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

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

Written By:Sara Raza Khan

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

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

 

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


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


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

 

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

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

 
07
December

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07
December

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

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

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

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

newspakrangerdel.jpg

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

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


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


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


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

07
December
Commander Royal Jordanian Air Force Visits Air Headquarters

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

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


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

07
December
Chief of the Naval Staff Visits Coastal Areas

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

 

 

 

 

Commander Southern Command Visits Awaran

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


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

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07
December
COAS Visits Strike Corps at Mangla

No Power Can Undo Pakistan!

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


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


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


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

 

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

Matters Related to Security and Defence Cooperation Discussed

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

 

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

 

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

06
December
Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad

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

 

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

06
December

Written By: Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan (R)

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

 

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


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


Flying Environment

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


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


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


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


Pre-War Operations

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

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

 

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

Written By: Air Vice Marshal Abrar Ahmed

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

Written By: Mrs. Maj Hussain

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 
06
December

Written By: Zubair Torwali

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

The writer is a journalist based in Swat.

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

 
06
December

Written By: Amir Zia

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

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


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


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

 

alliedagainst.jpg

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 
06
December

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

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

 

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

 

theaghanistan.jpg

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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

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

 


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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06
December

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


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


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


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


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

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06
December

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

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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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06
December

Written By: Hilal Desk


coasvisittoiran.jpg

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

Border of Peace and Friendship

coasvisittoiran1.jpg

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

 

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

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

Maj General Asif Ghafoor, DG ISPR

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

Iranian Spokesperson

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

 
06
December

Written By: Brig Mumtaz Malik (R)


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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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

 

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06
December

Written By: Captain Sagheer Ahmed


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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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06
December

Written By: Lt. Gen Masood Aslam (R)


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

Surah Al Baqarah (2:154)

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

 

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


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

 

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

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

 

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

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


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


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


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

 

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

Written By: Atia Ali Kazmi


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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

 
06
December

Written By: Moeed Pirzada


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

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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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

 

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

tweets at: @MoeedNj.

 
06
December

Written By: Rasul Bakhsh Raees


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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

 

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