08
March
March 2018(EDITION 03, Volume 55)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
India, on our eastern border, has time after time chosen to demonstrate its strategic motives and iniquitous intent towards Pakistan by violating ceasefire on the Working Boundary and the Line of Control. In the last few years, we have seen intelligible evidence of India....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan
International community has always been concerned about global peace and security. To this end, efforts have been made to ensure that no state indulges in any activity that threatens global peace and security. At the end of World War II, the world governments, particularly the major.....Read full article
 
Written By: S. M. Hali
Not only is the ceasefire violation illegal but the deliberate targeting of civilians is a gross contravention of human rights. In 2017, Indian forces committed more than 1800 ceasefire violations while.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nazia Parveen
India, a country with a population of around 1.324 billion, claims to be the largest democracy in the world. It aspires to become a secular and liberal global superpower and considers itself a ‘shining’ model for undemocratic regimes in its backyard. The situation on ground....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
During his speech at the international Security Conference in Munich in February this year, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, spoke endearingly about the kind of Pakistan he remembered when he was a young man. General Bajwa was not wallowing in nostalgia, but ....Read full article
 
Written By: Ammar Akbar
The defence industrial complex has been more relevant in the 21st century as notions of economic power fused with hard power is the norm of an emerging multi-polar world. Therefore, expertise in manufacturing modern.....Read full article
 
Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza
Pakistan is blessed with immense natural beauty. Each part of the country has its own charisma to mesmerize the travelers with spectacular views. There are many places which are unseen and just waiting to be explored. From the valleys and mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa .....Read full article
 
Written By: Ambassador Syed Hasan Javed (R)
The world is a changed place as it races to complete a quarter of the 21st century. Old gimmickries will not work. Old rules of the game will not hold. The U.S. ‘Cold War-II’ template and so-called ‘Coalition of Willing’ paradigms have......Read full article
 
Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh
The question now is whether the February letter is the first step taken by the Taliban towards an Afghan-led and Afghan owned dialogue. This needs to be explored in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, Afghanistan, Pakistan,.....Read full article
 
Written By: Farooq-uz-Zaman
One would wonder why the great visionary of the 20th Century South Asia, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had called Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan. The now jugular route of CPEC proves it as true. Why the will of Kashmiris can’t be ignored with a wink of an eye, is because.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti
Yet Matthew points out that although every country has its problems and so does Pakistan but the image of this beautiful and sacred land is an unfair one and needs to be corrected and the facts do not match up to its negative image....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Usman Saeed (R)
Balochistan constitutes 44% of Pakistan's total landmass with Balochi-Pashtun mix population of 12.34 million (2017). It, however, seriously lags behind in socio-economic development when compared with other provinces. History of development neglect dates back to British....Read full article
 
Written By: Commander Syed Ailya Hassan, and Commander Tanweer Shahid
If as a military man, you dream to operate a platform that is invisible, can plunge into the sea to hundreds of meters, stays down for months unheard, runs for months without refueling and is the most lethal weapon ever designed, then your ultimate choice will be the submarine.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar
his is because we tend to opt only for punitive action as a policy tool when tackling corruption. This does not provide a sustainable solution. The key is to focus on building systems that limit opportunities for collusion.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmad
The Muslims ruled over the present areas of Pakistan for more than one thousand years, i.e., from 712 AD to 1857 AD and over the whole of Indo-Pak subcontinent for about seven hundred years from 1192 AD to 1857. In this period the entire character of the subcontinent in terms of its historical.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood
Recent media reports suggest that China proposed to Pakistan that it may be allowed to use Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY) as a legal tender in the Gwadar Economic Zone (GEZ). This proposal that would amount to a limited currency substitution was reportedly not accepted by Pakistan.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Fateh-ud-din B. Mehmood
In the previous article, we discussed in detail that espionage and employing spies/agents is a 5000 years old practice, which has been improved over thousands of years and in the modern digital age espionage does not necessarily require human agents to be deployed on foreign grounds.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Gen Salim Ullah (R)
After a hectic, over four years long tenure in Azad Kashmir, the unit had moved down to Lahore in the second half of 1978. After settling down, we soon got down to intensive training in our operational tasks in the new operational environment. Most of the training was carried out as ......Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
On a battlefield in the not-so-distant future, a soldier huddles in a makeshift foxhole, flinching as artillery rounds impact around him. Enemy drones hover overhead, scanning for him and his comrades as he lies motionless, hoping that his stealth gear will fool the drones’ sensors.....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood
It was a long cold dark winter night; and the clocks had already struck half-past midnight. The continuous rainfall for hours and the low clouds surrounding the windowpanes and doors had made the night more sombre and dense. The lone man sitting in the café’s corner was deeply.....Read full article
 
H.E. Mr. Abdulaziz Kamilov, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters on February 12, 2018. Bilateral security, defence cooperation and regional security environment were discussed in the meeting.....Read full article

 
They discussed matters of mutual interest particularly the situation on Line of Control (LOC) and agreed to continue policy of restraint in response to Indian provocations, as on both sides it is the Kashmiris who suffer from escalation. President AJ&K appreciated .........Read full article
 
There are no organized terrorist camps on our side of the border: COAS
• Instead of blame games it is time for NATO and allies to conduct an audit and introspection to find out causes for the stalemate in Afghanistan.
• We are fully committed to the......Read full article
 
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) presented Academic Excellence Awards to the students of Army Public Schools and College System (APSACS) who distinguished themselves in SSC and HSSC Exams of Federal Board on February 23, 2018. COAS congratulated successful students, their......Read full article
 
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI(M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was awarded King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. General Abdul Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Bunyan, Chief of General Staff Royal Saudi Armed Forces conferred the coveted award on the Air Chief in a......Read full article
 
Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces was received by Chief of the Naval Staff. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy clad in ceremonial dress presented him Guard of Honour. The visiting dignitary was then introduced to Chiefs of Staff......Read full article
 
Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited forward troops deployed at Hot Spring Sector and appreciated the high morale, operational preparedness and steadfastness of the troops defending Line of Control......Read full article
 
A laptop distribution ceremony was held at Gwadar during which 220 laptops were distributed amongst the participants of Youth Mobilization Program in order to facilitate the studies of students of far flung areas of Balochistan. Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim......Read full article
 
Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt visited Khyber Agency as chief guest on reintegration ceremony of the 5th Batch of Barra De-Radicalization Centre. The Corps Commander congratulated participants on the completion of their programme. He also complimented......Read full article
 
Lt Gen Abdullah Dogar, Commander Multan Corps visited QRC Complex Bahawalpur, where he witnessed the troops participating in different counter-terrorism training activities. He appreciated the professionalism and operational preparedness of the participating troops....Read full article
 
Commander Lahore Corps, Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz visited Chunian Garrison and witnessed training of troops on January 30, 2018. While addressing the troops the Corps Commander emphasised the need for continuous enhancement of operational preparedness to achieve more laurels for the nation.......Read full article
 
A 24-member delegation of Foreign Services’ Attachés/Advisers visited Corps Headquarters Peshawar on January 25, 2018 where they were given a detailed briefing on the prevailing security environment in KP/FATA. Participants of the delegation were informed about the contribution of Pakistan....Read full article
 
15th International Cardiac Electrophysiology Conference was held at Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and National Institute of Heart Diseases (AFIC & NIHD) Rawalpindi. President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest on the inaugural ceremony. President of Royal College of.....Read full article
 
Defence Attachés of U.S., UK, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia visited Line of Control in Rawalakot Sector of AJ&K. The defence Attachés were briefed about Indian atrocities along Line of Control and deliberate targeting of civilians by Indian Army. They interacted with....Read full article
 
 
08
March

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

alonglongwalk.jpgIt was a long cold dark winter night; and the clocks had already struck half-past midnight. The continuous rainfall for hours and the low clouds surrounding the windowpanes and doors had made the night more sombre and dense. The lone man sitting in the café’s corner was deeply engrossed in thoughts that had made his fourth cup of coffee get further cold. The café in the tourist resort mountainous village was located a bit far away from the population. The café owner himself seemed part of the antiquity that had endured over the decades. He was well familiar with this lone man sitting in the corner for over thirty years; though the familiarity could only break the walls of brief wellbeing exchanges. He would appear once in a while each year for a month-long stay in the village, mostly in winters. Known for his quiet manners and lone long walks over the mountain tops, the man was taken as a peaceful recluse. A black mystery hollow always surrounded him. Somehow it became known that he had once served in the military and had fought a war, too. That night he sat for long, engulfed in some inner conflict, he did not talk even once. The inner conflicts are usually not visible but are often equally dreadful as open wars. His eyes were dull but demeanour rock-solid. He was passing through the agony of bygone years when he was young, and full of life!
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In those days he was serving in a military unit deployed in the East Wing of his country. He often missed his hometown located in the West Wing, that was different in many ways. However, like soldiers are famous for adapting to the new ways in the line of duty, he was soon absorbed by the life of the town. There he met her, and overpowered by the destiny, soon they were married. The girl was young and naïve but as beautiful as a wild little white rose. This was a union spontaneous but an act of sheer love. A bit unusual but no one could deny the oneness of the land, blood and souls. They had made it a routine to go for long night errands. In that land of ravines, lakes and mist, they would often lose the path, but then magical power of love would lead them back home. They would talk and understand not entirely dependent on words. In youthful days, heart is connected to the soul in a manner that ‘love’ is personified through each small act of lovers.


A year of happiness had just passed when the war broke out in the East Wing. Brothers started fighting brothers, the blood was spilled without distinction and it further thickened the clouds of death and misery. The love was unknowingly overtaken by hate, and soon the enemy also jumped in. That night he talked to her for very long in a manner that he had never done before. He talked of love, life and perpetuity of conflict. And, then he started explaining the ever-overpowering love for the motherland!
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He uttered the words in a low but firm voice, “I have put you in my heart, closed it, yet set you free. We are different but love always does not breed in similarity. Love just happens to someone. It is never chained in bonds, never two shall be one, but the oneness of souls endures the differences. Sustaining distinct uniqueness gives strength to life of individuals and societies. Oneness is a divine attribute and humans are ought to be diverse yet love takes them to this divine bliss!” And deeply drowned in mystique of love and life he mumbled, “the bond with the motherland is nothing but pure divine love.” Overwhelmed by the power of the words he had uttered from deep caves of inner-self, he opened the half-shut eyes. Then appeared the agony of life and reality on his face. The shadows of looming war further thickened the talk. “We learn to know, and then live under the burdens of knowing forever,” again he was murmuring, “All living beings feed on all other living ‘things’. This one-eyed spectacle makes the notions of peace, justice and freedom relative in nature. Man is defined, lost and found by the conflict. Perpetuity is to life, not to peace as contradictions shape and give birth to new conflicts. Peace is a dream that is never under full grasp. There are skies to fly and feet to crawl on the ground. The passionate men of freedom, courage and imagination always delimit the industry of life. They do not look down to find the pitfalls, but act to unknot the limits of the ‘will’. The words without power of action are mere dreams. An idea is hope, half-action is a curse-in-waiting, and persistence is victory.” His words were magical, and the dawn of a new day had already set in on the horizon.


He opened his eyes to the reality and saw the shadows of conflict looming over vast fields of his motherland. It was time for the men of courage and passion to act and protect the godly motherland. And then he uttered the last words with a finality of tone she was not familiar with, “soldiers like us have been groomed to get martyred for the motherland. They are trained hard to stand for the motherland, protect it, fight for it till last. These times are hard, our freedom and identity is the cost, and I cannot shy away from the call! These are the times of valiant fights, struggle and strife, suffering and endurance, and martyrdom! This is not throwing away life, which is a unique divine gift, but standing tall to the toughest calls of duty and commitment. Life and death are both a matter of choice. The tall ones always stand high above the choice. On some beautiful morning of tomorrow, pluck a red rose and you will find me, and only then you would know the price of the blood of a martyr!” The girl could hardly utter a word but her grasp was enough to tell that she shared his cause. The cause of a soldier in the line of duty, the ever unchained love for the motherland! No tear could roll down, but met a silent death in the depths of heart that embodied the virtue of love.
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In the dark winter nights, the soldiers embark on the missions that are rarely known to the men living in peaceful dwellings. The deep gorges, fast flowing ravines, snow-clad mountain tops, thick forests and stormy oceans; all witness the resolve of man versus man, and man versus nature. It is ironic but true that peace is sought through wars. ‘Peace and war’ is like a hide-and-seek game between life and death and soldiers play this game. Tyranny could prevail forever if there are no soldiers of peace and freedom. The soldiers fight and endure wars! The soldiers are proud young sons of their old dying mothers. They are the band of brothers who go to war–the valley of death–while singing songs and chanting slogans. Their young bodies and spirits are imbued with love, life and hope. Their old generals are often cold and quiet, as they know the pain and strife that life endures once young ones die in the line of duty.
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Since then many years had passed. The soldiers of war, peace and freedom had returned to their homes. The brave ones chose death, the resilient ones fought and survived. After the war, he returned to his native town in the West Wing, and could not go back to the home he had built with her. He tried to locate her, but where love once prevailed, the dust of hatred had taken over. Those who were distinct but one, had been separated. The cause of oneness which they had chosen willingly, had been lost. Often in war, the results do not entirely depend on the bravery of the soldiers. Sometimes the battles are won but the war is lost. Nature’s clairvoyance cried: “the conflict is inevitable. The ready-ones to live in peace, ambitious to wage war, simpleton to be trapped, and charlatans to suffer defeat. ”

In the dark winter nights, the soldiers embark on the missions that are rarely known to the men living in peace dwellings. The deep gorges, fast flowing ravines, snow-clad mountain tops, thick forests and stormy oceans; all witness the resolve of man versus man, and man versus nature. It is ironic but true that peace is sought through wars. ‘Peace and war’ is like a hide-and-seek game between life and death and soldiers play this game. The tyranny could prevail forever if there are no soldiers of peace and freedom. The soldiers fight and endure wars! The soldiers are proud young sons of their old dying mothers. They are the band of brothers who go to war, the valley of death, while singing songs and chanting slogans. Their young bodies and spirits are imbued with love, life and hope. Their old generals are often cold and quiet, as they know the pain and strife that life endures once young ones die in the line of duty.

Lost in the fog of war and bitter memories of separation, he managed once to go back to the East Wing to find her. There he found a demolished home that was once a symbol of life and joy. Nothing was recognisable. The love that united them once, had become a lost cause. He made muted enquiries about the girl that used to live there, but none could tell him about her. He then returned to the West Wing with empty hands, and heart filled with pain. Soon, he left the military and started ploughing the new crops in the virgin fields of the motherland. He had found the shelter and cause in the love of motherland.


Years passed following the unstoppable flow of time and destiny. In the memory of that cold winter night of December, he often chose to visit that mountainous village and spend the nights of love, remorse and pain all alone by himself. He often chose to go for long lonely walks in the clouds. The life had turned into a wasteland without companionship. The nights were painful but days had a glimmer of hope as he could see new crops growing. He had a hope for good days once peoples’ stomach would be filled with the healthy harvest growing in the fields. All was passing like a colourless autumn month that is waiting for blissful days of spring. And, one day, all seemed upside-down once he received a letter from the embassy of the former East Wing of his motherland. It was a letter from her daughter who was born after he had left the house. She had written about the death of her mother after that tragic war. She grew with one of her aunts who on her insistence had contacted the embassy of the West Wing to locate him. Next week she was coming to meet him!
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And, tonight he was sitting in the far corner of that mountain café all alone engrossed in deep thoughts. The two weeks stay of his daughter had passed like withering petals of a white rose that rarely survive the next morning of their bloom. She resembled her mother in many ways. She made numerous enquiries about their past and about her mother. They spared most nights for long walks in the memory of the departed one.


She had to go back to the former East Wing due to her studies. He had to stay in his home in the West Wing for the new crops he was hoping to reap one day. It was difficult to reach the decision of parting ways once again, but hope for seeing new crops in the motherland had defined his new life.
The man finally arose from his seat, gave a smiling nod to the café owner, and walked into the mist of life.
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Nature breeds life, conflict evolves, and love endures it.

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08
March

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

On a battlefield in the not-so-distant future, a soldier huddles in a makeshift foxhole, flinching as artillery rounds impact around him. Enemy drones hover overhead, scanning for him and his comrades as he lies motionless, hoping that his stealth gear will fool the drones’ sensors. Exhaustion makes his eyelids feel like lead, his limbs ache and hunger gnaws at him–eating through the last of his adrenaline. Moving carefully he removes a patch from his knapsack and applies it to his bare skin. Within seconds a cocktail of drugs and stimulants pass through his skin into his bloodstream; his heart beats faster, his pupils dilate and the hunger, the fear and the exhaustion are swept away by a chemical tide.


This isn’t science-fiction, but a scenario that is the likely and logical outcome of centuries of warfare and advances in the chemical sciences; an answer to the age-old question: How do we motivate ordinary men to overcome their instinct for self-preservation and put themselves in harm’s way? When this question was put to Napoleon he replied: ‘A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him.’


Certainly, this is true. But even the most motivated soldiers still fall prey to common human needs and frailties: they succumb to hunger, to fear, to moral qualms and also the eternal enemies: fatigue and boredom. While some of these can be overcome with training and effective logistics, soldiers throughout the ages have also turned to other means to boost their courage and effectiveness: namely drugs and alcohol.


Dutch Courage
The ancient Greeks of the Homeric age routinely went into battle intoxicated on wine, a tradition that continued in European armies until quite recently. Take the term “Dutch Courage’: coined during the conflicts between England and the Netherlands in the 18th century, it refers to the propensity of Dutch sailors to consume large amounts of gin, something the English attributed their fearlessness to. The British chose rum, while the Russians opted for vodka. During the American Civil War, rum was an important part of the soldiers’ kit, and was later replaced by whiskey. In fact, up until the mid 20th century few wars waged by Western armies were fought sober.


‘From the fury of the Norsemen, oh lord… deliver us’–Ancient English prayer
The history of drugs (alcohol will be classified as a drug for the purpose of this article) and warfare, however, stretches even further back. Inca warriors in South America routinely chewed coca leaves (the main ingredient of cocaine) to ward off altitude sickness, hunger and sleep. In the 9th century, the feared Viking berserkers–known for entering battle in a state of madness, impervious to wounds that would cripple an ordinary man–would consume the Amanita mushroom, a psychedelic mushroom containing bufotenine, which has been known to cause hallucinations and psychophysiological effects similar to those described in Norse sagas about the Berserkers. How feared were these warriors? The Icelandic historian and poet Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241 AD) wrote this description: “His (Odin's) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon themselves.”


Opium Warriors
In this part of the world, the Rajput warriors were also reported to consume opium before battles, often sharing it with their horses as well.


Francois Bernier, a French traveler who visited India in 1656 AD and wrote a book titled "Travels in the Mogul Empire" relates:


".....From an early age they (Rajputs) are accustomed to the use of opium, and I have some times been astonished to see the large quantity they swallow. On the day of battle they never fail to double the dose, and this drug so animates, or rather inebriates them, that they rush into the thickest of the combat insensible of danger."


A contemporary Indian commander, Sirsubha Sakharm Martand, also relates that:
“My long connection with and intimate knowledge of the State army enables me to say unhesitatingly that a moderate dose of opium is an unmixed good to the consumers. Opium eating does not necessarily lead to immorality or crime. It gives staying power under great exertions such as long marches and hunting excursions. As compared with alcohol drinkers, I found opium consumers to be steady, quiet, reliable, and obedient soldiers. In my time I found 40 to 50 percent using opium in the State army.”


Also the General in command of the Indian state army in Indore, Balmukund Gayadeen, said:
“Opium is eaten as well as drunk in the army. The percentage of consumers in my opinion is 50. A moderate use of opium is known not to tell against the physique of soldiers. Opium-eaters are sober, quiet, obedient, enterprising, and attentive to their duties. They can stand hard marches under the influence of the drug. If the use of opium is accompanied by the use of milk, sweetmeat, or any substantial food as is usually the case, it is not only harmless but positively beneficial. It staves off hunger, and keeps the user from the effects of exposure to cold or heat. Opium is also useful to animals and makes them capable of undergoing hard work and long journeys.”

In short, opium was a crucial component of the contemporary Indian war machine.


Out of Africa
There are similar tales from every part of the world. Take the Zulu warriors of what is now South Africa. With their modern weaponry and strict discipline, the world-conquering British felt the half-naked Zulus, armed with primitive shields and assegai (a short spear) would be easily defeated despite their numbers. After all, the British had faced such foes countless times in countless lands. Instead, at the battle of Isandlwana in 1879 the Zulus dealt the British a rare defeat. There were many factors at play, of course, but the Zulus had one thing the British did not: shamans who had fortified them with a potent mixture of war drugs. The warriors were first given a form of powdered cannabis providing a sense of well-being and euphoria. Second, they were given an extract from a bulb called Boophane disticha, which is closely related to morphine and codeine. While mildly hallucinogenic, it is also an effective pain killer. Tales from the battle itself relate how Zulu warriors advanced despite being shot several times–something that can be attributed to their use of this extract. Finally came a psychedelic mushroom containing a toxin called muscimol, which in limited doses has the effect of sharpening the senses and increasing one’s ability to focus. No wonder then that the superior arms and tactics of the British did not avail them against the Zulu tide.


The Chemical Blitz
Now we come to the modern era and the dawn of the chemical revolution. In the early years, around the beginning of the 20th century, little was known about the negative long-term side effects of commercially produced morphine, opiates and–most crucially–methamphetamines. Of these latter drugs, a methamphetamine called pervitin was to play a crucial (and under-acknowledged) role in the success of the German Wehrmacht in WW2, something that is detailed at length by German author Norman Ohler in his book “The Total Rush.”


Patented by German pharmaceutical company Temmler in 1937 and aided by a slick marketing campaign, Pervitin became the stimulant of choice for Nazi Germany. And when war broke out, the German army quickly realized its benefits. During the invasion of Poland in the Nazis in 1939, one German soldier reported: “Everyone fresh and cheerful, excellent discipline. Slight euphoria and increased thirst for action. Mental encouragement, very stimulated. No accidents. Long-lasting effect. After taking four tablets, double vision and seeing colors,”


Another report read: “The feeling of hunger subsides. One particularly beneficial aspect is the appearance of a vigorous urge to work. The effect is so clear that it cannot be based on imagination.”
With Pervitin, the trauma of the front was lessened: hunger faded, fear subsided, courage increased.
“The German army was trying to win the battle against sleep,” Ohler relates. “It’s why they used methamphetamines.”


“At the beginning, it worked wonders in the attack on Poland and the Western Campaign against France and Great Britain, you can see exactly how methamphetamine was used.”


There were consequences, of course. With the Nazis shipping 35 million units of Pervitin and similar drugs to army and air force troops in April and May 1940 alone, addiction became an issue and letters show soldiers writing home, begging for more Pervitin. From generals to footsoldiers, all needed their fix. For the Luftwaffe they were called ‘stuka tablets’ and for the tank divisions they were dubbed ‘Panzer chocolate.’


Reports of negative health effects and addiction were ignored by the high command for a simple reason: Pervitin worked.


In January 1942, in the frozen hell of the Eastern front, a group of 500 Germans surrounded by the Red Army were attempting to escape in minus 30 degree weather. A military doctor assigned to the unit wrote: "More and more soldiers were so exhausted that they were beginning to simply lie down in the snow." The command to take Pervitin was given and "After half an hour," the doctor wrote, "the men began spontaneously reporting that they felt better. They began marching in orderly fashion again, their spirits improved, and they became more alert."


For King and Country
This did not escape the notice of the Allied forces, and the U.S. and Britain also began their own stimulant program with the UK opting for the amphetamine Benzedrine.


An article on the topic puts it thus: “Roland Winfield of the Royal Air Force was studying the effects of Benzedrine on long-range Bomber Command missions when the bomber pilot he was observing suddenly plunged his aircraft below the cover of clouds, into heavy anti-aircraft fire, in order to “press home the attack.” The pilot scored a direct hit. Winfield recommended Benzedrine for every RAF mission, for the ‘determination’ and ‘aggression’ that it imparted. By early 1942, Smith, Kline and French was supplying large quantities of Benzedrine to the RAF. Likewise, a British war memorandum in 1943 titled A Guide to the Preservation of Life at Sea after Shipwreck suggested that shipwrecked sailors use Benzedrine to “lessen feelings of fatigue and exhaustion, promote alertness, raise the spirits, and prolong the will to ‘hang on and live’.” That same year the Army Supply Service provided commanders with packets of six Benzedrine ‘pep pills’ for each of their soldiers. U.S. marines relied on Benzedrine during the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943, and paratroopers used the stimulant during the rigorous D-Day landings in June 1944.”


Pilots of the Royal Air force dubbed these the ‘wakey-wakey’ pills, and they quickly became a staple for exhausted pilots in particular.

 

The Rising Sun
The Japanese however, took it to another level. While the German army’s adoption of Pervitin came from the bottom up–the public was already hooked onto it–the Japanese empire mandated its use by decree. Using a methamphetamine dubbed Philopon (translated as ‘love for work’), they supplied it to factory workers–who could then work longer hours with less food, and to all arms of the military. A particularly potent dose was reportedly added to the last cup of sake (rice wine) that the famed kamikaze pilots would ceremonially imbibe before their suicide missions.


While there is no hard evidence for this, the emotion-numbing effects of these drugs possibly also played a role in the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. Additionally, as with Germany and to a lesser extent England, Japan also faced the consequences in the shape of a post-war addiction epidemic.


Good Morning Vietnam!
Lukasz Kamienski, author of Shooting Up: a History of Drugs in Warfare, calls Vietnam "the first pharmacological war". Given what we have discussed about WW2 earlier this may seem like a stretch but then consider this: in all of WW2, about 200 million amphetamine tablets were given to Nazi troops. In Vietnam, U.S. soldiers consumed 225 million tablets. The drug of choice was the amphetamine Dexedrine, and while the recommended dosage as ordained by the U.S. military was 20 milligrams of dextroamphetamine for 48 hours of combat readiness, these ‘pep pills’ were consumed, as one veteran put it, ‘like candies’.


One U.S. commando describes the effects thus: “[they] gave you a sense of bravado as well as keeping you awake. Every sight and sound was heightened. You were wired into it all and at times you felt really invulnerable.” But aphemtamines increase not just alertness but aggression as well–and when the effects started to wear off, some veterans said it made them so angry “that they felt like shooting children in the streets”. In some cases, that’s exactly what they did.


Dexedrine was one drug, but not the only one. Codeine and the anti-psychotic thorazine were also handed out, and the latter played a role in lowering the rates of combat trauma among U.S. soldiers. In WW2 the rate of mental breakdowns among American soldiers was 10 percent. In the Korean war it was 4 percent, but in Vietnam it fell to 1 percent.


Again, as always, the war does come home eventually and while drugs may have insulated the soldier on the battlefield, they made the transition to civilian life that much harder. The post-war issues that Vietnam vets faced can at least partially be attributed to the hard crash after the high–the consequences of addiction and withdrawal.


That’s exactly what happened in Operation Desert Storm. U.S. Army veteran Tyson Manker says: “In 2003 my Marine Corps infantry platoon helped lead the invasion of Iraq, and during that time we were fed a constant supply of pharamaceuticals without a prescription or any real oversight. Our platoon corpsmen, both enlisted navy medics, were tasked with the responsibility of doling out the drugs. Like good Marines we followed orders and took them, often standing in line, even though we weren’t really sure what we were taking. My offical records show that in addition to daily doses of Amphetamine, we were given Mefloquine, an anti-malaria drug, and Ciprofloxacin, a powerful antibiotic. This came after being injected with smallpox, anthrax, typhoid, and meningococcal vaccines.”


Remember ‘Gulf war syndrome’, the mysterious ailment that afflicted so many U.S. veterans of that conflict? Many experts speculate that it was caused by the cocktail of drugs given to soldiers. The U.S. military first denied its existence, then tried to downplay it, and only reluctantly recognized its existence due to pressure from veterans.


Regardless, the U.S. military has continued with the policy of drugging its soldiers. Under U.S. law, “The U.S. military can force troops to take drugs without their informed consent when the President determines that ‘obtaining consent is not in the interests of national security’.”


On April 17, 2002 an American F-16 fighter jet dropped a 500-pound bomb on Canadian soldiers, who were conducting a night firing exercise at Tarnak Farms, killing four and injuring many others. As this was not an Afghan wedding party, an inquiry was held during which the pilot claimed that he had been flying missions non-stop and had been pressurized into taking dextroamphetamine known to the troops as "go pills," and that he was under the influence when the incident occurred. GlaxoSmithKline, which makes dexedrine, warns that the drug "may impair the patient's ability to engage in potentially hazardous activity such as operating machines and vehicles and that patients should be cautioned accordingly," The pilot claims no such warning was given to him. He lost the case and the USAF refused to comment on his allegations.


However, former Department of Defence psychologist Bart Billings confirms: “We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now…. And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence.”


Low-intensity… High Dosage
No longer is the use of such drugs confined to formal militaries, as their use in low-intensity conflicts is also on record.


The Ugandan LRA (lord’s resistance army) and Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front are both known for their use of child soldiers plied with drugs. These include amphetamines, crack cocaine, palm wine, brown-brown (cocaine mixed with gun powder), marijuana and tranquilizers. Children who refuse to take these are beaten and even executed. One rehabilitation camp director said that recruits “would do just about anything that was ordered” when they were on drugs.


What the future holds is unknown, but advances in medical, neural and genetic science mean that the war drugs of the future will most likely be unlike anything we have seen before. The United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a research unit called the Peak Soldier Performance Programme, which aims to devise a ‘biochemical approach’ that would allow a soldier to operate in theatre for up to five days without requiring sustenance. Work is being done on temporary memory blockers that could not only literally help soldiers ‘forget’ their trauma but can also be used to erase classified information from one’s mind in case of capture by the enemy.


At What Cost?
But all this has come at a great cost. Not only does the reliance on drugs greatly compromise the moral integrity of fighters–causing them to make grave errors of judgement or even engage in committing atrocities–it has devastating consequences that continue long after the conflict has ended. The war comes home in many ways: in the form of mass drug addiction such as what we saw in post-WW2 Germany and Japan, which in turn gives rise to an entire underground economy catering to supplying illegal drugs with all the criminal violence that entails. New advances in these fields may have deadlier consequences as designer drugs that make soldiers more open to suggestion and indoctrination can also be used to create an army of virtual zombies, insulated from conscience and morals by a chemical tide designed to numb the senses. In the final analysis it would be best to speak to the soul in order to motivate soldiers and not rely–as so many Western armies in particular have done–on numbing the senses.

 

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

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

 
08
March
Journalists from South Waziristan Agency Visit ISPR

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08
March
Defence Attachés from Various Countries Visit LOC
Defence Attachés of U.S., UK, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia visited Line of Control in Rawalakot Sector of AJ&K. The defence Attachés were briefed about Indian atrocities along Line of Control and deliberate targeting of civilians by Indian Army. They interacted with CFV victims and gained first hand knowledge about their sufferings. Dignitaries were also apprised about activities undertaken by Pakistan Army to provide relief to population of AJ&K.

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08
March
15th International Cardiac Electrophysiology Conference Held at AFIC and NIHD
15th International Cardiac Electrophysiology Conference was held at Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and National Institute of Heart Diseases (AFIC & NIHD) Rawalpindi. President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest on the inaugural ceremony. President of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh UK, Professor Derrek Bell along with his team and delegates from United State of America, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and more than 360 doctors from across the country attended the conference. Speaking on the occasion, the President appreciated the hard work and professionalism of the doctors in achieving commendable standards in the field of heart diseases and appreciated AFIC & NIHD for organizing the event for benefiting from each others experiences. The President lauded Army Medical Corps for its achievements for latest trends in medical field and bringing good name to Pakistan for serving humanity in different parts of the world under UN auspices. Earlier, on arrival at AFIC & NIHD President was received by Adjutant General Pakistan Army, Lieutenant General Anwar Ali Hyder and Major General Safdar Abbas, Commandant AFIC & NIHD.

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08
March
Foreign Services’ Delegation Attends Briefing at Corps HQ Peshawar
A 24-member delegation of Foreign Services’ Attachés/Advisers visited Corps Headquarters Peshawar on January 25, 2018 where they were given a detailed briefing on the prevailing security environment in KP/FATA. Participants of the delegation were informed about the contribution of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism and bringing normalcy in the area. The delegation was also briefed about uplifting and developmental activities undertaken by Pakistan Army in the entire FATA. They were also informed that these unprecedented development works have brought a positive change in the living standard of tribesmen. TDPs return, FATA Reforms and Pak-Afghan border management system/fencing was also highlighted during the briefing. During a day-long visit, the delegation also visited forward areas of Khyber Agency where they were briefed about the achievements of Operation Khyber-4 and the ongoing fencing along the Pak-Afghan border.

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08
March
Troops in Field Training in Chunian Garrison
Commander Lahore Corps, Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz visited Chunian Garrison and witnessed training of troops on January 30, 2018. While addressing the troops the Corps Commander emphasised the need for continuous enhancement of operational preparedness to achieve more laurels for the nation. He commended the standard of training of troops. Earlier, on arrival Brig Mussadaq Akram, Commander Chunian Garrison received Commander 4 Corps at the Chunian Garrison. The Corps Commander was also given a detailed briefing on the aims and objectives with respect to the training of troops.

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08
March
Counter-terrorism Training Activities

Commander Multan Corps Visits QRC Complex in Bahawalpur

Lt Gen Abdullah Dogar, Commander Multan Corps visited QRC Complex Bahawalpur, where he witnessed the troops participating in different counter-terrorism training activities. He appreciated the professionalism and operational preparedness of the participating troops.

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08
March
Reintegration Ceremony Held at Barra De-Radicalization Centre
Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt visited Khyber Agency as chief guest on reintegration ceremony of the 5th Batch of Barra De-Radicalization Centre. The Corps Commander congratulated participants on the completion of their programme. He also complimented the tribal brethren for their support to the security forces in restoration of peace.

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08
March
Youth Mobilization Program in Balochistan

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A laptop distribution ceremony was held at Gwadar during which 220 laptops were distributed amongst the participants of Youth Mobilization Program in order to facilitate the studies of students of far flung areas of Balochistan. Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa was the chief guest. While speaking on the occasion he highlighted the importance of acquiring quality education vis-à-vis challenges and opportunities offered by CPEC. It is worth mentioning that Youth Mobilization Program is designed to provide the students of Balochistan with the opportunity to interact and integrate with the youth of other provinces of Pakistan. This program will enable them to understand the cultures of different provinces and strengthen the inter-provincial harmony. Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa also visited Gwadar Marine Drive with the students and exchanged views with the participants.
08
March
High Morale and Operational Preparedness of Troops at LOC Appreciated by Commander 10 Corps
newshighmorale.jpgCommander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited forward troops deployed at Hot Spring Sector and appreciated the high morale, operational preparedness and steadfastness of the troops defending Line of Control (LOC). He condemned the Indian Army for its unethical and unprofessional approach of targeting innocent civilians. He further expressed his satisfaction over vigilance exercised by the troops and appreciated them for giving quid pro quo response to enemy. Earlier on arrival, the Corps Commander was received by General Officer Commanding, Major General Salman Fayyaz Ghani followed by a comprehensive briefing regarding prevailing security situation at LOC, cease fire violations (CFVs) by Indian Army and operational preparedness of the troops.
Commander Rawalpindi Corps Visits Forward Troops at Neelum Valley
newshighmorale1.jpgCommander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited forward troops at Neelum Valley. The Commander appreciated operational preparedness and high morale of troops. He directed troops to give befitting response to Indian CFVs which are unethically targeting innocent civilians.
08
March
Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces Visits Pakistan

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Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily visited Naval Headquarters Islamabad and called on Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.


Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces was received by Chief of the Naval Staff. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy clad in ceremonial dress presented him Guard of Honour. The visiting dignitary was then introduced to Chiefs of Staff and Principal Staff Officers.


Later, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily called on Chief of the Naval Staff in his office, where discussions on professional matters and bilateral naval collaboration were held. Various avenues of cooperation between the two Navies were discussed. A comprehensive brief was also given to the visiting dignitary.


Visit of Naval Headquarters was followed by an impressive investiture ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Saddar, where Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily was conferred with Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) by President Mr. Mamnoon Hussain; one of Pakistan’s highest military awards, in recognition of his distinguished services and significant contributions towards further strengthening fraternal ties between Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in general and Navies of both the brotherly nations in particular.


During the second leg of his visit, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily met Naval Field Commands at Lahore and Karachi.


During the visit at Karachi, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily called on Commander Karachi, Rear Admiral Ather Mukhtar, Commander Coast, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas and Commander Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi in separate meetings. During the meetings, professional matters and various avenues of bilateral collaboration came under discussion. The Saudi Admiral lauded Pakistan Navy’s role and focused commitment in support of maritime security for peace and stability in the region.


The dignitary also visited Pakistan Navy establishments PNS BAHADUR and PNS RAHBAR and interacted with Royal Saudi Naval Forces officers and cadets presently undergoing training. During the interaction, Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces advised them to hold fast to the qualities of honour, integrity and selfless devotion. He also encouraged them to develop their knowledge, skills and efficiency to defend their country in a befitting manner. Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily is also an alumnus of Pakistan Naval Academy.


Later, Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces visited Pakistan Navy Ship ASLAT. Upon arrival, Commander RSNF was received by Commander Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and was presented Guard of Honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy. The dignitary also interacted with the crew of the ship. During the interaction, Saudi commander appreciated the professionalism of officers and men of Pakistan Navy.


Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily also visited Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works, where he was given a brief overview of ongoing construction projects being executed at KS&EW. Subsequently, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily visited Joint Maritime Information & Coordination Centre and lauded the efforts of Pakistan Navy for establishing an inter-agency coordination body which is serving as a Nerve Centre between all maritime stakeholders.


Earlier, the dignitary, during his visit to Pakistan Navy War College Lahore, called on Commandant Pakistan Navy War College Rear Admiral Naveed Ahmed Rizvi.


Pakistan Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces enjoy a long-standing and brotherly relationship. In the formative years of Royal Saudi Naval Forces, training facilities and technical advice rendered by Pakistan Navy laid solid foundation for the development of close ties between the two Navies. A number of senior officers of Royal Saudi Naval Forces were trained in Pakistan. It is pertinent to highlight that Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Ghofaily, is the third consecutive Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces who is a graduate of Pakistan Naval Academy. After assuming the office of Commander Royal Saudi Naval Forces, this is his first official visit to any foreign country, which is a reflection of his close association with Pakistan.

08
March
Air Chief Awarded King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI(M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was awarded King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. General Abdul Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Bunyan, Chief of General Staff Royal Saudi Armed Forces conferred the coveted award on the Air Chief in a grand investiture ceremony held on February 9, 2018. This prestigious medal has been awarded to the Air Chief in recognition of support provided by PAF to Royal Saudi Air Force in various domains, especially by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman for his valuable services to the promotion of cordial relations between the two air forces.


Earlier, the Air Chief called on General Abdul Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Bunyan, Chief of General Staff Royal Saudi Armed Forces, in his office. The Air Chief highlighted PAF’s key role in the counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan. He also reiterated the efforts to enhance the existing cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the field of aviation. General Abdul Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Bunyan acknowledged the contributions of the Air Chief for the enhancement of defence ties between both the brotherly countries. He also lauded PAF’s role in the success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and termed it as a role model for other air forces of the world.


The Air Chief also met Major General Mohammed bin Saleh Al Otaibi, Commander Royal Saudi Air Force at Royal Saudi Air Operations Center, Riyadh. The Air Chief expressed satisfaction on the unremitting mutual cooperation between the two air forces and offered assistance to his counterpart in the fields of military and aviation training. Commander RSAF thanked the Air Chief for the promotion of bilateral relations between the two air forces and also appreciated high standards of professionalism set by PAF personnel.


Later in the day, the Air Chief called on Mr. Mohammad Abdullah Al-Aysh, Assistant Defence Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Ministry of Defence. The Saudi Assistant Defence Minister lauded Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and the PAF for supporting RSAF over the years. Both the dignitaries discussed matters of bilateral defence ties and mutual interest during their meeting. The Air Chief reiterated effort and intentions to further enhance the defence collaboration between both the brotherly countries.

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08
March
COAS Presents Awards to APSACS Students for Excellent Academic Performance
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) presented Academic Excellence Awards to the students of Army Public Schools and College System (APSACS) who distinguished themselves in SSC and HSSC Exams of Federal Board on February 23, 2018. COAS congratulated successful students, their parents and faculty for achieving excellent results. He stated that our younger generation is our asset and we are proud of their achievements. Reaffirming commitment to education, he said that we would do our best to provide wholehearted support towards improvement of education in the country. A large number of students, their parents, teaching faculty and the staff of APSACS Secretariat attended the ceremony.

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08
March
COAS Attends Munich Security Conference

There are no organized terrorist camps on our side of the border: COAS
• Instead of blame games it is time for NATO and allies to conduct an audit and introspection to find out causes for the stalemate in Afghanistan.
• We are fully committed to the international consensus that political reconciliation is the only solution to the Afghan issue.
• The war against terrorism and extremism will take some time before the world is free of it, we all have to be patient and remain steadfast.
• Trust, cooperation and sharing will work, scapegoating won’t.


COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa attended the Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 17, 2018, and also spoke at the conference giving Pakistan’s perspective on global and regional security.


He also held few meetings on the sideline with other participating international civilian and military leadership.


Text of COAS Speech at Munich Security Conference
It is my proud privilege today to be addressing this august gathering on a subject of critical importance to all of us. Let me first offer my sincere thanks and gratitude for this opportunity. I will make no pretence about my intellectual credentials. But may I humbly say that I have the honour of commanding an Army which has achieved great successes against violent extremism and terrorism, of course at a huge cost and sacrifice. My perspective would therefore be that of a soldier and not of an intellectual.


The present so-called jihadism is a misnomer. Jihad is a highly evolved concept that underlines myriad of struggles against tyranny of all types. Muslims are taught that control of self is the most elevated form of jihad. There is also a saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that 'the best of Jihad is a word of truth in the face of a tyrant ruler'. On the other hand, 'Qitaal', or aspect of 'armed jihad' comes at the lowest end of the spectrum of actions and beliefs that comprise the concept of jihad and can only be sanctioned by a State authority and nobody else.


However, there is no denying the fact that a powerful concept such as jihad can easily be misused for propagating extremism or terrorism. Particularly, as many Muslims, world over, are not only feeling alienated but disowned, targeted and devoid of positive expression. Same is true for the concept of caliphate which is more of a nostalgic response rather than actual possibility for most Muslims.


In Pakistan, the notion of caliphate has not found any traction, but jihad has definitely been used to radicalize fairly large tracts of population. However, this phenomenon is not a recent creation nor started after 9/11. The frankenstein was actually created by the liberal free world with willing but myopic cooperation from our side after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Therefore, we all are responsible for making the world population in general and Muslim population in particular, hostage to this extremist ideology.


Times have surely changed since the noon of March 10, 1982 when President Ronald Reagan dedicated the March 22nd launch of the Columbia Space Shuttle to the valiant Afghan mujahideens or jihadis and termed their struggle against the Soviet occupation forces as a representation of man's highest aspirations for freedom'.


The seventies were nothing less than a disaster for us, but even the separation of the Eastern part of our country and the political upheavals thereafter, did not change the society as deeply as the events of 1979, the year the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the Iranian revolution happened next door. It was only then that we started learning that we were not only Muslims, but were Sunnis and Shias. It was also the time that we were drawn to conviction of fighting the Soviet invasion and also challenging the communist ideology.


With the able intellectual assistance of free world, a syllabus was designed in one of the Western universities for Madrassas wherein jihad was fed to young minds in a concentrated dose without context or explanation. An exception was created, using a 'self defence' clause to justify declaration of jihad by non-state actors. Young men were recruited from all over the world, radicalized and then left and disowned after they had delivered us the success.
I apologize for a long lesson on history, but while it is history for you, it is still very much a live issue for us back home, as a fairly large number of people are radicalized, armed and empowered politically and ideologically. They cannot be wished away, just because we don’t like them anymore. We are harvesting what we sowed 40 years ago. So it will be a while before this scourge is eliminated in totality–but first, let’s stop calling it jihadism as it is nothing else but terrorism.
With this rather long context, let me now come to the story of Pakistan’s struggle against extremism, terrorism and the so called jihadism.


Pakistan Army has waged a relentless and bloody fight against terrorism and violent extremism, at a monumental human and material cost: Over 35,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives, Over 48,000 are critically wounded or disabled, financial cost has exceeded USD 250 billion–only a fraction of which is actually shared by our global partners.


Today, I can say with pride and conviction that there are no organized terrorist camps on our side of the border. However, presence of terrorists of various hues and colours cannot be ruled out. We still have their active and sleeper cells who are hiding in mountains, border towns and 54 refugee camps besides some major towns and cities.


For your information, out of the last 131 terrorist attacks in our border areas last year, 123 were conceived, planned and executed from Afghanistan. We understand their predicament therefore we do not blame them, but instability in Afghanistan is also hurting us badly–and it is happening despite the presence of the most powerful alliance in Kabul.


Unfortunately, in Afghanistan the success of 2003 was lost when resources were pulled out prematurely for war in Iraq. Today, after spending more than USD 1.4 trillion, the situation can best be described as a stalemate. But to my reckoning the cause of stalemate is not only the Haqqani Network or TTA, as they had almost been defeated 13 years ago; it was the pursuit of a wrong strategy which led to their resurrection. Let me say that the popular assertion of TTA not being defeated in totality due to presence of part of their leadership in Pakistan is not correct or the whole truth. We defeated Al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamat-ul-Ahrar, while their safe havens still exist in Afghanistan at a mere fraction of resources employed on the other side of the border. Now instead of blame games it is time for NATO and allies to conduct an audit and introspection to find out causes for the stalemate in Afghanistan.


In our war against terror, military operations were not the only thing that we conducted. We realized very early that the complex problem of violent extremism could not be handled through military operations only. First and foremost, we generated public opinion to defeat the terrorists’ narrative. We also formulated the National Action Plan, aimed at fighting terrorism and gradually rooting out extremism. We launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in 2017, with the aim of: Firstly, targeted kinetic and enhanced law enforcement operations to locate and destroy the residual terrorist presence across the country; Second prong of our campaign, comprises supporting the National Action Plan, that involves better prosecution, policing, education reforms, along with curbing terror financing and hate speech, and equally important is our information prong aimed at discrediting the terrorist ideology including the misuse of the terms like jihad and caliphate. Most recently, 1,854 eminent Pakistani religious scholars, representing all schools of thoughts within Islam, teamed up to issue a resounding fatwa against violence, extremism and terrorism in the name of religion. Called the ‘Message of Pakistan’, it bans suicide bombing and jihad, other than the one sanctioned by the State.


Our successes have been made possible by the collective resolve and resilience of our entire nation. However, we are far from done. It is my sincere belief that Pakistan’s lasting domestic peace hinges on peace and stability in Afghanistan, therefore, despite our limited resources we are trying our best to export peace to our neighbours in the west. Please remember, at times our efforts are curtailed by capacity and not by will.

 


Pakistan and Afghanistan are sovereign countries. Both countries have a right to peace and progress. However, this will only be possible if our respective soils are not used against each other. In this regard, two aspects are important. Firstly we still have nearly 2.7 million Afghan refugees in our country whose concentrations are routinely used by TTA and Haqqani Network to recruit, morph and melt. It is time for these refugees to be repatriated with dignity. It is the only way we can ensure that no one is misusing our hospitality and soil for mischief in Afghanistan. This is possible at a fraction of the cost of war in Afghanistan, which is currently around USD 46 billion per year.


Secondly, our border with Afghanistan is highly porous. We have unilaterally taken many steps to ensure proper management of this border. We have raised tens of new border specific units, built hundreds of new border surveillance forts and have started the process of fencing 2300 kilometers of the border. We are putting scanners and biometrics at border terminals to ensure that while common Afghans are facilitated, miscreants and terrorists are prevented or arrested.


Furthermore, we are fully committed to the international consensus that political reconciliation is the only solution to the Afghan issue. While we are actively supporting the new U.S. strategy in the region, based primarily on kinetic approach, we are not leaving any stone unturned to try and do our best in bringing the parties of the conflict on the negotiation table.


Despite the seeming frustration very few countries have achieved as much success that we have in our war against terror. With over 1,100 Al-Qaeda operatives killed and other 600 handed over to U.S., Pakistan is instrumental in disruption and decimation of Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the struggle continues as the threat is morphing. Intelligence agencies of multiple countries have confirmed the on-going relocation of fleeing Daesh fighters to Afghanistan. Being worst-hit by perennial instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan has legitimate concerns about this new threat joining the roster of over 20 terror outfits. So far we have been successful in denying any foothold to Daesh in Pakistan, but we are very concerned about its unchecked growth in the neighbourhood. We need to counter the threat much more proactively through collaboration and cooperation.


The war against terrorism and extremism will take some time before the world is free of it, therefore we all have to be patient and remain steadfast. We need to first counter terrorists’ narrative with a superior narrative before breaking their back. Unfortunately, we have not done enough in this regard. Finally, trust, cooperation and sharing will work, scapegoating won’t.


Let me say that terrorists thrive on our divisions and feed on our inability to come together against them. I call upon all of you, to deny them these chinks in our collective armour. Please realize that it’s a global problem and needs a global approach. Lack of focus and commitment and individual efforts won’t take us anywhere.

08
March
President AJ&K Calls on COAS

Mr. Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on February 23, 2018.

They discussed matters of mutual interest particularly the situation on Line of Control (LOC) and agreed to continue policy of restraint in response to Indian provocations, as on both sides it is the Kashmiris who suffer from escalation. President AJ&K appreciated the Army’s contribution towards security and development in AJ&K.

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08
March
Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Calls on CJCSC
newsministreuzbik.jpgH.E. Mr. Abdulaziz Kamilov, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters on February 12, 2018. Bilateral security, defence cooperation and regional security environment were discussed in the meeting. The visiting minister appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.
 
 
Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Calls on CJCSC
newsministreuzbik1.jpgH.E Mr. Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Pakistan, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi on February 14, 2018. Matters related to further strengthening of bilateral relationship between the two brotherly countries, particularly in the field of security and defence cooperation were discussed during the meeting. The ambassador commended the professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.
08
March

Written By: Commander Syed Ailya Hassan,

Commander Tanweer Shahid

“The Nation is secure as long as there’s a submarine on watch underneath the sea.”

Vice Admiral (R) Ahmad Tasnim HI(M), SJ & Bar, SBt, War Veteran of 1965 & 71 wars. He was the CO of Hangor submarine which sank the Indian naval ship Khukri.

 

If as a military man, you dream to operate a platform that is invisible, can plunge into the sea to hundreds of meters, stays down for months unheard, runs for months without refueling and is the most lethal weapon ever designed, then your ultimate choice will be the submarine. Submarine is an incredible piece of technology. Not so long ago, naval forces worked entirely above the water, but with the addition of the submarine to the standard naval arsenal, the undersea world became a battleground as well. The inventions and adaptations have allowed sailors to not only fight battles but also live for months in a completely unnatural and testing environment.

 

guardianofthesea.jpgAmong all military platforms, submarines have always instilled both fascination and fear. Submarines are designed as a weapon of war; once under way, the rhythm of machines takes over. Their movements remain closely guarded secrets and lives of men onboard is a mystery. The life of a submariner is unique, unlike the aviators or armoured troops, he does not park his weapons at the end of the day, rather he lives within them. Nothing compares to the experience of living and working aboard a state-of-the-art submarine. It is an opportunity that a solider is going to find rarely in any other branch of military.


Submarine service is a stealthy and secretive business by nature and necessity. This course of executing missions routinely involves venturing unseen into the unknown, conducting classified work that cannot be discussed with the outside world in which one operates and takes on responsibilities that most cannot fathom. Operating a submarine requires precision team work. More than any other branch of naval service, each man relies on coherent team work. Submariners know that their lives depend on each other. It is more than a profession, rather a “lifestyle” reserved for the very best and bold. No environment is more challenging than the one confronted by the submariners. Modern technologies have catapulted the submarines to new levels of endurance, stealth, effectiveness and lethality.

guardianofthesea1.jpgNaval power of a nation demonstrates its offensive as well as defensive capabilities. Safeguarding one’s own sea lines of communication and to attain sustainable military strength, as well as denying the use of the critical sea areas to adversary could be the highest strategic priorities of a country. These naval tasks are best performed by a variety of platforms; each type having its own peculiar capabilities. However, due to their unique characteristics, submarines can play a very important and unparalleled role in the accomplishment of these tasks. In the five domains in which military forces operate i.e., “on land, in the air, on the sea, beneath the sea, and in the space”, it is the undersea operations that are least visible and extremely dangerous. Submarines combine the qualities of stealth, endurance, flexibility and of course, fire power to carry out their tasks silently and unhindered. Being invisible and covert in nature, these operations are rarely known and thus least understood. Submarines have the ability to operate covertly for extended periods of time and to attack with devastating lethality without warning.


Genesis of Pakistan Navy Submarine Force
Pakistan’s Submarine Service came into being on June the 1st in 1964, the day when Pakistan Navy Submarine (PNS/M) GHAZI, the first submarine, was inducted in Pakistan Navy Fleet. Pakistan became the first country of the region to operate a submarine. Submarine service owes special debt to Vice Admiral A.R. Khan, then C-in-C Navy and the founder of Submarine Force who had the vision to equip PN with elite and most sophisticated weapon of that time. Soon after its arrival in Pakistan, GHAZI established the tradition of patrols in the vast expanse of North Arabian Sea. GHAZI blazed a trail of raw courage, professional skill and national dedication that has inspired and guided the young naval arms ever since. The strength of squadron was augmented in 1970 by addition of French origin Daphne Class Submarines named after first submarine of the class as Hangor Class Submarines. Subsequently, the force was progressively developed over the period of time and presently, Submarine Service has completed more than 50 years of safe and smooth operations.

 

guardianofthesea3.jpgWar Heroics
Pakistan Navy Submarine Force proved its worth and earned glorious recognition through performance in both 1965 and 1971 wars. When the Indo-Pakistan War broke out on September 6, 1965, GHAZI, the only submarine at that time, was assigned to keep secret patrol over the Mumbai harbour which at that time was packed tight with Indian warships including Indian aircraft carrier VIKRANT. Being offensively deployed in enemy waters, it was told not to tinker with smaller vessels but focus on the heavier units. So effective was its blockade that no Indian warship dared run the gauntlet. It was the operational bottling up of the Indian fleet by the GHAZI that enabled the Pakistan flotilla to move in and blast the Indian naval fortress of Dwarka. This audacious performance won it 10 military awards including two decorations of Sitara-e-Jurat.


The dread of PN Submarine Force seems to have persisted in the Indian mind in the six years between the two wars. This was apparent during pre-hostilities in 1971 when the Indian Navy moved the aircraft carrier VIKRANT, not only out of Mumbai but even out of Cochin, and from Cochin in October 1971 all the way to their eastern seaboard. Finally, not even content with the security of massive naval base at Visakhapatnam, they hid it away in the backwaters of the Andaman Islands. With the increasing chances of war in 1971, GHAZI alongwith newly joined Daphne class submarines, undertook a few patrols to gather intelligence and pick up vital operational information for wartime submarine operations. The patrols helped the crew to build confidence and to test their stamina and equipment under exacting wartime conditions. At that time, GHAZI was the Pakistan Navy's only submarine which had the ability to undertake operations on India's Eastern sea board in the Bay of Bengal. The submarine was therefore tasked to lay mines and operate outside Visakhapatnam Port on the Indian eastern coast. Its deployment to the Bay of Bengal ought to be regarded as a measure taken to rectify a strategic posture that was getting increasingly out of step with military realities. Dispatchment of GHAZI to the Bay of Bengal at an immense stretch of over 3000 miles of the Indian Ocean was critical. The submarine quest on the VIKRANT's scent was not only an irresistible temptation but also demanded a smart strategy. The submarine daringly completed the transit and reached the assigned station but guardianofthesea2.jpgcould not sustain and sunk presumably after accidently hitting a mine laid by herself.


The story of PN submarine GHAZI, though tragic, is no less death defying. It is an epic account of valor written in blood by its crew members.


HANGOR alongwith other daphnes sailed and stationed along the Indian west coast. Submarines were operating with environmental conditions extremely favourable for ships to detect submarines. The crews were, therefore, extra vigilant on their sensors. For HANGOR the period of patient waiting reached climax on the evening of December 9, 1971. For the first time since the onset of war, the enemy came in to effective weapon range when she identified two enemy frigates some distance off the Diu Head. The Commanding Officer maneuvered the submarine, determined to inscribe the name HANGOR in the annals of Pakistan's history. The submarine closed the two targets at shallow depth with caution, and launched a torpedo on the first ship.


The torpedo exploded under the magazine of INS KHUKRI and the huge explosion broke the ship in two and she sank in less than two minutes causing heavy casualties. HANGOR also fired a torpedo on the other ship. The ship on hearing the torpedo reversed course, increasing its speed to outrun the torpedo. The enemy manoeuvre was, however, unsuccessful. The torpedo hit her at long distance causing severe damage. Indians lost around 250 men in this event.


For their act of courage and devotion to duty, the officers and men of PNS/M HANGOR were decorated with 4 Sitara-e-Jurat, 6 Tamgha-i-Jurat and 14 Imtiazi Asnad. This is the highest number of operational gallantry awards given to a single unit of Pakistan Navy.


Present and Future Outlook
With the proud history of valor and courage, today, PN submarine service is the most credible defence line of Pakistan. This is not only because it was the Squadron of the Naval Fleet to register a kill in the last war, but also as it is perceived to be an effective mean to counter any threat from an adversary. Today, Pakistan Navy has five potent submarines; two of these are Agosta-70s and three Agosta-90Bs, all of French origin. In addition, three invigorating small submarines (Midgets) are also part of the PN submarine force.


Agosta-70 submarines HASHMAT and HURMAT were inducted in 1979 and 1980 respectively. Though construction suggests that the submarines are old, yet the platforms have regularly been upgraded from time to time to keep them effective in modern naval warfare. Lately, both the submarines underwent Life Extension Programme to enhance their structural life and to equip them with modern sensors and weapons. Agosta-70s are capable of launching Harpoon anti-ship missiles as well as anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes. The capability has given these platforms a significant weapon range advantage.


The other three submarines are Agosta-90Bs; KHALID, SAAD and HAMZA. The induction of these platforms in the last decade provided PN Submarine Force with a significant boost in capabilities and endurance. The enhanced features of these submarines have outstretched the boundaries of PN operations in the Indian Ocean. Two of the submarines HAMZA and SAAD are fitted with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system named MESMA, which gives the submarines longer underwater endurance. Moreover, these submarines are also capable of launching German DM2A4 torpedo and French SM-39 Exocet Surface to Surface missile.


The Midgets are primarily used for Special Operations and littoral operations. They can also be considered as an effective offensive punch by fighting the war in enemy waters. Midgets are capable of achieving superiority in shallow coastal waters as well as inside enemy straits/harbours and channels. Present Midgets were constructed inland as a joint venture with Italy. The Midgets are named as X-Craft 01, 02 and 03 and were inducted into PN Fleet between 1990 and 1993. The special features of these craft include Exit Trunk for frogmen landing, mine and torpedo carrying capability.


Pakistan Navy, being cognizant of the effectiveness and requirement of submarines, has made a contract with China for the acquisition of 8 latest conventional submarines. First four of these submarines will be constructed in China whereas last four are planned to be indigenously manufactured by Pakistan at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. First of these submarines are scheduled to join PN Fleet in 2022. In addition to a comprehensive suite of sensors and weapons, including both missiles and torpedoes, these submarines will also be equipped with a potent AIP system. Availability of such a capable AIP system having enhanced endurance will give PN submarines almost the same advantages and capabilities as that of nuclear propulsion except speed.


The squadron is commanded by a Submarine Officer of the rank of Commodore. He is assisted by Commanding Officers (of the rank of Captain/Commander) of the submarines, Midget Group and PNS ABDOZE. PNS ABDOZE is the base unit of the squadron that provides administrative and logistics support to the submarines.


National Standard
Pakistan Navy Submarine Service holds the distinction of being the first squadron of Navy to be conferred upon the coveted National Standard. The award was presented to PN Submarine Force by the then President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mr. Farooq Ahmed Khan Laghari on January 3, 1997. Award of National Standard to Submarine Squadron is the most distinguished manner to recognize the services rendered by the submarines to the nation. It not only symbolizes the importance of this elite force but also acknowledges the great tradition of valor and sacrifice exhibited by officers and men of the squadron.


2014 marked a significant year in history of the squadron. On June 1, 2014 PN Submarine Service proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary. Beyond any doubt, this has been a journey of courage and commitment. With a modest beginning in 1964, Pakistan Navy Submarine Force grew into one of the finest in the world with an established exemplary track record and outstanding achievements during war. The squadron retains its prestigious position even today as the leading combat component of Pakistan Navy.


Pakistan Navy Submarine Force has a glorious history due to the sacrifices, relentless efforts, professionalism and utmost dedication of our predecessors. The success story of the past five decades, particularly during wars and periods of tension has made the nation proud. The men who put the Dolphin insignia on their chests are ready to continue the legacy of selfless devotion, persistent efforts and innovative ideas under the prevailing environment, which is characterized by uncertainty and intricacy. The change in geostrategic landscape has been rapid and wide ranging with numerous challenges and quite a few opportunities. The submariners believe it to be a national responsibility and are committed to uphold the standards inherited by the veterans and to pass it on to future generations, so that they can also proudly cherish their past.

 
08
March

Written By: Maj Gen Salim Ullah (R)

After a hectic, over four years long tenure in Azad Kashmir, the unit had moved down to Lahore in the second half of 1978. After settling down, we soon got down to intensive training in our operational tasks in the new operational environment. Most of the training was carried out as collective training in the field, returning to the ‘peace location’ in early December.


Our return was greeted with the good news that the unit’s request for presentation of the National Standard and Regimental Colours had been approved by GHQ (General Headquarters). Furthermore, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Colonel Commandant of the Frontier Force Regiment, Lt Gen Mohammad Iqbal, had graciously consented to be the chief guest. In view of his commitments, the date of the parade was to be fixed in the last week of March, 1979. At the unit’s request, March 27, 1979 was finalized to coincide with the unit’s designation (27 FF). The parade was to be followed by the unit durbar which was to include installation of Lt Gen M. Attiqur Rahman, Retd, MC, SPk, as the Colonel of the Battalion.


There being hardly enough time, preparations for the event were started in right earnest. Parade rehearsals were held twice daily, especially focusing on drill movements and timings. All Ranks put in their best and the drill standard started to improve remarkably. To coordinate preparation of the parade ground–Ayub Stadium–and the unit lines, as well as to distribute miscellaneous duties, I held a conference of officers and senior JCOs. Young Officers, especially those from Lahore were ecstatic, making lofty suggestions short of acquiring the moon. From fancy invitation cards, to gilded furniture for the spectators, to colourful buntings and flags around the stadium, the suggestions covered all possible aspects. Illustrations were cited of recent functions of other units in the station. For the evening bara khana and the variety show for the men, a young heart proposed none other than the Queen of Melody Noor Jehan herself as the star performer to lead over a dozen renowned singers and artists.


To their surprise, I welcomed all suggestions and proposals. However, their excitement was short-lived as I gave out my sole condition. I put forth that I would not sanction any expenditure from the unit funds, emphasizing that their enterprise and resourcefulness were on test. This being a military event, not an Awami Mela or a wedding function, needed austerity with professional quality. It was decided that the unit Drama Party would prepare a traditional variety programme including traditional folk dances to be presented after the evening bara khana. We would borrow shamianas, qanats and furniture from sister units in the station. I asked the 2IC (Second-in-Command, Maj Wali Ahmed Khan, later Lt Col) to delegate responsibilities to individual officers and report daily progress to me. There would be no colourful flags or buntings fluttering around the stadium, as was witnessed in some recent similar functions in the station. Instead, only national, army, regimental and unit flags would be appropriately hoisted. However, I added, I would prefer to have a decent and bold painting/mural of the PIFFER motto (Labbaik) prepared and prominently displayed atop the centre of the back wall of the Ayub Stadium.

 

alegendsuprise.jpgI had barely finished my sentence when the smart, young Lt Ahmed Nadeem Qadri spoke up from a corner in the back row, “Sir, it should be done by Sadequain”. I paused for a moment and then said, “Great idea. Go and get him!” One could notice naughty smiles from the participants.


I continued to insist on a high quality turnout and the standard of parade. A special issue of a new pair of uniform was arranged for JCOs and men through kind courtesy of the Formation Headquarters. New regimental berets were procured for officers, JCOs and men from a local supplier. For the men, the payment was made from the Unit Fund while officers and JCOs paid for their berets.


The parade rehearsals continued to gain pace, both in frequency and quality. One day in early March, we had returned to the unit lines after the morning rehearsals and were busy in routine work when the 2IC walked into my office with a broad smile on his face and said, “Sir, I have a visitor here to see you.” Before I could respond, he gestured to someone behind him to come in. When the visitor came in, I was startled and immediately got up to receive him. It was the legendary Sadequain himself. As we settled down, he said that after meeting young Lt Nadeem, he was keen to visit and see me personally. Worried that Nadeem might have been rude to him, I apologised for any inconvenience that might have been caused to him. “On the contrary,” he said, “I was deeply struck by the young man’s motivation which inspired me to visit you.” He continued, “This morning, my friend Munnu Bhai and I were sitting in Shezan Oriental on the Mall and taking tea. This young man, dressed in uniform, approaches our table, smartly salutes and asks who was Mr. Sadequain out of the two of us. Munnu Bhai asked him why was he interested to know that. Nadeem replied that he had been tasked by his Commanding Officer to contact Mr. Sadequain and he gave the details of the painting assignment. I intervened and said that I was working on a major assignment in the National Bank of Pakistan nearby and even had to regret my availability for an assignment in the new Presidency in Islamabad. Nadeem then turned to me and said that I must accompany him and see his Commanding Officer personally. He added that he had brought a jeep and he must take me along. Munnu Bhai remarked that the young man could not compel Sadequain to accompany. Nadeem, respectfully but firmly, replied that he was required by his oath to comply with all commands of his Commanding Officer even to the peril of his life. Before Munnu Bhai could say more I told Nadeem that I would accompany him provided he would drop me back within two to three hours. He readily agreed and so I am here.” Now worried about his likely fee, I tried to change the subject. Sadequain, however, returned to the painting and asked what concept did I wish the painting to convey. Reluctantly, I told him about the motto Labbaik and its significance, not only during Hajj and Umrah but in the daily life of a Muslim for total subservience to the Almighty. The idea was that, suiting the occasion, the word Labbaik may depict an Islamic force in assault with traditional weaponry. However, I added bluntly that he was a legendary artist and we might not be able to pay according to his expectation. He ignored my observation and desired to see the parade ground. After visiting the parade ground where I explained to him the planned location of the painting and how the unit would form up in front of the painting, he remarked, “The painting is ready–here”, pointing to his head. A work room next to the 2IC’s office was reserved for him where he worked on the painting for the next three days. Lt Nadeem was attached with him as liaison officer under overall supervision of the 2IC. I would peep in off and on and share a cup of tea with him. An epitome of humility, he called himself ‘Faqir’. Strictly avoiding formal meals, he praised the officersTea Room refreshments and men’s ‘Langar daal’ saying, “Faqir loves simple daal.” All this time, he kept evading my questions about his fee. Discreet inquiries by the 2IC and Lt Nadeem also failed to evoke a response.


On the third day, he witnessed a complete parade rehearsal. He appeared to be very impressed. While driving back with me to the unit lines, he remarked that he was highly inspired personally when the troops shouted “Labbaik” in unison while marching past the saluting dais. He added that he could now understand the philosophy behind our motto. He surprised me by saying that the painting would be “Faqir’s contribution to the Labbaik spirit.” He politely, but firmly, dismissed my protests.


Full Dress Rehearsal was held on March 25, 1979. That was the day when the painting was hoisted in Ayub Stadium. I had invited Sadequain to join us and Nadeem had duly escorted him. Of course, he was to be an honoured guest on the actual day, i.e., March 27 as well. I had briefed the 2IC to keep him available after the parade on the 27th to meet the chief guest. Before the parade rehearsal commenced, the commentator briefed the spectators regarding details of the parade and when they were expected to rise, and those in uniform to salute, in addition to other instructions. He described the painting, the motto and its background, adding that the masterpiece had been created by the country’s legendary artist, the one and only Sadequain, stating that “He is fortunately sitting among us. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me to give him a big hand.”


March 27, 1979 remains a ‘red letter day’ in the history of 27 FF. Ayub Stadium and the troops were ready for the big event. As was expected, the ‘Labbaik’ painting drew attention of the guests. True to his reputation, the chief guest arrived on the dot and the parade commenced on schedule. Earlier, before his arrival, the commentator had completed the briefing as per the rehearsed text, including the applause for Sadequain. While reviewing the parade, the chief guest inquired about the Labbaik painting. On my whispering reply, he shot back, “You must have paid him a fortune.” I informed him, to his surprise, that it was complimentary. He exclaimed, “What! Great.” Later, during refreshments after the parade, he praised the standard of the drill, turn out and had a special word of commendation for professional decoration of the stadium. He moved on to the ‘Labbaik’ painting and said that it truly reflected the underlying spirit of the PIFFER motto. Other senior guests like Lt Gen M. Attiqur Rahman also profusely praised the parade. I was looking around for the 2IC and Sadequain. After an agonising 10 minutes or so the 2IC approached me and whispered that Sadequain had not come. He added that Nadeem would give the details later.


Meanwhile, back in the unit for the durbar, the chief guest, Gen Iqbal, said that he liked our invitation card, it was simple and yet comprehensive. He then bluntly asked how much did it cost. I said, “Rs. 4 per card including envelope.” He said that some units had spent 10 times the amount per card but their standard of parade was poor. He added that GHQ would soon issue instructions fixing ceiling on expenditure from the unit funds for such events. He might even decline to review a parade where the concerned unit had indulged in wasteful and avoidable expenditure. He then asked the 2IC how much was the unit spending on hiring artists for the variety show and was pleased to learn that it was the unit drama team running the variety show. I briefed him that I only sanctioned expenditure on new regimental berets for men from the unit fund while officers and JCOs paid for their berets. In his address at the durbar he declared that he was against giving cash awards to units, but in this case, he would make an exception. He would award a special shield to 27FF for an excellent parade. In addition, he would reimburse from GHQ the expenditure made from unit fund on regimental berets for the men.
Later on in the evening, Nadeem told me that he had looked for Sadequain at his residence in Bagh-i-Jinnah, National Bank of Pakistan on the Mall where he was working on a project and the nearby Shezan Oriental restaurant which he would frequently visit from his work. He was not to be found anywhere. Two days later, around mid-day, Sadequain gate-crashed into my office, followed by the 2IC. With a broad smile he regretted his absence without giving excuses but a simple statement,” You see, Faqir does not like self-projection. Let Faqir stay a Faqir. I hope I can continue to enjoy my daal whenever I wish to. Now, can we have it? I am feeling hungry.” While departing, he assured that whenever sataees (27FF) needed Faqir’s services, it would be Labbaik from him.


Our contact began to grow thin owing to his commitments in Islamabad and elsewhere. Later, with our posting out of Lahore, initially mine and later that of the unit, it almost became non-existent. Nonetheless, the Labbaik painting remains an eternal bond between sataees and the legendary Sadequain. May his soul rest in peace!

 

The writer is former DG ISPR. Besides a long military career comprising various command and staff assignments and two tenures at National Defence College (now National Defence University), Maj Gen Salim Ullah also remained Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates for over three years. He was conferred High Order of Independence by His Highness, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan for his special services in promoting relations between the two brotherly Muslim nations.
 
08
March

Written By: Dr. Fateh-ud-din B. Mehmood

Google’s new motto could be: “You Search Us, We Search You!” Funny? No, it isn’t!

In the previous article, we discussed in detail that espionage and employing spies/agents is a 5000 years old practice, which has been improved over thousands of years and in the modern digital age espionage does not necessarily require human agents to be deployed on foreign grounds, instead the technology is being used to do the job remotely. We also discussed that the digital gadgetries we use in our daily life such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, etc. are the tools that can be used to spy on us by foreign governments and the tech companies have had us sign intelligently crafted End-User-License-Agreements (EULA’s), which give them the legal right to do whatever they want with our data and our devices’ components like microphones, cameras, GPS sensors, etc.

 

digitalplatformlikelky.jpgWe also covered Microsoft as an example to explain how much data can be stolen (or legally taken) because Microsoft’s Windows is undoubtedly the most commonly used operating system on desktops and laptops that turns out to be more than 1.5 billion users.


In this part, we will focus on Google that is the search engine of choice for most users and their ‘Android’ operating system has crossed the number of 2 billion months ago.

 

Google User-base
A ‘billion’ is no more a milestone to reach for Google as according to the Google I/O-2017 (an annual developer conference held by Google) it has already achieved over one billion monthly active users on seven unique products more than a year ago and in case you are wondering, these products are Android, YouTube, Search, Maps, Chrome, Google Play and Gmail.


Here is an infographic of some more gigantic figures that Google has achieved based on the data revealed at Google I/O:

digitalplatformlikelky1.jpgGoogle is Watching
As we designed and showed a graphic in the first part of this article published last month, Google captures almost everything to profile and monitor its users: what they do, look up, watch, listen to, like or dislike, and where they go. If you have signed up for a Google/Gmail account and are using it, you can go to www.google.com/dashboard to find out a glimpse of what Google has stored about you and how it has profiled “you”.
We must keep in mind that this data is not everything Google has and knows about you but merely a prevue of it.


When, I visited my timeline on Google maps dashboard, I found out each and every place I ever visited with a very precise timestamp since I started using Android phone. For instance, I visited Hilal Magazine’s office on November 7, 2017 and here is what I found related to this visit on Google Maps:
Google knew the time of my visit, location of the meeting, the route I took and it also knew I was travelling in a vehicle.

 

 digitalplatformlikelky2.jpgTo boot, Google could also easily figure out who were the participants of the meeting through the GPS coordinates or cellular tower data that Android devices send regularly back to Google and if they find the participants “interesting” they “might” record the audio and take pictures or videos of that meeting… and that is “legal”. Why? Because, we have given them the permission to do so without our confirmation while we installed/updated Google Search on our phones. Simple!


Here are the excerpts of what “Record Audio” and “Take Pictures and Videos” mean according to the definitions when they ask for those permissions:
Record Audio: “Allows the app to record audio with the microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.”
Take Pictures and Videos: “Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.”


Turning Off GPS
We think that turning off the GPS on our phones would stop Google taking the device’s location data but we are wrong. Google keeps collecting Android users’ locations even when the location services are explicitly disabled, no apps are being used or even when the SIM cards are not installed into the phones.


There are a whole lot of other ‘strategies’ that Google has employed to gather data or in other words to spy on you that include capturing the nearest GSM cell IDs and Wi-Fi Access Points unique IDs, which Google then triangulates to pinpoint the device’s location.


For them who don’t know, a GSM Cell ID or a CID is a unique number used to identify each base transceiver station (BTS) or sector of a BTS in the world. There are a few databases containing hundreds of million unique CIDs and more than 1.5 billion Wi-Fi AP’s IDs worldwide and some of them are available publicly such as www.opencellid.org that tells the exact location of a GSM Cell Tower or a WiFi AP on the map with the unique ID.

digitalplatformlikelky3.jpgNote: Each red dot in the picture is a GSM cell tower.
How does Google know the accurate locations of Wi-Fi Access Points?
Your thoughts were read; you are right that Wi-Fi Access Points don’t have a GPS sensor… then how on earth can their locations be known and stored in databases? Do you remember Google’s Street View Cars?


These cars roam around the world to capture the street-view but as a by-product they also sniff and store the IDs of the Wi-Fi APs configured at the homes or office on those streets. Wi-Fi APs broadcast their IDs by default (that’s the reason when you visit your aunt and want to connect with her Wi-Fi, you see her Wi-Fi AP as well as some others in the neighborhood).


In case, your aunt did not have a smartphone and her Wi-Fi AP location was not known to Google yet, but as soon as you connected your Android device with that AP, Google got her APs location through your phone’s GPS service. You got her registered too… Bingo! Now, Google knows her old Pentium desktop location as well when she goes online.

 

Unfortunately, we know that some of our government organizations use Gmail as their unspoken official email service to communicate internally and externally. We MUST, at least in offices, shun this practice immediately.

By the way, this is NOT a conspiracy theory cooked in the backyard of a paranoid person’s house over a cup of tea, but rather when this malpractice was revealed by researchers and questioned, Google spokespersons confirmed the practice publicly a few times but they said they would stop it soon.
Yeah. Like we really believed them!


Searching Without Google ID
Some obsessed-with-privacy-
persons like I am, try to avoid googling (yes! ‘to google’ has become a verb that has been added in both Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries in 2006) without signing in to their Gmail/Google IDs to prevent Google from saving their search history and adding it to their profiling. Google knew it so they decided to generate a Unique ID for the computer or device used for searching and assigning the search history to that UID. Not only that but Google also keeps record of which Google/Gmail IDs ever logged-on from that device or computer.


Although, the Media Access Control (MAC) address, that is a unique identifier similarly to an IMEI number assigned to every network device, is not transferred through browsers but if an app or software is installed on the device, that app or software can easily take, encrypt and transfer the MAC address. We have Google Chrome browser installed on our machines and who knows if the browser app does this as well.


Cloud Data Centers in India
A couple of months ago, I was teaching a digital forensic training workshop where I was demonstrating how to track an email ID. We made a test Gmail ID and employed some tracking techniques. We were not surprised that the IP address of the Gmail server appeared to be in India.


That is because we realized that Google recently launched three data centers in Mumbai to add to its worldwide cloud platform. Before this launch, the closest available Google data centers to Pakistan were located in Singapore. The closest Google data centers can be seen in the picture.
It is understood that these service providers, whether it is Google or Microsoft, have to accommodate the local laws concerning surveillance.


Unfortunately, we know that some of our government organizations use Gmail as their unspoken official email service to communicate internally and externally. We MUST, at least in offices, shun this practice immediately.


What Does Google Do With our Data?
Google's advertising revenue in 2017 alone amounted to almost USD 95.4 billion and it is rocketing every year. Without selling you (oh come on, I mean ‘your data’), Google could not achieve this colossal figure.


Why would the companies provide their users data to the U.S. government?
The simplest answer is the ‘legal requirements’ such as FISA Amendment Act of 2008 in the U.S.1
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 authorizes the government to require U.S. companies to provide information and the content of communications associated with the accounts of non-U.S. citizens or non-lawful permanent residents who are located outside the United States.


This act has not only been used as the legal basis for global surveillance disclosed by Edward Snowden in 2013, including PRISM and other surveillance programs but also used for gaining users/clients information and data from the U.S. based companies.


Last Words!
In the last article, we revealed some facts about Microsoft and in this article we have talked about Google. We will be discussing other giant tech platforms such as Facebook, Apple, etc. and how they are taking and treating our data.


This series of articles is not to point out malpractices of a specific tech company rather it is about how our privacy and information is being used and abused in the information-age or digital-age by almost every digital platform. The purpose is to secure ourselves and become a technologically independent country.

 (To be Continued.....)

 

The writer is an Information Security and Digital Forensic professional, a researcher and an entrepreneur.

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

1 https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/11/fisa-amendments-reauthorization-act-restricts-congress-not-surveillance
 
07
March

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood

Recent media reports suggest that China proposed to Pakistan that it may be allowed to use Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY) as a legal tender in the Gwadar Economic Zone (GEZ). This proposal that would amount to a limited currency substitution was reportedly not accepted by Pakistan.
Let us first see what currency substitution means? It means the use of a foreign currency in parallel to or as a substitute for domestic currency.


Full currency substitution occurs when a country adopts a foreign currency as its sole legal tender, and stops issuing the domestic currency. It takes place when a country faces some major economic crises. For instance, during the financial crises of the late 1990s, currency substitution became a very serious policy issue in Latin America and Southeast Asia.


A partial currency substitution occurs when local residents opt to hold a significant share of their financial assets denominated in foreign currencies to minimize the risk of revaluation of exchange rate changes on their assets. Residents maintain deposits in foreign currencies because of weak domestic currency, or as a hedge against high inflation. Once a partial substitution of currency is allowed then there remains a possibility of a gradual substitution of local currency with a stronger foreign currency, provided that the structural problems in the economy persist for a longer time period. Pakistan has allowed foreign currency accounts to its citizens since 1992, which is a partial currency substitution.


Besides, informal currency substitution occurs when residents make local transactions (e.g., rents) in foreign currency and keep foreign currencies in private holdings, despite the foreign currency not being a legal tender there.


How can one find out that the currency substitution is taking place and to what extent? Two measures are often used to identify this: (i) the share of foreign currency deposits (FCD) in the domestic banking system in the broad money including FCD (it was 6.16% in the end June 2016 for Pakistan), and (ii) the share of all foreign currency deposits held by domestic residents at home and abroad in their total monetary assets (data not available).


The pattern of the currency substitution procedure also varies with different domestic exchange and capital controls. For instance, in a situation of strict foreign exchange regulations, the demand for foreign currency in the absence of currency substitution can be met by holding foreign currency assets abroad (capital flight) and outside the domestic banking system. This foreign currency demand usually puts pressure on the parallel (black) market of foreign currency and on the country's international reserves. In contrast, by allowing the domestic residents to maintain foreign currency accounts as in Pakistan, it has to a certain degree mitigate the capital flight and strengthen the foreign exchange reserves in exchange for a partial currency substitution.


Several countries do not use their domestic currencies and instead adopt a stronger currency for transactions. Panama adopted the U.S. dollar as legal tender after independence as a result of a constitutional ruling, the so-called de jure currency substitution. Ecuador became fully dollarized economy in the year 2000 following a widespread political and financial crises resulting from massive loss of confidence in its political and monetary institutions. Ecuador adopted U.S. dollar to impose strict fiscal discipline, but in the process gave up control over its financial sovereignty.


Effects of Currency Substitution
Currency substitution helps to promote fiscal and monetary discipline. As a result, greater macroeconomic stability in terms of lower inflation rates, lower real exchange rate volatility, and deepening of the financial system are achieved. Currency substitution provides a firm commitment to stable monetary and exchange rate policies by introducing a passive monetary policy. Adopting a strong foreign currency as a legal tender can help to eliminate the inflation-bias problem of discretionary monetary policy. Currency substitution imposes stronger financial constraint on the government by eliminating deficit financing, i.e., eliminating issuing of domestic money. Studies show that inflation has been significantly lower in economies with full currency substitution than nations with domestic currencies. The expected benefit of currency substitution is the elimination of the risk of exchange rate fluctuations.


One of the main advantages of full currency substitution is to reduce the transaction costs of trade among countries using the same currency. It has been found that countries sharing a common currency often engage in significantly increased trade among them and that the benefits of currency substitution for trade may be quite large. Consequently, economic integration with the rest of the world becomes easier.


Countries with full currency substitution can also stimulate greater confidence among foreign investors, thus inducing increased investments. The resultant elimination of the currency crisis risk due to currency substitution leads to a reduction of country’s risk premiums, which helps in maintaining lower interest rates, consequently leading to a higher level of investment.


Currency substitution also leads to the loss of seigniorage revenue. Seigniorage revenues are the profits generated when monetary authorities issue a currency. When adopting a foreign currency as a legal tender, a monetary authority gives up its powers to print domestic currency and hence its power to collect seigniorage revenue. The country also loses the rights to its independent monetary and exchange rate policies, even in times of financial emergency. The cost of losing an independent monetary policy is that domestic monetary authorities can no longer use counter-cyclical monetary policy to stabilize the business cycle. Domestic monetary authorities diminish the liquidity assurance to their banking system, thus they cannot act as lender of last resort to commercial banks by printing domestic money.


Recent Developments
In response to a proposal from China to use CNY as a legal tender in the GEZ, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has announced that CNY is already an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan as per current foreign exchange regulations. The SBP states that the authorized dealers may open foreign currency accounts and extend trade loans under FE-25 Scheme in U.S. dollar, Pound sterling, Euro, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, UAE dirham, Saudi riyal, Chinese yuan, Swiss franc and Turkish lira.


A Currency Swap Agreement (CSA) was also signed with People’s Bank of China (PBoC, the Chinese central bank) on December 23, 2011 for a tenor of three years, according to which the dues will be payable in local currencies (up to PKR140 billion and CNY10 billion) thus averting the need to settle in foreign currency (e.g., U.S. dollars). It would thus deflect pressure on foreign exchange reserves and mitigate volatility in exchange rate.


Under CSA, the SBP will obtain yuan from PBoC either by taking a loan or by exchanging bonds or exchanging currencies at a pre-determined rate—the SBP borrowed equivalent amount of USD 500 million from China and kept it in its reserves. The SBP has since taken a series of steps to promote the use of CNY in Pakistan for bilateral trade and investment with China. It allowed commercial banks to accept CNY deposits and give CNY trade loans. Specifically, for onward lending the proceeds of CSA, the SBP has put in place the loan mechanism for banks to get the CNY financing from the SBP for onward lending to importers and exporters having underlying trade transactions denominated in the yuan. The SBP stated that both public and private sector enterprises, Pakistanis and Chinese, can freely choose CNY for their bilateral trade and investment activities. Thus, traders can open letter of credits for imports in CNY and investors can avail financing facilities in CNY.


Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited-Pakistan Operations has been allowed to establish a local CNY settlement and clearing setup in Pakistan, enabling it to open CNY accounts of the banks operating in Pakistan and to facilitate settlement of CNY based transactions such as remittance to and from China. Moreover, with opening of Chinese banks in Pakistan, the access to onshore Chinese markets will strengthen further. Several banks in Pakistan do maintain onshore CNY nostro accounts.


Despite the measures mentioned above, so far CSA remains ineffective. This is mainly because of trade imbalance in favor of China (90:10 in favor of China), capital controls by PBoC, inconsistency in value of CNY, Pakistani traders’ hesitance in using CNY, disinterest of Chinese traders in accepting payments in Pakistan rupee, etc. Concomitantly, Pakistani banks are not interested in CNY too. For instance, the SBP invited Pakistani commercial banks to participate in an auction for sale of CNY in December 2011; however, none of them participated in the auction. At least at this time, Pakistani commercial banks lack confidence on CNY, and are reluctant to hold CNY deposits and prefer to hold their reserves in U.S. dollars and other major international currencies.


Since China-Pakistan trade is quite disproportional, no swap agreement can alter this situation drastically, so other policy measures are also needed to bridge this gap. CSA normally works where mutually strong and balanced economic ties exist. In this regard, close business to business relations are needed to enhance confidence in each other’s currencies.


It is worth noting that yuan is not a freely convertible currency as other major international currencies; therefore, Pakistan can largely use it in transactions with China. Chinese yuan accounted for 1.68% of global transactions in 2016, while U.S. dollar accounted for 42.1%.


Nonetheless, our policymakers should regularly and carefully watch the impact of CSA-related developments on trade, investment, exchange rate, inflation, growth and balance of payments and take necessary steps to benefit from these developments. This would go a long way in assessing the consequences of transition to new bilateral swap agreements and continuation of the existing ones.


At present, Pakistan is experiencing an all-time low inflation and performance of other economic indicators is satisfactory and continually improving, so there does not seem any reason for currency substitution, even in a zone. Substitution of currency in a zone, if implemented, will send a wrong signal about the health of the economy as well as financial sovereignty. It is, however, understood that informal use of CNY will be practiced but it will be on a limited scale. Rather than considering any currency substitution proposal, Pakistan should focus on the improvement of bilateral financial links with China to strengthen trade and investment relations. A sufficiently developed financial market in Pakistan can offer substitute financial instruments denominated in domestic currency, thus lessening the possibility of currency substitution as a hedge against inflation and exchange rate volatility.

 

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

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07
March

Written By: Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmad

The Muslims ruled over the present areas of Pakistan for more than one thousand years, i.e., from 712 AD to 1857 AD and over the whole of Indo-Pak subcontinent for about seven hundred years from 1192 AD to 1857. In this period the entire character of the subcontinent in terms of its historical perspective, cultural pattern, social norms, legal ethos, folklore were changed. On one hand new ideas were introduced, but on the other it was social and cultural synthesis, both of the new and the old ones, giving a new trend to both the Hindu and Muslim societies. Even the religious norms in terms of jogism and sufism were affected giving birth to a new religion of Sikhism in the 15th century AD. The Mughal rulers were actually broadminded rulers encouraging all kinds of cultural diversity. They welcomed new trends, particularly the new religion of Sikhism founded by Kabir and Nanak. The half a century rule of King Jalaluddin Akbar was a great blessing for Sikhism. Akbar not only encouraged them but granted lands to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Sikhs were also recruited as Mansabdars. After the death of King Aurangzeb in 1707, the Muslims faced declining trend of their power because of weak successors of Aurangzeb paving the way for the British to capture power gradually. It was by 1858 that the British East India Co. rule was turned into the British Raj which continued up to 1947 when Pakistan came into being.


In the new age, the concept of ‘nation-state’ emerged. The Muslim thinkers like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal contributed to this idea of a separate Muslim state. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, gave this idea a final shape on March 23, 1940 and struggled hard as head of the Muslim party, the All-India Muslim League, galvanized the Muslim Nation, won in the elections of 1945-1946 and, finally, saw the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. This revival of Muslims in to power again in 1947 was termed by the Quaid-i-Azam not a new thing, but rather return to their golden past in the Indo-Pak subcontinent.


The scheme of Pakistan prepared by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was presented at the 27th session of the All India Muslim League held in Lahore on March 1940 in the form of a resolution. As the language of the resolution runs, it was put: “Resolved that it is the considered view of the session of the All India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India, should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent States’ in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”1 In his presidential speech, the Quaid said: “We find that even according to the British map of India, we occupy large parts of this country where the Musalmans are in a majority—such as Bengal, Punjab, N.W.F.P., Sindh and Balochistan.”2 He also declared: “Musalmans are a nation according to any definition of a nation, and they must have their homelands, their territory and their State.”3


The resolution was presented in the session on March 23 and approved on the next day after fully debating it in which representatives from all parts of the subcontinent participated. As Jinnah planned, the resolution was moved by A. K. Fazlul Haq, Premier of Bengal. Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, a leader from U.P. seconded it. Others who spoke in favour of this resolution were Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Editor of the popular Urdu daily Zamindar, Sardar Aurangzeb Khan, Leader of Opposition in the NWFP (now KP) Assembly, Sir Abdullah Haroon, a veteran leader from Sindh, Khan Bahadur Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, President of the U.P. Muslim League, Mohammad Isa Khan, President of Balochistan Muslim League, Abdul Hamid Khan, Leader of the Muslim Party in the Madras Assembly, I. I. Chundrigar, Dy. Leader of the Muslim League party in the Bombay Assembly, Syed Abdur Rauf Shah, President of the C.P. Muslim League, Dr. Mohammad Alam from Punjab, Syed Zakir Ali, Begum Mohammad Ali, widow of late Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, and Maulana Abdul Hamid.4 The resolution was passed on March 24 “unanimously amid great enthusiasm.”5 This reflected the unity of the Muslims of the subcontinent belonging to both the majority and minority Muslim provinces of British India who fully supported the Quaid in his scheme of Pakistan.


This was not a new idea. Various ideas for the division of South Asian subcontinent into Hindu zones and Muslim zones had already been put forward. John Bright in the late 19th century was the first to suggest in this direction. It goes to the credit of Quaid-i-Azam and his followers that first they mobilized Muslim public opinion, both in the historical and political sense, and then presented the idea. The idea coming in this background duly enjoyed the backing of the whole of Muslim India. The leaders of the majority Muslim provinces expressed their willingness to accept this. At the same time it was supported by the leaders of the minority Muslim provinces. The common factor which bounded the Muslims of both these areas was the fear of Hindu Raj exhibited in a number of Hindu writings and speeches by certain Hindu leaders. Thus the State of Pakistan was designed to serve the purpose of both the majority Muslim areas as well as those of the minority Muslim areas.


Quaid-i-Azam was the leader who had a strong sense of history. He not only rightly interpreted the historical development in the contemporary realities, but he was also the person who thought along the lines of giving new direction to history. He also understood the main forces which shaped history. At the international and national level it was the British Government which formed the greatest force of history. In the internal political developments it were the Indian National Congress leaders who were another big factor in history representing the Hindu majority will. Jinnah, in his long political career of working with the Congress leaders since his entry into politics in 1897, had visualized that the Congress leaders were not allowing the Muslims any respectable position in the body politic of South Asia. For making the Muslims a third majority power factor of South Asia, Jinnah got the chance against the backdrop of World War II that broke out in September 1939. On this issue he challenged the British masters and made them realize that the Muslims are a third major factor without whose approval the future of South Asia could not be determined. Through his wise policies Quaid-i-Azam brought unity amongst the rank and file of the Muslims of the subcontinent. After having achieved this unity during 1935-1939, he presented the goal of Pakistan for their approval in March 1940. Now with the united Muslim backing he was ready to deal with the Congress leaders.


The Lahore session of the AIML was closely watched by the Governor of the Punjab, Sir Henry Craik. He sent his secret report to the Viceroy on March 25, 1940 in which he wrote: “The session of the Muslim League finished last night and I am glad to be able to report that my Ministers have emerged comparatively unscathed from a situation that at one time seemed extremely critical.”6 He also wrote: “As regards the result of the Muslim League session, I imagine you are in as good a position to appreciate these as I am. My own impression is that the influence and that the unanimity and enthusiasm shown at the session have given the League a position of far greater authority than it previously enjoyed.”7


At that time Lord Zetland was functioning as the Secretary of State for India. When he heard of the popularity of the Muslim demand, his first reaction was the realization that he could not avoid expressing his hostility to the Pakistan demand. Writing to Lord Linlithgow in April 1940, Zetland observed:


I think that in the course of the forthcoming debates I shall be bound to express my dissent from the proposals which have recently been put forward by the All India Muslim League in the course of their recent conference at Lahore. I should very much doubt whether they have been properly thought out and in any case to create a number of Ulsters in India would not only mean the wrecking of all that we have been working for a number of years past, but would also imagine, give rise to the most violent opposition on the part of the Congress and possibly of others who are not actually attached to the Congress in India. There is, of course, great force in Jinnah’s arguments that the circumstances of India are unsuited to the form of democracy which we have evolved in this country. We have always recognized that and we have of course provided various restrictions on the free working of the democratic system. Even so, it is clear that the working of parliamentary institutions in India is characterized by some strange practices.… The fundamental difference between the Muslims and the Hindus is certainly a much greater obstacle in the way of the smooth working of a democratic system. But nothing appears to have been said in the Resolution of the All India Muslim League in which they sketched their constitutional policy about the form of government in the units which are to be created in those parts of India which are inhibited mainly by Muslims or in the unites which lie outside the Muslim sphere of influence.8


In a number of telegrams the Viceroy had advised the Secretary of State for India and the Home Government not to express their public opposition to the Pakistan Scheme. This was thought because of the fact that the idea had firmly gained ground in the Muslim mind. What was desired by the Viceroy was a policy of the British Government by which sympathy to the Pakistan demand was to be shown as long as the war was continuing. After the War comes to an end, the British should resort to devise their policy in this connection. In another telegram in April 1940, the Viceroy advised the Secretary of State for India:


I am myself disposed to regard Jinnah’s partition scheme as very largely in the nature of bargaining. I think he has put forward this scheme, the many objections to which I need not set out here, partly to dispose of the reproach that the Muslims had no constructive scheme of their own; partly to offset the extreme Congress claims to independence, etc. and the Congress contention that the Congress is the mouthpiece of India; and that a Constituent Assembly on the basis of adult suffrage is the only machinery for deciding future progress, as put forward in the Ramgarh resolution. That many Muslims are unhappy about the partition scheme, I have no doubt, more particularly Muslims in the minority provinces. That it may lose some non-Muslim support for Jinnah is clear from speeches by, e.g., Chhotu Ram in the Punjab and by Sikh protests that they will not readily submit to Muslim domination. But at the present stage my impression is that, while the scheme will be much criticized and rightly so, there is a doubt apart from that whether many Muslims of substance could face up to Jinnah over it…. I would myself agree with Craik’s estimate that the effect of Lahore has been to a remarkable degree to increase Jinnah’s prestige and to consolidate his position as an All-India Muslim spokesman, and with the view reported by Stewart that unsound as the partition idea may be, it is one which will get into the hands of a very large numbers of Muslims, and many prove increasingly difficult to dislodge. I get the general impression that the Muslims in the light of Lahore resolution and despite the internal dissensions connected with the Khaksar movement are in a far more confident and resolute mood that they have hitherto been. I am perfectly clear as to the seriousness of the factor which is hardening on their part represents; and I am confirmed in the view expressed in my telegram of 8th March of the difficulty of ignoring or overriding it, and the necessity for giving full consideration to Muslim claims.


There is much that could be said in criticism of Jinnah’s partition ideas and we clearly could not accept or endorse them. But quite apart from the fact that we have left the whole scheme and policy of the Act open for discussion after the war, and that Jinnah’s scheme itself has, I suspect, largely been provoked by the unreasonable demands of Congress, any condemnation of Jinnah’s scheme will at once irritate Muslim feeling and will be seized on by Congress. In present tempers here I would myself therefore think it preferable to quote it as illustrating the extent to which the gulf has widened between the parties, and to take the line that His Majesty’s Government attached all the more importance in such circumstances to reaching a solution, with the agreement of all parties, which would secure the unity of India.9


Explaining it further in his telegram of April 8, Viceroy made it more clear to the Secretary of State that while he fully appreciates the impressions of the Secretary of State with which he entirely sympathized, as regards the Muslim partition plan, he would again emphasize that great importance of saying nothing which would antagonize the Muslims and of avoiding any direct attack on them. The British Government, the Viceroy continued, should be careful enough while handling this issue so long as the War was going on. At the end of the War, as promised by the Government, the British Government would consider the situation and decide the matter to the entire satisfaction of the all the parties and communities.10


The Viceroy first thought that the Resolution was perhaps a “bargaining counter” by Jinnah but towards end of April 1940, he was convinced that Jinnah was determined to achieve Pakistan at all costs. Still he hoped that if Hindus and Sikhs are backed by the British Government their propaganda is bound to influence “Jinnah’s less intelligent and literate constituents.”11 This was to be resorted to, the Viceroy cautioned, systematically in a convincing manner without resorting to the risk of confronting the idea of Pakistan openly. The Viceroy thus advised the Punjab Governor in April 1940:


It is obvious that Jinnah does not mean to relinquish an inch of any ground which he thinks may be of any value to him, and I was amused to see that Pakistan Day celebrations had been time for the day after the debate on both houses on the extension of the section 93 proclamation.


I am not surprised that the Hindus and the Sikhs should have been so outspoken in their condemnation of Jinnah’s partition schemes. As I have made clear more than once, I do not myself take those claims too seriously, and regard them as very largely a matter of political maneuvering. But that they are beginning to have the effect, on which he has no doubt reckoned, of alarming Hindu parties, is clear (the Hindustan Times leaders are good evidence in this connection) and I am a little afraid that with the passage of time, the idea which they represent will get sufficiently deep into the minds of Jinnah’s less intelligent and literature constituents to prove a political obstacle which it is not going to be by any means easy to take either for His Majesty’s Government or for political parties outside the Muslim fold in this country.12


Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for India, was also giving serious thought to what the Viceroy Linlithgow had written to him on Jinnah’s scheme of Pakistan. Zetland took into confidence the British Prime Minister and other policy makers of the Home Government. After thorough homework, Zetland wrote to Linlithgow on April 24, 1940:


I quite understand, of course, your anxiety lest I should say anything to upset Jinnah, but I really feel that I could not say less than I regarded the scheme put forward by the All India Muslim League at Lahore as being something little short of a council despair.


I hope that the terms of the reply to Jinnah which I telegraphed to you a few days ago will be sufficient to keep him quiet, though I do not feel certain by any means that this will be so. Indeed, the present attitude of the All India Muslim League seems to me to justify the fear which I expressed last summer, with what I am afraid you must have found somewhat wearisome reiteration, that we should find the Muslims the most formidable obstacle in the way of the federation which we were then hoping to scheme. I am bound to say that if their present mood persists, I see little chance of us being able to bring them in, at any rate of any terms approaching those contemplated by the Act. The Diehards over here are secretly delighted at the widening of the gulf between the Muslims and the Hindus; but taking a long view I should myself doubt very much if a cleavage between the Muslims and the Hindus as fundamental as that contemplated by the present leaders of the All India Muslim League would prove to be our advantage. The Hindus have no particular affiliations outside India, whereas the call of Islam is one which transcends the bounds of country. It may have lost some of its force as a result of the abolition of the Caliph by Mustapha Kemal Pasha, but it still has a very considerable appeal, as witnessed, for example, Jinnah’s insistence on our giving understanding that Indian troops should never be employed against any Muslim State, and the solicitude which he has consistently expressed for the Arabs of Palestine, and I recall a statement by Sikander in a speech at Karachi on October, the 10th, 1938, which is all more significant, coming as it did from a man of much broad-minded views and so tolerant an outlook, that he would rather be ‘shot down’ than agree to Indian troops being sent to Palestine. I cannot help thinking that if separate Muslim State did indeed come into existence in India, as now contemplated by the All India Muslim League, the day would come when they fight temptation to join an Islamic Commonwealth of Nations well-nigh irresistible. More particularly would this be the case with the North-West of India, which would in these circumstances be a Muslim State conterminous with the vast block of territory dominated by Islam, which runs from North Africa and Turkey in the West to Afghanistan in the East. You may think that this is looking unnecessarily far ahead and that we can but devote our energies to endeavouring to solve our more immediate problems, I dare say that you would be right; yet I feel that one has to keep one’s eye on the possible developments of a somewhat distant future, if we are to come to right decisions in connection with the problem immediately confronting us.13


Linlithgow discussed the view of the Secretary of State with his Cabinet and some provincial governors. Other key advisers of the government were also consulted. After thorough homework, the Viceroy replied the Secretary of State in June 1940 in which his assessment of Jinnah’s scheme of Pakistan was as follows:


The Muslim League, challenged as it has been to produce any constructive programme to set against that advanced by Congress has in the last few months come out a definite position that India should be divided in Hindu and Muslim spheres of influence, a proposition commonly referred to as the theory of the two-nations; or the Pakistan claim, I have not myself ever believed that this proposal was put forward by Muslim leaders save for bargaining purposes and to offset Congress claims.


But it has been taken very seriously by Congress opinion as a threat to Indian unity, and there are now signs that even in Muslim India it is beginning to sink into the minds of the rank and file, and that it may prove very much more difficult to deal with than its authors may have anticipated. The Muslim League finally is reluctant, so far as one can judge, while they may talk about independence to see any severance of the British connection.14


…I would add only that our policy has throughout been to aim at securing the unity of India. Such unity as exists in India today may not unfairly be ascribed entirely to British rule. We can claim to have played the part of impartial arbiters, devoid of any communal feeling and outside the deep-seated and long-established differences of outlook and of religious faith between the various communities. We have contrived to produce a unity which does not go too deep. We are, I believe, in a position to contribute to the preservation of that unity.15


On Jinnah’s scheme of Pakistan, the British Government, both in India and London, were disturbed. Some thought this idea of Pakistan by Jinnah, was a “bargaining counter” to deal both with Congress as well with the Government. Others thought differently as seen before. But Jinnah was very sincere in his demand for Pakistan. The British rulers were careful enough to express publicly on this issue for fear of reaction from the Muslim public opinion whose majority had come to be commanded by Jinnah’s political leadership. It was with fears and doubts that the Viceroy, his advisers and the British tackled the political situation in British India particularly the Pakistan demand.

 

The writer is Ex-Director, National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, and Professor at Quaid-i-Azam Chair (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad.

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1 S.S. Pirzada (ed.), Foundations of Pakistan: All India Muslim League Documents 1906-1947, Vol. II, Islamabad, NIHCR, Quaid-i-Azam University, 2007, p. 312.
2 Ibid., p. 306.
3 Ibid., p. 310.
4 Ibid., pp. 311-315.
5 Ibid., p. 315.
6 Craike to Linlithgow, 25 March 1940, Linlithgow Papers, Eur. Mss. F. 125/89, British Library (OIOC), London.
7 Ibid.
8 Zetland to Linlithgow, 5 April 1940, Linlithgow Papers, Eurr. Mss., F. 125/9.
9 Viceroy to Secretary of State (telegram), April 6, 1940, Eur. Mss. F. 125/19, British Library (OIOC), London.
10 Viceroy to Secretary of State, April 8 1940, Eur. Mss. F. 125/19, British Library (OIOC), London.
11 Ibid.
12 Linlithgow to Craike, April 18 1940, Linlithgow Papers, Eur. Mss. F. 125/89, British Library (OIOC), London.
13 Zetland to Linlithgow, April 24 1940, Linlithgow Papers, Eur. Mss. F. 125/19, British Library (OIOC), London.
14 Viceroy to Secretary of State (telegram), June 30 1940, Linlithgow Papers, Eur. Mss. F. 125/19, British Library (OIOC), London.
15 Ibid.

 
07
March

Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar

This is because we tend to opt only for punitive action as a policy tool when tackling corruption. This does not provide a sustainable solution. The key is to focus on building systems that limit opportunities for collusion and corruption in the first place.

Corruption is now widely discussed and condemned in Pakistan. There seems to be a growing realization that corruption isn’t just about kickbacks, embezzlement, and fraud, but that with its complex fiscal, intellectual and ethical ramifications, it has far-reaching consequences. From endangering life, hurting prospects for development and economic growth and widening inequalities to weakening the social fabric, fostering terrorism, imperiling the environment, risking national sovereignty and threatening peace and security, corruption’s dangerous footprint is everywhere.


Pick up any problem and one can trace its threads back to corruption. In the worst case scenario, it costs lives. Corruption has been at the core of deaths due to building collapses, fake drugs and food adulteration. Thousands of lives have been lost due to the interplay of financial crimes with the existing security challenges in our country.


Hundreds of millions of Pakistanis are deprived of quality healthcare and basic education and get excluded from state benefits due to tax evasion, systemic pillage, diversion of funds and mistargeting of resources. When regulators and state oversight bodies collude with monopolies, hoarders and special interest groups, commodity prices hike, affecting all of us. We have all tasted the nature of corrupt practices in law enforcement, land and revenue management systems. Institutionalized procurement and rent-seeking has diverted trillions away from the needy over the decades and power generation public-private collusion will haunt generations in the form of utility bills. Even the roots of the devastation caused by flooding, thought of otherwise as a natural disaster, can be traced back to illegal logging of trees and pilfering in irrigation departments.


It is not just individuals, but the national system that suffers as well with dire economic and societal consequences. Studies have shown that corruption increases poverty and income inequality and negatively impacts growth. By clouding the business environment, impeding development of fair market structures and distorting competition, corruption creates obstacles for investment and trade. Regimes, governments, institutions and leaders lose their legitimacy due to corruption and peoples’ trust is undermined. Corruption also damages the country’s international reputation, as certain forms which drive smuggling, trafficking and other financial crimes, fueling the informal and black economies, are not confined within national borders.

Finally, studies have shown positive results when measures aimed at promoting high ethical standards across the public sector through conflict of interest regulations and asset declarations were combined with another set of initiatives aimed at promoting public scrutiny to hold public officials accountable. This can be enabled through systemic approaches to citizens’ empowerment, which have been part of various iterations of local government frameworks in Pakistan but have never been fully implemented.


Deeply entrenched corruption has a chicken-and-egg relationship with ‘state capture’, a broader phenomenon in decision-making where the laws and regulations of a country are made to favor a select few and where decision makers use state leverage to either gain personally or benefit their cronies. The interplay of weak governance of state institutions, vested interests of the powerful elite, strong monopoly power, wide discretion for officials and weak accountability mechanisms lead to state capture.


In such settings, systemic manipulation and circumvention of procedures becomes the norm. Corruption is then no longer the exception. It is no longer the “cost of business”; it actually becomes the system itself. Illicit rents are extracted and distributed to respective hierarchies on well-established shadow “rules” which govern the de facto functioning of ministries and departments. As an outcome, resources get channeled to the well-connected, institutions lose their ability to deliver on their original purpose, the gap between rich and poor widens, governance becomes exploitable and reforms are held hostage.
The causes of state capture cannot be addressed by reform within an isolated sector, and entails creation of checks and balances, upholding rule of law, impartial and independent media and judiciary. As a starting point, any anti-corruption national reform must aim to build the right institutional architecture: a national strategy, freedom of information laws, key accountability institutions for public redressal, oversight and investigative work. The issue is that Pakistan has much of that already in place, but with corruption still thriving.


This is because we tend to opt only for punitive action as a policy tool when tackling corruption. This does not provide a sustainable solution. The key is to focus on building systems that limit opportunities for collusion and corruption in the first place.


In addition, we must recognize that over the years, serious loopholes have been created in respective laws and regulations dealing with various institutions and sectors. There is also shocking tolerance for failure to comply with laws and regulations, their weaknesses notwithstanding. This allows space for maneuverability, when combined with unchecked powers of discretion, a culture of arbitrariness and circumventing procedures and a near-absence of accountability for rule and evidence-based decision-making. Combine this with a bureaucracy with political leanings, and a tendency to disregard integrity, disclosure and conflict-of-interest in appointments, and a toxic brew is created to erode the principles of governance, fostering corruption. Any serious anti-corruption attempt must address these systemic fault-lines as a starting point. Rule-based control on government functioning, respect for merit, integrity, ethical conduct, accountability and transparency, oversight of discretionary powers and safeguards against conflict of interest are the basic foundation stones of any anti-corruption measure. The good news is that progress in this direction can be made by setting the “tone at the top”. In Pakistan’s centralized system of decision-making, a true, visible and active commitment at the leadership level to zero tolerance towards corruption in all its forms can cascade downwards and into implementation very quickly. I believe that despite all difficulties, that can be the silver lining to our problem.


So what are the specific steps, which have a high likelihood of countering corruption in a national context? As a starting point, I would like to reiterate the importance of building systems that limit opportunities for corruption. In this regard, since there is no single silver-bullet, most national anticorruption strategies outline long lists. Pakistan’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), is no different and encompasses several approaches. NACS’ “anti-corruption tool kit” includes numerous measures (access to information, legislation, integrity pledges, codes of conduct, conflict of interest provisions, assets declaration and monitoring, integrity pacts, vigilance units, random integrity testing, service delivery surveys and report cards, etc.). Each one of these is important in its own right and when combined, potential synergies exist.


At a practical level, however, it is important to identify priority policy levers, which have demonstrated success in evaluations. A review of international studies assumes importance in this regard. So, what do we know from international experiences in relation to anti-corruption reform? What has worked in other countries and why?


A large number of studies have measured corruption, but few have assessed the impact of anti-corruption initiatives. Methodological measurement issues, variations in political economy and challenges of causality and attribution notwithstanding, there are some general lessons from international experiences, which can inform anti-corruption systems building in Pakistan. Three points are outlined in this respect.


First, international studies show that the impact on corruption is strongest through strengthening Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI). SAIs are meant to have a critical monitoring and oversight role for ensuring public accountability, fiscal transparency, and financial discipline in governmental operations. Pakistan’s Auditor General's constitutional office (AG office) and Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly are closest to an SAI. The AG office’s mandate is to ensure that funds are spent in compliance with existing laws and regulations. If it is allowed, enabled and empowered to play its role effectively, even with the existing constrains, it can serve as a strong safeguard against collusion and compel accountability, in case of deviations. From my experience serving on public sector boards and in a caretaker cabinet, I continue to be amazed by the astuteness with which the instrument of the “audit para” has capacity to dig up wrongdoing and the impunity with which the system fails to compel accountability based on its findings. One of the anti-corruption priorities should be to invest in competent and professional staff at the AG office and review its structure so that it functions as an independent and autonomous SAI. Studies have found that reforms targeted at SAIs are even more effective in reducing corruption than other anti-corruption institutions such as specialized anti-corruption authorities.


Secondly, a large body of evidence from studies has shown that pubic financial management (PFM) reforms can also significantly impact anticorruption efforts, especially when combined with procurement reforms and strengthening of budget planning and SAI. The Government of Pakistan has had a continuing agenda of PFM reform for a while. However, successive Public Financial Management and Accountability Assessments have underscored the need to align management with international standards and strengthen fiscal discipline. Emphasis has been laid on strengthening internal controls and procurement systems, which impacts almost every part of the government’s operations.


Meaningful strengthening of the AG office and PFM appear to be the two most important governance levers to compel horizontal accountability. Lack of attention to these also explains why Pakistan’s approach to corruption, largely centered on prosecution/enforcement, has failed to date. Studies have shown that strong legal constraints to anti-corruption can only work in environments where institutions are strong. In weak institutional environments, specialized anti-corruption authorities tend to be captured for the benefit of the few powerful elite. We see that happening in Pakistan. Therefore, it is important to build safeguards against the blatant abuses of power through a two-fold approach: strengthening governance on the one hand, whereas bridging weaknesses in the legal frameworks of the National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency, on the other. This is necessary to ensure that the agencies are truly autonomous and impartial, and free from the danger of being maneuvered, in line with the international standards outlined in Article 36 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, to which Pakistan is a signatory.


There is also the need to review the broader legislative agenda for transparency promoting reform. Pakistan does not have laws relevant to white collar economic sabotage and explicit whistle-blower protection laws; the latter are needed to enable and encourage citizens to come forward to law enforcing agencies to report on corruption incidences.


Finally, studies have shown positive results when measures aimed at promoting high ethical standards across the public sector through conflict of interest regulations and asset declarations were combined with another set of initiatives aimed at promoting public scrutiny to hold public officials accountable. This can be enabled through systemic approaches to citizens’ empowerment, which have been part of various iterations of local government frameworks in Pakistan but have never been fully implemented.
Anti-corruption reform is a complex political process, where a number of contextual factors (judicial oversight, right to information, free media, government openness, competitiveness, and commitment to human rights issues, etc.) matter deeply and a range of policy options have individual potential. However, it is important to prioritize a combination of evidence-based policy levers, which can drive quantum change in addressing the predatory behaviors, which have undermined the true potential of the country and its people.

 

The writer is a former federal minister, founder of the NGO think tank, Heartfile and Co-Chair of the WHO High-Level Commission on NCDs.

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07
March

Written By: Brig Usman Saeed (R)

Balochistan constitutes 44% of Pakistan's total landmass with Balochi-Pashtun mix population of 12.34 million (2017). It, however, seriously lags behind in socio-economic development when compared with other provinces. History of development neglect dates back to British era that set low priority for socio-economic developments here and confined focus on building roads and railway system leading to Afghan and Iran borders within the framework of military threats along western borders. Resultantly, this province remained at the bottom in terms of development in the sub-continent. Balochis pinned high expectations for fast track removal of economic inequalities, enhanced political and civil services representation in national politico-executive systems, fair distribution of fiscal resources and high national priority for socio-economic development programs in the province. However, Pakistan has remained in the grip of external threats since inception. The externally sponsored security challenges since partition didn’t let the state shift its focus to the internal socio-economic developments in remote regions of Balochistan and other provinces. Prolonged spell of low key developments under multifarious pretexts has given rise to poverty, unemployment and low development of human resource ending up in public frustation and discontent. Armed confrontation in the sixties, seventies and presently have roots entrenched in frustration and policy failures. Terrorist acts in the province are externally sponsored in conjuction with dissident elements with motives to exploit internal situation and bleed our national resources in counter-terrorism efforts. Balochistan as a whole widely condemns terrorism and expresses deep hate against such subversive acts that impede with them to attain cherished goals of socio-economic development. One can enumarate failures but prudence demands looking forward and cover lost ground in the light of new opportunities emerging after 18th Constitutional Amendment 2010 that accords maximum autonomy and self-governance charter to the provinces. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, mines and minerals as well as numerous other business and trade opportunities in the province provide glimmer of hope that this province shall become a showcase for national development if policies are prudent, effective governance is practiced, transparency and accountability is instilled at all tiers of executive machinery, optimal utilisation of allocated budgetary resources is carried out, indigenous development of mines and minerals and most importantly, and, with effective dismantling of terrorist networks.

 

pakfutureshifting.jpgBalochistan leads the national mineral inventory though it is largely under explored. Tethyan Metallogenic Belt that originates from Hungary and passes through Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Pakistan (Balochistan) and terminates in Afghanistan. This belt has 90% of world's copper and gold deposits. Precious metals like molybdenum, gold and rare earth elements are found in Reko Diq and other sites are yet to be explored. A family of 15 different rare earth metals are of extremely high commercial and strategic value. Whereas, value of gold in Reko Diq deposits explored so far is in excess of USD 1.5 trillion and the other mineral resources are estimated at a value above multi trillions USD. Saindak copper and gold deposits in Chaghi are estimated at USD 250 billion. Out of three copper ore bodies in Saindak, two are already leased to Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) in years 2002 and 2017 respectively. Chinese have exhausted first South Ore body of 111 million MT with 0.443% copper in 15 years while commercial production from the second North Ore body is in progress. The exact economic dividends shared with Pakistan have not been made public. We should, however, examine our JV (joint venture) experience with foreign countries and redefine mine/mineral policy for the future. Ideal mineral policy would be in favor of complete exploration and mining utilising indigenous skills for optimum economic benefits for the country.


Apart from mines/minerals, huge energy resources of this province are yet untapped. Kohlu/Dera Bugti alone has gas reserves of 22 trillion cubic feet (TCF) valued at USD 110 billion or more which can last for 100 years. Unconventional energy resources comprising shale gas/oil, tight gas/oil, coal based methane etc. are not yet estimated in Balochistan. Additionally, Balochistan’s coastline of 560 km along Arabian Sea provides scenic beaches and islands like Astola near Pasni. Astola is worth development for attracting international tourism. Astola was discovered by Admiral Nearchus of Alexander Army in 326 BC on his return from India. Introduction of Ferry service between Karachi and Gwadar extending up to Iran and UAE can increase tourists’ attraction. Pakistan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Arabian Sea was estimated to be endowed with 40 billion barrels of oil and 200 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas reserves besides copper and other metal deposits yet unexplored a decade ago. National Institute of Oceanography and other organisations can render services for result in exploratory works in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of North Arabian Sea along Balochistan.


Energy lines are planned from Iran, Gulf states and Central Asia through Balochistan with windfall of royalty for the province. Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipelines and Turkeminstan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipelines have feasibilities finalised for years but pending execution due to geo-strategic constraints. Iranians have already built maximum length of their share of pipeline from South Pars Gas Field. Hopefully, these lines shall be laid as planned in the near future. Chinese Xinjiang-Gwadar road link shall yield rich economic dividends for this province. Regional connectivity with Central Asian Republics and Afghanistan is likely to create new commercial trade centres within the province. Upgradation of Quetta-Taftan Railway line to European gauge standards, construction of Karachi-Gwadar coastal railway line and connectivity with Iranian railway system will usher in a new era of tourism between Europe and Pakistan via Iran. Connecting Gwadar via Afghanistan with Mary (Turkeminstan) will be a source of promoting tourism & international business/trade. Historically, Mary (ancient name Merv) was founded in 6th century BC by Cyrus the Great. It was captured by the troops of Caliph Umer RA. In 671, Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan sent 50000 troops to Merv. Merv was a base of operations for Muslim commander Qutayba ibn Muslim for conquests in Central Asia i.e., Balkh, Bokhara, Fergana, Khorasan. It became the largest city in the world during the 12th century AD. Imperial Russia occupied it in 1884, while British Indian Army sent troops to Merv to resist the Bolshevik revolution. It was the centre for cotton production. Huge natural gas reserves are found near Mary (Merv). Textile, fertilizer, vegetable oil, cotton etc. are a great attraction for the business community.


Upcoming modern Gwadar Port and City Project architecturally designed by renowned international firms is a game changer for the country. Balochistan shall be the major beneficiary. It is likely to open new vistas for international business and trade. Its connectivity with rest of the country has been acheived through newly built expressways i.e., Karachi-Gwadar Makran Coastal Highway, Ratodero-Gwadar Motorway, and Peshawar-DI Khan- Zhob-Quetta-Gwadar Expressway.


In this information era, Balochistan's promising economic future is known worldwide. External/internal anti-Pakistan forces are now active in sensitive regions of Balochistan with clandestine mission to retard the pace of socio-economic developments in the province. Though reduced in intensity, the sporadic terrorist activities in areas like Turbat, Panjgur, Khuzdar and other districts have nefarious designs to keep the pot boiling with internal security concerns. One of the impact is that construction workforce, educationists, doctors, engineers, and other semi-skilled workforce from other provinces is reluctant to fill shortfall of productive workforce in this province. All districts of this province are long due for modern outlook of public offices, tertiary hospitals, educational institutions, sanitation facilities, recreation resorts etc. But all this is not achievable without entry of professional workforce from other provinces.


Rural areas suffer equal state of neglect if not more. Balochistan is 93% rangeland and hardly 30% out of it is suitable for agricultural purposes. Livestock is the mainstay for survival. Water is extremely scant and so are other amenity resources in rural areas.


Thin population density, and that too scatterred far induces constraints for town planning and development of healthcare, education, sanitation and other facilities in tehsil and lower levels. Widespread poverty and absence of medium and long term plans have left a serious challenge for civil-military leadership as how to move further in a short time and implement a road map that fights poverty, unemployment, socio-economic deprivations and above all, eliminate terrorist networks that are frustrating the economic development plans.


Key recommendations emerging to improve Balochistan situation can be summarised in ensuing paragraphs.


Law and order situation in all the divisions and more specifically in Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Awaran and Kharan districts must be addressed as first priority. Frontier Corps (FC) alone is not enough. Balochistan Levies and police should be restructured, modernised and equipped with modern arms, surviellance equipment, aerial mobility and bulletproof jackets/transport in accordance with internal security situation.


Grand Jirga comprising eminent leaders should meet and pursuade the dissidents to give up militancy in the interest of province.


Intelligence system must remain active for cataloging collaborators, sympathisers, weaponary, morale, logistics, financing systems, relationship between the militants and locals, foreign support and above all terrorist cells/ killing squads present in built-up-areas of troubled regions and keep a vigilant eye on routes from where terrorists may sneak in or out under the guise of peaceful citizens.


Bulk of the population distances itself away from terrorists; it is now easier to mobilize popular support for the government. Reasonable concessions should be extended to those who voluntarily give up militancy. There is no need for the application of brute force in such cases.


Mines/minerals cannot be doled out to foreign companies when we have scientists who can develop these locally. More than 50 metallic and non-metallic minerals have been discovered. We should establish Mineral Development Authority headed by eminent scientists (PAEC/NESCOM service background) and members from geology, economy, engineering backgrounds. This authority should be created in each province and assigned the mandate for indigenous development of precious metals like gold, copper, platinum, molybdenum, rare earth metals, etc. for the country. Special Planning Division (SPD) at the federal level should be responsible for financing and the security of this authority.


Long term and focused strategy for districts and lower levels’ development is necessary. Master plans for cities should be developed and executed by engagement of experts from the market. Town planning of new towns at a scale of one per administrative division should figure high on agenda and implementation. All prerequisites such as modern healthcare systems, educational institutions, electricity, public transport, water and sanitation systems should be important features of the new towns. When developed, scattered population should be encouraged to relocate in new towns. Workforce shortfalls should be met first from natives of Balochistan and the deficit may be met by other provinces. Balochistan should devise special financial incentives and security packages for doctors, nurses, lady health visitors, engineers, teachers and skilled labour from other provinces on 3-5 years contract/deputation employment basis.


Other provinces should enhance the quota for Balochi students in engineering and medical colleges including vocational and paramedics institutes till these facilities are available in Balochistan.


Agriculture, livestock and small industries should be given financial incentives for developments in all districts. We may begin from insurgency prone areas. Panjgur and Turbat are fertile for dates. Date syrups are expensive worldwide. Hence there should be an initiative to set up plants here for extraction of date pulp/syrup. Likewise, Kharan is rich for surma (antimony), Saffron, fig and dates. Setting up processing units can be beneficial for value addition and generating economic advantages for the locals.


Fisheries in Arabian Sea along Balochistan coastal belt has immense potential that is largely unexploited. Arabian Sea is internationally considered the most biologically productive area but we live with self-imposed road blocks. Processing plants on Balochistan coastal belt are mostly outdated or non-functional. Whichever facilities are functional they are running on low capacity. We should develop sustainable fishing policy consistent with international standards for quantum leap in this sector. Coastal areas should have cultivation of palm oil plants. Industrial zones should be encouraged alongside newly built expressways.


Water is scant in all the districts. There is an urgent need for construction of small water dams all over Balochistan. Politics on dams should not impede progress. Dams like Mirani, Shadikor, Sawar etc. should be operational and replicated wherever feasible.


Gwadar Sea Port and city development projects must pick up momentum. Fifteen projects are lined up here for early completion. Housing Schemes planned under private sector must commence. Construction in free zone and industrial estate should keep pace with developments in seaport. Water desalination plants, and gas and electricity are important prerequisites for development activity here.
Pakistan-Iran railway lines and connectivity with Central Asian Republics should get priority in allocation of funds.


Free zones should cater for abundant space for interested countries from Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and others for setting up their industries and corporate offices.


There is a need to constitute an apex implementation committee headed by the CM Balochistan to monitor implementation of development plans.


Conclusively, nothing will move on ground unless we have result oriented, visionary, trustworthy, strategically focused, and honest team for decision making/implementation procedures.

 

The writer is a retired Brigadier and has served in National Accountability Bureau and Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission Islamabad.

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07
March

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

Yet Matthew points out that although every country has its problems and so does Pakistan but the image of this beautiful and sacred land is an unfair one and needs to be corrected and the facts do not match up to its negative image. The image of Pakistan is “not representative, and it is not fair” he says. He adds that the “positive aspects of life in Pakistan are unknown by the people in the West”. And at his book launch Matthew told us that when he first wanted to publish his book all the publishers in the West said the book must be a negative book on Pakistan on the subject of terrorism or about the oppression of its women, if it is neither we are not interested as it won’t sell and it won’t make money. “Nobody, they [the publishers] said, wanted to read a positive book about Pakistan” even though this may be the reality. Matthew protests again, “This is simply not fair”. He writes, “The public image of Pakistan is negative but the hidden face of Pakistan, is far more often than not, beautiful, kind, welcoming, gentle and filled with hope…after living here for six years the description of Pakistan as ‘a sacred land’ seems less and less incongruous to me with every passing day”.

Having worked in the UK and in Pakistan on teaching innovative peacebuilding subjects to students at various universities and in my travels for fieldwork from Swat to Karachi on the subject of the religions of Pakistan, I am stunned by the diversity of Pakistan and impressed by the humanity and hospitality of its people. Keep in mind its population of two hundred million people who are ethnically and religiously very diverse with Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Parsis, Bahá'ís, Buddhists, Sikhs, the Kalash, atheists and so many others. And I am one of many people who hold this perspective. Yet the global picture that the world media would have us believe is that Pakistan is a dangerous country with terrorists roaming about, ready to threaten the civilized world and put it into chaos; President Trump even threatened that the country harbours terrorists and must do more or face the mighty “civilized” world’s military wrath. Bush, in his time, too had told Pakistani leaders, “you are with us or if not we’ll bomb you into the stone age! So you have no two choices”. Both hold/held vast power but show little knowledge and understanding of this deeply historical and culturally rich region. There are other commendable Americans, of course, who are supporting peace projects and working towards peacebuilding.


Yet in this context of unfair hostility and scapegoating with which many people are not comfortable, I came across Matthew Vaughan who is a Christian Englishman–a graduate from the UK’s Oxford University–and with his English wife and four little adorable blonde children–three of whom were born in Pakistan–has voluntarily chosen to settle and live in Pakistan today, which he sees as his own nation–his “home”.1 And not just any ordinary nation, but a “sacred” one. In his book, Notes from a Sacred Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan published in 2017 by Print Masters, he writes, comparing the beauty of northern Pakistan with its stunning green mountains and rivers to Switzerland and Canada, “Pakistan’s reputation seems undeserved”. He writes that since moving to Pakistan he realized that “it is one of the most unjustly maligned countries in the world. The mere mention of its name is sufficient to conjure up images of angry protests, of American flags being burned by mobs, of bombs…of mayhem and guns and destruction and suffering and chaos.”

pakascred.jpg
I remember watching Homeland, the popular TV drama series in which Pakistan was constantly labeled and scapegoated and many people who had seen the country objected strongly to the image of chaotic streets which they showed as Islamabad. In reality Islamabad is an organized peaceful city and many felt this to be a mean and unfair portrayal. Matthew explains, “This bitter flood of tragedy, unrelenting and sour, is spewed forth by the world’s media until the entire world seems convinced of a few supposed ‘facts’ about Pakistan: that everyone is angry… and plotting the overthrow of the Western world.”2


Yet Matthew points out that although every country has its problems and so does Pakistan but the image of this beautiful and sacred land is an unfair one and needs to be corrected and the facts do not match up to its negative image. The image of Pakistan is “not representative, and it is not fair” he says.3 He adds that the “positive aspects of life in Pakistan are unknown by the people in the West”. And at his book launch Matthew told us that when he first wanted to publish his book all the publishers in the West said the book must be a negative book on Pakistan on the subject of terrorism or about the oppression of its women, if it is neither we are not interested as it won’t sell and it won’t make money. “Nobody, they [the publishers] said, wanted to read a positive book about Pakistan” even though this may be the reality.3 Matthew protests again, “This is simply not fair”.4 He writes, “The public image of Pakistan is negative but the hidden face of Pakistan, is far more often than not, beautiful, kind, welcoming, gentle and filled with hope…after living here for six years the description of Pakistan as ‘a sacred land’ seems less and less incongruous to me with every passing day”.3


He writes, “It is bitter to think that Pakistan stands condemned by people who have never experienced it. The images pumped out by the Western media…[are] not true. It does not even come close to being true…hospitality, kindness, and natural beauty are far more representative of this land. In over six years I have not once been insulted, have not once encountered criticism or anger from anyone in Pakistan, have not once been treated with anything but the utmost kindness, despite living in Pakistan during a time of unprecedented global violence and heightened suspicion of foreigners. And this kindness comes, let us not forget, from people who experienced two centuries of subjugation under British rule…Their grace and kindness is unparalleled. The people of Pakistan deserve far more respect than they receive. The problem is that only a small number of travellers are prepared to come to Pakistan to have their lazy assumptions confronted and shattered”.1


As Matthew rightly points out, “We live in an era of fear, of widening divisions between different segments of society: rich and poor, immigrants and indigenous, between people of different faiths. All of these divisions affect Pakistan–as a predominantly Muslim nation with key relationships with Western countries; as a nation with large diaspora populations around the world; as a nation containing extremes of poverty and affluence. It seems to me the height of irresponsibility to exacerbate these tensions by allowing a nation as globally significant as Pakistan to be misrepresented. If we want to have peace–and everyone I have met in Pakistan sincerely does–then attempting to understand one another seems like a prudent first step on the convoluted path towards peaceful co-existence. We spend so much time focusing on what makes us different–skin colour, religious affiliation, personal wealth, ethnicity–but when do we ever stop to think about what unites us, about what draws us together?”


In my own personal study of genocide: the Jews of Germany, the Bosniaks, the Rohingyas, the Kashmiris, and so many other peoples, we found that labeling an ethnic or religious group as ‘terrorists’ was the first step in a terribly careless and irresponsible phase which eventually led to perceiving the other as a threat, leading to genocide of innocent human beings. With Pakistan, there are tremendous internal pressures from certain groups but there are also external threats with countries labeling Pakistan and scapegoating it. This image is unjust and not fair given the vast majority of innocent civilians.


Matthew’s book is an important one that must be read as it is a call to peacebuilding and finally of course it is “a tribute to the people of one of the most fascinating countries I have had the pleasure of visiting.” Like Matthew I too am optimistic about ‘Pakistan’ which was named ‘The Land of the Pure’ by the great philosophers and visionaries of the region, because as Matthew and so many others have said to me, “it is a land that I have come to love”.2 In conclusion, he writes, “As a follower of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, I dearly long to see peace in the world, and for this to happen we need to begin by recognizing that we are all humans, not labels, and all of us deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”5

 

The writer is the Executive Director of Markaz-e-Ilm, the Centre for Dialogue & Action (CD&A) founded at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge. She has authored the book Sorrow and Joy Among Muslim Women: The Pukhtuns of Northern Pakistan.
 

1 Vaughan, Matthew. (2017) Notes from a Sacred Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan. p.20
2 Vaughan, Matthew. (2017) Notes from a Sacred Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan. P.13
3 Vaughan, Matthew. (2017) Notes from a Sacred Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan. p.14
4 Ibid.
5 Vaughan, Matthew (2017) Notes from a Sacred Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan. P.162

07
March

Written By: Farooq-uz-Zaman

One would wonder why the great visionary of the 20th Century South Asia, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had called Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan. The now jugular route of CPEC proves it as true. Why the will of Kashmiris can’t be ignored with a wink of an eye, is because the Valley is naturally designed like a pumping heart with its blood-supplying arteries to and from Pakistan.


Kashmir’s geographical location is such that it was, in words of Farooq Abdullah, “bounded on all sides by Pakistan. Its only access to the outside world by road laid through the Jhelum Valley road which ran through Pakistan, via Rawalpindi. The only rail line connecting Kashmir with the outside world laid through Sialkot. Its postal and telegraphic services operated through areas belonging to Pakistan. Kashmir was dependent for all its imported supplies like salt, sugar, petrol and other necessities of life on their safe and continued transit through areas that formed part of Pakistan. The tourist transit traffic which was a major source of income and revenue could only come via Rawalpindi. The only route available for the export of its valuable fruit was the Jhelum Valley route. Its timber could mainly be drifted down only in the Jhelum river which ran into Pakistan.”


Now the CPEC route further proves Kashmir’s significance. India has, suddenly, realized this fact and is poised to deter Pakistan and China from building this regional game-changer. India is calling an intervention by the international community by raising questions against CPEC route and its passage through the disputed territory.


Kashmir is not just a political issue between Pakistan and India; it is obviously an unfinished agenda of the partition. The Kashmir case is also the world’s biggest and longest standing issue of human rights to which the UN Resolutions contain commitment to the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.
The start of freedom movement in Kashmir was the consequence of (a) India not heeding to the right of plebiscite as guaranteed by the UN Resolutions, (b) the inability of the UN to implement its Security Council’s many Resolutions, and (c) the world community failing to stop the genocide of Kashmiris.


According to data available from various sources over 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred by the brutal Indian force, out of which 72,074 were purportedly fake encounters. At least 143,585 innocent Kashmiris have so far been arrested by Indian army for no reason. Indian military men have raped thousands of women. Hundreds of unnamed mass graves loudly speak of India’s policy of barbaric state-terrorism. Statistics show that there are 22,864 widows in the valley, whereas 107,686 children have been orphaned between January 1989 to January 2018.


On July 8, 2016 Burhan Wani’s martyrdom at the hands of Indian army triggered, yet again, a powerful uprising in Kashmir; Indian forces killed scores of innocent Kashmiris in order to quell the uprising, using modern weapons, including the pellet guns which blinded and injured countless Kashmiris–mostly the youth, according to international human rights organization’s data. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and individual human rights activists raised the voice at international forums and urged the world to intervene and stop India from committing heinous acts of human rights violations in Kashmir. Even activists like Asma Jahangir, who personally visited the affected areas in the occupied Valley, pointed to Indian atrocities. India’s own journalists as well as intellectuals such as Arundhati Roy and Mani Shankar Aiyar came out with scathing criticism and called for justice for Kashmiris.


This resulted in resorting to the old tactic of New Delhi–unprovoked firing by the Indians on Pakistani troops and civilians across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. At the same time the Indian propagandists sitting in Delhi started hurling accusations in order to shift the blame on Pakistan for the worsening LOC situation.


India uses such tactics as a routine. Despite the fact that India had entered into a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan in 2003, its forces, especially under the Modi regime have committed hundreds of violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.


There has been continual violation of the ceasefire agreement by the Indian troops. In 2014 the total number of CFVs was 315, 248 in 2015, and 382 in 2016, the CFVs in 2017 were 1881, and in 2018, as of yet, are over 300, however, there appears to be an upward trend.


First two months of 2018 witnessed continuous violations by the Indian Army and BSF. Heavy weapons were used, which killed dozens and injured hundreds, along with massive damage to property in villages across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.


This pattern of firing and hostilities indicates “hegemonic conduct of India” towards the region and particularly towards Pakistan. Most recently, in response to nonstop Indian atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris, the freedom fighters attacked an Indian military camp in IOK, which claimed lives of seven Indian personnel. Without wasting any time New Delhi alleged Pakistan for colluding the attack and none other but the Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, threatened Pakistan of dire consequences, saying, “Pakistan will pay the price for this misadventure.” In the same vein the Indian Army Chief threatened to avenge the military camp attack “very soon.”


From Sialkot Working Boundary to the Line of Control, there have been ceasefire violations through use of aggressive heavy weapons on unarmed and innocent civil population, violating the UN Resolutions, Ceasefire Agreement of 2003 and, above all, the international norms of not targeting the civil population.


The Pakistan Foreign Office and the military spokesman have vehemently rejected the Indian claims. Failing to produce even a shred of evidence against Pakistan, India stepped up ceasefire violations during the month of February which have so far resulted in the martyrdom of 14 innocent civilians and injured 65 others. On February 15 Indian troops fired at a school van, killing the van driver and terrifying innocent school children. On February 19, an 8-year old innocent was targeted and killed by Indian troops from across the LOC.


Pakistan has always exercised restraint. It has strived to abide by the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement reached between the two countries after marathon deliberations and DGMOs’ intervention. Yet, Pakistan is very much cognizant of exercising its right to defend and respond.


The question is why India is hell bent upon resorting to making the situation volatile while India knows that such an aggressive posture can spill over to dangerous proportions? This the world needs to understand clearly.


India’s unleashing of terror in the Valley of Kashmir is not just to quell the freedom movement of Kashmiris. But it is also aimed at killing two, or many, birds with one stone.


Kashmiris’ movement this time is different from that of the 1980s freedom struggle. That time it could be called Kashmir uprising out of frustration as India was not heeding to the UN Resolutions. This time, under a well thought out plan, India itself managed to bring Kashmiris to the brink. The world knows that India’s unleashing of terror by using modern techniques and sophisticated weapons has nothing to do with Pakistan. At that time the LOC was not fenced. Now India has heavily fenced the 900km-long Line of Control–built in two layers and within the wide stretch of 3 kilometers–making it impossible to cross over or reaching any alleged help from Pakistani side.


The question is what would India gain from starting the trouble itself? Simple answer is CPEC, and to get Pakistan declared as a terror sponsoring nation. According to an Indian sponsored video that went viral on social media, Indian government has allocated billions of rupees to hinder China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. To achieve this objective, India has launched a three-pronged war with Pakistan. One is to foment insurgencies within parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan. Second is to use the proxies such as TTP and Daesh for launching attacks from Afghanistan: Mullah Fazlullah and hundreds of his accomplices are being funded, armed and trained by India for terrorism in Pakistan. Third is to engage Pakistan directly through a limited war on LOC, Working Boundary and International Border.


In General Aslam Beg’s words, “India’s display of military power is a diplomatic ploy. It is aimed at forcing Pakistan to turn its guns on the Islamists and Jihadis, as it happened in Algeria, where the confrontation with the armed forces, over the decade has taken a heavy toll of life. The conspiracy against Pakistan is no different to create a wedge between the people and the armed forces, and to keep Pakistan so engaged in its internal affairs that Kashmir struggle recedes in the background, enabling India to suppress it.”


This would ultimately result in, according to devised strategy, the stoppage of CPEC and resultantly faltering of economy leading to Pakistan being declared as defaulting country. The recent attempt to put Pakistan on FATF’s watchlist is part of the plan to pressurize Pakistan.


Will Pakistan yield to the global pressure and distance itself from the Kashmir cause? asks General Beg, adding, “My answer is no. Whatever Pakistan was made to do in Afghanistan, cannot be repeated in the context of Kashmir, because the decision is not with the Government of Pakistan, as it squarely lies with the people–the Global Resistance force–woven together in an unequivocal commitment to bring Kashmir uprising to a fruitful end. One may call them by any name–terrorists or otherwise, it will make no difference. What is of consequence, is their determination to achieve their cherished goal and pay the price for it. Death for them has a different connotation altogether. The very fact that India is brought to a point of desperation to seek USA’s support, testifies how difficult it is for her to quell the Kashmir uprising.”


At the outset Kashmir was recognized as an international issue, which India ‘made’ bilateral under the pretext of Simla Agreement. Now, all of a sudden, India is poised to call for the intervention of superpower America and its allies–because of the CPEC–up from China down to Gwadar, which has sent shock tremors in Delhi and elsewhere.


Defence observers call it ‘God’s will’ or ‘divine scheming’. According to Major General (retd) Askari Raza Malik, “The hue and cry about terrorists’ crossing over from Pakistan has also proved to be a complete hoax.” Elias Davidsson’s latest book, “Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence”, proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Mumbai terrorist attack of September 26, 2008 was planned and executed by none other than the Indian intelligence itself. All the venomous allegations directed at Pakistan at the time were readily believed by a gullible world. Davidsson seems to believe that it was the Indian intelligence acting on its own that had brought discredit to the Indian government. But the same drama enacted again and again proves that the Indian government is deliberately involved in sinning against its own people for insignificant political gains.


The Indian mania reached its pinnacle when the Bollywood style “Surgical Strike into Pakistan” fantasy was released out of nowhere. One wonders how a highly professional soldier like the Indian Army Director General Military Operations could be a party to this ridiculous claim of carrying out a surgical strike into Pakistan with nothing to show on ground. “It is a sad commentary on the professional ethics of a high-ranking military officer”, concludes General Askari.


That India plans to engage Pakistan in a limited war is a far cry. As per Brian Cloughley, “Man-for-man it (Pakistan Army) will hammer any opponent, no matter if the skies are filled with (enemy) bombers.” According to a New York Times editorial assessment, “Despite India being a bigger country, it stands to lose much more in any future war with Pakistan. It is not to brag about Pakistani military’s superiority. It is just to warn India not to be carried away by superficial content and take a plunge into some expansive misadventure endangering the peace of the entire region. Nothing is worth taking that risk.”
It is thus advisable for India to eschew the path of putting at risk the populations of South Asian continent, since both Pakistan and India are declared nuclear states. Sanity must prevail, as many saner elements within India advise Modi and his cohorts “to catch the strings from where Prime Minister Vajpayee had left” and come to the terms of resolving the Kashmir dispute as early as possible as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, as guaranteed under the UN Resolutions.


Wisdom lies in going back and starting afresh where we left, to ignoring the background history of the ceasefire line after Indian invasion of Kashmir on Octocber 27, 1947. Here a war broke out and India itself approached the UN on January 1, 1948 to stop the war. Consequently, exactly a year later, a UN directive came for a ceasefire on January 1, 1949. Later, through ‘Karachi Agreement-1949’ both the countries agreed to establish a ceasefire, which was signed in Karachi on July 27, 1949.


The UNSC Resolution 47, passed on April 21, 1948 had established UNCIP to resolve the Kashmir conflict through mediation, initially ensuring cessation of fighting and later arranging a plebiscite. This resolution was an upgradation of UNSC’s earlier Resolution 39 adopted on January 20, 1948 which offered to assist in the peaceful resolution of Kashmir Conflict by setting up a commission of three members. In Resolution 47 the number of members was enhanced to five (with representatives of Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, Czechoslovakia and the United States). The Commission was directed to visit India and Pakistan for the restoration of peace and order and preparation for the plebiscite in Kashmir.


The UNCIP role continued till March 1951 when the UNSC through its Resolution 91 (1951) formed the UNMOGIP to supervise the ceasefire line. Since the 1972-Simla Accord, India has stopped the UNMOGIP from visiting the ceasefire line (now renamed as the Line of Control) to monitor. So far India has been misinterpreting the Simla Accord through misleading proclamations, and by confusing the world community that Kashmir has become a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, thus, its future resolution will be determined through bilateralism.


Wisdom must prevail as Kashmiris have always conveyed their rejection of Indian occupation by refusing to be assimilated in Indian union. India itself incorporated special provision in its constitution to address the issue of Kashmir: Article 370 gives special status to Kashmir and makes it a distinct territory from the rest of India. Kashmiris demand more than what Article 370 promises. Their desire has all along been the right to self-determination.


When Article 370, dealing with Kashmir's relationship with the Union of India, came up for enactment in the Indian Constitution, it was again made clear in the Indian Constituent Assembly by Sir Gopalaswami Ayyangar that: “The Government of India have committed themselves to the people of Kashmir in certain respects. They have committed themselves to the position that an opportunity would be given to the people of the State to decide for themselves whether they will remain with the Republic or wish to go out of it. We are also committed to ascertaining the will of the people by means of a plebiscite provided that peaceful and normal conditions are restored and the impartiality of the plebiscite could be guaranteed.”


It is important to recall here as to what Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru stated as far back as June 26, 1952 with regard to such constitutional expedients: “We have not got a clean slate to write upon; we are limited, inhibited by our commitments to the UN, by this, by that. But, nevertheless, the basic fact remains that we have declared—and even if we had not declared the fact would remain—that it is the people of Kashmir who must decide. And I say with all respect to our Constitution that it just does not matter what your Constitution says, if the people of Kashmir do not want it, it will not go there.... Let us suppose there was a proper plebiscite there—and the people of Kashmir said, "We do not want to be with India." Well, we are committed to it, we would accept it. It might pain us but we would not send an army against them; we might accept it, however much hurt we might feel about it, and we should change our Constitution about it.”


Addressing a meeting at Allahabad in February 1957, Mr. Nehru denied that India had attempted to back out of any commitments. He said: “Kashmir is not ours but it is of the Kashmiris. We cannot stay in Kashmir for a moment without the consent of the Kashmiris. It is not our property.”


In another speech in the same vein on August 7, 1952, Nehru said: “It is an international problem. It would be an international problem… We do not want to win people against their will and with the help of armed force, and if the people of Jammu and Kashmir State so wish it, to part company from us, they can go their way and we shall go our way. We want no forced marriages, no forced unions like this....But whether it is a pain and a torment, if the people of Kashmir want to go out, let them go because we will not keep them against their will however painful it may be to us.… Because the strongest bonds that bind will not be the bonds of your armies or even of your Constitution to which so much reference has been made, but bonds which are stronger than the Constitution and laws and armies—bonds that bind through love and affection and understanding of various people....”


That is the writing on the wall. Will India care to read it? Kashmir is not wink of the eye. It is beat of the heart. Listen to it.

 

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07
March

India, on our eastern border, has time after time chosen to demonstrate its strategic motives and iniquitous intent towards Pakistan by violating ceasefire on the Working Boundary and the Line of Control. In the last few years, we have seen intelligible evidence of India’s nefarious policy designs against Pakistan. Its immediate aim is to up the ante against Pakistan with continual ceasefire violations along the LOC and deflect the international community’s attention from the grave human rights violations and atrocities being committed in Occupied Kashmir and across LOC in Azad Kashmir. It also aims to engage our Army both on the eastern and western borders so that her ill objectives can be achieved. Not only do these CFVs betray the understanding cemented in 2003 Ceasefire Agreement, but also cause fatalities of innocent civilians living on the Pakistan side of LOC. Kashmiri residents living in the villages and hamlets along the LOC on the Pakistani side are no strangers to shelling and firing from the Indian side. These attacks often do not target the Pakistani troops but are aimed at the innocent civilians as a policy.


Pakistan still has population living in the villages in close vicinity to the LOC while Indian population other than Muslims has been shifted away. In this scenario, the problem for Pakistan increases manifold as the civilians have to be taken care of on both sides. In case of an escalation the civilian population on the other side of the LOC also has to be kept under consideration. Pakistan Army’s rational decision to exercise restraint or to respond to the Indian CFVs is not only a defensive measure but also a consideration for civilian population across the LOC and the Working Boundary. However, India exploits this vulnerability that a Muslim Army would not want to target Muslim and civilian population across the border.


In the 21st century, human rights have emerged at a central position in the global discourse. In this age when human rights are a priority, targeting civilians and particularly targeting women and school children is nothing short of war crimes or crimes against peace and humanity. The proof of these war crimes is the casualties as a result of continued skirmishes that lead to killings of troops and civilians. Additionally, people living in the border areas are also faced with dislocation and displacement besides the death and destruction brought upon them by the incessant Indian firing and shelling, forcing them to leave their homes in forward areas and seek refuge in safe places. Those who are still residing there are living in constant fear of the appalling reality of losing their lives and that of their loved ones.


The international law and norms clearly warn against the targeting of civilians, mentioned specifically in the Geneva and Hague Conventions. This includes civilians and indiscriminate attacks in areas where civilians have a presence. The international humanitarian law identifies and calls for the protection of vulnerable groups that include children and women. But in this case civilians are being indiscriminately and specifically targeted and subjected to terrible atrocities, while ignoring the very basis of the international humanitarian law on the rules of war. Justice has to be served in the case of Pakistani and Kashmiri civilians who suffer fatalities and atrocities resulting from the Indian troops’ blatant disregard for the international law.


A humanist angle should be given to the discourse on the LOC which India is merely considering a stage for its adventures that extends beyond the security rationale. From the moral standpoint, the international community must adopt active measures to put an end to the misery wreaked on the population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, along the LOC, and civilians along the Working Boundary.
It is time that international community and institutions hold India responsible to abide by the obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. In case not adhered to, such acts of violance must be treated as ‘war crimes’ by all relevant world forums.

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07
March

Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh

The question now is whether the February letter is the first step taken by the Taliban towards an Afghan-led and Afghan owned dialogue. This needs to be explored in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the USA which despite the current strains in the U.S.-Pak relationship is the best forum for promoting the dialogue that can perhaps bring about the desired talks. The offer that emerges from these talks must be generous enough to persuade all the Taliban that uniting under Haibatullah Akhundzada and authorising him to nominate a negotiating team may offer the best prospect. Is this too optimistic? Perhaps but no other viable alternative exists.

Istarted in mid February to pen my thoughts on the prospects for national reconciliation in Afghanistan–a question of fundamental importance in the quest for a modicum of peace and stability not only in our neighbour but also for peace and stability in our own country.

 

Going down memory lane and relying for the most part on one’s own recollection one took as the starting point; Sardar Daud’s overthrow of his cousin King Zahir Shah and making himself President of Afghanistan in 1975. From then on one can identify a wealth of occasions on which peace could have come to this country with internal divisions being overcome and a permanent settlement being reached with the neighbours. Daud had adopted an aggressive posture towards Pakistan and resurrected the Pushtunistan issue. But a couple of years later Daud was, I believe, prepared to change.

 

Had there not been change of regime in Pakistan in 1977, there was reason to believe that Daud, persuaded by the Shah of Iran’s largesse and the pressure exerted by Bhutto’s sheltering of Afghan extremists in Peshawar, was ready to come to a settlement with Pakistan on the so-called Pushtunistan issue. This prospect, while delayed, was still alive when the Saur Revolution–the Marxist takeover in Afghanistan–of April 1978 put an end to that prospect.

 

There was an opportunity again when the Soviets withdrew but the Mujahideen failed to act unitedly, not only against the Najibullah government that continued to receive Soviet support but even thereafter when the collapse of the Soviet Union opened the door to a Mujahideen takeover in Kabul. Instead the ensuing period of Mujahideen infighting brought more destruction to Afghanistan than had been caused by 10 years of Soviet occupation and gave birth to the Taliban movement.

 

The hope that the Taliban takeover of a large part of the country and the stability they brought would enable the working out of a compromise with the Northern Alliance was belied despite the efforts of the UN and Pakistan. Instead what emerged was an uneasy alliance with Osama bin Laden who had, for inexplicable reasons been allowed to move from Sudan, where he had no followers, to Afghanistan where he was a recognised model of Jihad. The ties he built with Mullah Omar, despite the misgivings of the other members of the Taliban Shura were, by Western accounts, the key to building the strength of the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan which led to the 9/11 attack. No effort, and many were made by individuals and officials from many countries, to get the Taliban to surrender Bin Laden to the U.S. succeeded because Mullah Omar felt that this would not be in accord with the Pushtun tradition (Pushtunwali) of protecting guests to whom shelter had been offered.

 

The destruction wrought in Afghanistan once the Taliban had rejected the U.S. demand for the surrender of Bin Laden was frightening. There was no air defence available. The deployment of U.S. aircraft, including stealth aircraft in a country with no radar coverage suggested that the U.S. was also using flights to Afghanistan to test the new aircraft as well as other new weapons in its arsenal secure in the knowledge that there would be no danger. Lethal Daisy Cutters and other weapons that one could only classify as designed for maximum destruction rained down upon the hapless defenders while the U.S. allies in the Northern Alliance sat on their haunches waiting for the Taliban destruction to be complete before making their unopposed move into Kabul and such other urban centres as Mazar-e-Sharif.

 

The CIA teams, many deemed heroic, streamed or rather rode into Afghanistan carrying valises and trunks full of cash to recruit local warlords who had been quiescent during Taliban rule but who were eager to join the Americans in the search for Al-Qaeda members or sympathisers. They were adept at using the new American connections to settle old personal scores terming enemies and rivals as Al-Qaeda or active Taliban. What they knew of the connections of these warlords with opium cultivation and trafficking was simply ignored as was the knowledge that these were the same people who would bring back opium cultivation and trafficking as a stable and peculiarly high source of income. Sixteen years later the results are easy to see.

 

Opium production is now 9000 tons as against the 180-90 tons that was produced during the last year of Taliban reign and that too in Northern Alliance controlled territory. Afghanistan has 3 million addicts–Pakistan has up to 7 million–and is a major conduit for export to the rest of the world, perhaps more so while Iran too struggles both with local consumption, which on a per capita basis is higher than Pakistan, and the ill effects of passage through Iran of narcotics to more destinations in Europe and elsewhere. Russia complains that the northern routes are used to transport heroin to Central Asia and via Central Asia. It too has a serious addiction problem and the voice it raises receives global attention because of its status and its genuine desire to curb drug trafficking.

 

I have recalled this past history primarily because I thought it should serve as a backdrop to the most significant offer for reconciliation and the rejection of which, to my mind was the reason that our neighbour has had to suffer another long period of internal strife and foreign troops presence.

 

By the end of 2001 to the beginning of 2002 President Bush could rightly claim that the Taliban had been vanquished and the elimination of the Al-Qaeda was around the corner. At this point according to two reporters-cum-authors, Mr. Anand Gopal and Mr. Steve Coll, both respected observers of Afghanistan and the region suggest that the Taliban offered to emerge from their hideouts in Afghanistan and outside Afghanistan and to live there as ordinary citizens in return for a general amnesty.

 

In the blurb for his book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes (2014) Mr. Anand Gopal says, “Taliban leaders actually tried to surrender within months of the U.S. invasion, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist—yet the Americans were unwilling to accept such a turnaround. Instead, driven by false intelligence from their allies and an unyielding mandate to fight terrorism, American forces continued to press the conflict, resurrecting the insurgency that persists to this day.”

 

In a superb review of Steve Coll’s book, Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016, Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan and subsequently the UK’s special representative for Afghanistan says, “America won the war in Afghanistan. Or rather, it won the war it should have fought. The bases from which al-Qaeda had planned and prepared the 9/11 attacks had been destroyed. Its people had been killed, captured, or driven out, across the Durand Line into Pakistan. A wise America, a calm America, would have declared victory and moved on.” Obviously the mistake was not doing so.

 

Steve Coll himself talks of Taliban reconciliation efforts and the U.S. officials who believed this should have been worked upon. He quotes a CIA official Arturto Munoz as saying, “If you start shipping people to Guantánamo who many other Pashtuns know are not terrorists—if you start confusing horse thieves with terrorists—then they come to see that your idea of terrorism is impossible to accommodate. By our words and our actions, we destroyed the opportunity to take advantage of the Pashtun mechanisms for accommodation and reconciliation.”

 

There is much else in these two books–much of it is not favourable to Pakistan–but to me the main point was the ease with which an opportunity was missed.

 

And this brings me to the two Taliban open letters; the first dated August 14, 2017 was addressed to President Trump and was designed it seems to influence the AfPak policy he was expected to announce. In this letter the emphasis was on the fact that the Taliban were winning, “You are witnessing that Mujahedeen are wresting control of several districts from the corrupt regime in a one week span and are seizing so much equipment that they can continue fighting for a long time. They can easily take control of all major highways of the country and if it were not for fear of civilian casualties, they would conquer many provincial capitals currently under sieges…. therefore, it would be wise if you adopt the strategy of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan instead of a troops increase.” They gave a veiled threat of seeking alliances with America’s foes to “gain their independence and free themselves from your oppression.”

 

The tone is very different in the letter of February 15 which is addressed to the American people, the American Congress and to President Trump. Here they list, using the reports of the UN and even those of the SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction), the many problems that the President Ashraf Ghani’s government faces. It does not boast about the Taliban’s extension of its control but asks instead if the American forces which “used all their new powers and carried out 751 air strikes” have “retaken even a single inch of land from the Taliban or have they become even more powerful…”

 

The tone is defensive with regard to the situation on the ground. This is a significant difference suggesting perhaps that the unfettered use of American military power is having an effect but even more importantly there is a constant emphasis on the Islamic Emirate asking “America from the very beginning to solve her issues with the Islamic Emirate through talk and dialogue.” But this call for dialogue is for dialogue with the United States and not with what the letter calls the corrupt regime and its “two-headed system which is unparalleled in the established laws of forming a government throughout the world”. At one point however it does say that “the Islamic Emirate–as representative of its people–can solve its problems with every side through healthy politics and dialogue…” It offers the hope that “every side” also means the Ashraf Ghani led government.

 

Certainly, in the present circumstances when the Americans have abandoned ‘nation building’ there appears to be little prospect of any government in Kabul being able to win the battle of ‘hearts and minds’. As one American observer has put it, Afghanistan like Iraq, Syria and Yemen is close to being ‘a failed state war’. This occurs “because the host country government has not met the needs of its people, and does not create the civil conditions that can develop unity and broad popular support. The security threats posed by extremism and civil war are all too real, but so are the internal divisions, threats, and failures of host country governments that sustain such conflicts and turn them into self-inflicted wounds…

 The American and the Ashraf Ghani government’s response has been along predictable lines. The dialogue has to be Afghan owned and Afghan-led and any demands for another form of dialogue are rejected. The Americans know from the bitter experience of 2013 when the Qatar office of the Islamic Emirate was set up as a negotiating channel how quickly it collapsed when Karzai felt that this was giving the Islamic Emirate a status that eroded the legitimacy of his government. This had also been Karzai’s position on the many proposals put forth by the UN and other bodies to promote an informal dialogue between the Taliban and the representatives of the Karzai regime or other parties in Afghanistan in the 2012-13 period on the eve of the American withdrawal of American forces from active operations.

 

The question now is whether the February letter is the first step taken by the Taliban towards an Afghan-led and Afghan owned dialogue. This needs to be explored in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the USA which despite the current strains in the U.S.-Pak relationship is the best forum for promoting the dialogue that can perhaps bring about the desired talks. The offer that emerges from these talks must be generous enough to persuade all the Taliban that uniting under Haibatullah Akhundzada and authorising him to nominate a negotiating team may offer the best prospect. Is this too optimistic? Perhaps but no other viable alternative exists.

 

Certainly, in the present circumstances when the Americans have abandoned ‘nation building’ there appears to be little prospect of any government in Kabul being able to win the battle of ‘hearts and minds’. As one American observer has put it, Afghanistan like Iraq, Syria and Yemen is close to being ‘a failed state war’. This occurs “because the host country government has not met the needs of its people, and does not create the civil conditions that can develop unity and broad popular support. The security threats posed by extremism and civil war are all too real, but so are the internal divisions, threats, and failures of host country governments that sustain such conflicts and turn them into self-inflicted wounds…

 

Winning such conflicts requires a U.S. ally and the host country’s capability to "win" at the civil level as much as at the military level. The host country government or partner can sometimes be as much a threat at the civil level as at the military level…”

 

Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah may be able to institute needed reforms but without the needed financial and personnel support of the allies this will be a long struggle and take the sort of time that the country and the region cannot afford.

 

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to the USA and Iran. Presently he is Head of the Global and Regional Studies Centre in the Institute of Business Management, a Karachi based University.

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07
March

Written By: Ambassador Syed Hasan Javed (R)

The world is a changed place as it races to complete a quarter of the 21st century. Old gimmickries will not work. Old rules of the game will not hold. The U.S. ‘Cold War-II’ template and so-called ‘Coalition of Willing’ paradigms have no more buyers. If at all anyone has doubts, it should be laid to rest by the UN General Assembly Vote on the U.S. decision to shift its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite threats of aid cuts to voting nations at the highest level. India has chosen to align with an isolated and declining West and an even more isolated and hated country Israel. Indians have once again demonstrated their incapacity to take correct strategic decisions when they are needed. No wonder why the Indians have been ruled by the foreign conquerors and dynasties for the most part of 4000 years.

India’s Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh in his book ‘In Defence of Honour’ laments the Indian strategists’ propensity for committing the ‘Himalayan Blunders’. He lists the three ‘Himalayan Blunders’ made by India in the Cold War period i.e., taking the Jammu and Kashmir issue to the United Nations in 1948, alignment with the former Soviet Union and adopting a socialist centrally planned model of economic development that ensured a so-called ‘Hindu rate of growth’ of 2-3 percent for four decades. In an irony of fate, his own political party i.e., Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is ruling India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet again committed new Himalayan blunders. No wonder, due to strategic errors and domestic vulnerabilities, global scholars agree that India has been ruled by foreigners for the most part of its 4000 years history.


The BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed three additional ‘strategic blunders’ which will have far more damaging consequences for India in the coming decades. Only time alone will stand witness. These include adoption of ‘Hindutva’ as a state ideology replacing secularism (which had remained India’s state ideology for seven decades); secondly, alignment with the United States and Japan (by giving up on its ‘cherished’ policy of Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) of seven decades), and thirdly, by adopting a militarized and aggressive posture on the heels of an arms buying spree, it has negated its long held image of pacifism and ‘non violence’ preached by its Founding Father Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and finally by isolating itself globally by opposing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aimed at promoting regional connectivity and development in the euro-asiatic region.


Such strategically misplaced Indian policies have however begun producing immediate consequences, such as increasing ‘Hindu vigilante attacks’ or so-called ‘beef lynching’ of minorities such as Muslims, Christians and Dalits. The Indians are fleeing their country, becoming the largest group of ‘asylum seekers’ in the OECD (Organization of Economic Development) countries in 2016. According to another press report, the 54 heads of African Diplomatic Missions in India’s capital New Delhi wrote a letter to Indian Foreign Ministry in April 2016, threatening to take up the issue of racist attacks on the African nationals to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Further, the Belt and Road Initiative episode has inflicted on India, not only a loss of face, but also a narrowing of diplomatic options. They say iindiastrategicblunders.jpgn the West, ‘you cannot fool everyone around, all the time.’


India attributes its wrong-doings to the other countries, particularly those in its neighborhood. For example, the Indians have a protracted belligerent attitude towards China, as was seen by BRI episode, Malabar Naval exercise, stance on Tibet, Doklam dispute, NSG membership debate, UNSC Permanent Membership application fiasco and position on the South China Sea dispute. India in its ultimate state of ecstasy and delusion feel that ‘China's policy-makers know that if at present USA is its immediate rival, then it is India which is going to be their main rival in the near future’. Hence they feel China is trying to stop India's rise, whether it is UNSC permanent membership or NSG membership. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Chinese do not even take notice of the Indians and why should they, given the glaring differences in the economic indices such as exports, foreign exchange reserves, foreign direct investment, external debt and the basic structural realities in the two countries. The showcasing by India of a few cities and fudged figures of economic growth under the limelight of the Western mainstream media for political expediency cannot carry it too far. The average Indian Hindu extremist hates the Chinese, Muslims, Africans, Russians, and Pakistanis etc. According to a survey, India is the most racist country in the world.


India’s neighbors and the international community are truly concerned about the deteriorating state of the Indian society with caste and communal violence increasing in intensity, more than ever before. The most recent incident is the riots by the high caste Hindus against the Dalit population in a locality in Maharashtra and the widespread ‘cow vigilante attacks’ on the Muslim community. Every year India celebrates January 26 as its Republic Day with a display of its ‘hard power assets’ to impress outsiders with its achievements and strengths. India backs up her deceptive image with the so-called Mumbai’s sleazy culture better known by the acronym ‘Bollywood’. What Indians however fail to acknowledge is that neither India’s so-called hard power nor Bollywood has ever impressed its near or far neighbors. After remaining on the wrong side of history for most of the period of its history since independence during the Cold War (1945-1991), India has conveniently in a chameleon like behavior changed its color to jump to the side of the declining U.S. power in order to showcase itself as a counterweight to China. Since the U.S. has termed China as a ‘strategic competitor’, India has offered its so-called services for the U.S. containment policy against China without realizing once again the transformed global realities of multi-polarity. Indians have now made a blunder bigger than any in the past, which is bound to have serious repercussions for it in the coming decades.

 

The showcasing by India of a few cities and fudged figures of economic growth under the limelight of the Western mainstream media for political expediency cannot carry it too far. The average Indian Hindu extremist hates the Chinese, Muslims, Africans, Russians, and Pakistanis etc. According to a survey, India is the most racist country in the world.

The world is a changed place as it races to complete a quarter of the 21st century. Old gimmickries will not work. Old rules of the game will not hold. The U.S. ‘Cold War-II’ template and so-called ‘Coalition of Willing’ paradigms have no more buyers. If at all anyone has doubts, it should be laid to rest by the UN General Assembly Vote on the U.S. decision to shift its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite threats of aid cuts to voting nations at the highest level. India has chosen to align with an isolated and declining West and an even more isolated and hated country Israel. Indians have once again demonstrated their incapacity to take correct strategic decisions when they are needed. No wonder why the Indians have been ruled by the foreign conquerors and dynasties for the most part of 4000 years.
The Indians by their actions have inflicted on themselves a ‘siege mentality’ within and without. It has violated its own long-standing principle of the foreign relations of opposing the interference of extra-territorial powers in South Asia. By aligning with the strategic objectives of U.S., India has overturned its own foreign policy upside down. All these would have been inconsequential if India had different geographical, demographic, economic and political realities. It does not. India is the most vulnerable country in the world with an anarchic society. One-third of its area is termed as the ‘Red Corridor’ with 52 districts suffering from Naxalite insurgency. In fact, it is a camouflaged struggle of the have nots, tribals, indigenous Santhalis against the haves, high caste and Urban Banias. The rising inequality between different sections of population, regions and castes and communal groups make India tailor-made for violent upheavals. Indian states are at each other’s throat on water and territorial disputes, the minorities i.e., Muslims, Christians, Sikhs etc. who comprise a fifth of population, are the disaffected lot. The low caste Dalits and the untouchables who comprise a third of population resent the control of the Brahmins who are merely 8 percent of population, but monopolize almost half of the jobs and leadership positions in politics, civil service and military forces.


The U.S. interest in India is driven by its own selfish interest at a time when it finds itself isolated globally, weakened economically and disoriented locally. India has more to lose than gain from such a strategic partnership. The Indians should know one thing clearly i.e., they cannot dominate Pakistan. Pakistan has seen worse times. The 21st century is harbinger of Pakistan’s good times to come. India will be well advised to sit down with all its neighbors and settle the issues and establish amicable relations. India should avoid taking the trajectory of the former Soviet Union which indulged in an arms race in a bid to achieve geo-political dominance. It instead became history. India is indulging in an arms race in order to supposedly take on Pakistan and China. It can be a grave strategic mistake which the Indians have repeatedly made in their history and lost control of their destiny. The rise of China cannot be thwarted. Pakistan cannot be denied its destiny of joining the top ten nations in the global high table. U.S., India and Israel can play all the gimmickry they want. Pakistan has demonstrated its resilience to withstand tougher tests. Pakistanis love the thrill of pressures and shocks, as it brings the best out of them. By choosing the path of ‘isolation’ along with USA and Israel, India has opted for a costly gamble. There is no way India can recover what it has lost, both at home and abroad, so much so quickly! The U.S. Cold War-II template has no buyers globally except a few nations including India. It may be recalled that India was also among the few strategic allies of the former Soviet Union, which became history. Nazi Germany could not have fought the world with Mussolini’s Italy on its side. Similarly the former Soviet Union could not have fought the world with India on its side, as indeed the U.S. cannot do it now either.

 

The writer has served as Pakistan’s Ambassador in Germany, Singapore and Mauritius. He worked in China for two diplomatic assignments for nearly a decade. He is the author of several books on China. Currently, he is Director Chinese Studies Centre, National University of Science and Technology (NUST). Islamabad.

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07
March

Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza


Pakistan is blessed with immense natural beauty. Each part of the country has its own charisma to mesmerize the travelers with spectacular views. There are many places which are unseen and just waiting to be explored. From the valleys and mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the deserts and beaches of Balochistan, we have some of the most unique combinations of natural beauty in the world.


For decades, Balochistan was considered backward, deprived and a province with lack of basic infrastructure. Today, Balochistan is different. Normalcy has returned with peace, stability, awareness and relative economic prosperity. The people of the province get the credit of this change; after all, nothing would have been possible without their willingness to reject the militancy and centrifugal forces. Though, the role of civil government has been admirable, this change and return of normalcy in the province would not have been possible without the dedicated and relentless efforts of the military, particularly Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps Balochistan. Different areas of Balochistan are being connected through road networks. Educational system and healthcare facilities and an overall development of infrastructure has remained the main aim of Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army has worked for awareness among the local masses, and efforts for mainstreaming people who felt betrayed and adopted militancy as a profession. Above all, one must not forget Pakistan Army’s role and sacrifices made by our brave soldiers in the fight against terrorism and efforts for bringing peace and stability in the province.

 

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Balochistan has a rich history, rich traditions, people who will welcome you and places that will excite you. It has everything; it is a land of contrasts. It has places with rugged mountains like Chiltan, Takatu, Sulaiman, and plains stretching hundreds of miles. It has fertile land such as in Nasirabad and the tracks in the Pat section of Sibi district and the Makran desert zone. It is home to the hottest place in the country like Sibi and has towns with relatively cooler climate such as Quetta, Ziarat, Kan Mehtarzai and Kallat where temperature goes much below freezing point in winter and the areas remain under a thick cover of snow.


It’s a land unaltered and untouched by modern hands. Often neglected by tourists, Balochistan gives a true taste of adventure. Take a road trip by Makran Coastal Highway and you cannot help but fall in love with this land.


The 653 km Makran Coastal Highway embodies undiscovered adventures and opportunities to explore a landscape not frequented by many. The highway stretches from Karachi to Gwadar and passes through Kund Malir, Ormara and Pasni. One can literally see the most beautiful skies and all kinds of weather on this highway. The coast also has the best beaches in Pakistan with some amazing ‘road and sand’ art all the way down to Iran border. Makran Coastal Highway itself is a project of vital national interest undertaken by FWO aimed at facilitating, bridging and developing various sectors of economy and opening new avenues of prosperity. A stainless carpet-like road surrounded by mountains with camels sauntering on both sides of the track, the Makran Coastal Highway is a sheer joy to drive on. It is not difficult to forget that you’re just a couple of hours away from Karachi. The freshness of the air, and the cleanliness of the environment creates the setting for a long, in fact, a very long drive.


Once you get on this Highway, the landscape transitions as it becomes delightful and interesting, leaving the plains behind and entering into the Makran Range. The first attraction is on the left side where there are various active mud volcanoes out of which the most prominent are Chandragup I and II. There are more than 80 active mud volcanoes in Balochistan.


Then comes the serene Kund Malir beach with the greenish-blue sea that shines in the sunlight all day long. The desert beach provides a fabulous view along the sand dunes. Sea water is crystal clear and the sand on the bank of sea provides a beautiful look.

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The gradient of the road changes rising towards the highest point on the Coastal Highway, the Buzi Pass. Cruising through mountains on both sides of the road, it is a dreamlike experience. Sea and wind erosion have carved rocks into interesting formations scattered across the area. One such example is the Princess of Hope, a natural rock formation that manifests a princess looking beyond horizons (maybe for hope). The formation of Princess of Hope is so perfect that it appears to be a masterpiece of a skilled artisan who has made no mistake in transforming this rock into a princess. The name Princess of Hope was given by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie on her visit to this area in 2002.


Hingol National Park is spread over an area of about 1,650 sq km along the Makran Coast and is the largest national park of Pakistan. The park area covers parts of the three districts of Lasbela, Gwadar and Awaran containing a variety of topographical features and vegetation, varying from arid sub-tropical forest in the north to arid mountains in the west. Large tracts of the park are covered with sand and can be classified as a coastal semidesert. The National Park includes the creek of the Hingol River which supports a significant diversity of bird and fish species. The park is as perfect as it can get for all sorts of adventure seekers, hikers, cyclists and beach lovers. For a wildlife photographer, this is the perfect place, as this park not only contains a serene landscape but its vast reservoir of the rarest of wildlife creatures too makes it a place of global significance. The marsh crocodile, olive ridley and green marine turtles, endemic and threatened species of fish (such as the mahasheer) and schools of plumbeous dolphins are known to be found in areas around the Hingol River. The park is an excellent habitat to wild animals including ibexes, urials and chinkara, along with a number of resident and migratory birds. Mammals in the park include Sindh leopard, Indian fox, jungle cat, jackals, Sindh wild goat, chinkara gazelle, honey badger, Indian pangolin and many more. As for the birds, houbara bustard, dalmatian and spot-billed pelican, lagger falcon, red-headed merlin, kestrel, grey partridge, see-see partridge, eagle owl, Sindh pied woodpecker, bonnelli's, imperial tawny and golden eagle are also found here. There are many varieties of sand grouse like stone curlew, Indian, coroneted, painted and close-barred sand grouse.


Hinglaj Mata (Hinglaj Devi, Hingula Devi, Nani Mandir) is a Hindu temple in Hinglaj, in the middle of the Hingol National Park. It is one of the Shakti Peethas of the goddess Sati, and is a form of Durga or Devi located in a mountain cave on the banks of the Hingol River. The shrine is located in a small natural cave with a low mud altar. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Pakistan for the country’s Hindu community. The caretakers of the shrine and Baloch tribesmen live in a local village close by. The tribesmen revere the Hinglaj Devi temple and help the Hindu pilgrims in whichever way they can during the pilgrimage.


Balochistan has one of the most phenomenal coastal lines in the world. These beaches not only offer exceptional tourist spots but make one experience the nature’s marvels in these areas.


The very famous Astola Island is an uninhabited island, locally known as Jazira Haft Talar or ‘Island of the Seven Hills’ as it has a series of seven small hillocks. Astola Island is a popular and unique destination for eco-tourism. The isolated location of the island has helped maintain endemic life forms, such as the Astola viper. The endangered green turtle and the hawksbill turtle nest on the beach at the foot of the cliffs. The island is reported to support a large number of breeding turtle, seabirds including coursers, curlews, godwits, gulls, plovers larus hemprichii, sanderlings and several species. It is also home to coral reef and identified as a hotspot of coral, with more than 30 species of hard coral and eight species of soft coral identified here. The remains of an ancient Hindu temple of the Goddess Kali are also located at the Island, and is known to Hindus as Satadip.


Similarly, the Gwadar Beach, Pasni Beach, Sonmiani Beach and Pishkan Beach offer awe-inspiring views with shallow sands and clear water. Ormara is a port city located in the Makran coastal region. Ormara has a port and fish harbour. The Jinnah Naval Base of the Pakistan Navy is also located at Ormara. After the construction of Makran Coastal Highway and the Jinnah Naval Base, many local industries have been established here with jobs for locals. This also futher integrated the area with the mainstream Pakistan economy and major urban centers allowing for easier transport of goods, commerce and people. At the outskirts of Ormara, there is an isolated part at the Sapat Bandar Beach, where one can observe the quiet glow of bioluminescence. Bioluminescent tides, which shine quietly in the darkness, exist in many locations throughout the world. Sometimes these glowing waters seem like little twinkling stars suspended in the water. Other times they glow with almost enough brightness to read.


When you think of paradise, the first thing that comes to your mind is a beauty-laden landscape, full of resources, yet to be found. And if you have already found it but haven’t realized its true potential then that is the case with Balochistan.


From the lush carpeted greens of Chaman, Zhob, Sheerani, to the mountains of Awaran, all and around the beaches of Gwadar and Pasni–in the depth of the Saindak Copper-Gold mines is Chagai’s Reko Diq. Balochistan’s unsustainable beauty spreads to every corner, even the barren ends. Blue sky blazes red and orange at sunrise and sunset times, and turns into a fairyland at night.


It consists of places like the Bolān Pass, a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range. Turbat, the divisional headquarters for Makran and a small inland town near the hills, with its 300 varieties of dates. Panjgur, the principal date-growing area located further north. It is the location of the Ziarat Residency where Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah lived and spent his last days of life, and is a famous tourist site. The residency catches the tourists' attention due to its unique location and the wonderful hilly surroundings. The weather is really pleasant during summertime and the local people are hospitable, but in winter the weather is severe. During summer time the apple and cherry gardens provide a pleasant view for tourists.


Ziarat is also very famous for its juniper forest. Junipers are found in Ziarat district and Zarghoon mountains and some other mountainous areas of Balochistan known as the second largest juniper forest in the world. There are many important species found in this ecosystem including animal and birds, the chakor partridge, bushes and ground flora which local people use as indigenous treatments for a variety of diseases. The junipers are considered to be the real treasure of Ziarat. There are trees in the valley which are more than 5,000 to 7,000 years old. A walk in these beautiful forests will definitely make your heart listen to the magic whispers of these old trees. Jhal Magsi is one of the most beautiful tourism spot in Pakistan. The specialty of Jhal Magsi is that God has blessed this place with two opposite natural attractions. First one is the water falls at Pir Chattal Noor Gandhawa. Second one is the huge desert safari, which is famous for Jhal Magsi Jeep Rally.


Quetta is the capital city of Balochistan and is known as “Fruit Garden of Pakistan” due to diversity of fruits like plums, peaches, pomegranates, apricot, apples, some unique varieties of melon and cherries. Pistachios and almonds are also grown in abundance.


The name of Quetta is derived from the word “Kuwatta” meaning fort and no doubt it is a natural fort surrounded by hills on all sides.


Hanna Lake is 10 km from Quetta and one of the main attractions of the city. The greenish-blue water of lake with swimming golden fish provides a rich contrast to the sandy brown hills in the background.
The word Baloch by its connotation is meant nomad. Baloch culture is opposite to the general perception about it. Though Balochistan is area of barren lands, deserts and mountains, the Baloch culture is full of traditions, arts and crafts. No doubt, Balochistan is also known for its tribes and festivals. Another distinct feature of Baloch culture is the storytelling tradition. Poets and storytellers are highly respected in Baloch culture.


People of Balochistan are humble, open-hearted, loving and respectful. The province represents numerous ethnic groups and different languages, yet there is a likeness in their beliefs, values and customs. Common religion is the binding factor among all these groups. Balochi people are very hospitable; they consider their guests as a blessing of God. Another feature of Balochistan culture is faithfulness and sincerity in all relationships. There is no place or respect for unfaithful people in prevalent moral order. If fidelity is reciprocated with disloyalty or betrayal it is never forgotten. People of Balochistan are very originative and hardworking. The most popular art and craft of this region is the Pishey art work, out of which variety of products like bags, shoes, hats, wall hangings and baskets are made. Embroidery of Balochistan is one of the most delicate forms of needlework. Balochi rugs are widely known for their finishing and tempting patterns.


Baloch culture is rich in folk music and dances. The instruments used are mainly a flute, locally called Nal, Tamboora and Soroz. A common Baloch folk dance is known as Dochaap. Other dances include the Lewa, Latti and Hambo.


Baloch cuisine is a delight of longstanding cultural heritage of Balochistan. Balochi cuisine contains a mix of flavors from across the continent. While tasting Balochi food, we can easily get the Afghani taste in them as well. Balochi people are mostly fond of meat, particularly mutton and lamb. Balochi biryani and some dry dishes and curries are also very popular. From the delicious Rosh to the Khada kabab and Shrumbay. There are variety of dishes that may solely be enjoyed within the Balochi spirit and setting. Sajji is the favorite dish of most people.


There is an Asian proverb “Better see something once than hear about it a thousand times”. The serene beauty and natural resources are the center of the gorgeous Balochistan province. If you sit shoulder to shoulder with locals and, yes, with tourists too, what you will hear, smell, taste, and participate in, will be nothing less and nothing more than the simple magic from which nations like ours are born.

 

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07
March

Written By: Ammar Akbar


The defence industrial complex has been more relevant in the 21st century as notions of economic power fused with hard power is the norm of an emerging multi-polar world. Therefore, expertise in manufacturing modern defence equipment in forms of state-of-the-art fighter jets, ballistic missiles and nuclear advancements marks the journey of any great nation; and Pakistan is one such country that has made great advances in this industry.

The speed, accuracy, and devastating power of American Artillery won confidence and admiration from the troops it supported and inspired fear and respect in their enemy,” Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said. Today his words explain America as a superpower and her status as the largest exporter of arms in the world. She exported USD 33.6 billion worth of military hardware in 2016.

pakgrowing1.jpgIn a similar fashion, thousands of miles away, a resilient nation called Pakistan, with a colonial past and no industrial base to inherit, in just few decades has made great strides in leaving its mark as one of the most professional arms industries in the world.


This inconceivable journey that began in Pakistan Ordnance Factories in 1951 soon transformed into a state-of-the-art set of modern factories. These public-private industrial bases have the capacity to build high quality international standard defence equipment and are fully capable of competing with other nations in the global arms markets. Marcus Aurelius, an eminent Roman emperor said, “A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.” In Pakistan’s case, as a nation, it has proved that despite being a developing country it can achieve ambitions higher than that one can dream of.

 

pakgrowing2.jpgThe latest multi-role fighter jet JF-17 Thunder, an emblem of Pakistan’s indigenous engineering masterpiece, has become the centre of attention at the military expo shows around the globe. The success is so profound that Pakistan has already won numerous export orders from various Middle Eastern countries. The target to boost defence exports tenfold from $68 million to $1 billion by 2019 seems plausible as Pakistan’s reputation in the defence industry is second to none. Even Lt Gen Sarath Chand, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) of Indian Army, realizes the brilliance and technical superiority of Pakistan’s military complex. He strongly criticized the technological outdatedness of Indian defence industry compared to Pakistan’s. India’s failed 33 years old Tejas jet project is one manifestation of the complexity and advancement required to assemble jets. No doubt Pakistan has made it to the unique club of countries, which are capable of producing jets.

 

pakgrowing3.jpgFurthermore, the recent testing of the new variant of JF-17 called the JF-17B with dual-seat capability has grabbed international attention. The project is taking Pakistan one step closer to becoming an expert at manufacturing advanced combat-ready warplanes in South Asia. The plane is not only capable of striking ground targets but also facilitates in training new pilots. JF-17B is considered to be the best trainer jet in the international market. Its price competitiveness is unmatchable and poses a threat to other players in the arms industry. Many countries in the world still rely on stimulators to train their pilots but after the introduction of this cost-effective jet, world air forces will be more willing to invest in their pilots’ technical training. This would open new markets for Pakistani jets. It is more likely to follow the same trajectory of its successful counterpart JF-17. Pakistan Air Force is expecting to introduce the jet next year which would further strengthen Air Force’s defence capability and reduce its dependency on foreign military machines.

 

pakgrowing4.jpgHeavy Industries Taxila (HIT) is just one segment of the great achievements the country has made in the defence industry. Pakistan’s famous Al-Khalid tanks have become a strong backbone defence deterrent. The tank is also known for its reliability and price competitiveness in the international market. The Gulf countries, particularly, are interested in this tanks’ defence capabilities that are exemplary and could match any modern tank. For instance, the tanks are protected by a collective NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) system which is key to crew’s survival during nuclear warfare. What astonishes the world is the speed and resilience at which a young nation such as Pakistan achieved these milestones in a short period of time. Stalin once said, “We are 50 or 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make up this gap in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us.” Surely, Stalin’s piece of advice struck the minds of strategic military planners which ultimately strengthened her arms industry. In actuality, Pakistan’s achievement of trident has solidified Pakistan’s position in the global power hierarchy.

 

pakgrowing5.jpgDelusion overwhelmed Pakistan’s adversaries when she tested her first submarine-launched cruise missile, Babur-3. The development of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) included Pakistan in a unique league of nations which are equipped with this rare capability. No stone was left unturned to successfully complete this project. The world was astonished, especially India, whose evil plans to damage Pakistan are always self-evident. This latest addition would definitely attract other countries to line up to place orders and subsequently increase Pakistan’s export revenues. This missile would be the crown of many nations as it provides them robust deterrence capabilities. Further, the Pakistani missile will help maintain balance of power in different regions of the world. The defence industrial complex has been increasingly relevant in the 21st century as notions of economic power fused with hard power is the norm of an emerging multi-polar world. Therefore, expertise in manufacturing modern defence equipment in forms of state-of-the-art fighter jets, ballistic missiles and nuclear advancements marks the journey of any great nation; and Pakistan is one such country that has made great advances in this industry.

 

pakgrowing6.jpgThe development of Burraq missile-capable drone is a tip of the iceberg of the country’s growing prominence in the defence industry. Burraq has the ability to fly in all types of weather conditions and can strike its target with pinpoint accuracy. As warfare is changing, states see drones as the ultimate solution for cost efficient defence solutions. America is the pioneer of drone technology, and Pakistan’s inclusion in the drone market is a great leap forward. Even though Pakistan has not offered her drones for sale but owing to its cost effectiveness and better technology, it finds itself placed at an advantageous position. The war against terrorism necessitates the demand for drones and as Pakistan is a leading counter-terrorism expert country; it can help its partners with drones and assist in achieving global peace.

 

pakgrowing7.jpgPakistan’s arms industry is making history by reducing its military arms dependency on foreign countries by shifting towards locally manufactured defence equipment. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Prime Minister of Pakistan, said in his interview with Arab News that Pakistan is no longer solely dependent on American defence systems but instead has diversified to meet its needs. Pakistan defence industry is fully capable of meeting the needs of its brave armed forces, particularly, when the country is fighting the war on terrorism. In reality, Pakistan is fighting a global epidemic of extremism but in turn receives little appreciation from the world. Despite the odds, Pakistan is fulfilling its international obligations and increasing its local defence arms capacity so make sure no factor stops the country from achieving peace in the world.


Pakistan has now turned into a regional power and its maturity in the arms industry makes it a key player in its ‘near abroad’. Superior air, land and sea defence capabilities of Pakistan to maintain ‘minimum deterrence’ has helped to modernize its defence industry and simultaneously earn remittances from allies while updating their defence systems. The example of selling 14 units of JF-17 fighter jets to Sri Lanka is the reflection of this policy. What is more fascinating is the way Pakistan is climbing up in Joseph Nye’s described chessboard ladder due to rapid industrialization of the defence industry. The fast paced development of Pakistan’s arms industry is enabling the country to move up the hierarchical structures of power in the global community, especially in Asia and the Middle East.

 

The writer is an alumnus of the St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
07
March

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha


During his speech at the international Security Conference in Munich in February this year, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, spoke endearingly about the kind of Pakistan he remembered when he was a young man. General Bajwa was not wallowing in nostalgia, but rather reminding the world that Pakistan was once a hub of excellent sporting and cultural traditions and achievements which are still very much engrained in the DNA of its people and evolution.

 

Despite receiving setbacks such as the emergence of religious militancy which retarded this evolution, the DNA is intact which can once again reorient the direction of the country and put it back on the path of economic and sporting progress and cultural and social enlightenment. Let’s take a brief pictorial journey of what Pakistan was like before we somewhat lost our way.

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The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of two books ‘End of the Past’ and ‘The Pakistan Anti-Hero.’

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07
March

Written By: Nazia Parveen


India, a country with a population of around 1.324 billion, claims to be the largest democracy in the world. It aspires to become a secular and liberal global superpower and considers itself a ‘shining’ model for undemocratic regimes in its backyard. The situation on ground is otherwise, i.e., the difference between India’s actions and words. Today ethnic cleansing by the Indian Army is at its peak, (from Dalits to Kashmiris, no one is safe from India’s use of force) in different areas including Kashmir. Whenever any journalist tries to point out the brutalities of Indian Army he is labeled as a terrorist like Kamran Yousuf, 24, a local photographer/journalist who is in jail for this ‘crime’ since September 2017.1 Since the Kashmiri people intensified their struggle for their independence, rape has been used as a tool of subjugation by the Indian military; rape of Kashmiri women, men and even children by the Indian forces routinely goes unpunished. Number of reports and surveys have been published on the international level in this regard, which shows the real face of Indian forces. Few of these reports are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

 

rapeindianarmy.jpgA survey conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières2 in the year 2008 says women living in Kashmir are among the worst sufferers of sexual abuse in the world. 11.6 percent of respondents, out of a total 510 individuals/samples included in the study said they had been sexually abused. Survey also concluded that the number of people who had witnessed rape in Indian Occupied Kashmir was far higher than other conflict zones in the world. 13 percent of respondents reported having witnessed incidents of rape since 1989, and 63 percent reported having heard about rape since that year.


Recently an article published in Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) with title “Kashmir’s #MeToo: where both women and men are victims” on February 23, 2018 quoted that 300 men from the Indian Army were deployed to contain militancy in the valley and conduct raids on houses in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kunan village and hamlet Poshpora. There, on February 23, 1991, “as many as 100 girls and women were raped, nearly 100 men were tortured, and countless houses looted. The exact number of the victims has yet to be confirmed definitively…. Nearly three decades later, there has been no justice, and the sexual violence faced by men remains simmering in silence. According to the article Papa II was a notorious army camp, where men were made to strip naked and stand together for hours. Army personnel gave electric shocks to their genitals, while verbally mocking them about their ‘loss of manhood’.3


According to the Human Rights Watch report published in 1993, Indian Army used rape as a tool of retaliation against the civilian population of Indian Occupied Kashmir.4 While in another report by the Human Rights Watch published in 1996, Indian army personnel in Indian Occupied Kashmir used “rape as a counterinsurgency tactic”.5 In other words, rape was used as an essential element of the Indian Army strategy to counter the freedom fighters in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.


Indian Army reportedly raped 882 women in 1992 alone. Humanitarian Law Project/International Educational Development verified more than 200 war rapes in the Valley and Doda district in January 1994 alone.6


Indian leaders seldom practice domestically what they preach internationally. Though committed to parliamentary procedures, Nehru never let go of the British-created colonial state and its well-oiled machinery of repression. As early as 1958, Nehru’s regime introduced the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)–the forerunner of repressive legislation that today sanctions murder, torture and rape by Indian soldiers in the north-east of India as well as Jammu and Kashmir. It was during Nehru’s time in office that the Indian troops and paramilitaries were unleashed on indigenous peoples in India’s northeastern states in the 50s and 60s. It was also Nehru who in 1961 made it a crime to raise questions about the territorial integrity of India, making it punishable with imprisonment. Human rights groups have long documented serious abuses by members of the Indian military, including torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. According to the Amnesty International (July 2015 report), “India has martyred 100,000 people in Jammu & Kashmir. More than 8,000 persons disappeared while in the custody of Indian military & police.”7


Hindu nationalists have banded together in a bid to justify India’s intensified military occupation of the Muslim-majority Kashmir. Indian armed forces continue to commit human rights violations in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state, and in the northeastern states that are home to many ethnic minority groups.8 Recently, a number of videos appeared on the media and internet showing the draconian and merciless Indian Army beating youngsters who were bleeding badly. One such example is of the Indian Army Major (Major Gogoi) who tied up a young protestor to his jeep for hours during a patrolling mission in the Valley. Rather than punishing him for this barbaric human rights violation, the Indian Army Chief awarded him with a medal of ‘bravery’. Even Indian media raised this issue as human rights violation, but nothing happened on state level nor was any step taken on national level to address this issue. Every day young Kashmiris disappear, and no one knows where they go, few have their dead bodies mutilated while some never come home. The conflict has so far left more than 100,000 Kashmiris dead at the hands of the Indian Army in the name of counter-terrorism efforts. The question here is how many protestors are there in the valley? Are 700,000 soldiers needed to fight these unarmed protestors? The answer certainly is no. In fact, India has deployed this huge military force to suppress the freedom struggle through sheer use of force.


The innocent Kashmiri civilians are targeted through the use of pellet guns. Those who are fighting for their right of self-determination are being treated as terrorists. Thousands of the Kashmiri youth have lost their sight because of pellet guns used by the Indian Army against them. According to a report by an Indian Paper, The Hindu, “14% of pellet gun victims in Kashmir are below 15.”9 As per the records obtained from Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh’s (SMHS) hospital it was found that since July 2016, at least 1209 persons with pellet injuries in one or both eyes have been treated there. Of these, 77 persons have had both eyes severely damaged while 21 lost sight in one eye. Apart from those blinded, the unselective use of pellet guns has led to 16 fatalities and 7,000 injuries .10


In Indian politics today, minority rights related issues are increasingly taking a central stage, whether in the shape of demands for increased political representation or the calls for providing protection to many religions and cultures in the country.


Minorities in India have lived under continual and ever-present threat from the Hindu majority government in power. The BJP government’s rise to power has only exacerbated the problem as the party represents Hindu Fundamentalists whose aim is to establish ‘Ram Raj’ in the country.
Since India has become independent there have been a number of riots against the Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities. Hindu fundamentalists have strongholds in majority of the areas and they are the largest community in India. By using that power of majority, hundreds of churches and mosques have been demolished by these fundamentalists with the connivance of Indian government.


The story of Indian army brutalities is perpetuating even today. Indian Army has been given free hand in the Valley under AFSPA. India has tried everything in its power to silence Kashmiris’ call for independence–from using force to the appointment of an interlocutor–old strategies to show the world they are taking positive steps to solve the Kashmir issue. However in reality, the sufferings of people in Kashmir are increasing day by day.


Although Pakistan supports the Kashmir movement on every level and has stood by the freedom struggle, now it is time for the international community to stand up for the rights of those human beings who have been suffering for decades for pursuing their fundamental right of ‘freedom’.


However, the current dilemma is the silence of the international community on the killings and suffering of Kashmiri freedom fighters. On one hand despite Pakistan’s efforts to curb terrorism (wherein fighting the war on terror Pakistan has lost thousands of lives), the decision of putting Pakistan’s name on grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is ironic. While on other hand a country run by a prime minister, who stood by in silence (showing connivance) during the Gujarat riots in his tenure as the chief minister, is given a free pass with regards to his inaction on the human rights violation in IOK and ethnic cleansing in India. This dual standard in international politics shows the bitter reality of selfish behavior for furthering and protection of one’s own interests.


The brutalities in Kashmir remain a challenge and a burning question for the collective human conscience. The international community, particularly the West that always champions the aspirations of ‘liberty, freedom and human rights’, can not connive in this crime against humanity. In this age of mass media, no reality can remain hidden, if so, then how should these leaders of the world–particularly the visiting prime ministers and presidents of the European countries including USA–charm India by ‘mocking display of their dancing prowess’ and yoga poses. These double standards are the worst hypocrisy shown by these men and woman of international stature. Indian brutalities against Kashmiris are a ‘crime against humanity’ and the international leadership showing support to Modi’s government is actually abetting his acts of crime and terror. ‘The white man’s burden’ is once again being used to promote the white man’s economic interests in the huge consumer market of India. However, the basic human rights values of Kashmiri peoples shall haunt the collective conscience of those leaders who today are charming Modi’s government under any pretext. Anyone to answer?

 

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1 Desk, E. (2018, February 16). J&K Journalist Arrest: Real Reporter Should Cover Government’s Development Activities, Says NIA. Retrieved from Kashmir Essence: http://kashmiressence.news/jk-journalist-arrest-real-reporter-should-cover-governments-development-activities-says-nia/
2 Deb, S. (2015). Child Safety, Welfare and Well-being: Issues and Challenges. Springer India.
3 Borpujari, P. (2018, February 24). Kashmir’s #MeToo: where both women and men are victims. Retrieved from TRT World: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/kashmir-s-metoo-where-both-women-and-men-are-victims-15433
4 Impunity, H. R. (1993). The Human Rights Crisis in Kashmir. Human Rights Watch.
5 Watch, H. R. (1996). India's Secret Army in Kashmir. Human Rights Watch.
6http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session1/IN/KIIR_IND_UPR_S1_2008_KashmirInstituteofInternationalRelations_uprsubmission.pdf
7 International, A. (2015). India: “Denied”: Failures in Accountability for Human Rights Violations by Security Force Personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. Amnesty International.
8 Mishra, P. (2017, August 11). India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html?mtrref=www.google.com.pk&assetType=opinion
9 Ashiq, P. (2016, August 22). 14% of pellet gun victims in Kashmir are below 15. Retrieved from The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/14-of-pellet-gun-victims-in-Kashmir-are-below-15/article14583549.ece
10 Ahmad, M. (2017, September 14). Losing Sight in Kashmir: Amnesty Report Highlights Trauma of Pellet-Gun Victims. Retrieved from The Wire: https://thewire.in/177431/losing-sight-in-kashmir-amnesty-report-highlights-trauma-of-pellet-gun-victims/

 
07
March

Written By: S. M. Hali


Not only is the ceasefire violation illegal but the deliberate targeting of civilians is a gross contravention of human rights. In 2017, Indian forces committed more than 1800 ceasefire violations while in nearly two months of 2018, so far there have been over 300 ceasefire violations resulting in scores of deaths. While 425,000 civilians residing in areas near the LOC face constant threat to their lives because of Indian firing, 832 have already lost their lives. 3000 people have been injured as a result of unprovoked firing by Indian forces from across the Line of Control and 3,300 houses have been damaged in the ceasefire violations.

While India is trampling human rights with impunity in the Valley of Kashmir and subjecting the minorities to a reign of terror, Indian army is executing incessant firing across the Line of Control (LOC) and killing civilians mercilessly.

 

Such an abject attitude towards human rights as that displayed by Indians should not come as a surprise because the guiding principle for Indian diplomacy, administration and governance emanates from Chanakya alias Kautilya (c. 370-c. 283 BCE), an Indian Brahmin teacher, philosopher and royal advisor to the Maurya dynasty (322-297 BCE), who is also historically credited for the founding of the Mauryan empire.

 

Chanakya’s books Arthashastra and Chanakya Neeti containing primeval Indian treatise and aphorisms derived from the ancient Vedas and shastras on statecraft and economic policy, public welfare and administrative policy, military strategy, ethics on politics and economics, wealth and monetary management, legal and bureaucratic framework, the diplomacy and international relations and King’s duties & obligations.

 

 indiacfviolatiuon.jpgArthashastra talks openly about using violence and even justifies it. Chanakya professes assassinating an enemy and deems it useful, while killing domestic opponents is considered wise. Chanakya lays emphasis on the use of secret agents and even advises when one needs to sacrifice one’s own secret agent. The question of how the King can use women and children as spies and even assassins is responded to. His treatise is based on immorality, deceit and guile counsels on the opportune moment for a nation to violate a treaty and invade its neighbour.

 

In a typical Chanakyan manner, Indians have canonized their mentor by naming their diplomatic enclave in New Delhi as “Chanakyapuri”. Few wonder then that the basic ingredients of their foreign policy are unabashedly borrowed from Chanakya’s Arthashastra.

 

This brief introduction was essential to get a better understanding of the method in the Indian madness. Indian coercive diplomacy and brutal use of force stem from Arthashastra’s concepts of using the weapons of diplomacy and force with such a strong preference for the former in all its forms as to make the State administration essentially a work of art requiring the exercise of the highest qualities of intellect and character on the part of the ruler. The essential features of the State policy of modern India—some only professed, others fully or partly practiced—namely: non-violence, non-alignment, secularism and parliamentary democracy, appear to be the ‘weapons of diplomacy’ in the modern context to achieve the goal of Vishal Bharata (Greater India).

 

While Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi et all have been ardent followers of Chanakya’s dictums, the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a blue blooded disciple of the ancient Indian strategist. He cut his teeth as the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, where he experimented with genocide by inciting the infamous Gujarat riots in 2002 to achieve ethnic cleansing by exterminating Muslims. The heinous act rewarded him with re-election as Chief Minister of the state. Promising to repeat the Gujarat experiment at the national level, Modi was elected as the Prime Minister in 2014.

 

Shedding the cloaks of secularism, non-violence and non-alignment, Modi was voted into power with the promise of Hindu supremacy and the rise of Hindutva. Being a pracharak (activist) of the extremist Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1971, Modi assumed the mantle of Prime Minister with a well-thought-out agenda. The macabre plot comprised the subjugation of Pakistan, amalgamation of Indian Occupied as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir into India and the rise of the Hindu nation. To achieve the final goal, brute force has been unleashed on Indian minorities forcing them to flee India or convert to Hinduism. To gobble Kashmir, the schema has numerous prongs: Bring BJP into power in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK); repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and browbeat the Muslim population as well as change the demographics of IOK by resettling Hindus in the Valley. Since July 8, 2016 when popular Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Wani was brutally assassinated, the Valley is in a state of conflict. Kashmiri youth have taken to the streets to protest the brutal murder of their beloved leader. The unarmed protesters, who comprise children and young boys, have been mercilessly fired upon by pellet guns, blinding and killing them.

 

To rub salt in the wound, Indian Army Chief has been challenging Pakistan in a cowardly and immature manner, to use its nuclear weapons. Little does he realize that he is endangering the entire region with nuclear holocaust if these weapons of mass destruction are used.

To subjugate Pakistan, numerous false flag operations have been carried out on Indian armed forces installations, blaming Pakistan for the well orchestrated assaults. The false flag operations are used by India as propaganda to denigrate Pakistan and blackball it as a sponsor of terrorism as well as making them an excuse to launch surgical strikes in Pakistan. To date not a single surgical strike has been carried out but false claims have been made to appease the Indian nation and media since mega hype for blackballing Pakistan has been created.

 

Indian machinations against Pakistan include the launch of high level spies and terror mongers of the ilk of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to mislead Baloch youth, instigate them to rise in insurgency after providing them training in guerrilla warfare, arming and launching them. Simultaneously, existing terror organizations like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been infiltrated by Indian spy network RAW operatives to conduct more deadly terror attacks on Pakistan’s military installations, educational institutions, places of worship and congregation centers to create fear, mayhem and chaos.

 

In order to pressurize Pakistan further, the 2003 ceasefire accord has been violated and there is incessant bombardment and firing across the Line of Control (LOC). Not only military check posts are targeted but civilians are intentionally fired upon. School buses loaded with students, even hospital ambulances and the residences of civilians have been deliberately blown into smithereens, causing heavy civilian casualties. Such unprovoked and unethical acts had exposed the real face of India, who continues to violate the Geneva Convention by targeting innocent school children.

 

Not only is the ceasefire violation illegal but the deliberate targeting of civilians is a gross contravention of human rights. In 2017, Indian forces committed more than 1,800 ceasefire violations while in nearly two months of 2018, so far there have been over 300 ceasefire violations resulting in scores of deaths. While 425,000 civilians residing in areas near the LOC face constant threat to their lives because of Indian firing, 832 have already lost their lives. 3000 people have been injured as a result of unprovoked firing by Indian forces from across the Line of Control (LOC) and 3,300 houses have been damaged in the ceasefire violations. These figures were released by Director General Disaster Management Authority (DMA) Zaheer-ud-din Qureshi at the meeting of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs.

 

To rub salt in the wound, Indian Army Chief has been challenging Pakistan in a cowardly and immature manner, to use its nuclear weapons. Little does he realize that he is endangering the entire region with nuclear holocaust if these weapons of mass destruction are used.

 

Indian military accuses Pakistan of establishing terrorists training camps in Azad Jammu & Kashmir where training is imparted to Kashmiri youth, who are launched to conduct terror raids across the LOC into India. Indian forces claim that they fire across the LOC to destroy such camps while surgical strikes are also being contemplated by Indian commandos to decimate such terror training camps. This is mere propaganda. India claims that it has erected twelve feet high walls along the LOC, dug ditches, installed barbed wire fences and the area is patrolled 24/7. Under these stringent measures, even a bird cannot fly across the LOC, what to talk about cross border movement of terrorists. Yet Indian media and army constantly claim of “terrorists” infiltrating into Indian territory or into IOK to conduct terror attacks.  

 

A statement issued by the Foreign Office has said that the deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas, especially children is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws.

 

The Foreign Office Spokesperson, Dr. Mohammad Faisal has urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement and investigate the incidents of ceasefire violations. He also asked the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LOC and the Working Boundary. He urged that the Indian side should permit UNMOGIP to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions. Despite these calls for restraint, India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations. In a bid to expose India’s inhuman ceasefire violations and deliberate and unprovoked targeting of civilians, especially children, women and old persons, Pakistan Army organized a visit of Defence Attachés of U.S., UK, France, China, Turkey and Indonesia to the Line of Control in Rawalakot Sector of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The jingoistic and belligerent attitude of India and its relentless targeting of civilians must stop. Pakistan needs to internationalize this xenophobic act of India and must resort to the United Nations to seek justice.

 

The writer is a former Group Captain from Pakistan Air Force who also served as Air and Naval Attaché at Riyadh (KSA).

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07
March

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan


The dominant powers’ ulterior motives to subdue Pakistan are noticeable. Since Trump took office, the relations between U.S. and Pakistan have deteriorated. There is a constant pressure by the U.S. to ‘Do more’ but Pakistan’s response is ‘No more’. Pakistan stands firms on its standpoint of having done enough in curbing militancy and terrorism. Pakistan’s resistance to submit to U.S. pressure and its direction in Afghanistan infuriated Trump administration. It is alleging and defaming Pakistan worldwide at different forums. The ground reality is that U.S. is exerting pressure on Pakistan for its failed policy in Afghanistan and without any substantiation Pakistan is accused of any terrorist act in Afghanistan and for providing safe havens to militants. Pakistan has been continuously demanding the U.S. to identify the sanctuaries so as to take an action. The U.S., on the other hand, trusts its carrot and stick policy as it has done in the past. It stresses on obstructing financial aid to Pakistan. Such intimidating strategies impede efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan besides undermining the ongoing military operations of Pakistan Army against terrorists. It is important to understand that such conduct on the part of U.S. and its allies will create space for the terrorist elements to exploit the situation for their vested agenda.

International community has always been concerned about global peace and security. To this end, efforts have been made to ensure that no state indulges in any activity that threatens global peace and security. At the end of World War II, the world governments, particularly the major powers (dominated by the U.S.) decided to establish an international body that could help avoid future wars. It was indeed a colossal but excellent step, yet, inspite of the best efforts, wars continued to be states’ tool for achieving their objectives (interests). Beside this many other international organizations were established to keep a check on “rogue” regimes.

One such organization is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), founded at the initiative of the Group of 7 to establish global standards for the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (FT), (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from AML/CFT risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system. The decision to place a member country on the FATF watchlist is generally taken in the light of mutual evaluation.

 

Recently, the FATF decided to put Pakistan back on its terror financing watchlist of countries that financially aid terrorism, with effect from June. It gave Islamabad time till June to prepare an action plan against terror groups operating from Pakistan. Pakistan was previously on the Grey List from 2012 to 2015. In 2015, FATF took off Pakistan from the list after the FATF was satisfied that it had done enough to counter terror financing. Pakistan also agreed to take actions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF).

 

Despite Pakistan’s efforts of mapping of registered and unregistered Madaris, auditing of their account and checking their sources of funding and action against those found to be involved in militancy and terrorism, the Trump administration has consistently accused Pakistan and India has always added fuel to fire. Pakistan Army military offensives against terrorist elements and their supporters including their financiers, have met with significant success. Pakistan Army’s media wing, ISPR Directorate’s press releases from 2014 to 2018 categorically mentioned the link between corruption, money laundering and terrorism. In this drive, the government of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan took important measures to streamline the money transfer procedure. Documenting the money-matters and emphasis on money transfer through proper channels are steps in the same direction. However, Pakistan as a developing country needs time to completely document the economy and bring full transparency in money-matters. Pakistan has shown willingness to take further steps, if needed, to meet the demands by FATF.

The U.S., UK, France and Germany co-sponsored a motion to nominate Pakistan as a country having “strategic deficiencies” in “countering financing of terrorism”. Pakistan’s recent actions against Hafiz Saeed’s charities and strong diplomatic lobbying to avert grey listing were undone by the U.S. in Paris. While the FATF works on consensus, a vote by at least three members is required to block a nomination in the 37 member group. During the preliminary discussions, the U.S.-led proposal was opposed by China, Turkey and the GCC. The GCC was following the lead of Saudi Arabia, which is an observer, and not a full voting member of the FATF. The U.S. officials negotiated with China and Saudi Arabia behind the scenes, bringing the two countries around to its view on Pakistan’s terror financing. In order to be removed from the list, after the FATF’s decision, Pakistan is to submit an Action Plan in May. If the FATF accepts this Action Plan in June, it will formally announce to place Pakistan on the Grey List. However, if Pakistan fails to submit it, the FATF will announce placing the country on its Black List. The list will have adversarial consequences for Pakistan.

 

Various sources claim that the Chinese twist came because of the U.S. offer of granting China the Vice-Presidentship of FATF from July 1. It is important to note that the FATF Vice-President is also the FATF President-designate; hence, if Beijing becomes the Vice President, it will head the global watchdog for one year starting in July 2019. Sources also claimed that the U.S. also hinted full membership to Saudi Arabia in June, if it asked the GCC to drop its opposition to the proposal. The U.S. and the three co-sponsors then moved the proposal on February 22 but Turkey did not withdraw its support.

 

The dominant powers’ ulterior motives to subdue Pakistan are noticeable. Since Trump took office, the relations between U.S. and Pakistan have deteriorated. There is a constant pressure by the U.S. to ‘Do more’ but Pakistan’s response is ‘No more’. Pakistan stands firms on its standpoint of having done enough in curbing militancy and terrorism. Pakistan’s resistance to submit to U.S. pressure and its direction in Afghanistan infuriated Trump administration. It is alleging and defaming Pakistan worldwide at different forums. The ground reality is that U.S. is exerting pressure on Pakistan for its failed policy in Afghanistan and without any substantiation Pakistan is accused of any terrorist act in Afghanistan and for providing safe havens to militants. Pakistan has been continuously demanding the U.S. to identify the sanctuaries so as to take an action. The U.S., on the other hand, trusts its carrot and stick policy as it has done in the past. It stresses on obstructing financial aid to Pakistan. Such intimidating strategies impede efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan besides undermining the ongoing military operations of Pakistan Army against terrorists. It is important to understand that such conduct on the part of U.S. and its allies will create space for the terrorist elements to exploit the situation for their vested agenda.

 

FATF pressure mechanism unleashed by U.S. will actually damage U.S. interests as well as peace of the entire region and the world. It is time to follow a prudent and rational policy for peace in Afghanistan through dialogue and inclusion of all stakeholders. Merely toeing Indian line of policy or scapegoating Pakistan will not pay any dividends to Trump administration, the U.S. and its allies in achieving peace.

Wedged between two hostile neighbours, Pakistan has been facing challenges after the events of 9/11 and the magnitude of external and internal challenges has multiplied. The war on terror caused Pakistan financial, infrastructural and human loss. Despite the sacrifices, Pakistan is labelled by sheer and well organised propaganda of hostile countries and their lobbies abroad, as a country that is not only financing terrorism but also money laundering. In this regard, the FATF motion materializes the U.S. objective to pressurise Pakistan. Various quarters believe it to be a politically motivated decision, which obviously would affect Pakistan’s cooperation in the region in the future.

 

Pakistan has rendered countless sacrifices to bring peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Despite the U.S. claims of victories in Afghanistan, a resurgent Taliban and emerging threat from ISIL offshoot, ISIL-Khorasan Province loom large. The ground reality is that Taliban have become a political force by controlling more than 70 percent of Afghanistan.

 

Despite Pakistan’s efforts of mapping of registered and unregistered Madaris, auditing of their account and checking their sources of funding and action against those found to be involved in militancy and terrorism, the Trump administration has consistently accused Pakistan and India has always added fuel to fire. Pakistan Army military offensives against terrorist elements and their supporters including their financiers, have met with significant success. Pakistan Army’s media wing, ISPR Directorate’s press releases from 2014 to 2018 categorically mentioned the link between corruption, money laundering and terrorism. In this drive, the government of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan took important measures to streamline the money transfer procedure. Documenting the money-matters and emphasis on money transfer through proper channels are steps in the same direction. However, Pakistan as a developing country needs time to completely document the economy and bring full transparency in money-matters. Pakistan has shown willingness to take further steps, if needed, to meet the demands by FATF.

 

This cooperation and positivity is an indicator of realisation of the issue by Pakistani government. It is important for the U.S. and its allies to understand that putting extra pressure on Pakistan and walking away from the alliance in the war on terror with Pakistan will surely enough embolden right wing forces in Pakistan that already suspect U.S. aims in the region. Such a negative move will weaken the moderate forces in Pakistan, particularly so when general elections are due in the next few months. It has taken years for Pakistan Armed Forces and the government to convince the entire population that it is Pakistan’s own war and not the U.S.’ war against Muslims. However, FATF pressure mechanism unleashed by U.S. will actually damage U.S. interests as well as peace of the entire region and the world. It is time to follow a prudent and rational policy for peace in Afghanistan through dialogue and inclusion of all stakeholders. Merely toeing Indian line of policy or scapegoating Pakistan will not pay any dividends to the Trump-led U.S. and its allies in achieving peace. They have to understand that Pakistan’s collaboration is crucial for peace in Afghanistan. It is time for peace winning strategies by all and not for mind-boggling tricks by the U.S. to win durable peace in Afghanistan, the region and the world. As the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford stated last year in July, “We cannot be successful in Afghanistan–we have seen that over the last several years–unless we have a higher degree of cooperation from Pakistan.” Pakistan has always remained committed to peace, as war and conflict adversely hit the very lives of citizens of Pakistan, it is incumbent upon U.S. to follow prudent policies for peace instead of chess-gaming geostrategic objectives of power and influence in the region.

 

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

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