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Christine Fair: An academic lacking critical thinking with venomous bias, bitterness, and animosity towards Pakistan

Christine Fair

An academic lacking critical thinking with venomous bitterness and animosity towards Pakistan

Carol Christine Fair (born 1968) is an associate professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS),
within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Fair is employed at the Security Studies Program (SSP) within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.[1][2]

Prior to this, Fair served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and as a senior research associate with the United States Institute of Peace. She specializes in political and military affairs in South Asia.[3]

Fair has published several articles defending the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and has been critical of analyses by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other humanitarian organizations.[4]

Fair’s work and viewpoints have been the subject of prominent criticism.[5]Her pro-drone stance has been denounced and called “surprisingly weak” by Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid.[5]JournalistGlenn Greenwalddismissed Fair’s arguments as “rank propaganda”, arguing there is “mountains of evidence” showing drones are counterproductive, pointing to mass civilian casualties and independent studies.[6] In 2010, Fair denied the notion that drones caused any civilian deaths, alleging Pakistani media reports were responsible for creating this perception.[7]Jeremy Scahillwrote that Fair’s statement was “simply false” and contradicted byNew America‘s detailed study on drone casualties.[7]Fair later said that casualties are caused by the UAVs, but maintains they are the most effective tool for fighting terrorism.[8]

Writing for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorfchallenged Fair’s co-authored narrative that the U.S. could legitimize support in Pakistan for its drone program using ‘education’ and ‘public diplomacy’; he called it an “example of interventionist hubris and naivete” built upon a flawed interpretation of public opinion data.[9]An article in the Middle East Research and Information Project called the work “some of the most propagandistic writing in support of PresidentBarack Obama’s targeted kill lists to date.”[10]It censured the view that Pakistanis needed to be informed by the U.S. what is “good for them” as fraught with imperialist condescension; or the assumption that the Urdu press was less informed than the English press – because the latter was sometimes less critical of the U.S.[10]

Fair’s journalistic sources have been questioned for their credibility[11]and she has been accused of having aconflict of interestdue to her past work with U.S. government think tanks, as well the CIA.[5] In 2011 and 2012, she received funding from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to conduct a survey on public opinion concerning militancy. However, Fair states most of the grants went to a survey firm and that it had no influence on her research.[5] Pakistani media analysts have dismissed Fair’s views as hawkish rhetoric, riddled with factual inaccuracies, lack of objectivity, and being selectively biased.[11][12][13][14] She has also been rebuked for comments on social media perceived as provocative, such as suggesting burning down Pakistan’s embassy in Afghanistan or asking India to “squash Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” She has been accused of double standards, partisanship towards India, and has been criticized for her contacts with dissident leaders from Balochistan, a link which they claim “raises serious questions if her interest in Pakistan is merely academic.[13]

Controversies

Fair has been accused of harassment of former colleague Asra Nomani, after Nomani wrote a column inThe Washington Post[15]explaining why she voted forDonald Trump in the 2016 United States Presidential Election. The harassment came in the form of Tweets taking aim at Nomani with a series of emotionally charged profanity and insults that lasted 31 consecutive days.[16]

  1. “C. Christine Fair”. Georgetown University academic directory. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. Christine, Fair (25 September 2009). “For Now, Drones Are the Best Option”. New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  3. Author information, Oxford University Press, retrieved 6 September 2016.
  4. “Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan”. Washington Post. 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  5.  to:a b c d Norton, Ben (4 November 2015). “Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own”. Salon. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  6. “Do drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill?”. Al Jazeera. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7.  to:a b Scahill, Jeremy (10 May 2010). “Georgetown Professor: ‘Drones Are Not Killing Innocent Civilians’ in Pakistan”. The Nation. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. Shane, Scott (11 August 2011). “C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  9. Friedersdorf, Conor (24 January 2013). “Yes, Pakistanis Really Do Hate America’s Killer Drones”. The Atlantic. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  10.  to:a b Waheed, Sarah (25 January 2013). “Drones, US Propaganda and Imperial Hubris”. Middle East Research and Information Project. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  11.  to:a b Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (14 June 2011). “The magical realism of body counts”. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  12. Haider, Murtaza (27 June 2012). “An unFair comment”. Dawn. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  13.  to:a b “US professor’s anti-Pak agenda?”. The News. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  14. Chandio, Khalid (6 May 2015). Prejudice Dominates Christine Discourse. Islamabad Policy Research Institute.
  15. Nomani, Asra (10 November 2016). “I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump.”. Washington Post.
  16. Frates, Katie (27 December 2016). “‘F**K YOU. GO TO HELL’: Georgetown Prof Loses It On Muslim Trump Voter”. Daily Caller.
  17. Adeney, Katherine (2015), “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War by C. Christine Fair (Book Review)”, Political Studies Review, 13: 623–624
  18. Shaikh, Farzana (2015), “Fighting to the end: the Pakistan army’s way of war, by C. Christine Fair (Book review)”, International Affairs, 91 (3): 665–667
  19. Ghorpade, Yashodhan (2014), “C. Christine Fair and Shaun Gregory (Eds). Pakistan in National and Regional Change: State and Society in Flux (Book Review)”, Journal of South Asian Development, 9 (1): 91–97, doi:1177/0973174113520586
  20. Argon, Kemal (September 2008), “Reviewed Work: Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance by C. Christine Fair, Peter Chalk”, International Journal on World Peace, 25 (3): 120–123, JSTOR 20752852
  21. Rizvi, Hasan-Askari (September 2008), “Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance, by C. Christine Fair and Peter Chalk (eds) (Book review)”, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 16 (3): 169–170, doi:1111/j.1468-5973.2008.00546.x
  22. Schaffer, Teresita C. (October 2008), “Book Reviews: South Asia”, Survival, 50 (5): 195–215, doi:1080/00396330802456536

 


Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own

Leading drone defender Christine Fair claims critics are biased, yet is widely accused of her own double standards

Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own
(Credit: Al Jareeza/Reuters/Patrick Fallon/Photo montage by Salon)

The U.S. drone program creates more militants than it kills, according to the head of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the U.S. military unit that oversees that very program.

 

“When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good, remarked Michael T. Flynn. The retired Army lieutenant general, who also served as the U.S. Central Command’s director of intelligence, says that “the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict.”

Not everyone accepts the assessment of the former JSOC intelligence chief, however. Still today, defenders of the U.S. drone program insist it does more good than harm. One scholar, Georgetown University professor Christine Fair, is particularly strident in her support.

In a debate on the Al Jazeera program UpFront in October, Fair butted heads with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, a prominent critic of the U.S. drone program. Fair, notorious for her heated rhetoric, accused Greenwald of being a “liar” and insulted Al Jazeera several times, claiming the network does not appreciate “nuance” in the way she does. Greenwald, in turn, criticized Fair for hardly letting him get a word in; whenever he got a rare chance to speak, she would constantly interrupt him, leading host Mehdi Hasan to ask her to stop.

The lack of etiquette aside, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid remarked that Fair’s arguments in the debate were “surprisingly weak.”

After the debate, Fair took to Twitter to mud-sling. She expressed pride at not letting Greenwald speak, boasting she “shut that lying clown down.” “I AM a Rambo b**ch,” she proclaimed.

Fair alsocalledGreenwald a “pathological liar, a narcissist, [and] a fool.” She said she would like to put Greenwald and award-winning British journalist Mehdi Hasan in a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, presumably to be tortured, “then ask ’em about drones.”

Elsewhere on social media, Fair has made similarly provocative comments.In a Facebook post, Fair called Pakistan “an enemy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country,” implying the U.S. should have invaded Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

In another Facebook post, Fair insisted that “India needs to woman up and SQUASH Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.

Fair proudly identifies as a staunch liberal and advocates for a belligerent foreign policy. She rails against neo-conservatives but chastises the Left for criticizing U.S. militarism. In 2012, she told a journalist on Twitter “Dude! I am still very much pro drones. Sorry. They are the least worst option. My bed of coals is set to 11.”

Despite the sporadic jejune Twitter tirade, Fair has established herself as one of the drone program’s most vociferous proponents. Fair is a specialist in South Asian politics, culture, and languages, with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published extensively, in a wide variety of both scholarly and journalistic publications. If you see an article in a large publication defending the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, there is a good chance she wrote or co-authored it.

Reviewing the “mountains of evidence”

After her debate with Greenwald, Fair wrote an article for the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog. While making jabs at Greenwald, Hasan, and Al Jazeera; characterizing her participation in the debate as an “ignominious distinction”; and implying that The Intercept, the publication co-founded by Greenwald with other award-winning journalists, is a criminal venture, not a whistleblowing news outlet, Fair forcefully defended the drone program.

Secret government documents leaked to The Intercept by a whistleblower show that 90 percent of people killed in U.S. drone strikes in a five-month period in provinces on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan were not the intended targets. Fair accused The Intercept of “abusing” and selectively interpreting the government’s data. In a followup piece in the Huffington Post, she maintained that the findings of the Drone Papers do not apply to the drone program in Pakistan.

Greenwald pointed out that there are “mountains of evidence” showing that the U.S. drone program is killing large numbers of civilians, not just in Pakistan, but also in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and more. In these articles and the Al Jazeera debate, Fair took issue with the many studies cited by Greenwald, arguing they are flawed.

Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan,” an intensive 2012 study conducted over nine months by the law schools at New York University (NYU) and Stanford University, found that the U.S. drone program had killed hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, and “cause[d] considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”

The NYU/Stanford report was based on two investigations in Pakistan; hundreds of interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts; and a review of thousands of pages of government and media documents. It concluded that the U.S. drone program had “terrorize[d] men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.” The study indicated that drones have even returned to target rescuers after drone attacks, making “both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.”

Fair accused the NYU/Stanford study of being “advocacy work,” arguing its findings were influenced by the human rights organizations Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights. Reprieve has itself investigated the casualties of the drone program. It found that, in attempts to kill just 41 militants, the U.S. military killed 1,147 people in Pakistan and Yemen, as of November 2014.

According to Fair, Reprieve’s research is biased advocacy work, not scholarly research. She also accused the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), whose research the NYU/Stanford study cited, of being an advocacy organization.

For years, TBIJ has meticulously documented the casualties of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan. It estimates between 423 and 965 Pakistani civilians have been killed by the U.S. drone program. TBIJ has also documented how U.S. drones have targeted rescuers, and even attacked funerals of people killed in drone strikes.

I reached out to the Bureau and, although it did not want to comment on the affair, it maintained it is a journalism organization, not an advocacy group. TBIJ pointed out it has done work not just on drones, but also on political corruption in Europe, British political party funding, deaths in police custody in the U.K., and more.

Numerous other studies have found the U.S. drone program in Pakistan to be wildly unpopular and counterproductive.2012 poll conducted by leading polling agency Pew found that just 17 percent of Pakistanis supported the U.S. drone program. In an article in The Atlantic, Fair and colleagues argued this Pew report was flawed. The day after the piece was published, The Atlantic’s own Conor Friedersdorf called Fair out on her sloppy methodology, accusing her of making “strained interpretations of public opinion data.” “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better example of interventionist hubris and naivete,” Friedersdorf observed.

In the time since Fair criticized Pew’s original survey, the polling agency has done more. A 2014 Pew poll found that 66 percent of Pakistanis opposed the U.S. drone program. And another 2014 Pew study found that 67 percent of Pakistanis agreed that U.S. drone strikes “kill too many innocent people.” Only 21% of participants said drone strikes “are necessary to defend.”

Denying civilian casualties

In 2010, Fair boldly claimed that U.S. “drones are not killing innocent civilians,” wholly writing off all reports of civilian casualties. Fair rejected the research done by David Kilcullen, a former counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, and Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, that said otherwise.

At the time Fair insisted that civilians had not been killed, an investigation conducted by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation had found that the total of civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes from 2006 to mid-2010 was “in the range of 250 to 320, or between 31 and 33 percent.”

Since then, Fair has conceded that civilians have been killed in the U.S. drone program, but she avers that their deaths are, although unfortunate, justified in the fight against extremism in Pakistan. She rebukes any study that suggests the drone program in Pakistan makes things worse or even is unpopular.

In its research, Amnesty International came to the conclusions most scholars and journalists have. Amnesty’s Pakistan researcher Mustafa Qadri explained in 2012 that, because of the drone program, “when we researched these cases, we found people were fearful of the U.S. the way they’re fearful of the Taliban.” Qadri continued, noting Pakistanis “have told us they’re taking sleeping tablets at night. They don’t know when they’re going to be targeted if they’ll be targeted, why they’ll be targeted. That really is a shocking situation.”

Fair herself admitted in her article in Lawfare that, in general, the scholarship around the U.S. drone program in Pakistan “produces mixed results, with some work showing the efficacy of leadership decapitation while other studies find that it is sometimes effective or even counterproductive.”

Pakistani-American scholar Hassan Abbas joins a long list of experts who have argued that the U.S. drone program creates more militants than it kills.

The U.N., Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have even said the Obama administration may be guilty of war crimes for its drone program. Renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky, similarly, has characterized the U.S. government’s extrajudicial assassination of militants via drone as a massive and illegal campaign of global terrorism.

Fair’s response to most critics is to accuse them of either not being specialists (e.g., Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize-winning Pakistani teenager who has strongly criticized the U.S. drone program and warned President Obama it was fueling terrorism) or to claim they lack adequate data to justify their point.

After hearing Fair’s rejection of the preponderance of studies on the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program at New York University School of Law, asked how Fair can “claim to be the only person who knows what Pakistanis think of drones.”

The lone study

Fair says few researchers have been to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwestern Pakistan, where most U.S. drone strikes take place. She argues, therefore, that they cannot know what Pakistanis there think.

I reached out to sociologist Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, who is from Pakistan’s northwestern frontier region, near FATA, and has been researching the drone war for the past decade. Ahmad teaches at the University of Stirling and has written for years about the U.S. drone program. He is also the author ofThe Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War.

“Fair claimed that opposition to drones was a luxury indulged in by elites living in Lahore or Islamabad. In FATA, she said, drones were popular. As a matter of fact, it’s only among the elites of Islamabad and Lahore that one usually finds Pakistan’s few drone defenders,” Ahmad said. “In FATA, outside a small Shia enclave, there is little support for drones.”

 
 

“This is hardly a revelation, and it is backed up by numerous opinion polls,” Ahmad added. Fair, however, argues that these opinion polls are flawed.

In her various media appearances and articles, Fair constantly points to a single investigation conducted by an Associated Press reporter by the name of Sebastian Abbot. The AP investigation was based on interviews with approximately 80 villagers at the sites of the 10 deadliest drone strikes in North Waziristan from 2011-2012.

Critics of this study point out that the sample sizes of both the strikes and the villagers are rather small. It uses a smaller sample size than that of the NYU/Stanford study, which Fair rejects. Moreover, from 2004 to February 2012, when the results of the AP investigation were released, the U.S. carried out at least 280 attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Ahmad called the AP report “dubious.” It “refers to itself as a ‘study’ when all the reporter did — even according to Fair — is to dispatch a stringer into FATA to interview people,” Ahmad said. “So we have this big chain of credibility to accept before we can credit that report. First, that the reporter has no agendas — unlike the researchers she keeps accusing of — and then that the stringer has no agenda.”

“She assumes that anyone who confirms the official narrative has unimpeachable motives, but those who raise doubts, have axes to grind,” Ahmad argued.

Questionable sources

Recalling the people he has interviewed in Pakistan, Ahmad explained that, beyond “the much-reported civilian deaths, the drones also take a heavy psychological toll. They disrupt normal life and, given their penchant for mistakes, hang over every head like a lethal sword of Damocles.”

“It would only take someone insane to suggest that people living under this terror welcome drones — and, as it happens, Fair’s source for her fatuous claims is a zany fabulist,” Ahmad remarked. “For years Fair based her claims about the drones popularity on a mythical survey carried out by Farhat Taj, a graduate student residing in Norway, for something called ‘Aryana Institute.’”

Ahmad accused Taj of making up the fact that there is support for U.S. drone strikes in FATA. He also pointed out that her “institute was a letterhead organization which only maintained a web presence for a year before vanishing. It seemed to have existed only for the purpose of this report (which was duly picked up by international media). Its claims were refuted within months by a poll conducted by the New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow,” Ahmad explained.

Leading publications including Reuters and The New York Times quoted Taj and the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy (AIRRA) in defense of the U.S. drone program in 2009 and 2010. The Times’ link to the alleged organization’s website AIRRA.org, however, is now and has long been dead. Internet web archive the WayBack Machine shows that the website was up in 2009, but, by 2011, it had been taken down.

At the time of the controversy, Ahmad wrote in Al Jazeera about The magical realism of body counts.” He pointed out that, despite the insistence of Fair to the contrary, it was, in fact, AIRRA’s conclusions that “can fairly be described as deeply unreliable and dubious.” Ahmad also noted that AIRRA’s findings were later even debunked by another pro-drone organization.

“Few wondered why the survey’s claims were so at odds with known public opinion in the wider region where, according to a Gallup/Al Jazeera poll conducted around the same period, only nine per cent of people showed support for the drone attacks,” Ahmad wrote at the time. “Those who did wonder, such as the journalists I spoke to in Peshawar, were universally dismissive. But the Institute had served its purpose and, typical of many NGOs, it vanished after a year.”

Despite this, Fair has quoted and continues to quote Farhat Taj in numerous articles and books. Fair draws on Tajin her 2014 book Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War. Taj is also cited in Pakistan’s Enduring Challenges, a 2015 volume edited by Fair. She again cites Taj in her 2014 Political Science Quarterly article “Pakistani Opposition to American Drone Strikes.”

Squaring the circle, Farhat Taj also quoted Fair in her own book, Taliban, and Anti-Taliban.

After the Al Jazeera debate, Fair continuously shared op-eds that were written by Farhat Taj in 2009 and 2010. Fair used the six-year-old articles expressing the opinion of just one Pakistani from FATA to imply that it is representative of the opinions of Pakistanis living in the overall region.

“With the ‘survey’ rug pulled from under her feet, Fair has moved to anecdote,” Ahmad explained. “She now claims the popularity of drones is proven by the fact that FATA denizens call them ‘ababeel,’ in reference to a Quranic story about a flight of birds that destroyed the invading armies of Abraha, the King of Abyssinia, by dropping stones on them.” Fair mentioned this alleged story in her Al Jazeera interview.

The problem with this anecdote, Ahmad contended, is that there is no documentation of it. “This story also took root only in Farhat Taj’s imagination,” he said.

Government revolving door

Critics have pointed that, aside from Fair’s outright rejection of an enormous body of research and double standards vis-à-vis the studies that have results that she likes, Fair also has a history of working with the U.S. government in a way some researchers would consider problematic.

Fair worked for almost 10 years for the RAND Corporation, a U.S.-based global think tank that scholar Chalmers Johnson has described as“a key institutional building block of the Cold War American empire” and “the premier think tank for the U.S.’s role as hegemon of the Western world.” Fair also served for three years at the U.S. government’s Institute of Peace and for several months at the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. Since 2009, Fair has taught in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.

 

In the fall of 2011, Fair received a $330,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad Office of Public Affairs. A year later, she received another approximately $330,000 grant from the same agency, to do a “survey of Pakistanis to understand the connection between media consumption and views towards Islamist militancy in Pakistan.”

A professor who specializes in Pakistan but who asked to remain off the record expressed surprise in a message to me that these grants were so large, explaining that researchers rarely ever get so much money.

I reached out to Christine Fair, to get her side of the story. We spoke for almost 40 minutes on the phone. Fair strongly denied that U.S. government funding has ever influenced her research, and said that the majority of the grant money went to pay a Pakistani survey firm.

The results of the survey funded by the U.S. Embassy were published in an article titled “Pakistani Political Communication and Public Opinion on U.S. Drone Attacks,” co-written by Fair and two other scholars, in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies. In the piece, the authors note that “Conventional wisdom holds that Pakistanis are overwhelmingly opposed to American drone strikes in their country’s tribal areas and that this opposition is driven by mass media coverage of the loss of life and property the strikes purportedly cause.” The authors reject this “conventional wisdom” and instead “contend that awareness of drone strikes will be limited because Pakistan is a poor country with low educational attainment, high rates of illiteracy and persistent infrastructure problems that limit access to mass media.”

Despite the pro-drone conclusion of the study, Fair insisted the funding from the U.S. government did not influence it. She noted that the research was further complicated because the State Department officially “can’t acknowledge” the drone program.

I heard from a source who asked to remain anonymous that Fair has done work with the CIA. Fair told me that she did some contractual work with the CIA while she was an employee at the RAND Corporation. She said she worked on two projects with the CIA, although the findings of only one were published, and it did not involve drones. “I’m afraid I can’t say more than that,” she added.

While working at the RAND Corporation, Fair said that most of her work involved Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense policy, but not drones.

Fair affirmed that she has nothing to hide and denied any conflicts of interest. “I’m an open book, as my C.V. indicates,” she said. And, in her research, Fair argued she often comes to “conclusions that are very different from the USG line.”

Shouting loudly

I asked Greenwald what he thought about Fair’s work with the U.S. government. “I think that what destroys her credibility are her arguments and her claims, not her funding sources,” he said. “But it is incredibly ironic that the person who runs around impugning everyone else’s ‘objectivity’ and credibility has her own research funded by the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, something she invariably forgets to mention when she’s maligning everyone else as biased.”

Fair insists that her work with the U.S. government, which she says has granted her some privileges and access to resources that other researchers do not have to their avail, has not influenced her research. She is certainly not a dogmatist, and has publicly criticized some elements of U.S. policy in Pakistan.

Yet Fair continues to steadfastly assert that the drone program in Pakistan is fundamentally different from the drone program in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. And, in order to do so, she has continuously ignored an enormous body of evidence.

Writing in the Middle East Research and Information Project, scholar Sarah Waheed characterized Fair’s work as “some of the most propagandistic writing in support of President Barack Obama’s targeted kill lists to date.”

“What Fair et al. are proposing is to educate Pakistanis about what the U.S. thinks is good for them. For these political scientists, the right kind of Pakistani possesses the right kind of knowledge: Drone strikes are for his or her own good,” Waheed wrote. “It is with U.S. intervention, through drones and propaganda, that Pakistanis can be saved from their backwardness, their tribalism, their Islamism, their nationalism — in short, themselves.”

“If there is any doubt about the morality of drone strikes,”Waheed proposes imagining “a reverse scenario: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were launching drone strikes into the rural Midwest with the purpose of targeting extremist militias — and in the process were killing American children with impunity — it is doubtful that most Americans would stand for it.”

Reacting to her work on drones, Ahmad ultimately summarized Fair as a “provocateur.” “It is in the unfortunate nature of our media that a person who can shout the loudest and make the most outrageous claims is seen as necessary for drawing audiences to an otherwise somnolent forum,” he said.

That Christine Fair has “become a go-to person for commentary on a subject as consequential as this,” Ahmad added, “might explain why the policy around drones is so warped.”

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

S.Korea Prosecutor Ready to Indict Impeached President Ms.Park:

Pakistan Supreme Court Sits on Nawaz Sharif Panama Case Judgement 

Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

FEB. 28, 2017

Image result for president park south korea impeachment

Ms. Park’s presidential powers have been suspended since the impeachment vote in December. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether she should be reinstated or formally removed from office. Even if she resumes the presidency, her five-year term ends in February, after which she can face criminal charges.

On Monday, Ms. Park’s lawyer, Yu Young-ha, rejected the special prosecutor’s findings, saying his investigation was “politically biased” and “lacking in fairness.” He called the bribery allegation “an absurd fiction.”

But on Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, who is not related to Ms. Park, said his team found enough evidence that Ms. Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, conspired to collect bribes from Samsung.

Image result for president park south korea impeachment

On Feb. 28, he indicted Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation scion of the family that runs Samsung, on charges of giving or promising $38 million in bribes to Ms. Park and Ms. Choi. He also added a bribery charge to the case against Ms. Choi, who is already on trial.

Mr. Lee offered the bribes in return for political favors from Ms. Park, most notably government support for a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that helped him inherit corporate control of the Samsung conglomerate from his incapacitated father, Lee Kun-hee, the prosecutor said.

Acting on Ms. Park’s order, her aides forced the government-controlled National Pension Service, a major shareholder at the two Samsung companies, to vote for the merger, though it was opposed by many minority shareholders and devalued the pension fund’s own stocks there, the prosecutor said.

Photo

A protest against President Park in Seoul on Saturday. The special prosecutor also said that Ms. Park should face a criminal charge of abusing official power over a blacklist of artists. CreditJung Ui-Chel/European Pressphoto Agency

On Monday, Samsung denied the special prosecutor’s findings.

“Samsung has not paid bribes nor made improper requests seeking favors,” it said in a statement. “Future court proceedings will reveal the truth.”

On Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, said that the president should also face a criminal charge of abusing official power, saying she conspired with aides to blacklist thousands of artists, writers, and movie directors deemed unfriendly to her government and exclude them from government-funded support programs.

Ms. Park also fired three senior Culture Ministry officials who had been reluctant to discriminate against some of the 9,473 names on the list, the prosecutor said. She demoted and later fired another senior ministry official who had angered Ms. Choi, her friend, by investigating allegations of corruption involving her family, the prosecutor said.

While blackballing unfriendly artists, Ms. Park’s office ensured that pro-government civic groups received special favors, he said.

It asked the Federation of Korean Industries, which lobbies on behalf of Samsung and other big businesses, to provide $5.9 million for those groups between 2014 and 2016, the special prosecutor said. Some of those groups, like the right-wing Korea Parent Federation, have held noisy protests in downtown Seoul calling the critics of Ms. Park “commies.”

Besides Samsung, scores of other South Korean companies were found to have made payments to two foundations controlled by Ms. Choi. But on Monday, the special prosecutor did not recommend further actions against them, and state prosecutors had earlier said that those companies were coerced to donate and were not engaged in bribery.

Ms. Park has repeatedly denied any legal wrongdoing, insisting that she was framed by hostile political forces and that she was not aware of any criminal conspiracy by Ms. Choi. She said she only let Ms. Choi edit some of her speeches and run her personal errands.

On Monday, the special prosecutor said Ms. Park and Ms. Choi had 573 phone conversations between April and October last year using cell phones issued under borrowed names. Of these calls, 127 took place between September, when Ms. Choi left for Germany, and October when she returned home to be arrested.

The prosecutor accused Ms. Park of impeding his investigation. She refused to be questioned by his investigators and also did not allow them to search her office. As a result, he said his team could not fully determine what she was doing at her residence for seven hours in April 2014, when a ferry loaded with hundreds of schoolchildren sank, killing more than 300.

Ms. Park said she was working at the time, getting reports on the disaster. But she has been haunted by lurid rumors, some of them claiming that she was having a romantic encounter or undergoing plastic surgery.

On Monday, the prosecutor said a cosmetic surgeon gave Ms. Park at least five simple face-lifting operations at her residence between 2013 and 2016. Even unlicensed people visited her there to give her nutritional shots and help her with kinesiotherapy and reiki, a form of traditional healing. But investigators could not find evidence that such things took place on the day of the ferry disaster.

Reference

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Pakistan’s bloopers Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s bloopers

Asif Haroon Raja

Inconsequential Western Pacts

In search for security in the face of India’s belligerence and dangerous designs together with Afghanistan’s hostility, Pakistan blundered to join SEATO and CENTO in 1954 and earned the hostility of Afghanistan, former Soviet Union and China. India took these western pacts as an excuse to make a U turn on Kashmir issue.

The defense pacts helped Pakistan under Ayub Khan to develop its economy and defensive capability, but the pacts were designed to contain communism and not to provide security against India or to help in resolving Kashmir dispute. These pacts proved inconsequential during the wars with India in 1965 and 1971 and played no role in preventing truncation of Pakistan in 1971.

Despite the fact that Pakistan played a key role in the China-US détente in 1971, enabling USA to withdraw its forces from Vietnam, the US always kept India above Pakistan, knowingly that India was aligned with Soviet Union.

Supply of arms by the US and western countries to India after the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962 impelled Pakistan to lean on China since arms provided by the two rival camps had tilted the military balance in favor of India. This shift irked USA.  

War against Soviets and Fallout Effects

Pakistan again blundered to let the US make FATA a launching pad and use Jihadis as proxies to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1980s in return for $3.5 billion economic/military assistance spread over 5 years. Although the Jihad directed by the ISI achieved its goal of ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan, but Pakistan had to suffer at the hands of nexus as well as that of Al-Zulfiqar throughout the 10-year war.

The Afghan Jihad gifted Pakistan with drug and Kalashnikov cultures which militarized the society and intensified sectarianism. It also bred misgivings in Pak-Iran relations.  

Instead of rewarding Pakistan for the huge price it paid to defeat a super power and for paving the way for the US to become sole super power, it was not only left high and dry by self-serving USA but also punished for pursuing nuclear program, which it had ignored till 1989, by imposing harsh sanctions in 1990. Worst was Indo-US embrace in 1991 followed by Indo-Israel alignment, giving shape to Indo-US-Israel axis, which raised the specter of Islamic bomb.

Sanctions under Jewish AIPAC inspired Pressler Amendment weakened Pakistan’s economy, multiplied its debt, impacted the democratic era (1988-1999) and handicapped Pakistan to combat fallout effects of Afghan war.

The only positive outcome of the bloody war was the completion of nuclear program under Gen Ziaul Haq, which was otherwise not possible. It raised the stature of Pakistan among the Muslim world. Fear of bomb in the basement prevented India under Rajiv Gandhi from converting Indian Exercise Brass-tacks into full-fledged war in 1986/87. Likewise, war over Kashmir in 1990/91 in the wake of armed uprising in Indian occupied Kashmir was also averted due to nuclear factor.  Benazir rather than fulfilling American agenda of rolling back nuclear program enhanced missile program.

In the First Gulf War in 1991, while Egypt got its $7 billion external debt waived off without deploying a single soldier, as a reward for legitimizing the US-NATO intervention in the Gulf, Pakistan got nothing despite deploying over 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia because of the then Army chief’s pro-Saddam statements which annoyed Saudi Arabia and USA. 

Pakistan’s support to the Taliban from 1996 till September 2001 antagonized Northern Alliance (an amalgam of non-Pashtun Afghans under Ahmad Shah Masood) and brought them under the influence of Iran, India, West and Russia.

War on Terror after 9/11

Pakistan once again blundered after 9/11 by ditching friendly regime of Taliban in Afghanistan at the behest of Washington and befriending untrustworthy USA that had left Pakistan in a lurch during its testing times.

Pakistan learnt no lesson from the repeated betrayals and happily accepted all the demands of USA under the fond hope that this time it will not deceive and will compensate for its past wrongs by making Pakistan prosperous in return for fighting the US imposed war on terror on its soil. But the US had a fixed agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program covertly, separating Baluchistan and making Pakistan a secular state. Gen Musharraf and not Pakistan was made the darling of the west.  

Pakistan after earning the animosity of Taliban on account of its full support to the US to occupy Afghanistan also antagonized the tribesmen of FATA when the Army launched an operation in South Waziristan (SW) in 2003 at the bidding of USA to flush-out Al-Qaeda and its supporters.

Pakistani Taliban started a guerrilla war against the Army and in December 2007 formed Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) under Baitullah Mehsud with tentacles in all the seven agencies of FATA.

The Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban believing in one ideology are in collusion and pursue shared goal of establishing Islamic Emirate. The two entities had however divided their areas of responsibility; Taliban confining their fight in Afghanistan against occupying forces and their collaborators and the TTP fighting against Pak security forces. Their partner Al-Qaeda remained operative on both sides of the divide. Haqqani network aligned with Taliban headquartered itself in North Waziristan (NW) and remained friendly toward Pakistan till their ouster in June 2014. 

The TTP was hijacked by foreign agencies in its formative years and was heavily funded, equipped and trained to fight Pak Army and to convert Swat, Bajaur, SW and NW into fortresses.

Annoyed by Musharraf regime’s decision to impose ban and freeze funds in 2002/03, Kashmir focused Jihadi groups and other militant groups veered towards TTP. By 2013, an amalgam of over 60 militant groups had come under the wings of Hakimullah led TTP in NW.

TTP leaders had pledged allegiance to Taliban supreme leader Mulla Omar in 2008 and had accepted him as Ameerul Momineen. Their pledge remained intact till mid 2014 after which many pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakar Baghdadi since they had got a wind of death of Mulla Omar in April 2013 which was intentionally kept secret.

Syria-Iraq based ISIS has made inroads in Afghanistan with the help of India and has established itself at Nangarhar and is in collusion with Khalid Omer Khurasani led Jamaat-e-Ahrar, an offshoot of TTP and with Fazlullah. The two had fled from Mohmand Agency and Swat to Afghanistan after the military operation Rah-e-Rast in 2009. Fazlullah was nominated Ameer of TTP after the death of Hakimullah in early 2014. 

Operation Zarb e Azb launched in June 2014 succeeded in pushing out all militant groups including HN from their last stronghold in NW. All the runaway TTP leaders and fighters have been given sanctuaries by NDS and RAW at Nuristan, Kunar and Nangarhar from where they are undertaking cross border terrorism inside Pakistan. HN is fighting its war from eastern Afghanistan, its traditional stronghold.  

The US, India, Afghanistan, Israel, NATO strategic partners based in Kabul since November 2001 have been constantly weaving plans and conspiracies to harm Pakistan. They have been fueling terrorism in Pakistan with the help of their paid proxies in FATA, Baluchistan and Karachi and at the same time pressing Pakistan to do more.

Unable to stabilize Afghanistan after fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda for 15 years, both Kabul and Washington are blaming Pakistan for its failures. The duo wants Pakistan to fight elements of Afghan Taliban and HN, supposedly in FATA and Baluchistan, and to force them to lay down arms and sign their drafted agreement.

Field commanders of Taliban movement disfavor peace talks since they have suffered the most. After forcing USA to pullout bulk of ISAF troops in December 2014, they have gained a definite edge over the ANSF supported by a small US-NATO force and initiative is in their hands. 29 districts are in their full control and 34 districts are being contested. They don’t want to come to terms with collaborators who have plunged the country into the vortex of vices which they had eliminated during their 5-year rule. They don’t want an agreement on dictated terms and without meeting their basic demands.  The Taliban and HN feel that Pakistan is once again siding with their opponents to undermine their sacrifices. In its bid to please the US and unpopular unity government in Kabul, Pakistan is fast losing whatever goodwill Taliban have for it.

India has successfully brainwashed all segments of Afghan society and poisoned their minds against Pakistan. There is widespread hatred against Pakistan both at government and people to people levels.

Destabilized Afghanistan suit USA and India since it enables both to retain their presence and continue with their covert operations.

Entry of Russia in Afghan Affairs

After China, Russia has begun to slowly make inroads into Afghanistan. Its entry in Afghan affairs is likely to change the dynamics of Afghan imbroglio.

The newly emerging politico-economic axis of Russia-China-Central Asian Republics-Pakistan which is drawing strength from CPEC is likely to grow stronger if Iran and Turkey, both resentful of USA joins it.

There are reports that Russia is supplying arms to the Taliban to tackle the threat from the ISIS, aspiring to establish Khurasan State. Russia is also pleading the Taliban case in the UN for taking off their names from the blacklist. The Taliban have exuded confidence in the Russia-China-Pakistan grouping to pursue peace in Afghanistan.

Supply of arms to the Taliban by Russia is worrisome for Kabul and Washington. After all, Moscow has not forgotten and forgiven the perverse role of USA in its fragmentation. Provision of stingers to the Mujahidin in 1988 had forced the Soviets to hasten their exit from Afghanistan. To avenge its humiliation, Russia may be aspiring to make Afghanistan a graveyard of USA. This wish is achievable if it supplies surface to air missiles to the Taliban, enabling them to contest the airpower. If so, it will make the position of 12000 strong Resolute Support Group based in five military bases tenuous.          

Pakistan’s Responses

Pakistani leaders have been dancing to the tunes of America, myopically thinking that by abiding to its dictates, Pakistan will remain safe and so will be their power and wealth. Lure of dollars and fear of USA were other factors which made the weak-kneed and morally corrupt rulers to stick to their policy of appeasement. They made no change in this self-defeating policy despite suffering colossal human and financial losses. 

While the US has spent $1.7 trillion in Iraq war, and over $1 trillion in war in Afghanistan including $104.1 billion in its reconstruction, it grieves over $20 billion given to Pakistan in the last 15 years, 50% of which is CSF (close support fund – repayment of provisions and services provided by Pakistan). As against this meagre assistance, Pakistan has incurred an economic loss of $118 billion in fighting the war and has also suffered 60,000 fatalities.

Excessive tilt of USA towards India as exhibited by Indo-US economic, defence and civil nuclear deals, revelations made by Raymond Davis in January 2011 about American dangerous agenda, stealth raid in Abbottabad in May 2011 followed by Memo scandal in October and deadly assault on Salala in November that year, do more mantra, condition based aid and stoppage of CSF brought no change in Pakistan’s US centric foreign policy.

India’s open ended belligerence when seen in context with ever growing Indo-US collaboration culminating into 3 military agreements in 2016 and the US outright biased stance against Pakistan having a direct bearing on security of Pakistan forced our policy makers to lean more heavily upon China and to get closer to Russia.

Tiding over energy crisis, righting economic indicators, curbing terrorism and above all CPEC have helped in improving the overall economic health and image of Pakistan and instilled confidence in the rulers to confront internal and external challenges more confidently.

However, the US enchantment that was at the verge of fizzling out has been reinvigorated by Donald Trump’s telephonic chat with Nawaz Sharif. He showered heaps of praises upon him and Pakistan, referring him as a terrific guy, rating Pakistanis among the most intelligent people, amazing and exceptional. These accolades coming from the most freakish and bigoted US President astounded all and sundry. Anti-Nawaz and anti-Pakistan elements were expecting a roughshod treatment from loudmouthed Trump. His unexpected tributes and exclusion of Pakistan from the banned Muslim States has made Nawaz and his team rapturous and they are still in a state of ecstasy. Idea of getting out of the US spell has been shelved.

While the Muslim world is tense and scared, Pak leadership is relaxed and appears to be all set to once again get duped and fall into the deceptive trap and get bled. They are optimistic that the US under Trump will not betray Pakistan and will be more friendly and cooperative in addressing socio-economic and security concerns. This confidence has been further bolstered by friendly chat of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa with US Secretary Defence Mattis and US Commander in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson, both admiring Pakistan’s sacrifices and role in war on terror and wanting a holistic review of Pak-US relations.   

Future Challenges

The challenges faced by Pakistan are however far from over. Up to 80% success has been achieved against terrorism which had become an existential threat to the existence of Pakistan. The current government deserve credit for giving a go-ahead to intelligence driven operations in NW, Baluchistan and Karachi, and the national action plan. However, the Army, Rangers, FC and ISI deserve special applause for achieving spectacular results in all the three troubled regions.

100% results couldn’t be achieved due to safe havens provided to the runaways of TTP in Afghanistan, backing to BLA, BRA and BLF in Baluchistan by foreign agencies, and obstacles created by Sindh administration in Karachi. All random acts of terror in Pakistan emanate from Afghanistan.

On the economic front, notwithstanding upturned macro-economic indicators, bullish stock exchange, healthy foreign exchange reserves and fast-paced development works, constantly increasing debt burden is a matter of anxiety. Not so satisfactory progress on 20-point NAP needs acceleration.  

Management of western border by Pakistan is not to the liking of Kabul and India since it will curtail cross border terrorism. This process as well as return of Afghan refugees, rehabilitation of displaced persons and FATA reforms must continue without any letup. Likewise Rangers operation in Karachi must reach its logical end at the earliest.  

Success in war on terror, economic turnaround, CPEC, and Russian support have defeated India’s plan to isolate Pakistan and to get it declared a terrorist state. Although Pakistan today stands on a stronger wicket, agenda of Indo-Afghan-US nexus against Pakistan remain unchanged.

Till 2008, Russia was anti-Pakistan and pro-India. Change in regional dynamics has brought a thaw in Pak-Russia relations and the latter is now keen to develop stronger economic and defence ties with Pakistan. Russia is mindful of the Afghanistan based Daesh and wants Pakistan’s cooperation to build a firewall against the emerging threat. For this reason, Russia is taking deep interest in Afghan affairs and has cultivated ties with Taliban much to the chagrin of Kabul regime and Washington. Russo-China-Pakistan grouping aimed at restoring peace in Afghanistan and CPEC has once again enhanced the importance of Pakistan. Friendly regime in Kabul is a geostrategic necessity for Pakistan.    

Recommendations.

Pakistan policy makers will have to play their cards shrewdly and configure the foreign policy best suited to guard Pakistan’s national interests. While keeping USA and EU in good humor and engaged in mutually beneficial economic/military cooperation, but without compromising core interests and dignity, efforts should be made to further expand economic/military cooperation with Russia, draw it towards CPEC and to make Pakistan member of Eurasian Economic Union.  Besides veering Iran into CPEC, Gwadar port should augment Chahbahar port. Land, air, maritime and internal security must be strengthened to ward off external threats and treacherous designs. Focus should be on getting rid of foreign crutches and instead strengthening own economic legs by drawing full benefits from the emerging opportunities provided by CPEC so as to make Pakistan politically, economically and militarily self-reliant.

The writer is retired Brig, war veteran, defense analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, DG Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja.gmail.

Additional Reading from

Geo-Strategic Significance of Pakistan

1- INTRODUCTION:

Pakistan is located at a region which has great political, economic and strategic location. It has been hub of activities of great powers for last 20 years. It has witnessed intervention of three great powers i-e Britain, USSR, and USA. Its significance was further enhanced during cold war when it becomes ally of US policy of containment of USSR and now the post cold war era has witnessed its significance particularly after the events of 9/11.

2- PAKISTAN GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATION:

Location: Southern Asia lies between 24 and 36.75 northern latitude and between 61 and 7505 eastern longitude.
Area: 7, 96000 sq.km.
Towards north apart from the state of Kashmir is china. It shares 400 km long boarder with china.
Towards north Tajikistan though no boarder but a narrow strip as Wahkhan strip separate the two.
Towards east, Punjab-Rajasthan boarders which is 1650 km long
Towards west, Afghanistan border of 2250 km.
Towards south, Arabian sea / Indian Ocean. Coastal belt is about 700 km.
Pakistan significance is enhanced as it lies near the Persian Gulf where 65% of the world’s oil is produced.

3- STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE:

a) Proximity of great powers:

Pakistan is located at the junction of great powers. In its neighbor’s one world power Russia and the other emerging power china lies. Any alliance among world powers enhances its significance. This factor has been utilized by Pakistan after 9/11. Security and business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line role in the war against terrorism. Apart from this US interest in the region to contain the growing china, nuclear Iran, terrorist Afghanistan and to benefit from the market of India. Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with preemption policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran’s nuclear program, India’s geopolitical muscles (new strategic deal with US) to gain hegemony and to counter the rise of china. Which has earned all the qualities to change unipolar world into bipolar world? In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved especially after al-Qeada operations. The American think tank has repeatedly accepted that war against terrorism could never be won without the help of Pakistan. Pakistan has rigorously fought and an ongoing operation in Waziristan is also targeting the suspected Taliban in the bordering area.

b) Gateway to central Asia-(oil and energy game):

Central Asia is the center stage of new Great games. Western quest for resources- oil and energy resources in the central Asia. After USSR decline, new quest started which is as manifested by politics of oil. Pakistan is located very close to the oil rich Middle Eastern countries. The belt started from Iran and extended to Saudi Arabia. Thus, Pakistan can influence shipment of oil. Iran is struggling to export its surplus gas and oil to eastern countries, Qatar, Pakistan and Turkmenistan pipeline projects highlight the position.

In the energy scarce world, Pakistan is located in the hub of energy rich countries i-e Iran and Afghanistan: both are energy abundant while India and China are lacking. China finds way to Indian Ocean and Arabian sea through Karakoram highway,

c) Significance as a Transit economy:

Pakistan has the potential to develop transit economy on account is its strategic location, land locked Afghanistan now at the phase of reconstruction finds its ways through Pakistan. China with its fastest economy growth rate of 9% us developing southern provinces because its own part is 4500 km away from Sinkiang but Gwadar is 2500 km away. Moreover, Pakistan offers central Asian regions the shortest route of 2600 km as compared to Iran 4500 km or turkey 5000 km. Gwadar port with its deep waters attracts the trade ships of China, CAR and south east Asian countries., also the coastal belt of Balochistan can provide outlet to china’s western provinces to have access to middles eastern markets with the development of coastal highways and motorways.

d) Important link in the chain of Muslim countries:

If we look at the map of Muslim countries, Pakistan occupies a central location. Towards west of Iran, china extends to North Africa. Thus it can actively participate in the activities of Muslim world-economic development, transport of resources and above all combat terrorism.

e) Only Muslim country with nuclear capability:

In the region Pakistan is the only Muslim country having nuclear capability which has great influence on the political, socio-economic activities in the region and the maintenance of status quo in the region.
f) China’s link to the Middle East:

Pakistan is the only direct and shortest link between China and the Middle East. Imagine the impact of China on the Middle East, if this link is fully functional. Gwadar Port located in proximity of Arabian Gulf and Central Asian Republics provide it unique opportunity to serve both. Pakistan needs to capitalize on them through better diplomatic ties with Arab states and CARs. It is therefore anticipated that oil reserves and other resources of CARs would gradually become the focus of world attention in coming years. However, in case of “exports to and from CARs” a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is must. The port will also help in promoting trade with Gulf States possessing 63% of world’s oil reserves and will prove instrumental in promoting trans-shipment essentially of containerized cargo besides unlocking the development potential for hinterland. The most important factor that makes Gwadar Port strategically unique is the location with respect to other major ports in the region, which are all located on the other side ofthe sea. Gwadar port being towards north can easily provide services and facilities to CARs, Afghanistan and China.

g) Reduce Indian hegemony in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean:

India has a shared interests with the U.S. and NATO in the subjection of Pakistan. Pakistan would cease to be a client state of the U.S. or a manageable state, because of a likely revolution that would occur in the scenario of a broader war in the Middle East against Iran or a far larger Eurasian war involving China and Russia. Nuclear weapons in the hands of such a revolutionary government in Islamabad would be a threat to Indian national security, NATO operations in Afghanistan, and Israel. It is in the shared interests of the U.S., NATO, Israel, and India to neutralize such a strategic and tactical threat from emerging in Pakistan. This is why NATO has underpinned the objective of balkanizing Pakistan and why the U.S. has talked about taking over Pakistani nuclear facilities via the U.S. military. The subjection of Pakistan is also territorially and militarily to the advantage of New Delhi, because it would eliminate a rival and allow India to gain territory that in the view of many Indians was lost with the partition of India in 1947.

4- CONCLUSION / ANALYSIS:

Geo strategic means the importance of a country or a region as by virtue of its geographical location. Stephen Cohn describes this importance “while history has been unkind with Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit.”

Pakistan is a junction of south Asia, west Asia and central Asia; a way from resource efficient countries to resource deficient countries. The world is facing energy crises and terrorism. Pakistan is a route for transportation and a front line state against terrorism. Moreover Pakistan has been traditionally ally of emerging economic giant; china. So in the vague of any change in world politics, Pakistan’s geo-strategic significance would further be enhanced.

 

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Sharif family has owned London flats since ’90s: BBC report BY HAMID KHAN WAZIR


Pakistan Today

Sharif family has owned London flats since ’90s: BBC report

BY HAMID KHAN WAZIR

PTI Spokesman Naeemul Haq says PM will have to surrender before the law of the land The news report by BBC Urdu regarding Sharif family’s London flats has helped the claims of Pakistan.

The news report by BBC Urdu regarding Sharif family’s London flats has helped the claims of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who now say that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been left with no option but to surrender before the law of the land.PTI Central Secretary Information Naeemul Haq, in reaction over the BBC Urdu report, has stated that the report has completely exposed the lies of the premier before the nation.He said that the PM could have avoided this humiliation had he not lied before the nation.The BBC Urdu report says that the properties owned by the Sharif family in London’s upscale Park Lane neighborhood were purchased in the 1990s and there has been no change of ownership since then.According to official documents available withBBC Urdu, the four flats were purchased in the name of the Nielsen and Nescoll companies.

 

 

 

 

Naeemul Haq said that Nawaz Sharif has wasted nine months to provide cover to his lies.

“The PM lied on the floor of the Parliament and before the nation; he changed his lawyers time and again to conceal his lies in the apex court,” he added.

Naeemul Haq said that despite efforts by the ruling party, they have failed to hide the truth from the public.

He said that Nawaz Sharif has no way to escape accountability, adding that the premier and his family did not take those who published Panama Leaks to the court. He said that PTI will see whether the family will sue BBC Urdu for its report.

According to the documents, an official record of companies doing business in the United Kingdom reveals that when Hassan Nawaz established Flagship Investment Ltd in 2001, the address he provided at the time of registration of the company was that of his Park Lane apartment.

According to the report, Neilson and Nescoll purchased the following flats:  Flat 17 on June 1, 1993; Flat 16 on July 31, 1995; Flat 16A on July 31, 1995; and Flat 17A on July 30, 1996. There has been no change in ownership since then.

After the Panama Papers were published, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain Nawaz, had accepted the family’s ownership of Nielsen and Nescoll.

Hussain had said: “The Park Lane apartments in London are ours, two offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll, own these flats and I am the beneficial owner of these companies, working under a trust held by my sister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.”

Flat 12A is owned by Flagship Investment Company since 2004. Hassan Nawaz is the director of Flagship which was created in 2001, the report added.

 
 
 

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Pakistan’s External Debt Will Soon Cross a Staggering $75 Billion

Pakistan’s External Debt Will Soon Cross a Staggering $75 Billion

 

Pakistan’s loan situation has steadily grown worse over the course of the last year as the government has continued to take on more loans from local and foreign institutions. While taking loans is not unique to this government, the rate at which the loans are accruing is certainly unprecedented.

Pakistan’s Current Debt

2016 was a record setter in terms of debt for our country. Pakistan’s foreign debt stood at Rs. 74 trillion ($72.98 billion) after the first half of 2016. During the last fiscal year, Pakistan’s debt increased by $7.9 billion, a record amount of foreign debt.

During the past three-odd years, the current government has taken $25 billion in foreign loans. Out of the $25 billion, $11.95 billion was used to pay off other loans.

For the same duration, the PML-N government has borrowed $30 billion (PKR 3.1 trillion) from local banking institutions.

Summing up, Pakistan’s total debt (local and foreign) had increased by $55 billion in the three-odd years of the current govt. Loans from the Chinese institutions are a separate issue altogether and more details regarding those are still incoming.

We would like to mention that domestic borrowings are often not mentioned because their effect is not as adverse as foreign debt. The government could simply devalue the local currency and make up for local payments.

Debt Predictions

According to data from the Trading Economics, Pakistan’s external debt will cross $75.54 billion (PKR 79 trillion) when the details for Jan 2017 come out.

It is expected to cross $79.35 billion (PKR 83 trillion) in 6 months’ time and at the rate, it is progressing, the analyst firm says by 2020 the foreign debt will reach $87.1 billion (PKR 91.2 trillion).

Pakistan’s Debt Due in 18 Months

Pakistan has to pay $11.5 billion within the next 18 months. Various international monetary are owed different amounts from that sum. These are:

  • Pakistan has to pay a sum of $8.76 billion to International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
  • $160 million has to be paid in Saudi Riyals to Islamic Development Bank.
  • Pakistan has to pay $1.6 billion to China within 18 months.
  • Japan has to be paid back 192 billion Yen.
  • Paris Club from France is owed 625 million Euros.

Debt History

Let’s take a look at Pakistan’s debt history:

  • Pakistan had received $121 million from 1951 to 1955.
  • The figure nearly had tripled in the next five years.
  • By December 1969, the external debt of Pakistan had amounted to $2.7 billion.
  • Pakistan’s total external debt was $3 billion by December 1971.
  • Foreign debt figure had then subsequently increased to $6.3 billion in 1977.
  • Pakistan’s external debt was $21.9 billion in 1990.
  • It was $35.6 billion in 2000.
  • Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities in July 2013 stood at USD 61.9 billion
  • In July 2014, Pakistan’s foreign debt soared to USD 63.4 billion, showing an increase of USD 1.5 billion.
  • In July 2015, the foreign debt rose to USD 65.1 billion recording an increase of USD 1.7 billion.

Some Facts

With updated information about Pakistan’s debt, some often used facts need to be updated.

  • With a foreign debt of 74 trillion and a population of 190 million. Each Pakistani owes Rs. 389473.68. (The amount is higher when considering local debt.)
  • With a foreign debt of 79 trillion (Recent prediction) and a population of 190 million. Each Pakistani will owe Rs. 415789.47. (The amount is higher when considering local debt.)
  • When the debt is converted to $1 notes, it can be wrapped around the world 284 times (293 times with $79 billion).

 

Which Countries Have The Highest Default Risk: A Global CDS Heatmap

Tyler Durden's picture

Sweden beats USA and Germany as the least likely to default on its bonds but at the other end of the global sovereign risk spectrum lie two socialist utopias – Venezuela (CDS just shy of 6000bps) and Greece (CDS around 1800bps) are the nations most likely to default.

Of course, our readers will be well aware of this: back in December, when its CDS was trading at “only” 2300 bps (or whatever points upfront equivalent it was back then) we said Venezuela CDS are going much, much wider. Little did we know that in just about 14 months they would more than double, and as of last check, Venezuela CDS are just shy of 6000bps suggesting a default is virtually guaranteed.

So aside from these two socialist utopias, who else is on the default chopping block? The CDS heat map below lays out all the countries which according to the market, are most likely to tell their creditors the money is gone… it’s all gone.

Below, in order of declining default risk, are the ten most likely to follow Venezuela and Greece into the great default unknown:

  1. Ukraine
  2. Pakistan
  3. Egypt
  4. Brazil
  5. South Africa
  6. Russia
  7. Portugal
  8. Kazakhstan
  9. Turkey
  10. Vietnam

Sovereign Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are financial contracts that measure the risk of default on sovereign debt: the higher the spread, the greater the risk of default.

Source: BofA

 

 

 

 

 

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