs.


The Positives
Breaking the Barrier for Good!
For more than 8 years, Pakistan’s Cricket team has been playing its home series away from home because international teams didn’t think it was a safe place to visit and play. There were a few instances where international teams such as Zimbabwe visited Pakistan for T20 and ODIs but that wasn’t enough to convince the best in the world. That’s one of the reasons why the ICC was approached with the idea for the Independence Cup – independence from being ignored, independence from being isolated and independence from being dictated to play away from home. The best players in the world agreed to visit Pakistan led by South African captain Faf du Plessis and the rest is history. The Sri Lankans currently playing Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates also have agreed to visit Pakistan for the T20 Internationals and their tour is subject to security clearance. The West Indians might also visit Pakistan later in the year and if that happens, cricket will turn out to be the eventual winner.

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International Level Coverage and Security
The grand finale of the Pakistan Super League was a disappointing affair as international broadcasters refused to travel to Pakistan and the host nation had to rely on local broadcasters who couldn’t take the pressure of international level coverage. However, in the matches between Pakistan and the World XI, the coverage was at par with any international sports channel. The greenery of the stadium was televised as green (pun intended) while the players really looked like international cricketers donning the Pakistan jersey. The security was excellent and the players and the officials felt at home in Lahore. Had there been a lapse in security, things would have gone haywire but thanks to the Pakistan Army and Law Enforcement Agencies, everything happened according to their plan.


Dream Come True for Most Players
UAE may be Pakistan’s home away from home but playing in front of the local crowd has a different feeling. From the current team only Sarfraz Ahmed, Sohail Khan and Shoaib Malik had played in front of local crowds in Pakistan before the World XI series. The rest of players who made their debut after 2009 felt proud as well since the cheering of the local crowd, their involvement, their appreciation is what cricketers around the world long for. Add to this the outstanding performance of youngsters making their debut at home and you get to see a fancy picture of Pakistan Cricket where everyone is a match-winning individual with the potential to give tough time to anyone, anywhere, anytime.


Youngsters Who Perform, Get Praised
The Independence Cup helped Pakistanis know what the whole world knows and that’s the fact that Babar Azam is a world-class cricketer. He may have missed scoring a century in the series but his consistency helped Pakistan coming out as the better team. Thanks to his 89 runs in the grand finale, Ahmed Shehzad ended the series as the second highest scorer – 171 runs to Babar Azam's 179. Shoaib Malik strengthened the middle-order with his gutsy innings and scored 94 runs in the series at a strike rate of 188. That was the best from the entire Pakistan side.


As for the bowlers, Rumman Raees emerged as one of the leading The top T20 bowler in the world, Imad Wasim took two wickets, the same number of wickets were taken by Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan. The crowd appreciated Hasan Ali’s celebration style and loved watching young sensation Shadab at home, something they termed priceless after the series.


The Negatives
Multiple matches, Multiple Venues
As a top cricket nation, Pakistan went into seclusion after the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. The Board’s decision to restrict international cricket to Lahore for logistics purposes was understandable but then it should have hosted just one match instead of three. There are many cricket crazy cities in Pakistan including Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad etc. and hosting matches in those cities would have been like giving importance to their residents. The Multan stadium is outside the city and would have been ideal to host the match(es) as would have been Karachi’s National Stadium where the last complete Test hosted in Pakistan was held. The more the venues, the better the message would have been to the international community.


Ticket Fiasco
Pakistan Cricket Board blundered by pricing the tickets high and they had to admit to the fiasco as the series progressed. Even the visiting team’s captain was surprised to see that the stadium wasn’t full in the first match and the Board’s overconfidence is to be blamed for that. Many of the tickets were not available at the designated banks but that’s something that has been part and parcel of Pakistan Cricket, be it in the 1980s or 2010s. One hopes that the next time when an international team visits Pakistan, such issues would not arise due to better handling.


Overall, the PCB deserves full appreciation for making this mega event a success. Pakistan won, Cricket won; and Peace won!

 

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05
October
Pakistani Athletics Team Wins 4 Gold Medals in Indoor Asian Games

newspakateletewins.jpgThere is a palpable sense of resurgence and normalcy in all fields of our social life owing to great sacrifices of our men in uniform. Men in red track suits have also not lagged behind to bring back peace and élan to project soft image of Pakistan to the whole world. In the recently concluded indoor Asian Games at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, three out of four flying horses of Pakistan Army helped Pakistani Athletics Team win 4 gold medals in 400 meter relay race. This feat was achieved after almost 3 decades; last time was when a Pakistani policeman secured a gold medal in 1990 Asian Games for Pakistan. Gunner Nokar Hussain, Lance Naik Mehboob Ali and Sepoy Nishat Ali also won silver medals in Islamic Solidarity Games in February 2017.

 

Army Sports Directorate, since then pinned hopes to win a gold medal at continent level games, which they did. This is second gold medal won by Pakistan Army at continent level games in less than two years. First being won by Sepoy Muhammad Afzal in triple jump in 1st Youth Asian Games 2015. Though, during this time Pakistani athletes have won many medals in different events but winning gold medal at Asian Games and World/Olympic games has its unique flavor. When the green flag flies higher than the rest and national anthem is played, patriotic emotions are electrified and work as a fillip for others to perform equally well.

05
October
Pak-China Joint Air Exercise ‘Shaheen-VI’

newspakchinjointexc.jpgThe Pak-China Joint Air Exercise “Shaheen-VI”, commenced at Korla Air Base, China in the month of September 2017. PAF contingent comprising combat pilots, air defence controllers and technical ground crew participated in this bilateral exercise. JF-17 Thunder, Mirage, F-7PG and ZDK aircraft from Pakistan Air Force along with People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s J-8, J-11, JH-7 and KJ-200 AWACS aircraft took part in the air exercise. The exercise further strengthened the working relationship between both the Air Forces and helped in learning from each other’s experiences.


Pakistan Air Force emphasizes on the combat training of its air and ground crew and regularly undertakes air exercises with Air Forces of friendly countries. “Shaheen-VI” is the sixth in the series of joint air exercises with PLAAF, which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis. PLAAF contingent participated in “Shaheen-V” which was conducted in Pakistan last year.

 

 

 
05
October
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Inducts Two Island Class Ships

Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) inducted and commissioned two Ex-U.S. Island Class policing ships – Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) Sabqat and PMSS Rafaqat. These ships, after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, have undergone complete overhaul in the USA prior to being sold to the PMSA.

 

newspakmartimesec.jpgPMSA is a maritime Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) raised in 1987 under the ambit of Ministry of Defence and is akin to coast guard agencies of the world. The Agency is mandated to safeguard good order against criminal activities like poaching, smuggling, narco-trafficking within maritime expanse of Pakistan. The Agency functions with patronage of Pakistan Navy, and it undertakes a number of benign operations also at sea including search and rescue, prevention of marine pollution, protection of fishermen and assistance to other state departments.


Induction and commissioning ceremony for the new ships was held at Karachi on September 22, 2017. Vice Admiral Tayyab Ali Dogar was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Senior military, government officials, and U.S. Consul General also attended the ceremony. Director General PMSA, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar addressed the gathering and acknowledged the government’s efforts and support of Pakistan Navy in optimising operational resources of PMSA to safeguard the maritime security compulsions and CPEC imperatives. This will add a great deal to the security fiber not only for the CPEC but for all maritime zones of Pakistan.


DG PMSA, Rear Admiral Raja Jamil Akhtar said that in light of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), PMSA’s importance and responsibility has increased manifold. To fulfill these challenges, PMSA has been working aggressively on resource-building and fleet expansion. These Island Class ships are equipped with latest technologies and capabilities that enable them to effectively undertake patrolling, surveillance, search and rescue, and other law enforcement operations.


With these 2 ships, a total of 5 modern ships have been inducted in the PMSA fleet during this year. Earlier this year, 3 maritime patrol ships from China – PMSS BASOL, HINGOL and DASHT have been inducted to existing fleet of Shanghai Class corvettes being operated by PMSA for constabulary and benign operations in the maritime zones of Pakistan. A number of PMSA platforms are under construction at Karachi shipyard and in China. The biggest ship Kashmir, weighing 1500 tonnes, is under construction and would soon join PMSA fleet enhancing maritime security capability of Pakistan. DG PMSA said that PMSA also suggested that they plan to improve upon the present aviation wing of 3 fixed-wing Defender aircraft.

05
October
National Security Workshop Participants from NDU Visit HQ FCNA
newsnationalsecwork.jpgAround 75 participants of National Security Workshop headed by Maj Gen Samrez Salik, HI (M), DG ISSRA (Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis), National Defence University visited Gilgit. The participants were briefed in HQ FCNA about the role of FCNA in Gilgit-Baltistan. In a question-answer session, Commander FCNA, Maj Gen Saqib Mehmood Malik briefed the participants regarding operational readiness of the troops. The participants were highly appreciative of FCNA for the role it is playing in development/uplift of Gilgit-Baltistan besides fulfilling operational obligations along with efforts for ensuring peace and stability in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

05
October
Colombo Defence Seminar 2017

newscolombodefseminar.jpgColombo Defence Seminar 2017 was held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) from August 28-29, 2017. The seminar, which was initiated as an annual forum in the year 2011 by the Sri Lankan Army, has grown into an internationally accepted round-table for interaction on matters pertaining to national, regional and international security. This year 87 delegates from 17 countries participated in the seminar in different capacities. President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest for inaugural session.


The seminar served as an audience for providing intellectual connectivity amongst those who seek strategic, sub-regional, regional, and global partnerships by assembling noticeable national and international scholars, think-tanks, and diplomats around this particular theme. The seminar was designed with sequenced sessions comprising presentations, panel discussions, and participant-oriented group discussions to optimize the discourse and to enhance knowledge on the entire gamut of “Violent Extremism” and its influence on global peace.


Three members delegation from Pakistan headed by Brig Shahzada Shahid Nawaz (accompanied by Col Sajjad Ali, DA) participated in the discussion, whereas Lt Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt, Commander 11 Corps represented the COAS at the seminar as special guest. Mr. Muhammad Abbas Hassan was invited by SLA as lecturer on extremism-based issues related to West Asia.

05
October
Maritime Security Workshop 2017

Pakistan Navy conducted the premier Maritime Security Workshop (MARSEW) on the theme “Secure Seas – Prosperous Pakistan” at Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore. MARSEW continued from September 11-25, with the aim to create maritime awareness, enlighten the participants on vast maritime potential of Pakistan and its significance for overall economic growth of the country.


Stretched over two weeks, Maritime Security Workshop comprised one week of on-campus activities and one week visits of Pakistan Navy installations and units at Karachi, Creeks and Coastal areas and other national maritime installations/setups.

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The first phase of the workshop included on-campus discussions on maritime potential of Pakistan, the maritime environment, blue economy, and national maritime policy and strategy. During this phase of the workshop, an array of prominent speakers dilated upon various aspects of maritime security through seminars, presentations of research papers, table- top discussions and other interactive sessions. A brief overview was also given to the participants on the under development, "Maritime Doctrine of Pakistan". The speakers included Former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral M. Asif Sandila, Vice Admiral Asaf Humayun (R), Vice Admiral Iftikhar Rao (R), Rear Admiral Pervaiz Asghar (R), Commodore Obaidullah (R), Commodore M. Azam Khan (R), Dr. Salman Shah, Dr. Ali Sultan, Ahmer Bilal Soofi and Dr. Zafar Jaspal.


During the second week the workshop participants visited Pakistan Navy installations and units at Karachi, Coastal and Creeks areas for orientation and familiarization. The members visited Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW), HQ Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) and Sindh Fisheries Department. The participants also had a sea trip on board Pakistan Navy destroyer and later briefed on Pakistan Navy’s command structure and coastal as well as Creeks area defences. Tour of Gwadar Port and briefing on the in-progress CPEC maritime related projects constituted high point of the visit. The delegation also visited Naval Headquarters Islamabad and was briefed on Pakistan Navy’s roles and tasks in safeguarding the sea frontiers of Pakistan.


The closing ceremony of Maritime Security Workshop (MARSEW) was held at Pakistan Navy War College Lahore on September 25, 2017. The President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain was Chief Guest on the occasion. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was also present at the ceremony besides senior civil and military dignitaries.


Speaking on the occasion the Chief Guest lauded efforts of Pakistan Navy in organizing the ground-breaking event and termed it as reflection of “forward looking” leadership of Pakistan Navy. He underscored the importance of oceans in twenty first century and specifically appreciated Pakistan Navy for its significant role towards protection of sea frontiers and development of maritime infrastructure. He said that Pakistan Navy should be given ample resources to spearhead initiatives which shall contribute in overall growth of the country.


While praising Pakistan Navy’s efforts and initiatives for ensuring maritime security, the President highlighted that the indispensable and historical contribution of Pakistan Navy in protecting and advancing the cause of national maritime sector cannot be overstated. He further added that Pakistan Navy’s initiative of Maritime Security Workshop will pay rich dividends in terms of understanding of maritime sector and the widespread responsibility of Pakistan Navy.


Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the workshop. The Naval Chief also appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Navy War College for arranging the maiden Maritime Security Workshop and desired such workshops be organized in future as well. Commandant Pakistan Navy War College, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas also gave a brief rundown on the workshop activities. The participants were later awarded certificates by the Chief Guest.


Conducted under the banner of "Secure Seas – Prosperous Pakistan", the two week long maritime security workshop was attended by parliamentarians, bureaucrats, academicians and representatives from media and senior officers from the Armed Forces of Pakistan. The members of the delegation expressed satisfaction over Pakistan Navy's operational preparedness, progress on CPEC and Gwadar Port projects and nation-building efforts and highly lauded Pakistan Navy’s strenuous efforts and initiatives for safeguarding the maritime interests of Pakistan.

05
October
COAS Visits Parents of Lieutenant Arsalan Alam Shaheed

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited parents of Lieutenant Arsalan Alam shaheed on newscoasvistimurre1.jpgSeptember 25, 2017 at his village near Murree who embraced shahadat at newly established Pakistani border post in Rajgal, Khyber Agency on September 23. COAS offered fateha at grave of the shaheed and interacted with the great family. While paying tribute to shaheed Lieutenant Arsalan Alam, COAS said, “Army and the nation is proud of their shuhuda who have rendered supreme sacrifices in the line of duty. Lieutenant Arsalan Alam being the only son of family with three sisters preferred his country over himself and his family. No power can harm us till the time we have such valiant sons of soil and their brave parents in Pakistan.” He further said, “On the contrary, some people/hostile agencies from abroad are trying to destabilize our country and also criticize Army. They fear Army being a hurdle to achieve their nefarious designs.” COAS also said, “Pakistan Army shall continue to perform in the best interest of the country and will stand by with the nation against all challanges. Pakistan’s enemy is our enemy. Use of force is the prerogative of state alone.” COAS also stated that we shall restore peace and rule of law, whatever sacrifices it may cost.

05
October
Air Chief Visits Azerbaijan

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force held meetings with the government and military officials of Azerbaijan during his official visit to the brotherly country.

 

newsairchiefazerbaijan.jpgAt the start of the visit, the Air Chief laid floral wreath at the grave of the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev and his wife Zarifa Aliveva. Later on, he met with Mr. Yaqub Eyyubov, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Colonel General Kamaladdin Heydarov, Minister of Emergency Situation of Republic of Azerbaijan. During the meetings, Air Chief underlined the importance of expanding mutual cooperation and resolved to take it to further heights. He talked about Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and reiterated that Pakistan would stand with Azerbaijan in the hour of need. He also thanked the Azerbaijan government for their support to Pakistan on the burning issue of Kashmir.


The Air Chief also called on Lieutenant General Ramiz Tahirov, Air Force Commander of Azerbaijan in his office. Both dignitaries remained together for some time and discussed matters of professional and mutual interest. The Air Chief pledged to meet the timelines of the contract for the provision of Super Mushshak aircraft to Azerbaijan. Moreover, he also discussed the prospects of training Azerbaijan Air Force personnel at PAF institutions.


Later in the day, the Air Chief visited Military Academy of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan to deliver a lecture on “Application of Airpower in Asymmetric Warfare”. Addressing the audience, the Air Chief said that air power with its basic characteristics emerges as the best option in asymmetric warfare and its unique attributes and capabilities provide a wide array of opportunities for application in this form of warfare. He also highlighted PAF’s pivotal role in the fight against terrorism and said that PAF, in synergy with armed forces, had successfully rooted out the menace of terrorism from the country. He further said that although Pakistan had suffered the most in the war against terrorism, yet it had not diminished its resolve to fight for ensuring peace in the region.

05
October
Heroes Die Young

Lieutenant Arsalan Alam Buried with Full Military Honours

newscoasvistimurre.jpgLieutenant Arsalan Alam Satti Shaheed was buried with full military honours after namaz-e-janaza in his native town Ghell, New Murree. He embraced shahadat while he was participating in Operation Khyber IV in Rajgal Valley against the terrorists. The officer had repulsed attack by the terrorists bravely before he received a bullet on his forehead and embraced shahadat. He was the only son of his parents.

Commander 10 Corps, Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza, General Officer Commanding 12 Division, Major General Azhar Abbas and large number of Army and civilian dignitaries attended namaz-e-janaza of the shaheed. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented guard of honour. Floral wreath from COAS was also laid on the grave of shaheed.

 

 

 

 

05
October
German Ambassador Meets COAS
newsgermanambas.jpgH. E. Mr. Martin Kobler, German Ambassador to Pakistan met Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on September 21, 2017. Issues of mutual interest including security situation were discussed. The ambassador said that ‘Germany is grateful to Pakistan for its fight against terrorism’ and assured of his continued efforts in improving bilateral relations between the two countries.

 

 

 

 

 

Members of Defence Committees of Senate and National Assembly Visit GHQ

newsmerdefcome.jpgA delegation comprising members of Defence Committees of the Senate and National Assembly headed by Senator Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum (R) visited GHQ on September 18, 2017. The delegation laid wreath at GHQ’s Shuhada Monument and was given a detailed briefing on evolving security environment including situation on the borders and Pakistan Army’s efforts for peace and security. The delegation also had an interactive session with Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The session concluded with a resolve to continue our struggle against the menace of violent extremism through a synergetic, whole-of-the-nation approach based on the principle of ‘collective potential and shared responsibility’.

 

05
October
President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Calls on CJCSC
newscjscazadkashmir.jpgH.E. Mr. Muhammad Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. During the meeting, matters related to regional security with emphasis on human rights violations by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir came under discussion. President Azad Jammu and Kashmir praised the resolve of Pakistan Armed Forces to deter and defeat any aggression by India against Azad Kashmir.

 

 

 

 

 
CJCSC Attends “Pacific Chiefs Defence Conference 2017”

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, attended “Pacific Chiefs of newscjscpeacfic.jpgDefence Conference 2017” at Victoria, Canada from September 4-6. The Conference was titled, “The Future Security Environment, Challenges, Complexity and Cooperation,” and attended by Chiefs of Defence Staff of 25 countries from around the world. The core areas discussed during the Conference included: 'Trends in the Indo-Asia Pacific, Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism and Peace Support Operations.'

During the discussion on 'Trends in Indo-Asia Pacific', three major concerns: Demography, Water Security and Climate Change were identified. Chairman highlighted the issues being faced by Indus Water Treaty and the existing challenges faced by the mechanism to resolve water issues. On the sidelines of the Conference, the Chairman held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from seven different countries. During the meetings, matters of mutual professional interest with particular reference to global and regional security environment, were discussed. All the dignitaries remained appreciative of the high professional standards of Pakistan Armed Forces and their valued contributions in regional peace and stability. They also acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistan in war against terrorism.

04
October

Written By: Muhammad Yusuf Malik

Launch ceremony of the book “Kashmir Crisis (Unresolved Issue of Muslim Ummah) Opinions & Analysis” written by Mr. Omar Mohammad Nazzal Al Armouti was held at Amman, Jordan on August 16, 2017. The event was attended by approximately 600 individuals from all walks of life including ministers, members of Jordanian parliament, think tanks, diplomatic community and Pakistani community, making it one of the biggest gatherings in Amman for any book launch.


This is the first ever book written by a Jordanian/Arab author in Arabic language on Kashmir crisis and the first book that has a comprehensive chapter of striking similarities between Palestine and Kashmir issue duly depicted through pictures. The book has been organized in three parts covering historical perspective, opinion of key influential figures and pictorial coverage of the issue, adequately addressing all the concerns of a general reader. Dignitaries present at the launch ceremony appreciated the efforts and dedication of Mr. Omer Muhammad Nazzal Al Armouti for publishing quality work on Kashmir issue for the orientation of Arab world.

 

jourdnaniaauthor.jpgMr. Armouti visited Kashmir till Line of Control (LoC) to interact with Kashmiri refugees, Kashmiri top leadership including the President and Prime Minister to have first-hand knowledge of the ground situation.


His Excellency Mr. Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, Ex Minister of Information condemned human rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and appreciated the effort of Mr. Armouti in projecting Kashmir cause through his book.


His Excellency Mr. Zeid Ul Muhaisan, President Pakistan Graduate Club mentioned that Kashmir and Palestine issue must be resolved for peace in the region.


His Excellency Mr. Marwan Fauri, member of Global Moderation Forum said, “This is where our role at the world forums for mediation appears which is to defend every humanitarian issue by means of intellectual and cultural tools. Our role will be complementary to all international organizations and bodies that seek to delight mankind, bring justice and achieve peace in Kashmir.”


His Excellency, Senator Lieutenant General Dr. Ghazi Tayyab (R), Member of Congress voiced his concern over recent sufferings of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir and hoped that this book written by Mr. Armouti would help in reviving the Kashmir issue.


Colonel Muhammad Yousaf Malik, from Embassy of Pakistan mentioned that in the recent uprising, after the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, there are serious human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir with a prolonged curfew. Mosques, schools, markets, telephones, internet and hospitals are closed. In the last one year, Indian security forces have killed more than 190 Kashmiris, wounded around 21,000 and blinded more than 1200 by use of pellet guns. It has been declared as the first biggest blinding activity of the human history by human rights organizations.


Mr. Omer Muhamamd Nazzal Al Armouti said, “The book will project Kashmir issue to the international community especially the Arab World.” He also mentioned that sufferings of people he had seen during his visit to Kashmir could not be explained in words.


His Excellency Lieutenant General Shafaat Ullah Shah (R), Ambassador of Pakistan to Jordan said, “Recent human rights’ violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir are serious in nature and deserve special attention of international community. The book written by Mr. Armouti will help in reviving the Kashmir issue in the Arab World.”

 

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04
October
A two week long joint exercise DRUZBA 2017 between special forces of Pakistan and Russian Armies started in Minralney Vody, Russia. The opening ceremony was attended by senior military officials of special forces of both countries. The joint exercise will focus on counter terrorism operations, hostage and rescue, and cordon and search operations. The joint exercise will enhance and further strengthen military ties between both the countries and share Pakistan Army's experience in the war against terrorism.

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04
October

Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)

During Operation Rah-e-Nijat, after initial phases, search and cordon operations began in South Waziristan Agency. In Kotkai area search began in a house located at the end of the village, that stretched along the highroad, over a hill point.


The house stood on steep slopes terminating at the bridle path, connecting few more houses at a distance. The fences rounded a solid gate, few carts painted green, stood in a shed. Within the house the paths were straight and a foot bridge over a stream had been built with handrails.


Once search commenced and while passing through the house, a well-dug 60 metre long tunnel inside the house was discovered that ultimately opened towards Tankzam river, overlooking the steep banks of the river.


The zigzag tunnel inside the house consisted of a threshing floor, unsophisticated outhouse, a crude bathhouse and a number of large brick curves having semicircular façade. These separated the course of tunnel; beside, it had in course of construction two rounds 20 metres apart that created space for a group to conference.


Similar fidayeen camps were discovered in various parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Swat Valley and, Malakand Division; drawing around 90% of Pashtun fidayeen and later number of non-Pashtuns also grew in various camps.


In South Waziristan Agency, fidayeen camps were especially set up to train suicide bombers in abandoned schools, or in houses of hardcore militants of North and South Waziristan, Orakzai, Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies.


The most prominent camps in South Waziristan Agency included: Kotkai, Nawazkot, Deeley, Karama, Kazha Pangha, Barwand, Karikot, Ladha and Tangay. In Swat these were set up in Charbagh and Peochar. In Orakzai Agency: Galjo and Ferozkhel; in Mohmand Agency Chinaari and Mohammad Ghat.
The fidayeen camp in Kotkai area was one of the most organized camps, run by Qari Hussain, a senior Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) member, popularly known as “Trainer of Suicide Bombers”. The Kotkai, was also hometown of Hakeem Ullah Mehsud, Amir of TPP.

 

intosusidecamp.jpgA lot of material was recovered from these fidayeen camps, suggesting Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) on drills of continuously switching the location for the purpose of security, organization under Rahbars (guides), instruction on the strength of each camp that varied from 30-35 fidayeen, procedure of coming in and out and guards on each camp. However, no one was allowed to leave the camp area after Isha prayers.


The adults and juniors had different camps. Adult camps had trainees from age 16 years and older, while the junior camps had fidayeen from seven years to maximum 15 years of age.


The dates and months appended on the black boards or in attendance rolls of various camps suggested that training was conducted during good weather and away from the reach of law enforcing agencies. The writings on black boards recorded two languages, Pushto or Urdu.


However, some camps trained inmates for sensitive missions, where adults were trained to wear suicide jackets during sensitive missions; trained not to surrender rather blow themselves up, should such eventuality occur.


The training material contained weapon training of AK-47, Indian-made Light Machine Guns, 12.7 mm guns, 14.5 mm guns, 82 mm mortars, 75 mm Recoilless Rifle, Russian SPG-9, Chinese Single Barrel Rocket Launcher and myriad forms of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


The trend of recruiting children increased after military operations, as adult suicide bombers found it increasingly difficult to hit their targets. Therefore, children were seen more recruitable simply for being children.


Few trainees were retrieved by their parents and few left the camps at their own as revealed in the registers maintained by the Rahbars.


The records recovered from the camps suggested a network of recruitment mostly from the kinship or family friends of children. Majority of children were recruited from Madrassas being prime recruiting ground, streets or from low-income neighbourhoods brought by a network linked to the relatives, family friends and guardians of children.


However, many suicide bombers were attracted to these camps due to curiosity, proximity of the camps to villages and towns, unemployment or under-employment, poor academic options (most dropped out of school early), boredom, lack of entertainment or adventure through the network of recruiters.


The network of recruiters lured the children by offering a path out of boredom and drudgery of poverty that would promise them of ending all their problems. They are shown scenes of paradise, where rivers of milk and honey flowed, in exchange for giving up their lives.


Such a lax interpretation is contrary to Qur’anic message of peace, tolerance and mutual respect and certainly denies the persistent disaggregation and contextualization of an element of defining a supreme concept of human activities to be an ideological warfare, while it seems least to do with gaining deeper understanding of religion as faith (Iman).1


The militants exploited religious laxity of the concept with blurred persuasion without deep and intrinsic connections with concept of jihad, which is not only a religious obligation, but emphasizes all human endeavours for betterment of humanity, community, personal and collective.


In the camps, the ideological differential was motivating factor based on themes, such as atrocities against Muslims, taking revenge of helpless Muslims whose daughters and sisters are dishonoured by non-Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq and incitement of stories like Muslim women languishing in the prisons of infidels.


In the camp, Rahbars perfected the art of inflaming passions through all means, listing a litany of recognizable political grievances to ignite these passions, professing unhurried mutilation of infidels siding with the infidels.


Most lectures consistently emphasized on the religious permissibility of suicide attacks against non-Muslims and even their Muslim allies. In many sermons, atrocities against Muslims were argued, since Pakistan Army and other security forces are working in collaboration with the United States, hindering jihadist activities; therefore, suicide bombings against the army, security forces and even all government employees were in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.


Similarly, killing of Shias with suicide attacks or any other means was accorded in the lax religious injunctions. For this purpose, references were given from Holy Qur’an, Hadith, decrees of religious scholars, citing of the precedent of famous commanders and companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Khalid bin Walid. Stories of past suicide bombers were told to new fidayeen who had appeared in dreams saying that they were in jannat (paradise).


Lectures were adroitly prepared that satisfied fidayeen that innocents killed in suicide attacks are martyrs, and therefore, fidayeen would indeed be awarding shahadat to them. There were discoveries of videos of previous bombers planning their operations; but post-blast scenes were not shown as the images of carnage could have demoralized the recruits.2


The training material was carefully prepared. It helped to radicalize fidayeen to such an extent that they competed for the chance to be launched, preferably against Americans and Pakistan Army.


The fidayeen were pampered for winning jannat for giving up life for Allah in exchange. They would enter jannat as soon the explosive detonated, whose pain is not more than a prick and in afterlife they would recommend seventy people to be placed in jannat. Therefore, fidayeen were treated superior to other jihadists – for their supreme sacrifice for Allah.


Camp routine was very carefully programmed; starting from tahajjud (night vigils), recitation of the Holy Qur’an until fajar (morning prayers), breakfast, training of driving and maneuvers on cars and motorcycles and preparation for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIED) to be used for suicide bombing.3


In the evening, besides recitation of the Holy Qur’an, they received lectures on Jihad and watched jihadist videos on a DVD player to be followed by mesmerizing emotional speeches by Rahbars like Qari Hussain. Every sermon contained countless references from Holy Qur’an and Islamic history to conclude the need of imposing Shariah as the way forward to justify armed struggle.


The two most well-known books in the camps were Islam aur Fidai Hamlay (Islam and Suicide Attacks), written by Mufti Abdul Bashar Qasmi, and Fazail-e-Jihad (Virtues of Jihad), written by Maulana Masood Azhar. However, famous lessons were from numerous stories narrated for an hour before going to sleep.
The targets are given only by the Amir (head of TTP for example) to Rahbar and fidai, who leaves behind either a note or “video wills” before departure; to be released after the mission or given to their families. The fidai before attack must take bath, shave his pubic hair, wear clean clothes (not new), recite Qur’anic verses until the actual blast.


The fidai is trained to follow the instructions of Rahbar, who takes the fidai to predetermined target either a few days before the attack, or on the actual day. As per recorded procedure, the fidai reserves the right to disobey Rahbar if he changes the venue of the attack, attempts to hand him over to another handler, or asks him to attack an impossible target or one that will result in too few casualties (less than 10), however, there is an exception to VIP targets.


The fidayeen are given code words, for example, assassination code of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was “the meal is ready”. The fidai is asked to recite Ayat-ul-Kursi or a verse from Surah-e-Yaseen as it is believed that he would be invulnerable to law enforcement detection.


The fidai on the instructions of Rahbar, pulls the ring of the striker sleeve. However, intoxication is not generally administered to fully motivated fidayeen and sermons of Rahbars revealed that there was no abnormal physical reaction of fidayeen such as sweating, dry mouth, restlessness, heart palpitations, or abnormal movements of the body.


However, some fidayeen were found anxious either due to fear or being puzzled about missing their targets, such as detonating their explosives was either early or too late. This could be due to intoxication as during raids a large quantity of syringes were recovered from the camps.


As per the recorded procedure, Rahbar visits the family of suicide bomber if close in the vicinity and normally no compensation is paid contrary to the general public’s perception. However, there have been cases where extremely destitute parents of fidayeen were given a small amount of financial assistance, therefore, posthumous compensation package is largely a myth.

 

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1 This is albeit Holy Qur'an prohibits such actions. Verse 4:29 reads “O you who believe! Do not consume your wealth in the wrong way-rather through trade mutually agreed to, and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is Merciful toward you.” Verse Al-Anam 6:151 reads “and take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law”.
2 Militants filmed actions of Fadiayeen, kidnapping of soldiers, journalists and diplomats and torturing and brutally killing of innocent civilians. They also filmed slaughtering of soldiers in the hands of teenagers.
3 IEDs are basic technique of preparing suicide bombers or vehicle borne suicide bombers. It is a product of reckoning cycle of human mind and militants’ gained expertise in making IEDs with magnetic field, sound, photo electric cell, delay action charges and collapsible circuits to produce effects from waves through blast pressure, fragmentation and incendiary. In Pakistan militants used conventional high explosive (HE) charges, commercial explosives like Wabox and Wabonite, Home Made Explosive (HME) made of urea, soap, diesel and unexploded ordinances (UXOs), like mines, rockets, artillery and motor blinds with plastic explosive to prepare suicide bombers and IEDs.

 
04
October

Written By: Maryam Razzaq

Interview with Dr. Zhang Daojian,Head of Confucius Institute Islamabad

China has been a time-tested friend of Pakistan and it acknowledges Pakistan’s historical recognition of China’s republican transition in 1949. While people of both countries enjoy traditional eastern cultures, their state-to-state relations are cemented at an even deeper level to harmonize the geo-strategic policies affecting the geo-political situation. The sincerity and loyalty to national interests of each other, reflected and exhibited at different forums of world, is a testimony of the everlasting cordial relations between the two countries.

 

pakchinafriend.jpgThe start of new era in the shape of CPEC ushering the financial and developmental activity in recent past has been the result of trust, confidence and belief between the two nations. CPEC will be instrumental in exchange of ideas, technical expertise, elevating the quality of life and above all, fusion of culture in the shape of language, values and way of life. The major barrier of effective communication i.e. language has been amply addressed and for this purpose Confucius Institute Islamabad was established in 2005, through collaboration of Hanban Headquarter, Beijing Language and Culture University, and National University of Modern Languages. It is the first Confucius Institute in the Islamic world which has won the award “Confucius Institute of the Year” four times, “Individual of the Year” twice, and also won “Confucius Institute Pioneer Prize” in 2015. It was also honored as the “Model Confucius Institute” in 2016. The main job of Confucius Institute is to teach Chinese language and promote Chinese culture in Pakistan. Not only it is a center for teaching but also a center for cultural exchange in Pakistan.


While Pakistan congratulates China on celebrating its 68th National Day, Dr. Zhang Daojian, Head of Confucius Institute Islamabad was interviewed to represent a common view of Chinese on this auspicious occasion especially with reference to people of Pakistan.


Q: Pakistan and China have the most cordial and strengthened relations at state-level. How do you see people-to-people relations between the two nations?
In the past five years, I have spent most of my time in Pakistan and so, I can say with conviction that people of Pakistan are the most welcoming and kind people I have ever known. In China, we call Pakistan as, “Iron Pakistan”. In Chinese language, this phrase is used to describe the most loyal and most faithful friends who will never betray each other. To promote the people-to-people communication between Pakistan and China, our Confucius Institute organizes a Summer Camp of around 100 campers to visit China every year. Also, I believe that the individual-level relations and people-to-people contact between Pakistan and China is destined to further improve with the actualization of CPEC.


Q: With CPEC fully operational, how do you see cultural fusion between the two nations?
I would like to use the phrase “cultural communication” rather than “cultural fusion”, because “fusion” seems to make two cultures become one. The facts are not like that. Communication means bilateral benefits. Communication enriches both cultures instead of fusing them into one. With CPEC’s operationalization, our ties will further deepen and contact will increase manifold, which is why we shall put in extra effort to shorten the time needed for cultural adaptation. Language teaching is one of most effective ways to solve the problem.

 

pakchinafriend1.jpgQ: How do you see the future of Pak-China friendship under the changing geopolitical settings?
I personally see the future of Pak-China friendship rising from higher than the Himalayas to higher than the skies. We have a famous proverb in China that says, “Cope with shifting events by sticking to a fundamental principle”. I believe, one fundamental principle of China’s foreign policy is to sustain Pak-China friendship. You can read it in the announcement from different Chinese leaders on the relationship between Pakistan and China. Now, with the promotion of CPEC, the ties in politics, economy and culture between two countries have greatly improved. We understand each other better and trust each other more than ever before. So I believe that in the future, Pak-China friendship will further strengthen. So even though, leaders change regularly in both countries, the friendship will never change.


Q: Pakistan and China’s growing economic and security ties have been criticized by few regional and international players. In your view what are the challenges?
Any great project comes with a lot of challenges. We have a saying in Chinese language that “a tall tree catches the wind”. I think the challenges emerge from all sides, the international actors and their interests, the cultural and language barriers, the problem of interest distribution and so on. But, in my opinion, we should listen to the critics and do research to promote the CPEC for its ultimate success. Challenges will not cease to exist so we basically need to be vigilant, make predictions and try to avoid the likely mistakes.


Q: Besides sound economic policies, which other factors, particularly cultural, have helped in China’s phenomenal economic growth?
That’s a very good question. Allow me to explain in cultural terms that what led China to develop its economy so fast. Chinese people have a great tradition of ‘home-state feelings’, which is the feeling and enthusiasm that leads you to love your country and hometown and family members. When the Chinese work hard to earn money, they don’t do so for themselves but for the whole family, their hometown and the country. Chinese wouldn’t waste their money rather they’d spend on someone in dire need of it. If one becomes successful in economy, he would like to leave the big cities and come back to his hometown to help the town fellows. That’s one of the reasons why Chinese people’s wealth accumulation develops so fast.


Q: Chinese civilization is one of the oldest civilizations. How do you see issues of terrorism, violence, and instability at regional and global level? And what measures do you suggest for a peaceful future?
I believe lack of communication and poverty are two of the main reasons for these problems. We should make efforts to eliminate poverty and increase the international communication and exchanges in political, economic and cultural fields. Pakistan and China set a great example to the whole world by close cooperation in these areas. CPEC is the project collaborated by both countries to increase economic activity and eliminate poverty. Confucius Institutes (CIs) aim to increase cultural communication between two countries. At present, there are four CIs in Pakistan and more are expected to be launched soon. I hope the CIs play a role in clearing misunderstandings and improving understandings. Meanwhile, NUML set up a branch in Xinjiang Normal University, NUML International Center of Education (NICE) which is functional now. Such Institutes are bridges to communicate between countries. We need more bridges.


Q: Decades of Pak-China strategic partnership are a thorn in the enemy’s eyes. What would you like to say on that?
I believe that Pak-China friendship will not harm anyone else’s interests, and we won’t be anyone’s enemies. The wisdom of both countries can deal with any problem. Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, peaceful co-existence) are Chinese government’s fundamental policy. Therefore, maybe some countries are hostile to Pak-China relations, we should make clear that we are peaceful powers, and we’d like to promote co-prosperity in the region and the world.


Q: CPEC is already termed as a “Game Changer” for the region, what more, in your opinion, can Pak-China friendship do for the wellbeing of the region?
There is no doubt that CPEC will bring benefits for all interested parties. China and Pakistan envisage making the region stable and prosperous. We wish to improve the economic conditions of Pakistan and China as well as the region. Both countries are willing to share CPEC facilities with international partners in order to fetch common benefits and improve people to people contacts.


Q: How has your experience been living in Pakistan?
It’s quite pleasant and memorable. As you know I live here and consider Pakistan as my second home. I love it and enjoy my life here. Everybody is very kind to me. Whenever someone comes to know, I am a Chinese, they would call me “brother” and take photos with me. Pakistani people are very kind and loving. Let me share a story. This January, when I went to Wagah Border with my family members, I met a middle-aged Pakistani man who didn’t speak much English. I was parking my car and he was in his van. He was very happy to see a Chinese around and so he hugged me. Then he asked me if I had had lunch to which I said, no. What happened next really moved me. The man went back to his van without a word and brought some Naans (bread) to us. I knew that was his lunch so I refused at first but as he insisted, I took his food. That is a great example of what I have experienced in Pakistan. And I want the world to know how kind these Pakistanis are.


Q: On a lighter note, Pakistani and Chinese cultures are already amalgamating, how close do you see our Chinese foods to the actual Chinese food? Also, what is your favorite food from Pakistan?
It’s a very interesting question. There are four major Chinese cuisine: Shangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Cantonese Cuisine and Jiangsu Cuisine. I like them all but my favorite is my wife’s cooking, which is quite personalized. The Chinese food in Pakistan is very special and localized, for example in Chinese food, we seldom use curry but in Pakistan curry is used a lot. The Pakistani food in China also has to make some changes to meet the local taste. Globalization and localization indeed go side by side.


My favorite Pakistani food is Barbecue. It’s really amazing. I visit some Barbecue restaurants regularly. Sometimes, I feel myself just like a greedy child when I sit before the delicious mutton. I keep telling myself to eat less else I would put on weight but the mesmerizing smell of the Barbecue makes me fall prey to the temptation. Lassi is my favorite Pakistani drink. I have loved it since my first days in Pakistan.


Q: On China’s 68th National Day which also marks 66 years of Pak-China friendship, what message would you like to give to the people of China?
Long Live Pak-China Friendship! Pakistan is developing very fast, I have witnessed it! Please come to Pakistan to create a new life! Start your new career here! Start your new Business here!

 

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04
October

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Complete unanimity of views on the basics of a polity between the lender and his chief lieutenant is a phenomenon that seldom occurs. For instance, it did not in the case of Gandhi and Nehru, Soekarno and Nasir, Naguib and Nasser, Ben Bella and Boumediene. But it did in the case of Jinnah and Liaquat.


Thus, in conformity with the Quaid’s concept, Liaquat visualized Pakistan as “a State where there will be no special privileges, no special rights for any one particular community or any one particular interest. It will be a State where every citizen will have equal rights and equal opportunities. It will be a State where people will have equal privileges…”


This he affirmed on August 11, 1947 while moving a resolution for approval by the Constituent Assembly of the design of Pakistan’s national flag, adding, “As I visualize the future constitution of Pakistan, it will stand for Freedom, Liberty and Equality of all the citizens of the Pakistan State.”


And by these principles, Liaquat had stood to the end of his all-too-brief tenure. For instance, during the debate, when Sris Chandra Chattopadhyay, the leader of the Congress Party in the (first) Constituent Assembly, remarked that Pakistani nationals were only Hindus or Muslims, Liaquat checkmated him, saying, “I say we are both, I do not see any contradictions in this statement. You can be the nationals of a State, with equal rights, equal privileges and equal responsibilities and yet remain Muslims and Hindus.”

 

quidemillat.jpgDespite mounting pressure from the extremists, Liaquat opted for a progressive interpretation of Islam, an interpretation which was acceptable even to the foremost spokesman of the Left in Pakistan’s formative years – Mian Iftikharuddin. Those who cavil at the sovereignty clause in the Objectives Resolution would do well to have a look at the actual wording and the context. It says, “Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through the people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust…”


Whether or not, the members of the Constituent Assembly were clear on some issues, they were quite explicit in resolving that if Pakistan were to become an “Islamic democracy”, it should be by the choice of its citizens. This explains why the Resolution recognizes the people – all the people, and not the followers of any particular faith – the vehicle of the authority delegated by God to the state of Pakistan.


No wonder the Resolution speaks of or refers to “the people” in four clauses and lays emphasis on the rights of the people, the representation of the people, the prosperity of the people, their place in the comity of nations, and the exercise of power and authority by the chosen representatives of the people. Thus, the Resolution tends to be people-oriented. But this salient feature has generally lain ignored in most recent discussions on the Resolution.


As in latter day discussions, the main objection to the Resolution raised by the critics relates to the statements “that power is derived from God”, which they characterise as a “theocratic” approach. The speeches by Liaquat Ali Khan, Mian Iftikharuddin and Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar sought to clear their doubts and clarify their “misunderstanding.”


Now which religion and which people in the world do not affirm the sovereignty of God Almighty/Ultimate Reality over the entire universe? What, however, is more important is that, as Liaquat argued, “All authority is a trust, entrusted to us by God for the purpose of being exercised in the service of man, so that it does not become an agency for tyranny and the selfishness.” Moreover, “that authority has been delegated to the people and none else, and it is for the people to decide who will exercise that authority”.


Furthermore, the Resolution affirms that “the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.” “This”, argued Liaquat, “is the very essence of democracy, because the people have been recognized as the recipients of all authority and it is in them that the power to wield it, has been vested.”


And when all power and authority are vested in the people, the question of the establishment of a theocracy does not arise. For, as Liaquat argued, “In its literal sense, theocracy means the Government of God; in this sense, however, it is patent that the entire universe is a theocracy, for is there any corner in the entire creation where His authority does not exist? But, in a technical sense, theocracy has come to mean a government by ordained priests, who wield authority as being specifically appointed by those who claim to derive their rights from their sacerdotal position…. Such an idea is absolutely foreign to Islam. Islam does not recognise either priesthood or any sacerdotal authority, and therefore, the question of a theocracy simply does not arise in Islam. If there are any who still use the word theocracy in the same breath as the polity of Pakistan, they are either labouring under a grave misapprehension, or indulging in mischievous propaganda.


In this context, a perusal of what Mian Iftikharuddin said on the occasion is both enlightening and rewarding: After felicitating Liaquat for bringing in the Resolution, the Mian Sahib said, “The objections that have been raised by the members... on this Resolution relate to the statement that power is derived from God. It has been said that it gives the constitution a theocratic approach. Sir, I assure the members... that the wording of the Preamble does not, in any way make this Objectives Resolution any more theocratic, and the more religious than the Resolution or the statements of fundamental principles of some of the modern countries of the world. We know, Sir that the constitutions of many countries start, if not with exactly the same, at least by somewhat similar words. Ireland is not the only country that I know of having the constitution which starts with somewhat similar words about God. Practically every country of the British Empire derives its authority through the agency of the King from God. It is always mentioned, the King Emperor, by the Grace of God, and, so on. The members need feel no more nervous than do the subjects of British Empire or the citizens of the Irish Free State on the wording of the Resolution.”


The more important thing, however, is that in the ideological controversy engulfing the new state, Liaquat opted for a sane, balanced and constructive approach, an approach that induced a broad consensus. And much to the consternation of the extremists, he opted for democracy as against theocracy. Interestingly, the Resolution received extensive attention in the Western scholarly circles.
To quote Professor Grunebaum, “On the theoretical level at least, as good an integration of traditional and Western ideas has been reached in this document as one might reasonably expect.” To him, the attempted bridging of the gap between the Muslim tradition and the Western idea of the nation-state deserves the greatest attention (Modern Islam). Likewise, renowned Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith has commented favourably and extensively on the Objectives Resolution (Islam in Modern History).


Finally, what Liaquat aspired to accomplish was succinctly spelled out in his address: “…We want to build up a truly liberal government where the greatest amount of freedom will be given to all its members. Everyone will be equal before the law, but this does not mean that his personal law will not be protected, we believe in the equality of status and justice…. At present our masses are poor and illiterate. We must raise their standards of life, and free them from the shackles of poverty and ignorance. So far as political rights are concerned, everyone will have a voice in the determination of the policy pursued by the government and in electing those who will run the State, so that they may do so in the interests of the people. We believe that so shackles can be put on thought and, therefore, we do not intend to hinder any person from the expression of his views…. In short, we want to base our polity upon freedom, progress and social justice…”


For those of our esteemed intellectuals who find the references to Islam in the Resolution a little problematical, it is pertinent to remember the ideological environment of the period in which the Resolution we are trying to dissect, analyse and interpret today, was formulated. It was already a bipolar world, smitten by the gathering Cold War, symbolized by the Berlin Blockade and the Berlin Wall (soon to be raised). The great ideological divide had warped simple and long familiar words (such as freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, state, sovereignty, justice, and tyranny) with ideological overtones. Hence, these concepts had to be qualified to mean what they actually stood for.


Hence, when the Resolution talks of the principles of democracy, etc. within an Islamic context, it was giving notice that what was meant was not the standard Western type nor the Soviet brand of people’s democracy, but a sort of “Islamic democracy” which, while retaining the institutional appurtenances of a democratic structure, is congruent with Muslims’ ethos, aspirations and code of morality. And, as Mian Iftikharuddin argued, “no one need object to the word ‘Islamic’”.

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO’s History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan’s Founding Father.
 
04
October

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mehmood

In the midst of slow socio-economic growth, negative export growth and rising unemployment, Pakistan has signed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with China as a part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. OBOR is not merely a trade connectivity route, it has a pro-development agenda and outlook for all its 68 participant countries having population of over 4.4 billion and 40% of the world GDP.


For CPEC to play its role in powering the intended socio-economic transformation, adequate and efficient production structures and infrastructures must be in place. In this context, one of the key components of CPEC is the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) in Pakistan. SEZs are expected to provide an impetus to stimulate economic activity along the trade corridor. Thus, well-planned SEZs are considered hugely important in achieving sustained and inclusive socio-economic growth. China and Pakistan are planning to establish nine SEZs in Pakistan. It is worth noting that at present there are about 3000 SEZs in 135 countries, which have created 68 million direct jobs with more than $500 billion worth of trade-related production.

 

awinwinprop.jpgLearning from Foreign Experience
Global experience suggests that SEZs are an important source for diversification of the economy, reduction in regional disparities, clustering of economic activities for complementarity generation with local industries, skill development of local labor force, transfer of technology and dissemination of know-how, promotion of ancillary industrial activities, development of local entrepreneurship, creation of competition, attraction of local and foreign direct investment, especially towards under-privileged regions, generation of employment, promotion of exports, and last but not the least, ease of administration and management.


SEZs are generally self-contained in the procurement of raw materials (from local and international markets), power generation, mitigating pollution, sewage treatment and support services. They practically have everything from transportation to cultural and educational facilities. So, they are perceived to provide significant insulation from the uncertain external/outside environment.


Laws and regulations of SEZs are different from generally applicable laws and regulations in the rest of the country. SEZs are generally duty-free enclaves for both trade and manufacturing. Several fiscal and regulatory incentives are offered to investors within these zones by national, provincial and local governments. Nonetheless, international experience suggests that decision to invest in SEZs is rarely based on financial incentives alone; indeed such incentives are not the key to SEZs’ success that may attract weaker firms. Success factors for them include efficient and cost effective infrastructures, and governance (or absence of over-intrusive governance) that distinguish them from other parts of the country. Success of SEZ inspires rest of the economy, encouraging more effective provision of public services and infrastructure, and forcing the policy makers to introduce economic reforms to achieve what was not achieved before.


Thus, successful SEZs introduce structural change throughout the country relatively quickly through a combination of linkages and demonstration effects with local industries. As a result of leaping up value chains and triggering positive externalities, they create economic space for their entry into basic and intermediate manufacturing. Too often, SEZs generate and allocate resources for socio-economic uplift of the adjoining areas for their acceptability by the locals.


In the end, it is worth noting that despite gainful role played by SEZs worldwide, in some countries the zones have been criticized for being less legal and socially protective for workers, misusage of allotted land for real estate speculation and tax evasion. International experience suggests that the main reason as to why SEZs fail is “rent-seeking” by interest groups, exploitation of incentives and other benefits, weak governance, bilateral disputes, regulatory issues, lack of a dispute resolution mechanism, etc. To avoid such problems and to ensure effective management, countries assign decentralized decision-making roles to private-public partnership arrangements of SEZs with inclusiveness of local communities and institutions.


Existing SEZs and Industrial Estates in Pakistan
Virtually every district headquarters of Pakistan has an industrial estate or area having infrastructures and offers incentives of various natures: The Punjab has 26 industrial estates, whilst Sindh, Balochistan and KP, have 30, 7 and 12 industrial estates, respectively. Some of these are successful, while others are unsuccessful, because they are established in remote areas lacking necessary skilled workforce or basic amenities for workers.


Some big cities also have industrial clusters on the basis of their strength in skilled workforce, raw materials, support institutions and deep historical links with local and global supply chains. These clusters include: sports and surgical clusters in the city of Sialkot, textiles cluster in Faisalabad, fan cluster in Gujrat and engineering cluster in Gujranwala to name the major ones.


Existing SEZs in Pakistan include: (1) Karachi Export Processing Zone (Karachi); (2) Risalpur Export Processing Zone (Risalpur); (3) Sialkot Export Processing Zone (Sialkot); (4) Gujranwala Export Processing Zone (Gujranwala); (5) Khairpur Special Economic Zone (Khairpur); (6) Rashakai Economic Zone (Rashakai-Mardan, M1); (7) Gadoon Economic Zone (Gadoon-Amazai Swabi); and (8) Hathar Economic Zone (Hathar-Haripur). In addition, there are some Industrial Parks in Pakistan: Rachna Industrial Park (Lahore), Marble City (Lahore), and Textile City (Port Qasim).


Some of the newly established industrial estates are: Value Addition City (Sheikhupura-Faisalabad Expressway), M-3 Industrial City (Faisalabad), and Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park (M-2 Lahore).
For peculiar reasons, Chinese companies are not interested in investing in the existing industrial estates of Pakistan. They are only interested in SEZs to be exclusively established for them along the trade corridor.


Chinese Interest in Pakistani SEZs
China, as one of the pioneering and successful countries in establishing SEZs, has been showing keen interest in investing in SEZs that Pakistan has committed to establish exclusively for Chinese companies. In fact, back in 2001, a joint-venture between a Pakistani company and a Chinese company has established a successful industrial park near Lahore. Since 2002, this company has been producing and assembling electrical and electronic products including refrigerators, deep freezers, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens, televisions, and laptops.


Despite this successful venture, some interest groups in Pakistan are creating an impression that China intends to relocate its private industries that have lost their competitiveness, either because of rising labor costs or that the industrial technology has become obsolete in China. They claim that for this purpose, China is promoting the idea of establishing exclusive industrial zones in Pakistan, where its industries can be relocated and benefit from the policy incentives and business environment. Another perspective is that, given the new stage of development in China, it does not want to provide policy support to such industries anymore and that is why it intends to relocate its old industries. Still another viewpoint shows that with huge surplus Chinese companies in any way want to invest closer to their markets provided they get desired skills, infrastructures, as well as conducive work and business environment.


Private investors from Chinese SEZs are accustomed with special economic policies and flexible governmental measures, allowing them to utilize economic management system that is more attractive for foreign and domestic firms to do business than in the rest of mainland China. In SEZs, investment is conducted without any authorization of the Chinese central government. SEZs offer tax and business incentives to attract foreign investment and technology. So the challenge for Pakistani policy makers is to provide corresponding, if not better, incentives, infrastructure and business environment to Chinese investors than they are used to with at home. It is pertinent to note here that in May 2010, China designated the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang as a Special Economic Zone, which is going to compete with Pakistani SEZs, to be established exclusively for Chinese companies and also with existing industries in Pakistan. To attract Chinese investors to establish industries in Pakistani SEZs, some extra measures and effort is required to provide them with fiscal incentives, the most cost-effective and efficient infrastructures and support services as well as investor-friendly governance.


Pakistan, on its part, is anxiously looking for foreign investment and technologies to apprehend high and sustained export-oriented growth to generate employment. Pertinent questions arise, whether Pakistan is ready to welcome such industries? And, once Chinese companies establish themselves in SEZs, will there be any global market to sell goods produced by SEZs’ firms or will they penetrate Pakistani markets and displace local industry? Despite desperate need for foreign investment, my suggestion is to develop a well thought and focused scheme for SEZs to welcome Chinese companies that should create pro-inclusive sustained growth, subject to minimum socio-economic costs. This should ultimately achieve our long term goals of gaining access to new and modern technologies as well as penetrating international markets. So, a policy challenge is to prepare local workforce, infrastructures and institutional systems, and mechanisms in Pakistan to attract and welcome Chinese investors to reap maximum and sustained benefits.


Government-Proposed Pak-China SEZs
Keeping at front the Memorandum of Understandings signed by the governments of China and Pakistan, Pakistani government has proposed following nine SEZs to be established in all five provinces along with industries:


1. Rashakai Economic Zone: (M-1, Nowshera): Fruit/food/packaging/textile stitching/knitting.
2. China Special Economic Zone Dhabeji: Type of industry will be determined at feasibility stage.
3. Bostan Industrial Zone (near Quetta): Fruit processing, agriculture machinery, pharmaceutical, motor bikes assembly, chromite, cooking oil, ceramic industries, ice and cold storage, electric appliance, and halal food industries.
4. Punjab-China Economic Zone, (M-2, Sheikhupura): Mix industry.
5. ICT Model Industrial Zone (Islamabad): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
6. Development of Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel Mills Land (Port Qasim): Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
7. Bhimber Industrial Zone: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
8. Mohmand Marble City: Feasibility studies yet to be carried out.
9. Moqpondass SEZ (Gilgit-Baltistan): Marble/granite, iron ore processing, fruit processing, steel industry, mineral processing unit, and leather industry.


Under the CPEC project, the government has proposed mineral economic processing zones besides above nine SEZs in four provinces. In Punjab, proposed Minerals Economic Processing Zones include Salt Range (antimony) and Chiniot (iron ore). In Sindh, Thar (coal) and Lakra (coal). In KP Dargai (chromite), North Waziristan (chromite), Kurram (antimony), Waziristan, (copper), Chitral (antimony), Besham (iron ore, lead), Nizampur (iron ore) and Mohmand (marble). In Balochistan, Khuzdar (chromite, antimony), Chaghi (chromite), Qila Saifullah (antimony, chromite), Saindak (gold, silver), Reko Diq (gold), Kalat (iron ore), Lasbela (manganese), Gwadar (oil refinery) and Muslim Bagh (chromite).


Strategic Directions for SEZs
Tenets of SEZs
Economic characteristics of SEZs in Pakistan should be represented by the following tenets:
1. Investment, in general, in SEZs should be by the Chinese companies, but they should be encouraged to have joint partnerships from Pakistani investors. This will ensure sustainability of SEZs.
2. Target value added activities and link them with the existing industry clusters in Pakistan.
3. Target niche industries, where production concentration in minute parts of a long international value added chain would yield high export returns.
4. Goods produced in SEZs will be principally for foreign export markets but up to a certain percentage can be exported to the Pakistan territory.
5. All services to SEZs may be provided by the government on cost-recovery basis but preferably government should engage a private company for the purpose.
6. Role of government should be limited to making legal and infrastructure arrangements.
Additional Proposals for SEZs’ Structure
Earlier, I reported a list of the government proposed SEZs along with industrial activities. In addition to these, I suggest some industrial activities that are more practical and hopefully will enable to reap more benefits. Keeping in view the interests and absorption capacity in provinces, I propose the following specific industries to be incorporated in SEZs:


• Balochistan: Fish and marine, dry fruit processing and packaging industries, water resource management technologies.
• KP: Focus on small turbines producer industries and their allied industries.
• The Punjab: Solar power plant producing industries and allied industries, engineering-based small and medium industries, technology producing industries, and food products producing industries. Establish Agricultural Technology Park near Faisalabad and link it with agricultural technology producing companies in a SEZ near Faisalabad.
• Sindh: Windmills producing industries and allied industries, packaging industry, plastic and petrochemical industries.


For the above SEZs and industries, each provincial government must ensure: skills, infrastructures, and institutions to be required by SEZs. Furthermore, link all SEZs with NUST Industrial Technology Park being established with assistance from China. This will not only fulfill research and development needs of the guest industries but will become a source of attraction for high-end production industries.


Proposed Policy Stance and Measures

Given their importance, development of SEZs should be made part of the overall growth strategy of Pakistan. Only in this way shall we be able to achieve the goal of pro-inclusive and sustained growth. If Pakistan has to offer virtually everything to attract foreign investors in SEZs, it should reciprocally secure benefits for the country. To begin with, Pakistan should make a careful choice of industries to be invited in SEZs, develop a system where targets with a timeline are effectively monitored to meet agreed export and local employment targets; encourage Chinese firms to produce intermediate inputs to be exported internationally or to non-SEZ companies in Pakistan. If firms produce finished products, they should be primarily for the export market. Besides, ensure that exports from SEZs should also aim at Chinese markets and not just the markets of the third world countries and negotiate with China to secure duty free status to all exports originating from SEZs. Pakistan should promptly conclude special trade agreement for SEZs in addition to the existing bilateral free trade agreement and create a synergy/complementarity between Pakistani and Chinese SEZs for mutual advantage.


To attract Chinese investment to meet our cherished national objectives, provide competitive fiscal incentives, efficient infrastructure and conducive business environment, of course, subject to performance committed in the contract. In addition, following specific measures need to be provided:


1. Start organizing SEZ workshops with potential industrial leaders in China and Pakistan to develop an agreed-upon set of rules of engagement with respect to how these zones should operate to ensure greater success.

2. SEZ planners should then organize roadshows to mobilize potential investors to promote SEZs.
3. Promote SEZs as incubators of good practice and self-containment, supported by good infrastructure and service provider firms. Preferably government should use a private firm to develop and manage the SEZ, while the government should be an active player in improving transport, electricity, water, telecommunications, waste disposal, and other infrastructure to link SEZs with global and local markets.
4. Ensure, as far as possible, that firms are established in SEZs complements and not substitute local industries. This is because SEZ companies producing similar goods and benefiting from privileged incentives will displace Pakistani firms in the international market.
5. Streamline storage, transportation and packaging industries for export of fruits, vegetables and fresh flowers.
6. Link SEZs with well-known skill and technology development institutions of the country.
7. Accord complete and secured property rights protection to ensure sustainability as well as attraction of Chinese firms who would then like to transfer technology and produce innovative goods.
8. SEZs should establish such activities as day care center, school facility, clinic, housing colonies, shopping center, restaurants, etc.
9. Do not allow the lessee of the land in SEZs to use land other than the pre-specified purpose.
10. Prepare and modernize domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the provision of ancillary businesses and locate them near to SEZs.
11. Allow duty-free import of new machinery and equipment to establish Chinese enterprises in the SEZs. Provide 100% tax holidays only to export and innovative products producing firms for first ten years, followed by 50% for next ten years provided the companies show the set performance and modernize their technologies.
12. Chinese investors, who wish to relocate their industry out of Pakistan, should pay some pre-defined service charge. This is to discourage the footloose investment, where investors enjoy the benefits and soon after leave the country.
13. Provide a mechanism for single-window clearance for SEZ companies.
14. Provide a mechanism for resolving matters concerned with labor, pollution authority, etc.
15. Provide full rights of hiring and firing any employee in SEZs. Investors will be free to set their pay packages and terms of work. Government should not intervene in such decisions. Investors should be, however, required to observe all the employment and social protection conventions and laws set by the International Labor Organization and other global organizations. A Committee comprised of SEZs administration and local authorities should be set-up to oversee observation of internationally accepted rules and laws. The Committee will try to resolve all disputes amicably. Alternatively, a time-bound dispute resolution mechanism should be established for the satisfaction of parties involved in the disputes.
16. Preference will be given to Pakistani and in particular local labor, but in case expertise is not available in Pakistan, Chinese workers can be hired.
17. Ensure that (dry or sea) port and market access through efficient transportation system is available. This will guarantee just-in-time availability of raw materials as well as delivery of produced goods.
18. Local transportation may be handled exclusively by Pakistani transport companies or joint Pak-China companies who need to be bounded by certain regulations for the provision of cost effective and smooth flow of cargoes coming in and going out of SEZs.
19. Create a special cadre of customs officials and staff who can facilitate SEZs’ trade on efficient basis, especially minimizing time involved in various procedures. By cutting delays, bureaucratic hurdles and corruption trade costs will be cut down for export-oriented industries.
20. Every zone should have its own power generation facility and provisions be made that WAPDA supplies are available on immediate basis in case of a breakdown of SEZ’s electric plant. Also make full provision of gas, petroleum and other utilities at internationally competitive rates.
21. Skills' gap often frustrates SEZ firms because then they have to devote an unproductive amount of time to micro-managing staff. So Pakistan urgently needs to prepare its workforce to bridge any potential skills' gap.
22. All ministries must work harder, better, and smarter to ensure speedy implementation of SEZs’ projects to seize the upcoming opportunities.
23. All the provincial and federal governments should work together as ‘one team’ for the success of the SEZs.
24. Last but not the least, foolproof security should be guaranteed by all provincial and local administrations for the safety of SEZs and their workforce.

 

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad.
 
04
October

Pakistan’s contributions to the global war on terror are matchless and phenomenal. In the last 16 years, thousands have lost their lives in the country’s fight against the world’s most notorious terrorist groups. On the internal front, Pakistan Army launched indiscriminate and effective operations to deal with terrorism and crush anti-state elements in order to ensure peace and stability. The resolve and will to fight terrorism began at home and was then extended to the external front with the commitment to eliminate terrorism jointly with the international community. Pakistan is a major contributor and partner of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces since the 60s and since then a large number of participants have delivered their services ranging from humanitarian assistance to hardcore security operations. National Counter-Terrorism Centre, Pabbi is another example of our expertise in combating terrorism where multilateral and bilateral training exercises with various friendly countries have been held. The recently conducted joint counterterrorism exercise between Pakistan and Russia in the mountains and forests of Minralney Vody (Russia) by Special Forces from both countries is evidence of our will and desire to collaborate for regional peace and security. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent visit to Afghanistan is another sincere effort by Pakistan to not only find a peaceful and durable solution to Afghanistan’s imbroglio but also expand cooperation to ensure regional security.


Internally, in a region that has suffered through the conflict continuum that caused turmoil and turbulence for several years and passed through various phases, the cricket match played between Pakistan XI and the UK Media XI comes as a reassurance of peace and stability, not only to the nation but also to the international community. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appositely commented that the event highlighted the resilience shown by the people of the area during difficult times when it was under militants’ control. It is heartening to see peace being restored in North Waziristan and other Agencies of the FATA that have seen years of unsparing violence.


Our desire for regional peace was also highlighted in the recent 72nd UN General Assembly session. It was amply emphasized to the world leadership that having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counterterrorism campaign, it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister of Pakistan unequivocally enunciated: "We are not prepared to be anyone's scapegoat. Taliban 'safe havens' are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan.”


2017 is again a manifestation of our resolve to collaborate and the nation’s continued rejection of terrorists as we continue moving forward towards a peaceful Pakistan. Despite enormous internal challenges including unpredictable acidic behavior of our traditional enemy on eastern borders in the form of continuous ceasefire violations and other escalatory provocations, Pakistan Armed Forces are fully deployed and conducting operations along Pakistan-Afghanistan international border. Martyrdom of 22 years old Lieutenant Arsalan in Rajgal Valley along Afghan border and many more are priceless contributions for peace. Our commitment towards regional and global peace is unwavering, and beyond doubts. No nation has done for peace what Pakistan has offered in form of sacrifices and unparalleled successes against terrorism.


It is time for others to “Do More”.

04
October

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

International politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power”
– Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations

 

There is no shortage of commentary and outrage on the horrific atrocities being perpetrated on the Rohingyas. Hunted by a malevolent regime that specializes in ethnic cleansing, the Rohingyas are being subjected to pogroms, rapes and summary executions aimed at forcing them to flee their homes and villages. To prevent their return, Myanmar’s army, security forces and militias are burning their villages and planting landmines. These mines have also led those fleeing the carnage having their limbs blown off, making an already uncertain life as a stateless refugee even more challenging.


Along with the actual offensive, a propaganda campaign has also been launched with recently created Myanmarese social media accounts alternately maligning the Rohingyas as ‘terrorists’, blaming them for their own woes and sometimes even out rightly denying the atrocities being perpetrated on them.


There are few buyers of this malicious campaign, and by and large the international community has spoken with one voice, condemning the Myanmarese regime which has in the past used similar tactics against other ethnic minorities such as the Shan and Karen.


But condemnation will have very little effect on the Myanmarese regime which, thanks to its already moribund economy and insular nature, is largely immune to sanctions and censure.


More importantly, Myanmar’s greatest advantage is that it finds itself at the center of the geopolitical games being played by countries including those which share borders with Myanmar: India and China significantly… both of which have been careful to not condemn Myanmar’s actions and have even extended diplomatic support. This puts us in a situation where we ought to see this crisis in context of geopolitical compulsions as well as plight of Muslim brothers. It is a complex issue that demands much deeper understanding than mere sloganeering.


Pakistan’s all-weather friend China’s position is affected by several geopolitical and economic compulsions: a minor one is that China is wary of ethnic tensions at home and is thus loath to create a precedent (by supporting the Rohingya cause) that could later be used against it in, for example, the Tibetan context.


The major factors, however, are purely economic and geostratregic, both factors that have recently gained greater impetus due to China’s massive OBOR project, along with China’s ongoing attempt to export industrial overcapacity to neighbouring countries.


It also so happens that the Rakhine province is at the center of Beijing’s investments in Myanmar, with Chinese investments in Rakhine alone totaling up to several billion dollars.


Smack in the middle of the Rakhine state’s coastline on the Bay of Bengal, a consortium led by China’s CITIC Group has proposed taking a 70 percent to 85 percent stake in the $7.3 billion deep sea port at Kyauk Pyu. Here the commercial and strategic interests interlink, as the port is a key link in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, serving as part of a larger passageway aimed at connecting China’s Southwestern provinces to the Indian Ocean and thus farther afield to Africa, where China has growing interests, and onwards to the Mediterranean. Kyauk Pyu is also the starting point for oil and gas pipelines that cross Myanmar to reach China’s southern Yunnan province. China also plans to build an industrial park and a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Rakhine where Chinese companies will be located. China is also the number one destination for Myanmar’s exports, followed by Thaiolans, China and then Japan. Besides these, defence collaboration between China and Myanmar are deep and well spread in many areas.


None of this means, however, that China can take Myanmarese goodwill for granted and in fact it is only recently that relations have warmed after a rather rocky patch.


During the previous Thein Sein administration in Myanmar, the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project, a massive Chinese investment, was suspended after Thien declared it to be “against the will of the people.” There have been public protests against other Chinese projects as well, such as the Letpadaung mine in the northwestern town of Monywa, where locals have accused Chinese builders of land grabbing and environmental damage. Given the controlled nature of Burmese society and the all-pervasive hold of the security establishment, allowing such protests was almost certainly meant to send a message to Beijing.


Congnizant of the perils of too much Chinese dependency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese Army (known as the Tatmadaw) recently visited both Japan and India, with the latter now providing the Tatmadaw with training in peacekeeping and endorsing Myanmar’s bid to join UN peacekeeping operations.


In return, the Tatmadaw has also endorsed India’s Act East policy and committed to strengthening the relationship with Japan. Given the general state of Sino-Japanese relations and the increased cooperation between Japan and India – both countries are jointly investing in Myanmar and ports along the Indian Ocean – this is clearly an attempt by Myanmar to hedge its bets and take advantage of the regional competition it finds itself to be in the center of.


So here then is another reason for China to support Myanmar: if they do not, then Yangon will inevitably lean towards another major Asian power and Chinese rival: India.


Acting East
At a time when Myanmar was facing near universal condemnation on the Rohingya issue, crucial diplomatic support came in the form of Indian PM Modi’s much-trumpeted visit to Myanmar. Dispensing even with token shows of concern for the Rohingyas, Modi went on to talk about ‘extremist violence’ in the Rakhine state instead. Now, there is certainly an ideological element at play here, given Modi’s right-wing Hindutva credentials. Crucial support is being given to the aforementioned Myanmarese anti-Rohingya social media campaign by right-wing Indian twitter, with BJP officials going so far as to post fake stories and pictures aimed at labelling the Rohingyas as terrorists and infiltrators. The Indian government went so far as to tell its Supreme Court that “Many of the Rohingyas figure in the suspected sinister designs of ISI/ISIS and other extremists groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas of the country,”


In tandem, right-wing Indian channels such as Republic and Times now have been mounting sustained media campaigns aimed at demonizing the Rohingyas.


Aligning with ideology are India’s interests: during the rule of Indian PM Narasimha Rao, India framed a ‘Look East’ policy aimed at bolstering relations with its eastern neighbours, partly in an effort to curtail Chinese influence in the region. With the advent of OBOR, the policy has transformed into ‘Act East’, and it just so happens that the first country that comes into view on India’s East… is Myanmar.
India-Myanmar bilateral trade stands at about $2 billion dollars, which is dwarfed by comparison with China-Myanmar trade standing at $25 billion, but is likely to increase following Modi’s visit. In addition to this, the Rakhine province is also the starting point of the $484-million Kaladan multi-modal transport projects that aim to connect Mizoram to India.


India has also already completed work on Sittwe Port, at the estuary of Kaladan river in Rakhine, which is to be a crucial link in this network.


There is no doubt that China.
has vital stakes in Myanmar, but given the importance New Delhi is attaching to this initiative, and Myanmar’s own need to secure as many allies as possible, the Sino-India competition does play to the advantage of Myanmarese reigme. Adding insult to injury, the U.S. is playing traditional spying games in the whole crisis. The net result will be that the Rohingyas find themselves at the bottom of the list of the worlds’ dispossessed. The hard realities of global power plays mean that there is no major country that will be willing to go beyond heartfelt condemnation and expressions of sympathy, and even then, none of these voices are those who are heard and taken seriously in Yangon.


The West is already in a mess, the Rest constructing new roads, and the Rohingya Muslims’ future in a perpetual limbo!

 

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

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04
October

Written By: Waseem Iftikhar

Before theorizing structural violence, Johan Galtung talked about Personal or Direct Violence. Defining violence he argued that, “Violence is present when human beings are being influenced so that their actual somatic and mental realizations are below their potential realizations, or the actual is lesser than the potential”(Galtung, 1969). By this, he implied that any hindrance, physical or psychological, that forces an individual to perform below his true potential is in fact violence. In event of direct violence, the actor who commits the act of violence is clearly visible or can be singled out. In event of structural violence however, which also creates social injustice, it is hard to apportion the blame on any single individual since the structures or organizations etc. are so arranged as to create harmful effect. Galtung further argues that although the subject who violates an object may not be visible directly for pointing finger, nonetheless violence does occur.

 

structvoilance.jpgDevelopment of peace studies in the 20th century has added paradigms of positive and negative peace. Absence of direct violence can create a visible calm, Galtung called this negative peace. To the contrary, positive peace can only be obtained when both direct as well as structural violence is absent. Development of these paradigms convinced policy makers to take serious note of issues such as human rights, environmental concerns as well as economic well-being. John Burton has called this approach more inclusive of human needs (Burton, 1993). Movement or displacement of resources from one region to another and in process creating shortage of production or depriving more deserving region is also a form of structural violence. A classic example of one such problem in Pakistan is water and it is one of the most serious issues that needs immediate policy attention by the government.


As shown in Figure 1, water as a source of conflict has multiple interlinked dimensions. Long term policy vacuum leads to issues such as floods, energy shortage and contaminated water causing disease and even death. Most of the conflicts generated by water are thus far latent, simultaneously becoming protracted, demanding immediate attention.



As per Indus Water Treaty between Pakistan and India, Pakistan receives water from three western rivers i.e., Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, whereas India agreed to utilize water from Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Although all these rivers originate in Indian Occupied Kashmir and India, Indus River Systems gave Pakistan 80.52% (167.2 billion Cubic meters) of water, while India got 19.48% (40.4 billion Cubic meters) of the total water.

 

structvoilance1.jpgDams and reservoirs can be used to supply drinking water, generate hydroelectric power, increase the water supply for irrigation, provide recreational opportunities, and improve environmental ecology. In past almost 50 years, USA has built 6575 dams, India 4291 dams (planning another 2500 dams by 2025) and China has been able to build more than 22000 dams. Pakistan in same time has been able to build and operationalize 154 dams (ICOLD). These statistics show great amount of institutional negligence and lack of consensus on part of policy makers. One of the structural fallouts of shortage of dams is that resultantly electricity has to be produced at an exorbitant cost using oil. While it costs Pakistani Rupees 1.02 per unit for hydropower energy, price goes up to Pakistani Rupees 12.0 per unit when produced through oil operated power plants. The excessive amount of money paid every year in shape of electric bills by the consumers is more than the total cost of Kalabagh Dam which has not been built for over two decades due to absence of political consensus. This economic violence caused by excessive electric bills translates into higher cost of this costly production and provision of electricity results into increased commodity prices. Resultantly, poor can’t afford to buy basic necessities of life, which brings this concern to the domain of structural violence. Energy shortage is shared through load shedding. Long hours of darkness in hospitals cause delay in patients’ treatment resulting in deaths, hence, the end product of absence of institutional policy is death of a human being for which no visible subject can be blamed. A survey conducted by three Dutch scientists shows reduced glacial activity causing an 8% reduction in flow of water in Indus River alone by 2050 and, along with Brahmaputra River, these rivers with less water are likely to cause food security issues affecting more than 60 million people (Walter W. Immerzeel). Unless Pakistan creates enhanced storage capacity and actionable plan, it is likely to fall into the category of Water Scarce nation from Water Stressed nation. An agriculture-based economy cannot sustain itself with current rate of population growth and diminishing water availability. Topping the list of basic human needs, food insecurity is in itself violence and needs to be taken care of through structural egalitarianism.


Closely linked to dams is the excessive amount of criticism leading to potential conflict when neighboring countries build or plan to build dams on water channels with water belonging to Pakistan under the water treaties. While water is wasted by Pakistan due to structural failures with millions of gallons of useful water ending up in the Arabian Sea. Afghanistan in connivance with India has planned to build 12 dams on Kabul River with a combined capacity of 25%; more than one of the major Pakistani dams, Mangla Dam. On the other hand, former Pakistani Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif criticized India’s plan to construct 53 power projects and seven dams on rivers dedicated for Pakistan. Water issue has generated conflict both vertically and horizontally: vertical conflict inside the country due to absence or weakness of policy structures, while horizontally against the neighbors, who in turn blame Pakistan for not using water optimally for energy production. Structural violence on issue of water thus seems to cross geographical boundaries besides initiating violence within its own bounds.


Drinking water in Pakistan is not painting any encouraging picture either. A 2010 study by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources shows that out of the 14000 water sources monitored across Pakistan, 82% were providing water which is unsafe for human health and only 18% were found fit for consumption resulting in death of almost 250,000 children every year due to water-borne diseases. This factor was substantiated by another study carried out by National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) in 2013, which has given an alarming rate of only 17% households who use desperately needed additional water filtration treatment before drinking water. Absence of water, a very basic necessity of life (structural violence), is consistently resulting in alarming number of deaths (direct violence).


Figure 2 above shows a nexus between structural violence and water in Pakistan. As defined by Galtung, six dimensions of structural violence have been elaborated while on the right side, the issues generated by water and perpetuated by absence of credible policy and weak structures have been depicted. Implications of structural violence are applicable to almost every single case of policy failure.
Construction of dams besides eliminating structural violence on the issue will solve Pakistan’s energy problems, ensure clean drinking water, help in environmental upgradation, assist canal systems and consequently defensive capability and agricultural growth, prevent water wastage and floods and ensure better relations with neighbors. A more egalitarian structure of the society is the only solution to resolution of this intractable conflict in Pakistan.

 

The writer is a PhD scholar at National University of Sciences and Technology, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS).

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04
October

Dr. Nazir Hussain & Amna Javed

The problems and challenges Pakistan has faced over the last 70 years and the way the nation has responded, many critics have described Pakistan as the ‘most resilient nation.’ Therefore, Pakistan must be built as a modern, progressive and democratic Muslim state, which plays a constructive role in the national, regional and international peace, progress and prosperity.

The national narrative depicts the consensus and resolve of the nation for its future progression and sets the direction for its role in the regional and global dynamics. It describes a nation’s prized values and norms through history and paves the way for future direction. It is a common perception that a state cannot go on surviving for long without a strong national narrative. For Pakistan, the national narrative is more important because not only is the state geo-strategically important for the international politics but inwardly there is a dire need to face a multitude of challenges with determination. Therefore, this article explores on one side, the importance of national narratives and on the other side, it takes on a journey of the Pakistani national narrative; its history, present and a possible future.


The notion of attaining any narrative is not easy and it has to go through a course of its own time. No state is made perfect with a cohesive set of agendas. Some states have ideologies, norms, values, which are cohesive while most do not. History has witnessed many states rise from a point of nothingness solely based on narratives. It took the U.S. more than one hundred years to become a cohesive state after the American Revolution. More than that, after the Great Wars, Germany and Japan were two states which had to rebuild their entire system and structure from the scratch and they had to develop a consensus and a set of ideas regarding their future. From being battered states, they now are considerably pervasive and rather important part of the world system. Furthermore, China is another great example of how a state, which once struggled with notions, doctrines and narratives came to get bigger and transformed its structure and institutions with the best of their abilities to become the leading economic power in the world. Turkey is another example where the mixture of religion, democracy and economic development has changed the country's status and helped achieve world ranking in the economic hierarchy.


Considering the situation which Pakistan has been facing in the wake of enormous difficulties in the economic, security and political spheres, it also faces a fluctuating national narrative. The basis of the national narrative was seen in the address of August 11, 1947 by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. But the same address has so many other dimensions to it which perhaps were never readily incorporated within the course of action. There was the sound idea of supremacy of the institutions and the check and balance between the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive, and the idea of democracy in its real sense. The question of a strong center vis-a-vis provincial set-up along with the muddled democracy, which began to reign afterwards, was the first time when the lines got blurred. Moreover, the quest of being an exemplary nation-state for the rest of the world has still become largely overshadowed by the issues of governance, corruption and terrorism.


The events which followed became the basis of national narrative but not national consensus particularly in the domain of domestic politics and social culture. A road down the history lane shows the initial fluctuation when the first Martial Law was imposed which in a way changed the entire politico-culture value system with the onslaught of ‘Islamic Modernism.’ Though the first industrialization gave impetus to socio-economic modernization but the controversial presidential election and its outcome left a scar on the national psyche. Z.A. Bhutto came into power and swayed for a more ‘liberal and socialist’ approach in politics. However, he through the ‘Gulf Bonanza’ brought socio-economic dividends and linked the country with its Islamic/Arab roots. The country seemed to be moving on a democratic path with socialist leanings. However, this got muddled when the new regime launched religious narratives which took its toll on the state. The political and religious polarization left unending marks on the national psyche. This was poles apart from what Jinnah had initially intended for; a modern and progressive Muslim state.


Much more than the socio-political manifestations, the state was going from having civilian governments to Martial Laws, which added to the nuisance. The following years with highly volatile democratic governments between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto only added to the political divide. At a juncture like this, the idea of nation-building through national narrative became far off because altogether the fissures were not just among political parties or provincial governments but went beyond the civil-military, right-left and between institutions. The common Pakistani was confused because there was no unanimity in any idea or discourse.


And when 9/11 occurred and the ruling regime placed Pakistan with the U.S., things got even more complicated. Because in President Zia’s time, the idea of scavenging the USSR away from Afghanistan by utilizing the non-state actors was celebrated and suddenly in the next millennium they were being shunned. While conservatism was being avowed, his notion of ‘enlightened moderation’ and ‘Pakistan first’ further confused the nation. The Pakistani nation got divided between the so-called ‘jihadist’ to ‘de-jihadist’ narratives.


There were the manifestations under which the nation-building, political and institutional system and the overall narrative and structure of Pakistan became haunted by inter-institutional strife, corruption, terrorism and a lack of not just good governance but also personal identity. And when President Musharraf left, there was again a vacuum even though that narrative struck certain cords which blunted the state. The ‘day-after’ scenario was much worse because there may have been democratic values emerging on the horizon once again but there was no unified narrative on which there could be a cause of cohesion.


In 2014, terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar again jostled the fabric of the nation and from there onwards the era of a new narrative began. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to wipe out the terrorists and their networks followed by Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad to show national resolve against terrorism. The national consensus was built to root-out terrorism, make Pakistan a peaceful and safe place. The launching of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its ownership taken by the civil-military leadership points towards the national resolve to economic progression and social emancipation. Pakistan’s neutrality in the politico-military conflicts of the Muslim/Arab world points to the fact that we are not global Islamic masonries but ‘Pakistani Muslims.’


Seventy years after Pakistan’s independence, the pre-requisite for solidity in the national narrative is stronger than ever. In order for the nation to become a strong entity and the state to step forward in its political and strategic power-play in the region and even in the international sphere, there needs to be an investment in a narrative which involves each and every missing piece of the puzzle. It all begins from the first right step and in this case it is imperative that Pakistan adopts its ideology in the perfect manifestation. In Quran, the Lord Almighty has claimed in Surah Ale-Imran that the perfect way of life is the one which is balanced. In this sense there is nothing more balanced than the idea of ‘Islamic moderation’, which is that depiction of the Islamic injunctions that support social justice, well structured freedom, adherence to social norms and values, yet flexible enough to adapt changes, and promotes tolerance, mutual co-existence through power of rationality.


Then the idea of a strong nation and a stronger narrative is crucial for national political consensus. Pakistan is a state with an active multi-party system, which means that more than one opinion exists which gives off the idea that there might be a lack of consensus on more than one issue. While all of this amounts to the spirit of democracy, building a national political consensus that does not divide the nation, the public opinion and the institutions, is mandatory. As political parties are the entities which shape and reshape the public opinion and while complete unanimity is neither possible nor even normal, there should be an ideal amount of consensus on the core national concerns like foreign policy matters and security issues.


All of this also amounts to harmonizing the national institutions without harboring any ill-will among them. Pakistan has often faced the challenges of civil-military, civil-judiciary, and bureaucratic tussles, which have caused various cracks in the structure. These need to be curbed because only then a unanimous and sound narrative can come into existence.


For any state and nation, the ‘human value’ is highly important because if there is a disgruntled and hopeless population, no nation can move forward. Thus there is a need to increase the Human Resource Development in Pakistan which amounts to an increase in skilled manpower. Nations get resilient when provided with manpower which is skilled for its military, economy and other relevant fields. It would open up more opportunities for the youth in the future as there will be more avenues to explore. This entails harnessing the youth bulge which is one weapon which almost every nation has but only those nations come out strong that utilize this force and connect it to a future which is solid.


All of this can be done if Pakistan further invests in education. This is one side that has been ignored and not marketed as it should be. Without sound structure of education, the narrative building can never be fully achieved. This is an idea that leads to economic progression which is something that Pakistan and its narrative need more than ever. Initiatives like CPEC are a step closer to this achievement and it must be furthered by giving the entire country its due share.


Then there is the idea of national self-reliance, which is given in terms of building a solid national narrative. We must understand that though we have friends in the international arena that would help and aid us militarily and economically, it is important to highlight that 70 years ago Pakistan was built by its own medium, credence and legacy which were self-reliant then, and so should be now. This self-reliance could not just build a narrative but could build a nation because it is not just important for our identity but also for our economic standing.


Finally, three points are must for the national narrative which is agreeable and covers all: a proactive foreign policy, national identity and the re-construction of discourse. The need for a proactive foreign policy is necessary in the ordeal of building a discourse. Pakistan needs a policy based on larger interests and strategic relevance. Then the need for national identity is imperative for Pakistan and its discourse. Unless there is no understanding of our identity through history, policies, ideology and interests, there will be much confusion and a lot of hostility between each faction of the state. It should be remembered that we are Pakistani Muslims and not the global holy warriors. With an identity there can be unity and with that there will be solidity. All of this can come out as a result of de-construction and then the re-construction of the discourse which surrounds itself with the national narrative.


Grounded in these basic features, the discourse and the national narrative of Pakistan can come out as one which is profound. It will be one that can instill patriotism which is grounded in rationality while rationality is grounded in nationalism.

 

Dr. Nazir Hussain is Director School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and Amna Javed is a freelancer based in Islamabad.

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04
October

Written By: Capt Ali Ahmed Malik


You never seem normal," looking at his impassive face, Sara said in an inquiring tone.


"Because I don’t fit in your definition of normal," throwing pebbles in the water, gazing at the horizon, with his thoughts at unrest, being at par with the oceanic waves in front, his words disappearing in the sound of splashes, still being the only sound making sense to his fiancée’s ears. He continued "Someday I may meet your standards of being normal", as he sat facing her, "Although that is a rare possibility"


"When are you going to return to my life, rather our life?" eyes wide open, focused ears longing to hear the words that were never coming, she gently pushed her hair blowing in her face due to the Shore wind.


"When my battle scars would heal," it was very evident from the tone that he wasn’t exactly present in the moment.
"Why haven’t they healed already?"
"They aren’t meant to."
"You scare me often."
"Do I?"
"Don’t you see? While I am talking to you I mostly feel that ...."
"That you are talking to the walls."
"Emotionless walls."
"Time, my dear, is the answer."


Gazing at his face with her questioning eyes, she thinks of what she might hear this time as he breaks the silence, "I can’t forget May 13, 2013. We were on the move to reach our igloo before sunrise. It was 0200 hours, six of us, tied together with ropes, battling the harshness of weather, at 19000 feet in minus 35 degrees Celsius outside our windbreaker suits with freezing oxygen rupturing our chests, the blowing wind picking up snow and hitting us hard with it making one or two of us fall every now and then. It was perilous but we were hopeful until....’’ He throws another pebble into water, his face still unreadable, eyes speaking volumes of emotions. She starred at them, wondering what would happen next. He wouldn't speak much but when he did, he wouldn’t let any other sound make any sense to her; waves showing the unrest of ocean, his eyes showing his...


Afraid of what she might hear, she gathered courage to utter, ‘‘What happened there?’’
"We walked on the snow mass, 6 to 8 meters apart tied with ropes, that’s what we soldiers do up there but it isn’t always firm snow. I saw it. The gust of wind struck the one next to me this one time, and imbalanced he fell. As he hit the ground, the snow wasn’t strong enough to sustain the impact. It was a thin layer of ice he was standing upon, which cracked wide open and there he went inside the crevice. Before I could brace myself against the snow, I felt a jerk and followed him through. If it was not for the wits of the ones behind me, I wouldn't be here today.’’ His tone had just turned more magical, she didn’t want him to stop now, although it wasn’t the talk she longed for on this particular day. He continued. "They hit the snow with crampons which is normal practice to cater for such eventualities in the glaciers. Bracing themselves against the snow, they pulled the rope. Luckily, I didn’t go inside deeper, was on the edge and could climb back. My buddy, however, needed to be pulled out. He was 8 meters deeper than me, hanging with the same rope we all were tied with. I made efforts to move out which were successful. It was the resolve which kept us going. We pulled him out. One of his ribs were broken, which was revealed later. He had struck something harder down there or may be it was the jerk he received initially due to the tightened rope. We weren’t even half way to our igloo. It were us, who had to reach the igloo at night to relieve our comrades who were already present there and ready for the move back the next night having completed their tenure up there." Ali looked at the horizon, sun going down among clouds. The sea now becoming peaceful but he isn’t. "In the middle of a place where there are no signs of life, a fallen comrade besides you suffering with pain, others with a dying morale to see him in that condition, looking at each other to do something that would take away the pain. Hopeless yet hopeful eyes starring at you, I can’t tell you how lonely you feel. Imagine the people you never think of living a life without, think of one of them with his head in your lap, groaning, restless and you are helpless. You wait for some miracle to deal with this or wish for being in a dream you would soon wake up from. These moments shape you, whether or not a miracle takes place. When you come out of the situation, you are never the same as you were moments ago."


"What... like... tell me... what happened then," said Sara, failing to utter the right words.
"Some other day perhaps, we should go home now. I have to go meet someone," he said, getting up from the boulders they were sitting on. He always used to say, "Don’t stop me when I have to go. I won’t."


She wished she could just heal his scars, just bring him back to life and stay with him till eternity, in her world... the world he didn’t belong to anymore. He would always tell her, "Soldiers having experienced combat shouldn’t be questioned why they are the way they are." They got up, walked on the shore silently towards parking area where vehicles were parked.

 

amongheroes.jpgWalking on wet sand, hand in hand, gazing at sunset among clouds, contemplating nature, two other worldly souls though together were miles apart. Waves would come every now and then; touching their feet and making them feel the magic of ocean. The melody of quiet air was breathtaking. They walked slowly, occasionally uttering a word, "Winds up there are not quite friendly," he smiled through the words. She also faked one to hide the pain, she knew he wasn’t with her but with his comrades, the ones he always wished more to be with.


"I would be leaving tomorrow," he spoke again.
"I am aware."
"I confess that I am going to miss you."
"Can’t... you stay?," she said, well aware of the answer she was going to receive.
(After a pause) "I just wish I could!"
"We had promised to be together, no matter what happens."
"I remember and own my promises."
"Stopping you would be selfish, I know. I just wish things were different."
"But they aren’t...."
"But, what about me. When would I come to know your depths? Loving a soldier is a terrible mistake they say, I think they are right."
"You think or you want to think like this?" He smiles back.


"Not telling someone who wishes to know every little thing about you, not letting someone heal you as they can’t just see you hurt, leaving them to wait for times that may never come. Isn’t it unfair," she pauses and looks down, "I shouldn’t be saying this," she murmurs.


"You can have my diary, I am somewhere in the entries and blank pages. I will give it to you before leaving. I need not say that I trust you."


A smile rips through her eyes brimming with tears as she says, "You are my favorite mystery; I bet I will crack you one day." Both laugh.
(Two Days Later)


She sat in her room with a diary in her right hand opened across her eyes covered with glasses. She had already opened the entries written in the month of May 2013.


"Naik Ikhtiar Shah has always been one of my bravest soldiers and best companions of this journey to Siachen. His sense of humor, encouraging words to his fellows and his juniors and his dedication towards his military service is something I shall always remember. When I go back from here, I believe I will always cherish my memories of these lifeless glaciers capping Himalayas. Naik Shah was a tall man, measuring more than 6 feet in height. Whenever there was snowfall, I would always see him with a shovel in his hand, removing snow from the door of our igloo at a mid camp where I stayed with him for about a week or so before I could finally move further up. This snow if not removed in time can turn out to be a death trap. If a part of body gets exposed to the same snow, it can result in frostbite which can ultimately result in imputation. Life up here calls for iron nerves."


"He was lying with his head in my lap. Above 19000 feet, in the vast mysterious glaciers offering no mercy to anyone, temperature nearing –50 degrees, cold winds gusting past us, a few among us reciting verses from Holy Quran, wishing for a miracle to rescue us as I could see him fading away in my arms. I have never had such a situation in my life before. Military life can really challenge you in ways you can never expect. A few were rubbing his chest, putting pressure on his chest to make sure he kept breathing. We had no doctors to help him recover. All we had with us were life saving injections and an unparalleled faith in Almighty. We injected him with the hope of keeping his blood circulation active."


"How is he feeling now Ali?," called Capt Irfan, the sub-sector commander, on wireless.
"Sir! He will make it Insha Allah," I replied.
"Be aware of the deteriorating weather, a snow storm is expected soon, you have to make up to your post before first light. All the best."
"Roger sir."
Half-an-hour passed by, feeling like a century. He opened his eyes gently. It was as if life was returning to all of us. I still wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t survived.
"Shah, wake up buddy, lets do it again," his mate, Naik Irfan spoke with a determination.


Shah looked at our faces, most of which were grim by now, however, smiling at their buddy with whom they had already lived so many stories of valor and devotion. I waited for him to show some movement. He lifted himself up with difficulty as I helped, and he hugged me as he got up, "Thank you sir for not giving up on me."


"I am so proud of you Shah! Now brace yourself, you have to reach back to your camp before weather gets worse," I could not utter one more word.


He looked at me, the expression was priceless.
It was his turn to speak, "Irfan, I will lead on the way back."
"You stubborn idiot, obviously you will," Irfan replied smilingly.
"We lifted our packs, the journey of our guides from mid-camp ended here. We were to meet guides coming from our next destination who had to escort us there. While we were helping Shah recover, the guides from our next post had alread reached our location having heard our conversations on wireless. We hugged our buddies, said our goodbyes, waved and moved on."


"Ikhtiar Shah and his comrades made to their camp successfully while we also reached our destination before the first light. I was informed on wireless that he was taken to CMH Skardu the following morning on a helicopter where he was treated for a fractured rib and many bruises. However his life was out of danger. While I write these lines, I am accompanied by a section of soldiers, hailing from different regions of Pakistan, who are up here at Siachen with the sole purpose of serving Pakistan against all odds."


And the mystery started to unfold onto her as she continued to read through the pages. The reason why he was so different started to become clear. His experiences were not that of an ordinary man and so wasn't his courage. Every word she read made her more proud of the man; the soldier of this country, the guardian of this motherland!

 

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04
October

Maj Umar Ismail Sajid Garewal, Lt Col Shaukat Naeem Khan & Lt Col Muhammad Farid


srvingthepeace.jpgPakistan’s journey with UN peacekeeping began in July 1960 when first Pakistani contingent was deployed in Congo. Since then, Pakistan has contributed more than 160,000 troops in 41 UN missions in 23 different countries. 144 Pakistani peacekeepers including 23 officers have sacrificed their lives while performing UN peacekeeping duties around the globe. At present, Pakistan is the 4th Largest Troops Contributing Country (TCC) with 7653 (all ranks) deployed in seven different UN missions. UN-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is one of such missions where Pakistani troops are actively participating in a peacekeeping mission.

 

“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in its material and moral support to the oppressed and depressed people of the world and in upholding the principles of UN Charter.”

(Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah)

 

Contributions of Pakistani Contingent UNAMID for Peace in Northern Darfur, Sudan

 

Maj Umar Ismail Sajid Garewal

Darfur meaning “Land of the Fur” is a region in Western Sudan. Darfur was an independent sultanate for several hundred years incorporated into Sudan by Anglo Egyptian Forces in 1916. Darfur covers an area of 493,180 sq km (190,420 sq miles). Islam is followed in the region and the populace is divided into two communities namely Arabs and Africans, which are further divided into many tribes scattered all over Darfur. Africans are primarily sedentary farmers while Arabs are nomadic herdsmen. The basic dispute between African and Arab communities revolves around power and resource sharing.


The recent conflict in Darfur began in February 2003, when two armed groups Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against government for allegedly neglecting the region and oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. The government also responded to attacks by carrying out a campaign against rebels which later was termed as ethnic cleansing against Darfur's non-Arabs. The conflict resulted in massive killings of unarmed civilians and caused the ouster of 2.5 million people from their homes as IDPs. Darfur is divided into five federal states which are also the operational zones/commands of UNAMID: Central Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur, East Darfur and West Darfur.

 

srvingthepeace.1jpg.jpgPAKBATT-5 pursued UN mandate with full devotion and has successfully achieved significant results in Kutum sub-sector with untiring efforts of 10 months. Pakistani troops stabilized the situation through a combination of efforts which include aggressive patrolling, engaging communities’ leadership and introducing inter-community dialogue in the area which is being pursued by the government authorities with full zeal. Besides UN mandate, PAKBATT-5 has left no stone unturned to assist the locals/IDPs. Therefore, Pakistani contingent enjoys very good reputation among the populace. PAKBATT-5 has conducted a number of CIMIC activities and welfare projects on regular basis like: hosting inter-community harmony workshops, provision of water in villages and schools, establishment of medical camps and distribution of free medicine on regular basis, frequent visits to local schools for distribution of stationery items and interaction with children, frequent lectures are arranged for locals on health care, organising recreational events like sports tournaments, renovation of schools and hospitals, organising cultural and religious festivals for locals and celebration of Eid with IDPs etc.


Kutum sub-sector was considered to be the most hostile region in Darfur due to rebels’ activities. Since 2005, no high level official delegation from UNAMID or GoS had visited the Kutum region. After arrival of Pakistani contingent and efforts put in by PAKBATT-5 for stabilizing the situation for restoring peace, a number of high level officials/delegations from UNAMID, GoS and different international NGOs have been visiting Kutum since November 2016, which includes Ambassador of Germany, Ambassador of Switzerland, First Vice President of Sudan, Head of World Food Programme, Head of World Health Organisation and Joint Special Representative and Deputy Joint Special Representative of UNAMID. All of them acknowledged and appreciated the efforts and contributions of PAKBATT-5 for bringing peace back in the region which remains the potential flash point of UNAMID.


Now the peace is prevailing in the region and PAKBATT-5 has provided the populace a platform for durable peace, protection of human rights, economic upliftment through harvesting, promotion of social and moral values and most importantly improved the conditions of locals for bringing an end to the humanitarian crisis. The progress made by PAKBATT-5 in these challenging conditions is a source of pride for Pakistan.

ENABLERS OF UNAMID

PAKISTAN ENGINEERS COMPANY (PEC-9)

Lt Col Shaukat Naeem Khan

Pakistan Engineers Company-9
Pakistan Engineers Company was deployed in this mission on December 21, 2007 and its 9th rotation completed its deployment on March 13, 2017. It’s a multi-role outfit, entailing all engineer trades and various other arms. Mandate of PEC is to provide engineer support in the areas of mobility, survivability and general engineering in order to conduct horizontal and vertical constant and maintenance tasks to support overall mission mandate of the military component.

 

srvingthepeace2.jpgConstruction of Airport Ring Road
Airport Ring Road is 10 km long all-weather track which has been constructed to assist movement of patrolling vehicles and security personnel along the perimeter of airport which caused hindrance in the past due to loose and boggy sand. It had always been a cause of concern for security authorities resulting in overall setback of the security paraphernalia.


The 10 km long road has been successfully completed over a period of 3 months. It was a cumbersome task involving collection of material from quarry sites and water over long distances. Engineering practices were ensured for optimum quality.


Ardamata Valley Flood Protection Works
It is one of the most significant works carried out by PEC-9. This project has turned out to be a significant confidence building measure between UNAMID and GoS. Construction of 1 km gabion wall and excavation of 1.2 km diversion channel will protect the metalled road connecting El Geneina Airport and IDPs camp during flash floods of rainy season.


The project was completed over a period of 1 month. Quality of work, speed of execution and cooperation was highly appreciated by Head of Office, Commander Sector West, Senior Mission Support Officer and Government of Sudan. Local community also appreciated the efforts of PEC-9.

 

MINE AWARENESS DAY

UN international day for mine awareness and support was organized on April 3, 2017 under overall responsibility of PEC-9 in collaboration with ODO at Al Geneina camp. The event was organized in memory of mine victims of Darfur in general and El Geneina in particular. It aimed at educating the people of UNAMID and El Geneina regarding hazards and precautions against UXOs, mines and IEDs. The day was celebrated by organizing a friendly football match between UNAMID and Al Geneina team. Overall impact of the event was remarkable and was appreciated by all.

 

Hosting of SW Volley Ball Tournament

A volleyball tournament was organized by HQ SW for which main responsibility was assigned to PEC-9. PEC-9 ensured most professional standards and a very colorful event display. HoO appreciated the efforts and acknowledged them whole heartedly.

 

Easter Day Celebrations

Christians celebrate Easter with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers and the ringing of church bells. Similar arrangements were made for celebrating Easter Day in Pakistan Engineers Company at El Geneina on April 16, 2017.

 

A Case of Meaningful CIMIC Project by Pakistan Army Engineers-9, UNAMID

Sortoni IDP camp is located in northern Darfur and holds more than 20,000 IDPs. For this huge number of people there was only one mosque with temporary arrangement of CGI sheet roof and a stony floor. Renovation of this mosque was a long outstanding demand of IDPs. Pakistan Engineers Company took over the task to renovate this mosque and completed it in a short duration of two weeks.

 

During the execution it was ensured that good engineering practices were followed and no compromise on quality was accepted. Proper curing was carried out of each cemented work. Additional anchorage of roof was installed to save it from huboobs which are frequent in this part of the region. With the contribution from Contingent HQ, a number of additional works have been carried out which include construction of cemented floor of the mosque’s main hall, construction of 2 cupboards and gifting Holy Qurans for the mosque.

 

The mosque is a sacred place for the Muslims to perform their religious obligations. By providing this facility to grief-stricken populace of the Sortoni IDP Camp, Pakistan Contingent has provided a source of internal peace to the community, a true WHAM campaign.

Contributions of UNAMID Healers

Lt Col Muhammad Farid

Since the beginning of UNAMID in 2008, Pakistan Army Medical Corps is shouldering the responsibility of establishment and maintaining the only Level III Hospital of the hybrid mission at Nyala, Darfur. Pakistan Level III Hospital is the highest level of military medical facility available to the military and police troops serving in Darfur as well as the national and international civilian staff of United Nations employed in UNAMID. Pakistan Field Hospital-I was the pioneer of this skilled, advanced and highly professional healthcare set-up. Currently, Pakistan Field Hospital-9 is performing the assigned responsibilities since March 2017 in the most befitting manner.


Pakistan Level III Hospital is very well recognized for extending quality medical services for the utmost care and well-being of the dependent clientele and is rightfully acknowledged as “The UNAMID Healers” across the mission area of responsibility. The hospital has always been appreciated at all levels for exhibiting skilled professionalism and accomplishment of the assigned mandate in the most appropriate manner in the stipulated time-frame. Pakistan Military Field Hospital has set standards of excellence to be followed and acquired by medical set-ups of various countries performing duties in UNAMID.


The outfit of Pakistan Level III Hospital is fully equipped with latest primary care, multi-disciplinary specialized care, advanced surgical services, dental services, mental health services, intensive care unit and skilled Aero-Medical Evacuation Team (AMET) duly augmented with modern pathological and radiological diagnostics. tele-medicine, workshops, seminars, clinico-pathological conferences and contributions to the national and international journals in the form of well-researched scientific articles are the hallmark of this international hospital and a sound proof of the devotion and hard work put in by the officers and men employed in this well-reputed facility over the years.

 

srvingthepeace3.jpgBesides looking after the national and international civilian and military personnel of UN, Pakistan Level III Hospital also provides medical care to a large number of Sudanese population on humanitarian grounds to win the hearts and minds of the general public. The hospital has treated many accident cases, complicated medical cases and other emergencies of serious nature of the civilian local population completely free of cost who were not able to get the medical facilities outside due to lack of resources and expenses. The hospital always remains committed in provision of quality medical care, and clientele satisfaction with leading values in the pursuit of ever-rising professionalism.


The hospital has given treatment to more than 82,000 patients in the outdoor department and more than 11000 surgeries have been performed during a period of less than 9 years since August 2008. The number of patients given dental treatment, indoor treatment and rehab treatment is quite significant. Similarly, a large number of diagnostic facilities for the patients have been provided by the Radiology and Pathology departments of the hospital. A total of 34,805 internally displaced personnel (IDPs) of Sudan have also been treated at Pakistan Level III Hospital as a goodwill gesture.


Pakistan Level III Hospital, over the years, has earned huge respect and honour for the country and army in the civilian and military circles of United Nations and Sudan. The professional excellence of Pakistan Army Medical Corps has been acknowledged throughout the mission and UN Headquarters. The impressions imprinted by this hospital on the hearts and minds of the patients and visitors will surely last for long and they will always cherish the memories of their interaction with the staff as has been expressed by many in the past on various occasions.

 
04
October

Report by: Asif Sohail


After determined and successful conclusion of Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists in North Waziristan and ongoing successful Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, it became imperative to demonstrate before the world that peace has been restored and the government’s writ has been established in the troubled areas. By organizing a T20 match in Miranshah, Pakistan Army has conveyed a message to the entire world that it is determined to bring international sports back to Pakistan.

peacewinconduct.jpg
Beginning of normal sports activity was due after the clearance of the area from mines and IEDs etc. left by the terrorists in North Waziristan. On instructions of the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) arranged a T20 Cricket match Peace Cup 2017 between Pakistan XI and UK Media XI. ISPR invited UK Media XI which was already on a visit to Pakistan to play the match. The UK Media XI comprised of journalists, lawyers, businessmen and academicians. Pakistan Cricket Board also joined in Army’s efforts and released its players to form Pakistan XI. Renowned former and current cricketers including Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Yasir Hameed, Junaid Khan, Umer Gul, Mushtaq Ahmed, Riaz Afridi, Wajahatullah Wasti and couple of others were part of the Pakistan XI. The match was played in the newly built picturesque Younis Khan Stadium, Miranshah on September 21. The British team was led by Daily Mail journalist Peter Oborne while Inzamam-Ul-Haq led Pakistani XI.


COAS’ decision was hailed by every passionate follower of the game and general public alike. Pakistan has been deprived of international cricket after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009. However, Army took a bold initiative and invited Australian Army cricket team to play friendly matches in Pakistan in 2016. These matches were played in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and other cities. They enjoyed their tour thoroughly and in Lahore the Australian players danced on the beat of the drums and showed their solidarity with Pakistanis; a great sports loving nation. Similarly, holding of the PSL final and three ODIs against the World XI in the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, wasn’t possible without the security cover provided by Pakistan Armed Forces. Despite the match being organized at short notice, it was telecasted live by Pakistan television and thousands of jubilant tribesmen from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and schoolboys gathered to watch the match in the stadium. Their presence in the stadium spread an unequivocal message across the globe that Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad has not only restored confidence of the people living in the tribal areas but also provided them a healthy activity to enjoy and rejoice in a peaceful environment. The participation of the British players in the match also reflected their confidence in their hosts, Pakistan Army.


Though the visitors lost an entertaining T20 match, they won the hearts of locals who came to watch the match in large numbers. It was a day of pomp and ceremony which was presided over by Commander Peshawar Corps Lt Gen Nazir Butt and Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra. National anthems were played, flags waved and dances performed. The players from UK amply expressed their zeal and fervor on this occasion. “It is a unique experience of being flown in a military helicopter and then playing with international stars,” said opening UK batsman Crispin Blunt who is also a Conservative member of the British Parliament and former chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. “It’s been a great, exciting, historic day with British and Pakistani flags flying side by side. And it is wonderful that peace has returned to Waziristan,” said UK captain Peter Oborne. He added, “On this day we must also remember all the soldiers and civilians who died to make this peace possible.”

peacewinconduct1.jpg
Organizing Peace Cup match in Miranshah which was once the hub of terrorist activities reflects Pakistan Army’s unflinching resolve and determination to restore peace in Pakistan. “This place used to be the hub of terror,” said Lt Gen Butt. “A few years ago the children could not go to school. Today they have an opportunity to study and secure their future.” The match has spread a strong message across the globe that peace has indeed been restored not only in FATA but also across the entire country.

 
04
October

Written By: Dr. Rizwana Karim Abbasi


What purpose did Short Range Nuclear Weapons (SRNWs) or Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) play in the history of nations’ security policy? Why did the U.S. make the TNWs during the Cold War? Did this weapon introduce stabilizing or destabilizing effects? During the Cold War, nuclear weapons indeed remained central to the U.S. strategy of dissuading Soviet aggression against the U.S. and its allied nations. The U.S. invented diversified platforms that could carry nuclear warheads, thus crafting a complex countermeasure strategy and detailed operational plans to guide the use of these weapons in the event of a conflict with the former Soviet Union and its allies. Due to cost-effectiveness of this weapon, both the nations developed thousands of these to deploy outside their own territories. For example, the U.S. had over 7000 weapons deployed in Europe and about 2000 in the Pacific. Soviets also deployed these weapons at nearly 600 bases, with some located in Warsaw Pact nations in Eastern Europe, some in the non-Russian republics.


It is significant to mention here that the fundamental purpose of deployment of this weapon by the U.S. in the battlefield was against the advances of advarsaries’ conventional forces and proxies in the Western Europe. This was the U.S. signalling to the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact that any aggression or conventional move could invite nuclear retaliation. Nuclear learning curve remained consistantly changing during the Cold War in regard to the size and strucure of both strategic and non-strategic nuclear forces in response to transforming nuclear technologies and evolving threat spectrum.

 

It appears that NATO will continue to maintain this full range of capabilities as long as nuclear weapons exist and to deter and defend against any threat. This is why the New START Treaty was silent on limiting or banning these weapons. Although neither the U.S. nor the Soviet Union had used these weapons during the peak time of Cold War, however, despite the end of the Cold War, the TNWs still continue to play a role in the United States’ extended deterrence in Europe to have stabilizing effects in their strategic competition.

Later, the former Soviet Union broke America’s nuclear supremacy and monopoly, which had certainly helped regulate the intensity of war. Thus, based on their technological capabilities, both the nations realised there could be no victory in the nuclear domain. The introduction of new conventional technologies, such as ballistic missile defences and missile interceptors, reduced the role and utility of these weapons globally and indeed modified the U.S.’ behaviour. The U.S. later began to reduce these forces in the late 1970s with the number of operational non-strategic nuclear warheards declining from more than 7000 in the mid 1970s to below 6000 in the 1980s to fewer than 1000 by the middle of 1990s. In 1991, the then U.S. President, George H. W. Bush ordered to withdraw all land-based TNWs from overseas bases and all sea-based TNWs from U.S. surface ships, submarines and naval aircraft. Resultantly, the U.S. dismantled approximately 2,150 warheads from land-based delivery systems. Later, in 1991, NATO decided to reduce by about half the number of weapons for nuclear capable aircraft based in Europe which led to the withdrawal of an additional 700 U.S. air delivery nuclear weapons. TNWs were removed from bases in Korea and Europe by 1991 and 1992 respectively as a result of reduced threat in the backdrop of Soviet disintegartion.


Despite its superior conventional force, the TNWs still loom large in NATO’s deterrent policy against potential existential threats. Each nation still possesses thousands of these weapons deployed with their troops in the field, aboard naval vessels and aircraft. For example, the U.S. has approximately 760 non-strategic weapons with some deployed in Europe and the remaining in the U.S. Russia also possesses nearly 1000-6000 warheads for non-strategic weapons in its arsenals at present. It appears that NATO will continue to maintain this full range of capabilities as long as nuclear weapons exist and to deter and defend against any threat. This is why the New START Treaty was silent on limiting or banning these weapons. Although neither the U.S. nor the Soviet Union had used these weapons during the peak time of Cold War, however, despite the end of the Cold War, the TNWs still continue to play a role in the United States’ extended deterrence in Europe to have stabilizing effects in their strategic competition.


A question now arises that why did Pakistan include Short Range Nuclear Weapons (SRNWs) in its inventory? What is the purpose of these low yield weapons and how long would Pakistan rely on them? As a result of the Indian crafting the Cold Start Doctrine (based on offensive orientation thereby maximizing the probability of a limited war to achieve limited objectives in short time, thus denying Pakistan the opportunity to climb the escalation ladder), Pakistan crafted a re-balancing strategy to address Indian aggression, brinkmanship or punitive actions. Pakistan thus chose to include SRNWs in its inventory. Pakistan opted for countermeasure strategy to prevent such eventuality by denying India a space for war. Pakistan’s development of short-range missile, Nasr (60-70 km) is not meant to wage a limited war against India, but to prepare for such an eventuality thereby signalling to the adversary strong and punitive retaliation and reducing the probability of any kind of aggression or limited war. The short range Nasr is a quick response system to deter evolving threat at the limited level. Therefore, the Cold Start Doctrine appears to be offensive whilst Nasr is a defensive system designed to uphold deterrence and strategic stability in South Asia and prevent a major or limited war. Second, the development of Nasr as a low-yield battlefield weapon can therefore, also be seen as an instrument for nuclear peace in South Asian deterrence stability disrupted by India’s Pragati/Prahaar short-range nuclear capability. Third, the political considerations with regard to Nasr's development remain consistent with Pakistan’s credible minimum deterrence posture. Thus, aim of inclusion of this strategic platform in existing inventory was to increase value of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent force. Pakistan’s highly modest and comprehensive nuclear weapons program, Nasr is a part of Pakistan’s all-range counter measure capabilities, directed to outweigh Indian pressure from strategic to sub-strategic level. By preventing war, it makes peace secure and region stable and Pakistan’s deterrence credible. The TNWs have taken away Pakistan’s stress in terms of Indian brinkmanship, bullying, punitive action and any kind of major aggression in the conventional realm. Four, Nasr has proven to be a cost-effective tool for Pakistan against conventionally stronger India.


Five, it is a centralised weapon and weapon of last resort. Hypothetically speaking, in response to present Indian belligerent policies, Pakistan should have placed this weapon on high alert and under the field commanders. However, being a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan has shown restraint and patience. This gives credence to peace credentials of Pakistan. It seems that SRNWs have created more space for flexible response and counter-force targeting options. There are reservations at the global level that if Pakistan delegates these weapons to field commanders to use these low range missiles during a crisis situation, this will create risk of prompt employment. Pakistan’s centralized command and control, non-deployment of its SRNWs due to.


geographical contiguity and proximity between India and Pakistan immediately rule out these risks. In a fair assessment, Pakistan’s low yield weapons neither will be deployed in forward location, nor power will be delegated to field commanders unless India compels Pakistan in that direction. Pakistan has highlighted that these weapons will be used as a last resort unlike the U.S.’ strategy of first resort during the Cold War to outweigh Soviet proxies in Western Europe.


Opinion is divided that Pakistan may behave irrationally or employ these weapons (in definitive patterns of behavioural rationality). Contention here is that rationality relates to the states’ preferences. Sometimes, one state’s rational act is irrational for the adversarial state. Thus, it is very hard to judge Pakistan’s preferences under enormous pressure and during a war-like situation. Apparently, it seems that Pakistan’s strategy could be to make a highly calculated move during war-like situations. However, in response to any irrational and irresponsible Indian move, risks attached to SRNWs may not be discounted. India reportedly seems to employ massive retaliation in response to a nuclear attack (even low-yield), anywhere, within or outside its territory at any level. Nevertheless, India’s possession of the capability to institute a graduated response with its short-range nuclear capable missiles such as short range Prithvi, Dhanush and Pragati/Prahaar cannot be discounted.


India's No First Use (NFU) that is publicly undeclared posture received no consideration in Pakistan from the outset. New debate on Indian NFU suggests that India may transfer from NFU to First Use (FU) force posture and it may embrace pre-emptive, damage limiting counterforce strikes. Such nuclear romanticism would increase nuclear risks by forcing both the states to increase nuclear readiness by pulling the warheads and missiles off the recessed posture. Therefore, the development of Nasr, specific to India’s development of battlefield nuclear weapons and Cold Start Doctrine, becomes part of Pakistan’s deterrence capability without which its deterrence credibility could be completely undermined.


Finally, Nasr’s development falls within the broader contours of Pakistan’s declarations on credible minimum deterrence. It does not imply numerical expansion in deterrence forces. The increase within Pakistan’s deterrence capability would be in proportion to India’s planned expansion. This may, however, not exactly be within the parameters of weapon-to-weapon competitive strategy practiced during the Cold War. Whether Pakistan would practice recessed deterrence or follow the ready-arsenal strategy for some of its deterrence forces would depend on the prevailing strategic dynamics. Nevertheless, use of the SRNWs in the battlefield from any side carries the potential to escalate the dynamics of conflict perilously, thus leaving high prospects for nuclear exchange. It can be suggested that SRNWs would only induce caution and result in a stalemate thereby injecting rationality in both states’ strategic behaviour even during peace times. Pakistan has to be extra cautious in taking a decision to employ SRNWs. India, a so-called larger democracy, may provoke Pakistan towards a prompt employment and resultantly it could back off to declare Pakistan as a pariah state in the comity of nations. India will stand responsible for any such conventional move that intends to invite regional nuclear holocaust. Consideration on this paradox must be established at the highest strategic level.

 

The writer is a PhD in International Security and Nuclear Non-Proliferation from University of Leicester, UK and is on the faculty of NDU, Islamabad.

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04
October

Written By: Raheel Suleman


The ceaseless contributions of Pakistan Army have successfully restored peace and stabilty in Balochistan.

 

Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass, is susceptible to environmental hazards such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, heat waves, cold waves and droughts.


A number of devastating calamities have hit the province in the recent past. Some of the ruinous events have been as follows: floods in 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2012; cyclone in 2007 and drought in 2000.

 

thehertone.jpgDuring these natural calamities, Armed Forces of Pakistan remained at the forefront to rescue and rehabilitate masses where needed.


On January 17, 2017 continuous heavy rains and snowfall broke the twenty years’ record and caused widespread flooding across three districts of Balochistan. Government of Balochistan declared emergency in Qilla Saif Ullah, Qilla Abdullah and Kalat Division. Pakistan Army responded immediately in this exigency and started undertaking airborne operations in affected areas in coordination with District Government Quetta and PDMA Balochistan.


Deputy Director Admin, Relief and Planning PDMA Balochistan Naveed Ahmed remarked that 'situation was out of control in many flood affected areas of Balochistan, especially in Ziarat, Muslim Bagh and Kalat regions, nevertheless Pakistan Army on emergency basis assisted PDMA in transporting food and non-food items to the affected areas. In this regard four helicopters of Pakistan Army and Government of Balochistan started relief activities from Khalid Aviation Base, thanks to Pakistan Army that we managed to provide relief to flood-affected people of Balochistan and thus saved thousands of lives'.
On September 24, 2013, Awaran District of Balochistan was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale with five aftershocks on September 28.

 

Awaran which was once a stronghold of foreign-sponsored militants is now free from these misguided anti-state elements. Those ugly environments and violent mindset has changed. The entire credit for this mind-shift goes to WHAM (Winning Hearts and Minds) Operations by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan, especially the massive rescue and rehabilitation operations, conducted by Pakistan Army, during the last floods are unforgettable.

Awaran District is home to nearly 300,000 people. Of them, some 125,000 were affected by the earthquake. According to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority’s (ERRA) estimates, 375 persons were killed and 825 got injured and about 25,000 houses were destroyed.


With just about 3.3 % of its total land under cultivation, Awaran is one of the most underdeveloped districts of Balochistan. Awaran District makes a lopsided triangle on the map between three important highways: the RCD Highway, the Coastal Highway, and the (projected) Motorway (M-8). With 12 hours of travelling time, Karachi is the closest city from Awaran.


Like in previous such calamities, Pakistan Army, along with the Frontier Corps (FC), Balochistan, promptly reacted to the situation as requested by the government of Balochistan. Even though the FC components located in the area were themselves struck by the earthquake as much as was the civilian population, yet they were the first ones to respond to the situation.


The Army units were moved from Khuzdar and Karachi. Initially, the Army and FC troops distributed their own rations (about 500 tons), tents, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, bed sheets, clothing, cooking utensils, bathroom items, such as buckets, medicines, and other commodities of common use. Later, collection points were established in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and, collected goods were distributed among the affected people of Awaran district.

 

The Army units were moved from Khuzdar and Karachi. Initially, the Army and FC troops distributed their own rations (about 500 tons), tents, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, bed sheets, clothing, cooking utensils, bathroom items, such as buckets, medicines, and other commodities of common use.

The relief work continued even during the Eid days. About 2,500 Army personnel and 1,000 FC personnel were part of the relief efforts. Army developed a good interface with the provincial government, the ERRA, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), and Pakistan Air Force (PAF).


By the end of the Eid holidays, 24 relief sorties of C-130 and 240 helicopter sorties had flown, completing over 526 flying hours.


Army established a field hospital in Awaran and six mobile medical camps at far-flung localities. Over 8,000 local patients were treated, 7,000 tons of food items delivered and 37,000 tents were distributed by the Army besides thousands of school books, stationery items and sports gear. This in other words meant a colossal relief and rehabilitation operation spread over an area of 182 kilometres.


As a matter of fact, Pakistan Army has transformed into an impressive and inspiring nation-building force, which remains on call of the nation for defence against external threats, security against internal threats, and human security against non-traditional threats like the environmental disaster of Attabad Lake and Gayari in Gilgit-Baltistan to floods in Thatta and Badin, and earthquake in Awaran District.


Moreover, when Balochistan suffered from nature's wrath in 2010, 2011 and 2012, engulfing major parts of the province with devastating floods, it demanded a national response. Pakistan Army responded quickly and conducted numerous rescue operations. The Army’s performance was reflecting the careful planning, optimal utilisation of resources, sharp foresight, and bold leadership that is hallmark of Pakistan Army. It helped in controlling the damage to a large extent thereby saving not only lives, but also the means of livelihood. In some ways, these events led to a shift in the previously held negative opinion of the Pakistani Armed Forces due to enemy propaganda.


During the monsoon floods in Balochistan in recent years, according to several media reports, Pakistan Army deployed over 2,000 troops and roughly 100 plus helicopters. Dozens of military doctors and paramedical staff were sent to affected areas. An entire fleet of army aviation flew numerous sorties round-the-clock to transport relief goods to the affected areas and to bring the sick and injured back to base hospitals. Where helicopters were unable to access, troops carried relief goods on their backs and were able to reach them in time.


Pakistan Army troops donated rations from their own quota to distribute among the affectees, and also donated one day’s salary to the relief fund. Helicopters were instrumental in providing timely rescue and provision of supplies. Several Army relief camps were set up to help people who had lost their homes and livelihood in the floods. According to a careful estimate, Pakistan Army rescued over 80,000 people during these operations.


Even in the 2012 floods in Balochistan, Pakistan Armed Forces were recognised for having played an unrelenting role in relief operations. They established relief camps and medical camps in the close vicinity of the affected areas. To provide safe drinking water in the flood affected areas they set up 10 water filtration plants. Army doctors treated more than 25,000 patients in medical camps and mobile medical units in all flood affected districts for providing instant medical assistance. Efforts were also made to pump out flood water from the affected areas.


There were times when a segment of Balochistan population was misled by shear negative propaganda sponsored by foreign intelligence agencies against Armed Forces of Pakistan. However, as the famous saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed, Pakistan Army came to the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of people of Balochistan. That tide of mistrust has changed into relationship of love, confidence and trust. Awaran which was once a stronghold of insurgents is now free from the anti-state elements – thanks to the timely and massive rescue and rehabilitation operations by the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
Tides have changed indeed!

 

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04
October

Written By: Hussain H. Zaidi


To what extent have our academic institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization? And how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem.

Like it or lump it, the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan are increasingly becoming susceptible to religious extremism. The 2015 Safoora Chowk carnage, the shocking death of Mashal Khan at the hands of his fellow students, and the recent attempted assassination of an MQM MPA, all bear the blood-stained footprints of educated youth gone berserk in the name of faith. While some may dismiss the on-campus extremism threat as no more than a kerfuffle, it has caused the shafts of anxiety and fear run through society.
Why is extremism casting a pall over campuses? Were the perpetrators of the attacks, such as the aforementioned, simply knocked dead by a foul ideology? Or is there something more to the growing radicalization? What does this fatal trend prefigure? And how the malady is to be treated?

 

detoxfying.jpgThe Britannica Encyclopedia defines a radical as a person who desires extreme change of the entire social order or part thereof. It follows, therefore, that radicalization is the process which seeks to turn the social order upside down. Radicalization not only represents a potent challenge to the social order, the former is also, in large measures, occasioned by the contradictions inherent in the latter. Thus it seems in order to expatiate upon the concept of social order as the starting point of our discussion.


A society, like an organism, is a complex of various components: institutions, roles, statuses, beliefs, norms, and values. The interaction among these components constitutes the social order. The edifice of social order rests on shared expectations that the members of a society hold towards one another. These expectations stipulate that certain norms and standards, having their sanction in law, morality, or simply utility, would be observed and certain others shunned. The failure to fulfil these shared expectations gives a jolt to the social order.

 

It follows that the radicalization of the Pakistani society cannot be set down to a single cause; rather it is a function of multiple factors acting in tandem. Therefore, de-radicalization requires a holistic approach taking into account all the factors which have contributed to the growth of extremism. Besides, since campuses are part of society, focusing only on them to the exclusion of other institutions will not be of much avail.

Social order is maintained through both formal and informal institutions, such as the state, academia, media, and family. Each institution has methods at its disposal to keep the social order intact. The state has both carrot — distribution of power, wealth and other resources; and stick — law, police, agencies, courts. The media have the power to inform, educate, and form opinion. They not only present the facts but also interpret them and thus reconstruct the social reality. The growth of the internet and the electronic media has ratcheted up the role of the fourth pillar of the state in maintaining social order. Family is the nursery in which the individual starts internalizing social norms and values. During the formative years of every person, family exercises greater influence than any other institution. Related to family is the peer groups, the circles in which an individual moves. Academic institutions mould as well as build on what a person has acquired from the family. Together with the family, they are the principal source of biases and prejudices that an individual has on his mind.


These institutions of social control have a dual role. They may strengthen the social order and they may weaken it. Academic institutions may broaden the student’s mental horizon, and may foster in him the habit to think critically and objectively; at the same time, they may hobble critical thinking and intellectual development and may promote a regressive outlook on life. The media may be a powerful source of information and social harmony but they may become an agent of disinformation and anarchy.
The social order is constantly being challenged by counter values, beliefs and behavior patterns. The institutions must help the social order to adjust itself to these social and cultural changes. The ability to grapple with this challenge depends on two factors: the strength and outlook of the institutions and the enormity of the counter values.

 

It is vital that critical thinking is promoted in academic institutions. Instead of being merely an instrument of earning degrees, education should also serve as an instrument of problem solving in a constructive way. Emphasis should be placed on fostering the spirit of enquiry and skepticism among students, so that they can think and decide for themselves rather than blindly subscribe to various narratives on and outside the campus.

To what extent have our academic institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization? And how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem. Therefore, the questions may be reframed as: To what extent have our institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization, and how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem.


Radicalization in case of Pakistan is driven by an apocalyptic ideology or narrative. The ideology sees a perennial conflict between Islam and opposing forces or ideologies. Since these forces are perceived to be dead set on annihilating Islam, the two can’t co-exist. One must crush the other. A secondary assumption is that the anti-Muslim elements — governments, multinational enterprises, international NGOs — are bent upon obliterating Islamic culture and values in the name of freedom of expression, human rights and fundamental liberties. The narrative makes it obligatory upon every Muslim to fight the evil forces to frustrate their “nefarious” designs.

 

During the formative years of every person, family exercises greater influence than any other institution. Related to family is the peer groups, the circles in which an individual moves. Academic institutions mould as well as build on what a person has acquired from the family.

Another assumption considers Pakistan to be the only ideological state in the contemporary world that was created for the propagation of Islam; as such it was meant to be the center of Muslim unity. However, regrettably, instead of making tangible progress towards Islamization, the society was westernized, secularized and vulgarized. It became a hotbed of corruption, obscenity, and injustice. The country, therefore, must be purged of such baneful influence by setting up an “Islamic” society — by force if need be.


The narrative also provides for repudiation of “alien” doctrines, rituals and moral standards. Hence, those who profess a different creed or practice a different moral standard are looked upon as an incarnation of evil. All such wicked or impious people have to be reformed — by preaching or by force — or eliminated.


Where did this narrative come from? To be sure, the narrative always existed in an attenuated but essential form in Pakistan. One of the factors that inordinately delayed constitution-making was the split on the place that religion would hold in the country’s political system. The constitution makers responded by making Islam the state religion and incorporating certain Islamic principles into the fundamental law of the land. These “Islamic features” of the constitution, however, have never satisfied the clergy and similar minds for being inconsistent with their basic narrative.

 

The growth of the internet, particularly social media, has provided a powerful platform to express the disillusionment and connect with extremist organizations. The extremists have been remarkably adroit in the use of the internet.

The narrative, which has manifested itself time and again in both sectarian and non-sectarian bloodbath, gained wide currency with the involvement of Pakistan in the Afghan war precipitated by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. For the exponents of the narrative, the war could not have provided a more convincing instance of an ideological entity spearheading the warriors of Islam (the mujahideen) in facing and finally defeating a mighty pagan empire. Regrettably, the war narrative was sponsored by the state.


The Afghan war and its aftermath threw up some serious challenges for Pakistan’s social order. It made for the “Kalashnikov culture” to take root in the country, as lethal weapons were made available easily and cheaply. Later, these weapons were used for sectarian violence. The “jihadi” factories set up in the north-western part of the country made our already “lawless” tribal areas a hotbed of militancy, where militants from any part of the world could find refuge. Recruitment of youth in large numbers to fight alongside their Afghan brothers contributed in the main to our young generation’s fascination with the holy war. Private armies or lashkars began to raise their head. Textbooks eulogized jihad as the foremost virtue of every Muslim, without cautioning that only the state, and not private individuals or organizations, was competent to declare the holy war.


The post 9/11 United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, which pulled down the “Islamic” regime of the Taliban, and the 2003 Iraq war, further strengthened the narrative that Islam was in grave danger and that a beleaguered Muslim community must fight fire with fire. Since the Pakistan government had sided with the “enemies” of Islam, the obligation of jihad upon non-state actors became even greater. The holy war should be directed not only against non-Muslims but also the members of the faith who had gone astray — the state, followers of other sects, liberals, etc. The rise of Daesh, which unlike al-Qaeda, was able to carve out a territory for itself and put in place a khilafat, added further luster to the so-called jihadi narrative.


Other forces have also been at work. Successive governments failed to deliver the goods to the people. Massive corruption in high places — part fact, part fiction — a creaky, old legal system, economic mismanagement, dearth of employment opportunities, all combined to make the people disillusioned with the “moth-eaten, corrupt, rotten to the core” system. The young educated generation being more sensitive and having greater expectations than the rest has borne the brunt of the disillusionment. The growth of the internet, particularly social media, has provided a powerful platform to express the disillusionment and connect with extremist organizations. The extremists have been remarkably adroit in the use of the internet. Social media have certain advantages over the mainstream media. They are easy to use and cost little. One can reach an immense audience as well as engage with the target groups or individuals.


Regrettably, the academic institutions have failed to equip their students with the intellectual strength to counteract this narrative. This is for the reason that critical thinking is by and large short shrifted in these institutions — from schools to universities. The students of higher education institutions are more likely to be swept off their feet by the toxic narrative. Unlike junior students, they are not under the watchful eyes of their parents. They have an unrestricted access to the social media. Then there is a sense of power that comes with age. The greater the sense of power, the more irresistible is the urge to upset the applecart of the social order.


Radicalization cuts across social classes. The radicalized may not even be religious to begin with. However, they do have some grievances against the system and need an outlet to give vent to the same. The root and branch remedy offered by radical organizations are a Greek gift for the youth: fatal but fascinating.


It follows that the radicalization of the Pakistani society cannot be set down to a single cause, rather it is a function of multiple factors acting in tandem. Therefore, de-radicalization requires a holistic approach taking into account all the factors which have contributed to the growth of extremism. Besides, since campuses are part of society, focusing only on them to the exclusion of other institutions will not be of much avail.


To begin with, the state must continue to demonstrate its unequivocal commitment to fighting the militancy. Until the onset of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014, such commitment was manifestly lacking. Taking the militants head-on has been of vital significance. It has sent out the message both within and outside the country that the state would not tolerate extremism in any shape or form. Thanks to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad and ancillary military operations, peace has returned to the tribal areas, which once had the dubious reputation of being an epicenter of global terrorism.


The state’s commitment to weed out militancy is important for combating radicalization for at least two reasons: In the first place, actions speak louder than words. When government institutions are seen to be going all out against militant outfits, the society’s inclination towards extremism and radicalization is held in check. In the second place, the decimation of terrorist networks, together with choking their funding, denudes the militant organizations of their capability to recruit people to their cause and subsequently provide them weapons and training.


Such networks, however, are not restricted to a particular region; they are spread in different parts of the country. Therefore, continuous action against such networks is required. The National Action Plan (NAP) also provides that militant outfits and gangs will not be allowed to operate in the country. Accordingly, the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, launched earlier this year all over the country, aims at “indiscriminately eliminating the residual/latent threat of terrorism.


Since radicalization is the offspring of a diabolical ideology, counter narratives and discourses need to be publicized. Such narratives may, inter alia, (a) highlight the progressive interpretation of Islam and the high value that it attaches to the right to life of all human beings, Muslims as well as non-Muslims; dispel the notion of an inherent antagonism between Islam and other creeds; emphasize the importance of religious tolerance and moderation; state in so many words that jihad can only be declared by the government and that too in special circumstances; and exhort the young generation to put its trust in knowledge and learning rather than violence and extremism as the gateway to success and glory.


As part of propagating the counter narratives, not only the madaris or seminaries may be reformed but the curricula of mainstream academic institutions needs to be revised as well so that they become a powerful agency for inculcating tolerance and moderation among students. The media should avoid presenting the militants as heroes, promoting religious extremism in any form, or enthroning the militancy. Regulating the social media will be much more challenging, because of its peculiar characteristics. However, whatever can be done must be done. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 provides the government with a legal instrument to regulate the cyberspace. The Act outlaws the use of cyberspace to cause unrest, commotion, or public disorder. The activities covered include hate speech (inter-faith, sectarian or racial); glorification of terrorism; and recruitment, funding or planning for terrorism. The institutions responsible for implementing the Act, the PTA and FIA, need to shore up their online vigilance.


It is vital that critical thinking is promoted in academic institutions. Instead of being merely an instrument of earning degrees, education should also serve as an instrument of problem solving in a constructive way. Emphasis should be placed on fostering the spirit of enquiry and skepticism among students, so that they can think and decide for themselves rather than blindly subscribe to various narratives on and outside the campus. The system of rewards that is in vogue in academic institutions ought to place a high premium on the students’ ability to question the basic assumptions, which they take for granted as a matter of course. The students imbued with the habit of critical thinking are less likely to be swept off their feet by extremism than others.


While the government may keep a strong watch on the institutions of higher learning, a word of caution is in order. Increased campus security, frequent questioning of the youth, restricting their freedom of movement, and police presence may further alienate the youth. A better device will be to gather intelligence about teachers and students in a subtle way without raising their hackles.


Finally, increased employment opportunities and alleviating socio-economic deprivation are also important. The former will make the students optimistic of finding a job after their studies are over. The latter will shore up their trust in the present system. On both accounts, extremist tendencies will be dampened.

 

The writer regularly contributes in national print media.

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04
October

Written By: Lt Gen Talat Masood (R)


China and Pakistan have been cooperating closely at the strategic and political level since the middle of 1960s. China has also been a major supplier of military weapons and hardware to Pakistan and the cooperation in the defence field has been growing as U.S. distances itself from Pakistan and gets closer to India. It is in the economic field that the two countries are embarking on a major journey. And CPEC is a clear manifestation of this giant stride in economic collaboration.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been one of the most discussed and written topics in Pakistan. It has been subject of great interest and also apprehension by friends and foes of Pakistan. Few enterprises have been viewed so dramatically different as CPEC both within country and abroad. Described as a “game changer” – the most wonderful gift that China could give to Pakistan. The diehard opponents have described it as another version of East India Company. These versions aside, it is important to look at this extremely important project more objectively and assess its value for Pakistan and China.


China and Pakistan have been cooperating closely at the strategic and political level since the middle of 1960s. China has also been a major supplier of military weapons and hardware to Pakistan and the cooperation in the defence field has been growing as U.S. distances itself from Pakistan and gets closer to India. It is in the economic field that the two countries are embarking on a major journey. And CPEC is a clear manifestation of this giant stride in econimic collaboration. For Pakistan it would be a project that will bring the highest foreign investment in form of loans and grants.


The CPEC essentially aims at building Pakistan’s energy capacity and constructing national highway linking China’s Southern Xinjiang via Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar seaport. Its other essential feature is the modernization and upgradation of the port and the channel.


Initially the CPEC constituted fifty-one projects having a total value of $46 billion that has since been upscaled to $56 billion and the figure keeps going up. Both countries are of the view that successful completion of these projects will strengthen the economy and contribute towards Pakistan’s internal stability. Balochistan that has remained a highly neglected and underdeveloped province should be the main beneficiary of CPEC. In addition, it should re-energize Pakistan’s economy as projects materialize. And China expects that CPEC should boost the economy and well being of Xinjiang province with an overall positive impact on its Western region.

 

Despite India’s attitude and U.S.’ reservations, China and Pakistan have repeatedly emphasized that CPEC is not directed against any country and is essentially meant to improve the economy of two countries with its associated positive fallout on the political stability of the region.

Initially, Pakistan allowed China to define the parameters and contents of CPEC. It was understandable as its main component is the development of Gwadar Port and the route that links China’s West with the Indian Ocean reducing its proximity to the sea.


Pakistan needs to finalize its priorities in the implementation of the project that have remained largely unattended. It goes to the credit of the Chinese that two third of the projects relate to energy as it is a critical impediment in Pakistan’s industrial, agricultural and overall development. There has been criticism of the government that the terms of the Chinese loans have been high and will create problems of repayment. The government, however, maintains that the loans extended to them are on concessional terms and are highly favorable. As regards the loans to the private sector these have been governed by international market rates, which is the normal practice.


Although not that widely known, Pakistan has imposed on China some politically expedient projects such as the Orange Line. The under construction rapid transit line built as part of Lahore Metro, is considered as an extension of CPEC. However, the Punjab Government claims it is being financed separately.


Pakistan is expected to earn five billion dollars in transit fee annually from CPEC and this would progressively increase as the facilities and infrastructure improve.


What has not been a subject of serious discussion is that nearly 70% of the energy projects contracted with China are coal fired in the private sector. Pakistan’s energy capacity based on coal is being increased from 119 Megawatts to 10,000 Megawatts. Another important factor is the condition of the plants that are being supplied to Pakistan. Whether this will multiply Pakistan’s environmental problems and how is it being addressed are genuine concerns. Coal would be transported in open wagons polluting the environment.


Chinese claim that soon they would be converting their coal plants on the principle of “super critical technology” which is presumed to be a clean coal extraction technology. But this will be in the future, provided China is able to master the technology and integrate it in its production plants.


China as of now is switching over to cleaner technologies – solar, wind and hydropower projects although coal still remains the major source of energy.


We also need to seriously plan on the Human Resource Development. Is there a strategy to have Pakistanis associated with Chinese engineers and managers so that they benefit from this invaluable experience as CPEC projects pass through various phases of implementation? The Pak-China working groups should be professionally manned and truly representative so that they could take right decisions and monitor the program effectively.


China and many countries have introduced the concept of industrial parks. Pakistan should take a cue and set up a few along the CPEC route to build interest and understanding of modern technologies, products and processes.


To foster better understanding and greater confidence in the success of CPEC, we have to take the people into confidence. The CPEC website is too general and vague. It has to be more professional and reflect the precise implications of each major project. This will prevent the enemies of Pakistan and China from spreading false rumors about it.


U.S. and more so India have been opposed to CPEC and trying to create several hurdles in its implementation. It is an open secret that Indians are supporting dissident elements within Balochistan and in other provinces of Pakistan to subvert the project and create misgiving about it. Opposition by India is a clear manifestation of its designs. It cannot see Pakistan and China benefit from the project economically, also enhance their strategic profile and get closer politically. India’s frustrations also emanate from the geographic reality that it does not have the advantages that Pakistan enjoys being placed so centrally at crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia and proximity to the Middle East. By contrast, India’s access by land remains restricted to Burma and Bangladesh. Despite India’s attitude and U.S.’ reservations, China and Pakistan have repeatedly emphasized that CPEC is not directed against any country and is essentially meant to improve the economy of two countries with its associated positive fallout on the political stability of the region.

 

The writer is a retired Lieutenant General from Pakistan Army and an eminent scholar on national security and political issues.

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