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Shaheen Sehbai reveals it all – The Express Tribune, Pakistan

Shaheen Sehbai reveals it all

By Monitoring Desk

Published: May 1, 2016

Shaheen Sehbai. PHOTO: FILE

Senior journalist Shaheen Sehbai has revealed that he was not shown the report in which the newspaper purported that the International Council for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) mistakenly included Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name in the Panama Papers before it was filed.

Speaking to a panel comprising Express-News anchors Imran Khan and Gharida Farooqi, and Daily Express Group Editor Ayaz Khan after resigning as the group editor of The News on Saturday, Sehbai said his reports at The News were radically changed without his permission.

According to Sehbai, the CEO and group editor-in-chief of the Jang Group, Mir Shakeelur Rehman, was waging a battle for ‘civilian ascendancy’. He said Jang Group’s ‘Aman Ki Asha’ initiative was considered a bad move among military circles, but “we insisted
that all this was done with full knowledge of the military leadership”.

“We were ashamed of certain decisions taken by my organization and I now realize that the Jang Group promoted its own perception and angled all news according to its own need,” Sehbai said. He added that the Jang Group was facing a lot of issues for a very long time.

 

 

Shaheen Sehbai. PHOTO: FILE

 

 

 

 

Sehbai said the most recent difference between him and the Jang Group cropped up when the latter ran a story claiming that ICIJ had included Premier Nawaz’s name in the Panama Papers by mistake. “My objection on this issue was that I was neither consulted nor shown the report before publishing it,” the veteran journalist said.

“I was not told about this report at all. Such moves usually took place after midnight and usually orders from the top were accompanied by ‘suggestions’ about which news was to be accommodated wherein the newspaper,” he added.

The news report in question, according to Sehbai, was just a ‘one-liner’ correction which was followed by a letter from Daniyal Aziz and was arranged in the shape of a news report.

Things were micromanaged at his previous organization, he said, adding that orders from the top usually not only included ‘hints’ at the placement of even single-column news items but also which report was to be radically edited too.

“When editors reviewed the newspaper in the morning, they realized just how much of their news reports made it in the paper and how much they were edited out.”

Sehbai said that while Mir Shakeel claimed he was waging a battle for civilian ascendancy, “I was ashamed of the way my previous employer came out in defense of the current government.”

“Owners of the Jang Group have a clear-cut view on what sort of news reports and editorials are to appear in their newspaper. They view everything in accordance with their own perspective and print newspaper in line with their own viewpoint every day. Everything is determined by the group’s owners,” he said.

“Over the past two years, I had been facing a number of issues with the group owners. When the incident involving Hamid Mir occurred, I was with Mir Shakeelur Rehman in Dubai and I advised him not to adopt such an aggressive posture, but he said that a clash between the military and civilians is bound to happen and that I should not interfere,” Sehbai said.

“And everyone witnessed whatever happened afterward. My differences on policy matters began from that time, I kept telling him not to pursue the course of action he had chosen. The mind of Mir Shakeelur Rehman may contain a host of disparate agendas, but he had some views of his own too,” he added.

“When I joined Jang Group, talks were going on for the ‘Aman Ki Asha’ project and some people from the Times of India visited us. At that time, I explicitly told them that I would not join this effort,” the veteran journalist said.

According to Sehbai, the restriction on Geo transmission during the Musharraf regime and Hamid Mir’s attack haunted Mir Shakeelur Rehman’s mind.

“When the attack on Hamid Mir happened, he (Mir Shakeel) told me that he believed that his group was destined to control military supremacy and establish civilian ascendancy. Right after the Hamid Mir incident, I tried my best to normalize the situation,” he said.

“I even apologized on behalf of my employer, but I believe we were not entirely forgiven. During this period, other issues kept cropping up and lastly, the disclosures contained in the Panama Papers hit the media. We should have maintained a balanced approach in handling this issue, but the way my group emerged, defending the government, I was utterly embarrassed.”

“I am in Washington, facing a lot of criticism. So many people have approached me, asking what is happening with my newsgroup? I gave them their phone numbers and told them to ask the owners themselves. I have no idea what the media group is reaping or hopes to reap in return for supporting the government, except, of course, government advertisements,” he added.

Sehbai said ads in Jang Group publications completely dried up after the Hamid Mir incident and the subsequent standoff between the group and the military. “At that time, the current government had supported the group. They even tried to calm the military and told them not to entirely kill the group economically. They should have considered the truce negotiated by the government as a boon,” he said.

“I don’t know if there is a connection between the ban on the Pakistani movie ‘Maalik’ and Indian movie ‘Fan’. I have no idea. But I know this much that one film is supported by one group while the other has been released by another.”

Regarding ‘Aman ki Asha’, Sehbai said the project which began with much fanfare died off completely when the group hit bad times. “Mir Shakeelur Rehman and the Jang Group earnestly want to establish good relations with India and its film industry. They also want to establish their network in India. They want their channel to be freely viewed in India. However, their wish is yet to be realized,” he said.

“The group has so far avoided a direct civilian-military clash, but editorials and the display of news reports reflect such a situation. If there is a debate on the civilian-military relationship, the group would always advocate civilian ascendancy, even when civilian leadership is in the wrong,” he added.

“I had reduced writing reports in view of the group’s policies, and most of the times I felt that my write-ups were not welcome or I was told to incorporate a certain point of view,” Sehbai said.

“Over the past few years, I stayed away from appearing on Geo TV and they also did not call me for my views, but I was invited on other channels where I gave my views,” he added.

Regarding the impact of his move, Sehbai said: “Nothing will happen after my resignation. It will not result in any revolution. I have no illusions. My resignation would not force people out on the streets. Nothing like this will ever happen. I was contacted by a lot of my colleagues, asking me to tell them what to do. I have told all of my colleagues to continue to work if allowed to do so with complete editorial independence, if not they should decide for themselves. I believe a journalist should basically uphold the truth at all cost. “

In his resignation letter submitted earlier, Sehbai complained that the Jang Group was “unnecessarily engaged in a dangerous conflict with national institutions”.

“I feel that I can no longer sustain the moral and ethical pressure as group editor [of the News], justifying decisions which were not taken by me but which have caused immense damage to the credibility and financial stability of the newspaper,” wrote Sehbai.

“I find the policies of the newspaper lop-sided, heavily tilted politically and unnecessarily engaged in a dangerous conflict with national institutions, especially at a time when the country is at war with terrorists, their supporters and financiers, and the corrupt elements in all spheres of society who are using money looted through corruption to fight the state,” he stated in the letter.

“I may also add that in formulating and implementing these self-defeating policies, the views and suggestions of professional editors at all levels, including myself, have been consistently ignored,” the senior journalist added.

Referring to Mir Shakeelur Rehman, Sehbai wrote: “As editor-in-chief, it is your right to run the newspaper as you like, but for professional journalists, there is always a limit to which they can go along. I know many editors feel the same way, but I have decided to call it a day today.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2016.

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NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored by Waqas Ahmed in https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/

NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored

In 2010-11, Wikileaks released a trove of classified US govt data which consisted of communications between Washington and her embassies worldwide – this was called Cablegate.Cablegate consisted of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables – an overwhelming amount of data. In the same year (2011) Pakistani journalists published a story about one cable of particular interest: #09ISLAMABAD1642_a, classified ‘secret’ by US govt.

There was some noise about this cable back then, but the public quickly forgot it and it remained forgotten till a few days ago when Wikileaks tweeted about it and reminded us.

 

 

This particular cable details a series of meetings held in 2009 between the then Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik, the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani with US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. The purpose of these meetings, from the US side at least, was to “Offer DHS assistance to enhance Pakistan’s border security and [seek] GOP views on an arrangement under which DHS would provide the Government of Pakistan (GOP) with technology to access and analyze Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on passengers flying to and from Pakistan, in return for DHS getting access to the data.

What is API and PNR?

Advance Passenger Information is, in simple terms, information about the passenger who is traveling overseas. Suppose you are traveling to UAE, a country that requires API from Pakistani passengers, you will need to provide the following data about yourself prior to boarding your flight:

  • Full name
  • Passport number, issuing country, and expiration date
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality

This information will be connected to your PNR, which is a unique ID identifying you as a passenger on a flight. This information will be received by your destination country so they could investigate your past criminal history (if any) before they allow you in that country. To do that, they will use yourAPIinformation to search their own country’s database and check if you are clean or not. Without connecting API to the database of a host country, API is useless.

United States DHS, in the cable under discussion, wanted to provide us with such a tool which would connect API to NADRA database for the purpose of analysis, and in theory, give us a heads-up if a terrorist was traveling to or from our country. The United States, it seems benevolently, wanted to give us this technology for free – with only one catch: they would be able to access the data from our side. And not just the data of passengers traveling from the US to Pakistan or vice versa, they would be able to access data of passengers from all countries going to and from Pakistan. To make it all useful, the API technology would have to be connected to NADRA database, therefore, in a way US would also get an interface to NADRA database.

Why was US pushing for API technology?

The US was pushing Pakistan to install this technology for the obvious reason that they wanted the data. It is a good rule-of-thumb to remember that if something supposedly valuable is being given to you for free, you must be doubly suspicious.

But there was something else that was going on at that time.

At that time Pakistan was in the process of phasing out an old system provided to NADRA by an American company for a similar purpose. That system was called‘Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). NADRA aimed to phase out that system by 2011 and instead install a new indigenously made one: Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).

PISCES was installed in 1999-2002 when Lt Gen (r) Moinuddin Haider was the Interior Minister under Musharraf’s govt. But listen to this: While IBMS cost us around Rs421 million to implement, PISCES was free. Why?

Here is a clue: PISCES was made by US firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Booz Allen Hamilton was Snowden’s employer for those of you who can’t recall where you heard that name. Booz Allen Hamilton was an NSA contractor and that is enough to reach the conclusion that PISCES had a backdoor that allowed US to access all Pakistani data connected to it. Moinuddin Haider rubbished, at that time, any claims that PISCES had a backdoor – but in hindsight after Snowden leaks, it is highly improbable that PISCES was clean. Another clue is that US State dept wanted to give us $42 million (free) to upgrade and maintain PISCES and abandon all attempts to make something similar on our own. Here is an Express Tribune article (which was affiliated with New York Times at that time) telling us why IBMS sucks in comparison to PISCES.

The shady dealings with PPP govt of Asif 

When US was pushing API on us, we were getting rid of PISCES, and I suspect, it was because of this exact reason API was being pushed on us.

How did the PPP-led govt react to that? While the behavior of PPP govt remains highly suspect, we can see in the same cable that Rehman Malik was being very slippery in his dealings with Ms. Napolitano.

According to the cable: On API/PNR, Interior Minister Malik assured the Secretary privately that the GOP wanted to be helpful, but in the meeting with his subordinates asked for information on model agreements, legal frameworks and precedents the Ministry could use to persuade those in the GOP worried about privacy rights and possible legal challenges in the courts to API/PNR data sharing. The GOP agreed to host future DHS visitors to continue discussions on API/PNR and border security. It is obvious that while Rehman Malik was being cooperative in front of US govt, he also wanted to protect his own behind and was trying to be extremely careful.

Not only that, the PPP govt at every turn tried to get something out of the US in return and in a way put a price on the private data of Pakistani citizens. In every meeting they tried to couple PNR/API issue with: Pakistani textile exports to US, non-stop PIA flights to US, and a few hundred Pakistani students receiving scholarships in the US. Rehman Malik also tried to make excuses by saying that overreaching Pakistani judiciary would never allow such a thing.

On the other hand, Napolitano was even more stubborn:
Secretary Napolitano responded that the United States now wishes to deal with non-stop flights separately from the issue of API/PNR data exchange, and explained that enhanced access to API/PNR data is of direct benefit to Pakistan as well as to the United States. Prime Minister Gilani echoed Zardari’s comments on PNR, stating that, although the Interior Ministry is considering the U.S. request, to “do the whole world” will be difficult. To Gilani’s statement that Pakistan had been promised non-stop flights in return for buying Boeing aircraft in 2004, Secretary Napolitano was clear that flights will be dealt with as a separate issue, not as an exchange.

While in all these discussions the pretext is Pakistani border security, it is obvious that both parties know exactly what is going on: That the US wants Pakistani data, and Pakistan, while not unwilling to provide access to that data, wants a ‘consideration’, i.e something in return. And without any potential political blowback.

Make no mistake, at no point did Rehman Malik or Gilani or Zardari say an outright “NO”. They wanted to put some sort of price on this invaluable data, something that would protect them from political repercussions. However, it seems that these discussions did not bear any fruits at that time. We don’t know the reason – there is no cable that follows up on this one.

Enter another shadowy company: International Identity Services (IIS)

On September 6, 2011, The News published a report that NADRA was out sourcing its UK operations to a private company. This news in itself would’ve been outrageous but the details were even more so: IIS was headed by an unnamed person with a criminal history. Not only that, but NADRA officials maintained that NADRA was working with the company since 2009, when in fact IIS was created the very same year, and maybe for the very same purpose.

IIS was formed in 2009, and closed its operations in just 5 years.
IIS was formed in 2009 and closed its operations in just 5 years.

There could be two reasons for such a discrepancy: Either some officials at NADRA or Interior Ministry were planning to receive kickbacks from that company made by someone close to them, or this company was a front for NSA/CIA/GCHQ. IIS, even more suspiciously, stopped its operations in 2014 – in just 5 years and disappeared off the face of this earth.

Is NADRA data safe?

In short: NO, NADRA data is not safe. Even one outsourced company or country that can access NADRA database through any interface can potentially steal the whole database. They might not even have to steal because we have people in our government, supposedly custodians of our national interests, willing to sell such invaluable national asset such as the database of the whole populace in exchange for pennies then all bets are off. We do not know, and we may never know, how much of our data has been compromised. But one thing we know for sure is that we cannot trust our government, elected or otherwise.

One thing we see in the cable is that Rehman Malik and Co were afraid of public outrage. When this cable first surfaced, there was little to no great public backlash. If there is no adverse reaction, future governments may get bold. Let’s make sure that there is no such misunderstanding between public representatives and the public. Wikileaks has given us another chance to consider our reactions against those who claim to represent us but actually do not. Let’s give it to them.

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Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed is Editor, Digital Media, at Daily Pakistan Global. You can reach him at waqas@dailypakistan.com.pk

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Rejoinder to Imtiaz Alam by Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

Imtiaz Alam

aka

ghaddar

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoinder to Imtiaz Alam

Asif Haroon Raja

Imtiaz Alam is a senior journalist who writes articles and hosts programs on TV channels. He also heads SAFMA, a dubious organization which reportedly is sponsored by RAW. SAFMA in league with Aman ki Asha, another shady organization co-hosted by Jang-Geo Group and Indian media group is also patronized by RAW. The two have been working in tandem to improve Indo-Pakistan relations and to promote peace and friendship between the two arch rivals. Notwithstanding the apparent noble intentions, in practical terms the duo has always been espousing the cause of India and undermining Pakistan. In a subtle manner a message conveyed that it is futile for Pakistan to stand up against the military might of India, which is five times superior and its economy is shining. Alam says India has more than eight times bigger economy in terms of GDP and will become 3rd largest economy in next three decades. Its defence spending is 1.8% of its GDP and defence budget now stands at $50 billion a year. In contrast, Pakistan in his view is out in the cold.

The message given by him and his ilk is to accept the ground reality and succumb to India’s demand of accepting its regional hegemony and to forget about Kashmir by accepting the Line of Control (LoC) as a permanent border between the two Kashmirs. Only then will the two can live as peaceful and friendly neighbors and peace will help the two to prosper economically. The two groups have all along blamed Pakistan for maintaining an aggressive posture on Kashmir and promoting Jihadi culture in Kashmir by supporting non-state actors to bleed India. Alam says that successive governments of Pakistan have been taking a cyclic course of an arms race with India. He has advised Pakistani leaders to say no to arms race to avoid self-immolation. The two suspicious outfits have gone underground ever since extremist BJP under a terrorist Narendra Modi has gained power in India and embarrassed India’s farce of secularism, which had kept the world fascinated and impressed for a very long time.

Imtiaz Alam is a committed Indian fan and being a secular has derided Islamists in Pakistan, dubbing all of them as extremists and terrorists. In the past, he always criticised Pak Army and ISI, saying they have been using Jihadis as their strategic assets. He also criticises government’s policies on Kashmir, defence, nuclear, or its dealings with India. His write-ups in newspapers and stance on electronic media testifies his bent of mind. In his recent article “When will we say no to the arms race” dated May 19, 2016 in ‘The News’, he has twisted facts of Indo-Pak history to berate Pakistan’s military rulers in particular and to project India in good light.

He contends that Pakistan joined western military blocks to counter balance India but doesn’t highlight the distressing circumstances under which Pakistan was created and the plethora of problems loaded upon newly born state by India to ensure its death in the crib. He didn’t mention about India gobbling up 565 princely states including two-thirds Kashmir and the states wanting to join Pakistan, annexation of Sikkim, Diu and Goa after 1947 and its threatening posture against Pakistan which impelled Pakistan to seek security under the umbrella of western pacts.

He callously mentions that Pakistan relied upon non-state actors from the beginning and used them in 1948 war in Kashmir. This is travesty of truth. Going by Partition plan, Kashmir was to become part of Pakistan, but it was annexed by Indian military in October 1947. But for the voluntary dash of tribesmen from FATA, whole of Kashmir would have been seized by India. Pakistan government had no role or control over the tribesmen who had gone there to save the Muslim Kashmiris getting massacred by Dogra Army. Ever since Kashmir has become the bone of contention between the two neighbors and the two have gone to war in 1965 and in 1971.

Alam contends that Indian military’s drubbing at the hands of Chinese in 1962 conflict encouraged Ayub Khan to launch Operation Gibraltar in August 1965, which then triggered 1965 war. Why he hesitates to write that Ayub Khan didn’t exploit the precarious condition of India in 1962 and went to the extent of proposing joint defence to India against communism? Why he overlooked the fact that despite series of UN resolutions and Nehru’s pledge to grant right of self-determination to Kashmiris and holding a plebiscite under the auspices of the UN, India didn’t honor. India’s u turn and its expansion and modernization of armed forces with the help of Soviet, western and American military assistance after 1962, which had begun to tilt the military balance in favor of India had impelled Pakistan to launch Operation Gibraltar. Alam didn’t say anything that while Operation Gibraltar was in a disputed territory which was in India’s illegal occupation, India stealthily crossed the international border on 6th September 1965 without declaring war with the aim of destroying Pakistan’s armed forces but failed.

While describing the 1971 crisis in erstwhile East Pakistan, Alam brazenly twists historical facts by saying that rather than transferring power to Mujibur Rahman led Awami League that had won the elections, Gen Yahya opted for a military action in March 1971 in East Pakistan with the support of non-state actors Al-Shams and Al-Badr which resulted in over one million civilian casualties. By saying this at a time when Hasina Wajid’s regime is busy hanging aged Jamaat-e-Islami leaders on account of so-called 1971 war crimes, he has further sprinkled salt on the wounds of Islamists in Bangladesh but delighted India and Bangladesh rulers. Rather than paying tributes to them, who had fought the rebels along with Pak Army to save the motherland, he declared them as non-state actors (rebels) and ignored brutal Mukti Bahinis.

Either he has no clue of history or he has published the dictated script given by his patrons. Why does he forget that for almost 15 days Gen Yahya and his team sat with Mujib and his team in Dacca and gave in to all his six points and much more and announced him as PM of Pakistan. This he did at a time when Mujib had rebelled against the state on 01 March 1971 and his goons had massacred over 1, 50, 000 non-Bengalis and pro-Pakistan Bengalis (Biharis) and raped women with utmost ferocity and barbarity. A state within state had been created and people of East Pakistan (mostly terrorised by Mukti Bahinis) had defied central authority. The Indian and western media had remained tightlipped over their atrocities, (and so is Alam even after learning the whole truth about 1971 conspiracy). When Yahya learnt that Mujib and his henchmen had made up their mind to break away from Pakistan and any solution within the concept of united Pakistan was unacceptable to them, he ordered the military action on the night of 25 March 1971 to save Pakistan from disintegrating. At that time Al-Shams and Al-Badar were not in existence.

The rebellion was suppressed by the lone 14 Infantry Division and by May 1971 order was restored in the entire province and a civilian Bengali governor Malik was installed. Casualties were in few thousands and not a million as claimed by Alam. Mujib and his stalwarts after creation of Bangladesh had bloated the figure of casualties to 3 million and rape of 300,000 women. Alam must be agreeing to these bizarre figures. Al-Badr and Al-Shams were created as Razaqars essentially for village defences during the counter insurgency operations and for rear areas security during war because of paucity of troops. Once order was restored, general amnesty was announced for all the Awami League leaders based in India and the refugees but India blocked them. All attempts made by Pakistan to find a political settlement were turned down by haughty Indira Gandhi. Indian leaders were smelling blood and they didn’t want to miss a chance of century (as stated by Subramanian). Pakistan internal matter was made into Indian issue. Mukti Bahinis were eulogized and Pak military demonized as human eating monsters and rapists by Indian media as well as western media.  

While Alam mentions about Pakistan’s use of non-state actors, he unjustly looks the other way to India’s opening of 59 training camps in India along the border to train, equip and launch 2, 50, 000 Mukti Bahinis to overpower the eastern province. This practice continued for nine months and when the rebels failed to make any headway, the Indian military ten times superior in men and material and with all the strategic, operational and tactical advantages, and supported by USSR and others invaded East Pakistan and overwhelmed it. India thus became the architect of cross border terrorism in South Asia. It has been resorting to this hideous practice against Bangladesh which it had created, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Strangely, Alam has the cheek to say that Mukti Bahini rebellion was a popular Bengali nationalist insurgency which provided an opportunity to India to drown two-nation theory in the Bay of Bengal. I guess he has no knowledge that Nehru had plans to detach East Pakistan from Pakistan as early as 1948 and Indian intelligence agencies and Hindu teachers/professors in East Pakistan and seculars consistently worked on a well-tailored plan to subvert the minds of Bengalis and inculcate deep seated hatred in their minds against West Pakistanis and Army. Awami League under Sheikh Mujib was used as a tool and journey of separation started at Agartala in 1963. All this is no more fancy tales but recorded in large numbers of books authored by Bengali, Indian and western authors. What could be a bigger proof of India’s role in dismembering Pakistan than the admission of Indian PM Narendra Modi in 2014? Therefore, to say that India repaid Gibraltar is utterly ridiculous.

Alam in his article has put the entire blame on Field Marshal Ayub Khan and Gen Yahya Khan and skipped role of ZA Bhutto and that of Mujib in the 1971 tragedy. Thereafter, in a way he holds a grudge against Bhutto for rebuilding a defeated Army and putting up a confrontationist national security paradigm despite signing Simla agreement. He forgets that soon after creating Bangladesh, India embarked upon an ambitious force modernization program with the help of USSR and also carried out nuclear explosion in August 1974. At the same time, Sindh and Baluchistan were given as new targets for subversion to RAW in 1973. We all know that RAW in league with KGB and KHAD had fully supported Baloch insurgency from 1973 to 1978 and had also supported Sindhu Desh movement in Sindh. So what should have Bhutto done and why should he not have laid the foundation of nuclear program when India had expansionist designs and had not reconciled to existence of Pakistan? Kashmir issue was virtually frozen after Simla agreement and flawed policy of bilateralism introduced to bar third party intervention.

Alam then picks up his stick against Gen Ziaul Haq accusing him of creating non-state jihadi actors and making Pakistan an undeclared nuclear weapon power. He skips the role of US which in actuality brought in Jihadis from 70 Muslim countries, funded and militarized madrassas and funded the proxy war in Afghanistan. He fails to mention that Zia’s strategy was a 100% success story. He also fails to mention that the US abandonment of Afghanistan in haste had led to civil war and Pakistan had to suffer the consequences. Another point which he missed was the Pressler Amendment which became a cause for rise in debts and political instability. Consequently the democratic era failed to pay any heed to ill effects of Afghan imbroglio. So to say that the erstwhile western patrons subjected Pakistan to sanctions in the aftermath of nuclear explosions in 1998 will not be correct. Those were additional sanctions.

Rather than condemning India’s nuclear explosions, he sees Pakistan’s response negatively. In his view Pakistan under Nawaz should have pursued Gen Zia’s strategy of nuclear ambiguity rather than putting the bomb in the open shelf. In his view Pakistan’s nuclear response led to nuclear arms race. He intentionally overlooked Zia’s series of proposals to make South Asia Nuclear Free Zone which were out rightly rejected by India. Pakistan didn’t want to sign NPT and CTBT unilaterally when India refused to sign. Yet, India was awarded civil nuclear deal by USA in 2008 and then made member of Nuclear Suppliers Group to enable India to give fillip to its weaponized nuclear program. Conversely, Pakistan’s nuclear program became an eyesore for India, Israel and USA and all sorts of objections were raised.    

Alam then dwells on India’s future grandiose plans of becoming a big power and a bulwark against China. He rightly highlights that in partnership with USA, India under Maritime security and joint strategic vision for Asia-Pacific, and naval cooperation in Indian Ocean is leaving Pakistan far behind and creating unbridgeable asymmetry on conventional plane. At the same time he adds that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and war heads are more than India’s stocks and is geared towards becoming the fifth largest nuclear power by 2025. (Stolen from biased western analysts). He then subtly makes a mention of Pakistan’s tactical nukes and their use on its own soil to thwart Indian intrusion, and Pakistan’s preference for first-strike option.

After describing the horrors of nuclear war and relating it to Mutually Assured Destruction, Alam belittles concept of deterrence saying it’s a flawed doctrine. He then dwells upon Pakistan’s minimum nuclear deterrence now jumping to full spectrum nuclear deterrence and lists out the types of missiles Pakistan has to counter India’s Cold Start doctrine and continental triad nuclear doctrine. He then delivers the best punch by asserting that in response to Pakistan’s use of non-state actors (strategic assets), Ajit Doval’s passive-aggressive and aggressive doctrine is in full play by co-opting proxies from within and from Afghanistan.

One wonders why Alam is shy of making a mention that the main reasons of arms race and nuclearisation of South Asia are unresolved Kashmir issue, India’s intransigence and belligerent attitude. Why doesn’t he say that India has always aspired for Akhand Bharat and wants to become a regional hegemon in South Asia, Indian Ocean including Arabian Sea? He looks the other way to Pakistan’s military strategy which is defensive in nature and its nuclear program which is meant to safeguard its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Pakistan has no territorial claims with any neighbor and has desired peaceful relations with all. India’s military strategy on the other hand is offensive in nature and imperialist in design and has disputes with all its neighbors. India uses proxy war, Chankyan tactics and propaganda as tools to achieve its sinister objectives. Since 1989, India is constantly raising its defence budget which now totals $50 billion annually and is feverishly buying sophisticated war machines for the three services of Indian military and testing new range of nuclear tipped missiles to disable Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence.

It will be too simplistic and naïve to think that India’s conventional and nuclear build up is meant to confront China. After the 1962 humiliating defeat, India will never ever try to flex its military muscles against China. More so, Great Himalayas stand as a barrier between the two neighbors which prevent classical invasion by any side. Over 70% of India’s strike formations and air bases are deployed against Pakistan. The latter cannot match Indian military superiority which is 5:1, but Pakistan strives to maintain strategic balance of 3:1 and reinforces it with nuclear deterrence. Big powers have always played a role in tilting the military balance in favor of India and currently the US is going out of the way to help its strategic partner India in expanding and upgrading its conventional and nuclear capabilities. This process has been going on since 1993. At the same time the US has been objecting to Pakistan’s acquisitions from China and denying its bare minimum defence needs. Blockage of F-16s and close support fund are the recent examples.

In the 1980s, Russia helped India to build its navy. Nuclear powered Chakra submarine and Talwar Frigates fitted with nuclear tipped Brahmo missiles were provided by Russia. Now the US in its bid to dominate Indian Ocean is helping Indian Navy to become a blue water navy. India has developed intermediate range K-4 nuclear ballistic missiles which will be fitted on Arihant submarines. K-5 missiles are also being built. This will nuclearise Indian Ocean and jeopardise the security of 32 littoral states situated around it. Pakistan will be faced with land based and sea based nuclear and missile threats which will further exacerbate its security. On May 15, India conducted an interceptor missile test of its advanced air defence Ashwin and Israel has provided the technology. These developments have altered the strategic balance and forced Pakistan to counter the newly emerged threat.

Alam is reinforcing Indo-US unjust stance by advising Pakistan not to upgrade its defence capabilities. It is utterly unfair on part of Alam to equate Pakistan with India by saying both are indulging in arms race and in nuclearisation of the region. His claim that Pakistan is solely responsible for making use of non-state actors is untrue. I am sure he must be knowing who created and supported Mukti Bahini and LTTE, and now who is supporting TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF, and MQM.

I will advise my friend to go through articles written by Indians, or see Pakistan specific programs aired by Indian TV channels. None has ever advised Indian rulers to cut down defence budget, or to show restraint, or to solve Kashmir issue. Jingoism in India against Pakistan is at its peak and so are covert operations in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi by RAW. Arrested Indian naval officer Kal Bhushan Yadav, working for RAW has spilled the beans and reconfirmed Pakistan’s stated position that RAW is deeply involved in destabilizing Pakistan. RAW agents in dozens are being rounded up and the figure has crossed 400. Combing operation is going on in urban centres to demolish all sorts of foreign networks.

The writer is defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com        

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THE LAST CHANCE. By FAKIR AYAZUDDIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LAST CHANCE.

  By

FAKIR AYAZUDDIN

 

 

 

 

 

    The figures showing the increase in our National debt are frightening. They show that not only are our leaders incompetent, but the reckless manner in which they have run the country to take the debt from 1500 billion at the end of Musharrafs era to 14000 billion after Zardari’ last spell, and then Nawaz has not ended his spell, but has borrowed ,18,800 billion! In just 18 months, and his term is not over yet.
A friend of mine who has been with the World bank for twenty years had the following comments on these figures.
‘Ayaz
Interesting figures.  The following points come to mind.
1. Performance under military govts  – two and half to three times better than under politicos.  Per capita income which measures people’s welfare showed consistent improvement under military govts. Stagnant under political govts. and particularly abysmal under the Bhuttos, who played with peoples expectations.  No delivery.

2. Scandalous level of debt financing under zardari.   He almost de-constructed the economy and the country.  You don’t see such rapid debt build up in peace time. Oil price increases may have contributed to no more that 25-50 pc of this increase. but nearly 900 pc increase in 4 to 5 years only shows that  our finances were in a free fall.  This can only sustain in a culture of corruption and cronyism or war.

The last line is particularly important ‘ in a culture of corruption cronyism or war. ‘
The point being that this level of debt increase can only be visited upon a State in a time of war. Gen Raheel Shareef understands well the word war. All army officers have lived with this word. And know well the cost. In lives, their lives are at the forefront. He should apply this yardstick to his decisions. In Wana his soldiers are at war. Not of their choosing, but when pushed to the wall the Pakistan Army under Gen. Raheel had to fight. This has been appreciated worldwide, and has earned him the respect of the world leadership. Gen Raheel should also realize that the actions of the politicians is as dangerous and as damaging as the Taliban. And must be tackled with the same ferocity.
     It shows how the recklessly the Zardari Government treated the State of Pakistan. Zardari has set a record of corruption and of singlehandedly destroying the economy of the country. Along with Gen Kayani, who certainly was a part of this crooked setup, for, without Kayanis tacit approval, this could not have continued.
     During this period no development of any kind, no roads, no airports no Gas/ Oil pipelines were laid. No infrastructure of any kind, the money vanished into the deep pockets of the PPP, via the Sindh Government network. The huge amounts of money– the 200 billion Rs a year that were skimmed off were added into the National Debt. None of the politicians in the opposition or the bureaucracy had the intelligence to realize the enormity of the crime. It is only the people who will continue to suffer their poverty, for their hope has been stolen from them by these rapacious politicians. The entire assembly should be branded as crooks. Even Imran Khan should be taken to task for allowing himself to become a part of this scam, just by attending this bogus assembly.
     It is now apparent that the politicians can not be allowed to govern any longer. They have continually raped the country, while making empty promises, that they had no intention of keeping. They have violated the constitution, and caused immense economic damage to the country. While giving no development of any kind.
     Nawaz Sharif is not visible in the country, neither is Shabaz Sharif. The scams are mounting, the latest is the Ship for the transport of LPG from Qatar. It has been exposed on TV that our port does not have the depth to accommodate such a large vessel, and smaller parcels of gas will have to be brought in. Strangely a company like Engro with sensible management in place could be caught in being party to such blunders. On the same level as Raja Rental. With huge amounts being paid on the contracted LPG if the delivery of the contracted amounts are not taken. These are actions that are part of the systematic rape of the country. Why is this being allowed to continue.?
    Gen Raheel should understand that we the people are powerless to stop this attack on the country, for we are told to wait for the next election. Gen Raheel should understand that there may not be a Pakistan left in 24 months time. He has to act now, for with each year another 1000 billion will be added to our burden. For him there will be no fig leaf of the constitution to hide behind. That fig leaf has been worn threadbare by the politicians, till it is now transparent and everyone can see through it. Anyone in support of the status quo is guilty of treason. This country has contract killers on the loose, unlicensed weapons are freely available– and were on hire till the recent past, but now there is such a huge number available that it is cheaper to buy. Crime does pay, and the politicians are the success story for crime.
     Gen Raheel will have to put a stop to this rot. Otherwise the country will pay a horrific price. Even Imran Khan will realise that being a part of this system will involve him in the resultant mess. How will Imran say he was not involved.?
     Gen Sahib, you must act now, in defence of the country. It is the only one we have.

 

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Pakistani Ruler’s conflicting National and Business interests By Sabena Siddiqi

Report from LONDON POST

Pakistani Ruler’s conflicting National and Business interests 

By Sabena Siddiqi

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The Sharif’s business interests in India have resulted in extra-ordinary negative repercussions for Pakistan’s security. Businessmen close to them are also pursuing Indian businesses with gusto not caring about fair or foul. There are various business ventures being initiated by PML-N, the business-friendly party currently in government and its friends, which break security norms and are most definitely not in Pakistan’s interest.

Mian Muhammad Mansha being one of them, declared Pakistan’s richest man by Forbes World 2013, his worth is $2.6 billion. Nishat Group, a subsidiary of Mian Muhammad Mansha,s business conglomerate is currently trying to bring in Indian investment for Pakistan’s controversial media industry .

As if Mir Shakilur Rehman’s Geo and Aman ki Asha stint et al weren’t enough for Pakistanis, Mian Mansha’s Nishagroup is making efforts to establish Indian holdings in Pakistani media. The game is being started with collaboration with M/S Krian Media Ltd owned by a certain Mr Yezdi Dhanjishan Daruwala. Nowadays engineers from M/S Krian Media intend to get multiple entry visas for discussions with Nishat Group.

Shahid Malik former High Commissioner of Pakistan to India is now Director of Mansha Group, it is rumoured these days that he is trying to get the current Pakistani High Commissioner in India to grant the required visas immediately sans interviews. Another rumour is doing the rounds that the Prime Minister’s son Hasan Nawaz has also backed this visa deal. The visa in question is the EPR, a multiple entry visa and totally inadvisable. We all know how difficult it is to get an Indian visa for Pakistanis, then only certain cities are within limits, why should Pakistan make any visas easy for Indians and that also without even an interview?

Any new business coming in from India should be in Pakistan’s interests and not a ploy to destroy our cultural foundations and identity. Sonia Gandhi once talked about Pakistan’s ‘cultural invasion‘ which actually meant secularising us and decreasing Islam’s importance here so that Pakistan can ‘blend back’ into India. It was a ridiculous idea but the whole Geo modus operandi underlined this theory, the Aman ki Asha spin only benefited Indians and Pakistanis were thought to be stupid enough to be lured in with song and dance.

Anyway, why does the PML-N want to provide Indians so much space to influence young minds in Pakistan? If Indian movies and drama are anything to go by, their media can only promote loose morals and nudity plus a lot of Hinduism / Hindutva ideology. Pakistanis do not need Indian media houses forced on them by the Nawaz government and friends. India is our neighbour and business with it should not clash with our culture and societal norms. Where will our ideology, two nation theory, Jinnah and Pakistan’s existence as an Islamic republic stand if interpreted by Indian media backed up by India’s Research & Analysis Wing?

Sultan Lakhani is again one of Pakistan’s richest men, he has vast business interests in India, mainly he is the partner of most Indian Brands, from Titan to Tetley Tea. Tetley Tea and Titan watches are both Indian companies sold in Pakistan by Sultan Lakhani. Not a co-incidence that Lakhani owns Century Publications which owns the newspaper Express Tribune, there are various Express channels as well which must have helped to further Indian interests. Be it print media or news media, Indians want a foothold in Pakistan by hook or by crook.

Recently, the controversial Arsalan Iftikhar, son of ex-CJ Iftikhar Choudhry has been provided the chance to lure in foreign and local investors to the huge gold and copper mines in Rekodiq Balochistan. He was hardly an epitome of honesty, nor did he have the credentials to be made Director, Bureau of Investment for Baluchistan , a province rich in mineral resources. It is a known fact that Pakistan’s enemies want to deny us Baluchistan as it can greatly improve Pakistan’s economy and Arsalan Iftikhar definitely did not deserve such an important post as has been provided for him by the current government.

It is very disappointing that this government is following in the footsteps of Rehman Malik, the erstwhile Interior Minister for the PPP government. He had facilitated the Americans to an unusual extent, eventually he was suspected of having brought in scores of CIA and maybe ‘Blackwater ‘ agents, he had also very graciously issued arms permits for lethal weapons foreigners should not be allowed to carry in Pakistan. Now it seems that the Sharif government is too eager to please India etc for the sake of business interests and soon Pakistan could be flooded with RAW operatives in disguise. An army operation is underway in North Waziristan which is imperative for peace in Pakistan, in war-time bringing in flocks of Indians to further destabilise the situation is sheer lunacy.

 

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