Phds in Pakistan and rest of the world
If we are desirous of having an honourable place for ourselves in the rapidly developing world, we will have to consolidate the strength of our PhDs from the numerical, qualitative and creative points of view
“Education for all” is the promise made by the global manifesto of human rights; and it is the responsibility of every government to provide all educational facilities to all its citizens, irrespective of their colour, race, gender, language, creed and religion. The fulfillment of this promise is evident from the ever-increasing number of educated people all over the world. As compared to the past, more and more people are studying today, and it would not be wrong to say that they are continuously studying, in the form of getting higher education. There was a time when the addition of the word BA with the name was considered to be a great honour by the people. But this standard of honour has now changed and after getting their Master's degrees, people are continuing their education through M.Phil. and PhD programmes. In this way, they are entering the circle of academic elite, where it is not possible for everyone to reach.
These academically rich people are a valuable asset and a source of progress for every country of the world. The ideas flourishing in their minds, their research work and their writings determine the course of progress. For this very reason, the number of PhD scholars is increasing in most countries of the world. According to the April 2011 edition of the weekly science magazine “Nature”, between 1998 and 2006, there was the following annual increase in the number of PhDs in all disciplines in different countries of the world.
China 40 %
Mexico 17.1 %
Denmark 10 %
India 8.5 %
Korea 7.8 %
Japan 6.2 %
Australia 6.2 %
Poland 6.1 %
Britain 5.2 %
America 2.5 %
Canada 1 %
The number of PhD degrees awarded in all disciplines in different countries of the world in 2008, as mentioned in the magazine, is given below:
50000 PhD degrees were awarded in China during the year 2009. According to the American National Science Foundation, 49562 PhD degrees were awarded to the research scholars in the United States in all disciplines in 2009. 10781 researchers received PhD degrees in India during 2008-09.
Pakistan is also making every possible effort to increase the number of its PhD scholars. According to the statistics provided by the Higher Education Commission, 6366 students were enrolled in the PhD programmes in 132 universities of Pakistan till the year 2010. In other words, each university of the country had an average of 49 PhD students. As a whole, the country could produce 7098 PhDs from 1947 to 2010. This number also includes those 25 persons who received their PhD degrees from 1930 to 1946. Thus, 7073 research scholars were given PhD degrees in the 64 years from 1947 to 2010. On an average, 111 researchers received PhD degrees in the country annually. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, 100 persons were awarded PhD degrees in a single year in 1988. In each of the previous 41 years, the number of persons getting PhD degrees was less than one hundred. In 1988, the number of persons having PhD degrees in the country was 1045. It means that after independence, the number of awarded PhD degrees in the country crossed the 1000 figure in as many as 41 years. This number rose to 2068 in 1996. In other words, the next one thousand PhD degrees were awarded in the country in eight years. The next one thousand PhD degrees were awarded in five years and their number reached 3033 by the year 2001. The number increased from three to four thousand in the next four years and in 2005, the number of PhD holders in the country reached 4025. Afterwards, the number of PhDs in the country began to increase very rapidly and by the year 2007, it rose to 5071. Two years later, this number was 6478. In 2010, this numbered soared to 7068.
The rapid increase in the number of PhDs in the country after 2001 was due to the establishment of the Higher Education Commission in 2002-03. From 1947 to 2002, only 3284 PhD degrees were awarded. But 8789 PhDs were completed in the next eight years. Thus, on an average, 474 PhD degrees were awarded in each of these eight years. However, in the previous 56 years, before the setting up of the Higher Education Commission, the annual average of awarded PhD degrees was only 59. 779 PhD degrees were awarded in 2009. It was the largest number of PhD degrees to be awarded in a single year. In 2009-10, there were 132 universities in the country and 620 PhDs were produced in the country. In other words, each university produced an average of 4.69 PhDs.
Besides this, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-11, there were 5235716 students in all the universities of the country in 2000-10. During this period, 4445 PhDs were completed in the country. It means that one out of every 1178 university students got a PhD degree during these ten years. 5399 PhDs were produced in the country from 1995 to 2010. It means that out of every one million people only twenty have got PhD degrees.
Now, let us have a look at the PhDs in Pakistan with reference to disciplines. According to the statistics provided by the HEC, till June 30, 2010, research scholars related to the field of Social sciences received the largest number of PhD degrees (26 % of the total PhDs) The percentage of PhDs in other disciplines is given below.
Physical Sciences 21 %
Biological and Medical Sciences 16 %
Arts and Humanities 16 %
Veterinary Sciences 13 %
Engineering and Technology 3 %
Business Education 1 %
Honorary PhD degrees 1 %
In spite of the fact that the number of PhDs in Pakistan is increasing, some other related issues still deserve more attention for bringing about improvements in them. For instance, the number of female PhDs in the country is much smaller than that of the male PhDs They only make up 23 % of the total PhDs in the country. Till June 30, 2010, their total number was 1487. In 2008, 29.3 % of the total PhD degrees were awarded to women.
Research is the basic function of every PhD scholar and the research papers written in the light of extensive research are a precious asset for every researcher. The quality, standard and worth of the work being done in a country by the researchers is judged from the number of their research papers published in international journals.
This situation is quite different in the countries of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). According to its Scientific, Technological and Industrial Score Board for the year 2011, 46 % of the PhD degrees awarded in 2009, were given to female scholars.
In addition to this, the HEC should also pay attention towards those universities which are not producing PhDs According to HEC's annual report for the year 2008-09, 50 universities of the country produced PhDs from 1947 to 2008. The Economic Survey of Pakistan for the year 2008-09 tells us that the total number of universities in the country at that time was 129. It means that only 39 % of the country's universities could produce PhDs, while the remaining 61 % failed to do so. Besides this, from 1947 to June 30, 2010, only 3.11 % PhD degrees were awarded by the universities in the private sector. According to the record of the HEC, their total number till June 30, 2010 was only 200. Now, a large number of universities have sprung up in the private sector, but their PhD outcome is very low. Some attention must be paid to improve their performance in this field.
Research is the basic function of every PhD scholar and the research papers written in the light of extensive research are a precious asset for every researcher. The quality, standard and worth of the work being done in a country by the researchers is judged from the number of their research papers published in international journals. In this connection, Pakistan's present condition is somewhat better than the past. SCIMAGO Research Group is an international organization that conducts research on research journals and research papers all over the world. According to its statistics, in 1996, Pakistani research scholars wrote only 0.08 % of all the research papers which were published all over the world. By the year 2010, this number had increased to 0.32 %. The performance of Pakistani scholars at the regional level is slightly better. The ratio of their research papers has risen from 0.56 % to 1.09 %. In 1996, Pakistani scholars wrote 893 research papers. In 2010, 6987 research papers written by Pakistani scholars were published. In 1996, Pakistan stood at No. 52 in the global ranking of the publication of research papers. But in 2010, it was able to reach at No.43 in the same ranking. It was made possible by the positive role played by the HEC in the promotion of research at the highest level.
In the year 2010, a total of 2171118 research papers were published in all the research journals of the world. The third highest number of research papers were written by the British scholars. The number of their research papers was 139683. In this list of 231 countries, Iran occupied the 19th place with 27510 research papers. In this global ranking with reference to the publication of research papers, India stood at number 9, with 71975 research papers in 2010. The ranking of other South Asian countries is as follows
In the year 2008, 82456 research papers written by the scholars of the eighth South Asian countries were published. They made up only 3.79 % of the research papers published all over the world. These facts reveal the over all pathetic condition of research and development in this region.
The talented people of South Asia are unable to move forward in the field of research, because of the extremely meager funds allocated for it in this region. More than one trillion dollars are being spent annually throughout the world on research and development. But the collective share of India and Pakistan in this sum is only 38.83 billion dollars. Wikipedia has compiled a list of 72 countries whose annual spending on research and development is more than 100 million dollars. In 2011, America was at the top of the list with the annual spending of 405.3 billion dollars. With 153.7 billion dollars, China ranked second, while Japan stood at No. 3 with the annual spending of 144.1 billion dollars on research and development. India and Pakistan occupy 8th and 34th positions respectively in this list. In 2011, India spent 36.1 billion dollars on research and development.
According to the available statistics till 2007, Pakistan spent only 0.67 % of its total GDP, which was equivalent to 2.73 billion dollars. If we include in this amount, the money spent on military research and development, then, according to Wikipedia, in 2007, Pakistan spent 3.67 billion dollars, which made up 0.9 % of the country's total GDP.
In spite of the extremely limited resources available for research and development, the scholars of South Asia are continuing their research work and their research papers are also being regularly published in the international research journals. But the pace of their journey from invention to innovation is miserably slow and South Asian countries can hardly ever patent any of their inventions. In 2009, 97.48 % patent registration cases in the American Patent and Trademark Office belonged to the United States and eleven other countries, none of which was a South Asian country. According to Knowledge Network and Nations' Global Scientific Collaboration in the 21st Century Report published by the British Royal Society, among the countries outside America, Japan registered the highest number of patents (35501) in the American Patent Office. Germany ranked second with 9000 patents. South Korea registered 8762 patents and was third in this list. They were followed by Chinese Taipei, Spain, Canada, United Kingdom, France, China Israel and Italy. In 2009, a total of 80752 patents were registered by these eleven countries. America alone registered 82382 patents that year. 4216 patents were registered by other countries during the same year in the American Office.
Research produces new knowledge, products or processes. Research publications reflect contribution to knowledge, patents indicate useful inventions and citations on patent applications to the scientific and technical literature indicate the linkage between research and practical application. Doctoral graduates are key players for research, innovation and invention. They have been specifically trained to conduct research and are considered the best qualified for the creation and diffusion of knowledge.
If we are desirous of having an honourable place for ourselves in the rapidly developing world, we will have to consolidate the strength of our Ph.D.s from the numerical, qualitative and creative points of view, in order to give a practical shape to the idea that knowledge is not the property of some particular individual or nation.
Muhammad Atif Sheikh
Where Does The True Democracy Come From?
“DEMOCRACY IS A STATE WHERE THE FREE MEN AND THE POOR, BEING IN MAJORITY ARE VESTED WITH THE POWER OF THE STATE, THE MOST PURE DEMOCRACY, FOR THAT IS WHAT THE LAW IN THE STATE DIRECTS. (ARISTOTLE)
The 64 years history of Pakistan stands evident of the fact that true democracy is a word unknown to this land of the pure. It is unfortunate that the country which was created on the basis of democratic values remains deprived of the true spirit and essence and taste of democracy even after good six decades of independence. Why democracy fails to come to Pakistan or where does the true democracy come from? This is a million dollar question that has echoed throughout in the political history of Pakistan. The true democracy is the only remedy for all the miseries this nation has suffered during the 64 years. Since its inception, the most difficult challenge Pakistan had to counter was to establish a true democratic system, which could guarantee its survival, stability and development. Unfortunately, democracy could not find its place in Pakistan to make the country “a true democratic state”. Pakistan was conceived on the basis of Islam, which is democratic both in letter and spirit. It is indeed very unfortunate that the plant planted by Quaid-e-Azam and watered by the blood of millions of Muslim men, women and children has not thrived in the country. In other words, we have not proved worthy of the freedom achieved after immense sacrifices. After the sad demise of Quaid-e-Azam and Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan, the spirit of freedom movement died down and selfish interests and political intrigues dominated the national scene.
Democracy has its origin in ancient Greece. However, other cultures have contributed significantly to the evolution of democracy such as ancient Rome, Europe and North and South America. The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European middle ages and the age of enlightenment and in the American and French revolutions. Democracy has been called the last form of government and has spread considerably across the globe.
Democracy ensures balance among all the organs of the state. It comes from rule of law, supremacy of the constitution, independence of judiciary, public participation in decision making, accountability and transparency. Its advent is ensured when decision making and policy formulation are done keeping in view the aspirations of the common man. It is the power to govern as per the consent of those being governed, that is why it is called as the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
One of the factors which can be held responsible for the failure of democracy has been the weak and fragile political fabric that has led to repeated interventions and punctuations in democratic governments through military coups. Out of a total six decade history, this country has remained entrapped in the oppressive clutches of dictatorship for more than three decades. Unfortunately, whosoever assumed the government, strived for the satisfaction of his own politically, materially and financially charged vested interests at the cost of country's progress and economic development? There ill-designed ruling techniques brought in the culture of extremism, religious and ethnic prejudices and violation of the constitution. Whether it was Zia's slogan of islamisation or Musharraf's propaganda of being non NATO ally of the US in war on terror — all contributed negatively and adversely to the cause of national development.
Democracy is regarded as the most fabulous principle of modern governing system but unfortunately, the need of establishing a true democracy has been a dream ever since Pakistan came into being. Democracy is the culmination of freedom and development in advanced countries. In Pakistan however, the already difficult situation has been aggravated by constant failures which never let democracy survive. The development of democracy has been hampered by the troublesome legacies of the military regimes, including ethnic fragmentation, provincialism, sectarianism, concentration of wealth and privileges in the hands of a selected few.
Democracy in its simplest basic form is about giving people the right to elect their government. The aim is to create stability and certainty in the society by establishing a system under which a government can be created and changed peacefully. While thinking in Pakistani perspective, the question about democracy points towards what it could and must have done instead of inherent weakness in the system. It is debatable whether military dictators have outperformed civilian governments or vice versa. But realistically, except for the government that came in 2002, no civilian government after 1985 was allowed to complete its tenure. The issues of economic growth and investments were highlighted more during democratic periods than during dictatorships.
Democracy ensures balance among all the organs of the state. It comes from rule of law, supremacy of the constitution, independence of judiciary, public participation in decision making, accountability and transparency.
Historians and analysts are also of the view that democracy is an evolutionary system that does not come as a template. There may have popular principles like sovereignty, or representative governments but these have to be rooted in the socio-economic culture of the country.
The quality of democracy and its stability has thus depended generally on the growth of the middle class which has expended and continues to rise. But the fact of the matter is that middle class is neither organic nor ideologically homogeneous. The Pakistani middle class may not be seen as yet in the elected assemblies but it occupies alternative spaces of influence in the robust civil society movements.
Pakistan may remain a transitional democracy until it has at least the peaceful transfer of power through elections. Our elected representatives have a heavy burden to disprove the sceptics inside and outside the country by forming coalitions.
The dire need is to utilise the democratic system for the betterment of a common man. It is a collective social enterprise that cannot be left for the powerful elites. To make the country vibrant, viable and prosper, drastic measures need to be applied. The education should be circulated from the top to the bottom. The opportunity to get education should be on equal basis for the rich and poor. Education is the only tool through which we can attain our cherished goal by making our country prosperous developed and progressive. As the literacy rate is increased in the country, the true democracy and effective democratic political process would begin.
Good governance makes stabilised institutions and fix roots of democracy deep in the corners of the countries. Bereft of good governance in Pakistan, our nation cannot establish its supremacy in the world comity. It is the good governance that can make democracy viable in the successive futures.
Moreover, feudal system should be abolished to make fair and square elections so that rural and urban inhabitants would choose the capable candidates for them.
The remedy lies in the words of Lord Beveridge,
“Power as a means of getting things done appeals to that men share with brutes; to fear and greed; power leads those who wield it to desire it for its own sake, not for service it render, and to seek its continuance on their own hands. Influence as a means of getting things done appeals to that which distinguishes men from brutes. The way out of world’s troubles today is to treat men as men, to enthrone influence over power and to make power revocable”.
If we want to make Pakistan a really lasting democracy, we must act on the above advice. Then only, we shall enter in the reign of true democracy and the people will manage their own affairs instead of being dupes and pawns in the hands of dishonest men.
Democracy is a way of life. It is not just about documents or governments. It is about the things we do everyday that contribute to society and make it a better place to live.
Dr Quratul Ain Malik (CSP)
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
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iramraja (Thursday, November 15, 2012)
Siachen conflict: a prime example of futile war
“War is the extension of politics by other means”
Wars are planned, financed and fought by governments, not by groups or ordinary people. Wars are based on political agendas and they long for complete control over resources, people and territory. Pakistan and India being neighboring countries had fought a number of wars since their inception. Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen are the most highlighted issues between two countries. On April 7, 2012, the nature delivered yet another bitter reminder to both India and Pakistan, when a massive avalanche buried 135 soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) of Pakistani Army alive. In fact, the 70 km long Siachen glacier lies in the eastern Karakoram Range (disputed region of Kashmir), just east of the Saltoro ridge line. The Saltoro Ridge originates from the Sia Kangri in the Karakoram Ridge and the altitudes range from 5450 to 7720 meters (17,880 to 25,300 feet.) The major passes on this ridge are Sia La at 5589 meters (18,336 feet) and Bilafond La at 5450 meters (17,880 feet), and Gyong La at 5689 meters (18,665 feet.). In strategic and military terms, a battle field of high altitude is always dependent upon its passes which leads to the peak or to that high place. The temperature here can dip up to minus 60 degree Celsius which makes it a very difficult terrain to be a battle field. The word Siachen means 'A place of wild roses' because of the Himalayan wild flowers abound in the valley below the glacier.
Prior to 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area presumably due to the extremely harsh conditions which prohibited any such presence.
Presently the glacier is also the highest battleground on earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Pakistan maintains permanent military personnel in the region at a height of over 6,000m and so does India. The site is a prime example of mountain warfare. This glacier is presently a source of conflict and from 1984 to 2003, the troops of both countries remained engage in a tiresome warfare on that place. Since 2003 there is a ceasefire between both countries on Siachen glacier but neither of these countries had retreated a single inch from that glacier, as both have their own reservations on this issue. There are many other issues associated with this issue, like the environment hazards and economic constraints. But the both parties are quite adamant in evacuating their places on Siachen. There was also a suggestion to make this place a 'Peace Park' where both countries have a free access without deploying troops. But this idea is also held in abeyance due to the long term feud. But in any case it is extremely necessary to develop peace between Pakistan and India for the betterment of this region.
Right after the partition, due to its hegemonic interests, India sent its troops and captured the state of Kashmir. The matter was taken to UNO and the boundary was demarcated according to Karachi Agreement (1949) but this area was not catered in that agreement. Right after the debacle of East Pakistan in 1971, Shimla Agreement had also not clearly mentioned that who would control the glacier, merely stating that from the NJ9842 location the boundary would proceed “thence north to the glaciers”. In the 1960's and 1970's, however, the United States Defense Mapping Agency (now National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) issued maps showing detailed position of the area and made their maps available to the public and pilots as proceeding from NJ9842 east-northeast to the Karakoram Pass at 5534m (18,136 ft.) on the China border. Other international (governmental and private cartographers and atlas producers) confirmed this position. This implied in a cartographical and categorical allocation of the entire 2700 square kilometers (1040 square miles) Siachen area to Pakistan. However, prior to 1984 neither India nor Pakistan had any permanent presence in the area presumably due to the extremely harsh conditions which prohibited any such presence. In the 1970s and early 1980s, several mountaineering expeditions applied to Pakistan to climb high peaks in the Siachen area and Pakistan granted them, which reinforces our claim on the area, as these expeditions arrived on the glacier with a permit obtained from the Govt. of Pakistan. In about 1978, the Indian Army mounted an expedition to Teram Kangri peaks (in the Siachen area on the China border and just east of a line drawn due north from NJ9842) as a precursor-exercise (a camouflage to occupy the area by force). The first public mention of a possible conflict situation was an article by Joydeep Sircar in The Telegraph newspaper of Calcutta in 1982, reprinted as “Oropolitics” in the Alpine Journal, London, in 1984. India launched an operation on 13 April, 1984. The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force went into the glacier region. Pakistan army quickly responded with troop deployments and what followed was literally a race to the top. Since the glacier is not physically connected to India (there is no natural ground routes connecting India and Siachen Glacier), therefore, it used its Air Force to drop all of its forces at Siachen and still to this day uses helicopters and aircrafts to transport supplies, food and soldiers.
In 1983, Pakistani top military brass decided to claim Siachen territory by military deployment. After analysing the Indian Army's mountaineering expeditions, they feared that India might capture key ridges and passes near the glacier, and decided to send their own troops first. Islamabad ordered Arctic-weather gear from a supplier from London, unaware that the same supplier provided outfits to the Indians. The Indians were informed about this development and initiated their own plan, providing them with a head start. As India got the wind of Pakistan's plan about this area they elevated their efforts twice as they were doing. They decided to deploy their forces from Laddakh region as most of their troops were acclimatized to the extremities of the glacier through a training expedition to Antarctica in 1982.
Pakistan spends approximately Rs. 15 million per day, 450 per month and 5.4 billion rupees per year.
India spends approximately Rs. 50 million per day, 1.5 billion per month and 30 billion rupees per year.
One Pakistani soldier is killed every third day on Siachen Glacier and average 100 casualties annually.
While one Indian soldier is killed every next day on Siachen Glacier and average 180 casualties annually.
According to unofficial data Pakistan has lost 3000 soldiers while India has lost 5000 soldiers till now.
Pakistan has 4000 troops deployed in Siachen Glacier, whereas India has stationed 7000 troops there.
The Indian Army planned an operation to occupy the glacier by 13 April 1984, to pre-empt the Pakistani Army by about 4 days, as intelligence had reported that the Pakistani operation planned to occupy the glacier by 17 April. Named for the divine Cloud Messenger, Meghaduta, from the 4th century AD Sanskrit play by Kalidasa, "Operation Meghdoot" was led by Lieutenant General Prem Nath Hoon. The first phase of the operation began in March 1984 with the march on foot to the eastern base of the glacier. A full battalion of the Kumaon Regiment and units from the Ladakh Scouts, marched with full battle packs through an ice-bound Zoji La pass for days. The units under the command of Lieutenant Colonel (later Brigadier) D. K. Khanna were moved on foot to avoid detection of large troop movements by Pakistani radars. The remaining forward deployment units then marched and climbed for four days under the command of Captain P. V. Yadav to secure the remaining heights of the Saltoro Ridge. By April 13, approximately 300 Indian troops were dug into the critical peaks and passes of the glacier. By the time Pakistan troops managed to get into the immediate area, they found that the Indian troops had occupied all 3 major mountain passes of Sia La, Gyong La and Bilafond La and all the commanding heights of the Saltoro Ridge west of Siachen Glacier. Handicapped by the altitude and the limited time, Pakistan could only manage to control the Saltoro Ridge's western slopes and foothills despite the fact that Pakistan possessed more ground accessible routes to the area, unlike Indian access which was largely reliant on air drops for supplies due to the steeper eastern side of the glacier. As a result of this operation, Indian Army had captured the entire glacier and all of its tributary glaciers as well as the three main passes of Siachen, Bilafond La, Sia La and Gyong La, thus holding onto the technical advantage of high ground. In 1987 and 1989, Pakistan Army carried out military operations to get that area back, but no significant success.
Current Scenario and Talks:
Kargil conflict was a milestone in the deterioration of the peace process between the two countries. All the peace talks which begin right after the conflict were shattered and the idea of evacuating the glacier was held in abeyance, as Pakistan Army desired to bargain Siachen with Kargil after the success of that operation. Although in 2003 both countries announced ceasefire but still there is viable solution of this conflict and both countries have still their troops on Siachen. After the 10th meeting on Siachen, on 24th May 2006, the joint statement clearly reflected already anticipated stalemate. This is indeed very disappointing especially if viewed within context of unduly raised hopes of people. Some reports had already projected the likely signing of the agreement during expected Indian prime Minister's Pakistan visit in July this year. Just before the joint statement was issued, the Indian Defense Minister pointed out that the main obstacle was mapping the bases and frontline. The Indian assertion to authenticate the actual ground position line is viewed by many in Pakistan as legitimizing Indian aggression in the Siachen area. Not only India violated the Simla agreement by undertaking a uni-lateral violation of the LOC and acquired some area which was deemed to be under Pakistan's control but are also seeking to secure legal cover to retain the area its troops forcibly occupied. The resolution of the Siachen dispute does not really require many efforts unless a calculated tactics of foot dragging is employed for delaying its resolution. Admittedly the notion of foot dragging is directly linked with the lack of desired level of political will. However, the joint statement and the interviews of the involved participants point towards the existence of the will, or at least the impression is generated that they want to solve it, but it requires more negotiations.
Not only India violated the Simla agreement by undertaking a uni-lateral violation of the LOC and acquired some area which was deemed to be under Pakistan's control but are also seeking to secure legal cover to retain the area its troops forcibly occupied.
Environmental experts have predicted that the military presence of both the countries in this area is seriously damaging the natural ecology of this region. Faisal Nadeem Gorchani of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad said the glacier had shrunk by 10 kilometres in the last 35 years. “More than half of the glacier reduction comes from the military presence. Troop movements, training exercises and building infrastructure, all accelerate melting.” Waste from the military camps is also a major problem, harming the local environment and threatening to pollute the water systems upon which, millions of people across the subcontinent depend. “Indian army officials have described the Siachen as 'the world's biggest and highest garbage dump,” said a US expert Neal Kemkar in an article for the Stanford Environmental Law Journal. The report quoted estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature saying that on the Indian side alone, more than 900 kilogrammes of human waste was dropped into crevasses every day. Kemkar said that 40 percent of the military waste was plastics and metal, and as there are no natural biodegrading agents present, “metals and plastics simply merge with the glacier as permanent pollutants, leaching toxins like cobalt, cadmium, and chromium into the ice”. “This waste eventually reaches the Indus River, affecting drinking and irrigation water that millions of people downstream from the Siachen, both Indian and Pakistani, depend upon,” the report said. Kemkar also warned that the conflict had affected wildlife, with the habitat of animals such as the endangered Snow Leopard, the Brown Bear, Yak and the Ibex (A type of wild goat), all threatened. Environmentalists say that the speed of Siachen Glacier's retreat is about 110 metres a year. This is mainly due to the military presence in that area. Because when the non-biodegradable material is injected in such a massive amount to an area , it being unable to become a part of the nitrogen cycle (that converts the degradable material into usable substance), becomes menace to the environment. The cadmium, lithium and lead engulfed into the glacier pose a grave threat to the environment and other living things which are to be fed on its water. Besides, a daily leakage of about 2,000 gallons of kerosene oil from 250-kilometre-long plastic pipeline is also accelerating the melting process. These environmental hazards are directly affecting the environment of the region in one or the other way.
There is an ongoing huge economic and human loss in this area, from both countries. India has deployed its seven thousand troops in this region and Pakistan's 4000 thousand soldiers are there. At one time, one Pakistani soldier was killed every fourth day, while one Indian soldier was killed every other day. Over 1,300 Pakistani soldiers died on Siachen between 1984 and 1999. According to Indian estimates, this operation had cost India over Rs. 50 billion and almost 2,000 personnel casualties till 1997. Almost all of the casualties on both sides have been due to extreme weather conditions. This futile battle ground of no significance is adding fuel to the fire of our economic deterioration and engulfing our assets.
In Siachen, Pakistan and India each maintains 150 manned posts with 10 battalions each for a total of some 6,000 troops. Pakistan has deployed up to half a dozen helicopters, to transport food supplies as well as ammunition. The cost of being airborne per helicopter, per hour is Rs 55,000. Snow taxis cost around Rs 400,000 each. Each bread by the time it reaches our troops costs Rs100. The high altitude clothing easily costs Rs 100,000 per head.
In all these conditions the solution of this conflict is quite necessary, rather it should be immediate as well. Three solutions are already in circulation, and they deserve to be mentioned here. First, the parties could easily decide to go back to the positions when Simla Agreement was signed. The Simla Agreement in its 4th clause specifically states that 'Line of Control resulting from ceasefire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations’. It was India that altered LOC unilaterally not just once but many times including the Siachin violation in 1984. Second, the parties could easily opt for the agreement which they reportedly agreed in 1989. The idea of redeployment of troops could again be salvaged and applied as it was agreed to be applied in 1989 agreed formula. This time they are talking about withdrawal of forces. Third approach revolves around concepts like ‘Mountain of Peace’ or ‘Peace Park’ or ‘Science Park’ which would imply that both parties withdraw their troops from the disputed region. This could provide a face saving device to both parties.
The above mentioned solution may bring an optimized way back from this conflict. Otherwise it is not deteriorating the peace process; rather it is affecting the economy, environment and the precious lives of our loved ones. This adamant behaviour must be exterminated in order to develop a cordial relationship and harmony among India and Pakistan. This peace process will benefit the whole region.
Dr. Munawar Sabir
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
The new dynamics of Pakistan Russia relations
Russia has come to realize Pakistan's role in resolving the issues plaguing this region and Pakistan also seems to be contemplating on ways to lessen its reliance on America and to diversify its support base among the powerful states of this region.
On March 5th 2012, the news of Russian President Vladimir Putin's victory in Russian Presidential elections would have gone down well in Pakistani policy-making circles. It meant something more than just that, as Putin's victory signifies the continuity of the process of normalization of Pak-Russia relations, which have a background of hostility, suspicion and distrust.
Among the initial few calls that Mr Putin received after the victory, one was that of P.M Gillani; this goes on to show the extent to which Pakistani leadership was interested in the outcome of this election. Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar's last month visit to Russia was also successful and has a bearing on this positive atmosphere in the mutual relationship. Finally, Russia has come to realize Pakistan's role in resolving the issues plaguing this region and Pakistan also seems to be contemplating on ways to lessen its reliance on America and to diversify its support base among the powerful states of this region.
At the time of the partition of India, the Soviet Union viewed both India and Pakistan with suspicion but it was more critical of India than Pakistan.The Soviets formally conveyed invitation to Liaquat Ali Khan for a state visit in 1949, but the tour did not materialize due to some considerations from Pakistan, and Liaquat Ali Khan chose to go to Washington instead in May 1950. Pakistan under the U.S influence joined SEATO and CENTO, thus by earning the ire of the USSR. There also happened incidents that added bad taste to already worsened relations like U-2 incident in 1960.
The ice begun to break in relations between Russia and Pakistan in Ayub Khan's presidency as on March 4, 1961, the Soviet Union signed an agreement on oil exploration with Pakistan. This was Pakistan's first acceptance of Soviet economic and technical assistance. The period from 1961 to 1971 saw ups and downs in Russo-Pakistan relations till the debacle of Bangladesh in which the Russians clearly sided with the Indians. Soon afterwards, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on assuming the reins of Pakistan as the PM took Pakistan out of alliances like SEATO and CENTO. Now that the impediments towards good relations were removed, both the countries undertook initiatives for a harmonious relationship. Pakistan and the USSR signed an agreement under which the Soviet granted technical and financial assistance for the construction of steel mill at Karachi which had the capacity of producing 2 million tons of steel per annum. The Soviet provided assistance in oil and gas exploration, and several power projects, including Guddu.
The period of Taliban in Afghanistan was a timely aberration when the relations again touched a low. But when Pakistan joined the international fight against terrorism in the wake of 9/11 incidents, Russia resolved to support Pakistan's efforts against terrorism.
The relations took a nosedive when President Zia took over: one, because of his adverse ideological thoughts about Marxism and socialism, secondly also because of Zia's covert help in Afghanistan against its fledgling socialist regime there. The bad relations between the both continued till almost the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan. But the relations became reasonable well when by the way of Geneva accord signed on April 14, 1988, Pakistan allowed a face-saving exit to Russia from Afghanistan. Russia also changed its policy towards the region by pursuing the policies of Perestroika and glasnost of internal restructuring its state and economy.
When the USSR disintegrated, Pakistan recognized Russian Federation on 20 December, 1991, as successor to the Soviet Union. The period of Taliban in Afghanistan was a timely aberration when the relations again touched a low. But when Pakistan joined the international fight against terrorism in the wake of 9/11 incidents, Russia resolved to support Pakistan's efforts against terrorism.
The dynamics of the renewed relations were set after the visit of the President Musharraf in 2003, Russian president Mr. Putin received Mr. Musharraf warmly and agreements of mutual benefit were signed. In 2007, the visit of Russian PM Mikhail Fradkov took the relations between the two to a new high. President Asif Ali Zardari also paid an official visit to Moscow in May 2011. In the November of the same year PM Gilani Also met Putin on the sidelines of SCO heads of governments meeting. Putin in 2011 endorsed publicly Pakistan's bid for SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) permanent membership. Russia has begun to hold Pakistan as an important player in bringing stability to the region. Pakistan can play a role for Russia in its quest for establishing good relations with the Muslim states of Middle East and South East Asia. The fresh momentum to this relation has been brought by the visit of the Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Russia from Feb 7th to 9th. She was invited by her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
The recent historic low in Pak-US relations, according to some analysts has also been a cause of Pakistan's turning towards Russia. America's incessant blame game and defamation of Pakistan's army and intelligence agencies, coupled with US adage of do more against the militancy have seemingly turned Pakisan away from the US and towards Russia. But the recent urgency of Pakistan towards Russia may be because of May 2, 2011 US commando action that killed Osama Bin Laden which brought embarrassment to Pakistan and saw its sovereignty violated. The continual drone attacks, the incident of 26th November at Mohmand agency that saw the killing of 24 troops by the US gunship helicopters. Pakistan took a tough stand on this and cut off NATO supplies through its land, got vacated Shamsi Airbase from the US air force, boycotted second Bonn Conference on the future of Afghanistan. All this has contributed to this new strain in Pakistan's foreign policy. Russia also strokes the right chord when their foreign minister on 28th of November 2011, said that hunting terrorists cannot be a pretext for violating the sovereignty of a country.
Russia is being considered as a resurgent economic and military power which believes in multi-polarity, it simply wants to forestall American moves of hegemony in this region. Russia also thinks that Pakistan's role in the solution of Afghan Problem is crucial. Russia and Pakistan, in the recent meeting between the foreign ministers of the both countries, reaffirmed this contention that Afghan led and Afghan owned efforts for national reconciliation are necessary, so both are at the same page on this issue.
Russia also strokes the right chord when their foreign minister on 28th of November 2011, said that hunting terrorists cannot be a pretext for violating the sovereignty of a country.
Pakistan's interests are mostly domestic. Firstly, Pakistan wants Russian participation in Iran-Pakistan and CASA 1000 project, Russian Gas company Gazprom has showed interest in investing and participating in this project. Secondly, Russians have also shown interest in investment in Pakistan Steel Mills Karachi. Pakistan wants to make this mill profitable once again. Thirdly, it has been decided that parliamentary level interactions between both the countries will be carried out. Will this be a positive step towards people to people contact and would be a signal towards normalization of the relations, and Pakistan wants to ensure that it should happen. Fourthly, it was decided that the chambers of commerce and industries of the both would interact to improve the trade activity, and Pakistan wants to make that happen on a good scale. Fifthly, the Russian investors have agreed to invest in energy related projects like gasification of the Thar coal, and make it available for clear energy. Sixthly, Pakistan wants permanent membership of SCO and Russia alluded to support Pakistan's bid. Seventhly, Pakistan wants to acquire Russian help in quelling down the insurgency in Balochistan. So all these interests are domestic in nature with exception of Pakistan's desire for SCO membership, and Pakistan wants to work with Russia for the attainment of these goals.
As per the words of Tanvir Ahmad Khan, a former Pakistani foreign secretary and once Pakistan's ambassador at Moscow, both countries are on the verge of ending a long history of estrangement. But there have been external influences for this recent engagement between them. Nonetheless, both the countries also realize each other's centrality towards solution of the long standing issues in the region. The relations have grown to such a stage that there seems to be no going back and in the changed world like that of today the traditional rivalries of ideology have softened down. In the course of 64 years of Pakistan's independence, many opportunities of friendship and partnership with USSR have been missed and none of the countries can afford to miss yet another opportunity. This time around both seem to have realized it and both will make good of this opportunity.
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
A BOTCHED 'WAR ON TERROR'
The 21st century did not start well. We found ourselves burdened with the same old problems but in their acutest form.
The world has never been so chaotic and violent. Wars of aggression and attrition, invasions in the name of self-defence, military occupations, massacres and genocides, human tragedies and humanitarian catastrophes, and a culture of extremism and violence came to define the new world 'disorder'.
Terrorism, as an evil, has afflicted humanity for centuries but it assumed global dimension as a scourge of the new millennium only after the 9/11 tragedy. Today, it transcends all boundaries deeply impacting the political, economic and security environment of all regions, countries and societies. It is a faceless enemy with no faith or creed which lurks in the shadows of fear and frustration, breeds on despair and disillusionment, and is fed by poverty and ignorance. It is a violent manifestation of growing anger, despair, hatred and frustration over continuing injustice, oppression and denial of fundamental freedoms and rights.
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of 9/11, the detractors of Islam found an opportunity to contrive stereotypes to malign Islam and to mobilize a climate of antipathy against its adherents by focusing obsessively on the religion of the individuals and organizations allegedly involved in terrorist activities. What was being conveniently ignored was the fact that most of the perpetrators of violence were dissident runaways from their own countries long under Western-supported archaic despotic regimes and had a political agenda of their own in their misguided pursuits.
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of 9/11, the detractors of Islam found an opportunity to contrive stereotypes to malign Islam.
The problem is that the world does not even know how to define terrorism. Other than varied descriptions of violence in all its manifestations, there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism which is today generally viewed as "politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents". A short legal definition used in the UN for an act of terrorism is the "peacetime equivalent of a war crime". UN negotiations on long-outstanding draft international convention on terrorism remain inconclusive because of irreconcilable differences on the basic issues.
With the essence of the challenge including the legal scope of the proposed convention yet to be determined, the world is already engaged in what is labeled as a "global war on terror." This US-led war is being fought on Muslim soils with the stated purpose of eliminating the "roots" of violence and religious extremism. But in effect, it is not the root but the symptom which is being targeted. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan today epitomize the worst case scenario of this botched and ill-motivated 'war on terror.'
Pakistan, in particular, has become the "ground zero" of the "war on terror" with a full-fledged military conflict going on within its tribal areas suspected of being a "terrorist sanctuary." There has been a huge collateral damage in this ongoing operation. The biggest casualty, however, is Pakistan's own credibility. It has staked every thing in this proxy war and has killed thousands of its own people, yet it is being blamed for "not doing enough."
This US-led war is being fought on Muslim soils with the stated purpose of eliminating the "roots" of violence and religious extremism. But in effect, it is not the root but the symptom which is being targeted.
We never had extremism in our country. General Musharraf allowed this monster to grow only to remain relevant to the war on terror and thus prolong his military rule. We also didn't have this scale or intensity of violence before he took over. The only violence we knew was sectarian in nature. Our involvement in this campaign today complicates our tasks, both at home and at regional and global levels. Our territorial integrity is being violated with impunity. We are accepting the responsibility for crimes we have not committed. India is particularly using the prevalent global sentiment to implicate Pakistan in every act of terrorism on its soil.
There seems to be no end to this "tragedy of errors" and incessant blame-game. The world also looks at us with anxiety and suspicion as we claim unrivalled distinction of having captured the largest number of Al-Qaeda operatives and handing them over to the US. What is most worrisome at this juncture is that Pakistan is going through one of the most serious crises of its history. With a corrupt and externally vulnerable regime in power, the country is being kept engaged on multiple external as well as domestic fronts. The Salalah episode and its aftermath have amply tested this government which never had a clearer strategic vision of its own and remains totally non-consequential on issues of vital national importance.
What our rulers need to understand is that use of military power within a state and against its own people has never been an acceptable norm. It is considered a recipe for intra-state implosions, a familiar scene in Africa. Excessive use of military force and indiscriminate killings instead of addressing the root causes is not only bringing the government and the armed forces on the wrong side of the people but also weakening the very cause of the war on terror.
After more than a decade-long war on terror, one thing is clear. Terrorism will not disappear through campaigns motivated by retaliation and retribution alone. Nabbing or killing of few hundred individuals or changing the leadership in one or two countries will not bring an end to terrorism which in its deeper sense is an ugly manifestation of a mindset, a mindset rooted in a sense of despair and despondency. It is a perverse mindset that needs to be treated like a disease. If war is to be waged, it should be waged against poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. It should be waged against oppression and injustice.
We are accepting the responsibility for crimes we have not committed. India is particularly using the prevalent global sentiment to implicate Pakistan in every act of terrorism on its soil.
There can be no two opinions on the need to combat terrorism. But to eliminate this evil, we must address its root causes. To address the root causes is not to justify terrorism, but to understand it and then to overcome it. To win the war against terrorism, we must win the hearts and minds of those who are susceptible to sympathize and support the tactics of terrorism. Having been victims ourselves, we have never condoned acts of terrorism and have been cooperating with international community in combating this universal evil.
What the world now knows is that terrorism is the product of a broader mix of problems caused by bad governments, opportunistic politicians and militant leaders who exploit grievances. When there are no legitimate means of addressing the massive and systemic political, economic and social inequalities, an environment is created in which peaceful solutions often lose out against extreme and violent alternatives, including terrorism.
Only a steady, measured and comprehensive approach encompassing both short-term and long-term political, developmental, humanitarian and human rights strategies that focus on the underlying disease rather than the symptoms would bring an enduring solution to this problem. To address the underlying causes of this menace, the world community needs to build global harmony, promote peace and stability, pursue poverty eradication and sustainable development and ensure socio-economic justice, genuine democracy and respect for fundamental rights of people, particularly the inalienable right of self-determination.
In Pakistan too, it is time to review our militant strategies and to wind down the costly military operations and domestic hostilities. Force solves no problems. Grievances, be they in Baluchistan or in Waziristan, must be addressed through political and economic means.
If Afghanistan is at the heart of the war on terror, no strategy or roadmap for peace in Afghanistan would be complete without focusing on the underlying causes of conflict and instability in this whole region. In the first instance, Afghans alone are the arbiters of any intra-Afghan reconciliation process. No foreign-led reconciliation will endure.
For a global response to this challenge, the UN alone has the credentials and wherewithal to broker US withdrawal as it did for the Soviet withdrawal in the eighties of the last century while also addressing this time the legitimate questions of Afghanistan’s neutrality and regional and global security concerns. Only the UN can ensure a precisely negotiated guarantee of Afghanistan’s “nonalignment” including positive and negative security assurances backed by the UN Security Council.
The writer is a former foreign secretary
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
Creating New Provinces
The question is if PPP really thinks the creation of new provinces will make Pakistan stronger then why Sindh should not be divided into two or three provinces, on the lines of the three “Divisions” which existed even during early days of Pakistan.
The year 2013 is election year in Pakistan and also the time when the political forces will be judged on the basis of their performances. The PPP and PML(N) have no mandate to create new provinces because manifestoes of these parties did not include the issue of new provinces before the elections of 2008. It seems perhaps both parties are not satisfied with the progress of federal and provincial governments and now trying to garner votes by exploiting the emotions of masses with the slogan of new provinces.
All major parties are encouraging further division of this already fractured country for their short-term gains.
First came the demand for a Hazara province, to be carved out of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, then the movement for a separate Seraiki province hit the headlines followed by the demand for a Bahawalpur province.
So far, the movements for these new provinces have been comparatively peaceful, limited to speeches, rallies and TV talk shows only. However, the recent wall-chalking and rallies in Karachi for a muhajir province (or southern Sindh province) have resulted in violence and killings of political workers of some parties. This demand has not been welcomed by other ethnic groups living in Sindh and the nationalist parties of Sindh have even vowed to forcibly stop any proposed division of the province.
The people who are demanding a muhajir province need to understand that this demand is a non-starter. The Urdu-speaking community is not limited to Karachi and Hyderabad only. A large number of Urdu-speaking people live in interior Sindh too. Any division,
or even a demand for a division, may lead to a bloodbath across the province. The firing on a rally in Karachi followed by killing of bus passengers in Nawabshah should be enough to alarm us. It is also a fact that those who are at the forefront of this demand may not be able to fulfil the constitutional requirement needed for the creation of a new province. Why create a rift among the communities living in Sindh then? Instead of a separate province, the proponents of this idea should insist on reasonable financial and administrative powers for local governments. This is the only way to serve the people.
Unfortunately, both PPP and PML(N) did not hold local bodies elections in Punjab and Sindh without any solid ground. If LB elections are regularly held and the power is decentralised at UC level people will be happy and they may not demand for new provinces.
“The movement for creating more provinces is a brainchild of the PPP and its moving spirit is the prime minister himself by sponsoring creation of Seraiki province. In other countries, politicians conduct discussions on such ticklish matters by their think-tanks, consult intellectuals and experts. Here, in the party which has sponsored this move there is paucity of intellectuals and learned experts. Where agitational politics is the order of the day, absence of a think-tank is natural. In the erstwhile communist countries proposals for changes were placed in the offices of the party throughout the country for one year eliciting nation-wide debate and thereafter the proposed changes were discussed in the party and then placed in the National Assembly for approval. Here the more important the proposed change in the structure or system of the state the quicker the political bosses want the proposal to become law.
The president is head of the state but he chooses to send reference for the division of Punjab. The president must set up high level independent National Commission which must include financial and administrative experts to give its recommendation for creating new provinces in all the provinces of Pakistan.
There are two aspects of this proposal which need to be given serious consideration: One, can Pakistan afford the cost of creating new provinces? Two, will creating new provinces not finally be pitting ethnicity against Pakistanism promoting divisive forces challenging country's existence? i.e. will the creation of new provinces not tear asunder Pakistan's unity like it did in Yugoslavia in the 1980s. As a student of political science and seen ethnicity destroying Yugoslavia there I witnessed Yugoslavia's disintegration when I was ambassador to Yugoslavia for four years. It is not easy to dismiss the apprehension of such a possibility. Ethnicity has already steeped in Pakistan through naming of a province on ethnic identity. One should not dismiss these apprehensions without having a national debate on the proposal. Discussing this topic, it is necessary to recall what chief minister of Balochistan has said, with which I entirely agree, that this scheme can be very dangerous for the country. I would go a step further; it can be so dangerous that to spell out the consequences better be avoided. Three, is it not an extreme exaggeration to claim that creating new provinces is required for development of those “backward areas”? Could somebody recall how utterly backward these areas were when Pakistan came into existence and what they are today, even Balochistan?” [Dr Samiullah Koreshi]
Pakistan is a poor country, current year's budget deficit is almost Rs. 1105 billion. For example, if Punjab is divided into three provinces then two more governors, two more chief ministers secretariats and two more provincial assemblies will be required in view of the constitution of Pakistan. Who will provide the finances for the new expenditures. We have to see whether the new provinces will be financially feasible. The country is under a huge debt and unless expenditures are not reduced it may not survive economically. The president of Pakistan should have discussed the financial aspect with the experts.
The president also holds political office of PPP so political benefits prevail upon him so he sent the following reference to the Madam Speaker of the National Assembly ignoring financial constraints of the country. “Madam Speaker,
The National Assembly in its 41st session on May 3 passed a resolution to the effect that in order to address the grievances and to secure the political, administrative and economic interests of the people of the southern region of Punjab and to empower them in this regard, a new province to be known as province of Janoobi Punjab be created from the present province of Punjab. The provincial assembly of Punjab has also passed a similar resolution demanding parliament and federal government to create a new province of Janoobi Punjab and also to revive the earlier status of Bahawalpur as a province.
In order to implement the aforesaid resolutions and before a process is initiated to amend the constitution in terms of Article 239 thereof it is expedient that a commission may be constituted comprising six members from the Senate to be nominated by the chairman, six members from the National Assembly to be nominated by the speaker and two members from the provincial assembly of Punjab to be nominated by the speaker of the provincial assembly. The commission shall look into the issues relating to the fair distribution of economic and financial resources, demarcation, allocation/re-adjustment of seats in the National Assembly, Senate and the provincial assembly concerned and allocation of seats in the new province on the basis of population, including seats of minorities and women and other constitutional, legal and administrative matters. The provisions of the constitution which would require amendment inter alia include articles 1(2), 51, 59 and 106 of the constitution.
The commission shall submit its report to speaker as well as to prime minister within 30 days of its notification, which will be followed by initiation of the process of amendment of the constitution.”
The president is head of the state but he chooses to send reference for the division of Punjab. The president must set up high level independent National Commission which must include financial and administrative experts to give its recommendation for creating new provinces in all the provinces of Pakistan. Indian example needs research-based knowledge to understand the background which forces Indian government to create new provinces.
“India is based on geographic nationalism, in Pakistan's case ethnicity is anti-thesis of Pakistan's nationalism. I can say so with confidence as I was in student leadership of Pakistan Movement in Aligarh University and Delhi University. With due apologies, it seems that PPP is promoting ethnicity — the first manifestation of which was creation of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in which Nawaz Sharif joined hands. If the move to make new provinces catches roots, Pakistan would be de novo decimated into several petty ethnic provinces. Every frog will raise its paw and ask to put naals on it as is the saying in Urdu. A proposal has been made that Punjab should be divided into three/four provinces. Then, there should be at least two provinces in Balochistan, in Sarhad there should be a Hazara province also, another province of Bahawalpur also, and if Bahawalpur then Kalat and other Balochi states may also demand that they should be made new provinces, and if old extinct states are revived then the old ruling houses would demand to be restored, in other words waderaism will return with a vengeance.
In small perspective, the demand for Saraiki province is mainly to cut Punjab to size. The question is if PPP really thinks the creation of new provinces will make Pakistan stronger then why Sindh should not be divided into two or three provinces, on the lines of the three “Divisions” which existed even during early days of Pakistan. There are only two possible motives for this scheme: To create cushy jobs for sons of the waderas in the Seraiki belt, Potohar, etc, and to deny Punjab the major part it plays in Pakistan politics and in the immediate future to cut Nawaz Sharif to size. But this scheme financially is a pipe dream and in essence destructive to Pakistan’s solidarity. It will be worst than creating a Bangladesh and destructive to Pakistan’s unity. It will breed virulent ethnicity. This is a scheme fraught with grave consequences. After such detailed analysis of the scheme to create new provinces, it will be seen that the proposal would damage Pakistan eventually and not just Nawaz Sharif. Personal politics should not be taken to the extent of destroying the country.
The writer is a renowned columnist.
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
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ONE NATION, TWO STATES,
The proximity of the spiritually-bonded states, often reckoned to be a single nation has continued for more than half a century now. Both, Pakistan and Turkey have engaged into amiable political relations for the past six decades. It is noteworthy that during the massive earthquake of 2005 and the catastrophic floods of 2010, Turkey was the first country to extend a helping hand towards Pakistan. However, with the changing waves in the arena of global and regional politics, diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Turkey are devoid of an economically symbiotic relationship. The significant geopolitical status of the two states also account for the criss-crosses that marked the diplomatic pathway which leads to the maintenance of regional balance of power rather than reinforcement of ties. Transition of governments has also led to major reorientations in foreign policies of the two countries. Turkey's geographic location designates the central position to it among the Balkans, the Caucus, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Similarly, Pakistan is considered as the gateway to the Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia; holding ethnic affiliations with all kinds of nationalities leading Pakistan to be a strategically pivotal actor in the South Asian region.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party might have felt a little less impressive victory in 2011 than that in the elections of 2007. On the other hand, a dictatorially mutilated Pakistan along with the faint wave of democratisation in 2008 alongside a faltering economy also encountered the open-ended foreign policy of the 11-year-old centre-right conservative AKP. The Turkish leader in his second joint session of Pakistani parliament was cognizant of the hostile political environment prevailing in Pakistan. This was the reason why he stressed upon 'political consensus' and the role of a 'constructive opposition'.
While linking both these politically mature traits with economic progress, he ensured Turkey's support for 'fighting terrorism'. Pakistan and Turkey are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in order to curb terrorism. Strategic and political ties are strengthening, but economic relation between the two seems to be inversely proportional to each other. For Pakistan's gross domestic product growth is decreasing whereas Turkey is witnessing an increase in the GDP growth (+9%).
The rise in inflation in Pakistan is followed by a decline in inflation in Turkey. Despite this fact, the Turkish premier expressed his desire for a joint investment during his recent visit to Pakistan.
Turkey's ability to construct some of the finest dams in the world is not being considered in comparison to Pakistan's hydro-electric potential. Focus is inclined—towards projects like solid-waste management, transport and communications, which tend to benefit the investor.
It is often believed that the post-9/11 economic cooperation between both the countries was mainly due to Turkey's interest in Pakistan's unraveling economy which had a lot of potential and the inflow of financial aid was a key target for Turkish companies.
The recent agreements signed between the government of Punjab and Turkish companies have opened up a new channel for the economic cooperation. Turkey's ability to construct some of the finest dams in the world is not being considered in comparison to Pakistan's hydro-electric potential. Focus is inclined—towards projects like solid-waste management, transport and communications, which tend to benefit the investor.
The RBTS (Rapid Bus Transit System) seems to be an unsustainable gift by the Mayor of Istanbul, Dr Kadir Topbas. There is no assurance that these agreements would continue with the change in government in the Punjab.
Being a friend of a democratic Pakistan, and at the same time being the integral part of NATO, Erdogan had supported the resumption of NATO supplies after the November 26 attack on Salala check post, that is contrary to the aspirations of the masses and stance adopted by Pakistan's foreign office after the attack which claimed the life of 24 Pakistani soldiers.
His mention of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by 2014 called for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned Afghanistan without any allusion towards stability in the border regions of Pakistan. In a competitive international stage, the progress of countries is measured by their economic stability and prosperity. Bilateral ties that are governed by soft-power exchange may strengthen the bond between two states, but cut at the roots of symbiotic economic cooperation which as in the case of Pakistan and Turkey has led to 'one nation, two states but antagonistic economies'.
Fakiha Hassan Rizvi
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
Over the past 51 years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has grown into a powerful multi-billion dollar political-cum-military weapon in the hands of the American establishment.
Over the past 51 years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has grown into a powerful multi-billion dollar political-cum-military weapon in the hands of the American establishment. USAID's charter is explicit: To serve the foreign policy interests of the United States. USAID is a big business in Pakistan. In fact, USAID is a billion dollar per year wrangle — and that is more money than OGDC, MCB, Pakistan Petroleum, PTCL, PSO, Engro, Fauji Fertilizers, SNGPL, Lucky Cement, Indus Motors and Pak Suzuki collectively make in one year.
In 2009, USAID contracted out its five-year, $80 million jobs project. USAID contracted out a $89-million four-year FIRMS project. USAID contracted out a $30-million five-year trade project. Roger Bate, a former director at the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, claims that “data from USAID's Buy American Report indicates that over the last decade between 70 and 80 per cent of funding appropriations were directed to US sources.” Rubén Berríos, the author of 'Contracting for Development', claims that only a “few cents of every dollar of foreign aid ends up in the Third World.”
On February 9, 2012, Rolf Rosenkranz of Devex, the organisation focused on reducing inefficiencies in the field of international development, asked the all-important question: “Can USAID afford a 90 per cent failure rate?”
President Kennedy's stated objective behind the creation of the USAID was to separate military aid from development aid. According to Eva Golinger, the author of 'The Chavez Code', over the years USAID “merely became an additional fund for the CIA to dip into for covert interventions.” William Blum, a former employee of the US Department of State, maintains that there exists “a close working relationship with the CIA, and that Agency officers often operated abroad under USAID cover (Killing Hope: US military and CIA Interventions Since WWII).” More recently, a former editor of The Japan Times asserted that the “CIA, through USAID, is running a disinformation campaign on Japan's earthquake crippled nuclear facilities.” Corruption also runs rampant. This is what, USAID achieved under its $150 million Fata Livelihood Development Programme: USAID trained two-dozen truck drivers to read road signs. USAID transported cattle from central Punjab to improve the breed in Fata. For $150 million USAID distributed 278 Ravi Piaggio motorcycles, 10 tractors, 12 threshers, nine reapers, 10 trolleys, six MB ploughs, six cultivators, 210 spray pumps and 20 auto sprayers. This is what USAID achieved under its $3.3 million HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project: USAID “provided services to 78 HIV-positive individuals and their 276 family members.” Then there was the 'Kabul bank fraud' in which USAID lost a wholesome $850 million. On May 11, 2011, US House Republicans told Dr Rajiv Shah, USAID's administrator, that USAID's “efforts in Haiti have been a failure.” According to David Reef of The New Republic, “USAID has provided a total of $28 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt” but USAID's undertakings in Egypt have been a total failure. On February 9, 2012, Rolf Rosenkranz of Devex, the organisation focused on reducing inefficiencies in the field of international development, asked the all-important question: “Can USAID afford a 90 per cent failure rate?”
Dr Farrukh Saleem
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
Tax to GPD Ratio
Political will is required to increase tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan but political instability coupled by inability of successive governments to review causes of low tax to GDP ratio has been a major source of impediments in achieving the target.
Tax to GDP ratio can be obtained by dividing GDP of the country with total tax collection in a given financial year. Pakistan's total revenue collection in the outgoing financial year 2011-12 against the GDP is slight above 10 per cent so the gap between tax collection and expenditure is always filled by the borrowings. Government borrows from SBP and in the financial year 2011-12 the total government's borrowings stands at Rs. 1100 trillion in which 60 per cent are foreign liabilities. Though tax to GDP ratio in South Asia is not very healthy if compared with the developed and middle income developing countries yet India's tax to GDP ratio is the highest in the region after Maldives. The reason behind the continuous improvement in tax to GDP ratio is tax reforms and enforcement mechanism which compelled the individuals and companies to pay tax. The continuous reliance on indirect tax and easy way to levy it has not been able to improve tax base in Pakistan. In the financial year 2011-12 the tax to GDP ratio has been reported to reach 10.2 per cent of GDP but the sectors that are required to be brought into tax net, i.e. agriculture, real estate, and hotel industry still remain exempted though they are earning handsomely. This speaks of lack of political will and poor performance of revenue collection machinery, narrow tax base, dependence on indirect tax regime, tax exemptions to privileged class and tax evasions.
The lack of confidence and trust upon the government machinery and political system is another cause that compels the people to evade tax. In a country where people pay millions of rupees as Zakat do not feel comfortable to pay tax to the government
Tax to GDP ratio can be improved if concrete steps are taken with a strong political will in the right direction. One of the major reasons for low tax collection is gap between the income of different sectors of the economy and their ability to pay tax. The retail and wholesale sectors, transport, real estate, agriculture and hotel industry do not pay tax proportionate to their income. The lack of confidence and trust upon the government machinery and political system is another cause that compels the people to evade tax. In a country where people pay millions of rupees as Zakat do not feel comfortable to pay tax to the government though it is also their responsibility if they want to get services to their benefit. The performance of provinces in tax collection and their share in total revenue collection is also abysmal and they continue to depend on transfer from centre in the form of NFC award. According to media reports, the tax to GDP ratio in the fiscal year 2011-12 is being estimated around 10.2 per cent which is still far less as compared to India.
There are certain reasons associated with low tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan:-
1- Percentage of male and female population in Pakistan is 49 and 51 per cent, respectively and a big chunk of population, i.e. female population has lesser effective part in economic activity. Moreover, 37 per cent population is below 15 years of age is also playing no role in the economic activity in that case revenue generation chances are less likely to increase which consequently hits tax to GDP ratio.
2- Literacy rate in Pakistan is 56 per cent which is lowest in South Asia. Without education and particularly technical and professional education the dream to bring socioeconomic change is impossible. Therefore, low literacy rate itself brings many problems and ultimately hampers development which is also reflected by the HDI report issued by UN in which Pakistan has been placed at 145th position out of 187 countries.
3- Energy crisis have badly affected the economic activities across the countries and the government is also losing revenue due to low production in all the segments of economy. Foreign investors are reluctant to invest in Pakistan and FDI has significantly decreased in fiscal year 2011-12. Due to increasing CPI and WPI the purchasing power of masses has also gone down in this situation it seems difficult to increase tax to GDP ratio.
4- In a country of almost 180 million people 1.8 million people pay tax it is because of narrow tax base. Efforts are required to increase tax base that includes the monitoring of different entities that can pay tax but somehow they are evading tax. It can also help in identifying new entrants into tax net. Pakistan's tax base is 1 per cent whereas tax base in USA is 25 per cent, in Malaysia 21 per cent and in India 4 per cent. They have taken strong steps in reforming their tax administration and people also feel it their responsibility to pay tax. Therefore, there is a need to make tax culture friendly.
5- Progressive taxation, i.e. increase in tax rate increases with rising income it serves as correcting income inequalities but unfortunately in Pakistan progressive taxes have been abolished in certain sectors of the economy which are required to be rationalised.
6- Informal sector of the economy has always escaped the attention of the government whereas this undocumented chunk of the economy can contribute significantly towards improving tax to GDP ratio. Efforts should be geared up to bring this sector of the economy into tax net.
7- Pakistan has been placed at 34th position among the most corrupt countries according to Transparency International a year earlier it was at 42nd position. Corruption is the root cause of all evils in our state institutions and taxation department is at No 8 amongst the most corrupt institutions. Only exemplary punishment, strict accountability and monitoring can improve the situation along with incentives to the hard workers.
8- Agriculture sector accounts for 22 per cent of GDP but its tax contribution is about 1 per cent of total revenue, tax exemptions are basically granted to boost economic activity in certain sectors or to bring at par with other vulnerable groups to preserve equity in the tax system. But in practice they are meant for privileged classes of the society and with the passage of time the list of exemptions has grown bigger and bigger in the form of tax rebates, and concessions. This policy should be reviewed and be in commensuration with ground realities.
Political will is required to increase tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan but political instability coupled by inability of successive governments to review causes of low tax to GDP ratio has been a major source of impediments in achieving the target. Exemptions of all kinds except which are necessary in the real sense be given whereas other exemptions given to privileged class should be abolished. Economy should be documented and informal sector be brought into tax net in a comprehensive way. Agriculture sector must be brought into tax net and share of services sectors livestock, textile, sports — should also be proportionate to countries having high tax to GDP ratio. The share of provinces in tax collection which is quite less as compare to their potential be enhanced keeping aside political expediency.
The writer is Director in a Public Sector Organization.
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
Balochistan: The EI Dorado of Pakistan
About 41 years ago, Pakistan lost its eastern wing (East Pakistan), the reason being that it had larger population than the West Pakistan.
Although the East Pakistanis were in majority yet they were deprived of their rights and their problems were not solved according to their aspirations.
After the abolition of 'One-Unit' in 1970, Balochistan got the status of a province. Although Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan by area yet it had never received its due share in the national income despite being the major contributor by virtue of its invaluable natural resources. Moreover, the economic and strategic importance of Balochistan could never get the proper recognition by the establishment. Apparently, this disparagement and discrimination is because of the low agricultural production which portrays Balochistan as a worthless place; comprising only deserts, dry mountains and unfertile land. However, realistically speaking, Balochistan is the richest part of Pakistan with its enormous, but unexploited, economic potential. In fact, Balochistan is blessed with a number of natural resources and the discovered resources have value in trillions of dollars. Neither part of Pakistan can be compared with Balochistan in this regard.
A renowned Pakistani economist Dr Mehboob-ul-Haq once said, “The government will not pay any attention toward the production resources of Balochistan until and unless the recourses of Punjab and Sindh come about to shrink.” And today, we are witnessing the situation which he foretold in 1985, nearly 27 years ago. Further frustrating is that till now no proper attention has been paid toward Balochistan while the situation demands some serious steps not only to utilise the economic potential of Balochistan but to secure the future of Pakistan.
Dr Mehboob-ul-Haq once said, “The government will not pay any attention toward the production resources of Balochistan until and unless the recourses of Punjab and Sindh come about to shrink.” And today, we are witnessing the situation which he foretold in 1985, nearly 27 years ago.
First of all, as far as the agricultural production is concerned, half of the world's population lives in arid and semi-arid regions like the Balochistan and even today, limited resources of water can be used for agriculture by the help of technology and appropriate planning. Furthermore, the significance of livestock cannot be undermined because there are vast pastures and big forests in Balochistan. It is necessary to mention here that in terms of environment and area, many countries have a little number of ecological zones but Balochistan alone has eight different ecological zones with a huge biodiversity. In these zones, different types of herbs and plants used in medicines are found in abundance. There are no thick forests in Balochistan like in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but the forests of Balochistan are unique in many senses. For instance, there are juniper forests in Ziarat. The juniper trees have the long ages ranging from 900 to 2500 years. Moreover, if we move towards the north, i.e. Zhob division, here district Sherani has the unique forests of pinenuts and today medicines are being made by pinenuts in China and many other countries. Here, pinenuts are sold at Rs. 2000 per kg. On the other hand, there are mangrove forests in the coastal belt of Balochistan which provide a natural protection against tsunamis.
Balochistan is also a big source of livestock production and contains about 45 per cent of the country's total livestock. It generates annual income of about 50 million rupees and a special type of very heavy bull called 'Bagh Nari' is also found in Balochistan. Another bull 'Nari Master', a cross-breed of the Australian cow and 'Bagh Nari' and weighs 850 to 1000 kg, is also found here.
The Arabian Sea touches the coast of Pakistan which is about 1000 km long of which 770 km is in Balochistan. The coast is divided into two districts: 600km in Gwardar and 170 km in Lasbela. This coastal belt can provide 10 times more seafood production than any other coast in the world while in the Indian Ocean it provides four times more production. In terms of quality also, it is important throughout the world. At present, about 0.2 million tons of seafood is gained from the coast of Balochistan. But this huge production is not recorded officially because it is dispatched to Karachi from where it is exported to various countries.
Besides this, another large and important source of production as well as employment in Balochistan comprises the minerals. These invaluable resources, though unexploited yet, had always allured the super-powers, but in recent years, this interest has unprecedentedly increased. At present, there are a large number of minerals being mined in Balochistan apart from the natural gas which was discovered at Sui in 1952. From 1956 to 1999, this gas fulfilled the 50 per cent of the country's requirement, and from 1956 to 1986, it had more than 50 per cent share in the country's development and industrial production. Furthermore, there are huge deposits of gold, copper and silver in Sandak and adjoining areas and Pakistan's first metal industry is planted here at district Chagai in the area of Recodec. These gold and copper deposits are, undoubtedly, one of the world's largest deposits.
As far as the agriculture is concerned, a period of prolonged drought, from 1997 to 2003, has adversely affected this sector in Balochistan.
After the end of drought, the condition of the agricultural production improved and in the very next year, it was as follows:
But after few years, the production of fruits increased, now the apple and dates are produced about 550,000 tons annually, while the annual production of grapes is nearly 100,000 tons.
In spite of these facts, the major source of employment in Balochistan is still trade; some of which is documented while the large chunk comprises border trading or smuggling.
Pakistan has granted permission to Afghanistan to trade throughout the world through Karachi Port. The Afghan traders import goods from all over the world. As there is no duty or tax on imports in Afghanistan, these goods are smuggled into Pakistan. These include foreign cloths, cosmetics, electronics, automobile spare parts, etc.
Similarly, smuggling is carried out through the Iranian border too which includes petrol, edibles and many other goods. However, human trafficking is also done through this route by which thousands of people go to Middle East and Europe illegally, however, many of them are arrested at Pak-Iran border. Through smuggling through the Arabian Sea especially from Gwardar coast, tons of drugs are smuggled to the foreign countries. Huge quantities of drugs are captured by the anti-narcotics force (ANF) through this route annually.
The geographical position of Balochistan plays a pivotal role in its production and employment resources, and without any doubt, this geographical position will be a major source in future for the income of Balochistan. It is the province which provides access to Central Asia, Middle East and Europe that is why it has tremendous importance for global and regional powers.
At present, the RCD road joins Pakistan, Iran and Turkey and after Turkey the western Europe starts, and in north, after Afghanistan, there comes Russia, and the Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.
In south, Gwardar faces Gulf states which are at a distance of only hours. A railway line also joins Pakistan and Iran. In 2009, one train went to Istanbul from Lahore, and seeing that India and Bangladesh wished to export their goods to Europe and Middle East through this train, but now due to the deteriorated law and order situation in Balochistan, this track has been damaged by blasts several times. However, if in future these ways of trade are resumed, the Gwardar will be the most important port of the region which will be helpful in enhancing the trade to Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. This will, surely, be a fruitful and a great source of income for the impoverished province.
At present, Balochistan is one of the most backward areas of world and according to a report of UNDP on Balochistan Millennium Development Goals 2011, more than 48 per cent population of the province is below the poverty line.
However, it is quite encouraging and is, undoubtedly, a ray of hope for the better future of Balochistan that on June 11, 2012, the Balochistan government presented the budget having a volume of Rs. 179197000000/-, and it was a tax and deficit free budget as well. Many loans of the province are being paid back in this budget while, an investment board is also set up with Rs. 8,000,000,000, which will run the Sandak and Recodec projects for the next year and similarly the Gwadar port is now under the direct authority of Chief Minister Balochistan.
Now, we have to see that after 7th NFC Award and 18th amendment, what steps the provincial government takes in order to improve the economic and financial condition of Balochistan and for the prosperity of the peoples of Balochistan as a whole because as far as the resources are concerned, they are more than enough to fulfil the needs of the province or even the whole country.
Dr. Irfan Ahmad Baig
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. "Socrates"
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