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Old Friday, October 01, 2010
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Rights in South Asia
Whenever activists get together to take stock of the situation of human rights in South Asia, they find little cheer other than in their own struggle. A two-day conference in the Indian capital last week did not prove to be an exception.

The devastation caused in Pakistan by floods weighed heavily on the minds of delegates coming from all attending Saarc states. This offered a measure of mutual understanding that human rights campaigners in the region have succeeded in developing despite the efforts of slow-moving bureaucrats in nearly all parts of South Asia to reduce the space for civil society organisations as much as possible.
However, expression of sympathy and solidarity with the flood-affected masses was accompanied by serious concerns about the inability of the international community, especially its South Asian component, to extend adequate succour to Pakistanis faced with an unprecedented disaster. A particularly sore point was the failure of Saarc to operationalise, or even to recall, the protocol on regional disaster management. It was not possible to understand why no member state could invoke the regional accord.
Allegations were made, with considerable vigour, that Pakistan had not devised a clear policy for accepting aid in kind from civil society organisations and elements (such as doctors, pharmaceutical dealers and farmers) in the neighbouring countries. This is something the Pakistan establishment must immediately address and remove any obstacles, real or imagined, to the flow of people-to-people aid supplies from across South Asia, including India. For one does not wish to believe any state authority will be guided by confrontationists to the extent of spurning aid offers from neighbours. Cross-border cooperation in humanitarian endeavours will surely strengthen the concept of South Asian identity and a shared destiny, a fact that was amply confirmed when Edhi and some other Pakistanis went to the Indian state of Gujarat a few years ago to provide relief to earthquake victims.
It was impossible for even the most cautious human rights activists from the region to ignore the wave of killings in the Kashmir Valley and Sri Lanka’s march towards authoritarianism, the large number of extra-legal killings there and the unbearable strain on the media. But the conference was perhaps held back by the danger of its intervention causing more harm than good, particularly in view of the highly charged climate in which these issues were being approached by the parties concerned. They therefore contented themselves with regretting the loss of life in Kashmir and extra-democratic trends in Sri Lanka and called for sincere efforts to avoid derogation of human rights in any form and in any situation.
On Afghanistan, however, the discussion was considerably frank and candid. There was a fair measure of accord on the urgency of allowing the Afghan people much greater say in shaping their destiny than they have apparently been granted so far. It was strongly argued that some of the external actors strutting across the ravaged Afghan landscape were part of the problem and not its solution. The common view was that instead of competing for an exclusive right to courting Afghanistan, India and Pakistan should respect each other’s interests in the area and jointly lead a South Asian initiative to secure peace, justice and democracy in the war-torn land.
The release and repatriation of about 450 Indian fishermen that had been held in Pakistan was the only matter that brought some comfort to the delegates. The initiative taken by civil society organisations was lauded and the prompt and sympathetic intervention by the apex courts of both Pakistan and India was considered a good augury for the resolution of matters related to the imprisonment of a Saarc country’s nationals in another country in the region. Essentially the issue concerned Pakistani and Indian prisoners in each other’s jails, a stigma the two governments have been extraordinarily tardy in erasing.
The conference therefore made an emphatic demand for a South Asian convention/protocol to address the issue of prisoners, including such matters as their trial in an alien land, consular access, relief for those who suffer heavily for unintended violation of cross-border traffic rules, and repatriation of prisoners to their home countries immediately after the completion of their sentences and even before that.
The central issue the conference tried to tackle was terrorism. There was complete unanimity among the participants that terrorism presented the gravest threat to the stability, integrity and representative rule of all South Asian countries, including any faction or group that expected to benefit from any brand of terrorism. The participants agreed that instead of allowing themselves to be divided by terrorism, the South Asian states should forge a united front against the menace.
At the same time the conference strongly criticised the abuse of due process and basic rights through counter-terrorism measures. The specific matters that came under attack were extra-legal killings, unlawful detention, interference with judicial processes, an increasing premium on impunity and involuntary disappearances. The conference called upon all South Asian states to ratify and implement the UN Convention on Involuntary Disappearances and work out a strategy to jointly deal with both terrorism and counter-terrorism activities in a rational manner and with due respect for all citizens’ basic entitlements.
The strains on democratic norms in the various parts of South Asia generated a lively debate. In the end an agreement was reached on the need to regenerate healthy and transparent politics across South Asia. It was necessary for the people, especially the youth, to end their indifference or apathy to politics and free their political parties and state institutions from the stranglehold of inefficient, corrupt and self-serving cliques.
The human rights activists who tried to examine the afflictions causing distress and worse to their societies had no illusions about their importance or strength. They were, however, fortified by the belief that the voice of those who shared the hard-pressed communities’ aspirations and anxieties had a better claim to public space in the media and elsewhere than the antics and harangues of spurious politicos that no person sound of head and heart could own.
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Kashmir Dispute and Cold War - DAWN Column
________________________________________

Far too many innocent men, women and children have died and many more uprooted from their homes in the Kashmir tragedy since its emergence as a violent and volatile issue in 1947. Its essential history, however, is at variance with most contemporary narratives of India-Pakistan rivalry, brutal military occupation, rabid religious zealotry and an indigenous struggle to keep a moderate inclusive Islam as its nodal characteristic.

I have often wondered who among the Pakistani stakeholders in Kashmir is today more keen for an early solution to the dispute – is it the army, which has its hands full with a raging insurgency in the northwest but may see advantages in getting even with India by establishing the centrality of the prickly discussion as a requirement to meet its vital international obligations of containing anti-west Muslim extremists elsewhere? Assuming and not conceding that Pakistan has its way in Kashmir, with or without overt international help, is it ready for the consequences of adding one more ethnic headache to its existing four or five? And are the Kashmiris going to be happy with an overstretched nation state which is already in a turbulent flux?

Or is it a strategic quest for the narrow-minded religious militant groups who see in the eclectic and primarily Sufi Kashmir a staging post for their wider jihad against India and against everybody who fits into their crosshairs, including, ironically enough, the current pro-west state of Pakistan. The world on its part doesn’t seem to be excited about another Islamic state much less a religious nursery in this part of the world, and India will not allow what it considers to be its territories to be pared down to make itself more vulnerable than it is to Pakistan, China and assorted domestic and foreign insurgents. These are the elements of the regular narrative within which current discussions on Kashmir are staged and its many realistic and far-fetched solutions are posited by nation-states and well-heeled NGOs. Most of the contemporary elements in the Kashmir saga are completely new though and unrelated to the original colonial perfidy that drove its politics before the Cold War harnessed the dispute to American strategies in the region.

Rakesh Ankit, who studied history at Delhi and Oxford, has culled out enough recently declassified British government papers to reassemble a useful picture of Kashmir’s emergence as a key plank in the geographical architecture conceived and planned by colonialism and handed over to the Cold War. 1948: The crucial year in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, published in the current issue of Economic and Political Weekly, could prove to be a seminal work as it seeks to guide us to the roots of the problem and its many lingering shadows from the past that may yet decide its future.

Initially, according to Ankit, the British didn’t want the Kashmir conflict at all for two reasons. First, their military minds held that they needed both India and Pakistan to secure “the peace, welfare and security…from the Mediterranean to the China Sea” and to confront the “intrigue from Sinkiang and intervention from north” with “implications far beyond Kashmir”. They now had to choose one of the two.

Second, they had been worried about the weakening strategic hold in Palestine and Greece, unhappy with the increasingly autonomous and assertive American involvement there “without due regard to British interests”, anxious about Egypt and Iraq and arguing for “…a pan-Islamic federation/Arab league…to thwart Russia”. Against this backdrop, the Kashmir conflict made them concerned about losing control of Pakistan as well.

Losing Pakistan was not an option for London, says Ankit. The British chief of staff (COS) had underlined this five times between May 1945 – when Pakistan was but an idea of a few – and July 1947, when it was about to be a reality for all. They had first reported to Winston Churchill that Britain must retain its military connection with India in view of the “Soviet menace” for India was a valuable base for force deployment, a transit point for air and sea communications, a large reserve of manpower. Moreover, it had air bases in the north-west (now in Pakistan) from which Britain could threaten Soviet military installations. They repeated to Clement Attlee the importance of these north-west airfields.

In July 1946, they identified the crucial arc from Turkey to Pakistan, in view of essential oil supplies, defence and communications requirements, with the Russian threat. In November 1946, they summed up that “Western India” (post-1947 Pakistan) – with Karachi and Peshawar – was strategically and ideologically crucial for British Commonwealth interests. Five weeks before Partition, the COS concluded:
Quote:
“The area of Pakistan is strategically the most important in the continent of India and the majority of our strategic requirements could be met by an agreement with Pakistan alone. We do not therefore consider that failure to obtain the [defence] agreement with India would cause us to modify any of our requirements.” Can we see shades of the current expediencies in that comment?
The Foreign Office (FO) viewed the Kashmir conflict as a religious war which “might be used by Russia as a pretext for intervening”. It felt that the “Russians tend to favour India as against Pakistan”. Moreover, any initiatives had to keep in mind “the present difficult position over Palestine” which made any “talks about HMG being unfair to Pakistan (over Kashmir) undesirable”. It reminded the Muslim countries via its embassies: “HMG might easily have handed over the whole of India to the Hindu majority. But they loyally protected the Muslim minority, even to the point of facilitating the creation of a separate independent Muslim state by going out of their way. This is what the Muslims themselves demanded. We have recognised Pakistan as a Dominion and have supported its admission to UNO. We would always come to Pakistan’s help.”

As India and Pakistan battled for their claim on Kashmir, the British had their own axe to grind. When India got the Instrument of Accession, disputed by Pakistan as a confirmed fact, and Indian troops landed in Srinagar, Lawrence Graffety-Smith, the UK High Commissioner in Pakistan (1947-51), spoke for many when he sent this report to London two days after Kashmir’s accession to India:
Quote:
“Indian government’s acceptance of accession of Kashmir [was] the heaviest blow yet sustained by Pakistan in her struggle for existence. Strategically, Pakistan’s frontiers have been greatly extended as a hostile India gains access to NWFP. This will lead to a redefinition of the Afghan policy for worse. Second, Russian interests will be aroused in Gilgit and NWFP which creates a new international situation which HMG and the US government cannot overlook. Third, there is a serious threat to Pakistan’s irrigation systems; hydroelectric projects from the accession [all five rivers draining the Pakistani Punjab flow from India, three through Kashmir] and finally, two-three million Kashmiri Muslims will worsen the already massive refugee problem with five-and-a-half million Muslims having been driven out of East Punjab.”
But the British were even-handed in their dealings with the new Dominions were they not? Here’s how they did that. Philip Noel-Baker headed the Commonwealth relations Office (1947-50). He worried that
Quote:
“incursions now taking place in Kashmir constitute an ‘armed attack’ upon Indian territory in view of their scale and of the fact that Kashmir has acceded to the Indian Union. This is so irrespective of whether forces in question are organised or disorganised or whether they are controlled by, or enjoy the convenience of, Government of Pakistan. India is therefore entitled to take measures which she may deem necessary for self-defence pending definitive action by Security Council to restore peace – prima facie – repelling invaders but possibly pursuit of invaders into Pakistan territory. Security Council could not decide out of hand that India was not justified in so doing in the case envisaged.”

The newly released British papers certainly make the current diplomatic and military manoeuvres on Kashmir and other colonial era disputes stalking the region look tame by comparison. There is much to laud in Ankit’s effort in putting together an argument. And there is much to ponder in the new and dangerous direction all the unresolved issues are taking us. It’s a shame that India and Pakistan, in the tradition of good old client states, continue to engage in a mindset that helps their foreign minders sow more discord between them. The Kashmiri people are the worst sufferers in this disastrous charade in which national servility on both sides passes for national interests.
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Old Thursday, October 07, 2010
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RPPs may prove to be white elephant

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By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: The 10 Rental Power Plants (RPPs) of 1,491 MW, which are to be installed by January 2011, will have adverse impact of six percent raise on existing power tariff in 2011-12 and the fuel consumption in power sector would also surge by 2.9 million tonnes to 10.3 million tonnes from 9.1 million tonnes.
“If kept in view the existing price of furnace oil of Rs48,000 per tonne, the additional impact of 2.9 million tonnes of fuel would stand over Rs 139 billion that would be reflected in the electricity bills.”
According to the latest working, RPPs, along with the impact of Rs139 billion, will cause 6 percent raise in power tariff, a senior official at Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) told The News. This means that the RPPs, he said, would not only jack up the economic miseries of the 173 million countrymen, but would also add fuel to inflation across the country.
Earlier, the impact in power tariff was worked out by 3.1 percent if the said 10 RPPs were installed. Now this impact has increased by 100 percent just because of the increase in fuel raise that stands at Rs 48,000 per tonne.
In 2009-10, about 9.1 million tonnes of furnace oil (6.5 million tonnes fuel was imported while 2.6 million tonnes was purchased from local refineries) was consumed for power generation. However, in 2008-09, the fuel consumption stood at 7.9 million tonnes out of which 4.8 million tonnes of fuel was imported whereas 3.1 million tonnes was purchased from the refineries.
The official said that in the ongoing year, there stood a heavy reliance on the furnace oil for power generation as some of the gas fields had been badly affected by the flood and now the winter season had set in, owing to which the demand for gas would also surge manifold.“And on top of it, the 10 RPPs will be having lethal impact not only on the import bill, but also on power tariff.”
Six percent addition in power tariff would be other than the increase of 27 percent power tariff as agreed with the World Bank and the ADB, which is required to bridge the Rs 226 billion deficit. And on October 1, the government to this effect has increased the power tariff by 2 percent and to achieve the target to erase the gap of Rs 226 bn, the government has planned to raise power tariff by 2 to 4 percent monthly in the next 8 months.
This year, the government may install six RPPs and some will be installed in next year as banks have refused to provide funding to some rental power plants keeping in view the liquidity constraints. One of the top officials at the Ministry of Water and Power also confirmed, when contacted, saying that some banks had refused to fund some RPPs. However, he refused to name the RPPs. To a question, he said that the Government of Pakistan had started charging the penalties for the delay and if they failed to come up with financial closures, the government would withdraw the guarantees along with penalties. However, he hoped that the said RPPs would be installed in 2011.
According to the latest data available with The News, Gulf Power Ltd, Eimnabad, with capacity of 62 MW and Techno Rental Power Plant are functional and their projected furnace oil requirement stands at 25,935 million tonnes of fuel in 2009-10.
However, once the 10 RPPs come on stream, which include Gulf Power Ltd, Tecno Rental Power Faisalabad, Karkey, Karachi, Reshma Power Lahore, Young Gen Power, Faisalabad, Techno Rental Power Plant, Ruba Energy, Sialkot Rental Power Plants, Kamoki Energy, Tapal Family and Walter, Jamshoro, the fuel consumption would increase by 2.9 million tonne per annum.
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Nightmare if govt falls ‘Pakistan steps up building new N-reactor’

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WASHINGTON: Pakistan appears to have stepped up construction of a new atomic reactor that could help the country produce easier-to-deliver nuclear weapons, a US research institute said.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is one of the most sensitive topics for the United States as it tries to improve relations with its frontline partner in the campaign against Islamic extremism. The Institute for Science and International Security, a private US group, which is critical of nuclear weapons, said Tuesday it observed progress at Pakistan’s tightly guarded Khushab site, which is key to plutonium production.
In a September satellite image of the site in Punjab province, the institute said it observed a completed row of mechanical draft cooling towers at a third reactor, where construction began in 2006.
It marks a faster pace than for the second reactor, where such towers appeared after six years of construction, it said. “Based on what I see in the image, it wouldn’t surprise me if they started it up in 2011,” said Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the institute.
The institute noticed steam from the second reactor in a December 31 image, indicating it was running. It did not see steam in the latest image, but said reactors were not operated continuously during early phases and that weather conditions may have reduced visibility.
Pakistan declared itself a nuclear weapons state in 1998, days after its historic rival India carried out similar atom bomb tests. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal originally was based on highly enriched uranium.
Western analysts believe that China initially assisted Pakistan in developing Khushab nuclear site to produce plutonium, which can be miniaturized for cruise missiles — presumably aimed at India.
“Plutonium bombs give the ability to make smaller, lighter or more powerful weapons, and also more deliverable weapons, and I suspect that’s what Pakistan wants,” Brannan said. Pakistan, which experts estimate now has up to 100 nuclear weapons, has been adamant that its nuclear weapons are in safe hands and President Barack Obama has publicly concurred.
But the United States hinted at its frustration on Tuesday at the United Nations, where Pakistan has blocked a resumption of negotiations for an agenda in global nuclear disarmament talks.
Pakistan opposes a proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would limit access to highly enriched uranium and plutonium used to make nuclear weapons. Pakistan believes the treaty would lock in a nuclear imbalance in favour of India, with which it has fought three full-fledged wars since independence in 1947.
Rose Gottemoeller, the US assistant secretary of state in charge of arms control, warned “our patience will not last forever.” “I have to tell you that I expressed some disappointment at the fact that the conference on disarmament over the last years has been less energetic in terms of pursuing its overall agenda,” she told reporters.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, visiting Washington in April for a nuclear security summit, said his country had tight control over its weapons and urged the United States to offer civilian nuclear cooperation of the type it has with India.
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, which supports a nuclear weapons-free world, said the current safety of Pakistan’s arsenal was not the issue. “It’s the security of the government that worries me. If the government falls that’s when the nightmare comes,” Cirincione said.
“American politicians and policymakers live in a constant state of denial about Pakistan. They see a mess and then they look away and pretend it’s all going to get better somehow,” he said.
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Default The Afghan War; Challenges and Oppertunities for Paksitan

The bigger picture.

[/B]s the controversy surrounding the nato attacks across the pakistani border and the closure of transit points to afghanistan the watershed of pakistan-us relations? for the answer, the bigger picture must be understood. drone attacks and us forays into pakistan are destabilising and sometimes seen as a prelude to a us-indian effort to ostra- cise pakistan. this argument holds little water because pakistan is a nuclear-weapon state capable of defending itself and still relevant in global realpolitik. notwithstanding their chequered relationship, the bumpy alliance continues because both the us and pakistan need each other for their geopoliti- cal interests. many believe that islamabad’s protests over the drone attacks are rhetoric as it has an arrangement with the us that allows these attacks. is the recent nato attack the out- come of a similar arrangement? if yes, then it is binding for pakistan to provide logistic and operational support to nato forces. reneging on an agreement may be costly. the closure of transit points in torkham may be to silent critics about the government’s inaction. the joint inquiry to in- vestigate the killing of pakistani soldiers and the foreign min- ister’s brussels visit indicate reconciliatory efforts. pakistan and the us must reassess the basis of their alliance over afghanistan in a win-win paradigm. we must understand us goals in afghanistan. in 2001 these were the destruction of al qaeda but the us only managed to disrupt their doings. al qaeda elements have gone elsewhere and play on a wider geographical canvas and are an evasive target. hence, continuing the afghan war will politically, eco- nomically and militarily bleed the us and its allies. apparent success will be a mixed blessing; a tactical victory that would make little dent on global terrorism. lately, america chose to enlarge its original mandate. it wants to democratise afghanistan and cleanse it of corruption. both challenges are monumental. most afghans believe their us-supported regime doesn’t represent the pakhtun majority and is behind the corruption. this is where india’s efforts to ga- in a foothold in afghanistan and prospects of a coalition to mar- ginalise pakistan lose credence. instead, pakistan is the only co- untry that can effectively play a balancing role in afghanistan. a complete us withdrawal from afghanistan can hardly happen as it will be strategically and politically prohibitive not only for washington but for other capitals too. strategically, a us presence in afghanistan exposes the russian underbelly and contains china. economically, america will find the $1tr worth of mineral reserves tempting. politically, a complete withdrawal means leaving some muslim countries to the mer- cy of al qaeda that will try to trigger uprisings. for america, it may be a loss of face. for pakistan, it may lead to isolation. american domestic politics dictate that the administration should not order a complete withdrawal. obama has low pop- ularity ratings for a seeming lack of commitment to the war effort thus forcing him to keep boots on the ground regard- less of the cost. what are the opportunities for pakistan in this situation? this can be understood by looking at current pakistan-us ties. currently, their interdependence forces both to continue with the jerky coalition. some contend that the us needs pakistan to balance growing chinese influence and to contain india. there are no permanent friends or enemies, only inter- ests. hence, while the us appears to be india’s strategic ally it does not completely trust new delhi. india is close to america because it is a big market, can dominate the indian ocean re- gion and is potentially the best regional counterweight to china. but it is also in washington’s interest not to let its stra- tegic partner outsmart it. hence, an alliance with pakistan helps america maintain its leverage. pakistan also needs the us to contain india, as it cannot do so alone. china is an alter- native but beijing’s trade interests must be kept in mind while assessing the limits of its help to pakistan. whether or not pakistan needs washington, it must have a stable western frontier. only then can it avoid a two-front war against india, which in turn wants to develop a capability to fight a two-front war against pakistan and china under a nuclear overhang. logically, america should have no compelling interest in how afghanistan is governed as long as no threat emanates from the latter. if this was not so, washington would not sup- port an ineffectual regime. likewise, america won’t cut its troops at the cost of its political clout in afghanistan. for geo- graphic and demographic reasons, only pakistan can support america in negotiating a settlement in afghanistan. this, and not the blockage of nato supplies, is the ultimate lever that pakistan has over america. achieving this is, however, a tightrope walk. while it pro- vides the opportunity to stabilise pakistan’s vulnerable fron- tiers and build a lasting friendship with the us, falling down carries the danger of wearing out in the great game and end- ing up unstable and internationally isolated. going by nine years of war in afghanistan, it must be clear that america cannot defeat the afghan taliban. however, the us and pakistan can build an environment that allows the afghans to introduce a truly representative political dispensa- tion. the original goal of the us invasion is no more relevant and current aspirations cannot be fulfilled without pakistan. therefore, both countries must disentangle themselves and build on common interests. such a paradigm shift will have teething problems but hopefully the brussels meetings will be fruitful and we will not forget what we were trying to do in the first place. ¦ the writer is a scholar at the national defence university, islamabad.
IS the controversy surrounding the Nato attacks across the Pakistani border and the closure of transit points to Afghanistan the watershed of Pakistan-US relations? For the answer, the bigger picture must be understood.

Drone attacks and US forays into Pakistan are destabilising and sometimes seen as a prelude to a US-Indian effort to ostracise Pakistan. This argument holds little water because Pakistan is a nuclear-weapon state capable of defending itself and still relevant in global realpolitik. Notwithstanding their chequered relationship, the bumpy alliance continues because both the US and Pakistan need each other for their geopolitical interests. Many believe that Islamabad’s protests over the drone attacks are rhetoric as it has an arrangement with the US that allows these attacks. Is the recent Nato attack the outcome of a similar arrangement? If yes, then it is binding for Pakistan to provide logistic and operational support to Nato forces. Reneging on an agreement may be costly.

The closure of transit points in Torkham may be to silent critics about the government’s inaction. The joint inquiry to investigate the killing of Pakistani soldiers and the foreign minister’s Brussels visit indicate reconciliatory efforts. Pakistan and the US must reassess the basis of their alliance over Afghanistan in a win-win paradigm.

We must understand US goals in Afghanistan. In 2001 these were the destruction of Al Qaeda but the US only managed to disrupt their doings. Al Qaeda elements have gone elsewhere and play on a wider geographical canvas and are an evasive target. Hence, continuing the Afghan war will politically, economically and militarily bleed the US and its allies. Apparent success will be a mixed blessing; a tactical victory that would make little dent on global terrorism.

Lately, America chose to enlarge its original mandate. It wants to democratise Afghanistan and cleanse it of corruption. Both challenges are monumental. Most Afghans believe their US-supported regime doesn’t represent the Pakhtun majority and is behind the corruption. This is where India’s efforts to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and prospects of a coalition to marginalise Pakistan lose credence. Instead, Pakistan is the only country that can effectively play a balancing role in Afghanistan.

A complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan can hardly happen as it will be strategically and politically prohibitive not only for Washington but for other capitals too. Strategically, a US presence in Afghanistan exposes the Russian underbelly and contains China. Economically, America will find the $1tr worth of mineral reserves tempting. Politically, a complete withdrawal means leaving some Muslim countries to the mercy of Al Qaeda that will try to trigger uprisings. For America, it may be a loss of face. For Pakistan, it may lead to isolation.

American domestic politics dictate that the administration should not order a complete withdrawal. Obama has low popularity ratings for a seeming lack of commitment to the war effort thus forcing him to keep boots on the ground regardless of the cost. What are the opportunities for Pakistan in this situation? This can be understood by looking at current Pakistan-US ties.

Currently, their interdependence forces both to continue with the jerky coalition. Some contend that the US needs Pakistan to balance growing Chinese influence and to contain India. There are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. Hence, while the US appears to be India’s strategic ally it does not completely trust New Delhi. India is close to America because it is a big market, can dominate the Indian Ocean region and is potentially the best regional counterweight to China. But it is also in Washington’s interest not to let its strategic partner outsmart it. Hence, an alliance with Pakistan helps America maintain its leverage. Pakistan also needs the US to contain India, as it cannot do so alone. China is an alternative but Beijing’s trade interests must be kept in mind while assessing the limits of its help to Pakistan. Whether or not Pakistan needs Washington, it must have a stable western frontier. Only then can it avoid a two-front war against India, which in turn wants to develop a capability to fight a two-front war against Pakistan and China under a nuclear overhang.

Logically, America should have no compelling interest in how Afghanistan is governed as long as no threat emanates from the latter. If this was not so, Washington would not support an ineffectual regime. Likewise, America won’t cut its troops at the cost of its political clout in Afghanistan. For geographic and demographic reasons, only Pakistan can support America in negotiating a settlement in Afghanistan. This, and not the blockage of Nato supplies, is the ultimate lever that Pakistan has over America.

Achieving this is, however, a tightrope walk. While it provides the opportunity to stabilise Pakistan’s vulnerable frontiers and build a lasting friendship with the US, falling down carries the danger of wearing out in the great game and ending up unstable and internationally isolated.

Going by nine years of war in Afghanistan, it must be clear that America cannot defeat the Afghan Taliban. However, the US and Pakistan can build an environment that allows the Afghans to introduce a truly representative political dispensation. The original goal of the US invasion is no more relevant and current aspirations cannot be fulfilled without Pakistan. Therefore, both countries must disentangle themselves and build on common interests. Such a paradigm shift will have teething problems but hopefully the Brussels meetings will be fruitful and we will not forget what we were trying to do in the first place.
¦ The writer is a scholar at the National Defence University, Islamabad.
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Brother its a nice thing.I am also prepaing Current Affair Now a Days.I want to add something on Energy crisis Issue

Causes
A major reason now a days of energy crisis is the high damend of elecricity for the restoration of the transmission System which had been badly effected by pakistan worst calamity.

Suggestions

1 Two big things neeed to happen one the generation and distribution companies have to be made commercialy viable in order to attract much need investment.

2 the regulatory frame work for tarding electricity among independent private entities along the entire power sector chain needs to be put in place.

Solutions

The solution of the powe deficit is not in tariff hike but in the eradication of deep rooted financial corruption and control of transmission and distribution losses.
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Main ne Allah ko Apny irado ke tootany se pehchana":Hazrat Ali (RA)"
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  #27  
Old Thursday, October 28, 2010
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Default coruption a flaw

fantastic job done rose pak wel done and keep it up but now conditions gone out from our hands country need a cange.Shah waliullah said that if u want to irradicate the coruption from the system so u must have to introduce system of check and balance from upper level to lower not from lower level to upper. if we need a change then must have to practcise this advise
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  #28  
Old Sunday, November 21, 2010
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Default IMF bitter pill

Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the release of the final tranche of $3.5 billion of the $11.3 billion standby arrangement have been extended due to failure of the government to provide a credible plan to contain the fiscal deficit, introduce reforms in the energy sector, impose the reformed general sales tax (GST), and grant autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which were some of the few conditionalities of the IMF. The government has beenunable to contain the fiscal deficit and limit its borrowing from the SBP,largely owing to its lavish expenditures on maintaining an army of ministers and their staff, and overspending on security. With its current mandate, the SBP is unable to refuse the government's requests. Autonomy of the SBP is in Pakistan's own interest and necessary measures must be taken to achieve this objective.
According to news reports, the government has forwarded an amendment bill to
parliament to this effect. Even if such legislation is passed, adherence to it
will remain an issue.

Imposition of the reformed GST, which had been delayed due to Sindh's
reservations on the collection of taxes on five services, is another issue
stalling negotiations. Reportedly, President Zardari has been requested to use
his influence to make Sindh fall in line.

Yet another contentious issue is the incremental hike in power tariff to balance
costs and revenue. The government was poised to announce an increase of two
percent at the beginning of the month, but desisted to avoid a reaction from
industrialists, traders and the general public, who are already reeling from a
hefty increase in oil prices. The IMF is also putting pressure on the government
to remove all subsidies on electricity, which will induce up to a 35 percent
rise in its price. While the proposed increase in the power tariff will save
some funds for the government, it may prove to be the last straw on the already
burdened back of the public. Karachi's industrial and trader class that is
protesting long hours of load shedding as well as the rest of the public is not
likely to accept the power hike easily.

In this situation, one option before the government is to swallow the bitter
pill of compliance with the IMF conditions to ensure an early release of the
much-needed $ 3.5 billion. The other option is to call upon bilateral and
multilateral donors to write off or reschedule Pakistan's debts, in line with
the unanimously passed Senate resolution. The latter course of action also has
wide support among the public. What, however, is urgently needed in both cases,
is short, medium and long-term planning to arrest further decline of the
economy.
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  #29  
Old Tuesday, August 09, 2011
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Default No alternative to ties (Pakistan and USA)

TENSIONS between the US and Pakistan have continued to escalate ever since the May 2, 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Both sides have chosen to engage in a tit-for-tat pattern of escalatory moves. These have only increased the already deep-seated mistrust in the relationship.

On both sides, an increasing number of opinion-makers are calling for a rethink of the relationship. In Pakistan, some influential voices are pointing to the need to consider a ‘plan B’ to offset the excessive reliance on the US. Over in Washington, the appetite to continue supporting Pakistan has thinned out substantially as well.

A careful analysis of the situation has left me bewildered at these calls to find alternatives to a stronger US-Pakistan engagement. The fact is that at this point, there simply is no viable ‘Plan B’. A breakdown in ties will cost both parties dearly in terms of their regional objectives.

Let me focus on the Pakistani side to provide a reality check.

Most calls for ‘Plan B’ hint at returning to the traditional strategic fallback option in times of adversity: leveraging ties with China, Saudi Arabia and some of the other friendly Gulf countries to a greater extent to balance the losses from a dysfunctional US-Pakistan relationship.

These avenues have serious limitations — mainly because of the bitter reality that none of Pakistan’s traditional partners are willing to stick their neck out at this point. China’s signalling on the issue has been fairly consistent. Beijing remains concerned about American ingress into the region. However, it has consistently avoided any direct diplomatic confrontation on the US role in Afghanistan and on Washington’s ties with Islamabad. In fact, China has actively shied away from posing as a potential substitute for the US role in supporting Pakistan.

Even tangibly, there is a qualitative mismatch between Washington and Beijing’s ability to provide for Pakistan’s needs. Going forward, the Chinese do see Pakistan as a major transit hub and as a floor for cheap production of low-value-added products; they will continue to invest in these endeavours. However, the Chinese model of assistance is far less amenable to providing direct cash infusions and emergency funds which provide immediate relief to the economy. Utility of US assistance is most critical in this regard.

On the defence side, the Chinese capacity to provide the hardware and capacity support that the US is able to is, as one senior military officer told me, “at least 50 years behind”. Not to mention, there has been extensive tactical counterterrorism cooperation between Pakistan and the US over the past decade which has benefited the Pakistani military significantly. The Chinese, or for that matter, no other country, will be able to match that.

Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have been consistently warm over the years; at a pinch, Islamabad has often persuaded them to help out. However, none of these countries have given any indication of a willingness to upgrade their economic assistance massively to Pakistan in the near term. In fact, as their own economic woes have grown, they have been forced to cut back on support and even repatriate Pakistani labour in large numbers. Also important to recognise is the fact that much of the Gulf is very sensitive to US concerns and is therefore unlikely to back Pakistan’s case in direct opposition to the US (should we get to that stage in US-Pakistan relations).

Let us also not be naïve in thinking that a developing country like Pakistan, for all its importance, can live on the wrong side of a superpower without affecting its other relationships. To cite just one example, Washington wields tremendous influence over the international financial institutions (IFIs) and has much to do with IMF’s lenient attitude towards Pakistan. But IFI attitudes have been known to change rather abruptly when geopolitical environments take a turn. One ought to expect this, should signals from Washington become less favourable.

Also, a breakdown in US-Pakistan ties will undercut the very strategic interest Pakistan has been trying to protect all along: its regional balance vis-à-vis India. There is already a strong push in Washington for closer counterterrorism cooperation with India and to further exploit the convergence of US and Indian interests in South Asia. The move in this direction will only be accentuated if Washington and Islamabad part ways.

On Afghanistan, there is little doubt that the US is highly dependent on Islamabad for a favourable outcome. But it is equally true that Pakistan’s interests are unlikely to be satisfied without some level of support from Washington. To be sure, Pakistan’s nightmare scenario — a return to anarchy in Afghanistan — remains the most likely outcome should these two sides fail to complement each other’s efforts in the ‘endgame’ in Afghanistan.

The history of the post-Westphalian world teaches us that the biggest blunders by states often have at their core miscalculations by leaderships about their country’s self-worth, their options and the surrounding dynamics. Pakistan, like any other nation state, has a right to exploit interstate relations to its advantage; and it is entirely reasonable for Pakistan to reach out to its traditional partners as much as it wants. However, none of these overtures can be based on misplaced perceptions about the intentions and ability of these states.

The fact is that Pakistan is extremely constrained in its options today. Unfair as it may be, the global narrative about Pakistan has forced even the best of friends to shy away from going the extra mile to back Islamabad’s case. Pakistani state policies have to be crafted keeping this reality in mind.

There is certainly a need to recalibrate the relationship with the US. That said, it is dangerous for the Pakistani state to create an impression that ties with America are a net negative and that Islamabad will be better off without it. Let us face it — things may not be good at present, but they will be far worse if we go too far down this road. A breakdown may be bad for Washington, but it will be disastrous for Pakistan.

No alternative to ties | Opinion | DAWN.COM
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