07
February
February 2018(EDITION 02, Volume 55)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
21st century has brought changes to the nature and character of war and thus the warfare is not restricted to the battlefield alone, rather non-military instruments and a combination of conventional and unconventional methods of war, and use of information in particular....Read full article
 
Written By: Sardar Masood Khan
At a deeper level, the rallies and demonstrations and the popular sentiment displayed on the day goes on to show that Pakistan is not complete without Kashmir and Kashmiris have not yet acquired their political persona.....Read full article
 
Mushaal Hussein Mullick
Just imagine a woman who is a wife and a widow at the same time: she does not know where her spouse is; whether he is dead or alive; would he ever return home or not? Or a mother, who continuously hopes to hear the footsteps of her son, is stuck in a life of hope and fear.....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmed Quraishi
Burhan Wani is to Kashmir what Gandhi was to India: the catalyst that led to eventual freedom for an entire nation. Wani and Gandhi gave direction and certainty to freedom movements that long existed before them but never seemed definitive until these two....Read full article
 
Written By: Vice Admiral Taj M. Khattak (R)
Amid growing global concerns and increase in cyber security incidents and threats, both in frequency and intensity, it makes sense to share best practices to promote security but given their visceral common animosity towards Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed
In Pakistan, the roots of discrimination against religious minorities can be associated with different factors and all the factors are interdependent, yet it is seen in the context of religion. The history shows that there was peaceful coexistence.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Ehsan Mehmood Khan
All these causes of war may be summarized into a single word: interest. Thus, the nature of war remains knit around human interest, however, character of war continues to transform from kinetic to non-kinetic, violent to non-violent,.....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)
New times call for a new concept of warfare. In the ever evolving geopolitical environments and pre-eminence of trends like economy, media, civil society and, globalization, the scope of waging a sole conventional war is neither feasible nor cost effective. This notion......Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Zia
While Pakistani security forces have done well in taking on the challenge of homegrown as well as foreign-sponsored terrorism and are capable .....Read full article
 
Written By: S.M. Hali
It is no coincidence that Indian secret service Research & Analysis Wing, RAW’s senior operative and terror monger, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, in his confessional statement also admitted having orchestrated the Safoora Goth attack.....Read full article
 
Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal
Simply phrased, economic prosperity reduces the element of external dependence of a state and enhances national security. Any slackness on this front limits the foreign policy choices as well as puts strains on domestic policy....Read full article
 
Written By: Farzana Yaqoob
Call it good luck or bad, the two nations India and Pakistan are intrinsically connected to each other not just by culture, heritage and history but also by water. By and large this is a significant relationship that the two countries have managed to maintain. They have fought....Read full article
 
Written By: Ayesha Soomro and Ayesha Wajahat
21st century’s diverse asymmetrical threats have changed the dynamics of wars, with it not being limited to the battlefield alone but also trascending to the domain of mind/psychology transcending to the domain of minds and not only limited to the battlefields. Psychological .....Read full article
 
Written By: Rana Ather Javed
Espionage activities are not new and they will always remain the primary source of obtaining secret and classified information. Whereas, counter intelligence (CI) is the most important tool to neutralize hostile external covert threats. However, legalizing CI activities.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Numerous films have been rolled out by the Bollywood after the commercial success of Sarfarosh. During the rise of neo-Hindu nationalism in India, the tones and tenors of these films have become rather blatant, sometimes to the point of becoming unintentional.....Read full article
 
Written By: Syed Ali Hadi
The strategic community as well as the technical diaspora must join heads to formulate a comprehensive framework of understanding to overcome the ‘Cyber Dilemma’. The interdisciplinary approach.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Fateh-ud-din B. Mehmood
Gone are the days of traditional spying because the spy couple Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Mata Hari, Major John André, Virginia Hall, Shi Pei Pu and all top 100 spies in the history of espionage together cannot collect even a fraction of the intelligence.....Read full article
 
Written By: Shakeel Ahmad Ramay
Digital diplomacy can be used to create chaos, confusion or unrest. Additionally it has the potential to sabotage country to country relations if not used appropriately. The digital front is as important as others for those who deal with national security......Read full article
 
Written By: Major General Muhammad Khalil Dar
Night of January 26, 2018 was a routine cold winter night with temperature well below freezing point. The pilots of Pakistan Army Aviation High Altitude Squadron based in Skardu were busy having dinner with officers from Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) when .....Read full article
 
His Excellency Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of China, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi on January 5, 2018. Matters related to changing.....Read full article
 
COAS was on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka from January 16-17,2018 on invitation from his counterpart. COAS held meetings with the Sri Lankan military leadership including the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chiefs of all three services. COAS was given guard of honour.....Read full article

 
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Special Services Group (SSG) Headquarters at Cherat on January 11, 2018. Upon arrival, the PM laid a floral wreath at the shuhada monument. PM was briefed about.........Read full article
 
In a landmark event in the history of PAF, the inauguration ceremony of a newly established main operating base named PAF Base Bholari was held. To show reverence to the Father of the Nation, this landmark event was arranged on his birth anniversary. The great Quaid......Read full article
 
In an impressive fire power display, live weapon firing was conducted by Pakistan Navy’s Fast Attack Craft (Missile), PNS Himmat in the North Arabian Sea. PNS Himmat fired indigenously developed Harbah Naval Cruise Missile, ......Read full article
 
Lieutenant General Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussian, HI (M), Commander Army Strategic Forces Command (Colonel Commandant Regiment of Artillery) inaugurated 5 KVA solar plant at DHQ Hospital and reverse osmosis water filtration plant at Government Middle School in Thana, Malakand (Swat)......Read full article
 
Commander Gujranwala Corps, Lieutenant General Aamir Abbasi visited different areas of Harpal sector affected due to Indian shelling. He also attended the funeral of martyrs on January 18, 2018......Read full article
 
Commander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various forward locations in Gilgit-Baltistan. During the visit, he reviewed the operational preparedness of the deployed force at Siachen and other forward areas. He expressed his complete satisfaction about....Read full article
 
Naval forces, as extension of government's foreign policy, have historically contributed to strengthen the bonds of friendship between nations through goodwill visits. Cognizant of this fact, Pakistan Navy has always endeavoured to enhance collaboration with friendly countries. Hence, Pakistan.......Read full article
 
Lt Gen Abdullah Dogar, Commander Multan Corps visited Al-Noor Special Children School & College. The students performed various segments including songs, folk dances, tableau and skits. He appreciated and admired their motivation, resilience and distributed prizes among....Read full article
 
Pakistan Army 2 Corps team won Army Baseball Championship 2017 by defeating Pakistan Army 5 Corps team. The chief guest of the final match, Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza witnessed the final match and distributed medals amongst the players of the winning.....Read full article
 
More than 200 ferraris including 15 commanders laid down their arms and surrendered in front of provincial authorities and security forces in an impressive ceremony held in Turbat on January 25, 2018. Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo ....Read full article
 
Pak-China Special Forces joint exercise WARRIOR-V was recently conducted at the Counter-Terrorism Centre Pabbi. The Special Forces of People’s Liberation Army China and Pakistan Army participated in this exercise. After the culmination of exercise, a ceremony was held at the Counter....Read full article
 
07
February

Written By: Major General Muhammad Khalil Dar

Night of January 26, 2018 was a routine cold winter night with temperature well below freezing point. The pilots of Pakistan Army Aviation High Altitude Squadron based in Skardu were busy having dinner with officers from Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) when few of them noticed signs of growing worry on the face of their Commanding Officer (CO) while attending a telephone call. 2130 hours was the time when first information was received regarding brewing tragedy at Nanga Parbat. At 8126 meters, this majestic mountain, that, ranks 9th in 8000 meters above class, holds 3rd position in numbers of lives it has consumed, is fairly named as The Killer Mountain.

 

 

The mission received, though quite ordinary in relative terms of flying, but it was increasingly difficult to fathom in scope of its entirety and precedence even for the experienced minds. Two world acclaimed climbers, Mr. Tomasz Mackiewicz, a Polish national and Ms. Elisabeth Revol, a French national were stranded at height of 7400 meters and 6500 meters respectively. While successfully having attempted the summit in Alpine Style, they were forced to take refuge owing to very high winds. Alpine Style meant that they only had few carefully calculated provisions and critically depended on reaching the tent site before nightfall. They were exposed for three days and were now badly suffering from frostbite and extreme exhaustion reduced to hours of survival. For their help four rescuers were to be heli-lifted from K2 Base Camp flown across Skardu Valley and dropped at Nanga Parbat Base Camp. They would then climb up and try reaching the stranded climbers. All this had to be done without losing any further time. But what overshadowed the whole undertaking was unfavourable prevailing weather conditions and not so promising forecast. By late night January 26, it was abundantly clear that a miracle alone could save the two stranded climbers.

 

Dawn of January 27 slipped into a typical winter day of Skardu and the valley remained engulfed in seemingly unconcerned static clouds, ditching all hopes. 250 kms to NE at K2 Base Camp gloom must have been overpowering on finding the morning full of low clouds and strong winds. Thousands of miles west in France and Poland families of the stranded climbers were awake all night praying for some miracle to happen. Wife of Mr. Tomasz, Anna Antonina Solska along with her three young children pinned all hopes on the mercy of Mother Nature and strongest display of courage by the elite Polish rescuers.  

 

At K2 Base Camp Jaroslaw Botor (Team leader), Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki and Piotr Tomala were ready in their rescue gear which included things ranging from oxygen cylinders to Gamova Bag. While they waited with waning hopes they must have been shrugging off the worst fears which every high altitude climber is aware of i.e., succumbing to merciless breathlessness and exhaustion under freezing conditions. One can certainly assume that whenever they looked at their watches they had flashes of images about the predicament faced by their fellow climbers in the frigidness of Nanga Parbat which could go to minus 60 degrees Celsius below freezing point. The pilots at Skardu, however, utilized these few early hours in calculating the weights and temperatures to the smallest details and planning ahead for possible variations in the seemingly impossible undertaking.  

 

tryustwithcourage.jpg

Just before noon it seemed that prayers of families and friends were joining somewhere far above Nanga Parbat as the clouds started to lift up, rekindling the hopes at Skardu. At 1130 hours a video link at K2 Base Camp was established by Mr. Dariusez; a fellow member of K2 Expedition. It was ascertained that Mother Nature could offer a window of opportunity should the brave ones were ready to grasp. As the luck would have it, Mr. Dariusez himself had been rescued on helicopters few days ago following high altitude sickness and now needed to be dropped at K2 Base Camp anyway. A little more time was spent in double checking the weather through military detachments along the Baltoro Glacier before taking the critical decision of going for it. It had turned into a situation of now or never. By 1245 hours a standard team of two Ecureuil helicopters and four pilots (Lt Col Anjum Rafique, Maj Fakhar-e-Abbas, Maj Jehanzeb Qazi and Maj Hussain Hamid) along with Mr. Dariusez and a technician took off for 45 minutes’ flying to K2 Base Camp. Helicopters touched down briefly at Payu (3100 meters) to drop the technician who had to work very hard for preparation of quick refuelling of helicopters before returning to Skardu.

 

As per the official release by the K2 expedition leader the elite team of Polish rescuers were picked up at 1330 hours from K2 Base Camp. It’s not hard to imagine the mixed feelings at K2 Base Camp. Gloom, hope and above all the highest human virtue of courage in the face of death while saving the fellow human beings must have been all mixed. Even the disciplined hearts of the elite team must have been sinking and beating up high simultaneously as they knew very well that what they were up to that had never been attempted before. Surely they were hardened and passionate climbers and pilots who enjoyed facing death while fulfilling their dreams and missions.

 

After landing at Skardu, the combined team of pilots and rescuers appreciated the next part of flying while the technicians refuelled the helicopters to the calculated precision. Every passing minute must have been viewed as adding up against the success of the mission, which now started looking doable. In the race against time at 1540 hours the helicopters took off for the most critical part of the mission. A higher but shorter route of flying was chosen to save on time. Lt Col Anjum’s conversation must have soothed Jaroslaw Botor (Team Leader), Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki when he told them that he was quite familiar with Nanga Parbat especially the Diamir approach route known as Kinshofer Route (one of the nine routes discovered and named after a German climber in 1962). It’s also not hard to imagine that what must have been going on in the mind of Lt Col Anjum Rafique. On one hand he was confident about the ability of his newly acquired machine i.e., Ecureuil 350 B3 coupled with his past experience of rescuing Italian climbers Mr. Simone Kehrer and Walter Nones back in 2008. On the other hand, his shoulders must had been weighing heavy with every passing minute as there was hardly two hours of daylight left.

 

 tryustwithcourage1.jpgLuckily Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki were veteran winter climbers. Adam Bielecki is known for the first winter ascents of the Gasherbrum-I and Broad Peak (both 8000 meters). While Denis Urubko known as Snow Leopard has climbed all 8000 meters peaks and holds world’s speed climb records. Both were familiar with the Kinshofer Route having climbed it with Italian Daniele Nardi (played the pivotal role in gathering international support for this rescue mission).

            

A quick and mutually agreed discussion led to the conclusion that if the helicopters drop the team at Base Camp then they would probably require more than 24 hours and super human efforts just to reach the last reported location of Ms. Elisabeth Revol. But if somehow they were dropped just below the massive snow wall i.e., 1000 meters below the reported location then the shadows of death could be countered. The odds of her survival could swing in her favour as the rescuers would be only 6-8 hours away and of course a lot more fresh to handle her and bring her back after finding her. Pilots made quick calculations and were able to drop the team of dare devils where they wanted. This was the second critical decision on the part of pilots which mainly contributed to the eventual success of this epic rescue mission. It was a living example of a miracle-in-making beyond any doubts.

 

Now one has to switch to none other than Mr. Nazir Sabir (President’s Medal for Pride of Performance) who was amongst the first professional high altitude climbers to post a constant stream of updates on his Facebook page. Excerpts were also taken from official report released on January 29 by Polish Winter K2 Expedition leader Mr. Krzysztof Wielicki.

 

By the time the team successfully got dropped it was already 1700 hours with sun setting on their backs and soon the temperature would be plummeting steeply. The real race against the time had begun. Two of the best acclimatized veteran climbers Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki started steep climbing up the snow wall anticipating to cover a kilometre i.e., 1000 meters before dawn. It was not an ordinary climb as they were heavily loaded with rescue equipment, not taken under normal circumstances especially the heavy Gamova Bag. But they were lucky on two accounts, Kinshofer route is historically well provisioned with anchored ropes and there was little snow in relative terms. With these two factors on their side they could undertake a steep climb at night with better speed. Meanwhile rest of the two climbers, Jaroslaw Botor (a medic and team leader) and Piotr Tomala, started establishing camp and communication. By 0200 hours on January 28 i.e., about 8 hours later both the valiant climbers had climbed 1100 meters and it was then that they heard the faint replies of collapsing Elisabeth Revol. She was indeed up to proving her acclaimed courage, strength and endurance as she had descended few hundred meters herself to catch up with her rescuers. It was somewhere above the Camp 2 at the dizzying height of 6,130 meters i.e., 20,229 feet and temperature touching 60 degrees Celsius below freezing point. It’s the height where Turboprop Airliners fly and it’s the temperature 5 times below the household Deep Freezer.  

 

She was taken into a quickly set up two-men tent and administered with medicines and hot drinks. She was suffering from severe hand and left foot frostbite besides extreme exhaustion. Before giving her rest till the day break she was asked the most anticipated question i.e., whereabouts and physical condition of her co-climber Tomasz Mackiewicz. It was the most disheartening information. Tomasz had been left by her at an altitude of 7280 meters (27000 feet) in a snow cave with a sleeping bag. Three nights of exposure had rendered him disoriented mentally, a typical condition of High Altitude Sickness, and severely frostbitten hence, ruling out any possibility of his further descent at his own. He must have calculated his survival chances in a manner that a true high altitude climber alone is capable of. He wilfully sent Elisabeth down to fetch help and save herself if possible–many hours had passed by then. This was the extreme display of human courage at 27000 ft. One can imagine how hard it must have been for Ms. Elisabeth, too. They made a good pair for Alpine Climbing Style. Both were here at Nanga Parbat in 2016/17 for winter ascent which they had to abort due to strong winds and extreme cold. But this time things were different–they had to face the worst nightmare of high altitude climbing.

 

After having consulted the leader, the most painful decision was made in that small two-men tent i.e., not to endanger the lives further. The deciding factor was extremely harsh conditions, including a wind chill factor of -62 Celsius and winds of 80 kmh.

 

Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki had to begin the descent without Mr. Tomasz. By 1300 hours i.e., after a little more than 20 gruelling hours of superhuman efforts they were safely flying back in helicopters on their way to Jaglot. Ms. Elisabath was then flown in a helicopter directly to Islamabad where she was shifted to medical centre in Islamabad before she was flown to France. As of now she is critical; but has survived a life threatening ordeal high above the clouds without drinking and eating, and without shelter, for days. She defied a certain death. The four Polish heroes were flown back to Skardu on same day where they await the weather to clear so they can join back their expedition; the expedition leader is also anxiously waiting for them to join in.  

 

But what a heroic end of one of the greatest Alpine Style Climber i.e., Mr. Tomasz Mackiewicz. Before leaving this world, he proudly left inheritance in addition to his three children–that he was the first ever, along with the Revol, to climb a new winter alpine style route on Nanga Parbat. "Tomek's love for Nanga Parbat almost verges on mania," Stefan Nestler, who covers adventure sports, wrote in November 2017. This was his 7th ascend at Nanga Parbat. Sadly he was only 43.

 

This time he seemed to have preferred staying forever in his dream and joining many climbers who were there to greet him. I am sure that he must be very happy finding himself amongst the mighty climbers Jose Antonio Delgado (July 2006), Karl Unterkircher (2008), Iranian Saman Nemati (2008), Austrian Wolfgang Kolblinger (2009) and above all the only female climber losing her life, Go Mi-Young (2009). We all pray to God to bestow peace on his family and bless his soul. He was indeed a great man. We all join Anna Antonina Solska in thanking the elite rescue team, who tried to save her husband Tomasz Mackiewicz risking their own lives.

 

Professionally speaking, right at the apex is the courage of the Polish rescue climbers who decided to undertake this seemingly impossible venture upfront. It was duly matched with the extraordinary display of human resilience by Ms. Elisabeth Revol who defied a certain death. Pivotal contributing factors are the professional judgments and honed flying skills of the pilots of 5 Army Aviation High Altitude Squadron. They operate in the most unforgiving geography. By doing this they have kept the flag of the Squadron high and demonstrated that they are worthy of being known as the “Fearless Five”. Last but not the least, are the back stage hectic efforts by the tour operator Mr. Ali Saltoro and Brig Ikram (Retd), Director of Pakistan Adventure Foundation in coordinating the rescue operation. Being an aviator, I consider it unfair not to acknowledge the technical superiority of recently acquired Ecureuil 350-B3 helicopters which afforded the speed and ability to operate at higher altitudes with greater safety.                      

 

“There are people who are willing to put their lives at stake to pursue a freedom that has not compromised, far from the logic that most people share. Those people recognize them from how they talk about past adventures and adventures they will face because the challenge is the ultimate expression of the desire to live”.

(Unknown)

 
07
February

Written By: Shakeel Ahmad Ramay

Digital diplomacy can be used to create chaos, confusion or unrest. Additionally it has the potential to sabotage country to country relations if not used appropriately. The digital front is as important as others for those who deal with national security. Pakistan is experiencing this new onslaught these days!

Twentieth century was supposed to be the age of diplomacy when the Soviet Union and the U.S. representing communist and capitalist blocs respectively, started developing relations with other countries through the diplomatic means. Both the superpowers used different diplomatic tools and dynamics to make themselves aligned with the states, especially the developing world, to keep their ideologies and interests intact. In the second and third decades of 20th century, public diplomacy came into prominence and the world redefined the term diplomacy.

 

 challengesintheage.jpgRadio was used actively to disseminate national messages and agenda to influence people of the target countries. It turned successful and policy influence started appearing at mass level. With the USA and UK at the forefront, they were later joined by the Germans, Russians, etc. Voice of America and BBC were established by U.S. and the UK respectively with the aim to enhance their influence in the public diplomacy domain. 20th century ended with the introduction of new tools of public diplomacy like the Internet/cyberspace.

 

With the dawn of 21st century, a totally new system of change and transformation was developed which was based on digital space, information revolution, and use of ICT. Information revolution and digital space altered the way of living, diplomacy and warfare. Till the end of 20th century, the governments were the only legitimate players and any breach from outside was considered a crime. Today, everybody is a stakeholder and has the right to share information and ideas. Diplomats cannot live in isolation. To share information and seek guidance from the wider community, they opted for newer techniques of communication. Currently, more than two billion people are connected through the digital space. It has increased the number of stakeholders.

 

Going further, it is essential to understand digital diplomacy, its different aspects and methods of implementation. Digital diplomacy refers to the methods of engagement, sharing data, information and other materials of national interest. However, there may be deviations on the basis of individual preferences and methods of communication. Secondly, it is not a formal or traditional negotiation rather it is a way of engagement at a wider scale for a two-way communication.

 

Precisely, digital diplomacy is a new form of public diplomacy to influence the opinions, propagate agendas, build narratives and communicate messages directly to the governments and people simultaneously, etc.

 

Twiplomacy 2017 pointed out that 92 percent of the world leaders, diplomats and UN officials are connected through twitter. Apart from its merits and demerits, digital diplomacy can be used for inclusive development objectives at global and national levels. There are examples when foreign missions used digital space to communicate with people in conflict-hit areas. During the Libyan War and Arab Spring, embassies remained in contact with their people by using social networking websites. Digital diplomacy can be used to create chaos, confusion or unrest. Additionally, it has the potential to sabotage country to country relations if not used appropriately. The digital front is as important as others for those who deal with national security. Pakistan is experiencing this new onslaught these days!

 

However, it is vital to mention that digital space is a tool to propagate message and agenda by applying different traditional indicators like culture, economy, education and self-interpreted values. Diplomatic communities across the world engage people by sharing brighter sides of their culture and values, might of their economic and military power and supremacy in education and technology. Cultural evasion is one of the most effective tools of digital diplomacy. Its impact on psychology of nations is more sustainable than kinetic warfare. It has different tools like film industry, life style, ideological evasion and education etc. The West has successfully applied these tools to strengthen their supremacy and influence. Now India is also using this against Pakistan, as once Ms. Sonia Gandhi mentioned in her speech.

 

Today, everybody is the stakeholder and has the right to share information and ideas. Diplomats cannot live in isolation. To share information and seek guidance from the wider community, they opted for newer techniques of communication. Currently, more than two billion people are connected through the digital space. It has increased the number of stakeholders.

A bird’s eye view of the activities of the diplomatic community would clearly support the argument. Similarly, digital space is also used to propagate and demoralize other countries by creating confusion, chaos and targeting values and norms of other countries. In recent times, digital space has emerged as a new way of warfare.

 

The current U.S. President, Donald Trump uses digital diplomacy to create fear and to pursue U.S. national interest. He has given new meanings to digital diplomacy and communication with diverse stakeholders. He tweets about each and every thing and even threatened the countries like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan through his tweets. North Korea went on a “Twitter War” with President Trump and both sides bypassed the established norms of diplomatic channels. Trump’s recent tweet about Pakistan created a huge fuss and rang alarm bells among the diplomatic lot and peace-loving people of both the countries. Although Pakistan showed restraint, it tried to reply in the most appropriate manner. Now, diplomats and military officials from both sides are engaged in damage control.

 

Pakistan is under target in digital space even for its purely development initiatives. Campaigns have been designed in the digital space to malign countries to create stumbling blocks for hindering the course of development. Best example for Pakistan is the undue criticism on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Most social websites and networks are flooded with disinformation and tempered statistics. These are being used to create misunderstanding and confusion among provinces and people. We can count the numerous times when wrong information and statistics were shared with people through social media and networks.

 

First, confusion was created on the route, then on SEZs (special economic zones) and now on repayment. Other example can be quoted from bilateral relations’ damage, which Pakistan is confronted with. If we analyze social media and networks, it seems that Afghanistan has the worst relation with Pakistan. However, the actual picture is altogether different. There are millions of Afghan who feel closely associated with Pakistan and the people of Pakistan.

 

This phenomenon does not stop here. Pakistan also faces problems at global level. Digital space is being used to malign Pakistan on different fronts. For example, Pakistan is being labeled as supporter of terrorists in Afghanistan and it is being propagated throughout the world. Although Pakistan has rendered great sacrifices both in term of lives and properties, the global community is not ready to acknowledge it because of the propaganda against it. This propaganda culminated at a very harsh and non-factual tweet by President Trump.

 

Apart from this, Pakistan is also targeted on charges of victimizing women, minorities, and marginalized groups. Fake news, videos and incidents are shared through social media and used to incite conflict against country. An old case of a video screening beating women by Taliban in Swat can be quoted as a classic example.

 

Data is another important area of digital space that is being collected and used without the permission of people. Facebook is one of the biggest social network website and it possesses individuals’ data whoever joins it. It is also true for other social network websites like twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Data is being used for economic, political and security purposes. In Europe and USA, political parties use this data to run their political campaigns. It is believed that it was used in Brexit and Donald Trump’s election campaign. Later, judiciary had to intervene to stop it.

 

Social network websites are also being used to propagate special messages and agendas. Pakistan has observed this in the past and is observing it so far as well. In recent past, some bloggers used these websites to spread material against Islamic and national values. These bloggers specifically targeted prominent personalities and Islamic beliefs, which created unrest among the people.

 

Digital space is also being used to instigate emotional outburst and violent protests by targeting sacred personalities. Few years back some controversial videos were uploaded on YouTube which targeted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam. It caused protests and strong opposition by many Muslim countries. As a result Pakistan banned YouTube for a long time. Digital space has provided space for hidden messages and use of non-diplomatic communities to propagate national agenda. India is using some of the Baloch leaders and other people to portray a bad image of Pakistan.

 

In this context, Pakistan needs to pro-actively pursue innovations in the digital space and use it for public diplomacy–the most effective method to enhance its outreach and influence.

 

In order to devise a national strategy for digital diplomacy, there are a number of areas to focus on. Initially, the digital space can be used to highlight:

 

a.            Supreme sacrifices in the war on terror.

b.            Rich cultural heritage.

c.             Achievements in sports.

d.            Contributions in research and development.

 

To promote its soft image, Pakistan should develop a digital directory of the most ancient cultural sites, venues and activities. It is blessed with one of the oldest civilizations, which makes us distinct from the rest of world. Pakistan should promote these sites as venues of tourism and to create harmony among the people. We should also highlight our contribution to art, drama and music. Sports is another field, wherein the country has produced some of the finest players.

 

Pakistan is home to some ancient and new religions like Buddhism and Sikhism. It can attract international community, especially of these religions, in the light of religious tolerance and harmony.

Pakistan needs to formulate a comprehensive policy and strategy by applying matrix of DIMEC (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economics, Culture). Foreign Office can take the lead by setting up a portal to tackle these areas supported by the military and information, commerce & economic ministries. For this purpose, we also need to channelize the public diplomacy wing at the foreign office, as it is not well-equipped, both in terms of human resources and technical setup. On the other hand, a dedicated team of professionals from the field of digital world should be engaged. In a nutshell, we should take both active and passive measures to deal with this new dimension of diplomacy and warfare. On one hand we need to shield our masses from negative effects of digital space cleverly used by our enemies, and on the other hand we also take it as an opportunity and use the digital space to promote a soft and positive image of Pakistan.

 

The writer is a research scholar at SDPI with expertise in global diplomacy, climate change, Water-Food-Energy Nexus, and Track-II diplomacy. He teaches digital diplomacy, negotiation skills and conflict transformation at Foreign Services Academy.

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

 
07
February

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

Gone are the days of traditional spying because the spy couple Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Mata Hari, Major John André, Virginia Hall, Shi Pei Pu and all top 100 spies in the history of espionage together cannot collect even a fraction of the intelligence that today’s digital platforms can (and do) gather every minute.

 

Most of these software, apps and services are either available free of cost or we happily opt to use the bought or pirated versions. It is said that "if you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold". This is an open secret that these service providers or apps collect and sell our browsing history, location data, trends, software usage details to advertising companies or to the players that pretend to be advertising companies.

Espionage is not a new term or technique at all. The technique has been in use for thousands of years and it is documented that even the monarchs (pharaohs) of early ancient Egypt (around 3000 BC) employed agents of espionage to root out the fickle subjects conspiring against the dynasty or to locate the tribes that could be conquered and enslaved. Joshua and Caleb are also well-known and well-admired in history for their spy work, sent by Moses to spy on Canaan. Sun Tzu in Chinese and Chandragupta Maurya in Indian history are also popular for putting emphasis on spying and intelligence gathering.

 

But gone are the days of traditional spying because the spy couple Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Mata Hari, Major John André, Virginia Hall, Shi Pei Pu and all top 100 spies in the history of espionage together cannot collect even a fraction of the intelligence that today’s digital platforms can (and do) gather every minute. No, I am not talking about the notorious spyware such as FinFisher, Galileo RCS or CIA's Vault7 that WikiLeaks have made infamous over the past decade. The subject of our attention are the common household digital platforms like Microsoft Windows, Google, Facebook and Apple that we cannot imagine to live without in the modern age.

 

When I was in school, the only electrical or electronic ‘gadgets’ we used to have and could afford were electric bulbs and ceiling fans. Although, some of our well-off neighbors also had black and white television sets whom all the neighboring children used to visit every night to watch PTV dramas. The clock kept ticking and times changed. The current period in human history that we are living in is unarguably called the digital age or information age owing to the prolific use of technology in almost all aspects of human activity such that digital interaction is one of the major characteristics of human activity and it is also characterized by the shift from traditional industry to information technology.

 

 digitalplatform.jpgNowadays, every single person I see has at least one smartphone running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS, a Facebook ID (or even multiple), an email account, a variety of instant messaging apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, IMO, WeChat and many other free accounts and free apps to access various internet services. Every single house I visit has a plethora of electronic devices from computers to tablets to smart TVs to smart homes with hundreds of apps to support daily activities. I have not come across a single office that is still based on old-school papers and has not shifted to the information technology to some extent, if not fully. All the government, private, multinationals, financial, education, law enforcement or military offices today have at least Microsoft Windows and Office suite (genuine or pirated). This paradigm shift has increased the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover within the society and economy.

 

Most of these softwares, apps and services are either available free of cost or we happily opt to use the bought or pirated versions. It is said that "if you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold". This is an open secret that these service providers or apps collect and sell our browsing history, location data, trends, software usage details to advertising companies or to the players that pretend to be advertising companies. Most of us have no idea what information Microsoft and Google collect about us, or when Facebook app turns our camera and microphone on because during installation of the apps we merrily give them permission to access our microphone, camera, contacts, SMS, photos, etc.

 

A friend of mine who is a government officer proudly told me that in his office he has strictly precluded all pirated and shady softwares, ensured timely updates on the operating systems and other softwares, installed and updated antivirus software regularly and enforced the policy to not download any attachments in addition to using complex passwords because they have confidential documents and matters to work on. My question was: “Does it really ensure you are not spied on? What if those legitimate software and apps are collecting all the confidential information with your consent?”

 

It is important to talk about how and what all the big names including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. collect data and information from us which ‘legally’ does not even fall under spying because the definition of traditional espionage or spying is “to gather confidential information without the permission of the holder of the information" while in this case we allow them to take our data and information in the End-User-License-Agreement (EULA) or app permissions. We also do not have a choice because unless we give them permission to access information we cannot install and use that service, app or software.

 

Let’s have a look at the numbers of software and their users worldwide; Google has over 2 billion users with Android while Microsoft has claimed over 1.5 billion users for Windows. Apple's iOS and macOS combined claims to have over 1 billion users. Facebook has surpassed the figure of 2 billion monthly active users and their WhatsApp monthly users figure is around 1.5 billion as well. Gmail has claimed to have more than 1 billion monthly active users and there are tens of instant messaging (IM) apps that have crossed 100 million users. As this article has a length limitation, it is not possible to cover all the service providers’ information collection (not legally spying) details in one article; we will start with the mostly used software in office or business environments, which is undoubtedly Microsoft Windows. However, the intention is not to blame a particular company/software operating system but to create general awareness about the loss of privacy and possible data theft by using the modern gadgets particularly free downloadable apps. Therefore, the general conclusions in the article are applicable to all such companies/software operating systems.

 

So, by looking at the privacy policy statement of Microsoft that comes with Windows 10 and is also available on their website one can get a general idea about their data privacy1:

 

Finally, we will access, transfer, disclose, and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails in Outlook.com, or files in private folders on OneDrive), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:

 

1. comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies;

2. protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of our products, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;

3. operate and maintain the security of our products, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or

4. protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services–however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer's private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

 

 digitalplatform1.jpgHere, we must keep in mind that “such as” is not a synonym to “limited to” and “applicable laws” are of any government especially where the data resides or in other words where the data centers are.

It is also worthy to read what Microsoft’s statement is about internet browsers:

 

“Some browsers have incorporated "Do Not Track" (DNT) features that can send a signal to the websites you visit indicating you do not wish to be tracked.” but... “Microsoft services do not currently respond to browser DNT signals.”

 

That, in simple words, means we will take your data no matter what you do and how much you want to protect your privacy.

 

When Microsoft started its Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) in 2006 and the core purpose of CEIP was to “collect information about how our customers use Microsoft programs”, I, with my other co-researchers in information security become curious to know what data Microsoft is taking and we started to sniff and analyze the data and packets using network sniffer and packet analyzers such as Wireshark (back then it was called Ethereal) and the results were shocking2. Although Microsoft mostly uses SSL on port 443 to establish an encrypted link between the device and their server ensuring that all data passed between the server and device remain encrypted yet some connections use port 80 and clear text.

 

That was the Windows XP age and the information collection techniques and the size of data amplified exponentially over the period of a decade by the time Microsoft Windows 10 was launched. According to ZDNet, Windows 10 is now running on 500 million "monthly active devices"3. And, undeniably Windows 10 is the foremost pre-eminent operating system from data collection point of view that our digital age has ever experienced. You must be curious by now that what exactly Microsoft can and does collect (steal) from you. It collects almost each and every thing you can imagine through Cortana, telemetry and other features.

 

Apart from the PC usage and crash data, Microsoft collects and stores your location not only through the built-in GPS sensor but also through a user’s Internet Protocol (IP) address’ geolocation, which is the mapping of an IP address to the geographic location of the internet from the connected device.

 

Speech recognition is a convenient way to prevent typing stress and aid those with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) by giving the user ability to speak while the program identifies your words and phrases and converts them to a text but for Microsoft this is a way to record and save the spoken words and phrases in your voice.

 

Microsoft can collect the entire content of a device’s memory (RAM) in the name of diagnostics. One may ask what’s the harm in it. If you don’t know yet, let me tell you that your computer’s RAM stores not only the current state of your computer but also your passwords. What’s more, being a researcher in digital forensic and cyber security, I can tell you that the RAM’s physical dump is also the place where we always look for the decryption keys to decrypt the encrypted data. So, if you have entered the decryption credentials to access the encrypted data, those keys might be lying in the RAM. You thought the 2048-bit encryption had saved your top-secret and confidential data? Voila! Microsoft has got it or any other software that one has been using.

 

Application/software history allows Microsoft to collect the data about both Microsoft software e.g., MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and non-Microsoft software as well such as. [Oh, you want to know what non-Microsoft software data Microsoft can collect? Every piece of software you install and run on top of Windows.] As far as non-Microsoft software data is concerned, Microsoft can collect every piece of software a user installs and run on windows.

 

Windows 10 also comes with a personal assistant called Cortana that is always there, always listening, always ready to serve ‘you’ (or Microsoft). Your computer’s microphone is always actively listening to you, to your surroundings and might be sending the data for profiling. Your secret meeting with the red bulb on your office door is no more a secret to Microsoft, its partners and government agencies with “applicable laws” have the right to get that data, if a Windows device was turned-on in that meeting room.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Cameras have changed the world for us dramatically as well as for the espionage industry. Everything you or your device’s camera sees, can be seen by Microsoft and government agencies, too.

 

Microsoft also collects data on “Speech, Inking & Typing”. Do you think the keystroke logging through traditional spyware key-loggers is required anymore when agencies can receive much more than the mere keystroke data easily from Microsoft?

 

Usually, we consider contacts, call history, messaging, e-mails, calendar, tasks, etc. our personal data but according to Microsoft privacy statements this personal content is also Microsoft’s business and they are free to collect every byte of it in addition to the account information that we have with Microsoft such as Hotmail, Skype, MSN, Windows Live, Outlook, etc. with all the services we use including OneDrive.

 

If you are using Microsoft’s Edge (internet browser) you’re giving away your bookmarks, complete browsing history and even your passwords (if you saved them in the browser) for the advertisers, Microsoft partners and government agencies.

 

Now the question arises, how does Microsoft keep half a billion devices’ data from mixing up? Windows 10 assigns a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) to each computer using the MAC address and other identifiers to save the data it collects from that particular device. Another question comes to mind, where is this collected data saved? The logical answer is that the data is saved to the nearest geographical data center. Microsoft already had a few global data centers spread over the planet but a year after Microsoft hired an Indian professional Satya Nadella as the Chief Executive, the company has opened three additional data centers in India, to be exact, in Pune, Mumbai and Chennai to provide faster services to the clients of this region. Every data center must comply with the local laws, regulations and government requirements and so do the Microsoft’s new data centers in India. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for the Government of India announced that Microsoft is one of the first global cloud service providers to achieve MeitY’s provisional accreditation4. What data and access Microsoft has agreed to give to the Indian government to achieve the accreditation is unknown but keeping Indian mass surveillance projects and Indian National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) we can safely assume that Microsoft would have to ‘lawfully’ provide data to these agencies in order to comply with local laws5.

 

Microsoft can surely deny they do not take this much data but they have also explicitly denied explanation of what data they take despite the thousands of security researchers’ requests. Microsoft, bi-annually publishes a Law Enforcement Requests Transparency Report that shows the number of legal demands for customer data that they receive from law enforcement agencies around the world. Only from January to July 2017, the total number of requests Microsoft received from law-enforcement agencies worldwide was 25,367 that include 44,831 accounts/users specified in requests. We must keep in mind that they clearly state on their website that “this report only covers law enforcement requests”, NOT the big brother’s requests6. And now that the U.S. government has passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) two years ago, companies have zero liability when handling your personal data that they collect, not even under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The goal of CISA was purely to encourage companies to provide whatever data the government agencies want without declaring it anywhere and in return the companies got liability protections for sharing users’ data in the name of ‘cyber-threat information sharing’7.

 

If, after reading this dreadful information, you are thinking about how to prevent Microsoft and other operating systems from spying (oh sorry, technically that is not spying because you signed the EULA and read the privacy statements – let’s call it information collection as these operating systems force us to call it), actually, you cannot prevent this. Although, in response to public demands Microsoft gave some controls in Windows 10 anniversary update to disable the data collection but even turning off all the buttons won’t prevent them from stealing your data.

 

An experiment was carried out in which Windows 10 was installed on a computer and all the information collection buttons were set to ‘disable’ and a tool Disable Win Tracking was also installed to stop Windows 10 spying features but still the network sniffer results showed that Windows 10 was trying to communicate with Microsoft servers and send data8.

 

To remedy this privacy breach we can opt one approach and that is to blacklist those particular Microsoft IP addresses in the routers because blocking known domains and IP addresses in the Windows host files or in Windows firewall will still allow Windows 10 to reset and unblock them.

 

Second approach that can be taken is at the government level. A good example is that of France ordering Microsoft to stop tracking Windows 10 users and the data protection authority which gave Microsoft three months to comply with French privacy laws. I don’t know how long will our government/judiciary take to issue such orders, if at all.

 

Third proposed approach is to replace Windows with open source Linux, which, unlike Windows, is an open source operating system and we can analyze every single line of the code including its kernel. We can develop Pakistan’s own version of Linux to cater our needs and support the local languages.

(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. Microsoft Privacy Statement
https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/
2. Wireshark
https://www.wireshark.org/
3. Windows 10 is now running on 500 million "monthly active devices."
http://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-installed-base-hits-500-million/
4. Microsoft Cloud achieves Gov. of India’s provisional accreditation... in rare company
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/blog/microsoft-among-the-first-global-cloud-service-providers-to-achieve-government-of-india-s-provisional-accreditation/
5. Mass surveillance in India
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_surveillance_in_India
6. Law Enforcement Requests Transparency Report | Microsoft
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/about/corporate-responsibility/lerr
7. Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/754
8. DisableWinTracking
https://github.com/10se1ucgo/DisableWinTracking/releases

 
07
February
Pak-China Special Forces Joint Exercise WARRIOR-V
Pak-China Special Forces joint exercise WARRIOR-V was recently conducted at the Counter-Terrorism Centre Pabbi. The Special Forces of People’s Liberation Army China and Pakistan Army participated in this exercise. After the culmination of exercise, a ceremony was held at the Counter-Terrorism Centre, Pabbi. Dignitaries who attended this ceremony included Director General Military Training Major General Muhammad Chiragh Haider, Chinese Military Commander Major General H.E. Bin, Dy COS Xinjiang and senior officers from both armies. The chief guest Commander Mangla Corps Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi, H.E.Bin, Dy COS Xinjiang and H.E. Bin addressed the participating troops. The Chief Guest appreciated the officers and soldiers for their display of professional excellence during the exercise.

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07
February
More than 200 Ferraris including 15 Commanders Surrender to Balochistan Government

More than 200 ferraris including 15 commanders laid down their arms and surrendered in front of provincial authorities and security forces in an impressive ceremony held in Turbat on January 25, 2018. Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo was the chief guest. Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa was also present on the occasion.

 

The militants who surrendered belonged to various defunct organisations including Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and other miscreant groups. The militants were involved in attacks on government installations and security forces in different areas of the province. It is pertinent to mention that so far more than 1,800 ferraris have surrendered and accepted the writ of the government prior to this event.

 

Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo while speaking on the occasion welcomed the surrendered ferraris into national stream. He said that innocent people have been misled and elements instigating them were living luxurious lives abroad. He further said that no power can create unrest in Pakistan and security forces will act with full vigour against the miscreants till their end. He urged the misled people to accept the writ of the state and join the national stream and work collaboratively for the prosperity and well-being of the people of Balochistan and for the solidarity of Pakistan.

 

He highlighted the importance of acquiring quality education vis-à-vis challenges and opportunities offered by CPEC. He urged the students to work hard and compete at national level to make a mark for themselves and to win laurels for the province. He also announced additional funds for Law Department, University of Turbat besides announcing establishment of a new district comprising Mand, Tombh and Dasht for better administration of the area. He also said that he will ensure constant flow of finances for the uplift of educational infrastructure in the area. Later a laptop distribution ceremony was also held during which 215 laptops were distributed amongst the students of far flung areas in order to facilitate their studies.

 

Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, Parliamentarians and other senior civil and military officials were present on the occasion. Moreover, Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa laid the foundation stone of Bulaeda road on M8. On their arrival at the venue they were briefed in detail about the project and the benefits it will bring for the local populace.

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07
February
Pakistan Army 2 Corps Team Wins Army Baseball Championship 2017
Pakistan Army 2 Corps team won Army Baseball Championship 2017 by defeating Pakistan Army 5 Corps team. The chief guest of the final match, Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza witnessed the final match and distributed medals amongst the players of the winning and runner up teams. Commander Karachi Corps appreciated the performance of all the teams who participated in the tournament and gave away the winning trophy to the winning team, 2 Corps Baseball Team. Army Baseball Championship 2017 was played at Malir Garrison Karachi from December 22-29, 2017. A total of 11 teams from different formations of Pakistan Army participated in the tournament.

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07
February
Commander 2 Corps Visits Al-Noor Special Children School
Lt Gen Abdullah Dogar, Commander Multan Corps visited Al-Noor Special Children School & College. The students performed various segments including songs, folk dances, tableau and skits. He appreciated and admired their motivation, resilience and distributed prizes among the children.

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07
February
Pakistan Navy Ships Visit Ports of Friendly Countries During Overseas Deployment

Naval forces, as extension of government's foreign policy, have historically contributed to strengthen the bonds of friendship between nations through goodwill visits. Cognizant of this fact, Pakistan Navy has always endeavoured to enhance collaboration with friendly countries. Hence, Pakistan Navy’s ships frequently visit ports of friendly countries during overseas deployment to promote peace and security in the region, enhance maritime collaboration and open new avenues of bilateral cooperation between the friendly countries. In this backdrop, brief account of recent visit by PN ships is enumerated.

 

Pakistan Navy Flotilla Visit to Muscat

Pakistan Navy Flotilla comprising submarine Hurmat along with PNS Rahnaward (sail ship) and PNS Rasadgar (support ship) visited Muscat. Commander Submarines, Commodore Altaf Hussain commanded the flotilla as Mission Commander.

 

On arrival at Port Sultan Qaboos, the ships were given a warm welcome by Royal Navy of Oman (RNO). During the visit, Mission Commander and Commanding Officers of PN ships and submarine held important meetings with various RNO officials. A large number of RNO personnel, Pakistani expatriates in Oman, military/naval attachés and officers from Sultan Armed Forces visited PN units. The visit afforded crews of visiting ships to hold professional interactions with the personnel of Royal Navy of Oman. On completion of port visit, while leaving Port Sultan Qaboos, PNS Rahnaward sailed together with RNO sail ship SHABAB OMAN-II. Both ships also exchanged crew members on this occasion for sharing experiences in the art of sailing.

 

Pakistan Navy Ships Visit Mauritius and Seychelles

Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising Pakistan Navy ships Khaibar (Type-21 frigate) and Nasr (combat support ship) during an overseas deployment to East African Countries and Island States of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) visited Port Louis, Mauritius and Port Victoria, Seychelles.

 

The visit of PN ships to Mauritius was aimed at joining the commencement of 50th independence celebrations of Mauritius. The period also signifies the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Mauritius. Due to significance of the historic occasion, Commander Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi also joined Pakistan Navy Task Group at Mauritius.

 

During the visit, Commander Pakistan Fleet along with Mission Commander Commodore Javaid Iqbal and Commanding Officers of PN ships held important meetings with high level civil and military leadership of Mauritius including H.E Mrs. Ameenah Gurib Fakim, President of Republic of Mauritius and H.E Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Republic of Mauritius, and discussed matters of mutual interest and avenues for enhanced cooperation.

 

Taking the opportunity, officers and men of PN ships visited Mauritius Coast Guard Training Centre while Officers and men of Mauritius Coast Guard visited PN ships to attend Maritime Interdiction Operations & Counter Piracy workshop. A reception dinner was hosted onboard PNS Nasr to mark the 50th year of standing diplomatic relations between both the countries, which were established soon after gaining of independence by Democratic Republic of Mauritius. The dinner was attended by high level diplomats, government officials, Pakistani community and other notables from civil society.

 

Earlier, during the visit to Port Victoria, Seychelles, the Mission Commander along with Commanding Officers of the ships held meetings with military leadership of Seychelles including Ambassador Maurice Loustau Lalanne, Minister of Tourism and Brigadier Leopold F. Payet, Chief of Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces, and discussed matters of mutual interests.

 

Philanthropic activities like visit to St. Elizabeth Orphanage and La Retraite Elderly Home were also undertaken with donation of gifts. Officers and men of both the ships also visited Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC) and discussed the importance of information sharing in maritime domain.

 

Pakistan Navy Ship SAIF Visits Malaysia, China and Thailand

PNS SAIF visited Malaysian Port Lumut for goodwill-cum-training visit. Upon arrival at Port Lumut, the ship was received by High Commissioner and Defence Adviser of Pakistan at Malaysia. During the stay at port, Commanding Officer of the ship called-on First Admiral Abu Bakar Bin Mohd Ajis, Deputy Western Fleet Commander Royal Malaysian Navy.

 

During the call-on, Commanding Officer PNS Saif extended well wishes on behalf of the Pakistan Navy Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi to the people of Malaysia in general and Royal Malaysian Navy in particular.

 

With an aim to enhance cooperation and interoperability between the two navies at tactical level, PNS Saif also conducted naval drills and exercises at sea with Malaysian Navy Ship KD Selangor (FFG-176). During the three days stay at the port, cross-ship visits and reception onboard PNS Saif were also held.

Earlier, PNS Saif has also visited Shanghai, China to participate in 5th PN-PLA(N) bilateral exercise and Pattaya, Thailand to partake in 50th anniversary of ASEAN and International Fleet Review (IFR-2017) organized by Royal Thai Navy (RTN).

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07
February
Commander 10 Corps Visits Forward Areas in Gilgit-Baltistan
Commander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various forward locations in Gilgit-Baltistan. During the visit, he reviewed the operational preparedness of the deployed force at Siachen and other forward areas. He expressed his complete satisfaction about the vigilance exercised by forward troops. Lt Gen Nadeem Raza lauded the high morale and professionalism of the officers and men who are defending every inch of motherland against the treacherous enemy in harsh climatic conditions. Earlier, on arrival he was received by Commander FCNA Major General Saqib Mehmood Malik. The Corps Commander was given comprehensive and detailed briefings by the field commanders at various forward locations during the visit. newscomandertencoprps.jpg
07
February
Commander Gujranwala Corps Briefed on the Ceasefire Violations
newscomandergujranwalbrief.jpgCommander Gujranwala Corps, Lieutenant General Aamir Abbasi visited different areas of Harpal sector affected due to Indian shelling. He also attended the funeral of martyrs on January 18, 2018. He was briefed regarding the ceasefire violations. Afterwards the Corps Commander visited injured persons admitted in CMH Sialkot and prayed for their speedy recovery.
07
February
Commander Army Strategic Forces Command Inaugurates Solar and Water Filtration Plants in Malakand
Lieutenant General Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussian, HI (M), Commander Army Strategic Forces Command (Colonel Commandant Regiment of Artillery) inaugurated 5 KVA solar plant at DHQ Hospital and reverse osmosis water filtration plant at Government Middle School in Thana, Malakand (Swat). Commander ASFC also interacted with a gathering of notables at Government Degree College in Thana, Malakand. The local notables acknowledged and expressed their full confidence in Pakistan Army for its contributions towards peace, stability and socio-economic development of the area. newscomanderarmystratgic.jpg
07
February
Live Weapon Firing Conducted by PNS HIMMAT

newsliveweaponfiring.jpgIn an impressive fire power display, live weapon firing was conducted by Pakistan Navy’s Fast Attack Craft (Missile), PNS Himmat in the North Arabian Sea. PNS Himmat fired indigenously developed Harbah Naval Cruise Missile, which is a surface-to-surface anti-ship missile with land attack capability. The missile accurately hit its target signifying the impressive capabilities of Harbah Naval Weapon System. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi witnessed the firing while onboard PNS Alamgir. The successful live weapon firing has demonstrated the credible fire power of Pakistan Navy and the impeccable level of indigenization in high-tech weaponry achieved by Pakistan’s defence industry. This is a clear manifestation of Pakistan’s resolve to achieve self-reliance in this field. Chief of the Naval Staff expressed his utmost satisfaction on the operational readiness of Pakistan Navy Fleet units and commended the efforts of all those involved in achieving this significant milestone successfully. He emphasized the need to capitalize on indigenous defence capabilities and reduce reliance on foreign countries.

 

PNS Himmat is also an indigenously built Fast Attack Craft Missile, FAC(M) commissioned in 2017. This is the second in series of Azmat Class FAC(M) project, which Pakistan Navy has initiated in pursuance of its vision of sustained self-sufficiency through collaboration. The first of these boats was PNS Dehshat, commissioned in 2013. With their extremely maneuverable platforms, FAC(M)s, primarily are intended for hit-and-run strike operations. Azmat Class FAC(M) is also a manifestation of ‘Pak-China Friendship’ in the true sense, as Chinese yards have not just built one boat in China but helped Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works to install a complete structure for building up of further FAC(M)s in Pakistan on the basis of self-reliance. On the occasion of successful missile firing, Chief of the Naval Staff reaffirmed the resolve of Pakistan Navy to ensure seaward defence of Pakistan and safeguard national maritime interests at all costs. He also appreciated the efforts made by the engineers and scientists in making Harbah Naval Weapon System project a success.

 

07
February
PAF Inaugurates New Operational Air Base at Bholari Near Karachi

In a landmark event in the history of PAF, the inauguration ceremony of a newly established main operating base named PAF Base Bholari was held. To show reverence to the Father of the Nation, this landmark event was arranged on his birth anniversary. The great Quaid had chalked out the future vision for the PAF, when he directed the PAF rank and file to make it a potent Air Force, Second to None. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI(M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the occasion. Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh also attended the ceremony as guest of honour. During the welcome address, the Base Commander briefed the audience regarding the infrastructure development and various facilities at the base. Addressing at the occasion, the Air Chief said, “Indeed, PAF Base Bholari is a project of strategic significance for capacity enhancement of Pakistan Air Force in operational domain both over Land as well as at Sea. With establishment of the base, PAF would be able to support the land operations of Pakistan Army more efficiently. PAF Base Bholari would also augment and supplement the very important maritime operations carried out by Pakistan Navy.” He further said that the establishment of PAF Base, Bholari would also play a key role in safeguarding the CPEC project. He stated said that besides providing aerial defence to the motherland, PAF Base Bholari would also play a key role in socio-economic uplift of the adjoining areas by providing state-of-the-art health services, quality education and employment to the locals. The chief guest unveiled new emblem of PAF Base, Bholari to inaugurate the newly established base. Four F-16 aircraft presented the fly past to welcome the worthy guests. To make the event memorable, solo aerobatics display of F-16 aircraft was also presented at the occasion. The Air Chief visited the various newly constructed facilities and infrastructure of the base. He also interacted with the airmen, while visiting flight lines of the squadron. Located in northeast of Karachi, PAF Base Bholari is a significant milestone which would not only strengthen the defence of Karachi and coastline but also provide aerial support to Pakistan Army and Navy for their land and maritime operations respectively. The ceremony was attended by Principal Staff Officers of PAF, senior officers of defence forces and a large number of dignitaries from government and civil organisations.

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07
February
Prime Minister and COAS Appreciate the Sacrifices of Armed Forces During their Visit to SSG Headquarters

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Special Services Group (SSG) Headquarters at Cherat on January 11, 2018. Upon arrival, the PM laid a floral wreath at the shuhada monument. PM was briefed about SSG organization, capabilities and performance. SSG demonstrated few of its skills and operational capabilities. PM also fired few of the weapons used by SSG. While addressing officers and men of SSG, PM wholeheartedly appreciated performance of the elite force and its contributions during the ongoing effort against terrorism. PM paid tribute to the martyrs of SSG and the armed forces whose sacrifices have returned peace in Pakistan.

Defence Minister, Commander Peshawar Corps and other senior army officers were also present during the visit.

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07
February
COAS Visits Sri Lanka

Discussion to Deepen Defence Ties Held

newscoasvisitsrilanka.jpgCOAS was on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka from January 16-17,2018 on invitation from his counterpart. COAS held meetings with the Sri Lankan military leadership including the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chiefs of all three services. COAS was given guard of honour in all three services headquarters. COAS also visited the Command and Staff College Sri Lanka and interacted with the faculty and staff. Sri Lankan leadership expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Pakistan's unequivocal moral and material support during Sri Lanka's successful war on terror. They also appreciated successes of Pakistan Army in the ongoing war on terror. COAS highlighted that having cleared troubled areas from terrorists of all hues and colours, Pakistan is now going after their disorganised residual presence under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. He said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are probably the only two countries which understand what it takes to defeat the menace of terrorism.

 

During the meetings various new initiatives and ongoing projects were discussed to improve the existing defence ties between the two brotherly countries.

07
February
Chinese Ambassador Calls on CJCSC

China and Pakistan Reaffirm Commitment to Deepen Strategic Relations

newschinesambasidorcallson.jpgHis Excellency Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of China, called on General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi on January 5, 2018. Matters related to changing geostrategic environment and further strengthening of security and defence cooperation were discussed during the meeting. Both sides reaffirmed the commitment that being ‘Iron Brothers’ and ‘All-Weather’ friends, Pakistan and China would continue to forge deeper strategic ties. The ambassador applauded the professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

CJCSC Attends Chiefs of Staff Session of NATO Military Committee to Discuss Peace and Security

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman JCS Committee, attended Chiefs of Staff session of NATO Military Committee at Brussels on January 17, 2018. The meeting was attended by representatives of 66 NATO and partner nations. The committee discussed peace and security matters.

CJCSC highlighted efforts and achievements of Pakistan Armed Forces in the counter-terrorism domain. He also informed the participants about Pakistan Army’s efforts towards regional peace by special security measures along Pak-Afghan border including raising of additional FC forces and fencing. On the sidelines of the meeting, CJCSC met with General Kostarakos, Chairman European Union Military Committee and military representatives from Australia, Turkey, Jordan, Canada and Germany.

07
February

Written By: Syed Ali Hadi

The strategic community as well as the technical diaspora must join heads to formulate a comprehensive framework of understanding to overcome the ‘Cyber Dilemma’. The interdisciplinary approach must be adopted in order to overcome the knowledge gap and implemented through research institutions, government organizations as well as academia and universities.

Since ages, the traditional dimensions of war have been land, sea, air and discreet/covert. The rise of information technology and communication systems has added two new dimensions to the said concepts which are the space war and the cyber war. The two new dimensions in general and cyber war in particular reside under the realm of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) debates, which in turn is based on Network-Centric Warfare (NCW). These doctrines talk about the future of wars connected with technology, guided systems and command and control centers. Its first use in actual warfare was seen in the 1991 Gulf War.

 

The threats of cyber warfare and cyberattacks emanating from cyberspace are real and have already been deployed and engaged with the enemy targets. Titan Rain in 2005 was an ‘Advanced Persistent Threat (APTs)’ executed by Chinese hackers which breached Lockheed Martin facility in the state of Florida. Ghost Net in 2009 was a botnet that targeted different NGOs and diplomats. Similarly, the latest attacks like Estonia in 2007, Georgia in 2009, and the Stuxnet in 2010 culminates a whole new wave of cyberattacks over time. Stuxnet, was the first of its kind which was a state-sponsored attack in order to achieve geo-political leverage in nuclear politics. 

 

Such cyberattacks are considered as eminent threats emanating from the enemies. The global powers have already moved ahead in terms of doctrinal approach towards such attacks and warfare. Pakistan needs an active engagement in this dimension so that it does not lag behind in the future wars to come. The seventy years of our history depict opposite of what is desired above–the reactionary decision-making process. For the said purpose, the strategic community as well as the civilian-military bureaucracy must recognize this dimension of war and ‘securitize the cyberspace’.

 

The Copenhagen School developed the theoretical framework of the concept of Securitization in constructivist domain which is centered on the collective work of Barry Buzan and Ole Waever. The concepts entails the construction of threat.

 

It is a process whereby an actor [state, politician(s), or organization] declares another actor or issue to be securitized. That actor or issue poses an existential threat. The threat is directed towards a certain referent object which is to be protected. Finally, it is the target audience that adheres to it as a matter of security threat which allows the actors to suspend normal politics and invoke special politico-military measures in order to contain or respond to that threat which is directed towards the relevant referent object.

 

By applying this concept of Securitization to the fifth dimension of war would elucidate that actor (state of Pakistan) has declared another actor (state or entity) to be securitized. That actor (state or issue) poses an existential threat (attacks from cyberspace). The threat is directed towards a certain referent object (Pakistan and its critical infrastructure) which is to be protected. Lastly, it is the target audience (nation of Pakistan) that adheres to it as a matter of security threat which allows the actors (civilian-military bureaucracy) to suspend normal politics and employ special political and military measures in order to contain or respond to that perceived threat.

 

This act of securitization brings us to the next phase which is debating the contours of cyber warfare. Although, it is a relatively new dimension of war, however states are gearing up to respond to such an exponential phenomena. The challenges to understand this art of war are still many. The war itself is still in its infancy. In order to generate the scholarly debate on this subject-matter, cyber warfare would be categorized under the areas such as: its legal framework, the strategies of cyber-operations, regional cooperation for cyber-alliances, technical challenges (The Cyber Dilemma), simulation exercises and planning for understating and operationalizing cyberattacks and threats.

 

Legal Framework

In order to govern the cyberspace and cyber war, there are no direct rules and norms in international law or a treaty, to say the least. Nonetheless, there are some debate initiatives taken by the United Nations that talk about cooperative measures to address the potential threats to cyberspace. The reports/initiatives were then intertwined with the ‘cornerstone provision’, Article 2(4) of UN Charter that entails the ‘use of force’. The Tallinn Manual being adopted by the NATO’s cyber command talks about the application of international law on cyberspace and cyber operations. Yet it is not a binding document of law.

 

On the other hand, the ‘Schmitt Criteria’ is considered to be the foremost scholarship to analyze and comprehend the possible steps and processes in cyber operations. Yet, he himself declares that the Six Principles of Schmitt Criteria were imprecise when he applied it to 2007 attacks against Estonia where only five principles were applicable. Hence, all of the aforementioned initiatives and many alike are not binding legal documents.

 

The best possible approach would be the Bottom-Up approach in which the states must legalize the cyberspace and create laws of their own. The overlap between the cyberspace and the law occurs most of the times at national level. The great powers of international community must aspire to make their own cyber laws and legalize the framework on domestic level. It will help in controlling and managing the cyberattacks emanating from individuals for heinous purposes like identity theft, creating viruses for personal gains.

 

It will also provide a basic building mechanism to further deliberate over the semantic attacks which are perpetrated by the states. The practice of these legislative documents of the respective states in turn would pave the way for the creation of international rules and norms under the international law.

 

Strategies of Cyber Attacks

The cyberattacks or cyber operations must be strategized before being deployed. It should also be done on the national level whereby applying the traditional or relatively contemporary strategists and their principles/axioms, be beneficial as to their scope and acceptability in cyberspace.

 

Sun Tzu’s most relevant principle which states that all warfare is based on deception is the clear manifestation of the fact that cyber operations, most of the times, are and will be deceptive in nature. Likewise, his strategy of outmaneuvering the enemy than to outfight him certainly applies in the cyberspace where information dissemination and propaganda warfare through information and electronic means is the practice of the time.  

 

While applying Clausewitzian principles of warfare to cyberspace, the concept of trinity remains obsolete because the cyber operations are usually discreet in nature. The Centre of Gravity (COG) concept when applied in the cyberspace needs more deliberation as to what accounts for the COG when talking about cyber warfare. Nonetheless, a whole new array of strategies should be developed for this dimension of war which would require the strategic community to link up with the technical diaspora in order to generate scenarios and simulations, which is thoroughly discussed below.

 

The countries like United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Germany have also built their cyber command to mitigate the cyberattacks and conduct cyber operations. Estonia, India, Israel, and China have also followed suit.

 

Regional Cooperation for Cyber Alliances

Last year, United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) was constituted to delineate in the field of cybersecurity and for confidence building. The paper, “Towards a Secure Cyberspace via Regional Cooperation”, talks about the role of regional organizations for implementing the recommendations by the UN GGE on cybersecurity. These recommendations revolve around three recurring keywords; Outreach which talks about other stakeholders and their participations which are outside the GGE, Universalization for broad dissemination of GGE work and Operationalization to ensure that all recommendations by GGE must be operationalized as well as implemented.

 

In addition to this, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) in collaboration with the Bulgarian Republic organized the Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Europe in 2016. It focused on specific topics like national cybersecurity strategies, the national Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) in the context of its developments, practices and approach. It also involved national policy and decision makers, service providers as well as academia to further strengthen the regional cooperation on cybersecurity.

 

The Tallinn Manual was adopted and facilitated by NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). It talks extensively about the application of existing international laws in the context of cyber operations and cyber war. Its 2.0 version was adopted in 2013 as a second edition and authored by nineteen experts of international law. The manual concludes that the laws of comity of nations are applicable to the cyber-related operations which are directed against or by the states. Therefore, states would have rights as well as obligations under the international law. The full-spectrum application of international law to cyberspace is covered in its 2017 edition which elucidates the legal regimes to the laws of armed conflicts. Moreover, it includes the general principles of international law such as sovereignty as well as jurisdiction. Human rights law, law of the sea and air and space law are also examined in the context of cyber operations.

 

Technical Challenges–The Cyber Dilemma

The most common hurdle for not securing a comprehensive, single and holistic framework of understanding of how to secure the cyberspace stems from the fact that cyber operations involve technical knowledge. These technical aspects of operations in cyberspace are incomprehensible from the lens of security studies experts as well as the policy and decision makers. As of now, there is no single authority on the said subject matter which could comprehend this overlapping of the technical knowledge of cyberspace in relation to its policy formulation for the states and international community at large. Hence this could be termed as the “Cyber Dilemma”.

 

The strategic community as well as the technical diaspora must join heads to formulate a comprehensive framework for understanding to overcome the ‘Cyber Dilemma’. The interdisciplinary approach must be adopted in order to overcome the knowledge gap and implemented through research institutions, government organizations as well as academia and universities.

 

Simulation Exercises and Planning

There is no agreed-upon aspects of what constitutes a cyberattack or a breach in the cyberspace. The exponential growth in the advancement of technology is one of the reasons. The strategic community in collaboration with the technical diaspora, once overcoming the cyber dilemma, must initiate cyber scenarios. These scenarios must account for how cyberspace is being used for the attacks as well as state-sponsored covert operations.

 

This in turn, would give impetus to understanding and creating general framework on types of cyberattacks and their categorization. Henceforth, the said planning exercises will create an analogy similar to that of the military operations which are conducted at tactical or operational levels. It would also help in understanding the basic building blocks of cyberattacks and cyber operations and how are these executed. What motivates a cyberattack? What is the target in cyberspace? Which technical infrastructure comes or could be used for such operations? How can these be securitized? How should these attacks be mitigated? What should be the responses? These and other related questions need a comprehensive understanding for which the cyber scenarios will act as a catalyst in organizing and giving some degree of analysis to the cyber operations conducted in the cyberspace.

 

There exists a literature gap between the strategic community and technical diaspora which overshadows the comprehension of operations and attacks emanating from cyberspace and responses. The cyberspace needs to be securitized for it comes under the realm of 21st century non-kinetic warfare concepts (NKW). States must bring forth their cyber scenarios for creating a unilateral framework of understanding the cyberspace and its operations at first and then finally moving towards developing a comprehensive strategy in order to regularize the cyberwarfare. Addressing Pakistan’s strategic community in particular, the state of Pakistan has faced many challenges for its oblivious and casual approach towards doctrinal development and capacity building of state organs. Therefore, a certain accident which undermines our national interest leaves this vacuum of doctrinal approach unfilled which is followed by a quasi-reaction to overcome such a threat. All the pillars of the state are equally responsible for creating comprehensive programs to overcome the threats of 21st century warfare. Cyber warfare is one such concept which will affect us sooner or later. Examples can be taken up from within our borders and critical infrastructure, too.

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07
February

Written By: Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Numerous films have been rolled out by the Bollywood after the commercial success of Sarfarosh. During the rise of neo-Hindu nationalism in India, the tones and tenors of these films have become rather blatant, sometimes to the point of becoming unintentional self-parodies. These films lack the finesse of Hollywood propaganda films, nor are they in anyway metaphorical or subtle. Some critics may see them as vessels for collective venting-out rituals for the Indian masses conditioned by their politicians, state and media to accept particular nationalist and anti-Pakistan narratives. Something like an extended version of the concept of the ‘Two Minutes of Hate’ popularized by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Yet, these films do fit well in the barrel of India’s version of Fourth and Fifth Generation Warfare against Pakistan, mainly because Bollywood has gone global.

In 1975-76, the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) formed a special committee of ‘anti-communist experts.’ This was done after the Richard Nixon administration was severely criticized at a 1974 conference organized by a group of influential ‘nuclear strategists’ who bemoaned that President Nixon, his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and the Pentagon had ‘seriously underestimated the Soviet weapons program.’ French historian, Justin Vaisse in his book, Neo-conservatism: Biography of a Movement wrote that the conference ‘opened a new front against Nixon and Kissinger’s détente’–a policy initiative which attempted to greatly scale back U.S.-Soviet Cold War hostilities and (consequently) trigger cuts in the country’s military spending.

 

Nixon resigned from the presidency after being impeached for an internal espionage scandal against his opponents in the Democratic Party. According to Justin Vaisse, the then director of the CIA, George H. Bush under the new President, Gerald Ford and–from January 1977 onwards–President Jimmy Carter, created a ‘Team B’ within the CIA made up of the hawkish critics of détente. In December 1976, Team B’s first report suggested that the Soviet’s military spending and build-up was as rapid as that of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The report also mentioned that the ‘primary goal of the Soviets was global supremacy.’

 

 theblocbusteras.jpgTeam B’s reports, suggestions and estimates in this context were adopted by the administration of Jimmy Carter, but especially during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1980-88). This produced a more hostile attitude towards the Soviet Union, an increase in U.S. military spending and the withering away of the policy of détente initiated by Nixon in 1972. The invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 by Soviet forces also strengthened Team B’s arguments. But the American society as a whole–which was still reeling from America’s human and material losses in the Vietnam conflict (1955-75)–was still wary of any large scale conflict involving the Americans.

 

The United States has always been an active film producing and viewing country. Just as Team B’s narrative of an expanding Soviet empire and military prowess firmly took root during Reagan’s administration, a Hollywood blockbuster, Red Dawn, appeared in American cinemas. Helmed by award-winning screenwriter and director, John Milius, the film shows Soviet paratroopers secretly landing on American soil after the Soviet Union facilitates a communist coup in Mexico. Soviet soldiers (along with their allies, the Cubans) sabotage strategically important U.S. military command posts until they are taken head-on by groups of common Americans (mentored by U.S. military men) to repulse the Soviet attack. Though panned by critics for being nothing but a violent fantasy, the film was an immediate commercial hit, followed by a surge in anti-Soviet sentiment in the United States.

 

Acclaimed author, David Sirota, in a March 2011 piece for Salon wrote that the release of Red Dawn marked the beginnings of America’s ‘military-entertainment complex’. The interesting bit is that (on a social level) the Red Dawn seemed to have had managed to get across Team B’s narrative in a populist manner, but in the year it was released (1984), Vaisse informs that CIA’s Deputy Director, Robert Gates, acknowledged that the CIA and its Team B had grossly overestimated Soviet military budget and production of weapons.

 

There are those who may argue that art should be kept aloof from what goes on between conflicting states. But with the mushrooming and increasing reach of digital/cyber technologies and the universal expansion of entertainment industries, nations facing internal or external conflicts cannot ignore the idea of using modern popular art-forms (such as film and TV) to put forth their narratives in an increasingly chaotic and complex marketplace of various narratives of numerous competing states.

Renowned British documentary filmmaker Andrew Curtis in his 2004 documentary, The Power of Nightmares (BBC) suggested that Team B was well aware of the fact that it was inflating Soviet military might and intentions. The team’s goal was to neutralize Nixon and Kissinger’s policy of détente and break the United States’ ‘defeatist disposition’ (that it had adopted due to its failures in Vietnam). They did this by exaggerating the military capability of the Soviet Union and heightening the threat posed to the U.S. by the Soviet Union.

 

So, due to the despondency triggered by America’s defeat in Vietnam, Team B’s narrative was readily adopted by the three post-Nixon administrations (Ford, Carter and especially, Reagan). And even when the CIA finally admitted that the narrative was highly exaggerated, films such as Red Dawn had managed to engrain the narrative in the American people’s minds.

 

The Soviets, of course, did not have an answer. Nobody watched their films. As a matter of fact, my research did not come up with any film made in the Soviet Union which countered the narrative proliferated by American films such as Red Dawn. After Red Dawn came another film from Hollywood’s ‘military-entertainment complex’, called Invasion USA (1985), starring the famous martial arts action hero, Chuck Norris. Its plot was similar. Soviet and Cuban agents perform acts of terror on American soil as a prelude to a full blown Soviet invasion. Then there was also Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo (1985) which actually showed the U.S. beating the hell out of the Soviets in Vietnam (a full decade after the United States lost a war there against the Soviet-backed Vietcong).

 

The content in Jean-Michel Valantin’s 2005 book, Hollywood, the Pentagon and Washington, suggests that Hollywood’s ‘military-entertainment complex’ is still active. He wrote that key figures in the U.S. film industry continue to have a well-established relationship with U.S. military personnel and politicians. He added that this interdependent partnership (‘by the power and suggestion of cinema’) causes ‘a surge in the nation’s collective consciousness of fundamental themes running through the current issues in the American strategic debate’.

 

But Valantin also maintains that the aforementioned partnership was struck long before the 1980s. He informs that films produced by the Hollywood-Pentagon partnership haven’t always been blatant displays of American policies and political/ideological narrative as epitomized by blockbusters such as Red Dawn or Rambo. He gives the example of 1955’s The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It is not a political or military action thriller. It’s a science fiction flick about aliens from another planet secretly taking over the world by disguising themselves as human beings. Valantin explains the activities of the secretive aliens (blending in with common Americans to take over their minds) as a metaphor for Soviet infiltration (through American communist agents). Valantin wrote that the mentioned partnership has continued to produce films which directly as well as indirectly express American military and security policies.

 

The cinematic villains (threatening such policies) keep changing though. As Valantin notes, from the beginning of the Cold War (in 1949) till the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most Hollywood (political/ideological) villains were communists (mostly Soviet but also sometimes Chinese, East European and Cuban). By the early 1980s the radical Arab/Iranian as the bad guy had also been added to the list of Hollywood action villains.

 

Due to the worsening relationship between Washington and Tehran after the 1979 ‘Islamic Revolution’ in Iran, the Iranian villain in Hollywood was a reflection of the Iranian regime’s fanatical anti-Americanism. But, on the other hand, till the collapse of the Soviet Union, the radical Arab villain in Hollywood films was largely the Soviet-backed and secular Muslim ‘terrorist’, mostly Middle Eastern. 1977’s Black Sunday was the first blockbuster to exhibit exactly such a group of villains.

 

But unlike in India, no Pakistani filmmaker has willed to come up with a product on his or her own which expresses the Pakistani state’s new, evolving narrative. Maybe the state (and government) itself have not been able to communicate it in a more effective manner for anyone to use his or her artistic prowess to put out this narrative to counter those narratives demonizing Pakistan as a ‘pariah state’.

In 1986’s Delta Force, the villains in this context are anti-Israel Arab Muslim radicals who are ‘leftist’ in orientation (and thus being funded by the Soviet Union); whereas in the same year’s Under Siege, the bad guys are Arabs being backed by the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Interestingly though, in 1988’s Rambo: III, the so-called ‘fundamentalist’/’Islamist’ guerilla fighters in Afghanistan are good guys because by then the U.S. had already invested billions of dollars in funding the Afghan jihadists (against the Soviet forces).

 

The scenario began to change after the following events: the collapse of the Soviet Union; the end of American involvement in Afghanistan; and the start of U.S. involvement in Iraq. In 1994’s True Lies (starring popular action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger) the villains thus become Arab jihadists. In 1996’s Executive Decision the villains are again Arab jihadists. By the late 1990s, the American public had become conscious of the blow-back of American policies in Afghanistan (in the 1980s). This was immediately communicated by 1998’s The Siege in which Muslim men radicalized in Afghanistan commit terrorist attacks in the U.S.

 

So, as the situation in Afghanistan changed and the Soviet Union collapsed, so did America’s enemies, and thus, Hollywood villains, especially after the tragic 9/11 event in New York. The communist bad guys vanished; the leftist/secular Arab radical morphed into becoming religious Arab/Iranian/Afghan/Pakistani militant/terrorist. Between 2001 and 2017, dozens of films and TV shows were centered on such villains. Despite the panning a lot of films (or TV shows) produced by the ‘military-entertainment complex’ have been received by the more discerning critics, these films have played a most effective role in proliferating Washington’s internal and external policies and narratives–not only among audiences within the U.S. but also around the world where Hollywood films remain equally popular.

 

The partnership between Pentagon and Hollywood has perfected this tactic, using it for decades now, and today it has become a vital tool of what became known as ‘Fourth Generation Warfare’. One of the aspects of this warfare includes ‘psychological warfare’ in which various modern modes of communication and media are used to inflict psychological inferences against enemy states. The medium of popular films are a major part of this kind of warfare, and also of what is now being described as ‘Fifth Generation Warfare’ that includes ‘Hybrid Warfare’ which is a blend of conventional, unconventional, information and cyber warfare.

 

In 2013 when ISPR, the media arm of Pakistan Armed Forces, funded the making of Urdu film Waar (strike), it wasn’t doing anything which the American ‘military-entertainment complex’ hasn’t been doing for decades. At the time, the Pakistan military had gone to war with a dangerous and destructive internal enemy–the fanatical Islamic militants many of who were being bankrolled by the country’s external opponents. Ad hoc security policies, an outdated state narrative (built during the 1980s’ anti-Soviet Afghan insurgency); and a populist hyper electronic media had created a muddled scenario in which most Pakistanis could not comprehend how elements (supposedly) demanding Shariah laws (even through violence) could be considered anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam.

 

Waar (which became a major hit) tried to clear the confusion and at the same time communicate the state’s changing narrative about a vicious, fanatical internal enemy being backed by a cynical external foe (India). But using film (or TV) for the purpose of advancing state policy is something entirely new in Pakistan. India picked up the tactic from the 1990s onward. Before the 1990s, however, this ploy was missing in both India and Pakistan. If one studies Pakistani and Indian films released between the 1950s and the 1980s, they will see that the plots of the films in both the countries were largely focused on domestic or internal social issues and not concerned at all with the issues pertaining to their respective countries’ internal and external politics. However, in the mid-1970s, Bollywood did manage to produce some powerful (but metaphorical) mediations on the crisis of the state and government which India faced between 1973 and 1979. This was done through films such as Deewar (1975) and Trishul (1979).

 

Deewar was released during a period when former Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, had imposed an emergency to save her government that was being besieged by corruption and violent protests. Indian film critic, Nikhat Kazmi, in her 1997 book, Ire in the Soul, wrote that on the surface, Deewar was a well-scripted, emotional melodrama. However, Kazmi explained the character of the battered and violated mother in the film as a metaphorical representation of the besieged Indian state and government, violated by anti-state forces.

 

The mother’s two sons, one an angry young man (Amitabh Bachchan) and the other a police officer (Shashi Kapoor) handle their existentialist predicaments of being sons of a damaged mother in their own manner. In the end, even when the mother understands the anger of her elder son, she eventually sides with the other son (the policeman) in bringing down his renegade brother. Kazmi states that the message was that a battered state and its institutions are the result of selfish motives of a few bad apples in the society and polity. No wonder, the film was allowed to screen even during the height of Indira’s emergency.

 

Years later, the success of Deewar and Trishul with their underlying pro-state political messages encouraged some Indian producers to stretch the tactic and extend it to incorporate India’s external enemies. Nothing of the sort happened in Pakistan. But the fact is, even if any Pakistani filmmaker or the state had wanted to do so, the resultant product would not have been effective because due to the reactionary cultural policies of the Zia-ul-Haq regime in the 1980s, the Pakistani film industry had all but collapsed.

 

So Pakistan had no answer when Bollywood released one of the first Indian films to portray a villain with connections to Pakistan. The film was 1996’s Dilljale in which the main villain is a sinister Indian who is on the payroll of Pakistan’s ISI. The subtlety of the metaphorical political/propaganda films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Deewar is clearly missing. But Bollywood’s onslaught against the Pakistani state had taken off.

 

India’s film industry is mammoth. It finances itself with the huge profits that it makes from its many releases. It is not dependent on direct financing from state institutions. But many investors associated with the process of bankrolling films in India have relations with influential politicians and members of India’s state institutions. These investors have a lot of say in the formulation of plots and stories of the films that they finance.

 

Secondly, Bollywood filmmakers quickly pick up on issues proliferated by fiery Indian politicians, media and ideologues and weave these issues into their films’ plots. For example, during the initial stages of campaigning for the 1999 elections in India, most contestants began to highlight the deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan by using overt anti-Pakistan language. Consequently, Indian filmmaker and producer JM Matthan released Sarfarosh. Starring the charismatic Aamir Khan as the patriotic all-Indian hero, the film’s villain was played by Naseeruddin Shah in the shape of a sinister criminal who is, of course, on the payroll of the Pakistani intelligence agencies.

 

Numerous films have been rolled out by Bollywood after the commercial success of Sarfarosh. During the rise of neo-Hindu nationalism in India, the tones and tenors of these films have become rather blatant, sometimes to the point of becoming unintentional self-parodies. These films lack the finesse of Hollywood propaganda films, nor are they in any way metaphorical or subtle. Some critics may see them as vessels for collective venting-out rituals for the Indian masses conditioned by their politicians, state and media to accept particular nationalist and anti-Pakistan narratives. Something like an extended version of the concept of the ‘Two Minutes of Hate’ popularized by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Yet, these films do fit well in the barrel of India’s version of Fourth and Fifth Generation Warfare against Pakistan, mainly because Bollywood has gone global.

 

There are those who may argue that art should be kept aloof from what goes on between conflicting states. But with the mushrooming and increasing reach of digital/cyber technologies and the universal expansion of entertainment industries, nations facing internal or external conflicts cannot ignore the idea of using modern popular art-forms (such as film and TV) to put forth their narratives in an increasingly chaotic and complex marketplace of various narratives of numerous competing states.

 

For the past decade or so, Pakistan has been involved in Fourth and now Fifth Generation Warfare on many fronts. There is the physical, ideological and psychological war against internal (but externally-backed) Islamic militant outfits, and Baloch separatists; there is the semi-physical, psychological and information war against India; and there is also tension between a state (wanting to reform and redefine the rationale of Pakistani nationhood) and that part of the polity which was radicalized by the more belligerent, obscurantist (and outdated) nationalist narrative honed in the 1980s. The Pakistani entertainment industry seem cut-off from these realities.

 

Indeed, patriotic songs still continue to be recorded and citizens and politicians continue to give lip-service to the whole idea of patriotism. But the idea in this context being used by entertainers, politicians and TV personalities is entirely rhetorical in essence, devoid of the current (and complex) realities of hybrid warfare, and thus, outdated and ineffectual. ISPR has tried thrice to use the recent revival of Pakistani cinema to counter Bollywood’s onslaught and extremist propaganda, by giving a more contemporary shape (in the context of hybrid warfare) to new Pakistani films.

 

The experiment began with 2007’s Khuda Kay Liye. Directed by Shoaib Mansoor, the film prudently tackled the phenomenon of the spread of extremism in the Pakistani society by suggesting that the original disposition of the Pakistani nation and nationalism was inherently moderate. The experiment was carried forward with Waar (which we have already discussed) and then Yalghaar (apart from some TV plays) which tackled internal extremist thought and the Indian influence in exploiting this thought (and action) to destabilize Pakistan.

 

But unlike in India, no Pakistani filmmaker has willed to come up with a product on his or her own which expresses the Pakistani state’s new, evolving narrative. Maybe the state (and government) itself have not been able to communicate it in a more effective manner for anyone to use his or her artistic prowess to put out this narrative to counter those narratives demonizing Pakistan as a ‘pariah state’. Or the state has perhaps picked those show-biz or political personalities who have either lost their sheen; or simply don’t have the tact to intelligently weave the narrative into their product; or they often end up merging the new narrative with the outdated one, thus causing more confusion (and even repulsion).

 

Whatever the case may be, it must be understood that the kind of warfare we have discussed here is not only fought with conventional weapons by trained soldiers; it is also fought by many segments of the society and through modern modes of communication such as TV and film. It is vital that Pakistani filmmakers become aware of this reality.

 

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

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07
February

Written By: Rana Ather Javed

Espionage activities are not new and they will always remain the primary source of obtaining secret and classified information. Whereas, counter intelligence (CI) is the most important tool to neutralize hostile external covert threats. However, legalizing CI activities inside a country has been very challenging as it also appears to infringe upon the civil rights and privacy of the citizens of that very country. One of the most controversial laws ever passed in the U.S., the Espionage Act of 1917 (ch. 30, tit. I § 3, 40 Stat. 217, 219) and an amendment to it passed in 1918, sometimes referred to as the Sedition Act, were an attempt to deal with the CI environments created in the country during World War I.

 

isponageillegal.jpg

The character of this controversy is concerned with the way people look at their civil rights during war and peace time. Ostensibly, most of the Espionage Act was straightforward and non-controversial; however, parts of the legislation curtailed freedom of speech in such a way that it drew an outcry from civil liberty groups. World War II and the Cold War further changed the dynamics of war, and thus emerged new methods and technologies for the purpose of obtaining information with the intent or reason to be used to harm a state.

 

The entry into the 21st century witnessed the emergence of private armies, terrorist groups, and transnational sponsorship of terrorism. The amount of information gathered and disseminated during this phase has been exponential as well as controversial. The event-based terrorist incidents (e.g., 9/11 and 7/7) were used to orchestrate a “fictitious intelligence” framework in order to persecute wars in the regions that are full of natural resources and inhabited by Muslims. The demonization of Islam now is extended to re-designing of territories, with the aim to carve out a cluster of weak and small countries. This is why espionage has become the central source to impose social chaos upon societies such as Pakistan. The operationalization of 5th Generation Warfare including psychological and propaganda design is applied to undercut the national fabric, which has become the face of asymmetrical warfare. This espionage scheme has completely transformed the way enemy states seek to fracture ideological and territorial integrity of a nation state.

 

The case in point is of Pakistan’s CI efforts against unfriendly foreign nations who have been seeking and obtaining information concerning defence, military equipment, and socio-economic vulnerabilities. A parallel “collapse approach” is adopted to subsequently impose strategic disadvantages on the decision making process of Pakistan. The devaluation of currency, sanctions on both civilian and military sectors and, encouragement of dysfunctional state apparatus are some of the most emerging operational tools of espionage efforts.  

 

What makes Pakistan a classic case of disrupting and holding against the exclusive jurisdiction of international consortium of illegal intelligence operating in Pakistan is the remarkable CI operations of Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and other related civil-military security apparatuses. Illegality in this analysis springs from the establishment of covert operational cells under the guise of many NGOs and INGOs, in addition to the creation and dissemination of anti-Pakistan propaganda especially against its security and military institutions. This fact cannot be clinically detached from the highly dangerous trend of diluting territorial integrity – by creating “small sub-conventional war zones”, raising suspicion about the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces, undermining the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and, most importantly, creating despair and negative narratives about the economic future within the Pakistani society.  

 

By all accounts, Pakistan has been the target of India’s premier intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which has mostly been operating in partnership with MOSSAD, which literally means ‘the institute’, short for Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations; The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s national intelligence agency; and intelligence agencies of other major countries. The capture and confession of India’s serving naval commander, Kulbushan Jadhav has confirmed Pakistan’s claims both at the regional and international level that India is aiming to destabilize the region. The ensuing analysis of news reports, academic articles and expert commentary reveals that the intense campaign to discredit Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against home-grown and foreign-sponsored terrorist networks is directly linked with the plan to demoralize the armed forces and people of Pakistan. These hostile agencies also worked hard to implicate Pakistan’s military leadership and sections of intelligence agencies as hurdles to international peace efforts.

 

Contrarily, Pakistan’s achievement in defeating operational and political sponsors of asymmetrical warfare has now set the stage for new strategic alliances. Pakistan’s importance in trilateral alliance of China and Russia is considered to be the key to stabilize Afghanistan and wider South Asia. On the other hand, the U.S.-India nexus has drawn extreme attention to China and Russia as the U.S.-Indo strategic partnership has more to do with the containment of China than benefitting more than 800 million poor people of India.

 

The Indian encroachment on Afghan soil directly threatens the future peace process because in the guise of India’s so called developmental projects, anti-Pakistan agenda is being carried out by perpetrating destruction inside Pakistan through creation of the TTP and now recruiting Daesh in Afghanistan. Therefore, Indian and other intelligence agencies are working extensively to deny Pakistan any influence and virtually prepare Afghanistan as a strategic partner to India. Ironically this is not a partnership intended to achieve peace and prosperity but to present Pakistan a two-front scenario, thus pressurising Pakistan to acquiesce to the demands of hegemonic India.

 

So far Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies have shown great resolve and professional excellence to counter world’s most sophisticated intelligence agencies. Notwithstanding, these agencies have been able to penetrate and get a foothold among many segments of the population. Pakistan on one hand faces terrorist acts of religious zealots and on the other hand faces hostility of geo-political regional and international players espousing contradicting regional agenda. In the face of these extremely challenging environments, Pakistani state and society both need to operate in sync to timely identify and counter the enemy agents and their foot soldiers operating inside Pakistan for the purpose of espionage and subversion. There are multiple areas in which Pakistan needs to take stern and immediate action against the espionage activities:

 

o   Declare the publication of false reports unlawful, which negatively portray Pakistan’s defence forces, including nuclear related activities that might be useful for the enemy.

o Expel and detain under the law those foreign citizens who operate in the guise of NGOs, INGOs, humanitarian organizations, and, cancel certification of front companies being used to implement illegal intelligence network designs. The cooperation and understanding of respective governments is crucial, and can ensure the continuity of legitimate social work especially in the fields of healthcare and education.

o Punish through fine and imprisonment those wilfully displaying the flag of enemy country as the said act can incite disloyalty, mutiny or a method to create ‘like-minded’ individuals in various fields like academia, journalism, bureaucracy and politics.

o   Pakistan’s Espionage Act must be revised according to the dictates of modern warfare. This does not preclude the implementation of espionage laws during peace time. The assessment of foreign propaganda concludes that the human rights and freedom of expression are simultaneously being used to malign the conduct of Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) against terrorists. Consideration should be given to the cautious handing of information and operational details during the IBOs so that sympathizers and sponsors of terrorism do not have any access to crucial intelligence information. Additionally, Personal Reliability Assessment Check (PRSC) of sources must be strictly scrutinized and implemented given the potential and existing infiltration of enemy sources. The open ended and belligerent statements of former and current RAW chiefs and NSA (National Security Adviser) on the Indian doctrine to “infiltrate & bleed” have been the main catalyst behind espionage activism of India.

o   The CI efforts to neutralize anti-state and illegal intelligence networks with regards to interference in operational processes must be highlighted and communicated to the public for the purpose of recognition of military and security personnel.

 

The mounting espionage challenges for Pakistan are linked to our geostrategic location, and thus more work and experts are required in the field of counter intelligence (CI). Despite all the difficulties, an intra-institutional sharing of vital pieces of intelligence information should go beyond compartmentalization because the benefit of the current format may reach to contesting regional and international quarters. Therefore, an augmentation of the existing CI system and the development of a comprehensive system for countering industrial, military, social and political espionage is the key to dismantle Indian and other unfriendly countries’ offensive illegal intelligence operations in Pakistan. In conclusion, whereas vulnerabilities and challenges pose serious threats to a country, the actualization of CI measures and a national response could create opportunities and stability for the next generations of Pakistan.

 

The writer is Director General of a think tank Pakistan House.
 
07
February

Written By: Ayesha Soomro and Ayesha Wajahat

21st century’s diverse asymmetrical threats have changed the dynamics of wars, with it not being limited to the battlefield alone but also trascending to the domain of mind/psychology transcending to the domain of minds and not only limited to the battlefields. Psychological manipulation of the opponent affecting the will to fight cannot be overruled. Psychological operations when fully coordinated with tactical, operational and strategic planning and effectively integrated into decision-making process make it possible to attain covert desired objectives without being noticed by the targeted audience.

 

When information is disseminated to change emotion, attitude, mind and behaviour of foreign audience in favour of operator’s national objectives, the phenomenon is called mind-framing or psychological manipulation. It refers to convincing the opposing forces and neutral nations to take actions favorable to their sponsors. History has witnessed that militaries and political leaders have used psychological manipulation in various forms to gain desired objectives. The ultimate objective of psychological manipulation is to gain cooperation, support and compliance from the targeted audience. Once you start controlling the mind or psyche of an individual, you actually start controlling the psyche of the whole society. A closer view would tell that Pakistani society is being manipulated through such mind-framing acts.     

 

Another psychological tool, persuasion is also one of the main components of this manipulation. Psychological operators tactfully manage the perceptions to achieve long-term objectives. We don’t see things as they are, rather we see things in a manipulated/influenced form and as it is desired to be perceived.

 

Mind-framing limits the mind to the specific choices imposed upon it and prevents it from searching for other available options. It is performed by either using proven practices or with engineering and intelligence tools. For instance, initiation of dialogue on UN forum for condemnation of Jerusalem as capital of Israel is actually an unconscious recognition of Israel as a state. This has been done by successful mind-controlling or mind-framing. For achieving psychological control of minds, three significant areas, i.e., affective component (emotions), behavioural component and cognitive component (thoughts) are manipulated in a way that the targets’ complete existence pattern is structured in the desired fashion.

 

Emotions play a vital role in controlling the mind of masses. These emotions trigger other related emotions with varying intensities. After 9/11, a state of emotions of apprehension was created in the hearts and minds of Pakistani people. What would happen next? How would we survive the fight against terrorism? Are we fighting a proxy war? If we do not follow the U.S., what kind of consequences would we face? This emotion of apprehension was exploited by the superpower and further intensified by fear generated through terrorist events/incidents. These included fear of survival, fear of unknown circumstances and fear of death and destruction. Latently the fear was converted into terror when the terrorists started targeting our general population indiscriminately with bombings in public areas. This is how emotional exploitation was achieved. The enemy got hold of our emotions and started making attitudinal changes in the Pakistani society.

 

Robert Plutchik’s psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion is one of the most influential theory that explains how emotions are triggered and intensified to control individual or groups. According to him, emotions help to adapt and deal with issues posed by the environment. Commonly, we see that various sections of our society (ethnicities, caste, creeds and religious entities) are working with their particular emotions. The psychological operators hailing in the shape of community heads, political leaders, media centres, hostile actors and other eminent societal figures are contributing to trigger primary emotions (sometimes mixed or compound emotions) and create negative or positive influences. Timely understanding and taking target audience’s emotions into account particularly in pre, during and post chaotic times gives a deeper understanding of how to deal with target audience and prepare Psy Ops (psychological operations) product.

 

The cooperation and goodwill gesture of United States in the form of aid to Pakistan is one example of cohesive objectives of psychological operations. Trump’s tweet gave an impression to the world that the United States has doled out USD 33 billion to Pakistan and distorted the fact that more than half of the amount was actually a reimbursement. Since 9/11, the United States gained cooperation from Pakistan to achieve its cohesive objectives during Global War on Terror (GWOT) and intentionally ignored/overruled losses incurred by Pakistan, both in men and material.

 

In the same way, India applied divisive tactics of psychological manipulation. As Indian terrorist Kulbhushan Jadhav has unveiled the true picture of Indian Psy Ops aimed at the destabilization of Pakistan by all means, either emotional (discouragement, defeatism, apathy), behavioural (hostility and non-cooperation, discoordination, panic and privatization), or cognitive (surrender, defection and desertion, subversion and resistance).

 

Affect (emotion) and behaviour have drastic effects on human cognition (thought pattern). Human actions are governed by these thoughts. They think what is right and wrong, what is good or bad before they carry out the action. Cognition can also be controlled and framed by trained persuaders or manipulators. They give such statistics, facts and figures that change human thinking pattern through the peripheral route of persuasion. During the FATA and Swat operations, the terrorists tried to exploit religion on both ends to shape the cognition of Pakistani population (included civil and military). They manipulated the concept of fasaad and turned it into Jihad. The enemy moulded the Quranic references in such a way that it started influencing the cognition of Muslims for some time. This change in cognition demoralized the nation as it led them to think they were fighting against their own Muslim brethren.

 

The gap between conduct of action and creation of favourable emotions, cognition and behaviour must be bridged by some means of communication to disseminate information of such actions to the target audience. These means of communication should be in agreement with government and military policy. Political and military leadership should control the psychological manipulation and its effects on civilians by psychologically framing the minds of our own population. As a nation, we all need to be mindful of our enemies and their Psy Ops. The information, events and their interpretation must be carefully weighed and explained to the masses. The challenge has compounded in the age of mass media. It should become our national habit and way of thinking to critically analyze the information/events from the point of view of enemy Psy Ops. This habit of ‘seeing beyond’ will keep us on correct lines as a whole. We are facing the enemy in kinetic as well as in cognitive domains. The cognitive wars are more dangerous as these can be lost without even being aware of them. Today, being a nuclear power, our enemies have less options to attack us physically, but this limitation has allowed them to focus more on indirect attacks. A cursory view of information and content being created, sponsored and spread through different communication mediums in Pakistan is enough to tell the actual story. Pakistan is under attack in the cognitive domain through the use of psychological warfare techniques.

 

We have to defend and win at this front, too!

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07
February

Written By: Farzana Yaqoob

“No army, with bombs and shellfire could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive. India has never threatened such a drastic step… but the power is there nonetheless.” said David E. Lilienthal. And, these words of David are dangerously true.

Call it good luck or bad, the two nations India and Pakistan are intrinsically connected to each other not just by culture, heritage and history but also by water. By and large this is a significant relationship that the two countries have managed to maintain. They have fought over territorial issues and keep fighting legal battles over water. Both are unhappy with this situation but as of date they have not abrogated the single water distribution treaty that the countries are signatory to i.e., the Indus Water Treaty. On April 1, 1948 India tried to stop the flow of water to Pakistan. Before the Treaty, the Indus waters were apportioned as per the Inter-Dominion Agreement of May 1948. Pakistan wanted the International Court of Justice to settle this issue. India refused to do so, and wanted a bilateral resolution of the issue. In 1951 David Lilienthal, formerly the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission visited the region to write a series of articles for Colliers Magazine. Lilienthal was deeply interested in the subcontinent and was welcomed by the highest levels of both Indian and Pakistani governments. In his articles he insisted the World Bank get involved in resolving this issue in the best interest of both the countries. At that time the World Bank was called International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Lilienthal’s idea was appreciated by the two countries as well as the World Bank. And so began negotiations that finally culminated into the signing of the Treaty by both the countries.

 

 thewaterfront.jpgThe Indus Waters Treaty was signed between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then President of Pakistan Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan. The World Bank signed as a third party.

 

Under the Treaty, the waters of Eastern Rivers are allocated to India and the waters of Western Rivers are allocated to Pakistan. The Indus system of rivers comprises three Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and their tributaries) and three Western Rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and their tributaries). India is under obligation to let flow the waters of the Western Rivers except for the following uses: (a) Domestic use, (b) Non-consumptive use, (c) Agricultural use as specified, (d) Generation of hydro-electric power as specified. Both the parties are required to share flow/data of rivers, canals and streams.

 

Under the Treaty, India and Pakistan have each created a permanent post of Commissioner for Indus Waters. They together constitute the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which is entrusted with the implementation of the Treaty.

 

The article which has played a significant role is Article IX of the Treaty related to Settlement of Differences and Disputes. In the case of non-resolution of disputes, action can be taken for resolution through a Neutral Expert, negotiators or Court of Arbitration under this article.

 

India was supposed to pay for construction of canals and storage facilities that would transfer water from the Eastern Indian Rivers to Pakistan. As expected India refused to pay for the construction. The World Bank formed a plan for external financing given mainly by the USA and United Kingdom. The negotiations for the Treaty took over a decade to be formalised and finalised.

 

The major construction works done in the years after the Treaty are the only water storage related works that Pakistan succesfully completed. Other than these, any significant improvement or enhancement related to water storage is yet to be seen. Following is the list of work done so far:

Dams

Mangla Dam was constructed on Jhelum River at Mangla and Mirpur. It was completed in 1968.

Tarbela Dam was constructed on Indus River. It was completed in 1977.

Barrages

Marala Barrage was constructed on Chenab. It was completed in 1968.

Qadirabad Barrage was constructed on Chenab. It was completed in 1967.

Sidhnai Barrage was constructed on Ravi. It was completed in 1965.

Rasul Barrage was construced on Jhelum. It was completed in 1967.

Chashma Barrage was constructed on Indus. It was completed in 1971.

Mailsi Siphon was constructed on Sutlej. It was completed in 1964.

Link Canals

From Jhelum to Chenab link canal Rasul-Qadirabad.

From Chenab to Ravi link canal Qadirabad-Balloki.

From Ravi to Sutlej link canal Balloki-Suleimanki II.

From Indus to Jhelum link canal Chashma-Jhelum.

From Indus to Ravi link canal Trimmu-Sidhnai.

From Ravi to Sutlej link canal Sidhnai-Mailsi.

From Indus to Panjnad link canal Taunsa-Panjnad.

 

There are other barrages on River Indus which were constructed after the Treaty was signed.

“No army, with bombs and shellfire could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive. India has never threatened such a drastic step… but the power is there nonetheless.” said David E. Lilienthal. And, these words of David are dangerously true. India and Pakistan are energy starved countries. Pakistan completely depends on the River Indus for its water. The Indus River and its tributeries originate in Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. They then flow through India into Pakistan and fall into the Arabian Sea. One can also understand why India will never resolve the Kashmir conflict. The lifeline of Pakistan originates in Kashmir, and so it must recognise the threat that was mitigated by the Indus Water Treaty. Although to-date after the signing of the Treaty India has not openly tried to stop the waters of the rivers but it has been busy constructing blockades on the rivers in the name of harnessing the energy potential through hydro-power projects. Two disputed projects–Baglihar and Kishan Ganga–received a lot of media attention. These issues were taken to the International Court of Arbitration as the Indus Water commisioners were unable to resolve these disputes amongst themselves.

 

Pakistan has been unable to build any other big dam. Pakistan is a water starved country and climate change is adding to this issue. Torrential rains lead to flash floods. All this extra water then flows into the Arabian Sea instead of being stored. So the internal crisis that is staring Pakistan in the face is not just terrorism. It is also the lack of storage facilities for water.

On the other hand, Pakistan has been unable to build any other big dam. Pakistan is a water starved country and climate change is adding to this issue. Torrential rains lead to flash floods. All this extra water then flows into the Arabian Sea instead of being stored. So the internal crisis that is staring Pakistan in the face is not just terrorism. It is also the lack of storage facilities for water. Water crisis needs to be resolved on a war footing because only when Pakistan is internally strong and well-sustanied will it be able to stop India from its obvious aspirations of increasing the conflict in this region.

 

The Indus Water Treaty does not address climate change. Kashmir is located mostly in the earthquake prone zone. The structures being built by the Indian government on the River Indus are not only a problem for Pakistan as they decrease the flow of water but a huge scale earthquake could acually make these structures unstable or worse, demolish them. The breakage of these structures could then lead to flash floods which would not only harm Kashmiris who are already facing the brunt of climate change and conflict but these floods could then cause major destruction in the areas around Indus water basin. All this might sound like fiction but in reality there is a high probability that it can happen.

 

Royal Institute of International Affairs also known as Chatham House launched a survey of the attitudes towards water of South Asia in 2013, “Discussion about water in South Asia–in particular the shared rivers of the region–is vociferous, antagonistic and increasingly associated with national security”, observed Dr. Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Programme of the Royal Institute on International Affairs. The report highlighted the fact that the neighbouring countries had severe trust deficit issues when it came to water related matters, “For Bangladesh and Nepal, Indian approaches to water are a primary source of distrust. Conspiracy theories and blame are prevalent throughout South Asia–Afghanistan blames Pakistan and Iran for its water problems, while Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan blame India”.

 

John Briscoe was the Senior Water Advisor for the World Bank who dealt with the appointment of the Neutral Expert on the Baglihar case. He wrote an article about the increasing tensions between India and Pakistan over the waters of Indus. He shared his insights about the Indian Government control over media reporting on water issues, and expressed his concern over the Indian attitude towards Pakistan’s just concerns over the different hydro projects being constructed on the rivers in Kashmir.

 

It was stated in The News on April 5, 2010 by John Briscoe Gordon McKay, Professor of Environmental Engineering, Harvard University, “Equally depressing is my repeated experience–most recently at a major international meeting of strategic security institutions in Delhi–that even the most liberal and enlightened of Indian analysts (many of whom are friends who I greatly respect) seem constitutionally incapable of seeing the great vulnerability and legitimate concern of Pakistan (which is obvious and objective to an outsider)”. He further stated, “As a South African I am acutely aware that Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in prison, chose not to settle scores but to look forward and construct a better future, for all the people of his country and mine. Who will be the Indian Mandela who will do this–for the benefit of Pakistanis and Indians–on the Indus?” Pakistan not only needs to be extra vigilant about the existing water resources but it must execute well-planned projects to safeguard its future from natural calamities such as floods and unnatural calamity such as war over waters.

 

The writer is the former Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development for the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Her Services have won her the title of “Young Global Leader 2017” by World Economic Forum.

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07
February

Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal

Simply phrased, economic prosperity reduces the element of external dependence of a state and enhances national security. Any slackness on this front limits the foreign policy choices as well as puts strains on domestic policy. Our enemies would always endeavor to keep us economically weak and dependent thus ripe for coercion through sactions etc. Pakistan needs to develop a cohesive strategy and focus efforts for fast paced economic growth in order to generate revenues for investing in education, healthcare, housing, transportation and security. Pakistan should consider the application of the inclusive economic growth model, based on developing our human resource and equality of opportunity for all regardless of their creed, language or ethnicity.

Relationship of economic prosperity with internal stability and national security has been examined by eminent researchers and policymakers since the Second World War. There exists a strong connection between economic prosperity and national security.1 Both factors predetermine the other; economic prosperity is a precondition for national security just as national security is a precondition for economic prosperity.2

 

Economists stress the importance of security for an economy to develop. This is a self-evident relationship; a secure environment is crucial to the success of an economy. Internal discord and a state incapable of defending itself from internal and external de-stabilizing factors will hinder investment and progress of an economy.

 

On the other hand, it is also important to note that a vibrant economy will translate into strong national security. Leading researchers like Friedberg and Ferguson place greater emphasis on the need for economic stability for national security rather than vice versa, i.e., development and economic prosperity will enhance a state’s power and strengthen national security.

 

Though national security is commonly defined as a nation’s safety against threats such as war, terrorism and espionage, it is in fact a much broader term in its scope. It is not only limited to national defense but also incorporates the protection of series of geopolitical as well as economic objectives3 to safeguard a nation’s interests as a whole.

 

Therefore, it is important to widen the discussion from an abstract concept of power to better understand the different elements that constitute power–which are military as well as geo-political and economic. The historical and philosophical lens sees military power deriving from economic power.4 This is most evident in the U.S. example; the strongest economy in the world is also the superpower reflecting its military, economic and geopolitical dominance over the globe. This co-relation has been true since the time human beings organized themselves into tribes, city-states or countries.

 

USA’s superpower status is hinged upon its economic strength. The United States is the backbone of the global financial system as over 80% of financial transactions and 87% of foreign currency market transactions are conducted in U.S. dollars. America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 19 trillion (2017, est.), or around 25% of the global GDP . The country’s spending on defense corresponds to 37% of the global defense spending or more than the sum of the amount spent by the next nine largest countries. In addition, USA has influence over the supra-national financial institutions such as the World Bank due to its significant shareholding, further enhancing its global leverage.

 

The link between economy and national security can be seen in the architecture of the National Security Council (NSC) of USA. A forum that discusses matters related to national security, though its composition is not only limited to defense and intelligence but also gains input from treasury, foreign, commerce secretary, economic policy departments as well as the ambassador to the UN. This illustrates how national security encompasses domains related to the economy, domestic and international finance and trade as well as foreign policy.

 

On the contrary, if we consider how an underperforming economy impacts the national security of a state, the earstwhile USSR is an example. In 1980s, the USSR went through a phase of economic stagnation with its GDP falling by two percent in 1989 and further dropping eight percent in 1991. This decline was experienced in every sector from consumer durables to energy to agriculture. These coordinated economic problems resulted in its eventual political and security collapse. Lack of economic prosperity and significant imbalances in budget deficit and international trade weakened and ultimately unraveled the USSR’s national security and geographical integrity.

 

Pakistan can also learn from historical examples which illustrate the significance of economic prosperity for national security. Dating back to the ancient Athens that taxed its citizens to raise a military against Sparta signifies the relationship between wealth creation and security. It is also evident from the Ottoman Empire whose economy could not financially support the 1854 Crimean War and acquired substantial borrowing by signing fifteen debt agreements which eventually led to its bankruptcy in 1876.6 This lack of economic and financial self-reliance and independence led to the decline of the Ottoman Empire–starting from losing the freedom to act in protecting its interests and eventually military losses on the battlefield. The decline of the Ottoman Empire serves as a lesson that external financial dependency hampers economic sovereignty of a nation and leads to a decline of its security.

 

Simply phrased, economic prosperity reduces the element of external dependence of a state and enhances national security. Any slackness on this front limits the foreign policy choices as well as puts strains on domestic policy. Our enemies would always endeavor to keep us economically weak and dependent thus ripe for coercion through sanctions etc. Pakistan needs to develop a cohesive strategy and focus efforts for fast paced economic growth in order to generate revenues for investing in education, healthcare, housing, transportation and security. Pakistan should consider the application of the inclusive economic growth model, based on developing our human resource and equality of opportunity for all regardless of their creed, language or ethnicity. Such an economic model is participative in nature and enables any citizen to progress on merit with effort and character determining one’s success and position in the society. It reduces resentment and segmentation on the lines of socio-economic classes, which in turn leads to internal harmony and stability and hence stronger national security.

 

Improved economic performance will enable our citizens to be content with the hope of a better future united as a nation-state, and make the country financially strong to protect its vital national interests and positively engage in the world economically and politically.7

 

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution age, it is evident that a strong economy ensures national security. Inclusive economic prosperity and financial independence is the best weapon that we as a nation must have for enhancing our national security.

 

The writer is an economic and development expert with degrees in public policy, economics and chartered accountancy.

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1 Friedberg, A. L. (1991). The Changing Relationship between Economics and National Security.

Political Science Quarterly, 265-276.

2 Sehgal, I. (2017, September 29). Economy and Security. Business Recorder.

3 Holmes, K. R. (2015). What is National Security. The Heritage Foundation.

4 Ferguson, A. (2013). The Uneasy Relationship Between Economics and Security. Prism, 77-86.

5 https://knoema.com/nwnfkne/world-gdp- ranking-2017- gdp-by- country-data- and-charts

6 Ferguson, N. (2008, October 2). The End of Prosperity?. Time Magazine.

7 Ziauddin, M. (2016, March 4). The Express Tribune.

 
07
February

Written By: S.M. Hali

It is no coincidence that Indian secret service Research & Analysis Wing, RAW’s senior operative and terror monger, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, in his confessional statement also admitted having orchestrated the Safoora Goth attack. This clearly proves the link between RAW and ISIS. It is noteworthy that according to Indian media reports, their National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim and RAW Chief Alok Joshi traveled to Iraq between 23 and 25 June 2014 while Ajit Doval went onwards to Syria to negotiate with the ISIS, which was holding hundreds of Indians including 45 nurses hostage, to set them free. Indian media reports that no money was exchanged but other sources indicate that Ajit Doval befriended the ISIS leadership, convincing them that his sources would help Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men gain a foothold in Pakistan

Every few years, a new demon is created, which rocks the world till it is replaced by a fresh menace. The world has witnessed the emergence of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and now the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS, Dáesh or IS) which is the latest menace. Having taken roots in Iraq and Syria, ISIS took a deadly toll on lives and yet held an attraction for not only Muslims as recruits from the Arab world but also from the Occident, Far East and Australia. After nearly a decade of ascendancy, the ISIS has nearly been routed from the Middle East. Its retreat signals trouble for both Central and South Asia. The latter may be a more lucrative hunting ground for ISIS since it is inhabited by 40 percent of the world’s Muslim population.

 

ISIS leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose current status is unclear (there are claims that he is dead, while yet others state that he is critically injured) had divided the world calling it the Islamic State, into various regions. Wilayat Khorasan (Khorasan Province) comprises Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and parts of India. Wilayat Khorasan was apparently leased as a franchise to defectors from Afghan Taliban, who were disgruntled after the declaration of the demise of Taliban leader Mullah Umar, and, members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Initially the footprints were in Afghanistan, from where leaflets, flags and propaganda materials in support of ISIS began getting distributed in parts of Pakistan, including a pamphlet written in Pashto and Dari that called on all Muslims to swear allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Members of TTP publicly swore allegiance to ISIS while in Afghanistan a struggle of supremacy between the Taliban and ISIS ensued.

 

 isisthenewmenance.jpgDisturbed by the defections of Taliban fighters to ISIS and the challenge the latter was posing to the Taliban, its then leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour wrote a letter in June 2015 to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to stop interfering in Afghanistan. He urged the ISIS there is room for only “one flag, one leadership” in their fight to re-establish strict Islamist rule. Adding that the Taliban “based on religious brotherhood asks for your goodwill and doesn’t want to see interference in its affairs”.

 

Taliban leadership’s plea fell on deaf ears and intense fighting broke out between the two groups in Nangarhar Province, where ISIS managed to gain a foothold for the first time. Trying to spread their wings, ISIS began to expand in other provinces of Afghanistan including Helmand and Farah. Emboldened and desperate for new recruits, by the end of 2015 ISIS began broadcasting Pashto language radio in Nangarhar Province, later adding content in Dari.

 

A fresh development heightened the morale of the ISIS in Khorasan Province in August 2015 when the Afghanistan-based militant group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), pledged allegiance to ISIS and declared they were now members of Wilayat Khorasan. Following the pledge, the Taliban and IMU clashed fiercely in Zabul Province. Readers may recall that in June 2015, IMU had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Karachi airport. The IMU may not have been formally an ally of ISIS then but they were definitely negotiating with them for gaining formal membership. It was this attack which acted as a catalyst for Pakistan to launch the Military Operation Zarb-e-Azb and destroyed the TTP, IMU and other miscreants in North Waziristan, albeit a few fled to Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban also launched an offensive against the Uzbeks, causing heavy casualties and eliminating its presence in the province by the end of 2015. The Afghan Taliban also succeeded in dislodging ISIS from Farah Province over the same period.

 

ISIS was ultimately rooted out by the Taliban in 2016, losing control of much of its territory in Nangarhar Province. It was driven out of Achin and Shinwar Districts following a military operation by Afghan Security Forces, while clashes with the Taliban caused them to be driven out from Batikot and Chaparhar districts. Following the loosening of targeting restrictions by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan earlier in the year, the U.S. Air Force began conducting scores of air strikes against ISIS targets. In April 2016 the Taliban reported that a number of senior and mid-level leaders of Wilayat Khorasan in Nangarhar Province had defected from ISIS and pledged allegiance to Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour. The defectors included members of the group's central council, judicial council, and prisoners’ council, as well as several field commanders and their fighters.

 

The Taliban received a setback around this time when on May 21, 2016 Mullah Akhtar Mansour was eliminated in a drone strike by USA in Pakistan while returning from Iran. On May 26, 2016 Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzada was promoted to the top position in the Taliban but there are reports of unrest within the group which the ISIS is trying to exploit.

 

In 2017, the U.S. decided to take major action against the ISIS in Afghanistan. On April 13, 2017 a GBU-43/B MOAB (mother of all bombs) was dropped in an airstrike on a cave complex in Achin District, Nangarhar Province. The devastating bomb attack killed 36 ISIS militants according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and destroyed the tunnel complex including a cache of weapons.

 

There are UN reports that after their expulsion from Syria and Iraq, 70 ISIS fighters entered Afghanistan to form the core group of ISIS in Wilayat Khorasan and enhanced their activities in the region. The Afghan government and the Allied Forces in Afghanistan are downplaying the presence of the ISIS on its soil, claiming that over 1,600 ISIS militants have been killed in Afghanistan in 2017. Captain Gresback, the Public Affairs Director of Resolute Support Mission, released the figure speaking to Tolo News of Afghanistan, and declared that ISIS was being targeted by the combined security forces of the United States and Afghanistan thus ISIS is active in only three provinces in the country and ruled out its further threat in Afghanistan. Notwithstanding, there is still a mystery about the sponsors of ISIS. Some fingers point at Israel while others at the U.S. It is apparent with the role of the U.S. in Syria being dubious as the Russians and Syrian have accused the USAF (United States Air Force) of deliberately targeting Syrian civilians rather than known ISIS locations despite the precision guided munitions, drones and satellite imagery available to USAF for accurate targeting.

 

Similarly, the ease with which ISIS occupied military installations in Iraq, guarded by special forces equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and trained by the U.S. raised some eyebrows.

 

In Afghanistan too, the use of MOAB which caused a high collateral damage albeit denied by the U.S. and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's insinuation of America tacit support of the menace of ISIS to keep the region embroiled in conflict should not be dismissed.

 

Meanwhile the ISIS conducted the Karachi Airport attack and prior to it, on May 13, 2015 eight gunmen attacked a bus travelling in Safoora Goth, Karachi. The shooting left at least 46 people dead. All of the victims were of the Ismaili Shia Muslim minority, suggesting the attack was a targeted killing of sectarian nature. The banned militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the shooting. The gunmen hailed from Afghanistan. Pamphlets supporting ISIS–with whom Jundallah has pledged allegiance to–were also found at the crime scene. However, the Pakistani government ruled out the connection of ISIS in the attack, stating that the group does not have a physical presence in the country.

 

It is no coincidence that Indian secret service Research & Analysis Wing, RAW’s senior operative and terror monger, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, in his confessional statement also admitted having orchestrated the Safoora Goth attack. This clearly proves the link between RAW and ISIS. It is noteworthy that according to Indian media reports, their National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim and RAW Chief Alok Joshi traveled to Iraq between 23 and 25 June 2014 while Ajit Doval went onwards to Syria to negotiate with the ISIS, which was holding hundreds of Indians including 45 nurses hostage, to set them free. Indian media reports that no money was exchanged but other sources indicate that Ajit Doval befriended the ISIS leadership, convincing them that his sources would help Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men gain a foothold in Pakistan.

 

Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, reportedly a relative of Ajit Doval and handpicked for his clandestine machinations in Pakistan, sang like a canary after his capture. It is evident that ISIS and RAW are working hand in glove to destabilize Pakistan.

 

The ISIS assailants are targeting Shia’s as well as moderate Sunni’s because they want to establish their firebrand extremism in Pakistan, too. Many Sufi shrines and personalities have come under attack. Even a cursory glance at the timeline of recent attacks in Pakistan signifies this emerging pattern of attacks by RAW. Besides the May 13, 2015 bus attack in Karachi mentioned earlier, on August 8, 2016 multiple attackers carried out suicide bombing and shooting at a government hospital in Quetta, where lawyers were gathered, resulting in 94 deaths and over 130 injured. On October 24, 2016 in an attack claimed by ISIS, an intelligence officer was shot dead. On October 24, 2016 three heavily armed terrorists carried out mass shooting at police cadets in Police Training College Quetta while they were asleep, killing 61 cadets. Besides the ISIS, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi also claimed credit for the attack. The latter have a common agenda of targeting Shias.

 

The attempts of ISIS to gain foothold in Pakistan is a clear and present danger. A document, allegedly belonging to ISIS was found in the tribal areas of Pakistan by the American Media Institute (AMI). According to reports, the document titled ‘A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC): The Caliphate According to the Prophet’, was discovered in the tribal areas of Pakistan, written in Urdu. Much like Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf, the 32-page document includes a graphic depiction of the six stages of the Islamic State. ISIS, in the document, conveniently declared that Pakistan and Afghanistan are set to be its next target areas for terror attacks.

 

Another extremist faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA), a Taliban faction that has pledged allegiance to ISIS, has collaborated with the ISIS for many terror attacks over the past two and a half years, including the attack at the Sufi shrine in Sehwan and a military truck in Quetta in August 2017.

 

The appeal of the ISIS is not only to existing hardcore militants or the impoverished and deprived but also to the educated and enlightened youth, including women. Taking cue from the promise of a life of adventure and action coupled with riding into the mainstream, they have joined the radical group.

 

Under the above mentioned emerging scenario, Pakistan has no choice but to ensure that the country stays on course of moderate pluralistic Islam, and must ensure that ISIS and their foreign sympathizers and financiers do not gain ascendency. The threat from ISIS (duly collaborated by RAW) cannot be wished away or brushed under the carpet; a concrete and proactive action is must to eliminate this emerging threat.

 

The National Action Plan (NAP) to eradicate extremism and terrorism, adopted in the wake of the heinous December 16, 2015 attack on Army Public School at Peshawar was a step in the right direction. Alas, apart from few articles of the NAP, to be executed by the armed forces of Pakistan, the others were allowed to slip through the cracks owing to political expediency or the political leadership choosing to remain oblivious to the threat. If Pakistan wishes to avoid the fate of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Libya, it must eliminate this new menace. Emboldened by their power to exploit and even blackmail their way, few radical groups are paving the way for ISIS to gain influence and endanger the very existence of Pakistan, whose founding fathers envisaged it to be a moderate state where religious minorities were not subject to persecution and murder. The time to take cognizance of ISIS—the new menace–is now.

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
February

21st century has brought changes to the nature and character of war and thus the warfare is not restricted to the battlefield alone, rather non-military instruments and a combination of conventional and unconventional methods of war, and use of information in particular is the highlight of the complicated contemporary security environment. From low yield, low intensity static First Generation Warfare to highly advanced, technologically modern and intense Fifth Generation Warfare, concepts are fast evolving. Sun Tzu once said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. Countries are reapplying those centuries-old tactics to generate the outcome they desire. This multi-modal or multi-variant conflict is no longer a simple black and white characterization of one form of warfare, rather it is a growing array of hybrid war capabilities—from the use of disinformation and propaganda to sow internal disorder and dissent within a country, to crippling cyber-attacks and psychological warfare, to conventional military power.

 

Today’s confrontation requires operating with a perpetual competition mindset. Hybrid war starts undeclared and continuously aims to influence public opinion and narratives, and spread manipulated public messages that are fabricated and promoted by adversaries. Furthermore, the use of modern information technology allows multiplication of the effect that brings with it dangerous consequences and novel nature of this phenomenon. Media–print, electronic and in particular social media–is the most used and effective manipulation instrument, nevertheless, fake news is only tip of the iceberg in the psychological warfare arena.

 

The attacker’s military operations are conducted covertly by irregular forces against the whole society and in particular, against its political structure, state authorities and local government, the economy, the morale of the population and against the Armed Forces. They are targeting the entire nation and our ideological foundations when they target our ethnic diversity, religion and culture. The confusion being created by the enemy is aimed at targeting self-belief and Pakistan’s desire to remain sovereign. The aim of such warfare could be to divide and weaken the target country so as to lay the ground for penetrating its politics in the future, resultantly affecting its foreign policy course, and even its strategic orientation.

 

This makes it incumbent upon the academicians, religious figures, politicians, artists and the entire nation to not let anyone discredit our ideology, identity and the very fabric. The possible schism lies in manipulated fault lines/narratives based on sectarianism, ethnic divide, languages, social classes, resource distribution and population imbalance. The attacks are coming through conventional front, and unconventional such as militant proxies, ideological subversion, economic traps, and, from information and cyber warfare to political manipulation to weaken us. These are ploys guised beautifully and thus necessitate extreme vigilance.

 

While we can’t actually stop the enemy from waging this war, we may be able to prevent it by correctly understanding and responding to the situation and by developing a national strategy and response to address the hybrid threats. An effective counter-hybrid warfare strategy requires political solidarity and agility along with well-tailored military capabilities. Our approach should be a comprehensive one, using a mix of military and civilian capabilities and institutions, at both the state and grass root level keeping in mind that the opponents are constantly working towards improving their methods. We must respond to the vulnerabilities at all levels to tackle the threats emerging from multiple angles.

 

A fight against an opponent that wages a hybrid war is a task for the entire society and therefore we must remain vigilant, be prepared for hybrid attacks in all areas and must remain resistant towards any disinformation campaigns directed by the opponents. The leaders and strategic thinkers must keep the nation hopeful and must not let the divisive elements or hostile identities to strengthen and encourage dissent and division.

 

We as a nation should remain committed to the protection of our freedom and stay united while keeping faith in the viability of the state.

 

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07
February

Written By: Amir Zia


While Pakistani security forces have done well in taking on the challenge of homegrown as well as foreign-sponsored terrorism and are capable of protecting our eastern and western frontiers, the real challenge is fighting and winning the battle of ideas.

Defeating an enemy at the minimum human and financial cost, preferably without firing a single shot, should be the aim of all master military and political strategists. They create confusion, discord and division within the enemy country; nurture, exploit and stoke its ethnic, sectarian, religious and class contradictions; sponsor terrorists and subversive activities; target and damage its economy, and erode the national unity and cohesion of the enemy state by striking at its ideological foundations.

 

 hybridwarfaremanisfested.jpgPakistan experienced and suffered all this in the 1971 War when it was dismembered by India, which exploited the simmering political and economic contradictions between the two former wings of our country. Pakistan’s defeat was not because the enemy was too smart or too brave, it was basically the inability of our successive rulers, who failed to resolve the internal contradictions of the state, providing the enemy an opportunity to damage us from within.

 

Our rulers had placed Pakistan Armed Forces in a no-win situation much before the outbreak of the actual war. When open confrontation started, the result was foretold. Our isolated troops in the former East Pakistan were up against heavy odds; a hostile local population and the enemy forces, without any backup and no direct air or land link with their power center.

 

Our political failure led to the military failure. India manipulated the anger and resentment among Bengalis over their real or perceived exploitation by the western wing. Indians trained and armed the rebels and infiltrated agents in the former East Pakistan. However, much before fanning insurgency and declaring an all-out war, the Indian propaganda machine had penetrated various segments of the society, especially among students, teachers, opinion-makers, journalists, writers and intellectuals. In a nutshell, our mistakes offered a perfect dream victory to India.

 

Pakistan is the target of fourth generation and hybrid warfare, which has intensified during recent years as hostile countries are trying to redefine the balance of power and rules of the game in South and Central Asia by weakening and destabilizing the world’s lone Muslim nuclear power.

New Face of Warfare

The East Pakistan debacle happened more than four decades ago when the concepts of the fourth generation and hybrid warfare had yet to be introduced as doctrines or applied in a systematic manner anywhere in the world.

 

The term Fourth Generation Warfare–first used in 1989 by a group of American analysts–is being defined as blurring lines between war and politics and combatants and civilians. The hybrid war–a more recent phrase that first appeared in 2005–is abstract, yet holistic. It encompasses a strategy that blends conventional, unconventional and cyberwarfare as well as propaganda, diplomacy, subversion and strangulating or damaging the economy of the hostile state.

 

Both these concepts bank on the dynamism of decentralization and use sophisticated tactics of terrorism, psychological warfare through media manipulation, cultural invasion and propaganda to target the enemy’s ideology and core values. It is a complex, long-term low-intensity game, which can be transformed into a high-intensity and disastrous conflict for the enemy if not forcefully and effectively managed.

Fringe dissident elements – the shadowy nationalist militant groups to handful of social media activists, elements from academia, media and the NGOs – within Pakistan have been influenced to echo the enemy’s propaganda line. Our Armed Forces are the main target of this campaign as the enemy realizes that this is the only institution which stands between them and their designs against Pakistan.

 

Old Roots of the Game

However, the fourth generation and hybrid warfare in essence remain as old as the state and statecraft itself. The concept has been so aptly defined by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and military theorist (544 BC 496 BC), in these words; “the skillful strategist defeats the enemy without going to battle.” (‘The Art of War’, Chapter 3,a translation by John Minford, Penguin Classics).

 

Subduing the enemy’s army without fighting war has been described as “the acme of skill” by Sun Tzu whose strategic and tactical doctrines are based on “deception, the creation of false appearances to mystify and delude the enemy, the indirect approach, ready adaptability to the enemy situation, flexible and coordinated maneuver of separate combat elements and speedy concentration against points of weakness.” (Introduction, ‘The Art of War’ by Samuel B. Griffith, Duncan Baird Publishers).

 

Today’s Challenge

Pakistan is the target of fourth generation and hybrid warfare, which has intensified during recent years as hostile countries are trying to redefine the balance of power and rules of the game in South and Central Asia by weakening and destabilizing the world’s lone Muslim nuclear power.

The weakness of our state and the regulatory and law enforcement institutions are responsible for this state of affairs, which allow bubbles of privileges to thrive and work against the state unchallenged and unchecked.

 

The Indian objectives of targeting Pakistan are:

a) To force Pakistan to abandon all moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmir’s indigenous freedom movement.

b) Brand Kashmiri freedom fighters’ legitimate struggle against the Indian occupation as terrorism.

c)   Disrupt China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

d) Weaken Pakistan to an extent where India can establish its undisputed hegemony in the region.

 

The Afghan regime is playing ball with Indians in an attempt to put the blame of its own weaknesses and failures on Pakistan. The choices Kabul is making are based on narrow, self-interest of its foreign-backed puppet rulers, who cannot stay in power on their own even for a couple of months. Tensions with Pakistan suit the opportunistic mindset of the Kabul regime because:

 

a) It wants to keep away representatives of Afghanistan’s majority ethnic group–Pashtuns–out of power which the leadership of ethnic minorities currently enjoy the lion’s share.

b) Blame Pakistan for its own failure in establishing writ in Afghanistan.

c) Provoke tensions on the settled issue of Durand Line (de facto and de jure international border) to stoke Afghan nationalist sentiment and trouble in Pakistan’s tribal belt–as was done in the 1970s.

d) Keep the U.S.-led NATO alliance engaged in Afghanistan to ensure continued financial and military aid, without which the Kabul regime would collapse.

e) Provide India space to carryout anti-Pakistan activities in return of the overt and covert financial support.

 

The United States, which has a long history of working with Pakistan as an ally, has been bogged down in Afghanistan. The U.S. forces have failed to defeat the Afghan Taliban in the longest war of their history, spanning well over 16 years. After spending trillions of dollars, the victory appears nowhere in sight for the United States. Therefore, Washington also finds it convenient to blame Islamabad for its strategic failures. The U.S. objectives are:

 

a) To make Pakistan a scapegoat for its military failures in Afghanistan. The biggest victory for the ragtag Taliban remains that they are not letting the superpower win.

b) To drag Pakistan directly into the Afghan conflict with an aim to fight this war on the Pakistani soil.

c) To force Pakistan to submit to the Indian and Afghan demands.

d) To contain Pakistan’s nuclear programme in the short to mid-term and try to get it scrapped altogether in the long-run.

e) With United States’ growing strategic ties with India, Washington wants Pakistan to accept New Delhi’s dominant role in the region, which falls in line with Washington’s contain China policy.

 

These U.S. objectives are in sync with Indian and Afghan interests, but are against Pakistan’s core interests. These include an unyielding support to Kashmir freedom movement, safeguarding the country’s nuclear weapon programe and ensuring national unity and cohesion at every cost. This explains why Pakistan remains the target of multipronged attacks from the hostile powers, which are using hybrid and fourth generation warfare tactics to achieve their objectives.

 

Terrorism

Pakistan is fighting homegrown terrorism and violent extremism for the past several decades. But it would be living in self-denial if one fails to acknowledge that hostile countries–especially India and Afghanistan–are also sponsoring terrorist and subversive activities here.

 

The arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and unearthing of his network is a proof of how India has been sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan, particularly, targeting parts of Balochistan and the commercial hub of Karachi.

 

The Afghan territory is being used to carryout terrorist attacks here as Indian and Afghan spy agencies provide support to Pakistan’s ethnic, narrow nationalist and so-called religious terror groups.

 

As India and Afghanistan are all out to destabilize Pakistan, the United States not only looks the other way, but accuses Islamabad of sponsoring the Taliban resistance in Afghanistan, where its NATO-led and Afghan troops have even failed to properly man the international border to check militants’ cross-border movement. Stopping militants at the border is considered the sole responsibility of Pakistan, which has started fencing the border and setting up new posts to prevent infiltration of terrorists into the country from Afghanistan. Pakistan has set up more than 1,500 check posts along the border compared to less than 150 that exist on the other side of the border. In a strange, twisted logic, Kabul stands opposed to any border management system because it does not believe in the sanctity of the international border. Yet, it wants our troops to check the alleged flow of militants from Pakistan into Afghanistan.    

 

It is indeed ironic that the country, which paid the biggest price fighting terrorism; arrested and killed the highest number of international terrorists, including those belonging to Al-Qaeda, and singlehandedly turned the tide of extremism through a series of military operations including Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad, is being blamed for terrorism. 

 

Tensions on the Eastern Border

India has been resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in the disputed Kashmir region with an aim to keep Islamabad’s attention divided, which is locked in the war against terrorism on the western front.

 

Indians have committed nearly 100 ceasefire violations just in January 2018, targeting both civilian and military personnel. In 2017, Indians committed more than 1,900 such violations, underlining how the enemy wants to keep pressure on Pakistan. Similarly, Afghan troops have also carried out attacks on the Pakistani posts on a number of occasions. Even the U.S.-led NATO forces have occasionally engaged Pakistani troops besides carrying out regular drone attacks on the Pakistani territory. All these are meant to pressurize Pakistan and force it to yield to their demands. 

 

Anti-Pakistan Propaganda

Demonizing an enemy first even before destroying it remains pivotal in this day and age of globalized world and instant communications. This is the most effective way to legitimize any overt or covert war aimed at subduing an enemy state or forcing a regime change as has been done in many other Muslim countries in recent years. A sustained propaganda, disinformation and misinformation, allegations and fake news are all parts and parcel of the propaganda war that serves as the vanguard in hybrid and fourth generation warfare.

 

The mainstream media is being used to tarnish the image of the hostile power through stories and opinion pieces giving half or partial facts or dishing out complete lies. This is done by a propagandist country to win over the domestic public opinion in favor of the war as well as to influence the world.

 

The boom in communications and the power of social media and websites have made propaganda tools more effective and lethal. They also work wonderfully well in weakening the enemy from within by creating and sharpening dissent and orchestrating confusion and divide. These tools also help influence and recruit youngsters for anti-state activities in the name of various ethnic, sub-nationalist, religious and so-called ideological causes.

 

This kind of propaganda drive is in full swing in Pakistan, which is being accused of charges ranging from supporting and providing safe havens to terrorists to gross human rights violations. India, Afghanistan and the United States are echoing more or less the same allegations, aimed at tarnishing Pakistan’s image globally as well as to create division and discord among Pakistanis.

 

Fringe dissident elements–the shadowy nationalist militant groups to handful of social media activists, elements from academia, media and the NGOs–within Pakistan have been influenced to echo the enemy’s propaganda line. Our Armed Forces are the main target of this campaign as the enemy realizes that this is the only institution which stands between them and their designs against Pakistan.

 

Funding anti-Pakistan Agenda

A couple of our frenemies (Friend Enemies) spend millions of dollars annually on perception management in Pakistan in the name of promoting education, traditional and new media, culture and social work. The aim is to win over, influence and brainwash educated Pakistanis so that they can promote their narrative in the country.

 

Media and education institutions remain the main battlefield of this war. For starter, Pakistan needs to first focus on these fronts. We should not let foreign agenda drive our media and pollute minds of young journalists in the name of training with the help of few local partners. Foreigners should not be allowed to write the curriculum for our students and take our nation hostage through their ideas and ideals. Nor should the Indian content dominate our entertainment channels and cinemas.

 For example, at their sponsored or funded media programs, future and working journalists are fed with warped interpretation of history that paints the Pakistan Movement as a reactionary and politically incorrect struggle. Pakistan Army is being described as the mother of all ills and held responsible for tensions with India and Afghanistan. They are asked to cover those themes and stories that supplement their biases and propaganda against Pakistan.

 

Foreign-funded social media training sessions focus on tarnishing the image of the state and its institutions in the name of citizen journalism. Similarly, in the name of culture and literature, such events are funded which promote narrow ethnic agendas or provide platforms to promote anti-Pakistan sentiment and propaganda against its institutions.

 

The small, shadowy local militant groups and some dissident elements living abroad also align and integrate themselves into these activities, which become kosher because they are being carried in the name of education, cultural or literature, but in fact carry a sinister anti-Pakistan agenda.

 

The foreign-funded NGOs focus only on those programs which serve interests of donors rather than taking up genuine issues.

 

The Indian cultural invasion and influence through cinema and television channels–both entertainment and news–should also be the cause of concern for policy-makers. The Indian content is contaminating minds through the projection of a false and tantalizing perspective about India and promoting its worldview.       

 

The weakness of our state and the regulatory and law enforcement institutions are responsible for this state of affairs, which allow bubbles of privileges to thrive and work against the state unchallenged and unchecked.  

 

A politically polarized and divided Pakistan remains an easy target of this modern undeclared warfare that aims to widen and sharpen these very cracks to weaken and destroy us from within.

 

Therefore, the foremost challenge for the civil and military leadership is to restore political stability and order in the country at every cost. All institutions should be on the same page on key issues and working in the same direction. For this, tough decisions are needed, including that of resetting the system to make it more efficient, strong, united and pro-people so that it can thwart the enemy designs.

 

While Pakistani security forces have done well in taking on the challenge of homegrown as well as foreign-sponsored terrorism and are capable of protecting our eastern and western frontiers, the real challenge is fighting and winning the battle of ideas.

 

For this, Pakistan needs firstly to put in place an effective monitoring and regulatory framework to ensure that foreign funding is not being used by donors and their local partners against the state and its institutions as well as the promotion of ideas and values of the hostile powers.

 

Already, regulatory institutions exist in Pakistan, but they need to be freed from political interference and narrow vested interests so that they can do their job.

 

Media and education institutions remain the main battlefield of this war. For a start, Pakistan needs to first focus on these fronts. We should not let foreign agenda drive our media and pollute minds of young journalists in the name of training with the help of few local partners. Foreigners should not be allowed to write the curriculum for our students and take our nation hostage through their ideas and ideals, nor should the Indian content dominate our entertainment channels and cinemas.

 

Surely, Pakistanis are capable of funding and training journalists. They can develop their own syllabus. They can produce high quality music, movies and dramas. These are just the initial baby steps we must take to counter the new undeclared war that has been thrust upon us.

 

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

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Twitter: @AmirZia1
 
07
February

Written By: Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah (R)


New times call for a new concept of warfare. In the ever evolving geopolitical environments and pre-eminence of trends like economy, media, civil society and, globalization, the scope of waging a sole conventional war is neither feasible nor cost effective. This notion has given rise to the concept of Hybrid Warfare with the accruing benefits of ambiguity, surprise, tempo and above all, cost efficiency. The combination of conventional and irregular methods is though not new and has been used throughout the history. Most, if not all, conflicts in the history of mankind have been defined by the use of asymmetries that exploit an opponent’s weaknesses thus leading to complex situations involving regular/irregular and conventional/unconventional tactics. An early example relates to the campaign waged by the Iberian leader Viriathus against the forces of the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries BC. One of the most recent and often quoted examples of the hybrid war is the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The war featured about 3,000 Hezbollah fighters embedded in the local population attacked by 30,000 regular Israeli troops. Russian tactics in the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent civil war in eastern Ukraine in 2014 is also an example of manifestation of hybrid warfare.

 

India with the support of some other world players is fueling secessionist movements in Balochistan and has created a ‘second front’ with Afghanistan through its political, economic clout and support to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. All this is being waged without resorting to a conventional conflict, while, Indian Armed Forces checkmate any conventional backlash through a force in being.

There is no universally accepted definition of hybrid warfare due to its abstract nature. In a recent event organized by NATO, 28 members alliance failed to agree on a single definition of the concept. This implies that it is often used as a catch-all term for all non-linear threats. In the light of foregoing, a rationale definition could be that, hybrid warfare is a military strategy that combines conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyber warfare to achieve end results. By combining kinetic operations with subversive effort, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution. In practice, any threat can be hybrid as long as it is not limited to a single form and dimension of warfare.¹ It is an emerging notion of 21st century conflict that combines four elements along the spectrum of warfare, namely conventional warfare, irregular warfare (terrorism and counter-insurgency), asymmetric warfare waged by resistance groups and compound warfare wherein irregular forces supplement a conventional force along with force multipliers like cyber warfare, economic pressures, media and diplomacy.

 

An authentic categorization is marred by the dichotomy that exits in the realm of international law between the concept of ‘war’ and the idea of cyber conflict, electronic warfare, and information warfare.

 

Thus, a rational classification of hybrid warfare needs to include following aspects:

 

a. A nonstandard, complex and a fluid adversary, which can be state or non-state actor. Instances can be found in the Israel-Hezbollah and the Syrian Civil War, wherein the main adversaries are non-state actors within the state system. These non-state actors can also act as proxies for countries but harbor independent agendas as well.

b. A hybrid adversary uses a combination of conventional and irregular methods like terrorist acts, violence and criminal activity.

c. A hybrid adversary is flexible and adapts quickly to changing environments.

d. Use of mass communication for propaganda and economic strangulation of the adversary.

e. A hybrid war takes place at multiple planes vis-a-vis the conventional battlefield, the indigenous population of the conflict zone and the international community.

 

In the recent times, Syrian civil war provides a classical example of hybrid warfare. In this conflict both the major players USA and Russia have waged hybrid warfare. Since the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising of 2011, the United States and a network of European and regional Sunni allies have applied instruments of coercion against Syria that collectively take on the charter of hybrid warfare. In this conflict, Washington and its allied partner states have undertaken a wide range of lethal and non-lethal covert operations, with heavy reliance placed upon those performed by regional Sunni allies. By empowering Jihadis as proxies, ex-U.S. President Obama has borrowed much from the Reagan administration’s Afghan playbook. As he signaled the launch of this campaign in August 2011, Obama served notice that the United Stated would be pressuring President Assad to step aside. But one year later, a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report revealed a hitherto unacknowledged sectarian war goal: the establishment of a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria. Its geo-political function would be to break the Shiite crescent. As of today, this hybrid war has produced not just one, but a conglomeration of religiously cleansed Sunni Islamist principalities in northern and eastern Syria. Some are controlled by the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, while others are dominated by so-called moderate armies and militias.

 

By its intervention in Syria in 2015, Russia has also embarked upon hybrid warfare. Despite the fact that the future of the war in Syria is uncertain, Russia by combining its military, diplomatic and media capabilities is fighting a war to achieve its goals using limited armed engagement. Russia’s achievement, on the ground hinged mainly on the morale boost its intervention gave to the Syrian Army. This facilitated pro-regime forces to perform better in combat, while simultaneously weakening the resolve of rebel forces determined to depose the regime. Through air strikes, Russia has facilitated Syrian regime to capture Aleppo and its surrounding towns. Combining other elements of hybrid strategy, Russia has been instrumental in initiating Geneva Peace Talks, involving all the stakeholders, besides making itself key power broker in the Middle East.

 

After the nuclearization of Pakistan, there has been a growing thinking in the Indian military that a conventional war could be both untenable and cost prohibitive. This notion gave rise to hybrid war under the rubric of nuclear weapons as the preferred strategy by India. There is growing evidence of hybrid warfare in the Indian strategy of pressuring Pakistan through media, subversion, cyber warfare and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at its isolation and possibly ‘Balkanization’. The stipulated objective is weakening of Pakistan to the extent that it accepts Indian hegemony in the region and abandons its principled stance on Kashmir and other key national policy issues. The hybrid war that has been waged is not merely Pakistan-specific but is embedded in the regional geo-political gimmickries. Simultaneously, India with the support of some other world players is fueling secessionist movements in Balochistan and has created a ‘second front’ with Afghanistan through its political, economic clout and support to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. All this is being waged without resorting to a conventional conflict, while Indian Armed Forces checkmate any conventional backlash through a force in being. Pakistan has asserted that India abets and espouses terrorism in the country. This typifies the sub-conventional war that India has imposed on Pakistan. Sub-conventional means coupled with brinkmanship at the diplomatic and military levels have shaped up the contours of hybrid war. The capture of the self-confessed spy of the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Kulbhushan Jadhav, has provided further evidence of Indian attempts at sabotaging China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC has become the driver of China’s Belt and Road Initiation connectivity and the show window project for the emerging multipolar world order, thus making Pakistan the “zipper of pan-Eurasian integration” at the convergence of civilizations. Its disruption is being orchestrated somewhat overtly by India and other affected superpower, through multiple means which include using proxies to target the route and impede the LEAs (Law Enforcement Agencies). More lethal is India's aim to bolster the secessionist movements in Balochistan by helping, funding and arming Baloch militant organizations including Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and harboring its leaders. This support is further amplified through an active use of media in the nefarious spread of disinformation regarding the situation in Balochistan and to create a rift between LEAs and the local populace.

 

The Indian efforts are ably aided by elements inside Pakistan and also those stationed outside owing to their influence in lobbying groups of international reputes. The presence of educated Indian diaspora especially engaged in policy influencing institutions at Capitol Hill and other important think tanks in USA and Europe, gives India a structured cost effective modus operandi for a favorable disposition. The policy of investing in human resource in late 60s is now working as a force multiplier for India in international politics and businesses. There are reasons to believe that the hybrid war will exacerbate in the province of Balochistan, for it is an epicenter of the all-important CPEC. If analyses on U.S.’ regional aims are anything to go by, then one can anticipate an increase in this mode of warfare. This leads us to the logical question of how to counter the menace of hybrid warfare launched by multiple adversaries. As the nature of this warfare involves use of diverse means aimed at exploiting weaknesses and is flexible in nature, first and foremost, it calls for an excellent intelligence set up to collect, collate and coordinate intelligence, in consonance with the saying, ‘forewarned is forearmed’. A strong inner front, with inter-provincial harmony, an effective governance and democracy at grass root levels, wherein problems of people are addressed. Media has emerged as an important pillar of state and needs to be harnessed when it comes to guarding national interests. Almost, all first-world countries have an effective mechanism in place in pursuance of these core national interests, why should we then feel shy about pursuing our vital national interest? An effective counter to hybrid warfare is not possible without an efficient coordination mechanism at national and lower levels to use various elements of national power in foiling the adversary’s attempts. Finally, a strong diplomatic maneuver to expose involvement of country(s) in hybrid war inside Pakistan at all international fora and to make it cost prohibitive for the adversaries is required. The most effective response to an adversary waging hybrid warfare is to pay back in the same coin through a counter campaign.

 

The complex world that we live in has fundamentally altered the means that are utilized for the attainment of covert and overt ends. Hybrid warfare is most suited to attain policy ends in a cost effective manner through optimal combination of both conventional and unconventional means, regular and irregular, and information and cyber warfare. India as a policy imperative, keeping in view post-nuclear Pakistan and the recent reality of CPEC, has waged a hybrid war against Pakistan, supported by a superpower and other regional players. This calls for national cohesion, effective governance to alleviate genuine demands of the population, authentic intelligence setups and a coordination mechanism at a national level to harness all elements of national power.

 

The writer is presently serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He has also been Commander Lahore Corps and remained Military Secretary to the President. He is the author of 'Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan' (published 1983).

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¹ Tarçın, L. G. (2015). Hybrid Warfare and Implications to Landcom. Land Power, p. 24.

 
07
February

Written By: Ahmed Quraishi


Freedom icon Burhan Wani threw the first blow. Now there is no turning back.

• India can either reconcile, save its soldiers; national pride, or invite permanent instability.

• India’s Kashmir policy will invite eventual international intervention.

• India’s defeat in Kashmir is foretold; the shape of this defeat is evovling.

• Kashmiris will never be Indian. If Tamils can refuse Hindi, Kashmiri can and have refused Indian identity.

• International media has broken its silence; Kashmir gets unprecedented coverage since Wani’s murder.

• Kashmir is now part of the world’s collective memory of great freedom movements.

 

 thegrowingindo.jpgBurhan Wani is to Kashmir what Gandhi was to India: the catalyst that led to eventual freedom for an entire nation. Wani and Gandhi gave direction and certainty to freedom movements that long existed before them but never seemed definitive until these two men emerged. Gandhi lived to see freedom, but it was Wani, killed by Indian occupation army execution-style in an extrajudicial murder, who sealed Kashmir’s fate in death.

 

Make no mistake: Wani is one of those men who probably changed the course of history for his people. The protests that rocked Kashmir after his death on July 8, 2016, forced the United Nations to end its silence on Kashmir conflict, led to unprecedented international media coverage, and considerably loosened India’s grip on the strategic region.

 

There is so much that has changed in Kashmir– thanks to Wani. The latest example came just four days prior to New Year 2018 when New Delhi forced the half-million employees of its puppet-government in Kashmir to post pro-India content on social media to shore up Indian image in the valley. The order, issued in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, also warned government employees against posting anything ‘anti-national’; code for India-bashing. The social media gag was "an obnoxious, tyrannical and unacceptable insult to employees", Junaid Azim Mattu, spokesman for National Conference, a Kashmiri political party, said in a statement.

 

The strategic community is watching Kashmir slip out of India’s hands. The Diplomat has bluntly said that ‘Kashmir is Slipping Away from India’. The Foreign Policy magazine has published an article titled, ‘India is Losing Kashmir’, and the BBC asked: ‘Is India losing Kashmir?’ The reason the international media is discussing this is simple. It’s because India has lost Kashmir in most ways except the physical control, and that now is a matter of time.

Contact between Kashmiris living under Indian occupation with those in Pakistan and worldwide are increasing. India cannot stop these interactions, and you can be sure that Kashmiris talk about freedom when they meet. Last month, a group of Kashmiri journalists departed from New Delhi airport to a neutral country, Thailand, to meet Kashmiri journalists from Pakistan. Together, they have launched a Jammu & Kashmir Joint Media Forum, or JKJMF. This surge in communication between Kashmiris is part of Kashmir’s baby-steps toward freedom.

 

This is another of Wani’s miracles: he galvanized Kashmiris separated by borders and politics to unite again seventy years later for their joint cause. Many people forget that Kashmir is a resilient cause. Apart from the Palestinian national movement, Kashmir is the only other cause of national identity and self-determination that has survived for this long. After Kashmiris themselves, a lot of the credit for this goes to Pakistan, which has taken the voice of Kashmir internationally, and in the process of doing so has taken great risks, including Indian retaliation in the form of Indian state-sponsored terrorism inside Pakistan across the country’s western fronts, focused on KP and Balochistan. This was India’s tit-for-tat on Kashmir.

 

Basketball Girl

The political ferment inside Kashmir is impressive but you might miss it because of the filters India applies to all news coming out of the region. Take for example how Burhan Wani pushed middle class Kashmiri college girls to take up stone-pelting against Indian soldiers.

 

One particular picture of a Kashmiri girl with a basketball in one hand, carrying a backpack and throwing a stone at Indian soldiers, caught global attention. Even the Indian media could not ignore it, despite its reputation as a media prone to stick to New Delhi’s red lines on Kashmir. The picture was taken near Lal Chowk, in the heart of Srinagar, on April 24, 2017 during a massive pro-freedom rally demanding an end to the Indian rule.

 

The picture shocked India. Told for years that it was only a bunch of bearded religious extremists from Pakistan who were leading Kashmir’s anti-India movement, Indians woke up to see educated, middle class city girls who probably watch Indian and American films, play basketball and cricket, and are confident and assertive, totally rejecting India and Indian identity.

 

Indian magazine, Outlook, called this picture ‘a New Stone Age.’ It ran a special report on this picture titled ‘A Girl, A Basketball, A Stone.’ The magazine’s verdict: “Girl students pelting stones at [Indian] police in the heart of Srinagar marks a shift in the Kashmir unrest’s visual profile.”

 

Another Indian news website published a report explaining to Indian readers ‘why this picture of a schoolgirl pelting stones while holding basketball is going viral in Jammu & Kashmir.’

This change in the ‘visual profile’ of Kashmir conflict was not possible without Burhan Wani.

 

Kashmir Goes International

Another big story of post-Burhan Kashmir is the dramatic change in the way the international media covered Kashmir conflict. Gone are the days when only Pakistan-based news organizations talked about Kashmir. In fact, every week since Burhan Wani died nineteen months ago, the international media has been publishing videos, newspaper stories and pictures from Indian-occupied Kashmir, much to the angst of New Delhi. This coverage has included strongly-worded editorials in The New York Times, and news reports from the ground blasting the Indian army (example: Indian army reaches a new low in Kashmir). It was the NYT that first coined the phrase ‘an epidemic of dead eyes in Kashmir’ in its report that documented actions that could one day be designated as war crimes by India’s occupation in the valley.

 

The coverage in the British, Turkish and Qatari media has been much more extensive. Al Jazeera, the Gulf television channel has produced great creative content on Kashmir, from memes to video articles and detailed reports.

 

When India claimed in October 2016 that it had conducted ‘surgical strikes’ inside Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir, it was the Washington Post that published the best journalistic repudiation of Prime Minister Modi’s claim that his government conducted military operation inside Pakistan.

 

This dynamic international coverage of Kashmir after Burhan Wani should end the common refrain in Pakistan that ‘the world is silent’ on Kashmir freedom movement. The world is no longer silent. In fact, the world is highlighting Kashmir sometimes better than the Pakistani media does.

 

The UN Awakens

Wani’s ultimate sacrifice and the courage shown by Kashmir’s ‘basketball girls’, and by the Kashmiri youth in general, has impacted the United Nations at the highest levels.

 

In September 2016, the United Nations ended its long silence on Kashmir. UN’s top human rights official criticized India at the opening of the 33rd session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UNHRC included Kashmir in the list of conflicts that required urgent international attention, alongside issues such as Syria and Ukraine. The UN continues to do this, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to speak again on Kashmir at the March 2018 session of UNHRC.

 

“We continue to receive reports of increasing violence, civilian casualties, curfews and website blackouts in Kashmir,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, who is a member of the Jordanian royal family in his opening statement at the start of the 35th session of UNHRC in June 2017.

 

The opening statements by the UN human rights chief highlights issues that deserve top international attention. For decades, Kashmir slipped out of the list and was forgotten. But starting in September 2016, Kashmir made a surprise return to the UN human rights agenda. Al-Hussein delivered a comprehensive speech at the start of the session, tackling issues as diverse as ISIS, Syria, Israel, Iran and Cuba. The addition of Kashmir came as a surprise. The Kashmiris succeeded in pushing their case forward, and this small step will go a long way. In fact, this moment will be remembered when the Kashmir conflict is finally resolved. 

 

UN’s top rights chief raised Kashmir in his policy statements in September 2016, March, June, and September 2017, and is now expected to do the same in March 2018.

 

The End Game

The Kashmir conflict has reached a stage where the end game is visible. The Kashmiris will achieve some form of end to the Indian military occupation, and possibly succeed in getting a UN-supervised referendum to decide their political future. But this will be an arduous road.

 

The key point is that India can no longer reverse Kashmir’s freedom. This is no longer debatable post-Wani. The freedom movement has cultivated enough critical mass for it to challenge India’s repeated claims that UNSC resolutions have ‘expired’ (UNSC resolutions do not expire; their status can only change through subsequent resolutions).

 

The strategic community is watching Kashmir slip out of India’s hands. The Diplomat has bluntly said that ‘Kashmir is Slipping Away from India’. The Foreign Policy magazine has published an article titled, ‘India is Losing Kashmir’, and the BBC asked: ‘Is India losing Kashmir?’

 

The reason the international media is discussing this is simple. It’s because India has lost Kashmir in most ways except the physical control, and that now is a matter of time.

 

Indian leaders realize they are headed toward the inevitable in Kashmir. Some Indian lawmakers, especially from non-Hindi speaking states, have called for ‘letting Kashmir go’ if that’s what the Kashmiri nation wants. Some Indian politicians have admitted that Kashmir is lost already.

 

It is a human tragedy that a minority of Indian politicians (most of them religious, Hindi-speaking, and come from the ruling state of U.P. in the north) whip up false religious and nationalistic emotions over Kashmir, where Indian army kills innocent civilians and where the Indian military suffers its worst casualties, including suicides and psychological problems as the Indian soldiers fight a losing battle.

 

India holds the key not only to peace in Kashmir but the entire region. India created Kashmir conflict by stalling and rejecting UNSC resolutions. There is no real conflict between Pakistan and India if Kashmir issue is resolved. India is a big enough country to afford the necessary concessions to resolve Kashmir, allow Kashmiris to heal their wounds, and allow Pakistan and India to enjoy the dividends of peace.

 

If India fails to do this, the region will see more instability, and a possible war, which eventually would invite international intervention. That could be humiliating for India. It is better to show leadership, vision and compassion, and resolve the conflict with the Kashmiris and Pakistan.

 

Expecting Pakistan to forget Kashmir is not an option. The physical, historical, cultural, and religious links between Pakistanis and Kashmiris make it impossible to consider this option. A comparable situation does not exist in India, where the vast majority of Indians share no affinity with Kashmiris and, more importantly, the Kashmiris overwhelmingly reject any manufactured affiliation to India.

 

Wani was an internet poster boy for the new generation of Kashmiris. He donned military fatigues for show, as a form of rebellion and rejection of military occupation. He was handsome, well-educated, and Kashmiris loved him. India arrested him alive but it miscalculated his murder as it has miscalculated everything else in Kashmir.

 

Burhan Wani has changed Kashmir forever.

 

The writer is the Executive Director of YFK-International Kashmir Lobby Group, a senior journalist and host of a current affairs TV show at a private TV channel.

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07
February

Mushaal Hussein Mullick


Just imagine a woman who is a wife and a widow at the same time: she does not know where her spouse is; whether he is dead or alive; would he ever return home or not? Or a mother, who continuously hopes to hear the footsteps of her son, is stuck in a life of hope and fear. A child who is unable to decide if he or she is not fatherless or an orphan, with curious eyes constantly glued to the door and a sister watching outside from her window with never-ending tears in her eyes searching for her missing brother. Sadly, these people have extraordinary titles as they face extraordinary challenges. They are the half-widows, half-mothers, half-orphans and half-siblings of the society. They have very little left to say. Their only choice is to keep on searching for the traces of their loved ones who have entirely vanished from the face of earth. The impacts of dealing with such enforced disappearances and invisibility are far deeper compared to seeing the spilled blood of their loved one.

 

kasmircallsofthe.jpg

The saying ‘hope never dies’ fits perfectly with Kashmir’s missing persons saga. The only faith that clings to families searching for their kith and kin and not having seen or recovering the dead bodies of their loved is and the hope that they may still be alive. Most of the emotional, psychological and financial burden is carried by the Kashmiri women: the mothers, the daughters, the wives and sisters of such missing individuals. The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) headed by Parveena Ahanger is an organization that seeks the whereabouts of the missing persons. She herself is a mother of Javaid, a member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front who went missing in 1992. Ever since, her untiring journey began to find the clues, to the whereabouts of her missing son. In the process it brought her in contact with thousands of families from Kashmir facing identical challenges and obstacles in pursuing the whereabouts of their relatives.

 

30th August each year marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances to show solidarity with the victims of the worst form of human rights violation. According to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, ‘No circumstances whatsoever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, political unrest, public emergency may be involved to justify enforced disappearances’. Such days for victims are only another painful and catastrophic reminder of what they have been robbed of or what has been snatched from them.

 

While missing persons is not a new notion to the Kashmir conflict, nonetheless the ratio has kept rising at an alarming rate in the current years. Even though Indian state’s inhumane behavior in Occupied Kashmir is decades old but if we take a close view of the figures ranging from January 1989 to December 31, 2018 the statistics are quite gruesome and shocking. According to Kashmir Media Service Report, during this period 94,888 innocent people have been killed; custodial deaths are 7,099; 143,048 structures destroyed; 22,862 women widowed; 107,676 children orphaned; and 11,036 women were gang raped/molested by the Indian troops. Killings, arrests and enforced disappearances have also continuously been reported during these periods.

 

India has left no stone unturned using all sort of barbarism to suppress Kashmiris’ legitimate right to self-determination but has failed to break the will of the Kashmiri people. The presence of such a large number of Indian troops certainly incite unnecessary incidents of violence which further aggravate the plight of populace, serves as an explanation for warlike situations, violation of ceasefire line, draconian laws, disappeared persons, half-widows, half-mothers, rape victims, economic blockades, lockdowns and curfews that last for weeks-on-end.

 

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the working group in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of their disappeared relatives. India signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in February 2007; however, it miserably failed to abide by the laws of the convention.

 

‘Missing Persons’ terminology is quintessential criminal act that was first adopted by Adolf Hitler in his Nacht und Nebel Erlass (Night and Fog Decree) of December 7, 1941. The single-mindedness of this decree was to seize persons in occupied territories “imperiling German security” who were not immediately executed and were taken secretly to Germany, where they disappeared without a trace. German authorities banned officials from providing any information in order to achieve the desired intimidating effect. The same tact was practiced in Latin America in 1970s and 1980s.

 

Under international law, forced disappearances (or enforced disappearances), as they are officially called, are considered one of the most serious violations of the fundamental rights of human beings as well as a “sin to human dignity and self-respect” and “a grave and abominable offense against the intrinsic dignity of the human race.”

 

The United Nations General Assembly has said that forced disappearance “constitutes an offence to humanity, a grave and flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and a violation of the rules of international law.”

 

Kashmir has the highest number of half-widows in the world. The irony is that those involved in such crimes are the ones offering justice. What relief or compensation can the families of such victims expect from them? The NOKs (Next of Kins) of missing persons of Kashmir urgently call upon the global community to respond and end the sufferings of millions incarcerated without trace. Kashmiris appeal for prompt initiatives in accordance with the international laws and norms. One major element specific to enforced disappearances is that it deprives these innocent victims from all kinds of protection from law, accountability and quite conveniently veils such gross violations out of public sight and the occupying state frees itself from all radars of scrutiny.

 

Such blatant human rights violations will jeopardize the regional and global peace and there can be no enduring political settlement in Kashmir if human rights abuses which have fueled the insurgency are not addressed by the global community at the highest levels.

 

In Kashmir people vanish and land in unmarked graves. There is every possible link of unidentified dead bodies being buried in various unmarked graves with the victims of enforced disappearances. The UN has warned India many a times that Kashmiri families have the right to know the truth of how, when, where and why a disappeared person is found dead, the right to have the remains of their loved ones and to give them the burial rights in accordance with the International Humans Rights Charter, traditions, culture and religion of the said area. Ironically all have turned a deaf ear to the plight of the Kashmiris while India shamefully still champions herself as the largest democracy of the world and a peace loving country. Most often these missing persons all over the world particularly in Kashmir are referred to as some mysterious ghostly creatures spiriting between life and death. There appears to be law of the jungle prevailing in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The question is that can the world really afford to remain indifferent to such forms of consistent crimes of making human beings invisible which is by far worse than all forms of slavery, arbitrary detention, genocide, torture, ethnic discrimination, slave trade and murder. The voiceless cry from the missing persons of the Kashmir Valley is: When will the world listen and respond to cries of millions who have gone missing in Indian Occupied Kashmir?

 

The writer is Chairperson of Peace and Culture Organization and wife of Kashmiri freedom fighter Yasin Malik.

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07
February

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed


In Pakistan, the roots of discrimination against religious minorities can be associated with different factors and all the factors are interdependent, yet it is seen in the context of religion. The history shows that there was peaceful coexistence in Pakistan before its alliance with the West in the Afghan War. After 9/11, a significant increase in violence and deterioration of security situation affected Pakistan mostly.

The new year came with the U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet that Pakistan had to do more to combat terrorism to receive U.S. aid and accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” followed by placing the country on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom. The State Department also re-designated ten other nations as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerating egregious violations of religious freedom. The Prime Minister in response to the U.S. accusation has said that the government ensures the rights of religious minorities in the country and stands for their religious freedom.

 

While recognising the role of religion in international affairs, the importance of religious freedom is evident by the mounting scholarships on the subject. Religious freedom in general parlance is freedom from coercion and interference in the matters of faith. There is unanimity in the studies suggesting that religious freedom is vital not only for the human growth but also for the peace and stability of any society. Looking at it in this perspective, freedom of religion is the most important freedom and the basic human right in any state; therefore, it becomes the duty of a state to protect this right of its citizens.

 

Majority of the world governments, including Pakistan, have committed themselves through various covenants and agreements to respect and protect the fundamental rights of the individuals and communities to religious freedom within their respective borders. However, there are countries, which despite their commitments put restriction on worship and seek to control the thought and expression of minority religious groups. There are also instances where governments are silent in taking action against the perpetrators of religious discrimination. This statement can be judged in light of the recent events of religious extremism found around the globe where not only Muslim world but also the Western world shares responsibility of limiting religious freedom in their respective countries.

 

The CPEC in fact kills Asia Pivot of U.S. Therefore, the U.S. is angry at Pakistan, calling for cutting military aid package and placing it on Special Watch List for the violation of religious freedom. A rise in violence may be the most effective way to scare Beijing off the ambitious plan.

While some parliamentarians are familiar with the Act, the general population of Pakistan is not. The IRFA of the U.S. was passed on October 27, 1998. The efforts to place religious freedom as top priority of U.S. foreign policy were recorded in 1996 when the Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced the creation of an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. The Committee, comprising twenty American religious leaders and scholars, produced a provisional report in 1998 and a final draft in 1999 that recommended a foreign policy agenda geared towards the promotion of religious freedom worldwide.

 

The Congress established the Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom to monitor violation of the religious freedom including issues related to democracy promotion, human rights, environment etc., abroad. It is headed by an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The President and Congressional leaders of both Republican and Democratic parties appoint the members of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

 

The USCIRF recommends policies to the State Department for application in countries where there is gross violation of these issues and place sanctions on any violator country. IRFA requires the President, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State to designate as ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ or CPCs (based on the annual reports published in September) those governments that have engaged in or tolerated ‘particularly severe’ violations of religious freedom. After a country is designated a CPC, the President of the U.S. is required by law to take one or more of the actions listed in IRFA, or to appeal a waiver if circumstances merit. Some supporters of the Act favour that it should be advanced through punitive measures like automatic sanctions against violators, while others stress on diplomacy and negotiation.

 

Pakistan was listed among those nations where the state is hostile to certain religious minorities and implements policies designed to threaten certain religious groups. The USCIRF in its annual reports from 2001 to 20161 has consistently called on the State Department to designate Pakistan as CPC, however, the U.S. government did not put Pakistan on the list and to a great extent avoided raising human rights issues related to Pakistan as it is an important country in the region and more so because of its alliance in the Global War on Terror (GWoT).

 

It is important to mention here that Pakistan, due to its strategic location holds an important position in the region and is an important country for the U.S. because of its post 9/11 role in countering extremism and terrorism. Pakistan today is passing through challenging times. Since 9/11 it has been hit by a wave of terrorism due to which religious intolerance and extremism towards minority groups has also increased.

 

We cannot deny the fact that in any society, religious freedom is sine qua non for other freedoms, and that stands true in case of Pakistan. However, owing to its history of relationship with the neighbouring countries and the global environment of violent extremism, the combination of internal and external factors contributing to religious extremism and the national security cannot be ignored.

 

A review of Pakistani politics shows that religious freedom is protected by law and guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. Also, the founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned a state that represents all communities in policymaking. Similarly, in a resolution adopted at the first meeting of the Council of the Pakistan Muslim League in December 1947, the vision of a democratic and progressive future was articulated as, “to work for an ideal democratic state based on social justice, as an upholder of human freedom and world peace, in which citizen will enjoy equal rights and be free from fear, want and ignorance”.

The problem of defining of religious freedom and the lack of scholarship relevant to the Act in Pakistan leave some grey areas where it is not possible for Pakistan to defend its position in terms of religious freedom. Similarly, the state’s response to the Act is unclear despite the efforts being made in the form of various bills introduced to address the issues. Therefore, despite legislative arguments, it is yet to be seen whether the recommendations by the USCIRF to designate Pakistan as a CPC will have a significant impact on U.S. policy towards Pakistan or not.

 

A review of Pakistani politics shows that religious freedom is protected by law and guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. Also, the founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned a state that represents all communities in policymaking. Similarly, in a resolution adopted at the first meeting of the Council of the Pakistan Muslim League in December 1947, the vision of a democratic and progressive future was articulated as, “to work for an ideal democratic state based on social justice, as an upholder of human freedom and world peace, in which citizen will enjoy equal rights and be free from fear, want and ignorance”.

 

It can be gauged from the speech of Quaid, soon after independence, that he wanted religious freedom for all and there was no distinction between a Muslim and non-Muslim in terms of rights, privileges and responsibilities. However, after the death of Jinnah, the religious right were distorting his words and in some instances there was a deliberate attempt to censor this famous speech. So, the question is, in the presence of legal document, the vision of a peaceful democratic society envisaged in the Act:

 

What are the factors that have made Pakistan a concern for the U.S. now when in the past there was no such concern?

 

Terrorism and extremism in all its manifestations in Pakistan are interrelated. The rising violence against religious minorities has remained a priority of the government. The tribal territories have remained a constant source of disturbance for the adjacent settled districts of the province. According to political and religious leaders as well as government officials, the violence against religious minorities is not the result of societal intolerance among religious communities but is organized and carried out by groups of religious extremists who have local as well as external support. In case of Pakistan, the miscreants and their actions have no connection to religion or religious people nor is their claim that they represent the religious people.

 

It would not be wrong to mention that internal as well as external factors have contributed to the increasing religious extremism and intolerance. In Pakistan, the roots of discrimination against religious minorities can be associated with different factors and all the factors are interdependent, yet it is seen in the context of religion. The history shows that there was peaceful coexistence in Pakistan before its alliance with the West in the Afghan War. After 9/11, a significant increase in violence and deterioration of security situation affected Pakistan mostly. Despite the government’s effort to curb religious extremism and terrorism, the pattern of disturbing events continued unabated.

 

The Constitution of Pakistan is the foundation of all acts and laws in the state. No law Ultra Vires to the Constitution can be passed in Pakistan. Thus, all other laws and acts are subservient to the Constitution. The freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and this freedom is guaranteed to all individuals regardless of their religion or sect.

 

To this end, the Preamble of the 1973 Constitution says: a) Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; b), wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed; and c), wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.

 

Despite the constitutional guarantees, it is expressed in USCIRF reports that oppression of religious minorities on many occasions goes unnoticed by the state of Pakistan. Also, the poor response to sectarian and religiously motivated violence and the Government of Pakistan’s failure to protect religious minorities, its Islamic laws promulgated in previous decades, and the role of madaris in ideological indoctrination, were highlighted in various annual report of the USCIRF.

 

It is also pertinent to note that despite the accusation, the official spokespersons from time to time, have been acknowledging Pakistan’s support in fighting terrorism and extremism. It was acknowledged by the Commission in its various reports related to Pakistan that recommendations from its reports on Pakistan were implemented, for example, one of which was the decision of the Pakistani Government to abolish the separate electorate system for minorities.

 

Moreover, it was also acknowledged in some reports USCIRF, related to Pakistan, that the Government undertook positive steps to combat religious extremism and to protect religious minorities. In 2003, under the Anti-Terrorism Act-1997 (ATA), the Government of Pakistan banned three extremist groups promoting sectarian violence. These groups reorganised under new name included Millat-e-Islamia, Islami Tehreek Pakistan and Khuddamul Islam previously known as Sipah Sahaba, Tehreek-e-Jafariya and Jaish-e-Muhammad respectively. The top leaders of these groups were also detained with their offices closed and assets freezed. After their release, they were placed on “Schedule Four” of the ATA, which among other limitations allows the Government to restrict their movement in the country and monitor their activities.

 

Other measures include 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 hate speech and militancy. In mid-2005, the Pakistani government renewed its effort to require all madaris to register with the government and to expel all foreign students. Despite an outcry from some violent extremist groups, most of the religious schools had registered. With regard to registration, the government and the madaris authorities agreed to draft a uniform registration form. It was also decided that the madaris would receive foreign financial aid only through the government to ensure proper auditing of their funds.

 

To show solidarity with religious minorities, the Government appointed Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti as the Federal Minister for Minorities in 2008. He was behind the creation of “District Interfaith Harmony Committees” meant for inter and intra religious understanding and harmony. After the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, his brother, Dr. Paul Bhatti was appointed as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Minority Affairs. A Christian jurist was also appointed as the Judge of Lahore High Court in March 2009 (at the time of the appointment there were no other Christians serving as judges in Pakistan). The same year, a five percent quota in federal employment was announced for religious minorities. Similarly, May 28, 2009 was officially celebrated as the “Minority Solidarity Day, and August 11 was designated as annual “Minorities Day.”2

 

Under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 2010, 10 seats were created for religious minorities in the National Assembly and 04 seats in the Senate. It also required seats for non-Muslims in the provincial assemblies. Under the 18th Amendment, the Ministry of Minorities Affairs was removed from the federal cabinet and devolved to the provinces. It also mentioned the Government’s intention to create a National Commission for Minorities consisting of two representatives each from the Christian and Hindu communities, a Sikh, a Parsi and two Muslims. The Commission will review laws and policies brought to its attention for discrimination, investigate allegations of abuse, recommend actions to fully include minority religious communities into the life of Pakistan, and ensure that places of worship are protected.

 

It was acknowledged in USCIRF reports related to Pakistan that in response to military operations against Taliban many acts of violence were perpetrated in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border. Since 2009, military offensives there have met with some success, although paramilitary and military forces, political and religious leaders and, civilians have suffered significant casualties. The extremists, throughout the year, repeatedly attacked not only religious minorities and their places of worship but also schools and mosques.

 

The government also introduced National Counter Terrorism Authority-2010 (NACTA), National Counter-Terrorism Bill-2013, and National Internal Security Policy, February 25, 2014. In response to situation of minorities, the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on June 19, 2014 issued directives to the government to take concrete steps to mainstream them. Additionally, Peshawar High Court ordered to reopen a 160-year-old Gorakhnath Hindu temple in Peshawar for Hindus for the first time since independence. Furthermore, the Federal Government directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to register Sikh marriages and the Hindu Marriage Act was passed.

 

Efforts to reduce tension and encourage religious pluralism include: giving new authority to the National Commission for Minorities, creating Ministry of Minority Affairs, development of the draft of National Human Rights Policy Framework, establishment of National Commission for Human Rights and approval of Action Plan on Situation of Human Rights on February 13, 2016. The Action Plan consists of six major areas with about 60 actions for protection and promotion of human rights in the country. Besides others, the protection of rights of women, children, minorities and persons with disabilities has been given priority. Moreover, after the attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014, National Action Plan 2015 was introduced. However, the implementation of these measures in letter and spirit are the only means to cope with the situation of violent extremism.

 

Interestingly, during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the U.S. from October 20-23, 2013, President Barrack Obama acknowledged the significant progress in the bilateral relationship over the last year and noted its durable nature. Reiterating the strong relationship between the two countries, both the leaders stressed that the enduring partnership between the countries is based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. They affirmed that friendship and close cooperation between the two countries and recalled their positive contributions to international peace and security at crucial junctures

 

FATA, which was a hub of terrorist organizations, witnessed 36 percent decrease in terror attacks by the year 2015 after the successful military offensive. The U.S. Senators, during the visit of the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to Washington DC, acknowledged that Pakistan Army’s perseverance and commitment had degraded militants in the country’s north western region.

 

A global study, which ranked Pakistan as third on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) list, however, highlights decline in acts of violence. The report says that from 29 in 2012, the number of acts of violence has dropped to 23 in 2013 by different groups. Those responsible for violent extremism are from Islamist groups as well as separatist movements.3 Similarly, there were positive trends in terms of security situation in 2014, as there was decrease in the incidents of violence. The number of terrorist attacks came down by 30 percent as compared to 2013.

 

Criticism on IRFA

The IRFA is criticised in the Muslim world, as many of its clauses are believed to be in conflict with Islamic laws and an evaluation of the Act is demanded. Scholars in the 19th World Congress of International History of Religions held in March 2005 in Tokyo, “advocated for changing the existing formulation of the freedom of religion clause in the UDHR believing that it favours those religions that proselytize.” The counter argument of the U.S. administration in response to criticism on IRFA is that religious freedom is a universally acknowledged right enshrined in various international covenants and declarations.

 

On the other hand though, where democracy, human rights and religious freedom is concerned, many quarters in the Muslim world implicitly criticized the double standards of the U.S. The U.S. has failed to address these issues at home, for example the arrests in the recent past protests against the government in ‘Occupy Wall Street Movement’ is a violation of civil and political rights and clearly shows the duplicity of the U.S. Similarly, Human Rights Watch reported that “international human rights treaties, such as, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Mine Ban Treaty, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, have yet to be ratified and only two, CEDAW and CRC have been signed by the U.S.”4

 

There are also debates in the Muslim world and especially Pakistan about the annual report related to religious persecution in a country. It is believed that the U.S. designates a country as a CPC on the reports reported by organizations and media, which are rarely subjected to verification.

 

Furthermore, it is maintained that regardless of the religious, cultural, economic and political realities and differences, the U.S. shows no respect for the religious practices of other faiths and impose its own values and standards.

 

The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is very complicated. Despite the heavy cost of being an ally in the GWoT, the mistrust remained between the two on various occasions. Since 9/11, the GWoT is mostly fought on Pakistani soil by Pakistan against the militants inside FATA who have spread their tentacles to other parts of the country. It is reasonable to look at how this mistrust has led to U.S. insistence on. ‘Do More’ approach towards Pakistan despite the latter’s efforts and huge sacrifices in GWoT in which thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives. It is also a fact that the U.S. cannot fight and win this war without Pakistan’s support.

 

Moreover, the status of and violence against religious minorities in Pakistan is seen in the prism of religious freedom. However, the case in point demands serious attention as the U.S., despite always making claims of promoting religious freedom, has hardly shown any concern for religious suppression in countries that serve its interest. Therefore, it is argued that as long as there is mistrust about the U.S. role in international affairs, it cannot achieve the desired goal in its foreign policy with regard to religious freedom.

 

This analysis suggests that earlier Pakistan was solely dependent on the U.S. and it moulded its foreign policy according to the wishes of the latter. However, the situation has changed since Pakistan realised that it has to give up on its reliance on the U.S. and look for other partners, more preferably regional, that are more reliable, like China and Russia. In regard, CPEC that is believed to be a game changer is one of the concerns of the U.S. It has significantly annoyed the U.S. and its strategic partner, India and both fear its effects in the long run. U.S. further reduced and downgraded its ties with Pakistan due to the CPEC because it offers China importance in the region. The CPEC in fact kills Asia Pivot of U.S. Therefore, the U.S. is angry at Pakistan, calling for cutting military aid package and placing it on Special Watch List for violation religious freedom. A rise in violence may be the most effective way to scare Beijing off the ambitious plan. Pakistan has repeatedly pointed out hostile nations in its neigbourhood and other foes of CPEC of fomenting attacks with this particular goal in mind.

 

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

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

 

1             Annual Country Report from 2001-2016, http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-briefs/annual-report

2         Annual Report of the United States Commission on Religious Freedom, (2010), 92.

3       Pakistan Ranks Third on the Global Terrorism Index. Dawn, http://www.dawn.com/news/1145300 (accessed December 15, 2015).

4       United States Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties. (July 2009). Retrieved: August 28, 2011, from http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/07/24/united-states-ratification-international-human-rights-treaties

 
07
February

Written By: Vice Admiral

Taj M. Khattak (R)


Amid growing global concerns and increase in cyber security incidents and threats, both in frequency and intensity, it makes sense to share best practices to promote security but given their visceral common animosity towards Pakistan and a litany of past attempts to carryout pre-emptive strikes on our nuclear installations, any military dimension of co-operation in cyber security poses a clear threat to Pakistan. We therefore need to keep a sharp eye on how many fronts is Indo-Israel cyberspace relationship building up using terrorism and ‘online extremism’ as an excuse for common threat.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently visited India to mark the 25th anniversary of normal diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Israeli Premier’s visit soon after India’s vote against UN General Assembly’s resolution on U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, and just six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, is indicative of strong emerging relations between the two countries.

 

India had recognized Israel in 1950 and allowed it to open a consulate in Mumbai in 1953 but its foreign policy goals and alliances, such as support for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), being a member of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), near total dependence on former Soviet Union during Cold War for its defense needs and a strong desire to counter Pakistan’s influence with Arab states, came in the way of upgrading its diplomatic relations to ambassadorial level.

 

On an ideological plane also, Indian National Congress, the dominant political party, opposed full diplomatic relations due to its perception that state of Israel was based on religion and as such analogous to Pakistan. Not surprisingly, therefore, it was during BJP government, riding on the wave of Hindu extremist sentiments, that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the historic first visit to India in 2003 and their relations, especially in defense, have been in ascendency ever since. How far Pakistan’s foreign policy of being ‘more Arab than the Arabs’ in its antagonism with Israel, even after some of them had established normal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, helped India and Israel to come closer to each other, is now a moot point.

 

In recent years, Israel has become the second biggest exporter of arms to India after U.S., which averages over USD 1 billion a year. Netanyahu tried to salvage ‘an anti-tank missile deal for 8000 missiles and associated launchers to the Indian army worth USD 850 million which was put on hold a few months before the visit. The missile, code named ‘Spike’, is a fourth generation weapon system. It is operationalized in more than fifteen armies of the world and under evaluation in another six countries. Pakistan’s anti-armor weaponry, ‘Bakhtar Shikan’ is second generation missile based on Chinese HJ-8 system–a 1980s design but modified since then.

 

Mr. Netanyahu led a delegation of 130 businessmen from 102 Israeli companies, largest ever taken by him on a foreign visit and drawn from areas such as agriculture, water, cyber security and healthcare. A total of nine memorandums of understandings (MoUs) were signed in oil and gas, space, air transport, films, homeopathic medicine, solar energy, investment sector and cyberspace. India, in an era of high speed and high intensity i-cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, and as a growing economy, should be well within its rights, to pursue enhanced cyber stability and script and adopt rules of the road. Under normal circumstances, there should be no harm if India engaged with tech companies in Israel’s booming startup ecosystem in ‘Silicon Wadi’, to domestically replicate Israel’s success in incubating the world’s most sought after startups in cyber security.

 

Also, amid growing global concerns and increase in cyber security incidents and threats, both in frequency and intensity, it makes sense to share best practices to promote security but given their visceral common animosity towards Pakistan and a litany of past attempts to carryout pre-emptive strikes on our nuclear installations, any military dimension of co-operation in cyber security poses a clear threat to Pakistan. We therefore need to keep a sharp eye on how many fronts is Indo-Israel cyberspace relationship building up using terrorism and ‘online extremism’ as an excuse for common threat.

 

The failure of Group of Government Experts (GGE) to reach any consensus in the debate on how international law could apply to use of information and communication technologies by states and creation of norms in cyberspace under the aegis of UNO, has added to the uncertainty and anxiety. One analyst has described the present moment as the ‘golden age of espionage’ since cyber warfare is nonlethal, un-attributable with plenty of space for deniability, and can pass almost completely unpunished.

 

The world woke up to realism of cyber warfare when the Stuxnet malware which infected Iran’s nuclear program in 2007, was traced to an intelligence unit of Israel Defense Forces (IDF), trained by an elite and secret program known as Talpiot. A recent story in The New York Times left enough room for speculations that failures in recent North Korea’s missile firings could also be due to reasons ‘other’ than technical shortcomings. South Korea’s cyber defense curriculum emulates Talpiot program to train its cyber warriors. Indian media has hinted at co-operation in this training program.

 

The Talpiot program was introduced in 1970s and has since become a benchmark in cyber security training and produced a generation of cyber experts. These experts have progressed and established some of Israel’s most successful technical firms like CyberArk and Fireglass. In 2015, UK entered into cyber security research project with Israel and launched a domestic talent drive based on Talpiot to build up capacity. Within Israel it is acknowledged that no other military unit has had more of an impact on the State of Israel than Talpiot nor will any unit have in the years ahead.

 

A brief study of some cyber warfare incidents in recent years indicate how ‘almost anything’ can precipitate a major cyberattack crisis. In Estonia in 2007, for example, a relocation of a wartime memorial in Tallinn led to tensions in diplomatic relations between Estonia and Russia, followed by attacks on websites of ministries, banks, political parties with an aim to paralyze Estonian society. In Saudi Arabia in 2012, a group of hackers blamed the government for crimes and atrocities in Syria and Bahrain and attacked Saudi Aramco damaging over 30,000 computers in order to disrupt Saudi oil exports. South Korea in 2013 experienced cyberattacks ostensibly in retaliation to UN sanctions against North Korea for which it held U.S. and South Korea responsible.

 

India has progressed in cyber warfare and is keen to bolster its offensive capability as well as upgrade its security architecture for a more robust defense. Last year, India embarked on aggressive ‘digital diplomacy’ and entered into an extensive cyber agreement with Russia on the sidelines of BRICS summit and also concluded a framework agreement with U.S. Pakistan has a huge gap between its capability and capacity in cyber warfare. Our vulnerabilities in transport system, power grid, banking operations and functioning of bourses and the possibilities of sabotaging of national elections to create nationwide unrest and chaos needs to be addressed to discourage cyber-attacks.

 

In evolving responses, our technical expertise will have to be dove-tailed with diplomatic responses where Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be involved as an instrument of policy and response. To be effective, however, it should be in possession of precise information for removal of malicious computer codes from specific servers instead of generalized accusations–a strategy followed by U.S. in 2014 during cyber-attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the subsequent fallout.

 

With the passage of time, it is becoming evident that ‘pre-emptive strikes’ in any future war may well occur in cyberspace to cause disruptions in country’s vital networks and infrastructure and on a scale far more than hitherto fore. The growing Indo-Israel nexus in cyberspace is a dangerous development for which we have to be ready.

 

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

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07
February

Written By: Sardar Masood Khan,

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir

At a deeper level, the rallies and demonstrations and the popular sentiment displayed on the day goes on to show that Pakistan is not complete without Kashmir and Kashmiris have not yet acquired their political persona because of India’s occupation of one part of the territory and its opposition to a diplomatic solution to the dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions or a negotiated settlement. On this day therefore the dark tragedy of Kashmir is re-enacted in all cities, townships and villages of Jammu and Kashmir, in Pakistan and all over the world. The horrors of Indian oppression and human rights violations in IOK captured in vivid and excruciating imagery, shown on that day, should shake the conscience of the world.

Every year, on February 5, the people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora communities abroad mark Kashmir Solidarity Day. On that day we form a human chain to show our support for our brothers and sisters, and indeed our fellow citizens living under Indian occupation across the Line of Control. We also organise conferences and demonstrations to condemn Indian occupation forces’ atrocities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and to renew the pledge of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan to sustain the freedom struggle until the people of Kashmir get their right of self-determination mandated by the United Nations Security Council. A joint session of the AJK Parliament is held in Muzaffarabad which is addressed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan symbolising Pakistan’s full solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and at the same time demonstrating Pakistan’s locus standi as a party to the dispute and as custodian of Kashmiris’ rights in the United Nations and other international bodies.

 

On the Kashmir Solidarity Day, we also remind the United Nations to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir.

At a deeper level, the rallies and demonstrations and the popular sentiment displayed on the day goes on to show that Pakistan is not complete without Kashmir and Kashmiris have not yet acquired their political persona because of India’s occupation of one part of the territory and its opposition to a diplomatic solution to the dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions or a negotiated settlement. On this day therefore the dark tragedy of Kashmir is re-enacted in all cities, townships and villages of Jammu and Kashmir, in Pakistan and all over the world. The horrors of Indian oppression and human rights violations in IOK captured in vivid and excruciating imagery, shown on that day, should shake the conscience of the world.

withkashmirforever.jpg

Resentful, the Indian media lashes out at Pakistan, as well the people of Azad Kashmir and IOK, and spreads rumours, falsifications and fabrications in regard to the history of the Kashmir dispute. Some observations are being made to set the record straight.

 

It is a well-known fact that India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Viceroy Lord Mountbatten promised a plebiscite to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, even before the United Nations made that determination very clearly in its several resolutions. Less cited are Mahatma Gandhi’s remarks on Kashmir on the eve of his assassination by a Hindu extremist. He said, “If the people of Kashmir are in favour of opting for Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so... they should be left free to decide for themselves... if I could have my way... and everybody listened to me, we would not be sending our army as we are doing now.”1 But Indian leaders first reneged on their solemn promises to Kashmiris and Pakistan and then went on to violate the UN Security Council resolutions proscribing a free and impartial plebiscite to be held under UN supervision.

 

India’s attempt to annex Kashmir with its federation is artificial and that is why, even after the passage of seventy years, the cities, towns and villages of the Indian Occupied Kashmir resonate with the slogans: What do we want? Azadi; and Pakistan zindabad. Kashmir never was and will never be a part of India, especially after its brutal massacres of Kashmiris and trampling of their rights over the decades. India has failed to absorb Kashmir in its polity despite its toxic array of coercion and blandishments because the region does not belong to it historically and legally.

India, in the international forums, tries to spread a fallacious story that it had accepted Resolution 47 of April 21, 1948 which required Pakistan to withdraw its troops from Azad Kashmir, but as Pakistan did not do so, it did not implement subsequent UNSC resolutions on the plebiscite. During my recent visit to the UK, I was told by community leaders that some elements, apparently encouraged by Indians, had circulated a petition claiming that Pakistan was responsible for the non-implementation of the UN resolutions. This is a patented and standing Indian position that they have been using in the UN to shift responsibility, but with no success. The other purpose of such falsehood is to sow seeds of doubts within the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in order to divide them and to nurture disaffection against Pakistan. Some gullible and ill-informed community members may fall prey to such disinformation campaigns.

 

The fact is that several resolutions after Resolution 47 were passed by the Council to address the issue of withdrawal of troops, not just by Pakistan but also by India in a synchronised manner. The decision crystallised in Resolution 98 (1952), adopted on December 23, 1952 which asked both India and Pakistan to demilitarise while permitting them to retain a limited number of forces on each side of the ceasefire line to maintain law and order. For Pakistan the number of troops to be retained was 3,000 to 6,000 and for India 12,000 to 18,000. Pakistan endorsed the proposal but India declined to do so under one pretext or the other and thus effectively scuttled the demilitarisation process.

 

India’s intransigence on the issue was recorded by Sir Owen Dixon, United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan, in his report to the Security Council in which he said: “In the end, I became convinced that India’s agreement would never be obtained to demilitarisation in any form or to provisions governing the period of plebiscite of any such character, as would in my opinion, permit the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence and abuse by which the freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperilled.”2 This is a very definitive indictment.

 

Another myth being peddled by pro-Indian elements is that the Kashmiris would be content with the status quo–making the Line of Control permanent–if only Pakistan would let go. It is counterintuitive to think that hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris starting from 1931 and 1947 would give lives merely for acquiescing the Indian aggression and perpetuating occupation of their homeland; as we know, thousands were forced to migrate because of a mass exodus in Jammu masterminded and executed by the Maharajah, the Indian Government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)’s violent extremists. Besides, the Indian establishment knows that it enforced an artificial separation between Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir through its aggression and occupation of one part of the territory on October 27, 1947.

 

Our message to India is to stop the carnage in IOK which would have serious consequences for centuries for the entire region. It should return to dialogue and diplomacy, multilateral or trilateral (that includes Kashmiris), to find a political solution of the dispute. India’s state sponsored terrorism would never solve this problem as history has shown.

Rivers, mountains and people join and connect Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir naturally. These relations predate 1947, as Lahore, Rawalpindi and Sialkot were intertwined with Srinagar, Poonch, Baramula and Jammu. Psychologically, the people of the areas now constituting Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir always saw each other as one people; and that is why, even before Pakistan came into being, on July 19, 1947 at the residence of the founding president of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, mainstream Kashmiri leaders decided that the state would accede to Pakistan, and went on to liberate part of its territory called Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

 

India’s attempt to annex Kashmir with its federation is artificial and that is why even after the passage of seventy years, the cities, towns and villages of the Indian Occupied Kashmir resonate with the slogans: What do we want? Azadi; and Pakistan zindabad. Kashmir never was and will never be a part of India, especially after its brutal massacres of Kashmiris and trampling of their rights over the decades. India has failed to absorb Kashmir in its polity despite its toxic array of coercion and blandishments because the region does not belong to it historically and legally.

Kashmir is not a chess game. It is an issue that impinges on the very identity of 20 million people living in a land that is 85,000 square kilometres. Freedom and self-determination are their inalienable rights. With their blood and through their voices, they have given a message to India and the international community: Kashmiris’ will to freedom will not be crushed. They won’t allow India to make them captives and aliens in their homeland which is being plundered by the occupiers and whose demographic composition is being altered through manipulation.

 

Here on this side of the LOC, we remain determined that we would steadfastly persevere in our endeavours to give our fellow Kashmiris fullest diplomatic and political support. In Azad Kashmir, along the LOC, our courageous civilians and valiant personnel of Armed Forces are embracing martyrdom. Pakistan does and would continue to fight and survive proxy wars unleashed on Pakistan by India.

 

The people and leadership of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan pay tribute to the heroic Hurriyet leaders–Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah and Asiya Andrabi–who are holding the emblem of liberty high despite Indian repression, incarcerations, torture, and inhuman and degrading treatment. We salute the resilience of Kashmiris who have given huge sacrifices and have vowed to continue their peaceful struggle for self-determination.

 

Our message to India is to stop the carnage in IOK which would have serious consequences for centuries for the entire region. It should return to dialogue and diplomacy, multilateral or trilateral (that includes Kashmiris), to find a political solution of the dispute. India’s state sponsored terrorism would never solve this problem as history has shown.

 

To the international community, we would say that it is obligatory for them to move beyond realpolitik. Economic and commercial interests of major powers and promotion and protection of human rights could and should move in tandem.

 

The writer is the President of the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and former Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

 

1     Quoted by Dr. Stanley Wolpert in a paper read at the International Kashmir Peace Conference held in Washington D.C. on July 23-25 and published in Beyond the Blame Game: Finding Common Grounds for Peace & Justice in KASHMIR, p.99.

2         Security Council Document S/1971, para 52.

 

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