After 72 years of emotionalism on Kashmir, is Pakistan finally ready for realism?

For over 72 years, Pakistanis have been brought up on the notion that Kashmir is the shah rug (jugular vein) of Pakistan and that it was the duty of every Pakistani to ensure that the ‘K’ of Pakistan became a part of Pakistani territory.

For years, Pakistan has allowed emotion to prevail over rationality and pragmatism when it comes to any aspect of policy, especially foreign policy.

In a news conference in Muzaffarabad (capital of Azad Kashmir) on August 12, however, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated “You (people) should not in live fool’s paradise. Nobody will be standing there (in the UNSC) with garlands in hands…Nobody will be there waiting for you.”

For decades Pakistan’s foreign policy has centered around the issue of Kashmir: Pakistani leaders – both civilian and military – have always portrayed their close relationships with the Gulf Muslim Arab countries, with China, with the US and with the larger Muslim world as being critical to their effort to get back Kashmir.

India-Pakistan relations have also been viewed purely from the prism of Kashmir. While India and China have a border dispute, and have fought a war, today China is one of India’s top trading partners with $85 billion in annual trade. South Asia is the least economically integrated region thanks primarily to Pakistan’s refusal to allow trade with India unless and until Kashmir is resolved.

Only time will tell if these were isolated remarks made by Qureshi, who was also foreign minister under the PPP government (2008-2010) or if there really is a policy shift.

If it is a policy shift it would require the need for realism in Pakistan’s overall policy towards its neighbors and on the economic foreign policy front as well.

Outrage on Kashmir, only by Pakistanis, for Pakistanis

Apart from strengthening the Pakistani military and its control over Pakistani society, Pakistan has accomplished little through its periodic outbursts over the years on the issue of Kashmir. A similar outburst occurred recently after Pakistan was caught napping when India revoked Article 370.

Every Pakistani is taught from childhood that Kashmir is the shah rug or jugular vein and that Pakistan is incomplete without the ‘K’ (Kashmir) in the acronym that was Pakistan (Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh)

Since 1990, every year February 5 is celebrated in Pakistan as Kashmir day and is a national holiday. We shut down businesses and suffer loss of GDP. Does celebrating Kashmir Day or shutting down businesses help the Kashmir cause or the Kashmiris?

Pakistan has always sought to involve the international community, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in forcing India to talk about Kashmir and agree to a plebiscite as per the UNSC resolutions of the late 1940s-early 1950s. However, the last time the UNSC demanded a resolution was in 1957. That was before most Pakistanis were born!!!

The United States to whom we looked for years to force India to listen to us has stated that what had happened in Kashmir is an internal matter.

Pakistan’s rulers claim that the country is not isolated and we have friends and allies in the world who support our stand on Kashmir and India. Well we learned this week who are on our side: our brother Muslim country UAE has supported India, our South Asian neighbors – Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh – have come out on India’s side and even China’s protest has to do with the territory of Kashmir it claims – Ladakh – not with our aims!

The one place where a resolution was passed on Kashmir was in our own National Assembly. What good are resolutions if they only reflect our outrage at ourselves?

What have we as Pakistan done for the Kashmir cause aside from using it to claim that we are a champion of Muslim causes? There we should look within and ask why we keep quiet about the Uyghurs or our own Baloch and Pashtun brethren!

What have we as the Pakistani state done for the Kashmiri people aside from supporting terrorism that has only ended up hurting them, their cause and their struggle?

Either we should be able to convince the world about our stand or we should let Kashmiris decide their own actions rather than being dictated from Rawalpindi.

ISPR’s Future Troll Army?

On July 31st, the twitter account of the Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the head of Pakistan’s ISPR (Inter Service Public Relations) tweeted a video and photographs where COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke to, interacted and met with an auditorium full of interns.

An intern is a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.

Goldman Sachs, one of the largest investment banks and financial services company with an annual revenue of $36 billion has one of the most sought after internship programs on Wall Street has 36,300 employees but less than 350 interns.

ISPR, the Pakistan military’s propaganda arm, is not a $36 billion enterprise, nor does it employ 36,300 employees. For it to have what seem to be hundreds of interns is unusual.

Below was the statement released by ISPR

Here are some photos

The question to ask is why does ISPR have so many interns and what do these children learn while spending the summer at ISPR? Are they being trained to become the future troll army?

Khan govt. Hires new Washington Lobbyist, who also worked for Israel & has fewer governments as client

Lobbying for Pakistan in Washington has never been a simple affair. The PPP government hired Benazir Bhutto’s friend Mark Siegel who famously delivered $1.5 billion in annual US funding for Pakistan for five years (though most of those funds were never actually received) and helped smooth over relations during the Osama bin Laden fiasco. 

Most other attempts to make Pakistan’s case in Washington have been handled by ISI through illegal and ineffective means whose only effects were to land their agents in jail and set back Pakistan-American relations. This week, however, Imran Khan decided to return to the practice of hiring professional lobbyists in Washington as Pakistan’s Ambassador Asad Mohammad Khan signed a contract with American lobbying firm Holland & Knight.

Holland & Knight is a global firm with a large lobbying practice. Though they do not appear to represent many foreign governments in Washington, instead being mostly business lobbyists, this could mean that Pakistan will receive more attention. Curiously, their website notes their “strong commitment to the state of Israel,” and the firm was hired earlier this year to represent Israel’s diplomatic mission in the United States. It is a curious partner for Pakistan, but is this a bad thing?

This is a bold move by PTI government, but certainly one that must have been taken with the full understanding of risks and rewards. And it is probably only Imran Khan and PTI that could be confident enough to set aside stereotypes and conspiracy theories to hire Israel’s lobbyists as Pakistan’s lobbyists also. 

Pakistani Psy-Warriors Churn out Trash for Blogs & Websites

The piece below was submitted for publication to a U. S. website. It had no author’s name or detailed address. It was submitted in hopes that it would slip past an inattentive editor. It is one example of how Pak’s psy-warriors use submission forms of international media and think tank websites.

It will probably end up in one of several outlets that routinely run unverified stuff …

Imran, the next Erdogan?
By Kelton High

When your nation is in peril, the armed forces and God is summoned. For when the security threats elapse, soldiers are belittled and God is history.

Understanding and being well informed about your enemy is an indispensable part of any style of warfare and governance. The renowned and long-lived Chinese strategist and military general Sun Tzu spelled this in his literature roughly two and a half millennia’s ago, around 500 BC. It is challenging to gain triumph in wars devoid of reliable and valuable intelligence regardless of any type of warfare being directed. Countless lives are saved with strong incessant intelligence in the War of Terror can precede to triumph. Only when politicians are well-informed can effective decision making prevail in a state. This information is circulated by the intelligence agencies. Several countries globally are on one page together collectively embroiled combatting the war on terror (WOT), yet it is unheard in these nations undermining the endeavors of their very own intelligence agencies. The establishment’s agencies strategic and tactical benefits are never abraded by politics. Then, why is Pakistani politics self-destructive in itself that it emasculates its defense forces? The question that arises is why Pakistan culminates in pampering social media as a weapon but also to demoralize the achievements of its own intelligence agencies.

Pakistan is made a unique nation with the predominant dynastic politics where the fresh immature leaders occupy their father’s seat or portfolio. With inexperience and great power come reckless speeches which are anti-establishment most often against state agencies lacking extensive evidence and suffering from impulsiveness instead of creating authoritative and controlling incentives creating nationalistic harmony in the country. Our nation is only deceived with such politically inaccurate speeches.

Are our politicians’ duty bound to take a political position that improves the competences of our foes and destabilizes our own? The MNA’s supported by Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) namely Ali WazirandMohsinDawarwho piloted and motivated a military check post attack. The military’s work at a tactical level is no concern of theirs and should not have pried into military affairs. Their position drives them to engage politically at a macro and not micro level being members of the National Assembly.

This act by these MNA’s executed was predicted and forthcoming, but it is unfortunate to perceive what Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League- N is ensuing is politically pathetic and piteous. Politicians anywhere in the world do not confront and oppose their very own organizations. Post 9/11, the US has disbursed billions of dollars just to circumvent another attack of such magnitude on the US soil. Many blunders were caused by the US intelligence agencies and its military establishment but never have they been sneered at instead they were accredited by every American citizen for sacrificing their lives for their nation to avert any other attacks on the US home soil. Several political analysts are deeming this age to be the most efficacious stage in the history of American intelligence. However, on the other hand, what are the Pakistani politicians executing and accomplishing? As a nation, have we forgotten the vis-à-vis sacrifice, integrity, self-worth nobility, and national dignity? Do we still believe in the following values, ethics, dogma’s to pursue common ends of the nation? Perhaps, the answer can be established.

In Europe, centralized Monarchies existed during the period of 16th and 17th century Phillip II of Spain and King Louis III of France. All they were occupied in was ruling over mindless empires and consolidate power. The period of Enlightenment subsequently emerged and the princesses and rulers were no longer Europeans, amidst many changes slavery was abolished and women rights were safeguarded. The courts of Europe ended the need for clowns and court jesters. The clowns and the court jesters and the rich laugh instigators had a confident determination as they were aware of their meaningful existence as the Emperor’s happiness and joy had to be taken care of with sheer amusement and entertainment these court jesters presented. These clown jesters are the characters identified as Shakespeare’s fools part of Shakespeare’s works notable plays i.e.‘A midsummer night’s dream. As the empires crumbled these court jesters retired and democracy spread across the world and so did the dangers escalate.

Circumstances are not similar in Pakistan, over the last decade politics in our country has sustained to yield princes and princesses and emperors rather than leaders those who have a perspective on the world which is poles apart; ‘a wingchair, lounger and sitting room’ vision of the milieu and surroundings of the poor people’s lives they rule. The several court jesters that enclose them are similarly uninformed of the masses sorrows and woes and they provoke the Princes, Emperors and Princesses gratification and smiles to remind them how truly loved and popular they are amongst the grassroots. The work environment, vacations, schooling, living standards, and income disparity has no similitude to the lower class that bear the brunt under their authority. While they ascend to the peers of the realm is the upholding and means of safeguarding of their empires and throne they govern from the periphery is ruled by the core as the incompetent state that has been constructed by aristocrats have inherited nothing but poverty in return.

We don’t need to delve for the jokers of today and the court jesters in the courts of the emperors. They concede themselves to be found all over social media i.e. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They repeatedly do the same thing their ancestors and forefathers did, to pacify the leaders and the lordships. They were qualified to raise repeated political contentions for the justification of their masters therefore, responsible for boundless enjoyment to their spectators. Will, we ever become serious-minded and like the Europeans or Chinese politically abandon our Emperors along with their clowns. The question to be answered is when will these so-called emperors conclude their unpopular drama and depart from the political ambit to be governed by the leadership intrinsically from the poverty-stricken populace of Pakistan.
It is has been revealed the emperors who are still surviving after Eid, are probably going to exhibit a grand political performance. The write of the government will be defied and also the armed authorities by perhaps integrating Pashtun Tahafuz Movements protest group in their ranks also.

The only plausible suggestions for Prime Minister and his administration; walk in Erdogan’s footsteps- be self-confident, be hard-nosed and monocratic. Prior to democracy, social order needs to be instilled in the country. It’s long overdue for the Emperors to resign and retire; for the clowns to pursue new courts. It’s a dawn of a new beginning for Pakistan to improvise and advance in the right direction.