Tag Archive | "PAKISTAN"

Pakistan Successfully Test-Fires Short-Range Missile

  • Nasr reportedly capable of defeating any ballistic missile defence system in the region.

    Nasr reportedly capable of defeating any ballistic missile defence system in the region.

Thursday’s test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Nasr was deemed successful and capable of defeating any ballistic missile defence system in the region or other new systems under development.

The Pakistani army test-fired a short-range missile – which reportedly has a strike range of about 70 kilometers – as part of an Army Strategic Forces Command training exercise.

RELATED: Syrian Anti-Aircraft Defense Repels Israeli Missiles

“The 2nd phase of this exercise was aimed at testing the extreme inflight maneuverability, including the end flight maneuverability; capable of defeating, by assured penetration, any currently available BMD system in our neighborhood or any other system under procurement/development,” it said.

Thursday’s test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Nasr was deemed successful and capable of defeating any ballistic missile defence system in the region or other new systems under development.

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat lauded the efforts of the troops, scientists and engineers on “achieving yet another milestone of national significance towards Pakistan”s strategic deterrence capability.”

According to army officials, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan also commended all contributors to the feat.

The army has carried out testing for the second time in as many weeks.

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Pakistan and the Cultural Appropriation of Pashtun Rights Movement


Historically, from the massacres in Bangladesh in 1971 to the training and arming of Afghan jihadists during the Soviet-Afghan war throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, and then mounting ill-conceived military operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas under American pressure, leading to the displacement of millions of Pashtun tribesmen, the single biggest issue in Pakistan’s turbulent politics has been the interference of army in politics. Unless Pakistanis are able to establish civilian supremacy in Pakistan, it would become a rogue state which will pose a threat to regional peace and its own citizenry.

For the half of its seventy-year history, Pakistan was directly ruled by the army, and for the remaining half, the military establishment kept dictating Pakistan’s defense and security policy from behind the scenes. The outcome of Ayub Khan’s first decade-long martial law from 1958 to 1969 was that Bengalis were marginalized and alienated to an extent that it led to the separation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971.

During General Zia’s second decade-long martial law from 1977 to 1988, Pakistan’s military trained and armed its own worst nemesis, the Afghan and Kashmiri jihadists. And during General Musharraf’s third martial law from 1999 to 2008, Pakistan’s security establishment made a volte-face under American pressure and declared a war against its erstwhile jihadist proxies that kindled the fire of insurgency in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Image result for General Zia-ul-Haq

Although most political commentators in Pakistan nowadays hold an Islamist General Zia-ul-Haq (image on the right) responsible for the jihadist militancy in tribal areas, it would be erroneous to assume that nurturing militancy in Pakistan was the doing of an individual scapegoat named Zia. All the army chiefs after Zia’s assassination in 1988, including Generals Aslam Beg, Asif Nawaz, Waheed Kakar, Jahangir Karamat and right up to General Musharraf, upheld the same military doctrine of using jihadist proxies to destabilize the hostile neighboring countries, Afghanistan, India and Iran, throughout the 1980s and ‘90s.

A strategic rethink in the Pakistan Army’s top-brass took place only after the 9/11 terror attack, when Richard Armitage, the US Deputy Secretary of State during the Bush administration, threatened General Musharraf in so many words:

“We will send Pakistan back to the Stone Age unless you stop supporting the Taliban.”

Thus, deliberate promotion of Islamic radicalism and militancy in the region was not the doing of an individual general; rather, it was a well-thought-out military doctrine of a rogue institution.

The military mindset, training and institutional logic dictates a militarist and aggressive approach to foreign affairs and security-related matters. Therefore, as a matter of principle, military must be kept miles away from the top decision-making organs of the state.

Notwithstanding, is it not ironic that two very similar insurgencies have simultaneously been going on in Pakistan for the last several years: the Baloch insurgency in the Balochistan province and the insurgency of the Pashtun tribesmen in the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering the American-occupied Afghanistan.

While the Pakistani neoliberal elites fully sympathize with the oppressed Baloch nationalists, when it comes to the Pashtun tribesmen, they are willing to give Pakistan’s security agencies a license to kill, why? It’s simply because the tribal Pashtun insurgents use the veneer of religion to justify their tribal instinct of retribution.

The name Islam, however, is such an anathema to the core neoliberal sensibilities that the elites don’t even bother to delve deeper into the causes of insurgency and summarily decide that since the Pashtun tribesmen are using the odious label of the Taliban, therefore they are not worthy of their sympathies. And as a result, the security establishment gets a carte blanche to indiscriminately bomb the towns and villages of Pashtun tribesmen.

As well-informed readers must be aware that military operations have been going on in the tribal areas of Pakistan since 2009, but a military operation – unlike a law enforcement operation, as in the southern port city of Karachi – is a different kind of operation; it’s an all-out war.

The army surrounds the insurgency-wracked area from all sides and orders the villagers to vacate their homes. Then, the army calls in air force and heavy artillery to carpet bomb the whole area; after which ground troops move in to look for the dead and injured in the rubble of towns and villages.

Air force bombardment and heavy artillery shelling has been going on in the tribal areas of Pakistan for several years; Pashtun tribesmen have been taking fire; their homes, property and livelihoods have been destroyed; they have lost their families and children in this brutal war, which displaced millions of tribesmen who had to live for several years in the refugee camps in Peshawar, Mardan and Bannu districts after the Swat and South Waziristan military operations in 2009 and then the North Waziristan operation in 2014.

The Pashtuns are the most unfortunate nation on the planet nowadays, because nobody understands and represents them; not even their own leadership, whether religious or ethnic. In Afghanistan, the Pashtuns are represented by Washington’s stooges, like Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, and in Pakistan, the Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) loves to play the victim card and finds solace in learned helplessness.

In Pakistan, however, the Pashtuns are no longer represented by a single political entity, a fact which has become obvious after the last two parliamentary elections, in which the Pashtun nationalist ANP was wiped out of its former strongholds.

Now, there are at least three distinct categories of Pashtuns: firstly, the Pashtun nationalists who follow Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s legacy and have their strongholds in Charsadda and Mardan districts; secondly, the religiously inclined Islamist Pashtuns who vote for Islamist political parties, such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; and thirdly, the emerging new phenomena, the Pakistan nationalist Pashtuns, most of whom have joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in recent years, though some have also joined Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League.

It is worth noting here that the 2013 and 2018 general elections were contested on a single issue: Pakistan’s partnership in the American-led war on terror, which has displaced millions of Pashtun tribesmen. The Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) was routed, because in keeping with its so-called “liberal interventionist” ideology, it stood for military operations against Islamist Pashtun militants in tribal areas.

And the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province gave a sweeping mandate to the newcomer in the Pakistani political landscape: Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), because the latter promised to deal with tribal militants through negotiations and political settlements.

Although both Imran Khan (image on the left) andNawaz Sharif have failed to keep their election pledge of using peaceful means for dealing with the menace of religious extremism and militancy, the public sentiment has been firmly against military operations in tribal areas.

The last two parliamentary elections were, in a way, a referendum against Pakistan’s partnership in the American-led war on terror in the Af-Pak region, and the Pashtun electorate gave an overwhelming mandate to pro-peace political parties against the pro-war Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP).

After the Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) was completely routed at the hands of Imran Khan’s PTI during the 2013 general elections, it came up with a new electoral gimmick in the form of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement – The Movement for Protection of Pashtun Rights – for the July 2018 parliamentary elections. Excluding Manzoor Pashteen and some of his close associates, the rest of Pashtun Protection Movement’s leadership is comprised of ANP’s political activists.

But is it not ironic that the very same political forces that cheerled military operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas, leading to the displacement of millions of Pashtun tribesmen, are now championing Pashtun rights? When Pakistan’s military was indiscriminately bombing the towns and villages of Pashtun tribesmen, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) lent their unequivocal support to Pakistan’s so-called war on terror under American pressure, but now they are demanding that Pashtun tribesmen held by security agencies be released, the tribal areas be cleared of mines and security check posts be removed in order to placate Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Pashtun majority electorate.

Finally, in Pakistan’s socio-political milieu, there are three important political forces: the dominant Islamic nationalists; the ethno-linguistic nationalists; and the neoliberal elites. The Islamic nationalists are culturally much closer to the traditional ethno-linguistic nationalists, but politically, due to frequent imposition of martial laws and military dictators’ suspicion toward the centrifugal ethno-linguistic nationalists, the latter were politically marginalized.

As we know that politics is mostly about forming alliances, therefore the shrewd neoliberal elites lured the leadership of gullible ethno-linguistic nationalists and struck a political alliance with them. But this alliance is only a marriage of convenience, because culturally, both these camps don’t have anything in common with each other. The Islamic nationalists and the ethno-linguistic nationalists belong to the same social stratum and go through thick and thin together; while the comprador bourgeois are beholden to foreign powers.

Leadership is a two-way street, a judicious leader is supposed to guide the masses, but at the same time, he is also supposed to represent the interests and aspirations of dispossessed masses. The detached and insular leadership that lives in a fantasy world of outlandish theories and fails to understand the mindsets and inclinations of the masses tends to lose its mass appeal sooner or later.

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US-led Secret Strategy Compelled Pakistan to Fortify Relations with Russia


Image result for Pakistan LEADER PHOTO
By Sajjad Shaukat
There are no permanent friends and enemies in international politics, because friendship and
enmity change in accordance with the states’ interests which are of primary importance.
After having strong relationship with the United States for more than 60 years, a shift has
occurred in Pak-US ties because of a number of reasons, and Pakistan has inclined towards the
Russian Federation which also needs the latter. Particularly, the US-led secret strategy which is
part of American double game compelled Pakistan to fortify its relations with Russia.
In this regard, an agreement has been signed on August 7, this year between Pakistan and Russia
for training of Pakistani troops in Russia, decided at culmination of first meeting of joint Military
Consultative Committee (JMCC) in Islamabad. Pakistan’s defence ties with Moscow are
growing strong with each passing day and this pact has opened new avenues of cooperation
between the two countries.

A desire from both sides has already been seen in the near past in boosting economic and political

relation. Obviously, these moves are seen with suspicion by the US and India including Israel.

The fact of the matter is that American President Donald Trump’s pro-Indian strategy and anti-

Pakistan policies have forced Islamabad to find new alliances. Earlier, America announced to stop

military training programmes with Pakistan. In this respect, Western media said, “The U.S. has stopped

financing military training in the U.S. for Pakistani soldiers…The effective suspension of Pakistan from

the US government’s International Military Education and Training program (IMET) will close off places

that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year.”

Pakistani officials warned it could push their military to further look to Russia and China.
Pakistan’s Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, Senator. Mushahid Hussain called the
American move “wrong and counterproductive” and said: “The U.S. is repeating past mistakes
through failed policy of trying to bully and browbeat Pakistan with such shortsighted sanctions.”
On August 3, the US Congress on approved a $716 billion defence authorization bill to cut
Pakistan's defence aid from $750 million to $150 million.

The Senate passed the conference report on National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill then was sent to president Trump seeking his assent. Last year, US defence bill had authorized

a significant aid of $700 million for Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) that has been reduced now.The defence policy bill backs President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a
potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms.

It is notable that in an interview with CNBC television on July 30, this year, the US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo warned on that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for
Pakistan’s new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders. Pompeo
elaborated that the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, but there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays
off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

Islamabad has dismissed America’s concerns  that any new International Monetary Fund bailout
for the nation would be used to repay Chinese debt as “totally wrong”.

It is mentionable that soon after the victory of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the general
elections of 2018, China agreed to further US$ 2 billion loan to aid its foreign currency reserves,
something which cites trust in the new government. The Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan
emphasized close ties with Beijing and the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC).

This comes timely as Pakistan continues to face strained relationships with the
US government, and does not want to rely on the IMF for a bail-out. Chinese announcement
caused Pakistan’s rupee to jump the most in nearly a decade, as Khan is likely to take power with
an economy in chaos. Beijing has stepped up to reinforce a geopolitical alliance which shapes the
South Asian nation’s policies towards the US and India which are following a secret strategy
against Islamabad. The gesture speaks to Pakistan’s overwhelming reliance on China as a source
of financial, diplomatic and military support at a time when US President Donald Trump has cut
military aid to Islamabad.

Besides China, coming Prime Minister Imran Khan also wants to strengthen Pakistan’s relation
with Russia and Iran.

As regards Pak-Russian ties, in this connection, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General General
Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia for two-day visit on April 24, this year. It was General Bajwa’s
first visit to Russia.

The statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “Chief of Army Staff
(COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia…where he met with Commander of
Russian Federation Ground Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov at the Kremlin
Palace…During the meeting, the Russian ground forces commander acknowledged
achievements of Pakistan Army in fight against terrorism and contributions for regional
peace and stability. Colonel General Salyukov said that Pakistan is a geo-strategically
important country and Russia is keen to expand its existing bilateral military-to-military
cooperation…The COAS thanked the Russian commander and said that Pakistan
reciprocates desire of enhanced bilateral military engagements. General Bajwa said that
Russia has recently played a positive role to help resolve complex situations in the region.”
However, during the meetings between the top military and security leadership of the two
countries, Pakistan and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to intensify and expand bilateral
military cooperation.

In his meeting with the Gen. Qamar Javed, Russian Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief
Colonel General Oleg Salyukov said his country was interested in expanding the existing
military cooperation with Pakistan. Gen Bajwa, too, expressed Pakistan’s desire to enhance
bilateral military engagements with Russia.

The two countries had in February, 2018 agreed to set up a military cooperation commission for
promoting military cooperation. Both sides had signed a defence cooperation agreement in

November 2014 and later inked military-technical cooperation accord, which allows arms trade
between the two countries and cooperation in weapon development, in October 2015.
Gen. Bajwa told the Russian Ground Forces commander that Pakistan would continue to play its
part to “keep conflicts away from the region and seek approaches which bring regional
convergences into play rather than divergences”.

The press service of the Russian Security Council reported that in their meeting, “issues of
bilateral military cooperation in information security and countering international terrorism were

The army chief’s trip was preceded by the visit of National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen.
Nasser Janjua to Russia. His meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev
resulted in an understanding that the security cooperation between the two countries needed a

The latest developments suggest that the engagement is all set to accelerate. According to a
Russian source, an intense programme has been developed for this year.
The rapprochement between the previous Cold War adversaries was driven by Russian concerns
about instability in Afghanistan. Islamabad and Moscow share common opinion that the
presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan failed to restore stability in the country.

Speaking to Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Gen Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov,
Gen. Bajwa stated: “Pakistan wants to get out of the zero-sum dynamics of Cold War era that is
still prevalent in South Asia…We have no hostile designs towards any country and will keep on
working towards a cooperative regional framework based on sovereign equality and mutual
progress through connectivity.

Gen Gerasimov said Russia supported Pakistan’s efforts towards reconciliation and peace in
Afghanistan and it was willing to play a role towards that end.” He noted that Pakistan welcomed
any initiative which could bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the whole region would
benefit from it.

Notably, in 2002, the 7th meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic
Stability was held in Moscow. The two sides had discussed matters of mutual interest relating to
international issues, including arms control, nonproliferation and counter-terrorism.

On May 12, 2011, Islamabad and Moscow agreed to promote trade, investment and joint projects
particularly in energy, infrastructure development, metal industry and agriculture. Rissia has
shown special interest in energy projects. A working group of both countries had met in October,
2011 to explore cooperation in this sector. Islamabad is interested in Russian investment in its oil
and gas sectors as well as in heavy industries.

Russia has offered Pakistan counter-terrorism equipments. The package includes 10 MI-17
helicopters of unarmed configuration. When Russian military Chief Col-Gen. Alexander

Postnikov visited Pakistan in May 2011, he discussed with the former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani—the possibility of expanding defence ties by holding joint military exercises,
exchanging trainees and trainers and selling and buying weapons. Moscow has also offered to
sell Sukhoi Superjet 100, a modern aircraft with a capacity of up to 95 passengers, while
upgradation of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia is being finalized

In the recent past, it was the first time that joint military exercises were conducted between the
two countries in Pakistan.

Cordial relations with Moscow suit Islamabad’s long-term strategic interests, as it seeks to
diversify resources, especially in view of continuing problems with Washington that has hitherto
been its biggest supplier.

During the Cold War, Pakistan was allied with the United States and the former Soviet Union
backed India. However, Soviet Union’s arms sales to New Delhi and criticism of Pakistan’s
position in the 1971 war with India weakened bilateral relations.

The U-2 incident in 1960—US spy plane was shot down by the former Russia and the pilot was
captured alive. The fact that the plane flew from Pakistani territory enraged the Soviet Union.
The Soviets threatened to bomb the Pakistani base if future missions were flown from it. In
relation to the incident, Pakistani General Khalid Mahmud Arif had stated, “Pakistan felt
deceived because the US had kept her in the dark about such clandestine spy operations launched
from Pakistan’s territory.”

In 1974, the then Prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited Moscow. For the first time in the
history, Soviet Union’s ties with Pakistan began to warm. His talks prompted the former Russia
to establish steel mill in Karachi on its own expanse. However, after the American CIA
orchestrated removal of Bhutto, tensions began to mount with General Zia-ul-Haq who opposed
Soviet Union ideologically.

The two countries were bitter enemies in the 1980s when Pakistan became a frontline state of the
US-led war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan—and also during the Taliban’s rule in
Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

After Pakistan joined US war against terrorism in 2001, Russia vowed its support for
Islamabad’s fight against the Taliban militants. In 2007, the relations between Pakistan and
Russia were reactivated after the visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

It is of particular attention that in 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had stated that
Russia was against developing strategic and military ties with Pakistan because of its desires to
place emphasis on strategic ties with India. But Moscow changed its policy in 2011 when Putin
publicly endorsed Pakistan bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and
remarked that Pakistan was a very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for
Russia. In the recent years, besides, various annual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian states including Pakistan and
Iran, on 16 August 2007, in their summit, the leaders of the SCO displayed strength against the

US rising dominance in the region and military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of
Central Asia.

It is noteworthy that on June 9, 20, Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting
with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
President Putin stated that Pakistan is an important partner for Russia in South Asia and
congratulated the then Prime Minister Sharif on Pakistan’s full membership to the SCO. Putin
elaborated, “Russian-Pakistani relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial…our
relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased.”

In a major development, Russia has offered its support for Pakistan’s entry into a free trade
agreement with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), of which Russia is a leading member.
The disqualified Prime Minister Sharif who thanked the Russian Federation for supporting
Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO, said, “The SCO gives us a powerful platform for
partnerships to promote peace, build trust and spur economic development for shared
prosperity…it helps us all combat terrorism…expansion of the SCO has taken place at an
opportune time, as China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative has transformed the global economic
landscape…in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,
which is a flag of the OBOR.”

Nevertheless, Pak-Russian trajectory cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of various
developments in the region.

In this context, to bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a
military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to
counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft.

During ex-President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the Washington and New Delhi had
announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply India
with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s first visit to America, President Obama had strongly assured him to favour
India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington
also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific
safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for
starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

During his trip to the USA, Prime Minister Modi’s first meeting with the American President
Donald Trump held on June 27, 2017. Both the leaders pledged to work together to boost their
respective economies and other fields. Besides, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi
pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, building on the US’s recognition of India as
a major defence partner. The president also thanked India for seeking a $2 billion arms deal with
the United States for 22 naval surveillance drones.

Trump said, “The relationship between the United States and India is very, very strong and very,
very powerful.” While, ignoring ground realities that the US-led Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW
are sponsoring terrorism in Asia and Western countries, in the joint statement, Trump hailed
pledges of closer cooperation between India and the United States, especially in the fight against
the Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh).

In fact, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become
center of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to
obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China
and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which
are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security
(NDS) support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),
including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and
Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are
weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive

Apart from Islamabad, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in
Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the
unending war in Afghanistan, but also to fulfill the secret strategic designs against Russia, China,
Pakistan and Iran.

Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s strategic rival, as he also initiated a trade
war with China. However, the joint statement of Trump and Modi also indicated that Washington
and New Delhi share concerns about North Korea’s missile programme and China’s rise as a
military power.

It is of particular attention that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One
Road (OBOR) initiative; the US also joined New Delhi. In this connection, on October 3,
2017, the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has
reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

Islamabad strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-
dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,
passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on
blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in
the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also
participated in an OBOR summit.

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying
that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic
cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

It is worth-mentioning that the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the
region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral

Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by killing of the Taliban leader
Mullah Akhtar Mansur in CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan
Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government.

While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad
and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an
understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan
government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 16 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.
During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on
December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to secret diplomacy of the
US, India and Afghanistan owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against
Islamabad. In his opening remarks, following American secret diplomacy in Asia, in his frenzy
and ferocious speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi had lashed out at Pakistan on terrorism as the
central subject of the moot.

Speaking in the Indian tone, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also accused Pakistan of providing
sanctuary to terrorists and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov had rejected the Indian and Afghan
allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the
agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we
should avoid the blame game and work together. He also said that Pakistan’s Adviser to the
Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s speech at the conference was friendly and

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan
held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016 and discussed regional
stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-
terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process
between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

It is noteworthy that the American President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear
deal and is following war-mongering diplomacy against Tehran, while Israel is also doing the
same against Iran. Hence, Iran could abandon the US-backed India-Afghanistan Chabahar
project and could join the CPEC project.

There are also some other reasons which resulted into close relationship between Islamabad
and Moscow. Notably, in the recent years, unbridgeable trust deficit existed between
Pakistan and the United States because of America’s double game with Islamabad. But,
President Trump’s flawed strategy in South Asia, based upon anti-Pakistan moves, has taken
the Pakistan-US ties to point of no return.

During the heightened days of the Cold War, despite Pakistan’s membership of the US
sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO, including Pak-US bilateral military
agreement, America did not come to help Pakistan against India which separated the East
Pakistan in 1971.

After the end of the Cold War, the US left both Pakistan and Afghanistan to face the fallout of
the Afghan war 1. By manipulating the nuclear programme of Islamabad, the US imposed
various sanctions on Pakistan.

But, after the 9/11 tragedy, America, again, needed Pakistan’s help and President George W.
Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the
status of non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army
and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al-Qaeda militants.

Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the
stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of
supporting the Afghan Taliban. They constantly emphasized upon Pakistan to do more against
the militants and continued the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring
the internal backlash in the country.

Reviving the double game as part of anti-Pakistan approach, President Donald Trump stated in
his tweet on January 1, this year, “The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in
aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our
leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.
No more!”

Weeks earlier of this tweet, while, unveiling national security strategy, Trump had said, “We
make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
In his speech on August 21, 2017, while announcing the US new strategy regarding Afghanistan
as part of the policy in South Asia, President Donald Trump, particularly, singled out Pakistan
for criticism. Using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame
game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan
by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist
organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Trump stated, “We have been paying Pakistan billions of dollars, at the same time, they are
housing the very terrorists we are fighting…that must change immediately.”

Regarding Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump added, “We appreciate India’s
important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a
condition to do more against terrorism.

Taking cognizance of the latest tweet of the President Trump, Pakistan’s civil and military
leaders, including all the mainstream political parties united against the US aggressive stance
against the country and offered a stark response to Trump’s false accusations.
The then Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif remarked, “Terrorist sanctuaries are
present in East Afghanistan. It is from these safe havens inside Afghanistan that terrorist attacks

are being launched on Pakistan…The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it,
they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan…Our land, roads, rail
and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed.”
According to the earlier statement of the ISPR, “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar
Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from
USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan
is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, while praising
military operations against terrorism, but covertly, they continue destabilizing it, especially with
the assistance of India as part of the anti-Pakistan, anti-China and anti-Russia diplomacy.
While, encouraged by the US President Trump, Indian Prime Minister Modi is flowing
aggressive diplomacy against Pakistan, and India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of
Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.
And various other developments such as Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US
decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

Nonetheless, taking note of the US secret strategy, Islamabad which has already
strengthened its relations with Beijing has also been cultivating its ties with Russia. In this
respect, Former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has openly stated that Islamabad will prefer
Russia over America. In an interview to the “The Wall Street Journal” on January 5, 2018,
Khawaja Asif said, “He sees his country’s alliance with the US as over after the Trump
administration announced the suspension of U.S. security-related aid to Pakistan…This is n’ot
how allies behave.”

Pakistan is also improving its relations with Iran. In the end of last year, Pakistan’s Chief of
Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a visit to Tehran where he met Iranian civil and
military high officials.

We can conclude that the US-led secret strategy compelled Pakistan to fortify relations with
Russia, and Pak-Russian relations are part of the Russian-led China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey

Note: I have revised and updated my similar article.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous

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Pakistan: Imran Khan and the Silk Road


By Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

The election of Imran Khan represents a turnabout in policy in South Asia in ways few expect. Khan will close the door on America’s longtime policy toward the Caspian Basin, a policy of dominance, regime change and military colonization. That policy will die a needed and painful death.

First of all, where no Pakistani leader ever could before, Khan will reach out to India. India’s Modi continues to push for strong suppression of Muslims in Kashmir and a wartime footing against China.

India, only recently, shelved their cooperative deal with Russia to develop a 5th generation fighter aircraft in favor of buying “off the shelf” technology, possibly from the US. The longtime military technology cooperation between Russia and India has been an unrealized buffer that has quelled hostile rhetoric between China and India, the burgeoning economic superpowers of the Silk Road.

The Silk Road, which will tie China and Germany with branches to South Asia, the Caspian and Caucuses, Turkey and Iran, even Afghanistan, will supplant all economic influence from the US and Saudi Arabia. What is also clear is that a regional economic community that spans Europe and Asia will quell the manufactured conflicts, fake terrorism and regime change tactics that America under Deep State leadership has turned to time and time again.

Toward this end, the election despite American and Israeli attempts to smear Imran Khan, of a Pakistani leader finally willing to cut ties with Wall Street and Tel Aviv, will signal a new age. This is particularly important in that Pakistan is the world’s only Islamic nuclear power as well.

Pakistan has long propped up Saudi oligarchical rule, efforts that have allowed Saudi Arabia to war on Yemen and openly join with Israel to support ISIS and al Qaeda and manipulate America into planning a sneak attack on Iran as well, or so recent leaks have announced to the world.

In the end, the alignments achieved during Syria and Iraq’s successful wars on Western backed terrorism, may well provide a platform for not just trade but regional security as well. Therefore, splitting Turkey from Iran and Russia, the Astana powers, is a prime policy consideration for the US.

As Turkey becomes increasingly distant from an American controlled NATO, particularly with Erdogan deeply concerned with America’s love affair with radical Gulanites he believes responsible for what he also considers a CIA backed coup against him in 2016, a durable economic and mutual security agreement between Turkey and Iran are likely to follow.

Similarly, with Turkey’s moves to modernize its own military, making it less dependent on covert technology transfers from Israel, that relationship, one that Erdogan now believes has been poisonous to Turkey, will disappear, or so many now believe they are observing.

The key to regional security, and this is where Imran Khan comes in, will be Pakistan’s possible role in bridging the gulf between China and India. With the broad economic partnership that Khan speaks of with India, Pakistan’s military partnership with China will not only become less important and less of a threat to India but will likely evolve into a stabilizing influence for the region.

With Khan’s Pakistan in play, free of Western control, free from the threat of India, Pakistan can assert its role as peacemaker in Afghanistan. Pakistan can also provide a regional buffer to threats against Iran as well, particularly if Khan chooses to develop trade relations in defiance of Deep State sanctions intended to crush Iran. Pakistan is not susceptible to American intimidation with an economy that has long suffered from globalist exploitation.

With Turkey, Canada and Germany increasingly skeptical of the benefits of NATO membership and Britain in political free fall resulting from both Brexit and the machinations of Boris Johnson and his Deep State handlers, America’s role as global policeman will become increasingly untenable.

Part of the motivation for restructuring Pakistan is the level of corruption tied to Western interference that has long ground that nation into the dirt. The gulf between rich and poor in Pakistan, as with so many nations, has increased even though Pakistan is free of hereditary elites and “oil Princes.” The “pie” as it were, in Pakistan has always been a small one with the seeds of corruption tied to Pakistan’s post-colonial embrace of British traditions of elitism and tolerance for human suffering.

Imran Khan has said he will bring this to an end with his promise of a welfare state financed through a crackdown on tax cheats, corruption and fraud.

The end result, regionally, if his policies prove their efficacy, will be a stronger role in regional trade and a strengthening of a Euro-Asian global order dependent on humanistic values and real economic advancement. The model chosen by the European Union, in juxtaposition, the concept of taxing Britain, France and Germany, to underwrite unrealistic currency and lifestyle “enhancements” for less productive nations, the rational for Brexit, is long dead.

What we will watch for, of course, is whether Khan means what he says and if his policies, considering the deep-seated nature of corruption in Pakistan, can be implemented. If so, a model state may well emerge, one that might lead to realistic reforms in Egypt, Afghanistan and even Iran.

What must be recognized is that democracy, as proven in America most recently, cannot survive war, or threat of war. Given this, it isn’t difficult to note how easily events are manipulated and to what end.

That end, for Europe and Asia, will be 7000 miles of economic partnership and mutual security, an end that will only be achieved if those who oppose global security are recognized, exposed and blocked in their efforts.

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“Naya Pakistan”: New Pakistan Should Apply to Join the Eurasian Development Bank


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The “Naya Pakistan” (New Pakistan) of Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan should build upon the foreign policy rebalancing of the previous administrations and apply to join the Russian-led Eurasian Development Bank.

Pakistan is on the cusp of such major changes following last month’s elections that many have begun speaking about a “Naya Pakistan” (New Pakistan) under the leadership of Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan, one which would naturally differentiate itself in the foreign policy realm just as much as the domestic one. Recognizing that this represents an exciting moment for Pakistan to build off of the regional rebalancing strategy begun by the previous administrations and take these moves to their next level, it’s fitting to revisit the author’s original proposal from December 2017 about how “It’s Time For Pakistan To Join The Eurasian Development Bank”, which takes on an increased importance in the present day.

Pakistan is expected to continue enhancing its strategic relations with Russia, but their expanding military, energy, and diplomatic cooperation is missing the crucial real-sector economic component that only membership in the Eurasian Development Bank can advance. Russia needs to become a stakeholder in Pakistan’s overall success, and providing multilateral financing solutions to its forthcoming developmental projects would be the fastest and most mutually beneficial way of achieving that. Although the process of joining the regional bank might take a few years, it would unprecedentedly signal the first time that a state outside of the former Soviet Union expressed a serious interest in membership.

This alone is bound to attract the attention of all manner of Russian decision makers who are already eager as it is to expand their country’s influence beyond its traditional spheres, and it might also appeal to their Pakistani counterparts who are keen to diversify their sources of future financing. Because of the bank’s focus on infrastructure, there’s a perfect complementarity between President Putin’s vision of Eurasian integration and Prime Minister-elect Khan’s of domestic development, and the corresponding membership talks could most immediately serve as a pivotal platform for bringing together both countries’ elite to discuss the prospects for further economic cooperation.

The “gateway effect” that this could gave might be an actual game-changer in the Russian-Pakistan rapprochement by showcasing the South Asian state’s investment potential and resultantly incentivizing its northern partner to make a tangible commitment to its success. In addition, the Eurasian Development Bank could also give Pakistan the opportunity to strengthen its relations with the organization’s three Central Asian members and lay the groundwork for the blossoming of ties with each of them that would naturally occur if a Russian-Pakistani trade corridor through the region was ever commenced. It’s therefore in Pakistan’s best interests that the incoming government seriously considers approaching the Eurasian Development Bank and exploring the possibility for membership.

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Imran Khan: Pakistan Needs a Strong New Leader


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The words ‘hope’ and ‘Pakistan’ do not often appear together.  Pakistan, a sprawling nation of 205 million, is hard to govern, even harder to finance, and seething with tribal or religious violence and discord.

But Pakistan, which for me is one of the most interesting and important nations on earth, is by far the leading nation of the Muslim world and a redoubtable military power.  Created in 1947 from former British India as a haven for oppressed Muslims, Pakistan has been ruled ever since by military juntas or by slippery and often corrupt civilian politicians.

After decades of dynastic politics under the Bhutto and Sharif families, there is suddenly hope that  newly elected cricket star Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) may – just may – tackle Pakistan’s four biggest problems: endemic corruption, military interference, political tribalism, and a half-dead economy.

Former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, appears to be headed for jail over a corruption scandal unless he is allowed to go into exile in London. The exiled former military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is hiding out in Dubai awaiting charges of treason.

I spent a good deal of time with Pakistan’s former leaders, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and his bitter foe, Benazir Bhutto, both of whom were later murdered.  Neither Musharraf nor Nawaz measured up to these colorful personalities in political skills, vision, or personality.

Imran Khan is sometimes called ‘Pakistan’s Jack Kennedy’ for his movie-star good looks, charisma and zesty love life.  He no longer plays professional cricket though he is still idolized in Pakistan and, interestingly, bitter foe India.

Khan (who is of Pashtun tribal blood) is also a philanthropist and respected thinker.  He says he is determined to begin rooting corruption out of Pakistan and to revivify its ailing economy.  Pakistan’s GDP is only $1,641 per person compared to India’s $2,134.  The illiteracy rate is about 40%, notably among women who are the primary teachers of the young.

As Imran Khan is about to take office, Pakistan’s coffers are almost empty.  Islamabad has had to take 12 loans from the International Monetary Fund in the last 40 years, in part to pay for its oil imports.

Now, Islamabad is negotiating yet another loan of $57 billion from its most important ally, China, whose vast belt and road project covering transportation, ports and infrastructure seeks to modernize Pakistan and turn it into a primary conduit to the Arabian Sea.

But Donald Trump’s Washington is angry over China’s dollar diplomacy, formerly a preserve of US foreign policy.  US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who plays bad cop to Trump’s bad cop, lambastes Pakistan for the Chinese loan.

The White House is obviously dismayed by China’s growing influence over Pakistan caused, in large part, by the US decision to cut aid to Pakistan and favor its old enemy, India.  President George Bushaided India’s military nuclear program, alarming China and Pakistan.  Now, Trump is working to mobilize India against China.  So far, India has been too smart to act as an American strategic proxy.

Imran Khan will now have a chance to resolve the Indo-Pakistani dispute over contested Kashmir that has flared since 1947.  India keeps one million soldiers and police there to repress the rebellious majority Muslim population that seeks to join Pakistan or create an independent state.  The UN mandated a referendum to determine Kashmir’s future but India ignores it.

The new Khan government must also try to find a way to get the US out of the giant hole it has dug in Afghanistan.  Imran has been a vocal critic of the stalemated US war in Afghanistan. Soon, he will control the major supply lines to US forces there.

India and Pakistan are important nuclear-armed powers.  Their nuclear forces are on a hair-trigger alert of less than 5 minutes.  There is frequent fighting on the Kashmir cease-fire line between the two sides.  India’s vastly larger forces are poised to invade Pakistan.  Islamabad says it must have tactical nuclear weapons to deter such an overwhelming Indian attack.

The Kashmir border is the world’s most dangerous flash point.

Imran Khan may be able to calm tensions over Kashmir and open meaningful talks with India where he is very popular.  In the 1980’s, Gen. Zia ul Haq headed off an invasion by India by flying to Delhi on the spur of the moment to attend a cricket match.  This writer expects Imran Khan to similarly appear in India for his ultimate diplomatic test match.

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


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


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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US Threatens Pakistan as Part of New Afghan War Drive. Islamabad Seeks Beijing’s Support

US government officials have begun to spell out the meaning of Trump’s threat to punish Pakistan if it does not suppress Afghan insurgents operating from its border regions. These punishments include not just cuts to aid and payments for services rendered in fighting the Afghan war, but also encouraging India, Pakistan’s arch-rival, to play a larger role in Afghanistan, and a more pro-Indian stance on the seven-decade-old Kashmir dispute.

India has repeatedly boasted of its readiness to mount military raids inside Pakistan, even if they risk provoking all-out war between South Asia’s rival nuclear powers.

Rattled by Washington’s threats, Islamabad has turned to Beijing for support, further heightening tensions in a region where India and China are engaged in their most serious border stand-off since their 1962 border war, and Indian and Pakistani troops routinely exchange fatal artillery barrages across the Line of Control that separates Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

Trump insisted that Pakistan must “immediately” change course and stop “harboring criminals and terrorists” in his Monday evening speech outlining plans for a massive US escalation of the Afghan war. Elaborating on this, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a Tuesday press conference that Washington’s relations with Islamabad will henceforth be determined by whether it heeds US demands on the conduct of the Afghan war. Those who provide “safe haven” for terrorists have been “put on notice,” he declared, “warned (and) forewarned.”

Failure to comply, Tillerson suggested, would cost Islamabad financially and result in a further downgrading in relations, or worse. Asked what specific actions Washington might take against a recalcitrant Pakistan, he said,

“We have some leverage that’s been discussed in terms of the amount of aid and military assistance we give them; their status as a non-NATO alliance partner. All of that can be put on the table.”

Although Tillerson did not mention it, senior Trump administration officials are known to have considered threatening Pakistan with designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Such a designation would automatically entail the loss of all US financial support and scrapping of all US arms sales, and likely lead to the sanctioning of government and military officials.

Lisa Curtis, who last month was named deputy assistant to the president and senior White House director for South and Central Asia, called, in a report issued by the Heritage Foundation last February, for the “terrorist state” designation to be held in reserve for use beyond the Trump administration’s “first year.”

Tillerson also indicated that the US will resume the drone strikes that have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and terrorized the impoverished population of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The former Exxon CEO refused to directly answer a question at Tuesday’s press conference about the drone strikes, which are a flagrant violation of international law. But in sidestepping the question, he declared,

“We are going to attack terrorists wherever they live.”

The US military-security establishment, along with Democratic and Republican Party leaders, has long blamed the resilience of the Afghan insurgency on Pakistan’s reputed failure to crack down on the Taliban and its allies, especially the Haqqani Network.

The reality is that Washington and its NATO allies are waging a brutal neo-colonial war of occupation, propping up a corrupt and reviled puppet government in Kabul with night raids, drone strikes and other acts of terror.

Consequently, the Taliban, notwithstanding its reactionary Islamist ideology, is able to draw on widespread popular support. Pentagon officials themselves concede that, despite the US spending close to a trillion dollars, losing more than 2,400 troops, and raining death on one of the world’s most impoverished countries for the past 16 years, the Taliban insurgency is the strongest it has been since American forces invaded the country in October 2001.

Mentioned only in passing by Tillerson on Tuesday was the other element in Washington’s double-pronged threat to Pakistan: Trump’s call for India to become more involved in Afghanistan, especially in the provision of economic assistance.

India lost no time in welcoming Trump’s new Afghan war strategy, which includes among its core elements removing all restraints on US commanders targeting civilian areas and otherwise using the US war machine as they see fit.

“We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists,” said an Indian External Affairs Ministry statement.

India’s corporate media has lauded Trump’s endorsement of India in his Afghan speech as a “key security and economic partner” of US imperialism. In an op-ed column titled, “Donald Trump’s Afghanistan policy presents India a chance to increase sphere of influence in South Asia,” Firstpost senior editor Sreemoy Talukdar termed Trump’s Afghan policy a “loud” endorsement—one that has huge implications for India in South Asia, where it jostles for influence with a mercantile China.”

To the dismay of Pakistan’s ruling elite, New Delhi has supplanted Islamabad over the past dozen years as American imperialism’s principal regional ally. With the aim of building up India as a counter-weight to China, Washington has showered India with strategic favours,

Under Narendra Modi and his three year-old Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the Indo-US strategic alliance has undergone a qualitative transformation. India has parroted Washington’s provocative stances on the South China Sea and North Korea disputes, dramatically increased its military-strategic cooperation with America’s principal Asia-Pacific allies, Japan and Australia, and thrown open its ports and bases to routine use by US warships and fighter jets.

The US establishment, be it National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and the rest of Trump’s cabal of generals, or the liberals of the New York Times, accuse Islamabad of playing a “double game”—that is, of fighting the Pakistan Taliban and providing logistical support to the US war in Afghanistan, while surreptitiously protecting the Haqqani Network and other elements of the Taliban with close ties to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

This is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It was the CIA that instructed the Pakistani ISI in the use of Islamist militia as proxy forces. At America’s behest, Islamabad helped organize and train the Mujihadeen who were used to draw the Soviet Union into the Afghan civil war, then to bleed it militarily for the next decade.

Moreover, the US has repeatedly employed Islamist militia and terror groups, including in regime-change operations in Libya and Syria. And it has done so while cynically claiming they are the target of the “war on terror” that successive US administrations have invoked as the pretext for military interventions in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia and for sweeping attacks on democratic rights at home.

Pakistan’s maintenance of ties with sections of the Taliban is bound up with its strategic aim of securing a major say in any political settlement of the Afghan war and its mounting anxiety over the “global Indo-US strategic alliance.”

For years, Islamabad has been warning Washington that its strategic embrace of India is fueling an arms and nuclear arms race in South Asia and encouraging Indian belligerence. But these warnings have been curtly dismissed. At most, Washington would agree to somewhat curb India’s ambitions in Afghanistan. Now even that is being set aside.

As the US has downgraded its relations with Pakistan, Islamabad has increasingly turned to its “all-weather friend,” China, to offset Indian pressure. Beijing, for its part, long sought to woo New Delhi with offers of investment, including a leading role in its One Belt-One Road Eurasian infrastructure-building scheme. But with India under Modi emerging as a frontline state in Washington’s military-strategic offensive against China, Beijing’s stance has changed markedly.

Over the past two months, Chinese government officials and the state-owned media have repeatedly threatened India with a border war unless it withdraws its troops from a remote Himalayan ridge, long under Beijing’s control but also claimed by Bhutan.

Underscoring the extent to which the US drive to harness India to its war drive against China has drawn South Asia into the maelstrom of great power conflict and is polarizing the region along India-US versus China-Pakistan lines, Beijing has given Islamabad a strong show of support in the wake of Trump’s Afghan war speech.

First, a Chinese Foreign Ministry representative came to Pakistan’s defence, saying the country had made “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” to the fight against terrorism. Then, the Chinese foreign minister, who was already in Pakistan on a previously scheduled visit, agreed in meetings with the Pakistani leadership to “maintain the momentum” of high level military-security and economic cooperation. This is to include Beijing and Islamabad enhancing policy coordination in the “emerging global and regional situation” and pressing forward with the development of the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Russia has also made clear its opposition to Washington’s plans to intensify the Afghan War and bully Pakistan. Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said Tuesday,

“Putting pressure [on Pakistan] may seriously destabilize the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan.”

Traditionally, Russia has enjoyed very close relations with India. But New Delhi’s alignment with Washington is placing the Indo-Russian strategic partnership under severe strain.

Posted in USA, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on US Threatens Pakistan as Part of New Afghan War Drive. Islamabad Seeks Beijing’s Support

Distortion of History: BSNs Observe Black Day


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By Sajjad Shaukat

In order to pollute the minds of the patriot people of the Baluchistan province against the

federation of Pakistan, every year Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) observe March 27 as a black

day on alleged annexation of Kallat state with Pakistan in 1948.

During this very day, shutter down strikes in small and far-flung areas of Balochistan and

demonstrations of small attendance by exiled BSNs take place. As these hostile elements, while

following the foreign agenda of the anti-Pakistan countries distort the historical facts; the Baloch

must need to know the actual perspective about accession of Kallat state with Pakistan.

No doubt, Baloch leaders and people of Balochistan played a vital role in creation of Pakistan,

and ultimately succeeded under the leadership and guidance of Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali

Jinnah in achieving Pakistan as an independent state. In fact, Balochistan is an integral part of

Pakistan with a history of supporting Resolution of Pakistan-1940, which envisaged creation of a

separate homeland for Muslim majority areas of the Sub-continent, as the Baloch had strongly

opposed plan of the united India.

Unfortunately, there are still been certain dissident elements which not only opposed the idea of

Two Nation Theory-the fundamental ideological base for creation of Pakistan, but also left no

stone unturned in polluting the minds of the innocent Baloch by distorting the history of

Balochistan’s accession to Pakistan. In reality, before the independence of Pakistan, the

territories which are now consolidated into the province of Balochistan did not constitute a

settled province. Apart from Quetta District that was administrated under civil law, the rest of the territory was under Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). The then government of British India constituted a special body of tribal elders known as “SHAHI JIRGA” for consultation by

Assistant Governor General (AGG) on local issues relating to British Balochistan.

On June 29, 1947, “SHAHI JIRGA” of the British Balochistan as representative body of AGG along with elected members of Quetta Municipal Body unanimously passed a resolution of forming part of Pakistan. The State of Kalat had customary over lordship on the princely states of Kharan,

Makran and Lasbela. As these three states decided to join Pakistan in March 1948, the Khan of

Kalat (KoK) also acceded with Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The brother of KoK Shehzada

Abdul Karim of Kakat having mustered 130 tribesmen started insurgency in 1948 which never

took off ground and the matter was brought under control.

Regretfully, Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) distort history of accession of Kalat with Pakistan

and give reference of the so-called insurgency of 1948 by brother of KoK, whereas the document

of accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan was signed by KoK himself as legitimate ruler of

State of Kalat.

Notably, as a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by the nationalist leader

Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was established in Balochistan, while on

December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in the province.

However, these elections proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, and do

not favour separation of the Balachistan, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being

projected by anti-Pakistan powers.

Even a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 212, had disclosed

that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan. This

survey has also proved that some external entities have been conducting acts of sabotage in the

province by backing the minority groups.

As regards the deteriorating situation of Balochistan and the missing persons, everyone knows

that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Salvation Front (BSF) and their affiliated

outfits, including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for

secession of the province gets logistic support from American CIA, Indian RAW, and Israeli

Mossad. In the past few years, these militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and

the security personnel in the province. They also massacred many persons through suicide

attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for

dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings in the province. On a number of occasions, these

insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. A majority of the disappeared

individuals are also in the detention centers (Farrari Camps) which are being run by foreign-

assisted Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who want to continue old system of feudalism in the

province so as to maintain their status, prestige and influence at the cost of people of the


It is mentionable that India, US and Israel have been internationalizing the Balochistan issue in

accordance with their secret goals. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist

leaders who have taken refuge in Switzerland, Sweden, US and London, these foreign elements

use media, various NGOs and human rights organizations for false propaganda against

Pakistan’s security  agencies in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.

Nevertheless, during this vary day, it is also of particular attention that since, the government of

the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many militants and their leaders have surrendered their arms and

decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province.

Besides, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by

the successful military operation Zarb-e- Azb which has also been extended to Balochistan where peace has been restored. But, it is misfortune that based in Afghanistan; external secret agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad have, again, started subversive activities in Balochistan. As part of the double, game, these agencies are using the separatist elements and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur- Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA), including other similar outfits in creating unrest in Balochistan, as recent terror attacks in the province has proved.

Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is their special target. Taking cognizance of historical facts, the idea of observing Black Day must be denounced by all the segments of society, while the majority of the Baloch has already rejected the call for shutter down strike. But, these anti-Pakistan aims of the separatist elements also needs to be countered by our own historians, analysts and media persons by giving true perspective of history and denouncing the hostile elements who distorting the facts in order to advance their vested interests.

These internal entities of Pakistan must point out that People of Balochistan, especially the youth are very loyal and patriotic Pakistanis who believe in unity and sovereignty of the country. They cannot be misled by elusive designs of greedy leaders who plan to observe March 27 as Black Day.

Particularly, media must proactively project the role of Baloch leaders in creation of Pakistan

and in defending the state of Pakistan. For the purpose, talk shows must be held giving correct

perspective of historical records by explaining the process of accession of State of Kalat with

Pakistan and internal rift between KoK and his brother.

Our own intellectuals must indicate that insurgency of 1948 which started by Shehzada Abdul

Karim of Kakat never took off, because it was not supported by other realist Baloch leaders, and

it was based on misguided thoughts suggested by few Indian Congress leaders. The aim was to

destabilize Pakistan by creating militancy in Balochistan.

Returning to our earlier discussion, last year, Baloch Sub Nationalists and Baloch Salvation

Front called for a shutter down strike in Balochistan on March 27 to observe it as Black Day.

Since it is the date of legal accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan, therefore, the strike call was

based on negative contemplation and wicked designs to misguide the Baloch, especially the

youth. In order to obtain the foreign agenda against Pakistan, these hostile elements who distort

the history, want that every year, this Black Day should be observed.


Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Distortion of History: BSNs Observe Black Day

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