America Would Reign Supreme

By Saeed Qureshi

The United States of America has always been in making. America is known as the country of immigrants. Never in its history starting from declaration of independence in 1776 to this day, has it ever been under monarchy or dictatorship. It was always democratic country. It is country of paradoxes and extreme divergences.

It is the most indebted yet the leading donor nation on planet earth. The 9/11 cataclysmic incident was an unexpected tragedy, yet this nation has learnt invaluable lessons from that. This land is much safer now under a foolproof security system put in place after that earth shaking event.

While living in the United States, I can vouch that despite being under a staggering 16 trillion dollar debt, the domestic socio-cultural life and the living standards of the citizens have remained almost unaffected. The Americans enjoy the same perks and benefits that they have been enjoying for decades. This country sinks for a while and rebounds to the surface with new vigor and vitality.

The law and order is in excellent shape, the courts work with the decorum that is expected of them. The state institutions function within the framework of paramount national interest and are geared towards the service of the citizens.

The oversight or the accountability is an all encompassing and overarching umbrella over a grocery shops to huge departmental stores to a gigantic manufacturing factory. The taxation and revenue collection known as IRS is more powerful than any other organ of the administration. The tax and revenue collection system can serve a useful model for other countries.

The decision making at every level of governance is through a democratic process that is grueling but certainly betokens the respect for the public opinion. The appointments of the officials in city or county are made with the approval of the citizens. A bureaucrat or the head of department does not have the authority to make appointments on important posts. Most of the posts are filled through local elections. The development projects, new houses or offices; be these private or public cannot be launched without the approval of the residents of the respective areas and localities.

In the courts there are rigorous contests and legal bouts between the prosecution and the defense. Yet both the sides have to present their arguments before a panel of jury picked randomly from various sections of the society. The jury has to decide the case in a unanimous yes or no vote. This is truly a grassroots democratic culture and demonstrates that power belongs to the people.

The criminals and outlaws are hunted down and brought to justice finally. The healthcare facilities are available for everyone. The jobless are given unemployment allowances, the traffic runs orderly, the roads and lanes are free of dirt. There is no way one can park anywhere or violate traffic signal at free will. These are some of the glowing hallmarks of a civil and administratively well established society.

A country fighting aimless wars in foreign lands for pretty six decades has a meritorious and vibrant society at home. The ethnic divide is sharp but mutually tolerant. The constitution and the laws do not discriminate between the citizens on the basis of color, creed age or sex etc. It is a country that takes in maximum number of immigrants every year. This is one country where the dispossessed, traumatized and uprooted people from the oppressive societies stream in every year in huge numbers.

Yet we accuse of this country for blatant human rights violations, target killings through drones and otherwise, intimidation, hegemonic designs and arm-twisting around the world. However those perceptions and priorities are undergoing a transformation within US at the policy making levels.

If analyzed in the hindsight, one would tend to believe that if this country professes to be a capitalist country, and its economy based upon the capitalist system, then it has to oppose communism that runs a diametrically opposite economic system with the state ownership of everything produced and distributed.

We have seen the abysmal outcome of the centralized economic systems in the world during the past few decades. The communism miserably failed in the aftermath of the Second World War. Now its upholders mainly Russia and China are half way through shifting over to a traditional capitalist system. There is a trend of opening of societies both socially and economically in Russia and China. If this were not so then the largest portion of investment would not been made by the American entrepreneurs in China.

The United States was trenchantly braced against the growing challenge of communism in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was a cold war era that entailed in its wake both economic and military rivalries. In wars fought in the Far East, America suffered one defeat after another.

But finally in Afghanistan it turned the tables on the Soviet Union and scored a decisive and historic victory, although this was made possible through the Muslims guerrillas and Mujahids (crusaders) that fought a war of attrition against the Soviet Union for a decade forcing that military power to leave Afghanistan. America made the second blunder by invading Iraq an egregious highhandedness which cannot be justified by any logic or definition.

But those huge blunders are part of an unbridled militancy and uncalled for propensity for bellicosity may not be repeated by America after stark realization that those were injurious and counterproductive. And look the colossal prices America has to pay. In several wars initiated by America after the Second World War, thousands of American soldiers were killed, many more crippled and the economy overburdened with an astounding debt.

Ironically United States owes most of external debt to a prospective rival of future, the Peoples Republic of China. But it emphatically appears that Americas obsession for distant wars is coming to a close. The United State would not repeat the fallacies of sending its military contingents to wage overseas wars. If at all it has to mount any military engagement it would do so by proxy. It means not direct involvement but giving aid and technological and other similar inputs and assistance o the respective countries to fight the terrorists or those perceived to be the enemies of the United States.

The United States has set an admirable example of the establishment of facilitating democratic dispensations in the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East thus embracing those oppressive societies with the fragrance of Arab spring. That historic transformation could be made possible with the help of the United States.

One can reckon that the United States would not wage a war or even allow Israel for preemptive attacks on Iran as that would be disastrous as witnessed in case of such wars during the past several decades. That would be a last straw on the camel’s back for the dwindling American economy and cutting across its new role of a sincere facilitator for the world peace.

The Obama administration that has taken an incredible yet most sagacious decision of recalling the American forces from both Iraq and Afghanistan would not launch a fresh military adventure against Iran. President Obama is more riveted on research, space exploration, better education, healthcare for all and growth of economy and modernizing of the aging infrastructures by diverting funds from wars to such vital priorities.

There is no gainsaying that 9/11 and the measures taken thereafter have made America definitively a safer place and one can rule out any incident of similar nature ever in future. It is expected that with the time passage the condign conditions imposed on traveling and rigorous background checks or harsh racial proofing would be softened. Hopefully, the great and free American society with pleasant hallmarks of liberty, freedom and openness would bounce back.

The United States after massive upheavals and rude shock waves generated by scores of wars, involvement in making and breaking regimes, and posing as a bully state and delineating between friendly and unfriendly states would now embark upon turning the world into an abode of peace and fraternity among the nations. With China it should act more as partner for a better world than falling back upon belligerency and warfare.

With a formidable paradigm shift that is now taking place in the United States both externally and domestically, America with its enormous wealth and astounding resources and overarching clout, is to reemerge as the world leader. It is destined to reign supreme as a humane and righteous world leader. It has the capacity and resources to transform the earth into the kingdom of God where peace, human dignity and welfare for all the inhabitants prevail. A monumental change is in the offing.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

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Extrajudicial Killings through Drones

By Sajjad Shaukat

Under the pretext of American so-called counterinsurgency programme, the US President Barack Obama has broken all the record of human rights by extrajudicial killings of the innocent people through CIA-operated drone attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen in general and Pakistan in particular, while, the United States claims to be protector of human rights not only inside the country, but also all over the world.

Recently, the UN has opened probe regarding the predator strikes. In this regard, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism said, A UN investigation into targeted killings will examine legality of drone strikeswill investigate 25 strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian territories. It will also focus on civilian killings by the strikes.

First time, a US Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of the predator attacks, openly admitted that 4,700 people have been killed by the raids of Americas secretive drone war. The number exceeds some independent estimates of the death toll. According to the research of London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between June 2004 and September 2012, these unmanned aerial vehicles killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians including 176 children. In this respect, in a report, The Guardian pointed out on August 11, 2011, The CIA claims that there has been not one non-combatant killed in the past yearit is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.

Nevertheless, details collected by the Pakistani journalists show that civilian casualties through unmanned aircraft are higher as indicated by the US officials. In the last four years, more than 900 innocent civilians and only 22 Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by these aerial attacks.

While justifying these air strikes by the spy planes, counterterrorism advisor to Obama, John Brennan who faces a Senate confirmation hearing for his nominee as CIA director is the main player, advising Obama on which strike, he should approve.

Especially, during his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama had pledged to reverse excesses of the Bush era in relation to terrorism. He also promised to reformulate a counterterrorism policy in accordance with the legal and moral values of the US. Contrarily to his assertions, Obama followed the Bushs approach of counterterrorism in its worst form by expanding and accelerating the predator strikes.

In this context, The New York Time on May 26, 2011, in an article which was written with assistance of several counterterrorism advisers of the administration revealed, President Obama has become personally involved in the process and has normalised extrajudicial killings from the Oval Office, taking advantage of Americas temporary advantage in drone technology. Without the scrutiny of the legislature and the courts, and outside the public eye, Obama is authorising murder on a weekly basis.

Notably, American constitution explicitly grants the right to declare war to the Congress so as to restrain the president from chasing enemies around the world, based solely on his authority as commander-in-chief by waging a secret war. But instead of capturing militants alive and to avoid giving the right of due process of law to them in a court, President Obama has openly been acting upon a ruthless policy of targeting killings by supervising the CIA-controlled drone warfare.

Besides, a report of the New America Foundation disclosed that President Obama has authorised 193 drone strikes in Pakistan, more than four times the number of attacks that President Bush authorised during his two terms. The report explained, When the US drones attack Pakistans tribal areas, it is not just the 10, or 50 innocent civilians they kill, these killings provide reason to the youngsters for joining terrorist groups waging war against US and of course Pakistanwhile killing 10 militants, the US has murdered more than 1400 Pakistanis, not involved in any terrorist activities. Could it not imply that it gave birth to another 1400 militants?

Based on research, a report, Living Under Drones, prepared by experts from Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law disclosed that the US campaign of drone strikes in Pakistans northwestern tribal belt is terrorising civilians 24 hours a day and breeding bitter anti-American sentimenthave killed thousands of peopleeven stopping their children going to school for fear of being targeted. The report urged Washington to rethink its drone strategy, arguing it was counterproductive and undermined international law.

Citing unnamed US officials, The Washington Post reported on January 21, this year, The Obama administration is completing a counterterrorism manual that will establish clear rules for targeted-killing operationsthe guidebook would contain a major exemption for the CIAs campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan to continue striking Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan.

Defense Minister Leon Panetta has defended these attacks on Pakistans tribal areas under the pretext of North Waziristan-based Haqqani militants whom they blamed for several assaults on American and NATO bases in Afghanistan. On the other hand, US-led coalition forces have failed in stopping incursions of heavily-armed insurgents in Pakistan from Afghanistans side, who have killed more than 100 personnel of the Pakistans security forces in the last two year, while targeting the infrastructure of the areas. In fact, US seeks to make North Waziristan, a scapegoat of NATOs defeat in Afghanistan by continuing illegal mass murder of the innocent people through drones.

It is notable that Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam who visited America in August, 2012, emphatically told the then CIA Director David Petraeus that predator strikes which are violation of Pakistans sovereignty must be stopped. He pointed out that these strikes are proving counterproductive, giving a greater incentive to the fundamentalist and extremist elements in Pakistan, and are increasing anti-US sentiment among the people.

However, setting aside the parliament resolution, rallies and processions of Pakistans political and religious parties, and ignoring the new Pak-US rapprochement, without bothering for any internal backlash, these aerial attacks keep on going on FATA.

In fact, American such a duplicity contans a number of covert designs. The fresh wave of strikes by the pilotless aircraft has thwarted the offer of militants and Pakistani government for peace talks. And, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accelerated subversive activities in the country. Now, US wants to incite the Haqqani network as in the past 15 months, most of these strikes have targeted the North Waziristan. So, these aerial attacks are provoking the tribal people against Pakistans security forces, and increasing recruitment of insurgents. Another aim is to create a rift between Pakistans armed forces on one side and the political and religious parties on the other. Besides, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Hence, US India and Israel are determined to destabilise it. Drone campaign is also part of this game.

The CIA-operated these strikes which continued on Pakistans tribal areas since 2004 have intensified under the Obama era. In one of the major drone attacks, more than 40 civilians and policemen were killed on March 18, 2011 in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. In the past few months, these unmanned aircraft killed more than 150 people, especially in North Waziristan including South Waziristan.

On the one side, US top officials have repeatedly said that America needs Pakistans help not only for peace process with the militants, but also for stability in Afghanistan in the post-2014 scenario, while NATO troops have started transporting their equipments via Pakistani route as part of the exit strategy, but on the other, US spy planes on Pak tribal regions are undermining international efforts of stability both in Afghanistan and Pakistan including peace dialogue with the Afghan militants.

Recently, US ex-presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton have opposed Obamas faulty drone strategy. Even, new Secretary of State John Kerry has also criticised unabated use of unilateral drones in Pakistan, saying, US engagement with the world is not just about drones.

Besides, widespread criticism from some US allies and human rights groups which have remarked that these aerial attacks are illegal and unethical, and violation of the targeted countries sovereignty, the United Nations Charter, universal declaration of human rights and international law, but US warrior President Obama remains obstinate to continue extrajudicial killings through drones.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

A Mini Holocaust!

By Saeed Qureshi

The tragic death of 26 fellow Americans including 20 children between the ages of 6-7 is an unspeakable tragedy. It is a mini holocaust that would haunt the parents and relations of the victims, no one knows how long. The 20 year old killer Adam Lanza first killed his 52 year old mother before gunning down the children in two first-grade classrooms, of Sandy Hook elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown Connecticut.

The second gruesome massacre in educational institutions is known as the Virginia Tech massacre in which 32 people were killed and 17 wounded in two separate attacks. It took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. The shooters name was Seung-Hui Cho who also killed himself. In the recent past several shooting incidents took place in the shopping malls and public places.

On July 20, 2012, one such horrific mass shooting occurred inside the Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The perpetrator James Eagan Holmes set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

Now all these ghastly incidents of carnage bring home the absolute urgency of curbing or controlling the firearms that are so abundantly and ubiquitously available in the United States. Anyone can walk into a gun store and buy at will, the weapons ranging from ordinary revolvers to deadly assault weapons.

The fire-arms are purchased by the people for a variety of reasons. Fist it is the psyche of possessing arms that has almost become a fashion or propensity with the people with financial ability to buy the costliest weapons. Keeping assault weapons are also deemed to be status symbols.

Secondly there is running paranoid of self protection against the invisible or fantasy intruders at the properties. Thirdly there are hunters that prey upon the animals like deer, antelopes, alligators bears, birds etc, for the sake of fun or making money. There are gun shows where the weapon crazy people throng and buy all kind of weapons whose lethal capacity goes beyond the protections against burglars or trespassers.

It has been observed that not a fraction of all these deadly weapons are used for the sake of protection of the inmates of a household or for driving away the unwanted intruders. There have a been negligible number of incidents in which a courageous house owner or ranch keeper used the gun to kill a shady character or to scare away the suspect poaching the property.

On the contrary what happens is that the mentally deranged, psychopaths, trigger-happy shooters, the disgruntled individuals and the avengers use such weapons for manslaughter and pogroms of the people. As such the possession of assault and ordinary weapons seem to have become counter-productive and least used for the purpose these are acquired.

The second amendment in the American constitution permits the citizens to bear arms. This caveat as we all witness is violated for wrongful and insidious objectives. The time when this amendment was passed was socially unstable and dangerous. This amendment would have served the purpose during those times when people felt insecure and needed to defend themselves from the enemies or the soldiers who would forcibly occupy the priorities or there were dangerous predators hovering around.

In those fearsome times, there was a genuine need for the citizens to protect themselves as the law and order institutions were still in the making and not very effective. The responsibility to ward off the attackers or intruders, thieves and burglars devolved on the individuals mostly. Moreover, the permission to bear arms was part of a package of civil liberties by overlooking the possibility that these could become more deadly and destructive.

Therefore there is dire need to bring about necessary amendment in the constitution to restrict buying of arms only by those who can keep them in safe custody. The laws pertaining to the licensing and purchase of weapons must be absolutely stringent and hard so that only the genuine people can have them. There is also an urgent need to maintain the names and particulars of the buyers with conditions that no one else not even by their family members could have access to these.

The neighborhood patrols by the vigilantes, watchdogs and police should be enhanced so that the people feel less threatened and have less desire or necessity to keep the guns in the house to meet any untoward eventuality. Rather facing themselves with a deadly weapons they should be able to call the police to deal with any dangerous situation.

The gun shows should be banned or curtailed. These should be held under strict watch of the law enforcement agencies and records should be meticulously maintained as to who is buying and what kind of weapons was being traded. The uninhibited trade of dangerous weapons at such shows should be completely abolished.

The underlying objective of a constitutional amendment with regard to the buying or possessing of arms should to put to stop these from going into the wrong hands. It should be made mandatory for the guns to be used only by the license holder and no one else. Moreover, the number of weapons should be fixed according to the nature of ones status. For a private individual it could be single low caliber weapon and for official duties it could be more. The modelities of such restrictions or permissions can be worked out by the specialists and experts.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Pakistan-US Fractured Relations

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja: Historically Pak-US relationship has always been marked by convergence and divergence of national interests that kept on switching from friendship to friction. The US gained more during the times of convergence of interests but periods of divergence outweighed the former. Although Pakistan earned the title of most allied ally of USA, it is also the most sanctioned country in the world. By putting all its eggs in the basket of USA, Pakistan gained less as it was not given the required support by the US when needed most. The US left Pakistan high and dry during the 1965 War and in the 1971 War which led to the disintegration of the country. In fact, the US later imposed severe penalties, embargoes and sanctions on Pakistan. This unholy practice of sanctions was repeated in 1979 owing to nuclear related suspicions and in 1990 after the successful culmination of Afghan War in which Pakistan had played a key role in defeating erstwhile USSR. Worst was that USA embraced India which had all along remained in Soviet camp. It imposed additional sanctions after our nuclear tests and after Gen Musharrafs military coup. The US stood on the side of India during Kargil conflict and forced Pakistan to unilaterally vacate the occupied heights. Pakistan remained on the wrong side of USA from 1990 till September 2001.

In the post-9/11 scenario, Washington decided to once again befriend Pakistan since it knew that without its active support, Afghanistan venture may prove very costly. Pakistan happily accepted the role of a front-line state to fight global war on terror and to forsake Mullah Omar led regime in Kabul under the illusion that all its economic woes would be addressed. It agreed to assist the invading forces by way of providing air bases, logistic supply routes, airspace for air sorties, and intelligence cooperation. Instead of extracting matching returns, all these concessions were doled out to the needy USA very cheaply.
Pak-US alliance was purely a marriage of convenience but the US succeeded in duping Pakistan that it would not leave Pakistan in a lurch again. In reality, the US strategically aligned itself with India, Israel, Britain and Germany and Northern Alliance (NA). After capturing Afghanistan and installing a puppet regime led by Hamid Karzai, the six intelligence agencies of the strategic partners led by CIA embarked upon a massive covert war against Pakistan using Afghan soil to achieve its hidden objectives. Concurrently, the US gave a green signal to India to consolidate its position in Afghanistan. This was despite the fact that India doesn’t share border with Afghanistan, it is a Hindu country where Hindu extremism is constantly rising, and has played no role in war on terror. Yet, the US vowed to let India fill the vacuum once it departs and to make it a key player in Afghan affairs. Other than lucrative defence and economic agreements, the US granted India civilian nuclear deal and is now striving to make it a permanent member of UNSC as well as of exclusive nuclear club.

Since the US had made Pakistan its ally under an agenda, bilateral relations saw a shifting policy pattern to dubiousness, and Pakistan remained target of accusations from all sides. There were frequent swings in US mood towards Pakistan; particularly the inconsiderate warnings of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary Defence Leon Panetta, former CJCSC Admiral Mullen and even Barack Obama which caused discomfiture and more annoyance in the country. To the utter dismay of Pakistan the US kept doling out series of highly productive rewards but gave very little to Pakistan. The US paid no heed to the security concerns of Pakistan but remained ever worried about Indias mostly fabricated concerns. Even now it is seeking critical favors for India at the cost of Pakistans national interests.

The US brokered Pak-Afghan-Transit-Trade-Agreement (PATTA) on July 19, 2010 allowing transportation of Afghan goods through Wagah to India and in return Pakistan getting permission to use Afghan territory for trade with Central Asian Republics (CARs). The US twisted Pakistans arm to make India part of PATTA so as to allow India to export goods to Afghanistan and beyond through Wagah border, grant MFN status to India and liberalize visa regime. Efforts are now in hand to pressure Pakistan to allow India to transport merchandise goods to and from Afghanistan without giving anything in return except for deceptive promises that trade with India will be of great benefit to Pakistan. A new opening is being given to India despite the fact that there is a serious trade imbalance in Indian favor. Unable to compete with India, it will adversely impact Pakistans manufacturing industries and will also negatively impact Pakistans trade with Afghanistan and with CARs.

In order to keep Pakistan bridled, the US coined do more mantra, kept leveling unsubstantiated allegations, resorted to coercive diplomacy and subjected it to drone strikes. It made Pakistan a convenient scapegoat to hide its failures. Pak-US relations, which remained lukewarm because of bossy and mistrustful attitude of American officials and their outright leaning toward India and Afghanistan, nosedived after the incidents of Raymond Davis in January 2011, stealth attack in Abbottabad on 2 May, Admiral Mullens diatribe in September describing Haqqani network as the veritable arm of ISI, and brutal Salala attack on 26 November. In utter frustration, Pakistan was forced to close Shamsi airbase, block NATO supply routes for over seven months and cease military cooperation. These steps meant to impress upon the US to respect Pakistans sovereignty and to treat Pakistan as an ally rather than a target further widened the trust gap and brought Pak-US relations to a near-breaking point.

Fighting the US dictated war on terror has had debilitating impact on Pakistans social, political and economic life. Strikes by CIA operated drones and US meddling in domestic affairs has resulted in gradual erosion of Pakistans sovereignty and honor. Despite suffering the most in terms of human casualties and economic losses, the US prefers India over Pakistan. While the US keeps prodding Pakistan to befriend India and not to treat it as arch enemy, it doesnt press India to bring a change in its belligerent attitude and hegemonic policies and to lower its ever increasing defence budget each year. The US asks Pakistan to shift additional formations from the east to the west without realizing that India never misses an opportunity to harm Pakistan. The US and Israel have been constantly helping India to improve its economic, military and nuclear strengths and are responsible for disturbing the regional military balance of power. Rewards have been generously doled out in complete disregard of Indias ambitions and dangerous designs against Pakistan.

India has constructed 40 dams over the three rivers flowing into Pakistan to turn its fertile lands arid but no concern has been expressed by USA or any western country. The US is least interested in finding an amicable solution to the 65 year old Kashmir dispute since any facilitation in this direction will annoy India. The US fails to comprehend that when it lectures on Indo-Pak amity, until and unless right of self-determination is given to the Kashmiris and water aggression by India is reversed, meaningful goodwill cannot be promoted between the two antagonists.

In the wake of security situation in Afghanistan spinning out of control of US-NATO- forces despite the two US troops surges, depleting US economy and increasing home pressure to end the unwinnable war, the US initiated a political prong to induce the Taliban to negotiate for a political settlement. This initiative enhanced Pakistans importance and in order to lure Pakistan to help in convincing the hard-line Taliban leaders, the process of strategic dialogue was started in 2010 which provides a platform to both Pakistan and the US to convey their expectations and demands. The main purpose behind the Pak-US strategic dialogue was to understand and address the interests and concerns of each other. The US interest was to find a way for a safe and honorable exit from Afghanistan with Pakistans assistance. Pakistan on the other hand was mainly interested in US assistance to improve its faltering economy, overcome its energy crisis and to address its military imbalances.

Pakistan has been seeking a civil nuclear deal like the one US concluded with India and consider it imperative for restoring balance in the region. It wants this agreement to overcome the energy crisis it is facing. Pakistan wants to have a balanced relationship with the US and not a discriminatory one. It expects from the US to restrain rather than encourage Indian meddlesome role in Pakistan using Afghan soil. Pakistan was not given an improved US trade access for its textile exports. It is crucial for Pakistans economy to restore its declining industrial sector through trade access which is more effective than aid.

The US has been making tall promises but has failed to deliver. Pakistan didnt receive from the US the support it expected over its national security concerns. Rather, it squeezed Pakistan by stopping the payment of committed aid installments and even withheld $1.2 billion which it had to pay against CSF for services rendered by Pak Army. Pakistans request for a free trade agreement has not been ceded to. The Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) legislation that would give market access and trade concessions to Pakistan and Enterprise Fund Projects and construction of two hydro electric dams in FATA are still pending. As against total $ 18 billion Pakistan received from the US since 2002, it lost $70 billion in fighting the war on terror. Human losses have crossed the figure of 35000. 5000 fatalities suffered by Pakistan law enforcement agencies are far more than the casualties suffered by 48 countries involved in war on terror.

With the continuously worsening situation in Afghanistan and setbacks at home for the US administration, Pakistans geo-strategic position in the region has once again presented hope for players engaged in Afghanistan. Indications are that the only reason that the US has so far not abandoned Pakistan is that it has lost the war in Afghanistan and its safe and honorable exit is to a large extent dependent upon Pakistan. Another reason is the breakdown in US-Taliban parleys which has placed the US in an awkward position. It has no roadmap for its safe exit and future stability of the region. It is pinning hopes on Pakistan to convince the Taliban to resume talks for a negotiated political settlement. However, despite knowing that Pakistan is the only country that can play a key role in solving Afghan tangle, the US wants to keep Pakistan out and India within its loop.

Pakistan has already ceded lot of ground without extracting anything in return. Americas efforts to give enhanced role to India in Afghanistan and to pressure Pakistan to grant land access to India via Wagah should be firmly resisted. Concessions should be reciprocal and not unilateral.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security analyst.

Why Indian neighbors are attracted to foster closer ties with China

Myths are galore about Indian subjectivity, arrogance mixed with prejudices and wicked mischief which actually reflect Indian imperialist ambitions and hegemonic designs. India cunningly politicizes the issues to fit in her schemes to draw advantage through clever manipulation of events using propaganda as an instrument of her state policy. In her efforts to become a regional power, India sometimes tends to emulate the super power “America” to show her preponderance, bravura and virtuoso. The aim is to intimidate her small neighbors. She frequently dictates terms in all aspects of state functioning disregarding the sovereign status, national interests and legitimate aspirations of South Asian countries. Resultantly the “Shining India” image gets tarnished as India finds her neighbors in a contesting mode.

Article source: http://www.markthetruth.com/current-affairs/210-why-indian-neighbors-are-attracted-to-foster-closer-ties-with-china.html

Seymour Hersh’s Nuggets of Naiveté

The angry reaction in Pakistan to Seymour Hershs article in the New Yorker, once viewed in the context of its ludicrous contents, seems justifiable. The long winded report (7000 words approx) is based on unnamed sources, its contents stand repudiated bygovernment officials in Pakistan and US and the hypotheses it outlines dont even pass muster of plain common sense. Despite all these limitations it is an indication of the power of the US media implements and the clout of its all powerful doyens that whatever they say is gulped down hook, line and sinker by the readership at large without questioning its veracity. The things have reached such a pass because writers like Hersh are effectively plugged into the US policy making institutions and along with a select group, are shaping opinions and paving way for American interests globally.

Article Source: http://www.markthetruth.com/defence-a-military/200-seymour-hershs-nuggets-of-naivete.html

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