Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The world’s second biggest economy is the world’s biggest investor in infrastructure.

The world’s second biggest economy is the world’s biggest investor in infrastructure.
CHINA SPENDS MORE ON INFRASTRUCTURE each year than North America and Western Europe combined. That’s according to a new study published last week by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The fact that China is investing so much in roads, rails, ports—and everything else that keeps society up and running—hints at big trends that could shape the global economy in the coming decades.
“Infrastructure investment has actually gone down in half the G20 economies,” says Jan Mischke, senior fellow at McKinsey Global Institute, who worked on the report. The culprit was the global recession in 2009. But it hasn’t stopped China.
Between 1992 and 2013, China spent 8.6% of its GDP on building roads, railways, airports, seaports, and other development projects that are key to keep people and goods on the move, and keeping the economy strong. That same spending figure was just 2.5% for Western Europe, and 2.5% for the US and Canada put together.
“The report is an important wake-up call about the perils of under-investment in infrastructure,” says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow specializing in metropolitan policy at the Washington-based think tank, the Brookings Institution. "The super-charged growth in China's economy is fueled by these investments in infrastructure."
Europe’s and North America’s infrastructure is getting old, fast. It needs more money to be replaced, made better, and made safer. More investing also means greater environmental sustainability, more jobs, and innovation that fuels new technologies.
Last year, for example, the US Department of Transportation study revealed that more than 61,000 bridges in the country are “structurally deficient”; in 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden described New York’s LaGuardia Airport as “third world.” In 2013, the UK government announced a £100 billion infrastructure plan, saying that the UK had “for centuries been pioneers in infrastructure,” but in recent decades, “let this proud record slip.”
Last week's study asserts that, based on the current trajectory of investment, the world will be left with major infrastructural gaps: The world will need to invest $3.3 trillion a year for the next 15 years to keep pace with economic growth forecasts.
The report is an important wake-up call about the perils of under-investment in infrastructure.
Having said that: Of course China would be spending a lot on more ways to get its citizens from point A to point B. Emerging markets like India and China are looking to build from scratch, not just improve things that already exist. The report even says that 60% of worldwide infrastructure investment need will be in emerging economies like China, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
But Puentes points out that one has to remember, when looking at the report’s numbers, that different countries spend different amounts on different things. For example, the US is required by law to spend a mandatory amount on certain programs, like Social Security, a federal welfare program.
“If the US spent zero on Social Security and defense, the percentage of the total that goes [toward] infrastructure would be higher,” Puentes says.
Jan Mischke agrees: China will need to invest more of its GDP annually, and the US and Europe will need to invest less, since there’s a lot of infrastructure already in place. The problem? “China has actually invested much more than needed, and the US, much less than needed,” Mischke explains. "Despite this overinvestment, China's needs for the future remain vast. The key opportunity for China is to deploy capital to more productive areas like research and innovation, and to raise efficiency and effectiveness of spending."
Incidentally, China is home to the world’s first maglev train—a superfast train that replaces wheels with magnetic levitation and reaches a top speed of 430kph (267mph). It opened way back in 2004, and it represents futuristic technology that most other nations can only dream of, even today.
China's taken its impressive infrastructure business on the road: Last year, it signed a £32 billion deal with Brazil and a£5.2 billion deal with the UK to help build new infrastructure in those countries, like railways and power plants.
Puentes says the key to building robust infrastructure programs is in mixing public and private investments — ginning up “true partnerships between government agencies, private firms, financiers, and the general public. This is how many nations successfully develop infrastructure around the world today,” he says.
For instance, Japan’s train system is an example of this public-private balance fuelling the development of a widespread, reliable transportation framework. Its extensive rail network has been a combo of privately invested money and public funds from the government for years.
The emerging market of India, meanwhile — which placed second in the McKinsey study, spending 4.9% of its GDP on infrastructure — saw more private sector companies helping to build roads starting in the mid-2000s.
China has actually invested much more than needed, and the US, much less than needed.
Looking ahead, though, things will only get trickier. There are a lot of new technologies that aim to disrupt the way we build roads, send goods, and transport ourselves. Self-driving cars and deliveries by drones, for example, are realities that are being rapidly realized, and will definitely disrupt how we decide to allocate money to transit projects.
One thing is for sure, though. Considering how quickly ageing infrastructure is in some of the world’s richest nations — including the US and UK — looking to the East for a good example could prove to be the smartest spending decision of all.
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The Future of Pakistan, Dr Stephen Cohen

The Future of Pakistan
Dr Stephen P Cohen, a Senior Fellow at the Washington DC-based think tank the Brookings Institution, is considered as the ‘dean of the Pakistan experts’. He is known as one of the world’s most trusted authorities on the Pakistani military and its relationship with the civilian governments.
Author of Pakistan Army and the Idea of Pakistan, Dr Cohen recently edited a new book called The Future of Pakistan. The 325-page book focuses on a number of challenges Pakistan currently faces. Here are excerpts from a conversation with Dr Cohen about the predictions the book makes about Pakistan’s future.

Some of the best experts on Pakistan contribute to your book The Future of Pakistan. Why did you choose this title?

The book does not look at yesterday or today, but the day after tomorrow by examining the factors and variables which will influence the future of Pakistan. I became more concerned after publishing my 2004 book, The Idea of Pakistan, as many of its more pessimistic judgments were coming true. So, I invited some of the best scholars on the subject to share their ideas. All of them expressed concern about the existing situation. Most seemed to agree, however, that Pakistan would not experience major transformation in the next five to seven years. We did not try to look beyond that.

In my chapter, I paid special attention to the decline of the Pakistani state. The more I looked, the more pessimistic I became.

You say you did not want to offend your Pakistani friends while writing this book but you also insist that a hurtful truth is better than a pleasant lie. What are these hurtful truths about Pakistan that you think need to be told now?

One was that General Pervez Musharraf fooled himself and he fooled everyone else. He lacked toughness, he tried to please everyone. He was not capable of leading Pakistan’s liberal transformation, although he personally held a liberal vision of the future. Some Pakistanis and many Americans thought that Musharraf was the last hope for Pakistan. I disagree, there are a lot of good Pakistanis around, both in the military and outside of it.

However, the army can’t govern the country effectively but it won’t let others govern it either. This is the governance dilemma. Pakistan is stuck between being an outright military dictatorship and a stable democracy. Neither are likely, and an even less likely future would be a radical transformation and the rise of Islamists or a breakaway movement led by the Baloch or other separatist groups. We did not see this coming soon, yet with the obvious breakdown of law and order, the decline of the economy, as well as a dysfunctional civilian-military relationship — change seems to be in the wind — but few of us can be precise about what that change will be. Pakistan is muddling through, but change and transformation are coming, I just don’t know when or how.

Weakness in governance, education, and the absence of land reform made Pakistan a victim of contemporary globalisation. It doesn’t make much that anyone wants to buy, and it is cut off from its natural regional trading partners. Yet, the negative aspects of Islamist globalisation have hit Pakistan hard. Some of the weirdest ideas in the Islamic world have found rich soil in Pakistan, and the country is regarded as an epicentre of terrorism. Pakistan, which was once held up as the most moderate of the Islamic states, seems to be embracing extremists and their dysfunctional violent ideas.

Is Pakistan on the verge of collapse?
No, it is not going to collapse. The military will ensure that the state will not collapse. It is not a country in need of critical support for its survival but it may yet happen some day, especially if the economy collapses.
Pakistan has to make a breakthrough and become a South Asian country. It should join India in a number of cooperative ventures while protecting its sovereignty against foreign interests and intrusions.
The Indians tend to be bullying when it comes to their neighbours, but Pakistanis are capable of defending their interests. Many Indians are ready for a change now. India sees itself as a major rising Asian state and Pakistan is a drag on it.
Yet, because of nuclearisation India can’t conceive of finishing off Pakistan. The only realistic option for India is cooperation. Islamabad’s decision to grant India the most favoured nation (MFN) status offers an opportunity to both countries; will it lead to a peace process? I don’t know, but their dilemma is that they cannot live with each other and they cannot live without each other. They need to cooperate along several dimensions, there is no military solution for the problems each has with the other.
Why do you call Pakistan a major foreign policy headache for the United States?
In the book I quote an American who said we assumed that with all our aid and alliances we believed that Pakistan would emerge as an independent democratic state. However, it turned out that India, which did not get our military assistance and partnership, has emerged as that kind of country.
The Pakistanis, particularly the military, have a hard time looking around for role models. Turkey, Indonesia or Malaysia may not be the perfect role models for Pakistan. Perhaps the best political role model for you is India which is also a diverse South Asian state, but now with a stable political order and growing economic power. In India, the military has a legitimate role but still remains under the government’s control.
It is the responsibility of the Pakistani civilian government to find a legitimate role for the Pakistani army, and the army must help in that search, the present arrangement is not working.
You say you don’t know where Pakistan is heading to but once it gets there you will explain why it was inevitable.
I quoted a former US ambassador to the Soviet Union who said, “I don’t know what is going to happen to the Soviet Union but when it does happen I will tell you exactly why it was inevitable.” So, looking ahead at Pakistan’s future, we don’t know what is going to happen to Pakistan but we know something alarming is happening to it. Pakistan will remain, but its identity is changing.
As for America’s mixed role in Pakistan, there were two areas where we should have been more accommodating. First, we should have recognised Pakistan as a nuclear power after it tested its weapons in 1998 — as we did with the Indians. This would have legitimised the Pakistani nuclear programme and reduced the paranoia that the Americans were trying to deprive them of their nuclear capability; it might also have contributed to more responsible Pakistani nuclear policy, right now it is the fastest growing nuclear weapons state in the world — and one with a bad record of transferring nuclear technology in the past. Second, the US should have provided trade opportunities, instead of only military aid, to Pakistan after 9/11. There was a serious Pakistani interest in increasing trade, not just receiving military aid; the US did not respond to this.
How can Pakistan get out of what you call the burden of its history and narrative of victimhood?
First, economic trade between Pakistan and the rest of South Asia should be encouraged. It should hook up with India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, as well as continue its ties with China. The Iran-Pakistan-Indian pipeline is a good idea and I am baffled why the Americans have always opposed it. Yes, it will help the Iranians, but the pipeline will also help the Afghans, the Indians and the Pakistanis. In my math, three positives outweigh one negative.
Second, Pakistani governments have been cowardly in dealing with those who oppose modernity and try to push the country back to the seventh century. Perhaps the cowardice comes from the fact that the state uses some of these groups for its own strategic purposes, a fatal and self-defeating miscalculation.
Why do you argue that the Pakistani military has neither run the country effectively nor allowed others to run it?
Well, because they are not trained to be economists or how to run businesses although the military manages a lot of businesses once they retire. They are not trained to be politicians. Being a politician is a difficult skill to acquire. People cannot be ordered about, especially Pakistanis. As a politician, you have to find common interests by working with people who dislike each other; Pakistan needs to develop a true political class.
In Pakistan, the military has identified enemies among its fellow-citizens. If you demonise your own people, you are in deep trouble. I mean you can’t treat the Bengalis or the Baloch, or other ethnic or religious minorities the way you treat foreign enemies. That’s the route to catastrophe, as we have seen both in Pakistan and other countries that have given up on pluralism and tolerance and headed down the road to self-destruction.
Of Pakistan’s military leaders, Ayub Khan tried to act as a politician but failed because he could not address two deeper problems, education and land reforms. If you look at the East Asian tigers, they all dealt with land reforms early and invested heavily in education at all levels. Even China has done this, albeit through totalitarian coercion, which would not work in pluralistic Pakistan.
How much influence will Islam and the army continue to exercise on the future of Pakistan?
I like the idea of seeing Islamic parties getting a chance to govern, and then discovering whether they succeed or fail. I’d also like to see somebody like Imran Khan get elected — not that I am a particular fan of his, but let him get elected and assume the burden and responsibilities of governance, and be held accountable. Let him succeed or fail on these terms.
I had a conversation with Musharraf right after his coup and told him that while the obviously corrupt and extremist political leaders had to be held accountable, that he should also hold elections and let the democratic process move forward. He responded to the effect that he was going to fix the system once and for all. I knew then he was in deep trouble. In a normal state you have to allow people to fail. They must run for office, get elected and then fail on their own terms. It should be left to the people of Pakistan to decide who they elect to rule them. In the long run, they will make the right decision, but the courts, the press, and, rarely, even the military, will be around to prevent disaster. Failure should be seen as helping to perfect the system, not a sign of a bad system. The cure for bad democracy is more and better democracy, not an incompetent military regime, which only breeds resentment as it covers up its failures. In Pakistan the mentality seems to be that having won an election, the victor can persecute his or political rivals. I’d prefer a moderate competent military regime to this kind of pseudo democracy.
How is failure in Afghanistan going to affect Pakistan?
If the Taliban come back to power or if they play a significant role in the future dispensation, there will be a major blowback on Pakistan. We may yet see how the government of Pakistan responds to the Taliban mindset which says that ‘we [Taliban] have defeated one superpower, the United States, in Afghanistan and now we will take control of Pakistan and then India.’ This is a revolutionary movement that has to be contained and stopped, not provided with safe-haven and political support. Staying away from Bonn was a strategic gaffe that put Pakistan on the opposite side of virtually the entire world.
 What are some of the future scenarios and options you discuss in the book about Pakistan?
Some American experts are talking about containing Pakistan. This is premature language, but if Pakistan pursues policies which are hostile to American interests in Afghanistan and if they support terrorism then we might move to a policy of containment. This would have two dimensions: erecting a military barrier while supporting internal transformation. I don’t know about containing Pakistan militarily, it seems to be pursing self-defeating policies in any case, but I support the latter kind of policy. America’s goal should be a normal Pakistan.
 What should or can be done to immediately bring Pakistan into what you call a ‘normal state category’?
The long-term key to normalising Pakistan is India. The fear of India drives the Pakistan army and the army drives Pakistan. If India can normalise with Pakistan in one way or the other, then Pakistan can devote its resources and energy to becoming a more attractive and respected country.
 What are the warning signs and revolutionary options for Pakistan?
An interesting part of the book is where I compare Pakistan with a number of other states. Pakistan is unlikely to follow the Iranian model of a clergy-led revolution because the army in Pakistan is stronger than its counterpart was in Iran. The negative case for Pakistan would be that of Tsarist Russia where the country was destabilised by World War I, the army fell apart and Russia’s ruling nobility had no credibility, and revolutionary groups filled the gap. There are also other bad examples like the Balkans or Yugoslavia, or interwar Japan, where the military pursued fatally self-destructive policies vis-a-vis the West and China.
Never in history have we seen a country so big with so many nuclear weapons in this kind of trouble. When the Chinese went through their cultural revolution, they did not have nuclear weapons. Hence, people were not much afraid of China. When the Soviet Union disintegrated and became Russia, they knew they wanted to become Europeans. Pakistanis should now decide to become South Asians by becoming once again a part of South Asia.
Can China become an alternative strategic partner of Pakistan to replace the US?
If the Chinese could teach Pakistan how to become an economic power, that would be great. Yet, the Chinese are not going to teach Pakistan how to become a democracy. Given Pakistan’s complexity and social diversity, democracy is a good system for it because it allows most people to have a say in the affairs of the state. You can’t run Pakistan from the centre. The army has tried that many times but has failed. After every military takeover, they called back the civilians within three years. On the political front, China is not a role model for Pakistan.
 Out of nukes, huge population and geostrategic location, what worries the world the most about an unstable Pakistan?
The nuclear weapons are probably under responsible control. If Pakistan breaks down or some separatist movements succeed, as happened in 1971, then we’ll begin to worry about the nuclear weapons. Pakistan, like North Korea, is “too nuclear to fail,” that is, no one wants to see a real nuclear weapons state disintegrate.
Also Pakistan, like North Korea, uses its nuclear asset and its political fragility as a means to extract concessions from other countries. We’ve contributed to this begging-bowl syndrome, for years. The US should provide aid to Pakistan but link it to more concrete reforms in education, administration, and democratisation. Otherwise we are wasting our time and money. I don’t like the term ‘trust deficit’; trust will grow when there are clear — and public — links between our respective obligations over time.
(Malik Siraj Akbar is a freelance journalist based in Washington DC.)
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 15th, 2012.


Why the BrahMos armed Sukhoi is bad news for India’s enemies

Why the BrahMos armed Sukhoi is bad news for India’s enemies


http://www.defencenews.in/article/Why-the-BrahMos-armed-Sukhoi-is-bad-news-for-India%E2%80%99s-enemies-6320

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Did Jinnah want an Islamic Sharia in Pakistan? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Did Jinnah want an Islamic Sharia in Pakistan?
Dr Shabir Choudhry      27 June 2016

Debate still goes on even after 69 years whether Pakistan was created to promote Islam and establish Sharia; or if the name of Islam was used as a political slogan to woo the Muslims. Some even go as far as saying that Pakistan was created to divide the Muslims of the Indian Sub Continent, serve the interests of the West; and reward the army and the landed aristocracy which served the British Raj to keep control over huge area.

However, many still believe that Mohammed Ali Jinnah a ‘Messiah’ for Muslims of the Sub Continent and wanted to establish Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. There is plenty of evidence to prove that brains which divided this huge region with enormous resources wanted to use religion as a tool to divide Hindus and Muslims that people continue to fight after the British departure from the region.

For a minute lets us accept this plea that Jinnah was a Messiah and very religious man; and he wanted to establish Islamic Sharia in Pakistan to advance the cause of Islam. On 14 August 1947 Pakistan came in to being; and Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the man in charge. If he was sincere to establish Islamic Sharia, after assuming control of Pakistan he would have included high ranking Islamic scholar to help him accomplish his task of establishing Islamic Sharia. His team included the following, and see for yourself if this team was suitable to promote Islam:

1.    Mohammed Ali Jinnah became Governor General of Pakistan;
2.    Sir Frederick Bourne was appointed the Governor of East Pakistan;
3.    Sir Francis Mudie the Governor of Punjab;
4.    Sir George Cunningham the Governor of N.W.F.P;
5.    Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, the Governor of Sindh;
6.    General Sir Frank Messervey Chief of the Pakistan Army;
7.    Air Vice-Marshal Perry-Keane Chief of the Pakistan Air Force;
8.    Admiral Jefford the Chief of Pakistan Navy;
9.    Financial Advisor to Mohammed Ali Jinnah was Sir Archibald Rowland;
10. Liaquat Ali Khan Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defense;
11. In December Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan was appointed Foreign Minister and Commonwealth relations;
12. I. Chundrigar Minister for Commerce, Industries and Works;
13. Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar Minister for Communications;
14. Raja Ghazanfar Ali Minister for Food, Agriculture and Health;
15.  Jogendra Nath Mandal Minister for Labour and Law;
16. Ghulam Muhammad Minister for Finance;
17. Fazlur Rahman Minister for Interior, Information and Education
18.  Mohammed Ali Jinnah also asked many skilled British technocrats to stay and serve in the Pakistani government.
In the very first meeting of the Cabinet a special resolution was passed that Mohammed Ali Jinnah will also help ministers in policy making; and in case of a difference of opinions his decision was to be final. In other words, he had absolute power in running Pakistan.

I would like you to look at the above list and decide if this team was suitable to establish Islamic Sharia?

Mohammed Ali Jinnah was Ismaeli Muslim; whereas the majority of Muslims in East and West Pakistan consisted of Sunni sect. In his team, apart from the British technorates he had eight very senior and powerful posts held by the British Christians.

His Foreign Minister was a leading Qadiani. His Law Minister was Hindu. His Finance
Minister was a man who served the British as a civil servant.

Can you see name of any mufti or an Islamic Scholar in his team?

Did he expect that Hindu Law Minister would help him to establish Islamic Sharia?

If you still think that he created Pakistan to promote Islam and establish Islamic Sharia, then only Allah can help you. No one in this world can put any logic in your head.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com




Sunday, 26 June 2016

'We cannot conquer Kashmir through war', former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar

'We cannot conquer Kashmir through war', former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar

ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Sunday said Pakistan cannot "conquer Kashmir through war" and progress on the issue can only me made in an environment of mutual trust with India.
"I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue, and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust," Khar said in an interview with Geo News.
She claimed that the PPP government, despite being a coalition government, had tried its best to normalise ties with India through relaxation of visa rules and by normalising trade ties.
"The issues between the two countries cannot be resolved in a hostile environment."
Khar, who remained Pakistan's foreign minister from 2011 to 2013, maintained that the Kashmir issue can be resolved "if we continue to talk on the issue, then we will reach somewhere".
Answering a question regarding the military's influence on Pakistan's foreign policy, she said that it is a diplomat's job to carry forward the military's perspective on issues where the military is a relevant stake holder.
Khar stated some people believe that the issue can only be resolved "if there is a BJP government in India and a military government in Pakistan".
Khar observed that Musharraf gave India adequate relaxation on the Kashmir issue during his tenure.
'US tilt towards India driven by economy'
When asked about the recent downturn in Pak-US ties and the US' tilt towards India, the former foreign minister said the US tilt towards India is driven by economy, market and because of a wish to contain the rising power of China.
"Now let us ask ourselves, is US moving towards India because India is a nuclear state, or because it is a military power, no, it is people power and their democratic traditions, if we want to compete, lets compete on these grounds," said Khar.
The former foreign minister also termed Pakistan's entry into Afghan Jihad a 'mistake' and maintained that Pakistan's dependence on US is more in "our minds than on the ground".
She termed it as Zia's mistake for helping the US in the 80s, and added Musharraf had no option when it came to helping the US in 2001.
'Foreign office or political office'
Criticising the approach and the performance of ministry of foreign affairs, she asked if the foreign office has turned into a political office.
"The foreign office is busy nowadays in apprising the nation about some country's leader sending flowers to the prime minister or inquiring about his health," said Khar.
Khar maintained that Pakistan's current foreign policy is "reactive and not active" as Pakistan is not taking its own line or direction but is only reacting on the circumstances arising in the region or world at large.
"In 60 years, we have taught our children that our national identity is to hate someone, and we are doing it with those who are physically the nearest. Hostile with India and now hostile with Afghanistan," said the former foreign minister.
Summing up her answer, she maintained that the basic objective of Pakistan's foreign policy should be to serve the people of the country and not the pursuit of power.


Why anxious about Chilas? Nazakat Ali

Why anxious about Chilas? Nazakat Ali
Diamer District is bounded by Astore District in the east, by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the southwest Neelum District of Azad Kashmir in the south, the Ghizer District in the north and northwest, and the Gilgit District in the north and northeast. Before the Karakoram Highway was opened in 1978, the only road reaching Gilgit town from the south was a rough track north from Balakot to Babusar Pass and further north through Babusar Gah to Chilas. The dis­trict of Diamer has a population of more than 150,000 people and includes the subdivisions of Tangir/Darel, and Chilas.
The literacy rate in Diamer district is 10 per cent and of females never above 0.02 per cent.
Chilas is approximately 130 km from Gilgit and is the headquarters of the Diamer District.
I came across the print and social media where I saw a person write about Diamer, “why I hate Chilas”, while another wrote “we shall cherish Chilas” and some write love Chilas. The whole Gilgit-Baltistan is my region and it is my moral duty to shed light on my region, especially Diamer, and present its  power points and weak points to cherish the region. All the concerned people expressed their views and I think they are right about some extent but one thing is proven that we are anxious about Chilas. Why we are  anxious about Chilas?  Because something is going wrong .I will describe some facts that lead the current worst situation in Diamer.
1. Ethnicity
Sheen and Yashkun divide prevails  more or less in whole Gilgit-Baltistan but it is at the peak in Chilas,Diamer and  claims dozens of lives . I clearly remember an incident when  passenger buses crossing over the Gohar Abad Chilas in the morning. I saw the road was blocked by people and were throwing stones over other party which was lesser in numbers. My bus has been stopped near a police station. I conceal my ID card and left the bus while fearing to be killed. I was quit assured that it is a sectarian clash, somehow I decided I would ask from an old man possessing a gun and was lagging the rally a little bit but he did not bothered to just listen to me. It was quit risky because the whole rally was equipped with weapons and they were throwing stones.
I came to know from a spectator that the clash is between The Sheen and Yashkun tribes. On hearing this, first I took a deep breath and started seeing the whole scene. The two parties were throwing stones toward each other. I saw the a man with beard open fire on the other party and injured two people but I also noted their clapping after it. The injured people were in serious condition. God knows better what happened with them. I fled the scene.
2. Tribal Feuds
Situation is worst   especially in Tangir/Darel valleys, followed by Chilas  where Gun is a good companion of locals in their day and nights. People do not dare  to go into  streets in dark and usually they  carry a pistol or a revolver on day time as well. They have culture of revenge.  There are many reasons to start the blood feud among the people being land, water rights but Women stands the centre point of blood enmity. The highest murder rate is in Tangir/Darel, with Chilas having the sec­ond highest. The population of  Chilas is approximately 60,000 which includes  a number of valleys, such as Gohar Abad, Thagi, Gichi, Thor, Hodur, Thalpan, Gesh, and  some others. But by an authentic source, the murder rate of this area is 20 to 25 people per year.
3. Sectarianism
Historically, the  diverse  communities  of Gilgit-Baltistan  have lived together  in  relative harmony. Ethnic  and  tribal identities  and  social  ties  developed  over centuries  were  valued more than sectarian affiliations and Diamer was second to none in their hospitality with all their mentioned weak points but in 80s the Gen Zia ul Haq injected sectarian  poison in Gilgit-Baltistan, especially in Diamer where all the elements combined to produce an invasion against Shia community in Gilgit which claims hundreds of lives and damaged huge infrastructure.
This was the incident that dragged the region towards sectarianism .Later the list goes long and long as on February 28, 2012,eighteen Shia pilgrims were openly killed on the Karakoram Highway in Kohistan district while returning from  Rawalpindi  another attack killed twenty people at Chilas on April  and terrorists again targeted Shia but also four Sunni who protested this brutal act ,killed twenty-two near  Babusar  Pass on August 16.After three major attacks the Government failed to hang the culprits. The brutality and impunity with which these crimes were committed have triggered wider sectarian tensions and hardened attitudes in Gilgit-Baltistan. The situation is tense,especially in Diamer.
Diamer is now literally  “no-go” areas for  Govt.  As a result on June 22, 2013, about 16 militants, reportedly dressed in GB scouts killed 10 climbers and one guide. The incident has cornered the Pakistan internationally and made a worse image about Pakistan. The security agencies were quite active after incident but local Jirga helped terrorists to escape from Region. The Team which was investigating that case has been gunned down in Chilas including SSP a Colonel and a Captain.

Some people defend that the terrorists are not locals but local religious elements have played a pivotal role in establishing this linkage. The local volunteers go for training in Meran shah and Waziristan to help the Taliban jihad in GB otherwise operations in far-flung areas are not possible without the logistical support of sectarian elements within such societies. And the Mastermind of Nanga Parbat has been identified as named Majeed  who is a local, not outsider. Gilgit-Baltistan is our home land we know about it ,about itsnature and  also know what is the solution.

Let’s be anxious about Chilas to find the roots of terrorism, do not let it to grow again and finally cherish the Chilas in a new way to make a civilized society.



Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Deadly Momentum Of Afghanistan Pakistan Border Clashes, Syed Zafar Mehdi

The Deadly Momentum Of Afghanistan Pakistan Border Clashes, Syed Zafar Mehdi
It's not the first time, and probably not the last time, that Pakistan has tried to stoke the flames of war in the troubled country.
What starts as intermittent exchange of fire can sometimes escalate to a full-blown war with far-reaching consequences. Over the past one week, these fears were ignited when estranged neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan resorted to brinkmanship, flexed their military muscle and fired artillery at the Torkham border, leading to many casualties.

After four days of hectic negotiations, the two sides finally blinked and agreed to de-escalate the blazing military and political tensions, thus averting the inevitable. Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, said there were "central and regional level negotiations" to break the deadlock.

It all started after Pakistani border rangers started constructing a gate too close to the disputed border, beyond the Zero Line, which Afghan troops saw as a blatant violation of the bilateral agreement and international law. In the ensuing clashes, both sides suffered casualties.

As the news broke out, doves in Kabul extended an olive branch to hawks in Islamabad, calling for a truce. Omar Zakhilwal, the newly appointed Afghan envoy to Islamabad and the former finance minister, held a series of closed-door meetings with the top political and military officials of Pakistan in a bid to prevent the escalation of violence.

While Pakistan insisted on building a barrier at the border crossing "to prevent terrorists' entry into Pakistan", Afghanistan took umbrage because it does not recognize the colonial-era Durand Line drawn up in 1893. Torkham connects eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

For almost a week, both sides refused to back down from their respective positions. Zakhilwal even threatened to resign and reveal the details of his closed-door meetings with Pakistani officials. He dismissed reports that he had earlier agreed to the construction of the gate at Torkham.

On Saturday, the border was reopened after six days, much to the relief of stranded truck drivers and traders. On Monday, an Afghan delegation led by deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai visited Islamabad to discuss the Torkham border issue.

It's not the first time, and probably not the last time, that Pakistan has tried to stoke the flames of war in the troubled country. Border incursions and setting up of military bunkers by Pakistani troops along the border in eastern and southern provinces has always been a matter of consternation for the Afghan government.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.
Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.
Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.

Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.
Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.

Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.

Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.

Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.

Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.

Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.

Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

Earlier last year, Pakistani rangers had established check posts in Maroof district of southern Kandahar province before the Afghan border police forced them to retreat. Before that, some Pakistani rangers had secretly crossed into Goshta and Spinboldak districts of eastern Nangarhar province and built small military bases there. In July last year, Pakistani forces had tried to build illegal constructions in the border district of Barmal in southern Paktika province. In the ensuing firefight, one Afghan police commander was killed.

Pakistan's stirring up of trouble in Afghanistan, though, is not limited to border incursions. For the past several years, Pakistan has frequently fired rockets into bordering Afghan provinces, killing civilians and security forces and rendering many others homeless. A large number of people in these border provinces -- mainly Kunar, Nuristan, Paktika and Nangarhar -- have been forced to evacuate their homes and move to safer locations.

Former Afghan army chief Shir Mohammad Karimi, who was summoned by Parliament last year, said these attacks are used as "pressure tactics" by Pakistan to force Afghanistan into recognizing the Durand Line as an international border.

Pakistan's envoy to Kabul has been summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairsmany times since last year to register protest against the continued border incursions and cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In July last year, deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai took reacted strongly to the mortar shelling in Speen Zhay, Dwa Khula, Chunchro Tangai and Kamary Lakar areas of Nazian district in eastern Nangarhar province. At least three civilians, including a woman, were killed in the shelling.

In August last year, hundreds of people including tribal elders and local political leaders gathered in Khad Al Jadid area of Kandahar city to protest against the cross-border shelling by Pakistan. A few days later, a large number of people carried out a protest march in Asadabad city of eastern Kunar province against the border shelling by Pakistani troops. Similar protests have been held in many other parts of the country, denouncing Pakistan's adventurism.

The political and diplomatic ties between the two South Asian neighbours, once described by the former Afghan president Hamid Karzai as "inseparable brothers", have worsened in recent years. Karzai's successor Ashraf Ghani had vowed to pursue the peace process with the support of Islamabad. At the London Conference in December 2014, President Ghani said his government seeks regional cooperation and has started an "active engagement" with all neighbours, including Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reciprocated by saying that he would not allow Pakistani territory to be used for terrorist activities against Afghanistan. "If our soil is used for terrorism activities against Afghanistan, we will take serious action against the insurgents," he said.

However, he seems either incompetent or unwilling to stop Pakistan-based militant groups from mounting attacks on Afghanistan. And more importantly, he has failed to rein in his soldiers manning the border.
The author is a Kashmiri journalist based in Kabul. He can be contacted at armaan.journo@gmail.com