Remembering the Quaid

It is with a deep sense of gratitude but, sadly, mixed with an acute feeling of remorse and anguish that the people of Pakistan today view the 133rd birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the country that he created for the Muslims of the subcontinent. With a single-minded resolve and conviction and unmatched brilliance and advocacy, he was able to bring home to the opponents of partition that Muslims were a nation apart in every sense of the word, in religion, in culture, in outlook on life, and would not countenance the dominance of the Hindu majority when the British had packed up and left India.

The people of Pakistan, while they are beholden to the Quaid for giving them an independent homeland are, at the same time, remorseful at what they – to be more exact, their leaders – have made of that priceless gift. It has been a turbulent 62 years, with rare but short spells of smooth sailing. There have been constitutional crises, inroads of bureaucracy into the political domain, and, the worst of all, periodic military coups, upsetting the democratic applecart hardly when the wares were beginning to get arranged. No more needs to be said in elaboration of these misfortunes except that the internecine bickering split up the original country into two, aided and abetted by a hostile neighbour. Pakistan, instead of marching ahead and finding a respectable place among the advanced nations of the world, as the Quaid had visualised, has regressed in aspects that provide fundamental structure of a modern Islamic democratic society.

The scenario today is scary but the fault lies with turning away from the principles that underlay the concept of the separate state. We escaped Hindu domination but find ourselves under American overlordship! If one can manage to avoid being robbed and killed in the process, suicide bombing or even the thought of it would ruin one’s dream of a peaceful and secure life. Despite a hardworking, intelligent workforce, we have failed to make use of the plentiful resources nature has endowed the country with. Highly productive projects, like Kalabagh Dam, have been abandoned at the altar of provincial narrow-mindedness. The stored waters would have virtually freed us of the worries about irrigation needs and power shortages. The concept of federation, instead of getting entrenched, remains fragile. There has been loot and plunder with gay abandon. The feudal mindset ruling the country has neglected education, the kingpin of progress and prosperity. The result: growing poverty. Things might appear hopeless, but all is not lost and the situation can be turned around in a matter of years. The need of the hour is a leadership fired with the imagination of serving the masses in a selfless manner, uplifting them from the dungeon of ignorance and indigence, bringing them in the mainstream of life and keeping the national interest supreme.—The Nation

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Brasstacks Special: 1971 War – The Untold Story

Kashmir not integral part of India: World Bank


World Bank refuses to accept Kashmir as Indian Territory

Says ‘NO’ to release funds to India for project in disputed region

NEW DELHI, India—The World Bank has refused to accept Indian Occupied Kashmir as an integral part of India and has rather insisted upon a disclaimer from the Jammu and Kashmir government that funding for a project will not be seen as recognition of India’s territorial claim on the state.
The agency has put a ‘disclaimer clause’ for bankrolling a key project in the disputed state which indicates that funding of projects in disputed areas should not be used to endorse territorial claims.

“If you have a query on World Bank’s decision on J&K, Ask Prabhu now”. This has been communicated to New Delhi by the occupying state government which wants the World Bank-funded Rs 740 crore ‘Participatory Watershed Management Project’ to be completed.

Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s Forest Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad, along with MPs from the state met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee recently in New Delhi to discuss the issue.

Jammu and Kashmir’s occupying government wants the New Delhi to settle issue with the World Bank, which has refused to fund more projects in the state, treating it as disputed territory between India and Pakistan. Ahmad said the World Bank had raised the disclaimer issue last year after assessment of the project which was then at the funding stage.

He said if the Centre pursued the matter; the bank could be convinced to give up the disclaimer condition. Despite Ahmad’s views to the contrary, this is a shocking development. The World Bank was instrumental in committing India to allow the waters of the state’s three principal rivers – the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab – to flow unimpeded under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.

Article XI of the treaty is quite emphatic in that it will deal with only the water-sharing issue and its implementation will not acknowledge or waive any other rights other than those specified in the treaty. In other words, it will have nothing to do with the territorial dispute between the two parties.

In the troubled history of India-Pakistan relations, the Indus Water Treaty stands out as a major success for which the World Bank, the third signatory to the treaty, deserves great credit. As party to the treaty, the bank created an $895 million Indus Basin Development Fund to which India contributed some $174 million.

This is the second time this year that India has had friction with a multilateral development agency over project funding in a state that has a border dispute. An Asian Development Bank (ADB) country loan to India had run into trouble because it included funding for a watershed development project in Arunachal Pradesh – a point that was objected to by the Chinese at the ADB meeting. The World Bank had funded two projects in Jammu and Kashmir under the integrated Watershed Development Programme with Rs 90 crore from 1990 to 1999 and Rs 198 crore from 1999 to 2005 without bringing up the disclaimer issue.

A team of the World Bank headed by Norman Piccioni had visited the occupied state from May 5 to May 12 last year to assess the feasibility of the Participatory Watershed Management Project.

The project is likely to cover 3,14,705 hectares for adopting integrated watershed management to reverse the degradation of the natural resource base and improve the livelihood of poor rural households in the project area.

The World Bank will finance 80 per cent of the project and the state government 17 per cent. Participatory communities will contribute 3 per cent.

If implemented 1,74,250 households will be covered while 50,675 households will directly benefit from the project. Overall, it is expected to benefit over 10 lakh people and generate 45 lakh person-days of wage employment besides providing jobs to 2,000 people regularly for seven years.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah first raised the issue in a June 24 letter to the Union finance minister.

He said the project was appraised by the World Bank for international development assistance credit of US$ 120 million equivalent in May 2008. After the appraisal, the director of the World Bank sent a letter on May 21, 2008 announcing the tentative dates of negotiation for the project in June last year. But no final date was conveyed by the bank.

The Chief Minister said the state government also did not get any communication from the department of economic affairs of the government of India in the matter. “I therefore request you to have a special consideration for the state of Jammu and Kashmir and ask the department of economic affairs to immediately take up the issue with the World Bank so that the project can be negotiated and taken up for implementation during the current financial year itself.” Efforts to contact World Bank officials in Delhi on Sunday failed.

PAF gets force-multiplier capability

ISLAMABAD: The first Air-to-Air Refueler aircraft of Pakistan Air Force out of total four has arrived on an operational Air Base of the country, a spokesman of PAF here Saturday said. In a press statement the spokesman said, the delivery of remaining three Refueler aircraft is planned to complete by mid-2010.

By virtue of its capability to refuel Air Defence aircraft in air, PAF’s overall potential in terms of its effectiveness to defend the airspace of Pakistan would be significantly enhanced, he added.

After attaining the facility, Pakistan Air Force has formally joined the rank of those developed air forces which have already the air refilling system.

An expert of the aviation industry welcomed this induction in PAF saying this is a force-multiplier ability as the strength of the existing number of fighter jets would atleast be doubled, straightaway.

– Associated Press of Pakistan

PAF stands strengthened. Excellent

PAKISTAN Air Force has received first of its four Saab-2000 Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Sweden which will bolster the capabilities of the force manifold. There was a dire need to bridge, as far as possible, the growing disparity in the defence of Pakistan and the arch rival India. Like Pakistan Army and Navy, the Air Force too needed state of the art equipment as New Delhi’s acquisition of Russian-Israeli AWACS, Sukhoi fighter aircraft, launching of RISAT (Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite), and development of missile systems had created an imbalance of power in the region.

Known as eye-in-the sky, the induction of Saab-2000 will be the most prominent force multiplier in the inventory of the PAF to cater for the conventional requirements of the Air Force’s tactical and strategic operations. AWACS would enhance the monitoring of high and medium altitude flying aircraft, detect low level flying objects over land and sea at extended ranges and thus give enough time to the Air Force to counter the threat. Saab 2000 with an advanced technology sensor system is a highly capable yet cost effective surveillance platform to detect and track targets. It is also able to incorporate high-speed dash with low speed loitering capability and inherent fuel efficiency that meets demanding AEW&C requirements for performing a 180 turn in less than 30 seconds with an endurance of more than 9 hours. This system would help address modern day asymmetric threats. While ground based radar suffers from the limitations of the curvature of earth and cannot look beyond a particular distance and to add to that topographic features bring a lot amount of clutter in its signal reception, induction of AWACS would provide the PAF a high degree of situational awareness, enabling it to dominate the airspace and play a vital role towards battlefield management. It is heartening that the incumbent PAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, well aware of the challenges, moved on fast track and ensured the delivery of AWACS and inducted JF-17 Thunder Aircraft which too was a milestone. Of course there are financial constraints yet we would stress that the force ratio of one-third with India should not be disturbed. There is no doubt that the Shaheens of Pakistan Air Force with unwavering commitment, determination and professional competence of par excellence would outmanoeuvre and give a crushing defeat to the enemy if the need arose, as they demonstrated in the past, yet the vital arm of the national defence needs the modern day gadgets and the induction of AWACS is a right step in that direction. (Pakobserver)

Magnificent roll out of JF-17

THE skies of Pakistan witnessed one of the most fascinating and thrilling events in the history of the country as the first indigenously co-produced (with China) multi-role fighter aircraft rolled out at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra on Monday. The successful production and flight of the modern and sophisticated aircraft, which is comparable to most of the state-of-the-art fighters in possession of other countries has aptly been described as PAF’s gift to the nation and a symbol of Pak-China friendship.

This is indeed a milestone in the defence production arena for a variety of reasons. The development comes at a time when the nation is confronted with internal and external challenges of unprecedented magnitude and the captivated flight of the JF-17, manufactured locally with the Chinese collaboration, has lifted the otherwise sagging morale of the people. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has rightly pointed out that it was not a meagre achievement by any standards, as it launches Pakistan into an elite club of nations that posses the capability of manufacturing fighter aircraft. Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has summed up the achievement by describing it as triumph of the will of the nation. It is a step towards achieving our cherished dream of strengthening the national security through indigenisation and building the country’s aviation related industries. This leap forward in much-needed self-reliance in defence would provide Pakistan Air Force, to some extent, deterrent capability and the experience gained through its development would open up new avenues of boosting the country’s air defence. The project for indigenous co-production of the high-tech JF-17 thunder aircraft has been there for years and the successive chiefs of the PAF made their contributions to it but the credit goes to the incumbent Chief Rao Qamar Suleman who accorded it the required priority to ensure its fast-track completion. The nation also salutes PAF engineers and technicians who worked hard to make its production possible despite many odds. On this occasion, the nation also expresses its gratitude to the time-tested friend of the country — China — of which strategic support helped realize this dream. We are confident that it would join hands in other areas of the defence production as well as both of them face similar long-term threats to their respective security.—Pakobserver

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