Archive | Pakistan & Kashmir

UN Calls for Release of ‘Tortured’ Pakistani From Guantanamo

NOVANEWS
  • Guantanamo Bay prisoner sin 2007.
    Guantanamo Bay prisoner sin 2007. | Photo: Reuters.
The CIA has long been accused of using torture tactics against prisoners.

UN working group has called for the release of a Pakistani man imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay since 2006, saying his detention violates international human rights.

RELATED: ‘Guantanamo Bay Braced For New Prisoners’: US Admiral

Ammar Al-Baluchi, a Kuwaiti-born Pakistani citizen also known as Abdul Aziz Ali, was accused of paying money to the 9/11 hijackers, conspiring alongside his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentionsaid Wednesday that holding Al-Baluchi in the detention camp is “arbitrary, breaches international human rights law and has no legal basis.”

The group, a part of the UN Human Rights Council, are calling for Al-Baluchi to be compensated, adding that “Mr. al Baluchi has been subject to prolonged detention on discriminatory grounds” and that once released, he should be offered “physical and psychological rehabilitation for the torture he had previously suffered.”

In December 2017, UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer had condemned Al-Baluchi’s detention as well, having said, “Mr. al-Baluchi has been held in isolation at a severely restricted-access facility at Guantanamo Bay for more than a decade … noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and mental disorders, for which he allegedly does not receive adequate medical attention.”

The CIA has long been accused of using torture tactics against prisoners since the detention camp was first opened by U.S. President George W. Bush as part of the so-called ‘War on Terror.’ Almost 800 people have been brought to the camp since, the majority of them having been charged with no crime.

Despite reassurances to shut down Guantanamo Bay by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the camp remains open. Current U.S. President Donald Trumphas, in turn, confirmed he will continue running it, with new prisoners expected to fill the camps soon.

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Afghan Refugees Feeling the Heat as US-Pakistan Geopolitical Tensions Rise

NOVANEWS

Last week, the Pakistani government callously doubled down on its strategy of using Afghan refugees as pawns in its ongoing political dispute with Afghanistan when it refused to grant a long-term extension of their stay in Pakistan. Islamabad’s move will anger Kabul, which has struggled to absorb and reintegrate the massive influx of Afghans returning from Pakistan in recent years.

On December 31, the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards of 1.4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan expired after the federal government refused to provide an extension on time.  The PoR cards allow the refugees to live in Pakistan “legally” and avoid harassment by the state. On January 3, the long-suffering refugees learned they would only be given a 30-day extension, rather than the 1-year extension the government had been considering under a trilateral agreement with Afghanistan and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  The decision to limit the extension to 30 days was made during a meeting of the federal Cabinet in Islamabad which was chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

There are currently 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented refugees also living in the country.  The first wave of refugees began came over from Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, with many more arriving during the bloody civil war of the 1990s.  In 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan, beginning the longest war in American history. The 16-year neo-colonial occupation has devastated the lives of the Afghan people and created a new generation of refugees.

Many of the refugees have lived in Pakistan for decades and have had children in the country. There are indeed children among the 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees. A large number of refugees have established firm roots in the country and have lost all ties to Afghanistan. Kabul has struggled mightily to reintegrate the refugees into Afghan society, repeatedly insisting that Afghanistan does not have the resources to deal with massive numbers of returnees from across the border. Many refugees are also terrified at the prospect of returning to war-torn Afghanistan.  Civilian casualties due to the war reached a 16-year high during the first six months of 2017, according to the UN.

Pakistani politicians often scapegoat the refugees as “terrorists” and charge them with being a burden on the state.  Indeed, while Islamabad has agreed not to forcibly return refugees to Afghanistan, in recent years, it has resorted to a policy of intimidation and harassment of the refugees, so as to bring about their “voluntary” repatriation to the country.  In mid-2016, Pakistan launched what Gerry Simpson, a refugee expert at Human Rights Watch, described at the time as the “world’s largest recent anti-refugee crackdown.”  Afghan refugees have told human rights organizations about the cruel methods used by Pakistani authorities to coerce them into leaving for Afghanistan, including deportation during the winter and police abuses like arbitrary detention, extortion and nocturnal police raids. In fact, during the recent three day period during which 1.4 million refugees lost their documented status, the refugees were reportedly harassed by security personnel, leading them to confine themselves in their homes until the 30-day extension was granted.

In seeking to build domestic support for the forced repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials have described the refugee camps where the Afghans live as “safe havens” for terrorists. There is no doubt, however, that Islamabad hopes to use the refugee crisis to punish Afghanistan for shifting ever closer towards it arch-rival, New Delhi.

The deepening alliance between Afghanistan and India is viewed by Pakistan’s ruling elites as a vital security threat due to their fear of “strategic encirclement” by India, but Washington has turned a blind eye to Islamabad’s concerns and has encouraged the two countries to further enhance bilateral relations.  Moreover, US President Donald Trump has recently adopted a hardline stance towards Islamabad, with Washington suspending military aid to Pakistan on January 4.  The increasingly belligerent approach of the US towards Pakistan, where anti-US sentiment remains high, has forced the country’s ruling establishment to adopt a defiant stance towards Washington. Pakistan’s working-class majority remains steadfastly opposed to America’s imperialist war in Afghanistan, and to their government’s role in supporting and facilitating the ongoing occupation. With few options available to hit back at the US and Afghanistan, there is a danger that the Pakistani government may decide to throw the Afghan refugees to the wolves.

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Pakistan: China to Build Second Foreign Naval Base

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pakistan: China CARTOON

China is planning to build its second foreign naval base in Pakistan following the ribbon cutting ceremony for its first overseas base in Djibouti last July.

Sources close to the People’s Liberation Army have confirmed to the South China Morning Post that a Chinese naval port is being built at a strategic location on Pakistan’s southern coast.

“China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Zhou Chenming, a Chinese military analyst, told the South China Morning Post on Friday. “Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships,” Zhou said; hence the need for a new base.

Gwadar is less than 50 miles east of the Pakistan-Iran border and sits in Balochistan Province, where fiercely independent Baloch nationalists have waged guerrilla wars against both the Pakistani and Iranian governments. “Public order there is a mess,” Zhou said.

“China and Pakistan have found common ground in terms of maritime interest in the region,” Pakistani analyst Sheikh Fahad says. “Gwadar port can be used for joint naval patrols in the Indian Ocean, further increasing the naval outreach of China and Pakistan in the region. Gwadar port will increase the countries’ naval movements and further expand defense cooperation, especially in the naval field,” Fahad noted.

In mid-December, Lawrence Sellin, a retired US Army Reserve colonel, reported for the Daily Caller that high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani officials had met in Beijing to discuss future projects.

Last June, a Pakistani diplomat said China’s help was needed as an “equalizer,” pointing to the naval base as all-but-inevitable. “Previously it was the US and Saudi Arabia… Now it’s China,” the diplomat told NBC. A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman later dismissed the report as “pure guesswork,” but now it seems the port will, in fact, be built.

Experts have noted that India is keeping a close eye on the development of China-Pakistan relations. “China finds it very useful to use Pakistan against India and ignore India’s concerns, particularly on terrorism issues. That has created a lot of stress in the relationship between Beijing and Delhi,” Rajeev Ranan Chaturvedy, a researcher at the National University of Singapore, told SCMP.

But “Indian naval capabilities and experience in the Indian Ocean region are fairly good — much better than Pakistan and China,” Chaturvedy said.

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Trumpeting Hostility Toward Pakistan

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Featured image: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Source: India Today)

 

Post-9/11, Bush/Cheney deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage warned then-Pakistani president Musharraf his country would be “bombed back to the stone age” if he didn’t ally with Washington’s imperial agenda – its war OF terror, not on it.

It was an offer he couldn’t refuse, costing Pakistan threefold or more than it got in US aid, given solely to serve its imperial interests.

Assistance given should help both countries. One analyst called Washington’s strategic relationship with Pakistan “muddled, deceptive, complicated and dangerous” – pre-and-post-9/11, especially in its aftermath.

Aid has gone largely to its military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to help America’s war OF terror – massacring civilians and causing vast destruction on the phony pretext of combating terrorism.

The bilateral relationship harms Pakistan more than helping it.  Straightaway in the new year, Trump tweeted:

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

In response to Trump’s insult, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi convened an emergency cabinet meeting.

America’s ambassador David Hale was summoned to explain Trump’s hostile remarks. Last week, Pakistan’s Senate passed a resolution, calling for Islamabad to demand compensation from Washington for slaughter and destruction caused by US drone attacks on its territory – largely killing civilians.

PM Abbasi and other Pakistani officials are well aware of Trump’s loosened combat restrictions, delegating authority to hawkish generals and field commanders, letting them operate unrestrained.

According to Reprieve human rights lawyer Jen Gibson, Pakistan is heavily pressured to served US interests. Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir slammed Washington, saying US administrations “have given us nothing but invective and mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”

In early December, Pakistan’s air force chief Marshal Sohail Aman addressed the issue of his country’s security, saying

“(w)e will protect the sovereignty of the country at any cost.”

He warned Washington its drones operating in Pakistani airspace without permission will be shot down.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Nuzhat Sadiq said

“(i)t is the policy of the government not to allow any more US drone strikes on our soil, and the air chief has effectively conveyed it to the Americans.”

She indicated foreign policy changes in bilateral relations with Washington are coming.

Post-9/11, US drones killed thousands of Pakistani nationals, largely civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Retired General Talat Masood warned that

“the superpower is not going to digest this change in policy easily.”

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif slammed Trump, tweeting:

“We will reveal the truth to the entire world. We will separate fact from fiction.”

He accused Washington of aiding terrorists, not combatting them.

 

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Birth Anniversary: Quaid-e- Azam Emphasized on National Unity

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Image result for Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat
Besides Christmas, every year, on December 25, Pakistanis celebrate Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad
Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary with every possible way of showing reverence to their country’s
founder. It is called the Quaid-e- Azam Day. Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 and founded
Pakistan in 1947. On this very day, seminars, debates and programmes are held to remember the
services of the founder of the nation.

Although various programmes are held about the personality, vision and the hard work of this
great leader who struggled a lot to get a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-continent,
yet the best way to celebrate Quaid-e- Azam Day is to pledge national unity which was
emphasized by Quaid-e- Azam and to promote the soft image of Pakistan, as envisaged by the
founder of the country.

This very day has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature
internally and externally, which are not only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating
divisions among the federal and provincial governments including political parties. This drastic
situation is distorting Pakistan’s image abroad.

While, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of
Quaid-i- Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality, on August 14, 1947. But that unity started
declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in
1971, as India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.

However, Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war against the enemy which
employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external
challenges. Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and
intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this regard, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully
broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e- Azb and
Radd-ul- Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist
groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has
been restored in various regions of Pakistan.

But, external elements have, again, started terror attacks in Pakistan to weaken it. India intends
to obtain various hidden purposes by blaming Islamabad for terrorism. Foreign intelligence
agencies such as American CIA, India RAW and Israeli Mossad which have well-established
their network in Afghanistan are fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in
various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements, Jundullah, Tehreek-e- Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) including their
affiliated outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for
their acts of sabotage.

With the backing of CIA and Mossad, India is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recent terror-attacks in various regions of Pakistan and particularly
in the Balochistan province might be noted as instance.

Externally, Pak Army has boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of
Control (Loc) in Kashmir. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. They leave no stone
unturned in distorting Pakistan’s image.

Unfortunately, it is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign
opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their
secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic
World.

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they
continue to destabilize it to obtain the illegitimate interests of Israel. American top official have
also been accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan so as to conceal their own
terrorism-related assaults in Pakistan, while insisting upon the country to do more against
terrorism. Besides, the US-backed propagandas campaign also continues against Pakistan.
Taking cognizance of Pakistan’s internal and external challenges, addressing the
participants on the event of commemorating the Defence Day, Pakistan’s Army Chief
General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on September 6, 2017, “Pakistan has done enough in’ the
war on terror and now it is time for the world to do more…Pakistan has made numerous
sacrifices fighting terrorism but today the country is being accused of not doing enough to
eradicate the menace.” He praised PAK Army for defence of the country and its response to
Indian perennial violations at the LoC.

Referring to Afghanistan, he remarked, “Pakistan has tried to support its neighbouring
country beyond its means…But we cannot fight the Afghan war in Pakistan…The
international powers should not hold us responsible for their shortcomings.”
Without naming the US-led intelligence agencies, Gen. Bajwa reminded the nation and the world
that “Pakistan is aware of all the conspiracies against the country and CPEC and its soldiers are
ready to sacrifice their lives for the people of Balochistan like people of Balochistan did for
Pakistan…they are closely observing those who want to stir unrest in the province.”
According to the press-statement of the ISPR, Gen. Bajwa reiterated army’s determination
to eliminate terrorism from the country.

Nevertheless, although Quaid-e- Azam supported the Two Nation Theory which was basis of the
Ideology of Pakistan, yet some hostile elements misinterpret it including the vision of Jinnah. In
fact, Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was against every sort of extremism, had favoured a moderate
Pakistan where other religious communities and minorities would also live without any
restriction, along with the Muslims.

It may be recalled that August 11 was official declared National Minorities Day by the former
government in 2009 in line with the historic speech of founder of the nation Quaid-e- Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. In his speech, Quaid-e-

Azam said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques
or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste
or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

In the same speech, Quaid-e- Azam said, “We are starting in the days where there is no
discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between
ones caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all
citizens, and equal citizens of one state.”

It is mentionable that in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e- Azam, the Constitution of 1973
protects the real rights and interest of minorities, living in Pakistan.
While, India which claims an arch secular state has surprised the world because of continued
attacks on other minority groups, especially Christians, Muslims and Sikhs—and events of
forced conversion of Christians and Muslims into Hindus.

Unlike India, where religious minorities are being targeted by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits
like the ruling party BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena etc., all the minorities such as Christians, Ahmadis,
Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists enjoy fundamental rights in Pakistan, including all other
rights of citizenry in Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that the founder of the country had strongly supported the idea of peace in the
world as well as with other countries. In this respect on August 15, 1947 Quaid-e- Azam stated,
“Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain
cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large.”

Regarding the status of women, Mohammad Ali Jinnah pointed out on March 25, 1940 at Islamia
College for women, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by
side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are
shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the
deplorable condition in which our women have to live.”

In accordance with Quaid-e- Azam’s vision, now, Pakistani women are not only working in
various public and private sectors, but also in the armed forces of the country.
Notably, Pakistan which came into existence on the basis of Islamic principles to provide respect
and protection to all the segments of society is giving full safety to all the minorities as
mentioned in the Constitution. Besides other minority groups, particularly Christians are not only
serving in the armed forces, but are also working in other departments. Without any
discrimination by the Muslims, they also run their own business and are working in private
sectors.

Nonetheless, while commemorating the Quaid-e- Azam Day, let us use this opportunity not only
to bring ourselves closer to each other by displaying selfless national unity, but also to promote
soft image of Pakistan in order to castigate the conspiracy of our external enemies.

 

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Protests in Pakistan Turn Violent, Emerging Role of “Other Forces”

Featured image: Zahid Amid (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In Pakistan Street protests have affected cities like Imamabad, and is spreading in other cities as well. About six persons have died and more than two hundred have been injured. PTI has reported that the police aided by paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Constabulary yesterday launched a massive operation against activists of Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan religious groups who had blocked a key highway to Islamabad for nearly three weeks. The protesters have been laying siege to the capital for about three weeks demanding removal of Law Minister Zahid Hamid for changes in a law related to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (finality of prophethood) oath in the Elections Act 2017.They alleged the action undermined Islamic beliefs and linked it to blasphemy. The government has already amended the law and restored the original oath but the hard line clerics refused to call of the protests until the minister is sacked.

The real power holder former PM Nawaz Sharif is believed to have given a thought to remove the Minister in order to pacify the protests; present government is under much pressure due to political problems which emerged since the revelations of Panama Papers, and strict actions taken by Judiciary have made the government weak and in all likelihood in next elections it may find itself in troubles in electoral battles. The present protest is a continuation of the politically unstable Pakistan since the revelations of Panama Papers.

The root cause of the political problems started when on right grounds Judiciary removed PM Sharif on misdeeds in Panama Papers. The new PM is not capable to manage the affairs of the state. He is transitory PM knowing well that he has been on the position just due to grace of Nawaz family.

Elections in Pakistan are due to take place in 2018 and the prospects of Nawaz’s party are not very strong at the moment. Moreover the external pressures from world on the containment of terrorism has placed stress on the political leaders of country.

In these backgrounds the protest assumes importance. As the elected political leadership has proved unsuccessful to control the developments in the country. Now they have asked for the help from army which is already eyeing for increased role in the political space in the country particularly after the departure of Nawaz Sharif.

Army has taken a recommendatory view so far by advising government to take steps with cautions. The Army chief Gen. Bajwa are in touch with Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi and has asked to deal the protest peacefully, and violence should be avoided from both sides.

Source: Countercurrents

There is also alternative analysis that army may come in direct conflict with the conservative elements and Pakistan may find itself more into trouble. The release of Hafiz Saeed is also not good for the political system of the country as these are major destabilizing elements of the country. Their activities if supported more by army and establishment of more hardliners in the socio-politico milieu of the country do not suggest good things to come.

The recent developments in Pakistan are result of the non nation building in the country. Several countries are passing through this phase but Pakistan has emerged as a classical case where army, terrorists and conservative elements have come to stay in the political world of the country and have prevented genuine development of democratic elements in the country.

In next few days the developments will take a new path and it is hoped that Pakistan is able to control the situation but major question remains unanswered which forces are in real terms responsible for such developments? And why Pakistan is getting into fragmentation? Role of army will be observed in the days to come. Terrorists and fundamentalist have engulfed the society. Can governance manage these or army is about to enter more aggressively in the governance?

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Will Beijing Really Rename and Reroute the China-Pakistan Economic Corridors (CPEC) to Please India?

NOVANEWS
 

The Chinese Ambassador to India suggested that his country could rename and even reroute the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, popularly known as CPEC, in order to appease New Delhi.

His Excellency Mr. Luo Zhaohui proposed this controversial idea in a speech at the Centre for Chinese and South-East Asian Studies late last week, which is the second time that he spoke about it when considering that the first instance was half a year ago in May. It’s difficult to interpret why this is being brought up yet again, though there are two branches of understanding that can help with figuring out what might be going on. The first one of course is that the Ambassador isn’t serious about the proposal and is simply bringing it up for diplomatic reasons and in order to temporarily alleviate India’s hysterical jingoistic worries about CPEC. That’s indeed very possible, though the second school of thought on this topic is equally plausible as well, and it’s that Beijing might actually be somewhat serious about this suggestion.

To explain, China would ideally like for India to join its One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, as the complementary synergy between these two Asian Great Powers could literally have world-changing consequences for International Relations, but New Delhi’s ultra-nationalist government has thus far refrained from this due to its maximalist approach to the Kashmir Conflict and fears of being inundated with Chinese goods. In an attempt to temper their unease, Ambassador Zhaohui proposed that China could “create an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns”, which would in essence connect over two billion people and create a powerhouse of geopolitical gravity if it was successful.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The problem, however, is that this is more of a liberal fantasy than a functional plan when considering that all indicators point to India’s reluctance to ever agree to this proposal, especially since the South Asian state is in the process of formulating a 100-year-long strategy with the US, as revealed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier last month. Therefore, it’s fair to suppose that any members of China’s permanent military, intelligence, and especially diplomatic bureaucracies – or “deep state” – who believe in this are followers of the liberal school of thought, which might also suggest that some of them might even believe the unfounded fake news reports about Pakistan’s stability and security, ergo why they would publicly entertain renaming and potentially even rerouting CPEC.

The $250 billion worth of deals that Trump agreed to during his visit to the People’s Republic a few weeks ago might have also had an influence on Ambassador Zhaohui’s revival of his curious proposal, whether as a symbolic diplomatic gesture or a serious initiative. At the end of the day, however, it’s very unlikely that China would ever reroute CPEC because of the grand strategic purpose that the project fulfills in providing Beijing with reliable overland access to the Indian Ocean through which almost all of its Eastern Hemispheric trade traverses, and as for renaming this project, it can’t do so unilaterally without Pakistan’s approval and that won’t ever happen because CPEC has become inseparable from the country’s 21st-century international branding.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Nov 24, 2017:

 

 

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Pakistan in An Emerging Multipolar World: ASGA Strategy for the Afro-Pacific

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s “Global South” connectivity potential via the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).

 

Reconceptualizing the Indian Ocean as an African one can help to craft creative strategies for maximizing Pakistan’s strategic significance in the emerging Multipolar World Order through a reinvigorated naval strategy that capitalizes on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s “Global South” connectivity potential via the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the so-called “Indo-Pacific”, which the author himself has admittedly used in a geographic sense to describe both oceans but which has recently taken on subtle political connotations when employed by Western and Mainstream Media commentators. These voices have started to trumpet the “Indo-Pacific” term in order to provocatively suggest that India is a rising global superpower that is in some way or another capable of “containing” China, thereby “justifying” the 100-year-long military-strategic partnership that the US is unprecedentedly building with it for this purpose. The irony, however, is that the Indian Ocean is named after India, which in turn received its name because of the Indus River that’s nowadays located mostly in Pakistan. Moreover, the “Indus” isn’t even an indigenous term, as the locals refer to it as “Sindh”, ergo the Pakistani province of the same name.

From The Indian Ocean To The African One

All etymological issues aside, the case could equally – and in some cases, even more convincingly – be made for calling the “Indian Ocean” (or whatever other name is used to refer to it in the context of the subcontinent’s civilization[s]) the African Ocean. Using the Indian subcontinent as the basis for describing this body of water is only relevant insomuch as one takes into account the spread of its historic civilization across mainland and insular Southeast Asia in this ocean’s eastern half, but this Indo-centric view ignores the similarly large spread of African civilization across this ocean’s western half even though it mostly occurred as a result of slavery and indentured servitude. Conveniently left out of the global narrative because of the liberal zeitgeist of “political correctness”, Arab slave traders were responsible for spreading African civilization into the Mideast and as far away as Persia, thereby giving it a larger geographic scope than its Indian counterpart.

Another argument in favor of conceptualizing the Indian Ocean as the African Ocean is that it would be more representative of the many countries that are expected to form the basis of China’s “South-South” engagement in the emerging Multipolar World Order. Not only does the vast majority of China’s trade traverse through this body of water, but it will inevitably begin to be increasingly concentrated on the African landmass as the People’s Republic pioneers new trade routes and develops new marketplaces as destinations for its excess production. In fact, one of the driving motivations behind China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is to stave off socio-economic challenges caused by the country’s overproduction crisis long enough for Beijing to transition its structural model from a secondary to a tertiary one.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

ASGA

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) indispensably provides the People’s Republic with reliable non-Malacca overland access to the African Ocean and further afield to this neologism’s namesake continent, which thus ensures the security of China’s trade routes with the “Global South” by avoiding any unnecessary entanglements in the ever-complicated geostrategic environments of the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, and Bay of Bengal. Instead of transiting the long way through these regional waters and potentially risking disruption by the US and its allied Indo-Japanese navies, China could use CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar as its base of trading operations for greatly shortening its Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC) with Africa by focusing more on strengthening connectivity via the more easily defensible Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).

The logic behind this is that Ethiopia, which is the second-most populous country in Africa and the world’s fastest-growing economy, is China’s premier partner in the continent, and Beijing just built the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway as a de-facto Horn of African Silk Road for efficiently accessing this landlocked but rising African Great Power. Seeing as how Ethiopian-Chinese trade will in all likelihood begin to transit across CPEC en route to the People’s Republic, it makes sense for the Pakistani Navy to begin proactively safeguarding the ASGA SLOC between Gwadar and Djibouti together with the Chinese. Not only could this allow Pakistan to enhance its economic and political presence in Africa via “CPEC diplomacy”, especially in the event that it could also acquire a base in Djibouti or at the very least end up using the Chinese one there, but it could give Islamabad’s strategists the necessary experience for crafting a more comprehensive connectivity policy with the African Ocean’s similar OBOR-linked ports in Kenya’s Mombasa and Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam.

Ethiopia’s Strategic Edge

As an added benefit, Pakistan might even be able to one day “balance” the divergent interests of its traditional Arab partners in the Horn of Africa if it’s successful in establishing excellent working relations with Ethiopia, nearly half the population of which is Muslim and presumably receptive to Islamabad’s soft power sway. Ethiopia’s ambitious plan to build a massive dam on the Blue Nile has roiled Egypt, which considers this to be a threat to its national security, and Cairo has accordingly taken steps to put pressure on Addis Ababa. One of these has been that Egypt’s close UAE ally exploited the disastrous Saudi-led War on Yemen to establish military bases in the neighboring country of Eritrea and the internationally unrecognized polity of “Somaliland” along Ethiopia’s northeastern periphery, which not only allows Abu Dhabi to influence the SLOC on both sides of the Bab el Mandeb, but to crucially exert influence into the Horn of African hinterland against Addis Ababa in the event that Cairo decides to strike the landlocked country.

Complicating matters, however, is that Qatar has taken advantage of the “Gulf Cold War” to enter into a fast-moving rapprochement with Ethiopia in order to spite Egypt and its monarchic allies, even though Doha and Addis Ababa had at one point broken off diplomatic relations a little more a decade ago over Ethiopia’s concern that the thumb-shaped country was supporting instability within its borders. Ethiopia also blocked Al Jazeera in 2013 as well. Nevertheless, both sides saw an opportunity to put the past behind them and accelerate relations out of their shared interest in countering Cairo and its regional “containment” policy against both of them. Bearing in mind that Pakistan is on great terms with all of the Arab players involved in this, it could gain unparalleled strategic leverage with them if it improved its relations with Ethiopia in accordance with the ASGA plan and placed itself in a position to “balance” all the parties involved. Through these means, Pakistan could become a crucial force for stability in China’s most important continental region for OBOR investments at the pivotal maritime crossroads of Afro-Eurasian trade.

Chinese Maritime Silk Road

Chinese Maritime Silk Road

Piercing India’s Missile Defense Shield

Last but certainly not least, Pakistan’s ASGA strategy for the Afro-Pacific could provide the much-needed impetus for directing more funds towards the country’s naval modernization program, relying on the publicly plausible reason of protecting the SLOC in the Arabian Sean-Gulf of Aden region but also clandestinely improving Pakistan’s nuclear triad through advancements in submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology. It’s no secret that India is investing in missile defense capabilities in order to neutralize the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear second-strike deterrent and therefore gain a hegemonic advantage over it by perpetually keeping Pakistan in a state of strategic blackmail. This state of affairs would expectedly be exploited in order to force the South Asian state into submission and could therefore potentially pose an existential threat to CPEC – and by extent, to China too – under this scenario.

The most surefire way to offset India’s plans is to develop Pakistan’s SLBM program in order to ensure that Islamabad can always defend itself in the event that New Delhi launches a nuclear first strike against it, which would thus preserve the balance of power between these two rivals and accordingly diminish the prospects of war between them, however much this is to the US’ anti-CPEC chagrin. For this reason, China should support Pakistan’s ASGA strategy in both its public and clandestine forms, encouraging it to play a more proactive role in safeguarding the SLOC between Gwadar and Djibouti (and eventually, Gwadar and the East African ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam) so that there’s a justifiable reason for increasing naval investments in order to secretly fund a more robust SLBM program for piercing India’s missile defense shield.

Concluding Thoughts

One of the fundamentals of Hybrid War is language and the subconscious ideas that are transmitted through select words, which is why it’s so important to use the most accurate terms in conveying a given side’s intentions and correspondingly countering those of their adversaries. The recent trend in talking about the “Indo-Pacific” is a perfect case in point because the terminology no longer refers to the innocent idea of both oceans but has been perverted to carry unipolar geostrategic connotations about “containing” China. The only suitable recourse in this case is to introduce another word to more accurately convey what some analysts mean when talking about this body of water and drawing attention to its importance to China’s global trade routes, particularly as it relates to Africa’s growing role in the Multipolar World Order. Therefore, it’s necessary to reconceptualize the “Indian Ocean” as the African Ocean and then work on popularizing this term in the wider strategic discourse.

Following that, it’s then easier to understand why CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar should be paired with Djibouti, Mombasa, and Dar es Salaam in facilitating “Global South” trade between China and Africa, the SLOC of which could be protected by the Pakistani Navy out of the self-interest that Islamabad also has in securing its own trade routes with the continent. Furthermore, Pakistan stands to gain immense strategic benefits if it can clinch a comprehensive and fast-moving partnership with Ethiopia that puts it in a position to “balance” relations between the Horn of African country and Egypt, as well as between the two rival states’ feuding Gulf allies. Should it work out as planned, then Pakistan would acquire an unparalleled importance to its partners that it could later leverage on a bilateral basis to advance its pecuniary, military, and other interests with each of them.

Altogether, the success of Pakistan’s ASGA strategy would also allow the country to justify more funding for its naval forces, which could provide a publicly plausible cover for investing in the SLBM technology that’s going to become absolutely necessary for piercing India’s missile defense shield in the next decade. It’s not to say that Pakistan can’t develop this program on its own and without ASGA, but just that appearances are very important and that it might be more acceptable to its domestic and international audiences if it does so under the pretense of investing in its surface convoys and trade ships, both of which would inevitably be empowered by more funding but which additionally serve to disguise the redirection of some financial assets to SLBM-related projects. One way or another, Pakistan is going to have to counter India’s efforts to neutralize its nuclear second-strike capabilities, and if it can do so while also profiting in a commercial and geostrategic sense, then it will have discovered the ultimate win-win policy for carrying out this urgent task.

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Imran Khan’s Collusion with Pakistan’s Military

 NOVANEWS
Image result for Imran Khan CIA CONNECTION CARTOON

By Nauman Sadiq for Veterans Today 

The predicament of Imran Khan’s fanboys has been somewhat like the pubescent girl who falls head over heels in love with a promiscuous playboy; and when her family and friends try to knock some sense into her by telling her that your sweetheart is cheating on you, instead of heeding to their well-meaning advice, she thinks they are jealous of her love life.

No wonder playboys like John F. Kennedy and Imran Khan turn out to be popular and revered leaders because they understand the elementary psychology of the masses. The puerile multitude doesn’t understand that grown-up politics is about following democratic principles and institution-building rather than putting the destiny of one’s nation in the hands of cavalier messiahs.

In order to assess the prospects of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as a political institution, we need to study its composition. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems the worst decision Nawaz Sharif took in his political career after returning from exile in November 2007 was his refusal to accept Musharraf-allied Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) defectors back into the folds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). After that show of moral uprightness in the essentially unprincipled realpolitik, the PML-Q turncoats joined PTI in droves and gave birth to a third nation-wide political force in Pakistan after PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

If we take a cursory look at the PTI’s membership, it is a hotchpotch of electable politicians from various political parties, but most of all from the former stalwarts of the PML-Q. Here is a list of a few names who were previously the acolytes of Musharraf and are now the ‘untainted’ leaders of PTI which has launched a nation-wide crusade against corruption in Pakistan: Jahangir Tareen, a billionaire businessman who was formerly a minister in Musharraf’s cabinet; Khurshid Mehmood Qasuri, who was Musharraf’s foreign minister; Sheikh Rasheed, although he is not officially a PTI leader but he has become closer to Imran Khan than any other leader except Imran Khan’s virtual sidekick, Jahangir Tareen; and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former stalwart of Pakistan People’s Party who served as a foreign minister during the Zardari administration until he was forced to resign after the Raymond Davis affair in 2011, to name a few.

Allow me to scribble a tongue-in-cheek rant here on Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan Revolution’: This struggle for revolution isn’t the first of its kind in Pakistan and it won’t be the last. The first such revolution took place back in 1953 against the unjust status quo of Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin’s Muslim League. The revolutionary heroes of yore, Ghulam Muhammad, Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan, laid the foundations of the dictatorship of proletariat in Pakistan. The first such dictatorship of proletariat lasted from 1958 to 1971, and its outcome was the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis and the separation of East Pakistan.

The second such revolution occurred against the elected dictatorship of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977 and the revolutionary messiah, Zia-ul-Haq, ruled Pakistan from 1977 to 1988 with an iron hand. After sufficiently consolidating the gains of the revolution in Pakistan, he also exported the revolution throughout the Af-Pak region. The immediate outcome of the revolution was the destabilization of the whole region. It spawned many tadpole revolutionaries whose names we now hear in the news every day, such as the Taliban, the TTP and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The last such revolution took place against the monopoly capitalism and corrupt cronyism of Benazir Bhutto’s People’s Party and Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League in 1999. However, unlike the Stalinists of Zia, Musharraf was a Trotskyite. He joined forces with the neo-Trotskyites of the US like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and an internecine struggle ensued which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Stalinists and Trotskyites in Pakistan alone, not to mention the millions of peasants who were displaced by this conflict in Pakistan’s tribal areas. No offense to the new revolutionaries such as Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen and Sheikh Rasheed, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

On a serious note, however, another reason why Imran Khan is desperate now to destabilize the central government is that despite forming the provincial government and ruling Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for five years, he has no tangible achievements to show. Criticizing the government from opposition benches and making electoral promises is always easy, but showing visible improvement in the affairs of the province which one administers is a hard sell.

The electoral promises of cracking down on corruption and doing away with bureaucratic red-tape might earn him a few brownie points in front of his immature audience, but to treat the malady of corruption, we must first accurately identify the root causes of corruption. Corruption and economy are inter-linked. The governments of prosperous countries can afford to pay adequate salaries to their public servants; and if public servants are paid well, then they don’t have the incentive to be corrupt.

There are two types of corruption: need-based corruption and greed-based corruption. Need-based corruption is the kind of corruption in which a poor police constable, who has a large family to support, earns a meager salary; he then augments his salary by taking bribes to make ends meet. I am not justifying his crime, but only describing the factual position.

After establishing the fact that corruption and economy are inter-linked, we need to ask Imran Khan what is his economic vision to improve Pakistan’s economy, and on what basis does he claim to improve the economy on a nation-wide scale when he failed to make any visible improvement in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa during the PTI’s five-year rule in the province? All I am trying to say is the magic wand of savior-type messiahs cannot solve our problems overnight; reforming Pakistan would be a long-term process which would need, more than anything, adherence to democratic principles and institution-building.

Finally, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are the grownup political parties in Pakistan. They learned their lesson from the politics of confrontation during the 1990s that the security establishment employs the Machiavellian divide-and-conquer tactic of hobnobbing with weaker political parties against stronger political forces in order to disrupt the democratic process and maintain the establishment’s stranglehold on its traditional domain, the security and foreign policy of Pakistan. The new entrant in Pakistan’s political landscape, Imran Khan’s PTI, will also learn this lesson after paying the price of colluding with the establishment, but by then, it might be too late.

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UN Day: Pakistan’s Army’s Peacekeeping Measures

NOVANEWS

Image result for UN Day: Pakistan’s Army CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat
Every year, United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24. On this day in 1945, the United
Nations (UN) came into force when the five permanent members of the Security Council ratified
its charter This followed a declaration by the UN General Assembly in 1947 which designated
24th of October as United Nations Day, by proclaiming that the day would be instrumental in
making people aware of the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gain their
support for its work.

Since its creation, Pakistan has played a significant role as UN member, in bringing peace
through active diplomatic, moral and material support in various regions of the world. Therefore,
this very day also reminds Pakistan’s Army’s role in UN peacekeeping measures, during war and
peace time.

Pakistan’s Army is considered the best organized institution, and is highly respected in the
country, as since the founding of Pakistan, its military has played a key role in holding the state
together, promoting a feeling of nationhood and providing a bastion of selfless service.
Today, Pakistan’s position as one of the largest troop contributing country in the world with one
of the highest peacekeepers’ casualty figure is testimony to its commitment and endeavours
towards promoting the noble cause of global peace. It is not easy to achieve peace in world’s
conflict ridden areas. But Pakistan Army’s history is replete with sacrifices, services to humanity
and promoting collective security for human prosperity.

In this regard, Pakistan is a big player in UN peacekeeping forces. Pakistan joined the United
Nations on September 30, 1947. Since 1960, it has been actively involved in most of the UN
peacekeeping missions. Major contributions of Pakistan Army are in Congo, Liberia Somalia,
Ivory Coast, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia, East Timor Haiti etc.
Even, at present, more than 8200 troops of Pakistan Army are engaged in different peacekeeping
missions across various volatile countries.

The performance of Pakistani peacekeepers has been recognized worldwide by several world
leaders including those of the UN. An undeniable professional standing of Pakistani forces has
made them the passion of every special representative of Secretary General and Force
Commander in each of UN peacekeeping operations. In this respect, Pakistan’s dedication
towards UN has been acknowledged by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who himself visited
Pakistan and inaugurated the Center for International Peace and Stability (CIPS) on 13 August
2013 and praised Pakistan’s efforts in UN peacekeeping missions.

However, Pakistan has participated in 41 UN missions in 23 states where total 142,542 Pakistani
personnel engaged, taking start from UN Congo Operation in 1960. Pakistan Army delivered its
services there, and contributed in ordnance, transport and staff. It is still present in Congo, and
provided a Battalion Group comprising one infantry battalion and supporting elements.

For maintaining and monitoring ceasefire during transition of West Irian from Dutch rule to
Indonesians, Pakistan contributed 1500 infantry troops from October 3, 1962 to April 30, 1963.
In a rare acknowledgement of excellent role done, Chinese Premier Chou-En- Lai had said, “The
only example in United Nation’s history, when United Nations force had gone in…performed its
role honestly and came out, was Pakistan’s military contingent to Indonesia.”

Besides, Pakistan’s contribution was in United Nations Yemen Observer Mission (UNYOM) as
a military observer from January to September 1964. Yemen entered into a state of civil war in
1962. To ensure that this conflict did not escalate into global incident, the UN set up its Yemen
Observation Mission. And, United Nations Transition Assistance Group in Namibia (UNTAG)
was established to assist the special representative of the UN Secretary General to ensure the
early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections, and to carry out a number of
other duties. For the purpose, 20 military observers from Pak Army performed their duties from
April 1, 1989 to March 21, 1990 in Namibia.

Notably, Pakistan Army played a positive role in the Middle East, and was on forefront for peace
restoration. United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) was set up in April 1991,
following the forced withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Its task was to monitor the
demilitarized zone along the Iraq-Kuwait border and deter border violations. Pakistani forces
which helped continuing their services there from April 1991 to 2003 were assigned the most
difficult area in the north of Kuwait city—reclamation of Bubiyan Island was also entrusted to
them. The operation was carried out by a task force of Pakistan Army Engineers. The
professionalism and dedication displayed by this force was praised at international level.
While, inside the United Nations Transitional Authority on Cambodia (UNTAC), the Pakistan’s
military forces carried out peacekeeping operations in the most thorny and remote areas during
the period-May 1992 to August 1993. They overcame enormous logistic and operational
problems, and proved their courage and determination by defending themselves and those for
whom they were sent. Coping with the odds, they handled crisis after crisis and persuaded the
warring factions to lay down their arms.

And on the request of the UN in Latin America under the United Nations Mission in Haiti
(UNMIH), Pakistan provided one infantry battalion, ‘PAKBAT’ which arrived in Haiti in March
1995 and was deployed in Cape Haitien—the area faced extremely volatile security situation and
was also the hotbed of political agitation. ‘PAKBAT’ discharged its duties with an extensive
patrolling program, covering various regions there.

Nevertheless, Pakistan’s Army has worked in difficult terrains and situations for the global
peace. Now, inside the country, although Pakistan Armed Forces are facing a tough situation in
wake of war against terrorism, yet they are contributing to global peace and prosperity; having
still a large number of their presence in various parts of the world.

Now, the major powers must abandon their false propaganda against Pakistan and its Armed
Forces, as the latter did more in response of international demand of world peace.

Nonetheless, in pursuance of Pakistan Army’s unwavering commitment towards international
peace, 130 Pakistani soldiers have sacrificed their lives. In this connection, Pakistan’s Army
positive role in the UN peacekeeping measures reflects Pakistan’s desire to see the principles of
human dignity, freedom and self-determination.

 

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