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In the earlier this month, the draft bill which was up for public consultation was published on the Indian home ministry’s website. It suggests that anyone distributing a map the Indian government deems to be wrong and could be liable for a billion-rupee fine and jail time. Through passage of this bill, the Indian government would be able to penalize individuals and organizations who depict Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory as per the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Pakistan foreign ministry on May 17 has expressed serious concerns to the UNSC) and UN secretary general through letters with regard to the Indian government’s efforts to introduce a controversial ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill’ in the Indian Parliament which aims to restrict geographical depictions of India and disputed Kashmir to those that are government-approved. The letters elaborated that in violation of UNSC resolutions, the official map of India has been depicting the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India which is factually incorrect and legally untenable. The letters also called upon the UN to uphold the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and urge India to stop such acts which are in violation of international law.
In this respect, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman pointed out “We have urged the international community and the United Nations to fulfill their commitment with the people of Jammu and Kashmir by holding an independent and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.”
It is notable that during the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, in connivance with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor-General Lord Mountbatten, had decided to join India, quite contrary to the wishes of the majority of Kashmiris.
When a contention arose between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute in1948, India took the issue to the United Nations Security Council and offered to hold a plebiscite in the held Kashmir under UN supervision. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India.
While passing through various phases, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters, keeps on going unabated.
Despite the employment of various forms of state terrorism by the Indian security forces, war of liberation intensified since 1989.
A report on human rights violations by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces in Indian-held Kashmir disclosed that since 1989, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and 105,861 destructions of houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
Particularly in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the Indian occupied Kashmir. In this context, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations including Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have pointed out that unnamed graves include thousands of innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death.
It is mentionable that leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has taken various steps to strengthen Indian illegal control on Kashmir. The Modi regime hurriedly decided to forcibly annex disputed territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, uncovering its intentions to wrap up the article 370 of the Indian constitution which ensures a special status to J&K. Therefore, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation. In fact, BJP government‘s long term strategy is to affect demographic changes in the Indian occupied Kashmir by composition of the region—predominately with Hindu population.
During one year of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance government in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, BJP in aid of RSS has furthered its agenda of complete integration of Kashmir into India. Though legal experts of India and IOK High Court have clarified the permanent status of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, BJP’s agenda of trifurcations is still on table. In this context, BJP is in hot pursuit of Mission 44+in IOK Assembly elections 2020. However, short of that, BJP and RSS are busy in changing religious identity of the State. For example, special concessions were given to expand the horizon of Amarnath Yatra to project that Hindus have greater stakes in IOK than Muslims.
Special efforts are being made for demographic engineering in the State. For instance, West Pakistan Refugees have been recruited in the Indian Armed Forces from IOK quota. Allocation of lands for separate cities for repatriating Hindu Pundits and allocation of INR 2 million for rehabilitation of each Pundit family in the Valley are aimed at creating Hindu constituencies in a thorough Muslim region of the Valley through delimitations.
Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership has been suppressed by the PDP-BJP government by not allowing them to organize rallies for demanding freedom and expressing love for Pakistan. Their leaders were detained in Police Stations or kept under house arrests during all important events.
Detention of Masarat Alam, even after acceptance of bail by IOK High Court, exhibits coercive mechanics of Indian forces/police in the State.
Indian malicious intent is evident from the blame game against Pakistan for every internal security issue, merely to avoid serious dialogue on bilateral issues as well as the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. Pakistan is committed to the just and democratic solution of the Kashmir issue, which is plebiscite, however, India has never been serious in resolution of the dispute, neither through bilateral dialogue nor involving third party mediation nor by abiding by the UN resolutions.
Nevertheless, India’s Kashmir map issue shows that New Delhi is quite non-serious in settling the Kashmir dispute with Islamabad. Hence, the US-led major powers must take action on Indian negative measures, as Kashmir remains the nuclear flashpoint in South Asia.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
The problem was a cover story about the border dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarized regions. The report included a map showing the territory claimed by either side without taking a position on their territorial claims. The Indian authorities nonetheless insisted on a white sticker being placed over the map in each copy sold in India, depriving the country’s readers of a factual analysis of the border dispute.
Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours. Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours.
The Indian government often uses a 1961 law amending the criminal code’s national security provisions in order to censor maps showing Kashmir’s disputed border. It has usually settled for putting a “not recognized by India” sticker on the maps, but in recent years it has toughened its information control policies, going so far as to block the import and distribution of copies of the Financial Times and The Economist in December 2010 because they contained maps of Asia that were “not consistent” with the government’s position.
“We Fight Censorship” is reprinting the censored map with the kind permission of The Economist.
Anticipating the censorship of the regional map in its 21 May 2011 issue, The Economist added a box entitled “Missing map?” at the end of report. The box said:
Sadly India censors maps that show the current effective border, insisting instead that only its full territorial claims be shown. It is more intolerant on this issue than either China or Pakistan. Indian readers will probably be deprived of the map on the second page of this special report. Unlike their government, we think our Indian readers can face political reality. Those who want to see an accurate depiction of the various territorial claims can do so using our interactive map atEconomist.com/asianborders
Territorial disputes continue to be a highly sensitive subject for India’s government. When the Chinese foreign ministry issued new passports in November 2012 with a map of China on pages 8 and 46 showing territory claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and India as Chinese, all of these countries protested but India was the only one to respond by producing new visas for Chinese citizens with a map of India that showed its version of the Sino-Indian border dispute.
Afghanistan is connected with South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia. It
shares 1400 km border with Pakistan and its 42% of Afghan Pashtuns share
religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural ties with 15.2 million Pakistani
Pashtuns. Pashtuns living in close vicinity of Durand Line have blood relations
and the border has never acted as a barrier in their cross border movement.
Pashtuns from both sides have been jointly fighting all foreign invaders and are doing
so even now.
Afghanistan has traditionally remained friendly to distant neighbor India and
unsympathetic to next door Pakistan since 1947. It opposed Pakistan’s membership in
the UN, laid claim on Pakhtun populated areas of Pakistan and raised the stunt of
Pakhtunistan, and also questioned the validity of Durand Line. It has been off and on
carrying out border violations and has been giving shelter to Baloch rebels. The only
time it was friendly with Pakistan and unfriendly with India was during the five-year rule
of Taliban from 1996 till 2001, but the Taliban also refused to recognize Durand Line
and laid claims on Mohmand agency.
Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship has been a prey to differing interests. The two have
never been at ease with each other and deep doubts have persisted in bilateral ties.
Pakistan has never exploited its vulnerability of being land-locked and has considered it
as its natural ally. It played a key role in pushing out Soviet forces from Afghanistan
and has been hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees since 1979. But its wish for a
friendly government in Kabul has never materialized. Pakistan has behaved maturely
despite Afghanistan’s provocations and extended all kinds of support.
Incident of 9/11 Blown up. 9/11 was projected as the biggest catastrophe ever
happened and Al-Qaeda blamed for the vile act. Whole world shed tears of sympathy
and condemned the perpetrators against whom no proofs had been gathered. Force
mobilized to invade the most impoverished, war torn and sanctioned country far
exceeded the threat. Afghanistan was encircled by establishing military bases in
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north, making Pakistan a coalition
partner and frontline state, taking China, Russia, Iran and Arab world on board and
obtaining UN approval. India offered all out support. War was justified to fight terrorism
but terrorism was never defined.
US Stated Objectives. The US stated objectives of invasion of Afghanistan included:
Rooting out terrorism by killing/capturing Osama bin Laden, disrupting, defeating and
eliminating Al-Qaeda network; destroying Taliban or making them ineffective;
democratization of Afghanistan; empowerment of women.
US Hidden Objectives. The hidden objectives were to assert American dominance in
the regions surrounded by energy-rich Eurasian region, consolidate Afghanistan as a
neo-colonial US protectorate and a staging post for further intrigues in Central/South
Asia, Middle East, contain China, make India bulwark against China, a key player in
Afghanistan, and stem resurgence of Russia.
Pakistan Specific Objectives.
Initially befriend Pakistan to occupy Afghanistan.
Later, work towards destabilization, de-Islamisation, denuclearization, and
balkanization of Pakistan and making it a vassal state of India.
Installation of Puppet Regime.
Drums of victory were beaten in November 2001
and a puppet regime of Northern Alliance under Hamid Karzai installed in Kabul. During
his over 13 years rule, Karzai allowed the occupiers to ruthlessly persecute the Afghan
Pashtuns. He adopted pro-India and anti-Pakistan stance and permitted Afghan
intelligence agency (NDS) grouped with five foreign agencies to use Afghan soil for
undertaking massive covert war against Pakistan in FATA and Baluchistan.
Resistance War by Taliban. Taliban regime under Mulla Omer was wrongly removed
from power and then consistently hounded and oppressed. The Taliban after carrying
out a tactical withdrawal to regroup, started guerrilla war to free their homeland from
foreign occupation. No amount of force could break the indomitable will of Afghan
Taliban or divide them. By 2008, resistance forces were running shadow governments
in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces with core fighters of about 30,000 and potential
fighters 500,000. ISAF suffered heaviest casualties in 2009 and there on, number kept
increasing. 2015 was the most costly year for Afghan forces and the people.
Stalemate – Victory of Taliban
Failing to defeat the Taliban in the longest war after spending billions of dollars and
using excessive force/torture as well as underhand tricks to divide the Taliban, the US
was left with no other option but to call it a day. Operation Enduring Freedom which
commenced on 07 October 2001, ended on December 28, 2014 and Armies of 35
countries exited without achieving any of the stated and hidden objectives. Learning a
lesson from its unwise decision of abandoning Afghanistan in 1989, the US has left
behind a Resolute Force Group of 12000 under Bilateral Security Agreement till end
2016 to give heart to Afghan forces.
Stalemate was victory for Taliban since Taliban could continue fighting and occupiers
could not. Unlike in 1980s when the Afghan Mujahedeen fought and defeated the
Soviet occupying forces duly helped by Pakistan and the free world, this time the
Taliban under Mulla Omar performed the miracle single-handedly and under much
Mistakes made by USA. Major mistakes made were insincere designs, distrusting
Pakistan, relying on India, weak military leadership, drug trafficking, marginalization of
Pashtuns, opening of torture chambers, dependence upon corrupt/inept Karzai regime
and non-Pashtun heavy security forces, hiring of greedy NGOs/security contractors in
thousands; bending situation according to its own whims, farcical political prong aimed
at dividing Taliban, keeping Taliban out of peace talks till 2013. Last but not least
opening 2nd front in Iraq.
Afghan Unity Government. The incumbent unity government was formed in October
2014 after controversial elections, which is more inefficient and corrupt than warlord
heavy Karzai regime. The flaw in this setup is the forcible marriage of convenience mid-
wifed by John Kerry between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah
after their prolonged estrangement. Abdullah heading Northern Alliance is heavily tilted
towards India and he controls 50% of cabinet ministries including NDS. As a result,
influence of India’s RAW in Afghanistan has not diminished. RAW and NDS patronise
Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) runaways Fazlullah and Omer Khalid Khurasani based in
Kunar and Nangarhar respectively.
Ghani’s Pro-Pakistan Stance. To start with, Ashraf Ghani tilted towards Pakistan as
a result of outstanding success achieved by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan
(NW) which not only pushed out anti-Pakistan militants, but also Haqqani network (HN)
and Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group. The other thing was Pakistan going an extra mile
in removing Kabul’s security concerns. Ghani was also mindful of his weaknesses
because of lack of political roots. Understanding with resurging Taliban was the only
way for him to survive.
Reasons behind Patch up with Taliban. One reason behind frantic efforts to
negotiate with the Taliban is not-so-happy operational preparedness of the US-UK
trained and equipped Afghan National Army (ANA) to confront the Taliban challenge. It
may not be possible for the US to continue dishing out $4.1 billion per year for the
upkeep of Afghan security forces for long, particularly if they fail to deliver. Other
reason is inherent weakness of unnatural unity government engaged in power tussle.
Most of cabinet ministers including four women are pro-west and have little experience
of governance. Ghani leaned on Pakistan hoping it will persuade Afghan Taliban to talk
and reach a political settlement.
Ghani’s Changed Foreign Policy. With these considerations, Ghani while
enumerating his foreign policy priorities, placed Pakistan, Iran and China well above
India. He undertook his maiden visits to China and Pakistan. He also cancelled arms
deal and military training agreements with India and instead sent cadets to PMA Kakul
for training for the first time. ISI-NDS intelligence cooperation deal was inked. Both
sides took practical measures to improve defence cooperation and intelligence sharing
to tackle common threat of terrorism. Pakistan arranged meetings of Taliban and
representatives of Ghani regime in Beijing and other countries.
Indian Anxieties. Fast improving Pak-Afghan relations, China’s decision to invest $46
billion in Pakistan for the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and energy
projects and Pakistan sailing past the turbulent patch worried India immensely. India is
getting highly vexed since her sinister plans set against Pakistan are falling apart like
nine-pins. Her plan to fill up the security vacuum left behind by the withdrawing US-
NATO troops and to complete encirclement of Pakistan is in jeopardy. Her strategic
alliances with Afghanistan and USA are becoming inconsequential. All the three
conniving partners in crime today find themselves in hot waters. Kautilya’s book offers
no remedy to the prevailing situation since all games of intrigues, coercion and
bloodshed have failed to cow down resilient Pakistan.
In desperation, India allocated $300 million to its notorious
intelligence agency RAW and mandated it to further destabilize the troubled regions of
Pakistan and to scuttle CPEC at all costs. Hamid Karzai was given $50 million to
rejuvenate cross border terrorism from Afghan soil and to keep weak-willed Ghani
under pressure and force him to shift his tilt from Pakistan to India. Karzai has teamed
up with RAW influenced NDS, Abdullah and Northern Alliance heavy Afghan Parliament
as well as ANSF to spoil Afghan-Pakistan relations. Indian National Security Adviser Ajit
Doval is personally pursuing anti-Pakistan agenda.
Ghani is caught between the rock and a hard place. On one hand,
he has to bear the pressure from segment of his government led by Abdullah and
backed by Karzai led faction of Pashtuns, and on the other is the surging Taliban who
enjoy influence over 80% of Afghan territory. After their ouster from NW, HN has
intensified activities in northern Afghanistan where eight provinces are under its control.
Most of Helmand province is also in control of Taliban. Taliban’s 2015 spring offensive
has rapidly changed the situation in their favor. 2016 Spring Offensive in April may
decisively turn the tide. Under pressure from the US, unity government is trying to
patch up with Pakistan. It has taken resignation from the NDS head Nabeel and sacked
8 officials in NDS. Some improvement in Pak-Afghan military relations is discernible.
Obama’s Second Thoughts. The US military felt that with the dismantlement of safe
haven in NW, it had become easier for the Afghan National Army backed by US
airpower/intelligence support to deal with the militants in eastern Afghanistan and thus
defeat them. However, when no success could be achieved at their end and the Taliban
continued to strike targets at will in all parts of the country, the option of dialogue was
renewed. To appease Taliban, Obama struck off Afghan Taliban from the category of
terrorists and termed them as insurgents fighting for their rights. He also declared that
US troops would not fire at Taliban unless provoked by them. These reconciliatory
moves were aimed to induce the Taliban to negotiate and arrive at a political
settlement. Obama had announced that by mid-2015 he would withdraw 50% of
residual force, but now the US seems to be having second thoughts on gradual
reduction of troops on account of Pentagon’s pressure and Da’esh (ISIS) threat.
Two Pronged Negotiations. The US was forced to patch up with the Taliban whom it
had all these years been projecting as uncivilized, crude terrorists deserving no mercy.
Initial effort to induce Taliban for talks was based on two prongs, one prong led by
Ghani and the other by the US and in both cases, Pakistan was asked to assist. China
was also given a green signal to play its role in restoring peace in Afghanistan. Ghani
kept urging the Taliban to join the unity government, and this was one reason of 106
days delay in forming the 16-member cabinet duly approved by Afghan parliament, but
the Taliban didn’t agree.
Presumed Pakistan’s Influence over Taliban. Both the US and Afghan regime
carry the impression that Pakistan is in a position to bring the Taliban to the negotiating
table. While it is true that Pakistan does have some influence over Taliban leaders since
quite many were in its custody all these years, it doesn’t control them and is not in a
position to make them agree to the terms sought by the US. It can also not give any
guarantee to the Taliban that Afghan regime will abide by the terms of agreement
arrived at. Pakistan and China are however trying hard to create conducive conditions
for talks. Pakistan is playing a key role in creating goodwill space for China in
Afghanistan and in mending its relations with Taliban.
Peace Talks. As a consequence to these silent efforts, the wheels of talks started to
churn slowly in Doha and the Taliban in principle agreed to open their political office
there for the initiation of formal political dialogue. Murree talks held on July 7, 2015
between representatives of Taliban and unity government, and US and China’s
representatives sitting as observers raised hopes of a settlement for the first time. On
July 29, eight members of Taliban Shura had reached Islamabad to participate in
second round of talks on July 31 to further speed up the reconciliation process.
Death of Mulla Omar Exploited
Ill-motivated and ill-timed announcement of death of Mulla Omar by the National
Directorate of Security (NDS) on July 29 was aimed at derailing peace talks, straining
Pak-Afghan relations and dividing Taliban. The news was later confirmed by Taliban
Shura. Election of Mulla Akhtar Muhammad Mansour as next Ameer was announced by
Afghan Rahbari Shura on July 30. Sirajuddin Haqqani and Haibatullah Khanzada were
Mullah Omar’s departure from the scene has altered the whole dynamics of nascent
peace negotiations with the Taliban. His deputy Mulla Mansour was part of the Taliban
movement from the start and has effectively been in charge as de facto commander
since 2013. He faces a huge challenge in trying to unite a movement that is already
showing signs of fragmenting and questions about his legitimacy at the highest echelon
of the Taliban has made his position awkward.
Rifts in Taliban Two rival camps got engulfed in war of succession; one led by
Mansour and the other by Omar’s brother Mulla Abdul Manan and Omar’s 26 years old
son Mulla M. Yaqub backed by Mullas Mansur Dadullah, Hasan Rahmani, Abdul Razaq,
Rasool Akhund and Qayum Zakir. Fadayee Mahaz headed by Haji Najibullah is another
opponent of Mansour who accused him of poisoning Omar to death. Head of Taliban
political office in Doha Tayyab Agha resigned, but has so far remained neutral. Taliban
are also divided on the issue of talks, one faction favoring and the other opposing it.
Sinister Objectives of Detractors Accomplished. Spoilers sprang into action to
accentuate the rift and succeeded in achieving their sinister objectives by disrupting
peace talks. Several woven stories about circumstances, place and date of Omar’s death
created tension among rank and file of Taliban and impacted their unity. This internal
rift is to the liking of India and other spoilers who are busy widening the rift by
supporting the opponents of Mansour. The US is also a spoiler. It is not in favor of
Pakistan mediated agreement since it will benefit Taliban and Pakistan. It has made the
position of Pakistan and Mansour favoring talks difficult. Pak-Afghan relations that had
begun to improve have again become frosty. However, the biggest loser is Kabul itself.
Efforts to Heal the Rift
Five members of Council of senior Taliban Ulema tried to bridge the rift. They met on
August 21, 2015 to resolve the differences, but Mulla Yaqub and Manan refused to
contest the post of Ameer since they knew they didn’t enjoy popular support among the
Taliban. Had Mansour not met them, the Council would have appointed Maulvi
Muhammad Ahmad from Kandahar belonging to Kakar tribe as next Ameer. Currently
Mulla Rasool is the main opponent of Mansour and is anti-peace talks.
Mullah Mansour’s Assertiveness
In order to consolidate his position and to win over support of opponent camp, Mansour
stiffened his stance by asserting that there will be no talks without meeting their basic
demands of complete withdrawal of foreign troops and replacement of US tailored
constitution with Islamic constitution. He also stepped up attacks in all parts of
Afghanistan and raised his stature after capturing Kunduz. He did this to dispel the over
optimistic impression that after the death of Mulla Omar, Taliban are in disarray and
resistance has weakened, and that Taliban will be negotiating from position of
weakness. Taliban hold sway over 127 districts of the country. Latest news is that on
February 12, the opponents of Mulla Mansour have decided to forge unity and reunify
the Taliban movement.
Negotiated Political Settlement
Negotiated political settlement leading to broad based government with Taliban, given
representation as per their demographic strength will be an ideal arrangement since it
will prevent civil war and benefit Afghan Pashtuns, Pakistan and China but may not be
that beneficial for non-Pashtun Northern Alliance since its power base will shrink. It will
also not suit India since balance of power will shift towards Pakistan friendly Afghan
Pashtun. Iran and USA will also not be happy.
While Pakistan and China are playing an active role in making Afghanistan peaceful,
both are clear that arm twisting of Taliban will prove counterproductive. In case a
settlement is reached without giving a bigger share in power to the Taliban, the
implication is that there will be strong resentment among the rank and file of the
Taliban and other resistance forces. It will become very difficult for Mullah Mansour who
has become controversial to control the dissenters.
Threat of Da’esh. Da’esh (ISIS) has gained toeholds in Nangarhar and Farah
provinces and has also colluded with Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Northern
Afghanistan. India and probably USA are discreetly facilitating their entry. Weakening of
Taliban will create more space for Da’esh in Afghanistan, which will be more hazardous
for the whole region, since Da’esh is vying to re-establish ancient Khurasan State
comprised of parts of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Collusion of Da’esh
with TTP leaders based in Afghanistan assisted by RAW and making Nangarhar as main
base of operation is a dangerous development. Extension of hand of friendship by Al-
Qaeda chief Zawahiri to Mulla Mansour if reciprocated will add to the complications of
regional security. It will result in prolonged bloodshed and destruction spread over
decades, as predicted by Obama.
Growing tiff between the two ideological rivals is casting its shadow
on Syria and Afghanistan and if not diffused in time will have bearing on Pakistan as
Indian Military Involvement in Afghanistan.
Indian military which had refused to join the US led coalition in Afghanistan to fight
terrorism in 2001 has now decided to barge into Afghanistan. India has renewed its
defence deal with Afghanistan and is now supplying arms and ammunition to ANA since
last January. Indian Military Attache in Kabul Sojeet Narain stated that India has started
assisting the Afghan military in their fight against militants and this support will
continue till victory. 400 trucks carrying arms have been transported to Kabul for ANA
via Chahbahar. It includes MGs, LMGs, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition.
India’s Russian built MI-35 attack helicopters flew from Bagram air base to support
ANA’s ground operation in Helmand on January 20. Gen John Campbell appreciated
Indian effort. On February 1, Indian military cargo planes unloaded weapons and
equipment at Kabul airport. India is already imparting training to Afghan police and is
now likely to train ANA.
During Modi’s last visit to Kabul, an agreement was signed allowing Indian citizens to
travel to Afghanistan and back without visa. Taking advantage of this facility, India has
inducted large numbers of retired armed forces officers and undercover officers in
Afghanistan in order to consolidate Indian military’s presence and to keep western
border hot and to gain control over Wakhan corridor. This ingress will help India in
interfering with CPEC.
Fallout of Turmoil in Afghanistan
Negative fallout of the disarray in the Taliban ranks is not good news for the peaceniks
including President Ashraf Ghani, Washington and Islamabad. Another obvious corollary
of the disharmony in Taliban ranks is that erstwhile Taliban factions will join Da’esh in
bigger numbers and pave the way for Da’esh to emerge as the most powerful entity.
Turmoil in Afghanistan will be to the big disadvantage of Pakistan, since there will be
spillover effect. Pak Army is already tired fighting the war for 13 years and cannot
afford to further prolong it. It will also adversely impact China’s economic aggression in
the region and its plan to connect Gwadar with Afghanistan.
Preventive Act. In order to prevent the chaos, US, China, Pakistan and Iran should
collectively help the intra-Afghan dialogue to proceed smoothly till comprehensive
political settlement benefiting all factions of Afghans irrespective of ethnic divisions.
Role of unity government is however critical since Taliban offensive has rattled Ghani,
and he has begun to speak Karzai and Abdullah’s language. War lords are once again
getting stronger and cases of desertions from ANSF to private militias are increasing as
had happened in 1990/91.
Three sessions of quadrilateral talks have been held in Islamabad and Kabul in which
representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US took part to evolve a
roadmap for peace talks. Afghan unity government has prepared a draft for next
meeting in Kabul on February 23. So far no breakthrough has been achieved since the
Taliban have not joined it. However inclusion of two heavy weights and Russia’s support
has given strength to peace process. Russia favors striking off names of Taliban from
UN black list. Pakistan is insisting that spoilers should be restrained, Afghan regime
should cooperate, and all factions of Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami should be invited and
use of stick avoided. Afghan government wants use of force against those refusing to
hold talks. Taliban, HN and Fidai Mahaz have been asked to prepare their list of
demands, while Hizb-e-Islami is also being approached through elders of tribes in
The four have urged the Taliban to attend the next meeting in Kabul on February 23
but the Taliban have made their participation subject to fulfilment of their demands
A. Take off Taliban leaders from the UN list of terrorists.
B. Release of prisoners.
C. Remove restrictions on travel.
D. Unfreeze their accounts in foreign banks.
E. Intimate exact date of departure of Resolute Support Force.
Although analysts are busy painting doomsday scenario, saying it marks the end of
Taliban movement, but knowing their resilience and unmatched sacrifices, it will not die
down and someone else will carry forward the baton; although none will fit in Mulla
Omar’s shoes. Their position has eroded a little due to internal rifts, but Mulla Mansour
commands the largest and most powerful faction. Yet the 36 years’ war has fatigued
them and their 3-4 generations have got affected. They also want the war to end. The
country too badly needs a break.
Pakistan has suffered the most on account of instability in Afghanistan. Pak-Afghan
security is inter-linked and it is a geo-strategic compulsion for both to remain friendly.
While Pakistan realizes it, Afghan leadership doesn’t. Earlier the Afghan leaders
recognize this reality and take practical steps to restore peace, better it will be for the
Till such time anti-peace elements led by India, Abdullah and Rashid Dostum are reined
in, and the US stops its double game, peace will not return in Af-Pak region.
Unless Kabul gets out of perverse influence of India, cooperate rather than distrust
Pakistan, and opts for a home-made formula, sooner than later unity government would
crumble and ANA would splinter and pave the way for dreaded civil war.
In real-politick terms, stability in Afghanistan and regional harmony among all countries
surrounding it would contribute in the fast-paced development of the region.
Implication is that this region cannot develop economically as long as Afghanistan
With hostile India on its east, Pakistan can ill-afford to have pro-India and anti-Pakistan
regime in Kabul posing a twin threat to its security.
History of Afghanistan teaches an important lesson that peace and stability in
Afghanistan is possible only after complete withdrawal of foreign troops. And all
stakeholders within the country are ready to accept each other and arrive at a common
arrangement. This was true in the past and is valid today.
All depends whether the US after abandoning Afghanistan would forsake its declared
and hidden objectives for which it came, spent trillions and suffered heavy casualties
besides losing face and prestige as a sole super power, or indirectly continues with its
The US having lost the war, would like as a minimum to have friendly government in
Afghanistan to be able to pursue its mercantile interests in Central Asian region.
Only joint and collaborative efforts can tackle terrorism and not blame-game.
Ultimate solution to Afghan imbroglio will have to be found by the Afghans themselves.
Others can at best facilitate dialogue.
Lastly, key to peace is with Taliban and none else. Best course for people of
Afghanistan is to honor the colossal sacrifices of the Taliban and let them form the
future broad-based government without outside interference.
Pakistan should grant ‘Most Favored Nation’ status and land access to India through
Wagah border with due prudence. This should be linked with resolution of core issues.
Pakistan should assert and exert its geo-strategic position and significance and extract
its due share rather than following a self-defeating policy of appeasement.
Pakistan should continue to convince the US and Afghan government to limit India’s
role in Afghanistan since it is the chief trouble maker.
Concerted efforts be made to counter Indian propaganda in Afghanistan aimed at
poisoning the minds of Afghans against Pakistan and remove their misperceptions.
Imaginative themes should be coined to win back friendship of estranged Afghan
public, particularly Afghan non-Pashtuns.
Pakistan should be mentally and physically prepared to handle post 2016 explosive
scenario in Afghanistan.
Pakistan should help China in further expanding its influence in Afghanistan to
neutralize Indian influence.
At behest of USA, Pakistan betrayed Afghan Taliban and suffered a great deal. They
must not be ditched again.
To conclude I would say that Pakistan has remained under the deceptive magic spell of
the US for too long without any gains. Pakistan helped the untrustworthy USA to occupy
Afghanistan and remove a friendly regime and replace it with anti-Pakistan regime. It
has been ceding ground to win the friendship of India but couldn’t change the mindset
of Brahman rulers who have not reconciled to Pakistan’s existence and has missed no
opportunity to harm Pakistan. Unity government in Kabul is wholly in the grip of USA
and India and will continue to prefer India over Pakistan. It is continuing to help India
to destabilize Pakistan. Notwithstanding the need to maintain friendly relations with all
the three, this fatal affection must not be at the cost of national interests and dignity of
the nation. Policy of appeasement should be replaced with policy of upholding our self-
esteem. It is Pakistan’s strategic compulsion to have a friendly government in
Afghanistan and it must strive hard for it using all its diplomatic skills.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books,
Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum
Pakistan Will Be Blackmailed to Rollback Nuclear Program if Imminent Default
Western nations with connivance of World Bank and IMF have a plan to Denuclearize Pakistan.
First part of the plan to which Nawaz Sharif,Ishaq Dar,and Asif zardari are privy to borrow heavily until debt reaches $200 Bn.
Second part ask Pakistani people to pay such enormous taxes,so they are forced to make a choice: 1) Nuclear Program Rollback or 2)Debt Relief
Then present demarche, either pay up or roll back Nuclear and Missile Programs
Nawaz Sharif & Asif Zardari are part of this Plan. Pakistan Military is unaware of this plan 2023′
Nawaz sharif will again be re-elected with considerable flow of funds from the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Israel.
Experts say country desperately needs to increase exports, arrest increase in debt. PHOTO: FILE
The external debt figures compiled by renowned economist and the country’s former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha are about $14 billion higher than the projections made by the International Monetary Fund.
Dr Pasha on Saturday shared his doomsday scenario in a National Debt Conference, arranged by the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) – an independent think tank.
Dr Pasha’s projections are based on official data. The $14 billion difference was mainly on account of foreign loans that will fly in to finance China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. The government is not including CPEC loans in total public debt.
“At the moment, we do not have details about the loans that will be taken under the CPEC,” said Ehtesham Rashid, Director General of the Debt Office at the Ministry of Finance, while responding to these projections.
He said once details are available, the Office may have to re-do the entire debt management strategy.
There is enormous support for the CPEC in Pakistan but this game-changing corridor has financial implications for the country that have to be highlighted for better management of debt, said Dr Pasha. His comments come after State Bank of Pakistan governor Ashraf Wathra in an interview last week said there was a need to divulge more details on the debt and investment portions of CPEC, stressing the need for more transparency on part of the government.
Dr Pasha said by 2018-19 amortisation payments would double to $8.3 billion. The current account deficit – the gap between external payments and receipts – will exponentially widen to 4% of the total size of the economy against this year’s level of just under 1% of GDP, he said.
The current account deficit will widen due to import of machinery and plants for CPEC projects, in addition to imported fuel like Liquefied Natural Gas and coal.
As against IMF’s projections of just $8.6 billion requirement, Dr Pasha said that total external financing needs, including bridging the current account deficit and repayment of loans, will alarmingly triple to $20 billion by 2018-19.
“This will push the total external debt to $90 billion by 2018-19, showing a growth of 38% over current volume of the foreign debt of over $65 billion,” said Dr Pasha.
He said Pakistan’s exports would have to improve to at least $36 billion if the alarming increase in debt was to be arrested. The country’s exports currently hover around the $24-billion mark.
The constitutional arrangements put in place to better manage debt are not effectively working as there is hardly any serious debate in the Council of Common Interests and National Economic Council on the debt issue, said Abdul Wajid Rana, former Secretary Finance. He said the Debt Management Office has become subservient to Secretary Finance and was not autonomous.
Sakib Sherani, former Principal Economic Advisor to Ministry of Finance, said that the government was playing with debt numbers. His comments come after the government’s decision to exclude non-plan loans from public debt.
He said the debt-to-GDP ratio has become irrelevant in case of Pakistan as the country lacks the capacity to repay the debt even at its current 65% level of debt-to-GDP ratio.
“In case of Pakistan, the debt-to-revenue ratio is more relevant. 350% would be the limit, beyond which it wouldn’t be sustainable. Currently, this ratio stands at an alarming 523%,” said Sherani.
“By 2018-19, the debt-to-revenue ratio will be over 750%,” said Dr Pasha.
In order to ensure transparency, there must be a law requiring government to take parliamentary approval of any deal signed with the foreign governments and lending agencies, said Dr Kaiser Bengali, an economic consultant to government of Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2015.
Let’s stand in their shoes. How does it feel to stay away from home in a place where there is a miserable story behind every face? A land of misery where humans breathe but do not live their lives, voices are suppressed by mocking the humanity and children grow up under the shadow of fear. A land where daring freedom fighters are terrorists, helpless women are subjects of sexual comfort and innocent youngsters are a threat. A land where extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, sexual assault against women and harassment of students are a part of the routine. No matter how you feel you are forced to do whatever your superiors tell you. No matter what happens in front of your eyes, your job is to zip your mouth and say yes to the call of duty .i.e. suppression of the cause of Kashmiris. Above all is the regret of being part of a dirty game. This is no different from fighting the internal demon. Even if there is no regret, frustration is a good reason to commit crimes against humanity. The result is soldiers purging their inner frustration by raping unfortunate women, beating innocent youngsters to death, shooting their own colleagues and committing suicide by shooting themselves with their service rifle. Unless you are a psychopath or a serial killer, you will go through the same hell and face the same consequences.
Perhaps women are the worst victim of human rights infringement in Indian Occupied Kashmir. According to Kashmir Media Service, 2,305 women have been martyred by Indian army and police during the last 25 years. Since Jan 1989, almost 10,129 women have been gang-raped / molested whereas 22,786 have been widowed. Abduction and sexual harassment of Kashmiri women is a tool to stop , not only women but also men , from raising their voices against Indians. The number of Kashmiri women suffering from psychological disorders is greater than that of men. Mental stress is one of the major reasons behind the infertility of Kashmiri women. Being a part of society where a woman is either dependent on her father, son, brother or husband, death/imprisonment of the guardian exposes them to a number of challenges. Though those who are responsible for the incidents like Kunan Poshpora mass rape and Shopian tragedy never received what they deserved, unfortunate women faced far worse consequences.Just because Indian soldiers raped them , a pregnant woman gave birth to a child with a fractured arm, a 16 year old girl married a 50 year old divorcee , woman committed suicide and what not.It is the Kashmiri woman who faces difficulties in getting married, who could not continue studies , who becomes a cause of the social isolation of her family, who is nobody but a burden for the whole family or sometimes for the whole village. Why? Who cares!
Every intergovernmental organization has three main points at the top of its agenda, i.e. international peace, political stability and economic welfare. On the contrary, God knows what SAARC is doing among the list of intergovernmental organizations. One of the significant members of SAARC is the cause of the death of 94,110 Kashmiris during the last 25 years . Unfortunately, since the time of its conception SAARC has not even a single noteworthy achievement . Kashmir issue is the main reason behind it . Even in the recent SAARC conference , the representatives of India and Pakistan could not do more than just warmly shaking hands and exchanging gossips. If SAARC is sincere with its cause , it has to play its role in the resolution of Kashmir issue. The resolution of Kashmir issue is mandatory for the stability of not only Kashmir, but also of South Asia. Therefore, it must be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations. Or else, the suffering of Kashmiris will never end.