INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

February 20, 2011

TIME FOR PAKISTAN TO RE ASSERT

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:13 pm

Raymond Davis’ firing spree is no surprise. This was the unsaid message of Obama’s third surge and comes to pass with alacrity like many other violent incidents in Pakistan; drones escalation to the use of banned sectarian outfits and undercover sting operations.

 

This incidence is a tip of the proverbial iceberg and can be made a case study to convince the rulers that it is better for the nation to pass through a river of fire, than be plunged into an abyss where history is forlorn. It is time Pakistan uses this opportunity to reassert itself as a sovereign, stable and independent nation.

 

From the various versions of the event that led to the killing of two Pakistanis and the crushing to death of a bystander by a US Consulate Land Cruiser, it appears that the entire operation was premeditated, deliberate and cold blooded. It had a purpose.

 

The motorcyclists had been trailing the Land Cruiser and Raymond’s Honda for over an hour. Raymond’s camera with photos testifies his activities. Chased by a motor cycle, the peak traffic hours made it impossible to achieve a clean break. As in sting operations, at some point it was agreed that Raymond would kill the motorcyclists and in the confusion thereof, the land cruiser would get away with its high value occupants. In this extra ordinary situation, Raymond complied. However his escape was prevented by the highly charged and emotional mob that gathered at the scene. Confident, that the US influence and pressure will ensure his safety and exit, Raymond showed remarkable cool in his line of duty. In Pakistan one could get away with anything. On two previous occasions, he had managed his way.

 

However, this was not to be. The quick media reporting and public anger forced the police to escort him to the Police Station. The conflicting reports of identity coming from Raymond himself, US Consulate, Embassy and the White House Spokesperson lent credence to the suspicion that perhaps the US State Department Staff and the US embassy neither knew the true role of Raymond Allen Davis nor his real identity.  A quick check of his company on the web raised doubts.

 

As arrogance and contempt for the law of the land becomes more apparent by the US Consulate’s  refusal to hand over the Land Cruiser and its occupants to the local police, so does the intent and purpose of US covert operations in Pakistan. Some reports suggest that the valued cache of the Land Cruiser is already in USA.

 

The operation gone awry was so important that John Kerry, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee had to make a dash to Pakistan. Meanwhile the urgency was so grave that before Kerry could land, President Obama censured and demanded Pakistan to release the assassin. At the same time a segment of the liberal media in Pakistan portrayed Kerry as a friend of Pakistan; ironically a man who played the crucial role in closure of BCCI and who as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee always exercised an elastic conscience.

 

The Federal Government of Pakistan desperate to free the killer indulged in naïve tantrums. It also deemed it opportune to address the 10 points agenda of PMLN to sack Shah Mehmood Quraishi, the impediment towards an unprecedented favour to USA. Seymour Hersh is convinced that Zardari sees the lives of Pakistanis as a disposable commodity.

 

It is beyond doubt that Pakistan’s landscape is littered with hundreds of gun totting covert operators issued indiscriminate visas by the government of Pakistan. This contempt of law is visible on daily basis on the roads of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. The purpose of this article is not to discuss legal semantics but rather seek a deeper understanding of why USA keeps meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

 

Instability is a Plank to Confrontational Environments being shaped by USA

Stability in Pakistan would be the biggest hurdle to the Long War-Long Arm US Strategy. Confrontational objectives need an unstable Pakistan under siege by non state actors in a regressive economic environment. I am reproducing excerpts from my column ‘Pakistan’s Cross word Puzzle’ I wrote in the Nation.

 

“Pakistan’s overall security situation in terms of law and order, economics and its fallout on society is precarious. It tends to reinforce international perceptions that Pakistan’s internal dynamics situate an international threat… Caught in this kaleidoscope of conflicting demands, a conclusion is foregone. Pakistan will plunge from a fry pan into the fire. There are countries directly or indirectly funding militancy. Rise of militancy in Pakistan serves this game plan … Pakistan as an independent sovereign state armed with nuclear systems needs to do what is best in its own interests… The least our leaders can do is decide on a minimum national agenda and then pursue it relentlessly”. They never did.

 

Writing on Obama’s surge I wrote,

 

“What lies undisclosed is high intensity sting and covert intelligence operations conducted by CIA and the dreaded JSOC. The message is unambiguous. Pakistan will have to face a surge of expanded drone attacks by both JSOC and CIA, and a cruel spate of covertly sanctioned illegal assassinations (political leaders), sting operations and anarchy generated by contractors with leaks capable of breaking hell in Pakistan…The next 18 months and beyond will test Pakistan to the verge”.

 

That was fourteen months ago. Raymond’s act is just a glimpse of what could happen in Pakistan.

 

Agents under cover of contractors, sub contractors and businessmen have been active in Pakistan for some time. Some are busy training security forces in equipment training while others direct drone attacks through their networks.  The most lethal are ones who have established contacts with militants and sectarian outfits to conduct operations against the security installations within Pakistan and assassinate national and nationalist leaders to keep the instability pot on the boil.

 

Pliability

Discussing Political Absolutism, I had written,

“The strategy creates a ‘coercive strategy of compellence’ forcing Pakistan to cede its lesser interests in order to preserve a larger one. They bend minds; give leads for the future while the covert arms move around to prove just that”.

 

I have painstakingly followed chatter emanating from various blogs, social sites, facebook and myspace to help make a picture and the most ominous hypotheses for Pakistan’s security. The research has helped me make accurate and timely assessments.

 

On one such occasion, the chatter even mentioned a significant event in October 2009, the month GHQ was attacked.

 

It also leaves a trail from Daniel Pearl to Benazir’s assassination, Marriot, attacks on security installations and assassination of nationalist and sub nationalist leaders. It amuses me when Firdaus Ashiq Awan slurs Shah Mehmood Quraishi for being upset for Pervez Musharraf’s.

 

Sectarian outfits initially raised and patronised to contain a revolutionist Iran are being patronised to destabalise Pakistan. In the interim, these organisations played their role in Eastern Europe and Chechnya as also mobilising India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Some chatter suggests that with Jundallah’s support, Iran could be next.

 

While this dirty game continues, the ruling junta and USA are covering each other’s backsides; as are some segments and anchors of the vitriolic media. Each one doing what they are supposed to in the role crafted for them.

 

The accuracy of my assessments thus far has never invigorated debates. Anyone who matters in Pakistan lives in a bubble of idiosyncratic notions. There is a total lack of conspicuousness towards a healthy dialogue on Pakistan’s security in the Parliament, media and political parties. It is time the citizens of the country start re asserting themselves.

 

Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist.

Email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

KASHMIR: THE LINES DRAWN WITH BLOOD

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:11 pm

The story of Kashmir is a Greek Tragedy with successive lines drawn in blood. The struggle of the aspirations of the people aside, it is also an endless tale of betrayals, geo strategic intrigues and cantankerousness.  The intrigues within, Nehruvian biases, Patel’s Machiavellism, the Kashmiri uprising followed by the tribal invasion, Radcliffe Award, the divided riparian, accession of Bikaner, Tibet, the Ceasefire Line and now the Line of Control.

If Narendra Singh Sarila the ex ADC to Lord Mountbatten is to be believed, all this was the fallout of the British geostrategic designs to contain a communist Russia and China. He goes on to write, “In agreeing to Jinnah’s project, the British also managed to whittle down Jinnah’s territorial demands to the minimum required for Britain to safeguard its defence requirements”. Plan for smaller Pakistan was not worked out by Mountbatten in 1947 as generally believed but by Lord Wavell in 1945”

Tragically, Pakistan’s unstinted support has been shadowed at crucial moments by the same overbearing allies. When I hear slogans like, ‘Kashmir runs in our Blood’, I often take it a prelude to forgetting the Kashmiri People and putting Pakistan’s interests first. But beyond the true aspirations of the people it also demonises those who played a role to stir the freedom struggle, amongst them, the Progressives of Lahore.

The late Professor Samuel Martin Burke, a founding member of Pakistan’s Foreign and Nuclear Policy understood the Congress and AIML mindsets. His books on framing of Indian Policy elucidate just that. He wrote that accession of Kashmir was crucial to Nehru’s dream of a rediscovered India of antiquity. A Muslim majority state suited his concept of secularism. Fabian socialism held a romantic appeal for the progressives, amongst them Faiz, Mian Iftikharuddin and Khan Abdul Qayum Khan who were also the Congress points men for Sheikh Abdullah, the symbol of resistance to the rulers of Kashmir. The division of Punjab ensured that India retained a land route to Kashmir, control of rivers and important head works in East Punjab. Bikaner, the State with biggest ammunition depots of united India ceded for these waters. In the days of Hind Chini Bhai Bhai and enamouring a socialist agenda, Nehru-Patel even traded off Tibet for Kashmir. These facts blow holes through Sarila’s belated revelations that undermine the struggle for Pakistan.

But the progressives of Lahore once the pride of Congress knew and challenged these motives. The trio of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Dr. MD Taseer and Mian Iftikharuddin enjoyed close relations with both GM Sadiq and Sheikh Abdullah. Later Hafiz Jullundri and Maulana Daud Gaznavi also made efforts to win him over to the AIML. This is precisely why Indian historians label these gentlemen as shameless intriguers of Pakistani left and a blot on the history of left movement in the Indian sub-continent. But these stalwart leftist Muslim Leaguers were also a pain in the neck for the feudal Unionists who were to later become the power base of Muslim League in Punjab. Close to the partition and later, they effectively insulated Qaid e Azam from these leftists and later drew their blood through military regimes.

Radcliffe had hit Pakistan’s interests in multiple ways. The Indian plan for annexing Kashmir was obvious. It is debatable if Jinnah knew of the invasion plans. What is definite is that Dr. Taseer and Mian Iftikhar travelled repeatedly to Kashmir to galvanise support in favour of Pakistan.  They found an ally in Prime Minister Liaqat Ali who after the aborted visit by Mr. Abdullah in October 1947 gave the go ahead for the invasion. The invasion plans were a secret shared only with Khan Abdul Qayum Khan, Mr. Aslam Khattak, Khurshid Anwar and General Akbar. Some researchers write that an understanding to levels of over confidence existed between Jinnah and the Maharaja of Kashmir and that Jinnah was sure that Kashmir would join Pakistan. Ultimately, India managed to scare him to submission. Some opine that the tribal invasion was the catalyst.

A careful reading of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharajah Hari Singh is convincing to the minute legal details. It is a deliberate, well drafted and a sound document seeking to secure the immediate and long term interests of the Kashmir-India Nexus. In no way does it appear to be a document prepared in a hurry when Lashkars from Pakistan were knocking at the doors of Srinagar and Sheikh Abdullah threatening a local uprising. If we carry out an analysis on the amendments in the Constitution of India as regards Kashmir, it is revealed that the progression of amendments is chronologically congruent to the points enunciated in the Instrument of accession in that progressively all control ultimately shifts to India.

Field Marshal Manekshaw’s own memoirs challenge the Indian version and describe the confused state of mind of the Maharaja when he flew to Srinagar with V P Menon to get the Instrument of Accession signed. He writes,

“We went to the palace. I have never seen such disorganisation in my life. The Maharaja was running about from one room to the other. I have never seen so much jewellery in my life – pearl necklaces, ruby things, lying in one room; packing here, there, everywhere. There was a convoy of vehicles. The Maharaja was coming out of one room….Eventually the Maharaja signed the accession papers and we flew back in the Dakota late at night”.

If this be the state of the Maharaja’s Palace, how could he be logically expected to write such a fool proof document?  It is most probable that Sardar Patel and VP Menon with the help of some jurists first made amendments to the 1935 Act (a contravention of the Partition Plan) and finalised the Instrument of Accession.

Manekshaw’s memoirs also contradict the Indian assertion that the Maharaja wrote a letter on 26 October 1947 to the Government of India, the same day that Menon and Manekshaw landed at Srinagar. He also narrates that the entire entourage of Kashmiri Leaders led by Mr. Abdullah and those who later supported India were present at the Srinagar Airport lighting the runway with pine torches to see off Menon. This proves that these elements acted on the beck and call of Sardar Patel and Nehru to scare the Mahraja into submission and that Jinnah was right in ignoring them as double gamers.

The amended Government of India Act of 1935 provided in Section 6 that “a princely Indian state shall be deemed to have acceded to either of the dominion on the acceptance of the Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof” as a logical heir to the British Crown was legally misconceived. In the case of Madhav Rao, the Supreme Court of India found it strange that India should have claimed that the Government of India inherited any aspects of the paramountcy exercised by the British Crown. Again the Indian Supreme Court in Premnath Kaul and the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, in Magher Singh, observed that with the lapse of the British paramountcy, the princely Indian state became an independent and sovereign state in the fullest sense in international law a stand also taken by Pakistan. As the Governor General, it was Mountbatten’s duty to ensure that clauses of the Independence Act of 1947 should not have been changed by India in the 1935 Act and therefore declare the Instrument of Accession illegal. He did not do it and troops were airlifted to Kashmir within minutes for a pre determined occupation.

To be continued………

Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist.

Email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

SAMUEL MARTIN BURKE: PAKISTAN’S BLITZKEIGING DIPLOMAT

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:09 pm


A TRIBUTE

It is impossible for students of foreign policy to carryout research on the formative phases of South Asian Foreign and Kashmir Policies without referring to Samuel Martin Burke. His books ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (1973)’ and  ‘Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policy (1974)’, provide an analytical insights into the dynamics that led to the partition of 1947, and understanding of the Indian mindset that prevailed in the Radcliff Boundary Award and occupation of Kashmir.  These books also provide students with the genesis of Pakistan’s Security Perspectives and how the policy thereon evolved.

 

It is my experience that research on Pakistan’s Foreign Policy cannot go wrong if it has Burke’s Theory as its Start Point; a reason why my research papers and articles on Pakistan’s security perspectives and Indian assessments have always been accurate.  Half a century hence, after having played his role as a formidable diplomat, impact of Burke’s assessments and contribution to a modern Pakistan remains enduring. A historian by qualification, he has stamped his place in Pakistan’s history whether someone acknowledges it or not. True to his name Burke, he was and remains, Pakistan’s Blitzkeiging Diplomat.

 

Though he was equally proficient in descriptions of the Mogul Empire and the advent and decline of British Raj, his enduring contribution remains the deep insight into the Indian political mindset always dismissive of Pakistan.

 

As a magistrate who presided over the Election Petition Commissions of 1945, he showed proficiency and insight in passing historic judgments as also enrich his grasp on the Congress and Nehruvian machinations. This experience as a civil servant was to hold him in good stead amongst the foreign policy fraternity of Pakistan and contribute to a nascent Pakistan in some of its worst times.

 

His assessments of Nehru’s Kashmir Policy, Fabian Socialism, Secularism, Non Alignment and Panchsheel are theories that have withstood all challenges of time and events. It is unfortunate that as Pakistan plummeted from the notion of welfare to security state; Pakistan waned from fully exploiting these fault lines to push itself towards self reliance and full blown sovereignty.

 

Had Pakistan not been a nuclear power, the instability and the great game dynamics in play would have dismembered and gobbled it years ago. Thanks again to Burke, who as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Canada, convinced USA and Canada of Pakistan’s need of nuclear reactors, setting up a nucleus of research that was to result in indigenous nuclear capability.

 

It has remained my quest to know who this gentleman is. Professors at the University told me that he was a British civil servant who chose to become a naturalized Pakistani and had since migrated. It was only recently that Raymond Durrani a friend from Canada having read my article told me that Mr. Samuel Martin Burq was in fact a Punjabi from Martinpur, Faisalabad and a die hard Pakistani on all counts. Cognitively, he was a Jinnah admirer much before 1947 and continued to serve the interests of Pakistan from 1945 to 9 October 2010 till he died in UK at the age of 104.

 

He was also amongst the close aides of Liaqat Ali Khan and Sir Zafar Ullah who laid the foundations of Pakistan’s foreign policy, a founding member of Pakistan’s Foreign Office, an accomplished diplomat cum historian and one who left an enduring foot print on Pakistan’s Defence and Nuclear Development.

 

His father Mr. Janab Khairuddin Barq was an educationist, a Persian cum Urdu poet and also the Headmaster of the School in this Christian village.

 

Samuel was born on 3 July 1906. He was named Samuel Martin after the Christian Missionary who established the village and later BARQ (Burke) as his surname after the nom de plume of his Persian and Urdu writing father. It is unfortunate that this Pakistani despite his services to the country is little known in his motherland. Had the British and Indian newspapers not written his obituaries he would have remained obscure to many Pakistani bloggers who have now started paying tribute to him.

 

It is my endeavour to take on the noble task of paying tributes and write an obituary to this son of the soil; a man of rare intellect, foresight and perseverance who lived and died for Pakistan. At a time when sectarian and religious bigotry threatens to shake the foundations of Jinnah’s Pakistan, it is also a reminder that Pakistan is to be equally shared with religious minorities who have served it well despite odds.

 

Hailing from an educated native family of Faisalabad, Samuel shifted to Government College Lahore on a scholarship to study science. Being a sportsman and member of the College Cricket Team, he found the long laboratory hours in the college in conflict with his sporting passion. As destiny would have it, he shifted to Persian, Urdu, English and History to secure honors in BA and a 1st Division in Masters in History. Later his knowledge of history, Persian and Urdu held him in good stead to write historical chronicles on the Mughal Empire and also provide an insight into the Hindu political and military mind. Till his death, he held to the opinion that it was in fact Gandhi and not Jinnah who began use of religion as an instrument of politicking to introduce communalism in politics.

 

He appeared in the Indian Civil Services Examinations that he qualified with top merit and proceeded to England to do courses in administration and Law.  On return, he joined the district administration and later became a magistrate who as head of the Election Petition Commission of Panjab 1945 passed many fair judgments in favour of the Muslim League fighting for an independent Pakistan; to the chagrin of Congress and Sir Khyzer Hayat’s Unionists who wanted a United India. Yet, he was so transparent that never once was he accused of bias.

 

Before partition, he resigned from the Indian Civil Service to prove that his judgments were never biased. Both Congress and Muslim League offered him lucrative positions. He declined and after partition chose Pakistan as his native country. Rather than act as Liaqat Ali’s minister of Minorities on a narrow canvas, he chose to broaden his role as a Pakistani and joined the Pakistan Foreign Office, where along with Sir Zafar Ullah, he laid the foundations of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

 

During the food shortages of 1953 he and his British wife Louise traveled all over USA canvassing for a modern and plural Pakistan. He came back with US food aid that in the 50s became the foot print of every poor Pakistani household followed by economic aid that became the marvel of industrialization in the 60s.

 

Burke was an articulate speaker, a scholarly writer and a pleasing diplomat. As the Pakistani ambassador to Scandinavia, the Commonwealth heads of missions in Stockholm chose him to escort the Queen during her walkabout.

When appointed as High Commissioner to Canada, he negotiated the sale of a research nuclear reactor to Pakistan that was to later transform into a robust nuclear deterrence.

 

Burke retired from Pakistan’s Foreign Service to take up a new chair in South Asian Studies created for him at the University of Minnesota where he also created a Burke Library. He continued to write and dialogue on Pakistan’s behalf both in his private capacity and on behalf of the Pakistan Government. He secured the sale of military hardware from USA to Pakistan in 1970 despite strong objections from the US ambassador to India.

 

His books include:  Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (1973); Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policy (1974); Akbar, the Greatest Mogul (1989); Bahadur Shah, the Last Mogul Emperor of India (1995); The British Raj in India: An Historical Review (1995); and Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: His Personality and his Politics (1997). He also helped compile a Historical Atlas of South Asia.

 

Samuel Martin Burke of Martinpur Fasisalabd, born 3 July 1906; died 9 October 2010 leaves behind a legacy of three daughters, nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

 

Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist.


JINNAH’S PAKISTAN: IS IT IMPLODING?

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:08 pm

Like most Pakistanis, I was stunned in disbelief to see the breaking news of the late Salman Taseer’s assassination; Not that I am a fan but rather, the direction in which Pakistan is headed. Like every citizen of this country who believes in Jinnah’s vision, I was disturbed and saddened by events that followed.

None could have articulated our feelings and the direction that Pakistan is headed, better than Imran Khan. In his interview to CNN he related this unfortunate event into a causative equation, “In fact Pakistan is imploding. This country is going down.” Rather than his usual dynamic and imposing demeanor, he appeared tense, grim and somber. His face reminiscent of  the first loosing matches of 1992 world cup reflected the concerns of every Pakistani; Betrayal of Jinnah’s vision of a plural, progressive and communitarian society.

This article is not an obituary of an assassinated Pakistani politician, but instead assess what lies ahead for Pakistan It critically appraises the future course of Pakistan’s politic body. Hours after the assassination, I formulated a hypothesis and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. As Events have unfolded, my worst fears are coming true.

“Salman’s assassination is beyond symbolic. This is the start point of a struggle between the forces that bank on the establishment and mullahs for power and the true democratic forces within Pakistan. Does it bring an end to the era of the Punjab Progressives like Faiz, Mian Ifthikhar and Dr. Taseer, or will the pyre burn?”

Aisha Sarwari articulates my fears when she wites, “He had come to be the only man who defined the fight that is the only fight worth fighting – between the mullahs and the progressives. Before him, no one had dared vocalise the fact that there remains an ideological divide in Pakistan.”

Notwithstanding that the event is a criminal act I am more concerned at the trends that this assassination is leading to.

The religious right spearheaded by political parties has taken a position on the incident declaring the assassin a hero and the dead governor an infidel who deserved no funeral.

During the entire run up to the assassination, all political parties distanced themselves from the slain governor and left him isolated with few civil activists, minority leaders and opinion makers to face the wrath of the right. Even the ruling PPP hierarchy distanced itself from the slain governor and stalwarts like Babar Awan and the Prime Minister publically distanced themselves from the infidel politician.

A large segment of the Rawalpindi Bar Association has put its weight behind the assassin, garlanded, kissed and hugged him.

The governments in power at provincial and federal levels have failed to take action against those who are justifying the assassination on religious grounds or offering head money on those condemned under PPC 295C. There are no measures in sight to contain this fervor.

The internet media is flooded with admiration of the assassin. Facebook has numerous profiles and communities portraying him a knight.

Elements of the government in power are screaming helplessly that Police investigations are being interfered with.

The security apparatus in Pakistan has shown its low motivational state, lack of training, commitment and non seriousness in security of VVIPs.

But all this has not happened overnight.

The story began with Jinnah’s plural Pakistan which was systematically replaced with political manipulations of religion to sustain the emerging political elites and the establishment. It began with Jinnah abandoned on the roads of Karachi grasping for fresh air followed by insertion of the religious identity in the constitution. A time has now come when even educated Pakistan term Jinnah’s address of 11 August a figment of fiction.

Religious forces that supported the Khilafat Movement under Gandhi and opposed the creation of Pakistan slowly began to overawe the Muslim League that created Pakistan and had opposed the Khilafat. As time passed, numerous Muslim Leagues that were created to suit the establishments dishonored Jinnah’s Pakistan. They proceeded into short term expediencies that have now resulted in intolerance, violence and lawlessness; all in the name of religion.

As this trend spread, many members of the minority communities who worked in cahoots with Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah elected to either move back to India or to other countries. Even many war heroes who served Pakistan in its two wars emigrated. As Raymond Durrani puts it:

“When it comes to win a game, whether that game is in a sports match, in politics and or in democracy, the winner requires only one extra point over its opponent. In the game of creation of Pakistan, that one point (actually 4 points) came from the Christian MPs and the Speaker of the House of the Punjab Assembly who happened to be a Christian to make Pakistan a reality. Do the masses of Pakistan Muslims know who and where those members of the Christian Pakistani Nation are? “

Similarly, the uprisings in Kashmir had the intellectual, material and political directions from men like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mian Iftikharuudin of Progressive Papers Lahore and Dr. Taseer and those who spent long hours with Jinnah and Iqbal. Pathetically, these heroes of the Kashmir struggle were thrown into cages by the dictators for conspiring against Kashmir and we in schools were forbidden from reading Faiz’ poetry.

In yet another Shakespearean irony, a man who earned and paid honest taxes to Pakistan in its worst times, and one who turned anything he touched in business to gold and whose father acclaimed and buried Alim ud Din Ghazi in Lahore, himself fell to bullets as a purported infidel.

Ever since, this trend has grown.

Pakistan was chosen as an Islamic Containment Bulwark against a so called godless Russia during the Cold War.  USA called Pakistan to an international Jihad against the infidel Soviets during the occupation of Afghanistan. The West and many Arab states created the sectarian outfits to fail Iran’s Revolution. Tragically, at each occasions military dictators seeking legitimacy obliged and plunged Pakistan deeper into the militant syndrome. The present WOT serves to air and ignite these violent trends with the conclusion that any moderate who speaks up for Jinnah’s Vision is called an enemy agent, infidel and traitor.

Jinnah’s Pakistanis are fast loosing space and relevance. Is there one to challenge these forces of regression?

I agree with Imran Khan when he says, “Pakistan is imploding. This country is going down”

Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist.

email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

 

PAKISTAN: A RUDDERLESS STATE WITH A RESILIENT NATION

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:05 pm


It was over two years ago while opinionating on the Nature of International Coercion of Pakistan, I wrote in the Daily News: –

 

‘What ever the concept, scope and objective of such limited escalations, India with its new found allies has decided to maintain a constant vigil and coercion of Pakistan over a prolonged period of time but well below a Fire Break Point. The obvious targets in tandem with its allies will be addressed through diverse instruments like control of rivers, economics, diplomacy, international pressure, international law, military intimidation and even insurgency. The war has already begun’.

 

Published belatedly and with no sense of urgency by the editors, the article was hotly debated world over for its contents and hypothesis. It was followed by a non stop series of articles both in The Daily News and Nation on the US War in Afghanistan, Security Perspectives of Pakistan and how Pakistan could become weaker through societal fragmentation, manipulation of the political economy, bankruptcy and the disconnect of military operations to the public perceptions.

 

The various hypotheses in these series of articles were neither a product of expediency nor conspiracy theories grown out of fear. They were in fact the conclusions of my thesis of a Future War that Pakistan could confront, written well back in 2001.

 

Ever since, the inevitable has come to pass; ironically before the very eyes of those who know and matter. Pakistan has become a state that nibbles at itself least cognizant what this cannibalism could lead to. At no point does it appear a country at war within the context of the Great Game as also with itself.  Politically, the fait accompli is a foregone conclusion. There appears neither a political direction nor a will to ride the wave of crises. In the midst of a tempest, trapped between a hard rock and an angry sea, Pakistan lacks a helmsman who can see the vessel home.

 

A brief review of how all this came to pass would be appropriate.

 

The Trojan of circular debt deliberately created during the era of Shaukat Aziz has succeeded in melting the economy and plunging Pakistan into a spiral of energy crises that are not likely to abate for some time to come. The international financial institutions are now in control along with hapless financial advisors with no clue about how to ride the crises other than seeking more foreign aid and debt. Intellectually bankrupt, they resort to the obvious ie increase consumer taxes and energy tariffs.

 

Political elites spend their best time in machinations of political survivability while the masses suffer one shock after the other. The reconstructions in the wake of 2005 earthquake are far from materializing. As if this was not enough, the country has faced the worst floods of recent history in which dykes and levies were manipulated at will to inundate the most productive agricultural areas of Pakistan. This has already affected food security, poverty lines and law and order.

 

Pakistan’s concept of National Power rises from a somewhat stable platform of geography through elements of national power like melting economics, fragile and self promoting political system, un-explored and rented out natural resources, a rejuvenating judicial system and an army that is fighting an insurgency that it helped create, partially to gain trust of USA and partially to gain time and space without compromising its core interests. Yet, as a country, we are not sure that the end game that Pakistan pursues would reach its objectives or will it be another case of believing too much in faulty assumptions? Pakistan’s present situation is neither this way nor that. The Americans mistrust us as much as our own radicals and insurgents working on an anti Pakistan agenda. Anarchy and militancy grows by the day.

 

Amazingly, despite such a pessimistic and forlorn situation, this resilient Nation survives being labeled as a State that refuses to fail.

 

Much of what has happened was avoidable had the government and the military sat together and drafted a comprehensive and realistic national policy on the US intervention in Afghanistan and its effects on Pakistan. Though social scientist in Pakistan cried hoarse over the manner in which Pakistan handled its cooperation with USA post 9/11, each organization within the government continued to work its own way during the crises. Hence what should have been a synergized and unified effort has ended up as a lethal broth cooked by too many cooks.

 

Pakistan is an agglomeration of an ally of opportunity, dwindling in national power, corrupt to core, a reluctant go getter and a people who refuse to succumb.  Tragically, Pakistan has ostensibly landed itself into a position wherein all choices are bad and destructive. Still, it appears that Pakistan’s immediate and long term future will be shaped by US policies in the region.

 

If Pakistan continues to cooperate with USA and takes the military operations into North Waziristan, it will have to contend with the backlash in other parts of the country. The decision will also tempt diverse militant groups to cooperate with each other for their own survival and hence expand the theatre to other areas stretching Pakistan Army from Amri in Balochistan to Chitral along the Durand Line and deep inside the heartland. The counter insurgency war will be long and bloody and Pakistan will have to fight it all alone, albeit with measured military and economic assistance.

 

If it does not, than Pakistan will have to forego military and economic assistance controlled by USA and yet battle the conflict spreading along the Durand Line and the mainland due to the AF-Pak Strategy objectives spelled out by President Obama. It will also have to contend with military operations launched from coalition citadels inside Afghanistan with a choice of either looking the other way (drone syndrome) or involving itself in pitched battles with the coalition forces. Ultimately, some parts of Pakistan will become targets to stand off precision guided munitions and deeper drone attacks.

 

The weak economy, situation in Balochistan and the ability of power brokers to switch Karachi on and off will be a common denominator to both choices.

 

Though USA will have the illusion of having India as a long term strategic partner in the region, India will extract the maximum and yet only  proceed up to a point where its own interest are not compromised. A very important interest in this context is to disarm a nuclear Pakistan preferably through a diplomatic option or through anarchy wherein a hapless government with a defeated and discredited army is pressurized to ask for international assistance.

 

Military dispositions for any one of the scenarios are now well placed. The coming days will witness a wider cooperation amongst all neighboring countries of Afghanistan including Iran, India and Russia. The purpose will not be to fight Pakistan but rather to contain the insurgency within the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and push it into Pakistan to make AF-Pak a reality. Once that is achieved, USA and ISAF will maintain their pivots in Afghanistan to damper Afghan Taliban as also launch Cold Start type operations along the Durand Line. That will be the first step of US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the next phase of the Long War.

 

The reluctant ally is most likely to trudge along unless the people of Pakistan decide to shed the yoke.

 

The writer is a retired brigadier and a political economist. Email: nicco1988@hotmail.com

 

 

CHINA-US DIPLOMACY AND AF-PAK

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:04 pm

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Opinions/Columns/23-Jan-2011/ChinaUS-diplomacy-and-AfPak


A Silver Line for Pakistan

The visit of the Chinese President Hu Jintao to USA will not live in memory for the declarations that were made in the joint press conferences and the press releases. They are more significant in what has not been said. In the backdrop are diplomatic flurry, pre visit co ordinations and concessions from either side. In this calculus of mutual diplomatic conceding, inasmuch as China did not mention Kashmir, AF Pak and India, USA in quid pro quo refrained from mentioning Pakistan’s growing nuclear cooperation with China, WOT and the much trumpeted Long War.

 

Though irritants, suspicions and differences were not highlighted publically, they nonetheless formed the perspective in which this diplomacy was framed. Cognisant of the upcoming elections in USA and the support that Barak Obama needs from the right, Philip J. Crowley the State Department Spokesman was quick to assert that ‘there’s no change in the US policy.’ On a question, that references to irritants and suspicions were dropped as a policy to appease India, he evaded the issue and responded, ‘I think it’s a manifestation of the nature of our discussions here… that we have ongoing with China. But, no, I wouldn’t read anything else into it.’

 

This sums of the exploratory and confidence building nature of this high profile visit to USA.

 

In light of the constraints faced by President Obama and the State Department in addressing issues that in fact destabilise South Asia, Afghanistan and the surrounding regions, rhetoric was low key. Following the Democrat traditions of resolving issues diplomatically, this establishment is handicapped by a somewhat lame duck President, Pentagon that calls all shots on strategic and security issues and the desire to co-opt India for its long term objectives in Central and South Asia.

 

In contrast, though the Chinese President too faces his elections, he appears to be fully backed in his diplomacy and can go back and claim that he has made significant economic and diplomatic success. He also spared US the diplomatic spar by not mentioning that China had already begun reducing its exports to USA, that USA was causing international financial destabilisation by printing out dollars and its human rights record in Guantanamo Bay and rendition centres. More so at the heels of aggressive diplomatic visit by Vice President Biden and Mullen’s mantra to do more, it was also for the first time that Pakistan was not in the head lines as a punching bag for US failures in Afghanistan. Though India feels happy at its diplomatic clout and staying on the right side of State Department diplomacy, no mention of Pakistan caused much dismay in its thinking circles.

 

Economically, in face of a 275 Billion Dollar trade deficit, conceding exports deals to a tune of around 45 Billion Dollars is not significant. In addition, China also agreed to give US contractors proximately to 88 Billion Dollars contracts and an order for 200 Boeing aircrafts worth 19 Billion Dollars creating jobs for a starved US work force. In return, China will get access to the lucrative US locomotive market and joint manufacturing facilities with General Electric (GE) that in a few years will help Chinese Locomotive industries to elbow out GE just as it has done with the German, French and Japanese locomotive manufacturers in the past.

 

But the irritants remain. China is the direct recipient of the US LONG ARM-LONG WAR Strategy. Both eastward expansion of NATO and the bases in Afghanistan affect it directly. China realises that US is unhappy about Chinese presence in Pakistan and Balochistan. It also knows that Baloch separatist movements that are particularly anti Chinese have sponsors with US blessings. Then there are issues of US arms sales to Taiwan, Dalai Lama, Kashmir, India and support to Pakistan. The fact that this visit avoided such real issues reflects multiple connotations.

 

First, The Chinese have displayed remarkable cognisance and insight of the constraints faced by the Democrat administration. They have provided the US administration with enough economic concessions to carry to their vote banks in the next presidential elections and return with the people’s verdict. Then the road to economic engagements will be more promising and may lead to a matrix whence economic compulsions will over shadow military concerns.

 

Secondly, the Chinese see the Democrats far better diplomatic partners than the Republicans who represent the right, are militarily adventurous and more aligned to the Pentagon. Hence the Chinese have decided to bet on them for peace in the region.

 

Thirdly, this also raises a question whether China has managed to avert an extra ordinary escalation in AF-PAK at the heels of the Biden’s visit and Petraeus’ Plan. If it has, then roads to a diplomatic and negotiated settlement of the afghan issue will be wide open.

 

Fourthly, it brings back North Korea to the negotiating table. This also impacts Chinese bilateralism with Japan and South Korea, crucial to Chinese economic progress.

 

In case the Chinese achieve these objectives, then the regions around Pakistan are likely to see a graduated de-escalation, return of diplomacy as an instrument to negotiate peace and improved Pakistan Afghan relations.

 

This would also open doors to India and Pakistan to resume peace diplomacy boost trust and confidence building measures across the entire spectrum of irritants, particularly along the Line of Control. Peace along the divided frontier of Kashmir will give a much needed respite to the people of the region, permit them to interact, carry out mutual trade and reduce force levels pending the resolution of the question under UN auspices.

 

The success will also provide Pakistan to concentrate more on its domestic issues, challenge the forces of intolerance and give breathing space to the armed forces to play a pro active role in national development in the post conflict, post earth quake and post flood scenario.

 

Readers may be surprised at my assertion, but it is a fact that the Pakistani system lacks the wherewithal to absorb and deliver on the significant aid flowing into Pakistan. It is time that as in the 50s and 60s, the armed forces play their role in national development as the most viable and constitutional instrument to absorb and deliver these projects rather than the shady NGO Mafias aligned with the corrupt officials and politicians of the governments.

 

Just like Algeria faces a people’s revolution, Pakistan is not far behind. If that happens, then the forces of intolerance will unleash themselves against the entire system. The government must realise that far too much time has been lost to political tantrums and it is time they deliver honestly. The only democratic options are to either perform or call for immediate elections. The slide and rot must be stopped and arrested.

 

Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist.

email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

 

 

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