INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

October 19, 2008

Cut the Umbilical Cord

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 4:43 am

Saturday, October 18, 2008
By Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari

 

The centre of gravity of the world’s economy is shifting to Asia, because of its larger manpower and resource base. After the collapse of the USSR and the “opening up” of China, the countries of Asia were free to link their economies. This was not acceptable to a population and resource deprived US-led alliance that sought imperial world dominance.


The focal point for
Asia’s large economies to link up is the area in which Afghanistan and Pakistan lie. Denial of this area would slow the rise of Asia and prolong US and European control over the world financial and trade systems, till the complete spread of Empire. The US-led occupation of the “Asian link routes/heartland” would also provide a necessary bridgehead to destabilise the larger Asian powers.


The strategy to establish Empire is clear and supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The differences lie in the Bush neo-conservative “shock and awe” approach using the Department of Defence as the spearhead; or the “Intelligent Imperialism: approach of Brzezinski (Obama’s mentor) employing the
CIA and Department of State as the spearhead for execution.

 
The current convergences of interests of
India with USA/Europe lie in the short-term aim of weakening Pakistan. The process of weakening Pakistan military forces is being undertaken in Balochistan and the NWFP. The sweet nuclear deal with India to pull it into the fold will sour quickly! USA/Europe will extract their pound of flesh when they set up India as their proxy to destabilise China, and Russia.

 

The crunch decision time for India and Pakistan will come when the SCO (China, Russia, ex-Soviet Central Asian States) ask us, “Are you with us or against us?” We will have to stand with Asia because our long-term economic and security interests can only be served by linking our economies with Asian economies. That will be the time when USA/Europe will have to decide if their aggressive war-mongering against a vastly superior Asian coalition (on home soil) will be worth the expected losses. Hopefully they will choose to engage Asia rather than confront it.

 
Currently
Russia and China are waiting for the US-led coalition to bleed itself further, even to a point of no return. Wars do cost money and national will/ cohesion.


The
UK and France already see the war in Afghanistan as “not winnable.” The Saudi government is brokering a dialogue with the Afghan Taliban. The American public is speaking up against the war. The economic impact of rampant and overstretched Imperial capitalism is affecting markets. All countries engaged in the so-called “war on terror” have stopped calling it a war on terror and are reappraising their policies. The shape of international relations is undergoing a major shift. The government of Pakistan must also now reassess its policy, and not wait to react when it is too late.

 
Pakistan‘s security situation is confused because there are a number of players acting for divergent goals. US-led forces are aggressively violating Pakistani sovereignty, and infiltrating groups on the ground. The Afghans and Afghan Taliban are fighting an illegal occupation. There are many in Pakistan sympathetic to their cause, noting that the Afghan Taliban have never been anti-Pakistan in their military operations. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is essentially fighting for Sharia, promised them by Gen Zia-ul-Haq and Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto. There is external support available to them. The demand for timely justice expected from a Sharia-based judicial system, finds resonance throughout Pakistan where people have resoundingly supported the lawyers’ movement for independence of the judiciary. Inter-tribal and sectarian local wars are also being waged under cover of this confused environment. The time has come to unravel these various layers of violence.

 
The essential first step is that US-led forces must vacate the occupation of
Afghanistan.


Step two is a dialogue with the Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan (not the infiltrated external power agents) to lay down arms with concurrent establishment of a Sharia-based judicial system. Amendments to the Constitution for such a system in given geographical jurisdictions of Federal and Provincial Governments should be expeditiously passed by Parliament to demonstrate sincerity.

 
The third step is to pull the Army away from local tribal and sectarian rivalry, leaving this to the traditional system of law enforcement practiced in the tribal areas.

 

The fourth step is to start a sincere dialogue to bring the Baloch exiled leadership back into mainstream politics. The “elimination” and forced exile of Baloch leaders has created a vacuum resulting in violence and infiltration of external powers trying to destabilise both Iranian and Pakistani Balochistan.


Unravelling of these four layers of violence will obviate further presence of external power agents on the ground, or at least make it easier to neutralise them.


The “war on terror” is not
Pakistan‘s war. The government should refrain from advertising it as such through the local press. A government does not go to war against its own people. Groups within a country only resort to violence when their genuine demands are suppressed by violence, or they are excluded from mainstream politics. The Frontier tribal population of Pakistan has been in the forefront of defence of the homeland since the first Kashmir war. Weakening of this citizen based defence through Army action can irretrievably weaken the security of Pakistan by alienating and pitching tribes against the state that will endure even after the departure of NATO.


The relationship between a government and the people finds strength from the people. US-sponsored regime changes are possible where governments have not retained policy roots in the aspirations of the people. Regime changes, when
US policy shifts, have not been possible where the people have stood behind their leadership. Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, etc., are examples.


Pakistan has come of age and is here to stay geostrategic compulsions facing us have undergone substantial change. The time to cut the politico-military umbilical cord to Washington, and firmly integrate our security and economy with our regional neighbours is long overdue. Peace in the region and security at home are foundational requirements without which an expansion of the economy cannot be sustained A dialogue with SCO, ECO, and our SAARC partners (especially India) must be initiated to back the demand for withdrawal of US-led forces from Asia. Pakistanis are not anti-American. We share the same views as more and more Americans, who oppose the war of Imperial dominance. We must continue to engage the USA and Europe, but only as economic partners for a future that is based on peace and prosperity for all.


The writer is a former chief of the naval staff. Email: fasbok@gmail.com

October 16, 2008

PAKISTAN IS THERE TO LIVE

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 9:38 am

  

As long as India keeps dreaming the disintegration of Pakistan, it will survive as a viable state as the very negativity serves the purpose of knitting this crowd of 170 million people into a nation, whenever it is confronted by its arch rival. Editor of Indian Defence Review, Mr. Bharat Verma writes that ‘new Delhi is its own enemy, when it permitted the creation of a pure Islamic state on its borders,” I for one disagree as this state emerged as a result of a successful struggle for independence by millions of Muslims of India who felt that two nation theory is the only viable option to preserve and protect each other’s identity and core values. Indian Hindus too got liberated after remaining under Moghuls for over 6 centuries and then British Raj through the same process due to Gandhi’s vision. Independence was neither granted through diplomacy, nor as a charity. It was snatched on the basis of fundamentals of the modern day democracy, one man one vote’ principle and majority of Muslim populated areas vowed to join the newly established idea of ‘Pakistan’ where they saw security, identity and a peaceful enjoyment of civil and political rights, and a freedom of religion, culture and values.

 

Looking at secular India’s state and its treatment to its minorities, the wisdom of Mr. Jinnah’s decision is obvious seeing the situation of Muslims of India. Demolition attempts on Babari mosque and Hindu fundamentalists’ attempts to erect Ayodhia Mandar satirically smile on the claims of Indian democracy, equality & secularism. Kashmiri Muslims are at war with the state since its occupation, and are demanding for an implementation on UN Security Council Resolution 47 (1948) where India agreed with the World that question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir should be decided through a free and impartial plebiscite. Kashmiris, instead, are facing bullets and worst genocide, than to have an opportunity to vote in a referendum. Riots in Gujrat expose the treatment of Indian majority to its minority where thousands were burnt alive. Above all, latest October 2008 episode in Hyderabad where Hindu rioters killed six members of a Muslim family by setting fire to their home in the village Vatoli, amongst was a 2-year-old child. Muslim leaders called for better protection for minorities, and Asaduddin Owaisi, who sits in the lower house of the Parliament said that “Despite our repeated pleas and appeals, the government has failed to provide protection to the Muslims who live in remote areas and who have a very small population in those places.” This small episode exposes the state of those unprivileged in India and depicts the mind set of Hindu majority and answers all the critics of two nation theory as to why Pakistan came into being. I confess that it was as a result of a failure of Mr. Jinnah to secure equality & respect for the Muslims of India from congress.

 

Mr Verma further wrote in his thesis that, “many conveniently propose the myth that a stable Pakistan is in India’s favour. This is a false proposition.” I agree with Mr. Verma that stable Pakistan may not suit India but stress that it is conducive to the region and the world in general which takes precedence. Nuclear armed & secure Pakistan is a guarantee of stability and a bridge between right thinking powers and ancient civilizations. When President of Pakistan in his interview with Wall Street Journal says that, “India has never been a threat to Pakistan,” or that “I, for one, and our democratic government is not scared of Indian influence abroad,” it transpires an individual thinking, but may not b a majority view. This view is quite identical to that of new US policy which is being imported into Pakistani mind set. In my 8 October meeting with US diplomats at London, I heard the same voices that USA insists that Al- Qaeda, Taliban and rising insurgents are a real danger to Pakistan’s internal stability and the World, and Pakistan should perceive that threat as real other than that of India. USA is hopeful that unlike Pakistan army, civilian leadership will cooperate and will share US sponsored view. In response to unilateral Presidential desire of peace, India has answered by blocking ten thousands cusecs water at Chenab river in violation of Indus Water treaty which may act as a set back for an agricultural country and will affect its crops production capacity. India is also heavily interested to play dirty at the rear border of Pakistan, and it is sending thousands of troops in Afghan Pak border and already has a settled presence, interfering capacity and intention which has a potential of escalation to a small skirmishes in near future. In any event India has responded its lovers in a befitting manner.

 

Pakistan rightly quests for peace and stability in the region. It has played twice a major role in the region once to stop Russian invasion against Afghanistan which resulted in Russian disintegration and secondly, as a non NATO ally against Al-Qaeda, an unfaced menace to the world. Its liberal & conservative mixture is its beauty which has a capacity to house many languages and cultures within an interesting heritage. Disintegration of one state, will be followed by others as it will set a principle that no components can survive in a Federation in the region, in return in the world. The world saw Russian disintegration as a result of an unlawful invasion, which is a lesson for all. Economic stability is not the only key to survive in statehood, as trust, treatment and neighbours guarantee the future sovereignty of any state. Both India and Pakistan are at a crossroad, they must learn to live with each other, if not friends, as past enemies. They should live fairly keeping their own strategic positions intact on ‘live and let live principle’ as a little shift in equilibrium, will guarantee the disintegration of both. Sometimes, warming one’s hands in enemy’s fire can cost a lot and India is just doing that by meddling in Pakistani areas in difficult times and by sending its troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan is there to survive and is ready for its enemies at their waterloo.

 

Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court of England & Wales

 

October 12, 2008

The Autumn Summer of 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 6:44 am

The Crash of 2008


It appears that the Breton Woods is over and the world is gearing to take the shock of the biggest financial crunch since the oil crash of 80s.

The Oil Crises of 1973 triggered a snowball of petro dollars with oil producing countries suddenly became very rich. . However by 1989 through military imperialism, it had been successfully converted into the debt of third world countries through institutional and state controlled multi lateral borrowing and lending.


The speculator generated Asian Crash of 1997 was short and swift. It proved how individuals blown by the winds of free market economy and liberalism could affect the sovereignty of nation states.


However, while controlling the biggest finance and brokerage houses,
USA did not feel it necessary to apply any checks on non state actors. The power of SECs was marginalized in face of high speed computer simulations by Financial and Market Watchdogs. The advent of computers and computational projections promoted the finance houses to take more risks, introducing Risk and Crisis Management. These analyses also helped to control growth of new economic power houses (South America) and create/blow bubble economies.


Today the crises place the Asian Finance Houses that had hedged investments in the US System through lending likely to suffer most. Therefore in their own interests, Asian Stake holders will be compelled to move and rescue US Financial markets. This new cycle may lead to some constraints on liberalism as also test the existing alliances of major economic blocs. The countries that have benefited the most from the recent oil price escalation are the ones most likely to move and rescue the
US markets. In the final analysis, despite a small hiccup, USA will still control the international financial system.

Seeing inevitable crises such as this, parts of Russian and Malaysian markets had broken away from the GOLD Dollar Equation way back in 2001. These two markets may survive this crisis and make maximum gains. So may India, if it has hedged its economy through similar moves.


Pakistan will survive this financial meltdown despite a High Intensity Conflict that rips it. The focus of investors will shift for a short time from Stocks and Banks to Real Estate, speculative buying/selling. A major part of domestic savings may already have shifted to Gold in the past few months. Within the next 12 months, agriculture production despite Indian arm twisting of rivers will give a respite to the strained GDP. GNP will grow due to devaluation of Rupee. The government has to curb luxury imports, consumer items that can be substituted domestically and look for some deferred payments on major imports. GDP as predicted is not likely to sink as low as 3.7. At worst, it may remain just below 5 and above 4. The main reason is that the Pakistani GDP grows at a constant factor of 1.1 each year. This will not allow the GDP falling below 4.


The foreign exchange reserves with private banks are the issue because
Dubai has become a very big currency market, from where this liquidity may be used to hedge US investments. The question is to determine the direction these dollars will take to flow. They may find their way in Euros, Gold and properties both domestic and overseas. Some may find its way into some very reliable banks.

The crises will also result in behavior of a more responsible stock market in Pakistan.



October 7, 2008

Statement of Ex Servicemen Association of Pakistan

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 1:41 pm

This comminique has been issued by PESA on the eve of the Joint session of Pakistan’s Parliament. October 7, 2008.

PAKISTAN EX SERVICEMEN ASSOCIATION

 

We the Ex Servicemen welcome the decision of the Government of Pakistan to provide a comprehensive briefing to the Parliament on the security situation of the country and on matters that have a bearing on it… Though belated, we still hope that as a consequence, our public representatives will assume and exert their due role to formulate national policies and subject them to Parliamentary scrutiny and accountability. In the ensuing paragraphs, we are suggesting some of the points that our honorable parliamentarians may like to raise after the in camera briefings.

 

1.                  Statements by some of our important leaders have created confusing picture regarding the US military strikes across the Pak-Afghan Border. Has our government permitted these strikes; and if so under what condition? Is the US abiding by the rules of engagement if any; and is there any post strike analysis to determine if the intended targets were correctly identified and engaged?

 

2.                  The public has been repeatedly been told that Pakistani military operations were directed against elements that were acting against the country’s interests and have been sponsored/aided by foreign powers. Could the Government agencies please provide more details? This is important because the tribesmen are not against Pakistan and some of the ‘militants’ groups have time and again stated that their primary goal was only to support the Afghan resistance against foreign occupation and because of their tribal traditions they were obliged to go to their help.

 

 

3.                  There is also a need to present to the Parliament, the Government’s assessment of the effectiveness of the use of force against the militants. During the last four to five years, this approach seems to have failed and the violence has spread affecting not only the tribal areas but also the rest of the country. Now that we have asked some of the tribes to raise Lashkars to deal with the militants, are we sure that this will not result in more violence and God Forbid to tribal warfare.

 

4.                  Indeed, the country is faced with serious economic problems. Are we therefore wilting under US pressure and continuing with the use of the military instrument against our better judgment? Is it not time to say NO to the US aid if it was tied with policies that were destabilizing the country?

 

 

5.                  Our political leadership has often told us that the WAR in our border regions was our WAR. We think it was not, but if now as a result of the flawed policies of the previous regime which has become OURS, then should we not wage it as it is to be done when our own people were involved; politically, psychologically, socially and through persuasion; force only to be used as a last resort and that too selectively through covert and intelligence operations?

 

We also appeal to our elected President to strengthen the democratic institutions. Lately he has made statements that do not reflect the will of the people or the sanction of the Parliament. He has inferred the Kashmir Freedom Struggle as a terrorist movement. We suggest that he not only withdraw his remarks but also apologizes on the floor of the house. It is also incumbent that we morally support this movement.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf

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