Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Molotov cocktails, firecrackers hurled at police at march over teen’s death in Athens

1st images of Aleppo frontline: RT crew reports from war-torn Old City (EXCLUSIVE)

Putin on goals and dreams: I want to successfully complete my career!

President Obama Speaks to the Open Government Partnership Global Summit

President Obama’s Powerful Message to PEOPLE Readers: This Election Should Not ‘Negate All the Progress That’s Been Made’

After an election season marred by displays of misogynyracism and bigotry among a divided American public, many people are left feeling the country has taken a huge step backwards.
In a joint interview with First Lady Michelle Obama for this week’s PEOPLE cover story, the president reflects on how far the nation has come since his own 2008 election — and insists our progress overshadows our current struggles.
“I’m somebody who never believes the hype when things are going good and doesn’t despair when things don’t work out your way,” the president tells PEOPLE. “The truth of the matter is that when I got elected, there was still racism and misogyny and, you know, anti-gay sentiment in America.”
“In the wake of this election, those elements are still there, but it doesn’t negate all the progress that’s been made,” he continues. “It just means that elements of our culture get amplified sometimes.”
  • Watch the full episode of People at the White House: The Final Interviewhere now on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices. To read more on the Obamas’ interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday
Although Donald Trump‘s presidency threatens to unravel some of the progressive accomplishments Obama made during his eight years in office — including actions on climate change and universal health care — the president remains hopeful that his legacy will endure.
“This is a big, complicated country. And history doesn’t move in a straight line,” he says. “It zigs and zags, and it goes backwards and forwards. So you can never just say, ‘All right, we’re finished with that.’ The battle to be vigilant, on behalf of kindness and tolerance and fairness and equality, that’s a day-to-day thing that each of us is responsible for. That doesn’t change because of one election. It’s something that has to be tended to all the time.
The president adds that he remains “hugely optimistic” about the future — in part because of the next generation of Americans, including his own daughters, Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15.

“You talk to Malia and Sasha. The idea that you’d discriminate against somebody because they had a different sexual orientation? It’s crazy to them,” Obama says.
“That generation right behind us, and I believe each successive generation, as long as we’re doing our job of being good models for it, they’re going to move this country forward in a better direction,” the president adds.

Pashto Music - khyal mohammad - har yao gul thay panray panray.

SHOCKING VIDEO - #Pakistan: #Christian lad beaten for drinking water from a mosque

A video showing Christian boy being brutally tortured by a mob reveals horrifying scenes of religious intolerance in the country. Media reports detailed that the boy was beaten for drinking water from a mosque.

The video emerged few days back, which sowed a Christian boy brutally beaten up for purportedly drinking water from a fountain located inside a mosque. The boy was being physically assaulted by a mob in the public. Nevertheless, the video has also sparked controversy as doubts and questions surround the authenticity of the video. However the Christian boy was certainly beaten and physically tortured by a mob.

The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom stated in its annual report 2015: “Pakistan represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the U.S. government as ‘countries of particular concern.’ In the past year, the government grappled with a challenging security environment and initiated efforts to fight the Pakistani Taliban.

However, despite these efforts, Pakistan continued to experience chronic sectarian violence targeting Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Hindus. Despite positive rulings by the Supreme Court, the government failed to provide adequate protection to targeted groups or to prosecute perpetrators and those calling for violence. Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmadi laws continue to violate religious freedoms and to foster a climate of impunity. USCIRF again recommends in 2015 that Pakistan be designated a ‘country of particular concern,’ or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), as it has recommended since 2002.”

Pakistan - How to honor Dr Abdus Salam

Ordinarily, naming a physics centre and physics scholarships after the only Nobel Laureate a country has in physics or any other field of knowledge would not be deserving of praise, since it would be the most natural thing to happen. But Pakistan is far from an ordinary country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the government have done themselves honour by taking this step. For many decades some of the leading centers of excellence in science in Italy, Germany, UK, India and other places have carried the name of the man who changed his field forever. Dr Abdus Salam was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics back in 1979, by which time he had already left the country after Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974. From 1960 to 1974, Abdus Salam served his nation as a teacher and as a key scientific adviser to the government helping to set up the PAEC and Pakistan Space and Nuclear Programme.

When he attempted to visit educational institutions in his home country after claiming the Nobel Prize he was prevented from entering Punjab University and other centres by the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, and associated groups. The huge loss we inflicted on ourselves has never really been understood. The only hint of government recognition Abdus Salam got was the issuance of a stamp in his name in 1998 after the testing of nuclear weapons. We must answer for how we have tried to erase Abdus Salam from our history. Even as the rest of the world was updating textbooks in light of his theories, we were pretending as if he didn’t exist. Our mistreatment of Abdus Salam is a blight that cannot be washed away by one tiny and belated action.
How Pakistan has treated it most illustrious son is equalled by how we have treated science in this country. Those who banished the likes of Abdus Salam are still around in our educational institutions and still stifling genuine research. Dr Salam’s former pupil, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, has been among the few who have bravely and tirelessly campaigned for genuine science, pointing out how scientific thinking has been decimated in the country with money spent on superstitions parading as scientific research while real scientific research is hardly existent. We can show real respect to Abdus Salam by showing a commitment to rational scientific thought over superstition.
For this a lot more is required than renaming a centre after him. There has to be a deliberate and uncompromisingly aggressive movement to introduce reason and true science in our minds, particularly those of our young ones. This means fighting bigotry on many fronts. This is made difficult by a climate of political opportunism, where every problem facing this country becomes a means to get to the top of the ladder without trying to change people’s consciousness and with every effort made to turn our youth into fanatic worshippers of false charisma. For a while now, we may perhaps see Dr Abdus Salam celebrated in the media – the same media whose role has been nothing short of criminal in building false heroes and promoting and championing superstition and pseudo-science. The best way to honour Abdus Salam’s memory is to be rid of hypocrisies and committing ourselves to a struggle for true change.

PM House’s ‘diplomacy’ leaves Pakistan red-faced

Increasing meddling by the Prime Minister House in the foreign affairs – that too without professional input from the diplomatic corps and relevant quarters – has of late left Pakistan red-faced.

 Close aides and diplomatic authorities had advised Premier Nawaz Sharif against Pakistan’s participation in the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, India, where Pakistan’s delegation in general and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz in particular were mistreated, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The PM House’s plan to send Aziz to Amritsar in a bid to break the ice with India backfired, prompting him to address a hard-hitting news conference against India and Afghanistan, shortly after landing back home from the two-day moot that concluded on Sunday. “Worldwide, key decisions on sensitive diplomatic issues are taken keeping in view the input of the missions concerned functioning abroad, intelligence reports and advices of the diplomatic establishments,” said an official privy to the issue. “In this particular case, our diplomatic mission in New Delhi, the security agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc were of the view that ground conditions in the host country are hostile and signing up for an event in such a situation would not be without repercussions,” the official added. As per the policy, sources said, the Foreign Office gets input from the security establishment on key policy decisions of national security and it is made sure that the stakeholders are on the same page prior to taking crucial decisions. Interestingly, the officials said, the new security establishment was not taken into the loop as far the decision to send Aziz to Amritsar was concerned. “It was a bizarre attempt to assert control and convey a message that the government is in charge of foreign policy. This went horribly wrong. We went to the Heart of Asia and now we are cribbing and crying over the humiliating attitude of India and Afghanistan.”
Speaking to The Express Tribune, foreign affairs analyst and ex-diplomat Rustam Shah Mohmand said the prime minister is the authority in granting permission on the issues concerning to countries like India and Afghanistan. “For all practical purposes, the PM is at the helm as far as the policy decisions are concerned. This is a routine practice. The crucial foreign policy issues of national importance seek PM’s vigorous intervention. Apart from the FO, such issues can be taken up at the cabinet meetings and even in parliament.” To a query regarding adviser’s participation in HoA, the ex-ambassador said Sartaj Aziz performed his responsibilities professionally but the Afghanistan president “played very smart.”
“I think the adviser shouldn’t have bilaterally met the Afghan president—who levelled wild allegations against Pakistan right in the middle of the conference—in front of the delegates from 14 states—there was no need to hold a bilateral meeting with him—and it was uncalled for on part of our foreign affairs advisor to say that the meetings were ‘productive’ and ‘useful’.” PM’s Adviser Amir Muqam also defended the decision regarding participation in HoA moot. “By default, prime minister is also the foreign minister. If he is dealing with diplomatic issues, it’s because he is fully authorised to—and not to forget that Heart of Asia conference is a multilateral forum that has representation of over a dozen states. It was not an India-specific conclave. Our boycotting the event would have fingers of criticism pointed at us,” he said, when approached.
PM’s spokesman Musadik Malik did not respond to comment on the issue. Prior to the HoA moot episode, the telephone call between PM Nawaz Sharif and US President-elect Donald Trump made headlines globally. In an unprecedented move, the PM House released the transcript of the call, which did not go down well with Trump transition team as well as Western media, with many questioning this motive.
In this matter too, the FO is said to have been bypassed by the PM House and not consulted in the issuance of the related press release. Reportedly, the PM House’s media wing took the matter in its own hands without having the relevant expertise and professional training, in apparent disregard to the delicacies and sensitivities involving diplomatic affairs. Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, diplomatic and strategic affairs analyst, termed the move as ‘undiplomatic and unprofessional’. “You don’t release the actual text of a conversation without clearance from the other side. This is very professional behaviour. Whosoever did this; Foreign Office or PM House, tended to behave in a highly unprofessional manner,” he told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan - FATA reforms and its destiny

It is the dire need of the time that the government should go ahead and get the bill passed by both houses without any further delay.
Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) has been ruled by the British implemented law, the Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) act for the last one century. The FCR was enacted in some parts of the then Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), Balochistan, and FATA by the British Raj in 1901 for their own protection. In 1947, when Pakistan came on the world map, the FCR was a great challenge for the then Pakistani government. In the constitutions of 1956 and 1973, the FCR was removed from parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The people of FATA, however, are still subjected to this draconian law. The FCR is a complete violation of universal human rights and contradicts the Constitution of 1973. The people of the area raised even their voices against the black law but to no avail. In the past, several committees were formed to make some reforms in FCR, but all of them failed in bringing any possible reforms.
Last year, the parliamentarians from FATA submitted a bill to the National Assembly, demanding the merging of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the extension of the jurisdiction of courts to the area. In this regard, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed a five-member committee to finalise reforms in the tribal areas, on 8 November 2016. The committee, under the supervision of the advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, presented the FATA Reforms Report to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the National Assembly.
The committee finally came up with a comprehensive report, which was submitted to Prime Minister and also in the National Assembly for discussion. The committee report consists of some practical recommendations and proposals. The most important one was to merge FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within a transition period of ten years. Merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was also the demand of the majority of parliamentarians from FATA. However, the ten years period is too long and can have adverse effects on the implantation of the proposed bill. Reforms in FATA and merging with KP were a timeworn ambition of the people of the area. It is an excellent opportunity for both government and tribal people to avail this opportunity as soon as possible.
However, there are some political parties and their leaders including the JUI-F and PkMAP, who have rejected the report of the committee and demanded a referendum in the tribal areas. Both these parties and their leaders call themselves the true representatives of Pashtuns. But they still are opposing the reforms in FATA. I think in the current circumstances, the referendum is wastage of time and money. This is because half of the population of FATA is living outside FATA in IDP camps in different parts of the country. Secondly, more than 20 percent of the population has been living outside the country that has left for earning bread for their families. In the absence of half of the people of the area, a referendum is meaningless and a wastage of time. The leadership of PkMAP and JUI-F need to set aside personal agendas and support the FATA-KP merger.
Whatever are the demands of the political parties and the local people, the government should take these necessary steps before the implementation of any reforms in the tribal areas. Firstly, without taking women onboard, all reforms and changes will be meaningless. The opinion of people should be listened to, instead of discussions with few pro-governments bureaucrats. Secondly, without the presence of the local population in the areas, any reforms are a wastage of time. To make the reforms practicable, all the IDPs should return before the implementation of any reforms. The government should make all possible efforts to provide the necessary facilities to the returning people including health, education and other necessities.
Thirdly, agenda should be prepared for the local body elections, and steps should be taken so that in the upcoming 2018 general elections the local people are able to elect their representatives for the KP assembly.
Fourthly, there is no need to replace the FCR with Rivaj act because the conservative nature of Pashtun society will misuse the act and there is a possibility of violations of basic human rights. A complete abolishment of FCR and direct extension of the jurisdiction of courts and constitution will be easier and a better option. All administrative machinery should be from FATA because the local people are well aware of the local customs and tradition.
Fifthly, change in the status of Fata will affect relations with Afghanistan, and in this regard, there should be a better border management with Afghanistan, especially due to the presence of the majority of the Pashtuns on both sides of the frontier.
Last but not the least, FATA should be included in the CPEC project so that the people of FATA will get the same benefits from the project as the rest of the country. FATA reforms committee report was already presented in the National Assembly and Senate with the hope that very soon it will be passed by both houses. It is the dire need of the time that government should go ahead and get the bill passed by both houses without any further delay.

Pakistan army chief Bajwa’s stand on corruption may seal Nawaz Sharif’s fate

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has become the first politician in Pakistan’s history to appoint six army chiefs. One of them – Pervez Musharraf – went against him and toppled Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999, while the rest too gave him a tough time.
After assuming office in 1990, Sharif appointed Gen Asif Janjua to succeed Gen Mirza Aslam Baig. Unlike Baig, who was ambitious and insecure, Janjua was a very popular officer who commanded loyalty. But Janjua, who earned admiration for tackling the MQM as corps commander in Karachi, died of a heart attack in 1993, leaving a leadership void.
This void was filled by Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar, a Pashtun officer appointed by Sharif who was seen as a weak candidate. It was Kakar who brokered the agreement in mid-1993 whereby Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan resigned after a constitutional deadlock.
Sharif returned as premier in 1997, when Gen Jahangir Karamat was army chief. They got off to a bad start as the army was given a constitutional role in decision-making through the National Security Council. Sharif rejected the idea and the situation deteriorated to the point that Karamat resigned in 1998.
Against all advice, Sharif appointed Musharraf in 1998. Soon after the Kargil conflict, Sharif moved to dismiss Musharraf and appoint a new army chief, Gen Ziauddin Butt. But the army rejected this and Musharraf toppled the government.
Sharif returned as premier in 2013, when Gen Ashfaq Kayani was the chief. Soon after, Sharif nominated Gen Raheel Sharif, who was seen as close to the Sharif family. But his three years as chief proved a testing time for the PML-N government.
If the new chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa, takes a strong stand on corruption, there could be friction between him and the premier, who faces the opposition’s ire over allegations of graft in the Panama Papers leaks.

The Emerging India-Afghanistan Front Against Pakistan


As was expected, India once again managed to isolate Pakistan at a multilateral forum. This time the venue was the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar, India. The two-day conference concluded on Sunday with a strong declaration that called for a concerted regional and international effort to ensure the elimination of terrorism as well as the dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens — all this in addition to disrupting all financial, tactical, and logistical support for terror networks.
Without naming Pakistan, the target was clear. The Amritsar declaration said that among terror groups propagating a “high level of violence” were “the Taliban, Daesh (Islamic State) and its affiliates, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda … Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan … and other foreign terrorist fighters.”
India and Afghanistan put up a united front to pile up pressure on Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanded “resolute action” not only against forces of terrorism, but also against “those who support, shelter, train, and finance them,” underlining that terrorism and externally induced instability pose the gravest threat to Afghanistan’s peace, stability and prosperity.
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But it was Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, once a seeming ally of Pakistan, who took the battle straight to Pakistan by directly blaming the country for “launching an undeclared war” against his country and demanded an Asian or international regime to verify Pakistan-sponsored terror operations. He also rejected the $500 million offered by Pakistan for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, asking that it would be better off used to check extremism. “This fund, Mr. Aziz, could very well be used to contain extremists because without peace any amount of assistance will not meet the needs of our people,” Ghani said, directly addressing Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz.
Faced with this onslaught, Aziz had a difficult task in making Pakistan’s case. Asserting that it was “simplistic” to blame one country, Aziz suggested that his attending the meeting despite “escalation” along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan in Kashmir was a testimony to Pakistan’s “unflinching” commitment for lasting peace in Afghanistan. Aziz additionally expressed unhappiness over the cancellation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Islamabad in November, terming it as a setback to regional cooperation.
In a sign of a new seriousness in India’s Afghan policy, Modi offered a vision of Afghanistan as a “hub … for strengthening links of connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia,” and called for “an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled [reconciliation] process.”
The outcomes of this year’s Heart of Asia conference represent another diplomatic setback for Pakistan and it is now apparent that regional states are more united than ever in their drive to marginalize Islamabad. But it remains far from clear if Pakistan will see this as a major constraint on its behavior. After all, it has the backing of China at the moment. The China-Pakistan relationship is blossoming, with China poised to deploy its naval ships along with Pakistan navy to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
What was clear from the Heart of Asia conference, however, was that New Delhi and Kabul are more willing than ever to carve out a partnership to deal with Pakistani intransigence on the issue of regional terror.


Abhijit Singh
India’s maritime watchers have had much to talk about lately. A few days after it held a bilateral exercise with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) in the Northern Arabian Sea, the Pakistan Navy claimed its “anti-submarine” assets had prevented an Indian submarine from entering Pakistani waters. The military’s public relations wing announced that on November 14, antisubmarine units of the Pakistan Navy detected an Indian submarine close to the Pakistani territorial sea and promptly “drove it away.”The next day, India rejected Pakistan’s claim, terming it a “pack of blatant lies.”Even as New Delhi was coming to grips with the grave accusation, however, the media reported that Islamabad had invited the Chinese navy to join its own ships in securing Gwadar port, presumably against the threat of an Indian attack.
This delirium from Islamabad should not be a surprise. Since September this year, when the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the line of control in Kashmir, Pakistan’s naval commanders have been nervous about an Indian naval build-up in the Arabian Sea. In the aftermath of the latest cross border exchange of fire, as the Indian navy embarked on a series of combat exercises on its Western sea-front, -Pakistan has been expecting an escalation in maritime tensions. The Pakistan Navy’s claim of detecting an Indian submarine in Pakistani waters appears to be a manifestation of a deep-seated paranoia over an Indian naval encirclement of Karachi. Since 1971, when Indian missile boats carried out a daring attack on Pakistan’s premier maritime hub, destroying a significant portion of the naval fleet and harbor facilities, Pakistani admirals have feared another assault at their strategic nerve-center. With tensions and tempers running high, Pakistan’s naval headquarters is besieged with anxiety over the prospect of another blockade in its near-seas.
For Islamabad’s maritime analysts, however, raising the bogey of an Indian submarine in Pakistani waters is an effective way of projecting a robust front. Navies know well that the presence of a foreign submarine just outside their territorial waters is par-for-the-course during an operational stand-off with a rival force. India, however, has traditionally eschewed deploying submarines close to the Makran coast in a conscious bid to avoid an inadvertent skirmish, which could potentially spiral into a full-blown conflict. Both during the Kargil conflict (Operation Vijay in1999) and Operation Parakram (2001), it was the Indian surface fleet that laid siege at a considerable distance awayfrom Pakistan’s littoral seas, not submarines. Besides, Pakistan now has a robust multi-tiered coastal defense grid— including shore based radars, coastal missile batteries (YJ-62s), air-reconnaissance (P-3Cs)/ strike aircraft (JF-17s with C-802 missiles),and even a coastal marine force  which makes Indian submarine operations in the proximity of the Makran coast, an extremely risky proposition.
India’s maritime thinkers say that the Indian navy has never meant to use its undersea assets to aggressively bait Pakistan’s naval forces. To the contrary, the Indian approach has been confined to posturing in the Arabian Sea in times of political tension, limited to the use of its surface fleet for the purposes of deterrence. Pakistan’s naval commanders, however, realize that the image of an Indian submarine in Pakistani waters can be galvanizing force. It could (and perhaps, to a degree, did), unite the military behind a common objective: forestalling any Indian incursion into Pakistani waters. This is one reason why the Pakistan Navy, as part of its modernization plans, has chosen to emphasize submarine warfare and strategic deterrence. Serving and retired Pakistan Navy officers have in recent years raised the pitch for a stronger submarine force, including a nuclear deterrent at sea. Since October this year, when India operationalized a nuclear triad, reportedly commissioning its first ballistic missile nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, Pakistan’s maritime analysts are convinced that the strategic equilibrium in the western Indian Ocean has shifted decisively in India’s favor. Mohammad Azam Khan, the main author of the Pakistan’s new maritime strategy even believes that the Arihant has been active in waters close to Pakistan’s coast gathering operational information – an unreasonable claim, given that nuclear missile submarines are rarely ever used for tactical missions such as intelligence collection.
India’s Arihant, however, has become a good excuse for the Pakistan Navy to make a case for its own nuclear missile submarines.  Pakistan’s maritime watchers now claim that the navy  has been ready for a sea based nuclear weaponever since the establishment of the naval nuclear authority in 2013.
While claims of an Indian submarine near Pakistani waters help in making a stronger case for a nuclear deterrent, Islamabad’s maritime establishment believes that the nautical deficit vis-à-vis India must ultimately be overcome through a strategic compact with China. There is wide-spread consensus in Pakistan that in order to protect its equities in the Western Indian Ocean, the Pakistan Navy must collaborate with China in containing growing Indian maritime influence. China has come to dominate Pakistan’s strategic imagination so much that at the inauguration the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) last week, the stand-out feature was the joint Pakistan Navy-PLAN exercise off the Makran coast. At a time when the Pakistani prime minister and army chief were attending a military drill close to the India-Pakistan border, many saw a joint Pakistan-China naval drill in the Arabian Sea as being deeply symbolic.
Beijing has yet to officially react to media reports of Islamabad’s bid to get a squadron of PLAN warships placed at Gwadar. However, an article in the Chinese state-controlled Global Times said that the benefits of Gwadar Port to the Chinese economy were limited, both on account of inadequate port capacity, as well as the economic and geographical infeasibility of a proposed pipeline to deliver oil and gas to western China.  This suggests that even if the PLAN does deploy warships at Gwadar, it would a move aimed solely at assisting Pakistan’s maritime agencies in securing the near-littorals.
Oddly enough, Pakistan’s maritime plans do not figure prominently in New Delhi’s nautical calculus. India’s maritime analysts have a pronounced eastern bias and tend to focus excessively on the Chinese challenge in the Eastern Indian Ocean. While China’s plan to supply the Pakistan Navy with eight S-20 (export version of Type 39 and Type 41) submarines is often a subject of discussion, Indian observers seem surprisingly dispassionate about Pakistan’s naval build-up in Western sub-continental littorals.
New Delhi should be worried though. For one, China may already have begun construction of the first set of submarines for Pakistan, even as the infrastructure for building the remaining four at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) is being put in place. Given China’s track record of efficient delivery, these boats will likely enter service during the next decade. Not just on account of their sophisticated sensors and high-tech weaponry, but merely in terms of sheer numbers, the new submarineswould confer the Pakistan Navy with an edge over the Indian navy, tilting the tactical power-balance in favor of Pakistan.
Islamabad’s offer to Beijing for the PLAN to use Pakistan’s naval facilities in Gwadar further alters the strategic equation in the western Indian Ocean. After it opened a logistics base in Djibouti last year, China has been on the lookout for a suitable pretext to expand its naval presence in littoral-South Asia. Piracy off the coast of Somalia provided Beijing with an excuse to send submarines in the Indian Ocean, but the PLAN still wasn’t sure about basing warships in Pakistan. Beijing believed that even while it needs maritime bases in the Indian Ocean to protect its investments and infrastructure projects along the Maritime Silk Route (President Xi Jinping’s grand strategic initiative in the Indo-Pacific), a Chinese naval outpost on the Pakistan coast would be a bridge too far, confirming Indian fears of a Chinese “string of pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean. Mindful of Indian objections, especially in the wake of the PLAN’s first maritime base in Djibouti, China then politely refused Pakistan’s suggestion. But the CPEC now has handed Beijing the perfect alibi to build a base in Gwadar, further skewing the strategic equilibrium in the regional littorals in China’s favor.
While the China-Pakistan maritime nexus is being proactively shaped by the Pakistan Navy, its wider maritime strategy has escaped scrutiny in New Delhi. Indian analysts believe that the Pakistan Navy still follows a “sea-denial”mode of operations in its near-seas, but there is some evidence to suggest that the operational template has changed overtime.
In recent years, the Pakistan Navy has embarked on an expansion of its maritime operational space. The development of new naval facilities at Ormara, Pasni, and Jiwani has provided the force with viable options for dispersing its assets. Alternate basing facilities away from Karachihave, in fact, acted as catalysts for a more assertive posture in Pakistan’s near-seas. Reports suggest that the ongoing revision of its maritime strategy is meant to introduce an aggressive streak in its naval operations. The presence of a joint Pakistan-China maritime squadron at Gwadar indicates that the Pakistan Navy is planning for a ‘limited sea-control” strategy in its near-littorals. Focused otherwise on the safety of sea lanes and the defense of the sovereign waters, the new maritime strategy is likely to advocate a more assertive posture to repel an Indian offensive.
As things stand, submarine operations and aerial surveillance are likely to constitute the mainstay of Pakistan’s emerging strategy at sea. But the land-attack cruise missiles and heavy torpedoes on the new submarines, as well Chinese catamaran Fast Attack Craft, all suggest the Pakistan Navy might also be developing a template for littoral operations in the Arabian Sea. The recent commissioning of a new VLF transmitter station in Sindh does indicate a shift towards prolonged submarine operations and a sea-control strategy in Pakistan’s near seas.
It is the prospect of a naval nuclear deterrent in Pakistan’s maritime strategy that has the gravest implications for India. In 2013, a sea-based version of the indigenously built nuclear capable Babur – cruise missile was developed for launch from the old Khalid class (Agosta 90B) submarines. With a stated policy of “first-use” of nuclear weapons against India, Pakistan does not really need a sea-based nuclear deterrent. The Pakistan Navy, however, wants strategic parity with India in the Western Indian Ocean. Its rhetoric of “Indian aggression” in Pakistani waters is meant solely to push fora second-strike capability, which Pakistani admirals believe will correct the prevailing strategic imbalance.
The advocacy of a sea-based deterrent also elevates the Pakistan Navy’s stature vis-à-vis the Pakistan Army, which traditionally dominates the security establishment. A sea-based nuclear option also gives senior naval officers greater leverage within the Pakistani security establishment. The Pakistan Navy’s power-driven aspirations, however, do not detract from the futility of what is essentially a risky and costly experiment. The combination of dangerous delusions, soaring ambitions and a fatal nuclear obsession could spark another round of strategic brinkmanship in South Asia, with disastrous consequences for regional security.

بلاول بھٹو نے پیپلز پارٹی کے کارکنوں میں نئی روح پھونک دی

پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئر مین بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی پارٹی کے انچاسویں یوم تاسیس کے موقع پر لاہور میں موجودگی، ’نیو پی پی پی‘ کے نئے ویژن اور جواں جزبے نے پنجاب کے جیالوں میں نئی روح پھونک دی، اسی موضوع پر معروف صحافی خالد قیوم کی رپورٹ روزنامہ ایکسپریس میں شائع ہوئی ہے، رپورٹ کے اہم حصے پیش خدمت ہے
لاہور: پیپلزپارٹی نے بلاول ہاؤس لاہور میں ایک ہفتہ تک 49 ویںیوم تاسیس کے پروگرام کئے۔ اس دوران پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئر مین بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے نئی پارٹی پالیسی دی اور اپنے ٹارگٹ واضح کئے۔ پیپلزپارٹی نے طویل عرصے بعد لاہور میں بھرپور پارٹی سرگرمیاں کیں۔ پچھلے چھ سات سال سے ورکرز کو جو عزت وقار اور توجہ نہیں مل سکی وہ یوم تاسیس کے موقع پر دی گئی ہے۔
پارٹی کارکنوں کو ٹرانسپورٹ دی گئی، ہوٹلوں میں ٹھہرایا گیا ، اچھے کھانوں اور میوزیکل شوز کا اہتمام کیا گیا۔ بلاول بھٹو کے ساتھ کارکنوں کی ریکارڈ سلفیاں بنی ہیں جس سے ڈرائنگ روم میں کارکنوں کی اپنے قائد کے ساتھ تصویر ہوگی۔ یوم تاسیس پر ایسی مینجمنٹ کی گئی جس سے پارٹی میں دھڑے بندی بھی کم ہوگئی ہے۔
پنجاب میں ایک ہفے تک یوم تاسیس منانا بڑا اہم ہے اس سے یہ تاثر ختم ہوگیا ہے کہ پنجاب پیپلزپارٹی کی ترجیح نہیں ہے۔ جیالوں میں ایک بار پھر جوش و خروش ہے اور وہ جدوجہد کیلئے تیار نظر آتے ہیں۔ بلاول بھٹونے اپنی تقریر وں میں مسلم لیگ(ن) کی قیادت خصوصاً نواز شریف کو ٹارگٹ کیا۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری پارٹی عہدوں کیلئے امیدواروں کے انٹرویو بھی کر رہے ہیں۔
ان انٹرویوز میں وہ اس بات کو بھی بڑی اہمیت دے رہے ہیں کہ کیا پارٹی عہدیدار ایشوز سے واقف ہیں، سیاسی طورپر اچھا بول سکتے ہیں اور ٹی وی چینلز پر پارٹی کا دفاع کر سکتے ہیں۔ بلاول بھٹو خود کہتے ہیں کہ انھوں نے نئی تنظیمی ٹیم ٹی وی چینلز سے اٹھائی ہے۔ بلاول بھٹونے بلوچستان کے سرداروں اور پارٹی کی دیگر بااثر شخصیات کی مرضی کیخلاف پارٹی کارکن علی مدد جتک کو پیپلزپارٹی بلوچستان کا صدر بنا دیا۔
اس وقت پارٹی تنظیموں کیلئے جوانٹرویوز ہو رہے ہیں اس میں بھی بلاول بھٹو اپنی اتھارٹی استعمال کر رہے ہیں اور تمام عہدوں پر اپنے تیار کردہ میرٹ پر لوگوں کو عہدے دے رہے ہیں۔ ان کے پاس زیادہ تر امیدواروں کی ماضی میں پیپلزپارٹی کیلئے خدمات اور پیپلزپارٹی کے خلاف کئے گئے اقدامات کی فہرست بھی موجود ہے۔ اس میں انھوں نے امیدواروں سے یہاں تک پوچھا کہ آپ نے ماضی میں پارٹی چھوڑ دی تو اب آپ پارٹی کا عہدہ کیوں لے رہے ہیں۔
کیا آپ بطور صدرضلعی سطح پر پارٹی سیکرٹریٹ بنائیں گے؟ کیا آپ پارٹی گراس روٹ لیول پر منظم کرنے کا تجربہ رکھتے ہیں؟لوگوں کے پاس جانے کا آپ کے پاس کیا پروگرام ہے؟ ناراض کا رکنوں کو کیسے منائیں گے؟ وہ انفارمیشن سیکرٹری کے امیدوار سے سوال کرتے ہیں کہ آپ نے کبھی کو ئی آرٹیکل لکھاہے؟ پریس کلب کے ساتھ رابطے ہیںاور کوئی آئیڈیا ہے کہ انفارمیشن کوکس طرح چلاسکتے ہیں؟ وہ نئے تقاضوں کے مطابق پرانے اور نئے لوگوں میں ہم آہنگی چاہتے ہیں۔
سابق وزیراعظم بے نظیر بھٹو کی شہادت کے بعد پہلی بار پاکستان کی سیاست کے اہم مرکز لاہور میں پیپلزپارٹی بھرپور طریقے سے نظر آئی۔ پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو وسطی اور جنوبی پنجاب کی تنظیم میں صاف ستھر ے چہرے سامنے لے کر آئے ہیں جس سے واضح ہوگیا ہے کہ بلاول بھٹو، نواز شریف کے گڑھ کو توڑنا چاہتے ہیں۔ پیپلزپارٹی کی نئی تنظیم میں ایسے چہرے ہیں جنھوں نے بدترین حالات میں بھی اپنے علاقے میں خود کوسیاسی طور پر زندہ رکھا اور بلدیاتی الیکشن میں بھی بہتر نتائج حاصل کئے۔
مخدوم احمد محمود نے تمام حکومتی ہتھکنڈوں اور انتظامیہ کی مداخلت کے باوجود پیپلزپارٹی کے پلیٹ فارم پر ضلع کونسل رحیم یار خاں میں کامیابی حاصل کی جبکہ کائرہ خاندان، ندیم افضل چن، مصطفی نواز کھوکھر نے لالہ موسیٰ، سرگودھا اور اسلام آباد کے اپنے علاقوںمیں اچھے بلدیاتی نتائج حاصل کئے۔ 2013ء کے انتخابات کے بعد پنجاب میں پیپلزپارٹی کی سیاست پیچھے چل گئی تھی اور اس علاقے میں عمران خاں دوسرے نمبر پر آگئے۔
اب عمران خاں اور ان کے ساتھیوں کے طرز سیاست سے تحریک انصاف کا کا رکن مایوس ہے اور جو لوگ پیپلزپارٹی کی مفاہمتی پالیسی کے باعث پارٹی چھوڑ کر پی ٹی آئی میں چلے گئے تھے وہ بلاول بھٹو کی اینٹی نواز پالیٹکس کے باعث دوبارہ پیپلزپارٹی کی طرف دیکھ رہے ہیں ۔ 2008ء کے بعد پیپلزپارٹی کا اس طرح نظر آنا حیران کن عنصر ہے اس سے ثابت ہوتا ہے کہ لوگ بلاول بھٹو کی طرف دیکھ رہے ہیں۔ اس سے یہ بھی پتہ چلتا ہے کہ عمران خاں کا گراف نیچے گیا ہے۔
عمران خاں کا المیہ یہ بھی ہے کہ ان کی عمر زیادہ ہوگئی ہے اور تمام تر مواقع ملنے کے باوجود تبدیلی نہیں لاسکے۔ اس سے نوجوان طبقہ ان سے تھوڑا پیچھے ہوتا نظر آرہا ہے۔ اب نوجوان بلاول بھٹو کی طرف جا رہے ہیں کیونکہ وہ 27، 28 سال کے اعلیٰ تعلیم یافتہ نوجوان ہیں۔ یوم تاسیس پروسطی اور جنوبی پنجاب نے اچھے شوکئے۔ اس دوران ’’گونواز گو‘‘ سب سے مقبول نعرہ رہا۔ بلاول بھٹو وزیرا عظم کی ریس میں شامل ہوگئے ہیں۔ اب بلاول بھٹو نے واضح طور پر اعلان کر دیا ہے کہ وہ 2018 ء میں وزیراعظم کے امیدوار ہوں گے۔
پیپلزپارٹی کی سینئر رہنمافریال تالپور، بختاور بھٹواور آصفہ بھٹوبھی یوم تاسیس کی تقریبات میں شریک ہوئیں۔ آصفہ بھٹو وہیل چیئر پر شرکت کیلئے آتی رہیں۔ فریال تالپور، بختاور اور آصفہ کے ہمراہ جنوبی پنجاب کے ورکرز کنونشن میں شرکت کیلئے آئیں توپنڈال میں شریک ہزاروں کارکنوں نے کھڑے ہوکر ان کا شاندار استقبال کیا۔ اس دوران ایک سرائیکی لوک فنکار نے جوکلام پیش کیا اس میں بے نظیر بھٹو کی شہادت کا ذکر آیا تو فریال تالپورکی آنکھوں سے آنسو بہہ نکلے۔
فریال تالپور زیادہ وقت آصفہ بھٹو کے ساتھ گزارتی ہیں اور ان کی دیکھ بھال کرتی ہیں۔ وہ پارٹی امیدواروں کے انٹرویوز کیلئے بلاول بھٹو کے ساتھ اجلاس میں بھی شریک ہوتی ہیں۔فریال تالپور پیپلزپارٹی کے رہنما جہانگیر بدر کی وفات پر تعزیت کیلئے ان کی رہائش گاہ پر بھی گئیں اور ان کے اہل خانہ سے ملاقات کی۔ فریال تالپورنے کہا کہ جہانگیربدر پیپلزپارٹی کے بہت بڑے جیالے تھے۔ جہانگیر بدر کی وفات سے پیپلزپارٹی کو بہت نقصان پہنچاہے۔بلاول بھٹو نے پیپلز پارٹی کے یوم تاسیس کے موقع پر پورے پاکستان میں ورکرز کو متحرک کر دیا ہے۔ اب وہ 27 دسمبر کو بے نظیر بھٹو کی برسی کے موقع پراپنے آئندہ کے لائحہ عمل کا اعلان کریں گے۔