07
November
November 2017(EDITION 11, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
People of Pakistan, its Armed Forces and the Law Enforcement Agencies have been able to deny success to the forces of disorder and restore order significantly. This unique feat is unparalleled in contemporary world where terrorism mostly succeeded in destroying the states, institutions....Read full article
 
Written By: Sardar Masood Khan
There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and.....Read full article
 
Written By: Mushahid Hussain Syed
In no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, all voluntarily part of OBOR, which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Ishrat Hussain
At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited an extremely weak and fragile economic base and infrastructure. LIFE Magazine had predicted in its issue of January 1948 that Pakistan would collapse within six months as it would not be able to sustain itself economically....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem
On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between our government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal ....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif Al Mujahid
In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly.....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Hilal Desk
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the key note speaker while eminent speakers who addressed the seminar included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan, Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Dr. Aynul Hasan, Dr. Salman Shah, and Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General, Frontier Works Organization....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Hilal Desk
The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Abdul Hanan Mustafa (136 PMA Long Course).
Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Muhammad Iqbal was awarded with President’s Gold Medal (136 PMA Long Course)......Read full article
 
Written By: Sidra Babar Khan
Baba, the mere 4 years, 9 months and 23 days of my life I spent in your presence are something I will always cherish. My earliest memories are of you wearing your uniform, for no particular event but just you as a strong man in his soldier’s uniform. I have no idea.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad
Asight to rejoice and an experience to cherish was seeing the flying horse of Pakistan hockey, our sports icon Sami Ullah Khan cheering local players in the sports gala and participating in Bahawalpur walk; local students energetically taking part in sports matches.....Read full article
 
Written By: S. M. Hali
It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.....Read full article
 
Written By: Hassan Khan
It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation of the two countries....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood
Old ideas of services being non-transportable and non-tradable no longer hold for a number of modern impersonal services that are traded over the internet, digitized and stored electronically, and have become part of growing international businesses. Trade in services over the last.....Read full article
 
Written By: Syed Mohammed Ali Raza
In 1962, Pakistan established the National Investment Trust (NIT) with the express purpose of strengthening and supporting the stock exchange by broadening the long-term investor base and providing an investment vehicle to small investors for participation in .....Read full article
 
Written By: Abbas Majeed Khan Marwat
Introduction
Each agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is administered by a Political Agent (PA), who is either a member of the federally recruited Pakistan Administrative Service or the Provincial Management Service. The PA.....Read full article
 
Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal
We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State.....Read full article
 
Written By: Shah Faisal
Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig/Ambassador Tariq M. Mir (R)
We felt we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview.....Read full article
 
Report By: Maryam Razzaq
The value of freedom to observe the religious congregations with peace and tranquility cannot be fathomed neither can it be expressed being a unique feeling within heart and soul. Intolerance in a society can be minimized through comprehensive campaign and by ensuring.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Muzaffar Ahmed
Tale of a gallant hero – martyr of IBO (Intelligence Based Operation) who started as a Cavalry Charger and ended as a Spymaster.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Anum Hussain
How do you define beauty? If you ask this simple question from different age groups you may get a diverse response. For example, a teen’s reply would be different from a 25-years-old adult. Their answers will be based on a certain defined.....Read full article

 
Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza
Moving ahead from Islamabad – the Capital, looking beyond the bending roads, one can dance with snow, play with the sunshine, scatter the rainbow and flow with the freezing turquoise water. This is what one experiences in the North of Pakistan, a .........Read full article
 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat HI (M), NI (M), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee visited an Operational Air Base of Pakistan Air Force. On his arrival at the Base, he was received.....Read full article
 
On October 7, 2017, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was sworn in as Chief of the Naval Staff during an impressive Change of Command Ceremony held at PNS ZAFAR Islamabad. The President of .....Read full article
 
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army, during his two days official visit to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ.....Read full article
 
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff UK Army, called on Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt at Corps Headquarters Peshawar.....Read full article
 
Commander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various sectors of LOC and expressed his deep concern and sorrow over recent deaths of two minors as a result of deliberate....Read full article
 
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pak-UK bilateral relations, Pakistan Air Force arranged a mesmerizing air show at Sea View, Karachi. The pride of Pakistan JF-17 Thunder along with internationally.......Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy conducted Exercise BURQ VII at Creeks area aiming to evaluate Pakistan Navy’s operational plans for the defence of Creeks area. It also included the re-evaluation of Air....Read full article
 
Pakistan Army team won Gold Medal in “Exercise Cambrian Patrol” held in UK in the second week of October. A total of 131 army teams from across the world participated.....Read full article
 
The Graduation Parade of 138th GD (P) Course, 84th Engineering Course, 94th Air Defence Course, 19th Admin & Special Duties Course and 3rd Logistics Course was held at PAF Academy Asghar....Read full article
 
MoU Signing Ceremony between National Defence University, Islamabad and Defence Housing Authority, Bahawalpur was held on October 12, 2017 for the creation of NDU sub campus. Commander Bahawalpur Corps....Read full article
 
A team of 8 street children football players from Mirpur, AJK, Pakistan won the "Future Depends on You Football Tournament" held in Moscow on October 26-27, 2017. Teams from 11 countries participated in the tournament. Pakistani team....Read full article
 
07
November

Written By: Sheeza Asim Mirza

Moving ahead from Islamabad – the Capital, looking beyond the bending roads, one can dance with snow, play with the sunshine, scatter the rainbow and flow with the freezing turquoise water. This is what one experiences in the North of Pakistan, a land truly blessed with unsurpassed beauty and striking tourist destinations. A land of towering mountains, valleys, beautiful lakes and rivers, amazing wildlife with exotic culture. The alpine beauty of this region with three of the mightiest ranges in the world i.e., Karakoram Range, Himalayas and Hindukush is definitely a delicious feast for the eyes.

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Karakoram mountains are the most condensed clusters of high peaks found in the world. This range contains the world’s largest glacier fields outside the polar regions. The second longest glacier, Siachen is located in these ranges. Another attraction of these ranges is the world’s second highest peak, K-2. This pyramid of a mountain is right in the heart of the Karakoram Range. It is a jewel in the crown of mystical Karakoram mountains and the snowy peaks are kind of a magnet for the mountaineers and tourists from all over the globe.


The 1300 km long KKH route moves through these ranges. Karakoram Highway connects Islamabad with Kashgar (China) via Abbottabad, Mansehra, Thakot, Besham, Pattan, Chilas, Gilgit and Hunza across the 4733 meters high Khunjerab Pass. The Highway, built by the Pakistani and Chinese engineers, has been described as a marvel of civil engineering and even as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’. Karakoram highway snakes through the superb landscape that stands matchless on earth. A fantastic and unforgettable spectacle is the passage of the highway along the Batura Glacier, rated as the world’s seventh largest glacier, The Khunjerab Pass which the highway crosses, and the nearby Mintaka Pass, lie astride the fabulous ancient Silk Route that extended from Europe to Asia and over which history’s most famous tourists once traveled.


Since 1954, when the Karakoram Range of Pakistan was opened for climbing and trekking expeditions the mountains and glaciers of the north have become an international playground-cum-travel destinations.


Hindukush Ranges are considered dangerous due to the passes, and difficult stretches between the peaks. It is home to Tirich Mir, the world’s highest mountain peak outside the Himalayan-Karakoram range.


The Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world. The highest peak of this mountain ranges is Nanga Parbat. In this mountain range are present the most beautiful valleys including the valley of Kashmir. Himalayas are not simply the peaks, it offers the best opportunity for all adventure sports. From trekking to mountain climbing and cycling to hiking, the range offers variety of options to the travelers. The climate, rainfall, soil conditions, and altitude of this range are quite diversified, generating a vast variety of plant and animal species.


The spectacular region of Gilgit-Baltistan is famous for its scenic beauty. Baltistan is situated amid the great Himalayas and Karakoram ranges on either side of the mighty Indus River and its tributaries, surrounded by Gilgit and Hunza Valleys in the west. It is also known as “Little Tibet” because of its proximity as well as ethnic, cultural and linguistic bonds with Ladakh and Tibet in the east. The whole of Gilgit-Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers and anglers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare flora and fauna.


One of the sightseeing destinations of this region is Skardu, the gateway to an endless high alpine adventure. Skardu has various lakes which invite visitors to see their beauty and fall in love with them. The most famous lake is Shangrila Lake (Lower Kachura) in Kachura region. Shangrila, also known as “heaven on earth”, is nestled amongst some of the world’s highest peaks. It encircles the heart-shaped “Kachura Lake” and is surrounded by fruit-laden orchards and flower-filled gardens. Some sites have become synonymous with beauty and with amazing scenery and Shangrila is one such site. Just a few minutes walk from Shangrila Resort can take you towards green lake of Upper Kachura which is a natural lake and its warm waters welcome swimmers to enjoy there. The area of the lakes is such that it is covered with snow in the winter but during the summer season this area is full of vegetation. There are many trees that bloom only in the summer months and almost all of the local flowers bloom in the summer. The trees which are common to the area are the Subalpine Conifer trees which include many species of hardwood and are prized all over the world. One of the most unique trees in the area is of the wild apricot. This is one of the most beautiful trees in the area and many birds such as Blue Jays, Warbles and Blue Tits come to nest in these trees. With all these marvels of nature, this lake remains to be on top of the list for many who want to explore the nature reserves found all over Pakistan.


The Satpara Lake is one other lake in heart of Skardu City. This blue color lake is the biggest lake in Skardu region with big stock of clean water. The lake is fed by Satpara stream. It works as a key water supply source for the Skardu Town. Satpara Lake with its marvelous and breathtaking beauty is considered one of the most charming lakes among tourists. The lake’s crystal-clear waters present a marvelous view to visitors by mirroring the icy mountains encircled around the lake. One can do fishing, motor boating and rowing at the lake.


While moving ahead come the Deosai Plains, which is a high-altitude grass plateau. ‘Deosai’ means ‘the land of giants’. Deosai has the country’s second largest National Park. There is a significant brown bear population within its boundaries, the endangered snow leopard and Indian wolf. The Plains are also home to the Himalayan ibex, red fox, golden marmot locally called Phia, and over 124 resident and migratory birds. The most enchanting feature of Deosai is its huge field of alpine flowers, the scale which is largest in the Karakoram and Western Himalayas. In spring, it is covered by sweeps of wildflowers and a wide variety of butterflies. One can see full bloom of purple, yellow, red and mauve sheet of flowers covering the entire slope. The colorful plateau changes into a burning yellow carpet in autumn under a clear sky. It is a perfect site for summer camping. The park has many vast meadows and the Sheosar Lake is located near flat surfaces of Deosai plateau. Sheosar Lake gains attention as being one of the highest lakes in the world. The place around the lake offers striking views of far-flung peaks and an amazing view of the plains. When the weather is clear, Nanga Parbat’s snow-covered peak can also be seen from here. For tourists who love adventure, this place in the Northern Areas of Pakistan has unadulterated natural beauty. The mountains, crystal clear streams of water, glaciers and flower filled meadows offer a great place to spend quality time.


Hunza, known as “heaven on earth”, is the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is a beautiful mountainous valley located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Situated in the north-west of the Hunza River, it is surrounded by several high peaks including Rakaposhi, Hunza Peak, Ghenta Sar, Ultar Sar and Ladyfinger Peak.


The valley offers different beautiful natural sights for tourists. Among these attractions, the Baltit and Altit Forts are most famous. The Baltit Fort, after renovation, has recently been turned into a heritage museum. It has won numerous awards including Tourism of Tomorrow Award, Asia-Pacific Heritage for Cultural Conservation-Award of Excellence (UNESCO). The Time Magazine-Asia Edition awarded Best of Asia Award in 2005.


In Hunza, the bazaar of Karimabad is famous for its local handicrafts, handmade rugs, traditional embroidered caps, shawls, hand woven cloth (paffu) and its gemstones which are famous all over the world, particularly Ruby. The Ruby mines are famous tourist attraction. The local specialty dish of Hunza is ‘fittis’ which is very delicious and worth tasting. These are basically cakes made up of wheat flour, milk, butter and salt, baked on a hot stone. Apricots, apples, plums, peaches, cherries and grapes are various fresh fruits grown in this region. When talking about foreign visitors, grape extract known as ‘Hunza water’ is very popular among them.


The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border of Pakistan with China, and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. Its name is derived from Wakhi 'Khun' meaning ‘home’ and 'Jerav' meaning ‘spring water/water falling’. For those who love the high mountainous regions, snow and cold weather, this place is a must go. The nearest town from Khunjerab is Sust which is also home to the immigration and custom post.


A miracle of stillness, epitome of perfect shades of blue, a beauty in tragedy, Attabad Lake is Pakistan's largest artificial lake created by a severe landslide in Attabad village, Gojal Valley back in 2010. Bluest of all, this lake connects the glorious Hunza Valley to the Serene Passu in Gojal Valley. The 45 minutes boat ride in the lake to the nirvana on the other end is an unforgettable experience. As the boat meanders through the turquoise colored lake lapped by high rugged colossal mountains, the journey seems to imprint in your mind and heart forever where every scene tends to have multiple makeovers. During the summer, the warm climate soothes the soul and the glistening sunshine onto the sparkling still water where the only ripples created are because of the boat. In winters, one can even walk over frozen 10 km pathway of Attabad Lake.

 

thepicque.1jpg.jpgWhile approaching the town of Gilgit or on way back to Naran, comes the famous Babusar Top, a junction that connects Chilas (Karakoram Highway), Naran and later on leads to other destinations including Gilgit and Skardu. It is not merely a simple top, rather it is one of the most amazing spots of Kaghan Valley. If you are lucky enough to have good weather then it will seem like a heavenly piece of earth with beautiful views in every direction. Standing on the top you might get lucky and get a panoramic view of Malika-e-Parbat on a clear day. There is also astonishing view of snow covered peaks of Kashmir. You can see green plateaus, winding roads; small streams and mountains as far as the sight goes. The area near the top is full of great species of birds, animals, flowers and bushes. The forests near the top are of hardwood trees. Snowcock and snow pigeons are the birds most likely to be seen near the pass and hawks and eagles are seen in the area as well. Mammals such as small marmots and wild sheep can also be seen.


If any tourist treks the amazing lakes of Pakistan, one of the very first items on their itinerary is the heavenly Lulusar Lake located in the national park called Dudipatsar, Lulusar National Park in Kaghan. The name of the lake derives from the word “sar” which means either “lake” or “high mountain”. In case of Lulusar, the word is used to denote the high mountains with perennial snow-covered peaks that are around the lake, creating a magnificent valley. The snow of the mountains has been the reason that the lake has never dried up as in summer season the snow melts and fills the lake. The lake is surrounded by snowcapped hills whose purple and white forms are reflected in the green-blue waters of the silent lake, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the valley. Lulusar’s enchanting beauty and its view remains in the mind of a tourist for a long time.


Then comes Naran, Pakistan’s favorite holiday destination. Tourists from across the world come to Naran to see its undulating terrains that are dotted with crags and massifs as well as pristine lakes. Here you’ll depart from the River Kunhar and on both sides of road there are vast fields. The place is taken as the base station or the principle entryway to goals like Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Lalazar, Babusar, Noori Valley and Purbi Valley.


A dusty, meandering track connects Naran Valley to the strikingly beautiful Lake Saif-ul-Malook. Once you’re here, you wouldn’t want to leave because the place is like a magic spell. After 11 km trail distance from Lake Saif-ul-Malook comes the Ansoo Lake, a tear shaped lake adjacent to Malika-e-Parbat. If you’re more of an adventure-seeker, you can walk your way from Malika-e-Parbat to reach the lake. Trekking takes about 4-5 hours.


The Kaghan Valley attracts many tourists from not only Pakistan but also from the whole world. Laying in lower Himalayan mountain ranges, the Kaghan Valley is famous for its bewitching splendor and natural beauty. The valley has everything you can think of when planning a great vacation. It has glaciers, mountains, dales, streams, lakes, waterfalls, ideal villages, forests and more. The spring season in Kaghan Valley witnesses the most admirable natural beauty. After the extreme cold weather which often restricts people to their houses, the spring season seems like giving new life to the nomads.


In a nutshell the whole region is a trekker’s paradise. With breathtaking views, these areas have ideal environment for trekking and hiking.


No doubt that the Northern Areas of Pakistan are heaven on earth with breathtaking views and beauty that captures the hearts of tourists. Journey to these areas becomes a soulful adventure, as sometimes human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of men, so when you stop and look around you feel that life is amazing!

 

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07
November

Written By: Dr. Anum Hussain

How do you define beauty? If you ask this simple question from different age groups you may get a diverse response. For example, a teen’s reply would be different from a 25-years-old adult. Their answers will be based on a certain defined criteria set in their minds, for instance; skin tone, height, and hair, whilst others would decide based on different factors of persona like self-belief, speaking style, dressing sense, etc. but this isn't the end; additionally you may receive responses like beauty is directly proportional to age. According to them, if he/she crosses certain line of age then they aren't eligible to be called beautiful and sadly majority of the crowd would assume this false belief as a universal criteria. Now you must be thinking a doctor would provide you a catalogue of anti-aging treatments like botox, rehydrating fillers, meso-therapy, photo-facials, non-surgical facelifts and a never ending list of treatments. Being a doctor I clearly admire the outstanding progress in medical and health science. Allow me discuss some vital facets that are normally neglected in the process of achieving beauty targets or simply looking young.


Take a deep breath and accept the fact that aging is a natural process and there's no direct or inverse relation between age and beauty, Why? Because the former is simply a number and latter is a mixture of mind and personality. This growing old process affects every single cell of your body including all your internal and external organs. In general skin is the largest external organ of human body and usually this organ is our main concern. With advancing age skin becomes fragile, bruised, tough, and slack due to thinning of dermis and loss of support around the blood vessels. So in case you are thinking about the usage of anti-aging creams or are in search of anti-aging treatments and you think it is going to make you younger then please take a moment here and think about those billions or trillions body cells that make your other vital organs like heart, kidneys, liver, muscular tissues, and bones, etc. They are also growing old. Don’t they need anti-aging treatment too? Now you need to understand this phenomenon just like you are worrying about your nasolabial fold lines, crow feet, sagging cheeks or wrinkles etc., you should pay equal attention to your whole body because this aging process is targeting it all.


It is very crucial to maintain weight according to BMI because a lot of health conditions are directly associated with weight gain and it can be a major cause of the underlying conditions. In the process of growing old, it becomes difficult to get rid of excess weight as your muscle tissues certainly shrink and lose mass. Your ligaments and tendons might also end up inflexible with age and may lose tone, even with everyday exercise. You could have constrained strength and endurance required for exercise. Hormonal changes in older women and men may contribute to muscle loss. This gradual decline in musculoskeletal system directly affects your activities of daily living (ADLs) and limit your physical activities, which in turn causes slowdown of your metabolism and ultimately leads to unburned calories that are likely to become fat deposits. The fat deposits further deteriorate your another major body system i.e., cardiovascular system. With advancing age, blood vessels also undergo aging process including arterial stiffening and thickening. These structural changes play important part in developing hypertension (high blood pressure). The fats already stored in the body due to limited physical activity build up inside the arteries. This accumulation of fat is known as atherosclerosis. It speeds up the process of aging in arteries leading to further fatty buildup and narrowing which may result in blocking major arteries that supply blood to heart and brain and the results could be devastating i.e., heart attack or stroke. Now you can clearly see all body systems are interconnected and problem in one directly affects another. But it is not very difficult to overcome these age related issues – all you need is a little attention and time for your body.

 

Growing older is no regret but dying before one’s actual death is. There is no rewind button in life, so value the time you have and value the gift of life. Avoid negativity and add positivity. Don’t limit yourself under the label of age to live a purposeful and healthy life.

First of all, it is important to monitor your weight on regular basis. If you notice any fluctuation you can take measures. I mentioned earlier that as you are growing old you lose muscle mass so add proper amount of protein in your diet plan e.g., meat, poultry, fish, salmon, trout (contains heart healthy omega 3 fats), eggs, beans and nuts etc. Also your bone health is important for maintaining your overall musculoskeletal system so dairy food with calcium and vitamin D must be a portion of your diet plan.


It is important to maintain recommended cholesterol levels to avoid fatty buildup in blood vessels. Total cholesterol level (lower than 200mg/dl) LDL i.e., low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol (100mg/dl or low) HDL i.e., high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol (40mg/dl or high) and triglycerides (149mg/dl or low). Like protein we also need fats for our body but this is mandatory to choose right fat or heart healthy fat. Saturated fat or animal fat raises cholesterol level so strictly avoid butter, cream or cream based sauces, hard margarine fats on meat, processed meat like sausages, burgers, cake, chocolates, heavy cream, milk etc. Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, peanut oil, unsalted peanuts, cashew nuts and almond help replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats and protect your heart as it lowers cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fat also reduces cholesterol level and is found in oily fish (omega 3 fat), sunflower oil (omega 6 fat), sesame oil, walnuts and hazelnut. But you must always keep in mind that all these types of fats, either saturated or unsaturated, contain equal amount of fat and calories so it is essential to avoid their excessive use. It is better to go for small meals rather than heavy meals because your metabolism slows down as you age but never go much longer than 3 hours without eating.


Hydration is important as nearly all of your systems in body depend on water. Moreover, this is a tip for anyone who wants to lose weight. With advancing age, the hypothalamus (which controls our hunger and thirst) becomes desensitized and our body can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need. Dehydration leads to high cholesterol, (produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss from cell), high blood pressure (because blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow in arteries), constipation, tiredness, fatigue and weight gain. So, drink plenty of water (best is about 8 glass/day). You can also compensate by eating hydrating food i.e., cucumber, watermelon, bell pepper, pineapple, carrots, apple, grapefruit etc.


Balance food intake with proper physical activity. If you think skipping above mentioned dietary ingredients or in other words “starvation” will prevent the side effect of accumulation in the body, you are totally wrong because on one side your body needs all the above nutrients to keep your body systems young and healthy and on the other side your body also needs to utilize these calories in the form of physical activity. Make your schedule and assign one hour of the day for physical activity. It can include mild fitness programs like walking at medium pace, or swimming to strength training programs. My recommendation is to choose the activity according to your body needs e.g., if your task is weight loss at 35 or 45 you can freely engage in heavy exercises but if you are above 60 you must keep in mind that now your bones have lost much calcium and muscle mass. Moreover, if you are having any comorbid condition (hypertension, coronary artery disease etc.), you should prefer modified plan according to your body demand; better if it is under the supervision of a trainer. Don’t skip this portion because physical activity has direct effect on all of your body systems, so picking the best one according to your body demand will be beneficial. Set some goals and tasks before starting any fitness program.


Alcohol and smoking are the root cause of many medical conditions ranging from mild to life threatening conditions. They not only cause serious damage to respiratory system but also adversely affect our other body systems including circulatory, immune and reproductive systems. If you are a smoker or alcoholic, you have two choices: either arrange your bills for a long stay in hospital or simply quit this habit.


Just like your physical health is important, your mental wellbeing should also be part of your goals. Whatever your age is, value yourself and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies even if you find time once in a week. Communicate with good and ambitious people because your company has an effect on your lifestyle and your goals. Meeting with positive people will have a positive effect. Good company will not only motivate you but also boost your energy for your tasks. Break monotony and try new things or modify your existing activities like change your walking track, meet new people or add some recreational trips even if it is only once in a month. Stress is a part of life, whatever the age is, it can strike you anywhere, anytime, the important thing is to know how to cope with it. Check out triggers for your stress and how you react. It can help you to avoid triggers and learn how to manage them. Avoid overthinking because nothing is permanent, whatever the reason of your stress. Always keep in mind that everything will get better although it can take some time. The best approach in adverse situations is to avoid taking stress that will ultimately lead to anxiety and depression, further deteriorating your physical health. Try to think positive because “problem isn’t a problem until the mind says it’s a problem”


Growing older is no regret but dying before one’s actual death is. There is no rewind button in life, so value the time you have and value the gift of life. Avoid negativity and add positivity. Don’t limit yourself under the label of age to live a purposeful and healthy life.

 

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07
November

Written By: Maj Muzaffar Ahmed

Tale of a gallant hero – martyr of IBO (Intelligence Based Operation) who started as a Cavalry Charger and ended as a Spymaster.

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It is not always easy. Your successes are unheralded – your failures are trumpeted”
(President John F. Kennedy, CIA Headquarters, November 28, 1961)

Times of chaos and disarray will not remain forever; sons of the soil are offering the best – their lives – in guarding the country.


Ali called, “I am committed. Rushing towards Army Public School Warsak Road”. There was a distinct note of agony in his voice as he said, “Terrorists have attacked Army Public School Peshawar. They are brutally killing innocent children. Saman you should go to school yourself and fetch Shahwaiz back home”. Saman hurriedly turned on the television and saw the horrific tickers being displayed. She was stunned and motionless for a while. After she regained her senses, however, with anguish and fear, she dragged herself towards Army Public School Cantonment Junior Branch and brought Shahwaiz back. Aah! It was all terrible.

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Thirty-years-old Ali had witnessed bloodshed of parents’ loving lads with sorrowful eyes. Saman narrates that she could sense Ali grief-stricken for many days after the dreadful event. Though grief and moaning of this national tragedy started settling but the cold blooded massacre had shaken Ali’s personality. He started seeing Shahwaiz in every innocent martyr and injured of Army Public School Peshawar, which ultimately guided him to seize the perspective of every passing moment and give it a shape, value and substance for contributing towards prosperity in the country. His self-commitment still echoes in Saman’s ears that every cloud has a silver lining and it is now the turn of terrorists’ bastions to stand the blow of wrath even in their most remote and safest hidings.


Hailing from Lahore, Ali was curious from teenage to maintain his ancestral legacy of soldiering. The medium built, amiable Ali, always used to attract everyone’s attention due to a distinct smile on his face. Ali Salman’s childhood best friend Ali Sohail recollects their nostalgic bond, “We met each other in Army Public School Peshawar Cantonment in class five and with the passage of time became close friends of each other. Our fathers were serving in the same city in their respective Army Ordnance setups. To my dismay after one year Ali’s father (Lt Col Nasir Mahmood) was transferred to Lahore Cantonment, but coincidentally we were re-united again in Garrison Academy for Boys Lahore Cantonment once my father was also transferred to Lahore.

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My friend was a shining, lively and jolly figure of our class not only for excelling academically but also because of fervent love for nature and laughter. At his home, he was mostly found busy in exploring ways to behaviorally nurture, serve and manage his caged parrots, rabbits, lambs and plants. Keeping his mother’s evenings busy by asking for french fries was visible from his appearance that’s why he also got fame as Dambry (cartoon character) among colleagues. Due to visiting each other’s homes almost daily, I could make out that he was very compassionate, loving and fun seeking brother of his two sisters. The bond of our friendship grew stronger with each passing day. I cannot forget his joyous company, especially partnering in cricket, kicking football and visiting Lahore zoo for many hours. As adulthood approached and we got into intermediate level education, I could observe his behavioral inquisitiveness transcending into seriousness and aspiration to attain something in life i.e., from aimlessness to knowing what he wanted. The iconic image of his father and uncles served his motivation to be a flag bearer and join Pakistan Army. Though his parents neither forced, nor stopped him from pursuing goal of joining Army, however; being the only and obedient son, he eloquently convinced his mother about his decision. Ali’s motivational lectures and ethical jolts did not spare me even. His giggles, fun filled routine and narration of challenges at Pakistan Military Academy inspired me as well to join Pakistan Army. I often miss him dearly!”


Ali’s colleagues from 112 PMA Long Course also cannot forgo cherishing memories of his perseverance and jovialness even during times of rigorous and taxing training activities. On completion of training at Pakistan Military Academy in 2005, he joined 13 Lancers, a glorious and decorated Armored Corps unit located in Quetta.


Enthusiastically responding to the unit’s grooming modules, Ali turned out to be a responsible and professional Cavalry Charger in very less time in line with the expectations of his seniors and subordinates. His unit officer, Lieutenant Colonel Aaitizaz Asbuq Waheed remembered him as an opponent in squash court and a close comrade, “We used to hang out in evenings, playing squash together. Ali’s aggression, gaming strategies and spirit to win the contests of squash and will to fight back for any game lost, were all admiring. Youngsters Hammad, Waqas and Noman used to pose immense confidence in his guidelines, mentoring sessions and timely elderly directions. Moreover, his love for good music was also a talk of the unit. Due to day and night earnest endeavors and buckling down, the under-command troops started loving him as he remained their Adjutant – custodian of discipline, the Quartermaster – responsible for feeding, health and hygiene and the Squadron Commander in thick and thin. Besides 13 Lancers, while he was posted to serve with another unit 25 Cavalry at Razmak in Operation Al-Mizan in year 2010, the CO (Commanding Officer) of the unit found him at the front lines as Squadron Commander and talked highly of him. During the course of professional building up, Ali remained an instructor in an Armour Division Battle School at Gujranwala. Thereafter, he started realizing and discussing with seniors in the unit that his inclination and mental faculties are probably more suited for intelligence tasks. Thus year-2014 proved to be a turning point in Ali’s life which parted him from 13 Lancers for a new venture but his association, interaction and contacts with the unit were never broken.”


“Yay! Saman, I have been selected to serve in Corps of Military Intelligence and need to undertake the intelligence course in School of Military Intelligence in Murree. I am happy to join Pakistan Army’s highly professional frontline force – the spymasters. I will use my potentials to the best of the service interests”. To prove himself best-suited for the upcoming assignments, he strived extra hard. His fellow course-mates said that he proficiently grasped the art of being invisible and an extraordinary intelligence operator and could disguise, surveil, detect and solve with near-perfect masteries. His skills are reflected through his securing first position in Officers Military Intelligence Mid-Career Course.


At the end of year 2014, Ali was posted to Peshawar for intelligence field works. Having witnessed the Army Public School massacre, he frequently started motivating his team individuals through his spyglass, “The spirit to avenge the blood of innocent victims of terrorism in the country remains fresh in my heart. Pakistan and the scenic valley of District Dir, its loving people and Panjkora River don’t deserve bloodshed and can’t be deprived of peace and prosperity.” To offset the game plans of enemy, he acquired reasonable grip over local Pushto dialect, demography, behavior, culture and traditions of people of the area in a very short span of time. Then discretely started unearthing, fixing and destroying the active and passive networks (sleeping cells) of terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat and other splinter groups operating in District Dir and adjacent areas. Covert efforts of his team succeeded in averting numerous bomb blasts and led towards recovery of huge caches of ammunition and explosives. A testimony of his achievements is the letter of appreciation from Commander Peshawar Corps, Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt. As an influential humane intelligence operator, local notables of the area and Village Defence Committees applauded cordial relations of his team with the masses. His comrades were also admirers of his leadership qualities and affection for subordinates as stated by his driver Nobel Masih.


After completing three years’ eventful stay at District Dir, he received orders to pack up for next duty as an instructor at School of Military Intelligence Murree. While saying goodbye to the affiliates, the District Police Officer and the District Coordination Officer of Dir spoke highly of him and felt downhearted on his departure.

 

stalkingdir3.jpgOn August 5, 2017, with renewed spirits and happy feelings of being posted to new location, Ali and his family reached Peshawar for their farewell dine out. After the ceremony Ali told Saman, “Today’s words of appreciation and good wishes by the Commander and my colleagues have supplemented and strengthened my job satisfaction”. On August 7, amidst fine memories of service in Peshawar and District Dir, Ali left for Dir for his final pack-up. Then came Sunday – August 8, 2017, a usual sunny day with unusual loud chirping of birds around the residence; an eternal day of test for Ali and his teammates. His eagle eye estimated through grapevine about the presence of four high value terrorists from Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat in Sherotkai village of Sultankhel, Upper Dir, who were actually on his watch-list for quite sometime. These terrorists were planning to sabotage our Yaum-e-Azadi celebrations by attacking at a mass gathering of innocent people thus turning the day into a national tragedy for the country. Though Ali was over with his responsibilities in the area and was ready to move for the new assignment in Murree, but his pneuma conscience forced him to handle these terrorists. He discussed the situation with his senior Commanders and planned an IBO (Intelligence Based Operation). Under the shadows of parents’ prayers and wife’s hope of success, he left his base in the evening with the team – Havildar Akhtar, Havildar Ghulam Nazir and Levies Sepoy Kareem Khan along with Sher Dil Task Force, part of Army’s SWAT Division, led by Lieutenant Zeeshan. Vehicle driver noticed and asked Ali, “Sir, you seem very excited today and the glow is visible on your face”, to which he responded, “Dear! Yes, I am happy because Almighty Allah has confidence in me that’s why He has again afforded me an opportunity to contribute, and Allah be willing our team will succeed.”


Once it was dark, Ali briefed the Sher Dil Task Force Commander about the target, which was a house where terrorists were hiding. On reaching the site at around midnight, Sher Dil Task Force established a cordon around the hideout of terrorists. After 10-15 odd minutes, upon not detecting an imminent danger, Major Ali Salman made an attempt to trace out and feed Sher Dil Task Force Commander the exact location of terrorists in the rooms. While he was approaching the terrorists with his team, one of the terrorists got alerted but he was overpowered by fire. Then in a span of few seconds, in an attempt to apprehend the terrorists alive, Ali and his team-mates briskly jumped over three terrorists and firmly gripped them. After overpowering the terrorists once clearing the terrorists for the weapons and explosives was in process, one of the terrorists blew himself up. Destiny came into play. This resulted in raising of the nation’s four brave sons (Major Ali Salman, Havildar Akhtar, Havildar Ghulam Nazir and Sepoy Kareem Khan) to the highest pedestal of martyrdom (Shahadat) and averted a national tragedy planned by terrorists. Then a fire exchange started between Sher Dil Task Force and the remaining terrorist, who was shot down in a little while. There ended chapter of Ali’s life which fulfilled commitment with Army Public School Peshawar by foiling another big terrorist plot and saving innocent human lives.


Back at home, at around 01:45 a.m. midnight, his younger sister received a call, however; tremblingly handed over the mobile phone to the father with the fear that Ali’s request to sisters for praying for his shahadat has probably come true. His father could also sense the reason, thanked Allah and stated, “Ali has won over me by giving sacrifice for the country”. The courage, fortitude and patience of such fathers is really praiseworthy.


Later, with wet eyes, his mother recalled that Ali used to take care of her, loved her cooking especially daal maash but now there is a vacuum as he will not be there to appreciate her cooked food.


His wife Saman, 29, standing as a rock of conviction said that Allah had selected Ali and his comrades because He wanted to correct those who had gone astray. She painfully expressed that Ali had the intuition of his shahadat before commencing his final journey for the high-level operation. A day prior he briefed me, “If I am not with you one day, don’t worry, then whatever decision you take for our kids, Shahwaiz (6 years) and Abdullah (2 years), it will have hundred percent support of mine”. This courageous lady has to pass through the marathon of life without her husband but her determination is matchless as she intends offering Ali’s sons Shahwaiz and Abdullah to Pakistan Army as protectors of the country.


Ali’s love for his sons is irreplaceable. He fulfilled all the wishes of his sons. Mention of two long awaited wishes is heart wrenching. Shahwaiz wanted to take rides of a tank and helicopter. His son’s wish of the tank ride was fulfilled by him once he took Shahwaiz to his unit to the utter pleasure of little lad. The other wish was also fulfilled but that was after Ali’s departure from the world when the family was flown on helicopter for funeral ceremonies.


After Ali’s sacrifice, though there was a temporary vacuum but other brave spymasters immediately filled the place and resumed the missions with full zeal and zest to block nefarious acts and designs of external and internal enemies of Pakistan. Ali, his team-mates and many others are those heroes who were confided by the destiny for glorification, however; there are numerous other unsung spymasters who silently keep working for the honor and love of the Green Flag and contribute towards bringing peace. These spymasters are the real asset of our nation who strike terror into the hearts of the enemies by their invisible presence everywhere thus making it difficult for the actors of chaos and terror to operate easily.

 

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07
November
Street Children Football Players from AJK Win Tournament in Moscow
A team of 8 street children football players from Mirpur, AJK, Pakistan won the "Future Depends on You Football Tournament" held in Moscow on October 26-27, 2017. Teams from 11 countries participated in the tournament. Pakistani team won by beating teams from Brazil, India, Belarus in league and Russia in the final. The tournament was organized by a charitable organization "Children Football" in collaboration with Russian ministries of Foreign Affairs, Sports and Education and Russian football Union. The President of Russian Football Union was the chief guest at the opening.

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07
November
MoU Signed Between NDU and DHA Bahawalpur

newsmousignedbet.jpgMoU Signing Ceremony between National Defence University, Islamabad and Defence Housing Authority, Bahawalpur was held on October 12, 2017 for the creation of NDU sub campus. Commander Bahawalpur Corps Lt Gen Sher Afgun graced the occasion as chief guest. During his address he emphasized on the importance of education and said that ‘due to NDU in Bahawalpur the standards of education will be raised and more opportunities would be available to the locals’. He thanked the NDU administration for selecting Bahawalpur for establishment of sub campus.


Acting President of NDU, Maj Gen Samrez Salik also addressed the occasion and emphasized on the role of NDU in training of country’s leadership. Project Director Brig Arif Rasheed Kayani said that ‘due to the establishment of NDU Bahawalpur in Education Enclave of DHA Bahawalpur, people of the city will get high standard educational facilities’. Renowned universities of Pakistan will make their campuses in this educational enclave. MoU signing between NDU and DHA Bahawalpur is the first step in this direction. He said that ‘DHA Bahawalpur has timely formulated and initiated all the projects and is working day and night to complete them’. In the end he thanked all the guests and expressed hope that the people of South Punjab will soon be the beneficiaries of all these facilities and initiatives.

07
November
Graduation Ceremony Held at PAF Academy

newspafgraduation.jpgThe Graduation Parade of 138th GD (P) Course, 84th Engineering Course, 94th Air Defence Course, 19th Admin & Special Duties Course and 3rd Logistics Course was held at PAF Academy Asghar Khan. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, NI (M), HI (M) Chief of Army Staff was the chief guest at the occasion. On his arrival at the Academy, he was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force.


A total of 129 aviation cadets including 5 cadets from Royal Saudi Air Force, 1 from Royal Jordanian Air Force and 6 Lady Cadets graduated at the occasion. The Chief Guest awarded branch insignias to the graduating cadets and also gave away trophies to the distinction holders. The chief guest awarded Quaid-e-Azam Banner to No 3 Squadron, the new Champion Squadron of the Academy.


Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for best performance in Flying Training was clinched by Aviation Cadet Sergeant Mohid bin Shahbaz, while the coveted Sword of Honour for Overall Best Performance in College of Flying Training was awarded to Aviation Cadet Academy Under Officer Muhammad Ashad Amir. Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for Best Performance in Engineering was clinched by Aviation Cadet Sergeant Ammar Murtaza; whereas, the coveted Sword of Honour for Overall Best Performance in College of Aeronautical Engineering was awarded to Aviation Cadet Wing Under Officer Mohammad Hamza. Trophies for overall best performance in 94 Air Defence and 19 Admin & Special Duties were won by Aviation Cadet Squadron Under Officer Zulfiqar Qurban and Aviation Cadet Junaid Anwar respectively. Aviation Cadet Sergeant Hamza Farooq won the trophy for Overall Best Performance in Logistics course. Aviation Cadet Wing Under Officer Mohammad Hamza was also awarded Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Trophy for Best Performance in General Service Training.


The ceremony was witnessed by high-ranking military and civil officials, diplomats, foreign dignitaries and a large number of guests of graduating cadets.

07
November
Pakistan Army Team Wins Gold Medal in Exercise Cambrian Patrol

newsexcercisegembarian.jpgPakistan Army team won Gold Medal in “Exercise Cambrian Patrol” held in UK in the second week of October. A total of 131 army teams from across the world participated in the event that is known as one of the toughest patrolling tests for military personnel. Cambrian Patrol a is physically challenging and arduous exercise which concentrates on teamwork for achieving the mission held in the most unforgiving mountainous terrain of mid-Wales, UK, amid tactical and technical challenges, testing the leadership, self-discipline, courage and determination of the participants.

This is the fourth time Pakistan Army has won Gold Medal in the Cambrian Patrol. Pakistan Army had won the competition last year as well.

07
November
Pakistan Navy Exercise BURQ VII

newspnexcburq.jpgPakistan Navy conducted Exercise BURQ VII at Creeks area aiming to evaluate Pakistan Navy’s operational plans for the defence of Creeks area. It also included the re-evaluation of Air Defence plans and combat readiness of Air Defence Battalion deployed in the Creeks area. Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) were lead elements of the exercise.


Commander Coast Rear Admiral Abdul Aleem also visited the forward posts of Pakistan Navy in Creeks area to witness the tactical phase of exercise. During the visit, the Commander Coast expressed his satisfaction over high degree of professionalism and combat readiness displayed by the various segments of Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) during the Exercise.


BURQ series of exercises are tactical level exercises conducted by Pakistan Navy Coastal Command to evaluate and enhance the defence of Creeks area wherein Pak Marines and Special Services Group (Navy) participate. Assets of Pakistan Navy Fleet, Maritime Security Agency, and Pakistan Air Force also participated in the exercise.

07
November
PAF JF-17 Thunder and Red Arrows Present Stunning Aerobatics Display at Sea View Karachi

newspafjfthunderred.jpgTo commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pak-UK bilateral relations, Pakistan Air Force arranged a mesmerizing air show at Sea View, Karachi. The pride of Pakistan JF-17 Thunder along with internationally acclaimed Red Arrows aerobatics team of Royal Air Force presented a scintillating aerial display for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Governor Sindh, Chief Minister Sindh, British High Commissioner, Commander Karachi Corps, along with political leaders, parliamentarians, high ranking civil and military officials witnessed the breathtaking mega event. Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command received all the dignitaries at the venue.


The air show started with the spectacular aerial display by the indigenously manufactured JF-17 Thunder aircraft which was flown by Wing Commander Yasir Muddassir. Moments after the departure of the roaring JF-17 Thunder from the venue, the world renowned aerobatics team of Royal Air Force, Red Arrows appeared on the horizon. The nine member team led by Squadron Leader David Montenegro performed jaw dropping aerobatics in the red painted Hawks aircraft.


Earlier in the day the pilots of the Red Arrows Aerobatics team interacted with PAF pilots and students from various schools and colleges. Pakistan Air Force enjoys cordial relations with the Royal Air Force since independence of Pakistan in 1947. High level delegations have been visiting each other to further enhance the mutual cooperation and friendly ties between the two Air Forces. Earlier this year Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force visited Pakistan as a guest of honor in the graduation parade at PAF Academy Asghar Khan. He also flew an exercise training mission in F-16 fighter aircraft during his visit to the elite No. 9 Squadron of Pakistan Air Force. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force has also visited UK on the special invitation of Royal Air Force.

07
November
Commander Rawalpindi Corps Visits Troops Deployed at LOC

newscomanrwpcorpvisit.jpgCommander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza visited troops deployed at various sectors of LOC and expressed his deep concern and sorrow over recent deaths of two minors as a result of deliberate firing by Indian Army. He said ‘targeting innocent civilians living peacefully along LOC is a very non professional and inhuman action by Indian Army’. While interacting with soldiers, he lauded the motivation and spirit of the troops and said that ‘our professional ethos and moral obligation bars us from responding in kind, as same civilians (our blood) are living on other side of the LOC’. Commander 10 Corps also acknowledged the resilience, sacrifice and high morale of our civilian population who stand by their Armed Forces in defence of motherland. He also appreciated the effective and befitting response by our troops.


Earlier on arrival, he was received by Major General Azhar Abbas General Officer Commanding 12 Division followed by a detailed and comprehensive briefing regarding prevailing situation at LOC.


Corps Commander also visited Rakhchikri sector and expressed deep concern over recent ceasefire violations by Indian Army targeting innocent civilian population. He appreciated effective and befitting response by own troops. While interacting with troops and civilian population of the area, he lauded the motivation and spirit and said that the only restraint for us is the professional ethos and moral obligation, which bars us from responding in kind when Indian troops target innocent civilians.


He expressed satisfaction over affective and befitting response by own troops inflicting heavy losses to the enemy.


Corps Commander also visited CMH Rawalpindi and enquired about the health of the injured persons.

07
November
CGS UK Army Visits Corps HQ and Khyber Agency

newscgsusarmyvisit.jpgGeneral Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff UK Army, called on Commander Peshawar Corps Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt at Corps Headquarters Peshawar on October 14, 2017.


The general officer was given a detailed briefing on Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, border management, TDP return and the mega development and rehabilitation projects undertaken by Pakistan Army for the uplift of tribal people in different parts of FATA.


During his visit to a forward post at Khyber Agency, he was briefed on the achievements and culmination of Operation Khyber-IV and Pak-Afghan border fencing. Later on, General Nicholas visited historical Khyber Pass and witnessed the traditional legacy of tribal culture.


Earlier, on arrival at Corps Headquarters, General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada and paid tribute to the martyrs of Pakistan Army. Commander 11 Corps, Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt accompanied the visiting dignitary during the visit.

07
November
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, CGS UK Army Calls on COAS

newsgensirnicolas.jpgGeneral Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army, during his two days official visit to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ.


Matters of mutual interest including strengthening of bilateral security and defence cooperation between the two Armies were discussed during the meeting. The visiting dignitary acknowledged Pakistan Army's achievements in the fight against terrorism and continued efforts for peace and stability in the region. He said that UK greatly appreciates Pakistan’s sacrifices in this regard.


Earlier on arrival at GHQ, CGS UK Army, laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented the guard of honour to the visiting dignitary.


The visiting dignitary addressed participants of National Security and War Course later that day.

07
November
Pakistan Navy's Change of Command

newspnchangeofcommand.jpgOn October 7, 2017, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was sworn in as Chief of the Naval Staff during an impressive Change of Command Ceremony held at PNS ZAFAR Islamabad. The President of Pakistan appointed Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi as Chief of the Naval Staff upon completion of tenure of service of Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.


In the farewell address, the outgoing Naval Chief, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah thanked Almighty Allah to have bestowed upon him the sacred onus of commanding Pakistan Navy for the defence of motherland. The Admiral acknowledged that there was no greater privilege and honour for him than to have been associated with such a noble profession and an array of dauntless, devoted and capable officers and men. The outgoing Naval Chief congratulated Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi for assuming the command of Pakistan Navy and expressed his heartiest felicitations.


Later, new Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi laid floral wreath at shuhada monument at Naval Headquarters and offered fateha. Upon arrival at Naval Headquarters, a smartly turned out contingent clad in ceremonial dress presented him the Guard of Honour.


Newly sworn in Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on assuming command of Pakistan Navy said, “On assuming Command of Pakistan Navy, I thank Allah for his countless blessings and pray to him to grant me wisdom and sagacity to shoulder this great responsibility. I expect all officers and men to rededicate themselves to the defence of motherland with honesty of purpose, devotion to duty and above all faith in Allah. I hope that together we will prove equal to the task and come to the expectations of the nation.”


The change of command ceremony was attended by a large number of civil and military dignitaries, former Naval Chiefs, media representatives, CPOs/Sailors and Navy civilians.

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Chief of the Naval Staff

Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi HI(M)

Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was commissioned in Operations Branch of Pakistan Navy in June 1981. The Admiral undertook initial training at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, UK. On commissioning, he won the coveted Sword of Honour from Pakistan Naval Academy. During his distinguished career, the Admiral attained vast experience of both command and staff appointments. The Flag Officer is a graduate of National Defence University Islamabad and Royal Australian Navy Staff College.

 

His command appointments include Command of Surface Ships, Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy, Commander 25th Destroyer Squadron, DG Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, Commander Coast, Commander Logistics, Commander Pakistan Fleet and Command of Multi-National Combined Task Force 150 at HQ NAVCENT Bahrain.

 

His key staff appointments include Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans), Chief Inspector (Navy) and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (Operations). In recognition of his meritorious services, the Admiral has been awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military).

07
November
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi Calls on COAS

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited GHQ and called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on October 10, 2017. Matters of professional interest were discussed. COAS congratulated Admiral Zafar on assumption of command of Pakistan Navy. Earlier, on arrival at GHQ, CNS laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada and offered fateha for martyrs of Pakistan.

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Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Calls on COAS

Mr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ on October 20, 2017.

COAS strongly condemned recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, including the attack on Afghan National Army Base in Kandahar. He expressed his sympathies with the bereaved families. COAS said that both countries have suffered a lot from terrorism and such attacks shall not deter our resolve and commitment for peace in the region.

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07
November
CJCSC Visits an Operational Air Base

newscjscvisitoptairbase.jpgGeneral Zubair Mahmood Hayat HI (M), NI (M), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee visited an Operational Air Base of Pakistan Air Force. On his arrival at the Base, he was received by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman NI (M), Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. The CJCSC visited newly established Airpower Center of Excellence and attended a briefing on the ongoing operational exercise. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, ACE is a premier institution which would train the combat crew of PAF as well as personnel of friendly air forces by conducting multinational training exercises. The CJCSC was also informed that the first ever multinational exercise is going to be held in current month with participants from 19 air forces.


During his visit, the CJCSC also flew an exercise training mission in F-16 aircraft of the prestigious No 9 Multirole Squadron. The Air Chief, sitting in another F-16 aircraft also participated in the training mission.


After flying the mission, the CJCSC interacted with the combat Air and Ground crew of the squadron and remarked that PAF has led from the front in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and together with the sister services has been instrumental in turning the tide. PAF’s cutting edge aside, what makes it second-to-none is the high morale and thorough professionalism of its personnel. While talking at the occasion, Air Chief reiterated his resolve to provide in synergy with the armed forces an impregnable aerial defence of the country. He further added that Pakistan’s security and sovereignty is paramount and PAF would make all necessary measures to ensure the defence of its aerial frontiers.

06
November

Report By: Maryam Razzaq

The value of freedom to observe the religious congregations with peace and tranquility cannot be fathomed neither can it be expressed being a unique feeling within heart and soul. Intolerance in a society can be minimized through comprehensive campaign and by ensuring the writ of the state. As a response to volatile situation in the country, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have successfully countered the threat and have been instrumental in defeating the nefarious designs of the terrorist organizations thereby creating peaceful environment for masses.

 

The negative propaganda by world's media aside, positive image of Pakistan has been acknowledged by the relevant quarters and the present influx of tourists and pilgrims visiting their Holy places inside Pakistan is a testimony to the trust displayed by them. The most recent example is of the 40,000 Bohras, including 12,000 Indians who gathered at Karachi to observe their annual congregation i.e., Ashara Mubaraka from September 16 to October 10, 2017.

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Pakistan Army shouldered the responsibility to provide a peaceful and conducive environment to the participants during the period of their stay. The comprehensive security plans, seamless coordination amongst various elements of LEAs and Intelligence Agencies and its flawless execution has made the visit memorable as expressed by the visitors. Furthermore, the management of cross-border entrance through Joint Check Post Wagah of around 8000 Indian Bohra pilgrims has been applauded and appreciated by the visitors. The role of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) in establishing a facilitation center to ensure convenience and security of the visitors was hailed with gratitude and sense of relief by Bohra Community while departing for India.

 
06
November

Written By: Brig/Ambassador Tariq M. Mir (R)

We felt we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview. He spoke in a low soft voice. PM Bazergan explained our presence. The Imam expressed his pleasure and satisfaction that Pakistan had been the first country to recognise the Islamic regime as he had expected that and looked forward to a close brotherly relationship. His kindness was enough to convey the deep and strong relation between Iran and Pakistan.

 

In September 1978, I was serving as Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Division, also Secretary to the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, when I was offered a lateral entry into the Foreign Service for appointment as Charge-de-Affairs of our Embassy in Tehran. Iran was then in the throes of a revolution. Due to uncertain conditions then prevailing, many states had temporarily re-called their ambassadors and some had even suspended their mission for lack of security. This was indeed the third great revolution of the twentieth century. In the circumstances it was not thought expedient, at this stage to accredit an Ambassador.


I had earlier served in Iran for many years and had many friends who were kind enough to receive me with great warmth. Many officials holding high and sensitive assignments had been fellow students in UK and U.S. colleges, and we were able to renew social contacts. At the higher echelons of government, the feeling appeared to be that the aspirations of the people would be fulfilled because a liberal social and democratic program was in the offing. However, among the lower functionaries one could detect sympathy for the revolution. The Army command appeared firm and disciplined. Diplomatic life in North Tehran was undisturbed while unrest appeared to be centered in South Tehran. The wealthy citizens appeared anxious and insecure while an exodus, albeit a trickle, had already started.


The uprising of the people was universal and unrest was throughout the country. Villagers flocked to the cities and demonstrations were widespread. Civic services were disrupted. As foreigners, we assessed that social discontent was due to glaring inequality; minimal outlets for political participation and suppression of protest; SAVAK repression; imposition of alien culture; all seemed to have aroused the nation. The masses surged with discontent, and seemed to embrace all shades of political thought. Some opposition groups were organized while others remained underground. We were able to establish that no foreign hand was involved. No externally based religious scholars had any input. However, the bazaars were disrupted. The law enforcement forces appeared to be in a state of withdrawal with limited presence.


We tried to make contact with the organizers of this massive revolt but without any worthwhile success. However, we did obtain tapes of Imam Khomeini’s speeches which were under clandestine circulation, and were apparently fuelling the movement. The Imam, since October 6, 1978 was in Paris, having been exiled in 1984. He was clearly the established national hero and the single unifying force. Even the Tudeh leaders were ready to swear that his image had been seen on the moon! Eventually after much effort, with the help of kind friends I was able to have an audience with Ayatollah Shariat Madari in Qom. He had declared support for the opposition ten months earlier (May 10, 1978). I gathered in discussions with him and other clergymen that it was a movement to restore the "centrality of religious edicts in everyday life and to bring a sense of spiritual happiness and fulfilment”. Luxurious lifestyle of the rich had all helped to accentuate inequality. In 1905 the clergy had also intervened in similar circumstances. However, religion, it was said, did not inhibit the acquisition of western knowledge, technology and the advancement of science because of its contribution to a happier, healthier life. Also, the people regarded the ‘monarchical’ regime as the family of a military officer who had illegally usurped power some fifty years ago and hence, the people’s demand was to restore demoratic rule.


Much later after the change of regime in February 1979, I was able to meet Dr. Mahmud Beheshti later Chief Justice regarded as the Chief Organizer of the people’s movement and probably no. 2 to the Imam. He was a man of a towering personality. Fluent in European languages and well versed in all the modern trends in international politics, economics, sciences and jurisprudence. He had a vision for a future Iran. He agreed Iran and Pakistan were connected by strong bonds of brotherhood. His assassination a few months later, along with other leaders, was a grievous loss for Iran and the Islamic World.


On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr (November 1979) the Heads of Islamic Missions were invited to the palace and instead of the usual salaam ceremony, the ambassadors, after the presentation, were asked to be seated. The Shah had a brief discussion on the situation and inter alia said “Every Iranian citizen has a standard of living the peasant in India still dreams about. Household appliances, cars and homes are common possessions. What does the Iranian man want?” He was later (on November 5, 1978) to address the nation with the famous speech “Sadai Shuma Shenidam”. “I have heard your voice”. Alas too late!


The people’s uprising gathered momentum, there was general strike covering bazaars, universities, schools, oil installations, banks, ministries, post offices, railways, newspapers, customs, etc. Everyday life was severely disrupted. At night a blackout was imposed. In the darkness, seemingly the entire populace came out on the roof tops and in unison recited the Kalma. It was a soul stirring experience. Foreigners were frightened. A mass exodus commenced. Later, we visited the scene of the most violent protests. It was amazing to see that the flower beds had not been trampled, street lights were not broken or shop windows damaged. It was the culture ingrained over several centuries of civilisation, that had infused civic sense among the people. One evening an Iranian grandee and his wife dropped in for a cup of tea. On learning that the family of a mutual Pakistani friend had gone to Pakistan to attend a wedding and noting that the guest with us at the time was Mr. Altaf Hussain, Editor Urdu Digest who had just arrived from Pakistan, the Iranian lady could not restrain herself. She stood up with tears of anguish streaming from her eyes and said “Poor proud Iran, the families are being sent away and journalists are coming in”. Indeed, the hotels were swarming with journalists from all over the world.


Events began to proceed rapidly. Shah Hussain of Jordan arrived to help devise a settlement; emissaries were sent to meet members of Marja (Ecclesiastic Council) in Najaf; Huyser mission commenced work; An Ashura resolution called for abdication; Shapour Bakhtiar, a respected nationalist opposition leader was appointed as Prime Minister, though the impact was nullified as he had to act under a Royal Council. Finally on January 16, 1979 the Shah left Tehran. The diplomatic corps were not informed in time to see him off. The situation, thereafter, changed dramatically. On February 1, 1979, Imam Khomeini on arrival from Paris, received a tumultuous welcome with 5 million people lining the streets. On February 4, 1979, he announced a Revolutionary Government, with Mehdi Bazergan as Prime Minister and called upon all embassies to recognize the new government or face expulsion. With Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar in the chair and the Army intact, the most difficult time in the life of a diplomat commenced. The large Pakistani community influenced by the fervour in the streets looked towards the embassy for guidance.


General Huyser mission was a mystery. Many versions, including one by the General have appeared and documents of the period have been declassified. However, a source report which we received at the time but appeared much later in the press and is therefore authentic, reported that between February 7-9, General Gharabaghi, Chief of Joint Staff had convened a series of meetings with military commanders to discuss the future role of the military. The point under discussion was the attitude and reliability of the soldiers in the present crisis. It was decided that in order to preserve the integrity of the Army, it should declare neutrality and withdraw to barracks. The officers present did not know how and whom to contact to convey the decision of the Army. To the surprise of everyone, as the meeting progressed, a foreign officer who was also present, provided the telephone numbers of leaders in the opposition with whom negotiations could be opened. Perhaps, as a result of this meeting the withdrawal of troops from the streets began. This development was greeted with joyous acclamation by the public and the withdrawing troops were showered with flowers and greetings. However, very soon we heard that General Amir Hossein Rabii, the Air Force Commander, the Imperial Body Guard Commander (who was well known to us) and few other General officers, all later executed, were planning a counter coup to restore a situation which was slipping away fast. It was said that General Gharabaghi, son of a respected cleric and a very religious man himself, justified his decision to withdraw the troops because Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar had dismissed the Royal Council on January 23, and therefore, loyalty to the monarchy was no longer an imposed obligation. The Shah, in exile, was to declare Gharabaghi a traitor.


On February 9, disintegration within the military apparently began to take shape. Late in the evening, we saw mobs storming an army base and the troops fleeing while the people armed themselves and freed the prisoners. As we roamed the streets at night, we witnessed a rebellion at the Air Force Academy and saw the public rejoicing and joining in the demonstration. On February 10, Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar declared martial law and tried to impose curfew. We learnt that attempts were being made to re-constitute the military and intelligence services with new leaders. The situation was described to us by an erstwhile Chief of Intelligence. He said such attempts were too late and utterly futile. We heard reports that the loss of control and slide towards anarchy could become irreversible. Late at night on February 10, I discussed the situation with higher authorities in Pakistan. They were sympathetic to the revolution and delegated the decision to me for recognizing the revolutionary government at the appropriate time.


At 7 a.m. on February 11, I told the assembled embassy officers to fan out in the streets and observe the law and order situation. At 9.30 a.m., I decided we should recognize the change of regime and accompanied by a few officers, we were ushered into the presence of the Foreign Minister (a former ambassador to Pakistan). He was taken aback. He stood up and flung the letter on the ground, loudly proclaiming that I had come to the wrong place and that a counter attack was in progress to restore the writ of government. In the circumstances he could not vouch for the safety of the Pakistani community in the country. (He was later executed). As we left the office, Mr. Techkavi, a DG in the Ministry, who had accompanied us said, “This is great news”. He thereafter joined us and took us through the many alleys of Tehran before stopping at a door. As we entered, Mr. Mehi Bazergan was on the phone and on learning the purpose of our visit jubilantly announced on the phone that Pakistan had recognized our government – “Nukhasteen! as expected from brothers. He explained that he was talking to revolutionaries who had just captured the radio station.


On return to the embassy I began to get calls from fellow diplomats to confirm the radio news. A Soviet diplomat called and said according to his information Bakhtiar was still in office. A U.S. diplomat called to say the revolutionaries had captured the radio station and were broadcasting fake news. The gravity of the situation dawned on us and I become very concerned about the Pakistani community who it was reported had joined the street celebrations. At 12 p.m. President Zia-ul-Haq called and said that he had heard the news on BBC. I confirmed the news and explained the situation. At 14:30 p.m. news came that mobs had overrun the Prime Minister’s office and Shapour Bakhtiar had fled. The streets were filled with joyous crowds and many brought huge baskets of flowers to our embassy and also to the consulates. It was really a remarkable moment. Incidentally, during the blackout at night, with non-existent police, and the populace armed, the traders including jewellers, remained open for business.


On February 12, Revolutionary Committees were formed and the government agencies and administrative offices resumed work. In response to my request, to meet the Imam, Prime Minister Bazergan, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi, myself and officers of the embassy were taken to a school building in the poor section of Tehran. The outer courtyard was swarming with armed revolutionaries. As we passed through rooms we saw clergymen busy on several telephones. These were the control rooms that had played a vital role in directing the people’s movement. At last we entered a large bare room with no furniture or floor covering. In the far corner, we observed the Imam seated on a prayer carpet. Silence and calm prevailed. No telephones, files, messengers, protocol officers, secretaries, or even a desk cluttered the surroundings. We felt that we were in the presence of a dervish. We sat down on the bare floor beside him. The Imam Khomeini sat as for prayer. His eyes downcast, he did not look up even once. His face was expressionless and he remained motionless during the entire interview. He spoke in a low soft voice. PM Bazergan explained our presence. The Imam expressed his pleasure and satisfaction that Pakistan had been the first country to recognise the Islamic regime as he had expected that and looked forward to a close brotherly relationship. His kindness was enough to convey the deep and strong relation between Iran and Pakistan. We took our leave. We were then conducted to another corner of the room. We sat on the floor with Prime Minister Bazergan and Foreign Minister Yazdi. A lunch of boiled rice and curd was served. A new era had dawned.


Foreigners were impressed with the zeal and sense of duty displayed by the revolutionary leaders as they valiantly tried to bring profound changes and to shape society in keeping with the aspirations of the people. In these attempts they had to be mindful of the immutable traditions of their glorious heritage.


The Iranian Revolution, although Islamic and universal was a combination of several schools of thought i.e., communists, Tudeh, Mujahideen Khaliq and in social ideology ranging from left to right in various degrees. However, the clergy group covered a broad spectrum from the left leaning Ayatollah Taleghani to the more conservative Ayatollah Shariat Madari and Ayatollah Rafsanjani. By February 18, within 7 days, Ayatollah Beheshti had formed the Islamic Republican Party with top aides, Ayatollah Bahonar, Khomeini, Hashim Rafsanjani etc. Many clergymen aspired for a leadership role and various power centers erupted. The situation became very complicated for diplomats.


Many Pakistani citizens, over the years, while on visit or pilgrimage to Iran, had established very close friendship with some Iranian clergymen who had now risen to prominence. One such Pakistani millionaire businessman was well known for his many endowments to shrines etc. Another Pakistani international shipping magnate claimed to have known the Imam’s family when they were in exile in Najaf, Iraq. He claimed to have contacts at the highest level. Many of these Pakistanis now descended on Tehran and began to flood the authorities at home with information and advice which often resulted in recriminations. A sage advised us that ‘in a crisis, a diplomat should always deal through the ministry and remain anonymous.’


In the aftermath of the revolution, the Iranian government organised tours for citizens and diplomats to be taken on visits to see the houses and opulent living style of the rich and of the Royal Palaces. One such tour concluded in a Royal Palace, and the diplomats who were invited for snacks, were seated around a gold leafed table, served by liveried servants. A European diplomat observing the scene cracked aloud “Déjà vu, back to normal”! A young clergyman, probably educated abroad, jumped onto the table and said, “No, we despise this luxury, a waste of the people’s money”. I asked to take a photograph of him sitting on the table, to which he agreed saying, “It is a People’s Revolution.”


Events of those far off days are perhaps no longer relevant but I write to convey the flavour of the world’s third revolution of the 20th century. Internal divisiveness did not detract from national unity and solidarity when faced with a foreign threat. The Iranian nation are the custodians of a noble and glorious heritage.

 

The writer is a former Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Iraq.

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06
November

Written By: Shah Faisal

Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people from this community. While they perform their tasks with utmost diligence braving the odds at sea, surely not many of us know about problems that are being faced by the Pakistani mariners.

 

Like every year, International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the auspices of the UN, held World Maritime Day on September 28, 2017. This year, theme of the Day was “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”. These are the three main pillars on which the Global Maritime Industry thrives. According to IMO, this day is held to highlight the significance of maritime sector, international seaborne trade and its relationship with the world economy. While we all understand and acknowledge the importance of first two components of this year’s theme that are Ships and Ports, the third component i.e., People (the Mariners; who serve onboard ships), despite being the most important of all, is often less acknowledged. As the world celebrated this day, for Pakistani mariners it passed as an ordinary day full of challenges and hardships of sea-life with no or little recognition at home.


Mariner is a term generally used for those brave men who choose the daring profession of serving onboard ships. Most of us know that, being the cheapest mode of transportation, 90 % of global trade is conducted through sea via variety of ships. It means that seafarers are involved in one way or the other in our daily lives. As we leisurely use delicate imported items, we owe a vote of thanks to people from this community. While they perform their tasks with utmost diligence braving the odds at sea, surely not many of us know about problems that are being faced by the Pakistani mariners.


Seafaring is a respectable profession filled with adventure, excitement and promising returns. Yet, not many among Pakistani youth choose it. First and the foremost reason is the fact that despite being located at an important geostrategic location in the Arabian Sea, awareness about the seas and their importance is almost nonexistent among the general populace in Pakistan. For instance, you may ask young college students some basic questions about maritime geography and you would be astonished to find that the results are dismal.


Talking about maritime training and education in Pakistan, we find that we have a historic institution in the government sector that is Pakistan Marine Academy (PMA), located in Karachi since 1971 and a handful of private institutions. PMA conducts pre-sea cadets training for marine officers and almost 150 cadets pass out every year belonging to both Nautical and Engineering branches. PMA also conducts General Purpose crew training for ratings who can then search jobs onboard ships. Equipped with large training infrastructure with adequate facilities, PMA is the only government academy in maritime field. Despite challenges like funding and manning issues, PMA has been doing its job tremendously. However, do these cadets and seamen possess necessary basic competencies to compete with cadets from other countries searching for the same jobs in the field? It remains a simmering question keeping in view the tremendous competition that they face in the international maritime market. Another contributing factor in this regard is that unfortunately, Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) does not have sufficient number of ships to accommodate these fresh mariners who do not have any practical experience. Resultantly, these young fellows have to apply for jobs in international market through manning agents. There are instances where they have paid hefty amounts as commission to get initial sign-in on not-so-safe and seaworthy ships. Furthermore, some of them have even been deprived of their money by fake and fraudulent agents. According to one former PMA cadet, almost 40% of his batchmates failed to secure initial sign-in despite concerted and prolonged efforts after completion of their training. Resultantly, as he sadly narrated, some of them even switched their fields thus abandoning their dream of becoming a mariner.

 

When it comes to maritime training and education in Pakistan, we find that there is only one institution in the government sector and that is Pakistan Marine Academy (PMA), located in Karachi since 1971. PMA conducts pre-sea cadets training for marine officers and almost 150 cadets pass out every year belonging to both Nautical and Engineering branches. PMA is the only government academy in maritime field and it has large training infrastructure with adequate facilities.

Problems of the mariners do not end after completing their basic mandatory service. Even after completing their initial sign-in and having gained considerable experience at sea, they face further challenges in addition to the inherent risks of the life at sea. Pakistani seafarers despite being hardworking and efficient crew members have also suffered due to the menace of terrorism. Although no significant terrorism related incident has occurred in the maritime arena involving Pakistani seafarers, however, precarious security conditions in the country particularly in the past and Pakistan’s negative image have contributed towards strict visa restrictions. Many countries deny/delay visa to Pakistani seafarers and some even do not allow them to step down from the ships when visiting their ports. There were some 7300 Pakistani seafarers prior to 9/11 which later reduced to less than 6000. Such problems have not only rendered these skilled men unemployed, rather Pakistan’s economy has also lost substantial foreign exchange as they get paid in foreign currencies. Although, our seafarers possess computerized requisite documents including machine readable passports but the problem still persists due to negative image of the country.


Let me highlight another worth mentioning factor that this all is happening in an industry which is currently short of manpower, particularly in officers’ cadre. According to one estimate there is a requirement of 0.8 million officers worldwide and there is a shortage of approximately 16,000 officers. Pakistan’s share among the global seafarers has reduced over a period of time. Presently, countries like China, Indonesia, Russian Federation, the Philippines Ukraine and India form mainstay of global demand. Interestingly, population of the Philippines, Ukraine is almost half of Pakistan but it is often ranked second in the list of seafarers providing countries after China.


Hence, there is an urgent need to address the issues being faced by mariners. Ministry of Ports and Shipping can resolve problems concerning employment of Pakistani seafarers. PMA should be supported to conduct training of our seafarers on modern lines so as to produce efficient cadets and seamen at par with their counterparts of other nationalities. Moreover, system may be devised to facilitate employment of our mariners particularly new graduates. In this regard, suitable arrangements/signing of MoUs with friendly maritime nations may be considered so as to accommodate our inexperienced cadets and seamen. And lastly, their reservations about delay and denial of visas for boarding ships should also be addressed.

 

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06
November

Written By: Malik Ahmed Jalal

We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State”.


In this speech, on the eve of Pakistan’s independence, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah laid the foundation of an enabling society that creates equal opportunities for all. In these two simple yet profound sentences, the Quaid shared the blueprint for what we have failed to realize – the benefit of a nation-state based on meritocracy. This principle is the underpinning of a successful nation-state as it can create shared values and aspirations that unite all factions to lift Pakistan in the league of nations.

meritocracy.jpg
While merit is an individual characteristic, meritocracy is a characteristic of societies. A system which allows citizens equality and progression based on their character and effort, hence distributing wealth and power more widely and justly. A society should find a natural equilibrium towards a meritocratic system of governance because of the strong linkage between merit with justice and justice with peace.

 

Meritocracy and Economic and Political Inclusiveness

The Industrial Revolution facilitated the transition from tribes and clans to nation-states based on supply of two ingredients, labor and capital. The Industrial Revolution broke the subservient relationship between landlord-and-labor and empowered a type of labor called entrepreneur, who, for the first time could accumulate capital and hence power in a society. As a result, power shifted to self-starting entrepreneurs from a concentrated minority of hereditary landowners and thus authority was distributed more widely. This gave birth to an egalitarian system based on entrepreneurial effort. In doing so, it unleashed creativity of the previously dispossessed; leading to a period of not only the largest wealth accumulation but also of wealth dispersion.


History has witnessed Aristocratic governing systems, where power was maintained by a privileged nobility through exercise of force or patronage. Such systems proved to be unsustainable for two reasons; the reduction of patronage immediately unraveled the system. It also meant that no clear succession plan was devised, and people’s roles in society were not matched with their capabilities; preventing able people from holding positions of power and influence. This governance form is known as Plutocracy and diverged from the ancient Greek concept of “Aristocracy of talent” or rule by the best; first explored by the philosopher Plato. Plutocracy is a society ruled by a handful of its wealthiest citizens, who consider it their right bestowed by birth rather than being earned.


Western societies formed at the advent of industrialization experienced an evolution from Plutocracy to a form of Aristocracy of talent. More popularly referred to as democracy; or rule of the people, for the people, and by the people. Thereby creating a system that awarded power on the basis of performance, as deemed fit by a majority of citizens, through one-person one-vote principle. This form of Aristocracy of talent enabled citizens who previously did not belong to the nobility to hold governing office or wealth. Hence, allowing the most suitable leaders to ascend in a society. Abraham Lincoln is one such example; he came from a humble background and rose to become the most transformational president of America.


Meritocracy and State-Building
A nation-state is formed on principles of shared values, where regardless of differences in caste, ethnicity or language, the citizens have a common identity and strive towards mutual goals. It is a state with equal opportunity for upward social mobility, without divisions of lineage or tribe; a state with distribution of governance to the most deserving. It is a state of meritocracy. Examining some of the most successful nations like Norway, Sweden, and Germany, we see that the rationale of their success is a system of meritocracy and level playing field with equal opportunity for growth.


In non-industrialized societies, tribalism operates under the guise of democracy. In such tribalistic-democratic systems, position in society is determined by family connections, and even the electoral mechanism is rigged to re-enforce advantages of lineage and inheritance creating a perpetual ruling elite of electables.


Francis Fukuyama, author and intellectual in his book “The Origins of a Political Order” makes the case for a transparent system that ensures protection and promotion of everyone on the basis of merit. He advocates a system which breaks the bond of tribalism and kinship and replaces them with a sense of collectivism elicited by trust in the system to reward their hard work. Tribalism is highly sub-optimal as it causes citizens to supersede tribal loyalties over state interests. Fear and lack of trust in the system is compensated for by tribal and personal affiliations to give a sense of safety and security. On the other hand, a meritocratic society allows movement towards mutual goals – ultimately a nation state, instead of a series of tribes and kinship held together within a geographical boundary. Fukuyama supports the viewpoint of Alexandere Kojeve; a French Philosopher, that the progress of history must lead toward the establishment of a "universal and homogenous" nation-state, incorporating elements of a meritocratic democracy.


Islam, A Meritocracy in Tribal Arabia
All successful self-sustaining states of the past and the present have one thing in common; they have, at their core, a strong element of meritocracy and upward socio-economic mobility of wealth and power. The early Islamic States of Medina and Makkah are an example of a meritocratic system which empowered women, slaves and immigrants alike. Islam is a religion, whose very basis is a just and meritocratic society, and the Prophet’s (PBUH) message called for equality and accountability of all before God.


Taqwa is a fundamental principle of Islam and is mentioned over 100 times in the Quran. It implies God-consciousness in avoiding misdeeds that earn His displeasure. It is stated that a believer who practices Taqwa is closest to God. Hidden within the most fundamental principle of Taqwa, is concept of meritocracy and equality of all – good deeds alone will determine closeness to God, and that is accessible to all. Therefore, Islam propagates that every individual is created equal and has an equal opportunity to rise in the eyes of God through his/her deeds only. Our religion laid the foundation of equality and upward social mobility of the ordinary, elevating their social, political, and economic position, irrespective of their color or creed. It is no coincidence that the first adherents of Islam were a woman, a boy and a slave – all marginalized underclasses of the society at that time. They were emancipated by Islam.


Meritocracy and Pakistan’s Struggle for Nation-State
Pakistan was created as a Muslim nation-state with protection and rights for minorities; the green and white flag depicts a commitment to all citizens irrespective of lineage, tribe or religion. We were meant to be a nation-state based on the framework of meritocracy; a notion that we have drifted away from. Today, we have an eroding sense of national identity, scarred by tribalism, ethnicity, religious and linguistic schisms. Ranking the second worst country in the world for gender equality, the State is nearly functioning as a collection of tribes and ethnicities; not as a congruent, united or cohesive state.


For a country or a nation to flourish, it is imperative to elevate itself from tribal and hereditary systems and promote meritocracy. Taking examples from thriving modern societies, it becomes evident that the source of their success has been rewarding people based on their character and effort. Few policy recommendations for infusing such a meritocratic culture are:


1) Promoting genuine entrepreneurship (versus rent-seeking), as it enables upward social mobility and visible demonstration of flow of rewards with effort.
2) A sound publicaly funded school and university system so that education is available to all. This creates a level playing field.
3) Create a strong, independent judiciary so that citizens have recourse to justice and trust that their rewards and rights will not be usurped.


A modern meritocratic democratic system is one which rewards positive character and effort rather than tribal, social or linguistic connections. This is exactly the same in Islam, which has given us the fundamental privilege that all individuals have equal opportunity to be close to God and that they will be rewarded only on their deeds. The elements of equality and meritocracy we need to inculcate within our society and the governing system, to become a nation-state that realizes its potential.

 

Malik Ahmad Jalal is an economic development expert.

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06
November

Written By: Abbas Majeed Khan Marwat

Introduction
Each agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is administered by a Political Agent (PA), who is either a member of the federally recruited Pakistan Administrative Service or the Provincial Management Service. The PA is responsible for the policing as well as administrative functions in FATA. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) coupled with Riwaj Act-2017 gives unprecedented powers to the office of the PA enabling him to perform his duties as the policeman, prosecutor and the judge simultaneously. It will not be out of place to say that FATA reforms and its subsequent merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have ramifications, as the current criminal justice system in FATA is outdated and hence, ineffectual to tackle the growing challenges in this region. Therefore, the lacunas in the Criminal Justice System simply cannot be addressed by the FCR or Riwaj Act. It is pertinent to mention that the procedural, penal, local and special laws that are applicable in rest of Pakistan in general and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular are also outdated that also needs to be revisited. Thus, the criminal justice apparatus is obsolete in this modern era to cope with the growing local and regional challenges. A modern policing system needs to be complemented and supplemented by a robust criminal justice system. In a nutshell, the edifice of an effective policing system is pillared over a strong criminal justice system.


Reforms Pertaining to Policing in FATA
The FATA reforms enunciated that the Levies should be reorganized for performing policing function in the FATA. Furthermore, it was chalked out that the Levies performing in different agencies should have standardised basic training at the time of recruitment, while in-service and specialized training should be imparted with the assistance of Army, Frontier Corps and Police. The FATA reforms also stressed on the provision of arms and ammunition and surveillance devices to the Levies. The War on Terror and subsequent militancy has played havoc with the basic infrastructure of the Levies that is severely hindering the performance of the force. In addition to this, the reforms committee also suggested increasing the strength of the Levies by 20,000. It is quite evident from the recommendations of the reforms’ committee that they expressed their unanimous concern for revamping the Levies in the FATA. However, in order to aid the Levies, they also recommended to strengthen the border management system by creating more wings of the Frontier Corps.


Existing Security Apparatus in the FATA
The law and order in and around the FATA is managed by a number of security agencies. With the likely merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the stakeholders in this transition are going to be a number of security forces that include: Levies, Khasadars, Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Khyber Pakhtunkwa Police and Pakistan Army.


The security forces mentioned above may seem quite a lot to police the FATA, however it is not the case. The Levies and Khasadars lack proper training that is required by a modern police force. Furthermore, the only cohesive forces performing security duties in the FATA are the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army. The Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkwa is an 80,000 men strong force. The Frontier Corps draws its senior hierarchy from the Pakistan Army and is tasked with securing the area between international border and the FATA. However, at the moment the major security duties in the FATA are performed by the Frontier Corps along with Pakistan Army. Conversely, the under-utilized force is the Frontier Constabulary. The Frontier Constabulary is a federal paramilitary police force that was created by amalgamating Border Military Police (BMP) and Samana Rifles (SR) in 1913. The senior hierarchy for the Frontier Constabulary is drawn from the Police Service of Pakistan. The recruitment in the Frontier Constabulary as well as Frontier Corps is made on the basis of tribes in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The mandate of the Frontier Constabulary is to police the area between FATA and settled areas. However, at the moment the 26,000 men strong Frontier Constabulary is tasked with VVIP duties and at times threatened with disbandment.


Likely Scenarios in Case of a Merger
It is pertinent to mention that a similar scenario had also emerged in Balochistan where the province was divided into A and B areas. The “A” areas were manned by the Police and the “B” areas were manned by the Levies that were later merged into Balochistan Police. The Levies personnel were not trained at par with the policemen that resulted in a vacuum. Resultantly, the law and order situation deteriorated. Likewise, in order to curb the militancy in Malakand, Special Police Officers (SPOs) were recruited. The SPOs lacked proper training and as a result it did not yield fruitful results, since the recruitment process was hastily carried out. The help of Pakistan Army could only clear out the area. Though, there was a patch when paramilitary style policing was in vogue due to surge in militancy. However, due to different operations by the Army, the backbone of such terrorist organisations has been broken. Resultantly, a change from paramilitary style to community policing is required. By the same analogy, it can be said that leaving policing affairs to the Levies in FATA will be detrimental to the administration in the long term. Policing is a specialised area that can be best performed by police officers trained for the purpose.


Conclusion and Recommendations
The people of FATA have suffered for long and it is high time that they are given their due rights guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan. It is imperative that, since it is proposed to be merged into the Khyber Pakhtunkwa, therefore a similar policing system must be in place that is supervised by police officers at the levels of a beat, police station, sub division and a district. Similarly, the police is divided into watch and ward and investigation. There must be a separate prosecution branch at the district level. Above all, there must be a district judge who is totally separated from executive functions to try the cases. There must be separation of executive functions from judicial functions if the criminal justice system has to function efficiently. It is only after these steps that a robust policing system can be implemented in FATA.

 

The writer is a member of the Police Service of Pakistan and currently serving as Senior Superintendent of Police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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06
November

Written By: Syed Mohammed Ali Raza

In 1962, Pakistan established the National Investment Trust (NIT) with the express purpose of strengthening and supporting the stock exchange by broadening the long-term investor base and providing an investment vehicle to small investors for participation in the stock market. The step to establish NIT was taken to address two key predicaments, firstly to provide small investors an opportunity to invest in the stock exchange which was largely the domain of the rich and privileged and secondly, to attract long term investors. Small investors who participate in the stock market tend to be long-term investors (often saving for a purpose like wedding, home purchase, retirement etc.) and are less inclined towards speculation and unable to manipulate markets (due to their small investment size).


Interestingly, Pakistan took this step well in advance of India, which followed in 1963 with the establishment of the Unit Trust of India (UTI). Pakistan, during the 60’s, overtook the per capita income of India and demonstrated foresight in financial decisions and policy making. We did this by being “early adopters” and pioneers in banking and finance.


Fifty plus years later, unfortunately Pakistan is no longer the “early adopter” of investment vehicles and financial pioneer it once was. There is an unfortunate reliance on debt, and funding requirements for development are either unmet or arranged in simplistic ways.


With the signing of the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), there is an urgent and pressing need to undertake the development of Pakistan’s infrastructure. This is the first time in the history of our 70-year-old country, that a bankable opportunity has presented itself by virtue of our geographical location. Otherwise, for the longest part of recent history, we had all heard about just how strategically important Pakistan’s geographical location was, first as a base against the Soviet Union and later as a transit economy to connect Central Asia with India via Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline etc.


That was all talk, TAPI never could materialize and was a complex undertaking involving four states, two of which were hostile to Pakistan. But CPEC is different and it is very much real. A bilateral trade corridor between two staunch and time tested allies with both standing to gain from the corridor’s success.


Also real is the need to develop the infrastructure, not just for CPEC but also for the rest of Pakistan. Few countries in the world have ready resources and sufficient idle public funds at hand to undertake the development of infrastructure on the scale required here, and Pakistan is no different. The funding gap for developing the infrastructure required is clear, and we as a country need to take the right steps and make CPEC a success for Pakistan.


Borrowing to build infrastructure is not the solution, for the sheer quantum of funds required will burden our economy and place significant pressure on foreign reserves over the long-term. The solution lies in developing a combination for the financial mix, and this includes private equity and long-term debt financing.


Over the past twenty years, private equity based infrastructure funds have risen to global and regional prominence. Originally developed and utilized in Australia and Canada, private equity based Infrastructure Funds offer a transparent investment vehicle to long-term investors who desire stable returns. Private Equity (PE) based infrastructure funds are raised and managed by a professional fund management company, or a General Partner (GP), for a stated investment objective and mandate from investors, or Limited Partners (LP), who desire to participate in the investment opportunity.


The lifespan of the fund is limited to under 10 years, however for PE based infrastructure funds these can often span between 12-15 years. Fund management companies, or GP’s, will wind up the fund at the end of fund’s lifespan and return the proceeds to the investors, or LP’s. The fund management company charges a management fee to manage the fund (between 1.5 – 2%), and as per industry practice also has a share in the profits earned (usually around 20% of profits) after exceeding a benchmark rate of return.


Fund managers carefully plan the wind-up of the fund by exiting portfolio positions either by sale of portfolio company via private placement or by listing the portfolio company on the stock exchange. Throughout the lifespan of the fund, the investors have access to their fund managers, and are provided with regular portfolio updates, full performance reporting and financial disclosures.


Large pension funds, high net-worth individuals, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds are prominent investors in PE based infrastructure funds because the infrastructure assets (e.g. toll road) are a long-term investment and provide inflation hedged and stable returns (e.g. the toll increases to keep pace with the inflation rate). Internationally, PE based infrastructure funds have raised USD 283 billion in 2016 alone.1


India has utilized PE based infrastructure funds with great success, and was an early adopter of this investment vehicle. It now has an ever increasing number of foreign and local fund managers. As of 2016, India had USD 9 billion in available funds from PE based infrastructure funds ready for investment deployment for suitable projects, this excludes the tens of billions of dollars already deployed across infrastructure projects in India over the previous years.2 Virtually every large fund manager either has a sizeable allocation for Indian infrastructure or an India specific fund.


Many notable sovereign wealth funds, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (recent commitment of USD 1 billion made to India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund in October 20173), Kuwait Investment Authority, Qatar Investment Authority, Government Pension Fund (Norway), Brunei Investment Agency, GIC4 and Temasek to name a few are investors in Indian infrastructure. Multilateral Banks and agencies are also no strangers to the Indian infrastructure space, and the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) all have invested. The newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also approved an investment of USD 150 million in June 2017 for a PE based Indian infrastructure fund.5


India now looks to export its services as an infrastructure fund manager, and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) of India is collaborating with the Saudi based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to launch and manage a USD 1 billion fund for 28 countries in Sub Saharan Africa.6


In line with the regional success stories of China, India and many South East Asian countries, Pakistan should urgently work towards launching PE based infrastructure funds. There are a multitude of entities who understand infrastructure and are active in the sector, including the Army Welfare Trust, Fauji Foundation and even several bilateral Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) conceived specifically for boosting investments and trade such as Pak-Kuwait Investment Company, Pak-Oman Investment Company, Pak-Iran Joint Investment Company (now PAIR), Pak-Libya Investment Company, Saudi-Pak Industrial & Agriculture Investment Company, Pak-China Investment Company and Pak-Brunei Investment Company.


Most of the mentioned DFIs represent countries with active sovereign wealth funds who intimately understand PE based infrastructure funds, and can very well be targeted for foreign investment in Pakistani infrastructure.


Even the State Bank of Pakistan, via its publication “The Pakistan Infrastructure Report”7 recommended the establishment of an infrastructure focused development finance institution in line with regional success stories. Pakistan had taken a few steps in the right direction by setting up the Infrastructure Project Development Finance (IPDF) and Infrastructure Project Finance Facility (IPFF) under the Ministry of Finance. The IPDF was conceived to facilitate investments across government departments and the IPFF to facilitate the financial close of qualified projects.


IPDF and IPFF can collectively remove many of the bureaucratic and legislative impediments often faced by sponsors and originators of infrastructure projects. However, both the IPDF and IPFF need to be geared up and strengthened to perform in their intended capacities so that the combination of PE based infrastructure funds and long-term debt can take effect.


In an increasingly competitive global environment, attracting foreign investments is no easy task, but it is very much possible. Pakistan’s economy and the investment opportunity it represents, has all the merit for making a solid investment case. All that is missing, is a transparent investment vehicle foreign investors are familiar with and comfortable investing in.


I’ve experienced this firsthand, in 2005, I was part of a team which raised close to USD 40 million from foreign investors for Pakistan’s first dollar denominated mutual fund. Our fund was domiciled in Cayman Islands and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, and it provided foreign investors a professionally managed investment vehicle and a transparent structure they were familiar with.


Pakistan is blessed with competent and professional human capital (worth mentioning that some of the Gulf based Sovereign Wealth Funds were initially run by Pakistanis), vibrant capital markets and is close to several of the sovereign wealth funds currently active in infrastructure investment in our region.


In the past, Pakistan demonstrated its financial savviness by launching investment vehicles required for economic development along with policy making and planning. Through this we earned a reputation of being a regional leader, to the extent that aspiring “Asian Tigers” modelled their growth plans on Pakistani blueprints. It is now long overdue that we act in the same spirit, and utilize the platform(s) of our many entities (as named earlier) and launch Pakistan’s first PE based Infrastructure Fund to ensure the success of CPEC and Pakistan’s lasting prosperity.

 

The writer is a financial professional and has led Investment Banking and Asset Management teams for financial institutions in the United States and Pakistan.

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1http://www.infrastructureinvestor.com/uploadedFiles/Infrastructure_Investor/Non-Pagebuilder/Aliased/News_And_Analysis/2016/November/Magazine/II77_II50_Nov16.pdf
2http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/india-private-equity-report-2017.aspx
3http://www.lightsandbox.com/pressreleases/niifindia/
4Published in the UAE publication The National, http://www.nishithdesai.com/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/India-s_allure_for_sovereign_wealth_funds.pdf
5https://www.aiib.org/en/projects/approved/2017/india-infrastructure-fund.html 6https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/ilfs-pe-arm-to-raise-1-bn-infrastructure-fund-from-pension-funds-in-japan-south-korea/articleshow/59746533.cms
7http://www.sbp.org.pk/departments/ihfd/InfrastructureTaskForceReport.pdf

 
06
November

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood

Old ideas of services being non-transportable and non-tradable no longer hold for a number of modern impersonal services that are traded over the internet, digitized and stored electronically, and have become part of growing international businesses. Trade in services over the last 2-3 decades has become a dynamic component of international trade but has been rather neglected in the Pakistani policy debate on trade and economic development.


Services have become a primary economic activity and play a key role in infrastructure building, enhancing competitiveness and trade facilitation. They have a crucial role for growth and efficiency across a wide range of industries, and overall performance of the economy. Services are essential inputs into the production of virtually all other goods and services, and producers depend on services to deliver their outputs to end-users. Because the price and quality of the available services have major impacts on all sectors, services sector related policies and efficiency enhancing reforms, including regulatory and institutional changes, thus have major implications for economic performance. Services sectors, such as transport, telecommunications, tourism and financial, are key determinants of the conditions in which peoples, goods and services move across borders. Infrastructure services, such as financial, transport, telecommunications, water and energy, are fundamental to develop essential services including water, energy, health and education, which are critical in meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

 

tradeinservices.jpgCurrently, services account for approximately 70% of global gross domestic product (GDP). The share of services in GDP tends to rise significantly with income. Services account for 73% of GDP on average in high-income countries, against 54% and 47%, in middle and low-income countries, respectively.
In 2015, developing countries accounted for 32% of total world exports of commercial services, out of $4.68 trillion. Participation by developing countries in global trade in services varies considerably by type of service. Travel and transport account for bulk of developing countries’ exports of commercial services. Specifically, travel services account for 37% followed by transport services (20.2%), information-communication services (9.1%) and financial services (4.1%), and the rest consists (29.6%) of host of other business services.


In low-income countries, the production of services is also a fundamental economic activity, whose contribution to GDP is more than both industry and agriculture together. For instance, in Pakistan, the share of services in GDP is about 60%. The services sector provides jobs to 42.24% of employed workforce in Pakistan. On average, monthly wage provided by the services sector is 56% higher than the commodity producing sectors. Commercial services exports as a percentage of goods and services exports in FY 2015 was 19.6% out of $29.969 billion. Although, Pakistan imports ($8.843 billion) more than it exports ($5.5880 billion) of the commercial services yet it exports ($821 million) more of telecommunication services than it imports ($396 million), which is an encouraging sign. Whereas, export of goods fell by an annual growth rate of 2.91% between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the services exports went up by 2.2% during the same period. This speaks of the upcoming opportunities for Pakistan from trade in services.


Services matter a lot for economic development due to there being a source of export diversification, an input into the production of goods and services and because of their contribution to employment generation and poverty alleviation. Revolution in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has transformed the tradability of services. The recent development experience of South Asia for increasing tradability of services supports this position. This experience shows that growth has been led by services exports and that labor productivity levels in services can be higher than those in manufacturing industries.


Professional services are vital for economic development. Accounting, legal and engineering services contribute directly and indirectly to economic growth. They also lower transaction costs and create spillovers of knowledge to other sectors. Greater usage of professional services is associated with higher labor productivity for industries in general and for small firms in particular. While professional services are among the fastest growing services, their weaknesses and underdevelopment adversely affect their contribution to economic growth.


Services help alleviation of poverty through direct and indirect channels. Directly, they provide the largest source of new job growth. Indirectly, they provide income that, when spent, raises further demand for goods and services and for the jobs to produce them. In addition to direct job creation, some studies suggest that the indirect effect of a growing services sector can be larger than its direct effect. According to certain estimates, for every job created in the ICT sector, four additional jobs are created in the rest of the economy. A World Bank study covering 50 developing countries over the period 1990-2005 found that ‘growth in the services sector was more closely correlated with poverty reduction than growth in agriculture’. Lack of access to different services has been shown to be a critical constraint on economic development.


Factors that adversely affect the participation of Pakistani firms in trade in services, include the following:


• Lack of access to export financing. Services exports often require relatively low capital. They benefit from the possibility of access to foreign capital via international partnerships. Firms in Pakistan often face difficulty in building foreign client base that can act as their platform for export financing.
• Lack of access to efficient and cost-effective infrastructure. Unreliable telecom services adversely impact outsourcing or direct export potential, while a lack of reliable energy and transport services raises costs for all the service sectors. Thus, weak infrastructures affect the ability of export firms to provide reliable services and therefore create credibility problem with foreign clients in particular.
• Non-availability of formal and informal networks and institutional facilities necessary for trade. These include a sound domestic legal environment for business and links with other exporters and business networks. For services, especially, for their close linkages between services sector, problems arise for services firms with lack of availability of supporting services.
• Limited availability of trained staff and vocational training facilities. One major constraint to setting up new service operations is finding either suitable and qualified or experienced staff. This can be further compounded by absence of the necessary vocational training.


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is likely to generate massive and very specialized demand for services. Given the presence of the above mentioned factors that may adversely affect Pakistan’s ability to meet the demands of CPEC-related projects and the prospect for trade in services coming from the international market, the government needs to pay special attention to develop the services sector to gainfully exploit opportunities by transforming the services sector to produce cost-effective, time-efficient services that meet standard of international quality services.

 

Whereas Pakistan can develop an indigenous program to develop the services industries, it can also benefit from the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) offered by donor countries and agencies in addressing the above mentioned supply-side and trade-related infrastructure constraints. AFT can play a complementary role, notably by helping put in place the appropriate conditions for developing a modern services sector. Pakistan has successfully transformed some of its trade-related merchandise under the UNIDO’s trade-related technical-assistance (TRTA) over the past 6 years. Now it’s time that we seek such an assistance for the services sectors too.


All in all, trade in services is providing alternative opportunities to Pakistan to find niches beyond manufacturing. By specializing in services and scaling up their production, the country can achieve very high growth rate that the commodity producing sectors are not currently delivering. Furthermore, as the international experience suggests, the gains stemming from the liberalization of services could potentially be larger than in all other areas of international trade; therefore, there is a need to introduce efficiency enhancing reforms and requisite regulatory and institutional changes to fundamentally revitalize and transform the trade-related services sector in Pakistan.

 

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

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06
November

Written By: Hassan Khan

It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation of the two countries.

 

Commenting on the maiden visit of Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul and meetings with Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal in his tweet termed the exchanges as “candid, positive, respectful, constructive and encouraging meeting in a long time. I'm proud to have played a facilitating role in all this.”


Indeed, Omar Zakhelwal should be the most proud person on the occasion. Because his long untiring background work for more than a year not only materialized the visit of Pakistan’s top soldier to Kabul but also made it a highly successful one by simultaneously working on his own president who had, otherwise, adopted a very tough and inflexible position vis-a-vis contacts with Pakistan.

 

breakingice.jpgGeneral Bajwa visited the Afghan capital on October 1 amidst highly tense environment when prospect of talks on subjects like peace, stability and cooperation in countering terrorism were dim due to ongoing distrust and blame game.


“I believe,” Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhelwal told a delegation of Pakistani journalists at his residence in Islamabad, “the visit was highly successful keeping in view its immediate results.”


What are the immediate results? “The instant effect is on the highly negative narratives against Pakistan prevalent both at official and non-official levels in Kabul.”


The bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries were touching the lowest ebbs since April this year when President Dr. Ghani categorically declared, “Kabul will no longer seek Pakistan’s role in peace talks with Taliban.” Ghani severed direct contacts with Pakistani top leadership following the deadly terrorist attack on Afghan security forces headquarters in Kabul on April 19.


Dr. Ashraf Ghani – believed to be a hard nut to crack – visited Pakistan only once in November 2014 just a month after taking oath as head of the state. Since then he has rejected official invitations to come to Pakistan twice.


In May this year a delegation of senior Pakistani politicians visited Kabul under the leadership of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and extended an invitation to the Afghan President to visit Pakistan.


“I will not go to Pakistan till the perpetrators behind the attacks on Mazar-i-Sharif, American University [in Kabul] and Kandahar attacks are handed over to Afghan authorities and until Islamabad takes concrete action against Afghan Taliban militants on Pakistani soil,” Ghani was quoted as saying while unequivocally rejecting the invitation.


The fact is the long disengagement between top political and military leadership of both countries has widened the gulf of mistrust between the two neighbors and led to more misunderstandings and misconceptions.


People of both the countries started believing what their respective government leaders were telling them about the worsening security situations on both sides of the border.


Afghans primarily accuse Pakistan to be providing sanctuaries and safe havens to the Afghan Taliban and the dreaded Haqqani network. Both the militant groups are believed to be the perpetrators in a number of deadly terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan targeting security forces and innocent civilians.


Similarly negative narratives are also widespread on this side of the international border. Almost every Pakistani seemed to be convinced that Afghan government and its intelligence agency are providing safe sanctuaries to terrorists and their outfits who are launching terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and killing innocent civilians.


This situation has reached a level where leaderships of both the countries never feel shy of accusing each other freely at international forums for the prevailing instability in the region.


The ears of Pakistanis are still buzzing with the nasty venomous speech of Dr Ashraf Ghani, who pointing finger at Pakistani delegation at Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar, thundered, "We need to identify cross-border terrorism and a fund to combat terrorism. Pakistan has pledged $500m for Afghanistan's development. This amount can be spent to contain extremism…. As a Taliban figure said recently, if they had no sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn't last a month."


In November the same year, Afghanistan joined India to boycott SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad which resulted in its postponement.

 

Pakistan’s position on resolution on the Afghan conflict via dialogue is gaining popularity and finding more takers now. There is now increasing realization that there is no military solution to the conflict. And there is a need of pursuing the course of sustained dialogue in order to restore complete peace and stability to the war ravaged country.

It was amidst this environment that General Bajwa took a one-day sojourn to Kabul. The visit has phenomenal immediate effects and is called to be an ice breaker in long frosty relation between the two countries.


The visit of the top commander to Afghan capital followed a very important meeting of national security committee in Islamabad that fully authorized him to take decisions.


Besides, having an impact – as stated by the Afghan ambassador – on the prevalent negative narratives against Pakistan, the other immediate visible impression was softening of the very tough-going Dr. Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan leadership including former President Hamid Karzai who has otherwise left no opportunity to chastise and accuse Pakistan for every wrong – minor or major – on Afghan soil.


“I call, once again on Pakistan to intensify the state-to-state dialogue with us to secure regional peace and security,” said Dr. Ghani while speaking to Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Kabul. He also urged Taliban militia leadership to shun violence and join the peace process.


Terming the development as a ‘beginning of new era,’ Ghani was quoted as saying, “Good opportunities of cooperation are [being] provided and both countries should get the most out of the current situation.”


It seemed a complete U-turn by Afghan President from his earlier hardline position on ‘not-engaging Pakistan’ in any way until it hands over perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.


Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the development as an opportunity for Pakistan and Afghanistan to sit together like brothers and resolve their differences through talks. “I want Pakistan to increase friendship and cooperation with Afghanistan,” Karzai said in an interview with BBC.


These are, no doubt, positive vibes emanating from Kabul. In another major policy shift the Afghan President accepted an invitation – extended by the Pakistan military chief – of visiting Pakistan at an appropriate time.


The visit, if materialized at the earliest, will cement the broken bilateral ties and provide a good opportunity to the leadership to work together for achieving common objectives of peace and stability.
Pakistan’s position on resolution of the Afghan conflict via dialogue is gaining popularity and finding more takers now. There is now increasing realization that there is no military solution to the conflict. And there is a need of pursuing the course of sustained dialogue in order to restore complete peace and stability to the war ravaged country.


Another important aspect of General Bajwa’s visit was not being restricted to the security side of relations with Afghanistan, it included all issues concerning the bilateral relationship.


A statement issued by Afghan’s Presidential office stated General Bajwa and Dr. Ghani discussed ‘various important issues including security in region, bilateral relationships, peace and stability, anti-terror efforts, business and transit relationships, and mid-term and long-term relationships between Afghanistan and Pakistan.’


A similar statement from General Headquarters via ISPR, referring to the same issues, stated, “…issues related to long-term peace, cooperation against shared threats, coordination between respective counter-terrorism campaigns to restrict space for non-state actors, intelligence sharing, trade and commerce, and people-to-people contacts were discussed.”


However, one must be mindful of the fact that such interactions between top leadership of both the countries in the past also led to an environment of euphoria and lofty rhetoric.
If past is the witness, this not the first time that both sides, as they did again on October 1, vowed to forget the past and work hard for a better future.


Simultaneously, Pakistan’s leadership also needs to be cautious in raising expectations of ordinary Afghans vis-a-vis measures for restoring peace in the war-torn country and sanctuaries of Afghan militants.


There shall also be restraints in issuing statements from leadership level loaded with lofty promises like ‘new season of relationship’, ‘forgetting the past’, ‘moving ahead’, ‘shrinking space for anti-state actors’ etc. In the past the same were instrumental in hiking expectations of ordinary Afghans. Instead a realistic approach be adopted to normalizing relations with an important neighbor whose peace and stability equally guarantees Pakistan’s own security and stability.


However, instead of sounding cynical by all standards the current understanding between the leadership of both the countries is a big step in the right direction. And again there is nothing to doubt the sincerity of the leadership of both the countries in working together with dedication and devotion to ensure peace, stability and economic prosperity in both the countries. The need is to pursue the peace efforts with perseverance and determination, not succumbing to stray happenings on either side of the border.


However, last but not the least, both the leaderships shall be vigilant to the spoilers of good brotherly relationships between Islamabad and Kabul. Because there is no shortage of such elements within both countries coupled with some foreign ‘friends’ whose interests in the region are ensured only when both Pakistan and Afghanistan are at daggers drawn positions.

 

The writer is a senior journalist, analyst and anchorperson.

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06
November

Written By: S. M. Hali

It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s visionary One Belt, One Road (OBOR) mega development venture. CPEC commences from the deep sea port of Gwadar and terminates at Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, from where it merges into OBOR and fans out to the Central Asian States to the north and through mainland China to the east. OBOR is also known as the New Silk Road (NSR) and its essential component is the Maritime Silk Road.

 

armedforcessup.jpgThe CPEC holds hope for the people of Pakistan but has also given rise to controversies based on fallacies created by few objectors. The current government, which is the prime mover for the project in Pakistan, has tried to allay doubts regarding the mega project. It has also explained its various dimensions, which somehow have been overlooked by a few fickle minded people. Finally, broad consensus appears to have been reached and the project is gradually moving forward.


It is imperative to realize the OBOR or the NSR project, of which the CPEC is but one part since it promises prosperity and development not only for China and Pakistan but also for many countries located on the ancient Silk Road, particularly the landlocked Central Asia. This project has pinned hopes for progress, prosperity, growth and development on an infrastructure akin to the historic Silk Road. The zeal is cognisable because developing industries demand new markets; technological innovations facilitate international cooperation; better transportation and logistics increase trade efficiency; and growing energy demands require international cooperation. The advent of New Silk Road projects will act as a catalyst towards generating regional cooperation, building political flexibility, enhancing economic growth, offering trade diversifications, investing in transportation, mining and energy sectors.

 

armedforcessup1.jpgCentral Asian Republics bounded by the closed economy of the erstwhile USSR and limited by their geographical location, offering inadequate connectivity, are now being presented with an epoch making opportunity to play their destined roles in world economy. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds because suddenly they are being proffered the unique opportunity to become part of not one but a wide array of infrastructures, circumnavigating the entire globe. Traditionally, it was envisaged that media had shrunk the world to a global village and now it is the Silk Road concept which is bringing nations, races, continents and people closer in a tight-knit community sharing their resources of production, services, energy, information and understanding.


The CPEC is a comprehensive 15 year development project between Pakistan and China spanning 2015-2030 that entails the linking of Gwadar Port to China’s north-western region of Xinjiang through highways, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and an optical fiber link. Strategic energy cooperation between the two countries had been implemented before the proposal of the conception of the corridor. During the former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan in December 2010, the National Energy Administration (NEA) of China and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of energy working-group mechanism. The first meeting of this group was held in August 2011, during which both sides had a thorough exchange of views on the development of electricity, coal, oil, gas and new energy industries. A cooperative program was generated to help Pakistan alleviate energy shortages at the second meeting in Pakistan in May 2012. The group was absorbed in the framework of the CPEC in 2013. At the third meeting in January 2014, both the countries reached consensus on nuclear power, electricity, coal and renewable energy, and agreed to set up a research team to promote energy cooperation for the construction of the CPEC, mainly including coal exploitation, oil and gas extraction, mining and transportation, and electric wire net arrangement, etc.


It is worth mentioning that Pakistan Army had already explored the possibilities of an inter-linked road network in 1997.¹ President Xi Jinping envisaged the project in 2013; subsequently, it was floated in Pakistan during the visit of China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang in May 2013. Although Pakistan had just undergone General Elections in 2013, Premier Li met Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister, President Zardari and Prime Minister designate Nawaz Sharif to reach important consensus on planning and constructing the CPEC. In February 2014, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain visited China to discuss the plans for an economic corridor in Pakistan. During Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China in July 2013, the construction of the CPEC was reiterated. April 2015 was a historic month for Sino-Pakistan relations when Chinese President Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif signed an agreement worth USD 46 billion for the CPEC.


A discussion on the technical, financial and logistical dimensions of CPEC is beyond the scope of this article but it is imperative to note that the mega project faces a number of challenges. Major threat to the CPEC is from the risks to Pakistan’s security and stability. Militants in the tribal areas, insurgency in Balochistan, violence in Karachi, and growing religious extremism are believed to be serious causes of concern.


India has strong reservations regarding the CPEC – prior to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing in September 2014 – it formally registered a strong protest against the construction of CPEC. According to Indian media, Chinese Ambassador to New Delhi was summoned by the External Affairs’ Ministry and informed that since the project was also being routed through Kashmir over which India staked claims, it had serious reservations.² President Xi had dismissed the objections, describing the economic corridor as a “commercial project.”³


Reportedly, in addition to opposing the CPEC, Indians have unleashed their spy agency RAW to sabotage the project. Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior officials have stated that their Chinese counterparts in a special briefing have expressed these fears. The arrest of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a senior RAW operative from Balochistan proved Pakistan’s allegations correct. Commander Jadhav sang like a canary and divulged that he is a serving Indian Navy officer, who had been recruited to operate from Chabahar in Iran and establish a terror network in Balochistan, to enlist Baloch youth, train them for the use of deadly weapons, arm and incite them to wreak havoc to sabotage CPEC. Commander Jadhav’s incarceration, trial and sentencing may have impeded Indian machinations but reportedly, contingency plans have been put in place and RAW is working overtime to disrupt CPEC.


Besides India, there are other detractors of CPEC and OBOR. According to the ‘String of Pearls’ theory, coined in 2005 by the U.S. consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, China will try to expand its naval presence by building civilian maritime infrastructure along the Indian Ocean periphery.⁴ This corridor is one of the many mega-projects planned by China in Central, South and South-East Asia for expanding its political and economic influence to counter the relatively better established U.S. sphere of influence in the region. The U.S. has a similar agenda in the form of ‘Pivot to Asia’, which is aimed at countering China’s economic and military expansion in Asia-Pacific. According to a report published in 2013 by the London-based policy think tank Chatham House, ‘The increasing complexity of the Asia-Pacific region demands U.S. attention, and the United States remains well-positioned to play a pivotal role in the region through the 21st century.’ Resultantly, the U.S. has partnered itself with key players in the region such as India, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore to prevent China from spreading its influence.


The big power game has placed Pakistan in a unique position. It can potentially balance the major power rivalries and promote trade cooperation in the region as it enjoys good relations with both the West and China. Historically, there is precedence when a similar initiative had been taken by General Yahya Khan’s regime in 1970 that brought the two great powers China and the U.S. on the diplomatic table and, in current scenario a trade-oriented diplomacy by Pakistan can help reduce the complexities of this rivalry.


The U.S. opposition to CPEC and OBOR has now come out in the open with Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis’ briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. opposes the OBOR project since it runs through disputed territory. $56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an important element of OBOR passes through Pakistan’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.


Paradoxically, the OBOR and CPEC are development projects and aim to bring economic prosperity to the region including the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.


Pakistan Army has deployed the Special Security Division (SSD), a newly raised division of Pakistan Army tasked with providing security to the under construction CPEC and the workforce employed on the project. Operating under the command of a Major General, the 15,000 men force will guard CPEC and provide aerial support and state-of-the-art surveillance and monitoring systems to pre-empt terror attacks. The unit comprises 9 army composite battalions (9,000 personnel) and six civil armed forces (CAFs) wings (6,000 personnel). The security force consists of highly trained Special Forces potent enough to counter any threat emerging to the mega project of CPEC. The first convoy of goods shipped from Kashgar was guarded during transit by units of the Pakistan Army all the way to Gwadar, from where the containers were put on board different merchant vessels bound for various destinations.

Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


Pakistan Navy has also taken up the cudgel to secure the CPEC from maritime threats. To meet the challenge, PNS Akram, established at Gwadar, serves as a surveillance station and is considered the eyes and ears of Pakistan Navy, from where it monitors activities at the Gwadar Port as well as in the North Arabian Sea.


For the protection of Gwadar, there is also PNS Siddiq in Turbat, which is the primary airbase for fixed wing aircraft. The unit also provides facility to anchor to foreign naval units. Additionally, there is PNS Makran at Pasni, which is the secondary airbase for naval aviation and is used for both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. The naval base at Jiwani is another surveillance station coordinating with the maritime headquarters in Karachi. The 3rd and 4th battalions have been raised to protect the Gwadar Port and provide harbour defence.


Besides ensuring the maritime security of Gwadar Port, Pakistan Navy has been entrusted with the defence of the fish harbour, the entire hammerhead-shaped peninsula, including Koh-i-Batil, and the Chinese nationals residing in Gwadar. To safeguard the Gwadar Port, the navy has also raised the maritime security Task Force-88 on December 13, 2016. The area of responsibility of Task Force-88 starts from Gwadar Bay to Basol, extending seaward up to six nautical miles from the baseline of Pakistan. This includes the approaches to Gwadar Port as well.


Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is fully committed to provide impregnable security to CPEC project, which is of great strategic significance in synergy with sister services and other law enforcement agencies. PAF has a comprehensive security plan catering to Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, which is essential for smooth completion of CPEC projects. The same was amply demonstrated in Operation Zarb-e-Azb. PAF has full capability to effectively undertake specialized roles of medical evacuation, search and rescue operations, area scanning and kinetic operations on CPEC.


Recently, Air Headquarters hosted a one-day symposium on “CPEC vis-à-vis Opportunities for Aviation Industry and Way Forward”. It was concluded that in effect, aviation is destined to play a principal role in generation of sustenance of economic dynamics. The unexplored aerial dimension of CPEC will be the real game changer for Pakistan. This dimension will exponentially expand the reach of CPEC and would be a key element in making Pakistan the next business hub of Asia. Air Silk Route and plans to meet the future aviation requirements will necessitate the establishment of New Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) setups, trained manpower, new airlines, joint ventures and rightly placed infrastructure to handle the need of future economic hub of South Asia. The formation of a working group under the Joint Cooperation Committee of Pakistan Air Force and Aviation Division can lead the integration of aviation dimension in CPEC.


While the government and the nation are geared to reap the benefits accruing from CPEC, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have picked up the gauntlet to ensure the security requisite for the successful completion of this mega project.

 

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

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1. When an internal research paper was prepared for the GHQ Rawalpindi called “The Army’s Role in Nation Building” by Brigadier Riaz Ahmed Toor. This paper highlighted the need to develop a strong transportation network across all provinces by linking Gwadar and Karachi with the rest of the country for both peacetime and wartime periods. The CPEC’s road network project can be considered as the true practical face of this research paper published some 20 years ago. Hassan Khan, ‘Is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor really a game changer?’, Pakistan Today (Lahore), June, 13, 2015
2. NDTV report, “Before PM Narendra Modi's Trip, India Objects to China’s $46 Billion Economic Corridor with Pakistan”, May 12, 2015. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/before-pms-trip-india-objects-to-chinas-46-billion-economic-corridor-with-pak-762533
3. “India raises objections over China Pakistan Economic Corridor”, The Express Tribune (Karachi), May 12, 2015.
4. Virginia Marantidou, “Revisiting China's 'String of Pearls' Strategy’, Issues & Insights, vol. 14, no. 7. Washington: D.C. Centre for Strategic & International Studies (Washington DC), June 24, 2014.

 
06
November

People of Pakistan, its Armed Forces and the Law Enforcement Agencies have been able to deny success to the forces of disorder and restore order significantly. This unique feat is unparalleled in contemporary world where terrorism mostly succeeded in destroying the states, institutions, peoples and societies. This all came through paying a huge cost in men and material. Not complacency, but the success demands reinvigorated spirits and efforts to rebuild/reclaim the lost spaces. Of course, the regained security, peace and stability would not operate and succeed in isolation. A prosperous and peaceful Pakistan in the long run demands a stable economy, institutional stability and autonomy, and merit based rule of law. The security and stability of a modern day nation-state is deeply intertwined with economic stability. The sudden collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union is a recent example where a withered economy became a major cause of the disintegration. Therefore, despite other positive indicators, any federal state needs the economic glue to keep the various federating units intact.


The decade-long War on Terror fought by Pakistan imposed a new set of costs on our economy as terrorism is designed to impose costs through economic and social disruption, frightening consumers so that they stay away from shopping districts, or destroying key parts of the financial infrastructure. Pakistan has weathered this storm in significant part because of the ballast provided by the law enforcement agencies as they foreclosed attacks from disabling the economy. However, the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fassad, and emerging international and regional geopolitical power play necessitate a robust economy as well as strong security apparatus to safeguard country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It may be noted that an economy relying on ‘borrowed resources’ has direct implications on national security policy making which comes under duress.


The economy and national security should be looked at from both macroeconomic and microeconomic points of view, with the macroeconomic issues centered on the budget and deficit reduction while the microeconomic issues focusing on providing for the general well-being of the people and in supporting other components of national security. Highlighting this interplay, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa said in a seminar organized by FPCCI and ISPR in Karachi on ‘Interplay of Economy and Security’: “It would not be wrong to say that economy is reflection of quality of our life. It reflects the wealth of a nation, but in doing so, it also indicates the nation’s health, including the strength of its institutions and the trust of its people.” Pakistan can surpass economic challenges as a nation, just as we dealt with the challenge of terrorism. Economic growth of Pakistan requires both sufficient demand on the macroeconomic level and increased productivity at the microeconomic level. Referring to emerging modern-day realities COAS also said, “All nations today are reviewing the old dilemma of “Guns versus Butter”, that is; how to achieve a balance between economic viability and national security. Countries like Pakistan never had the luxury of such a review. We live in one of the most volatile regions of the world, dealing with multiple crises since inception, but increasingly so during the last four decades. Therefore, we must be able to evolve on the way. We have to continuously ensure a viable balance between economy and security. Only then will we arrive at a future that ensures sustained peace and happiness for our people”.


In today’s Pakistan, signs of improvement in realm of security and economy are clearly visible, but we haven't reached the destination yet. It is more important than ever to coordinate economic and national security policies at both the conceptual and operational levels. A time will come that we will be among the successful nation states with our economy profusely integrated into the mainstream of the world economy by charting clear policies, enhanced institutional arrangements, bringing in fiscal discipline and ensuring continuity of viable economic policies.


We as a nation need security and economy prong complementing rather than operating in isolation for long term survival, peace and prosperity of the state.


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06
November

Written By: Maj Wajiha Arshad


Asight to rejoice and an experience to cherish was seeing the flying horse of Pakistan hockey, our sports icon Sami Ullah Khan cheering local players in the sports gala and participating in Bahawalpur walk; local students energetically taking part in sports matches; renowned poet Syed Tabish Alvari sharing his mesmerizing poetry on a glittery mushaira night; ladies blissfully shopping from cultural stalls, and joyful youth dancing to the beats of our singing sensations, Fakhir and Aima Baig. These were the most pleasurable ten days (October 5-14) of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur organized by 31 Corps.


Bahawalpur, the largest division of Punjab, boasts a treasure of history and national heritage. Noor Mahal palace – the face of Bahawalpur – was built in 1872 like an Italian chateau on neoclassical lines. The Cholistan Desert locally known as Rohi sprawls 30 kilometers from Bahawalpur and this land of forts comprises approximately 400 forts, some dating back to 1000 BC. Such strategic geographical location and enriched history magnifies the importance of Bahawalpur to no bounds.

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Bahawalpur has been the cradle of many civilizations and the epitome of antiquity. And to honor and pay tribute to this pride, a 10-day celebration of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur commenced on October 5 with the theme of promotion of national spirit and integration and social harmony through the active involvement of people from all walks of life.


Several programs were organized by 31 Corps during the festival providing an opportunity to the people to celebrate the event that began with a dazzling opening ceremony at Noor Mahal. Commander Bahawalpur Corps Lieutenant General Sher Afgun, HI (M), graced the occasion as chief guest. National and cultural songs left the audience mesmerized followed by a march past carried out by the contingents of different educational institutions, sports teams, Punjab Rangers and Pakistan Army.


The festivity right away engaged individuals of every age group and with every passing day engulfed them in different activities. A Jashn-e-Bahawalpur walk was organized in which a humungous crowd of children, women, young students as well as senior citizens participated. Presence of the tallest and shortest man of the region and pride of Pakistan hockey player Sami Ullah Khan added charm to the complete activity. Walking beside the old historic buildings of the city made us travel back in the past. The event ended with a spirited 'tug of war' match at Noor Mahal where local participation and passion displayed by participants was unprecedented.


Sports Gala was one of the most thrilling events of festival which was held from October 6 till 12. Sports competitions (cricket, hockey, tennis, volleyball, badminton and golf) were also held among the teams of Army, different educational institutions from surroundings and local clubs. Every new visitor to Bahawalpur aspires to get a chance for witnessing the mesmerizing Light and Sound Show at Noor Mahal and Darbar Mahal. Special shows were held on October 7, 8 and 13 which were made open to public, especially for students and sports teams.


The core motivation of this Jashn was pulling people out of their busy lives and providing an occasion to celebrate the privilege to be Pakistani. The festivities were spurred on by holding art and literary events which were attended by large number of students and artists. Quiz competitions buzzed an atmosphere of competitiveness among our young kids, declamation contest brought the best orators out, Mehfil-e-Mushaira satiated the literary taste of people and painting and arts exhibitions refined the knack of creativity among university students. An overwhelming participation of students and local artists made us realize that talented Pakistanis just need the right platform to hone and display their skills.


Women, being the most significant and integral part of our society, were given an open chance to enjoy their favorite sport – shopping. Cultural stalls at the exhibition emphasized the culture and history of Bahawalpur bringing highlights from inner streets of the city and providing an open opportunity to shop all at one place. Horses dancing on the dhol beats, traditional local dancers enjoying moves in colorful clothes and stunning pelicans in the lake of Gulzar-e-Sadiq (central park) left the visitors equally fascinated.


Show stealer was the star studded closing ceremony attended by a large gathering. Musical performances, motivating documentaries and spectacular fireworks marked the culmination of Jashn-e-Bahawalpur. Locals of Bahawalpur welcomed and celebrated the festival like a wave of fresh air, revitalizing and energizing them to promote national harmony.

 

Maj Wajiha Arshad is presently serving as Public Relations Officer Bahawalpur Corps.

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06
November

Written By: Sidra Babar Khan

“What I Wish I Could Tell You Now”
Daughter of a martyred officer writes to her father!


Baba, the mere 4 years, 9 months and 23 days of my life I spent in your presence are something I will always cherish. My earliest memories are of you wearing your uniform, for no particular event but just you as a strong man in his soldier’s uniform. I have no idea how old I was at the time nor any perspective of what we were doing – just an image of you looking at me from above with a loving smile.


I have very vague memories of you Baba but I get very proud when people (to this very day) talk about what a fantastic man you were, how you made them laugh, and lent them an ear. You were always there for people when they needed help. Your generosity and selflessness is inspiring and unmatched. You’ve left people with a lot of good memories of you. It gives me a feeling of warmth to hear these things about you and inspires me to be the kind of daughter you’d be proud of.

 

alettertomyfatehr.jpgEven though you left this world so early I wouldn't want anyone else to be my father, I wouldn't trade you for the world. I am so thankful to Allah that he made me your daughter and it makes me really happy when someone tells me I resemble you in some way. I am so thankful to you that even when you weren't around you made sure we had a steady source of income, I still remember how proud I felt when I used to see my mother’s pension book knowing you were still catering for our needs. Similarly whenever I fell sick and had to visit the CMH I felt so thankful to you every single time and even though you weren't around all those doctors in uniform made me feel at home. I am also very thankful for the army family you gave me, the other day we got to attend 78 PMA Long Course’s get together and all your coursemates welcomed us with an open heart, I saw a glimpse of you in them and they treated me with as much love as you would. It was really heartwarming to see them acknowledge us even after 20 years of your death.


I am also thankful for the amazing brother I have, even though younger than me he protects me as an elder and has been very responsible. Saif has almost completed his Engineering in Telecom, and takes pride in attributing himself to you as son of a Shaheed. I'm sure you are proud of him, too.


Above all, thank you for finding the strongest woman I’ve ever known to be your spouse and my mother. She turned out to be more than you could have ever wanted. She is strength, courage, and a light of patriotism. For years, I have watched her grow with me. At that time I didn't know it, but now I see that she has struggled a lot. She wanted only the best for me and my brother and has done an amazing job trying to fill in for you. She did whatever she could so that we would have it all. My mother played both roles of a mother and a father and I couldn't be more proud of her and I am sure you too would be very proud.


I count how long you’ve been gone in milestones, be it moving apartments, special occasions, birthdays, getting admissions or graduating; you have always been with me in my heart, being my guardian angel. You are and always have been with me at each step of my life’s journey.


I have heard that you were ecstatic when I first joined pre-school, you made sure I was having a good time and you even kept my first notebook with you. I really wanted to make you proud, and because of my love, respect and the strongest urge to be a source of pride for you I not only graduated with a Gold Medal in my Bachelors but also completed my Masters with the honor Magna Cum Laude and will soon receive a silver medal. My efforts are a tribute to your love and dedication to the country and I hope I can play my role for the betterment of my country as well, I hope I can be as strong, courageous, brave and as selfless as you were. Your love, honor, and integrity lives within me.


A very major event of my life is coming up Baba, I am getting married. I’ve found myself saying, “What would my Baba do?” with any wedding dilemmas. I wasn't ready for the questions from vendors: “Will your father be joining us? What is his vision for this? Will you want to schedule another meeting so your father can join?”. I’ve found myself yearning more than ever for you. There have been so many times during this process I’ve looked at Maa, and thought, “How is she going to survive this wedding without you?”


Even after going through many life events without you, it still doesn't get any easier. None of that pain feels the same as the pain not having you there on such a life-changing day and as my wedding draws closer, the reality sinks in just a little further. It is a very emotional time for me, and I find myself breaking down in tears more often than ever. My heart aches as I write this and I know going through my wedding day without my father will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.


So many people, our friends and family have come forward to be the part of wedding planning and I am grateful to them beyond words. Our family has showered me with so much love, your unit, your coursemates, they have all gathered as if they were invited by you. And even though nothing can ever fill your void, I have found you along my side on every step, it is true when they say a Shaheed never dies because I have felt your blessings all along. You will be there with me and with all of us. I know how elated, proud, and excited you are that I am about to take this next step in life. The truth is, I’ve felt you during this whole process and I know you are here with me and will continue to go through life with me, just in a more special way. I have found comfort in knowing that you are still and will always be there for us in every step of the way.


Your death has made us a stronger family Baba. I now realize that my mother, I and my brother faced all the hardships with the courage that comes by being a part of Army soldier's family. Everyone who belongs to an army family would agree that even though it's a source of immense pride, it also involves sacrifices like relocations and absences. I am proud to be the daughter of a soldier.


With love,
Your daughter, Sidra.

 

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06
November

Special Report By: Hilal Desk

The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Abdul Hanan Mustafa (136 PMA Long Course).
Company Senior Under Officer (CSUO) Muhammad Iqbal was awarded with President’s Gold Medal (136 PMA Long Course).


Passing Out Parade of 136th PMA Long Course, Graduate Course 36, Technical Graduate Course 29 and Integrated Course 55 was held at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul on October 14, 2017. The cadets from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Turkmenistan and Libya were also among the passed out cadets.

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General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army was the chief guest on the occasion. The CGS UK Army reviewed the parade, gave awards to distinguished cadets and addressed the parade. The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior Under Officer Abdul Hanan Mustafa from 136th Long Course, the President’s Gold Medal to Company Senior Under Officer Muhammad Iqbal from 136th Long Course, the Overseas Gold Medal to Gentleman Cadet Hudayberenov Eresh from Turkmenistan (136th Long Course), the Chief of Army Staff Cane to Gentleman Cadet Muhammad Arslan Yousaf (Graduate Course 36), and Company Junior under Officer Saad Hamid (Technical Graduate Course 29) and the Commandant’s Cane for the best cadet was awarded to Gentleman Cadet Taimoor Azam Khan (Integrated Course 55).

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The hallmark of passing out of 136th PMA Long Course is receiving the two prestigious awards, the Sword of Honour, and, President’s Gold Medal, by two ex-cadets of Military College Sui, Balochistan. On achieving these awards, both newly passed out officers shared that Military College Sui has provided them a platform to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to refine their skills. The College has been an emblem of hope for the disadvantaged and marginalized youth of Balochistan, readied to be integrated into the national mainstream by Pakistan Army since 2011. Through relentless efforts of Pakistan Army and FC Balochistan, the youth of Balochistan is being provided enabling and conducive environment to receive quality education at their doorstep particularly in remote areas. The two officers mentioned the tough competitive environment and merit-based evaluation system at PMA Kakul to assess the performance of the Gentleman Cadets. However, it were the traits of confidence, resilience and hard work, they learnt at Military College Sui, that helped them to perform in an exceptional manner during two years traning at PMA Kakul.


Both the officers, now 2/Lt Abdul Hanan Mustafa and 2/Lt Muhammad Iqbal have expressed firm resolve to serve the country and leave no efforts undone in the defence of the motherland.

 
06
November

Special Report By: Hilal Desk


ISPR, in collaboration with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) held a day long seminar on “Interplay of Economy and Security” in Karachi on October 11, 2017.

 

fpcciandispr.jpgCOAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the key note speaker while eminent speakers who addressed the seminar included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan, Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Dr. Aynul Hasan, Dr. Salman Shah, and Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General, Frontier Works Organization. A large number of people from the business community attended the seminar.

 

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed while speaking at the seminar said that there should be zero tolerance for corruption and ‘crafting a new narrative is the way forward and we need to take a collective approach’.

 

National security today, is a wide-ranging subject. Leaders across the world understand clearly that security is the product of an interplay of factors that encompass the political, economic, military, social, human and environmental facets. That makes security a very complex issue.

 

fpcciandispr1.jpg• We need a comprehensive effort to pursue National Action Plan and remove vulnerabilities well before they turn into threats. Many of the planned measures, if implemented timely, will contribute directly to the economic and even political stability of the country. Police and judicial reforms are obvious examples. Madrassah reforms are also vital. We cannot afford to leave a large segment of our youth with limited options.
• Today, Pakistan is a strategically challenged state. External actors are attempting to assert control and dictate our security priorities that have strong linkages with our economic future.
• CPEC is the future of our people, a vital national interest on which we will never compromise, regardless of the loudness of opposing voices. It is also an example of regional cooperation and a break from politics of confrontation – we want all to benefit from this project.
• Our region will sink or sail together – that is how it has played out across the world.
• I want to use this opportunity to earnestly convey to our neighbours to the East and to the West that our destinies are inextricably linked.
• We have to ensure that Balochistan, Interior Sindh, FATA, Southern Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan also join us on the trajectory of growth and then move forward. It is with this integrated approach, that we will fulfil the vision of Quaid.
In today’s world, security does not come cheap. It is dependent upon economic prowess. It is here that our entrepreneurs must contribute by producing and exporting more.

Excerpts from COAS’ speech at the seminar,

October 11, 2017.

 

fpcciandispr2.jpgDr. Ashfaq Hassan, while speaking on CPEC said that, ‘leadership, policy and reforms will determine the size of the benefits Pakistan will reap from the CPEC. China wants to relocate its industries in Pakistan’. He further said that serious efforts were required for the betterment of our higher education. He was critical on the lack of seriousness to share details of CPEC with public or at least the stakeholders. He also rejected apprehensions of China becoming East India Company and claims of CPEC passing through disputed territory referring to the history of KKH and Mangla Dam.


Dr. Farrukh Saleem talked about threats to economic security within national security matrix and highlighted the threats to economic security. He concluded with help of data that Pakistan needs to focus on economic growth while capitalizing on improved security environment and said that, ‘Pakistan has everything, the only thing we lack is leadership’.


Dr. Aynul Hassan while talking on Asia's transition into the 21st century presented a comparison of Pakistan's economy with rest of the Asian countries. He also discussed the important role played by traditional economic theories in the economic well-being of countries and said that ‘social sector investment is a long term and continuous proposition’.


Dr. Salman Shah while talking on the importance of CPEC and making Pakistan a global powerhouse said that ‘an economic corridor generally connects regional economic centers in the most efficient and convenient manner. CPEC will create economic and trade connectivity within Pakistan’. He said that ‘software of CPEC is more important than hardware’. ‘China is now the world's largest economy and can prove to be a big source of investment capital, technology and know-how for Pakistan’s economic progress, and we should learn from China how to manage and maintain economy’ he added.


Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) highlighted the geo-strategic and geo-economic significance of CPEC and Gwadar Port, which is the cornerstone of the whole concept. He said, ‘Pakistan is blessed with precious minerals and coal resources and we must exploit this potential. It is the first time that we kept Khunjerab Pass open during last winters to keep the CPEC functional’. He also said, ‘FWO has also undertaken a project in collaboration with the Pakistan Railways to improve the railway infrastructure and the most important among them is dedicated freight corridor along ML-2’. ‘FWO is also planning oil refinery in KP in collaboration with the KP government. A project for cement manufacturing plant of 5000 MT per day is also being planned’ he shared with the audience.


Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Former Governer of State Bank of Pakistan delivered a talk on "Economy of Pakistan: Past and Future". He discussed three possible scenarios which are optimistic, muddling through and pessimistic. He highlighted the wastage of civil resources and said that ‘anything new is glamorous and attractive but poor maintenance and indifference to exercising the existing policies brings lots of losses to the country’. He also mentioned that ‘CPEC is a good strategic option for progress’.


Mr. Zubair Tufail, chairman of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted the role of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce in the economy of Pakistan. He said, ‘if we want to be economically strong, we should follow the footsteps of China. Private sector, by providing jobs, can play very vital role for the strong economic position of the country’. He also said, ‘we must also allow the third world countries to invest in Pakistan. We should ask China to open more markets for Pakistan and lauded the role of Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers for eradicating the menace of terrorism across the country’.

 
06
November

Written By: Prof. Sharif Al Mujahid


In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly fruitful life of ceaseless effort and progress. Second was the restless activity of the people in Europe, their energy, their initiative, their immense capabilities for innovation and invention, and their resolute will to work for the amelioration of the common man. Third was the credo of capitalism and nationalism, which dominated Western life, both individually and collectively, and had led to such cut-throat competition between man and man, and between nation and nation. While he admired and applauded the first two aspects, he was irretrievably dismayed by the third one. His dismay was compounded when he found that Europe was also swayed by racial prejudice.

 

Under the impact of nationalism and in order to build up their own separate nationalistic altars, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Iranians and the Arabs had tended to emphasize their particular racial origins and their racial separation from each other. This, in turn, had ravened the Islamic Ummah concept, enfeebled the Muslim world, and had, in consequence, laid it all the more open to Western aggression, exploitation and designs, as never before.

 

Islamic or Muslim nationalism is a via media between unadulterated pan-Islamism and unalloyed nationalism. A blend of these two competing ideologies, Muslim nationalism, while recognizing the multiplicity of nations within Islam, strives to promote the solidarity, identity of outlook, and close cooperation between the various Muslim nations on the basis of their religious affinity and cultural coherence.

 

Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was a man of great many ideas – sublime and serene, dynamic and romantic, provocative and profound for most of the time. He was both a great poet and a serious thinker at the same time but in poetic works lies enshrined most of his thought. Platitudinous to say, but important to note is the basic fact that a poet is essentially a man of moods, commanding a sort of poetic license, which is scrupulously denied to a prose-writer. Since a poet usually gives utterance to his reactions, often charged with emotions, to a given situation, his utterances and ideas need not always be compatible with one another. Such was the case with Iqbal as well.


However, since Iqbal is acclaimed national poet and his poetry had a profound impact; Pakistan emerged as a country and as a nation over the decades. His poetry and messages are both complex and profound, therefore there is a dire need to understand them in perspective and carry it forward to new heights of interpretation. Unless we do this we would be at a tremendous loss.

 

iqbalnational.jpgDuring his poetic career, spanning some four decades, Iqbal had imbibed, approved, applauded and commended a great many ideas – ideas which occupied various positions along the spectrum on the philosophic, social and political plane. Thus, at one time or another, he commended or denounced nationalism; propagated pan-Islamism and world Muslim unity; criticized the West for its materialism, for its cut-throat competition and for its values while applauding the East, its spiritualism and its concern for the soul; and condemned capitalism as well, while preaching “a kind of vague socialism”. On the one hand, he steadfastly stood for “the freedom of ijtihad with a view to rebuild the law of Shari’at in the light of modern thought and experience”, and even attempted somewhat to reformulate the doctrines of Islam in the light of twentieth century requirements, he, on the other hand, also defended the orthodox position and Indian Islam on some counts. Though “inescapably entangled in the net of Sufi thought”, he yet considered popular mysticism or “the kind of mysticism which blinked actualities, enervated the people and kept them steeped in all kinds of superstitions” as one of the primary causes of Muslim decline and downfall.


It is rather common knowledge that prior to the paradigmatic shift Iqbal had undergone during his sojourn in Europe (1905-08), his thought and poetic outpourings beginning with his maiden presentation of Nala-i-Yateem to an attentive Lahore audience at the annual moot of the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam in 1898, were dominated by the triad philosophies of mysticism, romanticism and nationalism. This early phase was characterized by three categories of poems – (i) ghazals and lyrics (e.g., Gul-i-Pashmurdah), (ii) romanticist and nature-poems (e.g., “The Himalayas”, “Kashmir” and “On the Bank of Ravi”), and (iii) patriotic and nationalistic poems.


It were the last set of poems that had made Iqbal famous in the initial years. Largely inspirational in nature, they were meant to arouse and motivate his fellow countrymen of all denominations. To this category belong Hindustan Hamara, Hindustani Bachoon Ka Qaumi Geet, Naya Shiwala, and Taswir-i-Dard. To Iqbal Singh, a renowned biographer of Iqbal, Hindustan Hamara “remains to this day [1947] the best patriotic poem written by an Indian poet in modern times”.


More importantly, the shift from ghazals to nationalistic poetry was not merely a change of subject, but also a radical shift in Iqbal’s tone and tenor. From giving expression to his subjective feelings, he had moved on to giving utterance to the mood of the nation. The individual mood of the poet gave way to the collective mood of the people, and Urdu poetry, thus, came to be introduced to performing a higher function – such as the criticism of the people’s life-style, their ideas and myths that had brought them to such a sorry pass. To an abrupt end, however, did this nature-lover and nationalist phase come during Iqbal’s three year sojourn in Europe (1905-08).


During these years Iqbal had pursued his studies seriously, specializing in philosophy and law, earning a degree in philosophy from Cambridge, a doctorate from Heidelberg, and a law degree from Lincoln’s Inn in 1908.


There was, of course, nothing unusual about it because students from the subcontinent had gone to England to earn degrees, both before and after Iqbal. But what puts Iqbal in a different category was that unlike other students and visitors to the West he refused to be overwhelmed by the overpowering glitter and awe-inspiring grandeur of the West. Unlike others, he went beyond and behind its facade. His sensitivity as a poet enabled him to see much further than the usual run of students and visitors, his penchant for keen observation and his grounding in Western philosophy enabled him to study the West, its pros and cons, rather seriously and critically.


In particular, Iqbal was struck by three things which were at the heart of European life, thought and civilization. First, he realized the vast potentialities of science whose mastery had given Europe its eminence and mastery over the world, and led Europe to an increasingly fruitful life of ceaseless effort and progress. Second was the restless activity of the people in Europe, their energy, their initiative, their immense capabilities for innovation and invention, and their resolute will to work for the amelioration of the common man. Third was the credo of capitalism and nationalism, which dominated Western life, both individually and collectively, and had led to such cut-throat competition between man and man, and between nation and nation. While he admired and applauded the first two aspects, he was irretrievably dismayed by the third one. His dismay was compounded when he found that Europe was also swayed by racial prejudice.


In any case, his live contact with Western life, his grounding in Western philosophy, and his initiation into modern Western thought had acted as a catalyst, enabling him to perceive things in a wider perspective and in clearer terms. From the vantage point of a European base, Iqbal could easily see that the onward march of nationalism had bred racialism in several Muslim countries. Under the impact of nationalism and in order to build up their own separate nationalistic altars, the Turks, the Egyptians, the Iranians and the Arabs had tended to emphasize their particular racial origins and their racial separation from each other. This, in turn, had ravened the Islamic Ummah concept, enfeebled the Muslim world, and had, in consequence, laid it all the more open to Western aggression, exploitation and designs, as never before.


And this obviously disillusioned Iqbal with the nationalist credo beyond repair. Not only had the political misfortunes of the Muslim peoples, but also their civilizational decline goaded his thinking towards pan-Islam. In this ideal did Iqbal see the salvation of the Muslim world, even as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839-1896) had a few decades earlier. Thus, Iqbal who had left India as a staunch nationalist returned to it in 1908 as a firm believer in Islam and in an integrated Ummah.


And for now, Iqbal’s world was the Muslim world – the vast stretch from Morocco to Indonesia, inhabited by scores of peoples and races, but spiritually linked with each other, with a common moral consciousness and ethical code, cultural ethos and civilizational mores, indeed with a distinct weltanschauung.


This obviously caused a paradigm shift in Iqbal’s thinking and posture. Iqbal, who had left India in 1905 as nationalist, returned to it in 1908 radically transformed – all the way, for now he was a pan-Islamist and almost a puritan. Not that he loved India and Indians less, but that he loved Islam and its ideals more. In a conceptual sense, he was, consciously or otherwise, treading the seldom trodden path delineated by Albert Schiller, the German philosopher, when he proclaimed, “I write as a citizen of the world who serves no prince. I lost my fatherland to exchange it for the great world. What is the greatest of nations but a fragment?”


This credo, inter alia, is also symmetrical at another level, with one of the Prophet’s (PBUH) sayings, “The whole of this earth is a mosque (unto me)”. In tandem, Iqbal would, for now, say, “Every country is our country because it is the country of our God”. The fatherland to which he now owed supreme allegiance to was the Muslim world.


Thus, Iqbal gradually came to take upon himself the immense task of poet-prophet. No wonder, his poems came to shift ground to keep pace with the newly developed phase of his thinking. No wonder, he sang the glories of Islam and Muslims, for now.


For the outside world, his nostalgic piece on Sicily, which he penned as the ship carrying him back home glided past the southern shores of the once Arab dominated island, heralded Iqbal’s intellectual development taking a new turn in the direction of Islam. The sight of the island on the occasion reminded Iqbal of its glorious Arab past, propelling him to break out into a touching elegy. Sadi, the famous Persian poet, had once bitterly cried over the brutal destruction of Baghdad in 1258. Ibn Badran, the renowned Moorish poet, had lamented pathetically over the fall of Banu Ayaz in Andulusia; and Dagh Dehlawi had mourned touchingly on the blood sack of Dehli in 1857. For now, it was Iqbal’s turn to focus the search-light on the desolation of Sicily, once a proud center of Islamic civilization in the west. The first three bards, long entrenched in their own right in the literary history of their respective languages, had done their elegies movingly and magnificently. And Iqbal could do no less.


And, with the years, Iqbal’s poems would increasingly reflect troubles and travails of the Muslim world. Not inexplicably though, they would, also mirror the agitated mood of the Indo-Pakistani Muslims over the troubles. To quote Hamilton A.R. Gibb, the famed orientalist and an insightful observer, “Iqbal reflected and put into vivid words the diverse currents of ideas that were agitating the minds of Indian Muslims. His sensitive poetic temperament mirrored all the impinged up on it. Every Indian Muslim dissatisfied with the state of things – religious, social or political – could and did find aspirations as an adviser who bade him seek the way out by self expressions.”


Perhaps, nothing reflected his new ideological orientations as did his famous Tarana-i-Milli (Islamic anthem), and his soul stirring poem on Trablas (Algeria). The Tarana-i-Milli composed in the same meter and rhyme as the erstwhile Tarana-i-Hindi, was, in effect, a public statement of Iqbal’s adoption of Schillerian credo. To Iqbal, for now, his focus of interest and attention was the sprawling world of Islam – that vast stretch of land that spanned the extensive swathes of territories from Mauratia on the northern eastern shores of Atlantic to Indonesia on the western most edge of the Pacific. Moreover, a land which was inhabited by scores of races and people that are organically and spiritually linked with one another that are imbued and informed by a moral consciousness of their own, a consciousness inspired by an ethical code, cultural ethos and civilizational mores. This newly formulated passion for the world of Islam demonstrated beyond doubt how far afield had Iqbal travelled ideologically from his early phase, when he had sung so eloquently about his motherland, and put India on a pedestal higher than Egypt, Greece and Rome.


Above all, what Iqbal had wished for was that Muslims and the people of East should come into their own at all costs. He bemoaned that warmth had departed from the soul of the East. “It knows not what the task of living is”. On his own role, he adds, “I found the (Muslims) lands lacking in the spirit of life. I breathed my own spirit into thee.”


Despite his advocacy of pan-Islamism, Iqbal was a keen and insightful observer of Muslim affairs. Hence he could not escape perceiving the harsh fact that his panacea of pan-Islam in its idealistic and classical form was not propitious or relevant to his own age – i.e., in the 1920s. For one thing, several Muslim countries had opted for nationalism and for politics based on asabiyat – i.e., racial and/or linguistic unity. For another, they were looking up to a nationalist altar, and seeking nationalist solutions to their problems. Indeed, nationalism was a dominant fact of life in almost all the Muslim countries.


Iqbal could not have possibly ignored all this – and much more. “True statesmanship”, he told his audience at the Allahabad League session (1930) “cannot ignore facts, however unpleasant they may be. The only practical course is not to assume the existence of a state of things which does not exist, but to recognize facts as they are, and to exploit them to our greatest advantage.”


Hence it seems but logical that deeply concerned as Iqbal was to see the Muslim people remain firmly anchored to their pristine Islamic legacy and heritage, he tried to resolve the conflict between nationalism, the fact of life, and pan-Islamism, the ideal towards which he would like to see them strive. Thus, Iqbal, like Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, arrived at the concept of Islamic – but, more accurately, Muslim nationalism.


Islamic or Muslim-nationalism is a via media between unadulterated pan-Islamism and unalloyed nationalism. A blend of these two competing ideologies, Muslim nationalism, while recognizing the multiplicity of nations within Islam, strives to promote the solidarity, identity of outlook, and close cooperation between the various Muslim nations on the basis of their religious affinity and cultural coherence.


Iqbal, the ideologue, who had diagnosed the malaise of the Muslim world in his famous Reconstruction, came to the conclusion that “For the present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self, temporarily focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a living family of republics. A true and living unity, according to the nationalist thinkers, is not so easy as to be achieved by a merely symbolical overlordship. It is truly manifested in a multiplicity of free independent units whose racial rivalries are adjusted and harmonized by the unifying bond of a common spiritual aspiration. It seems to me that Islam is neither nationalism nor imperialism but a league of nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizon of its members.”


Thus, in his Allahabad League address (1930) Iqbal finally arrived after a long odyssey of some three decades, after the “Nala-e-Yateem” Indian nationalistic phase, at the consolidated Muslim Northwest State (a province) in India’s Northwest region – if only to find a territorial basis for the deflated population based Muslim nation in India. It is significant to remember that few studies have chronically traced out Iqbal’s proposal to the core.

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO’s History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan’s Founding Father.
 
06
November

Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem


On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between our government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal deficit is the root of most financial ills – and our fiscal deficit, in absolute terms, is the largest ever in our history. For the record, the twin deficits – current account and fiscal – add up to over 13 percent of GDP.

Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history have our exports declined for five consecutive years. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history has our current account deficit hit a high of $12.1 billion in one year. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history have we imported goods and services worth $52 billion in one year. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year financial history has our trade deficit hit a high of $32 billion in one year (trade deficit is the difference between our imports and exports).


On top of the historically high trade deficit, the present incurred colossal fiscal deficit is Rs. 1.863 trillion (fiscal deficit is the difference between government’s expenditure and the revenue that it generates). To be certain, the fiscal deficit is the root of most financial ills – and our fiscal deficit, in absolute terms, is the largest ever in our history. For the record, the twin deficits – current account and fiscal – add up to over 13 percent of GDP.

 

 thedireneed.jpgPakistan’s economy is vulnerable like never before. And a country’s economic security is deeply interlinked with her national security. The three major threats to our economic security are: One; the enormous trade deficit and the impending balance of payment crisis. Two; the fiscal deficit and the impending debt trap. Three; multi-billion dollar penalties from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on account of Karkey Karadeniz (the Turkish company that operated a rental power plant); in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on account of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and a ruling against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.


Imagine, we have paid $50 billion in debt servicing just over the past four years (while the accumulative allocation for defence was $30 billion over those four years). A historically high trade deficit means additional debt. A historically high budget deficit means additional debt. Our current trajectory will take us right into a strangulating debt trap whereby it will become impossible to service the accumulated debt and we would have to borrow more just to repay the billions borrowed earlier. Who is going to lend us those billions to pay back our debt? IMF? The World Bank?

thedireneed1.jpg
To be certain, the IMF is not just a financial institution it is also a political tool with financial power projection by its owners. Look at the IMF Members’ Quotas and Voting Power: Pakistan’s number of votes is 21,775; America’s number of votes is 831,407. Imagine: Andrew Baukol, America’s representative to the IMF, raises just one hand and 831,407 votes are up.


Back into the IMF’s lap and back to the IMF’s dreaded conditionalities. Remember, the U.S. has veto privileges and a blocking minority. Remember, the U.S. has “near-absolute control of the IMF’s activities”. And yes, the U.S. uses “the IMF to peddle its own agenda”.


Pakistan must take corrective measures urgently. The Ministry of Finance must take corrective measures urgently. Pakistani exporters must be engaged; their problems must be resolved and their stuck-up refunds must be refunded. The import regime must be rationalized (the recently imposed regulatory duties on tooth paste and poultry are too little, too late). The value of the Rupee must be adjusted downwards. And the cost of doing business in Pakistan must be brought down.


The Ministry of Finance must take corrective measures on the budgetary side as well. The power sector loses Rs. 400 billion a year. This must end. The Public Sector Enterprises – PIA, Railways, Steel Mills etc. – also manage to lose Rs. 400 billion a year. This must end. The government’s entire stream of expenditures must be rationalized. Yes, the entire stream of expenditures must be rationalized before burdening the poor taxpayers with additional taxes. Yes, the tax base needs to be broadened but that means adding new taxpayers – and not burdening the existing taxpayers with additional taxes. Yes, the cost of compliance with the tax regime must also be brought down.

 

Yes, our economic security is under threat – under threat like never before. And yes, our economic security continues to be the most neglected element of our national security.


To be sure, putting economy right is no rocket science. The remedy lies in prioritizing the emerging economic crisis. In sound economy lies the soul of Pakistan’s future and it demands focus, dedication and integrity.

 

The writer is an eminent analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media.

Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh

 
06
November

Written By: Dr. Ishrat Hussain


At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited an extremely weak and fragile economic base and infrastructure. LIFE Magazine had predicted in its issue of January 1948 that Pakistan would collapse within six months as it would not be able to sustain itself economically. Many other experts had similar views. Pakistan not only inherited a shattered economic base but also had to face several serious adverse shocks in the first forty years of its existence. These were:


(i) Absorption and rehabilitation of 8 million refugees or one fourth of the population.
(ii) The 1965 war against India.
(iii) The breakup of the country in 1971.
(iv) The nationalization of industries, banks and educational institutions.
(v) The war in Afghanistan beginning in 1979.

 

ecoofpakpast.jpgDespite the grave consequences arising from these shocks Pakistan not only survived economically but stunned its prophets of doom by ranking among the top ten performers in the developing countries. Its average annual growth rate of 6 percent between 1950-1990 could be matched by only a few countries. India was stuck in the same period with Hindu rate of growth of 3 percent annually. India’s economy was only five times bigger while its population was eight times larger than Pakistan. The per capita incomes were higher in Pakistan and social indicators were better. Pakistan was able to spend up to 6 to 7 percent of GDP every year in building its defence capability as well as nuclear capacity for ensuring robust external security.


Since 1990s, Pakistan has lagged behind many countries in the region such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. Economic growth rate has come down to 4-4.5 percent annually between 1990-2015. If we exclude the period 2002-2007 when Pakistan’s growth was 7-7.5 percent the average would be below 4 percent. During this period of high economic growth a Special Fund of Rs. 100 billion was established to meet the needs for equipment and capital goods required by the Armed Forces. The subsequent poor economic outcomes resulted in curtailment of our defence expenditure to around 3 percent of GDP and the Fund could not be replenished because of the paucity of financial resources. This happened at a time when the challenges of internal security also became overwhelming. The interplay between security and economy becomes quite obvious from this particular episode. When the economy was booming and growing, the beneficiaries were not only people of Pakistan but also the Armed Forces who are responsible for our security. In the mid 2000s, Pakistan had reached an investment ratio of 23 percent which led to 7 percent growth rate. Today, investment ratio is down to 15 percent which has limited our growth to 4 percent average.


Since 1990s the Indian economy has been growing at a rapid rate and has become eight times ours, and their per capita incomes exceed that of ours. Investment ratio in India is twice to Pakistan. Their billion dollars orders for defence equipment and insistence on location of defence manufacturing industries in India is a reflection of their economic strength. While we have lost our market share in global export markets, and thus our capacity to earn hard foreign exchange, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam have increased their share significantly and accumulated sizeable foreign reserves to meet any future crises without the risk of destabilizing their economies. Bangladesh’s exports which were a fraction of ours now amount to over $30 billion while ours have gone down from $25 billion to $21 billion. The reasons for this decline are manifold that include:


(i) Lack of continuity in economic policies, programs and projects.
(ii) Security issues.
(iii) Political instability.


However, the most predominant factor for this decline was the gradual decay of the institutions of democratic governance during the last twenty five years triggered by:


• The growing politicization of the Civil Services and political interference in the postings, promotions and actions. As a consequence, the civil servants have lost professionalism, competence and capacity to perform. The selection to top positions is made on the basis of loyalty rather than merit. Responsibility is too diffused and therefore accountability cannot be pinned down. Corrupt officials are hardly taken to task while the honest officers are no longer prepared to take actions due to fear of NAB, FIA, the media etc.
• Processes and procedures have become cumbersome and complex. Decision making has become highly centralized and top down and therefore the limited ownership of decisions creates hurdles in implementation. Rules are bent and exceptions made to confer patronage to the supporters of the ruling parties thus tilting the level playing field against genuine businesses. Risk taking has been replaced by rent seeking.
• Access to basic services such as education, health, law and order and justice is unavailable to those without financial means or political connections. Poor social indicators and growing income and regional inequality are manifestation of this unequal access.
Local Governments which are the main points of connection between the citizens and the government have been disempowered and deprived of the authority and financial resources for delivering services to the citizens.
• Frequent judicial intervention in the executive and policy matters such as declaring privatization of the Steel Mills as illegal, rescinding agreements with foreign companies, disallowing contracts of LNG imports when the country was facing severe energy shortages, suspending orders of promotion of civil servants and protracted litigation with stay orders in tax collection, loan defaults etc. has created many hurdles in the smooth and orderly management of the economy.
A highly disturbing trend has affected public finances, economic productivity and social equity but has not been given any attention by successive governments whether elected or military. This has to do with the poor maintenance and inefficient operation of the existing capital assets built with huge investment of trillions of rupees made in the past decades. It is more rewarding to build and inaugurate new projects to demonstrate your performance with little realization that an ordinary citizen feels satisfied if he is able to obtain basic services from the existing facilities. Today, we are faced with losses of the exchequer of approximately 1 trillion rupees annually because of the following:
• Water losses in the irrigation system from river inflows to farm gate is amounting to almost 50 percent of the total water inflows. These losses equal three times the capacity of the three big dams we have.
• Transmission and distribution losses from the power system and non recovery of dues coupled with generation plant inefficiency. At the same time we have to pay fixed charges for capacity whether we get any power from the IPPs or not.
• Unaccounted for losses of the gas system which have gone up from 4 percent to 15 percent in a short period of time. Because of these losses we have to import 400 million cubic feet of LNG every year.
• Road network outside the national highway and main trunk roads is in poor shape.
• Operations of railways and airline result in losses of billions of rupees annually.


It is estimated that 1 percent improvement in infrastructure services (at an aggregate level) can boost GDP growth by 1.25 percentage points. Water productivity which is one third of that of India can go up if the tail enders are provided water which is being wasted by those at the head by applying 4 to 5 times water in relation to the actual requirement. Poor farmers at the end of the distributary end up with low yields per acre.


Another problem is the misallocation of resources under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP). Too many projects are included in the PSDP and token allocations are made to each of them without evaluating the inter-se priority and their possible contribution to the economy. The throw forward of all the ongoing projects included in the PSDP would take 20 years to be completed at the current level of allocation every year. The result is cost overruns and diminished benefit stream making a large number of projects economically unviable. If external borrowing is resorted to finance these, we are in worse of both the worlds — inability to repay the loans as income from these loans is negative and the shortages and congestion continue to persist.


Future Prospects of Pakistan Economy
How do we assess the future course of Pakistan’s economy? We have constructed three possible scenarios – optimistic, muddling through and pessimistic:


(i) Optimistic: Pakistan is able to strengthen and reform its institutions of democratic governance, establish effective coordination mechanisms between the federal and provincial governments, the provincial and local government, government and the private sector and pursue outward looking economic policies with continuity and stability. CPEC investments begin to generate positive outcomes that boost economic growth and overcome energy shortages.

Expected outcome: Per capita incomes are likely to grow by 4 to 5 percent annually.


(ii) Muddling Through: Reforms are implemented half-heartedly, there is no broadly shared consensus on the direction of economic policy, tension between the various tiers of government and, government and private sector continues with ups and downs and economic management remains reactive but CPEC investment flows in at the envisaged level.


Expected outcome: Per capita incomes likely to rise between 2 to 3 percent annually.
(iii) Pessimistic: The country suffers from political instability. Macroeconomic pressures such as widening fiscal and current account deficits persist, exchange rate shows volatility and investors face uncertainty. Implementation of CPEC projects is slow and lacklustre. Poor economic management, over regulation and over taxation of organized private sector and lack of coordination between various tiers of government create unpredictability for investors and raises cost of doing business.

Expected outcome: Per capita income is likely to stagnate or rise very slowly.


Many studies have shown that Pakistan is capable of becoming one of the top 20 ranking economies in the world by 2025. This would require that the government, opposition parties, the private sector and the civil society work in unison and harmony to make this happen. But we have a mindset of negativity so deeply ingrained that many of our intellectuals and commentators dismiss this as a pipe dream. They consider this as a figment of imagination of the foreigners who do not comprehend the “ground realities” of Pakistan. To them, the country is at the brink of economic disaster and these doomsday pundits are unable to reconcile their view of the economy with the facts, evidence and analysis pointing in a direction contrary to theirs. There is another group which is continuously creating fear in the country about the CPEC projects and China becoming an East India Company. Nothing can be far from truth but this tune is heard frequently. The change in this negative mindset is a prerequisite for attainment of rapid shared growth.


The above scenarios do not take into account the possible impact of the newly declared Trump policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. The consequences would depend upon our response capacity. If we set aside our differences, divisions and factions and work hard in unison to introduce austerity in our public expenditures, mobilize taxes from those outside the net and reduce waste and inefficiencies, the adversity would be minimal. However, if we continue on the path of the business – as usual where the political atmosphere remains vitiated, the quality of economic management is unaltered and the mistrust and suspicion among various segments of the population remains ingrained, we should be prepared for quite tough times.


Agenda for Sustained Economic and Social Development
What are the actions and measures that would help in translating the optimistic scenario into a reality? Of course, the journey forward would not be smooth but bumpy. External environment may turn out to be more harsh than envisaged. Other unanticipated shocks may create difficulties but a relentless pursuit of the agenda described below may lead to successful outcomes enhancing the resilience capacity to face these shocks. The agenda can be divided in two parts – Short term and Medium to Long term.


Short Term
• As across-the-board institutional reform is not politically feasible, therefore, select a few key institutions critical to growth, security, equity and accountability, and, restructure and revitalize them.
• Devolve administrative powers and financial resources to local governments to deliver basic services such as education, health, drinking water, sanitation, roads etc. to the common citizens.
• Reduce budgetary deficits by bringing in 2 million taxpayers who are eligible but are outside the tax net, tax real estate and capital gains and privatize loss making public enterprises particularly in the power sector to stop the ever growing circular debt problem.
• Unleash the entrepreneurial energies of the private sector by easing excessive regulatory requirements and reducing tax burden on the organized sector particularly manufacturing sector.
• Revamp laws and institutions of accountability so that the honest and competent civil servants act fearlessly and the corrupt are taken to task. The present environment of Too much Accountability coexisting with Too little Accountability has to be replaced by a fair and judicious process.
• Reduce trade imbalances by lowering the cost of production and logistics to make our exports competitive and encourage import substitution of goods based on emerging technologies.
• Align closely with the Chinese value chain by supplying intermediate inputs to their industries. Renegotiate FTA with China to facilitate relocation of labour intensive export oriented industries in the Special Economic Zones in Pakistan.


Medium to Long Term
The major challenge facing us in the future would be: how to absorb 1-1.5 million youth in the labour force annually while moving up on the technology front to maintain our competitiveness in the world market. To strike this difficult balance, we have to:
• Enhance the quality of exports by producing goods and services that are in heavy demand in the international markets particularly Asia by increasing efficiency and enhancing productivity thus improving competitiveness of Pakistani products.
• Invest heavily in producing quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates who can push Pakistan towards innovation, technology assimilation and sophistication.
• Promote vocational and technical skills training as the employment opportunities for general degree holders are receding and the demand for para-engineers, para-medics, technicians, para-scientists, mechanics etc. are rising rapidly.
• Subsidize the research and development activities in the defence, public and private sectors for developing new products and processes.
• Take maximum advantage of the country’s strategic location by becoming a hub of regional trade and transit. CPEC projects particularly pipelines, motorways and railways connecting Gwadar to Kashgar should be expeditiously completed.
• Improve the maintenance and operations of the existing capital assets – irrigation systems, railways, energy infrastructure that are causing huge financial losses to the exchequer; recover user charges for meeting this expenditure.
• Introduce internationally accepted standards certification and tests such as FDA approved food and pharmaceutical products for our industries.


If this agenda is faithfully implemented by every successive government and policies, programs and projects are not altered every time there is a change in the government, the chances of Pakistan regaining its lost space in the international league appear quite promising.

 

The writer remained the Governor State Bank of Pakistan from 1999 till 2005. He has also served as the Dean of the Institute of Business Administration.

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

 
06
November

Written By: Mushahid Hussain Syed


In no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, all voluntarily part of OBOR, which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.

Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.

Following up on the unveiling of President Trump's flawed South Asian strategy on August 21, 2017, U.S. Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2017 that the U.S. has reservations on the 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative of China.


Jim Mattis, in what is the first such public statement from an American high official on OBOR said that "In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself in a position of dictating 'One Belt, One Road'." He added another ground for the U.S. opposition, when in an oblique reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship and pilot project of OBOR, that 'OBOR also goes through disputed territory'.


The statement of Secretary Mattis is surprising and inexplicable as it is contrary to previous American policy and both his reservations are quite baseless. Three aspects are noteworthy.

 

cpecandindoame.jpgWhen China hosted the OBOR Summit in Beijing in May 2017, with 110 countries and international organisations in attendance, the United States sent an official delegation led by Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to President Trump, and Senior Director in charge of East Asia in the National Security Council. His participation like that of other countries was an endorsement of OBOR and no reservations were expressed on this count.


Second, after the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty resulted in the decision to build new dams, the American government enlisted U.S. contractors to build the Mangla Dam in Azad Kashmir, and the U.S. then never expressed reservations that it is 'disputed territory'.


Third, in no way is China 'dictating' OBOR to any country, which, in any case includes 65 countries spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe – all voluntarily part of OBOR – which is probably the single most important diplomatic and developmental initiative in the 21st Century. Only India in the region is out of it, since it sees itself as a 'rival' of China.


Actually, by opposing OBOR and echoing India on CPEC, the United States is sowing the seeds of another Cold War, a 'New Great Game' in the region, pitching its proxy, India, to 'counter and contain' China, destabilising the region further with a debilitating proxy war between India and Pakistan since India is already well embarked on the process of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.


Mattis’ statement of October 3, comes on the heels of President Trump's August 21 South Asia strategy, where Trump handed over the Afghan policy's execution to the Pentagon, which, in turn, is keen to rope in the Indians as their 'junior partners' in this 'New Great Game'.


The U.S. has already announced a troop surge in Afghanistan, and the intention to stay put in Afghanistan for the long haul.


The U.S. military presence of some 16,000 will be supplemented by another 10,000 from its NATO allies, plus a matching presence of armed military contractors hired by the Pentagon, which means 50,000 plus men under arms. This presence will be beefed up by the under-construction American Embassy in Kabul, one of the biggest in the world.

 

CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opening to build better and more prosperous lives.

What would the American presence be in Afghanistan for? Obviously, the force won't be big or strong enough to militarily defeat the Taliban, who already control 45% of Afghanistan, so what else could keep them busy? An educated guess can read the military minds of the Trump Administration.


With 400 American military bases already circling China in Asia, the U.S. military presence is vital to keep an eye on China next door, since its sensitive Xinjiang province has a 90-kilometre border with Afghanistan on the Wakhan Corridor.


Additionally, with Trump bent upon scuttling the Iran nuclear deal, keeping an eye on Tehran would be an added incentive. And then with Putin being constantly demonised, Russia's 'near abroad' (the Central Asian Republics that border Afghanistan like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), would be another convenient target.

 

So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, while, India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.

Loud whispers from Washington also speak in hushed tones about what is being left unstated, namely, the Pakistan nuclear program. The American journalist, David Sanger, in his book 'Confront and Conceal', writes: "There was another reason to establish an 'enduring presence' in Afghanistan after 2014 – a reason the White House did not want to discuss. It was Pakistan. The United States could live with an Afghanistan that was messy, even with some parts of the country under de facto Taliban control once the international forces pulled back. But stability in Pakistan – and the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal – was another story. The American forces in Afghanistan had a role as a 'break the glass' emergency force if Pakistan and its (nuclear) arsenal, appeared to be coming apart at the seams".


In his analysis of the Trump strategy, informed American journalist David Ignatius wrote something similar in The Washington Post, August 23, 2017, about the prolonged U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: "It sustains a base that will allow the United States to keep watch on nearby Pakistani nuclear weapons".


With the balance of economic and political power shifting from the West to the East in the 21st Century, which is being talked about as the 'Asian Century', two clear trends are discernible, in fact, two distinctively different pathways to the future.

 

The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.

There is OBOR, which is promoting globalisation through corridors and connectivity with its centrepiece CPEC, seen as the hub of a new regionalism driven by economy and energy, ports and pipelines, roads and railways, pushing for progress and prosperity with win-win cooperation.


CPEC is all about inclusion, progress, connectivity that seeks development on the fast track, especially for those areas that are left behind, and it is an opportunity for the world's sixth most populous country to alleviate poverty and allow its talented people to seize the opportunity to build better and more prosperous lives.


Conversely, there is an attempt by the American military-industrial-complex to spark a new Cold War by conjuring up the 'China threat', seeking to contain China, whose centrepiece is the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), a military pact, signed by the United States and India in August 2016, which, for the first time, allows American access to military bases in India, something which India had long derided Pakistan for. So, now the United States and India are formally military allies.


So the contrasting visions, paths and policies for the future are clear: Pakistan pursuing win-win cooperation and connectivity while India opts for conflict and confrontation. The U.S. and India are going against the tide of history because neither the U.S., having squandered $ 3 trillion in the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in a position to sustain another Cold War, nor India, having failed to quell the popular, spontaneous, indigenous and widespread uprising in Occupied Kashmir, is mired in 16 other indigenous insurgencies.


Additionally, the Modi regime has proven to be divisive by actively promoting politics of hate, bigotry and extremism against liberal Hindus (some independent voices like Arundhati Roy are either being stifled or driven out of India), Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.


The one-fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia deserves a better tomorrow, with no overlords and no underdogs, not a return to a tried, tested, flawed and failed approach. Such a Washington-concocted and Delhi-executed recipe will not only be disastrous for themselves, but for Asia as a whole.

 

The writer is Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Defence Committee. He is an eminent scholar and practitioner of international repute on issues of security, international relations and politics. He has been the Editor of a prestigious national English daily, and author of three books. As Leader of Pakistan's Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission at Geneva in 1993, he was proactive in promoting Pakistan's position on Kashmir and Siachen.

www.mushahidhussain.com

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06
November

Written By: Sardar Masood Khan,

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir


There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and, despite the cyclical pattern of this relationship, both countries have accomplished many shared goals from time-to-time. Now being totally partisan to Pakistan’s strategic adversary does not sound like good judgement. Some semblance of balance would be a very healthy choice.

In a testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on October 3, 2017, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that “... the One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory and, I think, that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.” It was an indirect and fleeting reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as his main onslaught was China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR), saying, “In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘one belt, one road’.”


The remark pertaining to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was hailed in India as an endorsement of India’s opposition to the CPEC and as an indictment of both China and Pakistan. Indian analysts said that Mattis had made this statement following his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during his recent visit to India.

 

chinapakecocoridor.jpgIn Pakistan, expectedly, this remark kicked up a furore and the United States’ stance was widely repudiated because it was seen as Washington looking at the CPEC, a seminal undertaking for Pakistan, through the Indian Government’s prism. Pakistan officially stated that the CPEC was a project for development, prosperity and connectivity and highlighted the gross and massive violations of human rights by India in the Occupied Kashmir. China chose to downplay Mattis’ comment and Indian hype about it by saying that it was not trying to impose any project and pointed out that its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects were based on the concept of “discuss, build, share”. China has all along maintained that the CPEC is designed to promote economic cooperation and connectivity and that it has no links with the sovereignty issues.


Why did Defence Secretary Mattis make such a sweeping statement? To put things in perspective, he did so in response to a very pointed and detailed question asked by Senator Charles Peters regarding China’s policy on OBOR: “The One Belt, One Road strategy seeks to secure China’s control over both the continental and the maritime interest, in their eventual hope of dominating Eurasia and exploiting natural resources there, things that are certainly at odds with U.S. policy. So what role do you see China playing in Afghanistan, and particularly related to their One Belt, One Road?”


As is obvious from the context, the reference by Defence Secretary Mattis to the CPEC and Jammu and Kashmir is forced and gratuitous. This is also a departure from the United States’ traditional policy of not making public remarks about the CPEC, its reservations on it notwithstanding. Officially Washington has always been prudent in its pronouncements on CPEC and has in fact on occasions said that China and the United States’ interests converge in regard to Pakistan’s stability and prosperity. “Non-official Washington” of course has been concerned because of the perceptions that the project has made Pakistan more assertive, riled up India and left the U.S. disconcerted.

 

The inflows of investment in Pakistan will benefit China and other foreign investors, including from the United States. Under existing and new bilateral agreements, the U.S. should encourage its high-end corporate sector to participate in the CPEC projects, especially those related to energy, infrastructure, industrialisation and ICT. This would help create a win-win situation. The U.S. and Pakistan should revive their macroeconomic cooperation as part of their strategic engagement, as already agreed between the two sides.

In Pakistan, the reaction was neuralgic because the U.S. statement had touched a raw nerve and the Indian media celebrated that Washington had vindicated Delhi’s hostile stance towards Pakistan. This is no ordinary project; it is Pakistan’s Marshall Plan after being ravaged for nearly four decades by the toxic detritus of Afghan wars, terrorism, asymmetric warfare and slow economic growth. The project is to give a huge boost to Pakistan’s economy and put bread on the table for the poor and lower middle class people. More importantly, it would put Pakistan in the list of top twenty economies of the world, a place it deserves to secure because of its population of 200 million, pivotal geographic location, abundant natural resources and rich human resource. In that sense for all segments of Pakistani society, it is pretty much a bread and butter issue. By the end of 2016, all political parties of Pakistan and the provincial governments had forged consensus on the CPEC. Opposing CPEC amounts to snatching bread from Pakistan's table. Nobody would understand the strategy in this context.


There is no doubt that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and for the past 70 years its people have been waiting for a just and lasting solution on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolutions. Simultaneously, they have been demanding an end to India’s brutal repression in the occupied territory. The U.S. recognises Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and late last year President Donald Trump volunteered to mediate on Kashmir, an offer which was quickly rejected by India. But by any standard, it is counterintuitive to dictate that there should be no economic development in a disputed territory or that no foreign entrepreneurs should participate in economic enterprises in that region.

 

chinapakecocoridor1.jpgThis is skewed logic; because if that were an accepted political or legal norm at the international level, in the 1960s, Bennie and Partners of London would not have designed the Mangla Hydropower Dam, located in the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and it would not have been built by a U.S. consortium led by Guy Atkinson Company.


Neither international law nor judicial precedents and decisions nor practices in the disputed territories proscribe or limit economic transactions by third countries or nationals. Such activity is one hundred percent legitimate as witnessed in other disputed territories – Northern Cyprus, Nogorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, Crimea, Western Sahara, Palestine and the Falklands/Malvinas, to name a few. Foreign investment flows to these disputed lands have not been blocked. International law and state practices allow a permissive rather than a restrictive approach to third countries, international consortia and multilateral development banks. Pending resolution of a dispute, the people of the territory have their recognised rights to receive foreign investment and enter into economic and commercial agreements.


Raising his concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with President Xi Jing and Premier Li Keqiaq during his visit to Beijing in May 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had termed the project “unacceptable” because it was passing through a disputed territory. At that time, Mr. Modi sounded petty and his objections were brushed aside by the Chinese leaders by responding that it was only an economic project. Since then, India’s visceral and tenacious opposition to the project leads one to conclude that India does not want Pakistan or any other country in the region to prosper and succeed economically. After all, the Karakoram Highway passing through the same territory has been operational since the late 1970s but India’s hostility to it was never so vehement as it is for the CPEC. The only difference between the Highway and the Corridor is that the latter promises more prosperity for Pakistan and has the potential to make Pakistan a regional investment and commercial hub.


The U.S. has a robust trade relationship with China; and it officially attended the Belt and Road Initiative Forum hosted by Chinese leadership in Beijing in May this year. Prior to attending the Forum, the U.S. Government said that it recognised the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative. Besides, the UN Security Council in March this year endorsed OBOR and the U.S. went along. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the Chinese permanent representative to the UN, after the adoption of the resolution in New York, said that support to the “Chinese concept” of OBOR by the Security Council showed “consensus of the international community” and recognised “huge Chinese contribution to the global governance”. The CPEC is the flagship project and an integral part of OBOR and it too would contribute to global economy. Disaffection with both of them seems to be an afterthought which would not serve long-term U.S. interests.

 

Pakistan and China are leveraging their economic geography to make Pakistan a part of regional logistical value chains, but India invokes the disputed nature of Gilgit-Baltistan, while itself obdurately impeding a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan should steer clear of this provocation and indeed a trap, stay the course, and not be distracted by India’s attempts to embroil it in a conflict with the malign intent to deny Pakistan a historic opportunity to realise its full potential as an emerging economic power.

It is not appropriate for Pakistan, or for that matter Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, to tell major global powers what is in their best interest, but neither should Pakistan be hectored about what development projects it should implement for its people and what foreign development partners it should choose. Pakistan has not been directly criticised by any country except India for embracing CPEC. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Far East see huge opportunity in it. India is in the habit of blowing out of proportion even the slightest critique of OBOR and CPEC.

To show the significance it attaches to the BRI, in October this year the Communist Party of China incorporated it in its constitution. This should bring some relief to the Pakistanis distressed after the U.S. statement on the CPEC.


The real value of the CPEC is that it will help usher in an era of social stability and help Pakistan put itself firmly in the league of emerging economies. Pakistan has transitioned from being a frontier market to an emerging economy, as per a determination made by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) early this year. The CPEC provides space to Pakistan to grow to its potential. Pakistan’s private sector will gather mass and traction, which in turn would help eliminate poverty and wean elements in the youth of violence and extremism. Economic progress, coupled with enhanced good governance, will bolster Pakistan as a pillar of peace and security in the region; and Pakistan would become a connective node for adjoining neighbourhoods.


These developments should in fact create a new convergence between Pakistan, China and the U.S., as well as between South Asia and Central Asia. Pakistan is important for the U.S. as a positive force in the region and in the Muslim world, not just as a stakeholder in regard to the situation in Afghanistan.


The inflows of investment in Pakistan will benefit China and other foreign investors, including from the United States. Under existing and new bilateral agreements, the U.S. should encourage its high-end corporate sector to participate in the CPEC projects, especially those related to energy, infrastructure, industrialisation and ICT. This would help create a win-win situation. The U.S. and Pakistan should revive their macroeconomic cooperation as part of their strategic engagement, as already agreed between the two sides.


In the past, the U.S. has shown interest in helping Pakistan enhance its economic connectivity in the region through the Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, the Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA) and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline project, among others. The CPEC and all these projects are complementary and in fact the CPEC will not only buttress them but open new avenues for growth, investment and prosperity.
Let India remain a spoiler for the time being, until it realises that this game-changing mega-project, the CPEC, will benefit her too in the long run.


The CPEC is driven by geoeconomics, not geopolitics. Yet, some would say that this mega-project tends to obscure the distinction between the two. Pakistan and China are leveraging their economic geography to make Pakistan a part of regional logistical value chains, but India invokes the disputed nature of Gilgit-Baltistan, while itself obdurately impeding a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan should steer clear of this provocation and indeed a trap, stay the course, and not be distracted by India’s attempts to embroil it in a conflict with the malign intent to deny Pakistan a historic opportunity to realise its full potential as an emerging economic power.


It is not appropriate for Pakistan, or for that matter Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, to tell major global powers what is in their best interest, but neither should Pakistan be hectored about what development projects it should implement for its people and what foreign development partners it should choose. Pakistan has not been directly criticised by any country except India for embracing CPEC. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Far East see huge opportunity in it. India is in the habit of blowing out of proportion even the slightest critique of OBOR and CPEC. Defence Secretary Mattis’ remark got Pakistan worried only because of the United States’ growing India-centric policies which hurt Pakistan’s interests.


There is a strong feeling in Pakistan that Washington should not act as a proxy for India’s foreign policy because of its own wider security and economic interests in the region. After all, the U.S. has had a long alliance with Pakistan and, despite the cyclical pattern of this relationship, both countries have accomplished many shared goals from time to time. Now being totally partisan to Pakistan’s strategic adversary does not sound like good judgement. Some semblance of balance would be a very healthy choice.


China’s counsel in regard to the new international order is sound: major countries should cooperate rather than confront each other. Talking to digital economy entrepreneurs in September 2015, President Xi Jinping had said, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap1 in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.” China has no appetite for building an empire; and the days of empires, even of virtual empires, are long gone.

 

Pakistan’s friendship with China will remain resilient as ever; and Pakistan is on the right track to explore more partnerships in the region and beyond, not just to safeguard CPEC, but to reach its destination of a developed economy and optimum human development.

A confrontation between the U.S. and China is by no means inevitable nor desirable. No doubt there is turbulence in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. But China is cautious and the U.S. is decreasing its fixation with the pivot to Asia. A delicate nuclear balance makes an all out war unimaginable. And yet a catastrophe is looming and it can be averted not by opposing but by backing One Belt, One Road which creates jobs and businesses for the most marginalised segments of society across Asia and Africa by developing infrastructure and investing in energy, industry, agriculture and telecommunications. The project itself is a catalyst and a roadmap for transformation. It does not foist a single country monopoly or ownership. It is not exclusive; it is inclusive and it does not preclude, nor it can, construction of new transportation corridors by other countries.


To the opinion leaders and analysts in Pakistan, I would say that while remaining vigilant, they should not torture themselves by building wild and doomsday scenarios. The CPEC is there to stay and will reach fruition. Let’s also remember that, despite being a transformative project, the CPEC is a building block and a massive stimulus in Pakistan’s economy, but it is not the whole economy, which will have a much larger scale in the decades to come. Keeping this larger picture in mind, it would be judicious to have a working and workable relationship with the U.S., which Pakistan, as an emerging major economic and political power, would need to operate in the international milieu. Pakistan’s friendship with China will remain resilient as ever; and Pakistan is on the right track to explore more partnerships in the region and beyond, not just to safeguard CPEC, but to reach its destination of a developed economy and optimum human development.

 

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

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1 When a rising power emerges and is perceived to be threatening the interests of a rival existing power (or powers), the most likely outcome is war. “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this instilled in Sparta, that made war inevitable.” - Thucydides

 

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