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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges By Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges

Asif Haroon Raja

Overview

Pakistan has, since birth, been faced with one crisis after another. The tense geopolitical environment created by hostile India and unfriendly Afghanistan was the motivating factor which impelled our leaders to accord preference to security over developing institutions and strengthening the economy. Security concerns governed our foreign policy.

Pakistan joined Western pacts mainly to find an umbrella to mitigate its security concerns. But the US never became a trustworthy and sincere ally, as was the case of former the Soviet Union with India. The western pacts proved elusive when Pakistan was truncated in 1971.

India had been working upon East Bengal since 1948 with the aim of subverting the minds of Bengalis and poisoning their minds against people of West Pakistan through an orchestrated subversion plan. It wanted to disprove Two-Nation theory. India in collusion with the former-the Soviet Union and supported by several other countries hatched the gory plan of the dismemberment of Pakistan. After nine months insurgency, Indian military jumped in to cut Pakistan to size and create Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi chortled that Two-Nation theory had been sunk into the Bay of Bengal.

In the aftermath of 9/11, another international conspiracy was hatched to dismember Pakistan. This time the conspiracy was much larger in scope and more dangerous in intent. Pakistan was to be befriended and then cut into four quasi-states. In this, India is being supported by USA, Afghanistan, Britain, Israel and the West in general. The tools in use are TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF, MQM and segment of media bolstered by bloggers, foreign paid NGOs and international media. Daesh is the latest group added to their arsenal.   

The goals are to destabilize, de-Islamise, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan using covert means and psychological operations.

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan was made to fight terrorism on its soil, then accused of harboring terrorists in safe havens in FATA and aiding cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, occupied Kashmir and India, and then constantly pressed to do more. The terrorist groups in FATA, Baluchistan were funded, equipped and trained to fight and exhaust Pak security forces. MQM was funded and its militants trained in India to make Karachi lawless.

India and Afghanistan were projected as victims of terrorism and Pakistan as an incubator of terrorism. The covert war launched from Afghan soil in 2002 has incurred a loss of 60,000 fatalities, injuries to tens of thousands, destruction of property, $ 118 billion financial loss and immense social trauma.

Pakistan has come under a foreign debt of $70 billion.  

The US imposed War on Terror has heightened ethnicity, sectarianism, extremism, provincialism, political instability, economic fragility and moral degeneration of society as a whole.

As a result of these frailties, Pakistan which is a nuclear power with robust armed forces that are second to none has abundant resources and resilient manpower, it has become vulnerable to foreign coercion, manipulation, and aggression.

Of all the crisis faced by Pakistan in its 70 years history, the present one is perhaps the most dangerous, both in terms of its nature and its possible consequences. Without a doubt, Pakistan is in the vortex of grave dangers and the country today stands at the cusp of survival and disaster. The Titans that have marked Pakistan as a target are impatient to fragment it. 

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Having given the background and overall geopolitical environment, I shall now discuss the five stages through which Pakistan’s foreign policy has moved forward to confront multiple challenges.

Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah had spelled out Pakistan’s foreign policy soon after the birth of Pakistan in these words:

 “Our objective should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.” 

Our foreign policy is one of the friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair-play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” 
Pakistan opened diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world except Israel owing to Palestinian dispute.  Successive regimes made concerted efforts to normalize relations with India but failed because of unresolved Kashmir dispute and India not reconciling to the existence of Pakistan. In its desire to become the unchallenged big power of South Asia, India whipped up a frenzy against all its neighbors. It applied multiple pressures on Pakistan and went to war thrice so as to force Pakistan to accept its hegemony and become its vassal state.

Pakistan in search of security and recognition

Pakistan started its journey as a nonaligned nation and remained the member of Non-Aligned Movement from 1947 till 1954. In the first 15 years of Pakistan’s life, the founding leaders remained deeply engrossed in establishing credentials of Pakistan’s statehood in the face of massive propaganda of India that Pakistan was a monstrosity. It was described as a transient phenomenon and Indian economic wizards had given six months life to Pakistan. International recognition was sought and obtained in those agonizing years. 

In its formative years, Pakistan attached importance to relations with Muslim countries and championed Muslim causes. Its efforts to build Muslim unity couldn’t make any headway. It cultivated special ties with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan joined Western pacts

Aggressive posturing of India, its expansionist designs and intentions to absorb Kashmir, together with Afghanistan’s enmity, former USSR’s heavy tilt towards India, deepening economic crisis in early 1950s, sense of isolation, and the UN and Commonwealth failing to resolve the Kashmir dispute were some of the reasons which impelled Pakistan to join the US created SEATO and Baghdad Pact/CENTO in 1954/55. Thereon, its foreign policy was governed by the US interests.

Pakistan became part of the US defensive arc stretching to Iran and Turkey to contain the spread of communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan did so despite the fact that it had no direct clash with USSR, and had to pay a heavy price for it. When Pakistan acted as a conduit in 1971 to bring China closer to the USA, it further antagonized Moscow and it decided to teach Pakistan a lesson.

Alignment with the USA however, helped Pakistan in improving its economy and defense capability phenomenally during the 10-year Ayub’s golden era.

Tilt towards China

After the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962, in the wake of Moscow, Washington and the West providing arms to India at the cost of disturbing the regional military balance, Ayub Khan started tilting towards China and Russia. This move was seen as an act of defiance by the USA and it decided to penalize him. The US discriminatory attitude was discernible in the 1965 War with India when it stopped extending economic and military assistance including the supply of spare parts, whereas Russia kept supplying arms to India.

It is believed that both ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib were cultivated to trigger agitations in both the wings to bring down Ayub regime and then pave the way for the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

Southwestern Asian Identity and policy of Bilateralism

After the 1971 tragedy, ZA Bhutto scrapped SEATO pact and membership of Commonwealth stating that those had proved worthless. He then tried to carve out Southwest Asian identity so as to draw economic strength and security from oil rich Arab States. This tilt towards the Gulf States brought in financial bonanza and job opportunities for Pakistan in the 1970s and also gave an opportunity to Pak military to make inroads into the GCC States. Saudi Arabia never hesitated to extend financial support to Pakistan in its testing times.

Another change in Pakistan’s foreign policy was affected by the Simla agreement in 1972 which led to the policy of bilateralism and non-alignment. Ceasefire line in Kashmir was renamed as LoC and Kashmir issue put on the back burner. India however, maintained its belligerent policy and carried out the nuclear test at Pokhran in August 1974, which impelled ZA Bhutto to go nuclear.

Afghan war (1980-1989)

Pakistan-US relations nosedived when Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq was put under sanctions in April 1979 by Carter regime on account of suspicion that it was pursuing nuclear program covertly. However, the Afghan war in the 1980s once again made Pakistan a close ally of USA and was bestowed with $3.5 billion assistance and F-16 jets.

Pakistan had to face Russo-Afghan-India nexus and Al-Zulfiqar terrorism (militant wing of PPP). The Afghan war brought Pakistan coolness in Pak-Iran relations but brought Afghanistan under Mujahideen very close to Pakistan. Both talked of providing strategic depth to each other.

Pakistan’s challenges in Post-cold war era

After the breakup of USSR in 1991 and end of Cold War era, Pakistan was faced with multiple foreign policy issues. The US abandoned Pakistan, imposed sanctions on it under Pressler Amendment and befriended India.

Pakistan was up against Indo-US-Israeli nexus geared toward destroying Kahuta plant.

The other issue was the fallout effects of the Afghan war in the form of Kalashnikov and drug cultures, the load of 3.5 million refugees, the radicalization of the society and sectarianism fomented by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The other was the armed uprising in occupied Kashmir which forced India to pump in 750,000 security forces to quell the insurgency and to propagate that Pakistan was abetting it.

Pakistan had to bear with the domino effect of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

And lastly, nuclear explosions by the two arch rivals in May 1998. Pakistan’s external climbed up. These challenges made the democratic era weak and uninspiring. Despite being repeatedly betrayed, Pakistan didn’t deem it fit to diversify its foreign policy and kept its hopes alive to get into the good books of USA.

Impact of 9/11

9/11 changed the global politics and Pakistan was once again befriended by the USA and made a coalition partner to fight the global war on terror as a frontline state. Pakistan for a second time shifted all its eggs in the basket of USA.

Between 2004 and 2008, Indo-Pak relations improved as a result of the peace treaty and resumption of dialogue, giving rise to optimism that core disputes will be resolved. Euphoria died down after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 when India blamed Pakistan. Indo-Pak relations have hit rock bottom after Modi led BJP regime espousing Hindutva came to power in June 2014.

Ongoing fast changing global dynamics and ever growing strategic partnership between USA and India has impelled Pakistan policy makers to revisit the foreign policy and suitably modify it to meet the future challenges.

Pakistan’s current challenges

India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan and strives to reduce it to the status of a Satellite State.

India is a strategic partner of the US, Israel, Afghanistan and is the darling of the west. The trio is pursuing common objective of destroying Pakistan.

India is making concerted efforts to destabilize Pakistan through covert war, encircle Pakistan by consolidating its presence in Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics (CARs), building North-South Corridor linking Mumbai with Bandar Abbas; and connecting Chabahar with Afghanistan-CARs.

India is working hard to isolate Pakistan by tarnishing its image and spoiling its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, Gulf States and the US.

Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute but India stubbornly maintains that it is its integral part well knowing that the Kashmiris hate Indians and want freedom at all cost.

To keep Pakistan on the defensive and force it to forget Kashmir, India is playing terrorism card, Baluchistan and Sindh cards, and water terrorism to bend Pakistan on its knees.

India’s Cold Start doctrine is aimed at offsetting Pakistan’s strategic nuclear doctrine and executing it at a time when the bulk of Pak forces had got pinned down in designated restive areas.

The upturn of Pakistan’s sunk economy and its image, control over energy crisis and terrorism coupled with development works and fast progressing CPEC have increased the anxieties of India. To give vent to its frustrations, it is carrying out unprovoked firing across the LoC and working boundary in Kashmir relentlessly.

For all practical purposes, Pakistan has fallen from the grace of USA and time is not far when it will be once again be ditched and put under harsh sanctions.

Indo-US-Israel agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program, or as a minimum curtailing its minimum deterrence capability remain unchanged.

Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai remained aligned with India and hostile to Pakistan. Afghan Unity government under Ghani-Abdullah is far worse.

Pak-Iran relations are frosty and practically, Iran is more close to India and Afghanistan.

Net outcome in 2017

Pakistan foreign policy makers are faced with perpetually hostile India, near hostile Afghanistan, and the changed attitude of the US. Washington has callously whipped Pakistan under its ‘do more’ policy and is now hurling warnings. It’s heavy tilt towards India is a matter of anxiety for Pakistan.

Iran nurtures grouses on account of Pakistan’s closeness with Saudi Arabia, and for sending Gen Raheel to Riyadh to head 41-member Sunni Muslim States Alliance.

Warmth in a relationship with the GCC States has diluted because of Pakistan not agreeing to send troops to Saudi Arabia to ward off the threat from Yemen. Saudi-Qatar tiff is another challenge faced by Pakistan since it cannot afford to take sides.

Pakistan has been deliberately kept politically unstable by making it play the game of ladder and snake so that it remains economically dependent. It was pulled down whenever it grew economically strong. That is why it has been lurching from one crisis to another in its 70 years checkered history.

Pakistan can ill-afford political disharmony and disunity at this critical juncture when black clouds are hovering over its horizon.

Geopolitical realities

Pakistan is faced with multiple threats of Indo-US-Afghan covert war, India’s Cold Start Doctrine, the US Af-Pak doctrine, and Hybrid war and all these threats have now become menacing.

The threat to its security has heightened after the signing of three Indo-US defense agreements in 2016 and the US openly expressing its enmity against Pakistan and love for India.

India is getting unnerved on account of high-intensity freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir, which is slipping out of its hands and is endangering the unity of India. India has no other choice except to keep persecuting the Kashmiris ruthlessly, keep the LoC on fire and to diplomatically place Pakistan on the back foot.

Muslim Pakistan, laced with nuclear/missile power and now getting economically strong due to CPEC is unacceptable to USA, India, and Israel. The trio may go to any extent to disrupt CPEC.

Pakistan is faced with the threat of two-front war from east and west, inauspicious southwestern backyard, vulnerable seacoast, not so friendly Gulf States, together with the internal war on terror and internal war on terror

Pakistan’s viable nuclear cum missile capability deters India from waging an open war.

Nuclear factor has compelled India to resort to indirect strategy to weaken Pakistan from within through unrelenting covert war, discredit and isolate it through propaganda and diplomacy, extract its nuclear teeth clandestinely, and then apply the military instrument through Cold Start doctrine.

Having tried out all possible means short of war, the only other option left with enemies of Pakistan is to create political chaos and logjam, paralyze the government machinery and then trigger civil war as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Many are suspecting a game plan behind the current political imbroglio.

The success of $21 trillion One-Road-One-belt projects of China hinges on successful completion of CPEC. In view of China’s ambition to become leading economic power and its heavy economic stakes in CPEC, it is bound to come to the aid of Pakistan whenever its security is threatened.

Pakistan is a target and not an ally of USA. Earlier Pakistan gets out of the enchantment of USA, better it will be.

Inferences

Any expectation of goodwill and empathy from India, Afghanistan under Ghani and USA, which in pursuit of their common objectives have been inflicting tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and its people, will be foolhardy.

The newly appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in consultation with the new PM Khaqan Abbasi, CJCSC Gen Zubair Hayat, and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa need to revisit the foreign policy at the earliest to make appropriate changes after correctly identifying friends and foes and accordingly diversifying the policy to meet the upcoming challenges.

Foreign policy instead of being defensive, apologetic and reactive, should be infused with dynamism and pro-activeness.

The change in foreign policy should not be abrupt, but gradual and orderly without violent fluctuations. The change should be akin to autumn changing into winter, or winter into spring.

While maintaining a working relationship with the USA, Pakistan should draw closer to China, Russia, Central Asia, SCO, and ASEAN.

Pakistan should work hard to bring Iran in the loop of China-Russia peace-talks initiative, possibly draw in Turkey and conjointly work to restore peace in war torn Afghanistan.

Pakistan must strive to establish a friendly regime in Kabul.

Surging Afghan Taliban and not the corrupt and inept unity government in Kabul toeing Indo-US agenda should be kept in the loop.

Pakistan should continue to play a mediatory role in the Iran-Saudi ideological rivalry and in Saudi-Qatar tiff to narrow down their differences and also allay the misperceptions of Gulf States on account of Yemen crisis. It will be unwise to call back Gen Raheel and detach Pakistan from 41-member Muslim Alliance.

CPEC should be made use of as a strong magnet by our foreign policy makers to attract as many nations from Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe to ward off Indian inspired threat of isolation.

Gwadar-Chahbahar economic rivalry should be converted into an opportunity to complement each other’s strength.

Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Comprehensive and pragmatic Kashmir policy should be devised to keep the cause of Kashmir alive.

Conclusion. While many developing countries have raced ahead, Pakistan is still struggling and has neither become an Asian tiger or a secure country. Political parties are behaving irresponsibly and are advised to shun politics of agitation and division and promote the concept of “Unity in Diversity”. Strong and united home front is the best defense against internal and external challenges.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, columnist, author of five books. He is Director Measac Research Centre, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Editor-in-chief “Better Morrow’ magazine, editor of website group ‘The Patriots’. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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ARMED FORCES Indian Army Accused of Using Civilian as Human Shield in Kashmir Patrol By Junaid Mattu, The Wire, India

An unidentified Kashmir man strapped to the front of a jeep carrying security personnel in Beerwah, Jammu and Kashmir. Credit: Junaid Azim Mattoo/Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reached for a response, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, the Srinagar-based spokesman of the Ministry of Defence told The Wire, “The contents of the video are being verified and investigated.”

 

An unidentified Kashmir man strapped to the front of a jeep carrying security personnel in Beerwah, Jammu, and Kashmir. Credit: Junaid Azim Mattoo/Twitter

New Delhi: As tension in the Kashmir valley continues to ride high in the wake of the public boycott of ongoing by-elections to two Lok Sabha constituencies, the spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference – one of the parties in fray for the Srinagar and Anantnag seats – has posted a video in which a Kashmiri civilian is shown strapped to the front of a jeep being driven as part of a convoy by the security forces in Gundipora, Beerwah.

Gundipora is in Budgam district, which originally voted on Sunday. Repolling was held in a number of booths on Thursday.

Here’s the video of the Kashmiri boy tied to the front of an Army jeep and used as a human shield in Gundipora, Beerwah.@TimesNow? @NewsX?

The shocking video of the army using a ‘human shield’  is 11 seconds long. Posted by NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu, it is not clear who shot it and when, nor are the license plates of the jeep and the truck which follows visible, though the tactical number 339 on the jeep would make it easy for the military to track the vehicle down.

According to the Indian Express, an unidentified man that the newspaper said is a soldier can be heard saying through a public address system, “Those who throw stones will meet the same fate.”

Reached for a response, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, the Srinagar-based spokesman of the Ministry of Defence told The Wire, “The contents of the video are being verified and investigated.”

The use of civilians as human shields is a common though reviled practice of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied Palestinian territories but this is the first time that visual evidence has emerged suggesting that the Indian army too has adopted a similar method of dealing with militant threats or hostile crowds.

Palestinian boy strapped to an Israeli army jeep. Credit: BBC

Palestinian boy strapped to an Israeli army jeep. Credit: BBC

The Israeli practice is regarded by lawyers as a gross violation of the international humanitarian law and of the Geneva Conventions.

If proven true, the use of civilians as a human shield would almost certainly fall foul of Indian law and the constitutional guarantees of the  to life.

Last year, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party is in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state, told a public rally that the security forces used to use civilians as human shields in the late 1990s:

“Back then I would fight with army and police, when they would go for crackdown in villages. They would ask villagers to be in front of them to find militants from a house. People would fear that if the militant fired they would die in between. I have fought against this practice.”

On Friday morning, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, described the Beerwah incident as “just so shocking”.

View image on Twitter

This young man was TIED to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking!!!!

The Wire will keep updating the story as more details become available.

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Indian RAW agent Kulbushan Jadhav sentenced to death

Indian RAW agent Kulbushan Jadhav sentenced to death

 

 

RAWALPINDI: Indian RAW Agent Kulbushan Jadhav who was arrested from Balochistan on espionage charges, has been sentenced to death through a Field General Court Martial, the ISPR said Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed death sentence awarded by the FGCM under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA).

According to an ISPR press release, Kulbushan Sundir Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a Counter-Intelligence Operation from Mashkel area of Balochistan for his involvement in espionage and sabotage actives in Pakistan.

Jadhav was believed to be an on-duty officer for the Indian Navy.

“The spy has been tried through Field General Court-martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded death sentence. Today, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed death sentence awarded by FGCM.

“RAW agent Commander Kulbushan Jadhav was tired under GGCM under section 59 of Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 and Section 3 of official Secret Act of 1923.”

“The FGCM found Jadhav guilty of all charges. He confessed before a Magistrate and the Court that he was tasked by RAQ to plan, coordinate and organize espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi,” said the press release.

 

Pakistan sentences Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav to death

Reference:By News Desk
Published: April 10, 2017

Pakistan on Monday sentenced Indian spy Kalbushan Yadav to death.

“Indian RAW Agent / Naval officer 41558Z Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested on March 3, 2016 through a Counter Intelligence Operation from Mashkel, Balochistan, for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

“The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded death sentence. Today COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM.

Analysis: Kulbhushan Yadav’s RAW move

Yadav was tried by FGCM under section 59 of PAA 1952 and Section 3 of official Secret Act of 1923. FGCM found Yadhav guilty of all the charges, the statement added.

Further, Yadav confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/ sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.
The accused was provided with defending officer as per legal provisions.

Army chief vows to pursue Kulbhushancase to finish

Yadav, an Indian Navy commander, and agent of the RAW, was arrested in a raid near the Pak-Afghan border town of Chaman in March last year. He was earlier posted at Chabahar port in southeastern Iran where he lived with his wife and two children and possessed a genuine Indian passport but with a fake name, Hussein Mubarak Patel.

The bilateral dialogue process between Islamabad and New Delhi was suspended after Yadav’s arrest.  Yadav, in a video confession circulated shortly after his arrest, admitted to carrying out subversive activities inside Pakistan for India’s premier intelligence agency.

Peace process with India seemingly suspended after Yadav’s arrest

India had sought consular access to Yadav, however, Pakistan refused its request.

Pakistan believes that India is using covert means to foment violence in the country with an aim to undermine the multi billion dollar ‘one belt, one road’ initiative of China. The recent surge in terrorist attacks in the country has once again brought the India intelligence agencies’ role in backing the terrorism in Pakistan to the spotlight.

Security officials claim that RAW was using certain militant outfits operating out of Afghanistan to carry out terrorist attacks in the country. The current Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is considered to be the architect of this policy called ‘offensive-defensive’ that advocates a policy of supporting proxies to create trouble inside Pakistan.

 

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‘Rejection of Discord and Disharmony’ Taking out bad to worst dudes Humayun Gauhar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan Today                                                         Sunday 26th February 2017

 

‘Rejection of Discord and Disharmony’

 Taking out bad to worst dudes

 

Humayun Gauhar

 

Are we witnessing the last days of Nawaz Sharif? I don’t know so perilous is our situation and so perfidious have our ruling classes become. It can be said with a certain modicum of confidence though that we are witnessing the beginning of the end. How long it takes is anyone’s guess.

 

Whether Nawaz Sharif stays or goes matters little in the long sweep of things. His departure will cause temporary titillation to many and fuel our loquacious chattering class and chai khanas, but then what? Another election? In this odious system, we will only get another Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari. So?

 

The question that matters most is: are we witnessing the end of our putrid, loathsome political system that throws up gangsters, plunderers, and killers? If that is so, then there is much to celebrate for change for the better is better than no change at all. Hopefully, it will be a change toward a just and egalitarian system that would rid us of this huge gang of thieves who have not only occupied every lever of government but of business and agriculture as well and everything that comes with them. All — repeat all — institutions and regulatory bodies have collapsed: you only have to meet or even see their heads and you will believe me even though they are unbelievable.

 

The good thing that may come out of Nawaz Sharif’s departure is the process of change to another system. That means changing the Constitution that has been reduced to a joke by repeated governments, legislatures and unelectable goofs masquerading as politicians. That’s all very well, but how can change take place that is good and lasting? Who will do it? The army? Forsooth. They have tried it four times before and not only fallen flat on their faces every time, shining stars and all, but created and left behind many of our greatest problems for us to suffer. Our biggest problems are our political leaders: remember that Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain are all creatures of the army, as are many others. So are the Taliban, Afghan, and Pakistani, as too numerous other terrorist groups. So too the vice-like economic and political embrace of America that has put us into neo-colonialism. Now, fittingly, the army is left to clean up its own mess, to put it politely. Yes, he who makes a mess should clean it too.

 

 

Ajit Doval, Head of India’s RAW Spreads Terror in Pakistan

Image result for Ajit Doval Terrorist Subversive Promotor

 

 

What compounds our problems is that many if not most of these terrorist groups have been taken over by our neighbours to the left of us and to the right of us. To the front of us across the seven seas is our greatest ‘ally’, financier and ‘banker’ of last resort that also uses these neighbours against us. Even worse, they also run many of our politicians in power and outside, media, academia and what have you. All this destabilizes Pakistan further. Worse still, the place is crawling with Indian, Afghan and American spies, many of whom are Pakistanis to boot. Many of our terrorists are foreigners too.

 

Whose fault is it? Squarely our governments and only our governments for not recognizing right from wrong, for not knowing what is good for us and what is not. It also lies on us the people for getting inveigled into repeatedly ‘electing’ and tolerating such misleading ‘leaders’ and accepting this alien political system that works not for them but for their oppressors. That’s called ‘democracy’ Pakistani style, a ‘democracy’ that only creates civilian dictatorships worse than military dictatorships.  

 

So who can change the system? As world history shows, it has to be “we the people”, if necessary at the point of a sword.

 

To top it all, there is the Panama scandal that has embroiled Nawaz Sharif and family in plunder and corruption untold. It has been so embarrassing for us that our prime minister, his wife, and children, defended by their courtiers and courtesans like well-trained hounds, that one feels loathe talking about it to foreigners. But talk we must, if nothing else because that’s all we seem to be good at. Thus a desperate people are coming up with all sorts of bizarre but diverting theories. The best is: will Nawaz Sharif lose or will the Supreme Court? If it is the latter then Pakistan loses and we will be left with no civilian institution at all, only the army but for how long without a strong civilian government to back it?

 

Meantime, Pakistan’s economy is in a steep nosedive from which pulling up is becoming very difficult if not already impossible. But remember that ashes are a necessary precondition for a phoenix to rise.

 

In all this multifaceted mess Pakistan has reached the inflection point, to put it mildly. No wonder that the military has finally been forced to do what the ‘elected’ governments despised doing: go after terrorists of all ilk countrywide. Thus the military has launched an operation to root out this menace through the length and breadth of Pakistan. They call it, confusingly, ‘Raad ul Fasaad’ which is better spelled ‘Rudd ul Fasad’. ‘Raad’ (or ‘Rudd’) means ‘rejection’ and the Quranic word ‘Fasad’ means discord and disharmony. So it means, literally, ‘Rejection of Discord and Disharmony’.

 

But it’s not so simple. You cannot get rid of Fasad without getting rid of ‘Fitna’ that causes Fasad. ‘Fitna’ literally mean mischief-maker or mischief-makers. That means getting rid of economic terrorism, people or groups or countries that enable, finance, help, and give refuge etc. to terrorists in their personal and official capacities. That includes Pakistanis and foreigners, individuals, organizations, and governments local and foreign. In Pakistan, our Fitnas are our governments and politicians, many of our seminaries and sermon-spewing mullahs in mosques, some journalists in print and television, academia, the bureaucracy and yes, many people in the military, though it seems the last are declining. And many others.

 

When they launched anti-terrorist operations in the mountains and countryside, apart from Karachi, they would have known that many terrorists would melt away into the cities, as too India and Afghanistan. But fighting guerilla wars in cities is another kettle of fish. It could cause great destruction and loss of innocent civilian lives. Just look at Aleppo and Mosul: all rubble. 

 

Some wiseacres say that the launching of the countrywide military operation is a hidden coup — a coup behind a veil. Good, because the usual upfront coup will come to a cropper as usual, not because the army as a whole lacks patriotism but because of lack of understanding of how to run a complicated and diverse country like Pakistan. They’re not trained for it.

 

A useful coincidence is that the army will also be conducting the much-delayed countrywide census beginning next month from March. Perfect time for it not only to count all citizens but also to check all abodes for hidden weapons and terrorists.

 

I’ll not even try to address the mindless question whether the “army and the civilian government are on the same page”. Patently they are not; else either the prime minister or at least his interior minister would have announced the operation. The prime minister is wasting time gallivanting in Turkey; the interior minister is nowhere to be seen. The prime minister was obviously not even asked; he was just informed and there was precious little he could do about it. That is the fruit of dereliction of duty.

 

To underline how wonky our priorities have become, most people are taken up with the irrelevant question of holding the final of the cricket Pakistan Super League in Lahore. What will that prove? It will require the waste of time of many law enforcement personnel apart from a colossal waste of money that could be better used in improving the human condition. They think that it will prove that Pakistan is not a terrorism-prone country. Tell that to the sailors. Yes, it will further bloat a lot of already bloated egos and prolong many a job of the unfit, that’s all.

 

To be sure what’s happening in Pakistan is not in a vacuum. It is part of the great global change that is taking place, the shift of the political, military and economic center of gravity from east to west. Which side the camel sits on and what color the new skin the Leviathan takes remains to be seen, but at the risk of sounding racist, it could be yellow and the world could be eating with chopsticks in the not too distant future. I love China and the Chinese.

 

humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

 

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Samjhota Express Incident Revisited By Sajjad Shaukat

Samjhota Express Incident Revisited

By

Sajjad Shaukat

                           

On the midnight of 18-19 February 2007, India-Pakistan Samjhota Express train was bombed in which 68 Pakistani nationals were killed. A Hindu extremist leader Swami Aseemanand, a leader of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has confessed that he was involved in several bombings incidents. He also claimed to have been a part of the incident.

 

In fact, the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails in every field at the cost of other minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defense forces secretly. This could be judged from the incident, when on April 6, 2008, in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigation proved that these militants were found in the bomb-making and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in the bombing of Samjhota express, which burnt alive 70 Pakistanis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) was convinced that Sadhu Swami Aseemanand, a Hindu right-wing leader was directly involved in the Samjhota Express blast. Sources in NIA further pointed out that besides Lt. Col. Purohit, other Indian army officials were also behind that train-bombing. In this regard, a court in Panchkula, Haryana has recorded Aseemanand’s statement which confirmed the NIA inquiry. 

 

Aseemanand’s statement in the Samjhota Express blast case was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before a magistrate. His earlier admission was recorded in the Mecca Masjid case, which was being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Sadhu Aseemanand stuck to his confession that Hindutva radicals were behind the bomb attack on the Samjhota Express. Aseemanand, Aka Naba and Kumar Sarkar, named absconding Hindutva militants—Ramji Kaisangra and Sandeep Dange as the key plotters in that terror attack.

 

Sources of the NIA also disclosed that the confession in connection with the Samjhota Express blast practically rules out the involvement of other groups.

 

In the Samjhota Express case, the probe team has found that the bomb used in the train was kept in a suitcase that was bought from a shop of Indore’s Kothari Market. The suitcase had cloth covers stitched by an Indian local tailor. The NIA was now trying to get details of those who bought the suitcase and covers.

 

It is notable that Dr. J C Batra, who is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, was asked to give an opinion on Aseemanand’s confession. He appeared very defensive and as usual started accusing Pakistan’s its primary intelligence agency ISI—its so-called history for such activities, alleging that even this could be an ISI plot. He further said that Swami’s statement does not have much legal value as circumstantial evidence is also needed while adding that RSS is being wrongly implicated and there could be others involved who are not being exposed. In this regard, a Pakistani parliamentarian, Mr. Mian Abdul Sattar, parliamentary secretary for planning and development, who was accompanying him, later stated that he was told by Mr. JC Batra that the Indian Army was involved in this case and there “are efforts to shield it from getting exposed”.

 

Swami Aseemanand also confessed in the court that several RSS preachers and Sang activists were directly involved in planning, financing and executing Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts. He stated that various leaders of Hindu communal organizations including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram were also behind these blasts.

 

It is mentionable that in various tapes, LT. Col Purohit said, “We are all on the same plane, Hindu Rashtra (Nation)”. He even claimed that Gen. J J Singh is “with us”. (Former Singh was Army Chief till Sept. 2007). Significantly, Purohit mentioned that “one of our own captain had visited Israel”, and demanded “continuous supply of arms, training, an office with a saffron flag in Tel Aviv, political asylum and support for our cause of a Hindu Nation in the UN.” The Israelis, he added, gave “a very positive response.” 

 

In this context, exposing the nexus between Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the then Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on January 20, 2013, that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, and Malegaon blasts. He added, “We will have to think about it (Saffron terrorism) seriously…Hindu extremist parties BJP and RSS were involved many times in Hindu-Muslim violence in India, especially Gujarat and Babri masjid incident.”

 

The then India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid endorsed Shinde’s statement, saying that it was based on facts. Meanwhile, Indian Home Secretary R K Singh revealed that during the investigation the government had found ten names of the Hindu extremists, associated with RSS, who were involved in these terror attacks including Ajmer Sharif.

 

Similarly, on July 19, 2013, the Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001, were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

 

While, India has always accused Pakistan’s ISI of these acts of terrorism, but it is quite silent over Hindutva-terror which has obtained a new face, under the fundamentalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Indian RAW, country’s high officials, and fundamentalist parties have co-relationship.

 

Nevertheless, despite the confessions of Swami Aseemanand, instead of taking action against the culprits of the Samjhota Express explosion, the Supreme Court of India accepted the bail of Swami Aseemanand after the covert interference of the Modi-led authorities who changed the investigations in this respect in order to weaken the case.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

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