03
May

Written By: Ayesha Farooq

The story comes from Labado, which is a major town of East Darfur comprising a population of 17200, out of which 70-80% are from Zaghawa and Fur tribes (non-Arabs). Arab tribes residing in the area are Reziget, Falata and Mysria. Also, there are temporary settlers which include 1500 Arab nomads and 2500 farmers/shepherds from surrounding areas. The total number of villages in the area are 18 which, however, are abandoned since most of the population has been relocated to IDPs’ Camp that is located 50-70 metres adjacent to the UN team site at Labado.


The day was just another ordinary one, shepherds watching over their livestock, farmers engaged in their strenuous routines, the tribe of Zaghawa was silent amidst the unruffled melodies folks composed in the course of their mundane affairs until Arab nomads decided to evoke chaos. Gun shots, one after the other disrupted the silence leaving the entire population in a disarrayed state. Upon inquiry, the cause of disturbance turned out to be an attack on the herds of livestock that belonged to Zaghawa Tribe followed by the outrageous retaliation by farmers, killing two of the attackers belonging to the Reziget tribe. The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) found themselves surrounded by terror and panic as they anticipated the repercussions from the Arab nomads.


By the time the sun set, news about Reziget tribe summoning all Arabs to gather at a distant location, setting course for taking revenge had spread widely, doing no good but increasing the worries of the IDPs manifold. Tribal elders of Zaghawa gathered outside the gate of Labado team site and requested to meet the Commanding Officer (CO) of Pakistani Battalion, 25 Baloch Regiment. They informed about build-up of Reziget tribe from all over Darfur and their advance towards Labado. The confirmation of reports by official channels alarmed the IDPs gravely who were now flocking outside the camp premises.

 

 

thetrustedone.jpgPakistani Battalion took thoughtful note of the events and immediately came into action dispatching a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) tasked to monitor the assemblage of IDPs. Keeping the protection of unarmed civilians as the utmost priority, the CO convened a meeting with the Peacekeeping Forces, their objective being amicable tackling of the developing situation. Firstly the QRF fortified the guard posts, patrolling within the team site and surroundings of IDPs Camp followed by launching a hotline with the Sector Headquarters. Moreover, with the provision of basic necessities, a platoon-sized team was tasked to shift IDPs to a safe location which was protected by APCs and strong cordons. Orders for troops to use force under the rules of engagement were proceeded and an evacuation plan for United Nations staff was chalked out. The efforts bore fruit as they lessened the apprehensions among IDPs. Throughout, Pakistani Battalion displayed a strong aggressive posture despite the fact that it lacked firepower of automatics as its weapons were still held with Sudan custom authorities for custom clearance.

 

Such considerate responsiveness was a rare sight to the civilians having been used to of indifferent attitude of Peacekeeping Forces in the past.


Around 0400 hours, the news about Arab nomads reached the vicinity causing a rift in the composure set by Pakistani Battalion and the IDPs started throwing their kids and belongings inside the team site. Despite the countless announcements on megaphones, 400 children and women were able to enter the team site. Increasing the patrol frequency somehow simmered down the IDPs. Pakistani soldiers preserved the legacy of their dauntless dedication in every task they were assigned. In spite of the night patrolling, their morale never saw a decline, they moved back to base only to replenish their resources and were back on duty in a blink.


By 0930 hours, what the army saw was an unpleasant sight; armed vehicles. APCs verified that mounted on vehicles, camels and horses, more than 600 heavily armed Arab nomads had cordoned Labado and surrounding areas to avenge the killings of their brothers. They were heavily equipped with anti-aircraft guns, RPG-7, Machine Guns, and grenades.


Upon reaching the team site, outrageous armed factions demanded the Peacekeeping Forces to cut the interference and let them deal considering it was their tribal matter. Pakistani Battalion however, decided to take up a proactive approach and robust posturing of the APC borne patrol facilitated the initiation of negotiations. The fuming defiance became a rather calmer disposition as the strict caution of a strong reaction against any harm to the unarmed civilians, UN personnel and assets were given by Pakistani forces. The preventive diplomacy had very well compelled the nomads to reconsider their course of action and they finally agreed to come to the table. The leaders of the armed factions were guided to the team site where they were disarmed and brought to the conference room.


The CO of Pakistani Battalion clarified the stance of Peacekeeping Forces and stated that peace is what their supreme priority is, and shall remain. So reinforcement was called from the Shaeria team site as the Commander Brigadier General IN Ijioma was apprised of the situation in the meanwhile. However, since the tribal elders from Zaghawa were not present as of then and were on their way from Muhajaria, the efforts weren’t fruitful leading the scenario to rather become uncertain and tensed. The waiting span was an extremely critical trestle given the vulnerability of every effort going in vain in the light of armed faction’s fury.


As confidence building measure, bread, water and a place to offer their prayers were provided to the armed factions by the Pakistani Forces, but the robust posture did not diminish at any moment.


After the tribal elders from Zaghawa reached the team site, nomads once again tried to make an attempt of using their armed faction, abandoning the negotiations. None of their reactions by now were unpredictable, the CO of the Pakistani Battalion maintained his composure and highlighted the importance of keeping peace in the region and its implications for both tribes. A rather tactical measure was taken as recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an considering both the rivals were Muslims. A religious ambiance made sure none of the parties raised objections out of agitation and fury. The CO expressed himself unequivocally that either they had to find a peaceful way or fight the Peacekeeping Forces.


Continuous hours of discussion took place under reassurances of the Pakistani Battalion, and the dispute was resolved in the light of terms such as that the tribal elders of both tribes would ensure peace in the area and prevent crossing over of animals into each other’s area. A bounty money was decided between the two tribes and the barricade of armed factions around Labado was removed immediately. For the first time in the history of peacekeeping missions by UN, the sight of resolving matters on table instead of ground was witnessed as never done before at UNAMID (United Nations – Africa Mission in Darfur) to reach a peaceful end. The untiring efforts and resolute persistence to materialise the slogan of ‘Peacekeeping’ exhibited by the Pakistani soldiers proved their mettle and the sons of our soil once again became the nation’s pride. They not only won the hearts and confidence of the warring factions and UNAMID leadership but also the Government of Sudan. The prevention of a genocide, unprecedented in the history of peacekeeping operations while re-establishing the credibility of United Nations Peacekeeping and setting true standards of robust peacekeeping was highly admired by the Force Commander UNAMID, Sector Commander and the tribal elders from warring factions in their own way as:


“We have always witnessed UNAMID personnel just holding their diaries, noting down our casualties in every untoward incident, but this time we are astonished, we salute and thank, not only Pakistani Battalion but the complete Pakistani Nation for saving our lives, belongings and bringing peace to the region after a long time. For the first time Pakistani soldiers have established our confidence in UNAMID. We declare them as our HEROES. We thank them all”.


Brigadier IN Ijioma, the UNAMID Commander Sector South in his report to UNAMID Force Headquarters for commending the achievements of Pakistani Battalion stated: “Dissuasion of the deployed militia from carrying out their intention was mainly because they saw the resolve of Pakistani Battalion and knew that the cost of attacking the Internal Displaced People’s Camp would be very high on them. This success should be celebrated by all, and all those who made it possible, Pakistani Battalion need to be commended. We should not always be harping on failures, successes are also worthy of note. The pro-activeness, aggressive posture and robustness that went into averting the ugly incident deserves high level commendation. It is a major landmark achievement which the military component should be proud of and I believe that New York needs to be apprised of this.”


UNAMID Force Commander Lt Gen Paul Mella while addressing the troops during his special visit to 25 Baloch Regiment stated: “Today I am very proud of claiming a victory of highly professional soldiers from Pakistani Battalion. Pakistani Battalion’s act of valour has stamped a label of peace in the region. The account of this act by Pakistani Battalion be circulated to all units, to be studied as a case study for the lessons it holds for the UNAMID military component. We are well aware of the high standards and professionalism of Pakistan Army and Pakistani Battalion proved it on the soil of Darfur. I have already apprised United Nations Headquarters about the outstanding performance of Pakistani Battalion.”


Pakistani soldiers did what remains unparalleled in the UN Peacekeeping history. The message to the world was clear; peacekeeping missions by the Pakistan Armed Forces are very well comprehended as ‘peace’ keeping ones. The objective to save innocent lives and to win the hearts of commons is the top-drawer priority ranked above the demonstration of martial dominance contrary to what the world otherwise is engaged in.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The account of a peacekeeping mission in which Pakistan Army soldiers averted a great tragedy by peaceful negotiation with the warring tribes of Labado, East Darfur.

*****

 
03
May

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

Of all the Congress leaders, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) stood out against partition till the end. “Even if the whole of India burns we shall not concede Pakistan, even if the Muslims demanded it at the point of the sword,” he told his prayer meeting on May 31, 1947. This was long after the Congress had “accepted” partition and barely thirty hours before the Partition Plan to be placed at the Conference of Indian leaders for acceptance by Lord Mountbatten on June 2.


It was not a last-minute desperate reaction on Gandhi’s part, though. Indeed, a bellicose strain and jingoistic strand had characterized his pronouncements ever since the passage of the Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution on March 23, 1940. He had characterized Pakistan as a “patent untruth”, and the partition demand as “vivisection”, cutting Mother India into two, bringing “ruin to India”. To him, “if it (Pakistan) means an utterly independent sovereignty so that there is nothing in common between the two, I hold it is an impossible proposition. That means war to the knife.” During his talks with Lord Wavell on August 27, 1946 on the compulsory grouping clause of the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946), Gandhi thumped the table and said, “If India wants her bloodbath she shall have it” – in spite of non-violence claims. At times he even talked of a civil war – between Hindus and Muslims. He also dismissed with high disdain the Muslim claim to separate nationhood, saying, “I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendents claiming themselves to be a nation apart from the parent stock. If India was one nation before the advent of Islam,” he contended, “it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children.”


Gandhi’s tirade set the tone and tenor of the Congress leadership’s response to the Pakistan demand – characterizing it “mediaeval”, “meaningless and absurd”, “a foolish idea”, anti-national, imperialist-inspired and what not. In tandem, they, hurled threats of all sorts and darkly predicted dire consequences. After elections to the Central Assembly in which the Muslim League had won all the thirty Muslim seats on the Pakistan plank, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950), the “Iron Dictator”, brazenfacedly warned in January 1946: “The Muslim League has captured all the Muslim seats…. But Pakistan cannot be achieved in this manner. If Pakistan is to be achieved, Hindus and Muslims will have to fight. There will be civil war.”

 

thepakdemand.jpgSurprisingly, and in the event, tragically though, the Congress leadership, except for Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972), former leader of Indian National Congress, Premier of the Madras Presidency (1937-39), confined themselves to the jingoistic side of Gandhi’s public pronouncements till the end, without looking at the constructive side of a segment of his political discourse on the Pakistan demand. While Gandhi was, of course, aggressive, emotional, even irrational in a good many of his utterances, trotting out arguments that may at best be termed bizarre, he also had his sober moments, his moments of truth, when rationality, sophistry inextricably mixed up with subtlety and ingenuity ruled the roost.


During such moments, he had the knack of talking sense and putting forward extremely constructive suggestions. Consider, for instance, what he wrote in his Harijan on April 13, 1942: “If the vast majority of Muslims regard themselves as a separate nation having nothing in common with the Hindus and others, no power on earth can compel them to think otherwise. And if they want to partition India on that basis, they must have the partition, unless Hindus want to fight against such a division. So far as I can see, such a preparation is silently going on, on behalf of both parties. That way lies suicide.”


Interestingly, of all the Congress’ responses to the Pakistan Resolution, Gandhi’s was the first, the most significant, and also, the most weighty. Equally important, in its essentials, it forestalled the official Congress’ response for some two years.
Within two weeks of the passage of the Lahore Resolution, Gandhi wrote on April 6, 1940, “Unless the rest of India wishes to engage in internal fratricide, the others will have to submit to Muslim dictation, if the Muslims will resort to it. I know no non-violent method of compelling the obedience of eight crores of Muslims to the will of the rest of India, however powerful a majority the rest may represent. The Muslims must have the same right of self-determination that the rest of India has. We are at present a joint family. Any member may claim a division.”


He returned to the subject a week later, in his reply to Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan’s statement of April 4, 1940, saying, “Partition means a patent untruth.... I must rebel against the idea that millions of Indians who were Hindus the other day changed their nationality on adopting Islam as their religion. But that is my belief. I cannot thrust it down the throats of the Muslims who think they are a different nation. I refuse, however, to believe that the eight crores of Muslims will say that they have nothing in common with their Hindu and other brethren. Their mind can only be known by a referendum made to them duly on that clear issue. The contemplated constituent assembly can easily decide the question.... It is purely a matter of self-determination. I know of no other conclusive method of ascertaining the mind of the eight crores of Muslims.”


The first official reference to the Pakistan demand came in the Congress Working Committee’s resolution on the Cripps’ proposals on April 11, 1942. Inter alia, it said, “The acceptance beforehand of the novel principle of non-accession for a Province is also a severe blow to the conception of Indian unity and an apple of discord likely to generate growing trouble in the Provinces, and which may well lead to further difficulties in the way of the Indian States merging themselves into an Indian Union. Congress has been wedded to Indian freedom and unity and any break of that unity, especially in the modern world when people’s minds inevitably think in terms of ever larger federations, would be injurious to all concerned and exceedingly painful to contemplate. Nevertheless the Committee cannot think in terms of compelling the people of any territorial unit to remain in an Indian Union against their declared and established will. While recognizing this principle, the Committee feel that every effort should be made to create a common and cooperative national life. Acceptance of this principle inevitably involves that no changes should be made which would result in fresh problems being created and compulsion being exercised on other substantial groups within that area. Each territorial unit should have the fullest possible autonomy within the Union consistently with a strong national state. The proposal now made [in the Cripps’ offer]... encourages and will lead to attempts at separation at the very inception of the Union...”.


Surprisingly though, C. Rajagopalachari’s resolution on Pakistan in the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) on May 1, 1942, which in essence rephrased the above resolution, was rejected by 120 to 15 votes. The operative part of C. R’s resolution read as follows: “... in as much as the Muslim League has insisted on the recognition of the right of separation of certain areas from united India upon the ascertainment of the wishes of the people of such areas, as a condition precedent for united national action at this moment of grave national danger, the AICC is of opinion that to sacrifice the chances of the formation of a National Government at this grave crisis for the doubtful advantage of maintaining a controversy over the unity of India is a most unwise policy and that it has become necessary to choose the lesser evil and acknowledge the Muslim League’s claim for separation, should the same be persisted in when the time comes for framing a constitution for India, and thereby remove all doubts and fears in this regard, and to invite the Muslim League for a consultation for the purpose of arriving at an agreement and securing the installation of a National Government to meet the present emergency.”


On the same day the AICC passed by 92 to 17 votes a counter resolution, since known after Jagat Narayan Lal, the mover. It said, “The All-India Congress Committee is of opinion that any proposal to disintegrate India by giving liberty to any component state or territorial unit to secede from the Indian Union or Federation will be highly detrimental to the best interests of the people of the different states and provinces and the country as a whole and the Congress, therefore, cannot agree to any such proposal.”


Clearly, this resolution was at variance with the Working Committee’s earlier resolution of April 11. This variance was noted by Rajagopalachari in his August 16, 1942 statement: “I have tried hard to get from the Congress an explicit settlement of this question and admit that I have failed so far. But what has been denied in the terms, I wanted, is practically conceded in other terms. I do not want now to discuss the relative merits of explicit concession and indirect admission. It is enough for me to say that what is there and no one can deny it.”


In any case, the Congress’ resolutions of April 11 and May 2, 1942 (Jagat Narayan Lal resolution) formed the base for all its subsequent pronouncements on the Pakistan demand. Thus, a combination of the two, somewhat divergent, viewpoints was presented in the Working Committee’s resolution of September 12-18, 1945 and its election manifesto of December 7-11, 1945. In essence, these two documents represented studied Congress response to the three Muslim League’s demands embodied in the Lahore Resolution and Quaid-i-Azam’s 1940 address. These demands were: (i) the recognition of Muslims as a nation by themselves, separate and distinct from the Hindus, or the rest of the population; (ii) the grouping together of six existing provinces, almost in their entirety, in the proposed Muslim state; and (iii) the creation of two completely independent sovereign states.


In contrast, the Congress’ stance was that they would consider conceding the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, provided (i) a common centre was maintained, (ii) the territorial unit or part thereof expressed itself for secession through its “declared and established will”; and (iii) the non-Muslim majority areas in Assam, Bengal and the Punjab were not to be compelled to join Pakistan.
The Rajaji formula (1944) put forward similar conditions for a settlement between the Congress and Muslim League. It stipulated, among others, the following: (i) “a plebiscite of all the inhabitants held on the basis of adult franchise or other practicable franchise” in “contiguous districts in the north-west and east of India wherein the Muslim population is in absolute majority… shall ultimately decide the issue of separation from Hindustan”; (ii) border districts to be given “the right… to choose to join either state”; (iii) “mutual agreements… for safeguarding defence, and commerce and communications and for other essential purposes”; and (iv) these terms would be binding after complete transfer of power to Indian hands.


The formula which had the blessing of Gandhi became the basis of his marathon Gandhi-Jinnah talks in September 1944. Jinnah’s counter-proposals were:
(i) Plebiscite of only the Muslims in the Pakistan areas since they demanded Pakistan on the premise that they constituted a nation by themselves, and were entitled to the right of self-determination; (ii) the six existing provinces, with minor alternations, to form the new state; (iii) it should be sovereign; and (iv) the division must precede, and not follow, the transfer of power to Indian hands.
The most basic condition stipulated in Gandhi’s pronouncements, the Congress resolutions and the C.R. formula was that the “declared and established will” of the predominantly Muslim regions claimed for Pakistan should express itself in favour of separation. The Congress strategy from April 1940 onwards was, therefore, designed to thwart the “declared and established will” of these regions against separation with the assistance of its client parties.


Initially Gandhi had talked of “ascertaining the mind of the eight crores of Muslims” by “a referendum made to them duly on that clear issue” of Pakistan. By 1944, it was clear to the Congress leadership, as to all observers of the Indian scene, how far afield had Jinnah’s influence extended. Between January 1, 1938 and September 12, 1942, the League had won 46 (82%) out of 56 Muslim seats, Congress three (about 5%) and independents seven (about 13%). This in part, explains the shift from a plebiscite of Muslims to a plebiscite of all inhabitants in the Rajaji Formula and Gandhi-Jinnah talks.


In view of this new stance, the Congress devised a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand, it should denounce the Pakistan scheme as being “anti-national”, “imperialist-inspired”, a stumbling block on the nation’s march to freedom, and, moreover, as holding out the grim prospects of balkanization of India. Appeals couched in such terms were directed towards non-Muslims, and the Congress leaders, publicists and organs, besides the Hindu Mahasabha, the various Sikh bodies, the All-India Liberal Federation and other organizations, mounted and carried on an unrelenting campaign against the Pakistan scheme. An Akhand Hindustan Front was launched by K. M. Munshi, former Congress minister in Bombay, after a two-day consultation with Gandhi in 1941, specifically to mobilize public opinion in favour of a united India. This Front held conferences periodically more particularly in north-west India, and provided ballast to anti-partition forces. On the other hand, the Congress should also mobilize public opinion among Muslims, which it tried to through its client parties among Muslims – the Jamiatul Ulema-i-Hind, the Ahrars and the Khudai Khidmatgars.


Of the three conditions set by Gandhi and the Congress for the acceptance of Pakistan demand, the most basic one – viz., the “declared and established will” of the predominantly Muslim regions claimed for Pakistan – was met in 1946 when the Muslims overwhelmingly voted for Pakistan in the General Elections of 1945-46. This came as a rude shock to the entire Congress leadership which left them angered, numb, desolate and paralyzed for a time, provoking them into an incredibly bellicose, aggressive and fire-eating posture, leaving sanity and sobriety far behind. Sardar Patel’s dark threat, cited above, represents a capital instance of this posture; so was Gandhi’s May 31, 1947 “declaration” of war, referred to above.


Once the Congress leadership failed to thwart the “declared and established will” of Muslims to Pakistan, it tried to sabotage conceding Muslims the “substance” of Pakistan in the Cabinet Mission Plan. This it did by misinterpreting and diluting the compulsory Grouping and limited-centre provisions, so as to establish a strong centre to override the predominantly Muslim regions. If only because of Jinnah’s astute leadership and strategic moves, these attempts became counter-productive, and the Cabinet Mission Plan became dead as a door nail, even before the first steps towards its implementation took effect. This controversy along with the bitter Interim Government (1946-47) experience sounded the death knell of even a loose centre and of confederal arrangements. And the Congress itself came to abandon it in favour of unfettered power in residual India.


The third condition of the exclusion of non-Muslim areas was, however, met in the Mountbatten Plan, leading to the bifurcation of the most populous Muslim provinces of Bengal and the Punjab, and the exclusion of Assam, except for Sylhet, from Pakistan.
Since the terms of the partition plan were more or less settled between the three parties – the Congress, Muslim League and the British – before the Viceroy left for London for HMG’s approval in mid-May, Gandhi’s rather bellicose posture at his prayer meetings prior to the announcement of the June 3 Plan must obviously be put down to his frustration at being forced, by a fortuitous turn of events, to concede Muslims their demand for Pakistan.

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
 
03
May

Written By: Amir Zia

For many developing countries, including Pakistan, one of the biggest impediments to modernization and development remains the state’s inability to establish the rule of law and enforce its writ. The selective implementation of laws and a country’s incapacity to hold all persons, organizations, institutions and rulers accountable for any wrongdoing, trigger decay at every level of the state and society. The weakness of the state writ is also manifested in its failure to efficiently impose and collect taxes. Another indicator of the state’s frailty is its powerlessness in taking-on those individuals and groups, who raise weapons against it.

 

Members of the ruling elite in such developing countries themselves openly flout laws, knowing well that they can easily get away with it. This becomes an oppressively repetitive pattern, leading toward gradual anarchy, chaos, lawlessness and the implosion of institutions. If there are arrests and registration of cases against some members of the ruling elite for any crime, it is seen as an exception rather than an established norm. And this attempted accountability occurs only because of the tussle and infighting within various power factions. All the scandals about mega-corruption, massive tax-evasion, loan defaults, kickbacks and commissions and abuse of power do create uproar, but they fizzle out with the passage of time. Hardly any member of the powerful elite ever gets convicted of the so-called “white collar crimes.” Time, money, weak prosecution and a flawed judicial system enable all such accused to eventually walk free. Many such tainted figures – by hook or by crook – manage to get themselves elected and can be seen holding highest public offices.

 

Similarly, the state often finds it difficult to punish those responsible for violent crimes, sabotage and acts of terrorism and organized violence. The reason; key stakeholders and their allies patronize and protect such elements.

 

This is the sad story of many countries – from Latin America to Africa and Asia. Many developing countries in these three continents are democratic as far as holding of the elections are concerned, but they fail to establish the rule of law. Pakistan’s recent history is full of such examples, underlining the fact that being democratic is no guarantee for the establishment of the rule of law. The Pakistani experience shows that in most cases members of the ruling elite don’t only violate laws, but bend them for their narrow interests. Laws governing property rights, trade, business and taxation – they all are subject to abuse and change. No wonder transforming black into white and the illegal into ‘kosher’ remains a never-ending process in our country.

 

The values and practices of the ruling elite – which in Pakistan comprise mainly of tribal chiefs, feudal lords, industrialists-cum-businesspeople-cum-large-landowners – have a trickledown effect on the minority shareholders in the power structure such as the urban middle or lower-middle class parties and clerics of the mainstream religious organizations. These secondary stakeholders in the power-structure, survive in the political arena by following footsteps of the well-entrenched elite, which perpetuates rule by weaving in corruption and crime into the country’s political fabric. This strong nexus has so far proved successful in stifling and thwarting all attempts aimed at introducing political, governance and economic reforms and establishing the rule of law in the country.

 

As a result almost every civilian institution now stands dysfunctional and weak. The police force has become a tool in the hands of political masters and not seen as a credible and efficient institution dedicated to fighting crime and upholding the law. The judiciary – by-and-large – offers little relief to ordinary Pakistanis and fails to provide cheap and quick justice mainly due to the lack of resources, structural flaws and political and administrative interference. Our men on the street and even middle and upper-middle classes hardly have faith in the key institutions. The successive parliaments and elected governments have yet to come up with a vision aimed at reforming the system simply because any such move hurts their own interest. This myopic approach, in which the ruling elite fails to lead and do the needful, resulted into the decline and weakening of almost every public sector institution, transforming them into money guzzling, loss-making and anti-people ventures that remain a burden on the national exchequer. In recent years, the growing political interference, poor governance, corruption and tolerance for corruption has only accelerated this process.

 

Political scientists overwhelmingly agree that the “absence of a strong rule of law” is one of the principal factors which prevent developing or poor countries from achieving higher rates of economic growth. In comparison, all those states which prospered and developed, including the capitalist economies, established the rule of law and writ of the state first before they managed to embark on the path of development. This makes the rule of law and the ability of the state to assert its writ a prerequisite for its unity, well-being and economic development and prosperity. But when the ruling elite and the smaller stakeholders emerge as the biggest violators of the law and lose interest in establishing the writ of the state, lawlessness becomes order of the day. This encourages even individuals and bands of criminals to do the same.

 

On a smaller scale, the apparently law-abiding, educated urbanite sees no harm in jumping the red-light while driving or offering bribe to a policeman. In a benign, but at a bigger scale, the system accommodates land-grabbers and encroachers as well as various mafias, which provide illegal services to the people – from transport to drinking water. This is being done by twisting, changing and blunting laws to make room for the law breakers. According to few economic experts, one such recurring practice in Pakistan is the announcement of tax amnesty schemes to allow tax evaders whiten their black money. This happens after every few years to benefit those who refuse to pay taxes, underlining one key weakness of the state. And as the things stand, the country is set to see more such amnesty schemes as there is hardly any push to introduce sustainable reforms. “Criminalization of politics and politicization of crime” is another thorny issue, which Pakistan’s ruling elite has failed to address. It’s now all over the media that some key political parties and their leaders are directly involved in patronizing criminals. Karachi is just one example of this mess in which institutions contributed by using one proxy against the other.

 

Since the start of Karachi Operation in 2013, the state institutions have gone for an even-handed approach against criminals and terrorists. The ongoing paramilitary Rangers-led operation has brought down the number of killings and incidents of terrorism as well as kidnappings for ransom and extortion cases. But our leadership has failed to use this space for any reforms in the police or judiciary as well as to launch any substantial socio-economic development work. In fact, many so called leaders resisted the operation and its direction under one pretext or the other, which is a bad omen for the country.

 

However, the biggest internal challenge for Pakistan emits from the religiously-motivated terrorism and extremism. On this front, Pakistan Armed Forces contained and neutralized the threat since the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in mid-2014. The operation destroyed the command-and-control infrastructure of militants and wiped out their safe havens at great human cost, drastically cutting down the number of terror attacks in the country. But the civilian leaders have yet to back up this grand effort by taking the measures promised in the 20 point National Action Plan (NAP). Barring the setting up of the military courts and lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty, all the other points of NAP have either been partially implemented or are yet to be implemented. The top leadership has also admitted recently that the execution of reforms promised in NAP has been slow. While the challenge of establishing the state writ and rule of law is huge, our ruling elite and decision-makers must be clear that they have to adopt a holistic approach if they are serious in transforming Pakistan. For instance, fighting corruption, stopping the illegal flow of money, severing ties between politics, crime and terrorism and greater accountability are the first baby steps towards establishing the rule of law. These efforts should not remain confined to one or two provinces or just the troubled spots, but expanded to the entire country.

 

These steps are directly linked to the ruling elite’s ability, especially those in the government, to introduce reforms aimed at strengthening institutions – especially the police and the judiciary. These efforts must be backed by the socio-economic development and ensuring good governance. All these efforts are needed to sustain the gains of both these operations – Karachi and Zarb-e-Azb – and any new one which might be on the cards. It is high time for the ruling elite to grab the initiative and indulge in some serious self-criticism and self-accountability for the sake of Pakistan. Given the severity of the internal and external threats, these are not the normal times for the country. The leaders must show the vision and prove that they have the ability to represent not just one group, one ethnicity, one city, one region, but the entire Pakistan.

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @AmirZia1
Political scientists overwhelmingly agree that the “absence of a strong rule of law” is one of the principal factors which prevent developing or poor countries from achieving higher rates of economic growth. In comparison, all those states which prospered and developed, including the capitalist economies, established the rule of law and writ of the state first before they managed to embark on the path of development. This makes the rule of law and the ability of the state to assert its writ a prerequisite for its unity, well-being and economic development and prosperity.

*****

 
03
May

Written By: Brig (r) Mehboob Qadir

It is quite appropriate to identify the components of the Indian deep state. This great adversary, the devouring nemesis of peace in the region, is quite extraordinary in its composition and uniquely organized in tiers. The collage is as varied as is the improbable state of hodgepodge Indian Union. In this arrangement the top tier deals with core interests policy formulation and the other but on a lower plinth with operational methodology.

 

As the governance becomes more pervasive, sheaths of secrecy become thicker and numerous. Various related interest groups find it easier to interact clandestinely with each other and within themselves, and by the same token eavesdrop into each other’s working and trajectories of thought. A kind of super-custodial ambience prevails which substantiates the notion that there has to be a remote but powerful alliance of like minded entities and individuals who take it upon themselves to safeguard core national interests from being compromised while vast government machinery including the politicians are busy minding their petty little turfs. They also seem to contest alien influences trying to penetrate state systems. This core group or nucleus has come to be known as the ‘deep state’ in the modern diplomatic idiom. It denotes crusty ideologues and entrenched interest groups who claim to have identified best national interests and guard the same relentlessly, regardless of who runs the national government. Problem with such an exclusive prerogative is that since it is inscrutable therefore becomes fossilized and an impediment in national development rather than its locomotion.

 

The term ‘deep state’ or in Turkish ‘Derin Devlet’ literally meaning inner state, originated from Turkey and caught everybody’s fancy. Every country has invariably felt their presence in their own particular way but were unable to really name or denote the same. As soon as the phrase was introduced it fitted the description perfectly and was soon viral. The moment it is referred to, a dark, faceless but immensely powerful cluster of men carrying inscrutable brief on hard-baked state interests as a weapon of coercion swoop into the back of one’s mind, to wrap around logical responses to evolving national and regional issues. In the modern idiom these brooding custodians appear to have attained a mythically ethereal status. Political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to rigid nationalism, political corporatism and state interests. An inventory of coercion, destructive kinetics and multiple pressures is employed, mainly covertly, to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific state interests are served behind the facade of the democratic political framework.

 

Quite typically and interestingly they claim to be grooming men to be administrators, legislators and better parliamentarians with a view to populate those spaces of the state, as also prepare cadres to insert in various policy planning and higher management streams of the state structure where possible. We will revert to this revealing fact as we proceed.


indiandeeps.jpg

The more powerful a state the more possessive its deep state and the more it rocks the regional equilibrium. Regions become hostage to their policy swings which tend to force countries around into a web of, mostly, raw diplomatic options. Such tentative surrounding environment is the favourite playfield of the manipulative senior Foreign Office bureaucrats and ambitious military commanders. They become willing tools and protégés of the deep state and with the passage of time, junior partners too. South Asia has since long been in the grip of such a coercive ideological and diplomatic combine which has long prevented the region from stabilizing. The architect of this paralyzing environment is the predominant state: India.

 

It is quite appropriate to identify the components of the Indian deep state. This great adversary, the devouring nemesis of peace in the region, is quite extraordinary in its composition and uniquely organized in tiers. The collage is as varied as is the improbable state of hodgepodge Indian Union. In this arrangement the top tier deals with core interests policy formulation and the other but on a lower plinth with operational methodology. This core is a mosaic of very powerful autocratic clique of senior Union bureaucrats, Hindutva ideologues, Akhand Bharat political philosophers, upper caste Hindu ultra nationalists, senior BJP and Congress mentors, Sangh Parivar tribe, Vishwa Hindu Parishad savants and Simla Accord bilateralists/supremacists. The menu may seem long but in fact quite a few and many more wear more than one hat within this super elite. The net effect is an incomparably powerful synergetic pulse that runs through the state sinews demolishing any internal or civil society resistance or differing points of view. Notice what happened to India’s illustrious intellectuals, artists, scientists and writers when they returned their national awards as a dignified protest against Modi’s gruesome anti-Muslim posture. None in the power wagon even feigned to be concerned. In fact a country wide witch-hunt has already been initiated to muzzle into silence those whose hearts and minds are in the right place.

 

On the lower tier, External Affairs Ministry diplomats and the armed forces’ leadership act as face and muscle of the veiled state and are more often used as clattering spanners in the works. While the benign state continues to appear reasonable, the saber rattling military and scheming diplomats are made to look like the spoilers of the process. Indian military actively obstructs resolution of the Kashmir/Siachen dispute on grounds of security, the diplomats talk of a hairy fairy instrument of accession and spurious elections in the disputed territory and the Hindu ultra nationalist is hoarse crying Kashmir as integral part of India. This is more like a hall of mirrors rather than an honest desire for peace. In this show RAW and shrill Indian media are merely the shadow puppets.

 

A brief review of the range of the baffling power and practice of the Indian deep state is in order. Let’s spread the cloth by laying first the fact that India is at peace with none of its neighbours let alone a deep seated unrelenting loathing for Pakistan. Botched invasion of Sri Lanka, ongoing siege of Nepal, a short changed Sikkim, submission of Bhutan, a crippled Bangladesh and a chronic territorial standoff with China which has been thoughtlessly raised to regional power rivalry in line with US global strategy, by dangerously dipping into their backyard in South China Sea and needlessly threatening their Indian Ocean Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC) at Malacca by fortifying Andaman-Nicobar Islands are objective examples. Their methodology is to engage with a benign friendly facade and simultaneously undermine the interlocutor by subterfuge, disparage and guile. Inseminate discord between the leadership and the led and fertilize divisions among populace based on ethnicity, sectarianism or inequitable financial dispensation in the target country.

 

With reference to Pakistan, destructive interventions of the Indian deep state are many and instructive. Pakistan’s ex Foreign Minister and author of the book ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove’, Mr. Khursheed Mehmood Qasuri, in an interview on a private TV channel on November 2, 2015, made an emphatic reference to the Indian deep state’s manoeuvres to defeat various Pakistan initiatives to resolve contentious issues between the two countries. Earlier while in Mumbai for his book launch in 2015, he disclosed to Mumbai Mirror that talks between India and Pakistan, in Agra in 2001, failed because of inflexibility of L.K. Advani, senior BJP leader after PM Vajpayee. Advani’s hit man was an External Affairs Ministry Joint Secretary known as Vivek Katju. This fellow quite strangely insisted to remain present despite being asked to be left alone by President Musharraf during one-on-one talks with PM Vajpayee and took copious notes of a discussion where he had no moral title to be present. These notes were meant for the deep state’s privilege who promptly scuttled the talks; perhaps the last fair chance for peace. Katju’s brief was confirmed by A.S. Dulat, ex RAW Chief in his recent book ‘Kashmir, The Vajpayee Years’ (2015). Talking of the failure of Agra Summit he wrote ‘The villain was one of (then foreign minister) Jaswant Singh’s joint secretaries, Vivek Katju’. The firing squad comprised Advani, Jaswant Singh and Sushma Swaraj.

 

Mr. Katju went on to become India’s Ambassador to Kabul in 2002. Earlier he had figured prominently in tandem with RAW operatives negotiating with Indian plane hijackers at Kanadahar Airport in 1999. It was this curious hijacking which inflicted yet another character called Maulana Masood Azhar of the Jaish-e-Muhammad fame on Pakistan. Jaish-e-Muhammad is being blamed for the raid on Pathankot Air Base which has practically torpedoed upcoming FS level talks between the two countries. By 2010 Mr. Katju was promoted as Secretary (West) in India’s EAM as a senior Union bureaucrat of immense authority. This is a fairly representative case where one can see various cogs and wheels of the Indian deep state inexorably hammering away at good neighbourliness on the blood stained anvil of opaque national interests. President Musharraf’s rueful remark made to PM Vajpayee before leaving Agra sums up the whole thing, ‘Today you and I have been humiliated because there is someone above us’. Indian deep state smiled in its sleeves.

 

Advani had been the chief oracle of BJP for a long time till upstaged by Modi’s team-mate, and also the man who kicked off infamous Rath Yatra which very inauspiciously culminated in destruction of Babri Mosque, Ayodhia in 1992. With that snapped the delicate Hindu-Muslim communal balance in that tormented country. In this wantonness, VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal – extreme right Hindu factions colluded willingly. Congress was in power in the centre and did nothing to stop the madness. Muslims as a community felt utterly and decisively vulnerable. Communal riots broke out all over India, 900 Muslims were killed in Mumbai alone. It set up a vicious cycle of reactions which extended to Bangladesh and Pakistan and has not stopped since. That single demolition has become a major article so called jihadi faith in their bitter discourse in the Subcontinent. Mehmood Ghaznavi destroyed Somnath Temple long ago (few say for treasure); Advani destroyed Babri Mosque for ire in 20th century. Treasures do not last but ire does and for a long time. The way Agra Summit was dismantled is an objective lesson in how the Indian deep state operates. Let’s pick up a few more incidents from the bedeviled history of the two mismatched neighbours to see how it doctored their outcomes to the detriment of peace and prosperity in the region. One of the most significant events had been the Simla Accord between the two countries, following dismemberment of Pakistan by India in 1971. During the entire period of negotiations, the veiled state was again at work despite the fact that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was an unusually strong willed person. Diplomacy’s debilitating doctrine of bilaterism between India and Pakistan was forged at Simla, much against the grain of behavioural sciences and conventional wisdom. If bilaterism could resolve issues between the two interlocutors then why would the disputes arise in the first place? This devil’s doctrine effectively killed all possibilities of an honourable mediated resolution of contentious issues between the two countries placing them in a mutual gridlock. Since 1972 no issue between the two countries has been successfully negotiated, bilaterally.

 

Indira Gandhi was assisted by a team of experienced officials rather than seasoned political colleagues during Simla parleys. These were formidably powerful Union bureaucrats like P.N. Dhar Secretary to PM, Foreign Secretary T.N. Kaul, M.K. Kaw and N.K. Bakhshi India’s Assistant High Commisioner in Karachi then, to name a few. M.K. Kaw in his book titled ‘An Outsider Everywhere’ captures the rues and regrets of those moments quite vividly. P.N. Dhar was acting as the prima donna in Indian delegation as he was the one who was extracting explanations from late President Bhutto to set the narrative right. While T.N. Kaul had the temerity to leave Simla when PM was still there anticipating an imminent failure of talks, as mentioned in his book titled ‘A Diplomat’s Diary’. That indicates the power of deep state apparatchik.

 

Bhutto’s diplomatic skills began to take a toll at Simla. It was in the final stages that the gauntlet of bilateralism was thrown which Bhutto had to pick up in view of his other gains. What appeared to be a diplomatic finesse then proved to be a messy manoeuvre later, going by its disappointing consequences. It placed the onus of success of future negotiations upon India, the larger and more powerful of the two, which she never made good. The deep state must have been pleased with itself for having nailed Pakistan to bilaterism water board, which meant it could turn and twist, thrash and toss issues with Pakistan as and when needed in future, concede nothing and blame her for being recalcitrant. That must have been a delightful feeling then but actually turned out to be a shoddy stratagem from which India could never benefit. Twice the two countries came perilously close to a nuclear war after Simla.

 

With Modi in power India turned up the heat. It is also for the first time that the deep state is shooting straight from the hip. PM Modi is an honours graduate from one of the deep state’s indoctrination schools; the inveterate RSS, which is the mother root of BJP, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the larger Sangh Privar. Modi’s flip flop with Pakistan is remarkable. He delivers a scathing attack on Pakistan in an international forum and the next moment arranges a photo shoot with Nawaz Sharif engaged as an honest, concerned broker. He berates Pakistan before the Afghan Parliament and then flies into Lahore in feigned spontaneity to greet Nawaz Sharif on his grand daughter’s wedding. His EAM says that both Foreign Secretaries will discuss all outstanding issues including Kashmir, next day (December 14, 2015) their High Commissioner in Islamabad said, ‘India is prepared to discuss only the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan’. The measly manner in which future meetings of the Foreign Secretaries and National Security Advisors is being handled by the South Bloc is simply in bad taste. Concessions extracted under duress tell on national self esteem and can devastate the process. Then came the real clanking spanner; Pathankot Air Base ‘raid’ on January 2, 2016 pasted to Pakistan’s door albeit slowly. While they were congratulating each other for the ‘great understanding’ shown this time, India upped the ante by referring the matter of ‘killed Pakistani raiders’ to Interpol for a black corner notice. This simply means determining their nationality and then feed UN Security Council that Pakistan was involved. There are plenty of Pakistani prisoners held incognito in India. Interpol works closely with the Security Council.

 

This brief overview may sufficiently establish the historic methodology of the Indian deep state, its preference for a unilaterlist bilaterism with Pakistan and the technique used to keep that country on the edge all the time. The result is an increasingly prickly Pakistan, widening distance between people of both the countries, strengthening of belligerent narrative and deafening nuclear saber rattling in South Asia. It severely limits peaceful coexistence options for the leadership and serves nobody’s purpose to keep the furnace roaring except those who want to gain from the dangerous brinkmanship. No amount of well meaning overtures by Pakistan will make any difference unless the Indian deep state has a qualitative change of heart and develops a taste for objectivity. Longing for Emperor Ashoka’s nostalgic Hindu empire is fundamentally flawed. He was a Buddhist not Hindu.

The writer is a retired Brigadier and contributes regularly for national print media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This core is a mosaic of very powerful autocratic clique of senior Union bureaucrats, Hindutva ideologues, Akhand Bharat political philosophers, upper caste Hindu ultra nationalists, senior BJP and Congress mentors, Sangh Parivar tribe, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Savants and Simla Accord bilateralists/supremacists. The menu may seem long but in fact quite a few and many more wear more than one hat within this super elite.

*****

This is a fairly representative case where one can see various cogs and wheels of the Indian deep state inexorably hammering away at good neighbourliness on the blood stained anvil of opaque national interests. President Musharraf’s rueful remark made to PM Vajpayee before leaving Agra sums up the whole thing, ‘Today you and I have been humiliated because there is someone above us’. Indian deep state smiled in its sleeves.

*****

 
03
May

Written By: Talat Masood

An irrevocable message of military command’s intention to establish the writ of the state in North Waziristan and rest of FATA, along with committing resources for the operation and pursuing it with vigour has changed the complexion of the war against terror that Pakistan has been waging for over a decade now. The credit clearly goes to General Raheel Sharif, the local commanders and the brave officers and soldiers who have laid down their lives to combat terrorism.

 

When the dastardly attack took place on Army Public School Peshawar, General Raheel Sharif realized that the most important requirement at the strategic level is a clear public declaration that there will be no mercy shown against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups.These will be eliminated and their sanctuaries wiped off. An irrevocable message of military command’s intention to establish the writ of the state in North Waziristan and rest of FATA, along with committing resources for the operation and pursuing it with vigour has changed the complexion of the war against terror that Pakistan has been waging for over a decade now. The credit clearly goes to General Raheel Sharif, the local commanders and the brave officers and soldiers who have laid down their lives to combat terrorism.

 

pakrelt.jpg

Pockets of resistance still remain in Shawal and Dattakhel in North Waziristan and in Khyber Agency and are to be cleared in final phase of the operation. A major impediment in completely eliminating the militants is the nature of the porous border and the inability of the Afghan forces to establish their writ in Afghanistan’s eastern and southern provinces that adjoin Pakistan’s border. The failure of Afghan forces to provide the anvil while Pakistan Army had launched Zarb-e-Azb allowed the militants to slip into Afghanistan. Finding a safe haven in several provinces close to our border they continue to infiltrate back and forth making it difficult to bring the military operation to its conclusion. Solution of this problem lies in strengthening border control on our side of the border and extending full cooperation to Afghan forces in managing their side.

 

The counter-insurgency operations will have to be followed up by building effective local governance and economic development. The civilian government as yet has not given sufficient attention to this aspect and seems to be relying on the army to undertake this task. Whereas it was expected that military would provide the necessary security and the civilian government would undertake reconstruction activities and establishment of a new administrative order in FATA. Introduction of reforms that largely meet the aspirations of the populace have been their long-standing demand. The merger of FATA in KP or creation of a separate province is essential to mainstream the area. For this soliciting the views of the tribal people through the traditional way of holding a grand Jirga or a referendum should be undertaken at priority. Other option would be to proceed along the lines on the basis of the introduced twenty-second amendment bill in the parliament. This would, however, require amending the constitution.

 

Whatever route for reforms is adopted it should have a broad consensus and dealt with a sense of urgency. Federal government cannot continue to vacillate on undertaking implementation of these reforms. The people of FATA who aspire to be equal partners with the rest of the provinces have suffered enough due to ineptitude of successive governments and deserve to get their basic rights. It is highly unfair to keep FATA in perpetual backwaters. Re-settlement of the IDPs is a major challenge that remains neglected. Compensation must be paid to those civilians whose property was destroyed or damaged and business ruined during this war insurgency. All these obligations need to be treated on priority otherwise it would lead to further alienation of the population and facilitate TTP and other anti-state elements to exploit their grievances. An overly narrow focus on counter-terrorism will be insufficient to win the hearts and minds of people. It has to be accompanied with rebuilding the infrastructure and introduction of major economic and political reforms.

 

More crucial, Pakistan is fully supporting efforts to stabilize Afghanistan in consort with the international community. The formation of the quadrilateral group consisting of US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan has already had its four meetings and hopefully efforts by Islamabad to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table will materialize. As of now, it is not clear which factions of Taliban will be represented apart from Mullah Mansour’s group that has shown its inclination. The Hizb-i-Islami also seems willing. Even if the representatives of Afghan government and Taliban were to meet, expectations should be low. The gap between Taliban’s demands and the government’s position is too wide. Afghan government will like to negotiate while remaining within the bounds of the constitution, whereas, Taliban will want a fundamental revision of the constitution. Recent major attacks by the Taliban in Kunduz, Helmand and even in the heart of Kabul have emboldened the group to seek major concessions from the government, which it is not in a position to accept. A stalemate is a more likely outcome. As Taliban have remained very active in winter the summer offensive could be even harsher and bloody. Whether the Afghan forces withstand the invigorated insurgency depends on Afghan military’s professional competence, civilian leadership’s ability to mobilize the masses and international support.

 

The spillover effect on Pakistan could be serious if the civil war in Afghanistan intensifies. Pakistan has to continue pressurizing the Taliban to find a negotiated settlement but in case of a failure should take measures to reduce the fallout. The government and military leadership’s policy of developing a strong relationship with Afghanistan will largely depend on how the peace process evolves. This is despite the fact that Pakistan is making serious efforts in removing the misperception that it wants to promote the Taliban or any militant group. Its focus is to facilitate the peace process in its own and regional interest. If efforts to find a peaceful settlement fail and Afghanistan’s civil war intensifies during security transition it will have a spillover effect on Pakistan and the region. A continuous insurgency in Afghanistan will reverberate in FATA and given the historical and current linkages between TTP, Taliban and other militant groups, it will pose a serious challenge to manage its security. Already we are noticing that the Taliban are in control of large parts of Afghanistan’s southern and eastern provinces and have extended their reach to the northern city of Kunduz and other parts of Afghanistan.

 

While Pakistan has its own self-interest to pursue policies to stabilize Afghanistan, it is also concerned about the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan. And hopes Afghanistan to pursue an equitable foreign policy and reciprocate Pakistan’s sincere attempts at working with it for its own good and that of the region.

 

Pakistan has largely been able to contain the insurgency but will continue to face sporadic attacks in the foreseeable future. The situation in Afghanistan is likely to remain volatile and uncertain until a political solution is agreed between the government and Taliban. Some of these negative trends in the region can be neutralized by greater cooperation among neighbours, improved governance and sustained international support.

The writer is a retired Lieutenant General from Pakistan Army and an eminent scholar on national security and political issues. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If efforts to find a peaceful settlement fail and Afghanistan’s civil war intensifies during security transition it will have a spillover effect over Pakistan and the region. A continuous insurgency in Afghanistan will reverberate in FATA and given the historical and current linkages between TTP, Taliban and other militant groups, it will pose a serious challenge to manage its security. Already we are noticing that the Taliban are in control of large parts of Afghanistan’s southern and eastern provinces and have extended their reach to the northern city of Kunduz and other parts of Afghanistan.

*****

While Pakistan has its own self-interest to pursue policies to stabilize Afghanistan, it is also concerned about the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan. And hopes Afghanistan to pursue an equitable foreign policy and reciprocate Pakistan’s sincere attempts at working with it for its own good and that of the region.
 
25
February

Written By: Warda Gohar

Huma Butt (Student)

New year is a time to take a fresh breath, inhale some motivation humabutt.jpg and exhale commitment and determination. Take on the challenges to bring about a positive change within your personality and around you. Pick up a small task and stick to it until the goal is achieved. Remember the country is above all because you are born here and now you have to make it special with your actions.

 

Sarah Tariq (Creative Manager)

saratariq.jpg

It’s dilemma of our youth that we have forgotten our duty to respect the country and the culture we belong to! This year we should aim to eliminate corruption (at least at our level) and try to work hard for betterment of Pakistan with full zeal and enthusiasm.

 

Sarim Sheikh (Electrical Engineer)

It is not the time to only pen down the resolution. We should take every little step to increase positivity. Let us make a firm resolve to transform Pakistan into a peaceful country in 2016. Not mere words but our deeds and actions must prove our commitment.

 

Khadijah Qadeer (Training Manager)

We should realize that only pointing out flaws and highlighting weaknesses will eventually make us a despondent nation. The progress of a nation depends on high character of its citizens. This year think as a patriot and act! Remember, a nation can never flourish if it lacks commitment, dedication and hard work. So let us be responsible citizens and educate our children so that they can grow up and make this country better and proud.

 

Awais Ali Khan (Chief Coordinator)

We need to educate people about learning ‘to live together’ and ‘accepting the difference of opinions’. 2016 must see us making efforts to support our youth to transform Pakistan into a peaceful and pluralistic society.

 

Muhammad Hammad (Student)

In Pakistan there is a dire need of ‘Research and Development’. Especially the post-graduate students should realize the need and take the initiative to organize themselves in small research forums and groups to produce knowledge and invent to make our country proud at international level.

 

Sbeela Sattar (Student)

Entrepreneurship is something that can change the fate of a nation and the individual. Pakistani youth is extremely talented and innovative but lags behind for not being provided with proper guidance and direction. More and more counselling and support programmes should be initiated by the government with public participation so that 2016 could be the ‘Entrepreneurs’ Year’.

 

Adil Hussain (Student)

2016 should be the year of ‘Healthy Pakistan’. In Pakistan there is dire need to teach people about health and nutrition. Synthetic and canned foods trend have added more to fast food addiction. Lifestyles of the people are not healthier and supportive of a healthy mind. This year there should be awareness campaigns to promote better and safe eating habits, particularly the government should educate people about benefits of organic food.

 

Sana Rehman (Freelance Feature Writer)

We all are representatives of Pakistan. The personality and character matters a lot when we interact with international community. So think before expressing and try to build a positive image of the beloved homeland through your personality and character. We should feel proud as a Pakistani because without Pakistan, we have no identity.

 

Rida Zafar Awan (Student)

I am making a resolve for 2016 to use my ‘motivational speech’ skills and change thinking of people for a better Pakistan.

 
25
February

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood

The new economic geography approach maps the economic landscape in a dynamic way and inhabits it with economic agents in production, employment, investment, infrastructure, etc. Thus, by unleashing the hidden growth potential of the region it stimulates socio-economic development. The approach allows the distribution of benefits accruing region-wide in the form of growing trade, investment and economic agents’ contacts.


Trade corridor (henceforth the corridor) connects economic agents along a defined geography. They provide connectivity between economic hubs, usually centred along the corridor, where large endowment of economic resources and economic agents are concentrated.


Modern day economic corridors take advantage of efficient ‘multimodal transport network’ with the help of quality infrastructure, logistics, distribution networks that link production clusters, urban centres, and international gateways. Equally important for the corridor is an enabling policy framework that eases doing business and non-tariff measures to facilitate trade. The corridor promotes growth by removing infrastructure bottlenecks, improving access to markets, stimulating trade and investment and boosting productivity and efficiency through associated network externalities and agglomeration effects. The corridor also promotes inclusive growth by expanding economic opportunities in backward regions and linking them with urban centres and production clusters.

ecoofchinapakcoridor.jpgWithin the above perspective, the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), of which the trade corridor is an important component, aims to connect Gwadar Port to China’s Xinjiang province, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas. The corridor will run about 2,700 km from Gwadar to Kashgar and will reduce the present distance between the two cities by 9000 km, thus the route will be much shorter and cheaper. It will also open trade routes for Western China and provide China direct access to the resource-rich Middle East region via the Arabian Sea, bypassing longer logistical routes through the Strait of Malacca.


The corridor is an extension of China’s proposed 21st century Silk Road initiative. China has promised to invest around $11.8 billion in infrastructure projects. The agreement also includes $622 million for Gwadar Port. The corridor also includes upgrading of Pakistan's major transport infrastructure, including: Karakorum Highway, Karachi-Lahore Motorway, the Gwadar Port, East Bay Expressway Project and Gwadar International Airport. This massive investment plan if effectively implemented is expected to transform Pakistan into a regional trade and industry hub.


Energy security is a key concern for China. Oil pipelines through Pakistan would reduce its cost of transportation that will be a source of revenue earnings and employment generation for Pakistan. So the alterative trade route, which will cut down the distance and time, will be mutually beneficial for both countries. In this context, China plans to build mega oil storage facilities and a refinery at Gwadar Port, with oil transported to Xinjiang via road and pipeline.


Gwadar’s potential to serve as a transit hub for grain and food storage facilities as well as industrial and processing zones along the corridor would further boost investment opportunities. Besides trade and energy, the corridor would ultimately serve as a gateway for commerce and transport between the South Asia, Central Asia, China and Gulf countries.


Pakistan in the recent past has been growing sluggishly. Its exports-to-GDP ratio is falling. Domestic investors are wary to invest in the country, which dissuades foreign investors to invest in Pakistan. This situation is mainly due to lack of regional connectivity, which results into high trade cost for our traders. This in turn hinders domestic industries to become part of international production networks and benefit from economies-of-scale that are available in international market. Pakistan needs to create more than 1.5 million jobs every year. On the whole, the Pakistani economy is currently under performing. By proactively becoming part of the new strategic regional economy, it can unlock the untapped economic potential of the new entrants to its labour market. In this regard, the corridor is considered as vital for Pakistan’s economic prosperity. To make the corridor a successful enterprise, several underlying economic factors will have to be incorporated in policy formulation. In this regard, following is recommended:


• Ensure complete and strong commitment and support for the corridor by all stakeholders at all levels of policy and decision making, be it private or public, federal or provincial organizations.


• Introduce human resource development and technology development programmes to bridge the existing innovative knowledge gap by involving leading universities and research institutions of Pakistan.


• With initiation of work on the corridor, periodically track its work progress on all the project components to timely resolve issues and overcome hurdles and quickly adapt to the changing needs and priorities. Moreover, put the corridor related issues on the main policy agendas of federal and provincial governments.


• Ensure sufficient and sustained funding support for all the corridor projects for their timely completion.
• Develop effective institutional mechanisms and arrangements to ensure coordinated and sustained efforts among local Pakistani institutions as well as between the institutions of China and Pakistan.


• Charge transit fee on commercial basis to recover the full cost of the corridor and other network services.


• Develop common transit procedures and effectively implement the recently signed TIR Carnets Convention (Transports Internationaus Routiers or International Road Transport), which is to provide simplified and harmonized procedure of international road transport from the starting point of goods in transit to their end point. Make this Convention as part and parcel of Pak-China bilateral trade agreement. Also modernize road haulage fleet and services; this would, however, require capacity building in institutions dealing with the trade and transit trade.


• Initiate work on world-grade trade facilitation system to benefit from the full trade and investment potential of the corridor. In this context, transit trade should be implemented through a system of Automated Import and Export System, Economic Operators’ registration and identification systems, a Single Electronic Access Point, an Integrated Tariff Environment, etc.


• Conclude a comprehensive transit trade agreement with China, which is vital for the success of economic corridor. In this regard, we can learn from the best European practices in transit trade arrangements and facilities.


• Provide investment incentives to foreign firms, regional and international, by providing free trade and hassle free environment. In this regard: encourage investment to produce quality goods for export to regional markets.


• Provide local connectivity to the corridor through feeder links and integration through domestic transport networks.


• Government should create awareness among people living along the corridor to start planning for activities that would be required by local and foreign transporters.


• Proactively plan for the promotion of tourism industry as easy connectivity will attract foreign tourists to visit Pakistan.


• For the overall success of the corridor, Pakistan needs to take collective policy initiatives by approaching the Chinese government; especially in areas where it doesn’t have institutional capacity and expertise. This is because China has vast experience in establishing and operating regional trade corridors.


• Establish export-oriented natural and human resource-based industrial clusters along the Corridor. For this government needs to: (i) provide basic and efficient infrastructure in these clusters to attract domestic and foreign investors; (ii) establish industrial technology enclaves in these clusters to facilitate the innovation process; (iii) diversify production by manufacturing quality and sophisticated products for upcoming regional product market space; and (iv) induce industries to acquire more production capabilities and capacities to enhance their access to regional markets.


All in all, given the current impasse in the Pakistan economy, the corridor is expected to fast revive it. It will strengthen the existing strategic partnership between China and Pakistan. In the time to come, the corridor’s success will induce other regional countries to benefit from this connectivity by joining it, leading to regional peace, harmony and prosperity. It is, therefore, imperative that the whole nation unites to support and work for the success of the China-Pakistan trade corridor.

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
On the whole, the Pakistani economy is currently under performing. By proactively becoming part of the new strategic regional economy, it can unlock the untapped economic potential of the new entrants to its labour market. In this regard, the corridor is considered as vital for Pakistan’s economic prosperity. To make the corridor a successful enterprise, several underlying economic factors will have to be incorporated in policy formulation.

*****

 
25
February

Written By: Salman Masood

The memory of the gruesome December 16, 2014 terror attack on Army Public School, Peshawar, will always convulse the Pakistani nation. The sheer barbarity of the attack and scale of its brutality is unparalleled; the horror unbearable. 144 people, including 122 school-going children, were mowed down mercilessly by the Taliban militants as they attempted desperately to kill the national spirit through an unprecedented bloodbath. But the Pakistani nation is resilient and its resolve is indomitable. The immediate, inevitable grief and sorrow in the aftermath of the tragedy led to a resolve by the nation, spearheaded by its military and civilian leadership, that terrorists cannot cow us down.

 

And, on December 16, 2015, the first anniversary of the APS tragedy, this resolve was reiterated in glowing tributes as the nation remembered the martyrs in ceremonies across the country. In emotional speeches at sombre events and candlelit vigils, the little martyrs of Peshawar were remembered with teary eyes and heavy hearts. In documentaries on the television news networks, their young lives were celebrated. The anniversary became a collective sum of remembrance and sadness, imbued with the resolve of renewal and reinvigoration.

 

Most strikingly, one of the most fitting tributes came from the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate, the media wing of the Pakistani military, when it released a powerful and evocative song ‘Mujhay maa us sae badla lene jana hai, Mujhay dushman k bachon ko parhana hai’ (Mother, I have to go seek revenge from him/I have to educate the enemy’s children).

 

The lyrics of the song eschew the natural urge of violent revenge. Instead, it is an expression of the desire of the young to ‘educate’ the children of the ‘enemy’, to help them crawl out of the darkness that has been thrust upon them by the terrorist mindset. The video of the song delivers a powerful message: education is the key that would unlock the minds of those surrounded by obscurantist and errant interpretations of religion, mired in militancy and violence.

 

Unfortunately, Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It was 58 per cent in 2015, a stark contrast to the 88 per cent target set by the United Nations for 2015 under its Millennium Development Goals. For a nation with so much promise and potential, such a low rate of literacy means that its population, especially the youth, cannot reach their true potential.

 

Education, and the knowledge it imparts, is essential for national growth and competitiveness in the world. In a globalized age of specialised scientific knowledge and advancement, education paves the way towards progress and societal advancement. An educated citizenry is a must for developing a society that can be at par with the leading developed countries of the world. Unfortunately, Pakistan is not producing enough scientists and professors, technical experts and professionals, who can add to the core of invaluable intellectual capital essential to give the country a competitive edge in an interconnected and globalised economy.

 

Fixing the domestic economy is an integral part of this gargantuan task and therefore unequal distribution of wealth and income disparities need to be addressed. National security is essentially a function of the economy and a robust and vibrant economy cannot be attained without excellence in education.

 

But it is not just the technological and scientific aspects of the education system of the country that can transform a nation. It is only one of the several parts of the bigger picture. The education system should also cultivate a citizenry that is deeply aware of the national interest and strives to preserve and enhance it without any confusion and obfuscation. As noted by some recent studies, security of a country is not just dependent on its military prowess and might. It is the human capital that determines the effectiveness of national security and this capital, in turn, is contingent upon the quality of the public school system.

 

Regrettably, there has been a gradual and persistent decay in the public school system of the country. Adding to the woe is the unfortunate reality that there are different mediums of instruction and often parallel or incompatible set of curricula, which result in a shambolic and confused mindset. Also, for the past several years, there has been a constant cacophony of noise by some people, who relish in questioning – and even ridiculing – the core values and traditions of the society and country. Self-loathing and insulting those who want to uphold the sense of patriotism and sense of pride in the country is a favourite refrain of this particular mindset. The growth of an unhinged social media has lent them an amplified voice as they question the very basis and existence of national interest and attempt to dilute and debase the principles underlying the state and society. Therefore, while there is a need to educate the ‘enemy’, as echoed by the song released on the APS anniversary, there is also a need to re-educate those who have been misled and swept away by such malicious propaganda. A sense of national pride needs to be inculcated in the (young) minds, spurring and inspiring them to become proud, valuable and productive citizens of the country.

 

This is obviously not to suggest at all that they are imparted with a slant of education that leads to xenophobia and bigotry. The need is not only to develop an enlightened citizenry, proud of its heritage and country, but which, at the same time, is equipped with the intellectual zeal and ability to communicate and compete with the global audience and regional challenges. The target should be to raise conscientious citizens who believe in the rule of law, democracy, good governance and sanctity of human life.

 

There is also a word of caution. Mere education would not ensure achievement of these goals. For more than a decade, the biggest challenge to the Pakistani state has been from religious radicalism and extremism. Such a mindset has found itself an easy incubation not only in the religious seminaries of the tribal regions and provincial backwaters, but it has crawled its way into the public universities and private institutions. While most of the terror attacks can be traced back to have been carried out by the illiterate and misled youth of the tribal regions, some of the most heinous and deadly attacks were planned and carried out by graduates and highly educated individuals.

eduandnatsec.jpg

Earlier this month, Punjab counterterrorism department arrested two teachers and one student of Punjab University in Lahore. Both teachers were highly qualified – one had a PhD degree from Netherlands – and yet investigators say they were active participants of the banned group Hizb ut-Tahrir. One of the main suspects in May 2015 Safoora attack – when dozens of muslims belonging to the Ismaili sect were mercilessly killed inside a commuter bus in Karachi – studied from the prestigious Institute of Business Administration. And, the arrests in the second last week of this month in Karachi led to a ring of facilitators of Safoora attack who were also highly educated, with degrees from the West. Tashfeen Malik, who along with her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, is accused to carrying out the recent San Bernardino killings in United States was also educated and a very bright student, according to her teachers and class fellows.

 

The complexity of the situation and the multiple root causes of militancy and religious radicalism, therefore, pose a daunting challenge for the policy-makers.

 

Religious radicalism poses an existential threat to the Pakistani society. It becomes imperative to mainstream the religious seminaries, wean them away from extremist and sectarian influences and deprive them of the easy availability of weapons and ammunitions. A large segment of the poor of the society cannot afford to pay even nominal fees for government schools and end up sending their children to religious seminaries. The public education system, therefore, needs to have a massive overhaul and transformation, not only in performance and delivery but also in terms of access and admissions.

 

Most importantly, the dichotomies and anomalies in the national discourse need to be addressed. The national narrative needs to be recaptured and redefined in consonance with the changing times and needs. The legal system would also have to be reformed for provision of quick and easy justice to ensure domestic stability. These steps would become the foundation stones for the human capital, which will determine and safeguard our national security.

The writer is Resident Editor of a leading national daily. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The education system should also cultivate a citizenry that is deeply aware of the national interest and strives to preserve and enhance it without any confusion and obfuscation. As noted by some recent studies, security of a country is not just dependent on its military prowess and might. It is the human capital that determines the effectiveness of national security and this capital, in turn, is contingent upon the quality of the public school system.

*****

Also, for the past several years, there has been a constant cacophony of noise by some people, who relish in questioning – and even ridiculing – the core values and traditions of the society and country. Self-loathing and insulting those who want to uphold the sense of patriotism and sense of pride in the country is a favourite refrain of this particular mindset. The growth of an unhinged social media has lent them an amplified voice as they question the very basis and existence of national interest and attempt to dilute and debase the principles underlying the state and society.

*****

There is also a word of caution. Mere education would not ensure achievement of these goals. For more than a decade, the biggest challenge to the Pakistani state has been from religious radicalism and extremism. Such a mindset has found itself an easy incubation not only in the religious seminaries of the tribal regions and provincial backwaters, but it has crawled its way into the public universities and private institutions.

*****

 
25
February

Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai

Dr. Huma Baqai’s special note for Hilal based on observations and impressions after her recent visit to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s enduring security crises is a source of concern for the international community but it means a lot more to Pakistan and its economic future. The cordial relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are intrinsically linked with peace and security in Pakistan along with peace and security in Afghanistan. The trust deficit that exists between the two countries is very pervasive on the Afghan side. The broad overarching consensus is that Pakistan continues to play a role of enabler of violence in Afghanistan.

 

The recent desire, willingness and commitment shown by Pakistan to facilitate the peace dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban is also viewed with a lot of skepticism in Afghanistan. Very few in Kabul see it through the prism of Pakistan’s desire to bring peace in Afghanistan; largely it is viewed as a ploy by Pakistan to continue to manipulate the politics of Afghanistan and keep India out. Probably, the reality has not been able to take its due place!

 

Since 2014-2015, Pakistan has re-emerged in the calculation of the movers and shakers of the world as the key to peace in Afghanistan. United States, China and even Russia look at Pakistan to deliver Taliban to the Peace Process. This has come about after the endorsement of the stark reality by US, NATO and Afghan military officials, that after more than a decade of war with billions of US funds to build up an Afghan military force has not resulted in the defeat of the Taliban insurgency that remains a threat across the entire country.

pakafghrel.jpg

On March 12, 2014, US General Joseph Dunford, then Commander of ISAF and US Forces-Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “If we leave at the end of 2014, the Afghan security forces will begin to deteriorate. The security environment will begin to deteriorate, and I think the only debate is the pace of that deterioration.” Almost all foreign forces left at the end of 2014, leaving only 12,000 administrators, trainers and US Special Forces door-bashing assailants who have done more than any other element to set ordinary Afghans against America. As forecasted by General Dunford, the “security environment” is deteriorating day by day. So, blaming Pakistan from Afghan side for the prevailing beleaguered security situation and violence is a very myopic view of things. The fighting winter and a very tough spring offensive was also the result of the failure of the Afghan security infrastructure to respond to the emerging ground realities of less foreign forces and operations in Pakistan.

 

Peace Process and Talks with the Taliban

Post-establishing Pakistan’s relevance to the peace process, Murree Talks took place. The road paving for it was also done by China and it had the blessings of many countries. It was seen as a major breakthrough at that time. The scuttling of the Murree Peace process because of Mullah Omer’s death leak was a huge blow to Pakistan-Afghanistan relations and has resulted in President Ghani losing out domestically. Most political observers are of the view that he has no political capital to take more risks by investing in good relationship with Pakistan.

 

In the conversation that the author had with Afghan civil society representatives, CEO Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai, the joint narrative is that Pakistan cheated Afghanistan by not revealing the fact that Mullah Omar is dead and they are convinced that Pakistani establishment knew about it. In fact they go a step forward and say that before the Murree Peace Process, assurance was sought that the group representing the Taliban in Murree has Mullah Omar’s blessings and the same was assured.

 

Interestingly, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah ridicules President Ghani for thanking a dead man for coming to the negotiation table. President Ghani had taken a huge risk by initiating the peace process with the Taliban (through Pakistan) and apparently it back fired.

 

Ex-President Karzai, now is very vocal about the fact that US, UK and Pakistan are bed fellows and that work for the promotion of the US interests in Afghanistan, which is not in the interests of Afghanistan. The spike in violence in Afghanistan post the breakdown of talks and the Mullah Omar’s death leak is also seen in that light. Pakistan’s stance may continue to be that the leak of Mullah Omer’s death was a conspiracy of the Afghan intelligence agency (NDS) or the doing of palace conspiracy in Kabul. The point remains that the Afghans showcase it as another nail in the coffin of trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The pressure built by the proponents of the war economy and very active Indian lobby in Afghanistan are also the factors contributing to the deteriorating relations between the two countries. Serious internal rifts exist within the Afghan ranks, and unless an internal consensus on relations with Pakistan and about the policy on the Afghan Taliban is achieved, real progress on peace and security will remain unattainable.

 

Indian Factor

The Afghans may want to talk to the Taliban for the lack of any other option and dwindling interest of the West to continue to bail them out but are very annoyed at the (alleged) existence of Afghan Taliban groups in Pakistan. They see them as tools which Pakistan continues to use to exercise influence and control within Afghanistan. The statement of the Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan Mr. Amar Sinha right after the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghani in Paris was that Pakistan is working towards giving leadership space to the Haqqani Network, which is on the verge of getting international recognition as the defacto Taliban leader due to Pakistani’s initiative has not helped the situation. The statements by the Indian Ambassador on relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan found very prominent space in Afghani newspapers. The fact that an envoy gives regular comments and advice on how the relationship of the two countries should progress is against all international protocols and tantamount to interference is never seen in that light in Afghanistan.

 

Operation Zarb-e-Azb

Pakistan has carried out Zarb-e-Azb against TTP and others that challenge the writ of the Pakistani state but at the same time, the Afghan perception is that they continue to facilitate, host and nurture the Afghan Taliban. To them Zarb-e-Azb, aimed at crushing Pakistani militants, has further undermined security situation in Afghanistan. The Afghan President said in the Heart of Asia Conference that the operation against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the wake of Army Public School attack in the city of Peshawar had created additional security challenges for their country. He also spoke of Afghanistan hosting 350,000 to 500,000 Pakistani refugees as a result of military operation resulting in civilian displacement. Ghani, although more categorical of his criticism of Pakistan in the recent visit, has once again shown his pro-Pakistan tilt, which is severely criticized in Afghanistan. The unprecedented gesture made by Pakistani political and military leadership, in giving President Ghani state welcome, is a step in the right direction but more has to be done. The most important being dispelling the impression that Pakistan continues to harbour, facilitate, nurture the Afghan Taliban that perpetuate violence in Afghanistan. The irresponsible statement by a former President and few others do not help the situation and are constantly brought up in discussions by the Afghans and the anti-Pakistan and pro-Indian lobbies in Afghanistan.

 

The soft power thrust and cultivation of Afghan political elite ‘through all means’ is the strategy used by India and the counter strategy of Pakistan on these fronts seems extremely weak or not delivering. Although Pakistan is crucial to Afghanistan, be it peace and security or regional connectivity, but it has failed on both fronts. Afghanistan seems more inclined towards Iran and India for the same.

 

The media in Afghanistan is also very pro-India and skeptical of Pakistan. The statement by a former Interior Minister that “India is main hurdle in normalization of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations,” has not been well received in Afghanistan. They perceive it as an interference and Karzai uses it to say that Afghanistan is all set to go under the thumb of Pakistan. Pakistan has to be more pragmatic and innovative in its approach towards Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. The continuous reference to ‘India in Afghanistan’ has not been able to make its desired impact.

 

Hopes for the Renewal of the Peace Process

The Heart of Asia Conference 2015 on Afghanistan has once again raised hopes of talks between Afghan government and the Taliban by the facilitation of Pakistan. The warm welcome given to President Ghani by Pakistan and the statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Afghanistan’s enemy is Pakistan’s enemy and that should be realized on ground, has once again raised hopes. An added term to address the concerns of the Afghans is “reconcilable Taliban” and commitment of targeted action against the Haqqani network.

 

General Raheel’s concerns shown in Washington on the sincerity and commitment of the Afghan security officialdom for peace process that they may thwart the renewed peace process and the agreement reached between Pakistan and the United States to work together for an early resumption of the stalled Afghan reconciliation process seem very real. However, right after the resumptions of commitment of talks, the Chief of Afghan intelligence agency (NDS) resigned, sharing his disappointment on Ghani’s initiative to start the talk with the Taliban. That indicates existence of such elements.

 

China Factor and Regional Cooperation

Coming back to Pak-Afghan relations, the major bone of contention perhaps is the international border (Durand Line) and Afghanistan’s relations with India.

 

Pakistan is all for Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process. The long term economic vision of Pakistan to become a part of the regional economic turnaround by following the CPEC cannot see the light of the day without peace in Afghanistan and peace in Balochistan. Now regional cooperation to defeat terrorism is a policy that is intrinsically linked to the economic turnaround that Pakistan foresees for itself. This has to be showcased. As the new People’s Republic of China ambassador to Afghanistan, Sun Yuxi has stated that his country’s “larger strategy is also economic development, i.e. construction of the Silk Road which includes Pakistan and Afghanistan.” This approach was welcomed by both Pakistan and Afghanistan in equal measure. Karzai calls it the only ray of hope for improved relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Future Outlook

Pakistan must impress upon the Afghans that the paradigm shift that has taken place on the Pakistani side from Geo-Politics to Geo-Economics. Pakistan has an economic vision which it sees being realized through CPEC. There is complete ownership and commitment for this. Pakistan is set to address all the issues that may emerge as impediments to it becoming a reality both internally and externally which include relations with Afghanistan, peace in Afghanistan, peace in Balochistan and defeating terrorism in the region.

 

A revisit of Pak-Afghan policy is need of the hour. No ‘safe havens’ to anyone against anyone. The irreconcilable Afghan Taliban are seen as enemies in Afghanistan and be treated similarly. So far, the lack of policy effectiveness has allowed India to acquire strategic political space in the polity of Afghanistan which it blatantly exploits against Pakistan.

 

Just a word of caution here – Pakistan may have abandoned the policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan but it can ill-afford strategic vulnerability, leading to the strategic defeat, emanating from its western borders, facilitated by its eastern neighbour.

 

The sustainable way forward for Afghanistan government and Pakistan is to address each others’ sensitivities and sensibilities without outside interference. The desire of some regional and extra-regional powers to pitch Pakistan and Afghanistan against each other to achieve their vested interests in the region should be identified, exposed and defeated. Pakistan needs to further pursue peace with dignity for its own reasons: stability and economy. The fact remains and stands that Pakistan can play a major role of peace driver in the Afghan peace process.

 

There exists a window of opportunity between now and spring 2016. These four months are very crucial for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to consolidate peace and defeat the forces working against the interest of both the countries. If a spring offensive happens in 2016 – post the winter, we will all be back to square one. It is only when the sitting Afghan government can achieve an internal consensus on the viability of talks with the Taliban as a way forward to peace. The dialogue initiatives and the resumption of talks with the Taliban can deliver the desired results. Pakistan is sincere and committed in its desire to broker a dialogue between Afghan government and Taliban to the best of its capability. The lack of consistency and commitment exists on the Afghan side.

The writer is an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences , IBA . She is also associated as a foreign and current affairs expert with Radio Pakistan and a private TV Channel.
There exists a window of opportunity between now and spring 2016. These four months are very crucial for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to consolidate peace and defeat the forces working against the interest of both the countries. If a spring offensive happens in 2016 – post the winter, we will all be back to square one. It is only when the sitting Afghan government can achieve an internal consensus on the viability of talks with the Taliban as a way forward to peace. The dialogue initiatives and the resumption of talks with the Taliban can deliver the desired results. Pakistan is sincere and committed in its desire to broker a dialogue between Afghan government and Taliban to the best of its capability. The lack of consistency and commitment exists on the Afghan side.

*****

 
25
February

Written By: Jennifer McKay

The new year is off and running. A glance at the global situation doesn’t exactly fill one with cheerful thoughts and optimism. Wars, poverty, massive numbers of refugees moving across Europe in search of safety, rising Islamophobia in many western countries, and economic downturns are now a feature in many parts of the world. With so much continuing chaos in the world around us, what can we expect for Pakistan in 2016? Will it really be a happy new year?

 

First let’s look back at 2015 to assess some of the key achievements and challenges for indicators, then consider how these might play out in 2016. There were many of both, large and small, but let’s focus on a few of the big ones that are a regular feature of our lives in Pakistan – peace and stability, law and order, relations with Afghanistan and India, natural disasters, impact of global events, and economic prosperity. Pakistan had a quieter 2015 than we might have expected following the tragic end of 2014 when we mourned the murder by terrorists of more than 140 people, 122 of whom were children at the Army Public School in Peshawar. The perpetrators have been dealt with, either killed in the attack, or have faced the Military Courts for the ultimate punishment for their horrendous crime. But the pain is with us still a year later and for the families, it will never fade.

2016spak.jpg

But as 2015 progressed, things seem to improve a little. The APS attack was a wake-up call to the nation that the fight against terrorism is a fight for all of us, not just the Armed Forces and security agencies. A 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) was formulated to bring together all government institutions and agencies to take all steps to eradicate terrorism. A series of initiatives and responsibilities were established within the NAP and some have already been implemented, contributing to a drop in the levels of terrorist activity. However, there is still much more to do and this will require the commitment of all the government authorities at all levels of government throughout 2016.

 

To find core reasons for why 2015 was a better than expected year, we can look to the extraordinary success of Zarb-e-Azb in the tribal areas. After 18 months of military operations, the benefits have really kicked in, and most of FATA, including North Waziristan, is now cleared and peace is returning. The last few pockets of resistance close to Afghan Border were, at the time of writing, being cleared.

 

In a mid-December update from Director General of ISPR, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, he apprised that the main terrorist infrastructure has been dismantled and their links with sleeper cells have largely been disrupted. Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) continue to identify and break up remaining cells. At least 3,400 terrorists killed and 837 hideouts, from where they carried out their terrorist activities, have been destroyed. More than 13,200 IBOs have been conducted across the country in which 183 hardcore terrorists have been killed, and 21,193 arrested. That’s quite a success story.

 

But this success has come at a heavy cost. Some 488 officers and men of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps KPK, Balochistan, and Sindh Rangers, sacrificed their lives and 1,914 were injured in Operation Zarb-e-Azb by mid-December 2015. The terrain, in which the Army has taken on the terrorists in FATA, is a hard place to fight – the terrain is extremely challenging. So it makes the success of Zarb-e-Azb all the more impressive, especially when you compare it to the huge International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations conducted over many more years, next door in Afghanistan.

 

With peace returning to FATA, more than 110,000 families displaced by the operations, have already returned to the various agencies, including North Waziristan. The cost of re-settling the displaced families has already placed a substantial financial burden on the country and will continue to do so. But this is a small price to pay for peace. We should not neglect these people, as the country owes them a great deal. They have lost so much to allow the military to bring us greater peace and stability. In 2016, most of the remaining 192,000 displaced families will return. This is a major achievement. Many doubted that this could be achieved in such a time frame but a coordinated effort between government and Army, with additional support from international donors and civil society, has made this possible. In 2016, there will also be a stronger focus on the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase in FATA to ensure there is proper funding, technical and other support available, to ensure proper restoration of the area and improvement in living standards to ensure future stability.

 

Security and law and order issues across the entire country are improving. Following the establishment of military courts to deal with terrorists, 142 cases have been referred, 55 cases decided, 87 cases are in process and 31 hard-core terrorists have been convicted. This is a significant step forward. Too often in the past, those who have committed terrorist acts escaped justice in the civilian courts as fear prevented judges, lawyers and witnesses from proceeding against them, freeing them to strike again.

 

Karachi is becoming more peaceful since Rangers commenced operations there to improve the law and order situation. In 2016, Rangers will continue their operations making Karachi a much safer place for residents and visitors. And Balochistan, so long a troubled province, has taken great steps forward towards peaceful solutions with many separatists and militants handing in their weapons to the Government and Army and agreeing to become peaceful. The overall improvement in security and law and order across the country has given people more confidence to attend public festivities and national events for the first time in several years making national and Independence Day celebrations a more joyous time. While it would be naïve to think that there will be no incidents – and as I was writing this, an attack at Parachinar in Kurram Agency – the overall situation looks like it will continue to improve in 2016.

 

2016 will also see a change in the Chief of Army Staff. The current COAS, General Raheel Sharif, has captured the public’s imagination and confidence with his ‘can do’ leadership and achieved a great deal during his tenure. Towards the end of 2016, his tenure is due to come to an end and a new COAS will be appointed. Regardless of whether his tenure is extended as some have suggested as a possibility, or whether a new COAS is appointed, the country can be confident that matters, related to the defence of the nation, will continue to progress in positive direction.

 

Relations with India soured in 2015 with an increase in ceasefire violations by India on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, leading to the deaths of a number of Pakistani civilians, and Rangers. The vitriolic rhetoric by leaders in India against Pakistan was ramped up and despite the agreement made on the sidelines of the Ufa meeting for talks to be held between the two countries, nothing eventuated as India insisted the only agenda item would be terrorism while Pakistan had a broader agenda including Kashmir.

 

However, as the year drew to a close, a breakthrough appears to have been achieved, to the surprise of many. The External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj led an Indian delegation to the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process held in Islamabad on December 8-9, 2015. During the visit, she called on Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and held discussions with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz.

 

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the visit, Minister Swaraj and Mr. Aziz condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. They noted the successful talks on terrorism and security related issues in Bangkok by the two NSAs and decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial. Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a comprehensive bilateral dialogue and directed the foreign secretaries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the dialogue including peace and security, CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar

 

Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counterterrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges and religious tourism. The two foreign secretaries were tasked to work out the details of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue and the level of interaction in various working groups and also decide the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the dialogue.

 

If the comprehensive talks do actually eventuate, it will be a positive step forward. However, as we have seen in the past, as was the case at Ufa, the bonhomie seems to fade quickly and the ceasefire violations start again. If the talks do stay on track, then the people in the villages on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control and Working Boundary should be able to look forward to a more peaceful year ahead.

 

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, is focused on a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and a secure and prosperous region through a series of Confidence Building Measures including disaster management, counter terrorism, counter narcotics, trade, commerce and investment, education, and documents. Pakistan is a key player amongst the many member and supporting countries of this important process which was initiated in 2011, and has hosted a number of meetings including the December Ministerial Conference and two Regional Technical Group meetings on the Disaster Management Confidence Building Measure. Pakistan is the Co-Chair of the Disaster Management Confidence Building Measures, which brings together a number of the member countries to focus on this important issue. Heart of Asia is proving to be an effective grouping of nations with a number of successful steps already achieved as we saw at the Islamabad meeting.

 

In addition to the attendance of the Indian Minister and the outcomes arising out of that, there were indications of renewed warmth in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Ashraf Ghani was another high profile visitor for the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad and held positive meetings with the Prime Minister and also the Chief of Army Staff. Shortly after these meetings, the Head of the Afghan Intelligence, Raimatullah Nabil, announced his resignation citing his disagreement with the President’s statements in Pakistan on a more positive cooperation. Most likely, he was pushed. Nabil has been a constant negative force in countering Pakistan's earnest attempts to help broker peace talks in Afghanistan. It is hoped that these recent developments will pave the way for closer ties in the coming year. This will be a very positive outcome for both countries in trying to find solutions to a lasting peace in Afghanistan. With a resurgence of attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months, this becomes more urgent. Peace in Afghanistan will bring positive outcomes for Pakistan and the region. It would again be naïve to think that this complex process can be achieved quickly but we should at least hope for some forward steps in 2016.

 

Natural disasters again made their presence felt in Pakistan in 2015. Glacial lake outburst, cloud outburst and flash floods hit various parts of Chitral in July causing extensive damages to houses, mosques, bridges, roads, irrigation and water channels. The communication infrastructure has also been severely affected. Fortunately, loss of life was low but a large number of people were cut off in this mountainous terrain.

 

Then on October 26, an earthquake struck the same areas, killing 232 people, damaging 97,995 homes, as well as infrastructure including roads, telecommunications, clinics and schools. The total cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas affected by the floods and the earthquake is estimated at more than USD 500 million. Yet, despite the endless chain of disasters over the years, very little has been done to reduce the risks posed by the catalogue of potential disasters that can cause massive damage in Pakistan. The direction we need to take in Disaster Management in 2016 needs to include a strong focus on Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Based Disaster Risk Management. Reducing risk reduces that cost of natural disasters, and leads to a far more resilient country, yet there is little investment by governments at any level in this.

 

But what of the rest of the world and how will what’s happening elsewhere affect Pakistan? The Middle East is in chaos and it, really, is difficult to keep up with who is bombing whom. The misery of innocent civilians as their homes, neighbourhoods and their entire countries, are reduced to rubble, has created a refugee crisis not seen since World War II. The humanitarian needs of these millions of people caught up in the conflict and fleeing Iraq and Syria, is causing extreme pressure on donor funding, drawing much away from other countries like Pakistan. Should there be a major disaster in Pakistan in 2016, the amount of international funding available to supplement the national efforts is likely to be severely reduced. This will make life very difficult for those affected.

 

With peace comes the chance of prosperity and also an improvement in investor confidence. Investment is too big a topic for this article and better addressed by those who specialize in economic matters. But there is something else that will enhance investor confidence and that is solving Pakistan’s energy crisis. The government has promised to do this by 2017 so let’s hope we start to see improvements in 2016. What a difference this will make to business and living in Pakistan!

 

Pakistan is a developing country so we should not compare ourselves with developed countries. Instead, we should focus on what we have to do to achieve developed status one day in the future. The country has almost 200 million people and many challenges to overcome to lift people out of poverty and ensure education, healthcare, housing, and food security for all. This will take a long time but it would be nice to get to the end of 2016 and see positive steps forward have been made. Despite the challenges, Pakistan will continue to face, to me it seems to be a safer and more peaceful place than so many other countries now. With attacks on the decline, a more positive spirit, and engagement with the neighbours on a fair and equitable level, we can move forward.

 

So will it be a happy new year for Pakistan? We cannot know what lies ahead but some of these positive indicators certainly should allow us to take from Jinnah’s words and have hope, courage and confidence. Happy New Year, Pakistan!

 

The writer is Australian Disaster Management and Civil-Military Relations Consultant, based in Islamabad where she consults for Government and UN agencies. She has also worked with ERRA and NDMA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
04
January

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme received immense attention in the international media during the recent months. The impressive advancements in the nuclear capable delivery systems and miniaturized nuclear devices have further solidified the defencive punch of the country. Simultaneously, it alarms the adversary. Therefore, a few security analysts expressed their distress over the modernization of the programme. Ironically, they make baseless claims such as the “fastest-growing nuclear programme on earth” or “Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon”. They spelled out a few policy options to disrupt the qualitative improvement in the programme.


neuwapimp.jpgRealistically, neither Pakistan has faster-growing nuclear weapons programme nor is it contemplating to deploy its battlefield nuclear weapons. Recently, two senior American journalists David Ignatius and David E. Singer reported in Washington Post and The New York Times, respectively that Obama administration is exploring a nuclear deal with Pakistan. Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon, two leading American nuclear analysts, also published a report titled “A Normal Nuclear Pakistan” in August 2015. These writings have intensified debate on Pakistan’s nuclear programme in the international media. India’s reaction on the US engagement with Pakistan in realm of peaceful use of nuclear technology was hysterical.


Islamabad, today, seems prepared to negotiate a civilian nuclear deal with Washington without compromising on its ‘credible minimum full spectrum nuclear deterrence posture’. Similarly, Pakistan’s desire to be a member of all international export control regimes, i.e. the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australian Group, Wassenaar Arrangement. However, it is not ready to compromise on its nuclear posture by accepting unrealistic conditions on its nuclear weapons programme. It’s because, Pakistan’s nuclear decision making is very much determined by its regional strategic environment instead of idealistic norms of nuclear non-proliferationists or nuclear pessimists conclusions. Moreover, Pakistan developed its nuclear weapons to defend itself from the Indian nuclear blackmail. That’s why; the national and international nuclear pessimists’ maligning and horrifying propaganda against Pakistan’s nuclear programme as well as United States and its like minded Western nations’ economic sanction had failed to thwart Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme evolution during the last quarter of the twentieth century.


Importantly, Islamabad has not only expressed its aspirations, but had also endeavoured to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it had failed to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons due to India’s Great Power designs. Therefore, despite Islamabad’s earnest desire to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons, it has refrained from joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970s. Subsequently, it developed its indigenous nuclear infrastructure.


The review of Pakistan’s nuclear programme’s evolutionary history reveals that Islamabad’s nuclear policy has always been rationally perceived and logically executed. Despite that, a few strategic pundits question it prejudicially. Instead of examining Islamabad’s nuclear policy objectively, within the context of South Asian strategic environment, they demand for the rollback of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. They deliberately ignore the Indian military doctrine transformation entailing colossal military buildup. Similar flaws or deliberate negations of Pakistani concerns one noticed in Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon report — A Normal Nuclear Pakistan.


The report is an interesting reading. The contributors diligently endeavoured to prove that presently Pakistan is a typical nuclear weapon state. They also recommended Islamabad five nuclear weapon-related initiatives to become a normal nuclear weapon state. These recommendations warrant serious deliberation on the subject because speculatively these five proposals to Islamabad seem benign, but in reality these proposals are perilous for Pakistan’s national security in general and defence in particular. The report fails to treat Pakistan at par with India.


The objective analysis necessitates that each proposal ought to be examined systematically. Toby and Michael’s recommended five proposals are following:


1. Shift declaratory policy from “full spectrum” to “strategic”
deterrence.
2. Commit to a recessed deterrence posture and limit production
of short-range delivery vehicles and tactical nuclear weapons.
3. Lift Pakistan’s veto on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty
negotiations and reduce or stop fissile material production.
4. Separate civilian and military nuclear facilities.
5. Sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without waiting for
India.


The aforementioned recommendations accentuate that the complex strategic environment of South Asia has completely been ignored by the authors of the report. In addition, they also disregarded India’s colossal military buildup and transformation in its military doctrine. Indeed, today, for the Americans India’s military buildup is an advantageous development due to the Indo-US strategic partnership and New Delhi’s potential to purchase American military hardware.


The Indian strategic community has successfully been propagating that India would check China’s rise in the Asian strategic environment. It’s a debatable assertion that whether New Delhi checks China or only maintain a phony rivalry with Beijing. But it’s an established fact that India’s military buildup is perilous for Pakistan’s defence. Therefore, Islamabad ought to chalk out a viable strategy to defend itself from the increasing conventional fire power of India.

neuwapimp1.jpg


India has emerged as one of the world’s largest buyers of weapons systems during the recent years. Therefore, the United States has established “India Rapid Reaction Cell at the Pentagon” to streamline the coordination required for India’s procurement of American arms in February 2015. Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, heads this cell. The cell is in the great advantage for India. New Delhi would not only use the cell to pursue its military objectives alone, but it would also be employed to facilitate New Delhi directly/indirectly to pursue its political, commercial and diplomatic targets in Washington. The cell would attract the mighty American Military Industrial Complex to invest for the sake of co-production of hi-tech military equipment in India. Both Pentagon and India would also garner military industrial complex support for lobbying at the Capitol Hill.


Many analysts seem ignorant about the factual situation when they opined that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme is a fastest-growing programme. The comparative analysis of India and Pakistan nuclear inventories reveal that latter’s programme is not fastest-growing. For instance, the Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris findings contradict Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon estimates about India’s fissile material. They concluded that: “India is estimated to have produced approximately 540 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, enough for 135 to 180 nuclear warheads, though not all of that material is being used.” The Pakistani estimates also contradict the authenticity of international analysts estimates. It was reported that “Pakistani assessment is that India has enough fissile material, both reactor and weapon-grade plutonium, for more than 2,000 warheads.” In such a situation, certainly, it is difficult for Islamabad to alter its credible minimum full spectrum nuclear deterrence policy.


The proposal about “committing to a recessed deterrence posture and limit production of short-range delivery vehicles and tactical nuclear weapons” seems partially acceptable. But it is only viable, if Islamabad is capable to spend billions of dollars to purchase conventional sophisticated military hardware from the developed world’s military industrial complex. In simple words, Pakistan limits its nuclear weapons production and enters into an economically devastating conventional arms race with India. Indeed, it would be an economically disastrous option for Pakistan and thereby it ought to avoid conventional arms race with India.


Islamabad has been maintaining a firm stance on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament. Today, many nations are pressuring Islamabad to soften its stance on the FMCT. Conversely, Islamabad seems convinced that FMCT scope should include both arms and disarmament components. Thus, it seems appropriate to focus and address the causes due to which Pakistan is reluctant to lift its veto on FMCT negotiations at the Conference. Moreover, the current trends in the global nuclear politics also reveal that the reduction or stop of fissile material production is impossible.


Today, the long-term nuclear force modernization or advancement programmes are underway in all the nuclear armed states. According to the SIPRI Yearbook 2015, “all the nuclear weapon-possessing states are working to develop new nuclear weapon systems and/or upgrade their existing ones.” It was reported that between 2014 and 2023, the United States expects to spend $355 billion to modernize its nuclear arsenal.
President Vladimir Putin announced on June 16, 2015: “Russia would add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to its nuclear arsenal this year’’. The following table also draws attention towards the disparity between India and Pakistan fissile material stockpiles. Thus, neither international nor regional trends support the demand of authors of the report to reduce or stop fissile material production.


The global nuclear environment is not conducive for the CTBT. This treaty lost significant support in October 1999, when the Senate of United States refused to ratify it. Therefore, it is an erroneous conclusion that Islamabad is waiting for India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The practical approach for the entry into force of the CTBT is that the United States Senate ratifies the Treaty.


To conclude, the discriminatory and arbitrary sanctions against Pakistan during the last decades of twentieth century, global war on terrorism, and cementing Indo-US strategic partnership have shifted the conventional and strategic forces balance of power overwhelmingly to the advantage of India. The Pakistani decision-makers have been forced to make the nuclear related hard choices for the sake of the country’s sovereign defence. Hence, Islamabad cannot underplay the prevalent trends in its regional strategic environment while chalking out its nuclear strategy.

 

The writer is Director and Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He contributes for print and electronic media regularly. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Islamabad has not only expressed its aspirations, but had also endeavoured to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it had failed to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons due to India’s Great Power designs. Therefore, despite Islamabad’s earnest desire to keep South Asia free from nuclear weapons, it has refrained from joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970s. Subsequently, it developed its indigenous nuclear infrastructure.

*****

 
04
January

Written By: Shamshad Ahmad

This year the nation observed the Defence and Martyrs Day all over the country with unprecedented zeal and solemnity. It was indeed an occasion for acknowledging the supreme sacrifices rendered by our martyrs and sharing with the families their sense of pride and fortitude. But this was also an occasion to look back and do some real soul-searching to determine what we, as a nation, have done individually and collectively to live up to the supreme cause our martyrs laid their lives for.


I attended the ceremony at Yadgar-e-Shuhada in Lahore where thousands of people sat spellbound for hours listening to the tales of heroism and witnessing the rejuvenation of a new spirit that we as a nation need so badly.natunisec.jpg The tales of supreme sacrifices in the cause of Pakistan took me back subconsciously to the fateful train journey that my family undertook in 1947 leaving behind millions of others, their hearths and homes, their properties and their ancestral history of thousands of years to submerge into a new larger national identity. No sacrifice then, was greater than freedom.


No wonder, for my family as indeed for millions of others, it was a momentous decision to opt for the newly-independent state we so proudly called Pakistan. Memories of many gory moments and painful experiences from those days are still seared into my mind. I cannot forget the moment when our train after crossing into Pakistan steamed into Harbanspura Station with everyone on the train crying with joy and raising spontaneous slogans Allah-o-Akbar and Pakistan Zindabad. Tears of joy filled every eye at the end of that fateful journey.


Here on the Yaom-i-Shuhada this year, while feeling a similar soul-jerking ambience all around, I asked myself what has gone wrong with us as a nation? Where is the larger national identity that the Quaid had left for us in the form of Pakistan? Those millions of Muslims who left their ancestral identity in India did not migrate to the ethnic and linguistic entities now called the Punjab, Sindh, KPK or Balochistan. They migrated to a newly-independent Muslim state to be able to live their lives and raise their children with dignity, free from fear, want, hunger, disease, illiteracy, corruption, violence, oppression and injustice. Where is that state of Pakistan? We are still looking for it.


Indeed, the emergence of Pakistan on the map of the world as an independent state on 14 August 1947 was the finest hour of our history. It was with a sense of supreme satisfaction at the fulfilment of his mission that Quaid-i-Azam told the nation in his last message on 14 August 1948: "The foundations of your State have been laid and it is now for you to build and build as quickly and as well as you can." Had the Father of the Nation lived longer, he would have only been embarrassed to see how miserably we as a nation have failed to live up to his vision of Pakistan.


Within the first year of our independence, which woefully happened to be the last of his life, Quaid-i-Azam had presciently foreseen the coming events. He was disillusioned with the scarcity of calibre and character in the country’s political hierarchy which was to manage the newly independent Pakistan. Political ineptitude was written large on the country’s horizon. Quaid’s worries were not unwarranted. Since then, politics in Pakistan has remained hostage to the elite classes which have been inimical to the promotion of genuine nationhood in the country.


Unlike India’s Congress Party, the Muslim League, Pakistan’s founding party was almost wholly dominated by a few feudal families, whom the British had patronized before partition and were powerful enough to retain control over national affairs through the civilian and military bureaucracy. Even after Muslim League’s disintegration, the same elitist oligarchy with different faces at different times under different political flags has remained in power with the help of civil bureaucracy which in fact has been wielding the real authority.


As “elected” leaders, they never inspired hope for a democratic state that could provide socio-economic justice, rule of law and fair administration to all Pakistani citizens. The curse of terrorism that we are fighting today is itself the product of successive leadership failures. With frequent political breakdowns, the people started welcoming military take-overs in one form or the other. The situation today is not much different if not addressed with quick remedial measures.


The problem is that the overbearing elitist power structure in Pakistan is too deeply entrenched to let any systemic change or reform take place. It doesn’t suit them. They make amendments in the Constitution for self-serving reasons only. In any unequal, parochially defined set up, no method of governance can work. Instead of removing our systemic weaknesses and reinforcing the unifying elements of our nationhood, our rulers have made provincial set-ups as their virtual kingdoms that they rule in the decadent Mughal style.


No government has ever attempted to correct the systemic anachronisms in our federal structure or to redress provincial grievances. As a newly independent nation, we just could not cope with the challenges of freedom inherent in our geo-political and structural fault lines. Language became our first bête noire. The real Pakistan disappeared with its dismemberment in 1971 and yet, we learnt no lesson from our mistakes. We are still possessed by the same ghosts in the name of religion, culture, language and ethnicity. We have divided ourselves on sectarian and ethnic grounds.


The country has still not been able to evolve a political system that could respond to the challenges of an ethnically and linguistically diverse population. There is a strong underlying resentment in smaller provinces against what is seen as continued “Punjabi dominance” and inequitable distribution of power and resources. The overbearing visibility and involvement of the Chief Minister of only one big province in matters of national importance to the exclusion of his other counterparts is just one testimony to our unequal governmental set-up.


To make things even worse, in recent years, the so-called liberal elites and pseudo intellectuals in our society have been willfully distorting our history misleading the youth that Pakistan’s birth was only ‘an accident of history’ and that the India-Pakistan border is no more than an artificial ‘thin line’ drawn on paper. They are naïve enough to believe that if we were to erase this artificial ‘thin line’, there would be no India-Pakistan problems and we would be living happily thereafter at peace together as ‘one people’ with no need for any armed forces. They are sadly mistaken and need a tutorial in history to know that Pakistan is not an accident of history.


Those of us familiar with the history of the Subcontinent know why having lived together for centuries, Hindus and Muslims remained poles apart in their attitudes to life with a different worldview altogether. This distinctiveness was evident in the “encounter” between the two communities and their cultures that began over a thousand years ago. And yet, they remained distinct and far apart. Nobody can deny this reality; otherwise, there would not have been two states carved out of India in 1947. The artificial 'thin line' that they want to erase is not just a line on paper. It is a border of an independent state drawn in blood.


Our Armed Forces have been protecting this border with great resolve and determination. They are now valiantly fighting another decisive battle of our life in the form of operation Zarb-e-Azb. They are again giving sacrifices for our survival and existence as an independent state. Unfortunately, in this grave situation, our rulers continue to disappoint the nation by failing to rise above their vested interests and to provide the needed back-up support that any military operation requires in terms of strong and dedicated civil administration in areas being freed of insurgents. No wonder, we continue to face one crisis after another deeply impacting the nation's common sense of purpose, unity and security.


Thanks to weak policies, the enemy is no longer knocking at the door. The enemy is already within our ranks. Pakistan is being subverted from within. As a country and as a nation, at this critical juncture in our history we cannot leave ourselves to the vagaries of time or at the mercy of our systemic aberrations. We can’t even innocently continue to believe that everything will be alright, magically or providentially. To avert the vicious cycle of known tragedies and to foster a sense of unity which is also critical to national security, we need a serious and purposeful national debate involving a holistic review of our entire governmental system.


Looking at the systems of other developed and developing countries, we find ourselves a unique example of a federation with almost no parallel anywhere in the world. We need genuine political, economic, judicial, educational, administrative and land reforms. Changing faces will not do, nor elections under the present system will make any difference. The system itself must change. We must move beyond cosmetic measures. Reason, not self-serving emotion should be our yardstick.

 

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
To make things even worse, in recent years, the so-called liberal elites and pseudo intellectuals in our society have been willfully distorting our history misleading the youth that Pakistan’s birth was only ‘an accident of history’ and that the India-Pakistan border is no more than an artificial ‘thin line’ drawn on paper. They are naïve enough to believe that if we were to erase this artificial ‘thin line’, there would be no India-Pakistan problems and we would be living happily thereafter at peace together as ‘one people’ with no need for any armed forces. They are sadly mistaken and need a tutorial in history to know that Pakistan is not an accident of history.

*****

Those of us familiar with the history of the Subcontinent know why having lived together for centuries, Hindus and Muslims remained poles apart in their attitudes to life with a different worldview altogether. This distinctiveness was evident in the “encounter” between the two communities and their cultures that began over a thousand years ago. And yet, they remained distinct and far apart. Nobody can deny this reality; otherwise, there would not have been two states carved out of India in 1947. The artificial 'thin line' that they want to erase is not just a line on paper. It is a border of an independent state drawn in blood.

*****

 
04
January

Written By: Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan

THE relationship between national security and economy has been examined in many countries over the last three and a half decades. Of late, Pakistan has also given importance to national security and accordingly has established a National Security Division, headed by a senior officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. National security and economy is closely linked with each other. A strong economy can ensure strong defence, which in turn, enhances a country’s power and strengthens national security. Economic backwardness, on the other hand, generates violence, social conflicts, political turmoil and hence, weakens national security. Accordingly, economic security/strength is essential for strengthening national security. As shown in Fig. 1, the chain of causation runs from strong economy to strong defence to strong national security. Strengthening of national security leads to more power, more power leads to more prosperity and more prosperity may generate more power which will further strengthen national security. Hence, the virtuous cycle continues.


natsececo.jpgNational security is essential for countries to ensure that their people reside without fear. National security has three aspects. Firstly, it deals with protection from external threat for which the countries require hard power (military hardware). Secondly, it deals with winning “hearts and minds” of the people across the globe through soft power (political and cultural diplomacy). Soft power in fact complements hard power and/or even provides substitute for it. Thirdly, it deals with economic security essential for promoting the well-being of the people and providing resources for strengthening hard power. In today’s global environment, economic security also promotes soft power, that is, it can win ‘hearts and minds’ of the people across the globe. A weak economy not only weakens the country’s hard power but also fails to strengthen soft power. For example, if a country’s economy grows at the rate of 3.0 – 3.5 percent per annum, it will be regarded as a problem/basket country for others; even ‘friendly countries’ would avoid dealing with problem/basket country. Their foreign policy stance viz the problem country would be different. But if a country’s economy is growing by 8-10 percent per annum, the country would be regarded as opportunity country, which is having opportunity to do business. Such a country would command global respect and will be invited to join the rich-men club (G-7, G-8, G-20 etc.). The foreign policy stance of rest of the world would be more accommodating and hence will win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people across the globe.


Thus, all the three aspects of national security are closely linked with each other. In other words, these three aspects of national security recognize that the long term security of nations depends greatly on having a vibrant and growing economy. These aspects of national security can best be described in a simple language as “what good is protection from a future threat when millions are unemployed? “What good is ‘economic prosperity’ if people are dead in a terrorist attack?” “What good is development of country when it is overrun by enemy?” Hence, there exists a close relationship between national security and economy. Strong defence capability, an independent foreign policy, an economically prosperous society, and a dynamic and contended democratic order, all flow from economic strength and economic management by intelligent, visionary, fiercely independent, and brutally honest leadership. Power and national security are the major by-products of the economic strength.


Having discussed the relationship between economy and national security, let me turn to the current state of Pakistan’s economy and its implication to the national security. Economic elements linked with national security are both broad and complex. For this article, I chose to concentrate on at least four economic elements, namely economic growth, budget deficit, public debt and foreign exchange reserves which have strong bearing on the general well-being of a country’s population and its national security.


Preamble on Economic Performance
Pakistan’s economy is passing through the most difficult and challenging phase of its economic history. The landscape of its economy has changed dramatically since 2007-08. Seven years of managing the economy with weak and frivolous economic team have not only damaged the economy but also weakened the key economic institutions. The current state of the economy has also emerged as a serious threat to national security.


The major economic challenges facing the country today include slow economic growth, investment and saving rates decelerating, rising unemployment and poverty, growing civil unrest and social chaos, deteriorating fiscal situation and rising public debt at a threatening pace, economy entering in a deflationary phase, private sector not borrowing to expand their businesses, government borrowing recklessly from commercial banks, faltering domestic resource mobilization effort, rapidly declining exports, foreign investors exiting Pakistan, building foreign exchange reserves through expensive borrowing, human capital deteriorating partly on account of inadequacy of funds and partly due to bad governance, physical infrastructure crumbling, rising scale of corruption and misgovernance, weakening of state institutions and most importantly dwindling writ of the state.


Though the on-going IMF Programme was a necessity for Pakistan as it had reached at the verge of default by September/October 2013, the programme has suffocated the economy because of its “stabilization first and growth later” approach. It has played an important role in further slowing the pace of economic activity. Its austerity driven policy has forced Pakistan authority to manipulate statistics and in the process the current economic team has destroyed key economic statistics (namely economic growth, tax collection, expenditure, budget deficit, unemployment etc.)


Economic Performance During 2008-15: A National Security Issue
As will be shown in the ensuing pages, the way Pakistan’s economy evolved during the last seven years created serious national security issues. The economy and its key institutions have been weakened to the core. Pakistan’s dependence on international institutions has increased considerably, thereby weakening its ability to manage its own economy prudently. The quality of Pakistan’s economic team is much desirable which itself has weakened its ability to negotiate with the IMF.
Managing Economy During 2008-13


Between 2003 and 2007, Pakistan witnessed an impressive economic turnaround and emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the Asian region. The economy had grown at an average rate of almost 7.0 percent annum resulting in reduction in unemployment and poverty. The country’s fiscal balance improved as reflected by the sharp reduction in budget deficit, averaging less than 4.0 percent of GDP. Accordingly, the country’s public debt burden reduced from 75 percent in 2002-03 to 55.2 percent of GDP by 2006-07. The country’s external balance also witnessed considerable improvement. The current account deficit averaged 1.3 percent of GDP, the country’s foreign exchange reserves reached a comfortable position and Pakistan’s exchange rate remained stable for a fairly long time. Improvement in the country’s economic fundamentals made it a favourable destination for foreign investment and also encouraged the country to tap resources from the international debt capital market. Pakistan’s social indicators also improved during the period (See Table 1).


Then it all went wrong. The onset of global financial turmoil, the astonishing rise of oil and commodity prices and political instability sent the economy reeling. By the end of 2007-08, Pakistan was facing four major challenges: a drop in economic growth; rising inflation; widening of fiscal and current deficits; and rapidly depleting foreign exchange reserves. The worsening of fiscal and current account deficits were largely the results of external shocks of extraordinary proportions accompanied by policy inaction during most of the year 2007-08. The growing fiscal and external imbalances were financed by unprecedented borrowing from the central bank and drawing down of foreign exchange reserves from $13.2 billion to $3.4 billion – a loss of almost $10 billion in just one year.


natsececo1.jpgWhile the rest of the world was taking corrective measures and adjusting to higher food and fuel prices, Pakistan was lurching from one crisis to another. Despite peaceful election of 2008 and a smooth transition to the new government, political instability continued to persist. For protracted periods there were no finance, commerce, petroleum and natural resources and health ministers in the country. It gave the impression of having little sense of direction and purpose. A crisis of confidence intensified as investors and development partners started to walk away; capital flight set in, foreign exchange reserves plummeted and Pakistan rupee slumped in value by a third. Pakistan’s macroeconomic vulnerability had grown unbearable. It had no option but to return to the IMF for a bailout package in October/ November 2008.


As a result of five years of economic misgovernance, the complexion of Pakistan’s economy changed altogether. Economic growth slowed to an average of 3.0 percent per annum during 2008-13 as against an average of close to 7.0 percent per annum during the previous five years (2003-07), investment rate plummeted to 50 years low at 12.5 percent of GDP, domestic saving rate reached at 6.0 percent of GDP – the lowest in the country’s history, and industrial growth slowed to an average of less than one percent. Slower economic growth failed to create ‘enough’ jobs for the new entrants and as such the pool of unemployed kept on ballooning, creating civil unrest and social chaos in the country. In the absence of credible statistics it is presumed on the basis of economic theory that both unemployment and poverty must have risen by definition.


Fiscal indiscipline had been the hallmark of 2008-13 period with budget deficit averaging over 7.0 percent of GDP and reaching as high as 8.8 percent of GDP in 2011-12. Accordingly, public debt tripled during the period (from Rs. 5 trillion to Rs. 15 trillion in five years). During the period, Pakistan added $20 billion in external debt to $61 billion and foreign investment nosedived to just $1.6 billion in 2013 from a peak of $8.4 billion in 2007, reflecting deteriorating sentiment of foreign investors (See Table 1). Pakistani rupee lost 42 percent of its value as a result of weak economic fundamentals. Power sector mismanagement continued with government providing over Rs. 2 trillion of subsidies to this sector and most importantly, the country reached to the point of external payment default by May/June 2013. Above all, the government weakened the core economic institutions like Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, SBP, and all the regulatory bodies (SECP, OGRA, NEPRA, PEMRA etc.)


What caused such a deterioration? There are several factors that contributed to the worsening of economy and state institutions. These include intensification of war on terror, deteriorating security environment, weak and non-serious leadership at the helm of affairs, absence of credible economic team, height of fiscal indiscipline, widespread corruption and misgovernance, economy remaining out of radar of the government and most importantly, personal prosperity overtaking national prosperity. It has also weakened national security.


Managing Economy During 2013 Onward
The present regime, prior to taking charge of the state of affairs after the May 2013 election, claimed to have a competent team of ministers fully aware of the challenges. In doing so, they raised expectations of the people who had already suffered severely from the mismanagement of the previous regime (2008-13). There is no doubt that the present regime inherited an extremely fragile economy, a nervous private sector; declining investment – both domestic and foreign; slower economic growth, rising unemployment and poverty, and growing income inequality. A large fiscal deficit owing to faltering resource mobilization effort on the one hand and reckless spending on the other with consequential rising debt-burden, a looming debt repayment crisis with country headed towards external debt default, rapidly declining foreign exchange reserves, rising circular debt and a severe energy crisis. These were indeed formidable challenges by any standard, and required extraordinary courage on the part of the leadership to take unpleasant decisions, called for a strong economic team, and demanded focused attention of the political leadership in addressing these challenges. Sadly, the leadership has disappointed the people (few opine that it has resorted to massive data manipulation) to show a false sense of economic prosperity. After completing two years at the helm of affairs, sadly enough, it appears that in reality economy has not improved much and there is less emphasis on long term sustainable measures. The government is more relying on borrowings from IMF than investing on taking genuine measures for improving country’s GDP. The key to economic security only lies in actual economic growth.


Element 1: Economic Growth
Pakistan’s economic conditions by end June/July 2013 reached to a level where it needed an IMF bailout programme. The programme, though was a necessity for Pakistan as it had reached to an almost default position, was a 1980s vintage of “Stabilization First” programme. The key elements of ‘Stabilization First’ programme were reducing fiscal deficit, controlling public debt, keeping inflation low, building foreign exchange reserves and maintaining a flexible exchange rate. Tight fiscal and tight monetary policy were the instruments of ‘Stabilization First’ programme.


Pakistan continued to pursue, by and large, the ‘stabilization first’ or ‘austerity’ programme since 2008 in one way or the other. Such a prolonged period of ‘austerity programme’ has severely constrained the country’s growth potential and has caused serious socio-economic problems in the country. Pakistan’s economy is growing in the range of 3.0 – 3.7 percent for the last seven years (2008-15), as a result of the continued pursuance of ‘austerity programme’.


Since this level of growth is considered “too little” for a country like Pakistan, it is safe to suggest that it cannot grow “more” any time soon. It appears that a growth rate in the neighbourhood of 3.0 – 4.0 percent has become a “new normal” for Pakistan. If this is the case, then the governments who ruled the country since 2008 have made the people of Pakistan permanently poor. The economy may not be seen growing back to 7-8 percent level any time soon. The slower growth syndrome of last seven years has caused deficient demand which in turn, has caused deficient supply. Why should investors or producers produce more in an environment of depressed domestic demand? The growth of large scale manufacturing has remained stagnant for quite some time despite the efforts of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to produce idiosyncratic statistics. Since the country’s production is stagnant, its exports is facing supply side structural bottlenecks and are on the decline (exports are four year low in 2014-15). The long slump has hurt the economy’s productive capacity and hence has lowered the long-run growth path.


Slower economic growth is failing to create enough jobs. People in general and youth in particular, are finding it difficult to get jobs. People remaining unemployed for a longer duration are becoming unemployable with all its social and economic consequences. Youth (15-19 years) unemployment rate has increased from 8.7 percent in 2007-08 to 11.7 percent in 2013-14 (the latest number available from government sources). Unemployment rate for the age bracket of 20-24 years (prime age) has also increased from 6.8 percent to 9.9 percent during the same period. Rising unemployment among the youth and prime age workforce are a matter of serious concern for political stability, social harmony, and national security (See Table 2).

natsececo2.jpg


Even more worrying development is that youth and prime age persons, after remaining unemployed for a long period, have become unemployable. They have stopped searching for jobs. This phenomenon is known as “discouraged worker phenomenon” where the labour force participation rate falls. The government statistics suggest that the labour force participation rate for male youth (15-19 years) has declined from 53.9 percent in 2007-08 to 49.7 percent in 2013-14 – decline of 4.2 percentage points (See Table 2). In other words, half-a-million male youth has stopped looking for a job or they are out of the job market. Similarly, the labour force participation rate for male prime age (20-24 years) has also declined from 85.1 percent in 2007-08 to 81.7 percent in 2013-14 – a decline of 3.4 percentage points. In other words, slightly over 0.5 million male prime age workforce has gone out of job market or not seeking job any more.


This is a dangerous development as the country is witnessing educated youth or prime age people turning into ruthless killers (remember! Safoora Goth Incident), taking revenge from the society. The country is also witnessing civil unrest, social chaos, and youth willing to burn everything which comes in their way. This is nothing but the social cost of ‘austerity program’ which the nation is paying. It has created a serious threat to national security as the unemployed youth and prime age people have emerged as potential targets for anti-state elements to entice them for their ulterior motives. Slower economic growth therefore, is not only failing to create ‘enough’ jobs, it is also failing to mobilize ‘enough’ resources to strengthen the country’s hard and soft powers with adverse consequences for national security.


Element 2: Budget Deficit
A sound fiscal position is vital for achieving macroeconomic stability, which is increasingly recognized as being critical for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. Over a period of time the governments have maintained a large budget deficit, averaging over 7.5 percent of GDP over the periods, and accordingly more than tripled the country’s public debt. Unwillingness to mobilize resources on the one hand and reckless spending with wrong spending priorities on the other together with (politically motivated) 7th NFC Award have all thoroughly damaged Pakistan’s fiscal balance. Fiscal indiscipline has been one of the principle reasons for Pakistan’s current economic ailments.


Adequate level of resource mobilization is sine qua non for public policy to meet expenditure obligations. In Pakistan, domestic resource mobilization has remained ineffective due to the inherent weaknesses in the tax system and inefficient tax administration. As a result, Pakistan’s fiscal effort has remained stagnant for a fairly long period of time. Tax-to-GDP ratio – a measure of tax effort, remained stagnant in the range of 10-11 percent of GDP over the last 8 years.


Why has Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ratio remained stagnant over the years? Pakistan’s tax machinery has collapsed; no amount of reform would improve its functioning unless there is a strong will on the part of the political leadership to collect tax from the rich and powerful. Pakistan’s tax system suffered from several weaknesses. Firstly, the tax base is not only narrow owing to a number of exemptions/concessions but it is punctured as well and thus encourages tax evasion. Secondly, tax rates are pitched at high levels (e.g. sales tax rate ranges from 17-45 percent) which have created a vicious cycle of tax base erosion and higher tax rates. Thirdly, there is an issue of multiplicity of taxes with an individual firm facing numerous types of taxes. Fourthly, there is over dependence on indirect taxes (on average 62% of total taxes) and if withholding taxes (whose effects are indirect in nature) are included the share of indirect taxes jumps to as high as 80 percent of total taxes. Fifthly, the tax system is complex and tedious which, along with high rates, has bred corruption and encouraged evasion. Sixthly, non-availability of reliable statistics from the businesses made it difficult for tax administration to assess the potential taxes to be collected.


Seventhly, the structure of the economy itself has made it difficult to impose and collect taxes. For example, large share (22%) of agriculture in output (income originating from agriculture is exempted from income tax) and employment (42%), low share of wages in total income, large informal sector, low literacy rate and poor human capital have been the major hindrances in enhancing domestic resources through taxation. Furthermore, the structure of the economy along with low literacy, low human capital and gross mismatch of qualification (a large number of medical doctors are working in tax administration) of staff and their job requirements have made it extremely difficult to develop a good and efficient tax administration. When the staff of tax administration is not well educated and well trained; when use of modern communication network is limited; when there is no accountability in tax administration and when there is little or no political will of the leadership to collect-taxes from the rich and powerful, then it is difficult to create an efficient tax administration. In addition when economic and political powers are concentrated to those who either do not pay taxes or pay much less than what they should have been paying themselves, it makes the task of the tax administration more difficult to collect taxes.


Situation on expenditure side is not much different from revenue. Large revenue-expenditure gaps (fiscal deficits) during 2008 onward were largely a result of public expenditure growing unsustainably fast – much faster than the tax revenue. Poor governance and a lack of accountability of the public sector have contributed to inadequate control of government expenditure and failure to ensure that expenditures are allocated efficiently and equitably to serve society’s priorities. Another reason for unsustainable growth in public expenditure has been the political leadership’s love for prestige projects (e.g., metro bus), or spending that rewards politically powerful groups often to the detriment of expenditure on basic social-services. Losses of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) and across the board power sector subsidy have also emerged as important components of public expenditure and thus have contributed in a major way to the rise in fiscal deficit during the last seven years.


The current structure of expenditure is not at all conducive for growth and development as well as not consistent with enhancing the country’s hard and soft power. Bulk of the expenditure (80-85%) is recurring in nature and within it, interest payment accounted for over 28 percent. Defence spending exhibited a persistently declining trend at a time when the country was fighting a war against terrorism. It averaged 15.4 percent of current and 12.3 percent of total expenditures during the post 2008 period.


Apart from failure to mobilize adequate resources to meet growing expenditure requirement there is a general consensus among independent economists that the 7th NFC Award finalized in April 2010, has promoted fiscal indiscipline and thus contributed immensely in damaging Pakistan’s economy and national security. The Award was based more on political consideration and lacked economic foundation. It was finalized in haste, no proper homework was carried out, and the revenue projection for the Award was grossly unrealistic.


A broad-based orderly and well-managed fiscal decentralization is expected to improve public service delivery and hence improve the living conditions of the people. Unfortunately, fiscal decentralization implemented through the 7th NFC Award was too extensive, too fast and managed in a disorderly environment (post 2010-11 period), promoted financial corruption and fiscal indiscipline in provinces as well as at the federal level.


A massive amount of resources (Rs. 6.7 trillion in five years under the Award versus Rs. 2.6 trillion in five years prior to the Award – two and a half time more resources were transferred to provinces under the Award) were transferred to provinces in too short a period and without sufficient consideration given to their fiscal or financial discipline and capacity to spend this money prudently (See Table 3).natsececo3.jpg Accordingly, it not only aggravated Pakistan’s economic conditions and promoted corruption but also adversely affected the provision of public goods and service delivery – a key expectation from the public in the event of financial decentralization. Most of the key social indicators pertaining to education, health, safe drinking water (after 18th Amendment, these are the responsibilities of the provincial governments) have deteriorated at the national and provincial levels. Where have these monies gone?


Element 3: Public Debt
Fiscal indiscipline has been the hallmark of the successive government since 2008 onward. Their failure to mobilize adequate resources to meet the country’s growing expenditure requirements have forced them to borrow extensively from within and outside the country with pride and pleasure. Accordingly, public debt (both rupee and foreign exchange components of debt) rose astronomically from close to Rs. 5 trillion in 2007 to Rs. 17.4 trillion by 2015. Explaining in a simple language, Pakistan accumulated total debt amounting to Rs. 5 trillion in the last 60 years (1947 – 2007) but added almost Rs. 13 trillion in just 8 years to reach close to Rs. 18 trillion by 2015 – more than tripled in such a short period. This is nothing but the evidence of fiscal indiscipline of the governments since 2008 onward. In percentage of GDP, public debt rose to 64 percent in 2015 from 55 percent in 2007 – a rise of 9 percentage points of GDP (See Table 1).


As a result of the sharp increase in public debt, interest payment more than tripled in the last 8 years, rising from Rs. 387 billion in 2007 to over Rs. 1300 billion in 2015. Defence spending was almost two-third of interest payment in 2007, declined to almost one – half by 2015. In other words, budgetary spending on enhancing hard power, instead of rising, has become a victim of rising interest payment at the back of heightened fiscal indiscipline.


Reckless borrowing with pride and pleasure continued in external sector as well. Pakistan accumulated additional $25 billion debt during the last 8 years – rising from $40 billion in 2007 to $65 billion by 2015. Extensive borrowing from external sources the country to compromise on soft power (diplomacy) as well as on hard power. No nation can build hard power on borrowed resources.
Pakistan has been in the midst of longest unconventional war that it has fought since its inception in 1947. A war that began in 2001 is still continuing with greater pace and intensity. Pakistan’s security environment along its eastern and western borders has deteriorated in recent years. These developments require relatively larger budgetary share to shore up both soft and hard power. Slower economic growth, fiscal indiscipline, wrong spending priorities, the on-going NFC Award, and weak economic team and institutions are not at all consistent with the country’s requirement for shoring up soft and hard power. Developments on economic front over the last 8 years have in fact weakened the country’s soft and hard power and as such has emerged as the national security issues for the country.


Element 4: Foreign Exchange Reserves
Foreign exchange reserves reflect the overall developments taking place in external balance of payment of any country. In addition, the country borrows externally to build foreign exchange reserves. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves (the SBPs reserves) stood at $13.2 billion by end-June 2007, it declined to $6.0 billion by end-May 2013 – a loss of over $7.0 billion in six years. By September/October 2013, forex reserves declined to a dangerously low level at $3.0 billion. Imagine a country with nuclear and missile power having forex reserves as low as $3.0 billion – sufficient to finance three/four weeks of imports. Can a country strengthen its soft and hard power with such meagre forex reserves? This answer is no.


Injection of external resources from the IMF, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the debt capital market (floatation of Euro bond, Sukuk etc.), selling the country’s assets (through privatization), grants from friendly countries and generous releases of Coalition Support Fund from the United States contributed to the building of forex reserves to $13.5 billion today. Bulk of these inflows are borrowed resources which will have to be repaid by the government in few years’ time. Exports – one of the critical sources of foreign exchange earnings is in shamble for the last four years. Foreign Direct Investment – yet another source of foreign exchange earnings is on the decline from over $5.5 billion in 2007 to $0.7 billion in 2015. Accordingly, our reliance on borrowed resources has increased to build forex reserves. Borrowing from external sources to build forex reserves is nothing but postponing the current balance of payment crisis to future dates as these debts will have to be repaid by someone.


Notwithstanding the claims of economic success, the fact is that our economy is growing at an average rate of 3.2 percent per annum for the last seven years, industrial growth is stagnant at 1.1 percent, agriculture is growing at 2.5 percent, private sector is not borrowing to expand their businesses, exports are falling, foreign direct investment is declining rapidly, foreign investors are leaving the country, tax collection performance is dismal, unemployment, particularly youth unemployment is rising, people are getting out of the job market (not looking for jobs), corruption is all time high in the country, the country is witnessing civil unrest, social chaos, the breakdown of law and order, and absolute failure of governance.


These developments have emerged as national security issue and demand urgent attention from all concerned. Sooner we realize the gravity of challenges the better it is for the country and its security.


What Needs to be Done?
Firstly, the leadership will have to change its style of governance. Managing economy should be at the forefront of the leadership. The present trend of managing economy through media management and data management is not a solution to our deep rooted problems. Pakistan has far more talent and expertise to compose a successful economic advisory and leadership team.


Secondly, Pakistan has pursued austerity programme for the last seven/eight years which has severely damaged the economy. A change in fiscal policy stance is needed. Pakistan needs more investment in physical infrastructure and human capital (education, health, vocational training etc.) and less tut-tutting about fiscal deficit. The time has come to move out from “Stabilization First” policy to strike a balance between growth and stabilization. Prolonged period of ‘austerity’ has caused human sufferings in Greece. Do we want to become another Greece? We Should act before it is too late.


Thirdly, Pakistan urgently needs wide-ranging structural reforms in tax system and tax administration, power sector, industries, agriculture, exports, financial sector, and overall governance. We have simply talked about reforms thus far without undertaking any credible reforms. The IMF for its political motive, has always stated that Pakistan’s reforms programme is ‘broadly on track’. In so doing, it has bred complacency on the part of the government.


Fourthly, the key economic institutions like Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, the Central Bank, the Federal Board of Revenue, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and all the regulatory bodies have been weakened to the core. Accordingly, the economic policy making has been shifted to the IMF and other IFIs as well as to domestically powerful vested interest group. The government needs to drastically overhaul some institutions and strengthen the others by inducting high calibre professionals as well as empowering them to undertake decisions.


Fifthly, the current NFC Award has been disastrous for the financial stability of the country. Without making corrections it will continue to damage Pakistan’s fiscal stability. How to correct the weaknesses of the current NFC Award is well documented in Ashfaque H. Khan, “7th NFC Award: Has it Worked?”, Development Advocate Pakistan, Vol. 2, Issue 2, June 2015 (a publication of the UNDP Pakistan.


Conclusion
The time is not on our side. The sooner we realize the gravity of challenges the better. The ongoing military operations in Waziristan and the Rangers’ Operation in Karachi have considerably improved the country’s security environment. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has improved the country’s perception abroad and low international price of oil has reduced pressure on the balance of payments. The government should consider these developments as a window of opportunity, bring good economic team, pursue good policies, introduce wide-ranging structural reforms and improve governance to capitalize on these positive developments. This will be good for the economy and national security.

 

The author is Principal & Dean at School of Social Sciences & Humanities, National University   of Sciences & Technology, Islamabad. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
04
January

Written By: Amir Zia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flashy vision of “digital India” tangos with the ancient ghost of religious bigotry that grips the Hindu mind and imaginations even in the 21st Century. The two may appear an incompatible couple, but this very combination dominates and defines today’s India. The rising tide of Hindutva politics has brought issues such as “sacredness” of cows and the demand to impose a blanket ban on beef at the centre-stage of discourse in a country that portrays itself as the world’s largest democracy and a bastion of cultural pluralism and secular values.


But New Delhi’s carefully crafted perceptions and propaganda do not reflect the dark Indian reality. The collective Indian mind wasn’t “shinning” as once the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to brand India. And the same fanatic Hindu mindset remains light years away from being transformed into “digital India” as Modi desires to brand it now.


brandindia.jpgA 50-year-old Muslim, Mohammad Akhlaq, gets beaten to death and his 22-year-old son critically injured on September 28, 2015 by a Hindu mob in Bisara village, barely 40 km, from New Delhi on false rumours that his family killed and ate a cow.


On October 14, a mob of fanatic Hindus beat another Muslim man to death and injured four others who were accused of smuggling cows. The barbaric incident occurred in Sarahan, a village in Himachal Pradesh located roughly 260 km north of New Delhi. Ironically, the four survivors of the attack were arrested for the alleged animal cruelty, according to the Indian press.


These killings and other acts of violence and hate-speech targeting Muslims are not fringe occurrences. They are part and parcel of the organized drive to push the agenda of Hindutva by the hard-line Hindus organized under the banner of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its political arm, the ruling BJP and allied Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Chief Minister of Haryana State Manohar Lal Khattar — a senior BJP leader — reflected this fanatic mindset when he said that “cow is an article of faith” in India and Muslims living here should give up consuming beef.


In an ominous reminder to this warning, members of Hindu Sena attacked Engineer Rashid, an independent Muslim lawmaker of the occupied Jammu & Kashmir Assembly, at the New Delhi Press Club on October 19, smearing black ink and engine oil all over his face. Rashid’s crime was that he hosted a “beef” party at his home in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, which is a Muslim-majority state. Indian press reported that while thrashing Rashid, his Hindu tormentors shouted “Gau Mata Ki Jai” (Long Live Mother Cow). The Muslim lawmaker was holding a press conference highlighting the death of one of the three persons attacked over “beef” rumours earlier in October.


Such incidents – targeting Muslims, other religious and nationalist minorities and people belonging to the oppressed castes and classes, labelled as “lower” by Hindu fanatics – are frequent occurrences and a rising trend in India. The politics of Hindutva has been decisively dominating India for the last three decades or so. And it was a factor to reckon with even during the British-rule, torpedoing the much-propagated politics of non-violence of M.K Gandhi, who himself got murdered by a Hindu zealot barely five-and-a-half months after India’s independence. The subsequent years saw the rise of Hindutva politics – sometimes sugar-coated in the slogans of secularism and pluralism and at others in the naked victimization of religious minorities, smaller nationalities and the downtrodden castes and classes.


The festering wound of Kashmir and its struggle for freedom, the secessionist movements in Assam, Nagalim, Tripura and the Punjab portray the broader unresolved conflicts of Indian state stem from the Hindu nationalists’ historically flawed and incorrect slogan of “Akhand Bharat” or Undivided India. The other complex unresolved issues of the rights of the oppressed castes and classes within the social order of Hindus are equally grave. They all divide the Indian state and society horizontally and vertically.


Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his associates had the foresight to read and anticipate this fanatic Hindu mindset even in the garb of apparently secular politics of Indian National Congress. That’s why there came the rational and justified demand for the creation of Muslim-majority Pakistan by dividing India.


The colonial India, which Congress Hindu leaders were desperate to inherit, itself was the unnatural creation of the imperial British power that forcibly brought many historically autonomous regions and diverse people under its rule. The Hindu Congress partially succeeded in inheriting the geographical boundaries of the colonial India – minus areas comprising Pakistan. But the unnaturalness of India in its current boundaries has remained the cause of constant friction, conflict and hostilities, underling the illegitimacy of the demand and dream of “Akhand Bharat.”


It is a pertinent point that not just the Hindu nationalists, but the apparently modern-looking Congress leaders wanted to inherit India with its colonial frontiers. In their own ways, they each wanted to promote a common Hindu or Indian identity. The flawed historical understanding and interpretation of both these groups only added more to the complexity and contradiction of Indian politics.


Hindu nationalists – who consider both Islam and Christianity as alien faiths in “Bharat” — have long been striving for the dominance of Hindutva in every sphere of the society. They promote this agenda through organized acts of violence and terror as well as propaganda campaigns. This narrow-minded and fanatic politics was in vogue during the British rule and it continues to haunt, divide, polarize and dominate India now. Similarly, the desire of Congress to find a common nationalist ground was as flawed as that of the fanatic Hindu nationalists.


Quaid-i-Azam rightly challenged both, providing the correct historical context when he said in a Presidential address at the annual session of Muslim League at Lahore in 1940, that “India is not a nation, nor a country. It is a Sub-Continent of nationalities…The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs…They neither intermarry nor interdine and they belong to two different civilizations, which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions….”

brandindia1.jpg


Has the discourse of Hindutva followers or the apparently modern nationalist Indians changed since the times of freedom struggle for a Muslim homeland? Certainly not as behind every attractive slogan, be it of “shinning India”, “digital India” or “brand India,” there lies the deep-rooted desire of the collective Hindu mindset to oppress, subjugate, exploit Muslims, Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities and oppressed classes and castes. However, their real target remains Muslim and Christians – people of the book – whom the Hindu fanatics see as foreign religions brought here by conquerors and want to drive them out.


The handful of those pseudo intellectuals in Pakistan who claim about the commonness of people, culture and values of Pakistanis and Indians are basically paddling the incorrect and distorted historical narrative. Their attempts to brush aside the growing threat of Hindu extremism also rest on the wrong premise that Modi’s Hindutva politics is just a passing phase, which can be countered by the so-called secular or moderate forces in India. But the Modi phenomenon is not a mere slip of history. It is an articulation of the ancient biases, irrationality and fanaticism of the extremist Hindu-mindset.


The way beef politics and other similar issues assumed centrality in the Indian discourse and incidents of religious intolerance, persecution and religiously-motivated violence increased is a clear indication of tougher times ahead for not just Muslims but all the other minorities. The BJP and allies attempts to introduce a blanket ban on the sale and consumption of beef is only a small step to achieve the goal of Hindutva – a dominance of Hindu way of thinking and way of life in every sphere of the society.


There has been a resistance to these attempts from a tiny section of Indian intellectuals and the civil society, but if the past mob-mentality – which articulated itself in the 1992 demolition of Babari Masjid, series of brutal oppression of Muslims and other minorities including the 2002 Gujarat’s bloody anti-Muslim riots – and dominance of Hindu nationalists in the electoral politics is any guide, then India is moving fast towards further Hindu radicalization and militancy. This indeed is a threat for Indian minorities as well as regional peace and stability.


Paul Marshall, a senior fellow of Center for Religious Freedom in the United States, in his 2004 paper “Hinduism and Terror” highlights this threat in the very opening lines. “Since September 11, 2001, the world’s attention has properly been focused on the violence of Islamic extremism, but there are also major violent trends in Hindu extremism that have largely been ignored in the United States. In India, this violence is supported by Hindu extremists and their allies in the Indian government, which is currently led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.”


“In the past decade, extremist Hindus have increased their attacks on Christians, until there are now several hundred per year. But this did not make news in the U.S. until a foreigner was attacked. In 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who had worked with leprosy patients for three decades, was burned alive in Odisha (formally known as Orissa) along with his two young sons. The brutal violence visited on Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002 also brought the dangers of Hindu extremism to world attention. Between one and two thousand Muslims were massacred after Muslims reportedly set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists, killing several dozen people,” Paul Marshall writes in his paper adding, “These attacks were not inchoate mob violence, triggered by real or rumoured insult; rather, they involved careful planning by organized Hindu extremists with an explicit programme and a developed religious-nationalist ideology. Like the ideology of al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists, this ideology began to take shape in the 1920s as a response to European colonialism. It rejected the usually secular outlook of other independence movements; in place of secularism, it synthesized a reactionary form of religion with elements of European millenarian political thought, especially fascism.”


In their zeal of doing business with India, successive US-governments and other western nations are ignoring the ticking time-bomb of Hindu fanaticism, which is a far deadly threat for the regional and world peace, compared to the ragtag groups of Islamic extremists.


Leading Indian journalist, Aakar Patel, in an article written in April 2015 highlights the fact that most extremists in India are not Muslim, but Hindu. “The media has misleadingly conflated terrorism with Islam. But don't expect Narendra Modi or his ministers to clear up such misconceptions,” Patel writes.


“In 2014, there were 976 deaths from terrorism…in India. Of these, the most (465) came in the North East. The second most (314) came from Left-wing extremism, by a group of people called Maoists. Deaths in Jammu & Kashmir, assuming we want to attribute the whole lot to terrorism, stood at 193. Outside of these conflict theatres, Islamist extremism claimed four lives.”


“In 2013, the figure was most for Maoists (421), the second most for the North East (252), and the Kashmir plus Islamist violence outside the state again came third (206). In 2012, we had a similar situation: Maoists (367), followed by the North East (326), followed by Kashmir (117). The total number of victims of Islamist terrorism outside these three areas, across India, was 1. In 2011, Maoist violence claimed 602 lives, the North East 246, and Kashmir plus Islamist violence outside the state toll stood at 225…”


Patel adds that “most terrorists in India are Hindus, the ones whom we have conveniently labelled "Maoist" instead of "Hindu". The second largest group of terrorists… (is) the tribals, Hindus, animists and perhaps some Christians of the North East. Muslims are third. If one looks outside the separatism of Kashmir, their violence and terrorism levels are among the lowest in the world and they appear to be less susceptible to terrorism not just by the standards of the world’s Muslims but also India’s Hindus.”


The real brand India flaunts nothing but of religious intolerance and extremism. Yet, to their credit, the successive Indian governments managed to carve a false perception of a glittering and digital India. However, the ugly reality of extremist-Hindu mindset and its hegemonic designs – both for their diverse society and the region — cannot be concealed behind fake brands. The world needs to see, probe and analyze the real brand India rather than misled by illusions.

 

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @AmirZia1
04
January

Written By: Jennifer McKay

The annual session of UN General Assembly held in New York in late September each year, is a major ‘talk fest’ for world leaders. It’s an opportunity for leaders to meet and greet, and network with big business and the UN ‘family’, sign on to any new global agendas, and to make ‘the big speech’ to the Assembly.

 

This year on the 70th birthday of the UN, many leaders focused on the new buzz at UNGA 2015 – the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their speeches. The SDGs (and please do get used to this acronym because you’re going to hear it a lot in coming years) includes a set of 17 goals (each with specific targets for countries to aim for) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

 

throanolive.jpg

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif, mentioned the SDGs in his speech to the Assembly, as did most leaders. But the most important highlights of his speech were on the sensitive topics of terrorism, Afghanistan, and most importantly, Kashmir. In his speech, he reached out to India with an olive branch to resolve the Kashmir situation and bring peace. He proposed four key initiatives:

 

One: We propose that Pakistan and India formalize and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir. For this purpose, we call for UNMOGIP’s expansion to monitor the observance of the ceasefire. Two: We propose that Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances. This is a central element of the UN Charter.

Three: Steps to be taken to demilitarize Kashmir.

 

Four: Agree to an unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground. So what was India’s response? A very aggressive statement from the First Secretary from India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, attacking Pakistan and stating that any talks with Pakistan will be only about terrorism. This is not acceptable to Pakistan and India knows it. Unless all issues, especially Kashmir, are on the table, nothing will move forward. Even the SDGs which the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, highlighted in his speech, will not be achievable in India or this region, without peace.

 

It remains obvious that India has no interest in talks with Pakistan about resolving Kashmir issue. For years, India has refused to honour previous agreements and ceasefires. In the past couple of years, ceasefire breaches have escalated. Each country blames the other but the military records reveal otherwise. India has been the aggressor.

 

But how do we prove that? While Nawaz Sharif asked for a bigger role for UNMOGIP, it would be a good start if they were allowed to do their work under the existing arrangement. UNMOGIP is tasked to be the neutral observer group to investigate and report their findings on ceasefire breaches to the UN in New York. UNMOGIP does not report to the parties involved. Yet for years, India has prevented UNMOGIP from fully investigating each ceasefire breach because they do not accept the role of the UN to do this. Pakistan has no problem in providing UNMOGIP with full access to make investigations and report their findings to the UN in New York. During my own visits to the Working Boundary, I have encountered them at work out there following cross-border incidents. So why does India refrain from granting UNMOGIP access to investigate on their side if they want to prove their case as they continue to claim that they are the innocent party on every occasion? Unfortunately for India, investigations would prove the opposite.

 

If India would like to discuss only terrorism as a pre-condition for talks, they should look into their own backyard first. A growing culture of intolerance and violence against Muslims and other minorities in India by extremist Hindu groups seems to have official patronage, and at the highest level. ‘Unfortunate’ was the word Prime Minister Modi used when a Muslim man was beaten to death by a marauding horde for supposedly eating beef. Forensic tests proved it was lamb. In another incident, a Muslim truck driver was lynched by another mob for allegedly transporting smuggled beef. And in yet another recent incident, an Indian Muslim youth was severely beaten by a policeman in Mumbai and told to “go back to Pakistan”. A family visiting Mumbai was refused accommodation in hotels because they were from Pakistan and ended up having to sleep on the railway station.

 

When former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri recently visited Mumbai for the launch of his book “Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove”, his publisher was attacked by a gang of far-right Shiv Sena party workers who doused him in black ink. The Shiv Sena group is part of the BJP coalition government and is rabidly anti-Muslim and particularly anti-Pakistan. It is worth noting that Mumbai is a Shiv Sena stronghold and they want a ‘Hindu-only’ state. The inking attack, and yet another one a couple of weeks later on a Muslim lawyer, did little for India’s carefully crafted international image as a tolerant society when the rather startling photographs went viral, highlighting the ugly side of extremism in the country.

 

Shiv Sena workers have threatened other cultural events and recently forced the cancellation of a visit by Pakistani singer, Ghulam Ali, who was scheduled to perform in Pune and Mumbai. And yet another rabid mob stormed the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shouting anti-Pakistan slogans in an attempt to force a cancellation of not only the meeting, but the upcoming Pakistan-India series as well. As a result of this incident, the ICC withdrew world-class Pakistani umpire, Aleem Dar, from the current India-South Africa series. Obviously, these extremist thugs are becoming very scary indeed when they can influence international sport, which is usually considered to be an instrument of peace, through creating a climate of fear. Is Modi’s government doing anything about Shiv Sena’s increasingly aggressive anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan behaviour? No. Nothing! There are just a few of the recent events involving Hindu extremists but there have been many more. The risk of this Hindu extremism spiralling out of control is something Prime Minister Modi should consider. Perhaps he should remember the Gujarat riots in 2002 when he did nothing to stop the slaughter of up to 2,000 Muslims. His lack of action then, saw him labelled as supporting terrorism and for over ten years, he was denied a visa to the United States, lifted only when he became Prime Minister in 2014.

 

An escalation of unfettered extremism will harm India’s international image considerably. The international media has been picking up this growing trend in India with many stories lately on the BBC and in other international media. India has for some years, carefully built an image of being a magical country to visit through their global “Incredible India” tourism campaigns. It is far from magical. Poverty levels are profound as is food insecurity. Some 600 million people are believed to be food insecure there. That the impacts of poverty and food insecurity can cause conflict in any society cannot be overlooked.

 

So let’s talk about the issue of Indian terrorism in Kashmir. An entire population has been terrorized and brutalized by the occupying Indian troops. The Indian Army has killed over 95,000 civilians. Mass graves have been found and no doubt, there are many more. Amnesty International continues to report the atrocities inflicted on the population. Amnesty has also highlighted cases of fake encounters that have seen innocent civilians labelled as ‘infiltrators’ and targeted by rogue officers, leading to riots and the deaths of many. Many other such events have gone uninvestigated.

 

But Indian brutalities don’t stop in Kashmir. While considering their own role in spreading terrorism, perhaps India could stop shooting at villagers along the Pakistani side of the Line of Control and Working Boundary. I’ve seen what happens when they fire their mortars and other weapons directly at the civilian population there. It’s simply horrifying. The attacks have resulted in substantial loss of life, property and livestock. What wrong these simple farmers and villagers do to deserve that? India knows that it is against the rules of International Humanitarian Law to attack innocent civilians who are not involved in a conflict whether they be their own citizens or in another country.

 

I’ve written several times about the heavily fortified fence just inside the Zero Line which stretches from one end of the Working Boundary to the far end of the Line of Control, but let me mention this again. It’s visible from outer space at night (do check out the spectacular NASA photographs taken from the International Space Station over Pakistan and India). It is impossible to infiltrate from the Pakistani side into the Indian-occupied side and when you see the fence, you understand just why that is. It is quite scary to visit there to search for stories, and view the fence in sight of snipers in towers on the other side. Random attacks can happen at any time.

 

However, the impenetrability of the fence does not work both ways. There are gates in the fence. And the only people who control those gates – the only ones who have the keys – are the Indian Army and Border Security Force. Indian infiltrators have been caught on the Pakistan side of the border many times. So how did they get there? It is obvious and simple. Someone on the Indian side unlocked the gate in the fence and out they came, usually under the cover of darkness, but occasionally in the guise of farmers who are sometimes allowed out to graze their animals on the land on the strips of that stretch between the fence and the actual zero line. They also let smugglers through that gate, some of whom have been captured on the Pakistan side. India has already built many structures that are in violation of the rules and now they are apparently building a wall as well, again, forbidden by previous agreements. Flouting the rules of the game doesn’t seem to be a problem for India.

 

And what about Indian interference in Balochistan? And Karachi? Please add that to the list for discussion. Then there are the games that India plays in Afghanistan that are increasing instability there and causing trouble on Pakistan’s western boundary. Stopping that would be helpful for regional peace. Pakistan would surely be happy to put that on the table for talks since India wants to focus only on terrorism issues.

 

Pakistan has done much in recent years to destroy the militant operations in Pakistan. Under the current Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan Army launched the massive Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014, to destroy them in the tribal areas. Pakistan Air Force has also played a critical role, launching many air strikes on militant hideouts in the mountains of FATA. The assault on the terrorists in the tribal areas has been effective and previously terror infested areas are now being rehabilitated so that displaced families can return home and live in peace. But Indian interference next door in Afghanistan can unsettle the situation and Pakistan must be vigilant against this. Again we must ask, ‘when will this stop?’

 

General Raheel Sharif has firmly stated on a number of occasions that there will be no differentiation between terrorist groups, and actions have been taken against groups formerly believed to be able to move freely in some parts of Pakistan. This has clearly been paying dividends and the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has dropped significantly in the past year. The Army has the support of the population at levels not seen previously. Confidence has grown that the country can be at peace but there have been numerous sacrifices along the way. Too many people have died, both military and civilians and their sacrifices must be honoured through ultimate peace and resulting prosperity for the country.

 

The aggressive response from India to Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly is unsurprising really. In the past year there have been numerous aggressive statements towards Pakistan from a parade of Indian top-level government and military officials. Never once do they show any inclination towards peace, but more towards an escalation in tensions and have even hinted at limited strikes in Pakistan. This is hardly indicative of a willingness to achieve peace. For now, it seems Pakistan may be wasting its time talking to India if all they want to do is ‘stonewall’. India’s answer to everything is to shout loudly and shout often, rather like the neighbour bully. You know, the type that we encountered back in our school days – the one beating up the other kids and then lying to the teacher about who started the fight saying “It wasn’t me”. Rhetoric, no matter how untruthful, if repeated often enough, has a tendency towards becoming accepted as fact, especially in these days of social media. Often it is designed for the home audience where revving up hatred of Pakistan and a tough stance is to divert attention from other domestic issues where things are not going as well as promised by the government of the day. Good media strategies can make a difference and India has been far more effective in getting its voice heard over that of Pakistan. Perhaps it is due to the very strong Indian lobby in Washington, or that there is greater international familiarity with India than with Pakistan possibly due to history and tourism, so it’s easier for people to side with them, at least until undeniable truths appear.

 

The four-point agenda that the Pakistan Prime Minister put forward at the UN General Assembly was fair and reasonable. So why is it so hard for India to sit down and discuss Kashmir. Perhaps their long-held desire for seat as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council has something to do with it. Security analysts vary in their opinions but this would certainly be a factor. Their image, built lately on promoting India as the key player in regional peace could be harmed should the facts on their role in regional instability are laid bare. There are, no doubt, many reasons, but whatever they are, any solution for Kashmir will take time – perhaps years ¬– but why not start discussing it like ‘grown-ups’?

 

Peace is something to be prized by all people everywhere including the citizens of both Pakistan and India. But every country has problems they have to deal with. As nations – and human beings – we need to find ways to resolve these peacefully when opportunities are presented. Pakistan offered an olive branch but India tossed it into the fire. We can only hope that one day soon, they will take a step forward towards peace instead of many steps in the other direction.

The writer is Australian Disaster Management and Civil-Military Relations Consultant, based in Islamabad where she consults for Government and UN agencies. She has also worked with ERRA and NDMA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If India would like to discuss only terrorism as a pre-condition for talks, they should look into their own backyard first. A growing culture of intolerance and violence against Muslims and other minorities in India by extremist Hindu groups seems to have official patronage, and at the highest level. ‘Unfortunate’ was the word Prime Minister Modi used when a Muslim man was beaten to death by a marauding horde for supposedly eating beef. Forensic tests proved it was lamb.

*****

India’s answer to everything is to shout loudly and shout often, rather like the neighbour bully. You know, the type that we encountered back in our school days – the one beating up the other kids and then lying to the teacher about who started the fight saying “It wasn’t me”. Rhetoric, no matter how untruthful, if repeated often enough, has a tendency towards becoming accepted as fact, especially in these days of social media. Often it is designed for the home audience where revving up hatred of Pakistan and a tough stance is to divert attention from other domestic issues where things are not going as well as promised by the government of the day.

*****

 
16
September

Written By: Maria Khalid

An American mountaineer’s expedition of the mountain that defeats one out of every 4 climbers is cut short by high altitude sickness as Pakistan Army aviation airlifts him to Skardu for medical treatment.

Frothy sputum tinged with blood dropped on the clean untouched snow of the savage mountain in Northern Pakistan as Robert Jackson, 38, hiked up to camp IV. His lungs had begun gurgling and rattling, his throat felt small, smaller and smallest. He had come too close to his limits. Setting up higher and higher camps and moving up the route was becoming increasingly difficult. He scanned the frozen slope above him and thought of how the last 22 marathon days had taken its toll. He remembered how so many bodies and bones were buried in this nightmarishly steep of a black stone covered with heaps of snow. Descent was the only treatment to cure High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) which was now taking over his lungs at 7500 metres atop the second highest mountain of the world.

He got down to Camp II with his porter and then he couldn’t move anymore. He called down the base camp. “Take some dexamethasone but you need an evacuation”, came the doctor’s reply. He was able to spend a sleepless night with the help of the drug. The next day he made painfully slow progress down to the base camp. “The Army is very professional and they are very good at rescues. They will be down here today”, said the doctor and Jackson broke up in tears.

Climbing season in Karakorum is short and stretches from only mid-June into the early days of September. All the major climbing routes are accessed through Pakistan, as access through the Chinese side is a huge logistical challenge. The 27 member expedition began ascending K2 in the middle of June with the hope of conquering the snowy rocks of the cliff plunging 10,000 feet into the surrounding glaciers. Before setting off for K2 expedition, Jackson carried out acclimatization as he went to Astore, Paiju and a couple of more towns to Concordia and then the base camp of K2. It took them a week to march up the mountain trails to K2 base camp at Baltoro, a black rock and grey moraine contrast on top of the crevasse-riven glacier. There it was – the mighty K2. The archetypal image of the summit is defined by the sharp triangle of its silhouette which forms the perfect image of a peak on a painter’s canvas.

resfromkill1.jpg

At the base camp the doctor warned him of the crackling in his lungs. Soon that crackling developed into a bacterial infection for which the doctor prescribed antibiotics. He sat at the base camp for 5 days until he felt better and climbed up to camp IV with a high altitude porter from Pakistan, carrying a barrel of gear and provisions for the climb up the steep chute of ice. The extremely high altitude and resulting lack of oxygen caused HAPE and chilly winds raking through the mountains made every step difficult. “Then that was too much for me and I started to throw up blood. It was very hard to get down, very very hard to get down.”

At the base camp, Jackson was told how the Pakistani soldiers regularly risk their lives to rescue climbers on this peak. He was later assured of that as he was struggling to get into the helicopter, the pilot grabbed his hand and helped him get into the back. They welcomed him into the helicopter and said, “Hey! Put these headsets and seatbelt on. You are going to be okay.”

With only a third of oxygen at sea level, snow up to his chest in places, he staggered off the peak in the final stages of exhaustion, his movement restricted to inch by inch steps. His pulse was racing, his temperature rising. He got down to Camp II with his porter and then he couldn’t move anymore. He called the base camp. “Take some dexamethasone but you need an evacuation”, came the doctor’s reply. He was able to spend a sleepless night with the help of the drug. The next day he made painfully slow progress down to the base camp. “The Army is very professional and they are very good at rescues. They will be down here today”, said the doctor and Jackson broke up in tears. As soon as the Army learnt of Jackson's ailment, phones buzzed and a rescue operation was immediately directed. General Officer Commanding (GOC) Aviation, Major General Muhammad Khalil Dar; being himself a veteran high altitude pilot, sensed urgency of the matter and immediately passed instructions to Lt. Col Umair Khan Niazi, the Commanding Officer of 5 Army Aviation High Altitude Squadron. There was not even the slightest delay as a person was suffering and a life was at risk.

Temperature at base camp was unexpectedly exceeding 9˚C when the pilots landed to rescue Jackson, which left little margin for both the pilots and the machine in terms of their weight lifting efficiency, making the landing and take off more critical. Soon, Jackson saw two Écureuil AS350 helicopters flying in pair towards the camp in thin air, coping with the vicious up-and-downdrafts. “When I first saw the helicopter, I got so happy, I started to cry and I knew I would make it to home. The sound of helicopters was an assurance that I was going to live.”

The first helicopter was piloted by Major Sheraz Khurrum and Major Rehman, the second helicopter followed with Major Zulqarnain and Major Ali Awais onboard. “The point of rescue was at an altitude of 16500 feet. Difficulty of landing was further compounded by high temperature at K2 base camp. The more the temperature rises, the thinner the air becomes”, said Major Sheraz. Reduced performance of the helicopters at these altitudes is compensated by the pilots through meticulous fuel calculation whereby the pilots take minimum fuel along and the subtraction in fuel weight gives them margin to pick some extra kilograms of weight. Helicopter instruments were displaying exceeding normal limits when they were about to land. “This was a critical decision to make, thinking whether the helicopter would be able to take off with a passenger on-board.”

At the base camp, Jackson was told how the Pakistani soldiers regularly risk their lives to rescue climbers on this peak. He was later assured of that as he was struggling to get into the helicopter, the pilot grabbed his hand and helped him get into the back. They welcomed him into the helicopter and said, “Hey! Put these headsets and seatbelt on. You are going to be okay.” They were now taking off and the pilots eased Jackson into a conversation to take his mind off the situation. “I felt safe, I felt like a part of the team. They pointed out the shapes on the landscape below, this is a glacier, this is a mountain and these are the pure white ice pinnacles.” The helicopter was touching its red limits when Jackson had boarded and they were about to take off, there was no margin of error left yet this critical situation was converted into a successful evacuation mission with meticulous care and a high degree of skills. “This country deserves my eternal admiration. Back in Colorado, United States of America I told my wife that of all the countries I have travelled to, Pakistan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has that snowy mountain with a caressing mist I fell in love with and the soldiers who saved my life.”

Jackson, in fact loved the whole of this country which he had warmed to, during the month he spent here.

 
16
September

Written By: Muhammad Amir Rana

Many nations are confronted with the challenge of violent and non-violent extremism, although with a varying degree, they have developed strategies to deal with it. Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) has become a popular term, which is regarded as a soft approach to countering terrorism. Many Western countries have evolved certain CVE programmes in their local perspectives. Different states use different strategies in their CVE programmes which range from engagement to winning hearts and minds of the people. But the main objective of most of these strategies is related to neutralizing the security threats. These programmes, largely focusing on Muslim immigrant communities, largely seek to improve inter-communal harmony and cohesion.

Many of the CVE programmes also focus on the countries of origin of immigrant communities with an assumption that fixing extremism in immigrants’ native lands will help prevent extremism in host societies. Western nations try to export their CVE models to Muslim countries and think these will be effective in Muslim majority countries as well. That is despite the fact that Western CVE programmes, which are regarded by many as having a narrow scope and context-specific attributes, have not yet achieved substantial successes and are in an experimental phase. There is no doubt that nations learn from each other’s experiences and practices but exporting unsuccessful models to other nations could prove counterproductive. Here is a review of major CVE programmes in practice in different Western countries. It may help understand different approaches. Muslim countries including Pakistan may find some useful elements in these programmes, which are suitable or adaptable to their contexts, and adopt them rather than implementing a Western model as it is. The UK’s Prevent Strategy

The UK is pioneer in crafting a CVE framework known as the Prevent Strategy. It was conceived in 2007 after 7/7 terrorist attacks to respond to the threat of terrorism and extremism. According to the information provided on the British Home Office webpage, “The strategy covers all forms of terrorism, including far-right extremism and some aspects of non-violent extremism.” Under the Prevent Strategy, the UK government has taken many initiatives ranging from community and youth engagement programmes to the ones focussed on vulnerable segments of the Muslim youth. The Channel and Think Projects are two major components of the Prevent Strategy. The Channel Project targets the individuals who are vulnerable to radicalization with a purpose to prevent them from becoming terrorists. The Think Project was designed to offer disengaged young people the opportunity to take part in a programme or workshops where the facts about race, religion, and migration are explored. These are community-focused programmes run by local authorities and controlled by a counter-terrorism centre in London. They also engage moderate religious scholars on national level to promote an environment which supports a moderate interpretation of Islamic precepts. The UK’s Prevent Strategy also contains an external component. It says: “we work closely with countries where those who support terrorism and promote extremism are most active. Our activity is concentrated on Pakistan, the Middle East and East Africa where radicalizing activity can have a direct impact on communities in the UK.”

The programme has achieved mixed results. Experts raised three major objections on the strategy. Some see it as a spying programme on Muslim communities, which they believe is counterproductive. Muslim communities also have concerns about it. Transparency is another major issue, and it is believed that local authorities misuse funds particularly for corrupting the local communities and building human intelligence networks. Lack of evidence of the success is also an issue. Many critics say this is not a community cohesion strategy as it focuses on ‘secularizing’ the Muslim communities. These initiatives, they argue, are stigmatizing Muslim communities thus creating problems for their daily life interactions with other communities. In recent years, vulnerabilities among other communities were also exposed after some new converts to Islam joined Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Others say such measures are creating rightwing nationalist tendencies in British youth, and the government is not paying attention to this side. The Prevent Strategy was conceived in a narrow security perspective, and its impact in terms of CVE is not measurable. The US

US Homeland Security department has three major components of their CVE policy, which are understood as: violent extremism, supporting local communities and local law enforcement. The focus of different CVE programmes in the US has been on making communities part of the solution through developing partnership with them, which allows division of labour between communities and law enforcement. Three pilot projects in three different cities of Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Boston focused parents and teachers and their collaboration with the law enforcement. The findings suggested the need for developing new strategies for challenging violent extremism through community mobilization, capacity building and targeted prevention and intervention activities to promote healthy communities. These programmes have also integrated mental health into their designs. The major issue in the US CVE programmes is linked to the social legitimacy among the communities, which remain in a state of denial thus making the trust building a major task. At the same time, unseen ideological and political spaces exist in the behaviours, which can trigger vulnerabilities. The US is still struggling to develop some comprehensive prevention strategies that go beyond the threat of terrorism. Denmark

Pakistan is also having influences of ongoing CVE practices in the world. Many states want to replicate such initiatives in the country. Government and civil society need to realize that Pakistan has very different context, where the extremist tendencies and trends are different from those in Western countries. A community focused CVE strategy cannot work in Pakistan, but there are lots of lessons to learn from Western strategies while evolving an indigenous plan for Pakistan.

Denmark has developed a three-layered CVE programme, which can be called Prevention Pyramid. First layer of this pyramid is called ‘general’, which focuses on early prevention through capacity building of youth. Second layer, described as ‘specific’ undertakes prevention through intervention and is aimed at vulnerable individuals and groups. Third layer is ‘targeted’ at re-socialization among individuals. Under this prevention strategy, different ministries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have evolved exit programmes. The police has initiated social services programmes with parents and teachers. Like other CVE programmes, the focus is on the Muslim communities without a thorough assessment of whether religion could be used as a curing element in these programmes or could prove counterproductive. These programmes stress on communities to think reasonably and do not evaluate political and ideological risks. The state thinks the communities should think like the majority and not link themselves with native cultures and countries. France

France is new in CVE modelling and is still struggling to evolve a prevent strategy. The major problem is the lack of integration of the Muslim communities into the society, which are largely concentrated in suburban areas. France had not taken the violent extremism seriously before the Charlie Hebdo incident in Paris as Muslims’ activism was driven by the Palestine-Israel issue and it had caused some serious terrorist attacks against the Jews in France. Experts believe that France’s participation in military campaigns in Libya and Northern Mali had triggered certain extremist tendencies and diversified the perspective. The CVE strategy is in its inception in France. This is different from strategies employed in other Western countries because of its focus on critical individuals and their rehabilitation. Rather than using counter-narratives and traditional counselling techniques, the French CVE strategy engages individuals in trust building process. It has three levels of engagement: first, identifying the vulnerable individuals and initiating trust building process; second, understanding individuals’ grievances, and religious and political views; and third, engaging them in the care process and deconstruct their views using media, art, theatre, and, other cultural expressions to build their confidence in life and surrounding. The challenge that French authorities are facing is linked to evolving the criteria of identification and categorization of vulnerable individuals. Though French authorities are optimistic about their strategy but it is still in the initial phase, and nothing concrete has been achieved so far. Belgium and Netherland have conceived their programmes in security perspective and appear largely inspired by the UK programme. There is agreement among experts that all these CVE strategies need to identify time frame, metrics, and indicators, drawing on other disciplines and allowing for flexibility. These initiatives can be made subjective through support from an empirical body of research and analysis. Pakistan is also having influences of ongoing CVE practices in the world. Many states want to replicate such initiatives in the country. Government and civil society need to realize that Pakistan has very different context, where the extremist tendencies and trends are different from those in Western countries. A community focused CVE strategy cannot work in Pakistan, but there are lots of lessons to learn from Western strategies while evolving an indigenous plan for Pakistan.

The writer is a security and political analyst and the Director of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). He has worked extensively on issues related to counter-terrorism, counter-extremism, internal and regional security, and politics. Twitter @AmirRana
16
September

Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh

I had originally intended writing this article to mark the first anniversary of the commencement of Zarb-e-Azb, note what had been accomplished and then go on to make suggestions on what else is needed to be done if the avowed intent of wiping out foreign and indigenous terrorists was to be achieved. This needed both action on the ground and a clear understanding by all centres of power in Pakistan that the flawed policies of the past, which had enabled terrorists and extremists of all hues and complexion to find shelter in Pakistan’s tribal areas and urban centres had to be abandoned. I decided, however, to postpone the effort to give myself more time to watch the unfolding of anticipated developments in our benighted country and in our region before finalising proposals for the future course of action. I believe, given the developments of the past few weeks that I was right to do so. First, however, let us look at what has been accomplished. Zarb-e-Azb, now 13 months old, involved grinding battles in inhospitable terrain and against well-trained and well-armed insurgents who had established their writ over large parts of our tribal areas, of evacuating civilians and then helping them to return to areas liberated from the clutches of the insurgents, of undertaking development work with whatever limited funds were available and most importantly convincing the local populace that there would be no let up in the operation and therefore no possibility of the insurgents returning to plague innocent civilians. In terms of regaining lost space the success has been enormous, marked most recently by the capture of all the peaks in the Shawal Valley and the designation of the clearance of the lower elevations in the valley as the Army’s next task.1 Heavy losses have been inflicted but a heavy cost has also been paid. In June the DG ISPR tweeted that 2763 terrorists had been killed. Tracking reports of further actions in the Shawal Valley and North Waziristan it would seem that the number by mid-July should have climbed close to 3000. In June the ISPR tweet said 347 officers and jawans had died in the operation. By mid July the figure would probably approach 400. As against the 1536 civilians who died in the first six months of 2013 and 786 in the comparable period in 2014 it has been calculated that only 500 civilians were killed in the same period in 2015.2 The success achieved so far and the reduction in terrorist related civilian casualties notwithstanding it is clear that the task in the Tribal Areas or in the urban centres is far from over. General Raheel Sharif has said that the operation will continue to its logical conclusion3 and ISPR while lauding the success achieved so far has refused to give a date by which the Shawal Valley, the last refuge of the insurgents will be cleared nor is there any date certain by which the IDPs will return to their homes. Let us be clear. Kinetic activity will continue but it will take time to complete the safe and secure return of the IDPs to their homes with safeguards to ensure that they would be sufficiently well equipped physically and politically to prevent the return to these areas of extremist elements will also take time. The guarantees we are seeking from tribal leaders towards this end will take time to negotiate but may be more easily obtained once the decision is taken to give FATA inhabitants the same rights and obligations that all Pakistanis have and do away with the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCRs). As in other facets of the battle we are contending with the accumulation of more than 35 years of benign neglect or more likely misguided policies and time will be needed to find the appropriate solutions and to build the trust that will permit the implementation of these solutions. As regards the urban areas, the Supreme Court Justice Jawad S. Khawaja may have been overly harsh in his remarks but it does seem that far too little has been done to implement the 20 point National Action Plan which required all of government effort.4 This may flow in part from the lack of political leadership but it is also largely reflective of the deterioration if not collapse of governance that has been the inevitable outcome of the politicizing of the civil services and the other tools of governance. Rebuilding the institutions of state will take both selfless political will and a move away from the corruption and venality, which have become part of our national polity. Perhaps if we start now we will see results in time to come but it will be a long and difficult struggle.

Let us be clear. Kinetic activity will continue but it will take time to complete the safe and secure return of the IDPs to their homes with safeguards to ensure that they would be sufficiently well equipped physically and politically to prevent the return to these areas of extremist elements will also take time. The guarantees we are seeking from tribal leaders towards this end will take time to negotiate but may be more easily obtained once the decision is taken to give FATA inhabitants the same rights and obligations that all Pakistanis have and do away with the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCRs). As in other facets of the battle we are contending with the accumulation of more than 35 years of benign neglect or more likely misguided policies and time will be needed to find the appropriate solutions and to build the trust that will permit the implementation of these solutions.

We have often taken credit for being a resilient nation managing to endure and to survive the hardships of electricity outages, water shortages and the corruption and ineptitude of officials manning our institutions. Perhaps given the right leadership, we will move towards a tax to GDP ratio comparable at least to other countries of South Asia, towards better family planning, towards higher and more focused expenditure on health, education and towards providing the other basic amenities on which depends the conversion of our youth bulge into an asset rather than the time bomb it appears to be today. Perhaps we can continue to prove our resilience as the task of repairing our institutions proceeds. We must recognize however, that there are short-term dangers that we have to tackle on an emergency basis if we are to keep alive the goal of becoming what we were intended to be a moderate tolerant country which would provide its citizens with equal rights and the opportunity to realize their full economic potential. These pertain ostensibly to our external relations but at least one of them has a direct and almost decisive bearing on our internal war while the other, in the view of some, has at least some influence on our internal situation. The meeting in Ufa between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan and the joint statement issued thereafter,5 calling for a meeting between the National Security Advisers of the two countries does not necessarily reflect a willingness to resume the interrupted dialogue between the two countries but it does seem to signal a lowering of tensions. Problems with India will remain. Suspicions of Indian interference in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan will remain just as India will continue to ask for pursuing the trial and punishment of the alleged perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai carnage case and will continue to suggest that infiltration into Occupied Kashmir is officially sponsored. There is, however, every possibility that when the two advisers meet there will be a tacit agreement that people living in glass houses should not throw stones and thereafter on a resumption of the dialogue. What is significant is that there has apparently been an agreement that on Kashmir the back channel will be resurrected6 to carry forward the discussions one assumes from where the two sides had left off. We may remain a long way from the normalization which is desirable but there need be no fear of an escalation of tension in the immediate future even though the news on 15th July was that there had been unprovoked firing on the Working Boundary7 and an Indian drone had been shot down when it violated Pakistan airspace along the LOC.8 The real problem is our other neighbour – Afghanistan. Here let us take the good news first. Thanks to some assiduous behind-the-scenes work by Pakistani officials and perhaps some help from others, an Afghan Government delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai and including representatives from the offices of President Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah met with a Taliban delegation which had been sanctioned according to Hekmat Karzai by Akhtar Mansoor, the deputy to Mullah Omar and which included a high representative of the Haqqani Network.9 The Afghan delegation in a briefing to the Afghan media identified the key Taliban participants as Mullah Yahya, a member of Haqqani network, Latif Mansoor from alleged Taliban's Quetta Shura and Abbas Akhund, representing Taliban's Qatar group.10 Subsequent statements in Pakistan, however, made it clear that in the Murree meeting there was no one from the Qatar negotiating team but their presence could be expected in the future.11 It is almost certain that the next meeting perhaps in China or another venue will be convened shortly, particularly now that Mullah Omar, in his written Eid message published on a Taliban website on July 15, has endorsed the talks even while maintaining that the fighting will continue and that the Taliban objective remains the removal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan.12 It is known that there are divisions within the Taliban ranks exacerbated by the fact that Mullah Omar has not been seen or heard from in person for the last many years. It is not certain that the publication of his biography a few weeks earlier to establish that he is alive and well and in command has served to quell the present misgivings among Taliban ranks. Akhtar Mansoor is the deputy to Mullah Omar but the military command seems to rest with Qayum Zakir who has been opposed to the talks and who seems to enjoy some measure of support from the field commanders. It is too early to say that Mullah Omar’s message will bridge these differences but it seems clear that as outside parties pursue the path of talks with renewed vigour, for reasons I will explain below, these dissenting voices must be brought under pressure, both political and physical.

My own feeling is that if there is no reconciliation, President Obama may have no choice but to extend the stay of his forces in Afghanistan and leave to his successor the decision on the pace of withdrawal. This is a good reason for those who want the withdrawal of all foreign forces to hasten the process of reconciliation.

If these talks do yield the positive results that can bring peace to Afghanistan there is every possibility that the parlous situation in which Afghanistan finds itself can slowly be fixed and Afghanistan can be set on the path of becoming what it wants to be – a country at peace with itself and with its neighbours, able to develop its vast mineral deposits and the transit country that can be the bridge between Central and South Asia. Most importantly it will then be able to tackle with the assistance of its neighbours the new threat of the ISIS that has emerged in the region and that may become centred in the northern provinces of Afghanistan. Let me now explain what I mean about the parlous situation in Afghanistan. President Ghani overtures to Pakistan are bearing fruit but this has not silenced his critics. The Afghan media’s tone has changed somewhat but incendiary false reports continue appearing alleging that Pakistan is supporting the enemies of the Ghani administration and Afghanistan. The following press reports are illustrative. A report entitled “Afghan forces on alert amid reports Pakistani helicopters helping Taliban” by Khaama Press July 6, 2015 said “The Afghan national security forces were put on alert amid reports Pakistani helicopters are helping the Taliban militants by supplying weapons in eastern Paktia province”. (Before the Muree meeting). Pakistan's ISI and Military Supporting Insurgents in Paktia: Officials, TOLO July 15, 2015 says, “Security officials on Wednesday said that Pakistan's spy agency and military troops are directly supporting insurgents through airstrikes and ground clashes in the eastern Paktia province”. Clearly there are elements in Afghanistan who aim at destroying the newfound rapprochement between the two countries. President Ghani’s predecessor President Karzai – who first talked about Pakistan and Afghanistan as “Conjoined Twins” – has apparently become a lead figure in the effort to discredit the National Unity Government (NUG) and its agreements with Pakistan. On July 14, according to Afghan media reports Ghani met with Karzai and apparently cleared the air with regard to the intelligence sharing agreement that has been negotiated between Afghanistan’s intelligence directorate and Pakistan’s ISI but that is far from certain. It was pressure from such quarters that had forced Ghani to write a letter to Pakistani authorities demanding actions against the Taliban that could have proved counterproductive to the main effort of getting the Taliban to the negotiating table. In other words, unless reconciliation efforts start bearing fruit in quick time there are spoilers within Afghanistan’s political establishment that would seek to sabotage the Pak-Afghan relations, which is an essential if not indispensable element in the process. The weakness of the NUG’s political position is evident from the fact that Ghani’s candidate for Defence Minister Masoum Stanekzai has been rejected by the Wolesi Jirga. This is the second nomination for Defence Minister that the Wolesi Jirga has turned down – in effect cocking a snook at the NUG. On the battlefront the Taliban have made worrying gains. In Ghazni, Wardak, Nuristan, Paktia and Faryab provinces many districts are under threat while the major battles are occurring around Kunduz, Badakhshan, Helmand and Oruzgan provinces.13 Nearly a million Afghans have been driven from their homes in these conflict ridden provinces to other parts of the country and, in a change from the past, 40% of the displaced persons are in what was hitherto the peaceful northern part of the country.14 Aid for the displaced is scanty. The UN has received less than 1/3rd of the $405 million it requested to help the Afghan IDPs.15 If even this assistance becomes unavailable Afghanistan’s IDPs will be in an even more dire situation than they are now and will more easily fall prey to the siren call of the extremists who appear to have substantial financial resources. Of course while this situation subsists there is no question of Afghanistan being able to arrange the voluntary repatriation of the 5 million Afghans in Pakistan and the 2 million Afghans in Iran. While I have not seen reliable figures from any source on the economic situation in Afghanistan, the World Bank overview for 2014 points out that “the Economic growth is estimated to have fallen further to 2 percent in 2014 from 3.7 percent in 2013 and an average of 9 percent during 2003-12” and that ‘Domestic revenues fell from a peak of 11.6 percent of GDP in 2011 to 8.4 percent in 2014”.16 The first half of 2015 with its added expenditure on security and declining economic activity could only have been worse. President Ghani has done a great deal to tackle the evil of corruption throwing out many officials from customs and ousting incompetent and corrupt governors but he has not been able to appoint new people and the administration therefore remains less than ideal. One can safely conclude that in the present circumstances Afghanistan will have to be heavily dependent on foreign assistance for the foreseeable future perhaps even beyond the 2024 deadline that had been originally proposed to donors at the Tokyo and Brussels conferences. Such dependence on foreign assistance will of course make the Afghan government whatever its complexion more susceptible to foreign pressures. On the military front there is no doubt that while the ANA (Afghan National Army) is performing better than many had expected, it is under almost unbearable pressure. Attrition remains high and its need for logistic and air support in combat operations is such that President Obama reluctantly has conceded the demand of his local commanders to allow the limited foreign forces in Afghanistan to provide such support and has promised not to withdraw any of them in 2015. There is a growing lobby in Washington which is arguing that the 2016 deadline date set by Obama for the withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan must be revised to allow the withdrawal schedule to be determined by the ground situation. Gen. Dunford the former Commander of ISAF forces in Afghanistan (ISAF/NATO) and now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in testifying before the Senate for his confirmation hearings said in answering a question on this deadline that “I can assure you if I’m confirmed I’ll provide advice to the President that will allow us to meet our current end-state goal and that’ll be based on conditions on the ground.”17 My own feeling is that if there is no reconciliation, President Obama may have no choice but to extend the stay of his forces in Afghanistan and leave to his successor the decision on the pace of withdrawal. This is a good reason for those who want the withdrawal of all foreign forces to hasten the process of reconciliation. There are of course many other facets of the situation in Afghanistan which merit attention (bad loans of banks, failure to hold elections or reform the election commission, rearming of local militias to fight the Taliban, the alliance between Atta Noor Mohammad and Gen. Dostum to fight the Taliban, Hekmatyar’s sudden decision to support the ISIS and subsequent contradiction but not by Hikmatyar himself etc.) and have a bearing on reconciliation but shortage of space does not permit the luxury of commenting on them all. Let me therefore come to, what to my mind is, the most important reason for hastening the process of reconciliation – the emergence of the ISIS in Afghanistan and the nexus between the ISIS adherents currently in Afghanistan and those from the TTP and other extremist organizations in Pakistan who have espoused the same cause. There is very little doubt in the minds of most observers that the success that ISIS has had in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province on the border with Pakistan’s tribal areas and in the northern Provinces of Nuristan, Faryab, Kunduz are owed largely to the exodus of the TTP members, the IMU adherents, the Chechens, the Tajiks and even the Uighurs who have fled from North Waziristan as the Pakistani forces made it impossible for these terrorist elements to survive in Pakistan’s tribal areas. As their other source of funding decreased (Al-Qaeda, smuggling, drug trafficking, criminal activity) they found it easy to justify to themselves a shift to the ISIS which in many ways with its dream of a Khorasan province of the Islamic Caliphate of Abu Bakr Baghdadi reflected their self proclaimed objective of having no borders between the Ummah and of destroying all non Muslim forces in the world. For many, if not all of them war has become a way of life. ISIS provides funds and an opportunity to continue with war while allowing for a hypocritical claim of fighting for an Islamic cause. The Afghan Ambassador told the UN Security Council that 7000 foreign insurgents had moved into Afghanistan’s northern provinces.18 Striking an even more alarming note, Hudoberdi Holiqnazarov, Director of Tajikistan's Centre for Strategic Studies said that “at the beginning of 2014 there were 800 Taliban militants in the Afghan northern provinces, but now the armed men have reached 8,000," and that "The IS allocated 700 million U.S. dollars to create its arm in Afghanistan. These negative factors could change the situation in Tajikistan and Central Asia."19 The figure Mr. Holiqinazarov has mentioned in terms of financing provided by ISIS from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq may be exaggerated but there is no doubt that ISIS is far richer than Al-Qaeda ever was and that its move into our region started as early as September last year when the first pamphlets appeared in Peshawar, when six TTP members pledged allegiance to ISIS and then in January ISIS declared the Afghanistan-Pakistan region as part of its Khorasan province.20 For the Central Asian States developments in Afghanistan’s northern provinces are for reasons of proximity and kinship of considerable interest and concern. That concern extends also to Central Asia’s other neighbours. It is my conjecture that during his meeting with President Putin on the margins of the SCO moot in Ufa, Prime Minister Sharif was told that Russia apprehended ISIS infiltration from Afghanistan into Central Asia and thence into Russia’s own Muslim Republics and asked for Pakistan’s cooperation in combating this menace. Such cooperation he probably implied could well become one pillar of the new relationship Pakistan is seeking with Russia. There is no doubt at all that China must have been even more strident in pointing out to Sharif the dangers the growing ISIS presence in Afghanistan poses to China’s Xinjiang province and how the planned CPEC could be jeopardized by an ISIS presence in Afghanistan’s provinces bordering Pakistan. He may have hinted at the danger of ISIS from a firm base in disturbed Afghanistan make fresh incursions into Pakistan not only in the border areas but in urban centres to where such organizations as the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba and other sectarian organizations would readily accept the false doctrines of the ISIS since they were in accord with their own objectives. There is perhaps some truth in the assertions of former President Karzai and his cohorts that Afghan circumstances are not conducive to an impactful ISIS presence in Afghanistan.21 The Taliban in Afghanistan, however, do not take the ISIS threat as lightly as does former President Karzai. In a written message to Abu Bakr Baghdadi the deputy head of the Taliban said "The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) does not consider the multiplicity of jihadi ranks beneficial either for jihad or for Muslims…Your decisions taken from a distance will result in (the IS) losing support of religious scholars, mujahedeen…and in order to defend its achievements the Islamic Emirate will be forced to react”.22 This is perhaps the reason why the Taliban division appears to be dangerous to their leaders – the commanders in the field may find the ISIS call alluring – but the Taliban must realize that in combating ISIS they have a convergence with the Ghani administration and with Pakistan. Our political leaders have so far made light of the ISIS threat but I would suggest that the threat is real and more proximate than we wish to acknowledge. This threat which is tearing the Taliban asunder within Afghanistan is much more serious in Pakistan given the organizations that have flourished in Pakistan and the sectarian killings that continue to plague Pakistan’s polity particularly the targeting of the Hazaras in Balochistan. It would be naïve for us in Pakistan to deny ISIS’s ability to recruit followers in Pakistan. ISIS is a clear and present danger. Allowing them to gain a firm foothold in Afghanistan is to invite a similar but larger foothold in Pakistan. Pakistan’s security establishment at least appears to be aware of the dangers that ISIS poses. Thanks, I believe, to the enhanced security cooperation after fresh Pak-Afghan rapprochement, enough information has been shared between the Afghans, Pakistanis and the Americans to allow drone attacks to take out ISIS operatives in Nangarhar Province. The deaths of Shahidullah Shahid previously TTP spokesperson and then ISIS spokesman, Gul Zaman23 reportedly deputy head of the Khorasan branch of the ISIS and most importantly of Hafiz Saeed, the reported head of the Khorasan branch. An ISIS site has released an audio tape by Hafiz Saeed and claimed that he is alive but the tape is undated and my own belief is that although he has in the past been incorrectly reported as killed this time the report is correct since the Afghan official claimed that the body was retrieved and identified before the claim of his death was made.24 What then are the recommendations that flow from this identification of the new and perhaps more ominous danger that the situation in Afghanistan can create for Pakistan? Largely they are self-evident. First we must use as we have done already in some measure whatever influence and other tools we have to persuade the Taliban to stay on the course of negotiating a political settlement with the Ghani administration which has already made it clear that everything is on the table except some elements of the Afghan constitution to which the Taliban do not, in any case, have any serious objection. Second build further bridges with the Ghani administration and offer whatever intelligence or other assistance the Afghans can accept to help them combat the ISIS threat in the Northern Provinces. Participate if possible in any initiatives that the Central Asian States, Russia and China wish to take in this respect. Third even if other elements of the National Action Plan remain moribund, the crackdown on sectarian organizations must be speeded up not only to protect our minorities but also to deny the ISIS the recruits that it would find in these organizations. Fourth do what we can to persuade the international community to maintain its economic and military assistance levels commensurate with Afghanistan’s current needs and to help the Ghani administration to implement the reforms needed to maintain political stability, election reforms and financing for new parliamentary elections and those needed to attract the foreign investment needed to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral resources.
The writer is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and contributes regularly for print and electronic media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1 Washington Post, Pakistani military says it achieved major victory in mountain assault, July 4, 2015
2 Washington Post, One year after it went to war, Pakistan is safer but doubts persist, June 15, 2015
3 Washington Post, Pakistani military says it achieved major victory in mountain assault, July 4, 2015
4 Express Tribune, Implementing the NAP, (Editorial) July 6, 2015
5 Dawn, Indian PM Modi accepts invite for first Pakistan visit, Joint Statement, July 10, 2015
6 Express Tribune, Kashmir issue to be tackled through back-channel diplomacy: Aziz, (originally published in the Times of India) July 15, 2015
7 Dawn, Indian troops resort to unprovoked firing along working boundary, July 15, 2015
8 Dawn, Pakistan military shoots down Indian 'spy drone', July 15, 2015
9 Islamabad Talks Vital Step Towards Achieving Peace, Delegation Tolo. The full delegation was Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) political deputy; Haji Din Mohammad HPC member; Farhadullah another HPC member; Faizullah Zaki, the head of the First Vice President's Office; Asadullah Sadati, representing the Second Vice President's Office; Engr. Muhammad Asem, representative to the Chief Executive; and Mohammad Natiqi, representing the Second Deputy Chief Executive. July 9, 2015
10 Ibid
11 Express Tribune, Taliban had leadership’s nod for Muree process, says Aziz, July 14, 2015
12 New York Times, Message in Name of Taliban's Mullah Omar Favours Afghan Peace Process, July 15, 2015
13 New York Times, map of Taliban Insurgency, July 07, 2015
14 Washington Post, Afghans who once watched war from afar forced to flee as front lines shift, July 13, 2015
15 Ibid
16 World Bank Overview of Afghanistan, 2014
17 Los Angeles Times, Joint Chiefs nominee sails through confirmation hearing, July 10, 2015
18 'Unprecedented' Surge Of Militants Plagues Afghanistan, UN Told RFE, June 24, 2015
19 Xinhua, CSTO forces, Tajik reservists to jointly fight Taliban, IS militants, July 6
20 Diplomat, Islamic State and Jihadi Realignments in Khorasan, May 08, 2015
21 Ibid
22 Newsweek, Taliban Warns ISIS, Don’t Come to Afghanistan, June 16, 2015
23 Washington Post, Officials: Top Islamic State leader killed in Afghanistan strike, July 11, 2015
24 Ibid

16
September

Written By: Justice (Retd) Dr. Javed Iqbal

As a Muslim, the Quaid believed in non-sectarian Islam preached and practiced by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He believed in the ideals of Meesaq-e-Madina, which was based on the concept of a pluralistic society.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the tipping point in Pakistan´s history. We are at cross-roads where our salvation lies in extending full support to the combined civil-military efforts to save Pakistan from internal and external enemies. We must rally around the Quaid´s ideals of Unity, Faith and Discipline. In-Sha-Allah our efforts will be crowned with success.

Hilal is highly indebted and offers special gratitude to Dr. Javed Iqbal, son of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who wrote this exclusive article for Hilal. Dr Javed Iqbal is a renowned scholar and former Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. He completed his PhD from Cambridge in 1954 and later went to Lincoln’s Inn to become Barrister-at-Law.

Pakistan came into existence as an independent state on August 14 sixty-eight years ago. Our first Independence Day coincided with the 27th of Ramadan which is regarded as sacred by all Muslims. It was a gift of Almighty Allah who crowned with success the efforts of the Muslims of the sub-continent to achieve independence under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Pakistan is the realization of the dream of Allama Iqbal who declared in 1930 that such a state would mean security and peace for India resulting from an internal balance of power, and for Islam an opportunity to mobilize its law, its education, its culture, and to bring the Muslims of India into closer contact with its own original spirit and the spirit of modern times. The Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations by every ideological definition, and therefore Muslims should have an autonomous homeland in the Muslim majority areas of India for the safeguard of their political, cultural, and social rights. The differences between Hindus and Muslims were not confined to the struggle for political supremacy, but were also manifested in the clash of two social orders. Despite living together for more than a thousand years, they continued to develop different cultures and traditions. The Muslims refused to accept a political system that would reduce them to a permanent minority. Thus Pakistan was created by the struggle of the minorities to liberate themselves from the oppression of the majority.

Iqbal was a visionary while Jinnah was a man of action. Iqbal accomplished his task by handing over the torch to Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Quaid, during his struggle for the achievement of Pakistan, reiterated the main features of the proposed Islamic State, as enunciated by Iqbal. According to Iqbal the four dimensions of Islamic culture are: 1) Democracy; 2) Ijtihad; 3) Acquisition of Knowledge; and 4) Creativity. Quaid-i-Azam in his presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, declared: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state. The first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state.

One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering is bribery and corruption. We must put down this poison with an iron hand. Black-marketing is another curse. You have to tackle this monster, which is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life. A citizen who does black-marketing commits a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. The next thing is the evil of nepotism and jobbery. I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me. Whenever I will find that such a practice is in vogue or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it.”

As a Muslim, the Quaid believed in non-sectarian Islam preached and practiced by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He believed in the ideals of Meesaq-e-Madina, which was based on the concept of a pluralistic society. However, after his demise in 1948, Pakistan rapidly found itself in an unpredictable environment and during the past almost seven decades we lost sight of all the ideals enunciated by the Quaid. Pakistan today is facing multiple problems and challenges caused mainly by intolerance, extremism, sectarianism, corruption, nepotism and terrorism.

To overcome this intolerable situation, the army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15, 2014 to wipe out terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. Approximately so far 2,763 militants have been killed during this military offensive. The operation has reduced the incidents of terrorism and the overall security situation has greatly improved. Following the terrorist attack on the Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014 in which 145 people, including 132 school children were killed, an All Parties Conference chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached consensus over a plan to tackle terrorism.

The National Action Plan was announced by the Government of Pakistan in January 2015 to resolve the issue of extremism and terrorism. It is a major coordinated effort by the Armed Forces and the civilian government which has received whole hearted support and cooperation across the country's political spectrum. It combines foreign and domestic policy initiatives aimed to crackdown and eventually eliminate proscribed organizations and terrorists across the country.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the tipping point in Pakistan´s history. We are at cross-roads where our salvation lies in extending full support to the combined civil-military efforts to save Pakistan from internal and external enemies. We must rally around the Quaid´s ideals of Unity, Faith and Discipline. In-Sha-Allah our efforts will be crowned with success. Pakistan Zindabad!

16
September

Written By: Brian Cloughley

On June 6-7, 2015 Prime Minister Modi of India visited Bangladesh and spoke gravely about terrorism. In a speech at Dhaka University he said appropriately that “terrorism is the enemy of humanity. All forces of humanity should unite and isolate extremism.” In a well-turned phrase he declared that “tourism unites the world, terrorism divides,” which was an eerie summation of the terrorist slaughter of 38 western tourists in Tunisia only eighteen days later. His rational sentiments might have attracted wider approval had he refrained from the sexist pronouncement that “I am happy that [the] Bangladesh Prime Minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism.”

It is not clear what Mr. Modi intended to convey by his expression of happiness, although it is beyond belief that he could imagine most women actually tolerating terrorism. His hostess, however, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, appeared to accept his patronizing observation with the self-confidence for which she is so notable, and there were no reports that the students of the university objected, although there were many Twitter posts of reproach. Mr. Modi’s condescending sexism may be mildly amusing, but what he went on to say was far from positive or constructive. At a time and especially place in which he could have most effectively drawn the nations of the sub-continent together he chose to be confrontational. “Pakistan,” he said, “constantly disturbs us, and has created a nuisance... it promotes terrorism and incidents keep recurring.”

Certainly “incidents keep recurring” — but in June the only terrorist incidents in the subcontinent took place in Peshawar and North Waziristan where the Pakistan Army is combating extremists not only on behalf of the citizens of Pakistan but of the world as a whole. In the period January to June 2015, there was not a single incident of terrorism recorded in India while there were twelve in Pakistan. The main incident of organized anti-state violence in India was on 4 June when Naga militants ambushed an Indian Army convoy in Manipur state, killing 18 soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment. Global Security notes that “Nagaland has its own distinct culture and ethos. Happy and cheerful, the people have an innate sense of music and colour.” But as observed by Kadayam Subramanian, a former Director General of Police in Northeast India, “The Naga insurgency arose out of Naga nationalism which focused on the sovereignty and territoriality of the Naga people. Naga nationalism was suppressed brutally by independent India. The long and painful saga of the Naga struggle for independence is well recorded... The Naga insurgency is the oldest and most powerful insurgency in India today.” The Manipur ambush prompted an Indian military operation outside its borders — a precedent that caused Pakistan and indeed the world at large to take note of a significant change of policy in Delhi.

It would have been more to the point if Mr. Modi had withdrawn his declaration that Pakistan promotes terrorism and agreed to immediately restart dialogue to discuss major — indeed vital — matters of bilateral security. Failing this, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have no option but to maintain a high degree of vigilance. They have to be prepared to counter and defeat “speedy multiple offensives deep into enemy territory.”

Some Naga militants are based in Myanmar and it was decided that they should be taken out. On 9 June, two days after Mr. Modi’s Bangladesh visit, his army’s special forces crossed the border into Myanmar and attacked two Naga camps, killing an unknown number of militants. Two days after the operation, the Defence Minister, the ever loquacious Manohar Parrikar, was reported by The Hindu newspaper as saying there had been a “change in mindset” in India and that “If the thinking pattern changes, lot of things change. You have seen for the last two-three days... those who fear India’s new posture have already started reacting... You have seen for the last two to three days, a simple action against insurgents has changed the mindset of the full security scenario in the country.”

His pronouncement was an unmistakable threat to Pakistan, in spite of coming from a defence minister whose credibility is crumbling even in Delhi’s ultra-nationalist BJP government — but there has been no attempt to deny or amend the thrust of his remarks. They remain official government declarations, along with Mr. Modi’s avowal that Pakistan “promotes terrorism.” On June 10, India’s Economic Times newspaper reported the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, as similarly explicit in “asserting that attacks on Indians are not acceptable anywhere. The Minister, a former colonel, said that based on effective intelligence, ‘we will carry out surgical strikes at the place and time of our own choosing’.”

The paper went on to note that Rathore “was asked whether such attacks could be carried out in the western border” to which he replied that “western disturbances will also be equally dealt with [and] the operations today [9 June] were a message to all such neighbours who harbour terror intentions. Friendship and zero tolerance will go hand in hand. This is a beginning. India is strong. This message should go to everyone.” It appears that the message had already gone to the Indian army, because reports of India’s annual springtime military exercises close to the border with Pakistan indicated emphasis in practicing tactics associated with deep penetration.

It should not be forgotten that after the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26-29, 2008 there were open warnings of preparations to strike against Pakistan. On December 24, Air Marshal PK Barbora, commander Western Air Command, said, “the IAF has earmarked 5,000 targets in Pakistan. But whether we will cross the LoC or the International Border to hit the enemy targets will have to be decided by the political leadership of the country.” The Air Force was ready to go, as was the Army. Six months later Air Marshal Barbora was appointed Vice Chief of Air Staff, which sent the message that there was no official disapproval of his threat.

Later I wrote that on June 4, 2009 the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of India’s South-Western Air Command, Air Marshal KD Singh, declared that “in case of a misadventure by Pakistan in shape of major terrorist attack or the attack like the one we had on the Parliament, attack on our leader, a major city, public or hijacking an aircraft, can obviously lead to a reaction from India, which could be a short intense war.” Then on 1st November 2009 India’s Home Minister, Mr. Chidambaram, was reported as saying “I’ve been warning Pakistan not to play any more games. Let Mumbai be the last such game. If they carry out any more attacks on India, they will not only be defeated, but we will also retaliate with the force of a sledgehammer.” The threat from Delhi, which many observers had considered to have been negligible, given the apparent pragmatism of the government of Dr. Manmohan Singh, was spelled out in blunt and menacing terms.

In April-May 2015 India’s 2 Corps (Strike Corps) conducted Exercise Brahmashira (‘Ultimate Weapon’) in Rajasthan, 50 km from the border opposite Multan, involving some 20,000 troops practicing to “break through multiple obstacles in a restricted timeframe.” A spokesman stated that “the focus of the exercise is on new and efficient ways of fighting a war in a synergized battlefield” and Indian media reported that “the exercise has been conceptualized by the Kharga Corps under aegis of Western Command for rapid mobilization and speedy multiple offensives deep into enemy territory.” In other military manoeuvres in April, the army’s 10 Corps held Exercise Akraman-II (‘Attack’) — also in Rajasthan, near the border with Pakistan — involving “more than 300 combat vehicles, main battle tanks, long range artillery guns and about 10,000 troops.” Among other things it practiced “the capabilities of Indian Air Force in launching deep insertion of airborne and helicopter-borne army units.” HQ 10 Corps is at Bhatinda and two of its three divisions, 16 and 18, are headquartered, respectively, at Sri Ganganagar (20 km from the border) and Bikaner (60). “Speedy multiple offensives” and “deep insertion” are phrases that strike a warning chord with military planners facing an army of a million that is patently planning for offensive action — under the orders of a prime minister who states publicly that “Pakistan has created a nuisance . . . it promotes terrorism.”

There has been much analysis and discussion of Pakistan’s possible reaction to a thrust — a larger-scale and more ambitious Myanmar-style strike, for example — across the border or the Line of Control, and my conclusion is that any such action could on no account be accepted by Pakistan, which would have to react vigorously to protect its sovereignty.

On Mr. Modi’s website it is stated that “Dynamic, dedicated and determined, Narendra Modi arrives as a ray of hope in the lives of a billion Indians.” But it says nothing about any rays of hope concerning relations with India’s most important neighbour. Mr. Modi met with Mr. Nawaz Sharif on 10 July at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Russia. The handshakes were formal, the body language indicative of suspicion rather than cordiality — but at least they met and talked, and Mr. Modi agreed to come to Islamabad next year for the SAARC Summit.

India’s Hindu newspaper reported that they “made no commitment on restarting dialogue” but that they had “tasked Foreign Secretaries S Jaishankar and Aizaz Chowdhury with announcing a five-pronged statement of progress in their discussions, including meetings between National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz and between military and border security force chiefs of the two nations.” It would have been more to the point if Mr. Modi had withdrawn his declaration that Pakistan promotes terrorism and agreed to immediately restart dialogue to discuss major — indeed vital — matters of bilateral security. Failing this, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have no option but to maintain a high degree of vigilance. They have to be prepared to counter and defeat “speedy multiple offensives deep into enemy territory.”

The writer is a France based retired officer of Australian Army and is an expert on South Asian affairs. He is also author of various books, and contributes extensively in international media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
18
August

Written By: Maria Khalid

A report on wounded soldiers of Pakistan Army who lost their limbs while fighting War on Terror in FATA. Pakistan Army took special measures and equipped AFIRM for medical care and rehabilitation of these soldiers. Since then thousands of soldiers have been treated and rehabilitated.

On a hot afternoon in June, I set out from Hilal Magazine's office at General Headquarters (GHQ) and drove up to the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM), located near Military Hospital (MH), Rawalpindi. I had been hearing much about contributions of this institute in helping very critical patients, some of whom had even lost both of their hands and legs, and bringing them back to normal life. Much was running through my mind as I entered the institute.

 

notleftalone1.jpg

 

“In the beginning I couldn’t walk because of my amputated leg. I was fixed with an artificial limb by AFIRM. They made me do different exercises and now I think it’s my own leg, not artificial. There are days when I wake up and I feel my shoulder hurts, or my stumps are sore, but I just keep on pushing forward. Because when we are inducted in the Army, we are ready to take bullets,” shared Havildar Muhammad Jamal, who is admitted at AFIRM for the third time for prosthesis repair since the blast in Orakzai Agency in 2010, that resulted in the loss of his leg. He was given first aid and then rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Kohat where he was advised that amputation was the best course of action. From there, he was sent to AFIRM for further treatment that continues till date. "I never thought I could walk again but AFIRM did it and now I can walk well with my artificial limbs. They have not only healed my wounds but have also given me strength and hope to live again," said emotionally charged Jamal who is a paramedic himself. During his stay at AFIRM, he learnt computers and now he is serving in his unit and works in the medical branch on a computer along with his other paramedic duties. Without post-operative care and physiotherapy, he would have remained bed-ridden for the rest of his life.

Established in 1980 and upgraded from time to time, AFIRM has looked after thousands of patients like Havildar Jamal. There is a chain of rehab departments that were established in quick succession within AFIRM: Artificial Limbs & Appliances Center set up in 2007 (upgraded in 2014); Department of Speech & Psychology set up in 2008; Occupational Therapy in 2009; Vocational Training in 2010; the Pain Clinic in 2011, and Sports Rehab in 2012. During 2005, an earthquake of 7.6 magnitude hit Pakistan and brought much destruction, injuring around 70,000 plus people in addition to almost the same number of deaths. Besides many other weaknesses, a wide gap in rehabilitation services was observed in dealing with the casualties. “Our hospitals weren’t ready to receive such mass casualties and War on Terror was yet another stimulus for the development of rehab spectrum services in Pakistan,” said Major General Tahir Mukhtar Sayed, Commandant of AFIRM. Accordingly improvements and developments were carried out and now complete treatment of such patients is done here at AFIRM. He further added, “The war-wounded patients constitute the bulk of our admitted clientele, around 65-70%. Then there are those with road traffic accidents, spinal injuries since we are the only centre which treats spinal trauma injuries to limbs or amputations. At times we get diabetes amputations, too.”

notleftalone3.jpgThe institute has admission capacity of 100 beds and 90% are occupied most of the time. They have adequate resources and support in terms of finances and infrastructure. AFIRM is transforming lives of amputees by giving them mobility and the strength to endure this trial with dignity. Mushtaq, a war-wounded patient at AFIRM, is a triple amputee but is capable of performing various functions with his right myoelectric hand. “Not only are we acquiring bionic arms to put on patients but we are collaborating with Project Management Organization (PMO) and National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) to do it in a cost effective way as it costs us about 2 million at present. We have also acquired the capacity to do the metallurgy work. In not too distant a future, we will be making it ourselves,” shared the Commandant.

Sometimes there are people who have lost both their legs and an arm and the challenge lie for AFIRM in preparing their muscles and grooming them psychologically, do the cosmetic work and then train them for changed capabilities. It is a challenge to deal with young patients having limb injuries and to bring them back to a stage where they can be retained in service in lines with the new policy.

On March 1, 2015, Havildar Pervez Khan was working with the Searching and Explosive Unit of Pakistan Army in Mir Ali, South Waziristan when a Rocket-Propelled Grenade hit him. In AFIRM, he was sitting before me with his back leaning against the hospital bed, his clothing on the right leg rolled up to reveal a stump below the knee, covered with bandage. “Harrowing pain shot through my body but I didn’t lose my consciousness when the rocket was fired. My fellow soldiers kept sitting with me and tried to comfort me as I was the only one who got injured. When I was flown to the hospital, not certain about my future as initial medical treatment indicated of serious injuries that could lead to amputation. And finally my foot was cut,” he narrated. But he was satisfied with the treatment that he was being provided at AFIRM. Pervez looked more determined with his eyes glowing as he shared further about his routine and life, "Gym is all the more important because when there’s no foot below one leg, the other one has to bear the entire weight. With vocational training we are given hope that we aren’t disabled. They give us guidelines to take care of ourselves; they make modifications at our home with the supporting components such as disable friendly washrooms, kitchen and dining areas. I see where I stand now. I am respected more than before and people greet me with so much love. They come to see me here, they come to my home. If I call one person from my regiment, 10 people would come rushing for help.”

notleftalone2.jpg

 

The institute is attending about 1200 patients per day and the success rate is quite high. “Because of the work load we have, there are teams coming from England, America, Switzerland and Turkey. They are very keen to collaborate with us because of the numbers we are dealing with. This war has created 37000 injured with limbs in Pakistan. Nobody else has that high a figure. British Army has just signed a working agreement with us so that they could send their teams in AFIRM to work with us. Similarly, American Army’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre has set up a huge collaborative programme with us,” Maj Gen Tahir shared with us.

Sepoy Muhammad Ibrahim from 3 Baloch Regiment was moving in a convoy in South Waziristan Agency when a blast had blown his left leg off. The damage was catastrophic. With no loss of time, he was flown in a helicopter to CMH, Rawalpindi. When he regained consciousness after an hour, he was told his leg wound was beyond treatment. It was a shock to regain consciousness after an hour and listen the news that the surgeons would cut the leg off above the knee. He was finally brought to AFIRM after the treatment. For around 6 months after the blast, he couldn’t get used to the idea of immobility and his stump. He was then fixed with an artificial leg and sent for home training. He’s at the Rehabilitation Medicine Centre for a month now. His family is supporting him however they could and they now have hope that he would be fit to walk again.

The institute instills hope into these patients that Pakistan Army and the society haven't abandoned them and uses whatever means are needed to support them. Stories of these soldiers’ lives speak of extraordinary courage and a continuous struggle to go on in life, not as a disabled patient but as a tax payer, a normal citizen who is not a burden on the society.

To walk and walk normally is the primal human urge. The management at AFIRM is thinking in terms of solutions, way beyond the problems that are many and immense. AFIRM is in the process of setting up a Gait Analysis Lab which would be the only laboratory of its kind in Pakistan. More so, to facilitate patients, a valet parking lot has also been arranged.

The organization is currently making about 400-450 prosthetic processes and over 10,000 orthotics. “This is also an area we want to develop further,” told Maj Gen Tahir Mukhtar Sayed. Not only treatment, but AFIRM is also doing capacity building to groom doctors (both uniformed and non-uniformed) who can carry out treatment of such patients across the country. Of the 38 rehabilitation specialists in Pakistan, 32 received their training at AFIRM which is an honour.

Naib Subedar Sadiq Hussain from 36 Azad Kashmir Regiment had his limb amputated after he stepped on an anti-personnel mine while he was on a search operation in South Waziristan. He’s at AFIRM since April 22, 2014. He was put through muscle strengthening training before being given an artificial leg. Now he is learning to walk with it. After the swelling is gone and the leg fits in, only then he would be able to walk comfortably. Although an amputee’s pain can be harrowing and difficult to deal with, he seems unfazed by a prosthetic leg attached to his body that helps him walk. “We are Muslims and have been inducted in the army to serve this country and nation, we can’t let our hope die. I am very happy the way my treatment is being done in this institution,” shared Sadiq Hussain. The feeling of pride hanged in the air of a ghazi who had just won a fight – the fight within.

18
August

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

It is not usually realized that by merely accompanying Jinnah wherever he went during the 1940s, Fatima Jinnah had psychologically prepared the Muslim women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men during the freedom struggle. Numerous pictures of the period show Miss Fatima Jinnah walking alongside Jinnah, not behind him. The message was loud and clear – the message both the brother and the sister wished to convey to the nation.

Over the decades a good deal has been written on Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah’s (1893-1967) singular contribution to national politics. The focus in most writings on her and about her is almost exclusively on how she stood for and beckoned the people to the pristine principles that had impelled the demand for Pakistan; how she had inspired the strivings and sacrifices in their quest, how she had enabled the beleaguered nation to own them up; how she had provided an unfailing source of inspiration to them during the 1950s and the 1960s; how she had helped, substantially and significantly, to keep the torch of democracy aflame in the most un-fortuitous circumstances; and, thus, how, above all, she, more than anyone else, had sustained the nation’s quest for democracy during president Ayub’s (1907-74) marathon semi-authoritarian rule.

Fatima Jinnah’s contribution in the social development sector, though as singular, substantial and critical, has however lain ignored somewhat. This has largely remained overshadowed by her political role despite the fact that she, along with Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (1905-90), had made the greatest contribution in the realm of women’s awakening and participation in national affairs, in their emancipation, their regeneration, and their empowerment. Indeed, since her early life Fatima Jinnah had served as a role model for Muslim girls/women in several areas as the various roles she had donned would indicate.

Indeed, if you cast a glance at the various vicissitudes of her life, you will see that from the beginning she had cast herself in the role of a modern Muslim female persona. That role calls for equipping oneself to shoulder the tasks, along with its male counterpart, at various levels – domestic, public, and/or national – and contribute fully and significantly its share in accomplishing them.

Consider, for instance, her early life. In an age when few Muslim girls took to English education, she went in for modern education. In an age, when convent schools and boarding schools for girls were shunned, she enrolled herself in the Bandhara Convent School (1902) and, later in St. Patrick School, Bhandara (1906) from where she did her matriculation. And all the while she stayed on her own in a hostel, much against the family and Khoja traditions. She did her Senior Cambridge in 1913. In an age when few Indian (not to speak of Muslim) women went in for a professional degree or diploma and training, she went in for one. She moved to Calcutta in 1919, and got herself enrolled in Dr. Ahmad Dental College. Interestingly, she decided to stay on her own in a hostel, although her elder sister, Maryam, was living along with her family over there. Not only did she train herself as a dentist; she also, with Quaid’s encouragement, opened a dental clinic on Abdur Rehman Street, a Muslim locality in Bombay, in 1923. Indeed, a rare phenomenon even for cosmopolitan and modernized Bombay. In an age, when social work was not an in-thing, nor a sort of fashion, even with educated and affluent womenfolk in India’s most modern society except for the tiny Parsi community, she exhibited a passion for social work. She worked simultaneously at the nearby Dhobi Talau Municipal Clinic, on a voluntary basis.

 

afemaleper1.jpg

 

Although Fatima Jinnah had lived with her elder sister during this period, her choice of a modern profession and leading a busy professional life indicated that she was determined to live on her own, that she wished to lead a useful life, instead of being a burden on the family or living off the family. Indeed, she was determined to pursue the values she deemed important to give meaning and purpose to one's life. Above all, she wished to contribute for the social uplifting and welfare of the community, rather than being a drain on it.

All this, inter alia, indicated her independence and will power, her capacity for decision-making and for hard and sustained work, and her penchant for social welfare activities and social and economic uplift of the downtrodden and poor womenfolk. This also indicated the progressive streak in her thinking in those days. A streak that required women to take to the professions and make themselves useful to the community and country at large, instead of wasting their talents and frittering away their energies, just sitting at home and engaging themselves in routine domestic chores and idle pursuits. Even in those days she believed that women should take part in nation building activities – a view she propagated repeatedly, later. But life is much more than a mere career, as Hillary Rodham Clinton pointed out years earlier when reigned supreme as the First Lady. When the call from the family comes, the profession inevitably takes a back seat, however committed one is professionally. Thus, when Rutten Bai (b. 1900) died on February 20, 1929, Miss Jinnah sacrificed her career, wound up her clinic, took charge of Quaid-i-Azam’s palatial Malabar Hill mansion, and assigned herself the most critical task of helping her illustrious brother out in terms of his personal needs and comforts, and in providing him with a salubrious atmosphere at home, so that he could give undivided attention to the critical problems Muslim India was confronted with. Additionally, she served as his confidante and advisor: she stood by him all the time, giving him hope and encouragement, and trying to sustain him during the most strenuous period of his life. She remained his constant companion for the next twenty years (1929-48).

Years later, Jinnah, who is seldom known to give public expression to his private feelings, acknowledged unreservedly. “My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came home and met her,” Jinnah told the guests at the first official dinner, hosted by Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah (1879-1948), Premier and Governor designate of Sindh, at the Karachi Club on August 9, 1947.

Interestingly though, despite her closeness to Jinnah during all these years when he was almost the uncrowned “king” of Muslim India, Fatima Jinnah kept herself behind the scene; she was content to live under the shadow of the towering Quaid. She never utilized her vantage position to take to public office or public platform, leaving it to other women leaders like Begum Maulana Mohammad Ali (d. 1944), Begum Aijaz Rasul (1908-2001), Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz (1896-1979) and Begum Salma Tasaduq Hussain (1908-1995), to assume leadership roles. She was, of course, active in organizing women (e.g., as Vice President, Women’s Wing of the All India Muslim League; founder, All India Muslim Women Students Federation, etc.), but she never aspired for public office, nor was she nominated by Jinnah for one. In both these cases, the brother and the sister broke the prevailing sub continental tradition of dynastic succession in the political realm.

Despite his democratic penchant and orientation, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), for instance, had nominated his sister, Vijay Lakshmi Pundit, as leader of the Indian delegation to the UN, and later as the Indian nominee for the presidentship of the UN General Assembly. He also got his daughter, Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), elected as the Congress president during his own life time, paving the way for her to succeed him. The super populist Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1928-79) got Nusrat Bhutto (1929-2011) elected to a woman’s seats in the NA in March 1977. More explicable, he had her nominated as his successor for life as PPP Chairperson. Nusrat got her daughter, Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007), nominated as PPP’s Co-Chairperson. This all indicate of a tendency and setting the trend for dynastic rule in Pakistan and India. Bhutto’s trend was followed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan (d. 2006) getting his wife, Nasim Wali Khan, and son, Isfandyar Wali Khan, to get “elected” as NAP’s NWFP President and as NAP’s President respectively. Likewise, in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) Bandaranaika followed her husband in the seat of power in the 1950s, and in Bangladesh Hasina Sheikh and Khalida Zia assumed leadership roles in the wake of her father’s/husband’s assassination, since the 1980s. Thus, Fatima Jinnah alone had set her face against the dynastic tradition, so characteristic of, and so prevalent, in the entire region.

But, despite Fatima Jinnah’s cloistered approach and low-key profile for over a decade, the nation was able to discover in her a leader in her own right, after she emerged from the Quaid’s towering shadow. Thus, in the post-Jinnah period, she donned the role of a supreme guide and became the foremost symbol and advocate of Jinnah’s cherished principles. Thus, in a real sense, leadership came to be thrust on her. Indeed, she had to don the leadership role, whether she liked it or not.

Thus, Miss Jinnah did come to the public platform – but only at the fag end of her life, some fifteen years after Jinnah’s death and even then, only, at the imminent and desperate call of the nation. This she did to head the democratic movement against the incumbent Ayub regime in September 1964. And when she took to the public platform she did it with indefatigable courage and unflinching determination, whatever the disabilities, whatever the odds, whatever the consequences. And despite being a septuagenarian, she dutifully went through the strenuous campaign all the way – though it meant great discomfort to her personally, wrecking her physically, and putting her to all sorts of mean attacks by her opponents.

Indeed, the inexhaustible energy, the unrelenting stamina and the unflagging enthusiasm she displayed during the election campaign surprised almost everyone, friend and foe alike – including President Mohammad Ayub Khan. All this could have been, and was, made possible if only because of her strength of character and conviction, and her tenacity of purpose. In all this, again, Fatima Jinnah served as a role model for Pakistani women. It is not usually realized that by merely accompanying Jinnah wherever he went during the 1940s, Fatima Jinnah had psychologically prepared the Muslim women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men during the freedom struggle. Numerous pictures of the period show Miss Fatima Jinnah walking alongside Jinnah, not behind him. The message was loud and clear – the message both the brother and the sister wished to convey to the nation. And by 1945-46 the message had sunk deep enough, to induce Muslim women to participate to the hilt during the critical election campaign. Mian Mumtaz Daultana told me that almost one-third of the audiences in the election meetings in the Punjab comprised women. Women volunteers campaigning door to door in the urban areas, he said, made the Muslim League’s success at the hustings possible.

Likewise, Miss Jinnah’s political role during the 1950s and the 1960s helped a good deal in making women’s role in public life both respectable and credible; it facilitated other women in later years to don public roles without let or hindrance, without raising an eye brow. Indeed, her candidature in the 1965 presidential elections settled once and for all the knotty question whether a woman could be the head of a Muslim state. In the circumstances it was her candidature alone that could have induced a favourable fatwa from Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. And once that was acquired, the controversial issue ceased to be all that controversial for all time to come. In perspective this represents a singular contribution towards women’s regeneration, women’s empowerment and women participation in public life in Pakistan.

Even otherwise, Miss Jinnah believed that “Women are the custodians of a sacred trust – the best in the cultural and spiritual heritage of a nation”. And all through her life she called on women to equip themselves as best as they possibly could and play out their due role in the onward march of the nation.

To sum up, then, apart from leading the nation in its democratic quest at a critical hour in its history, her genius lay in helping the development of a modern Muslim female persona which would equip itself to shoulder, along with its male counterpart, the tasks of nation building the dramatic birth of the new nation in the most treacherous circumstances had called for.

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited Unesco's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007), the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
18
August

Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar

There is a striking similarity between a country and a child. In either case, someone has to keep an eye on their long-term interest. In the case of a child, it is typically the parents who make necessary investment in time and resources for the offspring’s future, looking at a horizon spanning many decades. Who exactly does that for a country, especially ours? Is there someone investing in strategic thought and planning for the future decades ahead of us? I am not sure where that explicit mandate and capacity exists.

Pakistan’s per-capita surface water availability, which was 5,260 cubic metres per-person annually in 1951, is expected to decline to 1,100 by 2035, the water scarcity mark and less than 900 by 2050. On the other hand, the country’s population is exploding. From 34 million in 1950 to 190 million today, our population is expected to rise to 300 million by 2050. Three million people, a whole new city, is adding to the country’s population every year. The two trend lines drawn based on these figures are stark and ominous. Pakistan is already water stressed. By 2030, water will be scarce. If population projections are factored in, we could reach the scarcity mark sooner.

Governments turn over in five years, at best. With their eye on the next election, decisions inevitably veer towards short-termism — five years is definitely short term in the course of a nation’s life. A further and serious complicating factor is the lack of effective mechanisms to compel accountability within the state system, as a result of which decision makers cannot be held responsible for their inattention to long-term threats and the imperative to act.

There are a number of orphan areas within this context, which need urgent attention. I am highlighting two of these in this comment just to bring to bear, the scale of impending problems — Pakistan’s water scarcity and the country’s exploding population. The threats emanating from each compound the other. Pakistan’s per-capita surface water availability, which was 5,260 cubic metres per-person annually in 1951, is expected to decline to 1,100 by 2035, the water scarcity mark and less than 900 by 2050. On the other hand, the country’s population is exploding. From 34 million in 1950 to 190 million today, our population is expected to rise to 300 million by 2050. Three million people, a whole new city, is adding to the country’s population every year. The two trend lines drawn based on these figures are stark and ominous. Pakistan is already water stressed. By 2030, water will be scarce. If population projections are factored in, we could reach the scarcity mark sooner.

In combination with pre-existing social and political problems, climate change could become a major destabilizing factor in the country.

Water scarcity has serious implications for economic growth since agriculture contributes 23% of the total GDP. It has grave implications for food and energy security in an already constrained milieu. Supply side water scarcity can be compounded manifold when complicated by demand-induced scarcity due to the country’s exploding population. With constrained economic opportunities and joblessness, it is a recipe for disaster. But the story doesn’t end here. Our existing pattern of inequitable distribution of resources is compounding water stresses — in particular rifts between the country’s agricultural and industrial elite over distribution of water for irrigation vis-à-vis water for hydroelectric power generation; rivalries between feudal strongholds over availability of water for irrigation and tenuous relationships between the provinces over the share of water and revenues tied to it.

The determinants of Pakistan’s impending water crisis are complex and interrelated. Amongst other factors, each can be traced back to the tendency towards short-termism. Our irrigation system, which consumes 97% of our water resources, just isn’t streamlined for efficiency. Its poor infrastructure, coupled with rampant corruption and inequity in the use of water, cause massive waste. Inattention to conservation has taken its toll. A further complicating factor is the impact of climate change to which Pakistan’s agrarian society is particularly sensitive. Already, there is evidence of reduction in the flow of water down the Indus River due to changes in the mass balance of the Karakorum glaciers. As climate variations become more manifest, chances of scarcity-induced issues also increase. For example, a new kind of tension was observed during the 2010 floods when, abuse of political influence in the irrigation sector led land-owner politicians to redirect natural flow of rivers to protect their lands. In combination with pre-existing social and political problems, climate change could become a major destabilizing factor in the country. I have listed just two areas to highlight the nature of long-term issues and their inter-connectedness. There are many other issues, which are equally destabilizing for the economy and society.

But it is not just the state engine where fixes are needed; long-term approaches have to be built into the basics of a society, which means the society at large and importantly the media has to change its narrative and learn to hold governments accountable in relation to performance in areas which matter for our future. Most countries which have made progress have woven long-term thinking into the strategic planning process. Nations cannot progress and prosper without that and we are no exception.

The phenomenon of short-termism in the state system is not unique to Pakistan. However, many countries are conscious of the problem and have put in place, institutional mechanisms as safeguards. As a starting point, we need to learn from them. Sustainable development commissions, strategy units that think beyond the next election, commissioner or ombudsman for future generations, environmental limits act that stipulates a limit on environmental impacts, specialist committees, an encompassing definition of treason, and relevant constitutional provisions are all institutional vehicles for ingraining a long-term view of government. But it is not just the state engine where fixes are needed; long-term approaches have to be built into the basics of a society, which means the society at large and importantly the media has to change its narrative and learn to hold governments accountable in relation to performance in areas which matter for our future. Most countries which have made progress have woven long-term thinking into the strategic planning process. Nations cannot progress and prosper without that and we are no exception.

The writer is a former Federal Minister and holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London. A PhD from Kings College, London, she is an eminent social scientist and regularly contributes in national print media on issues of health, governance and public policy. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
18
August

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Although Beijing did not veto the amendment in the trade rules of NSG to accommodate India in 2008, yet it has maintained a firm stance on the membership of NSG. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying categorically stated that: “The recently concluded 9th NPT Review Conference has reaffirmed this consensus. On account of this, the NSG has so far regarded the status of the NPT state as a crucial standard to accept new member state.” In simple terms, China has manifested its stance that the twist in established principles of joining NSG would not be acceptable. Accordingly, it is prerequisite for India to join the NPT to become a member of the NSG club.

Since 2010, the Obama Administration has been supporting India’s bid for full membership of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) for the sake of Washington’s political, strategic and economic interests. The United States delegates argued that India was “ready for membership of the NSG” during the 2015 Annual Plenary Meeting (June 1-5, 2015) of the Group held at Bariloche in Argentina. However, the NSG members’ long-standing consensus that only Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) parties are allowed to become a member of the Group frustrates both New Delhi and Washington. China reiterated its support for consensus regarding the NPT being a cornerstone of the NSG during the recent 9th NPT Review Conference held in New York. This Chinese declaration generates an impression that Beijing would veto India’s attempt to join the NSG. Indeed, it would be having wearisome impact on the India’s ambition to join the nuclear supplier cartel, but it would be having a constructive contribution in preventing the further derailing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Moreover, it has exposed the limits of India’s self-proclaimed ‘clean waiver’ from the Nuclear Supplier Group in 2008.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in March 1970. Though NPT impedes the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons, yet it legitimizes non-nuclear weapon states right (party to the treaty) to acquire nuclear technology from the NSG for the sake of peaceful use (power generation, treating diseases such as cancer and increasing agriculture productivity) under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The NPT had failed to prevent India from nuclear explosion on May 18, 1974. India’s nuclear weapon test alarmed Pakistan. It immediately approached the United Nations’ Security Council for the establishment of Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in South Asia (NWFZSA). However, Islamabad failed to establish NWFZSA to prevent India from advancing its nuclear weapons programme. Realizing the double standards of the great powers, non-implementation of the Article VI of the NPT (obliges nuclear weapon states denuclearization) and above all the discriminatory-cum-denial policies of the western nuclear supplier nations; Islamabad started its own nuclear weapons’ programme.

Importantly, India misused nuclear imports for peaceful purposes to conduct a nuclear explosion on May 18, 1974. New Delhi acquired and used illicitly spent fuel of CIRUS reactor for generating plutonium for its ‘Buddha is Smiling’ in 1974. In a reaction to the Indian act, the nuclear suppliers constituted the Nuclear Supplier Group in 1975, which entered into force in 1978. Interestingly, in mid-1970s the Americans played a key role in the negotiations for establishing NSG. They were the zealous supporters to the movement, which demands that nuclear supplier states should not do nuclear trade with those states which refused to join Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NSG members should ensure prior to the transfer of nuclear technology that the recipient state is observing comprehensive IAEA safeguards on its nuclear facilities.

China reiterated its support for consensus regarding the NPT being a cornerstone of the NSG during the recent 9th NPT Review Conference held in New York. This Chinese declaration generates an impression that Beijing would veto India’s attempt to join the NSG. Indeed, it would be having wearisome impact on the India’s ambition to join the nuclear supplier cartel, but it would be having a constructive contribution in preventing the further derailing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Moreover, it has exposed the limits of India’s self-proclaimed ‘clean waiver’ from the Nuclear Supplier Group in 2008.

The Bush Administration endeavoured (July 2005-October 2008) to capture the Indian growing economic market by defying all global Nuclear Non-proliferation Regime’s norms. With the cooperation of the American nuclear-commercial-lobby, the Administration successfully pacified the nuclear cooperation pessimists in the United States, who scientifically underscored the negativity of the nuclear trade with India. The Indian leadership also acted timely and used Washington's clout in the NSG for securing exemption from the stringent nuclear export laws of the Group. Consequently, the 45-member NSG agreed in Vienna on September 6, 2008, to exempt NPT hold-out India from its guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition for nuclear trade. It reversed more than three decades of NSG policy that had barred the sale of nuclear fuel and reactor technology to India. Ironically, the NSG members have completely ignored the foundational logic of the NSG in 1975, which entered into force in 1978. Neither, they have pressurized India to join the NPT for the sake of nuclear technological assistance, nor they are preserving the philosophical constructs of the NSG.

Since India received waiver from the Nuclear Supplier Group and entry-into-force of Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008, the New Delhi has been endeavouring to become a member of the Nuclear Supplier Group. India’s Nuclear Supplier Group membership may be having lesser economic dividends for it in the prevalent global economic setting, however, its NSG membership would have immense political and strategic significance in the global politics. Importantly, even if India fails to secure an NSG membership, it could not be deprived from sophisticated nuclear technology. The nuclear supplier nations would continue to transfer advanced nuclear technology to India despite the fact that it is not party to the NPT and is also a declared nuclear weapon state.

It was reported that India has formally applied for the membership of MTCR, a club of 34 countries that controls trade in missile and space technology. India’s joining application may happen at MTCR’s plenary due in September-October 2015. It seems that New Delhi might get membership of the MTCR because China is not a member of the Regime. Importantly, if India succeeds in securing the membership of NSG, it would easily join the MTCR, which would be having a constructive impact on India’s offensive and defensive missiles programmes.

The NSG membership would not only elevate India’s stature in the comity of nations, but it also facilitates its entry into other important strategic cartels, i.e. the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. These three regimes have decisive contribution in controlling the spread of military technology. In simple words, primary responsibility of these cartels is to deny military technology to the developing states or preserve the strategic imbalance between the military-technologically advantageous nations and militarily disadvantageous states.

It was reported that India has formally applied for the membership of MTCR, a club of 34 countries that controls trade in missile and space technology. India’s joining application may happen at MTCR’s plenary due in September-October 2015. It seems that New Delhi might get membership of the MTCR because China is not a member of the Regime. Importantly, if India succeeds in securing the membership of NSG, it would easily join the MTCR, which would be having a constructive impact on India’s offensive and defensive missiles programmes.

India is determined to join the NSG to revolutionize its nuclear programme through both the import and export of nuclear technology. Currently, New Delhi is allowed to import the nuclear technology for its non-military nuclear facilities. However, it is not allowed to export the nuclear technology. Despite this, India has signed peaceful use of nuclear technology related agreements with Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The membership of NSG definitely has constructive impact on India’s nuclear industry. It’s because, being a member of NSG, New Delhi will not only get access to world-class nuclear technology but would be permitted to export its own nuclear technology to countries that comply with the NSG.

Although Beijing did not veto the amendment in the trade rules of NSG to accommodate India in 2008, yet it has maintained a firm stance on the membership of NSG. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying categorically stated that: “The recently concluded 9th NPT Review Conference has reaffirmed this consensus. On account of this, the NSG has so far regarded the status of the NPT state as a crucial standard to accept new member state.” In simple terms, China has manifested its stance that the twist in established principles of joining NSG would not be acceptable. Accordingly, it is prerequisite for India to join the NPT to become a member of the NSG club.

China seems determined to honour the international community’s long-standing consensus regarding the NPT being a cornerstone of the NSG. That’s why it also makes clear to its strategic partner Pakistan that “while it supports its gaining access to the NSG, signing the treaty was ‘crucial’.” Importantly, China has not linked the continuity of its nuclear technological assistance to Pakistan for the sake of peaceful use of nuclear technology with Islamabad’s signing of the NPT. Hence, it will not only complete Chasma-3, Chasma-4, Karachi-2 and Karachi-3 nuclear power plants but also assist Islamabad in designing and constructing nuclear power plants under the IAEA safeguards in the future.

To conclude, Beijing’s principle stance checkmates New Delhi’s bid to seek membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The writer is Director and Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He contributes for print and electronic media regularly. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
27
July

Report By: Maj Kanwal Kiani

Pakistan is fighting the war against terror for more than a decade. The war saw many turns during this period but year 2014 will be remembered in history as the nation decided to give final and decisive blow to the terrorists in the shape of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). Though government gave peace and reconciliation a last chance in the start of 2014, yet, 20 major acts of terror conducted from January 29 to June 8, 2014, in which 195 Pakistanis embraced shahadat, brought everyone to the conclusion that the terrorist organizations were not sincere to the dialogue process.

 

a_year_of1.jpg

 

Operation Zarb-e-Azb was initiated as a national effort to reinstate peace and order across the country. The operation was a step towards restoring the writ of government, destroying the sanctuaries of terrorists of all hue and colours, and shaping the environment for sustainable peace and development in the FATA and elsewhere in the country. In addition to the military aspects, the issue of Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) was very important, and indeed most sensitive. The mass of TDPs of NWA was marked as the second largest internal displacement during the recent years after Swat. It was a national responsibility warranting response from all individuals and institutions of the country.

The operation continues to date as planned with many success stories and will continue till the elimination of all terrorists from Pakistan. The safe return home of the TDPs to their native towns has also begun and will be executed in phases. However, their safe return is a function of national passion and merits the maximum amount of support extended to them by each of us.

 

a_year_of2.jpg

 

Since June 15, 2014, when the operation commenced, it has been successfully progressing in flushing out the terrorists and clearing the no-go-areas. About 90% of areas including Mir Ali, Miran Shah, Shawa, Spinwam, Ghulam Khan, Boya, Degan, Dosalli, and Ghariom, to name a few, have been cleared and nexus between TTP and its affiliates is conked out. During the conduct of this particular operation, 316 soldiers have laid their lives whereas 2729 terrorits have been killed.

Usman Peerzada (Actor)

usman_peerzad.jpgOur armed forces have been at war since long. It’s not something small, whole nation along with army is fighting multiple enemies to safeguard frontiers of motherland. Pakistan Army has sent a clear message that how strong we are in defending our country by showing their valour in combat. I am so proud of our soldiers and all the sacrifices they have made while defending the country and nation.

 
Urwa Hocane (Film/TV Artist)

I would like to congratulate Pak Army and our entire nation on the success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Proud of Pak Army for taking this initiative of cleaning up terrorism from the core. As the citizen of this country and daughter of an army officer, I am really thankful to Pak Army for this unconditional security and safety I feel. I salute our soldiers for the sacrifices they render for us every day regardless of any appreciation or "anything" in return.

 
Shafaq Omer (Teacher Froebel's International School)

The operation has been a success all along. The brave soldiers of the soil are fighting with passion, loyalty and dedication to stem out the evil of terrorism for the better future of the young generation.The sacrifices made by Pakistan Army will be written in the pages of history with golden words.

 

 
Dr. Abid Suleri (Executive Director SDPI)

Now or never. I support Zarb-e-Azb for safety of our future generations and peaceful Pakistan.

 

 

 
Ashir Azeem (Actor/Producer)

Through Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan Army has taken a bold, extremely necessary and long overdue step in the right direction to reclaim the rule of law in our own land and no longer to be held hostage by rouge armed groups.This step has raised the image of Pakistan Armed Forces both within and outside the country.Pakistanis stand firmly behind their army in this initiative to crush this subhuman enemy of Pakistan.Pakistan Zindabad!

 
Ali Moeen Nawazish (Student/Educationist)

This has been a watershed and landmark moment in the history of our country. The state finally acted against the menace which has plagued us for the last decade. It is important that the success of this operation continues and we form a narrative of patriotism as per our constitution. We must expand this brilliant effort to counter not only the militant but also the ideological elements. We must not let biases or exceptions shape this mission. This mission must continue as it is doing today. We need to bring back the days when our schools didn't need security guards and our children could play on the streets. Our future and our country's future depends on this.

 
Ghania Ahmed (Student Army Public School, Rawalpindi)

After the Peshawar attack, our school received a number of threats and we panicked. At times our school was closed and at times it was opened. We couldn't manage our syllabus. All of our major and minor problems were completely solved by Pak Army and its efforts in Zarb-e-Azab. I feel we are back in “good old days". Thank you Pak Army. Stay blessed. I and my school fellows will always be indebted to you.

 
Dr. Uzma Anjum (Faculty Member Quaid-i-Azam University)

This ongoing military operation is a commendable action by our army. It will help to develop peace not only in our country but will also have far reaching implications on the socio-economic development of the whole region.

 
Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar (Director National College of Arts Rawalpindi Campus)

Operation Zarb-e-Azb signifies a profound change in the hearts and minds of Pakistani citizens. It stands for safeguarding the vision of Pakistan's founding father, for a free and fair society. Zarb-e-Azb is grounded in a moral consensus that knowledge sharing and dialogue are the key components of peaceful coexistence of diverse ideologies. The successful conclusion of the military operation, In-shah-Allah, will lead to strengthening of the social fabric of Pakistani society, nurturing peace and tolerance. We must reiterate our commitments not to harbour terrorism in our homes, educational institutions, and work places.

 
COAS YOUTH PACKAGE

• 14000 youth from FATA will be recruited in Pakistan Army in next 5 years.

• 1500 students from FATA will be accommodated in Army Public Schools across the country.

• Students from FATA will be granted admissions on quota basis in the Military Colleges.

• Technical skills to the people of FATA will be imparted at technical training institutes in all major cantonments.

• Arrangements being worked out for large scale overseas employment of youth from FATA.

 

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while commenting about the operation said, “I feel that until and unless this country is cleansed from terrorism, this war and effort will not stop, no-one should be doubtful of this."

Gen Raheel Sharif, COAS, during his address to the passing out parade at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul on October 18, 2014, said, " Zarb-e-Azb is not merely an operation, it is a concept, it is a resolve and a commitment of the nation. The commitment is to cleanse Pakistan of the scourge of terrorism once and for all. Pakistan Army is the cutting-edge of this resolve. A resolve that is currently evident in North Waziristan, where the military operations are delivering decisive results. Pakistan’s Law Enforcement Agencies aided by intelligence agencies are also playing a commendable role in hunting down terrorists and their networks across the country."

 

a_year_of3.jpg

 

Several media personnel, political leaders/ representatives and ambassadors of friendly countries visited the areas and have lauded the efforts and resolve of Pakistani Armed Forces in their fight against terrorism and paid rich tribute to the martyrs. To ensure safe return of around 7.5 lac TDPs to their homes, Pakistan Army has chalked out an elaborate programme to settle these people in their homes. Hundreds of projects including health, education, markets and hospitals have been planned for these TDPs. In addition to this, a comprehensive youth package was announced by COAS during his visit to the area. Protected and dignified repatriation of TDPs to their homes under safe environment has already been started on March 31, 2015 and will be completed by Nov 2016.

Zarb-e-Azb is our national resolve and people of Pakistan never accepted the ideology of TTP and their associates. The operation will continue till elimination of terrorism from Pakistan.

 

a_year_of4.jpg

27
July

Written By: Dr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais

Given the hard cash India has at its disposal and the Indian religious, nationalist right defining the Indian regional ambitions, Delhi has become a favourite defence customer in many capitals for advanced weaponry in every department of the armed forces. What options Pakistan has to balance the Indian military power?

In an anarchic world, power is the major currency for a state to prevent war by deterring the designs of an aggressive adversary. This is as old a principle as the emergence of the nation state, first in Europe and then in every part of the world after the demise of colonialism. How relevant is this old principle in the world that is fast integrating economically and generating webs of interdependencies? What is the balance of power today between Pakistan and India and why the power structure and the underlying issues that define it, are different from other regions? What are the options for Pakistan for dealing with the issues of power asymmetry? These are the questions that I attempt to address.

First, the idea of balancing power with power has not lost relevance to the modern world. It will remain valid and the primary principle of national security as long as the world system continues to be dominated by the sovereign states that often unilaterally define national objectives and select the means to achieve them. However, the power structure at the global level has changed several times with rise, fall and emergence of new powers and new centers of power. How many great powers and what the relationship between them from one end of hostility to the other end of amity, and their global policies and choice of allies, friends and strategic partners had left a deep mark on the policies of many regional players. Second, the issues that dominate the global politics have kept changing and will keep changing, leaving good impact on the choices that many nations make. For instance, we see great change from ideological issues dominating the cold war era to economic cooperation issues and new threats – terrorism, subnational conflicts and interventions by proxies. Finally, the relative value of the elements of national power has also changed. These changes have taken place within the structural context of the world system that continues to be shaped by power dynamics. The change is only the objectives, means, template of major players and issues that define our age.

While India allocated U.S. dollars 46 billion for its defence, Pakistan could not squeeze out more than 6 billion. In recent years, just increase in Indian defence spending in a single year has been more than total defence budget of Pakistan.

The positive changes that have taken place in other regions – Europe and East Asia – have yet to take place in South Asia. Contrary to economic integration and cooperation these regions which have entirely transformed old-fashioned nationalism and historical rivalries, the troubled legacies of the partition of the British Indian Empire, suspicion, distrust and latent hostility – a kind of cold war – remains the defining feature of power relations in South Asia. Another difference is more obvious and important. While the great powers of yesterdays have trimmed their ambitions regarding dominating the neighbours and have given up geopolitical designs on others, India that occupies the central position in the South Asian geopolitical order, lives by those ambitions. That makes the geopolitical system of the region increasingly shaped by fears, insecurity and nuclear arms race between Pakistan and India. The history of relationship – wars, intervention and destabilizing strategy – have never assured Pakistan of India’s intentions, often conveyed through peace rhetorics.

No amount of good intentions, no matter how best they are articulated and by whom, can assure any pragmatic leader and those possessed with the responsibility of national defence. It is old wisdom to say, intentions can change overnight, as we have seen they have throughout the history. States don’t take such risks of believing in words. Rather they look at the military power of the other – if and when the relationship happens to be adversarial – and think of their own appropriate responses. Never has Pakistan’s national security planners been oblivious to this fact. Balancing India that is manifold stronger than Pakistan, has not been either an easy choice or without tremendous difficulties or costs. In doing so, Pakistan has pursued several strategies beginning with the defence alliances with the Western world, notably with the United States to development of nuclear weapons.

In asymmetrical equations like with one between Pakistan and India or between Israel and the vast Arab lands, nuclear self-sufficiency and reliance on more advanced technological means provide some of the answers to the security dilemma. Since the East Pakistan tragedy in 1971, Pakistan pursued the nuclear option as the best guarantee to its national security. The idea is not to wage wars but to deter probable Indian aggression, somewhat compensate for the conventional gap and psychologically reassure the population of peace and security against the more powerful neighbour. Pakistan’s approach has been eclectic towards national security against the Indian threat, as the country has continuously rethought and recalibrated its responses to India’s growing military might – both conventional as well as nuclear. But that has not been without serious challenges, deficiencies and some serious questions about sustainability. This brings us to the major issue of imbalance in material resources, economies, numbers and the weapons systems at both ends. The question that has occupied the defence planners in Pakistan is how to counterbalance the Indian threat, and which means in a given situation will appropriate to do so. This also prompts some of the national and foreign defence analysts to raise the question of Pakistan’s capacity to sustain its strategy of countering the Indian threat. The gap in defence outlays, size of the economies, rate of growth and other elements of national endowment are quite obvious, and quite distressing for Pakistan. While India allocated U.S. dollars 46 billion for its defence, Pakistan could not squeeze out more than 6 billion. In recent years, just increase in Indian defence spending in a single year has been more than total defence budget of Pakistan. Second, Indian economy in recent decades has increased at much higher rate than that of Pakistan and continues to do better. Finally, the volume of the Indian economy is at least six times greater than that of Pakistan. Given the hard cash India has at its disposal and the Indian religious, nationalist right defining the Indian regional ambitions, Delhi has become a favourite defence customer in many capitals for advanced weaponry in every department of the armed forces. What options Pakistan has to balance the Indian military power? While maintaining a robust, full-spectrum nuclear deterrence, Pakistan must pursue a flexible response strategy. What would that mean in the sub-continental balance of power? An equally robust conventional, war-fighting capability is necessary to control the escalatory ladder in a hot-conflict situation. The choice of technologies, defence hardware, and forces structure are very important consideration for getting more out of less defence budget. The integration of tactical nuclear weapons doesn’t give me a comfortable feeling for obvious reasons of these being destabilizing and surely inviting similar use of weapons from India. There will always be a question of uncertainty of outcome – a stalemate, escalation, and mutually assured destruction? The real alternative is in conventional defence, if the nuclear deterrence fails to prevent a major war.

A broader national security framework needs to be formulated with essential components of national integration, political stability, amenable civil-military relations and a national framework for economic growth. Economic modernization through Chinese investments and successes in defeating extremism and ethnic militancy will create the right conditions for a solid base for national security.

Second, Pakistan is facing internal national security threats that India appears to have aided – some, at least in Balochistan and FATA, if not all. For national security and prosperity, Pakistan will have to defeat the internal enemy – the radical Islamists, sectarian and ethnic terrorists. National solidary, peace and stability will create the right conditions for the economy to grow. General Raheel Sharif is right in emphasizing that only “secure Pakistan can be a prosperous Pakistan”.

Third, Pakistan has rightly changed the course of policy toward Afghanistan, and Iran as well in the last couple of years. By not aligning with any power in the Middle East conflicts and by reassuring Afghanistan that “enemies of Afghanistan cannot be friends of Pakistan”, we have made a paradigm shift in our regional policy. Best of relationship with these two neighbours, often problematic, must provide the fresh security underlay for Pakistan. That will surely deny India opportunity to create and use bases from these countries to ignite troubles inside the country. Finally, a broader national security framework needs to be formulated with essential components of national integration, political stability, amenable civil-military relations and a national framework for economic growth. Economic modernization through Chinese investments and successes in defeating extremism and ethnic militancy will create the right conditions for a solid base for national security.

The writer is an eminent defence/political analyst who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. Presently he is on the faculty of LUMS. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
27
July

Written By: Dr. Farrukh Saleem

National power is the “sum of all resources available to a nation in the pursuit of national objectives.” There are three natural determinants – population, geography and natural resources – and five social determinants – military, economic, political, psychological and informational – of national power. To be certain, one element alone cannot determine national power – it is the sum of all eight.

Having said that, “the ultimate yardstick of national power is military power.” Countries around the world allocate national resources to their military organizations for these organizations to evolve specific war-fighting capabilities enabling their “leaders to impose their will on enemies, existing and potential.”

There is no single measure of military power. Governments provide ‘resources’ to their military establishments and the establishments are then required to convert those ‘resources’ into “effective military power”.

National resources fall in four broad categories: financial, human, physical and technological. As far as human resources are concerned, the two factors that really count are the “size and quality of military manpower”.

 

pak_india_def1.jpg

Yes, sheer numbers are important but in this day and age what is even more important are three qualitative measures: the “educational levels of the officer corps”; the “educational levels of the enlisted ranks”; and the “levels of technical proficiency demanded of the recruiting base”. Under physical resources, it is the overall military infrastructure that includes: military facilities that “house military personnel and their equipment; bases and installation; number and quality of test ranges; medical facilities; level of protection provided to military assets; command, control and communication; munitions; petroleum, oil and lubricants; and the defence industrial base.” Next; ‘war-fighting inventory and support’. Yes, the number of infantry weapons is important and so is the number of explosives, rockets, missile systems, utility vehicles, air defence and engineering support.

Yes, the number and quality of naval ships is important and so is the number of submarines, electronic warfare, weapon systems, frigates, destroyers, corvettes, naval satellites and the number of exercises.

In 1988, India’s defence budget stood at $16.7 billion (in constant 2010). By 2011, India’s defence allocation had shot up to $44.2 billion (in constant 2010). In 1988, Pakistan’s defence budget stood at $3.6 billion (in constant 2010). By 2011, Pakistan’s defence allocation had gone up to $5.6 billion (in constant 2010).

As per records kept by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), “India remains the biggest buyer of arms in the world… Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111 percent in the last five years”.

Why is India accumulating tanks, for instance? Here’s India’s land boundaries: Bangladesh 4,053km, Bhutan 605km, Burma 1,463km, China 3,380km, Nepal 1,690km, Pakistan 2,912km. After all, tanks cannot run over the Himalayas.

According to a report by Stratfor, the Texas-based private intelligence agency, “China has been seen as a threat to India, and simplistic models show them to be potential rivals. In fact, however, China and India might as well be on different planets. Their entire frontier runs through the highest elevations of the Himalayas. It would be impossible for a substantial army to fight its way through the few passes that exist, and it would be utterly impossible for either country to sustain an army there in the long term. The two countries are irrevocably walled off from each other. Ideally, New Delhi wants to see a Pakistan that is fragmented, or at least able to be controlled. Toward this end, it will work with any power that has a common interest and has no interest in invading India.”

As far as military spending is concerned, the balance has always tipped in favour of India but over the years Pakistan still managed to meek out marginal budgetary enhancements.

Over the years, Pakistan’s military establishment has tactfully and efficiently converted allocated resources into “effective military power”. Red Alert: Pakistan’s military spending as a percentage of GDP has been steadily declining.

Red Alert: Since 2003, there has been a definitive, relentless widening of disparity in military spending. “War does not determine who is right – only who is left” – Bertrand Russell

P.S. This analysis uses Rand Corporation’s “Measuring military capability” as a guide.

The writer is an analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media. Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh
27
July

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

And, for now, the major premise is that with partition and independence, the two nations, encapsulated in the two-nation theory, have attained statehood, transforming themselves into Indian and Pakistani nations. And with reference to their respective countries and nations, their prime identification in the post-partition period is Indians and Pakistanis, and not Hindus and Muslims. Thus, in the new geo-political context, the two nations are India and Pakistan.

The two-nation theory meant that under pax Brittanica during the first half of the twentieth century, the Indian subcontinent was home to two major nations – Hindus and Muslims. And given the numerical strength of the two nations in certain specific areas/regions, it also meant that India was merely a “geographical expression”, to borrow Metternich’s (1809-48) picturesque phrase about the Italian peninsula during the first half of the nineteenth century. Further, if only as a corollary, India was also home to two polities, not one. In its final, crystalline format, the two-nation theory was most eloquently propounded and most cogently argued by none other than Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah himself, and that in his seminal Lahore (1940) address. And that, for sure, was the basis on which the demand for Pakistan was put forward, on which it garnered massive support, on which it betimes and acquired unchallenged political clout.

In his Thoughts on Pakistan (1940), Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the most outstanding Scheduled Caste leader, had argued its validity from an academic and historical angle while in the Verdict on India (1944), Beverly Nichols, a British journalist and author, from a contemporary political ground realities perspective – to name only the two most notable authors of the 1940-47 period. Since then the theory has been taken for granted, with even some enlightened Indian authors (e.g., Panikkar, Bannerjee, Bimal Prasad, and Sachin Sen, among others) acknowledging the prime rationale of the theory. As the McGill and Harvard Professor, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, an extremely perceptive observer of developments in Indian Islam and the Muslim world, has pointed out in his insightful analysis in 1969, the Indian Muslims became a self-defined, formalized, systematized, structured, reified, boundary-bound, and crystallized “religious community”, as a result of “a broad socio-ideological transformation in the 16th and especially the 17th centuries”. And by about the middle of the eighteenth century, the “religious” community of the seventeenth century seems to have assumed the role of a pro-active political community as well. Although by no means a consequence of it, this assumption coincided with the earliest major Western encroachments in the coastal regions, as underscored by Plassey (1757) and the South Indian Carnatic and Mysore wars. Interestingly, Veer Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966), the foremost spokesman of Hindutva (Hindu supremacy) during the last phase of British Raj in India, traces the birth of a Hindu “political community” to the day when, as he perceives it, the erstwhile “subjugated” Hindus got even with their erstwhile Muslim “conquerors” – that is, to “the day that witnessed the forces of ‘Haribhaktas’ of Hindudom, enter Delhi in triumph and the Moslem throne and crown and standard lay hammered and rolling in dust at the feet of [General Sadashi] Bhau and Vishvas [the Maratha Peshwa’s eldest son] in 1761 [24 July 1760] . . . For, that day the Hindus won their freedom back, proved even their physical fitness to survive on equal and honourable terms in this world”, asserts Savarkar (in Hindu-Pad-Padshahi or A Review of the Hindu Empire of Maharashtra).

Muslims as a Political Community

Lord Bryce defines nationality “as an aggregate of men drawn together and linked together by certain sentiments”, chief among them being “Racial sentiment and Religious sentiment”, buttressed by “linking” sentiments such as “a common language, the possession of a common literature, the recollection of common achievements and sufferings in the past, the existence of common customs and habits of thought, common ideals and aspirations.” Sebastian de Garcia lists “religious and political beliefs” as the criteria for transforming “a group of people” into “a community”. Thus, by about the middle of the eighteenth century, the Muslims, characterized by a set of overarching religious and political values, had become a political community. But the evolution did not “stop there”, as Professor Smith contends; it culminates “in the 20th century”. And an integrative process over the centuries had seen to it that they got evolved, to quote Robert Jackson and Michael Stein (Issues in Comparative Politics), into “a population or a segment of population living within a geographic territory… that share a common set of symbols, historical experience, and, particularly, subjective feelings which bind its members to one another.” That is how a pan-Indian Muslim community consciousness came to be engendered, and the erstwhile political community progressively developed the will to live as a nation. And with their sentiments of nationality, having been charged with the perquisites and prerequisites of nationalism over long decades, they had flamed into nationalism.

The transformation of a political community into a nation is, however, never a one-go affair. As Ambedkar points out on the authority of Professors Toynbee and Barker, “it is possible for nations to exist . . . even for centuries, in unreflective silence, although there exists that spiritual essence of national life of which many of its members are not aware”. As Disraeli once said, a nation is a work of art and a work of time. Thus, by the late 1930s the Muslims had acquired (what Lord Bryce calls) “a sentiment of intellectual or moral unity”, and had developed a “consciousness of kind”, a collective ego, indeed a national consciousness of their own which, to quote F. K. Khan Durrani (The Meaning of Pakistan), forthwith sought “to assert its sovereign self... The birth of national consciousness and the desire to live an independent sovereign life are concomitant . . . . For a nation is a body ‘corporate’, . . ., it has a soul, a will, of its own, and this collective soul reacts almost in the same manner as the individual soul: it refuses to coalesce with any other.”

Significance of the Lahore Resolution (1940)

Yet, the year 1940 becomes a turning point, a monumental watershed – if only because the self-perceived nationhood and the self-developed will to live as a nation were first proclaimed in that year, and the political expression to that will was, moreover, given in the Lahore Resolution. To borrow Lord Acton’s words:

The demand for Pakistan was entwined with the two-nation theory. Without that theory, the Pakistan demand would have been bereft of any intellectual base and political clout, nor justified on those grounds.

"Thenceforward there was a nation demanding to be united in a State – a soul, as it were, wandering in search of a body in which to begin life again; and, for the first time, a cry was heard that the arrangement of States was unjust – that their limits were unnatural, and that a whole people was deprived of its right to constitute an independent community."

Fortunately for Muslims, nature had provided them with a territory which they could occupy and transform into a state as well as a cultural home for the newly proclaimed nation. Without such a territory, nationalism, to use Lord Acton’s phrase, would have been “a soul, as it were, wandering in search of a body in which to begin life over again and dies out finding none”.

All told, it were these two prerequisites – the will to live as a nation and a territory where they were demographically dominant, as laid down by Ernest Renan, that had provided the intellectual and political justification for the Muslim claim to a distinct nationalism of their own. In consequence, when, finally, they broke their unreflective silence and gave meticulous articulation to their demands, they spoke in terms of a separate Muslim nationhood. Hence Jinnah could claim in the 1940s that “by all cannons of international law, we are a nation”.

Civilizational Ethos

However, contrary to what is usually assumed, Jinnah’s two-nation theory was not based on religion, pure and simple, although it does figure as one of the critical attributes in his definition of separate Muslim nationhood. For instance, in his epochal March 22, 1940 Lahore address, he chose to spell it out in sociological and political terms, and argue it out on the cultural and civilizational dimensions:

"Islam and Hinduism . . . are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are … different and distinct social orders; [that] the Hidnus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature, to two different civilizations, [that they] derive their inspiration from different sources of history … [with] different epics, different heroes and different episodes. We wish our people [he declared], to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people." (italics added)

Likewise, in his letter to Gandhi ji on 16 September 1944, he stressed the civilizational aspect: "We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, were are a nation."

A mere political community, placed as the Muslims were within India’s body politic, could not claim an equitable share in power, as a matter of right especially because the Westphalian Model (1648) of sovereignty of “nations” and “sanctity” of borders, still dominant in the international system (e.g., consider Eritrea being tagged on to Ethiopia in the postwar settlement of the former Italian colonies in Africa under the UN auspices), had not come to be eroded as it has since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1990 (e.g., in the case of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia). In contrast, a “nation”, if also dominant in a specified territory, as the Muslims were in northeastern and northwestern India, can. Thus, the nationhood claim gave the Muslim quest for an equitable share in power, a shot in the arm; it made the quest meaningful; it endowed it with a chance of success.

Islam as the Cultural Metaphor

The Pakistan demand was raised on the premise that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations. More specifically, that Muslims were a self-contained nation in their own right in the sub-continental context, and were, therefore, entitled to the right of self-determination. Raised in ideological and political terms for the most part, the demand was argued at the macro level, with Islam as the cultural metaphor.

For Muslims in prepartition India, with their deep horizontal, vertical, regional and linguistic cleavages, Islam alone could serve as a broad political platform a la Karl Deutsch (Nationalism and Social Communication)’s typology. A comprehensive, all-inclusive framework, a broad-based platform, so that all the ninety million Muslims in the subcontinent could be gathered incrementally under the all-embracing Pakistan canopy. Moreover, a platform not only transcending effectively their intracommunal cleavages, but also enshrining a cluster of shared beliefs, ideals and concepts that had lain deeply ingrained in their social consciousness over time, that had become enmeshed with the subterranean vagaries of their ancestral heritage and ethos, and that, moreover, was charged and saturated with emotions. Hence the choice of Islam as the rallying cry.

Jinnah’s choice of this metaphor was also determined by the overriding fact that Islam, to quote Iqbal, had not only furnished the Indian Muslims with “those basic emotions and loyalties which gradually unify scattered individuals and groups”, but had also worked as “a people-building force”, transforming them progressively into “a well-defined people”. The unity of Indian Islam, so far as it had achieved unity, may first and foremost be attributed to (what Montgomery Watt calls) “a dynamic image, the image or idea of . . . the charismatic community”. This explains how, scattered though they were across the length and breadth of the subcontinent in varying proportions, they had yet developed the will to live as a nation, and this on the basis of their “social heritage”, to borrow a Toynbeean concept. This “national will” in turn provided the Indian Muslims with the intellectual justification and the political rationale for claiming a distinct nationalism (apart from the pseudo-Indian or Hindu nationalism) for themselves.

Thus, the demand for Pakistan was entwined with the two-nation theory. Without that theory, the Pakistan demand would have been bereft of any intellectual base and political clout, nor justified on those grounds.

Two Nation Theory after Partition – Morphed into Two Nation States Theory

Even so, the two-nation theory was a paradigm, a conceptual framework, and a political construct, although bristling with ideological overtones, relevant only to the pre-1947 subcontinental context, in which the Muslims were denied an equitable share in power. The rise to statehood of the pre-1947, Muslim nation, in August 1947 has changed the substratum in Renan’s nationality framework – that is, the field of battle and the field of work, which were provided by geography and the political developments over the previous six decades. And with this change, the geo-political context, in which the two-nation theory was propounded, in which it had become functional and had, moreover, held forth the promise of a Muslim homeland, had obviously been rendered a little irrelevant and obsolete. And this for the obvious reason that the Muslims had acquired a homeland of their own and had attained nationhood. Hence, given the shift in the substratum, the two-nation theory had also undergone a paradigmatic shift. Since August 14-15, 1947, therefore, it has been replaced by a new, post-partition, India-Pakistan paradigm, or the Two Nation States theory.

This basic change in the loyalties and emotional attachment of the erstwhile Indian Muslim nation was, first, recognized, and called attention to, by Jinnah himself, a statesman that he was, while most other top Indian leaders (including Gandhi ji) were calling on the Muslim minority in India to make the “loyalty” tests. On the eve of his departure from New Delhi on August 7, 1947, Jinnah gave the call for forgetting the (immediate) past, burying the hatchet, and starting “afresh as two independent sovereign States of Hindustan and Pakistan”. The same message was repeated in his 11 August 1947 address to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He also called upon both the Muslims in post-partition India and the Hindus in Pakistan to give unreserved loyalty to their respective dominions.

And, for now, the major premise is that with partition and independence, the two nations, encapsulated in the two-nation theory, have attained statehood, transforming themselves into Indian and Pakistani nations. And with reference to their respective countries and nations, their prime identification in the post-partition period is Indians and Pakistanis, and not Hindus and Muslims. Thus, in the new geo-political context, the two nations are Indian and Pakistan, and not Hindus and Muslim.

Thus, an integral nation, comprising one and all inhabiting Pakistani territories, without reference to race, religion, language and ethnicity, came into being on 14-15 August 1947. Pakistani nationhood, both as a concept or a ground reality, was never in dispute. Of course, because of certain obvious reasons, East Pakistani diversity gathered momentum since the early 1950s and developed into a crystallized sub-nationalism, with its litany of grievances and demands. Subsequently, the Karachi rioters sought to accommodate its major grievances during 1955-58, and Pakistan was well in its way to developing a viable federal polity.

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited Unesco's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007), the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
27
July

Report By: Lt Col Amjad Raza Khan

For the last decade or so Pakistan has remained a frontline state in war against terrorism. Pakistan paid the highest price in this war in terms of human life and resources, yet never flinched its claim on authority and writ of the state within its boundaries. While all Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) of the country are making best efforts to eliminate terrorism, their capacity building to respond to such wide spectrum of threat remains a challenge. Pakistan Army having hard earned combat experience in war against terrorism has evolved a comprehensive training regime and part of this advanced and specialized training is imparted at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Pabbi, near Mangla Cantonment.

This institution imparts specialized pre-induction training to Pakistan Army units earmarked for FATA and Swat. Under the same context, Pakistan Army offered the counter terrorism training services of NCTC to LEAs including Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, Defence Services Guards, Strategic Plans Division, Punjab Rangers, Frontier Corps KPK, Anti Narcotics Force and police forces of Punjab, KPK, Sindh, Balochistan, AJ&K and Islamabad. NCTC is organizing a series of national level integrated courses for LEAs/ other services, named as National Integrated Counter Terrorism Course (NICTC). The training is conducted under direct supervision of Kharian Division and Mangla Corps. Lt Gen Mian Hilal Hussain and Maj Gen Zafar-ul-Haq have been carrying out frequent visits of NCTC and have directly been monitoring the training activities. Two such courses have so far been organized at NCTC. First course was run from 2-21 March 2015, whereas second course was organized from 13 April - 9 May 2015.

Closing Ceremony of the NICTC-I was held on March 18, 2015. Gen Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff graced the occasion as the chief guest. Closing ceremony of NICTC-II was held on May 7, 2015.

Overall three best trainees of both the courses and one best individual from each department was awarded medal with cash awards. Beside this, COAS also awarded a shotgun each to medal winners and Rs. 1 lac to overall best trainee.

  • Departments / organisations/ Services Trained at NCTC by Pak Army
  •  Pakistan Navy
  •  Pakistan Air Force
  •  Strategic Plans Division
  •  Pakistan Rangers (Punjab)
  •  Frontier Corps KPK
  •  Defence Services Guards
  •  Anti Narcotics Force
  •  Punjab Police
  •  KPK Police
  •  Sindh Police
  •  Balochistan Police
  •  AJ&K Police
  •  Islamabad Police

Training Objectives – NICTC

• To develop physical fitness and mental robustness of the participants.
• Develop instant reflex response to impromptu situation including crisis management.
• Improvement of weapon handling and firing skills.
• Develop understanding of entire spectrum of dynamic nature of threat.
• Learning to fight as buddy pair and small group.
• Develop clear understanding of various aspects of base/installation security.
• To develop skills to appreciate the terrain and use it to own advantage for cover and fire.
• Mastering the skills of fighting in Build Up Area.
• Proficiency in negotiating various obstacles and field craft.

 

conduct_nation1.jpg

At the start of each course, initial evaluation of trainees was carried out to gauge their proficiency level in firing, physical efficiency and theoretical knowledge. Majority of trainees were found wanting in these domains, however, towards the end of the courses, a remarkable improvement was assessed in all fields.

 

conduct_nation12.jpg

 

NICTC played a vibrant role in sharpening the basic combat skills of trainees required to combat terrorism. Trainees displayed a high standard of dedication, diligence and professional commitments throughout the course and enjoyed the pleasure of learning. They will surely become useful assets for their departments in implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) and prove their mettle, whenever needed. The environment and standard of training being imparted by Pakistan Army was highly appreciated by all LEAs and services. Consequently, frequent requests are being received by different institutions to run similar courses in future as well. The capacity building of LEAs and sister services is a sacred task, national obligation and the need of time. Pakistan Army and NCTC shall never be short of steps to support the implementation of NAP and continue to play its role by organizing such trainings in future as well.

12
June

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

The sister showed me the boys’ schoolwork – the writing was neat, logical and it had the teacher’s remarks in red, “well presented work!” On the cover of the schoolbook it read, “I shall rise and shine.”

mages are based on histories, encounters, and the ability of those represented to fight for an equal voice to express themselves. Creating negative images of “the Other” is deeply problematic for the idea of human morality, as it implicitly rationalizes the condoning of violence against “the Other”.

Similarly, images are built of countries as images are built of men and women: this one is a “good”; that one is “bad”. This one is “friendly”; that one is an “enemy”. Beneath this surface of media world and propaganda in which each country perceives itself as inherently good and “the Other” as inherently evil, there are real people struggling to survive, to find their next meal, to live a life of dignity. In Pakistan, loving grandparents, self-sacrificing parents with babies, innocent children and know-it-all teenagers must search for tools of peace building to heal our fractured but shared world.

Frankie Martin, an American researcher, and a student of my father, Professor Akbar Ahmed at the American University in Washington DC accompanied my father on his research project, Journey into America. Sharing his experience with me about same trip, he told about his meeting during a walk in Florida with a friendly elderly woman who was gardening. During their conversation, he told her about previous exciting learning research project called Journey into Islam, where we visited nine Muslim countries, including Pakistan. He told me that lady stopped him after listening the name of Pakistan, exclaiming, “Wait! What? Pakistan!” then after a pause she said, “Do people there love their children?”

Frankie, who has been involved in a lot of bridge building work with Professor Ahmed calmly replied, “yes, they do – just like us. They are very family-oriented and are indeed very loving to their children.” The woman shouted back in the direction of her husband in the house, “See darling, I told you they love their children there.” She explained that violent images of Pakistan dominate local news. However, she owned a sweater that bore the tag, Made in Pakistan, which gave her hope that people “out there” did normal things (not, as the news reflected, kill and hate). She felt deep down that people everywhere were good and productive – her sweater spoke more to her, in this case, than the image of Pakistan that, unconstructively for all of us, has systematically been conveyed through the media.

Negative images of “the Other” are harmful to the ones that are the object of this construction as it can drive them into self protective behaviours that push them towards the periphery and further marginalization. Muslim immigrants to the West encounter the differences between cultures more sharply which are often exacerbated by media depictions of Muslims (all South Asians get affected – Sikhs and Hindus included – and we hear stories of them being beaten up by local people thinking they are all “Pakis”). The media’s depictions of “the Other”, at present, especially Muslims, drive people apart, create walls of misunderstanding, increase stereotyping, and degrades mutual respect. Instead, I think, media can and should bring the world closer together through fair and equal representation of all sides within conflict stories, and more scholarly and positive analysis.

The outcome of this gap between how different people perceive each other is a propagation of dislike and intolerance of “the Other”, which can lead to the kind of violence we see today in the world. Violence begets violence and locks people into cycles of revenge. A famous tribal Pukhtun proverb is: “he took revenge after a hundred years and said, ‘I took it too soon!’.” In this scenario, when tribal people and modern states encounter each other through violence and force, the masses who suffer the most are the ordinary helpless people and children as seen when the Taliban took revenge on Army Public School in Peshawar killing 150 children and teachers. The Taliban had announced that they would take revenge on the children from army families for carrying out operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). In all eventualities, there are civilian casualities including children in addition to the soldiers participating in the “war on terror” – they happened to be in the right place (schools) at the wrong time (time of global war not of their choice). Ironically, the Arabic-Urdu word “Taliban” is plural for “students” and students symbolize a thirst for learning and development and is something we, in the educated Muslim world, regret being associated with violent extremist fringe groups. The Attack on Army Public School (APS)

The seven armed men who attacked the army school in Peshawar were not of mainstream Pakistani origin (they are said to be speaking a non-local language – this was confirmed by all the parents to me). One of the parents told me that, they had blackmailed the canteen worker, who was an Afghan immigrant, by kidnapping and threatening his children. I was told by the parents of the boys that on entry, they first killed the canteen men, armed themselves, and proceeded to the female Principal’s office. They demanded the list of the boys who were sons of army men (the majority of the children were of civilian parents). The Principal, a dedicated educationist like so many other brave and bold female principals in Pakistani schools, refused to give the men any names. When we saw her husband in his apartment in Peshawar to offer Fateha, he described her as, “determined, kind and a dedicated educationist.” Her son pointed out, “she was more dedicated to her work, school and children than her home.” During the incident, she wanted to protect all the children. For her, they were all her responsibility as precious young adults. They threw petrol on her and burnt her alive just as they did with another 24 year old female teacher in front of her students who resisted while trying to protect her young students (this was narrated to me by the parents and friends of the boys killed).

I was shown the beds of two deceased brothers (one 15, the other 19) by a young sister who shared the same room. She felt lonely without her brothers, and now every night she hoped they were there in their own beds before she slept – the pain was horrendous for her.

The men were well informed about the school’s layout and timetable it seems, for they came into the hall at a time when all the senior classes of boys (Class 8 & above i.e. 15 to 18 years old) had gathered for an assembly that morning. Dressed in their crisp white shirts and green sweaters, the Army Public School boys – I reiterate most of them children of civilians – ended this morning’s assembly in terror. Every boy in Class 8 was killed – 15 years old in their prime – innocent of the world around them and not involved in the politics of people that had killed them. Some were shot in the limbs then savagely killed with knives. Pakistanis are asking who these ‘people’ were and who funded them?

Accompanied by family and a friend, I went to offer condolences to the mothers of the boys massacred in Peshawar. I did not know them personally, but as an act of humanity and compassion, we wanted to share their terrible loss and deep grief. When I sat with the mothers in their homes, I saw the deepest of human pain, impossible to express through mere words. After the traditional prayer offered for the souls of the boys, there was a struggle to find the right words. The pictures of the boys were freshly mounted on frames on the walls. These were middle class homes – people not involved in the politics of war but wanting to better their everyday lives and that of their children. The boys wore western clothes to school, spoke and wrote fluent English and had dreams. Mothers and sisters told me how intelligent, hard working, and wise these boys were – some wanted to be engineers, others doctors, and few others scholars.

I was shown the beds of two deceased brothers (one 15, the other 18) by a young sister who shared the same room. She felt lonely without her brothers, and now every night she hoped they were there in their own beds before she slept – the pain was horrendous for her. She showed me the boys’ pictures, school bags, piles of books with a prayer mat on top of them and a scrabble board right at the bottom of the pile – the 15 year old had three bags full of books which now lay there in the entrance to the house newly built by their parents – the father a banker and the mother a school teacher. They had worked all their lives for their children and moved from the village to the city of Peshawar to give their children a better future. The mother held their pictures to her eyes and cried her heart out for her beloved sons. It was unbearable – and deeply heart breaking. Together we cried and cried again – she for her sons, and I for the loss of such truly beautiful and brilliant young boys. The sister asked me crying, “Can someone tell me why they were killed, tell me one thing they did wrong? They were the best boys – so good, they were so loving and so caring.” Shamowail Tariq loved bringing people together. He dreamt of making a multilayered house to bring all his relatives together. With him, there was “ronak” (liveliness). He would tell his younger sister when she would say let’s do this tomorrow, “don’t leave it till tomorrow” (da maze bia bia narazee (this life/fun may not be there tomorrow). He would tell his younger sister, “I want to challenge you so that you think beyond the average level.” When he had typhoid and was out of bed in winter, ready to go to school, his elder sister scolded him. He replied, “we are zinda (alive). We are not affected by the cold. These all (who are living as a disconnected world community and are dominated by hate and divisions) are murda (dead: not mentally challenged and connected enough). He loved education, peace and faith. He would say his five times prayers and sit for long in the mosque behind our father.” His sister said that he told her, “something would happen and the whole world will remember us.” She cried, “Why! Why! Why!” The sister showed me the boys’ schoolwork – the writing was neat, logical and it had the teacher’s remarks in red, “well presented work!” On the cover of the schoolbook it read, “I shall rise and shine”.

The mother softly told me “I do not want any compensation for my sons – no money; nothing from the government. I just want the honour for them of the Nishan-e-Haider.” Martyrs are given this honour upon the ultimate sacrifice of life for their country. In another house, a Pukhtun army officer and father of a 18 year old boy, Saqib Ghani, who was killed in the massacre told me that, while he puts on a brave face in front of his family, when no one is looking he goes into the bathroom and cries his heart out for his precious and youngest son, whom he lost at such a young age. The father from Mardan said, “for our country we have done qurbani (sacrifice). When we first joined the army, we wanted shahadat (martyrdom) – it was a matter of fakhar (pride). But now I am a shaheed’s father. He was Allah’s amaanat (belonged to). He was the youngest of my five children. His way of talking was very pleasing. Sons bury their fathers but I buried my son! He was good in studies – he was brilliant at computers – he never teased us – he had very pleasant manners.”

This father told us of another boy who was kidnapped and released for ten million rupees. “His parents put him in APS where he became shaheed. He was doing hifz-e-Quran – he was brilliant and very good boy.” The Problem with Our Global Panic over Terrorism

This is indeed a deeply sad comment on the nature of humanity – when people become so brutal that they use force and kill because someone holds a different point of view or is born in a different family. It is important to highlight the point that although the media has created a panic over terrorism, it is these Pakistanis (the families of the people killed in terrible acts of terrorism) who are the real victims. While the Western media tends to paint a simplistic image of Pakistan as the hub of extremist activities, in reality the majority of Pakistanis are the victims of terrorism (thousands of innocent people in Pakistan have died since 9/11). A terrorist cannot and should not define Pakistan to the rest of the world. Consider an instance of the reverse – the man who killed three Muslim students in North Carolina. If that was the only person or story we heard around the world and in America, then he, as a white American, would define every white American for the rest of the world, ignoring the reality of his particular extremist view. Similarly, the Taliban cannot and should not define Pakistan. If this is allowed unthoughtfully, then it provides no moral support, understanding, or compensation from the international community for the families in Peshawar. As human beings, we are connected across borders to each other’s pain – we cannot deny this natural instinct in ourselves or the responsibility of connecting to others across borders as fellow human beings. What Can be Done

This followed by President Obama hosted a global summit on Countering Violent Extremism (now called “CVE”) with the aim of dealing globally with the growing threat extremism poses to all societies and states. Currently, as pointed out by Moeed Yusuf (United States Institute of Peace and also In Dawn, Feb 24, 2015) the number one, two and three strategies of states (such as the USA) dealing with violent extremism is by the use of force, and mostly in Muslim societies and countries. This will not work and can lead to creating more, not less, terrorism in on-setting cycles of revenge amongst tribal peoples who use a distorted understanding of religion to exploit impoverished and disadvantaged people in a vacuum where their own states fail to protect them. Non-violent policy options, for Western states, unfortunately are only at the stage of talk and not action. I agree with Moeed, that CVE can only be rooted out by changing mindsets through communication – dialogue, mediation, persuasion, deeper understanding, and above all peace building education, which introduces potent counter-narratives. In Muslim countries, one way is to educate students in counter-narratives by discussing and holding up heroes as role models who challenge the frame work of extremists – those role models who within an Islamic frame work of middle path represent moderate religious voices. The dialogue of civilizations, not clash is what states like the US need to promote. The world needs to be better informed about the array of Muslims and Islam, and Muslims themselves need to know much more about the Islamic culture of tolerance and their own rich history of co-existence. This knowledge will help end the cycle of extreme hate against “the Other”.

Before we take the first step towards creating a peaceful world, we have to stop building barriers of “us” versus “them”. There is much more to the story than simply “good guys” and “bad guys”; “good countries” and “bad countries”. Reality is far more complex and there is both good and bad in every story and history of nations. Understanding history and reading about the perceived “Other” helps. In Pakistan particularly, as the everyday life goes on: a country of two hundred million people where mothers drive their children to school, teachers begin the effort of teaching little reluctant 4 year old children how to read and write, and where female friends in beautiful lawn clothes “made in Pakistan” meet up at homes over coffee worrying, in English, Urdu and Pashto, about the safety of their beloved children. Teachers, students, and staff are worried and concerned about the way demonization of the “Other” and the growth of violent extremism in their lives is shaping world events. The principals of educational institutions worry about terrorism and the continuous cycle of revenge: one principal said she could not function for ten days after the Peshawar incident, despite a pile of papers demanding attention on her desk.

Mrs. Pracha a seasoned and dynamic Pakistani Principal said, “I am reminded of what Abraham Lincoln wrote to his son’s teacher: ‘Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend’.” She continued, “We in Pakistan need to remember this during current atmosphere of distrust and fear.” She said, “people in Pakistan are not all black and white – fundamentalists and liberals – we did not become Muslims in 1979, when the USSR invaded Afghanistan and the jihadis (as the west calls them) were created, nor will we stop being Muslims as the world turns in revulsion from the ISIS outrages. The state of being Muslim is not dependent on the depiction of a fringe splinter group. Its essence is more diverse and inclusive – welcoming of all sects, races, colours, and creeds. Witness the Moors in Spain: a pluralistic, highly civilized, and creative society. We must build bridges of economic hope and educational outreach.” She ended by saying, “Our hope lies in the extraordinary courage shown by those children who survived the Peshawar school attack. They, along with the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and his wife, re-entered the building, saluted the flag, and went back to work.” General Sharif in his character and behaviour has displayed two of the key qualities of heroes – great strength combined with gentleness and understanding. All these examples provide us a glimpse of hope and of human courage when the threat is enormous and humanity seems to be at its lowest ebb. And from the perspective of a young Pakistani student, your nation seems to be misunderstood, your fellow students killed for attending school, and yet you continue to struggle to learn and participate in the idea of schooling, knowledge, and peaceful education. Many ordinary citizens and scholars working hard to change their world around them for the better. Because of these and many more reasons we can say, Pakistan is fighting hard for peace. And as the APS text books rightly say, I [we shall rise and shine].

The author is a PhD Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Presently she is Director at Centre for Dialogue and Action.
12
June

Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar

The Top of the World, the End of the Earth

Sunlight falls on the slopes of the mountains and blinds one with a dazzling glare. It is not possible to keep one’s eyes unprotected here at this altitude with the slopes permanently covered with snow and ice. We arrived at Ibrahim Sector at an altitude of 19,000 feet above sea level, and Lieutenant Colonel Faisal had instructed me to fill my lungs with oxygen from a cylinder provided in the helicopter even before we landed in the soft snow of the ‘Hasrat Glacier’ lying in the folds of the Saltoro Ridge.

siachen_where_eagle3.jpg

The Saltoro Ridge originates from the Sia Kangri in the Karakoram Ridge and the altitudes range from 5450 to 7720 metres (17,880 to 25,300 feet). The major passes on this ridge are Sia La at 5589 metres (18,336 feet) and Bilafond La at 5450 metres (17,880 feet), and Gyong La at 5689 metres (18,665 feet). We entered the land of glaciers and crevasses by flying over the Gyong Pass. Below us were huge tracts of moving masses of ice and snow, rocks, and glaciers that feed the rivers which, in turn, feed our crops, and feed humanity. The glaciers are like massive brush strokes painted by a giant who commands this land of mountains. No one lives here, except for the legendary Paris and their consorts, the Deo of ancient, from mythological times. We had come to visit the thirteen men serving at Ibrahim Post, commanded by Captain Rao, a young officer from Bahawalpur. As Colonel Faisal set the chopper down, I saw three big dogs playing in the snow – I was fascinated by this sight: two golden haired dogs and a darker one, frolicking in the snow as if that was their playground. These must be sniffer dogs trained to seek out men fallen into crevasse or buried beneath the snow. I was to later meet their canine colleagues at the Goma where fourteen of the finest German Shepherds were being trained for the same purpose. Having lived with animals all my life, I am more convinced every day about their intelligence and intuition, and of course, the loyalty of dogs is legendary, something I am writing about in a novel based on the heroic stories of Siachen soldiers and their four-legged companions.

I alighted from the chopper cautiously, mindful that the snow is several feet deep and that crevasses lie hidden all around us. From the chopper I had seen the two men in snowsuits, guns held at the ready, standing at the edge of what appeared to be a ridge or a crevasse. What had startled me was the rope that tied them together, a precaution taken when guarding the treacherous terrain which serves as home for these brave men. If one of them took a wrong step and fell into a crevasse, the other one would be in a position to pull, or later help in his rescue. It was an arrangement that tied both men to the interest of mutual survival. Perhaps all of us should have that rope connecting us so that when one of us falls, the other can pull us up – is that the way to save humanity from destroying itself, by building such connections, visible and otherwise?

I was careful with my breathing, concerned that I could collapse by hyperventilating, or that the lack of oxygen in my lungs could cause memory loss. I consciously shielded my heart condition from the officers who had arranged my visit, afraid that they would not deem me medically fit to undertake the journey. Aware of the risk I had taken, I had promised myself not to let these officers down, and so calmed my breathing to a slow, deliberate rhythm, measuring each step as if it was a question of life and death.

Indeed, living at this altitude has led to serious illnesses, to amputations due to frost-bite, to burns which eat the flesh, to heart attacks which claim the lives of the young.

I had to take this risk in order to understand the peril faced by each of these men and their colleagues posted further up the ridge. I had to meet these brave men, soldiers and officers, cooks and porters, men who lived in an inhuman environment, whose families received an odd call once in a while informing them of the welfare of their loved one.

siachen where eagle2Captain Rao led Major Shumaila and I up the slope to where the men await us. All of them were in white snowsuits, their boots protecting their feet from frost bite and goggles protecting their eyes from snow blindness. Major Shumaila wore the parka provided for her, and I was pleased to see that she had also worn the extra pair of boots I had carried, “just in case...” In fact, this young Major looked rather fetching in her ensemble, my boots matching the khaki of her sari, which, incidentally, she was wearing as her uniform and that is worn by all women officers of the Pakistan Army. I believe Major Shumaila was among the few lady officers to arrive at Ibrahim Post wearing a sari. History had been made during our visit; the impossible had become possible!

There were further surprises up ahead – I made my way through the snow laboriously, praying that I would not pass out and make a sheer fool of myself. I was assisted by Captain Rao and a walking stick, and reached the flat area designated for our tea time break. A table fashioned out of a carton or a trunk and covered with a colourful table-cloth, was laden with freshly fried pakoras, samosas and potato chips. Two bowls contained fresh chutney and raita, and bottles of soft drinks sparkled in the snow while tea was poured into delicate cups. I had no words to express my awe as I looked around at those men who had not seen their families or been near anything familiar for several months, and yet had produced a tea fit for a ‘queen’. How do they manage at this altitude to even light a fire? How long does it take to melt the snow for tea? How often can they afford to bathe? What do they eat, and how often do they speak to their families? What happens when one of them falls sick, or is injured? Have any of them ever lost the will to survive here, in this wilderness where no man dares to get lost for fear of never being found?

Captain Rao answered my questions patiently: it takes much time to melt the snow in order to have drinking water, so bathing is out of question. Food is stored in a special stone hut, carried by porters using mules and donkeys. Beyond Ibrahim Post only porters can carry the supplies as it is impossible for pack animals to climb further (across the border I believe mules are given shots of rum to encourage them to climb impossible heights, deluding them with a sense of false courage).

I met the porter who had arrived the day before – he was a small man, from Astore, dressed casually in sweat pants, a T-shirt and a jacket open at the chest. On his head was a woolen cap and sunglasses shield his eyes from the glare. He wore ordinary joggers in his feet. Paid between rupees four hundred and one thousand per day, he would climb up to the farthest post at 21,000 feet, seventy kilograms of supplies strapped to his back. I look at his face, a young man, his skin burnt black, a smile playing on his face, and I wonder at the strength packed into his small frame, and the resolve carried in his heart. He didn’t think much of the work he does – it is all part of his own survival in a world where war costs not only human lives but billions of dollars a year; money which could be spent on the welfare of young men like our porter from Astore.

I finished my tea and walked up to the slope where the soldiers stood on guard, guns held ready. As we proceeded slowly towards the several winterized tents and the storage hut, I was directed to look up at the sky where a white fleck flits in the air. I was not sure what I was looking at – I had not expected to see birds at this altitude, though there were four ravens flying around the storage hut, I was quite sure, unless I was hallucinating due to the lack of oxygen! Captain Rao told me it was not a bird we were watching, in fact, we were being watched by a drone flown by the “enemy” across the ridge the moment our chopper must have been spotted. I thought of the futility of this war, of the costs incurred, of the need to constantly be vigilant, to ward off attacks in the middle of the night, to survive the freezing temperatures, to continue to believe in the value of war as a tool to settle conflict. And in my mind I imagined the lives of millions of my fellow citizens who do not have clean water to drink, adequate health care, access to education and justice, or even a nourishing meal twice a day. Could our warring countries not put these resources and our imagination to better use? Was there not a need to reconsider the hatred that fuels these conflicts, putting the welfare of our people before “strategic” considerations of the security apparatus? For what good is the state if the nation is uncared for? If children die for want of nourishment and drinking water and medical aid? If women cannot choose the number of children they want to bear, if men cannot find meaningful employment? These are the questions that mostly pertain to the Indian Army across the border as they are the ones who initiated this war, and also a major hurdle in peaceful resolution of this hazardous ‘war game’. Indian leadership have much to answer to the families of soldiers employed on both sides of the border. I talked to the men at Ibrahim Post until it was time to go – many of them were from Punjab and had never seen snow in their lives before coming here. Put through a rigorous process of acclimatization and training in Skardu, Youching and Goma, these men spent an average of 8-10 weeks at these posts, guarding our frontiers. Once their replacements are ready, they make their way slowly back to Goma where they are taken care of any medical need and, where the barber cuts their hair and shaves them, readying them for re-entry into the world.

I had seen that barber shop at Goma – it is like any other salon in our beloved country, complete with barber’s chair and mirror, a collection of after-shave lotions and creams, posters of handsome young men sporting dashing hairstyles, and a vase carrying red plastic roses placed on a shelf with pride. Just outside the officer’s living quarters, another profusion of red blooms bursted forth on a bush of wild roses, ‘Sia-Chen’ in Balti, a name given to a place on top of the world, at the end of the earth, that place of absence and longing, a place which has carved a space in my heart where I keep the image of two ducks, three dogs, four ravens and many brave men safe, etched into the velvet of my eyelids, engraved like a soldier’s badge of honour.

The writer studied Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal, Media Education at the University of London, Development Communication at the University of Southern California, and Cultural Heritage Management at the National College of Arts, Lahore. She teaches at apex institutions, writes columns for a leading daily, makes documentaries, and has published two best-selling novels.
12
June

Written By: Muhammad Amir Rana

Many internal and external factors had been at the heart of the conflict in Yemen. But the recent crisis is largely an outcome of the unsuccessful democratic transition in the country in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the ouster of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The internal unrest raised the regional concerns and provided space for external interventions.
Though the Yemen’s crisis has implications for global security and regional strategic balance, it has not received the due attention from the international community to address it.
The US is assisting in the Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen but is reluctant to take up a leading role. The NATO countries are behaving in a similar manner. It appears as if their not-so-successful ventures in Libya and Syria have made them cautious

Some may argue that the state’s socio-political stability is more important as compared to ideological balancing. However, in case of failure to achieve either, non-state actors are the main beneficiaries, whether they are religiously, ethnically or politically motivated. And a range of non-state actors exist in Yemen.

enough to stay away from such conflicts whose outcome is difficult to measure. The ‘careful’ global attitude has provided more space to Iran and Saudi Arabia for a strategic play in Yemen. In military perspective too, it has put a huge liability on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members. Certainly, without troops on the ground certain objectives cannot be achieved. For that purpose, these countries are looking towards their non-Arab allies with strong military capabilities, mainly Pakistan and Turkey, to share their burden.
Apparently, the equations of the conflict seem simple. But a deeper look reveals that the situation is like a jigsaw where assessing the local, regional and global dynamics and impacts is not an easy task.
Background
The roots of social and political confrontations in Yemen are old but the current crisis is linked to the late 2011 uprisings against former president Saleh. As a result, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi took over as the new president with a responsibility to unite all shades of Yemeni political landscape. The uprising also provided space to Islamist militant groups mainly Al-Qaeda. A United Nations-backed National Dialogue Conference (NDC) was launched in 2012 to develop consensus on major issues facing the country's future. In January 2014, the NDC extended Hadi’s term for another year but failed to develop the required consensus among all stakeholders on the framework of a constitution. However, it made some progress in terms of reaching an agreement for a national council with two chambers: an upper house composed of the existing parliament in which the General People’s Congress (GPC) held a majority; and a lower house with all NDC components including the Houthis, Hiraak, youth, women and other groups. There was also consensus on forming a national government comprising all main parties including Houthis but president Hadi refused to accept the agreement.
This situation triggered unrest in the country. Shia Houthi tribes made an alliance with former president Saleh and started a march towards the capital.
According to a report by Al-Jazeera, ‘when pro-Houthi militias abducted Ahmad Awad Bin Mubarak, the Yemeni President’s Chief of Staff, President Hadi gave orders to the army to take over the security of the capital. The Houthis had initially agreed to pull out their fighters once a government was formed. They later backtracked saying that withdrawing their fighters from the capital would lead to more instability.

In this turmoil and crisis, less attention to the people of Yemen, who are suffering and waiting for the regional and international humanitarian assistance. According to the reports, half of Yemenis already live below poverty line and decades of wars and instability have made their economic future uncertain.

Saudi Arabia, which has a long history of dealing with the internal issues of Yemen, was watching these developments cautiously. An alleged Iranian support to Houthi forces was a major concern for Saudis, that viewed emerging developments in a broader regional perspective. Syrian crisis and a rise of Islamic State had already put the whole region in turmoil, which was gradually expanding its boundaries. The escape of President Hadi from the capital was the point where Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies lost their patience and launched airstrike to dismantle the Houthi forces. The strike made the Yemen’s internal crisis a regional strategic and political conflict.
Tribal and Political Actors
Most of the Western and Middle Eastern analysts still see Yemen crisis as an internal issue. They believe in an internal solution with regional guarantees. The local political and tribal actors hold the key for the resolution of the crisis. In this perspective, following actors are important:
Houthis: Headed by Abdulmalik al-Houthi, Houthis are the most powerful political and military group in northern Yemen. They control a huge area that stretches from Saada in the north to the south of the capital Sanaa. Houthis are Zaydi Muslims, followers of the Shia religious school historically seen as closest to Sunnis. But Zaydis have come to be dominated by a clan that owes allegiance to a now dead rebel leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who declared war on the government in 2004. According to the Telegraph, ‘the Houthis' Shiism has led them to a pro-Iran, anti-Western position – its adherents carry flags saying, “Death to America, Death to Israel”. Houthis are demanding implementation of the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), which was struck after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in September 2014.
Al-Islah: Al-Islah is a Sunni Islamist political movement that is described as Yemen’s version of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the main constitutional opposition to the government. According to the media reports, its leaders have been targeted for reprisals by the Houthis, as the two represent the rival sects of political Islam.
The Southern Movement: The Southern Movement (known as Al-Hiraak) is a strong secessionist movement. The Southern Movement was working for re-establishment of South Yemen as an independent state, as it was before the merger with North Yemen in 1990.
Former President Ali Abdullah al-Saleh: Former President Saleh, who fought the Houthis for years, is now a partner of Houthis. He still enjoys the support of the army apparatus controlled by his many relatives, partly out of revenge against Gen Mohsen, who has retained power over a rival army faction.
The Government: The UN and GCC still recognise Hadi’s government as legitimate. According to a BBC report, Mr Hadi is also supported in the predominantly Sunni south of the country by militia known as Popular Resistance Committees and local tribesmen. All efforts by the GCC are aimed at restoring the Hadi’s government in Yemen to restart peace and dialogue process.
Regional players
• Saudi Arabia-led GCC Alliance: The Saudis are staunch anti-Houthis and declare Houthis as proxies of Iran and Lebanon’s Hizbollah. This is not a first military campaign of the Saudis against Houthis; they had launched similar airstrikes in 2009 in Saada province. In 2014, they declared the Houthis a terrorist organisation. Saudi Arabia had also been making efforts to isolate the Houthis diplomatically, strangle them economically, and is now trying to weaken them militarily.
• Iran: Iran denies charges that it is physically arming the Houthis but a ship carrying weapons apparently from Iran was seized in Yemeni waters in 2013, which strengthened the Saudi’s doubts. According to media reports, the Houthis have close ties to Hizbollah. Many reports indicate that Shia militias now control parts of both Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen and northern border with Iraq.
The Beneficiary
The recent advances of Al-Qaeda in Yemen make it clear who will be the main beneficiary of a protracted crisis in the country. The Al-Qaeda fighters recently attacked a jail in Yemen and freed hundreds of inmates including scores of militants as well as one of their main leader. The militant of Islamic State (IS) had already registered their presence in the capital of Yemen by orchestrating large-scale suicide attacks on Shia mosques in Sanaa last month.
Against this background, some may argue that the state’s socio-political stability is more important as compared to ideological balancing. However, in case of failure to achieve either, non-state actors are the main beneficiaries, whether they are religiously, ethnically or politically motivated. And a range of non-state actors exist in Yemen.
The religiously motivated non-state actors, including Al-Qaeda and the IS, have not yet displayed their full potential in the rapidly deteriorating situation. But experts believe that these actors had been waiting for this moment of Sunni-Shia confrontation in the country for a long time. They knew that sectarian tensions would open up space for them to flourish and operate. Now they will be more than ready to encroach upon the space that the ongoing war in Yemen will create. Yemen’s case could be even worse than that of Syria where Bashar al-Assad’s forces are still offering resistance to non-state actors.
It is a valid argument that the US-led invasion of Iraq and intervention in Syria created situations of chaos that non-state actors such as Al-Qaeda and IS have effectively exploited. These violent actors have attracted Islamist extremists from across the world. Through playing the sectarian card, such groups create strategic space for themselves. Arab analysts had already predicted that terrorist groups in Yemen would exploit the Saudi-led intervention as an excuse to go after the Shia Houthis.
In this turmoil and crisis, to the people of Yemen, who are suffering and waiting for the regional and international humanitarian assistance. According to the reports, half of Yemenis already live below poverty line and decades of wars and instability have made their economic future uncertain.

 

The writer is a security and political analyst and the Director of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). He has worked extensively on issues related to counter-terrorism, counter-extremism, internal and regional security, and politics. Twitter @AmirRana
12
June

Written By: Zarghon Shah

On the damp bank of River Yamuna stands the famous love story icon, the Taj Mahal, which daily bustles with over 20 thousands tourists, mostly Japanese and Europeans. And nearby Agra’s Ved Nagar slum, a ceremony is taking place – dozens of Muslims are being converted into Hinduism. Pursuant to their Ghar Vapsi or ‘homecoming’ campaign, the Dharam Jagran Samiti and Bajrang Dal cells of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) herded 250 Muslim men and women of the Bengali speaking poor Muslim community into an open space besides a statue. A Hindu priest recites Shlokas and smears vermillion on the converts’ foreheads, asking them to repeat the ritual, ahuti. Finally the priest removes Muslims’ caps and thrust them beneath his feet, and handover each family the idol of godess, Kali.

Shortly after the formulation of Narendra Modi’s government, Dharam Jagran Samiti (religious awakening committee) and Bajrang Dal, the militant wing of the largest Hindu organization, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), resorted to nefarious Ghar Vapsi drive. According to them all Muslims and Christians in India are originally Hindus whose ancestors had converted to other religions and they need reconversion in a predominantly Hindu majority country. Carrying forward the mission-reconversion, the VHP converted another Muslim family of 12 in Achhnera tehsil of Agra, 58 Muslims and Christians at two temples in Kottayam district, 42 members of 20 different families at Puthiyakavu Devi temple in Ponkunnam and 16 Muslims in Krishna Swamy temple in Thirunakara.

Backing the conversions, Chief Minister Kerala Oommen Chandy had said, “the situation did not warrant a government intervention.” The RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat justifying the homecoming said, “we will bring back our brothers who have lost their way.” More harsh was Samiti leader Rajeshwar Singh’s comment who said, “our target is to make India, a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. So they would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here.”

Addressing a Hindu Sammelan at Yamunanagar in Haryana, Joint General Secretary of the VHP, Surendra Jain said, “Muslims are at war across the globe and the hatred against them is growing. If they want respect in India, they should become Hindus.” Jain added, “If Muslims want to survive, they should take the blessings of the Hindu saints.”

Encouraged by the Agra episode, Bhartiya Janata Party’s Member of Parliament and senior Vishwa Hindu leader, RamVilas Vedanti claims to organize a rather grand Ghar Vapsi for over 3000 Muslims at Ayodhya where Muslims from Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Gonda, Shrawasti, Basti and Siddarth Nagar districts would assemble in near future.

The argument given by supporters of the Ghar Vapsi campaign is that unless corrective measures are taken up urgently, there is a danger to the existing demographic profile of the country. Many leaders of the Sangh Parivar argue the way the population of some religious groups is growing, there is a possibility of Hindus being reduced to a religious minority in several states.

Muslims’ outrageous conversion into Hinduism not only irked Pakistanis but the entire Muslim world. Within India itself a Muslim cleric Salim Ahmed, who heads the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) said that he would wage a war against the country if incidents of religious conversions were not checked. Darul Uloom of Deoband activated its conversion-prevention wing nationwide, while Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid declared he would launch a “ghar ghar Islam” (Islam in every house) campaign to counter the Ghar Vapsi.

As a reaction to caste discrimination within the Hindu creed, recently four Dalits converted to Islam in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. The Sangh Parivar organizations, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, reacted swiftly and threatened to punish them by destroying their crops and dispossess them of their land. The police also booked them under the state's draconian anti-conversion law. Due to these threats, they reverted to Hinduism. Mass and forceful conversion of Muslims and Christains into Hinduism also led to pandemonium in the Indian Parliament. In the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, all opposition parties got united under the Congress Party's leadership and demanded reply from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of forcible religious conversions. As Modi did not respond, the Parliament appeared to be log-jammed.

Modi’s failure to curb fanatical Hindu-nationalist anti-Muslim wing of the Sangh Parivar, the family of organizations within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS, of whom Modi himself is a member, have left him in deep trouble.

Stories of mass Muslim conversions, anti-Muslim riots and the objectives of building a Hindu India have mushroomed to such an extent that Modi was reported to have warned RSS about possibility of his resignation.

Adding fuel to the fire, abusive racial remarks by woman minister, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, at a political rally, further embarrassed Modi when she said that non-Hindus (i.e. Muslims) were illegitimate: “Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haramzadon ki. (You have to decide if you want a government peopled by the children of Ram or one full of illegitimate children)”.

On its part in the past, the RSS and Bajrang Dal had been tasked to build Ram Janambhoomi temple in Ayodhya on the ruined site of Babri Mosque. These outfits aim at, what they claim, restoring and preserving India’s Hindu individuality by checking Muslim population increase. Not to this extent, Bajrang Dal also was involved in the Gujarat riots of 2002, besides attacking Christians in Orissa and Karnataka. Fanatic Hindutva supporters feel it is an appropriate time to reassert India’s Hindu identity. While Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and its propagation, Hindutva followers view Christianity and Islam as outsider faiths.

Narendra Modi may be pursuing uplift agenda and greater connectivity with the world, he is also dependent on the street powers of fundamentalist organizations for more political space. But these outfits pose a threat to Indian inclusiveness and much depends on how Modi handles with perilous moves.

To sum-up, Ghar Vapsi has considerably exposed the way how Indian political landscape is taking new dimensions in the wake of BJP’s rise to power. During the Indian general elections, the RSS were closely involved with the selection process of BJP candidates. In line with this hypothesis, Muslim demography is also being changed in Indian-held Kashmir.

This situation shows the cruel and real face of India behind ‘shining-India-face’ to the world. As India is striving to acquire permanent berth in United Nation Security Council, its violations of human rights and forceful imposition of religion by religious extremists is something that merits attention of world community.

The writer is a journalist working for a private TV channel This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
12
June

Written By: Shaukat Qadir

Balochistan; our largest province, has almost 45% of our land mass and hosts less than 10% of our population. It is a vast, unfriendly and inhospitable desert; even most of its mountainous terrain is scarce of water. Life and communication is governed by the location of water. I know of at least two places where humans and animals drink from the same slime covered pond.

Harsh land breeds harsh people; and the people of this region are hardy, harsh, and cruel. What is more, the population is widely diverse. There are the Baloch, the Pashtun, the Brahvi, Makranis, Sindhis, and a very small percentage of Punjabis. Other then the Punjabis, all other ethnicities have tribes and sub-tribes; most of them don’t get along with others. Internecine warfare has been the way of life from time immemorial. The peoples of this land have always been exceedingly difficult to govern but the geo-strategic location of this land made it so attractive that, whoever could, did annex it, and struggled to govern. It was always the overland link to the Middle East and, through Afghanistan, to Central Asia. Despite the harsh land, therefore, it was always a commercial route. And a smuggler’s haven, which it still is.

In recent times, not only the strategically important ports, Gwadar being most noteworthy, but others as well, have increased its importance. This is with special reference to the Strategic Commercial Corridor that China and Pakistan seem to be working on these days. But that is not all. Geological surveys have disclosed that the region has enormous resources of minerals, oil and gas – the last we have been using for the past decades. There are more and richer Though very reluctantly, many of these youth admitted that the majority of such deaths, laid at the door of “Agencies”, were committed by locals: many smugglers, some politicians, tribal leaders, even many of the Baloch rebels. It was the best way to get rid of somebody they did not wish to be suspected of killing. resources as well; Reiko Dik being the best known, though not the only one. As Balochistan gains importance in our commercial future, it also becomes an increasingly lucrative location for nation states that do not wish us well, to destabilize by nefarious means. That is where we now stand.

Brief Recent History It will not be fair if I fail to point out that we are responsible for having created a situation which our ill-wisher countries, India being foremost of all, to exploit.

foreign hands1Perhaps the best example I can think of is Nawab Akbar Bugti. Among Baloch tribes, no tribal leader – how insignificant his tribe is – will accept the supremacy of another tribal leader. But if there was a leader among them whom they could and did defer to, it was Nawab Bugti. His tribe was neither the largest, nor did it hold sway over the largest territory. And yet, he stood tall among tall men.

After partition this highly educated, sharply intelligent, patriot, and loyal Pakistani 20 year old Nawab Bugti, who had recently assumed leadership of his tribe, was appointed as Adviser to the Governor General on Balochistan affairs. On August 26, 2006 he died a rebel. I have no intention of justifying his rebellion or his death. But there was a huge transition from what he was and what he was finally killed for. This was either caused by consistently bad policies of governance, change of ideology by Bugti, or, rebellion on foreign behest. The time would tell but if there was a disagreement, it should not have turned into anti-state rebellion.

Over the past five-plus decades, successive governments have created an impression among the peoples of Balochistan that they are ‘Children of a Lesser God’ in Pakistan. Our enemies reinforced it.

Admittedly, the vastness of the province and scarce, sparse, widely spread population makes governance a nightmare. Just ensuring the provision of basic necessities is so hugely expensive as to be prohibitive.

But if a land is important, so must its peoples be. And, if for no other reason, for pragmatic requirements to ensure that the peoples are happy alone, good governance must be ensured, so that no enemy can exploit their dissatisfaction. This we failed to do.

Over the past decade or so, a realization of this failing has grown and things have begun to change. To the credit of the army, it was the first to start rectifying matters. President Musharaf could be justifiably criticized for many of his decisions, but he initiated the beginning of Balochistan’s reconstruction, which has steadily increased in tempo.

The Complaint From 2008 to 2010, I undertook numerous security related analytical studies of Balochistan. Most of them were for NGOs but I also undertook one for a government agency.

The basic sense I got was that the hard-core of Baloch rebel was small. But the tragedy was that it was the disillusioned youth. When I met some of them they exuded a sense of hopelessness, despite the fact that reconstruction of the province was not just well under way but was continuing to increase in tempo.

While much of their disillusionment came from the deplorably and unbelievable extent of corruption that was prevalent under the provincial government, it was multiplied manifold by the fact that the standard of education in the province was so poor that even students with MSc degrees could not compete for jobs with those of equal education from other provinces.

At one of my meetings with the Baloch youth, one of them cried out, “Why have you condemned us to this state of Jihalat.” After numerous meetings when we had a better rapport, I began to get more of the truth out of them; there is always a first, before others begin speaking out. According to them, the truth was that, some years earlier, intelligence agencies abducted some people who later turned up dead of torture. They However, what is most important here is to point out that, even when these rebellious youth accused the agencies and generally held the army responsible for their ills, they were unhesitant in acknowledging that, it was the army alone that gave them a glimpse of hope by providing affordable but quality education, health, food, water, and a communication infrastructure that linked the province. listened more and more on this foreign sponsored propaganda and finally it is taken as a reality. Yes, enemy is liable to use propaganda but where is own national healing process to replace the scars with twinkles. However, with the passage of time, the theme was picked up by other ‘bad’ people; particularly a politician who was a smuggler. Thereafter, he eliminated his competitors by brutal unclaimed killings; the trumpet of ‘missing persons’ grew stronger with each killing. His example was followed by many others.

Though very reluctantly, many of these youth admitted that the It is in this backdrop that the COAS visited Balochistan again on April 15th this year and issued a general warning to “foreign hands and intelligence agencies” trying to destabilize Balochistan to desist. They will not be allowed to succeed. Although numerous politicians have hinted at the presence of foreign hands, this is the first time that an Army Chief has issued such an unequivocal warning. Anyone who knows Gen Raheel will pay heed. He is not used to merely making loud sounds, without meaning them.majority of such deaths, laid at the door of “Agencies”, were committed by locals: many smugglers, some politicians, tribal leaders, even many of the Baloch rebels. It was the best way to get rid of somebody they did not wish to be suspected of killing. An added advantage was that the person behind the killing could warn other possible opponents off by telling them that, even the agencies were supporting him. That surely killed all opposition.

Now there is really no way of knowing today if any of the agencies are responsible for all the “Missing Persons”, but I am quite certain that if at all any individuals are guilty of such acts, it is because roles can be reversed. Now the employees can tell that the act was committed by X, Y, or Z, because these individuals are known to regularly resort to such tactics. But why should the state resort to such activities – to add fuel to the fire? – no sane policy can support it. That is how this blame-game and dark propaganda campaign be viewed.

However, what is most important here is to point out that, even when these rebellious youth accused the agencies and generally held the army responsible for their ills, they were unhesitant in acknowledging that, it was the army alone that gave them a glimpse of hope by providing affordable but quality education, health, food, water, and a communication infrastructure that linked the province. While no one said it in so many words, but the fact that the media focus on missing persons assisted those non-state actors who were, and probably still are, guilty of such murders, to get off scot free was tacitly acknowledged.

COAS’ Recent Visit to Balochistan It is in this backdrop that the COAS visited Balochistan again on April 15th this year and issued a general warning to “foreign hands and intelligence agencies” trying to destabilize Balochistan to desist. They will not be allowed to succeed. Although numerous politicians have hinted at the presence of foreign hands, this is the first time that an Army Chief has issued such an unequivocal warning. Anyone who knows Gen Raheel will pay heed. He is not used to merely making loud sounds, without meaning them.

Some things need to be pointed out here. While our present political incumbents are far from perfection, perhaps still closer to imperfection, things are far better than they were under the previous regimes. Malik, the Chief Minister is neither as corrupt nor indecisive as his predecessors. The central government and the military leadership seem more committed to improving conditions in Balochistan than any previous combination. And, most importantly, conditions in Balochistan have shown a marked improvement in the last two years. This fact is born out most of all by the aggressive efforts to induct Baloch in the army, and many thousands are being inducted every year.

Despite this, there are still some rebels and they have foreign support. That is certainly disturbing. After the foul carnage at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar last year, Gen Raheel visited Kabul and, since then Pak-Afghan relations on security related issues have shown a marked improvement. No official has shared all that was discussed by Gen Raheel with the Afghan politico-military leaders, but there is a strong rumour that Gen Raheel carried along evidence of Indian involvement in the Peshawar Carnage and the fact that the Indian involvement was based in Afghanistan. The assurance that Afghan soil would never again be allowed to be used to challenge Pakistan’s security, If anything more is required, it’s an interim step. The next generation has hope now. It might take time for all the ill-will, doubts and suspicions to be allayed but if the future politico-military leadership continues on this path, we will get there, sooner, rather than later.could merely be an acknowledgement of the succor provided to Fazlullah, the leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). But it could equally have included the possibility of Indian presence and involvement in the dastardly attack.

While there is no way of verifying the truth of this rumour but while Indo-Afghan relations are cooling a little, Pak-Afghan relations broke fresh ground when the Afghan Army Chief, Gen Karimi, became the first foreign dignitary to be the chief guest on the passing out at Pakistan Military Academy (PMA). A singular honour that was bound to and succeeded in winning over a lot of the hardened Afghans in Kabul who had joined the anti-Pakistan campaign over some years past.

Just for the Record Army officers might be familiar with these figures but for those who are not, whether in uniform or out, the army’s contributions to development in Balochistan are remarkable. The first step was providing quality and affordable education in Quetta by the APS, this was followed by initiating another chapter of the amazingly successful Sabaoon in Swat to Quetta. Sabaoon is a Pushto word meaning the crack of dawn and also the ray of hope. It is run by a lady psychiatrist to reclaim and rehabilitate those children whose minds are corrupted by terrorists into becoming suicide bombers. Apart from the enormous communication infrastructure, health and education facilities at each one of its cantonments, it has undertaken the cleaning and repair of that labyrinthine marvel of underground flowing water known as the Karez.

Quality and affordable schools and health facilities have also been provided at numerous other population centres, funded by the government and most constructed by, or under supervision of, the army. Cadet colleges, universities, including technical universities have cropped up. If anything more is required, it’s an interim step. The next generation has hope now. It might take time for all the ill-will, doubts and suspicions to be allayed but if the future politico-military leadership continues on this path, we will get there, sooner, rather than later. What is missing is hope to the present generation; victims of a poor education system which awarded degrees without education. If respectable employment opportunities are provided to them, which enable them to support their families and provide hope to their children, it will throw water on the few remaining sores that still sizzle in Balochistan.

We have come far, but there is still some way to go.
The writer is a former Vice President and founder of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
19
May

Written By: Kanwal Kiani & Maria Khalid

wb2.jpg

It’s still dark and freezing outside. Citizens of a snow-clad mountainous city are enjoying profound sleep waiting for the sun to rise. But for few wide-awake souls in a walled parameter in Kakul, the day has already commenced with the sound of reveille and morning fall in. The sound of continuous throbbing of heavy boots, and echoes of chanting rhythmic slogans have made this place a dreamworld for youth which aspires to join it. This is home of KHAKIS – the cradle of leadership - this is Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul (PMA).

Since its inception in October 1947, PMA has been productively fulfilling the assigned task by training Pakistani cadets and cadets from the allied countries. The Academy furthered its record of brilliance, as for the first time ever, in February 2015, Afghanistan decided to send its cadets for training at PMA. The move was welcomed by Pakistan as Afghanistan is a brother Muslim country with common history, culture and civilisation. The batch of six cadets arrived in Pakistan in February 2015 for 18-month-long training that has already commenced at PMA. This positive move by the Afghanistan Government is surely a sign to improve peace and tranquility in the region for which Pakistan has been trying since decades. With a common enemy in the field for both the countries, the training of Afghan Cadets in Pakistan will go a long way in professional assistance of Afghan National Army (ANA).

wb3.jpg

To keep the world abreast about training activities of Afghan Cadets at PMA and to highlight different contours of their everyday life, Hilal Magazine decided to cover it in detail. For the same purpose, we both, Deputy Editor Hilal (English) and Assistant Editor (English) visited PMA. We interacted with the Afghan Cadets, observed their routine, met the PMA faculty and covered their activities.

Having arrived at PMA, we stopped briefly at reception and were straight taken to the Firing Range where Afghan Cadets were carrying out firing with the cadets of 134 PMA Long Course. Six cadets were in alternate prone firing position at the ‘Short Firing Range’ with the targets clearly in view, each having 20 bullets to fire. An instructor from ‘Weapon Training’ (WT) faculty was standing behind each Afghan Cadet and was giving necessary instructions for better results. The cadets were being told to maintain a comfortable position between their body and the axis of the rifle. Echoes of gun fire rumbled through the PMA grounds as the branches swayed in a breeze quite perceptible at ground level.

Look, I Am not a diplomat!
gc_kafayat.jpg Kefayat Ullah was a student of civil engineering at the Engineering Centre in Kabul before joining Afghan National Officers Academy (ANOA) as a Cadet. “I left everything behind to be a military person”, he says. Much did he talk of the Kick-off Exercise at PMA where they were taken out on foot in the field to practice different field craft manoeuvres and carried their complete load along with their personal weapons. This exercise is designed as a preparatory event for a larger exercise (Yarmuk) which they would undergo in the 2nd term. In response to a question regarding further collaboration between the two countries in future, he said, “I am not a political delegation from Afghanistan to Pakistan but if I am asked to comment I would say it’s a very prestigious academy and I am lucky to be here.” As a military personnel, his message for the youth is to join army and take a stand against terrorism. He himself would be using the experience gained at PMA to fend off Afghanistan’s enemies.

As the firing was about to end, with the last 10 bullets to spare, it all made sense to Gentleman Cadet (GC) Javed, who hails from Wardak province of Afghanistan, because with each round that he fired, his aiming skills also improved. The bullets had now started hitting the target and he was smiling. The hardened face of the WT staff had also changed its colours. The Pakistani instructor appeared satisfied over the training standard achieved by Afghan Cadets.

Minutes later, he rushed to the target as part of the drill with the WT staff to check his target and review his performance. The staff briefed him about his firing skills and also advised him to take necessary measures for future. It was now the turn of GC Ishaq, a smart cadet from Paktia, who was anxious to prove himself as a good firer. The excitement, danger and difficulty of handling the weapon made him miss all the targets. It was then their Platoon Commander, Major Qamar who came forward to guide Ishaq to use weapon to the perfection. After fully understanding the points he made, Ishaq was now ready to fire another 20 bullets. And, the improvement was visible. Afghan Cadets were learning quickly. They were happy and were smiling.

To make the junior leaders hardened and instill warrior spirit in them, PMA follows a well structured programme and carries out training taking into account the psychological, motivational and emotional aspects. This includes a variety of sports, adventure training activities, and endurance building events. Personality grooming in PMA refines a cadet’s character and instills comradeship traits, devotion, obedience, patriotism, and loyalty that helps him lead during war and peace times.

wb4.jpg

Physical training of the cadets remains an integral and important part of PMA life. Clad in white shorts and T-shirts, it is always heartening to watch cadets in the Physical Training (PT) area. As we reached the PT ground, we could find Afghan Cadets carrying out different exercises with their course mates. The training usually comprises PACES (Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System), one-mile practices, and different exercises to improve physical fitness. ‘One Mile Test’ not only challenges the endurance level of an individual but also brings in self-confidence and determination that remains the hallmark of any field commander.

It is said that the foundation of discipline in battle is based on drill. Just like physical fitness, drill is given equal importance in PMA. Not much accustomed with movements of drill at PMA, Afghan Cadets looked in much difficulty to carry out drill with the weapon and to match up with the standards of the other cadets. However, Drill Subedar Major and other qualified drill instructors were paying special attention to allied cadets. GC Saleem who has his home in Uruzgan, was apparently very keen to learn the drill movements. He aimed to pass out with flying colours and was showing his keenness to learn drill with sword. “I will pass out as a cross-belt and will hold this sword at my parade”, he said with lots of pride. As the drill period ended, GCs were now rushing to Halls of Study (HS) to attend classes.

gen-raheel_sharif.jpgGeneral Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff during his visit to PMA on March 10, 2015, highlighted the importance of training of Afghan Cadets in Pakistan. He made a mention of initiatives taken for improved relations with Afghanistan and expressed appreciation for President Ashraf Ghani’s gesture of extending full cooperation in transforming bilateral ties marking a new beginning in the relationship. There were, according to him, already appearing signs of greater understanding, including training of Afghani Cadets at PMA and improved trajectory of economic ties between the two countries.

wb5.jpg

The academy not only imparts combat training but also focuses on personality grooming of the cadets. Through an organised system, cadets are infused with the wisdom and knowledge necessary for their professional life ahead. As we entered the HS, computer period was in progress. We saw Afghanis immersed in the computer screens, trying to learn the techniques and military use of this hardware. There was a lecture by the Platoon Commander on Field Craft and Patrolling in the next period. Maj Qamar was teaching academic aspects of field environments to the cadets. It was interesting to watch Afghan Cadets asking different questions about battlefield which related to their peculiar Afghan environments.

Maj Qamar, who himself had served on different field appointments and had participated in different operations, was quick in satisfying them. GC Mansoor, who couldn’t participate in the routine activities due to a fracture in his left foot, was actively participating in the question-answer session as he was curious to know about the various types of patrolling.

This Mutual Cooperation would Enhance our Relations

gc_m_javaid.jpgMuhammad Javed was born to Colonel Muhammad Hussain of ANA, serving in logistics branch, back in Kabul. His wish to be like his father, with a profound desire to serve his people, drove him to ANOA. “After graduating in 12th grade from Ali Mustaghni High School in Kabul, I wanted to join army so I passed the required tests and got into the ANOA. We were trained there for two months before we heard of a scholarship in Pakistan.” He has three siblings, two brothers and a sister. When asked about his future plans, after having graduated from PMA as a Second Lieutenant in ANA, he says he would be fighting against the terrorists that have much damaged the peace and progress of his country. “This mutual cooperation would enhance our relations. I hope that in the next term and in future, more cadets would be sent from Afghanistan to Pakistan for training.” PMA, according to him, is the epitome of good training, discipline and has pleasant weather. What will always be in my memory from my training at PMA is exercise “Kick-Off” when we moved out for two days and a night in the mountains and villages. We learnt many things from this exercise like how to fight the enemy when we are under attack. It was tough yet very enjoyable. He says there’s no doubt about the best standards of training at PMA. “We don’t just learn military things. We also learn how to take care of the civilians.”
Because We have so much in Common
gc_mansoor.jpg25 year old Mansoor who hails from the capital city of Kabul, graduated from a high school in Kabul, Ibn-e-Sina. Because he was “born in the army”, he also had the desire to join the ranks. He was under training at ANOA when he heard of his selection for PMA. “Day by day our academy is getting better like PMA. We need few more years to have a good academy in Afghanistan.” “When we were told that we had been selected for PMA, we didn’t know much about it as we hadn’t been here previously. After we came to PMA and saw how they would train us and the education we would get here, we have a feeling of being blessed ones.” This experience, he thinks, would guide him through each phase of life, not only professionally. “I have many experiences and memories. What I love the most is that they have sent us to Aurangzeb Company where we have found cadets who can speak Pashto.”
 
Therein lies the Vision
gc_fawad.jpgA graduate in journalism from Balkh University in Afghanistan, Fawad Ullah was born to a mathematics school teacher, Sirajuddin, from the province of Kunduz. He’s the eldest of his five school going brothers and four sisters. He has already set his sight on making his mark as a good commander in the military. Fawad Ullah is confident that this course (in Pakistan) will prove to his benefit. “PMA is good for training. I see the academy, the food, the instructors and the people around me and a wave of contentment runs through me.” “But I miss home sometimes”, Fawad Ullah said as his eyes moistened and the mind winged away from PMA to somewhere in Afghanistan, back home. “When I go back to Afghanistan, I would want to teach other cadets the skills that I learn at PMA. But I am sure of one thing that Pak-Afghan are brother countries and we are friends forever.”

wb7.jpgThe classes were now over and after lunch, cadets were getting ready to go for the sports. GC Javed stood confused as his first arrow missed the centre and hit the edge of board during archery. He was deliberating as to where did it go wrong. Maj Shadab, Physical Training & Sports Officer (PT & SO) instructed him to draw the bow straight back and to release the arrow in a straight line. Archery is not only aiming the target but calculating the elevation and wind drift of the light, acing arrow. The other cadets were waiting in formation for their turn, a few metres back with curious eyes as the next arrow darted forward. It was evening now. The life in urban and rural areas was getting to silence but it wasn’t over for PMA cadets yet as dining in the mess and observing night rituals are part of the training.

"When I go back to my country, I will teach what I learn here at PMA to Afghan Cadets if I join as an instructor in our military academy. If I don’t serve in the academy, still I will have much to transfer to my subordinate soldiers in my battalion."

 
wb8 We walked in the Arena at Aurangzeb Company Lines of 2nd Pakistan Battalion (Quaid-i-Azam’s Own) to a third game of snooker between GC Fawad, who is originally from Kunduz and GC Javed. Both were tied at 1-1. Fawad played a fine second game to equalise and wanted to take momentum to the third. He hit three red in a row with two blues and one black and was thus on the driving seat. The pressure, Javed was under, was then being reflected in his game. But eventually Fawad who was winning, lost on last 5 shots as a result of pure genius from Javed as he scored 54 points leaving him behind on 48. As we took a look around, we saw other Afghan Cadets busy in table tennis, chess, while few others were happily watching their Pakistani course mates playing with X-Box and other indoor games. It was dinner time. It was during this time that we could talk at length with our Afghan brothers and had a chance to know their feelings about being in Pakistan.
 
They specially Make it for Us!
gc_saleem.jpg“My name is Saleem Shah. Before coming to PMA, I was a cadet in ANOA. My father is a dentist based in Uruzgan province and I have eight brothers and two sisters”, he introduced himself to this scribe, showing his ‘picture perfect teeth’ as he talked. “It is very tough training. When we make it to the end of this training, we will be good as officers.” He doesn’t wish for an escape from the dutiful life of a cadet, later a soldier. The chefs at PMA make special food arrangements for the ‘allied cadets’ of different friendly countries. “For every country there is different food. For Pakistani cadets the cuisine is Pakistani, for us it’s Afghani.” This is the first ever time that six cadets from Afghanistan came to Pakistan. “In future, this relationship will further improve because I hope more cadets from Afghanistan will come to Pakistan.” “When I go back to my country, I will teach what I learn here at PMA to Afghan Cadets if I join as an instructor in our military academy. If I don’t serve in the academy, still I will have much to transfer to my subordinate soldiers in my battalion,” Saleem Shah spoke with a firm voice while staring at PMA insignia. For now, it’s enough to be here at Aurangzeb Company Mess, appreciative of the fact that he would be leaving with experience and friends he would keep for the rest of his life.
 
wb9.jpg
Afghanistan Needs Soldiers like Us

gc_m.jpgMuhammad Ishaq’s day starts early each morning. “We have PT, after that we are taught military and other academic subjects during the class. We are busy all the day. We don’t get enough time to have rest, which I think is positive for our professional career in the future.” In frequent imaginative bursts he would think himself having moment of respite, which would help him later in Afghanistan when his role would be to fight against enemies of the state. Ishaq thinks Afghanistan is in dire need for soldiers like him. “We are in the state of war and the country needs soldiers like us. We need to serve in the military and make progress in the field of defence.” “I was very happy when I made it to PMA because I wanted to be a professional army officer in future. We have good instructors and we are definitely growing professionally in here.” He thoroughly enjoys the pride for having an opportunity to be trained at PMA which is counted as one of the best academies in the world.
maj_gen_nadeem.jpgThis prestigious academy has come a long way in gloriously performing its desired role. Our curriculum and combat training is continuously updated and modified as per the modern century’s requirement that enables cadets to be good role models and leaders in the future. We take pride in training our allied cadets from various countries and this is the first time that we have Afghan Cadets in this institution. We are looking after the Afghan Cadets as our own and closely supervising them. The Afghan Defence Attaché went back happily after his visit as he saw the Afghan Cadets being trained at par with the Pakistani Cadets. His only concern was the communication barrier thus we scheduled extra English language classes for them in the evening.

Maj General Nadeem Raza

Commandant PMA

 
After having spent very fruitful two days at PMA with Afghan Cadets, we both, with a heavy heart, packed up our luggage and prepared to return to Rawalpindi. But experience of interacting with Afghan Cadets was unique in many ways. We thanked our conducting officer Maj Abdul Mannan, and left PMA with many memories intact.
 
19
May

Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar

It is still early when the flight lands in Skardu, the plane setting itself down gently like a large bird of prey descending upon a startled animal. In the air, I can sense the coming of winter. The light throws gentle shadows upon the sand dunes in this high altitude desert landscape, cradled by mountains which appear to be sleeping behemoths, their massive presence awe-inspiring yet reassuring, as if someone is watching over you.In the arrival lounge, I was received by Major Shumaila, Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Force Command Northern Area (FCNA),

who is stationed at Gilgit. Major Shumaila is the first woman officer in Pakistan Army from Gilgit-Baltistan and had travelled to Skardu from Gilgit to receive me, bringing along with her on the long and difficult journey, her young daughters Eeshal, Nanny, and Ateeqa. These four females would give me company while I waited in Skardu for the helicopter to fly me to Goma, and then onward to Gayari Sector where I wished to offer Fateha for 140 martyrs of the terrible tragedy which hit that base on April 7, 2012, burying the entire camp in snow and rock more than 50 metres deep.

 

siachin_where1.jpg

 

Major Shumaila had organized my meeting with the families of Gayari Shuhada, the next morning. That night, I sat out besides the lake at Shangrila and tried to imagine how difficult it would have been for the families to receive news that your loved one had been buried alive and that he would never return. I watched as the birds flew home to their nests, their silhouettes dark against a luminous sky the colour of ripe apricots and peaches which blush with the warmth of summer. It was autumn then, and the trees were bare, the fruit already picked and consumed or dried for the long winter. What was it like for the wives and children, the parents of these men who never came home?

Coming to Skardu is like coming home, in a strange, deeply felt way. This is where my late mother chose to spend the last twenty years of her life, caring for the many mothers and children who would visit her health centres in Skardu and Hussainabad, many of them severely anemic, most of them malnourished, poor, clad in second-hand clothes bought off the numerous carts parked in the crowded bazaar. For twenty years my mother came to know these women and their families, and came to hold them in the highest esteem for their serenity and dignity in the face of so much hardship. I wondered if I would witness for myself that same quiet grace when I met with the widows the next morning. I knew that I shared a sense of loss with them, having grieved at my mother’s sudden death in her beloved Baltistan, receiving her mortal remains in a casket which had to be transported through landslide and roadblocks along the world’s highest highway. In my heart there was certain stillness, a certain acceptance of the terrible things which scar us, against which we, mere mortals, have no power.

The air carried with it news of snowfall on some far mountain peaks, and I gathered myself and my belongings, tearing myself away from the lakeshore reluctantly. The day had ended, but a journey still lay ahead, for which I needed to prepare, for this was a journey like none other that I had ever taken.

Her Limpid Eyes

“When my father left I did not know I would not see him again”, Ambereen, not yet twelve years old, speaks like a woman with many years woven into the fabric of her young soul. “He put his hand on my head and said: ‘Apna khayal rakho – (look after yourself)’, and then he left. We never saw him again. And he left us to look after ourselves, since his father, my Dada, asked us to leave soon after we heard the news of his death…”

Ambereen is perhaps the most beautiful little girl I have ever had the privilege to meet. Her eyes are like a lake, the waters calm and limpid. She holds onto her aunt’s hand while looking straight at me, unfaltering, unwavering, trusting. Ambereen lives with her aunt in Shigar while her mother lives in Skardu, looking after the other three children, all boys, now attending the Army Public School in the headquarters of Baltistan. I ask Ambereen what she wants to be when she grows up. Without a moment’s hesitation she says: “A doctor with the Army Medical Corps…I want to make sure that our beloved soldiers return home to their families and never die unattended, wherever they may be posted to serve the country.”siachin_where2.jpg

Ambereen’s father, a sepoy in a Northern Light Infantry (NLI) battalion, died in the massive avalanche which destroyed the Battalion Headquarters of 6 NLI at Gayari, a barren desolate place now, a veritable graveyard for the dreams of 140 men, both civilians and military officers and soldiers. There were thirty families in the room with me, widows and their children, gathered together to share their stories, their suffering, their dreams and their aspirations. I learnt from the women that when a soldier dies, his family is informed by members of the unit, sometimes accompanied by an officer, who bears the Shaheed’s personal belongings and hands these over to the family. I was told of the moment when the news of the many deaths in these treacherous mountains came, of the disbelief, of the inability to accept that their loved one shall never return. One of the women told me that her husband had come home to condole the death of his friend. He left the village after three days, leaving his fifteen year old wife with his aged father. He never returned, and the day his wife was informed of his death, she delivered their child, a boy, who would never see his father!

There were many stories, of widows who had to leave the homes of their in-laws since they were now considered a burden on the meagre resources of the family. There was the story of Ruqaiyyah who had to take her five children from her in-laws home in Shilding to Skardu after her father-in-law took the money paid by the Pak Army on her husband’s death, leaving her with nothing. She remembered when the soldiers, accompanied by a subedar came to the house and handed over her husband’s personal belongings in a trunk and a cheque. Nine months after that day, Ruqaiyyah was asked to leave and to make her own way through life. Her youngest was a month and a half, her eldest ten.

I turned to the ten-year-old boy, Mehdi Ali, and ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. He is shy, and almost inaudible, so I move closer to him in order to hear his response. He says that he wants to be an officer, or just a soldier, like his martyred father. I stare at his pale face and then look at his small hands, the skin cracked and dry. I look up again and see the tears welling in his eyes, and I turned away, for the grief carried in this little boy’s heart is more than I can bear.

With a heavy heart I returned to my room and prepared for the journey to the north-east ranges, as close as possible to the Line of Control (LOC) which has sparked so many conflicts in the past 68 years of our existence. I studied the maps I have printed out, looking for the places where I expect to land in this rugged, inhospitable terrain. These are just tiny dots in the huge mass of rock and snow and ice, reminders of our own insignificance in the natural order of things. I shudder to think of what life for our troops must be like in temperatures which fall below minus 40 degrees Celsius, even lower with the wind chill factor. These are temperatures that were spoken about with horror just last year as the “polar vortex” hit the northern hemisphere and froze even the breath rising from our lungs. Why is a war being fought over masses of ice and snow and rock in a place where no one has ever lived and thrived in the history of humankind? The answer can be best sought from the country that initiated and imposed this conflict.

I had placed my fur-lined boots and ancient woolen duffle coat with its hood at the foot of my bed, taking care to remember my leather gloves and the beret I have had since I was a university student in Montreal, Canada, several decades ago. I struggled with the choice of cameras, wondering if my small steady shot camera would suffice or whether I should lug the larger digital single lens reflex camera with its 300 mm zoom lens. Convinced that I would be weighing myself down with an extra, unnecessary burden at altitudes where each step requires the careful calibration of breath, I reluctantly put away the larger, more sophisticated camera and turned down the covers, snuggling up against the chill on my first evening in Skardu. I knew it would be infinitely colder where I was going, and I said a silent prayer for a safe journey, and another one for the safety of the people I had come to greet, to talk to, to learn from, and to write about. It is not every day that one gets the opportunity to travel to bases where the snow never melts, where the skin is burnt black with the sun, where the mere touch of bare metal against bare skin can tear the flesh. It is not every day that one meets the men who have lived and fought at the world’s highest battlefield, the world’s largest non-polar glacier which apparently has no strategic value but which has claimed 3000 Pakistani and 5000 Indian Army men since 1984.

According to one source, India gained more than 1000 square miles of territory because of its military operations in Siachen, the source for the 80km-long Nubra River, a tributary of the Shyok, which is part of the Indus River system. The volume of the glacier has been reduced by 35 percent over the last twenty years. Global warming and military activity have been cited as the main reasons for the receding of the glacier. It is time to take stock of human and environmental loss and to wage a war against war itself.

But before I took this journey, it was important that I met the families of those who never returned, buried forever in the snows which cover the treacherous slopes of these, most magnificent mountains.

Feet of Clay

On the map the feet of the mountains are like the claws of gigantic creatures reaching out to devour whatever they can overpower. The ridges and crags are the bones of these claws, the many rivulets and tributaries flowing down from melting glaciers are the veins and arteries of this creature which lives in the far north, watching us, waiting to destroy all those who dared to venture forth into its frozen lap.

The helicopter left Skardu at the appointed time, Major Shumaila had left her toddler with Ateeqa at a relative’s home, and we were airborne by 10:30 a.m. Lieutenant Colonel Faisal was assisted by Major Rizwan in piloting the chopper, part of the ‘Fearless Five Squadron’ based at Skardu. We followed the Indus River as it winds its way past Hussainabad where my late mother had set up a centre for the health care of mothers and children. I tried to find it from the helicopter – it was located at the edge of the road leading towards Kargil, branching off towards Shigar once it crossed the Indus. I followed the Skardu-Kargil road, a snake winding along the Indus and dipping south with the bend in the river, the “Lion River”. We were soon to arrive at Youching where Brigadier Liaquat Mehmood looks after the deployment of his men to the posts along the LoC with India.

At Keris, the Shyok River flows into the Indus, a grand meeting of glacial waters rushing down from the barren slopes of the Karakoram. The road turns south towards Khaplu, and the helicopter flew over the hamlets of Ghawari, Kharfaq, Daghoni Balgar, Barah until we sighted Khaplu, a picturesque town nestled in the lap of the mountains, an oasis of stately poplars, their leaves turning gold with autumn’s first chill. Behind us was the town of Saling at the mouth of the Hushe River valley. If we continued north into that valley we would come to the Masherbrum peak, located in the Ghanche District of Gilgit Baltistan. At 7,821 metres it is the 22nd highest mountain in the world and the 9th highest in Pakistan. But we continued towards another range of these magnificent mountains, the Saltoro, following the Saltoro and Ghyari rivers, flying over the town of Farowa and the hamlets of Dunsam, Konith, Mandik, Palit and Haldi. Cautiously, the helicopter began to set itself down onto the helipad at Goma – the battalion deployed in that general area was an NLI regiment and its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Ali was accompanying us in another chopper.

I looked out towards the base and wondered at the courage it takes to live in an area which appeared to have been hewn out of rock, literally. These men are here to fight a war, one which was waged on Pakistan and the one we could do without, and on the face of it, they seemed to be living in this wilderness as if it was the most natural thing to do.

Many of the men serving with the NLI regiment are from Gilgit-Baltistan, and would be familiar with living at altitudes unbearable for most of us living in the south. But even these hardy mountain men cannot endure for prolonged periods of time the harsh temperatures at the further posts towards which we were headed.

For survival here, not mere equipment is necessary, but essentially the courage, motivation and hard professional training of Pakistan Army. “Our soldiers are trained to live and fight where the eagles fear to tread”. to be continued…

The writer studied Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal, Media Education at the University of London, Development Communication at the University of Southern California, and Cultural Heritage Management at the National College of Arts, Lahore. She teaches at apex institutions, writes columns for a leading daily, makes documentaries, and has published two best-selling novels.
19
May

Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar

gov_systematic1.jpg

 

The government has a key role to play in addressing the plethora of challenges faced by the country – but systemic challenges pose significant performance constraints. Recognition of these constraints is the first step to mitigation. However, there is a general tendency to overlook the difference between 'manifestations,' 'causes,' and their 'determinants'. In Pakistan’s context of governance, the latter often remain unrecognized and therefore, unaddressed.

Pakistan's issues – extremism, militancy, terrorism, sectarian ethnic strife, organized criminal activity, informal economy, cycle of debt, societal polarization, energy crisis, widening inequalities, poor economic and social indicators – are all ‘manifestations’; just as a person with cancer will have fever as a symptom of underlying disease.

The actual cause is the systemic malaise, which undermines prospects for improvements: poor governance, eroded capacity of institutions, institutionalized corruption, and lack of attention to accountability and transparency. With a view to outlining ‘determinants’, I am offering some reflections from my tenure as Federal Minister in the 2013 Interim Government. These reflections relate to the systemic constraints, which in my opinion, stand in the way of effective governance and hence hamper the government’s performance. The frame of reference is government ministries and the issues highlighted are of a long-standing systemic nature.

My key observation relates to expectations regarding the government’s performance, which matters deeply since it determines the context in which all societal actors operate. Paradoxically, I noted that governments are simply not set up to perform. In setting up and running the government, the focus is on all attributes – elections, installing leadership, cabinet selection, and key appointments – except those that matter for its performance. As a result the government’s wide ranging strategic functions, which could provide a scaffold for national progress and development are compromised. In this regard, I found three key features missing from the performance equation – incentives, accountability and performance metrics.

Lack of appropriate incentives leads to underperformance. Rigidity of compensation is one aspect but perverse incentives, illustrated for example in the tendency to reward bureaucrats for furthering political allegiances, are more damaging. Additionally, there are serious gaps in performance and decision-making accountability. Functionaries are simply not answerable for performance. As a result, policies have limited grounding in evidence, priorities are determined by political expediency, the policy-action disconnects remain unaccounted and unnecessary policy vacillations, detrimental for reform, go unchecked. Many upright government functionaries of integrity navigate this space with great difficulty. The system just does not empower them to take control fully. On the other hand, corruption, collusion and arbitrage have become deeply entrenched. In many cases these have become the system itself. Many government departments extract rents and distribute them according to well-established shadow ‘rules’, which now govern the de facto functioning of departments.

These performance distortions get compounded by human resource competency and capacity constraints. Ministries are meant to formulate policy, set strategic direction, establish enabling frameworks, exercise impartial oversight, evenly regulate, and provide a level-playing field for private actors. Where policymaking is concerned, governments are not fungible. Policymaking and public interest are their core roles, but they must have capacity to take stock of the full range of responsibilities inherent to their mandate. Competency is crucial at the leadership level to comprehend this mandate.

How is it then that the system often places a leader in a public agency without appropriate understanding of these stewardship roles? Imagine a company with a CEO who doesn’t know the job, one who doesn’t have goals to deliver on and one who is also not accountable. What simply never happens in the private sector is the norm in the public system. With policymakers unable to understand their mandate, functionaries tangled in tactical decision-making, information systems underutilised and pervasive perverse incentives, we set government up perfectly to fail.

Another performance distortion is the absence of objective performance metrics – these are simply not part of the organizational culture in ministries. Government functionaries usually do not have a clear sense of delivery with no clear terms of reference and measurable operational targets in the context of overall goals for a sector. The lack of accountability for actions or inattention to needed actions within the system is most damaging. The central thread in each of Pakistan's problems is rooted in lack of accountability – because individuals and institutions have deliberately been inattentive to oversight and/or have opted for policy directions to the detriment of desired outcomes.

Compounding these performance distortions is another unrecognized factor. A popular misconception is that the government is one entity, which is not the case. The government (even at one level – federal or provincial) is an archipelago of many ministries, agencies and departments, with overlapping jurisdictions and / or competing interests. There is little incentive to work together, share resources and exploit synergy. Ironically, solutions to most public sector problems lie in intersectoral action. This creates a twofold imperative.

On the one hand governments need new competencies to tap the potential within intersectoral collaboration – such as intermediary agencies. On the other hand, new instruments and incentives are needed which can enable asset allocation mapping and foster collaborative division of labour. It is within this frame that metrics for whole of government performance assessment should also be developed with clarity on the manner in which sectors contribute to overall performance.

Unfortunately, the deepest governance reform to date, the 18th Amendment to the constitution was unable to address most of the causes of government’s underperformance despite the broad-based changes it introduced in the entire state system. Some urgently needed next steps are an imperative to enhance government performance. These should focus on institutionalising rule-based control on government functioning and rooting out politicization and arbitrariness.

There are three potentially important immediate entry points: respect for merit, close attention to conflict of interest and a shift towards e-filing in the government’s documentation system.

First, integrity in public service forms the bedrock of good governance. Although integrity is envisaged to be an attitude, there are means of structurally inculcating it such as by developing systems of compensation adequate to sustain appropriate livelihood, systems for transparent hiring and promotion, and mechanisms to provide appropriate oversight of discretionary decision-making. While it is important for the government to work towards strengthening these systems, some urgent actions are needed. Merit-based hiring and intolerance for nepotism, cronyism and patronage are important measures.

Secondly, in the affairs of the state, conflict of interest matters deeply and is one of the key ethical questions in governance. A conflict of interest is a situation “that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person because of the possibility of a clash between the person's self-interest and professional interest or public interest.” It is well recognized that often policymakers have business relationships in sectors where they are charged with policymaking responsibilities, raising conflict of interest concerns. These need to be actively regulated and managed. However, as opposed to this, I noticed that rules regulating conflict of interest are not explicitly defined. The code of conduct for ministers alludes to the need for separation, but exact modalities need to be established and enforced.

Thirdly, transparency in government documentation can be an important entry point to reform government functioning. The government's e-office suite, which is a customized application for management of the government's existing filing system, has existed for over eight years. It has met all the scrutiny criteria, including audit and was previously used by many ministries and attached departments. Not only can this system make the government's process of moving files more efficient and tamper-proof relative to the current system being used, it can also help to gauge workers' performance and help institutionalize accountability by virtue of its time stamping features. Despite its potential, the e-office suite is not optimally used. One of the most straightforward measures the government can take is to mandate its deployment in all government departments. This will be a significant step in promotion of transparency.

Collectively these measures, along with a culture of evidence based decision-making, electronic public expenditure tracking and procurement, better oversight of discretionary powers and effective use of existing audit tools are critical entry points to reform which could enhance government’s effectiveness. We must also appreciate that democracy, understood in the conventional sense – popular vote – is not a sufficient condition for good government, per se. In order to be truly democratic, elected governments need to embrace democratic values, doctrines, and behaviours. Institutional democratic attributes, which promote checks and balances and rule-based control on government functioning along with individual democratic behaviours – participatory evidence guided decision-making – are critically important in this respect. Majority rule without these attributes is likely to be abused, as has been witnessed in the past. We must set the building blocks right, so as to pave the way for tapping the country’s inherent strengths and unlocking the potential of its people.

The writer is a former Federal Minister and holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London. A PhD from Kings College, London, she is an eminent social scientist and regularly contributes in national print media on issues of health, governance and public policy. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
19
May

Written By: Najmuddin A. Shaikh

Where does the Indo-Pak relationship stand today? Ceasefire violations particularly along the Working Boundary – the term which we use to describe the border between Pakistan and Indian Occupied Kashmir – have all but ceased, after the repeated allegations that appeared up to January. The last report traced in the Indian media alleged that 5 or 6 rounds were fired by the Pakistani Rangers on a post of the Indian Border Security Force on 15 March, without causing any damage and without inviting retaliatory fire.1 Does this mean that the sanctity of the ceasefire agreement has been restored, by and large, or does the 15 March incident allegation suggest that a fresh round of violations can be expected?

Certainly Pakistan, with its army fully engaged in the battle against terrorism, has zero incentive to initiate any fire violations and therefore if they do occur it could only be if the Indians decide to put on another display of the so-called muscular policy towards Pakistan. This, they may argue, would reinforce the war of words that has been triggered by the judicial decision to release Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai carnage of 2008. The release order came because as reports in the Pakistani press put it, the prosecutors had failed to provide the required reports or fulfilled the other formalities for the extension of his detention under the Maintenance of Public Order.2

The detention of Lakhvi has since been extended by an order of the Punjab government but the Indian media did not lose the opportunity to recall that the US State Department spokesperson, while commending Pakistan’s cooperation in counter terrorism, mentioned about pledge by Government of Pakistan in her cooperation to bring the Mumbai perpetrators to justice.3 It is noteworthy that the State Department spokesperson refused in the same briefing to address the question of the Pakistani charge that the perpetrator of the attack on the Samjhota Express had been released by the Indian authorities on the ground that she did not have the relevant information.4

This exchange has once again brought to the fore the fact that not only does India place a high priority on bringing to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai but will continue to use this as a reason for not discussing other substantive issues with Pakistan. It believes that in so doing it will have the support of the United States and others in the international community. A former High Commissioner to Pakistan and National Security adviser in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has praised Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy and has termed as unfair, criticism of his “flip-flop” policy towards Pakistan arguing that these are tactical issues and what matters is addressing the cause which he defines as being “terrorism and the state sponsored angle to it”.5

Menon also suggests however that the Modi government has not, unlike Manmohan Singh, developed a vision of what relations with Pakistan should be and suggests that if it shows the same creativity that it did in the formation of the government in Kashmir then there would be hope.6 Menon of course is not part of the Modi government and has no direct role in the formulation of policy but he is part of what can be called the “security community” and his views could be seen as reflecting what some segments of this community would like Modi to do. Will he do it is an open question at this time.

One factor is of course going to be the international community’s interest in ensuring that as Pakistan seeks to implement its National Action Plan strained relations with India and consequent skirmishes – verbal or physical – do not become a distraction. India cannot ignore this as it seeks the approval and assistance of the international community – particularly direct foreign investment which is wary of going where regional tensions exist – nor can it set aside the advantages of a normalised relationship with Pakistan as a vital ingredient for the expansion of regional economic collaboration.

There is no doubt, that the Indian Foreign Secretary’s visit earlier this month, dubbed a part of a “SAARC Yatra” was owed at least in part to what President Obama had urged Modi to do. Writing on the eve of the visit I had said:

"Even while the visit of the Indian foreign Secretary has been termed a "SAARC Yatra" the announcement by the Indian Foreign office spokesperson that talks with Pakistan would cover all issues including Jammu and Kashmir indicates that there is a willingness on India's part of resume discussions on all the issues that form part of the "composite dialogue".

From Pakistan's perspective, the first priority will be ending the breaches of the 2004 ceasefire agreement along the "Working Boundary" and the LOC – a necessary prerequisite for winning the internal battle that Pakistan is waging against terrorism and in the step by step success of which India has a stake.

While definitive finalisation of agreements or implementation of existing agreements on Sir Creek, Siachen and NDMA may not be on the cards, an understanding on dates for meetings on these issues can be expected.

There should be an exchange of ideas on how the "Kashmir" dialogue is to be resumed. As a small step there may be an agreement on the proposal for opening additional crossing points across the LOC and on deployment of equipment to ensure that only legitimate items form part of the cross LOC trade. Positive developments on these issues can pave the way for substantive discussions on the advancement of regional integration that the "SAARC Yatra" will seek to promote and segue into the contribution that such integration would make to advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan. The Pakistan side while highlighting the efforts it is making to promote reconciliation in Afghanistan will ask India to join other regional countries in using their influence to promote this objective.

India’s concerns about the slow pace of action against the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai incident and Pakistan's concerns about Indian activities in Balochistan will be raised but will hopefully not be the centrepiece of the dialogue.

Slow incremental progress and the creation of a more positive ambience rather than a spectacular break–through should be the optimal expectation.7 Even these modest expectations remained unrealised. Beyond the exchange of views on areas of convergence and listing the areas of divergence there was little that emerged in these talks but an effort was made to ensure that certain cordiality was maintained at least in the public statements. The adviser on foreign Affairs acknowledged that there had been no breakthrough and that “there was no date fixed for the next round of talks.”8 There may have been, one imagines, an effort on Pakistan’s part in the closed door discussions to suggest that the Pakistan Government was serious about pursuing the case against the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai incident as part of its own battle against terrorism but had to proceed in a step by step manner given the enormity of the battle it was waging but clearly the Indians were not convinced. Pakistan was offered little satisfaction on the persecution of the alleged Samjhota Express perpetrators.

It is also apparent that from the Indian perspective or at least from the perspective of the present government in India, the gains of normalising relations with Pakistan are outweighed by the perceived advantage of keeping Pakistan in the dock and thus putting off discussions on the agenda items in which Pakistan has an interest. Among these, Kashmir is of course foremost but there are other items in which the benefits are clear for both sides. So what can one look forward to? It seems, though this is by no means certain that India will exercise restraint in terms of violating the ceasefire for some time. It is also possible that the voice of influential members of the “security community” will find listeners among Modi’s closest confidantes, of whom there do not appear to be too many, and their advocacy of a resumption of the dialogue may become policy.

There is however another perspective – perhaps too harsh – articulated by my colleague in a recent article. He says, “There is zero mutual trust and even less political will. India does not feel the need to accommodate Pakistan. There is no domestic constituency for it. India sees itself as too strong for a weak and isolated Pakistan to do it any real harm. This perceived Indian ‘arrogance and inflexibility’ undermines the ‘liberal’ argument in Pakistan that it needs to develop a stable relationship with India in its own interest.”9

His view of the reality may be too harsh but this does not detract from the value of his comment, “Pakistan and India cannot develop mutual cordiality overnight. But they should jointly acknowledge that in the 21st century they must jointly work towards it. Addressing each other’s core concerns must become a priority for both countries. This will require a shared and realistic vision to guide the policies of both countries towards each other.”10

1 “Pakistan Rangers violate ceasefire near Jammu”. Hindu, March 15, 2015

2 Malik Asad, “Govt not serious about prosecuting Lakhvi?”. Dawn, March 15, 2015

3 US State Department Press Briefing, “We are monitoring reports that an Islamabad High Court judge suspended detention orders for the alleged Mumbai attack mastermind. The Government of Pakistan has pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators, financiers and – financers and sponsors of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice, and we urge Pakistan to follow through on that commitment. Pakistan is a critical partner in a fight against terrorism. We’ve certainly seen the reports, but we can’t speculate on the outcome of an ongoing legal process in Pakistan”. (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/03/238880.htm, accessed March 13, 2015.)

4 Ibid.

5 “Ex-NSA Shiv Shankar Menon lauds PM Narendra Modi foreign policy”. Indian Express, March 17, 2015

6 Ibid

7 “Second Opinion on Indian Foreign Secretary’s”. (http://jinnah-institute.org/second-opinion-gearing-for-a-reset-india-pakistan-foreign-secretary-level-talks/, accessed March 2, 2015)

8 Mateen Haider, “Sartaj Aziz admits no breakthrough in talks with India”. Dawn, March 6, 2015

9 Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, “Policy towards India”. Dawn, March 10, 2015

10 Ibid.

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

19
May

Written By: Amir Zia

Why peace, normality and the rule of law have been evading Karachi since mid ‘80s? How Pakistan’s commercial and financial hub became hostage to deadly criminal mafias and violent ethnic, sectarian and political groups over the past couple of decades? And what’s the reason that successive large and small-scale operations launched during this period failed to address the challenges of lawlessness, violence and rampant crime in the city?

These remain pertinent questions as paramilitary rangers have again geared up the Karachi Operation, targeting members of the outlawed terrorist groups and criminal mafias as well as suspected and convicted target killers, operating with the backing of their powerful political mentors.

karachi  a character

The renewed vigour in Karachi Operation – launched in September 2013 – indeed brought a brief two-to three-day complete halt in politically and religiously motivated killings in mid-March. It also raised hopes among many dwellers of this restive port city that peace remains within the realm of possibility if the state institutions act without political considerations.

However, for skeptics the security forces scored such temporary victories a number of times in the past amidst similar media-hype and fanfare. But the powerful criminal-cum-political mafias and terrorists not just survived, they managed to bounce back with greater force after remaining on the ropes for some time.

Hardened criminals – involved in killings, extortion and land encroachment rackets – thrived under the umbrella of most mainstream political and religious parties operating in Karachi. The situation got messier when the banned organizations also went into the money-making ventures – from committing bank robberies to kidnapping for ransom – to sustain and finance terror activities.

According to a veteran police officer, who served in Karachi on several top positions, criminalization of politics and politicization of crime remain the unique phenomenon here since the late 1980s.

This nexus between crime and politics expanded and deepened with every passing day. Scratch the surface a little and one finds office bearers and stalwarts of this or that political party patronizing notorious killers and criminals in localities they dominate. A spike in politically-motivated killings is mostly the result of battles to expand or defend turfs by the competing parties – as it happened between the PPP and the MQM during their previous stint in power (2008-13). Even militants allegedly belonging to the ANP – which was also a partner in the Sindh coalition government with the PPP and the MQM at that time – were also involved in the bloodletting, violence and crime. Despite being allies, militants of these parties – supported by some first tier leaders – went for a tit-for-tat killing spree across the city. Extortionists allegedly belonging to these three and other political, religious and ethnic parties targeted small and large businesses, traders, industrialists and shopkeepers with impunity. Each political player extracted share from the booty according to its size and weight.

The unprecedented loot and plunder by major players forced shopkeepers and businesses to stage shutter down protests across the city as they demanded the government to protect their lives and businesses. But barring firefighting measures, the then government failed to take any comprehensive measures against criminals and terrorists because of political expediency.

The law and order situation deteriorated to an extent that the international media started dubbing Karachi among the most dangerous megacities of the world. Security concerns drove many business-people and industrialists out of the city. A number of major business and industrialist houses shifted operations to other parts of the country, while those who could afford located them abroad. The outflow of investments and closure of businesses proved a severe blow not just for the city, but the economy of the entire country.

In early September 2013, the newly elected government ordered operation in Karachi on growing public demand. Because of the popular pressure, all the major parties supported the move. However, blatant political interference in the police department and vested

interests drove the wind of the operation after the initial months of success. Political appointments forced good officers out of the top positions. Even the slot of the Station House Officers (SHO) remained up for grabs to the highest bidder. No wonder, during a visit to Karachi in February, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif stressed the need to depoliticise the police force and called for an even-handed operation against terrorists and criminals regardless of their political, religious or sectarian affiliations.

As the operation got a fresh impetus in recent weeks, it is vital that authorities learn from the past experience. They need to initiate measures which can help consolidate gains made as a result of the paramilitary rangers-led crackdown. Any charter aimed at establishing peace in Karachi should include the immediate goal of breaking the nexus between crime, politics and religious extremism. For this, across the board crackdown on all those political, religious, sectarian, and nationalist forces remains a must which in any way patronize terrorism and crime. This process has already started. It is now necessary to keep reasserting the credibility and impartiality of the operation.

However in this age of 24/7 news channels, too much media-hype about initial successes can lead to unnecessary controversies. This needs to be avoided at every cost. Let facts speak for themselves. Let the justice take its due course. The sensational nature of most of our news channels has the potential of transforming even most serious and subtle developments into a farce. Along with an even-handed operation, authorities need to focus on mid-to-long-term reforms. This includes the foremost task of building capacity and ability of those institutions responsible for combating crime and dispensing justice.

 

karachi__a_character1.jpg

 

The process should start with sweeping reforms in police force as underlined by the Army Chief. Karachi, and in fact the entire Sindh province needs a police force, which is free from political interference. The Police Order 2002 provides foundations to create a politically neutral, operationally autonomous, professionally efficient and accountable force.

But unfortunately, this system was compromised – especially after 2008. The 18th Constitutional Amendment further blunted the implementation of Police Order as each provincial government tried to enact laws to suit its interests rather than creating a professional, efficient and independent police force. The Sindh province proved the worst case as it altogether repealed the Police Order in 2011. Instead, the provincial government reintroduced the colonial-era laws governing the police.

There is a need to build pressure on the PPP-led Sindh government to reintroduce the Police Order 2002 if it is sincere in restoring peace in Karachi. Judicial reforms must also move in tandem with the police reforms. Increasing the number of courts and judges at every level remains the first step to ensure quick justice. Today, cases drag on from grandfather to grandson. This must change. Similarly, our judicial system must ensure that it remains affordable for the people belonging to the low income groups. The government also should take measures and enact laws to protect witnesses, prosecutors and judges. At the same time, more investment is needed to improve the quality and performance of prosecution.

The establishment of military courts has provided the much-needed space to the civilian government in which it can start initiating such reforms. There is also a need to improve quality of governance and efficiency on a war-footing in Sindh, particularly in the urban centres. Allocation of resources for the infrastructure and social development in Karachi should be part and parcel of this initiative.

A huge city like Karachi cannot be governed without an efficient and powerful local bodies system. But ironically, the ruling parties are trying to avoid the local elections not just in Sindh but also in Punjab under various pretexts despite repeated Supreme Court orders. Hopefully, in the coming months both provincial

governments will implement their constitutional obligation as per the court orders.

Karachi also desperately needs investment for infrastructure development, which has been on the backburner since 2008. It is ironic that a city of nearly 20 million people is without a modern mass transit system. The poor public transport system is the cause of major friction and discord in the city. Any peace package for Karachi must include provision for the establishment of modern metro and rapid bus systems. Social and economic uplift and development of slums and backward neighbourhoods – from Lyari to Orangi and Soharab Goth to Korangi – also remains vital to beat crime and terrorism.

Only a comprehensive package – involving both the crackdown on criminals, terrorists, and their patrons as well as institutional reforms and social and economic development – can help bring durable peace and establish the rule of law in Karachi.

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media.

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

Twitter: @AmirZia1

22
April

Written By: Usman Saeed

While, Pakistan is engaged in combating terrorist networks in the tribal regions, new super powers alliances are emerging in Asia. Russia and China both neighbours and the USA, European Union and allies are bracing up to throw challenges to each other in Asia and more specifically in Central Asia and South Asia. US President’s recent visit to India and US-India defence agreement with US intent to transfer nuclear technology and co-production of state-of-the-art weapon systems to enhance India’s war fighting capability (against China and Pakistan) is one major strategic development in South Asia. The US shift in policy at a juncture when her forces are pulling out from Afghanistan has multiplied the security challenges not so much for China but definitely for Pakistan.

The US global policy shift puts Pakistan in a dilemma for balancing her diplomatic relations with USA. One wonders what the Indian sentiments were at the time of swapping Russia with USA? Russia was India’s time tested ally that had equipped more than 70% of Indian defence forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems/ technologies and supported India at every plane of interest? India must have in her calculus adjudged Russia as declining power and a history while USA viewed as future power for a greater US-India power projection role in Asia. The strategic shift in US policy in favour of India – the country known for bitter relations with neighbouring countries – requires Pakistani policy planners to be extra vigilant on diplomatic, economic and military fronts.

Pakistan’s ties with both USA and China have been friendly since Pakistan economically and militarily benefitted from both the countries. But now it appears, Pakistan’s relations with China may not have been viewed well by opposing global/ regional powers. What diplomatic options Pakistan should exercise now in new scenario is a matter of serious deliberations. Should we outrightly join Russia-China strategic alliance or maintain delicate balance in our relations with China and USA. Another policy option can be to continue maintaining relations with US while overlooking US-India strategic collaboration. The answer to these options may be governed by our long term national security concerns, economic interests and more logically proportionate to the quantum of US physical transfer of nuclear technology and modern weapon systems to India. Pakistan’s energy requirements are linked to gas pipe lines from Central Asia and Iran. Likewise, our defence orientation that has remained so far towards USA and the West is more likely to undergo reorientation towards China and Russia in future. The Central Asian States shall also depend on Pakistan’s sea ports via Afghanistan for business and trade ventures. While in case of India our dependency is linked to Indian controlled origins of fresh waters in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) that can be regulated by India to control flow in our river system. Thus it is our compulsion to maintain cordial relations with neighbours along both the borders for not only economic development but also for successful elimination of terrorist networks in the country.

Russia-China friendly relations and their fast growing influence in Central Asia has mainly started with Chinese funded gas pipeline project from Russia to China and collective interest of both the countries to establish multi-polar world for limiting strategic pressures from US in Asia-Pacific regions. Both the countries have unfailing interest in oil, gas and mineral resources in the Central Asia that will sustain future economy of not only Russia and China but also the entire world. Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are abundantly rich with oil and gas resources but economically less developed. These countries after independence from erstwhile Soviet Union have been receiving economic aid from USA and the EU but in meagre quantity. Resultantly, frustration exists among the people of these states who after independence from Soviet Union (now Russia) expected greater economic support from the West for developments. Pro-West orientation in Central Asia is now gradually fading and vacuum exists for Russia and China to fill. Anti-US public mood in Afghanistan and Pakistan is also no more a secret. Another factor that has drawn China and Russia closer is US- Russia bitter relations on Ukraine and Syrian crisis and US focus in the Pacific region to contain China. In case, US sponsored Indian defence forces build-up gains mammoth proportion, Pakistan will be left with little choice but to join China-Russia alliance. Our diplomatic and defence relations with Russia would see a new turn and radically improve in future. Pakistan has so far not enjoyed warm relations with Russia. Our relations vacillated between cool to hostile and failed to promote any meaningful social, economic, defence and technology cooperation. Our foreign policy remained influenced by Soviets’ pro-India policy. Our relations with USA remained friendly but at the cost of distancing away from the Soviet Union (now Russia). India however exploited the situation by portraying her stance as non-aligned country and acquired state-of-the-art Russian military weapons/equipment and abundant economic aid so far.

Russian geographical location, size and quality of human resource have much to offer to us in future. Geographically, located mainly in Asia and land borders with European countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and others like Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Korea, the Russian nation is recognized for her courage, sacrifices and distinct achievements in the fields of sciences, technology, education and economy. Victories against the King of Sweden, Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler and others established her unchallenged supremacy in the region. It became Russian Empire after territorial acquisitions/ expansions towards the Pacific, Baltic, Europe and Asia. Two successive defeats during the Russo-Japanese war of 1905 and the WW-1 spread poverty. Violent agitation popularly known as Russian Revolution ended with overthrow of imperial regime and ushered in new era. World War-2 inflicted yet another stream of devastation and havoc to the country but valiant stand against the German Army and victory at the cost of deaths of millions of people raised the stature of Russia in the comity of nations. The USSR was developed economically, militarily and in other sectors so extensively that alone she could rival the USA. The Communist regime crumbled in early nineties due to military setback in Afghanistan followed by glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) policy pursued by Mr. Gorbachev that eventually led to disintegration of the USSR. Fourteen states declared independence and what we have at present is Russia – still most powerful country after the USA. Vladimir Putin has pursued economic reforms agenda that has contributed substantially to overcome economic crisis. One may not be surprised, when on any day he may announce his long due visit to Pakistan with new vision and free of pro-Indian mindset/biases. Russia has recently expressed desire to strengthen relations with Pakistan. Likely sale of MI-35 and MI-28 helicopters to Pakistan could be the beginning of more to follow in terms of enhanced military and economic cooperation.

Pakistan is desperately in need to develop trade and energy corridors with Central Asian States that comprise Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. All these states collectively have population over 65 million and predominantly Muslims. Whichever country, i.e. USA, Russia or China can facilitate development of oil, gas and hydro power lines and road infrastructure via Afghanistan to these states and with Iran as well would be a genuine friend of Pakistan. And whichever country out of above can mediate and bring about amicable resolution of Kashmir and water issues with India and also assist in overcoming menace of terrorism shall be an equally respectful country for the people of Pakistan. Pakistan has now entered into the fourteenth year of fighting terrorist networks that have hit nearly all sectors of our national life. A significantly large contingent of Pakistan Army has successfully engaged these networks in FATA and settled regions bordering long, open, mountainous and most complex western borders. However, the safe sanctuaries of their command structures and outfits inside Afghanistan and other Central Asian States adjoining Afghanistan beyond our operational jurisdiction can only be dismantled with the joint effort of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Pakistani nation does hope that US-Pakistan relations shall not be strained and regional power balance will not tilt in favour of India that may trigger yet another arms race at the cost of other regional priorities in South Asia.

The writer is a retired Brigadier and Ex. Director ‘Awareness and Prevention Division’ NAB. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
22
April

Interview By: Asif Jehangir Raja

• While the post-9/11 world was focused on the US military campaign in Afghanistan; India thought it could also take advantage of the global anti-terror sentiment to transform Kashmir into an issue of terrorism.

• The India-Pakistan problems are real. The peace will not come through elusive steps but resorting to resolution of core issues.

• Those who mistakenly believe that trade with India will bring prosperity to Pakistan just need to look at other countries in India’s periphery. They are just consumer markets for Indian goods.

• For better results in foreign policy, we should be focusing more on our domestic perils including the crises of terrorism, energy, economy and law and order.

• In improving its relations with its other neighbours, China makes sure that there is no adverse impact on its special relationship with Pakistan which both countries have built over the decades as an asset of their all-weather friendship.

• The potential of our trade with our partners including China remains totally unharnessed because the continuing energy crisis has seriously constricted our export capacity.

• China and Pakistan represent a natural partnership to work together in converting Pak-Afghanistan border into an economic gateway for the region.

• India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council is nothing but a mockery of the very principles and values that the UN is meant to uphold.

• Any conflictual ‘stalemate’ in Afghan theatre will not be without serious implications for peace and stability of the region.

• Pakistan can play an important role in bringing SCO and ECO together.

• We are confronted today with an extraordinary crisis situation with no parallel in our history. The gravity of this crisis warrants equally extraordinary responses.

• Pak-US relationship is important and a necessity for both sides because of common political, economic and geo-strategic interests

Q. Where do you see the region after US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to India?

Premier Chou En-lai was once asked by a visiting journalist; what in his opinion were the historical effects of the French Revolution of 1789. Premier Chou En-lai’s sage reply was: ‘It is perhaps too early to tell.’’ That response on the surface may have appeared glib but at its deeper level, it was really profound in encapsulating the reality of never-ending impact of global dynamics in international affairs. Any major development of historic magnitude in one country or a region can have long-term implications not only for its own future but also for other nations and regions even centuries later.

President Obama’s recent visit to India, his second in less than two years, was no doubt an event of lasting, albeit ominous, implications for the future of peace and security in this region. It marked further reinforcement of a worrisome Indo-US ‘strategic partnership’ that has been growing since the beginning of this new millennium in the form of nuclear, military and military technology collaboration. During this visit, the two sides announced plans to unlock billions of dollars in military and nuclear trade as the bedrock of their burgeoning alliance. Their Defence Trade Technological Initiative involves massive collaboration in terms of joint ‘pathfinder’ projects including joint production of drone aircraft and equipment for C-130 military planes, cooperation on aircraft carriers and jet-engine technology and upgrading of their joint military and naval exercises. Obviously, in building up this new nuclear and military alliance, the US has its own priorities as part of its larger China-driven Asian agenda in pursuit of its worldwide political and economic power. Washington also views India as a vast market and potential counterweight to China's growing influence in Asia. India on its part is seeking to use this partnership for its grandiose ambitions of a global status and is gloating over Obama’s endorsement of its designs for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Based on their respective goals and expediencies, the two partners are playing on Kautilya’s game plan to cope with what they both see as the spectre of Rising China. The future of this partnership will depend not on the avowed interests of its signatories but on how other major countries in the region affected by this strategic alliance feel compelled to respond to preserve their own security interests. It seems to be the beginning of a new round of Cold War. The only difference is that this time, India stands on the other side of the rivalry pole. But if history is any lesson, things never remain static. They keep changing as the world and its dynamics do by the inevitable process of change that is always inherent in the rise and fall of power. One has to see how the regional and global dynamics shape up in response to this new configuration of power. Actions are bound to provoke reactions. The politics of alliances and alignments will not be without serious implications for strategic stability in this region.

If the turbulent history of this part of the world had any lessons, US engagement in this nuclearised region should have been aimed at promoting strategic balance rather than disturbing it. Washington should have been eschewing discriminatory policies in dealing with India-Pakistan nuclear equation, the only one in the world that grew up in history totally unrelated to the Cold War. But this never happened. Instead, the U.S. gave India a country-specific nuclear deal with a carte blanche in the Nuclear Suppliers Group for access to nuclear technology. A stable nuclear security order is what we need in South Asia. Any measures that contribute to lowering of the nuclear threshold and fuelling of an arms race between the two nuclear-armed neighbours are no service to the people of this region. Only non-discriminatory criteria-based approaches would be sustainable. Preferential treatment to India in terms of nuclear technology not only widens existing security imbalances in the region but also seriously undermines the prospects of genuine India-Pakistan peace.

Since Pakistan’s actions in the nuclear and missile fields at each stage are force majeure in response to India’s escalatory steps, an element of mutuality in restraint and responsibility is required for nuclear and conventional stabilisation in our region. Obviously, in the face of India’s fast developing capabilities, including its dangerous weapon-inductions, aggressive doctrines and devious nuclear cooperation arrangements enabling diversion of nuclear material for military purposes, equally dangerous options in response become inevitable. It is this reality that last year, The New York Times editorially flagged to question India’s special waiver-based eligibility for NSG membership. Acknowledging that India has long sought to carve out a special exception for itself in the nuclear sphere, The NYT urged the NSG not to accept India’s bid for membership until “it proves itself willing to take a leading role in halting the spread of the world’s most lethal weapons. One way to do that would be by opening negotiations with Pakistan and China to end the dangerous regional nuclear arms race.” In effect, the NYT reinforced Pakistan’s stand for a criteria-based approach in the NSG. Despite the Americans and other Western powers eyeing new lucrative defence and energy contracts in Narendra Modi’s India, the editorial suggested that India’s NSG membership must not be granted until it meets certain non-proliferation benchmarks and resumes talks with its regional rivals on nuclear restraints. It was a timely reminder to the world’s major powers, especially the US, to understand the gravity of the damage they are doing to the cause of peace and stability by giving India country-specific nuclear waivers.

Q: You remained Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. In your views, how India emerges in foreign relations between China and USA particularly after Obama’s visit?

I don’t think after President Obama’s recent visit, India emerges any different in its role and relevance that it already has acquired since its alignment with the US as a regional counterforce against China. If anything, other than a hotline that will now connect Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, there was no groundbreaking or transformational outcome from the Obama visit. The two countries seem to have only reinforced their already existing military and nuclear ties by renewing the 10-year defence treaty for another ten years and agreeing to a notional arrangement for operationalisation of the nuclear deal besides deciding to restart negotiations on a long-pending investment treaty. Ironically, Obama’s visit came within a year since Washington effectively ended its blacklisting of Modi who became a persona non grata in the United States and European Union for his role in the killing of over 2000 Muslims following deadly communal riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002 while he was its Chief Minister. All said and done, critics suggest the Obama visit was high on optics and there is a long way to go before they transform their ‘vision’ into a real partnership. For the moment, the two sides may have just become “more comfortable” in engagement with each other for a common China-driven cause. But both cannot ignore other equally important, if not more pressing, regional and global dynamics. India, in particular, will weigh carefully how this engagement affects its future relationship with China which itself is building new equations in the region backed by the phenomenal growth in its global power and economy.

Q: India cancelled talks between Foreign secretaries of both countries. Should we expect unfolding of a hard core and narrow minded Hindu foreign policy towards Pakistan in coming day by Modi’s government?

This has been a familiar pattern in India’s calculated policy towards Pakistan since 9/11 which every Indian Prime Minister from Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh and now Narendra Modi have followed with one stark message that there will be no dialogue with Pakistan until it deals with cross-border threat of terrorism into India. There is a background to this ugly logjam. While the post-9/11 world was focused on the US military campaign in Afghanistan; India thought it could also take advantage of the global anti-terror sentiment to transform Kashmir into an issue of terrorism. After the attacks on the Kashmir State Assembly building on October 1, 2001 and the Indian parliament building in Delhi on December 13, 2001, India moved all its armed forces to Pakistan's borders as well as along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Pakistan was blamed for both incidents without any investigations or evidence. South Asia was dragged into a confrontational mode. Intense diplomatic pressure by the US and other G-8 countries averted what could have been a catastrophic clash between the two nuclear states. It was again the constant pressure from the same influential outside powers that the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue was resumed in January 2004 on the basis of “January 6, 2004 Islamabad Joint Statement.” In that ‘Joint Statement’, Pakistan implicitly accepted India’s allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in cross-border activities by solemnly pledging that it will not allow any cross-border activity in future.

Since then, the India-Pakistan peace process has remained hostage to India’s opportunistic mindset. As part of its sinister campaign, India has sought to implicate Pakistan in every act of terrorism on its soil and has kept the dialogue process hostage to its policy of keeping Pakistan under constant pressure on the issue of terrorism. It blamed Pakistan for successive attacks on a train in Mumbai in July 2006, Samjhota Express in February 2007, Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008, and finally the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, which like the earlier ones were also alleged to have been staged with ulterior motives. And that’s where we are today. India seems to have come to realise that the world today is fixated on terrorism and there could be no better opportunity to exploit this global concern. In a calibrated diversionary campaign, India is only seeking to redefine the real Pakistan-India issues by obfuscating them into the ‘issue of terrorism’ and sporadic incidents of violence across the Line of Control. In its reckoning, the time is ripe for it to pressure Pakistan to an extent where it can surrender on the Kashmir cause. While India is taking full advantage of our domestic failures and weaknesses, our rulers have been giving wrong signals even to the extent of compromising on our principled positions. They don’t even understand that the peace they want will never come by giving up on our vital national causes. The India-Pakistan problems are real and will not disappear or work out on their own as some people in Pakistan pursuing an illusory Aman Ki Asha have lately started believing. Peace in South Asia will remain elusive as long as Kashmir remains under Indian occupation. On other issues too, we cannot ignore India’s illegality in Siachen and Kargil and its ongoing water terrorism in Occupied Kashmir by building dams and reservoirs on Pakistani rivers in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. Those who mistakenly believe that trade with India will bring prosperity to Pakistan just need to look at other countries in India’s periphery that opened their markets without any level-playing field, and are left today with no industrial potential of their own. They are just consumer markets for Indian goods.

We just cannot opt for that kind of a subservient role in the region. India is not ready for talks with us. There is no point in begging for dialogue. A dignified tactical pause is what we need. We should be focusing more on our domestic perils including the crises of terrorism, energy, economy and law and order. We must consolidate ourselves to be strong enough to negotiate an equitable peace with dignity and honour. A purposeful dialogue and result-oriented engagement on equitable terms is the only acceptable means to resolving India-Pakistan disputes. But to negotiate an honourable peace with India, our own country must first be at peace with itself.

Q: In the past, China-India relations were mostly acrimonious. Of late, both these countries are improving relations particularly in mutual trade. In recent past huge investment in India has been agreed by China. How do you view this whole relation and its impact on the Chinese policy towards other regional countries?

Again, if history is any lesson, things never remain static. They keep changing as the world and its dynamics do by the inevitable process of change. Don’t we remember the days in the 1950s when we used to hear Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai slogans? Politics of alliances and alignments has been changing globally and even in our own region. In inter-state relations, there are no eternal friends or enemies. There are only permanent interests. Interestingly, the China-India relations are a classical example of this proverbial aphorism. They have been on warring terms, mostly remaining in an adversarial mode with a long disputed border, and yet they also remain engaged, politically as well as economically. But the credit for this engagement between the two arch-rivals goes to China which uses economic policies as a principal instrument of its statecraft. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a discernible change in China’s foreign policy which based on the principle of peaceful co-existence has had a paradigm effect on modern international relations. Pragmatism has been the determining factor of this change which includes improvement of its relations with the US and other “advanced” countries as well as with its immediate neighbours including India. For China, India is a regional power of great geopolitical and economic importance that it cannot ignore. It handles sensitive issues concerning its neighbours with particular care in an “appropriate” manner that commensurate with its larger interests.

In improving its relations with its other neighbours, China makes sure that there is no adverse impact on its special relationship with Pakistan which both countries have built over the decades as an asset of their all-weather friendship. We should have no worries on China-India relations. Instead, we should be focused more on further strengthening our own multidimensional cooperation with China on the basis of mutual benefit. If China-India bilateral trade is growing rapidly; it is because both countries have commodities to sell to each other. Their trade both in value and volume is growing even faster than the target rate. From 66.5 billion US dollars in 2012, it is now scheduled to reach 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, we should be taking lessons from this model of burgeoning economic relationship instead of hopelessly remaining a ‘basket’ case. The potential of our trade with our partners including China remains totally unharnessed because the continuing energy crisis has seriously constricted our export capacity. Our industrial wheel is no longer running. Economic activity’s basic ingredients – consistent policies, stable law and order situation and supporting infrastructure including fuel and power that keeps the industrial wheel running– are all currently missing in our country. Let’s remedy the situation that keeps us from meeting our own targets in trade with China. Already, China is doing everything to help us. From Karakoram Highway to the newly completed Gwadar Port, a string of industrial plants, factories, electrical and mechanical complexes, power producing units, including hydro and nuclear power plants, stand testimony to China’s vital contribution to our country’s economic development. The new China-Pakistan plans involve a whole range of connectivity, construction and economic and technical cooperation.

The proposed ‘economic corridor’ linking Pakistan’s coastal areas with northwest China, on completion, will bring overarching economic and trade connectivity, bilaterally as well as regionally that would be of great benefit to landlocked Afghanistan. Given their geopolitical location and unparalleled mutuality of interest, both China and Pakistan represent a natural partnership to work together in converting Pak-Afghanistan border into an economic gateway for the region, and as a linkage of peace and cooperation with Central Asian countries.

Q: India is striving hard for permanent seat in the UNSC. What are India’s prospects and how it can affect resolution of Kashmir Issue through the UN?

India has never hidden its aspiration for a permanent seat in the Security Council. It has been using its demographic size, democratic system, and its growing economy with large market potential to advance its claim to the permanent membership. Together with Brazil, Germany and Japan, India now constitutes a group of four major contenders, formally known as G-4, seeking permanent membership of the Council and pursuing their own campaign for increase in both categories involving addition of four non-permanent and six permanent seats with veto power. It’s not a simple matter. The reform of Security Council is a complex issue and has been the subject of protracted discussions at the UN for over two decades now. While there is almost a consensus on increase in the non-permanent category, the overwhelming majority of UN member-states remains opposed to any expansion in the permanent category. With the exception of Africa, all regional groups are also divided because of deep differences between the main contenders and their regional rivals (Pakistan and China vis-à-vis India, Republic of Korea and China vis-à-vis Japan, Italy and Spain vis-à-vis Germany and Argentina and Mexico vis-à-vis Brazil).

With sharp differences among the member states, there is almost a deadlock situation on this issue. Despite increasing support for India’s claim, it is unlikely that the issue will be resolved in any foreseeable future. Pakistan has been spearheading the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) strategy with the help of major rivals of the G-4 contenders, namely, China, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Argentina and Mexico. Pakistan especially argues that population alone cannot be the criteria for permanent membership and that India is also in violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Kashmir which pledged to the Kashmiri people their inalienable right of self-determination. The setting aside of UN resolutions is one thing, the discarding of the principle they embodied is quite another. The cardinal principle of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter (Article 1.2) and also unequivocally reaffirmed in the Millennium Declaration in the case of peoples still under “foreign occupation” cannot be thrown overboard. India is in clear breach of the Charter as well as the Millennium Declaration. Its claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council is nothing but a mockery of the very principles and values that the UN is meant to uphold.

Q. India has heightened the tensions at borders by adhering to intense cross border fire during past few months. What, in your opinion, can be possible reasons for this escalation?

These violent eruptions along the Line of Control as well as on the Working Boundary are also part of a calculated pattern that India has followed since 9/11 to keep Pakistan under constant pressure at a time when the latter is fighting a war against terrorism on its own soil. As already stated, India has come to realise that the world today is fixated on terrorism and there could be no better opportunity to exploit this global concern in its favour. The recent intensity in its provocations along the Line of Control is also to be seen against the backdrop of the emerging US-imposed ‘peace’ in Afghanistan where India was expecting to find a role to the detriment of Pakistan’s political, economic and security interests. It is witnessing the situation unfolding against its expectations. No wonder, a reaction of anger and frustration finds manifestation in India-Pakistan tensions along the Line of Control. But the good thing is that both sides are not letting the situation go out of control.

Q: Where do you see this region particularly with reference to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India in next decade (2015 – 2025)?

With ongoing transition in Afghanistan, the region is fast approaching a period of profound change. But what kind of change do we expect at the end of this long war? Today, as we look at South Asia’s post-2015 political landscape, the horizon looks hazy and unclear if not murky. There are many imponderables on the very nature of the stipulated end-state. An ominous uncertainty looms large on the horizon in the post-2015 scenario. The spectre of a domestic political strife in Afghanistan is already causing serious concerns over the region’s future security landscape. Obviously, Washington has its own priorities as part of its larger Asian agenda in pursuit of its worldwide political and economic power. China is also concerned over the uncharted developments in its backyard. It has serious concerns over the persistent instability in the region with Islamic fundamentalism and radical influences seeping out of this region with ominous implications for its Western region. As a major power, China seems to be bracing itself for a balancing role in the strategically important regions across its Western borders. With surreptitious induction of its nuisance potential into the murky Afghan theatre, India is also pretending for a role in the region and in the process seeking to redefine India-Pakistan issues. This is a serious situation. Afghanistan is an area of fundamental strategic importance to Pakistan. The risk of a Pakistan-India proxy war in Afghanistan is fraught with perilous implications for regional and global peace, and must be averted at all cost.

If the Soviet presence in Cuba almost triggered a nuclear war in the early 1960s, India's continued ascendancy in Afghanistan will remain a danger of no less gravity to the already volatile security environment of this nuclearised region. Any conflictual ‘stalemate’ in Afghan theatre will not be without serious implications for peace and stability of the region.

Q: There is no second opinion about economic potential of Central Asia. Certainly, USA, China and Russia are main players in Central Asian resource politics. We also hear about New Great Game. How would you appreciate future role of these important players and suitable course of action for Pakistan?

After the World War II, Asia’s geo-political landscape has gone through a sea change in terms of its emerging political, economic and strategic problems and priorities. The collapse of the former Soviet Union not only left a truncated and weakened Russia but also reshaped Asia’s political map with the emergence of six new independent states in Central Asia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. This is a vast region, immensely rich in natural resources with unmatched oil and gas reserves. No wonder, a power-led and oil & gas-driven Great Game is already on. Yes, Washington has its own priorities as part of its China-driven larger Asian agenda in pursuit of its worldwide political and economic power. America is no stranger to this region and had used this as battleground of a decisive war to dismantle the “evil” Soviet empire. The region remains important to its economic and strategic interests even in today’s changed environment. Meanwhile, in recent years, there has been a conspicuous development of closeness between China and Russia in reaction to what they perceive as growing US strategic outreach in their backyard. For Russia, it is its desire not only to check the US political and economic incursion into its backyard but also its anxiety to prevent further erosion of its political standing in its ‘near abroad.’ China also has vital strategic and economic stakes in this region and its energy resources.

Besides their common interest in curbing Washington’s influence in strategically important and resource-rich Central Asia, both China and Russia have also been concerned over the persistent instability in the region as a result of what they see as ‘forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism’ emanating from this region. In fact, the very rationale for their joining together in a regional grouping together with four other Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) called Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the 1990s was to forestall these very forces. Over time, this regional grouping also became important as a catalyst for the establishment of a new pan-Asian order in response to America’s Asian Pivot. In recent years, SCO has been developing into a major regional and global entity with a comprehensive agenda and a framework of cooperation in all areas of mutual interest to its members, including military, security, political, economic, trade and cultural fields. No wonder, even with its larger international canvas, SCO remains focused on regional security issues in general and Islamic extremism and radical influences in particular. According to some observers, in sharp contrast to the Russians view, China might be seeking to use the SCO only as a facilitator of regional trade and investment, something that would enable Beijing to play the leading role. Interestingly, two founding members of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Iran and Pakistan, are also associated with SCO as its observers. The regions covered by SCO and ECO are contiguous and mutually complementary in terms of their potential for regional cooperation.

There is a tremendous overlap between the two organisations in terms of their natural and human resources. Their combined untapped economic potential, if exploited properly through innovative national and regional strategies, could transform this part of Asia into an economic power house, besides making it a major factor of regional and global stability. It is in this context that Pakistan can play an important role in bringing SCO and ECO together. As Secretary-General of ECO (1992-96) which during my tenure was transformed from a trilateral entity (Iran, Pakistan and Turkey) into a 10-member regional cooperation organisation, I am familiar with ‘blueprints’ conceptualised in the early 1990s for an elaborate transport infrastructure linking the ECO member-states with each other and with the outside world and a network of oil and gas pipelines within the region and beyond. Those regional plans remained unimplemented only because of the ensuing war-led turmoil in Afghanistan. The multifaceted work that ECO has already accomplished over the last two decades in the form of various plans, strategies, agreements and projects could be of great complementary value to SCO in its regional plans of action. We could jointly capitalise on our geography and natural resources through development of transport and communication infrastructure, mutual trade and investment and common use of the region’s vast energy resources. Regional cooperation on security issues is the new global trend. We could also explore the possibilities of regional cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism and conflict-prevention. Peace in Afghanistan remains crucial for the success of both ECO and SCO. Together with China, we represent a natural partnership from within the region that can bring about the real change in this volatile region. Both are supportive of genuine peace in Afghanistan, free of foreign influence or domination.

Q: What measures are needed to overcome challenges of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism in Pakistan?

Terrorism is invariably the product of “a broader mix of problems caused by governance failures and leadership miscarriages. When there are no legitimate means of addressing the massive and systemic political, economic and social inequalities, an environment is created in which peaceful remedies often lose out against extreme and violent alternatives including terrorism.” We are confronted today with an extraordinary crisis situation with no parallel in our history. The gravity of this crisis warrants equally extraordinary responses. Our armed forces are already doing their job valiantly by rooting out foreign and local terrorists and eliminating their sanctuaries in areas bordering Afghanistan. But no military success is sustainable unless it is backed by the requisite civilian support in terms of immediate corrective as well as deterrent measures and long-term policies ranging from internal security, legal and economic measures to education and social welfare projects in the affected areas. The ultimate responsibility to deal with the twin-challenges of extremism and terrorism lies with the government which must ensure good governance and rule of law, guarantee non-discriminatory justice, promote tolerance and communal harmony, and reinforce popular resilience and mutual respect in the country.

Q: What potential do you foresee in future of Pak-US relationship?

This is an important relationship and a necessity for both sides because of common political, economic and geo-strategic interests. But over the decades, they have had a chequered history of frequent ups and downs in their relationship which has lacked continuity, a larger conceptual framework, and a shared vision beyond each side's "narrowly based and vaguely defined" issue-specific priorities. They need to remake this relationship as a normal, mutually beneficial bilateral relationship on the basis of universally-established norms of inter-state relations. The objective must be not to weaken this equation but to strengthen it by infusing in it greater mutually relevant political, economic and strategic content. It must no longer remain a “transactional” relationship and must go beyond the issue of terrorism.

Q: What qualities are essential for a successful diplomat? Your advice to the future diplomats of Pakistan?

In terms of personal qualities needed for a successful diplomat, the qualities of patience, modesty, intelligence, confidence, sociability, hospitality, charm and hard work are taken for granted. Among other requisites, one has to be perceptive and quick to grasp, balanced and cooperative with a good sense of right and wrong and control over emotion. He has to be a good communicator and an effective moderator who should also know the virtue of silence. Moral integrity, tact, prudence and discretion are the hall marks of a professional diplomat. Above all; he must be fully conversant with his own country’s affairs and also those of the country of his posting. A Pakistani diplomat’s challenge lies in how effectively he protects and projects his country’s national interests in the course of his diplomatic career. My advice to the future diplomats of Pakistan is that they should be looking forward to a profession which is both demanding and challenging given Pakistan’s geo-strategic location and foreign policy objectives. They must know that their Foreign Service career is a lifetime commitment which is personally fulfilling and professionally rewarding. It is a neat and clean profession which gives you plenty of opportunities to serve your country in the real sense.

Shamshad Ahmad Khan is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan who also served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to South Korea, Iran, as Secretary General of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and as Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN. At professional level, he served in various posts at headquarters in Islamabad and in Pakistan Missions at Tehran, Dakar, Paris, Washington and New York. He contributes regularly to the media and has also authored two books ‘Dreams Unfulfilled’ (2009) and ‘Pakistan and World Affairs’ (2014).
22
April

Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi

The dastardly attack by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar represents in essence an act of war against the state of Pakistan. With civilians the deliberate target of the brazen attack, the mass murder of 135 school children by a militant non-state actor unprivileged to use force under various provisions of Pakistani law undoubtedly also amounts to violations of both international humanitarian law and domestic law of conflict of Pakistan as well as the common law of war inherited by it upon its inception in 1947. In response to the ghastly attack, the government has constituted military courts as part of its National Action Plan (NAP) to try ‘jet black’ terror suspects waging war against the state and has amended the Constitution and the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 to enable them to function. These courts are a necessary and proportionate measure in the current circumstances, and represent a naturally suitable forum for trying violations of domestic law of war akin to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. For continued domestic and international legitimacy, it is however imperative that they operate under internationally recognized due process, principles and procedures elaborately laid down in the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the Pakistan Army Rules, 1954.

Since militant non-state actors like the TTP and its affiliates have avowedly and repeatedly renounced their loyalty from the state and its constitution, Pakistan needs to fight back against them to preserve its own constitution. It also needs to fight back to fulfil its international legal obligations under various United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) including 1267 and 1373 by ensuring that its territory is not used by these non-state actors against any other state, and to demonstrate to the international community that it is both ‘able’ and ‘willing’ to counter these threats on its own. This article posits that a de facto and de jure state of conflict between the Pakistani state and militant non-state actors including Al-Qaeda and the TTP and their affiliates effectively exists under domestic law, and that the appropriate legal framework for assessing prevailing circumstances is Pakistan’s domestic law of conflict and the common law of war. To this end, it identifies Pakistan’s domestic law of conflict as separate and distinct from the law of peace applicable in ordinary times of peace. Moreover, it suggests an objective jurisdictional and admissibility criteria for bringing cases before the military courts that maintains the right balance between fundamental rights and Pakistan’s international commitments to counter terrorism.

Pakistan is in a Conflict State against Militant Non-state Actors Although there has not yet been a formal declaration of conflict through invocation of emergency provisions of the Constitution, such declaration is not necessary to constitute a state of conflict under the common law of war of England inherited by Pakistan in 1947 whereby it is based either on the subjective factor or intent of the parties to the conflict or upon an objective factor of the scope and extent of the hostilities1. Moreover, an executive determination or statement on the question whether a state of conflict has come into being is conclusive for common law courts of Pakistan that such a state has indeed come about2. In this regard, the subject-specific invocation of Article 245 of the Constitution pursuant to which the current military operations are being conducted in and of itself signals the commencement of a conflict between the state and militant non-state actors with express intent to wage war against it. Further subjective and objective evidence that a state of conflict has been constituted in Pakistan can be inferred from the following:

• Numerous statements from the TTP and its affiliates clearly expressing their intent to wage war against the state. In January 2014, for example, the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid wrote a letter to the media stating: “TTP wants to give clear-cut message to the people of Pakistan that our war against the government is for implementation of Sharia'h….” While claiming responsibility for the blood-curdling attack on the APS, the TTP issued a statement saying: “We [TTP] targeted the school because we want them [the Armed Forces] to feel pain. It’s a revenge attack….”

• Scores of statements from highest level executive officials in the wake of the APS attack which are not merely rhetorical but actual representations of executive determinations that a conflict state has been constituted in Pakistan. On December 31, 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated on the floor of the Senate: “Pakistan is in a state of war. If we fail to take extraordinary measures, we may not be able to stop the brutalities in time to come.” Speaking in the United Kingdom on January 16, 2015, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif said: “Pakistan will soon surmount all problems including terrorism, despite multiple challenges. Pakistan is in a state of war. The military courts have been set up in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan.” At a press conference on January 18, 2015, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said: “Pakistan is facing a tough time and is still in a state of war even after sacrificing the most in the war against terrorism. Pakistan is still passing through difficult times and is in war state.”

• Several executive notifications and S.R.Os issued under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948 proscribing militant non-state actors pursuant to UNSCR 1267 and 1373.

• Proscription notifications issued under the Private Military Organizations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1973. Along with the foregoing evidence of conflict, the sustained and organized violence by militants against the state and its functionaries and citizens that has claimed the lives of over 50,000 civilians and 5,000 military and other state personnel conclusively raises an irrefutable legal presumption that a conflict state exists between the state and militant non-state actors including Al-Qaeda and the TTP and their affiliates. In the last few months alone, in addition to the APS attack, the TTP or its affiliated groups have claimed responsibility for a series of brutal incidents including Wagah Border attack in Lahore martyring 90 people, Karachi Airport attack martyring 43 people, Islamabad District Court attack martyring 27 people, Shikarpur attack martyring 60 people, and Lahore Police Lines attack martyring 10 people. Clearly, this systematic campaign of mass murder by the TTP and its affiliates constitutes war crimes against humanity under the common law of war as well as Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Domestic Law of Conflict of Pakistan and Common Law of War Significantly, there exists a body of domestic law of conflict and common law of war to regulate the prevailing conflict state in the country. Pakistan’s domestic law of conflict and use of force is encompassed across various constitutional provisions, statutes and regulations, which are triggered in conflict situations along with the principles and precedents of common law of war derived from centuries of common law of England that Pakistan inherited upon its creation in 1947.

At present, the following constitutional provisions, statutes, rules and regulations collectively constitute the fundamental domestic law of conflict and use of force of Pakistan:

• 21st Constitutional Amendment and Constitutional Provisions relating to Armed Forces and state security: Articles 8 (3), 10 (3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9), 237, 245 & 256;

• Provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860: Sections 121 – 140;

• Provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898: Sections 129 – 132;

• Provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908: Section 83;

• Provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997: Sections 4 & 5;

• Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014;

• Investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013;

• Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulations, 2011;

• The Pakistan Army Act, 1952;

• The Pakistan Army Rules, 1954;

• The Pakistan Air Force Act, 1953;

• The Pakistan Navy Ordinance, 1961;

• Frontier Corps Ordinance, 1959;

• Pakistan Rangers Ordinance, 1959;

• North-West Frontier Constabulary Act, 1915;

• The Police Act, 1861;

• The Police Order, 2002;

• The Security of Pakistan Act, 1952;

• The Prevention of Anti-National Activities Act, 1974;

• The Private Military Organizations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1973;

• The War Injuries Ordinance, 1941;

• The War Injuries (Compensation Insurance) Act, 1943;

• The War Risks Insurance Continuance Ordinance, 1969;

• The War Risks Insurance Ordinance, 1971.

There is, at present, an urgent need to draw a conceptual and legal distinction between the foregoing domestic law of conflict of Pakistan and the ordinary law of peace of Pakistan. The former is applicable upon those militant non-state actors waging war against the state by attempting to over-awe it by targeting the infrastructure and personnel of its armed forces and its public officials and citizens, while the latter is apposite to deal with ordinary terrorists and criminals. Crucially, in order to more effectively and robustly handle threats posed by militant non-state actors, Pakistan’s policymakers and its judiciary must realize that the sheer size and scale of militant insurgency, deployment of resources, duration and intensity of the conflict and the means and methods of these militants distinguish them from an ordinary criminal or terrorist of peace time. Such distinctions have been legally drawn by other countries facing similar threats. For example, the United States in the aftermath of 9/11 through landmark judgments of its superior judiciary in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) and al Bahlul v. United States (2014).

Militant non-state actors including Al-Qaeda and the TTP and their affiliates have unequivocally expressed their intent to assert and establish unlawful control over the territories of Pakistan through private armies and private military organizations. Driven by a murderous ideology, they take direct instructions from elements hostile to Pakistan and obey them, and have established channels to launder funds to procure arms. Through their express intent and overt acts, these militants have withdrawn their loyalty to the state in contravention of Article 5 of the Constitution. The constitutional contract that exists between a loyal citizen and his or her state has thus been breached by them. As a consequence, they can be classified under the definition of an enemy of the state not entitled or privileged to the constitutional guarantees accorded to someone who commits an offense but has otherwise not forsaken his or her loyalty to the state and its constitution. Pakistan’s state authorities and its judiciary must urgently make this differentiation. Pakistan is clearly in the throes of a conflict being ravaged in every nook and corner of the country. The object of this conflict is to overthrow the government and seize the apparatus of the state through brute force and bloodshed by inflicting maximum harm to the life, liberty and property of the citizens and by endangering the security and integrity of the nation and its institutions. Quite obviously, this is not an ordinary criminal enterprise by any standard but an open conflict that needs to be addressed as such under the paradigm of the domestic law of conflict of Pakistan and the common law of war.

The Way Forward with Military Courts There is no prohibition under international law to establish military courts to prosecute specialized offences against the state such as waging war. While permitting military tribunals, the Human Rights Committee in its General Comment 32 on Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “trials of civilians by military or special courts should be exceptional, i.e. limited to cases where the state party can show that resorting to such trials is necessary and justified by objective and serious reasons, and where with regard to the specific class of individuals and offences at issue the regular civilian courts are unable to undertake the trials.” As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan has an obligation to counter terrorism under binding UNSCRs including 1267 and 1373. This, crucially, creates an obligation on the entire state including its federal and provincial governments and on all its arms including the judiciary, Armed Forces, Police etc. Therefore, an acquittal by Anti-Terrorism Court on whatsoever grounds is viewed internationally as inability on the part of the state to fulfil its international obligations. If on account of poor prosecution or defective investigation, non-state terrorist suspects are acquitted or their trials are inordinately delayed, it has a cumulative effect on the state’s international commitments. Military courts, politically, have been set up within this larger context to enable the state to fulfil the obligations it owes to the global community. However, they do not offer a permanent solution and their establishment to meet the exigencies of the current situation of conflict should in fact be a catalyst for much needed reform of the state’s criminal justice system within the next 2 years. Perhaps most importantly, only very selective cases should be referred to these courts.

In this regard, an objective jurisdictional and admissibility criteria for referring cases to the military courts must be formulated by the federal government and forwarded to the provincial apex committees. It is suggested that a suspect may be tried by these courts if he or she:

• Belongs to the TTP or any of its affiliates; or

• Belongs to Al-Qaeda or any of its affiliates; or

• Belongs to internationally proscribed terrorist organization under UNSCR 1267; or

• Belongs to a prohibited private army under Private Military Organizations (Abolition and Prohibition) Act, 1973; or

• Falls within the definition of ‘enemy’ under Pakistan Army Act, 1952; and

• Is involved in an act akin to war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; or

• Owns or claims responsibility for a terrorist strike on religious basis; or

• Declares war against the state on religious basis; or

• Is apprehended during active combat; or

• Is charged with the offense of waging war under Section 120 Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

The Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the Pakistan Army Rules, 1954 contain extensive due process and fair trial provisions such as Section 122 Pakistan Army Act, 1952 whereby rules of evidence in proceedings before the military courts shall be the same as those in civilian criminal courts. Nevertheless, by way of caution, the government must undertake a due diligence review of these provisions to ensure that they conform to international standards for military courts or tribunals. It also retains the option and the flexibility to institute administrative oversight mechanism for the military courts to enhance their domestic and international legitimacy.

The constitutional amendment establishing the military courts has been challenged before the Supreme Court of Pakistan for violating the basic structure of the Constitution by unduly restricting individual fundamental rights. The exact contours of the basic structure doctrine remain nebulous in our constitutional scheme. Although the Court has in the past acknowledged its existence, it has never given the force of application to the basic structure doctrine, which is highly anti-democratic in nature and in its application will certainly contravene Article 239 (5) of the Constitution whereby “no amendment of the Constitution shall be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.” The military courts have been set up in the legally permissible zone of Article 245 and should be viewed as a necessary and proportionate measure under the law of conflict paradigm. Given the exigencies of conflict situation and its operational imperatives, the Constitution expressly pauses or freezes implementation of enforcement of fundamental rights during notification under Article 245 when laws like those establishing military courts post APS attack can be validly enacted and enforced.

The writer is the former Federal Law Minister and advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Research Society of International Law Pakistan and Member Advisory Committee of United Nations Human Rights Council. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
22
April

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

What did the Lahore Resolution (1940) stand for? What did it signify in essence? What did it imply in a broad sense? Since the mid 1960s, several interpretations have been foisted on it, and it is time that they are examined in perspective and in the total context, that some conclusions, even if tentative, be arrived at in the light of hard evidence available in the literature.

The general framework of the Lahore Resolution was laid down in a resolution passed by the Muslim League's Working Committee on February 4, 1940. Inter alia, it sought to spell out a broad outline in respect of India's future constitutional framework. The resolution, which for some obvious reasons was kept confidential and not released to the press at the time (nor included in the All India Muslim League’s (AIML) official publications), comprised the following points;

1. Mussalmans are not a minority in the ordinary sense of the word. They are a nation.

2. British system of democratic parliamentary party system of government is not suited to the genius and condition of the people of India.

3. Those zones which are composed of majority of Mussalmans in the physical map of India should be constituted into Independent Dominions in direct relationship with Great Britain.

4. In those zones where Muslims are in minority, their interests, and those of other minorities must be adequately and effectively safeguarded and similar safeguards shall be provided for the Hindu and other minorities in the Muslim zone.

5. The various units in each zone shall form component parts of the Federation in that zone as autonomous units. (italics added) Based on points 3 and 5, the operative part of the Lahore Resolution envisaged that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are in a majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute Independent States in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign (italics added).

The confusion, and hence the controversy, arising out of this resolution stems from two points: (i) the Muslim majority areas "should be grouped to constitute Independent States"; and (ii) "the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign". And we would examine these two controversial points in the same order. Since both these points are directly related to the wording of the resolution, the initial questions to be tackled are: who drafted it, and how did it come to be drafted?

Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan has claimed that it was drafted in his house — that is, at Sir Sikander Hayat Khan's residence. On March 11, 1941, Sir Sikander, who was Premier of the Punjab, himself told the Punjab Assembly "that the resolution which I drafted was radically amended by the Working Committee [of the All India Muslim League], and there is a wide divergence in the resolution I drafted and the one that was finally passed. The main difference between the two resolutions is that the latter part of my resolution which related to the centre and co-ordination of the activities of the various units, was eliminated."

Commenting on Sir Sikander's version, Khalid B. Sayeed says, "it seems that the Working Committee removed the federal elements from the resolution and made the Muslim zones in the North-West and in the North-East 'Independent States', which had no federal relationship with an Indian Federation. This probably explains the origin of the term `Independent States'." This also seems a valid explanation in the light of what Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman records about the February 4 meeting. According to him, Sir Sikander, who had earlier published his scheme for the division of India into seven different zones, grouped together under a confederal structure, pled for his confederal scheme, and after two hours' discussion, the Working Committee, with the concurrence of Jinnah, rejected it, and decided to confine its demand to the separation of Muslim zones.

The March 3, 1943 resolution in support of Pakistan, moved by G. M. Sayed in, and adopted by, the Sind Assembly included the phrase, "national states", which was a little squint-eyed. Inter alia, it said, "whereas the Muslims of India are a separate nation... they are justly entitled to the right as a single, separate nation, to have independent national states of their own, carved out in the zones where they are in majority in the sub-continent of India." The concept and claim of a single, separate nation logically leads to a demand for a single, separate state, and not to national states. Clearly, the resolution fails to see the asymmetry between the claim and the demand. But, then, the Sind Assembly resolution seems to have been drawn up on the lines of the Cripps Offer (1942), which had flaunted the provincial option as its basis. But when Sayed talked in terms of the all-India context as he did in his welcome address as Chairman Reception Committee, at the Karachi (1943) League session on December 24, 1943, he described Pakistan as a "National State." This means, the second-cadre League leadership was not too clear whether what was demanded was one or two national states.

However, the key phrase in the original Lahore resolution, "should be grouped to constitute", suggests that what was envisaged was a union of the two "Independent States of the North-Western and Eastern zones."

Fazlul Haq's explanation for omitting a reference to the centre in the Resolution was as follows: "To those who proposed amendments in the subjects committee yesterday for providing a central government in the Resolution, my reply is, we assumed power on behalf of Muslims and other people in Bengal in 1937. We have been given an opportunity by the Almighty to serve our people after a couple of centuries and we are not going to barter away that power and opportunity to an imaginary and an unknown central authority." The speeches, proposing, seconding, or supporting the Lahore Resolution give little indication whether one or two units were sought to be set up. The major problem the League leaders were preoccupied with was that of promoting and selling the idea of separation and partitioning the subcontinent into Hindu and Muslim homelands, as evidenced by the speeches made on the occasion. However, Khaliquzzaman, while seconding the Resolution, had said, "they [the Congresites and the British] should consider the circumstances which had forced the Muslims to demand separation, and their own Government where they were in a majority" (italics for emphasis). "Government", instead of governments, mean that what was envisaged was a federation of two units. Although the Lahore Resolution was adopted in March 1940, it was not incorporated as the supreme objective of the AIML till after the Muslim League session at Madras, if only in order to meet the constitutional requirement under the AIML Rules. The Madras session, therefore, adopted a resolution (No. II) on April 15, 1941, "amending the aims and objects of the All India Muslim League and ... Section 2(a) of the Constitution of the All India Muslim League..." More important, the Madras Resolution inserted the word, "together" after the word, "grouped", rephrasing the Resolution as follows: "The establishment of completely Independent States formed by demarcating geographically contiguous units into regions which shall be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are in a numerical majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India, shall be grouped together to constitute Independent States as Muslim Free National Homelands in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign... (italics added).

Moving the Resolution, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan had said, "We are altering our creed today and are bringing it into line with the Lahore Resolution, popularly known as Pakistan. Our experience has convinced us that one Federation for the whole of India would create chaos, is impracticable and would lead to the domination of one community over the rest of India. It would never be acceptable to the Muslims..." In view of the above, the Madras version must hold good for the time being as the basic document on which the AIML's demand for Pakistan was based. And all through 1940-47, one monumental fact stands out. Whatever the interpretation sought to be foisted on the Lahore Resolution, Jinnah was never unequivocal about Pakistan being a single federation. On April 1, 1940 — i.e., barely a week after the adoption of the Lahore Resolution — Jinnah, while dealing with the Indian states, said, "If these States (Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Patiala, etc.) willingly agree to come into the federation of the Muslim homeland, we shall be glad to come to a reasonable and honourable understanding." (italics added). In tandem he told an Associated Press of America correspondent on November 8, 1945, "... Pakistan guarantees that federated units of the National Government would have all the autonomy that you will find in the constitutions of the United States of America, Canada and Australia. But certain vital powers will remain vested in the Central Government such as the monetary system, national defence and other federal responsibilities." This position was further explicitly spelled out in Jinnah's letter to Gandhi on September 17, 1944, wherein he said that the two zones would form "units of Pakistan".

All this gives credence to Jinnah's explanation, in reply to Abdul Hashim's query, at the League Legislators' Convention (1946; see below) that "the word 'states' was a mistake and had cropped up probably as a result of a typographical error" (as reported by M. A. H. Ispahani in his Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah As I Knew Him). The speech delivered by Abul Hashim at the Convention indicates that he was fully satisfied by Jinnah's explanation. Furthermore, the statements and speeches of the League leaders on the one hand and the comments and criticism evoked by the "Pakistan" resolution among the British and the non-Muslim circles on the other during 1940-47 also indicate a basic assumption that Pakistan would be a single state. During the election campaign of 1945-46 as well, the speeches not only of the Quaid-i-Azam but also of other League leaders, including those from Bengal, envisaged a single Pakistan. The position was further clarified and buttressed by the resolution moved by Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy, the Premier of Bengal, and passed by the League Legislators' Convention on April 9, 1946. It said, inter alia,

".... That the zones comprising Bengal and Assam in the North-East and the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Balochistan in the North-West of India, namely, Pakistan zones, where the Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent State...." (italics added). In view of the Convention's Resolution, the controversy whether the Lahore Resolution envisaged one or two Pakistan becomes redundant. The Lahore Resolution must be interpreted in the light of the Madras resolution, the interpretations offered by Jinnah, the League's election manifesto, the League leaders' election speeches, and the League Legislators' Convention Resolution. The last pronouncement overrides everything else, since it represented the consensus of the newly elected Muslim representatives in the central and provincial assemblies during 1945-46, with a fresh mandate to strive, and struggle for Pakistan.

Now about the constituent units being envisaged as "autonomous and sovereign" in the Lahore Resolution. One could understand these units being autonomous, but not "sovereign". This, again, should be put down to poor drafting. Or, did the drafters take the cue from the early American formulations, or from the USSR's constitution of 1936 which stipulates that the sovereignty of the constituent republics shall be restricted only within the limits set forth in Article 14 of the constitution of the USSR. Outside of these limits, each constituent republic shall exercise state power independently. The USSR shall protect the sovereign rights of the constituent republics (Art.15; italics for emphasis). (Interestingly though, Ukraine and Bylo-Russia invoked the sovereignty clause, (duly backed by the Soviet Union, to claim admission to the UN in the middle 1950s, although they were, both before and after 1956, were constituent units of the USSR till its dissolution in 1991.) It would also be interesting to note here what two authorities on constitutional developments in India had to say about these constituent units being sovereign. Dr. Ambedkar, who did the first serious study on Pakistan (Thoughts on Pakistan, 1941), argues thus: "It [Lahore Resolution] speaks of grouping the zones into "independent States" in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign. The use of the term constituent units' indicates that what is contemplated is a Federation. If that is so then the use of the word "sovereign" as an attribute of the units is out of place. Federation of units and sovereignty of units are contradictions."

And Professor Reginald Coupland, the Oxford don, who did a monumental study (entitled, The Constitutional Problem in India, 1944), is also not exactly "clear" about the meaning of the Lahore Resolution's operative part. To him, it could scarcely mean that the constituent units of the independent States were to be really 'sovereign' but it did mean that the States were to be really independent..." One explanation is that since about 1930 the Muslims were demanding a provincial option to ensure absolute power to Muslims in their majority provinces, they would have liked to see the provinces as independent (and sovereign) units, entering, if necessary, into confederal relations with other units to form a confederation for the whole of India. Not only this proposal was commended by Liaquat Ali Khan to Sir Stafford Cripps as one of the three options in December 1939, but it also became, more or less, the inspiration behind the Cabinet Mission Plan of May 19, 1946. And this dominant thinking, for good or for ill, had crept into the wording of the Lahore Resolution. In any case, the drafters did not seem to have paid sufficient attention to the implications of the words and phrases they were using, concerned at the time as they were concerned, if not obsessed, solely with the idea of opposing the imposition of one central government for the entire subcontinent. Also clinchingly is the omission of the clause that "the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign" in the League Legislators' Convention resolution of 1946.

The foregoing discussion boils down to this. By no means could the constituent units be sovereign for the overriding reason that they were to be "constituent units". But autonomous they could be by all means. In actual fact as well, the provinces in Pakistan have had greater autonomy even before the 18th amendment than in the states/provinces in most countries in the Third World. The thrust in the Indian Constitution and the Indian Republic, for instance, has been towards the centre as against the tilt in the Pakistani constitutions towards the provinces. Thus, residuary powers under the Indian Constitution have been vested in the centre; in Pakistan they were assigned to the provinces under both the 1956 and 1973 Constitutions. Interestingly, the 1973 Constitution was crafted, for the most, by the representatives of the three minor provinces (Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan), with the Punjab having had little say in the constitution committee, claims Senator S. M. Zafar, a constitutional expert, former Law Minister and one of the committee members (this he did in his address to the Islamabad Policy Research Institute's National Seminar on "Pakistan and Changing Scenario: Regional and Global", at Islamabad on March 27, 2007). Not only was the Concurrent List almost solely suggested and approved by the minor provinces’ representatives, but Balochistan even refused to get railways included in the provincial list, arguing that the province couldn't manage and afford financially to run the railways across such vast swathes of territory which comprise Balochistan — a huge chunk of some 62% of Pakistan's total land mass. In any case, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had reportedly promised the NAP leadership at the time, though not in writing, that the concurrent list would be scrapped after ten years. But Bhutto didn't last for ten years, and the "promise" got consigned to oblivion. However, over the years a consensus has fortuitously developed that a substantial part of the 47 item concurrent list be abolished. And that was finally done in the Eighteenth Amendment. This would obviously meet the nationalists' demand at least halfway, and the on going bickering controversy over the quantum of provincial autonomy is bound to get it's acerbity substantially diluted — hopefully.

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited Unesco's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007), the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
22
April

Written By: Justice (Retd) Dr. Javed Iqbal

I extend warm greetings to the officers and jawans of our valiant armed forces on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Pakistan Day which falls on 23rd March. This day is observed as a national day all over Pakistan. It is also known by the name of Pakistan Resolution Day. We all know that on March 23, 1940, the Pakistan Resolution was passed at Minto Park (now known as Iqbal Park). Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah presided over the occasion which was attended by Muslim leaders from all over India. Today we are reminded that although Pakistan gained independence on August 14, 1947, but the idea was adopted on March 23, 1940. This resolution was conceived by the two great leaders of Pakistan; Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It gave a focus to the Muslims of India with the outcome that after just seven years of this resolution, Pakistan came into being and the Muslim majority provinces in India were transformed into the independent state of Pakistan. The ideology of Pakistan took shape through an evolutionary process. Historical experience provided the base. While Sir Syed Ahmad Khan began the period of Muslim awakening; Allama Iqbal provided the philosophical justification and Quaid-i-Azam translated it into a political reality. In order to find out what is Iqbal’s concept of a modern Islamic State, it is necessary to determine as to what is his interpretation of the religion of Islam. Iqbal accepts democracy as the only form of political order approved by Islam. He holds that there is no place for a theocratic state in Islam. Equal rights are to be granted to the minorities so that the objective of Islam to establish a “spiritual democracy” can be realized. Rule of law or independent judiciary is an integral part of a modern Islamic State. Whenever legislation is to be made by parliament respecting Islamic provisions on mundane matters (Muamlaat), it must be made in accordance with the needs and requirements of present times. “Ijtehad” is the principle of movement in the social structure of Islam. For Ijtehad to assume the form of “Ijma”, legislation is to be made on the basis of majority votes. According to Iqbal, a deeper study of the Qur’aan discloses that there is an underlying concept of “Social Democracy” in its verses, which can be elaborated and formulated as laws by parliament with the assistance of economists. By making progressive legislation on these matters, a middle-class welfare state can be created. It was due to the realization of Muslims of India that they are different from the Hindus that they demanded separate electorates. When they realized that their future in an independent ‘Democratic India’ dominated by Hindu majority was not safe; they put forward their demand for a separate state. They demanded that areas where they were in majority should be constituted into a sovereign state, wherein they would be enabled to order their lives in individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Holy Qur‘aan and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). They further wanted their state to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries. After a gap of seven years, a joint military parade of Pakistan Armed Forces will Insha’Allah take place on Pakistan Day 2015. Furthermore, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend the Pakistan Day Parade as the Chief Guest. This reflects the close friendship between China and Pakistan. The decision to resume the military parade after seven years is a manifestation of the military's show of strength in the wake of the shocking attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar last year, which left 150 people dead, including 135 school children. The tragedy shook the country's conscience, with the government and military convening All Parties Conference (APC) which formed the National Action Plan. We are proud of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s resolve to continue the fight against militants until they are completely eliminated from the country. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has the whole-hearted support of civil society in Pakistan. I pray that the efforts of the Pakistan Armed Forces are soon crowned with complete success. Pakistan Day, 23rd March is an occasion of extreme importance and significance. It is our major responsibility and duty to make this day more exceptional because our ancestors have made such great efforts to make Pakistan an independent Islamic Republic. It is the need of the hour that we should abide by and implement the principles enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam, so that Pakistan may become a successful and prosperous state. On this Pakistan Day, may Allah Bless us all with Unity, Integrity, Faith, Discipline and the aspiration to be proud of our country. May we all understand and achieve the true significance of the Pakistan Resolution passed on this day. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!
Hilal is highly indebted and offers special gratitude to Dr. Javed Iqbal, son of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who wrote this exclusive article for Hilal. Dr Javed Iqbal is a renowned scholar and former Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. He completed his PhD from Cambridge in 1954 and later went to Lincoln’s Inn to become Barrister-at-Law.
24
March

India is known for religious riots and pogroms, probably one of the most affected countries in the world.

But a lesser known fact is the number of language riots that occurred in India since this new state was carved out of Britain's South Asia dominion in 1947.

Violent language riots were a regular occurrence throughout the first twenty years after independence. The last of those riots took place in 1967.

But on June 30, 2014, India's ruling elite in New Delhi got to taste the intensity of the emotions behind the earlier riots. Even more shocking was the revelation that those long-forgotten riots could easily erupt again in twenty-first century India.

On that day, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi averted a possible resurgence of language riots after he landed in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to attend a commercial satellite launch ceremony.

One simple decision he took that day meant the difference between peace and war between North India and South India.

And that decision was not to use the Hindi language in a public event in Tamil Nadu.

Modi abandoned Hindi, the language that his religious-minded BJP is promoting these days, in favour of reading his speech in English from a teleprompter at a commercial satellite launching event at Sriharikota, in Tamil Nadu in South India.

This was a difficult decision for Modi and loaded with irony. Just two weeks earlier, he addressed the parliament in India's neighbour Bhutan in Hindi. The visit and the language choice were part of what the BBC described as Modi “government's policy of asserting influence in South Asia.”

It must have been awkward for Modi to see how he could speak in Hindi in neighbouring Bhutan but not in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state is vehemently opposed to Modi's and BJP's plans to impose the minority Hindi language on all of India.

By opting for English, Modi averted a revival of the anti-Hindi riots in South India, which lasted for two decades until Delhi's Hindi-speaking rulers conceded in 1967 and the Official Languages Act was amended to make English an official language in Tamil Nadu.

South India has been home to a strong and violent secessionist movement born in 1949 and centred on a key idea: the rejection of the control of the Hindi-speaking minority rulers in New Delhi. The Tamil Nadu political parties that led the movement remain influential in South Indian politics.

Nationalists or Extremists

They are mostly known in the international media these days as 'Hindu nationalists,' but the religious extremists who have seized power in New Delhi are in a race against time.

Hoping to fulfil a narrow religious interpretation, the religious-minded BJP government is pursuing two objectives. One, purify Hindi, the language spoken by a northern minority that rules India since 1947. Two, impose the language on all Indians, a majority of whom speak one of twenty-two officially recognized languages or one of the more than 1,500 mother tongues that are not officially sanctioned.

The BJP has made several small unannounced moves in this direction, like having its elected representatives take oath of office in Hindi or even in Sanskrit, which almost no one in India understands except professional linguists or Hindu clergymen.

But the first real official step in imposing Hindi on India has to be the June 19, 2014, story that took India by storm: the issuance of a government order stipulating that all government-run social media accounts will from now on use Hindi as the language of communication. In short, the order made the use of Hindi mandatory, and English optional.

Interestingly, Modi chose the Home Ministry, India's interior ministry or homeland security department, to make this announcement.  What does the police and law enforcement have to do with a decision on imposing uniform language in a multilingual country?

S. Ramadoss, the founder of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the ruling BJP's coalition partner in Tamil Nadu, mocked Modi's decision as a “softer version” of the imposition of Hindi language on non-Hindi speaking Indians.

What made this decision look creepy is that there was no plausible government explanation as to why it was important to enforce Hindi, a minority language in a country wracked by diverse ethnicities and languages?And why at this time? What were the compulsions?

The answer is in itself a story that India's BJP-led government would never want to tell publicly.

Purifying the language and then imposing it on all Indians is apparently meant to fulfil a mythical notion of 'Maha Bharat', or Greater India. This notion is linked to stories common to Hindi-speaking northern Indians who bemoan the demise of a mythical religious empire destroyed by pagan and Muslim invaders from West and Central Asia. Needless to say, South Indians, with better education and a less complicated worldview, do not let their modern lives be disturbed by such myths. Hence, the imposition of Hindi is basically a North Indian obsession.

North India's 'Hindi Project' is two-pronged.

First, Hindi is being 'Sanskritized', meaning it is being peppered with words from the old Sanskrit, the language today known only to Hindu clergy. All the words from Persian and Arabic are being expunged. Those words were acquired during the ten-century Muslim dynastic rule in North India. This rule forever changed Hindi heartland's customs, language, and even the dress code.

This is a cultural revolution, or the North Indian version of the Spanish Inquisition. The purification of Hindi is also a symbol of rising religious extremism in India. More accurately, it symbolizes rising radicalization among Hindi-speaking Indians who  a minority at one-fourth of the population  control federal bureaucracy, the military, and foreign policy. [How the Hindi-speaking elite disproportionately concentrated power is explained in detail in 'Separatism In India: The Hindi-speaking Factor' (Hilal, May 2014)].

Modi’s government’s order to use Hindi on official social media accounts is rightly seen as a feeler, a first step meant to soften the opposition and pave the way for an impending decision designating Hindi as the official language across all thirty states and territories that make up India.

As sooner as the news broke out, bitter reaction was witnessed from public leaders in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and even in Kashmir, a disputed territory under United Nations Security Council resolutions. Opposition has also come from India's educated and ethnically-diverse middle class that makes up one-third of the population of 1.2 billion Indians.

"No one can deny, it's beginning to impose Hindi against one's wish. This would be seen as an attempt to treat non-Hindi speakers as second-class citizens," Reuter's wire service has quoted Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi as saying on June 19. DMK is the party that led the 1949 secessionist movement and the subsequent language protests.

The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa, did not stop at condemning the Delhi order. She wrote a letter to Prime Minister Modi and released a copy to the media.

According to the contents of the letter, Jayalalithaa said she reviewed the order on Hindi language and concluded that it “makes the use of Hindi mandatory and English optional.”

This, she cautioned, is "a highly sensitive issue, causes disquiet to the people of Tamil Nadu who are very proud of, and passionate about, their linguistic heritage (…) Hence, I request you to kindly ensure that instructions are suitably modified to ensure that English is used on social media.”

One of the strongest reactions came from Odisha, a tiny state on the Bay of Bengal. The speaker of the local parliament “banned” the use of Hindi language inside the assembly, according to a June 20 report by Press Trust of India. This in turn led to a loud condemnation from Shiv Sena, a Hindu extremist group widely accused of links to violence against Christians, Muslims, Dalits and Sikhs.

By banning the use of Hindi inside the parliament, the Odisha speaker sent a message of defiance to New Delhi's Hindi-speaking ruling elite.

Another BJP ally in South India, a party known as MDMK, or the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, accused the BJP of threatening the “national integrity” of India. Vaiko, the head of the party, warned New Delhi not to “wake up a sleeping tiger,” adding, “Tamil Nadu has shed blood on imposition of Hindi.”

To the north, near the border with Pakistan and China, the Chief Minister of the pro-Indian administration of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir also condemned the Indian Government decision. He said the order is “unacceptable.” This is a strong condemnation from someone that a majority of Kashmiris consider an Indian puppet; a sign of how intense the opposition is to the imposition of Hindi.

Two languages, Kashmiri and Urdu, are the official languages in this Indian-occupied region. Urdu is also the official language of Pakistan. No region or state in India has Urdu as an official language.

Just like Tamil Nadu in the South, Punjab in the North also saw a popular movement against the imposition of Hindi language. This movement was successful in forcing New Delhi to declare Punjabi as the official language in the province.  This demand for Punjabi was led by the Sikhs. The Hindi-speakers did grant them their wish but it came at a cost. The Hindi-speakers in New Delhi cut the Sikhs down to size, dividing the province into three pieces, known today as the Haryana state, and the Himachal Pradesh state. Thanks to Punjabi Hindus who strongly supported the Hindi language in the face of the anti-Hindi movement of the Sikhs. So, with the Punjabi Hindu help, New Delhi turned the Hindu-majority areas of Punjab into two new states. This in effect weakened the size of territory under Sikhs influence or control. This was a clear case of discrimination based on religion. This is why Sikh organizations inside, and outside, India are demanding the restoration of Sikh lands and greater autonomy within the Indian federation and, in some cases, an independent Sikh state.

The Hindi Prophecy

Imposing Hindi on India as a fulfillment of an extremist religious prophecy has been on the agenda of the Indian extremists for more than a decade now.

In 1997, BJP government's Foreign Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee broke the rules and delivered his country's speech at the UN General Assembly in Hindi.  Later, Vajpayee went on to say that doing so was “one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Vajpayee is a Brahmin, the highest caste in the Hindu religious social system.

Modi's mother tongue is Gujarati. But as the BJP prepared him for Prime Minister's position, he is thought to have received private lessons to polish his Hindi and completely phase out Gujarati from his public life. Why would Modi do this? He never explained this but the decision was probably influenced by religious extremists who dominate the BJP.  Once again, this is a case of the BJP using religion to push the agenda of imposing Hindi on India.

The BJP uses a secular explanation to camouflage the religious connotations of the Hindi language agenda.

The most common justification is that Hindi unites India and that many residents of the non-Hindi speaking states in India understand some form of Hindi and so the imposition of Hindi would unite the country.

This assertion is debatable at best. There is no way to quantify it, and no conclusion can be made for, or against, this assertion except to say that a majority of Indians do not speak the language and that they know of it only as a second language and that too if they mingle with Hindi-speakers or watch Hindi television and films.

The government in New Delhi is often at pains to show that more than 41% of Indians speak Hindi. Population census figures are doctored to support this theory. But even then, only ten states out of thirty states and territories in the Indian Union list Hindi as an official language. Technically, this means one-third of India in terms of number of votes. But one of those ten states that list Hindi as state language is Arunachal Pradesh that borders China. This is a disputed territory entirely claimed by China. The population here is not Indian but of Tibetan descent. Hindi is not spoken here and is not even a second language, except in state documents and government communications. That leaves nine Indian states that list Hindi as official language. Two of them are actually Punjabi-speaking states that list Hindi only as a show of support against the Sikhs.

Overall, it would be fair to put the number of Hindi speakers in India at 25% of the total population. As such, the decision of the Modi government to impose Hindi on the remainder 75% of the Indians appears to be an attempt by a powerful minority to impose its worldview on the majority for religious reasons.

While there is some debate in the Indian media on the imposition of Hindi, there is little discussion on the purification drive, expunging Persian and Arabic words from Hindi and replacing them with Sanskrit. Where would this drive end? The influence of Pakistan's ancestors in the Hindi heartland is not limited to language. Names for the newly born in the Hindi Belt continue to be borrowed from the Pakistani/Muslim heritage. The dress code in the Hindi Belt is distinctly inherited from the Muslim dynastic era. The Taj Mahal is a relic of that era with Qur'anic verses adorning the four sides of the magnificent building. Poetry in Hindi is incomplete without the Persian/Arabic components of Urdu.  Would Modi and religious extremists of the BJP re-engineered civilization to cleanse the Hindi language and culture?

Whatever the end of this debate in India, it is clear that the purification drive within the Hindi language is feeding Indian extremism, and any decision to impose the language on the non-Hindi speaking majority would revive dormant divisions in India.

Can this stop the religious extremists in power in New Delhi today? Let's wait and see.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The writer is a senior research fellow at Project for Pakistan in 21st Century, an independent think-tank based in Islamabad.

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

24
March

pak def2Strong economy and strong defence are considered to be the two pillars of the state. A strong economy can ensure strong defence; it will enhance country's power and hence make its defence even stronger. According to Paul Kennedy, a nation's military strength rests on its economic strength and military strength is nothing but power and power is defined as the ability of a country to influence the behaviour of other countries in accordance with its aims and objectives. Power can lead to prosperity and prosperity may generate more power.  According to Robert McNamara (former US Secretary of Defence and President of the World Bank) security means development and without development there is no security. Just as peace favours development, development ultimately favours peace. But peace cannot be bought, rather it is earned through diplomacy and military might.

It is equally true that economic backwardness generates violence, social conflicts and political turmoil. A strong economy, therefore, also ensures political and social stability, which, in turn, makes the economy even stronger. The moral of the story is that a strong economy is sine qua non for strong defence and not the other way around. The former Soviet Union provides a classic example of this fact. While Soviet real GDP growth continued to decelerate from an average of 7.1 per cent per annum in the 1950s to 2.7 per cent during the 1980s, its defence spending continued to rise from 9.0 per cent of GDP to 15.4 per cent during the same period. Soviet economy was not in a position to sustain such a large defence spending and eventually it collapsed as a country. It is also argued that the two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) that the United States fought since 2001/02 contributed immensely in weakening US economy over the last one decade. It is for this reason that the government should give greater attention to economy with a view to sustaining strong defence.pak def3

Pakistan's defence budget remained under severe scrutiny, within and outside the country for decades. Every one interpreted Pakistan's defence budget from his/her own perspective and interest, often not based on facts and figures. They criticized vehemently the defence budget of Pakistan solely for political reasons by distorting the facts. Mark Twain once remarked, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” At times, those who were critical to Pakistan's defence budget, lost rationality. Those who presented facts were dubbed as agents of the “Establishment”. In this article, I intend to analyze Pakistan's defence budget by presenting facts, as facts speak themselves.

Certain myths have been created by the critiques about the defence budget of Pakistan. These include: i) that 80 per cent of Pakistan's budget is being consumed by Pakistan Armed Forces, ii) that defence budget is the single largest component of Pakistan's budget, and iii) that defence budget is rising at a much faster pace than other critical expenditures. Is this a myth or a reality? This article intends to answer these queries by presenting facts.

What Determines a Country's Defence Budget?

A country's defence spending depends on a combination of different factors that include:

•           War or the perceived risk of war.

•           Security environment, such as:

                                    military expenditure incurred by neighbours.

            the momentum of the regional arms race.

            attitude of the neighbours (friendly or hostile).

            geo-strategic considerations.

•           Armed conflict and policies to contribute to multilateral peacekeeping operations.

•           Availability of economic resources.

pak def4Pakistan is in the midst of war on terror since 2001; a war which has cost the nation dearly in terms of men and material, and finances. The invasion of the United States in Afghanistan after the shocking event of the 9/11 opened up a new frontier (western front) for Pakistan to guard its national security. Pakistan continued to witness the rise in violent extremism and terrorism which has caused large-scale human suffering. The country has lost over 50000 civilians and security forces personnel beside a cumulative loss of over $100 billion in the last 13 years (Source: Pakistan Economic Survey 2013-14, Government of Pakistan). This has been the longest unconventional war that the country has fought thus far. The war is still continuing with greater intensity and dimension. It is quite natural that a country allocates relatively more financial resources to defence during the war periods and relatively less during the peace time. For example, the United States spent $1.5 trillion as war supplement cumulatively over the last 13 years over and above of its normal national defence budget which is about 4 per cent of GDP (Source: Growth in US Defence Spending Since 2001, US Department of Defence FY 2014 Budget Request, April 2013). As long as Pakistan continues to face unconventional war, the defence and security related expenditure may continue to rise. Did Pakistan's defence continuation of receiving adequate resources commensurate with evolving threat? The answer will be provided shortly.

Military expenditure incurred by neighbours, the momentum of the regional arms race and attitude of the neighbours also determine the size of the defence spending. Prior to the United States' invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent developments for Pakistan's security, it concentrated exclusively on its eastern border with India for its defence. The invasion of Afghanistan has changed the security environment for Pakistan altogether. In addition to looking after the eastern border, Pakistan has been spending additional resources to protect its western border with Afghanistan. Such a change in security environment must have contributed to the rise in defence spending.

Pakistan has fought three wars with India since its inception in 1947. India's defence spending is rising at a pace that puts her at the list of the top ten defence spending countries in the world. India spent $39 billion in defence and accounted for 2.4 per cent of the world's military spending in 2009. Its defence spending rose to $47.4 billion and accounted for 2.7 per cent of world military spending in 2013. India's defence spending is close to that of Japan ($ 48.6 billion) and Germany ($48.8 billion). It has indulged in arms acquisition in a much larger way as well (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Year Book 2014).

India is not only a nuclear power but is actively involved in the development of thermonuclear weapons by expanding a covert uranium enrichment plant. The newly elected government in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi intends to build up India's military capability by inducting more sophisticated weapons in its armoury. In so doing, the government intends to spend additional $200 billion in acquisition of sophisticated weapons (Source: Farrukh Saleem, Monthly Hilal, June 2014). Western power, in order to get their shares of pie, are rushing to India and encouraging it to go for large-scale acquisition of arms and ammunitions. Although India would justify its arms acquisition and weapons development programmes to counter China in the region (India has fought a low intensity border war with China in 1962), the fact of the matter is that these large-scale military spending on arms acquisition and weapons developments are purely directed towards Pakistan. Such developments are bound to force Pakistan to raise its defence spending to maintain a minimum deterrence viz. India.

Armed conflict and police to contribute to multilateral peacekeeping operations also determine the size of a country's defence spending. Pakistan has been the single largest contributor of armed forces to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in conflict zones in different parts of the world (See monthly Hilal, June, 2014). This may have contributed to the rise in defence spending in Pakistan.

Availability of economic resources is yet another factor that determines the size of defence spending in a country. China and India, the world's two emerging economic powers, are demonstrating a sustained increase in their military expenditure and contributing to the growth in world military spending. In addition, high and rising world market prices for fossil fuels and minerals have also enabled some countries (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Chile and Peru) to spend more on their militaries (see SIPRI Report 2006). Has availability of economic resources helped Pakistan to raise its defence spending? Or did Pakistan raise its defence spending during the periods of economic boom? This is a valid question to which I will return shortly.

Defence Spending: The Reality

Various myths pertaining to Pakistan's defence budget have been created within and outside Pakistan. What is the reality? This leads to our discussion on the factual position of Pakistan's defence spending. Table 1 and Fig.1 are enough to break the myth about Pakistan's defence budget. Pakistan's defence budget at current rupee/dollar stood at Rs. 131 billion or $ 2.24 billion in 2000-01 and increased to Rs. 630 billion or $ 6.0 billion by 2013-14 – thus exhibiting a growth of 11.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively. In other words, in rupee and dollar terms, Pakistan's defence budget increased by 4.8 times and 2.7 times in the last 14 years.

Defence spending at current rupee or dollar is uninteresting. Economists around the world have measured or presented defence budget at constant rupee or constant dollar term. In so doing, they took care of inflationary build up in the country. After adjusting for price level, Pakistan's defence spending increased from Rs. 131 billion to Rs. 199 billion or has grown at the rate of 3.0 per cent per annum over the last 14 years. Similarly, in constant dollar of 2000, Pakistan's defence budget increased from $ 2.24 billion to $ 4.33 billion during the same period, thus showing a growth of 4.8 per cent per annum. More importantly, contrary to the general perception, Pakistan's defence budget did not even double in the last 14 years (see Table 1).

pak def5Is defence spending a burden to the nation and its economy? Defence spending in relation to the size of the GDP as well as in relation to the size of the budget represents a burden to economy and budget, respectively. Table 2 and Fig. 2 clearly indicate a declining trend in defence spending. Pakistan's defence budget was 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2000-01, remained stagnant at that range until 2004-05, but declined to below 3.0 per cent of GDP in 2005-06. For the last six years, it has remained stagnant at 2.5 per cent of GDP – much lower than many developing and emerging economies. As total or consolidated size of the budget, defence spending continued to exhibit a declining trend over the last 14 years, declining from 18.3 per cent in 2000-01 to 12.1 per cent in 2013-14.

Conclusions

Contrary to the general perception created by the vested interest that “Pakistan's defence spending accounts for 80 per cent of the total budget”, the readers should know that it accounts for only 12 per cent of the budget and in fact, it was less than the subsidy provided by the government to its citizens in 2011-12 (12.8 per cent of the total budget) in the midst of war on terror. In constant dollar, the per capita defence spending increased from $16 in 2000-01 to $23 in 2013-14. It has virtually remained stagnant over the last 14 years as can be seen through Table 2 and Fig. 3.

For those who have interest in Pakistan's defence budget should know that interest payment is the single largest expenditure item of Pakistan's budget. Defence spending has remained almost one half of the interest payment over the last 14 years (See Table 3). Fiscal profligacy contributed to the persistence of large fiscal deficit, resulting in accumulation of public debt and contributing to the surge in interest payment accordingly. While defence spending was 18.3 per cent of the size of the budget in 2000-01, interest payment was almost 35 per cent. Even today, the interest payment accounted for 23 per cent of the budget as opposed to 12 per cent in the case of defence spending. Table 3 reveals that defence spending became a victim of rising public debt and concomitant rise in interest payment. As public debt rose because of the persistence of large fiscal deficit, interest payment continued to rise. To keep the budget deficit at a manageable level, the axe always fell on defence and development spending, including social sector. Interest payment alone is more than the combined spending on defence and development. It is the rising interest payment which is more worrisome than defence spending for the budget as well as for the economy. Surging interest payment has eroded fiscal space and forced the successive governments to keep allocation to defence and development at a bare minimum.

Concluding Remarks

As stated at the outset, Pakistan's defence budget has remained under severe scrutiny within and outside the country. Such scrutiny has never been based on facts. An attempt is made in this paper to present facts about the defence budget of Pakistan. The main findings of the paper are summarized as follows:

Given the size and the dimension of national security challenges that Pakistan has been facing over the last 14 years, its defence budget has never been consistent with growing national security challenges.

Defence spending as per centage of GDP and the size of the budget has been on the decline, even in the midst of war on terror, the country is fighting for the last 14 years.

Pakistan is spending 2.5 per cent of GDP, 12 per cent of the size of the budget (not 80 per cent as critiques within, and outside, the country have always been quoting to misguide the people) and $23 per person on defence  all during the war on terror.

It is the growing interest payment and not the defence spending which should worry us all. Fiscal profligacy contributed to the surge in public debt which, in turn, caused interest payment to balloon. Defence spending has been onehalf of the interest payment. Interest payment even surpassed the combined spending of defence and development.

Defence and development spending have been the major victims of ballooning interest payment.

While Pakistan's arch rival India continued its procurement drive of sophisticated weapons and emerged as top ten spenders on military in the world, Pakistan continued to spend modestly (2.5% of GDP and $23 per person) to maintain its minimum deterrence.

Encouraged by the western powers, India is spending over $47 billion on defence and intends to spend additional $200 billion in weapon acquisition in the next few years. Pakistan, on the other hand, is fighting a non-conventional war for 14 years in a row with differing intensities and continued to exhibit a declining trend in its defence budget. Even during the period of relatively stronger economy (2002-2007), its military spending continued to witness a declining trend. Therefore, the availability of resources did not increase defence spending in the case of Pakistan. The burden of defence budget continued to witness a declining trend.

Pakistan needs to give more attention to its economy. A strong economy can sustain higher defence spending but not the other way around. A large slippage is bound to take place in defence spending during the current fiscal year (2014-15) owing to the largescale military operations in North Waziristan area. The government has allocated Rs. 700 billion or roughly $7.0 billion in 2014-15 budget. Given the scale and dimension of military operations and the attendant rise in expenditure, large slippages in defence spending cannot be ruled out.

In the end, I would urge the critiques within, and outside, Pakistan that if they want to criticize defence spending, their facts should be right. Unilaterally criticizing a country's defence budget would not serve any purpose. Critiques must take into consideration the various factors that determine the size of any country's defence budget. When hostile neighbours go on spending spree on weapon acquisition, it is difficult for a country to cut its defence spending. Easing of international political climate may create the potential for reduction in defence spending.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The author is Principal & Dean at NUST School of Social Sciences & Humanities, Islamabad.

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

24
March

Contextual Perspective

International borders are geographic demarcations between the nation states. Borders take the form of physical land boundaries, maritime edges or air frontiers. However, the land borders, more than air and sea, typically illustrate the territorial image of a state. According to Wilson and Donnan (A Companion to Border Studies, Blackwell, 2012), border epistemology has produced a cartographic template of the geopolitical line. Simply put, borders are politically created geographical lines, which represent the limit of legitimacy, symbol of sovereignty and are epitome of various kinds of interstate conflicts, due to varying reasons. International borders act as dividing lines between different political systems but they do not necessarily separate different cultures, languages and religions. 

From the angle of physical makeup, borders may be classified as follows: Natural borders that follow a geographical feature e.g. a river or a mountain range etc; Geometric borders that are shaped by arcs or lines e.g. latitude or longitude regardless of the physical features or social characteristics (especially in Africa); and Relict borders that no longer exist as a political or legal reality, yet, the signs of an erstwhile border do exist e.g. the historical markers along the border between the former East and West Germany.

There are more international borders in the world today than they were ever before in the history of mankind. So is the number of independent sovereign countries. In 1946, the international system was composed of a total of 66 independent nation states. By 1965, the number had risen to 125. The 66 nations in 1946 had a total of 404 borders of different types while the number of borders of 125 countries in 1965 increased to 778. Today, in 2014, there are 288 political entities in the world which include sovereign countries as well as autonomous and semi-autonomous states and islands including overseas self-governing territories of different countries. The number of borders has risen to 1,377. Certainly there are overlaps because of the two-way count, yet, the number of borders is no less than 1,000. Viewed from another angle, some 145 (74 percent) of the 195 sovereign countries in the world are land-based countries, whereas 50 (26 percent) are island nations. Borders may be soft or hard. From the perspective of intensity of control, there are three main types of borders in the world as follows: 15-28 countries (8-14 percent) have open borders (the European Union is the best example); 88-75 countries (45-39 percent) have regulated or controlled borders; and 42 countries (22 percent) have fortified or militarized borders. There could be a mix of two or more features e.g. open but controlled such as the US and Canada, controlled as well as closed such as the US and Mexico, and fortified and closed such as North Korea and South Korea.

Border Management

Border studies deal with interdisciplinary subjects guided by the history, sociology, geography, politics and international statecraft. Border management is one of the important subject matters of border studies. It is imperative for national and regional stability, economic growth, and state as well as human security. Border control, border regulation and border coordination are different terms used to signify the intensity or nature of border management. Borders, around the world, are physically managed by the border police or paramilitary forces, and in certain cases by the armed forces, in conjunction with immigration departments. However, it is a complex national responsibility involving a host of agencies. It also calls for efficient communication with the corresponding agencies of the neighbouring countries.

Border management takes care of two different aspects; the negative and the positive. The negative facets include illegal crossing of each other's citizens, drug trafficking, the trafficking women, children and labour, and smuggling of weapons and explosive, etc. The positive aspects include legal immigration and movement of goods as part of the trade agreements, etc.

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border

Pakistan shares 7,092 kilometres border with other countries; 2,611 kilometres with Afghanistan, 523 kilometres with China, 2,912 kilometres with India and 909 kilometres with Iran, besides 1,046 kilometres of coastline. Amongst these, the porous and volatile border with Afghanistan poses a great challenge. The border with Afghanistan is unique from many angles. A total of 11 out of 34 Afghan provinces adjoin three federating units of Pakistan to include Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Ethnically, the Pashtun population bestrides the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There are a number of tribes living on both sides of the border. Besides, there are 23 divided villages, six in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 17 in Balochistan, which are split by the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. However, practically, it is neither possible to stop their movement nor is being done so. The people from the divided villages move under the Rahdari System. An important point that must be kept in mind by the readers is that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not like the Pakistan-India border. Pakistan and Afghanistan are two brotherly countries, and the border between them has to be managed, not closed, controlled or defended. An effective border management would certainly benefit both the countries in all spheres such as political, social, economic and security. The need for security ought to be balanced with the liberty of movement of people in keeping with the anthropological realities of the region.

Pak-Afghan Border Routes

In addition to the routes serving the three trade corridors, there are about 100 frequented and unfrequented routes. A few of these are notified. Many of these routes are smuggling prone. Some 10,000 to 30,000 people cross the Chaman and Torkham border points daily, which include legal immigrants, traders, personnel from NGOs and NATO assets. Besides, 5,000 to 6,000 illegal crossings take place daily using both frequented and unfrequented routes. This happens despite the fact that there are hundreds of border posts held by Pakistan's security forces on the Pakistani side of the border and a few by the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Border Police (ABP) supported by ISAF/ NATO. This shows the magnitude of problem. Certainly it is not desirable to completely seal off the border. The best answer to the predicament is to carry out a joint, effective and integrated border management.

Cross-Border Attacks and the Foreign Terrorists

During the last few years, this has emerged as one of the most serious border issues. The terrorists from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are hiding in and operating from their sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan since 2010. During the last about four years, there have been 17 attacks by TTP using its sanctuaries in Afghanistan wherein dozens of civilians and soldiers embraced shahadat. The menace is not receding anyway and needs stern action by the Afghan government and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Another issue is that of the foreign fighters e.g. Uzbeks. These terrorists come to Pakistan via Afghanistan and cross over the less-than-well managed border. A better managed border is likely to provide answers to some of the questions.

Drug Trafficking

One of the gravest threats along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is from the movement of drug traffickers. Whereas Pakistan is a poppy-free country since long, narcotics virtually make up for 50 percent of Afghanistan's GDP according to international sources. About 2.5 million Afghans depend directly on the narcotics production and trafficking. Approximately 94 percent of world opium production transits the region, Afghanistan being the main source. It poses a health security threat not only to the Pakistani populace but other countries beyond Pakistan, too.

Pak-Afghan Politico-Military Communication

Despite security challenges marred by the terror acts on both sides due to the nature of border, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been able to evolve a functional sense of bilateralism over the last few years. Recently, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Kabul on November 30, 2013. During his meeting with President Hamid Karzai, he said, “Achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest. Islamabad desires friendly and good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan based on mutual trust‚ respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The visit by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's special envoy, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, to Kabul on June 20, 2014 has been a step in the same direction. He held a meeting with the Afghan President to seek Kabul's cooperation in eliminating terrorism while Operation Zarb-e-Azb had already been launched. He was also accompanied by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. Media reports suggest that Mehmood Achakzai sought extradition of the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah from Afghanistan. This was immediately followed by Afghanistan's National Security Adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta's visit to Islamabad on June 26, 2014. He led delegation-level talks with Sartaj Aziz, the Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

The peace process in Afghanistan and bilateral cooperation has a concrete linkage with the situation on border. This calls for a military level answer, which lies in sound and trust-based mil-mil relations between the two countries. To this end, several meetings and rounds of talks have been held heretofore, the latest one held on July 3, 2014. It was a two-star delegation-level meeting that took place in the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi wherein it was agreed upon to evolve a robust and effective bilateral border coordination mechanism.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the Border Management

Operation Zarb-e-Azb is important in the context of border management from many angles. First, the terrorists of various hue and colour – TTP and foreign terrorists etc – fleeing from North Waziristan would go across the border, not to live in the shadow of barren boulders of Tora Bora, but somewhere in the populated area of perhaps the Eastern and Southeastern Afghan provinces, and in certain cases in Kabul, Balkh, Badakhshan, Herat, Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif depending on their lingo and linkage. The Afghan government can play an important role to check the movement of terrorists across their border into their country. The Pakistani government had already asked the Afghan government to seal the escape routes from North Waziristan into Afghanistan. NATO and ISAF share this responsibility. Second, Mullah Fazlullah, the topmost leader of the TTP, along with some of his companions, is living in Afghanistan. He has complete liberty to move around in Afghanistan and plan and conduct terror acts in Pakistan. His group is being routed in North Waziristan. Certainly, he would endeavour to provide support to them. Third, the displaced persons (DPs) from North Waziristan have been largely moved to the Frontier Region (FR) Bannu in Bakka Khel area albeit most of them have shifted either with their relatives or in their own hired or second homes. Some of the families, mainly of Afghan origin, have reportedly crossed over to Afghanistan. Some of those going to Afghanistan from North Waziristan are reported to have returned via Khyber and Kurram agencies. The Afghan government needs to register all those moving across the border in any of the two directions.

The military high command has also made necessary coordination with the Afghan counterparts at various levels.

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Management System (PA-BMS)

Notwithstanding the challenges, keeping the border stable and managed is the strategic priority of the two countries. Modern methods can help overcome the challenges. Integrated Border Management (IBM) – a concept embraced by the European Union (EU) – offers a modern template for coherent and coordinated handling of border affairs. This entails multi-agency cooperation on both sides of the border.

A border coordination mechanism based on IBM system can evolve only through political will, sound military planning and right execution on the border. Four levels of planning and execution are envisaged for PA-BMS as follows:

•           Political Level (PoLvl). This may also be called the decision level. Success is contingent upon the political will exhibited by both sides at this level. Mutual trust and belief in each other's sincerity is imperative to bring the two polities to the table of consensus to take and retake important decisions. Narrowing the communication gap through frequent interactions can be of great value in this regard. When trust at political level would be able to survive the heat of practical situations, it would turn into people's belief in each other's sincerity and seriousness. Pakistan and Afghanistan need to prevent foreign intervention into their affairs. This can happen only if the notion of bilateralism works with trust at the PoLvl.

•           Military Level (MiLvl). This may also be called the planning level. It is the level of interaction between Pakistan Army and Afghan National Army (ANA). The decisions taken at the political level should be evolved into a functional border management strategy at this level.

•           Operational Level (OpLvl). This may also be called the coordination level. It should work at the level of headquarters of formation and forces deployed on the border to include Pakistan Army and Afghan National Army, Frontier Corps Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan Border Police (ABP). This level should ensure implementation of the border management strategy and steer the under command units.

•           Border Outpost Level (BoLvl).          This may also be called the execution level. Much of the issues relating to border management can be resolved and decided right at the point of occurrence on the border if the officials on the border outposts of the two countries are aware of the politico-military policies and know as to what they need to do under what circumstances. This level should receive guidelines from the operational level and get back to the same level for clarification, yet without causing delay or disruption to the routine management. It is at this level that various kinds of border violations must be prevented and, if not, at least correctly reported to the superior channels. The violations could be of kinetic nature such as terror attacks or movement of weapons or explosives across the border, or military breaches such as fire or movement across the border. Else, they could be non-kinetic such as the movement of drugs or illegal crossing by the commoners.

Conclusion

Pakistan and Afghanistan are two conjoined twins as articulated by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai in March 2010. They share religion, history, geography, ethnicity, culture, language, border and even sentiments. They share economic prospects, political future and thus the destiny. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been together throughout the history of mankind, and centuries after the Euro-American forces would have left Afghanistan, some of them by December 2014, they would still be together. Thus, it is imperative for both nations to work together for security and stability in the region. Effective management for friendly borders with well regulated human and material flow can contribute a great deal towards to bringing back security on both sides of the Hindu Kush. Bilateralism can provide the best response for all kinds of regional situations and national aspirations, border management being the basis for all.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The writer is a PhD (Peace and Conflict Studies) scholar, author of ‘Human Security of Pakistan’ (published 2013) and co-author of ‘Kashmir: Looking beyond the Peril’ (published 2014).
24
March

In ancient times, when armies, very small numbers compared to today's militaries, faced each other, one of the most coveted thrusts, among several battle tactics, was to get to the enemy's standard, the flag that symbolized the other side's fighting presence.

Losing the standard was highly demoralising for a side, not just because it was symbolic but also because the standard was always close to the commander, at the heart, and its fall meant the centre had fallen. The enemy force, away from the centre, even if largely intact, would generally retreat rather than putting up a fight.

Today's wars are more complex, non-linear affairs. Proximity has given way to remote targeting. We generally kill from a distance, sometimes across continents. The standards are gone but the concept hasn't. We now talk of Centre of Gravity (CoG) or key nodes. The war has become a multi-layered, multifaceted affair but somewhere lies that point which, when hit, will bring the war to an end. That point is the modern equivalent of the ancient standard.

For instance, nuclear targeting, in theory, purports to decapitate a state's civilian and military leadership and take out the infrastructure that would hold the state together and allow it to retaliate. Ditto for conventional aerial strikes, the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia being a case in point.

As I wrote elsewhere in 2009, “Air power theorists, in developing ideas about striking key nodes, have arrived at the concept of parallel war which is a function of simultaneous and coordinated operations against all the key nodes in the system and can only be conducted through an offensive air campaign since air power is the superior medium for prosecuting these operations.

“But the idea of parallel war must, and does, go beyond the use of air power. The vital need to hit and degrade the centre of gravity can be applied to all types of warfare, even the irregular war we are witnessing now…”.

However, irregular war posits a difficulty. Where does one find the CoG and the key nodes?

Answering this question is crucial for planners in developing a response at four levels: political, strategic, theatre and tactical.

At a time when the Pakistani military is engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, this question becomes even more important because it is linked to another one: how successful were the previous operations?

In fact, the question of success throws up yet another question: can the success or failure of operations in an irregular war be defined in Clausewitzean terms?

Additionally, in this kind of war the responding forces face another problem: the high degree of operational and organisational autonomy that these groups maintain. This is not a new model. Famous Egyptian journalist Mohamed Heikal in his book, Autumn of Fury: The Assassination of Sadat, writes:

“The new groups, such as that to which [Lieutenant] Khaled [Islambouli, who killed Sadat] belonged, were known as 'anquds, the Arabic for a bunch of grapes, each 'anqud being separate and self-contained, so that if plucked from the main bunch none of the other 'anquds would suffer, nor would the removal of one grape on a bunch affect the other grapes.” (pp.253)

This flexibility, combined with the increasing ability of these groups to find new recruits, makes them protean in nature. This means that simply finishing off a group or even many groups will not put an end to this war. Put another way, no leader, or leaders, or a group's core command constitute the CoG or the key nodes. The most that can be achieved in strikes, aerial or ground, that can take out a central leader or a few leaders is to get some respite that such degradation always brings. But those who are gone will be replaced by others, often more difficult to tackle than the previous lot.

A good example is the killing and capture, in the last 13 years, of hundreds of Al Qaeda leaders, big and small, including the top man, Osama bin Laden. The world is no safer today than it was when they were alive.

Corollary 1: physical elimination of leaders in this war, while necessary, is not a sufficient condition for winning it.

Corollary 2: tactical and theatre operations, while important, can only do this much and no more.

Corollary 3: the use of force, in order to translate into utility of force, will need to do more than just physically eliminate leaders and capture space.

Corollary 4: going into an area, in this case North Waziristan, and finding ammo and explosives and IED factories – rudimentary labs that do not require an elaborate infrastructure – while an important part of theatre-tactical operations, cannot ensure full control.

Corollary 5: success is to be determined by whether the idea has been degraded, if not entirely killed.

But how does one kill an idea? Can an idea be killed?

The CoG in this war, then, is not the leaders and fighters. It's not the physical infrastructure, which, in any case, will be very basic, nothing like the huge techno-centric command centres of the fictitious characters that James Bond has to neutralise in films.

The CoG is the idea that motivates people, regardless of whether such motivation is right or wrong.

The terrorist knows this too. [NB: I use the term 'terrorist' in a statist framework without getting into its definitional problems.] This is why, operationally, he will never work along a single axis (the term is used figuratively rather than in a literal, territory-specific sense) because doing so would deprive him of his advantage and allow the security forces to focus their strength, which is always the advantage of any superior force. Operating along multiple axes is the best bet for terrorist groups. Why?

This is how I argued the point in a 2009 article: “It [multiple axes] opens up several fronts for the security forces; it spreads them thin; it engages them in the periphery; it creates confusion; and, most importantly, the multiplicity of attacks, through media coverage, shows [the groups] to be more powerful than they really are.

“This last advantage is crucial from the terrorists' perspective. It begets them the psychological advantage; prevents a correct assessment of their numbers and outreach; shows the state to be incapable of addressing the problem and so on.”

Military operations, then, must be supplemented by planning at the strategic and political levels. In any war, “a strategic planner would like to engage the enemy in the periphery while keeping his own nucleus of operations intact and secure. By the same token, the enemy must avoid getting caught in a war of attrition in the periphery.”

Terrorist groups know this. Military operations have limited utility as a standalone exercise, even when conducting them becomes important. They end up extracting a heavier cost from the people than degrading the real enemy. This fact must not be lost sight of.

The utility of military operations must, therefore, be determined in the narrow context in which they are conducted. To expect of them anything more than theatre-tactical is to assign to them an objective they simply cannot achieve. Terrorist groups know this because it is crucial for their survival. The state and the people must appreciate this too, because it is equally vital for their survival.

The CoG in this war is the idea. The state has to fight the idea with an idea. That front requires bringing the state in sync with the society. Operations can merely provide the space to the state and society to do that.

__________________________________________________

The writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. (2002-03). He is currently the Editor, National Security Affairs, at a private TV channel and contributes to several publications.

Twitter: @ejazhaider

24
March

Written By: Dr. Akbar S.Ahmed

On the western front frowned the eagle

mighty Caesar in imperial regalia regal,

in the east prowled minions of Xerxes

fierce lions swift as desert breeze.

 

Out of the shimmering sands I rode

suddenly Colossus-like the world I strode

giving from my raiment fair

an Alhambra here, a Taj there

 

In me flowed an eastern weather

I swerved and moved like a bird in feather,

I was Khaldun, Khayyam and Ghalib

not mere seraph but from Adam’s own rib.

 

Cordoba and Cathay are all mine

mine are sahara, tundra and pine

mine, Kubla’s dome of pleasure

mine, Roomi’s secret sufic treasure.

 

The Bedouin, the Brahmin, the Confucian, they heard

the powerful rhythm, the azaan that averred

the tauhid of Allah, the glory of Islam,

pale, quaked the Cross, the Shinto, and even Ram,

 

Ghazni at Somnath and Samarkand flowered

Avicenna and Averroes all ignorance murdered

Haroon’s Nights illuminated darkened lives

women-kind awakened as empresses, poets and wives.

 

Badr was sobbing, Panipat weeping

the universe gaped as I lay sleeping,

kaleidoscopic chaos seemed far to me

I slumped, I sank, I fell free.

 

Free of strife, inebriated with bliss

complacency seduced me with slumberous kiss

victim to the venomous charms of sloth

on my internal fountains died all froth

as placid, blue azure I slept;

yet ever the Islamic cosmos wept.

 

Then 0 God, a nightmare vision I saw

a leprosy white Crusader garbed for war

see, his red teeth and purple eyes

0, see, within me pale hope dies.

 

Now who will find me Saladin or Alamgir?

succour me friendly sultan or saintly pir

the Crusader slowly moves his cloudy hand

with it he brandishes an atomic wand.

 

On his heaving shoulder sits a hungry eagle

it starts, it flutters its wings regal

the Crusader melts, sheds his amorphous wear

yet appears again as a Russian bear!

 

In my dream voices loud and clear

echo with hoary throats and sere

of Communism and Capitalism Capitalism and Communism

lesser voices chant: Negroism, Hinduism, Arabism

 

Thundering ‘isms’ crash about me

1 gasp, I wake, I see

around me fragments of Suez fall

Muhammad Mustapha I hear you call.

 

Prophet in the desert, before Allah falling

I hear you in the muezzin’s calling

I vow again to revive within me your song

to sing it forever, sweet and long.

 

The task so immense, its breadth its length

So great I sip of history for strength

then scimitars cast aside quills unsheathed

Muslim true never surrendered while he breathed

 

Out, out damned spots of blind imitations

sham, servile servings of other nations

exit, eclectic intellect of alien droppings,

time-patience to grow own mental wings.

 

Out, out ICS blackened pseudo-Englishmen

their traits, their chota-pegs, their Victorian pen

1, iconoclast rejuvenated I smasher of the obsequious

saliva-fal1en, I reject the kala-sahib infamous.

 

Then computers and the minaret,

the maulvi and flats-to-let,

the Boeing coaxed in air, with soft bismillah

external strength, throbbing internal Allah

 

Beware Marx and his spiritually sick sentences

beware Freud, his phalliced homo’s repentances

but open to me Marxist economics Freudian theories

international answers to personal queries.

 

Then, one day my head high again 1 will rise

Pure Muslim, Marxist-Malinowski-Mawdoodi wise,

one day I will no longer sweat-fear to dream,

Then, then I will possess the key to ‘alif lam mim’.

24
March

Written By: Maj Gen Muhammad Khalil Dar

14th of August is proudly celebrated as Independence Day because the Muslims of the subcontinent finally freed themselves form yoke of occupation. Incidentally summer months i.e. May to September remain associated with independence struggle ever since the early stages of occupation. It was in May 1757 when Indian Forces attempted to oust the expanding British along the coast of Bihar and it was again 10th May 1857 when native troops rebelled at Meerut which quickly transformed into a large scale independence struggle taking authorities completely by surprise. 

Since, this year's 14th August is overlapping with own Army's multidimensional efforts to help establish the writ of the Government in FATA in general and NWA in particular; the objective of this article is to maintain the focus on this region, albeit, in historical sense.Additionally, in most of the accounts of 1857 War, Frontier i.e. now KPK largely remains out of focus, due to understandable reasons of least activity. Nevertheless, little digging in history reveals that authorities, young officers and troops of this area played a decisive role. While experience in FATA highlights that little has changed in the social perspective, therefore, an attempt has been made to remain objective with a singular aim of learning military lessons. For there lies great lessons in not only own stories of triumph but also in enemy's display of tact and valour when confronted with difficult choices.  

Though, authorities in Peshawar had received news of rebellion in Meerut on 11th May, thanks to newly installed telegraph, it was on 21st May 1857, when Herbert Edwards, Commissioner  Peshawar, received a letter from John Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner Punjab at Lahore, proposing to abandon parts of areas west of Indus and release forces to relief Delhi. The letter also proposed that Amir Dost Muhammad of Afghanistan be asked to take formal possession of vale of Peshawar (accepting his territorial claim) with an assurance of friendship during the crisis. Back in Calcutta, the East India Company Headquarters, and Ambala, company's military headquarters, the situation would have looked exceedingly bleak given the fact that many of British units had not returned from Crimean Campaign and some were being earmarked for War with China. As against 40,000 held, before Crimea only 28,000 British troops were in India. Such was the predicament faced by East India Company (EIC) Government in India on the 11th day of War of Independence i.e. when the true scale of uprising had yet to take place. Growing sense of insecurity had forced them to contemplate to give up the newly acquired territory beyond Indus (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) to release troops for use in heart land; the greatest existential threat heretofore faced by the British authorities.

Up there in Peshawar, though, by 14th May potential threat of unified large scale uprising in eight native units had been quickly forestalled by dispersing those from Peshawar. However, the atmosphere on 21st evening was tense and fearful due to rebellion of soldiers from three recently dispersed Native Bengal Infantry units i.e. one in Mardan Fort (55th Native Bengal Infantry) and two in Nowshera. To make the matters worse, a letter from Subedar Major of 51st Native Bengal Infantry at Peshawar had been caught, inciting uprising at collective level. Now with the "prepared to abandon" mindset of the superiors on one side and unreliability of esteemed regiments on the other, the situation could be categorized as unnerving.

What separated Punjab in general, and Peshawar in particular, from rest of the India was that political and military leadership were men of nerves with steel and found crisis as best time to prove themselves. Instead of succumbing to crushing pressures from multi-directional threat perceptions, they chose cold calculations and bold actions with unyielding conviction based on their personal leadership and inspiration. For Nicholson, Edwards and Sydney Cotton, “To surrender Peshawar would be certain ruin; they must stand or fall at Peshawar."  They not only disagreed to abandonment the proposal by John Lawrence but started sending relief columns to besieged Delhi. As the events proved later that those were the forces from Punjab and Frontier which mainly contributed in regaining Delhi on 24th Sep 1857, ending over four months of siege.

One is confronted with few fundamental questions. What gave the military leaders in Peshawar the uncommon confidence to not only hold on to whatever they had but send significant reinforcements to relieve Delhi? Why did Afghan King not attack and re-claim Peshawar (his summer capital till 1824)? And above all why the tribesmen did not join together and finish the outnumbered infidels as was being done in Central India?

In pure military sense, by 1857, recently acquired Peshawar and surroundings had the largest concentration of British and Company troops than elsewhere in India. Responsibility of Peshawar Division of the Bengal Army then included Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Murree and Attock, rendering it the largest and the most important command in India. Out of total of 28,000 British troops in India, over 12,000 were in Punjab with a bias towards Frontier along with 50,000 of native troops out of 300,000 being maintained in whole of occupied India.

Decade of rule in frontier had, though, been mired with near constant struggle against truculent / unruly tribesmen, who almost encircled the Company's possessions, between 1849 and 1857, no less than fifteen punitive expeditions were launched, but this kept the men in high state of readiness. In response to perpetually restive Tribal Region highly mobile and effective forces had also been raised outside the ambit of the central authority, directly supervised and financed by the Provincial Government at Lahore. Acclaimed ‘the Guides’ and ‘the Punjab Irregular Force’ contained cavalry, artillery and infantry, not to mention higher rate of pay for a strenuous job of controlling seditious tribesmen. And above all a group of competent and effective civil military officers like, Herbert Edwards, John Nicholson, Chamberlain and Sydney Cotton, had been on the Frontier long enough to mature into impacting personalities who were capable enough to make the best use of available resources. All of them along with lower tier officers would play dominant roles in recapture of Delhi. 

When the news of uprisings among Native Bengal Regiments at Meerut was received in Peshawar on the evening of 11th May i.e. after one day of happening, civil and military leadership under Herberts Edwards, vowed to adopt three stepped approach proposed by John Nicholson. First, the urgent need to create a moveable column comprising reliable troops of Punjab Irregular Force and Queens regular regiments to quell the trouble whereever required. Second, dispersion of eight Bengal Native Infantry units and lastly to raise levies from Punjab and Frontier comprising Sikhs, Punjabi Muslims and Pakhtuns, albeit counting on proven loyalties of locals, especially of tribesmen. This would fill the vacuum left by regular and other loyal units like ‘the Guides’ and ‘the Punjab Irregular Infantry’.

The Corps of Guides from Mardan, Coke's Rifles and three squadrons of Irregular Horse from Kohat and 5th Punjab Cavalry from Peshawar moved at once as parts of hastily assembled moveable column to join Delhi Field Force for the relief of Delhi. Guides under Colonel Henry Daly were on the move in the evening of 13th May reaching Nowshera at midnight and moving towards Attock Fort at the day break, all under intense heat and Ramadan. By 18th the Guides were in Rawalpindi resting enroute at Burhan and Sang Jani. By 9th June they were in sight of Delhi. The acclaimed regiment had traversed 586 miles (1000 Kms) in 27 days complete with baggage and ammunition only to heroically lose 50% of men and horses within two hours of their arrival as they were asked to join the ongoing fighting straightaway. A feat only possible when officers and men of a regiment are bound solidly and hardened through time tested mutual trust.

Back in Peshawar authorities decided to take the bull by horn rather than overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, adopting a ruthless action against 55th at Mardan. The punitive force under Nicholson moved from Peshawar at midnight 24th reaching Mardan at day break and dispersing and chasing the breakaway soldiers to the very foot hills of Malakand and Buner, hence, fighting for 24 hours without rest. They chose to publically disarm the native units in strong opposition to respective British commanding officers of the regiments, who understandably felt disgraced. Since mid 19th century was still in the age of chivalry, one of the British commanding officers shot himself dead once confronted with such disgrace. Disarming of units coupled with hangings was done in a ground (the location of Khyber Colony now), all in full spectacle of local chiefs of surroundings and notables of the city. This resolute military action had a major transforming impact on locals and tribesmen. The ever watching and weighing tribesmen, which way to side, were readily convinced to choose British as allies for the time being. Soon reports from Kohat, Hazara and elsewhere were received for mass recruitments to join British Army along with large scale allegiance of the tribal chiefs. This enabled the authorities to recruit the locals en-mass to be utilized. By September, Punjab had largely been pacified with no signs of either tribal rebellion or any sign of Afghan Government's intention to exploit the situation and re-claim Peshawar.  

Within the overall unfolding of events on 14th June, John Nicholson promoted as Brigadier was asked to assume the Command of Punjab moveable column earlier sent. He prepared to move the next day from Peshawar and caught up with the main force by 20th June. He was escorted by 250 tribal horsemen who made a ring around his regular escort force. They were devoted and blindly faithful to the Nicholson who had earned their respect through fairness and admirable fighting spirit. On reaching Delhi on 14th August, Nicholson injected a new spirit of hope in the Delhi Field Force, through the sheer impact of his imposing personality and urged them to attack the fort rather than wait and wear down. The attack which was launched on 14 September was successful but it took Nicholson's life, who was 35 by then. The tribesmen are recorded to have wept on the death of their Nickal Sen as he was commonly known since his days as Deputy Commissioner Bannu; soon after, they left the scene of war.

For a military student, the academic value of this whole episode is immense, both in the realms of science and art of war. It wasn't the universal behaviour of British officers in rest of the India. While at Cawnpur, General Hugh Weeler and at Meerut, General Hewit both lost hopelessly despite having more troops and weapons, primary reasons being: hesitation, inactivity under crisis and lack of boldness. General Anson the Commander of the Army in Northern India chose to go-ahead with routine and got his headquarters settled at Shimla despite being aware of the simmering situation since February on the very issue of controversial rifle cartridges. As the telegraph lines had been cut, the Army Command at Shimla was out of the loop of events. Nevertheless, Henry Lawrence at Lucknow read the potential gravity of the situation in time and prepared to fight it out and eventually saved lives etc. By and large, anyone who showed reluctance in disarming the units, paid the heavy price. To a modern military reader, the challenges of that time may appear incomprehensible. It took one and half month for the news of the rebellion to reach England in absence of telegraph line. The message from Peshawar – Lahore on telegraph first had to go to Karachi and then to Calcutta and finally to Delhi due to absence of lines in central India – available lines were soon cut by the natives. With such kind of communications, the planned control by central authority was rather unrealistic, if not impossible. Therefore, the local commanders decided the issue locally and sum total of many local decisions played critical role in eventual outcome. Bengali soldiers, though, charged with faith and anger lacked such decisive elements which are only possible through order and discipline. Pathans and Punjabi Sikhs shared common abhorrence for Bengali soldiers regardless of religion, due to decade old defeats from their hands. The details are many but the common conclusions are that it was the leadership which made the difference and modern weaponry was only effective as long as it was in the hands of trained and disciplined user. 

The end of war changed the course of India forever. While Muslims were accused and persecuted elsewhere, in Punjab and Frontier, they earned the titles of loyalty, bravery and status of martial races; Gurkhas, Gharwals and Sikhs being the others. By 1860, more than 70% of the British Native Army comprised of Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Sikhs and Pathans, replacing farmers of Bengal and Ouhd.  And why did Mir Abdur Rehman not exploit the vacuum and neither attacked directly nor incited the tribesmen? Conventional answer can be that he remained loyal to his pledge since British had helped him recover Herat from Persians in 1855 but it could also be that he chose to wait and weigh the situation in the best tradition of this land and people.  

In retrospect it was mainly possible due to personal efforts of few but highly competent officer cadre, who had the ability to read the overall environment correctly, rationally, and make sound judgments which were difficult to digest by the desk managers sitting in the capitals.

24
March

Written By: Ejaz Haider

The basic unit of identity and analysis in today's world is the nation-state. In its current incarnation, it's not a very old concept. Some scholars trace it to the 1648 peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties that ended the Thirty Years War and the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Dutch Republic. Others trace the modern contours of the nation-state to the French Revolution (1789-99).

Be that as it may, the nation-state has emerged over the last three centuries as the concept that gives legitimacy to a collective entity.

Yet, it is a problematic concept. Scholars have – and continue to – debate what exactly constitutes a state, where it can be situated, what grants it its legitimacy, what makes it more powerful than the people that constitute it, why do states act in totalitarian and Orwellian ways, and so on.

Add to this the problem of the post-colonial state, an entity begot of independence from colonial rulers and often carved out in ways that destroyed the facts of geography, history and ethnic and other organic linkages, leading to bloody conflicts within and across states that have persisted and drawn much blood. Most post-colonial states can be better described as state-nations rather than nation-states, administrative units striving to build nations after having got the states. The experiment has failed at many places, with states imploding and giving birth to more states, arguably more organic than the previous incarnations.

Pakistan went through this experience in 1971, internal troubles leading to external aggression resulting in a politico-military defeat and the secession of its eastern wing. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, which itself split into 15 new states, there has been much upheaval in the Balkans, ranging from bloody internal wars in former Yugoslavia to the velvet divorce in former Czechoslovakia.

However, despite the ease with which the concept can be problematized, both conceptually and empirically the state remains the basic unit of analysis and legitimacy. The rise of trans- and multi-nationals, civil society actors, NGOs, and other global entities that cut across state boundaries have begun to play a much bigger role but remain, in the end, subservient to the states and their laws. In fact, even as globalization has caused greater integration, the changing nature of threats from non-state actors has forced the states into enacting laws that cut into civil liberties and tend to keep the aliens out through enhanced scrutiny. The paradox is that this segregation and building of legal walls is owed to the integration made possible by globalization and the communication revolution.

States still indoctrinate. They retain the monopoly of violence. They are crucial to the identity of every individual. They give passports and grant visas. They have national anthems, their versions of history, the idea of sovereignty, the concept of nationhood, one being distinct from the other. Everyone outside the in-group is the 'other' and a potential enemy. People fight for their states, they kill and get killed. The morality of the states is not judged by the benchmarks on which we judge individual morality. Like Luigi in Italo Calvino's short story, Conscience, we get medals for killing  enemies in a war. But just like Luigi, if we were to go and kill Alberto, a personal enemy, we are caught and hanged to death. Somehow, killing for the state is more acceptable than killing for personal reasons. One gets us medals, the other is termed murder.

That said, the state is just an imagined community. It is neither biological, nor organic. And once we have it, we get down to creating a nation around it through what the French scholar, Ernest Renan, called 'selective amnesia' by which term he meant that the narrative must be controlled in ways that allow highlighting certain aspects and forgetting others.

During the years that I lectured at the Command and Staff College and when I speak at the National Defence University, I flag the point that the entity for which we are prepared to lay down our lives exists only in our imagination. It's a provocative point for sure, especially when made before officers who have taken an oath to defend the motherland, another term used to invoke powerful imagery of defending the mother's honour. But it's an important point. The two armies that have fought wars since 1947 were once one army. In 1947-48, as well as in 1965, the two sides facing each other were often commanded by former comrades-in-arms. It's a lesser-known fact that when Field Marshall Sir Claude Auchinlek realized that Partition was inevitable, he made a last ditch attempt to propose that the British Indian Army must not be divided. It was too late and his proposal, under the circumstances, was too impractical but it does show how the British looked at the army they had created and which, to wit, on both sides, remains the most organized and coherent organization.

Sixty-seven years ago, this month, Pakistan came into being. Sixty-seven years down the line, while we have travelled a long distance from the ragtag state we inherited, we have also lost on many fronts. The first shock was 1971. Even today, trouble simmers in parts of Balochistan, some sections of Sindhis and Seraikis and up north in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is not enough to say that these elements do not matter or that they are a minority. What is important to note is the point, proven once again, that states are imagined. Their reality lies in the strength of that imagination. And the strength of that imagination and the pride one takes in it is about state-society relations. It is neither about the strength of a state's army nor its arsenal: it is about legitimacy.

As I once wrote elsewhere: “States, ultimately, are as strong or brittle as their acceptance by the people that make them up. Nazih Ayubi's thesis comes to mind, distinguishing between 'hard' and 'strong' states. Ayubi argued that the authoritarian Arab states had little ability to control populations, trends and changes which is why they could not enforce laws and break traditional structures. The hard state coerces; the strong state achieves its goals because it is accepted by its people. By this definition, the Arab states were/are weak states.”

We will be celebrating the birth of Pakistan this month, as we should. But equally, we must remember that ceremonies alone do not make a state stronger or keep it together; nor do national songs and speeches bristling with literary flourish.

Nation building in some ways is the same as training for combat. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. The more you invest in appreciating the complex, hard work required by political aggregation the less likely will it be for people to challenge the legitimacy of the state.

The writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. (2002-03). He is currently Editor, National Security Affairs, at a private TV channel and contributes to several publications

Twitter: @ejazhaider

24
March

Written By: Dr Zafar Mehmood

Pakistan was created with an aim of developing it as a progressive modern country, which could offer equal socio-economic opportunities and benefits to its citizens. At the time of its creation, Pakistan was a country of 30 million people. Despite being primarily, an agrarian economy, it had to import most of its food to feed its citizens. Agricultural output then accounted for about 53% of GDP. The industrial sector at that time consisted of a handful of medium and cottage industries. Per capita income was less than $100 whereas literacy rate was 10% and life expectancy stood at 32 years.

With concerted efforts of the leadership, Pakistan's average annual GDP growth rate in the first five decades remained higher than the average growth rate of the world economy. Average annual real GDP growth rates were 3.1% in the 1950s, 6.8% in the 1960s, 4.8% in the 1970s, and 6.5% in the 1980s. Average annual growth rate fell to 4.6% in the 1990s mainly due to political instability, while remained almost same in the 2000s to 4.7% owing mainly to internal security problems. However, the average annual growth rate was about 7% during 2003-04 to 2006-07.

Literacy rate in 1947 was 10%, which has gone up to 58% in 2011-12. Despite this achievement, literacy rate remains dismally low when compared with other developing countries. This is a major challenge to be addressed for rural and female population. Life expectancy has now gone up to 67.2 years. Poverty which was around 46% in the early 1960s has come down to about 21%. With a GDP growth rate of 6.8% in the 1960s, Pakistan was considered as a role model of economic growth for other developing countries. Many countries emulated Pakistan's framework for economic planning. Later on economic mismanagement and implementation of imprudent economic policies caused sluggish growth in the 1970s and 1990s and due to insufficient domestic resource mobilization, the country accumulated large public debt. The economy improved in the 1980s, with a GDP growth rate of 6.5%, when policy of economic deregulation was adopted. Balance of payments situation improved with large inflow of workers' remittances. Afterwards, economic situation became uncertain as a consequence of different external and internal shocks-including Asian financial crisis, economic sanctions after nuclear test, global recession, severe drought, military tensions with India, and the 9/11 event which resulted into new and greater influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan.

Over the past sixty eight years, the share of the agriculture sector has come down to 21.5% of the GDP. Despite this decline, the agricultural sector now not only satisfies the domestic needs of wheat, rice, sugar and milk at a much higher per capita consumption level, but also exports its surplus production.This was made possible as Pakistan doubled its cultivation area to 22 million hectares along with the development of a vast irrigation network of large storage reservoirs, barrages, and link canals. The contribution of the manufacturing sector in GDP was negligible at the time of independence, however overtime the country has achieved great progress. Manufacturing production index that was 100 in 1947 is now more than 12,000. Pakistani industries now produce consumer as well as industrial raw materials and capital goods. Consequently, Pakistan which used to export only agricultural raw materials in 1947, now has 85% of exports consisting of manufactured and semi-manufactured products.

During the early years of 2000s, Pakistan introduced many economic reforms to put economy on a higher growth path. As a result, economic growth accelerated to 7%, especially during 2003-04 and 2007-08, this was mainly due to unprecedented growth in the services sector. This resilience led to a change in the image of the country despite adverse security conditions. This growth enabled the country to create more jobs and resulted into reduction in poverty. Per capita income that was less than $100 in 1947 has now increased to $1380. This is an indication of improvement in well-being. Despite all odds, Pakistan has made an impressive progress. Nevertheless, the achievements remain far less than its real potential mainly because Pakistan has neglected development of its human resources. The poor cohort still does not have adequate access to education and health facilities. As a result, Pakistan missed opportunities to grow faster and become a modern economy. Since independence, Pakistan has accumulated about $60.9 billion of foreign debt (disbursed and undisbursed); local debt is in addition to it and is larger. Consequently, the country is spending over 38% of its current budget on servicing debt, which is more than the total development budget. This leaves meagre resources for human development.

What lessons can be learnt from the past experience in reforming the Pakistan economy? Pakistani planners experimented with policies of central planning, nationalization, regulation, liberalization, deregulation and privatization. From these policies major lessons are: central planning has been a failure as it led to low productivity and low investment in human resources. Government officials cannot efficiently allocate resources as markets do. Licensing system promotes rent-seeking behaviour, which benefits license holders at the cost of domestic consumers. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) owing to inefficiency, waste and corruption hurt the economy. Import substitution industrialization though protects domestic industries against foreign competition but adversely affect consumers in terms of higher prices and poor quality for goods produced by protected industries. Over regulations and controls of the private sector increases the cost of doing business. Creation of oligopolies retard growth and raise prices.

High tax rates on individuals and corporates led to wide spread tax evasion; consequently government too often misses tax-revenue targets. State-owned banks and financial institutions were used to provide concessional loans to political favourites, which retarded economic growth. Capital-intensive industrialization could not generate sufficient jobs for the growing population. Administered prices of key commodities and utilities disproportionately benefited rich classes and created their shortages, which hit the poor hardest by denying them their access. Subsidized agricultural inputs benefit large farmers who afford to buy them, while small farmers, due to lack of sufficient money to buy them, do not benefit from subsidized inputs. Foreign investment mostly came in import-competing industries that were heavily protected. No effort was made to attract FDI in export-oriented industries.

Thus, what should be the thrust of our future policies? First and foremost, outward-looking strategy that promotes exports and integrates Pakistan into the world economy; it would improve competitiveness and accelerate economic growth on a fast track. Second, prices give correct signals to market players but if they are distorted via government bad policies and market failures then wrong mix of industries is selected resulting into slow growth and high unemployment. Therefore, distortions need to be removed by taking right policy measures; the best policy is to allow the economy to work through market forces with meticulous government oversight to check market failures. Monopolies or oligopolies should be regulated by independent bodies.

The role of the State should be limited to facilitating the private sector and provide security and independent disputes settlement system, building cost-effective efficient infrastructures, developing quality human resources, maintaining sound enabling macroeconomic, and paying full attention for the welfare of the citizens. State-owned enterprises should be run on commercial basis. Foreign investors should be attracted to export-oriented industries while ensuring they transfer the technology. Strength of the Pakistani society is its resilience, which has persistently strived to make the country recover and become stronger. This must persevere in the future. Pakistan is currently going through very hard times of its history. If history stands corrected, Pakistan will In sha Allah come out of the current prolonged impasse and continue its journey towards realizing the goals of a progressive, prosperous and modern economy, which was cherished by the Great Leader.

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences & Humanities at NUST, Islamabad This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
24
March

Written By: Maj Waheed Bukhari

(Tale of an arduous train journey from India to Pakistan during partition by a veteran Pak Army)

Since my childhood I was fond of listening to the historical events. With every passing day of my life, this habit became a custom. Few weeks back, I received a call of Colonel Shahid Kirmani from ISPR Lahore office who told me about a veteran officer. This officer had been in charge of a refugee train during partition. After listening about his amazing feat during the Independence movement, I was highly keen to meet this valiant soldier, who is now 95 years old. It was a memorable moment to meet Major (Retd) Rafi, who although is frail at this age, but has a graceful and up right gait which is hallmark of an Army officer. I was already in awe that a person of this age has such vivid memory, exceptional vocabulary, vast knowledge and clear commanding voice. Once he started narrating his arduous journey, I not only forgot to raise any questions, but frankly my hot cup of coffee got cold.

“It was just two months before independence that we got married,” he said pleasingly while looking at his wife who was sitting beside him. He might be one of the oldest living officers of Pakistan Army, who was commissioned on 14 Nov 1943 from Indian Military Academy (IMA). While talking to me, he frequently looked at his uniformed picture hanging on the wall for a while as if recollecting the golden memories. He was assigned task for commanding a special train carrying refugees from Jabalpur (India) to Lahore and later to Malir Cantonment; thousands of migrants men, women and children were impatiently waiting to arrive at the land of their dreams and kiss its fragrant soil.

While narrating his tale he told that on the day of departure, as the time for move drew closer, an extremely distasteful event took place. The Indian officials asked them to load the whole baggage in one go which was practically impossible. But somehow their men managed to get hold of a long bamboo and tied all portable items with the rope thus succeeding in meeting Indian's childish demand. Indian officers witnessing this were put to great embarrassment and later allowed them to carry the luggage at ease. Continuing with narration of the events he told that next day when train reached New Delhi, the RTO (a Sikh Lieutenant Colonel), bombarded at him and asked to count all the inmates travelling by that train. As per RTO's information, the numbers of travelers were exceeding the actual number specified. He also seemed determined to send the train to Old Delhi for maintenance, to which, Maj Rafi immediately replied angrily that he would not allow such delaying tactics being in-charge of the train and inmates. He had the idea that under the garb of maintenance and repairs, the train was being dispatched to Old Delhi to murder the refugees.

train2

Maj Rafi seemed totally lost in the past and shared that Allah gave him courage at that time and seeing his determination, the Sikh Colonel threatened him of dreadful outcome, whereas, he just told him that he could not take any legal action against him, as he had no right to take a Pakistani Army Officer into custody. The Sikh Colonel moved towards his office with his head down in embarrassment. As a result after some time, Major Rafi was facing the Area Commander Brigadier G.K. Jones. Maj Rafi upon hearing the name, recalled that Brig Jones was his Company Commander at IMA (Indian Military Academy) so without wasting time, he reminded him of being his cadet and that he had helped him and some of his course mates in getting commission. He recalls that after listening to him, Brig Jones showed a lot of kindness. Seeing his gentle attitude, he not only brought the non-cooperative attitude of the Sikh Colonel to his notice but also requested him to order early move of the train. Despite the Brigadier's clear orders, to which he agreed at that time, the frantic Sikh Colonel managed to delay the departure for two more days. On our way to Pakistan, he recalled that, “we witnessed unbearable scenes of brutality rather inhumanity on Muslim refugees. Those horrible scenes still hang around in my memory and steal from me my peace of mind.”

“Youngman, this story is full of bloodshed and could better be imagined than described,” said Maj Rafi with wet eyes and deep voice. The exhausted souls were lying half dead in misery, many were slaughtered by the coldhearted rioters, who did not even spare innocent children and women. Extremist, frantic Sikhs and Hindus did not abstain from attacking refugee camps, killing Muslims brutally; he further added with a gloomy tone… and placed back the coffee cup on table. “Somehow our train reached Panipat station after frequent interruptions. The train driver (a Kashmiri Hindu) thought here of a naughtiness to threaten the inmates. Without my permission he stopped the train in front of the Shernarthi Camp where over four and half lac Hindu extremists were lodged. Their aim was to torture all Muslims to death, who would fall in their hands. It was indeed, a marvel that we were safe and sound from their clutches. Seeing the grimness of situation, I immediately alerted my company and rushed towards the driver to know about the situation. He told me that water in the engine had been dried up and as such, the train had developed some fault in the engine. “I immediately tasked a few jawans to look for some water,” shared Maj Rafi while emotionally narrating the events of that time.

He further narrated that luckily his men caught sight of a well and drew plenty of water. The driver was taken aback at their initiative and resourcefulness and after screwing some nuts and bolts of the engine, he showed his readiness to move the train. “I told him in clear terms that henceforth, he will not stop the train without my permission. As the train was moving closer to its destination we were feeling excited. Now the state of uncertainty was being replaced by hope and optimism.” Maj Rafi was narrating the tales of his arduous journey and I was like a starry eyed child listening to the stories of an era bygone. Similarly when their train reached Ambala, the intelligence sources told them that the railway line had been damaged by some gangsters. He then decided to again get help from Brigadier Jones. When after tiring efforts, he got in touch with him, he was very rude and furious. “Later, on my request in cool manner, he gave a positive nod and again the Sikh colonel was told to arrange a pilot engine for us. We thought that now long-drawn torment is about to end but the evil minded Sardar again played a grubby trick and asked the driver to follow a longer route, where Sikh zealots were indiscriminately butchering the Muslims. I cautioned my jawans to exercise complete vigilance to meet any eventuality. At Patiala railway station I observed from the platform, a large number of people raising slogans of JAE GURU, obviously they were planning for some mischief. They were also carrying swords and kirpans. When they saw that the train was carrying army Jawans fully equipped with weapons, they dropped the idea of attacking it. At every point of time Allah Almighty was so merciful to protect us from the atrocities,” shared Maj Rafi.

The train was on move towards Lahore, when suddenly it started whistling and stopped eventually. Thinking of some new misfortune Maj Rafi stepped out and saw a few soldiers in green uniform. These Pakistani soldiers were evacuating refugees and meanwhile they ran short of the ration. “Listening to their problem, we arranged some dry ration for them,” he said. At Attari the last railway station a Pakistani military contingent belonging to Corps of Engineers welcomed them warmly and told that a trench, the demarcation point between the two countries is nearby. When their train entered the most awaited and beloved land for which they all had made immense sacrifices, tears started welling up in their eyes. While listening to the tale of this freedom journey I went quite emotional, until Maj Rafi called me and patted my shoulder. I heard him saying, “no doubt it was through the deep devotion and extreme sense of sacrifice, under dynamic leadership of the Quaid that Muslims of the sub-continent won a homeland and thus their long-cherished dream was fulfilled.” Changing his posture to a bit relaxed position, he asked his servant for fresh cup of coffee and closed his old grey eyes sparkling with the cheerful memories of a treasured journey.

24
March

Written By: Dr. Zafar Mahmood

National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. Initially focusing on military might; it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values promoted by the domestic society. Accordingly, to possess national security, a nation needs to also possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors and narcotic cartels.

 

Nexus between national security, peace and economic growth is important and well-established. This nexus is important because growth and development cannot occur in the absence of security and peace, while peace and security without growth and development might not sustain. Similarly, without peace and security, poverty eradication is not possible, and without poverty eradication no sustainable peace will occur.

No one questions anymore about the role that economic growth and development plays in preventing conflicts, ensuring durable exits from conflicts and for accompanying crisis management through protective, confidence-building and crisis-alleviating measures. These assertions based on global experience certainly have important implications for Pakistan given the prevailing peace and security situation in the country.

National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. Initially focusing on military might; it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values promoted by the domestic society. Accordingly, to possess national security, a nation needs to also possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors and narcotic cartels.

Peace is defined as a time without any fights or wars. In a broader sense, peace can mean a state of harmony, quiet or calm that is not disturbed by anything at all. A person who is not able to go about the ordinary business of life without the constant threat of violence cannot said to be living in a state of peace. Peace within and among states is a goal of people and organizations.

Economic growth is the increase in market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real Gross Domestic Product (real GDP).

With national security intact, which also include economic or financial security, there are less internal conflicts and as a result peace in the country is secured. Regional and international peace comes when countries are more secure from external conflicts and threats. Strongly secured countries face fewer internal and external threats than weakly secured countries.

When security of a country is strong then more resources are available for investment purposes. Consequently, there will be increase in economic growth. At the same time, with economic security, overall demand in the country rises which results into higher economic growth. National security is thus inextricably linked with economic growth and development.

Countries having strong defence capabilities also have high defence-related production that helps in achieving high economic growth. This is because defence production needs industrial raw materials and intermediate inputs produced by other industries and support services provided by companies working in the private sector. These supplies to defence production industries promote growth in rest of the economy.

Based on global experience, the proponents suggest that growth and development encourages peace. People in better economic condition are less likely to initiate violent conflict both because they are more content and because they have more to lose from the physical danger and economic disruption that wars and conflict bring. The critiques argue that development discourages peace, either because the continued development of some depends on their forceful suppression or control of others or because development increases the capacity to build and mobilize military power. Still others argue that development and peace have no significant connection to each other.

The global experience shows that countries that have strong security and peace have strong economies. In this context, it may be noted that in 2014, Iceland was on the top of Global Peace Index, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, and Canada. All of these countries are not only peaceful but they are also secure and are economically very strong. According to Global Peace Index, Pakistan was ranked 115th in 2007, ranked 127th in 2008, and 137th in 2009. If we link this peace index trends with trends in economic growth then it may be noted that in 2007 Pakistan's GDP growth rate was 5.2%, in 2008 it was 2.7%, and in 2009 it was 1.5%. Thus with loss of peace, the economic growth decelerated.

The above trends show that more secured a country is more peaceful it is and consequently is economically strong, innovative, prosperous and sustainable. Secured countries that attain peace are more open to international trade and investment. They are thus more integrated internationally as well as regionally. Such countries are drivers of international security and peace. With higher economic growth more resources are available for national security around the globe and more peaceful the world is. In this context, couple of decades after the World War II is a case in point when the world witnessed an era of better security, more peace amongst nations and tranquility and hence high economic growth. Consequently, people in the world at large experienced prosperity and better living standards.

The implementation challenge for a strong security-peace-development nexus is competition among them. In order to have a strong nexus, it is necessary to bridge the gap between various policy communities with different perspectives and agendas. The gap can be filled by creating mutual comprehension among policy communities in such a way that security experts appreciate the development policies and likewise development community fully support the fields of security and consider them as complementing their own work.

There are also major coordination problems between ministries. For instance, Defence and Economic ministries do not always share the same objectives and priorities, and they have different structures, mandates, practices, institutional policies and time frames for action. One must not shy away from the fact that behind these problems lies a competition for funds and competences.

While it does seem quite obvious that security and development go hand in hand, the complex causal connections are difficult to establish. This means that implementation has to be properly tailored according to ground realities.

In the end, the fact that a virtuous circle between growth and peace makes it easier to achieve both, is encouraging. But it does not relieve us of either the responsibility or the hard work required to make this hopeful connection effective.

 

The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad            This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

24
March

Written By: Brig (Retd) Farooq Afzal

Hardly the company was settled on captured Indian positions without any F-echelon and heavy anti tank weapons when we heard enemy tanks approaching from the flanks along the bund heading for the bridge. At this time, there were no anti tank weapons except for 3.5” Rocket Launcher and Energa Grenade. Maj Shabir ordered to knock down the Indian tanks and not to allow their move towards the bridge. Two T-54 enemy tanks were coming from the left along the bund and one singular formation from the Gurmukhera village along the right bund. Hav Adalat was spirited, holding strong nerves and a bold man. He got hold of the Rocket Launcher and knocked the rear tank coming along the left flank. The first tank had stopped right in front of my half dug trench and firing in the dir of the bridge. I loaded the rifle of my runner with Energa Grenade, went down and fired at point blank range. The tank was hit and soon went into flames. The crew was Muslim as later we could identify from their document. The tank on the left was also knocked down and all three burnt till dawn. These were the first causalities of 2nd Armoured Squadron ex 18 Cavalry. The first Indian counter attack came around 8:30 p.m. and was repulsed. The second counter attack came before the first light and repulsed with heavy causalities. The enemy artillery was remarkably firing very accurately on our linear defensive position, but our brave soldiers were not impressed to leave even an inch of the captured Indian territory. Pakistan's and 6 FF sons were at their best!


Memoirs of then 2/Lieutenant Farooq Afzal who fought alongwith Major Shabir Sharif Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) at Sabuna Distributary, Suleimanki-Fazilka Sector, 1971

 

T he situation in (then) East Pakistan was deteriorating and the entire 105 Brigade Group moved towards Sulaimanke Head Works (HW). 6 Frontier Force Regiment (6 FF) was ordered to move and occupy its defensive position. On September 19, 1971, I passed out from Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) and joined 6 FF in the concentration area near Haveli Lakha. I was fortunate to get the unit on claim as my uncle, Honorary/Captain Mir Badshah (first Muslim Subedar Major after partition), my father (then as a “Y” cadet, later Brigadier) Mir Afzal had served in 'CHARWANJA' (6 FF) much before the partition. So it was a matter of great pride and honour to be a part of the '6th Battalion The Frontier Force Regiment.'


To my great good luck and surprise, I was placed as a Company Officer under Major Shabir Sharif in 'B Company.' He was earlier seen and watched as a dashing and a decorated Platoon Commander in PMA. I had the same fear prevailing even after commissioned to serve under Maj Shabir in the regiment. Anyway, we met very warmly; Maj Shabir welcomed and guided me to the company which was under preparation to move forward towards the HWs area. Much after last light, the company embussed and reached in the vicinity of the irrigation rest house. The company bivouacked for the night and Sepoy Noor Rehman was detailed as first buddy (batman) in my army service. A tall well build soldier, whom later I found as an 'LMG number.' His stay was short with me being more needed for his operational role.


Sulaimanke HW lies on River Sutlej and regulates water to few major canals in the area. Pakpattan, Ford Wah and Sadiqia are the three major outlets irrigating the land in the surroundings. By virtue of its locality, it's an important tactical target for the Indians to hold and capture. The distance is not more than 3 km from the Indian Sadiqia Post-6RD, located west of the HWs. The international boundary runs parallel to the river line in the north making into a big “V” shape and then runs south towards Amruka - Sadiq Ganj - Bahawalnagar. The home side is all marshy, water logged with dense undergrowth. At places the pondage areas are deep up to 15-20 feet. The only dry and high ground available is the Left Marginal Bund which originates from the mouth of the HWs and extends north and north-east along the international border. The width and height varies but generally a truck can comfortably be driven on it. Across the border, the area was partially covered with elephant grass and some undergrowth while all remaining area was cultivated with local crops. Pakka, Beriwala, Jhangar, Ghurmukhera, Nirmal, Mambake, Jhok Mambake and Khokhar are the important villages in the area. There was no barbed wire or any obstacle in the area. Ground visibility was clear except for where built up areas, or thick growth, or trees were planted. Interestingly, we often watched the Blue Bulls grazing in the Indian fields just few hundred yards away. Fish and wild ducks were available on own side in the pond areas.


Early next morning, probably September 28/29, 1971, the Company Reconnainance (R) Group left for the reconnainance (recce) of the operational area for the deployment of the B Company. Maj Shabir and I drove in white M-38 jeep and debussed on the far bank of the river where few other members of the R Group were waiting in Rangers' uniform (malatia shirt with khaki trouser). The march started on the left marginal bund with Maj Shabir in the leading role. Both sides of the bund were inundated and swamped with flood water from River Sutlej with lots of water birds, peacock, wild bores and tall shisham trees. Humidity was intense and the weather was hot. Having walked for few kilometres, we hit the bund connecting Sadiqia Tower Post on the right. This is where the international boundary runs parallel to the Left Marginal Bund (LMB). We continued to walk on the bund till the growth on ground provided cover from observation. Thereafter, we walked along the lower track of the bund and occasionally popped up to take the view of the enemy area. Rangers post then called as “Jhangar” was visited and the post commander was briefed of the purpose. Continued with the recce till all deployment was completed – Fazilka Drain was the last point. It was almost late afternoon and the sun was hot, we returned on foot back to the HWs. It was a tiring and hectic but otherwise a useful day. The platoon deployment was marked, company HQ was identified and similarly the B echelon and cook houses were located. Battalion Mortar location was also identified as it was placed under command B Company.


The move started much after last light with the company commander in lead. It was pitch dark night and the company walked all the way to Jhangar Post in full Field Service Marching Order (FSMO) regardless of any fear and danger to life. B Company deployed along the Jhangar Post bund for the night. Thereafter, the company would move overnight for operational deployment and fall back to Forward Assembly Area (FAA) / concentration area after the morning 'stand to.' Night hours were used to carry out full time preparation of defences/bunkers, field of fire etc. The area was infested with all sorts of snakes, wild animals, insects and mosquitoes. Many precautions were taken to avoid snake bites or catch malaria. Luckily no casualties occurred.


I was fully inducted and trained by my Company Commander to go through the drills and procedures of a Sepoy, then as section 2nd-in-Command (2IC), Section Commander, Platoon Havildar, Platoon Commander and then as a Company Officer. I carried out night patrolling, sentry duties and even link patrolling with the neighbouring company having gap of few kilometer. In the process, I was able to know and understand the basic duties of the soldiers and exactly identify the strength of the Company in field. This all helped me to 'know my men' and they also got a chance to know their new officer.


In November, the situation in East Pakistan started deteriorating. So the Company remained permanently located on the forward positions. Overhead protection and overhead covers for trenches, weapons and pits were prepared, crawl trenches dug, field of fire cleared, and targets registered. Similarly, the area under observation was properly known and targets identified.


Coordination with C Company on the right flank and D Company on the left flank was carried out and all Company Commanders were ready with their limited offensive actions. B Company mission was to capture enemy Jhangar, Beriwala and village Noor Mohammad (in ruins). All these positions were held by strong section (plus)/ Platoon size force. Protective / defensive mine fields were also laid in front of all these locations. By the third week of November 1971, Indian regular troops started showing their presence by carrying out route marches in the full battle dress all along the border starting in morning till evening. To counter, our troops were also allowed to appear in full battle dress on the LMB wherever required.


A huge and old shisham tree existed along the LMB near the Fazilka Drain. It was selected and decided by Maj Shabir to build a machan (Observation Post) for better observation. It was an approximately 30 feet high tree with huge branches and fairly difficult to climb. It was November 22/23, 1971 and had rained the previous night. The weather had become cool and chilly, foggy in early hours but visibility cleared as the sun became hot and shiny. I was then occupying the machan post. As I started viewing the enemy area in front, I happened to identify a raised ground running north-east to south-west. Later, I saw some slit / port holes on the same locality. By mid-day as the sun became warm, I noticed troops started basking in the sun in group of 2s and 3s on their respective bunkers. I was really amazed and excited to locate new defensive position of the enemy which was neither known nor ever visualized in our plans. Some smoke behind the bund was also observed believed to be a built up area or a village.


Following the line of bund southwards, a crossing place was identified with the help of dust kicked off by the cattle and subsequently the upper railings of the bridge were also identified. Having noticed all this, I immediately sent a message for Maj Shabir with all the latest information. He immediately returned and climbed to machan and briefed on the battle front. He was much excited and pleased with the latest information about the enemy. As soon as we pulled back, Maj Shabir decided and ordered me to plan for the capture of the bridge / crossing place without informing anybody outside the company.


A fighting patrol of 14 men (best men were picked) was planned to lead the Company attack 30 minutes before the H hour on receiving code word “Tauheed“. A strong fighting patrol was organized and all men were selected personally by me. A model of the area was prepared, plan rehearsed physically on ground and actions/ counter actions fully visualised to make it a successful attempt. I was the leader for the operation. L/Nk Usman along with Sepoy Mir Badshah were the scouts, followed immediately by the patrol leader, and remaining section deployed in Diamond formation all facing outward. A Light Machine Gun (LMG) on flanks, Rocket Launcher (RL) with Section Commander at the tail and wireless silence was observed. Pre-selected butt knocks signals were assigned. Maj Shabir approved of the plan and decided to follow-in-zone with remaining 4 and 5 platoon elements. N/Sub Arif, No 6 Platoon Commander (who was an Army wrestler) was tasked to attack and capture Village Noor Mohammad (in ruins on raised ground) expected to be occupied by section plus enemy strength. He had to wade through the water channel of Fazilka Drain in order to capture his target. A strong fire base, commanded by Sub Atta, SJCO B Company located on the LMB opposite Indian Jhangar Post was ordered to fire on call. Battalion Mortars located behind own Jhangar Post were also ordered to fire on call. Complete wireless silence was observed by all call signs to achieve ‘secrecy and surprise.’


The operation started on receipt of code word Tauheed which was personally delivered by Lt Col Imam Ali Malik , Commanding Officer, 6 FF by mid- day, December 3, 1971. The H hour was 1800 hours. We had approximately 2-3 hours to prepare, pack up/close non-essentials and dump in Platoon / Company HQ locality. The fighting patrol was collected, final briefing was done, and, weapons and ammunition were checked before proceeding to Company HQ. A dua was offered for the success of the operation and all embraced each other before leaving for the attack.


It was exactly 1730 hours, the leading man, Sepoy Usman went down the bund and remaining followed to form up in diamond formation. When all was done, I ordered them to advance. Indian Jhangar Post was by-passed unnoticed and soon we encountered minefield. Formation of the patrol was changed to file and the minefield was negotiated without any mishap. Beriwala village was on the right flank and by-passed without any detection by the enemy. The patrol was few hundred yards away from the objective when it came under direct fire from right flank probably Machine Gun laid on fixed line. In order to avoid any causality the patrol was ordered to deploy. After a few moments, I decided to move and resume advance but to my surprise the elements of my patrol were reluctant to rise. I had to reach every individual to pat and order to move which happened instantly. The bright full moon was up in the sky illuminating the area, and visibility was clear up to 30-50 feet. The patrol was still short by few minutes to the bridge, when our guns on the brigade front opened up with the Defensive Fire. Silence and secrecy broke out but still the enemy had not known our locations. The Dragon Teeth on the home side of the bridge depicted bivouac on which few rounds were fired and received no return fire.


On reaching the bridge, as planned, the patrol was to assault in four waves consisting four persons in each file and I leading the first wave. As soon as the ‘Nara-e-Takbir’ was shouted on the bridge, the enemy across the distributary and the bund opened up with volley of intense fire. The fire was intense and very effective resulting three causalities from the first wave. I dropped down on the bridge pretending to be casualty but kept crawling. At the end of the bridge, enemy Machine Gun bunker watched my move and lobbed a grenade which luckily bounced and exploded down in the canal. By this time I had crossed the bridge and waited for my colleagues to join. Shortly five jawans joined and ordered to split into two groups of three each. The enemy was still firing on the bridge and I could hear the cries of my wounded soldiers yelling in pains and asking for water. Anyhow close quarter battle was fought by these brave men and initial bunkers were cleared off the enemy occupation.


At this time, Maj Shabir Sharif was shouting at me to find if I was alive and captured the bridge intact. I replied in positive and requested to reach for immediate support. In no time he reached with 4 and 5 Platoon elements. He ordered me to exploit with 4 Platoon on the right shoulder whereas he would take on the left portion with 5 Platoon. I was also to control all crossing and move on the bridge. N/Sub Sadiq was the 4 Platoon Commander and I briefed him to continue clearing bunkers and trenches as he deployed his men. The enemy was on the rout. Meanwhile I was also attending to the injured on the bridge. Sepoy Usman had breathed his last, Sepoy Mir Badshah was still in pain seeking water and first aid. To some, we could attend but unfortunately all were severely and badly wounded. In less than 30 minutes there were dead bodies of nine men on the bridge. It was extremely touching moments but then they had embraced Shahadat.
Many Indian civilians, including farmers, women and children, old and young pleaded for mercy. They were allowed to go with whatever little they could carry on their heads and shoulders. However, men in uniform were made Prisoners of War (PoWs).


Meanwhile N/Sub Arif, 6 Platoon Commander had captured his objective and was ordered to report on the bridge. They were wet above waist level and Maj Shabir ordered to occupy position further left of 4 Platoon. N/Sub Arif accompanied me alongwith his runner and operator. We were passing through the deployed elements of the 4 Platoon on the top of the bund. Occasional enemy artillery and some stray Small Arms fire was coming on our position. The bund was densely covered with bushes and undergrowth and move was restricted. I handed over the area beyond 4 Platoon to N/Sub Arif for occupation and deployment of 6 Platoon. As soon as I returned back to the bridge, a shell landed near N/Sub Arif and he embraced Shahadat instantly. His death news was a big shock to Maj Shabir and, also for me.
Hardly the company was settled on captured Indian positions without any F echelon and heavy anti tank weapons when we heard enemy tanks approaching from the flanks along the bund heading for the bridge. At this time, there were no anti tank weapons except for 3.5” Rocket Launcher and Energa Grenade. Maj Shabir ordered to knock down the Indian tanks and not to allow their move towards the bridge. Two T-54 enemy tanks were coming from the left along the bund and one singular formation from the Gurmukhera village along the right bund. Hav Adalat was spirited, holding strong nerves and a bold man. He got hold of the Rocket Launcher and knocked the rear tank coming along the left flank. The first tank had stopped right in front of my half dug trench and firing in the direction of the bridge. I loaded the rifle of my runner with Energa Grenade, went down and fired at point blank range. The tank was hit and soon went into flames. The crew was Muslim as later we could identify from their document. The tank on the left was also knocked down and all three burnt till dawn. These were the first causalities of 2nd Armoured Squadron ex 18 Cavalry. The first Indian counter attack came around 8:30 p.m. and was repulsed. The second counter attack came before the first light and repulsed with heavy causalities. The enemy artillery was remarkably firing very accurately on our linear defensive position, but our brave soldiers were not impressed to leave even an inch of the captured Indian territory. Pakistan's and 6 FF sons were at their best!


Throughout the day, Indian Artillery was carrying out ranging in addition to the air attacks. The enemy tanks hidden in hull down position were hitting our position on the Bund but could cause only little damage. On night 4/5, Indian launched counter attack supported by heavy artillery shelling. In the process, Maj Narian Singh, from 4 Jat Regiment encountered with Maj Shabir Sharif and were standing face to face. He lobbed phosphorus grenade which burned the left side of Maj Shabir face. However, before the Indian officer could fire, Maj Shabir fired a burst and killed him. Next morning it was revealed that the dead body was of attacking Indian Company Commander. After the cease fire his dead body was handed over to Indian authorities and later learnt he was awarded 'Veer Chakar,' – Indian gallantry award.


In the morning I requested Maj Shabir to go back to Regiment Aid Post (RAP) for the dressing and first aid but he refused to do so. He was looking strong and motivated and instead dispatched many recommendations of his subordinates for operational awards.


By first light December 6, 1971, the Company had repulsed several counter attacks and kept the enemy at bay, whose two Battalions, 3 Assam and 4 Jat supported by a squadron of 18 Cavalry, were rendered ineffective. The same morning enemy launched another counter attack preceded by air strikes and heavy artillery shelling, Maj Shabir Sharif took over the duty of the gunner from the 106 mm Recoilless Rifle crew and started firing on the enemy tanks. While he was firing, one of the enemy tanks fired with its main and secondary guns which proved fatal for Maj Shabir Sharif and hence, 6 FF, Pakistan Army and I personally, lost one of the best and daring officers. This was the most shocking news for me to lose a brave commander and most favourite combat leader in the battlefield. I was never able to see him off from the battle front and prayed for the departed soul as he alongwith three other dead bodies were being evacuated. I was broken to lose a bright and bold soldier like him who are born very seldom. We had built very strong bonds during the three days battle on Sabuna Bund.


The Company remained on the Sabuna Bund till December 17, 1971, the day when ceasefire was enforced. During the 15 days war, B Company encountered 14 counter attacks support by heavy artillery, tanks and air support. The causalities were enormous; one officer, three Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 56 soldiers embraced Shahadat. 134 individuals including six JCOs were wounded, mostly in severe condition. Indians suffered heavily; 3 Assam and 4 Jat were completely wiped out, over 60 persons were taken PoWs including officers and JCOs. 9 tanks of 2 Armoured Squadron ex 18 Cavalry (T-54) were destroyed. A large quantity of equipment, weapons and ammunition including two vehicles were captured.


Glorious achievements of 6 FF are today well known throughout the army. No amount of description and homage can justly depict what they did and there are many soldiers whose deeds remain unnoticed, unsung and unrecognized; such is the fog of the battle.


What I have narrated about the proud performance of 6 FF is the objective account of facts and sublime human courage, devotion and steadfastness. They achieved the impossible but I sincerely believe that such outstanding feats can be performed by any other battalion of Pakistan Army if it can display the requisite degree of faith, devotion, valour, exemplary leadership qualities by the officers and that infinite urge of personal “Ghairat” and pride in their battalion. Inspiring leadership, particularly junior leadership, is the major contributing factor for success in any operations of war.

Throughout the day, Indian Artillery was carrying out ranging in addition to the air attacks. The enemy tanks hidden in hull down position were hitting our position on the Bund but could cause only little damage. On night 4/5, Indian launched counter attack supported by heavy artillery shelling. In the process, Maj Narian Singh, from 4 Jat Regiment encountered with Maj Shabir Sharif and were standing face to face. He lobbed phosphorus grenade which burned the left side of Maj Shabir face. However, before the Indian officer could fire, Maj Shabir fired a burst and killed him. Next morning it was revealed that the dead body was of attacking Indian Company Commander. After the cease fire his dead body was handed over to Indian authorities and later learnt he was awarded 'Veer Chakar,' an Indian Award.

*****

By first light December 6, 1971, the Company had repulsed several counter attacks and kept the enemy at bay, whose two Battalions, 3 Assam and 4 Jat supported by a squadron of 18 Cavalry, were rendered ineffective. The same morning enemy launched another counter attack preceded by air strikes and heavy artillery shelling, Maj Shabir Sharif took over the duty of the gunner from the 106 mm Recoilless Rifle crew and started firing on the enemy tanks. While he was firing, one of the enemy tanks fired with its main and secondary guns which proved fatal for Maj Shabir Sharif and hence, 6 FF, Pakistan Army and I personally, lost one of the best and daring officers. This was the most shocking news for me to lose a brave commander and most favourite combat leader in the battlefield. I was never able to see him off from the battle front and prayed for the departed soul as he alongwith three other dead bodies were being evacuated. I was broken to lose a bright and bold soldier like him who are born very seldom. We had built very strong bonds during the three days battle on Sabuna Bund.

*****

 
24
March

Written By: Javed Jabbar

Media should desist from providing the kind of coverage which terrorists and extremists cherish. For instance, frequent and continuous coverage of barbaric killers brandishing weapons, particularly shown repeatedly in “loops” during news bulletins and talk-shows to illustrate their presence. Without intending to do so, TV news channels end up lending a kind of perverse glamour to these savages with potentially terrible influence on tender and impressionable minds, almost being seen by some as role models who are given so much attention by media.
To combat internal and external threats in a purposeful way, media, individually and collectively should help build a new narrative for public discourse. Such a new narrative should espouse pluralism, diversity, freedom of responsible and well-informed expression, not uniformity and a forced compliance with official or non-official versions of reality. Those readers who wish to skip the dubious privilege of reading the whole text of this reflection are well-advised to take a gentle leap to the concluding paragraphs for a response as uncertain as the implications of the question posed in the title. For the unwise, let us proceed in search of the route to a potential answer. Due to the enormous differences in the nature, the variety and the numbers of media; due to the predominantly private, independent status of the ownership of hundreds of media and the news and opinions they project; due to the scope for differing interpretations – which could be equally sincere even if they are at variance with official views – of the actual internal and external threats, the role of media in this context is variable and volatile, not singular and similar. Unlike coverage of sports, music, drama and mundane, day-to-day events, the coverage of aspects of internal and external threats requires a comprehensive appreciation of multiple factors. These include the inter-dependency of some or all of such multiple factors, a recognition of historical determinants, contemporary cross-currents, national, regional and global dimensions of these threats, and their repercussions for the future of Pakistan. Unlike the pre-occupation of the news media with the immediate, the visible and the audible, the approach to confronting internal and external threats has to identify what is truly important, what is not necessarily fully or partially visible, or even audible, or indeed silent. These attributes of threats qualities do not normally attract the relatively narrow focus of event-centric news media. Non-news media such as cinema feature films, educative special interest media that focus on subjects such as nature, science, history and entertainment, are also relevant. Subtly, by degrees, or even openly and explicitly, without being restricted by the immediacy of news events, such general media can integrate into their content facets of threats that deserve the attention of their respective audiences either on a permanent, long-term basis or periodically. Such general media do project material related to threats. Diversity and Númerosity of Media The diversity of media determines the basics of reach. The human sensory faculties that each medium requires has a bearing on how the content is received. To begin with, silent, wholly visual media such as posters, wall-chalkings, leaflets, still photographs are self-explanatory (sometimes selective and confusing but so obviously in-your-face) require only the eyes to create messages within the mind. At the next level, there come printed newspapers, magazines and books which require literacy and a modicum of education to comprehend non-visual content. Even though radio is universal and transcends geography and distance with sound alone, knowledge of the dialect and language being spoken is essential to absorb the content by voice alone. In an age in which TV has regrettably become the dominant mass medium requires, on the face of it, the least mental effort. TV viewers are like virtual zombies. They are fed, especially by news media, with a mind-numbing combination of moving picture, sound, frequent breaks, distractions and diversions to make the sensational into the significant and to push the substantial to the sidelines. Cinema films, specially those which oblige the viewer to physically remove themselves from their immediate homes or offices and become part of a socially shared experience in a darkened auditorium (as distinct from cinema films seen on DVDs on a TV screen at home), compensate for the spoon-feeding combination of moving picture and sound normally offered by TV. Cinema theatres require a crucial aspect of inter-action with others and with the inherently deeper scope that the cinema medium offers compared to TV, the mind is freer to reflect and to accept by conscious choice rather than by the brain-washing conducted by TV, such as on a person strapped into a chair by force! Of course, without physical straps, a TV viewer can always switch-off the TV set and be liberated from the menace just as a cinema viewer in a theatre can simply walk out of a hall. But all things considered, the cinema medium in either fictional feature-length form or in fact-based documentaries is a distinct and potentially superior medium to TV. No wonder TV channels rely so heavily on cinema films ! Books with their profound silence remain the single-most ideal form of conveying and possibly absorbing content that is most pertinent to aspects of internal and external threats. No voice, sound, picture, advertisements and mid-breaks intrude and disrupt the connection between the writer and the reader, between the message and the audience. One is referring here to readable, credible books based on serious research or springing from genuine talent and expressed in language with clarity and respect for the intelligence of the reader, not couched in predictable terms and phrases but offering something new and engaging for the reader. The fact that in Pakistan many even well-educated Pakistanis, some of them occupying the highest public offices, civil and military, do not appear to be regular readers of books and are never photographed sitting in a library while reading a book (!) does not reduce the relevance and importance of books as an essential medium to convey messages on internal and external threats. When we consider the private and independently-owned nature of media and alongwith this, the content of such media conveyed by either their own full-time staff or by freelance contributors, the first feature that requires note is whether the media in question are owned by individuals or organizations that are exclusively dependent on media alone for their livelihoods. Or whether the elements that own one mass medium e.g. newspapers also own TV channels, FM radio stations, etc. If they do so then their cross-media ownership interests have an impact on the content of the different media within the same group. For instance, the newspaper of a multi-media group will rarely, or never ever, make a critical or adverse comment about the content of a TV channel owned by the same group. Indeed, the same newspaper will publish every single day, sizeable advertisements promoting the programmes of the TV channel or FM radio stations owned by the same. When owners of media are also owners or major shareholders of enterprises in other sectors e.g. cement, sugar, paper, chemicals, imports, exports, etc. then such cross-sectoral interests often shape the news and editorial policies of the media owned by the same elements. Thus, presentation of material that is in the vital public interest regarding say, a specific economic threat to the country that may exist in a particular industrial or commercial policy of the state is unlikely to be covered in that cross-sectoral media ownership context because of the conflict-of-interest, not because of disloyalty to the country. To some extent, the unhealthy aspects of the narrow interests of some media owners is offset by the content contributed to media by freelance, external persons who have their own individual perspectives to offer, unaffected by the material interests of media ownership. However, here too, except in some cases, a media outlet tends to offer its space and time to only those freelance, external contributors who are in general tandem with the owners' own policies. As most media owners tend to be, either de facto or de jure, owners as well as editors/content-controllers, it is only in one or two instances where Editors/content-controllers are empowered to be independent of their employers' own interests or views in projecting content. Billions of New Media With the advent of the Internet in the past 15 years and the exponential growth in the use of cell-phones and smart phones that bring all media into the palm of a human hand at the touch of a button, social media represent an entirely new phenomenon in relation to the subject of this comment. While the conventional media are a large part of the content of social media, be this through 'You Tube' websites of traditional media, music, etc., individually-generated content on a mass scale has created an unprecedented scope for information, misinformation, disinformation with regard to internal and external threats. Through blogs, through the websites of hate-mongering outfits and violence promoting criminals, through the hazards of hackers and the cacophonous noise of a million analysts on every single subject, the presentation of material about internal and external threats in a calm, coherent, reasoned form of communication and of mutually respectful dialogue on subjects as sober as internal and external threats has become a formidable challenge, responses to which are neither instant, nor easy nor conclusive. We will have to learn as we proceed. Wide Range of Threats Internal and external threats are also as varied as are media! The intricacies of media are matched by the complexity of such threats. Within the territorial frontiers of Pakistan in 2014, we face the poison of sectarian extremism, religious extremism and intolerance by some of non-Muslims; the indiscriminate, destructive acts of terrorism; attempts by some elements to advocate secession from Pakistan; criminal mafias that deal with theft of land, water, public property and indulge in conduct of smuggling; production and sale of counterfeit goods e.g. medicines, or drugs and narcotics; easy and mass availability of lethal weapons, with and without arms licenses. Keeping in step with this sordid array of internal demons, and while being both the causes and the results of other flaws such as nepotism, corruption, mis-governance, misuse of democratic systems to perpetuate self-interest make for a pernicious spectacle of looming threats. There is then the harsh reality of mass poverty, deprivation, hardship and injustice suffered by tens of millions of the disadvantaged people of our country. The pain and the oppression imposed on women, their high rates of maternal mortality, the disturbing rates of infant mortality and of stunted children due to malnutrition: these are acidic burns on the complexion of our society and embody, along with the shoddy condition of the majority of government schools, the most insidious internal threat to our security and stability. Is it tragi-comic that in the realm of religion there is lack of consensus in society, leave alone media, about the unreligious insanity of faith-based extremism? Take, for example, the reaction to the assassination of Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab who simply called for revising the blasphemy laws to make them more harmonious with the compassionate and tolerant fundamentals of Islam itself. When his own guard cold-bloodedly shot him, the reaction of large numbers was more supportive of the callous, ignorant, misguided fanatic than of the caring, well-educated and progressive Governor. Two terrible signs of how widespread is this virulent form of threat became evident when a former Chief Justice of the Punjab High Court volunteered to defend the killer and lawyers and others showered flowers and praise on the criminal. Such conduct changed this danger more into a popular treat rather than a threat to the mass! As a society and state, we are regrettably not content with declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Some elements, often with the silent support of the police and many others, wilfully attack the homes of Ahmadis in which human beings are still alive as well as even the graveyards of Ahmadis to desecrate the dignity of the dead. Despite the fact that 97% of our population is Muslim, we have yet to address all the legitimate concerns for the safety and the rights of the small 3% of our population. The majoritarian mind-set of the 97% pervades the mind-set of the media, with only a few notable exceptions. Both media and many parts of society pay lip-service to non-Muslims in Pakistan but in practice, render little service to them. Media should desist from providing the kind of coverage which terrorists and extremists cherish. For instance, frequent and continuous coverage of barbaric killers brandishing weapons, particularly shown repeatedly in “loops” during news bulletins and talk-shows to illustrate their presence. Without intending to do so, TV news channels end up lending a kind of perverse glamour to these savages with potentially terrible influence on tender and impressionable minds, almost being seen by some as role models who are given so much attention by media. In the zeal with which most media and some segments of society support democracy and the rightful claim of the civil, elected, political process to be the pivotal force in Pakistan, there is a tendency to tolerate widespread corruption, particularly by individuals at the highest levels of the state and the political party leaderships on the ground that because corruption is a timeless universal human malaise, it is more important to simply ensure the continuity of democracy and the regularity of elections rather than to enforce impartial, even ruthless accountability across the board. The state of the economy, its level of productivity, competitiveness, capacity to offer gainful employment to the millions of youth entering the labour force each year, the confidence, or rather the lack of it of the country's own investors in their own economy, the flight of capital, the value of currency, the equity or inequity in the distribution of fair opportunities and of wealth, the willingness of citizens to pay due taxes instead of starving the state of revenue (and then whining about the State's failure to meet all the needs of citizens): singly, partly or holistically together, the economic threat is also inter-twined with external economic factors such as aid, loans, sanctions, credit ratings et al. Perhaps the most corrosive internal threat, which is also part of a larger planetary crisis, is the way in which we ravage, degrade and despoil our natural environment in the pursuit of development and progress. Our soil, our land, our forests, our water, our air, the myriad species of flora and fauna, the depredation of receding mangroves, our imbalanced growth of population this disregards for the beautiful bounties and balance of nature becomes the backdrop for the pollution and contamination of the built environment that we construct. External Threats Comparatively Less External threats to Pakistan are well-known. Commencing with a large hostile neighbour to the East which is reported to still deploy 70% of its Armed Forces in a Pakistan specific direction, even though it claims to aspire for a regional and global power status, the threat covers the LoC in Kashmir and the possible adverse fall-out from the unresolved disputes of Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek and differences on interpretation of the Indus Water Treaty. But India is not confined to the East alone. Indian ambitions in Afghanistan remain a valid source of concern for Pakistan, given both history and the present. Then, the only Member-State of the United Nations which opposed the application of Pakistan for membership of the UN in August 1947 (but later, fortunately, withdrew it in November 1947) remains 67 years later in 2014, the source of refugees burdening our own resources (now for over 30 years !), periodic border conflicts, potential after-affects of the NATO withdrawal post-2014. External media also represent a form of external threat to Pakistan. At one extreme are the xenophobic, chauvinistic Indian media which thrive on demonizing Pakistan: in contrast to the large-hearted Pakistani people who continue to view Indian Bollywood cinema both in Pakistani cinema theatres and on TV channels. In general, overseas media, be they national in scale or global in their reach such as BBC, CNN, The New York Times, etc. reflect a covert, if not explicit biase against Pakistan. Almost every single foreigner whom this writer has met and who has visited Pakistan for the first time says with wonder: “how different, and how much better is your country than how it is portrayed by our media!” Which says as much about the bias of external media as it does about how little we ourselves have done to correct this negative image, to improve our internal conditions and to invest hard-cash and human resources in building a more positive perception for Pakistan across the globe. External with Internal Extensions Another form of threat that combines an external source with an internal ally is in the area of soft subversion, as distinct from the sponsorship of internal extremism by even countries friendly with Pakistan, and terrorism by countries hostile to Pakistan. This combination results in individuals, and in some cases organizations becoming the “assets” of certain countries that want to promote their own ideology or interest inside Pakistan without being visibly seen to do so. Such actions can include financial aid and encouragement of religious seminaries, madrassas and outfits that indoctrinate both youth and adults to adopt a narrow, exclusivist, “I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong” attitude and consequent actions of intolerance, hatred and even violence. But also in this category are some members of civil society, journalists, writers and others who have the ability to shape public opinion. Only a handful, or as one would like to think, none of them consciously and willingly become the de facto spokespersons for countries hostile to Pakistan. Possibly inadvertently, unintentionally by their un-relenting criticism of certain institutions e.g. the unfortunate interventions by the Armed Forces into the political domain, the role of intelligence agencies etc., there remains little difference between what they claim to be the truth and what is said or published in media and in countries patently hostile to Pakistan. One must underline a note of caution in this particular respect. And this is to discourage and condemn the tendency to suspect every critic of some aspects of the Armed Forces to be anti-Pakistan or to be an agent of a foreign power. Many critics of the political role of our Armed Forces and the intelligence agencies are sincerely motivated by the best interests of their beloved country. It is only coincidental that their views coincide with the views of elements hostile to Pakistan. Only hard, verified intelligence should be the basis to identify who are consciously working for the soft assets of alien forces to become a fusion of both internal and external threats. Consensus – Not Always Possible On an overall basis, more consensus is likely within the country on the reality and the specificality of external threats rather than a consensus on internal threats and how media can play a corrective role. But in external threats as well there is a diversity of perceptions. For instance, there are some who believe that the doctrine of strategic depth applied by Pakistan to its relations with Afghanistan is completely mis-founded. Whereas due to both geographical, historical and due to ethnic, linguistic proximity and affinity, as also to sheer strategic military considerations, there is a degree of justification of the strategic depth doctrine as long as it does not violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. Almost every nation-state with demarcated frontiers has to be concerned about its immediate neighbours, about whether in times of stress and threat, such neighbours can be a reliable source of support and sympathy. Regrettably, sometimes some content of the media dismisses the strategic depth doctrine as merely the selfish aspirations of the Pakistani military. There is also a lack of consensus in another aspect of external threats. With regard to increasing trade with India, one view is that if we allow trade to grow quickly with India there will be more incentive for India to become more reasonable on a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Whereas the other, well-founded view is that trade should be tightly-graded and only gradually, incrementally advanced in direct relation to actual steps taken by India to reduce its oppression of Kashmir through its huge military presence in the Valley and to conduct purposeful dialogue with Pakistan. Media reflect this divide which may or may not be a bad thing! Except where media unduly promote one choice over the other and are unduly charitable to India. For example, a few months ago, a distinguished former Editor of a leading Pakistani English newspaper wrote that Pakistan's policy on the Kashmir dispute is “intransigent.” Whereas the fact is that it is Pakistan, over the past 67 years including the tenure of General Pervez Musharraf the COAS himself! which has consistently been the most reasonable, flexible and dialogue-minded as compared to the rigidity and irrationality of India's position. One factor that possibly prevents a major consensus within the country and the media on external threats is the widespread view, both in Pakistani media and overseas that there is a clear division of power and responsibility between the civil and military in respect of policies on nuclear weapons, Kashmir and Afghanistan in particular. Until the civil, political leadership demonstrates enough competence and strength to assert its leadership in these fields and until the military accepts civilian oversight in actual practice, this lack of clarity on the magnitude of external threats will continue. State-owned Media's role Credit is due to state-owned media such as PTV and PBC for their respective roles in informing and educating the people about both internal and external threats. They have not allowed commercialism and sensationalism to divert them from this task as have the private electronic media. Yet these state media have the inherent limitations of being owned by the state and controlled by the government of the day. Even though they often project views and content that are quite critical of the government of the day, they continue to suffer from the strong perception that they are instruments of government propaganda rather than of balanced and independent analysis. The Media Commission appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2013 in its report and recommendations (available in hard-copy through complimentary copies published and distributed by the Islamabad office of the German Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) offers proposals to enable State media to become more credible and effective. Concluding Thoughts In conclusion: do media matter? Yes, they do. Even as they are presently riven by bitter, acrimonious conflict e.g. The on-going warfare between few leading media houses. The media as a whole sphere are a vital means to combat both internal and external threats. From the most basic functions of conveying hard facts to the public to the offering of diverse opinions on issues, they have in theory and in principle, practical and positive contributions to make. They are, to some extent already doing so. Yet there are serious flaws and deficiencies in media across the board. In certain cases of irresponsible, unethical, unprofessional journalism, by simple incompetence or by devious design, the content of media can itself become an internal threat! But these aberrations should not foster a paranoia and a distrust of media. For details on some aspects of shortcomings and for their possible reform, reference may be made to the Media Commission's Report cited above. In this reflection, a summation can comprise: there is a clear need for substantive capacity-building of media at all levels of their human resources, from owner to editor/content controller, from correspondent to commentator to camera crews. Equally there is a dire need to strengthen the safety and protection of journalists and media's field operatives in the context of the heavy loss of lives suffered by journalists and media persons, apart from being victims of police violence and terrorists. Media are like invaluable early warning systems against the emergence of threats. For years, if not decades, some of the leading English language newspapers have been sounding the alarm against the rise of religious extremism and hate material. But there is a need to build capacity for comprehension of the threats both in Urdu media, in regional language media and in parts of English language media at all levels on a sustained basis. To combat internal and external threats in a purposeful way, media, individually and collectively should help build a new narrative for public discourse. Such a new narrative should espouse pluralism, diversity, freedom of responsible and well-informed expression, not uniformity and a forced compliance with official or non-official versions of reality. Do media matter? Not necessarily always, or fully! About 32 years ago in 1982, this writer contributed an essay to Dawn's Sunday magazine section titled: “Five paradoxes of mass media.” The same essay is reproduced in the book: “The Global City” published by Royal Book Company, Karachi. In that essay, one of the paradoxes that one presented is that media set out to delineate and depict reality but actually manage to distort reality because no medium can ever convey the totality of reality. By being subjective and selective, media content is inevitably suppressive. Thus, where media have power, media also have severe limitations. Sometimes, as earlier said, media themselves can be part of both internal and external threats! So even as we end this exploration with a wish for a set of guidelines for media about coverage of internal and external threats, let us also affirm the importance of the larger, non-media reality which we have to transform to make Pakistan a truly great country.

The writer is a renowned media personality who has served as minister in three Federal Cabinets and has been a Senator. He has to his credit, thirteen books and monographs comprising his writings and material compiled/edited by him on a range of subjects.

www.javedjabbar.com

24
March

Written By: Dr. Samar Mubarakmand

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand is an eminent scientist who led the team of scientists and engineers to conduct Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests at Chagai in May 1998. He did his masters in Physics with academic “roll of honour” from Government College Lahore in 1962 and later did his D. Phil in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the University of Oxford in 1966. He was later appointed Chairman of NESCOM in 2000. On joining the Planning Commission of Pakistan he was responsible for conceiving and implementation of the Reko Diq Copper Gold Project and the Underground Coal Gasification Project at Thar Coal Fields.
Pakistan came into existence in 1947. It is still a nascent state and therefore it is still in search of a stable and strong existence. It is a very well-known principle that nations run on two wheels. Primarily our country has to have a viable defence and then its stability and prosperity has to be based on a strong and sustainable economy. From its early days, Pakistan had to face aggression from its eastern neighbour. Unfortunately, the geo-political situation of the country saw a neighbour almost eight times larger in population and resources with a smoldering problem of Kashmir as a bone of contention between them. In the first twenty four years of its existence, Pakistan was attacked three times from the east. This was predominantly due to a gross imbalance of power between the two sides. In the mid-seventies, the defence planners of Pakistan realized that with the manpower and resources available, a balance of power in conventional military terms could never be achieved with the adversary. A right decision was taken to go for the nuclear option. With a consistent and focused perseverance from four successive governments and a sterling effort from the scientists, engineers and technicians of the country, Pakistan became the seventh nuclear state in the world and the first Muslim nation to acquire nuclear weapons. A balance of power has come about and our country has acquired a position of respect and dignity in the sub-continent. An era of advancement in mutual trade, cultural exchanges and economic cooperation has set in. It is a proven principal that irrespective of the military strength, nations can collapse if the economy breaks down. The Soviet Union disintegrated in a similar fashion. Having secured a viable minimum nuclear deterrence, it is now extremely important to work for establishing a vibrant economy in our country. Cheap and abundant power is the lifeline of cheap industrial and agricultural production. Without power, the economy of a country can slowly suffocate just as a human body cannot survive without air. The main factors for a boost in GDP of China are continuous and abundant availability of electricity at a tariff of around two cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Add to this the fact that there is no terrorism threat and there is total industrial peace in China. Availability of electricity at cheap rates will definitely bring down the cost of both agricultural produce and make the industrial output more competitive for exports. We have to also realize that the government is presently producing electricity at an average cost of Rs. 16/KWh but the revenue return averages Rs. 8/KWh. Electricity theft and line losses contribute to 50% loss of revenue. en2 Our hydroelectricity is produced in the north of the country where a steep fall in water level is available to run the turbines. Although this source of power appears to be cheap yet there are two considerations to account for. The capital expenditure in establishing a large dam like Tarbela or Mangla runs into billions of dollars. The dam life initially may be upto 40 years but can only be extended with additional expenditure on raising its height. This capital expenditure should be spread over the total number of electricity units produced to arrive at a realistic cost of production. Another point is that power from hydroelectric projects may have to travel a thousand kilometres before arriving at the main industrial centres at Karachi, Faisalabad, Lahore etc., resulting in significant line losses. The ideal scenario would be to generate electricity close to the industrial centres and at low production cost with the minimum of capital expenditure. Furthermore it is imperative that the fuel for power generation should be from the country's indigenous resources. Electricity produced from imported furnace oil or diesel costs Rs. 20 to Rs. 24 per KWh. Pakistan has a large potential for run of the river small hydroelectric projects. It is estimated that there is potential for generating 50,000 megawatts (MW) from the northern rivers and their tributaries. Small temporary inflatable rubber dams can be installed at suitable locations to generate power for local consumption in small towns and villages in our main valleys of Swat, Kaghan and along the Karakoram Highway. Pakistan is endowed with abundant sunlight for ten months in a year. Solar power projects can be established in most parts of the country. The capital expenditure on such projects is around $ 3 million per MW. Power is available only during the day light hours and can supplement the national grid when it is under peak load conditions. Solar energy is not a base source of power and therefore is not suitable to run industries which need power on twenty four hour basis. Wind power is another source of cheap and clean electricity. Important wind corridors exist in the south of Sindh at Gharo and also in the western part of Balochistan between Chaghi and the Iran-Pakistan border. Wind flow averaging fifteen knots is available but the capital expenditure on wind turbines is $ 3.3 million per MW. Technically, wind turbines are produced in the range between 0.5 to 2.5 MW. The current research indicates that the first ten MW wind turbine will not be forthcoming before 2017. In this scenario, turbines can be installed in villages and small towns only to meet the local power needs. eng1 Pakistan fortunately is gifted with large resources of natural gas which are predominantly in Balochistan at Sui and also spread over large areas of the Potohar plateau, upper Sindh, and some parts of South Punjab. Electricity produced by burning local natural gas costs about Rs. 5 per KWh. The pollution issues are also very low. However, burning gas for power production is like feeding a fire with dollar bills to boil a cup of tea. Natural gas can be more fruitfully utilized to produce fertilizer, diesel, methanol, naphtha and pharmaceuticals. There are several fertilizer factories in Pakistan based on natural gas. The production of diesel and motor spirit etc., is less known in Pakistan at the moment. A power production plant based on a boiler, steam turbine and generator has a typical efficiency of 25 to 30%. If natural gas is used in such a plant, it would amount to a criminal waste of natural resources. A more efficient power plant is based on Integrated Gas Combined Cycle (IGCC). These plants can use gas fuel and produce electricity with an efficiency of 45-55%. A decision was taken in 1987 to start power production from Sui Gas (Natural gas). 95 % of Pakistan's gas fired power plants were boiler/steam turbine units with an efficiency of 25-30%. Upto the year 2005, Sui Gas was plundered in this fashion mercilessly. The first warning bell was sounded when the pipeline pressure began to drop significantly. The country started to experience serious gas loadshedding which is increasing year by year upto the present time. When the Planning Commission of Pakistan called the Managing Directors of the Generation Companies (GENCOS) as well as the bosses of WAPDA to investigate why the natural gas resources of the country were wasted on inefficient power generation plants instead of establishing more efficient Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) units, the responsibility of taking this wrong decision fell on the bureaucracy of WAPDA. Of course, most of those responsible had retired by then. In Pakistan, nuclear power reactors have been operating since 1969. The first such reactor had a capacity of 137 Megawatt Electrical (MWe) and was commissioned on the out skirts of Karachi. Chashma-I and Chashma-II of 300 MWe each are operating at a site near Chashma. Two more nuclear power plants Chashma-III and Chashma IV will come into operation by the end of next year. A larger nuclear power plant with a capacity of nearly 1050 MWe is underway. It will take 5 years to complete. The capital expenditure on nuclear power plants is currently $ 4.5 million per MWe, which is the highest for any type of power generation system. Fuel for the power plants has to be imported as Pakistan lacks large quantities of uranium deposits. The cost of power production including the depreciation cost for the life of the plant is nearly Rs. 6 per KWh. Coal is found in some areas of Balochistan, the salt range of Punjab, at Bannu in KPK, and over a very large area of south-eastern Sindh. The quality ranges between sub-bituminous down to the lowest quality lignite coal. The best quality anthracite coal which looks like hard rock is very rare in Pakistan. This year, the government has signed with foreign investors mainly from China and also from the Middle East to set up several coal fired power plants in Pakistan. Ten units of 6400 MW each are planned for Gadani and in addition, similar units are to be set up at Port Qasim, Jamshoro and Sahiwal. Power generation is intended from imported coal which would be unloaded on a new jetty at Gadani and Port Qasim. The cost from imported coal would be around Rs. 14 to 16 Per KWh. A more serious implication of indiscriminate burning of coal in boilers is the environmental damage that will inevitably ensue. Pollutants which are commonly discernable to the eye are in the form of smoke which is essentially carbon particles. The content ranges between 70 to 90 milligrams per cubic metre of the chimney smoke. The invisible pollutants constitute oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur and carbon monoxide. There are serious threats to health such as lung diseases and cancer. During my visit to China to attend a conference on Underground Coal Gasification, I travelled thousands of kilometres from the extreme East Coast near Shanghai to the north-west of Ganzhou province. It was observed that in the vast landscape of China, the laying down of long power transmission lines has been avoided obviously to minimize costs and line losses. Every small village or town had its own power generation system based on coal burning in boilers connected to steam turbines. An elaborate system of railway lines brought coal from far and near to these power plants. At every population centre chimneys were belching smoke into the sky. Nearly 40% of sunlight was blocked. At night the moon and the stars were not visible. One evening, a few drops of rain fell on my skin as I stepped out to get dinner and the acid rain created blisters on my hands. The extent of pollution in this large country has reached phenomenal levels. In the early morning rush, people commute with masks on their faces. Towards the end of my visit, I picked up the news on the local television that the Government of China had put a ban on the burning of coal to generate electricity in 17 provinces of the country from the east to the west. The government directive suggested to put up coal gasification plants and generate power not by burning coal but by using coal gas as fuel. This would obviously overcome the monster of environmental pollution. It will not happen overnight but would take several years. The largest coal field in Pakistan exists in the eastern part of Sindh. This coal field was accidentlly discovered when tube wells were being sunk at several locations in search of sweet water. Every time some coal was detected. The Geological Survey of Pakistan was tasked to go for an extensive test drilling effort to ascertain the total area and content of coal. This vast deposit of coal discovered by chance came out to be the third largest deposit of coal in the world. One hundred & seventy five billion tons of lignite coal was discovered in an area of 9600 sq. km. The coal occurs in seven coal seams, the principal coal seam being at an average depth of 170 metres below the surface and it contains 75% of the total coal. The top most coal seam is at a depth of 135 metres. The coal has a fairly low sulfur content averaging 1%. It has a moisture content of between 30 to 40%. Lignite coal is essentially coal particles compressed together. It is porous through which compressed air can travel freely. The principal coal seam is sandwiched between two layers of hard stone, five metres thick above and three metres thick below the coal. The carbon particles of the coal diffuse into the rock above and below as if the coal seam is welded into the rock. When compressed air is injected at high pressure into the coal seam, the high pressure is sustained in the coal indicating that the seam is hermetically sealed and there is no leakage of gas from the coal into the surroundings. There is one hydrological aspect of the underground coal seams which is very relevant to the mining of Thar Coal. When rain falls in the Thar area, the rain water penetrates through the top 75 metres of sand layer and accumulates on a layer of clay, through which water cannot penetrate, forming the first aquifer of water which ranges between 7 to 10 metres in depth. The people of Thar normally pump out this water and use it for domestic consumption. This water has Total Dissolved Salt (TDS) of nearly 2000 parts per million (PPM). To people living in the cities of Pakistan accustomed to drinking mineral water (TDS 200), the water from the first aquifer would taste fairly brackish. However, the people of Thar have no choice but to drink this water. Again at a depth of 140 metres, there exists a second aquifer of water which is sitting on top of an impenetrable layer of clay stone and has a depth of 12 metres. This aquifer is fed from sea water which has almost reached Badin after global warming has raised the level of the Indian Ocean by 15 inches. The water in the second aquifer has a TDS of 9000 PPM. It is unfit for human consumption and agriculture. In the event of open pit mining, water from both the above aquifers will be dumped into the coal seam below. Detailed mathematical modelling has revealed that in a mine of 2 km x 2 km, one hundred & fifty five cusecs of water will have to be continuously pumped out before the mining of coal can be attempted. This pumping cost would add up to the mining cost. Electricity produced as a result of mining of Thar Coal may, therefore, reach Rs. 14 per KWh. The science and technology division of the Planning Commission of Pakistan envisaged a project based on 'Underground Coal Gasification for Power Generation' at Thar Coal Fields. This technology is adopted worldwide where mining of coal is uneconomical, either due to the existence of water aquifers or due to prohibitively great depths. Wells are drilled and lined with steel pipes reaching the coal seam from the top. Typically a one kilometre long row of twelve vertical gas wells is drilled first and then connected in the coal seam at the bottom with Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) machine using the technique of magnetic guidance. This machine has a capability of drilling a horizontal hole four feet in diametre upto length of 1.6 km and at a depth of upto 3000 metres below the surface. These HDD machines were first invented to connect pockets of oil or gas at great depth so that output could be taken out from a single well. High pressure air containing 60% oxygen is injected into the first well after igniting the coal at its bottom. As the fire builds up temperatures of upto 1300 degree celsius, the water inherently present in the lignite converts to steam. In the presence of oxygen, steam and high temperatures, coal converts into coal gas. Coal gas produced in the coal seam comes out from the next well. As the coal is consumed, the fire progresses forward along the row of wells converting more and more coal into gas. Coal, 25 metres on either side of the row of the wells and upto the full thickness of the coal seam, is converted into the coal gas. Several such rows of wells yield millions of cubic feet of coal gas per day. Raw coal gas is processed through a purification plant in much the same way as natural gas is cleaned. Impurities such as ash, tar, sulfur and moisture are removed during the cleaning process and pure dry gas is available for any of the several uses it can be put to. The heat value of the gas can be as high as 3000 K calories per cubic metre. It is suitable for power generation and for the production of diesel, methanol, pharmaceuticals, plastics, chemicals for aerospace industry, hydrogen and ammonia for fertilizer. The coal gas purification plant will be commissioned by October 2014. The underground coal gasification project for generation of 100 MW of electricity was initially recommended by the Planning Commission and approved in December 2010 by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) at a cost of Rs. 8.5 billion. The project was to be fully funded and completed in two years. The Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB) of the government of Sindh facilitated the above federally funded project with the allocation of Block-V at the Thar Coal Field having an area of 64 sq. km containing 1.34 billion tons of coal. All administrative support from the government of Sindh is given through a Board of Governors established for implementation, monitoring and smooth running of the project. To date, a sum of Rs. 1.9 billion has been issued by the Ministry of Finance. With this 22% release of funds in four years, the infrastructure consisting of three vertical drilling rigs, one Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) machine have been acquired. Power generation system for eight MW has been contracted and half of this system has reached the site. With further release of funds, this project can extend its power generation upto any level that the government requires. The drilling of gas wells eliminates the problems of aquifers. The powdered nature of lignite facilitates the rapid progress of coal gasification phenomena in the coal seam. The sandwiching of coal within stone layers ensures that high pressure coal gas produced comes out through the gas wells and is not lost in the surroundings underground. The coal gas also cannot come in contact with aquifers thereby eliminating the possibility of contamination of water. The thickness of the principal coal seam averages ten metres, thereby giving a production life of ten years to a single row of wells. All these features make underground coal gasification the best possible choice at Thar. It seems that nature has tailor-made the lignite deposits for the process of underground coal gasification. The capital expenditure in the above process is $ 2 million per MW. The cost of production of electricity for a 100 MW plant (which is not a big plant) is estimated to be Rs. 4 per KWh and this cost includes the life of the wells, the depreciation of the purification plant, power generation system as well as the running costs. Insha'Allah the first ever electricity generation from Thar Coal is expected by spring 2015. This power plant comes at the lowest capital investment and the lowest production cost per KWh of all power generation systems in existence. The crowning glory is that there is no possibility of pollution during power generation and global warming is also avoided when carbon dioxide, produced in the plant, is stored in underground cavities produced as a result of coal removal during the process of underground coal gasification. This is called carbon dioxide sequestration and will earn the project carbon units from the United Nations. A free flow of funds from the Federal Government and a continued support of the government of Sindh will one day turn block-V into a huge chemical complex where in addition to thousands of Megawatts of electricity, millions of barrels of diesel at under $ 40 per barrel, cheap fertilizer and other products would be forthcoming. Thar Coal Power Company (TCPC) Pvt. Limited at Block-V has already been created and listed in the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). The platform is set to attract foreign investment and joint ventures in the project.
24
March

Written By: Brian Cloughley

One could spend a very long time going back over the ground of the 1965 war, because, as I have written elsewhere, the origins of the war, its conduct, and, its consequences are quite complex. Most books covering the period deal in the main with the outcome of the war rather than the reasons for it. This is understandable given that there appears to have been no national aim on the part of Pakistan for going to war in the first place. In 1965, the war aim of Pakistan was neither enunciated nor apparent. 'Survival' is not an aim, it is a pious desire, and although Pakistan's Armed Forces fought well during the 1965 war, they lacked the openly-declared Clausewitzian objective that they should fight to overcome the enemy, invest his territory, and, ensure his total defeat. India's forces had no inhibitions. They attacked Pakistan on 6 September with the aim of crushing it. Destruction of Pakistan was essential, according to India's leaders, if India was to be confident of supremacy in the sub-continent. But Pakistan fought back, and the war ended on 23 September. Both countries' economies were badly affected and their defence forces had suffered severe blows. There was no winner, but important military lessons had been learnt. Perhaps the following description of one engagement might give an idea of some of them. It covers part of what went on in the Sialkot Sector. Sialkot Sector is only six miles from the border with India and is not a 'good tank country' because there is little room for mass manoeuvre due to the extensive canal system's interlock with the main rivers. Further, the Chenab and Jhelum rivers would be (and still are) major obstacles to movement north-westwards towards Islamabad. ref1 1 There are differing accounts of the reasons for the Indian advance towards Sialkot. It may be that the objectives were imprecise at the time of orders being issued, which is unlikely given long-standing plans for war in the west, or that they were concealed afterwards in the interests of avoiding criticism of the failure to attain them. One incontrovertible fact is that a captured Indian Army order indicated the intention to cut the Grand Trunk Road and railway at Gujranwala, but this was probably a local tactical objective. The overall plan was and remains undefined, but reasonable conjecture may be made concerning its details based on examination of Indian, Pakistani, and neutral sources. Notwithstanding any territorial imperatives, it is apparent that the Indian aim was to defeat the Pakistan Army in the field, and, according to one analysis by a distinguished academic, their accounts concerning the advance in the Sialkot sector had 'a cluster of general objectives' aiming to: • pre-empt a Pakistani advance on Jammu planned for 10 September; • draw off Pakistani forces from the Chhamb sector, • prevent Pakistan reinforcing on the Lahore front; and • draw into battle, then destroy, Pakistani armour. There does not appear to be evidence that a Pakistani plan existed to attack Jammu on 10 September. Their advance on Akhnur, twenty miles north of Jammu, had been halted five days previously and it was obvious that they could go no further without substantial reinforcement in the Chhamb area. It may well be that there was an Indian plan to draw away Pakistani forces from Chhamb and Lahore but, if so, it is open to question why they should have committed an entire corps of more than three divisions, including the premier armoured formation, to an area in which a feint would have been enough to achieve these objectives. The possibility that one objective was the destruction of Pakistan's armour is difficult to substantiate as existing before the advance, although it might have become an aim after the Pakistani armour was committed. The Indians admit they were unaware of the existence of 6th Armoured Division, which was south-west of Sialkot. Even had its location and identity been known, the defeat of two tank units would hardly have represented 'destruction of Pakistani armour.' The argument that the thrust would draw in all other Pakistani armour from elsewhere to meet with destruction does not stand up, because there could be no guarantee that all other armour would move into the Sialkot sector, and even were there a desire to do so, Indian pressure on Lahore would militate against complete withdrawal of Pakistani tanks from that area. As it happened, three more armoured regiments were brought in, but even this was hardly the concentration that would meet an objective of annihilation. Accounts differ as to how many tanks were put out of action by both sides, but if it was India's intention to win a battle of attrition this did not succeed. The advance was blunted and the Pakistanis were able to hold their positions and prevent penetration of the vital ground between Sialkot and Lahore. It appears that the Indian aim was simply to attack where it considered the enemy was weak and to gain as much ground as possible while endeavouring to keep the enemy off balance. Exploitation would come later, when either the Lahore or the Sialkot offensive was successful. This is a perfectly understandable aim, and one that might just have been achieved had it not been for the stubborn resistance of numerically inferior Pakistani formations. The Indian invasion of Pakistan in the Sialkot sector began on the night of 7/8 September on two axes: the Jammu-Sialkot road, and a parallel route some twelve miles to the south-east. 1 (Indian) Corps was commanded by a steady and experienced officer, Lt-General P O Dunn, who had been given only a few days to move his HQ from Delhi to Jammu, where he arrived on 3 September. His corps consisted of: • 26 Infantry Division, which advanced on the axis of the Jammu-Sialkot road via the Indian border village of Suchetgarh. Gulzar Ahmed claims that the division had four infantry brigades and two armoured regiments, rather than the conventional three plus one, and it appears from other sources that this was so in at least the early stages of the advance. It is likely that the extra brigade and armoured regiment were corps' assets allocated for a specific phase of the operation – but whatever the arrangements, there was a powerful punch on this axis. • 6 Mountain Division, on the southern axis, crossed the border near the Pakistani village of Charwa. It is claimed by one source that this formation and 1st Armoured Division were understrength, but no yardstick is given. A mountain division, by definition, does not have an integral armoured regiment, and the analyst may have mistaken the division's order of battle at the beginning of conflict with the organization that applied on 10/11 September, when one of its brigades came temporarily under command of the armoured division. • 1 Armoured Division joined the advance at first light on 8 September, crossing the border near Charwa and moving south-west towards Chawinda. It had two armoured brigades each of two tank regiments and a lorried infantry battalion; and a lorried infantry brigade of two battalions. Its artillery included medium and heavy guns. It was a well-balanced formation, but the division had exchanged one, and possibly two, of its Centurion-equipped regiments with Sherman regiments of 2 Independent Armoured brigade, thus reducing its clout. • Elements of 14 Infantry Division were in the area but there are conflicting accounts of its role. One source states that, 7 Mountain Division, and 1 Armoured Division advanced 'on a front stretching from exclusive of Bajra Garhi to just east of the Degh Nadi, apparently with the initial task of cutting the Sialkot-Narowal-Lahore railway. Another analyst claims it 'rolled down across the wide stretch Charwa-Bajra Garhi.' But it appears that the division was not complete in the area of operations until some days after the initial Indian assault, and even then that it had the task of covering the left flank of 1 Armoured and 6 Infantry Divisions, and the right flank of 15 Corps, which was attacking on the Lahore front. During its move to the Jammu sector from Saugor (in central India) it had apparently 'received a pasting from the PAF' and was, as a result, 'in poor shape.' • '7 Mountain Division' is mentioned by one academic in his excellent analysis but, so far as can be determined, by nobody else who has written about the war. 7 Infantry Division fought on the Lahore front, but it is possible that a misidentification occurred, resulting in confusion of 7 Mountain Division with a brigade of the same number that belonged to 6 Mountain Division. If anyone reading this can enlighten me about the matter – or any other matter – I would be grateful. In the opening stages of the battles, Pakistan's 1 Corps covered the Sialkot sector with 15 Infantry Division consisting of seven battalions in four brigades (24, 101, 104, and 115), with 25 Cavalry as its armoured regiment, and a good allocation of artillery. But there were problems, not the least of which was that 115 Brigade was fighting in the Jassar area, where it was required to remain for the rest of the war. 101 Brigade (19 Punjab and 13 FF) was the only formation directly defending Sialkot, and was located astride the main road to Jammu where it faced the onslaught of the Indian 26 Division. 24 Brigade (2 Punjab and 3 FF, plus 25 Cavalry under command) was between the border and Chawinda, which lies due east of an almost right-angled bend in the Sialkot-Lahore railway. 104 Brigade, which consisted of a single battalion, 9 Baloch, was in reserve in the area of Uggoke/Raipur, about four miles west of Sialkot. It seemed that in the Jammu/Sialkot sector, the Indian Army might be able to bring sufficient force to bear to carry the day and even win the war. India's 1 Corps advanced with two infantry divisions and an armoured division against a Pakistani armoured brigade and a single infantry division that had fragmented and understrength fighting units, no cohesive defensive plan, and some leaders of dubious quality who were already under considerable pressure. India's 1st Armoured Division was ready to exploit the advantage won by the infantry force preceding it. The way to the west seemed open. 6 Armoured Division, consisting of the Guides Cavalry, 22nd Cavalry, 1st (SP) Regiment of 25 pounder guns on tracked chassis, and ‘4th Battalion The Frontier Force Regiment’ (in fact no more than a brigade of eighty tanks, 12 guns, and 700 infantry in lorries), was in leaguer around Kot Daska, 15 miles south-west of Sialkot and 30 miles west of the border. Chawinda, where it was to win its spurs, was twenty miles away. The units moved quickly when it became apparent that the Indian invasion was taking place. In the north, two battalions of India's 26 Division crossed the border astride the Jammu-Sialkot road at about midnight on 7 September. They quickly overcame the outposts of the Sutlej Rangers (light scouting forces) but were brought to a halt by 101 Brigade and the weight of Pakistan's artillery. According to one writer, the approaches to Sialkot 'bristled with pill-boxes, bunkers and gun emplacements,' the latter including 'three field and one medium artillery regiments, one heavy battery and one heavy mortar regiment.' A concentration of this number of guns and mortars would cover an area of about 500 meters by 150 meters in which the weight of shells and mortar bombs from one round of fire from each equipment would be approximately two tons. Not only this, but the artillery was well-handled and 'some senior Indian army officers who had served in World War II likened the scale of Pakistani artillery fire to heavy concentrations in the latter stages of that war. While this is not borne out by inspection of battlefields, it does indicate that Pakistan's artillery fire was substantial and effective.' 26 Division managed to reach the village of Kalarawanda, about three miles west of the border, by the time of the cease-fire on 23 September. There was a massive effort on the part of the Indian Army on the northern axis of the Sialkot front, but an advance of only three miles cannot be called satisfactory when one considers the numerical superiority of 26 Division. The defence of Sialkot by 19 Punjab and 13 FF and their supporting gunners was more dogged than glamorous, more indefatigable than dramatic; but, their courage and tenacity were unmatching.

The writer is a France based retired officer of Australian Army and is an expert on South Asian affairs. He is also author of different books, and contributes extensively in international media.

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

24
March

Written By: By Amir Zia

Conflicts and war often bring the best or worst out of men. The 1965 war indeed brought the best out of the Pakistani nation. This unyielding spirit needs to be celebrated... it needs to be rekindled even today when the country faces the usual conventional threat on its eastern front as well as the internal challenge of extremism and terrorism
W hen the Indian forces crossed Pakistan's international border unannounced in the dark of the night on the fateful date of September 6, 1965, they were hoping for a swift march into Lahore. Indian General, J.N. Chaudhry, had boasted that he would celebrate his victory at the Lahore Gymkhana the same evening. But the dream of the Indian General got drowned in the muddy waters of the BRB Canal where handful of Pakistani soldiers gave a heavy pounding to his 15th Infantry Division in the initial hours of the battle. The first mighty blows struck by the valiant sons of Pakistan on the aggressors set the tone of this 17-day conflict. Be it the defence of Lahore, the capture of the desert town of Munabao in Rajasthan, the grand tank battle of Chawinda near Sialkot, the bombardment of the India's radar station at the town of Dwarka by a small flotilla of Pakistan Navy, or the heroics of Pakistan Air Force – the gallantry of Pakistan Armed Forces in the 1965 War remain stuff fit for the folklore even after the passage of nearly five decades. The Indian offensive aimed at capturing major Pakistani cities of Lahore and Sialkot in one blow in the initial stage of the conflict on the back of a far superior numerical strength and firepower failed to materialize. But the Indians did manage to deflect pressure on the Akhnur and Jammu front where the Pakistani Forces were advancing at a rapid pace. Nevertheless, halting the Indian charge on the international frontier and defence of the major cities by Pakistani Armed Forces remains a feat in itself. The conflict tested the sheer resolve, courage and spirit of the mortal men that continue to resonate in our hearts even today. “The war has started,” thus spoke the then President Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan in his brief address to the nation at the start of the conflict. “Almighty Allah has provided an opportunity to the Pakistani Armed Forces to demonstrate their ability. My countrymen forge ahead and take on the enemy.” It was not just the men in uniform who answered to the call to arms, but the entire nation rose as one-man to foil the enemy designs. If our soldiers, airmen and sailors stood like a rock in the line of fire, the hearts of the entire nation were with them on each and every battlefront. Those were the times which galvanized the nation. The Indian aggression erased all the differences of class, social background, religion, ethnicity, nationality or sect. Internal wrangling and petty politics were kept on the back-burner. Defending the motherland was the only goal. In their bid to crush the legitimate freedom movement in the occupied Kashmir, the Indians thrust the war on Pakistan's international border. Pakistan responded matching fire with fire and steel with steel. It was a classical example of the Biblical tale of young David, who kills Goliath, the giant, with a stone. 14-15a Even though Pakistani Armed Forces were pitted against the much bigger enemy, there was never an element of self-doubt or lack of conviction that this war cannot be fought. The smallness of size and numerical strength got offset by the giant Pakistani spirit that believed 'yes we can.' We can defend our frontiers… we can preserve our liberty and we can give a bloody nose to our enemy. Be it the armed forces or the civilians – this conviction and sense of unity remained the hallmark of those testing times. In that short, less than three week war, if the armed forces made the nation proud, the civilians did their bit by backing the men in uniform as best as they could. Pakistani poets, artists, singers and musicians produced some of the best war time national songs that became classics in their own right that fill our hearts with pride, passion and love for our country and the armed forces even today. The Radio Pakistan bubbled with round-the-clock activity – even during the Indian air-raids – performing the task of countering the Indian propaganda blow-by-blow, disseminating information and articulating the national spirit through the national songs. If Pakistani intelligentsia worked overtime to back the war-effort, our labourers, workers, peasants, technicians, engineers, doctors, government employees, traders and shopkeepers ensured that all the vital operations and services continue unhindered during the wartime. And yes the grand Pakistani spirit that brought civilians to the rooftops of their houses to witness Pakistani eagles chasing the Indian planes. People shouted slogans, screamed and jumped with joy – many with teary eyes – as they hailed and showered their love and affection on the defenders of their motherland. Fear was and is not in our blood. Conflicts and war often bring the best or worst out of men. The 1965 war indeed brought the best out of the Pakistani nation. This unyielding spirit needs to be celebrated... it needs to be rekindled even today when the country faces the usual conventional threat on its eastern front as well as the internal challenge of extremism and terrorism. The ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb against the Al-Qaeda-inspired local and foreign militants, who want to bring down the state and consider the Pakistani Armed Forces as their number one enemy, must be seen as vital for the unity and integrity of the country as was the 1965 war effort. To defeat this internal enemy – having tentacles not just in the treacherous mountainous regions but also in all major cities and towns of Pakistan – it is necessary that we evoke the similar spirit, which helped us repulse the attack of the Indians. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is not an isolated crackdown concerning the armed forces alone. It is Pakistan at war against the elusive enemy which is misusing the sacred name of Islam to weaken and damage the world's lone Muslim-majority nuclear state. Our stakes today remain as high as they were in 1965. Any doubts, disunity, discord among our ranks in taking on this challenge only benefit the internal as well as the external enemies of Pakistan. Our politicians need to grasp this reality and take a lead in setting the national narrative against these parochial forces which stand opposed to education, modernity, progress and development. The dream of a stable, economically vibrant and peaceful Pakistan would continue to elude us until we crush this internal enemy on a war-footing. The armed forces are doing their job and our soldiers and officers sacrificing lives in one of the most difficult terrains of the world, but are we, as a nation, backing this effort with a similar passion and single-mindedness as needed? We need to answer this question honestly. Yes, the nation stands solidly behind their armed forces despite all the turf wars being fought among our politicians and the ensuing confusion, but one hardly sees any sense of urgency and focus needed to win this internal war among our national leaders. The military operation against extremists and terrorists has provided the much-needed space to the civilian leadership to focus on reforms, and win the battle of ideas, but apart from the lip-service to this cause, there are hardly any meaningful steps being taken to exploit this window of opportunity. There should be zero tolerance against the non-state actors who try to undermine the writ of the state, take up arms and attack the armed forces, sensitive installations or target civilians. This is the minimum national consensus we need at this moment. For it is Pakistan's war, our war. It cannot be won without igniting the similar spirit which helped us in 1965. This is a chance for our generation to prove itself. We have no choice but to accept the gauntlet.

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for media and is Editor of a national daily

Twitter: @AmirZia1

24
March

Written By: Dr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The traditional quiet on the western borders – tribal regions and Afghanistan – ended long ago with the military invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on Dec 25, 1979. In the climate of the Cold War, the western world, Islamic countries and Pakistan reacted to this aggression by organizing, equipping and assisting the Afghan Mujahedeen in many ways to fight their holy war efficiently. The reactive war started with doubts about the Soviet army, known for defending its occupied territories, including the wide imperial stretch of the Czars, to quit Afghanistan under pressure. Against all odds, the Afghans, every ethnic group of the nation, rose up in revolt and defended their country with the traditional conviction and valour. Pakistan played a key role in pushing the Soviets back, no matter what the cost it had to pay then and later. In our strategic thinking looked in the long-term, security threat of Soviet consolidation was greater than the immediate cost of hosting millions of Afghan refugees and earning the wrath of the Soviet leaders. We found the entire world except the countries aligned with Moscow on our side. The youth from the Islamic world and Pakistanis with religious orientation inspired by their leaders went to Afghanistan to fight along with the Mujahedeen. The western borderlands became centre point of the Mujahedeen war. Every possible point of entry into Pakistan for refugees became a potential point of movement of weapons and fighters into Afghanistan. We cannot understand the present security challenges in the western borderlands without knowing this background and without realizing how long cycles of wars for more than thirty-four years have affected every institution of the borderland that provided stability, security and peaceful environment for the local populations. The region became the forward staging ground for the Afghan Mujahedeen and their guest fighters from Pakistan and other Islamic countries. All the weapons, material supplies, spies and militant commanders moved through the border areas. As the main actors in the Afghan war changed from Soviets vs. Mujahedeen to inter-Mujahedeen and Taliban and Northern Front, the war effects on the region mitigated very little. The fourth cycle of the war – the American-led war against the Taliban regime, the longest and deadliest ever – has produced some ideological ripple effects throughout Pakistan. One of these effects is in the form of Taliban groups in different regions under militant commanders and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This militant movement acknowledges Mullah Omar of Afghanistan as the spiritual and ideological leader. In terms of theological lineage and sectarian identity, and even Pashtun ethnic background of leaders (there are Punjabis in smaller numbers), the Taliban is a transnational movement. Both in times of war and peace they cross borders, seek mutual assistance and alternate sanctuaries. Differences, in any, are tactical and in choosing time to act alliances. However, not all Taliban groups and their foot soldiers are driven by ideology alone. Acquiring power over the local population and an opportunity to seek extortion from traders, transporters and vulnerable groups in a climate of collapsing state institutions has provided opportunity to criminal, like drug traffickers, smugglers and kidnappers to enter the Taliban ranks. The Taliban label and militancy has produced many diverse groups and leaders in every tribal area. Although they are weakened at this time, and hopefully with sustained national efforts and determination of the armed forces, would be eliminated, the residual effects of their war against the state and people will continue to vibrate for long time. They have for too long crippled the authority of the state, destroyed traditional institutions and structures of authority and help the local populations hostage. The state will have to work hard to win the hearts and minds of the local populations and tribal chiefs, restore their confidence in the authority of the state and devote energies and development funds for reconstruction. As one of the great successful operations to dislodge the militants from Swat and subsequent to reconstruction work in different fields of social and physical rehabilitation suggests, we as a nation can rebuild Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The local security threats in terms of militant groups in the border regions is linked to other security challenges – involvement of external powers and the militant sanctuaries inside Afghanistan. India, our traditional adversary has in the past, rather from the day one of our independence, has exploited our vulnerabilities to destabilize us. For decades, it supported ethnic militancy and separatism in Balochistan and the Pashtun areas. While the earlier phase of Pashtun nationalism and its militancy has faded off with integration of this community in the economic, social and political life of the country, the Baloch ethnic militancy has abated and surged. One of the major reasons for the re-emergence of Baloch militant activities is easy, and readily available sanctuary across the border in Afghanistan. The Indian spy networks have expanded reach in Afghanistan owing to their growing “strategic partnership.” Indian intelligence agencies, operating quite independently of the Afghans, have used their presence in that country to create troubles in Balochistan and the Pashtun borderlands. After being driven from Swat and all FATA regions, the TTP has found safe havens in adjoining provinces of Afghanistan. It is funded, equipped and advised by foreign powers. For the past four years, they have been staging attacks on our security forces on the border from their hideouts in Afghanistan. This presents a serious security challenge along with western borders, something we never faced in the previous decades. The cross-border raids may strain our security forces, spread of resources thin and menace our national security. One of the major security challenges we have faced in the borderlands is the presence of foreign militants from Central Asia and Arab countries. There are many narratives of their presence here, but whatever the reason, they have refused themselves the opportunity to stay as peaceful foreigners or naturalized Pakistani citizens. They are committed to Jihadist ideology and have spent their lives and careers with dangerous transnational militant groups, like Al-Qaeda and Islamic movements in Central Asia. They have committed some of the worst atrocities against our forces and have been staging attacks against our security installations and forces deep inside the country. Lastly, the evolving security environment of Afghanistan – its stability or turmoil and growing strategic linkage with India – must worry us all. Both its failure in achieving national reconciliation in true sense and instability will greatly impact our national security in the western borderlands. Therefore, it is necessary that as we rebuild border regions institutionally and in terms of social and economic development, we also extend our helping hand to Afghanistan to stabilize itself.

The writer is an eminent defence/political analyst and regularly contributes in print/electronic media. Presently he is Director General at 'Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad'.

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

24
March

Written By: Ahmed Quraishi

India's policymakers should understand by now that Pakistan will not offer one-sided strategic concessions to India under any circumstances. It is also evident by now that Kashmiris will not relent even if Pakistan did. Hoping for Islamabad to concede or punishing Kashmiris by blocking international aid during a natural disaster like the recent historic floods will not help India wish away its troubles on its western borders.

Veteran Pakistani diplomats could write several volumes on the unpredictable and aggressive nature of Indian diplomacy. And they won't be alone. Internal documents declassified by the United States government and posted on State Department's website quote former president Richard Nixon calling Indian diplomats “a slippery, treacherous people.” His Secretary of State and a world authority on diplomacy Henry Kissinger is quoted in one document as saying, “They are the most aggressive […] people around.” What American officials have discovered about India in protracted Cold War diplomacy is something that we in Pakistan are experiencing on regular basis for nearly seven decades now. The Indian style of diplomacy – excessive humility on the outside, aggressive and determined on the inside – is credited with turning a small dispute in Kashmir into a nuclear flashpoint and a humanitarian tragedy. India continues to have troubled relations with almost all of its nine neighbours.

Despite this history, Islamabad was caught by surprise when New Delhi abruptly cancelled foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan that were slated for Aug 25, 2014. The cancellation came on Aug 18, six days before the meeting. The Indian excuse this time was that Pakistan was meeting Kashmiri freedom leaders from Hurriyat, an umbrella group of Kashmiris demanding end to seven decades of Indian military occupation. The Indian decision was conveyed to Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi, Mr. Abdul Basit minutes into his meeting with Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah at the Pakistani diplomat's residence. An Indian External Affairs statement accused Pakistan of 'attempt to interfere in India's internal affairs,' implying that Kashmir was a domestic Indian matter.

The Pakistani response was swift and strong. “Pakistan is not subservient to India,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said on Aug 19, “It is a sovereign country and a legitimate stakeholder in the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.” On Kashmir, Ambassador Aslam, who served in India, said, "Kashmir is not part of India. It is a disputed territory. There are numerous UN [Security Council] resolutions.” Why Pakistan was surprised that India cancelled the first high-level talks in two years? The reason for the Pakistani surprise was the flimsy excuse India used this time. Pakistani diplomats based in New Delhi have been publicly and openly meeting Kashmiri leaders in the Indian capital forever. According to the UN, Kashmiris are a party to the conflict.

Pakistani meetings with Kashmiri leaders have always been transparent and designed to facilitate an end to the conflict. No Indian government before Narendra Modi objected to this. But this time, displaying unnecessary arrogance, Mr. Modi's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh telephoned Pakistan's High Commissioner and asked him not to meet Kashmiri leaders.

The question is: what led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to think that Pakistan would heed his call to boycott Kashmiri leaders? Mr. Modi is apparently under the impression that Pakistan is in no position to dictate terms of engagement. The Indian media claims that Modi's government insisted Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to avoid meeting Kashmiri leaders while attending Modi's swearing-in in May this year. By design, Premier Sharif's visit was limited to attending the inaugural ceremony. The hardline BJP-led government probably misinterpreted this to believe it can dictate Pakistan on Kashmir.

India is doing to Nawaz Sharif what it did to Pervez Musharraf. Critics in Pakistan say the former president bent backwards to accommodate India. He succeeded in nudging the Indians to agree to major breakthroughs in resolving aspects of the Kashmir conflict and the two border disputes of Siachen and Sir Creek. But India kept delaying signing the agreements until Musharraf was no longer in power. The Indian response to Prime Minister Sharif's overtures has baffled observers. Premier Sharif has sent several positive signals to New Delhi, including willingness to grant it the most-favoured nation status despite the discriminatory Indian tariff regime against Pakistani products. Why would India not seize this opportunity to strike permanent peace and solve problems? One week before cancelling peace talks, Narendra Modi visited Kashmir, a region effectively under Indian army rule. Without provocation, Modi accused Pakistan of 'fomenting terrorism' in India and inside Kashmir. Even Indian security analysts contradict this. Under Musharraf, Pakistan allowed Indian army to construct a fence along the Kashmir ceasefire line. This made evident to the world that armed freedom resistance aga