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Archive for category Domestic Policy

Citizen’s Portal

LETTER TO EDITOR

June 17th, 2019

 

Citizen’s Portal

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

I sent a request for a meeting with the PM through Citizens Portal on June 12th  2019 which was given Code No. PU120619-3072879 and its Status showed as “Initiated” and “assigned” to Chief Secretary, Punjab (probably for action).  I thought the request should have been forwarded to the PM Secretariat Islamabad and, therefore, wrote on the Citizen Portal about it on June 14th, 2019.

 

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However, instead of some other action taken on this  “complaint”, it was also automatically allotted Code No. 140619-3113873, Status “Initiated” and again assigned to the same Chief Secretary, Punjab.  I don’t know why something concerning the Prime Minister is being sent to the Chief Secretary, Punjab?!  I tried hard to find out any direct contact of the Citizens Portal, any phone No., any email ID, any contact of its Web Master, etc. to apprise them of what was happening to my request and to send it to the PM Sectt. and not to the CS Pb. but nothing is available either on the net or elsewhere.

 

It is 5th day now of my request and no action has been taken on it, at least I am not informed of any.  Could someone please advise what to do?    Thanks.

 

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

30, Westridge-1,

Rawalpindi Cantt.

Rawalpindi 46000

Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 

 

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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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