Articles Regarding Pakistan

The nuclear and missile race: 01 Feb, 2017 "The Express Tribune"

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has a different personality and background and his approach towards Pakistan also varies from his predecessors. Unlike Hamid Karzai and Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ghani has never been to Pakistan as a refugee. Widely known as a 'Western Afghan', he is an uncorrupt, well-educated and progressive leader.

Unlike Karzai's religious and tribal backgrounds, Ghani was raised ina highly secular environment. he proved his mettle as an administrator, organiser and manager while working in the World Bank, leading the finance ministry of Afghanistan and heading Kabul University.However, as president, Ghani appears to be ineffective and has been ubnable to win on the political front.


International conversation and Kashmir: 01 Feb, 2017 "Daily Times"

International treaties and agreements formulated under the supervision and support of United Nations are the conventions which are considered to be the primary actors in international law. They might be of different natures including general conventions and specific conventions with various kinds including bilateral conventions and multilateral conventions. Conventions are to be ratified for the protection of social, political, civil and various other rights of people. These conventions are required to be respected by all the nation-states, particularly all the states who have ratified the conventions.

This article is an attempt to analyse the violations and disrespect of these conventions by India in Kashmir. International peace is closely associated with the behaviour of states towards the masses. After World War-II, the establishment of United Nations and the introduction of an International law which was set forth by the various conventions was the robust attempt to avoid the further catastrophe among the states and to discourage the malpractice of abuse of human rights. For that matter, international conventions are deemed to be a guaranty with the signature and support of several states to ensure the international peace.

The environment of South Asia has been strained from the very beginning due to disregard of the conventions by India in Kashmir. India has consistently been violating the spirit of various conventionsby demonstrating the brutality and kerbing the independence movement in Kashmir despite the fact that India has ratified the conventions in United Nations. Armed forces of India kept on the course of atrocities despite the series of condemnation from across the world.

The UN Convention “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” was introduced in 1949 and ratified by all the major states including India on November 29, 1949. In this convention, the genocide was declared the crime whereas India is following the course of genocide in a very structured way. According to the Article II and III of this Convention, genocide includes killing members of a group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. However, the57th battalion of Indian army in Kashmir has been violating provisions mentioned above of this convention. According to International Media, unmarked graves of unidentified bodies were discovered in various parts of Kashmir which explicitly implied the structured course of genocide being carried by India armed forces.

After that, the Geneva Convention was introduced and ratified by more than 170 nation-states including India. In article II of Convention, it was reinforced explicitly that this convention will always have an application on all kind of armed conflicts, including internal armed conflict and international armed conflict. Article III of this Convention implies that “All the persons who are not taking an active part in conflict shall be treated humanely including the sick, wounded and detainee.” However, Indian forces continued to carry the summarily executions of detainees. Moreover, certain acts would remain prohibited all the time which include: violence to life and person, in particular, murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; taking of hostages and outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment. India did not ever consider these provisions in the treatment of Kashmiri people. According to Asian Human Rights Watch, thousands of Kashmiri people have been killed and injured by the Indian forces contrary to provisions mentioned above in the last couple of decades.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) introduced in 1966, was considered to be the primary actor in International Human Rights Law. India also ratified this convention. Article 7 of this convention ensures the protection against inhuman treatment and Article 12 of this Convention provides freedom of movement, whereas Kashmiris are witnessing the grave violations of these provisions. In recent uprising, both local and international media reported that the Indian forces are using the pellet guns against Kashmiris which are lethal enough to cause the permanent disruption of the eye-sight of the victim. Freedom of movement is also being suppressed by the law enforcement agencies in Kashmir.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) was also introduced in 1966 and ratified by India. In the article I of this Convention, the right of self-determination is ensured. Whereas, this fundamentalright is also not given to Kashmiris so far despite the fact the United Nations Security Council also has passed the resolution for the self-determination right of Kashmiris. Besides, there are various provisions of various Conventions are being massively violated by the India armed forces. The International community, particularly the states that have ratified these conventions are required to play their role for the respect of conventions so that international law could be exercisedin all its spirit and international peace could last as long as possible.

The nuclear and missile race: 01 Feb, 2017 "The Express Tribune"

Pakistan and India are once again in news for testing their advanced missile capabilities. Pakistan made a qualitative jump in defence technology by testing its first prototype medium-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile. What was unique about it was that it carries multiple warheads and has a maximum range of 2200 km. This will stregthen our nuclear capability, as it will qualitatively improve prospects of survivabilitya crucial element in nuclear deterrence. This is no mean achievement considering that it does make the adversary's defence more problematic and is a forward step in the race to keep pace with India. Especially considering that only US, Russia, China, Britain, France and India posses this technology. But this is an unending race be-cause India tries to match China's nuclear build-up and Beijing has its eyes primarily focused on the US and on Russia. If we go by President Trump's statements during the election campaign that he has an ambitious plan to modernise the nuclear arsenal. And who knows with such uncertainty surrounding President Trump's policies he may well revoke some of the nuclear bedrock treaties and agreements with Russia. more...

The plight of Rohingya Muslims: 15 Dec, 2016 "Daily Times"

Myanmar previously known as ‘Burma’ gained independence in 1948 from British Raj. It is a predominantly a Buddhist country. In the year 1989, the military government officially changed the country’s name from ‘Burma’ to ‘Myanmar’ but still many political parties in the country use its original name ‘Burma’ claiming the military government did have the legitimacy to change the country’s official profile. In a total population of 51 million, around one million Rohingya Muslims make their presence. According to Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law, Rohingya Muslims are not counted among the 135 ethnic minority groups of the country, rendering them a ‘stateless’ community. In a landmark victory in 2015 general elections in Myanmar, the Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi was ambitious to offer citizenship rights to Rohingya Muslims as promised during her election campaign and interviews to the world media, however, after 2015 she has been reluctant to address the issue of Rohingya Muslims.

The Rohingya Muslims are adjudged to be the most persecuted ethnic minority of the world. Most of the Rohingya population lives in Rakhine, one of the poorest province of the country, they are bound to live in ghettos, not allowed to go out of their boundaries without governmental permissions. To get citizenship, ethnic minorities have to prove they have lived in the country for sixty years. The government officials always deny producing such documents that would show the existence of these ethnic minorities in the country longer than the prescribed period required for citizenship. Therefore, the Myanmar authorities believe them to be ‘illegal Bangladeshi immigrants’. Government jobs and high-profile professions like medicine, engineering and law are forbidden fruits for Rohingya community. Over the years, this situation for this hapless community has led them to flee to Thailand, Bangladesh, Philippine, and Malaysia. In 2012, after serious violence erupted against Rohingyas, the President of Myanmar asked the United Nations to relocate Rohingya in other countries saying, “We will take care of our own ethnic nationalities, but Rohingya who came to Burma illegally are not our ethnic nationalities, and we cannot accept them here.” A research document ‘Equal Rights Trust in Partnership with the institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies’ by Mahidol University claims, “This violence, together with the economic and social ostracisation of Muslim and Rohingya communities in Rakhine State, led to the displacement of over 140,000 people into Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Rakhine State. Additionally, there has been a spike in forced migration of Rohingya out of Myanmar, mostly on boats heading for Southeast Asia and beyond.

The exact numbers of Rohingya who have undertaken this journey since 2012 are not known, however, it is estimated that from June 2011 to May 2012 approximately 9,000 people have travelled in this way; from June 2012 to May 2013, this number is believed to have risen to over 31,000 and it is estimated that during this sailing season, since June 2013, at least 54,000 have undertaken the journey. Between June 2012 and May 2014, as many as 2,000 Rohingya are believed to have gone missing at sea. Since 2012, grave concerns have been raised regarding the desperate humanitarian situation for Rohingya and Muslim communities in Myanmar, both within the IDP camps and in their home communities” Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Laos and China. Thailand remains the most attractive destination for persecuted ethnic minorities as well as economic migrants. When these ill-fated Rohingyas try to enter to Thailand via sea waters, they are pushed back by the Royal Thai Naval Forces.

In 2009, the Thai forces were bitterly criticised over their actions against struggling Rohingyas. Bangladesh being the second best choice and Rohingyas ancestral place is even more resistant to them. The Bangladeshi forces have sealed their border with Myanmar fortifying it with the deployment of the Border Guards and Coastguards forces. The international community raises questions about the role of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards their intervention but these countries generally do not criticise each other as it is their ‘key principle’. However, in a recent rally against human atrocities in Myanmar, the Malaysian Premier, Haji Najib Razzak deemed Rohingya’s treatment a ‘genocide’. Kufi Anan, the former UN Secretary General recently visited and said that his “committee was deeply concerned by reports of alleged human rights abuses in Rakhine and urged Burmese security forces to act with the law.” Nurul Islam, a UK based Rohingya community leader said that many Rohingya men who had spoken to Kufi Annan were later arrested by Myanmar security forces.

The Rohingyas fleeing persecution tell heartbreaking stories. Syeda Khatun, one of the refugees at the Bangladeshi coast recounting her stories tells that when Burmese soldiers raided her house in October “she was more than five months pregnant and they carried her at gunpoint to a large courtyard in the village where other 30 Rohingya women had already been brought by those soldiers. They separated 15 younger good looking women and took them to some unknown place. She was one of those girls who was raped by them. Not only this but after that violence her husband wanted to abort the child as he was not sure he was the only biological father of that child.” In her words, she said, “My husband said the baby is impure and should be aborted,” she said. “I resisted the idea of the abortion from the beginning. In Bangladesh, some people counselled my husband that only he is the real father of my baby. But he is firm on his belief that the baby has been fathered by many, including him ... and he has distanced himself from me.” Only during the months of October and November, at least 100 women were raped and many were killed, around 40 Rohingya Muslims have been burnt alive and some 800 houses have been torched. Another female victim of Buddhist soldiers, Noor Ayesha narrates her story, “A group of about 20 soldiers appeared in front of my house. They ordered all of us to come out in the courtyard. They separated five of our children and forced them into one of our rooms and put on the latch from outside. Then they fired a ‘gun-bomb’ on that room and set it on fire. Five of my children were burnt to death by the soldiers. They killed my two daughters after raping them. They also killed my husband and raped me.”

Since 2012, Rohingya have been facing state-sponsored persecution and have been denied healthcare, livelihood, food, and freedom of movement. There is a new Rohingya genocidal wave, which unfortunately is believed to take control over the country if Rohingya’s are accepted as legitimate citizens of the state. This is a self-imposed fear or the reality of the time as Buddhism is being delimited to certain geographical regions as compared to Islam and Christianity. After her victory, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the ruling National League for Democracy and daughter of Aung San, the father of the modern day Myanmar nation promised equal rights. In her recent visits to Singapore, she avoided questions about Rohingya community saying, “I am not saying there are no difficulties, but it helps if people recognise the difficulty and are more focused on resolving these difficulties rather than exaggerating them so that everything seems worse that it really is.”

Though predominantly Myanmar may or may not give equal rights to Rohingya but it is the responsibility of all neighbouring countries and countries of human rights champions to take a stand for the state persecuted Muslim community of Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi was being considered the second liberator of the country after her father’s struggle for independence but it seems that all her thoughts and promises were of a volatile nature. Depressed and destitute community is finding no hope in the modern era of Aung San Suu Kyi. It is the need of the hour that at least Muslim countries should take a stand for Rohingya Muslims, who are being persecuted every minute in their motherland. In recent weeks, around 10,000, Rohingyas, flown to Bangladesh in the quest to find safety and refuge. Pakistan being the second biggest Islamic nation on the earth has potential to stir up the international mind to sort out Rohingya’s issue amicably.

Heart of Asia conference: dot-eats-dog: 15 Dec, 2016 "Daily Times"

The frustrated and immature statements of the Afghan and Indian leaders in the Heart of Asia Conference in New Delhi raised important questions about the agenda behind the intentions of both the states in introducing a new concept of countering terrorism vis-a-vis neighbouring states in South Asia. The provoking and misleading statements issued by President Ghani and Mr Modi enraged the citizens of their own states that such statements may further intensify the tensions. There are plenty of statements and debates in social media asking whether India has hired the Ghani administration to be part of its chorus in promoting terrorism and instability in South Asia, or why India uses a poor and a war-torn state as a training ground for its sponsored terrorism in South Asia. Some analysts in Kabul believe that India used the Heart of Asia Conference as a political platform to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state and tight the rope of US containment of China in South and Central Asia.

Afghan President opened the Heart of Asia Conference with inflammatory and derogatory remarks against Pakistan and snubbed the $500 million development aid from the country, saying that amount can be spent better on controlling extremism and radicalization in Pakistan. “I engaged Pakistan, I went to GHQ, met the military leadership, because each country has their own distinct place for institutions. My message was that there was a window. It could be broadened to a door or a corridor, or it could shut. We did everything to ensure peace with Pakistan. 2015 and 2016 have been extremely difficult years, and the violence that has been inflicted on our people needs to be registered. To be quiet when people are dying is not acceptable. I am an elected political leader; I need to reflect my people’s sentiment. Because the question of terrorism is not just a threat to us but Pakistan and the Asian region, and hence the need for a public statement,” said President Ghani.

Having addressed to the inaugural function of the conference, Mr Modi said the world should collectively demonstrate against terrorism in South Asia. “Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorism and their masters,” he added. Mr Modi said India is committed to a durable peace in Afghanistan and announced plans to connect India and Afghanistan via air links, as well as discussed the possibility of trilateral cooperation over the Chahbahar port. Pakistan reacted immediately to Mr Ghani’s statement saying, “allegations against the country do not work, but instead concentration on undermining terrorism should be positive.” Mr Sartaj Aziz said that Mr Ghani was siding with India in saying what he did in a country “which is hostile to Pakistan.” However, a number of Afghan analysts supported President Ghani’s statement and said any further efforts to strengthen relations with Pakistan would not be effective. The results of the conference were no doubt unfruitful, and declaring a specific country for terrorism sponsorship that lost more than 60,000 civilian and military personnel during the last 15 years war on so-called terrorism in Afghanistan did not receive basic support from the participant states. Political commentators also termed the conference as a political platform to score points that will neither benefit Afghanistan nor the region.

On the international level, major powers like China and Russia rejected this concept of counter-terrorism. Russia said it was wrong to criticise Pakistan. Special Representative of the Russian President, Mr Zameer Kabulove said that the statement of Pakistan’s envoy at the conference was friendly and constructive. Experts understand that this conference was, in fact, the ‘Heart of India’ conference, in which Mr Modi and his Afghan partner tried to paint a transmogrified picture of Pakistan in the region. However, India’s inconsistent policy against its neighbours can be judged from the fact that the country wants peace in the region, demands the elimination of terrorism to stabilise Afghanistan on the one hand, but uses Afghanistan as a breeding ground for terrorism against Pakistan and Afghanistan on the other. India trains the ISIS and TTP terrorist groups to carry out suicide attacks against the civilian population in Afghanistan. The above-mentioned all statements of the Indian and Afghan leaders may further cause an escalation of tensions between India, Afghanistan and Pakistan as both Mr Modi and President Ghani have set out on a dangerous mission against the wishes of their own people. In a frustrated mood, Mr Modi’s recent statement about the human rights violation in Baluchistan did not receive particular support he expected in Sharam El Shiekh, Egypt, but one thing is clear that world leaders understand that India is making things worse in South Asia as the country continues to support the ISIS, TTP, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), and other sectarian terrorist organization in Balochistan.

Last week, Afghan politicians and civil society recently expressed deep concern on the statement of their country’s illegitimate president (whose term had ended long ago) in the Heart of Asia Conference. They criticised Mr Ghani’s statement against a country that hosted and still hosts 3 million Afghan refugees on its soil. They warned that such a statement from an illegitimate president does not represent the Afghan nation. On the question of legitimacy, Afghan parliamentarian and politicians said that Mr Ghani’s government is illegal as he has not touched a single article of the Constitution of an amendment to create the post of chief executive. Therefore, his recent statements against a neighbouring state represent his personality alone, not the whole nation. However, President Ghani, while assuming office, took his oath according to Article 63 of the Constitution, but he neither supervised the implementation of the Constitution nor tried to provide food, economic and physical security to the people of Afghanistan, therefore, losing his government’s legitimacy. The potential gains of the Taliban in Helmand and ISIS in Jalalabad, Kunar and Nuristan, the capture of Kunduz, Sangin and parts of Badakhshan province, kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking, and the emergence of a new anti-Pakistan Taliban group in Paktika province, have all raised serious questions over the legitimacy of the unity government.

Moreover, Mr Ghani’s special representative for reforms and good governance, Mr Ahmad Zia Massoud recently criticised the policies of the Unity Government on nepotism, drug trafficking, and so called nationalism. Mr Massound said corruption in three branches of the government prevented good governance from being institutionalised in the country. Mr Massoud is not the only partner of the Ashraf Ghani government criticising the wrongly designed policies, and the mission Mr Ghani has set to isolate Afghanistan on an international level; there are dozens of Afghan government officials and politicians who view the unwise policies of the Unity Government against the interests of their country. Mr Ghani and his partner war criminals are following the policy of support and sponsoring one terrorist group against another across the country. They support ISIS against the Taliban group, and a particular Taliban group against another Taliban groups, which causes fatalities, displacement of thousands of poor civilians and loss of lives.

Lesson from Sri Lanka: 15 Dec, 2016 "The News"

Our acquaintance with Sri Lanka has more to do with cricket than its history or geography. But recently, two avenues of further commonality have emerged in unexpected ways.

The first common feature arises in the form of Si Lanka's total debt, especially its external one. As usual, the government's figures tend to be on the lower side while independent estimates are on the higher side. The second common feature comes in the form of Sri lanka's dream to establish a port like Gwadar and an arrangment like the CPEC with the help of China. Its present predicament, however, offers an interesting insight into public policy and economic management.

Sri Lanka's external debt, as per independent reports, is around $58 billion, and its debt payments are more than 90 percent of its total income from taxes. A major part of this colossal debt can be attributed toSri Lanka's dream of moving forward through large infrastructure investments, one of which is Hambantota. Between 2008 and 2014, its domestic debt tripled and foreign debt doubled. more...

Heartburn of Asia: 15 Dec, 2016 "The Nation"

After his anti-Pakistan antics at the Goa BRICS summit, what Modi did at Amritsar should have come as no surprise; using a cooperative multilateral forum to demonise Pakistan as the mother and father of terrorism. That this time Modi was whole-heartedly assisted in his Pakistan-bashing by the puppet of American occupation in Afghanistan, its so-called president Ghani, should come as no surprise either. Neither should our government’s tame behaviour. And that is the worst part.

Should we be surprised that Sartaj Aziz meekly accepted the punches as if his hands were tied up behind his back? Did we expect anything else from the Nawaz government? Its timid responses to Modi’s belligerence fit an obvious pattern. So, the first question to ask is: If we had decided to attend the so-called Heart of Asia conference, why did we go unprepared? Why did we go with no homework and all our guards down as if we were visiting our love-filled nani’s house?

Of course, in this day and age, we can’t pretend not to know what’s been going on in our region and the globe of late. Is the Nawaz government oblivious of the US-India-Afghanistan nexus out to scuttle Pak-China cooperation for regional peace and integration? Or is it a willing partner in the disruptive crusade of this US-led unholy triad, this trilateral heartburn of Asia?

Now, when Modi has turned India into a monster, is certainly no time to have a soft spot for our mini-me big brother neighbour. Growing up under the dark shadow of General Zia’s pseudo-Islamic dictatorship, and the US-engineered Saudi-sponsored Afghan jihad that came with it, one had reason to view India favourably. I’d never actually been there but, back in those days, India appeared to be a positive place across the border where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians lived together peacefully. It was a country that spoke for Palestine.

When we were selling ourselves for peanuts in the great imperial game; poisoning our society with sectarian extremism and Islamic militancy, intolerance and imposed bigotry; when we were pawning our future following a soulless monster and doing his violent bidding, spawning terrorists to export them to Afghanistan under the CIA-watch; back in those days, India seemed so much more dignified in its independence and confident in its cultural roots, tolerant and progressive.

Modi’s India is another country. Under his demonic Hindutva leadership, India is making the same mistakes we made years ago. Thanks to the leadership of General Raheel, and no thanks to the Nawaz government, we have changed that suicidal US-led trajectory. By distancing ourselves from the US and its two-faced war-on-terror project, we have managed to bring terrorism under control and created room for the constructive Pak-China win-win cooperation to bloom.

Modi’s India is a pathetic poodle learning cheap tricks to become the favourite lapdog of Uncle Sam, waging overt and covert wars on its neighbours and the future of over 1 billion Indian citizens to please his corrupt corporate masters. Modi’s India is a close friend of the rogue state of Israel, exchanging notes on suppressing freedom struggles in Kashmir and Palestine with techniques of 21st century barbarism.

Muslim, Dalit and Christian minorities are being persecuted by bigoted Hindutva brigades across the length and breadth of India, as are Indian citizens who refuse to ride Modi’s bandwagon. The ideals of a non-aligned, secular, socialistic and democratic India are being quickly replaced with US-subservience, religious intolerance, predatory capitalism and fascism.

Instead of taking up its natural place as an important player in the win-win scheme of Eurasian integration being advanced by the China-Russia nexus, India has decided to join the unipolar US cabal for disrupting the multipolar dream. Modi’s India would rather pair up with the puppet Afghan government and play the US-engineered two-faced game of terror in the region. So where does this US-India-Afghanistan nexus, this heartburn of Asia, wish to take us?

It should be clear by now to all and sundry that the duplicitous war-on-terror games of Uncle Sam are actually designed to spawn and spread terrorism, using shape-shifting bands of mercenary militants as free-floating agents of violence and chaos, the ever-changing barbaric brands being herded across borders under ever-new flags and banners to promote the geo-political ambitions of the US-led empire for absolute hegemony and the unquenchable greed of its big-money bosses.

Riding on the coat-tails of the US-led empire, and wedded many times over to US-controlled interests, can we expect Nawaz Sharif, our king-like prime minister who is also our foreign minister, to independently assert the interests of Pakistan? Don’t we see how the mafia of power-elite he heads is little more than an extension of imperial power and its corrupt networks of finance and development?

Have you ever wondered why our oh-so-democratic government defers to the diktat of the World Bank and the IMF as if they were commandments from God? Why the government and its slave-like bureaucracy love loans and grants wherever they come from? Why they don’t mind the INGOs and their partners spreading the chaos of neo-liberalism like new-age missionaries on one hand and Arab monarchies spreading fanaticism and mischief in the name of Islam on the other?

It would be naïve to expect that a government with its roots embedded so deeply in the imperial structure could dare to imagine a future outside it. Let’s face it; the so-called democratic Nawaz government is structurally configured to go along with the imperial script and so is the bulk of our parliamentary power-elite. Let’s face it; that’s where the heart of our democracy lies.

Unfortunately, rather than watching out for the interests of the state and citizens of Pakistan, our government is more worried about pleasing an assortment of imperial masters; from the US President-elect Trump to Qatari and Saudi princes to Modi. So, had Nawaz Sharif sent Sartaj Aziz to Amritsar for Pakistan to be humiliated as per the imperial script? Is our government insidiously strengthening the hostile imperial narrative against Pakistan instead of defending us from this poisonous onslaught that is clearly intended to literally kill us?

Act before it's too late: 15 Dec, 2016 "Business Recorder"

When last month a mysterious smog engulfed the plains of Punjab on both sides of the Pak-India border, all the way down to New Delhi, and people complained of eye irritation and respiratory problems no one seemed to know what the cause might be. Experts later explained that high levels of air pollution and delayed onset of winter (due to changing weather patterns) had converged to trap pollutants in the lower atmosphere. 

What exactly were the pollution levels no one seemed to know because the relevant department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), didn't have much information to offer. A newspaper report quoting people familiar with the background said the EPA had not bothered either to make its own labs functional or renew collaborative licenses with private labs, with the result that the levels of pollution and its sources could not be determined to formulate a proper response. That got the EPA active and claim its equipment was in perfect working order and regularly taking readings. In that case it should have been regularly putting the findings on its website for all interested to see. The three-day readings for November 2-4 the EPA, made available amid growing public concern, showed concentration of toxic substances many, many times higher than safe limits. 

One of the immediate sources of pollution identified both in Lahore and Delhi was the burning of rice crop stubble by farmers. That though is only one and seasonal issue, which can be easily controlled. The farmers need to be advised to use the traditional method of ploughing out crop remnants instead of burning them. The more serious problem is industrial and vehicular pollution. The export-oriented industries, under buyers' conditions, do follow the international pollution control standards. But those catering to the local market flout all rules with impunity. In fact, during smog it transpired that to deal with energy shortages some commercial concerns had taken to burning used tyres as fuel. Emissions from tyre burning, say experts, contain various carcinogens and cause cancer and a wide range of other health problems, including irritation of skin and eyes (a common public experience during the smog) and affect respiratory and nervous systems as well as mucous membranes. 

The government ordered a ban on the activity, but it is not known if any follow-up action was taken to protect the people from this health hazard on a permanent basis. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also set up a committee to determine the sources of smog and suggest both short- and long-term measures to counter the menace. So far, the emphasis has been on school closures to protect children from noxious haze and issuance of advisories by the health and traffic departments, and of course clearance of rice fields. It remains to be seen if any medium and longer term measures are in the works. 

A significant source of vehicular pollution is the low quality of fuel. It is worth noting that last July no less a person than Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi publically stated that local refineries had not upgraded their diesel refining plants to international standards. Later, he told a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee that the standard of petrol used in Pakistan is of very low quality; other than Pakistan the only country using this quality gasoline is Somalia. And that the refineries needed to switch over from RON 87(Research Octane Number) to the higher grade RON 92 premium motor gasoline, which not only will improve engine performance but also lower hazardous emissions. That though has not been happening. Owners of refineries remain unwilling to invest in modern technology required to produce RON 92 and the government continues to show reluctance to force them to do the needful. 

The governmental tendency to cope with all problems big and small is to manage them on an ad hoc basis rather than to think and plan for the future. Although coal-fired power plants are known to be the key cause of global warming and the worldwide trend is towards greener technologies, this government is building new coal-fired plants - one in the heart of a population centre in Sahiwal. Projects that catch the fancy of the prime minister or Punjab chief ministers are implemented without a care for environmental impact. Trees are known to be the best bet against greenhouse gas emissions. But our already sparse forest cover is decreasing rather than increasing. Illegal logging goes on unchecked. If that is not bad enough, forestlands can be taken over for whatever purposes. A case in point is Karachi's mangrove forests a part of which has been destroyed to pave the way for industrial projects. In Lahore too, trees are being mercilessly uprooted for needless widening of roads and construction of high profile transportation projects that are to cater only to a small segment of the city's population. 

Sad as it is, our ruling elites continue to ignore the stark reality that Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Environmental scientists have long been warning of an impending melting of the Himalayan glaciers, leading to alternating cycles of floods and droughts to cause major disruptions in this country's agrarian economy and the living styles of its people. Already the process has started to unfold with recurring floods and fewer rains. The smog in Punjab's plains is a warning of what uncontrolled pollution and the changing weather patterns hold for all of Pakistan. 

What this government thinks of environmental challenges is plain from the fact that it has not bothered even to appoint a full-time climate change minister. The law minister holds that portfolio as an additional charge. One can only hope our policy makers, both at the Centre and in the provinces, will open their eyes to the looming threat and adopt well thought-out sustainable strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change before it is too late. 

Tackling rising public debt: 09 Dec, 2016 "The News"

A recent report that the Government is considering borrowinh $ 500 million from the International market through issuance of Sukuk Bonds against Islamabad – Lahore Motorway to finance the Federal budget is a grave pointer to the present state of national economy. Pakistan’s public debt is increasing Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 billion on average each year. Pakistan’s external debt has reached 73 billion & may reach $ 87.3 billion by the end of 2016-17.

There is no doubt that the present Government has made earnest efforts to improve the national economy by enlarging the tax base and enhancing tax revenues. The stock market has greatly improved. Without drastic economic reforms, however and with a resolve to implement the same, the rising public debt situation would keep on posing serious threats to the national economy. Sizeable chunk of the national budget goes to debt servicing each year.

It is highly imperative to put the national economy on a high economic growth path in real terms based on actual and advanced productivity trajectory in each sector of the national economy. The following parameters will have to be addressed through massive reforms coupled with short term and long term action plans free of “babu culture” and with strong political will at the top to implement them.

These factors alone can generate real wealth for the national economy to pay off the current public debt liabilities in a few years and make Pakistan economically self reliant in the very near future.

Agricultural and industrial productivity growth with high value addition is the most vital need to add national wealth. Fast track GDP growth strategies and implementation plans are sine qua non to high growth targets achievements. In this connection, the roles of agricultural and industrial productivity indices are very vital. Presently these parameters are very low in our national economy. This requires necessary reforms package and pragmatic policies to enhance productivity levels in agriculture and industry. The present National Productivity Organisation needs to be strengthened and reorganised professionally. Cost of production needs to be cut through modern technologies. Innovation and technology upgradation are needed in industries and agriculture based on international models. Research and development plays a massive role in boosting industrial and agricultural productivity. This requires massive reforms, applications and implementation strategies in consultation with independent experts.

Massive Industrialisation: Aggressive industrialisation policies are needed to be launched in the SME sectors and large industries focusing on exports orientation. PML-N Government in the past launched a rural industrialisation program which needs to be relaunched with updated approach. This alone would help achieve high growth targets. It would be advisable to set up public sector companies to ensure fast track implementation of the industrialisation programs based on simplified procedures and updated methodologies.

Corruption: Corruption eats away a sizeable chunk of our national resources and adversely effect public welfare policies through redtapism. It can be checked through reforms and by using intelligence agencies as well. However honest and good political leadership, efficient accountability frame work and effective parliamentary system alone can minimise corruption.

Taxation: Taxation is only one national income resource and not the only measure to boost national income. Too much taxation breeds inflationary spiral as the heavily taxed sections of the society pass it on to the public at large. Tax base should be enlarged and developed to induce voluntary participation through an effective motivational campaign using media and education.

Administrative Reforms: This is the core area which eats away the effects of all good policies & plans. Bangladesh, on independence, drastically changed the old complex procedures breeding redtapism & corruption. Services Reforms based on results achievements and market orientation, are needed to meet the challenges of masses welfare, accountability and freedom from corruption.

About forty percent of the budget is wasted through redtapism, delayed and costs escalated projects and corruption. This needs drastic reforms.

Agricultural Reforms: Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. On basis of consultation with all stake holders and agricultural experts, comprehensive agriculture reforms policies need to be introduced with the following objectives;

To achieve higher per acre yields.

To improve quality of agricultural products.

To boost exports.

To introduce new crops.

Farmers empowerment & Training.

To strengthen the Agriculture Extension Programs to reach the formers effectively.

Control of Wasteful Expenditure in the Public Sector: A nation gripped by economic crises have to adopt austerity and economical ways to cut wasteful and luxuriant expenses in Government and public sector organisations.

Number of ministries need to be cut & reduced to the minimum. International models of developed democracies need to be followed.

Public Sector Revenues Enhancement – Plugging Leakages: Public Sector revenues including taxes collection and utilities revenues have big leakages thus badly effecting the targets of receivables. In this connection, outsourcing and use of IT, and modern arrangement techniques can help boost revenues. Reform packages in each sector are direly needed.

Intensifying use of Modern Technologies: Technology advancements are fast modifying public sector, industrial and agricultural methodologies worldwide. Information and communication technologies are playing a pivotal role. Resultantly, higher efficiencies, costs reduction and value addition in operations are being achieved. More competitiveness is being attained. Research and development activities are enhanced.

Education and Literacy: High literacy rate and education spread at least upto Higher Secondary levels is key to long term growth and a strong economy. With enhanced economic resources, allocations for education and Public Private Partnership in this sector can also help boost literacy rate. Economically self reliant nations today have high literacy rates.

Exports: Pakistan’s current exports range between 20-30 billions US$. Focus should be shifted more on value-added exports especially for the engineering goods and machinery which has high export potential. Likewise new markets for enhancing exports need to be explored.

The defence items of exports can achieve high export targets. With good planning and efforts, Pakistan can achieve an export target of fifty billion US$ per year in a short time.

Overseas Pakistanis: Overseas Pakistanis remittances are well over fifteen billion US$ per year now. Infact, this alone is sustaining Pak Economy in difficult situations. With good political leadership and a credible system, this can go up. Infact, these remittances can be more productively utilised with proper institutional framework to strength the national economy.

To work out details of the reforms packages mentioned earlier, action plans and implementation strategies, a high level experts group comprising of professionals from the public and private sectors need to be set up the soonest to rid the nation from the ongoing debt trap and save the country from disastrous consequences.

 The writer is the Former Adviser Federal Inspection Commission, Government of Pakistan.

Focus should be shifted more on value-added 
exports especially for the engineering goods and machinery which has high export potential.

Beyond diplomatic niceties: 09 Dec, 2016 "The News"

Considering how Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani lambasted Pakistan on foreign soil, you wouldn't imagine that he was the president of a country that does not belong to itself. Since 1979, every ruler in Afghanistan has owed his existence to foreign masters.

Ghani is a forlorn nominee who will fall like a house of cards were the US to walk out, leaving him to himself. He even lacks support of a local warlord group to survive. Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah is at lease supported by a faction. Ghani has no legs to stand on in the position that he holds.

A country that owes its economy to a cotinuing war and welcome billions $50 billion from the US alone, $13 billion of which is fed directly in to the Afghan economy every year -- cannot be faulted for misspeaking about a neighbour that is Afghanistan's real lifeline.

The he spoke in India goes to prove that money still buys loyalty in Kabul. He blamed Pakistan for supporting the Taliban which, to him, earned their layalty for Pakistan. but Ghani did not inverse the logic on his own fragile state acting as an agent of his paymasters - Washington and Delhi. more...

Chanllenges for Gen Bajwa: 09 Dec, 2016 "Business Recorder"

With many internal and external challenges confronting the nation, the new COAS was plunged into a testing situation right from the word “go”. Stepping up his drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically during the recent “Heart of Asia” Conference in Amritsar, Indian PM Modi’s venom for Pakistan was seen at its worst; he and Ashraf Ghani took turns taking cheap shots at Pakistan. The Russian delegate upset the Indians by condemning their attacking Pakistan at this forum as both inappropriate and incorrect. 

Unprovoked Indian firing along the LoC has killed or wounded quite a number of Pakistan Army personnel and civilians. One of Gen Bajwa’s first challenges will be exercising measured restraint to go with credible response managing Pakistan’s deteriorating relations with its neighbours. Home to both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, escalating hostility has the potential for nuclear apocalypse. US Vice President-Elect Mike Pence said that Kashmir is a grave issue which President-Elect Trump with his deal-making abilities has the ability and expertise to resolve. With the Indians refusing bi-lateral talks we have toed their line in not asking for a third-party arbitration. Any attempt by Trump to try to solve this seemingly intractable problem will be more than welcome. 

Thousands of suspected terrorists were nabbed in the intelligence-based kinetic operation “Zarb-e-Azb”; it stabilized North Waziristan and almost cleansed it of terrorist elements. With loss of logistical space emasculating their capacity to stage atrocities, the terrorists changed tactics and started hitting soft targets. They now operate from sanctuaries across the border with active support from the Afghan National Directorate of State Intelligence (NDSI). Gen Bajwa must consolidate and force-multiply the gains achieved by Gen Raheel Sharif. 

With influential political elements depending upon 60 or so banned groups in the Punjab for electability in their constituencies, the PML (N) government has failed to act against them as per the National Action Plan (NAP). After the March 27, 2016 Easter Sunday bomb attack in Lahore, Gen Raheel Sharif ordered swift counter-terror operations throughout Punjab but the early enthusiasm soon faded away. Gen Bajwa will have to re-emphasize focus on this threat. Paramilitary Rangers must be given extraordinary powers, or assume them, similar to that in place in Karachi. 

Evenhanded intelligence-based operations in the Punjab caused elements of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) to partially shift their terror operations to Balochistan. The security situation has improved significantly with thousands of militants surrendering in FATA and Swat being brought into the national mainstream. The game-changer China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) faces a considerable threat. Without the Army waging a successful counter-insurgency, there would be no CPEC. Having raised a Special Security Division for protection of Chinese engineers and workers, the Army is believed to be now organizing another special CPEC-specific security division. Many attempts to sabotage CPEC by India’s proxies have been prevented. RAW spy Kulbhushan Yadav, a serving Indian Naval officer, confessed fomenting terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi using a network of ‘facilitators’ using the enabling environment within the country. With Indian NSA Ajit Duval very explicit about India’s overt and covert policy provoking violence in Balochistan, their deploying resources to wage a proxy war to reignite the threat within Pakistan is no secret. The new COAS will have to cope with threats to our vital CPEC project. 

Of the reforms needed in the Army, one must start with Army pensions. As a new pensioner a Lt-Gen gets Rs 121,000 while an old one of the same rank gets 13,500, Maj-Gen gets Rs 113,000 while an old pensioner gets only Rs 12,500, similarly a Brig gets Rs 90,000 compared to Rs 10,000 for the old, a Col Rs 74,000 compared to Rs 8,200, a Lt-Col Rs 70,000 compared to the old getting Rs. 7,700, a Maj Rs 45,000 compared to Rs 5,500. a Captain Rs 25,000 compared to Rs 2,800. In effect a Captain if he retires today gets more than a Lt-Gen who retired 15 years ago! What to talk of morality, is this even logical? In the Civil Service a “new” pensioner Federal Secretary gets Rs 110,000 while the “old” pensioner has to make a living with Rs 12,200. The internationally accepted principle of “one rank one pension” must be followed, all pensioners whether civil or military getting the same scales as in the case of the judiciary. The Federal Ombudsman strongly recommended that pensions paid to the ‘old’ retirees be brought in line with their ‘new’ compatriots. The Federal Shariat Court ruled in October 1992 that “each pensioner was entitled payment of pension equal to others in the same grade and category”. The Government appealed to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court (SC), the Court set aside the Federal Shariat Court order on technical grounds. Fulfilling a moral and human obligation far outweighs the financial outlay. 

Gen Bajwa must address another anomaly that affects the Army’s image. The allotment of plots except for gallantry in battle is wrong. Senior military officers acquiring multiple residential plots set a bad precedent for others to follow. At this rate, in ten years there will be no land left to allocate plots. Unlike the higher ranks, majors do not get multiple plots to pay off their loans to purchase their apartments in the Army Scheme. Forced to commute their pension they still have to take a loan, they remain in debt after retirement. Since an overwhelming mainly retiring officers are majors this affects large percentage of retirees. All military officers should receive a house (or an apartment) commensurate to their rank when they retire. With regular monthly installments deducted from their salaries through their service tenure whatever the balance amount left to be paid should be given as an outright grant on retirement without any commutation of pension. Without being liable having to pay off a loan the retiree should be able to make a decent and comfortable living within his pension with a roof over his head. 

Raheel Sharif will be remembered for strengthening the military’s support to the democratically elected govt while enhancing the role of the military in affairs of national security. Will the new COAS sustain the thrust and momentum of Gen Raheel Shareef’s legacy? The emphasis and style may be different, the message essentially will be same. The personality does not take over the COAS chair, the requirements of the chair takes over the personality. A thoroughly professional officer, Gen Bajwa is a proponent of strong civil-military relations. The challenge for sustainable economic prosperity will be to combine this with the aspirations of the people for good governance.

Let us resolve: 06 Dec, 2016 "Daily Times"

With an optimistic outlook, one could expect that the new administration of the United States under the leadership of President Donald Trump will work with Pakistan as close as the Republican leaders have been doing so in the past, starting with the Pakistan – United States relations during the Presidency of General Eisenhower. The former head of CIA, General David Petraeus has had a long association with his Pakistani counterparts and interaction with the ISI. His positive image of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and sincerity in bilateral relationship of the two countries will be a factor positively impacting Pakistan’s relations with the new establishment in Washington D.C.

The evolution of the state and society of Pakistan in recent years has contributed to strengthening institutions, particularly the parliament. Provinces have also gained strength due to the devolution of powers. Likewise, the security establishment has also proved to be creative and more effective in the exercise of authority and taking action where necessary in public interest. It is clearly understood now that democracy needs to be strengthened but not to be exploited and manipulated by vested interests.

Political parties need to undertake deliberate exercises for self-analysis and correctional purposes, to reform Pakistani state and society. The reforms have to start in political parties and the system of governance. Effective implementation of security measures requires leadership to muster the moral and political strength, and show courage in control and coordination for expected outcome. It is to be understood that change is the only constant and is essential to beat out the degenerating ‘status quo’. All steps are essential to guard against internal implosion and international isolation. Change is the focus of world leaders, and it is evident in the case of President-elect Trump.

If Trump can take the initiative to talk directly to the leaders of North Korea, he can be expected to act constructively and positively to follow policies that promote humanity and goodwill everywhere in spite of his election speeches. Elections are after all elections to win the race. The win-win strategy comes next that Trump would practically adopt and adapt. Remember “if nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.” The philosophy of fluidity is certainly a useful guide. Let it be used positively for the good of the globe – the mother earth. War is not a substitute for regional and international peace-seeking stability and socio-economic development for improving the level of living of the people, to fight disease and poverty and to ensure real satisfaction for love instead of politics of hate and divisiveness.

There is an urgent need to carry out reforms for a just and fair international socio-economic and political systems for equality of opportunities; and opportunities for all irrespective of colour, creed, religious beliefs, and cultures. These pointers are sure indicators of real democracy. Dysfunctional democracy is nothing beyond self-praise and self-congratulations. True democracy establishes a strong bond between the elite and the electorate. It is a test of trust as well as responsibility and accountability. The system of re-calling in the United States is an indication that the real power rests with the people. If leaders don’t live up to the expectations of the people, they have no right to represent the people in public institutions.

Strategic responses to institutional processes have to be understood not only by management experts but also by public as a whole. Ten institutional factors are hypothesised to predict the occurrence of the alternative proposed strategies and the degree of organisational conformity or resistance to institutional pressures. The factors include strategic planning, organisational behaviour, business planning, organisation, industrial management, compliance, corporate culture, industrial relations, organisational research, and management.

There is a need for modernising government and to evolve a system of controls and regulation. Researchers are concerned with alternative strategies for enhanced and workable methods, and trends in regulation of government. Has it increased, is it increasing, should it be diminished keeping in view cost, simple methods and procedures, and convenience of public service staff well as the organisations subject to institutional control? The internal and external environment of organisations is also a determinant of regulations. Care has to be taken to ensure transparency and system of accountability firmly instituted to prevent malpractices and corruption. In this process let us resolve that we never fail in our commitment to build systems fully transparent and accountable.

Complex organisations and organisations men analyse problems and seek solutions. They have problems of their own including trained incapacity and biases as well as needs. Internal and external environment inject positive and negative forces that cause success can be reduced considerably by planned deliberate effort to add to positive effects. This is the way forward to success and goal achievement. In this complicated process, we also need to understand the relationship between Authority and compliance. Authority exists only if there is compliance.

Ghani's still Pakistan's best bet: 06 Dec, 2016 "The Express Tribune"

Afghanistan is more than the "graveyard of empires." Maureen Dowd once said, It's the mother of vicious circles.

While Ms Dowd fails to point out her country's complicity in said circles, her words ring true: ever since the other Dowd the Russians' sacrificial lamb Daud Khan -- Afghanistan has only seen war.

Yet even by Afghan standards, Ashraf Ghani just can't catch a break. The presidency has long been the most thankless job in the world, but today's odds are without end. With those in mind, perhaps, did Mr Ghani lambast Pakistan at the Heart of Asia Conference.

Islamabad would do better, he said, to spend our development aid on fighting terror instead. And though Pakistan's pundis were quick to whale back at an 'ingrate' and incompetent, it may be best to breathe. Before we bash the man, lets take a trip in his shoes. more....

Trump and Pakistan found common ground: 06 Dec, 2016 "The Express Tribune"

Despite controversy, this week's telephonic conversation between US President-elect Donald Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discovered linkages with ground realities in the region.

The conversation and its flowery language as released by the PM office were stunning for international media. The wording of Trump's tete-a-tete was either derided or the US president-elect was dubbed ignorant of the complex situation in the region. In Pakistan, the controversy remains regarding the press release that was issued in Islamabad without professional input. In Washington, Trump is facing almost similar criticism for to not consulting officials befrore talking to a foreign leader.

Whatsoever, today Trump is president-elect after a long, gruelling campaign and politicking in an educated American society and was being surrounded by senior politicians of Republican Party.

Regardles of the controversy surrounding the conversation, what could be seen as positive is that Trump has demostrated sensitivity to address the outstanding issue iof Pakistan for the second time and, undeniably, the country has long-standing issues witgh india. more...

Gwadar Shining: 06 Dec, 2016 "The Nation"

Finally, the day came when the trade operations at the Gwadar Deep Sea Port began. If one takes into account the huge trade openings this port is going to offer to Pakistan and, of course, the connected world, the impression about this port being a “Game Changer” would not be surprising as it would be a tie-rod between China, Pakistan and Middle East, Central Asian states as well as the world at large.

Technical reports done on the port site suggest that Gwadar is a major gift Pakistan from nature. Its ground position is naturally developed having the capacity (after fully equipped) to cope with all future shipping and trade requirements. The Gwadar port is the focal part of the over 50 billion multi-sector development projects under the banner of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a new height of decades old and time-tested friend of China. If Gwadar is developed as per plans between the Chinese and Pakistan governments, it will be one of the most booming port cities of Asia.

The Gwadar Port, which is about 120 kilometres to east of Iran, 460 kilometres by sea and 630 kilometres by road to Karachi and 970 kilometres to Quetta, has become the marine outfall of CPEC due to its ideal geographical conditions that offer various possibilities for its future development. Besides, CPEC is the link between Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century’s Maritime Silk Road thereby making Gwadar Port the important point to connect Silk Road with Maritime Silk Road.

The port bears the potential not only to bring economic turnaround not only for Pakistan but also to benefit all 80 states directly or indirectly connected with the China’s “One Belt, One Road initiative”. The Chinese leadership planned this initiative with the philosophy of promoting peace, cooperation and a new concept of modern diplomacy based on shared goals of prosperity and a project to eliminate poverty, unemployment and under-development.

Gwadar port is all set to have more trade volume capacity than that of Karachi and Port Qasim combined. Last month Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the regular trade activities from the port with a ship taking around 250 containers from the port.

It seems that the strategic position of Pakistan, which has been a curse from a historical perspective, is finally transforming into a promising treasure holding immense rewards for the nation. As the future plans attached with the Gwadar port are concerned, the city of Gwadar would be having an international airport and power plant for this port city.

According to initial estimates, Gwadar port will develop multi-layer operational mechanisms to accommodate high class ships carrying upto 18,000 containers, transport 500 million cubic feet liquefied gas to Nawabshah through 711-kilometer long pipeline which would be part of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

M/s Arthur D. Little, who has designed the Gwadar Port Master Plan (GPMP) and set 2005-2020 as short-term, and 2021 -2055 as long-term development planning, expects freight sources from urban development, industrialisation process, operation of the port, including petrochemical products and those relevant to heavy industry and manufacturing. The short-term forecast for Gwadar Port throughput is 42-65 million tons, with liquid bulk and containers as the main contributors while the long-term forecast for Gwadar Port is 321-345 million tons.

Main projects under the expansion plan would be Multipurpose Terminal Expansion to the east, Container Terminal, Liquid Bulk Terminal, Clean Dry Bulk Terminal, LNG Terminal, Petroleum /Petrochemical Terminal, Dry Bulk Terminal and Breakwater.

In a wider perspective, the Gwadar port is the culmination of the trail of projects in various sectors especially electricity generation, construction, information technology, renewable energy, roads networks, rail links, infrastructure, shipping, warehouses, management, etc. On the other hand, the port would be front door to the outer world from China and Pakistan’s perspective. According to the agreements signed under the CPEC initiative, the Chinese government has offered Pakistan a total of 27,000 Megawatts of additional energy that would go a long way in not only overcoming the power shortfall in the country but also reducing the electricity cost.

Chinese firm, Guangdong Logistics Industry Association, has shown interest in opening a large exhibition centre in the Gwadar Port where more than 50,000 Chinese products and brands can be displayed. Similarly, Chinese investors from southeastern provinces have also showed interest establish “Maritime Silk Route” between Guangdong and Gwadar via sea.

The tail of development does not end here as the future development projects are still in the long queue. Three leading industries including heavy industries such as steel making, manufacturing industry and petrochemical industry have also been lined up for the region. In short, the whole region is set to see the economic turnaround with Pakistan getting the direct huge benefits of this whole project.

This would be the first time where a country (China) deliberately and unequivocally has given a direct incentive for growth to the manufacturing and production sectors in another country. This is just one of the features that are coming to light with the development of Gwadar.

At this stage when the country is set to see the dawn of sustainable progress, which is the desperate need of its people, politicising the CPEC issue by certain political forces in the country is highly regrettable. Those raising criticism over the CPEC route or claim that their province is being ignored in development projects related to this route must understand that their uncalled for hue and cry is no service to the country and its people. Parliament is the better platform to raise such issues and the government has repeatedly invited these political groups particularly Pakistan Tehree-i-Insaaf to the parliament and discuss these issues. But unfortunately they won’t do it.

Now the time has come to display political integration in the country and focus on better future of the country. We all must realise that the development and progress Pakistan is going to achieve in near future through CPEC is not acceptable to those states who are hostile to Pakistan. Gwadar should be the ultimate focus for the people and government of Pakistan as there is no other option left to materialise the dream of sustainable prosperity.

Modi's Challenge: 06 Dec, 2016 "The Nation"

Since his election as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has posed a serious challenge to Pakistan on multiple fronts with dire implications for Pakistan’s security, economic prosperity, internal political stability, and cultural identity. This is not surprising considering Modi’s RSS background, his commitment to Hindutva, his record of the massacre of the Muslims in Gujrat, and his deep anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan bias. It is imperative to acquire an accurate understanding of the challenge by Modi in various forms if Pakistan is to overcome it successfully in the struggle for promoting its national interests. Unfortunately, what one sees in Pakistan instead is either the extreme of Indophobia, which rejects the possibility of any constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation with India, or the advice of unlimited and unconditional cooperation with India irrespective of its long-term adverse consequences for Pakistan’s independence and economic well-being that the Indophiles in our country advocate. A balanced and well-nuanced India policy, which would avoid these extremes and chart out a course of action serving the best interests of the country, has remained elusive so far.

India’s over-arching strategic goal is to establish its hegemony in South Asia. It views Pakistan as the biggest obstacle in the realization of this objective as Islamabad is unlikely to kowtow before New Delhi’s diktat in the interest of its own security and economic progress. There is, thus, an inherent and long-term tension between Pakistan and India, which simply cannot be wished away whatever the Indophiles in Pakistan may claim. The situation becomes even more alarming if one adds to this latent tension the negative consequences of the various outstanding disputes, particularly the Kashmir dispute, for Pakistan-India relations. The strains and tensions in Pakistan-India relations, therefore, will remain a norm rather than an unusual phenomenon for a long time to come. The situation will change for the better only when India gives up its hegemonic designs in South Asia and learns to deal with Pakistan on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect, and there is visible progress towards the resolution of outstanding disputes. Meanwhile, our policy makers should not remain under any illusions about the prospects of genuine friendship with India.

The current scenario in which India is led by a BJP government headed by Narendra Modi with deep commitment to RSS ideology and Hindutva, is even more threatening for Pakistan’s interests than would be the case under a more liberal and benign governmental set-up in India. Pakistan’s experience in its dealings with India since the assumption of power by Narendra Modi bears out these apprehensions. Besides frequent cases of unprovoked Indian shelling across the LOC and the Working Boundary, India has launched a campaign of destabilising Pakistan internally under the Modi-led government through fomenting terrorism in different parts of Pakistan and supporting the insurgency in Balochistan. The arrest of Kalbhaushan, a serving officer of the Indian navy, in Balochistan on charges of fomenting terrorism in Pakistan as a RAW agent has left no doubt about the Modi government’s nefarious designs concerning Pakistan.

At the same time, we should not rule out totally the possibilities of limited cooperation between Pakistan and India in different fields. There is a strategic imperative of peace between Pakistan and India because of their de facto status as nuclear-weapon states. They also need peace to be able to focus on the gigantic and urgent task of eradicating widespread poverty and accelerating economic growth. It is in their mutual interest to avoid an all-out war and strengthen the climate of peace in South Asia through the adoption of confidence building measures in military and political fields. This would require continuous and unconditional dialogue in which the two countries can discuss all matters of concern to them with the objective of building up mutual trust, minimising the risk of an armed conflict between them, trying to resolve outstanding disputes, and engaging in mutually beneficial cooperation. Such a dialogue is not a favour to be granted by one country to the other. Pakistan should, therefore, simply keep the door of dialogue open so that India can walk through it whenever it is ready to do so.

Modi’s government, true to its colours, has adopted a hardline approach in dealing with Pakistan. This approach is reflected in its efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally on the issue of terrorism and to combine forces with Afghanistan for putting joint pressure on Islamabad as reflected quite vividly at the recent Heart of Asia conference at Amritsar. It is also reflected in the intense shelling across the LOC and the Working Boundary which has been going on for several months in response to alleged acts of “cross-border terrorism” from the Pakistani side. It is doubtful, however, that India, mindful of the dangers of the escalation of a conventional armed conflict to a nuclear war, would try to bring Pakistan down on its knees through a conclusive military defeat. Instead, taking a leaf from the advice given by Kautilya, it would resort to the strategy of indirect approach. Its strategy would accordingly rely primarily on political, economic and cultural means for achieving its strategic goals vis-à-vis Pakistan while keeping it under pressure militarily and internationally. On the political front, it would try to foment instability and dissensions in Pakistan to weaken it internally. On the economic side, it would aim at moving so far ahead of Pakistan in terms of economic growth as to neutralise its capacity to resist India’s hegemonic ambitions. In the cultural sphere, it would make a serious effort to undermine Pakistan’s distinct Islamic identity, thus, questioning the very rationale for the creation of Pakistan. For this purpose, India would use Pakistan’s electronic and print media and the Mumbai film industry.

Pakistan’s response to the challenge posed by the Modi-led India should cover all the aforementioned dimensions. On military side, Pakistan must maintain a credible security deterrent at the lowest level of armed forces and armaments so as not to overburden our economy with the demands of the military sector. Internationally, we must neutralise India’s efforts to isolate us by not allowing any daylight between our declared and operational anti-terrorism policies. On the political front, we should strengthen internal stability and cohesion by building up democratic institutions, giving the various provinces their due share in the state power and resources, combatting religious extremism, uprooting terrorism without any exceptions, reducing inequalities of income and wealth, and ensuring the rule of law in the country. In the economic field, we should try to surpass India in terms of economic growth for eradicating poverty, lowering unemployment, and raising the standard of living of the people. But equally importantly, a high economic growth rate would also help us in strengthening our national security in the long run by providing the resources and technologies required for safeguarding it. Finally, we should pay due attention to the preservation of our distinct Islamic identity in facing the formidable challenge posed by India to our existence as an independent country.

Pakistan needs to adopt a comprehensive approach covering the political, diplomatic, economic, military and cultural dimensions of the statecraft in facing successfully the challenge posed by India. A unidimensional approach emphasising only the military side, which has been our preoccupation so far, will simply not do. The various institutions of the state with the active support of the people of Pakistan at large need to bring together the policy dimensions mentioned above into a coherent whole to constitute an effective grand strategy for foiling India’s evil designs.

Strategic weapons in wrong hands: 29 Nov, 2016 "Daily Times"

 During the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last trip to Moscow, there was no progress made on the sale of missile defence system S-400 and Akula class nuclear submarines. The two leaders agreed on jointly producing Kamov-226 military helicopters and building nuclear power plants.

Indian defence ministry on behalf of Indian Air Force showed interest in Russian S-400 Triumf air defence system. However, Moscow clarified it will never reciprocate to such a request until India negotiates the joint Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) development programme. So it was explicable when there was no follow-up negotiated on S-400 sale during Modi’s visit. But at the sidelines of the eighth BRICS summit, India and Russia agreed to sign an inter-governmental agreement for the procurement of four regiments of Russian-made S-400 Triumf.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO designation: SA-21 Growler) is a new-generation medium and long-range anti-aircraft missile system. This missile system was manufactured by the Almaz-Antey Corporation and contains multiple missile variants to counter stealth aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and sub-strategic ballistic missiles. It can strike planes and tactical ballistic targets at a distance of 250 miles (400 km). The Indian Air Force desires the S-400 to enhance its air defence systems. Meanwhile, the purchase of S-400 is a sign that India is far away in creating an indigenous operative anti-missile missile system.

Recently, Vladimir Drozhzhov, deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) claimed, “The Russian Federal Service has prepared a draft intergovernmental agreement on the supply of the S-400 systems to India and passed it on to our partners, so we are awaiting a response.” Whereas, aide to the President of Russia and head of the Control Directorate of the Presidential Administration of Russia, Vladimir Kozhin said, “There are many of those who want it (the S-400 system), but the case is that we are not able to supply everyone with it and therefore we will not deliver it to everyone because the priority is the Russian army, however, the negotiations with China and India are underway.”

Russia has been using the S-400 Triumf system for countering strategic threats with respect to its obligatory requirements in the context of Europe against the United States. Now in future, the probable existence of these missiles in the South Asia, especially under Indian command is certainly going to contribute to another problem for the Pakistani military. The future proliferation of S-400 to India is a grave challenge for Pakistan, and it rings alarm bells also for China. The Triumf air defence system is easy to transport, well networked and has a range to defend huge areas. The traditional non-stealth fighter jets are a specific target for the system and completely useless in the region where this system is being installed.

Some analysts contemplated that the best counter to the Triumf system is a long-range Surface to Air missile (SAM), for instance, the Chinese HQ-9. Whereas, the genuine measure against Triumf system is to obtain a comprehensive ability, which would preferably destroy India’s air defence capabilities.

There are numerous methods available to counter an air defence system including Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), Directed Energy Air Defense (DEAD), radar decoys, stealth air strike, drone air strike, cruise missile and ground invasion. Theoretically, the conventional answer for Pakistan Air Force is to attain stealth aircraft along with anti-radiation air-to-surface missiles and sub-munition capable air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM). Pakistan Army should invest in multiple independently-guided re-entry vehicles (MIRV) equipped ballistic missiles to counter any future acquisition of S-400 by India.

Sputnik reported last year that Beijing had already a concluded $3-billion worth deal to purchase the S-400 Triumf from Moscow, and it will receive the first batch as early as 2016. Therefore, it is quite possible that China will be the first beneficiary of S-400. In such a scenario, China will definitely not be on the same page with Russia to supply such important strategic weapons to India. And Russia can no longer ignore China’s likes and dislikes in the contemporary picture. The reason for such closeness between Moscow and Beijing is pragmatic sanctions on Russia by the West and China’s unconditional support to Russia in this critical passage of time.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is quite concerned with Russian S-400 air defence systems going global. The U.S. is sensitive on the issue of deploying this system in any region, especially in South Asia, because this will put restrictions on the U.S. manoeuvrability in the region. A senior US Marine Corps said, “(S-400) a complete game changer for all fourth-gen aircraft (like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18). That thing is a beast, and you don’t want to get near it.”

On the other hand, the U.S. is a building case to mainstream India into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Therefore, India has to align itself according to MTCR guidelines, but by the purchase of S-400 system it is violating the MTCR Guidelines and risking the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The S-400 Triumf system under India’s command will contest Pakistan’s capability to conduct Air defence or Air offence operations in its airspace. It will also augment India’s ability to counter Pakistan’s aerial pre-eminence. Pakistan will be forced to invest in technologies to counter or develop comparable systems to highlight weaknesses in India’s air defences to uphold regional balance.

Is resolution of the Kashmir dipute possible?: 29 Nov, 2016 "Daily Times"

 Speaking in the National Assembly during a debate on the LoC situation, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, said, “Pakistan is ready for a dialogue with India on the condition that Kashmir dispute is part of it...Pakistan is fully capable of defending its borders and will not accept any Indian influence or hegemony under any circumstances.”

The fact that only 60 out of 342 members were present to discuss such an important issue of Kashmir, which Pakistan considers its jugular vein, only showed the seriousness of the parliamentarians. They appear to be more interested in increasing their salaries, perks and privileges than discussing issues of national importance. Anyhow, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reiterated for the umpteenth time that Pakistan wants to settle all issues with India through dialogue even when his gestures are not reciprocated by his counterpart, Narendra Modi.

But how long will he and his aides keep harping on this tune to international community’s great fun and to their own peoples’ humiliation? Has anyone taken a pause and pondered whether Indians also want a negotiated settlement of the issues; and more crucially, if they want to settle them at all?

Just consider this. For a long time, Indian politicians and officials alike loathed the idea of accepting the existence of the Kashmir dispute. When under pressure, they started expressing a willingness to discuss the dispute, it was done invariably with the caveat that Kashmir is India’s non-negotiable integral part. And they have more than once said that they wanted to discuss Azad Kashmir. In 1994, India’s parliament had adopted a resolution, formally laying claim to Azad Kashmir. In December 2013, Sharif had underscored in a media interview the imperative need of resolving Kashmir dispute through negotiations.

And Sharif had stated innocuously that if left unresolved, it could explode into a nuclear war. He was not alone in saying that. The dispute is viewed, the world over, as a flashpoint that could potentially flare up into a nuclear-armed conflict. But then India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh threw tantrums and taunted Nawaz Sharif that Kashmir was India’s part, and a hubristic ally accosted him that Pakistan could not win a war against India in Kashmir during his lifetime.

So why has the Islamabad hierarchy been deluding itself and befooling this country’s people when bitter realities are so obvious? Our rulers must realise that when it comes to Pakistan, it is the overbearing Indian establishment that decides what kind of relationship India would have with Pakistan. Secondly, not normalisation of relations with Pakistan but getting it declared a terrorist state is the objective of the Indian establishment.

If the policy makers in Pakistan think that by offering talks and dialogue they will amuse or impress the world community, they are crying in the wilderness. Nobody is rushing to them with peace prizes in hand. Nobody is even listening to them because of Pakistan's dire economic straits. Its imports are about twice more its exports showing a trade deficit of more than $21 billion. Even remittances of $20 billion by Pakistani expatriates could not help address the current account deficit. Pakistan is spending much more than its tax and non-tax revenues, leading to a fiscal deficit. The US and the west know that Pakistan would need their help for its bailout otherwise it could default because of the debt mountain, which has accumulated so far. Yet, our rulers feel that they can attract the world attention to the barbaric acts of Indian forces in Kashmir.

One also wonders about the statement by politicos and analysts that India is flaring up tension on the Line of Control to divert the attention of the world from the recent uprising in Kashmir. In fact, the world knows about brutalities and atrocities committed on the people of Kashmir, and also violations on the LoC. But nobody will censure India, as it is too big with a lot of allurements, attractions and incentives for the international community. Big powers want to sell high-tech and sophisticated weapons to India, which has allocated more than 100 billion dollars for the purpose; thus they in no event would annoy India for the sake of Pakistan. As regards resolution of the Kashmir dispute, many rounds of dialogue were held in the past including Composite Dialogue from 2004 to 2008. At least once, efforts were made to find out an of the box solution during the Musharraf era.

In December 2006, the Guardian referring to then-president Pervez Musharraf had reported: “Pakistan could be willing to give up its claim to Kashmir if India agrees to a self-government plan for the disputed Himalayan region.” Then president General Pervez Musharraf had told the Indian Television channel that according to ‘four-point formula’ Islamabad and New Delhi could jointly supervise the region, which included a gradual withdrawal of troops, self-governance, no changes to the region's borders and a joint supervision mechanism. Around the same time, a political analyst in Indian daily ‘The Asian Age” had suggested that “the Kashmir issue should be resolved on the lines of an agreement reached over Andorra in 1993 between France and Spain.” Andorra is a co-principality situated on the border of Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains, and co-princes are Bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the French President.

But India neither accepts UNSC resolutions nor third-party mediation nor out of box solution. It did not cooperate with the UN and invariably resorted to subterfuge and foot-dragging to kill all initiatives to resolve the dispute. The question is what could be done that international community takes Pakistan seriously? Pakistan should work hard to put its house in order and set its priorities right. It should focus on building large reservoirs on a war footing to ensure availability of water to the farmers to produce food for the growing population, and electricity for Industries at an affordable price to make them competitive in the world market. Secondly, those politicians and businessmen who have stashed billions of dollars in foreign banks should bring them back and invest in Pakistan. And last but not the least, there should be socio-economic justice in the country to create unity among the people.

Pillars of prosperity: 27 October, 2016 "Business Recorder"

In an open letter to the IMF carried by Business Recorder, Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Dr Hafeez Pasha and this writer had reminded the IMF that the recently concluded EFF programme with Pakistan had not produced the victory that was being proclaimed by the government and the IMF through the media. We showed that the accomplishments were not sustainable because they were driven by excessive buildup of foreign debt. They primarily provided a brief respite as the macroeconomic stability had been achieved without reducing the vulnerabilities of the economy and without undertaking significant structural reforms needed to put the economy on a sustaibable growth path.

The objective of writing an open letter was to highlight the fact that Pakistan had been in the intensive care of the IMF since 2008 and the economic policies during the five year term of the PPP government and the four year of the PML(N) government had been under the tutelage of the IMF. The past nine years had neither provided the economic growth needed for employment generation and poverty alleviation, nor had it created the conditions for boosting investment and exports that were needed for sustaibability.

To an extent the open letter did provoke a degree of debate in the official circles and the high fluted trumpets of victory by the government were tempered with a call by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde for ‘seizing the moment of opportunity’ and unleashing of a deep and strong economic reform program for the real economy. In a joint press conference, with the minister of finance she said: 

“Higher and more sustainable growth will also require completing important structural reforms in the energy sector, tax policy and administration, ending losses in public enterprises and making a sustained effort to improve governance and foster a dynamic and export-oriented private sector. At the same time, increased focus on improving health, education and closing the gender gap and providing social protection can ensure that gains in living standards are widely shared,”  

In addition to the future economic agenda, she also added the resolution of the Panama leaks issue as critical for moving ahead on the reform agenda. On the subject she said, “It is not a matter of persecution but a question of honesty, transparency and accountability whether it is incidentally in Panama or Bahamas or whatsoever,” 

In a post-programme environment, her message was clear to Pakistanis, “Clean up your act and fix your economy yourself.” The question is whether we are prepared for seizing the opportunity. There are three parties to this, 1) the government, 2) the private sector and 3) the electorate. The electorate through the various mechanisms has to build up the pressure for change and delivery, the government and the private sector has to actually deliver the change on the ground. In my earlier article, The corridors of prosperity, Business Recorder (October 20, 2016) I had argued that to achieve prosperity for our people we have to mobilize all our resources of land, water, people , ability, natural and financial wealth in a comprehensive, coordinated, efficient and robust manner to unlock the potential of our nation. We know that in our globalized world of today it is the survival of the fittest that matters. Countries that have been single mindedly successful in building their economies as super productive machines are the winners in the ‘Race of Nations’ and have been able to unleash immense prosperity for their people. 

What is the recipe for success? In the market economies of today, it is the private sector that leads the charge backed up by their national systems and governance. The country operates like an Incorporated entity beating the competition to get its due market share. It is the National Competitiveness that matters and underlying the national competitiveness is national productivity. The more output the country gets from a given input determines the prosperity of a nation. Thus to win the global race for prosperity a country has to be a winner in its global competitiveness and that is achieved by winning the global competition for productivity. The economic challenge for a government then rests with creating an economic environment within the country, in which productivity flourishes leading to global national competitiveness. 

The role of the government in national competitiveness of the country is then multidimensional; inter alia 1) It is the designer of the national productive system and its enforcer, 2) it conducts fiscal and monetary policy of the country, 3) It is an active player in the provision of certain goods and services such as law and order, health, education and defense, 4) It is the provider of critical infrastructure, 5) it negotiates access to international markets for national producers. 6) It is answerable to the electorate for the overall health of the nation and its systems. 

As system designers a critical element of an environment for productivity enhancement is the existence of even playing field free from corruption and opaqueness, where there are no favourite sons and sacred cows. An environment where there are no barriers to entry and exit, where there are no market distorting monopolies and cartels where efficiency and productivity are rewarded and inefficiency is consigned to the dust bin. This requires fostering intense competition in the national economy. A domestic survival of the fittest contest. The government of Pakistan has been singularly inapt at nurturing such an environment for competition in the country. This requires building and ensuring robust legal frameworks and institutions, effective enforcing institutions like Competition Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, SECP, and economic ministries at the federal and provincial levels. 

In Pakistan the role of the private sector has been shaped by the business environment of the country that is in vogue and has been cultivated by successive governments. It has gone through periods of laissez-faire to nationalizations and mixed economy. The result is that today we have multi-tiered production system. At the bottom is the informal sector that reputedly encompasses half the economy and is most backward, inefficient, with poor technology and management systems; most farming, cottage industry, construction, transport, wholesale and trading activities fall in this sector. The next tier comprises the single product manufacturers that are spread over many segments of the economy and are generally undercapitalized, family owned and like the informal sector poorly managed, with obsolete technology, management systems and procedures. Above them are the more developed and multiproduct companies which are the Darlings of the banks and governmental largesse, listed on the stock markets with some technological and management system sophistication. The top tier is occupied by the local entities of global multinational corporations focused primarily on harvesting domestic markets based on superior products, technology and management systems and processes. A separate tier is the Public sector Enterprises that are generally highly inefficient, leaky and highly dependant on their monopoly status and handouts from the national budget. Overall the productive system of Pakistan is dismal compared to the rest of the world and this shows up in many global indices and indicators of economic success and capability. 

The very pillars of the corridors of prosperity are missing in Pakistan and constructing these ‘pillars of prosperity’ is the job of the government that has been alluded to by Christine Lagarde in her ‘seizing the moment of opportunity’ speech. Back of the envelope type simple calculations would show that an average worker in the USA produces a yearly output of over $ 70,000; an average Pakistani produces an annual output of $ 3,000 or roughly 3.4 percent of US productivity levels. The informal sector is bringing down Pakistan’s average. At the top tier some multinationals are producing at around forty percent of US levels, our own multiproduct large companies are achieving around 25 percent of US levels. The good news is that our multiproduct companies can improve to the level of local MNCs by improving their management systems without a big injection of capital. Similarly the informal sector can improve if we can induce them out of informality into the formal economy the growth possibilities would be mindboggling. This all depends on the ‘seizing the moment’ producer friendly government’s reform programme. 

Pakistan-China defence and economic ties: 14 October, 2016 "Daily Times"

The relations between Pakistan and China are beyond the realm of normal diplomatic ties, and no terminology in the diplomatic parlance can really explain the nature of these bonds. China is not only a true friend but also a benefactor of Pakistan. The diplomatic relations established in 1951 and long-lasting partnership over the years. Their ties have always remained on the upward curve, belying the maxim that in international relations there are no permanent friends and enemies.

Commonality of interests invariably forms the basis of bonhomie between the states. The greater the commonality of interests, the greater the depth nd strength of relations between the concerned countries. Pakistan and China, fortunately, have a slew of abiding common interests and factors that nourish the process of growth of ties between them. Their geographical proximity, complimentary economies that provide unlimited scope of economic cooperationto their mutual advantage, and common security concerns among other elements are the deciding factors in sustaining. More...

A Serious Statement: 04 October, 2016 "Pakistan Today"

On September 28, 2016 The White House, Office of the Press Secretary released statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E Rice's Call with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval of India that reads as follows: "National Security Advisor Susan E Rice spoke today by phone with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Dopval. Ambassador Rice strongly condemned the September 18 cross-border attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters in Uri and offered condolences to the victims and their families. Ambassador Rice affirmed President Obama's commitment to redouble our efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world. Highlighting the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimise United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and their affiliates. In the context of the robust US-India partnership, Ambassador Rice discussed our shared commitment with India to pursuingpeace and regional stability and pledged to deepen collaboration on counterterrorism matters including on UN terrorist designations.

The Dahiya doctrine and Kashmir: 24 September, 2016 "Daily Times"

Over the last 58 Days, Kashmir has witnessed the worst violence in decades. About 87 people, mostly teenagers, have been killed, and over 8000 people have suffered injuries during protests-backlash from the Indian security forces. With the region still under curfew and essentials running short, the region is heading to a possible humanitarian crisis.

In the capital city Srinagar, residents are holed up in their homes. Indian troops patrol the streets armed to the teeth, monitoring any human activity in the lanes and by-lanes. Any assembly of people ios seen as a potential start of a rally, and there have been hundreds of rallies since the death of the rebel commander, Burhan Wani.

The use of air-pump guns has caused countless injuries. According to the latest countlets were fired in their eyes with precision. Over 15 percent of the pellet victims are under the age of 15, among them the 14 years old Insha who has become a symbol of the viciousness of state violence. She was sitting on the roof of her house when pellets were fired at her face.

Uri attack an addition to RAW failures: 19 September, 2016 "The News"

Lahore: Assisted by its crafty media, the Indian political and security establishment is notorious for designing bizarre pseudo operations so that it could defame Pakistan in the eyes of the world, muster international support and to cover up its intelligence failures, but on most occasions over the years, even the internal investigative reports have mocked New Delhi's claims in this context.

Now, just a day before the Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif was gearing up to address the United Nations General Assembly and apprise the world of the Indian atrocities in Held Kashmir, those at the helm of affairs in New Delhi have yet again accused Pakistan of attacking a military camp in Occupied Kashmir without any substanful proof.

Balochistan, Kalat and the great game: 29 August, 2016 "Daily Times"

A New Game in unfolding on the south asian chessboard. The pawns in this game are the common Pakitanis living in the province of Balochistan. The Indian Prime Minister's statement on Balochistan should be an ete opener for those who doubt that the game is afoot. Those who think in terms of strategy and supply routes know that the idea involves blocking China's access to the Gulf via Pakistan. Gwadar is the focal point of the game. The tall claims of the so-called Baloch separatists and reginal and global backers are at best special pleadings.

First of all, let us get the history and geography right. the baloch separatist claim rests on the way accession of the Kalat state was procured by Pakian in March 1948. Let this be a geography lesson for those who have become the loudest voices for separation of Balochistan from Pakistan. Kalat, the princely state, is only landlocked subsection of the province of Balochistan. The rest of Balochistan formed British Balochistan that became a part of Pakistan immediately at the time of independence in 1947, with exception of Gwadar, which was procured from the Sultanate of Oman in the late 1950s.

One of the earliest endorsers of British Balochistan's dicision to join Pakistan was none other than Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a chieftain who controlled the Bugti area. His conversion to the 'Baloch separatist cause\ in the later part of his life was rank oppotunism as had been the case with every decision he took. His fallling out with Pakistani establishment , of which he had been a trusted ally for 50 years, was essentially about gas royalties, which he believed were his own personal Godgiven right. How Bugti treated his tribesmen, those unfortunate people living under his 'suzerainty' is well known and needs no repetition. It is amazing that a man like that is being portrayed posthumously as some sort of a freedom fighter.

Every inch of the so-called Bugti lands are sovereign territory of Pakistan by law, by history and by fact. There is no court and no tribunal in the world that would dispute this. I am sorry to break it to people like Akbar Bugti’s grandson, Brahumdagh Bugti, and that hilarious joker from Toronto, Tarek Fateh, but the world has ceased to recognise divinely ordained rule of primogeniture to personal fiefdoms as a convincing argument for creating new states or for holding on to territory. For example, the people of the United Kingdom can, if they are so inclined, depose their Queen and declare a Republic by a simple constitutional act. If Saudi Arabia did not have the oil, its tribal rulers too would have been deposed a long time ago. Primitive hereditary claims by tribal chiefs over tracts of land may have historically shaped certain states, like Saudi Arabia and UAE, but it is sure as hell not going to be the basis of new states.

So now we come to the issue of the Kalat state, which I have mentioned was a landlocked princely state, surrounded on all sides by the newly formed state of Pakistan in 1947. Under it there were two smaller feudatories of Lasbela and Kharan, the rulers of which had been itching to accede to Pakistan. Indeed it was Jinnah who refused to deal with them over the head of Khan of Kalat. Khan of Kalat was a close personal friend of Jinnah and had, by his own admission, assured the founder of Pakistan that he would join Pakistan. The Khan admitted as much to Munir Hussain, former chief secretary of Balochistan. This is what the Khan of Kalat had to say: “Besides this, I had verbally assured the Quaid-e-Azam that I would accede to Pakistan as soon as it was established. When the time came to accede, I started vacillating and I was conscious of the fact that it had caused great anguish to the Quaid-e-Azam, particularly in the last days of his life. I was misguided by some Baloch leaders [such as Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo]. I continue to regret my behaviour, and when I am in low spirits such as today, the whole thing haunts me. That is why I requested you to come to me so that I could open my heart to you.”

On March 27, 1948, the Khan of Kalat signed a valid and binding document of accession, which federated his state with the Dominion of Pakistan as it was then. This document of accession is as valid and binding as any of the documents of accessions signed by princely states that joined India. India, it must be remembered, had coerced most of the states that joined it in 1947-1948, the bloodiest being Hyderabad, where it carried out one of the worst massacres in subcontinent’s history. Jawaharlal Nehru had then appointed the Pandit Sunderlal Commission. Its findings with respect to that operation were so harrowing that Nehru buried it, and it only came to light in 2013. The most conservative estimates of the government commission put the number of dead between 27,000-40,000 in a span of a few days.

There was massive rape and loot of Muslims that went on. This is how India took over the Hyderabad state. Pakistan by comparison did no such thing in Kalat or with any other princely state in Pakistan. Would those who claim that Kalat’s document of accession was obtained by coercion also raise voice for the independence of Hyderabad Deccan from India? The truth is that no princely state in the Indian subcontinent was allowed to go independent. There were 562 princely states in the undivided India in 1947. Kalat was no different. If today some people seek to reopen that question, then fairness demands that the status of all 562 princely states should be reconsidered de novo. That would mean one-third of the territory of present day India.

Therefore, I am not convinced that India is interested in Baloch separatists’ demand for self-determination to succeed. What it wants, along with others, is to keep Pakistan’s Balochistan province in a perpetual state of unrest so that the Gwadar route does not take off. Of course, there is the question of Kashmir. Instead of resolving the Kashmir issue, and thereafter working with Pakistan and China for an Asian success story, India’s current government would much rather keep both Pakistan and India impoverished. Such is the nature of global geopolitics. The losers inevitably are the people, in whose name we play such games.

Who are our benefactors?: 29 August, 2016 "The Nation"

According to historical accounts, Sonia Gandhi, widow of former Prime Minister of India Rajeev Gandhi, once stated about Pakistan, that by bombarding and infecting it with Indian culture, we have definitely won a war which could not have been possibly won with weapons, with result we have weakened the very foundation of Pakistan.

If we analyse our internal situation, Indian culture has seeped into ours and his inadvertently affected our nation's daily life and has turned our people into diehard buffs of Indian media and their movie industry. Unfortunately, we are in denial about the fact that our next door neighbour has caused us great harm, be it rising terrorism and unrest in Karachi, Balochistan and Waziristan or the bloodshed in Kashmir.

It does not end here but this sinister enemy has tried its level best to detract our closest Arab friends to divert their Falconry interest from Pakistan to their own country, but to their utter disappointment our highest citadel of legal faith, the Supreme Court of Pakistan gave an epic decision on uplifting the ban on houbara hunting and dispirited our neighbour's evil plans.

It's important to mention here that the media also played its great role related to the houbara issue and created relevant awareness about the fact that houbara is being falsely propagated as critically endangered.

Why is it that India is raising the houbara controversy now and that the during Modi's tenure as Prime Minister, who has always been against Muslims?

People have very little knowledge about houbara bustard, which migrates from Central Asian counties during winters into Afghanistan, Iran, Balochistan, Sindh and South Punjab and brings glad-tiding for our land with it. There are millions of people residing in habitat areas of the houbara who are benefiting from its arrival as it provides livelihood to these people.

Falconry is one of the Arab culture's most honoured traditions. People have false ideas that the Arabs through falconry, butcher the houbara which is absolutely false, they have no idea that these Arabs follow a strict code of conduct during falconry of houbara.

In Pakistan, houbara hunting season starts from November till January for which the visiting Arabs are allotted hunting areas. Arab dignitaries are asked to camp for only 10 days and the houbara is allowed to be hunted with aid of facons while hunting with frearms is strictly forbidden. the Arab hunters are not allowed to take houbara chicks or eggs to their repective countries.

On a daily basis, the wildlife team patrol the hunting areas and keep track of the number of birds hunted. All relevant Law enforecement and Government aggencies keep a close liaison with dignitaries for their protection and ensure that the cultivated land falling their hunting areas are not destroyed and that the inhabitants living in the hunting area are no disturbed by them and they are duly compenstaed for any damage done to their crops.

As a writer, I fail to understand as to how the Arabs are commited to destroy houbaras, if they are emplying all thier resources to save this bird. People think that the Arabs are responsible in the rampant destruction of this bird, little do they know that Abu Dhabi has established a state of the art facility for houbara breeding research in Abu Dhabi. This facility, since 1996 till 2014, has bred 2,062,238 houbaras and hve released 104,188 houbaras back to the wild.

The matter does not end here, the Arab bretren have in addition to houbara conservation have worked for the uplift of our habitat communities. The Arabs have established 30 hospitals, 18 roads and bridges, 6 airports of international standards, 27 housing schemes.

Pak-India Water wars: 26 August, 2016 "Pakistan Today"

Genesis: The origin of the water wars between Pakistan and India date back to the time of the prtition of India in August 1947. India realised that in accordance with the 1947 Independence Act, the people of the princely state of Kashmir would not cast their vote in favour of India since they comprised a Muslim majority, which had already suffered under the yoke of slavery of Hindu monarchy for ages.

Through deceit, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, himself the scion of a Kashmiri family, manipulated the last British Viceroy of India: Lord Mountbatten, by first involving. more...

Notes from the Valley: 18 July, 2016 "The News"

This post week has been unprecendented in redefining the mood of Kashmir. The massive outpouring grief and anger at the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, has no paralleld in kashmir's living memory. It is uncanny that more than half a million Kashmiris, most of them below their thirties, travelled tens of miles amid threats to their life from the Indian paramilitary forces to catch a glimpse of the slain commander and offer janaza prayers.

As the crowds swelled beyond the confines of the local Eid Gah grounds in Wani's hometown Tral, janaza prayers were performed more than 50 times to accommodate the sea of people.

Having lived here in the early 1990s when the popular armed resistance started, I find the passion, resolve and fearlessness of the present generation of Kahmiris unprecedented and unpralleled. In the 1990s, I have been to numerous protest demostrations including the infamous Bijbehara Massacre of October 22, 1992 when the Indian forces Killed around 50 innocent. more...

Limits of Pakistan's assistance to the US: by Fawad Kaiser: 18 July, 2016 "Daily Times"

A United States congressional panel has demanded cutting off all US assistance to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to act against the Afghan Taliban, and has also criticised important developments in Pakistan-US relations. A brief analysis of the current state of Pakistan-US relations were the main areas of contention and uncertainty. Vital US interests related to links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism, “Islamist” militancy in Pakistan, policies toward the Afghan insurgency, Pakistan’s relations with its historic rival India, and allegations on Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI were stated. Ongoing terrorism concerns and the US foreign assistance programmes for Pakistan were recommended to close with an analysis of current US-Pakistan relations.

Vital US interests are seen to be at stake in its engagement with Pakistan. This has led US congressional panel to an intensive scrutiny of the bilateral relationship, and sparked much congressional questioning of the wisdom of providing significant US foreign assistance to Pakistan that they believe may not have the intention and to be an effective US partner. In the post-9/11 period, assisting in the creation of a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy has been among the most important US foreign policy efforts. Now global and South Asian regional terrorism and a nearly decade-long effort to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan are becoming the top-tier concerns.

Although Obama administration officials and most senior congressional leaders consistently recognise Pakistan as a crucial ally in US-led counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts, long-held doubts by some US Congressmen’s views about Pakistan’s commitment to core US interests have deepened over the course of time. Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman, Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee, remarked that Pakistan should be treated as a foe, and insulted the Pakistani military and intelligence services as seen to be intentionally failing to distinguish among Islamist extremist groups, maintaining links to Afghan insurgent, and anti-India militant organisations operating from Pakistani territory as a means of forwarding Pakistani’s perceived security interests.

US-Pakistan relations are fluid at present, but running a clearly negative course: still based on several national interests shared by both countries, yet marked by levels of mutual distrust and resentment that are likely to catalyse a new set of assumptions for future ties. The tenor of criticism from congressmen has been increasingly negative. These included allegations that Pakistan is providing a safe haven to Afghan Taliban groups to launch operations into Afghanistan.

There would be limits to what Pakistan can assist, and the circumstances of congressional report and subsequent developments could have had a major impact on both administration and congressional perceptions of the utility of current US aid programmes. First, in terms of the breakdown of US financial transfers to Pakistan, based on figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service, from 2002 to 2011 Pakistan is supposed to have received approximately $5.7 billion in security aid, $7.47 billion in economic aid, and $8.9 billion in Coalition Support Fund transfers. Thus, out of $22 billion, US aid to Pakistan has totalled approximately $13.2 billion in 10 years. The remaining $8.9 billion, or 40 percent of the total, has actually been reimbursements to Pakistan for the costs it has incurred in fighting the al-Qaeda and its allies, and not aid.

A substantive reevaluation of aid levels and of the bilateral relationship between US and Pakistan is important for the regional stability. Such rethinking becomes more evident therefore to ignore significant reductions, as well as new restrictions and conditions suggested by the congressional figures that have issued some of the strongest criticisms of Pakistan as a US ally seen in decades. There appears to be growing misperception among some US Congressmen that US military aid has done little to stem religious-based militancy in Pakistan, and hindered country’s economic and political development. Many working for the Indian lobby in the US influenced Congressmen, thus urging US policy to target effective nonmilitary aid, and the US administration to reach out directly to people of different Pakistani regions instead.

Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence services have, for years, fought to root out the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network, and have sacrificed thousands of civil and military lives to protect Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan, and prevent India from increasing its negative influence in the region. Under American pressure, the Pakistan army recently waged an indiscriminate military campaign, Zarb-e-Azb, against the Afghan Taliban and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in the ungoverned border region. And the Haqqanis were relentlessly targeted to operate in relative safety in Pakistan. Indian lobbyists in US Congress continue to beat the drums that Pakistan army has helped engineer the integration of the Haqqanis into the Taliban leadership. While such pressure makes no sense, severing ties as the United States did in the 1990s after Pakistan developed a nuclear weapon is unwise. The two countries still share intelligence, and Pakistan allows American drones to target militant leaders in the border region. Given that Pakistan has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, America needs to be able to maintain a dialogue, and help Pakistan keep the weapons out of the hands of extremists.

The threats, however, remain. Pakistan has suffered repeated mass-casualty attacks by the Taliban and is fighting to neutralise stability in the region. The last few years were by far the most tumultuous in a decade of tense and mistrustful relations between Pakistan and the United States. In Washington, several members of Congress have demanded for sidelining Pakistan and giving India a larger stake in Afghanistan. Others object that it is important to carefully consider that Pakistan cannot just be ignored. In Pakistan, sceptics are also considering to push for new rules of engagement.

These problems will not yield to quick diplomatic fixes. Barring a fundamental re-thinking, US and Pakistan should get used to making the best of an ambiguous alliance, and one that going forward will be limited, transactional, and security-centred, featuring competition over the endgame in Afghanistan, cooperation in the fight against the Taliban, and a non-threatening favourable conditional aid structure. Despite the common security interests and a deep democratic kinship, there is ambiguity toward the bilateral relationship from officials in both countries. In Congress, there is outright opposition to supporting the funding deal. While disengagement is not an option the continuation of relations today illustrates limited collaboration is the best that can be expected. Pakistan will seek trust while the US will push to secure the power of its Afghan allies. Finally, military and economic aid to Pakistan will be on even grounds and results-oriented. In the long run, the US can hardly afford a minimalist relationship with Pakistan. It must engage Pakistan on multiple dimensions. The alternative to such a creative rethinking is not ideal to contemplate.

Changing nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean: by Taj M Khattak: 11 June, 2016 "The News"

In the history of modern warfare, existential threat perceptions and asymmetry in conventional weaponry between adversaries have served as the raison detre for ecquiring nuclear deterrence. In the South Asian context, the years 1962 and 1971 were watershed moments when India suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of China and Pakistan was dismembered by India to creae Bangladesh. This forced both countries to seriously consider the strategic utility of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict.

In 1998 India and Pakista shed their cloaks of serrecy, exploded nuclear devices and overtly embarked on weapons development programmes. Concerned by the theses developments, US initiated a strategic dialogue with both countries to create environments for stability and mimimum deterrence posture. Pakistan proposed a strategic restraint regime, whihc encompassed missile restraints, range restrictions, and a South Asian 'anti-ballistic missile treaty'. This was rejected by India, citing the Chinese threat. The US subsequently gave up on the initiative.

It goes to the credit of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif for committing to avoid an arms race in the Lahore MoU but that is now history. During muchof the period since then, strategic competition remained confined to technological innovations in delivery systems. India has always argued that is the only country among no-first-use nuclear powers that is devoid of credible nuclear tirade and has reiterated the merits of putting nuclear assets at sea for greater measure of survivability and discretion.

The Indian Ocean began to change in 1988 when India leased a Charlie II class nuclear attack submarine from Russia for three years. This was precursor to its indigenous nuclear submarines construction programme and the INS Arihant in 1992. in 2012 it leased an Akula II class for ten years -- an imrovement on Charlie II but for reasons of Missile Transfer Regime restrictions, it is armed with Klub missiles variants of a range of 300 Kms... more...


Chahbahar and Gwadar: by Ikram Sehgal: 11 June, 2016 "The Business"

What a coincidence of history that Alexandar the Great 2500 years ago followed roughly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor down the Indus before marching west along the coast to Tiz, an ancient port between Chahbahar and Gwadar. The recent tripartite India Iran-Afghanistantransit trade agreement envisages Chahbahar countering CPEC's being an alternative to transit through Pakistan. Venomouslyjealous of the CPEC's game-Changing economic and geo-political potential, India and Afghanistan celebrated the by-passing Pakistan with great fanfare and undisguised glee. Iran instead declared the ports to be complementary.

India spent $100 milliion constructing a 220-Km road in Afghanistan's Nimroz province to Zaranj near Zahedan. Indian goods will move the 500-Km rail tracks to be built by Indian railways to Zahedan.

Roads already exist from Chahbahar to Milak on the Iran - Afghan border, Zahedan in the Pak-Iran adjacent to Afghan border with Mashahd and Sarakhs on Iran's Trijuncktions. more...

Can Pakistan clone the Chinese model?: by S Mubashir Noor: 06 June, 2016 "Daily Times"

The ruling party politicians in Pakistan today are infatuated with the Chinese model of prosperity. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s roads-and-highways-heavy development agenda closely mirrors the infrastructure-driven core of China’s economic miracle, while Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal on May 27 stressed, “We should follow the Chinese model to achieve economic uplift in the country,” when addressing a China-Pak relations seminar titled “Iron Brotherhood” in Islamabad. Nothing succeeds like success, of course, and China’s leadership has earned its bragging rights.

Around four decades ago, China was one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet by 2014, riding the wave of double-digit growth spanning 30 consecutive years, China briefly surpassed a hitherto preeminent America as the leading global economy on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) metrics. Moreover, barring another epic financial meltdown like the 2008 banking crisis, experts project it will permanently unseat the US in nominal GDP terms over the next 15 years.

Still, while policymakers in Pakistan are eager to clone China’s rags-to-riches story, it behooves them to remember that such rapid growth was made possible by the peculiarities of Chinese politics and society. Conditions exist in China that Pakistan cannot or will not replicate. First, there is homogeneity. The Han race makes up 91 percent of China and speaks one language, Mandarin. This has made it infinitely easier for Beijing to script and sell a unifying narrative, even one that requires hardship and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, in an energy-starved Pakistan, interracial suspicions have long hamstrung progress on the Kalabagh Dam, a direly needed hydropower project. Simply put, the more nations that make up a state, the harder it is to formulate and sustain a ‘national interest’. India remains an anomaly among accomplished democracies insofar as it is hugely diverse, yet retains a cooperative system of governance.

Next, we have continuity. When lionising the Chinese model, surely Iqbal and his cohorts realise it is the product of one-party rule? Since 1949, the Communist Party of China (CCP) has governed with an iron fist and meritoriously for the most part, despite early faux pas like the “Great Leap Forward” rapid industrialisation programme that wrought countrywide famine. The CCP credits its achievements to a singular focus on incremental objectives, where many western-style democracies in Asia remain mired in lethargy by pursuing consensus over results. It is also worth noting that civilian dictatorships have done wonders for East Asia — from the Liberal Democrats in Japan, to Lee Kuan Yew’s Peoples Action Party in Singapore to Mahatir Mohamad’s Barisan Nasional in Malaysia.

China’s economic renaissance truly began in 1978 with leader Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernisations programme built around the “Gaige Kaifang” policy, Mandarin for “reform and opening up.” By lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding China’s agriculture, industry and military alongside instituting sweeping economic reforms, Xiaoping sought to attract foreign direct investment and expertise to help upgrade the country’s ramshackle infrastructure. The 15th Congress of the CCP in 1997 was another watershed moment when, in preparation for China joining the World Trade Organisation four years later, major barriers to private enterprise were removed and inefficient collectives were either liquidated or subject to management buyouts.

Moreover, in hindsight, China’s journey to becoming the workshop of the world was a natural one considering its vast working-age population that made economies of scale possible for low-to-medium skill, labour-intensive manufacturing. Still, without the highways, railways and ports necessary to transport finished goods and raw materials, and the power plants to keep factories humming overtime, China could never have wooed foreign investment in the numbers needed to play catch-up with neighboring powerhouses, Japan and South Korea.

Growth models like China’s depend on a massive influx of public funds into infrastructure to leverage what economists call “the multiplier effect.” In short, when governments funnel money into say something like cheap housing units, its net effect on national income and consumption is greater than the original amount spent. Hence, merely by having many people live together as a community, a new business ecosystem comprising restaurants, bodegas and laundries springs up to serve them, thereby boosting employment.

Consider also China’s one-of-a-kind, high-speed rail network coursing through 7,000 miles of terrain, and imagine how much coincidental income it generates for the communities in its path. This is not an endorsement of the Orange Line, but such projects clearly have a proven track record of success. Beijing in early May further unveiled investments of up to RMB five trillion in the transportation sector over the next three years.

That said, attributing China’s success solely to a building boom is both lazy and belittles the CCP’s meticulous planning. For many socialist regimes, especially in Latin and South America, have tried and failed to kick-start their own economic miracles by ploughing billions in state funds into infrastructure, but that did not work because sinking money per se does not guarantee results. The Chinese model for growth was built on its peoples’ historically high saving rates and the CCP’s ability to pick winners in investment, while ensuring that enough projects had ‘quality of life’ value for ordinary citizens.

Additionally, post the 2008 financial meltdown, China is an economy transitioning towards domestic consumption based growth to escape the middle-income trap. With demand still sluggish in the EU and US, China at current capacity would end up glutting the market with unwanted goods, so it has had to revise future growth targets to better reflect the hardships expected over the next few years. This, in turn, adversely impacted the oil market since dwindling demand from China coupled with OPEC refusing to cut output crashed prices worldwide.

Ever resourceful, however, the CCP has figured out a way to sell this overcapacity to lagging economies in the neighbourhood and beyond through its cornerstone “One Belt, One Road” project. In combination with its vast development experience, China aims to build the industrial bases of countries ranging from Peru to Pakistan so can they become robust markets for Chinese goods and services, thereby hedging against future economic volatility in the West.

Above all, China’s journey from rags-to-riches was made possible by the unwavering focus and discipline of its leadership and people. These are qualities we must acquire for ourselves before we attempt to clone the Chinese economic model in Pakistan.

The India - Afghan - Iran Nexus: by Lt Gen (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi: 06 June, 2016 "The Nation"

Though we have been facing difficulties and suffering for a long time, at the hands of all these three countries, especially India and Afghan NDS, but it was never perceived as nexus in this form. We normally had bilateral difficulties for diverse reasons and through a variety of means. But the nature of adversarial relation had been very different and mostly disconnected within the neighbours. With Iran there have been uncomfortable relations, shades varying during different time periods. However, some Iranian proxies remained active all along pitted against Saudi sponsored elements, giving us perpetual headache. But recently, some significant events have changed the scenario, quite profoundly.

The capture of Indian naval officer Yadev, along with a huge spy network carrying out subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi, indicated some Indo-Iran nexus. Later capture of some Afghan spies in Balochistan further exposed Indo-Afghan collaboration. Droning of Mullah Mansoor further brought such facts into the limelight, which strengthened hypothesis regarding Indo-Afghan-Iran nexus.

Now let us look a little further. A glitch in our long enduring relations with Saudi Arabia and certain other ME countries was exploited by India and they immediately moved in trying to make a firm place for them. Our neutrality in Syrian imbroglio, cold attitude towards 34 Muslim countries military alliance, irked USA and others. We couldn’t have taken sides as our friend China was with the Russo-Iranian camp.

To cap it all, announcement of CPEC brought India yet again in open confrontation with Pak, with US expressing her concerns rather covertly. Iran embarked in a competitive mode and India immediately fell in line to provide Iran with all out support to develop Chah Bahar and rail links etc. Afghanistan’s attitude towards CPEC heavily effected by USA, India and Iran also turned negative.

Now the presence of such a formidable block next-door and diplomatic weaknesses elsewhere, will have ominous and far reaching implications for Pakistan. It will affect our plan of regional economic integration, desire of restoring internal peace and yearning of calm borders. It can also result in small skirmishes and military stand offs.

It may affect the timelines of CPEC, disallowing reaping full benefits of the expected game changer. However, Chinese resolve and their influence over Iran may help us to bulldoze the projects in spite of huge obstacles. So a lot is dependent on Pak-China plans and strong understanding.

It is pertinent and important to think about Pakistan’s options regarding these countries growing nexus, regional environment and international realignments. Let me start with comparatively easier possibilities, and then the difficult ones.

Middle East: We cannot afford to keep ourselves alienated and aloof from our long time reliable friends. A special diplomatic task force be formulated to undertake sustained efforts to make amends. Military diplomacy should also be pursued to reach some amenable understandings, without annoying China and Russia

China: We must ask China, to sign and announce high profile cooperation accords and openly declare the two countries going for a strategic and military alliances, to help each other in pursuance of common interests, and also help each other in case of any aggression. Special emphasis on resolve for completion of CPEC. I am proposing proper legally binding and overt accords.

Turkey: Strengthen and deepen our political, economic and military ties with Turkey for meaningful and effective economic and military effects, for obvious reasons. People to people and institutional contacts be expanded and made more frequent.

Russia: Under the strongman Putin, Russia is in initial stages of asserting itself. Their disillusion with India, and expanding ties with Iran due to common approach about many global issues, should be gainfully build in our diplomatic endeavours. We need to remember that they have a lot of experience in Afghan and Balochistan matters.

Iran: With a glorious history, and successful wading through post revolution troubled waters, Iran is emerging as a very confident country. They have amply displayed their political and diplomatic acumen, during the recent nuclear related crisis. And now, Iran is fully poised for an active economic and political role in the world affairs. They have clearly shown their political leaning towards emerging Russo-China block without compromising their economic interests elsewhere in the world. Recent events exhibit their cementing ties with India and Afghan Unity government. But their ambassador’s recent views on CPEC and Chahbahar, and their affinity with China affords an opportunity to Pakistan to veer Iran away from Indo-Iran-Afghan nexus, by employing superior diplomacy and playing our cards well. This should be given top priority, as this neighbour must not get further alienated, otherwise our isolation and encirclement shall be complete and formidable. Chinese services must be employed to carve out friendly accords with Iran. This is an absolute necessity in immediate time frame. We may build Iranian interest in CPEC and accept the offer of making Chabahar and Gwadar as one big complex. This move is likely to be welcomed by China also.

USA: The government and the people of USA must be reminded of our long sustained allegiance starting with SEATO, CENTO, then our help in establishing diplomatic ties with China by facilitating Kissinger’s and Nixon’s meeting with Chinese leadership. Pakistan’ role in last war in Afghanistan and now whole hearted collaboration in war on terror should not be forgotten, in spite of their continuous nudging to ‘Do More’. They might not find a similar partner, which at times, showing naivety, compromised its own interests for their sake. But now it seems, due to CPEC plans, and America’s Afghan dream going sour. This may entail shifts in alliances, politico-economic blocks, and regional plans to fight terrorism.

India: In my opinion the Indian case is crystal clear. They remain our number one enemy irrespective of whatever ups and downs experienced in last 70 years. With Modi’s ascension to power, improving Indian economy, increasing political influence in the region and above all understanding with US to play as regional proxy, the political scene of central and South Asia is fast changing, to a large extent detrimental to Pakistan’s interests. We may offer them joining the corridor at Wagah and Khokrapar, conditionally, only in exchange for giving relief to Kashmiris from military atrocities. Linking of Chabahar with Gawadar would also be an effective economic bait. However the base line denominator being, strengthening our deterrence and off setting any weaknesses that may have occurred due to Indian ABM and SLBM tests, besides huge conventional acquisition. We should also review our concept of ‘Full Spectrum Deterrence ‘, as it has failed to deter the fourth and fifth generation warfare, being inflicted on us. No more on this, as this begs a separate and detailed treatment, some other time.

To put our house in order, we have not been able to remove inter-institutional mistrusts. A large section of the population is deprived of social justice, education, healthcare and economic opportunities; thus remain vulnerable and exploitable, with no say in their personal and national matters. The system that seems to be sluggish and non performing, is not likely to change. There is an immediate requirement to realign our political and military options. We need to put aside our internal quarrels, for some time, and focus whole heartedly to get us out of the present, political, military and social mess.

Kalabagh dam: Lessons from International disputes: by Zafar Mehmood: 06 June, 2016 "The Nation"

In India, sensing the need to resolve the future water disputes among different states, the Union government was given the powers vide Article 262 of the Indian Constitution to constitute a judicial forum (tribunal) to resolve such issues. Article 262 states;

1) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.

2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in Clause (1).

However, formation of Tribunals under the above Article to adjudicate water disputes proved ineffective and most of the conflicts were resolved, not through judicial process but through negotiations at the political forums.

India has 14 major rivers, which are all inter-State. Out of its 44 medium rivers, 9 are inter-State. Because large areas of India are relatively arid, mechanisms for allocating scarce water are critically important to the welfare of the citizens. India being a federal democracy and because rivers cross state boundaries, constructing efficient and equitable mechanisms for allocating river flows is an important legal and constitutional issue.

Numerous inter-state river water disputes have erupted since independence. A recent disagreement over use of the Yamuna River among the states of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, was resolved by conferences involving three state Chief Ministers, as well as the central government. This approach was adopted only after prior intervention by the Supreme Court had failed.

States in India may also settle water disputes by signing agreements among themselves. In India, unlike the United States, the Constitution is silent about interstate agreements. They are not expressly authorized or prohibited. But there are several statutes, including the Inter-State Water Disputes Act itself, which by implication assume that the States can and will sign agreements among themselves to address common problems.

According to the Indian Central Water Commission data, there are 125 separate interstate water agreements. Some agreements date back to the time when India was a British colony. Others were executed in the early 1990s. From a number of examples, four have been chosen to illustrate that States in India who share a river basin were able to resolve their disputes in the spirit of accommodating each other’s point of view. These representative examples cover the sensitive areas of diversion of water to non-basin area, cost sharing arrangement for development project and water trading between States. Unfortunately in Pakistan, Provinces are not inclined to invest in water resource management. Similarly they are shy of putting a price tag on water.

Water Trading

An example of trading water as a commodity can be found in the “Tungabhadra river water sharing case” between Madras and Mysore (Karnataka) in 1944. An agreement was concluded, whereby it was agreed with Mysore that royalties shall be paid to Madras in lieu of the utilization of its share of the waters of Cauvery River at Sivasamudram. This agreement shows how states can trade off benefits from a shared resource. In this case, the former paid compensation in cash to the latter in lieu of its share of water.

Cost Sharing arrangements

The Musakhand Dam Project provides a good example of sharing of costs and benefits in a common interstate river project, by the two riparian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In this case, both states shared the cost in proportion to the benefits, for which a detailed calculation of the division of water and construction of canals and dams was devised.

Diversion of water to non-basin area

The issue of diversion was dealt with in the 1978 Narmada River Water Dispute, in which four states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat were contestant parties. The Narmada Water Tribunal was constituted and the dispute referred to it. In its decision, the tribunal quoted the findings of the Indus Commission (the Rao Commission) and Articles IV and V of the Helsinki Rules 1966 and held the view that equitable apportionment is the appropriate rule in adjudicating a dispute like this. It also observed that:

“the diversion of water of an inter-state river, outside the river basin is legal and the need for diversion of water to another watershed may, therefore, be a relevant factor on the question of equitable apportionment in the circumstances of a particular case. …the question of diversion of water of an inter-state river to areas outside the basin is not a question of law but is a question of fact to be determined in the circumstances of each particular case”.

The ruling explicitly relied on the principles of equitable apportionment and directed the parties to establish an entity in order to implement the project and give consent to intra-basin transfer of waters.

Water Sharing – The lingering dispute on Cauvery River

The disagreements on water issues between states in India have not been resolved in all cases. The dispute on Cauvery River has gone to different forums but is still awaiting final settlement.

The essence of the Cauvery dispute is a conflict of interests between a downstream state (Tamil Nadu) that has a long history of irrigated agriculture and an upstream state (Karnataka) that was a late starter in developing irrigation. Karnataka has the advantage of control over waters as upper riparian. However, its ambitious plans were successfully challenged by lower riparian, Tamil Nadu. To this dispute Kerala (an upstream state with modest demand) and Puducherry (the lowest riparian with a very small demand) have also become parties. Various initiatives were taken by the Central government at different times to find a lasting solution to this issue. All such efforts involved the concerned Chief Ministers. However, up till now successful settlement is still elusive. On the intervention of Indian Supreme Court, the Central government constituted the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal in 1990 when political talks failed. The Tribunal while taking into account historical usage of water by Tamil Nadu also permitted Karnataka a significant (but not the full claim) share of water. Karnataka felt that the decision of Tribunal was unfair and unimplementable and sought to nullify it by promulgating an ordinance. The Supreme Court held the ordinance illegal and remanded the matter again to the Tribunal. In 1998, a Cauvery River Authority (CRA) was set up, with the Prime Minister in chair and Chief Ministers as members. Certain aspects of the Final Order by the Tribunal in 2007 were again challenged by all States in the Supreme Court and still pending for decision. The core of the lingering dispute pertains to the distribution of water during shortage period and in times of drought. The CRA intervenes periodically to resolve water distribution disputes on ad hoc basis.

Another aspect of water management in India is different from our experience. The construction of storages to augment supplies in lean supply periods is mostly in the hands of the States. The federal government in India commonly referred to as the “Central Government” does not own large dams for irrigation. That responsibility falls to the States, which have taken the lead to build and manage dams across India’s large rivers. That is why the storage capacity on Indus Basin is far less than India.

The Central Government has, however, created several joint ventures with States to build dams. The Nathpa Jhakri Power Corp. (between the Central Government and the State of Himachal Pradesh) and Tehri Hydro Development Corp., Ltd. (between the Central Government and the State of Uttar Pradesh), are such examples.

Various inter-state and inter-provincial examples in case of USA and India show that even the intense water disputes among federating units which may be called states or provinces are better resolved through negotiations and through give and take options. The federal government also makes positive contribution by joining hands with federating units to develop consensus and facilitate resolution of intricate water issues.

Kashmir: the excesses of Indian Army: by Shuddhabrata Sengupta: 14 April, 2016 "Daily Times"

Nothing unusual has happened in Handwara. The Indian state has once again proved to be a killer in Kashmir. Three people have lost their lives because the Indian armed forces decided to defend themselves against people protesting against what they perceived to be a soldier’s harassment and molestation of a Kashmiri woman.

The troops that defend India’s honour, unity and integrity and other such stuff have been trained to shoot to kill rather than answer a town’s questions about the sense of impunity that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and the entire apparatus of a de-facto military occupation gives to Indian soldiers in the Kashmir valley.

Let’s stop pretending this is an exceptional situation, an excess, an anomaly, or even an instance of soldiers going rogue. Whatever be the facts of the case, if the name of the village of Kunan Poshpora, or of two women called Nilofar and Asiya mean anything to you, you will know that a predatory sexual profile is part of the operational signature of the Indian armed forces in Kashmir.

Moreover, if you think that the sudden death of unarmed young people in Kashmir is an exceptional situation, just remember what happened only two months ago. A young student called Shaista Hamid, was killed when a bullet fired by Indian soldiers hit her in the verandah of her own home near Pulwama. This happened around the same time when another young person, a soldier called Hanumanthappa, died in an avalanche in Kashmir. If you weigh the accounts of these two deaths, both tragic, both unnecessary, you will find, many minutes of footage, and reams of newsprint about Hanamanthappa. The chances are, you will find next to nothing on Shaista Hamid.

When Hanamanthappa joined the armed forces, he knew that he was putting himself in danger. Did Shaista Hamid simply make the mistake of being born in the wrong place, at the wrong time? If you go further back in time, you will find, month by month, unarmed young people falling to the bullets fired from the barrels of guns belonging to the Indian armed forces and paramilitaries in Kashmir. Did they all make the mistake of being simply born in Kashmir, of speaking Kashmiri, of occasionally testing the sound of ‘azaadi’(freedom) on their tongues, in their accent?

The sequence of events that unfolded this time in Handwara went something like this. It was monotonously familiar. An Indian soldier allegedly attempted to molest a Kashmiri woman. Some young people got wind of what was happening and intervened. The public gathered in protest. They asked for the soldier to be punished. The armed forces stationed at a bunker refused to listen to them. The assembled people threw stones. The soldiers fired. Two young men, one of them a promising cricketer, and a woman were injured in the firing. They all succumbed to their injuries.

One of those killed, according to the Greater Kashmir newspaper was Nayeem Qadir Bhat, resident of Banday Mohalla, a first year student in Government Degree College Handwara, and a cricket buff. Nayeem was selected for all-India level coaching camp for cricket three years ago. He had shown extraordinary performance in the state level under-19 cricket competition, and was especially selected for an All India Under 19 Cricket Coaching Camp.

The Indian nationalism that makes some young people decide that the celebration of a West Indies cricket victory by Kashmiri students is unacceptable happens to be the same mindset that pumps a bullet into the body of a Kashmiri young man who could one day have played for the cricket team that Indian patriots lose sleep over. Is it only in Kashmir that the otherwise staid game of cricket has such ridiculously tragic consequences? One good reason for the dismantling of nation-states and their imperial projects is the liberation, not just of peoples, but also of sport from the obscenity of nationalism gone rogue.

What happened next in Handwara could have been pre-scripted. The army issued a statement saying that the incident was unfortunate. The chief minister expressed regret. Tomorrow, when the funerals of these three human beings will be the venue of further protests, in all likelihood, the armed forces will use lethal force again (though we hope better sense prevails). If there are casualties the cycle will repeat itself. Curfew will be imposed. Flag marches will occur. And gradually, another storm of rage will break over the valley of Kashmir.

An incompetent government at the centre, and its client in the state, will act with characteristic and predictable venality. A chain of military command that has learnt nothing at all over decades of facing the people of Kashmir, will commit, again, a series of horrifying and cumulative excesses. The media in Delhi, which had begun fulminating, not entirely unjustifiably, against the Jammu and Kashmir Police for a ‘mild lathi-charge’ (baton-charge) on ‘non-local’ (mainland Indian) students when their petulant, spoilt-brattish inability to take a defeat in cricket gracefully turned into some stone-throwing, will now stay silent, or find ways to blame the people who take the bullets in the streets of Kashmir. We have seen this happen before. The army will open fire, and the people will be blamed for being in the way of the hail of bullets.

The comparison will be obvious, but nobody will make it easily in television studios, so lets make it here: when young ‘Indian’ people at the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar throw stones after a routine cricket match result-related tiff, the police beats them with canes. When young ‘Kashmiri’ people throw stones after being faced with deafening silence in the wake of sexual harassment, the army shoots to kill.

Azaadi in Kashmir is, of course, an imperative for the Kashmiri people, who understandably, want to be rid of a situation that attempts to normalise an ‘alien’ army shooting to kill young people protesting against sexual harassment, and a thousand other crimes. But echoing the demand of azaadi for Kashmir from India is now perhaps the only way we in India can be rid of the moral stain of having these acts committed in our name.

In the past two months, we have heard, and read, and thought a lot about young people asking for azaadi, or for their dignity, in their own ways, in the campuses of different Indian universities. We have also seen the brutal police response to those calls for freedom. Notwithstanding the fact that each of those instances of police brutality in Indian universities needs to be condemned (and has been condemned), we also need to recognise the fact that so far, no Indian student in Delhi, or Hyderabad, or Jadavpur, or even non-local students in NIT, Srinagar, have been shot down by any soldier, police or paramilitary trooper. But the merest whisper of a protest in a Kashmir town leads to the use of lethal weapons by the Indian army.

Nothing demonstrates more clearly the fact that the Indian state acts differently with different kinds of protestors. When it comes to ‘mainland Indian students in Kashmir’ or protesting students in ‘mainland India’, the Indian state badmouths, manipulates, imprisons and harasses in a manner that is vile and cruel, but when it comes to student protestors in Kashmir, it shoots to kill, without hesitation. If anything demonstrates the relationship (and difference) between what Kanhaiya Kumar famously called “freedom in” and “freedom from” India, it is this. Perhaps Kanhaiya needs to do a little more hard thinking about the meanings of the words ‘in’ and ‘from’. He is not alone; many of us need to reflect on our unthinking acceptance of the doctrine of the ‘unity and integrity’ of the nation state and its borders. We need to ask again: “Is the life of human beings more, or less, important than the integrity of maps drawn on paper?”

I have no doubt that it is once again the right time to ask for azaadi, not just in India, but also from India, for Kashmiris. Likewise, perhaps it is also the right time to ask for azaadi for Indians from the culpability of being constantly rendered complicit in the enterprise of the deeply immoral military occupation of Kashmir. Students and young people in the JNU, Delhi, Hyderabad and elsewhere need to march, and to keep marching, not just for Rohith, but also now for Nayeem. Otherwise, there will never be any azaadi, not in Handwara, and not in Hyderabad.

Since this piece was posted in the early hours of April 13, several reports have surfaced quoting a testimony of the girl who was allegedly molested. These indicate that the molestation may have been committed by a person in uniform, perhaps school uniform. A video has also been circulated on social media with the testimony of a young woman.

At present no one has been able to confirm, or deny whether the young woman who is seen speaking in the video is the same person around whom the entire crisis erupted in Handwara. If it is indeed true that she was not molested by a soldier but by someone else then the incident needs to be looked at in another light. Whatever be the case, there can be no excuse whatsoever for the army shooting to kill in response to protests about any such incident. The main point of the above post (which has been modified in the light of emerging reports) does not change, no matter what the circumstances surrounding it. The trigger-happy nature of Indian forces in Kashmir is an endemic problem. The solution to this problem lies in the scrapping of the AFSPA, the lifting of the military occupation and the eventual departure of all Indian troops from the Kashmir valley.

Squandered progress in Pakistan: by Michael Kugleman: 11 April, 2016 "Daily Times"

Encouraging Things are happening in Pakistan, but and enabling enviroment for extremism and other problems within society threaten this very real progress.

Several year ago, a Pakistani economist lamented the lack of tower cranes in Pakistani cities -- an absence, he said, that signified urban underdevelopment, In contrast, during a recent trip to Islamabad and Lahore, I saw evidence of development everywhere, from homes under construction to sparkling new shopping centres. Long-time locals in Islamabad said they no longer recognised their city because of all its new shops and restuarants. Even many parts of the sleek motorway linking Lahore to Islamabad are now lined with reail outlets. More...

Beyond Kulbhushan Yadav: by K. Iqbal: 11 April, 2016 "The Nation"

Use of neighbouring soils as launching pad for hostile intelligence aggencies for disruptive and subversive purposes is not uncommon. The cardinal question is whether it is in the know of the government of the neighbouring country. In Pakistan's setting India has been using Iranian and Afghan governments have been in the know of this activity, and at times, active patner in some activities of Indian intelligence outfits. While in case of Iran, in all probability, Indian intelligence agencies have been operating without the knowledge of Iranian government . In this context the message by Pakistan Army Chief to visiting Iranian President: "Sometimes {RAW} also uses the soil of our brother country, Iran. I request they should be told to stop these activities and allow Pakistan to achieve stability," was appropriate.

However, this message should have originated from the foreign office in the form of an ambassador level Demarche. It could have either been made public or handled discreetly. In case it was necessary to originate such signalling from Army Chief's office, then confidentiality should have been discreetly guarded. A step back was in order after denial of discussion on this point by Iranian President. Judging by diplomatic norms, the message was strongly worded. And the standard diplomatic practice is that he text of any press statement meant to be released after such meetings is usually agreed to by both sides and then made public. More...

The Nuclear Security Summit and Pakistan's perspective: by Talat Masood: 30 March, 2016 "The Express Tribune"

During the next week, delegations from 51 countries, plus major groups like the European Union and the United Nations are expected to attend the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington, DC. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi are among the participants. This mega event is a reiteration of President Obama's Broader commitment that he made on assumption of office, to make the world a safer place. The global forum will provide an opportunity to discuss the adoption of measures to counter terrorism threats related to nuclear and other radio logical weapons and review the proposed safety measures. The award of Nobel Prize to President Obama has also been a factor that hs motivated him to convene these summits.

What are the implications of the summit for Pakistan and what does the future hod for us in the post-summit environment? Whereas the issues discussed at the conference will be based and not country specific, experience will be broad based and not country specific, experience reminds us that Pakistan will receive proportionately greater attention, even if it is for all the wrong reasons. This aprehension is justified by the flurry of reports and comments mostly exaggerated or inaccurate, circulationg in the international media prior to the conference, regarding the security of our programme. Not surprisingly, this prompted General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, the Adviser to National Command Authority, to make and eloquent and comprehensive speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies, defending Pakistan's programme and rebutting misgivings about its security. More...

Kanhaiya's Call: by Aijaz Zaka Syed: 11 March, 2016 "The News"

Ah, to be young and in love What an amazing speech! What an absolutely mind blowing, soul-stirring speech! You can probably speakl so freely and with such passion, instantly conquering hearts and minds, only when you are young and hopelessly in love, as JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar clearly is - with Lady Liberty. This is perhaps what Iqbal had in mind when he said:

"Khirad Ko Ghulami Se Azad Kar/Jawanon Ko Peeron ka Ustad Kar"

If anyone thought that someone who has been prison with India's most wanted for 20 days and has suffered abuses and beatings by the upholders of law inside the court room would have suitable mellowed down, they were clearly in for a disappointment.

Indeed, since he stepped out of the Tihar Jail, the baby-faced revolutionary has been defiance personified. With an easy charm and eloquence, and regulation Bihari sense of humour to boot, Kanhaiya has captured a nation's imagination.

As if to rub it in where it hurts the ruling BJP and Hindutva to most, he returned to the university with thousands of his supporters, chanting the same anti-national seditious slogans that drive the zealots up the wall and have shaken the citadel of power in Delhi. Only, he pointed out with a smile and his characteristic Bihari twang, we want 'azadi within India, and not from India". More...

Strategic restraint: by Shahzad Chaudhry: 11 March, 2016 "The News"

The Strategic Restraint Regime, when Pakistan first offered it to India in 1998 for durable peace in South Asia, was assentially composed of three defining elements - stable deterrence, proportionate reduction in the armed forces and a peaceful resolution of all lingering disputes. In essence, it encompassed those political, military and nuclear dynamics that had over time underlined the conflict between the two, or had the potential to erupt into a conflagration.

The taxonomy as indeed the doctrinal aspects of deterrence only evolved with time, but there was an acute sense of harnessing the destructive power of the nuclear bomb that had found an open expression in May 1998 by both India and Pakistan. Such a moment impelled both sides to move together to evolve a common framework which could eliminate the need for use of such destructive power. The SRR was thus proposed and came under discussion in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear blasts. It was still a malleable proposition by the time A B Vajpayeee met Nawaz Sharif in February, 1999. India refused the offer. It needed more statesmanship than was perhaps available at the time... More...

India and the NSG waiver: by Malik Muhammad Ashraf: 16 February, 2016 "The News"

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry recently observed that the US-India nuclear deal had impacted strategic stability in South Asia. Quoting recent reports by US-based Institute For Science And International Security and Nuclear Threat Initiative, he said that the waiver given by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had allowed India to exponentially increase its fissile material stocks.

It is pertinent to mention that even in their reports during 2014 ISSa, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, reported Indian plans for a new uranium enrichment facility aimed at expansion of its naval capacity and also indicated Indian efforts to pursue a thermo-nuclearoption to enhance its nuclear weapons capability.

Pakistan has persistently been voicing its concern over the discriminatory treatment meted out to it in this regard and the likely repercussions for the region as well as tensions between the two countries.

Not only Pakistan but some members of the NSG were also opposed to the grant of a waiver to India by the NSG that allowed it to trade in the nuclear materials. They expressed the view that thte move would undermine the credibility of NSG, pregerring the argument that India - being a non-signatory to the NPT - could not be granted waiver or membership of the NSG. However, the US manoeuvred a country- specific waiver for India which facilitated the latter to sign civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with over a dozen countries. Even these agreements were in violation of the spirit of an amendment that restricted supply of nuclear fuel to India and required that it should be proportionate to the legitimate requirements of Indian nuclear power plants.. More...

Leaders and legacies: by Shamshad Ahmad: 12 February, 2016 "The News"

Nations are not led by leaders any more. Countries, including those considered mothers and champions of democracies are no longer governed by moral or ethical values. The misfortunes of our world today come not from excess but from total absence of leadership at national and global levels.

Look what the Bush and Blair duo together did to their people and to the world. Both defied popular will in embarking upon a military adventure in Iraq and then circumscribing the liberties of their own people on the pretext of curbing terrorism. History didi not take long to give its verdict on their legacy.

During his last visit to Baghdad, two size 10 shoes were hurled at George W Bush in full force and in public gaze by a journalist as a farewell gift to him in the name if people killed inthat war. Unlike his other living predecessors, a scornful disesteem, if not total oblivion from public mem ory is his legacy.

Likewise, Tony Blair's legacy is also one of lies that took Britain tio war five times in six years, in Iraq in 1998, and then Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and Iraq again. His unenvible. More...

India's Satellite Tracking Station In Vietnam To 'KEEP EYE' On China: by Sanjeev Miglani and Greg Torode: 26 January, 2016 "The Nation"

India will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam that will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region, including China and the South China Sea, Indian officials said.
The move, which could irritate Beijing, deepens ties between India and Vietnam, who both have long-running territorial disputes with China. 
While billed as a civilian facility - earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and environmental applications - security experts said improved imaging technology meant the pictures could also be used for military purposes. 
Hanoi especially has been looking for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies as tensions rise with China over the disputed South China Sea, they said.
"In military terms, this move could be quite significant," said Collin Koh, a marine security expert at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. "It looks like a win-win for both sides, filling significant holes for the Vietnamese and expanding the range for the Indians."
The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will fund and set up the satellite tracking and data reception centre in Ho Chi Minh City to monitor Indian satellite launches, the Indian officials said. Indian media put the cost at around $23 million.
India, whose 54-year-old space programme is accelerating, with one satellite launch scheduled every month, has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight.
The Vietnam facility will bolster those capabilities, said Deviprasad Karnik, an ISRO spokesman.
But unlike the other overseas stations, the facility will also be equipped to receive images from India's earth observation satellites that Vietnam can use in return for granting India the tracking site, said an Indian government official connected with the space programme. 
"This is a sort of quid pro quo which will enable Vietnam to receive IRS (Indian remote sensing) pictures directly, that is, without asking India," said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. "Obviously it will include parts of China of interest to Vietnam."
Chinese coastal naval bases, the operations of its coastguard and navy and its new man-made islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea would be targets of Vietnamese interest, security experts said.
Another Indian official said New Delhi would also have access to the imagery. India has 11 earth observation satellites in orbit, offering pictures with differing resolutions and areas, the ISRO said.
Indian officials had no timeframe for when the centre would be operational. "This is at the beginning stages, we are still in dialogue with Vietnamese authorities," said Karnik.
Vietnam's Foreign Ministry confirmed the project, but provided few other details. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing that Beijing hoped the facility "will be able to make a positive contribution to pushing forward relevant cooperation in the region". China's Defence Ministry said the proposed tracking station wasn't a military issue.
Vietnam launched its first earth observation satellite in 2013, but Koh said it was not thought to produce particularly high resolution images.
Security experts said Vietnam would likely seek real-time access to images from the Indian satellites as well as training in imagery analysis, a specialised intelligence field.
"The advance of technology means the lines are blurring between civilian and military satellites," said Trevor Hollingsbee, a retired naval intelligence analyst with Britain's Defence Ministry. "In some cases, the imagery from a modern civilian satellite is good enough for military use."
Sophisticated military reconnaissance satellites can be used to capture military signals and communications, as well as detailed photographs of objects on land, capturing detail to less than a metre, Koh and other experts said.
The tracking station will be the first such foreign facility in Vietnam and follows other agreements between Hanoi and New Delhi that have cemented security ties.
India has extended a $100 million credit line for Hanoi to buy patrol boats and is training Vietnamese submariners in India while Hanoi has granted oil exploration blocks to India in waters off Vietnam that are disputed with China.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has shown a greater willingness to step up security ties with countries such as Vietnam, overriding concerns this would upset China, military officials said.
"You want to engage Vietnam in every sphere. The reason is obvious - China," said retired Indian Air Force group captain Ajay Lele at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Both India and Vietnam are also modernising their militaries in the face of Beijing's growing assertiveness, having separately fought wars with China in past decades.
Australian-based scholar Carl Thayer, who has studied Vietnam's military since the late 1960s, said the satellite tracking facility showed both nations wanted to enhance security ties. "Their interests are converging over China and the South China Sea," he said.–Reuters

Bloody learning: by Syed Talat Hussain: 25 January, 2016 "The News"

Universities are seats of learning. The Bacha Khan University in Charsadda has become particularly so after last week's soul-sapping carnage. It offers a bloody but significant tutorial on the new shape of terrorism that stalks our land and what we need to do to save our future.

The incident tells us several things. First, it shows that new terrorism relies on mobility and agility, and benefits from the oddity of the targets its selects. The profile of the killers and their ages show they were new recruits who were not heavily armed in the sense of being loaded for a long-drawn out fight.

Their clothes and ages put them somewhere in the lower tier of the terrorists' selection of fodder for such operations. One news report suggests that one the them may have even been killed by students who reportedly had a gun of two handy in the hostel.

They were restricted by the resistance they hot from the guards and, later on, by the police. This means they had not anticipated the response. This is unlike how terrorists plan large missions. Also one on campus they gave the impression of a group on the run rather then on a hunt.

One can only imagine the possible have four experienced gun-toting terrorists on a deadly mission could have wreaked on campus with any number of random targets in sight. Thankfully, they failed to make use of the near total vulnerability of the campus with any number of random targets in sight. more...


Pakistan -- Is it really as bad as they say?: by Hamid Shahid Khan: 19 January, 2016 "Pakistan Today"

A lack of gas, oil, petrol, infrastructure, government writ, responsibility, cleanliness, healthcare - adinfinitum: the list, as they say, is endless. But when we look outside, to our foreign neighbours in the South East, and even to the West - one is prompted to ask, conversely, whether Pakistan is really as bad as the global and, at times, local media outlets portray it to be.

Poverty, unethical and immoral practices...

Pakistanis, most times, can be heared lambasting the unethical and immoral way which things take place in Pakistan - corruption, white collar crime, bribery, are themes that are continuously and contentiously debated in men's hair salons, parks drawing rooms and terraces across the land; where ever there's a gathering of friends, random folks or relatives, there's almost certainly going to be some sort of critical analysis of how bad things are in the city, town or village, laced delicately with some allusion to politics and, subsequently, geopolitics.

But, much of the time, such discussion and debate tend to completely ignore the fact that Pakistan does not have a sole stake in the problems of the world. Let's look at our closest neighbours: Russia, India, even China. Like Pakistan these countries are agrarian. more...


Khalistan 2020: by Waqar K kauravi: 12 January, 2016 "The News"

The second night of 2016 witnessed a strange sequence of events around Pathankot in Indian Punjab. Reportedly an official SUV belonging to the SP of Pathankot was hijacked by terrorists, who managed to throw out the SP and head towards the airforce base of Pathankot, one of the most strongly guarded airbases in India.

The hijackers easily penetrated the heavily guarded airbase, Incidentally the entrance barriers of the airbase were removed exclusively for the vehicle to enter. The attachers then went on terrorising spree for almost a full day, right under media glare.

Early morning the India media had already traced the origin of these gunmen to Bahawalpur. There was also talk of telephone calls between the gun men and their so called Pakistani handlers.

Was this a repeat of the Dinanagar False Flag operation to hit Pakistan in a classic three-in-one strategy? Or is this part of a larger game by India intelligence to pre empt the Khalistan 2020 referendum being built up by the Sikh diaspora at the international level. In my opinion... more.


India's secret nuclear city: by Yasir Hussain: 08 January, 2016 "Daily Times"

In her address to the UN General Assembly, India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, reaffirmed her country’s support for non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament. But, contrary to its official stance, India has been producing fissile material for its nuclear weapons and is engaged in an arms buildup at a time when other states are cutting-down their stocks. The Centre for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit, non-partisan investigative news organisation in Washington DC published a comprehensive report on India’s secret nuclear weapon facility in Karnataka that will produce thermonuclear weapons along with fuel for its nuclear powered submarines. The CPI’s report clearly discloses the gap that exists between India’s theoretical approach and practice.

Experts fear that the secret nuclear facility will be the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic research laboratories, weapons and aircraft testing that would not only boost India’s weapons’ capability but would certainly alter the balance of power in the volatile region. Once accomplished in 2017, the facility would enable India to modernise its existing nuclear warheads, which range from 90 to 110 in number.

The report has been published at a time when the Australia-India uranium trade agreement is going to yield enough yellow cake for India to transform its nuclear programme. The deal will free India’s indigenous uranium reserves for weapons’ development and this secret facility shows how much India is prepared to boost weapons’ capability. Ronald Walker, the former Australian diplomat and chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also expressed his concerns that the nuclear deal would do damage to the non-proliferation regime. According to former Indian scientists and military officers, nuclear powered submarines would get newly produced enriched uranium from this secret facility. Currently, India has one indigenously developed submarine, the INS-Arihant, which has already undergone sea trials in 2014. A second, INS Aridhaman, is already under construction and India is also planning to get a Russian nuclear sub on lease. The new facility will provide more than enough enriched uranium to India’s growing nuclear submarine fleet.

Conferring to estimates of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, Arihant-class submarine core needs only about 143 pounds of uranium, enriched to 30 percent. However, the estimated capacity of centrifuges in a single Mysore would be 352 pounds of weapons’ grade uranium left over every year even after fueling its naval fleet. This means the fuel would be enough for 22 hydrogen bombs.

The 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) agreed to grant India a specific waiver exempting it from the NSG’s rules governing civilian nuclear trade. With the NSG waiver, an over three decades’ long embargo on civilian nuclear trade with India ended. As a result, India got access to global nuclear trade without being signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The main purpose behind changing the rules of nuclear trade in India’s favour was to make India agree to work on the early negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). However, the recent report shows Indian motivations as being otherwise. This is highly unfortunate as most Indians sought country specific exemption as an important stepping-stone in achieving ‘great’ or ‘world’ power status. Greatness comes with great responsibilities and India’s definition of great power must not be limited to its expending nuclear power.

In another report, US officials and nuclear experts said that India’s security practices have repeatedly ranked lower than those of Pakistan and Russia. According to a presentation made by Indian experts at a US National Academy of Sciences workshop on nuclear security in Bangalore in 2012, most of the troubling incidents at nuclear facilities in India have involved insiders. Without addressing these critical issues, India has been expanding its nuclear arsenal.

There is no doubt about India’s remarkable economic growth but it has yet to trickle down to its millions living below the poverty line. It has the potential to follow in the footprints of the peaceful rise of China. For that, India needs to revisit its security policy. If it aims to play a vital role in the global arena, it needs to quit the confrontationist approach. The acquisition of more nuclear warheads will bring more security consciousness not only in India but South Asia in general.

South Asia is home to the world’s largest population living under the poverty line. Approximately, 194.6 million people are undernourished in India, which accounts for the highest number of people suffering from hunger in any single country. Similarly, Pakistan is equally suffering from massive poverty and poor economic growth. Yet, our priorities are messed up with so-called security concerns. Dichotomies exist in our misplaced priorities. Both states have the potential to transform this chaotic region with sincere and trustworthy efforts.

India is a greater power in the region and it has greater responsibilities associated with it. It needs to show its greatness by uplifting social conditions, not the number of nukes. Instead of developing clandestine nuclear facilities, it needs to work on confidence building measures. The weaponization of South Asia will not bring peace and stability to the volatile region. The flow of incoming weapons will stop the moment India and Pakistan settle their long-standing disputes. A peaceful South Asia is the dream of millions of Indians and Pakistanis. Let us build bridges, remove misconceptions and make efforts for peace in the region.

Pakistan 2015 and Modi;s visit: by Yasmeen Aftab Ali: 29 December, 2015 "Pakistan Today"

Pakistan had a challenging 2015 marked by issues pertaining to internal and external dynamics demanding some smart problem solving and diplomatic acumen. On the domestic front, electricity and gas shortages, failure of government to address the issues of the common man, unemployment, inflation, and taxation structure that does not include certain taxpayer groups, health and education were put on the backbench, while corruption remains high. War on Terror showed a greater degree of success but we saw a standoff between the Sindh government and the federal setup over power of Rangers leading to a situation if instability.

Historical political disputes and instability have led to low investment in country. Textile exports earnings have suffered owing to electricity shortagesdirectly affecting production levels and failure of the country to expand its export base for the manufacturers. Whereas Exim Bank of China enters. more...

Pakistan through the eyes of an Arab: by Wafa Zaidan: 29 December, 2015 "The Express Tribune"

Some weeks ago I arrived in Islamabad with the aim of sitting for the B2 French exam in Lahore. I ended up extending my stay in the country by a week. It was difficult to move with my family to Qatar sometime back after having lived in Pakistan for most of my life, yet it took me no time to feel the warmth of being back home once I took my first step off of the aircraft.

It was a stroke of good luck that my stay here was extended because I got the opportunity to vote in the local government elections in Islamabad that were held for the first time. It felt like Eid in that people seemed to be in a festive mood on election day, the roadsides were dotted by poters of candidates and banners of political prties with the odd miniature tiger and cricket bat also apparent.

Some voters wore head-bands or topis of the parties they supported. Others reflected their party of choice by the colour of their dress. Stalls of each of the independent candidates and the participating political parties dotted the area around the polling stations and everyone was dressed up as if it was a national festival. Perhaps it was. My phone didn't stop beeping the night before polling day, with messages and calls from parties campaigning for their respective candidates.

On polling day itself, one could see that those who had voted for the same party exchanged looks of satisfaction and pride at the polling stations, even though they were meeting each other for the first time. And the fact that most people showing up the vote were young, drew wide smiles on the faces of everyone present at the polling station. It did not matter sho won. What was significant was the patriotic spirit that was on display in one the most beautiful cities in the world. more...

The undeclared partition of Afghanistan: by Musa Khan Jalalzai: 19 December, 2015 "Daily Times"

The recent fall of Kunduz to the Taliban left far reaching effects on the ethnic balance in the north where the state has not been in full control since 1992. The fall also occurred due to the administrative and political confrontations between the two ethnic presidents (Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah), which undermined the unity and integrity of the state. Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Rangin Spanta and former Afghan spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil criticised the government for its inability to manage the affairs of the state. President Ashraf Ghani recently admitted that some invisible enemy wanted the political partition of his country. “The enemy’s plan was that the political geography of Afghanistan should be partitioned into two,” he said. On December 3, 2015, the advisor to the chief executive, Mr Sanchakari, warned that some foreign and local groups wanted to divide Afghanistan. These complaints are not political stories; the government lost its control on 70 percent of its territory. Experts think the government is helpless and ineffective to counter such plots and this ineffectiveness might lead to the second Durand Line. The debate on the partition of Afghanistan has gone deep while the president suffers irritation and frustration as some ethnic commanders within the army and police forces are making things worse.

Interestingly, the country is being run by two presidents, two cabinets, two administrations, two bureaucracies, two budgets and two separate decision making entities. The appointments and transfers of governors and executive officers are being done on an ethnic basis. One president transfers or appoints an executive officer or governor, another rejects it and appoints his own men instead. The plan for the second Durand Line is in its final stage, while terrorists have started gathering in second Waziristan (Badakhshan) to push their operations inside Russia and China. President Ghani is also part of the plan of the second Durand Line to permanently divide the country on ethnic lines. Dr Abdullah is beating the drum behind him. Ambassador Robert Blackwill, in one of his speeches at the International Institute for Strategic Studies London disclosed that the US and its allies are thinking about a second Durand Line to divide Afghanistan into south and north.

The exponentially growing networks of Islamic State (IS) and its military strength in the country is a matter of great concern. The issue of controversial standpoints on terrorism remain. President Abdullah brands the Taliban as terrorists while President Ghani says they are not terrorists; they are political opposition. He also says, “Some members of the group have legitimate grievances given the torture and ill treatment they have suffered, and it is necessary to find ways to apologise and heal national wounds.” President Abdullah brands IS as the enemy of the people of Afghanistan while President Ghani remains tight lipped. Pakistan has, in the past, proudly viewed the Taliban as its national asset. Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussian recently admitted that the Afghan Taliban were not considered an enemy on Pakistani soil.

However, the White House views the Taliban as facilitators of peace and IS as its naughty child. The Washington Post recently reported that Iraqi officials said that the US supported IS. Some Iraqi soldiers told the newspaper that they had seen videos of US planes dropping weapons to the IS military command. The US government does not stick to the principles and commitment of the Bilateral Security Accord (BSA) signed in 2014. The Pentagon and CIA are fighting IS in the Middle East and Persian Gulf but provide training to its fighters in Afghanistan. The Strategic Partnership Agreement, which was signed on May 1, 2012 between Afghanistan and the US, clearly elucidates that the Obama administration is committed to the stability and development of Afghanistan but, unfortunately, the Pentagon and CIA never realised the pain of the dying, staggering state of the country.

These contradictions of mind and thought have confused the military establishment of the country, which sacrifices more than 100 young solders every week in the war against the Taliban and IS. The Afghan state machinery is in deep crisis. The state has shattered and generated several states within a fragmented state. The bloodletting between the Taliban and IS continues unabated. Corruption has deeply wounded the body of the state. The staggering, one-leg Afghan state is being run by warlords and war criminals, which promote their own agenda, maintain their own militias and feed them from the state’s budget.

The majority of these war criminals act as police commanders and generals, and receive huge sums from the CIA and Pentagon. They officially control the resources of the missing state and are deeply involved in corruption, sexual abuse and drug trafficking. The clashes among state institutions have often been reported in the Afghan press. Clashes between parliament and local governments, and the scandal of Kabul Bank broke the back of the Afghan economy while, in 2015, Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Muhammadi and his colleagues defalcated all but $ 250 million in a contract with a foreign oil company. Now the process of revenue generation is in shambles as the tax money goes in the pockets of provincial governors and administrators.

On November 30, 2015, the deputy of the CEO, warlord Muhammad Khan, warned that powerful government officials, warlords and militia commanders had grabbed three million acres of land across the country. Many ethnic groups still need their representation and voice in the government. It is going to be a great task to integrate Afghan society. Afghans are living in a constant state of fear while millions of refugees in Pakistan and Iran are unable to return due to the instability across the country. Roads are not safe. Governors and higher officials, women and children are under threat. Highways, government offices and military headquarters are in danger. There is no job, no health and physical security, no food and no means of earning. As insurgents and separatist groups receive sophisticated weapons from their masters, the national security and territorial integrity of Afghanistan has come even more under threat. It seems the partition of the country is inevitable.

South Asia's security challenge: by Shahzad Chaudhry: 19 December, 2015 "The News"

The three great mountain ranges the Himalayas, the Karakorums and the Hindu-Kush - dwarf the Subcontinent on its south and China in its north. Approximately 35,000 sq kms of glaciers form an icecap over the three ranges but primarily on the Himalayas and the Karakorums.

The spread of these glaciers is east to west, covering a large region spawning the most populous nations on this planet India and China with populations of over a billion each, and Pakistan and Bangladesh, the two most densely populated countries.

At the conflation of three greatest mountain ranges, and over its expanse, lie the mouths of four large river systems with numerous tributaries some big enough to constitute their own system that feed these cavernous populations. The Indus, the largest of them all, roots out of Nepal; the Yangtze which later becomes the Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh is sourced through Tibet. more...

Continuing discrimination against Pakistan: by Zamir Akram: 17 December, 2015 "The News"

The latest phase in the American pattern of discrimination against Pakistan is to demand a cap on Pakistan's nuclear weapons production and missile delivery capabilities without any matching requirement on India.

These proposals have been obediently parroted by American think tanks such as Carnegie Endowment and The Simson Center as well as mainstream media including the New York Times. Clearly, since this would undermine the credibility of Pakistan's ability to deter a conventional and or strategic offensive, this demand has been roundly rejected by Pakistan.

Nevertheless, it is instructive to examine the fallacious arguments that have been used by the US. Their first argument is that Pakistan's nuclear assets, especially tactical weapons, can fall into the hands of terrorists or radicl insider. However, none other than US president Obama has an. more...

Miracle of Indus River' in Pakistan: 17 December, 2015 "The Business"

It is known not only in Dorea but also around the world that Pakistan is a frequent victim of terrorism because terrorist attacks in the frontier region of Pakistan get a lot of media coverage.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government, which came to power in May 2013, and the Pakistani military authorities are jointly committed to proceeding according to the 'National Action Plan on anti-terrorism' in order to root out terrorism and extremism from Pakistan.

Because of media coverage on terrorism activities in Pakistan, Korea has understandably failed to notice its long standing relationship woth Pakistan and the glorious Pakistani culture and its immense potentiality. Pakistan has world heritage site of an ancient city called Mohenjo Daro, or "Mound of the Dead" which represents the Indus Valley Civilization of the world. The site was discovered in the 1920s in Sindh.

The relationship between Korea and pakistan traces back up to 1700 year ago. The monk Maranatha from Pakistan went on Korea, through China, to spread Buddhism in the Baekje Kingdom in 384. A. D. The 8th century Monk hyecho from Korea wrote a travelogue called "Memoirs of the pilgrimage to the five Kingdoms of India". Out of the five kingdoms that the monk Hyecho visited as mentioned in his travelogue, three kingdoms are Peshawar, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Kashmir.

Pakistan Provided us food and medicine aid amounting the US$ 300,00 during North Korea's invasion in 1950, Furthermore, when we were trui9ng to set up the first 5 years economic development plan, the then secretary of development planning in Pakistan gave advice on economic development to our experts. Pakistan should be appreciated for this. more...

Hackneyed phrases and diplomatic Jargons: by Muhammad Saeed: 18 November, 2015 "The Balochistan Times"

Ever since the American intervention in Afghanistan in post 9/11 scenario, inriminating Pakitsan for its 'criminality' of speedily developing nuclear system s agaist a formidable and real thereat from India; an avowed enemy, has remainded a preferred mater of both Pakistani and foriegn including Indian and American nuclear experts. Cuirrent letting loose of an ascetic spat particularly agaist Pakistan's tactical nuclear weapons and for taking a logical line of defense agaist discriminatory Confrerence on Disarmament on FMCT, is not totally beyond comprehension.

Nit-picking by certain Pakistani theorist like smartly studious Dr Hoodbhoy and nascent nuclear analyst Mr. Rizwan Asghar, about petential commission of low yield nuclear weapons in defense inventory purely as weapons of deterrence in the face of augmented Indian aggression and a mad race to acquire added nuclear potency, appears to have single purpose to denigrate Pakistan while paving way for Indians or their allies to find a pretext of aggression against pakistan by stage managing an incident either inside India or at a sensitive site domestically to incriminate Pakistan the criminality of having links with nuclear avid terrorists. Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hand of Al Qaeda and alike till recent times were one of most drummed out phrases. In line with diplomatic jargons teased around, Pakistan's short range nuclear capable weapons once again velemently associated with ISIS or Daish, particularly after awesomely trouncing Taliban and Al Qaeda by Pakistan armed forces, need no explanation about the frustration of Indians who waste no time in taking advantage from the awesome nuclear wisdom of Mr. Rizwan Asghar and alike.

The 6000 ton INS Arihant, India's first nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine, which has already comleted sea trials, has also accomplished its missile test firing. These test involved 700 kilometer range K-15 submarine - launched ballistic missile or the 3,500 kilometer K-4. These tests have enabled India to complete its nuclear triad, giving the country's strategic planners multiple options agaist a nuclear confrontation with China and more importantly Pakistan. A nuclear triad refers to the three components of atomic wapons delivery i.e. strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and SLBMs. Amongst the three elements of the synchroniztion, India considers the SLBMs. more...

What we lose from a civil-nuclear deal: by M. Umair Arif: 11 November, 2015 "The News"

Ever sine David Ignatius October 6 Washington Post article on a possible diplomatic blockbuster - a US-Pakistan nuclear deal - there has been a sense of achievement in the political, intellectual and military circles in Pakistan.

The possibility of such a deal has been hailed as Pakistan's greatest achievements by some because that would, maybe, equate us with the India-US nuclear deal of 2008. But let us deeply analyse this reality before jumping to any conclusions and celebrations.

The first and foremost important aspect of this discussion is to understand the reality of US-India nuclear deal. The discussion of a nuclear ceal with India started in 2005. It materialised in 2008, and India was not been able to reach a single nuclear agreement with the United States or any other country till 2015. According to G Balachanran, a consulting fellow at the New Delhi-based Institute for defence Studies and Analysis, "The only nuclear cooperation that India has been able to conclude with any of the countries with whom it has nuclear cooperation agreements is in respect of nuclear fuel." more...

The Modi magic is waning: by Mohammad Jamil: 11 November, 2015 "Daily Times"

The Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a humiliating defeat in the Bihar State Assembly elections due to the extremism and religious intolerance that went on the rise after Narendra modi came to power in India. On May 26, 2014, Narendra Modi took oath of office as India's 15th Prime Minister, 10 daysafter a landslide election victory and heaviest mandate in 30 years. But within nine months of the BJP's unprecedented win, Narendra Modi's halo started disappearing and his party was routed in the New Delhi elections. The BJP's defeat in New Delhi was not only a political setbackbut also proved a prelude to the weakening of the BJP. Disapproval for the BJP and its slogans is reflective of public sentiments against the party's support for the communal agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh taking roots in Indian polity and society.

Narendra Modi faces a delemma: if he continues to facilitate and promote corporate interests, it will create unrest among the great majority of the people living below the poverty line, as the fruits of Indian growth rate are not reaching the grass roots level. In case he neglects corporate interests, foreign investment will not come. Of course, he has disappointed the people in general, as he has failed to give a boost to the economy. Secondly, India has all along been claiming itself the largest democracy and a secular state but under Narendra Modi it is neither a democracy nor a secular state. Showing utter disregard to India's Constitution, he has given free hand to Hindu extremists who want to convert India into a Hindu state. The reason is that Modi is a harcore Hindu who believes in the Hindutva doctrine. more...

Hindutva vs hope: by Irfan Husain: 07 November, 2015 "Dawn"

Politician, generals and diplomats in India and Pakistan all realise the blessings of peace once they are no longer in office.

And so it has proved in the recent spate of public discussions in Karachi with the arrival of an Indian delegation of the great and the good. The occasion was the lauch of Khurshid Kasuri's book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove. In another event, our affable ex-foreign minister voice his confidence in the common sense of people on both sides of the border.

I wish I could share his optimism. After years of being a dove on the question of our relations with India, I fear I have finally succumbed to pessimism about the process ir, indeed, there is a process to speak of.

For a long time now, I have written about the need to overcome past grievances, and join the rest of the human . more...

Doval Doctrine vis-a-vis ETIM: by Reema Shaukat: 07 November, 2015 "The Business"

Understanding the geographical dog maticrealisms of the post Cold War scenario, China and India accepted normalisation towards each other after a brief border skirmish in 1962 but an infinite distrust over a long standing territorial dispute and now other issues of extremism are a matter of great concern for China. A top Chinese delegation led by Vice President of China, Li Yuanchao would be visiting India from 3rd November 2015 till 7th November 2015. Apparently, both states during the visit of Chinese Vice President will discuss bilateral relations but there are rumours and buzz, which indicate that conferring Indian involvement in terrorism and extremist activities in the region is an ultimate agenda.

It is also anticipated that India will be criticised for its support to East Turkestan Islamic Movement by China. ETIM is an extremist movement in Xinjiang province of China bordering with eight countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan. Initiated in 1997, the ETIM is a separatist movement with an aim of liberating Xinjiang from what it calls China's colonial occupation, establishing the East Turkestan sovereign state. Xinjiang is a strategicaly important province with about 45% percent of its people belonging to the Turkic-speaking Uyghur Muslim ethnic community.

Although several separatist and extremist groups operate in the province, ETIM has been the most effective and the most widely condemned over its terrorist activities. Its members range across Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and operate from sanctuaries mostly dotted across the war-torn Pakistan - Afghanistan border. It was earlier publicised that India has been deteriorating regional stability by funding ETIM militants and training them in camps located in deffernt parts of Afghanistan particularly Nuristan, Kunnar and Kandhar Provinces. more...

A visionary Leader: by Rizwan Jamil Jaffery: 03 November, 2015 "Business Recorder"

His Royal Highness Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, Aga Khan III was among the great visionary leaders that changed the fate of Muslims in the sub-continent. He not only helped preserve an identity but also uplifted the quality of life in terms of education and economic well-being. He brought tranquility in the lives of Muslims. A personality who played an important part in the independence of Pakistan. Born on 2nd November 1877 at Honeymoon lodge in Karachi he was named by his grandfather, Hasan Ali Shah, Aga Khan I. In 1885, after the sad demise of his father, Aga Ali Shah he inherited the seat as the 48th Imam of the Ismaili branch of Shia sect of Muslims. 

After the demise of his father, his early childhood days were rough and sad. He received his early education under the diligent guidance of his mother Lady Ali Shah. He developed the habit of reading at an early age as 10 and by the age of 13, he could read and write English, and was familiar with French, Persian and Arabic. As described by the popular British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham, he was an assiduous reader. He was so fond of reading that he had built a remarkable library at his home.

Sir Aga Khan III rendered his life to serve the Muslims of the sub-continent. It was very soon that he realised Muslims of the sub-continent needed a separate homeland. After the death of the great Muslim leaders, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, the steer of the Muslim’s ship came in the hands of Sir Aga Khan III. In 1906, he gave Muslims of the sub-continent a new identity by bringing the All-India Muslim League into existence. He was a mediator between the Western and Eastern worlds and helped legitimize the status of Muslims in the sub-continent not just a community but as a nation. Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah remained the President of the All-India Muslim League for seven years. 

Being a strong patron of education, Sir Aga Khan III inculcated the quest for knowledge into the lives of the Muslims of the sub-continent. With his visionary leadership, he understood that only education could uplift the status of the Muslims of India. He pressed upon the need of the establishment of Aligarh University and started a movement of upgrading the status of M.A.O College into a university. He appealed to all the leaders to come forward and contribute for the Muslim university, putting all his efforts towards translating the dream of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan into a reality. Qayyum A Malic writes that once he pulled out his hat in front of a man who was known for his bitter personality. This act left the man in tears and he donated Rs. 15,000 for the cause of the university. Sir Aga Khan III himself donated a generous amount of Rs. 100,000. In the words of Maulana Shibli, “that which could not be achieved by six crore Muslims was accomplished by His Highness the Aga Khan.”

In the pursuit of educating people of the sub-continent, he established the Aga Khan School in 1905, in Gwadar. He was also a strong advocate of girl education. And in order to empower girl education in Pakistan, he established diamond jubilee schools in the 1940s in the mountainous terrains of Northern Pakistan (now Gilgit-Baltistan). Today there are around 159 Aga Khan Schools operating throughout Pakistan. 

The seed that was sown a century ago by Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, has now grown into the Aga Khan Development Network. His grandson and the present Imam of the Ismaili branch of the Shia sect of Muslims, Prince Karim Aga Khan, is carrying the legacy forward with same vision of empowering the Muslims of the world. 

“It was from him, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan, that I inherited my present role in 1957. I also inherited from him a deep concern for the advancement of education – especially in the developing world. These two topics – education and development – have been at the heart of my own work over the past fifty years.” 

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan Annual Meeting of the International Baccalaureate, 2008 Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah breathed his last on July 11, 1957 and was laid to eternal rest at Aswan, Egypt. In addition to his outstanding services to the world, he has left behind an autobiography of his life entitled “Memoirs of Aga Khan – World Enough and Time”, which is a thorough expression of his life.

Today we pay accolade to this great Muslim leader by living our pledge to make Pakistan a peaceful and prosperous land.

Opportunities that can transform Pakistan: by Mosharraf Zaidi: 03 November, 2015 "The News"

There is a strange and beautiful concoction of opportunities being laid at Pakitan's doorsteps today it is unlike any previous alignment in memory. Dealt with properly, these opportunities can transform the political and economic standing of Pakistan for generations to come.

Pakistan's leadership, both civilian and military, risks losing this opportunity because of a lack of confidence, limited vision both in terms of the time and the space contunuuum, and an absence of contrarian voices inside the dicision-making circles of the prime minister, and the army chief.

Let us first examine the nature of opportunity that stares Pakistan in the face.

Pakistan's greatest strength is internal. It isn't on foreign shores, or in the trasuries of other countries. It is here at home. For the first time in over a decade, after the battering and brushing of the pakistani psyche, a coherent set of actions by the state have renewed citizen cofidence. The actions began in June of 2014.

In the ensuing months, there are many grey areas that Pakistani's rightly raise questions about, but there is also a lot of jet-black. Terrorists have been hunted down and kille, and the impunity with which some non-state groups behaved has been altered to a significant degree. The self confidence of Pakistani soldiers, spies, policemen and judges is higher today than it has been in over a decade. That confidence is avital informant of how the republic behaves... More...

What makes Pakistan resilient: by Tariq Mahmud: 03 November, 2015 "The Express Tribune"

A natol Lieven and Christophe Jaffrelot, two distinguished writers, in their copious research over time, have taken their readers through the chequered chronicles of Pakistan's history. Their writings on Pakistan are marked with recurring manifestations of violence and instability, of divergence and divisiveness, of an existential threat still looming large. Both,however, stop short of calling the country a failed or a failing state. According to them, it is the quality of resilience of the state and society that keeps Pakistan afloat.

Over the years, the country has faced acts of terrorism, extremism, sub-nationalist insurgencies and many other challenges, like natural calamities, with societal overlaps providing support to the state's endeavour to counter them. Resilience, as a phenomemon, has lately been engaging the attention of social scientists. It is a unique capability which after turbulence and disruption, enables a society to revert to its normal chores. Social receptors, spread over the entirety of societal fabric, responds to the recurring threats with innate spontaneity while the key organs continue to retain their basic elements and functionality. The virtue of resilience is not something unique to Pakistan. What distinguishes Pakistan though is that despite exceptional odds peculiar to the country, there is innate strength with a measure of efficacy in our fallback options. Pakistan is the only country in the post-Second World War era, which suffered a violent disintegration within 24 years of its existence at a scale never known till that point in history. Despite the fissiparous tendencies, the country has existed for over four decades as a compact state with a sense of history and a vision for the future.

Pakistan's real and perceived vulnerabilities have been attributed to our relatively weak political traditions and our ideology precepts. To Pakistan-watchers, adeterministic form of religion, an over-centralised political dispensation and a skewed civil military relationship explain much of the country's paradoxes... More...

Patriotism and the Pakistani: by Owen Bennett-Jones: 27 October, 2015 "The News"

When Akbar S Ahmed's film "Jinnah" was released back in 1998 the country's cinemas soon filled up with Pakistanis curious about their answer to Richard Attenborough's internationally acclaimed biopic, 'Gandhi'. And they were not disappointed. Even though Pakitan's clumsy bureaucrats did their best to undermine the movie's integrity by demanding cuts, it remained a pretty convincing account of the Quaid's struggle to create Pakistan.

Up and down to country, the film was viewed with raucous enthusiasm. The loudest cheers came when Jinnah relied on his legal training and verbal dxterity to outwit Nehru and Mountbatten. These displays of the great man's ability to win victories for the idea of Pakistan were met with unrestrained delight. How the audience cheered!

The reaction was a reminder of what was already obvious from countless cricket matches - especially those against India: press the right buttons and Pakistanis' nationalistic fervour pours forth. Notionalism, in other words, had the potential to become a powerful force in Pakistani politics uniting the country's citizens and binding them together with a commonly held ideology.

Pakistan is hardlyalone in this repect. After the horrors of the Second World War in Europe - and countless pervious conflicts - some Europeans set about the task of creating new political structures. But today the edials of the men who set up the European Union project are being challenged. In many European countries nationalist parties are now ascendant, kicking back against the Europe Union and relying on the fact that many peoploe do not consider themselves as Europeans but rather, for example, as French, German or British.

But in Pakistan's case there is another layer of complication to these questions of identity. Unlike the citizens of many other countries, Pakistanis face a choice between patriotism and loyalty to an internationlist vision of Islam. From the very start, when the idea of Pakitan was just a distant pipedream, many Islamists have preferred to think the terms of an internationalist community of the lievers in onw faith rather than a modern nation-state.

Lets no forget that many Islamist clerics opposed the creation of Pakistan on the grounds that their religion shlud not be the business of recognising national boundaries but rather of creating one community of the story. When it comes to vehicles for expressing nationalist sentiment, there are many on the religious right who see both films like 'Jinnah' and cricket matches against India as unhealthy, decadent distractionsfrom the true path of a religious life.

The willingness of many Pakistanis to embrace nationalism had not been inevitable. And whilst the issue was nost at its urgent in the 1940s before during and after Partition, has to decide how its going to react to the incresingly open, and sometines violent, expressions of Hindu nationalism in Modi's India. Pkistan faces a choice between either faith. And right now all the evidence suggests it's going for the former and rejecting the latter. More...

India Pushing Nepal into China's arms: by Sumit Ganguly, Brandon Miliate: 26 October, 2015 "Daily Times"

The world needs to take notice and India should start to worry,. A number of recent unpleasant incidents have involvede the members of the Hindu nationalist RSS. They were aimed at humbling the Muslim minority in the country. These events seem to indicate that India now faces an extremist challenge. It would be tempting to compare the developing Indian situation with the one Pakistan faces. However, it would be a mistake to equate the two situations. To begin with, Pakistanhas, in the form of the National Action Plan, a better understanding of the problem and how it might be resolved. The same recognition has as yet to lead to the formulation of an appropriate public policy response in New Delhi.

Let me begin with a brief history of the RSS. It was founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, a physician, who lived in what was then the BombayPresidency of British India. The original purpose of the organisation was to challenge British rule by adopting Hinduism as the basis of opposition. The RSS did not buy the approach adopted by the leadership of the Indian National Congress of using the sinstruments that were part of the Western political order to gain independence. The INC was prepared to use civil disobedience as instrument for applying pressure on the British rulers. Its leaders were prepared to court arrest and fill Indian jails. More...

India under extremist threat: by Shahid Javed Burki: 26 October, 2015 "The Express Tribune"

The world needs to take notice and India should start to worry,. A number of recent unpleasant incidents have involvede the members of the Hindu nationalist RSS. They were aimed at humbling the Muslim minority in the country. These events seem to indicate that India now faces an extremist challenge. It would be tempting to compare the developing Indian situation with the one Pakistan faces. However, it would be a mistake to equate the two situations. To begin with, Pakistanhas, in the form of the National Action Plan, a better understanding of the problem and how it might be resolved. The same recognition has as yet to lead to the formulation of an appropriate public policy response in New Delhi.

Let me begin with a brief history of the RSS. It was founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, a physician, who lived in what was then the BombayPresidency of British India. The original purpose of the organisation was to challenge British rule by adopting Hinduism as the basis of opposition. The RSS did not buy the approach adopted by the leadership of the Indian National Congress of using the sinstruments that were part of the Western political order to gain independence. The INC was prepared to use civil disobedience as instrument for applying pressure on the British rulers. Its leaders were prepared to court arrest and fill Indian jails. More...

Indian secularism and its minorities?: by Saman Zulfqar: 20 October, 2015 "Daily Times"

Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari recently called upon the Indian government to take affirmative action to address the discrimination faced by minorities, especially Muslims, in India. In his address at the 50th anniversary of the Majlis-e-Mashawarat, he talked about the discrimination faced by Muslims and asked for corrective measures that were admissible in the Constitution but were denied to Muslims. The vice president’s statement triggered a prompt reaction from a Hindu extremist organisation that is a representative of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which criticised the statement, arguing that the vice president had uttered a political and communal statement that did not suit the office of the vice president. It further added that Muslims in India had greater rights than Muslims in many Muslim countries.

India, the so-called secular state, has not transformed the spirit of secularism. The Indian Constitution declared India a democratic republic and the word secular was incorporated by the 42nd Amendment in 1976. The secular provisions of the Indian Constitution envisaged that the state by itself was not to establish or practice any religion, public revenue was not to be used to promote any particular religion and every individual person was to be given an equal right to freedom of conscience and religion. Notwithstanding the spirit of secularism enshrined in the Constitution, the Indian state’s practices are very challenging and counterproductive in dealing with minorities.

The issues of identity, security and equity are some of the main problems that are faced by minorities in India. Due to a different history and socio-cultural practices, minorities have to deal with the issue of identity everywhere in their relations to the majority population. This identity issue and sense of being in a relatively smaller number gives rise to perpetual insecurity that is further enhanced from time to time in the case of communal violence or during strained relations with the majority. The third important issue for minorities in India has been the denial of opportunities in development.

Muslims — the largest minority in India — have been experiencing discrimination since partition. They not only faced the wrath of the Hindu right but have also been blamed for partition as communal forces time and again assert that Muslims are foreigners and the right place for them is Pakistan. Since the 1990s, communal violence in India has increased due to hateful sentiments of the majority population.

To understand the socio-economic problems of Muslims, the government of India appointed the Sachar Committee, which submitted its report in November 2006 and identified that socio-economic indicators show that the Muslim minority lagged far behind in social development. Its economic backwardness, representation in jobs and representation in the political process manifested a gloomy picture. In this backdrop, the Sachar Committee recommended setting up an Equal Opportunity Commission that would take measures to ensure Muslim participation in public bodies in order to promote religious tolerance and a procedure to evaluate text books to incorporate social values among the people.

The Sachar Committee was not the only committee to identify the problems faced by the Muslim minority; earlier in 1982, the Gopal Singh Committee Report, which revealed the socio-economic deprivation of Muslims, was ignored and communal issues such as the Ram Temple matter got attention. Another such attempt was made when the National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities, led by the former Chief Justice (CJ) of India, Ranganath Misra, submitted its report to the Prime Minister (PM) on May 22, 2007. It confirmed the findings of the Sachar Committee on the socio-economic backwardness of Muslims and suggested 10 percent reservation of seats for Muslims in education and employment to improve their condition.

The Kundu Report of 2014, which was given the task of evaluating the implementation of the Sachar recommendations, highlighted that work had been started in this regard but could not gain momentum. The above-mentioned committees did identify the problems but when it comes to implementation of proposals, lack of political will becomes the main hindrance. Congress has been criticised by the hardline Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for appeasing the Muslims for votes. Though Congress has not been a pro-Muslim political party, its secular orientation did not create such fear and anxiety in minorities as the BJP’s policies have been creating. Quite recently, the killing of a man by a Hindu mob on the allegations of eating beef has further enhanced the insecurity of Muslims and has created an environment for communal violence. This led PM Modi to announce that Hindus and Muslims should fight against poverty, not with each other. Such statements are not enough to create communal harmony; the government of India needs to accept that India is a multicultural, multi-religious society and denial of freedom of speech and expression to minorities could threaten the very existence of the secular state.

Growing RSS role in Indian Politics?: by Dr. M Khan: 20 October, 2015 "The Business"

Established ni 1925, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, popularly known as "RSS" had critical role in Indian politics. Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was the founding father of the RSS. In its subsequent history, the organisation was mostly criticised for its extremist's roles, throughout in the Indian history. Owing to its extremist roles and involvement in many terrorist activities, RSS was once banned by British Indian Government and thrice by post colonial Indian governments. So much so, its activist, Nathuram Godse murdered Mahatma Gandhi, on the accusation that, Mahatma Gandhi has liberal attitude towards minorities in India. In today's India, RSS is involved in many Muslim terrorist activities and has established a dedicated militant wing Bajrang Dal to terrorise the Muslims. Besides, this organisation is terrorising the Christians and other minorities.

The Organization (RSS) is strictly working on the agenda of Hindutva, a term coined in 1923 by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for the promotion of Hinduism through out in India. As per Oxford English Dictionary, the term Hindutva means and " An ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life." However, as per Encyclopedia Britannica, it "Hindutva is an ideology that sought to define Indian culturein terms of Hindu values." Indeed, the ideology of Hindutva becomes the basis for the establishment of RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party adopted it as its official ideology in 1989. . More...

Right of self-determination for Kashmiris?: by Dr. M Khan: 13 October, 2015 "The Business"

Human security is most significant agenda of state security. The elements of human security constitute and societies. The basic right to live, survive, cherish and prosper in life explicitly guaranteed in the internaltional law. This is regardless of cast, creed, faith and geographical identity of the person or community in question. The provision of human rights and security are categorically stated both in international law ans in the international Covenanton Civil and global prohibition on torture of Kashmiri people hs been a common phenomemom in Indian held Kashmir by Indian security forces. Factual reports of killing innocents, torture, hostage taking, and rape have been prominent among a wider variety of human abuses in IHk since 1990.

Kashmir is a natural case study for the self-determination; Kashmir has all the elements that a nation state should fulfill. It has territory larger than many nation states from Africa to Europe and Asia. It has rich natural resourcers. It is home to more than 13.65 million people. It has a history of independence or self-governance. It owns a distinct culture, languages and deity. India, the so called largest democracy in the world, continues to occupy 66% area of Kashmir in an undemocratic manner. Free elections are not a norm in kashmir. Whereever a voice for human rights was raised it was curbed by arrest, killing, tortureor here therefore, is to correlateKashmir's right to self determination with violation of basic human rights. Because now there are political tactics being used to alter the demographic landscape of Kashmir: over half a million non-Kashmiris have ben settled in Indian Held Kashmir... More...

Killing an airline?: by Ayesha Siddiqa: 08 October, 2015 "The Express Tribune"

many years ago, while working on my doctoral thesis on arms procurement decision making, one of the books I read used examples of various airline accidents, the book emphasised the significance of how pressures influence human reactions. An aircraft represents amazing technology but much depends on the man/woman behind the machine. A pilot's confidence, joy, frustration and discomfort comprise some of the important intangible factors, which guarantee flight safety.

Flight safety is an important dimension that ought to be considered in the ongoing pilot's crisis in PIA. Thus far, the media seems to have depicted pilotsas rogue elements that are punishing innocent customers and the government with unreasonabloe demands based on personal greed. Some recent reports highlight trouble that people are undergonedue to what is wrongly being depicted as a pilot's strike. The fact is that pilots are still flying, but for once are insisting on flying according to the book, which refers to the working agreement between the PIAC and Palpa. This is continuiation of the agreement ... More...

UFC stumps Indian bid: by Malik Muhammad Ashraf: 02 October, 2015 "The Nation"

The Indian bid to capture permanent berth on the UN Security Council during the current UN session was effectively stumped by the Uniting for Consensus group (UFC) through a resolution adopted on 29th September, which while reiterating the need for Security Council reforms, expressed its resolute opposition to expansion in the permanent members of the Council. The UFC stuck to its known position of creation of long-term non-permanent seats with the possibility of an immediate re-election. The African and Arab nations also want their representation on the Security Council. Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Pakistan’s ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi who represented Pakistan at the UFC meeting, played an active role in the deliberations of the group.
Indian stake for permanent seat is supported by permanent members of the Security Council (SC) except China. President Barrack Obama during his last visit to India and in his meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the current UN session reiterated US support for Indian permanent membership of the SC. It is pertinent to point out that India, Germany, Japan and Brazil known as P-4 have been staking their claim for permanent seat for themselves since 1992 and are in favour of expansion in the permanent as well as non-permanent members of the Security Council, to give it a more representative status.
There are also other nagging issues that need to be firmed up before the process of reforms in the UNSC could be formally initiated. These issues include determination of the categories of membership, question of veto power held by the permanent members, regional representation, the size of the enlarged Council and its working methods and the relationship between SC and General Assembly after the reforms. It is noteworthy that any reforms to be carried out require the support of the two-third majority of the UN members and all the permanent members of the SC. That explains as to why no reforms have been made in the UN Security Council since 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten. Until and unless the concerns and demands of various groups are not addressed and consensus evolved on the likely reforms, the dream of P-4 to become permanent members of the SC would remain as elusive as ever. China’s reluctance to adopt favourable disposition towards India on the issue could also delay the matter indefinitely because it does not approve of Indian support for Japan’s bid for permanent seat of SC.
The real sticking point however is the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members. Those who are opposed to the increase in the number of permanent members including Pakistan believe that adding more permanent members to SC would further make the UN ineffective in resolving major issues of global concerns and conflicts like it has been happening in the past. These apprehensions and fears are not without substance. During the cold war the SC failed to adopt any consensus resolution on Warsaw Pact Invasion of former Czechoslovakia, the Viet Nam War and Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. The Palestine and Kashmir issues, which are a potential threat to the regional and global peace, have also remained unresolved due to the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members. The SC has also failed in a number of cases to get its own resolution implemented though it has the powers under the present UN Charter even to use military muscle to have them implemented and in some cases it has used these powers selectively. The permanent members also enjoy the right of veto in the selection of UN Secretary General which gives them great influence and clout in the world affairs. Majority of the UN members are not happy and satisfied with the way the UN and the Security Council have been functioning.
Pakistan’s opposition to the permanent seat for India, is absolutely justified not only for the foregoing reasons but also from the perspective that India does not qualify for claiming permanent seat of the SC as it does not even fit into the criteria spelled out by the Bureau of Public Affairs of US on June 20, 2005 which reads “The US is open to UN Security Council reform and expansion, as one element of an overall agenda for UN reform. We advocate a criteria-based approach under which potential members must be supremely well qualified based on factors such as economic size, population, military capacity, commitment to democracy, human rights and non-proliferation. We have to look of course at the overall geographic balance of the Council but effectiveness remains the benchmark for any reform.”
India does not have an enviable record on human rights. According to the reports compiled by international human rights organizations, during the last 24 years the Indian security forces in Kashmir have killed nearly 90 thousand Kashmiris, raped more than ten thousand woman and killed more than seven thousand persons while in custody. The Samjhota Express tragedy which was planned and executed by the Indian intelligence agents also speaks volumes about human rights record of India. The Present Prime Minister of India is a known and avowed practitioner of communal politics with strong anti-Muslim bias. On top of this India is guilty of defying 23 UN resolution on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite to settle the question of accession. How could a country with such a dismal and despicable record on human rights and having shown disrespect for UN resolution be a permanent member of the SC and expected to promote global peace, which is the main function of the Council?. India in fact is a threat to the regional and global peace, as rightly pointed out by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his meeting with UN Secretary General.
The Indian claim also pales into nothingness on the basis of geographic balance criteria. There are already two permanent members of SC from Asia. As is evident India does not fulfill the criteria enunciated by the US itself. Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers who have fought three wars over Kashmir. Therefore until and unless this issue is resolve, Pakistan cannot trust India becoming permanent member of SC. If Obama sees India as US partner in global security, his top priority should be to persuade the former to prove its credentials as promoter of world peace and security by resolving the Kashmir dispute in conformity with the UN resolutions. Mere words and expediency-driven rhetoric is not going to help in promoting world peace and security.

Of genuine heroes: by Saida Fazal: 01 October, 2015 "Business Recorder"

We have yet another internationally recognized hero in the person of labour rights activist Syeda Ghulam Fatima. She was honoured this past Sunday with the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society at a ceremony in New York for her work toward ending bonded labour in Pakistan's brick kilns.

For a nation that has little to celebrate, any , any honour won by a Pakistani on the international stage is an occasion to cheer him/her and be proud of. What should really matter though is whether or not the individual winning acclain like Malala Yousafzai with her Nobel Peace Prize aside from several other honours, and Sharmeen Obaidchinoy with her Oscar, is to make any difference in the lives of the people or is an achievement in the realm of creative arts, or scientific descovery. That way Dr. Abdus Salam's achievement in the field of theoretical physics that brought this country the 1979 Nobel for his contribution to 'electroweak unifiction', remains unmatched.

What Malala did was an act of extraordinary courage in the face ofa brutal force. Courage, of course, is the stuff heroes are made of. Yet it was forced by a circumstances rather than wellconsidered, selfless work for the promotion of girls' education . Some of her schoolmates were equally brave though she distinguished herself by playing the leadership role. The act did little to defeat the brutal force, the Taliban, who blew up both girls' and boys' schools wherever they had the reach. Sharmeen Chinoy won the Oscar in 2012 for a documentary film "Saving Face" about women suffering from acid attacks she had co-directed with an Englishman, Daniel Junge. Which is commendable, but not worth the awe and admiration it generated in certain circles, considering that the credit was not entirely hers to take; it was a shared endeavour. More inportantly, the film held appeal for the ... more...

Pakistan's Choice: by Tobias Ellwood: 28 September, 2015 "The Nation"

Every country has potential and can look to decide its own destiny. Pakistan is no different. In 2047, one hundred years from its birth, Pakistan could be both economically prosperous and free of terrorism; a major political and economic force in the world. It can do that without losing its strong Muslim faith, its patriotism, and its founding values.
But as recent events have shown, the road to achieving this is difficult and comes at a price. The UK and Pakistan have both had to deal with terrorism and both know that by standing up and being counted, tackling these problems head on, a better future can be achieved. Whilst that future is not guaranteed, I know Pakistan and its people want this future and will work towards it. This is Pakistan’s choice and I applaud choosing a tough but ultimately fruitful path.
But there are also wider issues that need tackling with the same ferocity that is displayed against terrorism. The steps for that prosperous future are sometimes simple to understand, but hard to implement.
Around the world, you can see the impact of countries deciding to make the right decisions about their future. The success stories of the world are the states and nations that have tackled violence and extremism, have accepted other faiths, religions and cultures and taken tough decisions to enable them to strengthen the economy and invest in infrastructure and education.
But it is not just government that needs to make these decisions for its people. For me, more than anything, it is the values of the people that make a real difference. Entrepreneurs taking risks with their capital and creating jobs and wealth, people paying their taxes and acting with social responsibility, and workers employed on the basis of ability not contacts. All generating the essential investment needed to be put into education, health, infrastructure and energy.
The UK has made difficult decisions to secure its own safe and prosperous future. We have not only had to fight terrorism, but also make difficult decisions about our economy. As a country, we have also made the decisions that public services like education, health and infrastructure are worth investing in and maintaining for the good of the country. Politicians, like me, do not interfere in our legal system, do not influence the police, and are held to account by a media not beholden to me or any of my political colleagues. We do however support spending nearly 6% of our GDP on education where as Pakistan spends less than 2.5%, even though our GDP is higher and our population is smaller
Having had the chance to meet some of the people of Pakistan, and by also talking to many people of Pakistani origin back in the UK, I am very encouraged. Pakistan’s concerted efforts to tackle the evil of terrorism after the awful attack at the Peshawar Army School is a huge step forward; the promise by the Finance Ministry to increase spending on education is an investment that will pay for itself many times; and the efforts to improve infrastructure and the economy are vital to the future of Pakistan’s growth.
But the real future of Pakistan is in its youth. It is the young men and women of today who can be the leaders in industry and politics in Pakistan in 2047. The future of your country is in your own hands. Every entrepreneur – from the head of the biggest business to the smallest market trader – must ensure their business acts responsibly; every public servant must decide not to ask for or accept bribes; and every journalist should report honestly and truthfully.
The UK is making sure we are doing everything we can to support you in these steps. But the future of Pakistan is not in the UK’s hands, it is the choices you will make today and tomorrow and I firmly believe the people of Pakistan will continue to progress by making the right ones, no matter how difficult they are.

Can Pakistan trust Putin?: by S Mubashir Noor: 28 September, 2015 "Daily Times"

Better yet, can anybody trust Putin? Through his rise in the Kremlin during the Yeltsin years, statists, liberals and capitalists all thought he was one of them. The ex-KGB colonel then rode the coattails of Russian oligarchs to the presidency but, once there, disposed of them to consolidate power. Other than proving to be a master political player, the real President Vladimir Putin remains a mystery.

On September 18, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly confirmed Russia could sell its Su-35 fighter jets to Pakistan along with the four Mi-35M helicopters. This news displeased New Delhi and the Indian premier, Narendra Modi, plans to protest Moscow’s decision at his annual summit with Putin in December. Furthermore, India will again have to redraw its “red line” for Russo-Pak relations, albeit more warily this time. The first instance was June last year when Russia lifted its arms embargo on Pakistan and again in November after the historic defence cooperation pact. India did not think there would be a third time.

As India’s politerati try to wrap their heads around Russia’s latest move, they would do well to focus on Putin himself instead of revisiting Cold War ideals. For, to be fair, long gone are those days when these comrades-in-socialism could dream about a working-class utopia. In the 21st century, both Russia and India have embraced wealth creation with a vigour not seen since the US gold rush.

Putin’s worldview shapes Russia’s fluid conduct towards India and informs his long hold on power. For well over a decade, he has stayed in the Kremlin by fanning the ‘us versus them’ narrative. In this adversarial approach to the west, Putin positions Russia as the sole independent voice in a world filled with US lackeys. For him, Modi’s pro-US policies are steadily moving India towards the them column. Additionally, Putin as a politician defies classification. The last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, calls him a bigger communist than himself and his United Russia Party’s rule “a bad copy” of the former USSR. Putin, though, openly scorns both the Bolshevik movement and its founder Lenin. He calls communism a backward ideology and a “betrayal of national interests” that humiliated Russia in World War I.

Putin is most definitely a revanchist but not for the Soviet era since he speaks of Russia as a “state civilisation” with ethnic Russians as its “cultural nucleus”. Consequently, Russia’s actions during his reign mirror this nationalism. From South Ossetia to Donetsk to the Crimea, Putin’s interest extends to the Russophone pockets of the near abroad. His Russia appears to be a democracy but is really a ‘tandemocracy’ where Putin has swapped executive powers with Premier Dmitry Medvedev to work around Russia’s election laws.

Putin has three reasons for engaging Pakistan and they are based on his two primary weapons for challenging the west: oil and armaments. First, the US and EU sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine conflict are starting to hurt to the point of a recession. In tandem, sliding oil prices are stalling an economy where energy exports account for 68 percent of annual revenues. Moreover, though India remains Russia’s biggest arms market, it is slowly moving into the US sphere of influence. Under Modi especially, India’s foreign policy is taking on shades of nonalignment and a focus on ‘brand India’ or, to borrow the old baseball maxim, “If you build it (meaning India), they will come.”

The equation then is simple. Putin needs cash and Pakistan wants military hardware. Also, with Russia’s urgent need for revenue streams away from the oil fields, investment in infrastructure is becoming a priority. Luckily for Putin, Pakistan, like Iran, has a significant infrastructural gap, especially in the energy sector, that Russian companies can plug. Strategically too, an alliance with Pakistan makes sense for Putin right now. With the warming of Sino-Russian relations in reaction to the sanctions on Russia and the aggressive US-backed Japanese posturing in the China Sea, Pakistan is a natural ally considering its own growing discontent with Washington. It is a good time to be friends.

If Pakistan keeps it all business with Putin, there will be no problems since there is an obvious convergence on regional security and economics. That said, it should shelve the thought that Russia will ever be the agony aunt of South Asia like the US was after the 1950s. Putin runs his country differently, so if we figure out his honour code and stick to it, everything should move along like clockwork.

Martyrdom and command?: by Syed Talat Hussain: 28 September, 2015 "The News"

Facebook posts often make for ordinary reading, but this one is a gem - vivid, immediate and straight as a barrel. It deals with two subjects - martyrdom and command - that have rarely been raised for rational understanding. They are either considered restricted or are assumed as closed for debate.

And not to miss another significant point, thepost, has come from someone who knows whatever there is to know about leading me, and designing plans that potentially involved deployment of resources and mustering institutional prowess at a mass scale. These are observations born of experience, expertise, and, what's more, a passion for excellence.

First, the test: " '... Or suppose I had been hit by that mortar that burst with an awful shriek so near to me, and turned into a Catherine wheel of body-parts and (even worse) body-ingredients? Once again, I was moved above all not by the thought that my death would 'count', but that it would not count in the least. -Un- known

"I have seen the wanton destruction strewn all about us, have been witness to the flowing blood of our brave sons, have been there, done that and for too long not to say what I must. It appears to me that we have begun to glorigy Shahadat far more as a protective manoeuvre for the living rather than as recognition of our martyrs; and in our eagerness hae now presented our young men a narrative, that Shahadat must be pursued at all costs. This will cause unnecessary deaths as our youngsters set out to die rather live for their beliefs.

"My salutation to brave mothers and the strong fathers who survive Shahadat of their sons and daughters and I am sure that this nation will not let this dacrifice go in vein, but I also condole with you for your loss; for a loss it is no matter what one may say. My greatest respect and admiration to our Shaheeds, their valour and their courage as they walked into the 'valley of death', but I would rather have them here by my side today where they are immensely missed, as we stumble down the path of conflict, confusion, and chaos.

But is is only fair that I say, I have also seen this sanctimonious dramatising of matters before as I am seeing them today. In order to show that things went as planned, that there was no omission and that the overall concept has proven successful, we tend to trip over one another congratulating each other and pating backs, as if we had intended for our young to die.

"This is not correct; the many who sacrificed their lives have done so for a great cause and the effect will be felt all over, but was it also because of incomepetence and indifference; could we have done it ain a better way, securing our objectives as well as the lives of our young: After all, in my mind, a military success is related to co-relation of losses and the damage done to the enemy, not the damage done to oneself.

August 14 or 15?: by Yaqoob Khan Bangash: 22 September, 2015 "The Express Tribune"

Over the last month, several newspaper stories have discussed the actual date of Pakistan's independence. While some have argued that it is, in face, August 15, 1947, with surprise and shock, others have found ways to vociferously defend the presently celebrated date of August 14, 1947. So what is the 'real' story, as they say?

Pakistan was created via an act of the Westminister parliament called Indian Independence Act, promulgated on July 18, 1947. The first clause of the act stated: "As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan." Hence, legally, Pakistan come into existence on August, 15, 1947. So why the confusion?

The confusion -- at least for people now -- is because we believe that the speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan by Viceroy and Governor Generl Lord Mountbatten was on August 15, 1947 and the dinner afterwards, as the official birth of the country. However, in doing so we forget that this event only took place on August 14, as India had decided to hold its independence day celebration on the midnight on August 15, and so it would not have been possible for Lord Mountbatten who was still Viceroy to be present in both Karachi and New Delhi on the same day. This explained why both Lord Mountbatten and Mr Jinnah sat right next to each other while addressing the Contituent Assembly on August 14,... More ...

Forces of divergence in Pakistan: by Sajid Amin Javed: 22 September, 2015 "The Business"

Thomas Picketty, the French economist known for his work on wealth and income inequalities, has challenged the old economic verities about an inverted U-shaped relation between economic growth and inequality. Discussing increasing primordial tendencies in global capitalism, he identifies the inheritance being the key factor behind skewed distribution of wealth. Huge reception of his work voices the urgency and need to curb this enlargin gulf of inequality globally. The political movements in Europe and America also pushed this debate into public space and popular consciousness across the world over. The butterfly effects of it could also be felt in Pakistan but contained mostly to elite discussion forums.

Pakistan is a country with an array of social inequalities ranging from health to education inequalities and from skill to income and wealthinequalities prevailing across inter and intra gender and regions. The suppression of the deprived is not only presistent but is widening over the time. The distribution of income across the population became skewed more towards the rich and, over the preiod, income share of botton 20% increased from 43.5% to 48.7% worsening the ratio of the highest to lowest quintile. The top 20% clasped income 7 times higher in 2012 as compared to 5 times than their conterparts in bottom 20% in 1980.

Similarly, the share of top decile in total consumption increased from the same period resulting in Palma index increasing from 2011-12.

Accordingly, the per capita income Gini coefficient witnessed an increase from indicating the unequitable distribution of the growth benefits and the widening desparities. The disparities are higher in ruralareas as compared to the urban ones. These statistics have stronger implications suggesting a failure to curb the ric-poor gap in last three decades... More ...

Limited: by Javed Husain: 21 September, 2015 "DAWN"

Inspired by the bellicose nature of his prime minister, the Indian army chievf has threatened Pakistan with punitive action in the form of limited war for waging a so-called proxy war against India. apart from his misplaced confidence in his army, the Pakistan Army's commitment on the western front could also have encouraged him. The unprovoked firing and shelling across the Working Boundary and the Line of Control could well be the prelude to starting a limited war.

Limited war is a geographically confined conflict short of general war in which the political aim, space, time and the weapons used are limited. According to Andre Beaufre, a French strategist, "Limited wars are a sort of tough negotiations".

Limited war can be cotegorised as insurrectional and inon-insurrectional. The former, basically a guerilla war, was fought by the US in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, by the erstwhile Soviet Union in Afghanistan, is being fought by India in India-held Kashmir, its seven north-eastern states and 14 states dominated by Naxalites, by Pakistan in Fata and outside it, and by Afghanistan against the Afghan Taliban. Examples of the latter are the Indo-Pak wars and the Arab-Israel wars. However, if during the non-insurrectional war, the geographical limitation is lifted, limited war would be transformed into general war.

The other differences between the two categories are that the insurrectional war is not geographically confined, and is not conditioned by time for the guerillas. Therefor, unless the counter-guerilla forces crust the guerilla forces within a year, the war tends to drag on for years, which makes the soldiersvulnerable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder... More ...

Where is the state: by Shamshad Ahmad: 21 September, 2015 "The Balochistan Times Quetta"

This year the nation observed Defence Day all over the country with unprecedented zeal and solemnity. It was indeed an occasion to acknowledge the supreme sacrifices given by our martyrs and share with their families their sense of pride and fortitude. But this was also an occasion to look back and do some real soul-searching to determine what we as a nation have done individually and colletively to live up to the supreme cause our martyrs laid their lives for.

I attended the ceremony at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada in Lahore where thousands of people sat spellbound for hours listening to tales of heroism and witnessing the rejuvenation of a new spirit that we as a nation need so badly. The tales of supreme sacrifices in the cause of Pakistan took me back to the fateful train journey that my family undertook in 1947 leaving behind, like millions of others, their hearths and homes, their landed properties and their ancestral history of thousands of years to submerge into a new larger national identity. No sacrifice then was greater than freedom.

no wonder, for my family as indeed for millions of others, it was a momentous decision to opt for the newly-in-dependent state we so proudly called Pakistan... More...