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

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


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!


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.

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.




“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.”



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.


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.




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.

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.

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.

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.




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.




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.


• 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."




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.




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.

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”.



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

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.

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.



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.




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.


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.

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.


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.

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.
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

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.

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.

Written By: Kanwal Kiani & Maria Khalid


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).


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.


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.


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.
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.

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.




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.

Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar



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.

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.


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.




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.

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Twitter: @AmirZia1


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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.


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.

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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.


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).

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


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’.


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.


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


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.

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.

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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


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'.

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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 against Indian military occupation in Kashmir was indigenous and not inspired by Pakistan.

Modi's statement, followed by cancellation of talks on a flimsy excuse, cast doubt on India's desire for peace. It is possible that New Delhi is miscalculating, hoping that Pakistan, besieged by terrorism on the Afghan border and internal political and economic instability, might be ready to give strategic concessions if India just waits enough for Pakistan to blink first. There is good reason to believe that this calculation is currently driving Indian policy toward Pakistan. The Indians might also be under the impression that Washington, driven by considerations in Afghanistan, would succeed over time to force Islamabad to give strategic concessions to India in terms of trade and Kashmir that would end any need on India's part to offer concessions in direct negotiations with Pakistan. 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.

Prime Minister Modi's government has no option but to take back its unrealistic and untenable position on Pakistani diplomats meeting Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi and elsewhere and return to peace talks at the earliest.

The writer is a senior research fellow at Project for Pakistan in 21st Century, an independent think-tank based in Islamabad

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

As China celebrates 65th Independence Day on 1st October, there is much to learn from its historic journey and political, economic and social evolution
Today's China is reflection of thousands of years of experience of its history and evolution. It is the world oldest civilization that is to say following the Hegelian path of rise, fall and rise. China is not a new country and society, its nationalism has survived for thousands of years. There is much to learn from its historic experience.

The nations, like traditional families, cannot be detached from their past. Their present and future do have a linkage with their past experiences. According to Hegel, perfection of an idea covers a thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis cycle. It depends in which time one is living to take part in a particular phase of historic progression. These days the political and economic commentators often view Chinese conduct of domestic and foreign affairs in opinions like: 1) Chinese are observing strategic patience in their smooth rise as a world power; 2) Unlike former Soviet Union, Chinese are following a gradual transition to free market and political freedom that would not yield instability; 3) China is following a very careful policy of engagement with its competitors and rivals like USA, Japan, India and other power players; 4) Economic growth is China's top priority; and, 5) Gradually China is emerging as an important stakeholder in world politics, international peace and global issues.

Today's China is reflection of thousands of years of experience of its history and evolution. It is the world’s oldest civilization that is to say following the Hegelian path of rise, fall and rise. China is not a new country and society, its nationalism has survived for thousands of years. There is much to learn from its historic experience.

Chinese trace back their history as back as 3000 to 5000 B.C. that comprises various region-bound dynastic rules. However, it was in 221 B.C. that China came under a single dynastic rule – Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 B.C.) – Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquered six of the seven warring states and brought it under rule of Qin state and controlled the whole China. This began a 2000 years saga of dynastic rule in China. The later kings manifested their rule as 'Mandate of Heaven' and Chinese considered it 'Kingdom under Heaven'. The vast Chinese tract of land, civilization and Han race were able to absorb foreign invaders in their fold. The Chinese were invaded numerous times; the Great Wall is testimony of those times. Chinese civilization developed to the extent that it considered the foreigners including the Westerners – as late as 18th and 19th centuries – as 'barbarians' and conducted them with a certain disdain. It was during the rule of Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) that Chinese civilization could have extended to far off lands, had the emperors not seized great naval expeditions. Admiral Zheng He sailed his huge fleet to South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa on seven voyages from 1405 to 1433 (much before Spanish and Portuguese armadas to India and America). Then China was a considerable and probably the largest naval fleet holder. Later, the Ming emperors ordered to dismantle the fleet and destroy the record of Zheng He's voyages. This fateful decision to cut-off any further contact with the 'barbarians' eventually led to decay of China's naval capabilities and isolation of the 'Middle Kingdom'. Had they continued their foreign expeditions, learnt new scientific knowledge that Europe was to offer in coming centuries, they would not have felt helpless against invading navies of the West during Opium Wars and later.

Conclusion: The Chinese would never choose 'isolation' from the rest of the world in coming decades and centuries! The cost had been too heavy in the past. The First Opium War (1839–1842) is another significant experience in Chinese history that led to emergence of a new political, social and economic order in China. The Qing Dynasty (also known as Manchu Dynasty), was ruling China since 1644. The Kingdom of Heaven suffered through the notion of superiority and invincibility. Their exports had attracted the foreigners. Although, the Europeans and other nations were doing maritime trade with China for many centuries but they were not given easy access to the markets by Chinese authorities. Now, the imperialist powers wanted end of these restrictions. The first British mission to China to formalize the trade reached China in 1793-94 under Lord George Macartney. The Emperor was not much interested in the guns and other scientific inventions that Macartney displayed at the Court to negotiate for further trade relations. Instead, the foreign missions were often asked to observe the Court protocol called kowtow (complete prostration before the Emperor after bending many times). The subsequent British missions were sent to China in 1816 under Lord Amhert and Lord Napier in 1834. For long, Chinese emperors resisted to give unhindered access and special rights to these missions. No foreign resident embassies were allowed; teaching Chinese by the locals to these 'barbarians' was a crime under the law, there was a ban on inland travel except the coast itself, and, the foreign merchants had to leave China each winter. Only Russians were allowed to establish a de facto embassy in Beijing in 1715. Meanwhile, the British merchants had started trading opium (mainly produced in India) particularly in coastal city of Guangzhou. Such was the spread of this addiction that from 8000 cases registered in 1824, it reached to 30000 cases in 1839. Alarmed, the Qing emperor Daoguang in 1939 decided to crackdown on opium merchants to end the trade. He sent Lin Zexu to shut the trade and force the Westerners to comply the ban. They had wrongly estimated technological edge and power of British Navy, as well as infantry. The British steam vessels could sail in unfavorable wind with high speed, and their cannons could fire in any direction. The losses and destruction during this war compelled the emperor to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. He had to accept the principle of 'extraterritoriality' that meant 'no jurisdiction of Chinese law on the territory under use of foreign missions'. He had to give access to five coastal cities, and, lease of Hong Kong to the British. This was beginning of the concessions to foreign 'barbarians' that had no satiable limit. The Second Opium War (1856–1860) compelled Chinese emperor to give more concessions to the foreigners. This time other partners like France, USA and Russia had also joined hands in grabbing as much as possible. It was beginning of 'Century of Dishonour' that ended in 1949. The display of weakness by the Qing emperors by giving more concessions was taken as national humiliation. The Chinese nationalism had started questioning the king's 'Mandate of Heaven'. Gradually the Chinese were organizing to end the kingship and introduce a republican form of government that could restore their honour and dignity. As it happens, the rulers could not appreciate the changing winds and did not adapt to the times. The efforts to implement what is known as Hundred Days Reforms in 1898 by Emperor Guangxu were stalled by his powerful aunt, Empress Dowager Cixi who controlled state affairs for 47 years from 1861 to 1908. The Boxer Rebellion (1898–1900) violently asked for the end of foreign influence. In coming years, the Chinese nationalist organized everywhere, both abroad and at home, and unleashed Xinhai Revolution (10 October 1911 to 12 February 1912, four months two days). Finally the six years old last Qing Emperor 'Xuatong Puyi' had to abdicate on February 12, 1912. China had had its share of kingship. It turned into a Republic on January 1, 1912 under Dr. Sun Yat-sen as Provisional President. However, Sun had to cede presidency to powerful military general, Yuan Shikai (who declared himself emperor on December 12, 1915, received fierce opposition, abdicated and died on June 5, 1916). Sun Yat-sen, a western educated nationalist, became strong proponent of: 1) nationalism, 2) democracy, and 3) welfare/ people's livelihood (commonly known as Three Principles).

Conclusion: The Chinese would never shy away to learn from foreign civilizations (as they did during the time before Opium Wars) that had harmed none other but the Chinese. The China of today and future would reach out to assimilate the foreign experience, learn and defend itself. China of the future would be more republican and will integrate with the rest of the world. The years since declaration of republic in 1912 to 1949 were an extraordinary tumultuous time in Chinese history. After the loss of central authority as manifested in the kingship, the newly formed republic could not assert its control on all parts of China. There was an internal chaos and external intrusions due to absence of a strong government. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who is considered as Father of the Nation, founded Chinese National People's Party (called Kuomintang of China, KMT) in 1912. After turbulent years of Yuan Shikai rule, the KMT resurrected in 1919, and Sun Yat-sen again formed the government in 1921. However, the Republic of China (ROC) was too feeble and infant to assert its authority over vast mass land. China in many parts was ruled by the cruel warlords. Meanwhile, Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded on July 1, 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The communist leadership of the Soviet Russia supported both the KMT and CPC. The architect of modern China, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung, December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) had also emerged on the scene. Mao was a voracious reader of politics, history and philosophy. He and many others joined KMT as directed by Joseph Stalin; though still members of the CPC. Sun Yat-sen died in 1925 and KMT leadership fell on Chiang Kai-shek who launched Northern Expedition in 1927 to unite all parts of China under one rule. He also unleashed many bloody crackdowns on CPC and killed thousands of its members. The CPC retaliated with its armed wing (Red Army) that became People's Liberation Army (PLA) later. China had to suffer two decades of Civil War in which millions perished. To disengage from unfavourable battle conditions against KMT forces, Mao withdrew his forces from Southeast to North in 1934-35 covering over 6000 miles in one year (famous Long March from Jiangxi province to Shaanxi province). Of the 100,000 original participants, nearly 75 % perished along the route. So huge was the price that Chinese could pay for their idea of nationalism and people's rule.

Meanwhile, the Second Sino-Japanese war had started in 1937 (The first Sino-Japanese war was fought in 1894-95 and China had lost). In 1931, Japan had already occupied Manchuria and established a puppet regime, now further advanced to the Mainland China in the North. China was suffering from internal as well as external violence. The CPC and KMT formed Second United Front against Japan but could not end internal conflict that continued intermittently. After surrender of Japan in August 1945, the two parties again started fighting the civil war. China was to suffer heavily again due to this internal strife. The Communist Russia was supporting the CPC whereas America provided support to KMT. Finally, KMT forces under Chiang Kai-shek were defeated and they withdrew to Taiwan in 1949. Chairman Mao declared Chinese independence on October 1, 1949, and founded People's Republic of China, PRC (It must be noted that China never became a formal colony of any imperial power). Such is the tale of struggle, strife and sufferings in absence of a strong central authority, to rid China of old power elites, and to achieve a people's rule based on democratic centralism.

Conclusion: The Chinese would keep reforming and evolving the central authority to protect it from decay, and would not experiment a government that in rhetoric stands for freedom or some form of democracy but in practice is unable to maintain internal stability, peace and progress. Any untimely or uncalled for adventure or experiment in the name of Western style parliamentary democracy that could lead to catastrophic internal chaos would not go well with hard earned Chinese cohesion. The Chinese would take all measures to protect the nation from any sort of anarchic freedom.

After October 1, 1949, China has started yet another important phase of its historic journey. The rule under Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai marks most influencing period in Chinese history. Since Mao had a deep sense of history, political science and philosophy, he adopted a course of action that may appear somewhat fallible in retrospect, but he was answering to the dilemmas of Chinese old and recent past. His treatment of the present and future, and, internal and external policies were reflection of Chinese experiences through the centuries. Being a staunch nationalist, he would not yield to anything that could undermine respect and sovereignty of the country. Mao knew that if not reformed and critically assessed, the continuous rule of one party (CPC) would decay. Therefore, he launched Hundred Flower Campaign in 1956 and allowed freedom to criticize policies of the CPC. Mao also well understood the importance of science, technology, heavy industry, modernized agricultural methods, and, importance of self-reliance, therefore, he asked for the Great Leap Forward in 1958. He wanted China to exceed in production of steel from Great Britain. Instead of individual property-holding, he implemented economic collectivization and communes. China might not have produced high quality heavy industry products during the Great Leap Forward, but the foundations had been laid for a self-reliant nation and trained work force that would prove very useful in coming decades. Mao also viewed the old Chinese customs and traditions including Confucianism as a barrier to progress and development. Therefore, in consonance with his ideas of 'continuous revolution' and, manipulation of 'contradictions', he launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. He sensed that the CPC might fall prey to bureaucratic procedures and bourgeoisie practices, therefore, he asked the common man to take power in his hands and 'purge' the system. All this created another sort of violence, massive sufferings and chaos in Chinese society. Millions again suffered and perished during the evolution but China did change.

In retrospect, one might blame Mao for these actions, but inner cleansing and evolution did not let CPC fall victim as happened to the contemporary Communist Party of the Soviet Russia. Conclusion: If there is no repetition of 'continuous revolution' in China, the CPC, however, would continue internal cleansing and transformation. Seemingly, it may remain one party rule in China, but CPC would remain dynamic due to freedom of internal criticism and transformation.

After Zhou and Mao's death in 1976, Chinese leadership embarked on yet a different type of socialist economic evolution. China has seen that self-reliance without requisite expertise and market may not prove to be a successful economic and trade policy. China has also learnt that total rejection of old customs, traditions and practices could create an inner turmoil in the society. New China has to keep evolving its economy, politics and societal values in light of these experiences. Deng Xiaoping has steered modern China on a journey that has led to massive economic growth and relatively more social freedom. The Chinese leadership after Deng has continued his policies of economic liberalization. Deng’s successors have improved economic relations with USA, Russia, Japan, India and other leading economies of the world. Since then China has maintained a growth rate over 8 to 10 % for many years. Today Chinese economy is world second and has surpassed Japan. China invites huge foreign investments and also is a leading investor in other countries including USA. The US economy suffers huge trade deficit vis-à-vis China. However, the Chinese have been careful, deliberate and akin to world's sensitivities during these years. Chinese leadership has very carefully replaced the clichés attached with China's development from “peaceful rise” to “peaceful development” to address the World's sensitivities. Today China is playing its important role in regional and international issues concerning peace, development and security.

Conclusion: China in future is likely to continue its policies of economic liberalization, peaceful co-existence, and observe strategic patience to avoid internal instability and external conflict. China would not be the Soviet Union of the Cold War era.

China has a great past to enter into the great future.

In essence, there is a national consensus on democracy to be the preferred form of governance. The truth is that there is no threat to the democratic order. The truth is that there is no threat to the Constitution.
On August 13, there were three players on the stage: Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri. Between August 13 and 28, Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri took up extreme positions. Between August 13 and 28, Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri both walked into their respective blind alleys – a narrow path between two thick, concrete walls with no exit. Up until August 28, Nawaz Sharif used the Parliament as his shield. On August 28, Nawaz Sharif, under tremendous pressure and with advice from Chaudhry Nisar, sought GHQ's 'facilitation' in resolving a purely political dispute (Nawaz Sharif may have thought that the Parliament can only shield him from small arms). By August 28, there were four players on the stage: Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Tahir-ul-Qadri and General Raheel Sharif. On August 29, Nawaz Sharif's 'facilitation' card ended up doing three things: on the political front it backfired; on the strategic front it dragged in the GHQ into the political minefield; and finally the move ended up adding another layer of civil-military tension. By August 29, General Raheel Sharif had withdrawn himself from the political minefield. As a consequence, Nawaz Sharif had also walked into a blind alley of his own. The political system, with absolutely no external assistance, has on its own, walked into a blind alley. The State of Pakistan is up against a dangerous impasse, a gridlock and a deadlock – three in one. Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri insist that they will not go back without Nawaz Sharif's resignation. Nawaz Sharif rightly refuses to resign because he has the mandate. The impasse is a reality. The gridlock is a reality. And the deadlock is a reality. Nawaz Sharif, on his own, has no solution to the impasse. PML-N, on its own, has no solution to the gridlock. The joint session of the parliament has no solution to the deadlock. Yes, Nawaz Sharif has 190 MNAs but they have no solution. Yes, Nawaz Sharif has a 5-year mandate but that mandate has no solution. The political impasse has a personal dimension whereby Nawaz Sharif is the Prime Minister and Imran Khan wants to be the prime minister. The political gridlock has a political dimension whereby PTI claims that its mandate has been stolen by PML-N. In the shadows of the personal impasse and the political gridlock there is a tug-of-war brewing; a tug-of-war between the forces of status quo and the forces of anti-status quo. Here's how I define status quo: One – elected leaders treat state assets as their personal estates. Two – elected leaders mutate civil servants into their personal serfs. Three - taxes are collected and then spent to fulfil rulers' priorities. Four – monetary rewards of political power are extremely high. Five – there is massive under-investment in human capital (Pakistan's rating in the Human Development Index is in the lowest quintile). All forces within the Parliament want democracy as Pakistan's preferred form of governance. All forces sitting outside the Parliament also want democracy as Pakistan's preferred form of governance. Pak Army has affirmed “support to democracy” for at least half a dozen times over the past month. In essence, there is a national consensus on democracy to be the preferred form of governance. The truth is that there is no threat to the democratic order. The truth is that there is no threat to the Constitution. The truth is that the political status quo is under threat. The truth is that almost all forces in the Parliament – sans PTI and perhaps the MQM – are bent upon saving the status quo. The truth also is that the political guardians of the old political order having walked into blind alleys are now feeling threatened of the anti status quo forces. To be certain, the old political order has walked itself into a blind alley – a narrow path between two thick, concrete walls with no exit. A way must be found out for Pakistan to get out of this dangerous impasse, this treacherous gridlock and this nasty deadlock.
The writer is an analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media.

Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh


Written By: Feisal Naqvi


Pakistan's legal problems need to be viewed in the same manner as Pakistan's traffic problems. To clarify, the standard response to urban congestion is to widen roads. But as the well-known saying goes, "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." The solution to increased car traffic is, therefore, not to add lanes but to get people to stop using cars (and use bicycles or mass transit options instead). Similarly, the solution to legal congestion is not to add more judges or to try and browbeat judges into disposing of cases more quickly. Instead, the solution is to rework our legal architecture so that litigation becomes less likely.

Let's start with an obvious fact: Pakistan's justice system is broken. There are millions of cases pending and rich and poor alike are frustrated with their inability to get justice. So far, so good. There is broad consensus among all stakeholders in Pakistan that the justice system is highly unsatisfactory. What then is to be done?

Till date, the standard approach toward legal reform of the justice system in Pakistan has been to focus on making the system more efficient or on expanding the size of the system. Standard remedies for dealing with legal issues in Pakistan include calls to increase the number of judges and for cases to be disposed of more expeditiously. This is fundamentally a misguided approach. The reason why Pakistan's legal system is broken is not because there are insufficient judges (though that is also a limitation). Instead, the fundamental reason, why Pakistan's legal system doesn't work, is because the system itself allows, and encourages, needless litigation. Fixing the system is, therefore, beyond the scope of executive action. Fixing the justice system requires legislative action. In simple terms, there are two types of cases: criminal cases and everything else (i.e., civil cases). Let's focus first on civil cases. The vast majority of civil cases pertains to real property – the sale of land, the rental of land, the inheritance. Any which way you choose to deal with it, land causes problems. More importantly, land doesn't only form the basis of most civil disputes, it also forms the basis of many criminal disputes.

Finally, it needs to be understood that a dysfunctional land regulatory system isn't only a legal problem but also an economic problem. The primary form of wealth in Pakistan is land. If you can't sell land without legal hassles, if you can't rent your house because you're scared of the litigation that might follow, and if every death is to be followed by endless years of dispute amongst children bickering over who gets what share, then it's not just the people involved who have a problem, it's the country as a whole.

Let me make the above point in simpler form. Assume that you want to start a business and that you need a loan. Assume further that you own a piece of land which has a market value of US$ 1 million. If you happen to live in the United States, chances are that a bank will be willing to lend you up to US$ 900,000. On the other hand, if you live in Pakistan, no bank is going to lend you more than US$ 600,000. That difference (between 90% and 60%) is dead value. What it represents is the difference between a system in which you can actually rely upon systems of title and one in which you can never really be sure as to who owns what.

What then is the systemic problem in Pakistan's land regulation framework? Well, to begin with, there are several. The most fundamental problem though is that we do not have a system of recorded title. When you buy land in the United States (or any other developed country), your agreement to buy the land is in writing and recorded in some sort of centralized registry operated by the government. When the government issues you a title deed, you can relax. If there is a problem in the title, that problem is the government's problem, not yours. In other words, the government both records title to land and guarantees title to land.

The opposite system operates in Pakistan. Our government does not record title to land. And it does not guarantee title to land. Instead, every time you buy land from another person, you are taking a punt on the bona fides of the person selling you that land. Unfortunately, even if the seller is a person of good morals, and even if he has evidence to substantiate his claim to be the legitimate owner of the land, there is no definitive way for buyers to confirm that sellers do indeed own the land that they are selling. And if there is indeed a dispute over title then the problem is yours, not that of the government.

Let me give you a simpler illustration of the difference between the two types of systems. Prior to 1997, Pakistani companies issued actual, physical share certificates. If you bought shares, ultimately you wound up in possession of heavily embossed paper proclaiming themselves to be share of a particular company. If you bought fake shares or if the person selling you shares was not authorised to sell you shares, then that was your headache. It was your job to make sure that the person selling you was indeed the owner of the shares in question and that he was indeed authorised to do so. Not surprisingly, litigation often ensued.

In 1997, this system was changed through the promulgation of the Central Depositary Act, 1997. What this act provided was that shares were to be deposited with a particular company (the depositary) and after that the shares were to be sold and traded electronically. More importantly, it was the job of the depositary to guarantee that the shares were valid and that the transaction was valid. So, as long as you bought your shares in electronic form, you were guaranteed both that the shares were authentic and that nobody could take the shares back from you (on grounds of their being sold in an unauthorized manner). Instead, what the law provides is that even if the sale to you was unauthorized, the person defrauded can only sue the fraudster for damages and cannot ask for his shares back.

Electronically traded shares can still result in litigation. But the litigation is now of a different type (i.e. regarding the quantum of compensation, not whether or not shares are to be given back). The result is that more shares are getting traded in Pakistan, there is more confidence in the share markets and there is less litigation – all because of certain, very simple, very obvious legislative choices.

Pakistan needs to do with land what it has already done with share certificates. In other words, Pakistan needs to examine the way in which the sale, purchase and transfer of land now occurs and make amendments to the legislative framework so that transfers are made safer and more secure. Obviously, since land is a far more complicated subject than share certificates, the solution will not be as simple. But there is no shortage of low-hanging fruit which can be plucked. For example, oral transfers of land have been banned in England since 1604.

In Pakistan, oral gifts of land are still possible! Let me return to my basic point: if we want to fix the justice system, it is not enough to try and make the justice system more efficient in terms of processing the disputes presented for adjudication. Instead, if we want to fix the justice system, we need to review and revise our legislative choices so that less disputes arise. In blunt terms, most of the disputes which are adjudicated in Pakistan simply don't exist in other countries because their systems of law do not allow for the existence of such types of disputes.

To take another example, the Government of West Pakistan promulgated the West Pakistan Urban Rent Restriction Ordinance in 1959. What that law provides is that no matter how long the lease, every tenant is entitled to stay on as long as he likes unless he defaults in payment of his rent or unless the landlord can show a bona fide personal need for the rented property.

The obvious consequence of the law was an explosion in rent litigation. In 1991, the Pakistan Law Commission wrote that landlord-tenant disputes accounted for more than 1/3rd of all cases pending in the courts. It became normal for rent cases to be litigated all the way up to the Supreme Court. And as a consequence people either stopped renting their properties or starting demanding huge security deposits. In 2009, the rent law was changed in the Punjab. It is now possible for landlords to simply tell their tenants to leave when the lease terminates. And, lo and behold, the number of rent cases has gone down too.

The point to note regarding the impact of the change in the Punjab Rent Law is not that it had an impact. Instead, the point is that its impact has gone unnoticed. In 2009, the National Judicial Policy Making Committee of Pakistan issued the Judicial Policy of 2009. That policy is still in effect as of today. And it contains not a word which would indicate any awareness that the legislative framework can, and should, be changed. Even in terms of rent laws, none of the other provinces has followed the Punjab.

Pakistan's legal problems need to be viewed in the same manner as Pakistan's traffic problems. To clarify, the standard response to urban congestion is to widen roads. But as the well-known saying goes, "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." The solution to increased car traffic is, therefore, not to add lanes but to get people to stop using cars (and use bicycles or mass transit options instead). Similarly, the solution to legal congestion is not to add more judges or to try and browbeat judges into disposing of cases more quickly. Instead, the solution is to rework our legal architecture so that litigation becomes less likely.

The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is also a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.

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Written By: Afzal Khan
Should India wish to live up to its claim of democracy and earn its respect on the world stage, it must summon up the courage to take a new direction, a direction of peace and democracy. India must follow in the footsteps of the recent Scottish referendum and grant the Kashmiri people their right to a Plebiscite. The voice of Kashmir has been silenced for far too long and their basic right to a democratic vote and self-determination must now be realised. Should it not be, India risks losing everything, from its standing in the world both politically and economically, to the will and good faith of the Kashmiri people themselves and to the very legitimacy it demands right now as the world's largest functioning democracy.
The notion of a plebiscite, or a referendum as we may better understand it in light of the recent Scottish bid for independence, was agreed upon by Lord Mountbatten, India's first Governor General who stated that the issue of Kashmir must be 'settled by a reference to the people.' India's Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also pledged a plebiscite for Kashmir and this was later enshrined in UN Security Council Resolutions. The UK, which has held its strong union for over 300 years successfully, has been prepared to give the Scottish people the right to choose their own fate despite the fact that all three main English political parties were vehemently opposed to separation. Likewise, if India is truly committed to the value of democracy, it must also be prepared to afford the Kashmiri people the same right. We live in a world where we see the best and worst examples of human living. On the one hand, we witness the success of the EU project as it replaces war and conflict with peace, democracy and togetherness. On the other, we still have 55 million people living under the poverty line in India. Both situations are strong indications that war is simply not needed, firstly, because there are alternative ways of reaching decisions and secondly, because the world's resources are already depleted enough. India has a clear choice to make; does it want the way of war and devastation or the way of peace and prosperity for South Asia as in the example of the EU? The Valley of Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir) is believed to be the most beautiful place on Earth and is consequently often referred to as the 'Switzerland of the East.' One would not imagine that such beauty could be beset by years of conflict, war and oppression. And yet, the people of Kashmir have endured such troubles since 1947, when India and Pakistan, both then under British Colonial Rule, became separate states. Kashmir, a largely Muslim populated area with an Indian Maharajah as its ruler at the time, was left aggressively contested by the two new states. 06The notion of a plebiscite, or a referendum as we may better understand it in light of the recent Scottish bid for independence, was agreed upon by Lord Mountbatten, India's first Governor General who stated that the issue of Kashmir must be 'settled by a reference to the people.' India's Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also pledged a plebiscite for Kashmir and this was later enshrined in UN Security Council Resolutions. Six decades on and the Kashmiri people have still not had this promise fulfilled. Instead, they have been caught in the middle as the victims of 3 ravaging wars between India and Pakistan over its territory and are currently under the oppressive occupation of the Indian government which maintains a massive military presence in the region. On a ground level, the Kashmiri people have undergone immense suffering and humiliation as basic human rights are violated on a daily basis, killing and torture are commonplace and women, in particular, are brutally gang-raped and murdered. Mass graves have been found, mosques, homes and shops have been set to flame and families have been forced apart. The Indian-Pakistani separation, the 'Berlin Wall' of Kashmir, means that families living merely minutes away cannot access each other. Kashmir is often described as the world's most beautiful prison due to the wide range of human rights’ abuses that have been catalogued and well documented in wake of the occupation by India. Now, in light of the Scottish referendum that took place in the UK on September 18, 2014, Kashmiri voices are calling for the promise of a plebiscite to be made real once and for all. Many Kashmiri voices are drawing on the British experience as an example of how demands for a say on their future could be resolved peacefully. The UK, which has held its strong union for over 300 years successfully, has been prepared to give the Scottish people the right to choose their own fate despite the fact that all three main English political parties were vehemently opposed to separation. Likewise, if India is truly committed to the value of democracy, it must also be prepared to afford the Kashmiri people the same right.
India claims to be the biggest democracy in the world. But this claim remains merely a label – or perhaps a showpiece to earn brownie points on the world stage – as long as the collective democratic right of the Kashmiri people is denied. Undoubtedly, the fear of losing Kashmir, particularly to Pakistan, is the greatest hindrance to India granting a plebiscite. The UK, however, found itself in precisely the same position as English governments feared for the all-round social, political and economic stability of the country should Scotland break off. They did not cower, though, from their democratic responsibility to give the people a voice and instead rose to the game through peaceful, legitimate and un-coercive means of persuasion. The underlying point here is that a true democracy is never marked by draconian laws or a need to resort to the deprivation of basic human rights for fear of losing control. But India's rule in Kashmir, for the last 40 years at least, has been dominated by 'emergency rule' and government insecurity is such that, under the Special Powers Act, soldiers can shoot on a mere basis of doubt. This comes disturbingly close to George Orwell's fictional concept of 'thought crime', wherein the slightest thought of dissent is executionable by law. India's 'Big Brother' rule over Kashmir runs against the grain of the modern value system in which freedom and self-determination are hailed as the ultimate values of progress. Much smaller states than Kashmir have achieved independence through referendum, for example, East Timor. Other states seek to merge their systems and pool resources, such as in the example of the EU. Whatever the direction, the decision has been marked by choice and a realisation of the will of the people. Should India wish to realise its own will to become a serious player on the world stage, it must review its human rights record. For one, India intends to build strong economic ties with the EU, the largest trading bloc in the world. At the heart of the EU project is an absolute commitment to peace and human rights. The European mind-set is haunted by the ghost of its bloody and dictatorial past, when the mere right to freedom of belief and expression was denied. The return to, or association with, any such system of law is abhorrent to the government and people of the EU. The denial of a whole people their basic right to choose, such as is currently the case in Kashmir, is therefore not something that would fare well for India when discussing EU trade relations.08 Secondly, India aims to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, an international body for world peace and security. India has, however, categorically defied the 74 UN resolutions that have been passed for the freedom of the Kashmiri people. The brazen expectation to be able to join the UNSC whilst openly flouting its rules provides somewhat of an insight into the Indian mentality – one that fails to understand that size, economic prowess and a superficial practice of Western secular values is not enough to gain the sort of prestige it yearns for. A genuine commitment to democracy, legitimacy and fairness for the sake of justice, equality and peace is what is needed to be taken seriously in the world. Finally, India must learn from the lessons of the past. Peaceful and democratic methods of negotiation and decision-making, no matter how painstakingly slow and bureaucratic they can sometimes be, are always preferable to violent conflict and war. The particular danger with the Kashmir conflict is that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. History has taught us time and time again that the price of war is far too high and simply not worth it. With the danger of risking countless civilian lives, devastating civilian infrastructures and landscapes, and essentially turning a country into mere blood and rubble, the question would be what worth would any more war or conflict over Kashmir have for either India or Pakistan, or indeed for the world. We live in a world where we see the best and worst examples of human living. On the one hand, we witness the success of the EU project as it replaces war and conflict with peace, democracy and togetherness. On the other, we still have 55 million people living under the poverty line in India. Both situations are strong indications that war is simply not needed, firstly, because there are alternative ways of reaching decisions and secondly, because the world's resources are already depleted enough. India has a clear choice to make; does it want the way of war and devastation or the way of peace and prosperity for South Asia as in the example of the EU? Should India wish to live up to its claim of democracy and earn its respect on the world stage, it must summon up the courage to take a new direction, a direction of peace and democracy. India must follow in the footsteps of the recent Scottish referendum and grant the Kashmiri people their right to a Plebiscite. The voice of Kashmir has been silenced for far too long and their basic right to a democratic vote and self-determination must now be realised. Should it not be, India risks losing everything, from its standing in the world both politically and economically, to the will and good faith of the Kashmiri people themselves and to the very legitimacy it demands right now as the world's largest functioning democracy.

The writer is the Vice Chair of the Security and Defence

Committee (SEDE) in the European Parliament.



Written By: Mehar Omar Khan

The entire debate about anti-terrorism narrative has been missing the point. It invariably proposes a historically flawed direct strategy of fighting words with words. It unimaginatively advocates a frontal verbal counter-assault against what is described as fiction created by terrorists out of thin air. In doing this, the all-wise wizards of strategic communication ignore the circumstances in which stories of discontent are born; stories that are effortlessly woven by terrorists into their invective against the state. It must be understood that the seeds of disaffection are sown in the miserable socio-economic conditions in which tens of millions of our people have been mired for decades. It is a mistake to think our disenchanted masses have been charmed by the insurgents; they have actually been abandoned by the state. And hence, unless the real cancer of the state's incompetence is healed, no magical words are likely to work against what the insurgents say and what alienated citizens listen to. Let us understand that insurgents do not create narratives per se. They just feed on the perceptions that are out there in the distraught minds of millions. Our problem does not lie in how they, the terrorists, narrate things; it instead resides in how we, the state, do things. They are invariably medieval but mad about what they want. We are modern but unable to articulate what we want. They build their successes on the debris of our failures. Our actions – or lack thereof – cry out as justifications for their misdeeds. When we fail to secure the life and dignity of our own people, the anarchists jump in to raise a simple war-cry: burn the state that has wronged you time and again and is still unrepentant and unashamed about its criminal dereliction of duty. Each time that cry is raised, millions are sympathetically affected. Some join the ranks of the militants; many more abandon the state like dead leaves dropping off the trees at the onset of the winters. What we must understand is that young men are not attracted by the insurgents' thesis; they are actually driven away by the state's incompetence. From Libya to Syria, from Iraq and Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, it is the state's failure to embrace all, repeat all, its citizens that has lent credence to insurgents' words and justification to their actions. Contrary to the popular belief, insurgents don't prey on minds; they feed on the actual problems and deprivations of people. The state fails not because of the intoxicating propaganda of the insurgents but because of lack of connection with its own people. The real habitat of terror is the gulf, literally the gulf, between the state and the society. Even more importantly, in fashionable understanding, this whole narrative thing is about jugglery of words, about spinning harsh realities and about twisting facts to suit the storyline which the status quo wants people to believe. This understanding may be fashionable but it's dead wrong. It misses the point that terrorists communicate through their reactions to state's actions and can be rarely caught on the wrong foot. Inefficient and unjust states light all the fires; terrorists have to merely fan the flames. What we tend to fight through fancy documents, television programmes and nicely worded speeches is the foam on the surface: insurgents' words, threats, slurs, and vows. What we miss in the process is the storm that rages underneath the surface: the masses' alienation and angst. Saddam Hussein of Iraq was grossly unjust but also hyper-efficient in implementing the writ of the state and hence the Iraq of his time could not see the sight of a successful Shia or Kurd version of ISIS. The current regime in Baghdad is both unjust as well as inefficient and hence the rise of the evil “caliphate”, ISIS does not need any nicely worded narratives. It promises – true or false – liberation from a decade of grievous misrule. The lack of government in Baghdad has created enough tragedies to drive the wronged segments of society into the embrace of the so-called Islamic State. I work in the border regions of North West (NW) Pakistan. The only consistent source of income for a clear majority of households is menial work in the Gulf States. The only indigenous alternative is in the form of a string of Madrasahs that engage tens of hundreds of poor young men as students and teachers. Despite this near-total lack of connection with the state of Pakistan, every village has cleared up a cricket field on a piece of stony stream bed and every other child dreams of becoming his nation's cricket hero. What breaks my heart is the scary certainty of a hopeless future for most of them. Few years on, where will they all go? Abandoned and betrayed by the state, most of them will take the route their fathers took. Narrative or no narrative, at least some of them are bound to be attracted by the guy who promises to punish the 'evil' state that shattered their dreams. Write and preach what you will but the reality is as simple as that. Without an acknowledgement of that harsh reality, we will all be fooling all of us, together and forever. Of late, the defence of the constitution of Pakistan has often been cited as the sacred cause that makes for an effective counter-narrative to terrorists' story. To many young men on the verge of declaring a war on the state, that argument comes in as another cruel joke by the happy-go-lucky 'haves' of the country. Constitutions don't get three meals a day. Constitutions only don't keep nations together. Instead, nations – when united and happy – write, erase and re-write constitutions to run their own affairs with justice and with equity. To millions of unemployed youth hanging on to the last shred of their self-esteem and to many more millions of unschooled children, constitution means next to nothing. Let me say that again lest it's mistaken as an unintended verbal flourish from an agitated mind: the constitution means next to absolutely nothing to every single desperately disempowered man and woman of this country. To such tens of millions of our people, all it stands for is an unholy contract drafted by distant and disdainful few to rule the impoverished many. Let us not say we fight for upholding the constitution of a state that has been criminally neglectful of its obligations towards its own society. Let us say we are fighting to build our nation anew; to reunite our people and to enable the society to build a state that it can call truly the work of its own heart and soul. A similar non-sense is cited by the government in Baghdad. Iraq must endure, they say. What they are unwilling to see is that only an Iraq that belongs to all Iraqis will endure. ISIS or no ISIS, an Iraq that means misery for one ethnic or sectarian group and milk and honey for another will not survive in one piece. Examples galore of the linkage between misrule and militancy. To sum up, let's realize that our people know the terrorists are criminals and enemies of humanity. We don't need to preach what people already know. What we need is to eliminate the vast sanctuaries and breeding grounds provided to insurgents by vast concentrations of poverty, desperation and hopelessness teeming with unemployed, uneducated, and unschooled youth.

Written By: Dr. Maria Sultan

War is the art of the possible and strategy only codifies the method of destruction and victory. It is in this context the Pakistani military planners must enter the 21st century battles and develop the idea of warfare, combat, and of course, the full spectrum of threat that defines Pakistan's military and strategic map. In this new context of warfare, military force has to re-define its use as the central pillar of military combat, strategy and, of course, the hierarchal order in national security. The space for military power is further defined by three elements of state sovereignty: 1) the principle to use legitimate force in the defence of the country in the internal and external parameters of state security; 2) the public space to carry out military activities inside and against the adversary; 3) the ability of the supra individuals (those actors who can dominate various spheres of state functions and international space) to create and use both military and non military means to create effect and a cause of action against the state, the legitimate military, and paramilitary forces. The legitimate forces are perceived by the supra individuals as a threat to their ability to create networks and carry out operations in one territory or the other.

War in this new kind is not perceived as an end but as a process; therefore, the actors who can dominate the multiple domains of combat which include military or the physical domain that is strategy, tactics and use of force; the normative domain defined by the ability to create the dominant discourse in line with the country's strategic culture, a narrative for action or in-action , and the ability to use the informative domain defined by the dominant narrative in all mediums of information, oral history, electronic and print media and cyber domain. Economic domain, which is defined by the multiplier effect of state and non-state actors to create economic collapse of state and state institutions in the desired framework and intensity, but most importantly in the desired period. Lastly, to employ unrestricted use of force in conventional and unconventional settings to achieve transnational effect of war.

There is no centre of gravity of these non-state forces and no leadership, rather it is a constellation of actors and supra individual who work in connection and at time through creating various networks, the ability to use force and thereof. These supra individuals challenge the traditional tools of statecraft as well as the dominant structures which define state power to monopolize the use of force, including the legal domain. The enhanced role of these supra individuals juxtapose the state to deal with the constellation of organizations, individuals, networks with local and international interface – attacking the centre of gravity of the state… the legitimacy of the state to provide internal and external security... or law and order. The collapse of the law and order invariably sets in motion the implosion mechanism. Leading to decreasing state legitimacy to provide basic sustainability of the state as an independent actor, both at the national level and the international level. The attacks are set to create various trends for violence and organized chaos supported by the organized crime and interface with legitimate actors in the social, political, economic and military domain. The non-state actors not only aspire to share the domain with state actors but also aim to engage as equal partners in the national and international security debate. This has created a dynamic where irregular forces are used as the primary agent of change and information platforms and institutions are at the centre of the new security challenges to the writ and credibility of the state; both in terms of the demands made on the security organizations and on the state apparatus to re-establish state legitimacy, both in terms of maintaining law and order – the primary function of the state – and the powers of the bureaucracy as the central unit defining state legitimacy.

In short, the centre of gravity is based on creating an implosion within the institutions of the states either though the supra individuals or manipulating the three plains, defined further by the use of irregular forces, battle of networks, increased access to global and domestic information platforms, and reduced state capacity to respond to the challenge of decreased legitimacy for state action. The war effort is further defined by the interface of the regular armies, defence planners and state intelligence agencies with the irregular forces, which may be created overnight to generate various actions, both inside and outside the territory – but in particular use of force, violence and dysfunction of the state apparatus. What is important is also the fact that these irregular forces are used for both creating kinetic and non kinetic means for dominating the initiative. There is no clear centre of gravity for the irregular forces either on the basis of ideology, technology, warfare or the cultural domain, however the only available space is the economic, legislative and information domain. Hence sub-processes are targeted and as there is no leadership in the sense of a tight chain of command rather what you have is a loose arrangement of individuals of equal strengths which work for the network. It is important to understand and identify how the sub-process of recruits and leaders are picked, developed and used as part of the Non Kinetic Warfare (NKW) for kinetic effect.

In this warfare, it is important that implosion is understood as the key to the war effort through kinetic or non-kinetic means. The central component is the role of the narrative in deploying these means and the ability of one side to dominate the full spectrum of war effort in all domains of the conflict. These are ideological, cultural, technological, economic, legislative (domestic and international) and the legitimacy of the state action towards the use of force. Since 9/11, Pakistan has faced the onset of the NKW in its full spectre, both as the key driving element of use of force by the supra individuals, and the resurrection of the supra individuals to create the mass effect of insurgency and terrorism in the country. Few key examples of this at play in Pakistan can be documented by the rise of Naik Muhammad, Mullah Fazal Ullah, Swat terrorism, Maulvi Aziz of the Lal Mosque, Khalid Sheikh, Osama Bin Laden, Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with the dominant aspect being the use of irregular forces and the use of force. On the legislative side, Pakistan's challenge is linked very closely to the UNSC 1373, UNSC 1540, UNSC 1267, and of course the much debated Kerry Lugar Berman (KLB) S1707 ACT, which enabled the use of private contractors in Pakistan as well as the legislative bases of multiple inter agency action in Pakistan. The story in Pakistan has continued both in terms of the creation of events and role of supra individuals to enhance the capacity of action. The events which shaped the landscape include episode of Lal Mosque, drone attacks in FATA, Memogate issue, Salala incident and the ongoing political crises; each aimed to attack the credibility of the state institutions to inspire public confidence and carrying within them, the inbuilt seeds of implosion, violence and loss of state control for maintaining law and order and state legitimacy.

In Pakistan the centre of gravity for state legitimacy has been defined by the credibility of the Pakistani Armed Forces to defend the country against external and internal security challenges. The target since 9/11 has been to the defame and destroy the credibility of the institution as a central pillar of security and state function. Each string of kinetic operations had been built around a string of non-kinetic action, that is the narrative around religious extremism, rogue elements and loss of chain of command. But in effect the target was aimed at implosion and destroying the grass roots character of the armed forces as the primary drivers of national security and defence. This was closely linked to the narrative development of the adversaries against the Pakistani intelligence agencies and individuals, and projects to increase civil-Military divide and reduce the economic, military and legislative space of action. Second key fault-line which had been termed as central to this is the economic survivability of the state of Pakistan and set in motion, non-kinetic wave of institutional decay and implosion through ineffective tools of economic management and survivability.

Third is the direct attack on the law enforcement agencies and the para-military forces of the country geared towards the breakdown and implosion. A break down or reduced legitimacy of the paramilitary forces is likely to set in the second wave of implosion as it would pave the way forward for organized crime and organized chaos. With reduced state legitimacy the state institutions would fail to provide the basic functions under the constitutional contract. Hence the credibility crisis of the law enforcement agencies is an important effort to create the kinetic effect through non kinetic means and by the use of a dominant narrative focused on the lack of legitimacy. Last is the activation of various fault lines on the basis of religious subdivision (Shia-Sunni), Phustun-non-Phustun, FATA region, and Karachi on the basis of organized crime and decreased capacity of the state to carry out basic state functions. While each fault-line can be termed as a centre of gravity for creating institutional implosion and challenging the state authority, it is the cumulative effect of these that will determine the future landscape of threat and response, both for Pakistani state and its institutions, the government and the people of Pakistan to respond to the challenges of supra individuals and development of the narrative by these actors to either sustain or continue a trajectory of violence in the country.

For the ultimate analysis, the side which will dominate the eight domains of power and violence in terms of establishing the mechanisms of the trajectory of legitimacy to use force in the eyes of the public will determine the outcome of this new kind of warfare. In conclusion, NKW is unrestricted warfare fought within the realm of the narrative and the legal space for action and in-action. The side which has the initiative, dominance, flexibility in the cognitive and cultural and technological domain, the victory will be theirs to last… Otherwise it will be a tale of implosion set to reduce space for action by state institutions and domestic governments when challenged with transnational actors and threats unfolded in the contours of the human mind. The magic warriors can only endeavour to fight a war which is understood in its totality rather than its image.


The writer is the Chairperson and the Director General of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University. She is a defence analyst and a specialist in South Asian nuclear arms control and disarmament issues. She has been published widely in academic journals, news dailies and books.

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Written By: Reham Khan

setting a call from a not so friendly show, from a not so friendly neighbour makes you think twice on the best of days and you certainly do not want to be entertaining any requests on Eid day. Imagine my horror when they inform me they want to talk about the violence and civilian deaths on the border recently. I am tempted to say 'No' but am curious to understand why our channels have not given it much coverage. Is it the dharna hogging the headlines, is it lazy journalism, is it that we don't really care about Kashmir or, are we the guilty party? The Indian media paints themselves as the aggrieved party with emotional packages of civilian deaths and a display of machismo. Whether they have any intention or ability of “pulverizing” Pakistan is debatable. However, the attacks from the Indian media were even louder than the mortars, the working boundary heard during Eid. I interview the usual suspects – the army, the ISPR, the defence analysts – and get nothing better than what google would provide. A quick browse through the Pakistani news channels shows them telling viewers about tensions on the LOC (Line of Control); a boundary line that separates Pakistani Kashmir i.e. Azad Kashmir and Indian Held Kashmir or Jammu Kashmir. In fact the violations occurred in eight sectors, the worst hit was Sialkot. This is not the LOC but the line that separates Pakistani Punjab and Jammu Kashmir, also referred to as the Working Boundary. As I come out shell shocked of the Indian talk show, I have several questions of my own. One of them, which also remains my main motivation of working in Pakistan, is why do we allow others to shape the narrative about us as a nation and country. Is it lack of vision or capacity or, are we all on agendas of foreign 'donors' as the conspiracy theorists allege. We complain of negative labels attributed to us but what do we do to dispel these myths. I am particularly appalled by the allegation of the Indian news anchor that I'm an Aabpara tout and any footage I would show would be manufactured. What does a self respecting journalist do (who has incidentally been unlucky every time if ever, or if at all the 'lifafas' went round) but to pick up the phone and complain that the whole world thinks we are your mouthpiece but we can't get you to email across simple statistics to us in time for our shows. Next I grab my cameraman and start shooting from location in Sialkot. I can see the Ranger's anxiety clearly as I stand atop a roof within firing range of the Indian post but he probably senses that this lady can't be dictated to. Behind me is a tranquil scene of lush green fields typically associated with Punjab and more suitable for a film song location than a scene of violence. This piece of 193 km long stretch of the working boundary was disturbed once again this Eid-ul-Azha and it is said to be one of the worst exchanges here in decades. The Director General of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab), Major General Khan Tahir Javed Khan says, “although border violations crop up sporadically, the recent spate of violence can be traced to an incident last year on Eid-ul-Azha when a jawan was killed in a sniper attack.” It was followed by severe clashes and a DGMO level meeting in December after which there was a six month respite. But the short breather was followed by heavy shelling during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, and then again when the dharnas were in full swing. Mysteriously, it seems that the violence only occurs on Muslim festivals while Hindu festivals go by peacefully This Eid-ul-Azha, it went too far when the sound of shelling woke up 200 families in the village of Dhamala Hakimwala. Over 3300 mortars were fired from the Indian side. In the past, on many occasions, our side did not respond with shelling to maintain peace but during recent weeks and months in view of the escalation in attacks, Indians have been handed matching response by our brave soldiers. Every day that week, the Indian shelling increased to a level unseen before. Suspicions have been raised on the timing of the offensive. It followed hot on the heels of Nawaz Sharif's strong speech in the UN with a mention about Kashmir and the joint communiqué issued by the US and India. Neighbours rushed to help each other as this unusually heavy shelling destroyed their humble homes. One such man tells me the tale of devastation as he reached his next door neighbour Jamil's house to find five members of the family affected; four year old Hammad and eight year old Aqeel dead and the rest suffering from severe splinter injuries. He is one of the thousands of families who fled his home and had only returned for few hours while the risk of shelling continues. As he cradles his two year old, I see the vulnerability in his eyes. Are his eyes lying? Is the death count made up? Why are we being attacked with mortars and media simultaneously? House after house tells the same story of death and damage. The empty shells leave a trail of evidence enough to convince any neutral observer. Next stop is the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) struggling to cope with the casualties. The specialist surgeon tells me that due to a shortage of beds, the injured are spread across all wards. The nature of injuries is similar in most patients because of the unforgiving shell splinters which damaged different part of the bodies. In just a couple of days the civilian death count went upto 15 and the injured to around 100. Young Humaira lies in her bed alone, immobilized by her severe injuries. She tells me bravely that the pain is bearable now and that her mother with a splinter injury to her neck couldn't be treated here and has been flown to Lahore. The courage of this young ten year old stare back defiantly at Indians who feel that these people can be intimidated. Is her story not true? Are her injuries self inflicted? Are these scenes manufactured? If so, then I am gullible enough to believe Jameel's story that his young sons will never come back, and Saima that she was asleep with her children when the Kafirs attacked and all those who spent Eid day attending Namaz-i-Janaza instead of Eid namaz. But one must ask why did it take a phone call to wake me up from my deep slumber? How many wakeup calls do we need before we realize what is happening around us? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The writer is a journalist who works for a private TV channel as an anchor.

Twitter: @Reham Khan1


Written By: Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed

Human knowledge and human intellect have been building progressively during the course of human history. Intellect grows in the very act of living. It builds through cognitive processes of observation, reflection, deduction, induction, perception and finally the expression. The cumulative potential of human intellect is a function of time and is ingrained progressively in the genetic heritage. The intellect can be converted into achieved intelligence through conscious processes of learning. It is the achieved intelligence that contributes to the body of knowledge and makes a positive impact on life. Growth in the body of knowledge is a product of an unending human quest for learning. Let us start with the beginning of the time! According to the cosmic theory the universe began with a singular explosion about 14 billion years ago. It was followed by a burst of inflationary expansion, consequential cooling and phase transitions allowing the formation of stars and galaxies. Understanding of inflation still requires breakthroughs in quantum physics and quantum gravity. Another conundrum is the breaking of the symmetry between the matter and the anti-matter. The Big Bang almost certainly produced equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, but the universe now contains no anti-matter. How did the symmetry break, is a question mark challenging the scientists. Our solar system including the earth was formed some 10 billion years thereafter from the dust of an exploding star. Through a miraculous series of coincidences and developments, the life evolved on Earth when a few complex chemical molecules in the primordial soup replicated themselves. Replication of a single cell still remains the starting as well as the crowning phenomenon of life. Over the following three billion years to the present times, the life continued to evolve by replication and mutation growing in complexity, richness and biodiversity. The largest mammals, some of them weighing up to 60 tons, called Dinosaurs lived for 150 million years over the entire globe but disappeared mysteriously nearly at once some 65 million years back. In comparison, the development of the modern man started only about 2 million years ago, long after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Originating from Africa, our earlier ancestors fanned out wave after wave over the entire planet. In 1935 some archeological discoveries were made from Riwat, which is located at about 20 km south of Islamabad. These finds then dated back to 1.6 million years and were considered anomalous and cast aside as the whole history of modern man at that time was considered to be no more than half a million years. Later research then established the evolution history of the modern man to be spread over two million years and Riwat discoveries provided the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Scientific American of April 1997 has a detailed article on the evolution history that displays a map with Riwat shown prominently in the centre. There has thus been an unbroken chain of prehistoric human activity in this part of the world building the cumulative intellect. The first breakthrough in the biological development of man came when he stood up and started walking upright some 750,000 years back. This greatly improved his field of view and freed his hands, which brought about a quantum leap in the cognitive processes of learning. With his hands freed, he started crafting tools to cut meat and break bones for marrow using stones and later the stone tools. The Stone Age lasted from 750,000 to 10,000 years BC. The Bronze Age followed the Stone Age from 10,000 to 3000 years BC witnessing improved quality of bronze tools and implements with growing skills. Use of iron about 3000 years ago brought about the Iron Age spanning from 1000 years BC relatively recently to 1500 years AD bringing about versatile tools and skills. Modern Age, as it is known in history, started after the Iron Age i.e. from 1500 years AD. Human life has transformed more substantially in the following 500 years from 1500 to 2000 than in the entire history preceding 1500 AD. Three Milestones: I will map three milestone events that created quantum leaps for mankind on earth: The First Milestone took place when man invented plough and tamed animals to pull it some 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. This changed forever the way man lived as he started settling around fertile land leading to urbanization, socialization and culturization. This set in motion what the history called as the First Agricultural Revolution. It was later boosted by the Muslims from 8th to 13th Centuries with the infusion of new crops and techniques. The Europeans gave it a further boost, when they introduced a stronger and fast-gaited horse that could pull heavier plough digging deeper during the 16th to 18th Century. It improved food production and freed mankind from the pressure of subsistence allowing more time for creativity and innovation. The Second Milestone occurred when man invented engine and discovered fuel to run it. The steam engine was developed in the 18th century and the internal combustion engine came about in the second half of the 19th century around 1860. This brought about the Industrial Revolution that we are still going through. In fact countries like Pakistan are far from being industrialized and only a small number of countries called Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have achieved the benefits of industrialization so far. This revolution has boosted the means and scale of production and greatly reduced the cost of manufactured goods. The Third Milestone took place in the last 60 years or so, when man invented computer and found networking for sharing information. This is setting in motion what is commonly known as the Information Revolution and we are living through its ushering bounties. Next generation computers will use the infinitely large bandwidth of photons for storage and processing of information exploiting the 1980's Theory of Entanglement of particles. These computers will be faster, more efficient and secure by a quantum jump. Taking another look at the three milestones, the first made a call on 'Muscle Power'; the second on 'Mind-Muscle Coordination'; and the third on pure 'Mental Skills.' See the progression from muscle power to brain skills. This has brought about a revolution of social kind as the mental skills are accessible equally to men and women. By placing the superior attributes of mind at play, nature has brought about the ultimate egalitarian equality between the two genders. Using the animal muscle power increased means of productivity; using mechanical power gave man sovereignty over production; but the third milestone is bringing about in its wake a paradigm change. It is a leap from the Mechanical Power to the Brain Power, which has an unlimited capacity, potential and promise. Second Millennium: I shall briefly map for you the closing year of the First Millennium and salient events of the Second Millennium that have shaped the start of the Third Millennium: 1000 AD: The year 1000 AD marking the end of the First Millennium was characterized by the empires of Islam with caliphs in Cairo, Cordoba and Baghdad. Dhinar was a common currency from Spain to Lahore. Slaves from Asia, Europe and Africa laboured in the mines, cities, armies and harems from Cadiz to Samarkand. Meanwhile Europe was still limping out of the Dark Age and the present time Americas were not yet on the world map. Center of the World (COW) was Baghdad and rival COWs were Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire and Kifeng in Song Dynasty China. The population of the world was only 300 million less than that of the present-time USA. 1500 AD: Let us take a look at the middle of the Second Millennium i.e. Year 1500 AD, which is a watershed and marks the beginning of the Modern Age. The rich empires are of Ming Dynasty of China and the “Sultanat-e-Osmania” known in the West as Ottoman Empire. The Centre of the World was Constantinople with the preponderant wealth and military power of the Sultanate. The rival Centres of the World were Beijing, the capital of Ming Dynasty China and Florence, the epicentre of the Renaissance which started the revolution of knowledge. The world population increased to 480 million, nearly equal to the present-time European Union. Looking at the 15th century that culminated at 1500 AD, there were a number of developments that would continue to impact the later course of human history: The invention of printing press in Germany by Gutenberg in 1453 created an information revolution of an earlier kind. The Sultanate-e-Osmania conquered the Byzantine Empire, annexed Anatolia, and shifted its capital to Constantinople which they called Istanbul. Having full control of the land routes to the East, the Turks cut off the trade routes of the Europeans. This compelled Portugal and Spain to attempt alternate routes over waters and the Europeans took to the seas. This would lead to the sea faring trading nations to colonize the world and one or the other European power ruled most parts of the world. I may add that the history repeated itself when the British denied Turks the trading routes to the Middle East in the following century. The Renaissance movement stimulated interest in arts and sciences and stoked a revolution of knowledge in Europe. The Religious Reformation movement liberated knowledge from the clutches of the Christian dogma and loosened the tight hold of the central Church in Rome. Americas were discovered that would have great impact on complexion of the world in time to come. The 16th Century was marked by the grand expansion by the Sultanate-e-Osmania in all directions. In Europe this century was a century of arts with masters like Shakespeare, Micheal Angelo, Leonardo, and Rafael. Shakespeare is regarded as the Man of the Century. The Polish mathematician and astronomer Copernicus published a book on “The Revolution of Heavenly Bodies” in 1543, introducing a paradigm change to helio-centred universe instead of the earth-centred. He died the following year, before Church could move against his, so called, heretic idea. The 17th Century was clearly the century of science with scientists like Descartes, Newton, Leibniz (Laibnits), and Galileo. Newton would be the Man of that Century. It is said that the first Newton who ever learnt to sign his name changed the world for ever. The Century of Science was preceded by numerous sacrifices by scientific scholars trying to liberate the mind from the dogmatic hold of the Church and looming fear of heresy inquisitions. Lynching of Giordano Bruno and indictment of Galileo through inquisition for heretic views in the early part of the 17th Century are just cases of the many who sacrificed for contributing to knowledge. The 18th Century was the century of statecraft with the American Charter of Independence of 1776, French Revolution of 1780s and awareness of human rights dominating the later part of the Century. Euler, Gauss, Francis Bacon, Samuel Johnson are just a few among numerous names who progressed knowledge to new heights. Gabriel Fahrenheit developed mercury thermometer, Benjamin Franklin light bulb, James Hargreaves spinning jenny, James Watt improved steam engine, Edward Jenners developed small pox vaccine and Alessandro Volta gave the battery to mention just a few. The 19th Century was the century of machine tools and assembly lines speeding up the manufacture of consumer goods. It was the pace of technological inventions that ushered in the Industrial Revolution. Scientific knowledge extended during the 17th and 18th Centuries provided a large reservoir of knowledge and the where-withal to start converting it into usable technology – a trend that would continue to grow stronger in time to come. I will single out 'The Dynamic Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” by Maxwell in 1864 in which he had showed that light was an electromagnetic phenomenon. He provided a mathematical model of eight equations that are invaluable in electromagnetic wave theory. The Century gave birth to professional scientists; and internal combustion engine, light bulb, telephone, typewriter, sewing machine and movie camera came off age during the century. Year 1900 Pax Britannica: Let us take a snapshot of the year 1900 that is called Pax Britannica as Britain rules an empire where sun does not set and West European powers rule almost every other part of the world. Knowledge has turned into power to rule the world. North America is emerging as an industrial power with vast resource base and growth in knowledge and technology. Centre of the world was London and rival centres were Berlin and San Francisco and the world population increased to 1065 million but still less than the population of the present time India. Year 2000 Pax Electronica: The conclusion of the Second Millennium was marked by decolonization and freedom movements as more than 200 independent countries emerged on the political map of the world. Internet is now the medium of emperium as electronic democracy links even the tyrannies with increasing World Wide Web. The power of chip doubles and cost halves every 18 months known as the Moore's Law. New 'Have-Nots' are not the age-old poor of the wealth but the new poor of the knowledge. The paradigm of poverty/wealth has changed and become equitably egalitarian: wealth historically remained concentrated and restricted, knowledge is prolific and accessible. The Centre of the world is New York and rival centres are Silicon Valley, (California), and Shanghai (China). The world population is 6000 millions: staring, daunting and threatening! Time Magazine's Person of the 20th Century: Let us look with some focus at the 20th Century that passed just 13 years ago. Three themes stand out characterizing the past Century. First Theme: Impact on freedom and democracy and the finalist for this theme as Man of Century was Franklin Roosevelt. Bill Clinton, then reigning President of the USA, wrote his citation. Second Theme: Impact on human rights and the finalist for this theme was Mohandas Gandhi for his non-violent struggle and Nelson Mandela wrote the citation. Third Theme: Impact on science and technology and the finalist is Albert Einstein and citation was written by the crippled giant of a physicist Mr. Stephan Hawking. He is now in early 70s, but after he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at age 21, his body would be less every day but his mind grew every moment. Time Magazine's Man of the 20th Century: The third theme was adjudged to be the most pervasive in its effects upon life and Albert Einstein was chosen as The Man of the 20th Century. The amount of technological progress made in the last century far outstrips all that was made since modern man first appeared on this planet. It took centuries for the wheel, the spear, the bow and arrow, paper etc. to become commonplace. But since Samuel Morse sent the first modern telegram in 1844, we have seen the light bulb, cars, the telephone, the atomic bomb, jets, radio, television, transistors, rockets, penicillin, hydrogen bomb, optic fibre, laser, mobile phone, video recorder, integrated circuits, space travel, digital computers, gene splicing, nanotechnology, and the internet change the complexion of life with break-neck speed never seen before in the history of the civilisation. It is the World Wide Web connectivity that is making it possible to find new solutions through breakthroughs in technology. It is time consuming to go over the list of major inventions or development during the last century. Dominant Models of the Physical Visualization of the Universe: Another aspect of knowledge I would like to map is the Dominant Models of the Physical Visualization of the Universe. Every civilization since the start of pre-history had some conception describing the physical reality of the universe. contours of knoledge1There has long been a quest to find the ultimate model but as the knowledge improved so did the models. It is of course a reality of its own that even the improved models posed as much of mystery as did the older ones. Of recent history, there have been four notable ones: Aristotle Model: A pre Christian-era conception of the Greek heritage of a geocentric universe with concentric spheres of heavenly bodies around the earth obeying the hierarchical order to clockwork perfection. An important spin-off of this model of the universe was the social order with divine rights and powers with the king and structured and stratified society down to the lowliest of serfs. Human liberty and therefore the dignity could be found only within the upper stratum. Newton Model: A 16th Century Model of a non-hierarchical universe with all heavenly bodies and earth obeying the same laws of physics. Modern cosmology is built on Newton's edifice. This liberated the universe of the hierarchical order and brought about an egalitarian/democratic social system based on liberation and equality, the two attributes that give grace to humanity. Einstein Model Old: The 20th Century Model of Einstein, through his theories of Special and General Relativity, Gravitational and Quantum Mechanics, conceptualized the universe as space-time warp explaining the illusive origin of gravity. He linked mass and energy interchangeably by his epoch changing famous equation of E equals M times C2. The social spin-off of this model of the universe is the Chaos Theory linked with the unpredictability of the future contrasting with the predictability of the clockwork universe of the earlier model. The original mathematical model of General Relativity showed the universe expanding, which Einstein had fudged to a static universe for general acceptability by introducing a Cosmological Constant. He was, however, proven wrong by experimental evidence in 1929 produced by Hubble that showed that the universe was expanding. Einstein Model New: It has now been established since 1998 that universe is not only expanding but expanding at an increasing rate and this is what the original equation of General Relativity had meant till Einstein had fudged it with the Cosmological Constant. That is why even the New Model is known by his name. It has also been established as of now that there is no more than 20% mass in the universe needed to stop the expansion and/or start the contraction. This means that the universe will expand away into infinite nothingness in umpteen billions of years. This has also given rise to a fifth force called force of antigravity or vacuum which is causing the acceleration in the expansion of the universe. There are big gaps in the understanding of the universe. It is now known that the universe has 5% of the normal visible matter and 95% is the strange, invisible dark matter and dark energy which still is a mystery. Dark matter is perhaps the heavy particles produced in the earliest moments after the Big Bang.

21st Century:

Coming to the beginning of the 21st Century, a number of important breakthroughs in genetic science, biology and embryology indicate that there is about to usher a 'Genetic Revolution' of some kind. Of history making significance is the so called cloning of the sheep Dolly in 1996. It would be an understatement to consider it just the cloning of a mammal. Cloning is producing multiple and identical issues from the only natural building block of a fertilized egg which till then was the one and only the natural building block of life whether human, animal or plants. Dolly was not produced from the natural building block but developed from an unfertilized and differentiated adult cell of the mammary gland of a female sheep with no role of a male sheep. It mimics quasi-creation and points to unprecedented breakthroughs in biology. Higgs Particle or God Particle as it came to be called is more precisely Higgs boson. At long last the illusive particle was identified and verified by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN on March 14, 2013. This collider is the largest and most powerful that stated operations in September 2008. It is constantly smashing numerous protons accelerated close to the speed of light every second to unravel the secrets of the universe. The super acceleration is achieved by superconducting magnets without dissipating any energy into heating by operating at – 271.3 C, just close to the absolute zero. The discovery of the Higgs Particle has led to a profound understanding of the fundamental particles and the physical laws that govern the matter, energy, space and time and completes the Standard Model to its perfection. Higgs boson provides the mechanism by which matter got its mass in the universe. Another development that also took place last year relates to the toughest proof yet of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity which had predicted that a close binary stars system of intense gravity will radiate gravitational energy in the form of ripples in space-time called Gravitational Waves. The existence of Gravitational Waves had not ever been detected till last year. Recently discovered, about 7,000 light-years from Earth, is an exceptionally massive binary system with a neutron star that spins around 25 times a second, also called a Pulsar, which is orbited by a compact white dwarf star. The gravity of this binary system is so intense that it offered an unprecedented testing ground for theories of gravity. The neutron star is twice as massive as the Sun but super compressed into a minuscule space of only 19 km wide. On the surface of this star, gravity is 300 billion times stronger than on the surface of the Earth, by comparison gravity on earth is only 6 times larger than that on the Moon. General Relativity had predicted a change in the orbital time of a binary star system when it loses energy in the form of Gravitational Waves. Precise measurements last year showed a change in the orbital period of 8 millionth of a second per year – exactly what Einstein's theory predicts. So far this theory has passed every test in the last 100 years. Scientists know that General Relativity proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915 isn't the complete story. While it does very well describing large, massive systems, it's incompatible with quantum mechanics, which governs the physics of the very small. For something extremely small, yet extremely massive – such as a black hole – the two theories i.e. General Relativity and the Quantum Physics contradict each other, and scientists are left without a physical description or a mathematical handle on the physics of the Black Holes. This is the reason for the search for integrating the gravity physics with the non-gravity physics by a 'Theory of Everything'. The new development of the Modern String Theory posits 11 dimensions: one dimension of time, three dimensions of space relating to the macro world and seven undiscovered dimensions of space that would relate to the quantum world. If the extra dimensions are discovered the String Theory could reshape the Einstein's concept of gravity. At the most fundamental level, all forces (i.e. strong, weak, electromagnetic, gravity and force of anti-gravity or of vacuum) and particles in the universe may be related and all the forces might be manifestations of a single grand unified force realizing Einstein's dream. The Man of the 20th Century had disagreed with the Copenhagen Model of Quantum Mechanics and rejected the theory of entanglement by calling it the “Spooky action at a distance”. The theory had predicted that a pair or multiple entangled particles interact instantly at superluminal speed following the theory of Non Locality and behave in identical manner even if separated in space by long distances. The Theory of Entanglement was then experimentally proved in 1982 by a French Physicist Alain Aspect, well after Einstein's death in 1955. This has led to the breakthroughs of quantum information, quantum computation and quantum cryptography which are at the heart of photon based new breed of computers under development. Quantum theory is unlike classical physics, it is characterized by probability as against the certainty of the classical physics. Take for example the Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty which posits that all quantum particles in a closed space have an equal probability of being everywhere at the same time, but that is what led to the development of the television. Or the Principle of Duality that quantum particles are particles and waves at the same time or the conundrum that for a quantum particle you cannot precisely measure its location and momentum, if one is measured precisely the very act of observation adds an error in the measurement of the other. Since precise measurement is not possible the Quantum theory is built on the Schrodinger's famous equation of probabilities rendering the quantum physics to the science of probabilities. Speed of Change Knowledge Doubling Time: Let us consider the total body of human knowledge that developed from pre-history to the year One AD. First doubling of the body of human knowledge that had accumulated up to year One AD took 1500 years i.e. until the dawn of the 16th Century or the start of modern era. Second doubling took only 250 years i.e. until 1750 AD. Third doubling took 150 years i.e. until 1900 AD. Towards the end of the 20th Century knowledge doubled nearly every decade. In the first decade of the 21st Century it is conjectured that the knowledge doubles every 18 months. The knowledge doubling time reduction curve followed a linear pattern till about 1950 and then the time reduction curve became asymptotic almost approaching singularity. The Change of Change: The breathless 'change' of change is changing the paradigms where the only enduring framework in life is the change itself. This is bound to have far reaching physiological, psychological and material effects on the harbinger of the change – the human being itself. Endemic Scarcity changing into Sovereignty of Abundance: I like to romanticize the last concept that deserves a mention. I call it the sovereignty of abundance. Humanity has remained chained in the endemic scarcity of resources compounded by the uncontrollable vagaries of nature. The age of Information Technology has brought about a paradigm change where the knowledge economy is now providing the Sovereignty of Abundance especially in the modern resource of electromagnetic bandwidth. Take for example the useable bandwidth of the electromagnetic spectrum unlocked by the ingenious mind of Maxwell back in 1864. We had thus far been looking at a slice between near-ultraviolet to near-infrared which occupies nearly 70% of the Sun's light and heat. This is just a miniscule sliver of the available spectrum. In the new era of growing Abundance, the useable bandwidth has a factor of 1025 between the longest and the shortest electromagnetic waves. In other words, the smallest wave with the highest frequency is one trillion-trillion-trillion times the lowest frequency of the longest wave in the available spectrum. Imagine the volume of data that traverses the globe and the lower space at the speed of light at an equally unimaginably low cost. In April this year, Pakistan sold 3G and 4G for US$ 1.14 Billion. What did they sell, was just the 10 G Hertz frequency band out of the abundant bandwidth available, i.e. 109 out of 1025 band? We could not raise this amount by exporting 1.5 million tons of Basmati rice or 3 million tons of wheat produced with an incalculable amount of elbow grease energy of the growers. This is the nature of knowledge economy that is being created by the unlimited ingenuity of the knowledgeable mind and which is moving the humanity to the Sovereignty of Abundance. In the dawning Age of Abundance there will however loom ever more evidently one Residual Scarcity – the human life span. Even in that context I may add that the average global life span has been increasing by one year in every four years, but this is trivial compared with scale of growing Abundance. Energy: Energy is at the heart of modern development, prosperity and life style. Since pre-history humans had been living on the energy of muscles of their own and their beasts. About half a million years ago Man discovered fire and found the use of chemical energy stored in biomass of wood, crop and animal waste. Biomass is mostly carbon with Hydrogen to Carbon ratio of 1:10. In the middle of 18th Century Coal entered the commercial use as a more concentrated form of chemical energy with Hydrogen-Carbon ratio of 1:1. In the middle of 19th Century oil entered as an even more concentrated and versatile source of chemical energy with a Hydrogen-Carbon ratio of 2:1. In 20th Century natural gas became a commercial fuel which is called the Fuel of 21st Century. It is a cleaner fuel with Hydrogen-Carbon ratio of 4:1. The world has, albeit unwittingly, been moving on a path of Decarburization without even realizing that Carbon would one day pose a challenge to the very existence of life on earth. Uranium entered use in the middle of 20th Century and it has no carbon footprints. Modern Renewables including Hydroelectricity, wind, solar and ocean waves have no carbon content. As we are traversing the path of Decarburization, we, as a corollary, are taking the path of Hydrogenation. Many countries have taken a start on Hydrogen Energy Economy. As it proliferates, mankind will witness a change to Abundance even in that critical resource that gives the modern life the style it has attained. Why do I say it, because the stuff that the whole universe is made off, is that one proton one electron atom that we Hydrogen and place at No 1 position on the Atomic Weight Table. It is simple, beautiful and therefore true. It mirrors Keat's poetical romantics: “truth beauty, beauty truth”. Hydrogen is what the universe or the multiverses are made off. It is pervasively abundant, cheap and non-polluting. Carbon on combustion produces pollutants, Hydrogen on combustion produces water. It is projected that hydrogen might garner 90% of the global energy market by 2100. In the era of the growing Sovereignty of Abundance, the world would increasingly belong to those to whom knowledge belongs! The Western civilization developed knowledge and power only when they achieved two principal attributes: Liberation of the mind and innovation for turning knowledge into useful technology. The two movements of Renaissance and Reformation catalyzed the process. I am tempted to share briefly the story about a 14 years old African American teenage boy who became a regular visitor of a public library in San Francisco in the early years of the last decade. He would literally spend all the library hours working on computers. One day the Librarian passed by him and remarked that he sure liked the computer a lot. The boy replied,” Because the computer cannot tell that I am Black.” This is the era of egalitarian equality in access to knowledge. It is accessible by whosoever, whenever and from wherever. If knowledge is power, thus is power equally accessible to all. In the beginning of 1980s I had to go Silicon Valley (Stanford) to access knowledge, today you can do it just as well from your own schools and homes. I have made a humble effort to try to romanticize some contours of knowledge, what I cannot map and perhaps no one can and what would remain the last frontier and that is the Human Brain, the very fountain of knowledge. I will conclude with a word of hope and anticipation for future: If you take a high energy beam of ordinary light and shine it on a thick piece of steel, you get a nice reflection. When you take the same light and align the photons so they move together in phase or lockstep they form a laser beam and you can burn a clean hole through that same steel. What will happen when we start working together in unison with total harmony and turn our combined attention to the gigantic problems that have so far evaded solutions threatening life, peace and prosperity on earth? The fast growing body of knowledge makes me optimistic of the future of mankind! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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Written By: Dr. Sania Nishtar

Pakistan is blessed with immense opportunity but this beautiful land and its wonderful people continue to face several challenges. The roots of most of these challenges lie in predatory governance practices. The story of suffering endured by a family epitomise these practices and is being narrated here. With thirteen members, the family subsists on a monthly income of Pak. Rupees 8,000. None of the three women of child-bearing age in the family has been to an antenatal clinic or has given birth in the presence of a skilled birth attendant, because the government health facility close to their village is non-functional. The situation is similar for public schools; they run ghost operations. As a result, children are out of school because parents cannot afford private school fees. Outside their home, sewage and broken water pipes remain untended as local government officials have created channels of pilfering resources. Children suffer repeatedly from vaccine preventable diseases because of gaps in the immunization program, despite it being relatively well-funded over the last three decades. The grandmother has lost a limb in a suicide attack in Bajaur Agency, but every time she goes to the country's premier social protection agency to claim a constitutionally mandated allowance, her files are either lost in piles of paper, or she confronts an entrenched system of rent-seeking that exclude the true deserving. The breadwinner has been swindled by an agent who lured him into believing that he will be sent to UAE for work. As a result of this fraud, the family has become indebted, which is perpetuating poverty further. A nephew has been killed in mafia activity, which often operates with the connivance of local political groups. One of the girls was molested as a domestic servant but the police, in cahoots with local influentials, will not file a case. An uncle is behind bars, for alleged petty theft, but the family cannot see him as they cannot pay the 'entry-level bribe', a norm in jails. The other uncle, previously a clerk in a telecommunications agency suffers, since privatization of the agency didn't cater for pensioners' rights, which left him and hundreds others in the lurch. Finally, the impoverished family often has to endure up to 10 hours of load-shedding in a context where public officials, responsible for energy security cannot be held accountable for what they were unable to secure for the nation.

Each of the governance problems outlined in this story – bribery, institutionalized rent seeking, embezzlement, pilferage, illegal fees, regulatory failure, ghost health and education facilities, informal payments, crony privatization, etc. – are symptoms of a problem. Just as fever indicates infection and unexplained rains herald climate change, corruption denotes deep-seated systemic issues of governance. What it represents at the core is the triad of weak governance, thriving black markets and a legacy of patronage. When these practices get deeply entrenched, systemic manipulation, misuse of authority and discretionary decision making become a norm, vested interest groups thrive and political links are furthered by patronage. Over time, institutional erosion sets in and systematic pilferage becomes institutionalized. Corruption and collusion are then no longer the exception but actually become the system itself where each level of the government extracts illicit rents, which are distributed according to well-established shadow “rules” which govern the de facto functioning of departments. As an outcome, the rich-poor divide is then augmented, governance become exploitable and reforms are held hostage. We are expecting all of these phenomena and all pose a threat to national and human security.

Unfortunately the deepest 'governance reform' to date, the 18th Constitutional Amendment, did very little to counter these governance distortions. Measures such as civil service reforms, accountability, transparency in political party finance and conflict of interest were simply not on its agenda. Comprehensive anti-corruption reforms require deep-rooted structural and institutional changes. A long list of anti-corruption agencies involved in public redress, oversight and investigative work needs to be depoliticized and strengthened, and more broadly integrity and transparency promoting measures need to be institutionalized within the state system dealing with policymaking, regulation, and oversight. Even with committed action, corruption cannot be rooted out in a big sweep. Incremental changes, which have the best chance of being sustained, are time consuming, which is why initial entry points to make improvements are critical. Several opportunities remain untapped in that regard. As a starting point, the Cabinet Ministers and key government functionaries – for example board members on public sector owned boards and institutional heads – should have no conflict of interest. It must be noted that rules regarding conflict of interest are not explicitly defined in the government of Pakistan system, especially in the code of conduct for ministers. Better framing and implementation of conflict-of-interest norms is needed so that the space for policymakers to have business relationships can be narrowed, and public officials have explicit clarity on how personal interests need to be subservient to public interest.

Many instruments of governance, with potential to bring improvements in efficiency and transparency, remain underutilized. The electronic filing and documentation system within ministries is an example, where efficiency and transparency gains can be achieved through appropriate use. Databases and systems can be tapped to improve governance. Systems exist for electronic public expenditure tracking and procurement, as well as inventory and wage management, but remain underused. Effective use and triangulation of information from various existing data systems can enhance transparency in the use of public resources. For example, data at revenue-collecting organizations, when triangulated with National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) data and other government information repositories, can help identify tax evaders. Effective use of existing instruments of governance alone can yield enormous benefit. Similarly, better oversight of discretionary powers, when using existing accountability and audit tools in the government of Pakistan system, can improve responsible behaviour in public office and can help conform decisions better with evidence-based rationale. The combination of better access of watchdogs to decisions and proceedings in the state system under the Freedom of Information Act, along with the formulation and implementation of a whistle-blower policy which mandates government of Pakistan functionaries to report suspected integrity violations as a matter of professional obligation and personal responsibility, could have far reaching impact. The lack of progress towards these system building attributes is a lost opportunity.

We cannot afford to disregard the issue of mal-governance, corruption and collusion. It is critical to act on these entry points. However in tackling corruption, it is critical that we refrain from what has been the convention in the past – fleeting coercive action and using corruption as a tool for political exploitation; neither of these approaches are useful for sustained meaningful action and undermine the credibility of reforms. We must not underestimate the potential of governance malpractices to undermine national and human security. Pakistan is certainly not the only country with such well-institutionalized malpractices; but there are other country characteristics, which make us especially vulnerable. It is important to know why that is so. We are the sixth most populous country in the world; more than 30% of our population is below 15 years of age; with high levels of poverty and unemployment, this segment of the population is vulnerable to exploitation. The reason why youth is involved in gang and mafia activity in Karachi and is being recruited to terrorist organizations all over the country is because of lack of employment opportunities. If the state's leverage to target services, subsidies and social benefits continues to erode, capture by vested interest groups will become highly likely in a deeply polarized environment.

Overall, the population is rapidly escalating on the one hand, while certain climate-change induced trends are pushing the country towards resource scarcity, on the other. Pakistan is already a water stressed country. By 2035 water will be scarce. Water scarcity has serious implications for energy and food security, and overall economic prospects. In times to come, the prospects of co-existence of population explosion, resource scarcity and constrained economic opportunities is a ticking bomb. If governance continues on the same trajectory, these complex problems cannot be solved and the country risks being plunged from crisis to crisis. For the sake of the viability of the federation and the wellbeing of our people we have a moral responsibility to act, before it is too late.


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.

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Written By: Arif Nizami

The Pakistani Military is seemingly confronted with a possible three front situation. As General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) said the other day, Operation Zarb-e-Azb should not be merely seen as counter-terrorism action but as a commitment to rid the country of terrorism forever. As if the threat on Pakistan's western front was not enough to keep the military engaged, India under Narindera Modi, the hard line BJP (Bhartya Janta Party) Prime Minister, have upped the ante on the LOC (Line of Control) and working boundary. Although the government is trying its best to diffuse the situation through diplomatic channels, Modi has given his military a carte blanche, “to teach Pakistan a lesson.”

As General Raheel Sharif has said on more than one occasion, the key to peace in the region could only come through settlement of the Kashmir issue. Both the Army Chief and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have been stressing that Kashmir issue can only be resolved in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people as enshrined in the United Nations Resolutions. The third front, that is heating up, is the challenge from Daish. Four TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) commanders reportedly pledging allegiance to the newly emerging IS (Islamic State) must have surely got the military thinking. That in this complex matrix, the military is overstretched is stating but the obvious. Nonetheless our armed forces are valiantly coping with the existential challenges.

On the diplomatic front Islamabad is facing a dicey situation. The Indian Prime Minister has been certainly emboldened to bait Pakistan after his recent sojourn to Washington. The strongly worded joint statement issued at the conclusion of the Modi-Obama summit late last month, specifically named jihadist groups allegedly operating from Pakistan. In this context, the ongoing escalation in Indian military adventurism on the LOC is not at all surprising. Nonetheless their timing and scale peppered by the jingoistic rhetoric of the BJP leadership is ominous.

The violence on the LOC is unprecedented in the past decade. Clearly India under Modi wants to draw fresh red lines. Cancelling secretary level talks late August at the last moment on the flimsy pretext that the Pakistani High Commissioner to New Delhi, Abdul Basit met the Hurriyat leadership, was a clear message to Islamabad that good relations with the Indians were only possible on their terms. Of course that Pakistan should forget about the UN Resolutions on Kashmir was the underlying message. Contrarily General Sharif has more than fulfilled his pledge made late September while visiting the LOC that, “provocation along the Line of Control will be responded to effectively.” As a result the severity of the Indian attack has been somewhat blunted.

Diplomacy is the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute that has plagued relations between the two nuclear powered neighbours since their inception. Modi will have to start talking – sooner than later in the interest of peace – rather than patting his military commanders on the back to consistently raise the ante against Pakistan. Thankfully the military has been largely successful in clearing the tribal belt of terrorists of all hue and colour holed up there. The operation is also being carried out in Khyber Agency where the militants were given an ultimatum to lay down their arms and surrender or face a full-fledged operation. Pamphlets containing the message to surrender arms were dropped from helicopters in Jamrud and Bara areas of Khyber. The Army Chief has made it clear that not only in the tribal areas and KPK, terrorist networks across the country are being targeted. He has also expressed the hope that the Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) from the tribal belt would be able to return home sooner than later. However, the real challenge in combating terrorism is winning the hearts and minds. The military can clear areas infested with terrorism and hold it for a limited period of time. It is for the civilian leadership to evolve a policy framework under which the hydra headed monster of terrorism cannot raise its head again. This requires not only economic and political initiatives and a proactive foreign policy but also a vision based upon the raison d'être of Pakistan.

After recent successes in Iraq and Syria, reportedly the IS militants have started spreading their tentacles in Pakistan. Some of the badly mauled TTP groups would be more than willing to lend them a helping hand. Likes of TTP commander Shahidullah Shahid and others do not intend to travel to the Levant but to spread the IS franchise in Pakistan. Illicit printing presses churning out Pashto/Dari jehadi pamphlets, training DVDs and other material is compelling evidence that a much more violent version of the jihadists is raising its head. Another hitherto less known al Qaeda franchise, the so called Jamat Qaidat al-Jihad fi Shibh al-Qarra al-Hindiya– simply put, Al Qaeda in the Subcontinent (AQIS) – is raising its head. It was reportedly the mastermind behind the recent failed attempt to hijack a Pakistani Naval frigate.

As a consequence of Zarb-e-Azb, quite few of these terrorists have sought refuge in neighbouring Afghanistan. Hence there is urgent need to mend fences with Kabul through concerted diplomatic efforts. Thankfully President Hamid Karzai who never hid his disdain for Pakistan has been replaced by the newly elected president, Ashraf Ghani who is not only more reform minded but is also keen to have friendly relations with Islamabad. It is indeed ironical that the only military outfit perhaps in the world that has been successful in combating the Islamic militants threat is Pakistan Army. The Iraqi Army despite years of training and logistical support of the US buckled under the IS challenge. Resultantly the west has been forced to give logistical support and air cover to forces resisting the IS. Zarb-e-Azb was initiated to remove an existential threat to the country and hence is no favour to any foreign power. Nonetheless it is a supreme irony that the US in the exit mode from Afghanistan is more interested in befriending India by implicitly blaming Islamabad for fomenting terrorism in Indian Held Kashmir. In reality the war against terrorism is not only Pakistan's war but of the US, India and Afghanistan as well. In the face of enormous challenges to our security, a united front is a sine qua non!


The writer is a former Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting. He is an eminent personality of electronic and print media. He is also the Editor of an English Daily.



Written By: Mushahid Hussain Sayed

For parliamentarians belonging to the Senate Defence Committee, it was truly a unique and unprecedented experience when they paid a historic visit to Siachen to express solidarity with the valiant soldiers and officers defending the motherland at the world's toughest terrain on behalf of the Parliament and the political forces. This was the first ever visit by any Parliamentary Committee to Siachen – the world's highest battleground at an all-weather-snow-capped height of over 7000 metres.
The Senate Defence Committee, during their two-day visit, first reached Skardu from Islamabad, where it was given an initial briefing before flying to Giyari, which is at a height of 12,500 feet. It is the same place where 140 soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army, including 11 civilians were martyred in an avalanche on April 7, 2012. The delegation also laid a wreath at the Monument for the martyrs of Giyari.
The Senate Defence Committee delegation next flew to a strategic military post located at Bilafond-la at Siachen, at the height of almost 17,000 feet, not far from where the Indian Army is based at the Line of Actual Contact (LAC).
We were all impressed by the troops stationed at the world's highest battlefield, particularly their valour, high morale and determination in discharging their professional duties under such difficult conditions, where temperature can even reach minus 60 degree centigrade in the peak winters. We expressed pride that people of Pakistan take in their armed forces and told them the nation would never forget their sacrifices in defending every inch of the country, despite being outnumbered by an adversary superior in number and weaponry, but not in fighting spirit, morale and motivation.
After return from Bilafond-la, the Senate Defence Committee was given another briefing at Goma, which is at the height of 10,500 feet. Addressing the troops over tea, our multi-party delegation conveyed to the spirited soldiers that we were their voice in the Parliament and would do utmost to protect and promote the good name and image of the Armed Forces which are performing very important role in defending Siachen with professionalism and commitment. The Committee also criticised the Indian military establishment for sabotaging all efforts for peace at Siachen, since India had consistently rejected all proposals that had been made by Pakistan for resolution of Siachen issue, even in the aftermath of the Giyari tragedy.
The committee expressed concerns over the consequences of Climate Change and Global Warming, which are having adverse effects on Siachen and causing freak weather incidents like the Giyari tragedy. The committee also urged India to cooperate with Pakistan and other South Asian countries to jointly formulate a regional strategy on the environmental issues. We also presented a media manual on Climate Change, prepared by the Senate Defence Committee.
siachin3The Senate Defence Committee delegation included Acting Chairman of the Senate, Senator Sabir Ali Baloch, Senator Haji Adeel, Senator Mohsin Leghari, Senator Abdur Rauf and Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal, as well as Secretary of the Defence Committee, Dr Pervez Abbas.
Interestingly, Siachen Conflict, unlike Kashmir, is thirty years old, having begun with a sneak intrusion by Indian troops in an area which was till then a virtual No Man's Land. This brigade-strength intrusion soon became a permanent military occupation, starting in April 1984. Thirteen rounds of negotiations since then have been inconclusive, primarily due to Indian obduracy and obstinacy, and has added Siachen among the issues that are an impediment to Pakistan-India normalisation of relation.
Conditions under which our Soldiers live at Siachen
Conditions for soldiers stationed at the highest battlefield of the world are particularly harsh, with the highest post at 22,000 feet. To reach that height, it takes 21 days of slow climbing and stopping over en-route to acclimatise to the weather and terrain. They are specially trained troops who can survive such harsh living conditions in bunkers and igloo-like structures for months on end, with temperature that can peak at minus 60 centigrade.
90% of casualties are caused by the harsh weather, which include frost bite, lung and chest diseases, loss of memory, and depression. A captain who had served at such an outpost during the winter shared that usually soldiers pass their time talking to each other or playing games like Ludo. And, while they were on duty, guarding the outposts, sometimes the sun is not seen for many days. The most difficult moment is when a soldier falls sick and he has to be evacuated, which is quite a major logistic exercise.
Despite these horrendous conditions of existence in military bunkers, the morale of jawans and officers was very high, they were in good spirits, smiling with enthusiasm and have a zest to serve and defend the motherland.
An interesting feature about army jawans and officers present at Siachen is their representation from entire country, from all provinces and ethnicities of Pakistan, which shows that Pakistan Army is a national army serving at Siachen and elsewhere in the country.
3-Point Peace Plan for Siachen: More an Issue of Promoting Human Security and Protecting Environment, rather than National Security
On our return from the visit to Siachen, a media briefing at Islamabad was held with members of the Defence Committee at Parliament House. It was emphasised that the time was ripe for both Pakistan and India to treat Siachen as an issue of promoting human security and protecting the environment to face the consequences of Climate Change, rather than a needless waste of human lives, money and material in the name of national security.
This was capped by our proposal for a 3-point plan for peace at Siachen, given Siachen has emerged over time, as I underlined, as “a pointless conflict of the last 30 years, waste of human and material resources.” Ingredients for such peace can include following elements to defuse military tensions on the world's highest battleground:
• Demilitarisation of Siachen, withdrawal of forces of both Pakistan and India;
• Conversion of Siachen into a Peace Park where mountain tourism and expeditions could be encouraged under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and World Tourism Organisation (WTO);
• Collaboration between Pakistan and India to prepare a joint strategy for preserving the environment and combat the consequences of Climate Change and Global Warming in the Siachen region whose impact will be felt by a fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia. We should learn a lesson from the Giyari tragedy which resulted in loss of precious lives, regarding the futility of the conflict at Siachen.
In this context, it is also relevant to mention the track record and efforts for peace at Siachen which were sabotaged on at least three different occasions by the Indian military establishment. On all these three occasions, the Indian Army Chiefs of that time overruled the Indian political leadership to sabotage any possible peace agreement of India with Pakistan over Siachen:
• June 1989, when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had agreed with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for a Siachen agreement but the then Indian Army Chief, General V. N. Sharma, opposed it and the agreement was overruled. The agreement was based on an understanding arrived at between the Defence Secretaries of Pakistan and India during talks in March 1989.
• On June 13, 2005, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, during a visit to Siachen, proclaimed Siachen as a “mountain of peace” and publicly sought to convert Siachen from a “point of conflict to a symbol of peace.” However, General J. J. Singh, the then Chief of Army Staff of India opposed it citing “security concerns” and termed it as being “not in national interest.”
• On the eve of the 13th round of talks on Siachen between Defence Ministries of Pakistan and India which was scheduled in June 2012, the then Indian Army Chief, General V. K. Singh publically and outrightly rejected Pakistan's proposals of peace at Siachen saying that “these are not realistic,” thereby undermining any possibility of a peace agreement prior to talks. This statement came, interestingly enough, in the wake of the Giyari tragedy.
Some of these factors have also been confirmed in the recent book by Sanjaya Barua, former Press Secretary to the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the “The Accidental Prime Minister.”
While all parliamentarians lauded the sacrifices of the valiant soldiers of Pakistan Army who are defending the motherland against heavy odds at the world's most difficult terrain, I told the troops that they were a role model for the entire nation and the Parliament of Pakistan fully stood behind our men in uniform at Siachen. The soldiers are a source of inspiration, a symbol of courage and commitment.
For the future, the way forward is that Siachen be no longer treated as an issue of national security by India and Pakistan, rather this is more an issue of human security. The need to protect and preserve the environment and ecology of the region is of prime importance as it is adversely affected by the Indian occupation, particularly the cutting and melting of ice using chemicals to construct military barracks. It is somewhat silly for the Indian Army in the 21st Century to insist on militarising an area where the most brutal conditions of existence, including the harsh weather, are the biggest enemy for both sides.
Pakistan and India are both Asian countries and nuclear neighbours. In the 21st century, which is Asian Century, the time has come for both countries to collaborate, for starters, on such areas as environment, climate change, and global warming.
We should approach issues with a big heart and even take pride in each other's achievements as Asians. For example, we congratulate India on its achievement on Mars while India should also take pride in Pakistan's achievements in areas of science, technology, IT, arts, literature, and culture because some of the best brains and talented professionals reside in South Asia, and we can learn from each other.
The Nobel Peace Prize, won jointly by citizens of both countries with Pakistan's Malala, the youngest ever recipient, can be the starting point of pride in South Asian success which needs to be transformed into peace at Siachen.
Let Siachen be a test case for India's new leadership led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whether he can match his words with deeds to settle Siachen with maturity, large heartedness and common sense, keeping in mind the paramount interests and future of South Asia's teeming millions, soldiers and civilians alike, or remain hostage to an outmoded approach of the hawks in the Indian military-security establishment, that still somehow believe that hegemony can be imposed by bullying and browbeating through military diktat.
Indian Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley's remarks to an Indian media interview on October 22, 2014, that “our conventional military strength is far more than theirs (Pakistan)," and his warning of more 'pain' to Pakistan given the context of unprovoked shelling across the Line of Control and Working Boundary, smacks of an immature arrogance, a throwback to the bloated self-importance exuded by Indian policy-makers like L.K.Advani, in the aftermath of the Indian nuclear tests in May 1998. Once Pakistan responded in kind on May 28, 1998, the situation changed and Indian leaders realised then that South Asia now had a new balance of power.
Regrettably, India's short-sighted policy-makers do not learn from history where one lesson is clear: size does not equal strength, and military miscalculations can have dangerous consequences as the Soviets in Afghanistan, Americans in Vietnam, and Israelis in Lebanon, learnt to their lasting regret!

The writer is Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Defence Committee. He is an eminent scholar and practitioner of international repute on issues of security, international relations and politics. He has been the Editor of a prestigious national English daily, and author of three books. As Leader of Pakistan's Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission at Geneva in 1993, he was proactive in promoting Pakistan's position on Kashmir and Siachen.

Written By: Shaukat Qadir

September this year witnessed the greatest stand-off between China and India in recent times. Soon after, China objected to the 1800 km long highway India was planning along their common borders. India then threatened to add 54 border posts, to which China has serious objections. Considering that, over the last decade Sino-Indian relations had been improving and trade between these two countries had multiplied manifold, what caused this deterioration in relations? To understand this, it is essential to take an objective and dispassionate look at Modi's India – and make no mistake, this is without doubt, Modi's India.

In the last Indian election, the defeat of Congress party was expected. Most analysts expected the return of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power but as the leader of a coalition. The extent of support that the Modi-led BJP was able to muster and win enough seats to form a government independently, with seats to spare, surprised all the 'knowing ones'.

What was even more astonishing is the fact that Modi got this support despite his unashamed espousing of the RSS' Hindutva and his anti-Muslim position; in fact, he might even have got this support because of it. He offered no apology for the anti-Muslim riots which occurred during his watch as Chief Minister (many believe Modi instigated the riots), but boasted of them. Most Indian analysts emphatically expressed their concern on where India would be headed under Modi. Some hoped that, while this position might have won Modi the election, he would rise in stature as an astute politician once he assumed office. Indeed, his initial overtures encouraged the hopeful. His invitation to Nawaz Sharif, his initial reach out to China, his mild response to the US embarrassment for having denied Modi a US visa before the elections, his emphasis on economic reforms to build a better India; all pointed towards the possibility of peace in the region.

Only the perspicacious were still worried. Their worries seem to have been well considered as time seems to have proven. But to get the entire perspective, it is important to advert to some other facts. India has very strictly stuck to the principle of seniority in appointing its army chief. There has been only one instance where the senior-most Lt Gen was not appointed the next chief upon retirement of the incumbent. However, when Gen Bikram Singh was due to retire, earlier this year, it was no secret that Bikram's predecessor, Gen VK Singh who, after retirement joined the BJP and has, following the elections, become a Chief Minister, was doing his utmost to have his protégé, Lt Gen Ashok Singh, who was second in seniority appointed as army chief, instead of Suhag, the present incumbent, appointed by the Congress-led coalition, shortly before losing the election. Ashok is VK's samdhee.

Obviously, the extent to which BJP was prepared to go to have Ashok as the next army chief could be due to only one reason i.e. he was “like-minded”. Under the Modi-led BJP government, therefore, Suhag had a point to prove. His current animosity and aggressive attitude towards Pakistan can be understood in perspective. Finally, India's National Security Advisers have all been from the Foreign Service with one exception from the Police Service. However, Ajit Kumar Doval, the second police service officer to hold this coveted assignment, appointed by Modi, is not just any police officer. Not only has he spent almost his entire service in intelligence, including RAW, like Modi, his views favouring Hindutva and opposed to Muslims are well established. The readers might well ask how all this has any bearing on Sino-Indian relations. It explains the current Indian aggressive stance to Pakistan, but not to China. The link might be Modi's recent theocratic assertions. Religion has been ill-used by many a politicians and nowhere more frequently than in Pakistan. But no politician has attempted to carry religion to the realm of the physical sciences.

My problem is that I don't know Narendra Modi. I have no way of being able to explain why he is acting in ways that are certainly unnecessarily aggressive and might even be considered unwanted by many. Consequently, when I am asked to analyze and explain the acts of a government under a specific leader, I have no alternatives but to draw reasonable inferences. To draw inferences, I need to rely on what I know of the individuals who contribute to decision-making, their backgrounds etc, all of which help guide me to reasonable possible explanations to understand their conduct. What I have stated above are the facts that help guide me to possible explanations. Modi's venture into theocratic explanations so as to reaffirm Hindutva superiority smacks of delusions of grandeur. The last time the world was subjected to such a delusion referring to any peoples, it was non-religious but it was racial: Hitler's assertion of the supremacy of the Aryan race over all others.

Let us also not forget that the Swastika which became the infamous sign of Nazi Germany is shared by the Hindu mythology – ironically it also exists with similar inferences in Judaism. The origin of the Swastika is irrelevant but the fact that it is proudly borne by those who espouse Hindutva is definitely significant. I therefore, infer that, in Modi's mind, the Hindutva practicing Hindu is, if not vastly superior to, certainly at par with the best of the races. The only explanation I can find for India's aggressive attitude towards China is that Modi has decided that he needs to establish this religio-racial relationship with the Chinese at the outset. The fact that he is prepared to do so at a time when the economic growth of India might suffer as a consequence of this aggression is even more significant.

While Modi's unashamed espousing of Hindutva during his election campaign was more visible, there was another pillar of his campaign manifesto: India's economic potential. Modi dwelt on the rampant corruption in the Congress-led coalition government and promised reforms to ensure that India reached its economic potential. In fact, many Indian analysts were of the view that Modi won the election on his vehement espousing of the economic agenda and that his Hindutva was ignored due to the economic hope that he held out to the peoples. How far will he go with this 'delusion of religious grandeur'? I can't say. Time alone will tell. It does however seem reasonable to infer that Modi's leopard spots are beginning to show – not only towards Pakistan but also in his policies towards the entire region and the world. One can only hope that, unlike Hitler whom I compared him with, Modi refrains from permitting his delusions of national grandeur based on Hindutva to go too far.

The writer is retired Brigadier 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.

Written By: Lt Gen (Retd) Shafaat Ullah Shah

Those punitive months of 1971 were both gloomy and demoralizing. Outnumbered, faced with paucity of resources and series of failures through enemy actions, supported by the insurgents, defeat appeared imminent. There were though some brilliant tactical battles fought by our officers and soldiers alike acclaimed by even Indians in their later war accounts. Battles like 'Behrab Bridge', 'Balunia Bulge' and many others will go down in annals of history as classical examples of courage and bravery in the face of materially and numerically superior enemy. It was 16th Day of December, Second Lieutenant Shafaat in the forward assembly area of Army's strike division on western border, was shocked at hearing on radio, the sad news of the fall of Dhaka. Commissioned just a month earlier, his nascent military experience could not digest this shocking defeat and the manner in which the surrender document was signed. His thoughts went to his coursemates posted to units in earstwhile East Pakistan, their plight and the state of their families. He fondly recalled happy faces of coursemates at passing out on November 14, 1971 and the comradeship and association they had mutually developed during exacting training schedule of Pakistan Military Academy. As a student of military history he had studied Japanese practice of Hara-Kiri during Second World War in that instead of subjugation, they opted to commit suicide missions as an honourable way out. Here, an icon figure of Lt Gen 'Tiger' Niazi, Commander Eastern Command, symbol of pride for thousands of soldiers who had fought under him in extremely adverse environments, was smiling and sharing jokes while signing the surrender document to Lt Gen Arora of India. This was another shock to him which made the news of surrender even more painful. It was after a month of the fall of Dhaka when I was granted the leave to visit my parents at Peshawar, then a very peaceful and serene city. I had studied account of Mohammad Ghori, in that after the defeat in Battle of Tarain in 1191 A.D. by Prithviraj and his return to Afghanistan, he did not sleep on bed nor changed his clothes till he avenged his earlier defeat after one year. I was expecting same gloom and feeling of revenge by the nation but alas this turned out to be another shock when I saw life as usual with virtually no impact of the separation of East Pakistan. More than four decades have passed since Pakistan was dismembered. In retrospect it can be easily concluded that if we had accepted the verdict of the majority in 1970 Elections, the fate of Pakistan would have been different. In the first fair elections held under the auspices of Election Commission on the basis of adult franchise and population, Mujib-led Awami League had won 160 out of 162 reserved seats from East Pakistan, while Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party claimed 81 out of 138 seats from West Pakistan. Awami League had the democratic mandate to form the government. This was not the only reason of separation though! The process of alienation was definitely precipitated after cancellation of announced date of convening of newly elected Assembly at Dhaka on March 3, 1971, sequent to political formula tabled by Z. A. Bhutto of two separate Prime Ministers from majority party in each wing of Pakistan. I do not want to enter into controversy as to who can be blamed for the separation of East Pakistan as accepting mistakes is not in our psyche. Suffice it would be to reproduce the findings of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission report, declassified by President Musharraf in December 2000, which stated that, “The defeat suffered by the armed forces was not a result of military factor alone, but had been brought about as the cumulative result of political, international, moral and military factors. The political developments that took place between 1947 and 1971, including the effects of the two martial law periods, hastened the process of political and emotional isolation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan.” In the context of above findings, it may be pertinent to analyze some of the issues manifested even today despite elapse of 43 long years. The fall of Dhaka clearly indicates that military action is no substitute to the political process. No serious effort was made in 1971 to start a political dialogue and the emerged majority party as a result of elections was denied the right to form the government. Unfortunately even now, our political system has not attained that maturity to accommodate each other and keep national interest above personal motives. Military operations can at best gain time for the political dispensation to take place. In the aftermath of East Pakistan debacle, in many a military actions initiated against separatists and terrorists, political process to win hearts and minds is generally lacking with few exceptions. Similarly judicial dispensation in penalizing culprits has also been found wanting. The level and intensity of military operations also need to be tailored according to the nature of resistance and the visualized end state. As can be discerned, use of excessive force during the military action estranged the sympathies of people of East Pakistan. To quash a rebellion by separatists would be with lesser intensity as the objective would be to force them to accept writ of the state and rejoin the national fold, opposed to countering terrorists with full force, as they have different ideology which they want to enforce. The strategy of the time that defence of East Pakistan lies in West Pakistan also proved to be misplaced in 1971 war. While we waited in our forward assembly areas to launch the offensive against 'soft under belly' of India to force them to recoil from East Pakistan, the 'bugle' was not sounded and rest is the history. Uneven allocation of resources was another major cause of the alienation of populace. East Pakistan was marginalized based on their language and efficiency. Despite edge in population which forms the basis of allocation of funds and quotas in government jobs, East Pakistan suffered discrimination. Army, though somewhat late, was the first institution to address this anomaly and allocated 50% seats for cadets ex Eastern wing in 1969 and our course, 47 PMA Long Course was the first course on which this provision was applied. Bureaucracy, mainly from West Pakistan, imbibed by false notion of being rulers, ill treated Bengalis. There was a major disparity between the two wings of Pakistan which is even evident today between Punjab and other smaller provinces. The problem is further aggravated due to the limited capacity of provinces other than Punjab to even utilize the allocated resources and funds. The main cause of disenchantment of people even today is poor governance and non existence of local bodies at grassroots levels. The Constitution of 1973 provides for regular convening of meetings of Council of Common Interest. However, this forum has hardly been given any importance, much less convening its regular meetings to address genuine concerns of smaller provinces. Education forms the foundation of nurturing a society and building nationhood. In East Pakistan, entire education system since 1947 Independence was dominated by Hindus, who tailored syllabus according to their religious moorings casting Muslims in evil fabric. Seeds were sown on the pretext of unjust division of India on the basis of religion while logically it should have been a 'Greater Bengal'. Anti Pakistan propaganda by the Hindu teachers in East Pakistani schools, colleges and universities as well as by Indian sponsored media and politicians, constituted a major factor in building momentum for the rebellion. Indian Government and RAW both overtly and covertly financed and supported the movement for separation. Our education system even today suffers from lack of resources and a viable long term vision. In present days, Indians are virtually dominating all global institutions and organizations due to earlier tangible investments in fields of education. In early 1960s, Pundit Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, opened doors to foreign education and established institutes of higher learnings in medical sciences, economics, and managements etc. which has enabled Indian system to benefit and provide quality education. Pakistan on the other hand spends only 2.5 % of its GDP on education, which is the lowest in the entire region. In fact current Education Budget has been reduced from last year. A major initiative to provide quality education to the people of Pakistan was instituted in 2006 when nine 'Science and Technology' universities from First World countries were invited to open campuses and provide faculty members in various parts of Pakistan. The degrees to be awarded by these would have been of parent university, thereby providing local students modern education at doorstep and access to global job markets. This initiative was unfortunately shelved by the PPP Government when they came to power in 2008. Similarly, our syllabus and methods of teachings are outdated, devoid of any vision and encourages rote learning while curbing inquisitiveness. There is no system of teachers' training and emoluments available to teaching faculty are meagre, discouraging adoption of this profession. Unless we as a nation realize the value of education and knowledge (not merely degrees), our orientation and moorings would remain weak. The fissiparous tendencies in today's Pakistan are as visible as they were in East Pakistan. The ethnic, religious and linguistic segmentation is still there as we have not emerged as a united nation; a nation beyond petty differences. What is absent in our fabric is respect for diversity and the understanding that diversity is actually strength of any nation. It should not matter if one is Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Hindu or Parsi, so long as they are Pakistani, is all that matters. In my military career, I have never once seen prejudices in the army against other religion, creed or colour. I vividly remember my senior in regiment during 1971 War, Captain John, who was a Christian but was as patriotic as any one of us while fighting the Indians. He used to join us at 'Iftar' parties and on the occasion of Eid festivity. I wish other institutions and strata of our society also emulate this lack of discrimination and cohesiveness, akin to the armed forces. Some ill-informed and overly misguided person try to feed the false narrative that Pakistan was created to become the citadel of Islam and exists for Muslims inhabitance alone. Can we learn from the past and create a different perspective? It is still not too late to realize that our identities and ethnicities actually bond us together. Another lesson worth learning from the separation of East Pakistan is that religion alone cannot be the sole binding force for a nation state. It has to be complemented by common aspirations, objectives and interests. Pakistan was created as an intellectual and political emergence from the minds and efforts of progressive and enlightened Muslims. It was created as a Muslim country that was to eschew the religious communalism that the Muslims of India faced and evolved a separate state and society based on progressive understanding of Islam. East Pakistan breaking away rendered the early notion of Pakistan Ideology obsolete and even detrimental. Bengalis have always been in the forefront of struggle for Pakistan and Muslim League was formed at Dhaka in 1906. Despite geographical separation, they have been most patriotic and participated in wars against arch adversary India. Then why the majority chose to separate? My first Company Commander when I joined unit during war was a Bengali officer, Major Mohsin (later rose to be a Major General in Bangladesh Army), who even in those days of the uprising in East Pakistan, shared our patriotism and yearning to fight Indians. The beginning of this process commenced in early years of independence when Bengalis were treated with discrimination, un-even distribution of resources, jobs, industries etc. They perceived that state of Pakistan was using religion to erode their culture. India played a decisive role in building negative perceptions and orchestrating the movement, with international support, for separation of East Pakistan. This vast and highly controversial subject warrants a continuous debate and reappraisal as the aftershocks reverberate even today. To conclude, the most important message emerging from the fall of Dhaka is that we accept our mistakes in earnest, learn from them and not repeat them, as failure is no more an option.
The writer has been Commander Lahore Corps and Military Secretary to the President. He is also author of 'Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan' (published 1983). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Written By: Arshi Saleem Hashmi

December 16, 1971 does not bring good memories for Pakistanis; it is the date we lost half of our country. Since 1971, a lot has been published, questions have been raised, politician and military personalities have been blamed and that continues to happen even today. According to the Hamood-ur-Rehman commission report, the defeat suffered was not a result of military factors alone, but had been brought about as the cumulative result of political developments that took place between 1947 and 1971. It is unfortunate that instead of an objective analysis of the circumstances that led to the debacle in 1971, one sided, accusative approach is adopted to describe the situation during that time. Critiques of Pakistan take no time to come up with the accusation of “brutality” being conducted by Pakistan Army without any substantiated data.

A strong narrative based on 'biased propaganda' was promoted without analyzing factors like the role of India, Mukti Bahini, Awami League and wrong decisions at political level. Unfortunately, Bangladeshi youth is also being brought up on this narrative. East Pakistan was not governed properly, can be a true assessment but the violence that was unleashed in the year prior to the secession was way too exaggerated. The brutal murder of innocent Bengalis was all classified as the gruesome act of Pakistan Military, it actually helped covering the negligence of East Pakistani political and civil administration. The new narrative that was created in the subsequent years was to protect the violence conducted by Mukti Bahini and Awami League's members against those East Pakistanis who were not convinced that the solution to governance problems in East Pakistan was to break away from West Pakistan. These patriotic East Pakistanis believed in Pakistan and paid heavy price by losing their lives and damage to property. Later on, all the killings were termed as genocide by West Pakistan's policy tool and Pakistan Army was presented as the one responsible for this.

Recently I have gone through few books that record the accounts of primary sources and show the true picture. These books in a way respond to the most prevailing myths about 1971 and East Pakistan. The study of these books reveals the extent and effectiveness of Indian and Awami League propaganda to defame Pakistan and Pakistan Army. These independent scholars who have tried to bring a more scholarly work based on extensive research included personal experience as well as accounts of common Bangladeshis to unravel the true face of negative narratives. Sarmila Bose is one such author, who in her book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War” provides primary sources interviews detailing the accounts during the time and unfolding many mysteries that have been dominating the literature on East Pakistan situation. There are many other voices opening up new avenues for researchers and scholars working on Bangladeshi politics and its history. Ikram Sehgal, renowned defence expert has come up with his book, “Escape from Oblivion: The story of a Pakistani Prisoner of War in India”. Mr. Sehgal narrates the details about the real situation after Pakistan Army men were taken as prisoners by India.

Similarly, the book “The Wastes of Time: Reflections on the Decline and Fall of East Pakistan” written by a Bengali professor, Dr Syed Sajjad Hussain, who remained Vice Chancellor of Rajshahi University and moved to Dhaka University in July 1971, gives an insider's account that unfolds many secrets regarding East Pakistan, buried in the history. In next paragraphs I am reproducing few of the relevant excerpts for the interest of readers that also highlight different but a well-researched view-point about prevailing myths.

Myth: The military operation was conducted against innocent civilians.

Reality: “At the more organised level weapons training started and military-style parades were held carrying weapons both real and dummy. Kaliranjan Shil, a Communist activist who survived the army's assault on Jagannath Hall in Dhaka University on 25-26 March, wrote that following the postponement of the national assembly on 1 March, and the start of the non-cooperation movement, as part of the struggle the student union started 'training in pre-paration for war with dummy rifles on the Dhaka University gymnasium field... I was also taking training in a group. In a few days our first batch's training was completed and along with girl-students' group three groups of us took part in a march-past on the roads'. Photographs of marching girls carrying rifles appeared in the foreign media during this period and images of such gatherings and parades are displayed with pride in the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka.

The invocation of Gandhi's name in connection with the Bengali uprising of 1971 is not only entirely inappropriate, it is patently absurd. Mujib, 'the apostle of agitation' seeking power through brilliant oratory and electoral politics, did not speak the language of Gandhi or think his thoughts. Crowds did not go to hear Gandhi armed with guns, rods and spears.” (Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Page 26) Myth: There were over 3 million killings of Bengalis during the military operations. Reality: “Examination of the available material on the 1971 war in both Bengali and English showed that while the allegation of 'genocide' of 'three million Bengalis' is often made in books, articles, newspapers, films and websites it is not based on any accounting or survey on the ground. Sisson and Rose state that the figure of three million dead was put out by India, while some Bangladeshi sources say it was the figure announced on his return to Dhaka by Sheikh Mujib, who in turn had been 'told' that was the death toll when he emerged from nine months in prison in West Pakistan. It is unclear who 'told' Sheikh Mujib this and on what basis. However, Sheikh Mujib's public announcement of 'three million dead' after his return to the newly created Bangladesh was reported in the media. For instance, on 11 January 1972 in The Times Peter Hazelhurst reported from Dhaka on Mujib's emotional home-coming: in his first public rally in independent Bangladesh Mujib is reported to have said, 'I discovered that they had killed three million of my people’.”… “As the earlier chapters indicate, my own experience in Bangladesh was very similar, with claims of dead in various incidents wildly exceeding anything that could be reasonably supported by evidence on the ground. 'Killing fields' and mass graves were claimed to be everywhere, but none was forensically exhumed and examined in a transparent manner, not even the one in Dhaka University. Moreover, as Drummond pointed out in 1972, the finding of someone's remains cannot clarify, unless scientifically demonstrated, whether the person was Bengali or non-Bengali, combatant or non-combatant, whether death took place in the 1971 war, or whether it was caused by the Pakistan Army. Ironically, as Drummond also points out, the Pakistan Army did kill, but the Bangladeshi claims were 'blown wholly out of proportion', undermining their credibility. Drummond reported that field investigations by the Home Ministry of Bangladesh in 1972 had turned up about 2000 complaints of deaths at the hands of the Pakistan Army.”

(Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Pages 175, 177)

Myth: The riches of East Pakistan (Sonar Bangla) were exploited by West Pakistanis. Reality: “The second move in the game was to build up an equally fictitious image of a Bengal overflowing with milk and honey which had been delivered over to Pakistan. The so-called Bengali scholars claimed to discover almost every day more and more evidence of a rich cultural heritage in Bengal's past now exposed to risk. The fact that the province had not yet recovered from the devastating famine of 1943 and the ravages of the Second World War was conveniently overlooked. Nor did anybody care to draw. attention to the recurring cycle of famines and shortages which has been a constant in Bengal's history. Only about 43 years before the 1943 famine, there had been at the turn of the century a terrible famine of the same kind which had taken a heavy toll of human life. Stories of similar food shortages at twenty-five or fifty year intervals form the staple of Bengal's literature. But the illiterate public in Bengal have a short memory and are apt to forget inconvenient truths. They love day-dreaming. Oblivious to the picture of this barrenness and starvation, the image they love to cherish of Bengal is that of an inexhaustible granary where no one goes hungry”... “No one could deny either openly or secretly that Bengal, overwhelmed with a large population, needed foreign capital for development, since she had no capital herself. On the other hand, the presence of outsiders who seemed to possess both money and skill was keenly resented. To rationalise the resentment, they created the myth that the outsiders were not really helping in the development of her resources, but fleecing Bengal. There had existed, they maintained, back in the dim past of Sonar Bangla, a Golden period when the country lacked nothing. The outsiders had eaten her resources away, reduced her to destitution and poverty and degraded her to her present position. The myth took hold on the imagination of the public. In their lucid moments, of course, they remembered how relentless the realities around them were. But the natural bent of their minds towards romanticism and emotionalism gave rise to puerile fancies, without the slightest foundation in fact, about the wealth and resources of the motherland. The Indian conspirators kept fanning this puerilism, taking advantage of the inevitable frictions, which the advent of foreign capital produces in any society.” (Dr Syed Sajjad Hussain, The Wastes of Time: Reflections on the Decline and Fall of East Pakistan, Pages 111, 112, 117)

Myth: Pakistan Army alone is responsible for all violence.

Reality: “By the time I reached my unit, my world had been turned topsy-turvy the writing clearly on the wall. One could never believe that the 2E Bengal had killed their West Pakistani colleagues. Sadly, it was true. The massacre of the family of Subedar Ayub was especially heinous and unforgiveable. All these officers had repeatedly been warned by West Pakistani officers that they would be killed if they did not leave the unit. During those critical days, some Bengali officers even advised them to take leave or go to Dacca on some pretext. All of them without exception refused to take the easy exit by abandoning the unit. It was unthinkable on their part to do so, particularly at such a juncture. They all were of the sentiment that if they stood their ground, they will be able to stop any action that might be taken against their unit. But they proved to be gravely wrong. They were murdered – their martyrdom proves that they were heroes by all means. Their killing is a dark stain on history and can never obliterate the fact that they were a fine battalion.”

(Ikram Sehgal, Escape from Oblivion: the Story of a Pakistani Prisoner of War in India, Page 6) Myth: India entered the war in December 1971 and was trying for peaceful political solution to the problem from the outset. Reality: “The date of the start of full-fledged war between India and Pakistan in 1971 is a contested issue. The date popularly given out is 3 December, the one announced by India, but this is merely the date the war spread to include the Western sector. In a sense India's involvement in the war may be taken to be from March, and its involvement in the politics of the province perhaps from even earlier. Numerous Bangladeshi pro-liberation accounts blithely recount close contact and coordination with authorities prior to the military action taken by the Pakistani Regime, as well as in-year. Many of the Pakistani officers I spoke to described Indian involvement and casualties in 'actions' in East Pakistan throughout the year… 'The big operations are always done by the Indians', reported The Guardian on 18 September 1971, after an ethnic Bengali, who blended in with the local population and needed no translation, visited the training camps of the Mukti Bahini in India and crossed in to East Pakistan with a guide on his own. Of the couple of hundred Bengali 'volunteers' who were said to be in the border area he visited, only six had been given any training at all and only three had taken part in any operation”… “The American government was correct in its assessment that India had already decided to launch a military operation in East Pakistan when Mrs. Gandhi came to Washington in early November pretending that she was still seeking a peaceful solution”. (Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Pages 172, 173)

Myth: The West Pakistanis imposed their culture on Bengalis. Reality: “During the Civil War of 1971 there was a great deal of talk in the American Press, particularly in such journals as Time and Newsweek, about the revolt of the Bengalis against the attempted imposition of an alien culture upon them by the Punjabis. In so far as the term Bengalis connoted Bengali Muslims, this was of course a plain lie, there having been no difference between the culture of one section of Muslims and another in Pakistan. In so far as the statement referred to the original culture of the local inhabitants, there was not much in it which one could consider worth defending. There was in either case no truth in the allegation that the inhabitants of East Pakistan were being forced to accept a way of life repugnant to them. What had indeed been happening since the adoption of policy of industrialisation by Pakistan was that the crust of old customs and superstitions was gradually breaking up, people were beginning to understand the advantages of modern comforts; polished floors were being substituted for mud and sand, bamboo being replaced by cement concrete, porcelain taking the place of brass and bell-metal chairs and tables being substituted for cane mattresses. New roads, better communications, the influx of capital from abroad, the growth of industrial townships, the arrival of new skills and techniques, had begun to erode the traditional pattern of life and end the old isolationism. An air of cosmopolitanism filled the atmosphere. Bengalis, both Hindus and Muslims, were being forced increasingly to come into contact with foreigners whose ways and judgments were so different. The opening of airports in remote areas like Lalmonirhat or Shaistanager, the setting up of a paper mill at Chandraghona or a newsprint mill at Khulna, the establishment of a network of jute mills all over the province, the discovery and utilisation of gas at Haripur and Titas disclosed new potentialities at the same time that they opened up possibilities of change never foreseen.”

(Dr Syed Sajjad Hussain, The Wastes of Time: Reflections on the Decline and Fall of East Pakistan, Page 116)

Myth: West Pakistani Army was the 'occupying force' whereas Indian Army was a 'liberation army'. Reality: “The Pakistan army is also constantly referred to in the Bangladeshi literature as an occupying force', or 'hanadar bahini' (invading force, raiders). This is a mindless misrepresentation of reality. In 1971 East Pakistan was a province of Pakistan, a country created in 1947 as a homeland for South Asia's Muslims, through a movement in which East Bengal played a significant role. The Pakistan army was present in the province as it was in other provinces of the newly created state. Bengalis served both in the existing units of the army and in the special Bengal regiments raised later. Just as West Pakistanis served in East Pakistan, Bengali officers were posted in West Pakistan.

Bengalis who later decided they wanted to secede from Pakistan and fight for an independent country could have termed the Pakistan army 'shotru' 'enemy forces' whom they wished to eject, instead of resorting to pointless attempts to erase history by labelling them 'occupying' or 'invading' forces, as though they had suddenly appeared from a foreign land. Moreover, many Bengalis did not support the idea of secession and continued to consider the Pakistan regime the legitimate government, and some Bengali officers continued to serve in the Pakistan army, defending what was still Pakistani territory. There was only one 'invading force' in East Pakistan in 1971 that was India.”

(Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Page 163)

Myth: Bengali language was fundamental part of Bengali nationalism. Reality: “The Indians began by painting a dismal picture of the subservience to which the Bengali-speaking Muslims of East Pakistan would be reduced in the event of Urdu being declared Pakistan's state language. The Bengali-speaking Hindus of West Bengal saw no threat to their identity in the adoption of Hindi as the Indian state language. This was perverse logic. We seemed to be back in the world of Humpty Dumpty. But the so-called intellectuals of East Pakistan failed to see through the Indian game and immediately took up the cry that Bengali had to be saved from the threatened onslaught. A myth was concocted almost overnight about a conspiracy against the Bengali language”… “What, on the contrary, the Awami Leaguers, assisted by the left-wing journalists, fanned all the time was the cult of Bengali nationalism. Here again their dishonesty was transparently plain. They didn't contend that the entire subcontinent needed reorganising on linguistic lines, or that each major language group in Pakistan and India called for recognition as a separate nationality with a right to self-determination. The theory was applied to the Bengalis of Pakistan only. The Bengalis in West Bengal in India could stay where they were; the Marathis, the Tamils, the Andhras---all belonged to the Indian nation and nothing illogical could be seen in their union into a single State of the disparate language groups which inhabited India. The Nagas ethnically, linguistically and culturally differed from the rest of India but they received no support, although they had been struggling for secession since 1947; their leader Dr Phizo lived in exile in London, while Indian tanks, armoured cars, heavy artillery and bombs helped 'pacify' Naga villages. The disputed area of Kashmir was also left severely alone. No, India had a right to be one, and anyone who pleaded for pluralism either politically or culturally was a reactionary. But Pakistan with precisely the same demographic composition as India had to be viewed differently. Never in political history before has the jaundiced eye been so powerfully at work as in India and Pakistan, weighing the same problems in the two countries in different scales and insisting on different conclusion.”

(Dr Syed Sajjad Hussain, The Wastes of Time: Reflections on the Decline and Fall of East Pakistan, Pages 111, 213)

Myth: Armed activities against non-Bengalis were carried out by Mukti Bahini guerrilla only and not the Indian Army. Reality: “Bengali accounts of the 'heroic' exploits of rebel fighter in the war are punctured by some accounts given by their powerful allies, the Indians. 'It can now be said', wrote Maj. Gen. Sukhwant Singh, 'that despite the Awami League's hold on the Bengali troops in the name of patriotism, Mujib's charisma and the professional contacts in the armed forces of Col Osmani, the organizers of the insurgency had not been able to draw up and implement an integrated plan... the revolt had no strong popular base'. Initially the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) supported the operations of the rebels, but 'Unfortunately, these efforts were not very effective'. 'The failure of the revolt and the poor results obtained by the rebel forces in their operations after crossing into India led to a detailed appraisal of the situation by the Indian Government in the last week of April'. According to Maj. Gen. Singh, '…the Indian Army was asked to take over the guidance of all aspects of guerilla warfare on 30 April…’” “The assessment of Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh was similar: 'The Mukti Bahini fighter was not a dedicated guerilla... the Awami League leaders were reluctant to join them and face the hazards of military struggle. The guerillas had no safe bases for operations inside East Pakistan but could safely operate from camps across the Indian border'. In Singh's view, 'It was becoming clear by July that Mukti Bahini was unable to win the confidence of the villagers'. They also avoided direct confrontation with the Pakistan army owing to the heavy casualties they suffered. However, 'The propaganda machine worked hard and to good effect. Dressed in a Iungi and rifle in hand, the Mukti Bahini guerilla became an instant hero... The news-hungry press swallowed claims of fictitious successes which were widely believed.”

(Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Pages 146-47)

Myth: Pakistani soldiers carried out rapes of university student during Operation Searchlight. Reality: “None of the Bengali eye-witness accounts, nor the testimony to me of Pakistan army officers involved in the action, nor the evidence of the recorded radio communication among them, mention Rokeya Hall, the women's hostel of Dhaka University, as a target of military action. Yet a story had circulated in 1971, repeated to me by members of the Bangladeshi intelligentsia, about the women's hostel being attacked and girls jumping out of the windows. In reality, like the other hostels, Rokeya Hall had also emptied of its normal residents before 25 March, and did not seem to have been a targeted building. Similarly, as attested in Jahanara Imam's book by a terrified resident of Mohsin Hall, the army did not go to Mohsin Hall either.”

(Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Page 57)

Myth: 93,000 Pakistani soldiers became POWs to India. Reality: “One of the most notable 'numbers' of 1971 in circulation is the assertion that '93,000 Pakistani soldiers' were taken prisoner by India at the end of the war. This statement has been repeated, virtually unchallenged, in practically every form of publication. It is a number about which one expects a certain precision – after all the number of POWs in India had to be an exact figure, not an approximation. Yet it turns out that 93,000 soldiers were not, in fact, taken prisoner. In March 1971, the number of West Pakistani troops in East Pakistan was reported to be 12,000. More forces were brought in to cope with the crisis and Lt Gen A. A. K. Niazi, Commander of the Eastern Command in 1971 from April to December, wrote: 'The total fighting strength available to me was forty-five thousand 34,000 from the army, plus 11,000 from CAF and West Pakistan civilian police and armed non-combatants'. Out of the 34,000 regular troops, 23,000 were infantry, the rest being armour, artillery, engineers, signals and other ancillary units. How did 34,000 army personnel plus 11,000 civilian police and other armed personnel, a total of 45,000 men, more than double into '93,000 soldiers' who were reported taken prisoner by India in December?”

(Sarmila Bose, Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War, Page 174)


Written By: Ejaz Haider

The 21st century wars will not just exploit military weaknesses. They will make use of a nation's fault-lines. The non-kinetic means will act as force-multipliers for kinetic means. The sooner our civil and military planners understand this, the better prepared we will be for 21st century wars.

The obvious lesson, especially given the reference to the Arab Spring as also the historical situation obtaining in Crimea and Ukraine, is that a state's defence against this kind of war cannot be guaranteed by its military alone. How strong or weak a state is in the face of such a threat will depend on how internally strong and cohesive it is – or can be. A state's strength in such a situation is a function of political stability, economic prowess, diplomatic outreach and, consequent to these preconditions, military strength. In other words, military strength flows from non-military factors. War is older than the oldest profession. Violence began when Cain slew Abel. It has since gone through many ages. But while there are many spots of time along the historical trajectory of war-fighting, closer to our time we see the shift with the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte created a national army through 'willing' conscription and made France fight 'armies' on the continent that, until Gerhard von Scharnhorst's idea of a general staff, mostly comprised mercenary troops employed by various states and principalities. Bonaparte gave the foretaste of national wars, the idea so lamented and considered dangerous by Maj Gen JFC Fuller (The Conduct of War). Bonaparte's corps d'armée, the model that allowed him both flexibility and superiority in numbers (width-depth and concentration/ dispersion) could not be sustained without involving France in wars. From the gunpowder revolution, the pace of technological advancement increases. We move to the First Industrial Revolution which introduced rifles and railroads, what has been described as the age of steel and steam and the machine gun. The MG killed more infantrymen during WWI than the two nuclear bombs did the Japanese in WWII. The Second Industrial Revolution, which introduced the tank and its terror, once again tipped the balance in favour of the offensive which the rifle and the MG had blunted. This was not to last long with the introduction of anti-tank weapons and aerial bombardment. These developments were to be followed by flattop carriers and submarines. Since then much else has changed in terms of platforms and weapon systems. Since WWI, war is no more a remote event. It is not just a matter of the armies fighting one another in secluded battlefields. As Bonaparte's France showed, modern wars are fought by nations, not just armies at war. Rocketry and air raids over cities ensured that. The spirit of the times in WWI was depicted by the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats in the opening lines of his poem, Lapis Lazuli: For everybody knows or else should know That if nothing drastic is done Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out. Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in Until the town lie beaten flat. The fast pace at which new weapons are being introduced have also brought into sharp salience the issue of knowledge, high-end human resource and strong economies. But the interesting point, and a crucial one too, is about the slowness of response to changes on the battlefield, even when basic assumptions are being challenged and quite often falling apart. For instance, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the French top commander came up with absurd math on the 1:2 advantage of the attacker since the attacking force will have double the number of rifles and could fire more rounds than the defender. It was a costly mistake and Fuller describes Foch's math as abracadabra. This despite the fact that Foch was a war theorist and a highly-acclaimed soldier. The introduction of nuclear weapons is another case in point. With the benefit of the hindsight one would think that it should have led to deterrence, pure and simple. However, for a long time, even as nuclear weapons held the balance of terror, strategies were developed to fight a nuclear war and win it. American strategist Bernard Brodierealised early on that wars between two nuclear-capable adversaries had become a big no. This fact is also reflected in the writings of Philip Windsor and Martin van Creveld, to name just two. Yet, it took atleast two decades for military and civilian planners to accept that reality. 16The fifties and the sixties saw much theorising on the use and utility of nuclear weapons against the adversary until a realisation set in that balance of terror meant just that – a balance that precluded all sides from doing something stupid. Even now continued discussion on developing a ballistic missile defence keeps a hope kindled that somehow incoming missiles can be stopped. The attempts to create a Maginot Line in the sky continue. There is of course nothing exhaustive about the foregoing. Nor is it new. Thousands of books and academic articles have been written on the impact of technology and other factors on tactics and operational strategies. What is, however, missed very often is the question of when and how to fight a war. This is the puzzle and it has become more puzzling with the changing nature of war and the layers of complexity that mask the phenomenon and its consequences. Nary a man can be found who would deny that war entails suffering, very often terrible suffering. We have graphic depictions of the horrors of war in literature, some by soldier-poets like Lieutenant Wilfred Owen (MC) from WWI and Capt. Keith Douglas in WWII; others by such luminaries as Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy and George Orwell et al. The English playwright, Edward Bond, wrote in the preface to his play, Lear: “I write about violence as naturally as Jane Austen wrote about manners. Violence shapes and obsesses our society, and if we do not stop being violent we have no future… It would be immoral not to write about violence.” Bond was using the concept in a broader sense, talking about the aggression that takes many forms and which he described as an ability but not a necessity. In a 1995 paper for the academic journal International Organisation, political scientist James D. Fearon argued that “The central puzzle about war, and also the main reason we study it, is that wars are costly but nonetheless wars recur.” If wars are costly ex post then some explanation is needed for why a compromise cannot be found ex ante. Some historians and political scientists put wars in the category of 'wanted' and 'unwanted'. A rather celebrated example of that would be US President Barack Obama's categorisation of the Iraq war as the 'bad' war and the conflict in Afghanistan as a 'necessary' war. Since then of course the Obama Administration has come round to a second aerial round of war in Iraq and Syria, though this time against a new adversary. This categorisation assumes that while 'wanted' wars are or should be, to use the economists' term, Pareto-efficient, the 'unwanted' ones are inefficient. The question, however, is: how can we determine that War X must be fought because it will be more efficient than War Y? Clearly, any such assumption cannot fully factor in the responses of the adversary or how he will react to the application of force. The most that one side deciding to go to war can do is to play out all possible scenarios and contingencies. This, as the history of war tells us, is always useful but never enough. Napoleon would not have marched on Moscow if he knew what would happen to his army on the return journey; he would not have gone into Spain if he knew that, having defeated the Spanish army, he would have to contend with the population that would embroil him in a different kind of conflict and give the world the famous term guerilla war. France and America would have stayed away from Indo-China; the Soviet Union from Afghanistan; the U.S. from Afghanistan and Iraq. The list is long. The famous Prussian soldier and war theorist Carl von Clausewitz understood this clearly. He realised that the application of force on an animate object could result in unintended consequence. The inability of any man to predict consequences, in other words have foreknowledge of what an action would entail in a nonlinear environment, was Clausewitz' 'fog of war', the 'drag', the 'friction.' War would be a much simpler affair if we were dealing with linear systems where, to quote Alan D. Beyerchen, “variables could be plotted against each other as a straight line.” But that is not to be. States, societies, groups are not linear systems where inputs and outputs equal each other and the parts make up the whole. Take the example of Islamic State also referred to variously as ISIS and ISIL. The decision to bomb, strafe and rocket IS ground targets in Syria and Iraq is supposed to destroy the movement. To be certain, the aerial campaign will manage to achieve certain objectives. It will destroy IS infrastructure, partially, if not fully; it will degrade some of its fighting capability; it will make it difficult for IS to concentrate its forces for conventional ground offensives to take over strategic positions, communication arteries and cities. Since IS doesn't have air capability, it is exposed to such attacks and apparently can't do much about them. That said, how will IS react to the campaign? Put another way, what are its options? The first would be to disperse its fighting cadres and assets. It will restrict the movement of large bodies of fighters and find patterns in time lags between in-coming sorties, just like one would calculate the lag between one artillery salvo and another. But most of all, it will calculate the sustainability of the campaign itself – i.e., how long will it take for the US-led Gulf coalition to continue this mission at the pace at which they have started it. There is also the element of cost. While the cost per flight hour of Predators and Reapers is very low, sortie after sortie of A-10s, F-16s, F-15Es, F-18s and F-22s is much higher, averaging above USD 30,000. The cost of this campaign will steadily grow and will also have to be estimated in relation to the extent of damage to IS on the ground. The IS will also devise strategies to tightly couple its fighters and assets with the population in cities it already controls. This will increase the chances of collateral damage and create an unfavourable environment for the coalition to continue with its bombing campaign. We have already seen how the scenario plays out during the Israeli air and artillery bombing and shelling of Gaza which was followed by the ground offensive. The IS is on the ground and has the time. Without a serious ground offensive it cannot really be rolled back. But the ground offensive has its own problems. If the Gulf States decide on one, the IS will revert to being an elusive force. The offensive will likely take the ground back but will not be able to 'defeat' the IS because it will change its way of fighting and extend the war zone to areas in the Gulf that, so far, have been spared from terrorist attacks. Such a strategy could further destabilise the entire region. Does this mean there is never an option to fight? No. There are times when one has to fight. But any planning must clearly appreciate the limits of use of force and its utility. On the surface, IS stands no chance against the combined might of a US-led coalition. Yet, the very asymmetry allows the IS to play according to its own rules and blunt the advantage of the more powerful adversary. That is precisely what we saw in Iraq earlier and are witnessing in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and at home in Pakistan. This is one aspect of war's nonlinear nature; the other is the employment of more than kinetic means. In a paper, The Value of Science in Prediction, General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, writes: “In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template.” “The experience of military conflicts – including those connected with the so-called coloured revolutions in north Africa and the Middle East – confirm that a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war.” “Of course, it would be easiest of all to say that the events of the 'Arab Spring' are not war and so there are no lessons for us – military men – to learn. But maybe the opposite is true – that precisely these events are typical of warfare in the 21st century.” “In terms of the scale of the casualties and destruction, the catastrophic social, economic, and political consequences, such new-type conflicts are comparable with the consequences of any real war.” “The very 'rules of war' have changed. The role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.” Strategists are already referring to the Gerasimov Doctrine while still others see the hand of Vladimir Putin behind this Russian way of making war. In a May 5, 2014 analysis in Foreign Policy (FP), titled, How Putin is Reinventing Warfare, Peter Pomerantsev writes: “The Kremlin, according to Barack Obama, is stuck in the 'old ways,' trapped in Cold War or even 19th century mindsets. But look closer at the Kremlin's actions during the crisis in Ukraine and you begin to see a very 21st century mentality, manipulating transnational financial interconnections, spinning global media, and reconfiguring geo-political alliances. Could it be that the West is the one caught up in the 'old ways,' while the Kremlin is the geopolitical avant-garde, informed by a dark, subversive reading of globalisation?” From the above quotes – the original Gerasimov article is much longer, as is the FP piece – it should be clear that nonlinear, or hybrid war is an idea that incorporates into it the use and exploitation of both kinetic and non-kinetic means.

The obvious lesson, especially given the reference to the Arab Spring as also the historical situation obtaining in Crimea and Ukraine, is that a state's defence against this kind of war cannot be guaranteed by its military alone. How strong or weak a state is in the face of such a threat will depend on how internally strong and cohesive it is – or can be.

A state's strength in such a situation is a function of political stability, economic prowess, diplomatic outreach and, consequent to these preconditions, military strength. In other words, military strength flows from non-military factors.

This should clearly indicate that the national strategy to put military strength ahead of the very factors that can ensure and sustain it, has been a deeply flawed policy and has resulted in weakening rather than strengthening the state. Unfortunately, it also means that we are extremely vulnerable to the ravages of nonlinear or hybrid war. The crucial problem is not this new way of fighting, though that proffers its own problems. The essential and deeply worrisome point is that we are completely unprepared for it. While the civilians have an uncanny realisation of it, without often understanding the ingredients of the problem, the military is still caught up in outmoded thinking. I call it the RCC syndrome. Furthermore, it remains afflicted with the thought that it can somehow act as an arbiter in a complex polity and its managerial skills are enough to advance the interests of the state. This thinking – reinforced at every level – blinds to the larger strategic picture that informs today's world as also new ways of fighting wars. That of course is a discussion with its own dimensions. For now it suffices to argue that nonlinear wars of 21st century are to be dealt with in a different way. This is a realisation that must reflect at all levels of training, beginning with the military academy. It also requires reconfiguration of the military in operational terms. The 21st century wars will not just exploit military weaknesses. They will make use of a nation's fault-lines. The non-kinetic means will act as force-multipliers for kinetic means. The sooner our civil and military planners understand this, the better prepared we will be for 21st century wars.


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


Written By: Ahmed Quraishi

India had two excellent opportunities over the past seven months to show the world that Kashmir has finally entered the Indian fold after seven decades of resistance.

The first opportunity came in May when the world watched New Delhi bask in the glory of one of the largest electoral voting exercises in terms of population. The other opportunity came in November, when the entire state machinery of India – the election commission, the federal government, Indian political parties, media, police, and the military – all shifted national focus to Kashmir elections to elect a pro-Indian legislature (No country in the world recognizes this assembly but it serves a domestic purpose: to show the Indian public that Kashmir is part of the union). These two opportunities came amid growing signs that the new Indian Government is suddenly obsessed with Kashmir to the exclusion of all other important and urgent issues and problems that a large, populous country like India is grappling with. Narendra Modi, the new Prime Minister, made several visits to the occupied territory; where New Delhi deploys more than half a million Indian soldiers to suppress a largely anti-Indian population.

This attention to Kashmir by a newly elected Indian government would have been positive had Modi reached out to Kashmiris and to Pakistan to settle the oldest dispute on the agenda of United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Instead, it is evident now that India’s right-wing Prime Minister is sowing the seeds of a fresh and accelerated conflict in Kashmir, and increasing regional tensions as a result, not lowering them.

Those frequent visits confirmed the suspicion that Modi saw Kashmir as a question of ego. He represented religious extremists and nationalists, and won the election on a paranoid agenda of Pakistan-bashing, and what better way to appease his constituency, win new voters, and fulfil a religious destiny than by conquering Kashmir for good (In contrast, no Pakistani politician or party mentioned India in the run up to the May 2013 elections in Pakistan. Unlike India, voters in Pakistan have shown little interest in India-bashing as an election-rallying cry). Modi appeared to believe he could finally achieve a resounding Indian victory in Kashmir, permanently integrate the occupied territory into India, and give a historic and final snub to Pakistan.

He did what no other Indian Prime Minister could: hold electoral rallies in Srinagar, occupied Kashmir’s capital, amid threats from Kashmiri freedom fighters and activists who are resentful of Indian presence. Most Kashmiris stayed away, so Modi brought in busloads of minority Kashmir Hindus from nearby Jammu to fill the space in Srinagar rallies.

So desperate was Modi for an electoral victory in Kashmir that he even resorted to criticism of Indian military and admitted it has been involved in arbitrary killings. Indian Army is hated and despised in Kashmir for mass graves, torture, sexual harassment and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Indian soldiers have been committing rape with impunity in Kashmir for quarter-century. Many Indian women activists believe that Indian soldiers carried this rape culture back to India, and that this has been a contributing factor in India’s current ‘rape epidemic’.

On Dec 8, 2014, Modi startled his army commanders and soldiers when he appeared to be offering the Indian Army as a sacrificial lamb to win over Kashmiris. He referred to his government putting on trial five Indian soldiers for killing three Kashmiris in 2010. The three were found guilty a month earlier in November. This was the first time since India invaded and occupied Kashmir in 1947 that India had admitted to such a mistake. “This is a wonder of the Modi government,” he told the audience in the Srinagar cricket stadium. “This is the proof of my good intentions before you.” This frenzied focus on Kashmir came with an orchestrated campaign in Indian media predicting a large Kashmiri voter turnout because of Modi’s personal interest in Kashmir elections.

So, how did India’s political investment in the two elections – India’s general election of May 2014 and the Indian-controlled election in Kashmir of November 2014 – pan out?

Put in simple words, both exercises backfired. India’s ruling elite was surprised to see a consistent and admirable Kashmiri refusal to play along even after nearly seven decades of Indian efforts to woo Kashmiris to participate in the Indian political process. Of course, if one scans the Indian media, and the reports written by Indian journalists and reporters, most of these reports adhere to the official Indian line on Kashmir and show little effort on the part of the writers to scrutinize and question the official version.

The Kashmiris almost entirely boycotted India’s general elections in May. Kashmiris inside the Indian-occupied part, in Azad (free) Kashmir, in Pakistan, and in Middle Eastern and Western diasporas echoed the national Kashmiri mood of not recognizing the legitimacy of Indian elections. The international media, which generally ignored the Kashmir issue, paid attention this time. For example, in a April 2014 report filed by Biyojeta Das, the Indian correspondent for Aljazeera English, from “Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir,” the headline said brazenly, ‘India elections fail to inspire Kashmiris: Low voter turnout and boycott mar parliamentary elections in India-administered Kashmir.’ Das interviewed 24-year-old Kashmiri cartoonist Mir Suhail, and started her report by quoting him: Four politicians dressed in crisp white khadi tunics and caps hold ballot boxes with the words "vote for me" – but they have only one shadow, a towering gun-toting soldier with a malicious smile.

"This is why Kashmiris don't vote," said Mir Suhail, 24, a political cartoonist, who created the image to sum up the mood of detachment towards the ongoing parliamentary elections in Indian-administered Kashmir. Suhail said his memories are punctuated with gory images of rifles, blood, barbed wire and army boots. "People are in a limbo. Elections don't change anything," he declared, sipping tea along the Jhelum River.

This was Kashmir’s verdict on the May 2014 general elections in India. But what about Kashmir-specific elections of November and December 2014 in which Modi was certain that his personal charm and wardrobe style would totally sway Kashmir for the first time since the Indian occupation of 1947? The election in Indian-occupied Kashmir was a military exercise par excellence, a vote under the barrel of the gun. Thousands of Indian intelligence officers and soldiers were entrusted to making Modi’s push in Kashmir successful. With political and military focus and money, India initially succeeded in forcing voters out in a couple of Kashmir districts. There was euphoria in the Indian media, and inside Modi’s office in New Delhi. Indian anchors came out to say Kashmiris reject Pakistan, that Islamabad’s claim that Kashmiris consider themselves Pakistanis had been proven wrong and that history has been made.

These Indian cries of victory proved premature, however. One or two districts of Kashmir showed high voter turnout in the first day of balloting in November 2014, but the images of voters clamoring to participate in elections organized by Indian Army and intelligence stopped coming after the first day. Social media circulated dozens of pictures from polling stations across the Indian-occupied territory showing empty polling booths and Indian election officers waiting for Kashmiri voters that came sparingly or never showed up.

As in any military-controlled ‘election,’ Modi’s party, the BJP did manage to come out second. But the biggest story was this: Kashmiris refused to give the political parties taking part in the Indian-controlled election mandate to form government. No party secured enough seats to form government, and no coalition was possible.

In the end, within the first week of 2015, India had to dismiss the election and declare Governor’s Rule in Indian-occupied Kashmir. This effectively meant that Kashmir would be ruled from New Delhi, directly by Modi, as the state has always been. India’s ‘Military Election’ in Kashmir exploded in New Delhi’s face, and Modi’s dream of writing a new chapter in Indian history, where he could claim that Kashmiris have finally integrated with India and rejected Pakistan, had been defeated for now. Following India’s latest failure in Kashmir, Indian media tried to put on a brave face. A headline by an Indian news site, firstpost.com, on Dec 23, 2014, read, “J&K results 2014: BJP's Mission 44 failed but Mission Kashmir won.” (The ‘Mission 44’ alluded to Modi’s attempt to win a majority in Kashmir’s Indian-controlled assembly).

Why India Failed

There is a simple answer for the question: why India failed to impress Kashmiris despite committing massive resources in Kashmir elections? India can do tricks to hide the fact that Kashmir is an Indian-occupied territory, and annexed by force, but everything that India tries to do there glaringly reinforces this reality. Take for example Modi’s repeated visits to Kashmir. Every time he came in, supposedly to urge Kashmiris to stop boycotting elections and vote for India, the occupation army would put the state in a lockdown, shut down the internet and cell phone services in most parts of the territory. When Modi addressed secured rallies in Srinagar, every Kashmiri man, woman, and child who dared to come out on the street anywhere in the city would be a suspect in the eyes of Indian occupation soldiers, and would be harshly treated and thoroughly searched before being let go.

Even those few Kashmiris who recognize Indian rule, like the state's last Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, now ridicule India’s actions that prove it is an occupation force. Abdullah made fun of the busloads of BJP supporters that were transported from Hindu-majority to Srinagar in November and December 2014 for Modi’s rallies. "Why not just have the rallies there?" he tweeted.

The writer is a journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. Twitter : @AQpk

Written By: Lt Col Abid Latif

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die as well the minds which are preventing from changing their opinion.” (Nietzsche) Human society is governed by only one constant that is never-ending and ever spiralling: ‘the change’. Alvin Toffler in his book, The Third Wave defined the developmental stages of human beings, as the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age and the present, the Information Age. The same third wave concept was later given by Samuel P Huntington who linked the concept to the rapid democratization of African, South American and Eastern European countries till early 90s.

There seems to exists a strange triad of things taking a cue from clash of civilization thesis of Huntington: there are three major religions; Islam, Christianity and Judaism which will define the course of history in 21st century. The political Islam, political Christianity and political Judaism, if we may call, are therefore misnomers, as long ago church has been separated from state, the method of governance is open ended in Islam and Judaism. The failure of one political form is not the gain of other. A country is also the interplay of three tangents: the people, the state and the government.

More so, in nation state system a country is defined by its borders which is managed through three techniques: the application of nationalism, the comprehensive Border Management Mechanism and the removal of welfare disparity level of population on both sides of border. If discrepancies in dealing these issues persists then these are bound to enhance in their manifestation and will eventually result in some form of insurgent tendencies. Again this can be controlled by checking the inflow of three vectors: the weapons, manpower and money (Terrorism can also be deoxygenated by curtailing these three). Defining the above mentioned analogy of these triads actually points towards a cardinal fact that the wars in 21st century will be governed, executed and won on the anthropological plane.

The military strategists and the doyens of international relations agree that the fourth thing or the fourth wave to all the already discussed triads will be the culture. The information age and the globalization will diminish the weak or fragile cultures but the prevailing will dominate the world in coming decades.

The new concept of world order given by Henry Kissinger in his recent book is therefore based on something more than the mere military and economic might. Anthropology, the study of human development, customs, culture and beliefs is the next strategic study of the resilient military minds. Fighting terrorism, extremism, obscurantism and fundamentalism through only one line of operations i.e. military is not the right approach to address a complex situation which is to be dealt along different lines; be it economic, sociological, political and ideological etc. The ever evolving concept of defence anthropology is therefore the likely scaffold upon which we can build on. Anthropological plane therefore is not the contrapuntal conundrum, and neither a immiscible concept, it is simple arithmetic of human aspirations manifested in physical forms.

In 21stcentury, warfare is already touching the non-linear curve to the umpteen. The biological vectors, the USA’s climate control programme, the Nano revolutions, the robotics and the miniaturization of computer chips to half the size every eighteen months, will lead us to El Dorado where scientific geeks will be popping vitamins and amino acid pills instead of food. This will probably not happen as every revolution has a counter revolution. The revolutions generally follow the five steps: first it is pronounced, sometimes with a visible leadership and many a times conversely the leadership emerges from the revolution; secondly, immediately the class of society which is the target of revolution tries to launch a counter revolution usually with unpopular means; thirdly, both the trajectories of revolution and counter revolution are formed, fourthly; the modifications of opinion occur in both the camps which may result into accommodation; and lastly; the forward momentum decides that which camp will eventually prevail. Revolution is the class struggle with a combination of politics, money and personalities. Revolution in military affairs, in information technology or high end non-linear concepts is also a class struggle between electronics haves and have nots. There ultimately comes the governing sense of anthropological dictates which, at the end, supercedes all advancement and imposes human nature upon everything else. That is why the Defence Anthropology is needed to study whatever is going on around us.

The advice of anthropologists, sociologists and manpower economists will be binding for the policy makers. Pakistan is today facing the worst form of terrorism rarely encountered by any nation in the known history of human beings. Holocaust, fall of Baghdad, Jallianwala Bagh etc. were all linear cruelties. The answer to Pakistan’s vows cannot only be sought through operational logic. There has to be a triangulation of mere logic, native logic and the operational one. Andre Beaufre was first modern strategist to pointout the same.

Fighting insurgency is not an equation of Law of Diminishing Returns, if it is, then you are not fighting. Disparity in technology is usually advantageous for the stronger side but in case of Pakistan, this disparity is creating a crisis instability between Pakistan Armed Forces and the Taliban and their cahoots. Taliban edges away on the non-linear curve and hoon upon the advantage of submerging in the ethnic and social hues of Pakistani society. If you want to kill the beast, you have to drain the lake first so that the alligator is turned turtle. The lake of forbidden water is the political economy of the terrorist. This can be easily countered, need not to ask Thomas Piketty of “The Capitalist” fame to give a solution. It is simple logic, we have to jump start the local economy of the people who are being made hostage en masse by the fifth columnists. Diffusion of amenities has to take place with a pace which should commensurate the modern era, why leave societies at the mercy of mountain squirrels, conifers and the westerly winds. There is a dilemma, National Security Policy of country deals with hardcore military policy efforts to curtail the menace, it hardly covers the anthropological negative space, the actual hiding place of the terrorist. This dilemma can be addressed by identifying the communal, municipal and legal departments of the state and then lining them like spooks in a wheel. Dilemmas are there to be circumvented, the solution to these are sometimes very simple and straight forward. All the law enforcement and municipal departments have to create a common currency to address the issue, only the intelligence agencies can’t pull the cart any longer.

Pakistan has never addressed this issue under the dictates of sociology and anthropology. The present crisis also revolves around the need to define and then making sacrosanct the borders between Pakistan and its neighbours. Pakistan can follow any model of border management – USA-Mexico, the cohesion one; Russia-Central Asia, the deterrence based; and Indonesia with its neighbour, the cooperation one. Indonesia with hundreds of islands was used to be called as the geographical absurd, but due to excellent border management and mitigation of snags one by one it is enjoying the peripheral buoyancy.

Trans-border illegal movement of people and goods is an international phenomenon. Here at international border it is different; since centuries the nomadic people, pawindas and merchants cross these borders to reach the regions of their destination. A mechanism of border management rather than the barricading or creating walls is required to be initiated immediately. You can fight anything but not the sociology or centuries old anthropology at play, in and around the border. As per Barry Buzan, the regional security complexes are bound to emerge but probably this might not happen in South East Asia and around Indian Ocean as it is already at the conflux of many regions and has implications for Pakistan. Pakistan even being part of different regional organizations has to address its security challenges independently as these are sown, grown and harvested in the sociological plane. Modern wars are surely going to be limited, non-linear and most of time non-kinetic. Low intensity has to reap more on lying low than the squelching of intensity. Whatever is going on at Pakistan-Afghanistan border and inside is driven by non-state actors and proxies. Such actors and state confront each other, whereas initiative most of the time lying with the non-state actors. Three things – the tactics, the technology and the paradigmatic metaphor decides the result of this warfare.

In Afghanistan, Allied troops were technologically very advanced but never had a paradigmatic metaphor and were also inferior in tactics; that is one of the reasons the order is not restored despite so many years down the road. While fighting the menace of terrorism, Pakistani state has to achieve the ascendency in all three, which can be done when the people are ideologically, socially and culturally invested. Winning hearts and minds should not be unleashed as a campaign rather it should be generic concept of any state’s dispensation toward its people. Joseph S Nye’s ‘Soft Power’ is exactly poised towards the anthropological and cultural manifestations. The strategy to deal the terrorists comprehensively should be based on this new emerging trend. Let prudence be Pakistan’s smart power and operational perserverance, bonhomie, ethnic assimilation, social development be its war stamina for the times to come.


Written By: Mudassar Jehangir

It didn’t happen overnight. Rather it took the cellular industry of Pakistan to work tirelessly for more than 15 years for gathering 140 million mobile subscribers in the country.

In all these years, telecom industry of Pakistan witnessed a flood of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) along with building a steady source of revenue for the national exchequer which is among the highest revenue contributors.

According to the financial reports, this growth has been phenomenal in a way that only telecom sector attracted more than $8 billion foreign investment in a decade. Today, total tele-density stands at 77.17% which means for every 100 inhabitant in Pakistan, 77 are using the telecom services. It's a big achievement during last 10 years while looking at the fact that tele-density stood at mere 4.31% in 2002-03.

Not only the investment but the outcome of this investment is also promising. The cellular operators have been contributing billions of rupees every year to the national exchequer. Only in FY2014, the sector contributed a hefty Rs. 243.8 billion showing a growth of 98% over the last year. Prior to 2014, every year, the same industry had been generating over Rs. 125 billion on average. And not to forget that a big chunk of our human resource is getting absorbed in this industry on regular basis.

By any standards, these are highly impressive statistics for a country like Pakistan and there is no second opinion that it should have been the most disciplined industry of the country where most of the work force is highly educated. But unfortunately, below the surface, things are not as bright as they seem to be. The cellular industry is undergoing largest ever clean-up exercise in shape of mobile SIMs re-verification with the help of Biometric Verification System (BVS) under National Action Plan (NAP) that was designed by the government and stake holders after the brutal terrorist attack on Army Public School, Peshawar.

As per recently issued SOPs, all the prepaid mobile phone subscribers of Pakistan have been asked to approach the retailers, franchises or customer service centres of their respective cellular mobile operator (CMO) for getting their mobile SIMs verified. All five CMOs have been given 3 months time for re-verifying 103 million prepaid connections. After April 13th, all un-verified mobile SIMs will be flushed out from the system permanently. Industry sources are of the view that some 30 to 35 million connections will be deactivated forever by the end of this exercise resulting in a loss of Rs. 5 - 8 billion per month for each CMO.

Irony of the fact is that CMOs have also been directed to stop the sale of SIMs through retailers till April 2015. This will create huge pressure on the finances of the companies as 80% of the sales come from retail channels.

Besides, mobile companies are also responsible for conducting the advertising campaign to notify the masses in order to get their SIMs re-verified. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will carry out joint technical audit of SIM re-verification process. If any unverified SIM is found on a later stage, the respective mobile phone company will be held responsible. While taking into account the rosy side of telecom sector, it would look a devilish task to put the entire burden on someone who is the facilitator in revenue but the coin has the other side as well. The entire mess that is being cleansed today is actually a result of shortsightedness of telecom regulatory body, PTA, and the criminal negligence of the industry itself.

It didn’t happen overnight. For over a decade, all five cellular operators have been fighting for their market share. (In order to become the top cellular operator for subscribers, they have been playing with prices only and nothing else). Unlike developed countries the focus on value added services has been minimal and, of course this is also because of our less educated population that does not understand how their lives can be improved by using the mobile devices in the right way. A number of times, telecom operators have violated the guidelines of Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) for marketing their products falsely. Similarly, at number of times PTA was found extremely helpless in regulating the industry. Even the Telecom Act was breached many times but PTA remained a silent spectator for years.

Instead of influencing the sector by using the powers it has been given through Telecom Act, for a number of important matters, it relied on a more conventional model in Pakistan, which is, ‘let the things happen’. This was the leniency or rather a green signal that supervisors at cellular operators pushed their sales teams all across the country to sell the SIMs, by hook or by crook. Every time, there surfaced a case, the law enforcement agencies always found the sales pressure behind this negligence. In 2012, when ‘789 SIM Verification’ process was well enforced, 180,000 pre-active mobile SIMs belonging to a leading operator were recovered from Sargodha only.

And even recently, when biometric verification is the way of selling mobile SIM, police arrested the retailers for activating hundreds of SIMs on the CNICs of villagers who had given their documents to this group for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). Members of this group, who are being investigated now, collected the CNICs by announcing some fake BISP scheme through loud speakers. And how can we forget the brutal incident of Army Public School, Peshawar where terrorists used mobile SIMs to communicate after buying them through biometric verification system. This was a clear indication that even a legally sold equipment is as dangerous as an illegally sold chip. Pakistan witnessed three general elections in last 15 years. These were the prime days for violators as voter lists were openly misused for selling mobile SIMs on mass level. May it be the data coming from BISP or any branchless banking activity, opportunists have always found a way to dodge the system.

In all these years, our regulating authority only remained a dummy authority. Apart from issuing some warning letters, it never punished any responsible organization for ignoring Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and has never been able to put an end to the usage of illegal spectrum in Pakistan which is also destroying the data industry. All state officials of the authority have been busy in collecting the awards from international bodies who recognize the watch dog for doing so much work in terms of exceptionally increasing the cellular subscriber base in Pakistan. I really doubt that they have slightest idea about the cost we, as a nation, pay for the job they did not perform.

The question arises, will this current exercise of re-verifying 103 million prepaid connections result in bringing peace of mind to citizens of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Experts from different walks of life are of the opinion that this massive exercise will only result in brining down the number of subscribers substantially. Although, biometric verification would be helpful in locating the culprit immediately, but, this won’t stop them. A case study by GSM Association (GSMA) negates the concept of registering SIMs as a part of measures to control the crime. The usage of mobile phones and SIMs by anti-state elements can only be discouraged by implementing SOPs, very strictly. Salient features of SOP include: Raising awareness level among masses, stopping the profitable usage of mobile SIM such as its use in illegal / grey traffic, limiting or licensing the number of points where it is sold, discouraging this undue price war among operators that becomes the core reason for selling SIMs through unfair means.

Afghan mobile SIMs are also a big issue to deal with. It can be dealt with proper arrangements and talks with cellular operators since few of them are in commercial agreements with Afghan cellular companies for providing the roaming services in Pakistan. What is the use of allowing a single person to keep five SIMs at a time? Issues like this need decision at appropriate level with a futuristic approach. Why we are forgetting the role of NADRA and above all PTA? Both of these organizations are paid a good amount of money that comes from the people of Pakistan through telecom industry.

According to a report, cellular industry has so far invested USD 25 million on the provision of around 60,000 BVS devices and PKR 22 billion on previous mandatory verification processes with another significant amount to be spent on this re-verification exercise to enhance the availability of these BVS devices across Pakistan. The role of regulator and security agencies become more important in monitoring the entire process of mobile phones and mobile SIM selling and, of course their usage. After all, it's our country and we have to do our work collectively.

The writer is a senior telecom journalist who contributes for print and online media regularly. He is also Editor-in-Chief of a leading technology magazine. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Written By: Dr. Amineh Hoti

There is a famous Urdu saying “Har Firon ke liye aik Moosa hota hai” meaning by ‘for every problem, there is a solution’. This is also mentioned by Allah in the Qur’aan. It is for us, “the people of thought” or the “Ahl-e-Aql”, as God repeatedly calls us, to use our intellect (aql) to work out those solutions (and I use the word “work” intentionally because it comes with, and not without, effort and labour).

The attack on the students of Army Public School in Peshawar was particularly heartbreaking for me (as it has been for all Pakistanis) because I grew up not very far from this very school. I recall my happy childhood in Peshawar when my parents would take me for long walks in a stroller in the beautiful cantonment with its flower-filled gardens. It saddens me to know that same Peshawar now has become a battleground for the future of Pakistan. Who could be so cruel as to kill the children and take the lives of others, and then their own. I wept once again for my nation. I asked myself, what could we do to prevent such extreme violence and hatred in the future?

When nations are seen to be weak and divided, everyone suffers especially the vulnerable children. The Prophet (PBUH), who loved children, forbade men to do any harm to children and women in war. Yet children are killed through violence in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Gambia, and in so many other parts of today’s turbulent world. This practice is a heavy burden on the conscience of humanity and the guilt will always haunt the perpetrators.

A unanimous voice would decree; let children live – both literally and metaphorically by allowing them to grow in their minds, ideas, and creativity. To explore the heights of knowledge without hunger, pain or loss of family and life! The challenges for Pakistan are no exception. They can be tackled through effective planning, insight, and must be solved with foresight in the light of current world events. Thus in this article, I would suggest few ideas as a solution to the problem. Ilm, Adab aur Insaaniat Courses: Fighting this War with the Tools of Knowledge

The Center for Dialogue and Action (CD&A), which I have the privilege of heading at The Forman Christian College University (FCCU) in Lahore, aims to benefit institutions in the armed forces and civil services by creating opportunities for learning and growth. There is a general lack of understanding and ambiguity in Pakistan in relation to the subject of Pakistan’s diversity, its religions, culture, ethnic history, and gender. If we can open the minds of the young generation to ideas of acceptance and compassion, we can successfully challenge the hatred that engendered this violence in Peshawar.

The foundation of any debate on defining our national identity and ways forward must look to a class on the vision of its founding fathers: Quaid-i-Azam who strove for human rights and justice, Sir Syed who encouraged open mindedness and knowledge, and Allama Muhammad Iqbal who inspired passion for learning and hard work through knowledge of our own rich history. In this context, we must examine the challenges of today’s Pakistan and the opportunities ahead.

Another class focuses on what Islam is about and the early inclusive and tolerant Islamic attitudes towards the others. In yet another session, a study of Andalusia in Spain and