Regional Issues: Pakistan in Perspective | Tariq Khalil

ATTACK in Paris was a horrible incident indeed, a tragedy not only for the French but also for the civilized world. Alas the French President reaction is knee jerk? Like in the follow up of 9\11 George Bush reacted when Afghan people were punished and the death toll has now over many hundred thousand lives. French Air Force bombed suspected IS sites but on ground the victims are innocents, since IS fighters already had slipped out of the area knowing the French reaction would be. As of today all Europe is in grip of terror and security alert.

A US Presidential candidate is mouthing fire against the Muslims, creating more chaos within US and saner elements are denouncing him to the extent White House has to issue a statement. Russia successfully, after engaging IS both from air and sea, changed strategic balance in ME and altered the global strategic scenario first time making USA feel left behind , isolated and searching for allies to support its policies. The fact remains the Russian offensive and aggressive diplomatic initiative, visit of Assad to Moscow caught USA totally unaware and in a strategically awkward position.

The IS claimed attacks in Jakarta after 10 years, in Turkey, in Afghanistan in Kandahar Nagarhar and at Pakistan consulate. Lifting of sanctions on Iran, and Saudi Iran tussle has a new dynamics affecting the region. Thus the global strategic landscape has not only changed also continue changing with new power centres emerging and possible new alliances and grouping is in the offing with India, China are in the centre stage. While Middle East is in a flux, IS still entrenched, Turkey Russia relations turning sour after Russian air craft being shot down by Turkey Japanese Prime Ministers visit to India and massive capital investment on one side and Nerander Modi visit to Moscow culminating in to signing of multibillion dollar Defence deals. Modi’s surprise stop over at Lahore reflects the demands of the changing global strategic scenario. The visit has been termed by Mr.Modi a goodwill visit. At Prime Minister level there is no chance and never a private visit.

The reaction of the establishment is yet not clear but as I assess military establishment do support peace with India but the question is at what price. Key issues remaining unresolved such visits end up as non starter. Both the countries have to come out of closet. Keeping their principal stand they must show flexibility to find an acceptable solution. But there are hawks on both sides who will try their best to put spanner. The aura of Mr. Modi has not faded the General Secretary of his own party while giving interview to Aljazeera TV once again declared Pakistan, India and Bangladesh one day will unite albeit through peaceful means, reflecting BJP aims are still unchanged.

Now conflicting versions are emerging about the visit. Never the less Pathankot Air Base attack once again apparently placed a spanner and Indian media left no stone unturned to malign Pakistan. Luckily both the Governments have taken a stand not to be derailed. India’s claim, they have given apparently ample proof of Jash’s involvement. This is being investigated and Pakistan resolve that it will not allow to derail the process and not to allow its soil to be used by non state actors is a good omen.

On Pakistan side latest resolve of both army and political leadership not allow fissures in the military and civil is a major shift and indicate the realisation of changing regional and global scenario. But why react, did we know all the banned outfits are masquerading throughout Pakistan, and who does not know local politicians and police officials pay homage to them. This is allowing raising fingers at Punjab and the noise ever increasing. It is time the N league at the center come out of the closet be more transparent on the National Action Plan and now Punjab need it maximum. While FC is employed in KPK and Balochistan and Rangers in Sindh, the Punjab, its police equally politicised, is also handed out to Punjab Rangers with police powers, at least in South Punjab. Some may feel the heat but stature of PM will be improved. The Federation needs it. Never the less, it is still to be ascertained the episode was not planted and planned by RAW as the foot prints show. Pakistanis are our own enemy and need no outside enemy.

The way CPEC has been made controversial is embarrassing both at domestic level and internationally. West or East routes all has to be made in next five years. Rejected at Ballot box, these politicians have to survive and CPEC is one issue which will hurt Pakistan most. And then the pound of flesh they must get. So there it is all the howling and our media whose creditability has been tainted and other for the ratings give space to these politicians who otherwise carry no weight. In my earlier writings had indicated all efforts will be made to scuttle this project. On the Government side it is their responsibility to be transparent and instead of APC, s the government should use the platform of Parliament since it will have legal strength needed for the project and also the constitutional guarantees. Good that PM called a meeting to put spanner on this howling.

The fact remains, in the name of provincial autonomy, the subjects which even Zulfiqar Bhutto kept them with federation has been transferred to Provinces, resultantly, federation has to have one aim one direction, now there is complete chaos. Provinces are behaving like independent entities, not caring what is happening in the region and globally, countries after countries are mauled and disfigured with every passing day. Enemies of Pakistan are waiting in wings. Time has come; do not put this country at risk achieved by Quaid passing over the river of blood. Ask those who do not have soil under their feet. Middle East is in turmoil and all eyes are on Pakistan. Unfortunately, everyone has own interest first than the obligation these leaders owe to Pakistan, elected by the teeming millions. The threat is multi-directional, economic, political and strategic.

—The writer, retired Brigadier, is decorated veteran of 65/71 wars and a defence analyst based in Lahore.

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