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Anti-Muslim-Anti-China Article in Japan Times                                                                    By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

It is sad that as part of the Indian venomous propaganda campaign, in his article, published in Japan Times on April 14, 2020, under the caption “The other contagion: Political and religious fanaticism”, Indian writer Brahma Chellaney has shown misconceptions about the Muslims, some Islamic countries, including Pakistan and China in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

Brahma Chellaney wrote: “Just as fascism led to World War II, communism has engendered the greatest global health catastrophe of our time. The Chinese Communist Party, by initially covering up the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, helped unleash the world’s worst pandemic … [China’s]…authoritarianism can ravage the entire world…the pandemic is another extremism—one grounded in religion…Meanwhile, a transnational Islamist movement, the Tablighi Jamaat (“Proselytizing Society”), by holding large gatherings in Malaysia, Pakistan, and Indonesia, helped export the pathogen to multiple countries extending from Southeast Asia to West Africa. This Sunni missionary movement also held a session in New Delhi that helped spread the virus across India. Through its large events, the Tablighi Jamaat—which has long served as a recruiting ground for terrorist groups—has emerged as the super-spreader of COVID-19…the organization will be remembered for the deaths and suffering it caused in many communities. The lesson is that religious fanaticism, like political despotism, is often deadly. Indeed, the blind faith of religious zealots has been a significant trigger in spreading the coronavirus, as Iran’s case underscores”.

 

While, spreading disinformation in line with the fanatic Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ruling party BJP, including other religious extremist groups, the writer has ignored the ground realities.

 

Indian writer should pay attention to the fact that Prime Minister Modi’s extremist party BJP had also got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2019, as, during the election campaign, the Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans and ‘anti-Pakistan’ jargons. On the basis of the same slogans, the BJP-led alliance won the 2014 elections.

 

Since 2014 Modi-led BJP was already promoting religious fanaticism and the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) by persecuting religious minorities, Sikhs, Christians, and particularly Muslims, including even lower cast-Hindus.

 

In his second tenure, the Premier Modi government accelerated the implementation of the Hindutva agenda, especially targeting the Muslims. Indian fanatic rulers’ various moves such as abrogation of the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir to turn Muslim majority into a minority in the Occupied Kashmir (IOK), continued lockdown in the IOK, the martyrdom of thousands of the Kashmiris there, issuance of a notorious map to bifurcate the Kashmir region into two union territories and introduction of new domicile law to further alter the demographic and geographic status of the IOK against the majority of Kashmiris are notable.

 

Particularly, in the aftermath of the elections 2019, news reports have highlighted different cases in which Dalits and especially Muslims were violently targeted by the radical Hindus.

 

In this respect, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on October 8, 2019: “Bharat is Hindu Rashtra and all Bharatiyas are Hindus.”

 

 

 

India's Nazi's

 

Besides, the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) further exposed the Modi government’s discriminatory policies. The CAA coupled with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is mainly against Muslim immigrants especially from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It strips 200 million Indian Muslims of their citizenship.

 

Since December 15, 2019, daily mass protests, even by the moderate Hindus have been taking place across every state in India against the CAA and the NRC, which resulted in killing of more than 200 persons and injuring 800-mostly Muslims by the police and fanatic Hindus. But, the Modi-led regime has not withdrawn the CAA/NRC. Since February 23, this year when clashes started in New Delhi between protesters for and against the citizenship law, Hindu extremists of RSS and BJP have burnt properties of Muslims, including their vehicles and mosques, and compelled them to leave the areas.

 

While Indian rulers have been imposing various kinds of restrictions on the Muslims, coronavirus provided them another pretext to increase their hardships. Top officials of the Modi government and the health ministry claimed that Muslims are spreading this virus. Availing this opportunity, Hindu zealots have set off a series of assaults against Muslims across the country.

 

In this connection, The New York reported on April 12, 2020: “Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, run out of their neighborhoods or attacked in mosques…Hindu extremists are scapegoating the country’s entire Muslim population for deliberately spreading the virus through “corona jihad”.

 

Al Jazeera reported on April 16, 2020, “Indian hospitals segregate Muslim and Hindu coronavirus patients…In what many are calling a case of “apartheid” during a global pandemic…made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients. It is a decision of the government”.

 

In this context, under the title “It Was Already Dangerous to Be Muslim in India. Then Came the coronavirus”, Billy Perrigo also elaborated the Indian present drastic anti-Muslim phenomena.

 

As regards the Tablighi Jamaat congregations since the remote past, they have been holding congregations. But, now as part of New Delhi’s biased policies, their preachers have also become the main target of coronavirus epidemic.

 

Indian Constitution which declares India to be a democratic state, safeguarding the rights of minorities has been torn into pieces by the Narendra Modi who has changed it into authoritarianism by targeting the minority groups, particularly Muslims.

 

And Brahma Chellaney who also held China responsible for deliberately preparing and spreading the COVID-19 is no more than disinformation. US-supported India wants to counterbalance China in Asia. So, the writer has spoken in the tone of America which has earlier accused Beijing in this regard.

 

Notably, Lijian Zhao, an official spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on March 12, 2020, that the US Army has brought the coronavirus epidemic to Wuhan from where it originated. US athletes participated in the Military World Games which were held from October 18–27, 2019 in Wuhan.

 

So, Washington’s main aim was to check the rapidly increasing economic influence of China in the Afro-Asian countries. And New Delhi is also against the growing impact of Beijing in the region.

 

At present, China has controlled the coronavirus and lifted lockdown in Wuhan. Even, America is seeking Chinese help to eliminate the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

In terms of the above-mentioned facts, Brahma Chellaney’s article is based upon his misconceptions about the Muslims, some Islamic countries, including Pakistan and China. 

 

 

 

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Pakistan sailing in choppy waters by Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan sailing in choppy waters

Asif Haroon Raja

 

After 9/11, the US in league with NATO, Israel and India initiated the global war on terror under the pretext of making the world safe, secure and peaceful. The hidden objectives of the adventurers were to destroy militarily and economically strong Muslim nations, rob their resources and to neo-colonize the Muslim world. Pakistan was not included in the declared axis of evil since, without its intimate cooperation, Afghanistan could not be occupied. However, the main objective of Indo-US-Israel nexus was to destabilize and denuclearize Pakistan and to make it a compliant state.  

In the last 18 years, several Muslim countries have been destroyed. Pakistan has been badly mauled on account of its decision to fight the US imposed war on its soil against own people, hoping to make Pakistan strong and prosperous. Nothing of the sort has happened.

Pakistan continues to sail in choppy waters and is faced with multiple challenges both on internal and external fronts. Internally, the political situation is murky, the economy is in a crunch, the debt burden is too heavy, 18th Amendment is becoming a threat to the federation on account of fissiparous tendencies in smaller provinces where RAW has made deep inroads, CPEC has lost its vigour and PTM has emerged as a new threat. People are getting disillusioned due to unfulfilled promises made by the incumbent govt. Life of the people living below the poverty line is becoming unbearable due to high inflation and price hike. The lower/ middle classes are feeling the pinch of soaring prices of daily commodities, heavy utility bills and increasing unemployment. After the passage of 17 months, the people see no change in the so-called Naya Pakistan as the overall socio-economic conditions have worsened. Hopes of better days in 2020 are fading in the wake of Coronavirus which will impact Pakistan’s economy and CPEC. 

Externally, India is continuing to maintain a highly belligerent posture. The LoC in Kashmir remains hot as ever. In each exchange of fire, civilians living close to LoC and soldiers lose lives or get injured. Dreaming of converting Bharat into a Hindu State, the fascist regime of Modi has introduced a discriminatory Citizenship law which is entirely Muslim specific.

The northwestern front remains unstable due to cross border terrorism patronized by RAW-NDS, backed by the CIA. The Afghan Taliban are smelling victory which is within their grasping reach. They have forced the US to sign a peace deal and arrive at a political settlement. While insisting upon the occupying forces to exit, they have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan unity regime which in their view is illegitimate. They are also refusing to ceasefire permanently till the signing of peace agreement duly guaranteed by regional powers and complete withdrawal of occupation forces.

Pakistan is going out of the way to help the US to extract maximum concessions from the Taliban who have for all practical purposes won the war and are in a position to dictate terms. For unknown reasons, Pakistan in its bid to win the affections of untrustworthy USA is pressing the Taliban to agree to the terms of the USA and is also requesting the USA not to exit without making Afghanistan stable. This is incomprehensible since the US is among the spoilers wanting to keep Afghanistan unstable and to prolong its stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our southern backyard has also become turbulent because of Trump’s belligerence and deployment of US forces in the Persian Gulf. The killing of Iranian and Iraqi commanders by the US drone and Iran’s retaliatory strikes on the US military bases in Iraq together with ongoing protests in Iraq have made the situation grave.  

Both Israel and India are the worst abusers of human rights and use state terrorism, torture and rapes as tools to subdue the Palestinians and Kashmiris. The US patronise both and brazenly defends their crimes against humanity. Trump has now come with a highly discriminatory Middle East peace plan which wholly favours Israel. Tomorrow, he will float another peace plan to resolve Kashmir dispute which will be entirely in favour of India.

We have gladly accepted the mediation offer of untrustworthy Trump. He must not be trusted to mediate in Kashmir. He is in a position to pressurize India but has done nothing to lessen the pains of Kashmiris and in a way has tacitly accepted the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A as well as Indian policy of subjugation of Kashmiris.

Trump is trying to convince our leadership that in order to save AJK and GB, it will be advisable for Pakistan to accept the LoC as the permanent border and that he will extend full support in this regard. This option was given to ZA Bhutto by Indira Gandhi in 1972, but he shrewdly pushed it aside by converting Ceasefire Line into LoC and accepted policy of bilateral-ism, which of course helped India to keep delaying the resolution of the dispute and finally claim that the UN resolutions had become outdated.

Nawaz Sharif (NS) was close to agreeing on Chenab Formula after the visit of Vajpayee to Lahore in Feb 1999. Likewise, Gen Musharraf in his exuberance to settle the dispute, threw away Pakistan’s stance based on UN Resolutions out of the window and offered out of box solution which in many ways accepted the conversion of LoC into a border.

Each time, Pakistani leaders ignored the Kashmiris who are the main stakeholders and without their consent no lasting solution or peace is possible. I pray our present leaders do not tread the wrong path of NS and Musharraf and insist on giving the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris and let them decide their future course of action.

Gen Ziaul Haq fought the Afghan Jihad in the 1980s in Afghanistan and kept the control levers in the hands of ISI only. Contrarily, Gen Musharraf agreed to fight war on terror on Pak soil, whereas the battleground was Afghanistan. He also let six foreign intelligence agencies based in Kabul to manage the war in which ISI was kept out. Indo-US-Israel-Afghan nexus have a dangerous agenda against Pakistan, but Musharraf mistook them as friends of Pakistan and kept doing more to please the USA. As a result, Pakistan suffered grievously and is still suffering since it has still not come out of the magic spell of USA.

Modi has been threatening to deprive Pakistan of a single drop of water from Rivers Chenab and Jhelum. India can accomplish its objective if it occupies a major chunk of AJK. The Indian Army Chief and Modi have given open threats of annexing AJK in 7-10 days. This threat has been given in the backdrop of concentration of 9 lacs forces in Kashmir.

So far Pakistan seems to have not worked out any strategy to deal with Indian bellicosity and its dangerous designs. We are working on the policy of wait and see and seem to be hoping for divine help. Myopia and inaction amount to criminal negligence.

Indian Occupied Kashmir has been in a locked-down for six months, but so far no steps in Indian Occupied Kashmir have been taken to provide relief to the marooned 8 million Kashmiris, to keep them motivated and the freedom movement alive.

We have so far done little to prepare the people of AJK and GB for the impending war. Instead of carrying out war preparations and imparting military training to students of schools and colleges, activating civil defence forces and motivating volunteers, a policy of restraint has been adopted and people are advised to stay calm.

Likewise, our policy of taking no covert or overt action after the absorption of IOK by India on August 5, 2019, and now waiting for the Indian military to attack AJK and GB and then give a befitting response is a defensive policy.

There are no plans to exploit the Godsend opportunity that has come our way in the form of nationwide protests in India coupled with numerous separatist movements and insurgencies. India has become a tinderbox and needs a matchstick to put it on fire.

Are we hoping that India will change its goals against Pakistan, or are waiting for the US help which after bleeding us in the war on terror has now tightened the noose of IMF-FATF around Pakistan’s neck or China’s help which is unfortunately caught up in Coronavirus crisis? Will it be better to fight the war on home ground or in IOK?

So far the Kashmiris on both sides of the divide hate India and love Pakistan. These sentiments may not last long if we adopt a passive attitude. Nationwide protests in India against highly discriminatory CAA Bill and calls for independence in the northeastern states of India together with downslide in the Indian economy have flustered Indian leadership. It is an opportunity of the century which may not come again. In our quest for peace with India without any reciprocity and to present ourselves as good boys before the world, we have no intention of exploiting the ongoing vulnerabilities of India. On the other hand, India creates or blows up our vulnerabilities and never let’s go any opportunity that comes it is a way to harm Pakistan.

Besides making all-out efforts to stabilize our home-front which at the moment is divided, and providing relief to the people, we need to adopt offensive defence military policy coupled with proactive and aggressive diplomatic policy and independent foreign policy. While maintaining friendly relations with the US, our emphasis should shift from the west to the east. We can rely on China, Turkey, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and can easily bring Iran and Russia in our loop, both having given ample hints to forge deeper relations.

The writer is a retired Brig Gen of Pakistan Army. He is veteran, defence, security & political analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, and Member CWC & Think Tank PESS.

asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We the People, We the Humanity are Victims of Political Insanity!

 

 

We the People, We the Humanity are Victims of Political Insanity!

 Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

 

“We have let the government’s evil-doing, its abuses, power grabs, brutality, meanness, inhumanity, immorality, greed, corruption, debauchery and tyranny go on for too long. We are approaching a reckoning. This is the point, as the poet W. B. Yeats warned, when things fall apart and anarchy is loosed upon the world.”  John W. Whitehead “Monsters with Human Faces: The Tyranny of the Police State Disguised as Law-and-Order.” Information Clearing House: 7/25/2019

 

Democracy of Inhumanity and We, the People of Global Consciousness

 

In a synoptic view, global leaders professing to be wise and smart for being elected, turned out to be naïve, unthinkable and egotistically foolish. Once elected under the so called democracy, they focus their minds on how to get reelected and how to continue a tragic normality of abnormality against the masses that elected them. Agreeably, in the 21st century knowledge-based political affairs require true and effective leadership having a comprehensive sense of human rights, dignity, kindness towards fellow human beings and versatile understanding of navigational change when facts of political life warrant a change. Most contemporary leaders of the world appear to rejoice self-centered evil-mongering, not wisdom and truth of people-oriented political systems of governance. Ideas and ideals that defy reasoning and truth are gushingly operative in aerial bombing of the innocents in Syria, killings of protesters in Iraq, India, Egypt, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Kashmir, Yemen, Libya and not to mention of the large scale civilian displacements of refugees sheltered in Western European nations, Turkey and Lebanon out of bloodbath in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and forcibly evicted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar (Burma).

 

The end picture of the 2019 is not peace, harmony and global unity on these critical issues. These trends represent sadistic tendencies in democratic norms and system of politics without any accountability and remedial action. Fear of the masses and hatred appears to be ingrained in the mental microscope of many political leaders. All authoritarian political leaders lack the imagination of moral and intellectual traits that should have been at the core of effective leadership. Be it the UNO-the chief organ of global peace and security or the US, Russia and other EU nations, the sense of reality is missing in policies and practices. Millions and millions are bombed, charcoaled by chemical attacks, civilian unprotected by the Geneva Conventions, and the noble intents of the UN Charter, The US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights- all sound like insult to the “Common Sense” and to human intellect and political observations. When phony leaders fail to live up to the standards of morality and civilizations, they sink into vindictiveness of insanity, irrational behaviors and create political chaos and problems to keep the masses occupied in naive politics. Jesus is quoted in the Bible saying: “ If the world hates you, you know it hated me before it hated you…if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” How do We, the People of Human Conscience make these ugly and disingenuous politicians to learn from the history and change the course of events into peace and harmony with the masses all over the globe?

 

 Is the UNO Meant to Protect the Mankind from the “scourge of wars?

 

Despite the UNO and the global institutions of peace and security, We the People, We, the Humanity are strangulated by the well planned warfare against our existence and survival on this planet.  The perversion goes on unchallenged for long in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Kashmir. To discard the indifference and insanity of the global leadership toward human protection and survivability, all concerned global citizens must think to avert the ultimate impending cataclysmic destruction of the mankind and the Planet Earth.  In all wars, mankind is the net victim of cruel acts of few warmongers. The news media plays pivotal role in manufacturing and transforming unspoken myths into thinkable notions in situations of unusual emergencies and societal conflicts.  Despite knowledge and advanced intelligence networks, the industrialized nations fail to find workable protective measures from societal upheavals and extremism.  Everywhere mankind is victimized by the unknown consequences of the few sadistic egoistic leaders, be it in Syria, Iraq, Bolivia, Kashmir, Chile, Palestine, India, Venezuela, Egypt and elsewhere.

 

Did the UNO or the international community realize the immediacy of the critical humanitarian crisis and daily bloodbath going-on in Syria, Iraq, South America, Yemen and elsewhere?  Was that reality transformed into a living consciousness transcending momentarily the self-actualization for the collective goodness of the global humanity?

 

 

Living with fear and hatred drains out all the rational human thinking for life and whatever values and concepts it claims for human rights, civility and future. The long shadows of deaths and destruction of the human habitats daily converge on the tv screen showing several thousand displaced refugees moving from nowhere to nowhere. The UNO, its Security Council and the global humanity (if there is such a living entity) were supposed to prevent the forcible massacre of the innocent civilians and extend some sense of concerned humanity to the victims. Not, so, it is a routine of aerial bombardments, deaths and displacement of people. Are We, the People, We the Humanity that ignorant, that blindfolded not to realize what is happening in our surrounding?  Was it not the same historic reality that led to the Two World Wars by the few against many?

 

 

Ignorance and Arrogance is Destroying the Mankind

 

We, the mankind live on One Planet, whether you believe it or not, We are One Humanity. Looking critically at the 21st century global geo-political affairs, it appears as if man and humanity and all the working notions of thinking and actions are at crossroads in search of peace, harmony, security and sustainable future. To imagine a common mathematical orderly manifestation, it is incumbent to have sustainable co-existence and harmonious collaboration between all the converging factors to emulate the end purpose for the good of all mankind.

 

 

Today, President Trump announced to set-up a “Space Force” – a galactic force to ensure the American security in space. Have these leaders solved any humanitarian problems on Earth? What rational criterion is implied to move the fear and hatred from the Earth to the Space?   From Planet Earth to the outer Space, people are wired with unknown secretive and sophisticated weapons – the ticking time bombs of scientists and space experts.  Man and ignorance continue to intervene and change the Nature of THINGS operative within the living Universe – why is it that Man cannot co-exist with Man on Earth – the Living Earth?

 

The UNO and the World Order –  the Lost Reality of Mankind

 

Since its inception, the UNO is viewed by the global humanity as an institution to “protect the mankind from the scourge of war” by evolving and implementing a systematic approach to crisis analysis, conflict prevention and to ensure the security of the global governance and peaceful future for the humanity. Its major organ –The Security Council is seen as body of systematic mechanism to deal with global issues of peace, security and prevention of war while facilitating the necessary framework through diplomacy, laws, procedures and directives based on the UNO Charter. Often the members of the Council fail to define their own role and responsibilities toward the global humanity. Most often, they disagree with their own perceptions, statements and values during the deliberations.

 

 

The survival of the deprived humanity, the United Nations, international peace and harmony are everybody’s concern and priorities. Throughout the world, the educated and responsible intellectuals must address the question: how to develop a New Global Institution of functional relevance and credibility?  As members of One Global Humanity, we must think how to construct a New World Organization accountable to the humanity, and not to the nation states?  How could the UN be freed from the clutches of the so-called superpowers? How voices of reason and honesty be heard at the forums of the international organization? How the 21st century’s challenges be met with innovation, responsible and timely governance and concrete responses to crises across the globe? How human rights, human dignity, peace and security be assured to the concerned mankind? How the mankind – the global community must be represented in all of the participatory deliberations of the new global institutions?

 

 

Could We, the People and We the Humanity be optimistic for the coming of 2020?

Unless the elite and corrupt systems of so called democracy change, there is no hope of any formidable political change for the next year. Learning from the unpleasant facts and making changes in perceptions, policies and strategic direction is a rational choice to intelligent leadership. We do need men of new ideas and creative strategies to safeguard the future of mankind from ignorance and arrogance of fellow men. One could propose a workable diagnose to the bewildered global leadership’s mindset if the leaders could be sent on a space voyage to see the Planet Earth as is from the above and try to understand its operational existence – who is governing the universe – what Majestic Power facilitates all that is essential for life and growth;  how the earth rotates against the sun, how the water, seas, mountains stand in obedience to their Creator – the Lord of the World- the Creator of life and death; how the universe and human species are connected together and the imperatives of living in co-existence with the rest of mankind. Perhaps, such an exploratory visit to space will help to melt down some of their inborn arrogance, indifference and cruelty to the fellow human beings. The outcome could produce human optimism and pave the conducive opportunities and means for peacemaking and co-existence. Indeed, leadership adaptability to change in democracy is a mark of intelligence and responsibility.

 

 

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international relations-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making, 2017. His next publication is soon to be released: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution, 2019.

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Obtaining situation in Afghanistan Asif Haroon Raja

Obtaining situation in Afghanistan

Asif Haroon Raja

The US-NATO-ANSF military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan have been going on since October 7, 2001 relentlessly and have now reached a stalemate. For all practical purposes, the US had lost the war after it pulled out bulk of 150,000 ISAF troops in December 2014 and allowed its chief foe Taliban to gain initiative and an upper edge in the battlefield. The US is however refusing to accept its defeat and is prolonging its stay.

After abandoning boots on ground strategy and relying on airpower and weak Afghan National Army, the occupation forces are locked up in 8 military bases with limited freedom of action. The 3,52000 strong ANSF have suffered extremely heavy casualties since 2016. On average, their casualty rate has been 5000 per year.

 

The occupiers are in a quandary since they can neither convert their defeat into victory, nor can contain the Taliban offensive, or can pressurize them to ceasefire and sign the peace deal on their terms. They are caught in a quagmire of their own making in which they can neither stay for long, nor can they curtail casualties, or can pullout and exit safely and honorably. They are surviving on the logistic routes provided by Pakistan and are also dependent upon Pakistan for their departure.

 

The songs of human rights, women rights, fruits of democracy have all evaporated in thin air. And so has the bloated arrogance over its invincibility after the US agreed that political solution was the only viable option to restore peace and for that purpose sat across the table to hold talks with so-called terrorists and beseech them to ceasefire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taliban having gained initiative and a decisive military edge over the occupiers and collaborators in 2015, are constantly attacking high value targets all over the country and are constantly gaining space. No respite was given during the nine rounds of peace talks. In the last session at Doha, all friction points had been settled and Trump had extended an invitation to the Taliban leadership to sign the peace agreement at Camp David.

The peace process was however, halted after Trump abruptly canceled the meeting scheduled on 11 September, 2019 on a flimsy excuse of death of one US sergeant. The spoilers once again succeeded in derailing peace and letting the orgy of bloodshed to continue. Disruption of peace process didn’t bring any change in aggressiveness of the Taliban and they continued to strike targets and draw blood. Major victims of the firefight between the two rivals are the ordinary civilians whose death rate has increased significantly.

Presidential election was held on 28 September despite disturbed security situation but the results have so far not been announced due to widespread irregularities. Political uncertainty favor the Taliban and disfavors Ashraf Ghani.

In October, Zalmay Khalilzad was once again sent to renew talks and his efforts helped in swap over of prisoners and to lower tensions. In November, one American and one Australian in captivity of Taliban were freed in exchange of three Taliban prisoners including Anas Haqqani detained in Bagram jail. However, the month of November proved costly for Americans; 19 US soldiers died in combat. Trump made an unannounced visit to Bagram airbase on 28 Nov. While addressing the troops he reaffirmed his desire to reduce the US troops by 5-8000. He announced that talks with the Taliban were being resumed.     

Suicide attack on Bagram airbase on 11 Dec was the biggest attack in the 18-year war causing heavy casualties in men and material. It jolted the US administration as well as Pentagon and impelled them to resume peace talks in real earnest. The 10th round has commenced at Doha but ceasefire and direct talks with Kabul remain the sticking in points.

It is yet not clear whether a breakthrough will be achieved. While the Taliban have so far not hinted at agreeing to ceasefire as claimed by Trump, the spoilers are still active to scuttle peace process.  

In case peace deal is signed and the war torn Afghanistan become peaceful, the biggest losers would be India, puppet regime in Kabul, Israel, Pentagon, US security contractors, drug mafia and Afghan warlords, all of them nurturing mercantile interests. India wants to retain its perverse influence in Kabul so as to draw maximum economic benefits from next door Central Asian States, and to pose twin threat to the security of Pakistan. Regime in Kabul knows that without the crutches of USA, it will fall instantly. Pentagon wants arms industry of military industrial complex to garner maximum profits. Others have their own commercial interests. The US also realizes that control over Eurasia would ensure its world domination.   

These vested entities had egged on George Bush and Obama to remain focused on use of force. They had prevented Obama from making a clean break in December 2014 and compelled him to leave behind Resolute Support Group. Same pressure groups pressurized Trump to increase force level and to drop more bombs in 2018 than ever before. Now they are not letting him to withdraw 15000 US troops and want the war to drag on. He is being scared that complete withdrawal would be catastrophic for the US geo-strategic and geo-economics interests in the region.

They are least concerned that Afghan war has become the longest, bloodiest and deadliest in the US history which has surpassed the toll of the two Great Wars. It has cost $ 2 trillion and 2500 fatalities to USA apart from tens of thousands of injuries caused to the US soldiers and the social trauma suffered by the families of the victims.

The US is mindful of the growing influence of Russia, China and Iran in Afghanistan and their closeness with the Taliban, which is detrimental to its geo-strategic and geo-economic ambitions in this region. China’s BRI project has unnerved the sole super power since it has the potential to make China the leading economic power of the world by 2025. That is why, the US has accelerated trade war with China.

The US had occupied Afghanistan with a view to make it a permanent military garrison and by virtue of its strategic location, be able to meddle into the affairs of China, Russia, Iran, denuclearize Pakistan, oversee Middle East and above all gain monopoly over the resource rich Eurasian belt stretching from Central Asia to the Caspian Sea. It also had eyes on opium and minerals like lithium in Afghanistan.

What is most upsetting for USA is that in spite of spending colossal amount and using excessive force, it has not been able to accomplish single objective. Conversely, it has lost its prestige and élan and today it finds itself in lose-lose situation. It has come to this sorry pass because of its insincerity of purpose, evil designs, and wrong selection of allies that have been pursuing their own selfish agenda.

Another reason is weak and visionless military commanders, overestimating theirs and underestimating the capabilities of foes, painting rosy picture and imagining that they are winning the war. Devoid of fundamental understanding of Afghanistan, they didn’t have foggiest idea as to why they were fighting the purposeless longest war and how to keep their under commands motivated. They didn’t learn any lesson from history that Afghanistan has been the traditional graveyard of super powers where it was easy for the victors to barge in but near impossible to extricate safely. The ghost of Vietnam is now stalking and haunting the very being of Americans operating in Afghanistan.

Even after reaching the edge of precipice, the US leaders are still hoping against hope that they will snatch victory out of the jaws of sure defeat. Gen Nicholson stated in November 2017 that the ANSF would expand control over 80% of Afghan territory in next two years. It was a shot in the dark and devoid of emerging ground realities. Contrary to the claims made by senior US officials that progress was being made in Afghanistan, the fact is that the Taliban have control over 56% of the territory and the rest is contested. The government writ is confined to capital cities only, which are also frequently targeted by the Taliban.

The Washington Post of December 9 has spilled the beans. Quoting official documents, it stated that war is unwinnable, and that the American people have constantly been lied to. The Pentagon papers reveal the impressions of US officials that after toppling Taliban regime, killing Osama bin Laden and dismantling Al-Qaeda with the help of Pakistan, the US had no business to stay on and undermine its reputation. All reports initiated from Kabul to Washington presented “All OK”, whereas on ground nothing was OK.  

Failing to defeat the Taliban in the battleground, the US has been trying to weaken the Taliban by dividing them but failed. Having failed on all fronts, the US instead of taking corrective measures, found Pakistan a convenient scapegoat and held it responsible for all its failures. To hide its embarrassment, it derives some satisfaction by whipping Pakistan. The US is now exerting pressure on Islamabad to force the Taliban to ceasefire, hold direct talks with the regime in Kabul, share power with them, and allow the US to retain few military bases. Or else fight and defeat them.

Pakistan has suffered the most in fighting the US imposed war on terror and servilely abiding to its dictates. It has also produced best results against terrorism, but instead of being rewarded, it is accused, insulted and punished for uncommitted sins. India and Afghanistan have been in the forefront to conduct proxy war as well as propaganda war against Pakistan. On account of policy of appeasement pursued by Pakistan, the trio has been successful in selling its narrative to the world that Pakistan is a terror abetting state and a nursery of terrorism. From the time of Gen Musharraf, Pakistan has been receiving invectives and lashes without a whimper thereby encouraging the real offenders to indulge in one-sided defamation campaign unobtrusively.

The US which is the strategic partner of India and the ruling regime in Kabul has thoroughly misused Pakistan to serve its self-seeking interests. Pakistan was taken on board as a tactical partner for the achievement of short-term objectives but was always regarded as a target. Pakistan has been subjected to series of conspiracies, covert and overt operations for over 16 years relentlessly. In collusion with India, Afghanistan, Israel and the West, the US has now stepped up the hybrid war using all possible kinetic and non-kinetic resources to make Pakistan a compliant state. Billions are being spent on proxies, media, NGOs.  

Pakistan’s economy which is reeling under the weight of mountain of debt is being targeted through IMF and FATF in addition to fomenting bedlam. India’s aggressive posturing since February 24th, followed by the August 5 action in Indian Occupied Kashmir, are being reinforced with series of internal disturbances such as PTM movement, Azadi March led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, controversial decision given by the Chief Justice regarding extension of the Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, students agitations demanding restoration of student unions, and now the lawyers-doctors clash at Lahore. These disturbances are designed to deflect the attention of the world from the sin committed by Modi regime in Kashmir and to destabilize the PTI govt.

Modi’s misadventure in occupied Kashmir is proving costly. The spirits of the Kashmiris locked up since 5 August, denied of basic human rights and subjected to worst torture have not dampened. As predicted, the violent clashes in the northeastern states particularly in Assam in reaction to the recently passed controversial citizenship law, and protests in other parts of India in reaction to Modi regime’s fascism against minorities and craze for Hindutva might prove fatal for the unity of India. Likewise, if Trump further delays the departure of US troops from the inferno of Afghanistan, the end result could be catastrophic.    

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac research Centre, member think tank PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com                           

 

 

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LETTER TO EDITOR 23rd November 2019 Treatment Abroad

 

Agreed that in spite of the best hospitals and doctors in Pakistan comparable to the hospitals and doctors anywhere else there may be a need for some odd patient to be flown to the UK for the treatment of some particular disease. However, isn’t it strange that the treatment for that disease is not available even in the mighty Great Britain and that there is a talk in the air of the patient being taken to the USA?!  What if the US hospital also puts its hands up for the treatment where else would then he be taken to?  Or, is it a case of the patient declining treatment than that of the doctors’ incapability of treating him?

 

Col. Syed Riaz Jafri (Retd)

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)30 Westridge 1Rawalpindi 46000PakistanTel: (051) 5158033E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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