Saturday, 17 June 2017

Recent blasts aimed at initiating the third World War

I have the habit of logging in Reuters every morning, this is part of my professional activities as well as my personal endevour. I also make an attempt to keep myself abreast with whatever is happening around the world in general and in my neighborhood in particular. In my blogs on Geopolitics in South Asia and MENA, I write about the ongoing turmoils and also try to understand the motives of ‘Merchants of Death’.
This morning  when I logged in, I read the news about  an explosion in Bogota, Colombia in a shopping center that killed three and wounded nine. Authorities said there had been threats of attacks in Bogota by the Gulf Clan, a group of former right-wing paramilitary fighters who traffic drugs. This reminded me of a blast In Kabul on May 3, 2017 in which least eight Afghan civilians were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a military convoy and another 25 civilians were wounded.
I spent some time in exploring news about blasts and suicide bombing from Google, list is given below. Having a cursory look at the news forced me to the following conclusion:
The groups having vested interest are killing people in the name of religion to get control of energy supplies and drugs. However, they completely mislead the people by making these religious and sectarian conflicts. Their sole objective remains, proliferation of conflicts for selling arms.
These conflicts continue because regional and global powers are fighting proxy wars. Hundreds and thousands of innocent people are killed every year, millions face displacement and miseries are projected through social media but killers remain at large.
Pakistan is one of the worst victim of terrorism and sectarian killing, but hardly a few have been trialed and sentenced death penalty, except from the military courts. Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghans for more than four decades in the name of Islam, but Afghan rulers are never tired of accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism.
I once read an article that the third World War will be fought for getting control on sources of water, but now I have the reasons to believe that it will be on the basis of religion/sects. The trailers are already going on in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. An attempt was also made to break out full-scale war between Saudi Arabia and Qatar that failed due to the timely mediation of neighboring countries.
List of some of the recent attacks
Twin attacks in Iran: June 07 2017
Attacks on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum killed at least 12 people and injured many more.
London Bridge terror attack: June 02 2017
The London terror attack killed at least seven people and injured 58 others on London Bridge and in nearby Market. 
Manchester terror attack: May 22 2017
The Manchester terror attack killed at least 22 people and injured 59 others at a concert. 
Paris shooting: April 20 2017
A policeman was killed on the Champs Elysees in Paris in what is being treated as a terror-related attack.
Stockholm attack: April o7 2017
Four people were killed and at least fifteen were injured when a man drove a truck down a busy shopping street.
Westminster attack: March 22 2017
In London an attacker mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two men and two women and injuring many others. 
Sehwan shrine bombing: February 16 2017
At least 72 killed at the Shrine of  Sufi Muslim in Pakistan, the blast was part of a  new wave of violence in Pakistan
Blasts in Cairo: April 09 2017
Twin blasts at a Church killed at least 47 people and inured dozens
Car bomb explosion in Baghdad: February 16 2017
A deadly car bomb explosion in Baghdad killed 51 people and wounded many others
Blast in Russia: April 3, 2017
Blasts at St. Petersburg Metro station kill at least 10 people and injured more than 40

Saturday, 10 June 2017

What joining of SCO means for Pakistan?

Pakistan’s admission in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been termed ‘a historic occasion’ and ‘an important foreign policy milestone’.  Pakistan’s foreign office and analysts term SCO’s importance as a regional political and security bloc. They term Pakistan’s full membership ‘significant’. However, I am not carried away by the fanfare and wish to relate it to the harsh ground realities, top most being: Pakistan’s foreign policy, economic development and security threats.
I have a strong feeling that Pakistan’s foreign policy has always remained subservient to the United States in the past and Saudi Arabia during the regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharf. Pakistan joined the US to avert USSR assault in Afghanistan and since then has been fighting a proxy war. One does not see any prospects of US-led forces leaving Afghanistan, though the withdrawal was supposed to be completed in 2014.
Pakistan’s relationship with Iran have not been ‘cordial’ since toppling of the Shah’s regime. Bilateral trade, despite enjoying a common-boarder, has reduced and reduced to the minimum in the aftermath of impositions of sanctions by the US and followed by other countries. This brought Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project to halt. India very smartly walked away on ‘security threats’ and Pakistan didn’t accept Iran’s financial assistance to complete the pipeline. The situation has not changed even after easing/withdrawal of sanction imposed on Iran by the superpowers.
Russia, under the leadership of Putin is trying to establish cordial relationships with Pakistan by offering financial assistance, but the ruling junta still has certain apprehensions, may be due to the US pressure and Russia’s most cordial relationships with India and Iran. There is also a fear that its re-approaching may also offend China.
Since independence, Pakistan has remained under ‘war like situation’ with India and booth the countries  have fought three wars. Pakistan alleges that RAW agents intrudes from Afghanistan and Iran for undertaking cross-border terrorist attacks. The most embarrassing situation was created by the arrest of a Raw agent at the Pakistan-Iran boarder on the day of visit of Iranian President to Pakistan.
Some analysts say that now India surrounds Pakistan from three sides, India, Afghanistan and Iran. Their point is that India was an enemy, but Pakistan’s tweaked foreign policy has given India opportunities to make the home in the hearts of Afghans and Iranian. While Pakistan is still fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan and refusing to open up trade with Iran, India is doing extensive development work in Afghanistan and Iran, its involvement in the construction of Iranian port Chabahar, even when sanctioned were imposed on Iran is not a secret.
As regards economic development in Pakistan, it remains a dream. Doubts are being created by groups having vested interest about CPEC. Some of the opponents even go to the extent of calling it another ‘East India Company’. It may be suspected that these groups are supported by India, which is opposing CPEC because some of its sections pass through ‘Pakistan held Kashmir’. There have been attacks on Chinese Engineers working in Pakistan. India’s sole objective remains weakening Pakistan’s economy in lieu of any military assault.
Pakistan’s economy has flourished on grants, aid and lending by the multilateral financial institutions, rather than any home grown-plan, its textile industry has flourished during the textile quota regime. Over the last three decades the country continues to suffer from the worst energy crisis, not because of limited power generation capacity, but rampant pilferage and none payment of bills by those enjoying support of linguistic, religious and political groups.
Since the attack on Afghanistan by USSR, the US terms Pakistan ‘front-line partner in the war against terror’, but the country has suffered the most because of bomb blasts, suicide attacks and targeted killing of people. There is a growing perception that all the militants enjoy financial support and arms supplies from outside, by the groups adamant at spreading sectarian conflict and anarchy.
Economic development of Pakistan is not dependent on foreign assistance, but developing a ‘united nation’ strong enough to avert all sorts of aggression at its own, i.e. linguistic, cultural, sectarian. This demands, formation of an independent foreign policy, establishing cordial relationship with immediate neighbors and creation of interfaith harmony. Unless all these priorities are placed in order and collective efforts are made, Pakistan will not be able to gain any benefit from being part of any association, group or bloc.
SOC, China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan,

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Ascertaining identity of those attacking Iran

On Wednesday, 7th June 2017 gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Iran's parliament and the shrine of its revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Reportedly, at least 12 people were killed and dozens wounded. All the four attackers were also killed. According to media reports IS group has claimed the responsibility, marking it the first ever assault in Iran. The militants are at war with Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq.
According to another media report IS group's Aamaq news agency has released a 24-second video purportedly shot inside the parliament building during the siege. The video, circulated online, shows a gunman and a bloody, lifeless body of a man lying on the ground next to a desk. A voice on the video says in Arabic: "Do you think we will leave? We will remain." This was a slogan used by IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who was killed in Syria last year.
I have repeatedly written in my blogs that western media mostly comprises of ‘embedded journalists’ or those who tow the lines of media houses owned and operated by Zionists. I live in Pakistan that is often termed ‘front line partner in the war against terror’, which has also been the worst victim of terrorism. In Pakistan various banned outfits have claimed responsibility of hundreds of suicide attacks, the most notorious  of these outfits are TTP and Jundallah.
Today I would like to refer to one of my blogs  written as back as on 17th December 2012. Its title was 'Tattoos on the body of attackers on Peshawar Airport' I had questioned the presence of tattoos on the bodies of the attackers who called themselves Muslims.
It is interesting to note that IS often claims attacks around the world, even when links to the group cannot be confirmed and appear dubious. I have all the reasons to suspect that those involved in attacks in Iran may belong to any country or religion, but were trained by Mossad, Israeli spy agency. In the past  Mossad has killed Iranian nuclear scientists in Iran and UAE. It is often alleged that the Israeli spy agency has also been godfathering Jundallah, operating in Pakistan as well as Iran.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Shunning Qatar is beginning of another proxy war

About two days back I had posted a link to one of my blogs “Arabs Falling in Deadly US Trap” posted as back as in July 2012. One of my critics asked the reason for my obsession for proxy wars. In my various blogs I have stated that after the World War II, superpowers have learn a lesson “fight a war away from their homelands”.
Termination of diplomatic relationship with Qatar by various Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia is aimed at achieving two objectives, dragging Iran into another proxy war and stopping energy supplies from Qatar to hike oil prices through geopolitical maneuvering. Let everyone remember that the biggest beneficiery of yet another proxy war will be the United States. If anyone doubts my words he/she should peep into the history of Iraq’s attack on Iran and Kuwait.
Another conspiracy theory is that the reason for making an attempt to isolate Qatar is the ongoing transmission of Al Jazeera TV, which is critical of the atrocities of Arab monarchs, particularly in Yemen and Bahrain.
The latest acquisition that Qatar is supporting the extremist groups does not look very different from the allegation of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and OBL residing in Afghanistan. The allegation against Qatar also appears a hoax call. However, one just can’t rule out bloodshed in Qatar like it was done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Pakistan Stock Market Takes a Dip of Nearly 8 Percent

With announcement of FY18 Deferal Budget and Pakistan’s formal inclusion in the MSCI EM Index, the week ended 2nd June 2017 remained eventful. Contrary to the expectations, fiscal prudence superseded election year populist measures in the Budget, while unexpected tax restructuring for the stock market induced further volatility (15% CGT regardless of the holding period, enhancement of tax on dividend to 15%). On the other hand, the transition to MSCI EM Index triggered a selloff on the likely rebalancing of the portfolios. The benchmark of Pakistan Stock Exchange index lost 4082 points or 7.75%WoW to close the week at 48,555. The average daily volumes declined to around 295 million shares, but the average traded value soared to its decade high of over US$240 million. Other key news flows during the week included: 1) Hussain Nawaz appearing before the JIT, 2) CPI based inflation in May’17 rising to over 5%, at 30month high, 3) GoP reducing the MOGAS/HSD prices, 4) LHC dismissed petitions filed by commercial importers against the antidumping duty on flat steel products, 5) MoF reportedly agreed to provide Rs45 billion to IPPs and OMCs in lieu of circular debt. MSCI Pakistan EM index large and midcap constituents were major losers during the week, where: HBL, LUCK, UBL, MCB and OGDC.With Pakistan formally part of MSCI EM Index, analysts expect shortterm volatility to continue where the market is likely to take guidance from foreign activity. That said, any development with regards to the revised margin financing product along with Panamagate’s JIT proceedings are likely to drive sentiments accordingly.
As eventful as it was, the market gained 2.6%MoM during May'17 in anticipation of a populist budget while gearing up for Pakistan's formal inclusion in the MSCI EM index. However, gains remained limited (the market lost 4% since the presentation of Budget FY18) where, contrary to expectations, fiscal prudence superseded election year populist measures in
Budget FY18. Also, an unexpected tax restructuring for the stock market induced further volatility. On the other hand, the transition to MSCI EM Index triggered a selloff with the benchmark index losing 1.7%, just a day before formal inclusion of Pakistan in MSCI EM. In this regard, profit taking was evident in MSCI EM stocks with traded value recorded at US$508.7 million, touching its decade high. Going forward, foreign activity is likely to guide the market sentiments in the short term with the market seeing increased volatility until complete rebalancing of portfolios. However, analysts expect key themes like: 1) materialization of CPEC projects, 2) healthy corporate earnings growth, 3) interest rate reversal and 4) the pressures on the PkR to take center stage until general elections next year.
Despite widening trade deficit, rising by nearly 37% in 10MFY, focus on exportoriented sectors remained missing in the recently announced FY18 budget. While relief measures under the export package (zerorating regime, discounted EFF & LTTF and dutyfree machinery import) were extended and new protectionist measures introduced (GST @10% on import of fabric and 5% RD on import of filament yarn), no solid initiatives were undertaken with regards to energy subsidy (to reduce power cost) and refund claims except allowing of payment of refunds. Moreover, the 1% increase in GST on retail sales to 6% further add to the woes of industry players having a  higher proportion in the local sales mix should they choose not to pass on the cost increment to consumers.