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Pashtun versus Western culture of peacemaking
The policy of peace agreements in the tribal belt of Pakistan
Dr BETTINA ROBOTKA urges upon the need for a conflict transformation and looks into the substance and constraints of the peace agreements in Pakistan's tribal belt.

Since 2001 when the US decided to launch its “global war on terror” starting it in Afghanistan, Pakistan is the most important ally in this war. Today, seven years down the line, the war is still going on and seems to get more intense with no end in sight for the years to come. While the US and the West have contributed in the first place financially and technologically, Pakistan has been taking the brunt of the warfare on the ground. Right now it deploys 100,000 troops along the Afghan border. With regard to the casualties informed guesses suggest that officially it has lost about 1500 security personal with more than 2000 wounded. Civilian deaths in the tribal areas are reported to be around 1500 with another 3000 wounded.1 These numbers could even be higher because the readiness of the army to share the real losses is quite limited; after all they are fighting their own population, and after seven years of sacrifices and with a growing number of victims, the support of the population in Pakistan and even within the army itself2 for this war is vanishing. In addition to this, the war could not be contained in the tribal areas but has spread out into the whole of Pakistan endangering the lives of each and everybody. During the whole year of 2007, series of suicide attacks and road side bombings rocked the country from FATA to Karachi, claiming the lives of more than 2467 people, including 949 civilians, 467 security force and 1051 militants by November 10.3 The report quoted here commented already at the time of its publication (November 2007) that “events in NWFP show signs of hurtling entirely out of control, providing disturbing indices of the magnitude of Pakistan’s slide into anarchy”.4 However, in the first 71 days of the year 2008 which is until 12th March 2008 already 16 suicide attacks have been reported with 266 civilians dead all over Pakistan.......more

COIN Strategy
Columnist Gp Capt (Retd) SM HALI examines a RAND report on countering insurgency in the Muslim world and its findings.

Pakistan has been an important U.S. partner since the events of September 11, assisting in the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban leaders on its western frontier regions. Despite its contributions, some within the U.S. assert that Pakistan needs to do more, especially in light of continuing American military aid. Given these factors and the upcoming elections in USA, Pakistan-USA relations have been the focus of intense scrutiny by the two governments, their peoples, and the media. Further, Pakistan’s nuclear program and its ongoing tensions with its neighbor Afghanistan also pose unique challenges to the bilateral strategic relationship.
Insurgencies like those in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to be a feature of the global security environment for the foreseeable future. The Pentagon recently commissioned a report to study the ongoing insurgency and recommend a strategy to combat it. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. For 60 years, the RAND Corporation has pursued its nonprofit mission by conducting research on important and complicated problems. Initially, RAND (the name of which was derived from a contraction of the term research and development) focused on issues of national security. Eventually, RAND expanded its intellectual reserves to offer insight into other areas, such as business, education, health, law, and science........more

Challenges Impacting Strategic Thought of Pakistan

Columnist TAUQEER H. TAKI SIRGANA argues that Pakistan needs to evolve strategic thought based on the visions of our forefathers and in harmony with prevailing environment.

Challenges and opportunities are opposite sides of the same coin. This needed to be understood and challenges converted into opportunities. Though Pakistan has progressed from its humble beginning to a nuclear power, it has not experienced sustained economic growth and a lot more could have been achieved; the reasons being that we failed to evolve strategic thought based on the vision of our fore fathers, in harmony with the prevailing environments. Keeping myself unbiased with the worst experiences of my generation, I should also put the highest onus for today’s unfortunate situation on our military dictators and political leaders.
The strategic thought of a nation is conceived by its leadership, but it derives strength from the ownership of the people constituting the nation. An alienated nation would never develop the required synergy to grow and compete in the world. The 160 million inhabitants of Pakistan are the real stakeholders of its strategic thought and by giving them due role an unprecedented growth of nation state organism can be witnessed. This spirit of unity and responsibility of brotherhood was witnessed during 1965 war and recently, during the devastating earthquake. Despite being illiterate, the Muslims of the subcontinent understood, and projected their strategic outlook by forging complete unity to achieve the objective of independence.

The Proliferation Gauntlet
Columnist SALMA MALIK says the proliferation controversy will remain alive, so long as the policies pursued by the Holy Pundits of non-proliferation, led by the US, remain dubious.

The prospect of proliferation of nuclear technology remains a major cause of concern and an issue of great global debate, dividing countries into nuclear haves and have-nots. When the US went on a quest to seek nuclear supremacy in the world, and even carried live demo on human population without much remorse, perhaps it had never even imagined that half a century later countries such as ours which are always underestimated in the first world military powers’ calculus could ever attain a similar status. In fact the four years gap until the Soviet tests in 1949, proved to be one of global military and technological superiority and supremacy for the US, which brought about strategic notions as lethal and catastrophic as the massive retaliation. The increased moralistic debate which ensued in the US after the Japanese catastrophe resulted on the one hand in the Baruch Plan which sought a global and comprehensive disarmament through the establishment of an international nuclear bank that in 1957 emerged as the IAEA; and on the other hand to make atomic energy more humane, the very famous Atoms for Peace program.......more

Management of Regional Trade Security in Globalization via Pakistan
Columnist Dr MUSARRAT JABEEN examines how trade insecurity can contribute to conflict orientation of the state that may undermine the rule of law.

The upsurge in the use of trade as powerful instrument in globalization has prompted much scholarly and policy debate over its effectiveness relevant to connectivity of an economy to regional and international trade systems. However, little attention has been devoted to factors causing trade insecurity. In this article I have developed an index of trade security to look into causes and effects of trade insecurity. Pakistan is in focus because of her geo-economic status as she has to fulfill regional and international obligations being a frontline state in the war against terrorism and she has to repel the slabs of conflict emerging within Pakistan. The study suggests that trade insecurity can unintentionally contribute to the conflict orientation of the state, which may undermine the rule of law. The paper is one of the first efforts to integrate the study of trade security and suggests that the factors leading towards trade insecurity should be made more central part of regional-international trade systems.

Exploring the Odiousc
Dr SYED ABDUL SIRAJ looks into the motives behind the West's demonizing of Islam.

The West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to the media, prejudice, and ignorance (Smith, 1999). A Muslim in the west is often looked down upon as an “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamentalist.” Stereotypes about Islam are not new to the Western culture; it can be traced back 1400 years. At that time, Islam and Christianity were involved in the Crusades. Islam spread quickly to the West and its nature of quick acceptability was threatening to the Christian Church and the ruling class. The Western elites, mainly the governments and the churches, then became highly involved in negative propaganda against Islam. As a result, not only were battles fought against Islam, but also a war of words was initiated to make sure that Islam would not have any converts or sympathizers in the West. These feelings that the West had long ago still remain in the West today (Hassan, 1995). John of Damascus who sanctified himself as a saint in both the Eastern and Western churches said that Islamic beliefs are sacrilegious and Muslims are nothing short an of evil predecessor of the Antichrist (Armour, 2002)......more

The Sacred Scriptures of Abrahamic
Columnist Brig (Retd) AFTAB AHMAD KHAN sheds light on the scared scriptures.

Guidance is an important constituent of the process of creation, trial, justice and reward. God guides humanity through different means. Firstly, much earlier than the creation of humanity, God first created all the spirits of humanity which testified Him to be their Lord, this was the 1st Covenant, then they were put to sleep. He brings humankind into this world in succession, each at an appointed time, spirit is breathed in to him, true nature (hanefa fitr’ah) part of human conscious (the 1st Covenant) is part of human consciousness. This is the reason that even some African tribes cut off from the civilized world worship One God without images. However majority of humans, under the influence of Satan, are caught in the webs of customs, superstitions, selfish desires, and false teachings thus getting deflected from the true nature. Man is endowed with instincts, forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of him. Through these faculties and instincts man can know about the existence of God by observing His signs, thus reverting to the true nature. Finally, He gives guidance through His messengers and scriptures so that the people should have no excuse to plead against Allah for lack of guidance. The messengers convey the message and people are not coerced, they use their intellect for reason and exercise their will such that may reach the higher destiny of man. Finally, there is reward for those who make the right choice and punishment for those who fall pray to evil.........more

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