Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Khawaja Asif in US; China in Doklam; LV Mass Shooting; Pak Civil-Military Ties

What was the objective of Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif's visit to Washington? How was he received there? How did his meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster go? What is the crux of the case he presented to the United States Institute of Peace?

Is Nawaz Sharif's corruption prosecution in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court inspired by the Pakistani military? Is it really civil-military tensions or just a distraction tactic used by PMLN to discredit serious corruption charges against their leaders? Is PMLN using street power and legislation to try to intimidate the judges and the generals to rehabilitate Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification by the Supreme Court? Why does Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif oppose PMLN's confrontational stance against the judiciary and the military?

Is there a way to prevent recurrence of frequent mass shootings after recent history's worst ever mass shooting incident in Las Vegas, Nevada? Will the United States Congress and state legislatures act to put limits on the kind of guns available for sale? Will there be any new gun control measures like the ones Australia implemented after its last mass shooting in 1996?

Has China resumed road building with deployment of more troops in Doklam? Is it not embarrassing for India's Modi government after they claimed China had blinked in the Doklam standoff in Bhutan? What will happen next?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Khwaja Asif Defends Pakistan's Policy at the US Institute of Peace

Nawaz Sharif's Rallies Against Judiciary and Military

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

China-India Standoff at Doklam, Bhutan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Talk4Pak Think Tank


Riaz Haq said...

Securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets

By Zamir AkramPublished: October 13, 2017


From Pakistan’s perspective, the greater threat to its nuclear assets has always been from the US or the Indians, rather than terrorists, and has taken robust measures to protect the safety and security of these assets. Accordingly, for Pakistan ensuring nuclear security is vital for ensuring national security. Had there been a window of vulnerability, the Americans would already have tried to penetrate it.


The Indian air chief’s recent boast about striking Pakistan’s nuclear installations has been dismissed by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif with the contempt that it deserves. Not only is this threat contrary to the Pakistan-India agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities but is nonsensical as Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not vulnerable to such an attack and would definitely invite a befitting response.

These Indian fulminations are encouraged by the negative American narrative about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, repeated most recently in President Trump’s South Asia policy speech. It is an open secret that the US has contingency places to de-nuclearise Pakistan ever since the start of its strategic programme. After 9/11, the American narrative has alleged the threat of terrorists or extremist “insiders” taking over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons which would have to be “neutralised” before that happens. More recently, with the development of Pakistan’s low-yield or so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons to negate India’s Cold Start doctrine, the Americans allege that these weapons, when deployed in the field, would be vulnerable to terrorist takeover or lack effective command and control. Actually, such allegations are more in response to Pakistan’s rejection of American demands to accept unilateral restraints on its strategic deterrence efforts in response to the growing Indian conventional and nuclear threat rather than any credible terrorist or insider threat.


Pakistan has successfully defied American discrimination and intimidation. It is also cognisant of the emerging threats posed by cyber and electronic warfare, which require effective fire-walls and countervailing measures that have been put in place as part of the full-spectrum effort for the safety and security of our strategic assets.

Riaz Haq said...

What an #American #hostages rescue says about #US-#Pakistan ties: A new era of alliance? #Trump https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/analysis-caitlan-coleman-hostage-rescue-hints-new-era-pakistan-n810356 … via @nbcnews

The rescue of American hostage Caitlan Coleman and her family by Pakistan's military may prove to be a big step toward improving strained ties between Washington and its nuclear-armed ally.

Hours after details of the operation to free the Pennsylvania native from a horrific five-year ordeal emerged Thursday, statements by Pakistani authorities, the State Department and even President Donald Trump all praised the benefits of intelligence sharing and cooperation.

That appeared to indicate a positive turn in a relationship that has been fast deteriorating since the start of the Trump presidency. Before being elected to the White House, Trump had repeatedly tweeted that Pakistan "is not our friend."

“This rescue is an example of what intelligence sharing and mutual respect can do,” said Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a Pakistani military spokesman. “It should now be clear to the Americans that cooperation works. Coercion and confrontation don’t.”

The Pakistan military said that it took action after being alerted by U.S. intelligence that Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children were being moved across the border from Afghanistan.

They had been held captive by a Taliban-linked group. Boyle gave a harrowing account of their plight to reporters Friday, saying captors had killed their infant daughter and raped Coleman.

News of the rescue produced glowing praise of Pakistan from Trump and Tillerson.

"This is a positive moment for our country's relationship with Pakistan," the president said in a statement. "The Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region."

That represented a softer tone toward Pakistan from Trump.

In January 2012, he tweeted: "Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect—and much worse. #TimeToGetTough"

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump shows #Modi how to make a U-turn on #Pakistan


India’s leadership doesn’t need an American TV network , @MadamSecretary, to remind it of the old adage that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. Still, there would be no harm watching, especially if South Block seems to have lost its way.

It’s a pity that @narendramodi or @SushmaSwaraj don’t follow @MadamSecretary, the serial on the CBS US television network that tracks the life and times of a fictional US secretary of state. Episodes follow crises the US must get involved in around the globe, including, you’ve guessed it, India and Pakistan, Russia and Libya and other hotspots that blow up with unfailing regularity.
Elizabeth McCord (the actress @TeaLeoni) must deal with despots and dictators and assassinations and dirty bombs without losing her cool. Of course she comes out on top most of the time, as is to be expected, but its how she gets there that’s interesting. Madam Secretary is successful precisely because she has no qualms in supping with the devil.
This ability to change your mind mid-sentence must separate the big girls – or big boys, as in the case of @realDonaldTrump — from the rest of us mortals. As his Friday night tweet demonstrating an about-turn on his Pakistan policy showed, the US has both the power and the inclination to get what it wants and high moral ground be damned.

The US president’s complimentary tweet came in the wake of a Pakistan army operation only a day ago, against the Haqqani Network terrorist group in Pakistan’s own northern, restive province Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in which a US-Canadian couple and their children (born in captivity no less) were rescued, that too after five years.

See the coincidence ?
Several Pakistan-watchers will tell you that the case of Joshua Boyle and Caitlin Coleman, Canadian and US nationals respectively, is similar to one Osama bin Laden who was found living a stone’s throw away from the Pakistan military academy in Abbotabad, barely a 100 km from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
Joshua and Caitlin were kidnapped in Afghanistan by a terrorist group in October 2012 and were found in Pakistan’s neighbouring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province yesterday. Just like Osama, there is no way the Pakistan military didn’t know that a White, Anglo-Saxon family, with three kids no less, were living in a Haqqani Network camp inside Pakistan.
As @MadamSecretary will tell you again and again, the name of the game is leverage. And Pakistan has dollops of it. Even though the world’s most powerful leader, Donald Trump, told the world only a few weeks ago that US policy towards Pakistan was going to change – and India crowed delightedly when he did – fact is that the US isn’t doing what it is in the badlands of Afghanistan-Pakistan for India’s national interest, but its own.
Speaking in Pennsylvania on Friday, Trump complimented Pakistan’s cooperation on the Caitlin-Joshua rescue and took credit for being much more tough on Rawalpindi.
“The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wish that it do more to provide security in the region,” he said. “They worked very hard on this, and I believe they’re starting to respect the United States again,” he added.
Only a month ago, Trump had accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” he had said. The Pakistanis reacted badly to the Trump speech and even cancelled a scheduled visit by Lisa Curtis, Trump’s top official on South Asia in the White House.

Riaz Haq said...

#Canadian #Hostage on His Daring Rescue by #Pakistan Army. #Afghanistan #HQN https://youtu.be/m1RJGnmWM3g via @YouTube

Josh Boyle: "A major comes over to me while I still have blood on me. The street is chaos and he says to me, 'In the American media they said that we support the Haqqani network and that we make it possible. Today you have seen the truth. Did we not put bullets in those bastards?' "And so I can say to you I did see the truth, and the truth was that car was riddled with bullets. The ISI (Pakistan's intelligence agency) and the army got between the criminals and the car to make sure the prisoners were safe and my family was safe. They put them to flight and they ran like cowards. And this is proof enough to me the Pakistanis are doing everything to their utmost."