Islamic Republic of Pakistan : News, Discussions & Updates

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Pakistan accuses India of turning down its 'message for peace'

Pakistan today accused India of turning down its "message for peace" by refusing to stop ceasefire violations.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal claimed that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a letter to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj had urged for calm and respect for the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

"India has responded to the letter and instead of accepting our message for peace once again repeated old allegation of cross border incursions and refused to stop violations," the spokesperson said.

Faisal also said that India was not ready for independent verification of its allegations or accept Pakistan's proposal to give proper access to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

Faisal alleged that India was using cross border attacks to divert attention from the issue of Kashmir.

Source : Pakistan accuses India of turning down its 'message for peace'
 

Butter Chicken

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Second Lt, sepoy killed as terrorists open fire on army vehicle in North Waziristan

Two soldiers were martyred when terrorists opened fire on an army vehicle in Noth Waziristan on Tuesday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Second Lieutenant Abdul Moeed and Sepoy Basharat, both 21, were killed in the incident, the Pakistan Army's media wing added in its statement.

Lt Moeed, a resident of Burewala, Vehari, had recently passed out from the Pakistan Military Academy. Sepoy Basharat, a resident of Danyor village, Gilgit, had been serving in the military for three years, the ISPR statement read.

"Freedom is not free, it costs sons of the soil. Freedom that we enjoy today is owed to so many such brave hearts. Salute to our martyrs," Chief of Army Staff Qamar Jawed Bajwa was quoted as saying in a tweet by Director-General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor.

Earlier this month, six were killed when an improvised explosive device, reportedly targetting a military vehicle, went off in North Waziristan. The vehicle was carrying three civilian candidates seeking recruitment in the army. The candidates and three bystanders were killed in the attack.

On October 9, in the first major incident in North Waziristan agency's Razmak subdivision since the army launched Zarb-i-Azb military operation in June 2014, three soldiers were martyred and seven others were injured when attackers opened fire on a vehicle of the Frontier Corps.
 

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Trade deficit jumps 29pc to $15bn

ISLAMABAD: The merchandise trade deficit swelled nearly 29 per cent to $15.03 billion in the first five months of this fiscal year, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

It rose 19.5pc year-on-year in November to $2.92bn.The year 2016-17 saw the trade deficit rise to an all-time high of $32.58bn, representing year-on-year growth of 37pc. The country’s annual trade deficit was $20.44bn in 2013. It has been continuously on the rise since then.

The imports recorded a growth of 21.12pc to $24.06bn during the July-November period from $19.95bn a year ago. On a monthly basis, they grew 16.48pc year-on-year to $4.9bn in November.

It is claimed that the surge in import bill is driven by increase in imports of petroleum, food and capital products. The imports of mobile phones and apparatuses also witnessed tremendous growth during the period under review.

The import bill of LNG and other petroleum products will rise further following the depreciation of the rupee.

The export proceeds grew 12.35pc in November reaching $1.97bn from $1.75bn last year.

In the first five months of this fiscal year, the export proceeds recorded a growth of 10.49pc to $9.03bn as against $8.17bn in the corresponding period last year.

==============================================================================

Irked by PM’s absence, new IMF director cancels visit to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) top man for Middle East and Central Asia Jihad Azour has postponed his scheduled visit to Pakistan due to non-availability of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Azour was scheduled to join the post-programme monitoring talks currently going on between the IMF authorities and Pakistani officials to find solutions to the problems of the external sector and chronic circular debt, said sources in the Ministry of Finance.

“The visit of Azour has been postponed,” confirmed IMF’s Resident Representative in Islamabad Tokhir Mirzoev, adding that the postponement of the visit would not have any implications for the ongoing talks.

“The IMF’s director postponed his visit to Pakistan due to non-availability of PM Abbasi, who is leaving for Turkey to attend an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries,” verified Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail.

However, Ismail said that Azour would visit Pakistan in the future.

Pakistan and the IMF are holding first post-programme monitoring talks under which the fund is assessing Pakistan’s ability to pay back its loans and meet medium-term challenges to the country’s economic viability.

They said the IMF was not accepting Pakistan’s projections for current account deficit, external financing requirements and exact financing gap that the country was facing during the current fiscal year. The IMF was terming Pakistan’s projection rosy, they added.

The sources said that according to the IMF the financing gap that the country was facing during the ongoing fiscal year was close to $10 billion – significantly higher than roughly $6 billion that Pakistan pitched.

They said that the projections of the current account deficit and trade deficit that IMF made just six months back also went wrong.

The IMF also wanted steep devaluation of the rupee against the dollar and demanded that the rupee value be set at Rs112-Rs114 to a dollar within a week as against Rs105.50 on the day both the countries began talks.

Although the State Bank of Pakistan allowed the rupee to settle around Rs110 to a dollar, the IMF demanded that over a few months the rupee should value Rs120 to Rs122 to a dollar, said the sources.

However, Ismail said Pakistan had not made any promise with the IMF to devalue the rupee.

According to the sources, the IMF was not satisfied either with Pakistan’s explanation on mounting circular debt. After the end of the IMF programme, the flow of circular debt crossed Rs400 billion that Pakistan had promised to restrict to Rs322 billion, and that made the IMF uneasy. The Rs400 billion flow of circular debt was in excess to the stock of the circular debt that is also over Rs400 billion.

The sources said that the IMF had also set a budget deficit target of Rs1.479 trillion, which is equal to 4.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP). They said the IMF’s assessment was that the deficit would be close to 5.5% of the GDP in the current fiscal year.

The sources said the IMF was also skeptic that the government would revive the privatisation plan in its last months in power, although the government tried to assure the Fund that it would put the privatisation programme back on track.
 
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Butter Chicken

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Assemblies might not complete tenure, fears Ayaz Sadiq

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq on Wednesday feared that the assemblies might not complete their term, adding he was seeing a ‘greater plan’ in the offing.

Speaking on Geo News show “Aj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath”, the Speaker said that all the opposition parties except the one intend to see the government to complete its tenure.

“Disappointment is a sin but for the first time in my political career now I am disheartened,” Sadiq added.

He said that whetever was happening was not only damaging for one institution but for the entire country. The prevailing situation is not normal, but unnatural. Pakistan is surrounded by enemies, the Speaker maintained.

Our internal challenges are bigger than those of external, Sadiq said.

“I always ask the political parties that the system should be strengthened for over all improvement in the country,” he said.

I pray for the stability of Pakistan as our country is everything for us, the Speaker said.
 

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Pakistan’s external debt, liabilities increase 12.3% to $85b

ISLAMABAD: Amid a weakening currency that has increased the cost of debt servicing, Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities have mounted to $85 billion by September-end this year – a year-on-year increase of 12.3%, reported the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday.

In September 2016, the country’s total external debt and liabilities were $75.8 billion that increased by another $9.3 billion, showed the central bank data. The figures are exclusive of $2.5 billion Pakistan obtained last month by floating two sovereign bonds.

The SBP’s external debt bulletin release coincides with the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar. The local currency shed its value by about 4.8%, standing at Rs110.54 to the dollar on Friday.

The external debt and liabilities figures have been released till the period of September 2017 when the value of rupee to a dollar was Rs105.40. Due to the depreciation, Pakistan will require an additional Rs436 billion to service the same amount of debt.

At Rs105.40 to a dollar, external debt and liabilities were equal to Rs8.964 trillion that, due to the depreciation, have increased to Rs9.4 trillion.

Although a weaker rupee had long been predicted due to a weakening position of the external sector, independent economists had warned the government about the implications of exchange rate adjustments. They had said that Pakistan was sitting on explosive mines, as the day it would let the rupee touch its actual value against the US dollar, the country’s external debt would grow.

Former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood had called on the government to adjust the fiscal deficit target after taking into account the implications of the increase in external debt servicing cost due to rupee depreciation.

The rupee is expected to further shed value in the coming months, as the external sector fundamentals remain weak. The SBP governor said this week that after the recent adjustments the rupee-dollar parity was now closer to the equilibrium.

IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan Harald Finger on Thursday said that Pakistan’s external sector and its international reserves would continue to remain under pressure in the coming months.

Out of $85 billion, public external debt including debt and liabilities of the public sector enterprises stood at $70.3 billion by September this year. These were $5 billion higher than a year ago.

The share of the public external debt was $67 billion – higher by $4.6 billion or 7.4% in one year. The public sector enterprises debt increased to $3 billion – also higher by 7.7%.

The debt signed by banks grew phenomenally by 68% to roughly $5 billion in just one year. Out of this, the short-term debt contracted by the banks increased from $1.9 billion a year ago to $3.8 billion by September this year.

The country spent $2.1 billion on repayment of external debt and interest on it during the first quarter (July-September) of this fiscal year, according to the SBP. The figure suggests that like the previous fiscal year, this year again, the overall cost of external debt servicing will remain high.

The cost of public external debt servicing stood at $1.64 billion. The principal loans repayment by the public sector stood at $1.34 billion in just three months. The cost of interest payments increased to $300 million in the first quarter.
 

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5 killed in attack on Quetta's Bethel Memorial Methodist Church

At least five people were killed and two critically injured in a gun and bomb attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Quetta's Zarghoon Road on Sunday afternoon, Balochistan's Inspector General Moazzam Ansari and Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed to DawnNews.

The church is located in the city's high-security zone. A large contingent of police and Frontier Corps personnel surrounded the area and conducted a search and clear operation with a bomb disposal team on standby.
 

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HAHA, you should listen to the whole thing, you'll roll over and die, He said Pakistan is designing a 5th gen aircraft all by themselves but little assistance from their brother and fly it by 2021

" Several European countries collectedly manufactured a Euro Fighter but we alone are going to manufacture a fifth-generation fighter plane under the project "Azam", Aman maintained. The civilians are comprising 60 percent of the workforce in the project, he
Pakistan accuses India of turning down its 'message for peace'

Pakistan today accused India of turning down its "message for peace" by refusing to stop ceasefire violations.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal claimed that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a letter to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj had urged for calm and respect for the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

"India has responded to the letter and instead of accepting our message for peace once again repeated old allegation of cross border incursions and refused to stop violations," the spokesperson said.

Faisal also said that India was not ready for independent verification of its allegations or accept Pakistan's proposal to give proper access to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

Faisal alleged that India was using cross border attacks to divert attention from the issue of Kashmir.

Source : Pakistan accuses India of turning down its 'message for peace'
Man we should stay away from both "message of peace" and "truck of peace"
 

Aashish

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Is Chinese Militarization Of Pakistan Beginning?

12/15/2017

According to a December 12, 2017 Urdu-language news site report, during a high-level meeting presumably between Chinese and Pakistani officials held on the last day of the November Chinese Economic Summit in Hong Kong, China offered to train Pakistani security forces to protect both the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Pakistan and the Chinese nationals working on them. That follows a September 17, 2017 official CPEC announcement, whereby China would “assist” Pakistan in “capacity building” of “civil armed forces.”

At face value, the Chinese offer appears to be a predictable response to the proliferation of Islamic extremist groups, the permanent Taliban support and recruiting network, and the festering independence insurgency, all in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, a region whose stability is critical to the success of CPEC, a $46 billion Chinese infrastructure investment in Pakistan.

What the December 12th Urdu report states that the official September 17th communique doesn’t is that Chinese training will include the “Special Security Division,” which widens the scope considerably.


The Special Security Division is a 2-star Pakistani military command of up to 15,000 personnel established in September 2016 to protect CPEC from internal and external threats. It is composed of nine Pakistan Army infantry battalions, six “Civil Armed Forces” elements of Army Ranger and Frontier Corps units, and a maritime security command led by the Pakistani Navy, which includes the Maritime Security Agency and the Pakistani Marines.

The number of Chinese military and security trainers to be stationed in Pakistan is undisclosed, but based on the size of the Special Security Division alone, the total complement of Chinese needed to fulfill all the CPEC security requirements is expected to be sizable.

Also in the past week, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), announced a joint China-Pakistan space program that will begin by sending a satellite into orbit within the next two years. In that regard, there have been on-the-ground reports in the past few months of high-level Chinese delegations visiting Sonmiani, Balochistan, the location of Pakistan’s space port. Those reports have also included rumors of Chinese purchases of large blocks of land in the Sonmiani region.

In April 2017, an agreement was signed whereby a state-run Chinese company, the China Overseas Port Holding Company will handle the operations of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port for a period of 40 years.

Pakistan is not shy about stating its interest in joint naval operations with China from Gwadar:

“China and Pakistan have found common ground in terms of maritime interest in the region. Gwadar port can be used for joint naval patrols in the Indian Ocean, further increasing the naval outreach of China and Pakistan in the region. Gwadar port will increase the countries’ naval movements and further expand defense cooperation, especially in the naval field.”​
In addition, there has been a general shift in Chinese military personnel in favor of naval and marine corps forces at the expense of land forces. According to reports, some of those forces are destined for Djibouti and Gwadar, the strategybeing:

“The Chinese have been attracted to Gwadar primarily because of its proximity to the Straits of Hormuz, through which most of their energy flows. Gwadar provides a base from where they can exercise firm control over this energy flow, both in terms of monitoring and protection when the situation demands such effort. With the establishment of a Chinese military base at Djibouti and the continuing anti-piracy effort, naval operations based out of Gwadar will provide the Chinese with a near-continuous naval presence from the Makran coast [southern Pakistan on the Arabian Sea] to the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb [entrance to the Red Sea and gateway to the Suez Canal].”​
The Chinese are also expanding the Gwadar International Airport to handle “heavies.” That will provide an airlift capability linking Gwadar at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and the Chinese base in Djibouti at the entrance of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Also in the past week — similar to the Chinese “management” of Gwadar — Sri Lanka relinquished authority over its southern port of Hambantota to the Chinese, having signed a 99-year lease with the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings.

The Chinese presence in Hambantota outflanks both India and the U.S. naval base in Diego Garcia and provides an additional strategic choke point, a potential for regional hegemony and, in combination with the other developments, largely renders current U.S. policy in Afghanistan obsolete
.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at [email protected].

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Is Chinese Militarization Of Pakistan Beginning?

@Hellfire @VCheng @nair @Levina @Ashutosh @Arpit @Tarun @dray
 

nair

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In the name of CPEC Pakistan is trying to out source their security with Chinese...... But the cost???? Why should we bother??they seems to be happy selling themselves....

On the split side.... They have nothing to loose? Their economy is in a bad shape since 90s.....They were using aid from US to stay float.... and they used to sell their souvernity to US.... and now they do it to Chinese.... I think this has better prospect for them
 

Butter Chicken

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Chinese engineer goes missing in Kahuta

RAWALPINDI: A Chinese engineer went missing on Wednesday while working on a tunnel linked to a river for the Karot power project in Kahuta.

Police, intelligence officials and special protection unit (SPU) personnel have launched a search operation in and around the camp where the workers live to find 36-year-old Pingzhi Liu, who is suspected to have been swept away by the river.

However, the police did not rule out the possibility of kidnapping as his mobile phone was switched off.
 
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Manmohan_MMY

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Pak army chief urges lawmakers to improve relations with India

Source : Pak army chief urges lawmakers to improve relations with India - Times of India



Highlights
  • The military is ready to back any initiative to normalize ties with India, Pak army chief Gen Bajwa said.
  • His address came in the backdrop of US emphasis to Pak leadership on mending ties with India.
  • He also accused India of fomenting instability in Pak and developing strong nexus with Afghan intel.
In an extraordinary gesture, Pakistan army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, urged the country's lawmakers to try to improve relations with India, assuring them that their efforts would be fully backed by the Army. His address comes in the backdrop of sustained American emphasis to Pakistani leadership on mending ties with India.

"The military is ready to back political leadership's initiative for normalization of relations with India," Gen Bajwa told lawmakers at the senate committee of the whole House during his first appearance before a parliamentary forum on Tuesday.

Gen Bajwa was invited by senate chairman Raza Rabbani and was accompanied by Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Naveed Mukhtar. Top military officers, Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and Major General Asim Munir. The session continued for nearly four-and-a-half hours.

Quoting senators, leading Pakistan daily Dawn said Gen Bajwa told legislators that he wants relations with all neighbours to be normalised and urged politicians to try to improve relations with India. He assured them that their efforts would be fully supported by the army. The army chief's offer was particularly significant given a general perception that the army was against peace efforts with India.

But Gen Bajwa said a large part of Indian military deployments was mostly against Pakistan. He also accused India of fomenting instability and terrorism in Pakistan, stating that New Delhi had developed a strong nexus with Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security.
 

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The winds of nuclear war
Munir AkramUpdated December 24, 2017




The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.
PAKISTAN has rightly denounced the crude National Security Strategy put out by the Trump administration and its flawed analysis and aims in Afghanistan and South Asia. There is, however, one assertion in the document which, excuse the pun, trumps all other issues’ intonations. It says: “The prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern....”

This is an understatement. Preventing a South Asian nuclear war should be the primary focus of any security strategy for the region. Dr Kissinger was right in observing a few years ago that nuclear weapons are most likely to be used in a Pakistan-India war.

Pakistan and India have ‘survived’ several previous crises with a ‘nuclear dimension’.

Today, Pakistan and India are engaged in a complex confrontation.​
In the 1971 war, Chinese intervention in support of Pakistan was forestalled by a Soviet nuclear threat to Beijing.

In 1987, India’s Brasstacks military exercise blatantly threatened Pakistan until president Ziaul Haq whispered to Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi at a cricket match in New Delhi that Pakistan’s newly acquired F-16s could reach India’s nuclear facilities in Trombay.

In 1990, as Pakistan-India tensions mounted in tandem with the Kashmiri freedom struggle, India threatened war until US satellites detected Pakistan loading suspected nuclear warheads onto its F-16s, bringing then CIA director Gates to South Asia to defuse the crisis.

Following India’s nuclear tests of May 1998, Indian leaders asserted that India’s nuclear weapons (“we have a big bomb”) had changed the power equation. Pakistan was obliged to conduct its tests to remove any ambiguity that could have led India to a disastrous misadventure.

A conflict was narrowly avoided on the night before Pakistan’s reciprocal nuclear tests. Pakistani radar detected aircraft moving up India’s western coast whose profile was that of US F-15s, creating suspicion of Indo-Israeli collusion to prevent Pakistan from conducting its tests. Urgent warnings were conveyed to New Delhi, Tel Aviv and Washington. Fortunately, the radar readings proved to be a false alarm. In the absence of bilateral communications, war can be easily triggered by miscalculation and mistake.

In the aftermath of the Kargil war, US president Clinton depicted Kashmir as the world’s primary nuclear flashpoint. This remains true today.

During the prolonged India-Pakistan stand-off in 2002, there were at least two occasions when Pakistan detected Indian aircraft being readied for a strike. In public statements, Pakistan warned that in extremis it would be obliged to resort to its nuclear capabilities. India apparently concluded that a war would entail unacceptable cost. This led to revival of the peace process.

Today, Pakistan and India are engaged in a complex confrontation which could erupt in a war that quickly escalates to the nuclear level. The lessons of past crises have apparently been forgotten.

India is now ruled by a Hindu fundamentalist prime minister whose visceral hatred for Muslims is well known. He is using anti-Pakistan rhetoric and postures successfully as a populist electoral tool with his extremist constituency. The ‘Pakistan-bashing’ will escalate as the 2019 Indian national elections approach.

Second, the people of India-held Kashmir, especially its youth, have risen in a spontaneous and indigenous revolt. Unlike the past, the revolt is outside the control of the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and/or Pakistan. And, despite brutal tactics, India has failed to suppress the revolt and, as usual, blames Pakistan and ‘cross-border terrorism’ for its failure.

Third, it is inevitable that Kashmiri freedom fighters will continue to attack Indian targets in and outside occupied Kashmir. It is equally inevitable that India will blame Pakistan and/or pro-Kashmiri groups located in Pakistan for such attacks.

Fourth, India has threatened to conduct ‘surgical strikes’ in response to ‘terrorist’ attacks. The daily Indian violations of the ceasefire along the LoC in Kashmir could provide India the ‘cover’ for such ‘surgical strikes’. Pakistan would consider any cross-border or cross-LoC incursion by India not as a ‘sub-conventional’ operation but as the initiation of a conventional conflict and give a ‘matching response’. This would commence a war which could escalate very quickly.

Fifth, despite the experience of the 2002 stand-off, India’s military doctrine contemplates a ‘limited’ war with Pakistan. Moreover, India has deployed its strike forces in forward positions, in accordance with its Cold Start doctrine, which contemplates a massive surprise attack against Pakistan. In response, Pakistan has adopted the doctrine of ‘full-spectrum deterrence’ under which Pakistan could utilise short-range nuclear missiles to break up large attacking Indian formations.

Sixth, perhaps to indicate that India is not deterred by this, the Indian air chief has asserted that he can identify and destroy Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Pakistan knows that India on its own does not have the capability to do so. The Indian assertion has raised the question of whether the US has undertaken to neutralise Pakistan’s nuclear delivery systems, through a pre-emptive strike or seizure, in a crisis. (In this context, reports about US plans to seize or destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons are illuminating.)

The US has played an active role in defusing previous crises in South Asia. During and after his election, President Trump offered to mediate between Pakistan and India. Pakistan accepted but India rejected this offer. It has not been revived recently. Nor is it reflected in the National Security Strategy.

In fact, the US can no longer be considered an impartial mediator. It is now India’s ‘strategic partner’. The National Security Strategy blames ‘cross-border terrorism’ for the violence in Kashmir. It does not speak of India’s brutal repression of the Kashmiris, their human rights or their demand for azadi (freedom).

Pakistan must seek alternate diplomatic mechanisms to prevent a spiral into a nuclear war. One such mechanism could be a China, EU, US and Russia ‘quad’ that engages with Pakistan and India in joint or parallel talks to defuse the current crisis, prevent the outbreak of a war and promote a just and peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. Such talks could be made mandatory through a resolution of the Security Council (which the US will find difficult to veto).

Ignoring the winds of war in South Asia could lead to a nuclear catastrophe without precedent in human history.

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2017

The winds of nuclear war - Pakistan - DAWN.COM
 
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RATHORE

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The winds of nuclear war
Munir AkramUpdated December 24, 2017



The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.
PAKISTAN has rightly denounced the crude National Security Strategy put out by the Trump administration and its flawed analysis and aims in Afghanistan and South Asia. There is, however, one assertion in the document which, excuse the pun, trumps all other issues’ intonations. It says: “The prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern....”

This is an understatement. Preventing a South Asian nuclear war should be the primary focus of any security strategy for the region. Dr Kissinger was right in observing a few years ago that nuclear weapons are most likely to be used in a Pakistan-India war.

Pakistan and India have ‘survived’ several previous crises with a ‘nuclear dimension’.

Today, Pakistan and India are engaged in a complex confrontation.​
In the 1971 war, Chinese intervention in support of Pakistan was forestalled by a Soviet nuclear threat to Beijing.

In 1987, India’s Brasstacks military exercise blatantly threatened Pakistan until president Ziaul Haq whispered to Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi at a cricket match in New Delhi that Pakistan’s newly acquired F-16s could reach India’s nuclear facilities in Trombay.

In 1990, as Pakistan-India tensions mounted in tandem with the Kashmiri freedom struggle, India threatened war until US satellites detected Pakistan loading suspected nuclear warheads onto its F-16s, bringing then CIA director Gates to South Asia to defuse the crisis.

Following India’s nuclear tests of May 1998, Indian leaders asserted that India’s nuclear weapons (“we have a big bomb”) had changed the power equation. Pakistan was obliged to conduct its tests to remove any ambiguity that could have led India to a disastrous misadventure.

A conflict was narrowly avoided on the night before Pakistan’s reciprocal nuclear tests. Pakistani radar detected aircraft moving up India’s western coast whose profile was that of US F-15s, creating suspicion of Indo-Israeli collusion to prevent Pakistan from conducting its tests. Urgent warnings were conveyed to New Delhi, Tel Aviv and Washington. Fortunately, the radar readings proved to be a false alarm. In the absence of bilateral communications, war can be easily triggered by miscalculation and mistake.

In the aftermath of the Kargil war, US president Clinton depicted Kashmir as the world’s primary nuclear flashpoint. This remains true today.

During the prolonged India-Pakistan stand-off in 2002, there were at least two occasions when Pakistan detected Indian aircraft being readied for a strike. In public statements, Pakistan warned that in extremis it would be obliged to resort to its nuclear capabilities. India apparently concluded that a war would entail unacceptable cost. This led to revival of the peace process.

Today, Pakistan and India are engaged in a complex confrontation which could erupt in a war that quickly escalates to the nuclear level. The lessons of past crises have apparently been forgotten.

India is now ruled by a Hindu fundamentalist prime minister whose visceral hatred for Muslims is well known. He is using anti-Pakistan rhetoric and postures successfully as a populist electoral tool with his extremist constituency. The ‘Pakistan-bashing’ will escalate as the 2019 Indian national elections approach.

Second, the people of India-held Kashmir, especially its youth, have risen in a spontaneous and indigenous revolt. Unlike the past, the revolt is outside the control of the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and/or Pakistan. And, despite brutal tactics, India has failed to suppress the revolt and, as usual, blames Pakistan and ‘cross-border terrorism’ for its failure.

Third, it is inevitable that Kashmiri freedom fighters will continue to attack Indian targets in and outside occupied Kashmir. It is equally inevitable that India will blame Pakistan and/or pro-Kashmiri groups located in Pakistan for such attacks.

Fourth, India has threatened to conduct ‘surgical strikes’ in response to ‘terrorist’ attacks. The daily Indian violations of the ceasefire along the LoC in Kashmir could provide India the ‘cover’ for such ‘surgical strikes’. Pakistan would consider any cross-border or cross-LoC incursion by India not as a ‘sub-conventional’ operation but as the initiation of a conventional conflict and give a ‘matching response’. This would commence a war which could escalate very quickly.

Fifth, despite the experience of the 2002 stand-off, India’s military doctrine contemplates a ‘limited’ war with Pakistan. Moreover, India has deployed its strike forces in forward positions, in accordance with its Cold Start doctrine, which contemplates a massive surprise attack against Pakistan. In response, Pakistan has adopted the doctrine of ‘full-spectrum deterrence’ under which Pakistan could utilise short-range nuclear missiles to break up large attacking Indian formations.

Sixth, perhaps to indicate that India is not deterred by this, the Indian air chief has asserted that he can identify and destroy Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Pakistan knows that India on its own does not have the capability to do so. The Indian assertion has raised the question of whether the US has undertaken to neutralise Pakistan’s nuclear delivery systems, through a pre-emptive strike or seizure, in a crisis. (In this context, reports about US plans to seize or destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons are illuminating.)

The US has played an active role in defusing previous crises in South Asia. During and after his election, President Trump offered to mediate between Pakistan and India. Pakistan accepted but India rejected this offer. It has not been revived recently. Nor is it reflected in the National Security Strategy.

In fact, the US can no longer be considered an impartial mediator. It is now India’s ‘strategic partner’. The National Security Strategy blames ‘cross-border terrorism’ for the violence in Kashmir. It does not speak of India’s brutal repression of the Kashmiris, their human rights or their demand for azadi (freedom).

Pakistan must seek alternate diplomatic mechanisms to prevent a spiral into a nuclear war. One such mechanism could be a China, EU, US and Russia ‘quad’ that engages with Pakistan and India in joint or parallel talks to defuse the current crisis, prevent the outbreak of a war and promote a just and peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. Such talks could be made mandatory through a resolution of the Security Council (which the US will find difficult to veto).

Ignoring the winds of war in South Asia could lead to a nuclear catastrophe without precedent in human history.

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2017

The winds of nuclear war - Pakistan - DAWN.COM

Absolute 100% unfiltered BS which Pakistan has been peddling to the world and timid Indian dispensations for time immemorial; dressed up in order to acquire a false air of respectability and factualness. No surprise it comes from a venomous snake like Munir Akram, he should be in jail for domestic violence if it weren't for diplomatic immunity.

Regardless, I hope this current administration disregards this nonsense and repeatedly calls Pakistan's bluff with actions like the "surgical strikes" and if need be, through implementation of a short, swift, conventional war at a time when India is in a favorable position to do so.
 
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