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Posts Tagged Absolute Corrupt Nawaz Sharif

Third party experiment in choppy waters – Asif Haroon Raja

Third party experiment in choppy waters

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

In the 73 years political history of Pakistan, the civilians ruled for 40 years and the military for 33 years. While Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Gen Zia-ul Haq and Gen Musharraf ruled for over 10, 11 and 9 years respectively, no civilian ruler completed his/her 5 year tenure. Prolonged military rules made the senior army officers affluent and they made a place in the privileged club. Frequent military interventions bred civil-military tensions and both sides blamed each other for failing to make Pakistan a prosperous country. While the politicians term the military rulers as power hungry dictators and anti-democratic, and hold them responsible for not letting the democracy to grow, the army generals perceive the politicians as corrupt, security risk, and inept having no sense of governance and management. The three military rulers uplifted the GDP to above 7% due to continuity, one window operation, superior management and governance, but were unable to widen the base of education, improve literacy rate, reform the state institutions and establish true democracy. The politicians neither paid any attention to the education, nor reformed the institutions, or improved the tainted political culture. They were satisfied with the British inherited systems and were content in running sham democracy since it  enabled them to break or bend laws and indulge in corrupt practices without any check and balance. The bureaucrats who are the real power wielders and the judiciary played their part in keeping politics in choppy waters.

Three-tiered education system, feudalism, religious divides, secular-Islamic divide, rise of ethnicity and mushroom growth of provincial parties obstructed nationalism and integration of the society. Leadership crisis encouraged India and Afghanistan to exploit these fault lines, fuel regionalism and make use of 5th columnists to disturb law and order or to foment insurgency.  As a consequence, the country kept lurching from one crisis to another and never got politically stabilized, and economically sound. Unstable political and economic conditions, craze for materialism among the elites, ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, insensitivity of the selfish affluent class towards the deprived class, media emerging as the 4th pillar of the state but using its power wrongfully, all these factors deflected the nation away from the golden principles of Islam, and pushed the society towards the satanic path, which degenerated the moral turpitude of the society as a whole. Well-knowing that the hand of law will not touch them because of their influence and power of money, politicized police and bureaucracy and highly defective criminal judicial system, the evildoers commit all sorts of sins and heinous crimes without any fear. 

Irrespective of internal weaknesses and tense external environments, fighting three wars with India and losing the eastern limb, Pakistan’s Rupee value, its GDP, per capita income and overall economy were much stronger than the regional countries till 1990. Starting from 1953, Pakistan extended financial support to Saudi Arabia till mid-1970s. The rot started during the third democratic era of 1990s during which the two competing mainstream parties, PPP and PML-N, indulged in fierce tug of war, nepotism and in corrupt practices. Merit was set aside and loyalty to the ruling party head and not honesty and professional competence became the criteria for selection of senior bureaucrats, police officers, judges and bank managers. Same criteria was applicable for the cabinet ministers and advisers as well as the service chiefs. In a decade, all state institutions were politicized and destroyed. Gen Zia’s hammer in the form of Article 58 2 (b) was liberally used by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to pack up three governments prematurely on charges of corruption. President Leghari used this axe once in 1996.

Since then, Pakistan’s economy has remained in the doldrums and at the mercy of the IMF and the World Bank. After a good start by the military regime of Gen Musharraf, it lost its shine once it chose to co-opt King’s Party, which was an amalgam of turncoats from all parties. Emphasis was on corruption but the axe of accountability fell upon the opponents of the regime. Kashmir cause was given a setback. National Reconciliation Ordnance (NRO), which brought back, Benazir Bhutto (BB), Nawaz Sharif (NS) and Zardari from abroad were the gifts of Musharraf. Whatever little improvements he made in the economy were washed down the drain during the 4th democratic era starting in 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of paying attention to institutions building, focus shifted on making compromises both internally and externally. Governed by the dictates of Charter of Democracy signed by NS and BB in May 2006, both PPP and PML-N during their respective five years tenures kept accountability on lowest priority. Emphasis of the two was on keeping USA and India appeased even at the cost of compromising national interests. Both tried to undermine the Army in order to establish civilian supremacy. Lip service was paid to the Kashmir cause and no heed was paid to the degeneration of morals and human values. Comparing the two, performance of PML-N was much better. NS could have completed his tenure as PM and his party could have won again in 2018 had he abstained from his old habit of locking horns with the army chiefs. Trial of Gen Musharraf and his indictment on charges of high treason, coupled with Dawn leaks scandal cooked his goose.     

It is said that when the two-party system failed to deliver and Pakistan began to sink under the massive weight of foreign debts and faltering economy due to declining morality, ever growing corruption and other malpractices and lack of governance, the Establishment decided to bring forward a new party with better credentials. To this end, PTI under Imran Khan (IK) who had a clean record was earmarked, which had taken advantage of the deplorable rule of PPP under Zardari and emerged as a strong third force in late 2011. Elimination of corruption and justice for all were the slogans chanted by charismatic IK which made him popular. His party however, failed to defeat the PML-N in 2013 elections since go-getter Shahbaz Sharif as CM Punjab had performed well and his party was well entrenched in Punjab which makes or breaks governments. Instead of reconciling with his defeat and concentrating on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party had formed a government and preparing for next elections, IK decided to oust PML-N which had gained two-third majority and had formed governments in Punjab and in Baluchistan.

Reason behind his impatience was that the ruling party had begun to deliver and CPEC agreement had become a reality. Letting PML-N to complete its tenure would have made its re-election inevitable. A plan was chalked out by him, Tahirul Qadri (TuQ), Pervez Elahi and Sheikh Rashid at London to stage a sustained sit-in at Islamabad in July 2014 under the premise of massive rigging in elections. Death of 14 supporters of TuQ in Model Town Lahore incident in June that year at the hands of the police energized firebrand TuQ to censure Punjab administration and police, register FIRs and gain sympathies of the people. It fueled the PTI-PAT protestors to undertake road journey from Lahore to Islamabad and stage a dharna at D Chowk. Reluctance of the government to open four constituencies in Lahore district for recounting of votes became the rallying point for the protestors to demand resignation of NS and to hold mid-term elections.

To maximize pressure on the government, various tactics were employed, which included attacks on the Parliament, PM Secretariat and PTV, followed by refusing to pay taxes, resignation by all MNAs of PTI and vicious propaganda war through electronic and social media to degrade the Sharif brothers. NS was demonized as the most corrupt man and IK glamorized as the best man. During the six months sit-in, every night the PTI members and supporters danced and sang on the beat of music arranged by DJ, and the PTI leaders hurled threats and insults on NS and his family. The jollification was abruptly called off after the tragedy in APS Peshawar on December 16, 2014 but the tirade continued relentlessly in the public meetings staged in big cities. Fan-following of IK surged and tussle between followers of PTI named as ‘Youthias’ and of PML-N as ‘Patwaris’ peaked on social media.  

Panama case in April 2017 came as a blessing in disguise for the PTI which was fully exploited to boot out NS. Media hype was created despite the fact that in the list of 450 account holders in the Panama offshore companies, NS name was not there. The seven-member Supreme Court bench under chief justice Saqib Nisar took assistance from the specially formed JIT to probe the accusations of corruption and money laundering. In spite of the 10-volume probe made by the JIT, the court found no trace of corruption, but disqualified NS on charges of holding an Aqama for getting employed in Al-Azizia steel mills at Dubai owned by his son and drawing salary from him during his period of exile. He didn’t mention it in his 2013 tax return since he had not drawn any salary.

PML-N suffered series of reverses which included disqualification of three-time elected NS in July 2017 for not being Sadiq and Ameen, time-bound trial of NS and his children by NAB court supervised by a judge of supreme court, toppling of PML-(N)-NP coalition government in Baluchistan led by Sanaullah Zehri in January 2018, followed by PML-N losing the sure seats of Senate Chairman and Deputy Chairman. Just before the general elections in July 2018, NS was absolved in one case but convicted in the second case and awarded 7 years jail sentence. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt(Retd) Safdar were also jailed. Cases were registered by the law courts against senior PML-N leaders. Under the circumstances, the victory of PTI in July 2018 elections was a foregone conclusion.

PTI senior member Jahangir Tareen (JT) aspiring to become CM Punjab played a key role in inducing sizeable numbers of the electable turncoats from the PPP and PML-N and independents, mostly from South Punjab, to PTI. He was the chief organizer, financier and right hand man of IK. It is said that TLP, GDA and BAP were created to split votes of PML-N. However, despite the gerrymandering, PTI won with a thin margin in the Centre and in Punjab and perforce had to seek alliance with PML-Q, MQM-P and BNP-M whom IK had always censured. Punjab was handed to unknown and unassuming Usman Buzdar due to disqualification of JT by the count on charges of possessing a mansion abroad and holding an account in offshore company which he didn’t declare. The allies and the electables from other parties as well as imported technocrats have created hurdles in the way of reforming the state institutions and carrying out across the board accountability, and in building New Pakistan.

NS in the meanwhile managed to procure bail and get admitted in a hospital at Lahore for medical treatment. Later on he was permitted by the court to go abroad in November 2019 on account of his deteriorating health condition and to return after six weeks once his health improved. On December 17, 2019, Gen Musharraf in exile in Dubai was given death sentence by Islamabad High Court (IHC). Eruption of Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 kept the government in a spin and NS was forgotten. On 01 September 2020, the court hearing the Toshakhana (State to State Gift Repository) case asked NS to return home in next ten days or else he will be declared an absconder(already declared an absconder). He has now been summoned by IHC in Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases on 22 September. Both the Federal and Punjab governments as well as the NAB are making hectic efforts to get him back but NS is not likely to return soon as long as the doctors treating him do not clear him. NS and Maryam’s indulgence in politics is the reason behind the pressure.

It was optimistically assumed by PTI leaders that after the victory, over 70 legislators of PML-N would jump the ship and join the ruling party, as had been the practice before. PTI leadership was confident that not only they would muster enough political strength in Punjab to get rid of black mailing allies, but would also win local bodies elections comfortably. This assumption proved fallacious, as was the case with several other rosy assumptions. In spite of the relentless propaganda against the Sharif’s and their families and the witch-hunt of PML-N leaders by the NAB, the party remains intact and has not lost its vote bank in Punjab; the two brothers are still popular. It is speculated that in order to meet the threat posed by NS and Maryam, not only NAB has been further pumped up, the new CCPO Umar Sheikh has been inducted in the main political battleground of Lahore to do what other police officers couldn’t do. His services are needed so urgently that his blemished service record was ignored. So much so that instead of accepting the request of the IG Punjab Shoaib Dastagir to post out Umar Sheikh, he was removed from his post and new IG Inam Ghani inducted. 

Reason why the fort of PML-N couldn’t be cracked is that so far the PTI haven’t lived up to its promises and has fallen much short of high expectations of the people. None of the rosy promises have been fulfilled. Instead of improvement, their lives have become more depressed due to high inflation, red tapism, feudalism, nepotism and other mal practices that were committed in Old Pakistan. Governance and financial management are low average due to which prices of basic necessities and unemployment have surged. The rulers are committing the same mistakes and wrongs for which the predecessors were censured. Instead of correcting their shortcomings, they are continuing to blame the former two regimes for their weak performance. Or the danger of 5th generation war is brandished.

Neither the country has been made free of corruption within months as was claimed, nor the wrong practices of public office holders checkmated, or the economic health of the country improved, or a fair and transparent judicial system established. Instead of reducing debt burden it has been increased. Against Rs. 29000 billion debt accumulated in 70 years, Rs. 14500 billion has been added in just two years. Above all, the much trumpeted accountability has become selective and controversial. No accused has been convicted and punished in the last two years. NS is sitting abroad, Zardari is getting bail after bail, and so are other high prized accused. No serial target killer belonging to MQM and PPP has been taken to task. No Mafia has been netted. Terrorists caught inside the battle zones have been released and so is the case with several terrorists awarded death sentence by the military courts. Release of murderer MPA Achakzai in Quetta by the court on account of lack of evidence has disappointed the people. Call for removing the controversial CCPO Lahore on account of his irresponsible statement to the press about the gang rape victim on motorway is getting louder. And so is the call for public hanging or castration of the two rapists as suggested by the PM. Khurram, husband of PTI MPA Abida Raja severely bashed additional session judge Malik Jahangir at a petrol pump in Islamabad. Former is in the lock up and the latter removed from his seat by Islamabad High Court. Street crimes, rapes and robberies have increased and law and order is deteriorating mainly due to defects in investigation, prosecution and criminal justice system.  .   

Secondly, the PML-N voters are convinced that NS was wronged by the judiciary and that IK was empowered by the Establishment. They feel that irrespective of his fault lines, he was making good progress to make Pakistan economically strong and their living condition was much better during his tenure. Naya Pakistan is becoming a nightmare for them. NS has upheld his view that his removal was part of an effort to undermine democracy and civilian supremacy. The dismal performance of the PTI in its two-year tenure, and the growing frustration of the people have encouraged NS, Maryam Nawaz and other senior PML-N leaders to deride the ruling party and seek in-house change or mid-term elections.         

The PTI has not been able to make any headway because the politicized and corrupted institutions, particularly the judiciary, bureaucrats and the police have not been reformed. The flawed electoral system elects the same lot of vultures again and again, but no effort has been made to restructure it and improve the political culture. Without reformation no breakthrough is possible. The large numbers of legislators and senators drawing handsome salaries and plentiful perks and privileges are a huge drain on the national kitty since they remain disconnected from the people who elected them and are more of liabilities than of any use. Imported economic wizards tutored by the IMF/World Bank have failed to draw a sound economic roadmap to steer the country out of the choppy waters. Apart from the socio-economic challenges, failure to provide respite to the marooned Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir locked down since August 5 last year and trampled and molested by 900,000 Indian forces is a cause of embarrassment for the government.

Imran Khan is undoubtedly honest and earnestly want the country to progress. He has the requisite leadership qualities as well as drive and initiative and has the big advantage of unflinching support of the military, president and the judiciary. However, to what good is his honesty and backup support if he has selected a poor team and sticking with it despite knowing that most have skeletons in their cupboards and are letting him down? Usman Buzdar is not changed on the premise that he is simple and honest, but he is a flop and a cause of discomfiture for Imran Khan. Political expediency is coming in his way to pick right men for the right jobs. Art is long and time is running out. While the political parties in opposition pose no threat to him, what should worry him is the growing frustration and resentment of the people. His own party members and fans are getting disillusioned and are expressing dissatisfaction. People are questioning that how Pakistan will be converted into Riyasat-e-Madina when all our systems are western, and so is the way of living of the elite class? Or it is a rhetoric and akin to Bhutto’s concept of Islamic socialism?

Marginal improvements in macro-economic indicators have brought no succor to the people. Unless IK reins in the Mafias, makes the accountability effective, fair and transparent, ends nepotism and restores merit system, implements austerity, brings down the prices of fuel, gas and daily commodities, provide health facilities, cheap and quality education, social services, jobs, homes to the shelter-less, provides security to the people and delivers justice at the doorsteps, his shrinking popularity graph will dwindle further. All this will be possible only when the alien systems are replaced with Islamic laws. 

Additionally, a way out will have to be found to unlock over 8 million Kashmiris, get original status of J&K restored, and put an end to reign of terror launched by Indian forces. Pressure must be maximized upon the UN and the world community to settle the oldest dispute of Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions. However, diplomatic offensive alone will not fetch any results. The Far Right in Pakistan are incensed over punishments awarded to Hafiz Saeed and other Jamaatud Dawa leaders on account of fear of getting blacklisted by FATF. They say that neither the Mujahids are allowed to help the Kashmiris in distress nor the government is taking any physical action to put fear into the hearts of the Indian brutes brutalizing Kashmiris. 

Lingering Kashmir dispute is the root cause of growth of religious extremism. Pacifism in the face of offensive activism will not work. One-side appeasement, moderation in war, diplomatic juggling or peace mantra are self-defeating. It will be imprudent to rely on the UN or the dual-faced USA for a solution. We regret the lost opportunities; but fleeting opportunity is once again knocking at our door which may not be there tomorrow. Bold stances of Taliban, China and Iran are recent examples how to deal with cunning and arrogant enemies like USA and UK.

                        

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Disastrous Decade of Democracy & the Sorry State of Pakistan By Simon Templar

Submission to Pakistan Think Tank
This is how Pakistan is ruled.
Best ever written by a foreign journalist…  dare a Pakistani writes in this manner the real shameful facts of the nation …  Eye opener 

 

Disastrous Decade of Democracy & the Sorry State of Pakistan

By Simon Templar

Thug life is a term used by gangsters to glorify their lawbreaking, heady crime sprees.
 
Nothing describes the misrule of two successive, so-called democratically elected governments in the unstable, underdeveloped 200 million strong south Asian state of Pakistan.
 
How thieves, plunderers and freebooters came to rule this nuclear-armed state is a sad tale in itself.
 
Ruled by military General Parvez Musharaf who took over in a military coup in 1999, the country became a close US ally after 9/11 and witnessed an era of growth and stability under military rule.
 
However, when Musharaf reached his limits of flexibility, it was decided by the US and British to force him to bring back the two tainted, condemned political leaders in exile and to wash away all their sins under a dubious order in the name of national reconciliation.
 
As in the Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, there was also a hungry, eager, more flexible General waiting in the Wings to replace him,  and Deputy Chief Kayani used Military intelligence and a judges restoration movement to cripple the erstwhile strongman, now out of favour with the US.
 
A final thumbs down from the US Ambassador compelled Musharaf to resign and after the mysterious, unsolved murder of Benazir Bhutto, her thuggish husband, the upstart, criminal uneducated, corrupt and much reviled Asif Zardari came to power.
 
The deal with the West was that we bring you back, wash away your past sins and you squeeze the Army. 
 
The game began and new Chief Kiyani turned a blind eye, as he had brought the devil to sup at the table and was also busy improving his impoverished families financial condition.
 
So well did this teamwork that General Kiyani got an unprecedented 3-year second term, Zardari became a billionaire, Kayani from rags to millionaire and the country went to the dogs.
 
The US with its two boys in place, in charge of the Presidency and military, violated Pakistani sovereignty and physical boundaries at will, using drones, choppers, covert assassin’s and whatever they chose.
 
As per the unholy charter of kleptocracy, Sharif kept silent during Zardari’s plunder and he returned the favour after Sharif took over in 2013
 
Simple math, over invoice $ 50 billion of Chinese funded projects-whether needed or not- by ten percent, sign sovereign guarantees, leave future generations to pay off horrifying debts and pocket 5% off the top!
 
Walk away with a cool $ 2.5 billion dollars.Astonishingly simple as it is audacious.
 
 Where Zardari was a street thug, looting millions, for ing neighbours to sell their properties on the cheap, the plunderers from Punjab, whose father made pots and cooking utensils with his bare hands are now certified dollar billionaires thanks to massive bank defaults, and international cuts commissions and kickbacks.
 
Wow! Wonderful, just one mistake…Sharif egged on by vicious anti-military Advisers like Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs Sayed Tarik Fatemi, kept on targeting the by now restive and powerful Pakistan military.
 
The leakage of information pertaining to thousands of offshore companies incorporated in Panama signalled the end for the strangely absent Sharif regime.
 
 Perhaps the most corrupt and worse administered government in the history of Pakistan..certainly the most hypocritical.
 
Destroying the civil service structure, promoting nepotism, turning state servants especially in Punjab into glorified pimps and facilitators.
 
One poor married lady was famously peddled by her husband out to Sharif, then his younger brother and in turn was rewarded with top administrative positions for his immoral shamelessness.
 
Functioning without statutory, mandated positions such as State Ombudsman, National Tax Collector, Head of the Audit Service and even without the Governor of the State Bank.
 
Burgeoning debt, increasingly hostile borders, declining exports, a dysfunctional government, falling stock market and collapsing currency could not shake Sharif out of his stupor.
 
On the ropes, with his family corruption the main story in every paper,  every channel and on social media, he chose to plod on shamelessly, trying one corrupt lawyer after another in a futile attempt to cover his tracks.
 
Described as a Sicilian Mafiosi by the worthy judges of the top constitutional court, Sharif scraped the bottom of the barrel, hiring the immoral Raja Salman Akram, known to have defended Zardari’s drug dealing Prime Minister, all to no avail.
 
Functioning without a Foreign minister for four years, and appointing idiots as top envoys, the joke is on Sharif as he is now left with no friends to bail him out as before.
 
His Saudi patrons distanced themselves from their pet poodle after Sharif was unable to prevail upon his military who very sensibly refused to go and fight alongside Saudi troops in Yemen.
 
Indians and Americans have realized he cannot dominate his military and the Turks and Chinese know him and his tribe as crooked, slimy money grabbers.
 
Despite holding office for years, Sharif has paid no attention to healthcare, education, rule of law or job creation, focusing purely on shady, unnecessary projects providing easy kickbacks.
 
Now decades of money laundering,  defaulted bank loans and millions in offshore accounts and overseas properties stand to be exposed for what they are, the loot and plunder from 190 million poor uneducated helpless souls who are forced to sell or kill their children due to lack of justice, poverty and a gloomy future.
 
The question is how will things unfold? Will the shameless, immoral, hypocritical kleptocrats escape yet again to lick their wounds and enjoy their boots abroad or shall they deservedly meet the fate of another erstwhile billionaire, the late lamented Colonel Qaddafi who died bloodied and screaming in the street as his engeful subjects beat him to death?
 
The author is a geostrategist based in Brussels.

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Nawaz Sharif and the Supreme Court by Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

LETTER TO EDITOR

November 19th, 2017

Nawaz Sharif and the Supreme Court

 

In spite of the somewhat detailed order by the Supreme Court on the Review Petition of the Sharif family, ex-PM Nawaz Sharif keeps haranguing and sarcastically too in his public addresses and other utterances that he was disqualified for his aqama and not getting the salary from his son.

Does it all not raise questions and doubts in the mind of the public about the impartiality and fair justice of the epic court?  And does it not tantamount to be the Contempt of Court?  Is it not time that the SCP took notice of it and redeemed its image which is being tarnished?

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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Trump triggers new ‘Great Game’ in South Asia BY ADIL NAJAM

Trump triggers new ‘Great Game’ in South Asia

 

 

Speaking at Fort Myer last week, the president promised that “American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically.” In Afghanistan, it is unlikely to. In South Asia, it already has – in deep but disturbing ways and mostly because of what President Donald Trump had to say about Pakistan.

Here’s how the stakes, consequences and options for each of the major players in South Asia have been transformed.

The speech left Pakistan hurt and angry.

The country’s foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, was livid at President Trump’s threatening tone and words, claiming that his country’s “sacrifices” as an American coalition partner were “disregarded and disrespected.” Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC), which includes both the prime minister and the military chief, echoed the consensus in Pakistan that both Washington, D.C. and Kabul are bent on “scapegoating” Pakistan for their own failures.

 

Remarkably for Pakistan, President Trump seems to have united a deeply divided country. Government, opposition, military and civil society are all equally offended. All point out how Pakistan itself has had to spend many times more of its own resources in fighting America’s war than whatever America may have provided: 70,000 casualties, 17,000 Pakistanis killed; a nation living in constant fear of Taliban terrorism; an economy devastated to the tune of over $100 billion.

Of course, American allegations that Taliban encampments exist in Pakistan are not new. But President Trump has refused to recognize that Pakistan’s struggles to eliminate them are no less challenging than Afghanistan’s or America’s efforts within Afghanistan. This has been seen as particularly disingenuous.

 

 

 

 

Given the timing, tone and especially the fawning overtures toward India, Pakistanis read President Trump’s speech as the newest episode of abandonment from the nation’s longest but most fickle ally.

Privately, Pakistan and the United States have each long considered the other to be equally unreliable. With President Trump signaling that America will now look elsewhere, Pakistan feels compelled to do the same. Both China and Russia have been quick to exploit the chasm, advancing their own deep interests not only in Afghanistan but in greater South Asia.

Even before Pakistan had made any response to President Trump’s speech, the Chinese, already wildly popular in Pakistan for investing heavily in its infrastructure, responded with an official statement calling Pakistan an “all-weather friend” and thanking it for its “great sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism.

Not to miss the opportunity, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, proclaimed that Pakistan is “a key regional player,” the pressurizing of whom could “result in negative consequences for Afghanistan.”

In Pakistan, such statements and the speed with which they came have been viewed as evidence that Pakistan does have choices, i.e., it may be time for Pakistan to move out of the U.S. orbit and seek deeper alliances elsewhere. Pakistan’s foreign minister, for example, immediately postponed his planned visit to Washington. This is not simply to register displeasure, but to gain time to visit other capitals and explore alternative options.

India’s initial reaction, not surprisingly, was to gloat. Its narrative about Pakistan was thoroughly embraced in President Trump’s speech. However, this is a gift horse they are likely to examine more carefully. Being anointed America’s sheriff in South Asia brings with it a new stress to their already-strained relations with China.

It is inevitable for tension to grow between these two Asian behemoths, but India would clearly have preferred to plan out the timing and terms of the escalation itself.

President Trump’s message to India that it “makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan,” is likely to be met with nothing more than a polite smile from New Delhi. There is certainly no likely relieffor the American taxpayer in how much they have to pay to keep dysfunctional governments in Kabul in place even while 40 percent of Afghanistan remains under Taliban control.

But the biggest consequence of President Trump’s South Asia strategy is that it gives India a license to elevate a new proxy conflict with Pakistan in Afghanistan. Pakistan is clearly terrified of being trapped in a pincer squeeze on its eastern and western borders by its arch nemesis, India.

But Afghanistan, as recent statements from its former president, Hamid Karzai, suggest, can also not be thrilled by the prospect of yet another major power becoming entrenched in yet another “Great Game.”

Therein lies what is truly new and frightening in Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy.

For the entirety of the last seven decades – including throughout the Cold War, when India was firmly ensconced as a Soviet ally – the American goal in South Asia was, above all, to maintain regional stability. The aim was to avoid and to actively resist tensions in a region that was a powder keg well before India decided to go rogue with nuclear weapons, and Pakistan followed suit. As of last week, the new American policy is to pit neighbor against neighbor in South Asia.

One day, one hopes, someone will explain to President Trump, like Chinese President Xi Jinping did about why North Korea is “complicated,” why the India-Pakistan relationship really is as fraught with danger as it is.

Meanwhile, an abdication of America’s traditional stabilizing role in South Asia has been announced. Afghanistan that will get kicked around the most, as five of the six largest militaries in the world (China, India, the United States, Russia and Pakistan), all nuclear, jockey for advantage in whatever the new South Asian balance of alliances might become.

Let us all hope that the unimaginable remains unimagined.

Adil Najam is the founding dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), has submitted a damning report

 Damning evidence –

Another Offshore Company Revealed

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which submitted a damning report on the offshore assets of the Sharif family on Monday, has come up with some crucial evidence which might be sufficient to send Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif packing. The six-member probe team has submitted a key document to confirm that Sharif was employed with the Capital FZE as its board chairman from August 6, 2006 to April 20, 2014.Damning indictment: JIT suggests filing NAB reference against Sharif family The document – a letter from Shehab Sultan Mesmar of the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) dated July 4 – has been issued in response to the JIT’s query about Sharif’s ownership in the offshore company.

Reference

Reference
The JIT stated that Sharif had been chairman of the Board for Capital FZE from August 7, 2006 to April 20, 2014 at a salary of 10,000 dirhams. The salary was revised on February 2, 2007 vide Employment Contract Amendment Form 9 – duly signed by respondent No 1 i.e. the prime minister – filed with JAFZA.“On the basis of this employment, respondent No 1 was able to procure ‘Iqama’, dated 5-7-2009, and valid up to 4-6-2015 to work and reside in Dubai,” says the JIT report.

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