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Archive for category AFGHANISTAN

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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Please Sign Petition to File Treason Case against Mahmood Khan Achakzai

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

There-Are-18-Million-Afghan-Refugees-In-Pakistan-Alone-And-More-Than-28-Million-Total

Reference: 

The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

In 1979, Russian forces invaded Afghanistan. Communism came to the threshold of Pakistan when forces led by Babrak Karmel overthrew the Government of Afghanistan. Some 120,000 Russian troops entered Afghanistan .The Afghan people organized a resistance force against this blatant aggression. The Soviet forces suffered greatly in terms of manpower and material, and the Afghan War proved expensive even for a world power like the Soviet Union.

It has always been said about Afghanistan that it can be invaded and occupied easily but it is very difficult to hold and control it. Afghans have a history of resisting foreign invaders. The British imperial power failed in all three attempts to occupy and control Afghanistan. The Soviets were to learn the same lesson. In the beginning, the Soviet army was successful in occupying and controlling Afghanistan.

The Numbers Given Below are Not Accurate:The Are 10 Times Higher:Afghan Refugee Camps in Pakistan Province of KPK, Balochistan,Punjab

General Zia stood against the spread of communism. He reiterated his solution to the Afghanistan crisis in 1983 in New Delhi. He said that Pakistan has given political asylum to millions of Afghans. He demanded the expulsion of Russian forces from Afghanistan. America responded to the call of Pakistan and flooded Pakistan with monetary help to finance the anti-communist regime in Afghanistan and to equip the freedom fighters. The freedom fighters, the mujahideen, put forward a strong resistance to the Russian invasion. Although the Afghans suffered enormous causalities in the beginning of the war but the turning point in the war came when the U. S. supplied them with surface-to-air Stinger missiles.

danger. As Pakistan was a frontline state, huge amounts of money, military equipment and aid arrived in Pakistan. The huge amounts of aid that poured in propped up Zia’s government. With the Afghan problem, a new phase of modernization of the military began. The arms provided to Afghanistan freedom fighters were also provided to the Pakistan Army. As a result the Pakistan Army became better equipped.

Other than the problems faced due to the Afghan War efforts, the Soviet Empire was breaking apart at the seams. This led the Soviets to seek peace in Afghanistan. Negotiations on Afghanistan were carried out under Zia’s Government, and the Geneva Accord was signed on April 14, 1988, under which the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its forces in two installments .The Soviet Government lived up to its commitment of withdrawal of forces according to the agreed timetable.

The victory in Afghanistan was achieved at a great cost to Pakistan. It had to look after and feed more than three million Afghan refugees that had crossed over to Pakistan. The refugees were a great economic burden on Pakistan. Not only this but, they also caused the problem of drugs and gunrunning in the country.

Long after the Soviet forces had left Afghanistan, fighting continued between the various factions of the mujahideen. With the emergence of the Taliban, Pakistan found itself an ally in Afghanistan that enforced peace and virtually eliminated the drug cultivation. After the September 11 tragedy of 2001, world attention again focused on Afghanistan as they considered it as training grounds of terrorists responsible for the tragedy. The Talibans were removed by power and a U. S. led coalition installed an interim government in Afghanistan, which till today keeps a fragile peace in the country. Meanwhile Pakistan continues to suffer numerous problems from the legacy of the Afghan War such as refugees, drugs, guns, crime, and terrorism.

Courtesy:

A great site for history of Pakistan

http://storyofpakistan.com/the-afghan-war-settlement

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003.

Additional Readings:

2015 UNHCR country operations profile – Pakistan

 

 

 

 

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Pakistan
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 2,311,750 2,311,750 2,352,080 2,352,080

 

 

| Overview |

 

 

 

Working environment

  • Pakistan hosts almost 18 million registered Afghan refugees – still the largest protracted refugee population globally. Since 2002, UNHCR has facilitated the return of 3.8 million registered Afghans from Pakistan.

  • Efforts to address the needs of Afghan refugees and their host communities, and to advance durable solutions, are undertaken within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), the tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation, and the Government of Pakistan’s national policy on Afghan refugees.

  • To complement UNHCR and partners’ international support, the Government of Pakistan has extended Afghan refugees’ Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of 2015, issued birth certificates for 800,000 Afghan refugee children, provided land for several refugee villages, and given refugees access to public schools and health clinics.

  • In August 2014, there were 714,548 registered internally displaced people (IDPs) in need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing security operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The North Waziristan emergency has further displaced approximately 500,000 people.

  • The operating environment for humanitarian actors in Pakistan remains volatile, with fragile security, as well as access, social and economic challenges likely to affect humanitarian operations. In order to improve outreach to populations of concern and to build local capacity, UNHCR works closely with local partners and government counterparts.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2015 under the Pakistan operation include: Afghan refugees, of whom approximately one-third live in refugee villages, and two-thirds in urban and rural host communities; some 7,000 asylum-seekers and individually-recognized refugees from various countries (mostly Afghans), living mainly in urban areas; IDPs, including those relocated by military operations and ethnic/religious conflicts in FATA, and, since the beginning of military operations in June 2014, IDPs from North Waziristan; and three groups presumed to be stateless or at risk of statelessness in Pakistan, namely Bengalis and Biharis, as well as Rohingyas from Myanmar.

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Pakistan’s ailments by Brig (Retd).Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s ailments

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan is inflicted with large numbers of diseases and some of the reasons for these afflictions are leadership crisis, feudalism, weak governance, financial mismanagement, rampant corruption and crime, weak judicial system, lack of accountability, non-adherence to rule of law, political polarization, tense civil-military relations, provincialism, lack of nationalism and above all India’s meddlesome role which wants to keep Pakistan politically unstable, economically weak and militarily fragile. These diseases have given rise to religious extremism and terrorism and impeded Pakistan’s progress. Among the ailments, corruption has become cancerous and is contaminating the moral turpitude of the society. In order to control this cancerous disease, our leaders have been making some token efforts but none succeeded in curing it since all went for symptoms and none made any effort to cure it.

PML whose leadership was wholly from India soon got factionalised and lost its shine in 1954 after getting defeated at the hands of Jugto Front in East Pakistan. It made no effort to end feudalism and absentee landlordism and to integrate the society. East-West wrangling over power and security concerns impelled our leaders to accord higher priority to defence over development. To deal with corruption among the politicians, Liaquat Ali Khan introduced PRADA. Ayub Khan enforced EBDO to keep parasitic politicians out of power but couldn’t keep them out for long. Gen Yahya Khan sacked 303 officials to put sense in corrupt bureaucracy but the effort proved elusive. He presided over the breakup of Pakistan into two in 1971. ZA Bhutto sacked large numbers of senior military officers and set up Hamoodur Rahman Commission to probe East Pakistan debacle to rein in military establishment but failed. He created dreaded FSF and opened up Dalai Camp to put fear into the hearts of his political opponents but couldn’t. In his bid to alleviate the poor he inculcated indiscipline in the society. His promotion of secularism antagonized the Islamists and widened Islamic-secular divide.

In his bid to discipline the unruly Jayalas, Gen Ziaul Haq setup Qazi courts and whipped the offenders but it made little difference except for inculcating never ending hatred of the PPP against him. During his tenure religious extremism and sectarianism gathered pace due to seeping in of Kalashnikov and drug cultures from Afghanistan. During Benazir’s two tenures corruption increased. PML-N in its second tenure in 1990s established Ehtesab Bureau to deal with large-scale corruption cases of PPP leaders and affiliated bureaucrats but the judiciary couldn’t convict any. Era of 1990s heightened political polarization. Gen Musharraf formed much trumpeted NAB but soon it gave in to political expediency and NAB became a tool to garner political support and to victimize opponents. His pro-western policies, compromise on Kashmir and promotion of secularism under the garb of enlightened moderation provoked the Islamists and intensified religious extremism.   

Military operation was launched in Sindh by Nawaz in 1992 to deal with dacoits and criminals but it was halted midstream by Nawaz Sharif owing to political expediency. Decision was taken despite knowing that MQM was linked with RAW and recovering Jinnahpur maps and flags from MQM unit offices. This lapse proved very expensive. Another Rangers-Police operation was launched during Benazir’s second tenure in 1995/96 but it too was called off before breaking the back of criminals affiliated with MQM. Besides lack of political will, other reason for failure of the two operations to rid Karachi of criminals was poor performance of the judiciary which let off all arrested criminals for want of evidence. The MQM known to be having an armed wing and involved in heinous crimes since 1984 remained in government in Sindh and in the centre as a coalition partner with PPP and PML-N all along. MQM gained extra ordinary strength during the nine year rule of Gen Musharraf. His worst sin was issuance of infamous NRO in October 2007 essentially meant to cleanse PPP leadership and bring the party back to power. Not only the corrupt leaders of PPP indicted in corruption charges were absolved, 8000 MQM leaders and workers involved in heinous crimes were also pardoned. As a consequence, the MQM in league with PPP wrecked havoc in Sindh during their rule from 2008 till March 2013. RAW in league with MQM and helped by PPP choked the jugular vein to suffocate Pakistan.

Whatever actions taken against corruption in the past were at best cosmetic. No consistent effort was ever put in to root out this evil which has contaminated the moral turpitude of the society as whole. Whatever efforts made were at best aimed at treating the symptoms and not curing the disease. The elites involved in mega corruption were hardly touched. Most were let off after plea bargain. As a result, fascination for corruption kept growing and made individuals and few families dirty rich, emptied national kitty, made the country debt ridden and dependent upon foreign aid, and made the poor poorer. Corruption scaled new heights during PPP-MQM-ANP coalition black rule from March 2008 till March 2013. NAB was made toothless and accountability set aside on the plea of national reconciliation. Loot and plunder became a norm, corruption was institutionalized, merit axed and cronyism promoted. Only those who were adept in mal practices were given key jobs and the honest sidelined. As a consequence, corruption scaled new heights. State corporations became non-productive and railway, PIA and Steel Mills became white elephants. Foreign debts doubled, economy reached the verge of collapse. Pakistan suffered from worst energy crisis and was seen as a failing and irrelevant state. 

The ones rolling in wealth began to finance mafias, terrorists and criminal gangs to further multiply their ill-gotten wealth and protect their political power and clout. Karachi became the major den of these evil practices. Absence of security and justice forced business magnates to migrate to other countries. Karachi, which is the economic hub-centre of Pakistan, began to die a slow economic death. 2013 elections reduced PPP from  national to regional party but still it learnt no lesson and not only retained aged and inept CM Qaim Ali Shah but also continued with its looting spree. Although the MQM remote controlled by Altaf Hussain from London since 1992 lost its blackmailing power for the first time after it was not made a coalition partner in Sindh and in the Centre, it continued with its criminal activities and the Sindh government looked the other way.

It was owing to constantly deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi where the daily toll of deaths at the hands of unknown target killers was 10-15, that intelligence based and Rangers led operation was launched in September 2013 with the blessings of regional political parties. Substantial progress has been achieved by law enforcing agencies in Karachi against terrorists and criminals. Majority of nabbed criminals belong to MQM. Lower tier MQM leaders have disclosed the involvement of their top leadership in terrorism and criminal activities.  Incidents of target killings, kidnappings, extortion street crimes have been radically brought down. RAW agents are being arrested and MQM’s connection with RAW since early 1990s has been established. RAW is deeply entrenched in Sindh and it has of late shifted its base from Afghanistan to coastal belt of Pakistan where it has large numbers of brainwashed Pakistani fishermen who had been caught from the high seas and then released after months of detention and indoctrination. Urban terrorism in Karachi is yet to be fully controlled owing to presence of RAW agents and Rs 230 billion annual financial terrorism spearheaded by PPP and MQM.

While the noose around the neck of MQM has been tightened, the PPP leadership which is part of the problem is yet to be collared. Arrest of some leading lights of PPP particularly Dr Asim, blue-eyed boy of Zardari, involved in corruption and their confessions have brought to light the involvement of higher leadership of PPP in financial terrorism. JIT has collected sufficient evidence, which has rattled PPP leadership. In the wake of impediments created by Sindh government and objections raised on acts of Rangers after the raid on Sindh Control Board, NAB and FIA was married up with Rangers in Sindh and operation accelerated to nab bigwigs involved in corruption and financial terrorism. This move has alarmed Sindh Government and made Asif Zardari, now based in Dubai/London nervous. He first fired his guns against the military but now he is targeting the government. PPP leaders are aping MQM by making hue and cry and are threatening the government of dire consequences. Both the MQM and PPP leaders are wailing as to why their workers/leaders are being arrested on charges of terrorism, criminal acts and corruption and pushed against the wall. They say why only Sindh politicians/officials are being targeted and why not Punjab politicians/officials.      

On one hand corruption is eating into the vitals of the country like termite; terrorism has shaken the foundations of Pakistan. Terrorism is relatively a new phenomenon which was deliberately pushed into Pakistan after 9/11 by scheming foreign powers harboring dangerous designs. Ongoing efforts till recent have remained focused against terrorism while other hazards were looked the other way under the flawed concept of national reconciliation. FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and later on Karachi became the hub of terrorism. Terrorists were financed, equipped and trained by RAW and other anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies as well as local elites. Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in June 2014 in the wake of terrorist attack on Karachi airport and accelerated after Peshawar School tragedy on December 16, 2014 succeeded in dismantling main base camp of terrorists in North Waziristan. Last toehold of militants in Shawal Valley in Datta Khel district is being cleared. Likewise separatist movement in Balochistan has to a large extent been defused. Abettors and sympathizers of terrorists residing in urban centres are also being taken to task. National Action Plan is gradually being implemented although the progress is slow. External and internal financing has prevented security forces from bottling up terrorism.

Notwithstanding the fact that Pak security forces have dismantled the network, command & control centres, communication network, training grounds of militants in FATA and broken their back, sporadic acts of terror are still taking place since their bases are still active in Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absconding Fazlullah and Khalid Khurasani are being fully patronized by Afghan NDS and elements of Afghan Army. Latest attack on Badaber camp was planned by Khurasani. Former President Hamid Karzai and Dr Abdullah who are pro-India are supporting cross border terrorism. President Ashraf Ghani wants to get closer to Pakistan but he is weak since he lacks political roots. After few months of bonhomie, he has started to speak the language of Karzai and Abdullah against Pakistan. India has a big hand in keeping Afghan-Pakistan relations tense. RAW is making frantic efforts to further destabilize troubled regions of Pakistan and to scuttle under-construction China-Pakistan economic corridor since it knows its commissioning will make Pakistan strong and prosperous.It knows that CPEC will defeat Indo-US plan to encircle Pakistan and China and foil establishment of the US Asia pivot. Besides covert operations, India has also heated up the LoC in Kashmir and working boundary in Sialkot sector and has adopted a highly belligerent posture to overawe Pakistan.           

Opposition leader Khurshid Shah is advising the military to focus its attention towards the borders rather than towards the misdoings of political forces. Slogan of ‘democracy is in danger’ is being raised. In simple words, corrupt politicians want a free hand to indulge in mal practices and to promote sham democracy. They are least bothered about India’s aggression along the LoC and Working Boundary or about national interests but are extremely worried that their selfish interests which are in jeopardy. The Army chief wants to expose all faces abetting, harboring, financing and helping the terrorists while the MQM and PPP wanting to hide and protect them as well as their ill-gotten wealth are making concerted efforts to fail the operation or as a minimum slow it down.

The government on the other hand is continuing to follow self-defeating policy of appeasement towards India and has yet to take tangible steps to expose Indian jingoism and terrorism in Pakistan despite having tons of proofs of involvement of RAW in Balochistan and Karachi. For unknown reasons it has been reluctant to take up the case to the UN and to mount a diplomatic and media offensive to expose the ugly face of India. It is high time an astute and seasoned Foreign Minister is appointed. Internally, pressure generated by PPP, MQM as well as PTI is unnerving Nawaz Sharif and he is fearful that political parties are ganging up to de-seat him. Tied to Charter of Democracy with PPP, he wants to terminate Karachi operation before the big fish are netted particularly because of his apprehension that sooner than later the hand of NAB will fall on PML-N as well. After-all, all have been bathing in the same tub. He is finding himself in a fix because of pressure from military establishment and the public both wanting to take Operation Zarb-e-Azb as well as Karachi operation to their logical end. Gen Raheel Sharif has on several occasions expressed his resolve not to rest till complete elimination of terrorism and those promoting it.

Gen Raheel’s growing popularity because of his exemplary personal conduct is another upsetting factor for Nawaz. He has not forgotten his rough experiences with Gen Kakar and Gen Musharraf and cannot altogether rule out repeat of similar action, particularly when the people and vested groups want the Army to takeover and rid the country of multiple diseases. It is now to be seen how long Nawaz will remain firm and aligned with the Army against the PPP and MQM. It is in his interest and Pakistan’s interest to back up the military engaged in battling vermin and foreign paid militants incapacitating Pakistan. Towards this end, the government should make strenuous efforts to operationalise all 20 points of NAP as soon as possible and help the Army in knocking off all obstacles in its way and in catching the big fish to make Karachi peaceful.

Delay in this will benefit the MQM the most, which is busy poisoning the minds of Urdu speaking Karachiites that the operation is Muhajir specific to hand over political power to other communities. There is a need to revisit 18th Amendment particularly after Zardari and Altaf outbursts, both playing Sindhi and Muhajir cards respectively. Either the germs of regionalism and fissiparous tendencies in smaller provinces should be killed by making efforts to integrate the divided society, or else 18th Amendment which is recipe for fragmentation of Pakistan, should be set aside. Steps must be taken to prevent cross border terrorism from Afghan soil. Strategy to pullout regular troops from war on terror must be worked out. Kashmir issue must be highlighted with full force. To effectively counter the internal/external challenges it is important to put own house in order, gear up accountability process and keep civil-military relations harmonious.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com         

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US imposed war now our own war by Brig Gen(R) Asif Haroon Raja

US imposed war now our own war

Pakistan is burning in the flames of war on terror since 2003. Fratricidal war has claimed 55, 973 human lives and the numbers of injured run into hundreds of thousands. This appalling figure of casualties owing to over 5000 bomb blasts, hundreds of suicide and terrorist attacks surpasses the total fatalities suffered in the 1948, 1965 and 1971 wars and local conflicts with India. While wars/conflicts with India were of very short duration, this war is being continuously fought for over a decade and still there are no signs of its termination. It has given birth to more than 60 terrorist groups and all have married up to fight the security forces and cause harm to Pakistan. The war has caused Pakistan an economic loss of over $80 billion while the social trauma suffered by the people is incalculable.
The war on terror was started by the US and its allies in Afghanistan in October 2001 but was treacherously shifted into Pakistan. The ISAF comprising military contingents from over 40 countries handed over the security to 350,000 strong Afghan Army and Police, trained and equipped by the US and British military trainers on December 28, 2014. Although ‘Operation Endurance’ has come to a humiliating end since it failed to achieve any of the stated objectives, the US has announced launching a fresh operation codenamed ‘Resolute’ from 01 January 2015 onwards with the help of Afghan security forces backed by 12000 residual force stationed in 8 military bases. This force is likely to stay on till end 2016 in accordance with Bilateral Security Agreement and in return the US and its allies would provide $8 billion economic/military assistance annually to bolster Ashraf Ghani’s not so stable regime and to keep Taliban out of power if they refuse to share power.
This step has been taken grudgingly in the backdrop of the wide scale criticism the US had to face on account of abandoning Afghanistan in 1989 in haste after all its objectives were achieved by the Afghan Mujahideen assisted by Pakistan. Leaving them in a lurch without forming a broad based interim government and helping in reconstruction of devastated country resulted in bloody internecine war between various Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. It is generally opined that but for the US blunder, Afghanistan may have become a peaceful and prosperous country. This great betrayal bred frustration, resentment, anger and hatred against USA.
Bloody civil war from 1990 to 1994 gave rise to war lordism, religious extremism and also gave birth to Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, who was the blue-eyed boy of CIA during Afghan Jihad. Although the Taliban stabilized the country after taking over in 1996, but the fallout effects of the nine-year war and the instability of the civil war in Afghanistan was entirely borne by Pakistan. Presence of over three million Afghan refugees added to the socio-economic burden and security problems. The democratic era from October 1988 till October 1999 remained enmeshed in internal squabbles and paid little heed to control arms smuggling, drug peddling and sectarianism duly propped up by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Economic sanctions levied by the US in 1990 had also impacted the democratic rule. When PML-N government started to deliver by dealing with sectarian threat firmly, it was axed by Gen Musharraf on October 11, 1999.
9/11 changed the geopolitics of the world. The whole focus shifted towards terrorism and Pakistan was sucked into the GWOT. After occupying Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan, the US and its strategic allies cleverly shifted the direction of terrorism towards Pakistan under a calculated program. To start with FATA which was peaceful was made restive by forcing Pakistan to break the 1948 Agreement with the tribesmen by sending regular troops into South Waziristan. Insurgency was then ignited in Balochistan which was also peaceful. Nawabs of Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes readily agreed to play the foreign game.  KP and other parts of Pakistan were subsequently made turbulent.
Whereas Pakistan was made an ally to fight GWOT in return for monetary benefits, in actuality it was a target. Pakistan was on the hit-list of India, Israel and USA after it had conducted nuclear tests in May 1988 to neutralize Indian nuclear belligerence. In fact, India considers Pakistan a thorn in its flesh. Reason of its undiminished animus is Pakistan’s principled stand to maintain good neighborly relations based on equality and refusal to accept Indian hegemony. India also resents Pakistan’s stance on disputed Kashmir, which it foolishly claims to be its integral part. Armed freedom movement in occupied Kashmir since 1989 keeps Indian leaders scared. They keep devising Chankyan strategies to maintain illegal control over occupied Kashmir. They also resort to lies and engineer false flag operations to keep Pakistan on the defensive.
indianconsulatesinafghansitan1Ever since India became a strategic partner of the US, Indian leaders have been constantly whispering into the ears of US leaders that Pakistan is abetting and aiding terrorism in Kashmir and that it should be declared a terrorist state and Kashmiri fighters seeking right of self-determination as terrorists. New laws framed on terrorism after 9/11 provided an opportunity to India to paint Kashmiri freedom movement as terrorism and to project Pakistan military/ISI as abettors of cross border terrorism.
Installation of India friendly regime under Hamid Karzai in Kabul by the US made it easy for India to undertake covert war against Pakistan from Afghan soil at a massive level. RAW duly beefed up by 17 Indian intelligence units, four Consulates and Embassy was backed by CIA, Mossad, MI-6, BND, Afghan government/intelligence to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and balkanize Pakistan. Biggest intelligence centre was set up at Sehra Neward north of Kabul where heads of six intelligence agencies sat under one roof to cook up plans to undermine Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, Middle East and also to gain influence over resource rich Central Asian region. Ironically, ISI was excluded although Pakistan is immediate neighbor of Afghanistan and was nominated as front line state. 
RAW was made the overall in-charge to conduct clandestine war against Pakistan because of the expertise it had gained in 1971 East Pakistan insurgency, Balochistan insurgency in 1970s and sabotage/subversion in Pakistan in 1980s. RAW had a hand in training militant wing of MQM and Al-Zulfiqar. TTP in FATA, BLA, BRA and BLF in Balochistan were raised, funded, equipped and trained by foreign agencies to achieve their sinister objectives. RAW established 70 training camps in Afghanistan along Pak-Afghan border. It also helped Baloch insurgents in establishing over 60 Farari camps in interior Balochistan.
In FATA, CIA and FBI established outposts on the pretext of nabbing al-Qaeda runaways. On the quiet the two agencies established an outfit called Spider Web, whose task was to kill all pro-Pakistan Maliks, elders and clerics, shunt out civil administration and create space for anti-Pakistan TTP to take control over FATA. Over 400 were gunned down. ISI was pushed to the back seat and intelligence acquisition and dissemination taken over by CIA. Even immigration on airports in major cities was taken over by FBI. In 2008, Blackwater got established in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. It became easier for RAW to outsource this outfit for performing its dirty works. While Kerry Lugar Bill facilitated large numbers of NGOs with a precise agenda to step in, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani helped thousands of CIA agents and Special Operation operatives to sneak in without ISI clearance in 2010-11.
On one hand trained and well equipped terrorists were launched to create chaos and fear in Pakistan and also hit specified targets like GHQ, ISI set ups, PC-3 Orion, AWACs, airports, on the other hand Pak Army was belittled and accused of being either complicit or not doing enough. Pakistan was repeatedly told by the US to do more and India and Afghanistan joined the chorus. To make their coercive tactics more biting, an orchestrated defamation campaign was launched by Indo-US-western-Israeli media. Pakistan was dubbed as nursery of terrorism, most dangerous place in the world and a failing state. Its nuclear program was censured on the plea that it was vulnerable to fall into wrong hands because of lack of security. Idea behind multi-pronged bashing was to exhaust Pakistan socially, politically, economically and militarily, make it vulnerable to Indian aggression and force Islamabad to abandon its nuclear program in return for survival. India’s war terrorism is also part of the overall scheme to make Pakistan subservient.      
This discriminatory attitude against an ally which had put the security of the state at stake to fight the US dictated war on its own territory and against its own people and had sacrificed the most was most unfortunate. To rub salt in Pakistan’s wounds, the US continued to bestow India with all possible goodies despite the fact that it didn’t contribute a single soldier in the GWOT and created problems for ISAF. Likewise, the US continued to support highly corrupt, inept and unpopular regime of Karzai for 13 years.
Once the stark reality dawned upon the US leadership in December 2010 that ISAF was in no position to win the war and defeat was inevitable, it not only declared its drawdown plan starting July 2011 and ending in December 2014, but also established secret contacts with Taliban to arrive at a political settlement and ensure safe exit. This effort failed because of Karzai’s fickleness and US lack of sincerity. Pentagon didn’t like Obama’s decision and started selling a fake story that Taliban had been pushed on the back foot and sooner than later the pendulum would swing in ISAF’s favor. To hide its failings, Pakistan was chosen as the scapegoat and all its failings put in Pakistan’s basket. It was in this context that intense pressure was put on Pakistan to launch a major operation in North Waziristan. When Pakistan didn’t comply, it was punished by undertaking false flag operation in Abbottabad in May 2011 and then a revengeful attack on Salala border posts in November that year.  
Unlike Soviet forces which withdrew under Geneva Accord, ISAF troops have withdrawn without an agreement and leaving everything in a state of flux. Unlike Pak military’s brilliant successes against foreign supported militants in FATA and in Balochistan, the ISAF together with ANSF couldn’t achieve single battle victory against Afghan Taliban despite two troop surges and huge resources. Pakistan and not ISAF broke the back of Al-Qaeda by nabbing 600 of its leaders/operatives. All the societal vices that were doctored by Taliban during their five year rule under insalubrious circumstances have reappeared in a big way and Afghanistan has become the biggest narcotic state in the world. Despite investing $1.4 trillion, Afghanistan continues to grind in poverty and suffer from women disempowerment, illiteracy, corruption and insecurity. 65% Americans feel the war was needless.
While the US-NATO has lost the war, Pak Army under the valiant leadership of Gen Raheel Shareef has taken up the gauntlet to root out all manifestations of extremism and terrorism from Pakistan no matter what the cost. He has stated that losing war on terror is not an option. The Army had remained handicapped because of lack of political will, failure of civilian administration to take over secured areas, too many flaws in investigative and criminal justice system to prosecute and convict terrorists, ban on hanging, heavily politicized police, unproductive dharnas and above all foreign interference. Peshawar tragedy in which 132 children were martyred by fiends has galvanized the whole nation. Moratorium on hanging has been lifted and few terrorists hanged. Political/religious leaders stand behind the Army and have resolved to collectively fight the menace. Unanimously agreed upon 20-point Action Plan has been devised and committees formed to monitor progress. Despite initial reservations, all have agreed to amend the constitution and set up special military courts for 2 years to ensure speedy justice. These are need of the nation and not that of Army. Happily, Kabul has come on board and is willing to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.  
To ensure 100% results, all concerned will have to perform on war footing. Politicians will have to display greater maturity and become role models by changing their lifestyle. Bureaucracy should shun its lethargic way of sitting over files and creating unnecessary impediments. The judiciary must come out of its hibernation and carryout in-house refurbishment to deliver evenhanded, cheap and speedy justice to all. The media should change its course and show greater patriotism and sense of responsibility. Civil administration should play its part more efficiently and honestly. Ulema and Mashaikhs should strive to bridge the religious divides. Academic circles must guide the youth towards productive channels and inculcating in them sense of nationalism. Last but not least, grievances of the have-nots must be addressed on priority.      
The writer is retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Member oard of Directors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com                   

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