- Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:50
- by (Late) Brigadier Usman Khalid
A Joint Study by PESA and Civil Society - The article was written a while ago, hence dated in places but still relevant.
This paper has been exclusively written by VPF (Vision of Pakistan Forum) for decision makers and seeks their direct attention for three reasons:
- It strictly avoids party political bias; the recommendations can be adopted and implemented by any administration.
- It underlines the importance of ‘political neutrality’ of public servants and state institutions and seeks to restore their role in ‘neutral and impartial’ governance.
- It emphasises that to achieve any meaningful reform, we must put our own house in order first and foremost.
Vietnamese proverb: “When a bird is dying, its cry is more sorrowful and has a super-natural power” We use that cry to pray for our country” – Pakistan.
Pakistan: The State and the Society
A state is defined by its territory, the people and the polity (principle of national solidarity); the state of Pakistan is incomplete until the people of Jammu and Kashmir exercise their right of self-determination. The Polity of Pakistan is Islam and the state is founded on the Two Nation Theory. Its people are overwhelmingly Muslims but the state neither recognises nor supports sectarian divisions in any shape or form.
Based on the Two Nation Theory, the Pakistan Movement pursued the following objectives:
•To create a sovereign homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent in areas where they were in majority.
•To be a state powerful enough to safeguard the interests of Muslims who remain behind in India.
•To develop a modern polity for a ‘Muslim nation state’ as a model for the newly independent Muslim countries.
The people of Pakistan have been loyal to the objectives of the Movement but the vision has been vitiated by series of failures until the success in Afghanistan.
1It is vitally important that an official version of the Two Nation Theory and the objectives of Pakistan Movement be articulated and made a foundational principle of policy.
Since the creation of Pakistan a nexus existed between the Soviet Union, India and Afghanistan which defined the strategic environment. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11 a new nexus emerged between India, the USA, UK, Israel and the Government in Afghanistan which has been hostile to Pakistan’s legitimate interests. But the people of Afghanistan have always been friendly to Pakistan and its people. The dispute over Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan has dominated not only the relations between the two countries but also of the region as a whole. This territory has assumed greater importance for two reasons: 1) the rivers of Pakistan flow from Jammu and Kashmir and India is planning to build more than 200 dams in the Himalayas in order to make Pakistan a desert; 2) the land link between Pakistan and China passes through that ‘disputed territory’. A further factor is the new strategic doctrine of the USA which has transformed the nature of international war; it is now conducted as ‘covert operations’. The main feature of the new war is ‘deniability’ of direct involvement and use of local collaborators.
Relations with the US
Right from the time of the creation of Pakistan a distinct leaning towards the USA developed primarily to meet defence and security needs. A close relationship between the military of the two countries had good and bad results. Pakistan was able to equip and train its armed forces at par with other modern armies; but frequent military coups d’état in Pakistan are also attributed to the nature of Pak-US relations. However, the USA continued to seek the friendship of India. In 1962 Sino-Indian War, USA gave clear, specific and direct support to India sending a clear message to Pakistan: “any attack on Kashmir would be considered an attack on America”. In 1965 Indo Pakistan War, the USA stood aside and used it as an excuse to impose sanctions and stop military aid. Pak-US relations reached new low during 1971 Indo-Pakistan War when the USA held every country back until East Pakistan had been over-run by the Indian Army. But a new situation – Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 – brought USA and Pakistan together again. The US betrayal of Pakistan was forgotten and the two countries co-operated fully in supporting Jihad to liberate Afghanistan. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan was the prime cause of the break up of the Soviet Union. The USA won victory in its most prolonged war – the Cold War – without its armed forces firing a shot in anger.
While the US belligerence towards the Muslim world is often attributed to 9/11 but the US view of its interests had morphed into a game of’ ‘full spectrum domination’ long before. Two years before 9/11 US plans for intervention in Afghanistan were unfolding. The objective as outlined in Mackinder’s ‘doctrine of Eurasian land mass’ and Brzezinski’s perception of an ‘integrated Euro-Asian geo-strategy’ have been pursued by a ‘global coalition’ led by the US. That raises many questions vital for the security and even survival of Pakistan.
•What are the US objectives in the region? Do they include ‘denuclearisation’ and ‘disintegration’ of Pakistan?
•How would such objectives be pursued? Covertly by placing moles in the higher echelons of government; infiltration of organs of the state and the society particularly the media; coercive diplomacy; insurrectional war by ethnic and religious groups; military invasion with India as a proxy?
•Would deindustrialisation and administrative collapse be an additional prop of the US strategy? Is Pakistan moving towards becoming a failed state?
•Conversely, the present strains notwithstanding, USA and Pakistan have a shared interest in access to Central Asia from the Arabian Sea. Surely, the break up or administrative collapse of Pakistan would undermine rather than facilitate such access. Would the US hesitate when it sees beyond the abyss and stop short of seeking the collapse of Pakistan?
•What role will be given to India in Afghanistan? India is using Afghan soil for its clandestine operations against Pakistan, particularly in Baluchistan. If that continued, the nuances of US policy would have little impact and the US would be seen as hostile.
•If NATO/US troops stayed on after their present deadline of 2014, what would be the purpose - more important, their fate? Continued fighting in Afghanistan is destabilising for Pakistan and for all the Central Asian Republics (CARs).
•Pakistan has been under pressure to accommodate Indian interests giving road access and trade concessions to India. This is resisted by groups fighting the US in Afpak. Will Pakistan fight these groups and open yet another front in its ‘war on terror’?
•The USA has warned of robust action in the event of a “major Muslim country going bad.” Would the US pursue ‘denuclearisation and disintegration’ of Pakistan, regardless; or would it depend on Pakistan accepting Indian hegemony and the US satisfaction with support provided by Pakistan?
In the USA there are several centres of power. All of them articulate their diverse views until decision time. The time for decision has not come yet in Afpak. NATO and the USA are beginning their withdrawal in 2013 but five to six bases and several thousand troops may stay well beyond the 2014 deadline. Some elements of the Taliban would continue resistance as long as there is even symbolic US military presence. Would the resistance lead to complete US withdrawal or provide a rationale for US presence? The reliance on Pakistan for logistic support would continue in either case. The US relations with Pakistan have been characterised as “no hostility but no commonality of interests”. But if Pakistan spelt out its interests and policy clearly, the chances are that the US may accommodate them. After all, the objectives of Pakistan and the geo-political interests of the USA are complementary; both want Central Asian Republics to have access to the Arabian Sea.
If Pakistan is stable and friendly to Afghanistan, that objective is secured. But two close allies and ‘strategic partners’ of the USA – India and Israel - insist that unstable Pakistan is easier to infiltrate and destroy from within. Since 9/11 the main thrust of US policy has been to follow the Indo-Israeli diktat. The US has moved from seeking a friendly Pakistan to a pliant regime in Pakistan. Having achieved that five years ago and sustaining instability by wanton patronage of ethnic and sectarian militancy, the US is no closer to opening up Central Asia to its South. At some stage, the USA would like to cut its losses and get out of Afghanistan. That might be followed by a civil war. Pakistan still has cards up its sleeve. We have to be prepared for active diplomacy in tandem with all the neighbours of Afghanistan. The Muslim world has been disappointed with President Obama during his first term because the ‘change’ he promised did not materialise. It is hoped that during his second term, President Obama would resolve conflicts in the region – in Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir: That could happen only if Pakistan’s policy on relations with Afghanistan and CARs is clear and unambiguous to friends and foes alike:
2We seek and support peace, harmony and stability in Afghanistan and want to help achieve that goal in tandem with the five Central Asian Republics.:
3Our geo-political interest is complementary to that of the US. We want Afghanistan to be transformed from a ‘barrier’ to a ‘bridge’ with Central Asia.
4Time has come for Pakistan to demand an end to drone attacks and to wind down US/NATO military presence in Afghanistan.
5It is Pakistan’s interest to facilitate the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan in every way possible.
Relations with Russia and China
After the collapse of Communism in Russia, Islam was chosen as an ideological adversary by the West and China the military adversary. Therefore, China and the world of Islam are natural allies. The power of China is on the rise. In such an environment the waning power becomes desperate and can make mistakes. The US invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and of Iraq in 2003 were costly mistakes that sought to bypass the two bleeding wounds in the Muslim World – Palestine and Kashmir. Both are occupied by strategic partners of the USA – Israel and India. Ever since the Oslo Agreement there have been hopes that the USA would become even- handed or even take the side of the occupied not the occupier. That has not happened.
6Central to amicable resolution of the conflict in the region is further strengthening of relationship between China and Pakistan.
7Because of the hold that India and Israel have over the American psyche, the US efforts to ‘engage’ a Muslim country take the form of ‘subversion’.
8The soft power of India supplements that of America in the region; Pakistan needs to work closely with its neighbours and other friendly countries to thwart them.
President Putin is being subjected to vile propaganda by the US after failing to dictate policy to him. The US seeks to destabilise Russia primarily by the use of its ‘soft power’. In consequence, Russia has become distrustful of the USA, distant from Europe, and drawn closer to China and the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO). The Muslim World, which lives in cheek by jowl proximity of Europe, was expected to draw closer to Europe. That has proceeded too slowly to make a difference. The world is still uni-polar but the USA has shifted the focal point of its power to the Pacific region against China. India has not yet signed up to becoming a ‘bulwark’ against China. But India is co-operating actively and fully with the USA and Australia in the Indian Ocean. India may take a while before it openly becomes a US ally but it has no alternative. New road links and pipelines across Eurasia are changing the geo-political landscape to the disadvantage of India the full impact of which would unfold slowly.
9Indo-US strategic co-operation in the Indian Ocean is a reality which is not going to change. What might change is Russia’s policy towards India. Pakistan should reiterate its interest in joining the SCO and hope that India would prefer to make friends with its neighbours to pursue its economic interests rather than seek regional hegemony as a US ally against China.
10Evolve a common strategy and complementary capability with China for the defence of supply lines and choke points – Gulf of Hormuz, Gulf of Eden, and Malacca Straits - in the Indian Ocean.
The basic goals of Pakistan’s foreign policy are: 1) preservation of sovereign independence and territorial integrity; 2) socio-economic development; 3) maintenance of Islamic identity as a modern forward looking democratic nation seeking to promote global peace and stability. Since 9/11 the US presence in Afghanistan has brought the war into Pakistan with deadly consequences. It has often been felt that the declared US aims are not the same as its real aims. In such an environment of distrust, it has been very difficult for Pakistan to pursue its goals. However, after more than a decade of futile war in Afghanistan it appears that the US may be willing to withdraw from Afghanistan although not entirely. That constitutes a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge because insurgency in the trans-frontier region might continue undermining peace and stability in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is an opportunity because unlike 1985, the USA is likely to remain engaged in the region raising the prospects of accommodation – even understanding – between the USA, Pakistan and Afghanistan. .
Kashmir is the Key
Pakistan’s geography places on its shoulders responsibility for vigilance in the conduct of relations with its immediate neighbours and major powers. The foreign policy of Pakistan has been determined by troubled relations with India and excessive reliance on the West. The relations with India had been improving because of a sustained media campaign ‘aman ki aasha’ and visits by sports teams, film artists, businessmen and even politicians. But repeated violation of the LoC since the New Year and the vicious media campaign against Pakistan calling for ‘teaching Pakistan a lesson’ shows how transient is the impact of so called CBMs. Meanwhile, there has been no movement on any substantive issue; the violation of Indus Basin Treaty by India continues behind a veil of guile and smiles. While the present Administration appears to be too weak to use diplomacy to effect, the consensus in Pakistan is that deep-rooted mistrust notwithstanding we must give diplomacy a chance. This is because Pakistan’s relations with all its other neighbours are improving or steady. The only real dispute with India is over Jammu and Kashmir from where all the rivers into Pakistan flow. Neither country is prepared to make a substantive compromise. The status quo would therefore endure until a major politico-military upheaval occurs. Such things are never planned, they occur by mistake or by accident. It is not much of a policy to pray for an accident. But such is indeed the case.
Union of ECO States
Pakistan needs a bold new initiative in the foreign policy field in order to transform the balance of power in the region. The six Muslim countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgizstan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan – are the homeland of the Turkish people who fanned out from their homeland to establish two of the most glorious and powerful Muslim Empires – the Moghul Empire and the Ottoman Empire. It was Central Asian Turks who brought Islam to the sub-continent. The Pakistanis feel close to them because of the links of language, history and faith and so does the Republic of Turkey. In Tajikistan and Afghanistan a dialect of Persian is the common language. In the ten countries in the ECO – the Central Asian six plus Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan – only three languages are spoken Urdu, Turkish and Persian – which all have a common source and script. There is no region in the world with greater economic integration, social harmony, and bonds of shared pride in common history. The Central Asian Six are also land locked states and need an outlet to the open Sea – the Arabian/Mediterranean Sea. There is no other region in the world more ready or more deserving of a Union on the lines of the EU. With a combined population of 450 million people, area equal to that of the USA and unparalleled resources – mineral and agricultural - the Union of the ten ECO states is a project that only needs drive from visionary leadership. The framework of the ECO already exists. All that needs to be done is to add three more points to its charter:
•Recognise the present inter-state frontiers to be sacrosanct and inviolable.
•Allow free movement of people and goods between the states within the discipline of ‘customs union’ and one month visa at entry point.
•Recognise that attack on any member state would be considered to be an attack on all of therm.
11Pakistan to strive in co-operation with Turkey to transform the ECO into a common market and virtual military alliance by recognising the present frontiers to be sacrosanct and inviolable; free movement of people and goods, and resolve that an attack on any member to be an attack on all.
12Build all weather rail/road links from Pakistan to China and beyond on priority basis to link all the ten states with each other and China
13Complete the gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Priorities in Foreign Policy
The focal points of Pakistan’s foreign policy would continue to be India and America because the two threaten its security. However, it is in multi-lateral links that provide the best avenues for pursuing security and economic interests. Pakistan could deal with crises as well as opportunities if we put more effort into multi-lateral forums where aspirations and interests are common. ECO is one such forum; SCO is another; OIC yet another. We need to downplay SAARC which is forum of the ‘unlike and dislikes’. Pakistan and India are waiting members of the SCO. Russia is sponsoring India in the hope it will dissuade India from being an open ally of the US. But India is already a US ally in the Indian Ocean. The Russian hope is forlorn. Russia must know that Indian membership of any group undermines its effectiveness and leads to its atrophy. It is Pakistan’s view that SCO would be still born if India became its member. Forcefully expressed, Pakistan’s view would be taken on board.
14Pakistan should seek to locate the HQ of the OIC or its financial arm in Islamabad to accelerate the integration of CARs with the Muslim World.
Saudi Arabia is where the fountainhead of Islam is located. The people of Pakistan have an emotional attachment with the entire Arabian Peninsula which is now consolidated as the GCC. Israel is the nuclear power in the region that is itself safe because of its small size but which threatens every Arab and Muslim country in the region. Pakistan is one country in the area which is threatened also by another nuclear power – India. The compulsions of security forced Pakistan into developing its own nuclear arsenal which is now operational and is effective as a deterrent to war. Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent is unidirectional as it is directed towards India alone – no other neighbour – near or far – feels threatened by it. However, there has always been a need that the Arabian Peninsula be provided a cover from Israel’s nuclear weapons. Since the deployment of nuclear weapons on the Peninsula could well have made it a target, it was prudent not to do so and provide the nuclear cover from the soil of Pakistan. Written security deals can always be reneged on; this understanding between the GCC states and Pakistan is underpinned by bonds of faith and warm personal relations between the leaders. Saudi Arabia has responded to Pakistan’s willingness to provide nuclear cover with open arm generosity further cementing the close relationship. Saudi Arabia provided free oil during the years Pakistan was under US sanctions; the Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia are a crucial factor in countering balance of payment deficit; diplomatic and financial clout of Saudi Arabia has been vital support to Pakistan on international forums. The close brotherly relations between Saudi Arabia and other GCC states with Pakistan is the principal asset of Pakistan in dealing with its internal as well as international problems. At times, this relationship is put under strain by ‘aqeeda’ fighters which have proliferated among Muslims particularly in Diaspora. Pakistan, with its free press and open society is more vulnerable to the ‘aqeeda’ fighters. But it is also well equipped to deal with the threats from subversives who seek to divide and create internal strife.
15Close strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia is vital for the security and the economic prospects of Pakistan. This needs to be strengthened by better organised institutions and information exchange protocols.
The Pakistanis are Turco-Iranian people with links to Central Asian Turks and to Iran which go back to the time of the advent of Islam. The Turks in Turkey are mostly the descendants of Europeans who converted to Islam just as the Muslims in the sub-continent are descendants of local converts. The phenomenon of ‘zeal of converts’ was the drive behind the two greatest empires in history – the Moghul Empire and the Ottoman Empire. When Caliphate was established in Istanbul, the Muslim rulers of the sub-continent embraced it as a suzerain. After the defeat of the Ottomans in the First World War the Muslims of the sub-continent felt it was their duty to go and fight for and defend the Caliphate. Hundreds of thousands of volunteer fighters moved in waves through Afghanistan and Russia towards Turkey for that fight. Many perished on the way but most of them reached Turkey and were hosted by ordinary Turks. There were many intermarriages and a symbiotic relationship developed that has proved to be enduring. The relationship between Turks and Pakistanis is truly a people to people relationship. The Turks refer to Pakistanis as kardesh which means brother. There is perhaps no two nations anywhere else where the relationship is characterised by total absence of friction or animosity. If Pakistanis and Afghans had welcomed Arab fighters during the Jihad in Afghanistan, perhaps another symbiotic relationship could have developed between the Arabs and Turco-Iranians with similar warmth and benefits. However, the dust has yet to settle; Jihad in Afghanistan is not yet over. We could still build on that great precedence.
The grooves through which history has moved in Turkey and Pakistan are remarkably identical. Both countries joined West sponsored CENTO military alliance against the USSR; both countries have gone through military coup d’état several times; both countries have rediscovered their roots in Islam as the polity while embracing the universal concept of ‘nation state’. The commonality of aspirations and approach, interests and agenda is remarkable. New Turkey under the leadership of Tayyip Erdogan is leading the way in many spheres. The long slumbering nation is advancing so rapidly in the socio-economic field that it is both a model as well as an interface with Russia and the Western World. It has settled all disputes with all its neighbours and built warm friendly relations with the Arabs as well as Russia with which relations were frozen for a century over bitter memories of war. Turkey has close links of race and language with the Central Asian Six as well as Afghanistan. But Pakistan is the country that is closer physically. If ECO Union is to be the power house of the future, Turkey is the foundation of that power house.
16Brotherly relations with Turkey are underpinned by common faith, language, culture and history of warmth and absence of friction. Even though closer economic links have developed in the recent past but neither the nature nor the scope is commensurate with what is possible. Pakistan needs to develop goals and strategies in every field that can be better pursued in co-operation with Turkey.
Egypt had long displayed signs of a split personality – pulled in one direction by its desire to be the leader of the pan-Arab nation and in another direction by its glorious past as a leading Muslim country. Arab nationalism under President Nasser became hostile to the West and friendly to the Soviet Union. It fought two Arab-Israeli Wars in 1956 and 1967 which Egypt lost. In 1956, President Eisenhower gave an ultimatum to Israel. France and the UK, who had invaded Egypt in the wake of the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, and secured their immediate withdrawal. In 1967 War, Israel alone conquered all of erstwhile Palestine, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. It was a humiliating defeat. Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt after the 1973 Yom Kippur War as Israel had refused to re-open the Suez Canal and the USA was sufficiently infuriated at their defiance to have assisted Egypt to achieve surprise in an attack across the Canal. Both Israel and Egypt reached the conclusion that America held the key and could dictate events in the Middle East. The USA installed its puppets – Anwar Saadat and later Hosni Mubarak after President Saadat was assassinated during a military parade – in Egypt. During the rule of President Nasser as well as his successors Egypt was close to India and lukewarm towards Pakistan even though Egypt and Pakistan were in the same pro-western camp.
Forty year rule of Hosni Mubarak came to an end in 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring – huge public demonstrations led by Islamists notably Ikhwan al Muslimeen. Elections have since been held, a new constitution adopted, and Mohammed Morsi – an Ikhwan Leader –has been elected as the new President of Egypt. While he has been careful not to abrogate the ‘peace treaty’ with Israel and has eschewed defiance of the US in the region there is clear shift in the balance in the Middle East. Other Arab States – who are all smaller and often richer than Egypt – are not embracing New Egypt with enthusiasm primarily because they are afraid of the Arab Spring coming to their countries. In this environment, Pakistan and Turkey are the two countries who can hold the Egyptian hand while it is engaged in a power struggle against internal opposition and foreign threats. Time has come for Egypt to take a pro-Islamic line at home and abroad for its own stability as well as to improve its influence and prospects in the world.
17A ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ has arisen for Pakistan to find new friends, new avenues and new direction to implement its vision of global Muslim unity This vision is now shared, in fact led, by Egypt. Pakistan must rise to the occasion and embrace Egypt with warmth and offer strategic co-operation to it.
Defence policy outlines the policy on Equipment, Organisation and Doctrine. By its very nature the policy on equipment changes with the acquisition by the enemy of newer weapon systems, raising of new types of units with new roles, raising new formations and redeployment of forces. New alliances and new arrangements for co-operation with other states regionally or globally also bear an impact on defence policy. Since most of such information remains shrouded in secrecy, the defence policy that is publicly announced usually pertains to: 1) perception of threat, 2) doctrine of deterrence. The strategic doctrine of a nuclear power revolves around its nuclear deterrent.
Nuclear Doctrine of Pakistan
Pakistan’s principal enemy is not only a nuclear power but which also enjoys 5 to 1 overall superiority in conventional combat power. That is why the nuclear doctrine of Pakistan is ‘first strike’. This implies that Pakistan would respond to any violation of its sovereign space on land, in the air, or at sea with a nuclear strike. Both India and Pakistan have 24/7 early warning system and a hot line to ensure that hostilities may not start by mistake or by accident. However, the territory of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed and is not considered to be ‘sovereign space’. The Kargil War occurred after both India and Pakistan had become declared nuclear powers. And the war did not involve nuclear weapons. But it also did not involve the Pakistan Air Force even though the Indian Air Force bombarded Pakistani positions throughout that war. A question has therefore arisen about the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent. Was Pakistan afraid of further escalation that it did not use its air force? That would imply that India’s doctrine of ‘graduated response’ rather than Pakistan’s doctrine of ‘first strike’ was operative. Even if that conclusion is drawn, it does not undermine the credibility of Pakistan’s deterrent because India did not attack the sovereign territory of Pakistan anywhere despite the fact that it was Pakistan that crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir.
18Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent is credible and its nuclear doctrine – first strike – is sound. We should want every serviceman and civil servant to know what the doctrine is and what it implies
The term ‘asymmetrical war’ has been coined in the USA to describe any war in which the two sides are very unequal in manpower and fire-power, in weapons and mobility, and in doctrine - tactics and strategy. Since the US armed forces have been engaged in fighting partisans and guerrillas for a long time and losing – notably in Viet Nam - there was a need to develop a doctrine to fight and win such wars. Since the irregulars have a long staying power which cannot be matched by regular forces, the emphasis was on weapons and tactics that improve the staying power of the USA well beyond that of any present or potential enemy. Drones are the mainstay of the new US strategy to win asymmetrical wars. However, the USA has not been able to win in Iraq or Afghanistan. That must mean that the response more than matched the new capabilities of the USA. Pakistan is the country which developed that response against the Soviet Union. Equipped with that experience, the Afghans have been able to develop ways and means to more than match the US power. Hezbollah, on the other end in the Middle East, also won in its asymmetrical war with Israel in a totally different environment which approximated to that of ‘limited war’ albeit an asymmetrical one. Is there a common strand in the counter-strategy developed to beat massive conventional superiority? Since Pakistan is facing threats on both ends of the asymmetrical spectrum, we need to prepare and develop weapons, tactics and strategy on both ends.
On the American end of the asymmetrical war, the objective is to dominate the air space and have spies on the ground to spot and illuminate targets for drone attacks. On the Afghan end of that war, it involves identifying and eliminating spies and dominating the empty or lightly occupied space. In Lebanon, however, the asymmetry was multi-faceted and response of Hezbollah much more robust. Hezbollah fighters studied the way the Israelis fight and sought to exploit their weaknesses and neutralise their strength. Israeli forces are all mechanised and depend heavily on air power for destruction of chosen targets and interdiction of the battlefield. Hezbollah took only passive measures to minimise destruction by Israeli air power. The fighters stayed behind in the territory over-run by Israeli tanks and APCs in well concealed bunkers from which they emerged at night to destroy the supposedly ‘indestructible’ Mekerva tanks. On the first night 14 tanks were destroyed; Israeli gave up the practice of ‘leaguer’ at night. Thereafter, every night three to four tanks were destroyed until the Israeli decided to cut their losses and get out.
The Americans are losing to the Taliban because they cannot identify who is a friend and who is a foe. Pakistan is losing to the TTP for the same reason. Pakistan succeeded in Swat where the entire friendly population was removed to use fire power against the rest tellingly. That may not be possible elsewhere. But friendly locals outnumber hostiles by 10 to 1 or more. Reward anyone who identifies and kills a hostile and keep his identity and reward secret. If the Americans can find spies to identify and illuminate targets in FATA, Pakistan can surely do better. But it has to be done without haste and with care. We have done more difficult things in the past.
19Pakistan’s armed forces have a need to train to fight asymmetrical war on both ends of the spectrum. Weapons, equipment and doctrine need to be developed for fighting insurgents and for training and supporting irregulars engaged in ‘war of liberation’.
Revival of Jihad
Jihad in Afghanistan marked the revival of the institution of Jihad after a lapse of about 300 years. During the period of decline of Muslim power, Jihad and imperial war had become indistinguishable from each other. In the wake of the industrial revolution Europe became better equipped for imperial wars and continued to win victories and acquire colonies all over the globe. In Afghanistan Jihad was revived as ‘peoples’ war’ not as ‘holy war’. The person responsible for that revival was a Palestinian scholar Abdullah Azzam who was a mentor of Osama bin Laden who brought Muslim fighters from all over the Arab world into Afghanistan. The prevailing view of Jihad as war ordered by the ‘right person’ (head of an Islamic State) was replaced by war for the ‘right reason’.
The Arab fighters who came to Afghanistan included many takfiri who had been engaged in fighting to take over the government in their countries notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. After the exit of Soviet forces from Afghanistan Abdullah Azzam declared the end of Jihad and ordered all foreign fighters to return to their home countries. Most did but the Takfiri who could not, murdered Abdullah Azzam when he was coming out of a masjid in Peshawar. With that the objective of their Jihad came to be the imposition of their view of sharia. The Taliban are essentially a Takfiri cult which has undermined the revival of jihad as a force of liberation and made it an instrument of coercion. The Takfiri operate as Mafiosi; they kill those who refuse to fall in line. This has transformed the social scene, which can be described as ‘rule of the outlaw’ – in politics, and generally in the society. While the state institutions – the military and the judiciary – are robust and the media is quite independent, the Mafiosi continue to be dominant. In fact, beside the death squads operated by the Takfiri, several criminal groups and almost all ethnic and sectarian groups have death squads they use to obtain share in political power. The present laws restrain the law enforcers and encourage law violators.
Revival of Jihad in the Muslim world is a source of strength and power only if the state and the society can deal with the Takfiri menace and other operators of death squads. Pakistan needs laws to punish law violators effectively and speedily.
20Pakistan should enact the law of Torts awarding civil redress and damages to anyone defamed by written or spoken word. Defaming the judiciary or the military should be deemed ‘criminal’ offence punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.
21Pakistan is engaged in a war and it needs more discipline and less liberty to wage that war successfully. It needs the equivalent of the Patriot Act of USA to identify, convict and punish subversives.
22Political parties need to be more strictly regulated. Parties and persons who maintain militias or death squads, who advocate or practise violence against any faith, sect or section of the society, and those opposed to the Two Nation Theory or the objectives of the Pakistan Movement should be banned from contesting elections .
Socio-political reform comes before and sets the stage for systemic reform. Three pieces of legislation have been proposed above towards that end.
Primacy of Politics & Separation of Powers
All judicial and executive decisions involve ‘judgement’ of the merit of the case. The fairness and timeliness of decisions depend on the quality of decision makers – their integrity, competence and political neutrality. Political bias or interference undermines fairness. But in formulation of policy – particularly in the realm of security and foreign policy - there are two or more narratives but no judge; it is all a matter of ‘political judgement’. ‘Primacy of politics’ is a recognised principle in a democracy. But decisions affecting the public, which define the quality of governance, require ‘separation of powers’ between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. ‘Primacy of politics’ in policy making and ‘separation of power’ in decision making are vital underpinnings of democracy. If politicians alone drafted legislation public interest may be ignored.
23Constitutional amendments and important legislation should not be drafted and enacted by politicians alone. There should always be a report by a ‘commission’ of experts, followed by a press review and debate after which the legislation is drafted by the ministry concerned, reviewed by the Cabinet, and then debated and passed by the parliament
Form of Government
Today, only the former British colonies or constitutional monarchies have the parliamentary system. It works when the country has a unitary form of government but in a federation it encourages centrifugal forces. Britain is a country of only sixty million people with one language and one main religion and yet there are strong forces that threaten the separation of Scotland, Wales and Ireland from Britain. But our politicians prefer the parliamentary system where they, not the people, appoint the Chief Executive. Pakistan introduced the presidential system in 1962 but it was associated with military rule of President Ayub Khan. The 1962 Constitution was abrogated by his successor – General Yahya Khan in 1970. Had the system survived, Pakistan could have been another South Korea. Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh have all reverted to the parliamentary system and remained politically unstable. The Prime Minister in each country is virtually a neo-sovereign. However, Turkey and Bangladesh, that are not a federation and have a unitary form of government, have since found stability by developing political parties with stable constituencies. But India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have adopted the model of political dynasties. That is perhaps the worst form that a parliamentary democracy could have taken.
24A commission of experts may be set up by the next administration to consider change in the form of government and other constitutional changes proposed in this paper elsewhere.
Administrative Reform & Provincial Autonomy
We have recently had several constitutional amendments which have focussed attention on increased ‘provincial autonomy’ giving rise to fears of a foreign hand in redesigning the political system so that the country is easy to break up as was the case with Yugoslavia. Provincial autonomy is neither Islamic nor European in origin; it is a legacy of the British Raj where property rights of the subjects of conquered territories were protected by keeping the ownership of the state land in the hands of the new province annexed to the empire. It was a good idea as it maintained a balance between freedom of movement for gainful employment and retaining links with the land of one’s forefathers. It is still a good idea as long its implications are clearly understood. The implications are:
A.All land not owned by or sold to individuals, companies, corporation or the federal government belongs to the province.
B.Tax on land – land revenue, abiana etc – can only be levied by the provincial government. Equally, the development of land for cultivation, its irrigation, and any other service for land is the responsibility of the provincial government.
C.The people belong to the federation and the province cannot restrict their movement to seek employment or escape hardship. Taxes on people – their income and consumption – can only be imposed by the federation which is responsible for all the services to the people – health, education, law and order, welfare and security – are the responsibility of the federal government. If some responsibilities are devolved, e.g. of health, education, law and order etc, the federal government will pay from its revenues an appropriate sum as recompense.
D.The Sovereign functions – Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Control of Rivers, etc. – are the exclusive domain of the federal government.
There has been no serious departure from the above listed implications of provincial autonomy even after the passage of the 18th Amendment. But a few are in the pipeline.
25The agricultural income tax has been made a provincial tax. But income is income and all of it should remain taxable by the federal govt.
26Sindh province has imposed VAT on services. VAT on goods as well services is a tax on consumption and it should remain federal tax.
There is talk in Pakistan of the need for a ‘revolution’ or ‘change in status quo’ but the parameters of change remain vague and undefined. It is therefore feared there may be bloodshed but little change. A revolution entails either the replacement of the political class or the introduction of a new system of ownership of means of ‘production, distribution and exchange’. Islam was the greatest revolution in history because it changed both. Even today, the Muslim countries which did not come under colonial rule, the ‘freeholder’ of all land is the state; all individuals are leaseholders. That is why Turkey and territories under Ottoman rule have merely had to replace their ruling class but not the system of ownership to carry out a ‘complete revolution’.
The situation demands extreme care. All the matters dealing with systemic reform need to be put on the back burner until the strategic challenges to the economy and security of Pakistan are dealt with. A constitutional change must be considered by experts before it is debated in public and considered by the parliament. Matters relating to change in the form of govt., creating new provinces, regulation of ownership of land etc, may be entrusted to separate commissions of experts.
27Change the form of government to Presidential form with a directly elected President as the Chief Executive who selects members in his cabinet from among politicians or technocrats.
28The practice of reserved seats and indirect elections to National /Provincial assembly or the Senate should cease. Instead, political parties to give tickets to women and representatives of minorities on normal seats.
29Rules to be framed to regulate ownership of means of production distribution and exchange - all owners of land be given renewable leases and land revenue converted into rent of land.
30Review of the boundaries of the present provinces and creation of new provinces, which should be the last of systemic changes.
Administration & Good Governance
Pakistan inherited a functioning administrative system from the British which delivered adequate, if not excellent, governance. The bureaucracy was recruited by merit, trained very well, and given salary and status that kept them away from ‘temptations’. However, with the rise of the power and influence of politicians, interference and ‘temptations’ grew alarmingly. The introduction of ‘lateral entry’ system in 1973 destroyed the value of merit – of good conduct or of good service. Members of Civil Services developed interfaces with politicians which corrupted both. The trend continues.
At this moment, the standard of governance is very poor and deteriorating further. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution that abolished the ‘concurrent list’ has undermined uniformity as well as standards in Health, Education, and Law and Order. Population explosion has added to the burden of the state. Indifference to rising insecurity, lack of employment, and falling living standards particularly in rural areas, is causing a social breakdown and rise in crime. Mismanagement and corruption in Department of Electricity, in Railways, PIA, Steel Mills and other nationalised industry cost the state exchequer more than the entire defence budget. However, there are some positives also. The high judiciary has become less corrupt and is eager to restore itself in public esteem. The military has returned to barracks and its professional standards are improving. NAB, which was expected to be disbanded, has had a new lease of life under a new leader – Admiral Fasih Bokhari. Corruption is still rampant but the press is free and alert to misdeeds and exposes wrong doers with considerable zeal but often inadequate accuracy. A few specific measures recommended to improve governance are as follows:
31Restore a few subjects on the ‘concurrent list’ of the Constitution i.e. Health, Education, Law and Order, Social welfare, and Minority Affairs.
32Recruitment and promotion in the police and civil services is subject to the caprice of politicians. Recruitment and promotions at all levels in federal, provincial and local government should be based on merit alone. .
33Administrative Courts be set up with responsibility to investigate and prosecute – as in France – of all public servants for corruption and providing compensation for loss or damage suffered by a decision of an official, corporation or company.
32Review the payroll of departments taking into account the fees/revenue earned and service provided in order to weed out political appointees, the inefficient and the corrupt to retrench and right size the department.
33Government employment to be provided statutory protections; public servants to be proceeded against in Administrative Courts with right of appeal in higher courts.
34A system of rewards and awards to be instituted for government employees for good conduct and good public service.
35Salaries of public servants to be linked with inflation.
36The institution of ‘political neutrality of civil servants’ to be restored, respected and protected by statutory provisions.
Without proper economic management of the country, the state cannot deliver on the raison d’être of its existence - security of life, liberty, honour and livelihood of the citizens. Without security, freedom and democracy have little meaning. Without the state being able to levy and collect taxes equitably, fairly and promptly, it is not possible to organise and deliver defence and security. A state, therefore, is as strong as its economy. That is no exaggeration. But the tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan is mere 9% and it needs to be above 16% - closer to 20% - if the country is to afford adequate standard of defence and social security. An economic system is defined and driven by three sets of policies:
1Economic Policy: Socio-economic targets; mobilisation of finance; development of technologies and methodologies, rules and procedures.
2Fiscal Policy: Taxation
3Monetary Policy: Interest Rates and Exchange Rates.
Decisions have always been made in Pakistan by one man. When the military rules the country, it is the Army Chief who made all crucial decisions; the leader of the ruling party is the ‘decider’ during ‘democratic’ rule. That one person is able to compromise national interest with impunity. The decision to join the US War on Terror was taken by Gen. Musharraf. The decision to shelve the Kalabagh Dam project was made by a Sindhi Prime Minister ignoring the fact that it was most needed by the Sindh Province. The simple fact is that dams do not consume water; they store water for use in barrages downstream. Under the 1991 Water Accord Sindh gets 37% share of all water stored in any dam over River Indus. Yet, it is the Sindh provincial assembly that has been the most vocal opponent of the Kalabagh Dam. Clearly, the media has failed to inform and the politician have only underlined their incapability to take on board an argument and merely respond to popular sentiment which is often erroneous. There is clearly a case for the political class not being a closed club; it needs to be opened up to other than land owners and lawyers. Addition of businessmen to the class is not enough because they are also in need of ‘political favours’.
37The case of the Kalabagh Dam may be entrusted to a commission and not be pursued as an exercise in provincial passions.
38A country cannot be a true democracy unless the decision making process is transparent and inclusive. To open up the field, membership of political parties be opened to public servants on the one hand and restricted to those actually seeking elective office.
Economic policy covers every public and private endeavour. But it is in the field of health and education that the government planning can have the most impact. In the UK the National Health Service is the biggest employer and the pharmaceutical industry is the biggest exporter. And Britain created the NHS soon after the Second World War when the back of the economy was broken. NHS created demand which is the motive force of rapid rise in production of goods and services. In over-populated Pakistan, NHS can serve the same purpose – accelerate the pace of socio-economic development. In the UK the NHS provides free GP service as well as hospital care. The GPs are self-employed who get paid by the NHS a per capita fee for every patient on their list. Doctors are not considered civil servants; they are employed on short term contracts of two to three years. They sell their skill like lawyers, engineers and architects who are paid a fee by their client or customer. Only when they are in their 40s or 50s that they get a permanent contract as Professors and Consultants. The same should be done in Pakistan.
In Pakistan the NHS need not be entirely free. In order to discourage too many children there should be a per capita charge of Rs 50/- per month charged by the GP. The cost of medicines for the very poor may be paid from Zakat on the recommendation of the GP. The per capita charge would bring in 8 billion rupees per month or 96 billion per annum. The province could match that with a similar amount and the federal government could supplement it by a similar amount embarking on a programme of new or improved hospitals. 300 billion rupees per annum NHS would employ a million people if the average cost of employing one person is Rs.3 lakh per year. That would be some progress to be proud of.
39National Health Service be set up funded by a per capita charge of Rs. 50/- per month supplemented by funds from provincial and federal governments. But doctors should not be employed on permanent contracts like civil servants. The GPs to be self-employed and all doctors to be employed on short term contracts of 2 to 3 years until they acquire the experience and display professional excellence to be consultants and professors.
40The NHS to have four tiers of service providers:
a. GP clinics and pharmacies who are self employed and paid according to the number of regular patients on their list and medicines etc provided.
b. Hospitals providing accident and emergency service and non-specialist treatment under provincial arrangements.
c. Hospitals providing specialist treatment under provincial arrangements.
d. Fee charging Teaching Hospitals and advanced treatment centres in semi-private sector regulated by the federal government.
41A federal programme and institutes for training and testing of doctors, nurses and other medical staff to maintain skill adequacy at international level.
42A drug regulatory authority and drug testing laboratories to ensure meeting of international standards and to promote export
There has been a lot of talk over the last two decades about raising educational standards. Progress has indeed been made but mostly in the private sector and in higher education. The result is proliferation of graduates who cannot get salary even as high as the fee paid by their parents in tuition and other fees. On the other end of the scale – primary and secondary education – the fees have sky rocketed in private schools but the standards have hardly risen. In the public sector, the education sector is characterised by ghost schools, bullying and absent teachers, and appalling conditions. Money is being spent but in bricks and mortar and propaganda but not in providing universal free education up to the age of 16, which is now deemed to be a fundamental right. The gulf in fees and standards between private and government schools has to be addressed if the country is to avoid producing youth skilful only in crime.
While the private schools, colleges and universities can be left alone, state needs to set up and maintain uniform standards in public sector education. Funding and standards – primarily of teachers – have to be considered together for optimum results. The following are proposed:
43The provincial Government to provide universal and free primary education with premises being provided by the community (in mosques initially) and well paid quality teachers who are regular civil servants. The headmaster of a primary school to be a civic leader - well respected and very helpful
44Teachers of High Schools and colleges also to be civil servants but their salaries paid from tuition fees charged from the students. The school buildings and allied facilities to be built and maintained from public purse. Teachers to get promotion only if they improve their ability to teach and set an example of good personal conduct for students.
45University teachers and standards of output are generally poor despite huge rise in salaries. The situation needs careful review. Each university has to be looked at and leadership of high quality provided which might entail lateral exchange of teachers and bureaucrats.
Agriculture & Industry
Pakistan is well equipped for agricultural self sufficiency and increasing export of food, raw materials and primary products. Already, new seeds have been developed for sugar cane, cotton and rice which require less water with yields much improved. Wider use of new seeds and techniques needs to be expedited. The agriculture sector has the most impact on rural employment where the situation is dire. The sector is large enough to provide economy of scale to mechanise agriculture, improve seeds and irrigation facilities, and organise marketing both nationally and internationally. The following recommendations are made:
46Encourage indigenous production of farm machinery, agro-chemicals, seeds, animals for meat and leather, poultry and fish at internationally competitive prices by local or foreign companies in the private sector. The Governments to fund education, research and training to international standards and help organise consortiums of those engaged in complementary activities to ensure fair prices and prompt payment.
47Cut regulation and attendant cost by ensuring that apart from policy making ministries - Finance, Foreign Affairs and Defence – and the Police and Security agencies, every office and department of government to be funded by fees for services provided. Those not providing proper service or not earning enough fee income to be disbanded or privatised.
48Offset agreements: Legislate to ensure that all investment proposals which entail joint ventures and technology transfer arrangements with foreign companies include offset agreements in order to reduce the foreign exchange cost of projects.
At the moment the tax to GDP ratio is mere 9 %. This must be doubled in order to be able to afford public-funded health, education, social services and investment in infrastructure. To keep inflation under control, much of the increase should be in direct taxes. Until now every budget raises the threshold of income tax and agricultural income remains out of the tax net. Notice must also be taken of the huge contribution that remittance by Pakistani working overseas to the economy of Pakistan. There is talk of bringing remittances into the tax net. That would be illegal besides being counter-productive. The desired increase in the tax to GDP ratio can be brought about by the following measures:
49Income Tax threshold be fixed permanently at Rs. 300,000 per annum. The effort should be that every adult earner is an income tax payer.
50The responsibility for filing income tax return be shifted from the individual to personal income tax inspectors who file a single declaration of assets as well as income for every one above 18 years of age. That would go a long way towards documentation of the economy and raise about 10% of the GDP in income tax alone.
51VAT should be levied on all purchases of goods and services except agricultural produce sold by a farmer to an individual or a factory. It is a federal tax collected by FBR. The rate of VAT be reduced to 12% replacing sales tax which is 15%. .
52The working of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis be improved so that returning or visiting Pakistanis can get advice and assistance from ‘one window’ for housing, other investment and children’s education etc.,
Excessive borrowings to meet the budget deficit and the balance of trade deficit have devalued the Rupee to nearly a 100 Rupees to a Dollar. Both deficits have to be dealt with on emergency basis. The target proposed is Rs 75/- to a Dollar. This can be achieved over an 18 month period; each one rupee revaluation to be accompanied by increase in import duty by 1%. The target when achieved would have increased the import duty by 25%. That would increase tax to GDP ratio to about 16% while reducing the price of locally produced goods and prices of imported goods remaining unchanged. That would reduce demand for imports and creating a downward pressure on prices all around. The State Bank to impose the discipline of not exceeding a limit of 2% of the GDP for deficit financing. That with the tax to GDP ratio being raised to 16% is likely to meet the target of Rs 75/- to a Dollar. Further discipline of using remittances by overseas Pakistani only for paying back foreign debt, increasing forex reserves and investment in industry and infrastructure would have salutary effect on the health of the economy.
53The currency should be revalued in stages to bring the rupee to Rs 75/- to a US Dollar. In the wake of revaluation of the rupee, the support price for wheat be reduced so that Atta can be sold at Rs 25 per kg. That should dampen inflation.
54The target for base lending rate to be 5% brought to that level in stages as the rupee is revalued and the tax to GDP ratio improves.
55The State Bank to be restricted to the deficit financing in a fiscal year not exceeding 2%
56The ministers and other politicians should have no executive power or responsibility; their job is to make policy and oversee its smooth implementation.
57Procedures for getting any service from the government should be simplified and rationalised so that every service can be ordered and paid for on a computer. Paper applications may be phased out.
58The long awaited law on Accountability be scrutinised by experts to bring it in line with international practices to curb corruption.
Insurgency in Balochistan is foreign inspired and the main local actors have remained unchanged since the confederacy of Kalat joined Pakistan in 1947. Like elsewhere, the narrative keeps changing but the actors and methods do not. It required particularly high degree of political ineptitude to have allowed insurgency to resurface again and again. The Baluch sardars make deals and decisions and usually stick to them. A ‘narrative of betrayal’ is cooked up every time foreign money is available to the very same Sardars – of Marri, Bugti and Mengel tribes. No one cares to understand that there are deep and permanent divisions within each of these three tribes and it is possible to devise plans to play one against the other or to bypass both and deal directly with non sardars and the local people. But what has been happening is that one administration patronised one sub-tribe over the other and the next government switched sides. It is not surprising that a narrative of betrayal is not just possible it is credible and often true. If Pakistan had a federal ministry of Baluch tribal affairs, it would have an institutional memory to stop wide swings of policy. In a word, what is needed is to:
59Create a separate federal ministry for Baluchistan staffed by experienced civil and military officers who hammer out a policy on Baluchistan, give it to the Governor to implement, and resist radical changes in policy or persons implementing it.
Baluchistan has been wrongly named; the majority in this province in non-Baluch; the largest number is that of the Pashtun. In 1947, the Confederation of Baloch/Brahui states were designated as Kalat Division. It comprised Baloch, Brahvi and Sindhi areas which were allowed by the British to be ruled by their respective sardars under a confederation nominally headed by the Khan of Kalat. These areas had no rivers and rains were scanty. Steeped in abject poverty, illiteracy and tribal feuds, human settlements were confined to oasis where sheep grazing was the only means of livelihood. This area was neglected by the British, who paid attention to Quetta Division which was then called ‘British Baluchistan’. In 1948, this was the most backward area of Pakistan. Even now much of the Kalat Division is barren with sparse population. But the people are hardy, intelligent and hospitable. With good governance this area can be brought at par with or can even be more prosperous than the rest of Pakistan. But that would need special focus on the common man and socio-economic development of his environment.
British Baluchistan ruled by the British under an Agent to the Governor General, was designated as Quetta Division in 1947. It comprised the territory the British had taken from Afghanistan in 1879 with some Baloch and Sindhi areas. It was socio economically better developed because of the strategic requirements of the British Raj. It had a clear socio-economic lead over Kalat Division and it progressed rapidly after Pakistan came into being. The Pashtun, who are in majority, have been peaceful. Periodic social disturbance always limited to Baloch/Brahui areas only.
The Baloch/Brahui areas have been ruled by local sardars who have absolute power over their small tribes. No one sardar is acceptable to all the Baloch/Brahuis. Whenever a sardar felt aggrieved, and the federal government was weak, insurgency resulted. Since 1947, two minor and three major insurgencies have erupted. The latest insurgency was started by Nawab Akbar Bugti who did not want military cantonments in Baloch/Brahui areas or other mega projects, which would have brought great prosperity to the area. He also complained that his share of revenue from natural gas was low. He also felt aggrieved for being politically sidelined in Elections of 2002. It has since become clear that he was prompted and supported in his rebellion by the Indians and Americans in the aftermath of 9/11. The websites of free Baluchistan have bases in Israel and America. The language used leaves no doubt about the links. The federal government has not only stopped the project of cantonments but also raised royalty on gas and greatly increased the share of the province in the new NFC award. Baluchistan, which barely collect Rs.4 billion as provincial revenue has a budget of Rs.170 billion this year. However, due to massive corruption there are no visible signs of development.
Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was killed in 2006 when the cave in which he was hiding collapsed. That almost all the grievances of Akbar Bugti have been met without any condition, has been completely ignored by the Baloch/Brahui tribal elders. However, the CIA and RAW continue to stoke insurgency in Baloch/Brahui areas, albeit at a controlled low level. During the last 4-5 years the insurgency has been simmering but limited to undermining the writ of government killing of Punjabis, attacking the railways, buses and other soft targets. Four sons of Marri, Bugti and Mengal tribe-elders are being looked after by MI6 and CIA in Dubai, Geneva and London and given positive publicity in the foreign as well as Pakistani media. Even though these traitors have blood of many Baloch/Brahuis Pakistanis on their hands and are intensely despised, the majority are fence sitters because of the policy of appeasement followed by the present government. The rebels are reviled as they deserve; they are called ‘angry Baloch' and their rebellion condoned. This has resulted in rapid growth of crime. Many ministers, including the CM, are believed to be sponsoring kidnappings, looting of buses and land grabbing.
The law and order situation has worsened after the PPP government abolished the previous regime's conversion of Levies controlled B areas into police controlled A Areas. The Levies are recruited by the sardars and their salaries are also paid through the sardars. This has reinforced the writ of sardars and undermined that of the Government. The sardars have become very powerful as they are not held responsible for the failure of Levies while as ministers/senators they enjoy full authority of state and huge ‘development funds’ which was Rs. 250 million per annum until last year and raised to Rs.300 million this year. The entire development fund is embezzled. The Levies have carried out crimes even in Pashtun areas which are now in the grip of a crime wave that has been exacerbated by sectarian groups already present.
Owing to the demography of this province and tribal divisions, the same ‘electable’ persons become members of the provincial assembly again and again. Since they are never content with being mere members, they all want to hold ministerial office or an office with the same perks. Consequently, every member has salary, staff, millions of rupees for discretionary spending and authority over one department or the other to appoint cronies and plunder with impunity. The political system has reinforced ‘despotic rule’ of sardars over their tribe in the name of democracy. If elections are held without sidelining the anti-national and the corrupt, the situation will go from bad to worse. Theoretically, strict application of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and rejecting nomination papers of those who fail the test can eliminate the worst persons and practices. In reality, efforts are being made to restore the authority of rebel leaders by bringing back their soft face, Sardar Akhtar Mengel, back as the Chief Minister. That is no solution; that will give official seal of approval to the so called ‘struggle for freedom’.
There is really no alternative to 2-3 years of Governor’s Rule during which criminals and those public office bearers who betrayed the trust are held accountable. The governor must not be a judicial officer. He should be a man who has demonstrated administrative capability as fair, firm and patriotic. There are enough patriotic Pakistanis in Baluchistan who will easily overcome the adverse forces, domestic as well as foreign.
60Impose Governor’s rule in Baluchistan, appoint a new Governor with a strong team of experienced and credible faces who devote themselves to establishing peace and making good use of the huge sums available after the NFC award.
61 Restore Quetta and Kalat Divisions which may be made two provinces as a part of basic reform by which more provinces are created. Eventually, as a part of political reform and introduction of the Presidential System, the Chief Executive of the Province be a directly elected Governor as in the USA.
Terrorism in Pakistan
There are three kinds of terrorists in Pakistan:
1Takfiri terrorists in FATA and KPK operating under the label of Al-Qaeda, Tehrik i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or anti Shia groups like Lashkar e Jhangvi
2Ethnic terrorist operating in Karachi and parts of Sindh and Baluchistan.
3Criminal gangs which exploit the break down of law and order.
It has been so difficult to root out terrorism because there is a base of support for the first two. The Wahabi, Deobandi, Salafi have a view of Islam similar to that of the Takfiri – all consider shirk to be worse than kufr and consider erecting grave stones, building of mazars, singing even Qawali and Naat, and hanging pictures in homes to be shirk. Not sporting a long beard and not shaving off moustache, sending daughters to school, not observing purdah, and going out without a mehram are seen by them as offensive disdain of the teachings of Islam. The Takfiri are so offended by such people that they consider it their duty to behead or slaughter the offenders. Their supporters in extremist sects revile the ‘malpractices’ but do not go to the extent of justifying their murder. On TV screens, many ulema of such sects justify the murders as ‘reaction’ to aiding and abetting of the US invasion of Afghanistan. However, the Takfiri in Swat led by Sufi Muhammed pre-date 9/11. The Takfiri cult may have found a new cause in the occupation of Afghanistan by the US but the cult existed already and its members had been killing and awarding sentence of lashing as self-appointed enforcers of sharia. That is why it is difficult to agree with Imran Khan who says that the terrorism would cease with the exit of US troops from Afghanistan.
Ethnic terrorists of Karachi and other cities of Sindh have a large base of support in the Sindh province in Urdu speaking refugees. They have political party – the MQM – which is a classical urban mafia. They have also been targeting the military, the police and other officials because they wanted to establish their credentials as more potent than the state. They succeeded, even long established political parties have reconciled to their leader in exile in London – Altaf Hussain – to being the King of Karachi without whose blessing no one can survive in Karachi. Altaf Hussain now has the support of President Zardari and Interior Minister Rehman Malik who do his bidding even in defiance of the ruling PPP. The police and the media look the other way because they kill any one critical of the ‘boss’.
The province of Baluchistan has all three types of terrorist – Baluch insurgents; Indo-US blessed BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army); anti Shia takfiri death squads operating as Al-Qaeda, TTP or Lashkar e Jhanghvi; and criminal groups patronised by the police or politicians who kidnap and murder for ransom. It may appear that the TTP and the MQM are more powerful than the State. That is not true. The military is quite capable of dealing with the Takfiri, the Baluch insurgents as well the MQM menace in Sindh if the politicians do not come in the way. They have overcome insurgents in Swat, Dir - Bajaur, and Waziristan and much of Baluchistan because their base of support is mercenary - uncertain and transient. Neither a forceful argument nor resolved military have faced much resistance. The rebellion in Baluchistan has a very small base of support. Its leaders are well known and hated intensely. But they are feared even more because the coercive instruments of the state have been used hesitantly and ineffectively. It is not only the people of Baluchistan but also the military that are unhappy with the way Baluchistan situation is being handled. They can live with a bit more demonisation by the press and bullying by judges but they cannot live with a defeat at the hands of enemy sponsored traitors.
62Appeasement is no way to deal with insurgency or terrorism. Wanton use of force is never an answer either. The Military should be used effectively or not at all; it should be used for a short time; it should be given clear objectives and time lines, and a free hand.
63The most effective weapon against terrorists is ‘clandestine operations’ which involve the use of shady characters against other shady characters e.g. smugglers as spies and saboteurs. The courts need an explanation when a question of fundamental or human rights arise. But they cannot get ‘evidence’ from security agencies against their own personnel who are duty bound even to lie to protect their sources.
This paper is neither a full nor a complete review of the problems faced by Pakistan. It reflects the concerns of the members of PESA and the civil society – the mainstream of public opinion. The persons who have contributed papers and made recommendations have long experience in civil and military in high office. An attempt has been made to make the paper and the recommendations insightful. However, it repeatedly came up during the deliberations of the forum that ‘political will’ is the key. There is no substitute for resolve in doing anything worthwhile. There are many wise and clever persons in every walk of life. But it is their resolve that carries the day – always and every time. Pakistan faces the worst crisis of its life with America and India having meant ill for a long while. But they have not succeeded. As the country may turn a corner during the next elections, this paper is being presented as a part of a plan for the “First 100 Days”. If any of the recommendations above are embraced by a new administration, this forum can and is willing to: 1) draft legislation, 2) outline a plan, and/or 3) direct implementation of a plan or a project.