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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Pakistan embraces another thankless war

[Featured map: Courtesy BBC] During difficult hours Saudi Arabia, as indeed other Middle East countries, have been looking up to Pakistan for security cover. Bilateral agreements are in place with most of these countries that bind Pakistan to provide necessary support when asked for. Most of these agreement carry a clause that Pakistani troops shall not take part in war on behalf of requisitioning states. Nearly 40 percent Saudi National Guards are of Yemini reign. This composition of National Guards is the underlying reason for current Saudi nervousness. Within Pakistan there is an overwhelming support—almost national consensus— to align with Saudi Arabia during all sort of crisis, including providing military assistance, with a caveat that such force is not used against any other country. Another concern is that such military deployment may embroil Pakistan in the sectarian violence back home. If the government of Pakistan is able to address these concerns, a national consensus is likely to evolve, barring some sectarian outfits. Arab leaders at their summit in Sharm el Sheikh on March 29-30 have voiced their support to the Saudi led operation against Houthi rebels. The UK and the US are also aligned with Saudi Arabia on this operation. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen conflict, and the subsequent Saudi announcement of a coalition against Houthi rebels, involving Pakistan, has drawn a mixed reaction at home. Pakistan’s involvement in Afghan conflict brought home terrorism, and Pakistan’s involvement in Yemen could accentuate the sectarian violence which is already on boiling point. People of Pakistan deserve better, they need a break from war fatigue— especially from others’ wars. At this point and time, Pakistan must not be on the wrong side of history. Though official stance is that decision to participate in coalition is still under discussion; the decision, in all probability, has already been taken—Pakistan’s military contingent could proceed to Saudi Arabia, sooner than expected.

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Pakistan enters Yemen crisis

[Featured Image: Courtesy Reuters] Seriously bruised from the spillover effects of Afghan conflict, with no signs of early and safe extrication in sight, Pakistan has jumped into another fray, the Yemen conflict. Participation in Afghan conflict brought terrorism to Pakistan's territory and the new found (mis) adventure is likely to accentuate the sectarian violence. In all probability decision has already been taken to commit Pakistan's military in Yemen on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Only regularization through Parliament and or APC is pending. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen conflict, and the subsequent Saudi announcement of a coalition against Houthi rebels, involving Pakistan, has drawn a mixed reaction at home. However the point of concern is that: Is the threat perception correct? It is a different thing to rush to the aid of a valued ally who is in danger than facilitating an ally in playing its regional game in another country. Are Houthis really posing a territorial threat to Saudi Arabia? It will be an uphill task for the government for the government of Pakistan to accrue national consensus on this divisive issue. However, consensus or no consensus, executive appears poised to go ahead with its decision.

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Tactical Nuclear Weapons: An Answer to Cold Start Doctrine

Tactical Nuclear Weapons(TNW) have been developed by Pakistan as an answer to India's dangerous nuclear thought processes. It is not fair to blame Pakistan for the development of nuclear weapons.Security and safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons as well as robustness of its impeccable command and control system have been acknowledged by World Class political leaders, strategists and technical experst. Development of tactical weapons is an indication of Pakistan's responsible behaviour to contain the threat and danger in the event of a war. As part of composite dialogue with India, Pakistan's offer of Strategic Restraint Regime is still on the table. It's essential components focus at addressing conventional imbalance, nuclear weapons and Missile systems.

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Pakistan’s necessity for nuclear electricity

While the popularity of nuclear power took a major hit, worldwide, in the aftermath of Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear fiasco in 2011. Pendulum has swung back and even in Japan, due to intermittent energy shortages, heavy reliance on imported energy, and impending default of international commitments on Carbon emissions, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a push to adopt a plan that could reopen closed nuclear power plants and pave the way for the construction of new ones. In many countries, plants are often located on the coast, in order to provide a ready source of cooling water for the essential service water system. Plant designs and associated infrastructure take into account the risk of flooding and tsunamis. Generation III reactors are at least 17% more fuel efficient, and have lower capital costs, while Generation IV reactors promise 10000-30000% greater fuel efficiency and elimination of nuclear waste.Over the last 40 years of its life cycle, KANUPP I, which is the oldest reactor of its kind in the world, continues to operate in Karachi safely with IAEA certification. Due to growing energy demand, Pakistan plans to increase the share of nuclear energy to 8,800 Mega Watt electrical (MWe) by 2030. This would constitute 5.41 per cent of the national energy mix. Other sources of energy like hydel, coal, renewable, oil and gas, would still have the major percentage. When completed in November 2019, K-II&III would add 2,200MW to Pakistan’s electric power, at a very cheap rate. Average price of power generated by Chashma-3 and 4 would be around Rs 9.59 per unit, much less than the price of electricity generated by thermal plants running on gas or oil. Due to economy of scales, new KANUPP category plants would produce cheaper electricity than the Chashma class power plants. Pakistan should look towards developing nuclear energy as its mainstay electricity generation system. Nuclear electricity remains one of the cheapest, most efficient, and carbon-friendly forms of energy generation. Energy superpowers like the United States, Russia, and Canada have made nuclear power lucrative, not just through cheap energy, but through licensing their technology to developing countries looking for a new energy source. For these reasons, nuclear power will be integral to the world energy mix for decades.

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Afghan peace process: China in lead role

To end the Afghan impasse, America is encouraging Pakistan and China to support President Ghani's reconciliation efforts.This is a good approach because China, due to its credibility amongst all stake-holders is better placed to lead the process and act as guarantor for the implementation of the agreement .Realizing the importance of Pakistan in intra Afghan reconciliation, Dr Abdullah has asked India not to overreact about improvement in bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.The next few days are very crucial. All sides are aware of the fact that the breakthrough has to be achieved before the Taliban’s spring offensive. To cater for all possibilities about the outcome of talks, White House has decided to extend the stay of about 5500 troops out of core 9,800 combatants in Afghanistan beyond 2015; formal announcement would come in due course.

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Pakistan Focus Condemns Attack on Lahore Churches

Chairman’s Blog: Pakistan Focus condemns the suicide attacks against two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore. It adds to the long list of  gruesome incidents which are consistently being inflicted on the people of this country. Beside hyping inter-faith discord within the country, such occurrences also  further tarnish the image of Pakistan, the World over. At the State level, neither condemnation of  …

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India-Pakistan Relations

Abstract: Though there was no breakthrough during Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's recent visit, there was headway for the next meeting between the two foreign secretaries. There is need for comprehensive dialogue process between the two countries to address all outstanding issues. Lack of trust between the two countries is a major issue and there is not likely to be any worthwhile progress on other issues unless the trust is gradually restored. India is well on its way for implementing two-pronged strategy to squeeze Pakistan. Modi wants to bypass Pakistan within SAARC and create conditions that Pakistan softens its stance on core issues like Kashmir and provision of trade openings to India towards West and Central Asia without any reciprocal concessions.

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India working to operationalize Cold Start Doctrine

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first budget indicates a hike under defence head by US$ 4 billion, jacking it up from US$37 to US$41 billion; Pakistan’s total defence budget is under US$7 billion.  Indian government, in its infrastructure development initiatives, is focusing on constructing and connecting all weather roads along its  borders. Budget details indicate nearly 100 percent increase in allocation …

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