15
May
May 2017(EDITION 05, Volume 54)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
On account of the great promise of the advanced technology for communication, it has become a norm to communicate effortlessly and efficiently beyond the borders. Technology as the foundation of today’s modern society also governs its dynamics....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmed Quraishi
This is a watershed moment in Kashmir in the 69th year of Indian invasion and occupation of the disputed region. For regional and world peace, this moment should not pass without action.....Read full article
 
Written By: Farzana Yaqoob
A land once referred to as paradise, has been hell in the last century for the people of Kashmir. So much has been written about Kashmir. Its history, present condition and the aspirations of Kashmiris have been discussed time and again....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
India, presently, is undertaking its Middle East policy very seriously due to its energy needs, internal security challenges, regional/global politic....Read full article
 
Written By: Hasan Khan
The two-day Moscow Conference on Afghanistan held on April 14 and 15, in the Russian capital, asserted to coordinate regional efforts and facilitate the process of ‘national reconciliation’ to stabilize Afghanistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Huma Kirmani
Karachi, a city by the Arabian Sea, which was once known as the "City of Lights", is now bickering in its misery of infinite apprehensions and anticipation; though circumstances are quite blatantly streaming in sea breeze of this terror inflicted city....Read full article
 
Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Five years old Omran Daqneesh sits clueless in an ambulance. He has just been pulled out of rubble along with his family. Omran looks into camera, self-consciously he tries to fix his hair matted with blood sticking to his forehead. His own blood.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed
Violence is mostly understood and associated with religious extremism despite the fact that it has many shapes and forms – and all need to be condemned and countered. This is more so when a Muslim commits an act of violence, which as a result is associated with Islam....Read full article
 
Written By: Abdullah Khan
Reintegration of militants into the national fold is an uphill but essential task that the State of Pakistan has to accomplish. Majority of the militants fighting against us are our own citizens. We need to think seriously about how to bring those who fell in the hands....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem
How do we keep a pulse on the economy? How does one evaluate the real health of an economy? Broadly speaking, an economy can be divided up into the internal sector and the external sector. Economic indicators are then used to ascertain or judge the current.....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil
The remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood Azad
The estimated mid-2015 population in Pakistan stands at 199.0 million, which ranks 6th amongst the highest populated countries in the world following China, India, United States, Indonesia and Brazil. With the ongoing pace and momentum the population of Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Maryam Razzaq
As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag everyone just stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success.....Read full article
 
The winter session Passing Out Parade of 135th PMA Long Course, 54th Integrated Course and 7th Mujahid Course was held on April 15, 2017. The Reviewing Officer and Chief Guest of the parade was His.....Read full article
 
A stable, peaceful and normalized Pakistan with terrorists' freedom of action significantly curtailed through a comprehensive approach of consolidating gains in the Western Zone, cleansing.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz ahmed
Man possesses two distinct traits of individuality and personality. Individuality makes him a unique part of the natural and social whole of the mankind. Personality gives him a unique spiritual self-determination. In the social context, man is highly interdependent.....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
The new CM of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Satiyanass Adityanath, has termed his appointment as the start of a glorious era in India. A modest, simple yogi, Adityanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant.....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Atta
If there’s anything that the World Wars have shown the nations, it’s that you always have to stay ahead of everyone in terms of military strength. Following the Second World War, countries across the world have become wary of direct conflict and have instead adopted.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Asim Ishaq
The United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a joint African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007 to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur .....Read full article

 
 
Written By: Aqeel Malik
Sports have always been the hallmark of Pakistan Armed Forces besides high standard of professionalism in their respective fields. The apex performance of men/women in uniform in various sports activities, both inland and abroad, have always been applauded and acknowledged.....Read full article
 
General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, addressed combined faculty and students of Command and Staff Colleges, Quetta, Pak Navy War College and Air War College............Read full article
 
Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Evolving regional security matrix and other issues of mutual interest were discussed.....Read full article
 
Command and Staff Conference of Pakistan Navy was held at Naval Headquarters, Islamabad. The Conference was chaired by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. Matters related to operational .....Read full article
 
Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4 being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad....Read full article
 
Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017 concluded at the newly built Lahore Garrison Shooting Gallery (LGSG) in a graceful ceremony. Commander Lahore Corps Lt General Sadiq Ali was the Chief Guest....Read full article
 
It was yet another historic day in the remarkable history of Pakistan Air Force No 9 Multirole Squadron, when it was declared the twin of the renowned No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force in a grand ceremony ....Read full article
 
2nd Pak Army Team Spirit (PATS) competition concluded at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) near Jehlum. A total of 10 foreign military teams including China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives....Read full article
 
The first ever Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was conducted in the adjoining waters of Malacca Straits. Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising Sword Class .....Read full article
 
09
May

Excerpts from DG ISPR’s Briefing on April 17, 2017

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad Strategy
End State
A stable, peaceful and normalized Pakistan with terrorists' freedom of action significantly curtailed through a comprehensive approach of consolidating gains in the Western Zone, cleansing terrorist support base, illegal weapons and explosives control in the country, thereby restoring public's confidence.

Cardinals
Stable, peaceful and a normalized Pakistan
Only the state has the authority to use force.
Stabilization of Western Zone – Denial of freedom of action to terrorists.
Dismantling terrorist support base in heartland – Dilution of residual potential of terrorists.
Support implementation of National Action Plan as whole-of-nation approach.
Support policy initiatives included national counter narrative.
Army fights the terrorists; terrorism and extremism are fought by the Law Enforcement Agencies (whole-of-nation approach).

Manifestation
Broad spectrum security/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations by Rangers in Punjab, continuation of ongoing operations across the country.
Focus on more effective Pakistan-Afghanistan border security management.
Countrywide de-weaponization and explosive control long term reforms.

optbrief1.jpg

Border Management
Fencing
Total border FATA / KP - 1172 Km (Total border with Afghanistan 2611 Km)
Fenceable area - 744 Km
Non Fenceable area (Dir/Chitral) - 428 Km
Pri 1 (Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber) - 100 Km

Border Posts/Forts
Completed - 43
Under construction - 63
Pipeline - 338 (2019)
Census

6th Population and Housing Census commenced on March 15, 2017. Census process is divided into two phases spread over 72 days with a 10 day gap in between the phases. There are total 168,274 blocks, 20645 circles, 3312 charge and 458 census districts in the country. First phase of census which commenced on March 15 successfully completed despite few odd attempts to disrupt the process. 7 soldiers laid their lives including 5 victims of Lahore suicide bomber attack while 15 (9 suicide bomber attack, 6 road accidents) were injured. Phase 2 is commencing from April 25 to May 25. Army considers this a national undertaking and will do everything that is necessary for accomplishment of the process.

Development Work (Countrywide including FATA)
o Infrastructure - 86 Projects
o Roads: Constructed - 14820 Kms; Ongoing - 1363 Kms; Total - 16183 Kms
o Bridges - 833 Nos
o Build operate transfer projects - 9 Nos
o Thermal Projects - 26 Nos
o Air Fds - 62 Nos
o Rly Projects - 376 Kms
o Laying Fiber Optics - 6910 Kms
o Tunnels - 15 Nos
o Canals - 533 Kms
Schools/Colleges FATA Specific
o New - 67 Nos
Cadet Colleges - 4 Nos
Others - 63 Nos
o Reconstructed - 147 Nos
Health Related Projects
o Water Supply System (WSS)
11 Major Projects (Including Projects like Gomal Zam Dam, Khanpur Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam)
343 Water Supply Systems all over FATA/Balochistan
Pers
o Children Studying in APS&C Across Pakistan
FATA - 1195 Nos
Balochistan
Studying in APS - 545 Nos
Chamlang Students - 4375 Nos

optbrief2.jpg

COAS
o Pakistan Army is a state institution working for security and stability as force of peace and order, and acknowledges support of the nation which is hallmark of our commitment and motivation.
o Radd-ul-Fasaad is an operation in which every Pakistani is a soldier. We have to clear Pakistan of Fasaad and Fassadies together while staying united.
o Social media has become a menace because of its misuse. We must educate ourselves especially youth for its purposeful use rather than falling prey to hostile agenda/design.

Thanks to all stakeholders for supporting Army and participating in Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.

optbrief3.jpg

 
 
09
May

Written By: Aqeel Malik

Sports have always been the hallmark of Pakistan Armed Forces besides high standard of professionalism in their respective fields. The apex performance of men/women in uniform in various sports activities, both inland and abroad, have always been applauded and acknowledged.

 

theacmeofskils.jpgCISM (Conseil International Du Sport Militaire) is an international sports association, established in February 1948 in France to promote sports activities and physical education between armed forces as a means to foster world peace. Pakistan, Argentina, Egypt, USA, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were a few of its initial members in early fifties. At the moment CISM comprises 135 member nations. CISM organizes over twenty World Military Championships annually. It also holds Military World Games every four years with approximately 6000 participants including Olympic medalists and World Champions.


Pakistan was the first Asian country which organized the CISM Annual General Assembly Congress at Lahore in 1959. Pakistan has the honor to organize four world military sports events including hockey, sea sports, golf and sailing championships since then. Pakistan Armed Forces have won four gold, one silver and five bronze medals in CISM individual as well as team sports events from 2005 to 2015 including golf, boxing, taekwondo, cricket and wrestling. In 2016 alone Pakistan Armed Forces won two silver medals in CISM Golf and Sailing Championships held at Netherlands and Pakistan respectively.


Besides team sports events individual officers of Pakistan Armed Forces have also been conferred with distinct honors and awards by CISM. Commodore Zafar Mehmood of Pakistan Navy was appointed CISM President for Golf from 2008 to 2012. CISM awards of merit “Grand Knight” have been conferred on Colonel Muhammad Asif Zaman of Pakistan Army and Captain Ansar Mahmood from Pakistan Navy in 2013 and 2016. Pakistan Armed Forces hence remain the flag bearer of the CISM axiom “Friendship through Sports”.


(Aqeel Malik)

 
09
May

Written By: Amir Atta

If there’s anything that the World Wars have shown the nations, it’s that you always have to stay ahead of everyone in terms of military strength. Following the Second World War, countries across the world have become wary of direct conflict and have instead adopted a more subtle approach of stealth, sabotage and infiltration.

 

everythinguneed.jpgAircraft have seen the biggest improvement in this sector as a fighter jet’s success depends on its ability to infiltrate enemy's lines, hit its targets and get out unnoticed. Such airborne jets can easily succumb to enemy's fire after being detected by radar systems. Thus the need to nullify enemy's radars in order to improve the effectiveness of jet aircraft arises.


How Does Stealth Technology Work?
Stealth jet fighters are designed to diffuse signals from all types of radars. While it is not possible to make aircraft completely invisible, conventional radars can be made ineffective against stealth aircrafts.

 

everythinguneed1.jpgStealth is a combination of passive low observable features and active emitters. These, alongside planned mission maneuvers, reduce an aircraft’s radar cross-section (reflection of radar signals). Turning or opening the bomb bay can double a jet fighter’s radar signal return.


However, beating radar signal is only one of the five factors in making a truly stealthy design. The designers also need to make it harder for heat-seeking missiles to detect a plane. Naked eye identification and noise are two factors which can let anyone identify the location of a jet. Radio transmissions to (and from) an aircraft also need to be controlled such that the enemy cannot triangulate the location using the communication signals.


At the very least, a stealthy aircraft needs to comply with the following guidelines:
● Hide thermal emissions
● Alter general configuration, like split rudder, to minimise radar detection
● Reduce radar detection when opening weapons bay
● Avoid detection in adverse weather conditions


Limitations
The goals for designing a stealth based jet fighter are relatively simple when you consider the several limitations of such designs.

 

everythinguneed2.jpgInitial designs had minimal radar interference but they faced control issues. Such planes required constant flight corrections from a fly-by-wire system. The most popular stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, was based on an unconventional design from 1940s to increase stability.


The hot exhausts sonic boom when flying faster than the speed of sound and surface heat from flying at such speeds increases infrared footprint. Designers had to sacrifice maneuverability to deal with the issue. More recently though, at least three stealth jet fighters have the latest performance characteristics, thanks to superior flight control systems, engines, airframe designs and materials.


Even with current technology, stealth aircraft are vulnerable to detection during and immediately after using their weapons or releasing payloads. Even older radars can detect stealth jet fighters when hidden weapons surface. Even though aircraft can reacquire their stealth after using the weapons, any fast surface-to-air defence system has the opportunity to engage the aircraft.


Workarounds are employed to avoid temporary detection. Bomber aircraft take flight at very high altitudes which can make it virtually impossible for defence systems to engage the plane. Fighter aircraft (only two until now) can open bays, release payload and return to stealth mode in less than a second, reducing the overall vulnerability time. There still are problems when some weapons require the weapon's guidance system to acquire the target while still attached to the aircraft. Trade-offs have to be made when deciding between the destructive ability of a plane and its stealth capability.

 

everythinguneed3.jpgSince stealth aircraft carry all fuel and armament internally, the payload has to be reduced in weight or size.


Modern stealth jet fighters make use of a sensitive signal absorbent skin called Radar-Absorbent Materials (RAMs). These materials contain carbon black particles and some have tiny iron spheres. Other materials are classified and still not known. This material can be damaged very easily.


Stealth aircraft require large amounts of investment, usually in billions of dollars, before a working unit can be manufactured. The cost of such jets is usually much higher than conventional models. One of the U.S. programs for stealth jet fighters costs nearly $1 trillion.


Passive radars, bistatic radars and multistatic radars can detect some stealth aircraft. Modern radar systems like Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Associative Aperture Synthesis Radar (AASR) can employ inexpensive means to locate low observable targets.


Similarly, Schlieren (atmospheric disturbances) can also be used to identify stealth aircraft. Passive signature intelligence can be used to detect objects between space and earth. Once a plane is detected, its stealth signature can be loaded into a library such that it can enable live satellite search for stealth fighters.


According to some analysts, Infra-red search and track systems (IRSTs) can be used to nullify the stealth system of some aircraft by using their frictional heat to identify them. Long Wavelength Radars are also effective against some stealth technologies. OTH (over-the-horizon) radar is a new technology which can overcome certain stealth characteristics.


China also claims to have developed a radar system capable of detecting all stealth aircraft with impunity.


Modern Stealth Jet Fighters
Until now, only the U.S. has used stealth aircraft in combat. It was used first in Panama in 1990 followed by the Gulf War, Kosovo conflict, Afghanistan, Iraq and recently in Libya. Some of the stealth fighters and bombers are listed below:


● F-35 Lightning II (USA)
● B-2 Spirit (USA)
● F-22 Raptor (USA)
● Chengdu J-20 (China)
● Shenyang J-31 (China)


Unmanned stealth aircraft are owned by several military forces while working manned aircraft are still scarce. Most have faced issues leading to cancellation of such projects. Russia, India, Iran, Sweden and the U.S. are in process of developing new stealth aircraft.


Due to the large investments and huge amounts of research required for such projects, it is hard to say major improvements or newer models from any of the countries could be seen in the near future.

 

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

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

 
09
May

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

The new CM of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Satiyanass Adityanath, has termed his appointment as the start of a glorious era in India. A modest, simple yogi, Adityanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant zoologist and better looking than Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan.


In fact he has issued orders banning the entry of both the Khans into UP until they publicly declare their admiration of Adityanath’s spiritual, political, zoological and physical prowess. He also wants them to milk his cows and feed his monkeys.

 

thusspokeadiyanath.jpgAdityanath was made UP’s CM by Indian PM Narendra Modi after his Bharatiya Danga Party (BDP) swept last month’s state elections in UP. Modi, who is a modern-day manifestation of the ancient and hallowed Red Indian Chief, Mogambo, believes that Adityanath is the right man to make UP what it was originally supposed to be: i.e., Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki – an ancient Cowtopia where men and cows co-existed in complete harmony because there were no Muslims; and the evil dark-skinned people were never allowed to venture out of their natural abodes in the city’s sewerage system.


As a first step to build a new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki, Adityanath has decreed that for every fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu woman dishonoured by a Muslim man, fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu men are allowed to dishonour 102 Muslim women. He added that if a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu man dishonours a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu woman, then he will have to give two cows to the family of the woman.


He said, to a fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu man, giving away his cows was the worst possible punishment. After saying this, Adityanath began to weep and spent the rest of the day hugging his cows.

 

A modest, simple yogi, Adiyanath, modestly claims to be a beacon of spiritual enlightenment, an ingenious politician, a brilliant zoologist and better looking than Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan.

During a speech he was delivering to a group of orangutans at a zoo in UP, Adityanath lamented that decades of the Congress rule has turned Hindu men into becoming Muslim women.


He said: ‘Muslims were allowed to freely slaughter cows and eat them whole. Their cholesterol levels went through the roof and their brains became overwhelmed by fatty tissue, making them stupid and violent. In other words, they became Pakistanis.’
He then added: ‘Meanwhile, the cows which the Muslims did not eat fell into depression after watching their comrades being so mercilessly slaughtered. As a consequence, they stopped giving healthy milk. The unhealthy milk consumed by fair-skinned Aryan-Hindu men made them physically weak. They became women. Or worse, they became liberals. They began to lose their Aryan complexion and started to look like fat Muslim men or worse, dark-skinned residents of the city’s otherwise excellent sewerage system.’ ‘No more!’ Adityanath shouted. ‘I don’t care what the liberals think about my ideas. I am not scared, because mard ko dard nahi hota.


After saying this he spent the rest of the day feeding on medicinal plants to ease the pain he was feeling in one of his toes.


The new UP CM is yet to fully unveil his plan to turn Uttar Pradesh into Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki. But he has told the media that the plan is elaborate and involves some bold steps. He said that the plan also includes the setting up of a university which will revive the sciences invented by ancient Indians millions of years ago.

 

He claimed that the barbaric Muslim invasions of India subjugated fair-skinned Hindu Aryans, destroyed their technology and sciences, slaughtered their cows, made them drink date-wine and eat nihari and turned the word Batinda into tind. He said he was now here to set things straight and take revenge for all the atrocities committed by fat Muslims. ‘There is no place for Muslims in the new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki,’ he said. Then showing the reporters what looked like a plastic toy gun, he said he will vaporize all the Muslims with this ancient laser gun.

He told reporters that the ancient people of Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki were travelling on flying machines, using nuclear-powered vacuum-cleaners and using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, millions of years before fake white Aryans of Europe and America re-introduced them in the 20th and 21st centuries.


He showed reporters a rusty device which he claimed had been discovered at an archeological site in UP. He said it was an ancient nuclear-powered vacuum-cleaner which could also be used as a shaver.


He added that he has been using the device to clean the carpets of his office, and that he also regularly shaves his head with it. He informed that the Urdu word tind is derived from the old Sanskrit word, Batinda, which means ‘one who has a pure hairless Aryan head.’ He then showed the reporters his own tind and said, ‘like this.’
He claimed that the barbaric Muslim invasions of India subjugated fair-skinned Hindu Aryans, destroyed their technology and sciences, slaughtered their cows, made them drink date-wine and eat nihari and turned the word Batinda into tind. He said he was now here to set things straight and take revenge for all the atrocities committed by fat Muslims.


‘There is no place for Muslims in the new Uttarbandaana Shamkala Yaguna Yogipura Nagasaki,’ he said. Then showing the reporters what looked like a plastic toy gun, he said he will vaporize all the Muslims with this ancient laser gun.


When a reporter pointed out that the laser gun was a plastic toy, most probably made in China, Adityanath got him arrested for eating beef. After the reporter was dragged away by the police, Adityanath said, Mogambo khush hooa.


He then retired for the rest of the day to hold discussion on important spiritual and political matters with the cabbages in his garden.

 

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of two books ‘End of the Past’ and ‘The Pakistan Anti-Hero.’

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09
May

Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz ahmed

Man possesses two distinct traits of individuality and personality. Individuality makes him a unique part of the natural and social whole of the mankind. Personality gives him a unique spiritual self-determination. In the social context, man is highly interdependent on fellow beings and brings its unique personality into interactions with them.


The interaction is historically centered on his creative bargaining for exchange of goods, services and social order. Bargaining for advantage has been an essential aspect of human life. Understanding bargaining outcomes forms an important part of human and social psychology. Everyone intuitively learns the art of negotiation for survival in life. Negotiation is an important aspect of leadership and good leaders are invariably effective negotiators.

 

theartofnego.jpgNegotiation, in the context of this article, is a formal process of bargaining in complex situations. For those who carry public or corporate responsibility and negotiate on behalf of institutions, businesses and states need to learn the art as a part of their responsibility.


Negotiation may be done to create something new that either party cannot do on its own or it may be done to resolve differences and disputes. Parties involved in the negotiation are interdependent with one another for achieving their objectives, which are often interlocked. If you are not interdependent with other parties you may not need to negotiate with them. Managing interdependence with other people is an important part of the psychological processes involved in negotiation.

 

Communication is the essence of psychological processes of negotiation. It may be one of the most important factors of success in negotiation. Communication is the response actualized by the cognitive process of perception. A good communicator can say difficult things in a manner that does not provoke emotional or irrational responses. Cultural considerations are important for understanding the tactics and building the confidence.

In negotiation each party tries to maximize its gain. The art of negotiation leads you to maximizing your gain and equally importantly keeping the other party/parties to remain committed to the outcome. It generally is not a win-lose or a zero-sum game. Successful negotiation generally means a win-win outcome for all parties. This is essential for stability and success of the negotiated outcome.


The art of negotiation may be strengthened by the natural attributes of the negotiator’s personality but to a large extent, it is a matter of conscious learning. Negotiation skills can be improved by active learning and effective preparation. It is a growing discipline in psychology and is a subject of intensive research for a better understanding of the dynamics involved. It builds extensively on decision analysis, behavioral decision theory, and game theory leading to interactive decision making.


The article aims at introducing the vast field of negotiation to generate a quest for further reading for better understanding the dynamics of negotiation to sharpen leadership and management capacities.

Preparation
Preparation is the first step towards a successful negotiation: it starts with the definition of own goal(s) which leads to formulation of strategy that leads to identification of issues and stages leading onward to options and finally the tactics for conducting the negotiation.


It aims at gathering knowledge and developing an understanding of the issues as well as the working of the other parties of the negotiation. It is expected that all negotiating parties would have adequate knowledge of the agenda items but it is important that a successful negotiator has comprehensive knowledge of the broader aspects of the issues beyond the agenda items.


The negotiator needs to go over some case-studies to survey the comparative outcomes by other negotiators for similar issues. The accuracy of information and the knowledge of implications of various options/scenarios prepare, equip and guide the negotiators through the dynamic and fluid process of negotiation.

 

In negotiation each party tries to maximize its gain. The art of negotiation leads you to maximizing your gain and equally importantly keeping the other party/parties to remain committed to the outcome. It generally is not a win-lose or a zero-sum game. Successful negotiation generally means a win-win outcome for all parties. This is essential for stability and success of the negotiated outcome.

It is of vital importance to frame the theme of the dispute carefully as well as intelligently. Inappropriate wording can lead to misconception, bias or defensiveness in the minds of the other party/parties even before the start of the negotiation.


Negotiation objectives need to be defined very unambiguously. The objectives in complex situations are often interlocked and it is important to analyze scenarios with the inter-play of various permutations while defining the objectives during the preparatory work.


Then there is the strategy, tactics and plans/steps to achieve the defined objectives. The drawing of the agenda or the sequence of the deliberations may appear innocuous but this could become a cardinal point affecting the outcome. Thorough preparation leads you away from an emotional approach to negotiation, which results from limited knowledge, inadequate preparation and subjective effort.


Approach to Negotiation
Negotiation may be approached as a competitive or integrative game. The competitive approach seeks win-lose or zero-sum outcome. A win-lose game is like haggling for a bargain. Bargaining may serve some situations but has no relevance with high-stakes complex negotiations. If both parties narrowly stick to winning there is no agreement.


There is an important term that experts often use in negotiation. It is known as the “Best Alternative to No Agreement (BATNA)”. One can improve the outcome by improving the BATNA and worsening that of the other party.

artofnego1.jpgThe timing of negotiation can also be a strategic consideration for improving the BATNA. If there is a weak BATNA, it may result in a weak outcome in case of agreement or may be more damaging in case of no agreement.


The integrative approach by comparison aims at a win-win outcome. The real life situations offer ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and diversity of scenarios for increasing the size of the pie, which may create opportunities for a win-win outcome.


Integrative approach is essentially a problem solving approach and one party alone may not be able to solve problems involved. Negotiating resources of all the parties are needed to resolve complex issues. Problem solving approach requires thorough knowledge not only of one’s own imperatives and drivers but more importantly that of the other party/parties.


Problem solving approach may not be mistaken for compromising. In a compromise both parties gain less due to lack of effort as both parties may operate at the level of their BATNAs. But in problem solving they take the outcome to a higher level of gains. Figure 1 shows a Dual Concern Matrix:
(1) if we show inaction all stand to lose; (2) if we yield, we stand to lose and others gain; (3) if we contend we may stand to gain while others lose; (4) in a compromise all will gain something but all will stay short of achieving best outcomes; and finally, (5) if we adopt problem solving approach all stand to gain best outcomes.


Inter-dependence can lead to synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is not a prescription for all kinds of negotiations. Different situations may suit different approaches of integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding or compromising.

 

Legitimacy/Power
Legitimacy/power of the negotiator is an important aspect of negotiation that can also lead to increasing the size of the pie. Everything in real-life complex negotiations is not black or white. There are intermingled shades, inter-bedded dimensions and inter-locking objectives. Perspectives and opportunities keep varying in the dynamic flow of a negotiating process. It is a fluid battle of wits, like the game of chess. (There is a big difference though; chess is bound in closed box logic but the real life situations are often unbounded and open-ended.) As every move in chess creates a new situation for a different response negotiation continues to create new situation for a dynamic process.


A competent negotiator with knowledge, exposure and responsibility in real life could add new dimensions and seek different permutations of achieving the defined objectives. The legitimacy or authority or power or responsibility or commitment of a negotiator is a crucial factor for successful negotiation. Power can provide the negotiator leverages to persuade and pressurize the other party to a more favorable outcome.


There are three major sources of power: information and expertise; control over negotiating team/resources; and negotiator’s position in the organization. For an integrative approach to yield an outcome both negotiators need full freedom within their defined objectives. Greater the degrees of freedom more are the chances for increasing the size of pie and achieving optimal and lasting results.

 

What Makes an Outcome Optimal or Successful?
Negotiation is successful when its outcome is better than the BATNA of all the parties involved. Successful negotiations build relationships that could be used to advantage for future opportunities. Developing understanding and building relationship may even be stated as parts of objectives for the negation.

 

Psychological Sub-processes
Negotiation involves the psychological sub-processes of perception, cognition, dynamics of communication, persuasion and leveraging, and ethical judgment.

 

artofnego2.jpgPerception is making sense or picture from the stimuli received through the sensory inputs. Perception leads to the response that a negotiator makes. Intuitively information may be perceived and potentially distorted in the perception process leading to systemic errors in responses. Intuition in negotiation may result from inadequate preparation and lack of effort during negotiation. Intuition does not lead to problem solving and is not an appropriate approach in important negotiations.


One has to guard against the intuitive approach at any stage of the process. During the flow of a negotiating process new information may be exchanged, unforeseen points raised and tactics played to throw the opposing negotiator off balance that leads to its adopting an intuitive approach.

Strategies that could be used against Intuition
1) Identifying situations that call for extra vigilance and slower, more conscious, effortful, logical and deliberate negotiations, and keep updating the list.
2) Avoiding getting into time pressure that usually leads to intuitive responses. Typically real estate agents or the car dealers create time-pressure to extract better deals.
3) Partitioning negotiation into multiple sessions, patience often generates significant dividends. It may be unnecessary or difficult to complete complex negotiations in one session. It is better to structure a process that allows rethinking for re-strategizing.
4) Adopting an outsider lens, when a negotiator uses an insider lens for making judgment while deeply immersed in a particular context or situation, he tends to rely on intuitive judgment. By contrast when a negotiator uses an outsider lens of being removed or detached from a particular situation, he uses a rational approach. The insider focuses only on the current situation, while the outsider is better at integrating information across multiple episodes and dimensions. Sometime it may be helpful to actually engage an outsider as consultant/adviser for keeping an outsider perspective.

 

It would be helpful to illustrate this point by a so-called Prisoner’s Dilemma where-in rational but uncoordinated and self-interested behavior can result in awful outcomes.


• The District Attorney knows that the two prisoners are indeed guilty of a crime (that carries a punishment of 5 years), but he does not have acceptable evidence to convince the jury. The prisoners too know this fact.
• The prisoners are kept separated and cannot communicate with each other at all.
• The District Attorney speaks to each prisoner separately and gives him a choice of Confessing or Not Confessing: (1) if both don’t confess they would one year each. (2) If both confess they get three years each. (3) If one confesses and the other does not, the confessor gets off scot-free and the non-confessor gets the maximum punishment of five years. Figure 2 illustrates the Prisoner’s Dilemma. If each prisoner confesses hoping to get scot free following intuition and self-interest and thus both end up confessing, both get 3 years each. In a win-win case both do not confess and both get away lightly with one year only as a case of problem solving for minimum punishment.

 

Communication
Communication is the essence of psychological processes of negotiation. It may be one of the most important factors of success in negotiation. Communication is the response actualized by the cognitive process of perception. A good communicator can say difficult things in a manner that does not provoke emotional or irrational responses. Cultural considerations are important for understanding the tactics and building the confidence.

Ethical Standards in Negotiations
Negotiators are often faced with the ethical question of what information they aught to share during the course of a negotiation. The ethics may vary from situation to situation; a few standards advocated by philosophers are presented:


End-Result Ethics practice is based on the thinking that ends justify the means. The rightness of an action is determined by considering the consequences. It raises the concern of how does one judge the consequences in their entirety.
Rule Ethics emphasize that decisions be based commonly on moral rules or standards or principles. Accordingly, the rightness of an action is determined by considering the laws and standards. It raises the concern of what rules are to be followed.
Social Contract Ethics are based on community and culture. Societies and organizations determine what is ethically appropriate for them. The rightness of the action is determined by considering social norms and customs of the community. It raises the concern of establishing the general will of the community and is opposed by those who challenge the morality of the existing social order.
Personalistic Ethics suggest that people are guided by their own conscience while making a determination. Thus the rightness of an action is determined by one’s own conscience. This raises the concerns of uniformity and cohesiveness.
Negotiators may use each of these approaches to evaluate various strategies and tactics.

 

Conclusion
For crucially important situations matching a negotiator in asset value, knowledge, communication, wit, energy, exposure and commitment with the objectives is crucially important. The negotiator should have the ability to see the whole but feel the parts. Let the person have the required information, resources, time and opportunity to prepare thoroughly and carry the legitimacy and power to seek the best outcome.

 

The writer holds a PhD degree from Stanford University, California USA. He is a former Federal Secretary and has been CEO/Chairman of OGDCL and Chairman NEPRA.

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

 
09
May

Written By: Tahir Mehmood Azad

Nuclear weapons are considered as the most horrifying and destructive weapons ever built by mankind and they have shed dark shadows over humanity since 1945. After United States' nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Second World War, no [nuclear weapon] state could gather courage to use it again. However, it would be difficult to predict whether nuclear weapons could be used in future or not. Definitely, it is very complicated to state whether over the last 70 years, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons has reduced or amplified because there are both positive and perilous trends ongoing. A nuclear explosion would also create considerable fallout, potentially contaminating large areas. A one ton (a unit of weight equivalent to 1000 kilograms) surface detonation would theoretically result in fallout with gamma radiation levels in excess of 500 radiuses to a distance of 30-100 metres from the point of the explosion, with lesser amounts settling over a wider area.


It has become an Indian strategy to accuse Pakistan for any incident that happens in its territory. In the recent past, India has blamed Pakistan for attack on its Parliament (2002), Mumbai (2008) and Pathankot airbase (2015). Recently, for the attacks on its military base in Uri, Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed, India accused Pakistan. In reaction, India threatened Pakistan for surgical strike on its territory. On September 29, 2016, Indian military officials claimed that India had carried out surgical strike on militant camps in Pakistani territory. Pakistan rejected India's claim of surgical strike and warned India of serious consequences to any such activity.


After every single terrorist incident in India, whether it is carried out by local terrorists or separatist organizations, Indian civil and political elite put blame on Pakistan. These tensions further lead to unhappy and unhealthy environment for both states which ultimately affect the South Asian region. It is a bitter reality that any type of military adventure such as surgical strike or limited war carried out by India would lead to full-scale war and that would ultimately lead to nuclear war.


Pakistan and India, with estimated combined numbers of 250 nuclear weapons (130 and 120 respectively)1 and roughly total amount 6.3 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU-235) and 5.26 tons plutonium (Pu-239) for military uses, remain on the verge of war. Any type of military adventure, either surgical or limited war waged by India, would escalate to full-scale war and ultimately to nuclear war. Both states have advanced nuclear weapons' technology and nuclear war between them could be more catastrophic and will have long lasting health, environmental, psychological, socio-economic and global consequences. More than 21 million people would die in minutes from the direct effects of the weapons.2 Entire population of Pakistan and India which is about 200 million and 1000 million respectively, would suffer from the radiations for many decades. All major cities on both sides would be annihilated completely. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation would increase and that would negatively affect human, animal and plant life. Drinking water and food shortages would cause hundreds of millions of people to starve to death during the years following the nuclear war.


Neither the United States nor any other state in the world is distantly ready to handle the consequence of nuclear war. For example, the need to care for thousands of wounded, burned and irradiated sufferers, the need to vacate hundreds of thousands of natives in the path of the fallout, the enormous challenge of restoring essential services to a partly burned and irradiated city, and more. Further than the instantaneous physical harm done by a nuclear war, the sociological, psychological, and financial impacts of such an aggression would be destructive. Like natural calamity, a nuclear attack may happen without admonition, leaving small probability for preparation. An attack in a metropolitan part would not only execute huge figures of citizens but it could also make the region practically squalid for an extensive period of time. The suffering of such an assault would leave lasting mental and emotional scars on the survivors. The blast wave can destroy buildings, spread debris, and overturn trees. The thermal pulse can ignite exposed combustible materials, causing many sustained fires. These are the main direct effects. The magnitude of the effects is different depending on whether the explosion occurs; on the ground or above the earth.4 If a nuclear weapon was detonated at ground level, the area destroyed and the casualties probably would be smaller, even though ground particles would get picked up and made radioactive and then dumped downwind for hundreds of miles.5 Li Bin has given the consequences of nuclear terrorism attack in four scenarios.6


1. A nuclear device is exploded on the surface of water by seashore and the yield is 20 kilotons or less. The effects of a nuclear explosion include shock waves (or referred as air blasts for an explosion in the air), thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and residual nuclear radiation.


2. A nuclear device is exploded at a population centre. The yield is about 20 kilotons. The damage in this scenario would be much bigger because the population density would be much higher. The casualties would be at the level of those in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima attacks or even larger.


3. An operational reactor releases a significant amount of vapourized nuclear materials, including spent fuels and fission products after suffering an attack. Nuclear materials released from an operational reactor are harmful to human beings. They could cause immediate effects in a few days, mid-term effects in a few years and long-term effects in tens of years. Immediate effects include acute radiation sickness caused by exposure to large-dose radiation, scalding by hot venting, and injuries by solid debris.


4. A "dirty bomb" with radioactive material is exploded at a population centre. The effects of the explosion of a "dirty bomb" are highly dependent on the type of nuclear materials used, the form of dispersal, and the weather condition after the explosion. Main effects would also be psychological and economical ones.7


International health organizations and experts believe that nuclear war consequences of India-Pakistan would be very dangerous to the affected community. A successful attack in major cities of both states would be very likely to cause large numbers of instant fatalities. Victims would be confronted not only with immediate destruction and disability imposed by the initial event but also with the fear of future effects on their own health, and the health of loved ones, or that of future generations.8 Although it would have the potential to affect extensive areas of land and cause large number of cancers, its impact would depend on how effectively appropriate contingency plans were implemented.9 Even an unsuccessful attack could have economic and social repercussions and affect public confidence in nuclear activities such as power generation.10


The entire region would face the consequences of radioactivity. Furthermore, it would have extra-regional impacts such as health, environmental, economic and trade, ecological, and socio-political. Therefore, India must avoid any kind of war option i.e., surgical, limited or all-out war. The bilateral disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner. Kashmir is the core dispute and it should be resolved as per the UNSC resolutions. Major powers should play their effective roles to normalize the situation between the two countries. India must change its aggressive policies towards Pakistan and both states should settle their issues in a friendly environment. India can escalate and initiate a war, but it will have to pay the price that would be very costly and endure over centuries!

 

The writer is pursuing PhD in Strategic & Nuclear Studies at National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad, Pakistan.
 

1 Shannon N. Kile and Hans M. Kristensen, "Trends in World Nuclear Forces, 2016," SIPRI, Fact Sheet, June 2016, p.2.
2 Abheet Singh Sethi, "The Global Cost of a Nuclear War between India and Pakistan," September 29, 2016.
3 Ashton B. Carter, Michael M. May, and William J. Perry, "The Day After: Action in the 24 Hours Following a Nuclear Blast in an American City," A report based on a workshop hosted by the Preventive Defense Project (Cambridge, Mass. and Palo Alto, Cal., Harvard and Stanford Universities, Preventive Defence Project, May 2007).
4 "Understanding the Risks and Realities of Nuclear Terrorism," Center for International Security and Cooperation Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.
5 Ibid.
6 Li Bin, "On Nuclear Terrorism," Working Paper, 2nd Pugwash Workshop on East Asian Security, Beijing, China, March 7-9, 2002.
7 http://nuclear-news.net/information/.
8 T. F. Ditzler, "Malevolent minds: The teleology of terrorism," in F. M. Moghaddam, and A. J. Marsella (Ed.), Understanding Terrorism: Psychosocial Roots, Consequences, and Interventions, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001, pp. 187-188.
9 "Assessing The Risk of Terrorist Attacks on Nuclear Facilities," Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology London, U.K, POST Report 222, July 2004, p.2.
10 Ibid.

 
08
May
First Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Exercise MALPAK-17

newsmalpak17.jpgThe first ever Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy Bilateral Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was conducted in the adjoining waters of Malacca Straits. Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising Sword Class Guided Missile Frigate SAIF with embarked Z9EC helicopter and Combat Support Ship NASR with embarked Seaking helicopter participated in the exercise. From Malaysian side, Royal Malaysian Navy Frigate KD LEKIR with embarked FENNEC helicopter and Patrol Ship KD SELANGOR participated.
The premier Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 was aimed at strengthening bilateral relationship, enhancing interoperability between the two navies through development of combined naval tactics, techniques and procedures as well as to provide impetus to growing mutual naval collaboration between Pakistan and Malaysia.


The Exercise was conducted in two phases: harbour phase and the sea phase. The harbour phase comprised table top discussions on professional topics, practical boarding drills and planning conferences. Whereas, the sea phase included entire spectrum of maritime/naval operations including Cross-Deck Helo Operations, Torpedo Counter Measures, Gunnery Firings and Joint Maritime Interdiction Operations. Pakistan Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy have been interacting since long, however, Naval Exercise MALPAK-17 is unique being first ever bilateral Naval Exercise which will be conducted biennially in Malaysian and Pakistani waters on alternate basis. This exercise will further enhance naval collaboration between Pakistan and Malaysia besides capacity building of the forces and contributing in regional maritime security.

08
May
Pakistan Army Team Spirit (PATS)

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2nd Pak Army Team Spirit (PATS) competition concluded at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) near Jehlum. A total of 10 foreign military teams including China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Thailand and UK along with 8 Pakistan Army teams enthusiastically participated in the toughest military competition held from April 1 to April 5. The teams of 1 Corps, 30 Corps and China won Gold medal whereas Southern Command, 4 Corps, 10 Corps, Sri Lanka, Turkey and UK clinched silver medal. Bronze medal was won by 5 Corps, 31 Corps, 2 Corps and Malaysia.


The foreign teams entered the competition where they were tested for their physical fitness, endurance and team spirit. Team Spirit is a narrative based competition held under very challenging environment. A patrol from every participating team is tasked to infiltrate in terrorist infested area, carry out a task and exfiltrate.


Earlier on April 1, 2017, on the commencement of the competition, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Pabbi and met foreign military teams.

 

newspatas1.jpgCOAS interacted with foreign teams and highlighted importance of physical fitness and spirit of team work. COAS said that 'terrorism is affecting the whole world and requires collective response approach. Pakistan is a peace loving country and has significantly contributed towards peace and stability. World acknowledges our efforts in this regard and your presence here is the evidence. Those who propagate to isolate Pakistan should see how Pakistan is actually valued and honoured by our global friends.'


Lieutenant General Ikram ul Haque, Commander Gujranwala Corps who was chief guest on the last day of the competition awarded prizes to the winning teams. While congratulating the winners Lt Gen Ikram ul Haque applauded the professionalism, dedication and skills of the participating teams. He said that 'participation of teams from friendly countries offored an opportunity to all the participants to learn from each other's professional experience in the domain of counter-terrorism.' He thanked all foreign military teams for participating and showing confidence in Pakistan. Lieutenant General Hidayat ur Rehman, Inspector General Training and Evaluation and Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi, Commander Mangla Corps were also present on the occasion.

08
May
PAF’s Elite No 9 Squadron Declared the Twin of Illustrious No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force

It was yet another historic day in the remarkable history of Pakistan Air Force No 9 Multirole Squadron, when it was declared the twin of the renowned No 9 Squadron of Royal Air Force in a grand ceremony held at PAF Base Mushaf. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force was the guest of honour at the ceremony. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was also present at the occasion.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman highlighted the contributions of four British Commander-in-Chiefs of Royal Pakistan Air Force, who laid the foundation of a nascent Pakistan Air Force. He added that keeping the traditions of these inspiring leaders in high esteem, the succeeding commanders of Pakistan Air Force made earnest efforts to transform it into a potent air-arm of Pakistan. He further said that No 9 Squadrons of both the Air Forces have a rich legacy and have been frontline squadrons since their raising. He reiterated that the twinning of these squadrons would help us in learning from each other and strengthening our cordial relations.


While addressing on the occasion Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force said that 'Pakistan Air Force is respected world over due to its sound professionalism and it has brought many laurels to the country'. He further said that ‘the twinning of these renowned squadrons would further develop their capabilities and lay a foundation to build on the legacy of our predecessors.’


Earlier in the day, the Chief of Royal Air Force witnessed the fly past of four-ship formation of F-16 aircraft. It was followed by a thrilling solo aerobatic display of F-16 aircraft. To mark this momentous occasion, both the Air Chiefs also flew a mission in separate aircraft of No 9 Multirole Squadron. It was the first time that a foreign Air Chief participated in a joint mission with the Chief of Pakistan Air Force.


A large number of former squadron commanders, and high-ranking PAF officers also attended the ceremony.


No 9 Bomber Squadron of Royal Air Force was raised in 1914 and it has actively participated in many wars ever since. Presently, stationed at RAF Marham, Pathfinders (call sign) are currently operating Tornado aircraft.


No 9 Multirole Squadron of Pakistan Air Force was raised in 1943 at Risalpur, and it made its operational debut in Burma during World War II under the command of legendary Air Marshal Asghar Khan (then Squadron Leader). The squadron has a glorious history and has been in the frontline of Indo-Pak wars and WoT. Commonly known as Griffins, the squadron is currently flying F-16 Fighting Falcon.

08
May
Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017

Lahore Garrison Shooting Gala 2017 concluded at the newly built Lahore Garrison Shooting Gallery (LGSG) in a graceful ceremony. Commander Lahore Corps Lt General Sadiq Ali was the Chief Guest on the oceassion.

 

newslahoregarrisongala.jpgPakistan Army has established LGSG, which is spread over 20 acres of land, with a unique aim to provide multiple services ranging from patronizing and encouraging shooting sport to grooming young shooters in the country. The Gallery is equipped with modern ranges and gadgets of international standard and it can be used for national and international shooting competitions.
The LGSG will patronize long range shooting in the country and provide a platform for armed forces, civilians, and educational institutions as well. It will help to promote the sport of shooting with the provision of qualified instructors and coaches to train upcoming youngsters inspiring to become future shooters.
As many as 400 shooters participated in various categories of the 3-day Gala. They demonstrated their skill, concentration, patience and excellent control over their weapons in various competitions.

Commander Bahawalpur Corps Views Progress of Census in Bahawalpur

newslahoregarrisongala1.jpgCommander Bahawalpur Corps Lieutenant General Sher Afgun visited different areas of Bahawalpur city in connection with ongoing census. Speaking on the occasion, the Corps Commander said that ‘census is a national responsibility which is progressing smoothly due to good coordination between civil administration and Army authorities’.

Earlier, Corps Commander was given a detailed briefing in a Divisional Headquarters regarding the ongoing census. Corps Commander expressed his satisfaction on overall arrangements and commended the efforts of both civil and military departments to make the census operation a success in Bahawalpur region.

08
May
Keel Laying of Fast Attack Missile Craft

Another Landmark in Indigenisation and Self-Reliance

Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4 being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was the Chief Guest at the occasion.


Fast Attack Craft (Missile) is a state-of-the-art, multi mission vessel with steel hull and aluminum super structure and is equipped with indigenously developed weapons and sensors.

 

newsfastattackmisc.jpgWhile speaking on the occasion, the Naval Chief highly appreciated the achievement of this important milestone ahead of schedule. He said that 'the indigenous construction of this Craft is a giant leap towards self-reliance as the construction of this warship will not only open new avenues of design and ship-building but also accelerate our progress towards achieving the goal of indigenisation. This project once completed, will demonstrate Maritime Technologies Complex and Karachi Shipyard’s design and construction capability in entirety. '


While highlighting geo-strategic and socio-economic significance of CPEC, the Naval Chief said that 'the trade activities are poised to increase manifold with the developments taking place owing to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project which has the potential to transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub. This would place additional premium on the responsibilities of Pakistan Navy to ensure safe and secure maritime environment for uninterrupted maritime activities to take place. FAC (M)-4 will add to Pakistan Navy’s operational capability upon its induction'. He also assured Pakistan Navy’s all possible support to KS&EW to make this strategic setup in transforming as a vibrant, productive and strategic element of the maritime sector. He further said that 'We are pursuing establishment of new shipyards with Government to further boost our ship-building industry.'


Earlier Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah MD KS&EW in his welcome address said that 'the project being the first indigenous design is a result of strenuous hard work by Karachi Shipyard and Maritime Technologies Complex, which has given enough confidence to undertake such a challenging project.' He also highlighted that the ship will serve our country for decades as national symbol of our indigenous efforts. He gave a brief outlook of ongoing projects which included PN Fleet Tanker, FAC(M) No. 3, MPVs for PMSA, Bollard Pull Tugs, Multi Purpose Barge and Bridge Erection Boats for Pakistan Army. He also highlighted KS&EW’s future plans and said, 'we have started preparation for mega project of construction of submarines for Pakistan Navy.'


MD KS&EW thanked Ministry of Defence Production and especially Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah for his visionary approach and solid support behind all projects.


The ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from GoP, Pakistan Navy, corporate sector and KS&EW.

08
May
Pakistan Navy Command and Staff Conference

Command and Staff Conference of Pakistan Navy was held at Naval Headquarters, Islamabad. The Conference was chaired by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. Matters related to operational preparedness, prevailing security situation and developmental plans of Pakistan Navy were reviewed. Chief of the Naval Staff was given detailed briefings on various ongoing and future projects and plans of Pakisstan Navy.

newspncomandconfr.jpgWhile taking stock of the prevalent security environment, Chief of the Naval Staff resolved that in the midst of complex, challenging and evolving contemporary security environment, Pakistan Navy would continue to play a significant role in sustenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region. The Naval Chief also reiterated Pakistan Navy’s unflinching resolve and determination to safeguard maritime frontiers of Pakistan against all threats. He also urged the commanders to remain at highest state of preparedness and maintain a constant vigil in their Area of Responsibility (AoR).


Chief of the Naval Staff lauded concerted efforts of all field commanders for successful conduct of Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 at Karachi, in which 37 countries participated with assets and observers which was a clear testimony of the poise and confidence by regional and extra regional countries.


Besides assessing the war preparedness of Pakistan Navy, the participants of the conference also reviewed the priorities pertaining to the security of Gwadar Port and maritime components of CPEC.

Pakistan Navy Conducts Test Launch of Anti-Ship Missile

Pakistan Navy conducted successful test launch of land based anti-ship missile. The missile has advanced technology and avionics, which enables engagement of targets at sea with high accuracy.


The trial was conducted from coastal region and missile secured hit on the target placed at sea. The event was witnessed by Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Saddique. Senior officers of Pakistan Navy were also present on the occasion. Vice Chief of the Naval Staff commended the successful accomplishment of the objectives of this trial and lauded the hard work and efforts of all those who were involved, especially crew of the missile unit.


Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, in his message, felicitated the officers and crew and said that 'this weapon system has added a new dimension in the operational reach of the Pakistan Navy as Pakistan Navy would be able to further bolster seaward defense of the nation by having the capability of launching long range anti-ship missiles from land.'

08
May
United States National Security Adviser Calls on COAS

Gen H. R. McMaster, U.S. NSA called on COAS at GHQ on April 17, 2017. The visiting dignitary was briefed about Pakistan's war on terror and its contributions to regional and global stability. It was highlighted that distinguished feature of Pakistan's counter-terrorism effort is focused against terrorists of all hue and colour. COAS said that while Pakistan itself is victim of state sponsored terrorism it strongly rejects allegations of employing proxies from its soil. U.S. NSA acknowledged Pakistan Army's efforts in eliminating terrorists and their infrastructure, assuring U.S. support to bring peace and stability in the region and the world.

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Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Calls on COAS
Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Evolving regional security matrix and other issues of mutual interest were discussed, including measures against common threat of terrorism. COAS said that ‘Pakistan greatly values historic Pak-Iran relationship and the same shall continue based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s interests.’

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08
May
CJCSC Addresses the Staff/War College Students

General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, addressed combined faculty and students of Command and Staff Colleges, Quetta, Pak Navy War College and Air War College.

 

Matters related to regional security, emerging threats and response postulates were focused upon in his talk to the forum. The talk was followed by a vibrant and candid question and answer session. Student officers' questions focused on national security issues including Kashmir. Earlier upon arrival at Quetta, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was received by Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz.

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08
May

Written By: Abdullah Khan

Reintegration of militants into the national fold is an uphill but essential task that the State of Pakistan has to accomplish. Majority of the militants fighting against us are our own citizens. We need to think seriously about how to bring those who fell in the hands of terrorist organizations back and reintegrate them into the society. The first step is to develop realization that these are our own citizens who fell in wrong hands because of various factors. Ownership of the mistakes and our citizen will lead us to the right direction.


There are several aspects of a possible reintegration program. Unless we develop customized policies and subsequent action plans for every aspect mentioned in coming paragraphs, the overall program of reintegration cannot become productive and result oriented in the long run. Following are some of the aspects our State will have to take into account while planning for a policy of reintegration of militants.


• Strategic Aspect: There are two schools of thought who blame state policies for promoting violent extremism. One school of thought believes that more than required role of religion in state as well as national affairs and Pakistan’s participation in Afghan jihad against the USSR are the major reasons for promoting religious extremism and subsequent terrorism in the country. The other school of thought believes that current wave of militancy started after 9/11 because of sudden U-turn by Pakistani state from certain policies and state’s alleged patronage of activities taking people away from religion. Although both point of views are identically opponent to each other but they have a common factor and that is Pakistan’s alliance with the United States. If siding with U.S. becomes root cause of promotion of extremism in our society then we need to do some cost-benefit analysis of our defence ties with the super power. Improvement in defence ties with Russia and investment coming through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides us an opportunity to lessen if not completely end our defence reliance and financial dependence on the U.S. Unless we set our strategic direction right and fix the mistakes we have made no plan of national reintegration of militants can yield long term sustainable results.

 

• Ideological Aspect: Militant groups fighting against the state can be classified into four categories:
a. Anti-State based on religion and foreign sponsored (TTP, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Islam etc.)
b. Sectarian groups (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipa-e-Muhammad etc.)
c. Anti-State secular groups (BLA, BLF, BRF etc.)
d. Proxies of political parties (Lyari War Gangs, militant wing of political parties etc.)


Every category has different set of ideological tools to motivate their fighters. Militants have to be detached from their ideology before they can be merged back into the main society. Especially the militants motivated by religion need special attention as religion plays a major role in their recruitment and motivation. Most of the militant attacks and subsequent deaths in Pakistan occurred in attacks perpetrated by militants motivated by religion.


• Financial Aspect: Although militants have people from rich to poorer to the poorest but majority comes from poor class in Pakistan’s context with low education rate, almost no job opportunities, and least exposure to the modern world. When some or more of them will be ready to shun violence, we as a nation need to have sustainable financial plans for them so that they are not hijacked again by their respective militant groups.


• Social and Societal Aspect: Those militants who will be selected for reintegration into national folds, their families and relatives need to be taken on board, too. Generally, more than one person from a family is found infected with extremist ideology, however, one or two become hardcore militants while others provide them moral and financial support. For reintegration of a militant, the strategy needs to incorporate requirements of whole family. Even if none of the family member other than the militant subscribes to the militant ideology, the family can play a crucial role in persuading the militant to denounce violence and come back to normal life. Families can be encouraged to report activities of ex-militants and they need to have a trust in the system that any such thing will not create any trouble for them and it will actually be helpful to keep their loved ones away from extremist groups.


Also, one cannot overlook bitter reality that the militants supposed to be integrated into the national fold remained members of such organizations who are involved in killing thousands of Pakistani citizens. It is a tough question that whether society will accept them or not. Any reintegration plan needs to be backed by the society. Sensitivities of the society need to be taken into consideration and incorporated into national reintegration policy.


• Legal Aspect: Any reintegration policy needs to be within the legal framework of the country. Are we going to reintegrate those who were involved in killing of our citizens and law demands they must be tried in the court of law? However, there is a counter argument that if we do not detach them from militancy they can kill more citizens. Those who are known for killing and are wanted in cases of murder cannot, and should not, get away with their crimes. Such elements may not get absolute amnesty; however, State can lure them with lesser degree of sentences from court in case they surrender.


There are also militants who may have or may in future complete their prison terms. There should be a policy for them as well, as they should not fall back in the hands of militant organizations.


• Constitutional Aspect: Any reintegration program will be within the framework of constitution. Those who want to come back will have to accept Pakistan’s constitution. It is a matter of fact that Pakistan’s constitution is the best reply to militant’s narrative but unfortunately never properly presented and promoted in that context. Our constitution sets absolute sovereignty of Allah, the Almighty and no law can be promulgated against Quran and Sunnah. No logic or argument can stand in front of the fact that picking up arms against Pakistan cannot be justified by any valid teachings of Islam. Thus, Islamic aspects of our constitution need to be highlighted and presented as counter argument to those who commit Takfeer in our State and justify violence in that pretext.


Any reintegration program will also need constitutional cover so that no upcoming government reverses the program for any reasons. Any such move can endanger lives of those officials who will be associated with the program. Any reversal can also make future peace process difficult to the impossible extent.


Any reintegration of militants will definitely be in DDR order (Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration). However, question is that should Pakistan target groups or individuals for reintegration? In case of individuals, it will be simply disarmament and reintegration process. While involving groups will be a complex and least productive approach in Pakistan’s context. For the time being militant groups are less likely to join a peace process for a variety of reasons. One of the sectarian extremist group Sipa-e-Sahaba (Jamat Ahl-e-Sunnat) has recently expressed its willingness to disband itself during a think tank’s activity. However, they are not operating as a militant group, thus reintegration of Sipa-e-Sahaba or Tehreek-e-Jafria does not fall in the domain of reintegration of militants. Their possible reintegration falls under reintegration of nonviolent extremist groups.


Therefore, instead of approaching to militant groups, Pakistan should approach foot soldiers and commanders of lower ranks. This will snatch base support from top leadership, which may eventually think to denounce violence in case State decides to accept them.


Role of the former militants can also play crucial role in motivating militants to denounce violence and get into the reintegration process. They can be presented as role models as well as hired to interact with those who have denounced violence and willing to come back but are skeptical of the prospects.


We have to realize the need to bring back our citizens who fell to deviant violent ideologies and traps. We have to devise a national reintegration program which has customized sub policies and action plans as per different categories of the militants. Any such program needs to take care of legal aspects as well as should have constitutional cover. The program must have backing of the society to be productive and sustainable.

 

The writer is Managing Director Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies. He is an expert on militancy and regional security. He tweets at

@Abdullahkhan333

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08
May

Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Five years old Omran Daqneesh sits clueless in an ambulance. He has just been pulled out of rubble along with his family. Omran looks into camera, self-consciously he tries to fix his hair matted with blood sticking to his forehead. His own blood. But that’s all he does. No cry. No talk. This little video clip reduced a CNN anchor to tears on live television. But that wasn’t for the first-time that human suffering in Syria had shaken us all.


Almost a year ago the body of three years old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. The family of the young boy was trying to reach the Greek island of Kos only 4 kilometers away. 16 people in an inflatable boat meant for eight. Within five minutes the boat capsized in the Mediterranean and Aylan’s lifeless body was soon found face down on a shore near Bodrum, Turkey. A Turkish photojournalist took the picture of the boy in that state. This heart-rending photograph also spread around the world in no time. Shock was on display everywhere. But nothing was done. Nothing probably could be done.

 

understanyamancrisis.jpgWhen a civil war destroys a country, it brings civilization crashing down into a heap of rubble, and human loss can seldom be quantified. Since the start of the war five hundred thousand Syrians have been killed and over 7.6 million have been displaced. Many fleeing their homeland have not just brought the heartbreak, the nightmares and the memories of broken dreams to foreign lands but also a destabilizing effect. Since the exodus began and Turkey initially accepted refugees, its economy has slowed down. In Europe their arrival has caused a backlash and given xenophobic far-right an opportunity to whip up support.


Terror groups like the so called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also gained international attention not in Iraq but primarily in Syria. And given that there is no way to know for sure that no ISIS member smuggles himself disguised as a refugee, incidents of violence have been blamed on asylum seekers from Syria. It is a human catastrophe that doesn't seem to stop.


And recently after Donald Trump decided to carry out punitive missile strikes in Syria following the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government, the world has held its breath fearing the possibility of armed conflict between Russia and the United States. There is nothing ordinary about the Syrian conflict and nothing normal. It has the potential to single handedly transform our world into a dystopia. Let us study its origin, current dynamics and the best possible solution.


How It All Began
“Ejak el door, ya doctor” or “It’s your turn, Doctor”. The Syrian civil war began with this simple sentence spray painted on the external wall of a school by a group of teenage boys. It was meant to be a prank. But it went awry. Within no time, Bashar al-Assad’s secret police was upon them. They were arrested and tortured. The Arab spring in neighboring countries had already started shaking the moorings of authoritarian rule. The panic of Syrian dictator was palpable. But incarceration and torture of its kids, a bunch of 7th graders, for random pranks was too much for the people of Daraa, a city on the border of Jordan. And when the parents contacted the authorities they were told to forget their children. Around a month after the arrests, fearing for the children’s lives thousands poured out on the streets demanding their release. When police failed to quell the protest, special forces were flown in from Damascus. They opened fire on the protestors, killing two and injuring many. Next day the forces opened fire on the funeral procession killing a child. Protests only increased. When the authorities saw the unmanageable size of the pushback they released the arrested boys. But instead of calming the crowds, the battered condition of the released kids only added fuel to fire and the protests continued. When the army employed brute force the protests spread to other cities including Latakia, capital Damascus, Homs, Baniyas, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa. Thus, began the violent uprising.


As the violent protests and the crackdown continued some members of the armed forces defected and joined the protestors. Even before the uprising, every Syrian citizen was bound by law to go through an obligatory military duty. That too came handy during the start of the resistance. And as the clashes continued, the law and order vacuum was exploited by the external forces and many countries got involved.


Historical and Geographical Context
Syria is located in a very tumultuous region. It shares borders with Lebanon, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, and Jordan to the south. According to a rough estimate its population is around 23 million. Around 90 percent of its population is Arab. Kurds, Armenians and others make the rest of the population. Unlike neighboring Iraq, its population is predominantly Sunni. Of its 87 percent Muslim population, 74 percent is Sunni, 13 percent Alawites, Ismailis and Twelver Shias. Rest of the population includes 10 percent Christians and 3 percent Druze, an ethno-religious esoteric group. Administratively Syria is divided into 14 governorates and 60 districts.


After its freedom from France in 1946, Syria remained a hotbed of political intrigue, coups, frail attempts to democratize, unstable governments and bloodshed. It was in 1963 that the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party finally managed to form a relatively stable government. Palace intrigues were to continue until 1970 but the party’s grip on power was not to waver.


Ba’ath Party which emerged as a pan nationalist Arab movement was only successful in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, an Alawite Shia Defence Minister Hafez al Assad finally managed to depose the sitting ruler and formed a government in November 1970 that was to continue until his death. After the 1963 coup the government had imposed a state of emergency in the country that would continue for almost 40 years curbing free speech, the peaceful right of assembly of more than five people and other rights that were taken for granted.


Under Hafez-al-Assad’s leadership Syria formed a military alliance with former Soviet Union. The USSR established the first and the only naval facility in the Mediterranean Sea at Tartus, Syria because of the strengthening relationship. This arrangement continued even after the demise of the communist bloc and modern day Russia inherited the base. In recent years the two states have agreed to convert it in to a permanent Russian base for its nuclear armed warships. Russia has waved off $9.8 billion Soviet era loan to the country. In addition to the above mentioned naval base, Russia now operates an air force base in Palmyra apart from two or more secret spy bases elsewhere.


Another key relationship worth mentioning here is that between Syria and Iraq. While Syria and Iraq shared common political platform, Saddam Hussein after assuming power in 1979 accused Syrian government of plotting against him. This almost immediately ensured continued hostility between the two countries. A noteworthy fact is that while Iraqi population is predominantly Shia, Saddam was a Sunni and it was other way round in Syria where majority is Sunni but its longest serving ruler Assad senior belonged to minority Alawite Shia population.


After the Iranian revolution’s success in 1979 the relations between Iran and Syria grew rapidly. With Assad senior, Iran got a crucial ally in a region dominated by an ocean of Sunni regimes. The relationship was also beneficial to Tehran because it gained a space to arm and train the Shia Hezbollah militia against Israel. In the Iran-Iraq war, Syria supported Iran. Despite such close relations between the two countries Hafez al Assad never visited Iran during Ayatollah Khomeini’s life for the simple reason that the late Ayatollah didn’t consider him a Muslim.


The senior Assad died in 2000 and his reluctant second son Dr. Bashar al-Assad, an ophthalmologist by profession, inherited the throne. After the demise of the Soviet Union his father and later he himself had tried to open and liberalize the economy which led to the rise of a rich urban class like an island in the sea of poverty. Between 2006 and 2011 the country endured a devastating drought in which 75 percent of the country’s farms and 85 percent of its livestock perished forcing around 1.5 million citizens to migrate to urban centers like Damascus and Homs.


The economic disparity increased dramatically under the son and so did the sense of deprivation. It was after the spread of unrest that Dr. Assad decided to lift the state of emergency and tried to replace it with self-serving counter terrorism laws. But it was too late by then and the disaffected masses continued the revolt.


The Current Field of Play
A detailed list of the groups fighting in Syria will most likely crowd out all discussion on these pages. To an estimate by the end of 2013 there were around one thousand-armed opposition groups in Syria and that was before the stunning emergence of the ISIS. But today the warring forces can be divided into four broader groups. 1) ISIS, 2) Syrian government and pro-Assad militias, 3) opposition groups, and 4) soldiers of Rojava, or the Kurdish dominated regions.


By 2014 ISIS controlled one third of the Syrian territory. Its fortunes have dwindled since then but it remains a potent force in the country. This offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq seeks to erase the border between Iraq and Syria and form a new state. It has been mostly successful in undermining the border and creating an environment where its presence in Syria boosts its positions in Iraq. There is a broad consensus among most domestic and foreign forces in the country that it poses the biggest threat to the region and the entire world. However, the hatred towards Assad’s regime among the major opposition forces ensures that the front against ISIS remains divided and fragmented. Russian forces in Syria have claimed to go after ISIS. However, they have often been accused of targeting anti Assad forces in Syria in the garb of fighting ISIS.


Assad’s forces have seen a sharp decline since the start of the civil war. Before the outbreak of war they boasted of having around 220,000 soldiers. However, since then they have declined to around 25 thousand mainly due to deaths and defections. In 2013, the western allies learned that Assad regime had used chemical weapons against his own citizens. That was the time when the United States came the closest to sending its troops to Syria. Yet, primarily because of Russia’s aggressive advocacy and posturing and the diminishing appetite for war among Americans, President Obama stopped short of formally joining the Syrian conflict. Russia also worked out a deal with the Syrian government which resulted in the regime voluntarily surrendering its chemical stockpile to the international agency. At that time, the United States was satisfied with the arrangement and believed that all facilities had been dismantled. However, recent developments have contradicted that assertion and the West now believes that Assad still retains chemical weapons capacity.


Apart from Assad’s own forces, pro-government militias include Hezbollah which initially sent military advisors and later brought in its elite military units. The Lebanese Shia militia initially proved very useful to the Assad regime. However, since then it has endured numerous military reverses and attracted Israeli airstrikes. Other militias include foreign Shia groups.


Among foreign forces supporting Assad, Iran has been of critical importance. It has sustained Syrian government’s economy despite facing sanctions at home and has provided the regime with the needed military hardware. Apart from that it initially sent roughly 2000 members of its elite al Quds force. But till today the true extent of its military involvement is unknown and often underreported.


Russia’s support has been vital to the regime’s survival because it provided the crucial air cover. Even as the U.S. missile attack destroyed a substantial portion of the regime’s airpower, Russia has vowed to rebuild it.


The Syrian opposition groups mainly include secular Sunni forces and nationalist Jihadis. The most significant among them is the Free Syrian Army. It is a willy-nilly coalition of military defectors, small militias and ragtag groups. Despite its ambitious name it doesn’t have a centralized command. It has suffered recently at the hands of Assad’s army.


Another important group is Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra or The Nusra Front). It originated as the local wing of Al Qaeda. The group is known for its brutal tactics mirroring methods used by the ISIS. Qatar and other Arab countries have made hectic efforts to convince its leadership to sever ties with Al Qaeda so that they can aid and arm it. Last year the efforts paid off and the group announced its separation from Al Qaeda and rebranded itself.

 

When a civil war destroys a country, it brings civilization crashing down into a heap of rubble, and human loss can seldom be quantified. Since the start of the war five hundred thousand Syrians have been killed and over 7.6 million have been displaced. Many fleeing their homeland have not just brought the heartbreak, the nightmares and the memories of broken dreams to foreign lands but also a destabilizing effect.

Various other nationalist religious militias have also been chipping in to challenge the country’s leadership. But all above mentioned opposition groups have been on the retreat since the fall of Aleppo late last year. Assad’s forces now have control over five major cities and they have consolidated power there.


The fourth major player in the Syrian mix is Rojava or the Kurdish majority districts bordering Turkey. The YPG or the People’s Protection Units are its militia arm. The Kurdish groups have mainly been fighting ISIS and since the withdrawal of Assad forces from the Kurdish dominated north have been more tolerant of the central government. Occasionally they have come in direct conflict with pro-Assad militias. However, their vociferous pushback against ISIS onslaught has earned them support from the United States as well whose military advisors are embedded with some of the units. But the U.S. support has irked neighboring Turkey and ensured its involvement in the conflict. Since the Kurdish want to use their fellow Kurds in neighboring countries this has not gone down well with the other Arab countries either which have Kurdish populations to worry about.


In short, Syrian stalemate resulting from the foreign and local royal rumble threatens to destabilize the entire region and can even lead to a great power conflict affecting the entire world. It is incumbent upon all stakeholders to find a lasting solution.


The Way Forward
All sides accept that the biggest threat in Syria facing the world is the presence of ISIS. However, don’t confuse it with a consensus that could lead to a joint effort. The foreign forces will not unite until something is done about Assad’s rule. Given that the high ranks of the Syrian army are dominated by the minority Alawites even Assad’s success would mean continued instability in the country. There are reports that though they do not acknowledge it publicly Assad’s two main boosters, Iran and Russia are also growing wary of his shenanigans. Assad himself seems to be cracking under pressure and is said to have developed a tick in the left eye due to anxiety. But his removal from power will not be possible if moderates lose power in Iran or the U.S. does not actively convince Russia that his departure from power will not result in a change in Russia’s sphere of influence. However, all must join hands to end hostilities and massacre of civilian population. It is a great human tragedy and must be stopped without any further power politics.

 

The writer is an Islamabad-based TV journalist.

twitter: @FarrukhKPitafi

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08
May

Written By: Huma Kirmani

Karachi, a city by the Arabian Sea, which was once known as the "City of Lights", is now bickering in its misery of infinite apprehensions and anticipation; though circumstances are quite blatantly streaming in sea breeze of this terror inflicted city. The contemplating feature of Pakistan’s largest city and commercial hub, a place that contributes half of the total revenue collected by the FBR and the deplorable conditions of roads, mounds of uncollected waste, stagnant pools of un-drained rainwater and lack of development make it clear to any observer that Karachi is in steep and perceptible decline. Karachi’s overflowing gutters and garbage dumps can show how grotesque the provincial policy is which is a great disconnect, and has translated into gross mismanagement and general malaise.


Karachi has an estimated population of approximately 20 million; since the last census was done 17 years ago, putting the city’s population at 9.3 million then, one has to go with educated guesses and an area of over 3,500 square kilometres. Karachi is said to be mini Pakistan, reputed to have more Pashto speakers than Peshawar itself, and with over a million Bengalis, Afghans, Iranians, Palestinians and Burmese, Karachi is also home to practically all of Pakistan’s ethnic and language groups. Karachi has a distinct cosmopolitan and urban feel to it, far more as a carrier of the most heterogeneous culture. In lieu of its highly diversified cultural phenomenon, Karachi has its own lacerated ambiance of dread as almost 75 percent militants on terror watchlist for their alleged links with over a dozen proscribed organizations are untraceable in Karachi, some of them might be behind the recent wave of violence in the metropolis.

 

Karachi is said to be mini Pakistan, reputed to have more Pashto speakers than Peshawar itself, and with over a million Bengalis, Afghans, Iranians, Palestinians and Burmese, Karachi is also home to practically all of Pakistan’s ethnic and language groups. Karachi has a distinct cosmopolitan and urban feel to it, far more as a carrier of the most heterogeneous culture.

In the month of February 2017, Pakistan Rangers Sindh have killed notorious Lyari gang war commander Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla in a shootout in Lyari Town area of Karachi. Two of Baba Ladla's close associates, Sikandar alias Sikko and Mohammad Yaseen alias Mama, were also killed in the encounter. During the operation, Head Constable Fayyaz and Constable Tufail were also martyred. Karachi operation often moves into a higher gear as terrorists flee to mask their presence, nevertheless the Rangers said 364 terrorists associated with various banned organizations including al-Qaeda, different factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were also killed in gunfights with the force. Up to 7,312 weapons and 348,978 cartridges have been seized in the past two years while 27 soldiers from Rangers lost their lives.

karachiyouths.jpgViolence in Karachi emerges from multiple factors, which act together to magnify the impact of sublime criminal gangs and capitalize on perceived disenfranchisement and societal conflicts among different communities. The city has been bedeviled with targeted killings, ethnic and sectarian clashes, turf war by different political and criminal groups, extortion activities, bank looting, robberies and other street crimes. The unabated violence and chronic energy crises have made the city's situation more complex as ethnic groups from other provinces migrated to Karachi and increased number of groups have put the situation at stake as the current conflict dynamics in the city involve dozens of sectarian and militant organizations, thus making the city a battleground for more than 200 gangs.


All this chaos created ripples in overwhelming youth of this city that among youth is widely thought to stem from political, ethnic, religious and sectarian segregation within the city. The major reasons cited for young people’s involvement in violence are poverty, illiteracy and limited access to positive social interactions. These dreadful shadows of vicious tyranny generate violent culture in youth who become more violent, much to the advantage of the high profile facilitators, who sit behind scenes and control youth through various channels to meet their vested interests – as many of the political, ethnic and religious groups in Karachi have a ‘militant wing’. These wings recruit youth from colleges and universities or after their pursuit of higher education and they become an asset of these parties. These groups provide incentives including weapons and money to new recruits of the ‘youth wings’ in order to safeguard their interests. The parties attempt to enhance their economic and political status through these youth groups. There is a new trend emerging in which these parties are also using youth for extortion and blackmailing and have started recruiting violent youth to safeguard their interests and businesses in Karachi. Many youth have joined drug mafia as well. They are trained in order to protect and deliver drugs. These youth groups sell drugs to people all across Karachi including the elite. Only a small number of them are ever arrested by the police. Since the police is invariably unable to produce any evidence against them, they are released without any charges. Drugs are available everywhere, even at the most reputable institutes. There arises a question regarding the socio-political attitudes amongst youth in elite universities, that is, youth becoming radicalized followed by a conservative thought pattern that may be construed by some as bordering on radicalism. Youth from affluent socio-economic background and those, who have better career opportunities can fluctuate between being socio-culturally liberal but have a closed approach in matters pertaining to geo-politics, geo-strategy and identity politics. There is, in fact, evidence of the presence of pop-politics which itself is highly reductive and tends to follow a thought pattern which then feeds into ‘clash of civilizations’. The problem, therefore, is absence of intelligent thinking and an alternative narrative discourse in the society which would allow the youth to think ‘out of the box’.

 

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08
May
CGS Visits Afghanistan

newscgcvisitafg.jpg

On the direction of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, a high-level Pakistan Army delegation, headed by Chief of the General Staff (CGS) Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar, visited Afghanistan. The delegation met Afghanistan's acting Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahramee and General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghanistan's Chief of the Army Staff. The CGS expressed condolences on behalf of COAS on the loss of innocent lives in the Mazar-e-Sharif terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with the Afghan forces and people.

 

Free medical treatment in Pakistan to the injured of the Mazar-e-Sharif attack was also offered by the delegation. The delegation held talks on bilateral border coordination measures. Afghan authorities were conveyed that the Pakistan Army has control in all areas on the Pakistan side of the border and shall not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan. Terrorists are common threat and shall be defeated.

 

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff strongly condemns terrorist attack on Mazar-e-Sharif. Grieved on loss of innocent lives and expressed solidarity with Afghan security forces and Afghan brotherly resilient nation. "Terrorists are our common enemy and we shall defeat them", he said.

Afghan Media Delegation Visits ISPR

newsafghanmeddel.jpgA thirteen member Afghan media delegation visited Pakistan. The delegation included journalists from renowned Afghan Media. The delegation visited MOFA, Ministry of SAFRON, Ministry of Commerce, HEC, HQ FC KP, NSA and ISPR. The aim of the visit was to let Afghan media know about the efforts made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism which is a common threat to both brotherly countries.


The delegation visited ISPR on April 7, 2017 where representatives of Pakistani media were also present. Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) gave them a detailed briefing about Pak-Afghan border and efforts made by Pakistan thus far. Director General ISPR shared details of meeting of Afghan Defence Attaché with Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to UK. COAS while expressing his views during the meeting had said, “Every Afghan is dear to me as every Pakistani, I am as hurt for every Afghan who is a victim of terrorism as much as I am for every Pakistani.”


The visit is expected to enable better understanding of Pakistan’s perspective and efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region. It was concluded that menace of terrorism has affected both the countries and necessitates greater cooperation based on mutual trust.

08
May

Written By: Hasan Khan

Instead of taking a solo approach, Russia initiated the process of ‘Moscow consultations’ taking all the regional countries along to come up with regional strategy for Afghanistan.

 

The two-day Moscow Conference on Afghanistan held on April 14 and 15, in the Russian capital, asserted to coordinate regional efforts and facilitate the process of ‘national reconciliation’ to stabilize Afghanistan.


A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry stating the representatives of all participating parties including Russia, China, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan called on the parties to shun violence and seek negotiated settlement for the conflict.


“A call has been sent to the Taliban movement to abandon its line for a military solution of the Afghan conflict in favor of direct talks with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the issue of national reconciliation,” the statement said.


Reports also suggested that Russia and China – the two regional powers – separately committed to convince Taliban militia to ‘focus less on fighting against Kabul’ and ‘more on the more imminent threat’, the growing influence of international terror syndicate, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) – a regional offshoot of ‘Islamic State’. Russia has also offered to host the intra-Afghan talks for peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban.


To be more realistic, it is this growing threat of Daesh, also called ISIS, in the eastern parts of Afghanistan with potentials of destabilizing the entire region that has forced Russia to get engaged in the Afghan conflict 37 years after Soviet invasion in December 1979. However, instead of taking a solo approach, Russia initiated the process of ‘Moscow consultations’ taking all the regional countries along to come up with regional strategy for Afghanistan.


Besides Russia, the growing influence of ISKP is also a matter of concern for China, Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan is sharing 2611 km border with Afghanistan and IS militants operating in the border regions were also behind various deadly terrorists’ attacks in Pakistan. Iran also fears Daesh due to its anti-Shia agenda.


Moscow process of consultation has grown over the time from a trilateral consultation initially involving Russia, China, and Pakistan in to dialogue involving all the neighboring states of Afghanistan and the regional powers.


Russia also invited the U.S. to participate in this third round of regional consultations for initiating political negotiations on Afghan issue, however, it refused [to participate] and instead branded the process as “unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region.”


While initiating the process, its founding members China, Russia and Pakistan were in agreement over the fact that the continued fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban would ultimately strengthen the ISKP and increase its influence in the entire region.


Furthermore, there was an increasing concern among regional stakeholders that after facing defeat in Syria and rest of the Middle East, IS militants are fleeing and searching new abodes – and a destabilized Afghanistan was a prime attraction.


It is already evident that Russia has played a crucial role in defeating ISIS in Syria through counter-terrorism operations and infiltrating ethnic Chechens in the militant ranks, in the face of resistance from the U.S. and allies. Russia also successfully weakened the U.S.-installed regime in Libya and strengthened the opposition there.


Due to these U.S.-Russian proxies in the Middle Eastern countries, experts are of the opinion that the U.S. itself is involved in now shifting Daesh militants to Afghanistan in order to destabilize Russia by infiltrating IS militants into Central Asian States and also keep sorts of checks on growing economic and political influence of China.

 

The U.S. and Russia have a major difference of opinion in resolution of Afghan conflict. The U.S. want to continue its military engagements – though led by the Afghan national security forces – till the total annihilation of armed militia of Taliban. However, Russia, Pakistan and China think otherwise. Their approach towards resolution of Afghan conflict is manifested in this statement where the conference called on “ensuring a national reconciliation using political methods in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions” to resolve this decades old conflict.

ISKP is currently carrying its activities in limited eastern areas of Afghanistan close to Pakistan border. However, once strengthened, it will definitely extend its activities from its current abodes in east to north of Afghanistan. And from there it can easily infiltrate into the bordering Central Asian Republics – known to be the soft belly of Moscow – thus undermining Moscow’s national security interests.


The aggressive posturing adopted by the U.S. and Russia over the perceived threat of IS militants in the region are clear signals that both the super powers are once again flexing muscles for new proxies on the traditional Afghan turf.


Despite the Russian clarification that its involvement in Afghan affairs is exclusively for its own national security interests and for checking growing influence of IS, Washington is deeply annoyed over the development alleging that by establishing links with Taliban insurgents, Russia is jeopardizing her years-long campaign in Afghanistan.


Commenting on the growing Moscow-Taliban links, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told media recently, “I am not willing to say at this point if that has manifested into weapon and that sort of thing, but certainly what they (Russians) are up to there in light of their other activities gives us concern.”


On supplying arms and weapons to Taliban, CENTCOM Commander Gen Joseph L. Votel minced no words when speaking to members of Senate Armed Services Committee, he said, “(Russia) may be providing some kind of support to them (Taliban) in terms of weapons or other things… I believe what Russia is attempting to do is, it is trying to be an influential party.”


However, looking into the format of Moscow process, it appears all these countries are members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). So by its composition, it is the SCO making efforts to formulate a strategy for preventing Afghanistan falling to IS terrorists, which may further infiltrate into SCO members. Stabilizing Afghanistan, the SCO members believe, is necessary to make sure that terrorism does not spread further into the region.


In Moscow process this common concern over growing terrorist activities in Afghanistan was echoed. It stated, “The parties [concerned] had a frank and thorough exchange of views on the current political and military situation in Afghanistan as well as on its prospects and expressed common concern over growing terrorist activities in the country leading to rising tensions and increasing violence which adds to the predicament of the Afghan people.”


The U.S. and Russia have a major difference of opinion in the resolution of Afghan conflict. The U.S. wants to continue its military engagements – though led by the Afghan national security forces – till the total annihilation of armed militia of Taliban. However, Russia, Pakistan and China think otherwise. Their approach towards resolution of Afghan conflict is manifested in this statement where the conference called on “ensuring a national reconciliation using political methods in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions” to resolve this decades old conflict.


However, after all the U.S. is too crucial to the conflict to be ignored. Its refusal to participate in Moscow consultation will definitely thwart the prospects for achieving a stable Afghanistan. Besides, keeping the Afghan current dispensation intact by financing all its expenses including those of national security forces and police, the U.S. also has 8400 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. And by all definitions, Washington is a major stakeholder to the Afghan conflict, and not being onboard, it will be very much difficult for surrogate – the Kabul regime – to agree to a process not supported by Washington.


Interestingly, Washington has already diverted attention of the world from the Moscow conference by dropping powerful bombs on alleged hideouts of IS in Afghanistan. It will become clear in days to come whether the attacks on IS hideouts is a policy shift to checkmate Russian efforts for elimination of IS threats or just distracting tactics. However, peace in Afghanistan is very crucial for peace in Pakistan. Therefore, Pakistan supports all efforts that in some way contribute towards resolution of Afghan conflict by involving all stakeholders.

 

The writer is a senior journalist, analyst and anchor person.

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08
May

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

India, presently, is undertaking its Middle East policy very seriously due to its energy needs, internal security challenges, regional/global political and economic objectives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has revamped India’s Middle Eastern approach to boost economic and military engagement with the regional leading actors and also compete with China and Pakistan for influence in the West Asia. Though the regional strategic environment is complex and volatile, yet New Delhi is shrewdly encountering the regional internal divisions and rivalries, engaging Iran, Saudi Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council, remarkably. Besides improving its bilateral relations with the leading Middle Eastern Muslim countries; India is intelligently maintaining its robust commercial and defence relations with Israel.

 

indiamiddleeast.jpgThe critical examination of India’s Middle East policy underscores that New Delhi has successfully cultivated better diplomatic relations with all the major actors of the Middle East, especially with Israel, Iran and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) since the end of Cold War. In this context, the Indian diaspora (seven million expatriates) is playing a critical role. The Indian diaspora remits $33 to 35 billion back to India every year. It is also facilitating New Delhi in cultivating better relations with the Middle Eastern ruling elite and business community. Indeed, these countries are competing among themselves for their hegemony in the region, but India is intelligently maintaining close relations with all the relevant regional actors for the sake of its “Look Middle East” Policy.


India always considers Middle Eastern states important for its energy needs and for the pursuit of its political, economic, and military objectives in the regional and global politics. Nevertheless, today New Delhi’s main focus is on the Persian/Arabian Gulf states, with only minimal interest in the Maghreb and the Levant. Historically, New Delhi was very close to Cairo. The former used its amity with the latter for boosting its role within the Non-Aligned Movement. The end of Cold War and demise of former Soviet Union immensely altered the global politics. The transformation in the global setting makes India attractive for the United States and its likeminded nations. India intelligently seizes the moment for maximizing its stature in the community of nations and improving its relations with the Indian Ocean rim states. Consequently, during the last two decades, an impressive shift has taken place in India’s bilateral relations with the leading regional Middle Eastern States. Precisely, New Delhi has not only improved its image in the Middle East, but it also structured it relations with each Middle Eastern state in a bilateral and separate fashion.


New Delhi has established very close diplomatic relations and defense cooperation with Israel despite the continuity of Palestinians problem. Rhetorically, New Delhi remains an ardent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Realistically, however, India has been distancing from Palestinian cause. For instance, “India abstained both in July 2015 and in March 2016 from supporting a Palestine-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to launch a probe by the International Criminal Court against Israel for war crimes during the 2014 Gaza crisis”.


Ironically, the Middle Eastern states including Saudi Arab and Iran did not object the warming bilateral relations between Israel and India. New Delhi and Tel Aviv maintained informal relations for many decades. Nevertheless, both announced formal diplomatic relations in 1992. Prior to the 1990s, New Delhi was keeping clandestine contacts with Tel Aviv for refining its missile program and hatching conspiracies to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear program. The review of literature proves that the weaknesses in India’s indigenous missile program obliges it to approach Israel with the connivance of the United States to overcome the technological obstacles. For instance, the leading Indian missile scientist, Dr. Abdul Kalam (latter became President of India) visited Israel in June 1996 and in the early months of 1997. He visited Israel to receive its assistance in the development of the Indian missile program, especially Agni project. He had shown interest in Israel’s developments in the surface-to-surface missile and theater missile defence systems (Arrow) technology and components.


The Indo-Israel Defence Partnership has constructive contribution in India’s armed forces modernization. Since 2006, Indian Defence Research and Development Organization and Israel’s Aerospace Industries have been working closely. The latter transferred sophisticated technology and equipments to India. On February 22, 2017, India’s Cabinet Committee of Security, a government body headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and responsible for military procurements, approved 17,000-crore ($ 2.5 billion) a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for the Indian Army. The missile has a range of 50-70 km. The missile is designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as cruise missiles and combat jets within the range of 50-70 km.


India, recently, finalized $2.5 billion dollars deal for MR-SAM with Israel. Five regiments of the Indian Army would be beneficiary of this new Indo-Israel missile contract. The deal is for 200 missiles for five regiments, each getting 40 units. It was reported that: “The system will be based on the older Barak system of Israel, which is in use in India. It is being changed as per requirements.” In March 2017, New Delhi initiated negotiations with Tel Aviv for purchasing two more long-range Phalcon Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS). In addition, New Delhi would also purchase high-tech military equipments from Israel. These developments manifest that Indo-Israel defence cooperation is supplementing Indian military buildup and modernization.

 

New Delhi has established very close diplomatic relations and defense cooperation with Israel despite the continuity of Palestinian problem. Rhetorically, New Delhi remains an ardent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Realistically, however, India has been distancing from Palestinian cause. For instance, “India abstained both in July 2015 and in March 2016 from supporting a Palestine-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to launch a probe by the International Criminal Court against Israel for war crimes during the 2014 Gaza crisis”.

Since early 1990s, India has fostered strong strategic partnership with Iran. The strategic partnership was further cemented in the beginning of twenty-first century. Though Bush Administration declared Iran as a member of ‘axis of evil’, yet India augmented its defence cooperation with Iran. India and Iran formally entered into a bilateral defence pact in November 2003. Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) assisted practically Iranian nuclear establishment. On September 23, 2004, the Bush Administration under the authority of the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act sanctioned two Indian scientists for their activities in Iran. Dr. R. C. Surendar and Dr. Y. S. R. Prasad, both former directors of the Nuclear Power Corporation India. (The Washington Times, Thursday, October 21, 2004). On December 21, 2005, the administration sanctioned Sabero Organic Chemicals Gujarat Ltd., etc. again under the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act, for transfers of certain chemicals to Iran.


The Indo-Iran defence agreement was revitalized in 2009. It’s an open secret; Iran has been facilitating India in the materialization of its sea, road and railway connection with Central Asian States through Afghanistan. For instance, in 2014 India invested more than 85 million US dollars at Chabahar Port. India managed to engage Afghanistan through Iran. India and Iran’s strategic convergence on Afghanistan received a boost with the establishment of the Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor on 23 May 2016. The trilateral transport and transit corridor, certainly, reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan. Simultaneously, it increases India’s access to Afghanistan. Ironically, Iran severely condemns Israel, but it has been nurturing better relations with New Delhi. Similarly, India has been maintaining close relations with Iran despite the United States serious reservations on the Iranian political system and its nuclear program.


India has gradually been improving its bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In February 2014, the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Saud visited New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first two Middle East visits were to Abu Dhabi in August 2015 and Riyadh in April 2016. His visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates resulted in stronger diplomatic, economic and defence engagements. According to the India–Saudi Arabia Joint Statement issued on April 3, 2016, both states cooperate to “dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states.” Though, details of New Delhi’s strategic understanding with Riyadh remain largely unknown, yet in the realm of counterterrorism Riyadh has been cooperating with New Delhi. For instance, Saudis deported Indian terrorist Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, also known as Abu Jundal in 2012.


The United Arab Emirates is also strengthening its ties with India. The Indian diaspora was permitted to build a temple in Dubai, during the visit of Premier Modi in 2015. Moreover, immediately after Modi’s visit, the UAE seized the Dawood Ibrahim’s possessions, and deported Afsha Jabeen to India. Sheikh Moahmmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was invited by Premier Modi as the Chief Guest at the 2017 Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. Presence of the Crown Prince at the parade ground substantiates both states deepening bilateral relations. Importantly, India and Qatar bilateral relations impressively improved during the last decade. In 2008, New Delhi committed “to protect Qatar’s assets and interests from external threats”. Similarly, Bahrain and India signed memorandum of understanding for defence cooperation.


The preceding discussion reveals that the ruling elite of the Middle Eastern states seems more interested in economic and military cooperation with India. They are deliberately ignoring the growing dominance of Hindutva forces in the Indian politics under the leadership of Premier Modi. Importantly, the Hindutva ideology portrays Islamic religion and civilization as intolerant, hostile to Hindu values, proselytizing, expansionist, repressive, and violent and therefore condemns it strongly. The right wing Hindu nationalists have not given up their dream of regaining the lost territories (the sacred lands of Hinduism and Buddhism lost to Islam during the second millennium, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council, puts it) and restoring the Hindu supremacy over the entire Akhand Bharat (undivided India). Moreover, today, the Indian Muslims' condition is miserable. On April 25, 2017, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) led government announced an end to holidays for Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Jumma-tul-Wida. Precisely, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been using the Hindutva slogan to exploit the anti-Muslim feelings for mustering the support of the Hindu vote for winning the elections.


To conclude, the positive trajectory in the Indian economic growth, military advancement and New Delhi’s multidimensional relations with the United States have enhanced India’s significance in the Middle Eastern nations' foreign policy. Rich Middle Eastern nations ruling elite view India a possible venue for their investment. While, India is endeavoring to use its current advantageous position in the region to dilute Pakistan’s influence in the Middle East. Therefore, it’s imperative that Islamabad ought to revamp its policy to enhance its economic and diplomatic connectivity with the Middle Eastern states.

 

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

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08
May

On account of the great promise of the advanced technology for communication, it has become a norm to communicate effortlessly and efficiently beyond the borders. Technology as the foundation of today’s modern society also governs its dynamics. It is only normal that terrorists also benefit from it and have reached the global dimension, with only a few tools and a free internet network forming the pillars of this new strategy to disseminate terror. Technology has assumed a crucial role for terrorists who optimize the use of social media and communication platforms to elude monitoring by the intelligence agencies. The violent extremists have also become increasingly adept at creating dense networks to garner support online at a global scale, creating networks that help them run virtual circles without any economic constraints and offer unrivaled outreach opportunities.


Countering violent extremism (CVE) has been a challenge for many states. It reflects the growing focus on preventive approaches to dissuade individuals or groups from mobilizing towards violence, including terrorism, organized crime, and conflict by the non-state actors to further their negative objectives. The threat at home has subsided but it isn’t yet over. We can defeat terrorism, but unless we extinguish the underlying extremist ideology and grievances which help motivate scores of recruits to join these violent extremists, we cannot succeed. However, until recent past, our primary focus has been on kinetic threat which is essential for removing terrorists from the battlefield and disrupting their plots, whereas, awareness about the shifting labyrinth of non-kinetic challenges and the threat they pose to our national security has now been placed under critical scrutiny and is being responded to in a comprehensive manner i.e., launching of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. The Operation is achieving successes on various fronts, however, the challenge is enormous and demands a determined national response. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in a recent message to the nation has vociferously enunciated that each member of the nation is a soldier of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad. This personifies will of the nation to fight alongside the armed forces of Pakistan to defeat this menace.


It goes without saying that our defense forces and credible nuclear deterrence promise a formidable response in the kinetic domain. Hence, we need to focus on the non-kinetic approach where ideology beats ideology and for that we need the whole-of-nation approach where civil society, government, media, academia and other segments of society play their part. Our books, television, films and online media should support a strong state and peaceful society that believes in peaceful dialogue thereby eroding the acceptability of militant groups by challenging their narratives within an appropriate nationalistic framework. That should help with the fundamental issues such as where to draw the line between the core doctrines of Islam and the interpretations and distortions of Islamic teachings by militant violent extremists. There is also a need to ensure enforcement of Article 5 ‘loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law’ and Article 256 of the Constitution ‘private armies forbidden’, which clearly states that “no private organization capable of functioning as a military organization shall be formed and that any such organization shall be illegal”, to prevent such groups from functioning.


The long term solution to CVE requires more creative ways of assessing attitude and behavioral changes over time. In the meantime we must invest in social cohesion, peace building and conflict mitigation which in turn will play a role in preventing marginalization, social exclusion and radicalization which leads to violent extremism.

 

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08
May
Death Sentence Awarded to Kulbushan Jadhav Under Pakistan Army Act

Indian RAW Agent/Naval officer 41558Z Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3, 2016 through a Counter-Intelligence Operation from Mashkel, Balochistan, for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan. The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded death sentence. On April 10, 2017 COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM.

RAW agent Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav was tried by FGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of official Secret Act of 1923. FGCM found Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav guilty of all the charges. He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.

The accused was provided with defending officer as per legal provisions.

(No PR-193/2017-ISPR April 10, 2017)
 
08
May

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

The remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy.

 

India has adopted an increasingly belligerent posture towards Pakistan in the last few years – suspension of composite dialogue, strained diplomatic relations and severed cultural ties, and calling Pakistan a terrorist state. At the same time, India has been heavily building up its conventional capabilities, tremendously expanding its naval capabilities and even operationalising its nuclear capable submarine fleet. The latest in India's race towards a more belligerent posture is its move away from a nuclear no-first use (NFU) posture. This is indeed a worrying development in an already volatile nuclear theatre like South Asia.

 

nofirstchange.jpgThe NFU refers to a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. India adopted the NFU policy in the wake of its 1998 nuclear tests. India's draft nuclear doctrine of August 1999 asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of "retaliation only". It further states, "India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail."1 Later, in a speech at the National Defence College on October 21, 2010, India's then National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, said that Indian nuclear doctrine advocates no first use against non-nuclear-weapon states. This raises the question whether the use of nuclear weapons was an option against non-nuclear weapon states. Again, in November 2016, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "Why do lots of people say that India is for no fist use? Why should I bind myself?"2


Recent claims by an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy, Vipin Narang, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology are worthy of some attention. At a conference held by Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in 2017, he said, "There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first." He asserted that India may abandon NFU and launch a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan if it believed that Pakistan was going to use nuclear weapons or most likely the tactical nuclear weapons against it. He further claimed that India's pre-emptive strike may not be conventional and would also be aimed at Pakistan's missile launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads. He went as far to say that India's strike may be a full 'comprehensive counterforce strike' that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of all its nuclear weapons eliminating the possibility of a retaliatory strike. However, of greater concern is his claim that this change in thinking does not come from fringe extreme voices but from no less than a former Commander of India's Strategic Forces, Lt Gen B.S. Nagal, and also from the influential former national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, who suggested in his 2016 book 'Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy', that "Serious voices, who cannot be ignored, seem to suggest that this (abandoning NFU policy) is where India may be heading, and certainly wants to head."


Pakistan has always been sceptical of India's claims of NFU. However, the remarks of academics and retired Indian officials confirm the redundancy of the NFU. If indeed the signals coming from India are to be taken seriously then it is a major declared policy shift that has serious implications for Pakistan's nuclear strategy. Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Ehsan ul Haq (R), who has remained closely associated with Pakistan’s nuclear thinking while speaking at the launch of a book said, "The development is a cause of concern against the backdrop of extremist Hindutva agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party government." He further said, "Our conventional understanding of South Asia's nuclear dynamics and who, in fact, might use nuclear weapons first and in what mode may need a hard rethink given these emerging authoritative voices in India who are not content to cede the nuclear initiative to Pakistan." This indeed would be a major shift in India's nuclear policy. It would surely have a response by Pakistan making adjustments to its nuclear doctrine. However, if Vipin Narayan's remarks are to be taken seriously then it might not only be abandoning of NFU by India but doing away with the escalation ladder leading to a strategic nuclear strike. Noteworthy in this context are his remarks that India may conduct a comprehensive counterforce designed to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. While this may not be possible in practice since Pakistan's nuclear assets are well dispersed with high survivability, it does reflect the extremist turn in India's nuclear thinking. This is a worrying development for Pakistan since India has adopted a more aggressive stance against Pakistan under the BJP-led government. It is also worrisome in the light of the ballistic missile defence (BMD) system that India is developing and is already claiming operational with the ability to protect two Indian cities. Although BMD systems are not foolproof and hundred percent effective, they would give Indian decision makers a false sense of security making them act with aggression in a crisis. If indeed Indian nuclear thinking is moving towards a pre-emptive nuclear strike, then the decision makers would feel more secure knowing the BMD system would provide protection against any missile that Pakistan launches in retaliation.

 

Noteworthy are Vipin Narayan’s remarks that India may conduct a comprehensive counterforce designed to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. While this may not be possible in practice since Pakistan's nuclear assets are well dispersed with high survivability, it does reflect the extremist turn in India's nuclear thinking.

Pakistan has already stated its displeasure on any notions of pre-emptive strike. On April 6, 2017, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson stated that, “It goes without saying that the talk about pre-emption in a nuclearized South Asia is highly irresponsible and dangerous and will not help the cause of promoting strategic restraint and stability in the region.” He further highlighted that, “In taking appropriate security measures, Pakistan has to consider capabilities and not intentions which can change anytime."3


A move towards pre-emptive strike would be a dangerous and destabilising one in South Asia. It will surely accelerate the arms race in South Asia including nuclear. It might necessitate changes in force planning, postures, and deployment protocols. It would likely move the two countries towards nuclear readiness which also increases the chances of accidental and unauthorised use.


Some analysts have described the Indian references to pre-emptive strike "a storm in a teacup," and not to be taken seriously. It may be so. However, if Indian strategic circles are discussing the possibility of a crippling first strike against Pakistan, Islamabad cannot afford to take it lightly. It does not mean that Pakistani decision makers need to go off in a flurry and make adjustments to its force posture immediately. But it would be a good idea to keep a close watch on India's nuclear policy. In the long run, Pakistan would have to adjust its nuclear policy to cater for a first nuclear use Indian policy. Pakistan can use tactics like dispersion, camouflage and mobility to ensure the survivability of its nuclear arsenal. Moreover, Pakistan can develop sea-based nuclear capability which would give it an assured second strike capability. It is already working on a sea based nuclear deterrence. In January 2017 Pakistan announced that it had successfully carried out the first-ever test of its nuclear-capable Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) from a submerged platform. The Babur-3 SLCM is ultimately designed for use with its Agosta 90B diesel-electric submarines. This would give Pakistan a second strike capability. It would also ensure that all of Pakistan's nuclear weapons are not destroyed in a pre-emptive strike. An important lesson to take home is what the foreign office spokesperson said: "Pakistan has to prepare against the adversary's capabilities and not intentions." At the same time one must not miss the point – Indian talk of abandoning NFU is an indication of the extremist turn in the country's security and foreign policy. It is the harbinger of yet more conflict and instability in the region. Perhaps, the most important step Pakistan needs to take is to build international pressure on India to abandon its aggressive posture and move towards dialogue and conflict resolution. For nuclear weapons are not meant to be used to wage war, their primary role is to prevent war.

 

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.

 

1 Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine, Äugust 17, 1999, http://mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?18916/Draft+Report+of+National+Security+Advisory+Board+on+Indian+Nuclear+Doctrine
2 "Why bind ourselves to 'no first use' policy, says Manohar Parrikar on India's nuke policy", Economic Times, November 12, 2017
3 "India’s no-first-use of N-doctrine a ploy: FO," The Nation, April 7, 2017, http://nation.com.pk/editors-picks/07-Apr-2017/india-s-no-first-use-of-n-doctrine-a-ploy-fo

08
May

pmapoparade.jpgThe winter session Passing Out Parade of 135th PMA Long Course, 54th Integrated Course and 7th Mujahid Course was held on April 15, 2017. The Reviewing Officer and Chief Guest of the parade was His Excellency Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, Defence Minister of Qatar. Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Defence Minister of Pakistan was also one of the distinguished guests. Besides, dignitaries, representatives of foreign embassies in Pakistan, retired and serving senior officers of the armed forces of Pakistan, parents of passing out cadets also witnessed the parade.

135th PMA Long Course,

54th Integrated Course,

7th Mujahid Course

The mega event commenced with the performance of the Pakistan Military Academy brass band in the Rafiullah Drill Square. The ‘markers’ then marched in and took their respective positions followed by the marching cadets raising slogan of “Allah-o-Akbar”, presenting a breath-taking display. On the arrival of the Chief Guest, General Salute was presented in the honour of the Chief Guest. The Reviewing Officer then reviewed the Parade accompanied by the Commandant, Battalion Commander 3rd Pakistan Battalion and the Academy Senior Under Officer. This was followed by spectacular march past by the complete parade. After the immaculate march past, the Academy Adjutant Major Muhammad Nouman handed over the Parade to Academy Senior Under Officer Imran Faiz.

pmapoparade1.jpg

 

PRIDE OF NATION

The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Academy Senior Under Officer Imran Faiz of 135 Long Course, while the President’s Gold Medal was awarded to Battalion Senior Under Officer Ahmed Jawad of the same course. The Overseas Gold Medal was awarded to Allied Under Officer Ashraf S.F. Sbaihat from Palestine who also passed out with 135 Long Course. Commandant’s Canes were awarded to Course Under Officer Umar Nawab from 54th Integrated Course and Course Under Officer Farrukh Ali Memon from 7th Mujahid Course. Tipu Company was declared the Champion Company.

 

The Senior Division took oath to reinvigorate their resolve to serve the motherland with the best of their potential. In a dignified manner and synchronized with tune played by the PMA Band, Senior Division left the drill square in slow march. It is the cherished dream of every cadet to step up the stairs leading to the Battalion Mess and become a part of the Pakistan Army Officers’ fraternity.

pmapoparade2.jpg

 
08
May

Written By: Maj Asim Ishaq

The United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a joint African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007 to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan while peace talks on a final settlement continue. Its initial 12-month mandate was extended to July 31, 2010. The mandate is for a force of up to 19,555 military personnel and 3,772 police, along with a further "19 Formed Police Units comprising up to 140 personnel each." The peacekeepers are allowed to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian operations. UNAMID is the first joint UN/AU force and the largest peacekeeping mission. Major troop contributing countries are Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania.

 

spiritpakcel.jpg

March 23, 2017, was chosen as the day for medal parade at Al DAEIN super Camp in East Darfur. Clad in uniform and smartly turnedout Pakistan Contingent – PAKBATT 4 (43 Punjab Sadiq Battalion) presented relishing display of military parade.

 

The force commander Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, Contingent Commander Brigadier Syed Mazhar Hussain attended the Medal wearing ceremony along with 23rd March celebrations. The guests were given a warm welcome by the military band of PAKBATT 4, Parade Commander Major Assad Mehmood Khan with his roaring request asked the chief guest to review the parade. The force commander and contingent commander then decorated medals on all soldiers and officers.

 

Force Commander was then ushered by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Attiq Ahmed Khan Anjum to the traditional stalls laid out in beautiful colours and aesthetics. A group photo marked the end of the ceremony.

 

To reciprocate our care for people of Darfur Contingent Commander ordered establishing of a free Medical camp in Neem IDP camp in East Darfur, hosted by Pakistan on March 24. It included Specialist Doctors who flew all the way from Nyala South Darfur, free medicines and detailed checkup. A total of 1486 patients were treated who bore a smile on their faces, thanking for a much deserved relief.

 

DISTANT WE ARE; BONDED WE STAND

LIVE LONG PAKISTAN

PAKISTAN ARMY ZINDABAD!

 
08
May

Written By: Maryam Razzaq

An interview with the team "TAME" from NUST which won the first place in Stanford Longevity Design Challenge 2017.

 

As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag everyone just stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success as we proved to them that innovation is not limited to a geographic region.

 

Acceptance to divine’s will is a tool of contentment. While contentment brings happiness and acceptance to life, the same also halts the very endeavor and struggle one makes to change and improve the current situation. The case of elderly persons with physical impairment like tremors is an example where society has widely accepted their condition with no recourse to treat and cure.

 

theworldno1.jpgAmazingly, a group of students from NUST has embarked upon a project to develop and introduce a device called TAME-Tremor Acquisition and Minimization which seeks to develop wearable technology for the suppression of real-time pathological tremors without hindering the voluntary movement of the patient.


The students Arsalan Javed, Awais Shafiq and Hooriya Anum not only qualified to present their project at Stanford Longevity Design Challenge 2017, held in Stanford University California but they also won the competition defeating the world’s top universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Virginia Tech, University of Sao Paulo, Beijing University and Stanford University itself . Their achievement of raising our national flag at such a prestigious platform filled every Pakistani’s heart with pride.


The initiative and the progress made by this group of young students so far has to be shared with different segments of society to provoke their thoughts and invite the assistance they can offer to the group to materialize their project. Therefore Hilal arranged an interview with the group and salient of discussion are as under.

 

theworldno12.jpgQ. Firstly can you explain to the readers what your project was about?
Hilal’s readers may have an idea about tremors. It’s a human body disorder which involves unintentional, involuntary, rhythmic muscle movement including to-and-fro movements (oscillations) of one or more parts of the body commonly affecting the movement of hands, arms, head, face, voice, trunk, and legs. The tremor of hands is especially the most disabling one. So, what we created as our Final Year Project (FYP) is a device called TAME-Tremor Acquisition and Minimization. It is a wearable device which seeks to diagnose and suppress the involuntary movement of the muscles thus controlling pathological tremors.


Q. When did you start working on this project and what was the motivation behind it?
We started this project back in December 2015 as our FYP and what motivated us was that we could relate to it at a personal level as we actually saw this particular disease of tremors in our families and friends leading them to struggle with the basic daily tasks. And thus we wanted to find an engineering-based solution for the disease.


Q. Tell us something about your journey from NUST to Stanford Longevity Design Challenge?
Awais: It has been a long journey as research and innovation take their time. During our graduation we didn’t expect much from our project since being engineering students we had little knowledge of medicines but what we had in mind was that we wanted to make a difference. We wanted to use our engineering knowledge to help the people who couldn’t do their basic tasks. With that motivation in mind we did what we could. And Alhamdulillah we came up with a minimal viable product which we tested in Fauji Foundation Hospital on a couple of patients. And Stanford Longevity Design Challenge was a perfect fit for us because the whole theme and purpose of it was to optimize the lives of human beings.


Hooriya: The journey from our final year project in graduation till now has literally been a roller coaster ride because we have faced a lot of difficulties to be able to make this bio-medical device; from finding enough research on it to practically making and experimenting it, keeping the limits in mind. The journey was never easy but Alhamdulillah our work and persistence paid off.


Arsalan: More than anything this has truly been a great learning experience. Today, we are entirely different people than what we were one-and-a-half-year ago. This journey has not only made us better engineers but also better people.


Q. What was it like to be winning against the world’s top universities including the very prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Virginia Tech, University of Sao Paulo, Beijing University and Stanford University itself?
Arsalan: No doubt the challenge was really daunting because it wasn’t like some of the top, but the top universities of the world were competing against us. We took it as an exciting challenge.


Hooriya: I would say we were quite anxious. It was interesting; the teams were very confident as some of them had their products ready while others had their research to share. The only thing that kept us going was that we had to represent Pakistan and pay back to the country what it has given us.

 

Awais: Just the feeling itself of being at such a prestigious institute and competing against the world’s top universities was something I can’t really put into words. And I think this never could have been possible without my team. Our prime objective at that time was not as much to win but to represent our country in the best possible way. We were nervous standing next to the top ranked universities and when our name was called as the winners, we were definitely overjoyed.

 

Winner of Stanford Longevity Design Challenge –Team "TAME" from NUST meets COAS

theworldno14.jpgNUST students who bagged the first position at Stanford Longevity Design Challenge held in California, USA on March 30, 2017, met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in GHQ. 20 countries participated in the competition. The theme for participants was to focus on improving the quality of life for individuals ageing in their homes. 3-member NUST team comprising of Awais Shafiq, Hooriya Anam and Arslan Javed was selected to top 9 teams from different universities across the world by a panel of judges of industries from Silicon Valley. NUST team designed Tremor Acquisition and Minimization (TAME) and defeated MIT, Virginia Technology, Stanford, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Waterloo, Canada, Cornell, California, Berkeley and Beijing universities in final stage held at Stanford University. TAME is a wearable device for real time pathological wrist tremor suppression to enable tremor patients perform their routine task without assistance. COAS congratulated the team on this outstanding achievement. "Our youth is our asset and we are proud of their achievement for keeping the green flag high", COAS emphasized.


Q. Watching you on TV surely filled our hearts with pride; how did you feel, holding and waving our national flag at such a prestigious platform?
As we went on the stage and took out the Pakistani flag, everyone stood up from their place and clapped for us. It was a moment that filled our hearts with indescribable love and respect for our country. The world acknowledged our success as we proved to them that innovation is not limited to a geographic region. We knew at that very moment that it wasn’t just us who had won but Pakistan had won. We had won for the country which enabled us to be who we were today, it was for the nation that supported us, it was for the institute that opened avenues for us, it was for the teachers who instilled knowledge in us, and it was for all those people who invested in us.


Q. How has your experience been at NUST?
Arsalan: It might sound cheesy but NUST is the best thing that has ever happened to me. There is so much to learn over here. You get exposed to not only a lot of research but the environment that NUST provides helps you to interact at international level.


Hooriya: I will second Arsalan’s opinion that NUST exposed us to international platforms and different avenues. Not only it has helped us academically but also has groomed us to be the people that we are today.


Awais: Well, apart from the study point of view it is absolutely true that whatever I am today is because of this prestigious institute. The ability to present at a platform like Stanford and the confidence to deliver among the tech leaders has all come from this university.


Q. What would you like to say about the faculty and your supervisor?
We went with the idea of TAME to Dr. Raza Kazmi who was very supportive and we couldn’t have done this without him. He is the one who connected us to the Fauji Foundation Hospital and there in Foundation University Islamabad we met Dr. Khalid, Dr. Tassawur Hussain, Dr. Rabiya and Dr. Saira. Dr Khalid and Dr. Tassawur are like celebrity doctors. And I think it is because of them that we were able to expedite the Ethical Committee review which gave us access to the patients.


Q. Are you satisfied with your final project or would you like to further improve it?
TAME for now is in the prototype phase. Although the minimal viable device that we have made has been widely accepted, the final product still needs to be made and launched in the market. So we are working on it constantly.


Secondly, as we are satisfied with our project, our main focus is to make it affordable for all the tremor patients. So we are already working to further improve it.


Q. You must have received offers from various companies for assisting you in materializing your project and converting the TAME prototype into an actual product. So, how do you plan to do that?
Well we certainly have gotten a lot of offers from big names but one of the problems in Pakistan is that people like to play it safe. They prefer to invest in software because it gives you a lot of return. For hardware you actually need a lot of money to make something. And since this is specifically a bio-medical project, there is limited capital, limited resources and limited mentorship available for taking it to the next level.


After the graduation we received multiple job offers which we rejected as we wanted to further work on our project to convert it from prototype to a real time device available in the market. This device can certainly be made in Pakistan but due to limited resources the time span to actualize it and bring it to the market will be relatively long. We have actually been offered sponsorship from abroad so let’s see.


Q. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get your project completed?
Hooriya: The biggest challenge for me I guess was getting the Ethical approvals. Also, even after having made the device and setting its algorithm and everything, one cannot be sure if it will function unless it is tested upon a human patient.


Arsalan: I think I’d second Hooriya that the biggest challenge in our way was to get the Ethical approval and then test the device on patients.


Awais: The biggest challenge for me I’d say was to actually make the device.


Q. Did you have several ideas for your project or TAME was the one you settled on straight away?
Well we can go on and on about this. This team has been together for more than three years and we have done a lot of projects together. The focus has always been on learning, we have won quite a few competitions before TAME, of which some were in healthcare and other in counter-terrorism department. We were initially confused whether to pursue TAME as our FYP as it was to be a bio-medical product and we had little or no medical knowledge. But like we said we could relate to the tremor disease and thus we finally settled on TAME.


Q. Is TAME, the wearable device for controlling pathological tremors one of its kind and how effective is it to practically control tremors?
There is no product currently in the market for suppressing tremors and as we progressed along, there were certain prototypes that were using different techniques but then again they are still in the prototype phase. However, we must point out that just a small amount of research has been done on this particular technique for this particular disease. But there is no such product in the market.


And well the prototype that we used to experiment on tremor patients in Fauji Foundation Hospital yielded us positive results. And in many cases we could actually see the visual suppression of the tremors while in all of the cases we could actually see the tremor patients successfully performing their everyday tasks. So, if we consider the ability of the patients to overcome tremors the merit of success, then we can say that our project has been successful and effective.


Q. When can the world expect this miraculous prototype to develop into a product and be available in the market?
Actually we are working on a bio-medical product and the problem attached is that before bringing it into the market and getting it approved for different standard testing, we have to generate a specific dataset i.e., we have to test it on say three hundred patients and once the results are found positive only then we can get it approved and certified by the standard testing authorities in Pakistan. Right now we can’t say the exact time it will take to bring this product to market but hopefully soon.


Q. 100,000 U.S. Dollars is a big amount, have you planned on how to spend this huge prize money?
It was our prize money and not a research grant so on a lighter note we could do whatever we want. But as a matter of fact as we have this money, we are going to use it to the advantage of our project just as we have done with prize money before.


Q. What advice would you give to students who aspire to achieve big for the country like you have?
Arsalan: Well, I personally believe that though we belong to a developing country, we have no dearth of talent. Given the right environment and the right opportunities we can and we will take the world by storm. The only message I would give to all the Pakistanis out there is that don’t stop trying. Don’t be daunted by a task which seems impossible and just go for it. Well as Hooriya says, what’s the worst that can happen?

 

theworldno13.jpgHooriya: Yeah well that was my message, thanks for copying it Arsalan (chuckles). My message would especially be to the girls that don’t shy away from opportunities because you can achieve everything as big as your male counterparts could or even better since you can be more persistent than the guys (chuckles). And to the parents I would especially request to let their daughters choose the field they’d like to join. Girls can be engineers, too.


Awais: While these two people sitting beside me are brilliant students, I have always been an average student but with that I have also been sincere to myself. I try to learn what is being taught to me. I try to polish my practical skills although I am not that focused on the theoretical part of the degree but I believe that I am a good engineer because I can practically apply my skills and learning into real world problems. And to the students I’d say that we often complain that there are a lot of problems in Pakistan but what we need to realize is that these problems are opportunities for us that only need to be recognized. So yeah, dream big and do your best to materialize it.

 

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08
May

Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem

How do we keep a pulse on the economy? How does one evaluate the real health of an economy? Broadly speaking, an economy can be divided up into the internal sector and the external sector. Economic indicators are then used to ascertain or judge the current or future health of the economy. Here’s a review of our economy’s external sector based on exports, foreign direct investment, foreign exchange remittances and external debt.

 

ourecoextr.jpgExports: Pakistan’s exports as a percent of our GDP are at a 25-year low. In 1992, our exports stood at 17 percent of our GDP while the same now stand at 7 percent; what a steep fall! In dollar terms, our exports have come down from $25 billion just five years ago to a current figure of around $20 billion; a steep fall of around 20 percent in just five years. Amazingly, Bangladesh’s exports over the same five – year period have grown from $24 billion to $35 billion – a 45 percent jump.

ourecoextr1.jpgIn 1991, Pakistan’s share in world exports stood at 0.18 percent which has since come down to 0.14 percent. In 2004, Pakistan’s trade balance as a percent of our GDP stood at [plus] 1 percent of GDP; the current trade balance is [minus] 7 percent of GDP. As far as the trade balance is concerned, the year 1985 was even worse but the deterioration over the past thirteen years is a serious matter.


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): In 2007, Pakistan attracted $5.59 billion FDI. The current figure on FDI is around a billion dollars – 80 percent drop in ten years. In 1996, our share in world FDI stood at 0.26 percent which has since come down to a paltry 0.12 percent of world FDI – 55 percent drop.

 

ourecoextr4.jpgImagine; in 1960, we were 1.5 percent of world population and now we are 2.56 percent of world population while our share in world exports is shrinking and our share in world FDI is also on its way down. To be certain, we are missing the boat.


Imagine; five years ago our labor force numbered 61 million which now numbers nearly 70 million but our exports have gone down from $25 billion to $20 billion over the same period. Aren’t we missing the boat?


Remittances: Pakistani workers sending back their hard-earned dollars back to Pakistan have been and continue to be the backbone of our external sector. A year ago, Pakistanis sent back a colossal $20 billion back to Pakistan and that covered around 40 percent of our import bill. Of the $20 billion roughly 65 percent comes from five countries: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.


Foreign workers from all over the world working in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman have been remitting back a wholesome $100 billion a year to their home countries. No more (courtesy of the oil price crash).


For Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is the source of 30 percent of our workers’ remittances and Saudi Arabia’s budgetary deficit has now ballooned to $100 billion. Saudi Binladin Group, the construction giant, has already laid-off 50,000 of its 200,000 workforce. For Pakistan, remittances from Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and the UK are down 6.2 percent, 6.9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

 

ourecoextr2.jpgExternal Debt: This is the portion of our national debt that has been “borrowed from foreign lenders including commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions. These loans, including interest, must be paid in the currency in which the loan was made.”


Over the past three years, additional loans to the amount of $25 billion from foreign lenders have been taken. Of the $25 billion, an amount of roughly $12 billion went back towards the payment of previous loans. Net foreign borrowing thus amounted to $13 billion (in addition to domestic borrowings of over Rs. 3 trillion).


The economy seems headed into a ‘debt trap’ whereby we must borrow more just to pay back what has been borrowed in the past. In 2016, state-backed Chinese banks rescued us by lending $900 million. In the first three months of 2017, we borrowed an additional $300 million from the Chinese (Pakistan’s trade deficit with China has doubled over the past few years).


Pakistan is now seeking an additional $600 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the name of Public Sector Enterprises Reforms Tranche-II and III. Pakistan is now seeking an additional loan of $100 million from the French Development Agency (AFD). Pakistan is also seeking an additional loan of $750 million on commercial terms from China for Pakistan to pay back a $750 million, 10-year Eurobond that was floated back in 2007 (and is maturing this year).


In 1971, our total debt (external plus internal) stood at Rs. 30 billion. In a matter of 46 years our public debt has moved from Rs. 30 billion to Rs. 22,000 billion.


In 2008, the per capita debt – debt owed by each man, woman and child in the country – stood at Rs. 40,000. The same has since gone up to Rs. 115,000.


The truth is that our exports have now become uncompetitive in the world market because input costs in Pakistan – electricity and natural gas – are now the highest in the region. Additionally, the cost of doing business in Pakistan is now the highest in the region and our rupee has become grossly overvalued. Our return back to another IMF rescue is inevitable. Pending things for elections is not leadership but expediency.


Lo and behold, we refuse to accept that our external sector is in deep trouble. As a consequence of the refusal, there’s no policy to turn things around; one must first recognize that there’s a problem for problem solving to begin.

 

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

Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh

 
08
May

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed

Violence is mostly understood and associated with religious extremism despite the fact that it has many shapes and forms – and all need to be condemned and countered. This is more so when a Muslim commits an act of violence, which as a result is associated with Islam. The widespread violent extremism in the Muslim world and the individuals or groups involved in or supporting violence has been a subject of interest for policy makers and practitioners. Unfortunately, there is dearth of comprehensive approach to explore the drivers of violent extremism in the Muslim World.
It is an accepted fact that terrorists in their anxiety for validation and justification cite religion – Islam – for justifying their acts of violence. Frustration with the local and global political milieu, besides ideologically motivated thoughts is behind violent actions. Additionally, in many cases, shared dedication to a particular vision about how a society ought to be organized and moral justification for it, bring violent extremists together.

 

countervoilentext.jpgAt present, besides terrorism, the phenomenon of violent extremism, in the form of religious, sectarian and ethnic strife is a major challenge that Pakistan faces today. In recent years, the incidence of violent extremism by terrorist organizations and their linkages to hostile foreign agencies are not only disrupting the social fabric but also adversely affecting national economy and development. Moreover, Pakistan is also facing the effects of crises in Syria, Yemen and other sectarian conflict-prone sub-regions in the Middle East.


Since independence, Pakistan has seen phases of diverse but inter-related conflicts of all sorts, resulting in violence. Pakistan endures the most of ethnic, sectarian and religious radicalisation that is aided by both internal and external actors who are not only providing a narrative but also funding for both religious and non-religious militancy. However, the intensity of violent extremism has increased manifold since Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in the WoT as it has deeply shakened the social fabric of society.


The rise of terrorism after 9/11 has badly affected the security situation in Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered a great deal in terms of lives, economic opportunities and has also borne damages to schools, hospitals and other infrastructural facilities. However, the yearly losses from terrorism declined in 2014-15 by a third to U.S. $4.5 billion, in part due to military operations in tribal areas and the Karachi Operation.

 

However, the global image of Pakistan is largely defined by the misperceptions about its role in international terrorism. Pakistan has been rejecting these allegations, insisting on the role of foreign interferences in its territory resulting in disorder, which unfortunately, has been ignored by international community. These concerns were raised when Pakistan shared three dossiers with the UN, carrying evidences about Indian interference in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi to fuel ethnic and religious violence.

 

Sandwiched between Afghanistan and India, Pakistan is a geo-strategically important country in the South Asia. With its strategic importance for the U.S. and the rest of the world, Pakistan can play a constructive role with regard to CVE (countering violent extremism). Pakistan’s importance and its stance on countering violent extremism was highlighted in an article in Forbes as:


Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story, and that the U.S. will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner. Because the Western headlines on Pakistan today gloss over the progress on the security front, the increased political stability, and incremental progress on the economic front. In spite of this potential for Pakistan, it continues to suffer from a terrible country brand that has not caught up with realities on the ground. Pakistan’s improving security dynamic is the first change to note. What has not sunk into international perceptions about the country is the tangible consensus among government, military, and Pakistani citizens against violent terrorists including the Pakistani Taliban and the alphabet soup of other terrorist groups in and around the country.


Initiatives
Despite heavy losses, Pakistan has remained committed to eliminating terrorism and violent extremism. Considering the factors contributing to violent extremism, countering it is a huge task that not only depends on the intent of government of Pakistan but also on international support.


Realising that violent extremism in all its manifestations poses a serious threat to national harmony in Pakistan, the Government made an effort to apply a comprehensive CVE strategy. This strategy can be said to have adopted an international model of CVE, i.e., of engagement and de-radicalisation on one hand, and counter-radicalisation in the form of use of force, on the other. Pakistan’s CVE policy is two pronged: de-radicalisation and counter-radicalisation. Rehabilitation programmes for indoctrinated youth are introduced under the supervision of Pakistan Army. Similar programmes are introduced in parts of the Punjab, some supervised by Counter Terrorism Department, others are conducted in collaboration with some non-governmental organizations.


Pakistan’s National Assembly passed the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill in 2013. Taking another step on February 25, 2014, Pakistan announced its first ever National Internal Security Policy (NISP) based on three elements: 1) dialogue with all stakeholders; 2) isolation of terrorists from their support systems and; 3) enhancing deterrence and capacity of security apparatus to neutralise the threats to internal security of Pakistan.


Of capital importance is the decision to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15, 2014, in the tribal areas and recently Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad on February 22, 2017. These operations are proving to be successful in debasing and dismantling the organisational structure of militant outfits active in different parts of the country including FATA. It helped in improving the security situation inside the country and provided space for better regional coordination to counter-terrorism and promote stability in the region.


Another step to counter the violent extremism was initiation of National Action Plan (NAP) after the brutal attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. The 20 point NAP very clearly defines the government’s counter-radicalism and counter-terrorism strategy. Various steps including raising a counter-terrorism force, conviction of the terrorists through military courts and reformation of criminal system were suggested in NAP. To counter violent extremism of all shades, madrasah reforms and scrutinising of religious material were made necessary to prevent the spread of hate speech and material. FATA reforms, issue of Afghan refugees, Balochistan reconciliation and taking the Karachi Operation to its logical conclusion were the other major steps that NAP vows to accomplish. However, the general perception is that the military component of NAP has been implemented efficaciously and there is a strong expectation that civilian aspect of the NAP be flashed out and operationalised. This would help the government to deal with the threat of violent extremism.


The government’s decision of zero tolerance with regard to hate speech and fanning of sectarianism is a step in the right direction but it is to be implemented fully and comprehensively. Moreover, auditing of madaris accounts and transfer of their fund through banks will go a long way in monitoring of madaris. In addition, the efforts of the government to block terrorists' funding through Hawala and Hundi have proved successful. Statistically speaking, the past two years showed positive trends from a security perspective as a downward trend was noted in the number of overall incidents of violence.

 

Realising that violent extremism in all its manifestations poses a serious threat to national harmony in Pakistan, the Government made an effort to apply a comprehensive CVE strategy. This strategy can be said to have adopted an international model of CVE, i.e., of engagement and de-radicalisation on one hand, and counter-radicalisation in the form of use of force, on the other. Pakistan’s CVE policy is two pronged: de-radicalisation and counter-radicalisation. Rehabilitation programmes for indoctrinated youth are introduced under the supervision of Pakistan Army. Similar programmes are introduced in parts of the Punjab, some supervised by Counter Terrorism Department, others are conducted in collaboration with some non-governmental organizations.

The growing radicalism leading to violent extremism calls for strengthening of internal security based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders. It is because the major hurdle for Pakistan in tackling this menace is weak governance. Good governance will help in building institutions besides bringing systematic unity among all relevant institutions and society as a whole. It will also help in bringing political and economic stability, a prerequisite to meet external challenges.


All the factors discussed are interdependent, which need to be addressed as it is in the interest of Pakistan to grow economically and politically. To tackle the menace, it is the responsibility of civil, political and religious leadership to refute the notion that terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda or Taliban represent Islam, because it is a misrepresentation that holds the terrorist narrative. If such ideas are not contested and condemned, extremist groups will continue to regroup no matter how many terrorists are eliminated.


It is important to introduce political, economic and educational reforms and take bold initiatives to prevent future threats. It is an accepted fact that investing in education and socio-economic development can lead to development and stability and hence a peaceful and harmonious society.


We, as Muslims, have to put our own house in order. Unless we devalue the notion that the West is at war with Islam, we will become fodder for extremists’ propaganda and will never be able to address our own problems. In nutshell, there is no magic bullet to cure the problem, but we must continue our quest for a peaceful harmonious society by investing in education and socio-economic development.

 

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

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08
May

Written By: Farzana Yaqoob

A land once referred to as paradise, has been hell in the last century for the people of Kashmir. So much has been written about Kashmir. Its history, present condition and the aspirations of Kashmiris have been discussed time and again. Different solutions have also been discussed but nothing seems to be actually happening. We have to start thinking towards a future and then work backwards to the current situation. This exercise would bring clarity as to where we actually are, what do we want to achieve, and how can we shape up future that the people of Kashmir deserve. As easy it might sound but that is easier said than done.


It is a conflict between the most powerful Muslim state and a state which is going to have the largest Muslim population in the world. The idea of land swap or sale and purchase of land is not an exercisable option. Reason being that as much as it is a land issue, people are involved, too. They already feel the pain of divided families. Kashmir can play the pivotal role of harmonizing these two states by being the connection between a Muslim state on the one side and Muslims in a non-Muslim state on the other side.

 

kashirfightfreedom.jpgAll the voices that are discussing Kashmir seem to be more interested in the affairs of the two adjacent states rather than Kashmir itself. The atrocities occurring in Kashmir get covered by an overarching blanket statement that the struggle of freedom fighters is an illustration of aggression. And that these activities are being supported by Pakistan thus, they are separatist activities and have to be dealt firmly by India. The rhetorical battle starts; Kashmiris get ignored and Kashmiris are forgotten. The actual story is that Kashmiris are not happy with the Indian rule and they have never accepted it. For a peaceful exit from this unjust rule, the Kashmiris prefer the UN resolution asking for the plebiscite. Plebiscite was carried out successfully in recent history, like in the case of East Timor. Such exercise needs to be carried out in Kashmir as well, in the presence of UN representatives.


Elections are contested and votes are given in the hope of development. This does not, in any manner, mean that people have given up on their aspirations. The general impression of the elections is that the movement is diluting and dying down. But the fact that every Friday prayer ends with protests, is weekly evidence to the contrary. The Kashmiri educated youth is absorbed in the freedom movement. Young people are aspiring to be freedom fighters. The calendars, printed by the local people, now carry photos of these heroes. Some have perished and some are still struggling, but they have evolved as the icons of hope.


There is a perception among certain thinking quarters that Kashmiris are unable to unite and come up with a solution. Kashmiris are united on the fact that the Indian rule is unjust and they reject the Indian occupation of their homeland. There is a small pocket of intelligentsia, who discuss independence as a solution but most of the people and the leaders consider joining Pakistan as the only workable solution.

kashirfightfreedom1.jpgThere is a strong belief among the Indian strategists, that Kashmir is an integral part of India and if by some miracle independence is achieved, Kashmir will have to face extreme difficulties in protecting itself from the economic challenges in order to survive. Knowing this, the leadership in Kashmir believes that the sustainable solution is to join Pakistan.


For any solution to be practical, assent of both the states is necessary. Pakistan has shown its intentions on different forums but India has persistently resisted any such discussion. The few points that need to be considered in making any solution viable are:


1 Kashmir shall not be divided.
2 Kashmiris shall have the right to return to Kashmir.
3 Kashmir was a Muslim state before partition, although ethnic cleansing is going on and the non-state 4 subjects are becoming residents, but the status of being a Muslim state shall not be changed.
5 Human rights violations should be taken to court and the criminals must be apprehended and punished.
6 The freedom fighters should be considered as political activists.


Kashmiris have shown perseverance. The new generation is committed to the fight for freedom. The desire to have their basic fundamental rights to free movement and choice has been harnessed by the youth. The youth is now leading the cause. Their fervour is giving momentum to the movement and this momentum is receiving coverage and acceptance by the world. Recognition is leading to increase in discussion about Kashmir. Kashmir is becoming more relevant to the global realities, as the truth about Kashmir is spreading globally. The youth of Kashmir is finding new ways to interact with the world. They are connecting through the internet and other telecom tools. It is the youth that is going to decide the future of Kashmir. The freedom movement will gain importance and will be recognized internationally. Recognition will lead to further discussions and then workable solutions will be carried out of existing realites.


Different solutions that have been discussed so far are including: i) plebiscite, ii) independent Kashmir and, iii) the Chenab formula. All the solutions affect the territorial integrity of India or Pakistan. However, Kashmiris always aspire, dream, and struggle to join Pakistan. The people of Kashmir want their struggle for freedom to get more recognition internationally and that will lead to more discussions for finding a permanent solution. The Kashmiri people hope that the international bodies will show more honesty and fairness towards the people of Kashmir to uphold their basic human rights. Pakistan has always stood by this just cause of their Kashmiri brothers. The rest of the world must also come forward and resolve this dispute which is hitherto a stigma for a free and just world's conscience.

 

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

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08
May

Written By: Ahmed Quraishi

This is a watershed moment in Kashmir in the 69th year of Indian invasion and occupation of the disputed region. For regional and world peace, this moment should not pass without action.


The by-elections in Kashmir on April 9, 2017 ended with an unprecedented humiliation for India. This was the worst electoral exercise in the 69 years since India invaded and occupied the region in 1948. Never did the Indian ruling elite in New Delhi, especially the Hindi-speaking northerners who drove Kashmir conflict from the beginning, face this kind of utter failure and defeat in the scenic valley. This prompted the former interior minister P. Chidambaram to say ‘Kashmir is nearly lost for India,’ in a rare admission from a key member of the Indian establishment that echoed widespread despondency in Indian political and military circles.


Kashmir spun out of control of the world’s third largest army by size after July 2016. India has filled several unmarked graves in Kashmir with the bodies of young Kashmiri men but the extrajudicial execution of Burhan Wani, the handsome and charismatic 22-year-old social media activist was a lesson that taught Indian generals that impunity has a price. With his boyish looks and political determination that made him Kashmir’s Che Guevara, Wani’s murder by India has unleashed one of the most impressive and determined freedom movements underway anywhere in the world today.


The Indian army in Kashmir is demoralized. Cellphone video footages that spread online in the second and third weeks of April 2017, after the Indian occupation authorities in Kashmir lifted the internet blackout, include stunning videos. In one video, Indian soldiers carry assault rifles as they walk back to their camps but are too tired to respond to heckling by a jeering crowd of young Kashmiri men and boys, mostly unarmed but some wielding sticks. In another video, Kashmiri boys shield and protect beleaguered Indian soldiers who were on polling booth duty as they withdraw back to their camps.


These videos and pictures are spreading like wildfire across India and eating away whatever little image the Indian military built after the alleged ‘surgical airstrikes’ inside neighboring Burma and Pakistan in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Both strikes have already been exposed on Indian social media as hoaxes. The humiliation in Kashmir is real and documented. It is hurting morale within the Indian military. The commanders have bluntly told the closest aides of India’s extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi they can no longer implement New Delhi’s policy in Kashmir. Some of the Indian commanders have been too blunt. They told Modi’s government the Indian army cannot be responsible for the failures of Indian politicians and governments in Kashmir. Outside India, New Delhi’s friends are increasingly warning India that ‘Kashmir is slipping away,’ as The Diplomat did in this June 2016 article, which was published almost a month before India killed Burhan Wani.


The alienation in Kashmir is complete and irrevocable. There is little chance India can now suppress and reverse the demand by educated young Kashmiri women and men who say, ‘we are not Indian. We want freedom.’ Take the case of Insha Malik, the 14-year-old. She represents over 200 Kashmiris whose eyesight was lost under an Indian Army policy of targeting the eyes of young peaceful protesters with pellet guns. Modi and his coterie in New Delhi are unable to understand how this matter is not limited to 200 persons and their families. This policy of creating what The New York Times has called an ‘Epidemic of Dead Eyes’ has sent an unmistakable message to the fourteen million or so Kashmiris: India will not hesitate to kill as many Kashmiri civilians, including school-age students who participate in protests, if that is what it takes to keep Indian rule over Kashmir.


And if this was not enough, we have two more images that will haunt India forever. One is of a young Kashmiri man tied up to the front of an Indian army jeep and paraded across Kashmiri villages. And the second of an Indian army soldier caught on camera firing a gas shell from underneath the Government College for Women at Nawakadal, Srinagar, Kashmir. Many girls, who were peacefully protesting, were seriously injured. Both of these incidents happened in April 2017.


There is no chance that dust will settle in Kashmir. And it is increasingly clear that India has decided to kill Kashmiris and keep the land. Kashmiris are overwhelmingly against the forcible and illegal Indian occupation and annexation, and Indian actions violate UNSC resolutions and India’s commitments under Geneva Conventions and the international humanitarian law. In just three months after July 2016, Indian army has burned 25 schools in Kashmir. Now the Indian army is firing shells inside colleges. Hate attacks have increased dramatically against Kashmiri students who study in India. In the northern Hindi belt, where the Hindi-speaking minority rulers of India come from, billboards have sprung up asking Kashmiris to leave.


This is the time for Pakistan to act. Pakistani diplomats have put on an impressive show at international forums, and especially at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. On April 21, Nafees Zakaria, the Foreign Office spokesman, declared during a weekly briefing that ‘India is waging an all-out war against Kashmiri students’ studying inside India.


Pakistani action at this time does not mean complicating matters for India or disturbing the precarious regional situation. It means mitigating the humanitarian disaster and the killings that India is engaged in inside Kashmir, ensuring injured Kashmiris get access to medical aid, and convincing India to resolve Kashmir Conflict.

Here are five things Pakistan’s leaders should contemplate doing now:


1. Elevate Kashmir in National Politics
Kashmir is an international conflict that affects Pakistan more than any other country. Natural ethnic, cultural, geographic and historic links between Kashmiris and Pakistanis means any humanitarian crisis in Kashmir will destabilize Pakistan, the region, and the world peace. This is happening now. Pakistani politics are fractious and chaotic, a little more than many democracies. So, Pakistani politicians need to take a conscious decision to keep Kashmir in the news through numerous small gestures they can take.


2. Kashmir Desk at Pakistan Missions
Without creating more bureaucracy, the Government of Pakistan can appoint non-bureaucrats to this position. The persons taking charge of the Kashmir Desk in one country can preferably be picked from the Pakistani diaspora in that country or region. They can engage with the local media, politicians and researchers and encourage more coverage for Kashmir developments.


3. Engage Top Politicians in Important Capitals
Already many politicians in important world capitals have spoken on Kashmir. The international media too has increased its Kashmir coverage to levels not seen in years, if not decades. Pakistan can add consistency to this by engaging with these politicians, and creating opportunities for them to speak at events, speak to Pakistani media, and organize events on home turfs.


4. Create a National Database on Kashmir Genocide
The freedom movement in Kashmir is one of the most impressive movements for self-determination in the world. There are stories of bravery, of tragedy, of selfless devotion to cause, of women joining men in a national mission. Except for some activists in Indian-occupied Kashmir working to document the milestones in Kashmiri movement with limited resources, not much else is being done at an organized level. This can only happen through government support, and Pakistan is in the best position to do this. The Government of Pakistan can establish a Kashmir Research Library, whose sole task should be to professionally and meticulously document the Kashmir freedom movement and provide instant and online access to researchers, journalists, activists and decision makers worldwide to help formulate policy.


5. Designate a Goodwill Ambassador for Kashmir
Pakistan’s new generation is talented, resourceful and well positioned to engage the world. We have fine actors and actresses, artists, writers, authors, musicians, and novelists. Many of them are engaged in social causes. The State must encourage them and support them to get involved in resolving Kashmir Conflict and bring lasting peace. Pakistan can designate a Goodwill Ambassador for Kashmir whose mission would be to help mobilize the world for a humanitarian and political intervention in Kashmir, arrange for medical evacuations, assist needy school boys and girls, and help the world understand why peace is necessary in Kashmir.


The Kashmir freedom movement is irreversible. India cannot stop in Kashmir what Britain could not stop in India seventy years ago. India’s ruling elite should heed the call of Gandhi. You cannot stop freedom even if you have the third largest army in the world. India should withdraw from Kashmir, allow the Kashmiris to decide their future, and normalize relations with the Kashmiris and with Pakistan. We all can benefit from peace.

 

The author is a researcher, television host, and writer.

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