04
October

Detoxifying the Campuses

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Hussain H. Zaidi


To what extent have our academic institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization? And how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem.

Like it or lump it, the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan are increasingly becoming susceptible to religious extremism. The 2015 Safoora Chowk carnage, the shocking death of Mashal Khan at the hands of his fellow students, and the recent attempted assassination of an MQM MPA, all bear the blood-stained footprints of educated youth gone berserk in the name of faith. While some may dismiss the on-campus extremism threat as no more than a kerfuffle, it has caused the shafts of anxiety and fear run through society.
Why is extremism casting a pall over campuses? Were the perpetrators of the attacks, such as the aforementioned, simply knocked dead by a foul ideology? Or is there something more to the growing radicalization? What does this fatal trend prefigure? And how the malady is to be treated?

 

detoxfying.jpgThe Britannica Encyclopedia defines a radical as a person who desires extreme change of the entire social order or part thereof. It follows, therefore, that radicalization is the process which seeks to turn the social order upside down. Radicalization not only represents a potent challenge to the social order, the former is also, in large measures, occasioned by the contradictions inherent in the latter. Thus it seems in order to expatiate upon the concept of social order as the starting point of our discussion.


A society, like an organism, is a complex of various components: institutions, roles, statuses, beliefs, norms, and values. The interaction among these components constitutes the social order. The edifice of social order rests on shared expectations that the members of a society hold towards one another. These expectations stipulate that certain norms and standards, having their sanction in law, morality, or simply utility, would be observed and certain others shunned. The failure to fulfil these shared expectations gives a jolt to the social order.

 

It follows that the radicalization of the Pakistani society cannot be set down to a single cause; rather it is a function of multiple factors acting in tandem. Therefore, de-radicalization requires a holistic approach taking into account all the factors which have contributed to the growth of extremism. Besides, since campuses are part of society, focusing only on them to the exclusion of other institutions will not be of much avail.

Social order is maintained through both formal and informal institutions, such as the state, academia, media, and family. Each institution has methods at its disposal to keep the social order intact. The state has both carrot — distribution of power, wealth and other resources; and stick — law, police, agencies, courts. The media have the power to inform, educate, and form opinion. They not only present the facts but also interpret them and thus reconstruct the social reality. The growth of the internet and the electronic media has ratcheted up the role of the fourth pillar of the state in maintaining social order. Family is the nursery in which the individual starts internalizing social norms and values. During the formative years of every person, family exercises greater influence than any other institution. Related to family is the peer groups, the circles in which an individual moves. Academic institutions mould as well as build on what a person has acquired from the family. Together with the family, they are the principal source of biases and prejudices that an individual has on his mind.


These institutions of social control have a dual role. They may strengthen the social order and they may weaken it. Academic institutions may broaden the student’s mental horizon, and may foster in him the habit to think critically and objectively; at the same time, they may hobble critical thinking and intellectual development and may promote a regressive outlook on life. The media may be a powerful source of information and social harmony but they may become an agent of disinformation and anarchy.
The social order is constantly being challenged by counter values, beliefs and behavior patterns. The institutions must help the social order to adjust itself to these social and cultural changes. The ability to grapple with this challenge depends on two factors: the strength and outlook of the institutions and the enormity of the counter values.

 

It is vital that critical thinking is promoted in academic institutions. Instead of being merely an instrument of earning degrees, education should also serve as an instrument of problem solving in a constructive way. Emphasis should be placed on fostering the spirit of enquiry and skepticism among students, so that they can think and decide for themselves rather than blindly subscribe to various narratives on and outside the campus.

To what extent have our academic institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization? And how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem. Therefore, the questions may be reframed as: To what extent have our institutions been responsible for the growth of religious extremism or radicalization, and how effective they have been in responding to the challenge thrown up by the menace? Since schools, colleges, and universities do not operate in a vacuum — rather they constantly interact with other institutions, we need to have a holistic view of the problem.


Radicalization in case of Pakistan is driven by an apocalyptic ideology or narrative. The ideology sees a perennial conflict between Islam and opposing forces or ideologies. Since these forces are perceived to be dead set on annihilating Islam, the two can’t co-exist. One must crush the other. A secondary assumption is that the anti-Muslim elements — governments, multinational enterprises, international NGOs — are bent upon obliterating Islamic culture and values in the name of freedom of expression, human rights and fundamental liberties. The narrative makes it obligatory upon every Muslim to fight the evil forces to frustrate their “nefarious” designs.

 

During the formative years of every person, family exercises greater influence than any other institution. Related to family is the peer groups, the circles in which an individual moves. Academic institutions mould as well as build on what a person has acquired from the family.

Another assumption considers Pakistan to be the only ideological state in the contemporary world that was created for the propagation of Islam; as such it was meant to be the center of Muslim unity. However, regrettably, instead of making tangible progress towards Islamization, the society was westernized, secularized and vulgarized. It became a hotbed of corruption, obscenity, and injustice. The country, therefore, must be purged of such baneful influence by setting up an “Islamic” society — by force if need be.


The narrative also provides for repudiation of “alien” doctrines, rituals and moral standards. Hence, those who profess a different creed or practice a different moral standard are looked upon as an incarnation of evil. All such wicked or impious people have to be reformed — by preaching or by force — or eliminated.


Where did this narrative come from? To be sure, the narrative always existed in an attenuated but essential form in Pakistan. One of the factors that inordinately delayed constitution-making was the split on the place that religion would hold in the country’s political system. The constitution makers responded by making Islam the state religion and incorporating certain Islamic principles into the fundamental law of the land. These “Islamic features” of the constitution, however, have never satisfied the clergy and similar minds for being inconsistent with their basic narrative.

 

The growth of the internet, particularly social media, has provided a powerful platform to express the disillusionment and connect with extremist organizations. The extremists have been remarkably adroit in the use of the internet.

The narrative, which has manifested itself time and again in both sectarian and non-sectarian bloodbath, gained wide currency with the involvement of Pakistan in the Afghan war precipitated by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. For the exponents of the narrative, the war could not have provided a more convincing instance of an ideological entity spearheading the warriors of Islam (the mujahideen) in facing and finally defeating a mighty pagan empire. Regrettably, the war narrative was sponsored by the state.


The Afghan war and its aftermath threw up some serious challenges for Pakistan’s social order. It made for the “Kalashnikov culture” to take root in the country, as lethal weapons were made available easily and cheaply. Later, these weapons were used for sectarian violence. The “jihadi” factories set up in the north-western part of the country made our already “lawless” tribal areas a hotbed of militancy, where militants from any part of the world could find refuge. Recruitment of youth in large numbers to fight alongside their Afghan brothers contributed in the main to our young generation’s fascination with the holy war. Private armies or lashkars began to raise their head. Textbooks eulogized jihad as the foremost virtue of every Muslim, without cautioning that only the state, and not private individuals or organizations, was competent to declare the holy war.


The post 9/11 United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, which pulled down the “Islamic” regime of the Taliban, and the 2003 Iraq war, further strengthened the narrative that Islam was in grave danger and that a beleaguered Muslim community must fight fire with fire. Since the Pakistan government had sided with the “enemies” of Islam, the obligation of jihad upon non-state actors became even greater. The holy war should be directed not only against non-Muslims but also the members of the faith who had gone astray — the state, followers of other sects, liberals, etc. The rise of Daesh, which unlike al-Qaeda, was able to carve out a territory for itself and put in place a khilafat, added further luster to the so-called jihadi narrative.


Other forces have also been at work. Successive governments failed to deliver the goods to the people. Massive corruption in high places — part fact, part fiction — a creaky, old legal system, economic mismanagement, dearth of employment opportunities, all combined to make the people disillusioned with the “moth-eaten, corrupt, rotten to the core” system. The young educated generation being more sensitive and having greater expectations than the rest has borne the brunt of the disillusionment. The growth of the internet, particularly social media, has provided a powerful platform to express the disillusionment and connect with extremist organizations. The extremists have been remarkably adroit in the use of the internet. Social media have certain advantages over the mainstream media. They are easy to use and cost little. One can reach an immense audience as well as engage with the target groups or individuals.


Regrettably, the academic institutions have failed to equip their students with the intellectual strength to counteract this narrative. This is for the reason that critical thinking is by and large short shrifted in these institutions — from schools to universities. The students of higher education institutions are more likely to be swept off their feet by the toxic narrative. Unlike junior students, they are not under the watchful eyes of their parents. They have an unrestricted access to the social media. Then there is a sense of power that comes with age. The greater the sense of power, the more irresistible is the urge to upset the applecart of the social order.


Radicalization cuts across social classes. The radicalized may not even be religious to begin with. However, they do have some grievances against the system and need an outlet to give vent to the same. The root and branch remedy offered by radical organizations are a Greek gift for the youth: fatal but fascinating.


It follows that the radicalization of the Pakistani society cannot be set down to a single cause, rather it is a function of multiple factors acting in tandem. Therefore, de-radicalization requires a holistic approach taking into account all the factors which have contributed to the growth of extremism. Besides, since campuses are part of society, focusing only on them to the exclusion of other institutions will not be of much avail.


To begin with, the state must continue to demonstrate its unequivocal commitment to fighting the militancy. Until the onset of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014, such commitment was manifestly lacking. Taking the militants head-on has been of vital significance. It has sent out the message both within and outside the country that the state would not tolerate extremism in any shape or form. Thanks to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad and ancillary military operations, peace has returned to the tribal areas, which once had the dubious reputation of being an epicenter of global terrorism.


The state’s commitment to weed out militancy is important for combating radicalization for at least two reasons: In the first place, actions speak louder than words. When government institutions are seen to be going all out against militant outfits, the society’s inclination towards extremism and radicalization is held in check. In the second place, the decimation of terrorist networks, together with choking their funding, denudes the militant organizations of their capability to recruit people to their cause and subsequently provide them weapons and training.


Such networks, however, are not restricted to a particular region; they are spread in different parts of the country. Therefore, continuous action against such networks is required. The National Action Plan (NAP) also provides that militant outfits and gangs will not be allowed to operate in the country. Accordingly, the Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, launched earlier this year all over the country, aims at “indiscriminately eliminating the residual/latent threat of terrorism.


Since radicalization is the offspring of a diabolical ideology, counter narratives and discourses need to be publicized. Such narratives may, inter alia, (a) highlight the progressive interpretation of Islam and the high value that it attaches to the right to life of all human beings, Muslims as well as non-Muslims; dispel the notion of an inherent antagonism between Islam and other creeds; emphasize the importance of religious tolerance and moderation; state in so many words that jihad can only be declared by the government and that too in special circumstances; and exhort the young generation to put its trust in knowledge and learning rather than violence and extremism as the gateway to success and glory.


As part of propagating the counter narratives, not only the madaris or seminaries may be reformed but the curricula of mainstream academic institutions needs to be revised as well so that they become a powerful agency for inculcating tolerance and moderation among students. The media should avoid presenting the militants as heroes, promoting religious extremism in any form, or enthroning the militancy. Regulating the social media will be much more challenging, because of its peculiar characteristics. However, whatever can be done must be done. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 provides the government with a legal instrument to regulate the cyberspace. The Act outlaws the use of cyberspace to cause unrest, commotion, or public disorder. The activities covered include hate speech (inter-faith, sectarian or racial); glorification of terrorism; and recruitment, funding or planning for terrorism. The institutions responsible for implementing the Act, the PTA and FIA, need to shore up their online vigilance.


It is vital that critical thinking is promoted in academic institutions. Instead of being merely an instrument of earning degrees, education should also serve as an instrument of problem solving in a constructive way. Emphasis should be placed on fostering the spirit of enquiry and skepticism among students, so that they can think and decide for themselves rather than blindly subscribe to various narratives on and outside the campus. The system of rewards that is in vogue in academic institutions ought to place a high premium on the students’ ability to question the basic assumptions, which they take for granted as a matter of course. The students imbued with the habit of critical thinking are less likely to be swept off their feet by extremism than others.


While the government may keep a strong watch on the institutions of higher learning, a word of caution is in order. Increased campus security, frequent questioning of the youth, restricting their freedom of movement, and police presence may further alienate the youth. A better device will be to gather intelligence about teachers and students in a subtle way without raising their hackles.


Finally, increased employment opportunities and alleviating socio-economic deprivation are also important. The former will make the students optimistic of finding a job after their studies are over. The latter will shore up their trust in the present system. On both accounts, extremist tendencies will be dampened.

 

The writer regularly contributes in national print media.

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04
October

The Hearts Won

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Raheel Suleman


The ceaseless contributions of Pakistan Army have successfully restored peace and stabilty in Balochistan.

 

Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass, is susceptible to environmental hazards such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, heat waves, cold waves and droughts.


A number of devastating calamities have hit the province in the recent past. Some of the ruinous events have been as follows: floods in 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2012; cyclone in 2007 and drought in 2000.

 

thehertone.jpgDuring these natural calamities, Armed Forces of Pakistan remained at the forefront to rescue and rehabilitate masses where needed.


On January 17, 2017 continuous heavy rains and snowfall broke the twenty years’ record and caused widespread flooding across three districts of Balochistan. Government of Balochistan declared emergency in Qilla Saif Ullah, Qilla Abdullah and Kalat Division. Pakistan Army responded immediately in this exigency and started undertaking airborne operations in affected areas in coordination with District Government Quetta and PDMA Balochistan.


Deputy Director Admin, Relief and Planning PDMA Balochistan Naveed Ahmed remarked that 'situation was out of control in many flood affected areas of Balochistan, especially in Ziarat, Muslim Bagh and Kalat regions, nevertheless Pakistan Army on emergency basis assisted PDMA in transporting food and non-food items to the affected areas. In this regard four helicopters of Pakistan Army and Government of Balochistan started relief activities from Khalid Aviation Base, thanks to Pakistan Army that we managed to provide relief to flood-affected people of Balochistan and thus saved thousands of lives'.
On September 24, 2013, Awaran District of Balochistan was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale with five aftershocks on September 28.

 

Awaran which was once a stronghold of foreign-sponsored militants is now free from these misguided anti-state elements. Those ugly environments and violent mindset has changed. The entire credit for this mind-shift goes to WHAM (Winning Hearts and Minds) Operations by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan, especially the massive rescue and rehabilitation operations, conducted by Pakistan Army, during the last floods are unforgettable.

Awaran District is home to nearly 300,000 people. Of them, some 125,000 were affected by the earthquake. According to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority’s (ERRA) estimates, 375 persons were killed and 825 got injured and about 25,000 houses were destroyed.


With just about 3.3 % of its total land under cultivation, Awaran is one of the most underdeveloped districts of Balochistan. Awaran District makes a lopsided triangle on the map between three important highways: the RCD Highway, the Coastal Highway, and the (projected) Motorway (M-8). With 12 hours of travelling time, Karachi is the closest city from Awaran.


Like in previous such calamities, Pakistan Army, along with the Frontier Corps (FC), Balochistan, promptly reacted to the situation as requested by the government of Balochistan. Even though the FC components located in the area were themselves struck by the earthquake as much as was the civilian population, yet they were the first ones to respond to the situation.


The Army units were moved from Khuzdar and Karachi. Initially, the Army and FC troops distributed their own rations (about 500 tons), tents, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, bed sheets, clothing, cooking utensils, bathroom items, such as buckets, medicines, and other commodities of common use. Later, collection points were established in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and, collected goods were distributed among the affected people of Awaran district.

 

The Army units were moved from Khuzdar and Karachi. Initially, the Army and FC troops distributed their own rations (about 500 tons), tents, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, bed sheets, clothing, cooking utensils, bathroom items, such as buckets, medicines, and other commodities of common use.

The relief work continued even during the Eid days. About 2,500 Army personnel and 1,000 FC personnel were part of the relief efforts. Army developed a good interface with the provincial government, the ERRA, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), and Pakistan Air Force (PAF).


By the end of the Eid holidays, 24 relief sorties of C-130 and 240 helicopter sorties had flown, completing over 526 flying hours.


Army established a field hospital in Awaran and six mobile medical camps at far-flung localities. Over 8,000 local patients were treated, 7,000 tons of food items delivered and 37,000 tents were distributed by the Army besides thousands of school books, stationery items and sports gear. This in other words meant a colossal relief and rehabilitation operation spread over an area of 182 kilometres.


As a matter of fact, Pakistan Army has transformed into an impressive and inspiring nation-building force, which remains on call of the nation for defence against external threats, security against internal threats, and human security against non-traditional threats like the environmental disaster of Attabad Lake and Gayari in Gilgit-Baltistan to floods in Thatta and Badin, and earthquake in Awaran District.


Moreover, when Balochistan suffered from nature's wrath in 2010, 2011 and 2012, engulfing major parts of the province with devastating floods, it demanded a national response. Pakistan Army responded quickly and conducted numerous rescue operations. The Army’s performance was reflecting the careful planning, optimal utilisation of resources, sharp foresight, and bold leadership that is hallmark of Pakistan Army. It helped in controlling the damage to a large extent thereby saving not only lives, but also the means of livelihood. In some ways, these events led to a shift in the previously held negative opinion of the Pakistani Armed Forces due to enemy propaganda.


During the monsoon floods in Balochistan in recent years, according to several media reports, Pakistan Army deployed over 2,000 troops and roughly 100 plus helicopters. Dozens of military doctors and paramedical staff were sent to affected areas. An entire fleet of army aviation flew numerous sorties round-the-clock to transport relief goods to the affected areas and to bring the sick and injured back to base hospitals. Where helicopters were unable to access, troops carried relief goods on their backs and were able to reach them in time.


Pakistan Army troops donated rations from their own quota to distribute among the affectees, and also donated one day’s salary to the relief fund. Helicopters were instrumental in providing timely rescue and provision of supplies. Several Army relief camps were set up to help people who had lost their homes and livelihood in the floods. According to a careful estimate, Pakistan Army rescued over 80,000 people during these operations.


Even in the 2012 floods in Balochistan, Pakistan Armed Forces were recognised for having played an unrelenting role in relief operations. They established relief camps and medical camps in the close vicinity of the affected areas. To provide safe drinking water in the flood affected areas they set up 10 water filtration plants. Army doctors treated more than 25,000 patients in medical camps and mobile medical units in all flood affected districts for providing instant medical assistance. Efforts were also made to pump out flood water from the affected areas.


There were times when a segment of Balochistan population was misled by shear negative propaganda sponsored by foreign intelligence agencies against Armed Forces of Pakistan. However, as the famous saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed, Pakistan Army came to the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of people of Balochistan. That tide of mistrust has changed into relationship of love, confidence and trust. Awaran which was once a stronghold of insurgents is now free from the anti-state elements – thanks to the timely and massive rescue and rehabilitation operations by the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
Tides have changed indeed!

 

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10
January

ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کا منفی رویہ

تحریر: محمد اکرم ذکی

سابق سیکرٹری جنرل و وزیر مملکت وزارت خارجہ۔پاکستان

آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں پاکستان کے مشیر خارجہ کوہوٹل سے باہر نہ آنے دینا سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے کہیں بڑھ کر حبس بے جا میں رکھنے کا مجرمانہ فعل ہے۔ اس فعل سے بھارت نے واضح طور پر اپنے اسی جارحانہ پیغام کو ایک مرتبہ پھر دہرایا ہے۔ دشمنی پر مبنی جو پیغام وہ تسلسل کے ساتھ پاکستان کو دے رہا ہے اور پاکستان خطے کے وسیع تر مفاد میں امن اور دوستی کی خواہشات کو مقدم رکھے ہوئے ہے۔ بھارت کے ساتھ خوشگوار تعلقات کا خواب دیکھنے والے مقتدر حلقے کی آنکھیں اب کھل جانی چاہئے اور انہیں اس تلخ حقیقت کا ادراک کرلینا چاہئے کہ پاکستان کی ترقی، استحکام،امن اور سب سے بڑھ کرپاکستان کے وجود کو بھارت کی جانب سے حقیقی و سنگین خطرات درپیش ہیں اور بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف اپنے مذموم عزائم کی تکمیل کی خاطر کسی بھی حد تک جاسکتا ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف جارحانہ و دشمنانہ کردار کی ایک بڑی وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ بھارت اب علاقائی بالادستی کے خواب سے آگے بڑھ کر دنیا کی بڑی طاقتوں میں شمولیت کے پروگرام پر عمل پیرا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے وہ نہ صرف اپنی جنگی اور ایٹمی صلاحیت کو مسلسل بڑھا رہا ہے بلکہ خطے کے تمام ممالک کو اپنی تابعداری میں لینے کی کوشش بھی کررہا ہے۔بڑی جنگی طاقتوں میں اپنا شمار کرانے کے لئے بھارت نے جوہری پروگرام کو وسیع کرکے امریکہ ، جاپان اور آسٹریلیا سے جوہری معاہدے کئے ہیں۔نئے نیوکلیئر ڈاکٹر ائن کے تحت اپنی تینوں افواج کو ایٹمی صلاحیت سے لیس کیا ہے ۔ کسی بھی بحری فوج کے پاس ایٹمی قوت کی موجودگی اس حوالے سے زیادہ خطرناک سمجھی جاتی ہے ،کیونکہ اسے مارک کرکے نشانہ بنانا مشکل ہوتا ہے۔ سلامتی کونسل میں مستقل نشست،خطے پہ بالادستی و اجارہ داری اوربڑی طاقتوں میں شماربھارت کی ایسی خواہشات ہیں کہ جن کی تکمیل کی راہ میں وہ پاکستان کو رکاوٹ سمجھتا ہے۔ اس رکاوٹ کو ہٹانے یا ختم کرنے کے لئے بھارت پاکستان کے خلاف ایک باقاعدہ پروگرام پہ کاربند ہے۔

 

hartofasia.jpgاس پروگرام میں پاکستان کو داخلی و خارجی سطح پر عدم استحکام کا شکار کرنا، پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا، تعمیر و ترقی کے دروازے بند کرنا، خطے کے ممالک کے ساتھ تعلقات میں بگاڑ اور بالخصوص دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں پاکستان کی قربانیوں کو نظرانداز کرانے کے لئے الزامات کا لامتناہی سلسلہ جاری رکھنا شامل ہے۔ پاکستان کے خلاف اس بھارتی پروگرام کو اگر امریکی حمایت حاصل ہے تو یہ کوئی اچنبھے کی بات نہیں۔ سوویت یونین کے ٹوٹنے کے بعد امریکہ نے اپنا مرکزی حریف چین کو قرار دیا اور اپنی پالیسی ترتیب دی جس میں بھارت کو چین کے مدمقابل لانا شامل تھا۔ اس پالیسی کے تحت امریکہ نے بھارت کے ساتھ بڑے دفاعی و جوہری معاہدے کئے ۔ 2001ء میں صدر بش نے بھارت کے ساتھ میزائل ڈیفنس سسٹم معاہدہ کیا۔ 2005میں نیوکلیئر ڈیل اور اس کے علاوہ بے تحاشہ اسلحہ دینے کے معاہدے کئے۔ اب امریکہ اور بھارت نے ایک دوسرے کے بیسز استعمال کرنے اور لاجسٹک امداد کے معاہدے کئے ہیں۔ بھارت چین کے خلاف امریکہ سے تعاون پر مبنی پالیسی کی قیمت پاکستان مخالف پالیسی میں امریکی حمایت و مدد کی صورت میں مانگتا ہے۔ چنانچہ پاکستان کے خلاف بھارتی جارحانہ و دشمنانہ رویے پہ عالمی خاموشی باعث حیرت نہیں ہونی چاہئے۔


پاکستان کے خلاف بھارت کے عزائم حالیہ دور حکومت یا موجودہ عشرے میں جارحانہ نہیں ہوئے بلکہ قیام پاکستان کے بعد سے ہی بھارت پاکستان کی سلامتی کے خلاف سرگرم تھا۔ پاکستان پر جنگیں مسلط کیں۔ پہلے کشمیر پہ قبضہ کیا، پھر مشرقی پاکستان کو الگ کرنے میں اپنا گھناؤنا کردار ادا کیا ۔ پاکستان کے پانیوں پر قبضے کی پالیسی اختیار کی۔ کشمیر میں ظلم و ستم کے پہاڑ ڈھائے۔ آزادئ کشمیر کے لئے جو تحریک اٹھی تو اسے دہشت گرد قرار دیا۔ نریندر مودی حکومت کے آنے کے بعد بھارتی کردار جارحانہ نہیں بلکہ بے نقاب ہوا۔ نریندر مودی نے بھارتی پالیسی کو واضح اور عیاں کیا۔ یہاں تک کہ پاکستان کو دولخت کرنے کا اقبال جرم بھی سینہ تان کر سابق مشرقی پاکستان میں کیا۔ پاکستان کو تقسیم در تقسیم کرنے کی دیرینہ بھارتی خواہش کو عملی جامہ پہناتے ہوئے مودی نے بلوچستان اور گلگت بلتستان کی آزادی کی بھی باتیں شروع کردیں۔ دہشت گردی کے نام سے پاکستان کے خلاف واویلا کرکے پہلے دباؤمیں رکھنے کی کوشش کی۔ جب پاک افواج نے دہشت گردوں کے خلاف فیصلہ کن آپریشن ضرب عضب شروع کیا تو بھارت نے ایک جانب مشرقی سرحد پر بلااشتعال فائرنگ اور شیلنگ کا سلسلہ وقفے وقفے سے شروع کردیا تو دوسری جانب لائن آف کنٹرول پر بھی جارحیت شروع کردی۔ اسی پر ہی اکتفا نہیں کیا بلکہ افغانستان کے ذریعے مغربی سرحد پر بھی پاک فوج کو مصروف کرنے کی کوشش کی۔ یہ پاک فوج کی پیشہ ورانہ مہارت اور اعلیٰ صلاحیتوں کا ہی مظہر ہے کہ بھارت کی جانب سے بیک وقت کھولے گئے کئی محاذوں پر افواج پاکستان نے دشمن کو دندان شکن جواب دیا۔ اجیت دوول ڈاکٹرائن کہ ’’پاکستان میں گھس کر اسے تباہ کرو‘‘ کو عملی طور پر پاک فوج نے اپنی مؤثر حکمتِ عملی سے توڑا ہے۔


مودی حکومت نے پاکستان کے خلاف دوسرا بڑا محاذ سفارتی سطح پر کھولا ، جس کا مقصد عالمی برادری میں پاکستان کو تنہا کرنا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے پاکستان کے تمام دوست جن میں چین، سعودی عرب، ایران، عرب امارات، افغانستان، وسطی ایشیائی ریاستیں وغیرہ شامل ہیں، ان تمام ممالک سے بھارت نے نہ صرف تجارت اور تعلقات کو فروغ دیا ہے بلکہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری منصوبے کے خلاف چین میں جاکرا حتجاج کیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پاکستان کو توانائی کے بحران میں مبتلا رکھنے کے لئے پہلے پاک ایران گیس پائپ لائن منصوبے میں سے نکل کراسے ناکام بنانے کی کوشش کی اور پھر ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیاگیس منصوبے میں شامل ہوکر افغانستان سے پاکستان کے اندر دراندازی میں اضافہ کردیا۔ پاک افغان کشیدگی بڑھانے کے جہاں دیگر مقاصد ہیں وہاں ایک بڑا بھارتی مقصد یہ بھی ہے کہ ترکمانستان، افغانستان، پاکستان، انڈیا منصوبہ بھی کھٹائی میں پڑے۔ اگر کامیاب بھی ہو تو بھی پاکستان کی توانائی سپلائی لائن افغانستان میں بھارتی پیر کے نیچے رہے۔ اسی طرح بھارت نے سعودی عرب اور عرب امارات کے ساتھ کئی معاہدے کئے۔ بھارت نے بہار میں سرمایہ کاری اور ایران، افغانستان، بھارت کوریڈور بناکر وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں تک رسائی کا وہ منصوبہ شروع کیا،جس میں پاکستان شامل نہیں ، حالانکہ وسطی ایشیائی ریاستوں کا سہل اور محفوظ راستہ پاکستان افغانستان سے گزرتا ہے۔ جس طرح پاک افغان تعلقات میں خرابی کے لئے بھارت افغانستان میں سرگرم ہے، اسی طرح پاک ایران تعلقات میں خرابی پیدا کرنے کا بھی کوئی موقع ہاتھ سے نہیں جانے دیتا ۔ اسلامی جمہوریہ ایران کے صدر حسن روحانی پاکستان کے دورے پر پاک چین اقتصادی کوریڈور میں شامل ہونے کی خواہش لے کر آئے تھے۔ عین اسی وقت کلبھوشن کا معاملہ سامنے آیا اور ایسا پہلی مرتبہ ہوا کہ بھارت نے نہ صرف کلبھوشن کو اپنا جاسوس تسلیم کیا بلکہ فوری طور پر اس کی فیملی کے افراد بھی میڈیا پر لے آیا۔میڈیا کے ذریعے تاثر یہ دینا مقصود تھا کہ پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری کے خلاف ایران اور بھارت ایک ہیں، حالانکہ بلوچستان کے معاملے پر پاکستان اور ایران ایک جبکہ بھارت اور اسرائیل مخالف صفحہ پر موجود ہیں، جبکہ گوادر اورسی پیک کا بنیادی تعلق بلوچستان سے ہے۔ جس طرح پاکستانی بلوچستان میں بھارت مداخلت کررہا ہے اور یہاں بغاوت کا بیج بونے کی کوششوں میں مصروف عمل ہے ، اسی طرح ایرانی بلوچستان کے خلاف اسرائیل سرگرم ہے اور اس مقصد کے لئے بھارتی زمین استعمال کررہا ہے۔حال ہی میں اسرائیلی صدر نے بھارت کا طویل ترین دورہ بھی کیا ہے۔چنانچہ سی پیک میں شامل ہونے کی ایرانی خواہش کا نہ صرف چین نے خیر مقدم کیا بلکہ پاکستان نے بھی اسے خوش آئند قرار دیا۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ چند روز قبل سی پیک کی آفیشل ویب سائٹ کی افتتاحی تقریب میں چین اور ایران کے سفیروں نے خصوصی شرکت کی۔


سی پیک کو ناکام بنانے اور اس کی سکیورٹی مشکوک کرنے کے لئے دہشت گردانہ حملے جاری ہیں۔ چین سے گوادر کے لئے پہلے برآمد ی قافلے کی روانگی سے چار روز قبل پولیس ٹریننگ سکول کوئٹہ میں دہشت گردی کا اندوہناک سانحہ پیش آیا۔ برآمدی قافلے کے گوادر پہنچ جانے کے اگلے روز اور گوادر کی افتتاحی تقریب سے محض ایک روز قبل دربار شاہ نورانی میں خودکش حملہ ہوا۔ دہشت گردی کے دونوں واقعات میں بھارتی عنصر براہ راست ملوث پایا گیا ہے۔ اسی طرح پشاور، فاٹا، کراچی و ملک کے دیگر شہروں میں پیش آنے والے سانحات کا سرا افغانستان میں موجود کالعدم تنظیموں سے جاملتا ہے ۔ جو بھارتی چھتر چھایا میں پاکستان کے خلاف دہشت گردی کا بازار گرم کئے ہوئے ہیں۔ علاوہ ازیں پاک فوج کے جوانوں نے اسی عرصے میں آبی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والی سب میرین کا راستہ روکا اور پاک فضائی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والے ایک بھارتی ڈرون کو بھی مار گرایا۔


تیسرا قبیح عمل مقبوضہ وادی میں ریاستی طاقت کے حیوانی استعمال کی صورت میں بھارت سرانجام دے رہا ہے۔ مقبوضہ وادی میں برہان وانی کی المناک شہادت کے بعد کشمیری نوجوانوں کی جو تحریک آزادی کے نعرے کے ساتھ اٹھی اس کو کچلنے کے لئے بھارت ظلم و جبر کی تمام حدیں پار کرچکا ہے۔ وانی کی شہادت کے بعد بیسیوں نوجوان شہید، سینکڑوں نوجوان، بچے، خواتین پیلٹ گن کا نشانہ بن کر اپنی بینائی کھوچکے ہیں۔ نوجوان بچیاں، مستورات لاپتا ہیں۔ سینکڑوں نوجوان، طالب علم زیر حراست ہیں۔ بجائے اس ظلم پر شرمندگی محسوس کرنے کے بھارت مقبوضہ وادی میں آزادی کی اس تحریک کو بھی پاک بھارت مسئلہ بنا کر پیش کرنے میں مصروف عمل ہے۔


پیش کردہ حالات و واقعات اتنے پرانے نہیں ہیں کہ جو اس سے قبل کسی عالمی یا علاقائی فورم پر پاکستان کی جانب سے پیش نہ کئے گئے ہوں۔ ہارٹ آف ایشیا کانفرنس میں بھارت کی جانب سے سفارتی آداب کی خلاف ورزی سے بڑھ کر مجرمانہ رویہ اپنانے کی وجہ یوں بھی سمجھ میں آتی ہے کہ بھارت’’الٹا چور کوتوال کو ڈانٹے ‘‘ کے مصداق اپنے جرائم پر پردہ ڈال کے پاکستان کو ’’مجرم‘‘ثابت کرنے پر کمربستہ ہے۔ شائد یہی وجہ ہے کہ پاکستانی مشیر خارجہ کو حبس بے جا میں رکھا نہ تو انہیں ترجمان سے ملنے دیا گیا اور نہ ہی گنے چنے موجود پاکستانی صحافیوں سے۔ حالانکہ ابھی نریندر مودی کو پاکستانی حکمرانوں کی میزبانی سے لطف اندوز ہوئے پورا ایک سال بھی مکمل نہیں ہواتھا۔


ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔ پاکستان کو مربوط، جامع ،مستقل اور طویل المدت پالیسی اپنا نی ہوگی۔ سول ملٹری قیادت کو مشترکہ حکمت عملی اپنانی ہوگی۔ دشمن کا مقابلہ کرنے کے لئے عسکری قوت کو مضبوط سے مضبوط تر کرنا ہوگا۔ سول انتظامیہ و پولیس کے ذریعے اندرونی انتشاریوں سے سخت رویہ اپنا نا ہوگا۔ بھارتی میڈیا ایک بمبئی سانحہ کو لے کر دنیا میں پاکستان دشمنی کا ڈھول پیٹ رہا ہے جبکہ ہمارا آزاد میڈیا سمجھوتہ ایکسپریس، مالگاؤں کویاد کرنا تو درکنار اے پی ایس، سانحہ چارسدہ یونیورسٹی، کوئٹہ کچہری حملہ، پولیس لائن حملے ودیگر بیسیوں ایسے سانحات کو فراموش کرچکا ہے جن میں بھارت براہِ راست ملوث تھا۔ ہمارے میڈیا کو بھی سلامتی کے امور میں قدم بہ قدم ملک و قوم کی ترجمانی کرنی ہوگی۔ بیرونی ممالک میں موجود ہمارے سفارتخانوں کو بھی موثرانداز میں اپنا نقطہ نظر دنیا پر واضح کرنا ہوگا، اور دنیاکو یہ باور کرانا ہوگا کہ پاکستان میں جاری دہشت گردی کی سرپرستی بھارت کررہا ہے اور پاکستان دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں بیش بہا قربانی دے رہا ہے۔ عمومی طور پر بھارت کے حوالے سے ہماری پالیسی ردعمل یاسستی کا شکار رہتی ہے مگر اب اس بات کی شدید ضرورت ہے کہ ردعمل سے نکل کر سفارتی و سیاسی محاذپر پیش قدمی کریں۔ بھارتی رعونت اور جارحیت کے خلاف ایک جامع، مربوط اور طویل المدت پالیسی ترتیب دیں جس پر صبر و تحمل سے عمل پیرا ہوکر بھارتی عزائم کو ناکام بنایا جائے۔
(آمین)

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ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ سب سے پہلے ہم خود یہ باور کریں کہ بھارت کی پاکستان دشمنی ایک حقیقت ہے۔ پاکستان کو بھارت کی جانب سے مستقل، طویل المدت اور سنجیدہ خطرے کا سامنا ہے ۔ جس سے نمٹنے کے لئے عسکری ، سیاسی قوتوں کے ساتھ ساتھ سول سوسائٹی ، میڈیا کو بھی اپنا مستقل اور ذمہ دارانہ کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا۔

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09
January

Reigniting the Water Wars

Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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