10
January
January 2017(EDITION 01, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
As we enter into the year 2017 we stand proud of our successes as achieved so far; though it all came through trials and tribulations. To recapitulate, the year 2016 encompassed the terminal stage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and tackling....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Samar Mubarakmand
It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems....Read full article
 
Written By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali
How do we measure our country sixty-eight years down the road since its creation? It will be unfair to state that Pakistan is a near-failed state as many political pundits are fond of saying. At the time of creation of Pakistan even the socks of our army jawans were made in England....Read full article
 
Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh
Many in Pakistan were of the view that given India’s refusal to attend the SAARC summit, that was to be held in Islamabad and which led to the postponement of that meeting, it would have been right for Pakistan to refuse to attend the Heart of....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai
In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
The global strategic chessboard would remain complex in 2017. The conversion in the global strategic environment continues. The transition in the global politics appeases the dynamical forces and alarms the status quo legatees. Professing about the developments in....Read full article
 
Written By: Syed Muhammad Ali
Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald.....Read full article
 
Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal
Brexit, and a gradual rise of nationalism in Europe is actively challenging the very idea of a merged European Union. The threat always existed in subtle forms of migration, financial and identity crisis. It has taken a more direct form as far-right, eurosceptic parties are....Read full article
 
Written By: Commodore Tahir Javed
The rapid changes in politico-military situation across the globe are greatly transforming regional security paradigm. Resultantly, a shift is being observed in the overall national security mechanisms through structural and technological improvements. In the prevailing environment....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad
Majestically, the sparkling snowflakes fell delicately from the white cloudy skies on our cold faces to welcome us in Beijing. Falling snow looked like tiny angels making the sky glow in the dull mist, indescribably. The world-class Beijing airport is comparable.....Read full article
 
Written By: Bilal Ali
Taftan is a town located 600 kms southwest of Quetta, in Chaghi District of Balochistan. It is Pakistan's only legal official border crossing point into Iran and is famed as the Road to London because of its linkage with western....Read full article
 
Written By: Capt Ali Raza
The day you enter the prestigious Quaid Gate, you are basically airborne on a skydive to an unknown destination at least for the next two years. You never know where this journey is going to take you, but thrill, adventure and memories accompany you for the rest of your life....Read full article
 
Written By: Haseeb Abbasi
Haseeb Abbasi who won two gold medals for Pakistan in Asia-Pacific Games held in Australia, pens down his hopes, dreams and the challenges he faced being an Autistic child.....Read full article
 
Written By: Rear Admiral (R) Pervaiz Asghar
The most significant feature of Pakistan’s coastline is not the hammerhead of Gwadar jutting out majestically into the sea but the Indus Delta region covering the entire south western swathe of the coast. This topographical landmark is prominent.....Read full article

 
Written By: Samina Rizwan
In September 1965, Squadron Leader Rais Ahmad Rafi commanded No. 8 Squadron and lived with his wife and two children, my brother and I, at PAF Station, Mauripur, Karachi (now PAF Base Masroor). I must have been an exceptionally bright four year-old because, defying biological....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Atta
I want to be a spy”. That is what everyone dreams about when they are younger. To become a war hero or at least like a spy who uses futuristic gadgets. With the advancement in technology, these spy gadgets are now a reality. Some can be easily procured while others are....Read full article
 
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahadur Ranges near Attock on December 29, 2016 and witnessed Pak-Jordan joint exercise “Fajr-ul-Sharq 1”. It was a two weeks long joint counter terrorism training.....Read full article
 
While addressing the troops he said that it was a matter of great pride for him to be part of the ceremony and to celebrate the success and happiness of Baloch brothers. “The fully alert faces of the recurits reflecting determination and resolve are a testimony....Read full article
 
Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visited Khyber Agency and interacted with the troops. He appreciated their resolve and said that ‘the people of Khyber Agency have....Read full article
 
On December 14, Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of the indigenously developed Babur Cruise Missile. Babur Weapon System version-2 incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy....Read full article
 
Aiming to ensure security of Gwadar Port and CPEC in the maritime domain, Pakistan Navy has raised the Task Force-88 at Gwadar. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the chief guest of the ceremony....Read full article
 
In an impressive demonstration, the frontline combat unit of Pakistan Navy undertook live missile firing in the North Arabian Sea. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Chief of the Naval Staff witnessed the live missile firing onboard ship. Surface-to-surface anti-ship....Read full article
 
China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) features the display of real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying display. It is a gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase.....Read full article
 
10
January

Written By: Rear Admiral (R) Pervaiz Asghar

The most significant feature of Pakistan’s coastline is not the hammerhead of Gwadar jutting out majestically into the sea but the Indus Delta region covering the entire south western swathe of the coast. This topographical landmark is prominent from an ecological angle also as around 25 creeks drain into its 150 km wide mouth, with the port city of Karachi continuously intruding into its western extremity.


This delta used to be historically interspersed with thousands of natural river courses, which braided with smaller tributaries, and formed a natural yet intricate drainage system. However, since the British era when this irrigation and drainage system had been conceived and executed, things have gone from bad to worse. Most of these waterways, hardly 10% of which are lined, now stand abandoned, afflicted by the ravages of time, nature and plain outright neglect. Construction work undertaken over decades, inclusive of irrigation canals, road networks and illegal settlements, played no small part in the obstruction of these dhoras as they are locally referred to. Such obstructions, along with an attendant lack of drainage capacity, have made the delta vulnerable to the multiple scourges of sea intrusion, salinity, water-logging and flooding. These calamities have combined to lay waste millions of acres of prime agricultural land and deprived the area of its freshwater fishing sanctuaries.

 

theindusdelta.jpgThe combined impact on the local communities, which were completely dependent on these once-flourishing agricultural lands and freshwater lakes for their livelihood, was nothing short of catastrophic. Most of the people have been forced to relocate to seek alternate work. Those who chose to remain are plagued with malnutrition and climate sensitive diseases, with healthcare facilities virtually non-existent.


All problems which stalk this unfortunate land are ironically interlinked. A near absence of waste treatment facilities in industries, hospitals and municipalities gives rise to all types of toxic and chemical polluting agents. Drastically reduced freshwater flows downstream of Kotri, throttled to near zero for almost nine months of the year, result in widespread deforestation of the largest arid climate mangroves in the world, while preventing the flushing out of the accumulated impurities at the same time.


A mangrove forest is nature’s gift to the coastal environment. Apart from acting as a bulwark against natural disasters, it serves as a life-sustaining ecosystem for nourishing all types of flora and fauna. It is an invaluable source of nutrients as well for both freshwater and marine fisheries. Its roots provide a natural protection against coastal erosion, retarding the process through their ability to hold the soil together by trapping suspended particles. The lack of a natural freshwater flushing mechanism, so vital to preserving their health, has resulted in wiping out almost all the luxuriant mangrove species except for the most salt tolerant one, Avicennia Marina.


On a positive note, organisations like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund – Pakistan (WWF-P) keep prodding stakeholders like the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, the Sindh Forest Department and the Pakistan Navy (PN) towards a mangrove preservation and revival program. IUCN’s partnership-based regional initiative Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is playing an active role in addressing such challenges to Pakistan’s fragile coastal ecosystem. As an active member of MFF’s National Coordinating Body, Pakistan Navy is doing whatever it can to improve environmental awareness as a prerequisite to combatting pollution. With MFF’s moral and financial backing, it has set up a Reed Bed Sewage Treatment Plant at Manora to help reduce marine pollution and more importantly, it is spearheading a campaign to generate awareness of environmental issues, starting with PNs own personnel. PN has also accomplished 50% of the target it had set for itself for plantation of a million mangroves in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan within a period of three months.

theindusdelta1.jpgIt is, however, distressing to note that the British era irrigation and drainage system has not been improved upon, while polluting components in terms of saline seepage, saline groundwater, excess irrigation water, rainfall run-off, industrial effluents and municipal waste have increased manifold. The solution proposed and executed by the World Bank was to create a Left Bank Outfall Drain. The idea faltered because of a very basic and avoidable design flaw: the 41 km long Tidal Link meant to drain the water into the sea was built at a lower level as compared to the sea it was supposed to discharge into. So not only are the pollutants and saline-laden water being pushed back, the periodical floods that occur wreak maximum devastation by spreading impurities all over the low-lying deltaic plain.


In addition, our apparent inability and possibly the will to keep pollution in check in Karachi’s urban environment results in unimaginable amounts of waste products through domestic, commercial, industrial and hospital sources all being unceremoniously dumped into the Arabian Sea, as if it was some type of a giant garbage bin.


Karachi harbour, where till the early seventies at least, dolphins and fishing tackles were a common sight, is now a wasteland, polluted to an extent that not even a single National Environmental Quality Standard can be met. The extraordinary levels of toxic elements like chromium, lead, chlorides and sulphates, coupled with the low conductivity experienced forms a corrosive mix that apart from decimating all types of marine life, whittles away at the submerged port infrastructure and causes extensive damage to ships berthed inside the harbour. This accelerated corrosion of ships’ hulls as well as seawater-based machinery and pumps has a huge impact on naval vessels, reducing their lifespan by as much as 50% and drastically enhancing their preservation and maintenance costs. Presence of solid waste and plastic bags in the water tends to choke seawater intakes resulting in more frequent machinery failures.


Though control of pollution in Karachi harbour is the preserve of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Pakistan Navy, smarting under its massive impact, lobbied hard with the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production to reactivate the Marine Pollution Control Board, which during its formative years i.e., 1994-99 under the chairmanship of the Chief of Naval Staff had made substantive progress in combatting marine pollution. Regrettably though, despite PN’s best efforts, the Board again went into a hibernation mode soon after being reconstituted in 2009.


As a supplementary measure, an indigenously constructed mechanised Debris Collection Boat is being used to collect solid waste floating around the warships. Another locally constructed multipurpose barge is being utilised for collection of oily compensating water secreted by submarines in harbour.


After our organisational, operational and functional inadequacies stood exposed during the Tasman Spirit oil spill disaster of 2003, Pakistan Navy took the initiative of formulating a National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan. The experience gleaned from the conduct of simulated oil spill exercises involving the active participation of other associated stakeholders like Maritime Security Agency, port authorities and oil marketing companies has enabled Naval Headquarters to go in for the Plan’s update.
The obvious solution which has somehow evaded everyone’s notice is to invest in the setting up and maintenance of sewage treatment plants for the safe disposal of waste. A few companies are indeed collecting trash for free from some military establishments for generating electricity. Other municipal authorities may do well to profit from such enterprises too. Hospitals and industries likewise need to be pressurised by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe disposal of their toxic and unhygienic waste products.


We are unfortunately living in a dreary present where everything we touch, eat or drink is tainted in one way or the other. The impurities laden seawater has already intruded upto 70 km inland in places and is on the verge of encroaching upon the vegetable basket of Karachi, Malir. The sort of legacy we want to pass on to our coming generations is in our hands. Will we rise to the occasion by harnessing the forces of nature towards a shared goal of health and prosperity or should we continue to give it free rein to devastate our living resources? The future can only belong to us if we join hands to eliminate the perils that dog this land of plenty.

 

The writer is a retired Rear Admiral of Pakistan Navy and a Maritime Researcher. He has served as the Director General of the National Centre for Maritime Policy Research at Bahria University, Karachi.
 
10
January

Written By: Haseeb Abbasi

Where hopes and dreams of people with intellectual disabilities come to reality

 

Haseeb Abbasi who won two gold medals for Pakistan in Asia-Pacific Games held in Australia, pens down his hopes, dreams and the challenges he faced being an Autistic child.

 

My name is Muhammad Haseeb Abbasi. I’m 18 years of age. I’m proud to be part of more than 19000 registered athletes, their families, 1500 coaches and 3800 active volunteers of Special Olympics Pakistan which through the power of sports is striving to create a better culture in the country by fostering acceptance and inclusion of all people.

 

specialolympics.jpgBeing autistic, I can understand that accepting people with differences is difficult, especially when the difference is a disability and that too invisible, like mine. Autism is an intellectual disability which impacts the normal life and development of one’s brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills and cognitive functions. Individuals with autism mainly have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and sports activities. Autism is not a disease; it is simply part of one’s identity. It has taken me 6 to 8 years to learn to accept myself and my diagnosis. Although I am not there yet, but one day I will be able to truly accept my condition. I was born healthy and my early development was normal except for verbal speech which was the only thing that made me different. I was only able to say a few words by the age of 8 and even those were not comprehensible for everyone.

 

specialolympics1.jpgFortunately, one of the leading private schools gave me admission because of my calm temperament. School teachers were very supportive but I struggled everyday as I was unable to communicate with my teachers and fellow students, always wanted to sit alone, avoided eye contact and never had a chance to make friends and enjoy their company. I wanted to be part of their conversations and to play but due to my disability I never tried to join them. In my heart I thought ‘Why me?’ Why did people stare at me? Why couldn’t I understand things the way all other children and why did people call me a disabled child? This made me very lonely and isolated. My dream was to be like everyone else, to have easy eccess to happiness and love. I wanted people to understand my abilities and I wanted to feel like I belonged.


As I progressed from one class to the next, my problems enhanced. I was struggling with exams so things were getting quite tough. Finally, by the age of 12, my family got the help of my aunt Dr. Farzana Siddiqui to visit UK for the diagnosis where I and my brother were formally diagnosed with autism spectrum.


On returning I was enrolled in Nasheman College for Special Education, Wah Cantt from where I passed my secondary school examination, secured more than 76% marks and got a scholarship from Chairman Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF), Wah Cantt. Recently I have completed my Diploma in Special Education with A grade.


With the help of the school coach Mrs. Irfana Kayyani, I was introduced to the world of Special Olympics Pakistan that organizes sports activities and competitions in all parts of the country. They accepted me the way I was, and I was welcomed by everyone. This helped me gain confidence and courage to compete

Uptil now I have learned that every individual matters, regardless of winning or losing. That is what Special Olympics is all about. It’s about celebrating individual abilities. Special Olympics Athletes Oath is:
“Let me win
But if I cannot win,
Let me be brave
In the attempt”

Special Olympics

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of olympic-type sports for children and grown-ups with intellectual disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other special olympics athletes and the community. It is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, with the first International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA. Every day and all around the world, our athletes train and strive to achieve their very best. Special Olympics competitions are held all around the world – including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 108,000 events a year. These competitions include the Special Olympics World Games, which alternate between summer and winter games. Special Olympics World Games are held every two years. The most recent World Summer Games were held in Los Angeles, California in 2015. This year Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, Austria.

 

Special Olympics Pakistan joined this movement in 1989, held its first National Games at Karachi in 1991 with 75 athletes. For over 25 years, Special Olympics Pakistan has used sports to fight for the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disability within the country. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about attitudinal change in the way people with intellectual disabilities view themselves and are viewed and treated by others; replacing misunderstanding and fear with respect, acceptance and inclusion. SOP offers training in: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball (unified), Bocce, Cricket (unified), Cycling, Football (unified), Power-lifting, Table-Tennis, Tennis, Snow-Shoeing, and Alpine Skiing.

The most recent participation of Special Olympics Pakistan was with 52 athletes who competed in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Los Angeles, USA and bagged 35 medals.
Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, Austria. Special Olympics Pakistan joined this movement in 1989, held its first National Games at Karachi in 1991 with 75 athletes. For over 25 years, Special Olympics Pakistan has used sports to fight for the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disability within the country. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about attitudinal change in the way people with intellectual disabilities view themselves and are viewed and treated by others; replacing misunderstanding and fear with respect, acceptance and inclusion. SOP offers training in: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball (unified), Bocce, Cricket (unified), Cycling, Football (unified), Power-lifting, Table-Tennis, Tennis, Snow-Shoeing, and Alpine Skiing.

in sports. Soon I was able to participate in our regional and national games. I was selected for Asia Pacific Games held in Australia where I won two gold medals in bocce. In the 2014 National Games, I competed in 10 km road cycling and won a silver medal.

 

specialolympics2.jpgMy life has completely changed and now I am fully involved in all the activities of Special Olympics. Beside sports, I joined their Athletes Leadership Program which helped me gain my self-esteem and confidence. Now I feel more empowered with my skills and abilities. In February 2016, I was invited by TEDx Lahore to deliver a talk about myself and my journey in front of a large audience.


I have been selected from the Asia Pacific region of Special Olympics along with over 1.4 million athletes from 26 countries to attend Special GenUin Social Impact Summit to be held in March during the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, 2017. I am very excited and looking forward to being part of such a big summit where youth leaders will gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities. We will learn how to equip ourselves to influence change, drive impact and achieve results. We will also hear from dynamic speakers including professional athletes, entrepreneurs and social innovators. The conference will be held in Graz from March 15 to 20.


I also host a program Farishtay for the intellectually challenged children on a private digital channel Lahore TV.

Special Olympic Games-2017

For many of our athletes, attending World Games is the dream of a lifetime. Special Olympics Pakistan’s eight member team will be part of the 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from around the world during the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. These athletes will be participating in Snow Shoeing and Alpine Skiing. They have trained very hard and we hope they will bring further glory to Pakistan. Austria will welcome almost 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from 110 nations to compete in nine olympic-type winter sports. At these games, the entire Special Olympics movement comes together to see athletes in action and celebrate their victories over huge odds. For the athletes and their families, the experience opens doors to unimagined possibilities. For volunteers, coaches and other supporters from all parts of the world, the games inspire hope and belief in a brighter future of global acceptance, understanding and unity.

Our Message

At Special Olympics, we believe that sports can teach us important lessons. When we train and strive to achieve a goal, it teaches us to dream. When we struggle, it teaches us determination. When we win, we find joy. And if we lose, we can find the strength to try again. The goal is to foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance. We need to move away from marginalization and pity for the intellectually and physically challenged. Instead, there is a need to build a society where those with differences feel appreciated, are integrated into the community and have a sense of belonging.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
10
January
PAF JF-17 Thunder at China Air Show

China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) features the display of real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying display. It is a gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase the latest technology and products in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force attended the opening ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show-2016. One JF-17 aircraft was put on static display during the show while the other aircraft performed the aerial display. Large number of professionals, aviation enthusiasts and representatives of aviation industry from China as well as from all across the world with more than hundred aircraft participated in the air show.

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10
January
Pakistan Navy Conducts Firepower Demonstration in North Arabian Sea

In an impressive demonstration, the frontline combat unit of Pakistan Navy undertook live missile firing in the North Arabian Sea. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, Chief of the Naval Staff witnessed the live missile firing onboard ship. Surface-to-surface anti-ship missile was launched from Sword Class frigate PNS Aslat. The missile successfully destroyed its intended target with pinpoint accuracy, reaffirming the weapon’s lethality and offensive punch of Pakistan Navy’s fleet.


Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah expressed his complete satisfaction over the operational readiness of Pakistan Navy's fleet. The Naval Chief stated, “Live missile firing reaffirms credibility of deterrence at sea and reassures Pakistan Navy’s commitment to safeguard the country's maritime frontiers against all threats.”


The successful conduct of missile firing by Pakistan Navy is reflective of a high state of readiness and professionalism. It also demonstrates the efficacy and lethality of modern weapon systems operated by Pakistan Navy.

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09
January
Pakistan Navy Raises Dedicated Task Force-88 for Protection of CPEC and Gwadar Port

Aiming to ensure security of Gwadar Port and CPEC in the maritime domain, Pakistan Navy has raised the Task Force-88 at Gwadar. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the chief guest of the ceremony.


While addressing the ceremony, CJCSC lauded the initiative taken by Pakistan Navy in raising a dedicated task force for maritime security of CPEC. He said that the initiative by Pakistan Navy would contribute significantly towards the success of CPEC. The Chairman also acknowledged Pakistan Navy's role in ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment which is an essential pre-requisite for the economy to flourish. "The role of Pakistan Navy is deeply embedded in the maritime operationalization of CPEC as it will be required to shoulder greater responsibilities to ensure the protection of growing maritime trade and to provide security to our sea lanes,” Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat said on the occasion.


Earlier in his address, Vice Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbassi, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Operations, remarked that ‘Viability and assured dividends of CPEC related projects are intrinsically linked with the security of maritime domain. Therefore, providing security to CPEC on land as well as making its maritime prong safe is vital for the projects’ success. In this regard, ensuring maritime security remains an important responsibility of Pakistan Navy which is set to grow in the coming years. Accordingly, Pakistan Navy is gearing up to meet the challenge’.


During his welcome address, Chairman Gwadar Port Authority thanked Pakistan Navy for ensuring security of Gwadar Port and highlighted the importance of Gwadar Port for the prosperity of Pakistan.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee also handed over the traditional 'Command Telescope' to the first commander of Task Force-88, Commodore Muhammad Waris, on the occasion.


The ceremony was attended by federal ministers, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and other civil, military and foreign dignitaries.

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09
January
Pakistan Conducts Successful Test of Cruise Missile

On December 14, Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of the indigenously developed Babur Cruise Missile. Babur Weapon System version-2 incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy, at a range of 700 km. It is a low flying, terrain hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.


It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational technologies of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all-time Digital Scene Matching & Area Co-relation (DSMAC) which enable it to engage various types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation. Babur Weapon System is an important force multiplier for Pakistan’s strategic defence.


The launch was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Army Strategic Forces Command, scientists and engineers of strategic organizations. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee congratulated the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone of great significance. He appreciated the technical prowess, dedication and commitment of scientists who contributed to the success of the launch.


Expressing his full confidence in the Strategic Command and Control System and the Army Strategic Forces Commands’ operational preparedness, CJCSC stated, “This test has further strengthened Pakistan’s deterrence capability”. The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan congratulated the scientists and engineers on the successful conduct of the missile test.

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09
January
CGS Visits Khyber Agency
newscjvisit.jpg Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visited Khyber Agency and interacted with the troops. He appreciated their resolve and said that ‘the people of Khyber Agency have sacrificed a lot in the war against terror’. He also said, “the TDPs are being provided with maximum assistance during the resettlement process and efforts are being made to complete the rehabilitation process within the stipulated time”. Earlier, Lt Gen Bilal Akbar also visited HQ 11 Corps where he was briefed in detail about the prevalent security situation in KP and FATA, the stablization operations, return of TDPs and the ongoing development work.
 
 
09
January
COAS Witnesses Passing Out Parade of Baloch Recruits

COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Quetta to witness the passing out parade of Baloch recruits. The contingent included troops of Pakistan Army, FC Balochistan and Balochistan Police.

 

While addressing the troops he said that it was a matter of great pride for him to be part of the ceremony and to celebrate the success and happiness of Baloch brothers. “The fully alert faces of the recurits reflecting determination and resolve are a testimony to the high training standards. Pakistan Armed Forces, FC, Rangers and the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are not only reflective of national unity but are also its custodians,” COAS said on the occasion. He also remarked that Balochistan is making significant contribution towards national integration and progress.

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09
January
COAS Witnesses PAK-Jordan Joint Exercise Fajr-ul-Shaiq I

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COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Bahadur Ranges near Attock on December 29, 2016 and witnessed Pak-Jordan joint exercise “Fajr-ul-Sharq 1”. It was a two weeks long joint counter terrorism training event to share experience of both armies.

 

Speaking on the occasion, COAS congratulated the participants on successful conduct of the exercise and appreciated high standards of professional competence displayed by the troops. He said that ‘conduct of such joint exercises helps improving professional expertise in conducting CT operations’. He also said, “The nature and character of war has changed where direct conflict has become an un-preferred choice. While Pakistan Armed Forces are fully trained and ready for response to full spectrum threat, our achievements in counter terrorism operations are being taken as successful case studies. Pakistan has successfully defeated terrorism and is now in consolidation phase. Such engagements are a source of mutual sharing, learning and benefit”. He thanked Jordanian Army and the contingent for their participation in this first special forces collaboration and expressed his desire to continue this engagement.

 
09
January

Written By: Bilal Ali

Taftan is a town located 600 kms southwest of Quetta, in Chaghi District of Balochistan. It is Pakistan's only legal official border crossing point into Iran and is famed as the Road to London because of its linkage with western countries extending up to UK with high volume of trade activities of Asian, Indian, and Afghan traders being carried out before partition. Its name is derived from a volcano of a similar name in Iran. The border crossing point on the Iranian side is at Mirjaveh. Besides being a trade route, Taftan remained famous amongst the travelers and pilgrims due to easy access towards the west and religious sites in Iran and Iraq.


Since independence, no major infrastructural development had been made in the area. On the Pakistani side there were no allied facilities worth mentioning like immigration terminal, dry port, custom yard and custom terminal.


FC Balochistan, under the auspices of the Southern Command of Pakistan Army took the initiative of improving the border control mechanism with the funds provided by Pakistan Customs and commenced the construction of the gate on July 16, 2016. The gate was completed in the stipulated period of five months and was inaugurated by Commander Southern Command, Lieutenant General Amir Riaz on December 21, 2016. Outgoing and incoming IG FC Balochistan, Lt Gen Sher Afghan and Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum along with notables of the area were also present on the occasion.


The facility comprises two gates, one constructed right on the border and the other 200 meters inside Pakistani territory at a dominating ground, visible from even a distance of 2 kms. The gate reflects a combination of modern architecture blended with Baloch mud architecture and has a modern steel trestle top. Whereas, latest CCTV cameras and SVAS system for verification of travel documents have also been installed. There are offices of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Pakistan Customs and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Security is multi-tiered and is provided by the Levies and the Frontier Corps. The second phase of the project will commence shortly, which will include an immigration terminal and a rest area for those traveling between Iran and Pakistan.
A yard of the National Logistics Cell will also be built to manage commercial activities.


The inauguration is a milestone in uplifting the infrastructure of the town, which will boost the economic activities in the region and will serve as a economic hub for perceived trade linkages with the western world in times to come.

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09
January

Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad

Maj Wajiha Arshad pens down her experience as a participant of Fifth Pak-China Young Officers Seminar held in Shijiazhuang, China.

 

Majestically, the sparkling snowflakes fell delicately from the white cloudy skies on our cold faces to welcome us in Beijing. Falling snow looked like tiny angels making the sky glow in the dull mist, indescribably. The world-class Beijing airport is comparable to any airport in the U.S. or Europe and it was perhaps the first indicator of China’s remarkable economic success and rapid modernization. The weather change was yet to be assimilated when we started off with the chase of the ‘flag lady’, our transport-manager-cum-guide with a flag stick in hand, leading us to the high speed train platform with the fear of missing it. It brought back memories of the assault course during PMA training and added to the overall thrill.


As the famous Chinese saying goes:
“It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books.”
I was part of a group of thirty officers from Pakistan Armed Forces travelling to Shijiazhuang, China on a seven day visit to participate in “Fifth Pak-China Young Military Officers Seminar”. The real taste of companionship during our seven day visit which incised enduring impressions and first hand familiarity, was as per the Chinese saying, better learning than reading books on Pak-China bilateral relations.


The conduct of the seminar every year started in 2012 and this was the fifth consecutive annual session arranged at Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy, the only mechanized infantry commanding academy of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Shijiazhuang is headquarters of the 27th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of the three Group Armies that comprises the Beijing Military Region responsible for defending China's capital. The city is the capital and the largest city of North China's Hebei Province, about 263 kms southwest of Beijing. We were introduced to our Laison Officer (LO), Major Liana, who remained a focal point of reference throughout the visit for all administrative and seminar related matters assisted by Capt Sarah. Interestingly, it was revealed that a majority in China these days have English names along with their traditional Chinese names. Since their native names are quiet difficult to pronounce, we easily called the attached Chinese officers with their English names. After our introductory session with conducting Chinese officers at Beijing airport we had a fascinating journey enjoying the scenic beauty of nature pronounced by snowfall on a high speed train to Shijiazhuang where buses were waiting to take us to the Academy. International students from around fifty countries enjoy a diversified campus life at Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy. The group members received a warm welcome there and felt at home.

theallweather.jpg
The seminar started from the very first day with a warm banquet hosted by the head of the academy, Colonel Wang Jing and other faculty members at their foreign officers’ mess. Pakistani officers dressed up in the elegant and graceful respective uniforms of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, and Pakistan Air Force in company with their Chinese group members, presenting a mesmerizing aura of diversity in the mess. The lunch was followed by an inaugural and welcome address by the Commandant, who joyously described Pakistan as China’s ‘iron brother’ and made all at ease with his cheerful welcome. The seminar room was situated in the Foreign Officers’ block of classes where the participants from both countries met for the first time and stood for national anthems of both countries before the formal start of the first session. After the inaugural speech of Chinese and Pakistani heads of delegations, the first presentation was delivered on Pak-China relations by Liu Nan, Director for Policy on South Asia, the policy officer for China-ASEAN military cooperation. The most inspiring part of his lecture was the survival of an all-weather relationship and brotherhood between Pakistan and China in the present day neo-realist world. It was followed by an interactive question and answers session and group photograph of participants at the end of the day.


We woke up the next day to a splendid view of snow covered trees and a temperature of -6o C, however, the warmth of hospitality kept us going and helped in catching up with the second day schedule. The day became more interesting with a campus tour that included the academy’s ecological waterfall. It is a marvellous piece of work that re-cycles water waste and runs the water down the waterfall after purification. Armoured equipment visit, followed by sniper course and shooting center visit were also part of our schedule. The shooting center is an enclosed structure with artificial lighting and ventilation. The training system adopts the live-image target scoring technology to conduct not only live firing in all-around, multi-angled, three-dimensional subjects but also laser simulation firing to meet the training requirements of infantry, special operations and counter-terrorist drills. The later half of the day comprised of two lectures: one by Chinese naval officer Dr. Capt Zhao Yi on counter-terrorism; the speaker covered major terrorist organizations operating within inclusive and modern political systems, their modus operandi and techniques to counter-terrorism in an interconnected and globalized world. Second presentation was by Dr. Wang Xingu on improving U.S.-Russia counter-terrorism cooperation. The question and answer session brought participating officers from both groups closer in a fruitful, interactive and intellectual discussion.


A fascinating experience for many of us was seeing a Chinese officer warmly meet a Pakistani officer and share old memories of serving together on a UN Mission few years back. The interaction between the two officers reminded us of the ‘all-weather’ term often used for Pak-China bilateral relationship that trickles down to people-to-people contact in true essence. With passing days we were well adapted to the atmosphere, weather and Chinese cuisine in particular, especially modified as per our taste. The experience of one-to-one interaction with Chinese officers bonded both the groups together firmly. A panel of four Pakistani military officers headed by Col Syed Hasnain Ahmed from Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) delivered a presentation on counter-terrorism strategy and operations. The presentation highlighted Pakistan’s role as a frontline state against terrorism, military operations in FATA and synchronization of Pakistan Armed Forces to tackle the internal and external security threats. The discussion won applause from the seminar participants as they praised the experiences shared by our panel and showed appreciation for Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts. Later that day we visited Shijiazhuang Junlebao Dairy Co., Ltd., that was established in 1995 and now after 21 years of development has nine production plants. Junlebao is the largest dairy enterprise in Hebei Province. Being the center for dairy trade, the city is headquarters of the Sanlu Group. Sanlu is Shijiazhuang's largest taxpayer being the largest formula seller. Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, had observed that Sanlu became "an invaluable asset for a city otherwise struggling to attract industry and investment on a par with China's premier metropolises." The day ended with a small trip to a shopping mall and a delicious dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel, Shijiazhuang.


Fourth day was the last day of the seminar at Shijiazhuang and the next three days were scheduled in Beijing. Group discussions of that day included eight officers from each side to exchanging views and answering each other’s questions on matters relating from training to the decision-making level. Each Chinese panel included four instructors and four post-graduate student officers with their subjects varying from military command to military equipment. The group discussion was followed by a closing speech by both the delegations’ heads declaring the seminar closed as rest of the days to follow included visits. We travelled to Beijing the same day; a four hour drive took us from an industrial city to the modern gateway of China with sky scrapers and the hustle and bustle of city life which demonstrated the energetic strength of Chinese culture. The official visits included a visit to 3rd Guard Division where a splendid demonstration of anti-terrorism squad was held that integrated short and long range shooting of static and moving targets, mechanized infantry, tanks, self-propelled artillery and anti-aircraft artillery.


Recreational tours of Beijing kept everyone charged with high spirits for last three days of the visit; highlights were the Chaoyang Acrobatic Theatre the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Performed by highly-trained Chinese acrobats, the acrobatic show is indeed a thrill to watch. The motorbike globe stunt made our hair stand on ends. This highly dangerous stunt involved six motorcyclists cycling inside a transparent globe that was about 18 meters high. Walking across the ancient stones in the square, crossing the Golden River on the arched, carved, marble bridges and walking up the Imperial Staircase to the Dragon Throne, Forbidden City is a thrill no words can describe. Tiananmen Square, the front yard of the Forbidden City, is a Chinese name for "Gate of Heavenly Peace"; self explanatory with the political history attached to it. The Great Wall, presents a spectacular view and one is compelled to look at the tower windows and wonder about the ancient soldiers who watched for the Mongolian enemy from their lofty stone perch. Social interaction with locals revealed to me the shy, yet hospitable and gracious behavior of Chinese people. The short tour of the most visited tourist attractions of Beijing left us mesmerized by the history of China that we had only read in books and remotely pictured traveling through.


I would never have understood, if not given the opportunity to be a part of this memorable visit, how a few days spent with true friends leave behind lifelong memories. The seven days of professional and personal experience made us travel through 65 years of Pakistan-China friendship and diplomatic relations which are constantly moving on an ascending trajectory and gaining strength with the passage of time.

 
09
January

As we enter into the year 2017 we stand proud of our successes as achieved so far; though it all came through trials and tribulations. To recapitulate, the year 2016 encompassed the terminal stage of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and tackling the root causes of terrorism as an investment towards a safer future. Given the multifaceted dimensions and magnitude of the problem, we have achieved a relatively higher degree of stability and peace in 2016; albeit the final destination is yet to be traversed.


Alongside active operations in FATA and few other areas, Pakistan Armed Forces and LEAs also conducted numerous Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) and defeated the forces of terrorism. As part of a comprehensive strategy, Pakistan Armed Forces have also given special emphasis on securing the borders particularly the unguarded portions of the border on the west to check the flow of violent forces inside the territory of Pakistan. All efforts are being made for effective border management. Only through stringent measures and effective border control mechanism, will we succeed on long term basis. Pakistan’s efforts towards border management on the western borders with Afghanistan and Iran are to be seen in the same context. As far as international border with Afghanistan is concerned, Pakistan has deployed troops along the border to stop the cross-border movement from illegal points, introduced biometric systems on few legal border crossing points, and has also taken actions to minimize the traffic on unfrequented routes. However, despite all sincerity and positivity, the response from Afghan government on this issue is negative to lukewarm.


Pakistan’s ties with Iran are growing stronger and both states look after each other’s solidarity and respect each other’s laws. The construction of Pakistan Gate at Taftan is one such example which will facilitate secure border crossing between the two countries. The Gate was inaugurated at Pak-Iran border in December 2016 which marked the culmination of the first phase of construction of the border terminal comprising two gates separated 200 meters apart. The facility is equipped with requisite security apparatus to verify the ID related documents. The second phase of this project will entail an immigration terminal as well a yard for managing commercial activity. The whole project was completed with mutual coordination, cooperation and in an environment of amicability between the two brotherly countries, Iran and Pakistan.


The above example of coordination and cooperation also demands from Afghanistan to respond in the same manner while dealing with issues related to international border with Pakistan. However, ironically in the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference, Afghanistan considered it suffice to blame Pakistan for allegedly sponsoring terrorism. It is not the first time that Afghan government has criticized Pakistan for its alleged lack of cooperation in the fight against terror. During the previous HoA conference, similar accusations were made but whenever Pakistan takes a border management initiative to stop the movement of terrorists, a great dichotomy emerges in the shape of strong unfriendly protests from the Afghan side. It is highly paradoxical to expect secure borders and yet oppose all efforts of border control mechanism.


As we are taking concrete steps and are ready to extend any kind of cooperation to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan, they should too, as blaming Pakistan for Afghanistan’s domestic problems is not a solution.


Pakistan Armed Forces are committed to securing Pakistan’s borders from cross-border terrorism from all extra-territorial forces. We have successfully eliminated the domestic sources of terror forces and their facilitators and abettors, and would leave no stone unturned to secure our borders. We expect others to join us in our efforts to strangulate the movement of forces of terrorism.


A secure Pakistan is vital for our national survival and prosperity.

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09
January

Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal

Are EU’s Days Numbered?

Dramatic changes in the social and political landscape of EU pose serious doubts!

Brexit, and a gradual rise of nationalism in Europe is actively challenging the very idea of a merged European Union. The threat always existed in subtle forms of migration, financial and identity crisis. It has taken a more direct form as far-right, eurosceptic parties are gaining dramatic momentum. Far-right nationalists in Austria and Denmark have won their respective elections. Political entities openly denouncing the idea of European Union are gaining crucial support in Germany, Netherlands and elsewhere. Their progress varies across Europe; but France's Marine Le Pen, presently Europe’s most feared far-right politician is taking a good shot at the presidency, summing up the overall grim situation. With nationalism rearing its “ugly head”, is European Union past its partially-achieved prime?

 

theriseinnat1.jpgFrance and Frexit
France is of particular importance to EU’s integrity. Its historical role in the formation of EU in contrast to Britain’s which always appeared rather disgruntled and the current political might it possesses reinstates how Frexit could put EU in all sorts of jeopardy. What makes this even a possibility? Marine Le Pen, the nationalist leader contesting for presidency has openly attacked the idea of Euro and open borders. In 2015, her party, National Front bagged 6.8 million votes – their highest ever. The presidential elections are to be held in April 2017, and Le Pen is not facing a very convincing opposition. Most polls have rated her chances of success high: IPsos giving her a 14 points lead compared to Nicolas Sarkozy. She is known for anti-immigration policies and has often made headlines with her anti-Muslim remarks. The 48-years old re-established her strength as a politician in 2015 when she expelled the founder of the party, Jean-Marie Le Pen for his controversial statements.


Migration Crisis Forging Strong
Refugee influx is arguably the deepest-seated reason behind the consistent surge of nationalism in Europe. It is linked with other economic and social concerns like unemployment, weak law and order, and identity crisis in Europe. “Open borders” form an active part of rhetoric by the far-right politicians. Germany has been the refugee paradise for long, receiving more than a million refugees in 2015 – courtesy Angela Markel, the German Chancellor and apparently the last flag-bearer of Liberal Europe. The public perception is not equally welcoming. Markel will be seeking 4th term as the Chancellor but her party is losing ground to the opponents promising anti-migration policies.

 

theriseinnat.jpgThe refugee crisis is only getting worse with over 60 million people displaced worldwide. Europe is a relatively easy access for Syrians, with Germany being the favourite country. As Syrian crisis has no end in sight, Europe feels pressed to close the borders.


Anti-Establishment Sentiments
A strong public perception can make or break the government. The rising popularity of nationalistic views among people comes as the most discernible symptom of mounting nationalism in Europe. Interestingly, public sentiments do not always portray the situation on ground. They are often triggered taking little reality in account. Consider France as an example: the common belief is that Frenchmen are worse-off today. An overview of France’s performance suggests otherwise with a stable unemployment rate of 10%, lower than many other European nations. The other economic indicators are not bleak as suggested by the prevailing perception.


Mega Terrorist Attacks
The overall negativity in Europe fueling nationalism is largely augmented by major terrorist attacks since 2014. Charlie Hebdo, Paris; Nice and Brussels attacks reinforced the idea that Europe is gravely vulnerable. It fortifies a thorny opinion that this danger comes from the outsiders and has now seeped deep into the society. Revelations such as the Paris attack terrorists hailed from Brussels, reminded people how open borders are doing more harm than good. Nice attacker was a Tunisian-French, weakening the “multicultural Europe” stance and strengthening the anti-immigration belief now widely-held. Hate-incidents and Burkini bans are contributing to an exceedingly hostile atmosphere. The rising sense of insecurity is cashed-in by the far right political players. Terrorism, however, is not a simple phenomenon. It is a result of decades old policies and wars steering the situation into a vicious cycle. And a social boycott of a certain fraction in society is unlikely to get any favourable outcomes.


The Uncertainty of the Future
As evident from the case of Brexit; leaving EU cannot be an overnight matter. Legal obstacles and economic repercussions make it a lengthy bureaucratic process. Nationalist parties try maneuvering Brexit to their advantage, citing it as an example to follow. However, the subsequent economic crunch and the overall “guilt” sentiment in UK – at least in the short-term – may actually thwart their attempts. Frexit may seem a far-fetched idea, but so did Brexit at one time. Even if Frexit realizes, which is still quite improbable, the EU is likely to hold itself with Germany assuming the sole-leader role. Sub-blocs within EU may spring up and EU could lose its prominence in world politics. That being said, this strong wave of nationalism may recede before a major change is realized. In any case, Europeans remain unconvinced by years-old promises of how globalization will make their daily lives better than before. A rollback was thus imminent.

 

The writer is a visiting student at EDHEC Business School, France.

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09
January

Written By: Syed Muhammad Ali

Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald Trump looks at Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy will not only determine the peace, security and stability of Asia in general and South Asia in particular but also the long-term U.S. economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific.

The tumultuous month of November 2016 will long be remembered in world history. The election victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential elections led to nationwide protests and stunned Washington’s key allies including the UK, Germany, France and Japan. If Donald Trump manages to keep his promise and actually demands from NATO and other key allies to dig deeper into their own pockets, to ‘do more’ themselves for their individual security needs and depend less on Washington, it would reflect an unprecedented ‘U.S. security commitment fatigue’ and growing significance of domestic economic concerns for the new Republican administration. A declining U.S. security commitment towards both its traditional Western European and East Asian allies by the new Republican administration could encourage them to shed their own nuclear restraint and accelerate their individual efforts towards their heightened national security needs.


Another major event within four days of the U.S. election, somewhat eclipsed by Trump’s historic victory over Mrs. Clinton, is the signing of an extraordinary nuclear deal between Japan and India. The Japanese nuclear deal is unique and extraordinary for five reasons. First, Japan is the only country in the world which has actually suffered two nuclear attacks during war and its sterling commitment towards non-proliferation and principled stance on arms control has traditionally been exemplary. However, the signing of this new deal, despite India possessing the developing world’s largest and oldest unsafeguarded nuclear program, now raises new questions regarding the future of these Japanese commitments. Second, this latest deal would help expedite various additional nuclear deals that the other States have earlier signed with India. Both French company Areva and U.S. nuclear giant Westinghouse use key Japanese components such as reactor vessels for their reactors. Third, this deal has been put together even more hurriedly than the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal by compressing the 123 Agreement, reprocessing, administrative arrangements and NSG into one. This is perhaps to ensure its swift implementation before the Obama administration leaves office. Four, this deal has a cursory mention of principled Indian Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) adherence and hardly expects a significant non-proliferation commitment, sans non-testing of nuclear weapons by New Delhi, in return for exceptional Japanese technological access and support. Five, this deal symbolizes the growing strategic Indo-Japanese partnership and reflects their mutual desire to counter-balance China in East Asia and Asia-Pacific.


Another significant and related event was the NSG’s meeting held in Vienna on November 11 to discuss the “technical, legal and political aspects of Non-NPT States’ Participation in the NSG”. According to informed sources, although the U.S. tried its best to gain maximum support for Indian’s NSG membership, a large number of member States including Russia, said that further discussions were still needed before individual membership cases could be evaluated. This indicates that the support for a criteria-based approach for considering additional members is growing and gaining momentum within the 48-nation group managing the international nuclear trade and cooperation.

 

A declining U.S. security commitment towards both its traditional Western European and East Asian allies by the new Republican administration could encourage them to shed their own nuclear restraint and accelerate their individual efforts towards their heightened national security needs.

The impression some observers have attempted to internationally present is that basically the tussle between the U.S. and China will eventually determine the outcome of the new NSG membership cases. However, the outcome of this latest meeting indicates that the reality is far more complex than popularly presented. The divisions between the three camps supporting exceptional membership, criteria-based membership and swing states are starker and deeper than initially anticipated, and achieving consensus by either group is not likely in the foreseeable future. Therefore, Obama administration’s agenda of hurriedly making India an NSG member before the Democrats’ term runs out has essentially failed.


This provides the incoming Republican administration with an opportunity to look at all Democrat-led initiatives and agendas afresh and with skepticism. Obama administration wanted the world to pursue Nuclear Zero while it exceptionally built up India militarily. Similarly, how Donald Trump looks at Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy will not only determine the peace, security and stability of Asia in general and South Asia in particular but also the long-term economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific. Amidst serious domestic economic challenges, militarizing Asia-Pacific excessively and further escalating tensions with China could increase, not reduce threats to the long-term U.S. vital economic interests associated with Asia-Pacific.


Throughout history the Republicans have traditionally maintained a more careful balance in the delicate and complex U.S. relationship with both Pakistan and India than the Democrats. The presidencies of President Nixon, Reagan, Bush Senior and Bush Junior have demonstrated a better U.S. understanding of Pakistan’s regional security concerns towards India, leading to a relatively more stable regional order, reduced tensions, better crisis management and lower nuclear escalation risks.


One hopes that the new Republican administration will seek and shape a fresh and more prudent security agenda towards both Asia-Pacific and South Asia, which can make the nuclear-armed region more stable and less conflict-prone. It should include a comprehensive review of the U.S. policy towards South Asia and a fresh approach based on supporting a robust composite dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad, sustainable cooperation with Pakistan in its efforts to defeat terrorism and stabilize Afghanistan, and supporting simultaneous NSG membership for both Pakistan and India. This new security agenda will enable the Republican administration to devote its attention, energies, resources and capabilities towards more urgent and graver challenges to the U.S. national security such as terrorism, ISIS, managing relations with China and Russia and putting its own house in order. Like always, ignoring Pakistan instead of working with it, will harm and not improve U.S. long-term national security interests both regionally and globally.

 

The writer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

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09
January

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

The global strategic chessboard would remain complex in 2017. The conversion in the global strategic environment continues. The transition in the global politics appeases the dynamical forces and alarms the status quo legatees. Professing about the developments in 2017 necessitates both the prerequisite of the understanding of the theories of international relations and proper awareness of the tangible developments in the international and regional affairs during the recent past. The following discussion precisely mirrors prospective developments at the 2017 global strategic chessboard in general and South Asian strategic environment in particular. The discussion is limited in scope because it focuses only on those issues which would be having impact on Pakistan’s external relations.


The nuclear weapons will not lose their significance in the strategic policies of the nuclear weapon states in 2017. The vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons would continue. It was reported that United States was going to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. Washington’s modernization plan included the development of more-reliable and more-accurate missile systems, aircraft, and submarines, as well as replacing existing nuclear warheads. Therefore, it is planning to spend about $1 trillion for modernizing its nuclear weapons over 30 years. The advancement of the American nuclear arsenal would reignite an arms competition or have a chain reaction entailing lethal vertical proliferation. The trends indicate that Russians would invest immensely in their nuclear capable delivery system to defy the Americans’ ballistic missile defence system. Importantly, the United States missile defence program would be having decisive effects on the global and regional powers’ military arrangements.


The strategic competition between India and Pakistan would sustain nuclear arms’ race in South Asia. The trends indicate that both New Delhi and Islamabad would advance their nuclear capable delivery vehicles, such as ballistic and cruise missiles. The new inventory of nuclear weapons and New Delhi’s mega investment in the procurement of conventional weapons from the advanced military industrial complexes necessitate the transformation in the nuclear doctrines of both India and Pakistan. Since the tests of Pakistani battlefield NASR missile and Indian Prahaar (both are cataloged as tactical nuclear weapons) in 2011, the Indian strategic pundits have been debating the relevance of ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear policy and strategy of ‘massive retaliation’. Many Indian strategic analysts have a consensus that the introduction of tactical weapons in both states’ arsenals obliges refurbishing of India’s nuclear doctrine. During the 2014 general elections, BJP leadership committed that it would “study in detail India's nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”. The Indian strategic discourse, however, received serious attention from the international security analysts after the statement of the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on November 10, 2016, i.e., “India should not bind itself to a 'no first use policy’ on nuclear weapons”. He added: “Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking”. Perhaps, New Delhi is going to revamp its nuclear doctrine. Though the shift in India’s nuclear doctrine would not be having much impact on Pakistan’s current nuclear posture, yet it demands vigilance from the Pakistani strategic enclave. Indeed, Islamabad needs to constantly invest, without getting trapped in arms race, in sustaining the credibility of its full-spectrum deterrence capability.

 

The Kashmiris will be sustaining their freedom movement in the Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2017, which will have a frustrating impact on Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist associates. Instead of addressing the Kashmiris’ legitimate concerns, they will continue to accuse Pakistan. They seem convinced that warmongering would frighten Pakistanis and they would stop assisting Kashmiris politically and diplomatically. Though, it is their wishful thinking, yet it has potential to escalate the conflict at the Line of Control between the two nuclear-armed belligerent neighbours. The best option for Pakistan to save Kashmiri lives from the Indian armed forces’ brutal atrocities is to approach the United Nations Security Council formally to: investigate and condemn India’s human rights violations in Kashmir; call for a halt to Indian violations of the LoC ceasefire; and agree on steps to implement the Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the nuclear non-proliferation regime is in a state of inertia. Indo-U.S. nuclear deal in 2005 and subsequent amendment in the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to accommodate India and above all Nuclear Suppliers Group’s India specific wavier on September 6, 2008 (India’s immunity from comprehensive international safeguards as a condition of nuclear trade) had eroded the regime’s credibility. Nothing much is expected in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in the near future. United States and its likeminded states, including India’s stance on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and other core items of CD and Islamabad’s principle stance on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, endure the existing stalemate in the CD at Geneva, Switzerland. Both India and Pakistan neither join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor sign the draft of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Islamabad and New Delhi would maintain their previous stance in the Conference on Disarmament, whose first session will commence from January 23, 2017 to March 31, 2017. Despite, their identical stance at the CD, New Delhi and Islamabad will vigorously pursue the full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2017. The biggest obstacle in the entry into the group of non-NPT member states is India and its western allies including United States, which are not ready to accept ‘non-discriminatory, criteria-based approach’ while admitting a new member in the club. Such a stubborn, unjustifiable attitude might wear away almost five decades of international consensus on nuclear proliferation.


Since the United States presidential election on November 8, 2016, security analysts have been making guesses about the Trump Administration’s strategic policy. They seem anxious to hear the State of the Union speech of President Donald Trump, which is scheduled in January 2017. Because, during the campaign candidate Trump had paid little attention to the strategic issues United States is currently confronting. Nevertheless, the realistic fact is that Trump Administration would not depart from President Obama’s legacy, straight away. Therefore, the new American administration will continue to fight radical terrorist groups in Middle East and Afghanistan and will also remain engaged in resolving the civil war in Syria, Libya, etc. Though United States is a pre-eminent power in global politics, yet its worldview seems to be lacking support and thereby it could probably be challenged in a few regions of the world in 2017. The developments in Asia-Pacific and Europe would be decisive in the formulation of Trump Administration’s military strategy and framing of new strategic alliances.

 

The emerging strategic competition at the strategic chessboard immensely influences the developments in the South Asian strategic environment in 2017. Washington’s cementing strategic partnership with India to check Chinese rise in Asia directly would affect the national security of Pakistan in particular and other regional actors in general.

The sustainability of the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership is significant for both the regional and global strategic chessboards. The general impression is that India’s economic potential is the primary determinant of Washington and New Delhi’s cordial relationship. The critical examination of their bilateral agreements highlights that India is very significant in United States’ military calculations. On December 8, 2016, during his visit to New Delhi, United States Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter signed an agreement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar to declare India as a major defence partner of the United States. Being a major defence partner, India is qualified to receive not only military equipment, but also defence technology. In simple words, the major defence partner agreement ensures uninterrupted defence trade and transfer of sophisticated military technology to India. Perhaps, the American Military Industrial Complex would be the major beneficiary of India’s military shopping spree. Indo-U.S. strategic partnership may receive positive trajectory in 2017. Conversely, Pakistan and United States may continue their bilateral strategic dialogue, but the developments are not favourable for both the states’ cordial relations in 2017. The latter’s strong inclination towards India alarms the former. Many analysts acknowledge probability of the worst-case scenario, i.e., the likelihood of American sanctions.


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project’s early harvest schemes would be near completion in late 2017. Indeed, improved connectivity and better infrastructure would attract investment from the neighbouring countries, such as Iran, Russian Federation, etc. At the same time, Premier Modi is likely to continue his diplomatic and military efforts to subvert the CPEC. Therefore, one can expect Indian intelligence agency RAW’s clandestine support to the radicalized militant groups for conducting terrorist attacks within Pakistan. Hence, Balochistan would remain vulnerable to RAW-sponsored terrorist groups’ nefarious activities during 2017. Though Government of Pakistan has already announced and executed preventive/defencive apparatus, yet the threat demands more countermeasures.


Russian Federation has been increasing its engagement with Pakistan and other regional actors. On December 14, 2016, Pakistan and Russia held their first consultation on regional issues at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. The Russian side was led by Alexander V. Sternik, Head of the Third CIS Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia while the Pakistani side was led by Ahmad Hussain Dayo, Director General (West Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This meeting indicates the convergence of interest between Islamabad and Moscow on the regional issues. For instance, Pakistan, Russia and China share common concerns in Afghanistan such as the threat of Daesh, terrorism and narcotics. On December 17, 2016, in an interview on Radio Pakistan, Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y. Dedov highlighted that CPEC is an important project for regional connectivity. He also stated that ‘CPEC is a component of China’s Silk Road and Russia was also working on a similar Eurasian Economic Union’. It was reported that Moscow and Beijing are holding discussions to merge the CPEC and Eurasian Economic Union. The merger of these projects certainly enhances the vitality of CPEC as well as Gwadar port.


Russian Federation is also in contact with the Afghan Taliban. Kabul protested and demanded Moscow to end its contacts with Taliban. Russian Ambassador in Kabul, Alexander Mantytskiy defended Moscow’s outreach to Taliban in December, 2016. While appearing before the Afghan parliament’s upper house, the Ambassador stated that if U.S., Britain, Italy, Qatar and Saudi Arabia maintain contacts with them then why is it an issue if “we are also talking to them”. He added: “Our limited contacts are aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table and to ensuring the safety of Russian citizens”. The Russians believe that Taliban is a legitimate interlocutor for peace in Afghanistan and it can only check the rise of Daesh/Islamic State in the country. The increasing role of Russians in Afghanistan alarms the Americans and their NATO partners.


Prime Minister Modi and President Ghani have launched an aggressive campaign to malign and isolate Pakistan since 2015. They accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in their respective countries during the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, India in December 2016. President Ghani stated that Pakistan has been supporting insurgency in Afghanistan and thereby he rejected Pakistan’s offer of $500 million in economic assistance. On December 4, 2016, while addressing the Heart of Asia conference, the Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan criticism on Pakistan. Nevertheless, the trends indicate that New Delhi continues to spoil Islamabad-Kabul relations. In addition, the Indian intelligence agency RAW with the connivance of its Afghan counterpart would endeavour to ruin the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.


The current intifada (uprising) in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, which started due to the martyrdom of a 22 year old pro-freedom Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016 continues in the following months. Concurrently, Indian military atrocities are bleeding the innocent Kashmiris. Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist cohorts would not succeed in quashing the intifada and thereby they maintain tension at the Line of Control and Working Boundary. Islamabad, which is a legitimate party to the conflict, is trying to draw the attention of the international community towards the atrocities of the Indian forces in Kashmir. Conversely, India is using its hard and soft power to punish Pakistan for politically and diplomatically supporting the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination.


The Indian ruling elite’s warmongering would continue in the first-half of 2017. Hence, there are inconsequential possibilities for the restart of a dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi till the completion of elections in the four Indian states, i.e., Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Manipur. The increasing mistrust certainly alarms about the escalation of the conflict between the nuclear armed belligerent neighbours. Perhaps, Premier Modi’s tactics (such as use of force at Line of Control, warmongering, sponsoring terrorist activities to bleed innocent Pakistanis and reiterating to isolate Pakistan, etc.) to coerce the Government of Pakistan and also muster the support of the Hindu fundamentalists in the forthcoming elections in aforementioned states is immensely risky. It could lead to the unthinkable – a nuclear clash between India and Pakistan. The Indian strategic pundits, military industrial complex’s profiteers and above all Indian military establishment would use the current tension between India and Pakistan to increase India’s 2017-18 defence budget. The international community, the big powers, international institutions, including the United Nations, would remain apathetic during 2017 from the deteriorating South Asian strategic environment. Precisely, the international community seems least interested in easing the current tension between Pakistan and India.


The Kashmiris will be sustaining their freedom movement in the Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2017, which will have a frustrating impact on Premier Modi and his Hindu fundamentalist associates. Instead of addressing the Kashmiris’ legitimate concerns, they will continue to accuse Pakistan. They seem convinced that warmongering would frighten Pakistanis and they would stop assisting Kashmiris politically and diplomatically. Though, it is their wishful thinking, yet it has potential to escalate the conflict at the Line of Control between the two nuclear-armed belligerent neighbours. The best option for Pakistan to save Kashmiri lives from the Indian armed forces’ brutal atrocities is to approach the United Nations Security Council formally to: investigate and condemn India’s human rights violations in Kashmir; call for a halt to Indian violations of the LoC ceasefire; and agree on steps to implement the Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, Islamabad’s formal approach to the United Nations Security Council definitely enrages Premier Modi. Consequently, the Indian armed forces will increase fire along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and target Pakistani civilians living near India-Pakistan border. The response of the Pakistani border forces may result in Indian aggression inside Pakistan. Hence, strategic vigilance and investment in solidifying defencive fence is imperative to hinder India’s military adventurism.


To conclude, the preceding discussion underscores that the emerging strategic competition at the strategic chessboard immensely influences the developments in the South Asian strategic environment in 2017. Washington’s cementing strategic partnership with India to check Chinese rise in Asia directly would affect the national security of Pakistan in particular and other regional actors in general. Therefore, the likely transformation at the strategic chessboard obliges Islamabad to be vigilant and prepared to revamp its foreign policy to guard as well as pursue its objectives in the anarchical international society.

 

The writer is Associate Professor at School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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09
January

Written By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali

How do we measure our country sixty-eight years down the road since its creation? It will be unfair to state that Pakistan is a near-failed state as many political pundits are fond of saying. At the time of creation of Pakistan even the socks of our army jawans were made in England, Pakistan having not one factory to produce them. It was such an underdeveloped country that there was nowhere to go but up! Industries boomed, production of goods of all kinds went up and up. In 1960s the country was viewed as a model for other developing nations to follow. Upon the inception of the country, Pakistan did not boast of institutions, personnel and the resources that were intrinsic to put the country on the road to development. Pakistan fought against all odds. The one thread of inconsistency that had led to a ‘two step forward, one step back’ status for the country, was a completely diametrical approach of how to run the country by successive leaders. In Bhutto’s regime, the focus was more on nationalization of companies, immediately after, Zia’s eleven years focused on private enterprises to achieve the set targets. The problem all these individualized policies created for Pakistan was a mix of many at odds with others. In spite of different leaders trying to put their own brand’s stamp on Pakistan, on May 28, 1998, Pakistan became a nuclear power when it successfully carried out five nuclear tests at Chagai, in the province of Balochistan.


Without question, the creation of Pakistan has shaped the mindsets and the institutions not just in Pakistan but also in India. The open sore of Kashmir has never allowed both nations to enjoy neighbourly good relations with each other. If Pakistan’s policies have been ‘India-centric’, India’s have been ‘Pakistan-centric.’ Kashmir has always loomed like a dark shadow over any bilateral relations both may have sought to have. There have been baby steps over time to move towards a relatively normal relationship, however, the core issue of Kashmir remained unsolved due to Indian obduracy – making the process circular in nature.


In spite of this issue that has unquestionably had a far from welcome impact on Pakistan’s policies may those be foreign, trade or others, Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potential. The country is located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East and is thus at the fulcrum of a regional market with a vast population, large and diverse resources, and untapped potential for trade.1 The same World Bank report goes on to state: ‘According to official statistics, Pakistan has made substantial progress in reducing poverty. The Government of Pakistan has recently adopted a revised poverty line. Using the revised poverty line, the headcount poverty rate has declined from 64.3 percent in FY01/02 to 29.5 percent in FY13/14. The number of people around the poverty line remains high, which results in significant vulnerability to poverty. This steady decline in poverty has occurred despite periods of moderate growth. Growth incidence curves illustrate the pro-poor nature of Pakistan’s growth with consumption of the poorest growing faster than mean consumption.2


Pakistan and U.S. relations are at an all-time low. Things do not seem rosy with Trump’s in-coming administration, considering Tariq Fatemi’s futile visit to U.S. cooling his heels to be granted audience with any senior official of the new Trump administration. Interestingly, Daniel Runde writing for Forbes states that: “Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story. I recently spent time in-country listening to a wide range of perspectives and I am convinced that U.S. policymakers and business leaders need to look at Pakistan beyond the security lens. Getting our relationship right will require deeper thinking and action on issues around trade and investment, education, and broader economic development. The United States ought to be Pakistan’s preferred partner given its 70-year relationship. But in order to participate in the upside of the Pakistan story, the United States will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner.”3


Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism. The porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the instability within and Indian role in sharing the degree of instability in Pakistan puts greater pressure to focus on cleansing members of banned outfits and handle the destabilizing factors. Zarb-e-Azb has been a phenomenal success under General (R) Raheel Shareef. In July 2016, John McCain led a four member high powered delegation including Senator Joseph Donnelly, Senator Benjamin Sasse and Senator Lindsey Graham, who visited the tribal agency infiltrated by Taliban and their foreign supporters till Zarb-e-Azb was launched in June 2014 to effectively squash their heads. “During his visit to North Waziristan Agency on Sunday he [McCain] praised Pakistan’s ‘enormous successes’ in its counterterrorism campaign, saying he was “very impressed with the progress [on the ground]”. Commander-designate U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lt Gen John Nicholson, had said in a written response to a question by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, “The military operation being carried out by Pakistan’s Army in the tribal region is critical to defeating terrorism”. The exit of Gen (R) Raheel Shareef in a given physical time took care of one phase of operations. Gen Bajwa takes over at a second phase; that of consolidating the gains made by his predecessor in North Waziristan and other areas will be his first challenge. This phase must be consolidated with implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) – the steps that the civil government must accomplish. Without this, military operations can be viewed as temporary relief only.


Upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is seen as a game changer. The government understands the need to clamp down on terrorist activities to make the project a success. So does the military. It is mandatory for a successful CPEC to have peace within Pakistan. Soon after the inauguration of the project during President Xi’s visit the military had announced setting up a 10,000-strong special force for safeguarding the projects under the CPEC, not only during the construction phase but also during the later fully operational stage. The force also aims to give protection to the Chinese workers associated with them.


CPEC promises great potential for the whole region, not just for a progressive Pakistan; economic development not just for Gwadar but also setting up of huge infrastructure to positively inject all areas the route passes through. With various developmental projects including industries, educational institutes, airports, ports and shipping infrastructures, rail links and upgradation of Mainline 1 (ML-I), also the establishment of New Dry Port at Havelian (Buldhair) District Haripur under CPEC. It is an extremely ambitious project that aims to involve many countries to invest and derive benefits from a well-planned and a well laid out transit line. Impressive progress has already been made including advanced civil work progress of Sahiwal’s 2x660MW Coal-fired Power Plant; detailed design of mining under progress for a surface mine in Block II of Thar Coal field, 6.5 metric ton per annum (mtpa); the HUBCO Coal Power Plant 1X660 MW, Hub Balochistan. The list is long and work is underway to make CPEC in totality with the envisaged projects as soon as possible.


In politics, ground realities can change pretty fast. Economics drive policies – generally speaking. Iranian President Rouhani met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on sidelines of UNGA with a wish for Iran to join CPEC. Following Iran and Turkmenistan, Russia has also decided to use the Gwadar Port for trade to have an access to warm waters. In addition, Russia aspires to develop strategic defence ties with Pakistan. Islamabad has responded positively allowing Russian use of Gwadar Port for trade. During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s two day visit to Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow, disregarding the protocol, came to his hotel to have a meeting with him. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced building railways, road and fiber-optics along with Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India (TAPI) 1,680-kilometer-long gas pipeline to enhance connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia for the benefit of about half of the world population living in this part of the world. (The News, Nov 26, 2016)


In the field of sports, Pakistanis adore cricket. In August 2016, Pakistan was jubilant when its Test Team bagged number one place in the ICC Test rankings. This was the second time in the history of Pakistan’s cricket that it clinched the number one slot. The first time Pakistan’s Test Team made it to the top was twenty eight years ago.


In spite of the hiccups and many challenges, Pakistan has recently made many right moves. However, for a turnaround to take place and the upcoming time to become more purposeful and productive, we need continuous national determination to address the issues plaguing our state and society.

 

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.’

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

She tweets at @yasmeen_9

 

1 The World Bank; Pakistan Overview; www.worldbank.org, (accessed May 17, 2016).

2 Ibid.

3 Forbes Magazine; Daniel Runde, Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story? ; August 3, 2015.

 
09
January

Written By: Amir Atta

”I want to be a spy”. That is what everyone dreams about when they are younger. To become a war hero or at least like a spy who uses futuristic gadgets. With the advancement in technology, these spy gadgets are now a reality. Some can be easily procured while others are still years away from reaching the masses. Let us take a sneak-peak into the world of spies with gadgets that are either made for the average user or for espionage and military use.

Industry Level Gadgets

These are meant to spy on commercial rivals, enemy countries, or by intelligence agencies for monitoring. Being industry exclusive, these tools cannot be found in the market. Rather, these might not even be available for years to come, all due to obvious reasons.

 

Cellular Surveillance Device

celularser.jpgAmong the recently leaked information published by “The Intercept”, there were details about a Cobham (British manufacturing company) project. This project includes development of tools for wide scale public monitoring and espionage. One of the most notable devices is a cellular surveillance device. It is an interception device with the ability to pose as four base stations simultaneously. This means it can pretend to be four different mobile operators or four base stations from the same operator.

 

It can monitor up to four calls at a time and the operational distance is up to 2 km for 3G and much greater for 2G networks. These devices can identify the target phone at a rate of 200 devices per minute. This sort of device is portable and called 3G-N. It can cause wide cellular blackouts and can be used for bulk data collections. All of this can be controlled via a laptop. Other than that, Cobham manufactures a cellular antenna like device with huge output power, a handheld device to control target phones or to shut off signals to a device and a couple of handheld devices which can be used to track anyone while on the go. It is, shocking and scary. Probably all governments have similar technologies by now.

 

Quantum Stealth Camouflage

quantemstealth.jpgThis may seem like an idea from a far off futuristic science fiction movie; a suit that renders the wearer completely invisible to not only the naked eye, but also infrared, night vision and thermal vision to the point that even the wearer’s shadow is invisible. It is currently being developed in Canada by Biotechnology Corp and has the full support of the U.S. government and the Canadian government. Quantum Stealth is a material that makes the wearer completely invisible by bending light waves around the target, it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

 

Prototypes were displayed a few years ago, so the final product might already be completed. It is mainly aimed at use for fighter pilots that have to land in hostile territory but its practical uses may be limitless. From corporate espionage to breaching otherwise impassable borders, once completed, will be an indispensable asset to the bearer of the technology.

 

SPY ROCK

spyrock.jpgIf you thought the stone age was gone, you might be “slightly” wrong. It seems rocks are the next big thing in military espionage. And the armies won’t be throwing them at each other, instead, these will be used to snoop on the enemy.

Association of United State Army (AUSA) meeting held the secret announcement of a new surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network). It is so small and covert that this wireless sensor network can be used inside rocks. It is being said that the technology can provide maximum coverage at small costs. Initial reports say that the sensors can remain in the battlefield for years as they won’t need any maintenance. These rocks will be powered by solar technology. This technology might be sold to countries around the world (an easy way to spy maybe) since the final technology is almost ready to go. All they need is a war to try it out.

 

Hybrid Insects

hybridinsect.jpgHybrid Insects may seem like a cross bred species of insects, but is actually a project of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a part of the U.S. Department of Defence. The idea is to be able to create machine-like insects, not simply miniscule robots, but actual living organisms indistinguishable from other insects that can be remotely controlled. This is done by placing micro-mechanical systems inside the target insect during infancy (metamorphosis stage), turning them into a cyborg-like creature.

 

The aim is to be able to access heavily guarded areas to access information or even locate targets. Another viable application is surveillance; remotely using the insect to monitor the actions of any target while staying undetectable, as no security system in the world is capable of locating and dealing with insects. The project is past the theoretical stage with actual control over the movement of the target insect.

 

Photonic Disruptor

photoniuc.jpgIf there is one thing everyone fascinated with, it’s lasers. Laser weapons have become so advanced that they can now be used for law enforcement by common police officers. While the current lasers for the police aren’t strong enough to cut someone’s arm, they can still be used as a distraction or for self-defence. They are intended for military and law enforcement use only. The laser beams aren’t strong enough to cause any permanent damage but can be used to disable the target’s eyes for a certain amount of time and even cause dizziness. We already know that the U.S. military owns large scale laser weapons. This, however, isn’t meant for that sort of use, hence, residing in the spy gadgets category.

 

CONSUMER LEVEL

There are some consumer level spy gadgets as well. These tools or gadgets are easily available in markets and anyone can use them to make their life more adventurous.

SPY PEN

spypin.jpgThe prospect that a pen can house a full HD mini camera is alarming as much as it is amazing. It is something you would expect James Bond to have. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you are the victim), it is now possible for everyone to have one. These pens make use of a small sensor capable of making good quality videos. There’s even internal storage, USB support and sometimes even micro SD card support so you don’t run out of space when recording.

 

It is something investigative journalists use these days to apprehend criminals red-handed with undeniable evidence. Of course, other uses are for recording events without letting others know. These pens are cheap and available at most gadget stores throughout the world.

 

Book Safe

booksafe.jpgIn the movie “From Russia With Love” A Soviet spy manages to hide his weapons inside a book titled Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. You won’t necessarily have the same thing with this similar looking gadget, though it is indeed a possibility. The faux book basically holds a compartment for the user to hide their precious items. There’s no technology involved.

This plain old book can be useful for hiding precious items, keeping secrets or storing weapons. The real looking enclosure will always look like a book to the onlookers.These faux books are available for around $10 and can be easily acquired from gadget stores.

 

Cell Jammer

celljammer.jpgIf one intends to spy, disrupting their target’s communication might be an important part of the mission. With so much wireless communication going on, it is difficult to prevent remote monitoring and other similar activity. That is where a cell jammer comes in. Whether it is 2G, 3G, 4G or GPS communication, a cell jammer can disrupt the signals making these communication methods worthless. While these devices have been around for a long time, nowadays you can disrupt signals by only using a handheld device with the press of a button. These devices send out random signals over the aforementioned communication frequencies and nullify the signals. These devices have a limited range though; being handheld means the working radius is pretty small and the active duration is quite limited. Cell jammers can be bought but are illegal in most countries.

 

GPS Tracker

gpstracker.jpgIt is now easily possible to find out where the target is in real-time. While this wasn’t so common in old spy movies, the current advancements have made it possible to track even pet animals.

 

GPS trackers come in all shapes and sizes. Hide them in clothes, attach them to a car, put them in a purse, you name it, they have it. All these trackers need is a couple of batteries and they are good to go. If you get one with a SIM card you can even track the target in real-time. Otherwise, you will have to access the tracker and transfer the log to your PC. Prices vary depending on the features available i.e., battery operated, 3G support, size, etc.

 

Wallet Lockpick

walletlock.jpgWhat is a spy who doesn’t go to places where he isn’t supposed to go? Of course, that means accessing places and locks. Shomer-Tec has advanced the Locksmith’s art of creating keys by producing a stealthy item that can be easily hidden inside a wallet and can be used to pick locks. The “Access Card” is a stainless steel sheet with a quartet of lockpicks punched out. You can simply snap one out of the card, use it and discard it. You get a feeler pick, a ball pick, a diamond pick, a hybrid pick and a tension wrench. Despite being thin, these pins are quite resilient and can take on some force without getting damaged. They can even be used to uncuff oneself.

 

The writer is a Data Network expert. He is the founder and CEO of ProPakistani.pk

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09
January

Written By: Samina Rizwan

In September 1965, Squadron Leader Rais Ahmad Rafi commanded No. 8 Squadron and lived with his wife and two children, my brother and I, at PAF Station, Mauripur, Karachi (now PAF Base Masroor). I must have been an exceptionally bright four year-old because, defying biological impossibility, I remember!


As the bombardiers took off every night with Abbi (my father) at their helm, a gaggle of women with all sizes of children in tow would gather in one flat, I think Uncle Bey’s, to collectively pray for a successful mission and the bombers’ safe return. Uncle Bey was probably from admin branch and tasked to look after the families, a responsibility he did not take lightly. Shotgun in hand, he would patrol the family compound every hour (later, Abbi and he would laugh about this for many years), then step into the flat, take a cup of tea and exchange words of encouragement with the women before heading for his rounds again. Uncle Bey’s flat was probably unsafe. As per SOPs, he should have been directing us to the trenches recently dug by the MES “fatigue” alongside the family barracks. But every night, even before the hooter shrieked, he and Auntie would throw the doors to their modest flat open and everyone would file in.

 

thesepofmy.jpg

Uncle Bey knew his wards, “Bhabhi-ji and Beta-ji” all, preferred companionship over safety and he was not about to withhold compassionate hospitality just to fulfill SOPs. There would be rounds of tea, constant prayer, and a slumber party adventure for the children... all by candle light for fear the enemy may spot a lit bulb and attack. I remember being loved by many mothers and playing with many brothers and sisters. Against the surreal harmony of soft sobs and loud Allah-o-Akbars, a vague recollection of President Ayub Khan’s resonant voice over radio rekindles in me a child’s fear that her mother may be the one crying, and that could not be good. I remember searching Ammi’s face for signs of despair but never finding any. Ammi never cried, at least not in my presence. During those seventeen most dangerous days and nights of my life, I felt as secure as ever a child could because my mother’s demeanor conveyed courage and confidence and I internalized both. Of course, all was not well, and in the wee hours of the morning, as slumber overtook exhausted children, our mothers would count the sounds of load-lightened bombers landing not far away. “Yah Allah, Aaj do kum hain” (O’God, two are less today!) one of them would say. Stoically, those brave women would step out of dear Uncle Bey’s flat and head for home to await their fate.

 

Come September again, I hope to be sitting with my siblings, our children and grandchildren, telling them stories of those fateful seventeen days when I was introduced to courage under fire by the most dashing and graceful of all couples, a Pakistan Air Force pilot and his wife.

Every morning, upon his return from a mission, Abbi would mumble something to Ammi and, after putting Haroon and I to bed to catch up on missed sleep, they would both leave. I didn’t know then, but they would be headed to the homes of a pilot and a navigator (they went in twos, on B-57s) to break unbearable news. Their loved ones would not be returning home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that, sometimes, dads go away forever although I did not understand how the choice was made. Surely there was some formula, otherwise why would Abbi return home and Uncle Alam Siddiqui not? In the following years, my parents would recall their difficult assignment, as Squadron Commander and wife, of being daily bearers of bad news. Ammi said it was exhausting and she felt drained. Abbi remembered that he remained high spirited through missions but the moment his aircraft touched down safely, he would feel a weight descend upon him so heavy that he could barely unharness himself and alight. Many times he wished someone was carrying his news rather than vice versa, so he said. The bomber squadrons of Mauripur suffered heavy casualties in 1965 and were awarded equally generously. Abbi wore his Sitara-e-Jurrat with pride but also with tremendous humility, in memory of his lost air comrades. My parents never forgot the heavy price their community paid for the defence of our land.

 

thesepofmy1.jpgMany of my September recollections are in fact accounts etched in my memory by my storytelling father. I don’t directly remember them, but I carry them in the tradition of tales told by one generation to another. Abbi loved to tell stories and I would rather do nothing than listen spellbound. Later, my siblings joined the audience, but I admit that I consider myself a privileged patron. I am responsible for imparting these precious jewels to our children, and I do so with utmost detail, as accurately as possible – as told to me by the air warrior himself.


While nights were devoid of normalcy, days were almost routine. Abbi slept a lot, but we would often climb into the Beatle and head out to town for a meal. South China Restaurant, Beach Luxury Hotel, Chandni Lounge at Intercontinental and Salatin’s were Abbi’s favourite eateries. Our Karachi ended at Karsaz and the best of it existed around Victoria and McLeod Roads, Elphinstone Street and Saddar (Today’s Karachiites will have difficulty wrapping their heads around this). Ammi had no preferences and other than enforcing drill sergeant like discipline 24/7, she was quite satisfied to let Abbi and I haggle over choice of venue. Abbi would let me win often but regardless of where we finally settled, I recall that the restaurant management would refuse to let Abbi pay the bill. We were regulars, they knew us well. They also knew that Abbi was flying nightly missions. It was their way of thanking him.

 

The last time my father broke the news of a slain air warrior, with Ammi by his side, was to me about my Shaheed (martyred) husband. “I had all the practice I needed”, he told me years later when we had supposedly reconciled with our loss, “But the weight that descended upon me was heavier than ever.

The officers of No. 8 Squadron had a favourite pastime. Every evening, I presume at the outset or conclusion of their mission briefing, they would decide what songs would be good accompaniment to take-offs. A junior officer would be charged with calling Radio Pakistan to request a particular “milli naghma”. I believe Radio Pakistan transmitted live in ‘65, so I have no idea how this was executed, but Abbi insisted that Madam Noor Jahan came to Lahore radio station and sang “Ae watan ke sajeeley jawano” when he conveyed a “farmaish”. Abbi was given to embellishment and drama no doubt, but others have confirmed that not only the great lady, but Mehdi Hassan with “Apni jaan nazar karun” and the inimitable Alam Lohar with Abbi’s favorite “Jugni” also obliged. Indeed, Abbi had in his substantial music collection, all on looped tapes, a recording of Noor Jahan saying “Yeh merey shaheenon ke liye…” and launching into the goose-bump inducing “Ae puttar hataan te naeen vikde”. Abbi flew many a mission listening to “Jugni javari hal warey” before his bomber would cross the border and the airwaves would be silenced.


At the end of September, many of my friends left Mauripur or moved into alternate living quarters. They had lost their fathers. Their mothers either started working or they were all taken away, into the “civilian” world, to live with grand parents. The same happened in 1971 when yet more friends lost their fathers. Many years later, in 2003, it happened to us, my children and I. The last time my father broke the news of a slain air warrior, with Ammi by his side, was to me about my Shaheed (martyred) husband. “I had all the practice I needed”, he told me years later when we had supposedly reconciled with our loss, “But the weight that descended upon me was heavier than ever. I truly wished it was he carrying the news about me, rather than me telling you about him”. He could never quite recall how he did it or what he said, but I remember.

 

February 20th, 2003:
Abbi, on the phone with me as I am on a work assignment in Karachi, the first time I am speaking to him since the crash. “Samina, you are a Ghazi’s daughter, now a Shaheed’s wife. There are very few in this world like you. Be proud. Shahadat Mubarak.” When stressed, Abbi resorts to my full name instead of the more endearing “Seemi”. I can hear the tremor in his voice.


Ammi, as I step out of the car and walk into my unrecognizable home filled with a sea of concerned faces. “Aap meri bahadur beti hain, himmat ke saath… acha beta… Razi ko sharminda nahin karna” (You are our brave daughter, be courageous, my darling... do not let Razi be embarrassed by your loss of heart...), forever the disciplinarian, Ammi is trying desperately to hold back her tears. It is not working.


The resolute courage of my community, air warriors and their wives, has reverberated around me all of my life. I was baptized with it in September 1965, retaining memories while nearly all other, unrelated ones of that age are forgotten. Perhaps I was being prepared for my fate, as if some divine power felt compassion and decided to ease me into my tragedy so that I would be spared trauma. It almost worked.
Come September again, I hope to be sitting with my siblings, our children and grandchildren, telling them stories of those fateful seventeen days when I was introduced to courage under fire by the most dashing and graceful of all couples, a Pakistan Air Force pilot and his wife.

 

The writer is wife of Air Commodore (Shaheed) Raja Rizwan Ullah Khan (T.bt.)

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

 
09
January

Written By: Capt Ali Raza

The day you enter the prestigious Quaid Gate, you are basically airborne on a skydive to an unknown destination at least for the next two years. You never know where this journey is going to take you, but thrill, adventure and memories accompany you for the rest of your life. In my case this has been the story so far. On entering the Cradle of Leadership I could never have imagined where this journey would take me. And that ultimately, I would climb up the historical Old College Steps of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst to commission in Pakistan Army.


My recollections of PMA are rich, full of memories and thrill. The First Term is the never-ending (punishment) term in which many cadets wish to run away from the academy. During those zero days of never-ending nights and chilly winds of Kakul, Sergeants and Corporals were an integral and lethal part of my first term, as in every cadet's life. I had the opportunity to have the best people as my Directing Staff, either it was the corporal, sergeant or platoon commander. The Second Term passed the fastest in the amalgam of boxing, exercise Yarmuk and a number of other activities. Time flew and before we knew it, the Third Term started and we were there for the reception of 132 Long Course just as our corporals had been exactly a year back. Being a corporal was quite challenging and a learning experience. Alongside this responsibility the cat and mouse game between us and our seniors kept us busy. Field exercise TM Raiders and Panipat flew by.

 

 

frompmarma.jpg

The selection test for Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and Royal Military College, Duntroon, Australia started. In few days, we underwent various tests to fulfil the selection criteria such as physical tests, assault course, rappelling, extempore speeches and many others. The top 50 cadets of our course started off with the tests initially and only 13 of us were left after panel interviews and finalization of merit list. Interview with the Commandant PMA was the next step which went quite well. And a week later we were jumping with excitement on hearing the news of going to GHQ, Rawalpindi for interview with the Inspector General Training and Evaluation (IGT&E). Eight of us got interviewed and it was a big day for all of us. With our fingers crossed we headed back to the academy. A few silent days passed by without any news. Then one day a platoon mate came rushing to me and conveyed the news of my selection for Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. It felt like a dream coming true. Two other cadets got selected for RMC. The moment was inexpressible and there was an air of jubilation in our halls of study. The memories of pre-departure formalities and my final few days at PMA are very vague as time seemed to rush past.


Being amongst the finest people from the top armies of the world was a different experience altogether. The descent from being the senior-most at PMA to the junior-most at RMA felt like a jolt at first. But as they say, "No pain, no gain". From Aurangzeb-1 at PMA to 14 Platoon of Gaza Company, I had definitely come a long way. First Term was all about soldiering the basic skills in barracks and field. Soon I felt the importance of PMA chachas (room bearers), who were dodgy at times but mostly useful. From polishing shoes to ironing clothes, Skype was my buddy throughout this time. The weekends in London were full of enjoyment and we waited eagerly for those. Week ‘one to five’ of junior term were quite busy due to strenuous routine, however, it eased with the passage of time. Being part of the academy cricket team earned me a few extra privileges as well. Life in barracks at Sandhurst was quite relaxed and comfortable, however, field exercises were the great adventure! Every now and then we used to be out in the field for some field exercise for days and even weeks.

 

frompmarma1.jpgFrom temperature dropping below zero degree celsius to day-long attacks fused with CBRN1 effects made our beds back in the barracks dearer to us than anything else. Most of our exercises were conducted in Brecon (Wales) which is commonly known as 'Hell on Earth' among the cadets. The black mountains of Brecon combined with the wet weather and soggy fields made those more arduous. The ‘Junior Term’ exercises consisted of basic platoon and section level attacks. ‘First Term’ came to an end with the Sovereign’s Parade. I made trips to Blackburn and Oxford on long-weekends as well. ‘Intermediate Term’ was waiting for us as we returned back to the academy. Getting back to work is always difficult, however, PMA had moulded us well. The next strenuous task was Exercise First Encounter which is termed as Exercise Yarmuk by Pakistani cadets at Sandhurst. With 72 hours of non-stop digging combined with sleepless nights, it brought us back to the early days of PMA. Preparing field defences with an offensive spirit was the main theme of this field exercise. However, with unwavering determination it went by quickly and soon we were back in the camp.


Faraday Five was soon to follow which was basically five long weeks of academics and routine work in the academy. PowerPoint presentations and case studies kept us busy at the camp. I took up squash as my sport and soon became part of the academy team. Another field exercise consisting of urban operations came by which was quite a learning experience. Next to follow was our trip to France and the famous beaches of Normandy and Gold Beach. It was good fun combined with the thrilling experience of revisiting World War sites. After returning from France, drill competition and log race competitions were held. We couldn’t do very well as a platoon, however, it brought back the memories of RDS and PMA drill staff. The experience with drill staff at PMA is inexplicable as such things are not to be found in any other military academy of the world. Another Sovereign’s Parade came entrusting me with the responsibility of being the senior-most Pakistani cadet at RMA.

 

frompmarma2.jpgThe New Year began with the ‘Senior Term’ and the vow of commissioning at the culmination of the term kept strengthening with every passing day. Participating in a field exercise in the snow had always been my dream and there it came true. Exercise Broadsword was one of the most educating and exciting exercises any soldier could undergo. With public order, operations in built-up areas, forward operating base, rural and urban phases, it was one of the best field exercises I have undergone so far. Snow added to the excitement. Days passed by with growing excitement and thrill of the commissioning day. And then the final exercise came, famously known as Exercise Dynamic Victory, which ultimately recapitulated the whole training. Fifteen long days in the field scared us in the beginning, however, in anticipation of the D-day every day passed swiftly. Graefonwohr (U.S. Army base in Germany) was the destination for this exercise. Live firing attack at platoon and section level during the exercise was the most realistic training experience one can have in his military career. It was followed by six battlegroup level attacks in complex scenarios and with the best equipment. Being appointed the Company Sergeant Major for the final attack was challenging. It later proved to be one of the best experiences of my life. With a company in command, from personal administration to battle preparation, everything was in my hands. With the best possible battle preparations, I tried to uplift the morale of my company by raising slogans during the night of attack. The attack went pretty well with casualties piling up and CSM trying best to manage them all. Finally, the 'stop' was called which marked the culmination of the exercise. However, this 'stop' was different from all the stops we had been hearing at Sandhurst. This was the final one which meant we were qualified to climb the Old College Steps.2 It was one of the happiest moments of my life.


On return from Germany, nothing much was left to do except the drill. April 10 was the D-day and one of the most important days of my life. I was finally going to commission in Pakistan Army after two and a half years of training by climbing the prestigious Old College Steps.2 These were the historical steps to have been climbed by Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Sultan of Brunei, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and many other eminent personalities around the globe. Climbing these steps was an inexpressible and intense moment as all the highlights of PMA and RMA flashed in my memory, bringing tears of joy.


On entering PMA, I never had the slightest clue that I would be leaving the Cradle of Leadership to get commission from RMA, Sandhurst. Now, when I look at my journey from the outset to being a Captain in the Special Services Group of Pakistan Army, it overwhelms me. To sum it all up, I feel honoured and privileged to serve in one of the top armies of the world after training from two of the finest military academies in the world, PMA and RMA. I will cherish the memories and experiences forever and take great pride in it. Long Live Pakistan Army!

 

1 Chemical Biological Radiological And Nuclear Warfare

2 Similar to the Red Stairs in PMA.

 
09
January

Written By: Commodore Tahir Javed

The rapid changes in politico-military situation across the globe are greatly transforming regional security paradigm. Resultantly, a shift is being observed in the overall national security mechanisms through structural and technological improvements. In the prevailing environment, defence industry has become one of the major pillars of economic pursuit of the nation. In this context, Asia being economically a more vibrant region has now emerged as one of the major markets for defence products. In line with that Pakistan’s defence industry is in the quest to seek international stature to meet the requirements of its armed forces and the growing needs of the regional defence forces. Pakistan’s own defence products being the mix blend of indigenous and foreign technologies offer unique opportunities for international defence collaboration.

 

pakdefproduction.jpgIn the present security milieu, international arms trade is a significant economic activity. Though internationally, defence budgets are being curtailed, however, international defence trade is still highly lucrative. As the defence industry is closely associated with many other industrial sectors, defence technologies create synergized effects with other industries, allowing growth and development in technology and services in both public and private sector. Hence, defence industry may not be seen exclusively as military related industry and rather be considered as a multidimensional industry sector that helps in enhancing the economic potential of the country.


In this backdrop, IDEAS-2016 was held at Karachi Expo Centre from November 22 to 25, wherein large number of exhibitors, trade visitors, defence and security analysts, and delegations from various countries participated. It was the best opportunity for our defence industry to showcase their defence equipment to the world for better marketing and signing of MoUs with prospective international partners. It enabled the buyers to evaluate the technology vis-a-vis cost potential of Pakistan’s industry. IDEAS also served as an excellent platform to project the realistic image of Pakistan at international level.


Establishment of DEPO
Upon successful culmination of International Pakistan Navy Defence Show in 1999, the idea was conceived to establish a Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) for promoting the defence export of Pakistan around the globe. Hence, the Pakistan Naval Defence Show was transformed into International Defence Exhibition and Seminars (IDEAS). The first IDEAS was held in year 2000 and is now a biennial event conducted at Karachi Expo Center.

 

pakdefproduction1.jpgDEPO was established in year 2000 under Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) to provide a platform for promotion, facilitation and coordination of defence exports to public and private sectors. Presently, DEPO conducts defence exhibitions, seminars and conferences related to defence exports and facilitate participation of both public and private Defence Production Establishments (DPEs) in foreign exhibitions through pro-active marketing strategy. One of the major roles of DEPO is to conduct IDEAS which is the major defence exhibition of International stature in Pakistan.


IDEAS
The foremost purpose of IDEAS is to provide a single forum for the convergence of international and domestic exhibitors, international delegations, defence and security analysts and top level policy planners for the creation of new opportunities and promotion of mutual cooperation in the field of defence. At the same time, IDEAS provides opportunities to our defence industry, both from public and private sectors, to display their products under one umbrella and interact directly with international community for better marketing, promotion, joint-venturing, out-sourcing and further improving Pakistan’s defence products through collaboration with international partners. IDEAS provides a perfect interactive forum for the defence forces to assess and evaluate the products and technologies which suit their requirements. It presents a unique opportunity to trade visitors for sharing views, gaining an understanding of latest developments of technology in the defence industry and finding innovative and affordable solutions to defence related challenges. The occasion not only serves as an opportunity for net-working and connectivity of defence industry for joint ventures, but also facilitates in achieving national policy of “Arms for Peace” which reflects Pakistan’s principled stand that a more balanced arms equation amongst neighbouring countries acts as an effective counter-balance.


IDEAS-2016
A high profile inauguration ceremony was held on November 22, 2016. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was the chief guest. The Minister of Defence Production, Minister of Defence, Chief Minister Sindh, Service’s Chiefs and other dignitaries within and outside Pakistan alongwith exhibitors, trade visitors and foreign delegations attended the ceremony. Upon completion of the inaugural session, the chief guest along with federal and provincial ministers and armed forces’ chiefs visited the stalls.


Being the biggest defence exhibition in Pakistan for showcasing defence equipment, weapons, systems and technologies, it provided opportunities to both national and international DPEs to introduce their technologies and products as well as acquaint them with the opportunities that Pakistan can offer in the different avenues of defence. IDEAS-2016 also provided an excellent forum for Business to Business (B2B) networking, connectivity and meeting opportunities to exhibitors, trade visitors, and foreign delegations from different countries as well as decision makers from Pakistan.


During IDEAS 2016, response from exhibitors, trade visitors and foreign delegations was very encouraging. Total 418 exhibitors from 34 countries participated. 90 foreign delegations including trade visitors from 43 countries visited the exhibition and had numerous meetings with senior civil and military officials of Pakistan.


The exhibition provided a platform for our defence industry to display their entire range of products for better promotion, out-sourcing and marketing with prospective partners. In addition, various Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) were also finalized with various potential buyers under auspices of MoDP.


Some of the major indigenously developed products were showcased during IDEAS-2016 which included Main Battle Tank Al-Khalid, JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft, K-8, Super Mushshak, Premium Grade Military Hardware, FAC (M), UAVs, Armoured Personnel Carriers and related technology.
The new inventions by POF, HIT, NRTC and GIDS during IDEAS-2016 were:-


• POF brought 3 new inventions during IDEAS-2016.
(1) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG PK-16).
(2) Light Sniper Rifle (LSR).
(3) Electronic Time Super Quick (ETSQ, FUZE).
• HIT showcased 2 new security vehicles:
(1) Armoured Security Vehicle Dragoon (Stanag 4569 Level III).
(2) Armoured Security Vehicle Protector (B-7 Level Protection)
• NRTC exhibited new security system in the defence exhibition:
(1) Jammers RCIED
(2) Intelligent Equipment
(3) Security and Surveillance System
(4) Robotics
(5) Tetra Solution
• GIDS displayed 3 UAV’s during IDEAS-2016 wherein foreign delegation took keen interest in the following displayed UAV’s:
(1) Shahpar UAV System.
(2) Uqab UAV Tactical System.
(3) ISCOUT Mini UAV System.
During IDEAS-2016, 14 MoUs were signed with different contries regarding defence production import protocols with Pakistan.


A seminar was arranged at the Movenpick Hotel wherein eminent speakers – two from Pakistan and three from Russia, China and USA each – participated and shared their views on the seminar’s theme, “Stability and Economics of Regional Peace in South Aisa”. Moreover, different conferences at Expo Centre between companies and armed services were also arranged. Participants presented on how to foster better relations and meaningful association amongst Pakistan defence enterprises and their counterparts around the world, hence allowing the exchange of technological information, volume of research and training aspects of defence experts and academia for high quality and more valuable defence products and knowledge.


Besides participants from Turkey, China and various parts of Europe and Asia, three companies from Russia namely Rosobronexport, Global Security and Russian Helicopter participated during IDEAS-2016. This time nine more countries i.e Luxembourg, Denmark, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Nigeria, and Romania participated for the first time in the exhibition. This will usher a new era in collaborating their technology, knowledge and equipment related to defence sector, thus, enhancing the significance of this event for the global defence market.


The objective of the IDEAS-2016 was to showcase own products, demonstrate our organizational skills to plan and execute a grand event of international stature and provide an international platform to convey our viewpoint on security issues concerning Pakistan. Moreover, it is an excellent opportunity for our defence related industry, both in public and private sectors, to display their products and interact directly with the defence industry of the developed world.

 
09
January

Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai

In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.

What’s ticking between Pakistan and India is not the nuclear bomb, but the water bomb. For years international relations strategists have warned that wars in the future would be over resources. Post-recent tensions in South Asia, Prime Minister Narendera Modi suspended meetings of the committee that oversees water sharing between India and Pakistan, using water as a diplomatic weapon. International experts are of the view that Delhi is using the water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. The Indian strategy is to build huge storage facilities and canals over and around the rivers that flow through Indian administered Kashmir but most of the water is allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. The 56 year old treaty is under strain, and Modi’s stance and strategy is not conducive to its continuity. Like it is said, sharing the waters of the Cauvery has been an issue for decades but it is particularly contentious now. The latest development is that Pakistan has yet again approached the World Bank to address the violation of the Treaty by India. India has successfully stalled the appointment of the chairman of the Arbitration Court of Justice, which Pakistan had requested, by immediately moving in with a request for a neutral expert.


This new twist to the treaty has come at a time when Modi government has chosen to publicly threaten Pakistan with the abrogation of the treaty. India is threatening to cut Pakistan’s water access. The 56 year-old water sharing agreement has run into trouble as tensions have escalated between the rivals, post-Uri attack. Statements by Prime Minister Modi calling for a review of the Treaty where he said that blood and water cannot flow together, and then hinting at revoking the treaty were seen as confirmation of these apprehension.


However, this is not new. India has been following a policy of ‘dewatering Pakistan’ since long. India already has 20 hydro projects on the three western rivers allocated to Pakistan. It is now building another 10 and more are being planned.


In the past also, Islamabad has complained to the international court that the dam in the Gurez Valley, one of dozens planned by India, will affect Pakistan’s river flow and is illegal. The court had halted any permanent work on the river for the moment but India got the permission to continue tunneling and building other associated projects. In 1987, upon Pakistan’s objection, Delhi had to suspend the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum River. As per a BBC report, sources within Indian Water Resources Ministry have hinted that the project could now be revived. As part of Modi’s aggressive water policy, this will directly have an impact on Pakistan’s agriculture.


The former chairman of Indus River System Authority, Engineer Fateh Ullah Khan Gandapur said on record that India is using water as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ to convert Pakistan into a desert and is diverting the entire flow into the Indian territory of Rajasthan. Salman Bashir, former foreign secretary of Pakistan, categorically said that diversion of Indus water by India will lead to war. Prime Minister Modi in one of his pre-election speeches in Batinda said that water that belongs to India should remain in India. Diverting the waters of Indus is not realistically possible, and cannot be done without triggering a war between the two countries.


Pakistan, India and Afghanistan Water Triangle
India has also tried to use its influence to start interfering with the flow of water from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Islamabad has shown its concern over New Delhi’s increased help to Kabul for development of a number of storages on the Kabul River without addressing Pakistan’s concerns. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his visit to Afghanistan back in 2011 had pledged $1.5bn in development assistance, with special interest in dam-building on the Kabul River. This commitment, apart from other heads, is meant for building 14 small and medium dams with total water storage capacity of 7.4MAF. International financial institutions including the World Bank have agreed to provide $7.079bn for these projects. In 2016, Indian experts completed the feasibility and detailed engineering of 12 projects to be built on River Kabul. If these 12 projects are completed, they will store 4.7 million acre feet of water, squeezing river flows to Pakistan. Moreover, in the absence of major dams in Pakistan, Pakistan will eventually end up buying electricity from Afghanistan, which may be the underlying purpose of this extensive 12 dam plan of the Afghan government with Indian collaboration. India and Afghanistan are actively exploring Chenab like run of the river projects on Afghanistan eastern rivers as a strategic offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan does not have any water treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flow of Afghanistan’s eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunar and Chitral into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles. Pakistan in retaliation had hinted at diverting Chitral River before its entry into Afghanistan in the event of attempts made to deprive it of its due share. The strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the constant Indian manipulation of the conflict also has Pakistan’s water security at stake. A latest policy brief by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan titled “Hydro-diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan” says “planned water projects on Kabul River by upper-riparian Afghanistan will adversely affect lower-riparian Pakistan. It is critically important to arrive at a consensus by understanding issues, maintaining historical rights and arriving at benefit sharing options for both countries through the use of Kabul River waters.”

 

We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting.

India has never underestimated the significance of river waters to strengthen its geostrategic interests in the region. It is now working on a double-squeeze water policy against Pakistan by constantly building on the western rivers in occupied Kashmir and facilitating projects on the Kabul River. The establishment in Delhi has a very aggressive water mindset towards Pakistan. It has under successive governments, talked about reviewing the Treaty “to teach Pakistan a lesson”. Modi is just more vocal about it.


The statement by P.M. Modi was not taken lightly by Pakistan, and it immediately approached the World Bank to appoint a chairman for the Court of Arbitration because Pakistan claims that the design of the 330 MW Kishanganga Project violated the treaty. India followed with the demand for the appointment of a neutral expert. The World Bank’s take on the situation is that both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that potentially endanger the Treaty. Thus, the pause is to address this impasse. Arbitration has been halted over two Indian hydro-electric projects on the Chenab River; 850 MW Ratle and 330 MW Kishanganga. The World Bank has counseled bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan. It has urged both the countries to sort out differences and problems by January 2017. The bank had initially agreed to initiate both the processes simultaneously, but decided to pause them post Indian objection.


India has welcomed the decision and is ready to talk to Pakistan bilaterally to resolve the issue. This sudden desire to talk to Pakistan over water has arised because it suits India for several reasons to achieve its end objectives. One; India has initiated this new twist in the Treaty by continuous violation and hurling threats at Pakistan. Two; India has been stonewalling all initiative for dialogue except on the Treaty, this happened only after the issue was taken to the World Bank. More interestingly, India has habitually sidelined the permanent Indus Commission, established under Article VIII of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the primary channel of communication between the two countries. Now the question arises why this sudden desire to resolve the water issue through dialogue? It is also important to note here that India, which is ready for bilateral negotiation with Pakistan after Pakistan approached the World Bank, had even suspended routine bi-annual talks between the Indus Commissions of the two countries, and had taken a principle decision to restart work on the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum.


The last time bilateral dialogue on the Treaty brought some success was in 1978. The situation between India and Pakistan is different today and we are in state of dispute paralysis. The trust deficit between the two countries is at its highest level. The LoC keeps blowing hot and cold. The theatre of conflict now also includes Afghanistan. Indian opposition to CPEC is an open secret. The atmospherics for dialogue to resolve a contentious issue, like water seem unlikely.


The Indian strategy of continuous building of projects and at the same time, threatening Pakistan with revoking of the Treaty and resorting to dialogue only are a time-gaining strategy because of international pressure to achieve its nefarious designs, does not induce any confidence. Pakistan has made it clear that it will not accept any modification or changes in the IWT. Pakistan’s reaction to the World Bank brokered pause is not positive. Since it is seen as an Indian strategy of gaining time to continue building, till it becomes fate accomplished. A review of the Treaty is also not acceptable to Pakistan. The review, as already stated by Indian experts, is aimed at more rights over the western rivers, which is Pakistan’s agriculture’s lifeline.


Legal status of the Treaty
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, an eminent Pakistani lawyer’s take on the Treaty is that “The Treaty has no provision for unilateral “suspension”. It is of an indefinite duration and was never intended to be time-specific, event-specific or regime-specific — but rather state-specific. It will not expire with regime change. It is binding on both the states equally and offers no exit provision. The Treaty survived the two wars as well as other Pakistan-India conflicts because none of them was termed a war under international law.


In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the Treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal”. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.


India is playing with fire using water as a tool of aggressive diplomacy to mount pressure on Pakistan. Using a mutually used resource to gain geo-strategic advantage is a recipe for trouble. On the other hand Pakistan should not take this lightly. India has time and again successfully manipulated the World Bank brokerage to its advantage because of Pakistan’s delayed response and weak water diplomacy. Pakistan needs to put its act together now, both internally and externally. Giving foreign policy statements, largely just for the consumption of the internal audience without any real plan on the ground, will not work. We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting. Pakistani authorities have so far done nothing to develop water uses on River Kabul. There is also no progress on the Munda dam. It paints a very grim picture of our water resources, like it is said, wars in today’s world are not fought on the conventional front but on the diplomatic, intellectual and economic front.

 

The writer is an eminent analyst and anchor person. She is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at IBA, Karachi.

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09
January

Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh

Many in Pakistan were of the view that given India’s refusal to attend the SAARC summit, that was to be held in Islamabad and which led to the postponement of that meeting, it would have been right for Pakistan to refuse to attend the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Amritsar on December 4, 2016. The reasoning appeared to be that this would be appropriate retaliation and would show that Pakistan was not being cowed by India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan regionally and globally.


Pakistan’s decision to attend was therefore roundly criticised as an invitation to the adversaries to refocus attention on the so-called role Pakistan played in fostering terrorism in the region, specifically directed against both Afghanistan and India. This, in the view of the Pakistani media did happen. Both the Indian representatives and the Afghans did criticise Pakistan. What did not attract enough attention was the fact that the Russian representative publicly articulated, what most representatives at the conference felt – an international gathering was not the forum at which bilateral disputes were to be made the focus.


After all, the principal purpose of the conference was to help Afghanistan overcome the many difficulties it was facing and to promote the efforts needed to effect reconciliation. For no other participant in the conference saw peace and stability in Afghanistan as important as it was for Pakistan, because given the virtual absence of control on cross border movement, instability in Afghanistan spilled over into Pakistan assisted in no small measure by the presence of Afghan refugees and Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan.


Border management to ensure that all movement across the border was governed, as between any other two countries, was moving forward but it was recognized that many years would pass before this management became as good as it needed to be. Refugee camps were being better regulated and efforts were being made to facilitate the return of the refugees to their home country. This too was bound to be a slow process when many of these refugees had been in Pakistan for their entire lifetimes and were reluctant to return to a country torn apart by disorder engendered by years of civil strife and plagued by maladministration.


Pakistan in its own battle against the forces of extremism and terrorism has achieved some notable successes. While there is no doubt that more is needed to be done on the internal front there is also the problem of the TTP elements having found sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they continue to plan and execute terror attacks on targets in Pakistan. This problem can only be resolved when a stable Afghan government establishes its writ and cooperates with Pakistan in eliminating these terrorists and more importantly, eliminate the foothold that Daesh has established in Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan.


It wpakandhte.jpgas imperative therefore, for Pakistan to participate in any and all regional and global efforts to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan. It was imperative for Pakistan to use such conferences to tell the world that even while it was accused of being “selective” in its battle against terrorism, it had a very real cause for worrying about the use of Afghan territory for harbouring terrorists and anti-Pakistan elements. Against this backdrop, there is no doubt in my mind that Pakistan had no choice but to attend the Heart of Asia conference even though it was held in a country that had deliberately sabotaged the SAARC conference.


It was known and expected that terrorism and the threat that it posed not only to Afghanistan but also to the region would be highlighted at the conference. After all the international community in offering support to Afghanistan has made no attempt at hiding its fears that in the absence of such assistance, Afghanistan would once again become the site from which terrorist organizations could plan and launch another 9/11 attack. The Amritsar Declaration states, “We recognize that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, stability and cooperation in our region. We encourage the international community to continue to assist the Government of Afghanistan. We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, including dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terrorism”. Earlier the declaration says, “We will also work towards regional consensus on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, which is critically important for good neighbourliness between countries of the region, and for peaceful co-existence as independent and sovereign nations, and re-affirm our commitment to these principles”.


While some may seek to interpret these statements as being aimed at Pakistan, particularly when the terrorist organizations listed in the declaration contain the names of many that allegedly are based in Pakistan, the fact is that Pakistan desires concerted action as called for in the declaration to eliminate terrorist organizations that have their bases in Afghanistan and concerted action to prevent the use of Afghan territory to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs.


What are the prospects for reconciliation? There have been many reports in recent days suggesting that the Taliban allegedly based in Pakistan have shifted to Helmand Province in Afghanistan. An AP report of November 26 quotes an anonymous Taliban as saying that the Taliban shura had moved to Southern Helmand Province reinforcing a statement by a recognized Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, that the leadership shura had moved to Afghanistan some months ago.1 A more recent report of December 22 on Radio Free Afghanistan, quotes Commander Raziq, the powerful Police Chief in Kandahar as telling a gathering of tribal leaders that at least six Taliban leaders – all members of the movement’s leadership council – have moved into neighbouring Helmand Province.2 Both the reports suggest that the move has been made to allow the Taliban leaders freedom from Pakistan’s pressure: but on the one hand these reports are part of a continuous campaign to malign Pakistan for sheltering/providing safe havens to Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. On the other hand – supposedly if we take these statement as true – it can be deduced that Taliban have found Helmand safer than Pakistan. Now Afghanistan needs to leave this blame game and take actions needed at the home front.

 

While some may seek to interpret these statements as being aimed at Pakistan particularly when the terrorist organizations listed in the declaration contain the names of many that allegedly are based in Pakistan, the fact is that Pakistan desires concerted action as called for in the declaration to eliminate terrorist organizations that have their bases in Afghanistan and concerted action to prevent the use of Afghan territory to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

Will this promote reconciliation? There have been reports that Afghan government representatives have been meeting with Taliban representatives in Doha where the Taliban office has been reconstituted.3 These meetings have been held without any Pakistani involvement and that is all to the good since it is clear that the only talks that will succeed are talks which are Afghan led and Afghan owned. A report in The Guardian maintained that there was also American presence in the Qatar meeting while the Taliban delegation included Mullah Abdul Mannan Akhund (brother of Mullah Omar).4


There is, nevertheless, a role for the Quadrilateral group – Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the USA – to facilitate such negotiations by identifying and encouraging the groups within the Taliban who favour talks and taking whatever action is needed in Kabul to ensure that such efforts are not sabotaged by those warlords and rent seekers who have a vested interest in keeping Afghanistan unstable.


It will perhaps take quite some time for genuine reconciliation to be worked out and for a stable and effective administration to be restored in Afghanistan. Every day that the current situation prevails, problems will exist for Pakistan. Pakistan cannot therefore afford to let any opportunity to rectify the situation go by even if it means having to face criticism from certain quarters and only lukewarm understanding from others. That is the context in which the Amritsar meeting should be viewed. Pakistan’s efforts and sincerity to bring peace in Afghanistan should also be seen in the same context. It will be good for Afghans to understand Indian moves against Pakistan and stop allowing India to continue these devious games which are detrimental to the regional peace.

 

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and contributes regularly for print and electronic media.

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

 

1 Taliban leaders may have moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan, AP, November 26, 2016.

2 Are the Taliban Leaders Back in Afghanistan?, December 22, 2016, Radio Free Afghanistan.

3 Kabul-Taliban talks, Editorial, Dawn, Oct 20, 2016.

4 Taliban and Afghanistan restart secret talks in Qatar, The Guardian, October 18, 2016.

 
09
January

Written By: Dr. Samar Mubarakmand

It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems, fighter aircraft, missile boats and small and medium sized naval vessels in a country with 70% of its population tilling the land and growing wheat and cotton! Our country is bestowed with unlimited resources of fresh water crashing down from glaciers at heights of 7000 meters to irrigate our fertile plains and generate hydroelectricity. We should recognize the gift of Providence who has given us unlimited mineral resources beneath our soil. But the greatest asset of Pakistan is its high intellect human resource which has lifted the country from the scarce situation of 1947 to the present position of strength and promise.

At the time of creation of Pakistan in 1947 the defence potential as well as the economic and social indicators were dismal. The city of Lahore was being run on D.C. electricity being supplied from India and it was switched off without warning, throwing the streets of Lahore into darkness. The total power generation inherited by the country at the time of its creation was 60 MW for a population of 31.5 million yielding a per capita consumption of 4.5 units. With the creation of Water and Power Development Authority and by the induction of the private sector into electricity generation several milestones were crossed rapidly. Hydel power generation became 636 MW in 1964-65, and rose to 3000 MW in 1980. Currently, total power generation of Pakistan stands at 24830 MW including 7030 MW from hydel and 16961 MW from thermal plants. A total of 3560 MW electricity from Pakistan’s nuclear reactors is expected to be connected to the national grid by 2022.

pakby2030.jpgThe majority of military assets and hardware were held back by India against the decision of division of assets at the time of partition. In the absence of any armament factory the country could not produce even a rifle bullet.


Pakistan of today can claim a full spectrum deterrence against an adversary six times its size. The nuclear and missile defence of the country has grown to a level where Pakistan is projected to dominate India by a considerable margin. The ranges of our missiles cover the farthest corners of the sub-continent and the accuracy and reliability of the weapon systems ensure that any installation once targeted will be destroyed irrespective of its size or distance.


In the next fifteen years Pakistan will continue to meet all challenges in the defence of the motherland. One may see great progress in the manufacture of most sophisticated submarines capable of ensuring Pakistan’s second strike capability. In addition to these achievements big strides are expected in the conquest of space. The design technology of satellites for different applications has already been achieved and demonstrated. More satellites are expected to be launched in the coming years. With the acquisition of capability of our own satellite launch systems, our country would become a full-fledged power in space technology.

 

pakby2030one.jpgThe cancer of terrorism has almost completely been wiped out of Pakistan with the valiant efforts of our brave armed forces. Our soldiers have fought in the harsh and difficult terrains in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to eradicate the infrastructure of different terrorist entities. It goes without saying that great sacrifices of life have had to be made by our soldiers to achieve this difficult goal which could not have been obtained by a 15 year effort of the combined strength of NATO forces in Afghanistan.


The nefarious design of our enemy was seriously targeting the economy of Pakistan by destabilizing our economic hub i.e., the city of Karachi. It is always difficult to defeat the enemy once it is entrenched in a city of over 20 million. The painstaking effort of our valiant Sindh Rangers have restored peace in Karachi which has resulted in a resurgence of industrial and economic activity. This has manifested itself in the Karachi Stock Exchange becoming the most rapidly advancing stock exchange in Asia.


There is continued democratic dispensation in the country for the last 8 years. The civil and the armed forces of Pakistan are jointly committed to having a stable political government in the country. With the restoration of peace and stability our country has attracted the biggest ever single foreign direct investment in the shape of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The unique trade location that the country enjoys was recognized several centuries ago by the Chinese when they established the Silk Route for opening up their country’s trade and communications with the world. Currently an investment of nearly $50 billion has been launched in our country to establish highways connecting the Khunjerab Pass with the Gwadar Port – which is not only a gateway to the Middle East but also a link to Europe through the Suez Canal. This route, which has already been established, links East Europe, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, China and countries of the Pacific Rim to the Middle East, South Asia and Western Europe. This linkage is several thousand miles shorter and saves several weeks of sea travel via the already existing old route of trade from China’s East Coast down to Singapore around Sri Lanka and then on to the West.

pakby2030two.jpgIn the years to come, CPEC will evolve into a thriving industrial land route with several manufacturing zones established along the way. Chinese, Pakistani and other foreign manufacturing industries will be established utilizing the cheap electricity provided to the industrial zones with special tax concessions to encourage foreign investment. Pakistan’s hydroelectric power generation will have convenient short distance transmission from suitable locations in the north of the country to provide uninterrupted power at very low cost. Almost half of the CPEC investment will be for power generation.


The intense growth of industrial activity which is bound to build up in the next couple of decades will inevitably provide several thousand jobs to our technical manpower. Pakistan is known to have a very special flare for entrepreneurship. Our highly talented youth which has a tendency to seek their futures in the West will begin to return to their homeland and play a very active role in boosting the economy of the country. A similar phenomenon was witnessed with the rising of the Chinese economy in the last three decades. Thousands of Chinese scientists, engineers, technicians, economists and businessmen streamed back home to not only contribute to the boosting of their own economy but to reap the fruits of economic success. Our great friend China has joined hands with Pakistan to launch CPEC not only to benefit their own trade and economy but to also provide us with an opportunity of a lifetime to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger.


The world’s largest deposits of shale oil and shale gas are lying under two third of Pakistan’s land area. This great discovery is a finding of the Energy Information Administration of the United States (EIA). It has been verified on the ground by several foreign teams which are drilling for oil and gas in the country. In due course the country will have to launch a national project to exploit the valuable resources of 105 trillion cubic feet of shale gas along with 9.1 billion barrels of shale oil. The technology of Horizontal Directional Drilling using smart magnetic targeted guidance is already in extensive use in the country not only by international oil drilling companies but also locally at the project of Underground Coal Gasification in Thar coal fields.


The pakby2030three.jpgworld’s biggest deposit of copper, gold, silver and several strategic metals exists in a 100 Sq Km area of Balochistan at Reko Diq. More than 1500 personnel trained in mining and refining of these metals have been trained at Saindak project over the last 15 years and are now available for Reko Diq. Once the world’s biggest mineral resource, valued at $800 billion, is inducted into Pakistan’s economy one can imagine the exponential increase in our GDP.


The third largest deposit of coal in the world is situated in Tharparker coal fields and is estimated to be 175 billion tons. Our brilliant scientists and engineers have already established the technology of Underground Coal Gasification and are successfully generating electricity at Rs. 6 per unit for the last 18 months. There are no harmful emissions from this power project that would damage the environment of Pakistan. Millions of cubic feet of coal gas being produced from the low grade lignite coal of Thar, without resorting to mining, is not only cheap for domestic consumption but can also generate cheap electricity, diesel, fertilizer and a range of pharmaceuticals.


Successful discovery of valuable minerals is also occurring at several locations in the country. Recent discoveries of high grade iron ore, high grade copper ore and high quality precious stones have been made in Punjab, FATA and KP. All these activities are backed by our own technical manpower and entrepreneurs.


Pakistan has come a long way from a situation of extreme economic and defence plight at independence in 1947 to a robust economy and unassailable defence 69 years later. The scientific and technical manpower of the country has proven it in the past and will ensure it in the future that Pakistan’s strategic defence meets all challenges which are thrown at in the future.

Successful discovery of valuable minerals is also occurring at several locations in the country. Recent discoveries of high grade iron ore, high grade copper ore and high quality precious stones have been made in Punjab, FATA and KP. All these activities are backed by our own technical manpower and entrepreneurs. Pakistan has come a long way from a situation of extreme economic and defence plight at independence in 1947 to a robust economy and unassailable defence 69 years later. The scientific and technical manpower of the country has proven it in the past and will ensure it in the future that Pakistan’s strategic defence meets all challenges which are thrown at in the future.


With the advent of CPEC as well as the existence of several possibilities for mining the immense mineral wealth of Pakistan, there is a great promise for the economy to make progress by leaps and bounds. Current and future political governments and our valiant armed services will continue to join hands to offer Pakistan as a safe haven to the world for intense manufacturing and economic activity.


It has been proven beyond doubt that the intellect of the Pakistani nation is among the best in the world. Who could produce nuclear bombs, cruise missiles, long range accurate delivery systems, fighter aircraft, missile boats and small and medium sized naval vessels in a country with 70% of its population tilling the land and growing wheat and cotton! Our country is bestowed with unlimited resources of fresh water crashing down from glaciers at heights of 7000 meters to irrigate our fertile plains and generate hydroelectricity. We should recognize the gift of Providence who has given us unlimited mineral resources under our soil. But the greatest asset of Pakistan is its high intellect human resource which has lifted the country from the scarce situation of 1947 to the present position of strength and promise. This valuable gift will take the country up to great heights of economic prosperity and strategic strength in the decades to come, wherein our future generations will live and prosper with dignity, pride and prosperity among the comity of great nations of the world.

 

The writer is an eminent scientist who led the team of scientists and engineers to conduct Pakistan's Nuclear Tests at Chagai in May 1998. He did his masters in Physics with academic “roll of honour” from Government College Lahore in 1962 and later did his DPhil in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the University of Oxford in 1966. He was later appointed Chairman of NESCOM in 2000. On joining the Planning Commission of Pakistan he was responsible for conceiving and implementation of the Reko Diq Copper Gold Project and the Underground Coal Gasification Project at Thar Coal Fields.
 

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