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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Yum-e-Takbir under the shadow of dying NPT

Pakistan Focus wishes the nation a joyous Yum-e-Takbir. Today as Pakistan celebrates Yum-e-Takbir, the day it carried out nuclear explosions on May 28, 1998, it has a fair degree of satisfaction that its decision of that moment was correct. For genuine reasons, the 2015 NPT review conference (April27 to May 22) failed to agree on a joint statement. The NPT is a vintage regime of the 1960s reflecting the cold war era mindset.The NPT continues to turn its face away from the emergence of additional NWS since coming its into effect; is adamant at calling them as NNWS and treat them accordingly. The NPT is poised to become increasingly irrelevant as it does not reflect the realities of contemporary nuclear order. NNWS feel that they did not get the fair deal as interpretations and implementation of NPT have largely remained victim of political exigencies rather than the noble objective of achieving universal nuclear disarmament. As the NPT has failed to enjoy the confidence of NNWS so would a Fissile Material regime that does not take into account the existing stocks of fissile material and tires to freeze strategic status quo, like the NPT. Likewise, other discriminatory and country specific exemptions to India for its membership of four strategic trade regimes would make these regimes also look like the NPT, irrelevant, ineffective and ceremonial.

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Overcoming Challenges to CPEC

Earlier in February 2014, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s speech had hit the headlines where he had explained his “offensive defence” strategy as: “if you do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan”. In all probability, after hitting dead ends in his Pakistan and China Policies, Modi is managing these through his erratic ministers. During his visit to China, Modi had expressed concern over the CPEC on account of its passage through AJK. National security adviser Ajit Doval had prepared a detailed note on the issue and he vociferously raised the issue stating that Pakistan could use the infrastructure improvement to give terrorism a further push across the border–a silly logic indeed. Resurgence of a new movement in IHK to raise Pakistani flags has indeed put off Modi. China has vehemently dismissed Indian concerns about CPEC. Now, India is implementing its “B-plan”—subvert the CPEC project.Strategy is to make the project controversial by projecting as if CPEC would not benefit Balochistan as much as it should. RAW has a long history of sowing the seeds of separatism in Balochistan pegged around disruption of development projects. It routinely provides logistics, travel facilities and platforms to separatist Baloch elements. Besides RAW, there are other players as well, who are keen to keep Baluchistan on boiling point, and CPEC on stagnation.Balochistan’s ethno-sectarian fault lines are quite fragile and hence easily exploitable. Balochistan is a controversy prone province, where anti-federation rhetoric sell well. Some regional and extra regional countries are poised to use this psychosocial pressure point to disrupt the CPEC project. Going by the history of earlier Balochistan related mega projects, the CPEC is likely to become increasingly contentious. Due to power play amongst the tribal heads, all Balochistan related policies and projects do become controversial, because there is hardly any tradition amongst these leaders’ agreeing on anything unanimously. The best approach for the federal government would be to make all the information related to CPEC public through print and electronic media as well as websites; and also reach out to the people directly. At the same time, Baloch leadership should understand that due to availability of multiple routes, they do not hold veto power over the CPEC. Making the matter controversial would only cause delay in operationalization of the Western route.

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India’s claim to state terrorism

True colours of  BJP government are now on display from the actions and statements of PM Modi’s government and cabinet members. The statement by Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar that “terrorism will be used to counter any terrorist attack” is the latest edition. Earlier in a social media video national security adviser of PM Modi, Ajit Doval had also suggested …

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Need to re-tool our counter terrorism effort

Patience of the nation is running out on frequently churned out counter terror visions and policies. Devil lies in details and implementation; and this is where we lack and lag. Whenever those responsible for counter terrorism claim success, terrorist make their presence and power felt through increasingly ferocious attacks. While one understands the complexity and enormity of terrorist activity, matching counter terrorism effort is glaringly missing. In the forefront is lack of will to implement the policies at the middle and lower levels of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Every time there is a high profile attack, new laws are made, LEAs and trial courts are given additional powers, politicians hold meetings under pomp and show and rhetoric is uttered; for a couple of days bureaucrats run from here to there, but end result is zero. Within weeks, another high profile incident takes place, and the previous one is passed on to distant memory. Over the years, LEA's, bureaucracy, political parties, religious outfits and other state and private institutions have become complacent and take acts of terrorism as a matter of routine. Number of deaths of personnel of law enforcement agencies far exceeds the fatalities suffered by terrorists, which indicate poor professional skills of LAEs. Likewise number of deaths of noncombatants is phenomenal. This clearly indicates that something is seriously wrong somewhere and national counter terrorism effort needs a revisit at professional and technical levels. Mere empowerment of these entities, without compatible structural reforms, won’t lead the country anywhere. Involvement of RAW and other external factors in fermenting acts of terrorism in the urban centres is all too well known. However, this can’t be put up as an excuse for our failures to counter them. Rather it exposes gaps in our counter intelligence effort. By now effective measures should have been in place to neutralize RAW and associates. Terrorism confronted by Pakistan is being sponsored by many sources, each having its own objectives; we cannot follow a cut and dry approach to counter it, made of cobbled pieces from here and there. There is a need to evolve Pakistan specific counter terrorism policy right from concept to implementation level. Communities and LEAs have to work together to achieve the end objective—Pakistan free from the fear of terrorism.

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An appeal for saving Muhammad Morsi

Pakistan Focus strongly condemns the award of death sentence to former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi. This was essentially a politically motivated trial. History tells us that truth is the  first causality in such trials. Though through such trials a political opponent is eliminated, the  subsequent problems that prop up are enormous  and in most cases insurmountable leading to prolonged spells …

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Need to build on Pak-Afghan goodwill

Afghan government and people see Pakistan’s role as critical and most of them strongly believe that their neighbour could do more to mitigate their hardship. With the foreign troops almost gone, the country is extremely anxious about its future. There is a strong perception in Afghanistan that Pakistan is not fully exerting itself to help Afghans overcome violence in Afghanistan. If the level of violence worsens during the ongoing fighting season, the bilateral relations could revert back to Karzai era. Handling of Afghan refugees by Pakistan and differences on Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) are other contentious points. A number of Afghan analysts are of the view that cooperation between the two countries could make them an effective anchorage for a regional hub with significant politico-economic clout.At bilateral level, there is need for a joint institutional arrangement for efficient monitoring and management of on-going issues. For this a joint commission may be set, staffed by both sides. Such commission should have a secretariat to keep the developing situation under constant review. Such an approach would create a sense of confidence in the two countries about each other’s intentions, and prevent a slide down in bilateral relations.

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Pakistan’s Emerging neighbourhood

During the last month, President Xi Jinping made two high-profile visits to Asian countries—Pakistan and Indonesia—which is indicative of China’s push for regional outreach, from East Asia to West Asia. While in Islamabad, Xi unveiled China’s biggest aid and investment package for a single country. And while in Jakarta he had a detailed meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein. …

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Protest on PEN award to Charlie Hebdo

Text of the Protest Note Recorded by Chair Pakistan Focus on Pen America website (http://www.pen.org/comment/281#comment-281) :- I am disappointed by the announcement regarding honoring of Charlie Hebdo with PEN award. This amounts to further provocating over 2 billion aggrieved Muslims the World over. Instead of closing the front and providing a healing touch to those hurt by the Charlie Hebdo …

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Western route of CPEC to become operational first

Minister for Planning and Development Mr Ahsan Iqbal has clarified that Western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor shall be operationalized first.  http://dunyanews.tv/index.php/en/Pakistan/276963-CPEC-Western-route-to-be-operational-first-says-        And       https://www.facebook.com/ahsaniqbal.pk?fref=ts

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