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Posts Tagged Kashmir

India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 
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India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

Learning no lesson from the past, and depending upon state terrorism, Indian Central Government has finalized the raising of Indian Reserve Police Battalions (IRBPs) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Naxal/Maoist hit states or Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Out of the total 25 IRBPs proposed, five will be for IOK and 12 for LWE affected states whereas rest of 8, IRBPs for other states.

 

These battalions will be raised by recruiting local youths. In case of Naxal hit states, 75 per cent vacancies will be filled up by youths from the 27 worst-affected districts. In IOK, the recruitment process will concentrate on insurgency prone areas.

 

At present, there are 144 IRPBs in various states. In addition, Central Government has recently approved raising of eight additional IRBPs, four each of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

 

The cost of raising each of the battalion will be around Indian Rupee, 61 crore and 75 per cent of it will be provided by the Central Government. This cost is much lower than raising of a paramilitary battalion which costs around Rs. 160 crore.

 

Personnel of IRBPs are normally deployed in their respective states, but they can be deployed in other states too, if there is a requirement. The current raising is outcome of demand by respective states government in wake of the ever growing/persistence insurgency and freedom struggle.

 

Within a span of approximately six months, Central Government of India has approved the demand which reflects the surge of militants/insurgent activities in the LWE hit states/ IOK. It also highlights the manifestation of focus to curb militancy and raise the force level to meet the challenges, which have been repeatedly expressed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

 

Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has also repeatedly highlighted his focus to build the capacity of security forces engaged in fighting insurgency. The mentioned increase is a part of overall drive against Naxal/Maoist hit states and IOK.

 

Off late the insurgent/militant activities in LWE and IOK regions have seen a significant surge whereby Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have suffered causalities. Therefore, immediate attention has been paid towards the new strategy.

 

While, despite concerted efforts—capacity, capability, weapons, equipments and training, the Indian security forces could not effectively counter/reduce the insurgent activities in these states.

The recent surge of insurgents/militant activities in the Nexal affected states of India has compelled the Central Government to enhance counter insurgency efforts in other parts as well. Therefore, the Home Ministry has given a go ahead for not only raising the additional battalions, but also pursuing the support of helicopters/UAVs to cover/ assist the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal/Maoist activities in the affected states.

It is mentionable that under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), used brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shev Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed.

 

After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”

 

Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir will further radicalize India, giving a impetus to separatist movements in other regions of India.

 

It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various injustices have further accelerated regional and ethnic disparities in India, particularly, under the Modi government.

 

It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP extremist party is acting upon the similar policies.

 

At present, undoubtedly, India is witnessing increased incidents of violence and killings related to communal violence and insurgencies. Nevertheless, such incidents project security weaknesses and failures of the Indian government in curbing insurgent tendencies and problems of the public.

 

While, Indian government is raising Reserve Police Battalions to continue state terrorism, and on the parallel axes, announcement of rehabilitation schemes, development projects and incentives for surrender have been implemented to cope with the insurgency and uprising. It shows contradictory policy of New Delhi.

 

Instead of redressing the grievances of the Maoists by eliminating injustices against them and the Kashmiris by granting them their legitimate right of liberation, Indian government is again acting upon brutal force to suppress these movements through force. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency Strategy will badly fail, culminating into political suicide of the India union.

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@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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Pakistan – How Did It All Go Wrong? (Part II)

 

OPINION

 

 

Pakistan – How Did It All Go Wrong ? (Part II)

Mohammad Soukat Ali
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

General Ayub Khan showed some initial progress, which even the people of East Pakistan appreciated. But the novelty of martial law did not last long and predictably became corrupted by vested interests.  He was President of Pakistan for most of the 1960s, but by the end of the decade, popular resentment had boiled over against him. Pakistan had fallen into a state of disarray, and on 25 March 1969 he handed over power to General Yahya Khan. In his first nationwide address, Yahya Khan re-imposed martial law, and ordered everybody to maintain law and order. Soon he set up a framework for elections that were held in December 1970. InEast Pakistan, the Awami League (led by SK. Mujibur Rahman) held almost all the seats, but none in West Pakistan. In West Pakistan, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) won the lion’s share of the seats, but none in East Pakistan. SK Mujib won 162 seats in the National Assembly and Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party mastered only 88. When Bhutto refused to concede the leadership of Pakistan to Mujib, to resolve the impasse he proposed the ‘six-point formula’, but it was not acceptable either to Bhutto or to the people of West Pakistan. The six-point formula would have safeguarded several key rights of the Bengali people who may have gone on to remain in Pakistan.

 

The Bengali public did not forget the incident of 1952 when they had to pay in blood to retain their mother tongue Bengali. I had the opportunity to talk to Mujib in a gathering of Bengali Diaspora in Bayswater, when he was in London in 1969. He described how senior civil servants at the centre regularly flouted his orders or instructions by refusing to carry them out, when he became a minister under the Suhrawardy Government. It is reported in several sources that when Mujib was in London he secretly held talks with Indian diplomats about the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan.

 

After the six-point formula failed, on March 7, 1971, Mujib asked the people to launch a major campaign of civil disobedience, and organised armed resistance at a mass gathering of people at the Race Course Ground in Dhaka; this was a de-facto declaration of Independence. Mujib was arrested by the military governor and transported to West Pakistan and imprisoned. Army clampdown, arrests, rampant murderous attacks on Bengalis, rape of Bengali women by Pakistani soldiers led to the emigration of millions of ordinary people, both Hindus and Muslims to India. Mujib’s deputies of the Awami League set up a government in exile in India. India exploited this golden opportunity by arming the freedom fighters and creating conditions which led to the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Pakistan was badly defeated. The generals of Pakistan had to suffer the ignominy of surrendering to the Indian generals who were their friends and colleagues in the days when they were in the British Army together. The exiled Awami league leadership and most of the refugees returned to East Bengal which they called the Independent state of Bangladesh. Later many non-Bengalis suffered torture and murder at the hands of Nationalistic Bengalis who had the chance to take revenge.

General Yahya Khan became the highest-ranking casualty of the war. To forestall the ensuing unrest in Pakistan on 20 December 1971, he handed over power to ambitious and mercurial Mr.Bhutto, age 43, who became the Prime Minister. In July 1972, Bhutto had to go to India, sign the Simla Agreement drawn up by India, to recover 93,000 prisoners of war and 5,000 square miles of territory captured by India. He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia, and recognised Bangladesh. He also released Mujib who became known as Desh-Bandhu, Friend of the Nation of Bangladesh. Bhutto ran the country until 1977 by winning the parliamentary election of that year. However, the opposition alleged widespread vote rigging, and violence escalated across the country. On 5 July 1977, in a bloodless coup Bhutto was deposed by his appointed army chief General Zia-ul-Haq; he was controversially tried on murder charges and was executed in 1979 by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Zia ul-Haq ran his martial law administration until August 1988 when he himself was killed in a helicopter crash. The American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphael and General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of the U.S. Military aid mission to Pakistan, were also killed in the same crash. After Bhutto’s  death his daughter Benazir was elected as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan which lasted from November 1988 to October 1990. But when Benazir was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 on corruption charges, Nawaz Sharif secured the nomination. He successfully campaigned for the office of Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif, a right-wing conservative politician, served as the 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan from November 1990 to July 1993.

Benazir served again as PM from 1993 until her final dismissal on November 1996 and was again removed from the post by President Farooq Leghari on corruption charges in which her husband Asif Ali Zardari was also deeply implicated. Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister again from February 1997. On 12 October 1999 he attempted to remove Musharraf from the post of Chief of Army, but was out manoeuvred by the crafty Army Chief Musharraf. Sharif was exiled to Saudi Arabia. Under US pressure Musharraf became involved in the war with the Talibans; this has brought all sorts of trouble causing the catastrophic condition Pakistan now finds herself in. Gradually he himself became so unpopular that he could not continue to stay in power.

Hostility towards Musharraf increased from all quarters. Under pressure he agreed to restore democracy. Bhutto, her husband Zardari and Sharif all returned home to take part in the election. Bhutto was killed in a bomb-blast during an election campaign on 27 December 2007 by whom no one knows. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari inherited the leadership of the People’s Party. He and Sharif of the Muslim League Party ran an interim coalition government but by skilful political manoeuvre and dominance of the PPP consolidated his power and became the President on September 2008. Musharraf was compelled to resign previously. Sharif was gradually sidelined by Zardari as he managed to exercise power with the help of the Prime Minister Gillani. In the 2013 general election Sharif became Prime Minister for the third time. Because of the continued Taliban/Al- Qaeda problems and regular drone strikes by the Americans he has been finding it very difficult to run the country with full authority and ease.

Failure of foreign policy

Since independence Pakistan has been following suicidal foreign policies. Pakistani politicians gave the impression that they were cleverer and smarter than the Indians. By becoming members of strong international alliances such as CENTO and SEATO they felt secure from attacks by foreign powers, particularly India. Alas! During the many wars with India, Pakistan never received any direct help from its allies. That frustration made her angrier towards the Indians and anti-Indian terrorist activity increased further.

I realised later what the well-attired gentleman in his forties, mentioned in the second paragraph of Part I of this essay, implied. The US and not India is the cause of Pakistan’s misfortunes. Pakistan is now a sport, a tool, a useful ally whom the US in her own interest employs willy-nilly when she needs, and discards each time once her purpose is achieved, leaving Pakistan in a worse situation than before. Due to lack of any foresight and/or desperate need of aid Pakistan has embroiled herself twice in an Afghan war, once during the Russian invasion and later during the current American fight with the Taliban. “A leading US expert on South Asia said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked in tandem with Pakistan to create the “monster” that is today Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban”. They were friends of the Pakistanis until the US compelled them to fight their friends.

Recent drone attacks on Pakistani territories killing ordinary men, women and children show utter helplessness on her part and erosion of her sovereignty. As if she is a prey in the paws of a wild animal. The results have been catastrophic creating the dismal lawlessness, economic hardship, inability to employ resources to civilian works and the dire condition they find themselves in now. These two wars have caused Pakistan untold social, political and economic destruction from which rebuilding the country will be a long, painstaking and at times seemingly impossible process. The bipartisan foreign policy to satisfy the two enemies, the US and the Al-Qaeda/Taleban ally, has been disastrous for Pakistan. Will the toxic mixture of Al-Qaeda and Taliban be the Sword of Damocles for Pakistan which she cannot escape?

Pakistan – Is this A Civilian State or A Business Run By Junta?

The future of Pakistan depends to a large extent on the answer to this question. It is clear that since the junta became involved in the politics of Pakistan they have become so dominant that civilian governments could only run if they had their blessing. Most of the foreign aids, mainly from the US, are channeled through the military that enjoyed the lion’s share. It is also clear that the US prefers the military rulers who can serve their interests when they are bribed in the guise of aids. This is a clear hypocrisy on the part of the Americans who always talk about democracy, human right etc.

Incompetent and weak civilian governments did not have the chance to be replaced by other elected civilian governments because of the interventions of the junta. When one compares the situation with India (the only comparison I have made with India), people outside the country hardly know the names of the chiefs of Indian army, air force or the navy. India had many bad governments but they have always been replaced by another elected government. No junta intervened to threaten the democratic governments in India. Most of the Pakistan’s wars with India have always been instigated by the junta.

Rivalry with India

I am aware that Pakistan has a good reason to bear a grudge against India. This is because she could not inherit or capture Kashmir in its entirety. But the jealousy harboured by the leaders of Pakistan created their shortsightedness. So they fought several wars with the Indians under one pretext or another. Pakistan came second best every time losing face and causing economic hardship for her people. There have been several terrorist attacks against India originating in Pakistan. The1971 war with India and the inability to offer democratic rights to the people of East Pakistan proved the shortsightedness of the leaders of Pakistan. This had been evidenced time and again previously. The ignominy suffered by Bhutto and the military hegemony diminished the image of Pakistan further. Jingoism inevitably permeated among the populace as a result – hatred and contempt for India kept on increasing among the unsuspecting masses. It makes me wonder if these people are the progenies of the sturdy and heavily builtperson in his fifties pouring scorn and venom towards the Indians.

This has also badly damaged the relationship between these two countries whose common cultural heritage is deep rooted. I felt very sad when the film “Postcards from Pakistan” was shown in the evening of 26 November 2012 at the Pakistan High Commission. They were fragments of the heritage of the bygone Muslim Era. I felt sad because most of the Pakistanis present there had no idea what Muslim heritage they left in India from which they are permanently deprived of and how others are taking care of them and reaping the benefits by publicising them abroad as Indian heritage.

 

Mohammad Soukat Ali was educated in the sciences and embarked upon a career in agricultural economics in West Bengal, India, before working in the UK civil service. He writes articles and essays on Islamic reform and history.


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Five Reasons Why India Can’t ‘Do A Gaza’ On Pakistan

Five Reasons Why India Can’t ‘Do A Gaza’ On Pakistan

 

 

Over the last week, many Americans (and not a few Indians) have asked me why India does not “do a Gaza” on Pakistan, referring, of course, to an emulation of Israel’s punitive use of force against Hamas-run Palestine, a territory from which rockets rain down on Israeli soil with reliable frequency (if not reliable destructiveness … but that is not for want of Hamas intent).

My answer, given with the heavy heart that comes always with a painful grip on reality, is simple: India does not because it cannot.

Here are five reasons why:

1. India is not a military goliath in relation to Pakistan in the way Israel is to the Palestinian territories. India does not have the immunity, the confidence and the military free hand that result from an overwhelming military superiority over an opponent. Israel’s foe is a non-sovereign entity that enjoys the most precarious form of self-governance. Pakistan, for all its dysfunction, is a proper country with a proper army, superior by far to the tin-pot Arab forces that Israel has had to combat over time. Pakistan has nukes, to boot. Any assault on Pakistani territory carries with it an apocalyptic risk for India. This is, in fact, Pakistan’s trump card. (This explains, also, why Israel is determined to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.)

2. Even if India could attack Pakistan without fear of nuclear retaliation, the rationale for “doing a Gaza” is, arguably, not fully present: Israel had been attacked consistently by the very force–Hamas–that was in political control of the territory from which the attacks occurred. By contrast, terrorist attacks on India, while originating in Pakistan, are not authored by the Pakistani government. India can– and does–contend that Pakistan’s government should shut down the terrorist training camps on Pakistani soil. (In this insistence, India has unequivocal support from Washington.) Yet only a consistent and demonstrable pattern of dereliction by Pakistani authorities– which would need to be dereliction verging on complicity with the terrorists–would furnish India with sufficient grounds to hold the Pakistani state culpable.

3. As our columnist, Karlyn Bowman, writes, Israel enjoys impressive support from the American people, in contrast to the Palestinians. No other state–apart, perhaps, from Britain–evokes as much favor in American public opinion as does Israel. This is not merely the result of the much-vaunted “Israel lobby” (to use a label deployed by its detractors), but also because of the very real depth of cultural interpenetration between American and Israeli society. This fraternal feeling buys Israel an enviable immunity in the conduct of its strategic defense. India, by contrast–while considerably more admired and favored in American public opinion than Pakistan–enjoys scarcely a fraction of Israel’s “pull” in Washington when it comes to questions of the use of force beyond its borders.

4. Pakistan is strategically significant to the United States; the Palestinians are not. This gives Washington scant incentive to rein in the Israelis, but a major incentive to rein in any Indian impulse to strike at Pakistan. However justified the Indian anger against Pakistan over the recent invasion of Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists, the last thing that the U.S. wants right now is an attack–no matter how surgical–by India against Pakistan-based terror camps. This would almost certainly result in a wholesale shift of Pakistani troops away from their western, Afghan front toward the eastern boundary with India–and would leave the American Afghan campaign in some considerable disarray, at least in the short term. So Washington has asked for, and received, the gift of Indian patience. And although India recognizes that it is not wholly without options to mobilize quickly for punitive, surgical strikes in a “strategic space,” it would–right now–settle for a trial of the accused terrorist leaders in U.S. courts.

5. My last, and meta-, point: Israel has the privilege of an international pariah to ignore international public opinion in its use of force against the Palestinians. A state with which few others have diplomatic relations can turn the tables on those that would anathematize it by saying, Hang diplomacy. India, by contrast, has no such luxury. It is a prisoner of its own global aspirations–and pretensions.

Tunku Varadarajan, a professor at the Stern Business School at NYU and research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is opinions editor at Forbes.com, where he writes a weekly column.

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Incumbent government should redouble its efforts

Incumbent government should redouble its efforts

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistanis are the most resilient people in the world

Pakistan was dumped by USA in 1989 after its objectives were achieved in Afghanistan. However, despite cold shouldering by USA, Pakistan’s status in the Muslim world in particular and international community in general had shot up very high because the miracle of the 20th century could not have been achieved without all out support of Pakistan to the Mujahideen. Pakistan was not totally discarded by USA since it was still seen as a possible jumping pad for the US to cater for her affections or apprehensions towards the Central Asian States. Pakistan was also seen as a bridge for US-Afghan negotiations. Those considerations together with the possibility of an aggrieved Pakistan opting to turn fundamentalist and nuclear and joining hands with Iran and Afghanistan in all probability prompted USA to wave the olive branch to Pakistan and to keep it out of the list of terrorist States.

Night Map of South Asia From Outer Space: Pakistan is the Most Brightly Lit Nation, In spite of Power Shortfalls

Notwithstanding the disintegration of Soviet Union and classic victory of the Mujahideen making Pakistan’s western border somewhat safe, the situation in Afghanistan remained in a state of flux for a long time owing to internal power struggle. Instability in Afghanistan and presence of 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and aid cut by USA disturbed the socio-economic fabric of Pakistan. But for freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir which consumed over 0.7 million forces of India and Pakistan’s nuclear program in the making, India would have opted for fourth round. India’s aggressive designs sobered in the aftermath of Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May 1998.

 

The downslide in Pakistan’s fortunes came when Gen Musharraf and his core team of Generals overthrew heavy mandate elected government of Nawaz Sharif on October 12, 1999. If one recalls, Pakistan’s stature had risen dramatically particularly among the Muslim world after its nuclear tests in response to India’s nuclear explosions. Pakistan had become the sole Muslim State and 7th in the world to possess nuclear capability. It had deflated jingoism of BJP leaders who till then were breathing fire and were threatening to annex Azad Kashmir. It brought such a sobering change that Vajpayee undertook a bus ride to Lahore in February 1999 and pledged to resolve all Indo-Pak disputes including Kashmir issue. Bus yatra gave false hopes to Nawaz Sharif that Vajpayee was serious in resolving core dispute of Kashmir to the satisfaction of people of Kashmir and Pakistan.  

 

The first downturn occurred when Gen Musharraf pumped by Generals Javed Hasan, Aziz and Mahmood triggered Kargil conflict at his own without taking political leadership and foreign office into confidence and without taking into account its fallout effects. Kargil adventure in fact was a prelude to forceful takeover by the military. From that time onwards, Pakistan’s political graph among the world comity has been gradually sliding down. It provided an opportunity to India to cease composite dialogue, put Kashmir issue aside, and dub Kashmiri freedom movement as terrorism and Pakistan as an abettor of cross border terrorism. Fallout of Kargil conflict led to the fall of Nawaz and takeover by Musharraf by through a military coup.  

 

The economic upturn from 2004 to 2007 was temporary and consumer based. The crash took place from 2008 onwards when elected government led by PPP took over the reins. Other than the factor of world recession which skyrocketed oil prices and plummeted all economic indicators, the elected government broke all records of corruption and destroyed institutions.

 

While Musharraf had opened the gates of Pakistan for the US to spread its tentacles in all parts of Pakistan, Zardari led political regime propped up by Washington instead of closing the gates promised their patrons to serve them better than Musharraf. It allowed US officials of all hues to micro-manage Pakistan’s external and internal policies. Choice-men of America were placed on key appointments so as to be able to work their way towards the nuclear arsenal closely guarded by the Army and ISI. Resultantly, the noose around Pakistan was tightened to such an extent that our political leaders couldn’t even squeak in protest when the pain became unbearable. Despite humiliations and barrage of threats, NRO cleansed rulers remained submissive. WikiLeaks gave a good view of the level of the character of political class as a whole. Imran Khan and to an extent some Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were the sole exceptions.           

     

Gen Musharraf in his quest to resolve Kashmir dispute and to live as peaceful neighbors agreed to resume composite dialogue with India on Indian terms. The US played a major role in extracting series of concessions from Pakistan which impinged upon our national interests and eroded our resolve to keep Indian influence at bay. India and the US jointly started to hammer the foundations of Pakistan so as to make the structure brittle and once made fragile, bring it down by employing Indian military at an opportune time. The master plan hinged on multiple pincers with eastern pincer of cultural invasion directed towards major urban centres of Pakistan to corrupt the youth and dry up its warrior spirit, northeastern pincer in Kashmir to crush freedom movement in occupied Kashmir and to dry up three rivers flowing into Pakistan by building series of dams over three Pakistan specific rivers and to make Pakistan a wasteland, and western pincer of sabotage and subversion to subvert Balochistan and FATA using Afghan soil. Indo-western cultural subversion to secularize the society was to be undertaken with the help of local print and electronic media, pseudo intellectuals and liberal class. Concept of enlightened moderation introduced by Gen Musharraf was aimed at secularizing Pakistan’s education system and society.    

 

Outwardly USA and India demonstrated affability and pretended to be friends of Pakistan. The enfeeblement process involved crippling economy, discrediting and wrecking national institutions, keeping the judiciary under the thumb of executive, demonizing Army, ISI and nuclear program, destabilizing political system, fomenting ethnicity, sectarianism, extremism and terrorism and embroiling Pak Army in long drawn un-winnable war and eventually stealing the nukes.

 

Success in these areas would have rendered decision making ability and responses to external challenges impaired. In over ten years, lot of ground has been traversed by adversaries of Pakistan as a result of which there is political instability; economy is in doldrums and on the brink of collapse, sense of insecurity among people has deepened, law and order is highly turbulent and energy is in deep crisis. Poor political, economic and security conditions and above all rampant corruption, high inflation, back breaking price spiral and loosened morals have enabled the conspirators to brand Pakistan with all kinds of sleazy names and declare it as the most dangerous county in the world. The overall situation has become so bleak, that Pak leadership remains subservient to the wishes of IMF, USA and India irrespective of the cost in terms of honor, dignity and national interests it has to pay.  

Pakistan’s political system was reasonably stable although not ideal till mid 2007, but with the coming in power of the US-made coalition government in March 2008, political system became wobbly and faith in democracy withered. The economy which till 2007 was healthy became fragile. Militarily, 1467000 troops are deeply embroiled in war on terror and are operating in all seven tribal agencies of FATA and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Balochistan is simmering due to foreign backed separatist movement spearheaded by Baloch rebels. Kashmir cause has been hugely damaged.

 

Devastating terrorist and suicide attacks killing scores of people and destroying property worth billions have occurred in major cities. These attacks have been undertaken by dissident Pakistanis duly cultivated by foreign agencies to serve their ulterior motives. Afghan soil has been used for covert operations against Pakistan since 2002. It is humanly impossible for RAW and RAAM agents to establish training camps in Afghanistan to train saboteurs and to launch them into Pakistan and keep their activities hidden from CIA and US-NATO military. In fact, CIA is the master coordinator which is also conducting drone war in Pakistan to fuel terrorism.  

 

The country is facing unprecedented economic challenges and its economy is in dire strait. Budget deficit has reached the figure of 8.2% of GDP (equivalent to Rs 1400 billion) against the target of 4.7%. GDP has dipped to 2.4% and inflation is in the range of 15%. All corporate sectors are gasping for life and require heavy bailout packages to keep them afloat. Other than the factors of poor governance, cronyism and corruption, one of the main reasons of economic crunch is the war on terror which is in its eleventh year. Pakistan has so far lost about $100 billion in this senseless war. This together with natural calamities in the form of earthquakes and floods, acute energy crisis and financial crunch has made things exceedingly difficult for the incumbent government to restore the health of the fragile economy in quick time.

 

The government is making serious efforts to bring down the prices of essential commodities so as to provide immediate relief to the poor but has so far failed because of tough conditions imposed by IMF. Non-provision of relief is wearing out the patience of the masses and has given a handle to the opposition to beat the government with. The government wants to end the war by opening talks with the TTP leadership but has made little progress since the TTP on one hand favors talks but in the same breath puts forward conditions. Simultaneous ceasefire has been made conditional to stoppage of drone attacks over which the government has no control. Notwithstanding the phenomenal challenges, the government will have to redouble its efforts to prove that it is better than its predecessor and not the other side of the same coin as alleged.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and book writer. asifharoonraja@gmail.com   

 

 

BACKGROUND READING FOR THE ABOVE ARTICLE

 

In resilient Pakistan, emerging middle class powers FMCG sector

Published: June 23, 2013
 

This rise in consumer demand has spurred the growth of supermarkets across major urban centres. PHOTO:FILE

KARACHI: 

Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of the world’s largest consumer goods company, has recognised Pakistan as one of the top 10 emerging markets to focus investment in. This sounds like good news for our cash-strapped economy, and it is equally good news for those who have invested in P&G.

It makes sense for any fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) to invest in a country where the world’s biggest consumer goods names – Unilever, P&G, Nestle and Mondel-z (formerly Kraft Foods) – are not only operating, but also growing significantly.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, the net profits of FMCG companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange grew in excess of 20% in fiscal year (FY) 2011-12. P&G, which is not listed on the KSE, has witnessed tremendous growth in revenues during the past three years – including 50% revenue growth in FY2012. Besides the consumer goods sector, its supporting industries like packaging and distribution companies have also seen their toplines grow significantly.

So what are the factors contributing to this growth?

If the fact that these companies are selling essential food items and consumer goods in the world’s sixth-largest market by consumer size is not satisfying enough for you, here’s a more detailed and nuanced explanation.

“Economics and demographics are together at play in Pakistan,” P&G Pakistan Country Manager Faisal Sabzwari told this correspondent in a recent interview. The boom in the rural economy has also been a major contributor to their growth – thanks to a series of bumper crops of agricultural produce and wheat support prices, which were raised by the government in recent years.

Besides this, according to Sabzwari, Pakistan is one of the top countries adding 20-somethings to its workforce; these are the people establishing families, getting new jobs and helping market sizes grow.

“We have millions of consumers entering independent disposable income space in their lives every year,” Sabzwari said, while referring to the growing middle class.

The market size in Pakistan has also grown in terms of volumes, without taking pricing into account. “Increasing urbanisation and the growing middle class are key drivers of the FMCG business,” Sabzwari said.

Pakistan’s is urbanising faster than other developing countries, according to Sabzwari. “The country’s population is growing at under 3%, while the rate of migration to urban centres is even higher,” according to Muzammil Aslam, managing director at Emerging Markets Rsearch.

“A population base of 180 million talented and hard-working people hungry for prosperity ensures that nothing can hold this country back from growing,” P&G Pakistan’s chief said. While looking at the growing middle class, he said, it is important to look at their consumption habits. “We are exposing more consumers to value brands like Pampers and Always,” he explained.

It may be added here that consumer spending in Pakistan has increased by an average of 26% in three years, according to a Bloomberg report published on November 21, 2012 – a strong sign that people are consuming more goods than ever before.

This rise in consumer demand has spurred the growth of supermarkets across major urban centres, which include, but are no longer limited to Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad.

Such superstores are getting larger and asking manufacturers for broader brand portfolios in order to serve their customers better. They have larger shelves, enabling them to have more sophisticated and developed categories in which they can stock more products than ever before.

This growth, Sabzwari said, is also testament to an emerging class population segment called the Pakistan One Plus class. This is a growing bulk of affluent consumers that want to be serviced: they demand products which have been launched in Europe but are not yet available here, he said. These are expensive, premier brands; and retailers are asking P&G for such products to service their customers.

These factors are the ones actually driving growth in the FMCG sector and allied industries over the past few years, in utter disregard to all the negative aspects of the Pakistani economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2013.

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DR ISRAR AHMED QUAID E AZAM AUR ALLAMA IQBAL KA NAZRIYA-E- PAKISTAN: QUAID-E-AZAM TURNED A DREAM INTO A REALITY


 Unknown-42Jinnah’s reply will give you some idea of his disillusionment. ‘Hindus are incorrigible,’ he told Ikram. ‘And the thing with Muslims is that their biggest and tallest leader who talks with me in the morning goes to the commissioner or deputy commissioner or governor in the evening and spills all the beans. How can I lead such a community?’”

The animosity shown by the Hindus to the Muslim and their own experience of two-and-a-half year Congress rule strengthened the Muslims belief in their separate nationality. The discriminatory attitude coupled with attempts by the Hindu dominated Congress to suppress the Muslims impelled the Muslims to finally demand a separate sovereign state for the Muslims.

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Has any thing changed, after almost 70 year, the prophetic words of Quaid-e-Azam?

 

 

  This is an interview by the Arab News back in 2006 with Dr Israr Ahmed – some very pertinent points are raised. Something we all have been discussing about people being responsible for their state of affairs not just the politicians.

Dr. Israr Ahmad is known for his excellent analysis of the Qur’an in Urdu. He appears regularly on PTV, QTV and Peace TV providing critical explanations of the holy verses. He was originally associated with Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, the founding father of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He was even more closer to the legendary Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi, the author of the monumental analysis of the Qur’an entitled “Tadabbur Al-Qur’an.” Dr. Israr drew inspiration from his mentor, Maulana Islahi.

Maulana Islahi was also associated with Maulana Maududi. When there were differences between Maulana Maududi and Maulana Islahi and many other leading scholars of the time on the issue of whether the Jamaat should dabble in politics, Maulana Islahi parted ways with Maulana Maududi. Dr. Israr followed his mentor and dissociated himself from the Jamaat and Maulana Maududi in the late 1950s. Maulana Islahi and Dr. Israr were of the opinion that reforming society should take precedence over politics.

Maulana Islahi also edited the respected Islamic journal “Misaq,” which is still published from Lahore. In a special issue of the journal, Dr. Israr’s biography was published.

Dr. Israr completed his graduate degree in medicine (MBBS) from Lahore’s King Edward Medical College in 1954. He gave up his medical practice in 1970 and since then has devoted his life for the study and teaching of the Holy Qur’an.

Dr. Israr was in Jeddah last week and Arab News sat down with him for a discussion on the current state of affairs in Pakistan. Now in his 70s, Dr. Israr seemed very disillusioned and pessimistic. In his younger days he was very active in politics having been the president of the Jamiat-ul-Tulba, but it is politics that now disturbs him.

“I am upset with this vicious cycle, or what I call this three-sided prism of military democracy, civil bureaucracy and feudal lords,” Dr. Israr said. “They take turns at power. Sometimes the military takes charge, and the other two follow it; at other times the bureaucracy takes over, and the remaining two follow suit. Their interests are intertwined.”

Dr. Israr described the situation. “When Ayub Khan took over everybody joined hands against him,” he said. “At that time, it was believed that Ayub was the source of all evil and that immediately after his removal, things would be hunky-dory. When Ayub left, Yahya Khan took over. When Yahya left Zulfikar Ali Bhutto assumed power. Then all the religious parties came together to oust him. Then Zia-ul Haq took over. So democracy could never take root.”

The scholar said Pakistan has been thus plagued since its beginnings. “The party that was responsible for the country’s creation — the Muslim League — was in fact not a party. It was a ‘tehreek’ (movement). And as with all movements when it achieves its goal, it folds up. The Muslim League that created Pakistan died immediately after achieving its sole purpose.”

When asked about military interventions interrupting the flow of the political process, Dr. Israr said they were due in large part to the weakness of Pakistan’s political system. “If the political traditions were strong, the military would never have dared to intervene. Why didn’t the military intervene in India? Is it a small army? Morarji Desai (the former prime minister of India) was once visiting Pakistan. He was traveling by train from Lahore to Karachi. As was mandatory, the DIG in Rahim Yar Khan area was accompanying him in the train’s coupe. So he asked him why the Indian military never intervened in his country’s political affairs. Desai replied that the Indian military knew full well that if martial law were to be imposed, there would be thousands of bodies littering the streets of India, and one of them would be that of Morarji Desai.”

Dr. Israr said the ongoing political upheaval in Pakistan damaged the nation’s respect among its neighbors and the world community. “We became a laughing stock with the frequent changes in governments. So much so that (Jawaharlal) Nehru (India’s first prime minister) once said sarcastically: ‘People keep pestering me to hold dialogue with the Pakistani leadership. My question to them is: Who should I talk to? I don’t change my clothes as frequently as they change governments in Pakistan.’ It is very easy to blame the military establishment, but one should also be asking who gave it the reason to intervene? It was the ineptitude of the political leadership. There were elements in the political class that were ready to welcome the military rulers with garlands. If the military had felt that the people would not like its intervention in the country’s political affairs, then it would have hesitated; it would have thought twice.”

Now Dr. Israr finds a disturbing portent for the future of Pakistan. “I am worried. The reasons why Pakistan was created (‘wajh-e-jawaaz’), its raison d’etre, are being questioned now. This worries me. ‘Why Pakistan?’ the younger generation keeps asking. It is becoming a chorus now. ‘Why did you go for partition?’ they ask. ‘What was the reason?’ Is that not a worrying factor?”

Dr. Israr elaborated. “There were two reasons (for the creation of Pakistan) — one positive and one negative. The negative factor was the fear of the Hindu: the Hindu will finish us off; the Hindu will suppress us (‘Hindu hum ko dabayega,’ ‘Hindu hum ko kha jayega’… etc., etc.) The Hindu will take revenge. It will finish our culture. It will strangle our language. This was the negative issue that became a rallying cry for the Muslim League. Remember, at this stage the Muslim League was not a party. It was just a club of nawabs and jagirdars. In his address of 1930 in Allahabad (‘Khutba-e-Allahabad’), the legendary poet Iqbal gave an ideological injection to this movement. During the address, Iqbal said: ‘It is my conviction that in the north of India an independent Muslim state will be established.’ It was a prophesy — not a proposal. Iqbal went on to say: ‘If this happens, we will be able to project the true picture of Islam to the world.’ This was the positive reason. One year before 1930 Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah … I am not calling him Quaid-e-Azam because he had not yet become the ‘quaid’. He was not among the founders of the Muslim League. And for six years after the founding of the Muslim League he didn’t join it. He was the private secretary of (the Indian independence hero) Dadabhai Nawroji. Even when he eventually became a member of the Muslim League, he retained dual membership — both in the Congress and the Muslim League. He did his best (‘sartod koshish ki’) to find some solution to the Hindu-Muslim problem. That is why Mr. Jinnah was referred to in those days as the ambassador of unity. Then he became disillusioned. So in 1929 one year before Iqbal’s ‘Khutba-e-Allahabad,’ Mr. Jinnah closed his political shop, bought a palace (‘kothi’) in London and started practicing law. S.M. Ikram, who wrote some interesting books in Urdu, was in England in those days studying at Oxford. He went to see Jinnah and asked him why he had left India. ‘The Muslims of India need your leadership,’ he told Jinnah. Jinnah’s reply will give you some idea of his disillusionment. ‘Hindus are incorrigible,’ he told Ikram. ‘And the thing with Muslims is that their biggest and tallest leader who talks with me in the morning goes to the commissioner or deputy commissioner or governor in the evening and spills all the beans. How can I lead such a community?’”

The turnaround in Jinnah, according to Dr. Israr, came later. “It happened in 1932 when Iqbal went to London for the Second Roundtable Conference. At that time, he gave the same ideological injection to Mr. Jinnah. ‘This is the cause of the Muslims,’ he told Mr. Jinnah. It was this injection that Mr. Jinnah came back with to India in 1934. He was rejuvenated, and then he became the Quaid-e-Azam.”

When Dr. Israr thinks back to the creation of Pakistan, he marvels over the consensus that formed it. “It was a miracle. Can there be any bigger stupidity from the political standpoint as to why a UP Muslim should support the Muslim League? It was an emotional atmosphere. Bombay Muslim, Madrasi Muslim, CP (Central Provinces) Muslim — what did they have to do with Pakistan? But they were the real creators of Pakistan. In Punjab, there was never a Muslim League ministry even for one day. It was either in East Pakistan or Sindh. Until the end, it was the Congress ministry in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The real creators of Pakistan then were the Muslims of the minority provinces. They generated a wave in 1946. It was because of this wave that when the elections took place, they established beyond a shadow of doubt that the Muslim League was the sole representative party of the Muslim community.”

Dr. Israr said that what started right, soon went wrong. “The creation of Pakistan was a good thing. It was created with good intentions; there was a long historical background to the movement, but we failed badly. There is one quote from Quaid-e-Azam worth remembering: ‘God has given us a golden opportunity to prove our worth as architects of a new state, and let it not be said that we didn’t prove equal to the task.’ Unfortunately, we proved that we were not equal to the task.” Where is Pakistan? We divided it into two countries (in 1971). What do we have now? There is no such thing as ‘qaum’ in Pakistan. ‘Qaumiyaten basti hain.’”

The Islamic scholar was asked if his view was similar to the American view which considers Pakistan a failed state. “I don’t know what the Americans are saying. When they say Pakistan is a failed state, maybe they are referring to the country’s failed economic policies. I am talking about the ideological failure. Pakistan was not an ordinary country. It came into existence on the basis of an ideology. If you couldn’t take care of that ideology, then it is a failed state. It is an ideologically failed state.”

When asked if Pakistan’s nuclear leadership of the Muslim world qualified it as having some measure of success, Dr. Israr dismissed the idea out of hand. “What is the use? Just one phone call — ‘with us or against us’ — and you are finished,” he said, noting that it wasn’t just a failure of leadership but rather the failure of personal conviction of the populace. “A country is known by its leader,” he said, “and then what about the people? What did they do? Don’t just blame the leader; the people are equally responsible for the sad state of affairs. Paisa imaan hai, paisa deen hai. Except for materialism, people are not interested in anything. This is not the case of one or two people; I am talking about everybody in Pakistan. They have become too materialistic.”

Published in Arab News on Saturday, September 9, 2006

Quaid-e-Azam turned a dream into a reality

  
ON March 23, 1940, the Muslims of the sub-continent resolved to create a separate homeland, Pakistan. The decision was neither taken in haste nor precipitated by a sudden, dramatic turn of events.
 
Hindus and Muslims had lived in India for centuries but had remained two distinctly different cultural entities presenting marked dissimilarities that neither time nor assimilation could erase; they were like two streams running a parallel course. So manifest and so profound were the differences that the London Times, commenting on the Government of India Act of 1935, had to ungrudgingly concede:
 “Undoubtedly the difference between the Hindus and Muslims is not of religion in the strict sense of the word but also of laws and culture, that they may be said indeed to represent two entirely distinct and separate civilizations.”
 
This incontrovertible realization found a more convincing elucidation in the words of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: 
“Notwithstanding thousand years of close contact, nationalities which are as divergent today as ever, cannot at any time be expected to transform themselves into one nation merely by mean of subjecting them to a democratic constitution and holding them forcibly together by unnatural and artificial methods of British Parliamentary Statutes.”
The background of Pakistan Resolution is such that in 1937, provincial autonomy was introduced in the sub-continent under the Government of India Act, 1935. The elections of 1937 provided the Congress with a majority in six provinces, where Congress governments were formed. This led to the political, social, economic and cultural suppression of the Muslims in the Congress ruled provinces.
 
The Congress contemptuously rejected the Muslim League’s offer of forming coalition ministries. The Muslims were subjected not only to physical attacks but injustice and discriminatory treatment as regards civil liberties, economic measures and employment and educational opportunities. The Congress Ministries introduced the Wardha scheme of education, the object of which was to “de- Muslimize” the Muslim youth and children.
 
Ian Stephens, former editor of the newspaper “Statesman” and an eyewitness to the working of the Congress Ministries, says: 
“The effect of this simultaneously on many Muslim minds was of a lightning flash.”
“What had before been but guessed at now leap forth in horridly clear outline. The Congress, a Hindi-dominated body, was bent on the eventual absorption; Western-style majority rule?, in an undivided sub- continent, could only mean the smaller community being swallowed by the larger.”
 
The animosity shown by the Hindus to the Muslim and their own experience of two-and-a-half year Congress rule strengthened the Muslims belief in their separate nationality. The discriminatory attitude coupled with attempts by the Hindu dominated Congress to suppress the Muslims impelled the Muslims to finally demand a separate sovereign state for the Muslims.
 
However, the Muslim demand was violently opposed both by the British and the Hindus; and the Congress attitude toward the Muslims led to the hardening of the Muslims belief that only a separate homeland — Pakistan — can guarantee their freedom. This demand was put in black and white on March 23, 1940.
 
However the path to independence and separate nationhood was strewn with a multiplying myriad of problems. First and foremost was the claim to nationhood vehemently contested by the Congress stalwarts and their supporters. How could a community of converts claim itself to be a nation? Gandhiji posed the question as he ridiculed the Muslim League’s claim to independent nationhood. The Quaid was quick to furnish the answer: 
 
“Mussalmans are a nation according to any definition of a nation, and they must have their homeland, their territory and their state…”
 
“The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature. They neither intermarry, nor interdine together and, indeed they belong to two different civilizations, which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state…”
 
After adoption of the Pakistan Resolution, Quaid-e-Azam had a clear objective before him and he struggled hard to achieve it. In one of the meetings, he said: 
 
“We are a Nation of a hundred million and what is more, we are a Nation with our distinct culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions. In short, as Muslims we have our own distinctive outlook on life.”
 
He further said that by all cannons of international laws, we are a nation.
 
In 1945, Quaid-e-Azam proclaimed that only Muslim League represented the Muslims, and proved it to the hilt during 1946 polls, winning 100 percent seats at the Centre, and 80 per cent in the provinces. Nothing could have been more conclusive to shatter the Congress claim of being a national body. If the British had read the writing on the wall in this verdict, Pakistan could have come into existence two years earlier without bloodshed. With his charismatic personality Quaid-e-Azam turned the dream of a separate homeland into reality on 14th of August 1947.
 
Thanks to the Quaid’s unwavering leadership and untiring efforts, Pakistan was transformed from an ideal into a reality in a short span of time. In 1947, seven years after the passage of the historic Pakistan Day Resolution at Lahore, the world witnessed the emergence of the largest Muslim state
 

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