Volume 20 Issue 09 September 2016
By S.G. Jilanee

Gen. Raheel Sharif is the first Pakistan army chief ever, to become a legend even during his tenure, with many spectacular achievements under his belt. The Zarb-e-Azb operation is a shining example where he stepped in resolutely when the civil government was found dragging its feet on the issue of taking a firm action against the Taliban terrorists.

By Dr. Raza Khan

In the contemporary history of Pakistan, the months from August to November 2016 could be exponentially consequential as on the one hand as the movement against the alleged financial corruption of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, spearheaded by opposition leader Imran Khan, may result in something tangible. In the economic sphere, the potentially historic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project may also be given a final shape. However, keeping in view the chequered political history of Pakistan, the most vital decision in this period, as always, would be the appointment of a new Army chief.
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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Mahrukh Farooq
Samina Wahid – Faizan Usmani
Feature Writer: Khawaja Amer

S. G. Jilanee

Saira Owais Adil
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
M.M. Alam
Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar
S.G. Jilanee
Taha Kehar
Dr. Raza Khan
Taj M. Khattak
Mahrukh A. Mughal
Lubna Jerar Naqvi
S. Mubashir Noor
Tahera Sajid
Faizan Usmani

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Waqas Jan
Syed Ovais Akhtar
Hira Sarwar

Shehryar Zulfiqar

Danish Shahid

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



By Dr. Moonis Ahmar

“Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don’t believe in extension and will retire on the due date. Efforts to root out terrorism will continue with full vigour and resolve.”

- General Raheel Sharif,
Chief of Army Staff.

As early as January 25 this year, General Raheel Sharif was quoted in an Inter-Services Public Relation’s (ISPR) tweet that he would not seek an extension in his term which would expire on November 29, 2016.

In the backdrop of the intensely growing relationship between Pakistan and China, there has been a major development in U.S.-India security relations, resulting in the signing of the long-anticipated Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The Agreement facilitates the provision of logistical support, supplies and services between the U.S. and Indian militaries on a reimbursable basis and incorporates a framework to govern the arrangement. LEMOA would help both countries in monitoring the use of each others’ land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply and would be a step forward in building mutual defence ties as both countries seek to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China. It is interesting to note that a week before the signing of the LEMOA, Forbes magazine had warned China and Pakistan that India and the U.S. were about to sign a major pact. The fact that the magazine described the US-India agreement as ‘a major pact’ was pregnant with meaning. Commenting on the agreement, US media noted that it was a key component of the Obama Administration’s policy to contain China, which would further spread its influence across Asia by deploying 60 per cent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific region in the near future. The media reports also pointed out that unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, where the US had to build everything from scratch, India already had the military facilities the United States could use when needed.

The advisor on foreign affairs to Pakistan Prime Minister, Sartaj Aziz, said, “The U.S. approaches Pakistan whenever it needs it, and abandons it when it doesn't.” He also said, “We firmly conveyed it to the U.S. that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence is critical for Pakistan's security and only Pakistan itself can determine how it should respond to growing strategic imbalance in South Asia." The massive expansion of US-India military ties will definitely impact both Pakistan and China and may draw actions on their part which could further escalate the military balance in the region. At the same time, there is no denying the fact that Pakistan has dismally failed to put in order its foreign office so that it can more effectively tackle such developments as LEMOA and many other similar situations. In fact, the question of India’s entry into the NSG will again raise its ugly head very soon, as the U.S. will now feel more confident in making another attempt of supporting India. The pity is that the democratic government in Pakistan is still without a full-time foreign minister which has impacted the country’s outlook in many sticky situations pertaining to foreign relations.

The newly developing ties between the U.S. and India are seen as a foreign policy success of the Obama administration. It is now becoming clear that America regards India as an important counter-balance to China. Pakistan has been ignored in the entire equation and the U.S. is giving much more weight to India as the bigger power in the region. Pakistan should, therefore, take this opportunity to get all the more close to China and provide it everything that is possible in terms of cooperation and support for CPEC. The country should also expand its military and technical cooperation with the Central Asia Republics and there should be a renewed focus on exchanges with these countries. So far Pakistan’s main interest has been in the economic and energy area but now regional security and stability must be a part of the agenda. By boosting its military cooperation with the CAR nations, Pakistan could minimize India's regional role because the Central Asian States are not backward countries anymore and are much advanced in terms of education, infrastructure, standard of life, gender rights, etc. On the US front, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is like a wakeup call for Pakistan. Instead of just looking towards the U.S. for aid in various areas, it needs to have a better understanding of the emerging realities nearer to home. Being a part of CPEC is very much a logical direction for this South Asian power to take. After all, it is the world’s sixth largest country and has one of the best standing armies. It must take full advantage of its positive points and, by further leveraging its relationship with China, it must become an important player in the region.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


Stunted Region

WaterAid is an international NGO, working to make sure that everyone in the world has access to safe water and proper sanitation. Recently, it has issued its annual report titled ‘Caught Short,’ which reveals the world’s worst places in terms of children’s physical growth and cognitive development. According to the report, such South Asian nations as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the top-ten countries with the greatest number of stunted children. India tops the list, while Pakistan and Bangladesh are ranked at 3rd and 7th positions, respectively. This is really a matter of concern for the region, which lags well behind the rest of the world in providing basic facilities to its people. Instead of spending the most part of their hard-earned resources on military expenditure, South Asian countries must focus on the welfare of their people.

Alia Fareed,
Azamgarh, India.

Welcome Move

The Sri Lankan government has introduced the 'Swiss Challenge Procedure' to entertain those bids and proposals which are sent by the private sector for the implementation of government projects. Based on a Swiss model, the system is already in use in many countries other than Switzerland and is supposed to be an effective method to select private contractors and investors purely on merit because it disregards any political influence or favouritism during the bidding process. This is a good move and will help bring transparency in Sri Lanka, where even mega development projects are assigned to parties through wheeling and dealing and without considering actual qualifications, expertise and experience.

S.V.P.T. Bandara,
Ratnapura, Sri Lanka.


Beyond CPEC

Southasia’s cover story on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) featured the strategic significance and huge growth potential of CPEC which is being termed as a game-changer in the region. For a struggling economy like Pakistan’s, the project is a positive development, but the country also needs to think beyond CPEC to achieve long-term goals in terms of economic and financial growth. Putting all eggs in one basket is never the right approach. The principle also applies to the ongoing CPEC project which with all its immense potential. It can never alone serve the objectives Pakistan wants to achieve in the longrun. The country should adopt a multi-pronged approach and explore all of the untapped avenues to address its development issues.

Abdul Hameed,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Corruption Rules

According to a recent report issued by Transparency International, less than 38 per cent of the accused in Bangladesh are convicted in corruption cases, while the remaining lot of the accused goes scotfree owing to lack of substantial proofs and witnesses. More than 68 per cent of the people are affected by rampant corruption both in the government and private sectors but only a few of the victims lodge complaints against such practices. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Bangladesh receives a small number of complaints related to graft, corruption, nepotism and other forms of official abuse. This tends to be an alarming situation for a country which is behind most of the world in terms of social justice, poverty alleviation and economic development.

Habib Ullah Ansari,
Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Crisis in Nepal

After the resignation of PM K.P. Oli, the political crisis in Nepal is at its peak in the country and rumours are rife about another political ploy being developed to topple the new federal government. Currently, there are more than a dozen political parties and alliances in Nepal that have different views and policies regarding constitutional amendments, foreign policy and other governmental matters. Excluding the Communist Party of Nepal, all other parties are trying to destabilise the existing political system. A major setback will pave the way for new general elections which is not only a costly exercise but also detrimental to the future of democracy in Nepal.

Roshan Kumar Sharma,
Butwal, Nepal.
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