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Posts Tagged Pakistan

The USA’s iniquities & failures

The USA’s iniquities & failures

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s history of the US sanctions

Pakistan was touted as the most allied ally of the US but practically it was not since it was the most sanctioned country. The US unjustly imposed sanctions on Pakistan during the 1965 war with India and the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. In early 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on Pakistan suspecting that it was secretly developing a nuclear weapon. Sanctions were removed by Ronald Reagan in June 1981 after he decided to support the holy war against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. He doled out a hefty package of $ 3.5 billion to the military regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and also ignored Pakistan’s manufacture of the bomb in the basement. From 1990 till Sept 2001 Pakistan was once again sanctioned by the US on the plea that it was building an Islamic bomb. Another set of sanctions were levied in May 1998 after Pakistan’s tit-for-tat response to India’s nuclear tests.  

Marriage of convenience

After 9/11, the US befriended Pakistan, lifted the sanctions and promised military and economic assistance in order to achieve its short term objective of occupying Afghanistan. In actuality, it was a marriage of convenience since Pakistan was marked as a target by a host of countries – USA, Israel, India, NATO, and the puppet regime in Kabul. Their six intelligence agencies – CIA, Mossad, RAW, MI-6, BND and NDS sat under one roof in Kabul and hatched conspiracies to make Pakistan a compliant state. RAW assisted by the NDS pioneered the proxy war to destabilize Pakistan. A large number of proxies from within Pakistan were cultivated, moles planted, a large number of NGOs and think tanks deployed and Pakistani media purchased to wage a hybrid war.

Appeasement

The predators succeeded in bleeding Pakistan due to defensive policy and apologetic stance of our leaders. They had to extend a hand of friendship to India and the two US installed regimes in Kabul, highly antipathetic to Pakistan, and involved in biggest covert war ever launched against any country.

Pakistan made no change in its external policy even after the evil designs of the enemies disguised as friends were exposed. Our leaders kept doing more till as late as mid-2017.

Pakistan Army & ISI’s accomplishments

Irrespective of the moral failings of our political leaders, the Pak Army and the ISI safeguarded the integrity and sovereignty of the country superbly. Not only were the conspiracies of six hostile agencies blunted effectively by the ISI, tens of hundreds of attacks were thwarted before they could be executed. All the foreign paid proxies were flushed out of former FATA in 2015. Cleansing of their sleeping cells, handlers and facilitators is going on through Raddul Fasad. There was a time when 3 to 6 terror attacks took place in one day, but now the scale has been reduced substantially.

Another feat which Pakistan has achieved is the erection of double-layer fence along the 2611 km western border to checkmate illegal infiltration. The fence has been beefed up with tower watches, fortified posts at regular intervals, patrolling and effective border management. Its usefulness was seen in the current testing times when the possibility of another influx of Afghan refugees had become a probability.   

The USA’s iniquities

After 9/11, the US listed the freedom movements by the Muslims, and the so-called radical groups in the Muslim countries in the loop of new laws on terrorism and abetment to terrorism but excluded non-Muslims without giving any logical reason. In fact the word terrorism coined by the US was never defined, but any country/group/individual not falling in line was blacklisted.

After forcing Pakistan to cut off relations with Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Sept 2001, and to provide military bases for invading and occupying Afghanistan, Pakistan was deceitfully made a coalition partner of the US-NATO to fight the Global War on Terror as a frontline State. The real motive was to weaken Pakistan so that its nuclear teeth could be extracted.

India didn’t join the club of 48 countries to curb terrorism in Afghanistan, and yet the US chose to make it the central actor in Afghanistan with which it didn’t share boundary, culture or religion. It was given importance since it was willing to undermine Pakistan through terrorism from the Afghan soil.

Pakistan was wrongfully accused, affronted and punished for its uncommitted crimes, but India against whom Pakistan provided tons of concrete evidence of cross border terrorism was never advised or admonished to refrain from immoral practices. Instead, it was richly rewarded for its committed crimes.

Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani (AG) regimes in Kabul, and the NDS were partners in crimes and were also heaped with endowments.

Throughout the 20-year war, the US hypocritically pretended to be a friend, but distrusted Pakistan and branded it as a double-dealer, not realizing that the US couldn’t have waged the longest war without the two NATO supply routes from Torkham and Chaman.   

Washington kept up the pressure on Islamabad by making it ‘Do More’ and never got satisfied, and felt no remorse in levelling unsubstantiated allegations of Pakistan’s complicity with the anti-US terrorist groups.

Pakistan was the only country which defeated terrorism on its soil but suffered the most at the hands of proxies funded, trained and equipped by RAW-NDS and mothered by CIA.

In 2017, when Pakistan said it will not do any more and it was time for others to do more, the swords of the IMF and the FATF were hung over its head and it was once again forced to do more.

India has been violating the FATF rules regarding money laundering, financial terrorism, state terrorism against own minorities as well as against Pakistan at a huge scale. It should have been blacklisted, but it remains white while Pakistan remains in the grey list since 2018 despite meeting 26 of its 27 demands.

India’s defence minister Jaishankar unashamedly disclosed that India was instrumental in keeping Pakistan in the grey list of the FATF. His disclosure proved that the FATF is a politically motivated compromised outfit misused by India and the US.   

India is among the top three countries including the US and Brazil with heaviest Corona infected and death cases while Pakistan’s efforts in keeping the 1st and 2nd waves of Covid-19 in check was praised by the world bodies. Yet the UK put Pakistan in the ‘Red’ list and India was excluded.

The US dismal failures

It was owing to the wicked designs and duplicitous standards of morality practiced by the USA that it lost respect, prestige and honor and suffered a financial loss of $ 2.3 trillion dollars without achieving any of its objectives in Afghanistan. $85 billion worth sophisticated weapons & defence equipment was left behind for use by the Taliban, while five top US defence contractors made huge profits and are the winners.

Except for cosmetic improvements, Afghanistan today is worse than what it was in 2001. Had there been an improvement, the Taliban couldn’t have made a comeback.   

The US couldn’t stop the Afghan Taliban from entering Kabul on August 15, 2021 and its forces had to exit in haste by Aug 31 since the Taliban had the support of the people.

Al-Qaeda was one entity in 2001, and now it has six factions and has a global agenda of change.

The US couldn’t contain the phenomenal economic growth of China, now well-poised to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan.  

The US failed to checkmate the resurgence of Russia, or to tame Iran.

In concert with India, the US intended to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan into four parts, but couldn’t and today Pakistan is militarily much stronger and vibrant.

In violation of the Doha agreement, the US air force provided air support to the beleaguered ANA after the deadline of May 1. When nothing could be achieved, the US tried to stir chaos at the Kabul airport which remained under its control till Aug 31. 

The Taliban on the other hand abided by the Doha agreement, and didn’t strike any target of the foreign troops. Even then, the US slyly held them responsible for the violence and the western media demonized them by circulating fake stories.

Instead of pulling the ears of string-puppet AG to resign and pave the way for an interim setup, the US pressured Pakistan to force the victorious Taliban to accept the unpopular AG as the president and share power.

Rather than being thankful to the Taliban for letting the bulk of the troops exit safely, the US tried to deny the fruits of victory to them.

Liabilities

India proved to be a liability for the USA since it could neither contain China’s growth as an economic power, nor it could face its military power in the clash in the Himalayas, or could suppress freedom movement in J&K.

Likewise, it couldn’t destabilize Pakistan, or help the US and the ANA in combating the surging Taliban. It hastily dismantled its terror infrastructure and consulates in Afghanistan where it has now become an outcast and it’s over $20 billion projects are in jeopardy.

The 300,000 strong well-trained, well-equipped, well-paid and well-fed ANDSF on whom the US had spent $ 1.3 trillion proved to be a big liability for the US. The huge force opposing rag-tag 70,000 foot soldiers collapsed like a house of cards in the face of the lightning offensive of the Taliban.

After Kabul was surrounded by the Taliban fighters on Aug 14, AG fled to UAE on the afternoon of Aug 15 and the ANA bolted. The Taliban fighters had to step in peacefully to fill up the administrative and security vacuums.

Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Zia Massoud based in the tiny enclave of Panjsher claiming to lead the resistance movement, are possibly backed by external powers. The so-called movement would soon fizzle out due to unfavorable circumstances.    

Inconsistent stances

The whole world including Pakistan had stood behind the US in Oct 2001 to decimate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. No stone was left unturned to implement the military strategy based on brute force. No eyebrow was raised over the massive use of tomahawk cruise missiles, B-52 stealth bombers, daisy cutters killing mostly the civilians.

No objections were made on granting immunity to the invaders and opening of torture dens including ghastly Guantanamo Bay or the savagery of Northern Alliance warlords inflicted upon the captives.

The world and the UN vehemently opposed the Iraqi adventure in March 2003, but the US paid no heed and destroyed Iraq and that too on fake charges. No complaints were made over the instigation of sectarian war in Iraq and later stretching the war to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. None has been made accountable for destroying eight Muslim countries and killing 11 million Muslims and displacing millions.      

Once the Taliban encircled Kabul on Aug 14 after capturing all the provincial capitals, the victorious Taliban paid heed to the counsels and neither captured Kabul forcibly, nor they showed inclinations to form an exclusive regime in disregard of the sentiments of the international community and multiple Afghan ethnic minorities. They pardoned all and sundry and there is no talk of trial and punishment.

Despite their changed outlook and humane demeanor, they were repeatedly counselled to refrain from violence, opt for peaceful transfer of power, and not to violate human and women rights. Urban Afghans who had served the occupiers loyally were invited to reach Kabul airport for their safe passage to the USA. Cloak of a saint was worn by the Satan to minimize the negative impact of disgrace it suffered, but this drama also boomeranged on account of a suicide attack by Daesh-K on Aug 25 causing deaths to 175 Afghans and 13 US  Marines.  

Tongue-in-cheek

Finding that the whirlwind offensive of the Taliban was unstoppable and soon they would reach the gates of Kabul, the US with tongue-in-cheek warned them to resolve the tangle politically and not through use of force, and that forcible capture of Kabul or takeover of power will be unacceptable to the international community. The latter (less Russia, China and Iran), hastened to join the rock band of hypocrites.   

While counselling them not to resort to violent practices, and not to re-establish Islamic Emirate by force, the US forgot that the Taliban regime was forcibly toppled in 2001, a puppet regime installed through sham election, an alien constitution imposed, the occupied country was ruled with an iron hand under the barrel of the gun and human rights, international laws were grossly violated and the ISAF soldiers given a license to kill, maim and torture without accountability. They also ignored that whichever region captured by the Taliban was free from reprisals and crimes, and on Aug 16 general amnesty was announced. 

In the backdrop of differing responses of the USA and the Taliban at the height of their glory, the US led west is still branded as civilized and champions of human rights, and the Taliban uncivilized, uncouth and barbarians. In spite of their positive soundbites, Taliban haters say it is too early to draw conclusions.

End of longest war

America’s longest war was officially terminated by the US CentCom Commander Gen Mckenzie on Aug 30. Since Aug 14, 2021, 123,000 people including 6000 Americans were airlifted from Kabul airport. After the departure of the last batch of occupation forces, the Afghans enthusiastically celebrated the independence of their country.

Ironically, the last group of the 8000 US-NATO troops and American nationals airlifted on Aug 30 had to seek a night transit in Islamabad, the most distrusted and abhorred country, instead of the most favored India or any of its airbases in the Arab Gulf States.

The Taliban took control of the security of Kabul airport on the night of Aug 31 and in the next 2-3 days they are expected to set up an inclusive government.  

Takeover of power by the Taliban in Kabul will augur well for the Af-Pak region. Pakistan is looking forward to a safe western border.     

Will lessons be learnt?

Will the USA learn lessons after the great debacle, or its Military Industrial Complex would continue to resort to military adventures in search of greater profits? In my reckoning, until and unless the ones involved in war crimes are put on trial before the ICC and punished, imperialism will not die down in the USA; nor its habit of retributions and interventionism. The Taliban’s $ 9.5 billion in the US central bank remains frozen; amounts required to be released by the World Bank and the IMF for various projects are suspended; hints of sanctions given if the Taliban refuse to cooperate. Daesh-K created in 2015 will possibly be supported by CIA-RAW as can be deciphered from Gen McKenzie statement: “I believe the Taliban are going to have their hands full with Daesh-K”.   

Will the Taliban learn lessons from their mistakes committed during their first tenure from 1996 to 2001 during which they were isolated by the international community and put under sanctions due to their obscurantism and radical behavior, and then toppled, chased and persecuted for two decades? Chances are that they will stand by their commitments by presenting themselves as reformed Taliban, wishing to make the war torn country peaceful and prosperous.

Unlike the past, this time both the Taliban and Iran are moving on the path of conciliation, accommodation and cooperation.  

India will neither learn lessons nor will change its deceitful and injurious posture towards Pakistan and will find new ways to harm its archrival.         

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

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Archive Article: How Pakistan was Sold for $8 Billion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

October 2011

Pakistan Sold for $8 billion?

By

Dr Shahid Qureshi

One can safely say that current ruling Pakistani elite including political, civil, business and military have sold Pakistan as much as for roughly $8 billion worth of assets abroad. This rough estimate is based on the available figures of two leading figures in Pakistani politics Nawaz Sharif & Brothers Limited and Zardari & Co Limited who have properties and assets abroad mainly in the USA, UK, Europe and else where.The others are Chaudhry brothers of PML-Q, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali, Rehman Malik and others also have assets abroad. British national and self exiled MQM-A leader Altaf Hussain is also part of political sharks in terms of assets abroad.The foreign assets of other politicians like Imran Khan and religious parties are not yet reported. But one can not rule anything out. One thing is common among almost all Pakistani politicians and Generals is that all of them have their children or grand children living, studying abroad with foreign nationalities or married to foreign nationals. Hypercritically those who shout the loudest against the US have send their sons and daughters their too.There is another class who has assets abroad and that is members of civil, military establishments and corrupt business elite. They are the protectors of the assets of these politicians. They teach them the tricks of ‘sophisticated bank robberies’, wiping out their bank loans, taking commissions from international firms and safely depositing them abroad. There is a tiny minority in Karachi, who is ready to serve any one and every one in terms of money laundering, playing with the currency exchange rates and provides help in the flight of capital out of Pakistan. They place their members on high positions in the disguise of ‘great community workers’ but in actual fact these people are responsible for funding terrorism and gang warfare in Karachi to all sides. They act as a bank for enemies of Pakistan. Their media channels follow the lines of the enemies of Pakistan in media and psychological warfare. They are the champions of flourishing of ‘black economy’ in Pakistan. That is why we find them in almost each and every financial scandal in the known memory of Pakistani corruption.Most of the above got these properties and assets by robbing Pakistan and selling its sovereignty. The so called business community of Karachi is at the fore front in facilitating the flight of capital abroad and later investments in their projects. They are in the ‘gold circle’ of the current regime and so called elite.They are the real gangsters and worst than target killers. After reading most of JIT (Joint Investigation Team) reports of target killers from Karachi one can safely say these are the poor people living in deprived areas killing around innocent people on the orders of shady elite living in posh areas with guards in big mansions. One can find this so called business community in all shady deals and working as bank for any one and every one especially the nasty neighbours.In London they have readymade business plans for Pakistani crooks and cons with money. Some of them regularly attend religious gatherings and give large sums in charity to get credibility among the clerics. Without knowing the source of the money some clerics do special prayers for them. Some of them are notorious for frequently doing ‘bankruptcies’, insolvencies as well as running special religious TV channels. Well money can buy you anything? That is how they get their people placed on the influential positions with access to sensitive information.This is the small minority of people has held Pakistan hostage to the foreigners just to protect their assets, properties, foreign nationalities and green cards. The freezing of assets of Arab leaders after the Arab spring in the past few months should be a wake up call and lesson for others? The lesson is your money is safer in your own country than a foreign plastic platinum card in your back pockets.   Bashing of Pakistan’s military both as an institution and its generals for both right and wrong reasons is quite fashionable. Pakistan’s military and nuclear assets are the main target of the enemies and so called friends. Pakistan’s army is a voluntary force; everybody can join the army and may be after the 30 years of service an officer become a general, others retires as they go along their careers.“The personal wealth of Pakistani generals is estimated at £3.5m a head’, according to The Guardian’s report, “The plot to bring back Benazir” published on 21st July 2007. The musical chair of politicians and military is harming the existence of Pakistan. The elite of Pakistan are institutionally corrupt and now become an organised ‘mafia’. Scandals of ‘steel mills’, sugar mills, cement; stock exchange has broken the records of previous corruptions. The culprits are from both opposition and ruling party.Few years ago Zardari – Benazir Bhutto assets worth more than $ 2 billion according to Saifurahman and according to NAB figure are around $1.2bn [£ 830m]. Raja Bashir of The Pakistani National Accountability Bureau told The Guardian that, “Ms Bhutto has 26 bank accounts, 14 properties and total assets of one billion sterling pounds abroad. We are very glad that other countries are cooperating with us.”On March 2, 2006, The Dawn newspaper reported that Benazir’s assets in Spain ‘unearthed’, The National Accountability Bureau claimed to have unearthed two more offshore companies and a villa in Spain owned by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A spokesman of the bureau said that judicial authorities of Spain had frozen assets of two Sharjah-based companies, Petroline and Tempo Global Gains, as well as their six bank accounts.The villa worth half million Euros, allegedly owned by Ms Bhutto and her three children, Bilawal Zardari, Bakhtawar Zardari and Asifa Zardari in Playas Del Arenal, Marbella, had also been seized by the High Court of the Valencia province, the NAB claimed. The NAB official said the Petroline Company was owned by Ms Bhutto, former FIA director-general Rehman Malik and Hassan Ali Jafferi and was established in 2000.Nawaz Sharif had no connection with the feudal elite. His family moved from Jati Umra near Amritsar and by 1960 they owned a few modest size factories – iron foundry, ice making, and water pump factory.Some how Mian Sharif managed to reach General Jill, as General Ghulam Jilani Governor of Punjab in General Zia’s regime He literally begged to give a break in politics to Nawaz Sharif. That is how he got into the military’s chicken farm and his factories started laying golden eggs.  Nawaz Sharif was appointed as finance minister of Punjab in 1983.  In 1981 the family business group Ittefaq turnover was Rs. 337 million, but by 1987 it had soared to at least Rs. 2,500 million, that is according to the group’s own accounts. Within four years Ittefaq had become one of the wealthiest private industrial groups in Pakistan. ‘Hard work and grace of Allah’ explained Shehbaz Sharif. One can imagine the miraculous growth in the assets of billions now. Investing in politics is not bad business at all in Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Asia Week, Rehman Malik current Interior minister and key holder of Zardari’s safe produced 200-page report of MNS’s corruption. The secret document was leaked to the London-based Observer newspaper published details of alleged corruption involving the MNS and his family. According to the report, the Sharif family obtained loans from Pakistani state banks for business purposes and illegally converted the money into foreign exchange worth at least $66 million.According to the report, the Sharif family acquired properties in London through two companies, Nescoll and Nielsen Enterprises, registered in the British Virgin Islands and linked to a bank account in Lahore in the name of a fictitious person: Suleman Zia. The four flats in Avondale House in Park Lane are said to be worth at least £ 750,000, which worth millions of pounds keeping in view the current housing market in London. Not a bad deal!What clinched the appointment for Nawaz Sharif as PM was a word to the presidency by the then ISI chief Lt. Gen Hamid Gull, that the army believed he was a better choice. General Hamid Gull now regrets his misjudgement. Subsequently the President also dismissed him. Nawaz Sharif’s problem was power: a pathological crass compounded by crass incompetence. Nawaz Sharif also seemed to be an ungrateful person. He did not feel any obligation towards president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, nor did he ever say ‘thank you’ to General Hamid Gull’.The smart business minded ‘Abbaji’ late father of Nawaz Sharif invited General Asif Nawaz to his Lahore residence. After a fatherly ‘tête-à-tête’, Abbaji told the new army chief that he was like his son and requested him to take his two sons Nawaz and Shehbaz under his wings: and also told the ‘children’ that they must follow and never disregard the General Sahib’s advice. And one last thing Abbaji said to the General Sahib, as he came to see him out off at the porch of his house, ‘my both children have a Mercedes each, and here is the key to yours; you are like a son to me.’It didn’t work with General Asif Nawaz, he felt offended and therefore, instead of being able to buy the General, Nawaz Sharif had instead lost his respect too.“I sent Ghous Ali Shah to gave a lift home to General Musharraf and inform him that he has been deposed in absence said Nawaz Sharif while addressing a meeting in Manchester in July 2007. How intelligent was to promote engineering corp’s, Kashmiri, General Zia and decorate him with the badges purchased from Sadar Bazar Rawalpindi, MNS must be thinking in his spare time? Majeed Nizami editor of the Nawa-e-Waqt a closest ally of Nawaz Sharif had to remark that they used to regard Benazir Bhutto as a ‘security risk’, it seemed Nawaz Sharif was a greater security risk. He was indeed the worst thing that had happened to Pakistan since independence. Whether it was money, morals or security, the nation found it difficult to trust him. His recent speech at SAFMA attracted lot of controversies. MNS don’t believe in reading and learning?It is interesting that when Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri freedom fighters were battling against the Indian army on the freezing heights of Kargil, Nawaz Sharif’s business proxies were selling sugar to India . India did not need to import any sugar and yet if Vajpayee had accepted to buy Pakistani sugar it was only to sweeten his relationship with Nawaz Sharif.It is highly significant that when the Kargil crisis broke out both George Fernandez and K S Sudarshan, the former a socialist and India’s defence minister and the later leader of BJP militant wing RSS themselves exculpate Nawaz Sharif of any blame. If the Indians were trying to protect Nawaz Sharif, they must have had very good reasons to do so. It is this selfish and opportunist behaviour that made these leaders make decisions against the interests of Pakistani state? Take the example of US aid to Pakistan and kind of work these people agree to do in return.  More recently angry and sarcastic attitude of Nawaz Sharif against the military is deplorable, when thousands of soldiers have lost their lives while his sons and nephews are doing multi million dollar businesses abroad. Pakistani politicians including Nawaz Sharif can only have moral high ground on others once they prove themselves. That they look after Pakistan’s national interests more than their personal wealth hidden abroad. They don’t take decisions which harm the interests of Pakistan just because their assets could be frozen abroad.The US aid to Pakistan has actually proven to be a ‘rip off and fraud’ by financial terrorists of Wall Steers.  There is no doubt that US has caused more than $70 billion losses to Pakistan since 2001. On the other hand only aided/lend or both $22.87 billion from 1950 to 2010. Most part of that aid actually never arrived in Pakistan as it was paid to your defence and military complexes back in the USA.  This rip off could only be possible if people mentioned above have prostituted themselves for personal interests.  Breakdown of US aid as reported:Total US Aid: $22.87 billion in 60 years & losses to Pakistan: $60 billion1950-1964     2.5bn economic and 500 m military aid1965-1979     2.55 billion economic and 26 million military 1980-1990     5 billion military and economic aid 1991-2000     429 million economic and $5.2 million military 2001-2009     3.6 billion economic and 9 billion military 2009-2015     7.5 billion approved under Kerry Lugar Bill aid mostly non military ($1.5 billion per year)Almost all the regimes of Pakistan have been prostituting with the enemies by deliberately harming the state of Pakistan and following IMF agenda e.g. gas and electric shortages to destroy the industrial infrastructure, Railways and Pakistan Steel. They have ignored the risks and challenges concerning the US lead military occupation of Afghanistan and drone attacks on Pakistan. Pakistan has suffered approximately $70 billion economic, human losses, structural damages to roads and bridges deployed more than 147,800 troops conducting combat operations in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. The Pakistan armed forces has lost more than 3,200 soldiers, with another 6,400 injured. They sustain an average of 10 casualties each day, and approximately 35,000 Pakistani civilians killed by suicide bombers and terrorism.  US policies around the world and especially in Pakistan created refugees and approximately 2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in SWAT and FATA to further destabilize the country. Millions of people in Pakistan are waiting to be fully rehabilitated; 2.5 million Afghan refugees are a burden on the economy of Pakistan as well as causing social problems. They can’t go back to Afghanistan as US and NATO have occupied Afghanistan and fighting an unwinnable war.One can assume that Pakistani nation suffered both human and financial losses only because this small minority of people have their few billion dollars worth assets in USA, UK, Dubai, Malaysia and Europe. If current regime and political stake-holders in government really sincere with Pakistan, they should bring their money back to Pakistan. They can enjoy their wealth and it will be safe and unfrozen.A bird (dollar) in the hand is much better than two (dollars) in the Bush(land).

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

Pakistan sailing in choppy waters

Asif Haroon Raja

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we hoping that India will change its goals against Pakistan, or are waiting for the US [sgmb id=”2″]help which after bleeding us in the war on terror has now tightened the noose of IMF-FATF around Pakistan’s neck or China’s help which is unfortunately caught up in Coronavirus crisis? Will it be better to fight the war on home ground or in IOK?

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

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

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

asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan Should Ditch Washington by Brian Cloughly

To the despair of State Department professionals (who are very professional indeed), the art and craft of US diplomacy have taken a very nasty knock since the appearance of Donald Trump on the world stage. To be sure, the practice of sending rich political donors to prime ambassadorial posts such as Berlin, Tokyo and London has been the norm for decades, but some of Trump’s appointees have stretched the bubble of amateurism a little too far.  The man in Germany, for example, was only in the job for a day, in May this year, before he gave orders that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately,” which début debacle was met with derision by the German people.

The pompous ass in London, billionaire Woody Johnson, was interviewed by Sky News in June 2018 and cast an intriguing light on his expertise concerning his host country. When he was asked the nature of his relationship with Sadiq Khan he replied: “with whom?”  The interviewer then told him that Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London, whereupon Woody announced that “My relationship is very good.”

Then President Trump informed London’s Sun newspaper that “You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”

 

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There’s not much joined-up diplomacy in the Trump Administration, but although these examples are mildly amusing and show the people involved to be the fools they are, there is a most serious side to the international diplomatic devastation created by Trump, the man so well described by dismissed White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as “tawdry, cruel, vindictive.”

The disconnect was highlighted on August 13, the day before Pakistan’s Independence Day, when US Secretary of State Pompeo messaged “On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I would like to extend my best wishes to the people of Pakistan as they celebrate their independence day.  For more than seven decades, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has rested on the strong foundation of close ties between our two peoples.  In the years ahead, we hope to further strengthen these bonds, as we continue to look for opportunities to work with the people and Government of Pakistan to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia.”

This supposedly friendly greeting was sent to a country about which Trump had tweeted that “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

“Strengthen bonds”, anyone? Washington must be unhinged (to employ the title of the Omarosa book) to imagine that a few clichés about “shared goals” might in some way cancel out Trump’s malevolent insults.

Not only this, but Washington has made one of the gravest diplomatic errors of its many with Pakistan by suspending the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme. This doesn’t sound much, but it is probably the most serious setback in Pakistan-US relations thus far in the Trump regime’s fandangos of international incompetence.

The most important part of IMET was the annual training in the US of some 60-70 Pakistan armed forces’ officers, including at the US Army War College (one of the most professional —  that word again — military academies in the world). It cannot be emphasised too much that this sort of hosting pays enormous dividends. Not only is participation in specialised discussion and mixing with people of different views most beneficial to students and hosts, but personal contacts build trust and expand horizons.  It cannot be valued in money.  You simply can’t put a price on it, which I found an enormous and indeed insuperable hurdle when I was trying to convince pointy-headed Australian bureaucrats that hosting foreign students and sending our people abroad would pay dividends in the future.

Not for nothing is the motto of the US War College “Prudens Futuri, which is usually translated as “Be provident for the future.” But at the moment, Washington’s thinking about the future appears to be limited to the mid-term elections and (appalling thought) the re-election of Trump in 2020.

Meantime, Pakistan suffers from US bullying and intimidation, with the “bond-strengthening” Pompeo making threats about what might happen as a result of a loan to Pakistan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  He issued a warning that an IMF credit would be conditional on a promise that none of the money is used to repay Chinese debt, which is a weird way of trying to “advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity.”

Pompeo told CNBC that “Make no mistake. We will be watching what the IMF does. There’s no rationale for IMF tax dollars, and associated with those American dollars that are part of the IMF funding, for those to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself.”

But the arrogant assumption that Washington can dictate everything to the world doesn’t intimidate China, Russia or Pakistan.  The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project linking China’s western provinces through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea is worth $62 billion, and other economic and defence links with China are commercially, politically and socially of much more importance to Pakistan than its tenuous and increasingly fragmenting connections with the United States. There are some who scoff at CPEC, like Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington and CIA asset, who, according to the Washington Post, “quipped that the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor . . . actually should be called “Colonizing Pakistan to Enrich China.”

Washington’s growing arrogance doesn’t intimidate Russia, either, and in the light of increasing confrontation by the US-NATO military alliance, it is apparent that a new era in Moscow-Islamabad cooperation has dawned. For a start, as reported by Voice of America on August 8, “Pakistan has wrapped up a ground-breaking contract with Russia that would, for the first time, open doors for Russian military training of Pakistani army officers. The rare deal comes amid deteriorating relations between Islamabad and the United States, which has resulted in the halt of all military exchange programs with Pakistan and left a void that Moscow has stepped in to fill.” Washington will rue the day it closed the doors of professional colleges to Pakistan’s military officers.

Not only that, but Russia has provided Mi-35M combat helicopters to Pakistan, and the two countries’ armies have held two counter-terrorism military exercises, while their navies “recently participated in joint antidrug exercises in the Arabian Sea. The latest naval collaboration took place last week in St Petersburg, where a Pakistani warship participated in the major Russian Navy Day parade.”  Their cooperation will develop and expand, to their mutual benefit.

Pakistan is wise to engage with China and Russia and should ditch the Washington Empire.

Prudens futuri.

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Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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Bajwa’s Beijing sojourn by S M Hali

Bajwa’s Beijing sojourn

According to the Chinese media, in all the meetings, both the sides have resolved to strengthen the relations between, Pakistan and China and continue the progress of the CPEC. China appreciated the security initiatives taken by the Pakistan Army for the ongoing CPEC projects and expressed the desire to benefit from Pakistan’s military experience

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