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Posts Tagged Target Gwadar

Will Pakistan’s Gwadar Become “Hong Kong West”? Riaz Haq, Blog: Haq’s Musings

Will Pakistan’s Gwadar Become “Hong Kong West”?

Riaz Haq,

Blog: Haq’s Musings

 

 

 

 

The port city of Hong Kong has played a pivotal role in China’s economic and trade expansion on the Chinese East Coast in the Pacific region. Meanwhile, China’s Western region has remained relatively underdeveloped.

China’s West Coast:

Is China looking to build and use Gwadar in Pakistan as Hong Kong West to accelerate development in its West? Will Gwadar serve as a superhighway for China’s trade expansion in Middle East, Africa and Europe? A point to project Chinese economic and military might westward?

Unlike the continental United States which has coasts on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans allowing it easy access to Europe and Asia, China has only one coast, its East Coast along the South China Sea.

As the Americans look to Asia with the US Pivot to Asia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Chinese are looking to expand westward with Central Asia as well as Africa, Europe and the Middle East with “One Road One Belt” initiative funded by Silk Road Fund and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Pakistan is a crucial partner in this strategy, particularly the development of Pakistan-China Corridor linking China’s western region with Gwadar port on the Arabia Sea. 

Gwadar Deep Sea Port:

The Chinese see Gwadar deep sea port and the town of Jiwani as Hong Kong West, a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. It will be the most important link in China’s Maritime Silk Route (MSR), a sort of superhighway to the West for Chinese trade.

Professor Juan Cole of University of Michigan has aptly described the Chinese strategy as follows:

China’s enormous northwest is much closer to the Arabian Sea than to the port of Shanghai. It is about 2800 km. from Urumqi (pop. 4 million, the size of Los Angeles inside city limits) to Karachi, but twice as far to Shanghai. China has decided to develop its northwest by turning Pakistan into a sort of Hong Kong West. Hong Kong played, and perhaps still plays an important role as a gateway for certain kinds of foreign investment into China. In the same way, Pakistan can be a window on the world and a conduit for oil and trade into northwestern cities such as Urumqi and the smaller Kashgar (pop. 1 mn.)

In addition to a major expansion of the deep sea port,  there are plans in place for building a modern city with several skyscrapers, an international airport, highways and industrial parks in Gwadar, Balochistan. There will be air, road and rail links to move people and freight to and from around the world. Oil and gas pipelines are planned to transport energy as well. When completed, it will be comparable to major international port cities of Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Baloch Insurgency:

Baloch insurgency is cited as a key threat to the implementation of the China-Pakistan Corridor in Pakistan. What is often not acknowledged by analysts is the fact that the Baloch insurgency is dying. It’s a fact that has recently been described in some detail by Malik Siraj Akbar who is sympathetic to the Baloch separatist cause. Here’s what Akbar wrote in December 2014 in a piece titled “The End of Pakistan’s Baloch Insurgency?”:

“Since its beginning in 2004, Pakistan’s Baloch insurgency is caught up in the worst infighting ever known to the general public. Different left-wing underground armed groups that had been fighting Islamabad for a free Baloch homeland have now started to attack each other’s camps……Frustration, suspicion, infighting and division are the common features of the end of a guerrilla fight. Perhaps that time has come in Balochistan. “

Language Map of Balochistan

The announcement of the Pak-China deal seems to have re-energized those who seek to hurt Pakistan. They are now trying to resuscitate the dying Baloch insurgency. Western media has widely publicized an interview of Bramdagh Bugti who is running the insurgency from the comfort of a Swiss hotel room.  In addition, Pakistan’s Western-funded NGOs (Front’s For CIA, MI-6, RAW,& MOSSAD) are being used to play up the Baloch insurgency in the media with events like “Un-Silencing Balochistan” event and by blaming the ISI for the murder of Karachi activist Sabeen Mahmud.

Summary:

The China-Pak Corridor deal could prove to be transformational for Pakistan’s economy, prosperity and rising living standards of its nearly 200 million people. As development work moves forward for Gwadar and China-Pakistan Corridor, I fully expect several hostile nations, including neighbouring India, to use their proxies on the ground in Balochistan and some members of the “civil society” made up of some foreign-funded NGOs in Pakistan to make progress as difficult as possible. There will be serious efforts by many to resuscitate the dying Baloch insurgency. Pakistani people and both civil and military leaders need to be prepared to deal with these hurdles.

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CPEC and Gwadar by By Zahra Niazi THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

 OPINION

CPEC and Gwadar

By Zahra Niazi

Published: August 11, 2017

The writer is a freelance columnist

The writer is a freelance columnist

The city of Gwadar that we proudly own today did not belong to us. Our government bought it from the Sultanate of Oman in 1958. Only if Oman had known the fate of this land earlier, it probably would have never sold it to Pakistan. Now, Pakistan gladly reaps the reward while Oman silently observes.

It wouldn’t be unfair to credit Worth Condrick, the man who carried out a survey of the area and realised the worth of the land of Gwadar when Oman had known little about its value and was ready to get rid of it since Oman and Gwadar were geographically detached. Neither was it profitable to them. Additionally, the inhabitants of Gwadar were willing to join Pakistan.

A somewhat riveting fact is that Pakistan wasn’t the only country to which this land was offered. It was originally offered to India. It was India’s hard luck that it refused and Pakistan’s fortune that Gwadar was geographically contiguous to it. Today, the consequences are much harsher for India. Their angst is quite clear from the recent terrorist activities being carried out in Balochistan in order to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It was a few months ago that an Indian submarine was found lurking in the waters around the port. RAW networks are also active in Karachi and along the western border. The deep sea port of Gwadar can prove to be a major security threat for India that may scale down its influence in the Indian Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Thayer Mahan was a geo-political strategist. Today, Chinese maritime strategy is based upon Mahan’s theory of sea dominance. He foresaw the superiority of the Indian Ocean. He was of the view that the one who controls the Indian Ocean could become dominant in the whole of Asia. According to him, securing the sea lines of communication can prove beneficial for countries in order to impose a blockade against others.

India is fearful that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA) and the Pakistan Navy (PN) together could diminish its dominance in the Indian Ocean. The PLA Navy would become permanent in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. In case of a war, both the allies can easily impose a naval blockade against India and thereby hinder its trade. Competing against allies wouldn’t be plain sailing for India. They would keep an eye on India’s activities in the Indian Ocean particularly the Arabian Sea. China would also be able to secure its sea lines of communication. The capability of the PLA Navy as well as the PN would grow. China sees this as an opportunity to turn the port into its naval base.

China would have never invested this laboriously in Pakistan if Gwadar wasn’t bought. Giving and receiving is a fundamental law. According to this, you need to give something in order to receive something. China’s string of pearls strategy, initially coined by US analysts, includes setting up a number of military and naval areas of influence across a widespread region. Each of the area would be a pearl and one of those pearls is the deep sea port of Gwadar. China wants to diversify the trade routes and find an alternative to the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. The Strait of Malacca is under the watchful eyes of the US and Indian naval forces. In case of any major conflict, this strait could be halted and this would affect the Chinese economy. Additionally, the strait is also surrounded by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands owned by India. Hence, the trade route through Gwadar port is fairly economical for China.

Balochistan, a resource rich region, hasn’t been able to contribute enough to the economy of Pakistan since the beginning of the creation of the country. Now, Gwadar is going to materialise our dream of sustainable prosperity for Pakistan by turning from a fishing village into a port city. Gwadar is expected to generate massive revenue. Along with this, different industrial estates could be established in the adjacent areas. Not only people from other provinces but foreigners would also be tempted to invest here if the security situation is duly maintained. Gwadar is expected to generate almost two million jobs for the people of Balochistan. The trade capacity of Gwadar port is more than that of Port Qasim and Karachi port combined.

In order to reap maximum benefits, skilled labour is a major need otherwise the job opportunities could easily be exploited by the Chinese and all the money Beijing is investing will benefit them with interest. After all, the port has been leased to a Chinese company for a period of 40 years. Along with this, the dependence on the Chinese expertise for maintenance should be reduced. Pakistan should increase its economic activities and exports. Hambantota port is the finest example where Sri Lanka was trapped in a debt and the port had to be leased to China for a period of 99 years. All the essential steps should be taken before it’s too late.

Furthermore, maritime crimes should be controlled. Crimes like illegal entry and carrying of weapons, smuggling, drug and human trafficking are frequent, and therefore need special attention. Another noteworthy issue is that of marine pollution. In order to tackle these issues, there should be strict rules and regulations for all the moving ships and efficient monitoring with the use of a system to track shipments.

Internal instability combined with external factors is another stumbling block to the success of CPEC. The Baloch people have been living with a sense of deprivation for years now. Another rather disturbing fact is RAW’s involvement with the ‘Baloch liberation movement’ and Baloch student federations. The sense of deprivation of the Baloch could be reduced by giving them due rights and bring their province at a par with others.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri and an Iranian delegation led by the governor of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Aaqa Ali Hosth Hashmi, decided to set up a railway track between Chabahar and Gwadar. If this becomes a reality, Iran and Pakistan would be able to have a mutually beneficial relation, putting an end to RAW’s involvement along the western border.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017

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Pakistan’s bloopers Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s bloopers

Asif Haroon Raja

Inconsequential Western Pacts

In search for security in the face of India’s belligerence and dangerous designs together with Afghanistan’s hostility, Pakistan blundered to join SEATO and CENTO in 1954 and earned the hostility of Afghanistan, former Soviet Union and China. India took these western pacts as an excuse to make a U turn on Kashmir issue.

The defense pacts helped Pakistan under Ayub Khan to develop its economy and defensive capability, but the pacts were designed to contain communism and not to provide security against India or to help in resolving Kashmir dispute. These pacts proved inconsequential during the wars with India in 1965 and 1971 and played no role in preventing truncation of Pakistan in 1971.

Despite the fact that Pakistan played a key role in the China-US détente in 1971, enabling USA to withdraw its forces from Vietnam, the US always kept India above Pakistan, knowingly that India was aligned with Soviet Union.

Supply of arms by the US and western countries to India after the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962 impelled Pakistan to lean on China since arms provided by the two rival camps had tilted the military balance in favor of India. This shift irked USA.  

War against Soviets and Fallout Effects

Pakistan again blundered to let the US make FATA a launching pad and use Jihadis as proxies to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1980s in return for $3.5 billion economic/military assistance spread over 5 years. Although the Jihad directed by the ISI achieved its goal of ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan, but Pakistan had to suffer at the hands of nexus as well as that of Al-Zulfiqar throughout the 10-year war.

The Afghan Jihad gifted Pakistan with drug and Kalashnikov cultures which militarized the society and intensified sectarianism. It also bred misgivings in Pak-Iran relations.  

Instead of rewarding Pakistan for the huge price it paid to defeat a super power and for paving the way for the US to become sole super power, it was not only left high and dry by self-serving USA but also punished for pursuing nuclear program, which it had ignored till 1989, by imposing harsh sanctions in 1990. Worst was Indo-US embrace in 1991 followed by Indo-Israel alignment, giving shape to Indo-US-Israel axis, which raised the specter of Islamic bomb.

Sanctions under Jewish AIPAC inspired Pressler Amendment weakened Pakistan’s economy, multiplied its debt, impacted the democratic era (1988-1999) and handicapped Pakistan to combat fallout effects of Afghan war.

The only positive outcome of the bloody war was the completion of nuclear program under Gen Ziaul Haq, which was otherwise not possible. It raised the stature of Pakistan among the Muslim world. Fear of bomb in the basement prevented India under Rajiv Gandhi from converting Indian Exercise Brass-tacks into full-fledged war in 1986/87. Likewise, war over Kashmir in 1990/91 in the wake of armed uprising in Indian occupied Kashmir was also averted due to nuclear factor.  Benazir rather than fulfilling American agenda of rolling back nuclear program enhanced missile program.

In the First Gulf War in 1991, while Egypt got its $7 billion external debt waived off without deploying a single soldier, as a reward for legitimizing the US-NATO intervention in the Gulf, Pakistan got nothing despite deploying over 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia because of the then Army chief’s pro-Saddam statements which annoyed Saudi Arabia and USA. 

Pakistan’s support to the Taliban from 1996 till September 2001 antagonized Northern Alliance (an amalgam of non-Pashtun Afghans under Ahmad Shah Masood) and brought them under the influence of Iran, India, West and Russia.

War on Terror after 9/11

Pakistan once again blundered after 9/11 by ditching friendly regime of Taliban in Afghanistan at the behest of Washington and befriending untrustworthy USA that had left Pakistan in a lurch during its testing times.

Pakistan learnt no lesson from the repeated betrayals and happily accepted all the demands of USA under the fond hope that this time it will not deceive and will compensate for its past wrongs by making Pakistan prosperous in return for fighting the US imposed war on terror on its soil. But the US had a fixed agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program covertly, separating Baluchistan and making Pakistan a secular state. Gen Musharraf and not Pakistan was made the darling of the west.  

Pakistan after earning the animosity of Taliban on account of its full support to the US to occupy Afghanistan also antagonized the tribesmen of FATA when the Army launched an operation in South Waziristan (SW) in 2003 at the bidding of USA to flush-out Al-Qaeda and its supporters.

Pakistani Taliban started a guerrilla war against the Army and in December 2007 formed Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) under Baitullah Mehsud with tentacles in all the seven agencies of FATA.

The Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban believing in one ideology are in collusion and pursue shared goal of establishing Islamic Emirate. The two entities had however divided their areas of responsibility; Taliban confining their fight in Afghanistan against occupying forces and their collaborators and the TTP fighting against Pak security forces. Their partner Al-Qaeda remained operative on both sides of the divide. Haqqani network aligned with Taliban headquartered itself in North Waziristan (NW) and remained friendly toward Pakistan till their ouster in June 2014. 

The TTP was hijacked by foreign agencies in its formative years and was heavily funded, equipped and trained to fight Pak Army and to convert Swat, Bajaur, SW and NW into fortresses.

Annoyed by Musharraf regime’s decision to impose ban and freeze funds in 2002/03, Kashmir focused Jihadi groups and other militant groups veered towards TTP. By 2013, an amalgam of over 60 militant groups had come under the wings of Hakimullah led TTP in NW.

TTP leaders had pledged allegiance to Taliban supreme leader Mulla Omar in 2008 and had accepted him as Ameerul Momineen. Their pledge remained intact till mid 2014 after which many pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakar Baghdadi since they had got a wind of death of Mulla Omar in April 2013 which was intentionally kept secret.

Syria-Iraq based ISIS has made inroads in Afghanistan with the help of India and has established itself at Nangarhar and is in collusion with Khalid Omer Khurasani led Jamaat-e-Ahrar, an offshoot of TTP and with Fazlullah. The two had fled from Mohmand Agency and Swat to Afghanistan after the military operation Rah-e-Rast in 2009. Fazlullah was nominated Ameer of TTP after the death of Hakimullah in early 2014. 

Operation Zarb e Azb launched in June 2014 succeeded in pushing out all militant groups including HN from their last stronghold in NW. All the runaway TTP leaders and fighters have been given sanctuaries by NDS and RAW at Nuristan, Kunar and Nangarhar from where they are undertaking cross border terrorism inside Pakistan. HN is fighting its war from eastern Afghanistan, its traditional stronghold.  

The US, India, Afghanistan, Israel, NATO strategic partners based in Kabul since November 2001 have been constantly weaving plans and conspiracies to harm Pakistan. They have been fueling terrorism in Pakistan with the help of their paid proxies in FATA, Baluchistan and Karachi and at the same time pressing Pakistan to do more.

Unable to stabilize Afghanistan after fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda for 15 years, both Kabul and Washington are blaming Pakistan for its failures. The duo wants Pakistan to fight elements of Afghan Taliban and HN, supposedly in FATA and Baluchistan, and to force them to lay down arms and sign their drafted agreement.

Field commanders of Taliban movement disfavor peace talks since they have suffered the most. After forcing USA to pullout bulk of ISAF troops in December 2014, they have gained a definite edge over the ANSF supported by a small US-NATO force and initiative is in their hands. 29 districts are in their full control and 34 districts are being contested. They don’t want to come to terms with collaborators who have plunged the country into the vortex of vices which they had eliminated during their 5-year rule. They don’t want an agreement on dictated terms and without meeting their basic demands.  The Taliban and HN feel that Pakistan is once again siding with their opponents to undermine their sacrifices. In its bid to please the US and unpopular unity government in Kabul, Pakistan is fast losing whatever goodwill Taliban have for it.

India has successfully brainwashed all segments of Afghan society and poisoned their minds against Pakistan. There is widespread hatred against Pakistan both at government and people to people levels.

Destabilized Afghanistan suit USA and India since it enables both to retain their presence and continue with their covert operations.

Entry of Russia in Afghan Affairs

After China, Russia has begun to slowly make inroads into Afghanistan. Its entry in Afghan affairs is likely to change the dynamics of Afghan imbroglio.

The newly emerging politico-economic axis of Russia-China-Central Asian Republics-Pakistan which is drawing strength from CPEC is likely to grow stronger if Iran and Turkey, both resentful of USA joins it.

There are reports that Russia is supplying arms to the Taliban to tackle the threat from the ISIS, aspiring to establish Khurasan State. Russia is also pleading the Taliban case in the UN for taking off their names from the blacklist. The Taliban have exuded confidence in the Russia-China-Pakistan grouping to pursue peace in Afghanistan.

Supply of arms to the Taliban by Russia is worrisome for Kabul and Washington. After all, Moscow has not forgotten and forgiven the perverse role of USA in its fragmentation. Provision of stingers to the Mujahidin in 1988 had forced the Soviets to hasten their exit from Afghanistan. To avenge its humiliation, Russia may be aspiring to make Afghanistan a graveyard of USA. This wish is achievable if it supplies surface to air missiles to the Taliban, enabling them to contest the airpower. If so, it will make the position of 12000 strong Resolute Support Group based in five military bases tenuous.          

Pakistan’s Responses

Pakistani leaders have been dancing to the tunes of America, myopically thinking that by abiding to its dictates, Pakistan will remain safe and so will be their power and wealth. Lure of dollars and fear of USA were other factors which made the weak-kneed and morally corrupt rulers to stick to their policy of appeasement. They made no change in this self-defeating policy despite suffering colossal human and financial losses. 

While the US has spent $1.7 trillion in Iraq war, and over $1 trillion in war in Afghanistan including $104.1 billion in its reconstruction, it grieves over $20 billion given to Pakistan in the last 15 years, 50% of which is CSF (close support fund – repayment of provisions and services provided by Pakistan). As against this meagre assistance, Pakistan has incurred an economic loss of $118 billion in fighting the war and has also suffered 60,000 fatalities.

Excessive tilt of USA towards India as exhibited by Indo-US economic, defence and civil nuclear deals, revelations made by Raymond Davis in January 2011 about American dangerous agenda, stealth raid in Abbottabad in May 2011 followed by Memo scandal in October and deadly assault on Salala in November that year, do more mantra, condition based aid and stoppage of CSF brought no change in Pakistan’s US centric foreign policy.

India’s open ended belligerence when seen in context with ever growing Indo-US collaboration culminating into 3 military agreements in 2016 and the US outright biased stance against Pakistan having a direct bearing on security of Pakistan forced our policy makers to lean more heavily upon China and to get closer to Russia.

Tiding over energy crisis, righting economic indicators, curbing terrorism and above all CPEC have helped in improving the overall economic health and image of Pakistan and instilled confidence in the rulers to confront internal and external challenges more confidently.

However, the US enchantment that was at the verge of fizzling out has been reinvigorated by Donald Trump’s telephonic chat with Nawaz Sharif. He showered heaps of praises upon him and Pakistan, referring him as a terrific guy, rating Pakistanis among the most intelligent people, amazing and exceptional. These accolades coming from the most freakish and bigoted US President astounded all and sundry. Anti-Nawaz and anti-Pakistan elements were expecting a roughshod treatment from loudmouthed Trump. His unexpected tributes and exclusion of Pakistan from the banned Muslim States has made Nawaz and his team rapturous and they are still in a state of ecstasy. Idea of getting out of the US spell has been shelved.

While the Muslim world is tense and scared, Pak leadership is relaxed and appears to be all set to once again get duped and fall into the deceptive trap and get bled. They are optimistic that the US under Trump will not betray Pakistan and will be more friendly and cooperative in addressing socio-economic and security concerns. This confidence has been further bolstered by friendly chat of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa with US Secretary Defence Mattis and US Commander in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson, both admiring Pakistan’s sacrifices and role in war on terror and wanting a holistic review of Pak-US relations.   

Future Challenges

The challenges faced by Pakistan are however far from over. Up to 80% success has been achieved against terrorism which had become an existential threat to the existence of Pakistan. The current government deserve credit for giving a go-ahead to intelligence driven operations in NW, Baluchistan and Karachi, and the national action plan. However, the Army, Rangers, FC and ISI deserve special applause for achieving spectacular results in all the three troubled regions.

100% results couldn’t be achieved due to safe havens provided to the runaways of TTP in Afghanistan, backing to BLA, BRA and BLF in Baluchistan by foreign agencies, and obstacles created by Sindh administration in Karachi. All random acts of terror in Pakistan emanate from Afghanistan.

On the economic front, notwithstanding upturned macro-economic indicators, bullish stock exchange, healthy foreign exchange reserves and fast-paced development works, constantly increasing debt burden is a matter of anxiety. Not so satisfactory progress on 20-point NAP needs acceleration.  

Management of western border by Pakistan is not to the liking of Kabul and India since it will curtail cross border terrorism. This process as well as return of Afghan refugees, rehabilitation of displaced persons and FATA reforms must continue without any letup. Likewise Rangers operation in Karachi must reach its logical end at the earliest.  

Success in war on terror, economic turnaround, CPEC, and Russian support have defeated India’s plan to isolate Pakistan and to get it declared a terrorist state. Although Pakistan today stands on a stronger wicket, agenda of Indo-Afghan-US nexus against Pakistan remain unchanged.

Till 2008, Russia was anti-Pakistan and pro-India. Change in regional dynamics has brought a thaw in Pak-Russia relations and the latter is now keen to develop stronger economic and defence ties with Pakistan. Russia is mindful of the Afghanistan based Daesh and wants Pakistan’s cooperation to build a firewall against the emerging threat. For this reason, Russia is taking deep interest in Afghan affairs and has cultivated ties with Taliban much to the chagrin of Kabul regime and Washington. Russo-China-Pakistan grouping aimed at restoring peace in Afghanistan and CPEC has once again enhanced the importance of Pakistan. Friendly regime in Kabul is a geostrategic necessity for Pakistan.    

Recommendations.

Pakistan policy makers will have to play their cards shrewdly and configure the foreign policy best suited to guard Pakistan’s national interests. While keeping USA and EU in good humor and engaged in mutually beneficial economic/military cooperation, but without compromising core interests and dignity, efforts should be made to further expand economic/military cooperation with Russia, draw it towards CPEC and to make Pakistan member of Eurasian Economic Union.  Besides veering Iran into CPEC, Gwadar port should augment Chahbahar port. Land, air, maritime and internal security must be strengthened to ward off external threats and treacherous designs. Focus should be on getting rid of foreign crutches and instead strengthening own economic legs by drawing full benefits from the emerging opportunities provided by CPEC so as to make Pakistan politically, economically and militarily self-reliant.

The writer is retired Brig, war veteran, defense analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, DG Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja.gmail.

Additional Reading from

Geo-Strategic Significance of Pakistan

1- INTRODUCTION:

Pakistan is located at a region which has great political, economic and strategic location. It has been hub of activities of great powers for last 20 years. It has witnessed intervention of three great powers i-e Britain, USSR, and USA. Its significance was further enhanced during cold war when it becomes ally of US policy of containment of USSR and now the post cold war era has witnessed its significance particularly after the events of 9/11.

2- PAKISTAN GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATION:

Location: Southern Asia lies between 24 and 36.75 northern latitude and between 61 and 7505 eastern longitude.
Area: 7, 96000 sq.km.
Towards north apart from the state of Kashmir is china. It shares 400 km long boarder with china.
Towards north Tajikistan though no boarder but a narrow strip as Wahkhan strip separate the two.
Towards east, Punjab-Rajasthan boarders which is 1650 km long
Towards west, Afghanistan border of 2250 km.
Towards south, Arabian sea / Indian Ocean. Coastal belt is about 700 km.
Pakistan significance is enhanced as it lies near the Persian Gulf where 65% of the world’s oil is produced.

3- STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE:

a) Proximity of great powers:

Pakistan is located at the junction of great powers. In its neighbor’s one world power Russia and the other emerging power china lies. Any alliance among world powers enhances its significance. This factor has been utilized by Pakistan after 9/11. Security and business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line role in the war against terrorism. Apart from this US interest in the region to contain the growing china, nuclear Iran, terrorist Afghanistan and to benefit from the market of India. Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with preemption policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran’s nuclear program, India’s geopolitical muscles (new strategic deal with US) to gain hegemony and to counter the rise of china. Which has earned all the qualities to change unipolar world into bipolar world? In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved especially after al-Qeada operations. The American think tank has repeatedly accepted that war against terrorism could never be won without the help of Pakistan. Pakistan has rigorously fought and an ongoing operation in Waziristan is also targeting the suspected Taliban in the bordering area.

b) Gateway to central Asia-(oil and energy game):

Central Asia is the center stage of new Great games. Western quest for resources- oil and energy resources in the central Asia. After USSR decline, new quest started which is as manifested by politics of oil. Pakistan is located very close to the oil rich Middle Eastern countries. The belt started from Iran and extended to Saudi Arabia. Thus, Pakistan can influence shipment of oil. Iran is struggling to export its surplus gas and oil to eastern countries, Qatar, Pakistan and Turkmenistan pipeline projects highlight the position.

In the energy scarce world, Pakistan is located in the hub of energy rich countries i-e Iran and Afghanistan: both are energy abundant while India and China are lacking. China finds way to Indian Ocean and Arabian sea through Karakoram highway,

c) Significance as a Transit economy:

Pakistan has the potential to develop transit economy on account is its strategic location, land locked Afghanistan now at the phase of reconstruction finds its ways through Pakistan. China with its fastest economy growth rate of 9% us developing southern provinces because its own part is 4500 km away from Sinkiang but Gwadar is 2500 km away. Moreover, Pakistan offers central Asian regions the shortest route of 2600 km as compared to Iran 4500 km or turkey 5000 km. Gwadar port with its deep waters attracts the trade ships of China, CAR and south east Asian countries., also the coastal belt of Balochistan can provide outlet to china’s western provinces to have access to middles eastern markets with the development of coastal highways and motorways.

d) Important link in the chain of Muslim countries:

If we look at the map of Muslim countries, Pakistan occupies a central location. Towards west of Iran, china extends to North Africa. Thus it can actively participate in the activities of Muslim world-economic development, transport of resources and above all combat terrorism.

e) Only Muslim country with nuclear capability:

In the region Pakistan is the only Muslim country having nuclear capability which has great influence on the political, socio-economic activities in the region and the maintenance of status quo in the region.
f) China’s link to the Middle East:

Pakistan is the only direct and shortest link between China and the Middle East. Imagine the impact of China on the Middle East, if this link is fully functional. Gwadar Port located in proximity of Arabian Gulf and Central Asian Republics provide it unique opportunity to serve both. Pakistan needs to capitalize on them through better diplomatic ties with Arab states and CARs. It is therefore anticipated that oil reserves and other resources of CARs would gradually become the focus of world attention in coming years. However, in case of “exports to and from CARs” a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is must. The port will also help in promoting trade with Gulf States possessing 63% of world’s oil reserves and will prove instrumental in promoting trans-shipment essentially of containerized cargo besides unlocking the development potential for hinterland. The most important factor that makes Gwadar Port strategically unique is the location with respect to other major ports in the region, which are all located on the other side ofthe sea. Gwadar port being towards north can easily provide services and facilities to CARs, Afghanistan and China.

g) Reduce Indian hegemony in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean:

India has a shared interests with the U.S. and NATO in the subjection of Pakistan. Pakistan would cease to be a client state of the U.S. or a manageable state, because of a likely revolution that would occur in the scenario of a broader war in the Middle East against Iran or a far larger Eurasian war involving China and Russia. Nuclear weapons in the hands of such a revolutionary government in Islamabad would be a threat to Indian national security, NATO operations in Afghanistan, and Israel. It is in the shared interests of the U.S., NATO, Israel, and India to neutralize such a strategic and tactical threat from emerging in Pakistan. This is why NATO has underpinned the objective of balkanizing Pakistan and why the U.S. has talked about taking over Pakistani nuclear facilities via the U.S. military. The subjection of Pakistan is also territorially and militarily to the advantage of New Delhi, because it would eliminate a rival and allow India to gain territory that in the view of many Indians was lost with the partition of India in 1947.

4- CONCLUSION / ANALYSIS:

Geo strategic means the importance of a country or a region as by virtue of its geographical location. Stephen Cohn describes this importance “while history has been unkind with Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit.”

Pakistan is a junction of south Asia, west Asia and central Asia; a way from resource efficient countries to resource deficient countries. The world is facing energy crises and terrorism. Pakistan is a route for transportation and a front line state against terrorism. Moreover Pakistan has been traditionally ally of emerging economic giant; china. So in the vague of any change in world politics, Pakistan’s geo-strategic significance would further be enhanced.

 

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Pakistan to become the new ‘major terror ground’ in just six months

Pakistan to become the new ‘major terror ground’ in just six months

William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.

Published time: August 09, 2013 09:51

 

 
 
Developing Pakistan-China ties which can drastically change the economic map of the region are threatened by Pakistani separatism, which might suddenly transform into another ‘terror ground.’
As Washington continues sending its development assistance aid in the form of drones to bomb civilians illegally inside Pakistan’s borders, allegedly to go after Taliban fighters, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently completed a trip to Beijing where he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, his first foreign visit after the May elections. The Pakistani Federal Cabinet subsequently approved the start of negotiations and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on developing a “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” long-term plan, and an action plan between the development ministries of the two countries.
The core of the new agreements between China and neighboring Pakistan calls for accelerated development of a 2,000-km trade infrastructure corridor linking Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast to Kashgar, the westernmost city in China’s Xingjiang province. Pakistan has offered China a ‘trade and energy corridor’ via Gwadar, linked to inland roads. The plan would import oil from the Middle East, to refineries at Gwadar and sent on to China via roads, pipelines or railway
 
A view of the Beijing-funded "megaport" of Gwadar, in southwestern Pakistan (AFP Photo)

A view of the Beijing-funded “megaport” of Gwadar, in southwestern Pakistan (AFP Photo)
 
Xinjiang is also the heart of China’s known oil resources and a transit area for major oil and gas pipelines. The development will cost billions of euros, which China reportedly has now pledged in the form of ‘soft loans’. The railway infrastructure will provide crucial links for transporting oil and gas from the Persian Gulf and minerals and food from Africa will be the heart of the newproject.http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61094.shtm
However, in six months this area will “suddenly” become a major “terror ground” that conveniently will disrupt the rail infrastructure link. It reminds me of the German Berlin-Baghdad Rail link to the Ottoman Empire before WWI that was the major cause for Britain to ally with Czarist Russia and France in the Triple Entente that became WWI in 1914.

Asian-gulf economic powerhouse?

China’s needs for energy resources, food and minerals from the Gulf and Africa have boosted trade between the regions in the recent years. China’s trade with the UAE alone has grown 15-fold since 2000 to reach $37 billion. It is expected to reach $100 billion by 2015. Some 2,500 Chinese firms have offices in Dubai. China’s largest bank ICBC and the Bank of China also have branches in the Gulf sheikhdom where they are beginning to transact bilateral trade in Chinese renminbi rather than dollars.
The Chinese are currently upgrading some 600 kilometers of the China-Pakistan highway. The KKH was built in 1986 from Kashgar through Pakistan and the upgrade will make it suitable for heavy container traffic and linking it to Gwadar Port. China and Pakistan are also working to link Gwadar port and Xinjiang through a new Chinese-financed railway network. This will turn Gwadar Port and the KKH into a trade corridor for China and other Central Asians countries and create in Gwadar an energy, transport, and industrial hub providing direct and economical access to the Arabian Sea for both China and resource rich Central Asian states. 
Gwadar is the world’s largest deep sea port. It lies in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan in the warm water Arabian Sea. The design and construction of the final stages of the port, which began in 2002, is being carried out in collaboration with China. It has an immense geostrategic importance at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and is a likely substitute for the Port of Dubai. In 2011 Pakistan invited China to build a Naval base at Gwadar, something the Pentagon is eyeing very closely. China has yet to respond on that.  
It will generate billions of dollars in revenue for Pakistan and likely create about two million jobs.
Pakistan and China have signed agreements to help energy starved Pakistan to utilize the hydro-electric potential offered by the area by constructing the Diamer-Bhasha and Bunji dams.
China also wants to import gas from Iran by joining the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline that will pass through Gilgit Baltistan on the Pakistan border to Xinjiang in China.
Also Pakistan and China have signed agreements to develop entirely new industrial cities in various parts of Pakistan along the route of the rail link, including at Gwadar.
Close to the Straits of Hormuz, Gwadar has the potential to become the gateway to Central Asia and China. It’s at the junction of the world’s three most important strategic and economic regions–Middle East, South Asia and Central Asian states—giving it the potential, barring new wars, to generate billions in annual transit trade. As part of a shift in policy, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have recently been eagerly pursuing trade and economic links with China. 
On January 30 this year, Pakistan turned over the management and operation of the Gwadar Port Authority to a Chinese company at the same time the Pakistan government signed  up to the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, tying Pakistan, Iran and China more closely, something that caused pain in Washington.
The availability of a major alterative trade route that cuts distance and time from the present long and slow 8000 km route by ship from the Persian Gulf through the Malacca Strait to the eastern seaboard of China will give both the Gulf states, as well as parts of Africa where China is very active, and Asia, huge economic benefits.  

Enter Baluchistan ‘Separatism’

Conveniently for Washington, which has no interest in fostering greater Chinese independence of energy supply, in recent months a growing militant separatist movement has erupted on the scene in Baluchistan, the Pakistan province where Gwadar is located. 
In 2006 the US Armed Forces Journal published an article by Colonel Ralph Peters titled Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. In the piece, which appears to bear uncanny relevance to subsequent Pentagon and US State Department policy in the region, Peters calls for the  creation of aFree Baluchistan
His call was echoed by US Pakistan “expert” Selig Harrison, who reportedly enjoys strong ties to the CIA. In 2006 after Peters published his sensational article Harrison wrote in Le Monde Diplomatique and the New York Times that a Free Baluchistan movement was “simmering.”  The call by Peters and Harrison for a Free Baluchistan began four years after China began building the first phase of the Gwadar Port. 
On June 15 this year, terror attacks including a suicide bombing of a bus filled with students and a gunfight in the city that left two dozen dead, hit the Baluchistan provincial capital of Quetta. 
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a militant separatist group, claimed responsibility. The BLA wasn’t acting alone. As the injured students were being rushed to hospital, they ran into an ambush by the ‘Pakistani Taliban’Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ)
The BLA has been involved in attacks on government oil fields and gas pipelines. The Pakistan government accuses India of being behind the BLA. India recently has been moving closer to the US and to Japan in a military alliance that has a distinct anti-China bent.
Further, on July 29, jihadist militants armed with rockets and heavy weapons launched a concerted assault on a major prison in Dera Ismail Khan, close to the South Waziristan tribal agency in northwestern Pakistan, along the route of the rail-highway-pipelines from Gwadar to Xinjiang, freeing an estimated 250 militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Terror attacks in Xinjiang too

Xinjiang has recently suffered from new rioting by separatist Muslim Uyghurs. In late June in Xinjiang, home to some 10 million Uyghurs, two terror attacks killed 35 people days ahead of the fourth anniversary of the July 5, 2009 riot in the capital Urumqi that left 197 people dead.
The Jihadist Uyghur terrorists apparently are being recruited in Turkey by an Uyghur independence organization, sent to Syria for combat experience and, if they survive, sent back to Xinjiang to carry out terror deeds there.
China’s official daily, Global Times, reported in early July that a Muslim Uyghur from Xinjiang, Memeti Alili was arrested in Xinjiang during the new wave of terrorist acts and riots.
The Chinese daily reported that the 23-year-old Alili confessed to police that he had been recruited as a student in Istanbul by something called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Aili was arrested when returning to Xinjiang to complete his mission to “carry out violent attack and improve fighting skills.” He confessed that he had been assigned to return by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). ETIM is a terrorist group that aims to create an Islamist state in Xinjiang, which works alongside the East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA), an Istanbul-based exile group. 
 
This picture taken on August 5, 2013 shows the shell of a burnt out bus being towed by a rescue vehicle along a street in Urumqi in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (AFP Photo)

This picture taken on August 5, 2013 shows the shell of a burnt out bus being towed by a rescue vehicle along a street in Urumqi in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (AFP Photo)
 
Muslim Uyghur youth are being recruited to go to Istanbul to “study”, then recruited by ETIM and ETESA to fight as Jihadists in Syria with Al Qaeda and other jihad groups, according to China’s anti-terrorism authority. If they survive the Syrian battlefield training, the Uyghur jihadists are recycled back to Xinjiang in China, the end-point of the new Gwadar to China rail and road infrastructure “land bridge.”
The headquarters of ETESA, located in Istanbul include research, media, social affairs, education and women’s affairs departments. It aims to “educate and train Muslims” in Xinjiang and “set them free” by forming a Muslim state, according to a Chinese official.  In 2004, in Washington Anwar Yusuf Turani established the East Turkistan Government in Exile. Washington seemed not to object, though many other countries did, including China.
The Istanbul link of ETIM and ETESA is no accident. Istanbul’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly backed the Uyghur separatists in 2009 during the riots, calling them fellow Turkic peoples.
Meanwhile, as if to further underscore how vulnerable any China-Pakistani energy and trade corridor from Gwadar to Xinjiang would be, on the eve of US Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Islamabad to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister just after the China deal of Pakistan, the US made several drone attacks inside Pakistan in the North Waziristan tribal region. They killed at least six people. It was the fourth US drone strike since Sharif was re-elected as Prime Minister in June, all in the crucial North Waziristan en route to Xinjiang. Despite Pakistan’s strong protests Washington refuses to halt the CIA-run drone attacks
With the CIA drone attacks, the Baluchistan attacks of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Baloch Liberation Army, as well as Jihadists being sent into Xinjiang from Turkey and Syria, we can expect unrest to increase in Baluchistan province and upwards to Xinjiang as the huge China-Pakistan infrastructure plans materialize in coming months.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
 

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