Pakistan’s ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi military alliance

8 January 2017; Siegfried O. Wolf

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

Pakistan’s former army chief Raheel Sharif has been appointed to head a Saudi-led military coalition. Analysts say this could jeopardize Pakistan’s ties with Iran as the 39-member alliance is heavily involved in Yemen. Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has confirmed that General Raheel Sharif is to command the 39-member Islamic Military Alliance. The alliance was formed by Saudi Arabia to deal with conflicts in the Middle East, particularly to quell the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Continue reading “Pakistan’s ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi military alliance”

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 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).

Continue reading “Pakistan and Terrorism: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as Critical Juncture?”

The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan

10 May 2016

This article is based on the notion that terrorism is a political strategy and can be utilized by any actor whether they be individuals, organized groups or loose networks, domestic and international organizations, or even states. Subsequently, the article argues that states can be also terrorist actors and that state terror has to be included in the study of terrorism. Continue reading “The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan

20 April 2016

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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 mega project never comes without challenges and critical questions. Besides the puzzle of the feasibility of its implementation, or potential impacts on the regional cooperation, it seems that the CPEC development has severe negative impacts on the country’s traditional unhealthy civil-military relations.

Continue reading “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan”

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.

Continue reading “Formal Institutionalization of Military Rule: The 21st Amendment in Pakistan”

Pakistan: Between Coup and Constitutional Engineering

15 January 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Pakistan started the New Year 2015 with another unfortunate episode in its truncated political history. One could once again hear the momentous military rhetoric of the “doctrine of necessity” in order to justify direct intervention into the country’s politics, to establish formal prerogatives and an institutionally ensured role for the military. On January 6, the National Assembly and the Senate approved the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill and Pakistan Army Act 1952 (Amendment) Bill 2015, unopposed.

Continue reading “Pakistan: Between Coup and Constitutional Engineering”

Pakistan: Ending the Semblance of Civil-Military Cordiality?

13 November 2014

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Pakistan, which has been ruled by military forces for around half of its existence, is considered to be a classic example of a praetorian state. The country’s military perceives itself as the sole guardian of national sovereignty and moral integrity, the chief initiator of the national agenda and the major arbiter of conflict between social and political forces. Over time, the armed forces became so deeply and widely entrenched in every sphere of the Pakistani state that, today, they do not depend on any formal prerogatives to exercise influence over the political decision-making process or to secure their corporate interests.  It can be stated that Pakistan has never experienced ‘civilian supremacy’ with regards to its civil-military relations. Continue reading “Pakistan: Ending the Semblance of Civil-Military Cordiality?”