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“Pakistan: Elections or Revulsion against Hall of Shame” By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Uncommon Thought

“Pakistan: Elections or Revulsion against Hall of Shame”

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

15 July 2018
Narwaz Sharif, Pakistan

 

 

[Photo: Nawaz Sharif (right end of row) at the kickoff of a USAID rural water project(WAPDA) in Pakistan.]

Editor’s Note

Will Pakistan ever recover from imperialism? Will the entire region do so? Will the world? The wounds of imperialism reverberate down through the generations of nations and peoples. The corruption of spirit that imperialism engenders tears apart both culture and social structure that leaves a system that no longer functions holistically. Under “normal” social development, a culture (a shared system of values, beliefs, and norms), continually reinforces and reproduces social structures (organized social institutions like family, economy, and polity) that in turn reinforces and reproduces the shared culture.With imperialism, the culture and social structure of the imperialists prevail or are insinuated into another society. Only those areas considered as “important” by the empire are truly transformed. Often, the imperialists will select (or leverage) one group within the society to be their proxies or henchmen within the host society. This disrupts normal patterns but also places internal groups into conflict. Often, the group selected is not the dominant group within the society, but one that will need the ongoing support of the empire in order to maintain power, but also survival. For without the backing of the empire, the people might rise up and not just overthrow, but obliterate the “collaborators”.

I believe that imperialism – first the British and the American (as reflected by one arm of that power, USAID above) – are at the root of the corruption that seems all too typical of Pakistani politics. How Pakistan or other nations might reclaim their integrity and build societies that work for the people is a question I cannot answer. Problematically, the societal system has been permanently damaged, and whatever replaces it must be something different than the pre-imperialist form because by now no one remembers that state. However, to even start that process a nation must remove the boot of the imperialists from its neck.

Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Are the Pakistanis Living In A Fantasy World?

The logic of the July 25th parliamentary elections in Pakistan is questionable for being a ceremonial stunt to undermine the reality of a highly corrupted and disoriented political culture.  For decades, Pakistan has lacked the systematic working capacity to organize fair and honest election campaigns representing the interest of the masses. At the forefront of this charade is the intent to hold elections on a short time span. Why was the interim government was not formed a year or at least six months ahead of the planned elections?  Given the extremely hot climate and the month of Ramadhan in between, it should have been a rational discourse. These facts should have helped to organize the necessary systematic mechanics of an election body to plan and organize all facets of complex elections. Because of the missing political accountability, and fearful of the on-going legal actions against Sharif brothers, the whole scenario of hurriedly arranged interim government tells a lot.  The Sharif regime had no interest and no priority to hold fair elections or to transfer power to another legitimate political party. They were all sadistic maniacs full of greed and deliberate mismanagement to dehumanize the Pakistani masses. Leaders are supposed to enjoin a vision of the future, creative thinking and selflessness, ethical character, a sense of positive thinking and commitment to serve the interests of the people. None of these is reflected in the profiles of any politicians in the recent history of Pakistan.Pakistan needs a major change in its constitutional framework, political system and the role and responsibilities of the political establishments. None of this is available in any rational context. If Pakistan is to spearhead a sustainable democracy, it needs major planned changes – a new constitution, a Presidential system of governance (elected directly by the people), new political institutions enriched with young, educated and people having a clear vision articulating a sustainable socio-economic and political future for the country. This rebuilding of the nation cannot be done by just one group or one party already operating in a highly corrupt and dysfunctional manner, and lacking political legitimacy. Have you ever read “Pakistan- Enigma of Change” (1999);  “Pakistan: Leaders or Political Monsters” (2015), and “Pakistan in Search of Political Change”, (2015) by this author?  Our nation has been robbed by its own so-called political leaders- Bhutto, and a few Military Generals, Zardari, Sharifs and Musharraf.  Truthfully, none were leaders except being military-backed opportunists and thumb lickers who could be used for all purposes in all seasons – legitimate or illegitimate – this is Pakistan’s junk history for the last 50 or more years. How could you imagine regaining that precious time and opportunities for change and development for socio-economic, political, moral and intellectual infrastructures to sustain the present and reconstruct nationhood?  Could this forthcoming July 25 elections take any remedial steps for what is required to be undertaken by hundreds and thousands of thinking people, strategic planners and political experts? Those who imagine miracles out of nothing must be living in a self-engineered fantasy world – a world that does not correspond to the prevalent realities of the 21st century.

Could Pakistanis Learn from Others and the Challenges of Time?

South Korea sentenced President Park to 20 years or more on corruption charges. It was done in a visible systematic legal framework. Why could Pakistanis not hold Zardari, Ms. Bhutto, Sharif and Musharaf to the same legal criterion action?  Is Pakistan a legally dysfunctional State? See how the Brazilian legal system dealt with the past two presidents. Now, see how Malaysia handled Najib Razik’s corruption scandal as he is being held for trial.  If the Pakistani political elite and judiciary were honest and effective, should they have not taken tangible measures to exercise the legal accountability in a public court of law against so many political gangsters?

Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges, but he will not serve the sentence because he has already fled the country. Why did the higher court allow him to leave the country? Were the Supreme Court judges ignorant of the fact that he could leave the country and avoid all measures of legal accountability?  Likely not as this was nothing new in Pakistani political culture.

Rationality and truth have their own language. Everywhere the blame game is used by corrupt politicians to cover up their cruel impulses. Their insane egoism does not recognize its own incompetence, criminality and failure. Across the nation, agonizing situations warrant urgent attention to deal with insecurity, conflict prevention and conflict management, Pakistani Taliban’s terrorism, problems in responsible governance, disdain trade and commerce and to revitalize sustainable national unity. The dismissed PM Sharif and his colleagues amassed wealth, stole the nation’s time and opportunities for political change and killed peaceful civilian demonstrators. They react like paranoid maniacs as if the masses are the problem. If conscientious Pakistanis living abroad are concerned about the decadent political culture and rebuilding of the moral, intellectual and economic-political infrastructures, the ruling elite will ensure to deprive them the opportunity to be heard at a national level. When people are forced to live in political darkness, they lose the sense of rational direction.

These corrupt leaders demonstrated a dehumanized gutted culture of naïve politics, be it inside the Higher Courts, National Assembly or the political powerhouses. It makes no sense in the 21st century knowledge-based age of reason and political accountability.  People’s pain, political agony and continuing sufferings cannot be transformed into a single portrait to show to the global audience. All of the political monsters have stolen time and looted the wealth and positive energies of the people. At a glance, Pakistan appears to be reaching a dead-ended political discourse. The political misfortune needs a high power jolt of intervention to pave a smooth way out of the stagnated political culture of the few. People are the legitimate force for change if there is any hope of democracy still operational in Pakistan.

 

Leaders or Monsters of History – Pakistanis Should Look in the Mirror

The military dictator – Bhuttos, Zardari and Sharifs – could never have come into power unless the nation had lost its sense of rationality, purpose and meaning of its existence. These sadistic monsters have institutionalized chaos and fear, demoralization of a moral society and dehumanization of an intelligent nation, and have transferred these naïve traits and values to the psychological-social-economic and political spheres of the mainstream thinking hub of the nation.

Pakistani politics is operated by those who have absolutely no qualifications to be at the helm of political power – yet they are continuously engaged in systematic degradation of the educated and intelligent young generations of Pakistanis who are deprived of opportunities to participate in the national politics. The contemporary history of political degeneration includes generals, neo-colonial feudal lords, members of the assemblies, and a few family-vested houses of political power, ministers or prime ministers; they have the distinction of all acting in unison against the interest of the people of Pakistan.  Political power is an aphrodisiac. Do the people belong to this mad scrum overwhelmingly witnessed across the peoples’ movement against the oligarchy? To an impartial observer, the scene is clear that the wrong people are conducting the political governance where reason and legal justice are outlawed. This contradicts the essence of the Freedom Movement of Pakistan. It appears logical to think that at some point soon, those who are fit to lead must take over from those who are unfit to govern with credibility. It could be a bloodless coup – or it could be a bloody insurrection. One way or another, the process of phasing out the obsolete and phasing-in the fair and much desired and deserving must happen.  Are Pakistan’s freedom and futuristic integrity being sacrificed for the few dumb and dull criminals who wish to extend their power beyond the domains of reason and honesty?  It will be extremely harmful and deeply flawed and dangerous ethos to the interests of the people if Sharif brethren –Bhutto’s family including Zardari reemerge in the outcome of the July 25, 2018 elections and are allowed to continue the crime-riddled political governance while their legitimacy is under sharp questioning. The path to peaceful change and political success requires the wise and informed to establish an organized council of responsible oversight to move-in to the void once the despots are ousted. That is an essential component of any public uprising determined to manifest genuine and sustainable political change and legal justice.

In “Pakistan:  Reflections on the 70th Independence Day:  Imperatives of Optimism and Future-Making,” (Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 8/15/2017), this author made the following observations:

The political elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan Freedom Movement. This purpose needs unwavering public commitment and continuous struggle for political change. It needs not to be invented, it is living in the mind and spirit of the people, it just needs to be revitalized and better organized as the momentum is waiting for the grieving people. Pakistan urgently needs a saviour, not Sharif, Bhuttos or the few Generals. The solution must come from the thinking people of the new educated generation – the intelligent Pakistanis to facilitate hope and optimism for a sustainable future of the beleaguered nation. This should be the framework of the message and active agenda for change and reformation as the core of the celebration of Pakistan’s 70thIndependence Day.

 

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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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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Protest against Mumtaz Qadri’s death-penalty

 

Protest against Mumtaz Qadri’s death-penalty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who are destroying public and private property in Pakistan to protest against the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri are only earning sins. At the moment, I will only say that both Salman Taseer and Mumtaz Qadri have now left for the next world. Let Almighty ALLAH (swt) decide now about what is right and wrong for He is the One and Only Ultimate Judge. More thoughts on this issue will be shared later on for this is a delicate issue. The Imam of our mosque asked us to offer fateha for deceased Mumtaz Qadri after Asr prayer. That Imam has been a very sober and wise cleric with impressive grasp over Islam. Five years back when Salman Taseer was killed, I neither rejoiced over nor mourned his death. More later…

جو لوگ ممتاز قادری کی موت کے احتجاج میں گورنمنٹ یا پرائیوٹ پراپرٹی کو نقصان پہنچا رہے ہیں وہ گناہ کما رہے ہیں- اس موقع پر صرف یہ بات کہنا چاہوں گا کہ سلمان تاثیر اور ممتاز قادری دونوں اس جہاں سے رُخصت ہو چکے ہیں۔ اب اللہ تعالٰی کو صحیح اور غلط کا فیصلہ کرنے دیں کیونکہ خالقِ کائنات ہی سب سے بڑا جج ہے۔ اس موضوع پر دیگر خیالات کچھ عرصے بعد شیئر کروں گا۔ آج شام عصر کی نماز کے بعد ہماری مسجد کے امام نے ممتاز قادری کیلئے فاتحہ پڑھنے کو کہا- ان امام صاحب نے ہمیشہ سے نہایت سنجیدہ مزاج اور سمجھدار ہونے کا مظاہرہ کرنے کے ساتھ ساتھ اسلام پر ایک اچھا عبور بھی دیکھایا ہے۔ پانچ سال پہلے سلمان تاثیر کے قتل پر مجھے نہ کوئی خوشی ہوئی اور نہ کوئی افسوس۔ باقی آئندہ۔۔۔


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE NATIONAL SCENE– ​The​ politician-judiciary alliance and the politician-bureaucracy alliance are the Main Hurdles

 

 

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Main Hurdles:
​The​ politician-judiciary alliance and the politician-bureaucracy alliance.

Very practical on paper, I dare say. However in the field this cannot work for two simple reasons​:
The​ politician-judiciary alliance and the politician-bureaucracy alliance.

Both the institutions have been drastically politicized by the politicians and in time of need will naturally defend their benefactor. Perceptual bias against the army will encourage this tendency. The country, in the final analysis is run by the Patwari and Thanedar and they both fall under bureaucracy. The judiciary has a dismal record of performance for the last so many decades. A legal system that is so manipulable that it cannot quickly try and punish a currency smuggler, cannot be expected to do much. However the same system will be very swift in pursuing the army for its actions, particularly those proposed by yourself. A judicial system that can proceed against the army for Lal Masjid matter and some others in the same category, will not desist from pursuing the matter in a similar fashion, after the formation of national government.

Tragically, all the institutions of state are being run as personal fiefdoms except the armed forces where the service chiefs despite being very powerful in their respective domains do not grossly misuse their powers and remain within a certain boundary. There is no central nervous system to coordinate the functions of various organs. The clear manifestation of this is evident in current situation in the country from Jiwani to Khunjrab. The thugs rule the country and consider plunder their birthright, literally. The state machinery aids them in their pursuits, the lawyers aid them in the courts and on the streets, the police aid them in the police stations, the legal system aids them by delaying the run of the trial proceedings, the watchdogs aid them by hiding their follies and the international system aids them, first by accepting them as political refugees and then by looking away from their money laundering.

Equally tragically the army was so much negatively portrayed by the vested interest and foreign inimical elements that it was only a miracle that some of its esteem has been restored through Zarb e Azab.

Tragic it was that the sitting Prime Minister chose to side with a known anti-state propagandist in preference to an important state institution.

Tragic it was that the parliament stuck together to ward off effects of political agitation and never has stuck together for the people and the state institutions.

Tragic it is that a constitutional amendment empowering military courts to try and punish has been suspended from action by the judiciary upon agitation by a known anti-state activist. With such examples in our national life, it would take a lot more to give protection to the army for taking actions that you propose.

The first and foremost that has to be ensured is that the judicial system will not entertain any proceeding against the army for the steps that you have suggested. The only way that I see it happening is through providing a constitutional role to the armed forces (the army) for taking into hand matters that threaten national security while of course following a procedural path. These matters could be so diverse as external aggression, internal destabilization, sleeping with the enemy, financial terrorism, using threatening language against the state or its institutions, baseless propaganda against the state or the society, and so many others. Inaction on the part of the elected government to tackle the matters agitated would then pave the way for more direct action that would be unquestionable at any forum.

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Pakistan: Leaders or Criminals

Pakistan: Leaders or Criminals

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By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

 

 

 

 

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[At least 55 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a lethal suicide attack on the Pakistan side of Wagah border. Photo courtesy Times of India.]

Leaders with No accountability and No Shame

Pakistan is in ruins. The nation and its iinstitutions, law and justice, commerce, thinking hubs, political governance all appear dysfunctional and self-contradictory. Eroding freedom of thought and action speaks of the missing accountability of the political elite. The nation is fast becoming a victim of the US planned blue-print being used in Iraq. Vengeful sectarian killings and dismantling of economic, political and moral infrastructures is used to incapacitate the nation by its own sadistic rulers. All fighting against each other to end the very existence by collective madness. The paid Pakistani political and security agents are instrumental in carrying out heinous crimes. Increasingly, and without any logical redress, common citizens are the targets of the political cruelty. No wonder, once conditions favorable to cruelty are ote:established, it spreads like frightening wildfire. The governance demonstrates a dead-ended political conscience at the expense of the interests of the people. After a decade-old American entrapment in the bogus war on terrorism, the country has lost the energy and capacity to deal with any major problem of security or national unity. The foreign agenda is focused on breaking the moral and spiritual lifelines of the Pakistani nation by its own agents of influence. There are no brave and proactive politicians to stop the continuing political stagnation. The nation faces colossal disaster day in and day out but nobody is held accountable for the crimes. The Generals are convenient spectators and Nawaz Sharif is happy, the herd is politically manageable to complete his inherently fraudulent term of office as prime minister.

Pakistan is in ruins. The nation and its institutions, law and justice, commerce, thinking hubs, political governance all appear dysfunctional and self-contradictory. Eroding freedom of thought and action speaks of the missing accountability of the political elite. The nation is fast becoming a victim of the US planned blue-print being used in Iraq. Vengeful sectarian killings and dismantling of economic, political and moral infrastructures is used to incapacitate the nation by its own sadistic rulers. All fighting against each other to end the very existence by collective madness. The paid Pakistani political and security agents are instrumental in carrying out heinous crimes. Increasingly, and without any logical redress, common citizens are the targets of the political cruelty. No wonder, once conditions favorable to cruelty are established, it spreads like frightening wildfire. The governance demonstrates a dead-ended political conscience at the expense of the interests of the people. After a decade-old American entrapment in the bogus war on terrorism, the country has lost the energy and capacity to deal with any major problem of security or national unity. The foreign agenda is focused on breaking the moral and spiritual lifelines of the Pakistani nation by its own agents of influence. There are no brave and proactive politicians to stop the continuing political stagnation. The nation faces colossal disaster day in and day out but nobody is held accountable for the crimes. The Generals are convenient spectators and Nawaz Sharif is happy, the herd is politically manageable to complete his inherently fraudulent term of office as prime minister.
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Daily blood baths of civilians go unabated, adding to the statistical record for lack of adequate security. The latest cold blooded murder of 55 innocent people at Wagha border and 150 or so injured adds nothing new to grieving citizens belief that Pakistan is governed by most inept, incompetent and corrupt people ever witnessed by an informed nation. No politicians assume responsibility for the protection and safeguard of life and property of ordinary Pakistanis. There is an obvious disconnect between the people and the political rulers constantly hated and feared by the masses. The conflicting time zones are widening in which ordinary people suffer versus the ruling elite breathe as daily civilian casualties continue to rise because of the Taliban attacks and targeted massacres of ordinary citizens. Whose failure is it, and who should be held accountable? Is the Pakistani security apparatus so incompetent and ill equipped that it cannot ensure public safety? Given the lack of accountability and lack of shame, there is nothing to prevent these political criminals from repeating their crimes. So the killings of the innocent civilians go unabated. Strange as it is, opposition activists raising voices against the Sharif regime are conveniently arrested and jailed, but not the Sharif brethren who kill the citizens at random and implement planned massacres. Those facilitating crimes against the people occupy positions of political leadership and even law and justice cannot question them. They are abetted by the political class, committed the greatest heist in history.
Assuming political power in Pakistan means supporting the king’s men of oligarchy. Nobody could dare to challenge their supremacy in the annals of public affairs. For almost three months thousands of people across wide spectrum of Pakistani society, were raising voices of REASON in Islamabad to imagine political change and to have the Sharif brothers held accountable for politically geared killings and death squads against peaceful demonstrators. The inaction contributes to the downfall of the country to obscurity and insanity often irreversible in time and space. This week, at Wagah international border, 55 civilians were cold bloodedly massacred by a group of Taliban. Reportedly 100 or more were critically injured. Sharif and military security officials have proven to be a failure to console the people in situation of emergencies and moments of pain and anguish.

A ‘Failed State’ or Quagmire of Political Insanity

Pakistan lives in self-inflicted turmoil of political and military intrigues – all deceiving all – all trying to gain their foothold in power either by attracting foreign interventions or creating catastrophic political hazards to dismantle the fabric of the originally Muslim nation. The stage actors want power and use it as a divine right of absolutism against the interests of the coerced masses. This set the stage for the gradual decadence of the meaning and purpose of the Pakistan Freedom Movement. The worst emerged when ZA Bhutto and General Yahya Khan refused to transfer power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the majority East Pakistani leader after the 1971 national elections. They managed to kill several thousands of Pakistanis on both sides to retain power and ended up in humiliating surrender to India. Both betrayed the nation and both escaped the accountability. ZA Bhutto emerged as an absolute illegitimate leader of defeated Pakistan assuming the role of Martial Law administrator, President and later Prime Minister. Another military coup by General Zia ul-Haq got the US-other Western nation involved in military intervention to oust the Communist USSR from occupying neighboring Afghanistan and evolution of jihadist – Taliban struggle. In August 1988, Ms. Bhutto and her mother were reportedly responsible for the plane crash of General Zia ul Haq and Killings of 12 Generals and hundreds of others civilians including foreign diplomats. Subsequently, Ms. Bhutto and her mother were not charged with killings of so many precious lives but embraced as the first female PM. She was dismissed twice as corruption that knew no bound. Ms. Bhutto and Asif Zardari stole millions of dollars from Pakistan and were indicted by Swiss court on money laundering schemes. The $60. Million were never recovered by the national treasury. A crime-riddled political culture flourished in which these monsters floated freely. Nawaz Sharif was also dismissed twice on corruption charges. In 1999, he conspired to hijack a PIA incoming flight from SriLanka to Karachi in which the then COAS General Pervez Musharaf and 250 or more civilian passengers were traveling. Sharif had the plan to send the plane to India or to get it crashed. A military coup ousted Sharif and was tried on terrorism charges in a court law and exiled. General Musharaf and his colleagues traded-in Pakistan’s national interest including the nuclear program, and hundreds of innocent Pakistanis sold to populate infamous Guantanmo Bay terror prison in return for cash payments by George W. Bush. Musharaf lived in a $1.4 million newly bought mansion in London under British police 24/7 protection before returning to Pakistan. “Do Pakistanis have any sense of honor?” asked one British journalist of the Daily Telegraph. Would any honorable nation or country allow such criminals to reemerge as political leaders?
Pakistan Needs Educated and Intelligent Leaders to Cure the Political Curse
To imagine a progressive country, educated Pakistanis living abroad could be resourceful to transfer their knowledge and experiences for the good of the country and to strive for a Navigational Change. But how? Hold your breath! An American neurologist of Pakistani origin goes back passionately to serve the people. His clinic in Satellite town- Rawalpindi offers highly specialized systematic health care services to fellow Pakistanis. Even treats those who cannot pay the fee or medication bill. Thousands line up and day and night go to this clinic. The doctor starts getting warning messages from local ‘ghundas’ (rascals) asking for protection money. The doctor continues to work and informs the police. They too want their share of the protection money and do nothing. He complains to higher civic authorities upon getting death threats but nobody listens and does anything to ensure the safety of the doctor and clinic. One day hundred of patients get big surprise when they see the rampaged clinic and the doctor is nowhere to be seen. Lufhtansa Germany Airline flies to Lahore but does not change its crew over there. The fear of kidnappers demanding money haunts them all the time. What a Shame…. What a Shame … What a DISGRACE to a conscientious Pakistani that leaders of Pakistan’s Government cannot extend sense of security to a reputable international airline. No sensible person or global citizen will ever invest or travel to a country at the crossroads of daily bloodbaths, corruption and political gangsterism. Is this prevalent fact hard to grasp to any responsible person in Pakistan? Tourism is a lifeline to any developing nation like Pakistan. During the summer of 2013 under PM Sharif, 10 international tourists were cold blooded murdered by Taliban group near the K2 mountainous region. Is Pakistan that naïve and hopeless in security that it cannot protect the international tourists? Farzana Parveen would have liked to know why she was stoned to death right where law and justice were supposedly administered to have protected her at the Lahore High Court compound. Police were watching the horrifying killing. “Farzana Parveen Stoning Shames Pakistan.” (Asia Times: 6/2/2014). The terrifying scene portrayed in the global news media showed hundreds of spectators witnessing the most horrifying crime to human nature, not in darkness but in broad daylight, and right where freedom, human dignity, and honor of the citizens should have been protected – the Lahore High Court compound with police in attendance. It is incredibly shameful to be a Pakistani and to watch this inhuman atrocity out of the nowhere. Why the police did not offer protection to Farzana? Farzana’s soul must be wondering, why did society not protect her against this draconian act of violence? Where are the concerned citizens who claim to be believers – the Muslims who day and night talk about Islam as being the faith and value of their society? The Sharif brother’s investigation revealed nothing to hold the criminal responsible. In June, Karachi International Airport (“Pakistan in Quest of Political Change.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 6/18/2014), was on flame under Talibans attacks. It was a devastating blow to the international image and security of Pakistan. Nobody resigned or was held responsible for failing to protect the airport. Could Sharif and the few complacent Generals assure the global community that Pakistan is a safe place to travel, study, visit and do business? If not, why not? The bogus assemblies, time killing discussions, Sharif and the few Generals are the people embedded with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. They are part of the problem, not solution and have NO SENSE of the freedom, honor and dignity of the nation. There was no “peace process” between Pakistan and Taliban and there is no peace. Only the absence of peace, and the gnawing want for it, the desperation of the vanquished clearly visible on the mindset of public horizon.
There is a frightening trend of crime explosion across the nation. Daily killings of the civilians go unabated and unchecked by the security agencies. The blame game is centered on Talibans – the creation of the Bhutto family and the Generals. For almost two decades, Pakistan’s capacity for change has been badly fractured and its moral, intellectual and political consciousness derailed and undermined by the few. Bruce Riedel, one of President Obama’s advisors on Pakistan and the War on Terrorism (“Battle for the Soul of Pakistan” 1/4/2013, Brookings Institute and Centre for Middle East Policy), recently described the Pakistani rulers-both civilian and military:Pakistanis cannot be trusted as they play dubious role, cheat and become double agents in War on Terror” and warns that: “The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.”
Pakistan’s worst enemies are those who are unable to listen to voices of reason and peaceful activism for political change. The ruling elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan’s Freedom Movement. Pakistan faces multiple chronic problems which could undermine its future. To all concerned and thinking Pakistanis, the country needs a Navigational Change or we could end up losing our national freedom. What is the cure to the current problems? There is no magic pill to deal with all critical situations except a comprehensive new systematic approach for ‘Anew Pakistan.’ Few decades earlier, in “Pakistan: Enigma of Change” (Media Monitor Network, USA) and “Revisiting Pakistan Enigma of Change”, this author offered proactive vision for planned political change to evolve new institutions and new-age educated leadership for a sustainable future. For too long, the masses have experienced tormenting pains and political cruelty. Nawaz Sharif and his brother must be tried in a court of law for the killings of 14 civilians and injuring 80 peaceful activists at Minhaj al Quran Academy Lahore and stolen wealth. Despite evidence, the FIR against Sharif was not registered by police. Nawaz Sharif has no political integrity and must step down or take leave of absence. There is substantial evidence for the 2013 election rigging by the election commission members. Sharif would need a powerful jolt as criminals do not exit voluntarily from powerhouses. It will provide a logical breathing space for a planned and workable remedy to a highly critical political crisis and to enhance a sustainable Change goal. A new Government of National Unity should be formed under a non-partisan and non political leader of moral and intellectual integrity for a period of two years; a New Constitution should be framed with new public institutions under leadership of new generation of educated people; and then a new election could give meaning and clarity to the purpose of democracy and to transform the ideals of a progressive legitimate functional democracy. The Need is desperate for the Pakistani nation to think critically and see the Mirror and stand firm in raising voices of reason for accountability and political change. The people must ponder at past misconceptions and errors of judgments and to bring 21st century’s educated, proactive and intelligent young people into political leadership role and to safeguard the national interest, freedom of the nation and its future.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012.

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