Wahid Baloch and the plight of ‘missing persons’ in Pakistan

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Wahid Baloch, a prominent activist, was allegedly detained by security forces earlier this year. Baloch has now been reunited with his family but there’re thousands of other Baluchistan activists whose fate is unknown.

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Economic corridor – CPEC could turn Pakistan into China’s ‘client state’

Exclusive Interview with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

14 November 2016, Siegfried O. Wolf

Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif has hailed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a harbinger of change for the region. But analyst Siegfried O. Wolf tells DW the project comes with a big price for Islamabad.

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Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?

31 October 2016; Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with EastWest Magazine, conducted by Daniele Grassi:

Pakistani Christians hold candles to pay tribute and pray for victims of the Army Public School attack in Peshawar on the anniversary of the attack at a ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza – RTX1Z006

On 16 December 2014, terrorists burst into a school in Peshawar and killed more than 130 students aged between 10 and 18. The attack was the worst in Pakistan’s history, and many had hoped that after years of ambiguous government policies, which included support for terrorist groups active in various regional theatres of conflict, the horrifying events would signal a turning point. The massacre in Peshawar shocked the entire country and revealed the urgent need for immediate and thorough action to combat terrorism.  Continue reading “Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: An Assessment of its Feasibility and Impact on Regional Cooperation

28 June 2016, by Siegfried O. Wolf

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment project, is heralded as a game changer for Pakistan’s economy and for regional cooperation more generally. As a crucial part of the major development initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR), to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the CPEC is widely linked to hopes, interests, as well as regional and global geopolitics. However, such a mega-project also raises numerous questions, especially with regards to the feasibility of its implementation, the impact on the region and, India’s stance vis-a-vis the endeavour. Therefore, this Research Paper seeks to shed light on involved interests and challenges, potential impact on regional development and makes special reference of India’s role in it.

Read more at:

SADF WORKING PAPER 1 – The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: An Assessment of its Feasibility and Impact on Regional Cooperation

Pakistan – Friend or Foe?

23 June 2016; Siegfried O. Wolf

The controversial German constitutional lawyer and political theorist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) in his well-known work ‘The Concept of the Political’ promotes a clear distinction between “the friend” and the “foe”. This radical premise of a ‘friend-foe relationship is supposed to be the basis of all ‘political’ and should be applicable to all political actors. In other words, “whoever is not for us, is against us”. Continue reading “Pakistan – Friend or Foe?”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

31 May 2016, Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive Interview with E-International Relations, conducted by Satgin Hamrah:

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a significant part of a regional initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) or the New Silk Road Economic Development Corridor. Basically the OBOR plan aims to revive ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe and Africa. This was a vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Since its announcement Xi’s vision has made headway and has become a major focus of Chinese diplomacy. Led by Beijing, the OBOR concept refers to two ambitious development proposals – the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The SREB seeks to revive the ancient Silk Road that once connected China with Europe by land via high-speed railroads, highways, energy and distribution networks, as well as fibre optic networks. The CPEC must be understood as a crucial part of the China’s OBOR’ initiative aiming at the establishment of an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road through Pakistani port facilities.

AFP PHOTO / Aamir QURESHI

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Pakistan and Terrorism: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as Critical Juncture?

11 May 2016

Image by the US Institute of Peace

Regionalism in South Asia has entailed the search for collective efforts to overcome mostly weak, congeneric economies, political fragmentation, socio-religious cleavages and the consequent deep-rooted conflicts between different states, especially between Pakistan and India. In order to enhance regional cooperation, for quite some time, the idea of Economic Corridor (EC) has become not only a trend in foreign policy strategies but also a buzzword in plans for stimulating economic growth as well as deeper integration of Asia’s sub-regions. This has especially been the case within South East Asia, spearheaded by the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) initiative. In South Asia, it is a more recent phenomenon that the establishment of economic corridors has gained prominence. One of the most advanced examples is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Feasibility and the need for an assessment of India’s role

16 March 2016, By Siegfried O. Wolf

AFP PHOTO / Aamir QURESHI

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment project, is heralded as a game changer for Pakistan’s economy and regional cooperation. Being a crucial part of a major development initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR), to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the CPEC is much linked to hopes, interests, as well as regional and global geopolitics. However, such a megaproject raises numerous questions especially regarding the feasibility of its implementation, the impact on the region as well as the nature of India’s position towards the endeavour.

Continue reading “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Feasibility and the need for an assessment of India’s role”

Formal Institutionalization of Military Rule: The 21st Amendment in Pakistan

14 May 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Source: Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU), Durham University, U.K.

Source: PRSU

The first ‘regular’ transfer of power between two civilian governments in Pakistan manifested itself in the aftermath of the 2013 general elections. Many celebrated this shift as a positive sign of democratic consolidation. However, the appreciation of this allegedly ‘new democratic wave’ ignores the resilience of decade-old authoritarian, and anti-democratic patterns. The military still dominates all significant political decision-making processes. Furthermore, with the 21st constitutional amendment the soldiers were able to further entrench their formal role in the political-institutional setup. This seriously challenges the notions of civilian supremacy, which is unfortunate, since civilian control of the armed forces is a necessary constituent for democracy and democratic consolidation. The first ‘regular’ transfer of power between two civilian governments in Pakistan manifested itself in the aftermath of the 2013 general elections. Many celebrated this shift as a positive sign of democratic consolidation. However, the appreciation of this allegedly ‘new democratic wave’ ignores the resilience of decade-old authoritarian, and anti-democratic patterns. The military still dominates all significant political decision-making processes. Furthermore, with the 21st constitutional amendment the soldiers were able to further entrench their formal role in the political-institutional setup. This seriously challenges the notions of civilian supremacy, which is unfortunate, since civilian control of the armed forces is a necessary constituent for democracy and democratic consolidation.

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2015 Senate Polls in Pakistan – Urgent need for Reforms and some Recommendations

March 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

After having completed its 12th Parliamentary year on March 4th, Senate Polls took place in Pakistan the following day. The Senate is the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan, also known as Majlis-e-Shura. Pakistan’s political system consists of a President and the Parliament, which comprises two houses, the National Assembly (the Lower House) and the Senate. It came into existence on 6 August 1973 after the introduction of the 1973 Constitution (especially Article 50) which was adopted on 12 April of the same year. Before, the Pakistani Parliament had only one Chamber, the National Assembly. Basically, the Senate consists of 104 members elected indirectly by the members of the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. Senate polls are held every three years for one half of the Senate and each Senator’s term lasts for 6 years. Continue reading “2015 Senate Polls in Pakistan – Urgent need for Reforms and some Recommendations”