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Post JWT---Essays by CSPs

Global Zero: World without Nuclear Weapons


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

Outline
1. Introduction
2. Brief history of nuclear weapons
3. Perils of nuclear weapons
4. Need to eliminate nuclear weapons
5. Global zero initiative
6. Is this goal achievable? Yes:
a. Historical support
b. Political will
c. Strong public support
d. New leadership
7. How to achieve it? Procedure/Strategy:
a. Ratification of NPT/CTBT
b. Reduction by the US and Russia
c. Elimination by all nuclear states
d. Follow up: control mechanism
8. Creation of International Nuclear Fuel-Bank
9. Advantages of nuclear zero
10. Conclusion

“This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of world without nuclear weapons” (Barak Obama)

Man has achieved tremendous progress in developing scientific technology for the welfare and well-being of humanity, but simultaneously, he has also developed weapons for his own destruction. To acquire power–the most flagrant of all passions–he created weapons including explosive, chemical, biological and nuclear. Among them, the nuclear weapons are the most destructive causing mass destruction. Though, these have been used once in history during the World War-II, these have created a perpetual fear of annihilation among all humans. Now, with the evolving of a multi-cultural globalised world, there is an increase in momentum to develop a consensus for achieving Global Zero- elimination of all nuclear weapons. To succeed in this initiative, the need is to sit together, contemplate, devise a strategy and agree to divert this capability from weapons to welfare of humanity. The most resounding argument, generating urge to achieve this surpassable task lies in the brief history of apocalyptic perils of nuclear weapons.

The perils of atomic weapons were manifest as the two cities of Japan were wreaked when the bombs were dropped on them. In Hiroshima, some 75,000 people were immediately killed by blast, fire and radiation. Another 70,000 died by the end of 1945. Three days later in Nagasaki, plutonium bomb killed about 40,000 people immediately, another 75,000 died by the end of 1945. Five days after Nagasaki’s flattening, Japan surrendered. But the impact didn’t stop there. Thousands people died in following years due to radiation. Tens of thousands became disabled. Not only the people present at the time suffered but the ‘unborn’ as well. Thousands others were born with deformities and genetic disorders due to which successive generations have suffered.

The Americans and Japanese learned different lessons from these bombings. “The Americans lesson was; the nuclear weapons win wars, and therefore have value. The Japanese learned that human being and nuclear weapons cannot co-exist.” (David Krieger, President Nuclear Age Peace Foundation). However, the danger posed by nuclear weapons today is far greater than the destruction they caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Today, the number of nuclear weapons around the world is about 30,000 bombs with far greater weight and destruction power. Even a fraction of these weapons could put an end to human as well as other species on our planet. It is clear that if we don’t achieve ‘Global Zero’, our planet is always at risk, of being converted into a ‘Ground Zero’. This could happen not only due to a deliberate act but also accidental incident. Therefore, there is a strong reason that ‘these weapons must be abolished before they abolish us’.

The need to eliminate nuclear weapons is not only because these can be used for destruction in war but also because they pose equal danger in times of peace. There have been “Close Calls” to annihilation in various occasions. [In 1995] President Boris Yeltsin was informed that a nuclear missile was speeding towards the heart of Russia. Russian nuclear forces, already on hair-trigger alert, were put in even higher alert. Russian policy called for a “launch on warning”. The fate of the planet hung in the balance. Yeltsin wisely waited. And within those moments, the alarm declared false. “An unimaginable nuclear disaster had barely been avoided”, declared America’s Defense Monitor, Center for Defence Information, December 26, 1999.

Another, important incident took place in the US on August 31, 2007. Air Force crew loaded six live nuclear warheads onto a 8-52 Bomber and flew from ‘Minot Air Force Base’ in North Dakota to ‘Barksdak Air Force Base’ in cruising over the country’s heartland (Around 15 states). Each warhead was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In analysis report, America’s Defence science Board (DSB) revealed that ‘six of the planet’s most powerful weapons were missing and no one noticed until they had landed in Louisiana after flight of 3 ½ hours.’ The report concluded that ‘human error was at the heart of the incident.’

This incident underscores the risk of accidental nuclear explosion threat due to ‘human error’ even in the country of its origin and in the ‘peace times’. It is important to note that this incident occurred in the US, which claims to employ world’s best safety standards for nuclear weapons. While the US itself keeps expressing concern over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

It is learnt from these incidents that the humanity is at the risk of just single human error, if the nuclear weapons exist in the world. Therefore, wisdom calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons in order to make the future of humanity—our generation and our future generations – safe and secure.

In addition, the Cold War which was the pushing force behind nuclear race has ended two decades ago. Also due to the interdependence of states in the current scenario, there is unlikeness of revival of such conflicts.

Moreover, the presence of nuclear weapons in some states provides reason and pretext for other ambitious nations to acquire the same status. This unwise race has itself caused devastating effects on economy and human development, particularly in developing countries.

One of the major world powers, the USSR too, collapsed under the heavy burden of extraordinary defence spending on economy. The developing countries like India, Pakistan, and North Korea also joined the race. They did succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons but their poor population is suffering from abject poverty. A country like Pakistan, which is merely surviving at the edge of economic insolvency, could gain much economic growth, had the resources been utilised for the welfare of people. Iranians are bearing the sanctions imposed by western powers through the UN for pursuing nuclear technology, which according to them, is aimed at acquiring weapons.

Besides, the argument to possess nuclear weapons to maintain deterrence capability has also lost its ground. More the states acquire ‘nukes’, more the risk of their use builds-up. Moreover, the presence of nukes always poses risk of slipping into the hands of terrorists. Admiral Noel Gayler, a former commander-in-chief of the Pacific Command of US Navy, asks, “Is difference of nuclear weapons still possible?” He answers, “No”. He also questions, “Does nuclear disarmament imperil our security?” He answers, “No, it enhances it.” As human – beings are fallible, deterrence is not a perfect system. It can be failed by human error, accident, miscalculation or simply miscommunication. “Does it make sense to risk the future of our cities and even the human species on an unprovable theory?”, David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

This is why, fortunately, the initiative of achieving peace of the world without nuclear weapons is gaining support among both the senior military and the political leaders of the world. The increasing number of leaders have realised what Abraham Lincoln said, “We must think anew and act anew.” Recently many world leaders have expressed willingness to move towards this goal. British Prime Minister Gorden Brown said in March 2008 that the UK was ready to work for “a world that is free from nuclear weapons.” On December 5, 2008, Nicholas Sarkozy, the French President, while holding EU Presidency, wrote a letter to UN General Secretary, outlining an EU plan to advance global progress toward nuclear disarmament.

In order to seize this positive trend, to achieve the commitment of the entire international community, and to re-energise effort for complete nuclear disarmament, a new initiative “Global Zero” was launched on December 9, 2008, in Paris. The initiative was endorsed by 100 international political, military, business and civic leaders across the world. The signatories included former US President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Foreign Secretary Margaret Becket, Queen Noor of Jordan, Ehasnul Haq, former Joint Chief of the Staff committee (JCSC) of Pakistan, former Indian National Security advisor Brajes Mishra.

Global Zero envisages eliminating nuclear weapons through phased and verified reduction over a period of years. Key steps include:

• Massive reduction in Russian-US arsenal.
• Complete elimination to zero by all states.
• Establishing verification system to keep check.
• International management of the fuel cycle.

There are many positive indicators which indicate why this goal is achievable. First; there is a strong historical support. Throughout the nuclear age, even at the height of the Cold War, leaders foresaw a day when the world could be free of nukes. In 1986, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan agreed that: “A nuclear war could never be won and must never be fought.” In 1999, Chinese President Jiang Zemin stated: “There is no reason why nuclear weapons should not be comprehensively banned and completely destroyed.”

Second; as Jiang Zemin had emphasised in his statement, ‘What it takes to reach this objective is no more than a strong political will.’ The world leaders agree with the idea of a world without nukes and have the means to achieve it. What they only need is the ‘Political will’. Some analysts argue that even if the major world powers agree to eliminate nuclear weapons, country like Iran might not agree to abandon its ambition. Though Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions is a fallacy, there is a strong reason why Iran would follow the course. “If there is growing support by nuclear powers and public opinion worldwide, I think it becomes harder for any government, including Iran, to cross that barrier”, said Richard Burt, who was Washington’s Chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) talks in the early 1990s. Naturally, no country can afford to be on the one side and whole of the world on the other.

Third; there is a strong support among majority of the people around the world. A poll of 21 countries conducted by Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), USA, shows that global public opinion is overwhelmingly in favours of an international agreement for eliminating all nuclear weapons. 76 per cent of respondents, across all countries polled, favour such an agreement. As the public opinion tends to direct the policies of governments, it is likely that the leaders would come to the table.

Fourth; at this time particular, there is a new and great opportunity. US President Barak Obama and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have signalled to work on nuclear disarmament. The former declared, “This is the moment to begin the works of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.” Similarly, Russian Prime Minister Putin expressed in a speech in September 2008 to “Close this Pandora’s Box”.

This new and unprecedented political support from the heads of the world’s most important governments’ for zero nuclear weapons has made this goal possible. This moment offers both the possibilities and dangers. Possibilities; because of new leadership in the US which appears to support the goal of nuclear abolition. Dangers; because, if this moment passes without action, then the nuclear-race could quickly gather pace with many more states acquiring weapons and the risk of weapons falling into the hands of terrorists would increase.

This opportunity must be seized. It is the time for a new beginning to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. This moment calls for embracing possibilities and dispelling dangers. The phased and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons is possible. Here are some of the steps needed to achieve this goal:

Firstly; the ratification of Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The NPT, which was sponsored by the US, UK and the USSR, was aimed “to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapon technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament”. The treaty was signed by 187 states and was ratified in 1975. However, the US, its sponsors, did not ratify it. Other four countries which have not signed it are: India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba. Similarly, CTBT, introduced in 1995, has not been ratified by many states, including the US. It is strongly felt that if the US ratifies these treaties, others would follow the course. “Early the US ratification would do much to encourage the few remaining states to follow suit,” wrote David Miliband, UK’s former Foreign Secretary, in The Washington Post on December 8, 2008.

Secondly; negotiations between Washington and Moscow should start to cut back nuclear stockpiles to minimum. According to moderate estimates, the US and Russia have about 26000 of total 27000 weapons in the world. As both these states possess largest stockpiles—96 per cent of all the nuclear weapons in the world—they should reduce their arsenal in the first step. “Process needs to start with American and Russian leaderships”, argues Richard Burt.

This is an absolutely insensible approach to accumulate that much big arsenal that fraction of which can destroy the whole world. “When a country can be destroyed by a dozen weapons, its own possession of thousands of weapons gains no security”, says Admiral Noel Gayler. The huge possession of nukes itself puts larger responsibility on the US and Russia to initiate the process of disarmaments up to minimum level. The successful conclusion of ‘START NEW’ between both powers strengthens the possibility of reaching an agreement on nuclear disarmament.

Thirdly; following the reductions by the US and Russia, the rest of the countries can be brought on board for complete abolition of nukes. It would not be a difficult task. Once the powerful countries lead the course, rest will follow them. Perhaps others seem poised to welcome such move. The willingness of China, the UK and France has already been mentioned. The two South Asian countries India and Pakistan are also ready to shun the nukes. Last June, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, backed the same goal, saying that: “The only effective form of nuclear disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapons is global disarmament.” President Zardari has also talked of “nuclear weapon-free South Asia”. North Korea is already on-board in six-party talks and has also committed to abolish nuclear weapons for economic incentives. The only country which has stayed silent is Israel which is undeclared nuclear state. But given the leverage, Washington enjoys over it, Israel will have to be part of the process.

Once this process sets in momentum, the weapons could be delivered to a single and common remote place in oceans for dismantling under the supervision of skilled scientists. The nuclear material could be returned to the donors for use in the energy sector or disposal.

Lastly, having achieved the complete and verified elimination of nuclear weapons from the world, all the countries will have to conclude a joint treaty at the UN platform banning any development of nuclear weapons and technology. As Queen Noor of Jordan told BBC, “We have to work on de-legitimising the status of nuclear weapons.” This is vital for making the elimination of nukes irreversible. This would require establishing many mechanisms to constitute an eventual regime for overseeing the global ban.

It is also important to realise that advantage of use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is too great to be ignored. The NPT also underscores ‘to promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy’. And, every country has the right to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. But given the element of conflict in international affairs and atmosphere of mistrust, all the countries can’t be trusted as reliable for not pursuing the ambitions of acquiring nuclear weapons again. This situation warrants a new approach, which would allow the use of nuclear energy and deny the weapons technology.

The Global Zero initiative envisages ‘international management of the fuel cycle to prevent future development of nuclear weapons.’ “An agreement on a new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led system that would help states wishing to develop a civil nuclear energy industry to do so without increasing the risk of nuclear weapon proliferation” says David Miliband. Creation of such international fuel bank would also end the conflicts in the world like Iran Nuclear Issue. This proposal was also forwarded by IAEA’s former head Muhammad Elbradi as early as in 2003, that: “all production and processing of nuclear material be under international control”. This novel idea has attracted the EU and an American billionaire ‘Warren Buffett’ for financing the project.

In this way, the world could not only be safe from destruction and the humanity from annihilation, but the tremendous energy potential of the nuclear resources could also be utilised for the welfare of people. The resources that go into weapons would help keep people safe and healthy and to give them opportunities. Not only the world is facing energy crisis due to depletion of fossil fuels, but with their emissions our environment is being damaged severely. Nuclear power possesses tremendous energy and simultaneously it is clean energy. It is important for health purposes as it is used in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer. Its use in agriculture enhances crop yield which would help mitigate the food crisis.

Global Zero offers two–pronged benefits: achieving safety by eliminating nuclear weapons and to achieve prosperity by using nuclear energy. The leaders of world have the greatest moral responsibility to seize the opportunity for the welfare of the living and the future generations of mankind. As Benazir Bhutto said, “We owe it to our children to build a world free of the threat of nuclear annihilation.”
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Post Crisis of Good Governance in Pakistan

Crisis of Good Governance in Pakistan


By Dr. Quratul Ain Malik (ITG)

Introduction
Good governance is a prerequisite for social harmony, public order, political stability, economic prosperity and certainty about future. It delivers the fruit of progress and development evenly to all and sundry. Good governance is required at all levels of society and state.

Essentials of good governance
1. Promotion of national cohesion
2. National integration
3. Institutional supremacy
4. Independent judiciary
5. Constitutional supremacy
6. Rule of law
7. Political stability
8. Educational opportunities
9. Socio-economic development
10. Equal distribution of resources
11. Welfare state with provision of social securities
12. Strong writ of the government on all fronts

Situation of governance in Pakistan
1. Forces of disintegration -- stronger than forces of cohesion
2. Weak writ of the government
3. Absence of independent judiciary
4. No rule of law
5. Political instability
6. Interprovincial conflicts
7. Unequal distribution of resources
8. Pakistan presenting a picture of extreme bad governance on all national fronts

Causes

Political causes
1. Parliament, a toothless tiger
2. Political instability due to constant military interference
3. Issue of provincialism on revenue, resources and demand of provincial autonomy

Administrative causes

1. Bureaucratic hold on all institutions
2. Political interference on bureaucracy
3. Corruption, mother of all evils
4. Absence of culture of accountability
5. Mismanagement of resources
6. Pakistan, a soft state because of inability of implementation of policies due to lack of consensus

Economic causes
1. Fragile economy - FDI shrinking on account of terrorism and political instability
2. Crisis of energy, food, water
3. Corruption from top to bottom creating burden on the government exchequer

Social causes
1. Poverty – 40 per cent population living below the poverty line (UN reports)
2. Over population -16.6 crore ( Economic Survey of Pakistan 2009)
3. Illiteracy leading to socio-economic backwardness

Remedies
1. Pakistan is in dire need of truly capable leadership
2. Strong anti-corruption campaigns strengthening National Accountability Bureau
3. Strict accountability of all government servants in particular and common masses in general
4. Investment in socio-economic development
5. Allocation of seven per cent GDP for education
6. Three per cent for population control
7. Three per cent for poverty alleviation
8. Generation of new employment opportunities
9. Equal distribution of resources
10. Ensuring freedom of press
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Post World Order: Unipolar to Multipolar

World Order: Unipolar to Multipolar


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

Outline

1. Introduction
2. Brief history of World Order
3. United States’ Uni-polar Status
4. Determinants of World Order
a) Economic strength
b) Military power
c) International political clout
d) Ideology appeal

5. The Paradigm shift
6. Catalyst factors:
a) Energy resources
b) Iraq war
c) Financial crisis
d) Globalisation

7. Future scenario- Multipolar World
8. Would the multipolarity be beneficial to world?
9. Conclusion

History has witnessed cycles of rise and fall of civilisations, empires and regional as well as global powers. In past, military power was the only decisive factor in “balance of power” among nations. Its strength ensured their expansion and influence while its weakness precipitated their fall and disintegration. Though, it is still an important element, many other factors like economy, ideology, political stability, statesmanship and diplomacy have played substantial role in determining the status of a country among the comity of nations in this globalisation world.

The World Order has been more dynamic due to the unprecedented developments in international affairs in the last century-ranging from multipolar, bipolar and unipolar. The US has enjoyed unilateral and unparalleled status in the international affairs. But as history repeats itself, the might of American power is visibly diminishing due to neoconservative and imperialistic policies, and new centres of power are emerging to shape the “multipolar world order”.

Naturally, whenever any major power or state has shown its ambition to conquer the world and set up hegemonic empire, it has created resistance from other forces or alliance of forces. This clash of power has been the characteristics of all the periods, though; the 20th century is significantly an example of unprecedented struggle between the countries to acquire world supremacy. In the multipolar world, the conflict between European countries led to the World War-I. Till then United States of America followed isolationist policies in international realm. During first three years of war, Washington remained out of war and then declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. The success in war established an international foothold for the US.

This deadliest war of history came to an end with of the deadliest weapons (nuclear bombs), which ushered in a new era of nuclear competition. As the military strength of both the US and the USSR (former) had played significant role in defeating the “axis”, they established their enormous influence in the world affairs. The resulting conflict of interest and ideology between the US and the USSR shaped “Bipolar World Order”. In the aftermath of World War-II, United Nations Organisation (UNO) was created to maintain peace. However, this forum was also unable to diffuse the tension between the US and the former USSR which marked the second half of the 20th century. The period is known as the Cold War.

Eventually, Cold War ended with the disintegration of the USSR and emergence of the US as sole super power of the world– economically, militarily and politically. The then president of the US Bush coined the term “New World Order”, which was significantly “Unipolar”. The US has enjoyed a prominent status and role since then; its economy grew with tremendous pace, its military strength has been unmatched, its political influence in the international affairs has been uncontested, and its ideology of democratic principle earned its world leadership.

Simply, the US holds supremacy in every element of global eminence. Richard Nixon, the ex-president of the US, in his book “In the Arena”, has described ingredients of global political clout as: economic power, military forces, ideological appeal, domestic political cohesion, skill in statecraft and commonality of interest with other major powers. In the light of these ingredients the US still enjoys upper hand over other countries of the world. Some of these are enumerated here.

The US also possesses a strongest military in the world with 1.4 million active personnel force. Its combat force consists of the largest number of carrier ships, fastest fighter planes with precision guided missiles and bombs. It has successfully tested anti-ballistic missile shield capacity.

More importantly, the US has led the world ideologically- for the purpose of democratic principles. It was this ideological perception on the basis of which League of Nations after the World War-I and the United Nations after the World War-II were created.

Moreover, it has maintained commonalty of interest with other major powers. However, it has not been able to acquire absolute power due to increasing competition from other major powers, particularly emergence of China, resurgence of Russia, and union of European countries globally and Iran, Venezuela regionally. “The scope of America’s global hegemony is admittedly great but its depth is shallow, limited by both domestic and external restraints.” Says Birzinski, the former US National Security Advisor.

The US has posed and acted as a most powerful state in the last two decades, but the shallowness of its power. Other powers have challenged the hegemony of the US in the international affairs. Though, no any power has individually surpassed the US in any of the elements of balance of power, they are poised to do in the near future, given the changing paradigm.

Economically, the US is still the largest economy of the world but closely followed by Japan and China. The per capita income of Japan is higher than that of the US. China has a very growing economy with sustained growth rate of over nine per cent for the last one and a half decades. The US faces trade deficit of $800 billon while China has trade surplus of $150 billion a year. EU’s collective GDP is now greater than that of the US. Since the launch of Euro currency in 1999, dollar had been losing its value against it constantly. Economy of Russia has been bloating its since 2000 and its GDP has been tripled. The rising oil and gas prices have added enormous impetus in Russian economy. Commenting on the challenges to unipolarity of the US, Richard N. Hass, a scholar at US Council for Foreign Affairs, wrote in “Foreign Affairs Magazine”: “Although US’ GDP accounts for over 25 per cent of the world total, this percentage is sure to decline over time given actual and projected differential between US growth rate and those of Asian giants”.

Militarily, US military force is said to be the strongest in the world but its superiority is not assuredly marked in contrast to the military forces’ capabilities of other major powers like Russia, China, France, Germany or if the capability of communist countries is combined on the one hand and that of the EU is combined on other hand. Almost all the major powers are nuclear states. Russia claims to have antiballistic missile capability successfully developed and tested during the Cold War; China has tested a direct ‘anti-satellite missile’ and ‘carrier cruse killer’. Moreover, in the current scenario militarilism and terrorism have undermined the strength of quite larger armies. The 9/11 attacks showed how a small investment by terrorists could cause extraordinary level of damage.

Politically, the influence of the US and its unilateral posture has been seriously checked. This is manifested from nuclear imbroglio with North Korea and Iran. China proved to be the best able to influence Pyongyang. Iran has faced four sets of sanctions by the UNSC on the insistence of the US but does not seem to be ready to compromise its stance. The degree of sanctions was significantly softened due to the stand of Russia and China. “Washington’s ability to pressure Tehran has been strengthened by the participation of several Western European countries and weakened by the reluctance of China and Russia to sanction Iran”, says Richard N. Hass.

Meanwhile, writ of the US has been significantly challenged by Venezuela in Latin America, which is supported by Argentina and Brazil. While challenging the US authority, Venezuela is developing close relations with Russia and China. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev visited Caracas in mid 2008 and signed a nuclear deal with his counterpart Hugo Chavez. Their military cooperation is also strengthening after this result. In South Asia, India is emerging as a global power due to its robust economic growth and large population of over 1 billion.

Ideologically, US had prominence due to its ideological appeal but the practical approach to the democratic cause has been contrary to the ideology. Washington’s dealing with other countries has been influenced by its economic and hegemonic interests rather than democratic principles and justice. The US has been supportive to dictatorships and kingdoms, while it has been calling others for democracy. The factor which has most stigmatised America’s reputation is its policy in the Middle East where it has been biased. It calls Israel’s ‘state terrorism’ as ‘right of self-defense’, while it terms the legitimate resistance of Palestinians as ‘terrorism’.

Though, emergence of new powers was natural, the status of the US could remain unchallenged, had Washington transformed its attitude and policies from a unilateralist to multilateralist approach. But the unilateral and unjustified policies of the US on several accounts from Iraq war to climate change crises have only unveiled fissures in its power structure. The most controversial issues, which have placed the US at the opposite pole from rest of the world, are energy crises, Iraq war, climate change, financial crises and globalisation. These factors have rather proved catalyst in the shift from unipolar to the multipolar world.

Energy resources are vital element in foreign policy formulation, particularly in contemporary scenario of energy crises. The US energy policy is a driving force behind the end of unipolarity. Since there is increase in demand of oil, it has two-fold effects on geopolitical front. First; the increase in demand raised the world oil prices from just over $20 a barrel to over $150 a barrel in less than a decade until the financial crisis plunged the oil prices. This increase in oil cost resulted in enormous transfer of wealth and leverage to energy rich countries. Secondly in order to secure energy supply, all the major powers have common interest in the energy rich countries. This competition has resulted in confrontational politics on the international stage. This is the energy demand which led the US to war in Iraq.

The Iraq war has significantly contributed to the dilution of the US power in the world. It has proved to be expensive in terms of almost all elements of power and in human terms. Historian Paul Kennedy had outlined in his book ‘Imperial Overstretch’ that the US would eventually decline by overreaching just as other powers had in the past. The war has cost America deaths of more than 4,500 troops and over $700 billion as loss. Resultantly, the US fiscal position has declined from surplus of $100 billion in 2000 to a deficit of $700 billion in 2007. This also manifests that Washington cannot fight anymore war unilaterally.

On the diplomatic front, the US could not obtain approval from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for going into war in Iraq. The issue of pre-emptive war divided the US and the UK from their European partners — France and Germany — and other global powers — Russia and China.

The financial crisis of 2008 hit the backbone of the US economy whereas Russian, Chinese and other Asian economies have displayed quite stability. The crisis damaged not only its economy but image as well. “The financial crisis is causing major damage to US image as the stable anchor of the world economy, and American leadership, as the dominant financial superpower with free and innovative markets, is in question”, says Yeongseop Rhee, of Brookings institution. In a short, the financial crisis has defined the economic multipolarity of the world.

Besides, the globalisation has transformed the world into an interdependent multipolar world. Nation States have been losing their monopoly on power and are being challenged by regional and global organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and corporations. Globalisation has strengthened ties and connection in economy, politics, science and technology, culture and society around the world. It is the impact of globalisation and leverage of environmental NGOs that 186 countries though reluctantly signed the Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Accord and now the ‘Cancun Agreements’ on climate change.

Above issues have reflected upon a point that no country can independently address such global issues like climate change, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, economic crisis and above all the world peace and security. It has been proved that unilateral and hegemonic efforts have been failed to change the objective law of world politics, rather, they have aroused resistance across the world.

Hence it is becoming evident that the age of ‘unipolarity’ is ‘dissipating’ and the world is ‘moving towards’ natural ‘multipolarity’. In other words, there emerged multipowers or centres power. However, multipolarity is not an immediate reality the rather it is developing trend. As the emerging powers are strengthening and their inter-dependence increasing, world is being pushed towards multipolarity.

In the future multipolar world order, power would not rest with a few major countries but with several countries. Each having its specific prominence will have assertive say in the world affairs. Besides the US, Japan, China, EU and India would have economic strength. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, members of the African Union and Brazil would have leverage due to their vast energy resources. Russia would have both advantages. Some countries would have importance due to their geostrategic location like Pakistan, Central Asian States, Ukraine, and Turkey as these countries are located on the energy routes through which energy resources will be routed to rest of the world. Besides, the international organisations like UNO, World Bank, IMF; regional organisations like SAARC, EU, SCO, ASEAN, AU and NGOs including environmental, social and humanitarian would be on the list of power centres.

Here a question arises; whether the multipolar world with so many power centres could ensure peace and security? There are serious concerns because previous multipolarity had led to two World Wars. The answer is assuredly affirmative. The future multipolarity is not going to be like the previous one based on independent power base of countries. On the contrary, the emerging multipolarity is the age of growing inter-dependence and mutual cooperation. The countries would not be asserting their influence individually but through regional and international organisations on the basis of democratic principles.

The strength of economy, technological advancement, availability of energy and human development depend upon the cooperation of all countries and civilisations. And a multipolar world can best serve this purpose by creating balance in exercise of power and boosting competitive atmosphere in technological and economic fields. In this regard, a scholar of Chinese People Association for Peace and Disarmament, Yu Zhongrong says, “A multipolar world is characterised with coexistence of multiple forces and multiple entities.” To be precise, collective security, mutual cooperation and inter-dependence would be the earmark of multipolar world.

To achieve this purpose, all the existing and emerging powers need to develop consensus on some prerequisites. The international relations are required to be democratised. And to achieve the goals, UN is a best forum. Firstly its charter’s basic principles of equality of states, majority as core of democratic system and mechanism of institutions shall be followed in true spirit in dealing with all international issues. Secondly, UN’s authority must be safeguarded and enhanced to play its role to balance the power of various forces and to find just and rational solution to international conflicts like Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, nuclear proliferation and humanitarian crises. It shall facilitate dialogue and exchange of views between different civilisations and cultures of all religion, region and countries.

As the chronicles of international politics have proved that hegemony and imperialism are the biggest threat to world peace and are the root causes of conflicts and wars, the multipolar world of ‘inter-dependence’ and ‘coexistence’ is a bid to create a harmonious world of economic stability, social justice, collective security and common development. In this way, human will see the world to embark on the path of peace-the ultimate goal.
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Post Perils of Muslim Union

Perils of Muslim Union


By Dr. Quratul Ain Malik (ITG)

Introduction
1. Muslim population comprising 2/3rd of world's total population.
2. Despite enormous potential — Muslim world lags behind in all spheres of life.
3. Thesis statement leading to conclusion.

Overview of the economic potential of the Muslim World
1. World's largest oil reserves.
2. Arabian Peninsula enjoys a significant strategic position in the world.
3. Strait of Hormuz — 60% of the world's oil route.
4. Economic growth rate high in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE.
5. Organisation of Islamic Countries — a Potential Organisation.

Perils of Muslim Ummah

Economic Causes
1. Lack of economic cooperation.
2. Diversified economic interests.
3. Lack of economic cohesion and unity.

Political Causes
Absence of democracy — Monarchical forms of governments (Saudi Arabia, UAE)

Technological and Educational backwardness
1. Lowest literacy rate.
2. Lack of scientific research and education.
3. Inability to cope up with the changing global trends.

Cultural Causes
1. Islam versus the West.
2. Islam perceived as a threat to modernism.

Terrorism: (among the Muslim Countries)
1. The wave of terrorism — damaging the fabric of Muslim countries.
2. Muslims perceived as terrorists.

OIC: A dead organisation
1. Inefficiency of organisation in the last three decades.
2. Annual meetings without practical resolutions.

Current situation and implications of the above mentioned factors
Muslim Ummah — caught up in a vicious cycle of terrorism, economic and political turmoil.

Muslim Ummah targeted by the West in the name of Islam.

Inability to resolve the core issues of Muslim world, like:

1. Kosovo — Kashmir — Chechnya — Iraq — Afghanistan
2. Economic backwardness.
3. Poverty, over population, high crime rate.
4. Low GDP and HDI in Muslim world.
5. Meagre contribution in world trade.
6. Least developed infrastructure (Sudan, Somalia etc.)
7. Educational backwardness.

Suggestions

Economic cooperation: (Joint venture of Muslim world)
1. Open the barriers of trade.
2. Enhance exports and imports.
3. Make use of oil reserves to the benefit of whole Muslim Ummah.
4. Easy visa policies — Human movement.

Muslim World — to raise voices on international forums for conflict resolution
1. Kashmir; Pakistani dispute to be taken on the UN forums.
2. Efforts for getting permanent seats in the UN Security Council.
3. Muslims countries should get united to stop West's war against Islam.

Muslim integration — Need of the hour
1. Muslim integration — only solution of Muslim problems.
2. Muslim Monetary Funder Bank to be established.
3. Fund collection for the poor Mu-slim countries (Sudan, Somalia).
4. Muslim rehabilitation fund should be established to cope with Natural Disasters (Earthquake, floods, draughts etc)

OIC — to be made a vibrant Organisation
1. Changes in the structure of the organisation.
2. The pattern of “European Union” to be followed and “Muslim Union” to be formed.
3. Bi-annual meetings should be held with persistent political will.
4. Guidance and Economic assistance of Saudi Arabia should be sought out to address all the issues of Muslim Ummah.
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Post Global warming

Global warming


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

Outline

1. Introduction
2. What is global warming?
3. Green house effect
4. Evidences of global warming/climate change
a) Temperature,
b) Precipitation,
c) Rise in sea level.

5. Causes of global warming-emissions
6. Sources of emissions
7. Who are responsible for green house emissions?
8. Possible impacts of global warming:
a) Most affected would be marginalised communities,
b) Coastal areas,
c) Frequent and strong storms and floods,
d) Health problems,
e) Ecosystem destruction,
f) Agricultural loss (Food insecurity).

9. Unpredictable surprises
10. Threshold level
11. Strategies to mitigate global warming:
a) Transforming to renewable sources of energy,
b) Energy conservation and efficiency,
c) Individual efforts.

12. Conclusion


Global warming is simply defined as an increase in the average global temperatures. Though, it is an environmental problem, it has serious implications on the global economics, geopolitics, society, humanity and all living beings. “Global warming is one of the most controversial science issues of the 21st century, challenging the very structure of our global society”, says Mark. Though, there has been controversies between two schools of scientific thought, one calling it is a myth and the other considering it is a reality, there is sufficient evidence to support the later. Anthropogenic activities, causing increased emissions of green house gases, are behind the global warming. It has been established, that, if not addressed properly and immediately, it would have catastrophic impacts.

Global warming means earth is becoming warmer gradually. There is increase in average global temperatures of air and oceans, accompanied by widespread melting of glaciers and rising of sea level. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its ‘Synthesis Report on Climate Change’, states that there is clear evidence for a 0.6 0C rise in global temperatures and 20cm rise in sea level during the 20th century. It predicts that “global temperatures could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 0C and sea level could rise by 20 to 88cm by the year 2100.” Majority of the scientists and research organisations, including IPCC have reached on consensus that global warming is caused by massive increase of green house gases such as Carbon dioxide (Co2) in atmosphere resulting from burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

The temperature of earth is maintained by the balance between the heat energy coming from the sun and the heat energy returned back to space. Some atmospheric gases: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2OX), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and water vapours are important to this temperature balance. They form the green house blanket in the atmosphere. This blanket absorbs some of the long wave radiation and re-radiate it back to surface, which causes the atmosphere to warm up to 350C. Without these gases the earth’s atmospheric temperature would be 15 to 200C. If more such gases are added to the atmosphere, the earth’s temperature would increase accordingly. And these are being added enormously.

This is why the global warming is taking place with greater pace due to the abundant increase in emissions. “The scientists community is largely persuaded that not only is earth’s climate warming, but rate of warming is accelerating due substantially to, human activity.” says Dr. Terrence M. Joyce, Senior Scientist and Director of Ocean & Climate Change Institute.

The main evidences of global warming are three basic indicators- temperature, precipitation and sea level. Firstly, the temperature of land surface, ocean waters and free atmosphere has been measured through fixed thermometers, balloons in the air and satellites. By these sources, scientists have produced record of last 130 years, which shows a global warming of 0.65(+ - 0.05degree C) over this period. We also know that 2010 was globally the warmest years on record.

Secondly, the recorded data of precipitation also reveals that there is upward trend in global precipitation. It shows that precipitation has increased over land at high latitudes in northern hemisphere, especially during cold seasons. As the cyclones, i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes, storms are closely related with the process of precipitation; the world has experienced more frequent and stronger hurricanes and storms during the recent past; Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005 and 2010 Super Flood in Pakistan.

Thirdly, the global sea level has risen by about 20cm over the past 100 years. Initially, it was believed that the rise in sea level had occurred due to temperature increase as water expands on heating. But it has been revealed by relevant data that the 40 per cent increase in the sea level was due to warming and 60 per cent increase was due to melting of ice. This is pretty dangerous news as both the poles of earth are covered with ice- Arctic and Antarctic, with huge mass of ice. If melting is accelerated due to global warming it would cause catastrophic rise in oceans.

The magnitude of the impacts warrants seriously looking into the responsible factors for emissions in order to devise effective strategies to cope with this peril. There are many sources/agents which are responsible for emissions of green house gases – resulting mainly from the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Industrial processes, power generation, transportation and domestic consumption of fossil fuels are major sources of anthropogenic emission. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel i.e. oil, coal, natural gas supply 85 per cent of energy supply whereas the clean forms of energy i.e. nuclear , biomass and hydrogen only form 15 per cent of energy supply.

On the other hand, cutting of trees for settlements and natural fire incidents like the summer fire in Australia and unusual fire in Russia in 2010, due to high temperatures, are also causing deforestation at massive level. In this way the forests, which are major source of balancing CO2, are also decreasing resulting in its increase in the atmosphere.

Since, the emissions are proportional to the consumption; these are not evenly distributed around the world. North America is a leading emitter followed by Europe and Asia. Together they make 90 per cent of the global industrially produced CO2. The developed countries have emitted much more than developing countries. Besides, the developing countries are striving for economic progress, subsequently increasing emissions as economic development is closely associated with energy production. Now, all the countries, particularly developed countries have to share responsibility to cut the emissions for the purpose of humanity otherwise we are going to suffer the possible implications.

Global warming is going to divest communities that are already the most marginalised in world. These are the communities that are least responsible for the industrial and historical emissions that created the problem. However, future climate change will have impacts on all parts of human society, including coastal regions, storms and floods, health and water resources, agriculture and biodiversity. Some of the impacts are discussed separately.

One; the coast line regions are most vulnerable. As the UN’s panel on climate has reported that sea level could rise by 20-88 cm in next 100 years, this is a serious problem for coastal areas which will be more prone to storms and floods. In response, the bigger and developed countries would have to build higher walls on the coasts but still they will have to lose some agricultural land. However, the small island countries like Maldives face dire situation. The sea rise would flood up the dry land, making these islands inhabitable. Another country, Bangladesh which is deltaic region would lose considerable portion of land and its agriculture – a prime source of livelihood there will be destroyed.

Two; storms and floods are major natural hazards. The records show that the temperature regions, particularly in the northern hemisphere, have witnessed more storms over the last 50 years. Two-fifth of the world population lives under the monsoon belt. Monsoons are caused mainly by temperature difference between oceans and continents. This difference will increase and the monsoons, which are normally life-giving rains, would exacerbate tremendously flooding the regions and destroying the agriculture – the major economic activity in the developing countries.

diseases and injury due to extreme events; increased frequency of diarrhea and cardiovascular diseases. By far the most important threat to human health is access to fresh drinking water. Though, the runoff is projected to increase by 10 to 40 per cent by mid century at higher latitudes but the negative impacts of global warming on fresh water system outweigh its benefits.

Currently, approximately 1.7 billion people, a third of world population, live in countries that are water stressed. IPCC suggests that with the projected global population increase and the expected climate change, five billion people may experience water stress by 2025.

Fourth; ecosystem which is an essential component for biodiversity, is going to be seriously affected by global warming. The species at maximum threats are: The mountain gorilla in Africa, amphibious Bengal tiger, polar bears and penguins, etc. The reason for threat to these species is that they are unable to migrate in response to climate change due to human activity and urbanisation. Another example of an ecosystem under threat is coastal protection. There are evidences that the coral reefs are diminishing due to temperature increase; which will disturb basic food chain in marine life.

Fifth; the most worrying concern of climate change is the effect it will have on agriculture. The world is already facing food crisis. According to UN, more than 800 million go to sleep hungry every night. Increase in temperature would have two effects: first, in higher latitudes it will increase food production due by moderating temperatures and increased CO2; it second, it will reduce the crop yield in the low latitudes due to higher temperatures and destruction of agricultural land by salinity. Generally, there will be a drop in food production in both the developed and less developed countries.

The above impacts assume that there is a linear relationship between the increase in temperatures and its implications. However, there is increasing concern among the scientists that climate change may occur abruptly and explode surprises for humanity- beyond its control. It is observed that environment is changing at a faster rate than expected. A report by a US National Academy of Science (NAS) says, “Available evidence suggests that abrupt climate changes are not only possible but likely in the future, potentially with large impacts on ecosystem and societies”.

Moreover, there is a point of no return- “threshold”, after which warming may become unstoppable. The earth’s climate can change abruptly when the responsible factors reach the thresholds. Most scientists think that the point lies not far beyond 20C hotter. It is the point at which anthropogenic warming can trigger huge release of Carbon dioxide from warming oceans or similar releases of both CO2 and CH4 from melting permafrost, or both. To limit warming to 20C we must stabilise concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere at a specific ‘stabilisation level’.

Knowing the dangerous consequences of inaction, the world needs to act to check the global warming. As the global warming is caused by anthropogenic emissions, the most logical approach to this problem would be to cut emissions significantly. This, however, has a major implication for the world economy- the energy of which is mainly based on fossil fuel burning. Several efforts have been spearheaded in the past but consensus has not been reached due to contentious position of some most industrialised countries.

From the Kyoto Protocol 1997 through Copenhagen, 2009 to Cancun Conference 2010, the world leaders have been unable to agree on substantial cuts in emissions and adequate funding for adoption. Though, there has been some progress in foundation work along with commitments from the world leaders to tackle this danger to planet earth, there is a long way to go for effective action.

Being the developed countries these are well equipped, technologically, to cut the emission by transforming their economies from fossil fuel-based energy to renewable resource energy. The solar energy available is the most abundant form of energy available to humans. Wind energy is another plenty source of energy. Nuclear source is also a non-pollutant source of energy. The developed countries should not only explode this source but they should also support/help the underdeveloped countries to generate electricity from this source. We need to understand that we have to switch over to these sources of energy as the fossil fuels are bound to be finished by the increasing levels of consumption; so why late, why not now?

Furthermore, the effort at the international level is not the only way to control global warming; all the people can play their individual role as well. After all are the end users of all that is produced in the industries and energy sector. Individuals can help reduce the green house emissions by many ways like: driving less, sharing a car with a friend or colleague to office, eating local, improving vehicles’ fuel efficiency, consuming less, using less electricity (and saving money), energy efficiency at work and home and by reducing waste products. These acts would serve the purpose of emission reduction in two ways: One; the less- consumption would result less production and subsequently less burning of fuels. Two; it will generate a moral pressure on the industries and governments to realise the dilemma and agree to the emission reduction policy.

There is a feasible counter balance to reduce CO2 from atmosphere by growing forests on land and vegetation in sea but it will not do much. Ultimately, a combination of improved energy efficiency and alternative energy resources is the way to mitigate global warming. Though it will cost us but ‘the earlier effective action is taken, the less costly it will be”, says Sir Nicholas Stern, the Chief Economist at World Bank. We need to act now, we need to act before it’s too late, as the major threat from global warming is its unpredictability.

The global warming has become the real test of the foundations of our modern society, civilisation and democracy. Its anthropogenic causes are amply proved. Its implications have started hitting humanity, which are too harmful to be ignored. The solutions are at hand. Therefore, the world leaders have responsibility to respond to it effectively for the cause of humanity - our future generation. “Climate change, and what we do about it, will define us, our era, and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations”, says Ban Ki Moon.
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Post

Global energy crisis


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

Outline
1. Introduction
2. What is energy crisis?
3. Share of energy resources in energy supply
a) Non-renewable
b) Renewable

4. World consumption distribution
5. World production distribution
6. Causes of crises
a) Surge in demand
b) Resource nationalism – tighter supply
c) Political uncertainty
d) Lack of diversity

7. Impact of crises
a) Economy
b) Politics
c) Development

8. Environmental concerns
9. Way out: Renewable energy
10. Conclusion


Man is dependent on energy, which has been the key to his rapid industrial growth and technological development. The pace of development after industrial revolution is unprecedented. Just 200 years ago, the world experienced energy revolution that launched the industrial age. The catalyst to this epochal change was ordinary black coal - an energy rich hydrocarbon. A century later, oil and gas were added to satiate the thirst of industry. Man still relies mainly on these fossil fuels.

Nevertheless many other sources of energy: hydro, solar, nuclear, wind, geothermal, biogas and wave have been taped. These sources of energy are not only renewable but clean as well. Since the hydrocarbons are exhaustible and their use also threatens human health and environment; this fact has necessitated transformation from non-renewable energy resources to renewable and clean energy resources so that economic growth could be sustained and environmental degradation could be prevented.

Energy is not only vital for the industry but it is also the life blood of our daily life. The consumption of fossil fuels has increased manifolds due to rapid industrialisation of developing countries like China and India. However, the major proportion of hydrocarbon is consumed by already developed countries like the US, Japan and Western European states. The fossil fuels are also the main source of energy for heating of houses and running motor vehicles and generation of electricity. Since the demand has been increased far more than the increase in the production of fossil fuels, a disproportionate imbalance between the demand and supply has been created which has resulted in energy crisis.

If the fossil fuel production remains constant, it is estimated that the reserves will be depleted soon. The oil crisis of 2008, when petrol prices soared to $150 a barrel, was an early symptom of such scenario. The increasing demand coupled with speculations of depletion of fossil fuels caused sky rocketing rise in the prices, which was the principal catalyst behind economic crises in the world.

The energy crises are caused due to disproportionate dependence on non-renewable energy resources fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons; coal oil and gas together constitute 85 per cent of the world’s total energy supply. Their respective share is oil 37 per cent; coal 25 per cent and gas 23 per cent (total 85 per cent).

On the other hand the renewable resources of energy; hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, biogas and wave constitute only 15 per cent of global share of energy supply. These are also clean sources of energy. Despite their enormous benefits, the renewable sources of energy have not been exploited sufficiently due to many reasons. The reasons may include technological barriers, initial cost and political compulsions. Both the least developed and developing countries mainly face technological backwardness and barriers, while the developed countries have been too slow and reluctant to transfer their technology due to the higher cost and political reasons.

The world distribution of energy consumption reveals that the most developed countries are the highest consumers of fossil fuels. The US, which is the most advanced country technologically and richest economically, consumes 25 per cent of the total world energy output while its population makes only five per cent of the world. This makes America the highest per capita energy consuming nation. Second comes Japan, which consumes six per cent. The Western European countries which are also technologically advanced consume 15 per cent of the world energy. China, a growing economy, consumes nine per cent of the world energy resources. However, the rest of the world consumes only 45 per cent of energy production.

This consumption is in sharp contrast to the production in respect of regional distribution. As the US has only 2.4 per cent of world oil reserves and 3.5 per cent of gas reserves, Japan imports 75 per cent of its energy needs, China imports more than 50 per cent of its energy needs. The largest fossil fuel reserves are located in Middle East and Russia. The Arab countries possess 61 per cent of oil reserves of the world but they are not big consumers. This uneven distribution of consumption and production is the one cause of energy crisis. Other three causes behind the global energy crisis include surge in demand, tighter supply, political uncertainty in oil producing countries and lack of the diversity of resources. These factors are:

One, the demand of energy resources have surged throughout the world. In 1970, the total consumption of world was 204 Quadrillion BTU which doubled in 2000 to 402 Quadrillion BTU and is now around 500 QBTU higher. It is projected that the energy demand by 2030 will be increased by 50 per cent.

As the economy of world is mainly dependent upon fossil fuel energy, the demand of oil and gas is increasing tremendously. Let’s take example of China has more than doubled its oil use over the past decade to 5.55 million barrel a day. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that China oil needs could almost double to 11 million barrels a day by 2020. Same is the case with India, the largest growing economy in South Asia. The Central Asian and South American countries have also multiplied their consumption due to rapid industrialisation.

Two, the supply of oil and gas are mainly dependent upon the capacity to pump from the reserves. Though, the Organisation of Oil Exploring Countries (OPEC) boosted the supply during the peak crisis in 2008 but that was not enough to meet the demand of the market. Another factor determining the oil supplies is the volatile price mechanism. As the speculations cause increase in the prices, the oil producing countries get higher profits. This trend has led to new political concept– Resource nationalism. The international firms have found themselves faced with tougher terms and shut out of globe’s most promising oil basins.

Third, the supply of hydrocarbons is also affected by the political condition in the resource countries. Unfortunately, the political conditions in all the oil producing regions are volatile. It was painfully felt by the western world when Arab leaders clamped an oil embargo on the US in retaliation to Washington’s support of Israel in the 1973 Middle East war. Even today the conditions in this region are not stable. The US forces are occupying Iraq in order to secure oil supplies. Iran is facing sanctions due to nuclear imbroglio with the West. Russia is also at odds with Europe on the gas supplies. Hugo Chavez is busy in consolidating power in Venezuela where he is facing the US-backed political opposition. The Central Asian States have their own internal political turmoil.

Fourth, nature has bestowed man with infinite resources of energy but man has made himself dependent on the finite resources. The lack of diversity of resources is the chief cause of energy crises. Instead of harnessing new technology, the industrial growth in developing countries is increasingly dependent on fossil fuels.

Such importance of energy has made it important element in the foreign policies of the independent states. The 20th century and dawn of the 21st century have seen wars fought for oil. In 1977, CIA prepared a plan “Go to war to get oil” and subsequently, the US went to war with Iraq in 1991Gulf war. America is again there for the same purpose.

Similarly China’s foreign policy towards many regions of the world particularly Africa, the Middle East and Caspian Sea region, oil holds a critical status. China’s vibrant policies in these regions are being watchfully monitored by Washington. This is also true for South Asian region. Pakistan is engaged with Iran for gas pipeline project and is equally interested in the Caspian Sea region – Central Asian States.

Besides these conflicts, the fossil fuels cause havoc to our environment. The hydrocarbons are the chief source of green house gases-carbon dioxide, Methane, fluorine, which cause global warning. Burning coal accounts for 43 per cent of carbon emissions. Oil and gas account for another 40 per cent of emissions of CO2.

Fears of global warning aside, burning fossil fuel releases chemicals and particulates that cause cancer, brain and nerve damage, birth defects, lung injury, and breathing problems. The toxics released by combusting hydrocarbons pollute the air and water and causes acid rain and smog. These negative implications of burning fossil fuels on human environment and life make it incumbent upon man to diversify the energy resources.

Man also needs to realise that the fossil fuel energy is limited and would be depleted. Hennery Kissinger had said, “The amount of energy is finite ………. And competition for access to energy can become the life and death for many societies”.

First; the solar energy, the basic source of energy, can be converged and converted into different ways, such as simple water heating for domestic use or by the direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy using mirrors, boilers or photovoltaic cells. Currently only 0.5 per cent of the world energy supply is obtained from this source.

Second; humans have been harnessing the wind for thousands of years and have succeeded in producing electricity from it. Air flowing through turbines or spinning blades generates power that can be used to pump water or generate electricity. At present, the wind energy constitutes 0.3 per cent of world energy supply but it has a great potential. Germany is producing 23000 MW from wind, which is more than Pakistan’s total installed electricity generation capacity. Like solar energy it is also a clean source of energy. According to the US Department of Energy the world’s winds could supply more than 15 times its current energy demand.

Third; hydroelectric power is another source of renewable energy in the natural water cycle. The flow of streams can be manipulated by construction of dams at higher altitudes and the kinetic energy of waterfall is used to rotate the turbines to make electricity. This is the very cheaper source and clean form of energy.

Fourth; atomic energy is hailed as panacea to pollution problems generated by fossil fuels, and is destined to be the cheapest source of energy. However, it is also limited and has hazardous effects on human health. But given the potential of energy and the capacity of technology to safeguard the nuclear plants, it is the quickest option to solve the energy crises in the world as one nuclear pellet (finger) produces energy equivalent to 17000 cubic feet of natural gas.

Fifth; biomass is also a potential source of energy. Humans have been burning biomass materials since the dawn of time. It has been recently discovered to produce clean combustible gas from waste products such as sewerage and crop residue. Many countries have also invested in bio-fuels. However, this is counter-productive as it induced rise in food prices, therefore only bio waste should be used for energy production.

Sixth; another alternate source of oil is methanol – a clear colourless liquid made from natural gas, coal industrial garbage. This is a reliable source of fuel for automobiles as it is cheaper and far easier to be produced in bulk.

Seventh; geothermal energy can be used with heat pumps to warm a buildings or swimming pools in winter. This can lessen the need for other power to maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings, particularly in countries having very cold winters.

Eighth; hydrogen has been touted as the fuel of the future. It is most abundant element known in the universe and can be burnt as a fuel for vehicles and industry. If this form of energy is taped at a larger scale, it will eventually become society’s primary energy carrier in the 21st century.

The media and industry claim that renewable energies are not yet economically competitive fossil fuels. Perhaps not; but given the health and environmental costs, and limit of fossil fuels, the price of renewable energy is only viable option. However, no renewable energy form will single handedly replace oil, but together they will become a very important part of the energy mix of the future.

As the demand of energy is set to grow rapidly during next 20 years the supply of energy is going to decline, which could give rise to competition and conflict coupled with economic instability. Meanwhile, human environmental and health hazards could become irrecoverable. Therefore, man should strive for energy independence that can be achieved only through fuel choice and competition. And the first choice of sustainable energy is the clean and renewable energy.
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Post Disaster management in Pakistan

Disaster management in Pakistan


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

Outline
1. Introduction
2. Disaster; definition and types
3. Disaster management
4. Phases of disaster management;
a. Mitigation
b. Preparedness
c. Response
d. Recovery

5. History of disasters in Pakistan
6. Disaster in the wake of recent floods
7. Structure of disaster management in Pakistan
8. Role of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
9. Abysmal state of disaster preparedness and management in Pakistan
10. Impacts of weak disaster management
i) Food crisis
ii) Health hazards
iii) Ravaged infrastructure
iv) Unemployment and economic loss
v) Militancy and crime
vi) Political upset

11. An organised disaster management is the need of the hour.
12. Measures to improve disaster management in Pakistan
13. Conclusion


Pakistan is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. Generally divided into natural and man-made, all disasters are managed by a systematic process of disaster management that aims at minimising the damage and restoration of people to their normal state. Pakistan is well familiar with disasters which have caused a heavy toll in terms of men and material.

However, due to its inadequate preparedness to manage disasters, it has failed to effectively cope with them. Though, after earthquake-2005, a systematic effort was geared up to develop a viable structure of disaster management evolving into establishment of NDMA, it has yet to achieve the required standards. The heavy floods of 2010 exposed its unpreparedness and frail management resulting in unprecedented proportion of losses and damages. Since, the magnitude of implications is too heavy to bear; the efficient disaster management comes, on the priority, second to none of other needs. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate an organised disaster management system to cope with disasters that may break out in future.

Disaster is defined as "a catastrophic event that brings about great damage, destruction and devastation to life and property." The damage caused by disasters varies depending upon geographical location, climate severity and above all, the types of disasters. Disasters have been classified into two categories - natural disasters and man-made disasters. Cyclones, tsunami, floods, droughts, earthquakes and volcanoes are a few examples of natural disasters; and wars and nuclear accidents fall in the category of the man-made disasters. All these calamities and catastrophes incur heavy toll on man and his habitat. However, the disasters can be mitigated and losses can be minimised with efficient preparedness and management.

Disaster management is the mechanism of coordinating and utilising available resources to deal emergencies effectively, thereby saving lives, avoiding injuries and minimising losses. This also deals with strategic and organisational management processes used to protect vital assets from hazard risks in such emergencies.

As mentioned earlier, disaster management is a systematic process, consisting ostensibly of four main phases: response, recovery, relief and rehabilitation. However, it remains incomplete without mitigation and preparedness, which are basically pre-disaster management phases. All these phases are crucially important in managing disasters.
Mitigation, the very first phase of disaster management, is a sustained action that reduces both short-term and long-term risks to people and property from the hazards and their effects. It involves activities like scientific hazard analysis, vulnerability analysis, risk assessment, avoiding construction in high risk zones, launching awareness campaigns, training and capacity building of responders and managers, etc. Mitigation, therefore, is a persistence effort to lessen the impact that disasters may incur.

Preparedness, the second phase of disaster management, is defined by Global Development Research Center as "a set of steps that enhance the ability of communities and government to respond to a disaster." The steps included in this phase are the maintenance of resource inventory, stockpiling, logistic planning, evacuation planning, communication planning, and needs assessment. The key to effective disaster management is readiness to provide a rapid emergency response. It entails everyone to be prepared to respond to extreme situations.

Response, the next phase of disaster management, includes the action of responding to an emergency. It aims to provide immediate emergency support to a community to maintain health, safety and morale until a permanent solution can be put in place. The steps involved in response phase are situation analysis, crisis maps, information communication, evacuation and shelters, dispatching of resources and early damage assessment. Besides, trained and equipped personnel are required to deal with an emerging crisis.

Recovery, finally, is the process of returning to normal. Recovery phase may be short-term as well as long-term, and it begins after the disaster commences. Reco-very phase is overlapped by reconstruction, rehabilitation; spatial planning, infrastructure building, housing, livelihood, social security, transport, clean drinking water, communication and agriculture.

Previously, Pakistan has fallen victim to disasters many a time. The earthquake-2005, Hunza landslides and Floods 2010 are some of the incidents. The available data suggests that Pakistan suffered heavily at the hands of these disasters owing to the lack of efficient disaster management.

Recently, the spate of floods that began late in July of 2010 dealt a serious blow to Pakistan. The floods with such a magnitude had never been witnessed in the history of Pakistan. Torrential monsoon rains in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab were primarily responsible for the floods. The heavy rains also affected Indus river basin. Almost one/fifth of Pakistan submerged in water. Moreover, almost 20 million people were directly affected by the destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure. And the death toll rose to about 2,000 people. Had there been no institute to deal with this natural calamity, the damage caused by floods would have been much more.

However, despite establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) the response was too slow to meet the magnitude of challenge. The purpose behind its establishment was to change national response to emergency situations from reactionary model to an active mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery model. NDMA is the executive arm of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) headed by Prime Minister. Also, NDMA supervises Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) and District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA).

The National Disaster Management Authority has been assigned the task of coordinating the disaster risk management at the national level, implementing disaster risk management strategies, mapping the hazards, developing guidelines, ensuring the establishment of disaster management authorities and Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) at provincial, district and municipal levels, providing technical assistance to concerned departments, organising training to personnel, serving as a lead agency for NGOs and international cooperation, coordinating with the federal government through National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) and requiring any government department or agency to make available needed resources and personnel.

Despite establishment of this organisation assigned with apparently multifarious tasks, disasters in Pakistan are hardly managed effectively. Its preparedness and response during recent floods were found inadequate. “For 10 days, the flooding was only in this province. But we didn't hear from the NDMA and nor did we see any NDMA official. No one even contacted us,” said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain.

Disaster management, particularly preparedness in Pakistan has largely remained unsatisfactory. The underlying factors responsible for its inefficiency, besides insufficient resources, are lack of proactive approach and transparency. Moreover, this agency has yet to prove its credibility, strategy and efficiency of infrastructure which lie at the very heart of these critical situations. Another factor that hampers the smooth functioning of disaster management process is duplication of efforts which arise due to the lack of integration between various agencies and organisations involved in the process. Consequently, these multiple factors render management process weak and, therefore, people bear the brunt on their shoulders.

Weaker disaster management, nevertheless, accounts for the damages caused by floods uptill now; as International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts it, "Floods which have devastated Pakistan will present a massive economic and political challenge to its government and people." Apart from economic and social losses, looming food crisis, ravaged infrastructure, multiple health related problems and increased chances of proliferation of extremism are but a few adverse impacts of weak disaster management.

Speaking of the food crisis, almost 17 million acres of agricultural land submerged under water. According to Daily Finance, "A major concern was that the farmers would be unable to meet the fall deadline for planting new seeds in 2010 which implied a loss of food production in 2011 and potential long-term food shortages." Additionally, seven lac acres cotton crops, two lac acres sugarcane, two lac acres rice, five lac tonnes of stocked wheat, three lac acres of animal fodder and stores of grain were lost besides two lac livestock.

In addition to food crisis, outbreak of various diseases further aggravates the situations. Scores of people have been affected by the fatal diseases like gastroenteritis and diarrhea due to the non-availability of clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. Also, the eruption of cholera and multiple skin diseases along with malaria has added to their suffering. Apart from these diseases, there is a sheer dearth of maternity care for thousands of pregnant women. Thus, these victims need medical attention on war footings to save invaluable human lives. The authorities were not prepared to deal with such situation. Even though, the floods were moving gradually ahead, they could not take precautionary measures in the prone areas.

There has been a huge loss to infrastructure. According to Ball State University Center estimate, around 3916 km highway and about 5646 km railway track has been damaged. Their repair costs are expected to be at least $158 million and $131 million, respectively. On the other hand, public damage accounting to almost $1 billion resulted in response to floods. The sorry state of affairs was revealed when authorities were unable to rather incapable of restoring the cut off routes and breaches in river banks.
Resultantly, country received a serious economic jolt. In this regard, International Labour Organisation (ILO) said that almost 5.3 million people became jobless. Therefore, "productive and labour intensive job creation programmes are urgently needed to lift millions of people out of poverty that has been aggravated by flood damage." Furthermore GDP would decline from overall 4 per cent to -2 to -5 per cent. Crop losses have stubborn impact on textile industry: the largest manufacturing industry of Pakistan.

Besides, the implications include growth in militancy and crime. 'As soon as Pakistan Army diverted from fighting militant insurgents in the north-west to help in relief efforts, Taliban militants were given a reprieve to regroup', observed the Associated Press. Over and above, the jobless, desperate and dejected youngsters from the affected areas are an easy prey to militant recruitment and criminal activities. It may aggravate the security situation given the inefficiency of the government to address the problems of the victims.

If observed politically, public may perceive the government inefficient thus giving rise to an episode of political unrest. Not only people, the outside donors have also become skeptic. More than that, migration of internally displaced people (IDP) to urban areas incited urban sectarian discord which further hindered the process of management of disaster.

In the light of above facts, it is evident that Pakistan is in dire need of an organised disaster management programme to face the emergency situations and their implications. So far, disorganised and ad hoc methods had been in practice in disaster management system. It is because of this that the country suffered more. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government of Pakistan to strengthen its policies of disaster management.

In other words, disaster management should be amongst the top priorities of government. NDMA can be strengthened by proper allocation of funds, research, equipment, training and maintenance of transparency. In this regard, effective communication between concerned agencies and with people is a must. Embankment of rivers, disaster proof housing and infrastructure, early warnings, rapid evacuation, nomination of danger zones prior to disaster, establishment of rescue centres and creating public awareness about disasters and safety techniques with their inclusion in curriculum will surely pay dividends.

Disasters often come without early warnings, recent floods in Pakistan, however, took a gradual course. But lack of sound disaster management and unpreparedness policies and their implementation has resulted in grave damages to Pakistan in all the previous disasters. Therefore, the onus lies upon the Government of Pakistan to revisit its policies and strengthen institutions to not only tackle such situations but making them to our best use. It is high time that the government as well as every citizen of Pakistan plays its own respective role to bring about a positive change.
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Post Status of Women in Islam

Status of Women in Islam


By Dr. Najam-us-Sahar Butt (FSP)

There is a lot of talk about women’s rights in Pakistan and other Muslim countries these days. The western media is projecting a very gruesome and poor plight of the women in Muslim countries with the intention of distorting the section image of Islam. Unfortunately, this propaganda is proving quite effective and the entire west and a small section of females in our society have misinterpreted Islam as being the cause of their troubles instead of the Aryan culture that we have inherited.

Family, society and ultimately the whole mankind are treated by Islam on an ethical basis. Differentiation in gender is neither a credit nor a drawback to anyone. Therefore, when we talk about status of woman in Islam we should not think that Islam has no specific guidelines, limitations, responsibilities and obligations for men. What makes one valuable and respectable in the eyes of Allah, the Creator of mankind and the universe, is neither one's prosperity, position, intelligence, physical strength nor beauty, but only one Allah-consciousness and awareness (taqwa).

Islam was revealed at a time when people denied the humanity of the woman; some were skeptical about it; and still others admitted it, yet considered the woman a thing created for the humble service of the man.

With the advent of Islam, circumstances improved for the woman. The woman's dignity and humanity were acknowledged for the first time. Islam confirmed woman’s capacity to carry out Allah's commands, her responsibilities and observation of the commands that lead to heaven.

Islam considers woman as a worthy human being, with an equal share in humanity to that of the man. Both are two branches of a single tree and two children from the same father, Adam, and mother, Eve. Their single origin, their general human traits, their responsibility for the observation of religious duties with the consequent reward or punishment, and the unity of their destiny all bear witness to their equality from the Islamic point of view.

The status of women in Islam is something unique that has no parallel in any other religion. In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia with a fresh, noble, and universal message to humanity:
"O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate (of same kind) and from them twain has spread a multitude of men and women".(An-Nisa:1)

A scholar who pondered about this verse states:
"It is believed that there is no text, old or new, that deals with the humanity of the woman from all aspects with such amazing brevity, eloquence, depth, and originality as this divine decree."

Stressing this noble and natural conception, then the Quran states:
“He (God) it is who did create you from a single soul and there from did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love)”.(Quran 7:189)

In the early days of Islam when a girl was born, she was buried alive. This custom is still observed in Hinduism. However, the Holy Quran forbade this custom and considered it a crime like any other murder. The Quran says: -
"And when the female (infant) buried alive - is questioned, for what crime she was killed."(Quran 81: 8-9)

Far from saving the girl's life so that she may later suffer injustice and inequality, Islam requires kind and just treatment to her. The sayings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), in this regard, are following:
“Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise”.

The Holy Quran provides us a clear-cut proof that woman is equal in all respects with man before God in terms of her rights and responsibilities. The Holy Quran states:
"Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds"
(Quran 74:38)

In terms of religious obligations, such as offering daily prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some cases indeed, woman has certain advantages over man. For example women can and did go into the mosque during the days of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and thereafter attend the Friday prayers is optional for them while it is mandatory for men.

This is clearly a tender touch of the Islamic teachings because of the fact that a woman may be nursing her baby and thus may be unable to offer prayers in mosque. They also take into account the physiological and psychological changes associated with her natural female functions.

The right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of males. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
"Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim".

This declaration was very clear and was implemented by Muslims throughout history.

According to a hadith attributed to Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he praised the women of Medina because of their desire for religious knowledge.
"How splendid were the women of the Ansar; shame did not prevent them from becoming learned in the faith."

Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a "status" but rather as a "contract", in which the woman's consent was imperative. The dowry, previously regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as part of her personal property.

The Holy Quran clearly indicates that marriage is sharing between the two halves of the society and that its objectives, besides perpetuating human life, are emotional well-being and spiritual harmony. Its bases are love and mercy.

The rules for married life in Islam are clear and in harmony with upright human nature. In consideration of the physiological and psychological make-up of man and woman, both have equal rights and claims on each other, except for one responsibility, that of leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and which is consistent with the nature of man. The Holy Quran thus states:
"And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them, and men are a degree above them."(Quran 2:228)

Such degree is Quiwama (maintenance and protection). This refers to that natural difference between the genders which entitles the weaker gender to protection. It implies no superiority or advantage before law. Yet, man's role of leadership in relation to his family does not mean the husband's dictatorship over his wife. Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions. The Holy Quran gives us an example:
"...If they (husband wife) desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, there is no blame on them..."(Quran 2:233)

Islam also gives the option of divorce to the women and educated men to make a gracious end to the relationship is it cannot be continued. The Holy Quran states about such cases:
“And when you have divorced women and they have fulfilled the term of their prescribed period, either take them back on reasonable basis or set them free on reasonable basis. But do not take them back to hurt them, and whoever does that, then he wa wronged himself."(Quran 2: 231)

Woman is entitled to freedom of expression equal to man. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she belongs to the female sex. It is mentioned in the Holy Quran and history that woman can not only expressed her opinion freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself as well as with other Muslim leaders.

Apart from recognition of woman as an independent human being acknowledged as equally essential for the survival of humanity, Islam has given her a share in inheritance. Before Islam, she was not only deprived of that share but was considered as inherited property to man.

Out of the transferable property, Islam has made her an heir, acknowledging the inherent human qualities in woman. Whether she is a wife, mother, a sister or daughter, she receives a certain share from the deceased kin's property, a share which depends on her degree of relationship to the deceased and the number of heirs. This share is hers, and no one can take it away or disinherit her.

Woman enjoys certain privileges which man do not have. She is exempted from all financial liabilities. As a mother, she enjoys more recognition and higher honour in the eyes of God. The Holy Prophet (SAW) acknowledged this honour when he declared that Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.

She is entitled to three-fourths of the son's love and kindness with one-fourth left for their father. As a wife she is entitled to demand of her prospective husband a suitable dowry that will be hers. She is entitled to complete provision and total maintenance by the husband. She does not have to work or share with her husband the family expenses. She is free to retain, after marriage, whatever she possessed before it, and the husband has no right whatsoever to any of her belongings.

As a daughter or sister she is entitled to security and provision by the father and brother respectively. That is her privilege. If she wishes to work or be self-supporting and share family responsibilities, she is quite free to do so, provided her integrity and honour are safeguarded.

By now it is clear that the status of woman in Islam is unprecedentedly high and realistically suitable to her nature. Her rights and duties are equal to those of man but not necessarily or absolutely identical with them. If she is deprived of one thing in some aspect, she is fully compensated for it with more things in many other aspects.

The fact that she belongs to the female sex has no bearing on her status or personality, and it is no basis for justification of prejudice or injustice against her.

It is also worthwhile to state that the status which women reached today in the west was not achieved due to the kindness of men or natural progress. It was rather achieved through her long struggle and sacrifices and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the Two World Wars and due to the escalation of technological change.

In the case of Islam such compassionate and dignified status was decreed, neither because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organisations, but rather its intrinsic truthfulness of Islam.
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Liberal Education


By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)

1. Introduction
2. Definition
3. Importance
4. Sphere of liberal education
5. Objectives
(a) To produce informed citizens.
(b) To develop creative thinking
(c) To improve skills and competitiveness
(d) To inculcate communication skills

6. Present style of education in Pakistan
7. Prerequisites for liberal education
8. Advantages of liberal education
(a) Economic development
(b) Employment opportunities
(c) Interdependent and stable society
(d) Peace and harmony in community

9. Conclusion

Education is the most important factor behind the progress man has achieved in this world. It has been the permanent character of human history and evolution of thought. However, in the past, it used to be prerogative of only a few privileged men and the pace of development was quite slow. Since it has been disseminated to common people, there has been rapid growth in every sphere of development: science, technology, sociology, politics, anthropology, etc. Now it is treated as basic human right of every man. Though, it encompasses a wide sphere of knowledge, it has been metamorphosed by man according to his needs. It has been mainly applied as a tool of economic development, which has limited its application. Consequently, people are deprived of the potential education offers for the overall development of personality and stability of society. The chaos in modern world is also partly due to this fault. Therefore, in order to meet the multi-dimensional challenges, man faces in the world, it is essential to impart real education i.e. liberal education.

The liberal education has been defined in many ways, though emphasizing the similar essential elements. The best definition is offered by the “Association of American Colleges and Universities”.

“Liberal education means to empower an individual and prepare him to deal with diversity, complexity and change”.

As manifest from the definition, the purpose of education is to enable man to surpass the challenges faced in the world, to know and obtain his rights and to accommodate himself in the constantly changing environment in the present day competitive world.

The importance of liberal education in this contemporary globalised world is greatest than ever before. The world has become so shaped that every economic and social activity requires modern and advanced means of communication and technology. The transformation of technological development is on a very fast track. There is a demand of more interactive and communica tive manpower to run this complex system. Moreover, despite the interdependence on each other, the diversity in different areas is in sharp contrast. Hence, the man is required to be quite sufficiently prepared to move forward. And the instrument that can enable him to face these challenges is nothing but liberal education.

This is why the renowned scholar “Skarnovey” says: “Liberal education: the developing countries must adopt it as it is a necessity”. Nevertheless, it is essential for every nation but the developed countries are already ahead in this sphere. The developing countries, which are still far behind, need to forge efforts to transform their education system in order to catch up with the rest of the world. Not only because it helps in achieving economic development but also because it fulfills the need of society in every sphere of life.

The sphere of liberal education is wide enough to call it real education. Basically, education is aimed to develop whole being of a person. It is necessary to educate man to learn social ethics, cultural values, religious obligations, ways and means of a stable society and skills of professional competitiveness. Liberal education, simply, fulfills all these essential needs. It emphasises the development of a citizen who is professionally capable of living in the society in civilised way - the way which is not only beneficial to himself alone, but also fruitful for other members of his family, community and society.

It is best elaborated in the words of Kurth Kahin; “Liberal education teaches something about everything and everything about something”. His words can be best understood by contrast to the maxim “Jack of all; master of none”. Simultaneously, there are also people who are “Jack of none but master of one”. The people, who acquire general education without proficiency in any specific subject, are explained by the first maxim. While some people who are very skilled and highly qualified in one field like an engineer, scientist or doctor but do not know any other subject or field of life; these are referred to the latter assumption. However, liberal education is a moderate way between both the polar positions. It is aimed at making a person 'a good professional in any one field' and also to 'possess knowledge and skills about other important fields'. More importantly, it makes constructive members of society better described as “Jack of all; master of one”.

In such a way, the objectives of liberal education are multifaceted, which address the requirement of society to a considerable extent. These objectives are briefly discussed here:

Firstly, it is the most important for a man to be an informed citizen. The people who are concerned only with their single professional field of occupation cannot be ideally good citizens. They would only be members and nationals of a community or nation. A good citizen is required to be participatory in the social and political building of community, which is the foundation of any society. As the actions of man are based on information and knowledge, without these none understands the obligation towards community and resultantly remains inactive member of society. However, but if the students are inculcated the knowledge of their needs and roles, they would be quite prepared to foresee occurrences and would direct their thoughts and actions towards social and political participation. This can be achieved when the system of education is made liberal which does not aspire to produce only technical robots in human shape but informed and good citizens.

Secondly, the philosophy of liberal education envisages the development of creative thinking among the students. Creative thinking has acquired fundamental place in the education system of advanced countries. The students are encouraged to “think a new”. The creative experiments, creative writings and creative art lead to frame the development of thought process. Though, it is practised in western countries, it owes its origin to the most influential scholars and artists of Greek period and early Muslim era. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Ibn-e-Khaldun, Galileo, Khuw-arzmi, Newton, to name a few, all were creative thinkers. In short, whole of the development in the world and education itself is the result of creative thinking. On the contrary, the limited application of education is insufficient to produce brilliant minds. The specific technological development devoid of human values and ethics has failed to form the basis of a viable society. Thus, it is the objective of liberal education to teach the students various subjects like history, sociology, philosophy and psychology besides their professional field, so that creative thought is encouraged to be developed among them. Therefore, we need to introduce liberal education in order to secure our future based on collective ideals.

Thirdly, liberal education improves the skills and competitiveness of students, which is necessary to enable them to get foothold in the competitive market. For example a typist may have good efficiency in his field but computers have replaced typewriter. People like to get their papers typed on computer in order to save their document and to get good command. Now, the excellent typist is in trouble, he would go jobless in the market unless he learns to operate computer. Same is the case with every field of employment. The modes of technology are being transformed very rapidly. In order to meet the demands of market one should be quite prepared and skilled. Hence, the knowledge of mathematics, science, computer literacy and technological acquaintance are necessary to be imparted to the students, which can be achieved through liberal education.

Fourthly, as the world has become a global village, the importance of communication skills has been increased manifold. A person must be proficient in national and at least one international language. He must know how to send e-mail, voice-mail or to carryout visual communication. The social change compels the person to change the job for better opportunities. The talented people feel an urge to move towards other countries as well in order to actualise their talent and to obtain maximum result. This is where the communication skills are mostly required. All the communication techniques, basically, listening, speaking and writing are essential ingredients. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the skills of students through methods of listening comprehension and speaking ability tests. All the examinations of foreign languages comprise these elements and even very talented students from developing countries fail to go abroad due to lack of these communication skills in international languages.

These few objectives of liberal education underline its importance and need in the developing countries, including Pakistan. Unfortunately, it has not been taken seriously.

The system of education in our country is obsolete. It is devoid of the contemporary methodology of teaching and the curriculum is almost from primary to university level. Computer is studied as a field of study only, not as a skill. Even in most of the universities it is taught only to the students of computer department seeking degree in that subject, let alone its use at primary and secondary level. In universities the students of other subjects like sociology, languages, arts and other sciences are not taught the computer skills. This lags them far behind from students of other countries and few quality institutes of the country.

Same is true of languages. English though introduced from primary level, is not taught according to the modern techniques of comprehension. Only reading lessons and knowing meaning of words cannot enable students to master the language. The methodology of English departments in universities is also in question. The national language, Urdu, is also not focused at any level of education. Learning of both these languages is important to produce capable and competitive students at the national and international level.

The fate of the students of other subjects is also not much different. On the one hand, they are deprived of computer and language skills; on the other they do not become proficient in their field of interest as the proper methodology is not applied. Faculty members are not well qualified, research is not pursued and creative thought is ignored.

These defects of our education system are the main reasons of the chaos, unemployment, poverty and social instability in our society. In order to overcome these shortcomings, we must adopt the liberal education system without any further delay. However, this requires a well thought out and comprehensive policy to improve the existing education system.

Primarily, we should redesign our curriculum at all levels. All the major components/subjects of liberal education: sociology humanism, citizenship, history, philosophy, languages, computer and sciences must be introduced in every tier of education from primary to university levels in accordance with the capacity of students and the needs of society.

Secondarily, all the institutions should be equipped with computer and scientific laboratories and libraries. The research and creative thinking should be encouraged through modern techniques of education. In this regard the accessibility and equality of all sections of our stratified society must be ensured in order to achieve uniform development.

Lastly, the faculty must be energised by providing skilled and experienced teachers. The existing teachers should be trained to equip them with modern techniques of teaching methodology. Fresh and young blood must be encouraged to join education field as a profession by enhancing the monetary incentives in the education sector.

This policy will yield tremendous benefits to the future of a nation. The liberal education is hailed because it brings concrete advantages. The young generation of Pakistan makes bulk of the population of country. According to a report of the State Bank of Pakistan 65 per cent of the educated youth is unemployed due to irrelevance of their skills with market. If this portion of population is properly skilled, it will prove to be a boost to the economy as the manpower is considered a resource in all countries of the world.

Another benefit would be the eradication of poverty. Once our youth are employed, they will naturally add to the income of their families and consequently eradicate their poverty. It will also help in raising the living standard of our common man as it is directly proportional to the income of a family.

The liberal education would create sense of understanding and cooperation among the people. The contemporary chaos of extremism and isolationism are due to lack of approach towards collective interests and common goals among people. Once they realise their social obligations and think creatively they will initiate participating positively in the stability of society.

It is quite clearly manifested from the discussion that liberal education, which is the real education, is an essential component of good governance and stable society. It not only helps an individual to progressively achieve goals but also gives impetus to economic, political and social stability to a state. In short, it forms the basis of human development in this complex global world of diversity and challenges. It offers a way towards a better change.
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Post

Pakistan Rich in Natural Resources
But Poor in their Management



By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)


Outline
1- Introduction
2- Natural Resources and their management
3- Richness / abundance of natural resources in Pakistan
4- Pakistan's natural resources and their mismanagement

a) Energy resources
i- Nonrenewable energy resources
a. Oil and Gas reserves
b. Coal reserves

ii- Renewable energy resources
a. Wind and solar power
b. Hydropower

b) Agricultural resources
i- Irrigation Network
ii- Fertile Land
iii- Variety of Crops
iv- Animal Husbandry
v- Fishing

c) Mineral Ore Resources
i. Copper and gold resources.
ii. Salt mines and other minerals

d) Human resources
i. Sixth Largest Population in the World
ii. Youth comprising major chuck

5- Factors leading to poor management / Governance
a) Political instability/ rivalry,
b) Lack of vision and planning,
c) Flawed policies,
d) Bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruption,
e) Worsened Law and order situation,

6- Implications of mismanagement of natural resources
7- Way forward
8- Conclusion


Pakistan is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources but also one of the poorest among them in their management. The country is abundant in the vital resources including that of energy, agriculture, minerals, population, and geography, but unlike the developed countries, these have not been properly exploited due to poor management. This dismayed situation is caused due to several, both chronic and acute, flaws which have led to poor governance of country since its inception except some brief spells of economic prosperity. Prevalent political rivalry and instability, worsening law and order and rampant corruption have catalyzed the situation to resource development impasse. Contrary to economic potential of its natural resources, Pakistan is a depending on foreign aid and debt, it is facing deficit in trade, acute energy crisis to run industry, and water stress for agriculture, to name a few challenges.

However, the daunting challenges and the mounting public pressure caused due to awareness of civil society are increasingly influencing the political decision making. Eventually, there is sign of hope for devising effective strategy to exploit the natural resource wealth of the country for its self sufficiency and viable economic development. It is suffice to say that the proper exploitation of this wealth would lead to the prosperity of this nation.

Before discussing what natural resources Pakistan possesses, it is important to understand what constitutes natural resources. These occur naturally within environments characterised by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems. Some resources like water and agriculture are essential for survival of inhabitants while others like energy and minerals are secondary in nature but essential for economic development. However, efficient management of these resources is vital to achieve prosperity of nation. Natural resource management is a discipline with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations. It is interrelated with the concept of sustainable development. Pakistan is blessed with huge quantity of resources but lags in management.

Being situated at one of the best geographic and geostrategic locations on the map of world, Pakistan is affluent in the natural resources. It has enormous energy surplus resource potential of both renewable and nonrenewable, which is greater than that of oil rich countries of Gulf. Among the world's 200 plus countries it has the second largest salt mines, second largest coal reserves, fifth largest copper and gold reserves, seventh largest wheat and rice production capacity. It is the sixth most populous country in the world having large share of young population. Had these resources been properly managed, this country would have been one of the richest economies of world. The detailed account of the natural wealth of Pakistan shows how such great potential has been untapped due to mismanagement.

There are plenty of nonrenewable energy resources like oil, gas and coal in Pakistan. It has more than 436.2 million barrels of oil, according to CIA World Fact Book, and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. The current oil production is 65,997 barrels per day while gas production is 4 billion cubic feet per day. Though it is not enough to meet the needs, it can save considerable outflow of currency. Moreover, there is resource potential of 27 billion Barrels of Oil and 282 TCF of gas reserves in the country which has not been explored due to lack of vision and flawed policies.

Pakistan has world's second largest coal deposits of 185 billion tons. These are estimated to be equivalent to 618 billion barrels of crude oil. This is more than twice if we compare it with oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. If it is converted into oil by gasification, it will generate 650 barrels of crude oil which at an average market rate of eighty dollars per barrel, would generate 5.2 trillion dollars. But the policy making elite of the country has not only been oblivious to the potential but also indifferent to the slow pace of efforts to harness this source for energy production and exports. The energy deficit is badly affecting the industry in country but no any serious initiative is taken for electricity production from coal. China imports its 65 percent of coal requirements but despite being 'all weather friend', this giant energy importing economy does not import coal from Pakistan.

Besides, the geography of Pakistan enriches it with the renewable energy resources. Wind and Solar energy are other unused lifelines of Pakistan. 1046 km long coastal line gives potential of 40000 MW of electricity. The vast lands of Balochistan can be utilized for solar electricity generation. But unfortunately these resources have barely been used due to technological backwardness and lack of innovative policies.

The hydropower potential of the country is also enough to satisfy the needs of energy. Only 33 percent of around 20,000 MW generation capacity is produced from this resource which has the potential of producing 40,000 MW. No concrete steps have been taken to harness this resource mainly because of political differences and distrust prevailing in the country.

The lack of vision and policy planning in utilisation of water resource is also severely affecting agriculture. Despite having one of the largest irrigation systems of the world, Pakistan is facing water scarcity for crops. Storage capacity of water reservoirs is quickly depleting because of annual sediment inflow and a substantial quantum of available water is lost in seepage as the canals have not been cemented. Out of 77 million acres cultivable area, only 55.5 million acres have been ploughed. The country is blessed with four seasons and variety of crops but due to lack of research the productivity remains low.

In addition, being an agricultural country it possesses tremendous scope of animal husbandry. Pakistan's breeds of cow like Sahiwal cow are the best breeds of world. Due care to this area can lead to bulk of exports in dairy products. On other hand, fishing industry has an important role to play in national economy of Pakistan. The coast line of 814 km provides ample opportunity to enhance this industry, but poor performance and poor presentation of our cause in WTO have put this industry at the verge of destruction.

The minerals are also vital natural resources available in great quantity. Pakistan has fifth largest copper and gold reserves in the world. The Riko deq project, copper and gold reservoir, have been estimated to be worth of 260 billion dollars, which is ten times the all financial aid received from USA in last sixty year. But instead of exploiting own resources for economic independence, country has been dependent on foreign aid. How rich Pakistan is, and how poor Pakistanis are! There are other partially untapped resources of rock salts, Gypsum, lime stone, iron, marble, and silica sand in large quantities. These resources have not been exploited due to corruption and bottlenecks in political and bureaucratic culture.

The most important of the natural resources in this globalized world is human resource. Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world having large share of 'young population' i.e. 63 percent below age of 25 years, according to United Nations Development Programme. But the failed policies have caused mounting unemployment of 15 percent. The resource which could be used to enhance the economic activity is left to no use which is adding to the increase in poverty. The lack of opportunities leading to the brain drain of talented minds has further worsened the situation.

The above analysis reveals that Pakistan is not poor, but poorly managed country. The factors which have caused the poor management of natural resources include political instability, political indecision making / divergence, lack of vision and planning, flawed policies, bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruption, lack of human resource development, worsened law and order situation. These factors have led not only to the poor management of natural resources but also to the poor governance of country.

The political instability has been the main cause of such mayhem. Since the independence, no political group in Pakistan has been given enough time to be mature. The military interference in politics and rivalry among political stakeholders are the key features of brief history of this country. This inconsistency has kept the exploitation of natural wealth unattended. The divergence of opinion on construction of water resources has deprived the country of storing the surplus water for agriculture and electricity generation. However, this could be overcome by vision and planning, which is a scarce commodity here. Instead of controversial big dams several small reservoirs could be constructed, had a pragmatic approach prevailed among the decision making machinery.

Coupled with this, the flawed policies of successive governments have caused tremendous problems despite availability of adequate resources. The energy sector is a vivid example of such poor management. The major chunk of the electricity is produced through thermal generation for which almost 80 percent of oil is imported. Whereas the second largest treasure of coal in the world is left unexplored as it contributes only 2 percent of electricity generation. Countries like US, China and India generate electricity by almost 60 percent from coal due to its lower cost. This shows how other countries take cost of electricity generation into serious consideration.

However, it would be unfair to put all the burden of poor resource management on the political factors. The bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruption have been equally responsible for this undesirable scenario. Several hydro power projects, Thar coal project, and oil exploration projects are in doldrums due to bureaucratic bottlenecks. There is no headway in solar and wind energy projects planned by Alternative Energy Development Board. Similarly, corruption has also been extremely detrimental. The standstill in the Riko deq project is an example of this case. Pakistan is ranked at 34 in Corruption Perception Index 2010 by Transparency International, which is a discouraging factor for foreign direct investment.

In addition, the worsened law and order situation has caused severe blow to the economy in general and natural resource management in particular. The volatile situation in Balochistan is harmful to the exploitation of resources. The Gawadar port, despite being located at crucial location, has not been made fully functional. Other projects of mineral exploration are also affected. The terrorism in the northern areas has been harmful for the potential tourism industry.

These factors of poor management have placed Pakistan in an undesirable situation domestically and internationally. The socio-economic situation remains gloomy as the GDP growth rate is one of the lowest in South Asia at 2.2 percent, trade deficit is estimated about $16 billion, inflation rate continues to be in double digits at 15 percent, population below poverty line is alarmingly around 35 percent, and unemployment is at 15 percent.

Also, it does not enjoy a favorable position among the comity of nations. It is ranked 123rd out of 139 countries in Global Competitive Index; it is at 134th among 192 in Human development Index by UNDP; and it occupies the critical position of 12th in Failed States Index 2011 issued by Foreign Policy Magazine.

The country has been economically dependent on foreign aid and debt, which has adversely affected her standing in international community. However, despite Pakistan's crucial role in west's geostrategic framework and war on terror, the allies end up donating small amounts of grants which make fractions of what could be obtained from exploiting own natural resources. The external debts and liabilities have nearly doubled from $ 37 billion in year 2000, to $ 59.5 billion in year 2011.

Nevertheless, the worst impact so far is the energy crises in Pakistan. There is serious shortfall of electricity, gas and oil. Electricity demand exceeds supply and “load shedding” is a common phenomenon. The shortfall of electricity reaches at 4000-5000 MW which badly affected industry, eventually leading to decreased exports and diminished economic activity.

These adverse implications, of the extremely poor management of resources, on the economy and society in the country, warrant a serious approach and comprehensive strategy to reverse the trend. The pragmatic approach and policy direction can help the country to be able to rely on its own resources instead of dependency.

Pakistani leadership must focus on exploration of natural resources and their scientific management. Properly managed natural resources can become instrumental in national income and its growth. Extensive geological survey is required to discover the resource potential, planning and vision is needed to explore the proved but untapped resources and effective strategy is essential to fully exploit the resources under use.

In order to take maximum benefits from natural resources there is the need of technical education of people involved in resource exploitation and management. The technical education ensures that there is minimum wastage of the resources. Hence, such education should be made compulsory for the people in concerned areas of activity.

On the other hand, the politicians, policy makers and all the stake holders must adopt a rational approach not to politicize natural resources. It should be prioritized as the vital national interest and dealt with as such. The controversies on the management of water and mineral resources must be resolved pragmatically for best interest of the nation.

Last but not the least, worsened law and order situation in Pakistan, which has led to the lack of investment, must be checked. The private firms engaged in resource exploration must be protected by the state. Ensuring the security, would attract investment in the respective areas which would subsequently guarantee the inflow of capital in the national economy and the resource potential could be fully exploited.

It needs not to be emphasised that Pakistan is not poor but poor management of its natural resources has made it so. The enormous natural resources of all kinds like energy, minerals, agriculture, and human could have made this country a wealthy economy. Instead, there been bleak picture of economy and undesirable image outside due to the chronic flaws in vision and policies. Thus, the daunting challenge of poor management of natural resources direly needs to be addressed not only to overcome the perils caused due to it but also to achieve economic self sufficiency and prosperity of the nation. By surpassing this challenge, Pakistan is destined to have eminence place in the world as a stable, growing and prosperous nation.

Source: Natural Resources of Pakistan and their Mis-management
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