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Friday, 22 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 22 Mar 2013






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130322/edit.htm#6
The worries in Afghanistan
It does not seem likely that the Americans will agree to the transfer unless they are given assurances that the three dozen or so prisoners the Americans regard as "enduring security threats" will not be released by the Afghan judicial system.
Najmuddin A Shaikh

IN the days that have passed since American Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Kabul and received a less than cordial welcome from President Hamid Karzai, there has been no visible improvement in relations between the Karzai administration and the International Security Assistance Force.

The fact that two Americans and some others were killed in a "green-on-blue" attack the day after Karzai made his speech criticising America and the Taliban was probably a coincidence. But the speech itself blaming the two for colluding to create security conditions to justify a continued American presence was deemed provocative.

US and Nato commander Gen Joseph Dunford issued an advisory to his commanders in the field asking them to be extra alert after what he termed an inflammatory speech that could trigger insider attacks by Afghan forces against Westerners.

He even went on to say that "he [Karzai] may issue orders that put our forces at risk". It is difficult to think of anything else that could better describe how precarious the Afghan-American relationship has become.

After a call from US Secretary of State John Kerry, Karzai did acknowledge the importance of working with America and maintained: "My recent comments were meant to help reform, not destroy the relationship." He did not, however, retract his charges of Taliban-American collusion or change his adamant stand on the transfer of Bagram's Parwan prison unconditionally to Afghan authorities.

In subsequent conversations with Dunford, Karzai's office claimed it had been agreed that the transfer would be completed within a week but the American statement on the subject went no further than stating that the next week would be used to work out the issues.

It does not seem likely that the Americans will agree to the transfer unless they are given assurances that the three dozen or so prisoners the Americans regard as "enduring security threats" will not be released by the Afghan judicial system.

And therein lies the rub. If one understands Karzai it would appear that beyond the publicly stated position of asserting Afghan sovereignty Karzai does want to release these mostly Pakhtun prisoners because of the influence they enjoy in the Pakhtun-dominated areas of south and east Afghanistan.

Perhaps he believes that these prisoners will on release become the vehicle for dialogue with the Taliban leadership that Karzai says he desperately wants as a means of advancing reconciliation. More likely he hopes that they will galvanise support in the Pakhtun belt for the candidate he puts forward for next year's presidential election.

In the meanwhile, Karzai's speech has provoked reactions both within Afghanistan and in the West. In Washington a senator, Lindsey Graham, involved in Afghan policy has been quoted as being ready to "pull the plug" on assistance to Afghanistan. The New York Times in an editorial has called Karzai's behaviour "appalling" and opined that "it will make it harder for Mr Obama to argue compellingly to keep a smaller counterterrorism and training force in Afghanistan into 2015 and beyond".

In Kabul, a group of representatives from 14 political parties - most of them opposition groups but several with members in government - held a news conference to denounce the president's stance.

On the other hand, there have been demonstrations in Maidan Wardak and Kabul calling for the immediate implementation of the Karzai order to remove all American forces from Wardak.

The Afghan Ulema Council, all government appointees, have made a similar demand in a statement which called the Americans "infidels" and threatened that if they [the Americans] did not "honour their commitments then this [their presence in Afghanistan] will be considered as an occupation, and they may expect to see a reaction to their action".

The Americans currently are adamant that this contretemps will not affect their military plans but the truth is that if there is an increase in "green-on-blue" attacks it is not only a residual presence but also an orderly American withdrawal that will become a nightmare. British commentators are grimly recalling the fate of British troops in the First and Second Afghan wars. The accepted axiom that "retreat is often the most dangerous part of a deployment especially when the military falls below the critical mass required to protect itself" will certainly apply if by April 2014, 34,000 troops are withdrawn. This would leave half the number to carry out their own withdrawal and that of the $48 billion worth of equipment currently in Afghanistan, which would require the movement of 95,000 containers and 35,000 vehicles.

America will do what it can to avoid such a situation. One way is to pursue reconciliation with or without Karzai. The Afghan president's opponents have now made public their efforts, undoubtedly with American support, to seek recon-ciliation with the "armed" opposition.

An Associated Press story by Kathy Gannon, easily the Western correspondent with the best connections with Afghan politicians and knowledgeable Pakistanis, recently said that the 20-party Council of Cooperation of Political Parties which counts among its numbers some heavyweight Afghan politicians, many part of Karzai's administration, is reaching out to both the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. And that two senior Taliban officials have indicated the group is willing to pursue talks.

The problem is that, to my mind, these parties all have different agendas and while they could come together to frame a "charter of democracy" in September 2012 laying down reasonable conditions for Afghan elections, they will have very different views on how negotiations with the Taliban should be conducted and what the outcome of these negotiations should be. It is difficult to imagine that they can sink their differences and reach a solution.

The outlook is bleak for Afghanistan and therefore for Pakistan. Can we do something about it? And if not, can we make whatever effort we can to insulate ourselves from the turbulence that is to begin in Afghanistan?

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130322/edit.htm#8
Window on Pakistan
Army’s loss is democracy’s gain
Syed Nooruzzaman
That democracy has come to stay in Pakistan has never been as much talked about as is being done today. The occasion has been provided by the completion of the five-year term of the Pakistan National Assembly (parliament) and the provincial assemblies for the first time in the history of a country ruled by military dictators more than elected representatives of people. Democracy lovers in Pakistan and the rest of South Asia could not ask for more.

It will not be an exaggeration to say that Pakistan’s media, judiciary and civil society have played an admirable role to ensure that an atmosphere is created in which military dictators can never again gather courage to capture the levers of civilian power. A strong, independent and vibrant media, judiciary and civil society are essential for the survival of democracy.

Another interesting development has happened now when efforts are on to instal a caretaker government for holding elections and running the administration till a new elected political dispensation is not in place. The Election Commission of Pakistan has come out with the idea of new nomination forms prepared in accordance with the provisions in Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.

According to a commentator of The News, Shakeel Haider Sayyed, “The new nomination forms will be helpful in sifting lawmakers from lawbreakers at the very first instance of the electoral contest. Questioning the integrity of candidates through information about their academic qualifications, tax returns, loan defaults, etc, will help sensitise all the political parties --- including those who appear to oppose it --- to the significance of transparency in establishing their credibility. This will then strengthen the role of lawmakers in the long term.”

However, Pakistan has made this singular achievement despite the PPP-led government doing little to strengthen the roots of democracy. The Nation newspaper commented, “But whether the completion of its (the National Assembly’s) term could guarantee a Bonapartist army head stepping once again in the corridors of power, as the Prime Minister (Raja Pervaiz Ashraf) has said, is an open question; for the government made no effort to establish genuine democratic traditions, but rather did everything positive to tear apart the already existing ones…. The outgoing government, instead, presented the worst possible model of a corrupt regime with an inevitable consequence of misgovernance.”

The way attempts are being made to find a caretaker head of government also does not provide proof that the political class is seriously working for strengthening democratic traditions. As The News has pointed out, Pakistan is “not exactly presenting a beautiful face of democracy at work. Consensus and transparency are badly needed, notably on a caretaker government… Continued chaos is simply not good at all, particularly in the current circumstances…”

The elected government has survived not because of the exemplary conduct of President Asif Zardari of Pakistan as a democratically elected leader. His Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, lost his job owing to the fact that the higher judiciary refused to function as a pliable judiciary. The person who replaced Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, barely escaped meeting the fate of his predecessor.

In fact, the PPP-led government would have been replaced by a military regime after about a year of its formation --- in 2009 --- when the army offensive was launched against the Taliban in the Swat valley in Waziristan. But the Pakistan Army, in the process of what it did, became so unpopular among the masses that it could not gather enough courage to re-capture the reins of power. The army began to be hated like any other institution during the regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf who blatantly used it to sustain his rule. The chances of his successor in the army, Gen Ashfaque Kayani, overthrowing an elected government were scuttled because of the actions of the armed forces themselves.

Thus, the army’s loss is democracy’s gain but unwittingly. Democracy enthusiasts have benefited by default. Yet it is a happy development for the entire South Asian region because a democratic government in Pakistan can be expected to behave more responsibly than an administration run by a military dictator.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130322/main3.htm
BSF jawan dead in J-K ambush
Majid Jahangir/TNS

Srinagar, March 21
Barely a week after fidayeen (suicide) attackers struck in the Bemina area of Srinagar, killing five CRPF personnel, suspected militants today opened fire at a BSF convoy on the outskirts of the city, resulting in the death of one jawan and injuries to two.

The police said that the attack took place at Gulshan Nagar Crossing at Nowgam on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway bypass at 7.45 am when two BSF vehicles were on way to Panthachowk in Srinagar.

Scores of vehicles belonging to security personnel ply on this road and it is always secured by the Road Opening Party (ROP) before the movement of Army convoys. The Thursday attack took place before the road was secured by the ROP.

“Militants fired at a BSF vehicle on the outskirts of Srinagar. Three personnel were injured,” Deputy Inspector General (Kashmir) Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba said. The driver of the BSF vehicle, which came under attack, continued driving it and finally stopped one kilometre ahead, said the DIG. The BSF personnel were admitted to 92 Base Hospital of the Army at Badamibagh Cantonment, where Constable Krishen Kalita from Assam succumbed to injures. The condition of the two other jawans --- Hem Singh and Saikia --- was stated to be stable, sources said. IG, BSF, PS Sandhu said his men did not retaliate despite provocation.”Had the boys retaliated, I fear lot of civilians casualties would have occurred,” he said.

A manhunt was launched to nab the militants. Two militant outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamit=ul Mujahideen told a local news agency in Srinagar that its cadres had carried out the attack. Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, disguised as cricketers, had stormed a CRPF camp in the Bemina area killing five personnel on March 13.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southasia/view/1261526/1/.html
Italy continues to haunt Indian politics
NEW DELHI: The recent spat between India and Italy over two Italian soldiers who skipped bail is the latest in a series of scandals and diplomatic rows between the two countries.

From Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors gun scam of the 90s to AgustaWestland choppers recently, Italy has haunted Indian politics.

The Swiss-made Bofors gun in the Indian battlefield was the cause of the downfall of the Congress government in 1989 headed by Rajiv Gandhi.

In a controversy that erupted in 1987, Bofors had allegedly paid more than US$50 million in bribes to secure a contract to supply the field gun to the Indian army.
 defence
Then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was named one of the suspects in the scam.

Italian businessman Quattrocchi was the middleman between the Indian Army and Bofors.

He had moved to New Delhi while Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister.

He escaped from India in 1993 and all attempts to extradite him have been futile.

C Uday Bhaskar, Distinguished Fellow at the Society for Policy Studies, said: "Quattrocchi issue is a reflection of both the lack of political determination and what you might say an index of efficacy that you associate with Indian judicial and investigative system."

Since then, Italy continues to haunt Indian politics.

In the years up to the 2004 general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party mounted attack on Congress over the issue of Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin.

They maintained that she was a foreigner because she was Italian-born and was not suitable for Indian politics.

C Uday Bhaskar said: "Ever since the Bofors scandal came into the public domain, largely by way of the charges and allegation of corruption, that in a way was very, very serious political taint as far as Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was concerned and that is where you see the beginning of focus on Mrs Sonia Gandhi and the Italian origin issue, which has been a part of the subtext I would say, of Indian politics over the last two decades."

In 2013, history appears to be repeating itself - with another defence deal scam.

Italy-based AgustaWestland is facing allegations in Italy and India that it paid bribes to win a US$750 million deal to supply 12 VIP helicopters to transport Indian political leaders.

Even while that scandal was brewing, two Italian sailors delivered what the opposition is calling a slap to the Indian judiciary.

The Italian sailors are accused of shooting two Indian fishermen whom they had mistaken for pirates.

While facing trial in India, Delhi allowed them to return to Italy to vote in recent elections.

Now Rome refuses to send them back to India to face trial.

In retaliation, Delhi says the Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini cannot leave India.

Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesperson for India's Foreign Ministry, said: "Of course we are conscious of the provisions of the Vienna Convention, and our obligations under the Vienna Convention, but we are also bound by the directions of the honourable Supreme Court on this matter, and we have made this clear to them."

Sonia Gandhi has called Italy's decision on the two soldiers a betrayal and says everything must be done to bring them back to India to face justice.

But it's unlikely that this episode will be the end of the controversial and complicated Indian-Italian relationship.


http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_07/03/2013_486346
Heads of Greek army, navy and air force replaced
The heads of Greece’s army, navy and air force were replaced on Thursday after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras chaired a meeting of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and National Defense (KYSEA).

Lieutenant General Athanasios Tselios was named head of the Greek army, Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis was appointed new chief of the navy and Lieutenant General Evangelos Tournas will take over the top position in the air force.

As had been announced last week, Michalis Kostarakos will remain the chief of the National Defense General Staff.

The decision not to replace Kostarakos but to change the chiefs of the army, navy and air force had the support of Samaras and his coalition partners, Evangelos Venizelos of PASOK and Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left.

The changes are part of the regular reviews of key positions in the military. The last such review took place in July last year.

http://www.army.mil/article/99103/Budget_impact_on_quality_of_life_concerns_top_enlisted_leaders/
Budget impact on quality of life concerns top enlisted leaders
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 20, 2012) -- Senior enlisted advisors of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines underscored to lawmakers Tuesday the immense challenges the services face in tough fiscal times.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler said the current budgetary situation has far-reaching impacts on the Army, and the lives of its members. He and his counterparts testified before the House Committee on Appropriations, subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

"The magnitude of today's fiscal uncertainty has grave consequences for our Soldiers, civilians, and families," Chandler said at the hearing on quality of life in the military.

"The current continuing resolution is affecting shortfalls for our funding of overseas contingency operations due to emerging costs in theater," he said. "With the enactment of sequestration, the Army is also being forced to make dramatic cuts to personnel, readiness, and modernization programs, thereby putting our national security at risk."

He emphasized the importance of having the best-equipped military force, while also providing care for service members and their families.

He said in today's uncertain and complex environment, the Army is committed to ensuring that it is the best manned, equipped, trained and led force in the world. But he said the limited resources are having an impact on its ability to do that.

"Our strategy to defend the nation and its necessary actions requires the Army to have flexibility and predictability, something we do not currently have, and that Army leadership is challenged to alter," he said. "The fiscal outlook which the Army faces today is challenging and, to my recollection, unprecedented. Fiscal uncertainties do not allow us to prevent, shape and win."

Chandler and the other top enlisted advisors stressed the importance of quality of life programs and resources to support a wide range of areas, including sexual assault prevention and response, mental health, suicide prevention, caring for wounded service members, family support, child and youth development, housing, and helping members transition from the military into the civilian world.

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett said quality of life programs are important to Marines and reductions will be made wisely.

"Our approach to required sequestration cuts to our Marine and family support portfolio will focus on preserving programs that support the health, welfare and morale of our Marines and families," Barrett testified. "These programs are considered most essential in meeting the organizational objectives of the Marine Corps, and they promote the physical and mental well-being of Marines and families.

"We will be fiscally responsible during this challenging budget environment and will critically assess the needs of our family members and prioritize resources," he said. "We will do so, however, in a manner that sustains the world's finest fighting force while keeping faith with our Marines and their families."

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody said that the quality of service initiatives are an important aspect of military life and an overwhelming factor in the decision Airmen and their families make in remaining in the service.

"We place a great deal of importance on the sense of community in and around our bases," he said. "We focus on four main areas: health and wellness; Airmen and family support; education, development, and employment; and Airmen and family housing."

While not at the hearing in person, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens said in submitted testimony that the current fiscal situation is having an impact across the Navy.

"We must continue to ask hard questions and make hard decisions that will enable us to provide a quality of life commensurate with the sacrifices our Sailors and their families make daily," he testified.

"A full-year continuing resolution, sequestration, and associated out-year budget reductions will make it extremely difficult to continue our current and anticipated level of operations, compel us to cancel some maintenance and training, and constrain our ability to invest in future capability and capacity," according to his testimony.

He said the reductions have a negative impact on morale and quality of life of Sailors and their families, but the Navy will continue to fully protect wounded warrior programs and will preserve, to the extent possible, family

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-166622-Army-declaration-confirms-paradigm-shift
Army declaration confirms paradigm shift
ISLAMABAD: The military leadership’s March 19 resolve to continue the fight against terrorism at all costs has officially confirmed the paradigm shift in its decades-old India-centric doctrine.


This doctrine was reportedly revised to recognise the homegrown militancy, especially the Taliban, as the biggest threat to the national security, bigger than India.The military leadership’s declaration to continue fight against terrorism came following a quarterly meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), which is the principal advisory body of the armed forces. The meeting was chaired by Chairman JCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne and was attended by all the three services chiefs including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt, Defence Secretary Lt Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik, Chief of General Staff, DG Joint Staff, DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), DG Strategic Plans Division (SPD) and several other senior military officers of the army, navy and the air force.


According to an official statement issued after the meeting by the military spokesman, “It was reiterated in unequivocal terms during the meeting that comprehensive strategy will be followed by the armed forces to combat the growing terrorist threat being faced by Pakistan.” A khaki official had further explained that “by pursuing a comprehensive strategy”, the participants of the JCSC meeting meant to say that all elements of national power would be utilised by the armed forces to combat and wipe out terrorism from the country. Significantly, the military leadership’s policy statement came hardly 24 hours after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced to “temporarily suspend” its offer of peace talks with the government.


The TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan announced on March 18 that the Taliban were temporarily suspending their talks offer because of the authorities’ non-serious attitude. As two all parties conferences organised by the ANP and the JUI-F in Islamabad on February 14 and February 28 endorsed the TTP’s call for peace talks, the military did not give any public reaction, although there were reports that it was averse to the idea of a dialogue because of the refusal of the Taliban to lay down arms and halt their terrorist activities.


Therefore, the military did not offer a formal reaction to the TTP spokesman’s repeated call “for a positive response” from the Pakistan Army, being the “real power” in the country.Hence, the military’s March 19 declaration to keep fighting against terrorism is the first official reply from the military establishment which carries an explicit policy statement ever since the TTP had offered peace talks. The declaration specifically means rebuffing the Taliban’s offer besides officially confirming for the first time media reports about a paradigm shift in the military doctrine to recognise domestic militancy as the biggest threat being confronted by the state of Pakistan.


The khakis have remained tight-lipped in the past on media reports that while introducing a paradigm shift in its India-centric policy, the military establishment has finally added a new chapter to the army doctrine in the Green Book, describing the home grown militancy as the biggest threat to national security.


The army doctrine deals with operational preparedness and is reviewed intermittently. A special chapter titled “Sub-conventional warfare” was reportedly included this year in the Green Book which holds strategic papers written by professional soldiers who give their ideas on a variety of subjects. Emphasising that the biggest threat to Pakistan lies within, not without, the new doctrine of the army identifies the Taliban and a host of mixed militants within, are a bigger security threat than India. The Green Book states that the activities of the Pakistani militants, who have found refuge across the Durand Line in Afghanistan, now pose a real threat to national security. Earlier, India used to be Pakistan’s no 1 enemy and most of the military resources were also being focused on India.


Analysts say over a decade after the rest of the world recognised the apparent fact, the Pakistani establishment has realised that internal terrorism by home grown militants was a greater threat than any other menace confronting Pakistan. But over 40,000 Pakistanis had lost their lives by the time the khaki leadership recognised this general knowledge thing despite remaining a part of the US-led war against terrorism for over a decade.


The military’ declaration on the eve of the general elections to continue the fight against terrorism at all costs is obviously a bad news for those right wing politicians who had been meticulously advocating peace talks with the Taliban in a bid to avoid the wrath of the TTP bombers during the election campaign.


While extending offer of so-called talks to the government on February 3, the TTP had named Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Munawar Hassan as the three guarantors they would like to have in any peace deal with the government to ensure that the army, “which is the real power in the country”, does not violate the agreement, as had been the case in the past.


However, on the other hand, the security establishment insists that each and every peace deal signed between the military and the militants in the past was actually discarded by the Taliban who in fact used these deals to regroup and re-strengthen themselves to re-launch fresh offensives. Therefore, the military is not in a mood to trust the militants once again, especially after having revised its doctrine.
ISLAMABAD: The military leadership’s March 19 resolve to continue the fight against terrorism at all costs has officially confirmed the paradigm shift in its decades-old India-centric doctrine.


This doctrine was reportedly revised to recognise the homegrown militancy, especially the Taliban, as the biggest threat to the national security, bigger than India.The military leadership’s declaration to continue fight against terrorism came following a quarterly meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), which is the principal advisory body of the armed forces. The meeting was chaired by Chairman JCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne and was attended by all the three services chiefs including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt, Defence Secretary Lt Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik, Chief of General Staff, DG Joint Staff, DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), DG Strategic Plans Division (SPD) and several other senior military officers of the army, navy and the air force.


According to an official statement issued after the meeting by the military spokesman, “It was reiterated in unequivocal terms during the meeting that comprehensive strategy will be followed by the armed forces to combat the growing terrorist threat being faced by Pakistan.” A khaki official had further explained that “by pursuing a comprehensive strategy”, the participants of the JCSC meeting meant to say that all elements of national power would be utilised by the armed forces to combat and wipe out terrorism from the country. Significantly, the military leadership’s policy statement came hardly 24 hours after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced to “temporarily suspend” its offer of peace talks with the government.


The TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan announced on March 18 that the Taliban were temporarily suspending their talks offer because of the authorities’ non-serious attitude. As two all parties conferences organised by the ANP and the JUI-F in Islamabad on February 14 and February 28 endorsed the TTP’s call for peace talks, the military did not give any public reaction, although there were reports that it was averse to the idea of a dialogue because of the refusal of the Taliban to lay down arms and halt their terrorist activities.


Therefore, the military did not offer a formal reaction to the TTP spokesman’s repeated call “for a positive response” from the Pakistan Army, being the “real power” in the country.Hence, the military’s March 19 declaration to keep fighting against terrorism is the first official reply from the military establishment which carries an explicit policy statement ever since the TTP had offered peace talks. The declaration specifically means rebuffing the Taliban’s offer besides officially confirming for the first time media reports about a paradigm shift in the military doctrine to recognise domestic militancy as the biggest threat being confronted by the state of Pakistan.


The khakis have remained tight-lipped in the past on media reports that while introducing a paradigm shift in its India-centric policy, the military establishment has finally added a new chapter to the army doctrine in the Green Book, describing the home grown militancy as the biggest threat to national security.


The army doctrine deals with operational preparedness and is reviewed intermittently. A special chapter titled “Sub-conventional warfare” was reportedly included this year in the Green Book which holds strategic papers written by professional soldiers who give their ideas on a variety of subjects. Emphasising that the biggest threat to Pakistan lies within, not without, the new doctrine of the army identifies the Taliban and a host of mixed militants within, are a bigger security threat than India. The Green Book states that the activities of the Pakistani militants, who have found refuge across the Durand Line in Afghanistan, now pose a real threat to national security. Earlier, India used to be Pakistan’s no 1 enemy and most of the military resources were also being focused on India.


Analysts say over a decade after the rest of the world recognised the apparent fact, the Pakistani establishment has realised that internal terrorism by home grown militants was a greater threat than any other menace confronting Pakistan. But over 40,000 Pakistanis had lost their lives by the time the khaki leadership recognised this general knowledge thing despite remaining a part of the US-led war against terrorism for over a decade.


The military’ declaration on the eve of the general elections to continue the fight against terrorism at all costs is obviously a bad news for those right wing politicians who had been meticulously advocating peace talks with the Taliban in a bid to avoid the wrath of the TTP bombers during the election campaign.


While extending offer of so-called talks to the government on February 3, the TTP had named Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Munawar Hassan as the three guarantors they would like to have in any peace deal with the government to ensure that the army, “which is the real power in the country”, does not violate the agreement, as had been the case in the past.


However, on the other hand, the security establishment insists that each and every peace deal signed between the military and the militants in the past was actually discarded by the Taliban who in fact used these deals to regroup and re-strengthen themselves to re-launch fresh offensives. Therefore, the military is not in a mood to trust the militants once again, especially after having revised its doctrine.

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