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PAKISTAN INTERNALISING by Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)

Author: Palepu Ravi Shankar
Publication: Gunnersshot.com
Date: December 12, 2020
URL:      https://www.gunnersshot.com/2020/12/pakistan-internalising.html
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In my recent article China’s Five Instabilities I had put forth an argument that an inward looking China will get automatically contained.  China cannot be made to look inwards economically or militarily. It must be done politically and diplomatically. Pakistan is a parallel for better understanding. Despite sporadic spikes in violence in Kashmir, the threat from Pakistan is far lesser than it was last year. Why? The political axe of Abrogation of Article 370 left Pakistan crying hoarse on the side lines. Further the ongoing PDM has taken Pakistan into uncharted territory. The internal political muddle reinforced by a weak economy, ensure Pakistan is less of a worldwide nuisance than before. Kinetic  action would not have achieved this effect.

 

I am fully cognisant of the fact that what works for Pakistan will not work for China. We have to adopt a horses for courses approach. The major point I am making is that China has its problems which are grave. If we get taken in by their propaganda and glitz then they become undefeatable. However when you look at their vulnerabilities, it is clear that there are opportunities. These opportunities are low cost and do not involve going to war. These opportunities need investment in ideas. It is really time to say Get Lost to One China 

 

I went over Dawn of the past one week and saw what they were reporting. What their opinion makers were talking of. The usual rant of Anti Modi / Anti-Fascist India keeps coming up. But nothing more venomous. Their main news is all about their internal politics and issues. These are some
 excerpts from articles to prove my point. You may click on the heading of each article to see the whole article. 
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Pakistan is so spooked that in a week or so, the Army is on a high alert of an Indian strike. This is a regular feature

Army Put on a High Alert Amid Threat of Indian Strike Dawn Headlines
 
ISLAMABAD: Amidst a possible threat of another attempt by India to conduct a surgical strike inside Pakistan’s territory, Pakistan Army has been put on high alert, informed sources told Dawn on Wednesday.

They said that after facing humiliating defeat in Ladakh and Doklam, India was preparing to launch another attack on the Line of Control (LoC) and across the Working Boundary at Pulwama, posing a threat to the regional peace and stability.

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An official said a “false flag operation” was being planned by India to divert the world’s attention from several of its internal issues, including the ongoing farmers’ protest, its treatment of minorities, atrocities committed by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and criticism of its policies by international institutions and media.
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Democracy or lack of it, or its confusion is wracking Pakistan. Their internal issues feature regularly on a daily basis. There is very little time for anything else.The following articles give you a clear picture.

Need For a Strategic Pause  by Maleeeha Lodhi

AN inflection point seems to have been reached in the country’s politics that could propel the country into uncharted territory with uncertain consequences for its stability. The confrontation between the government and opposition shows no sign of easing. Instead, the political temperature has risen to a fever pitch and a bitter power struggle continues to rage. This is unlikely to produce any winners. It puts at risk serious management of the pandemic’s second wave, efforts for the country’s economic recovery and responses to a volatile regional security situation. Deepening political polarisation is already casting a shadow on efforts to effectively address these internal and external challenges. The political paralysis that looms will only exacerbate this grim situation and leave people more dispirited about the future

 

 

 

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Dangerous Stand Off by Zahid Hussain

FIRST there was a clampdown and then a retreat. The panicky response to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in Multan this week illustrates the growing chaos within the PTI administration. With an increasingly aggressive opposition alliance on a collision course with the government, the latter’s options are becoming narrower. The deadly second Covid-19 wave does not seem to have any mitigating effect on the vicious power game. The stand-off has taken a more dangerous turn.
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Poverty Stricken Politics By I A Rehman

Thus the government-opposition debate appears to have been reduced to a slanging match between them. The government apparently doesn’t know how to properly enlighten the people about its policies and the opposition chooses to attack the government on grounds that are not wholly clear to the public.
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Unfortunately, Pakistani politics has become violent beyond any justification. The ruling party suffers from a surfeit of self-righteousness and makes the mistake of not only denouncing the opposition members for the sins, real and imagined, of their past leaderships but also insulting their electors.
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Politics in times of Pandemic by Zahid Hussain

WHILE the deadly pandemic devours more lives and the number of infectious cases surges, the ongoing political power game is becoming more vicious. The callousness of our political leadership on both sides of the divide towards this national health crisis could not be more appalling. It seems that people’s lives don’t matter when it comes to political one-upmanship in this country

A desperate opposition alliance seems to have lost all rationality as it tries to amass its supporters on the streets, endangering their lives in a bid to oust the government… Is the prime minister in a state of denial about the gravity of the situation? His hubris and the politics of confrontation he has adopted have largely been responsible for the current political instability.

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Resignation Time by Asha’ar Rehman

It is a clash between two great rivals in today’s Punjab. At one end is a party in power. It is determined that its own grand show at the same venue a few years ago is not in any way eclipsed by this attempt at public rallying by the ‘mix achaar’ PDM collection. On the other side is a party, a family, a dynasty, that has practically owned Lahore over decades without ever feeling the need to summon a mammoth crowd to exchange vows of loyalty in the shade of the minar.

This is a grand Sohrab Modi-like landscape. But the clash of the Titans is tempered by small fights that bring out human weaknesses for old methods to fight today’s threats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Their mountain of debt is not going away and that weighs heavily on them. Things are only getting worse.

Growing Debt in Dawn Editorial

AS expected, the country’s consolidated fiscal deficit — the gap between the government’s income and expenditure — is increasing by the month. It expanded to 1.7pc of GDP in the first four months (July-October) of the present fiscal year, up by 17pc from a year ago, according to new economic data released recently by the federal finance ministry. The size of the deficit would have been a bit higher at around 2pc had the provinces not delivered a cash surplus.
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 Pakistan Signed up for $10.5Bn Foreign Loans in FY 20 Headline in Dawn
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ISLAMABAD: The PTI government contracted $10.447 billion worth of new foreign loans from multilateral institutions and commercial banks during the fiscal year 2019-20, almost one-fourth higher than previous year’s $8.4bn. According to Annual Report on Foreign Economic Assistance 2019-20 released by Ministry of Economic Affairs, 99 per cent of the new commitments were for loans and the remaining 1pc in grant commitments.

Out of the total new agreements of $10.447bn, more than $6.79bn financing agreements were signed with multilateral agencies, $3.463bn with foreign commercial banks and $193 million with bilateral lenders. The report said the high level of commercial financing worth $3.463bn — accounting for 33pc of the total new commitments — had been secured from commercial banks to refinance maturing commercial debt during the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is indignation that they are put on a Religious Freedom Blacklist when India is not! More importantly as a nation they are being forced to rethink. 

Pakistan Rejects Arbitrary and Selective US Designation on Religious Freedom Blacklist

The Foreign Office on Wednesday rejected the United States' designation of Pakistan among "countries of part­ic­ular concern" (CPC) under its International Religious Freedom Act, terming it an "arbitrary and selective assessment".

In a statement, the FO said the designation was "completely against the realities on the ground" and raised doubts about the credibility of the process, citing the "glaring omission of India" from the blacklist. Such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide, it added.

It also regretted that the United States had overlooked the "fact that Pakistan and the US have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level".

 

 

 

 

 

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They remain wistful of what they lost this week in 1971!

The First Time  by Mahir Ali
 
FOR the first 23 years of its existence, Pakistan was virgin territory as far as meaningful representative rule was concerned. This depressing fact goes a long way towards explaining the popular enthusiasm in the run-up to the nation’s inaugural general elections 50 years ago this month….

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Pakistan’s first flawed experiment in representative rule, following the second partition, lasted little more than five years. An invaluable opportunity to recast what remained of the nation and set it on a progressive path was squandered and Bhutto’s dogged determination to use the military to his own advantage fatally backfired. The nation has never completely emerged from the malign shadow of what came next.
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As for the nation’s first (and perhaps only free and fair) elections, all one can ultimately say is that Pakistan was never the same again. Yet the nation’s trajectory could have taken a very different turn.

 

 
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