Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Why Pakistan is having difficulty in combating extremism and terrorism?

Why Pakistan is having difficulty in combating extremism and terrorism?
Guests: Shaukat Kashmiri and Sajad Haider

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Murtaza Hussain       23 February 2016

A POLICY PAPER issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory, titled Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods & Strategies, includes a chapter setting forth controversial and unsubstantiated theories of radicalization, including the idea that support for militant groups is driven by “sexual deprivation” and that headscarves worn by Muslim women represent a form of “passive terrorism.”
The paper, first published in 2011, was reissued by the Air Force lab this past summer following President Obama’s announcement of a national counter-extremism strategy. This January, the revised copy was published online by the open source research website Public Intelligence. A preface for the revised report cites a summit convened by Obama on extremism as a reason for revisiting the subject, adding that “the wisdom contained in this paper collection is more relevant than ever.”
Many of the articles contained in the document have scholarly merit and are written by academics and researchers in the field of counterterrorism. But a chapter titled “A Strategic Plan to Defeat Radical Islam,” written by Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a self-described former Islamic extremist and fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, contains a number of bizarre prescriptions for how to defeat terrorism, few of which appear to be supported by empirical evidence
Among Hamid’s claims are that support for militancy is primarily a product of sexual deprivation and that terrorism bears relation to religious dress. His ideas for combating terrorism thus include “addressing the factors underlying [sexual] deprivation” among young men, as well as “weakening the hijab phenomenon.” Hamid further claims that, along with fundamentalist ideology, the “hijab contribute[s] to the idea of passive terrorism” and represents an implicit refusal to “speak against or actively resist terrorism.”
Hamid does not make clear how he reaches these conclusions. On his personal website, he describes himself as “an Islamic thinker and reformer” and says he has a medical degree in internal medicine from Cairo University and a master’s degree in cognitive psychology and educational techniques from the University of Auckland. He also claims credit “for developing one of the most innovative Cognitive Psychology models, the Multi-Dimensional Learning Model.”
Two terrorism experts and a professor of Islamic Studies questioned the assertions in Hamid’s chapter of the Air Force white paper, calling them unsubstantiated.
“This characterization of the hijab demonizes millions of women whose reasons for covering have nothing to do with the advocacy of political violence,” says Arun Kundnani, a lecturer on terrorism studies at New York University. “The document as a whole includes some scholars who are serious researchers. However it appears the purpose of this chapter by Hamid is not a genuine investigation of the roots of violence, but rather an attempt to supply national security agencies with bogus surveillance rubrics.”
Hamid’s theory of radicalization states that terrorism stems from a lack of sexual activity among young men and that addressing this issue is key to reducing support for militant groups. “I believe young Muslims are motivated to join radical groups because of sexual deprivation,” he writes, claiming further that “addressing the factors causing deprivation in this life can interrupt the radicalization process and reduce the number of suicide attacks by jihadists.”
An expert on the subject of foreign fighters disagrees. “There is virtually no evidence that sexual deprivation is somehow a cause of radicalization, or suicide attacks,” says Amarnath Amarasingam, a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. “From my interviews with jihadists in various organizations, it is clear that they are there for a complex variety of reasons. To simply attribute their motivations to sexual depravity is to miss the point entirely.”
An accompanying chart that describes Hamid’s purported theory of radicalization is similarly unfounded. “One thing that is absolutely clear from studies of radicalization is that this conveyor belt model from ‘conservative beliefs’ to ‘violence’ is incorrect,” Amarasingam says.
Ingrid Mattson, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, said Hamid’s comments about the hijab are baffling. She pointed out that the garment is worn by an incredibly diverse array of women, including Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, who was the subject of a Taliban assassination attempt after she campaigned for women’s rights in northwest Pakistan.
“Is hijab any Muslim woman’s head cover? Any style, any country? Because covering the head is very widely observed among Muslim women,” Mattson says. “There is no logic here. Is Malala, who wears a hijab and was shot by the Taliban, a terrorist? There is nothing, sadly, more banal than for powerful people to tell women to take their clothes off.”
Hamid’s article also expresses a striking faith in the power of government public relations efforts to overcome deeply unpopular policies toward the Middle East.
It claims that improvements in the U.S.’ reputation in the Mideast “will not come from drastic changes in policy,” but instead from government PR campaigns. “For example,” Hamid writes, “during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. Agency for International Development sent food aid to Egypt. Images of chickens wrapped in bags adorned with the U.S. flag significantly improved Egypt’s perceptions of the U.S., even though it had not altered its pro-Israel policies.”
Hamid repeated his theory about the power of food aid in 2011 testimonyto the House Armed Services Committee in which he claimed that such efforts had, among Egyptians, “created a link in the human brain between the word ‘U.S.A’ and the good taste [of chicken].”
Hamid’s theories seem to contradict a Rumsfeld-era study commissioned by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board Task Force. That study traced the poor reputation of the U.S. in the Middle East to government policies, not to insufficient PR. Arguing that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies,” the report cited the U.S.’ support for dictatorial regimes, its military occupations of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and its “one-sided support in favor of Israel” as the primary factors behind its poor reputation in Muslim countries.
Still, Hamid’s thoughts are apparently influential in government; he says on his website that his opinion has been solicited by a wide range of government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the Special Operations Command, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It is not clear if he has been paid for his appearances at such agencies.
Hamid is currently a writer at the right-wing website Newsmax, where he publishes a running column titled “Inside Islam.” In recent weeks, he has written several articles lavishly praising Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson for their vituperative public statements about Muslim Americans.
Hamid did not respond to requests for comment.
The updated version of Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods & Strategies includes a preface that credits Hamid with providing a “soup to nuts strategic plan” for combating radicalism that “addresses the components of the Islamist terrorism cycle at ideological, psychological, social, and economic levels.” The original version of the report was cited by the FBI in the development of its own anti-extremism strategy in 2014. Both the original and revised versions contain Hamid’s chapter on radicalization.
Hamid’s section ends with an unsettling argument for using harsh military force to fight terrorism, comparing it to the use of chemotherapy to fight cancer. “Nobody supports the intentional killing of innocent civilians,” he says, “but in war, as in medicine, good cells die when we treat bad ones. … It is unfair to blame the doctor for killing good cells.”
Hamid’s chapter “is no more than Islamophobic propaganda and should not have been included in any kind of government training material or published research,” Kundnani said. murtaza.hussain@​

Base Camp of Azad Kashmir

Base Camp of Azad Kashmir
We should refrain calling so called Azad Kashmir a ‘Base Camp’, as this phrase was coined by Pakistan with intention of giving this false impression to people of this region that you are Azad – independent; and the areas under India were occupied.
Furthermore, we should not speak about problems of Azad Kashmir, because this is a ‘Base Camp’, and we are in a state of war, where people have of pay sacrifices.
All our efforts should be directed against India. We should only speak about suffering of the people on the Indian side of the divided. If we also speak about problems of Azad Kashmir that will divert the attention away from the Indian side; and is tantamount to helping India.
We should condemn and oppose all human rights abuses no matter where they take place.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Just because I differ with their Kashmir policy, Pakistan cannot curb my rights, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Just because I differ with their Kashmir policy, Pakistan cannot curb my rights
Dr Shabir Choudhry London 18 February 2016

Kashmir National Party leader, writer, political analyst and TV anchor Dr Shabir Choudhry has ‘strongly opposed Pakistan’s Kashmir policy; and in this regard Pakistan’s attempt to muzzle Kashmiri nationalists’.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘Just because, I disagree Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and promote a pro Kashmir and pro people policy, Pakistan, in retaliation has blocked my Identity Card, which means denying me my fundamental rights, including a right to travel to my homeland and meet my relatives, right to inheritance, right to banking, right to own or sell a property and many more rights’.

‘No matter what the consequences are, my struggle for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir with democratic and tolerant society will continue’, declared Dr Shabir Choudhry.

I filed an application for renewal of my Identity Card in June 2015; and despite repeated written enquiries and Urgent Appeal from Asian Human Rights Commission and letters to various Pakistani government officials, they have not even replied, or given a rationale of blocking my Card.

After waiting more than 9 months, I am left with no option but to take a legal action against the concerned department and individuals. In this regard I have had lengthy discussions with my attorney and have instructed him to file a case on my behalf.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, ‘Identity Card is not a matter of life and death for me, but it was a matter of principle. My struggle and that of my colleagues is not against any State. Our struggle is for unification and independence of our forcibly divided State of Jammu and Kashmir, and fundamental rights of the oppressed people’.

In this regard, Abbas Butt, Chairman of Kashmir National Party said, ‘Our struggle is peaceful and for fundamental rights of the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir. On issue of the Dr Shabir Choudhry’s Identity Card we will take a legal action that the authorities do not harass and intimidate people of Kashmir under the administrative control of Pakistan.’

‘Also we will strongly protest and campaign against violation of State Subject laws in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan; and demand from the Pakistani authorities not to treat us as second class citizens and conquered people’, declared Abbas Butt.
Issued by Dr Shabir Choudhry
Tel: +44 (0) 7790 942471

Monday, 15 February 2016

Why did the Kashmir armed insurgency fail in Kashmir? Arshid Malik

Why did the Kashmir armed insurgency fail in Kashmir? Arshid Malik
It can be well said that the struggle for freedom of Kashmir was not a movement of the people since the construct which would have woven the two together was missing.

February 15, 2016 The Nation, Pakistan
One question deeply demands an answer which is whether Kashmir’s recent insurgency has taken a back seat of its own or has it been totally annihilated at the behest of the armed and paramilitary forces, intelligence tactics, psychological warfare waged by India and its agencies. Recent pointers of sporadic incidents of armed attacks on the military and armed forces in Kashmir, especially in south Kashmir in the past few months indicate that insurgency has not been totally “wiped out” while there is the seed of the struggle for freedom of the people of Kashmir which is branching out every now and then into all kinds of protests and demonstrations against the oppressor, i.e., India. But a bird’s eye view of the recent history of Kashmir confirms the belief that armed insurgency in Kashmir which started in the late 80s “failed” in a resolute manner and all that remains now is activity to mark presence of that very something which had started back in the late 80s, which is by all means paltry and does not amount to much. Kashmir is no longer a “nuclear flash point” and all that goes in Kashmir stays within Kashmir except the concern for the TRP rat race which pushes national news agencies to have a take on prevalent conditions in Kashmir.
But why did armed insurgency “fail” in Kashmir? Was it India’s military might which “beat” the armed insurgency at it (which the Indian political and intellectual elite more than often like to believe); was it Pakistan’s twisted policies towards Kashmir or was it conditions that were intrinsic to the movement of insurgency within itself that was responsible for its collapse to the maximum of a decade after the whole thing started.
There are different sides to the argument and I would say most of them hold some water. While the defence paraphernalia in Kashmir caused a great amount of damage to the armed insurgency in Kashmir (this factor cannot be ignored) and especially its psychological military operations which put a decent dent into the whole affair of armed insurgency. At the same time Pakistan was weaving its own policies all along since it would have preferred “taking over” Kashmir at some point of time and did not quite subscribe to the idea of an independent Kashmir. Under these pretences, Pakistan wove a web which led into a quagmire and eventually superseded the sentiment of independence prevalent in Kashmir. This was a point where the movement of insurgency in Kashmir was transformed in character from a polemic for independence into a characteristic regressive fundamentalist hue which led to in-fighting between different militant outfits in and around Kashmir. I would not delve deep into these subjects since my approach to the whole matter is based in culture and ethnicity and my argument revolves mostly around that since this is an aspect which has been least addressed.           
The main agenda of active discourse that led to the laying of the seed of revolution, an armed insurgency to “liberate” Kashmir, did not accrue much more than a turbulent opposition to Indian authority and alliance with Pakistan from which assistance was sought to “wage a war” against India. This was the basic foot rule and therein lay the fault since the culture of Kashmir and its people was largely ignored. Kashmir’s was largely a political revolution and did not deal with the cultural imperatives that were needed to weave it together into a more salient fabric of resistance to evade being hijacked. The whole thing started on a political footing without any groundwork on the subject of cultural resistance. For instance, language was never an integral part of Kashmir’s struggle for freedom and it was ignored to the hilt, which founded the basis for a pseudo-culture of war mongering and that only. Language, if it had been addressed, would have lent a certain indigenous flavour to the struggle and earned it a more refined cultural ground.
There was also a Kashmiri literary deficit which was never addressed. As for instance at the school level, where a good chunk of the population is always lodged to learn, the books taught Indian, Western and World history while there was almost no mention of the history of Kashmir. This created a moral disconnect in understanding the moorings of the freedom struggle and thereof difficulty in attaching importance to the struggle. Poetry, which is found to be an inspiration for all kinds of revolutions, was lacking down here. There were no Kashmiri poets writing to inspire the freedom struggle in Kashmir since there was a permanent language deficit which means that most of the people of the region could not write or read Kashmiri. At the dawn of the insurgency in Kashmir we witnessed a different plethora of songs written to inspire the militants in Kashmir and these were constructs from across the border and did not find much relevance to the culture and times of Kashmir and its people. Since there was almost no indigenous literature to compensate understanding of the cause-effect of the whole struggle, foreign narratives pitched in and eventually distorted the contours of the freedom struggle. The eventuality was such that Kashmir’s fight for independence was left listless in the local context while both India and Pakistan managed to make the best of it to their best use and utility.
There are two more factors the absence of which cost the struggle, the movement, the revolution (though I do not want to categorize it as such since without the involvement of cultural imperatives a revolution is not even a revolution) heavily. One was the non-inclusion of women into the “discourse” except for the handful who stepped out owing to their relative affiliations with people actively involved in the armed struggle. The active participation of women would have significantly led to the ripening of thought perspective inside the entire movement itself. But on the other hand what happened was that women were disempowered by creating a dialect of woes which were entrusted to them. Women were categorized as a people who would just weep over the deaths of their sons, husbands and brothers and just that. They were never involved into the micro or macro structuring and restructuring of the movement in Kashmir and thus a large part of the population was left out which eventually downgraded the basic foundation and imperatives of what could have been a long surviving holistic and inclusive struggle. The other was the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. I would not debate the conditions under which the exodus of the Pandits of Kashmir, a very worthy minority, took place since there are conflicting points of view on that, but I would like to point out that the very moment this section of the population was “driven” out of Kashmir the structural identity of the freedom struggle of Kashmir dismantled into a carcass of intolerance. The very movement which was to achieve at bringing justice to the “suppressed” population of Kashmir metamorphosed into an elaborate human rights violation and therefore lost credibility at the very outset.   
At the onset of the armed insurgency in Kashmir the entire population was somehow convinced that the struggle was genuine as the whole idea was catapulted in the context of the political jargon of injustices that had been perpetrated against the people of Kashmir and besides there was a certain heroism to the whole affair which led to mass association of people with the movement. But most of the population had not been sensitized to historical facts that had necessitated “waging a war” against India with the support of Pakistan. Pressing again there was absolutely no literature for the common people in Kashmir to gain a genuine understanding of the basis of the struggle. As popular momentum yielded to the course of time, people became disenchanted with the whole thing. Besides the political movement not being accompanied by a cultural rationale moulded a sphere of isolation where the people started discontenting from the polemic of the struggle. The revolution failed to address the issues of the common people and was at large engaged in beating India militarily. The result was that the issues, the problems, the desires apart from the aspirations (which formed the crux of the idiom of the freedom struggle) were never carried forward and this led to a certain form of alienation among the masses eventually leading to a struggle which was limited to the militarily equipped “mujahideen” and thus forth the movement for the independence of Kashmir was eventually contained – at least to a major extent if not completely wiped out.
It can be well said that the struggle for freedom of Kashmir was not a movement of the people since the construct which would have woven the two together was missing and that was the cultural part – the part that concerned the daily routines of the people. Large scale military clampdowns to lockdown the uprising in Kashmir was something which eventually led people to stay indoors and not being able to earn for their families was a matter which could not be overlooked. The movement did not ever care about this factor and eventually people who had managed to stay associated at least in word if not in practise to the political motifs found themselves fighting their daily “battles” on their own. There was no one to speak up for them since the militant camp was rhetorically engaged in a crisis at the armed level from which it could not disconnect since it was the only thing that offered some semblance of character.
To this day, with sporadic incidents of armed insurgency, in Kashmir the people are disillusioned since the separatist leadership – the only live camp which signifies that the struggle for freedom is still going on in Kashmir – has not been able to connect itself with the people and the local culture and ethos. The separatist leadership, seemingly, does not want to get into the role of self-introspection and analyse the factors that led to the failure of a struggle, which is being kept alive by lip service and that only. As long as the Hurriyat does not adopt a more people-centric role it is not getting anywhere, whether they get to hold parleys with India or not.
Nothing is going to make sense unless it makes proper sense.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The irony of Islamic Pakistan, by Umer Ali

The irony of Islamic Pakistan, by Umer Ali
 Everyone here has been termed non-Muslim, one way or another
Chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology recently suggested to move in some issues to discuss in their meetings – the first one being, are Ahmadis just non-Muslims or apostates too? In a country which is almost on a threshold of destruction due to Islamist terrorism at its peak, growing radicalisation among youth and increasing penetration of religious extremism among the educated class, can we afford having such a dangerous discussion at this point?

Established in 1962, the chief purpose of Council of Islamic Ideology is to advise the government and Parliament on matters pertaining to Islam and its teachings.
The council constitutes of clerics from all major Islamic sects in Pakistan, except Ahmadiyya community which is considered non-Muslim.

The kafiri-zation of Ahmadis in 1974 was the result of decades-long movement against them by religious parties. The final blow came when Deobandi, Barelvi, Jamat-i-Islami and Shia clerics formed an alliance to move in a resolution in National Assembly, as well as convincing Bhutto for the big step.
The coalition between far-right parties is not a past story. These clerical organisations forged an alliance under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) to counter the ‘Westernised Musharraf’.

After the American bombing at Salala check post, killing 24 Pakistan Army soldiers, another religio-political coalition was established, named ‘Difa-e-Pakistan Council’.

All of these religious parties have common demand: to implement the system of Sharia in Pakistan.

The big question here is: which Sharia? A study of original text of existing sects shows that from founding fathers to the followers, every sect has apostatised all others in Pakistan.

Starting with Jamat-i-Islami, which is famous for apostatising Jinnah and rabidly opposing Pakistan Movement, its founder Maudoodi wrote, “Political leaders or religious scholars – all of them, due to their ideology and policy, are equally ignorant and have been detracted from the path of righteousness.” (Musalman Aur Moujooda Siyasi Kashmakash, Volume 3, page 77)

On the other hand, Hussain Ahmed Madni, a Deobandi cleric, about Maudoodi said, “Maudoodi talking about Quran and Sunnah is just fraud. He believes neither in Quran, nor Sunnah. He is actually formulating a new religion.” (Maudoodi Mazhab by Qazi Mazhar Hussain, page 132)/

Another Deobandi scholar Khair Muhammad Jalandhari said, “Some of Maudoodi and his followers’ beliefs are against Ahle Sunnat and he is against the following of great Islamic scholars. Thus, I consider him an infidel (non-believer).” (Page 135)

On 1 August, 1951, at the Delhi office of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, it was decreed decisively by the whole leadership that, “Maudoodi and Jamat-i-Islami’s beliefs have affected Muslims in a very negative manner and lead to the path of ignorance. Their beliefs are very dangerous for Muslims.” (Page 137).

Yousaf Ludhianvi, in his book ‘Shia Sunni Ikhtilafaat Aur Siraat-i-Mustaqim’, has apostatised Shias with historical references from early religious scholars, including those touted as the ‘founders’ of Two-Nation Theory.

Barelvis are not far behind as well. “Devil is up to establish new sects in Muslims like Deobandism, Wahhabism, Shiaism, Ghamadism, and Isamailism and so on. Since their beliefs are based on infidelity, they can’t be righteous.” (60 Zehreele Saanp Aur Maslak-i-Haq Ahle Sunnat by Muhammad Tufail Rizvi)
“Among all those who claim to be Muslims in subcontinent, only Sunnis (Barelvi) are Muslims and the rest are infidels and apostates.” (Tajanib-i-Ahle Sunnat, page 116).

When asked about his opinion on Shah Ismail, Ahmed Raza Khan replied, “I believe he was like Yazid. If someone calls him an infidel, don’t stop him.” (Malfoozat Ahmed Raza,Volume 1, page 110).

“All the followers of Ahle Hadith sect are infidels, pure devils and are inspired by evil.” (Daman-e-Bagh Subhan-as-Subuh, page 134)
On Deobandi scholar, Ahmed Raza Khan wrote, “People will be sent to hell for following Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi.” (Hassamul Harmain, page 21)
“Don’t suspect the infidelity of those who suspect the infidelity of Ahsraf Ali Thanvi.” (Fatawa Africa, page 124)
To further understand the amount of hatred between Deobandis and Barelvis, readers can go through ‘Razakhani Mazhab’ by Saeed Ahmed Qadri and ‘Deobandi Mazhab’ by Ghulam Mehar Ali.

Proving Hanafis to be against the teachings of Quran and accusing them of committingshirk, Ahle Hadith scholar Badi’ ud-Din Shah decreed it was not allowed to offer prayer behind a Hanafi imam.

Mufti Naeem Jamia Binuria, often comes on TV talk shows, posing to be a moderate Muslim. On the contrary, on the website of his , the Muftis have decreed almost all other sects to be out of the circle of Islam.
Organisations belonging to Deobandi, Ahle Hadith, Jamat-i-Islami and Barelvi sects have been seen rallying in the favour of Saudi Arabia under the cover of the protection of holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Interestingly, Saudi ulema themselves have declared Deobandi and Barelvis to be non-Muslims and ‘innovators’.

When asked about Deobandi Tableeghi, Jamaat Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee said, “Their going out is not [regarded as] in the Path of Allah, rather it is in the path of Iliyaas. They do not invite to the Book [of Alaah] and nor the Sunnah, rather they invite to Iliyaas, their Shaykh in India.” (Fataawa wa Rasaail Samaahhtush-Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee, Volume 1, page 174).

About Barelvis, “Most of their characteristics and attributes are of kufr (disbelief) and bid’ah(innovation) which negate the tawheed (oneness) with which Allah had sent His messenger and revealed in His Book, and that which conflicts with the Quraan” (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daaimah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa, Volume 2, page 396, Fatwa No 3090).

We have seen the curse of fatwa-mongering when in 2004, after Wana Operation started, Deobandi ulema decreed a fatwa of heresy against the officers and soldiers of Pakistan Army.
“Any army officer or solider who acts on the orders of his commander will be committing the biggest sin and if died, must not be termed as shaheed. Moreover, it is not advisable for a true Muslim to either lead or take part in his funeral.”
When asked about those killed by army soldiers, the response was: “Because those who got killed were ‘innocents’, they would be termed as shaheed.” The fatwa was signed by all the leading Deobandi scholars; few of whom include names like Nizamuddin Shamzai, Abdul Razzaq Sikander, and Doctor Sher Ali Shah, Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid and Hameedullah Jan of Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore.
Under these circumstances, when every sect apostatises others, is it possible to implement a system of Sharia acceptable to everyone? Things seem to be standing exactly where they were in 1953, when Justice Munir Commission filed its report, concluding there was no definition of a Muslim on which scholars from all sects agreed.

Neither have the clerics of these sects detested the fatwas of apostasy by their elders, nor have they stopped practising it themselves. Hence, demand of implementing Islamic system by all sects combined, who otherwise apostatise each other, seems ludicrous.
The only way out of this ongoing problem is to secularise the constitution, confine religion to personal lives, pulling it out of statecraft whatsoever, and criminalise all sorts of sectarian discussion. Otherwise, this sectarian conflict is the getaway to the path of destruction and any move to implement an Islamic system (of a particular sect) could be the end.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

India, Pakistan And Terror From Across The Border- Why Isnt War An Option? – Analysis By Vikram Sood*

India, Pakistan And Terror From Across The Border- Why Isnt War An Option? – Analysis By Vikram Sood*
The terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase despite early intelligence warning (a five day lead as per some reports) has once again revealed gaps in our internal security grid. It has also been reported that the thermal imagery system between two posts at the border had broken down in July 2015. This had enabled an infiltration by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Gurdaspur attack. In the present case, well-armed terrorists had a free run to Pathankot. More than that, they seem to have a fair knowledge of the layout of the airbase.
A new pattern is discernible in recent attacks. Terrorists are being sent in to Punjab to see if the state has become soft and penetrable. In the bargain, there is not even a pretence that this is about Kashmir anymore. It is about India, make no mistake.

Reports clearly point out that Pakistan has spread its intelligence agents all over the country. India is an easy country to move around, settle, acquire identity and vocation and they have assessed that it is easy to carry on with their assignments. For every terrorist cell located, for every intelligence agent picked up, there must be 10 others not found. The nexus between heroin and drug smugglers, terrorists, local police, money launderers and politicians is weakening the system.

The war of perceptions
Why do we have to say war is not an option even as they send terrorists across or flash their nuclear arsenal at us? They have opened a second simultaneous front against India in Afghanistan. We should do likewise. We should not forget we have a war on our hands. It may be proxy war, or whatever else we may choose to call it, but it is war by stealth launched by an army which has a Ghazwa-e-Hind (the final battle for India) mindset. It is not a war just with guns and bullets but a war of perceptions as well. We have to win both. The enemy has to win just one.

They know that India will only do so much (when Mumbai 2008 happened we did not even recall our High Commissioner, nor call off talks) and US will only say so much, usually some anodyne, limp and preachy statement as they have done again on Monday. Pakistan can happily live with this arrangement.

A country can afford to be magnanimous when it is the stronger but some countries do not do that. The United States never forgave Cuba or Iran and it has taken decades for the US to try reconciliation. At this juncture, in Pakistan’s ruling circles, any conciliatory move by India is seen as appeasement. No self-respecting country, in their view, indulges in this kind of come-and-hit-me-again pleading.

Media coverage
Why show the photo of a grieving widow on our front pages? This is exactly what Pakistan wants to see and celebrate – a grieving helpless nation. Why not show a commando in action? Similarly, this universal desire to rush to interview families, widows and parents of the dead remains inexplicable. We would honour the dead better by letting the families grieve in privacy.

We invite their so-called experts on our prime time television shows, probably pay them handsomely and thus give them lucrative airtime to bad-mouth us and produce all sorts of alibis. A fine example of self-flagellation. Do we seriously expect them to join us in condemning these attacks?

Our editorials the next morning are very erudite and dispassionate as they advocate the big picture of continuing talks with terrorists. It is perhaps easy to be dispassionate when we do not quite know how it is to sit alone crouched behind a bush on a dark cold winter’s night waiting for the unseen terrorist. At least for the present we could have spared a thought for those young men who died for us and put some fire and anger in our editorials.

Apart from the editorials, take the reportage in the press: On January 4, the Times of India referred to the terrorists as fidayeen five times in one report. Have the reporters not been told that terrorists on suicide missions use this term to glorify themselves in the name of Allah while on suicide missions? Why do we want to give them this honour when they are brutal murderers? So is the expression mujahedeen. Let’s get it right: They are all terrorists, bar none.

The Indian Express report freely cites a senior officer’s comments and those of a military officer. Is there no gag order? There is an imaginative report of how the Research and Analysis Wing or R&AW was able to identify five terrorists. How does the reporter know this? Has some one told him? Has he seen the report? Is it necessary to disclose this? Would it not be better to keep the opposition guessing? It is also described how the terrorists, after entering India, changed into military fatigues. Where and when did they do this? Who saw them? Or is this deduction? Did they really use this route that evening or had they slipped in even earlier? Who escorted them? It should be easy to confirm.

Taking stock
One hears that government would now be conducting an enquiry into this episode to determine how we suffered fatalities and how the terrorists penetrated thus far despite some early warnings. Depending on the source of intelligence, the timing of the report and its accuracy, it can be said that had this intelligence not been received and some measures taken, the attack on the Pathankot Airbase would have been a major disaster. It must also be said that the airbase is huge and it takes time to clear such an area. Having said that, it is important to address our shortcomings.

Our first line of defence at the border had some gaps and weaknesses. The opposition knew about this and, quite possibly, there was complicity as well. The local police should be the first point of call for any such terrorist incident after the border crossing. It should be a well-equipped mobile force which is familiar with its area of operation and able to reach the spot before specialised reinforcements arrive. In India, local police deployments are numerically low (one of the lowest globally as a ratio to population), they are thus thinly spread out. What makes it worse is that the quality of training, equipment and morale are equally low. Over time, police and counter-terror policies have been politicised. For decades now there have been commissions that have urged police reforms. These have been promised but never delivered. Prakash Singh, former chief of the Uttar Pradesh Police and Border Security Force, went to the extent of seeking legal redress for this, but nothing has happened so far.

Terrorists and their mentors use each terror attack also as a probing mission to test defences, reactions and about lessons learnt for the future. The adversary hopes to learn more about abilities not just of the security forces but the administration, politicians and media. There are thus two important issues in such situations. One is the functioning of the command and control of the state. The state must be seen to react with speed and efficiency, to be in charge all the time and on top of the situation. The citizen and the forces want to see that there is no panic or confusion. In the past there used to be meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security, although this did not guarantee that the image portrayed was that of a state in charge. Secondly, terrain knowledge and target familiarity enables quick and appropriate action. The National Security Guard or the NSG is a fine force but it is unfair to push it into this kind of a situation unless it has performed dry runs. Perhaps Army commandos could have been used.

It is going to be same old story again, I fear. We have had 30 years to put our counter terror practices in position and for a while we succeeded in Punjab, but the last two decades have pushed all these measures away. In the end, it seems like we have been here before as we wait for the next terror attack.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Zarb e Azb in danger of losing its way, by Ayaz Amir

Zarb e Azb in danger of losing its way, bAyaz Amir
February 02, 2016     The News
It’s not the same as before; the zing has gone out of it. In Fata the operation is becoming a stalemate. Terrorist forces have been hit, badly hit, but they aren’t defeated. And their ability to mount maverick attacks such as the most recent in Charsadda is not to be ignored.
And the religious worldview, or rather the extremist worldview which is the ideological basis for the assault on the Pakistani state, is still there. Pakistan hasn’t become a more secular or ‘liberal’ place as a result of our war against terrorism.
To be sure, our soldiers and officers, mostly young officers, have proved themselves in this war, rendering great sacrifices against a tough and cruel enemy. Unfortunately, their sacrifices have not been matched by any corresponding change in the behaviour and attitudes of the rest of Pakistan. Our avowal of being in ‘a state of war’ remains a cosmetic declaration, without fire and spirit in it. For we remain for the most part as we were. Bribery in all walks of life, corruption, the state of justice, governmental efficiency, the mess on our roads, anything you can think of, it’s still all the same.
Only the fighting soldier has changed. This bears repeating. This is a new breed born of this unrelenting war. Even the mind of the young officer has changed. His eye is on the enemy and not real estate or the property business, which had become the leading pastime of senior echelons, and even mid-ranking officers, before the Taliban forced the Pakistan Army to return to its primary function of war and its related responsibilities. And the eye of the young officer is on the need to change Pakistan and the way it is run and its affairs are managed.
This is dangerous because such thinking should be the preserve of the political class and the educated citizenry. Soldiers have no business dreaming of politics. Bonapartism is not the seizing of power. Bonapartism is the thinking of dangerous thoughts. But in a republic whose institutions are weak and not fully developed, and where leaders are weak and self-serving – out to line their pockets all the time – and where the army is the dominant institution, as the Khalsa army was in the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, those whose business is not to think dangerous thoughts start toying with dangerous ideas.
Especially when their own sacrifices contrasted with political greed and hypocrisy, and the windy nature of political oratory, fills them with contempt for the political class.
Because Zarb-e-Azb has been a pure military operation with no effort on the political front to initiate the socio-economic restructuring needed to make Pakistan a more efficient and forward-looking country, it has reached a plateau. What had to be done has been done. The enemy has been dislodged from his earlier positions but he survives…licking his wounds and planning his fresh moves. And the Pakistani state is where it was with all its accumulated inefficiencies – and corruption and commission-taking in high places and low still continuing as if Pakistan had never been in a state of war.
In Karachi something else is happening. The army command is getting bogged down in a side-battle, involving the PPP and Dr Asim Hussain. Would Asim Hussain have ever imagined, even in his wildest moments, that he would become the central character in such a drama? In pursuing this side-battle the Rangers, who are conducting the Karachi operation, are losing the plot.
Terrorism and the stranglehold of violence were the issues in Karachi, not corruption. Let’s concede for the sake of argument that Karachi was the most corrupt place on earth. Yet the source of Karachi’s violence was not corruption or the mis-governance of a corrupt administration. The source of that violence was ethnic-based politics and the dominance, stretching back over the past 30 years, of a particular Karachi-centric political party.
The Rangers started from the correct starting point. They went to the heart of Karachi’s problems but just when they had turned the corner, and the Karachi situation had dramatically improved, instead of concentrating on that front and bringing it to a conclusion, they opened a second front against the PPP.
Now the PPP may be all things, it may be the last word in corruption and mis-governance, guilty of every sin in the calendar, but not even its enemies can accuse it of having a soft corner for terrorism – whether the secular brand of terrorism which was the MQM’s forte or the Islamic revivalist brand of terror practised by the TTP and its many acolytes. In fact, despite all their other sins, the PPP and the ANP have been the greatest victims of terrorism. Let us not forget this.
Asim Hussain may be no one’s idea of an angel. He may be guilty of a thousand things. That’s for the courts to decide. But a sponsor of terrorism? Come my masters, this strains the imagination. And he has been in custody for months and there is still no proper charge-sheet against him. Is the object Asim Hussain or is it someone else? The whole thing now reeks of vindictiveness, and if this is what it is, heaven alone knows what may be the cause of it.
No one will touch our old friend Maulana Aziz of Lal Masjid. His greatest apologist is the government itself. But the Rangers seem to have forgotten everything else about Karachi and have only Asim Hussain in their gun-sights. And now there is the added drama of Uzair Jan Baloch’s sudden appearance. They said he was caught while trying to sneak into Karachi. As far as I could make out he was dressed in ‘boski’ shalwar-kameez, well-laundered too, and didn’t look like much of a fugitive.
Everyone knows he was caught in Dubai sometime back and he’s only been brought in from the cold now. What for? If he has any beans to spill we can safely bet that the beans will neither be related to the MQM nor the TTP. It’s a safe guess they will be about the PPP…Asif Zardari and so on. This is further confirmation of the fact that the Karachi operation has gone off the rails. No longer about its primary target, it is now in hot pursuit of a secondary objective.
Corruption is an issue in Pakistan…a big one. But Zarb-e-Azb was never about corruption, although there is no shortage of people who would have liked it to be about that, as much about Punjab corruption as Sindh corruption.
Zarb-e-Azb was about the challenge of the TTP and it was about Karachi violence. The army was successful in Fata and the Rangers were successful in Karachi. The frontline units in Fata still have their eyes on the main enemy. There is no confusion about objective as far as they are concerned. But the Rangers in Karachi, driven by a false sense of vendetta or God knows what, have allowed themselves to be side-tracked. With bated breath the nation now awaits the confessions of Saint Uzair Jan of Lyari. The drama takes another turn, although, alas, what it most elicits now is a yawn and a weary shrug of the shoulders.
The army has won itself a reputation this last year and a half. Should it begin to compromise it so lightly?

Monday, 1 February 2016

Deplorable role of our politicians, Brigadier Asif Haroon Raja

Deplorable role of our politicians, Brigadier Asif Haroon Raja
Irresponsible behavior of our political leaders is causing irreparable damage to the nation. Their myopia has caused deep anguish to the people. Their selfishness broke the country into two. When Mujibur Rahman and 22 co-accused were arrested on charges of treason and secession in 1968, the politicians bailed them out. When Ayub Khan who had uplifted the fortunes of Pakistan sky high, agreed to all the demands of the opposition and called the Round Table Conference to find a political way out, power hungry ZA Bhutto failed the conference. While Gen Yahya gave all the political concessions and allocated heaviest development outlays for the eastern wing to appease the Bengalis, Mujibur Rahman chose to play the Indian game to become PM of Bangladesh and not of united Pakistan. ZA Bhutto added fuel to fire since he wanted half of the cake of power at all cost. Their obduracy and India’s disgusting role led to the break of Pakistan. Bangladesh broke away to become independent but has become a satellite of India. 
Egotism and greed of nationalist politicians from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh, later joined by Baluchistan nationalists blocked the construction of Kalabagh Dam (KBD), vital for the survival of Pakistan. Who doesn’t know that India was behind the ones opposing KBD and had doled out large amounts to achieve her sinister design? Today when India has built well over 60 dams on the three rivers flowing into Pakistan from occupied Kashmir and is hell bent to make Pakistan a water scarce country and a barren land, no one is holding the opponents accountable. India is now in a position to flood our rivers during flood season each year and control water during seeds sowing season. This strategy has been devised to bend nuclear Pakistan and force it to give up Kashmir and accept Indian hegemony if it wants to survive. But for the avaricious politicians who have sold their souls to the devil, India could never have succeeded in her designs. Thanks to Ayub Khan who constructed Tarbela and Mangla Dams and laid a network of irrigation canals, otherwise Pakistan by now would have been a drought stricken country and couldn’t have possibly pursued its nuclear program or maintained strong armed forces. 
We know the architects of NRO and what price the beneficiaries had agreed to pay to get cleansed from criminal and corruption charges and secure power. We know the dream team of PPP-MQM-ANP-JUI-F formed by the US in March 2008 and how this chosen team went about giving Pakistan on contract to the adversaries of Pakistan. While all the PPP leading lights involved in mega scandals were given a clean chit, 8000 MQM leaders involved in heinous crimes were let off. This team played havoc with Pakistan in its 5-year rule. Besides minting money and reducing Pakistan into a carcass, the MQM in its bid to gain total control over Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh let loose a reign of terror in Karachi with the help of its target killers, extortionists, kidnappers. Railway was almost grounded by ANP minister. While all the economic indicators had gone into negative, all profit earning state corporations ran on oxygen, economy almost collapsed and debts doubled. Country was run by taking loans from IMF, World Bank, local banks and printing notes. PML-N tied to charter of democracy looked the other way. 
Pakistan was seen as a breeding ground of terrorism, the most dangerous country in the world and a failing state. An impression had been built that Pakistan’s nukes were unsafe and likely to be snatched by militants and hence must be taken in safe custody. Pak Army and ISI were ridiculed by propagating that they were either in league with terrorists or were inefficient and were repeatedly asked to do more. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could whip Pakistan and our leaders took the insults and whips without a whimper. No country was prepared to invest even $ 100 in Pakistan and foreign investment had dried up. Pakistan suffered worst energy crisis and people had to endure 18-20 hours load shedding. There was acute shortage of gas, fuel and commodities. Corruption scaled new heights and was institutionalized. Nepotism was adopted and merit discarded. Cheats and crooks were preferred over honest people. Accountability was in name only since no one was held accountable under the name of national reconciliation. Even those sentenced to death were not hanged because of moratorium. Over 4000 terrorists arrested by the Army soldiers in combat zones were freed by the law courts.  No criminal in Karachi involved in hundreds of murders was convicted and punished.  
We remember how merrily our leaders accepted the Kerry Lugar Bill which in the garb of aid was designed to control Pakistan’s premier institutions and strategic assets. We also remember the Memo scandal and the devious role of our ambassador in Washington who had authored it at the behest of the top leaders in Pakistan. Hussain Haqqani had pushed in 7000 CIA and Blackwater operatives without seeking clearance from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ISI. Rahman Malik as Interior Minister served the vested interests of his local and foreign masters submissively and enabled Blackwater to establish itself in major urban centres. It has now been established that while MQM is closely linked with RAW, PPP leadership is involved in financial terrorism in Karachi and ANP connection with the Indian Congress is no secret. BLA, BRA, BLF are creations of MI-6, CIA, RAW and are serving their agenda to detach Baluchistan from Pakistan. Their absconding leaders are leading a luxurious life in London, Geneva and Washington. TTP is also a creation of foreign agencies and its top leaders are hosted by Afghan intelligence in Kunar, Nuristan, Nangarhar and used by RAW against Pakistan.   
Instead of building institutions and focusing on alleviating the sufferings of the poor, the politicians got involved in filling their coffers. While the PPP wasted all their energies in glorifying ZA Bhutto and Benazir and in demeaning Gen Ziaul Haq, the MQM and ANP lionized Altaf Hussain and Bacha Khan respectively. PPP and MQM kept fighting in Sindh but slept in one bed. Their insatiable greed and lust for big money and power, and their uncaring habit of displaying their wealth sowed the seeds of materialism and immorality. Their dishonesty stimulated culture of corruption. Their arrogant behavior and their lackadaisical approach and insensitivity towards the have-nots bred intolerance, resentment and further fueled religious extremism and terrorism. Their inefficiency crumbled the economy and accentuated joblessness and poverty. Lacking in vision and patriotism, and preferring self-interests over national interests, they remained engrossed in transferring wealth to Swiss banks and procuring property abroad and took little interest in education and in integrating the society as one whole, which is prone to divisive tendencies due to factors of regionalism, ethnicity, sectarianism, secular-Islamic divide and religious divides. Their corrupt practices became a key factor in disillusioning the youth and in going astray and in fanning provincialism.
These glaring anomalies can be attributed to a robber baron but certainly not to a Guardian. One can expect the callous feudal lord to commit such thoughtless acts but cannot be expected from a true leader and a well-wisher. The have-nots have been groaning under the weight of unbearable poverty and crying in pain for the last 69 years, but the ones sitting in the corridors of power and taking turns to loot the national wealth and resources are so smug in their high lifestyle that they either turn a deaf ear to their cries or pretend that they are doing a lot for them. Each time they stand for elections, they reach up to the have-nots and promise them moon, but no sooner they get elected through their votes they get disconnected from them. Having spent millions during election campaign, they consider it their right to plunder the national wealth. They forget the sacrifices rendered by the workers, tillers, farmers, laborers, artisans who keep the economic wheels of the country running irrespective of the odds.
Even under such insalubrious circumstances, the Army and ISI remained focused on battling with the foreign agencies supported terrorist groups in FATA and parts of KP and managed to recapture 17 administrative units from their hold in 2009 and retained them since the civil administration expressed its inability to takeover. Over 3000 security personnel embraced martyrdom in Swat and South Waziristan operations while the list of injured was much longer.  
It is indeed ironic that well knowing that Pakistan has been cleverly trapped into a web of international conspiracy and the security forces are fighting an existential war since 2004, the politicians have brought no change in their behavior pattern and conduct. While the Army is at war and is shedding blood to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of motherland, and has demolished the last stronghold of TTP in North Waziristan, there is no change in the way of life of politicians. They are still making money, squabbling and indulging in intrigues. MQM followed by the PPP are trying to discredit the Rangers and fail the operation in Karachi since both want the axe to fall on smaller fish only and to spare the big fish. Sindh government is dragging its feet to grant extension to Rangers. They are doing so against the wishes of people of Karachi.
Disgruntled politicians in Sindh never hesitate from using Sindh or Muhajir card. There are some envious of progress achieved by Shahbaz, blaming Punjab for lack of development in smaller provinces. Punjab cannot be blamed for plunging the city of lights Karachi into darkness and soaking the streets with human blood. It is PPP which is creating hurdles in the implementation of National Action Plan and is now seeking judicial inquiry of Bacha Khan University terror attack. PPP is building pressure on the government to wind up Rangers operation in Karachi.
Look at how some political parties assisted by segment of media are opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a win-win project for both Pakistan and China since it helps Pakistan in getting out of the woods and China in developing its western provinces and in getting connected with South Asia, Middle East, Africa and beyond. The ones in the vanguard are Tehreek-e-Insaaf, ANP, PPP, JUI-F supported by Baloch nationalists. They are speaking the language of India which is hell-bent to scuttle CPEC.
While the $46 billion project is being viewed by the analysts all over the globe as a game changer for Pakistan as well as for South Asia, India is creating hurdles and has declared that it is unacceptable. Reason is that this project will bolster Pakistan’s economy and enhance its significance in the world and above all decisively demolish India’s plan to encircle Pakistan and her grandiose plans to become a regional and global power. India knows that politically stable, economically sound and militarily strong Pakistan will quicken the pace for liberation of occupied Kashmir from her clutches and then unravel Indian Union.  Like India, the US is equally upset about CPEC since it will jeopardise its ambition to shift its strategic pivot from West Asia to Asia-Pacific, disrupt its plans to encircle its chief rival China and will thwart its plans to harness the mineral resources of Central Asia. 
Since the CPEC has become a nightmare for India as well as USA because Central Asian Republics and some Gulf Countries have already got attracted towards it, the BJP regime has established a special desk of RAW at Delhi and allocated $300 million to scuttle CPEC at all cost. In addition, ex Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been given $30 million to keep Afghan base active for cross border terrorism in Pakistan. Indian National Adviser Ajit Dowal is the director of the operation and he is using multiple methods to achieve India’s ends. Heating up of LoC/Working boundary, false flag operations, threatening posture, and acceleration in acts of terror in restive zones of Pakistan through which western route passes, establishing a link between TTP runaway leaders and Daesh and straining Afghan-Pakistan relations were part of the gory plan.  Having failed to disrupt the progress of CPEC and getting flabbergasted with the outstanding successes achieved by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in northwest, FC operation in Baluchistan and Rangers led operation in Karachi, India seems to have acquired the services of some political parties and anchors/journalists in Pakistan to do what she couldn’t do.
Their possible linkage with foreign agenda can be discerned from the fact that the first attempt to scare away the Chinese from undertaking this project was made through Dharna politics. People were led astray under the slogan of ‘change’. Negative politics delayed the signing of the CPEC deal by six months. Another trick employed was to spoil civil-military relations. After the failure of dharna to achieve its objective, complexion of Pakistan began to improve, and the CPEC project took off. Guided by outsiders, the detractors tried to make it controversial by raising the issue of ‘route’ under the pretext that Baluchistan and KP provinces would derive least benefits from it.  They tried to mislead the people by asserting that original plan had been changed to benefit Punjab whereas the only route in the original plan was western. They insisted upon giving priority to western route over central and eastern routes. And when to their great disappointment this issue was amicably resolved by the PM in the All Parties’ Conference held in May 2015 that development of western route will be given top priority, they were left gaping and had to shut up for next six months.Paki Leaders
They then waited for their patrons for the new theme to play up. To pick faults, they stated that the western route which is being constructed by FWO under the supervision and protection of Army is just a road. When they were explained that it was a four-lane Highway in continuation to KKH, they are now saying that a six-lane motorway along with all the allied facilities are required at the outset. KP CM is using threatening language; similar to the language used by ANP leaders about KBD. They fail to realise that CPEC is a 15-year long term project which has been entirely funded by China, and the one investing $46 billion has its own interests and security concerns and would like the venture to be profitable and not a liability. No one has ever invested this kind of money in Pakistan.  As far as energy parks are concerned, which would consume $35 billion of the total amount, those would be decided in consultation with provinces and the latter will have to earmark places and acquire land. The opponents in their frenetic hatred for the ruling party to gain political mileage have started to sing the old song of “Punjab’, which was sung by the Bengalis and it is not difficult to ascertain as to who is the composer of the song.
The frustrated politicians know well that operationalization of CPEC and resolution of energy crisis by 2018 will sink their political ambitions to capture power in 2018 elections. To remain relevant and garner support of the public, they are ringing false alarm bells about CPEC and employing all sorts of dirty tricks to make it controversial and to dishearten the Chinese and oblige them to abandon the project. Their bleating impelled China to express its concern. In their mad frenzy, they do not understand that this opportunity that has come our way is a fate changer and if it slips away Pakistan will never be able to get rid of its external and internal debts and to remove socio-economic deprivations of smaller provinces and will continue to lurch from one crisis to another and remain vulnerable to conspiracies and foreign adventures.
While I agree that PML-N is not a party of angels and there are quite many feudal lords and crooks in it, the fact is that its performance is far better than the previous regime. It must be allowed to work and complete its tenure. If PPP led regime could be tolerated why not this one which is delivering. Let the people decide its fate in May 2018. Any turmoil in the political setup at this delicate stage when economy is yet to stabilize, energy crisis are yet to be overcome, and our adversaries are getting impatient to denuclearize and fragment Pakistan, will be suicidal. Talk of presidential form of government, national government, or the Army taking over power are unproductive suggestions at this stage. Meaningless tug of war will help our adversaries and not Pakistan. The critics must rationally analyse whether the present government has retrogressed or progressed after it took over.
Nawaz’s softness towards India, although highly unpalatable, may be tolerated. After all, Pakistan cannot afford tension on its eastern and western fronts. It is the duty of the government in power to keep the neighbors placated, particularly when our adversaries are provoking Pakistan intentionally. Pakistan’s chief focus should be towards improvement of economy. Economic prosperity alone will deter our adversaries. At the same time, ongoing operations in FATA, Baluchistan and Karachi must continue relentlessly and National Action Plan implemented in letter and spirit to achieve conclusive results.  Besides the cancer of terrorism, the bigger cancer of corruption must also be cured. All this is possible only if civil-military relations remain harmonious, all institutions to perform at their optimum levels and provincial governments to concentrate on improving the socio-economic conditions of their respective provinces rather than blaming the federal government.  
The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Pakistan Thinkers Forum, takes part in TV talk shows.