Nawaz Sharif's Anti-Military Rhetoric; Moeed Yusuf on Indian Sponsored Terror in Pakistan
Former Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif has alleged that the Pakistan Army Chief and the ISI leader orchestrated his conviction on corruption charges and his subsequent ouster. In a clear departure from prior allegations against "the establishment", Mr. Sharif has named names of the chiefs of the Army and the ISI in his anti-military address over the telephone from London to a joint opposition rally in Gujranwala. Where does he go from here? Is he following in the footsteps of MQM founder Altaf Husain? Has Sharif given up on any hope of returning to claim power in Pakistan? Is the end of his political career for all practical purposes?
Pakistan's two major political parties PMLN and PPP have joined Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as the joint opposition movement under Maulana Fazlur Rehman go from here. In a show of strength, PDM has held two big political parties in Gujranwala and Karachi. Their objective is to force Prime Minister Imran Khan's resignation, followed by fresh general elections. How far will the PDM leadership go to achieve this objective? Will they succeed in bringing large numbers of people on the streets to create chaos? How will the Pakistani military respond to it? Will the majority of Pakistanis support any military intervention to end chaos and bring order? Will such intervention be a direct military takeover of power or will it be in support of Prime Minister Imran Khan's government?
Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Prime Minister Imran Khan's National Security Advisor, has said that "we have evidence to the T" of India's links to several terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In an interview with Indian journalist Karan Thapar, Dr. Yusuf mentioned specific terrorist incidents with Indian intelligence agency's fingerprints on them. Specifically, he mentioned terrorist attacks on Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 149 people including 132 schoolchildren. “Malik Faridoon who masterminded the attack from Jalalabad (in Afghanistan) was in touch with handlers at the Indian consulate as children were massacred in broad daylight,” he said. Yusuf also mentioned India's links to terrorist attacks on Chinese consulate, Pakistan Stock Exchange and Gwadar 5-star hotel. Kulbhushan Jadhav "has been caught with his pants down" India recently spent $1 million to bring about TTP, 4 other militant organizations' merger in Afghanistan Kashmiris should be made 3rd party in any India-Pakistan talks.
Is Dr. Yusuf beginning to build a common Pakistan narrative on Indian sponsorship of terror in Pakistan? Can he do it with without it getting politicized in Pakistan by anti-military and anti-ISI politicians and activists?
Pakistan's economy has been hit hard by one-two punch: a balance-of-payments crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Food prices have soared in Pakistan and the world as uncertainty about the pandemic has increased speculation and hoarding of basic foods. Bloomberg Agriculture Subindex, a measure of key farm goods futures contracts, is up almost 20% since June. There's anger and impatience among Pakistanis that is creating an opportunity for PDM to direct it at Prime Minister Imran Khan's government. Will the PTI government be able to address these issues and survive the Opposition's onslaught?
ALKS host Faraz Darvesh discusses these issues with Ali Hasan Cemendtaur, Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqir) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com).
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Military would like to spin it as anti military. But he has clearly stated he salutes and respects soldiers who are defending Pakistan professionally and risking their lives. It is few generals taking over the country or interferIng in the political affairs that he is opposed to. Unlike in the past he did not use euphemism (خلائ مخلوق، مقتدر طاقتیں اسٹیبلشمنٹ) he used direct names Bajwa, Faiz Hameed, and the PKR 3,500,000/ month Gen. Pizzawala.
This is the first time Nawaz Sharif has named names.
But this is not the first time he has tried to divide and politicize the Pakistani military, a strong institution known for its discipline.
In 1999, Nawaz Sharif tried to arbitrarily impose a general of his choice on the military who was widely rejected by the institution and resulted in a coup.
Watch Benazir Bhutto in 1999 talking about Nawaz Sharif's attempt to divide the military:
"Here, a coup has taken place against an unpopular despot who was hounding the press, the judiciary, the opposition, the foreign investors. And when he decided to divide the army, the last institution left, the army reacted".
"Ever since Nawaz Sharif took over he has sought to dismantle democracy....The people believe the man is violating every rule of law.....The armed forces had to protect themselves as an institution"
Mr Sharif “has been responsible for pillaging the state and I trust that you will be supportive of our efforts to bring those responsible for corruption to account”, Mr Khan’s adviser, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, wrote to Ms Patel on October 5.
After the Panama Papers revealed hidden assets belonging to Mr Sharif’s family, he resigned as prime minister in 2017. The following year a Pakistan court sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for corruption. He has claimed that this and other corruption cases against him are politically motivated.
In November 2019 he flew to London after the Pakistan authorities granted him leave to travel abroad for eight weeks to seek treatment for various conditions. He sought an extension of his temporary release but the Pakistan authorities refused on the grounds that he had offered inadequate medical evidence and ordered Mr Sharif to return home.
According to records submitted to the Pakistan authorities, he has given as his London address the very flat on London’s opulent Park Lane that led to his downfall. His family’s ownership of the flat was exposed by the leak of secret files from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The letter to Ms Patel urges her to use her “extensive powers” to deport Mr Sharif, arguing she is “duty bound” to do so. It cites immigration rules that criminals sentenced to four years or more must be refused leave to remain in the UK. A Pakistan court has issued a warrant for Mr Sharif’s arrest, the letter adds.
A Pakistan official said the UK had not yet formally responded. The Home Office declined to comment.
“Foreign politicians with convictions relating to corruption should not enjoy impunity in Britain. Nor should their unexplained wealth, stashed in luxury London properties, fall out of the reach of law enforcement,” said Daniel Bruce, head of Transparency International UK.
“The UK government should work constructively with democratic countries such as Pakistan to uphold the rule of law. Action should also be taken to seize and return illicit assets held here in Britain in order to deliver justice for the victims of corruption. Failure to act on cases such as this, earns the UK an unwelcome reputation as a safe haven for dirty money.”
Sharif shocked the country by denouncing the army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, at the first rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement. In a stunning departure from Pakistani norms, the three-time premier accused Bajwa of backing his removal from office on corruption charges in 2017 and rigging the 2018 elections. It was the first time an establishment politician had ever made such accusations.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government and put the nation at the altar of your wishes,” Sharif said in Urdu. “You rejected the people’s choice in the elections and installed an inefficient and incapable group of people,” leading to an economic catastrophe. “General Bajwa, you will have to answer for inflated electricity bills, shortage of medicines and poor people suffering.”
There are also signs that some alliance members are not comfortable with Sharif’s anti-military diatribe. On Saturday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and son of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, called the military establishment “part of history” and said it was “regrettable” that Sharif had mentioned any of its generals by name.
“We do not want their morale to go down,” he said of the armed forces. “We want a real and complete democracy, but we do not look to the umpire’s finger, we look to the people’s signal.”
Even Sharif’s outspoken daughter, Maryam, who lives in Pakistan and whose husband was arrested briefly Monday after the rally in Karachi, has stressed that she is not “anti-military.”
Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst in Lahore, predicted that while the current confrontation could weaken Khan politically, it might actually increase the military’s influence.
“Traditionally, Pakistan has been a security state whose survival was the foremost concern,” Rizvi said. He noted that even today, “inefficient” civilian rulers continue to rely on the army for emergency and humanitarian interventions.
“The political forces were always weak and divided,” he said. “Now this division is getting wider, which will harm democratic institutions, too.”
Pakistan Army needs one more coup or mutiny. This time for its reforms.
By Major General Amarjit Singh, VSM (Retd) commanded a Division in the Northern Sector
The next generation of warfare moves away from the customary objectives of territory, destruction of war-waging capability, and capturing prisoners. The overarching goal of overpowering the will of the enemy will still be the ultimate objective, but the method adopted will aim to impact the mind of the populace with the use of a number of psychological means to alter its core cultural values and beliefs. Western civilisation lays importance to life and wealth whereas a radicalised civilisation values ‘faith’ over life and the way it is lived.
The ends of warfare have shifted from a territorial concept of physical domination to the domination of minds of the population. The Arab Spring is an example of a well-orchestrated psychological campaign. The domination of the mind is by terror, coercion or through psychological bribery. The weapons and strategy of this kind of war are totally new and the country that can deploy these at the earliest will be the future power of the world. Hard weapons have been replaced by weapons of the mind and information. The narrative of the war itself will be the most lethal weapon.
Military analysts have already started writing about the sixth generation of warfare. The demonstration of this war by Pakistan can be seen by the number of minds it controls in Kashmir and how it is capturing the minds of radical Muslims in other parts of India. The de-militarisation of Siachen demonstrates the neighbour’s capacity to influence the leadership and the intellectuals of India. Pakistan is now fighting the ‘war’ in India’s hinterland and making use of the fault lines that exist within the country to de-stabilise it internally, so that in the end, India becomes incapable of responding to an invasion from within for the capture of Kashmir.
Few countries have understood the emergence of this new warfare. The US understood it after burning its fingers in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia has been studying this concept for the last 15 years and has demonstrated its prowess in Crimea and Chechnya, and through the purported meddling in the last US elections. The Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov had said in 2013 that “The role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of weapons in their effectiveness”. Russia’s forethought and strategic culture of being a great power is reflected in its recent victories in the new war of information and irregularity. Russia is now the third pole in the hybrid war that the US is fighting against the radicals in the Middle East and Afghanistan. China, very strategically, has unveiled its prowess in this new type of warfare and is engaged with the US in a new Cold War where it is not the threat of nuclear weapons that is paramount, but the economy.
Pakistan says India is sponsoring “terrorism” aimed at destabilising the country and targeting its economic partnership with China, accusations top Pakistani officials delivered at a news conference.
Pakistan and India routinely accuse each other of targeting the other, but this was a rare time Pakistani officials said they prepared a mountain of evidence to back up the allegations against their South Asian rival.
In a joint news conference on Saturday in the capital Islamabad, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, along with military spokesman Major-General Babar Iftikhar, said Indian intelligence agents were operating out of neighbouring Afghanistan to plan attacks within Pakistani borders.
“India was allowing its land to be used against Pakistan for terrorism,” said Qureshi, adding that New Delhi was also planning attacks from “neighbouring countries”.
Qureshi said Pakistan is sending its evidence to the United Nations demanding India be censured, warning “without international intervention it is difficult to guarantee peace in nuclear South Asia”, a region where both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons.
“We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier,” the minister claimed.
The news conference comes a day after Pakistan’s military said five civilians and an army soldier were killed by shelling from Indian troops across the highly militarised border that separates the Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir.
The disputed border in the Himalayan region is a source of long-standing conflict between the two powers.
Iftikhar, who heads the media and public relations office for Pakistan’s armed forces, presented some of the dossier’s evidence purporting to show India’s involvement in attacks within Pakistan, including bank receipts showing funding and photos showing alleged perpetrators of attacks inside the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
He also played an audio clip purporting to record a conversation between an Indian intelligence official and Allah Nazar, who is the top leader of Baloch separatist fighters in southwest Pakistan.
Iftikhar added Indian intelligence agents were especially targeting Chinese development projects that have come with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He alleged the attackers who led a deadly assault on a luxury hotel in the southwestern city of Gwadar in October 2016 were in telephone contact with Indian intelligence handlers before and during the assault.
Chinese companies operate the Pakistani city’s key port facilities and it is considered a keystone of major Pakistani-Chinese trade projects.
The military spokesman also accused India of sponsoring banned organisations including UN-designated “terrorist” groups Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, and Allah Nazar’s Baloch Liberation Army.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, Gran Hewad, said on Saturday Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is planning to visit Afghanistan next week.
The foreign ministry said this will be Khan’s first visit to Kabul as Pakistan’s prime minister. It was not mentioned whether he would raise Pakistan’s allegations of Indian interference.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and army spokesman, backed by sharp retaliation from the army in Jammu and Kashmir, accused India of spreading terrorism in Balochistan. Qureshi claimed that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Indian intelligence agency RAW donated Rs 80 billion and prepared 700 terrorists to destroy the Dream Project’s China-Pakistan economic corridor.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, who referred to terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir, presented the dossier on alleged Indian terrorism on Saturday. Qureshi said India gave 80 billion rupees to ruin the CPEC. India has formed a militia of 700 who will continue to target CPEC in Balochistan. India tried to spread nationalism there ahead of the Gilgit-Baltistan elections. Even after the elections, India’s intention is not noble.
By Hassan Aslam Shad
In November, Pakistan handed over its dossier on India’s terror campaign to the United Nations, the P5 members of the U.N. Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Countries claiming that it had “irrefutable evidence” of India financing, training, harboring and supplying weapons to terrorists operating in and against Pakistan. The U.N. Secretary General is said to have promised to study the dossier and take appropriate action. Pakistan is also reported to have warned the U.N. Secretary General that it “reserves the right to act in self-defence.”
It is too early to tell how Pakistan’s lawfare against India will pan out. However, some options it could likely exercise against India are the following.
First, Pakistan will most likely supplement its dossier with the “third party perspective” presented in the EU DisinfoLab report, something that was previously missing in its anti-India narrative. Second, Pakistan will engage with world powers traditionally hostile to Pakistan’s perspective to make them “soften” their stance towards Pakistan. Third, it will try to convince international organizations to pursue legal action against Indian natural and juristic persons named in the EU report who made representations before those organizations. Lastly, Pakistan’s best bet would be to table a resolution against India at the United Nations General Assembly with the hope of obtaining a resolution condemning India for its actions.
Despite the timing of the European NGO report, which comes right after Pakistan’s own dossier, it will find it hard to undo fossilized narratives about itself and India. India’s drift towards extremism – condemnable no less – does not automatically elevate Pakistan’s international stature. This is where the truth lies for Pakistan, and it will face an uphill task in convincing the world to see it through a new lens as the victim of Indian aggression.
Experts do not see thaw in relations between 3 nuclear neighbors in near future
US tilt towards India
Chaudhry, who heads the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), an Islamabad-based think tank, said since India does not seem to change its policies towards Kashmir and neighbors, there is hardly any scope for improvement in relations.
Further, he said, the recent US tilt towards India has emboldened New Delhi to continue its “belligerent” approach towards its neighbors.
Rajiv Ranjan, who teaches international relations at Shanghai University maintains that India-China relations were also at the “lowest point”.
“India-China engagement is at its lowest point today. And, I expect that frequent clashes [between the two sides] will be a new normal not only along the undefined border since border infrastructures improved but inherent competition in the region and beyond to shape the regional and global politics,” he said.
He added that the current deterioration in the bilateral engagement between the two countries is resultant of a combination of unsettled boundaries and strategic antagonism. He asked countries to restructure dialogue mechanisms to achieve a stable engagement.
“Both countries must restructure dialogue mechanisms, settle the foundational irritants of their bilateral relationship and realign interests if they want to achieve any meaningful and stable engagement,” said Ranjan.
Beijing push for globalism
Chaudhry, Pakistan’s former foreign secretary, observed that Beijing is likely to continue to push for “globalism”, and “multilateralism” with an economic emphasis, mainly on its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“India has long been opposing the BRI, and likely to continue the same policy in years to come,” he said.
Bashir, who also served as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India from 2012-14 described 2020 as a “transformational” year as established assumptions about states, societies, and interstate conduct in South Asia were challenged.
“India, suffered immense reputational loss, unprecedented economic slump, social turmoil and lost its credentials as a secular democracy with rule of law and a modicum of enlightened values and justice, “said Bashir, who also served as Pakistan’s top diplomat in China.
“Pakistan deepened its relations with Russia and China and intensified efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, “he said.
Bashir also referred to Islamabad’s crucial role in the ongoing reconciliation process in Afghanistan, which aims to end Washington’s longest war in recent history through a political settlement.
“Three geographically contiguous nuclear powers -- India, China, and Pakistan -- must learn to live with each other and devote themselves to higher ideals and cooperation for development, “he added.
“These are not political parties. They are mere political tribes,” journalist Wusat Ullah Khan said. “They will do whatever their leaders, who act as tribal chiefs, say.”
Khan, a columnist and television presenter, poked fun at Pakistani politicians, who are often worshipped by their supporters. “None of them is a Lenin, Mao, Che, or Ho Chi Minh who can change the system,” he told Dawn Television, a private news outlet. “They are the kind of folks who are satisfied with momentary signals from the establishment if it gestures to stay neutral in the power struggle.”
A week after Pakistan’s opposition alliance fell apart, political parties are facing questions over their role and relevance in a country where the ethos of democracy is often put to the test.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) disintegrated after one of its major members, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), refused to join nine others in resigning from the parliament to force Prime Minister Imran Khan into a new election. With the future of the opposition’s campaign uncertain, many Pakistanis are questioning whether political parties have any power beyond protecting the interests of the establishment and the dynasties behind them. The establishment is a euphemism for the wide-reaching influence of the powerful military.
The PDM leaders garnered vocal popular support over the past six months for vowing to end “the state above the state” purportedly created by the military to manipulate politics. But the PDM’s leaders squabbled publicly over the potential spoils after the movement momentarily shook Khan’s government by winning byelections and defeating his finance minister in an important Senate vote earlier this month. The prime minister is safe for now, despite his administration’s reliance on a wafer-thin majority in the parliament.
#NawazSharif’s #PMLN promotes civilian supremacy but demands that NA249 ballots be given by #Pakistan’s Chief Elections Commissioner to #PakistanArmy’s custody
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday continued their war of words over the outcome of recently-held by-election on a National Assembly seat (NA-249) in Karachi as the latter submitted an application to the chief election commissioner (CEC) asking him to place election material, including ballot papers, under the supervision of the Army or Rangers.
The application was submitted by Miftah Ismail, the PML-N candidate in the constituency, after the PPP “welcomed” the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to stay announcement of official results for a recount, and asked the PML-N not to accuse the party of winning the seat with the support of the “establishment”.
The leaders of the two parties, in their statements, however, continued to attack each other with the allegations of having a covert support of the “establishment”.
PPP candidate Qadir Mandokhail had won the NA-249 by-election in Karachi by a small margin after securing 16,156 votes, while Dr Ismail had secured second position with 15,473 votes, according to provisional results released on Friday. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PML-N had cried foul and subsequently rejected the results.
Levy, Adrian. Spy Stories: Inside the Secret World of the RAW and the ISI (pp. 215-216). Kindle Edition.
"Pakistan is poised to take advantage of its geo-economically pivotal location to operate as a production, trade and investment, and connectivity hub for our wider region to strengthen our economic security," the policy document stated.
It also sought peace and better relations with rival India but warned that policies being pursued by its eastern neighbour could lead to conflict.
"The political exploitation of a policy of belligerence towards Pakistan by India's leadership has led to the threat of military adventurism and non-contact warfare to our immediate east," it said.
Pakistan on Friday launched its first-ever comprehensive National Security Policy that it said was centred on regional peace and economic connectivity, and stressed that it wanted improved relations with arch-rival neighbouring India.
The National Security Policy, seven years in the making, is meant to act as a comprehensive framework tying together policies in different sectors. Economic security is listed as the top priority.
"I am confident that effective implementation of this policy will contribute immensely to our country's economic security," Prime Minister Imran Khan said, speaking at an event to launch the public version of the policy in Islamabad.
Officials say the details of the policy, prepared by a department jointly headed by civil and military leaders, will remain confidential.
The policy revolves around seeking peace with neighbours and exploring opportunities to make Pakistan a trade and investment hub.
Pakistan and India, both of which have nuclear weapons, have fought three wars since 1947 and had a number of military skirmishes - most recently a limited engagement between their air forces in 2019.
Pakistan has long been considered by analysts as a security state, where military policy has always trumped other considerations.
Aside from three wars with India, Pakistan has been entangled in two wars in neighbouring Afghanistan, and also dealt with violent Islamist militancy and separatist movements.
"It is like summarizing a wish list of concerns for Pakistan and ambitions, but with no reference to dearth of resources or how will consensus be developed," author and defence analyst Ayesha Siddiqa told Reuters.
“Regrettably, an attempt has been made to discredit and undermine [the] senior leadership of [the] Pakistan Army at a time when the institution is laying lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan every day.
Senior politicians trying to stir controversies on the appointment of the chief of army staff (COAS), the procedure for which is well defined in the constitution, is most unfortunate and disappointing, the ISPR said.
It went on to say that the army’s senior leadership had a decades-long, impeccable and meritorious service to prove its patriotic and professional credentials beyond any doubt.
“Politicising the senior leadership of Pakistan Army and scandalising the process of selection of [the] COAS is neither in the interest of the state of Pakistan nor of the institution. Pakistan Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the statement concluded.
The development comes a day after Imran, at a rally in Faisalabad, alleged that the PPP and PML-N were opposing fresh elections, because they wanted to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases.
“They want to bring their own army chief…they are afraid that if a strong and patriotic army chief is appointed then he would ask them about the looted wealth,” the former prime minister said.
“They are sitting [in the government] because they want to bring in an army chief of their choice through joint efforts,” Imran claimed, adding that the army chief should be “appointed on merit … whoever is on the top of the merit list should be appointed” to head the institution.
COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was appointed in 2016, is set to retire in the last week of November. The army chief’s appointment is meant to be for three years, but Gen Bajwa was given an additional three-year term in 2019 after a bit of political drama.
She said the press release was “of concern because it seems to have misunderstood what Imran said despite clarifications”. The ex-human rights minister maintained that the PTI chief had not criticised the military or its leadership in his Faisalabad speech.
PTI’s Asad Umar said the context of Imran’s statement had already been clarified. “There was never an intent to cause harm to the reputation of the institution or its senior leadership,” he said.
He went on to say that the party and its chief had always “fully appreciated” the professionalism and sacrifices of army personnel.
“The emphasis on upholding the principle of merit is consistent with the desire to protect the professionalism of the force which provides security to the nation,” he said.
PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said the ISPR would not have felt the need to issue the press release if it had listened to what he had said in Islamabad earlier today.
In his press conference, Chaudhry had attempted to explain and defend Imran’s remarks.
Criticising the coalition government and its leaders, Chaudhry said Imran had meant that the decision to appoint the next COAS could not be left to the government since it lacked “political legitimacy”.
“We have raised questions on the legitimacy of the politicians who are making decisions,” Chaudhry said.
He added that the PTI felt the army should not be involved in the political process.
“There is no doubt about the patriotism of the army’s leadership. There can be no doubt or suspicion about it,” Chaudhry asserted.
Coalition govt slams Imran
Earlier today, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other coalition leaders castigated Imran for levelling “poisonous allegations” against the armed forces and “putting blots” on the appointment of the new army chief.