If wishes were horses! Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) tweeted this in reply to my article, “The State of Pakistan”. It surprised me and left me wondering. Was I shooting in the air to think of Pakistan as a failed and jailed state? Was it a dare? I was curious. Did some digging. Found out that he is credited with raising the Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army. Seems I had touched a raw nerve. Hmm. Need to put things in perspective.
Many Pakistanis liked the General’s reply and are still supporting him. That is fine. After all, he must be a popular man and many Pakistanis support their Generals. However, one handle caught my eye due to the sheer profanity of the Pakistani mindset. The General has very intellectual followers indeed! At another level it reveals a very deep schism. Hatred and intolerance of other religions is now fundamentally ingrained in Pakistan. Looters in control with committed perverts as flag bearers. A dangerous place indeed.
I grew up in a syncretic society, where a hardcore atheist ruling party did not stop anyone from learning about Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and other religions. I come from a land where St Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ, rests. We had a Muslim President revered by all Indians. This Tamilian loved ‘Thyagaraja Kirtanas’. He learnt Telugu in his late fifties to understand them. Southern sufism. My first introduction to Sikhism was through my school which was located in Gillnagar, Chennai! I remain rooted in the Hindu way of life. I have learnt in the six plus decades of my existence that religions are great but some humans are not. When masses opiated with religion, get blindsided and lose the differentiation between the state and faith; nations grow weak.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a beggarised, nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. Present-day Pakistan is floundering under the ‘Looters of the Fifth Reich’. Surprisingly, Pakistanis welcomed this Reich as they did with others. In all previous cases, the Reichmaster took it to great heights, grew bigger than himself and was then booted out in disgrace. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day. Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) is a part of all these Reichs.
This is not from my imagination. Except for identifying the Reichs, I have heavily plagiarised from Pakistani writings. Two articles from Dawn put things in great perspective—“All Fall Down” and “Year End Yearnings”. Everything becomes clear. The story of each Reich becomes clearer when you see the caricatures/cartoons. They depict an undeniable reality.
THE FIRST REICH: THE BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP OF AYUB KHAN
Ayub Khan carried out the first popular military coup In 1958. He facilitated an unprecedented industrial growth in the country. He aligned Pakistan with the US to enable perpetual military and financial aid. By 1961, he had largely restored Pakistan’s economy. He instituted a complex electoral system that he called ‘Basic Democracy’. He discarded the 1956 Constitution and instituted a new one in 1962. It enshrined Ayub’s idea of ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’.
The ‘benevolent dictator’, tried to crown his economic and political achievements with a military triumph against India. The ensuing 1965 war, turned into a stalemate. It drained the country’s resources. He was accused by Bhutto (who had instigated him into war!) of ‘losing the war on the negotiation table’. East Pakistan, accused him of leaving it open to an Indian attack. Ayub faced a spontaneous students’ movement in October 1968. In 1969, Bhutto’s PPP, National Awami Party (NAP) , the National Students Federation (NSF), radical trade and labour unions and rural area peasant organisations joined the movement. Awami League and other Bengali nationalist groups demanded provincial autonomy for East Pakistan. He was supposedly shocked when he heard that some of his ‘children’ (the term he used to describe his subjects), had called him ‘Ayub Khan Kutta’. Ayub threw-in the towel and resigned, handing over power to General Yahya Khan who immediately imposed the country’s second martial law. Ayub, died in seclusion in 1974.
THE SECOND REICH: YAHYA KHAN’S GENOCIDE AND PAKISTAN BREAKUP
The Second Reich was so gory that all Pakistanis develop instant amnesia when you mention it. Guilt , shame or denial? Who knows? Yahya Khan held the country’s first general election on taking over. In the 1970 elections, the Awami League won 98% of the assembly seats in East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was to be the PM. Unacceptable. Mujibur was arrested in March 1971. Yahya Khan went into Genocide mode and began Operation Searchlight. For the next nine months Bengali civilians were massacred by Pakistani soldiers. Estimates for the total number of deaths range from 500,000 to over 3 million. Rapes exceeded 500,000. 10 million refugees streamed into India. The third round of Indo Pak war of 1971 resulted in utter defeat and break up of Pakistan. A group of military officers, forced Yahya to resign and invited Bhutto to form the government. A sordid case is of Tikka Khan, who headed the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan. He was called the ‘Butcher of Bangladesh’ by Time Magazine. He was promoted in 1972 to become the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan. What a nation!
THE THIRD REICH: RADICAL ISLAMISER ZIA-UL-HAQ
Gen Zia-ul-Haq imposed the country’s third Martial Law in July 1977 with the tacit support of political opposition to Bhutto. He adopted an ‘Islamic’ agenda, and ruled Pakistan for 11 years. In 1979, he arrested, tried and hanged Bhutto. Zia instituted harsh measures such as public floggings, executions, sentencing by military courts and torture. Opposition was simply mowed down. He was the lead in the anti-Soviet ‘Afghan Jihad’ in 1979. He became a frontline ally of the United States, Europe and Saudi Arabia in backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. He overtly started Punjabisation of Pakistan through businessmen. He aligned businesses with radical religious outfits he fostered. There was a burst of religiosity within Pakistan. He crushed three attempts for restoring democracy. He died in a mysterious plane crash in August 1988. He left a legacy of radicalisation of Pakistan. Pakistan is paying for it till now.
THE FOURTH REICH: THE WILY CONMAN PERVEZ MUSHARRAF
General Parvez Musharraf’s coup was welcomed despite the Kargil defeat due to economic downturns, corruption and chaos of the 1990s. The US shunned him till 9/11 when he agreed to become a frontline ally of the US in its ‘war against terror’. It also meant Pakistan making some U-turns on handling religious militant groups. He started Pakistan’s policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.
In 2002, Musharraf began to crack down on some extremist organisations while maintaining and promoting links with Kashmir and anti-India terror outfits. Despite posing as a religiously moderate and a socially liberal modern day Ataturk, his actions started a trend of suicide bombings within Pakistan. The militants started hating him. He even put AQ Khan, the father of the Islamic Bomb under house arrest.
In 2006, Musharraf dismissed a Supreme Court judge, Iftikhar Chaudhry , who led a lawyers strike to end ‘the illegitimate orders of a dictator’. His action against radical clerics and their supporters of Islamabad’s Red Mosque led extremist militants to target public places. Musharraf had weakened politically. He allowed the return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On return, Benazir was assassinated in a bomb attack in December 2007. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz led their parties to victory in the 2008 elections and both squeezed Musharraf to resign as President and Army chief. He is to be tried for treason and is in exile.
The wily conman, conned Nawaz Sharif into a military defeat, conned himself, conned Pakistan into becoming a terrorist state, conned Americans that he was working for them and conned militants that he was their supporter.
THE FIFTH REICH: THE LOOTER OF THE FIFTH REICH QAMAR BAJWA
General Qamar Bajwa is something. He has upstaged all his predecessors. He is a dictator without being one. He is a looter second to none. He bootlicks the Chinese while getting politicians to shine his boots. He has ensured his tenure is extended legally. He has jockeyed into a position that all political parties look up to him for survival. He is expanding the army business empire rapidly. He has become an extra constitutional authority. The Pakistani Army now controls most major projects including CPEC.
He is making grounds to ensure that permanent Chinese presence in Pakistan is a reality. In short, he is not only looting Pakistan but also selling it off to China, as an impoverished nation sinks deeper into debt. With US drawdown from Afghanistan being imminent, he is busy trying to create strategic space once again. Balochistan is not only being sold off but there is a huge hidden and sordid tale of extra judicial disappearances and assassinations. He has continued the Pakistani tradition of using terrorists as an instrument of state policy. There is no let-up in this.
Ashraf Jahangir Qazi was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, India and China. These are his words: Few people in the world have been so consistently betrayed by their leaders, governments, political parties and security institutions as the people of Pakistan. They have been lied to; denied basic human rights, dignity and entitlements; robbed of essential human development resources to finance elite priorities and lifestyles; induced to look to the hereafter for justice, etc. Shows a sense of utter dismay and despondence. There is no doubt that the true state of a pauperised Pakistan is as depicted below.
The fundamental problem with modern Pakistanis is that the opiated people are yet to decide whether they are Turks, Arabs, Chinese or Afghans since deep down they know that culturally and historically Pakistanis do not exist! They have a great identity problem. Also, I would like Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) to note that Pakistan is a nation under perpetual defeat. It has chosen to go to war with India four times at a place and time of its choosing and has been defeated always. It is often spoken that the Pakistani Army is the best army never to have won a war. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day.
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SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH CELEBRATIONS AT RASHTRIYA RIFLES SECTOR HEADQUARTERS
NEW DELHI: The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame after having entered the serene Kashmir Valley through the Navyug Tunnel on Tuesday, continued its journey and made its way to Anantnag City, also known as the ‘Land of Infinite Springs’. The Victory flame was received by Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Wuzur and travelled to Khanabal, Anantnag via Mir Bazar, Khudwani and Wampoh and reached Rashtriya Rifles Sector Headquarter, Khanabal.
The flame was received with tremendous fervour by school children, local youth, 13 Veer Naris, 55 ex-servicemen, personnel from Security Forces & Law Enforcement Agencies and many other civilian dignitaries from the local administration. Thereafter, the Victory Flame was escorted through the Khanabal Junction, proudly carried by military personnel & civilians alike before entering the Khanabal Military Garrison. Later, the Victory Flame was handed over to the Commander, Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal at the War Memorial. Wreaths were laid to pay homage to the unsung War Heroes, by the visiting dignitaries, including Mr Hilal Ahmed Shah, Mayor Anantnag, Mr Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, IAS, Additional DC Anantnag, Mr Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, SSP Anantnag, Mr DP Upadhyay, DIG CRPF, Mr Abdul Jabbar, IPS, DIG (South Kashmir) and Commander Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal, followed by a ceremonial Guard of Honour. Post the solemn event, the celebrations continued with cultural performances by school children and local artists, followed by the felicitation of Veer Naris, Veer Matas & veterans by the dignitaries present.
CHINA’S NEW BRI: BRIDE RESUPPLY INITIATIVE
China is facing a mammoth problem due to a huge gender imbalance, with the male population exceeding the female population by more than 30 million, as per the data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The imbalance in the post-2000s and population of marriageable age have become incrementally vicious & even more urgent.
In 2020, the sex ratio of the total population in China was 105.302 males per 100 females as per data provided by Statistic Times. In total, there are 738,247,340 or 738.25 million males and 701,076,434 or 701.08 million females in China. The percentage of the female population is 48.71 percent compared to 51.29 percent male population.
The most influential factor behind such skewed figures has been the erstwhile infamous “one-child” policy of China from 1979 to 2015, which prompted many parents to decide that their sole child must be a boy. Though China reversed it in 2016 to allow families to have two children as fears grew about the country’s fast-ageing population and shrinking workforce, the change has not yet resulted in a baby boom, with Chinese women often delaying or avoiding childbirth and young couples blaming rising costs and insufficient policy support for families.
China now has a huge, and growing, gender gap among the generations most likely to be seeking a spouse—a bride shortage. As on date there are around 35 million males more than females and this figure is expected to grow by almost 5% every year (as per present sex ratio), meaning that China will have more than 50 million ‘Extra Men’ within next five years. Experts project that many of these extra men will never marry; others may go to extreme measures to do so. The difficulty that these Chinese men now face in finding wives, combined with a lack of protections in China, is driving a brutal business of selling women and girls from neighbouring countries.
BRIDE RESUPPLY INITIATIVE
It has emerged that agents in China and Pakistan have used the garb of CPEC to literally kidnap girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds, especially from minority communities such as Christians, Hindus and marry them off to Chinese men. US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback during a statement in Dec 2020 mentioned this as one of the reasons for designating Pakistan as a country of particular concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act.
Most of these Pakistani brides are given inflated information about the socio-economic status of these Chinese grooms which turns out to be false. These women and girls are typically tricked by brokers who promise well-paid employment across the border in China. Once in China, they find themselves at the mercy of the brokers, who sell them for around $3,000 to $13,000 to Chinese families. Once purchased they may be held prisoner and pressured to produce babies as quickly as possible. Similar stories have been documented by journalists and researchers in some other countries too like Cambodia, North Korea, Myanmar, and Vietnam, among others, although on a relatively smaller scale.
As part of the Belt and Road Initiative’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan received a $ 62-billion infrastructural investment package to develop major works, from roads to power plants. Quite naturally, the Pak government has sought to curtail investigations, putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks fearing such efforts could sour relationships with the country’s all weather ally- China, says Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from being sent there. Other countries with trafficked brides face similar asymmetrical power and economic relationships with China, and analysts doubt these nations will discuss difficult topics like action against bride trafficking in negotiations with their powerful neighbour.
The Chinese government’s main response for many years seemed to be simply to ignore growing allegations about authorities’ complicity in these crimes. But the problem is becoming too big to ignore; the government’s stonewalling is gradually being replaced by a mixture of criminal justice and propaganda responses, neither of which get to the real issue of gender discrimination.
As per experts’ calculations, it will take about 50 to 60 years to slowly resolve the gender imbalance formed 20 to 30 years ago if some concrete steps are taken today. Well, while that might be true, Xi Jinping does not need to bother much having a sidekick like Pakistan under his thumb. With a sinking economy, ever rising pile of debts with some requiring immediate payback and the FATF sword looming on is neck since ages, Pakistan is left with very little choice other than complying with the Chinese demands even if that’s at the cost of its daughters.
AT ASEAN DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING, RAJNATH SINGH CALLS FOR AN OPEN AND INCLUSIVE ORDER IN INDO-PACIFIC
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called for an open and inclusive order in Indo-Pacific based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations while addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus on Wednesday. The ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. Brunei is the Chair of the ADMM Plus forum this year.
Rajnath Singh also stressed on “peaceful resolutions of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.” “India has strengthened its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on converging visions and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Premised upon the centrality of ASEAN, India supports utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific”, he added. During thematic discussions on regional and international security environment, Rajnath Singh put forth India’s views before the Defence Ministers of ASEAN countries and eight dialogue partners. He stressed that the emerging challenges to international peace and security cannot be addressed with outdated systems designed to deal with trials of the past.
The Raksha Mantri reiterated India’s support to freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “Maritime security challenges are a concern to India. The Sea lanes of Communication are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region,” he stressed. The Raksha Mantri hoped that the Code of Conduct negotiations will lead to outcomes keeping with international law and do not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not party to these discussions.
On the ‘Act East Policy’, announced by Prime Minister Narender Modi in November 2014,Rajnath Singh stated that the key elements of the policy aim to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Terming terrorism and radicalisation as gravest threats to world peace and security, Rajnath Singh called for collective cooperation to fully disrupt terror organisations and their networks; identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable and ensure that strong measures are taken against those who support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists. As a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he said India remains committed to combat financing of terrorism.
To deal with cyber threats, the Raksha Mantri called for a multi-stakeholder approach, guided by democratic values, with a governance structure that is open and inclusive and a secure, open and stable internet with due respect to sovereignty of countries, that would drive the future of cyberspace. On the most recent challenge faced by the world, COVID-19, Rajnath Singh said the effect of the pandemic is still unfolding and the test, therefore, is to make sure that the world economy moves on the path of recovery and no one is left behind. This is only possible if entire humanity is vaccinated, he stated. “Globally available patent free vaccines, unhindered supply chains and greater global medical capacities are some of the lines of effort that India has suggested for a combined effort,” he highlighted.
Referring to the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, the Raksha Mantri stated that India remains one of the first to respond in times of distress in the immediate as well as extended neighbourhood. As a founding member of the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM), India seeks to enhance capacity building through collaboration in the areas of Maritime Search & Rescue, he added. Rajnath Singh also underscored the importance India attaches to ASEAN centrality and unity in ensuring peace and stability in the region. He said India shares a deep connect with ASEAN and has continued its active engagement in many areas contributing to regional peace and stability, particularly through ASEAN led mechanisms, such as East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and ADMM-Plus. The India-ASEAN strategic partnership has been strengthened by virtue of flourishing cultural and civilisational links and enhanced people-to-people cooperation, he added. The Raksha Mantri thanked Brunei for conducting the ADMM Plus despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs attended the meeting.
INSPECTOR GENERAL M.V. PATHAK TAKES OVER AS THE COMMANDER OF COAST GUARD REGION NORTH EAST
Inspector General MV Pathak took over as the Regional Commander, Coast Guard Region North East, Kolkata from Inspector General AK Harbola on Monday. Inspector General Pathak is an alumnus of the US Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut, having undergone the IMO Course from this academy.
During his illustrious career of more than three decades, Inspector General Pathak has commanded all classes of Coast Guard Ships. The shore appointments held by the flag officer include Chief of Staff to Coast Guard Commander (Western Seaboard) Mumbai, Commander Coast Guard (Kerala and Mahe), Principal Director (Administration), and Director (Manpower, Recruitment and Training) at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi.
Before taking over the reins of Coast Guard Region North East, Inspector General Pathak was the Regional Commander, Coast Guard Region (Andaman & Nicobar) at Port Blair for three years. The flag officer is a recipient of the ‘Tatrakshak Medal’. Inspector General Maneesh Pathak on taking over said that his priority will be strengthening the Coastal Security mechanism through coordination with all State and Central Agencies and to make the seas safe for all fishermen and seafarers. He further added that the Indian Coast Guard is committed to in motto “Vayam Rakshamah” which means “We Protect”.
INDIAN ARMY CONDUCTS RAIL TRIALS ON DEDICATED FREIGHT CORRIDOR
The recently developed “Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)” by the Indian Railways provides faster movement of freight across the Country. The Indian Army, on Monday, conducted a successful trial by moving a military train loaded with vehicles and equipment from New Rewari to New Phulera validating the efficacy of the DFC. The intricate and synchronised coordination by the Indian Army with Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) and Indian Railways will significantly enhance the mobilisation capability of the Armed Forces. These trials were part of the “Whole of the Nation Approach” for optimising national resources and achieve seamless synergy among various ministries and departments.
Interactions by the Indian Army with all stakeholders including DFCCIL and Indian Railways will now assist in leveraging the DFC and allied infrastructure into the mobilisation matrix of Armed Forces. Development of infrastructure at certain locations to support mobilisation and trials to validate move of defence owned rolling stock on Roll On-Roll Off (RO-RO) service is being formalised and modalities are being evolved. These trials herald the first step in this process to pave the way for enhancing the operational readiness of the Armed Forces. This initiative would set in place processes to ensure that military requirements are dovetailed in the national infrastructure development at the planning stage itself.
NORTHERN ARMY COMMANDER FELICITATES ‘VEER NARIS’ AND WAR HEROES OF 1971 INDIA-PAK WAR
NEW DELHI: Lt Gen YK Joshi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command laid a wreath to Swarnim Vijay Mashaal and paid tributes to fallen heroes at the Warrior’s Grove War Memorial, Crossed Swords Division, Akhnoor as a part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations. The Army Commander accompanied by Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar, GOC White Knight Corps was briefed on the saga and valour of gallant soldiers of Indian Armed Forces during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. A documentary on the 1971 Indo-Pak War was screened for the audience.
The General officer felicitated Veer Naris and war heroes of the 1971 Indo Pak war at Akhnoor. The GOC-in-C, a war hero and Vir Chakra awardee, appreciated the veterans for their invaluable services for the motherland. He also expressed deep gratitude for the sacrifices of the Veer Naris. Lt Gen YK Joshi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command interacted with all veterans and Veer Naris following Covid protocol. He expressed gratitude and acknowledged the contributions of the populace of Jammu & Kasmir who have played a pivotal role during various operations. He assured Veer Naris and veterans of full support at all times as was extended during the Covid pandemic. He motivated them to take maximum benefits from the facilities rendered by the Indian Army at their doorstep including Covid Care Facilities, Covid vaccination, Covid preventive measures, and government schemes, etc.
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