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.

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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.



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.

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.



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.


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.


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