08
June
June 2017(EDITION 06, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
GHQ, in collaboration with HEC, organized a seminar ‘The Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism’ aimed at incorporating insights from intellectuals to prevent youth from violent extremism. Strategies were chalked out with an understanding....Read full article
 
Written By: Zamir Akram
Moreover, and this is the crucial point, if the U.S. and the Afghan government are really serious about their accusations, they need to cooperate with Pakistan to ensure that the Pak-Afghan border is sealed and no movement takes places by anyone in either direction. The fact that Kabul.....Read full article
 
Written By: Jennifer McKay
North Waziristan was the last of the seven tribal agencies, along with Swat, to be cleared. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been successful with the Army, Frontier Corps and Air Force, carrying out....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal
In 2016, the world spent U.S. $1686 billion that was around 2.3 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP). India plans to spend $ 55.7 billion in 2017 which is 2.25 percent of its GDP; in comparison Pakistan’s defense budget is $9 billion which is 3.4 percent of its....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan
Various myths about the defense budget of Pakistan have been created, not only at international forums but national as well, which need to be looked at from the perspective....Read full article
 
Written By: Senator M. Akram Zaki (R)
Iran and Gulf countries of the West Asia or the Middle East are very important for Pakistan as with them we have historical, cultural, religious, economic, political and strategic relations. Unfortunately, this energy rich, strategically important Muslim West Asia is....Read full article
 
Written By:Dr. Huma Baqai & Qudsia Khalique
The April 2017 attack in the northern Balkh province killing at least 140 soldiers of the 209 Shaheen Army Corps, responsible for providing security to most of northern Afghanistan showcases .....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Mirwais Kasi
West Asia continues to occupy an important position in International Relations due to its geo-political location, for the entire region acts as a link between Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Atlantic Sea and Indian Ocean. The vast reserves of oil have perpetually ....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Demography, along with geography, has always figured in the making of nations and in inter-state relationships. But perhaps never so critically as in the case of Pakistan. Indeed, in all the annals of its proto-history and existential career, demography and Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Maryam Razzaq
Today extremism stands as one of the greatest security challenge to the world community at large and Pakistan in particular today. It occurs to be the bane of humanity and adversely affects every segment of the society. Passing through the stages of infecting thoughts.....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Col Fawad Qasim
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is called a 'game changer' project, which includes connectivity, generation of energy and development of infrastructure for linking Gwadar Port to China’s Xinjiang province. CPEC has kicked off successfully after security....Read full article
 
Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary
When great many are thinking in; what is there to consider is – who is thinking through. The immaterial need to think through is deeply embedded in our storytelling. If information is the formation of the mind; who’s questioning whether this is the quality....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
This has certainly given the famous 'India Shining' slogan a whole new meaning because according to RSS the only gold worth its shine is white gold. The AB foresees an India which will be 99.9 percent Hindu white by the year 2045......Read full article
 
Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar
The lane to his house is narrow, bordered on both sides by high walls, a drain running alongside the homes of the several families living in this ancient kasbah (town) of Zaidah, district Swabi. A stone wall looms to the right of the vehicle, constructed in the fashion.....Read full article

 
 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, CJCSC met Australian Chief of Defense Forces, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin in Australia during his official visit. Matters of mutual professional interests with particular reference to global and regional security environments were discussed.............Read full article
 
Pakistan's Soil is Not Being Used for Terrorist Activities Against Any Other Country: COAS Mr David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ. Matters of mutual interest including.....Read full article
 
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force visited PAF Base Qadri, a Forward Operating Base of Pakistan Air Force in Gilgit-Baltistan and flew an exercise mission in Mirage aircraft. On his arrival at the base, he was received by Air Vice Marshal Athar Shams,.....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited Indonesia and China. During the visit, the Naval Chief met a number of dignitaries of both the countries.
During his visit to Indonesia, Chief of the Naval Staff called on Chief of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral Ade....Read full article
 
A Two Star level security meeting among delegates from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Resolute Support Mission was held at General Headquarters Rawalpindi. The delegations were led by Afghan DGMO, Major General Habib Hesari; and Resolute Support Mission's Deputy Chief....Read full article
 
April 28, 2017 was a momentous day for Pakistan Air Force as dual-seat variant of the JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft successfully completed its maiden test flight at Chengdu (China). Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman....Read full article
 
On May 04, 2017 graduation/closing ceremony of National Integrated Counter Terrorism Course-10 (NICTC-10) and Capacity Enhancement Course-3 for Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was held at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Pabbi.
Commander 1 Corps Lieutenant General Azhar....Read full article
 
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Turkish Air Force (TurAF) inked a contract for the supply of 52 Super Mushshaks which replaced TurAF’s existing primary....Read full article
 
Lieutenant General A.W.J. Crishantha De Silva, Chief of Sri Lankan Army visited Miranshah, NWA where he was briefed about ongoing operations, rehabilitation and development work being undertaken, prevailing....Read full article
 
1st Karachi Shooting Championship was held in Karachi Garrison. Shooting lovers from Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, PAF, ASF, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Karachi, including children and female shooters.....Read full article
 
08
June

Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar

The lane to his house is narrow, bordered on both sides by high walls, a drain running alongside the homes of the several families living in this ancient kasbah (town) of Zaidah, district Swabi. A stone wall looms to the right of the vehicle, constructed in the fashion of the ancient buildings of Gandhara, a land where centuries ago, the landscape was dotted with places of Buddhist worship idles and stupas, monasteries perched on hilltops preaching peace and harmony.


There is a stillness in the air, as if life itself had stopped as walls continued to grow higher, containing fear while keeping out freedom.


Mashal Khan’s father steps towards us. I recognize him from the coverage given by the media to this family’s profound loss, the coverage that held up a mirror to our ravaged and brutalized souls, to the hatred and bestiality that festers within. I recognize him, his daughters, his wife from the countless interviews we watched; helpless, outraged, eyes and mind unbelieving as we viewed soul-numbing footage of an enraged mob lynching a young man, hitting and kicking his inert body as it lay in the middle of a university campus where violence, not reasoning, seemed to have had been bred. That young man, Mashal Khan, the second son of Iqbal Khan, had questioned the very ethos of how his university was being governed. He had dared to point a finger at what he believed was a corrupt administration, a veritable mafia of men of letters who were devouring public funds meant to educate the young men and women of our country. He had spoken out clearly; he had not flinched in the face of the terrible threats that eventually became a reality this nation should never forget. Mashal Khan was, indeed, the light in a state of darkness, and his ruthless, unforgivable murder must not be allowed to pass into obscurity if we are to retrieve all that we have lost with his death, with the deaths of all those who have dared to speak out against obscurantism and obfuscation of all kinds.


I am ushered into a room where two young women clad in black abayas are seated on the sofa alongside the mantelpiece. Upon this mantelpiece are the many awards, trophies, and plaques received by Mashal Khan during his short but incredibly significant life. Mashal was a top student from school onwards, and he placed a high premium on education, encouraging his sisters to study and obtain the highest possible qualifications. Many women from Swabi have received professional degrees and have set the precedent for others to follow. In Mashal’s family, he carried the beacon that led the way for his sisters to maximize their potential as capable human beings, empowered with education and enlightened with progressive views.


I speak with Stooria, the elder of Mashal’s two sisters, seated on my left. She reiterates her resolve to continue with her education at the local university. She wants to become a pharmacist, she wants to help people heal. Her name is the Pushto word for “star”, and she wants to shine in the firmament which shelters their home from the wrath of a mob gone mad with desperation, fed on fear, fed on countless years of injustice, ignorance, and neglect. She wants to heal all these people, she says, for they did not know what they were doing when they destroyed one of their own, a classmate, a friend just yesterday, a despised and reviled enemy today. She talked about Mashal’s love for books, about his curiosity regarding the social and political histories of different nations and about his obsession with justice. Stooria insisted that it was these things which cost her beloved brother his young life, for in environments where questions were not to be asked, where injustices were not to be questioned, where the corrupt were allowed to roam free and the powerless were fettered, it was a crime to speak out, to question, to demand justice. She spoke patiently but within her I could feel the resentment, the outrage of a darkening sky closing in on the narrow shaft of light that had shown through her moist eyes as she mourned for Mashal.


The room where I sat could have been anywhere in our beloved country. There was a courtyard preceding it, with several string cots placed in the shade of the verandah. Older women sat here while men stayed outside in the lane, silently supporting this grieving family. I embraced each one of these women, and felt their hearts beating against mine, throbbing with the anguish of having buried a young man who was never given a chance to speak in his own defense before being hounded, shot in the head and chest, stripped bare, dragged along the corridors of his hostel and into the street, beaten, punched, kicked, pummeled, and battered with rods. Many of these young men who participated in the orgy of violence unleashed on April 13, 2017 were his classmates. The student who shot Mashal Khan was also his classmate. Those who pounded their fists against his chest and head, already bleeding, those who kicked him in his ribs and spine, were his fellow students, gathered at a brutal lynching on an ordinary day at a university named after a man who spoke for tolerance and justice, and for the rights of the Pakhtun nation.


Mashal Khan was wrongfully accused and wrongfully, brutally, murdered by an enraged, misguided, and merciless mob. This has been established by an omnipresent media. The charges leveled against him were declared misleading and untrue. This has been declared by the highest authorities in the land that the alleged corruption of an entire administration running the affairs of the university now in the spotlight is something that should not be allowed to pass into oblivion, like the countless other instances where people have died seeking justice. In an environment where the trust deficit between citizens and the machinery of state is growing every day, it is paramount that the accusations made by Mashal Khan against those who were siphoning off university funds, or those who were holding several posts simultaneously, being paid several salaries in contravention of university rules, or those who were overcharging tuition fees from young men struggling to be educated, be investigated by the most competent authorities. That vigilante justice was allowed to take the life of a young man in a place of higher learning at a time when justice itself was under siege. It is something that should shake up the entire nation and force us to look at ourselves in the mirror this tragedy has held up to us.


It has been established by sociologists, psychologists, and criminologists that the type of crowds that turn violent are fed on the fire of frustration and fueled by a set of grievances resulting from long-standing and unresolved problems and issues. During the 1930’s, Adolf Hitler manipulated and then exploited human passions and resentments to mobilize a society against Jews, Poles, Hungarians, Russians – anyone who was not “German”. Hitler used growing antipathy towards the “other”, the “outsider”, and fomented the insecurity of a large segment of the German population after World War I to whip up hatred against a perceived enemy, anyone who was different, anyone who represented a different set of values, who looked different, who subscribed to a different set of beliefs. Hitler fueled the xenophobia of a nation perceiving itself to be isolated, and led it towards one of the biggest genocides of contemporary history.


Similar was the case when the students of Abdul Wali Khan University at Mardan dragged Mashal’s already lifeless body into the open and brutalized it again and again, endlessly, every punch, each kick, each screaming invective, each accusation lightening the burden of the gathered crowd. For that crowd, those hundreds of students, young men who signify the future of this nation, were burdened with much: they had been gifted the burden of ignorance by an educational system that denies the spirit of enquiry, which crushes the spirit of debate. They had been fed on the obscurantism of a clergy that has glorified murder in the name of religion. They had been deprived of the tools of reason by a faculty that teaches by rote instead of by reading and understanding and discussing texts so that all views are considered, dissected, deconstructed and debated. These are the young men who become the frontline in a war of darkness against light, young men drowning in a deep well of ignorance and frustration, unable to see the light, unwilling to stand behind the one man who held up the torch beneath which all was obscurity and shadow.


What happens when such a mob gathers to bay for blood? Who is to stop the lynching? Where was the security apparatus? What do the university authorities have to say for themselves after such a heinous crime has scarred their institution forever? What do the followers of Bacha Khan have to say about a university named after his son, supposedly created to uphold the values of the tall and imposing figure also known as the Frontier Gandhi, a man who preached harmony and non-violence? How do we understand that those who profess to be enlightened and progressive are the very people who stopped the adoption of a resolution in the KP provincial assembly condemning this brutal act in the name of religion?


If we study the footage of the gathering on that fateful day within the premises of the AWK University, we can see the fury being whipped up by the instigators of this crime. We can feel the quickening pulse of the crowd as it prepares itself for the hunt. We can smell the blood and can see it slipping over their eyes, blinding them to reason. We have seen it before, in the killing of the two young men in Sialkot, many years ago, a case still unresolved. We have seen the bodies of a man and his pregnant wife burnt to death inside a kiln where they fashioned clay into baked bricks, murdered on an allegation of blasphemy. We have seen crowds rip apart and burn the bodies of alleged petty criminals, caught in the act, condemned and sentenced by a mob which is judge, jury, and executioner all at the same time. We have seen a young girl thrown to ferocious dogs as part of punishement pronounced by the long-outlawed panchayat system of rural Pakistan, we have known of peasants being beaten to death by their feudal master over the accusation of a petty theft. We have searched for the graves of women buried alive, and we have heard parliamentarians justifying such murders as being part of sacrosanct tradition. We have searched for the bodies of young women killed over the innocent and joyous act of clapping while a song is sung to celebrate a brother’s wedding. Over the past several years, we have watched with horror as acts of terror have taken over 70,000 lives. And few have become numb; turn their faces away and look at the distance, as if this was not happening, as if nothing was out of place, as if it was just an ordinary day, an ordinary crowd of young men intent on killing their colleague.


It was not an ordinary day when I walked through the narrow lane leaving Mashal Khan’s house, my heart heavy with the burden of impotence. There was nothing ordinary about his father, a poet who struggled hard to educate his children, selling biscuits in places far from Zaidah, small towns in Gilgit Baltistan, many miles from his home in this village in district Swabi. Iqbal Khan told me about the biscuits he would sell in the tiny district headquarters of Gahkuch where I had spent part of a summer living in the village of Hamardas, trying to understand why so many young women were taking their own lives, despite being educated, or perhaps, as I discovered, because they were educated but were forced to marry young men who had tended livestock or irrigated fields and knew nothing of the wealth of knowledge that could be gained through education.


There was nothing ordinary about Mashal Khan’s mother who lamented that she could not kiss her son’s hands before burying him as every bone she held was broken. There was nothing ordinary about the anger in Aimal Khan’s voice as he spoke about the injustice and unjustified frenzy that took his brother’s life, his eyes brimming with tears as he described the insensitive filming of the horrific lynching by fellow students using phone cameras. And there was nothing ordinary about the fact that a string cot lies alongside Mashal Khan’s grave, laid there for the police constable who keeps watch over the grave, protecting it from those who had stopped every car leaving the university campus that day, searching for Mashal Khan’s body, swearing to set to fire the broken remains of this brilliant young man who stood first in every class, who had so much to offer us, who perhaps did not belong to prevailing mediocrity and hypocrisy but stood for excellence and integrity.


The young men accused of Mashal Khan’s murder represent the dehumanization of a society where a war rages within us; planted, nurtured, and harvested by those who wish to see us slide into chaos and anarchy, allowing for the bigoted to lead the ignorant, these men are soldiers in an army of terror. Such armies are bred wherever discontent flourishes. Such armies are strengthened by the failure of governance and the mockery of accountability. Such armies cannot be stopped by a lone policeman guarding a freshly dug grave. Only the light that Mashal held up can show us the path out of this darkness. Only the will to cleanse our souls of bigotry and narrow fundamentalism can heal the wounds inflicted upon the soul of this nation.


As I stood besides Mashal’s grave, the two young women in the black abayas came to join me. We stood silently in that peaceful plot of land planted with poplar trees by Iqbal Khan when he bought this tiny property for his sons to build their homes upon. Now his younger son lies buried beneath the soil of the ground that was to be his future home. It is here, next to the wheat fields and beneath the poplars that Mashal would come to study. And it was here that I stood with the two girls, unknown to Mashal’s family, having traveled all the way from Rawalpindi to offer their prayers at the grave of a young man they had never met, but whose death they lamented as if he was one of their own.


As we raised our hands in supplication, I said a silent prayer for the two young women, brave and courageous, caring and compassionate, everything that we needed to become human again, to be led out of the darkness that has fallen upon us.

 

The writer studied Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal, Media Education at the University of London, Development Communication at the University of Southern California, and Cultural Heritage Management at the National College of Arts, Lahore. She teaches at apex institutions, writes columns for a leading daily, makes documentaries, and has published two best-selling novels.
 
08
June

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

A medical group linked with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has devised a way to help dark-skinned parents produce fair babies, The Wire news portal reported recently.


The Wire said Arogya Bharati (AB) an RSS-linked group has promised prospective dark-skinned parents who undergo its workshop and procedures, “babies … with fair complexion”.


This has certainly given the famous 'India Shining' slogan a whole new meaning because according to RSS the only gold worth its shine is white gold. The AB foresees an India which will be 99.9 percent Hindu white by the year 2045.

 

bhartamama.jpgA leading member of the AB, Dr. Ram Lal Yoda, a self-described spiritual botanist by profession, told The Wire that till 2000 years ago, all Hindus were whiter than today's authentic Caucasian Swedes and Ice Landers. He added that sadly, the ancient Hindus began to turn wheatish in colour after the invading Greek army under Alexander The Great introduced the damaging joys of sun-tanning in the region.


Another scientist belonging to the AB and RSS, Dr. Yoginath Gopal Doodh Pati (an astrological physicist, nuclear palmist and joyous lyncher) in his recent book, 'Superior Aryan Flatulent Techniques', suggests that after turning golden-brown, the Hindus began to turn dark from the 14th century AD. This was a period when Muslim invaders from Mars began to conquer and subdue the more advanced Hindus of India with the help of black magic which could not be broken by the white magic of fair-skinned Hindus.


Dr. Doodh Pati also claims that the green-blooded Muslim invaders forced the Hindus to play polo on cows under the hot Indian sun till they all became black. This blackness then seeped into their DNA making their babies black as well; blackening the fortunes of this once mighty white race of authentic Aryans with really long names.


Darkness engulfed the inhabitants of Bharat Mama with every part of its body becoming dark. Nevertheless, its soul remained fair and lovely. The Muslim invaders could not darken it. However, well known Pakistani philosopher, psychologist and pharmacist, Orio McBlue Janam, recently claimed that at one point the dark Hindus actually managed to blacken a Muslim king by stealing his favourite umbrella. The Muslim king refused to use any other umbrella during hunting trips and thus became blackened by the sun and stopped being Martian green. That king was Akbar.


Mr. Orio in his 2015 book, 'Malala is not a true Martian' wrote that had it not been for some wise old Martians such as Nasim Hijazi and some guy called Chang in Akbar's court, the dark Hindus would have been able to make silly old Akbar to reverse the policy of making Hindus play polo under the hot Indian sun.


The once white Hindus remained jet black throughout Martian Muslim rule. What's worse is that they got even darker when the blue-blooded British invaded India from Venus and banned a most peaceful Hindu ritual, Sati.


In his book, Dr. Doodh Pati, wrote that even though the Hindus finally defeated the British and sent them back to Venus, treacherous Hindus such as Mahatma Gandhi agreed to the Muslim demand for their own separate abode. Dr. Pati thinks that unfortunately, instead of the Muslims, some misguided white-souled Hindus sent Gandhi to Mars where he continues to live as a tomato farmer.

 

A leading member of the AB, Dr. Ram Lal Yoda, a self-described spiritual botanist by profession, told The Wire that till 2000 years ago, all Hindus were whiter than today's authentic Caucasian Swedes and Ice Landers. He added that sadly, the ancient Hindus began to turn wheatish in colour after the invading Greek army under Alexander The Great introduced the damaging joys of sun-tanning in the region.

Recently when some reporters asked Dr. Pati exactly how he plans to make dark Hindus bear white babies, he replied: 'By 2045, every Hindu in Bharat Mama will be whiter than Boris Johnson, blonder than Donald Trump, and more handsome than Captain America. Just like PM Modi, whose DNA we will use in our whitening procedure.'


When a reporter said that Mr. Modi is just like any other South Asian, Dr. Pati claimed that Modi was actually Caucasian with deep blue eyes and egg yoke blonde hair. 'He is the real Superman!', he exclaimed. Dr. Pati asked his assistant, Amar, to throw out the two treacherous reporters (Akbar and Anthony).


Then after watching PM Modi approach, Dr. Pati picked up the mic and shouted, 'My soon-to-be-white Hindus and Hindies, Sadus and Veggies, look! Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane ... no, it's Modi maaaan!'

 

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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08
June
1st Karachi Shooting Championship Held in Karachi Garrison
newsfirstkarachshoting.jpg1st Karachi Shooting Championship was held in Karachi Garrison. Shooting lovers from Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, PAF, ASF, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Karachi, including children and female shooters participated. Pakistan Navy remained the best on scoring table. Chief Guest, Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza distributed the prizes. While emphasizing on importance of sports, the Chief Guest said that ‘organizing such activities is a healthy sign and should be encouraged for creating good environment in the city.’

 

08
June
Sri Lankan Army Chief Visits Miranshah
newssrilankair.jpgLieutenant General A.W.J. Crishantha De Silva, Chief of Sri Lankan Army visited Miranshah, NWA where he was briefed about ongoing operations, rehabilitation and development work being undertaken, prevailing normalcy in the area, return of TDPs and border management system. The Chief of Sri Lankan Army appreciated Pakistan Army’s achievements and contributions in the fight against terrorism. The visiting General expressed full confidence in Pakistan’s ability to completely overcome the menace of terrorism in the near future. Earlier, on arrival at Miranshah, he was received by Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt.

 

08
June
Turkey Orders 52 Super Mushshaks

newsturkeorder.jpgPakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Turkish Air Force (TurAF) inked a contract for the supply of 52 Super Mushshaks which replaced TurAF’s existing primary training aircraft.


A contract signing ceremony was held at Istanbul during the 13th International Defence Industry Fair 2017. Air Marshal Arshad Malik, Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) signed the contract with Professor Dr. Ismail Demir, Turkey’s Under Secretary for Defence Industries. All the aircraft will replace the TurAF’s fleet of SF260s and Cessna T-41s based at Izmir-Kaklic and Istanbul-Yesilkoy respectively for student pilot/undergraduate training. They will be fitted with the Garmin 950 avionics in the cockpit. With the first TurAF Super Mushshaks already being produced at PAC Kamra, the first pair will be supplied within nine months, according to the PAC Chairman. The remaining 50 aircraft will follow within three years. Five TurAF pilots are expected to attend the PAF’s Flying Instructor School at PAF Academy Asghar Khan to train as instructor pilots.


The Qatar Air Force examples also fitted with Garmin 950 avionics will be delivered in June. While the new aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force, equipped with a Dynon avionics suite should be delivered in July. There is no doubt the glass cockpit has breathed new life into a trainer that hadn’t been sold to a military export customer since Saudi Arabia bought them in 2004. It marks the biggest Pakistan export order to a NATO customer and comes in the wake of deals with the Air Forces of Iran, Iraq, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The trainer is also on order with Nigeria.


Around 46 of these Super Mushshak aircraft are currently in service with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), with the first-one being commissioned around the year 2000. Super Mushshak aircraft fitted with an American 260 hp engine, cockpit air conditioning, electrical instruments, and electric/manual elevator and rudder trim, the aircraft has been developed to meet FAR part 23 certification in normal, utility and aerobatics categories. It has a spacious side-by-side cockpit allowing good contact between the pilot and the co-pilot/observer or between the student and the instructor. The Super Mushshak meets the requirements of a modern primary training syllabus and is an ideal basic trainer for basic flight training and instrument flying.


Representatives of the state-owned Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), which announced the deal, and the Turkish government signed the contract on November 23, on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) that is held every two years in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.


The Super Mushshak is a PAC licence-built version of the Saab MFI-17 Supporter aircraft, which is usually the first platform used for training air force cadets.


(Report: Directorate of Media Affairs, PAF)

08
June
Joint Closing Ceremony of National Integrated Counter Terrorism Course and Capacity Enhancement Course FC KP

On May 04, 2017 graduation/closing ceremony of National Integrated Counter Terrorism Course-10 (NICTC-10) and Capacity Enhancement Course-3 for Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was held at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Pabbi.
Commander 1 Corps Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi was the Chief Guest. The Joint Closing Ceremony was also attended by Major General Syed Aamer Raza General Commanding Office Headquarters 37 Division, Brigadier Yousaf Majoka Deputy Inspector General Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karim Khan Deputy Inspector General Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other officials from various departments. These courses are in the continuation of series of special training being organized by the Army for the capacity enhancement of our Sister Services and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). The NICTC-10 included 380 individuals from 16 different departments including Sister Services, Police, Rangers, Defence Services Guards, Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Coast Guards, Strategic Planning Divison and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) while Capacity Enhancement Course for Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa included 288 all ranks form Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Earlier during the day, Chief of Sri Lankan Army Lieutenant General A.W.J. Crishantha de Silva along with his team of senior military officials visited NCTC Pabbi and witnessed the performance/training of NICTC-10 and FC KP CEC-3 in which the trainees displayed excellent skills of counter terrorism training. Lieutenant General Hidayat Ur Rehman Inspector General Training and Evaluation and Major General Muhammad Chiragh Haider Director General Military Training were also present during the visit.
Ever since its inception, thousands of trainees from LEAs, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy along with foreign trainees from numerous friendly countries have been trained at this renowned institution of Pakistan Army. Commander 1 Corps lauded the efforts of National Counter Terrorism Centre in enhancing the capacity of LEAs and contributing to national cause of fight against terrorism. He paid homage to the sacrifices of our Sister Services and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in general and Pakistan Army in particular. He also highlighted the success of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which is in progress all over the country. Commander 1 Corps later interacted with trainees and invitees from LEAs and reiterated the national resolve to fight the menace of terrorism.

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08
June
Dual Seat JF-17B Thunder Completes Maiden Flight

newsdualsetatjf.jpgApril 28, 2017 was a momentous day for Pakistan Air Force as dual-seat variant of the JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft successfully completed its maiden test flight at Chengdu (China). Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the Chief Guest at the occasion. This impressive ceremony was hosted by Mr. Li Yuhai, Executive Vice President Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

 

Dual-seat JF-17B is currently entering the testing phase which is jointly developed by China and Pakistan. JF-17B dual seat fighter aircraft is a major milestone towards self reliance and would boost operational and training capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. It will further enhance advanced combat training of PAF fighter pilots on this indigenous war fighting machine.

 

Induction of JF-17 aircraft in PAF started in 2007 and has continued during subsequent years. Today, Pakistan Air Force is operating five JF-17 Squadrons which are actively engaged in all types of operations. JF-17 Thunder is an excellent fighter aircraft which can be easily compared with the 4th generation aircraft of the world.

08
June

Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary

History is now being documented real time and there are millions of contributors expressing their views. It is no longer about the worldview rather a people view creating the context. The strength in an expression is what is cultivating impact.

When great many are thinking in; what is there to consider is – who is thinking through. The immaterial need to think through is deeply embedded in our storytelling. If information is the formation of the mind; who’s questioning whether this is the quality of mind required to think policies. The alternate views are as relevant as the discourse itself. And if the discourse is frightening; the views will only comply. This is the nature of those who are in the business of designing information scenarios.


The way information is shared, ideas exchanged and semantic knowledge established as and when people connect through devices has redefined the pace at which opinions are formed, networks developed and traditional authority undermined. These aren’t interesting times; it is only that we are allowing our anxieties skew the thought process required for long-term strategies inherently people-centric. Thinking through then means that not only we are aligned with global developments but we also have a credible say; not just on the basis of physical strength but also with the quality of mind we offer to solve world challenges. The exaggerated pretence over whether there ever was a truth-based world to begin with; the post-truth construct is highly out of order. As Dr. Ilhan Niaz a historian puts it, “Pakistan is a pre-fact society”. Open and shut case.


Data is the new orange.
There’s beauty in chaos and randomness, it’s the human judgement that forces the contradictions within the thinking patterns. However, since the education system is designed to focus on creating linear patterns therefore this is easily influenced. But the most exciting opportunity in sense making is the creativity and imagination involved to think through in decision-making process. The entire academia in Pakistan should therefore have some basic credentials in cognitive science. This is not traditional, it is a step into the future where quality of thought is needed to overcome very basic issues confronting our society. A deeper understanding of why we are the way we are and where could we be headed as a society.

 

thinkinthink.jpgIt is only when the mentors have clarity that the mentee creates the foundations required for his or her mindset(s). The hyperconnectivity is changing the way we express and to whom. Privacy is no longer the dispute; it is what we keep to ourselves as a matter of choice is the imperative. The understanding therefore needs to inculcate a more sophisticated comprehension as to why so many social media platforms offer free services. Therefore what we share is a choice, who we share with is a choice, trusting a service is therefore also a choice in the information age. And if that service violates the trust – question is whether we have the conscious ability and competence to hold it responsible. So in 2017, when the world population using social media is approximately 2.5 billion with over a billion active on Facebook alone one must recognize that this is unprecedented. Never in the history of information communication was there ever a time where humanity was connected to such an extent. And it is really noisy. A fun forecast, by 2020 almost 5 billion of the world population will have access to the internet compared to just 360 million in 2000. In 2005, the first billion had the access, 2010 second and in 2014 the third. It took five years to reach the first one billion and only four to reach the third. How are we thinking now?


So, are we really listening or are simply busy judging?
As people talk to people, talk to devices, talk to other devices, the nature of information creation and consumption patterns is changing drastically. The internet-based businesses will increasingly become more relevant only because of the mere fact that it’s the most efficient and yet more productive way of collating social intelligence. The growth mentality will flourish as community of interests form alliances to create the ecosystem closer to resolving human suffering. The advancement of technology is therefore seen to be driving this approach as it cuts through unnecessary bureaucratic and the conventional management barriers which only made sense when the transfer of information was at a similar pace which made competitive logic. Today, connected minds have more value than the ego system that created market access and exploitation of natural resources during the second and the third industrial revolution which shaped the history as we know today. However, history is now being documented real time and there are millions of contributors expressing their views. It is no longer about the worldview rather a people view creating the context. The strength in an expression is what is cultivating impact. In such a highly complexed and complicated environment, the means through which the decision-makers reflect in public space is critical. This implies democratization of mindsets and having the ability to capture the human connection. The interaction between and amongst devices provides that unique possibility to place a greater value on the human condition. But for this to happen with a generation so young the blinkered political obsessions need to be temporarily suspended for the next 15 years or the country will inevitably suffer greatly from the ecological collapse of the mind; signs of which are clearly visible in the rhetoric.


Each empire to fit an ego.
1950s we were crossing 40 million and in just 65 years we added over a 120 million to our population and till today we still haven’t managed to balance out our priorities – the equation is very simple, the Government and its institutions are to serve the people and not the other way around. In 2017, more than 40 million people in Pakistan have access to the internet. If we ran some numbers on this it will only bound to increase and compound.
So, is Pakistan thinking-in or thinking-through?

 

The writer is Futures Researcher and Strategic Narrative Professional Founder and President of a think tank AGAHI.

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

Twitter: @puruesh

 
07
June
Delegates from Afghanistan and Resolute Support Mission Attend a Security Meeting at GHQ

A Two Star level security meeting among delegates from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Resolute Support Mission was held at General Headquarters Rawalpindi. The delegations were led by Afghan DGMO, Major General Habib Hesari; and Resolute Support Mission's Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations), Major General Christopher Haas. Pakistan was represented by DGMO, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza. During the trilateral meeting, the senior delegates stressed upon the need to defeat Daesh through complementary efforts in respective areas of operations.

The trilateral meeting was succeeded by a Two Star Pakistan-Afghanistan Bilateral Meeting, in which both sides discussed measures for improving military-to-military coordination and cooperation. Chaman incident, border control/management and measures to curb cross-border fire violations were also discussed. Both sides agreed to enhance frequency of bilateral interactions at multiple tiers through different command and staff channels to foster an environment of mutual respect, trust, cordiality and cooperation.

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07
June
CNS Visits Indonesia and China

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited Indonesia and China. During the visit, the Naval Chief met a number of dignitaries of both the countries.
During his visit to Indonesia, Chief of the Naval Staff called on Chief of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral Ade Supandi, Commandant Marine Corps, Maj Gen Bambang Suwantono, and Commandant Western Fleet Command, Rear Admiral Aan Kumia of Indonesia.
Upon his arrival at Indonesian Naval Headquarters, the Admiral was received by his counterpart, Chief of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral Ade Supandi. Guard of Honour was also presented to the Naval Chief on the occasion.
During the meeting, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah dilated upon matters of mutual interest and bilateral naval collaboration. Chief of the Indonesian Navy acknowledged the significance of close and strong bilateral naval association in diverse realms between Pakistan Navy and Indonesian Navy. Admiral Zakaullah thanked Admiral Ade Supandi for active participation by Indonesian Navy in Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 17 to join hands for common resolve of ‘Together for Peace’ and also looked forward to further enhancing the interaction between both navies through port calls and Passage Exercises (PASSEXs).
Chief of the Indonesian Navy, while lauding the professional acumen and commitment of PN personnel, highly appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Navy to maintain collaborative security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
During the meeting with Commandant Marine Corps, Maj Gen Bambang Suwantono and Commandant Fleet Command, Rear Admiral Aan Kumia, diverse matters of professional interest ranging from Maritime Security and Stability, Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP), Counter Piracy Operations, drug trafficking and various avenues to enhance interoperability between Pakistan and Indonesian Navy were dilated upon. Naval Chief also highlighted Pakistan’s commitment and performance in fight against terrorism in general and Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maintaining regional peace and security in particular. The dignitaries acknowledged strong foundations and historical ties between Pakistan and Indonesia and lauded PN efforts and focused commitments in support of collaborative maritime security in the region and extending cooperation in diverse fields to Indonesian Navy.
During his visit to China, the Naval Chief called on Commander PLA(N) China, Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong.
Upon arrival at PLA(N) Headquarters at Beijing China, the Admiral was received by Commander PLA(N) China, Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong. Ceremonial Guard of Honour was presented to the Naval Chief on the occasion.
Prior to the formal call on, the Naval Chief was given detailed briefings regarding PLA(N) China. During the call on, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah shed light on bilateral naval collaboration between Pakistan Navy and PLA Navy including Maritime Security and Stability, Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP), Counter Piracy Operations, drug trafficking and joint collaboration in various projects. The Naval Chief thanked Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong for active participation of PLA(N) in Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 17 and also discussed to further enhancing the interaction between both navies through port calls, Bilateral Naval Exercises and exchange of training programmes at various levels.
Commander PLA(N) acknowledged the significance of close and strong bilateral naval association in diverse realms between Pakistan Navy and PLA Navy. While lauding the professional acumen and commitment of PN personnel, Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong highly appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Navy to maintain collaborative security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

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07
June
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Meets COAS at GHQ

Pakistan's Soil is Not Being Used for Terrorist Activities Against Any Other Country: COAS

Mr David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ. Matters of mutual interest including regional security issues were discussed during the meeting.

COAS reiterated Pakistan's stance that ‘its soil is not being used for terrorist activities against any other country nor shall we tolerate any such action against Pakistan’. The Ambassador acknowledged Pakistan Army's efforts in securing control of areas on Pakistan side of the border and said that ‘both countries can carry forward the work done towards enduring peace and stability in the region through enhanced coordination and cooperation’.

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07
June
CJCSC Meets Australian Chief of Defense Forces and other Dignitaries

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, CJCSC met Australian Chief of Defense Forces, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin in Australia during his official visit. Matters of mutual professional interests with particular reference to global and regional security environments were discussed.

CJCSC also held separate meetings with other Australian Armed Forces' Service Chiefs, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Australian officials. Australian dignitaries appreciated the high professional standards of Pakistan Armed Forces and their valued contributions to regional peace and stability.

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07
June

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Demography, along with geography, has always figured in the making of nations and in inter-state relationships. But perhaps never so critically as in the case of Pakistan. Indeed, in all the annals of its proto-history and existential career, demography and Pakistan have been interminably entwined. This may sound incredible, even inexplicable.


But for a moment consider the following. Which variable other than demography sparked the demand for Pakistan? Which variable has determined the roller coaster course of Pakistan’s history which, during her first 24 years, became hostage to East-West Pakistan tension, mutual bickering and a litany of grievances, culminating in the country’s traumatic dismemberment? Which other variable has set the nature of the political tone, tenor and discourse and triggered the political crises Pakistan has been almost continuously enmeshed in since its birth on August 14, 1947? Which other variable has fueled the acrimonious debate on resources allocation, the civil and military bureaucracy composition, power-sharing formulae and decision-making weightage between regimes and political units, administrative units, political parties and pressure groups? None else other than demography for the most part and as the core stimulant. Interminably linked with demography has, of course, been geography.

 

demographiyandpak.jpgAn explication of the above framework calls for a historical flashback. Of all the major countries conquered by Islam in the first, second and third waves, extending from the seventh to the 15th centuries, two countries on the periphery stood as exceptions – Spain (or Andalusia) in the west and India in the east. Muslim Spain, ascendant for some seven centuries, finally got wiped out when Boabdil handed over the keys of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella in January 1492, a tragic event in the annals of Islam, culminating in Christian Spain’s marathon Reconquista drive.


Muslims ruled over large parts of the subcontinent for seven to eight centuries. Yet, as against the Islamic heartland, this Islamic bastion on the scattered fringe remained non-Muslim demographically. Provincial Hinduism withstood Islam, to quote Jadunath Sarkar, the famous Indian historian. Even the heartland of the Muslim Indian empire, the North Western Provinces of the 19th century and the United Provinces of the 20th century, housing the capital of the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526-1857), was home to barely 14 percent of the population.


In 1842, after the battle of Ghazni, Lord Ellenborough, the governor general, had put down the number of Muslims at 10 percent of the population, perhaps without counting those in northwest India, which was still outside the British realm. Yet it was undoubtedly an understatement in the census since 1990 had revealed the Muslims comprised 22.6 percent of the population of India and Burma (note Burma was included in the census in India till 1931), 22.4 percent in 1891, 23.2 percent in 1901, 23.5 percent in 1911, and 24.1 percent in 1921.


Hence, in the context of the low Muslim demography, Sir Syed’s gravest concern at this juncture, to quote his own words, was how to get “the two nations – the Mohammedans and Hindus – sit on the same throne and remain in equal power.” And he came to the ominous conclusion, “Most certainly not.. to hope that.. is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable.”

 

Which variable has determined the roller coaster course of Pakistan’s history which, during her first 24 years, became hostage to East-West Pakistan tension, mutual bickering and a litany of grievances, culminating in the country’s traumatic dismemberment? Which other variable has set the nature of the political tone, tenor and discourse and triggered the political crises Pakistan has been almost continuously enmeshed in since its birth on August 14, 1947? Which other variable has fueled the acrimonious debate on resources allocation, the civil and military bureaucracy composition, power-sharing formulae and decision-making weightage between regimes and political units, administrative units, political parties and pressure groups? None else other than demography for the most part and as the core stimulant.

It was impossible under the unitary Westminster model, with its credo of majority rule which the Indian National Congress was insisting on since its founding in 1885, and with the British proclivity for the introduction of representative institutions – as indicated by the Gladstonian reforms of the 1880s, the Local Board Bill (1883), and the Bradlaugh Bill (1889), eventuating in the Indian Councils Act (1892). Profoundly realistic that Sir Syed was, his worst fears were summed up in a telling information: “How can the Mohammedan guard their interests? It would be like a game of dice, in which one man had four dice and the other only one… there will be one member for us to every four for the Hindus…,” Sir Syed argued in his Lucknow address on December 28, 1887.


In order to salvage the bleak Muslim situation to the extent it could be done, Sir Syed settled for separate electorates. Thus, from the late 1880s onwards, it became the core Muslim demand. It was put in formally by a representative Muslim deputation at Shimla on October 1, 1906, and was finally conceded by the British in the Act of 1909.


Until 1920, Sir Syed’s claim of Muslim nationhood was in the religio-cultural context but not in terms of demography or dispersal of the Muslim population in the subcontinent. The Muslims, counting about 70 million, constituted the largest single bloc of Muslims in the world, yet they were no better than a “minority” in the subcontinent.


In this context, the 1921 census figures came as a blessing. They showed that as a result of a greater population increase during the previous decades, they had acquired a slight majority in two of the largest provinces – 54 percent in Bengal and 55.4 percent in the Punjab.


Punjab was adjacent to Sindh, the NWFP and Balochistan, and each of them had considerable or a preponderant majority of Muslims. Thus the Muslim “nation” had at last acquired some sort of a territorial base in two important regions.


What made the emergence of some Muslim majority provinces so significant was the Montford Reforms of 1919, which initiated the trend towards the devolution of power to the provinces. The reforms conceded greater powers to the council and for the first time the Indians were entrusted with responsibility in respect of the transferred subjects such as education, local government, agriculture, etc. Thus, the Muslim demographic dominance in Bengal and Punjab ensured them a share in the province power pie.


During the 1920s, this dominance determined the power-sharing mechanisms devised by Muslims as a basis for a Hindu-Muslim settlement, and get such a mechanism incorporated in the next installment of reforms, promised by the British 10 years after the introduction of the Montford Reforms.


Hence, four of the five basic Muslim demands which figured in Delhi Muslim Proposal (1927), the all-Parties Muslim Conference Resolution (1929) and Jinnah’s Fourteen Points (1929) were: (i) reservation of seats for Muslims in the Punjab and Bengal on population basis; (ii) residuary powers for the provinces in a federal set-up; (iii) separation of Sindh from Bombay and setting it up as a separate province; and (iv) reforms in the NWFP and Balochistan, to bring them at par with other provinces in terms of their constitutional status.


The 1935 Act conceded the demands relating to Sindh and the NWFP. This meant four (five if Balochistan was included) stable Muslim provinces to match the six Hindu provinces and a genuine federation at the centre to ensure the substance of power to Muslims in their majority provinces.


But the federal part of the 1935 Act tilted towards a unitary government, a highly centralized structure, and the Congress rule in the Hindu provinces during 1937-39 sought to give a foretaste of what to expect when it assumed power at the centre. Hence the Muslim call for the abandonment of the federal part, which the British finally did in late 1939.


And once the Muslim hopes of ensuring or enjoying the substance of power in their majority province proved to be a chimera, their demographic dominance in the north-west and the north-east was adroitly used as a launching pad for the demand of Pakistan.


In 1941, the Muslims counted 79.4 million out of a total population of 295.8 million in British India – i.e., about 25.8 percent. Had they been evenly dispersed throughout the subcontinent, without being fortuitously concentrated in the north-west and north-east, they could have been bereft of a sizeable territorial base, and the Pakistan demand, even if it had been raised, would have made little territorial justification.


Thus, in the ultimate analysis, a particular mix of Muslim demography with its concomitant Muslim population proportion in certain specific regions led to the emergence of Pakistan.


Ironically though, Pakistan, since its inception, has been hostage to its particular mix of demography. Space considerations preclude an extended discussion, but certain salient points may be noted.


East Bengal counted for one-seventh of Pakistan’s area but four-seventh of her population. It was a “rural slum” with an agriculturist economy, and little industrial infrastructure. Its representation in the services was poor – due, of course, to historical reasons – with West Pakistanis, some of them overbearing, dominating the higher echelons of administration. It had differences of race, language and temperament with West Pakistan. All this sufficed to spawn a list of grievances, tension and bickering. But consider for a moment whether all this could have acquired the proportion and the importance, and spawned the cataclysmic consequences it finally did without East Bengal’s dominance on Pakistan’s demographic landscape and its physical discontinuity with West Pakistan. Assam and Nagaland on the eastern fringes of India, though not discontinuous with the Indian mainland, have had similar problems and grievances against New Delhi, but they could not mount the sort of presence East Bengal/East Pakistan did. In the ultimate analysis then, it was its demographic dominance that provided it with the much wanted clout to set in motion traumatic events and reverse the Westphalian model in the international system, and yet induce goodwill for itself in the comity of nations.


The tragedy with Pakistan is that even in its post-Bangladesh format, it is still hostage to demography. If united Pakistan had 56 percent of Bengalis in faraway East Pakistan, the post 1971 Pakistan has some 58 percent in one province, the Punjab, and an additional four percent of the people of Punjab are scattered in the other three provinces.


Added to this demographic dominance is the fact that they are not only better educated, but are also characterized by the laissez faire attributes – initiative, industry and competition. No wonder, they command a large presence on the Pakistani bureaucratic, military, industrial, entrepreneurial, educational and economic landscape.


Of course, this gives rise to feelings of envy among the other nationalities, and given their inability to compete with accusations of the Punjabi dominance. Clearly, the people of the Punjab by themselves are not at fault. Rather, it is the particular effect of demography on Pakistan’s nationalities’ landscape that is the problem.


In any case, this demographic pattern needs to be reshaped in the interest of Pakistan. We might as well take a cue from India. The six full and two half provinces in India in 1947 have been reconstituted into some 27 full and small states for various reasons and as a result of political contingencies. The same considerations call for the creation of several small and more easily manageable provinces out of the present four provinces. Remember, they are not intrinsically historical entities. They were carved out and set up as provincial units by the British for administrative reasons. The same reasons plus the creation and cultivation of harmonious feelings between the various nationalities call for the creation of new provincial units.

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, has recently co-edited Unescos History of Humanity, vol. VI, and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007), the only oral history on Pakistan’s founding father.
 
07
June
GHQ Registers Protest over Unprovoked Ceasefire Violations with UN Military Observers at UNMOGIP

indiaarmynews.jpgUnited Nations Military Observers at UNMOGIP were invited to GHQ to register a protest over unprovoked Ceasefire Violations (CFV’s) and targeting of civilian population by Indian Army on May 10, 13 and 16, 2017. Indian Army used Small Arms, Heavy Caliber automatic weapons, Heavy Mortar (122 mm Mortars) and Field Artillery in Sabzkot, Baroh, Tandar, Khuiratta, Kot Koterra and Karela Sectors to target Pakistani villages resulting in martyrdom of a civilian and injuring 15 others including women and children.

UN Military Observers were also apprised with latest situation along the Line of Control (LOC).
07
June

Written By: Dr. Mirwais Kasi

West Asia continues to occupy an important position in International Relations due to its geo-political location, for the entire region acts as a link between Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Atlantic Sea and Indian Ocean. The vast reserves of oil have perpetually attracted special interest from all over the world particularly from Western powers. The West Asia Policy of India had primarily been shaped by its friendly relations with the Arab countries and with a view to promote its national interests. India’s relations with Arabs were also influenced by the nature of its relations with Pakistan. India viewed that Pakistan regarded itself as closer to West Asia and projected India as anti-Islamic. It was to counter this pan-Islamic movement that India adopted a pro-Arab stance.


Even before independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of Independent India, began co-operating with the Arab nationalists, and the Indian National Congress lent its support for the Arab’s struggle. The same consideration led India to extend its support to the Palestinian issue also. The Congress leaders, while sympathetic towards the plight of Jews in Europe were unresponsive to the idea of Israel. By the time the partition of Palestine became an issue in the United Nations, India had adopted an anti-Israel attitude and it was with this view that India opposed the partition of Palestine in the UN General Assembly in November 1947. When Israel came into existence in May 1948, India opposed the creation of the Jewish State and even voted against its creation. India regarded it as a theocratic state which was set up with the backing of imperialist powers. India however accorded de jure recognition to Israel in September 1950, stating that it was recognizing an established fact and that non-recognition was not only inconsistent with the overall relationship between the two member states, but would also limit India’s role as a possible peacemaker between the Arabs and the Israelis. The relationship was, however, kept at low key and no full-fledged diplomatic relations were then established because of Arab sentiments other than allowing the opening of Israeli Consulate in Bombay in 1955.

 

indiaisraelstr.jpgIsrael which courted non-aligned foreign policy in its early years was keen on improving relations with New Delhi, one of the NAM’s originators, but with little success. Pressure from the Arab bloc dissuaded India from accepting Israel’s overtures and led to the NAM adopting an anti-Israel policy. Israel’s gradual identification as an American ally over the 1960s further hindered good relations with India, which was highly suspicious of American foreign policy. The limited military assistance Israel rendered to India in its 1962 War with China and the India-Pakistan wars (1965 and 1971), as well as low key co-operation between their intelligence services over the years, elicited no change in New Delhi’s approach to the Jewish State. Even the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel made no dent in the formal hostility displayed by the Indian political elites against Israel from 1982 to 1988, India did not even allow full consular relations. India’s change in attitude toward Israel took place towards the end of Cold War, as it reassessed its foreign policy in view of fall of the Soviet Union. Adjusting itself in new global environments and new realities, India took a U-turn in its relations with Israel. India formally recognized Israel in January 1992 under Narasimha Rao’s premiership. The new BJP government of India was less considerate towards its largest Muslim minority who were more sympathetic towards Palestinian cause rather than Israel, likewise BJP government also neglected the Arab sentiments who were anti-Israeli in their approach. The normalization of relations left both India and Israel to explore as many avenues as possible. Since 1992, the two countries have exchanged several visits at different levels and signed several agreements, including “MoUs” to enhance their ties. Both states have been co-operating in various spheres of public policy including: intelligence, economy, culture, technology, security and military. The main interest of Israel lies in economic areas, while India’s major concern is related to military technology and security issues. The Indo-Israel equation is the emergence of a mutual equilibrium with each party deriving some advantages out of the new relationship. The smooth pace with which normalization has proceeded has rewarded Israeli’s patience and caused India to question why they had delayed completing the process for so long? The normalization has paid the Indian government well and is likely to benefit in future, too.

 

A flourishing Indo-Israel relationship has made a significant impact on the global politics by altering the balance of power not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia and even in the larger Asian region. This bilateral relationship has worked to great disadvantage for Pakistan.

A flourishing Indo-Israel relationship has made a significant impact on the global politics by altering the balance of power not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia and even in the larger Asian region. This bilateral relationship has worked to great disadvantage for Pakistan.


Pakistan essentially identifies many dangers to its national interests and security because of Indo-Israel nexus. Pakistan places Islamic ideology as the basic principle of its existence, which has always been taken by both India and Israel as a threat to their own ideologies – so-called Indian secularism and Zionism. Since 1992 both countries initiated propaganda tactics against Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which they tried to portray it as a state embodying extremism and fundamentalism. The level of cooperation and understanding between India and Israel in realm of defense and security is also a growing concern for Pakistan. The country consistently faces problems like ethnic divisions, sectarianism, suicide bombing etc., because of Indo-Israel unleashing of Forth Generation Warfare agenda. Security has become the overriding and foremost concern of Pakistan. The situation also aggravated in the past when country felt the risk of pre-emptive strike by Israel on its nuclear facilities with direct Indian assistance – by using India as a base to destroy Pakistan's nuclear facilities. Even in May 1998 before Pakistan carried out its nuclear tests, it put all its defense measures on red alert after receiving the intelligence that six modern aircraft loaded with sophisticated missiles and flown by Israeli pilots had landed on different air bases in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Indians in collaboration with Israel had laid electronic counter measures (ECM) frequency operated equipment network to neutralize Pakistan's electronic network at its nuclear facilities.

 

The country consistently faces problems like ethnic divisions, sectarianism, suicide bombing etc., because of Indo-Israel unleashing of foURth generation warfare agenda.

Besides that, Pakistan also faces a security threat because of Indo-Israel nexus in Kashmir. Both countries draw a parallel thinking on insurgencies in Kashmir and Palestine. This shared goal has led to better understanding of each other’s concerns. Both countries have been working to label the freedom fighters in Kashmir and Palestine as Islamic extremists and terrorists, which is neither in the interest of Pakistan nor in the interests of Kashmiris and Palestinians, keeping in view their fundamental right of self-determination. The Indo-Israel bilateral relations have been disturbing the regional equilibrium on the one hand and are also paving way for strong ties between U.S. and India on the other.


Similarly, India-Israel ties increased the concerns for Pakistan mainly because of the intensity of co-operation between the two states in the fields of defence. Due to this nexus, the strategic balance in the sub-continent is tilting fast against Pakistan. In coming years, it will be difficult to match the combined conventional military capability of Israel and India. Pakistan is especially concerned about the sale of Arrow anti-missile system that has the potential to neutralize part of nuclear ballistic missile capability. The Phalcon Airborne Early Warning, Command and Control (AEW&C) system will give India the capability to look deep into Pakistan’s territory with the result that it would be difficult for Pakistani war planes to move without being detected. The Barak Anti-missile system will gives the Indian Navy huge maneuver advantages.


To counter the threat of Indo-Israel nexus, Pakistan must frame different strategies and follow different tactics as to preserve its national interests and national security. Pakistan's policy must be multi-dimensional. Being a frontline state in war against terrorism, taking advantage from the environment Pakistan must ask U.S. for providing it with hi-tech military hardware, though U.S. may never give Pakistan a status of strategic partner as it was assured to Israel and India, however, Pakistan as a non-NATO ally, frontline state in war against terror and being a supply line state for NATO towards Afghanistan, can convince U.S. and NATO countries to pressurize India and Israel for abandoning their aggressive approach and activities against Pakistan. On the other hand, for long term benefits Pakistan must always keep the Chinese option at hand to neutralize these agendas which are a growing threat to regional peace and security. Pakistan must further cultivate its ties with Russia which can prove to be beneficial for fulfilling the need of hi-tech military hardware.

 

ECO will defiantly merge the interests of Pakistan,, Iran,, Turkey,, Central Asian States,, even Azerbaijan and Afghanistan with new members in shape of China and Russia. The success of ECO will minimize Indo--U.S. role in Central Asian region and Afghanistan which indirectly will block Israel''s involvement in the entire region.

Furthermore, Pakistan may also highlight the issue of Palestine between India and Israel. It will compel India to follow a single clear stance where it must choose one between the two options i.e., either to provide full fledged support to Palestinian cause or to go towards Israel. In both ways India may lose. If it supports Palestine then it will lose Israel and if it supports Israel then it may deprive itself from oil benefits of Arab world and may suffer from economic crisis. Pakistan may also highlight India’s closeness with Iran. As Iran and Israel are very hostile towards each other so India again may lose either Iran or Israel. This approach will be useful in countering India's hegemonic designs in the region. Likewise, as India takes China as a threat to security, there is a need to expose dual Indian policies and sensitise Israelis and Chinese about negative opportunist policies of India. Apart from that, Pakistan through various platforms like OIC, D8 etc., may expose India and Israel from regional and international security perspective. This will force India and Israel to review their policies towards Pakistan. Equally, Pakistan may also expose the aggressive designs and hegemonic agendas of both India and Israel which are becoming a direct threat for regional and international peace and prosperity.


In addition, the CPEC project appears to be a landmark of Pakistan-China friendly relations and CPEC is being viewed as a game changer and a path towards regional connectivity. To make CPEC more significant, Pakistan along with its allies of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) must strive for expanding the membership of ECO and for that China along with Russia must be granted its membership. With China and Russia as its members, ECO will have a new soul and it will rise as a more pragmatic paradigm towards regional connectivity.


ECO will defiantly merge the interests of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Central Asian States, even Azerbaijan and Afghanistan with new members in shape of China and Russia. The success of ECO will minimize Indo-U.S. role in Central Asian region and Afghanistan which indirectly will block Israeli involvement in the entire region.


It is also pertinent that Israeli factor in Pakistan-India relations exacerbates the most devastating aspect of the rivalry between the two countries; an accelerated arms race. The military sales between India and Israel have proved to be detrimental for the fragile balance of power between India and Pakistan. In response Pakistan has been pursuing a policy aimed at balancing the strategic equation to ensure a credible deterrence against India and its nexus with Israel under immense strategic compulsions. The options left for Pakistan are many, however, these need to be framed and followed in pragmatic way as to achieve a favorable desired outcome. Therefore, Islamabad must employ multi-dimensional diplomacy as well as formulate effective strategies to counter the threat posed by Indo-Israel nexus.

 

The writer is Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

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

 
07
June

Written By:Dr. Huma Baqai & Qudsia Khalique

The long-lasting solution to the Afghan conflict lies in the rebuilding of region-based political consensus that may produce a political settlement among all the elements of Afghan society, including the Taliban. This requires that the Afghan government and the people, the United States and regional stakeholders agree on a negotiated framework for an inclusive peace process.

The international community for good reason is yet once again stepping up efforts to find a peaceful solution to bring Afghanistan out from the 16 years long conflict with the Taliban. This is largely because the fragile security across the country has further deteriorated, and it continues to follow a downward spiral with recurrent armed clashes between the security forces and the Taliban, fluctuating in the degree of their intensity. It reached a record high in 2016, and continued at that stride in 2017. 807 troops from Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) died just between January 1 and February 24, 2017.

 

tacklingtherashmon.jpgThe April 2017 attack in the northern Balkh province killing at least 140 soldiers of the 209 Shaheen Army Corps, responsible for providing security to most of northern Afghanistan showcases the deficient position of the 8,400 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of defense and agency contractors and Afghan security forces in the face of the Taliban and other armed groups resistance. The Taliban are now gearing towards more bellicosity with their recently announced spring offensive titled, Operation Mansouri. The statement released by the Taliban noted, “Mansouri would be carried out in two parts, military and non-military.”


Moreover, the Afghan security apparatus, besieged by the spiraling battlefield casualties, high number of desertions and non-existent soldiers on the payroll, has hitherto failed to halt the Taliban and other militant groups’ resurrection. Afghan National Security Forces are rapidly losing ground in their own country, and if it continues to accelerate at this pace, it could cause a “domino effect” by the fall of more government controlled areas of the country to the hands of Taliban and other militant groups. During the first eight months of 2016, the Afghan forces suffered death toll of 15000, the highest since 2001.


The recent 2017 report by an official U.S. watchdog, quoting senior U.S. military officials, stated that calling Russia, Pakistan and Iran “malign actors” in Afghanistan that enable insurgents or terrorist groups in Afghanistan does not help the situation. General Nicholson also said that Russia lends public legitimacy to the Taliban, which undermines the Afghan government and NATO efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report is very damaging to the Russia’s initiative of which China and Pakistan are a part. It includes quotes from General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations and Joseph Votel, Commander United States Central Command, suggesting that Russia may be “supplying the Taliban”. The Russian government has publicly rejected such remarks.

 

The latest report of the SIGAR underscores that the Afghan government has actually lost control of further 5% of its territory to the Taliban since the beginning of 2017. It further claims that the area under the control or influence of the Afghan government has decreased to just 52% of the nation’s districts in 2017 with half the country either contested or under the control of the insurgents, compared to 72% in November 2015.

The Moscow-led initiative which was initially not welcomed by Afghanistan because it was not invited to the meeting, is now joined by it. India and Iran are also a part of it. In fact the Afghan spokesperson actually called Russian government “an important ally”. In April, Pakistan had also invited the U.S. to participate in the Russian sponsored initiative, calling U.S. the biggest stakeholder. However, U.S. declined it saying the purpose is unclear. In fact the statements made later are indicative of American mistrust of Russian intent.


According to the recent brief on third round of the negotiations issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that: “The 12 participant countries including Afghanistan, Russia, India, China, Pakistan, Iran, and the Central Asian countries, came up with a joint narrative that there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis and that it can only be settled through the restoration of national accord by political means, in keeping with UN Security Council resolutions.”


The Conflict-matrix if perceived through the prism of the Pentagon, maintains a positive view of Afghanistan; while the ground reality contradicts it diametrically. The latest report of the SIGAR underscores that the Afghan government has actually lost control of further 5% of its territory to the Taliban since the beginning of 2017. It further claims that the area under the control or influence of the Afghan government has decreased to just 52% of the nation’s districts in 2017 with half the country either contested or under the control of the insurgents, compared to 72% in November 2015. In volatile Helmand province, the Taliban are contesting for 10 of the 14 districts. The Afghan government now roughly controls 60% of administrative districts with 29% under dispute and 11% in the hands of Taliban.

Essentially the Indian initiative and the Chinese initiative translate very differently on the ground in present day security situation. India is a cultivated protagonist in the conflict; secondly Indian government is losing ground. China has come up with a more 360 degree approach of cultivating both, the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Its influence on Pakistan and the growing convergence between China and Russia plus China’s neutrality of conduct helps the situation immensely.

The civilian casualties connected to the conflict were around 11,418 in 2016 and also a significant increase in internal displacement where 660,000 fled their homes due to fighting, the highest number recorded since the U.S. invasion. This is notwithstanding the spending of more than $117 billion on different development schemes by the U.S. The country still remains near the bottom of most human development indexes, largely because of the corrupt Afghan government which is incapable of effectively governing and handling the security situation of the country. According to the Transparency International report, Afghanistan stands at 166 of 168 countries in its Corruption Index and an eighth of all the money that goes to Afghanistan is lost to corruption. American spending to reconstruct Afghanistan now exceeds the amount spent to rebuild all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. The United States has also invested $70 billion in rebuilding Afghan security force. Afghan security forces continue to be plagued by the problem of inflated rolls and ghost soldiers with local commanders pocketing American-supplied funds to pay for non-existent soldiers. The United States has also spent $8.5 billion to battle narcotics in Afghanistan; opium production in 2016-17 has reached an all-time high. The failures of American war strategy in Afghanistan are both glaring and humiliating.


The new under-consideration strategy of the U.S. administration in Afghanistan of further deployment of between 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops would not reverse the momentum and direction of the Afghan war or American failures. In 2011, U.S. deployed 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan at the peak of the surge. The massive surge has remained futile to control the unabated Taliban insurgency. In fact, the Taliban and other militant groups have emerged with more robust potent threat to the already beleaguered security apparatus of the country. Hence, the plan to increase the number of troops does not have the potential to end the stalemate in Afghanistan.


Any increase of several thousand American forces in Afghanistan would be well below their 2011 peak. Although U.S. military is all set to pitch a revised Afghan war plan to President Trump in mid-May, on conditions of anonymity officials concede that the situation in Afghanistan is even worse than they had expected, and that any politically palatable numbers would not be enough to turn the tide, much less create stability and security.


This longest war in the U.S. history, dating from October 2001, now appropriates over three-quarter of a billion dollars to it. The U.S. achieved nothing and has failed miserably in Afghanistan on all fronts, with the fatalities of around 2300 U.S. military personnel and over 20,000 wounded.


More recently, the U.S. again show-cased its fierce military might by dropping the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), dubbed as the "Mother Of All Bombs” on a huge tunnel complex used by the IS-Khorasan in the Tora Bora mountains of the Nangarhar Province. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani supported the bombing but senior state official Omar Zakhilwal, the Afghan envoy to Pakistan, criticized the strike as "reprehensible" and "counterproductive" and maintained that “If big bombs were the solution, we (Afghanistan) would be the most secure place on earth today”. Former president Karzai also tweeted against it saying Afghanistan should not be used as a testing ground for American weapons. The strike that reportedly killed 90 militants show diminutive sign that the bomb dealt a devastating blow to the militants, as the area still remains an active combat zone and the U.S. troops still have restricted access to that locality.


In addition, the strike rather than disposing of the Afghan resistance, may galvanize the dissenting Afghan insurgent groups together against a common enemy with increased support of the people, and is more likely to exacerbate the insurgency. One of the bomb’s predecessor, named the BLU-82B or “Daisy Cutter,” was also many times used against the militants during the early phase of the war but yielded only short term tactical and strategic gains. The Special Forces' dictum, that ‘if an insurgency isn't shrinking, it's succeeding’, precisely fits in the existing lattice of the Afghan imbroglio.


More failure is not an option due to growth of terrorism and expansion of the conflict spectrum, which is stimulating and brewing anxiety in the peripheral countries like Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.


Even, in spite of budget deficits and cost over runs, members of the U.S. national security apparatus, elected and appointed officials, senior military officers, and other policy insiders, accept war as an ongoing normal way of life. Andrew J. Bacevich in his article “The never-ending war in Afghanistan”, observes war in Washington has just become more tolerable, an enterprise to be managed rather than terminated, as quickly as possible.


The conflict in Afghanistan is attracting new stakeholders to the conflict. It is rapidly becoming a strategic hub of competition and conflict among regional and global players. The U.S. is there, not ready to realize the underlying causes of the conflict in spite of monumental failures and costs. India, China and Russia are the new entrants. Russia is now looking at a regional and global role, as an active player. Its proactive role in Afghanistan is essentially driven by the expanding foothold of IS-chapter in Afghanistan and it is trying to integrate itself with China’s growing economic footprint in the region, One Belt, One Road project by improving its connectivity with the region.


The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s affiliate in the South and Central Asia, Wilayat Khorasan (WK); the latest emerging threat in 2015 in the country’s east, now threatens to expand its sway in the region. It has enticed various splinter factions from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, as well as Jundallah and other local groups. Moreover, WK also draws the sympathy and recruits from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkestan Islamic Movement and Jamaat Ansarullah of Tajikistan. They attract disaffected Taliban and unemployed Afghan youth with huge economic incentives, normally $700 a month to join them. According to the U.S. military officials, the group holds 600 to 800 fighters hugely concentrated in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces of the country, whereas the Afghan officials estimate around 1,500 fighters, with twice as many ancillary helpers and up to 8,000 less active supporters.


The Russia-China-Pakistan led peace-initiative on Afghanistan is also a response to this new threat. It is to step up efforts to promote the intra-Afghan peace process while maintaining the leading role of Afghan government and integrating the armed opposition into peaceful co-existence. United States’ continued resistance to the initiative post its acceptance by the Afghan government, indicates that the U.S. is still incapable to grab the gravity of the situation and is unilaterally focusing on accentuating the military presence, a strategy that has met with nothing but failure.


The Russian led peace-initiative is now welcomed by Pakistan, Iran, China and Afghanistan itself, the direct affectees of the conflict. Iran favors the initiative as its calculus of keeping the Wilayat Khorasan at bay and competing for influence over the Afghan Taliban fit with this model. China also supports the move as the country is eagerly pursuing for stability in the region to ensure the success of its One Belt, One Road initiative.


Whilst, during the second session of this initiative, India and China did not see eye to eye and deeply came at odds with each other, especially on the latter’s demand to initiate talks with Afghan Taliban. India had confined itself to sticking to developmental support in Afghanistan to increase its influence by working on its linkages with the weak government of Afghanistan.


Essentially the Indian initiative and the Chinese initiative translate very differently on the ground in present day security situation. India is a cultivated protagonist in the conflict; secondly Indian government is losing ground. China has come up with a 360 degree approach of cultivating both, the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Its influence on Pakistan and the growing convergence between China and Russia plus China’s neutrality of conduct helps the situation immensely.


Since 1990s, the strategic significance of Afghanistan for China has escalated astronomically with concerns ranging from Uyghur militants posing threats in Xinjiang province to Afghanistan emerging as a key player in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. China is now ready to play an overt role for peace in Afghanistan. China recognizes the Afghan format and wants the Taliban to join the peace process. India, on the other hand, describes Taliban as the biggest threat to Afghanistan largely because it views Afghanistan through Pakistan’s prism.


Russia provided both the diplomatic and logistical support to U.S. military in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2015. Although, over the last two years, it has been critical of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and its role to end the war. This led to significant shift, which now has become more obvious from Russia’s prior policy of neutrality to assertion in Afghanistan.


U.S., now perceives the Russian engagement and its peace negotiation moves in Afghanistan as country’s policy to expand its influence by taking advantage of the turbulence in the country to establish itself as a major player in the region and extending its foothold to the other critical parts of the world.


The long-lasting solution to the Afghan conflict lies in the rebuilding of region-based political consensus that may produce a political settlement among all the elements of Afghan society, including the Taliban. This requires that the Afghan government and the people, the United States and regional stakeholders agree on a negotiated framework for an inclusive peace process. It can only be materialized by a positive shift in varying threat perceptions, competing interests, and conflicting assessments by the actors of the conflict; hence moving beyond the “Rashomon effect” to peace cultivation. A stable Afghanistan should be the top priority of the U.S. and regional players with a paradigm shift of winning a war to reaching peace. The Russia-China-Pakistan initiative appears as a silver lining on the conflict-ridden horizon of the region.

 

Dr. Huma Baqai is Associate Professor at Institute of Business Administration, Karachi in the Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, and, Qudsia Khaliq is Research Assistant to Dr. Huma Baqai.

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07
June

GHQ, in collaboration with HEC, organized a seminar ‘The Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism’ aimed at incorporating insights from intellectuals to prevent youth from violent extremism. Strategies were chalked out with an understanding of how we all can engage in preventing and countering violent extremism in all its various forms and how we could reach out to the young people and rally them to our cause. Factors that lead to radicalisation among youth were highlighted such as the discrepancy between expectations and reality, experiencing trauma and grievances which create a fertile ground for recruitment by the terrorist organisations. “Pakistan is a young nation, both in historic and demographic terms. Demographically, over 50% of our population is projected to be less than 25 years of age. The future of our country literally lies with the direction that our youth takes over the next few years,” said COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa in his keynote address to the VCs, faculty members, officers, senior journalists, media persons and other dignitaries present at the occasion.


He continued, “We are standing at a crossroads; ten year down the line, we will either be enjoying the fruits of a youth dividend or suffering at the hands of a youth bulge, especially with the youth which remains vulnerable to extremism.”


The role of education in this regard is crucial. It can instill young people with the necessary life skills and human rights values, contribute to a positive identity development, make them resilient against extremist ideologies and ensure their personal well-being, especially those at risk of marginalization and social exclusion, by empowering them to deal with the challenges of growing up in a complex, pluralistic society. There needs to be an understanding that those who misuse the concept of jihad to fulfil their own hidden agendas take Quranic verses out of context or misapply them, are in fact the worst enemies of Islam. Whereas Islam stands for peace, harmony and brotherhood. The message of Quran clearly rejects false assertions of such hooligans, dissidents, transgressors and miscreants and calls them Fasaadis in Surah-e-Baqra, “and when it is said unto them, do not cause fasaad on the earth, they say, we are but reformers.”


“Despite incessant propaganda, the fact is that as a nation, Pakistan has rejected terrorism. That speaks of the robustness of our social and religious values and I have no doubt that we equally reject extremism in all its manifestations”, emphasized General Qamar Javed Bajwa. However, a sense of vigilance is required to deal with the challenge of violent radicalisation as a disruptive force of the social fabric poses to our society. Measures are to be taken towards preventing socio-economic exclusion, establishing inclusive partnerships, amplifying alternative narratives through engagement with media, ensuring access to quality education and supporting initiatives and youth-oriented organisations.

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07
June

Written By: Senator M. Akram Zaki (R)

Iran and Gulf countries of the West Asia or the Middle East are very important for Pakistan as with them we have historical, cultural, religious, economic, political and strategic relations. Unfortunately, this energy rich, strategically important Muslim West Asia is in turmoil and facing multiple conflicts in which major world powers, regional powers and non-state actors of various shades are fighting many battles in different dimensions. It is difficult to identify who are allies and who are adversaries. Since 2011, Syria has been in the eye of storm. Some recent developments in and around Syria and Trump’s more aggressive attitude towards Iran have rung alarm bells for a major global conflict.


Pakistan has high stakes in the area; Iran is our next door neighbor with a long historical background. In the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, millions of our nationals are gainfully employed and are contributing to Pakistan’s limited foreign exchange balances. To really understand the multi-dimensional crisis of this most unstable region, it is necessary to have a look at the background of the involvement of major powers.


After the defeat and breakup of the Ottoman Empire, the European powers established themselves in the Middle East. England and France divided spheres of influence in the region under Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and later acquired mandate from the League of Nations to run those countries. Palestine was one of the countries that came under British Mandate. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 promised homeland to the Jews in Palestine and a fair deal to the Arab majority of Palestine. Thus they sowed the seeds of conflicts in the region.


Before WW I, United States had limited contacts with the Middle East, confined to education, missionary work and business. American oil companies became active in the Middle East during the interwar period starting in 1920s. Israel was established in 1948 and Israel’s support and protection has remained an important element of American foreign policy since then. The policy of strategic control started after the Second World War, preventing any rival political power from entering or emerging in the strategic region (whether USSR/Russia, Arab nationalism or Islam) has been the top priority. The United States appears to have three important interests in the Middle East: 1) Oil; 2) Israel; and; 3) Control of the strategic region.


Oil had already been discovered in the Middle East. With Anglo-French control of the Middle East, several European and seven American oil and gas companies entered in the region and there was tough competition between them in quest for obtaining petroleum concessions. In 1928 the Red Line Agreement was signed to avoid conflict and petroleum war between major companies, and areas of operation were demarcated.


The United States of America emerged as a major global power as a result of Second World War. In August 1944, Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement was signed, and President Roosevelt told the British Ambassador, 'Persian oil is yours, we share oil of Iraq and Kuwait, and Saudi Arabian oil is ours'. The USA firmly established itself in Saudi Arabia and used it as a base for promotion of its interests.


American policy makers and scholars started saying that Middle East was strategically the most important area of the world and one of greatest natural prizes in world history. The USA began to extend its influence in the region with full determination.


Israel. In 1947, the UN decided to partition Palestine. Israel got established and the USA was the first country to recognize it. The war started and Palestine was not allowed to become a state. Israel gained strength with American economic and military support. It almost became America’s forward military post in Middle East. Rising nationalist sentiments were posing problems for Western powers in Syria, Iran, Kurd areas of Iraq, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere.


Iran. In 1951, Dr. Mossadegh, the Premier of Iran nationalized Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The United States intervened to restore the authority of Raza Shah and the influence of United States was established in Iran also.


Egypt. Naguib-Nasser revolution was friendly to USA from 1952 to 1954, but later Nasser turned to the Soviet Union for obtaining arms.


Bagdad Pact (CENTO). In 1955, Bagdad Pact was formed to check Soviet Union’s expansion in the Middle East. After the revolution of 1958, Iraq left the Pact and it was renamed CENTO. Pakistan also came under U.S. influence along with Iran and Turkey.


In 1956, Syria signed an agreement with former Soviet Union, providing Russia a foothold in the Middle East (from 1958 to 1961 Syria remained united with Nasser’s Egypt). The nationalization of Suez Canal provoked England and France to attack Egypt in 1956, President Eisenhower of USA sided with Egypt. The United States established its foothold in Egypt, too.


During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel defeated the Arabs, occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, Syrian Golan Heights and other Arab territories. In 1973, when Egypt took the initiative and recovered large area of Sinai, United States intervened on the side of Israel, and became more deeply involved to strengthen Israel. Meanwhile, in 1971, with retreat of Britain from the Gulf region, American influence also spread in those Gulf States. In 1978 U.S. arranged Camp David Accord. In 1979 Egypt and Israel established diplomatic relations, undermining Arab unity.


The year 1979 was a very important year, The Islamic Revolution of Iran in February 1979 deposed the Shah of Iran, who was an important ally of USA and Iran was a major center of American Power. The CENTO was dissolved and Sadam Hussain became the President of Iraq, who was used against the Islamic Revolution. In December 1979, the Soviet army intervened in Afghanistan. The United States developed a new concept of “Greater Middle East”, which also included Pakistan and Afghanistan. The next decade was the decade of war, the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). Iraq failed in defeating Iranian revolution and began to be looked upon as a threat to Israel.


In Afghanistan, the resistance was organized and supported by United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and many others under the cover of UN Resolution. It was glorified as Jihad and thousands of fighters from 43 countries were brought into FATA and Afghanistan to support the Afghans against the Soviets.
The Soviet Union was forced to withdraw from Afghanistan and was badly weakened and split into 15 States, leaving America as the sole Super Power, in which hawkish thinkers and politicians began to make plans for global domination and a New World Order.


Post-USSR Period. In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz of the U.S. defense department proposed new concept of Global Domination by USA which is known as Wolfowitz Doctrine. He wrote: “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.”


With the rise of nationalist sentiments in Muslim countries, Western writers and thinkers started writing against Islam as a potential threat to Western civilization and values. Even the Secretary General of NATO, after the fall of the Soviet Union, in order to justify to continue NATO far into the future said, the next threat and challenge was going to be posed to the Western civilization by Islam. Although red has been removed, now green has to be removed from the map. So this is the thinking, this is the background. If we ignore this, we can’t understand what is happening in the Middle East.


In 1997, a new think tank was established in Washington D.C. by two neocons, Robert Kagan and William Kristol, under the name of ‘A Project for New American Century’. This was the think tank of the neoconservatives, whose aim was that the advantages USA had gained by becoming the only super power in the world, should be further enhanced, by increasing the military power of USA to establish USA’s hegemony over the global affairs.


They issued in June 1997 a statement of principles, which was signed by 25 neocons, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowiltz, who later became the senior members of President Bush's team.


Rebuilding America's Defenses. In 2000 a project of modernization of defense forces was launched to be able to place powerful armed forces in all theaters of crucial operations e.g., the Far East, the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. The aim was to prevent the rise of any rival that could challenge the U.S. hegemony and have the capacity to fight wars on various fronts.


The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology required America to create the global empire. Therefore it suggested the following:


* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;

* Increase defense spending by additional 15 to 20 billion dollars every year. 

 

This PNAC document described “Core Missions" for the American military. The two central requirements for American forces were to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions.” The military must fight these wars one way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.”


The Bush Administration. With the election of President Bush many important neocons and promoters of the ideas mentioned earlier became his cabinet members and global domination become the official policy. The policies of pre-emptive strike, regime change, preference for military approach over diplomacy became manifest. Pressures for regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Iran began to unfold slowly. Unfortunately in 2001, 9/11 happened (or was made to happen as some people believe). And provided excuse for invasion and removal of Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had been planned earlier by USA. Under the UN cover, ISAF – a coalition of NATO and non-NATO countries invaded Afghanistan. In 2003 NATO assumed the leadership of ISAF.


Sadam Hussain who was initially used against Iran, was now considered a threat to Israel and his removal from the power was recommended. This recommendation led to the policy of regime change in several countries, including Libya and Syria.


In Iraq, the Saddam regime had been kept under pressure since the first attack in 1991. The imposition of sanctions and no fly zones, as well as bombing from time to time, had weakened Saddam, falsely accusing him of having WMD. Saddam was overthrown in 2003 and Iraq was destroyed. The results were unfortunate for U.S. policy makers, because the Shia majority, whom Saddam had controlled came to power, and developed co-operative policy towards Iran. A new arc or power area developed connecting Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where Hezbollah was defying Israel, and fought a major battle to expel Israel from Lebanon. In Afghanistan also, the objective of destroying Taliban’s strength failed. The Taliban are still a major force, controlling large part of Afghanistan.


In 2006, the Bush Administration started another project for the “New Middle East”. This project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for re-aligning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos”. This “constructive chaos” – which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region – would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.


The “New Middle East,” was announced at a press conference by the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, during the Israeli siege of Lebanon. The Israeli attacks on Lebanon – which had been fully endorsed by Washington and London – exposed the existence of the geo-strategic objectives of the United States, Britain, and Israel.


Anglo-American military buildup wanting entry into Central Asia via Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan later called Af-Pak policy was the stepping stone to extend U.S. influence in the former Soviet Union and the Soviet Republics of the Central Asia. Brzezinski, who was Foreign Policy Advisor, said, "We should balkanize the Middle East and reshape it completely and create a crescent of insecurity and chaos, through which it would be possible to reshape the Middle East". This is Brzezinski and that was Condoleezza Rice. Both wanted to generate creative chaos, which would be helpful for reshaping Middle East as desired.


A new map was issued on June 2006 as to how the new Middle East should be made to look and that was issued by Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and it was published in the Defence Journal of the super power. This map has been shown and introduced in several military training institutions in some of the NATO countries.


The Obama Administration. Under Obama Administration the policies of President Bush continued. There was, however, some noticeable change of attitude regarding Iran and Cuba.


The huge expenditure incurred in two useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to global economic and financial crisis, which started in USA in 2007, and spread to Europe and other regions in 2008 and 2009. Meanwhile, China’s economy continued to grow and China also helped to protect countries in East Asia against economic meltdown. The geo-economic center of gravity gradually moved from Euro-Atlantic to Asia-Pacific. The Obama administration started policy of “Pivot to Asia” and re-balancing.


The neoliberals floated the ideas of “Humanitarian Intervention” in the name of supporting democracy and human rights, and that destabilized the Middle East and North Africa. USA has been supporting co-operative dictators and rulers and destabilizing regimes seeking to follow independent polices.

 

The huge expenditure incurred in two useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to global economic and financial crisis, which started in USA in 2007, and spread to Europe and other regions in 2008 and 2009. Meanwhile, China’s economy continued to grow and China also helped to protect countries in East Asia against economic meltdown. The geo-economic centre of gravity gradually moved from Euro-Atlantic to Asia-Pacific. The Obama administration started policy of “Pivot to Asia” and re-balancing.

Any regime whether a democracy, dictatorship or a monarchy, which supports imperial policy is accepted and patronized. But any regime, even if democratically elected, which follows independent policy is subjected to pressure, for policy change or to subversion, even intervention for regime change. The neocons have their doctrine of dominating by military power, neoliberals have developed the theory of “Humanitarian Intervention” on the declared aim to promote human rights and democracy.


Arab Spring. Economic pressures and political discontent pushed the youth in Arab countries towards protest and demonstrations against long established ironfisted regimes. By use of social media, protests developed into mass movements. Starting from Tunisia and Egypt, these movements spread to many Arab countries and were given the name of Arab Spring by the U.S. Magazine Foreign Policy.


The neoliberals evolved the concept of humanitarian intervention claiming to support the human rights and democracy, and tried to turn the movement to serve the imperial interests. We can see what has been happening in Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Syria. The destruction of Libya and coup against the elected leader of Egypt, explain the point how humanitarian intervention destroyed innocent human beings and their homelands.


Non-state actors are an instrument of policy of regime change. By 2012, Arab Spring had been reduced to Autumn or Winter of Arabs, except in Syria, which is now in the eye of storm. Many terrorist groups, regional countries and big powers are all involved in Syrian civil war.


Syria. In order to understand Syria, we re-call the story of Afghan Jihad. We know how Al-Qaeda was created, and who brought and trained fighters from 43 countries to FATA and Afghanistan. We know how they were later given the new title of terrorists, and encouraged to move to different countries, and to set up their cells or centers.


In Iraq developed an Al-Qaeda of Iraq, (AQI). Some ex-soldiers of Saddam joined it against the present regime. It was an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, and it was split into two parts, Al-Qaeda of Iraq and Al-Nusrah. They both were fighting with each other and somebody was supporting both sides. Who was supporting both the sides? I have not found the answer yet. Al-Nusrah later on became the resistance force in Syria and it was banned by the Syrian government. So part of AQI or Al-Nusrah became the favourite “popular resistance” to the Syrian Government of Bashar al-Assad, whose removal is now the declared aim of USA and its allies. AQI was converted into Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), from the year 2008 to 2013. Then after 2013 or in 2014, it became Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh. i.e., from ISIL to ISIS. Most of us know how original Al-Qaeda got created and by whom.


The U.S. claims that it has made a coalition of 65 countries to fight Daesh/IS; Saudi Arabia has a coalition of 39 countries for that purpose, then one wonders, who is supporting Daesh? Iran and Russia, who support Bashar al-Assad, are obviously working against Daesh. When Russia bombs Daesh, why do only a few nations protest, if they really are against Daesh? Turkey was getting involved in Syria and against Russia, but after the failed coup attempt, Turkey has changed its policy.


The Trump Administration. During his election speeches, Donald J. Trump had given some indication that he would improve relations with Russia, act against Daesh and try to settle the Middle East Conflict. However, the Deep State has forced President Trump to be on the defensive by starting investigation about Russia's involvement in U.S. election. The situation has forced for launching missile attack in Syria and to complicate the situation further.


Iran has remained under great pressure and tension for its peaceful nuclear program. Now, there has been a fifteen year agreement between Iran and Western powers, but long term objective of regime change in Iran has not really been abandoned.


Clash of Civilization theory of Huntington has been modified to promote clash within the Islamic civilization on sectarian basis. Recently, an effort has been made to raise this clash to the level of states, i.e., between Saudi Arabia and friends against Iran and friends. What else is needed to destroy political Islam? Now, President Trump is taking a hard line against Iran, even raising doubts about the U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement and enhancing the chances of war.


Unfortunately, the strategic partnership between the global hegemon and two regional hegemons Israel and India, will continue to pose serious security problems to the Middle East as well as to Pakistan. Russia, China, Iran and Turkey have a good prospect of working together to settle the crisis in Syria and the Middle East. Pakistan must continue to participate in these efforts for peace and stability in the region.

 

The writer is a former senator, Secretary General and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Pakistan The views expressed here are his own.

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

 
07
June

Air Chief Visits a Forward Operating Base

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force visited PAF Base Qadri, a Forward Operating Base of Pakistan Air Force in Gilgit-Baltistan and flew an exercise mission in Mirage aircraft. On his arrival at the base, he was received by Air Vice Marshal Athar Shams, Air Officer Commanding Northern Air Command.


The Air Chief stated that the nation should not be worried about threatening statements of enemy as PAF alongside other defence forces is ever ready to take on all kinds of challenges with operational preparedness and immaculate synergy. He further added that we, as a nation, are peace loving people but if subjected to any kind of misadventure, the adversary will have to face a befitting response. While talking about PAF’s role in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, he highlighted that 'PAF has carried out these operations with exemplary professionalism and did all tasks with zero collateral damage'. Terming the JF-17 fighter jet as the ‘Destiny of Pakistan’, he said 'its most significant aspect is that it has been indigenously manufactured in Pakistan'. He further said that 'the technology of JF-17 Thunder is being consistently improved to bring it at par with its contemporaries'. He added that 'it is a matter of pride for us that we have increased the production of JF-17 Thunder by three fold in past couple of years'. While interacting with the PAF personnel at the base, he lauded their level of motivation and thorough professionalism.

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07
June

Written By: Lt Col Fawad Qasim

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is called a 'game changer' project, which includes connectivity, generation of energy and development of infrastructure for linking Gwadar Port to China’s Xinjiang province. CPEC has kicked off successfully after security of all the projects was ensured by the Special Security Division (SSD), raised by Pak Army for the protection of Chinese working on CPEC projects. Pakistan Army fully cognizant of the challenges has left no stone unturned to provide protection to this project of vital national importance.

 

Due to the diverse nature of threats to CPEC, Pakistan Army has raised SSD, dedicated primarily to the security of Chinese working on CPEC projects. The SSD has been raised and operationalized in a record time of less than two years and has taken over all the running projects of the CPEC. Due to raising and operationalization of SSD, Chinese government as well as CPEC management has gained confidence and assurance about security of Chinese working in Pakistan. Progress on the ongoing projects, already taken over by SSD to provide security is elaborated in ensuing paragraphs.

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CPEC Projects – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). CPEC projects being developed in KP and provided security by SSD are as under:-
Karakoram Highway (Havelian-Thakot Section). Havelian-Thakot section of KKH is being developed under upgradation plan of KKH.
Suki Kinari Hydropower Project (SKHPP). SKHPP will add 870 MW of energy to the national grid.
CPEC Projects – Gilgit Baltistan. Cross Border Optical Fiber, passing through Gilgit Baltistan connects Xinjiang with Islamabad through optical fiber.
CPEC Projects – Sindh Province. CPEC projects initiated in the province of Sindh and provided security by SSD are as under:-
Engro Thar Coal Fired Project. Engro Thar Coal Fired Project is being developed in Thar near Islamkot. The project is a set of four sub-projects aimed at producing a total of 1320 MW of energy.
Port Qasim Electric Company Coal Fired Power Project. The project will be using coal for generation of energy and is being developed at Port Qasim. The project once completed will add 1320 MW of energy to the national grid.
Wind Energy Projects. Four wind energy projects including Hydro China Dawood Wind Energy, UEP, Sachal and Pakistan Wind Farm are near completion and will add approximately 250 MW of energy to the national grid.

CPEC Projects – Balochistan. CPEC projects being developed in the province of Balochistan and provided security by SSD are:
HUBCO Coal Power Project. The project is being developed in Balochistan and will add 1320 MW of energy to the national grid on completion.
Gwadar Port/Economic Zone. Master plan for Gwadar Port and city is already in implementation phase. The plan includes construction of international airport, technical and vocational institute, East Bay Expressway and development of deep-sea port.


pakarmyspessd1.jpgCPEC Projects – Punjab. Projects being developed in Punjab province and provided security by SSD are:
Karot Hydro Power Project (KHPP). KHPP is being developed on river Jehlum. Major portion of the project lies in the Punjab province, however, a part of the project is located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The project once completed will add 720 MW of energy to the national grid.
Sahiwal Coal Fire Power Project (SCFPP). SCFPP is being developed in Qadirabad near Sahiwal. The project once completed will add 1320 MW of energy to the national grid.
Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power Park (QASPP). QASPP is developed in Lal Suhanra near Bahawalpur. The project once completed will add 1000 MW of energy to the national grid.
Matiari-Lahore and Faisalabad Transmission Lines. In order to transfer the energy from South to North, Transmission Line Projects from Matiari to Lahore and Faisalabad have been started.

Peshawar–Karachi Motorway – PKM (Multan-Sukkur Section). Multan-Sukkur section of PKM is a motorway segment of approximately 400 kms being developed as part of the eastern route of CPEC.
Expansion/Reconstruction of Existing Railway Line (ML-1). ML-1project encompasses expansion and upgradation of existing railway line from Peshawar to Karachi.

CPEC is confronted with multiple challenges particularly security threats from external as well as internal inimical forces. Pakistan, a key stakeholder in CPEC has taken deliberate measures to ensure foolproof security of Chinese nationals working on CPEC. Raising of the Special Security Division (SSD) by Pakistan Army has comprehensively addressed the concerns of Chinese government and ensures security of Chinese nationals across entire Pakistan.

 
 
07
June

Written By: Maryam Razzaq

A seminar on “The Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism” was held at GHQ as an initiative by Pakistan Army to devise strategies to bolster the process of youth de-radicalization in the country.

 

Today extremism stands as one of the greatest security challenge to the world community at large and Pakistan in particular today. It occurs to be the bane of humanity and adversely affects every segment of the society. Passing through the stages of infecting thoughts and behaviors, and plaguing speech and writing, to our misfortune, extremism has touched its peak whereby innocent lives are subjected to mass massacre, bloodshed and terrorism. The ongoing efforts by Pakistan Armed Forces to root out the safe havens of terrorists from Pakistan including areas adjoining Afghanistan have been successful to a greater extent as acknowledged by the world. Yet, the complexity of the issue warrants it to be discussed amongst various segments of the society to reverse the process which involves the youth as a major player.

 

shieldingtheyouth.jpgThe youth of a country is an asset if groomed in the right manner through careful parenting and robust educational system based on values and virtues. In the absence of this, it still remains the asset to be exploited by terrorists to realize their nefarious objectives. The control of youth’s mind is a new battle between the civilized society and the forces of evil terrorizing the human beings. ISPR considering the importance of youth in combating terrorism held a seminar on “The Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism” at GHQ, Rawalpindi on May 18, 2017 in order to identify the core issue and suggest remedial actions to root out the menace of terrorism.


The seminar was arranged as a part of the counter-terrorism measures and on-going Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. The speakers at the event included Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Ms. Hareem Zafar (student), Dr. Farukh Saleem, Ghazi Salah-ud-Din, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed (Chairman HEC) and Prof. Ahmed Rafique Akhter. Among the guests were the Vice Chancellors of universities from all over Pakistan, faculty members, officers, senior journalists, media persons and other dignitaries.


The seminar opened with the recitation from the Holy Quran. It was followed by a welcome speech by DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor who warmly welcomed the worthy speakers and guests on the occasion.
Dr. Shoaib Suddle, a renowned bureaucrat identified the fault lines related to extremism in Pakistan which include terrorism, sectarianism, regionalism, sub-nationalism, and ethnic militancy. He said that triggers for extremism are provided internally as well as externally. Externally, international power games, geopolitics of the region, proxy wars through non-state actors and clashing economic interests of countries provide fodder to the cause of extremism. No wonder that several hostile and interested foreign agencies have over time become principal sponsors of instability and violent extremism in Pakistan.

shieldingtheyouth1.jpgInternally, religious and sectarian groups who denounce Pakistan’s Constitution, clan-based politics, breakdown of critical state institutions, poor governance, poor quality rule of law, fragmented criminal justice system, predatory behavior of the political elite, weak civil society, inadequate institutional capacity, and ineffective accountability mechanism are some of the major factors promoting the state’s failure to effectively deal with the dinosaur of extremism.


As a way forward, he recommended that institutional structural reform has to be a priority on the internal security agenda that merits allocation of adequate political and financial resources. It is also imperative to enhance civil-military understanding at different levels – strategic, operational, and tactical. He said that there is a dire need to advise an astute CVE strategy that takes into account the reasons why people turn to extremism, and, as far as possible, attempt to address those reasons. Kinetic power can kill terrorists, not terrorism. State’s failure to deliver justice is a major contributing factor in promoting terrorism. The speaker at the end recommended promoting the subject of criminology in respective universities to meet the daunting challenges we are confronted with.


Miss Hareem Zafar was a student speaker at the occasion who presented the student’s perspective on the subject of “Extremism”. The speaker attributed lack of social values, recreational facilities and cohesive bond between students and the faculty at educational institutes as the major cause of extremism in the society. She highlighted the root causes as system of education, parenting, and the role of youth itself. Combined and focused, we can get rid of the evil thoughts and counter terrorism which has built deep roots in our society.


Dr. Farukh Saleem, a senior analyst explained the correlation between extremism and economics and pointed out the actual roots of terrorism. He explained how Pakistan is at war with terrorist forces. The terrorists’ signature weapon is fear and their military strategy is unconventional (guerrilla warfare). The terrorists’ goals are to isolate Pakistan; to mutilate governance and then gain complete control over each and every kilometer of 796,095 square kilometers, we call Pakistan. Pakistan Army is the counter-terrorism force fighting to establish Pakistan’s writ over each and every kilometre of its territory. Pakistan Army’s military objectives are: to disrupt, dismantle and destroy the terrorists. Dr. Farukh related terrorism with the example of a tree whose roots need to be cut-off to get rid of the tree. Cutting off branches alone is no sustainable solution. He said that Pakistan Army is responsible for ‘clearing’ each and every terrorist-held geographical safe haven. The civilian institutions, on the other hand, have the responsibility of shutting down the financial pipeline and cutting off the supply of manpower. Counter-terrorism is, therefore, 33 percent military and 66 percent civil effort.


Ghazi Salahuddin presented his arguments on the role of media in curbing extremism from the society. He stressed upon the fact that media is in crisis as it is in a transformational phase; transforming from electronic media to social media. He also said that Pakistani media lacks intellectual infrastructure. A national debate on media seems impossible due to illiteracy and the deficiency of intellectual resources in the society. The problems of youth are paid very little attention and there is no understanding of the psychological problems that the youth has to deal with. There needs to be more interaction between media and the intelligentsia to empower critical thinking.


Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman Higher Education Commission, gave his input regarding the role and purpose of educational institutions. He said that universities are the crucibles to refine the talents of young scholars where they may encounter diversity of ideas, gleaned from great books, reflective scholars and people who may challenge one’s preconceived ideas and beliefs. Universities also create a safe and secure environment to resolve any tension coming out of diversity of views, opinions and beliefs. Wealth of intellectual diversity on a university campus is a boon and not a bane.


Professor Ahmed Rafique Akhtar outlined the relation between extremism and the religions. The historic references were quoted to support that human beings are intrinsically violent and extremist. The role of religion is to tame human beings and teach them respect for humanity. He clarified that Islam has never promoted extremism, but in fact the divine teachings in Quran forbid Muslims to force their religion on the non-Muslims. Islam preaches tolerance and regard for human life. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Maida, verse no.32 that,

“And whoever saves one – it is as if he has saved mankind entirely.”
The misinterpretation of Islamic teachings to sway youth’s mind can be effectively countered through composite dialogue of Islamic scholars and their learned teaching in educational institutes, be it government educational institutes or Madrasas.


The speakers’ presentations were followed by an interactive session whereby guests and audience presented their queries to the speakers on the occasion. The freedom with which questions were asked inside GHQ was a testimony to the fact that youth has superb knowledge of current affairs and is keen to effectively participate in the fight against terrorism. Given the clear mandate in the social and academics fields, the youth is much eager to learn and disseminate the vital information and literature to other segments of society to root out extremist thoughts from the tender minds and become useful organ of state for prosperity and well-being of our beloved country.


The interactive session was followed by a keynote address from the COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. COAS, in his address thanked the speakers for their excellent presentations and valuable inputs. He pointed out that despite incessant propaganda, Pakistan as a nation has rejected terrorism. He said that this nation has fought the menace of terrorism most valiantly, giving unparalleled sacrifices. He praised the Army for its fight against terrorism and appreciated every segment of the society, especially LEAs and the media, for their consistent support in helping Army cutting these monsters to their size.


COAS said that 'the youth is taking part in political discourse in unprecedented numbers and are active in the social arena as well. They are winning accolades for academic achievements abroad.' He further asserted that 'our youth is our asset and we will make every effort to protect them from falling prey to the extremist ideologies.'


The seminar thus concluded with the COAS address. Speakers were presented souvenirs by the COAS as an appreciation for their worthy inputs on the occasion. Following that, everyone rose to their seats in respect for the National Anthem and the wonderful effort made by Pakistan Army to gain insight into strengthening the ability of youth to reject extremism in all its forms, came to end.

 

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Excerpts from COAS Speech

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• Pakistan is a young Nation, both in historic and demographic terms. Demographically, over 50% of our population is projected to be less than 25 years of age. The future of our country literally lies with the direction that our youth take over the next few years.

• Most important stimulus driving a young adult is to find purpose and meaning in life. It is during this stage that one is ready to commit; to professions, to relationships, to causes and to ideologies. It is a wonderful stage in life; but it is also the most vulnerable.

• The term ‘extremism’ is often unjustly applied to devout sections of Muslim societies, alienating them in the process. Although it is not always out of malice, but misunderstanding; yet it is imperative that we understand extremism in our own context.

• Just next door, India seems to have given in to extremism to such an extent that it has become the new normal. Hate has been mainstreamed in India and it is distorting their national outlook. The Hindutva extremism of the RSS and their Gao Rakshaks, deprivation of Palestinians, the burning and desecration of mosques or gurdwaras in western capitals, the rise of hyper nationalists and the monster of racism, are all manifestations of extremism. We can easily say, it is emerging as a transnational phenomenon hence warranting a transnational, unified response.

• Extremism is also related to the environment and the time we live in. From that perspective, we must admit that Pakistani youth is getting exploited due to poor governance and lack of justice in the society.

• Despite incessant propaganda, the fact is that as a Nation, Pakistan has rejected terrorism. That speaks of the robustness of our social and religious values and I have no doubt that we equally reject extremism in all its manifestations.

• With Pakistan becoming securer and promising by the day, it is perhaps time to reverse brain drain. Your country needs you more than any other country in the world.

• We are being targeted by not only terrorists but also spin masters of multiple hostile agencies, trying to subvert our minds, particularly that of our youth. Being denied opportunities in the mainstream media, they are using faceless platforms on the internet and smart phones.

• We are cognizant of these threats and are actively countering them with the support of the whole Nation. In fact, our homes, educational institutions and media houses are the first line of defence against extremism in the society. When I say educational institutions, they include schools, madrasas and even institutes of higher learning.

• We have defeated terrorism together, now we will go after extremism too and rout it with our values, mental faculties and physical energies.

• Let’s help each other in identifying, curtailing and defeating any attempts to pollute the minds of our youth.

Pakistan Paindabaad!

 
07
June

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan

Various myths about the defense budget of Pakistan have been created, not only at international forums but national as well, which need to be looked at from the perspective of its internal as well as external security challenges.

Concepts like state survival, security and national interest are termed to be some of the principal objectives of foreign policy of any country. National interest is the fundamental interest of a state, of which survival is the first and foremost interest. A state's independence and territorial integrity come above all other interests. Therefore, the supreme duty of the state is to preserve itself. If the state disappears, then no other interest remains. For survival, security, and securing its national interests, states increase their military might by spending more on defense. A country’s defense spending depends on different factors that include: war or the perceived risk of war, security environment such as military expenditure acquired by its neighbours keeping in view the relationship between the two neighbours; the impetus of the regional and international arms race; geo-strategic considerations; and the availability of economic resources.

thedefspending.jpgThe violent conflicts in different regions of the world help explain the one-year military spending growth in nearly all of the nations with the largest spending increases. For example, the apparent threats from Russia, which used its colossal military strength to annex Crimea in 2014, likely prompted Poland to increase its military spending. The Philippines is another example that swelled its military budget by over 25 percent due to territorial dispute and heightened tensions with China over the South China Sea. However, Sam Perlo-Freeman, Olawale Ismail and Solmirano, in their findings compiled in June 2010 in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SPIRI) Yearbook, mention the U.S. to have led the rise in military spending along with other regions in these words:


“The USA led the rise [in military spending], but it was not alone. Of those countries for which data was available, 65% increased their military spending in real terms in 2009. The increase was particularly pronounced among larger economies, both developing and developed: 16 of the 19 states in the G20 saw real-terms increases in military spending in 2009.”

 

The general perception about Pakistan is that it has increased its military expenditure than other sectors over the years. However, as opposed to the general perception, the percentage of its GDP 'vis-à-vis' various challenges, Pakistan’s defense spending has remarkably declined. It is particularly so when viewed in the light of Pakistan Army’s additional responsibilities in recent years, like countering extremism and terrorism, and fighting separatists supported by foreign agencies besides many other challenges.

The current article assesses the defense expenditure of major powers including Pakistan. The numerical data for the purpose of this article has been collected from diverse sources with minor differences in numbers of the defense expenditure of the major powers. While scholars and thinkers debate on the lack of success in promoting strategic restraint among nuclear armed states, for example the relations between and among the U.S., China, Pakistan and India, whether on unilateral or bilateral or plurilateral basis.


Taking the case of the four nuclear states mentioned above, the reasons are long-standing conflicts, changing concepts of the national interest and its needs, prevalent mistrust among them, domestic pressures, and resentment toward foreign interference. But one factor that has been ignored is the strategic chain that links Pakistan to India, India to China, and China to the U.S. Pakistan is unlikely to restrict its nuclear programs unilaterally if India continues to build up its arsenal. Without Chinese restraint, India will be reluctant to limit its programs unilaterally or engage in bilateral controls with Pakistan that, according to India, would limit its options vis-à-vis China. And without U.S. constraints on capabilities of concern to China, Beijing may continue to resist curbing its strategic modernization efforts.


In this scenario, according to figures from 2016 in a report by SIPRI, the U.S. has the highest annual military expenditure. In 2016, it grew by 1.7 percent and reached $611 billion. China remains in second place, by increasing its military spending by 5.4 percent, or $215 billion. Russia ranks at number 3 in the world by increasing $ 5.9 percent in military spending, overtaking Saudi Arabia. The U.S. and China maintained their top positions and Europe presented a progression in military spending for the second consecutive year. India's military expenditure reached $55.9 billion in 2016, making it the fifth largest spender. The report showed the military spending to grow continuously in Asia and Oceania, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, in North America and in North Africa. At the same time, North America saw its first annual increase since 2010.


The countries perceived to be most powerful in the world, including Germany and UK also rank in the top 10 for military spending. The defense budget of UK after 9/11 has increased yearly, reaching £ 45 billion in 2011. Since then, the defense budget has remained steady at £ 44 – 45 billion per year. In terms of GDP, its defense spending from 2002 to 2009 was constant at about 2.65 – 2.70 percent of GDP. However, since the Great Recession, defense spending has been in steady decline, breaking below 2.4 percent GDP in 2016. The above figure illustrates the military spending of countries in billions in 2014.

 

Indo-U.S. strategic partnership has changed the balance of power in South Asia and has significant implications for Pakistan. While India and the U.S. are expressing their concerns about the longstanding Pakistan-China cooperation in important areas, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan is also concerned about Indo-U.S. cooperation in areas like U.S.-India nuclear civil deal, which is also viewed with suspicions by many states in the region.

In case of the U.S., the current President, Donald Trump during his election campaigns asked the NATO members to allocate more budget to defense spending so as to help reduce international commitments of the U.S. However, he expressed that he would be willing to intensify the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which could be very expensive. According to the SIPRI report, more than 10 percent of the U.S. defense budget goes toward developing and testing products. Even if U.S. military spending was cut by 10 percent, it would still be more than double to China's military spending which is the second largest. According to the report when it comes to military spending per person and as a percentage of total government budget, the U.S. falls behind Israel that spends nearly $2,000 per person annually on defense, and Saudi Arabia where more than a quarter of government spending goes to defense. While the above figure shows the ranks and the defense budget of major powers in billions in 2016, it also mentions how India has increased its defense expenditure and was ranked at number 5 in the year 2016.
Various myths about the defense budget of Pakistan have been created, not only at international forums but national as well, which need to be looked at from the perspective of its internal as well as external security challenges. Certain quarters have been assessing Pakistan’s foreign and defense policy to be India centric, this scribe argues that it has to be India or any other country centric if there is a serious security threat from that country. The history of international relations unveils many states whose foreign policies revolved around those states that were a threat to their security and survival. For example, U.S. foreign policy may be called as Soviet Union centric during the Cold War and vice versa, and now it is China centric keeping in view the latter’s rapid rise as an economic giant. In a similar fashion, India’s foreign policy can be termed as Pakistan and China centric. One reason for this argument is Indian belligerent policy towards Pakistan since its independence as Pakistan has always been a victim of Indian ambitions for hegemony in the region and hence the threat perception is essentially India centric.


It is important to be aware of the reality that Pakistan is sandwiched between a hostile neighbour on its East (India) and neighbour on the West (Afghanistan) that relies more on India than on a its immediate neighbour. While the Indian threat has been there permanently, the border escalation with Afghanistan is also a concern. Therefore, it is understandable that Pakistan, in the wake of the recent mounting clashes with India and Afghanistan, may push for increase in its defense spending.


Unfortunately, Pakistan is struggling with its economy due to its partnership in the war on terror that brought not only a war that was not its own but also non-state international actors to its territory. The general perception about Pakistan is that it has increased its military expenditure than other sectors over the years. However, as opposed to the general perception, the percentage of its GDP 'vis-à-vis' various challenges, Pakistan’s defense spending has remarkably declined. It is particularly so when viewed in the light of Pakistan Army’s additional responsibilities in recent years, like countering extremism and terrorism, and fighting separatists supported by foreign agencies besides many other challenges.

 

thedefspending1.jpgMoreover, for operations like Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan needs more funds to tackle the prevailing law and order and security situation within the country. Additionally, for nuclear development program, a continuous resource allocation is needed since Pakistan conducted nuclear test in response to India’s tests, or else India’s conventional superiority facilitated by nuclear weapons would have become an unacceptable threat to Pakistan. It is not Pakistan that will provoke India, keeping in view the asymmetric power situation besides India’s Cold Start Doctrine which means a precipitous strike by India against Pakistan in the event of a terrorist attack in India where it is India that decides whether or not it is sponsored by Pakistan or not. Moreover, Indo-U.S. strategic partnership has changed the balance of power in South Asia and has significant implications for Pakistan. While India and the U.S. are expressing their concerns about the longstanding Pakistan-China cooperation in important areas, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan is also concerned about Indo-U.S. cooperation in areas like U.S.-India nuclear civil deal, which is also viewed with suspicions by many states in the region.


In view of the threat perception as discussed above, Pakistan’s defense budget is still the lowest in the region. The allocated defense budget for 2016-17 was increased by 11-percent from Rs. 775.8 billions to Rs. 860.1 billions. Out of the total budget, only Rs. 216 billion are earmarked for the operational expense whereas the rest of the amount goes into employee related expenditure and physical assets. Keeping in view the size and range of national security challenges faced by Pakistan over the last two decades, its defense spending as a percentage of its GDP is much less than other countries with lesser threat levels.


On the other hand, India has tremendously beefed up its defense expenditure over the years, which is, an increase from $11.8 billion in 2001 to $ 52 billions in 2016-17 – i.e., 2.25 percent of Indian GDP. That explains that India’s defense budget is much more keeping in view its larger GDP. The Indian defense budget is much more than the one mentioned above, as it does not include pension, border forces, nuclear warheads/missile development. It spends roughly 2.30 percent of GDP keeping in view that its GDP is much smaller than India. India is expected to spend a massive amount of $70 billion in the year 2020 on military power projection, leaving Pakistan more susceptible against the former, which is amassing and developing military prowess. The comparison between India and Pakistan is highlighted in a report by SIPRI that reveals that India outspends Pakistan on defense and China is outspending India. It is in this scenario that Pakistan-China strategic partnership is unnerving India.


India is desperately building and introducing aircraft carriers, Su-30MKI jets, artillery guns, stealth destroyers, stealth frigates, conventional and nuclear submarines, various offensive and defensive missile systems, military satellites, new mountain strike corps, attack helicopters and much more every year. Pakistan’s economy in comparison to India has serious size limitations; nevertheless, in wake of Indian designs and the arms race in the region, it will be imprudent of Pakistan not to develop a credible defense system to maintain its security and above all preserve its sovereignty. It is also pertinent to say that in order to preserve itself, Pakistan needs more funding for its security and to address the internal threats aided by foreign agencies and growing external pressures on its Eastern and Western borders. Another source, while compiling the defense spending of both India and Pakistan, compares the difference in the following figure.


To conclude, as indicated by Kamal Monnoo, “India is about to develop a nuclear missile shield, which will not be a defensive but an offensive deployment of radars and ballistic missiles designed and deployed to take down incoming missiles at a faraway distance; thus neutralizing Pakistan’s strategy of off-setting conventional warfare disadvantage by developing nuclear deterrence. With so much at stake, it is essential that Pakistan does not fall behind in securing its national defense. It is in this context one hopes that even if an increase in 2016-17 is not possible, at least the historic pace of rise in defense spending should continue at any cost.”

 

The writer is 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.

 

References

• Kamal Monnoo. (May 25, 2016). Pakistan’s Defence Budget. http://nation.com.pk/columns/25-May-2016/pakistan-s-defense-budget
• Sam Perlo-Freeman, Olawale Ismail and Carina Solmirano, (June 2010). Military Expenditure, Chapter 5, SPIRI Yearbook. p.1
• Robert Einhorn and W.P.S. Sidhu. (March 2017). The Strategic Chain Linking Pakistan, India, China, and the United States. Foreign Policy at Brookings. Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Series Paper No. 14.
• http://nationalinterest.org/feature/does-america-really-need-spend-more-defense-17245
• http://www.idsa.in/issuebrief/india-defence-budget-2017-18_lkbehera_030217
• http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
• http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11936179/What-are-the-biggest-defence-budgets-in-the-world.html
• https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/border-clashes-seen-forcing-pakistan-to-boost-defense-spending

 
07
June

Written By: Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal

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

 

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

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


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

 

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


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

 

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

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

 

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


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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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


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

 

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


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


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

 

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

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07
June

Written By: Jennifer McKay

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

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


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


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

 

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

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


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

 

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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07
June

Written By: Zamir Akram

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

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


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

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


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

 

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

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

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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan.

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