As I keep reading Dawn, I come across some thought-provoking articles. I am sharing them with you. It will give you an insight into this troubled frontline nation which prided itself on the terrorists it produced as national assets rather than investing in vaccines. Like always there is nothing original in these articles except my comments.
WHY HAS PAKISTAN MADE A U-TURN?
Complete Solidarity with Kashmir @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1617119/army-huddle-reaffirms-complete-solidarity-with-kashmiris-in-struggle-for-self-determination
The Pakistan Army’s top brass on Thursday reaffirmed its “complete solidarity” with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir in their struggle for the right to self-determination, the military’s media wing said. The support was expressed during the 240th Corps Commanders Conference chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.
My Comment: Pakistan Army will lose their reason to exist if they do not express complete solidarity with Kashmir. Every one forgets one thing above all, the Pakistani army wants revenge against all defeats they have suffered at the hands of India. Their only option is Kashmir. How will they give it up? Some things never change.
U-turn on ECC decision @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616152/u-turn-on-ecc-decision
The cabinet’s reversal of the Economic Coordination Committee decision on imports from India is a bizarre development—one that falls squarely under the unfortunate category of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Not only does it betray a lack of coordination within the government, it also points to poor decision-making on a serious matter that requires a sensible and level-headed approach. The episode raises several questions, and cannot be shrugged off by ministers. It points to a faulty system, creating the impression that the key job of decision-making is conducted in a juvenile manner. At the moment, this fiasco is casting a cloud of uncertainty over Mr Khan’s leadership skills. As demonstrated by this latest U-turn, communication problems, an inability to make and stick to decisions and poor conflict-resolution skills are becoming the hallmark of this government. The nation deserves to know who is responsible and what action will be taken to avoid such blunders in the future.
My Comment: The U-turn only indicates that a weak Pakistan—economically and politically—is not suited for peace. In fact a weak Pakistan can never be at peace with itself. How can it come to peace with India?
A Line on the Map by Khurshid Kasuri @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616153/a-line-on-the-map
The formula had 11 or 12 important ingredients:
(i) Substantial demilitarisation beginning with major urban centres with an agreement to keep troops to a minimum along the LoC.
(ii) Defining units of Kashmir: There would be two units for the purposes of the agreement regarding the disputed State of Jammu & Kashmir under the control of Pakistan and India(where) governments would be free to have more than one administrative region in the units under their control.
(iii) Maximum self-governance would be granted in legislative, executive, and judicial areas to each unit. A mechanism would be evolved to achieve this objective
(iv) A joint mechanism would consist of a specified number of elected members from each of the two units. It would be entrusted with the responsibility of increasing the number of crossing points, and encourage travel, trade and tourism. It was decided to further streamline transport services and encourage interaction between the peoples as well as exchange of commodities.
(v) This mechanism was to encourage the promotion of common policies towards the development of infrastructure, hydroelectricity, and exploitation of water resources.
(vi) Centres to wean militants away through DDR (de-radicalisation, disengagement, and rehabilitation).
(vii) Elections: Free and fair elections in the respective units would be held regularly. They would be made open to international observers and the media.
(viii) Monitoring and review process: Any solution that was presented could experience unanticipated difficulties. The foreign ministers of Pakistan and India would meet at least once a year to monitor the progress of the agreement and it would be subject to a review at the expiration of 15 years.
(ix) LoC – ‘A line on the map’ would cease to exist between the Kashmiris, and they would require no visas or passports to travel across the LoC.
(x) The signing of a treaty of peace, security and friendship like the Élysée Treaty between Germany and France.
(xi) Unwritten understanding/agreement that neither side would proclaim victory.
(xii) There would be equal self-governance in both units.
My Comment: The ‘Midnights Children’ have changed in four decades. As per Salman Rushdie, they have changed in a manner he never visualised. That is a fair comment. After all he is not god and 1.5 Billion people either side of the divide have a mind of their own and have morphed as per their wishes in four decades. In any case in the 17 years since this plan was conceived, the pace of change in both countries has been great in diametrically opposite directions. Laudable as it seems, this peace plan is just a whiff of an ill-fated romance gone sour.
Changing Security Paradigm @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616292/changing-security-paradigm.
A series of recent events has led many to speculate that winds of change pertaining to the national security paradigm may be blowing in Islamabad’s policy corridors. From the Pakistan army chief’s calling on India and Pakistan to bury the past and move on, and the exchange of letters between the two countries’ prime ministers, to the renewed discourse on bilateral trade despite the subsequent backtracking – it reflects Pakistan’s apparently changing and intertwined national security and economic diplomacy outlooks. On the whole, in Pakistan, democracy or democratic processes are hardly considered a factor in nurturing national cohesion, building trust among communities and bringing economic prosperity to the country. The existing power structure is not capable of conceiving new ideas nor can it implement even what it devices on its own. To handle its internal and external challenges, Pakistan needs a strong economy and good relations with the world, especially with its neighbours. Among the neighbours, India is the most critical challenge, mainly because of the Kashmir issue. To deal with India, there are several courses of action possible, including direct talks, mediation or complete disengagement. In that context, does there need to be a shift in Pakistan’s security approach? Does the conventional security paradigm not serve the purpose? If so, why, and what kind of shift does the power elite have in mind? These questions need an open discussion on public forums, media, and most importantly, in parliament. Pakistan has to focus more on transforming its economy, which may require good relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran.
My Comment: This article gives you the sense that the Pakistani establishment can never ever get peace for Pakistan. Too coiled up.
PDM Collapse No Relief For PTI @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616291/pdm-collapse-no-relief-for-pti
Even when the opposition PDM alliance, in the form we have known it, is collapsing, the question being asked is if the governing PTI really needs enemies given its incredible propensity to cause self-harm as the events of the past few days have demonstrated again.
Take for example the lead headline in this newspaper’s April 1 edition that said: ‘Govt moves to restore trade ties with India’. It was based on the news conference of the newly crowned Finance Minister Hammad Azhar.
This seemed to be a natural progression from the main story the day before, on March 31, whose heading was: ‘Pakistanis want peace with India, Imran tells Modi’. The story summarised the letter of thanks the prime minister sent in response to a message of felicitation sent by his Indian counterpart on March 23.The March 23 message and its response, for their part, did not come out of the blue as earlier in the month addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue the prime minister and then the army chief offered an olive branch to New Delhi which represented a policy rethink. The Islamabad Security Dialogue saw the two Pakistani leaders call on India to move towards a solution of all bilateral issues including Kashmir but a reference to Article 370 was missing. But then the day after the trade resumption headline, the main story in April 2’s Dawn, read: ‘Cabinet nixes ECC decision to allow imports from India’. Who knows what happened in the 24 hours that saw the decision announced and later rescinded. Perhaps, reminders in the media that Nawaz Sharif was vilified for trying to better ties with India and called a traitor, made key decision-makers nervous.
My Comment: Very clearly it is not the opposition which made Imran Khan take the U-turn.
Covid Registration After Eid @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1617103/govt-to-open-covid-vaccine-registration-for-all-citizens-post-eid-asad-umar
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that the government plans to open registration for Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens after Eid. “We will be able to vaccinate more than 125,000 people per day after Eid,” Umar told media representatives.
My Comment: For the next two months Pakistan will not have any vaccines, not even those ineffective Chinese ones. After that Pakistanis can register themselves however vaccines might not be available there is complete silence on any concrete plan this will only push Pakistan deeper into the hole that it is inbtw a study conducted by American newswire Bloomberg showed that it would take a decade for Pakistan to inoculate 75pc of its population despite the fact that over one million people have already been vaccinated against the virus…the hole has a long time span too.
Pakistan-India Peace @https://www.dawn.com/news/1617777/pakistan-india-peace
Even over the last few weeks there have been many ups and downs, with the first positive sign in a long time coming in late February, when both sides agreed to silence their guns along the LoC. This was followed by an exchange of pleasantries and public pronouncements calling for peace in the region from the highest offices in both capitals, along with a decision by Pakistan to import Indian sugar and cotton. However, shortly afterwards, the trade plan was nixed. Now, two fresh developments have posed further questions. Firstly, the Foreign Office has said the SAARC summit, due to be held in Pakistan in October, can take place if “artificial obstacles” are removed, in a thinly veiled reference to India. In the second, more ominous development, the US National Intelligence Council has said Pakistan and India may “stumble” into a large-scale war within the next five years.
My Comments: The US has started the old game raising bogeys of a nuclear holocaust remains to be seen whose arm it is trying to twist. The India-Pakistan fledgling peace process has hit a rude wall after the EEZ fracas; there is a need to remain careful as to whose bed we are getting into in the Quad, I mean.
Overall comments: A strong military in Pakistan and a strong political leadership in India were supposed to be the harbingers of a peace settlement in the India-Pakistan scenario but the politico-military leadership of Pakistan is weak. Make no mistake. A strong India will never compromise since any compromise on Kashmir is only feasible if the CPEC and China are out of Kashmir. Will that happen? The Pakistani expectation of a compromise involves rescinding Abrogation of Article 370. Article 370 is history; it existed once upon a time; it will not get reinstated. It brings us to the pointed fact that peace with Pakistan is a pipe dream. In fact it has gone out of the window. Let us not live in a fossilised world where peace with Pakistan continues to be a romantic obsession. All we can foresee is a no-war situation; let us be happy with that in the meanwhile. We need to see beyond Pakistan at the composite challenge presented by a predatory China and a toxic Pakistan.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com.