Volume 23 Issue 3, March 2019
By Vice Admiral (R) Taj M Khattak

The ‘Two Days Air War’, as it were, ended abruptly after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) responded decisively to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) rash foray into Pakistan’s air space, which had never happened since the 1971 Indo-Pak war. In the ‘strike’ on six targets in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the air engagement which ensued, the IAF lost two aircraft, with one pilot captured and another dead when his aircraft caught fire and fell on the other side of the border. After the first day’s attack, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj declared that India didn’t want any further escalation in tensions with Pakistan. So what does one make of Indian actions of not agreeing to any joint investigations or talks in the wake of the Pulwama incident and nearly starting a war by violating Pakistan’s airspace in such a reckless manner?

By S. M. Hali

Twelve days after the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force’s 12 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft flew across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Pakistan Air Force fighters scrambled to intercept the threat and forced the intruders to beat a hasty retreat after jettisoning their external fuel tanks. Indian media claimed that IAF fighters targeted and destroyed a terrorist training camp in Azad Jammu Kashmi, but the Indian Defence Ministry distanced itself from the claim.

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Javed Ansari

S. G. Jilanee

Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

Noor Javed Sadiq

Aasma Wadood
Adil Ahmad
Atif Shamim Syed
Dr. Aadil Nakhoda
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Faizan Usmani
Hadiqa Iqbal
J. Enver
Komal Niazi
Manish Rai
Muhammad Ali Khan
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid
Noor Javed Sadiq
S. G. Jilanee
S. M. Hali
S.R.H. Hashmi
Sabria Chowdhury Balland
Saima Mirza
Shaukat Aziz
Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi
Syeda Maham Rasheed
Taha Kehar
Vice Admiral (R) Taj M Khattak

Haroon Rasheed
Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Riaz Masih

Business Unit Head
Syed Ovais Akhtar

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Shehryar Zulfiqar

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 S.R.H. Hashmi

The Indian security forces have been behaving in a rather shameful manner in Kashmir: killing people indiscriminately, raping women and even using pellet guns on humans which, apart from killing many, have injured hundreds, with many cases of people losing their eyesight.

The two-day visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman to Pakistan in February, was a high-profile occasion. It served as an opportunity for Pakistan to put its best foot forward and demonstrate to Saudi Arabia how indebted it was for the fact that the Saudi Kingdom had come to its rescue in its hour of need. There was an unparalleled level of mutual warmth that Prince Muhammad bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, and the Pakistan Prime Minister, as well the people displayed during the visit. There was much pomp and circumstance as the prince was feted by Pakistan’s civil and military elite. Parts of the federal capital were under virtual lockdown to ensure the security of the visiting royal and his large retinue. The Crown Prince’s remark that he should be deemed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made great impact. Prime Minister Imran Khan made an impromptu request to the Crown Prince for the release of some 2,500 Pakistanis languishing in Saudi Arabia’s prison. The Crown Prince responded positively and the next day, much to everyone’s surprise, more than 2,000 Pakistanis were out of jail and free to return home. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request to facilitate Pakistani Hajj pilgrims also met with a positive response from the Crown Prince.

The Crown Prince’s visit laid the foundations of the beginning of a new relationship between the two brotherly Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia, a leading Gulf nation and one of the world’s major producers of oil, is also the centre of Islam as it is here that the Islamic religion was born and spread to the rest of the world. The holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the city of Makkah and this is where the Ka’aba is located, the place that millions of Muslims flock to every year to perform Hajj. Pakistan is a major Muslim nation, the only one with nuclear capability and a highly professional army. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed very healthy military relations and Pakistan is committed to sending its army to the kingdom to protect the holy places of Islam in Makkah and Madinah whenever such a situation arises. Pakistani labour has participated in meeting a major part of Saudi Arabia’s construction needs and their remittances to Pakistan comprise a major part of its foreign exchange earnings. Now, that Saudi Arabia is moving towards a major change and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is playing a key role in bringing about this change, Pakistan has an opportunity to move beyond its role of merely being a source of blue collar workers and is ready to help Saudi Arabia with its multifarious professional expertise in various areas.

During the Crown Prince’s visit, MoUs worth $20bn were signed. The Saudi investment pledges were greatly welcome, especially Saudi Arabia’s intent to build an oil refinery near Gwadar which would serve as a strategic asset for Pakistan. It was being hoped that when Saudi Arabia’s pledges begin to materialize, these mutually profitable ventures will contribute to Pakistan’s economic revival. The visit coincided with India’s belligerence towards Pakistan following the Pulwama incident in Kashmir and India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally. It is obvious that India’s designs did not bear fruit and that facts of the Pulwama incident only indicated that it was a local endeavour, the blame for which India conveniently laid on Pakistan to malign the country and gain political mileage by building anti-Pakistan hysteria. The international community was non-plussed that how could Pakistani elements smuggle explosives through many layers of Indian security in such large quantities to kill over forty five Indian soldiers? If anything, the incident reflected a major lapse on the part of India’s own security capability.

It is being pointed out that the Saudi Crown Prince is interested in creating a regional linkage involving the kingdom, Pakistan and other Asian countries as part of his Vision 2030. He also wishes that Saudi Arabia should participate more meaningfully in CPEC and reap the advantages that this initiative on the part of China promises. If this happens, it will play a major role in deepening and broadening Pakistan’s cordial relations with Saudi Arabia. A note of caution. This should not be done at the cost of Pakistan’s ties with other regional states. It should be clearly understood that Pakistan cannot afford to get involved in any regional power games.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


The 18th Amendment

This is with reference to the SouthAsia cover story on the 18th Amendment. Te 18th Amendment has given provinces the power to govern themselves without spoon-feeding from the Federation. With a parliamentary form of government where there are infinite checks and balances, this seems a rather sinking proposition. For the Federation to work effectively, a Presidential system is needed. That would mean a strong and joint Federation that works for sovereignty, integrity, and prosperity of Pakistan. The 18th Amendment has its pros and cons and for it to function properly, the Provinces and the Federation need to work together as a unit.

Muhammad Noman,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Hasina’s New Agenda

Hasina Wajed’s third consecutive win is questionable. However, her recent utterance shows a subtle change. She has hinted it’s not going to be a one-party rule anymore and she will retire after this tenure. She thinks everybody should take a break so the younger generation can be accommodated. Her practices differ from what she is saying. This time, her agenda seems to be of providing basic necessities to the people. But her previous tenures indicate that this too will be a dictatorship. Bangladesh needs a progressive and liberal political party which is ready to amend its out-dated political approach.

Masooma Anees,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Shahbaz’s Bail and PTI

The verdict to bail Shahbaz Sharif by the Lahore High Court put PTI in a difficult position; PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry called it a “strange verdict.” The Party’s wish to make Shahbaz Sharif resign from the Public Accounts Committee seems unjustified after the verdict. So far, PTI hasn’t been able to prove the allegations that were imposed on him. Now PTI is calling the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) unfair – though PML-N and PPP oppose the PTI view. It seems PTI is trying to influence NAB and they want Shahbaz Sharif to step down from the PAC chairmanship until the final decision is announced – which seems highly unlikely.

Athar Mehmood,
Lahore, Pakistan.


Dine-out Made Easy

Until recently, the only entertainment for Karachiites was dining out, but the flourishing food industry with cafes opening at every corner have changed for the better. Being a health-conscious person, I always found it difficult to dine out but now with the calorie count mentioned in a lot of restaurant menus, I am a happy person. Now there are places where one can go and eat – have salads and grilled yummy food at reasonable prices. Good that society is becoming more aware of what they are eating. Pakistan is surely progressing in the food industry and that is a treat for me.

Najeeba Nazeer,
Karachi, Pakistan.


Equal Rights?

Although women face a lot of obstacles in the business world, from balancing work and family to securing financing, more women are operating new businesses and many of them are at the helm of established businesses. The fact remains that women are crucial to economic growth around the world yet the equality gap is still there. A public relations mission is required to attract women to senior board level positions – not just because it’s fair, but because it represents greater prosperity for all.

Dr. Dua Meer,
Kathmandu, Nepal.

Lack of Originality

It is a sad fact that Pakistan as a country is not making any advances towards developing a professional advertising sector. The TV commercials for various advertisers are also not made in Pakistan which means that this sector is not making any progress. The manufacturing companies are making great profits by selling their products and services to a vastly growing population. These profits are not re-ploughed in the country but are sent abroad to their principals. It is a pity that audiences in this country of over 200 million people mostly get to see TV advertising that is adapted from other markets. If this continues, what will the future hold for the advertising sector in Pakistan?

Chloe Hugo,
Dubai, UAE.

Good Decision

We all have grown up hearing the line, where are your manners? It’s a sigh of relief to see that the International Cricket Council has showed no leniency about the comment made by Pakistan cricket team captain Sarfraz Ahmed against South African all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo. In Pakistan, cricketers are no less than superstars hence, this lesson will leave a lasting impact on the masses as it has clarified that racism in any shape or form is intolerable at the national and international level. Pakistan cricket, in general, is going through a rough phase and it seems this incident has only added to it. Hopefully, people will learn from it and, as a society, including the so-called superstars, will control their language and avoid racism as a conscious effort.

Shayan Sheikh,
Hyderabad, Pakistan.

What is Re-branding?

This has been bothering me for some time. Recently I came across a very well-known brand that shifted from one claim to another and that too within a span of only a month. From my point of view, there’s a word called re-branding. The brand could have used that as there’s no harm in re-branding a product. Various brands have done it in the past and many are still doing it. What was the need to change the product entirely?

Amne Gill,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


Citizenship Amendment Bill

People of northeast India has come out on the roads as the Indian Lok Sabha has passed The Citizen Amendment Bill, 2019. Political parties and citizens are concerned that the Bill can hurt the identity, language and culture of the indigenous people. Now illegal immigrants from minority communities - Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan - will be given citizenship after seven years of residence – instead of 12 years. In a rally in Assam, Narendra Modi assured the people that the Bill will provide succour to those who have embraced the idea and ethos of Mother India. Let’s hope it does.

Jasir Ahmed,
Kabul, Afghanistan.

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