Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category CURRENT EVENTS

The USA’s iniquities & failures

The USA’s iniquities & failures

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s history of the US sanctions

Pakistan was touted as the most allied ally of the US but practically it was not since it was the most sanctioned country. The US unjustly imposed sanctions on Pakistan during the 1965 war with India and the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. In early 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on Pakistan suspecting that it was secretly developing a nuclear weapon. Sanctions were removed by Ronald Reagan in June 1981 after he decided to support the holy war against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. He doled out a hefty package of $ 3.5 billion to the military regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and also ignored Pakistan’s manufacture of the bomb in the basement. From 1990 till Sept 2001 Pakistan was once again sanctioned by the US on the plea that it was building an Islamic bomb. Another set of sanctions were levied in May 1998 after Pakistan’s tit-for-tat response to India’s nuclear tests.  

Marriage of convenience

After 9/11, the US befriended Pakistan, lifted the sanctions and promised military and economic assistance in order to achieve its short term objective of occupying Afghanistan. In actuality, it was a marriage of convenience since Pakistan was marked as a target by a host of countries – USA, Israel, India, NATO, and the puppet regime in Kabul. Their six intelligence agencies – CIA, Mossad, RAW, MI-6, BND and NDS sat under one roof in Kabul and hatched conspiracies to make Pakistan a compliant state. RAW assisted by the NDS pioneered the proxy war to destabilize Pakistan. A large number of proxies from within Pakistan were cultivated, moles planted, a large number of NGOs and think tanks deployed and Pakistani media purchased to wage a hybrid war.

Appeasement

The predators succeeded in bleeding Pakistan due to defensive policy and apologetic stance of our leaders. They had to extend a hand of friendship to India and the two US installed regimes in Kabul, highly antipathetic to Pakistan, and involved in biggest covert war ever launched against any country.

Pakistan made no change in its external policy even after the evil designs of the enemies disguised as friends were exposed. Our leaders kept doing more till as late as mid-2017.

Pakistan Army & ISI’s accomplishments

Irrespective of the moral failings of our political leaders, the Pak Army and the ISI safeguarded the integrity and sovereignty of the country superbly. Not only were the conspiracies of six hostile agencies blunted effectively by the ISI, tens of hundreds of attacks were thwarted before they could be executed. All the foreign paid proxies were flushed out of former FATA in 2015. Cleansing of their sleeping cells, handlers and facilitators is going on through Raddul Fasad. There was a time when 3 to 6 terror attacks took place in one day, but now the scale has been reduced substantially.

Another feat which Pakistan has achieved is the erection of double-layer fence along the 2611 km western border to checkmate illegal infiltration. The fence has been beefed up with tower watches, fortified posts at regular intervals, patrolling and effective border management. Its usefulness was seen in the current testing times when the possibility of another influx of Afghan refugees had become a probability.   

The USA’s iniquities

After 9/11, the US listed the freedom movements by the Muslims, and the so-called radical groups in the Muslim countries in the loop of new laws on terrorism and abetment to terrorism but excluded non-Muslims without giving any logical reason. In fact the word terrorism coined by the US was never defined, but any country/group/individual not falling in line was blacklisted.

After forcing Pakistan to cut off relations with Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Sept 2001, and to provide military bases for invading and occupying Afghanistan, Pakistan was deceitfully made a coalition partner of the US-NATO to fight the Global War on Terror as a frontline State. The real motive was to weaken Pakistan so that its nuclear teeth could be extracted.

India didn’t join the club of 48 countries to curb terrorism in Afghanistan, and yet the US chose to make it the central actor in Afghanistan with which it didn’t share boundary, culture or religion. It was given importance since it was willing to undermine Pakistan through terrorism from the Afghan soil.

Pakistan was wrongfully accused, affronted and punished for its uncommitted crimes, but India against whom Pakistan provided tons of concrete evidence of cross border terrorism was never advised or admonished to refrain from immoral practices. Instead, it was richly rewarded for its committed crimes.

Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani (AG) regimes in Kabul, and the NDS were partners in crimes and were also heaped with endowments.

Throughout the 20-year war, the US hypocritically pretended to be a friend, but distrusted Pakistan and branded it as a double-dealer, not realizing that the US couldn’t have waged the longest war without the two NATO supply routes from Torkham and Chaman.   

Washington kept up the pressure on Islamabad by making it ‘Do More’ and never got satisfied, and felt no remorse in levelling unsubstantiated allegations of Pakistan’s complicity with the anti-US terrorist groups.

Pakistan was the only country which defeated terrorism on its soil but suffered the most at the hands of proxies funded, trained and equipped by RAW-NDS and mothered by CIA.

In 2017, when Pakistan said it will not do any more and it was time for others to do more, the swords of the IMF and the FATF were hung over its head and it was once again forced to do more.

India has been violating the FATF rules regarding money laundering, financial terrorism, state terrorism against own minorities as well as against Pakistan at a huge scale. It should have been blacklisted, but it remains white while Pakistan remains in the grey list since 2018 despite meeting 26 of its 27 demands.

India’s defence minister Jaishankar unashamedly disclosed that India was instrumental in keeping Pakistan in the grey list of the FATF. His disclosure proved that the FATF is a politically motivated compromised outfit misused by India and the US.   

India is among the top three countries including the US and Brazil with heaviest Corona infected and death cases while Pakistan’s efforts in keeping the 1st and 2nd waves of Covid-19 in check was praised by the world bodies. Yet the UK put Pakistan in the ‘Red’ list and India was excluded.

The US dismal failures

It was owing to the wicked designs and duplicitous standards of morality practiced by the USA that it lost respect, prestige and honor and suffered a financial loss of $ 2.3 trillion dollars without achieving any of its objectives in Afghanistan. $85 billion worth sophisticated weapons & defence equipment was left behind for use by the Taliban, while five top US defence contractors made huge profits and are the winners.

Except for cosmetic improvements, Afghanistan today is worse than what it was in 2001. Had there been an improvement, the Taliban couldn’t have made a comeback.   

The US couldn’t stop the Afghan Taliban from entering Kabul on August 15, 2021 and its forces had to exit in haste by Aug 31 since the Taliban had the support of the people.

Al-Qaeda was one entity in 2001, and now it has six factions and has a global agenda of change.

The US couldn’t contain the phenomenal economic growth of China, now well-poised to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan.  

The US failed to checkmate the resurgence of Russia, or to tame Iran.

In concert with India, the US intended to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan into four parts, but couldn’t and today Pakistan is militarily much stronger and vibrant.

In violation of the Doha agreement, the US air force provided air support to the beleaguered ANA after the deadline of May 1. When nothing could be achieved, the US tried to stir chaos at the Kabul airport which remained under its control till Aug 31. 

The Taliban on the other hand abided by the Doha agreement, and didn’t strike any target of the foreign troops. Even then, the US slyly held them responsible for the violence and the western media demonized them by circulating fake stories.

Instead of pulling the ears of string-puppet AG to resign and pave the way for an interim setup, the US pressured Pakistan to force the victorious Taliban to accept the unpopular AG as the president and share power.

Rather than being thankful to the Taliban for letting the bulk of the troops exit safely, the US tried to deny the fruits of victory to them.

Liabilities

India proved to be a liability for the USA since it could neither contain China’s growth as an economic power, nor it could face its military power in the clash in the Himalayas, or could suppress freedom movement in J&K.

Likewise, it couldn’t destabilize Pakistan, or help the US and the ANA in combating the surging Taliban. It hastily dismantled its terror infrastructure and consulates in Afghanistan where it has now become an outcast and it’s over $20 billion projects are in jeopardy.

The 300,000 strong well-trained, well-equipped, well-paid and well-fed ANDSF on whom the US had spent $ 1.3 trillion proved to be a big liability for the US. The huge force opposing rag-tag 70,000 foot soldiers collapsed like a house of cards in the face of the lightning offensive of the Taliban.

After Kabul was surrounded by the Taliban fighters on Aug 14, AG fled to UAE on the afternoon of Aug 15 and the ANA bolted. The Taliban fighters had to step in peacefully to fill up the administrative and security vacuums.

Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Zia Massoud based in the tiny enclave of Panjsher claiming to lead the resistance movement, are possibly backed by external powers. The so-called movement would soon fizzle out due to unfavorable circumstances.    

Inconsistent stances

The whole world including Pakistan had stood behind the US in Oct 2001 to decimate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. No stone was left unturned to implement the military strategy based on brute force. No eyebrow was raised over the massive use of tomahawk cruise missiles, B-52 stealth bombers, daisy cutters killing mostly the civilians.

No objections were made on granting immunity to the invaders and opening of torture dens including ghastly Guantanamo Bay or the savagery of Northern Alliance warlords inflicted upon the captives.

The world and the UN vehemently opposed the Iraqi adventure in March 2003, but the US paid no heed and destroyed Iraq and that too on fake charges. No complaints were made over the instigation of sectarian war in Iraq and later stretching the war to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. None has been made accountable for destroying eight Muslim countries and killing 11 million Muslims and displacing millions.      

Once the Taliban encircled Kabul on Aug 14 after capturing all the provincial capitals, the victorious Taliban paid heed to the counsels and neither captured Kabul forcibly, nor they showed inclinations to form an exclusive regime in disregard of the sentiments of the international community and multiple Afghan ethnic minorities. They pardoned all and sundry and there is no talk of trial and punishment.

Despite their changed outlook and humane demeanor, they were repeatedly counselled to refrain from violence, opt for peaceful transfer of power, and not to violate human and women rights. Urban Afghans who had served the occupiers loyally were invited to reach Kabul airport for their safe passage to the USA. Cloak of a saint was worn by the Satan to minimize the negative impact of disgrace it suffered, but this drama also boomeranged on account of a suicide attack by Daesh-K on Aug 25 causing deaths to 175 Afghans and 13 US  Marines.  

Tongue-in-cheek

Finding that the whirlwind offensive of the Taliban was unstoppable and soon they would reach the gates of Kabul, the US with tongue-in-cheek warned them to resolve the tangle politically and not through use of force, and that forcible capture of Kabul or takeover of power will be unacceptable to the international community. The latter (less Russia, China and Iran), hastened to join the rock band of hypocrites.   

While counselling them not to resort to violent practices, and not to re-establish Islamic Emirate by force, the US forgot that the Taliban regime was forcibly toppled in 2001, a puppet regime installed through sham election, an alien constitution imposed, the occupied country was ruled with an iron hand under the barrel of the gun and human rights, international laws were grossly violated and the ISAF soldiers given a license to kill, maim and torture without accountability. They also ignored that whichever region captured by the Taliban was free from reprisals and crimes, and on Aug 16 general amnesty was announced. 

In the backdrop of differing responses of the USA and the Taliban at the height of their glory, the US led west is still branded as civilized and champions of human rights, and the Taliban uncivilized, uncouth and barbarians. In spite of their positive soundbites, Taliban haters say it is too early to draw conclusions.

End of longest war

America’s longest war was officially terminated by the US CentCom Commander Gen Mckenzie on Aug 30. Since Aug 14, 2021, 123,000 people including 6000 Americans were airlifted from Kabul airport. After the departure of the last batch of occupation forces, the Afghans enthusiastically celebrated the independence of their country.

Ironically, the last group of the 8000 US-NATO troops and American nationals airlifted on Aug 30 had to seek a night transit in Islamabad, the most distrusted and abhorred country, instead of the most favored India or any of its airbases in the Arab Gulf States.

The Taliban took control of the security of Kabul airport on the night of Aug 31 and in the next 2-3 days they are expected to set up an inclusive government.  

Takeover of power by the Taliban in Kabul will augur well for the Af-Pak region. Pakistan is looking forward to a safe western border.     

Will lessons be learnt?

Will the USA learn lessons after the great debacle, or its Military Industrial Complex would continue to resort to military adventures in search of greater profits? In my reckoning, until and unless the ones involved in war crimes are put on trial before the ICC and punished, imperialism will not die down in the USA; nor its habit of retributions and interventionism. The Taliban’s $ 9.5 billion in the US central bank remains frozen; amounts required to be released by the World Bank and the IMF for various projects are suspended; hints of sanctions given if the Taliban refuse to cooperate. Daesh-K created in 2015 will possibly be supported by CIA-RAW as can be deciphered from Gen McKenzie statement: “I believe the Taliban are going to have their hands full with Daesh-K”.   

Will the Taliban learn lessons from their mistakes committed during their first tenure from 1996 to 2001 during which they were isolated by the international community and put under sanctions due to their obscurantism and radical behavior, and then toppled, chased and persecuted for two decades? Chances are that they will stand by their commitments by presenting themselves as reformed Taliban, wishing to make the war torn country peaceful and prosperous.

Unlike the past, this time both the Taliban and Iran are moving on the path of conciliation, accommodation and cooperation.  

India will neither learn lessons nor will change its deceitful and injurious posture towards Pakistan and will find new ways to harm its archrival.         

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

,

1 Comment

Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry And Dr Moeed Yousuf Joint Press Conference

, , ,

No Comments

Pakistan successfully test-fires surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi -DAWN-Pakistan

Published August 12, 2021 – Updated about 11 hours ago

ISPR says the training launch was aimed at ensuring operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command, besides re-validating technical parameters of the weapon system. — Photo courtesy: ISPR
ISPR says the training launch was aimed at ensuring the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command, besides re-validating technical parameters of the weapon system. — Photo courtesy: ISPR

Pakistan on Thursday conducted a successful training launch of surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile Ghaznavi, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

According to a statement, the training launch was aimed at ensuring the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) and re-validating technical parameters of the weapon system.

 

As per the military’s media wing, missile Ghaznavi is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to a range of 290 kilometres.

The launch of the ballistic missiles was witnessed by Commander Army Strategic Forces Command Lt Gen Muhammad Ali; senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Army Strategic Forces Command and scientists and engineers of strategic organisations.

Gen Ali appreciated the excellent standard of training, handling of the weapon system and execution of the launch mission in the field by troops.

The president, prime minister, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and the services chiefs also congratulated all ranks of ASFC, scientists and engineers on the successful conduct of the launch.

In February this year, the ASFC had cond­ucted a ‘training launch’ of Ghaznavi as part of its annual field training exercise.

“The missile is equipped with a proper terminal guidance system. In recent years tro­ops from the ASFC have conducted several training launches to check the handling and operating of the complex weapon system,” the ISPR statement had said at the time.

The Ghaznavi missile has been tested in both day and night modes, which indicates the high reliance of Army Strategic Force on this missile since it brings several Indian cantonments and military bases in areas along the border within its range even if launched from central Punjab.

No Comments

Talibanization by Brig(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja, Pakistan Army

Talibanization

Asif Haroon Raja

Taliban movement

 

 

 

In reaction to the infighting and power tussle between the seven warring Mujahideen groups in the aftermath of defeat and ouster of Soviet forces in Feb 1989, the Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar erupted in 1994 in Kandahar, which was his birthplace. By Sept 1996 they managed to take control over 93% of Afghanistan’s territory including Kabul and they established Islamic Emirate. A small toehold in the north was held by Northern Alliance (NA) forces under Ahmed Shah Masood. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE recognized the regime in Kabul, while Russia, the West, Iran and India supported NA. The NA army and air force were trained in Iran by Iranian and Indian instructors.  

Peace restored

Strict Islamic laws helped the Taliban in overpowering warlords and their private militias, eliminating street crimes, rapes, drug trafficking and all other social vices and making the lawless country stable and peaceful. They came on the wrong side of the West due to the restrictions imposed upon the women, their education, dress code and liberal habits. The destruction of Bamiyan statues became another sore point. But it was the cancellation of gas and oil pipelines deal with the UNICAL which broke the camel’s back and the country was put under sanctions by the US in 1997. The Taliban would have continued to rule for a long duration had they not been forcibly toppled by the western forces in Nov 2001.

Talibanization in Pakistan

Like the word ‘Fundamentalism’ coined by the West after the takeover of Iran by an Islamic regime of Imam Khomeini in 1979, the word ‘Talibanization’ was drummed up in the 1990s when a segment of people of FATA and Malakand Division got influenced by the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. Tehrik-Nifaz-Sharia- Muhammadi (TNSM) movement under Sufi Muhammad in Malakand in the early 1990s became so threatening that the Khyber Frontier Corps had to launch an operation in 1994 to subdue them but not before agreeing to their demand of introducing Sharia in that division. Sufi’s son-in-law Fazlullah was the product of TNSM but he later on joined TTP in 2007 and turned Swat into his fiefdom and wreaked havoc.

The initial wave of Talibanization sprouted in FATA in South Waziristan (SW) under Naik Muhammad from the Wazir tribe in 2003, which was in reaction to the deployment of the army in SW. Interestingly, the first batch of regular troops was sent to SW by the then 11 Corps Commander Lt Gen Aurakzai, himself a tribesman. Naik was killed by a US drone in 2004 after he signed a peace deal in a fort in SW with Lt Gen Safdar.

Birth of Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP)

The TTP came into being in Dec 2006 under unknown Baitullah Mehsud, hailing from the Mehsud belt in SW, which had its tentacles in all the seven agencies of FATA, and each TTP chapter under a different commander. Hafiz Gul Bahadar of the Othman Wazir tribe was commander in North Waziristan (NW). His one-legged cousin Abdullah Mehsud who had lost his leg in the Afghan Jihad was released from Gitmo after staying there for two and a half years. He too took to militancy but operated outside the zone of Baitullah. He died in a crossfire in Zhob in 2007.  

Taliban-TTP empathy

A tacit understanding was developed between the Afghan Taliban and the TTP, the former confining their battle to Afghanistan and the TTP to Pakistan. Logically, the TTP should have targeted NATO containers and CIA/FBI agents deployed in FATA and American targets to help the Afghan Taliban to achieve their mission. Instead, they targeted Pak security forces, Khasadars, police stations, government officials, schools, jails, and barber and music shops.

Once their sphere of influence spread to urban centres, they targeted ISI setups, GHQ, Naval HQ, Kamra base, Mehran naval base, FIA HQ, and many other sensitive installations apart from the wave of suicide bombings and IEDs.

The TTP came in the bad books of the people once it was recognized that their claim of establishing Islamic Nizam was a farce, and they were on the payroll of foreign agencies and had created lawlessness in the tribal belt at their behest. When Baitullah was killed by the US drone in August 2009, he had left behind more than $ one billion stashed in his in-law’s house. 

The TTP command and communication infrastructure under Hakimullah Mehsud was busted and all its leaders and fighters were pushed out of Pakistan in 2015. To stop infiltration of terrorists, over 90% of fencing of the western border has been completed and border management vastly improved.

Although the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are of the same stock and creed, in practice there is a vast difference. While the former is not purchasable, the leaders and the led both lead a Spartan life strictly by Islamic injunctions, and have been fighting for a just cause to free their land from the illegal occupiers and to get rid of the collaborators, the latter is devoid of scruples and they fought for dollars and are playing into the hands of adversaries of Pakistan.

Views of moderates in Pakistan

With high prospects of the Afghan Taliban returning to power, fears are being expressed in certain quarters about the possibility of re-emergence of the phenomenon of Talibanization in the Pashtun belts of KP and Baluchistan.

The moderates in Pakistan brand the two entities as two sides of the same coin and strongly feel that both have been operating in unison with common goals. Their suspicion has increased since the Taliban who are now in control of 85% of Afghanistan’s territory including most of the crossing/transit points with neighbours, so far they have not taken any step to rein in the TTP and their affiliates, all residing in Taliban dominated districts/provinces.

However, the good news is that the Taliban have given an assurance to Pakistan that the TTP will not be allowed to carry out cross border terrorism. I have a hunch that, like the call given to the estranged Baloch leaders, a similar call could be given to the TTP leaders once the Taliban hold the reins of power in Kabul.

Irrespective of the assurances, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi stated on July 10th that, “We do not want Talibanization of our country”. The Islamists and conservatives have interpreted his statement that what he implied was that we do not want Islamization of Pakistan, and would like it to remain a secular country with Islam in name only. Sherry Rehman and NSA Moeed Yusaf attending the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs nodded in agreement and were all smiles.

New Taliban more seasoned than old Taliban

Learning from their last offensive drive from 1994 to 1996 in which they moved upwards from Kandahar in southern Afghanistan towards other parts of the country, it had enabled the NA to fall back to Northern Afghanistan and hold on to Panjsher Valley which couldn’t be captured by the Taliban. This time they changed their strategy and focused more on northern parts and today are in control of greater numbers of its districts including Sher Khan Killi, a transit point to Tajikistan.  

With 85% territory in their control and 28 out of 34 provinces in their bag, five out of six transit points including Islam Qila opposite Iran seized and having gained dominance over the major highways, militarily they are in a very strong position and they are smelling victory.

Although they have encircled all the capital cities and major urban centres, they are in no hurry to attack and capture them since it would entail bloodshed. What they seem to be doing is to choke the cities by disallowing food and arms supplies to the defending armed soldiers and force them to voluntarily surrender. This is in line with their announced policy that they will not allow further bloodshed of the Afghans.  

Poor fight back by ANA and Taliban’s affability

The world was taken by surprise when they saw the well-trained and equipped ANA troops surrendering to the Taliban at several places without putting up a fight. The Americans had spent over $ 80 billion to prepare them to be able to fight with the Taliban on their own, but all seem to have gone to waste.

What surprised the world the most was the polite and sanguine behaviour of the victorious Taliban after every victory! They welcomed the surrendering troops, called them their brothers, treated them with respect and not a single case of killing, torture or degradation took place. In fact, they have assured the uniformed personnel that once they return to power they will be re-employed. All the administrative units, schools, hospitals etc. are functioning and none have been closed.

The Taliban have learnt a lot of lessons in the longest war and are playing their cards sensibly and are quite different to what they were during their previous rule of 5 years. The sagacity and maturity of the Taliban can be gauged from the way they kept the prongs of military, political and diplomacy in step with each other. They are in touch with all the regional countries and have assured them that the minorities’ rights will be protected. They already had prolonged negotiations with the US which resulted in the Doha agreement. They may like to maintain diplomatic relations with India, but a clear message has been given to India that clandestine operations in Pakistan will not be accepted. Another good news is that dejected India has closed six of the seven consulates in Afghanistan that were wholly involved in covert operations against Pakistan.

With their humane and sanguine outlook, the Taliban are winning the hearts and minds of the people across the country and are treating all sections of the society regardless of ethnic and sectarian divisions with respect. The neighbours of Afghanistan are also dealing with the Taliban wisely and are extending their support instead of exerting pressure.

Last-ditch effort

To bolster the sagging spirits of the ANSF and the urbanites, warlords Like Ismail Khan, a Tajik once known as the lion of Herat, are flexing their muscles and egged on by the spoilers, they are collecting their militias to recover the lost districts in conjunction with the ANA. Some processions of non-Pashtuns chanting anti-Taliban slogans were taken out. Segments of women in some cities also paraded on the streets carrying guns and shouting slogans against the Taliban. These efforts are too late in point of time and would fizzle out in the face of high momentum gained by the Taliban.  

While the spoilers are circulating their gloomy narratives painting the Taliban as barbarians and depicting the onset of civil war, India after flying out all its RAW operatives from Bagram airbase in military planes in panic, used these planes for dropping huge quantities of arms and ammunition in Kandahar where fighting is going on and Indian consulate has been closed. This shoddy effort must have displeased the Taliban and would be the last consignment from India.     

Ground realities

Americans will not return to Afghanistan, and sooner than later they will ditch the regime they had installed in Kabul. The days of the tumbling Kabul regime are numbered and in anticipation of what is likely to happen, the family of Ashraf Ghani and friends have flown to Dubai with bags and baggage. The future of the Afghan ANA is dark since it has little stomach to fight. Military morale will be key to the survival of the Ghani regime. It is pinning all hopes on Pakistan to convince the Taliban to share power. The spirits of the Taliban are upbeat, momentum is clearly on their side and they are pressing their advantage. Afghans living in major cities are suffering from fear psychosis and are keen to leave the country. The Taliban are no more isolated and they have a long list of well-wishers. Their return to power is a foregone conclusion and so is the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, with some modifications in consultation with the people. Islamic system and not the Republic will restore peace and order in the war-ravaged country. Attempts to capture cities might start after the exit of the last batch of foreign troops by August 31. It is to be seen whether Turkey or China sends the peacekeeping force and takes control over the Kabul airport. China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran will fill the power vacuum left by the USA.

Pakistan’s vacillating responses

Pakistan’s concerted efforts to make Afghanistan peaceful was praiseworthy and was acknowledged by the USA. However, when the pendulum swung in the favor of the Taliban, its responses became wayward. We are now saying that we have no favourites, but are more receptive to the unpopular Kabul regime which is reviled by the great majority of Afghans and is anti-Pakistan. We are singing the tunes of the defeated USA and the spoilers which are advocating a broad-based government inclusive of the Ghani-Abdullah regime and run on 2004 US-made constitution. We are in favour of the Republic over an Islamic Emirate. In the same breath, we say, the solution will have to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and none else and it is the people of Afghanistan who will decide which form of government they would like.

In this regard, the Taliban who are standing near the victory stand and the trophy is within their grasping reach, is promising that the future system of government will be by the wishes of the people. And yet we are trying to look saner and shrewder than the Taliban and are tutoring them as to what will be good and bad for their country for which they have given immense sacrifices.

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy-Al Jazeera

 

 

 

 

 

Shah Mahmud Qureshi is expressing apprehensions over the possibility of the breakout of civil war in Afghanistan, while Moeed Yusaf lamented that Pakistan had no control over the worsening situation in Afghanistan. Fears of civil war, refugee influx, more instability and bloodshed are the narratives of the spoilers of peace that need to be discouraged rather than encouraged.

While the US utterly failed to make Afghanistan peaceful and stable, prospects of the Taliban achieving yet another milestone are brighter.

The idea of a broad-based government

If the idea of broad-based government was so good, why was it not implemented before signing the Geneva Accord as sought by Gen Ziaul Haq in 1988? Why the mighty USA couldn’t do so in its 20 years stay? Why are we so fearful of the Islamic system and that too in a neighbouring country where it was successfully implemented for five years and during that time Pakistan enjoyed the best of relations and its western border was the safest?

Need for introspection

Are our parliamentary system and Anglo Saxon laws in vogue perfect and most suited to the psyche of our people? Is it not a fact that the great majority in Pakistan strive for an Islamic system since so-called democracy has given nothing to the common people, but it has never been tried even for experimental sake? If so, how come and on what moral grounds we are giving our suggestions to the Taliban about the form of government when the US couldn’t convince them? When we admit that we have very little influence over the Taliban, then why are we meddling in their affairs by issuing imprudent and unproductive statements off and on merely to show our importance?

Have we ever objected to China, Saudi Arabia and Iran for their failings in democracy and level of tolerance? Could our leaders dare tell the USA that its policies are highly unjust and discriminatory and that it failed to honour the Doha agreement, or to remind the US that it is responsible for making the world unsafe? I am sure we are cautioning the Taliban merely to please the US. Why can’t our leaders come out of the magic spell of the untrustworthy double-dealing USA which will again betray and harm Pakistan to lessen its grief over the loss of Afghanistan? We shouldn’t rule out the possibility of the USA recognizing the future Taliban government quickly. Zalmay Khalilzad has once again been dispatched to liaise with the Taliban. The marooned Ghani might agree to climb down the high horse and give up his wish to stay as president till the next elections.

Way forward

Isn’t it time for our policymakers to sit with the Chinese, Russian and Iranian leaders and chalk out a comprehensive plan on how to keep the spoilers at bay and how to help the Taliban in overcoming the last hurdles smoothly, and how to go about developing war-torn Afghanistan? The early takeover of power by the Taliban will disperse the darkened clouds of uncertainty, will stop the rumour mills churning out false stories and narratives, and will put to rest the conspiracies of the spoilers. CPEC is the key to removing the regional socio-economic deprivations and bringing stability.

, ,

No Comments

New LNG deal signed with Qatar

New LNG deal signed with Qatar

Under the 10-year accord Pakistan to import LNG at rate of 10.2% of Brent


ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan signed a 10-year new agreement with Qatar on Friday to import 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) at cheaper rate.

Under the deal, Pakistan will import 200 mmcfd LNG in first year, and quantity would be increased to 400mmcfd in the next two years. The government says that the price is 31% less than the LNG deal signed with Qatar in 2015 by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

The PML-N government had signed the deal for 500mmcfd in 2015 at a rate 13.37% of Brent. However, the current PTI government has signed the agreement at a rate of 10.20% of Brent for import of 200 mmcfd LNG.


ISLAMABAD:Pakistan signed a 10-year new agreement with Qatar on Friday to import 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) at cheaper rate.

Under the deal, Pakistan will import 200 mmcfd LNG in first year, and quantity would be increased to 400mmcfd in the next two years. The government says that the price is 31% less than the LNG deal signed with Qatar in 2015 by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

The PML-N government had signed the deal for 500mmcfd in 2015 at a rate 13.37% of Brent. However, the current PTI government has signed the agreement at a rate of 10.20% of Brent for import of 200 mmcfd LNG.

After the signing ceremony, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar said Qatar would provide LNG at the lowest rate, following successful joint efforts by the political and military leaderships.

“Today we have signed a very important agreement with Qatar,” Babar said, while sharing with the media persons the details of the agreement, which was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister House.

The 10-year new agreement, beginning January next year, will deliver initially two ships per month – around 200 mmcfd – and then go up to 4 ships per month — 400mmcfd. The previous contract was for 15 years, beginning with 1 ship per month – 100mmcfd – and going up to five ships a month.

The agreement signed by the last PML-N government had a clause regarding the price review after 10 years that had invited lot of criticism. However, the fresh LNG contract had a clause for price review after 4 years.

Babar said the average price of total spot purchases stood at 11.9% of Brent, adding that the new price of 10.2% of Brent was still 15-16% lower. He maintained that it would ensure price stability and affordability along with supply security.

Based on the volume of new contract, Babar said that Pakistan would pay around $316million less compared to same volume under the existing long-term contract. He added that this had been calculated at $3 billion during the next 10 years.

“Pakistan is providing letters of credit (LCs) worth $170 million under the past contract. It will furnish $84 million under the new contract that amounts to almost half,” he said. “Total supplies under the fresh contract could be about 3 million tonnes against around 3.75 million tonnes of contracted quantities,” he added.

“The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will import the LNG from Qatar under the new deal as well, but flexibility has also been incorporated in the contract in case import order is to be assigned to Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL),” he said.

Babar said that the fresh supplies would replace the existing long-term contract with the Gunvor Company that expired in December. Another contract with the PLL will expire in 14 months. “So, the new two cheaper ships will replace two expensive ships,” he added.

The special assistant to the prime minister further said that the new contract would become operational in January, 2022 but added that it also provided for at least one additional shipment “in December this year if need so arise”.

Babar said the process to strike the deal was started around two years ago, when he had accompanied the prime minister during his first visit to Qatar. He added that the agreement was discussed at the highest level of the government.

“It is correct that the deal was discussed at the highest level of the government. The prime minister himself had talked to the Amir of Qatar thrice. It took long time to strike the deal at 10.2% of the Brent, which is the lowest publicly-known contract in the world today.”

Responding to a question, he said that Pakistan’s military leadership also had dynamic relations with Qatar, which had been facilitating in Afghan peace talks. “Both the military leadership and the political leadership have the common interest to do things which are in the larger interest of the nation and it was also one of such joint efforts,” he added.

After the signing ceremony, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar said Qatar would provide LNG at the lowest rate, following successful joint efforts by the political and military leaderships.

“Today we have signed a very important agreement with Qatar,” Babar said, while sharing with the media persons the details of the agreement, which was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister House.

The 10-year new agreement, beginning January next year, will deliver initially two ships per month – around 200 mmcfd – and then go up to 4 ships per month — 400mmcfd. The previous contract was for 15 years, beginning with 1 ship per month – 100mmcfd – and going up to five ships a month.

The agreement signed by the last PML-N government had a clause regarding the price review after 10 years that had invited lot of criticism. However, the fresh LNG contract had a clause for price review after 4 years.

Babar said the average price of total spot purchases stood at 11.9% of Brent, adding that the new price of 10.2% of Brent was still 15-16% lower. He maintained that it would ensure price stability and affordability along with supply security.

Based on the volume of new contract, Babar said that Pakistan would pay around $316million less compared to same volume under the existing long-term contract. He added that this had been calculated at $3 billion during the next 10 years.

“Pakistan is providing letters of credit (LCs) worth $170 million under the past contract. It will furnish $84 million under the new contract that amounts to almost half,” he said. “Total supplies under the fresh contract could be about 3 million tonnes against around 3.75 million tonnes of contracted quantities,” he added.

“The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) will import the LNG from Qatar under the new deal as well, but flexibility has also been incorporated in the contract in case import order is to be assigned to Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL),” he said.

Babar said that the fresh supplies would replace the existing long-term contract with the Gunvor Company that expired in December. Another contract with the PLL will expire in 14 months. “So, the new two cheaper ships will replace two expensive ships,” he added.

The special assistant to the prime minister further said that the new contract would become operational in January, 2022 but added that it also provided for at least one additional shipment “in December this year if need so arise”.

Babar said the process to strike the deal was started around two years ago, when he had accompanied the prime minister during his first visit to Qatar. He added that the agreement was discussed at the highest level of the government.

“It is correct that the deal was discussed at the highest level of the government. The prime minister himself had talked to the Amir of Qatar thrice. It took long time to strike the deal at 10.2% of the Brent, which is the lowest publicly-known contract in the world today.”

Responding to a question, he said that Pakistan’s military leadership also had dynamic relations with Qatar, which had been facilitating in Afghan peace talks. “Both the military leadership and the political leadership have the common interest to do things which are in the larger interest of the nation and it was also one of such joint efforts,” he added.

, ,

No Comments