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Archive for category The Great Game

SURVIVALS OF AUGUST 17 CRASH !

SURVIVALS OF AUGUST 17 CRASH !

By

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

Strange are the ways of Allah and Allah be praised.  While a galaxy of the Pakistan army senior officers died in a mysterious C-130 Hercules plane crash on 17 August 1988 at Bahawalpur that included President  Zia ul Haq,  the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Akhtar Abdur Rehman and the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Lewis Raphel,  the following escaped the ultimate through the sheer pull of their luck :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.                 Lt Col. Arshad Hussain, AMC, (Retired as Maj Gen) –  personal physician of the President. He was at Chaklala airport with his usual Emergent & Life Saving medicine chest ready to board the C-130, when he was spotted by the President and told, “Hey Doc, what are you doing here? Go back, I shall be back by the evening.”  The Doc saluted and left, little knowing his life was saved and that he had saluted the President for the last time in his life!

 

2.                 Brig. Muhammad Younas Khan – MS (Military Secretary) to the President.  An essential Staff Officer who normally accompanies the President wherever he goes, was told by the president himself to stay back and perform certain other tasks by the time he returns. 

 

3.                 Gen. K. M. Arif, who had been by then promoted to 4 star General and appointed as the COS (Chief of Staff)  in the president’s secretariat while Gen. Aslam Baig Mirza had been appointed as the VCOAS in his place.  Well – well — something unbelievable happened in the annals of the military Staff Duties.  General Rafaqat – the PSO (Principal Staff Officer) to the President was in the President’s office and heard him talking to  the U.S. Ambassador Raphel  on the phone. The president was asking the ambassador to accompany him to Bahawalpur to witness the field trials of the American M-61 Tank there that Pakistan was evaluating to purchase.  As an added emphasis Zia told Raphel that Arif would also be there who had recently watched the tank’s maneuvers in the States on a visit there.  Gen. Rafaqat, while finalizing ! the list and tying up the details of all those who were to go to Bahawalpur, informed all except Gen Arif, whom he took it for granted that the President had already asked him to be there.  But in fact and to the good luck of Gen. Arif the President had not, and so he was not there on the fateful day.

 

4.                  Lt Gen. Rehm Dil Bhatti – IGTE (inspector General Training and Evaluation).  After the demonstration he was sitting in the fateful  C-130 waiting for the President to board, who was at the tarmac being seen off by many including Lt Gen. Mian Afzaal the then CGS (Chief of the General Staff). Gen Zia was discussing something important with the CGS so he asked him to accompany him to Pindi to continue the discussion in the plane.  Gen Mian Afzaal, who was to go to Multan to attend some function there, on entering the plane saw Gen R D Bhatti and asked him to go to Multan in his stead.  Little did Gen Bhatti or Gen Afzaal know that they were not only interchanging their destinations but their eternal destinies.

 

On the other hand a haughty Major General  (No names please) was informed by his Captain ADC that as there were many other senior generals attending the function at Multan there was no VIP No. 1 Room available for him  and that he had been booked in a VIP No.2  Room of a mess there.  The haughty general asked the ADC to cancel his visit to Multan and boarded the ill fated

C-130 to return to Pindi and thus became a ‘martyr’ to his ego.  

 

Jissay Allah Rakhey usy kon chhakhy aur jis ki ani hoay usy kon taley???

 

 

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan
Tel: (051) 5158033
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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The Other Miracle. by Saeed Akhtar Malik

The Other Miracle.

by

Saeed Akhtar Malik

Towards the end of Zardari’s tenure unimpeded plunder and misrule, PML-N, under the criminal guidance of its grand master, was sharpening its claws to have another dig at a Pakistan, which, as a result of Zardari’s remorseless depredations, was already becoming a carcass.
Nawaz Sharif, the top contender for the title of the greatest crook of a benighted and unfortunate land, in a keen tussle with Zardari, was running for PM a third time. The infamous “Charter of Democracy” signed between these two mega crooks, brought them on the same side, as they planned and executed the rape of their country.
The constitution was suitably amended to facilitate their hold on power, to give them immunity from accountability, and to reduce Pakistan to a confederation. The mutual give and take between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif which led to the mangling of the constitution, also allowed Nawaz Sharif to have a third crack at the fortunes of Pakistan.
 
Pakistan was used to being robbed in multifarious ways. The most usual of these was skimming off huge “commissions” and crafting of SROs, some of which had a life of no more than a day–opening the customs duty door for a single caper in the morning and closing it before nightfall. To this Zardari added his own innovations, like plain highway robbery and putting a huge premium on meetings with him, sought by rich businessmen wanting to become even richer, where time was allotted on a “per minute basis”, where each minute cost the supplicant, quite literally, lakhs of rupees.
But by the time a salivating Nawaz Sharif was due for his third stint at the helm, the conventional theft had lost its charm and thrill. To get one up on Zardari he wanted to do something spectacular. He wanted to pull off a caper which was not a simple spot job, but a linear caper which would keep on giving for at least a decade and a half.
For this, plans for an LNG deal with Qatar were ironed out. First, his own man was to be posted as ambassador to Qatar. Then Saif ur Rehman was made ambassador extraordinaire to bring his business expertise to craft the deal. Then a Pakistani businessman, who could be totally trusted, was brought in. And then, after he won the elections and became P.M for the third time, he appointed a minister in his cabinet to coordinate the massive theft, which was to be his first gift to his country kicking off his third innings of plunder.
The highlights of this deal were:
-LNG would be bought from Qatar at highly inflated prices at a time when gas prices were falling.
-This agreement would tie Pakistan to keep buying gas from Qatar at these inflated prices for the next 15 years.
-A terminal was to be built at Karachi for this LNG. The price of this terminal was U.S.D 30 million, but which was enhanced to between 120-130 million dollars.
-A clause was later added to the agreement, which stipulated that for each day that this terminal was not in use, Pakistan would pay charges of US $272,000—I am informed that for the last 45 days the terminal has not been in use. The readers may calculate what Pakistan has had to pay out!
But the most brilliant clause of this agreement with Qatar is that this agreement will remain “secret”. The reason given for this secrecy is that if the stipulations of the agreement became known, these would be a cause of embarrassment to a “brotherly Muslim country!”
So how was money to be made in this deal? This should be obvious. The difference between the real gas price and the inflated one will go to a Swiss bank account. The ninety or so million dollars “saved” in the cost of the terminal will go to the same account. And lastly, the “earning” of

$272,000 per day when this terminal was idle, would also go to the same account. And the first and last of these expenses to go to this account will keep doing so for the next FIFTEEN YEARS….burn your heart out Mr. Asif Ali Zardari because you’ve been had!
The man who coordinated, crafted, and executed this deal, is none other than Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Prime Minister we have just sworn in to sit on the seat vacated by ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has just been kicked out for corruption!

Could there really be a greater miracle than this?

But the attendant question is, how does a poor country like ours pay for a deal like this? The answer is very simple. We get loans from IMF. These loans pay for scams like this one. So this is a “circular ” debt. Our leaders do the thieving; to pay for such thefts loans are taken from IMF; and the people of Pakistan are then to pay off such debts to IMF for the next hundred years, while Pakistan loses its sovereignty. Simple.
It is my contention that if the total volume of theft our politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, and generals have committed, can be computed, it will very nearly equal what we owe to the international lending agencies.
What we owe is known. What we earn is also known. This is simple maths. What we owe is more than we earn. We have to begin repaying what we owe by 2018. This we don’t have the resources to do. When we default on our international debt, sanctions is the first thing we should fear among many other arm twisting measures that will be taken against us. The cumulative effect of all these will be our loss of sovereignty. Those who have put up the money will demand their pound of flesh. It is my conviction that they will demand a surrender of our nuclear assets, an end to CPEC, and free play in Baluchistan.
Pakistan will be brought down to its very knees without an external enemy having had to fire a single shot. The shots that had to be fired have already been fired by our corrupt elite. While we were looking out towards our borders our rulers were busy hollowing out Pakistan. Mega corruption was always the single most lethal threat to our national security and survival and should have been laid down as a national security imperative. 
I have repeatedly tried to impress this on the minds of the powers that be. I have it on very good authority that what I was writing, was being read by Raheel Sharif. I appealed to him repeatedly to see the writing on the wall, and as the de facto guarantor of the security of the state, knock the doors of the Supreme Court to ask for in camera hearing on how Nawaz Sharif and company were impeding the efforts of Zarf e Azab, and how their plunder of the country was tantamount to the single greatest threat to the security of the state. But sadly, becoming Field Marshal, or getting a three-year extension seems to have grabbed the whole of his little mind, leaving little space for weightier matters.
Be that as it may, we are now in need of our third miracle, and this is to take the first miracle, the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, to its logical conclusion. 
Though Nawaz Sharif has been shown the door, he has left behind his pile of “loyal” refuse…. loyal because they were equally involved with the rape of their mother[land] in partnership with him. And they are determined to make Pakistan bleed and drag it to the very edge from where our Supreme Court has tried valiantly to drag it back.
This must immediately be stopped. Pakistan is a bleeding and very weak patient. It cannot bear any more cuts. If it has to survive, the cuts must immediately cease and the bleeding stopped.

The President, the Chief Justice, and the Army Chief should get together to do this. Because the de facto charge of national security lies with the Army Chief, it is he who should bring about this meeting.

And this meeting should decide to do the following 3 things;
1    –   At the moment there are no more than 20 people who need to be put away to ensure that no more instability is allowed to be visited upon Pakistan. About fifteen of them, though ministers today, can be cited for contempt of court. The evidence to do this exists in miles of TV footage. Take these fifteen out and the rest will run for cover.
2  –  The Supreme Court should take suo moto notice of literally hundreds of cases of corruption exposed by our media, and as a first step, put these people on ECL. These people are the only national treasure we have left. We need them to be here so that we can squeeze them and get back the gold they have stolen.
3 –  The President should be strengthened against forced resignation.
Just these three things need to be done, and thereafter the Army Chief need just send around a Subedar and he will be enough to do the mopping up.
In all this, the only thing the army should not be tempted to do is to come in to rule the country.

 

It should though, in partnership with the SC help clear the decks, and follow up with ensuring a clean election. And after the elections, it should throw its considerable heft behind ensuring that reforms be so made that the bureaucracy and the police be so restructured that their postings transfers and promotions are not hostages to the executive. Without subverting the police and the bureaucracy to their ends, political leaders cannot commit theft, and if they still manage to do so, they cannot be immune from the consequences.

The state should be seen as the supreme value. A constitution subverted to barter away the state can only be an inimical document, and must be brought back into a shape which guarantees the security of the state and the welfare of the people for whom it is the supreme law. A mangled constitution like ours is present, which ensures immunity to a corrupt and mercenary elite at the cost of the state and the people, can have no sanctity.
This time is crucial for the destiny of Pakistan. A beginning has been made so that a corrupt few do not make this destiny hostage. But if this beginning does not have a felicitous conclusion, the beginning will have no meaning. This is what the C.J and the Army Chief must be very clear about.
We’ve had the miracle of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif. We’ve then had the miracle of seeing Shahid Khaqaan Abassi elevated to Prime Minister. This second miracle nullifies the first. 
We now need a third miracle. We want the refuse of Nawaz and company swept out not just from our lives, but also from our memory. And we need to see being brought to the book Zardari and his footmen, along with camp followers like Fazl ur Rehman, Asfandyar Wali, Achakzai, the shit that Altaf Hussain has left behind, and the many who are hiding under their beds.
p.s

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I end with urging Gen Bajwa to study and see the threat of mega corruption for what it really is; to redefine national security imperatives and give to this cancer the “honoured” place it deserves in these imperatives; and to openly work with the Chief Justice towards crushing the head of this poisonous snake, so that Pakistan gets a new lease of life. And for these measures to have any credibility, let him begin SIMULTANEOUSLY with the generals who’ve received just a tepid slap on their wrists for bringing dishonor to every man in uniform, and a taint which no amount of dry cleaning can restore to purity.

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Is the Saudi-led crackdown on Qatar a Washington manouver to nix the Emirate’s attempts to sell oil and gas in Chinese Yuan, undermining the hegemony of the US dollar ?

 

Is the Saudi-led crackdown on Qatar a Washington manoeuvre to nix the Emirate’s attempts to sell oil and gas in Chinese Yuan, undermining the hegemony of the US dollar?

 

 

Over the past two years, Qatar has conducted over $86 billion worth of transactions in Chinese Yuan and signed several economic agreements with China.

Is the Saudi-led crackdown on Qatar a Washington manoeuvre to nix the Emirate’s attempts to sell oil and gas in Chinese yuan, via Iran, undermining the hegemony of the US dollar that has been the international standard since the Nixon Presidency?

 

America’s hostility to Iraq and Libya was rooted in their attempts to sell oil in currencies other than the US dollar, and led to regime change in both nations, along with the brutal deaths of Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gaddafi, respectively.

Observers have long opined that the “real” reason for the war in Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s decision, announced in October 2000, to price Iraqi oil in the new currency of the European Union, rather than in US dollars, “the currency of the enemy”. It is well known that unless the price of oil is denominated in dollars, Washington cannot run its huge balance of payments deficits, as other nations hold accounts and reserves in dollars only to pay for oil.

According to a Guardian report of 2003, Iraq made handsome profits in selling oil in euros, until the US invasion (March 2003) forced oil sales back to the dollar. Prior to that, from 2001, under the UN oil-for-food program, almost all Iraqi oil exports were paid in euro and roughly 26 billion euros (£17.4 bn) was paid for 3.3 billion barrels of oil into an escrow account in New York. It earned a higher rate of interest in euros than it would have in dollars.

According to a Guardian report 2003, Iraq made handsome profits in selling oil in euros, until the US invasion forced oil sales back to the dollar.

Wikileaks has since revealed Hillary Clinton’s emails which show that the US and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were keen to attack Libya’s Gaddafi to scuttle his plan to unite Africa under a single gold-backed currency (African gold dinar) to be used to buy and sell oil on the global markets.

France moved UN Security Council Resolution 1973 for a no-fly zone over Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians. But an April 2011 email to Hillary Clinton, titled “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold”, exposes Nicholas Sarkozy as saying for Gaddafi’s blood to obtain Libyan oil (French company, Total), ensure France’s regional influence, boost Sarkozy’s domestic reputation (for re-election; he lost), assert French military power, and curb Gaddafi’s sway over “Francophone Africa” (French colonial Africa).

Iraq made handsome profits in selling oil in euros, until the US invasion (March 2003) forced oil sales back to the dollar.

The email deals lengthily with the enormous threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc that was a leading African currency.

 

 

 

The “confidential” reason behind the war was that “This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).”

The 2 April 2011 email to Hillary Clinton (UNCLASSIFIED US Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05779612 Date: 12/31/2015) reports a high-ranking official on the National Libyan Council as stating that factions have developed within the Council, partly due to French cultivation of clients among the rebels.

General Abdel Fatah Younis is said to be the leading figure closest to the French, and Younis has told his clique on the NLC that the French have promised to provide military trainers and arms.

There is some impatience over the pace of delivery, and the men understand that France has clear economic interests at stake. Sarkozy’s occasional emissary, the intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy, is not respected by the pro-France NLC action.

The email notes that Qaddafi has immense financial resources. On April 2, 2011, sources with access to advisors to Saif al-Islam Qaddafi revealed in strictest confidence that while the freezing of Libya’s foreign bank accounts did affect Muammar Qaddafi, his ability to equip and maintain his armed forces and intelligence services was intact. These sources said that Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold and a similar amount in silver.

The recently promoted Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, is reputed to be the prime mover behind the attempt to isolate Qatar.

In late March 2011, these stocks were moved to SABHA (south-west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad), from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.

This gold was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden dinar and was to offer the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc.

Seen in this context, Qatar could be the next country to face a Syrian or Yemen-style attempt at regime change. It is pertinent that on June 5, soon after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh led other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in an attempt to browbeat Qatar through a list of 13 demands that Doha must comply with, or face unspecified action. Most western capitals agree that the demands are difficult to accept.

Briefly, these include shutting down Al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations, and other news outlets funded by Qatar such as Middle East Eye; curbing diplomatic ties with Iran and expelling members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (who are not present in Qatar); terminating the Turkish military base in Qatar; consenting to monthly audits for a year after accepting the demands, and aligning with other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially, and economically. As of now, Qatar has rejected the demands as unreasonable.

The recently promoted Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, is reputed to be the prime mover behind the attempt to isolate Qatar. The aim is to curtail Qatar’s links with Iran, Riyadh’s main regional rival. But this is not practical for Qatar as it derives much of its wealth from the offshore South Pars natural gas field, which it shares with Iran. This relationship is why Iran, like Turkey, immediately sent Doha food supplies after the Saudi blockaded the only land route to the emirate.

It is pertinent that Qatar, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, had initially wanted to build a natural gas pipeline to Europe, through Syria, against the wishes of President Assad. This prompted the Syrian Alawi/Shia government to urge Shia-majority Iran and Iraq to build a pipeline eastward, excluding the Sunni-majority Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, which backed the anti-Assad fighters. Qatar has since reconciled to the near collapse of the anti-Assad front.

Over the past two years, Qatar has conducted over $86 billion worth of transactions in yuan and signed several economic agreements with China.

It is notable that Iran too conducts its oil-related business deals with China in yuan. Soon after the nuclear deal with Washington in 2015, Tehran moved to improve its economy by upping production on its share of the Iran-Qatari gas reserve and signed a deal with France’s Total in November 2016.

Qatar was forced to join and lifted a self-imposed ban on developing the gas field in April 2017.

The Iran-Qatar deal has the potential to derail American hegemony over world financial markets. This explains President Trump’s move to make Riyadh his first foreign visit. Trump has made his intention to secure regime change in Tehran clear. How he intends to cope with Qatar, which hosts the largest US military base in the region, with around 11,000 troops, is less clear. Shifting the base could potentially destabilise other host countries. For now, he could leave the problem to Riyadh. But as events in Syria and Yemen show, it is easier to get embroiled in a conflagration in the Middle East than it is to get out.

https://www.pgurus.com/is-qatar-the-next-battlefield/

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Inspired political instability in Pakistan by Brig.(Retd)Asif Haroon Raja

Inspired political instability in Pakistan

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

On October 11, 1999, a democratically elected government of PML-N was toppled by the military under Gen Pervez Musharraf. Nawaz Sharif (NS) was jailed and awarded life sentence on charges of hijacking and terrorism. Saudi Arabia came to his rescue and he was exiled for ten years. Benazir Bhutto (BB) was already in self-imposed exile. The Supreme Court legitimized military rule and authorized Musharraf to amend the constitution to his liking. With two mainstream leaders in exile, it became easy for Musharraf to carve out a King’s Party comprising turncoats from PML-N and PPP by applying coercive and blackmailing tactics.

Pakistan came under the black star after 9/11 when Musharraf agreed to become a coalition partner of US-NATO, render assistance to topple friendly Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and to help in installing the US selected Northern Alliance regime led by Hamid Karzai, which became anti-Pakistan and pro-India. Pakistan also agreed to become a frontline State to fight US imposed war on terror. Musharraf and his team didn’t realize that Afghanistan had been occupied by the USA under a preplanned strategy to destabilize the region and achieve its geostrategic and geo-economic objectives and that Pakistan was not an ally but a target.

Since then, Afghanistan is being bled by the occupying forces and the collaborators and Pakistan bled through proxies and drones. Pakistan has been striving hard to combat the existential threat of terrorism, achieve political stability, and improve its economy and to sail towards the shores of safety, security, progress, and prosperity. Terrorism couldn’t be eliminated since the ones demanding the elimination of terrorism secretly support terror groups in Pakistan and seek destabilization of Pakistan to achieve their hidden objectives.  

The socio-politico-economic situation became abysmal during the five years rule of the PPP under Zardari. The coalition of PPP-MQM-ANP installed by USA-UK in March 2008 with an ulterior motive reduced the country to a carcass. The rot was stymied when NS led PML-N government took over power in June 2013.

Improvement of internal security and the economy as a result of dedicated operations in Karachi, FATA and Baluchistan, better financial management and forthcoming CPEC couldn’t be digested by adversaries of Pakistan since it hampered their agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program. Likewise, development driven agenda didn’t suit the politicians in opposition.

A well-orchestrated hate campaign was unleashed by politicians, lobbies, media and social media against NS within one year of his rule to discredit him. Vilification campaign and demand for accountability should have been logically directed against massive wrongdoings of Zardari and company and anti-Pakistan MQM under Altaf working on RAW-MI-6 agenda, the effects of which are still being borne by the people of Pakistan.

Instead, the tirade has remained focused on ruling PML-N regime which has lifted all economic indicators from negative to positive, stabilized macro economy and restored the health of the sick economy to some degree. It has pulled out the country from the worst energy crisis and hopefully by March 2018 it would overcome power shortages. The lawless regions of FATA, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Baluchistan and Karachi have been made stable and peaceful and the genie of terrorism controlled to quite an extent. Large numbers of mega development projects are in progress and foreign investment that had dried up is flowing in. Socio-economic deprivations of smaller provinces are likely to be addressed by the game-changing CPEC. Pakistan’s image that had sunk low has risen among the world comity and it has again become relevant.

While the ruling government has made substantial progress in the last 4 years, however, a lot is still to be done. Pakistan is still not out of the woods since internal and external security situation is tense, debt burden and trade deficit have increased and exports have dwindled. One reason that Pakistan has not overcome its multiple difficulties is the negative role of detractors within Pakistan that have constantly been creating hurdles in the way of progress and development. Secondly, PPP-led Sindh government is not serious in carrying out reforms and controlling corruption which is bleeding Karachi, the economic lifeline of Pakistan. Thirdly, RAW, NDS, CIA, Mossad, MI-6 nexus based in Afghanistan continues to abet terrorism in Pakistan and induce political instability.

Turning a deaf ear to the impressive progress made, power hungry and disgruntled politicians assisted by media downplay the positives by finding faults in development projects and drum beat the weak areas. They are leaving no stone unturned to disparage the image of NS and block the progress through negative tactics. This phenomenon of vilification campaign and impeding growth and development is not new.

Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and PPP under ZA Bhutto disturbed law and order situation by resorting to street agitation to overturn the stupendous all-round developments made by Ayub Khan during his 10-years rule. Economically and militarily strong Pakistan was unacceptable to the adversaries of Pakistan. After forcing Ayub Khan to resign, the duo deliberately created a political logjam for politically naïve Gen Yahya Khan. By tearing up Polish resolution at the UN, Bhutto made sure that the armed forces suffered immense humiliation at the hands of archrival India. Mujib and Bhutto were instrumental in the breakup of Pakistan into two in 1971. All this was done at the behest of foreign powers to cut Pakistan and its armed forces to size.

While Sheikh Mujib had galvanized Bengali nationalism by blaming West Pakistan for the backwardness of East Pakistan and had promised the moon to the Bengalis, Bhutto cast a spell of magic on the downtrodden people of West Pakistan by chanting the slogan of Roti, Kapra, Makan. Both brought people on the streets to paralyze and derail the system. Both lacked sincerity of purpose and their sole ambition was to gain power. While Mujib wanted the whole cake, Bhutto wanted half of it. Lust for power overrode national interests.

ZA Bhutto during his 7 years rule became a dictator. To curb political dissent, he created FSF and opened Dalai camp to torture his opponents. He washed away the gains made by Ayub Khan through his highly anomalous policy of nationalization which gave a deathly blow to the burgeoning industry of Pakistan, banking, and education. Indiscipline was inculcated by Bhutto by inciting the labor and working class to rebel against their employers. He misled the masses by blaming 22 rich families for keeping Pakistan backward. He ignored the hard fact that Indian leaders had predicted that Pakistan would collapse within six months under the weight of economics. Pakistan developed its economic legs to stand on because of the financial assets brought by these very industrialists who had opted to shift to Pakistan. Ironically, since the early 1990s, successive governments in Pakistan have been begging foreign investors and offering lucrative terms to induce them to invest in Pakistan, build industries, buy lands and install thermal power projects.   

Bhutto intensified New-Sindhi and Old-Sindhi antagonism in Sindh by introducing quota system and making the Sindhi language a compulsory subject in Sindh. He incensed Baloch and Pashtuns after he sacked provincial governments in Baluchistan and Frontier provinces and mounted an operation against the Baloch rebels. He supported Islamists in Afghanistan to counter the belligerence of Sardar Daud thereby stoking religious extremism and Jihadism in Pakistan which later on accelerated during the 10-year Afghan war and uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Bhutto promoted secularism which triggered religious extremism, deepened Islamic-secular divide and gave birth to PNA movement and led to his ouster.

While Bhutto started the Kahuta project to develop a nuclear bomb, uranium enriched nuclear program could not have seen the light of the day had Afghan war not taken place. Gen Ziaul Haq took full advantage of it and pursued it relentlessly and carried out cold tests in 1984. Fear of bomb in the basement kept India at bay. Zia crushed the PPP-led MRD movement in 1983 with dangerous connotations, since it had the full support of India. He had to deal with foreign supported Al-Zulfiqar movement together with KGB-RAW-KHAD nexus involved in terrorism.

Pakistan under Zia single-handedly managed the Afghan war and emerged victoriously. Zia had made up his mind to make Pakistan a truly Islamic State in the light of Quran and Sunnah and had envisioned a clear strategy how to go about playing up the Khalistan movement and Kashmiri freedom movement and taking the two movements to their logical ends. Had Zia lived longer, Afghanistan could have saved itself from the bloody civil war and would have remained ever obliged to Pakistan. Prejudiced PPP and seculars, however, portray him as the worst dictator and blame him for loading Pakistan with all the misfortunes.

The PPP under Benazir Bhutto (BB) symbolized poor governance, immorality, and corruption, thanks to her husband Zardari who became Mr. 10% in her first tenure and Mr. 20% in 2nd tenure. Both the civil and military establishments viewed BB as a security risk owing to her extraordinary softness towards her Oxford buddy Rajiv Gandhi and her commitment given to the USA that she would roll back the nuclear program. But for the provision of the list of Sikh leaders to India, Khalistan could have become a reality and IOK might have achieved independence since the Khalistan and Kashmir movements had almost linked up and Afghan Mujahideen under Gulbadin Hikmatyar had promised physical help. Thermal power has driven IPP agreement signed by BB in her second tenure amounted to giving control of electricity to foreign powers. It paved the way for the energy crisis.

As opposed to two shortened PPP regimes led by BB, two short-lived PML-N regimes under NS were comparatively better which saw some development works including motorway and above all Pakistan becoming the 7th nuclear power.

PPP under Zardari scaled new heights of corruption, nepotism, and ineptness. An abortive attempt was made to civilianize the ISI. The ill-omened Kerry-Lugar Bill opened the doors for NGOs, Blackwater and CIA agents which triggered urban terrorism. Helicopters assault in Abbottabad to get Osama bin Laden was aimed at tarnishing the image of Army and ISI. Hussain Haqqani at the behest of Zardari signed the Memo to virtually give Pakistan on contract to the USA. Gen Ashfaq Kayani and Lt Gen Shuja Pasha blocked the ominous effort and regained 17 administrative units in the northwest under the influence of RAW-NDS-CIA controlled TTP.

PPP and MQM looted and plundered national wealth with both hands and sucked the blood of Karachi which generates over 60% of Pakistan’s revenue. Corruption-ridden ANP derailed the railway and did nothing for KP. While Karachi became lawless, a separatist movement in Baluchistan gained considerable strength. All State Corporations were systematically destroyed and Pakistan’s external debt doubled. Pakistan got caught up in worst energy crisis because of which industries began to close down and many industrialists shifted to other countries. The country was brought to the brink of economic collapse and yet the PPP government was allowed to complete five years.

PTI under Imran Khan (IK) gained political space in 2011 as a result of misdoings of PPP and MQM, but instead of training its guns on the PPP and MQM, it locked horns with PML-N in Punjab since it knew that power resided in Punjab and nowhere else. The only silver lining in those dark days was the Shahbaz Sharif-led government in Punjab which kept things going despite highly unfavorable environments. Indefatigable Shahbaz’s outstanding performance paved the way for PML-N’s impressive victory in May 2013 elections.      

IK never reconciled with 2013 election results and for reasons best known to him imagined that he deserved to win. He married up with dubious Tahirul Qadri led PAT and single seater Sheikh Rashid to drumbeat the issue of rigging. They discounted the fact that PPP and not PML-N was in power that had made the transitional government to hold elections and that PTI had no roots in rural Pakistan. IK chose to emulate politics of agitation and defiance of Mujib and Bhutto to achieve his political ends. Following in their footsteps, he chanted the catchy slogan of ‘change’ and ‘Naya (new) Pakistan’. Like Bhutto, he too promotes liberalism and is germinating seeds of indiscipline among the youth. Previously his slogan was ‘justice’ and now his slogan is ‘corruption’.

IK has all along pursued politics of defiance and agitation to undermine the State and its institutions and freely indulges in mudslinging and unsubstantiated accusations to defame NS and his family. After failing to oust NS by staging a 126-day sit-in in Islamabad in 2014, and then trying to lock down Islamabad in October 2016, IK is now pinning hopes on Panama Papers case handled by Supreme Court Bench. He refuses to admit that name of NS is not included in the list of account holders in Fonseca Mossack Offshore Company, and that PML-N government will remain in power until next elections even if NS is sacked or he resigns. 

While giving long sermons on the ills of corruption, IK completely skips the fact that cupboards of most of his party leaders are filled with skeletons. He is oblivious of the enormous moral degeneration of the society as a whole. Moral turpitude of the nation has hit rock bottom and corruption is one small part of it which has permeated into the blood of all segments of the society. The ones accepting graft and the others doling out graft are equally guilty. IK has no plan for moral refurbishment of the society or how to eliminate corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

How will the corrupt be taken to task in the absence of effective accountability bill which is lying pending since 2010? If IK is so concerned about the eradication of corruption, why has he not agitated inside and outside the parliament to pass the accountability bill and make National Accountability Bureau (NAB) more effective and independent?

If he strongly feels that all elections including the 2013 elections were rigged, has he made any effort to reform electoral laws to prevent rigging in future? Without comprehensive electoral reforms, same lot of immoral politicians will get elected and keep shifting from one green pasture to the other to derive maximum material benefits.

Likewise, he has not pressurized the government to reform the criminal justice system and functioning of lower courts. Unless the judicial system is reformed, justice will remain confined to the elite class only and the ones involved in white collar crimes and mega corruption will never be netted. Similarly, crime and corruption cannot be tackled unless the police are depoliticized and investigative/prosecution systems streamlined.

PTI is a collection of turncoats from other parties. Each and every defector in his party has a blemished track record. How IK expects to make New Pakistan with such opportunists who have brought him under their sway? When he couldn’t convert KP into a role model province, how can he change the destiny of whole of Pakistan with a King’s Party, particularly when he has no political standing in Baluchistan and Sindh?

PTI, PPP and other political parties in opposition are ganging up to derail the political system by creating chaos and hampering growth and development. This is being done at a time when Pakistan is at an economic takeoff stage as a result of better governance and financial management and commissioning of CPEC. At the same time, it is up against external enemies and local detractors that are trying to sabotage progress. CPEC is an eyesore for India, USA, Iran, and Dubai.

Upset by the achievements made by Pakistan, the adversaries that had been collectively trying to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan since 2002 have intensified their efforts to block the development programs. The only option they are left with is to topple the ruling regime and foment political bedlam. This task has been undertaken by PTI and PPP.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) led the Gulf States have still not forgotten and forgiven the slight inflicted by Pakistan when its request for military support to tackle the threat posed by the Huthis in Yemen last year was impolitely turned down. The government had whittled under pressure of PTI and PPP. The fissures that were contracted with a lot of efforts are once again being widened by Iran inspired lobbies in Pakistan. Led by PTI, these lobbies in concert with media are applying pressure on the government to detach Pakistan from the 41-Member Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) sponsored by KSA to fight terrorism and to call back Gen Raheel Sharif, selected as head of the Alliance. The Same old logic of Iran’s sensibilities and misplaced danger of Shia-Sunni rift in Pakistan is being put forward.

Recently concluded Arab-Islamic-US Summit in Riyadh gave strength to these lobbies to state that their fears that the IMA was Iran-specific have come true after the vitriolic speeches made by Trump and King Salman. They upped the ante by painting a very dark picture with ominous ramifications for Pakistan. Pressure has been intensified to force the government to opt out of the Alliance, not realizing that such a step would fulfill the dream of India to isolate Pakistan. We have seen how KSA and its close allies have offensively reacted against Qatar, and it can treat Pakistan in a similar manner.

It must not be forgotten that KSA has always come to the rescue of Pakistan in its testing times, and has always been sympathetic towards Pakistan regardless of which political party or military ruler has been in power. It has taken pride in Pakistan’s armed forces and nuclear capability and has never threatened Pakistan. Same is not true for Iran. Gone are the days of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Attitudes in Iran have changed since the arrival of Ayatollahs and their officials have adopted an arrogant posture.

Under what pretext and logic the Iranian lobbies in Pakistan lobbied to stop Pakistan from dispatching troops to KSA when it was threatened by Iran supported Huthis? What moral right Iran has to militarily support Huthis in Yemen? In what way we were pitching ourselves against Iran? Pakistani troops would not have jumped into the cauldron of Yemen war but at best would have deployed a division size force along the Saudi-Yemeni border to defend the integrity of KSA. Has Pakistan not been sending troops in the past to KSA for training purposes and for the defense of Khana Kaaba, and when KSA was threatened by Iraq in 1991?

Once our myopic leaders opted to annoy KSA and the other Gulf States to please Iran, how did Iran reciprocate our gesture of staying out of Yemen war? Soon after, Iran stood with India and Afghanistan and signed Chahbahar agreement. Iran will never annoy India to please Pakistan but will annoy Pakistan to please India as was evident from Iran Army chief’s threat to Pakistan last May. It is closer to India and Northern Alliance ruled Afghanistan than with Pakistan.

This very lobby which is in a small minority but has also influenced many veterans has been consistently tarnishing the image of former COAS Gen Raheel Sharif with the sole purpose of forcing him to resign or compelling Pak government to call him back from Riyadh. It has been repeatedly stressed by the government that the IMA headed by Gen Raheel is directed against terrorism and is not against Iran or any other country and that whenever it transgresses its mandate, Pakistan will detach itself. But the lobbies are unprepared to buy it since they are solely worried about Iran’s interest and not of Pakistan and its armed forces and keep playing sectarian card. One may ask as to why they drum up proxy wars of KSA and not of Iran. Why do they want the IMA to fight Al-Qaeda, Daesh, and Taliban and to spare Iran’s proxies? KSA and not Iran is vulnerable to threats from proxies as well as from Iran-Iraq-Syria-Yemen-Hezbollah nexus.

Pakistan is faced with foreign funded proxies and Hybrid War. India wants to teach Pakistan a lesson. Afghanistan has become a hostile country. Indo-US-Afghan nexus has not changed its dangerous agenda against Pakistan. Iran is not friendly. Another storm stimulated by USA and Israel is building up in the already turbulent the Middle East as a result of heightened Iran-Saudi hostility and KSA-Qatar confrontation, which is giving shape to new alignments. Pakistan cannot remain unconcerned by these hazardous developments and its diplomacy is under test. Pakistan cannot afford to take sides and it will be its diplomatic success if it manages to stay neutral and act as a moderator to defuse KSA-Qatar tension and scale down KSA-Iran animosity.

It is, however, most unfortunate that our power hungry politicians backed by paid media are oblivious of the precarious geopolitical environments and are wholly interested in snatching power by hook or crook. Devoid of political power, they first provoked the Army to boot out NS and are now expectantly looking towards the Supreme Court to disqualify him whether he is an offender or not. Like PTI, PPP has also begun to flex its political muscles and is somehow very hopeful that it will regain power in the Centre and in all provinces.

The Author & Pakistan Think Tank Thought Leader

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brigadier, took part in the epic battle of Hilli in 1971 war, served as Defence Attache Egypt & Sudan, a defense analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraj@gmail.com     

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MAKING SENSE OF WAR ON TERROR By K. H Zia

Last month, the Washington based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a study on the death toll from the on-going “War on Terror”. The total ‘deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan’.
Scores of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes by the wars waged by the West against Islamic countries (The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century, by Jennifer Welsh, House of Anansi Press, 2017). It stands to reason that these atrocities will give rise to anger and radicalization among some, if not many.
 
We claim ISIS and al-Qaida are the enemies who are responsible for terror in the world. No less a person than foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote that al-Qaida was actually the name of the CIA file containing details of all the Arab fighters that it had recruited to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton said that ISIS was created by Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are our allies.
 
We say we are at war against ISIS and al-Qaida. So are Iran and Russia but they are our enemies while Saudi Arabia and Qatar who created and fund ISIS are our allies. Each ISIS fighter is trained, equipped, transported and paid $ 600 a month. Where does the money come from and why can’t its source be traced? Any of them that is injured is treated in Israel which is our ally. Israel also bombs Syrian army and its affiliates that fight against ISIS on a regular basis but never ISIS or al-Qaida (Robert Fisk in The Independent, 23rd. May 2017).
 
And if this is not confusing enough, both al-Qaida and ISIS fought against Kaddafi in Libya and are now trying to get rid of Asad in Syria. So are we, which technically makes us allies. But we insist this is not so because the terrorists follow an evil ideology. If two sets of people have the same aim, how can only one of them be evil and the other not?
 
We claim Islamic fundamentalism and extremism give rise to terrorism. The countries that have been targeted —- Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Syria have constituted essentially moderate, tolerant and progressive societies. It is our allies, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Sheikhdoms who enforce rigid, retrogressive and extreme form of Islam.

According to reports US President Donald Trump last week accepted personal gifts alone worth $1.2 billion from Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia from where fifteen of the 9/11’s alleged attackers originated. One heavy sword made of pure gold and studded with diamond stones weighing 25 kilograms alone was worth $200 million. Then, there is this 125 meter long yacht, which is apparently the world’s tallest personal yacht, with 80 rooms with 20 royal suites.

What could be more Orwellian?
31ST May 2017

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