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Archive for August, 2017

Who is Behind Afghanistan’s Blame Game against Pakistan? by Sajjad Shaukat

Who is Behind Afghanistan’s Blame Game against Pakistan?
By Sajjad Shaukat

 

When any terror attack occurs in Afghanistan, Afghan government revives old blame game
against Pakistan.
On May 31, this year, a massive truck bombing of the Afghan capital’s diplomatic section killed
more than 150 people and injured hundreds of others, including foreigners. It was the deadliest
terror attack in the 16-year- old conflict.
Taliban denied responsibility for the terror attack. But, Afghanistan’s intelligence service
accused the Haqqani network by saying that a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan, carried out
the attack. Addressing the conference-the “Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation”,
held in Kabul on June 6, 2017, which was attended by representatives from 26 countries and
international organizations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani criticized Pakistan for a lack of
cooperation in promoting Afghan peace and alleged that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries
on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency in Afghanistan.
In the same speech, President Ghani offered peace talks to the Afghan Taliban by reiterating his
preconditions such as recognition of the Afghan constitution, continuity of the reforms of
educating and advancing the rights of women, and renunciation of violence and linkages with
terrorist groups.
A Taliban spokesman rejected Ghani’s offer of a peace dialogue by stating that it is another
attempt to endorse and to prolong foreign occupation of Afghanistan.
However, during the same of the conference, a powerful bomb went off at a main mosque in the
western city of Herat, killing at least 10 people. Again, Taliban spokesman denied its
involvement in connection with the explosion.

 

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s special Corps Commander Conference took the stern notice of
Afghanistan’s allegations and threats and vowed to defend the country the with full forces.
According to the press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), issued on June 6,
2017, the “Special Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Chief of the Army Staff
General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for Afghanistan to introspect and not allege Pakistan of
sponsoring terrorism…the conference reviewed the security situation…Strongly condemning
the Kabul blast…meeting has expressed complete solidarity with Afghan government…instead
of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look forward and identify the real issues…Armed
forces will defend the country from each challenge and will continue work to establish peace in
the region.”
ISPR statement further reported that the meeting reaffirming continued support to regional
peace and stability, the forum reiterated military’s resolve to defend the motherland against all
types of threat.

Nevertheless, we need to know that who is behind Afghanistan’s blame game against Pakistan
and why the same continues unabated in wake of terrorism-related assaults in Pakistan.
It mentionable that the armed forces of Pakistan have successfully broken the backbone of the
foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e- Azb and Radd-ul- Fasaad
which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And
Pakistan’s primarily intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by
capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts.
Besides, since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and
protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their
leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and
peace has been restored in Balochistan.
Peace has also been restored in Karachi and other provinces of Pakistan, including the tribal
areas. But, recent blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country show that the US-led
India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage to destabilize Pakistan and to
damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
In this regard, as part of the latest wave of terrorism, at least 35 people, including nine police
men were killed and several others injured in a suicide blast near Arfa Tower on Ferozpur Road
in Lahore on July 24, 2017.
On the same day, ISPR statement said that Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed
Bajwa raised concerns with the visiting Commander Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and
US Forces in Afghanistan, General John W. Nicholson, over “the blame game perpetrated by
some quarters in Afghanistan and United States to undermine Pakistan’s contribution to the
war on terror.
The army chief elaborated, “This theme is being played at a time when policy review is
being undertaken in USA…despite provocations, Pakistan will continue to act positively as
we consider defeat of terrorism as national interest.”
The ISPR statement further pointed out that Nicholson reiterated his appreciation of
Pakistan Army’s professionalism and admiration for resilience of the people. Both agreed on
need for continuous engagement and coordination for peace and stability in the region.
Notably, a visiting United States (US) Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain
was taken on a tour of South Waziristan by Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on July 3, this year.
During their visit to South Waziristan, the delegation was briefed on recent measures taken for
the improvement of the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border and enhanced surveillance.
Speaking at the event, Senator McCain stressed the importance of continued cooperation
between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Senator Graham expressed his satisfaction with the progress
against the fight against terrorism by stating, “I cannot stress how impressed I am with what’s happened in the last two years. It speaks well of the Pakistani Army and the people in this
region”. Senator Whitehouse also lauded the military’s efforts in curbing terrorism.
As a matter of fact, the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region.
Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral
Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by killing of the Taliban leader
Mullah Akhtar Mansur in CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan
Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government.
While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad
and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop

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A war in the Himalayas would expose India’s soft power   AMBASSADOR M.K. BHADRAKUMAR, INDIA

A war in the Himalayas would expose India’s soft power

 M.K. BHADRAKUMAR 

Asia Times

AUGUST 10, 2017
 
The Xinhua news agency and China Daily newspaper, two authoritative platforms of Chinese policies, held out warnings this week over the military standoff with India near the Sikkim border.
China Daily starkly wrote that the “window for a peaceful solution is closing. The countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun….” Xinhuasaid China’s “restraint has limits and with every day that passes the tether shortens.”
Should these warnings be taken seriously? India stubbornly ignored similar warnings 55 years ago in a border war it resoundingly lost and the rest is history.
A war between India and China is improbable since neither side wants it. But below that threshold is a vast space where miscalculations can occur. Indians and Chinese are patriotic people, driven by nationalistic leaderships, and “territorial sovereignty” is a highly emotive issue. What’s alarming is that both governments have successfully rallied domestic opinion.
In China, perhaps, this wasn’t particularly difficult. But in India where a hundred flowers normally bloom, opinion is polarizing at an exceptional rate. It seems all Indians are rising in anger over Facebook posts supporting China’s position. But how could there be a contrarian opinion?
This holds dangers because hubris is a self-devouring monster. The plain truth is that India’s post-Cold War foreign policy calculus will be severely put to test for the first time in a conflict with China ensues. No country has backed India in its seven-week standoff with China. Indians all along fancied that they were leagues ahead of Chinese in “soft power” – yoga, Gandhi, snake charmers, etc. Apparently, that is not so.
It is particularly galling that the United States has not taken any posture favouring India. India’s post-Cold War strategic discourse is heavily laden with the blithe assumption that the US regards India as a “counterweight” to China.Meghnad Desai,a high-flying opinion maker in the English-speaking Delhi circuit, said last week:
“All things that follow now will have a lot to do with what happens in the South China Sea. The US has sent out enough signals. If there is war, it will be a US-China war, with India on the US side, in the South China Sea and in the Himalayas. This trio (India, China and the US) is a very combustible mixture right now.… Ultimately, you have to understand that India cannot stand up to China without American help and support. America cannot stand up to China without Indian help. That is the symmetry in this relationship.”
The sheer naiveté in the above passage sums up India’s misfortune. The Indians refuse to see the geopolitical realities. It doesn’t occur to them that US President Donald Trump will fight wars only if America’s interests are directly threatened. Why should he order the Pentagon to send the marines to the Himalayas or to dispatch a carrier battle group to hunt down Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean?
The one thing emerging out of the meeting in Manila last Friday between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is that the two top diplomats did not waste time on the South China Sea or the Indian Ocean.
Tillerson told the media that North Korea was the main topic in his discussions and whatever extra “bit of reflection on the relationship” with China that took place was devoted to the four high-level dialogues between the two countries last April at the summit at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. That meeting, he said, is “really advancing our two countries’ understandings of the nature of this relationship … and how we should strive to strengthen this relationship so that it benefits the world in terms of maintaining a secure world absent of conflict.”
Interestingly, the White House released a press release on Saturday thanking China for its cooperation in securing the passage of a resolution in the United Nations Security Council on increased sanctions against North Korea. Trump is expected to make a state visit to China in November and Wang disclosed that preparations have begun.
Indian analysts simply do not get the point that the US-China relationship is in an altogether different league. Simply put, the single most crucial template of India’s strategy against China turns out to be delusional – that the US will confront China on India’s behalf.
Equally, Indian strategists never expected that post-Soviet Russia would bounce back on to the world stage. Through the past quarter-century, successive Indian governments have pursued a policy of benign neglect of relations with Russia, which are today in a state of atrophy. On the other hand, Russia-China relations are today at their highest point in decades.
Sadly, India’s “soft power” took a lethal blow during the past three-year period of the Hindu-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is so not only in liberal Western opinion but also in the Muslim world. The violence against Muslims, the erosion in India’s secularist foundations, the mass upheaval in Kashmir have all received attention internationally. It is also useful to remember that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation represents 54 member countries of the United Nations.
Suffice to say, all these factors will come into play if a war ensues between India and China. India is not a match for China militarily, and in soft power to China may already have an advantage. By cocooning themselves in a fantasyland, Indians are too full of themselves in their refusal to be judged by international opinion – leave alone Chinese and its smaller South Asian neighbours’ opinions.

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If wishes were horses, beggars would be…   Haider Mehdi’s Perspectives

If wishes were horses, beggars would be…

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Nawaz Sharif’s Act of Treason: Launching an undeclared War on Pakistan Armed Forces with the backing of US & India
I think it’s getting close to one Qabar and two bodies.

Nawaz’s aim is political martyrdom.

As long as he controls the party he will continue to create chaos.

But, as history tells us, this great land of Punjab knows which side of the paratha has more ghee.

And with each passing day as the power struggles between the brothers Sharifs and other groups within PMLN  intensify we will see his grip loosening.

This will make Nawaz and especially Princess Tubelight Maryam Safdar, even more desperate and they will resort to desperate measures. To understand Nawaz one only has to recall his instructions to Sohail Zia Butt many years ago.

“Butt saheb Thoray jeean golian sholian….thay Thora jiaa khoon kharrapa!”

Therefore, I have a feeling of great disquiet. A sense of, God Forbid, a major urban terrorist attack and or some highly potent acts of violence. Perhaps even attempts at assassinations. These could be across, political, ethnic, sectarian and religious divides to create more chaos and disorder.

Some orchestrated by PMLN and some by our “friendly” neighbours, India and Afghanistan and our Godfather, the USA.

The last mentioned, continously attempting to keep Pakistan unstable, through political unrest and economic meltdown, create civil unrest, weaken Pakistan and achieve their ultimate objective of defanging us of our nuclear assets.

Iran will likely not try anything funny because a stable Pakistan is in their interest. But some of our other “Middle Eastern brothers” especially Saudi Arabia, will silently support this subversion of Pakistan now no longer expecting much from us.  They are very angry at us for not supporting their Yemen misadventure and helping them kill over 20,000 Yemeni women cholden and civilians. They are also extremely upset that we didn’t join their mad sectarian war against Iran sponsored by the Trumpeter from the USA, despite the very secretive command of a phantom anti terror coslition headed by an extremely uncomfortable Raheel Sharif. And lastly not siding with them against their Qatari misfire.

Saudi Arabia has now openly allied itself to the USA, India, Israel, UAE, Egypt, Regional bloc in direct opposition to the Chinese, Russian, Pakistani and Iranian bloc.

So major geo political realignments driven by selfish national Interests, which must always reign supreme, have changed our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The same goes for the UAE, which is now also very closely allied to Israel. UAE faces significant economic challenges and competition from CPEC and Gawader and now Qatar. So I don’t see them shedding any tears to see a weak and on its knees, Pakistan.

These anti Pakistan external forces will also support the PMLN  in creating major chaos within to serve their own interests and not out of any love lost for Nawaz.

Nawaz has clearly announced an “undeclared” all out war against the Army, with his recently acquired “Nazriaathee” dogma. He hopes to goad and force the Army into some kind of action. But one sincerely hopes that the Army does not fall into this trap.

But one does hope and pray they also provide full support to the Supreme Court and investigators in doing their jobs. This is a sad reality.  But in a Nation of Mafia Dons, with an ex PM your biggest, this support is critical.

Today only Imran, the Supreme Court, and the Army are the three internal saving graces. China being the one major external one.

In my opinion, an ideal scenario given the current environment and without any extra constitutional steps would constitute the following outcomes.

1. NAB references against Nawaz and family to be filed ASAP.
2. Irfan Mangi as DG to head investigation
3. Quick trial and conviction of Nawaz and family. Jail.  Seizure of assets and lifetime disqualification. The evidence is all there. And conviction and lifetime disqualification for others, especially Ishaq Dar.
4. NAB reference against PM Abbasi for LNG. Trial, lifetime disqualification, conviction and Jail.
5. Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah Model Town trial followed by Conviction.  Disqualification and jail.
6. Zaradari NAB references. Trial. Disqualification, Conviction and Jail. Same for Faryal Talpur.
7. Census based demarcation and remarcation of election constituencies.
8. Changes of heads of NAB, FBR, FIA, State Bank, SECP.
9. New constituted Election Commission comprising competent and honest professionals without biases.
10. Trial and conviction of Zafar Hijazi of SECP and Saeed Ahmed of NBP with extremely harsh and exemplary punishment to send a message to senior bureaucrats that they can, and will be taken to task if they do the bidding of their political masters by indulging in illegal and criminal acts.

All above through constitutional petitions filed with the Supreme Court.

That’s my ideal scenario. But if wishes were horses, beggars would be kings.

Of course many will target this as an attempt to remove a “legally and democratically” elected PM through a judicial coup.

The answer to this is simple.  If your Prime Minister and family and your Finance Minister and current PM are criminals, crooks, money launderers, irrespective of how they were elected, they must face the due process of law.

And yes this process must go on to catch others as the judicial process gains strength and investigators are able to do their jobs without fear.

Therefore, in my opinion, this is the only way for us progress, positively.

The people of Pakistan have another golden opportunity to cleanse the Augean stables.

We owe it to all our brave sons and daughters, military and civilians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for Pakistan and to our future generations to fix ourselves, once and for all.

We must not lose this opportunity to rid us of the cancer of Nawaz and Zaradari and all they represent and everything that’s corrupt in any institution, civilian or military.

Let’s not forget that Our Flag flutters not because of the breeze, but the dying breaths of its brave men and women who died, defending it.

-Haider Mehdi

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New Parody Songs About Crooked Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif & His Family

 

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CPEC and Gwadar by By Zahra Niazi THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

 OPINION

CPEC and Gwadar

By Zahra Niazi

Published: August 11, 2017

The writer is a freelance columnist

The writer is a freelance columnist

The city of Gwadar that we proudly own today did not belong to us. Our government bought it from the Sultanate of Oman in 1958. Only if Oman had known the fate of this land earlier, it probably would have never sold it to Pakistan. Now, Pakistan gladly reaps the reward while Oman silently observes.

It wouldn’t be unfair to credit Worth Condrick, the man who carried out a survey of the area and realised the worth of the land of Gwadar when Oman had known little about its value and was ready to get rid of it since Oman and Gwadar were geographically detached. Neither was it profitable to them. Additionally, the inhabitants of Gwadar were willing to join Pakistan.

A somewhat riveting fact is that Pakistan wasn’t the only country to which this land was offered. It was originally offered to India. It was India’s hard luck that it refused and Pakistan’s fortune that Gwadar was geographically contiguous to it. Today, the consequences are much harsher for India. Their angst is quite clear from the recent terrorist activities being carried out in Balochistan in order to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It was a few months ago that an Indian submarine was found lurking in the waters around the port. RAW networks are also active in Karachi and along the western border. The deep sea port of Gwadar can prove to be a major security threat for India that may scale down its influence in the Indian Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Thayer Mahan was a geo-political strategist. Today, Chinese maritime strategy is based upon Mahan’s theory of sea dominance. He foresaw the superiority of the Indian Ocean. He was of the view that the one who controls the Indian Ocean could become dominant in the whole of Asia. According to him, securing the sea lines of communication can prove beneficial for countries in order to impose a blockade against others.

India is fearful that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA) and the Pakistan Navy (PN) together could diminish its dominance in the Indian Ocean. The PLA Navy would become permanent in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. In case of a war, both the allies can easily impose a naval blockade against India and thereby hinder its trade. Competing against allies wouldn’t be plain sailing for India. They would keep an eye on India’s activities in the Indian Ocean particularly the Arabian Sea. China would also be able to secure its sea lines of communication. The capability of the PLA Navy as well as the PN would grow. China sees this as an opportunity to turn the port into its naval base.

China would have never invested this laboriously in Pakistan if Gwadar wasn’t bought. Giving and receiving is a fundamental law. According to this, you need to give something in order to receive something. China’s string of pearls strategy, initially coined by US analysts, includes setting up a number of military and naval areas of influence across a widespread region. Each of the area would be a pearl and one of those pearls is the deep sea port of Gwadar. China wants to diversify the trade routes and find an alternative to the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. The Strait of Malacca is under the watchful eyes of the US and Indian naval forces. In case of any major conflict, this strait could be halted and this would affect the Chinese economy. Additionally, the strait is also surrounded by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands owned by India. Hence, the trade route through Gwadar port is fairly economical for China.

Balochistan, a resource rich region, hasn’t been able to contribute enough to the economy of Pakistan since the beginning of the creation of the country. Now, Gwadar is going to materialise our dream of sustainable prosperity for Pakistan by turning from a fishing village into a port city. Gwadar is expected to generate massive revenue. Along with this, different industrial estates could be established in the adjacent areas. Not only people from other provinces but foreigners would also be tempted to invest here if the security situation is duly maintained. Gwadar is expected to generate almost two million jobs for the people of Balochistan. The trade capacity of Gwadar port is more than that of Port Qasim and Karachi port combined.

In order to reap maximum benefits, skilled labour is a major need otherwise the job opportunities could easily be exploited by the Chinese and all the money Beijing is investing will benefit them with interest. After all, the port has been leased to a Chinese company for a period of 40 years. Along with this, the dependence on the Chinese expertise for maintenance should be reduced. Pakistan should increase its economic activities and exports. Hambantota port is the finest example where Sri Lanka was trapped in a debt and the port had to be leased to China for a period of 99 years. All the essential steps should be taken before it’s too late.

Furthermore, maritime crimes should be controlled. Crimes like illegal entry and carrying of weapons, smuggling, drug and human trafficking are frequent, and therefore need special attention. Another noteworthy issue is that of marine pollution. In order to tackle these issues, there should be strict rules and regulations for all the moving ships and efficient monitoring with the use of a system to track shipments.

Internal instability combined with external factors is another stumbling block to the success of CPEC. The Baloch people have been living with a sense of deprivation for years now. Another rather disturbing fact is RAW’s involvement with the ‘Baloch liberation movement’ and Baloch student federations. The sense of deprivation of the Baloch could be reduced by giving them due rights and bring their province at a par with others.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri and an Iranian delegation led by the governor of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Aaqa Ali Hosth Hashmi, decided to set up a railway track between Chabahar and Gwadar. If this becomes a reality, Iran and Pakistan would be able to have a mutually beneficial relation, putting an end to RAW’s involvement along the western border.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017

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