Archive for the ‘ China ’ Category

Wake up Pakistan

By Najam Sethi for The Friday Times

US- PAK relations have broken down. The United States has “ suspended” military aid and all but closed the Kerry- Lugar- Berman tap of funds for the civilians. Proud Pakistanis have puffed up their chests and vowed to eat grass, if necessary, in order to defend their country’s “sovereignty”. What’s the big deal, they aver, US aid was peanuts anyway, and our traditional friends like China and Saudi Arabia can bail us out of our problems.

To be sure, our relationship with the US has been no small disaster.

In the 1950s, we begged the US to befriend us instead of India, cheerily going along with the US into the Cold War against the USSR when it wasn’t our war at all. In consequence, the military became the dominant theme of our life and wrecked the budding impulse of democracy. Once again, in the 1980s and 2000s, we tripped over ourselves to rent out our services to the US in Afghanistan.

Today we are reaping the terrorist whirlwind of our greed and opportunism.

But a little introspection is in order to prove that we don’t need the US as an enemy because we are our own worst enemies.

More Pakistanis are eating “ grass” now than ever before. The number of Pakistanis below the poverty line has increased from 27 per cent five years ago to 33 per cent in 2011. And this has nothing to do with the US. The growth rate of the economy has fallen from 6.5 per cent five years ago to 3 per cent now. The fiscal deficit is yawning at 7.5 per cent of the GDP today compared to 4.5 per cent five years ago. And this has nothing to do with the US. The Rupee has fallen from 77 to the dollar five years ago to 90 today. General inflation is running at 15% and food inflation at 25%. And this has nothing to do with the US. The tax to GDP ratio is down to 8.7% in 2011 from 11.5% five years ago. And this has nothing to do with the US. Floods continue to devastate the lives and produce of millions of poor people across the country.

And this has nothing to do with the US. Sunni extremists are rampaging, killing Shias. Ethnic parties continue to mow down people in Karachi. And this has nothing to do with the US. Power breakdowns have made the lives of tens of millions wretched and miserable while rendering millions of others jobless.

And this has nothing to do with the US. Instead of rooting for Pakistani nationalism, we are proud to undermine it as Muslims first, or Sindhis, Muhajirs, Baloch, Pakhtun, Punjabi, Seraiki, Hazarajat, Kashmiri, Sunni, Shia, Deobandi, Barelvi. And this has nothing to do with the US. We are counted amongst the most corrupt countries of the world. We have waged four wars with India and lost each of them, in the bargain losing half of Pakistan.

And this has nothing to do with the US. As if this litany of self- induced failures isn’t enough, there is the hypocrisy of double standards to contend with too. Of course, the US has violated our sovereignty by raining drones on FATA. But so have the Afghan Taliban and Al- Qaeda who have established safe havens there too. But we are quick to blast the US and quicker still to pretend that Al- Qaeda doesn’t exist and the Taliban are innocent refugees for whom our traditional hospitality is on offer.

The story doesn’t end here.

The IMF is not welcome. How dare it demand that we tax the rich, plug the bleeding in public sector corporations, stop the theft of power, and spend according to our means. US aid is dispensable.

We don’t need to build dams and reservoirs for managing our natural resources, we don’t need schools and teachers for our children and hospitals for the poor.

Our all- weather friends are China and Saudi Arabia. Never mind that China doesn’t help us much when we are ravaged by earthquakes and floods or when we are short of cash to pay our foreign bills.

NEVER MIND that Saudi Arabia treats our migrant workers like slaves, rents our military to crack down on Shia majorities in Bahrain and exports extremist “ Islam” to our lands.

At the end of the day, who eats grass when we rise to defend our sovereignty? Not our pot- bellied traders and businessmen. Not our golf- playing generals. Not our Defence Housing Society residents.

Not our foreign- asset holding politicians whose kids go to English- medium private schools at home and abroad. Not our self righteous media Mughals who berate our slavish black- skins and white masks. Not our corrupt judges and civil servants. It’s the wretched of the earth, the poorest of the poor, who eat grass.

For too long we have made foreign scapegoats for our own failures and corruptions. It is time to wake up and set our house in order without begging or berating the US.

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Analysis: Pakistan’s Double-Game: Treachery or Strategy?

By John Chalmers for Reuters

Washington has just about had it withPakistan.

“Turns out they are disloyal, deceptive and a danger to the United States,” fumed Republican Representative Ted Poe last week. “We pay them to hate us. Now we pay them to bomb us. Let’s not pay them at all.”

For many in America, Islamabad has been nothing short of perfidious since joining a strategic alliance with Washington 10 years ago: selectively cooperating in the war on extremist violence and taking billions of dollars in aid to do the job, while all the time sheltering and supporting Islamist militant groups that fight NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has angrily denied the charges, but if its critics are right, what could the explanation be for such duplicity? What strategic agendas might be hidden behind this puzzling statecraft?

The answer is that Pakistan wants to guarantee for itself a stake in Afghanistan’s political future.

It knows that, as U.S. forces gradually withdraw from Afghanistan, ethnic groups will be competing for ascendancy there and other regional powers – from India to China and Iran – will be jostling for a foot in the door.

Islamabad’s support for the Taliban movement in the 1990s gives it an outsized influence among Afghanistan’s Pashtuns, who make up about 42 percent of the total population and who maintain close ties with their Pakistani fellow tribesmen.

In particular, Pakistan’s powerful military is determined there should be no vacuum in Afghanistan that could be filled by its arch-foe, India.

INDIA FOCUS

Pakistan has fought three wars with its neighbor since the bloody partition of the subcontinent that led to the creation of the country in 1947, and mutual suspicion still hobbles relations between the two nuclear-armed powers today.

“They still think India is their primary policy,” said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and prominent political analyst. “India is always in the back of their minds.”

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani – unprompted – complained that Washington’s failure to deal even-handedly with New Delhi and Islamabad was a source of regional instability.

Aqil Shah, a South Asia security expert at the Harvard Society of Fellows, said Islamabad’s worst-case scenario would be an Afghanistan controlled or dominated by groups with ties to India, such as the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance, which it fears would pursue activities hostile to Pakistan.

“Ideally, the military would like Afghanistan to become a relatively stable satellite dominated by Islamist Pashtuns,” Shah wrote in a Foreign Affairs article this week.

Although Pakistan, an Islamic state, officially abandoned support for the predominantly Pashtun Taliban after the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, elements of the military never made the doctrinal shift.

Few doubt that the shadowy intelligence directorate, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has maintained links to the Taliban that emerged from its support for the Afghan mujahideen during the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Until recently, there appeared to be a grudging acceptance from Washington that this was the inevitable status quo.

That was until it emerged in May that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – who was killed in a U.S. Navy SEALs raid – had been hiding out in a Pakistani garrison town just two hours up the road from Islamabad, by some accounts for up to five years.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States have been stormy ever since, culminating in a tirade by the outgoing U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Mike Mullen, last week.

Mullen described the Haqqani network, the most feared faction among Taliban militants in Afghanistan, as a “veritable arm” of the ISI and accused Islamabad of providing support for the group’s September 13 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

The reaction in Islamabad has been one of stunned outrage.

Washington has not gone public with evidence to back its accusation, and Pakistani officials say that contacts with the Haqqani group do not amount to actual support.

However, Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricketer-turned-populist-politician, said this week that it was too much to expect that old friends could have become enemies overnight.

He told Reuters that, instead of demanding that Pakistan attack the Haqqanis in the mountainous border region of North Waziristan, the United States should use Islamabad’s leverage with the group to bring the Afghan Taliban into negotiations.

“Haqqani could be your ticket to getting them on the negotiating table, which at the moment they are refusing,” Khan said. “So I think that is a much saner policy than to ask Pakistan to try to take them on.”

REGIONAL GAME

The big risk for the United States in berating Islamabad is that it will exacerbate anti-American sentiment, which already runs deep in Pakistan, and perhaps embolden it further.

C. Raja Mohan, senior fellow at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research, said Pakistan was probably gambling that the United States’ economic crisis and upcoming presidential elections would distract Washington.

“The real game is unfolding on the ground with the Americans. The Pakistan army is betting that the United States does not have too many choices and more broadly that the U.S. is on the decline, he said.

It is also becoming clear that as Pakistan’s relations with Washington deteriorate, it can fall back into the arms of its “all-weather friend,” China, the energy-hungry giant that is the biggest investor in Afghanistan’s nascent resources sector.

Pakistani officials heaped praise on Beijing this week as a Chinese minister visited Islamabad. Among them was army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the country’s most powerful man, who spoke of China’s “unwavering support.”

In addition, Pakistan has extended a cordial hand to Iran, which also shares a border with Afghanistan.

Teheran has been mostly opposed to the Taliban, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims while Iran is predominantly Shi’ite. But Iran’s anti-Americanism is more deep-seated.

“My reading is the Iranians want to see the Americans go,” said Raja Mohan, the Indian analyst. “They have a problem with the Taliban, but any American retreat will suit them. Iran in the short term is looking at the Americans being humiliated.”

ARMY CALLS THE SHOTS

The supremacy of the military in Pakistan means that Washington has little to gain little from wagging its finger about ties with the Taliban at the civilian government, which is regularly lashed for its incompetence and corruption.

“The state has become so soft and powerless it can’t make any difference,” said Masood, the Pakistani retired general. “Any change will have to come from the military.”

Daniel Markey, a senior fellow for South Asia at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, said the problem lies with a security establishment that continues to believe that arming and working – actively and passively – with militant groups serves its purposes.

“Until … soul-searching takes place within the Pakistani military and the ISI, you’re not likely to see an end to these U.S. demands, and a real shift in terms of the relationship,” Markey said in an online discussion this week. “This is the most significant shift that has to take place.”

Analysts: China Unlikely to Replace US in Pakistan

By William Idle for The Voice of America

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari made a three-day visit to China this week at a time when relations between Islamabad and Beijing appear to be growing stronger. Regional analysts say that while China is of growing importance to Pakistan, it is unlikely to replace the U.S. role as a dominant influence there.

The opening ceremony at the first China Eurasia Expo was full of pomp and fanfare. Greeted with applause and smiles, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari ended his visit to China standing on stage next to the man who is widely expected to be the country’s next leader – Vice Premier Li Keqiang.

Ties have long been strong between Pakistan and China, a country Islamabad endearingly calls its “all-weather friend.” Mr. Zardari has visited China twice since the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound – seven times since becoming president.

Some regional analysts say the recent deterioration of U.S.-Pakistan ties has pushed Pakistan into Beijing’s arms. They argue the combination of repeated drone strikes in Pakistani territory, the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, and suspension of $800-million in military American aid to Pakistan has brought Beijing and Islamabad closer together.

But regional analyst Tarique Niazi, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, says Mr. Zardari’s most recent visit to China is part of an ongoing effort by Pakistan to seek help to address its urgent needs and boost trade. And not necessarily a sign of shifting alliances.

“Pakistan is short of energy resources. It has about 4,000 megawatts of electrical shortage. So, China is helping Pakistan meet that shortage of electricity,” Niazi said.

One of the ways that China is doing that is by building massive hydropower projects in both Pakistan’s northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

Niazi notes that representatives from both regions traveled to China this week with Mr. Zardari. Pakistan’s president is constantly focused on three things, he adds: investment, trade and economic development.

“President Zardari, especially I must say, that he is the first leader of Pakistan whose focus is almost entirely on economic development and developing business relationships with not only the public sector and the government sector of China, but the private sector also,” Niazi said.

When Mr. Zardari stepped into office, he pledged to visit China every three months – and for the most part has kept that promise. Since then, analysts say he has inked deals that will raise China’s overall investment in Pakistan from $20-billion to more than $50-billion.

China is eager to boost trade and investment in the region too.

At the opening ceremony of the China Eurasia Expo, Commerce Minister Chen Deming highlighted how China was reaching out to Asian and European countries at a time when the world economy has yet to recover from the global financial crisis.

Chen says China is moving faster in opening its western region and border areas to promote regional development. He says China is taking a big step forward to deepening development and cooperation between Asian and European countries.

And the benefits flow both ways.

“I would say that the best way to think about the current situation is that China is expanding in all directions, its power is growing, and it is looking north, south, east and west. And when it looks to Pakistan it sees potential in terms of access to Central Asia, Central Asia energy markets. It sees access to the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean,” said Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for India, Pakistan and South Asia.

Markey says that while Pakistan has been reaching out recently to China, in part to show Washington it has options, he is not convinced Beijing is interested in seeing a real rupture between Islamabad and Washington.

“My sense is that, yes, over the long term, China would like to be the dominant influence in Pakistan and really expand its influence throughout the region, which would probably mean a lesser influence for the United States. But, in the short time, China has been very comfortable essentially free-riding off of whatever stability and security the United States has provided and that they do not want to change,” Markey said.

He says one reason for that is because a rupture in ties between Pakistan and the United States could trickle over into relations between Beijing and Washington, and there the two already have enough to deal with as it is.

China launches communications satellite for Pakistan

As Reported by The South Asian News Agency

The year 2011 marks 60 years of diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan. This all-weather relationship has largely withstood ‘the test of time’.

Both states recognize the relevance of their cooperation in areas like security, trade and culture. All these years China has mostly followed the ‘friend of Pakistan policy’. From the Indian perspective the focus of their cooperation, which has mostly revolved around security issues, has been a source of anxiety. Apart from the question of direct military aid, India must also take note of China’s assistance to Pakistan in the field of science and technology as well since it has long-term strategic implications. China launched Pakistan’s first communications satellite (PAKSAT-1R) on August 12, 2011 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket. This event demonstrates the deepening in technological cooperation between these two states. For China this was also an event to display the capabilities of its rapidly growing commercial satellite industry.

Over the years Pakistan has largely demonstrated a copycat syndrome (with reference to India) as far as programmes of strategic importance are concerned. Pakistan’s technological and industrial base is not well-established in comparison with India. Therefore, to match India, Pakistan has relied on foreign (overt or covert) help. In certain cases Pakistan also developed underground networks to ‘manage’ hardware/technology. However, Pakistan’s investments in space technologies have been minimal. This is somewhat surprising particularly, because it has a reasonably well-developed missile programme which, in fact, could have helped at least partially to build up an indigenous space programme.

Pakistan’s lack of interest in space technology could be due to three reasons. Firstly, the Pakistani focus on long-term investments in technology has predominantly been military specific over the years. The use of technology for social, educational and scientific needs was not the prime focus. Secondly, Pakistan appears to have failed to anticipate the long-term strategic importance of space technologies. What is more surprising is the failure to understand the importance of space technologies particularly, in the background of the country’s nuclear ambitions. Thirdly, because of superfluous investments in military hardware, Pakistan was unable to make investments in space technology. Also, the state appears to have failed to realise the future commercial relevance of a space programme.

Against this backdrop the launch of the made in China PAKSAT-1R with 30 transponders for the purposes of communications services marks a new beginning. This satellite would take care of broadband Internet, telecom and broadcasting services. It is expected to cover South Asia, Europe, West Asia and eastern Africa and is also likely to help in weather monitoring. Being a communication satellite its dual-use nature could offer strategic defence applications as well. Pakistan has been collaborating with China in the space arena since the 1990s. Its first satellite Badr-1 was launched by China on July 16, 1990 (on a Long March 2E rocket). However, during the span of the last two decades, Pakistan’s space programme has not made any significant progress baring two more satellite launches with outside help. Pakistan’s space agency called Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established in 1961 as a committee. It was upgraded into a Commission in 1981. But it has failed to make any significant progress.

The August 2011 launch of a communication satellite opens a new chapter in Pakistan’s space history. Today, Pakistan has no launch vehicle of its own to launch satellites of any type. It has a long way to go in developing expertise in this arena as well as in satellite manufacture though the very first satellite was developed indigenously. Pakistan also needs to invest in the development of Spaceport and ground stations. All this will take time and its dependence on China is expected to increase in coming years.

Since their border settlement pact of March 3, 1963 the relationship between these two neighbours of India has been steadily growing. In the field of space there was a pause for almost two decades particularly, in the high-end projects like satellite launches. However, during these years a certain degree of collaboration was underway for personnel training and infrastructure development. Pakistan’s inadequacy in the space field offers China an opportunity to take their strategic partnership to a higher plane and also simultaneously maintain its own commercial interests.

For the last couple of years China has been using space technology to further its geopolitical as well as commercial interests. Now, Pakistan offers it an opportunity to use space engagement for strategic purposes as well. China has begun to help states like Nigeria and Venezuela with their satellite programmes. Also, recently China signed a deal with Bolivia for building and launching a satellite. In comparison with the western space agencies, China offers better commercial deals. Also, China has earned a prestige for its space programme with various successful space launches. Naturally, various developing states in the world are looking towards China.

China’s space programme is surging ahead at a much faster rate than India’s. Pakistan’s space programme is likely to remain in infancy for some more time to come. However, nuclear Pakistan is likely to pursue its space agenda (with China’s help) with more vigour in the future. On the military front, it is bound to benefit from various Chinese programmes like the navigational programme (COMPASS constellation). India needs to look at these developments seriously. Till date Pakistan’s space capabilities were probably not factored into India’s strategic planning, but that must change

Pakistan Partnership Raches For the Stars

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider for The National

By teaming up with China on a satellite launch, Pakistan has taken a bold step forward with its space programme. And there are mutual benefits to the arrangement, Syed Fazl-e-Haider writes. The recent launch of the advanced communication satellite Paksat-1R was not only a big stride forward for Pakistan’s 2040 space programme, but also Sino-Pakistan space collaboration.

Last week, China launched Paksat-1R with the Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west Sichuan province. The new satellite will replace Paksat-1, which will complete its useful life this year.

Critics have questioned whether Pakistan can really take the credit for the development of a satellite that was made by China, financed by China and ultimately launched by and from China. But Pakistan is now able to achieve several strategic objectives through Paksat-IR, including serving an expanding client base, which includes the military. With the launch of the satellite, the country has entered into a long-term relationship with its manufacturer towards acquiring the know-how to produce satellites in the future, with the ultimate aim of achieving self-reliance. Now it is also able to establish and maintain ground control stations for operating Paksat-1R from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s space programme owes its existence to China’s cooperation that spans from climate science, clean energy technologies, clean water technologies, cyber security and basic space, to atmospheric, Earth and marine sciences. It was China that launched the country’s first low-orbit satellite Badr-A in July 1990. In 2006, China committed to work with Pakistan to launch three earth resource satellites.

Islamabad sought more than US$200 million (Dh734.5m) financing from China for Paksat-1’s replacement. The two countries signed the procurement contract during the first state visit by Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, to Beijing in 2008.

Paksat-1, Pakistan’s first geostationary satellite, was launched in February 1996. It served TV broadcasters, telecommunications companies, data and broadband internet service providers, and government organisations.

With a lifespan of 15 years, Paksat-1R will have great economic implications for the country. The satellite will provide high-power communication and weather monitoring facilities, besides strategic defence applications. The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission will operate it from its ground control stations in Karachi and Lahore. With advance communication antennas, it will cover some regions of Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and eastern Africa. It will facilitate the introduction of new services including broadband internet, digital TV broadcasting, rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine.

Pakistan is also making efforts to get space technology from China. It plans to launch the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS) in the near future with the technical and financial assistance of China. Launching PRSS is now the first priority for Pakistan, because such a satellite can help it in cartographic studies. China has not only achieved the capability of placing its satellites in space, but is also developing rockets. It has created a powerful carrier rocket with military capabilities that can launch multiple satellites into space.

China is conquering new frontiers in space technology. Shenzhou 7, the third manned spaceflight, has established a new threshold for China. It has already planned Shenzhou 8, which will be docked with the Tiangong-1 space module that will place the first portion of China’s planned space laboratory in orbit.

China’s space technology industrial base is rapidly expanding, and its sales overseas have so far focused on its traditional allies including Pakistan. Space and rocket technology from China would help Pakistan achieve its ambitious goals of economic progress and impregnable defence. While China can transfer space technology to Pakistan, in return Pakistan could assist China in space by establishing a station on its soil to track Chinese satellites.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan, published in May 2004

U.S. Says Pakistan Let China See Copter

By Mark Mazzetti for The Seattle Times

In the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the May operation, according to U.S. officials and others familiar with the classified assessments.

Such cooperation with China would be provocative, providing further evidence of the depths of Pakistan’s anger over the bin Laden raid, which was carried out without Pakistan’s approval.

U.S. spy agencies have concluded it is likely that Chinese engineers took detailed photographs of the severed tail of the Black Hawk helicopter equipped with classified technology designed to elude radar, the officials said.

The members of the Navy SEALs team who conducted the raid had tried to destroy the helicopter after it crashed at bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but the tail section remained largely intact.

U.S. officials cautioned they did not yet have definitive proof the Chinese were allowed to visit Abbottabad. They said Pakistani officials had denied they showed the technology to other foreign governments.

One person with knowledge of the intelligence assessments said the U.S. case was based mostly on intercepted conversations in which Pakistani officials discussed inviting the Chinese to the crash site.

He characterized intelligence officials as being “certain” that Chinese engineers were able to photograph the helicopter and even walk away with samples of the wreckage. The tail has been shipped back to the U.S., according to American officials.

The U.S. assessments were disclosed Sunday by The Financial Times. The newspaper cited Pakistani officials who denied the accusations.

Rights Violations: Pakistan Maintains Discreet Silence Over Syria Protest

By Saba Imtiaz for The Express Tribune

As the chorus against the Syrian government grows louder, Pakistan remains silent on the issue of human rights abuses in Syria. According to Amnesty International, over 1,500 people have been killed since March in the protests against Syrian President Bashar alAssad’s regime. Pressure against Syria appeared to grow over the weekend from Arab states, as the Gulf Cooperation Council asked for an immediate end to bloodshed.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued a written statement on the situation. “What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia. Syria should think wisely before it is too late and issue and enact reforms that are not merely promises but actual reforms. Either it chooses wisdom on its own or it will be pulled down into the depths of turmoil and loss.” Soon enough, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain had recalled their ambassadors from Damascus for ‘consultations’.

In April, Pakistan joined China and Russia in voting against a resolution by the UN Human Rights Council condemning the violence in Syria. Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Zamir Akram was quoted as saying, “My country has always believed that ‘naming and shaming’ is an approach which is counterproductive.”

Three months and over a thousand dead bodies later, no public statement has yet to be made on the situation in Syria. The Foreign Office spokesperson did not respond to a query till the filing of this report.
According to former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Pakistan’s silence is a product of “historical links between the Bhutto and alAssad families”.

President Bashar’s father, the late president Hafez alAssad, was believed to be a close ally of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto travelled to Syria in 1979 to seek support for their campaign to save Bhutto and were offered asylum by the elder alAssad. Murtaza spent several years in Syria before returning to Pakistan in 1993. In 1981, a Pakistan International Airlines flight was hijacked and forced to land in Kabul, and then Damascus. The hijacking is widely believed to be the work of the Al Zulfikar Organisation.
Kasuri said that given the high death toll, “the government of Pakistan needs to make its position clear [and say] that it stands with the people of Syria.”

Pakistan’s silence, according to former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad, shows lack of a foreign policy. “Foreign policy is a reflection of a country’s internal state of affairs. If the state is in disorder, it has no foreign policy. Forget Syria or any other Arab country – Pakistan has enough problems at home and has no time to focus on international issues. No one is going to pay any attention to what Pakistan says because it has no credibility. No country is looking to Pakistan for support.”

Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note– The writer makes some valid points about Pakistan’s foreign policy or lack thereof. Being complicit also in the suppression of the civilians in Bahrain by providing troops as illustrated in this article shows that the country is often found on the wrong side of terrorism, women and religious minorities rights, and democratic and human rights. Not a good equation and no excuse for any of it any way one looks at it.

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