09
February
February 2017(EDITION 02, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
The defence mechanism of a country is interconnected and integrated in such a way that if one part is missing, others cannot function properly. Impregnable defence of a country depends both on high quality manpower as well as a robust defence industry to meet the emerging....Read full article
 
Written By: Taj M. Khattak
How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts....Read full article
 
Written By: Zamir Akram
Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made....Read full article
 
Written By: Arhama Siddiqa
The future of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was put in a limbo after its 19th Summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was cancelled. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India would boycott the summit....Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
When Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far, it’s time to take note. Known as the power behind the throne during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, the former vice president and neo-con extraordinaire developed a reputation as a cynical manipulator....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil
India and Pakistan have been seeking the membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group comprising 48 states that seeks to regulate nuclear trade with the view to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology. Both India and Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Usman Ansari
A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan.....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood
The struggle for the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir goes on unabated, but any process for its realization, bilateral or multilateral, is stalled because of India's obdurate opposition. Kashmiris are right now facing....Read full article
 
Written By: Shaukat Qadir
I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Sardar Atif Habib
I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family.....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)
As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups....Read full article
 
Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary
Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and.....Read full article
 
Written By: Javed Hafiz
Having returned from my posting in Saudi Arabia in 1992, I volunteered to be sent to the National Defence College (now known as National Defence University) and my request was granted. Back then, Foreign Service officers were exempted from domestic training courses because of their.....Read full article

 
Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti
As the habit of reading books seems to become a thing of the past, with the pervasive use of internet and computers, I was delighted to have the privilege to get my hands really dirty whilst cleaning up and dusting a few old books of the Nawab, or Lord of Hoti....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Armeela Javaid
Winter brings delicious food and irresistible dry fruits in front of our fire places. We enjoy the juicy citrus fruits, gajar ka halwa and Kashmiri pink tea with the festivities of New Year celebrations. It also brings cold, wind, rain, sleet, ice and sometimes snow....Read full article
 
On January 24, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful flight test of Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers. The missile is capable of delivering.....Read full article
 
On Jaunary 9, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful test fire of Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 having a range of 450 kilometers, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. The missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform ....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah called on Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain National Guard, Chief of Staff Bahrain .....Read full article
 
On January 21, 2017 Pakistan Army returned Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan, an Indian Army soldier, who was stationed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and had deserted his post at LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders.....Read full article
 
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Strike Corps at Multan Garrison on January 23, 2017. He laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e Shuhada and offered fatiha for the martyrs. Corps Commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar.....Read full article
 
Commander 11 Corps Visits North Waziristan Agency....Read full article
 
 
The passing out parade of Aero Apprentices was held at PAF Base, Korangi Creek, Karachi on January 20, 2017. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the occasion....Read full article
 
Winter Collective Training in Bahawalpur....Read full article
 
Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza visited Chor to witness training exercise, where he was briefed about the ongoing military exercises.....Read full article
 
09
February

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

As the habit of reading books seems to become a thing of the past, with the pervasive use of internet and computers, I was delighted to have the privilege to get my hands really dirty whilst cleaning up and dusting a few old books of the Nawab, or Lord of Hoti, Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Akbar Khan Hoti – the paternal grandfather of my husband, Arsallah Khan Hoti. Akbar Khan Hoti was son of Khwaja Muhammad Khan Hoti. Born in 1885, Akbar Khan Hoti was a smart army officer who studied at Chief’s College (now Aitchison), Lahore, and at the Imperial Cadet Corps, Dehradun.


In 1904-5, he joined the Indian land forces and accompanied Sir Louis Dane’s mission to Afghanistan where he was on special duty with the Amir of Afghanistan in 1907. He was Orderly Officer to Inspecting Officer, Frontier Corps, Peshawar in 1907-8. He served with the Imperial troops in Egypt in 1914, and in Gallipoli in 1905. And with the 3rd Ambala Cavalier Brigade in France in 1916. Finally he retired as Major in 1922 while he was member of the Council of State of India. Sir Akbar was awarded a KBE in 1931.

 

anarmyoff.jpgDespite his military background, foreign travels and many commitments, he dreamed to build a library, which would hold almost every book on every subject published. He had taken pains during his lifetime to collect a large and a most impressive collection of books, ordering books from far and wide at personal expense. His library in Hoti, Mardan, built of some of the finest woodwork in the region, would grow to become larger than life. The famed U.S. Foreign Service officer who once served in Pakistan, James W. Spain, had remarked that this was one of the largest libraries in South Asia at the time (Spain, James W., The Way of the Pathans: 1973). It is undoubtedly a national treasure of Pakistan, the value of which must be reaffirmed in our modern, fast-paced world.


What often gets lost in today's world is the rich value of books. They help us with acquiring and appreciating different perspectives and celebrating diversity. They open our minds and help us delve into different times and different ideas in ways that no other medium can quite match. They are our best teachers and friends. And at this time when so many in Pakistan and around the world feel lost in the swirls of the modern world, books can fetch us back our human values and ideals.

 

anarmyoff1.jpgThe Nawab’s collection of books was breathtaking because it spanned over such a diverse range of topics. For instance, on religion alone, the collection ranged from a 1957 Holy Bible to more contemporary works. For example, there was a book on History of the New Testament Times: the Time of Jesus (London: 1878). I found one fascinating old book, Christian Dear, published and printed in London by James Parker and Co., owned by John Slater, and signed by him in 1876, which began with the wisdom of a Biblical verse from Isaiah XXX. 15: “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”. Another book called David of Judah (London: 1937) by Richard Blaker, stated in its subtitle, “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.


I had heard that the Nawab had in his library the hand written Qurans by the emperors of Mughal India with their seal on them. I even learned there were also some precious Arabic and Persian books in the original collection, and even a handwritten manuscript by the great Pashtun scholar, Khushal Khan Khattak. The Nawab’s collection revealed a refreshing reverence for different faiths and the knowledge that they can pass to us regardless of our own belief systems. Just think of the rich quotes from the Bible and other sacred texts above and their deep universality. This is a practice which we could all learn to adopt from Akbar Khan.


One surprise though was the discovery of a book titled Mahomedan Law by Moulvi Mahomed Yusoof Khan Bahadur. Although it was an old book dating back to 1895 the title was an objectionable misnomer for Muslims especially because it was written by a supposed Moulvi, or Islamic religious scholar. Apart from going along with an orientalist image of his own faith, he was androcentric in his laws on women and Islam.


The Nawab’s collection of historical texts spanned the globe and the great expanse of human history. Peoples of All Nations consisted of volumes of fascinating descriptions of people from Palestine to Russia and so forth. There were also several volumes of The Cambridge Modern History (1907) books, from the Story of Spain to the Story of Venice. The Story of Spain, Al Andalus, was particularly thrilling for me, as I had visited Spain on my research project Journey into Europe with my father, Professor Akbar S. Ahmed. Al Andalus gave the world an idea of coexistence called La Convivencia, where people of different faiths and cultures, as one humanity, could live together in mutual respect and focus on creativity, knowledge and art. This was a brilliant culture – a model for today’s world – that one does not need a flight to Spain to learn all about. All one needs is a good book on the history of the era, one which could easily be found in so rich a library.


Continuing the historical tour de force offered by this library, another book, Historians’ History of the World Vol VIII (London: 1907), covered a wide array of topics ranging from “The Scope and Influence of Arabic History” to the Crusades. This was a beautifully bound book, reflecting the practice of a century ago of publishers to take great trouble giving the inner covers of a book a marbled effect, creating a work of visual art to go along with their written word. Another work, titled Racism by the Law, by Magnus Hirschfeld (1938), teaches, “Racial fanaticism” is “a phantom that bodes destruction”. The book continues: “There may be no defence against gas attack but there is a defence against false ideas, which can be dispelled by critical truths”. This book is a “critical counter-blast to the poison of racial fanaticism”. This is just more evidence that the lessons needed for our divided modern world are hiding within the pages of old books that just need some tender care to spring back to life.


For the romantic and thoughtful, there was a book on The Romantic Folk Tales of Pakistan by Behram Tariq and another on the Ninety Short Tales of Love and Women from the Arabic (London: 1928). To give a flavour of this rich collection, here is a small story from Ninety Short Tales, called The Afflicted Palm Tree by Nuzhat-ul-Udaba: “I saw in a certain land two palm trees, and one of them was dead. The other groaned and wept for a long time, so that the caravans that passed drank of its tears and watered their beasts with them, thinking that they came from some hidden spring”. As these tales reveal, we need to take this story of Akbar Khan’s love of books to the younger generations – some of whom may be undoubtedly struggling with facing a consumerist world dominated by materialism and superficiality and some of whom could use some philosophical conversations and fables like the ones posed by ul-Udaba: what is the story about? On what level can it be read and interpreted? As a lover pining for his lost love or simply the ignorance of mankind who blame their life’s good fortunes on the idea of fate.


The measure of a successful society is through its love and respect for books: all societies that have libraries and value books grow strong and prosperous, as Al Andalus did with its multiple magnificent libraries. Furthermore, Muslims, have long valued books, just like their Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic brothers and sisters. Indeed, the Quran, the book of God, is derived from Iqra (read) in which God says, “Today I have perfected your religion for you” because in the Quran, God demonstrates how He values thought, reason and knowledge. God even calls all human beings who have knowledge “Ahl-e-Aql” i.e., “People of Thought”. Muhammad Asad, the famed translator of the Quran, whose grave I visited in Granada, Spain, dedicated his Quranic translation to “People who Think”. As Pakistan is a Muslim majority country, it too must come to once again value books.


Yet sadly, books seem to be losing their value around the globe. Children today spend a large part of their time on their gadgets and access the world through the internet. One wealthy English speaking Pakistani woman whom I asked what she was reading, answered, “I do not read. Full Stop!” Mr. Barmak Pazhwak, who has spent years promoting peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan and who works at the U.S. Institute of Peace, once told me that during war in Afghanistan his ancestral books at home were used by soldiers to make fire and keep themselves warm in winter. This saddened me. Nawab Akbar Khan’s priceless books too have suffered similar adversity – apparently they have become food for termites, they have been stolen and sold in the Islamabad market for minimal sums, and some have simply been discarded. While some remain in private homes of his descendants, they are very little read by those who give full focus to material consumerist goods – such as designer shoes and bags.


Akbar Khan had written a number of booklets and also interestingly drawn up his genealogy from the time of Adam, literally naming every ancestor in line. One of his little booklets is his Presidential Address in Simla 1933 on the 15th of September in which he writes: “No one in Athens should prefer wealth to virtues but should always prefer virtues to wealth” (page 4), but he also adds, “the path of righteousness and truth is full of dangers, and is extremely difficult to traverse” (page 11). In this speech he addresses a Shi’a audience and quotes Jesus. In his words, he seemed to reflect great tolerance and acceptance of the ‘Other’. He writes, “According to Islam, Muslims should not interfere with any place where people worship their God, be it a church, temple, fire-temple or any other place of worship”. He also seemed to be compassionate about women and the elderly saying, “No Muslim army has the right to molest females, the aged, children, the priests or to destroy their crops, gardens or buildings of any kind”.


In line with Sufi tradition, he even quotes the interfaith Muslim saint, Mian Mir, who laid the foundation stone of the Sikh temple in Amritsar. Indeed Mian Mir, whose grave I have visited in Lahore, was the teacher of Prince Dara Shikoh – the eldest and favourite son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh himself wrote on inter-cultural understanding, such as his book Majma Al Bahrain. Despite being brought up as the next Mughal Emperor, Dara Shikoh kept his humble attitude in all his spiritual and profound writings. Because Nawab Akbar Hoti was treading the path of tolerance, I was highly impressed by him. In this booklet he openly celebrates and yearns for “religious tolerance” (page 16) and he says “may it be that the same tolerance and unity [that once existed] again be witnessed amongst” the people of what is now the South Asian region. Olaf Caroe writes that Akbar Khan Hoti was “a man of great learning in history and philosophy, Islamic and other, he was the possessor of what was probably the finest private library north of Delhi… and he often did unlooked-for kindnesses to the poor and needy, concealing his generosity from the public gaze” (Olaf Caroe, The Pathans, pg 425-427).


Apart from his generosity and charitable spirit, the most valuable, special legacy of Akbar Khan Hoti, known for his great writings on accepting the other, is his effort in acquiring knowledge (ilm) and his love of books. This collection of books covering a diverse array of topics shows his sense of acceptance and of his appreciation of diversity. What made Akbar Khan Hoti a great leader and a great human being was not the shoes he wore or the bag he carried, but his work quenching the human thirst for knowledge. If coupled with humility, this message will resonate not just for his descendants but also for younger Pakistanis and for all global citizens. As our forbearers did, we all must rediscover books and begin to value them for the wonderful treasures and companions they are.

 

The author is a PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Presently she is Director at Centre for Dialogue and Action, FCCU, Lahore.
 
09
February

Written By: Javed Hafiz

Having returned from my posting in Saudi Arabia in 1992, I volunteered to be sent to the National Defence College (now known as National Defence University) and my request was granted. Back then, Foreign Service officers were exempted from domestic training courses because of their peculiar service conditions. These officers are posted around the globe and it is, at times, difficult to pull them out for a few months. National Defence University (NDU) was not very popular in the Foreign Ministry either as officers did not want to stay out of the mainstream for good ten months. I, however, looked at this differently. Having performed similar duties for over twenty years, I was yearning for change. And NDU, with its different environment, offered variety and intellectual stimulation. There one had to come up with practical solutions to complex national issues on a regular basis.

 

nationalndu.jpgNDU was in Ayub Hall, Rawalpindi then and we used to call it University of Lalkurti jokingly. Those living in Islamabad would take a coaster from the Naval Headquarters in the morning and return in the afternoon. Those coaster-rides are still etched in my memory because of a regular flow of jokes and laughter. That was our last chance to act like college boys while all of us were in our late forties! And we made ample use of that chance. Another good thing about this course was that assessment was on the basis of classroom discussions and the quality of questions asked by the participants. There was no written test to grade the participants.


A written road map of all course activities was handed over to the participants in the beginning which, I thought, was pretty impressive. All the lectures to follow and their dates were given. To the best of my knowledge, no other educational institution in Pakistan is so well organized as to publish its full yearly schedule in advance. What was even more impressive was the fact that the schedule was actually followed. Dress code, discipline and punctuality were underlined by a senior Directing Staff (DS) on the very first day. We, the civilians, thought of landing in a straight jacketed environment for a long period of ten months. However, by the time we completed the course, it looked like a happy episode that ended too soon and a great learning experience.


Initial activities included a getting-to-know-each-other dinner and a joint lecture by our Commandant Lt Gen R. D. Bhatti. I still remember the lecture revolved around various geo-political theories. Mackinder and his theories were repeatedly mentioned. One learnt that according to him domination of the Heartland was a pre-requisite to dominate the world. Interesting, concepts like Inner and Outer Crescents were discussed. Realizing that the lecture could be somewhat boring for the civilians, the Commandant had laced it with jokes, mostly about golf. While Mackinder still remains a big name in geo-political thought, some of his ideas have become diluted because of wide application of technology in the area of defence. In the age of cruise missiles, the Heartland is no more impregnable.

 

nationalndu1.jpgThe National Defence Course had an interesting mix of officers from diverse backgrounds. There were twelve army officers of Brigadier rank, two Air Commodores of PAF, two Commodores of Pakistan Navy, eight civilians of grade twenty and nine allied officers from various countries. The countries represented included the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Australia. Iran sent two officers, one from the Air Force and the other from the Passdaran. This reflected the importance that Iran attached to its neighbour and our training courses. The civilian officers also had various backgrounds like Finance, Foreign Affairs and District Administration, etc. This variety of backgrounds made our classroom discussions quite interesting and fruitful.


In the very first week, a syndicate of four officers was formed and assigned the task of defining national goals and objectives. I was part of this syndicate and we worked hard before presenting our ideas to the course participants. Our presentation, over the next three days, was rather impressive but the end result was not quite delightful. We had not been able to conclude our discussion in time. We were also told that some syndicate members were too individualistic and that the much needed team spirit was missing. Our syndicate received good grilling from the DS. Time management and team work are essential principles of any successful organization.


Tea Break was a good time to meet some of the War Course participants. This lot had a number of outstanding colonels. One of those colonels later became the Army Chief. In the military institutions work and sports go hand in hand. Sports also create an urge to excel, enhance physical fitness and provide an environment of bonhomie which is the hallmark of good soldiering. Two wings of our college played a cricket match and the agile colonels were too good for the aging brigadiers! In the round of golf, Brigadier Ghafoor Raja, a keen golfer, brought some respect to our performance.


Domestic tours took us to the four provincial capitals, Skardu, Muzzafarabad and Gwadar. We got a chance to meet all Governors and Chief Ministers. Our very first internal tour was to Skardu where we travelled in a C-130. We stayed at the picturesque Shangrilla and to our good luck, got stuck there due to inclement weather. We utilized this time trekking in the nearby hills and watching some picturesque lakes. Trip to the Northern Areas was followed by journey by bus to Muzzafarabad. Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, the President of AJK received us in his office and spoke about the Kashmir issue in great detail in English, because of the Allied Officers. For his modest formal education, late Sardar Sahib was very articulate and quite convincing in a foreign language. He was a great freedom fighter, an outstanding leader and a good spokesman of the Kashmir cause.

 

nationalndu2.jpgIn Quetta, the Governor spoke in Urdu and I was asked to interpret in English. He was rather candid and, among other things, said that some ministers in his province had accumulated lots of wealth after assumption of office. I translated his talk without mincing a word and that was appreciated. In Karachi, we were taken aboard a naval ship by helicopters. A military plane took us to Gwadar for a day long trip. Local administration gave us detailed briefing about development plans. Gwadar Port was on the anvil but work had not yet started, in right earnest. In Peshawar, trip to Torkham border and visit of the fabled Khyber Rifles Mess were memorable events. Lunch at the mess was followed by a lively display of famous Khattak Dance. During our trip to Lahore, the Chief Secretary organized a memorable evening of music and songs at Alhamra Arts Council.


Apart from affording an opportunity to see our own country, this course also enabled us to listen to and meet some outstanding persons. The speakers were told in advance that they would be free to speak out their minds without any fear. Some speakers, I vividly remember, were quite candid in expressing their views. Mr. Altaf Gohar, I still remember, said that defining the national interest should not be the sole prerogative of military establishment. Mr. Javed Jabbar impressed us so much as a speaker that the course participants recommended he be invited once again. He was probably the only speaker to get the distinction of delivering talks twice to the same participants. Dr. Maleeha Lodhi was very candid and convincing in her views about Pak-U.S. relations.


Research paper was an essential part of the course and each participant was assigned one topic. I was told to analyse the evolving situation in Indian Punjab and predict the way it was heading. Popular opinion in Pakistan back then was that the independence movement in Indian Punjab had wide popular support and would gain momentum with the passage of time. My research clearly indicated that Khalistan movement would whittle down, sooner than later. In fact, while I was writing my paper in 1992, this movement already appeared somewhat weak and confused. I discussed the matter with Rear Admiral Wasi Haider, our Chief Instructor. He told me to remain very objective and shun all wishful thinking. His guidance enabled me to reach the right conclusions.


Foreign Study Tour was one of the last activities of this course. I went to Turkey, Hungary and UK. Turkey has historically been very friendly to Pakistan and that feeling has been strengthened with the passage of time. In Turkey, every Pakistani is called Kardesh, or brother. We stayed in lavish military messes, called Urdu Evi, in Istanbul and Ankara. The Hungarian Ambassador in Islamabad had called our group for dinner before our departure. Hungary and its capital Budapest were equally beautiful. I still remember the graceful and elaborate parliament building in Budapest. In London, our visit to the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) and our discussions there were very useful. We were given a detailed briefing at the British Foreign Office as well.


Each NDU is supposed to come up with one or two solid and doable proposals to enhance national security. One proposal discussed by our course was introduction of compulsory military training for Pakistani youth, in order to reduce defence expenditure. This proposal was opposed by some participants saying that in a country of feudal environment, low literacy rate, ethnic and sectarian fault lines, such a proposal could be counterproductive. This view was quite persuasive and the proposal was dropped. Horrendous destruction witnessed by Syria in recent years proves validity of this view. Syrian youth has received obligatory military training for decades.


When General Asif Nawaz died suddenly, we all went for the funeral prayers. I myself saw numerous jawans crying during the prayers. This strong bond between the commander and his men is an essential ingredient of military life. As our Commandant was senior to the next Chief, in the hallowed military tradition, he opted for retirement. He was replaced by Lt Gen Assad Durrani who took great interest in our deliberations. He would come to our class room regularly and listen attentively to various ideas. The General had to leave the college when yet another political turmoil ensued in 1993. He later became Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia. He is still an active speaker and writer and our bond of friendship and mutual respect continues to this day.


Each NDU course participant presents a National Strategy Paper at the end of the course. This task used to be assigned to four participants jointly. However, because of the peculiar political environment in 1993, our Commandant, General Iftikhar Ali Khan decided that one course participant should present a paper on behalf of all. This task was given to Mirza Hamid Hasan, who later became a Federal Secretary. The main argument in his paper was that growing national debt was as potent a threat to national security as possibility of external aggression. It is a pity that successive governments, particularly since 2008, have opted to ignore this stark reality.


As the course ended, our military colleagues started keenly awaiting their next assignments and possible promotions. Two Brigadiers, one Air Commodore and one Commodore were promoted to become two star generals. Four out of eight civilian participants were promoted in later years to the highest grade. Two of us became Additional Secretaries. Throughout the course, our military colleagues were very keen to perform well. This was understandable as it was their last chance for promotion. The civilians, on the other hand, were quite relaxed. My own conclusion was that a relaxed (but not too casual) attitude actually enhances course performance. Regular reading of relevant material is very useful but book worms do not necessarily excel. Good briefing skills and low golf handicap are as important as precision at the firing range.


To my understanding, this course enhances civil-military understanding as both sides benefit from each other. The participation of Allied Officers brings an international ambiance and a realization that in our globalized world no nation can remain exclusive.

 

The writer is a former ambassador of Pakistan.

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09
February

Written By: Dr. Armeela Javaid

Winter brings delicious food and irresistible dry fruits in front of our fire places. We enjoy the juicy citrus fruits, gajar ka halwa and Kashmiri pink tea with the festivities of New Year celebrations. It also brings cold, wind, rain, sleet, ice and sometimes snow. To cope with the cold, people have to turn on the heating in their houses. The combination of the cold and the damp outside, together with the heat and the dryness inside can cause skin issues for some individuals. These may range from minor skin dryness to severe dryness in which the skin cracks and bleeds. Sufferers of such seasonal skin ailments can take some steps to minimize their discomfort and in some cases eliminate the issue completely. With the right solutions and treatment, we will be better able to enjoy the season.
 
skinissueone.jpg

01 Dry Skin

The cold weather outdoors and the dry heat indoors can sap moisture from skin. Skin that was smooth and hydrated during the summer months can suddenly become dry and flaky. Some indications that the skin is too dry include tightness, flaking, roughening, and cracking. Usually, the regular application of moisturizers can help with this kind of problem.

 

Choose the Right Moisturizer

The best moisturizers typically include a number of key components and a few of these vital ingredients are described below.

 

Humectants

within a moisturizer that draw moisture out of both the air and the environment surrounding the user. They then attract that beneficial moisture to the skin where it can be used. Some examples of humectants include hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Too much oil can cause skin

 

Oils

to beak out. However, the right natural oils in the right amount actually create a barrier that seals moisture inside the skin. Some effective natural oils include argan oil, avocado, hazelnut, and rosehip oil. Moisturizers that include the right ingredients are more likely to provide sufficient moisture for skin. Users must check the ingredient lists on any creams, moisturizers or lotions before purchasing them.

 

Cut Back on Exfoliants

moisturizer, a light cream cleanser can do wonders for skin during winter. This type of cleanser may have the word "hydrating" or "hydration" on the bottle. People who suffer from mildly dry skin will likely want to cut back on any exfoliating products or harsh scrubs. The ingredients in exfoliants sometimes include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and retinol all of which can be effective in removing dead skin but can also exacerbate dryness during the winter.

 

02 SCALY SKIN

skinissutwo.jpgSometimes, people experience extreme dry skin during the winter. This dryness can result in scaly rough patches that are both uncomfortable and unsightly. An effective hydrating cleanser and moisturizer may not be sufficient to get rid of such patches. In these cases, an exfoliant may be necessary to get rid of the scaly patches before the skin can be properly treated and hydrated. Microbead scrubs that gently exfoliate rough patches typically work well. Users may also want to invest in an electronic scrubbing brush. Brushes like these facilitate the exfoliating process. In addition, some moisturizers may include glycolic or lactic acid both of which can function as chemical exfoliants. However, chemical exfoliants can be harsh on some skin types.

 

03 CRACKED LIPS

skinissuthree.jpgDuring the fall and winter the lips are exposed to harsh wind, sleet, rain, and snow. Sometimes users pull a scarf over their faces for protection but the cloth or yarn from scarves can dry out the lips as well. Sometimes the dry skin condition affects the lips as Eczema does. When lips become chapped and cracked they may peel or look crusty. Chapped lips are both irritating and unappealing but they can be treated easily. First, users should buff them with tooth brush to remove the flakes of dead, dry skin. Next, users will need to apply a layer of lip balm over both the bottom lip and the upper lip. Ideally, the lip balm used should include natural oils from plants, natural waxes such as beeswax, and shea butter.

 

04 ITCHY, IRRITATED SKIN

In some cases, dry skin may become so parched that it cracks open causing redness, itching and possibly even bleeding. This is especially common for the skin on hands and fingers, especially if an individual uses a lot of soaps and hot water throughout the day. To relieve the inflammation and itching, sufferers should slather the skin cracks with a substance like aqueous cream or pure petroleum jelly. Directly after applying it, users should cover their hands or feet with gloves or socks to seal in the moisture. They will also need cortisone cream to alleviate itching and to prevent infection.

 

05 OILY SKIN

Some men and women may sense the onset of dry skin and apply moisturizers and lotion to prevent it from becoming worse. Occasionally, they may overcompensate by applying too much moisturizer. If users begin to notice that their skin looks shiny or oily long after they have applied moisturizer, they may be using a stronger moisturizer than needed or they may be applying it too often. Breakouts and facial or body acne can be another indication of over-moisturizing. In such cases, users should cut back on the amount or the frequency with which they apply the moisturizer, cream or lotion. They may also want to try a different brand of moisturizer, one that is lighter and contains natural oils.

 

06 CHAPPED SKIN

If people engage in winter sports or spend a good deal of time outdoors with friends and family, the combination of wind, cold and moisture can chap the skin. Many people think of the face as the exposed area subject to chapping, but the wrists and the hands can also fall prey to this problem. To alleviate this condition users should gently wash the affected area, pat it dry with a soft towel and then apply a generous amount of an oil-based moisturizer. This treatment should soothe the irritation and return some much-needed moisture to the skin.

 

OTHER SOLUTIONS

Drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive hot air can be crucial to preventing skin dryness. If the heat needs to be on due to cold weather, users may want to consider purchasing a humidifier or two for their home. They should also avoid taking very hot baths and showers since the heat can further dry out the skin. Taking certain vitamins and natural oils such as vitamin E, evening primrose oil and omega 3 fish oil can also help the body retain its moisture.

Winter should never be anything less than a delightful time of the year in which families and friends can enjoy spending quality time together, sharing traditions and participating in favourite activities. However, for those who suffer from winter skin problems, the fun can be lessened by discomfort. If users are diligent about applying proper skin creams and if they take steps to make environment comfortable for their skin they will experience rapid results. With clear, hydrated skin, both men and women alike will be better able to enjoy the food, the friends, and the fun that comes along with the winter holidays.

 
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Our bodies are around 60% water, give or take. It is commonly recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule). Although there is little science behind this specific rule, staying hydrated is important.

1. It helps you exercise better
2. It boosts your metabolism
3. It gives you younger skin
4. It cures headaches
5. It boosts productivity
6. It's good for your immunity
7. It improves digestion
8. It'll increase your energy
9. It puts you in a better mood
10. It reduce the risk of cancer
11. You are less likely to get cramps and sprains
12. It regulates body temperature

(“12 Reasons to Drink More Water “ , Cosmopolitan Magazine, http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/body/health/a24610/12-reasons-to-drink-more-water-2887/)
 
09
February
Commander 5 Corps Witnesses Field Training Exercise

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09
February
Winter Collective Training in Bahawalpur

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09
February
Passing Out Parade of Aero Apprentices
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The passing out parade of Aero Apprentices was held at PAF Base, Korangi Creek, Karachi on January 20, 2017. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the occasion.


While addressing the Aero Apprentices, the Air Chief said,“PAF is passing through a revamping stage because the technology of air warfare is changing rapidly. We have no choice but to match the speed of change and make PAF a potent force – second to none. To meet these challenges, we are inducting sate-of-the-art weapons and must train hard to acquaint ourselves with these modern systems.” The chief guest further said, “I would urge you to fully devote your time and energy to your profession and work with resolute commitment to attain mastery in your respective trades. Remember! There is no room for complacency or short-cut in a challenging profession like yours.”


A total of 823 Aero Apprentices including personnel from Jordan and Pakistan Navy successfully completed their technical training. The Air Chief awarded trophies to the distinction holders.
The ceremony was witnessed by high-ranking military and civil officials, foreign dignitaries and families of the graduating Aero Apprentices.

09
February
Commander 11 Corps Visits North Waziristan Agency

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09
February
Chief of Naval Staff Calls on Dignitaries During Visit to Bahrain

newscnsvisitbehrin.jpgChief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah called on Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain National Guard, Chief of Staff Bahrain Defence Forces, Commander Bahrain Coast Guard and Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) during an official visit to Bahrain.


Meetings were held with dignitaries where matters of mutual interest, including defence and security collaboration were discussed. The Naval Chief highlighted Pakistan’s commitment and performance in the fight against terrorism in general and Pakistan Navy’s efforts for maintaining regional peace and security in particular. The dignitaries acknowledged warm and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Bahrain, based on strong foundations and historical ties. They lauded Pakistan Navy's efforts and focused commitments in support of collaborative maritime security in the region and extending cooperation in diverse fields to Royal Bahrain Naval Force.


Earlier, the Admiral had also called on Commander U.S. NAVCENT, Vice Admiral Kevin M. Donegan.
Upon his arrival at U.S. NAVCENT Headquarters, the Naval Chief was warmly received by Vice Admiral Kevin M. Donegan. During the meeting, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah dilated upon matters of mutual interest including bilateral naval collaboration and security environment in Indian Ocean Region. Commander U.S. NAVCENT highly appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Navy personnel and the active role being played by Pakistan Navy for maritime security and stability in the region. He said, "The near permanent presence of Pakistan Navy units in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) has greatly helped in shaping a secure environment for freedom of navigation in the region".

09
February
Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Babur-III

On Jaunary 9, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful test fire of Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 having a range of 450 kilometers, from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. The missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy. Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December, last year.

newsbaber3.jpgBabur-3 SLCM incorporates state-of-the-art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems. The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to certain stealth technologies important for an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.


Babur-3 SLCM in-land attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence. While the pursuit and now the successful attainment of second strike capability by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone, it is a manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.


The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, DG Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Lieutenant General Mazhar Jamil, Commander Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC), senior officials, scientists and engineers from scientific strategic organizations. The CJCSC and three services’ chiefs congratulated all the officials involved, on achieving this highly significant milestone. He also highlighted that the successful test fire of SLCM demonstrates confidence on our scientists and engineers in fostering the technological prowess through indigenization and self-reliance. Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing policy of credible minimum deterrence.

09
February

Written By: Brig Syed Wajid Raza (R)

As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms to maintain his feats of strength. He was simple, humble, firm and focused.

The euphoria, applause and excitement of the recently released film of Indian romantic sports drama Sultan is not yet over. Sultan Ali Khan is a fictional, middle-aged, ex-wrestling champion from Haryana whose successful career creates a rift in his personal life. The film grossed approximately 6 billion worldwide to become the 5th highest grossing Indian film of all time and was featured in the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India.


The film mirrored the taste of Pakistani audience in genre epic drama, whose filmic elements included sound design, reception, acting and cinematography. This elevated the celluloid experience in cinemas to grip their armrests, sway with the turns of the hero’s wrestling trick when he swoops in, dodging the opponent, maneuvering just on the edge of defeat, the music coming up and the fall of the opponent.

 

theledgence.jpgThe Bollywood film was nothing but a copy of The Wrestler, produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures in 2008; based on American sports drama depicting an aging professional wrestler who, despite his failing health and waning fame, continues to wrestle in an attempt to cling to the success of his 1980s heyday.
Standing by the grave of Captain (Hon) Faiz Muhammad, a legend, with nothing much to say except “sorry it turned out like it did” and 21 guns for his 32 years of his service in the wind, I decided that I will tell the story of a real celebrity from 5th Battalion of the Azad Kashmir Regiment, who became an Olympian in serendipity. The discovery of the legend was by accident. The 77 year old Faiz took his last breath on the morning of October 29, 2014, leaving behind a legend waiting posthumous gratitude from its own people who he had once made proud.


President’s Pride of Performance Olympian Captain Faiz won three successive gold medals (1962, 1966 and 1970) in the British Empire Commonwealth Games. He was an Asian gold medalist and winner of national wrestling championships in different weight categories from 1957 to 1984. He represented Pakistan’s wrestling team in three Olympics (1956, 1960 and 1964), coached Pakistan’s wrestling team for a long time, became referee of the International Wrestling Federation and flag bearer in SAF games.
As a young adjutant in 1987, I reminisce of the 50 year old Pehlwan Sahib, as he would be known in the unit, entering the office to discuss the unit’s wrestling team, carrying an iron bar weighing around seven kilograms to maintain his feats of strength. He was simple, humble, firm and focused. Every year he would visit the unit even after his retirement and irrespective of his national and international commitments to train the unit wrestlers.


After sorting out administrative details, I asked him about his journey to national and international fame. Engrossed in his thoughts he said, “sahib every soul has luck hanged on its forehead, which is an oily hair strung around and upon catching it slips away. It was the fortunate happenstance that I managed to catch and hold it. He stared at me with his deep, drooping hazel eyes wrinkled in his skin and began narrating the happenstance which is nothing but a story of passion.


In another casual conversation, I asked him as to why he came every year in the unit to train wrestlers, he said, “sahib my mission is not merely to survive as a retired wrestler, but to thrive to do so with some passion, some compassion and search for passion that was born in my unit.”


As a young soldier in the deployed unit, he was sent to the company’s cookhouse and nobody asked him what he could do for his nation, rather admonished him for the bad lunch he had prepared. He was sent to the unit’s wrestling team practicing downhill with the instructions to ‘rub him well’. That was the beginning of his fortunate happenstance.


The hour long thrashing, bruises and insults did not discourage him, instead it sparked within him new hopes. His courage was not without fear; rather it was about catching the strung oily hair on his forehead, which he predicted more than his trepidation. Few weeks later he availed two month long privileged leave in Gujranwala; where his Kashmiri family had settled after migration from held-Kashmir.


He had heard stories of the wrestler Ghulam Muhammad, better known as The Great Gama, the greatest wrestler to have ever walked the surface of the earth. He idealized him. Faiz believed in the fact that heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with. Everyday much before dawn he went to the fields to replace plough bullocks with his shoulders and began cutting the hard clay with the sharpened blade of the plough.


He inquired about the training methods and feats of strength of the Great Gama and like Great Gama, Faiz included two gallons of milk per day mixed with a pound of crushed almond paste and fruit juice to his diet. He trained everyday, performing 3000 squats and 3000 pushups. He also included Santola and Zor on daily basis and performed squats while wearing apparatus of 100 pounds, besides conventional wrestling workouts he also used chakki, lizam and mugdar twice a week. He engaged a team of wrestlers from the nearby akhara to rub him with dry mustard after every workout session.


It was the era of pehalwani, the akhara was ruled by Bholu Pehalwan, Aslam Pehalwan, Azam Pehalwan, Akram Pehalwan and Goga Pehalwan, but he went to a small akhara. He began focusing on Pehalwani of the subcontinent style and combined former malla-yuddha with Persian kushti.


This was difficult as it required learning tricks of gaining and losing weight and above all the art of being fantastically ambitious in the pursuit of his passion. In the end he said, “Sahib no hero is braver than anyone else, he is just braver five minutes longer”.


Back in the unit he was detailed on sentry duties, but instead of only standing guard, he started performing squats and pushups. This did not remain unnoticed and soon he was summoned before the duty NCO. This practice continued whenever he would stand on duty and finally the matter was brought before the Commanding Officer who inducted him in the unit’s kushti team. The notion of fortunate happenstance had completed and the oily hair began swinging on his forehead.


In his 32 year long career, 16 years less than the career of Great Gama, he won more than hundred national and international medals, remained national wrestling champion for 27 years (1957-1987), became the winner of British Empire Commonwealth Games, Asian gold medalist, Olympian and achieved the Pride of Performance.


Standing on his grave I reeled the romanticism of tragedy that existed in his life, because his life was full of rage; perhaps he had challenged the life full of rage. I said goodbye to his fated journey hand in hand with Great Gama whom he had never met but who had given him the passion that surged the immensity in his life. The laughter we all could see, but his tears were unseen. I wonder why great heroes need great sorrows and half of their greatness goes unnoticed. Perhaps, it is all part of the fairy tale called life.

 

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09
February

Written By: Maj Sardar Atif Habib

I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family.

Who am I?
I’m being questioned by this loneliness since long; loneliness at midnight on an isolated post, nothing breaking the silence but the intermittent screams of jackals. The only entertainment with me are a few pleasant memories, glimpses of which take me back to a small village where I see my two-year-old daughter who has been searching for her “baba” for the last eighty five days. I bear this alone and keep fighting; to keep this mind alive and this heart beating. A mysterious sensation doesn’t let this courage shatter. I still live for an unknown hope. I stand up, muster all my courage and look into the sun and talk to the sky. Tell them all not to underestimate my will. I’m the custodian of this territory, in its defence lies the survival of us all. I am the son of soil, I am a soldier!


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I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem.

I have multiple advents! I’m a guardian, saviour, defender, fighter, struggler and a warrior. My entire journey is exploring, defending, serving and fighting for the national cause. I remain steadfast to protect my nation against any adversity, from natural calamities to full-fledged all-out war. Whether I guard the snow covered mountains or fight the felonious conflicts, patrol the nook and crannies of my borders or rescue people from natural disasters, serve the plains or dominate mountains – from the Himalayas to the deserts far in Africa; I fight for the sovereignty of my country. Serving this country is a part of my faith. Although I do not have any apparent wealth, I am contended with whatever I have. His secret auspiciousness augments my few coins to meet all my needs as He fulfils my wishes before I even know, I’m always compensated by the Omnipotent in tragic times, He stands with me when I fight in the cause of His will. He never leaves his soldiers alone. No one can feel the essence of this strange romanticism except my comrades – my symbiotic “buddies”, who will never leave my body behind.

 

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Lt Usama Nazir

Snow Abode

Dark skies, deeper nights
High posts, sleepless nights
Lantern light under K2’s shadow
The smell of oil in snow melted water
Want to call home but the country calls
To thwart the enemy in the frozen gorge
Five beams on the roof, that’s where counting stops
Loneliness, me and my soldiers on the mountain top
These Men of Steel, iron-willed,
Stand firm under the enemy’s cannonade
In this isolation, the Self is my companion
I will return but for now this is my abode,
Tall peaks, snow, my comrades and I
Under the fluttering flag and the open sky!

I’m an ordinary human being with extraordinary passions and emotions instilled in me by a higher being. All I have learnt is to sacrifice; sacrifice my desires for my country. I prefer my nation over my family. Sacrifice my family life for the time I spend in hard areas. I dedicate my fascinating teenage to war zone rotations, one after another. I willingly opt for the life threatening operations to save my streets from bloodshed, often missing family gatherings, weddings, birthdays and funerals. My better-half equally suffers from fears and uncertainties of the life ahead. All that keeps me going is the support of my countrymen because it sheds all my sadness away when I feel my nation is standing beside me.


I’m driven by the smiles of my people. These stir life in me when I see a sister raising her hand, making a victory sign to me when she passes by my check post. It elates me when a schoolboy offers chocolate to a sentry standing with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). I get encouraged when I see a boy saluting me innocently with his left hand and humming broken lines of the national anthem. It rejuvenates my blood when I witness tribal hospitality with locals throwing flowers on a passing convoy. There is no match to such late night energizers when an RJ dedicates a favourite song to a soldier guarding the highest mountain peak. It sheds my sadness away when I receive a letter full of love and praise from my near and dear ones.


Without a doubt, such expressions of my people strengthen me to fight until this menace ends; fight for those who have faith in us; fight till I sacrifice my blood and bring back peace to my homeland for those who are peace lovers. To fight as a “soldier” is to fight with pride. And I am proud to be a soldier!

 
09
February

Written By: Usman Ansari

A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan to efficiently and cost effectively safeguard CPEC and its EEZ as well as Extended Continental Shelf from aggression.

For Pakistan a powerful navy is an essential guarantor of its seaward defence and prosperity. Its economy relies overwhelmingly on the sea as some 90 percent by volume and 70 percent by value of its trade is seaborne. This will only increase in importance when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) becomes fully operational. However, though balanced and capable, the navy is presently understrength, and cannot meet this requirement without expansion and considerable modernization. This may appear daunting as out of the three services the navy is the most expensive in terms of unit/running costs of its platforms, and expansion/modernization will require tens of billions of dollars. Achieving this critical requirement need not be a quandary though. A base-line multi-role platform (reconfigurable from Offshore Patrol Vessel to fully armed warship) to be operated by Pakistan Navy and Maritime Security Agency (MSA), to replace a range of vessels operating in territorial waters and Extended Economic Zone (EEZ), will deliver long term lower operational costs and guarantee a credible conventional deterrent against aggression.

reconfigwarship.jpgThe workhorses of the Pakistani fleet are the destroyers and frigates that operate on the outer periphery of the EEZ and beyond. However, Pakistan Navy and MSA also operate a larger number of smaller vessels that can be replaced with a single multi-role design to lower long-term operational costs and increase Pakistan’s defencive capabilities. When the need arose to maintain operational requirements within restricted budgets, some countries examined more affordable multi-role platforms (generally corvettes/OPVs or light frigates) to sustain numbers/presence in less threatening environments. Unfortunately, a true multi-role capability is expensive, leading to acquisition of lightly armed patrol vessels for fisheries’ protection, search and rescue, pollution control, EEZ policing, and other coastguard type duties. However, though more affordable to acquire/operate they have limited war fighting capability. Consequently, when purchased instead in place of fully capable warships, the navy will probably not be able to fulfil its main role of national defence due to being inadequately equipped. Under these circumstances a resource constrained nation essentially cannot 'afford' a ship that cannot fight, as necessity dictates every ship be able to defend itself and actively participate in wartime operations. This is especially true for Pakistan Navy, which faces threats having to undertake anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare in a heavy electronic warfare measures and high air/missile threat environment, (and expect saturation missile attacks under these conditions). This, therefore, requires an affordable design that can replace a range of vessels and perform the full spectrum of roles, but still be credibly armed for wartime.


‘Affordable’ can be defined in terms of acquisition or operational costs. Low acquisition costs generally mean higher through-life operational costs. The formula is generally reversed when considering high acquisition costs mainly due to the cost of advanced technologies that help reduce operational/through-life expenditure. An affordable warship today could be powered by an integrated electric or combined diesel propulsion system, be highly automated to reduce manning levels, and be equipped with sophisticated radar and other sensors in an integrated mast for air and surface search, acquisition and fire control. Weaponry would consist of a package to deal with the conceivable spectrum of threats, such a ship would be expected to act alone or in conjunction with other warships. However, the physical footprint of some weaponry and sensors could dictate the feasibility of their inclusion on smaller vessels such as corvettes, requiring dedicated space for mission dependent modules. Consequently such designs may have common baseline weaponry such as a medium calibre gun, remotely operated small calibre guns, a gun and missile CIWS, and possibly ASW rocket launchers. There can be a temptation to only rely on a gun CIWS for air defence, but they are not (and never should be) the first line of defence against air threats, especially not in the environment Pakistan Navy operates. ASW rockets like the RDC-32 can be used against unmanned underwater/swimmer delivery vehicles. Further weaponry, such as varying anti-ship missile loads, ASW torpedoes, and mines, can be installed as and when required. Advanced air/surface search radar, electro-optical sensors, and hull-mounted sonar, would be pre-requisites on a baseline design, with additional modular sensors such as active towed array sonar for example, installed as and when required. However, even with this ability to swap or leave out equipment, including the previous list of characteristics in a ship design will see its cost rapidly escalate, therefore making a low tech single role vessel more attractive despite its inferiority.


However, meeting the expense of a multi-role capability can be mitigated by the modular concept of retaining dedicated space for mission dependent modules, but choosing not to include systems until they become affordable under the 'fitted for but not with' concept. This allows for systems to be installed when they become available, but does not delay service entry of the vessel itself, therefore having a reduced impact on operational availability especially at the lower end of the threat spectrum. Such a design could also have a dedicated reconfigurable stern compartment able to accept mission dependent equipment. For example, in the OPV role for the MSA this may include an 11m RHIB; for MCMV missions it could include a dedicated counter mine module to locate, classify, and destroy mines; or an active towed array sonar package for ASW operations. This space could also accommodate anti-ship/land attack missiles if they could be raised and fired through the flightdeck. Additionally space could also be used for containerized mission payloads. Such flexibility would allow one baseline design, configurable per mission requirements, to replace a range of vessels usually tasked with patrol and defence of territorial, EEZ and adjoining waters.


Additionally, propulsion options can further reduce costs. Gas turbines have high fuel consumption and are thus expensive to run, contributing to high operational costs. However, integrated electric propulsion has the benefit of reducing operational costs due to the lower levels of maintenance required. It also frees up internal space for other use due to the ability to place the diesel or other engines/generators in alternative areas, and the electric motors thereby reducing the length of the drive shafts. Acquisition costs are high however, but propulsion costs can also be reduced if alternative fuels are considered. Research is ongoing into various possibilities including organic biofuels such as biodiesel or that derived from plants such as camelina, organic derived additives such as ethanol, or even breaking down sea water. Pakistan’s sugarcane industry can produce ethanol in quantity, and this plus other biofuel alternatives such as biodiesel must be explored. At the very least, diesels are an affordable, economical, and reliable propulsion option that considerably reduce operational costs.


Including or excluding helicopters (the most powerful and flexible weapons on any warship), can also reduce costs as they entail added expense of acquisition, maintenance, and operations through fuel and expandables, plus crew training. However, a modular design, allowing vessels to be built with or without a hangar will allow operations requiring longer range/endurance to be handled by vessels equipped with a hangar to embark a helicopter. Missions closer to shore could be handled by those only built with a flight deck to allow resupply, plus refuelling and rearming shore-based ASW helicopters. Alternatively, operating rotary UAVs could keep overall costs down, but still maintain a larger operational footprint.


Warship designers presently offer platforms configurable to customer requirements. However, these are commonly built to certain specifications, and generally not reconfigurable once in service. The Danish STANFLEX system achieves this to a large extent as it allows mission specific modules and equipment to be included as and when required. Newer (some as yet un-built) warship designs have incorporated such concepts to achieve multirole flexibility. Of note in this regard is the U.S. experience of the Littoral Combat Ship Programme and its efforts to achieve this level of reconfigurable flexibility. Despite the programme’s teething troubles the concept is still the way forward. Unfortunately, most western designs are generally quite large, and have excessively high acquisition and operational costs, especially for Pakistan which needs such vessels in volume. However, such a concept is still a realistic option for Pakistan, one that features the above characteristics that will enable it to be fully multi-role, able to undertake the full spectrum of peacetime patrol to ‘hot’ conflict operations. This may require a tailor made solution with maximum public/private industrial involvement, but lacking the necessary domestic design experience Pakistan’s naval planners will have to seek foreign co-operation, which, due to financial and geopolitical reality narrows the field down to China and Turkey. China is an increasingly capable warship designer and its Type-056 corvette/OPV could form the basis for such a design. As a source of affordable technology co-operation with China would make such a programme feasible.


Whereas navies can be convinced of the need to spend money to save it (and lives) though, high acquisition costs may potentially deter decision-makers, (who generally think short term). However, the prospect of affordably delivering a credible defence capability at lower operational cost, (plus a steady work for KSEW that ultimately benefits local industry and the national exchequer), is a powerful counter argument. A reconfigurable family of corvettes that can replace a range of less capable vessels and provide a more credible and robust defence during wartime will certainly allow Pakistan to efficiently and cost effectively safeguard CPEC and its EEZ as well as Extended Continental Shelf from aggression.

 

The writer is currently Chief Analyst for the British-based naval news monthly, Warships international Fleet Review. He is also Pakistan’s correspondent for the U.S.-based Defence News and has contributed in various international defence publications.
 
08
February

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

India and Pakistan have been seeking the membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group comprising 48 states that seeks to regulate nuclear trade with the view to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology. Both India and Pakistan formally applied for the membership in 2016 which was denied. There were two meetings in 2016, one in June and one in November where the question of membership of non-Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states was debated. There has been intense lobbying from both countries to sway the votes in their favour. The NSG has mainly been divided among those who want to admit India immediately, creating an exception for it, and those who oppose membership on exceptional basis and instead argue for criteria-based approach to NSG membership.


The existing criteria for NSG membership requires states to be either a party to the NPT, or a member of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (NWFZ), have comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and have good non-proliferation standing as well as have the capacity to export nuclear items. One criterion on which both India and Pakistan clearly fail is that they are not party to the NPT.

 

Given the grossly discriminatory nature of the proposal many countries like China, Turkey, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Belarus, Italy, Switzerland among others have raised objections to the proposed criteria developed by Grossi. The objections have ranged from procedural aspects such as lack of transparency and selective engagement but also over the clear absence of impartiality and objectivity of the proposal. Russia has also called for greater transparency and the need for due process of consultations.

The U.S. has led the campaign to welcome India to the club on exceptional basis. The U.S. also won an India-specific waiver from the NSG in 2008 for export of nuclear technologies for its nuclear energy programme. This was followed by civil nuclear deals with the U.S., France, the UK and most recently with Japan. In effect, the 2008 waiver was partly motivated by commercial gains. It had politico-strategic significance as well. It was part of U.S. grand design of building India up as a regional power and a strategic counterweight to China. India is central to the U.S. Pivot to Asia policy, forcefully promoting India’s case for NSG is, thus, part of the U.S. larger geostrategic design.


The U.S. gained the waiver for India on non-proliferation arguments that the regime would be strengthened with India’s membership. However, India has clearly disregarded the essential norms of non-proliferation by keeping its nuclear reactors outside IAEA safeguards, continuing to produce fissile materials, continuing to refuse signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and continuing to pursue modernization of nuclear armament, including sea-based nuclear capability and development of thermonuclear weapons. This is a clear disregard for the non-proliferation norms.


In 2008, some members of the NSG did express concern about India expanding its nuclear arsenal by diverting the fissile materials for the production of nuclear weapons. There are also international reports on how India has expanded its nuclear arsenal after the NSG waiver. During a U.S. senate hearing, Senator Markey said, “Since 2008, when we also gave them the exemption, India has continued to produce fissile materials for its nuclear programme virtually unchecked. At that time Pakistan warned us that the deal would increase the chances of the nuclear arms race in South Asia”.


There has been growing support within NSG for developing criteria for non-NPT states. China has led the campaign for a criteria-based approach. In the November 2016 meeting in Vienna, China proposed a two-point approach for induction of new non-NPT states to the NSG. Step one would be to find a solution applicable to all non-NPT applicants through consultations. Step two would be to discuss admission of specific non-NPT countries into the NSG. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Chinese stance was that ‘the solution should be non-discriminatory, applicable to all non-NPT members and must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT’. According to reports, during the Vienna meeting about a quarter of NSG members supported the criteria-based approach, while another quarter supported India’s sole entry into the group and the other half did not take any specific positions. Besides China, the countries that supported the criteria-based approach included Russia, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey.


Argentinian Ambassador Rafael Grossi, who was appointed Special Envoy by the NSG chairperson to develop a consensus regarding the entry issue, presented a nine-point proposal for NSG membership on December 6, 2016. There are a number of issues with these points which largely favour India and seem tailored to win membership for India while keeping Pakistan out of NSG.


One point of the proposed membership criteria is regarding the separation of current and future civilian and nuclear facilities. India has already notified a separation plan as part of the requirements of the 2008 NSG waiver. Pakistan has separate military and civilian facilities but has not formally notified its separation plan to IAEA. At present, if the current proposal is adopted, this point would make Pakistan technically ineligible for NSG membership.

 

In the unlikely event that Grossi’s criteria is adopted then India can claim that it has already taken all measures according to NSG guidelines, while leaving Pakistan at a disadvantage. The biggest problem with the latest proposed criteria is that it seems tailor-made to smuggle India in the group. It would not only be discriminatory but would also make a mockery of the non-proliferation regime and principles. This would be of grave concern for Pakistan which is lobbying hard for a non-discriminatory approach to the issue whereby it hopes to get admitted to the group alongside India.

The second point proposes that states must have signed IAEA’s Additional Protocol. This point also favours India since it has already signed the Additional Protocol. In principle Pakistan has no problem with signing the Additional Protocol but it would take some time which means that India would have advantage over this point as well. Another point is that the candidate must commit to not conduct any nuclear explosion in future. Both India and Pakistan are eligible as per this criterion if they undertake not to conduct nuclear tests in the future. In fact, Pakistan has time and again proposed to India simultaneous signature of the CTBT and even a regional test ban agreement. All such proposals have been rejected by India.


Another point is a commitment not to use any item transferred either directly or indirectly from an NSG Participating Government or any item derived from transferred items in unsafeguarded facilities or activities. Both India and Pakistan can easily fulfil this criterion.


The most interesting point is: “An understanding that due to the unique nature of the non-NPT party applications, [non-NPT applicant] would join a consensus of all other participating governments on the merits of any non-NPT party application.” The last clause implies that there is a pre-condition on India that it will not oppose Pakistan’s entry. This clause has the inbuilt assumption that India would be admitted first, while Pakistan may enter later when it fulfills the new criteria. It is imperative that a simultaneous rather than sequential consideration of the two countries’ applications should take place. Once India is a member, it would not let Pakistan become a member. The countries that are lobbying for India’s entry into the group could lobby to keep Pakistan out as well.


Given the grossly discriminatory nature of the proposal many countries like China, Turkey, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Belarus, Italy, Switzerland among others have raised objections to the proposed criteria developed by Grossi. The objections have ranged from procedural aspects such as lack of transparency and selective engagement but also over the clear absence of impartiality and objectivity of the proposal. Russia has also called for greater transparency and the need for due process of consultations. Pakistan has also rejected the proposal. Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said: “This would be clearly discriminatory and would contribute nothing in terms of furthering the non-proliferation objectives of the NSG.” He further said that Pakistan continues to emphasize the imperative for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for the NSG membership of non-NPT states in a non-discriminatory manner which would also advance the objective of strategic stability in South Asia.


In the unlikely event that Grossi’s criteria is adopted then India can claim that it has already taken all measures according to NSG guidelines, while leaving Pakistan at a disadvantage. The biggest problem with the latest proposed criteria is that it seems tailor-made to smuggle India in the group. It would not only be discriminatory but would also make a mockery of the non-proliferation regime and principles. This would be of grave concern for Pakistan which is lobbying hard for a non-discriminatory approach to the issue whereby it hopes to get admitted to the group alongside India.


Even international analysts see these proposals as very flexible and in essence designed to accommodate India. Daryl Kimball of Arms Control Association in the U.S. says: “The formula outlined in Grossi’s draft note sets an extremely low bar on NSG membership and its wording is vague and open to wide interpretation. Furthermore, this formula would not require India to take any additional non-proliferation commitments beyond the steps to which it committed in September 2008 ahead of the NSG’s country-specific exemption for India for civil nuclear trade.”7


The Obama administration has tried its best to win NSG membership for India. However, it is now upto the new U.S. administration on how aggressively it wants to pursue the matter. The NSG Chair has postponed the scheduled December informal NSG meeting till February 2017. During this period, he intends to engage in further consultations in an effort to develop consensus. For the time being Pakistan has scored a small success by working with principal countries to prevent India’s membership on preferential basis. However, the struggle for impartial and equal treatment as an aspiring member for NSG is far from over for Pakistan.


The matter of India and Pakistan's membership of the NSG will remain a much debated and pressing one. For Pakistan, it would be prudent to be well prepared once the matter of membership is debated by the NSG. According to the latest proposal, the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities and signing of the IAEA additional protocol are two main issues over which Pakistan’s candidature may be rejected. Pakistan should formally notify IAEA of its separation plan of civilian and nuclear facilities and signing and ratifying the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement so that Pakistan can enhance its credentials for NSG membership.

 

The writer is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and focuses on nuclear and arms control & disarmament issues.

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

 

4,7 Daryl Kimball, “NSG Membership Proposal Would Undermine Nonproliferation,” Arms Control Association, December 21, 2016, https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/ArmsControlNow/2016-12-21/NSG-Membership-Proposal-Would-Undermine-Nonproliferation

 
08
February

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

When Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far, it’s time to take note. Known as the power behind the throne during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, the former vice president and neo-con extraordinaire developed a reputation as a cynical manipulator and is widely credited with being the driving force behind USA’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. Lest we forget, that’s the very same invasion that destabilized Iraq and eventually led to the destabilization of the entire region and the birth of the terrorist organization known as Daesh.


Reacting to Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Cheney said that it "goes against everything we [the USA] stand for and believe in". He is joined by a chorus of condemnation from prominent American politicians and policy-makers, all of whom are decrying what they see as the negative fallout of Trump’s executive order.


But while Cheney and others are framing it in terms of American values, what is probably of greater concern to the former VP, the State Department and Pentagon is the damage this move will do to American standing in the region and the effect it will have on future U.S. military adventures.


To illustrate that, let’s take a look at the tale of Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who was detained and questioned for hours at JFK airport shortly after the ban was announced and who was only released after lawyers intervened. Darweesh was no ordinary Iraqi; he was one of the many Iraqis who had collaborated with the U.S. army during their occupation of Iraq and had spent ten years serving as an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, a position which placed his life in danger. Now, he and many others like him stand disposed by the very country they served and were promised safety by. Regardless of whether the ban remains in place, the damage to American credibility is permanent and has been noted by its current and potential allies. Speaking of allies, the Iraqi parliament has also recommended a ban on Americans entering the country in response to Donald Trump’s move to suspend U.S. visas for its citizens – quite a comedown for a power that not too long ago effectively ruled Iraq.

 

themiddleeastr.jpgMeanwhile, miles away in the Kazakhastani city of Astana was another sign of the USA’s waning influence as Russia, Iran and Turkey sat down to hammer out a Syrian peace deal. Not only were Western countries conspicuous by their absence, the very choice of venue – a country once part of the USSR – was a message in and of itself and that message is that the U.S. was no longer relevant in the Middle East.


The talks came shortly after the fall of East Aleppo, which marks not only a major shift in the ground situation in Syria, but also the culmination of major strategic shifts in the Middle East with effects that will resonate far beyond the region.


At the local level, it marks the end of the urban rebellion against Bashar Al-Assad and a major milestone towards Damascus reasserting its control over the rest of the country. Indeed, a heartened Assad has called Aleppo the ‘tipping point’ in the conflict and a step ‘on the way to victory’.
Congratulatory rhetoric aside, it is unclear exactly how much say the Syrian government will have in the final dispensation of Syria.


After all, the fall of East Aleppo is not due to the Syrian Arab Army – a largely ineffective and undisciplined fighting force known more for looting and atrocities than for martial prowess – and is a factor of the indiscriminate use of Russian air power combined with ground forces in the shape of militias trained, financed and deployed by Iran. Hezbollah has also played a major role in Syria as a whole and when rebel fighters made a final attempt to break the Aleppo siege in October last year, it was Hezbollah fighters – possibly the most experienced and battle-hardened of the regime’s allies – that defeated the attempt. Bolstering these forces are troops belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) itself.


Going forward, it will be interesting to see how these diverse allies manage their competing interests. Already we see the beginnings of some tensions, with Damascus displaying annoyance against not being included in earlier talks on Syria held between Iran, Russia and Turkey in Moscow. However, so long as mutual interest ties these forces together no major spats should be expected – at least in the short term. Assad will remain beholden and subordinate to Russia and Iran in order to secure the territory he holds and in order to gain more territory and will have little political space to maneuver on his own.


On the macro level, intervention in Syria has yielded many benefits for a resurgent Russia, distracting the West from its actions in Ukraine and Crimea. Tactically, the support they have lent Assad has also secured Russian access to the Mediterranean in the shape of the port of Tartus, and Moscow recently dispatched Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the largely obsolete Admiral Kuznetsov, to the Mediterranean in a symbolic show of force. Syria has also proven to be a testing ground for Russian weaponry and tactics, an advertising campaign of sorts and a rather successful one, given that many states, from Iran to the gulf monarchies, have expressed interest in purchasing Russian weapon systems.


But most importantly it was a message to the world that the Bear still had claws and was more than capable of taking advantage of the retreat of American power in the Middle East. This pays dividends for Russia in several ways, one of which is as the Middle East’s new power broker. Take for example, the crisis that erupted between Turkey and Russia when Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November 2015. Ankara and Moscow were soon at loggerheads, hurling threats and imposing punitive measures on one another. But a little over a year later, both countries are sitting down together and discussing the future of Syria in a relatively amicable atmosphere. Here, one of the reasons for this shift in Turkish policy is a recognition that Ankara’s Syria gamble has failed and that the Russians are very much here to stay.


It is indeed a bitter cup that the Turks have to drink from, given that despite their efforts the regime of Bashar Al-Assad looks more secure now than any point since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. To add to Ankara’s miseries, it is now being targeted both by Daesh and Kurdish extremists while also facing internal threats and divisions. Faced with the prospect of a Kurdish statelet on its borders, Ankara has little choice but to reach out to Moscow and Tehran to secure its strategic interests, and that it has done so also speaks of the importance of flexibility when it comes to foreign policy. Regardless, Turkish influence in the region should not be underestimated and thus far Erdogan is sticking to his stance that “a united, peaceful Syria will [not] be possible with Assad remaining in power”.


While any settlement in Syria will be difficult to achieve, reports now say that a de facto division of Syria into ‘zones of influence’ with a face-saving exit and guarantees for Bashar Al-Assad and his family is one of the options being considered. While there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, one thing is certain: Iran will have a major say in any future dispensation in Syria, and indeed it is Iran that has emerged as one of the greatest victors in this conflict.


It is hard to imagine that just a decade ago think tanks in Washington were actively advocating regime change in Iran, whether through covert means or a full-fledged invasion like that of Iraq. Heavily sanctioned and largely isolated in the region, with U.S. troops firmly ensconced in both neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran seemed surrounded.


Just eleven years later, the entire strategic outlook has changed – largely thanks to the U.S. itself. The removal of Saddam Hussain created a vacuum in Iraq, allowing militias like that of Moqtada Al-Sadr to mobilize freely for the first time. The dismantling of Iraqi security forces also allowed other non-state actors and terrorist groups to fill the void, notably Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, which would later morph into Daesh. The sectarian attacks by Zarqawi further polarized Iraqi society, something that was exacerbated by the perceived sectarian leaning of successive Iraqi governments, creating resentment and a recruiting pool among Iraq’s once-privileged Sunni tribes.


As the chaos deepened, Iran began making inroads into Iraq’s political spheres, and the depredations of Daesh in Iraq finally provided the opportunity for a more direct role – as exemplified by the growing influence of the head of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, General Qasem Sulaimani in Iraqi politics and policy-making. With this, the Iranian sphere of influence now extended to Saudi Arabia’s borders. Then came the Syrian civil war, and this too provided the space for Iran to further extend its influence, albeit in a low-key way at first. While Iran tended to initially deny deploying combat troops in Syria, state media and leading governmental figures now report on, and pay tribute to, Iranian military casualties in Syria and those casualties are now said to exceed 1000. Other groups recruited, trained, funded and deployed by Iran in Syria are the Al-Zenabiyoun and Al-Fatimiyoun militias, comprised of Pakistani and Afghan recruits respectively, and then there is Hezbollah, the role of which has already been discussed. A cursory look at the map of the Middle East thus shows us that Iranian influence now extends in an unbroken crescent from Iran, across Iraq into Syria and Lebanon right up to the Israeli border. Buoyed by battlefield success and flushed with cash as a result of the unfreezing of Iranian funds after the nuclear deal, Tehran is now openly boasting of its success in Syria, in contrast to the more ambiguous tone of the past.


Seyed Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a former military commander and currently an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khameini even went so far as to say: “Aleppo was liberated thanks to a coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah”, and that, “Iran is on one side of this coalition which is approaching victory and this has shown our strength. The new American president should take heed of the powers of Iran”.


The reference to America is particularly interesting, given that the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal was supposed to (at least as far as its American proponents thought) usher in a new era of reconciliation with the U.S. However, Iran’s regime has successfully portrayed this as the result of its unwavering stance on the issue, even going so far as to imply that it was a show of American weakness in the face of Tehran’s resolve. Actions on the ground seem to confirm this; just last year the capture by Iran of two U.S. naval vessels and their crew was portrayed by state TV as a victory for Tehran and a sign of American impotence, and in January this year a U.S. destroyer fired warning shots at advancing Iranian attack boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Add to that the opportunity for grandstanding provided by Trump’s immigration ban and you see Tehran also occupying the moral high ground.


The unfreezing of funds and the eagerness of Western companies and states to do business with Tehran is yet another sign of how Iran has now emerged as a major power broker in the Middle East region.
But there is such a thing as overreach, and Iran’s very success carries within it the seeds of failure. The use of militias may be cost-effective and convenient but such non-state actors have a tendency to act independently as they accrue more and more power and influence. Add to that the sectarian slogans and imagery used to motivate these militias and you see the seeds of a possible pushback from those on the other side of the sectarian divide. There are reportedly murmurs of dissent within Hezbollah itself, as fighters question whether involvement in the Syrian conflict is distracting from the group’s original mission. Subhi Al Tufaili, the first Secretary General of Hezbollah, even vociferously condemned Hezbollah for its ‘aggression’ in Syria and for siding with the Russians against their co-religionists. In a fiery sermon, he even went so far as to relate Aleppo to Karbala.


If and when stability returns to Iraq and Syria, the respective governments of these countries are also likely to assert themselves and look for ways to counter-balance Iranian influence. However, at this point in time, these are distant concerns at best.


Finally, the Iranian ascendancy is causing alarm bells to ring in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, which are scrambling to develop counter-measures and responses.


Saudi Segment
Iran’s gain has been Saudi Arabia’s loss, and that country is now faced with the prospect of its ultimate strategic nightmare quickly becoming a reality; that of de facto encirclement by its regional arch-rival Iran. With a country the size of Western Europe and a population less than that of Sindh, Saudi Arabia is largely geographically indefensible and home to vast energy reserves – a dangerous combination if ever there was one. Riyadh’s problems are compounded by the fact that the bulk of its oil reserves are located in the eastern province, where members of the Shia minority are dominant and it has been a long-standing fear of Saudi planners that any unrest there could potentially jeopardize oil supply and production. Indeed, that scenario almost came to pass in 1979 – the year of the Iranian revolution – when a revolt in the Eastern Province coincided with Juhayman Al-Oteibi’s bloody takeover of the Masjid Al-Haram. Since then, Saudi Arabia has been wary of the prospect of unrest in that economically and strategically crucial province.


Saudi Arabia watched the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal unfold with a sense of alarm and betrayal, given Riyadh’s decades-old position as a major ally of the United States. Differences with U.S. policy in Syria and litigation against the Saudi government by 9/11 survivors and their families also deepened the growing divide between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, relations with Iran fell to an incredibly low ebb following the execution by Saudi Arabia of cleric Nimr al-Nimr and the subsequent attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which led to the breaking of diplomatic relations. Adding to Riyadh’s woes are financial hardships caused largely by low oil prices and also a very costly and practically unwinnable war in Yemen along with the constant threat of attacks by terrorist groups like Daesh and Al-Qaeda. The challenges are immense, and Saudi Arabia has responded in a variety of ways such as attempting to build a coalition of states to check Iranian influence. This includes the gulf emirates and also Bahrain, the rulers of which are terrified of the prospect of a possibly Iranian-influenced revolt has openly aligned with Riyadh, even going so far as to sever diplomatic relations with Iran. The row even spread to Africa, where Sudan threw in with the Saudis by expelling the Iranian ambassador. While Sudan is a peripheral player at best, Saudi diplomacy did achieve something of a win by getting Oman – which has usually tried to avoid being drawn into an anti-Iran alliance – into its multinational ‘anti-terror alliance’, an alliance which pointedly does not include Iran and Iraq. This is significant when you consider that Muscat acted as a broker in the recent rapprochement between Iran and the West.


Parallel to this, both Saudi and the Gulf states have embarked on a weapons buying spree (much as Iran has) and Riyadh spent $9.3 billion on arms purchases in 2015 alone, a major increase over previous years. Similarly, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have purchased weapons – ranging from attack helicopters to ballistic missile defence systems to precision guided munitions – worth $33 billion from the U.S. alone in 2015.


On the domestic front, Saudi Arabia is also belatedly planning for the economic future by launching an incredibly ambitious restructuring of its economy which aims at lowering its dependency on oil revenues and public spending in favour of a more production-driven growth model. To make matters even more difficult, economic reform in Saudi Arabia is not possible without social reform, notably when it comes to increasing the participation of women in the country’s economy. A study by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security puts it like this: “Due to the rapidly changing economic situation, Saudi families now need two incomes if they want to maintain their lifestyles. According to Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics and Information, employment of Saudi women has increased by 48 percent in the last five years, more than double the rate for Saudi men.


Despite the need for increased female labour participation in the kingdom, it remains extremely difficult for women to work in a country where laws and customs prevent them from doing so. Women now make up 49.6 percent of Saudi university graduates, yet they make up only 16 percent of Saudis with jobs, and are limited in the work they are allowed to do”.


This is perhaps why Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, recently called on his country to lift its ban on women driving cars, saying it was a matter of economic necessity.


This could be seen as a trial balloon to gauge the extent of the reaction from Saudi’s conservative and influential clergy which has in the past reacted violently to such proposals.


It is likely that chaos in the Middle East is improbable to end with the fall of East Aleppo and that increased confrontation and rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be the ‘new normal’. Here one hopes that cooler heads do finally prevail and both rivals manage to hammer out, at best, an agreement to respect each others’ zones of influence but if history is any gauge, such an agreement is unlikely. While it is easy to consider the current stand-off in the Middle East as primarily sectarian in nature, this merely obscures the reality of the basic struggle for power and influence that is at the heart of the conflict. However, we cannot afford to ignore the sectarian undertones, given that it is this dimension that could prove to be the most destabilizing for Pakistan and we must make all efforts to avoid being entangled in this power play.

 

The writer has worked extensively in Pakistan's print and electronic media and is currently hosting a talk show on a private TV Channel.

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08
February

The defence mechanism of a country is interconnected and integrated in such a way that if one part is missing, others cannot function properly. Impregnable defence of a country depends both on high quality manpower as well as a robust defence industry to meet the emerging requirements of modern-day warfare. Pakistan is lucky in this regard; Armed Forces of Pakistan comprise the best of soldiership, and a growing defence industry which is booming with each passing year. Our soldiers have been fighting the War on Terror for over a decade now; yet braving the hardships and offering unparalleled sacrifices without a word of complaint. They have been accepting all tasks and achieving them regardless of the circumstances with a ‘can-do’ attitude encapsulating the very ethos of their training, discipline, spirit and high morale.


In order to effectively meet new challenges posed by the transformed regional and global security dynamics, modernization and up-gradation programmes of defence equipment is mandatory. However, unless the country’s defence industry is capable of indigenous production, the country remains dependent on imports. In 1947, with no existing infrastructure for manufacturing ammunition or other defence equipment to meet the security challenges, we have come a long way; from the confined role of repairing and maintaining, we have now manufactured tanks, guns, Armoured Personnel Carriers, fighter and trainer aircraft, and have even acquired the expertise to manufacture drones. Development in technology and resources has brought about such a revolution in the defence and aviation industry that public and private organizations can now meet the requirement of Pakistan Armed Forces very efficiently as well as export our products to other countries. In the recent years Pakistan’s defence production industry, with Chinese assistance, has emerged as one of the most sophisticated military-industrial complex in the region. Pakistan now offers complete end-to-end solutions, making it an enticing source for customers across the globe.


Pakistan Armed Forces are always working on measures to maintain the deterrence equation with the hostile expansionist neighbours. Babar-3, the sea-based variant of Ground Launched Missile Babar-2, completed the nuclear triad and added second strike capability to the already existing land combat power. Also, the strategic forces of Pakistan achieved vital technological and deterrence capability with the introduction of a Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry (MIRV) compatibility missile Ababeel, becoming the seventh country in the world to possess this technology. This missile can carry multiple warheads and hit multiple targets with a single launch, greatly increasing the potency of our strategic nuclear arsenal.


Pakistan is committed to discouraging arms race and promoting the motto of ‘arms for peace’ but technology can only be fought with technology, and this has assumed greater importance with the proliferation of smart missiles and other modern systems in many regions across the world. The missile launch is a manifestation of absorbing and assimilating technology, an aspect crucial to a country’s development, and the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.


The spirit of our Armed Forces remains unconquerable and indefatigable as they stand committed to guard our borders. Like the COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa said while addressing the troops, “Our experience of counter-terrorism operations has made us battle-hardened which is a valued add-on for operational preparedness…. [I] am proud to be COAS of a brave and highly professional army.” Pakistan Army is at the very top, be it in training, combat readiness, weapons production or resolve; our soldiers and officers are ever ready to defeat all kinds of emerging conventional and unconventional threats.

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08
February

Written By: Arhama Siddiqa

The future of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was put in a limbo after its 19th Summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was cancelled. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India would boycott the summit, citing “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country”.


South Asia is a region inundated by many crises, menaces and problems such as poverty, unemployment, bad governance, corruption, illiteracy and terrorism, to name a few. The SAARC was established in 1985 in Bangladesh as a platform for promoting economic development and prosperity of the South Asian people. A quick review of the organization’s history showcases a turbulent one – an obvious cause being the Indo-Pak rivalry.


It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the 19th Summit was shrouded in dark clouds from the beginning. The boycott of Indian Foreign Minister Arun Jaitley of the Ministerial Conference of SAARC in August, the sudden jumping out of the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh from the SAARC Interior Ministers' meeting, the refusal of four SAARC member states (India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives) to send their finance ministers to the Ministerial Conference in Pakistan and the refusal of India for bilateral talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of SAARC were all bad omens for regional peace and cooperation. These were also clear indications that India was not willing to use SAARC forum for any sort of conflict resolution or regional cooperation. It also exerted its negative influence on other smaller countries to show restraint and cold gestures towards this forum.


In its thirty years of existence, the performance of SAARC has been far below its potential. This organization presented an opportunity for all the countries to unite and create a representative consortium for the South Asian people. It had all the components to have made a serious impact in the international arena. Unfortunately, the opportunity has all but vanished. Alternatives like forming sub-regional groups are being seriously pondered upon as the only way forward. India has been spearheading the idea of another regional grouping for a long time. In fact, Delhi has launched a well-orchestrated effort with its might behind several initiatives in the region to bring together its allies in South Asia, leaving Pakistan detached with its longstanding “SAARC minus Pakistan” policy. Diplomatic sources say India aims to get behind two forums in earnest – BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) – and also to forge a new development platform for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. Already, a beginning has been made in the form of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).


On the surface India blames increasing terrorism for its decision to boycott the conference especially post-Uri attacks for which Delhi solely blames Islamabad. Evidence linking the attack either to militants based in Pakistan or to the country’s intelligence agencies has yet to be provided. India’s dramatic exit may even be a cover to deflect spotlight from its ongoing struggle to quell popular disturbances in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Moreover, India’s push for a South Asian isolation of Pakistan is also driven by the fact that it received less than expected support on the world stage and at the UN General Assembly for the Comprehensive Convention on International Terror (CCIT), where it had hoped to corner Pakistan. Added to this is the criticism India received at the UN Human Rights Council over Kashmir. The most recent show of bellicosity was seen at the sixth ministerial Heart of Asia (HoA) conference held at Amritsar in December 2016. In its frustration over the futility of its efforts to “isolate” Pakistan, the Modi administration condescended to new lows by diverging from diplomatic etiquette by embarrassing the Pakistani delegation led by Sartaj Aziz. Indeed, it was conduct unbecoming when one of the highest echelons of the Pakistani government was not even seated at the centre table at the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Modi. Moreover, the scene caused by Indian officials who tried to stop the Pakistani High Commissioner from speaking to Pakistani journalists was incongruous to say the least.


This makes it evident that ‘Hindutva’ inspired logic of New Delhi compels India to pursue becoming economic, strategic, and military hegemon in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

 

By boycotting the 19th SAARC Summit, India has confirmed that all its claims about regional integration and cooperation are nothing but a hoax. India not only sabotaged the SAARC summit but it also coerced other small SAARC members to follow in its footsteps thus aiming at isolating Pakistan. The forum despite being weak could still have been used for bilateral and multilateral dialogue. In a globalized world where cultures, economies and interests are becoming increasingly interdependent and interlinked, South Asia is probably the only region which is deprived of good opportunities for integration because of Indian insolence and pursuance of hegemonic agenda.

China’s demand for full membership in SAARC challenges India’s dominance thus India opposed China’s entry into SAARC at the Kathmandu Summit in 2014. China’s successful diplomacy, trade and investment policies, and many cooperative agreements with SAARC nations inevitably give her greater influence in South Asia. It is fair enough to say that China’s entry in SAARC as a full member can give a push to the organization to grow as a regional bloc since China’s global economic influence can help provide the boost it needs. At the 2016 summit, Pakistan was expected to repeat its demand that Beijing be granted full membership in SAARC; Modi left no stone unturned to block that. Cleverly using information warfare campaign and a willingly agenda-driven Indian media, he promulgated his country’s economic and societal potential while marginalizing the need for conflict resolution.


In the current South Asian theatre, Pakistan, enabled by its prime geographical position, seeks to bring and maintain a balance of power in the region by brokering and balancing the power dynamics with and between bigger powers like China, Russia, the United States, and regional powers like Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council States, and India. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) strategically aims at providing links between the overland Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road and has been made open for all regional countries, including India, although it seems Modi has decided to pass on the opportunity and has instead decided to seek to destabilize the project.


By boycotting the 19th SAARC Summit, India has confirmed that all its claims about regional integration and cooperation are nothing but a hoax. India not only sabotaged the SAARC summit but it also coerced other small SAARC members to follow in its footsteps thus aiming at isolating Pakistan. The forum despite being weak could still have been used for bilateral and multilateral dialogue. In a globalized world where cultures, economies and interests are becoming increasingly interdependent and interlinked, South Asia is probably the only region which is deprived of good opportunities for integration because of Indian insolence and pursuance of hegemonic agenda.


There is no question that the SAARC subterfuge will have visible impact in the short run. Nonetheless, it is designed to fail. If the hands-on support from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh can be labelled a geopolitical victory for India, the silence of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives is nothing short of a victory for Pakistan. For the sake of their own nations and the regional progress and prosperity, the leaders of all the member states need to put their differences aside and return to the negotiating table for a peaceful and durable resolution of existing issues. The trust deficit can be reduced only by discussion, dialogue and communication. However, if SAARC does not revert due to India’s stubborn attitude, Pakistan will have no option but to forge new alliances with all regional countries. This time CPEC should be the pivot of new alliances and regional grouping.

 
08
February

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts in the world routinely express the view that India will pay an unacceptably huge price if it ever embarked on an adventure against Pakistan? It would have been more prudent had India shown the intensions and invested sincere efforts in seeking resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN charter instead of wasting time and energies on a futile doctrine.

Soon after assuming command of Indian Army, its new Chief General Bipin Rawat, acknowledged existence of Cold Start Doctrine in an interview to the media. This was rather surprising as India had been in denial mode for nearly fifteen years since it first announced it in the aftermath of Kashmiri militants’ attack on Indian parliament in 2001. Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh had gone to the extent of stating publicly, “There is no Cold Start Doctrine. No such thing. It was an off-the-cuff remark from a former Chief of Staff. I have been defence minister of the country. I should know”.


In 2011, Indian Army Chief, General V. K. Singh also reiterated similar views, stating, “There is nothing like Cold Start, but we have a ‘proactive strategy’ which takes steps in a proactive manner to achieve our objectives”. Such assertions led some analysts to erroneously believe that India had abandoned Cold Start Doctrine and would adhere to structure of Strike Corps organizations and doctrinal concept. Public pronouncements aside, India had been validating and re-validating its Cold Start Doctrine from time to time.

 

To this specter of a ‘nuclear overhang’ India has lately added its own pantomime version of ‘surgical strikes’. A surgical strike, conducted anywhere in the world, has always spoken for itself through results on the ground. Nowhere has its conduct needed to be defended to such nauseating ends except the Indian version where ‘sneak attempts’ at three locations along a heavily defended LoC and ‘retreat at the double’ were hyped up to fictional heights.

In 2011 India conducted ‘Operation Vijayee Bhava’ with 50,000 soldiers in Bikaner and Suratgarh area with stated aim of reducing mobilization time which it claimed to have cut down to just 2 days from 27 days in ‘Operation Parakaram’ in 2001-2002. This was followed by ‘Operation Sudarshan Shakti’ – India’s largest war games in two decades in which nearly 60,000 troops and 500 armoured vehicles participated. More recently, its 2 Corps (Strike Corps, Kharga) conducted ‘Exercise Brahmashira’ in Rajasthan to practice swift multiple offensives deep into enemy territory. India also upgraded its tactical level weaponry and inducted solid-fuel 150 kms ballistic missiles to provide effective fire support in such operations.


India’s aggressive designs against Pakistan first began to surface when its former Defence Minister George Fernandes famously lamented that India had ‘an archaic, non-aggressive, non-provocative defence policy’ and called for a shift. Fernandes, basically was referring to ‘Sunderji Doctrine’, a successor to Cold Start, according to which seven defensive ‘holding corps’ with relatively limited offensive power, were deployed near Pakistan’s border while Indian Army retained its offensive capabilities in ‘Strike Corps’ made up of mechanized infantry with extensive artillery support but stationed further away from the border. Indian defence planners believed that such a strategy was advantageous to Pakistan in mobilization and resulted in extra-regional powers to exert pressure on India thus preventing it from taking punitive actions against Pakistan at a place and time of its choosing.

 

Cold Start Doctrine was designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner but it rested on a grossly flawed premise – that it will not trigger nuclear retaliation. It underestimated Pakistan’s resolve to go full spectrum in its defence for a fundamental reason that it just cannot allow any loss of territory to India.

In 1987, General Sunderji, even with a more conventional and defensive doctrine in place, and no mass agitation and large scale unrest in Kashmir to use as an excuse against Pakistan, exposed his country’s real intentions when Indian Army conducted ‘Exercise Brass Tacks’ close to Pakistan’s border. With over 400,000 troops, it was the largest since WW-II and bigger than anything NATO had ever conducted. It was after BBC’s Mark Tully’s disclosure that India was using live ammunition in open boxes that General Zia delivered his stern message to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

 

reguritincold.jpgPakistan took serious cognizance of the emerging threat environment and evolved doctrinal responses which it later validated against various hypotheses in large-scale field exercises. Pakistan also bolstered its defence through development of a solid fuel battlefield ballistic missile capable of carrying a low yield nuclear warhead and expressed an unflinching resolve to use it should a situation so demand.


In its more ambitious formulations, Cold Start Doctrine is a ‘limited war’ concept under proactive strategy where India’s conventional forces undertake aggressive and offensive armoured thrusts, in a compressed time frame, with infantry and air support. It is aimed at seizing Pakistan’s territory and holding it, while simultaneously perusing narrow enough objectives to deny Islamabad any justification to escalate conflict by opening additional conventional fronts – all under a ‘nuclear overhang’, a phrase coined by Indian defence establishment and used with increasing frequency in a dangerously insouciant manner.


To this spectre of a ‘nuclear overhang’ India has lately added its own pantomime version of ‘surgical strikes’. A surgical strike, conducted anywhere in the world, has always spoken for itself through results on the ground. Nowhere has its conduct needed to be defended to such nauseating ends except the Indian version where ‘sneak attempts’ at three locations along a heavily defended LoC and ‘retreat at the double’ were hyped up to fictional heights.

 

But, with a neighbour opposed to our very existence, Pakistan cannot ignore its security concerns. Only recently we were reminded, and by a person no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that in 1971 India had played an iniquitous role in the break-up of Pakistan. One look at today’s battle hardened Armed Forces of Pakistan and it leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are deeply imbued with the spirit of a higher mission in life. They will acquit themselves with honour and glory – should any challenge be thrown their way – Cold Start or whatever!

The change of tack from denial to an acknowledgement of Cold Start Doctrine’s existence warrants clarity – whether it is just doing away with erstwhile semantics of ‘ambiguity by design’ or the Indian Army has indeed streamlined its ‘limited war’ concept and now feels more confident under Modi government to flout it more openly. Whatever be the case, it begs the larger question whether it could serve India’s interest any better in these uncertain times than it did when it was first announced amidst apprehensions that it would incur a diplomatic and security cost without delivering corresponding deterrence benefits.


Those fears proved to be well founded as protests and agitations in Kashmir, the root cause of problems between India and Pakistan, and raison-d’être for Cold Start Doctrine, have transformed in nature from grievances against Indian state to outright hatred against its illegal occupation. How has the doctrine benefitted India if in its response Pakistan’s defence capability has improved to a level where today most independent analysts in the world routinely express the view that India will pay an unacceptably huge price if it ever embarked on an adventure against Pakistan? It would have been more prudent had India shown the intensions and invested sincere efforts in seeking resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN charter instead of wasting time and energies on a futile doctrine.


Cold Start Doctrine was designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner but it rested on a grossly flawed premise – that it will not trigger nuclear retaliation. It underestimated Pakistan’s resolve to go full spectrum in its defence for a fundamental reason that it just cannot allow any loss of territory to India. Besides, a host of such factors as lack of strategic surprise, terrain and defensive deployment of Pakistan’s Army will mitigate, to a considerable extent, any mobilization advantages that Indian Army may have accrued through Cold Start Doctrine.


Tim Roemer, U.S. Ambassador to India from 2009-2011 also raised the other important question about New Delhi’s political will to pursue Cold Start option, due to fears that it might achieve only ‘mixed’ results, especially its decision to shy away in 2008 when Mumbai incident provided a perfect ‘casus belli’ if it ever wanted to undertake military action against Pakistan. He called the doctrine a ‘mixture of myths and reality’ where its real value lay more in its existence on paper than any application on ground.


Pakistan does not want war as wars are no answer to resolution of outstanding disputes between India and Pakistan. There are huge poverty and illiteracy issues in both countries towards which all resources and energies need to be channeled. Our political process needs to take deeper traction over a longer timeline and economy requires space to stretch itself in the evolving global trade regimes.


But, with a neighbour opposed to our very existence, Pakistan cannot ignore its security concerns. Only recently we were reminded, and by a person no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that in 1971 India had played an iniquitous role in the break-up of Pakistan. One look at today’s battle hardened Armed Forces of Pakistan and it leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are deeply imbued with the spirit of a higher mission in life. They will acquit themselves with honour and glory – should any challenge be thrown their way – Cold Start or whatever!

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy.

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

 
08
February
“Soldiers of Pakistan Army are the best in the world”: COAS

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Strike Corps at Multan Garrison on January 23, 2017. He laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e Shuhada and offered fatiha for the martyrs. Corps Commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar briefed the COAS on operational preparedness and administration of troops. Later COAS addressed soldiers and officers at the garrison.

 

General Qamar Javed Bajwa appreciated the troops' participation in the ongoing counter terrorism operations in FATA and KP. He especially praised them for concurrently keeping themselves fully trained and prepared to thwart challenges of conventional war. The COAS said, “Soldiers of Pakistan Army are the best in the world. The Army is what its soldiers are. I am proud to be the commander of a brave and highly professional army.” He also said, “Our experience of counter terrorism operations has made us battle hardened which is a valued add-on in operational preparedness.” He directed officers and soldiers to keep themselves fully trained and abreast to defeat all types of threats. The soldiers freely interacted with COAS and expressed their pride and eagerness to selflessly serve the country and the nation. Earlier, on arrival at Multan, COAS was received by Lieutenant General Sarfraz Sattar, Commander Multan Corps.

newsoldierofpak.jpg

08
February
Pakistan Hands Over Indian Soldier As Goodwill Gesture
On January 21, 2017 Pakistan Army returned Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan, an Indian Army soldier, who was stationed in Indian Occupied Kashmir and had deserted his post at LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders. He had willfully crossed LOC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army. As a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of Pakistan’s efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and WB, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan was handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds.

newsindisoldieras.jpg

08
February
Pakistan Conducts First Flight Test of Ababeel, Surface-to-Surface Missile

newsababeel.jpgOn January 24, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful flight test of Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Ababeel, which has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers. The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology. The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.


Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars. Development of Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment. This will further reinforce deterrence.


Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff congratulated the scientists and engineers on successful conduct of the missile test. The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan also conveyed their appreciation to the team involved and Armed Forces of Pakistan on this landmark achievement.

08
February

Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary

Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and below average mentorships on ‘entrepreneurial ventures’. It is becoming seemingly obvious that all repetitive jobs will be automated. So what would the next wave of work look like? This wicked disconnect is the ‘Aspiration Deviation Factor’

Could it be possible that we are investing into a future that is in direct contradiction to our facts, reality and the ‘context’ as the New World Order struggles with notions of legitimacy against the urgent sense of acceptability. The understanding of the emerging world order and the people have been classified into bits and bytes. However, the sovereign opportunity lies in the local context.


There’s nothing profound in anything or about anyone unless it is measured by way and means of impact and that too has to be based on principles of trust. Pakistan can be a victim of engineered circumstances, or a champion of its own destiny.

 

thewickeddisc.jpgSo, what reputation does Pakistan have? What’s its character?
These two questions are incredibly significant. They determine integrity, motivation, responsibility, disruption; value-factor all systematically layered and anchored as an indisputable leverage. How the country looks at itself is often not necessary than how the global powers look at it. This stupendous lack of clarity and deliberate ambiguity diminishes credibility over time, increases vulnerabilities creating the institutionalized underpinnings for policy failures, trust deficit, deer in the headlight.

 

The definition of power in the last decade has at a glacial pace redefined. The inverted pyramid is the prism through which we would be required to construct our national security paradigm. Technology, the key driver in this case, can either fuel trust between people and systems or will completely polarize the communities. The bad investments will lead to contextual decay of the society.

The message this year at the Davos 2017 ‘Responsible and Responsive Leadership’ was clear and incisive; it is not anti-globalization rather a wake-up call for the systems to become resilient and not the governable. The pressure is on the leadership and they will be held accountable. Davos leaders agree: share more wealth, or face the consequences. And in the process of this accountability, nations will suffer. They will suffer like they have in the past. Popular sloganeering will be Trumped by ingenuity. In the past, as the population started to increase and technology became cheaper – today the case remains the same – however, the systems and the mindset are still undigitized. Throughout the education system, children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and below average mentorships on ‘entrepreneurial ventures’. It is becoming seemingly obvious that all repetitive jobs will be automated. So what would the next wave of work look like? This wicked disconnect is the ‘Aspiration Deviation Factor’ [This term was coined by a 15 year old student at the Buraq Space Camp 2016] – how long will it take for our institutions to adapt to the changing times? The time is now on peoples’ side. The power to connect to create is no longer in the hands of the few.


What is Pakistan’s local context?
In heightened complexities, the literature that substantiates Pakistan’s experiential findings are phenomenally narrow and sorry-speak. The interpretation of chaos and calm indicates that the tools and instruments required for the 21st century knowledge and information systems simply do not exist. The system’s thinking pivots on used futures. This alone is a national security threat which will contribute immensely to the dynamics of fragility. The policy stability can only come from when the system recognizes the need for alternate ‘new-thinking’; trust-based approaches that create the stimulus to focus on attitudes and behaviours.

 

There’s nothing profound in anything or about anyone unless it is measured by way and means of impact and that too has to be based on principles of trust. Pakistan can be a victim of engineered circumstances, or a champion of its own destiny.

Pakistan is generous. But not generous enough. It is shackled in a colonial dream. In the coming ten years it would need to take a critical stock of the investments it will make – this investment whether in form of strategic posturing or public service delivery mechanisms if in contradiction to facts, context and reality would have the potential to translate this investment into liabilities leading to a complete paralysis of systems. Pakistan has a window of 15 years to ramp up its capability across all spectrums. The wall needs to be brought down. The normative constraints that are used as an excuse, are no longer relevant. It would need to strike a balance between what is legitimate and what all that is acceptable, this needs to be streamlined into the national discourse. And there will be no national discourse without bringing in the creative wisdom to infuse indigenous arts, culture and languages. Power has been organized and codified for centuries; now imagine in time and space where it is neither organized nor codified. The definition of power in the last decade has at a glacial pace redefined. The inverted pyramid is the prism through which we would be required to construct our national security paradigm. Technology, the key driver in this case, can either fuel trust between people and systems or will completely polarize the communities. The bad investments will lead to contextual decay of the society.

 

Pakistan is generous. But not generous enough. It is shackled in a colonial dream. In the coming ten years it would need to take a critical stock of the investments it will make – this investment facts, context and reality would have the potential to translate this investment into liabilities leading to a complete paralysis of systems whether in form of strategic posturing or public service delivery mechanisms if in contradiction to Pakistan has a window of 15 years to ramp up its capability across all spectrums. The wall needs to be brought down.

What is Technology to Pakistan?
Beyond WhatsApp and microwave, technology is the one enabler that will help us learn and create opportunities for the country’s future generations. But the time starts now. In the era of hyperconnectivity when almost anything and anyone can be understood in 01001011; the country needs to develop a much more sophisticated understanding and clarity on how it identifies challenges, what contributes towards human judgment and then how should all this be classified and, prioritized for co-creating informed futures.


The sheer sense and scope of responsibilities can only be shared. If it is shared only then the systems will be modernized and equipped to hold decision-makers accountable, until then the space for integrity will continue to shrink. And the pendulum of blame will shift from one political rhetoric to an even worse form of mind-numbing reckless narrative.


The range of incentives could only be explored when data thinks information, thinks knowledge, thinks value, as it continues to remain an iterative process, would give the leadership the ability to navigate through uncertainties with a relative degree of clarity. What is more important than ever before is to benchmark where the country is winning and where it is losing without compromising on the human imperative. To imagine the wicked problems, to come to terms with a gray rhino is as agonizing as winning an honest electorate. Harnessing technological advancements should encourage the decision-makers to graduate their thinking patterns to a higher-order policy approaches; nothing less will be expected of them in the coming decade.

The context is changing fast.

 

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

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

Twitter: @puruesh

 
08
February

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups. In essence, this means that there is a need to assimilate or get assimilated into other cultures but to respect them for what they are.

The vulnerability of a federal polity against the thrust of internal diversity is a phenomenon that is worldwide. Except in well established federal polities such as the U.S., which are sustained by durable institutions, fool-proof mechanisms and crystallized conventions, de-limiting the powers, obligations and boundaries of the state and federal governments.


Even a seemingly durable federation such as that of Canada has been rocked by the Quebec-based incremental French diversity over the past few decades. Hence, it shouldn’t be too surprising if the Pakistani polity today is plagued by internal divisions and diversities. Even so, the thrust of diversity wouldn’t have assumed such gigantic proportions had Pakistani rulers attempted periodically, on continuing basis, to resolve the diversity-based challenges, process and channelize the demands and grievances underlying them, and formulate policy outputs to resolve them, thereby balancing unity with diversity.


Both India and Pakistan had started their existential career as federal as well as centralized states, being governed by the Government of India Act, 1935 (as adapted) till the promulgation of their respective constitutions. But some seventy years down the road, they have developed along different, indeed divergent, paths. Since the Indian constitution was promulgated on January 26, 1951, India has been able to develop a centre – i.e., the federal polity – that holds it together, even strengthens it. And this chiefly for the outworking of two factors. For one thing, it has been able to control the narrative which determines the core aspects of the state’s identity. And her identity has been internalized to a point that its core attributes are never disputed. Thus the federal bargain, as originally conceived, is irretrievably entrenched in the people’s consciousness. For another, the centre has periodically recognized and accommodated diversities, both vertical and horizontal, except in Indian Occupied Kashmir.


Soon after the enforcement of the constitution in 1951, New Delhi was confronted with a vertical diversity: the demand for linguistic provinces. The Punjab and Bombay were problematical, but Nehru finally did bow to the persistence of the demand and got them bifurcated. And the process of creating new provinces is still going on – for instance, Jharkhand, Mizoram, etc.


Horizontal diversity, as represented by split mandates, has as well plagued New Delhi since the rise of a Marxist regime in Kerala in 1957. In a fit of fury and frustration, Nehru had it dismissed, but had to retract later. Since then accommodation on political diversity became a rule, rather than an exception, in the evolving Indian political system. Again, it was political accommodation that had won over in 1962 the Tamil Nadu’s DMK/AIADMK, which was burning the Indian flag and the Indian constitution throughout the 1950s.


In contrast Pakistan has failed to control the meta narrative and get the core values/aspects of her identity internalized in the people’s consciousness. Some of the core values of the 1956 Constitution and most of those of the 1962 Constitution were in dispute and the lack of recognition and accommodation of the out-groups’ demands had played havoc, hurtling united Pakistan finally to such a sticky end in 1971.


That sticky end, compounded by the euphoria generated by the success of the Bangladesh venture, obviously provided a ballast to centripetal forces in the post-1971 Pakistan. But, fortuitously, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was there, at the helm of affairs, and he saw to it that the regionalist and separatist forces had their outstretched wings clipped and that the federal polity was sustained and strengthened beyond measure, especially by the crafting of the 1973 Constitution by consensus. He also launched upon a series of measures which strengthened the federation and crystallized the Pakistani identity. For instance, his deliberate choice to give his state banquet address in Urdu in Dhaka on June 30, 1974 during his official visit to Bangladesh. In so doing, he was reaffirming the Pakistani symbolism represented by Urdu.


Today, forty-five years down the road, Pakistan is home to a string of commonalities and a host of diversities – the commonalities which provide a common space for one and all, whether it leaves enough room for diverse cultural practices, and for ethnic identities to exist and develop or not. Briefly stated, these are as follows:


(i) An agreed 1973 Constitution which has stood the test of time. Especially after the 18th Amendment, which provides for devolution of power to the provinces and more equitable opportunities to the various provincial units.
(ii) The 2009 NFC Award which provides for considerable fiscal autonomy to the provincial units.
(iii) Urdu as the National Language and English as lingua franca for the elite, business and entreprenuer classes. In tandem, Urdu has also served as the link-language for the masses – as Hindi serves in India, though dominant only in two states, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – unless we unwittingly opt for a chaotic Tower of Babel scenario. Equally important: Urdu’s claim and clout are also buttressed by its ubiquity and universality; hence Bhutto called it “a common denominator”. Even if all the languages are designated as national languages, we would still need a link-language for the masses across the regions that is understood and spoken throughout Pakistan. One major indicator is that the two most outstanding Urdu poets during the past six decades belonged to non-Urdu mother tongued regions. And that would still be Urdu.
(iv) The emergence of two major, though dynastically oriented, political parties – the PPP and the PML – at national level besides strong sub-national parties within the constituent units especially the MQM, ANP and the JUI-F. MQM’s endeavour to shed its linguistic and urban Sindh origins, getting itself transformed incrementally into a Muttahida Qaumi Movement avatar and inducting itself into the mainstream politics, though generally unappreciated and misconstrued, is still a positive development. So is its sponsoring non-Urdu speaking candidates against Urdu speaking ones in some dominant Mohajir constituencies.
(v) Political parties from various provinces have been conceded more or less equal opportunities to stake their claim for power at the federal level. Otherwise the Sindh-based PPP wouldn’t have ruled five times, totalling some 13½ out of 18 years of civilian rule since 1970, and the three top offices wouldn’t have been occupied by Sindhis. At another level, the presidential office has seen occupants from various provinces except Balochistan. Most groups and/or territories are accommodated in the federal cabinets and decision-making bodies. The provincial quota in the services ensures representation of backward or less developed areas in the services. So does the rural-urban quota system in Sindh.


On the other hand the major problems representing the thrust against a viable federal polity are: few elements in Balochistan with their demand for full jurisdiction over powers relevant to ethnic survival, economic upliftment and nation building projects, and control over its resources; Karachi with its mayhem and lawlessness, and the lack of political will on the provincial government’s part; Executive-Judicial confrontation off and on; and the fault lines in ethnic federalism with the burgeoning demand for new provinces.


Other than long standing tensions, there is a need, at once imperative and immediate, to recognize differences and to respect them while promoting unity, trust and solidarity among citizens and groups. In essence, this means that there is a need to assimilate or get assimilated into other cultures but to respect them for what they are. Although the endeavour to balance diversity with unity is a continuous process, there is a dire need to develop multiple identities. Whatever be one’s racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious identity, everyone inhabiting Pakistan is first and foremost a Pakistani, and his Pakistani identity comes first.

 

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.
 
08
February

Written By: Shaukat Qadir

"The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind, is to get an old one out."

(B. H. Liddell Hart)

I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life. But almost all were looking ahead at what they could do despite their injuries and handicap. These were men with wounded bodies but hearts and a will of steel that was infinite!

In my generation of soldiers, I was fortunate to spend a little more time in combat zones than most others, but obviously, less than some others – not by design, merely by default. However, when I total the entire period of my combat experience, I cannot go beyond three and a half years out of thirty odd.
Today, Pakistan Army’s young officers of ten years’ service have more combat experience than I.


When I was on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, in 1997, I wrote a paper on ‘Why Peacetime Soldiers Cannot Produce Wartime Leaders’ and sent it to the Military Training Directorate at GHQ. It was highly appreciated but, none of my recommendations were heeded.
It seems that fortune has led us to an unending war, merely for me to have a glimpse of the Pakistani soldier and officer groomed by years of combat.


Now, it has been more than fifteen years since Pakistan entered the affray of GWOT, the Global War On Terror and, over time, the number of troops in constant combat have risen to about 300,000.
The bulk of the troops in combat are, of necessity, infantry. But, despite the fact that almost two thirds of combat troops in the Pakistan Army are infantry, these are insufficient for both roles; defence of the international border and anti-terrorist operations.

 

The point here is that, though not unanimous in their opinion, some psychiatrists are of the view that soldiers who see their superiors of high ranks expose themselves to combat, are less likely to suffer from battle fatigue and related subjects.

Consequently, all the “arms” in the army have been rotating to take turns in combat in what is called “Infantry Role” i.e., for a specified period, troops and officers from Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, Signals, all go into battle as if they were infantry.


All infantry units and, to a slightly lesser degree, other units seem to be in combat zone endlessly. They are moved out from anti-guerrilla operations to be deployed at, either the LOC/Working Boundary between AJK and IOK or the international border.
A stint on border defence is considered peacetime station. It is during this period that units get to train troops.

thepaksoldier.jpgI was not aware of the fact that there is an international index on Troops to Officers’ Casualty Ratio (TOCR), among other related indices, until it was pointed out to me one day in a discussion abroad, when I was a Lt Col. The context was that the Pakistani TOCR was very high and, therefore, the Pakistani officer was, by inference, naturally foolhardy or was trained to be so.
Even then, I protested this inference.

 

I am proud of having been an ordinary soldier, not even a “has-been” but, a never-was in an army that has bred such proud soldiers in all ranks.

But now, I have studied the subject. Yes, the Pakistani TOCR is high; it has always been. Until we entered GWOT, it was as high as 1:12 i.e., to every 12 soldiers we lost an officer. Now it has risen further; it is 1:9.


I am very proud of this because our young officer leads from the front; dies but not buckles!
Wherever the officers lead, the troops invariably follow. Where the officer merely commands, troops may still go but their performance is likely to be less enthusiastic. And where troops are always merely commanded, their enthusiasm will wane more and more.

 

thepaksoldier1.jpgDuring the Second World War, the American general George S. Patton slapped a soldier who had been admitted to hospital due to “battle fatigue”. Patton, being obviously unfamiliar with the reality of this disease, accused the soldier of malingering.


The hospital staff complained and it came to the notice of Patton’s superiors and Patton had to tender a public apology or lose his command. He apologized.
The point here is that, though not unanimous in their opinion, some psychiatrists are of the view that soldiers who see their superiors of high ranks expose themselves to combat, are less likely to suffer from battle fatigue and related subjects.


If this contention is true, then Patton may have been the victim of a verdict which was harsher than it could have been; merely because Patton was among the generals who also led.
But, when I learnt of this index, I also learnt of other related ones i.e., Battle Fatigue Ratio (BFR), Ratio of Suicide in Combat (RSC), etc.


Until this last experience, our wars had been too brief to result in such consequences. This experience has made up for lost centuries. And yet, we have an amazingly low ratio of those suffering from battle fatigue or related mental disorders; under 0.5%.

 

Many of our today’s officers may have never heard of a “Mess-Night” or “Dinner Night”. They may have no appetite for attire and refined niceties and, may use their hands to feed themselves, instead of a fork or knife, they may even be incapable of small talk. But give them a weapon, give them a section to command and you can sleep well; confident that your country is well guarded.

Admittedly, due to lack of awareness among troops, there may be some suffering from problems who have not reported it. But still, it is amazingly low.
There has not been a single instance of suicide in the combat zone. Some soldiers have committed suicide after returning home. Perhaps a couple of dozen. The majority among them could be suffering from either post-combat disorders or post-retirement domestic pressure. Even so, the percentage is closer to nil than to a number.


About two decades ago, a rather unfriendly neighbour was in a similar situation fighting numerous domestic insurgencies. Though considerably better off than we have been, their infantry units were rotating at the rate of 3:2:3 i.e., three years in combat zone, two years in a peace station and again three years in combat.


I recall the concerns being expressed by their general staff about, not only the increasing number of suicides among soldiers but also of “combat murders”. Murders of NCOs/JCOs/officers by soldiers during combat.


There is not a single recorded instance of murder in combat in the last fifteen years in the Pakistan Army.

thepaksoldier2.jpgYes, indeed, this is a battle hardened army with veteran soldiers of all ranks.
Many of our today’s officers may have never heard of a “Mess-Night” or “Dinner Night”. They may have no appetite for attire and refined niceties and, may use their hands to feed themselves, instead of a fork or knife, they may even be incapable of small talk. But give them a weapon, give them a section to command and you can sleep well; confident that your country is well guarded.


I am the patient of an insatiable and incurable disease: curiosity. So, despite the fact that I shed my uniform a little under two decades ago, I have had occasion to see this army grow in stature and ability.
In 2009, when forces were assembling for the assault on South Waziristan, I spoke to few of the soldiers. My chief concern was that they were going to assault an area where their brethren resided. But they were grimly determined and sure of their being in the ‘right’. Even the Pashtun among them knew they were fighting an “enemy”.


I recall my first visit to the casualty ward of CMH to meet injured soldiers and the officers’ ward in CMH to visit wounded officers. Some had lost limbs, others maimed and bed-ridden for life. But almost all were looking ahead at what they could do despite their injuries and handicap. These were men with wounded bodies but hearts and a will of steel that was infinite!


Those who seemed depressed, were being cajoled by other wounded. They could laugh at their own sufferings, share concerns of their fellows, and grieve their dead and yet, dream of their future. I was amazed and I still weep unashamedly as I narrate this heartwarming and chilling incident.
In 2014 and ’15 again I met soldiers and this time they could smile through their determination. These were genuine veterans.


I am proud of having been an ordinary soldier, not even a “has-been” but, a never-was in an army that has bred such proud soldiers in all ranks.


No wonder Gen (R) Raheel Sharif could warn our enemies not to take this army of veterans lightly. Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa could well do the same and say, “Don’t take this army of veterans lightly. These are the finest of fighting soldiers”.


While it would remain unsaid but implicit in the statement above is that it is led at each level, not commanded.

 

The writer is a retired Brigadier, former Vice Pesident and founder of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)

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

 
08
February

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

interview_sardar_masood_khan.jpg

Kashmiris in IOK are suffering grievously;
the world must come forward and help us rescue them; it is our collective responsibility;
not just of Pakistan
and the people
of Kashmir.

Sardar Masood Khan

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Q: Where exactly do we stand at this point in our struggle for achieving right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir?
Ans: The struggle for the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir goes on unabated, but any process for its realization, bilateral or multilateral, is stalled because of India's obdurate opposition. Kashmiris are right now facing an existential challenge; how to put an end to killings and mass blindings unleashed by Indian security forces since July 8, 2016. An estimated unarmed 12.5 million Kashmiris are pitted against 700,000 Indian occupation troops which are armed to the teeth. Out of which, some 400,000 troops terrorize, kill, maim and torture the 7 million residents of the Valley of Kashmir. Mass graves of thousands have been discovered; thousands have been victims of enforced disappearances; 'half widows', mothers and families wait forever for those who have "disappeared". The UN and international community have, practically, washed their hands off the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan extends moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris, but for their physical self-defence they are on their own. This is one of the biggest calamities of our times.


Q: No matter what means are used by the oppressors, history tells us that freedom movements for individual and collective rights have always won. Under the historical framework, are the recent brutalities by India a part of self-defeating mechanism?
Ans: Yes, freedom movements have always succeeded but at a huge cost. Kashmiris are paying that cost with their blood and honour. Imperialists coerce and brutalize subjugated nations to assimilate and exploit them. India is doing precisely that. Using colonial tactics, it is making the price of freedom so prohibitive that, they hope, Kashmiris would be terrorized into submission; dissent would be silenced; and the flame of liberty would be extinguished forever. And yes, despite India's killings and depredations, the flame of freedom burns to its full in Kashmir. For the past seven decades, in order to make IOK part of India's body politic, Delhi has used brute military force to crush the will of the Kashmiris, tried to win them over through blandishments for economic development, nurtured and propped up local political parties sympathetic to India, and demonized Kashmiris as terrorists being supported by Pakistan. As if killing Kashmiris was not enough for Indians, they have been targeting and killing scores of civilians and soldiers on our side of the Line of Control (LOC), too.


Nothing has worked for India. All its plots and machinations have failed, but that has not meant any reduction in the pain and suffering of the Kashmiris. In fact, with each coming year, Indian occupation forces are using more lethal methods and weaponry to escalate state terrorism in Kashmir. India's terror machine in IOK will not dissolve on its own. We need urgent intercession to put an end to Indian acts of genocide and crimes against humanity in Kashmir. Left to its diabolical devices, India's barbarity will become more vicious and will continue in perpetuity. Intercession is needed.


Q: Usually Kashmir Dispute is seen through the prism of so-called Instrument of Accession with India by Maharaja Hari Singh and a revolt by Kashmiris; whereas the struggle for fundamental rights of Kashmiris is much older and deeper. The original sin is attributed to the British who sold it off to the Sikh Maharaja that later Hindu leadership conspired and annexed at partition in 1947?


Ans: Kashmiris were treated as chattel by the British; they are still being treated as colonial subjects by India. The dark night of the people of IOK under foreign occupation and alien domination has become darker. Historically, both – Britain and India – are guilty of inflicting injustice on a peaceful and proud nation.


Q: Historians like Alastair Lamb have questioned the legitimacy of the Instrument of Accession as before it became effectual, the Indian forces had landed on Srinagar Airport on October 27, 1947 Does that make them invaders outrightly?

 

• Despite India's killings and depredations, the flame of freedom burns to its full in Kashmir.
• With each coming year, Indian occupation forces are using more lethal methods and weaponry to escalate state terrorism in Kashmir.
• Left to its diabolical devices, India's barbarity will become more vicious and will continue in perpetuity. Intercession is needed.
• One cannot trust India when it comes to Kashmir.
• Historically, both – Britain and India – are guilty of inflicting injustice on a peaceful and proud nation.
• India is guilty of illegal occupation of Srinagar and later of the Valley of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh on October 27, 1947.
• The blame that Pakistan did not withdraw the troops first as per UNSC resolutions and thus did not initiate the Plebiscite process is factually incorrect; historically a misnomer.
• India made a sinister plan to attack Azad Kashmir and occupy it after withdrawal of Pakistani troops in 1950s.v
• Indian Deep State is following the policy of ‘continuous encroachment’ towards Kashmir.
• Simla Agreement does not reduce the Kashmir dispute to a bilateral issue.
• Despite all machinations, India has not succeeded in integrating Kashmir into India.
• September 11 incident has been exploited by India. The Kashmiris have the right to defend themselves.
• Western powers see profit and strategic benefits in their relationship with India.
• No matter what move or counter-move Indian occupation forces make, Kashmiris have vowed to continue their struggle. They will prevail.

Ans: Alastair Lamb's meticulous research is seminal on this question. He has established authoritatively, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the so-called Instrument of Accession is a fake document and therefore, by corollary, India is guilty of illegal occupation of Srinagar and later of the Valley of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh on October 27, 1947. This document has never been communicated to Pakistan or to the UN; nor its original or a satisfactory copy has been produced. The Maharajah could not have signed that document on October 26, 1947, as claimed by India, because on that day he was travelling between Jammu and Srinagar. All evidence points to the fact the Maharajah did not sign the documents and the Indian occupation forces landed in Srinagar on October 27 to beef up some Indian troops which had already secured the airport in mid-October. The irony is that India is not amenable to such fine legal points which it expunged from its lingo early on and has always owned its forcible entry into IOK to establish its illicit writ. It makes no bones about it and flaunts the thin veneer of its (il) legitimacy in Kashmir.


Q: How do you see Gandhi and Nehru’s role in genesis and perpetuation of this problem?
Ans: Gandhi very strongly advocated for a united India and his pre-Partition stance towards Kashmir falls in the same category. After Partition, in all fairness, Gandhi once said in one of his prayer meetings, "If the people of Kashmir are in favour of Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so... they should be left free to decide for themselves..." But Nehru is a different story. He made promises to hold the plebiscite to ascertain the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and he did agree to implement UN Security Council resolutions; and then he reneged on his promises. This kind of duplicity and dissimulation permeates India’s foreign policy. You can't trust them when it comes to Kashmir. The world knows that Kashmir does not belong to India; and Indians know that too because Kashmiri men, women and children hold a plebiscite every day to say ‘GO INDIA, GO BACK, LEAVE OUR KASHMIR’.


Q: Few scholars, particularly Indian and Western scholars, blame Pakistan for not withdrawing troops after the UN Resolutions in 1950s and thus failing to create the right conditions for the Plebiscite?
Ans: This is not true. One needs to read Security Council Resolution 98 of December 30, 1952 that provided that 3000 to 6000 Pakistani troops would remain on the Pakistani side (Azad Kashmir) and 12,000 to 18,000 on the Indian side (IOK) to pave the way for the holding of a UN-supervised plebiscite. Disagreement arose when India demanded that Pakistan should withdraw its forces first, whereas Pakistan insisted that this be done simultaneously. Pakistan saw through India's sinister plan in 1950s: to make Pakistan vacate Azad Kashmir so that it could attack and occupy it later. Again this is a fine point and disingenuous stance by Delhi about the implementation of the UN resolutions, because India had already started underhand, specious and illegal political and constitutional processes to integrate IOK into the Indian Union. In July 1952, Sheikh Abdullah signed Delhi Agreement with India to establish Centre-State relationship and to attain an "autonomous status" for the State. The real objective was to annex the occupied territory. In November that year, the so-called Constituent Assembly (the one rejected by the UN Security Council as being a substitute for the plebiscite) passed a resolution to formally abolish the Maharajah's rule and replace it with Sadar-i-Riyasat. All of this was happening in 1952. Where was India's intent or action to withdraw its troops?

 

interview_sardar_masood_khan1.jpgQ: Since 1947 Indian policies towards Kashmir follow a pattern of ‘continuous encroachment’. What next moves do you expect from Indian Deep State which has followed this policy of encroachment irrespective of any political government in New Delhi?
Ans: After the assumption of office, the BJP Government has taken a series of steps to accelerate the pace for the permanent annexation of the IOK into the Indian Union. Its main objective is to scuttle the special status given grudgingly to IOK, change the demography of the occupied territory and further squeeze the space for Kashmiris. It has encouraged and orchestrated steps to abolish Article 35 (A) of the Indian Constitution, an offshoot of Article 370, that gives special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir in regard to employment, acquisition of immovable property, settlement in the state and scholarships. The BJP, backed by the Hindu extremist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is also taking incremental steps and preparing the ground for the repeal of Article 370 itself; and this was in fact its stand during the 2014 elections. Right from the beginning this article was all but a thin veneer to "legalize" India's occupation of the territory and with extensions of Indian legislation to IOK it has been all but eviscerated. In addition, the 2002 SARFAESI
(Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act is being imposed on IOK for seizure, auction and sale of the mortgaged immovable properties to non-Kashmiris. In yet another "encroachment" on the rights of the Kashmiris, nativity certificates are being issued to the so-called West Pakistan refugees to increase the population of Non-Kashmiris in the IOK. Illegal settlements for ex-Army personnel and Pandits, on the pattern of Israeli settlements, are being built. Above all, through electoral maneuvers, the BJP is elbowing out even pro-India Kashmiri, but essentially Muslim, political parties – the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party – to dominate the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly so as to "legitimize" all these steps.


Q: Indians often tell the world that after Simla Agreement in 1972, Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two countries. What are your views on this Indian claim?
Ans: The Kashmir issue never was and will never be a bilateral issue; it is a trilateral issue involving Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite repeated misinterpretations by India, the Simla Agreement does not reduce the Kashmir dispute to a bilateral issue. Nowhere does the treaty say or imply that. Article 1(i) of the agreement invokes the principles and purposes of the UN Charter; Article 1(ii) states that the two countries would settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them; Article 4(2) highlights the recognized positions of both sides; and Article 6 talks about the final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir. I think the Ceasefire Line in Jammu and Kashmir should not have been called the Line of Control; that was a mistake. That said, the Indian claim to the Indian Occupied Kashmir is not recognized in the agreement. Most importantly, the agreement does not overrule the rights of the Kashmiris or override the application of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and international law upholding the right to self-determination. A reference to the UN, though not stated explicitly in the agreement, remains intact.

 

interview_sardar_masood_khan2.jpgThe real harm has not been done by the Simla Agreement but by the elusive bilateral dialogue process. While Pakistan sincerely tried to pursue this path, India has used it to (a) reduce the core issue of Kashmir to one of the eight or ten agenda items; and (b) acquire a veto over the commencement and timetable of the dialogue. India would scuttle the process on the slightest pretext and push Pakistan to a position of begging for dialogue. Talks on Kashmir, if they ever start, India tells Pakistan there will be no dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir because it is an integral part of India; and the only thing the two sides can talk about is terrorism. India used these tactics to cause inordinate delays in the possible resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute so that the status quo in Kashmir gets legitimacy. Despite all such machinations, India has not succeeded in integrating Kashmir into India.


Q: How much has September 11 affected Kashmir Freedom Movement in its claims for legitimacy?
Ans: The stark irony is that Indian Army, one of the largest and most equipped armies of the world, has waged a full throttle, ferocious war against the people of IOK, the most unarmed people in the world. Indian Army is killing non-combatant civilians, who are demanding their freedom from Indian subjugation and their right to self-determination. Indians are calling this demand terrorism. Pakistan and people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are extending their moral, diplomatic and political support to the people of Kashmir. The Kashmiris have the right to defend themselves. If the most powerful nations on earth have the right to defend themselves according to the UN Charter, why is it being denied to the people of Kashmir? To allow India to persevere in its carnage? One thing is clear: the struggle for freedom and self-determination, such as that of Kashmiris, is not terrorism.


Q: Where do you see the UN, USA and the international community supporting the cause of Kashmiris and taking it to the logical point of exercising the Right to Self-determination?
Ans: The bitter truth is that right now Kashmir is not on the radar screen of the global powers or even the United Nations. This does not mean we will be discouraged or disheartened. We will continue to knock on their doors until we get their attention. Western powers see profit and strategic benefits in their relationship with India. I call it rank mercantilism and misplaced strategic alignments. But let's not get into that. We are confident that our message will resonate in world capitals and like other peoples of the world, the Kashmiris too would get their rights. President Trump, the newly elected President of the U.S., has hinted that he would like to play a role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute; and the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has given indications that he would use his good offices. So let's not lose hope. The world order is in flux and we hope that the emerging global order will address the suppression of people under foreign occupation and alien domination, such as in Kashmir.


Q: India is implementing demographic changes by New Hindu Settlements (NHS) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) particularly in Muslim majority areas. Is any role being played by the UN as seen in case of Jewish Settlements by Israel?
Ans: The Palestinians got that break in the UN Security Council after a long time. And that victory appears to be evanescent because the new U.S. Administration has resolved to reverse this decision. Israel has become even more defiant. This teaches us one lesson; we should be resilient. We should continue to send communications to the UN Security Council, the Secretary General, and the Human Rights Council about these illegal settlements that are altering the character of the state that is yet to decide its political future. We, the people of Azad Kashmir, IOK and, above all, Pakistan should be the primary custodians of the parameters for the UN resolutions on Kashmir.


Q: How do you view the ongoing indigenous struggle in IOK and Indian counter-moves?
Ans: No matter what moves or counter-moves Indian occupation forces make, Kashmiris have vowed to continue their struggle. They will prevail.


Q: What basic steps would you recommend towards the resolution of this historic issue which has the potential to become a nuclear flash point?


Ans: Here are the eleven points:

(1) Hold India accountable for its atrocities at all international forums.

(2) Revive the international dimension of the Kashmir dispute and pursue your case with full vigour.

(3) Do not abandon the path of engagement with India despite its obduracy; and maintain your moral high ground on a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute through diplomacy even if this track seems unproductive in the short-term.

(4) Continue to develop Pakistan's nuclear and conventional capability.

(5) Continue to invest in strategic restraint and responsibility.

(6) Consolidate the strengths of your diaspora community, especially in North America and Europe.

(7) Use the tools of communication, including the traditional and modern media, at the strategic level to get your message across.

(8) Use all possible avenues to express solidarity with the people of IOK.

(9) Make Pakistan strong economically and bring it on par with other emerging economies.

(10) Make Azad Jammu and Kashmir a model state in terms of economic development and governance.

(11) Reach out to Indian civil society to persuade them to speak up for the rights of Kashmiris and not be a party to India's crimes against humanity in IOK through silence which amounts to acquiescence.

 

Q: What is your message to the people of AJK, IOK, Pakistan, India, and the world?

Ans: Kashmiris in IOK are suffering grievously; the world must come forward and help us rescue them; it is our collective responsibility; not just of Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.

 
08
February

Written By: Zamir Akram

Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

Pakistan and India are currently in a race to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a cartel of 48 countries that regulates the trade in nuclear materials and technologies. Membership of the group is considered by both countries as acceptance into the nuclear mainstream and recognition of their status as responsible nuclear weapon states – a status that has been denied to them since their nuclear tests in 1998. Membership can also help them overcome their energy crises by easy access to nuclear energy. Since NSG decisions are taken by consensus, all NSG members have to agree to accept Pakistan and India as members but evolving such consensus is both complicated and contentious.

 

racefornsg.jpgNuclear technology is dual use – it can be used for civilian or peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and for developing nuclear weapons. To contain the spread of nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons 'proliferation', the major nuclear powers – the United States and the (then) Soviet Union – negotiated an international treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT in 1968 according to which the countries that had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968 were accepted as Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and the others, the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) undertook not to acquire nuclear weapons in return for assurances that they would receive international assistance for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and that the NWS would engage in efforts towards ultimate nuclear disarmament. Apart from the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the UK, France and China, which had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968, were recognized as NWS by the NPT while the others were forbidden to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. At the time France and China refused to join the NPT while among the NNWS, India, Israel and Pakistan also refused to sign the NPT. Whereas India described the treaty as discriminatory, Pakistan argued that owing to its security concerns vis-a-vis India, it would join the treaty only if India did so. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), created in 1957 to promote only peaceful uses of nuclear energy, was tasked to ensure implementation of the NPT.

 

This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.

However, the first Indian nuclear test in 1974 demonstrated that despite the NPT and the IAEA, a country could use its peaceful or civilian nuclear facilities to clandestinely develop nuclear weapons capability by illicitly diverting nuclear fuel and technology from civilian to military purposes. As a result, the 1974 Indian nuclear test led to the creation of the NSG in the same year to plug the gaps and prevent clandestine diversion of nuclear materials.


The Indian test also led to the enactment of several laws in the U.S. aimed at preventing further acts of nuclear proliferation through sanctions. However, neither the U.S. nor any other NWS did much in practical terms to punish Indian proliferation. The French even sent a congratulatory message to the Indians! On the other hand, focus shifted towards preventing Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons through such laws as the Glenn and Symington Amendments and then through the Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment which was used to put sanctions on Pakistan in 1990. Earlier, the U.S. also extended extreme pressure on France to cancel its Reprocessing Plant agreement with Pakistan. This was the start of the discriminatory treatment of Pakistan compared to India by the U.S. and its Western partners which continues till today. Only China has extended cooperation to Pakistan in the civilian nuclear field, even after it joined the NPT and the NSG on the basis of the “grand father” clause that it signed before joining these organizations.


The next major Indian act of nuclear proliferation was the tests in May 1998. Washington was caught totally unaware by these tests as its focus had been entirely on Pakistan despite the newly elected BJP government’s declared intention of acquiring nuclear weapons as well as fore-warnings by Pakistan about the preparations for these tests by India. The Western reaction, led by the U.S., was to pressurize Pakistan not to respond by conducting its own tests. However, Pakistan’s compulsion to ensure the credibility of its deterrence in the face of dire Indian threats led to the tests by Pakistan a few days later. In response the U.S. and its partners made no distinction between the culprit and the victim, imposing sanctions on both and leading the international community in castigating the two countries through a UN Security Council resolution that called for discontinuing all forms of nuclear related cooperation with India and Pakistan.

 

For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

Within a couple of years, however, the global strategic dynamics, especially the growing American objective of containing a rising China, brought about a change in U.S. policy towards India motivated by the objective of using India as a counter-weight to China. This trend started by the Clinton administration was taken further by succeeding Presidents Bush and Obama. In a major departure from U.S. non-proliferation policy, Bush engineered changes in U.S. laws and pushed through in 2008 a country-specific waiver for India from the international non-proliferation and safe-guards regime including the NPT and the NSG, enabling India to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with several countries. Obama has taken this policy even further, promising to ensure Indian membership of the NSG and other technology control cartels like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is, indeed, ironic that the U.S. is pushing Indian membership of the NSG despite the fact that this group was set up in response to the Indian nuclear test of 1974. This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.


Meanwhile, the nuclear sanctions against Pakistan were waived in view of the U.S. need for Pakistan’s assistance in its so-called War on Terror following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.

Such discrimination at the policy level has been supplemented by American/Western efforts to build-up a negative narrative about Pakistan’s strategic program through manipulation of the western media, academics and think-tanks. This alleges that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program, which is at risk of being taken over by terrorists and extremists and that is destabilizing security in South Asia. These wild allegations are not supported by facts nor are they consistent with existing realities. The fact is that compared to India, Pakistan has far less nuclear facilities and that India has been producing nuclear weapons and fissile material for nuclear weapons as well as their delivery system before 1974, much before Pakistan launched its own strategic program. Moreover, after the 2008 waiver for India, it has been able to use its indigenous sources of fissile material exclusively for nuclear weapons production without needing to divide it between civilian and military use as Pakistan is forced to do. Add to this the fact that India has also been clandestinely diverting nuclear fuel imported under the 2008 waiver from civilian to military purposes. As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.


The question, therefore, arises as to why this discrimination against Pakistan? In my personal view, the real reason is that the U.S. and the western powers in general are uncomfortable with a Muslim country like Pakistan possessing a nuclear weapons capability even though Pakistan has always stated that this capability is for its deterrence against India and not against any other country. With the change in the global strategic environment wherein the U.S. is trying to contain China, an added factor has become the U.S. need to build-up India against China, owing to which Washington is actually helping India’s military build-up while seeking “restraint” by Pakistan.


A critical part of this U.S. strategy and a principal demand by India to partner with Washington is to ensure India’s inclusion and acceptance in the nuclear mainstream which would lead to India’s recognition as a de-facto if not de-jure member of the nuclear club – the P-5. Since Indian entry to the NPT as a nuclear weapon state is time barred and it is extremely difficult to amend the NPT deadline owing to opposition by the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) and China, the next best option is to have India accepted as a member of the NSG. That is the real reason for the concentrated efforts by the Modi-Obama clique to push Indian membership of the NSG.


For this reason it is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG. For sure, Pakistan’s credentials for NSG membership are at least equal if not better than those of India. Pakistan did not introduce nuclear weapons in South Asia. It is not responsible for the nuclear and missile race in the region – in fact after the 1998 tests, it proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia to prevent further development of de-stabilizing weapons – Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), nuclear Sub-marine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) – as is being done by India. Nor is Pakistan pursuing India’s lead in developing a hydrogen bomb which it is doing in Karnataka according to Adrian Levy in Foreign Policy (December 2015). Unlike India, Pakistan voted in favour of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the UN and observes a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. It has also offered a bilateral test ban arrangement to India which New Delhi has rejected. Pakistan also has a transparent and robust Command and Control System as well as effective fire-walls for the safety and security of its strategic assets consistent with IAEA guidelines. This has been recognized by the Director General of the IAEA. It is also noteworthy that Harvard University’s Belfer Center report of March 2016 quotes U.S. officials as stating that “India’s security measures are weaker than those of Pakistan” and that President Obama and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have repeatedly expressed confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear safety arrangements. As regards the specific work of the NSG, Pakistan has been implementing comprehensive export controls that are fully harmonized with those of the NSG.

It is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG.

Since applying for membership last June, Pakistan has reached out to all NSG member states and called upon them to consider its request on the basis of equitable, impartial and non-discriminatory criteria. These countries, while considering requests from both India and Pakistan, confront the central issue of how to deal with countries that are nuclear weapon states but not parties to the NPT, which is the existing criteria for NSG membership. The Obama administration, in its hurry to push through Indian membership before end of its tenure in office, has argued that India is already “like-minded” and should be given membership on that basis. However, sensing reluctance of some states to accept such a biased approach, most notably China, the U.S. agreed to evolve new criteria but advocated that it be no more than the commitments India has already given for its 2008 waiver. Accordingly, using intense pressure, the Americans persuaded the outgoing Chair of the NSG, Ambassador Grossi of Argentina and the current Chair, Ambassador Song of South Korea, to put forward a proposal in December 2016 designed to suit India but exclude Pakistan. According to this formula, the applicant state must separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities; accept an Additional Protocol with the IAEA; not divert any imported nuclear material to unsafeguarded facilities; enter into a safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all its existing and future civilian facilities; not to conduct any nuclear test and describe its policies in support of the CTBT. These are conditions that India has already accepted for the 2008 waiver or can give without compromising its nuclear program or position on the CTBT. The other elements of this proposal that are designed to virtually scuttle Pakistan’s membership are that it implicitly calls for Indian membership before Pakistan since it mentions that as a member India will not oppose other membership requests, an assurance that would be worthless for Pakistan; and, that even when Pakistan becomes a member it will still need to obtain waiver in order to be eligible for nuclear trade with other NSG members – a condition that can always be denied by India (or the U.S.) since the NSG works on the basis of consensus.


This formula is so fundamentally biased in India’s favour that more than 10 countries have expressed their opposition to it, including China, Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Turkey among others. Consequently, the NSG meeting scheduled for December last year had to be postponed till February-March 2017. These countries have also asked the ‘Chair’ to engage in a transparent consultative process with all NSG members and pursue the two stage process agreed at the Seoul NSG Plenary meeting in June 2016 according to which the group shall first agree by consensus on the membership criteria and then consider the applications of Pakistan and India.


Pakistan’s principled position on the need for an equitable and non-discriminatory criteria has, therefore, been vindicated and the attempt by the U.S. and other Indian supporters to give India preferential treatment has been defeated. President Obama will, therefore, not be able to fulfil his promise to his friend Modi. It remains to be seen whether the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, will carry on with this policy. Given the strategic convergence between the U.S. and India, it is likely that he will.


For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

 

Former ambassador Zamir Akram is currently Advisor to the Strategic Plans Division, Government of Pakistan. He remained Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations.

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