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Archive for category INDIA’S ANTI-PAKISTAN TOXIC PROPAGANDA

EU DisinfoLab exposes Indian network influencing EU, UN against Pakistan -Dunya News Pakistan Excerpt

EU DisinfoLab exposes Indian network influencing EU, UN against Pakistan

These platforms allegedly promote India’s geopolitical interests through republication of propaganda

LAHORE (Dunya News) – EU DisinfoLab, a Brussels-based disinformation watchdog, has cracked open a network of dormant companies, think tanks and fake media outlets that promote India’s diplomatic interests to influence the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) with content critical of Pakistan.

In November, the non-governmental group, after carrying out investigation, in its initial findings had uncovered a nexus of 265 fake media outlets across 65 countries to influence the EU and the UN with content critical of Pakistan.

These platforms allegedly promote India’s geopolitical interests through republication of propaganda pieces and op-eds.

EU DisinfoLab uncovered links between zombie companies, dormant media outlets, and legally non-existent organisations, lobbying the EU and also the UN by constantly targeting Pakistan.

Questionable news portals mentioned in the investigation include Times of Los Angeles, Times of Portugal, EP Today, Times of Geneva, New Delhi Times, New York Journal American, and Times of North Korea. Most websites had Twitter presence as well.

The investigation found that the news outlets were managed by Indian stakeholders, with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group.

The entire campaign ultimately dovetails with India’s Aug. 5 move to wrest tighter control of Jammu and Kashmir, and garner support for the country internationally.

Whereas, Pakistan has accused India of altering the international border, India maintains that Jammu & Kashmir is its internal matter.

EU DisinfoLab’s investigation demonstrates how this network of think tanks, NGOs, and media outlets has already translated into a set of EU parliamentarians visiting the Kashmir valley on Oct. 30. The visit was perceived by some as a sign of validation for the government’s move. It came amidst international attention on curbs on free speech and human rights violations in the Kashmir valley.


Who fuelled the network?


EU DisinfoLab’s probe goes back to October, when it found that “eptoday.com – the website of a self-proclaimed magazine for the European Parliament in Brussels – had been re-publishing a large amount of news directly from Russia Today and Voice of America.

“Among this syndicated content, we unexpectedly found that a large number of articles and op-eds related to minorities in Pakistan as well as other India-related matters,” EU DisinfoLab said on its website.

“This probe led EU DisinfoLab to conclude that EP Today was managed by Indian stakeholders, and had links with a vast interweb of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from one Srivastava Group.

“We also found that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media ‘New Delhi Times’ and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India,” EU Disinfolab stated.

A few weeks after this, on Oct. 30, a group of 27 EU parliamentarians, mostly from right-wing political parties, visited the restive Kashmir Valley. This was perceived as a show of support for Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s big agenda for the newly created union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Through shared phone numbers and an office address in Brussels, as well as shared web servers, EU Disinfo Lab found Srivastava Group to be at the heart of the network.

Srivastava Group is an Indian holding company which declares on its website that it has “interests in Natural resources, Clean energy, Airspace, Consulting services, Healthcare, Print Media and Publishing”.

The IINS is based at the same address in Delhi as Srivastava Group and an obscure media outlet called New Delhi Times.

BBC News Hindi reporter Kirti Dubey visited the address and was told by a security guard there was no office in the building. A neighbour who had lived in the area for 40 years told her he had never seen anyone in the house. Srivastava Group did not respond to the BBC’s attempts to request comment by phone and email.

The visit was reportedly organised by IINS, and facilitated by a lobbyist called Madi Sharma. India does not recognise lobbying.

Sharma soon came under scrutiny for her shady credentials, since her NGO, Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank, itself turned out to be a lobbying firm.


Key findings


Eventually, the EP Today investigation uncovered other shady links and fake media outlets. The map below shows how many countries have such platforms that republish content promoting India’s diplomatic interests.

These were its key findings:

1. Most of them are named after extinct local newspapers or spoof real media outlets;

2. They republish content from several news agencies (KCNA, Voice of America, Interfax);

3. Coverage of the same Indian-related demonstrations and events;

4. Republications of anti-Pakistan content from the described Indian network (including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva, New Delhi Times);

5. Most websites have Twitter accounts, too.


EU DisinfoLab explains how can mere republishing of articles amount to geopolitical lobbying


1. Influence international institutions and elected representatives with coverage of specific events and demonstrations;

2. Provide NGOs with useful press material to reinforce their credibility and thus be impactful;

3. Add several layers of media outlets that quote and republish one another, making it harder for the reader to trace the manipulation, and in turn (sometimes) offer a “mirage” of international support;

4. Influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying iterations of the same content available on search engines.


 Offline efforts 


In its full report released on Monday, the EU DisinfoLab further detailed offline efforts of the Indian network assisted by ‘fake’ NGOs and organisations responsible for anti-Pakistan lobbying events in Europe.

According to the report, the organisations including EOPM (European Organisation for Pakistani Minorities) and VOPM (Voice of Pakistani Minorities) were behind all the campaigns organised in Geneva against Pakistan on the subject of the treatment of minorities.

The organization issued a press release on the campaign.

“The initiative has been taken during the 36th session of Human Rights Council in Geneva by Pakistani Women Human Rights Organisation and European Organisation for Pakistani minorities (EOPM). The European Organisation for Pakistani Minorities, an NGO, has displayed its posters on taxi bikes,” it read.

“More than the fake media outlets alone, it is their combination with the fake NGOs that’s really worrying because it provides a mirage of online and grassroots support to a cause. That’s exactly where the disinformation lies,” Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU Disinfo Lab, told the BBC.

For example, one of the sites is called Manchester Times. Its “About Us” section uses text copied from a Wikipedia entry about a newspaper with the same name.

But it omits an important part of the Wikipedia description, which states: “The newspaper’s last issue appeared on 22 July 1922.” It also fails to declare the website’s links to Indian interests.

Six of the sites use misleading names, like “Times of Los Angeles” instead of the better known “Los Angeles Times”.

The Times of Geneva is one of the most sophisticated websites in the network, and creates a lot of video content. Its activities appear to target decision makers at the U.N.

The website hasn’t been updated since 19 Nov., a few days after EU Disinfo Lab first announced its discovery of the network.

The BBC tried calling the phone number on the Times of Geneva’s website, but it has been cut off. Its YouTube channel has been disabled and its Twitter account suspended.

Mr Alaphilippe believes the network was created to influence international institutions and elected representatives.

“We think the main goal was to be able to reach policymakers in Brussels and Geneva, without being able to trace back to those behind the manipulative network. And this worked!” he told the BBC.

“MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] have engaged directly with this network on a multitude of levels, whether that’s been through writing op-eds for their media, participating in overseas trips and press conferences, or by speaking in the European Parliament on behalf of the cause.”

In an email to the BBC, he says what struck him was that “somebody went to pains to set up hundreds of inauthentic sites to bolster coverage of issues aligned with India’s interests, and then used (unwitting?) European MPs to lend legitimacy to some of those sites”.

“The real-life implications are that officials can be hand-fed and regurgitate specific talking points, completely unaware about how they got them.”

In 2017 posters with the message “Free Balochistan” and other slogans supporting minorities in Pakistan appeared on streets in Geneva, resulting in Pakistani authorities summoning the Swiss Ambassador to demand the removal of the posters.

The EU Disinfo Lab report highlights that this year, a campaign was launched in front of the United Nations office in Geneva about Balochistan. The protest used the hashtag #PakistanStopGenocide, with speeches made by various individuals named in the report. It was extensively covered in media outlets in the network, such as the Times of Geneva.

India has also been on the receiving end of critical outdoor advertising in Europe. Earlier this year, during the Cricket World Cup in England, banners were seen flying over the stadium during India’s match against Sri Lanka at Headingley, Leeds, with messages such as “Justice for Kashmir” and “India Stop Genocide and Free Kashmir”.

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Strategic Dimensions:  Indian Wheat is Harmful to Afghans’ Health By Sajjad Shaukat

Strategic Dimensions: 

Indian Wheat is Harmful to Afghans’ Health

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

After hosting the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, India on October 29, 2017, began shipment of 15000 tons wheat to landlocked Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port, which was received in the Afghan city of Zaranj with jubilation. The consignment was the first out of the 1.1 million tons wheat committed by India for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis and was projected in the media mainly to celebrate the launching of the newly constructed Chabahar port. India, Afghanistan and Iran agreed to operationalize the Chabahar port only a year-and-a-half ago when they signed agreements in relation to the US-backed Chabahar project to develop a trade route from Chabahar to Central Asia. The project has been portrayed by Indian media commentators as having changed the historical Great Game for control of the connections between South and Central Asia through Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghan officials said that the rest of the consignments were expected to arrive in different stages, and were set to be completed by the end of January 2017.

It is notable that a huge quantity of wheat being supplied to Afghanistan in the name of a grant was from the old stock and is infected. Hence, it is harmful to the health of the Afghans. Due to administrative mismanagement and red-tapism in India, a large number of wheat stocks got unnoticed for years and ultimately expired.

The Indian government’s recent move of demonetization of currency notes in the country also added to further infect these already expired stocks of wheat, as the Indian farmers did not have new currency notes to purchase seeds which were earlier being provided to them from these old stocks and they ultimately used the fresh yields as seeds.

 

In this respect, Pakistan’s leading businessmen and Director Zia-ul- Haq Sarhadi in a statement issued by the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) said in December, last year that they have once again appealed to the Pakistan and Afghan authorities to review the bilateral trade policies including transit trade to promote bilateral trade between two countries—the new Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) has become the victim of sabotage since last six years. The result was that 70% Afghan trade has been shifted to Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar—due to lack of clear export policy, India has started shifting her wheat to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) through Chabahar port of Iran—Pakistan had exported 1 to 1.5 million ton of wheat, flour and self-rising flour (Maida) annually to Afghanistan.

 

However, rather than being purely a commercial activity, Indian supply of wheat to Afghanistan cannot be seen in isolation, it has strategic dimensions.

 

In this regard, the hastily-launching of the project of Chabahar port came to a head in wake of Pakistan’s Gwadar port of the Balochistan province, becoming a focus of global attention owing to the junction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC). Therefore, in order to fulfil its so-called strategic agenda with maximum projection, New Delhi provided the wheat from its expired stocks. But, with a softer Indian image, New Delhi ignored the health of millions of Afghanis who would be using this wheat as their basic food. The issue can have serious implications for the lives of Afghanis who have already been suffering from food and health crisis since long due to continuous crisis and displacements. Notably, the issue has already been discussed in various talk shows in the Kabul News TV by Anchor Wahidullah and Ghazikhel and on Shamshad TV.

 

It is mentionable that as part of the animosity against Pakistan, the Indian government was exerting pressure on the businessmen and industrialists to hasten the move and subsidized Indian wheat which would drive Islamabad out of the Afghan markets. Besides, New Delhi gave general subsidy on farm inputs, which makes the Indian wheat cheaper as compared to Pakistan, while, India also offered a specific $50 per ton additional subsidy to exporters, thus driving the price further down.

 

It is noteworthy that Afghanistan which is in the phase of transition, moving from crisis to stability, has expressed a strong desire to join the multi-billion economic opportunity of the CEPEC, when in October 2016, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, emphasized upon his country’s interest in joining the CPEC. However, a year later, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s disappointing statement regarding Kabul’s joining of the Indian venture Chabahar Port, gave a setback to the earlier progressive and pragmatic approach of the Afghan nation.

 

While, as a landlocked, terrorism and militancy prone nation, Afghanistan is in desperate need of infrastructural development and uplifting its economy. Thus, if Kabul joins the CPEC, an ideal environment of trilateral cooperation can be developed in the region which can benefit all parties involved.

 

Besides, Afghanistan can, particularly, gain enormously by not only benefiting from this Chinese investment but also can have an active role of both Beijing and its strategic partner Islamabad in bringing stability and peace in Afghanistan.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan and China. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans by giving easy access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

 

In this context, CPEC is predicted to bring industrialization and investment to Pakistan, the carry-over effects of which will obviously benefit neighbouring Afghanistan also. Unlike the Chabahar project, the CPEC is the wider project, between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods. The connected roads will enable Afghan businessmen and investors to access the enormous consumer markets in South Asia, thereby increasing Afghanistan’s exports and reducing the costs of imports. CPEC can bring the three nations under a common economic, commercial and industrial umbrella which, in turn, can ensure joint efforts for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

 

The Afghan nation must also take cognizance of the fact that Kabul is 1237 km. away from Gwadar, whereas the distance between Kabul and Chabahar is 1840 km. It means Gwadar is more suitable for Kabul, because, it is more than 600 km. nearer to it as compared to Chabahar. Gwadar is much more a beneficial route for the Afghanis with suitable logistic expenses.

American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad

Undoubtedly, CPEC is likely to prove as the game-changers in the region, therefore, based in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are assisting terror-outfits so as to destabilize various regions of Pakistan, especially Pakistan’s Balochistan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan.

 

Notably, on June 13, 2016, a Chinese newspaper, Global Times also wrote that India is “damaging the prospects of Gwadar by investing in Chabahar to isolate Pakistan; however, it will not succeed in its designs.” The paper explained, “Pakistan’s Sindh Province saw a bomb attack against Chinese engineers…Meanwhile, the Pakistani government claimed that anti-CPEC activities by foreign forces have been busted in Baluch Province. At the Beijing Forum held in Islamabad in late May, countries including the US and Japan have shown concerns over CPEC construction and even bluntly criticized the China-Pakistan friendship. CPEC is a significant part of the Belt and Road initiative, which is not only a domestic strategy of China to open up its central and western regions, but also Pakistan’s domestic development plan as well as regional integration.”

Another strategic dimension is that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined India in this respect.

 

As part of the double game, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative” the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.” And the recent threat of American President Donald Trump to Islamabad, suspension of aid and encouragement of Indian role in Afghanistan are part of the covert strategic game to damage the CEPEC project. Hence, Pakistan which has already established its strategic partnership with Beijing is also cultivating a strong relationship with Russia and Iran. Thus, an alliance of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran is likely to emerge in the near future in response to the US-Indian partnership.

 

Afghan rulers must also note that pro-Israeli President Trump is against Tehran. In this connection, addressing a regional summit in Riyadh, Suadi Arabia on May 22, 2017, President Trump accused Iran of supporting terrorism from Lebanon to Iraq and to Yemen—contributing to instability in the region. Moreover, in pursuance of Israeli hidden agenda, President Trump has also refused to certify the US-Iran nuclear deal. In these circumstances, Iran could abandon the Chabahar project and could also join the CPEC.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

 

 

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    India Influences International Entities to Defame Pakistan By Sajjad Shaukat

                            

India Influences International Entities to Defame Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

Being the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, Pakistan was already on the hit-list of the US-led India and Israel, including some Western countries. But, after the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan’s province of Balochistan, American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad, including British MI6 have been supporting target killings, suicide attacks, hostage-takings, sectarian and ethnic violence in various cities of the country, while backing separatist elements in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. As part of the double game, based in Afghanistan, these secret agencies which have well-established their covert networks there and are well-penetrated in the terrorist outfits like the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their affiliated Taliban groups are using their terrorists to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.

 

But, these foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they continue to destabilize it, especially with the assistance of India.

 

In this respect, terror attacks coincide with a continued propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centers, think tanks, universities, so-called human rights groups and media leave no stone unturned in continuing their endless propaganda to defame Pakistan internationally. Particularly, RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan.

 

In this regard, a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the US, Japan and India was held at Palace Hotel, New York on September 18, 2017 on the sidelines of 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly. During the meeting, North Korean nuclear programme was deliberated. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has subsequently issued a statement on the meeting containing usual propaganda against Pakistan by hinting that the North Korean proliferation may be linked with Pakistan.

 

Similarly, as part of the propaganda to distort the image of Pakistan abroad, on September 11, 2017, the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle also published an article titled “Muslim Hypocrisy over the Rohingya”, which stated that Jihadi forces attacking Myanmar’s security forces on August 25, 2017 had links with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan and were being funded by Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has been intentionally propagated under Indian influence in order to link Pakistan with Myanmar’s so called ‘militants’.

 

It is notable that North Korea remained under clouds of nuclear threat from the US throughout the Korean War (1950-1953), North Korea’s ruler Kim Il Sung and his son—Kim Jong-un (Now in power) have been attempting to acquire nuclear weapons’ of their own. North Korea tried its best to acquire nuclear weapons technology from its wartime ally China. Supreme Leader Kim II-Sung twice requested Chinese sovereign Mao Zedong for help, but was declined. Having been denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea started an indigenous nuclear weapons program immediately after the war in early 1950s. Hence, to shift the blame game towards Islamabad for North Korean nuclear proliferation is unjustified and unfair. Pakistan’s nuclear programme started much later after the first Indian nuclear test at Pokhran in 1974. During the 1970’s Pakistan’s nuclear programme was not even in its embryonic stage when North Korea had already networked with the West to achieve the capability.

 

In the 70’s and 80’s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at that time. Reportedly they had successful headway in Plutonium based technology on which they based their nuclear programme. Logically and sensibly, Pakistan cannot contribute to the nuclear programme of North Korea which is based on the extraction of Plutonium rather than the Pakistan nuclear programme based on Uranium Centrifugation process.

 

Besides, the Soviets also helped North Korea in setting up its first nuclear reactor in 1964.

 

India, during the current regime of Modi has made it a routine to label Pakistan for any wrong doings happening in and around. Sushma Swaraj has been capitalizing well on this philosophy. The world should realize that the same recipe by Indians on Pakistan cannot work forever.

 

As regards the Royingya crisis, Myanmar’s 1948 citizenship law stripped Rohingya of Myanmar citizenship. The law was orchestrated during military regime. Until recently, Rohingya were registered as temporary residents with identification cards, known as white cards.

 

Buddhist Myanmar government fears speedy population rise among Rohingya Muslims as compared to slow population growth among the Buddhists that may turn into Rohingya majority in the country.

 

In 2014, after holding an UN-backed national census, first in thirty years, Rohingya Muslims could only be registered as Bengalis. Constitutional referendum in 2015 canceled even the temporary identity cards issued to this community.

 

The Myanmar government put restrictions on marriage, family planning (Only allowed to have two children), employment, education, religious choice and freedom of movement.

 

As if, Indian atrocities on hapless Muslims of Indian Occupied Kashmir and other minorities elsewhere were not enough, India has decided to support the repressive regime of Myanmar, which is wreaking havoc on the Rohingya Muslim community.

The Modi regime’s plan to deport 40,000 Rohingya Muslims is underway in the pretext that it had evidence of terror connections between Indian-based Rohingya Muslims and extremist groups allegedly from Pakistan and other Muslim states.

 

In this connection, the sad plight of the Rohingya has provided the Indians a usual and typical blunt instrument to beat Pakistan with and propagate that the Pakistanis are training jihadists in Myanmar and terrorizing the “peace loving Buddhists” of Myanmar. Taking the advantage of the situation, the well beaten rhetoric of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s involvement is being propagated across the world.

 

Undoubtedly, New Delhi leaves no stone unturned in associating Pakistan with all international crises like North Korea’s nuclear programme and Myanmar’s Rohingya’s killings in a bid to tarnish Pakistan’s image and negatively influencing international public opinion on Pakistan.

 

Again, it is mentionable that the German public broadcaster–Deutsche Welle seems to have conceded to Indian propaganda, as its reporting has been reduced to only negative news about Islamabad.

 

While, Pakistan’s energies are focused on eradicating terrorism, which are evident due to its concrete actions against terrorism and are being appreciated across the world at different forums. But, India has continued influencing international entities to defame Pakistan in the comity of nations.

 

 

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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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CPEC Involvement of US, Britain & India to Sabotage CPEC Effort

 

Does the China-Pakistan economic corridor worry India?

The $46bn CPEC project connecting Xinjiang in China to Gwadar in Pakistani Thorn in Mother India’s Bosom.

 
The CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Azad Kashmir [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

by

Srinagar, India-Occupied Kashmir – The multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is being called a “game-changer” in Pakistan, has raised apprehensions in neighbouring India.

In June 2015, barely two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to invest $46bn in developing infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan as part of the economic corridor, or CPEC, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told China that it was “unacceptable”.

The ambitious project – part of China’s “One Belt and One Road” or new Silk Road project – is a series of roads, railways, pipelines, hydropower plants and other development projects, being built from the restive Xinjiang province in China to Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan.

The corridor, which came into operation last November, passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir – a territory claimed by India. Both the South Asian neighbours claim the disputed Kashmir region in full, but control parts of it.

On January 17, speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Only by respecting the sovereignty of countries involved, can regional connectivity corridors fulfill their promise and avoid differences and discord.” 

That Modi was referring to the economic corridor was confirmed by his foreign secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, two days later. “We expect they respect other people’s sovereignty,” he said.

“The CPEC passes through a territory that we see as our territory. Surely people will understand what [the] Indian reaction is. There needs to be some reflection and I am sorry to say that we have not seen signs of that.”

OPINION: The China-Pakistan corridor – A fate-changer?

Economic integration

Dismissing New Delhi’s concerns, Nafees Zakaria, a Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman, told Al Jazeera that the economic corridor is a “comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation project”.

“The project will contribute to [the] economic development of the entire region and not only for Pakistan and China,” he said.

“It can be a catalyst for economic connectivity and integration in Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. Objection by India or any other country to such an economic project is, therefore, beyond comprehension.”

The project promises to be an immense economic and strategic windfall for China and Pakistan.

The economic corridor is expected to boost Pakistan’s economy [EPA]

By 2050, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, China is projected to become the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of $58.5 trillion, up from $5.7 trillion in 2010. The country’s GDP growth rate has declined in recent years, however, from 7.3 percent in 2014 to 6.7 percent in 2016.

The CPEC is anticipated to boost Pakistan’s economy, where the GDP is expected to grow by more than five percent by 2020, according to an IMF growth forecast. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that Pakistan’s GDP will reach $4.2 trillion by 2050 from the current $988bn.

The 3,200km-long corridor is intended to connect the world’s second largest economy, China, with the Middle East and Central Asia, reducing the alternative sea route distance – via the Malacca Strait – by 10,000km.

For Pakistan, the combined value of the CPEC’s infrastructure projects would be equivalent to 17 percent of Pakistan’s GDP in 2015, a report by Deloitte predicted. The report estimated that the economic corridor would create some 700,000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030, and add up to 2.5 percent to the country’s growth rate.

India’s Chagrin and Anger

The fact that the route passes through the disputed Kashmir region seems to have worried India, which has about half a million troops stationed in its part of the territory to quell more than two decades of armed rebellion.

“China is using Indian land area illegally occupied by Pakistan,” said Seshadri Chari, a national executive member of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Beijing has been willing to address India’s concerns, though. Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, told the media that Beijing is committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with others and that CPEC would not affect China’s position on Kashmir. 

Suchitra Vijayan, a New York-based lawyer who has worked on India’s borderlands including Kashmir, told Al Jazeera: “India doesn’t want to internationalise the Kashmir issue, but with Pakistan, China, and CPEC coming in, it happens.”

Andrew Small, author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, does not believe that the offers to India to join CPEC will elicit a positive response in the near future. But he believes there is a view among a number of officials in China and Pakistan that, in the long-term, that door needs to be kept open.

Small told Al Jazeera that keeping the door open does not mean that India will become enthusiastic about CPEC but that “it will be neutrally disposed – seeing some potential security benefits if Pakistan’s economy is stabilised”.

According to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – a Swedish-based think-tank – India’s opposition to CPEC reflects a concern over the internationalisation of the Kashmir dispute and the growing influence of China in the Indian Ocean.

It says that there is considerable concern within India that China, which has been neutral on Kashmir since 1963, can no longer be so now that its economic and security interests in these territories are growing.

After the 1962 India-China war, Beijing sought to cultivate good relations with Islamabad, which has emerged as the biggest buyer of Chinese defence equipment in recent years.

String of pearls

New Delhi sees Gwadar – a deep-sea port located in Balochistan province – as part of China’s “String of Pearls” bases, that extends from its eastern coast to the Arabian Sea. China is also developing ports in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that are considered a potential military challenge to India.

The Gwadar port, overlooking one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the Arabian Sea, has been leased to Beijing for 40 years. New Delhi fears that the port might become a Chinese naval outpost, thereby threatening India’s energy and economic security, as more than two-thirds of India’s petroleum imports pass through the area.

Small says that India and Pakistan can expand their commercial interactions without resolving their larger conflict – a point echoed by a leading Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

He explains that India does not need to “join CPEC” anyway – in the future, it could maintain its formal objections to the initiative but still deepen trade relations with Pakistan, and in the process implicitly be utilising CPEC infrastructure, energy projects, industrial zones and more.

But Mihir Sharma, who is the author of Restart: The last chance for the Indian Economy, says that India’s relations with Pakistan are simply too unstable for the former’s primary land connectivity corridor to Central Asia, Russia, and Europe, to run through the latter’s territory.

“The risk of the investment and of trade through that corridor, in both geo-strategic and economic terms, might be too high,” he said.

OPINION: India’s take it or leave it choice in Afghanistan

Chabahar port

In May last year, India’s Prime Minister Modi traveled to Iran and announced a deal to develop Chabahar port, barely 75km from Gwadar. India announced an investment of $500m but the project has been repeatedly delayed.

Many analysts have pointed out that the Chabahar port deal, which also includes Afghanistan, could be a parallel project to connect with Central Asia and Europe while bypassing Pakistan.

India has committed close to $2bn in development aid to Afghanistan, and it maintains close military cooperation with Kabul as it seeks to reinforce its geostrategic interest in the region. Chabahar will provide India with land access to Afghanistan – something Pakistan has denied India for years.

Iran could use Chabahar – about 843 nautical miles from India’s commercial hub, Mumbai – to export more goods to India and the Asia Pacific region.

This would open more investment opportunities to Indian firms, which could gain a foothold in Iran, which is emerging from years of sanctions. There would also be benefits for landlocked Afghanistan, which would get connected to the Gulf, the Arabian, Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Chabahar port will be linked to Zaranj city, in Nimruz province, Afghanistan, which is connected to a highway built by India in 2009.

Small says that Chabahar is typically billed as an alternative and a rival port to Gwadar, and a counter-play to CPEC, but he points out: “It’s still entirely possible that Chabahar and Gwadar would end up functioning as [a] network.”

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