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THE WEREWOLVES OF PAKISTAN by LT GEN P R SHANKAR (R)

 

I have put across articles which define the existential challenges of Pakistan. Pakistan has too many werewolves. They started cannibalising it ever since Zia Ul Haq started formally radicalising Pakistani Islam. These werewolves are more hungry than before and  unsatiable. They are sucking the blood out of Pakistan drop by drop. The drop is getting larger by the day. To put it metamorphically, Pakistan is the equivalent of  death star – it is there but not radiating light anymore. 

Defining Challenges @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1604242/defining-challenges

This article is crisp and incisive. It actually tells you the true state of Pakistan. Must read the full article if you have the time.  

PAKISTAN is faced with a number of severe challenges that have been left unaddressed for far too long. The impact of these development challenges started becoming visible in linear increments in the 1990s, but now their impact is agglomerating…

 

Population growth: Pakistan adds approximately 4.4 million people to its population each year, at the current growth rate…. it is estimated by the UN that there will be 403m inhabitants by 2050, keeping Pakistan at fifth place in the world by population size…. It is propelling a dynamic of poverty, a poor quality of life, water stress, pollution and environmental degradation that is unsustainable.

 

Water: Pakistan’s annual per capita water availability has declined to nearly 1,000 cubic metres — at just about the ‘scarcity’ threshold… Rising water scarcity is the most existential of all the challenges facing Pakistan. … The impact of water stress will not only be potentially debilitating due to lack of availability for everyday use, but also due to its potentially large economic impact.

 

Power: The country has been facing a crippling power crisis since the 1990s which has worsened since around 2007….there is excess installed capacity but not enough cash flow in the system to run it. The latter gives rise to the so-called ‘circular debt’ issue. Circular debt, or the cash flow shortfall in the power sector from the non-payment of obligations by consumers, distribution companies, and the government, has increased from 1.6pc of GDP (Rs 161 billion) in 2008, to 5.2pc of GDP (Rs2,150bn) as of end June 2020. It has risen since to Rs2,300bn as of end November….  this issue can rightly be termed as one of Pakistan’s foremost macroeconomic challenges.


 

Productivity: From the agriculture sector to industry to exporter firms, from the public sector to services, Pakistan faces a huge productivity challenge. According to ILO estimations, between 2010 and 2019, output per worker grew less than 20pc in the case of Pakistan, compared to an 86pc increase in China, 68pc in India, and 50pc in Bangladesh.

Politics: Unsettled issues in the political structure, such as power sharing, centre-province relations, dynastic and corrupt politics, the absence of commitment by any stakeholder to genuine constitutional democracy, and, institutional checks and balances, are all hindering the development path and the fight against rising inequality.

 

Fiscal: All roads lead to the fiscal framework — Pakistan’s weakest link.

…inadequate revenue mobilisation, rising debt burden, falling expenditure efficiency, a growing unfunded pension liability obligation, keeping the energy supply chain afloat, and vertical distribution issues — Pakistan cannot hope to meet the near-existential development challenges listed above


 

Security Projections for 2021https://www.dawn.com/news/1603286/security-projections-for-2021

I have always said that the CPEC is the third front of Pakistan. It is increasingly visible and vulnerable. Every disaffected individual in Pakistan has started targeting it. The CPEC will suffer a death by thousand cuts. As the situation in Afghanistan worsens , its blowback will be within Pakistan and on CPEC. The author of this article has got it spot on.  

 

It is likely that in 2021, terrorism-related challenges and responses will revolve around CPEC and the security and safety of Chinese nationals in the country. The Baloch insurgents are already known for their terrorist activities against Chinese nationals and CPEC, and last year, violent Sindhi nationalist groups had also joined their league while attempting to target Chinese nationals in Karachi. Religiously inspired terrorist groups are also desperately looking for soft targets, which could have an immense impact on CPEC security. In this context, the safety and security of the CPEC projects would be a top priority for law-enforcement agencies …the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan remained the major actor of instability in 2020 when it was found to be involved in 46 terrorist attacks. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was the second major lethal group, which perpetrated 19 attacks in the course of the year. The trend shows that the TTP’s operational base is shrinking fast as out of the 46 attacks it perpetrated in 2020, as many as 40 were concentrated in KP alone. The TTP is regrouping in the Waziristan and Bajaur districts to create physical space for itself. But so far, even after the merger of several small groups and splinters, there has not been any major shift in the group’s operational priorities.

The Other Have Nots @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1603044/the-other-have-nots

This article nails the defining problem of Pakistan…what does Pakistan do with a hundred million young people without employment, growth or opportunities? Scary…. 

  

 

 

 

In the face of Covid-19, service industry appears to be the one transforming most rapidly — adopting remote working and developing new methods of customer-centric service provision…Financial and educational service provision is maturing by leaps and bounds. This response is a testament to not only Pakistanis’ extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness but also to the quality of manpower and leadership in these sectors. 

 

…Having said that, these successes flow from the top five per cent at best. What happens (or does not happen) within, say, the bottom 50pc will create huge inequalities in terms of opportunities, income generation, growth and employment that will likely impact the generations to come. With 64pc of our population under the age of 30, that cannot be good news.

                             

 

 

PM Imran Khan Suggests Further Debt Relief for Stressed Countries https://www.dawn.com/news/1603551/at-un-conference-pm-imran-suggests-further-debt-relief-for-stressed-countries

The nation has kept borrowing despite knowing it cannot re-pay. Day by day its begging bowl is becoming bigger.  

  

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday called for further debt relief for stressed countries amid a surge in the coronavirus pandemic around the world…PM Imran’s five-point agenda includes:

Creating a viable framework for equitable and affordable supply of Covid vaccines to developing countries

Additional debt relief by suspending debt repayments for the most stressed countries until the end of the pandemic

General allocation of special drawing rights of $500 billion to help alleviate the balance of payment pressures

Return of stolen assets held by corrupt politicians and criminals

Meeting the agreed target of mobilising $100b annually by developed countries for climate action in developing countries

 

A Jab in Time @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1603838/a-jab-in-time

Pakistan is now dependant on donations to vaccinate its people. More importantly thjis article highlights what we have known all along… China is skinning the cat. The cat is Pakistan. Imagine China selling inefffective vaccines for $61 a shot! What a third rate nation it is! As I keep reading such articles, I am convinced that India’s national motto should be ‘Chini Kum’.

Overall, China — like a number of other Asia-Pacific countries — has done much better than the US and the West more generally in curbing the virus and returning to economic growth. But the soft power it intended to extend through its vaccine diplomacy is encountering obstacles, notably in Turkey and Brazil. And the degree of its philanthropy is questionable.

Sure, some nations, including Pakistan, have been lined up to receive limited vaccine donations. At the same time, a senator in the Philippines has alleged that each Chinese dose costs $61. The government in Manila says that is an exaggeration, but has refused to reveal the actual cost, citing confidentiality clauses. Sinovac and Sinopharm’s profiteering impulses are not all that different from Pfizer’s, it seems.

 

Release of Daniel Pearl’s Murderer @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1604095/sc-orders-release-of-prime-accused-in-daniel-pearl-murder

A man gets beheaded on TV in full public view. He is an international journalist. The perpetrator(s) are publicly identified and known. The state shields him. The supreme court absolves him. What a sham of a nation. The single point message is – law as we understand it does not exist in Pakistan. 

 

 

 The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered authorities to release Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the principal accused in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, dismissing an appeal by the Sindh government against the Sindh High Court (SHC) order for his immediate release…“The court has come out to say that there is no offence that he has committed in this case,” Mahmood Sheikh, who represented Sheikh, told AFP.

 

China and Pakistan fall out over Belt and Road frameworks @ https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/China-and-Pakistan-fall-out-over-Belt-and-Road-frameworks

 

Normally I do not quote a non-Pakistani source in these articles. This is an exception since there is utter silence on this disagreement in Pakistani media. Combine this with the article on Chinese vaccines being sold at exorbitant rates even to Pakistan, very soon the country will know the price they are paying for their friendship with Pakistan. I am sure they know it. It is just that the Army and the Pakistani political elite are selling 2000 million Pakistanis down the line.  

China and Pakistan are embroiled in their most serious disagreement relating to the Belt and Road Initiative, causing the annual bilateral summit of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be delayed… disagreements between the two countries over the Main Line 1 (ML-1) railway project and special economic zones became the main points of disagreement … China is reluctant to lend money for ML-1 because Pakistan has already sought debt relief to meet G-20 lending conditions and it is not in a position to give sovereign guarantees … Pakistan is currently renegotiating its $6 billion extended fund facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was suspended in April 2020. The IMF reportedly will only resume the program if Pakistan does not take out any new commercial loans, and that is one of the reasons it is looking for concessions on loans for the ML-1 project. 



Is Pakistan a threat to India – no more. Can it create more trouble in Kashmir – very doubtful.

The state capacities are shrinking by the day as its liabilities are increasing. It is time that we start looking past Pakistan. Many will argue that the Pakistani Army is a force to reckon with. On paper – yes. Not beyond. The role of the Army is slowly and steadily increasing in public life…commerce, diplomacy, public administration, economics and more. However, an army , by nature, is incapable of carrying out these functions, progressively,  beyond a point. The Army is stepping in for its own survival since the institutions of the state are falling apart one by one.  In my opinion, the Pakistani Army is the only glue which holds the nation together. It is also that one single institution which will strangle the nation. To put it across in a filmy manner it is like liquid oxygen. As the erstwhile and quintessential villain Ajit would have said – oxygen marne nahin dega aur liquid jeene nahin dega ( oxygen will not let it die and liquid will not let it live). 

For all Indian strategic thinkers and military leaders , Pakistan has been our obsessive comfort zone for far too long. In the process, China which was identified as our enemy Number 1, by late George Fernandes, when he was the defence minister, has been our neglected uncomfortable zone till it has come and sat on our land in Eastern Ladakh. Time to let go of Pakistan and concentrate on China. That is why I have stopped analysing Pakistan. There are enough in Pakistan who do it for us. Read their thoughts and everything is crystal clear. Time to focus on China….the gorilla on our doorstep….  

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2 responses to “THE WEREWOLVES OF PAKISTAN by LT GEN P R SHANKAR (R)”

  1. Shankar another gem of an article. Well articulated and analysed. It's time Pakistan public confronted the government because of its policies.

  2. Sir, what a wonderful piece. Thank you

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