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.
Interview/Quotation with EastWest Magazine, conducted by Daniele Grassi:
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 (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.
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).
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.
In witnessing the 2013 general election and the installation of a new government entrusted with a remarkable majority in vote, the people of Pakistan and many international observers thought that the time for major change had finally come. Especially the country’s neglected and repressed areas, like North Waziristan, which is part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), were hoping for significant improvement of their socio-political and economic conditions. However, after two years in power, it seems more and more obvious that the current administration of Nawaz Sharif did not intend to change the patterns of Islamabad’s decision-making in any significant policy area. Today, the country’s political arena is still determined by the unchallenged supreme role of the army, the lack of political will and capacities of civilians to implement any noteworthy reform measures, endemic corruption, and the ongoing dominance of the Punjab province and its establishment leading to the consequent side-lining of the smaller territorial entities. Continue reading “Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan”
On 15 June 2014, Pakistan‟s Armed Forces launched a major operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, which is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a remote and restive mountainous region bordering Afghanistan. The military campaign marks the end of a series of fruitless attempts to negotiate with Islamic terrorists. However, after the Jihadists continued their attacks on Pakistani soil, it seems that even Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, known for having a weakness for Islamic fundamentalism, understands that conflicts with Jihadists cannot be resolved through dialogue. In this case, the deadly attack on Karachi‟s airport a week before Zarb-e-Azb started doubtlessly triggered this turning point. Zarb-e-Azb, which means „Strike of the Prophet‟s Sword‟. Continue reading “Will North-Waziristan turn into a Jihadist hub after Operation Zarb-e-Azb again?”
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?”