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Era of false flag operations

Era of false flag operations

We are living in an interesting era of false flag operations, especially in military and media domains. India’s high drama about Uri attack is fizzling away; and fabricated coverage of the incident by Indian media stands exposed. In the post Uri setting, de-escalation may just be around the corner. The two countries are now talking to each other rather than talking at each other. While Pakistan’s national leadership was striving to put-up a unified stance to handle the situation arising out of India’s false flag attack on its own military base, an out of the blue, exclusive news story by Cyril Almeida published by a leading Pakistani newspaper on 6 Oct 2016, captioned: “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military” came down upon national canvas like a thunderbolt. It raised many eyebrows. Story even if correct was ill-timed to embarrass military leadership. It was also a sure recipe for lowering the morale of nation in general and combatant troops deployed at the Line of Control (LoC) in particular. No wonders, it was lifted, out of proportion by the Indian media.Now, back to Pakistan-India canvas. There is a broad based consensus amongst the strategic community of Pakistan that people of India and Pakistan will have to wait for improvement in bilateral relations till BJP throws-up a sensible Prime Minister. Now this has been acknowledged by Pakistan at official level as well. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has stated that “there is no hope of improvement in relations between Pakistan and India during the premiership of Modi”. Sartaj Aziz also hoped that if the independence movement in occupied Kashmir continues and international pressure continues then India would become ready to resolve the Kashmir dispute. He said India cannot succeed to divert the world attention from the Kashmir issue through the Uri-like self-staged incidents. In the regional context, soon after the end of Modi’s brief honeymoon with SAARC leaders, it became clear that Modi is for a solo journey and his vision for SAARC is focused on using this platform for furthering Indian strategic objectives at the cost of other members. And if SAARC didn’t fit into this role, it had no place in Modi’s regional calculus. India likes to have all SAARC summits in New Delhi, and whenever these are planned elsewhere, it first tries to disrupt the event, and when there is no plausible reason to do so, it attends with a pinch of salt. Hopefully, SAARC summit shall also take place soon in Islamabad. There is need to put behind the strategy of false flag operations, at all levels, in all domains, these tactical fixes often create strategic dilemmas which are difficult to address.

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Myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapon–Global Zero

Global Zero

Prague speech, on April 05 2009, was the first off the rails articulation by President Obama after assumption of presidency: “First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons… we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy … we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians…my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)… the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials… we will strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…” Peace loving people all over the World were pleasantly surprised. They thought the promised Messiah has become, realists scorned it off, asserting that he would become a ‘normal American President’, rather soon. It is interesting to explore the viability about myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapons. Obama would most likely go down in the history as a dubious leader, who took cover behind the noble cause of global nuclear non-proliferation to perpetuate American nuclear supremacy, and in a crazy quest to contain China, he added to his predecessor’s effort of propping up a nuclear devil—India. Obama’s successor will have a tough task of getting over the nuclear mistrust that Obama has thrust on America. However, it is doable, first step is to un-knot Indo-US nuclear nexus.

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With love from India

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My mother was forced to leave behind the city of her birth, Rawalpindi, when she was just 18 because of the tumultuous ruptures of Partition. She had never returned. When she was to turn 75, I thought the best gift I could give her was to take her, if it was at all possible, to the city and to the home in which she was born. I emailed my friends in Pakistan tentatively with my plan. They were immediately very welcoming. "Just get her a visa, leave the rest to us," they said. I applied for visas. It seemed then a small miracle that we got these easily. I booked our flight tickets, and before long we were on our way. Every night we would set out looking for a wayside shop to buy fruit juice. Each night we found a new shop, and each night without exception, the shopkeeper refused to accept any money for the fruit juice. “We will not charge money from our guests from India,” they would say each time. This happened for a full week. I have travelled to many countries around the world in the 60 years of my life. I have never encountered a people as gracious as those in Pakistan. This declaration is my latest act of sedition.

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Combating terror: lack of skill or will?

Courtesy The Express Tribune

[Featured image: courtesy The Express Tribune, August 10, 2016] Quetta carnage has once again underscored the international dimension of terrorism; and that no country could overcome it in isolation. Keenness to claim responsibility indicates the unending appetite of terrorist entities for larger than life projection. It is also reflective of hollowness of claims by those responsible for countering terror. Surfacing of a multi billion dollar Global scandal of manufacturing and selling fake bomb detector devices has brought forth lack of empathy for the victims of terror. Pakistan’s terrorism related sufferings in terms of loss of human lives, destruction of infrastructure and missed economic opportunities is colossal. Pakistan has launched World’s largest military effort for counter terrorism operations. However, this is not being duly acknowledged.There is a need to evolve a universally acceptable definition of terrorism to differentiate it from genuine freedom struggles, like in Kashmir and Palestine. This is time for the international political leadership to pay heed to how Pope Francis interprets terrorism. Pakistan says there are limits to how much it can do as it is already fighting multiple militant groups and is wary of a "blowback" in the form of more terror attacks on its soil. Indeed terrorism is more of a concern to Pakistan than its neighbours.

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Kashmir inferno continues!

The Kashmir inferno continues

Over hundred youth have lost they one or both eyes due to the pallet shooting terror. Indeed the Kashmir inferno continues unabated. Pakistan gave a shut-up call to India saying it has no right to decide the future of Kashmir. Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said, on July 24 that the “verdict on the future of Kashmir” can only be given by the “people of Kashmir not by the external affairs minister of India”. UNSC has promised them the right to determine their future. These comments came after his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj accused Islamabad of an ‘unabashed embrace of terrorism’ and warned its stated goal of detaching Kashmir from India ‘will not be realised to the end of eternity’. Sushma’s diatribe was targeted directly at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who told a rally in Azad Jammu and Kashmir that the occupied Kashmir would soon become part of Pakistan. Sushma said: “All of Kashmir belongs to India,” as the Indian forces continued to unleash a wave of terror in held Kashmir. Apparently disturbed over the recent upsurge in freedom movement in occupied Kashmir, the Indian external affairs minister repeated same untenable stance on the disputed territory which the Kashmiri people themselves have over and over again rejected. During the preceding week, Pakistan has protested against India in the United Nations and elsewhere against the blatant violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Indian government cannot ignore the fact that over 200,000 Kashmiris participated in the funeral prayers of Burhan in 50 different locations throughout IOK, despite strict curfew clamped in the Valley. Conflicts in places as diverse such as Kashmir, Palestine, Burma and sub-Saharan Africa have traumatized generations of young people and many have been dragged into war and radicalization. The key challenge for the United Nations is how we address young people with grievances and prevent them from being engaged in conflict. However, international community, OIC, UN and UNHRC will not come forward to resolve Kashmir issue unless Pakistan makes the Kashmir issue an important part of its national agenda. Pakistan government has to change its policies regarding India on trade and other matters to make the Indian government realize that we cannot compromise on the killing of innocent Kashmiris. The Kashmir inferno continues The Kashmir inferno continues During the past two years, there have been little signs of the Modi government applying its mind to the Kashmir issue. It has not taken up the larger dialogue which had been initiated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and followed up by Manmohan Singh. A durable resolution of the Kashmir issue requires a settlement between India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir. Modi Government is persisting with its policy of resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through brutal use of force, but this approach has ricocheted and produced exactly the opposite consequences – internationalization of the dispute.

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Indian Occupied Kashmir on brink

Indian occupied Kashmir on brink

Just because not as many were being killed since the uprising in the 1990s, India thought Kashmir was “normal”. The wounds of the 1990s were deep and stayed open. A whole new generation has been added to the population which is, even angrier. And life for a young man in the most militarised area in the world is a series of humiliations, some petty, some overwhelming. Even the Indian media admits that Kashmir has been on the boil since the killing of Burhan. The killing spree continues and an enraged population is getting desperate. In the wake of ongoing violence, UNSG has once again offered Pakistan and India mediation on Kashmir. Pakistan has appreciated the offer. It is the UN’s official responsibility and obligation to address the issue of Kashmir because there are UN Security Council’s resolutions on it. OIC Secretary General has deplored the use of force by the Indian security forces on innocent Kashmiris in IOK on July 13. OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) has called for an immediate end to the ongoing abrasive human rights violations. “There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career. “But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.” The IOK’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework. Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern”.

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Pakistan Focus condemns the PCA award on South China Sea

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Pakistan Focus condemns the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s award on South China Sea. The Philippines had filed a compulsory arbitration against China at The Hague-based PCA in 2013. China maintains that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence about territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. China, therefore, had made it clear it will not accept …

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Meltdown of Post-cold war world order

Meltdown of post cold war world order

Chinese opposition to entry of non-NPT countries to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and UK’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) have set the course for changes in the prevalent US led unipolar World Order. The US wanted the UK to stay in EU as it’s “Man” and wanted India getting into the NSG as full member while keeping Pakistan out, despite latter’s better credentials. In both cases, otherwise has happened indicated meltdown of post-cold war world order.Long awaited bipolarity in the World Order may be at a fairly advanced stage. Keeping in view Pakistan’s close relations with China, the evolving situation would expose Pakistan to challenges as well as opportunities, for which it needs to brace up. Pakistan would feel incremental squeeze from American side, it needs to make a bold course correction to come out of the trap of its critical dependencies on the US—especially direct budgetary support and military hardware. Moreover, Pakistan should take robust measures for its macro-economic stability to face the bumps of politico economic changes that are on their way.

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American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

Efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban for negotiations are in disorder since the United States last month killed their leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Another development has taken place, the US military has begun air attacks against Taliban targets in Afghanistan under new rules, allowing greater powers for US forces to go after the Taliban, making it easier for Afghan security forces to strike the insurgents. “There have been operations carried out with these new authorities,” Pentagon press Secretary Peter Cook said. “It’s fair to say that these strikes did target Taliban positions.” Initial strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan; and that American troops are back to combat in Afghanistan. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the largest and most effective anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world through which Pakistan has achieved substantial gains and is determined to eliminate all terrorist threats within the country. Afghan government and the international coalition need to take supplementary and complementary actions to consolidate the gains of this operation. And the Afghan government should launch similar effort against TTP in its territory; elimination of TTP sanctuaries is essential to peace and security in both countries. And finally, America should make up its mind regarding leaving or staying, because peace effort would take different trajectories for handling either of the options.

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