07
June

Pak-Afghan International Border and Regional Security

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Zamir Akram

Moreover, and this is the crucial point, if the U.S. and the Afghan government are really serious about their accusations, they need to cooperate with Pakistan to ensure that the Pak-Afghan border is sealed and no movement takes places by anyone in either direction. The fact that Kabul continues to refuse such cooperation exposes its malafide intentions. Indeed, its refusal to cooperate indicates that it wants to keep the border porous and unchecked so that TTP and Da’esh terrorists can be infiltrated into Pakistan. In this the Indians also have an obvious vested interest.

The Afghan government’s refusal to cooperate with Pakistan to monitor and control the Pakistan-Afghanistan border coupled with its sponsorship of anti-Pakistan terrorist groups of the TTP which are also colluding with elements of ISIS/Daesh in Afghanistan, pose a severe security threat to not only Pakistan but also to other regional states including China, Iran and Russia, apart from Afghanistan itself. But the multiple powerbrokers in Kabul, with clear instigation and support from New Delhi, instead of recognizing their own long term national interest in cooperating with Pakistan, are more intent upon using the porous border to try and destabilize Pakistan. This leaves Pakistan with the only option to forcibly and unilaterally seal the Pak-Afghan border and tightly regulate any movement across it. This is not only in Pakistan’s interest but also in the interest of regional security.


From Pakistan’s security perspective there are both external and internal compulsions for securing its border with Afghanistan. The worst case security scenario for Pakistan is to face simultaneous confrontation on both its western and eastern borders with Afghanistan and India. On the eastern front, Pakistani troops have been engaged for decades in protecting the country’s border with India while being in direct confrontation with Indian troops on the volatile Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary with Indian Occupied Kashmir. Given the ongoing popular uprising in occupied Kashmir against Indian occupation, this disputed territory continues to pose a security threat for Pakistan. At the same time, the situation on the western border with Afghanistan has been deliberately destabilized with unprovoked attacks on Pakistani border posts by Afghan troops, the most recent being the firing on a Pakistani census team near the Chaman border in Balochistan. Even worse is the sanctuary given by Afghanistan to TTP terrorist groups close to the border who are encouraged and enabled to cross over this border to carryout terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

pakafghanintborder.jpgWhat makes this situation worse is the active collusion between the Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies that finance, arm and support TTP terrorists based in Afghanistan as well as Baloch insurgents and separatists. In fact, such Indo-Afghan collusion is part of the strategic Indian objective to use pliant Afghan factions and their territory to destabilize Pakistan. Indeed, this has been the Indo-Afghan geo-political objective since the independence of Pakistan when immediately thereafter Afghanistan was the only country that objected to Pakistan’s UN membership and started the Pushtunistan bogey in a vain effort to undermine Pakistan’s territorial integrity. Since then Afghan leaders, even those better disposed towards Pakistan like the Taliban, have also refused to accept the internationally recognized sanctity and legality of the border with Pakistan. In the contemporary environment, such Afghan obduracy over the status of the border has become a self-defeating and an untenable proposition for them since they joined the Indians in accusing Pakistan of promoting “cross-border terrorism” but at the same time do not “recognize” the border.


At the internal level, the threat to Pakistan’s security stems from terrorism in Pakistan spawned by terrorists belonging to the TTP and Daesh with sanctuary and support from within Afghanistan. Pakistan government’s initial efforts to find a political solution through dialogue with the TTP groups failed to reduce terrorist incidents and only encouraged them to intensify their attacks against civilian and military targets especially in FATA. It was only after the brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, that the futile dialogue option was abandoned and military operations started against TTP terrorists through Zarb-e-Azb and continues now through Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. However, while TTP sanctuaries in FATA and the border areas have been cleansed by these military operations, the remnants of the TTP have crossed over the border into adjoining areas of Afghanistan such as Nangarhar and Paktia from where they are being openly supported and armed by the Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies, thereby enabling them to continue launching terrorist attacks within Pakistan across the unregulated border. The presence of nearly 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan also provides these terrorists the cover and space to infiltrate and conduct terrorist activities. At the same time, both Kabul and New Delhi are arming and financing separatist groups, especially insurgent Baloch organizations, to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorism within Pakistan. A prime target for them is to derail the infrastructure projects in Pakistan related to the operationalization of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As a result, Pakistan has been forced to raise a Special Security Division, military force to protect the CPEC projects and the personnel involved, especially Chinese nationals.

 

Moreover, under international law and the Durand Line agreement, Pakistan remains well within its rights to control, restrict and deny the so-called “easement rights” for tribes living on both sides of the border, which are not part of the original agreement but evolved over time as a practice to facilitate interaction and movement of the tribes without travel documents or visas. However, since these easement rights are now being violated and abused by local tribes as well as others to engage in terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking, weapons' transfers and unchecked movement of refugees, Pakistan is legally justified to control and even curtail such movement.

The border agreement and international law also do not prevent Pakistan from taking any measures, such as fencing, visas' requirements and border checks to regulate movement in either direction across the border.

The roots of these external and internal security challenges for Pakistan that also today affect the entire region are complex and multi-dimensional. At the heart of this conundrum is, of course, the hegemonic Indian obsession to dominate the whole of South Asia. This has consistently propelled New Delhi to instigate tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a part of its overall pursuit of regional domination, a strategy in which Kabul, for the most part, has been a willing partner. With the current Indo-Afghan strategic partnership agreement, such collaboration has now been institutionalized.


But this underlying security threat for Pakistan has been complicated over the last three decades due to factors largely beyond Pakistan’s control. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 confronted Pakistan with twin problems – the presence of the Red Army on its borders at a time when the Soviet Union and India were close military allies; and the influx of more than 3 million Afghan refugees, many of whom are still in Pakistan. With help from Pakistan, the U.S. and other countries, the Afghan Mujahideen successfully compelled the Soviets to withdraw after almost 10 years of fighting. Unfortunately, however, the U.S. and its partners abandoned Afghanistan thereafter, which quickly degenerated into a decade long civil war among different Afghan factions and war lords. This period also witnessed the growth of religious extremism and the growth of terrorist groups involving fighters from various parts of the world including Arab countries in particular. To protect its interests against involvement of regional players such as India and Iran, Pakistan gravitated towards the emerging Afghan power bloc, the Taliban, as the best option to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the lawless and unstable Afghan situation with growth of extremism, terrorism, drugs and weapons, permeated into Pakistan via its porous border with Afghanistan and through the vehicle of the unchecked movement of refugees, drug lords, smugglers and criminals. Not just the Pak-Afghan border areas but even Pakistan’s major cities were infected with this malaise.

 

Ensuring effective border controls will be crucial for the successes of Pakistan’s military operations to contain and defeat terrorism by the TTP and its Daesh collaboration based in Afghanistan. It would also be critical for the safe operations of the CPEC by neutralizing the terrorist activities of Baloch terrorists from their Afghan safe havens. Apart from Pakistan, effective border controls will also be essential for the interests of regional countries, especially China, Iran and Russia, which are also threatened by Afghan based TTP and Daesh terrorists.

The failure of the Taliban to restore peace in their country and to gain international acceptability was confounded by their toleration of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda which eventually, after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., brought about their downfall and the American presence in Afghanistan, in pursuit of their “War on Terror”. Despite initial American gains to dislodge the Taliban and “drain the Afghan swamp,” military operations over the next 15 years have been only partially successful. While Al-Qaeda has been mainly disabled, it has not been destroyed. Instead, the U.S. and its NATO partners have become embroiled in an endless stalemate with the Taliban, which has provided space for the Al-Qaeda and now increasingly Da’esh to make inroads into Afghanistan.


While there are multiple reasons for this American failure in Afghanistan, the important outcome for Pakistan has been the lack of effective coordination between the U.S. and Pakistan from the very beginning of U.S. operations, which allowed hundreds of Al-Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban to cross the Afghan border into Pakistan and go underground in the tribal areas and even in the cities, using the lure of money and (misguided) ideology to gain local support as well as recruits. As a partner in this counter-terrorism campaign led by the U.S., Pakistan conducted several military operations and intelligence based raids to ferret out these terrorists but the much vaunted “hammer and anvil” tactics between Pakistan and American forces did not really take effect as there was hardly any U.S., NATO or Afghan presence on the other side of the border to catch or kill terrorists fleeing Pakistani operations. For instance, there were over 1000 Pakistani military posts all along the border but only 118 U.S./Afghan posts on the other side. The oft promised and much needed equipment from the Americans for Pakistani forces, such as helicopters and night vision equipment, was also in very short supply, inhibiting Pakistan’s capabilities.


At the same time, American/NATO tactics within Afghanistan, with indiscriminate use of force, especially air-power and drones, caused huge collateral damage. To make matters worse, there was greater emphasis on use of force rather than efforts to win Afghan hearts and minds. The result has been the ability of the Taliban to not only regroup but also to find willing fighters for their cause. These factors continue to prolong the stalemate in Afghanistan with the Taliban being able to extend their sphere of control, especially since the drawdown of U.S. and NATO troops and the incapacity of the Afghan army to take charge.


In this deteriorating environment, the U.S. and its Afghan allies have made common cause by blaming Pakistan and using it as a scapegoat for their failure. These allegations are contrary to ground realities because the Taliban operations are deep within Afghan territory, as far north of Pakistan as Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif, which the Taliban simply cannot launch from Pakistan. In fact they now control more than 45% of Afghan territory and do not need to operate from Pakistan. Moreover, and this is the crucial point, if the U.S. and the Afghan government are really serious about their accusations, they need to cooperate with Pakistan to ensure that Pak-Afghan border is sealed and no movement takes places by anyone in either direction. The fact that Kabul continues to refuse such cooperation exposes its malafide intentions. Indeed, its refusal to cooperate indicates that it wants to keep the border porous and unchecked so that TTP and Daesh terrorists can be infiltrated into Pakistan. In this the Indians also have an obvious vested interest. What the U.S. seeks to gain is, however, most intriguing.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s intentions and actions amply demonstrate that Islamabad is genuine in its efforts to ensure foolproof border management with Afghanistan which also underscores its bonafides regarding cross-border terrorism allegations. The positions of both sides in this regard, therefore, deserve closer scrutiny.


Pakistan inherited the 2611 km border with Afghanistan from the British Indian government at the time of independence in 1947. This border, demarcated by a British official, Sir Mortimer Durand and hence also called the Durand Line, was agreed to by Afghanistan’s Amir Abdul Rehman in 1893. It was subsequently reaffirmed by the British and the Afghans in the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1921. Since then the Durand Line has been accepted internationally as the border, which, under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties has been inherited by the succeeding State of Pakistan from the British. It was only in 1949, that the Afghans unilaterally declared that they considered the Durand Line border as an “imaginary line” and refused to accept it as the international border. However, under international law and under the UN Charter such Afghan claims have no basis in law or fact.


Moreover, under international law and the Durand Line agreement, Pakistan remains well within its rights to control, restrict and deny the so-called “easement rights” for tribes living on both sides of the border, which are not part of the original agreement but evolved over time as a practice to facilitate interaction and movement of the tribes without travel documents or visas. However, since these easement rights are now being violated and abused by local tribes as well as others to engage in terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking, weapons' transfers and unchecked movement of refugees, Pakistan is legally justified to control and even curtail such movement.


The border agreement and international law also do not prevent Pakistan from taking any measures, such as fencing, visas' requirements and border checks to regulate movement in either direction across the border.


Despite the negative stance taken by successive Afghan governments regarding the border, including promotion of the so-called Pashtunistan issue and sanctuary given to dissident Baloch and Pushtoon groups, as well as the inflow of Afghan refugees into Pakistan following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the problem of border management did not arise for the most part until Kabul started accusing Pakistan of supporting Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. As a result, in 2006, Pakistan decided to fence parts of the border and installed a biometric system at the Chaman border crossing in 2007 as a pilot project. However, the Afghans reacted violently with mobs attacking Pakistani posts. In 2013, clashes erupted between Pakistan and Afghan troops when Pakistan tried to repair a gate at the Gursal military post. It is also important to note that after the Afghan forces assumed greater control of the border areas following draw-down of U.S./NATO troops from the area, there has been a sharp rise in cross-border shelling and attacks on Pakistani positions. Afghan forces also resorted to firing to prevent installation of a fence by Pakistan despite being 30 metres inside Pakistan territory at Torkham which led to closure of the border for 5 days.


After the APS attack which was clearly planned and executed by TTP groups based in Afghanistan, there was a renewed determination to ensure an end to terrorist infiltration from that country. The National Action Plan adopted in 2015 called for more effective border controls which began to be implemented with the installation of a gate at the Torkham border alongwith requirement for passports and visas for all Afghans entering Pakistan. Again the Afghans resorted to unprovoked firing which led to the death of a Pakistani army officer. Similar incidents of violence by Afghan soldiers and organized mobs also took place on the Chaman border during this period.


This trend has continued despite numerous flag meetings between officials of the two sides and tripartite meetings between Pakistani, U.S. and Afghan military officials as well as efforts made by the Advisor for Foreign Affairs and the Army Chief directly with the Afghan leadership. The U.S. military Commander in Afghanistan has also been involved in this process. But all these efforts by Pakistan have not met with any lasting success.


In its latest attempt in border management, Pakistan has resorted to unilateral steps in view of Afghan refusal to cooperate, with installation of vigilant border controls at the 2 major entry points at Torkham and Chaman as well at Arandu in Chitral, at Ghulam Khan in North Wazirstan, Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, Nawa Pass in Mohmand, Gursal in Bajaur, and Kharlachi in Kurram. Apart from passport and visa controls there is also going to be selective fencing of certain border areas.


Ensuring effective border controls will be crucial for the successes of Pakistan’s military operations to contain and defeat terrorism by the TTP and its Daesh collaboration based in Afghanistan. It would also be critical for the safe operations of the CPEC by neutralizing the terrorist activities of Baloch terrorists from their Afghan safe havens.


Apart from Pakistan, effective border controls will also be essential for the interests of regional countries, especially China, Iran and Russia, which are also threatened by Afghan based TTP and Daesh terrorists. However, a big question remains over the intentions and role of the U.S. If Washington is really interested in defeating terrorism, particularly the emerging threat posed by the TTP-Daesh combined, it should actively cooperate with Pakistan and other regional powers to neutralize these groups. So far it has not done so and does not seem inclined in that direction. Instead the U.S. continues to harp on the allegations of Pakistani support to the Afghan Taliban, a charge with which they are now also accusing Russia and Iran. Meanwhile no real effort is being made by the U.S. to reverse the Indo-Afghan backing for terrorists operating against Pakistan and which also threaten other regional countries. This policy is doomed to fail even if the U.S. increases its troop levels in Afghanistan since the stalemate with the Taliban will continue and a few thousand more American troops will not be able to accomplish what the U.S. and NATO forces have failed to achieve despite fighting at full strength for 16 years. The only solution for the U.S. lies in cooperating with Pakistan to end Afghan-Indian support for TTP-Daesh terrorism against Pakistan and to support an intra Afghan dialogue to end the military stalemate in that country and leading to a political solution.


From Pakistan’s security perspective, there is a need to toughen its policy of dealing with Afghan based terrorists and if the Afghans and the Americans remain obdurate, the fight may have to be taken into Afghan territory to destroy terrorist bases in keeping with the international law principle of hot pursuit. Pakistan would also need to upgrade its border controls with greater resort to fencing vulnerable parts of the border and even using land mines where considered necessary. As long as these steps are taken within Pakistani territory, Pakistan would be acting well within the parameters of international law and the border agreement with Afghanistan. At the same time together measures would need to be taken to ensure the permanent return of Afghan refugees to their country.

 

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan.

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07
June

Waziristan at Peace

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Jennifer McKay

North Waziristan was the last of the seven tribal agencies, along with Swat, to be cleared. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been successful with the Army, Frontier Corps and Air Force, carrying out courageous and intensive operations. Along the way, there have been many sacrifices. Several hundred soldiers were martyred during operations. Their families will always grieve their loss but all should always remember their sacrifice in making the country safer.

A new kind of normalcy is taking root in North Waziristan. After years of being at the mercy of terrorist groups, the local people are finally free to build a new and better life. The rapid change in this once ‘no-go’ area is impressive.


What’s happening in North Waziristan is too extensive to do justice to in one article. This perspective will be the first of three in a series to provide insights into this, until now, rarely visited area. Driving from Bannu through Mir Ali into Miranshah on new roads, through valleys scattered with date palms, and surrounded by the extraordinary rugged beauty of the hills and mountains, is exhilarating. Arrival in Miranshah and touring around brings many surprises about this spectacular and intriguing region.


North Waziristan was the last of the seven tribal agencies, along with Swat, to be cleared. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been successful with the Army, Frontier Corps and Air Force, carrying out courageous and intensive operations. Along the way, there have been many sacrifices. Several hundred soldiers were martyred during operations. Their families will always grieve their loss but all should always remember their sacrifice in making the country safer.

 

Miranshah is just few kilometres away from the Afghanistan border. With what was then a porous border, terrorists who managed to flee the Army would cross into Afghanistan when the chase got too hot. What I have never quite understood, is why with all the criticism of Pakistan "not doing enough", and at a time when there were massive numbers of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan Army, so little was done to stop them when they fled across the border or those from the Afghan side attempted to infiltrate into Pakistan. One can only speculate.

Several thousand terrorists were killed. Others were captured or surrendered. Many were not Pakistanis. Uzbeks, Chechens, and other nationalities joined forces and based themselves with local terrorists amongst the local population in North Waziristan. The level of capability of the terrorist groups is far removed from the common perception. Their operations were quite sophisticated. But that does not flatter their intelligence, merely highlights the level of their capacity and monstrosity. Networks of tunnels under houses and markets, barbaric slaughter rooms, ingenious camouflage of air circulation for the tunnels and underground war rooms were discovered during the operations. A sophisticated media centre with multiple screens, communications’ equipment, and a medical centre were hidden under a mosque.


A walk-through of a reconstruction of a terrorist ‘markaz’ with General Officer Commanding, North Waziristan, Major General Hassan Hayat, showed just what the Army was facing. A relatively innocent-looking building – similar to many – could ingeniously disguise a maze of tunnels and huge caches of weapons. A display of just a fraction of the weapons, communication equipment, explosives, suicide vests, gas cylinders and other deadly equipment for vehicle-borne-explosives and improvised explosive devices, gives rise to the thought of what would have happened if just a fraction of the massive cache had made its way into the cities and villages of Pakistan. Terrorists were buying explosives as they would buy spices from the market.

 

wazirstanpeace.jpgUnder the markaz were rooms where young suicide bombers spent their time preparing for what they were told would be paradise. Viewing a room decorated with photos of pretty girls, beautiful scenery, carpets and cushions, one could only wonder about the state of a child’s mind as he prepared to meet a ghastly end. The boys were kept intoxicated to keep them under the power of their handlers. The barbarism and sheer cowardice of sending children to their death, taking their innocence with them, is beyond the comprehension of any normal human being.


One thing that I found almost comical amongst the paraphernalia captured by the Pakistan Army, were wigs – long, black, curly wigs. This does conjure up some interesting visions of the purpose of such glamour-enhancing objects. Perhaps even terrorists fall victim to the perils of vanity or perhaps they just wanted to look scary in their videos. No other cosmetic enhancements were sighted.

 

The majority of families have returned home and more will follow soon including those who moved across the border to stay with families in Afghanistan. Life is returning to normal. Families and communities are busy rebuilding, restocking their animals, and planting crops. Freedom has come at a price but there is a determination to live in peace and become a prosperous and educated region.

Miranshah is just few kilometres away from the Afghanistan border. With what was then a porous border, terrorists who managed to flee the Army would cross into Afghanistan when the chase got too hot. What I have never quite understood, is why with all the criticism of Pakistan "not doing enough", and at a time when there were massive numbers of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan Army, so little was done to stop them when they fled across the border or those from the Afghan side attempted to infiltrate into Pakistan. One can only speculate.


The border is now secured. New forts have been built on mountains and ridges. The crossing points are closed and a ‘smart’ fence is being constructed on the Pakistan side of the border. The terrain is a challenge for the erection of such a barrier. Mountains, valleys and crevices form a chain that stretches the entire length of the border. The new Border Management arrangements will do much to reduce the movement of terrorists from Afghanistan into Pakistan and for local felons to flee.


Miranshah today would be unrecognizable to those who served there in earlier times. The market is bustling and a new shopping centre is under construction by a private investor. A modern bus terminal that will be a comfortable starting place for journeys to other cities like Lahore is also about to begin construction.


In the cantonment, trees, including many varieties of fruit trees, and flowers have been planted, the streets are immaculate, and in the midst of all this, stands a small Christian Church. It is hard to imagine that only a short time ago, this whole area was under attack from rockets, and that the tanks I saw parked near beautiful flowering trees were in live action.

 

wazirstanpeace1.jpgWhile there is little doubt that some profited from the presence of the terrorist groups, others who had no option but to stay through the dreadful times of terror, abuse and intimidation, were courageous. Through courage and determination, they managed to adapt to their circumstances and survive to see the onset of peace.


Millions of people were displaced from their homes for their own protection as military operations were launched to defeat the terrorists. There was no other option to ensure civilian safety. When the Army moved the population out to launch the military operations, many lost their homes, their livestock, crops, and livelihoods. Some were fortunate that in displacement they could stay with host families or even rent a house elsewhere. But for others, it was the indignity of a camp for displaced persons. Try to imagine a Pakistani summer or winter in a tent with your whole family. It would be very unpleasant indeed.


The process to return home takes time, as families cannot return until a village is de-notified and basic facilities are reconstructed by the Army and government to facilitate resettlement. On arrival at the checkpoint for North Waziristan, all family members undergo biometric checking and clearance to ensure they receive their proper entitlements and can move about. The process is efficient and when I visited, there were only very small queues. No weapons are allowed and vehicles are inspected for compliance with the rules. The biometric checking process is mandatory every time any person enters or leaves the area to ensure that security is maintained.


The majority of families have returned home and more will follow soon including those who moved across the border to stay with families in Afghanistan. Life is returning to normal. Families and communities are busy rebuilding, restocking their animals, and planting crops. Freedom has come at a price but there is a determination to live in peace and become a prosperous and educated region.


Women often suffer most in conflict and complex emergencies. Not being used to living in camps where there is little privacy is particularly difficult. I spoke with many women and girls about the tough times and how they see their future. A number of well-equipped Women’s Vocational Training Centres have been established for women and girls to learn dressmaking, knitting, cookery, and techniques for hair and beauty treatments. Each centre has a bright and cheerful nursery for babies and small children to be cared for and entertained while their mothers are in class. The kitchens in the women’s centres would be the envy of any chef in a major city.


Away from the men, the women are talkative, warm, and engaging. There were emotional moments as they shared their stories. An elderly lady in a village that had been in a terrorist stronghold and the scene of significant operations, told me, “I only have Allah now. My family is all dead.” Hugging me tightly, she went on to whisper, “But I have peace, too”. Surrounded by the women and the children of the village, it was clear that she also would be nurtured and cared for by her community.


Another woman told me of the terrible times she faced when the terrorists kidnapped her husband. In between tears remembering what it was like, she managed to smile when she said, “but look now, we have peace at last and we thank the Army for making us safe. Our girls are going to school and learning so much. They will have a better life than me”.


Fathers waited patiently at the school gate for their daughters. One man told the GOC how happy he was that his daughter was going to school and asked if the Army would build yet another girls’ school in his nearby village. It is not possible to have a school in every village but the villages are close together so it is never too far to travel. It is heartening to see that education is a top priority for parents for both their boys and their girls and the Army has a campaign to get all children to school. There is even a Montessori school opening in the area. A beautiful place surrounded by trees and fields, close to a stream, it will be a wonderful place for children to learn.

 

Away from the men, the women are talkative, warm, and engaging. There were emotional moments as they shared their stories. An elderly lady in a village that had been in a terrorist stronghold and the scene of significant operations, told me, “I only have Allah now. My family is all dead.” Hugging me tightly, she went on to whisper, “But I have peace, too”. Surrounded by the women and the children of the village, it was clear that she also would be nurtured and cared for by her community.

Health and education are paramount. In the Boya and Degan area, malaria and leishmaniasis – a painful and debilitating illness caused by sandflies – are problematic. A new small hospital, staffed by Army medical officers, locals and lady health workers, is addressing these issues. The hospital also has cardiac and other equipment including blood-testing facilities not previously available in the area. The presence of these facilities will make a great difference to the health of the local people.


In Miranshah, an impressive hospital is now operational with numerous facilities never previously available. A women’s wing is also under construction. Mir Ali too has a new hospital. Nutrition is a problem not only in FATA but also across the country. A nutrition clinic, operated by an NGO has opened at the Miranshah Hospital. This is a great step forward to improve the nutritional aspects of child health. This is particularly important when 43 percent of children in Pakistan are feeling the effects of stunting due to poor nutrition. More assistance will be needed in the future for the health of the people of Waziristan. Telemedicine is helping fill some of the gaps but more doctors, including gynaecologists and other specialists, nurses, medicines and facilities will make a significant difference.


The crucial question many ask is: “Is this sustainable peace?” I believe so. Peace does not happen overnight. Suspicions and old family feuds are likely to still be present but are now managed. Peace building is a long process but the enthusiastic work done so far by the Army to rebuild and rehabilitate North Waziristan is some of the best I’ve seen. In a short span of time, great roads, schools for boys and girls, hospitals and clinics, model villages, 149 solar water-pumping stations, a Post Office, and PTCL are now all operational. Four schools have been designated as Golden Arrow Army Public Schools and these will be replicated elsewhere in FATA.


The Younus Khan Sports Complex with its beautiful cricket stadium, jogging track, children’s park, and sports courts is impressive and beautifully laid out. On Pakistan Day 2017, 8,000 people gathered in the stadium for the festivities. Astounding really, when you think that not so long ago, this was a place too dangerous to move. The locals' love of sports is apparent everywhere. Smaller sports stadiums have been built in a number of areas and wherever you drive, children and adults are out in the fields or any available space, playing cricket.


As much as some would find this surprising, the potential for tourism is substantial. The beautiful historic hill station of Razmak, at an altitude similar to Murree, is thriving again and surprisingly, even has a very modern coffee shop that would not look out of place in Islamabad or Lahore. The Cadet College has reopened and the students have returned after being evacuated to other Cadet Colleges several years ago when rocket attacks and kidnapping threats made life too perilous. But now Razmak is at peace and thriving. The beautiful vistas and highland climate, and the good roads, provide the opportunity for a whole new industry; Tourism. There are even plans for a festival there in July.


New crops have been planted across the agency. The first crop of potatoes will be harvested with an expected yield of 1,500 tons, providing both nutrition and income for locals. Tunnel and vertical farms have been established for vegetable crops. Poultry and fish farms are becoming prosperous. A million new trees are taking root and will provide fruit, shade, and stabilization on hillsides. Most importantly, the community is engaged in the process every step of the way. Pine nuts, olives, and other ‘gourmet’ ingredients provide potential high-return markets and exports.


The youth are engaged in learning skills at vocational centres that will provide them with ‘work-ready’ capabilities and certificates in carpentry, electricals, vehicle repairs, and other trades. Construction of roads and infrastructure, and copper mining at Degan, are providing new jobs. Private investors are starting to see the commercial opportunities. Additional infrastructure, particularly electricity, is needed and the government will need to address this costly challenge.


Winning peace in such a historically troubled area has been an enormous challenge but many are now starting to see what extraordinary achievements have been made. Speaking recently at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, at an event to mark the 70th independence anniversary of Pakistan, the Commander British Field Army, Lieutenant General Patrick Nicholas Sanders said, “Pakistan had made breathtaking gains against terrorists and extremists in tribal areas unmatched in over 150 years”. He went on to say that Pakistan Army had done more than anyone to combat extremism and terrorism and the achievements were extraordinary.


The Army is doing an impressive job leading the reconstruction and rehabilitation work alongside the FATA Secretariat, the Political Agent and his team. Bilateral and multilateral donors, humanitarian and development organisations are also working in support of initiatives and are continuing to extend their projects now that the area is opening up. The FATA Reforms are underway although these may take some time to be fully implemented.


To build on these massive achievements, it is also up to the broader community to support peace in North Waziristan and other regions of FATA through ‘adopting’ schools, clinics, and other initiatives that provide long-term benefits for stability. North Waziristan may seem remote from the cities of Pakistan but peace in this once-troubled area, also means peace in the cities.

 

The writer is Australian Disaster Management and Civil-Military Relations Consultant, based in Islamabad where she consults for Government and UN agencies. She has also worked with ERRA and NDMA.

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07
June

Pakistan-India Defense Spending - A Comparison

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal

In 2016, the world spent U.S. $1686 billion that was around 2.3 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP). India plans to spend $ 55.7 billion in 2017 which is 2.25 percent of its GDP; in comparison Pakistan’s defense budget is $9 billion which is 3.4 percent of its total economy. Thus, Pakistan trails far behind India in defense spending; its financial provision is almost 7 times short of India’s defense resources. It has to defend its autonomy and meaningfulness in the South Asian state system within these limited resources. This is an attempt to understand the need and importance of defense spending for a nation-state, examine a comparative analysis of India and Pakistan’s patterns of defense spending and its impact on Pakistan.

 

According to Global Index of Defense Budgets, India has surpassed Germany at eighth position in highest military expenditure. It spends more on national defense compared to Brazil, South Korea, Italy and Canada. Pakistan on the other hand is on the 27 number of the same index; accordingly, it is expected that by 2020 India will rank third in world defense expenditure of 70 billion dollars after USA and China.

The debate on the defense spending generally focuses on the notion of guns versus butter model that demonstrates a relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods. It is argued that the basic responsibility of a state is to protect itself and its citizens from outside aggression. Any failure on this count will stun the growth of all the sectors of a state and its society. It might lead to disorder in the society and result in the ultimate collapse or possible annihilation of the state. Keeping this perspective in view, a number of studies both qualitative and quantitative have been done to demonstrate the linkage between the defense spending and the increase in economic growth of a nation-state. The best example is the European Union that started with the Marshall Plan, taking roots after the establishment of the security structure in the form of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


pakindiadefspend.jpgThe opponents of this perspective argue that defense spending is a process of diversion of resources from productive economic sector to unproductive defense sector. They perceive the defense spending as a burden on the national economy that distorts the growth of all sectors of a nation-state. The studies done in this perspective have focused on the linkage between defense spending and the increase in the ratio of poverty in a country especially in the Least Developed Countries (LDC). Interestingly, most of the developed states spend huge proportion of their resources on the modernization of equipment and training of their forces. These developed states benefit immensely from the returns of their dominant strategic relationship with other states, trading in defense-related equipment and technology and using their defense-related knowledge and technical know-how in the civilian areas. Essentially, it is difficult for any state to differentiate between two fundamental objectives of its existence that is to ensure the national security and welfare of its citizens. No subordinate state can provide its citizens protection and prosperity against direct or indirect intervention or aggression of the other dominant state.

 

Thus, gun and butter are inseparable interests of a meaningfully autonomous nation-state; they pursue at the same time the twin objectives of security and prosperity. For an autonomous state, allocation of an adequate amount of funds for defense is a compulsory and competitive phenomenon that is conducted through the interpretation of the balance of threat and geo-strategic location in which it is placed. It is a perpetual, rational and integrated phenomenon of adjustment-readjustment of resource spending priorities to maintain mutually beneficial balance. That is why; defense spending is an ever-changing and complex behavior of a nation-state. It continuously swings focus between security and economic priorities.


In the South Asian state system, two factors determine defense spending of a state. Firstly, the relatively dominant position of India as compared to the rest of the regional states in terms of almost all the elements of power – geography, population and economy. This position of India gives it an illusion of grandeur and power and encourages it to struggle for the establishment of a hegemonic relationship with the smaller states of the region. Secondly, Pakistan with its middle power stature desires to remain autonomous and seek solution of the Kashmir issue through revision of the South Asian state systems borders. A unique asymmetrical strategic position exists in the region in which Pakistan cannot allow India to treat it like other small states of the region because this will turn it into an insignificant colony of Indian cheap goods. This meaningless position has never been acceptable to its people. Therefore, Pakistan is pushed to resist Indian attempts to establish its hegemony and defend its autonomy to remain meaningful to itself, regional and international powers’ structure.

 

India considered it essential to modernize its armed forces through establishment of defense industry and transfer of technology. Its 362 million people – almost 29.5 percent of its population – live in abject poverty. Ignoring them totally, it has spent huge amount of its finances to accumulate weapons systems and develop defense-related industry.

 On the other hand, India faces no serious threat, both regional and international, to its security and way of life. Its struggle is for a status and role at the international level by its domination of the South Asian region. It wishes to attain power to extend or deny security and prosperity to the regional states. The hegemonic policy is projected as a defense against the threat mainly from China and secondly from Pakistan though relatively not very significant. India considered it essential to modernize its armed forces through establishment of defense industry and transfer of technology. Its 362 million people – almost 29.5 percent of its population – live in abject poverty. Ignoring them totally, it has spent huge amount of its finances to accumulate weapons’ systems and develop defense-related industry.

 

In 2003 and 2004, the Indian defense budget was around 14 billion dollars, 2.3 percent of its GDP; since then it has increased by 7 to 9 percent every year and has reached 55.7 billion. Russia has been the main beneficiary of this defense spending. It has filled almost 70 percent of weapons and technology needs of India to make its aggressive doctrine – Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) – a reality. In return, Russia has received huge amounts of payment; for instance, it received 9.355 billion dollars in the period 2001-05. India accounted for 14 percent of global arms imports from 2011-2015, a 90 percent increase over the previous five years. Due to this Indian arms manufacturers are among the top 100 companies worldwide, with billions of earnings. Now United States has also jumped into the business; in 2014-15, it sold over 1.4 billion dollars worth of weapons to India.


The obsessive power accumulation on the part of India to achieve regional hegemony has very serious consequences for the autonomous existence of Pakistan. It has faced three wars with India; in one conflict in 1971, its eastern part was separated from Pakistan and established as a separate state, Bangladesh. The Indian intervention through the instrument of Mukti Bahini converted a normal protest movement, after a decade long autocratic rule, for political rights into a violent secessionist movement; later India invaded East Pakistan to complete its hegemonic designs. It was part of Indian covert warfare against Pakistan that resurfaced in 1980s in Sindh, and now in Karachi and Balochistan. It also supports sectarian terrorism to weaken Pakistan. Thus Pakistan has been forced to invest relatively more of its national resources into defense.

 

India accounted for 14 percent of global arms imports from 2011-2015, a 90 percent increase over the previous five years. Due to this Indian arms manufacturers are among the top 100 companies worldwide, with billions of earnings. Now United States has also jumped into the business; in 2014-15, it sold over 1.4 billion dollars’ worth of weapons to India.

The Pakistani leadership realized that it had to match its capabilities against the sophisticated weaponry of its adversary; that is why it demonstrated no hesitation in investing in the defense of the country. But two factors weighed in the minds of the decision-makers: firstly, that they cannot match many times bigger economy of India; and secondly, no plan should undermine the economic health of Pakistan. Therefore, at times of high defense spending like the conflict with India and the Afghan crisis, the rate of growth was high, like in the late 50s and 60s, it was more than 8 percent. Additionally, the defense spending, despite extreme situations, remained far less than the 45 percent for loan repayment. The decade of 90s was the most difficult period for Pakistan. Due to unstable domestic political situation, foreign aid had been discontinued and sanctions were imposed on Pakistan because it had conducted nuclear tests. The defense spending till 1999 was around an average of 6.4 percent of the GDP but after that it started to decline further to provide more space to other sectors of the economy. In 2000, it was 5.1 percent of the GDP; it was to the tune of $2,842 million back to the level of 1990. It was a decrease of 22.48 percent. The year 2000 was a period of major transformation of the economy. Pakistan privatized state-subsidized utilities companies such as banks and Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation. Additionally, reforms were also introduced in trade and tariff, higher education, money laundering, intellectual property piracy, and agricultural and industrial sectors.

 

In order to support the economy the defense spending was further brought down to 4.1 percent; in 2007-8, the defense spending was frozen. By the end of the decade, Pakistan’s economy started to show signs of improvement. The defense spending was around 3.1 percent of the GDP; in terms of dollars, it was $ 7,641 million. But these figures are in sharp contrast to Indian GDP of two trillion dollars with the defense spending of 55.7 billion dollars, a fact that can never be lost to Pakistani decision-makers and people.

 

In conclusion, it is argued that the growing sharp imbalance between India and Pakistan could have very serious consequences both for Pakistan’s meaningful autonomous survival and strategic harmony and prosperity of the South Asian region. Pakistan cannot ignore its security and welfare of its people. It will face extreme difficulties if its economy does not grow and increase the amount that is needed to defend itself.

Pakistan has always tried to reduce the burden of defense expenditure on the economy while improving the quality of its men and material for a credible security apparatus. In this regard, Pakistan has followed two policies. One, it has attempted to build alliances with the developed states to have access to sophisticated technology and capital. The pursuit of such a policy brought it closer to the United States and China. Two, Pakistan has developed indigenous defense industry to reduce its dependence on foreign sources and to contribute its share in the domestic economy. Pakistan joined the U.S.-sponsored defense pacts in the 50s. In return, it received help to develop both its armed forces and its domestic economy. The growth of import substitute industries in the 60s was the result of this policy. In 1965, Pakistan was able to effectively defend itself against the aggression of many times more powerful India. Similarly, the U.S. assistance during the Afghan Jihad and war against terror improved the capabilities of Pakistan and helped it to sustain the economic losses.

 

At the same time, the alliance with the U.S. created a dependency on the U.S. and entangled Pakistan first in the international conflicts of the Cold War and later in the war against terror. At the domestic level, it created social divisions that hindered the process of integration of various sections of the society in the post-independence nation-building process. At the time of independence, Pakistan had practically no defense industry that could fulfill its basic defense needs. India refused to give it its due share in defense equipment; after a lot of reluctance it merely gave six crore rupees as compensation. In 1951, Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) was established to initiate the process of indigenous production of equipment. In 1971, the Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) was set up to fulfill the requirements of the Army to rebuild, upgrade, and manufacture tanks, tank guns and armored personnel carriers. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex was built at Kamra in 1972, the Heavy Forge Foundry in 1978, and the Heavy Rebuild Factory in 1979. Pakistan’s defense industry provided equipment worth 6.3 billion dollars in 2009 and 10.4 billion dollars in 2015 to armed forces to fulfill its requirements through domestic infrastructure. In 2016, the local defense industry saved foreign exchange worth 1.5 billion dollars. During four years, 2012 to 2015, the defense industry also exported its products worth over 100 million dollars to more than forty countries; and in just one year, 2016, the exports reached 63 million dollars. Though it is a commendable achievement but still it is far behind the Indian exports of 330 million dollars in 2016 and its defense minister Manohar Parrikar has set the export target of 2 billion dollars by 2019 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” scheme.


The comparison of India-Pakistan defense spending is a reflection of relative power differentiation between the two countries. The Indian economy is 8 times the size of Pakistani economy and is growing by over 7 percent as compared to 4 percent of Pakistan. In economic terms India virtually adds one whole of Pakistan’s total economic turnover to its economy every year. According to Global Index of Defense Budgets, India has surpassed Germany at eighth position in highest military expenditure. It spends more on national defense compared to Brazil, South Korea, Italy and Canada. Pakistan on the other hand is on the 27th number of the same index; accordingly, it is expected that by 2020 India will rank third in world defense expenditure of 70 billion dollars after USA and China. This rising Indian power is continually increasing Pakistan’s historic sense of vulnerability. Pakistan’s situation becomes more complicated when it is facing a domestic challenge of terrorism that is getting covert support from India through unsettled Afghanistan. Its present allocation that is around 18 percent of its budgetary expenditure is not quite adequate. It badly needs to expand its economy to broaden the national cake so that within the present percentage the required volume of resources are multiplied. Additionally, it is also required to increase its technological level to balance the Indian edge.

 

In this regard, it may not have the support of USA that is developing closer strategic relations with India against China. China has a 53 billion dollars trade surplus with India. Furthermore, India is the largest importer of arms in the world, from 2011 to 2015 its arms import accounted for 14 percent of the global arms imports. Almost every country wants to have a share of this trade. This purchasing power has provided India a new sense of power and influence in the region and beyond. It likes to dictate terms of state-to-state interaction in the South Asian State system whose limited effect Pakistan has faced in the shape of eight F-16 sale deal with USA or in case of JF-17 sale deal to Sri Lanka. In future with increased strategic and economic imbalance it can attempt to block Pakistani access to high-end technologies.


Pakistan for long thought that conventional strategic imbalance can reasonably be corrected with the development of a nuclear deterrence. It has developed a relatively effective nuclear deterrence against India. Nuclear weapons are political instrument and cannot be used rationally in war situation because after a nuclear war there will be no difference between the victor and the vanquished. Thus, nuclear deterrence is used as a psychological phenomenon to achieve strategic-political objective. It is a delicate deterrence which requires constant upkeeping in order to yield positive results; if any action undermines the nature of deterrence, its effectiveness is undermined. The new weapon system that Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is developing can have negative impact on the nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan. It is developing K-4 (SLBM). K-4 is a nuclear capable intermediate-range 3500 km submarine-launched ballistic missile that will nuclearize the Indian-ocean with Indian Arihant-class submarines and give India second strike capability. Secondly, India is developing indigenous ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. It has tested Ashwin missile that is an advanced air defense (AAD) anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 30 km. Though, anti-nuclear defense systems are very expensive to develop and to give an illusion of defense against a nuclear attack, there is no deference whether a nuclear weapon explodes at ground or in air. These developments have a theoretical possibility to undermine the deterrence value of the nuclear deterrence. These proactive and aggressive Indian strategic plans can in future lower the nuclear threshold level and force Pakistan to enter into regional arms’ race.


In conclusion, it is argued that the growing sharp imbalance between India and Pakistan could have very serious consequences both for Pakistan’s meaningful autonomous survival and strategic harmony and prosperity of the South Asian region. Pakistan cannot ignore its security and welfare of its people. It will face extreme difficulties if its economy does not grow and increase the amount that is needed to defend itself. India as the larger state in the region has the key to restore strategic harmony and utilize the potential of the region in new economic world to end poverty and bring prosperity to the people. It will never be able to subjugate the region because of its people and competing foreign powers; even the USA will not allow it to pursue regional hegemony thoughtlessly which will push India to a disastrous arms race and outside great powers intervention. For a peaceful South Asia, it needs to resolve its long-standing conflicting issues and stop its interference in the domestic affairs of the regional states.

 

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

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10
January

ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کا منفی رویہ

تحریر: محمد اکرم ذکی

سابق سیکرٹری جنرل و وزیر مملکت وزارت خارجہ۔پاکستان

آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں پاکستان کے مشیر خارجہ کوہوٹل سے باہر نہ آنے دینا سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے کہیں بڑھ کر حبس بے جا میں رکھنے کا مجرمانہ فعل ہے۔ اس فعل سے بھارت نے واضح طور پر اپنے اسی جارحانہ پیغام کو ایک مرتبہ پھر دہرایا ہے۔ دشمنی پر مبنی جو پیغام وہ تسلسل کے ساتھ پاکستان کو دے رہا ہے اور پاکستان خطے کے وسیع تر مفاد میں امن اور دوستی کی خواہشات کو مقدم رکھے ہوئے ہے۔ بھارت کے ساتھ خوشگوار تعلقات کا خواب دیکھنے والے مقتدر حلقے کی آنکھیں اب کھل جانی چاہئے اور انہیں اس تلخ حقیقت کا ادراک کرلینا چاہئے کہ پاکستان کی ترقی، استحکام،امن اور سب سے بڑھ کرپاکستان کے وجود کو بھارت کی جانب سے حقیقی و سنگین خطرات درپیش ہیں اور بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف اپنے مذموم عزائم کی تکمیل کی خاطر کسی بھی حد تک جاسکتا ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف جارحانہ و دشمنانہ کردار کی ایک بڑی وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ بھارت اب علاقائی بالادستی کے خواب سے آگے بڑھ کر دنیا کی بڑی طاقتوں میں شمولیت کے پروگرام پر عمل پیرا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے وہ نہ صرف اپنی جنگی اور ایٹمی صلاحیت کو مسلسل بڑھا رہا ہے بلکہ خطے کے تمام ممالک کو اپنی تابعداری میں لینے کی کوشش بھی کررہا ہے۔بڑی جنگی طاقتوں میں اپنا شمار کرانے کے لئے بھارت نے جوہری پروگرام کو وسیع کرکے امریکہ ، جاپان اور آسٹریلیا سے جوہری معاہدے کئے ہیں۔نئے نیوکلیئر ڈاکٹر ائن کے تحت اپنی تینوں افواج کو ایٹمی صلاحیت سے لیس کیا ہے ۔ کسی بھی بحری فوج کے پاس ایٹمی قوت کی موجودگی اس حوالے سے زیادہ خطرناک سمجھی جاتی ہے ،کیونکہ اسے مارک کرکے نشانہ بنانا مشکل ہوتا ہے۔ سلامتی کونسل میں مستقل نشست،خطے پہ بالادستی و اجارہ داری اوربڑی طاقتوں میں شماربھارت کی ایسی خواہشات ہیں کہ جن کی تکمیل کی راہ میں وہ پاکستان کو رکاوٹ سمجھتا ہے۔ اس رکاوٹ کو ہٹانے یا ختم کرنے کے لئے بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف ایک باقاعدہ پروگرام پہ کاربند ہے۔

 

hartofasia.jpgاس پروگرام میں پاکستان کو داخلی و خارجی سطح پر عدم استحکام کا شکار کرنا، پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا، تعمیر و ترقی کے دروازے بند کرنا، خطے کے ممالک کے ساتھ تعلقات میں بگاڑ اور بالخصوص دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں پاکستان کی قربانیوں کو نظرانداز کرانے کے لئے الزامات کا لامتناہی سلسلہ جاری رکھنا شامل ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف اس بھارتی پروگرام کو اگر امریکی حمایت حاصل ہے تو یہ کوئی اچنبھے کی بات نہیں۔ سوویت یونین کے ٹوٹنے کے بعد امریکہ نے اپنا مرکزی حریف چین کو قرار دیا اور اپنی پالیسی ترتیب دی جس میں بھارت کو چین کے مدمقابل لانا شامل تھا۔ اس پالیسی کے تحت امریکہ نے بھارت کے ساتھ بڑے دفاعی و جوہری معاہدے کئے ۔ 2001ء میں صدر بش نے بھارت کے ساتھ میزائل ڈیفنس سسٹم معاہدہ کیا۔ 2005میں نیوکلیئر ڈیل اور اس کے علاوہ بے تحاشہ اسلحہ دینے کے معاہدے کئے۔ اب امریکہ اور بھارت نے ایک دوسرے کے بیسز استعمال کرنے اور لاجسٹک امداد کے معاہدے کئے ہیں۔ بھارت چین کے خلاف امریکہ سے تعاون پر مبنی پالیسی کی قیمت پاکستان مخالف پالیسی میں امریکی حمایت و مدد کی صورت میں مانگتا ہے۔ چنانچہ پاکستان کے خلاف بھارتی جارحانہ و دشمنانہ رویے پہ عالمی خاموشی باعث حیرت نہیں ہونی چاہئے۔


پاکستان کے خلاف بھارت کے عزائم حالیہ دور حکومت یا موجودہ عشرے میں جارحانہ نہیں ہوئے بلکہ قیام پاکستان کے بعد سے ہی بھارت پاکستان کی سلامتی کے خلاف سرگرم تھا۔ پاکستان پر جنگیں مسلط کیں۔ پہلے کشمیر پہ قبضہ کیا، پھر مشرقی پاکستان کو الگ کرنے میں اپنا گھناؤنا کردار ادا کیا ۔ پاکستان کے پانیوں پر قبضے کی پالیسی اختیار کی۔ کشمیر میں ظلم و ستم کے پہاڑ ڈھائے۔ آزادئ کشمیر کے لئے جو تحریک اٹھی تو اسے دہشت گرد قرار دیا۔ نریندر مودی حکومت کے آنے کے بعد بھارتی کردار جارحانہ نہیں بلکہ بے نقاب ہوا۔ نریندر مودی نے بھارتی پالیسی کو واضح اور عیاں کیا۔ یہاں تک کہ پاکستان کو دولخت کرنے کا اقبال جرم بھی سینہ تان کر سابق مشرقی پاکستان میں کیا۔ پاکستان کو تقسیم در تقسیم کرنے کی دیرینہ بھارتی خواہش کو عملی جامہ پہناتے ہوئے مودی نے بلوچستان اور گلگت بلتستان کی آزادی کی بھی باتیں شروع کردیں۔ دہشت گردی کے نام سے پاکستان کے خلاف واویلا کرکے پہلے دباؤمیں رکھنے کی کوشش کی۔ جب پاک افواج نے دہشت گردوں کے خلاف فیصلہ کن آپریشن ضرب عضب شروع کیا تو بھارت نے ایک جانب مشرقی سرحد پر بلااشتعال فائرنگ اور شیلنگ کا سلسلہ وقفے وقفے سے شروع کردیا تو دوسری جانب لائن آف کنٹرول پر بھی جارحیت شروع کردی۔ اسی پر ہی اکتفا نہیں کیا بلکہ افغانستان کے ذریعے مغربی سرحد پر بھی پاک فوج کو مصروف کرنے کی کوشش کی۔ یہ پاک فوج کی پیشہ ورانہ مہارت اور اعلیٰ صلاحیتوں کا ہی مظہر ہے کہ بھارت کی جانب سے بیک وقت کھولے گئے کئی محاذوں پر افواج پاکستان نے دشمن کو دندان شکن جواب دیا۔ اجیت دوول ڈاکٹرائن کہ ’’پاکستان میں گھس کر اسے تباہ کرو‘‘ کو عملی طور پر پاک فوج نے اپنی مؤثر حکمتِ عملی سے توڑا ہے۔


مودی حکومت نے پاکستان کے خلاف دوسرا بڑا محاذ سفارتی سطح پر کھولا ، جس کا مقصد عالمی برادری میں پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے پاکستان کے تمام دوست جن میں چین، سعودی عرب، ایران، عرب امارات، افغانستان، وسطی ایشیائی ریاستیں وغیرہ شامل ہیں، ان تمام ممالک سے بھارت نے نہ صرف تجارت اور تعلقات کو فروغ دیا ہے بلکہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری منصوبے کے خلاف چین میں جاکرا حتجاج کیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پاکستان کو توانائی کے بحران میں مبتلا رکھنے کے لئے پہلے پاک ایران گیس پائپ لائن منصوبے میں سے نکل کراسے ناکام بنانے کی کوشش کی اور پھر ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیاگیس منصوبے میں شامل ہوکر افغانستان سے پاکستان کے اندر دراندازی میں اضافہ کردیا۔ پاک افغان کشیدگی بڑھانے کے جہاں دیگر مقاصد ہیں وہاں ایک بڑا بھارتی مقصد یہ بھی ہے کہ ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیا منصوبہ بھی کھٹائی میں پڑے۔ اگر کامیاب بھی ہو تو بھی پاکستان کی توانائی سپلائی لائن افغانستان میں بھارتی پیر کے نیچے رہے۔ اسی طرح بھارت نے سعودی عرب اور عرب امارات کے ساتھ کئی معاہدے کئے۔ بھارت نے بہار میں سرمایہ کاری اور ایران، افغانستان، بھارت کوریڈور بناکر وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں تک رسائی کا وہ منصوبہ شروع کیا،جس میں پاکستان شامل نہیں ، حالانکہ وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں کا سہل اور محفوظ راستہ پاکستان افغانستان سے گزرتا ہے۔ جس طرح پاک افغان تعلقات میں خرابی کے لئے بھارت افغانستان میں سرگرم ہے، اسی طرح پاک ایران تعلقات میں خرابی پیدا کرنے کا بھی کوئی موقع ہاتھ سے نہیں جانے دیتا ۔ اسلامی جمہوریہ ایران کے صدر حسن روحانی پاکستان کے دورے پر پاک چین اقتصادی کوریڈور میں شامل ہونے کی خواہش لے کر آئے تھے۔ عین اسی وقت کلبھوشن کا معاملہ سامنے آیا اور ایسا پہلی مرتبہ ہوا کہ بھارت نے نہ صرف کلبھوشن کو اپنا جاسوس تسلیم کیا بلکہ فوری طور پر اس کی فیملی کے افراد بھی میڈیا پر لے آیا۔میڈیا کے ذریعے تاثر یہ دینا مقصود تھا کہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری کے خلاف ایران اور بھارت ایک ہیں، حالانکہ بلوچستان کے معاملے پر پاکستان اور ایران ایک جبکہ بھارت اور اسرائیل مخالف صفحہ پر موجود ہیں، جبکہ گوادر اورسی پیک کا بنیادی تعلق بلوچستان سے ہے۔ جس طرح پاکستانی بلوچستان میں بھارت مداخلت کررہا ہے اور یہاں بغاوت کا بیج بونے کی کوششوں میں مصروف عمل ہے ، اسی طرح ایرانی بلوچستان کے خلاف اسرائیل سرگرم ہے اور اس مقصد کے لئے بھارتی زمین استعمال کررہا ہے۔حال ہی میں اسرائیلی صدر نے بھارت کا طویل ترین دورہ بھی کیا ہے۔چنانچہ سی پیک میں شامل ہونے کی ایرانی خواہش کا نہ صرف چین نے خیر مقدم کیا بلکہ پاکستان نے بھی اسے خوش آئند قرار دیا۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ چند روز قبل سی پیک کی آفیشل ویب سائٹ کی افتتاحی تقریب میں چین اور ایران کے سفیروں نے خصوصی شرکت کی۔


سی پیک کو ناکام بنانے اور اس کی سکیورٹی مشکوک کرنے کے لئے دہشت گردانہ حملے جاری ہیں۔ چین سے گوادر کے لئے پہلے برآمد ی قافلے کی روانگی سے چار روز قبل پولیس ٹریننگ سکول کوئٹہ میں دہشت گردی کا اندوہناک سانحہ پیش آیا۔ برآمدی قافلے کے گوادر پہنچ جانے کے اگلے روز اور گوادر کی افتتاحی تقریب سے محض ایک روز قبل دربار شاہ نورانی میں خودکش حملہ ہوا۔ دہشت گردی کے دونوں واقعات میں بھارتی عنصر براہ راست ملوث پایا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پشاور، فاٹا، کراچی و ملک کے دیگر شہروں میں پیش آنے والے سانحات کا سرا افغانستان میں موجود کالعدم تنظیموں سے جاملتا ہے ۔ جو بھارتی چھتر چھایا میں پاکستان کے خلاف دہشت گردی کا بازار گرم کئے ہوئے ہیں۔ علاوہ ازیں پاک فوج کے جوانوں نے اسی عرصے میں آبی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والی سب میرین کا راستہ روکا اور پاک فضائی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والے ایک بھارتی ڈرون کو بھی مار گرایا۔


تیسرا قبیح عمل مقبوضہ وادی میں ریاستی طاقت کے حیوانی استعمال کی صورت میں بھارت سرانجام دے رہا ہے۔ مقبوضہ وادی میں برہان وانی کی المناک شہادت کے بعد کشمیری نوجوانوں کی جو تحریک آزادی کے نعرے کے ساتھ اٹھی اس کو کچلنے کے لئے بھارت ظلم و جبر کی تمام حدیں پار کرچکا ہے۔ وانی کی شہادت کے بعد بیسیوں نوجوان شہید، سینکڑوں نوجوان، بچے، خواتین پیلٹ گن کا نشانہ بن کر اپنی بینائی کھوچکے ہیں۔ نوجوان بچیاں، مستورات لاپتا ہیں۔ سینکڑوں نوجوان، طالب علم زیر حراست ہیں۔ بجائے اس ظلم پر شرمندگی محسوس کرنے کے بھارت مقبوضہ وادی میں آزادی کی اس تحریک کو بھی پاک بھارت مسئلہ بنا کر پیش کرنے میں مصروف عمل ہے۔


پیش کردہ حالات و واقعات اتنے پرانے نہیں ہیں کہ جو اس سے قبل کسی عالمی یا علاقائی فورم پر پاکستان کی جانب سے پیش نہ کئے گئے ہوں۔ ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کی جانب سے سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے بڑھ کر مجرمانہ رویہ اپنانے کی وجہ یوں بھی سمجھ میں آتی ہے کہ بھارت’’الٹا چور کوتوال کو ڈانٹے ‘‘ کے مصداق اپنے جرائم پر پردہ ڈال کے پاکستان کو ’’مجرم‘‘ثابت کرنے پر کمربستہ ہے۔ شائد یہی وجہ ہے کہ پاکستانی مشیر خارجہ کو حبس بے جا میں رکھا نہ تو انہیں ترجمان سے ملنے دیا گیا اور نہ ہی گنے چنے موجود پاکستانی صحافیوں سے۔ حالانکہ ابھی نریندر مودی کو پاکستانی حکمرانوں کی میزبانی سے لطف اندوز ہوئے پورا ایک سال بھی مکمل نہیں ہواتھا۔


ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔ پاکستان کو مربوط، جامع ،مستقل اور طویل المدت پالیسی اپنا نی ہوگی۔ سول ملٹری قیادت کو مشترکہ حکمت عملی اپنانی ہوگی۔ دشمن کا مقابلہ کرنے کے لئے عسکری قوت کو مضبوط سے مضبوط تر کرنا ہوگا۔ سول انتظامیہ و پولیس کے ذریعے اندرونی انتشاریوں سے سخت رویہ اپنا نا ہوگا۔ بھارتی میڈیا ایک بمبئی سانحہ کو لے کر دنیا میں پاکستان دشمنی کا ڈھول پیٹ رہا ہے جبکہ ہمارا آزاد میڈیا سمجھوتہ ایکسپریس، مالگاؤں کویاد کرنا تو درکنار اے پی ایس، سانحہ چارسدہ یونیورسٹی، کوئٹہ کچہری حملہ، پولیس لائن حملے ودیگر بیسیوں ایسے سانحات کو فراموش کرچکا ہے جن میں بھارت براہِ راست ملوث تھا۔ ہمارے میڈیا کو بھی سلامتی کے امور میں قدم بہ قدم ملک و قوم کی ترجمانی کرنی ہوگی۔ بیرونی ممالک میں موجود ہمارے سفارتخانوں کو بھی موثرانداز میں اپنا نقطہ نظر دنیا پر واضح کرنا ہوگا، اور دنیاکو یہ باور کرانا ہوگا کہ پاکستان میں جاری دہشت گردی کی سرپرستی بھارت کررہا ہے اور پاکستان دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں بیش بہا قربانی دے رہا ہے۔ عمومی طور پر بھارت کے حوالے سے ہماری پالیسی ردعمل یاسستی کا شکار رہتی ہے مگر اب اس بات کی شدید ضرورت ہے کہ ردعمل سے نکل کر سفارتی و سیاسی محاذپر پیش قدمی کریں۔ بھارتی رعونت اور جارحیت کے خلاف ایک جامع، مربوط اور طویل المدت پالیسی ترتیب دیں جس پر صبر و تحمل سے عمل پیرا ہوکر بھارتی عزائم کو ناکام بنایا جائے۔
(آمین)

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ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔

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