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Pakistan: How to Change Political Culture of Corruption and Rebuild the Future?

Pakistan: How to Change Political Culture of Corruption and Rebuild the Future?

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

Pakistan: How to Change Political Culture of Corruption and Rebuild the Future? 

 

Towards Understanding the Current Affairs

Prime Minister Imran Khan impressed the constituents to imagine the phenomenon of “change” as a driving force for future-making. Was the political power a motivating factor to influence the curious minds of the masses or was it an exercise in self-propagated approach to gain success at a critical juncture of Pakistan’s contemporary history? For too long Pakistanis experienced the nuisance of corrupt politics. Reality has its checks and balances based on the consequences. PM Khan is no stranger to the much charged and corrupt culture of politics. Pakistan had witnessed many critical moments of historical developments in its search for identity, unity and future-making. Often dismayed and unimpressed are the people of a young and educated generation who find no place to participate in the movement and struggle for change and reformation of the decades old corrupted and degenerated system of obsolete systems of political governance. At a time, Imran Khan – a comparatively young, reasonable and open-minded politician enticed the young generation to be hopeful for change but it is questionable if there is rational substance to be optimistic about “rebuilding” the nation. In an age of reason, it is important to know and determine where Pakistan is and how to go forward with a planned Action Plan. Imran Khan has a moral and intellectual outlook as head of a progressive political organization should have imagined and prepared a Proactive Plan for New Thinking and a Plan for Action once he assumed the office. To learn from the tragic tensions of history, all of the previous self-styled leaders including the unwelcomed four General of coups and their byproducts – Bhuttos, Sharifs, Zardari and Musharaf were all dead-ended entries to the essence and freedom movement of Pakistan. They stole billions and billions from the national treasury and stabbed the nation. Could Mr. Khan realize what went wrong and how they consumed precious time and resources of the nation and derailed its prospects for future-making as a viable democratic nation in Southwest Asia? If Pakistan had a continuous culture of political change and educated and learning leadership, the country should not be interdependent on foreign aid and a subservient to the US or Western political interests. There appears to be conflicting time zones and culture of thinking between the masses and the ruling elite confined to comfortable quarters of Islamabad. Leaders come and go but nothing changes on the ground for the public good. The endless self-repeating delusions flow for even more the same at this juncture. PM Khan is either not connected to the dots or he is surrounded by the same set of individualistic absolutism prevalent at the beginning but most often is ridiculed as it progresses and ends-up in disastrous consequences for the nation. Words and statements alone do not change an unproductive culture of the political nuisance. There is nothing new on the ground to substantiate any new visionary approach to rebuild the nation. Those who are part of the problem cannot be part of the solution. Mr. Khan should analyze critically what is operational and what is dysfunction within the compound of the central government. He should be open to voices of reason and enlightenment. There seem to be too much centralized boxed functions in Islamabad and not the much-decentralized presence of the federal governance at major provincial centers of activities. This should be reorganized to serve the interest of the masses and proved services across many divergent zones. Pakistan desperately needs new and young educated and honest people to embrace the challenges of the present and future-making. Pakistanis living abroad are the asset to be counted to enhance the planned cause of political reformation and nation-building.

Know Yourself in Time and Challenges, Your Strength and Weaknesses

Great spoken symbols do not require immeasurable importance. All egoistic politicians assert such slogans to maintain the irrational balance between the reality consequential developments. At this stage, the nation is receptive to see how and what Imran Khan could deliver to change the engrossed misfortunes of the nation. All responsible leaders defy the urge to make flamboyant expressions of political ambitions which negate realism and national interest. To a visionary and effective leader, it is incumbent to know your strengths and weaknesses and the people around your immediate circle. If you have a vision of the future, explain it and connect it to the known aspirations of the masses that were denied the rightful thought and place in the past. If imperatives of change and reformation for nation-rebuilding were of utmost vitality, should Mr. Khan not enlist the educated people of knowledge, wisdom and global experience to plan the political change and enhance the priorities of “nation-rebuilding” as part of an Action Plan? The Pakistani nation has a delicate eco-system of social, moral, political and intellectual diversities and sensitivities. Those dealing with the phenomenon of change, must know and understand how to acquire an inner understanding of such distinctions and inequalities to bridge the unity of the nation. Reason has many enemies if Pakistani political culture is closed but the reasoned discussion could lead to rebuilding the trust across many divides. If Imran Khan thought that his symbolic opinions will bear fruit without any efforts, it would be unthinkable to imagine a destiny out of inaccessible communication to the masses. Destiny is always new and young, not obsolete or incapacitated. Mr. Khan should motivate the official circles with a sense of responsibility, services and honest role model. If the leadership statements are unexcitable shadows of illusion without truth and strength, the new leadership will go nowhere except consuming time and precious energies as it happened before for almost 50 years. Pakistan is a victim of failed and disgraced leadership.

Collective Focused Mind is More Powerful than Individualistic Agenda

To reshape and rebuild the destiny of deprived masses, Mr. Khan should articulate a focused approach to deal with some of the urgent issues. The issue of fair and equal services to the people, legal justice, security of the country, unity of diverse provincial cultures and integration, reformed systems of political governance, sustainable economic and technological productivity, educational system and health services could be prioritized for the first year of the Development Plan, if there is such an official instrument at this time. Mr. Khan wanted to hold the corrupt politicians accountable for their criminal atrocities and stolen wealth. He must set up a high power legal body with competent judges to hold the trials and punish the political thugs and criminals. How come Zardari, Sharif and Musharaf are roaming around freely?

None of them was alone but had hundreds and thousands of culprits to rob the nation. If the intent and resolve are clear, what are they waiting for to prosecute the indicted criminals? This must be done in a few months, not a year if all concerned are honest and true to their commitments. Pakistan should not be held hostage for change by the criminals. If the stolen wealth is returned to the national treasury, Pakistan will not ask the IMF or Saudis for new loans. Does Imran Khan have any compassion for the indicted criminals? This must assume a priority for action.

Towards Change and National Unity for Future-building

The focal issue appears to be –how to change a dreadful and unproductive political culture into a promising future? It requires ingenuity, vision and workable plan to ensure positive outcomes for the best of people. To awaken the consciousness of political accountability, PM Khan would need to move fast based on a well chalked out plan for change and reformation of the political systems. Time is critical and offers a historic opportunity to all concerned. Defying cynicism and hoping to be optimistic, Mr. Khan and his colleagues better do a soul searching as to where they are and how to move forward? Otherwise, they cannot go from anywhere. It is a cumbersome challenge but must be encountered otherwise, time and opportunities will be lost with disastrous consequences for the present and future generations of Pakistanis.

The new Pakistani administration must detach itself from the delusional glimmers of American policies and practices in Afghanistan and the region. American drone attacks on Northwest Pakistan and its entanglement in Afghanistan must end on its own record of failure. America is a big game player in Pakistan and its security apparatus. The aid gimmick has kept Pakistan interdependent on the policy-making of the US administration and a nation being viewed more liability than an asset to the American geopolitical interests in that region. All that can go wrong have gone wrong with the system of Pakistani political governance. Any realistic observer taking a dispassionate survey of the current picture of Pakistan would agree that time and essence of history call for planned change to produce a sustainable and productive culture of new thinking and actions for the security and future-making of a new Pakistan.


Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution and international affairs with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.

Categories: AsiaPolitics
Tags: anti-corruption

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Zionist-led Double Game has Taken the Pak-US Relations on Backtrack By Sajjad Shaukat

Zionist-led Double Game has Taken the Pak-US Relations on Backtrack

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

Although the former presidents of the United States George. W. Bush and Barack Obama were secretly acting upon the Zionist-led double game as part of the South Asian policy, yet President Donald Trump clearly exposed America’s double game in South Asia. 

 

Despite the repeated assurances of Pakistan’s military and civil leadership that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are well-protected and are under tight security arrangements, having well-coordinated command and control system, a deliberate propaganda campaign against the safety of these weapons keeps on going by the US, India and some Western countries who are acting upon the Zionist agenda to ‘denuclearize’ Pakistan as the latter is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Besides, some other developments such as America’s pro-Indian and pro-Israeli policies, and anti-Pakistan, anti-China, anti-Russia and anti-Iran diplomacy are also part of the Zionist-led double game of the US who is in collaboration with India and Israel. Particularly, Washington which is in connivance with New Delhi and Tel Aviv has been destabilizing Pakistan politically and economically.

 

In this regard, a few days after the US cancelled USD 300 million in military aid (The so-called Coalition Support Funds) to Islamabad, accusing the latter of failing to rein in the terror groups operating from its soil in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former CIA chief who along with the US Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford had arrived on an official visit to Islamabad met with Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on September 5, this year.

 

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that Qureshi highlighted that the priority of the new government was socio-economic development and for the success of people-centred agenda and economic reforms, an enabling regional security environment was imperative. He said improving relations with neighbours was a priority, in an apparent reference to strained ties with India and Afghanistan, which often accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists to conduct cross-border attacks. Qureshi also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue efforts for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

 

The statement elaborated: “The two sides agreed that present conditions in Afghanistan were conducive to intensifying efforts for a political settlement. They underscored the need for the Taliban to seize the opportunity for talks in response to the Afghan President Ghani’s offer for an unconditional dialogue…Mr Pompeo stated that the US fully supported the reform agenda of Prime Minister Khan and wished the government success in its implementation…Mr Pompeo conveyed the US desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

 

At the same time, reviving the US old blame game regarding cross-border terrorism, Pompeo emphasized upon Islamabad “to do more” at the meeting.

 

The international community knows very well that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan province.

 

But, like the previous diplomats of America, Mike Pompeo’s statement shows an unrealistic and contradictory approach towards Islamabad, as Zionist-controlled elements control the foreign policy of the US. Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they continue to destabilize it to obtain the illegitimate interests of Israel.

 

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister who knows Zionist designs and American double game has vowed to review Pak-US relations. In this respect, Qureshi had said: “The disconnection between Washington and Islamabad was addressed in the meeting with Pompeo as both sides agreed to reset the two-way linkages.”

 

After meeting Pompeo, next day, addressing the Defence and Martyrs Day ceremony and hinting towards the US, Prime Minister Khan said: “The country will not be part of anyone else’s war, rubbished the myth of a civil-military divide in the country…We both [civil, military] have a common goal and that is to take this country forward.” He “saluted the valour and sacrifices of the armed forces, which stood strong against all odds in the aftermath of the 9/11 and the unconventional war that followed, to safeguard the interests of the country.

 

Addressing the ceremony, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said:  “Our forces and nation have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism…Our houses, schools and leaders were attacked. Efforts were made to weaken us internally.” Noting that more than 70,000 Pakistanis were martyred and injured in this war, the army chief vowed to collectively fight this menace of terrorism.

 

Gen. Bajwa added: “The country passed through a very difficult phase during the past two decades and the war is still continued.” He also said that the continuity of democracy was necessary for the country.

 

After visiting Pakistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to India where US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was already present.  Pompeo and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met separately on September 6, 2018, before joining top defence officials for talks.

 

Taking to the media, Swaraj remarked, “India attaches the highest priority to its strategic partnership with the United States. We see that the United States is our partner of choice. Pompeo said the U.S. values its relationship with India and noted we fully support India’s rise.”

 

Mattis and Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sithataman also met separately before joining the other two leaders. Sitharaman in her opening remarks stated: “Defense cooperation has become one of the most significant dimensions of the countries’ relationship. We have acquired various advanced defence platforms from the U.S. We are thus partners in building defence capability in the broadest sense of the term.”

Mattis said:  “Today our partnership has become one of the most consequential in the region and in the world.”

 

There are sticking points, however, including the purchase by India of Iranian oil and the Russian S-400 ground-to-air missile system, which could trigger US sanctions on India.

 

Pompeo told reporters “talks were ongoing on whether to grant waivers for India from U.S. sanctions on Iran — India’s second-largest oil supplier — and Russia. Our effort here is not to penalize great strategic partners like India.

 

Pompeo and Mattis later met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and conveyed Trump’s support for “India’s role as a leading global power and regional security provider.”

 

  1. Raja Mohan, one of India’s top foreign policy analysts and the director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, opined that US-India ties have strengthened immensely over the past couple of decades, and Trump has ramped up diplomatic pressure on India’s main rivals, Pakistan and China, earning him plenty of goodwill.

 

In fact, the agenda for Indo-US talks included previous key issues such as anti-terrorism, maritime security and particularly countering China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean and the region.

 

Strategic analysts remark that there are no permanent friends and enemies in international politics because of friendship and enmity change in accordance with the states’ interests which are of primary importance.

 

After having a strong relationship with the United States for more than 60 years, a rift has occurred in Pak-US ties which are moving on backtrack because of a number of reasons, and Pakistan has been further strengthening its relations with China. It has also inclined towards the Russian Federation which also needs the latter. Particularly, the US-led secret strategy which is part of the Zionist-led American double game compelled Pakistan to fortify its relations with Russia. 

 

In this connection, an agreement has been signed on August 7, this year between Pakistan and Russia for the training of Pakistani troops in Russia, decided at the culmination of the first meeting of joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) in Islamabad. Pakistan’s defence ties with Moscow are growing strong with each passing day and this pact has opened new avenues of cooperation between the two countries. A desire from both sides has already been seen in the near past in boosting economic and political relationships. Obviously, these moves are seen with suspicion by the US and India, including Israel. The fact of the matter is that American President Donald Trump’s pro-Indian strategy and anti-Pakistan policies have forced Islamabad to find new alliances.

 

Earlier, America announced to stop military training programmes with Pakistan. In this respect, Western media said: “The U.S. has stopped financing military training in the U.S. for Pakistani soldiers…The effective suspension of Pakistan from the US government’s International Military Education and Training program (IMET) will close off places that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year.”

Pakistani officials warned it could push their military to further look to Russia and China. Pakistan’s Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, Senator. Mushahid Hussain called the American move “wrong and counterproductive” and stated: “The U.S. is repeating past mistakes through a failed policy of trying to bully and browbeat Pakistan with such shortsighted sanctions.”

 

On August 3, this year, the US Congress had approved a $716 billion defence authorization bill to cut Pakistan’s defence aid from $750 million to $150 million. The Senate passed the conference report on National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill then was sent to president Trump seeking his assent. Last year, US defence bill had authorized a significant aid of $700 million for Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund that had been reduced afterwards. The defence policy bill backed President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms.

 

It is notable that in an interview with CNBC television on July 30, 2018, the US Secretary of State Pompeo had warned on that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan’s new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders. Pompeo explained that the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, but there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

 

Islamabad has dismissed America’s concerns that any new International Monetary Fund bailout for the nation would be used to repay Chinese debt as “totally wrong”.

 

It is mentionable that soon after the victory of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the general elections of 2018, China agreed to further US$ 2 billion loans to aid its foreign currency reserves, something which cites trust in the new government. The then Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan emphasized close ties with Beijing and the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This came timely, as Pakistan has continued to face strained relationships with the US government, and did not want to rely on the IMF for a bail-out. Chinese announcement caused Pakistan’s rupee to jump the most in nearly a decade, as Khan was likely to take power with an economy in chaos. Beijing has stepped up to reinforce a geopolitical alliance which shapes the South Asian nation’s policies towards the US and India which are following a secret strategy of Israel against Islamabad. The gesture showed to Pakistan’s overwhelming reliance on China as a source of financial, diplomatic and military support at a time when US President Donald Trump has cut military aid to Islamabad.

 

Besides China, Prime Minister Imran Khan is also strengthening Pakistan’s relation with Russia, Iran and Turkey which are facing the US sanctions.

 

As regards Pak-Russian ties, in this connection, Pakistan’s Army chief Gen. Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia for a two-day visit on April 24, this year. It was General Bajwa’s first visit to Russia.

 

The statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia…where he met with Commander of Russian Federation Ground Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov at the Kremlin Palace…During the meeting, the Russian ground forces commander acknowledged achievements of Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism and contributions for regional peace and stability. Colonel General Salyukov said that Pakistan is a geo-strategically important country and Russia is keen to expand its existing bilateral military-to-military cooperation…The COAS thanked the Russian commander and said that Pakistan reciprocates desire of enhanced bilateral military engagements. General Bajwa said that Russia has recently played a positive role to help resolve complex situations in the region.” 

 

 

Image result for pakistan china russia iran alliance

 

However, during the meetings between the top military and security leadership of the two countries, Pakistan and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to intensify and expand bilateral military cooperation.

 

In his meeting with the Gen. Qamar Javed, Russian Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Oleg Salyukov said his country was interested in expanding the existing military cooperation with Pakistan. Gen Bajwa, too, expressed Pakistan’s desire to enhance bilateral military engagements with Russia.

 

The two countries had in February, 2018 agreed to set up a military cooperation commission for promoting military cooperation. Both sides had signed a defence cooperation agreement in November 2014 and later inked military-technical cooperation accord, which allows arms trade between the two countries and cooperation in weapon development, in October 2015.

 

The press service of the Russian Security Council reported that in their meeting, “issues of bilateral military cooperation in information security and countering international terrorism were studied.”

 

The army chief’s trip was preceded by the visit of National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Nasser Janjua to Russia. His meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev resulted in an understanding that the security cooperation between the two countries needed a boost.

 

Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing share the common opinion that the presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan failed to restore stability in the country.

 

Speaking to Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Gen Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov, Gen. Bajwa stated; “Russia supported Pakistan’s efforts towards reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan” and it was “willing to play a role towards that end.” He noted that Pakistan welcomed any initiative which could bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the whole region would benefit from it.

 

Notably, in 2002, the 7th meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability was held in Moscow. The two sides had discussed matters of mutual interest relating to international issues, including arms control, nonproliferation and counter-terrorism. On May 12, 2011, Islamabad and Moscow agreed to promote trade, investment and joint projects particularly in energy, infrastructure development, metal industry and agriculture. Russia has shown a special interest in energy projects. A working group of both countries had met in October 2011 to explore cooperation in this sector. Islamabad is interested in Russian investment in its oil and gas sectors as well as in heavy industries.

 

Russia has offered Pakistan counter-terrorism equipment. The package includes 10 MI-17 helicopters of unarmed configuration. When Russian military Chief Col-Gen. Alexander Postnikov visited Pakistan in May 2011, he discussed with the former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani—the possibility of expanding defence ties by holding joint military exercises, exchanging trainees and trainers and selling and buying weapons. Moscow has also offered to sell Sukhoi Superjet 100, a modern aircraft with a capacity of up to 95 passengers, while up-gradation of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia is being finalized. In the recent past, it was the first time that joint military exercises were conducted between the two countries in Pakistan.

 

In 2011, Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and remarked that Pakistan was a very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for Russia. In the recent years, besides, various annual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian states including Pakistan and Iran, on 16 August 2007, in their summit, the leaders of the SCO displayed strength against the US rising dominance in the region and military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia.

 

 

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It is noteworthy that on June 9, 20, Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. President Putin stated that Pakistan is an important partner for Russia in South Asia and congratulated the then Prime Minister Sharif on Pakistan’s full membership to the SCO. Putin elaborated, “Russian-Pakistani relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial…our relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased.”

 

In a major development, Russia has offered its support for Pakistan’s entry into a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), of which Russia is a leading member.

 

The disqualified Prime Minister Sharif who thanked the Russian Federation for supporting Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO, said, “The SCO gives us a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, build trust and spur economic development for shared prosperity…it helps us all combat terrorism…expansion of the SCO has taken place at an opportune time, as China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative has transformed the global economic landscape…in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a flag of the OBOR.”

 

In this context, to bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft.

 

During ex-President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the Washington and New Delhi had announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to America, President Obama had strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on a larger scale.

 

During his trip to the USA, Prime Minister Modi’s first meeting with the American President Donald Trump held on June 27, 2017. Both the leaders pledged to work together to boost their respective economies and other fields. Besides, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, building on the US’s recognition of India as a major defence partner. The president also thanked India for seeking a $2 billion arms deal with the United States for 22 naval surveillance drones.

 

Trump said, “The relationship between the United States and India is very, very strong and very, very powerful.” While, ignoring ground realities that the US-led Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW are sponsoring terrorism in Asia and Western countries, in the joint statement, Trump hailed pledges of closer cooperation between India and the United States, especially in the fight against the Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh). 

 

As a matter of fact, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become centre of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.

 

Apart from Islamabad, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the unending war in Afghanistan but also to fulfil the secret strategic designs of the Zionist Jews against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.  Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s strategic rival, as he also initiated a trade war with China.

 

It is of particular attention that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative; the US also joined New Delhi. In this connection, on October 3, 2017,  the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

 

Islamabad strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

 

It is worth mentioning that Washington and New Delhi do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by the killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in the CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government. While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 17 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

 

During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to the secret diplomacy of the US, India and Afghanistan owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against Islamabad. In his opening remarks, following American secret diplomacy in Asia, in his frenzy and ferocious speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi had lashed out at Pakistan on terrorism as the central subject of the moot.

 

Speaking in the Indian tone, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also accused Pakistan of providing sanctuary to terrorists and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

 

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov had rejected the Indian and Afghan allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together. He also said that Pakistan’s Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s speech at the conference was friendly and constructive.

 

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016, and discussed regional stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

 

It is mentionable that the American President Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal and is following war-mongering diplomacy against Tehran by toughening sanctions, while Israel is also doing the same against Iran. Hence, Iran could abandon the US-backed India-Afghanistan Chabahar project and could join the CPEC project.

 

Notably, in the recent years, unbridgeable trust deficit existed between Pakistan and the United States owing to America’s double game with Islamabad. But, President Trump’s flawed strategy in South Asia, based upon anti-Pakistan moves, has taken the Pakistan-US ties to point of no return.

 

During the heightened days of the Cold War, despite Pakistan’s membership of the US-sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO, including Pak-US bilateral military agreement, America did not come to help Pakistan against India which separated East Pakistan in 1971.

 

After the end of the Cold War, the US left both Pakistan and Afghanistan to face the fallout of the Afghan war 1. By manipulating the nuclear programme of Islamabad, the US imposed various sanctions on Pakistan.

 

But, after the 9/11 tragedy, America, again, needed Pakistan’s help and President George W. Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the status of a non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al-Qaeda militants.

 

Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of supporting the Afghan Taliban. They constantly insisted upon Pakistan to do more against the militants and continued the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring the internal backlash in the country.

 

Reviving the double game as part of anti-Pakistan strategy, President Donald Trump stated in his tweet on January 1, this year, “The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

 

Weeks earlier of this tweet, while, unveiling national security strategy, Trump had said, “We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”

 

In his speech on August 21, 2017, while announcing the US new strategy regarding Afghanistan as part of the policy in South Asia, President Trump, particularly, singled out Pakistan for criticism. Using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Trump stated, “We have been paying Pakistan billions of dollars, at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting…that must change immediately.”

 

Regarding Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump added, “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with Afghanistan.”

 

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a condition to do more against terrorism.

 

Taking cognizance of the latest tweet of President Trump, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders, including all the mainstream political parties united against the US aggressive stance against the country and offered a stark response to Trump’s false accusations. The then Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif remarked, “Terrorist sanctuaries are present in East Afghanistan. It is from these safe havens inside Afghanistan that terrorist attacks are being launched on Pakistan…The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it, they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan…Our land, roads, rail and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed.”

 

According to the earlier statement of the ISPR, “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from the USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

 

While encouraged by the US President Trump, Indian Prime Minister Modi is flowing aggressive diplomacy against Pakistan, and India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

 

And various other developments such as Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

 

Nevertheless, taking note of the Zionist-led US double game, the new government of Pakistan led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is further fortifying country’s relations with Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Ankara. Especially, he will prefer Russia and China over America.

 

It is also of particular attention that two days after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s transit visit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is reaching Islamabad on Friday (September 7, 2018) on a three-day visit. Besides meeting his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Wang is likely to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and president-elect Arif Alvi during his stay in Islamabad to have discussions on bilateral issues with a focus on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

 

We can conclude that the Zionist-led double game has taken the Pak-US relations on the backtrack, and in future, the Russian-led China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey alliance will emerge.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: the US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

Courtesy Veterans Today

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Nuclear Chutzpah By Eric Margolis

Nuclear Chutzpah

By Eric Margolis

May 07, 2018

 

 

 

‘Chutzpah’ is a wonderful Yiddish word that means outrageous nerve, or unmitigated gall.

This week’s Chutzpah Award goes to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Standing in front of props of data files and cd’s, Netanyahu claimed Israel’s renowned Mossad spy agency had stolen a small mountain of secret Iranian nuclear data from a warehouse in Tehran.

The never-understated Netanyahu claimed that the purloined material proved that Iran was lying about having halted its covert nuclear program and must not be trusted.

Netanyahu’s supposed nuclear bombshell was likely the warm-up act for President Donald Trump to reject Iran’s nuclear freeze deal with the US, Russia, China, Germany, and France, blessed by the UN and the European Union. The only thing Trump apparently hates more than Muslims is his predecessor, former President Barack Obama (whom he accused of being a secret Muslim). The Iran nuclear deal was the most important foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration.

Netanyahu repeatedly warned the world about Iran’s alleged nuclear arsenal while making no mention at all of Israel’s own large, secret nuclear arsenal, which is believed to comprise of over 100 warheads, perhaps even several hundred, that can be delivered by aircraft, missiles and submarines. Every Mideast nation can be hit by Israeli nukes as well as Russia, which some experts say is or was on Israel’s target list.

Trump, of course, made no mention of the awkward fact that Israel had stolen much of its nuclear technology and uranium from the United States, sometimes with the connivance of very senior US government officials. France, that paragon of world peace, had the rest.

Listening to Netanyahu accuse Iran of hiding secret nuclear facilities was a pure pot calling the kettle black. Israel’s early nuclear program at Dimona in the Negev desert was entirely concealed from US and UN inspectors, including fake walls in the nuclear complex that completely fooled them. When Netanyahu accused Iran of cheating, he knows of what he speaks.

Most of what Netanyahu ‘revealed’ about Iran’s alleged nuclear program was old stuff, dating back to 1999-2003 and readily available in reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This respected UN agency now reports that Iran has fulfilled all of its commitments and abandoned its earlier nuclear program that did not produce any weapons before it was ended.

But facts don’t matter in this Trump-produced, made-for-TV drama. The key point is that with the naming of Michael Pompeo as US Secretary of State, and appointment of the rightwing fanatic John Bolton as US national security advisor, Israel’s rightwing government has completed its virtual takeover of US Mideast policy. As I’ve previously written, Trump looks more and more like a Trojan Horse for Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

 

Dimona-Israel Nuclear Program-Actual Nuclear Bombs are kept near Airbases such as one around Accor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides Pompeo and VP Mike Pence, both ardent Christian Zionists, and Bolton, Trump now has around him the UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, of Indian origin, who is the darling of the US far right and a handmaiden of arch-pro Israel billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, a major bankroller of the Republican Party. Add in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and, of course, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. In short, an amen-chorus for Israel’s far right.

This American Israel-first coalition has joined Netanyahu’s Likud alliance in pressing for war against Iran. The first skirmishes have already begun with over 100 Israeli air attacks on Syria, ostensibly against Iranian positions. A great propaganda hue and cry against the purported dangers of Iran is being raised in the US and Europe. According to Israel’s right, Assyrian hordes are about to engulf Israel.

 

 

 

 

In reality, Iran has very little offensive power. Like Iraq before it, Iran is militarily dilapidated with 40-year old equipment, a largely grounded air force, little artillery and poor communications. Tehran has a few inaccurate missiles but no nuclear warheads.

Israel’s powerful air force could easily turn any attacking Iranian forces into chopped falafel. Iran’s only strength is defensive, in urban combat or mountainous terrain. Iran has no capability to seriously threaten Israel except by aiding the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in showering northern Israel with light artillery rockets, a nuisance rather than a mortal danger.

Israel is moving to repeat its triumph in 2003 when the Bush administration, US partisans of Israel, and dishonest US media pushed the nation into a war of pure aggression against Iraq. Israel emerged the victor from this unprovoked war and is trying to repeat its success again with Iran.

Overthrowing Iran’s Islamic Republic would leave Israel the unchallenged power in the Mideast.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.https://ericmargolis.com/

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Trump triggers new ‘Great Game’ in South Asia BY ADIL NAJAM

Trump triggers new ‘Great Game’ in South Asia

 

 

Speaking at Fort Myer last week, the president promised that “American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically.” In Afghanistan, it is unlikely to. In South Asia, it already has – in deep but disturbing ways and mostly because of what President Donald Trump had to say about Pakistan.

Here’s how the stakes, consequences and options for each of the major players in South Asia have been transformed.

The speech left Pakistan hurt and angry.

The country’s foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, was livid at President Trump’s threatening tone and words, claiming that his country’s “sacrifices” as an American coalition partner were “disregarded and disrespected.” Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC), which includes both the prime minister and the military chief, echoed the consensus in Pakistan that both Washington, D.C. and Kabul are bent on “scapegoating” Pakistan for their own failures.

 

Remarkably for Pakistan, President Trump seems to have united a deeply divided country. Government, opposition, military and civil society are all equally offended. All point out how Pakistan itself has had to spend many times more of its own resources in fighting America’s war than whatever America may have provided: 70,000 casualties, 17,000 Pakistanis killed; a nation living in constant fear of Taliban terrorism; an economy devastated to the tune of over $100 billion.

Of course, American allegations that Taliban encampments exist in Pakistan are not new. But President Trump has refused to recognize that Pakistan’s struggles to eliminate them are no less challenging than Afghanistan’s or America’s efforts within Afghanistan. This has been seen as particularly disingenuous.

 

 

 

 

Given the timing, tone and especially the fawning overtures toward India, Pakistanis read President Trump’s speech as the newest episode of abandonment from the nation’s longest but most fickle ally.

Privately, Pakistan and the United States have each long considered the other to be equally unreliable. With President Trump signaling that America will now look elsewhere, Pakistan feels compelled to do the same. Both China and Russia have been quick to exploit the chasm, advancing their own deep interests not only in Afghanistan but in greater South Asia.

Even before Pakistan had made any response to President Trump’s speech, the Chinese, already wildly popular in Pakistan for investing heavily in its infrastructure, responded with an official statement calling Pakistan an “all-weather friend” and thanking it for its “great sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism.

Not to miss the opportunity, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, proclaimed that Pakistan is “a key regional player,” the pressurizing of whom could “result in negative consequences for Afghanistan.”

In Pakistan, such statements and the speed with which they came have been viewed as evidence that Pakistan does have choices, i.e., it may be time for Pakistan to move out of the U.S. orbit and seek deeper alliances elsewhere. Pakistan’s foreign minister, for example, immediately postponed his planned visit to Washington. This is not simply to register displeasure, but to gain time to visit other capitals and explore alternative options.

India’s initial reaction, not surprisingly, was to gloat. Its narrative about Pakistan was thoroughly embraced in President Trump’s speech. However, this is a gift horse they are likely to examine more carefully. Being anointed America’s sheriff in South Asia brings with it a new stress to their already-strained relations with China.

It is inevitable for tension to grow between these two Asian behemoths, but India would clearly have preferred to plan out the timing and terms of the escalation itself.

President Trump’s message to India that it “makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan,” is likely to be met with nothing more than a polite smile from New Delhi. There is certainly no likely relieffor the American taxpayer in how much they have to pay to keep dysfunctional governments in Kabul in place even while 40 percent of Afghanistan remains under Taliban control.

But the biggest consequence of President Trump’s South Asia strategy is that it gives India a license to elevate a new proxy conflict with Pakistan in Afghanistan. Pakistan is clearly terrified of being trapped in a pincer squeeze on its eastern and western borders by its arch nemesis, India.

But Afghanistan, as recent statements from its former president, Hamid Karzai, suggest, can also not be thrilled by the prospect of yet another major power becoming entrenched in yet another “Great Game.”

Therein lies what is truly new and frightening in Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy.

For the entirety of the last seven decades – including throughout the Cold War, when India was firmly ensconced as a Soviet ally – the American goal in South Asia was, above all, to maintain regional stability. The aim was to avoid and to actively resist tensions in a region that was a powder keg well before India decided to go rogue with nuclear weapons, and Pakistan followed suit. As of last week, the new American policy is to pit neighbor against neighbor in South Asia.

One day, one hopes, someone will explain to President Trump, like Chinese President Xi Jinping did about why North Korea is “complicated,” why the India-Pakistan relationship really is as fraught with danger as it is.

Meanwhile, an abdication of America’s traditional stabilizing role in South Asia has been announced. Afghanistan that will get kicked around the most, as five of the six largest militaries in the world (China, India, the United States, Russia and Pakistan), all nuclear, jockey for advantage in whatever the new South Asian balance of alliances might become.

Let us all hope that the unimaginable remains unimagined.

Adil Najam is the founding dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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THE GREAT WHITE FATHER COMES TO SAUDI ARABIA by Eric Margolis https://ericmargolis.com

by Eric Margolis

May 27, 2017

 
The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism.
Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle. Here was Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive regimes, hosting the glad-handing US president who hates Islam and the Mideast with an irrational passion.
I was amazed to learn that Trump’s speech to the Arab and African attendees had been written by Great White Father How very bizarre.
Not only that, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, who are also strongly pro-Israel, were with him. So too was the powerful commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, another ardent pro-Israel cabinet member with whom I spent a weekend last year. Billionaire Ross performed the traditional Saudi sword dance with skill and verve.
Listening to Trump and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, blast Iran as the font of terrorism provided another big joke. Trump’s tirade against Tehran was delivered in Saudi Arabia, a feudal monarchy that holds no elections cuts off the heads of some 80-90 people annually, and treats women like cattle. While claiming to be the leader of the Muslim world, the Saudi royal family funds mayhem and extreme Muslim obscurantism through the region. The current wave of primitive violence by some self-professed Muslims – ISIS being the leader – was originally funded and guided by the Saudis in a covert struggle to combat revolutionary Iran. I saw this happen in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Let’s recall 15 of the 18 men who attacked the US on 9/11 were Saudis.
Iran has the freest political system in the Mideast except for Israel). Iranian women have rights and political freedoms that are utterly unknown in Saudi Arabia. Iran just held a fair and open national election in which moderates won. Compare this to Saudi Arabia’s medieval Bedouin society. I was once arrested by the religious police in Jeddah just for walking down a street with an Egyptian lady.
Today, US and British equipped Saudi forces are laying waste to wretched Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation. As a result of a Saudi air, land and sea blockade, the UN now reports that famine has gripped large parts of Yemen. US and British technicians are keeping the Saudi air force flying; the US and Britain supply the bombs.
President Trump arrived with a bag of $110 billion worth of arms (some already approved by the Obama administration), and a promise of $350 billion worth in ten years. There was nothing new about this arms bazaar: for over a decade, the Saudis have bought warehouses of US arms in exchange for keeping oil prices low and fronting for US interests in the Muslim world. Most of these arms remain in storage as the Saudis don’t know how to use them.
Many of America’s most important arms makers are located in politically important US states. The Saudis were so deeply in bed with the Republicans that their former ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar, was known to one and all as ‘Bandar Bush.’ Saudi money and influence have flowed far and wide across the US political landscape. That’s how the Saudis get away with mass killing in Yemen, funding ISIS and ravaging Syria with hardly any peeps of protest from Congress.
By now, it’s perfectly clear that the long secret relationship between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Emirates has finally come into the open. Israel and its rich Arab friends all hate Iran, they oppose Palestinian rights, and fear revolution in the Arab world.
The two most reactionary Arab states, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are now close allies, though they compete over who will lead the Arab world. Neither despotic regime has any right to do so. Trump lauded the Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sissi who overthrew Egypt’s first ever democratically elected government (with Saudi help), gunned down hundreds of protesters, jailed and tortured thousands. Suspects in Egypt are routinely subjected to savage beatings and anal rape.
As I tried to explain in my second book, ‘American Raj,’ the brutal, corrupt regimes we westerners have imposed on the Arab world and Africa are the main cause of what we call ‘terrorism.’ So too the wars we have waged in the region to impose our will and economic exploitation. It’s blowback, pure and simple. So-called terrorism is not at all about Islam as our politicians, led by Trump of Arabia, falsely claim.
But no shoes were thrown at Trump by his audience. They were too scared of their heads being cut off by our democratic ally.
Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

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