Biden Regime Behind Phony Charges Against Pakistan’s Imran Khan

08-22-2022

 Stephen Lendman

Last April, Biden regime dirty hands were behind a parliamentary no-confidence vote to oust Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM.

What happened was all about his commitment to serve Pakistan’s interests over US ones, to stay neutral on Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, and maintain Islamabad’s independence over vassalage to a higher power in Washington.

US puppet, Shehbaz Sharif, was illegitimately installed as PM to replace Khan.

That’s where things now stand, his regime’s agenda shaped by hegemon USA.

It includes prevention of legitimate attempts by Khan to regain the office from which hegemon USA orchestrated his ouster — by whatever it takes to achieve this diabolical aim.

On Sunday, the puppet Sharif regime falsely charged Khan with violating Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism (Act) — for allegedly “threatening” a female judge and senior police officers at a public rally.

So-called Pakistani interior minister, Rana Sanaullah, also called for Khan to be prosecuted for allegedly making “derogatory” remarks about Pakistani military Shuhada (martyrs).

Khan said the following at a Sunday rally:

“On May 25, when police used violence against us, I was told by insiders that (what happened was) ordered from above.”

This “means that neutrals pressured them to give…workers (of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party — PTI — he foundered and heads as chairman) a thrashing.” 

Referring to the country’s military, he questioned whether its “neutrals were really neutral” — that in cahoots with the Biden regime, they’re involved in cracking down on him and his PTI party, adding:

“I know what their plan is.”

It’s all about removing him from the political scene by prosecuting and imprisoning him on false charges, along with sidelining his PTI party, rendering it powerless.

Until targeted by Biden regime dark forces, likely CIA ones, the PTI was Pakistan’s “biggest party at the federal level,” Khan explained, adding:

His chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill, was kidnapped, abused and heavily pressured to give false testimony against him.

According to Dawn.com, Khan’s public addresses are now banned on television — on the phony pretext of making controversial remarks (sic) about judges and police officials.

Google’s YouTube acted in similar fashion to silence his truth-telling.

On Sunday, senior PTI leader, Shireen Mazari, tweeted the following:

“Regime change conspirators so scared of Imran Khan that today in middle of IK speech they blocked YouTube thru PTA. Shameful!””This will not silence us.”

“Fascism at its peak as fear overwhelms the cabal of crooks & their string pullers!”

“THE WORD IS CERTAINLY MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.”

Separately, she explained that police ceased providing security for Khan and his residence.

In his Saturday evening address, he threatened legal action against  Islamabad’s police inspector general and deputy inspector general, adding:

Greatly biased against him for contrived reasons, the judiciary and judge Zeba Chaudhry will face consequences for their actions.  

Late Sunday, Pakistani police erected barricades outside Khan’s Banigala residence to isolate him from supporters.

After his Sunday address, he was reportedly at an undisclosed Rawalpindi location — while thousands of supporters were outside his residence to express support.

Phony charges against Khan in a so-called First Investigation Report (FIR) said the following:

His public remarks “spread fear and uncertainty among the police, judges and the nation.”

It calls for “exemplary punishment.”

At this time, Khan faces arrest, a kangaroo show trial, rubber-stamp conviction and imprisonment for truth-telling on phony terrorism-related charges.

Earlier, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner said there are over 17,000 pending cases under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, adding:

It’s “broad definition…coupled with failure to introduce clear guidelines or administrative policies to prevent its arbitrary application, contributed to the overuse, misuse and abuse of this legislation.”

Since his made-in-the-USA no-confidence vote removal from office as Pakistan’s PM, Khan organized and addressed well-attended rallies to set the record straight on what’s going on in the country.

It’s why the empire of lies and puppet Pakistani regime it empowered wants him silenced — most likely the old-fashioned way if what’s going on now fails or falls short.

The Stephen Lendman Blog

Biden Regime Behind Phony Charges Against Pakistan’s Imran Khan?

by Stephen Lendman

Last April, Biden regime dirty hands were behind a parliamentary no-confidence vote — a coup by other means — to oust Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM.

What happened was all about his commitment to serve Pakistan’s interests over US ones, to stay neutral on Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, and maintain Islamabad’s independence over vassalage to a higher power in Washington.

US puppet, Shehbaz Sharif, was illegitimately installed as PM to replace Khan.

That’s where things now stand, his regime’s agenda shaped by hegemon USA.

It includes prevention of legitimate attempts by Khan to regain the office from which hegemon USA orchestrated his ouster — by whatever it takes to achieve this diabolical aim.

On Sunday, the puppet Sharif regime falsely charged Khan with violating Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism (Act) — for allegedly “threatening” a female judge and senior police officers…

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Imran Khan Is Right To Imply That The Establishment Is Responsible For Pakistan’s Problems

Aug 19 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s strong innuendo about The Establishment’s responsibility for the cascading crises that unfolded over the past four months is accurate and grounded in facts since it was veritably the case that they at the very least passively facilitated this sequence of events by infamously remaining “neutral” in the face of the US-orchestrated but domestically driven post-modern coup against him that was carried out as punishment for his independent foreign policy.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a US-orchestrated but domestically driven post-modern coup four months ago, shared some candid views about the cascading crises that have plagued Pakistan since his removal. In his strongly implied view, the country’s powerful military-intelligence structures known as The Establishment are responsible for everything that transpired since they at the very least passively facilitated the rise of power of the same political forces that they themselves had earlier condemned as corrupt, according to his latest remarks that were reported by Dawn.

The PTI chief reminded them that “with great power comes great responsibility. No matter how many times you call yourself neutral, history will blame you for what you did with the country.” Nevertheless, he also suggested that “You should review and think that there are 220 million people in this country”, which hints that he still has some faint hope that the multipolar school of thought within The Establishment might still successfully convince their powerful pro-American peers to change course in order to save Pakistan from the plethora of worst-case scenarios that it nowadays worryingly faces.

This multipolar pioneer’s assessment of his country’s complicated situation is accurate since The Establishment did indeed infamously remain “neutral” in the face of what he compelling argued was a foreign-backed plot to unseat him as punishment for the independent foreign policy that he proudly promulgated, especially its Eurasian dimension with respect to comprehensively expanding relations with Russia. The declining American hegemon’s grand strategic goal is to slow down the global systemic transition to multipolarity, to which end it sought to “poach” Pakistan back into its camp.

The Power Of The Pakistani People Will Defeat Their Unpopular Imported Government”, however, since this regime cannot remain in power forever without their support no matter how aggressively it tries to intimidate them into accepting their country’s subservience to the US. The post-modern coup authorities’ multifaceted attacks against the opposition, which includes the torture of dissident leaders like Shahbaz Gill and the spreading of fake news by top officials falsely claiming that the former premier is trying to divide the army, are counterproductive and only exacerbate popular resentment.

Those members of The Establishment who have a solid grasp of Pakistan’s socio-political (soft security) dynamics must know by know that their country’s present trajectory is trending towards more profound instability in the coming future unless it urgently changes course. It’s for that reason why former Prime Minister Khan called upon them to review their previous “neutrality”, which hints at his faint hope that they’ll do what’s needed behind the scenes to ensure that free and fair elections are held as early as possible in order to democratically resolve the cascading crises that they’re responsible for provoking.

At the same time, he isn’t putting all his eggs in one basket since this lifelong activist also announced that he’ll be holding multiple community meetings (jalsas) across the country in the coming weeks. The former premier acutely understands that the Pakistani people deserve the right to directly decide who leads them after some of their representatives betrayed their mandate by voting to oust him in early April as a result of American meddling in that South Asian state’s democracy. Few could have expected that The Establishment would stand aside while that happened, yet that’s precisely what transpired.

For that reason, former Prime Minister Khan’s strong innuendo about The Establishment’s responsibility for the cascading crises that unfolded over the past four months is accurate and grounded in facts since it was veritably the case that they at the very least passively facilitated this sequence of events. It therefore follows that they also have the responsibility to correct their prior error of judgement by letting the people in whose name they serve democratically decide which political forces they want to lead their shared homeland. The Establishment should therefore seriously consider his advice.

Imran Khan’s arrest will derail Pakistan’s democracy

When the nation’s most popular leader in living memory is also the state’s public enemy number one, what will become of Pakistan?

August 23 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Ejaz Akram

Prominent defense analyst and former Pakistani military officer Haider Mehdi has vociferously claimed that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa colluded with US authorities to topple the Imran Khan government on 9 April.

While much of the Pakistani masses and social media seem to think the same, the state’s mainstream media outlets have largely stayed mum on the biggest political scandal the country has witnessed in years.

Many who criticized the role of Pakistan’s military in the alleged coup – even without naming the collaborating officers specifically – have already fled the country. Some have been arrested, while others are facing legal charges.

One of the more notable and emotionally-charged cases has been that of Dr. Shahbaz Gill, a Pakistani-American academic and a close member of Imran Khan’s media team. Gill was charged with sedition against the state for making the argument on ARY News Network (a mainstream channel which was immediately shut down afterward) that military officers should not obey unlawful commands from their superiors.

Various senior military officers have already explained that Gill’s remarks are no serious offense because all military officers are already under oath to not obey unlawful commands by their superiors.

Gill was apprehended by authorities on 9 August and reportedly remained in federal government custody until his deteriorating medical condition forced his jailers to move him to a state hospital.

Khan said that he had been fooled by the very same state medical facility back in 2019 when courts were persuaded to allow former PM Nawaz Sharif to travel to the UK for urgent medical treatment, from which he never returned. Khan insisted on checking on Gill’s status himself, but was denied entry to the hospital.

According to the leadership of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Gill was apprehended without an arrest warrant, tortured, and sexually assaulted.

Under Pakistan’s Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP), the maximum period of detention is 14 days – which for Gill would be today, 23 August – except for “terrorism specific cases,” in which custody can be extended for up to 90 days.

“The disparity in the period of detention under the CrPC and the ATA [Anti-Terrorism Act] is one of the many contributory factors of the high number of superfluous cases in the anti-terrorism courts of Pakistan, since the ATA gives more time to the police to complete investigation while detaining the accused,” writes the Research Society of International Law in its report on Pakistan.

Is Imran Khan next?

Which brings us to news of the arrest warrant on “terrorism” charges issued against Imran Khan himself.

The highly controversial charge against Khan, under section 7 of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, followed Saturday’s mass rally in support of Gill. During his speech, Khan vowed to bring lawsuits against police and judicial authorities for their roles in Gill’s alleged torture: “We will not spare you … We will sue you,” he threatened.

The accusation appear frivolous to the extreme, especially when the prosecuting government’s cabinet is overwhelmingly composed of well-known indicted criminals and repeat offenders on charges that range from corruption to murder.

But government officials defended the “terrorism” charges against Khan, saying he “spread terror amongst the police and the judiciary” and hindered their work.

Pakistan’s ATA has come under fire by domestic lawyers as well as overseas organizations. It’s definitions are too broad, its powers too aggressive, its authorities too dangerous.

Pakistan’s abuse of terror laws

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says one of the “fundamental flaws” of the ATA “is the vague and overly broad definition of ‘terrorism’ under its provisions. This allows offenses bearing no nexus to militancy and proscribed terrorist networks to be tried.”

Up to 80 percent of those convicted of terrorism-related offenses under this act in Pakistan were accused of things that had nothing to do with “terrorism.”

Furthermore, the OHCHR cites observations from Pakistani lawyers that “political and economic influence serves as a primary determinant for whether an offense is tried under the ATA or under the ordinary criminal justice system.”

The report quotes lawyer Imran Asmat Chaudhry, a senior Advocate of the High Courts, saying:

“I have personally taken around 11 cases, which were sent to ATCs for trial. [The] motive behind all cases was personal enmity, political rivalry, or any other malignant intentions of the police themselves – even though the crime had no nexus to the ATA.”

The UN human rights group concludes: “The [ATA’s] broad definition under the law has often allowed it to be used as a tool of political victimization by ruling parties against opponents.”

Silencing media

Following the news of Khan’s arrest warrant, several Pakistani television channels were shut down and prominent journalist Jameel Farooqi was arrested and moved to an undisclosed location. According to analysts, such level of Praetorian politics and McCarthyism is unprecedented in Pakistan.

Pakistani social media activists have reported deployment of troops on high alert in major cities of Pakistan. The state has imposed a ban on Khan’s appearance on mainstream television networks, and Islamabad Police has announced that it will be no longer provide security services for Khan in the capital.

Sami Ibrahim, another prominent journalist from BOL TV that was struck off the air, says the next 48 hours will be crucial because actions for or against Khan’s arrest may take place. He believes some key decisions are likely to be made shortly, possibly including further restrictions, crackdowns, and persecution of social media platforms inside Pakistan.

In a potentially dangerous stand-off between state authorities and regular Pakistani citizens, most are wondering if the government has enough power to arrest the most popular leader in Pakistan’s recent history.

Khan’s PTI political party currently runs multiple governments in different Pakistani provinces. In stark contrast, the ruling party in the federal government – widely seen as a foreign installed government – is limited to the capital and is suffering from a major crisis in legitimacy, despite aggressive efforts to control the narrative.

Cracks form at the top

The current Pakistani government is in an impossible situation. It cannot call for early elections to help establish a public mandate of support, because all indications suggest an overwhelming win for Khan. And yet the very act of governing is a challenge without this mandate, especially given the ongoing public derision expressed in massive street protests and across social media.

In addition, the government of PM Shahbaz Sharif has its own internal divisions; these cracks are slowly becoming visible – and widening.

On 21 August, the PTI beat their opposing 13-party alliance with a decisive margin in Karachi’s by-election. Imran Khan has essentially already gone to the polls and won, because these massive election margins are taking place on the opposition’s own home ground.

Many of the ruling alliance members are fleeing provinces, where the PTI has formed provincial governments, in order to avoid potential legal charges. Some federal ministers have already escaped overseas.

According to prominent Pakistani analyst Nasir Ahmad: “General Bajwa and his senior generals have no idea how deeply the people of Pakistan, and indeed their own command, loathe them. The more insecure the generals feel, the more they dig their heels, and the closer they dig in their heels, and the closer they take their country, which they are oath-bound to defend, to its ultimate fall.”

Others, however, worry that if the state succeeds in arresting – or even assassinating Imran Khan – then nobody of similar stature and popularity will remain to lead Pakistan to safe shores. Mass movements require competent and legitimate leadership that can appropriately channel nations toward a politically constructive end, or else these numbers may just collapse upon themselves.

Since the alleged US-sponsored ousting of Imran Khan on 9 April, there hasn’t been a dull moment in Pakistani politics. It is as though the country grew a new head overnight:

Nobody could have imagined that the nation’s usually impartial military elite could be turned against the Pakistani masses and become the focus of widespread disdain. Nobody thought the military’s top brass would cozy up to New Delhi, all while when India amasses invasion-level troop build-ups in occupied Kashmir.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated on 22 August that Afghanistan is an ‘enemy country,’ signaling renewed Pakistani sycophancy in Washington’s latest war against the Taliban. Such decisions go diametrically against the will, interests, and decisions of the people of Pakistan.

A showdown between the majority – versus an increasingly unpopular and emboldened Pakistani elite – is inevitable in the near future.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

The Power Of The Pakistani People Will Defeat Their Unpopular Imported Government

Jul 27 2022

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The power of the people is unbeatable whenever the people are truly united behind a cause greater than themselves such as their country’s sovereignty and anything related to its existential defense. Pakistanis both present and past have suffered so much to preserve their hard-earned independence and won’t let it be stolen from them by elite echelons who betrayed the social contract between citizens and the state under the influence of a foreign party.

The imported government that was imposed on the global pivot state of Pakistan as a result of a US-orchestrated but domestically driven post-modern coup carried out through the superficially “democratic” means of “lawfare” has proven itself to be the most unpopular regime in that country’s history. Nowhere is this more evident than by the formerly ruling PTI’s landslide victory in the Punjab by-elections, yet instead of letting the constitutional process play out by peacefully ceding power to that party, PMLN and its allies made a desperate last-ditch attempt to stage a post-modern coup in Pakistan’s most populous region. This decisively failed after the Supreme Court ruled against the plotters and ordered that PTI ally Pervez Elahi be sworn in as its next Chief Minister.

None of this would have been possible had it not been for the Pakistani people pushing back against their unpopular imported government ever since it was imposed upon them against their will nearly one-third of a year ago in early April. Since then, they’ve braved vicious state-directed violence – most notably during their Long March on Islamabad in late May – and some of their most prominent journalists like Imran Riaz Khan were thuggishly harassed by the authorities. That, however, didn’t weaken their will but only emboldened them. The Pakistani people united in the face of this post-modern martial law and didn’t let it break them. It only made them stronger by becoming a formative experience for collectively building the New Pakistan that seems inevitable at this point.

Those stakeholders who’ve hitherto stubbornly resisted the people’s are now finally forced to confront the reality of what they’ve done. They arrogantly thought that they could impose a foreign-backed government onto Pakistanis and then gaslight the population into thinking that they’re crazy if they suspect that any foul play was involved. This was a severe violation of the trust that had hitherto been established between citizens and the state after people placed their faith in certain stakeholders to always tell them the truth and defend their objective national interests no matter what. Instead, this trust was taken advantage of and ruthlessly disrespected, though those dark days might soon be ending if recent developments are any indication.

Proponents of multipolar school of thought that became popular among some elite echelons in recent years were always opposed to their pro-American peers’ post-modern coup but lost the influence to shape events due to shadowy dynamics from the preceding months (particularly speculation about the scandal surrounding DG ISI’s appointment late last year). Nevertheless, their star might once again be rising as the pro-American school of thought now realizes that they pushed the country to the brink of collapse and even potentially domestic conflict all for the sake of satisfying their foreign partners. They might not yet have learned their lesson in full, but the fact that they didn’t stop the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Punjab suggests that their influence might finally be on the decline.  

The power of the people is unbeatable whenever the people are truly united behind a cause greater than themselves such as their country’s sovereignty and anything related to its existential defense. Pakistanis both present and past have suffered so much to preserve their hard-earned independence and won’t let it be stolen from them by elite echelons who betrayed the social contract between citizens and the state under the influence of a foreign party. What’s taking place in Pakistan right now is nothing short of revolutionary and is truly unprecedented since the time of its formation. The nation is being remodeled according to modern circumstances connected to the global systemic transition to multipolarity, which is giving its people the promising future that they deserve.

Imran Khan rewrites Pakistan’s political history

Against the odds and powerful rivals pitted against him, former PM Khan’s win in Punjab elections is a victory for democracy and Pakistan’s sovereignty

July 18 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Pakistan’s ousted president Imran Khan trounces his opponents by a wide margin in their own stronghold of Punjab.

By MK Bhadrakumar

It is an unsavoury proposition always, be it in India or Pakistan, when political power is usurped by fly-by-night operators who engineer defections from a ruling party, and an established government gets overthrown despite its mandate to govern.

In India — so far, at least — such shenanigans leading to regime change at the federal or state level have not been manipulated by foreign powers — except, perhaps, in the ouster of the first  communist government in the southern state of Kerala, way back in 1959.

In South Asian politics, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives have been chronic cases where foreign interference in their domestic politics has become endemic. But they are either small countries or weak states, vulnerable to external pressure.

A coup by other means

It was the first time that the curse of foreign interference appeared in a big South Asian country such as Pakistan when the US openly sought the removal of then-Prime Minister Imran Khan, and a regime change indeed ensued within a short period of time.

To what extent the political forces that constituted the successor regime in Islamabad drew encouragement from Washington to usurp power, we do not know, and may never. But given the political elite’s past record of rentier mentality, such a thing cannot be ruled out.

Although those elites in India and Pakistan have strong similarities, the Pakistani (civilian) elite has long held a tradition of looking over their shoulder for US approval.

Imran Khan himself insists that this was precisely what happened, and therefore, he has called his protest movement a “jihad.” Indeed, the abrupt warming up of the US-Pakistan relationship, which was in a state of disrepair under Khan, no sooner than he was ousted, also signified the Biden administration’s delight and sense of relief over the regime change in Pakistan.

As for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had no time for Pakistan previously, the sudden upbeat tone of his personal diplomacy toward the new ruling elite in Islamabad, which is also drawn from powerful political dynasties that are intimately known to the US establishment, distinctly conveyed the impression that on his cold war chessboard, he could now count on a new pawn to be pitted against China (and Russia.)

Khan not ‘out’

However, such euphoria was short-lived. Contrary to the estimations, including in India, that Imran Khan’s political career was over, events have shown that he is still very much Pakistan’s current history, and, if  anything, it is the usurpers in Islamabad who are relics from the past.

To be sure, Khan’s “jihad” has taken the form of a tsunami that today threatens to drown the usurpers. The manner in which he has stormed the heartland of Punjab in Sunday’s by-elections must be sending alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power, not only in Lahore but also in Islamabad.

A landslide victory

The mammoth crowds that follow Imran Khan everywhere are indeed turning into votes. Without doubt, it is after a very long time that a truly charismatic politician has appeared on the Pakistani political landscape.

Khan has stunned his detractors and political opponents by taking control of the crucial Punjab provincial assembly. His party won 15 of 20 seats up for grab in by-elections, trouncing arch-rival Pakistan Muslim League-N (which incidentally heads the federal government in Islamabad also since April after Imran Khan’s ouster) on its home ground.

The result is not only a major blow for current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif but is also widely regarded as a foretaste of what could happen in a general election. Imran Khan has been demanding an early general election which is otherwise due in October 2023.

The powers that be

The conventional wisdom that the Pakistani military establishment would feel challenged by such a spectre has been proven wrong this time around (which also augurs well for the country’s political future.) Fundamentally, the axiom that a Pakistani civilian politician who developed differences with the military leadership would be a fallen angel ever condemned to oblivion has also withered away.

In fact, the swiftness of Imran Khan’s return to centre stage is awesome, as if he never quit the centre stage and the usurpers were mere interlopers.

Imran Khan has rewritten Pakistan’s political history by knocking at the doors of political power so soon after his ouster by an unholy alliance of time servers with foreign patronage.

If the election results from Punjab have conveyed one single thing, it is that the people of that country have understood what democratic empowerment is and are determined to voice their opinion.

And that opinion is, unmistakably, that the regime change in Lahore following the ouster of Imran Khan’s party from power was a repugnant episode, and must be undone. The strong likelihood is that it also becomes a signpost for those in power in Islamabad.

Given Pakistan’s grave economic challenges, political stability is an imperative need, and the last thing the country deserves is to be burdened with a national government which lacks legitimacy. When a country is faced with such a predicament, the only way out is to hold fresh elections that can hopefully bring to power a new, stable government with the mandate to rule.

Of course, mandate only gives legitimacy to rule and does not necessarily guarantee good governance — Bangladesh is, perhaps, a solitary exception in the South Asian region — but that is something that we can learn to live with as a fact of life in our part of the world.

Understanding Khan’s ‘jihad’

Imran Khan’s “jihad” is not a call for anarchy. Nor is he stirring up a “colour revolution”. He is, on the contrary, a factor of stability for Pakistan — strictly abiding by the rule of law and constitutional order. He is only demanding a new government with a mandate to rule, a cause that he has consistently espoused since signs of a US-sponsored political coup against him began to crystallize.

The real danger is that if there is a disconnect between the rulers and the ruled, it not only weakens the incumbent government and affects decision-making, especially when difficult decisions need to be taken, but also that political drift could spawn anarchical conditions. And that is an eventuality Pakistan can ill afford in the prevailing circumstances.

It is possible that Khan may be returned to power in fresh elections. It is equally possible that his party may once again fall short of a majority and has to build a coalition, or, alternatively, reconcile with the role of an opposition. But the present logjam needs to be broken, nonetheless. And that is only possible through new elections.

Political instability in Pakistan will be detrimental to the country’s long term interests at the present juncture in global affairs, where it has a serious role to play as a major regional power.

Pakistan has a lot going for it in the emergent world order characterized by multipolarity. It is up to the Pakistani political elite not to goof up, in their mad scramble for power. That makes fresh elections in the shortest possible time a dire necessity.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Everything’s Getting Messy Again In Afghanistan

15 MAY 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

Afghanistan’s internal insecurity, border tensions, and the potentially Pakistani-backed US military factor are combining to create yet another storm in the New Cold War that threatens to destabilize the region.

Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine and the US-led West’s unprecedented response to it have distracted the international community from Afghanistan, which is once again becoming an issue of regional concern. The foreign occupiers’ chaotic evacuation from that country last August and the Taliban’s return to power in the aftermath haven’t stabilized the situation all that much. The group is still designated as terrorists by most of the world and their leadership remains unrecognized despite all stakeholders – including Russia — still interacting with them for pragmatism’s sake.

Afghanistan somehow avoided the full-scale humanitarian crisis that many were worried about but its people’s most basic needs still aren’t being adequately met. Observers also feel very uncomfortable about the Taliban returning to its old ways by once again banning women from showing their uncovered faces in public. The comparatively more secular and ethnically cosmopolitan northern part of the country that’s majority inhabited by Tajiks and other Central Asian people might not take too kindly to this decree, which could fuel anti-government movements there.

In fact, it was reported just this weekend that the “National Resistance Front” (NRF) has returned to fighting against the Taliban in the Panjshir Valley. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was asked about this on Friday following the CIS Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Dushanbe where he reiterated Moscow’s stance that the only sustainable political solution is to form an ethno-regionally inclusive government. He also expressed optimism that “our allies in Tajikistan with serious influence in Afghanistan, primarily the country’s north, will also keep helping us achieve our common goals.”

That former Soviet Republic is a key stakeholder in Afghanistan since it exerts influence over its co-ethnics across the border and was previously suspected of supporting anti-Taliban forces there. President Putin also spoke to his Tajik counterpart Rahmon on Friday, during which time the two discussed Afghanistan and confirmed that they’ll “continue to cooperate to ensure security on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.” This is especially important following reports that ISIS-K terrorists from Afghanistan recently claimed credit for a cross-border attack that Tajik officials nonetheless denied.

On the topic of cross-border terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, neighboring Pakistan reportedly carried out several strikes there in the middle of last month against TPP terrorists who martyred several of their soldiers days prior. Islamabad also reportedly just handed over two top TPP commanders to the Afghan Taliban, who’ve been mediating peace talks between them. Amidst all of this, Pakistan remains mired in political uncertainty following its scandalous change of government in early April that former Prime Minister Khan claims was orchestrated by the US as punishment for his independent policies.

While its internal security situation is expected to remain stable considering the world-class professionalism of its military and intelligence services, speculation abounds about the trajectory of its foreign policy. Newly inaugurated Foreign Minister Bhutto’s upcoming trip to the US is inconveniently occurring at the exact moment that its political, economic, and international uncertainties are converging. The relevance of this to Afghanistan is the US’ recent reaffirmation that it retains the capabilities to strike terrorists in Afghanistan if it so chooses, perhaps with speculative Pakistani support.  

Former Prime Minister Khan claimed that the alleged US-orchestrated regime change plot against him first started when he publicly said that his country will “absolutely not” host any American bases in the wake of the US’ withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan. Critics of the new authorities who replaced him suspect that they might be secretly negotiating some sort of military arrangement with the US to facilitate American anti-terrorist strikes there, which could possibly target ISIS-K but also the TTP that Washington also officially regards as terrorists just like Islamabad does.

While there’s nothing of tangible substance to base this speculation on, it’s still a matter of public record that the US said on multiple occasions that it’s actively seeking out regional bases to facilitate its so-called “over-the-horizon” strikes in Afghanistan. Russia was concerned that its American rival might poach one of the Central Asian Republics from its informal “sphere influence” into this scheme, though that hasn’t materialized, at least not yet. Even so, Moscow must be watching Washington’s reported $20 million unarmed Puma drone deal with Dushanbe with suspicion to see where it might lead.

On the topic of cross-border attacks, it also deserves mentioning that reports came in a few weeks back alleging that tensions were boiling along the Afghan-Iranian border. Tehran denied that any clashes took place but most observers still consider ties between it and the Taliban to be very complicated, to say the least. Taking stock of the overall situation, Afghanistan’s domestic stability has been rocked by ISIS-K suicide bombings and the latest reported “NRF” offensive while international tensions are dangerously growing between the Taliban and its Iranian, Pakistani, and Tajik neighbors.

Against the backdrop of the Taliban imposing its strict socio-religious standards onto the rest of the population in spite of the risk that this will only worsen resentment from some minorities against it, as well as the country’s humanitarian crisis being far from resolved even though it hasn’t yet exploded, it can be concluded that everything risks spiraling out of control if all these counterproductive trends aren’t soon reversed. Pakistan’s crossing of the Rubicon by kinetically defending its objective national security interests through reported anti-TTP strikes also adds an unpredictable dimension to this too.

The same can be said for the pivot towards the US that the new authorities’ critics suspect is unfolding and which might manifest itself through those two unofficially teaming up to occasionally fight terrorism in Afghanistan. The US is still actively searching for a regional base, which can only realistically be in Pakistan if it ever comes to pass since its new Tajik partner can’t legally host one without Russia’s approval due to its legal commitments through the CSTO mutual defense pact. Any enhanced Pakistani-American anti-terrorist and/or military cooperation could greatly reshape regional dynamics.

All the while, there’s also some positive news too even though it pales in comparison to the negative. Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke at the beginning of the month about the need for mutually beneficial economic engagement with Afghanistan, which he repeated on Friday after the CIS meeting that was hyperlinked to earlier in this analysis. New Taliban-appointed Afghan charge d’affairs to Russia Jamal Nasir Garwal, who also reportedly attended the Victory Day parade in Moscow, publicly reciprocated this interest by emphasizing how much his country needs Russian energy resources right now.

These signals prompted speculation that a Taliban delegation might soon travel to Moscow to discuss such deals, though Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov denied that anything of the sort was in the cards at this moment. Still, that would represent a positive development if it comes to pass and would complement the Taliban’s planned economic cooperation with China. The larger trend seems to be that while Afghanistan’s ties with Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan become more complicated, its ties with Russia and China are becoming more comprehensive.

To be absolutely clear, correlation doesn’t mean causation so nobody should think that regional stakeholders are dividing into pro- and anti-Taliban blocs, but it’s still an important trend to pay attention to since it suggests that Russia and China might soon be able to exert more influence over the Taliban than previously expected. In the event that Pakistan strikes some sort of anti-terrorist or military deal with the US as part of its speculative plans to repair ties with it through such arrangements that critics might describe as concessions, then those two might become more suspicious of its intentions.

After all, Pakistan has unofficially frozen talks with Russia over what former Prime Minister Khan insists were his previously active negotiations to purchase fuel from Moscow, including at a 30% discount, but which the new Energy Minister claimed had never happened. The latter said this in spite of there being documented evidence from credible sources confirming that his statement was factually incorrect, including Foreign Minister Lavrov revealing while in Islamabad on 7 April 2021 that there was “mutual interest” in this, “appropriate proposals have been put forward”, and Russia is “waiting for a response”.

The scandal over Russian-Pakistani energy talks concerns much more than just those two countries since all interested observers can now see that the new authorities are publicly distancing themselves from their predecessors’ negotiations with the Kremlin for whatever reason, even going as far as to share factually incorrect information with the public about this. The impression that they’re probably left with is that this might be done under American pressure, which in turn adds credence to former Prime Minister Khan’s narrative about the US being behind his ouster and now influencing his replacements.

This insight is pertinent for Afghanistan since it also adds credence to suspicions that Pakistan and the US might be secretly negotiating some anti-terrorist or military deals focused on that war-torn country, with Islamabad possibly even conceding on some issues that its prior government never would have in pursuit of clinching such an agreement in the hopes of repairing its troubled ties with Washington. The reintroduction of US forces to the region, even clandestine ones such as CIA drone teams, could be very destabilizing and thus contribute to even more uncertainty about Afghanistan’s overall situation.

The scenario of Pakistan’s new authorities, who rose to power through scandalous circumstances that the ousted premier attributed to a US-orchestrated conspiracy, facilitating the American military’s and/or intelligence’s return to the region would certainly be frowned upon by all regional stakeholders. No matter what’s said between their diplomats, it’s doubtful that they place much trust in that country’s new leadership after its Energy Minister passionately insisted that former Prime Minister Khan was lying about his energy negotiations with Russia in spite of the official facts contradicting him.

The uncertainty about Pakistan’s grand strategic trajectory after its recent change of government and the credible concerns that its new leadership is preparing to decisively pivot towards the US contribute to the larger uncertainty about everything associated with Afghanistan right now. The overall situation is negative and there’s too much “fog of (hybrid) war” to confidently predict where everything is headed. Afghanistan’s internal insecurity, border tensions, and the potentially Pakistani-backed US military factor are combining to create yet another storm in the New Cold War that threatens to destabilize the region.

Russian-Pakistani Energy Cooperation: Separating Fact From Fiction

10 MAY 2022

Source

Incumbent Pakistani Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan’s claims about his country’s energy cooperation with Russia contradict his predecessor Hammad Azhar’s. Quite clearly, only one of those two ministers is correct: either the incumbent one or his predecessor. In order to get to the bottom of figuring out which one it is, it’s important to share some facts about Russian-Pakistani energy cooperation.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s repeated claims that he was negotiating a deal to import energy from Russia at a 30% discount have become the center of that country’s latest scandal connected to his contentious ouster in early April. He believes that the no-confidence motion against him was part of a US-orchestrated regime change plot to punish him for his independent foreign policy, especially its Russian dimension, while the opposition insists that it was constitutional, legal, and was only due to his mismanagement of the economy. The former premier’s revelation about the alleged details connected to his purported negotiations with Russia challenges the pretext behind his ouster since the lack of progress on them since then suggests that economic issues weren’t the reason why he was removed.

New Pakistani Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan was reported by Dawn to have said on Tuesday that “I also tell you clearly that the Imran Khan’s claim of buying oil and gas from Russia is absolutely false and baseless, as there is no paper / evidence available with the quarters concerned. Whatever they are claiming in this regard is just a lie.” That prompted his predecessor to tweet a letter that he sent to his Russian counterpart Nikolai Shulginov on 30 March thanking him for the hospitality that his delegation received during their latest visit to Moscow at the end of February where he wrote that “a wide range of issues on cooperation in Energy were discussed.” He then said that Pakistan wants to “fast-track” negotiations on the import of LNG as well as crude and diesel “on concessional terms”.

Former Minister Hammad Azhar also wrote in his tweet that “IK as PM chaired 2 meetings on the subject & we were aiming for purchasing first cargoes in April.” Quite clearly, only one of those two ministers is correct: either the incumbent one or his predecessor. In order to get to the bottom of figuring out which one it is, it’s important to share some facts about Russian-Pakistani energy cooperation. Minister Shulginov and Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Shafqat Ali Khan signed a document on 28 May 2021 enabling the start of construction on the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline in the near future according to TASS, a reputable Russian media outlet. In November, that Russian official and former Pakistani Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan discussed further energy cooperation.

According to TASS, Minister Shulginov said during the intergovernmental commission on trade that “We believe that today a decision has been made to move towards the start of the construction, and that there will be proposals from Novatek on LNG supplies.” Minister Ayub Khan was reported to have said in response to that proposal that “Two more private terminals will be required, there is no limit of intent here, so by all means, we are ready to discuss the construction of new terminals.” On the same day as former Minister Azhar’s scanned letter to his Russian counterpart, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement following Minister Sergey Lavrov’s discussion with his former Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehood Qureshi which adds further insight into the research question.

Per TASS’ report, “Readiness was expressed to build up the multidiscipline bilateral interaction. The increase of the trade turnover and implementation of a range of projects in the energy sphere, including construction of the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline, were identified as priority tasks.” This suggests that their discussions about projects in the energy sphere included the pipeline that was specified but weren’t exclusive to it. That’s a credible interpretation considering the press release that was shared by the Pakistani Embassy in Moscow’s official Facebook account following former Prime Minister Khan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in late February where it was reported that “The two sides also discussed cooperation on prospective energy related projects”, thus hinting at other ones.

Less than a week before former Minister Azhar’s letter and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement, Express Tribune cited unnamed sources in their report on 24 March titled “Pakistan in talks with Russia for LNG imports”. According to this reputable Pakistani outlet, “Sources said the Pakistani government was interested to sign a government-to-government deal with Russia to import LNG to meet its growing gas demand. They added that Russia was developing the Yamal Project, which would be one of the largest LNG facilities in the world. Russia is also meeting the demand of Europe by exporting gas through a pipeline despite the opposition of the US. The sources said Pakistan LNG Limited was in talks with Russian firms Gazprom and Novatek to import the gas.”

Express Tribune also reported on some crucial details about these reported talks that grant further credence to their existence at the time. In their words, “Russia is too far away and Pakistan might face higher freight charges in comparison with LNG cargoes coming from Qatar. However, Russia might have the option to follow LNG cargo swap with other companies operating close to Pakistan that could result in cutting the freight charges.” Unless the journalist shared this information because they’re an industry expert and thought it relevant to inform their audience about, that possibility suggests that the outlet’s sources were where that scenario first emerged from. The report’s timing less than a week ahead of former Minister Azhar’s letter and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement might not be coincidental.

Considering all these objectively existing and easily verifiable facts connected to Russian-Pakistani energy cooperation under former Prime Minister Khan’s government, there’s every reason to believe that the ousted leader was indeed in talks with Russia on the import of discounted fuel for his energy-deficient country exactly as his Energy Minister claimed in the scanned document that he shared on Twitter. This casts doubt on incumbent Minister Dastgir Khan’s claim that “I also tell you clearly that the Imran Khan’s claim of buying oil and gas from Russia is absolutely false and baseless, as there is no paper / evidence available with the quarters concerned. Whatever they are claiming in this regard is just a lie.” Hopefully he’ll soon clarify his statement in light of the evidence that was just shared in this analysis.

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Seems Like the US after Monkeying Around in Pakistan is Primed for a Relationship Reset

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Shafei Moiz Hali 

The US’ swift moves and clear contrast instances unmistakably point at foul play in Khan’s ouster.

Seems Like the US after Monkeying Around in Pakistan is Primed for a Relationship Reset

In 2021, as the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan was planned, news of Pakistan and US discussions for the use of Pakistan’s airspace for counter-terrorism in Afghanistan post-US withdrawal started to surface. However, such news and rumors were put to rest in June 2021, during an interview of then-Prime Minister Imran Khan by Jonathan Swan from Axios on HBO. During the interview, Khan’s famous words “absolutely not” regarding the allowance of the CIA’s use of bases on Pakistani soil were not only a surprise for Jonathan Swan but also alarmed the decision-makers in Washington. The messy US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 spawned tremendous criticism from global media, which termed the US’ two-decades-long campaign in Afghanistan as a failure. The failure scrambled the US officials to search for a scapegoat, which led to blaming Pakistan for its role in undermining the war effort, and Pakistan’s efforts for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table in 2019 and 2020 and also in aiding the US coalition forces in their exit from Afghanistan did not receive any acknowledgment. Such cold behavior from the US officials left the Pakistan government weary and critical of the US as a strategic partner. The Pakistani government started thinking regionally and multilaterally to secure the country’s interests, and this directed Imran Khan’s government toward Russia.

Khan visited Russia from 23-24 February 2022, and it was during this official state visit that Russia’s operation in Ukraine began. Following Khan’s Moscow visit, Pakistan was amongst 35 nations that abstained from voting at the UN against Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Such steps taken by Imran Khan’s government irked the US officials, and surprisingly, 44 days after Imran Khan’s Moscow visit, he was voted out of government. The public in Pakistan is baffled and aghast by Imran Khan’s ouster as he is the same Prime Minister who is credited for reducing the country’s external debt to GDP ratio from 31.6% to 28.5% and is also credited with successfully steering the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was also praised internationally and by the World Health Organization. The Economist’s normalcy index ranked Pakistan among the top three countries that handled the pandemic well. Khan’s strongman style of governance and anti-corruption drive were responsible for making enemies at home, and it is speculated that the same were used as tools for Khan’s removal.

A few days before Khan’s removal from office, on March 27, Mr. Khan addressed a public rally and spoke about foreign conspiracies hatched to knock down his government. In subsequent days, he revealed that the foreign country behind the conspiracy is the United States. Khan had received a diplomatic cable from Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed, in which the latter informed him of a peculiar meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu, and the US’ annoyance with Mr. Khan’s ‘independent foreign policy’ and visit to Moscow, warning him against repercussions at the level of the Pak-US relations.

The US is known to have orchestrated regime changes across the world. Some examples from contemporary history comprise: March-1949 Syrian coup d’état and 2012 to present attempts at regime change in Syria; 1953-Iranian coup d’état and 2005 to present; 1954-Guatemalan coup d’état; CIA’s Tibetan Program (although it failed, the Dalai Lama and Tibetan insurgents in Nepal continue to receive subsidies); 1956-58 US meddling in Indonesia; 1959-Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba;1960-1963 interference in Iraq, later in 1992-96 and the 2003 invasion; 1960-65 Congo Crisis engineered by the US; 1961 regime change in the Dominican Republic; 1963 CIA-backed coup in South Vietnam; 1964-Brazilian coup d’état; 1966 military coup in Ghana; 1973 Chilean coup d’état; 1976 Argentine coup d’état; 1979-89 interference in Afghanistan; 1980 Turkish coup d’état; Poland 1980-89; Nicaragua 1981-90; Venezuela 2002 coup d’état attempt; Somalia 2006-7; Arab Spring 2010-2011; 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

The series of events leading up to PM Imran Khan’s removal from office seems like a page out of the CIA’s book of regime changes. Most of the above examples of US interventions start with the identification of local opposition leaders whose loyalties can be bought. Then these leaders in the opposition are funded to spread propaganda and mobilize protests and unrest within the country; making people lose faith in the government. Later, these same leaders are supplied with money to buy out people from the government and state institutions to further weaken the government until it is toppled. The resemblance is uncanny between what happened with Khan and the CIA’s actions in other countries for regime changes.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some analysts believe that there was no foreign hand in Khan’s ouster; rather, his removal has been due to his failed economic policies and other unpopular domestic political actions. The same analysts state that Khan is using the US conspiracy theory as a political ploy to save face and garner public support for re-election. In order to check whether foreign intervention played a role in Khan’s ouster, a simple test can be run by comparing the Biden administration’s stance toward Pakistan during Khan’s government and after Khan’s government.

During Khan’s government, Pakistan sought economic cooperation rather than security cooperation with the US, which is why Imran Khan categorically refused to discuss options for offering military bases to the CIA in Pakistan. In response, the Biden administration rejected Pakistan’s proposals for economic cooperation. It has been less than a month since the new government in Pakistan has assumed responsibilities and on May 4, 2022, the US State Department during its press briefing hinted at Pak-US counter-terrorism assistance and cross-border security vis-à-vis Afghanistan. On May 6, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari received a congratulatory call from Secretary of State Antony Blinken who agreed with his Pakistani counterpart that engagement with mutual respect was the way forward for both countries. There is a striking difference between the US stance in Blinken’s phone call and the diplomatic cable received by Khan’s government.  In the coming days, more is expected to happen as the new Foreign Minister of Pakistan has received an invitation to visit the United States to attend a Global Food Security Meeting this month. Such swift moves and clear contrast instances unmistakably point at foul play in Khan’s ouster.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The Removal Of Imran Khan and the Popular Push Back. How Pakistan Helped Foster “The War on Terrorism”

May 07, 2022

Global Research,

By Michael WelchJunaid S. Ahmad, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

***

“I am saying to you today, that for the first time, Pakistan’s policies won’t be for the few rich people, it will be for the poor, for our women, for our minorities, whose rights are not respected. My whole aim will be to protect our lower classes and to bring them up.”

–  Imran Khan, 2018 election campaign speech [1]

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In the early hours of April 9, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, faced a no-confidence motion in the country’s National Assembly resulting in his removal from power. This was the first time ever that an official of his stature was removed in such a manner. [2]

What makes this move so geopolitically significant was the unique significance of this state as a square on the tabletop of the grand chessboard between the United States, and Russia and China.

On the one hand, Pakistan has traditionally used the country’s military and the intelligence services, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as partners. Over the course of the last twenty years, the Islamic State was a leading local site from which to launch air and ground operations in favor of America’s War on Terrorism. And as Michel Chossudovsky wrote back at the time of the infamous September 11th terrorist attacks, the ISI played a key role in acting as a “go-between” between the CIA and the Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan going back to 1979. This would in large part lead to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. [3][4]

On the other hand, Pakistan has gained partners both in Russia and in China. There was a vital 1100km gas pipeline project between Lahore and Karachi in which the goods would be provided from Russia. And in November of 2014, Russia and Pakistan signed a defense cooperation pact followed by a military-technical cooperation agreement all of which would serve toward “Strengthening of mutual trust and international security, counter-terrorist and arms control activities.” [5][6][7]

And then there was China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, which would ultimately help undermine dependence on the Strait of Malacca and building a conduit between China and West Asia and the Middle East. [8]

These alliances have been tightening under the new leader Khan. On the same night Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the Ukraine intervention, Khan had been meeting with him to discuss a wide variety of subjects including economic and energy cooperation. He did not announce a formal disapproval of the intervention in Ukraine then, nor did he do it when he returned home. [9][10]

Did Khan then cross the rubicon and slot himself in the bad books of Washington? Maybe it’s a coincidence, but in the lead-up to the National Assembly vote of no confidence, Prime Minister Khan cited the following quote of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu as evidence the U.S. was behind this move:

“If Prime Minister Imran Khan remained in office, then Pakistan will be isolated from the United States and we will take the issue head on; but if the vote of no-confidence succeeds, all will be forgiven.” [11]

Was this yet another plot of regime change by the United States? And how would the people coming out in unprecedented number in support of their removed Prime Minister prevail in his return to power? We will examine these questions on this edition of the Global Research News Hour.

In Part One of our series, we will talk to Professor Junaid Ahmad, who has a background in Pakistan about the details of the coup, the reasons for Khan to go, and the resulting push back from the people of Pakistan. And in our second half hour, we present a repeat broadcast from October of 2012 of an interview with Professor Michel Chossudovsky, founder/director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. His talk mostly deals with Afghanistan and 9/11, although he touches also on Pakistan’s then pivotal role in the military-intelligent quagmire surrounding the whole affair.

Junaid S. Ahmad teaches Religion, Law, and Politics and is the Director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of thirteen books including The Globalization of War: America’s Long War Against Humanity (2015), and the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Second Edition (2005). He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. 

(Global Research News Hour Episode 354)

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Other stations airing the show:

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Notes:

  1. ‘Imran Khan’s speech in full’ (July 26, 2018), Al Jazeera;https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/7/26/imran-khans-speech-in-full
  2. No-Trust Motion: Imran Khan Becomes First Prime Minister To Be Voted Out Of Power (April 10, 2022), The Nation; https://nation.com.pk/2022/04/10/no-trust-motion-imran-khan-becomes-first-prime-minister-to-be-voted-out-of-pow/
  3. https://asiatimes.com/2021/05/pakistan-leans-towards-giving-us-military-bases/
  4. https://www.globalresearch.ca/september-11-2001-the-crimes-of-war-committed-in-the-name-of-911/5311561
  5. https://cscr.pk/explore/themes/trade-economics/pakistan-russia-china-emerging-coalition/
  6. https://www.ilaan.com/news/gas-pipelines-to-be-laid-from-lahore-to-karachi
  7. https://dsm.forecastinternational.com/wordpress/2019/05/03/russia-and-pakistan-a-new-arms-deal-on-the-horizon/
  8. https://cscr.pk/explore/themes/trade-economics/pakistan-russia-china-emerging-coalition/
  9. https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2022/02/24/pakistan-prime-minister-imran-khan-in-russia-to-meet-putin
  10. https://www.globalresearch.ca/regime-change-islamabad/5776219
  11. https://www.globalresearch.ca/pakistan-pivot-russia-ouster-imran-khan/5777970?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Michael WelchJunaid S. Ahmad, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2022

Sino-Pakistan relationship: A challenge for the new Pakistani government

6 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Ruqiya Anwar 

Perhaps no other country in the region has seen China’s footprint grow more than Pakistan.

Sino-Pakistan Relationship: A challenge for New Pakistani Government

China’s interest in South Asia has grown dramatically in recent years, encompassing geostrategic and security objectives and economic and development projects. Perhaps no other country in the region has seen China’s footprint grow more than Pakistan.

After Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was dismissed from office by a historic no-confidence motion amid a significant political crisis in the South Asian country, China stressed that relations with Pakistan are unlikely to be harmed. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, China has been keeping a careful eye on the political situation in Pakistan. “As Pakistan’s close neighbor and staunch ally, China hopes that all groups in Pakistan remain together and work together to ensure the country’s general stability and development. Therefore, China would stick to its favorable stance toward Pakistan.” 

At the same time, security concerns in Pakistan will put the partnership’s strength to the test in the coming years. However, if the country’s internal security deteriorates or Chinese concerns about its political direction deepen, it will be a huge missed opportunity. Recently, three Chinese nationals were killed in a suicide attack in Pakistan. The director of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-run entity that conducts language and cultural programs worldwide, and two other faculty members in Pakistan were among the deceased, posing a challenge for Pakistan’s new government as it attempts to improve relations with China. On the other hand, the Pakistani government promptly stated that those responsible would be found and punished.

One of Pakistan’s most important military and economic assistance sources is China. This support from a major state is significant for Islamabad, which does not have many powerful allies. Moreover, Pakistan also hopes that Chinese initiatives will assist it in modernizing and transforming its economy while somehow keeping India in check.

Furthermore, as the geopolitical competition with the US increases and alliances form to confront China’s growing assertiveness both in the region and beyond, Islamabad is likely to remain a crucial strategic partner for China. One of the major beneficiaries of China’s rise as a global power should be Pakistan. However, the US has constantly tried to sabotage or disrupt China-Pakistan relations, particularly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Khan’s government had tight relations with the US, particularly following his February travel to Russia, which the US saw as a clear signal of taking sides in the Ukraine issue between the US and Russia. Khan has previously claimed that the US was behind efforts to depose him because he had visited Moscow in February. China has never intervened like the US in other countries’ internal affairs: China and Pakistan can have an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership because China treats all parties that come to power equally and stays out of their internal affairs.

Relations with Beijing have only grown more significant as China’s investments in Pakistan have increased, particularly since establishing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which connects Pakistani ports to Chinese transportation networks.

Notably, the new Pakistani prime minister stated that the everlasting Pak-China friendship is firmly ingrained in the hearts of the two countries’ people and that Pakistan sees China as its best friend and values its strong friendship with the Chinese people. Pakistan and China have always stood by one other and worked together for mutual benefit, providing a positive example for international relations.

Most importantly, the new Pakistani government is willing to deepen bilateral cooperation in agriculture, science and technology, education, and poverty alleviation and accelerate the CPEC’s construction with more vigor and efficiency to benefit both countries and peoples.

Significantly, cooperation between China and Pakistan in counterterrorism and the fight against the coronavirus is critical for Pakistan to overcome its current challenges. This means China is the country’s most dependable, trustworthy, powerful, and irreplaceable partner. Moreover, China adheres to the concept of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Therefore, no matter how the international scene and their respective domestic situations evolve, China-Pakistan relations have always been unshakeable and rock-solid, as history has repeatedly demonstrated.

According to Chinese and Pakistani analysts, China-Pakistan relations will not be influenced by Pakistan’s internal political changes because safeguarding and developing bilateral relationships is a collective consensus of all parties and groups in Pakistan. Experts from both China and Pakistan are optimistic about the future of China-Pakistan relations, believing that the new government will respect the country’s long-standing history of safeguarding the country’s friendship with China and all China-Pakistan cooperation projects. China looks forward to working closely with the new Pakistani government to maintain historic friendships, improve strategic communication, progress the CPEC, and establish a closer China-Pakistan community with a common vision in the 21st century (CGTN, 2020). Pakistan’s current political troubles have nothing to do with the country’s strong connections with China. Thus collaboration between the two countries will be unaffected.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Terror from Balochistan: a menacing tool to disrupt Sino-Pakistani economics

A Baloch suicide bombing targeting Chinese workers in Karachi comes a mere month after the US-backed ousting of PM Imran Khan. Pakistan is a critical BRI hub in Beijing’s vast Eurasian connectivity project, and it looks like CPEC is the ultimate target of this disruption.

May 05 2022

Balochistan can only benefit from Chinese infrastructure investment in the immensely impoverished Pakistani province. But an uptick in attacks on Chinese workers by militant separatists suggests that external agendas may be in play. Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

This is the concise story of how a suicide bombing may carry the potential to subvert the whole, ongoing, complex process of Eurasia integration.

Recently, the Balochistan Liberation Movement (BLA) had released an ISIS-influenced video threatening “Chinese officials and installations” in Pakistan’s vast province.

Yet what actually happened in late April was a suicide bombing outside of the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute – not Balochistan – and targeting Chinese teachers, not “officials and installations.”

The suicide bomber was a woman, Shaari Baloch, alias Bramsh, who detonated her vest just as a van carrying Institute staff members approached the entrance. The attack was claimed by the BLA’s Majeed Brigade, which stressed that this was the first time they used a female suicide bomber.

Shaari Baloch was a schoolteacher with a Zoology degree, enrolled to pursue a second Master’s degree, married to a dentist and professor at Makran Medical College in her hometown of Turbat, in southern Balochistan. Her three brothers include a doctor, a deputy director at a government-funded project, and a civil servant. So Shaari Baloch was far from being a mere destitute online-indoctrinated Salafi-jihadi.

The Pakistani Foreign Office had to stress the obvious: this was a “direct attack on the Pakistan-China friendship and ongoing cooperation,” always qualified, by both sides, as “iron brothers.” Pakistan is an absolutely key node of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to connect the Eurasian landmass.

This was no standard terrorist attack. Its reverberations are immense – not only in one of Pakistan’s provinces and South Asia regionally, but for the whole of Eurasia. It may be a harbinger of serious turbulence ahead.

Shaari Baloch’s act of desperation should be seen, to start with, as the embodiment of a deep-seated Baloch alienation felt by the educated middle classes, from lawyers and traders to students, constantly permeating the complex relationship with a distant Islamabad. A significant part of the puzzle is that 26 Pakistani intel agencies never saw it coming.

Baloch leaders instantly made the point that the best possible reaction would be to call a Grand Jirga – modeled on the Shahi Jirga practiced at the time of the partition of the subcontinent – that would unite all tribal elders to address the most pressing local grievances.

Round up the usual suspects

Balochistan, geostrategically, is as valuable as rare earth minerals: an immense desert positioned east of Iran, south of Afghanistan, and boasting three Arabian Sea ports, including Gwadar, practically at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Comprising nearly 48 percent of Pakistan’s area, Balochistan is rich in uranium and copper, potentially very rich in oil, produces more than one-third of Pakistan’s natural gas, and sparsely populated. The Baloch account for the majority of the population, followed by Pashtuns. Quetta, the large provincial capital, for years was considered Taliban Central by the Pentagon.

Gwadar, the port built by China on the southwestern Balochistan coast of the Arabian Sea – directly across from Oman – is the absolute key node of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and doubles as the essential link in a never-ending pipeline saga. The Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, previously known as the “peace pipeline,” with plans to cross from Iranian to Pakistani Balochistan (India still has not made up its mind) is absolute anathema to Washington since the George W. Bush era.

CPEC remains an endless source of controversy even inside Pakistan. Beyond all the links planned between Gwadar and Xinjiang by the year 2030, most of this ambitious connectivity corridor deals with energy, industrial zones and road and rail projects in different parts of the country – an overall improvement of its lagging infrastructure. The Chinese, for years, have quipped that in fact “all of Pakistan is a corridor.”

The US security establishment, predictably, has been planning for years to instrumentalize an insurgency in Balochistan to – what else – “disrupt” first the possibility of an energy pipeline from Gwadar to Xinjiang, and then the overall CPEC project. Usual suspects like the US’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are very much present in Balochistan. WikiLeaks had revealed a great deal of the game back in 2015.

A Carnegie Institute report noted how “many Baloch nationalist leaders now come from the urbanized districts of Kech, Panjgur, and Gwadar (and to a lesser extent from Quetta, Khuzdar, Turbat, Kharan, and Lasbela). They are well connected to Karachi and Gulf cities, where tribal structures are non-existent. In fact, while there is violence all over the province, the insurgency seems to concentrate mainly in these urbanized areas.”

Suicide bomber Shaari Baloch came from Turbat, the province’s second largest city, where the BLA is very much active. From the point of view of the usual suspects, these are choice assets, especially after the death of important tribal leaders such as Akbar Bugti. The report duly noted how “the educated and middle-class Baloch youth are in the forefront” of the insurgency.

The anti-China instrumentalization of the BLA also ties in with the regime-change parliament operation in Islamabad that recently deposed former prime minister Imran Khan, who was always a fierce adversary of the American “Forever War” in Afghanistan. Khan resolutely denied Pakistan’s use in “over the horizon” US military ops: that was one of the key reasons for him to be ousted.

Now, with a pliant, Washington-approved, new regime in town, a miracle has just happened: the Pentagon is about to clinch a formal agreement with Islamabad to use Pakistani airspace to – what else – keep interfering in Afghanistan.

Beijing, as well as other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), won’t be amused. Only weeks before the white coup, Khan had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and once again underscored how Pakistan and China are “iron brothers.”

Imran Khan was a serious thorn in the side of the west because he kept impressing on Pakistanis that the Forever War in Afghanistan was militarily unwinnable. He knew how all the proxies – including the BLA – that destabilized both Afghanistan and Pakistan for decades were, and continue to be, part of US covert operations.

Not an Iran-India plot

Balochistan is as deeply tribal as the Pashtun tribal areas. Local tribal chiefs can be as ultra-conservative as Islamabad is neglectful (and they are not exactly paragons of human rights either). Most tribes though bow to Islamabad’s authority – except, first and foremost, the Bugti.

And then there’s the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which both Washington and London used to brand as a terrorist group, and then forgot about it. The BLA operated for years out of Kandahar in Afghanistan (only two hours away from Quetta), and already in the previous decade – simultaneous to the announcement of the New Silk Roads and CPEC – stressed it was getting ready to attack non-Balochis (code for the government in Islamabad as well as Chinese foreigners).

Balochis are inclined to consider the BLA as a resistance group. But Islamabad has always denied it, saying their support is not beyond 10 percent of the provincial population.

An ample controversy has raged in Pakistan for years on whether the BLA was totally hijacked by the CIA, the MI6 and the Mossad. During a 2006 visit to Iran, I was prevented from going to the Sistan-Balochistan province in southeast Iran because, according to Tehran’s version, infiltrated CIA from Pakistani Balochistan were involved in covert, cross-border attacks. It was no secret to anyone in the region that since 9/11 the US virtually controlled the Baloch air bases in Dalbandin and Panjgur.

In October 2001, while waiting for an opening to cross to Kandahar from Quetta, I spent quite some time with a number of BLA associates and sympathizers. They described themselves as “progressive, nationalist, anti-imperialist” (and that would make them difficult to be co-opted by the US). They were heavily critical of “Punjabi chauvinism,” and always insisted the region’s resources belong to Balochis first; that was their rationale for attacks on gas pipelines.

Stressing an atrocious, provincial literacy rate of only 16 percent (“It’s government policy to keep Balochistan backward”), they resented the fact that most people still lacked drinking water. They claimed support from at least 70 percent of the Baloch population (“Whenever the BLA fires a rocket, it’s the talk of the bazaars”). They also claimed to be united, and in coordination with Iranian Balochis. And they insisted that “Pakistan had turned Balochistan into a US cantonment, which affected a lot the relationship between the Afghan and Baloch peoples.”

Two decades later, and after the whole ISIS saga in Syria and Iraq, it’s a completely different story. BLA sympathizers may still be prepared to remain within a Pakistani confederation, although with infinitely more autonomy. But now they seem to be willing to use western imperial help to strike not only at the central government in Islamabad, but also at the “near abroad” foreign profiteer (China).

After the Karachi suicide bombing, a narrative started to emerge in some Pakistani circles that Iran and India were in cahoots to destabilize Balochistan.

That makes absolutely no sense. Both Tehran and Islamabad are tightly linked to Beijing through several nodes of the New Silk Roads. Iran would draw less than zero benefit to collude with India to destabilize an area that borders Afghanistan, especially when the SCO is fully engaged in incorporating Kabul into the Eurasia integration process. Moreover, the IPI has its best chances ever to come to fruition in the near future, consolidating an umbilical cord from Southwest Asia to South Asia.

During the late years of Barack Obama’s administration, the BLA, though still a fringe group with a political wing and a military wing, was regrouping and rearming, while the chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Raisani, was suspected of being a CIA asset (there was no conclusive proof).

Already at the time, the fear in Islamabad was that the government had taken its eye off the Balochistan ball – and that the BLA was about to be effectively used by the US for balkanization purposes. That seems to be the picture right now. Yet the heart of the matter – glaringly expressed by the Karachi suicide bombing – is that Islamabad still remains impervious to the key Baloch grievance: we want to profit from our natural wealth, and we want autonomy.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Analyzing The Significance Of Imran Khan’s Record-Shattering Twitter Spaces Session

21 APRIL 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

From the perspective of a well-intended outsider who’s closely studied Pakistan’s specific national security challenges, it is indeed the case that the greatest casualty of recent events is the partial loss of trust in the official national security narrative since the country’s officials didn’t present a unified front related to the latest such threat that the former Prime Minister claimed was in motion. These developments are unique in Pakistan’s history and further exacerbate the divide between the population’s respective interpretations of recent events and their relation to national security.

The greatest casualty of recent events in Pakistan, irrespective of whether one regards them as a US-orchestrated regime change or a proud display of constitutional integrity, is the partial loss of trust in the official national security narrative. Leaders come and go, some heroically and others shamefully, but national security is supposed to be enduring, especially in a country that’s as seriously afflicted by such threats as Pakistan is. Its leadership and military-intelligence structures, collectively described as The Establishment in Pakistani parlance, used to have the complete trust of their people whenever they’d inform them of a threat to national security, but that’s regrettably no longer the case right now.

Those who interpret recent events as a US-orchestrated regime change are extremely concerned that The Establishment didn’t intervene to thwart this process by potentially postponing the opposition’s no-confidence motion until a comprehensive investigation could be completed to reassure the public about everything. Meanwhile, those who interpret these same events as a proud display of constitutional integrity are aghast what they believe was the previous Prime Minister’s exploitation of national security narratives for self-serving political reasons in order to cling to power against all odds. There is no middle ground: someone either believes one or the other, and both interpretations appear to be irreconcilable.

This poses a truly unprecedented dilemma for The Establishment since never before has the population been so polarized about the official national security narrative. After all, the country’s prior leader made very dramatic accusations that were backed up by members of his government such as his Foreign Minister. He even held a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the alleged regime change threat that he later revealed was orchestrated by the US as punishment for his independent foreign policy. Pakistanis had hitherto been taught to always take their leaders’ warnings about national security for granted and to never doubt them due to the severity of such threats to their country.

Everyone of course has the right to personally be skeptical about whatever it is that they’re being told, but those who believed the former Prime Minister were reacting exactly as The Establishment had taught them to over the years. Society was already well aware of Hybrid War threats due to their military-intelligence structures’ public awareness campaigns to inform them about the multidimensional forms that they could take. Considering Pakistan’s troubled history of ties with the US and the latter’s documented history of carrying out regime changes across the world through very creative means, it was certainly believable that their former leader was telling the truth. They had no reason to doubt him.

The former Deputy Speaker’s decision to dismiss the opposition’s no-confidence motion on that basis therefore made complete sense to them, who assumed that The Establishment tacitly approved of that happening since they thought that it shared the former Prime Minister’s national security concerns about this scandal. The Supreme Court’s ruling that this was unconstitutional, however, surprised those who were taught to take their leaders’ national security warnings for granted and to never question them since everyone was previously informed that sometimes the average person doesn’t have all the information needed to accurately assess such threats, especially if this information remains classified.

It was therefore with complete shock that these same people then witnessed the sequence of events that followed whereby the former Prime Minister was ultimately removed through the same no-confidence motion that his own government described as playing into the hands of the US’ regime change plot against Pakistan. Similarly shocking to them was that The Establishment didn’t intervene to stop this from happening, which suggested one of two mutually exclusive conclusions: high-ranking members within it associated with this institution’s pro-US school of thought were part of this plot or their former Prime Minister exploited their trust and lied to them for self-serving political reasons.

From the opposite side, those who were always against the former Prime Minister never personally trusted him but for whatever reason went against what The Establishment had hitherto taught them about taking their leaders’ national security warnings for granted. They publicly expressed not just skepticism, but even condemned it as a lie. According to the social standards that were widely assumed to have been in place prior to last weekend’s events, these individuals could have been described as defying The Establishment and potentially even endangering national security, but their narrative now seems credible to some since that same institution didn’t intervene to stop that scandalous process.  

From the perspective of a well-intended outsider who’s closely studied Pakistan’s specific national security challenges, it is indeed the case that the greatest casualty of recent events is the partial loss of trust in the official national security narrative since the country’s officials didn’t present a unified front related to the latest such threat that the former Prime Minister claimed was in motion. This observation is indisputable no matter how much some might want to suppress it. It must be acknowledged and responded to in the interests of restoring this partially lost trust in order to sustainably ensure national security the next time that such threats present themselves so that people don’t dismiss it as fake news.

This challenge will be immensely difficult to resolve considering the unprecedented polarization within society in response to the latest events. The former ruling party already proved that their interpretation of patriotism, sovereignty, and national security appeals to a wide segment of the population despite differing from The Establishment’s after inspiring the largest rallies that the country has seen in decades. The former Prime Minister also continues to describe those who replaced him as an imported government and declared the beginning of a peaceful and legal freedom struggle to politically liberate Pakistan from this foreign yoke.

These developments are unique in Pakistan’s history and further exacerbate the divide between the population’s respective interpretations of recent events and their relation to national security. There’s no doubt that the country’s enemies will inevitably attempt to exploit this dynamic, which is why it’s of the highest importance that society returns to unquestionably trusting their leaders and The Establishment whenever they warn about national security threats. This must be the top priority right now for all Pakistanis, both those within The Establishment (including its rank and file) and outside of it. Trust must urgently be restored, but for that to happen, a national dialogue might first be needed.

It’s Fifth Generation Warfare To Falsely Describe Imran Khan As Fascist

23 APRIL 2022

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By Andrew Korybko

Many Pakistanis feel that something is very wrong with incumbent Prime Minister Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a “fascist regime” but can’t quite put their finger on it or feel uncomfortable calling it what it is: 5GW waged against them by their own leader for purely partisan purposes.

Fifth Generation Warfare (5GW), which can also be described as Hybrid Warfare, generally refers to the non-kinetic/non-military means that are employed by a foreign state to destabilize a targeted one. These importantly include information warfare and the increasingly creative narratives that are associated with such campaigns. Pakistan has long been targeted by 5GW due to its geostrategic position, which is why The Establishment – which refers to that country’s powerful military-intelligence structures – invested heavily in informing the masses about this over the years so that they can defend their homeland from such threats. Nowadays, however, the 5GW attacks against it are coming from within and being launched to advance a purely partisan aim. The worst part is that those participating in this campaign don’t realize how counterproductive it is to their country’s national security interests.

Everything began in the run-up to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ouster from office through the opposition’s ultimately successful no-confidence motion against him. He described that sequence of events as a US-orchestrated regime change against him as punishment for his independent foreign policy, especially its Russian dimension, while the new authorities insisted that it was a purely constitutional process and therefore entirely legal. The weeks since have seen the former premier inspire some of the largest rallies in his country’s history. He also shattered the world record for the most popular Twitter Spaces session. Pakistan is now in the throes of a major political crisis that can objectively be described as a revolution after former Prime Minister Khan declared the formation of a new freedom movement whose followers will soon descend from all across the country onto the capital.

The grassroots appeal of his patriotic, pro-sovereignty, and national security narratives broke The Establishment’s prior monopoly on them and thus heralded a new socio-political (soft security) era for the country. Instead of pragmatically going with the flow and trying to regain partial control of these dynamic by extending credence to some of his interpretations, the new authorities fiercely pushed back against all of this in increasingly wild ways that included dehumanizing the former premier’s supporters as so-called “bots” and even describing him as a so-called “fascist”. Not only has this proven to be completely counterproductive to their cause of delegitimizing his narratives since all that it did was further embolden his supporters by convincing them that there’s indeed an actual conspiracy at play against them personally, but it also crucially eroded Pakistan’s national security at home and abroad.

To explain, newly inaugurated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a so-called “fascist regime” amounted to the blowing of a dog whistle intended to signal to his allied media that they should maximally amplify this false narrative in a desperate attempt to delegitimize the former premier and his supporters. In other words, it represented the onset of an information warfare campaign, which thus makes it an example of 5GW, albeit one that’s being waged for purely partisan reasons and by none other than the new Prime Minister himself. The incumbent leader’s 5GW against his own people is unprecedented and took many by surprise since it was unexpected that someone in his position would ever do such a thing, especially after The Establishment spent years informing everyone of how dangerous such infowars can be.

Without realizing it, Prime Minister Sharif just discredited millions of his own people but also nearly the last four years of Pakistani policy. His emotional description, which he probably didn’t put any thought into before expressing otherwise he likely wouldn’t have shared it, made it impossible for there to be any civilized discourse between the feuding political sides since he implied that they’re genocidal racists. Even worse, his careless description discredited everything that former Prime Minister Khan ever did on the world stage, including his famous description of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a fascist while speaking at the UN General Assembly in September 2019. No Pakistani leader has ever done more for the Kashmiri cause than former Prime Minister Khan, yet incumbent Prime Minister Sharif regards all of that and more as nothing but the illegitimate actions of a so-called “fascist regime”.

By innuendo, it’s implied that his team plans to reverse everything that their “fascist” predecessor did, which raises questions about the new authorities’ stance towards Kashmir as well as the speculative scenario of hosting US bases after former Prime Minister Khan famously said “absolutely not” in response to a question about that last summer. After all, if the former premier presided over a so-called “fascist regime” that’s therefore presumed to have been “illegitimate” due to that extremely specific description of it, then it naturally follows that his supposedly “anti-fascist” replacement will dismantle everything that his predecessor did. This has enormous national security implications since the Kashmir Conflict is inextricably connected to Pakistan’s security. It also makes one wonder whether incumbent Prime Minister Sharif will revise his predecessor’s newly promulgated National Security Policy too.

That document eschewed geopolitics in favor of geo-economics, explicitly stating that “Pakistan’s geo-economic pivot is focused on enhancing trade and economic ties through connectivity that links Central Asia to our warm waters.” This means that relations with Russia are also of extremely high importance for Pakistan since that part of the world is traditionally regarded as being within that country’s so-called “sphere of influence”. For that reason, it’s all the more uncomfortable that the new authorities haven’t clarified anything about the deal that former Prime Minister Khan claimed that he was negotiating with Russia to receiver a 30% discount on agricultural and energy imports. This raises suspicions that that they might be seeking to reverse that dimension of the former premier’s “fascist” foreign policy, which in turn fuels speculation that they’re operating under US influence at the expense of national interests.

That’s because the deal that former Prime Minister Khan spoke about would objectively be in Pakistan’s national interests since this massive country desperately needs more food and fuel, especially at discounted prices, in order to weather the global agricultural and energy crises. Potentially doing away with that deal without having a better one to clinch with someone else instead would therefore be against Pakistan’s objective national interests, but it might be “justified” on a false “anti-fascist” pretext considering the ridiculous description that incumbent Prime Minister Sharif shared about his predecessor. In terms of 5GW, this “anti-fascist” infowar against former Prime Minister Khan fulfills the purpose of distracting the public from potential foreign policy decisions that might arguably be against the national interest, whether abandoning the deal with Russia or discrediting criticism of Indian policy.

This campaign is also actually fascist itself since it aims to dehumanize his supporters as nothing but so-called “bots” exactly as all fascist infowars throughout history have sought to do to their opponents. Once someone and their movement are described as “fascist”, those who labelled them as such feel morally superior and that they have the right to do whatever is needed – including that which would be regarded as immoral if done to anyone other than a so-called “fascist” – to fight against this so-called “evil”. It’s already dangerous enough that the incumbent Prime Minister discredited millions of his own people as “fascists” but it’s even worse that he also unwittingly discredited everything that Pakistan did on the world stage over nearly the past four years under the previous Prime Minister. This includes describing Indian Prime Minister Modi as fascist, the reported Russia deal, and declining US bases.

Pakistanis are very informed people who paid close attention when their respected Establishment informed them about 5GW threats to their country. Many feel that something is very wrong with incumbent Prime Minister Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a “fascist regime” but can’t quite put their finger on it or feel uncomfortable calling it what it is: 5GW waged against them by their own leader for purely partisan purposes. This is unprecedented and also very dangerous since it threatens the country’s national security at home and abroad if this description is exploited as a pretext to crack down on the former premier’s supporters and/or to reverse his foreign policy over the past four years, especially towards India, Russia, and the US. Hopefully incumbent Prime Minister Sharif will realize how counterproductive his description was and will ask allied media to stop amplifying it.

Is Imran Khan Anti-American Or Pro-Pakistani?

April 22, 2022

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By Andrew Korybko

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is among the world’s most talked-about politicians in the present day. He described his removal from office in early April through the opposition’s successful no-confidence motion against him as being a U.S.-orchestrated regime change that was carried out to punish him for his independent foreign policy, especially its Russian dimension, while the new authorities insist that it was a purely constitutional and therefore legal process.

The former premier has since inspired some of the largest rallies in Pakistan’s history as he launched what he’s now calling his country’s new freedom movement following massive events in Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, and soon even the capital of Islamabad itself. He also shattered the world record for the largest Twitter Spaces session in late April too, all of which confirms how popular he remains among his people.

His interpretation of the sequence of events that led to his ouster has prompted claims from his opponents that he’s anti-American, which they portray as a radical worldview that is at odds with Pakistan’s objective national interests. Some of his critics have even speculated that he admires so-called “dictators” and supposedly aspires to be just like them, leading to fears that he’ll run his country’s economy further into the ground in the event that he happens to return to power through the immediate, free, and fair elections that he’s demanding as the only resolution to Pakistan’s ongoing political crisis.

All of this has had the effect of sowing fear about his ideological intentions, which in turn is meant to scare people away from supporting him, albeit to no avail thus far. It’s therefore appropriate to analyze whether one of the most talked-about politicians in the world is really anti-American or not.

Those convinced he is (or at least are acting as if that’s what they think in order to get others to believe this) point to his fierce critiques of U.S. policy during his nearly four years in office. They portray his position as nonsensical, especially his famous response of “absolutely not” when asked last year about the scenario of hosting U.S. bases. Although followers of this school of thought likely won’t ever openly say as much since it’s regarded as “politically correct” in their society to do so, they very strongly imply that it’s impossible for Pakistan to be treated with the respect that it deserves as the America’s equal that it technically is in the eyes of international law no matter how much former Prime Minister Khan wants this to happen. Due to the institutionalized asymmetry in their relations, particularly the economic-financial dimension, they regard this as a lost cause that’s doomed to fail.

Instead of publicly demanding respect and equality from the U.S., including by defying its speculative wish for Pakistan to host American bases and its National Security Advisor’s reported demand not to visit Moscow in late February like he ultimately ended up doing as part of his preplanned maiden trip there, they believe that their country must always comply with whatever Washington wants in order to continue reaping some of the miniscule economic-financial benefits associated with their bilateral relations. After all, they never tire of reminding their audience, the U.S. is Pakistan’s largest export market and exerts disproportionate influence over international economic and financial institutions so it follows that Islamabad mustn’t ever get on Washington’s bad side no matter what. Should that happen, however, then it’ll certainly be punished, and the Pakistani people will inevitably suffer as a result.

Since followers of this pro-U.S. school of thought see everything in terms of their country’s supposedly eternal status as America’s junior partner, they can’t countenance why former Prime Minister Khan would publicly criticize the U.S. and then go even further by openly defying it on the foreign policy front. The only explanation for this supposedly obvious counterproductive approach that they’re absolutely certain is against Pakistan’s objective national interests in all respects is to speculate that he’s a radical anti-American revolutionary who hates that superpower with all his heart and will stop at nothing to weaken its global standing even if that results in harming his own country. This position implies that former Prime Minister Khan might be a “madman” and could thus potentially constitute a threat to the Pakistani state itself, perhaps even a treasonous one if he’s harming it on purpose like they suspect.

That’s one way to interpret the former premier’s foreign policy, while the other is to describe him as a pro-Pakistani patriot who’s passionate about doing whatever he can to restore his very proud country’s respect and honor on the world stage in the interests of international justice that’s in line with his deeply held religious views. Former Prime Minister Khan is a very pious Muslim who has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. In his heart, as influenced by his religious beliefs, he seemingly feels as though it’s the epitome of injustice for his country to voluntarily remain the US’ junior partner in perpetuity. This is especially the case since it doesn’t truly derive mutual benefit from this inferior status, nor do its people gain from this apart from a fraction of the elite, many of whom in the political and media spheres he’s described as corrupt. He sincerely appears to believe that the only way he can conduct foreign policy in accordance with his patriotic and religious views is to reform this relationship.

To that end, there was no way that former Prime Minister Khan would voluntarily subserviate Pakistan to American demands if it had the chance of pursuing credible alternatives. Regarding his refusal to host U.S. bases in the scenario that such was ever requested, he explained his decision in an op-ed for the Washington Post that was published in late September by describing the counterproductive consequences of his country supporting its ally’s war in Afghanistan since the start of the century. He wrote that “Between 2006 and 2015, nearly 50 militant groups declared jihad on the Pakistani state, conducting over 16,000 terrorist attacks on us. We suffered more than 80,000 casualties and lost over $150 billion in the economy. The conflict drove 3.5 million of our citizens from their homes.” Informed by this very painful precedent, there was no way that he could risk that scenario occurring ever again.

As for the Russian-friendly dimension of his foreign policy, former Prime Minister Khan revealed that Moscow offered to provide Pakistan a 30% discount on agricultural and petrol products, not to mention the progress that he hoped to achieve on agreeing to the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline project. Both of these would greatly aid his country in weathering the ongoing crises in those two spheres, which disproportionately affect Pakistan a lot more than most other developing countries due to the fact that it’s the fifth most populous country in the world. The further exacerbation of the global agricultural and fuel crises could therefore be devastating not just for Pakistan itself, but also for the difficult region in which it’s located, especially if it results in Pakistan’s internal destabilization. With this in mind, it was objectively in the national interest for him to pursue these discounted deals with Russia.

Comparing the anti-American and pro-Pakistani interpretations of former Prime Minister Khan’s foreign policy, one can discern the primary reason behind their differences: ideology. Those who regard him as anti-American hint that they themselves believe that Pakistan should forever remain the US’ junior partner no matter how much this disrespects and humiliates its people, to say nothing of the uneven benefits that it brings to the country, which are also inequitably distributed across society since they mostly remain within the realm of its entrenched elite instead of being enjoyed by the masses. By contrast, those who consider him pro-Pakistani are inspired by patriotism and a religiously influenced sense of justice to reform this lopsided relationship in order to finally receive the respect that their country deserves and in pursuit of more meaningful and equitably distributed benefits for its people.

The first-mentioned school of thought is absolutely against doing anything that can result in Pakistan obtaining strategic autonomy since this is considered to be a needless provocation that will certainly result in their country being punished by the American hegemon in one way or another. The second, meanwhile, supports taking calculated risks despite the potential consequences since they believe that their patriotic and just cause is worth it. To clarify the pro-Pakistani school of thought, they’re interested in cooperating with the US just like their ideological rivals are, but they insist that this must be done pragmatically in ways that derive mutual and meaningful benefit such as negotiating a new free trade agreement in order to attract more American investment instead of voluntarily sacrificing their country’s sovereignty and what they sincerely regard as its objective national interests just to please Washington.

As former Prime Minister Khan’s popularity continues to surge and the rest of the world begins to take notice of what he’s now calling his country’s new freedom movement, the question of whether he’s anti-American or pro-Pakistani will become more globally debated, especially in the event that the new authorities agree to hold immediate, free, and fair elections exactly as he demands in order to de-escalate rapidly intensifying political tensions in this geostrategically significant country. Everyone’s entitled to their own interpretation of his worldview, but the answer that they come up with to this question will determine whether they support or oppose him. Those who consider him to be anti-American are against him ever returning to office while those who believe that he’s actually just pro-Pakistani want to see him back as soon as possible, though his political future still remains uncertain.

Sitrep: Zone B

April 18, 2022

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By Amarynth

By now everyone has read Andrei (The Saker’s) excellent essay on what he termed Zone A and Zone B.

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

This sitrep will look at three Zone B country actions, all driven by those that understand we are in a civilizational moment of change in our world.

Mexico:  A week ago, AMLO fulfilled his promise to the electorate and had what is generally called a re-call vote.  Simply, if you don’t like what I do, you can recall me right now and we will have new elections – a direct democracy action.  He won, by an astonishing 91.86 percent of the vote — or 15.1 million out of 16.5 million votes cast.  We can conclude that he is a popular president and the Mexican people are with him.

Yet, he has been under pressure for the same reasons that other Zone B countries are being pressurised.  He refused to criticize Russia’s actions and refused to join the sanctions regime.  In a moment of harsh pressure, he made a statement that again did not criticize Russia per se, but criticized war.   Today is the day that there is a discussion on energy sovereignty, and whereas I don’t know the minute details, this is a long term objective of AMLO.  I would read the tea leaves and suggest that the pressure on AMLO had to do with where Mexico sells its oil.

Given Mexico’s geographic position in the world, this looks like a very gutsy Zone B move to me.

Pakistan: Imran Khan was removed as Prime Minister of Pakistan via a very easy mechanism of regime change. A few of his key legislators joined the opposition and he found himself without a majority. He (and his remaining legislators) walked out, minutes before a new leader was elected, as they refused to be part of a US-imposed government structure. It did not end there. He called people to the streets to fight for the sovereign principles of a Zone B country.

Take a look:

Then, as usual, we find out the reason for this regime change. After the change of leader, Pakistan sent air attacks against Afghanistan. Under Khan, they refused to give space to US forces for a new attack base against Afghanistan, whether the Taliban is in control or not. China somewhat ‘adopted’ Afghanistan and is doing much work there to bring the Taliban into a fair governance position.

This is early days and we will see if the massive Zone B populace in the streets of Pakistan makes a difference.  Early elections are being called for.

And from Russia:

Do read the full article:  https://thecradle.co/Article/news/9248

Iran Stands To Gain From Possible Changes In Russia’s Relations With Israel & Pakistan

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The pro-US “deep state” schools within Israel and Pakistan that are speculated to have recently returned to policymaking prominence within their permanent bureaucracies have an interest in recalibrating their governments’ respective balancing acts within the emerging Multipolar World Order after its adherents became concerned that they were leaning too close to Russia in recent years at the expense of their traditional US ally.

Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine has led to unpredictable consequences for its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP), which refers to its 21st-century grand strategy for integrating the supercontinent. Up until the onset of that campaign and the US-led West’s unprecedented response, it had been simultaneously pursuing the creation of a new Non-Aligned Movement (“Neo-NAM”) with India as well as its “Ummah Pivot” of prioritizing relations with the majority-Muslim countries beyond its southern borders. The first-mentioned was balanced by the rapid Russian-Pakistani rapprochement while the second was kept in check by the “Rusrael” project, which refers to Russia’s de facto alliance with Israel.

Both of these balances within these two pillars of its GEP (the third being its entente with China) are becoming increasingly unbalanced after their future suddenly became uncertain following recent developments. These are Israel’s decision to vote against Russia twice at the UN and the scandalous change of government in Pakistan that former Prime Minister Khan described as a US-orchestrated regime change but which the new Establishment-backed coalition authorities insist was a constitutional and purely domestic process. The Rusrael project is now at risk of being dismantled by the pro-US school of Israel’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) while the pace of the rapid Russian-Pakistani rapprochement might be slowed due to the influence of that same school.

Both pro-US “deep state” schools have an interest in recalibrating their governments’ respective balancing acts within the emerging Multipolar World Order after its adherents became concerned that they were leaning too close to Russia in recent years at the expense of their traditional US ally. In the event that either of them ends up changing the nature of their relations with that Eurasian Great Power, not to mention if both of them do this, then Iran would certainly stand to gain from these possible developments. Its relations with Israel are adversarial while its one with Pakistan can be described as complicated. Even though it likely looked askance at Russia’s strategic ties with both of them, it didn’t let that influence their bilateral relations, which are better than at any previous time in history.

Iran presently serves as a valve from US-led Western pressure on Russia though Washington is also flirting with the scenario of flipping the Islamic Republic against Moscow by reportedly making any new nuclear deal contingent on Tehran complying with its illegal sanctions regime against the Kremlin. It remains unclear Iran would agree to this, but doing so would arguably be counterproductive from its grand strategic interests since it they’re best served by becoming even more important to Russia in the event that Moscow’s ties with Israel and/or Pakistan change in the coming future. The Islamic Republic presently functions as the irreplaceable geographic conduit through which Russian-Indian trade is being conducted, which immensely benefits its struggling economy and is thus unlikely to change.

Another argument in favor of that conclusion is that Iran is de facto participating in the joint Russian-Indian “Neo-NAM” by facilitating their bilateral trade and also enabling India to enter Central Asia from where Moscow expects it to balance Chinese influence in a friendly, gentle, and non-hostile way. Furthermore, Iran’s ideological leadership sincerely believes in multipolarity and wisely understands the role that Russia is playing in accelerating such trends so it serves to reason that they’d prefer for Moscow to continue do so since this is also in their grand strategic interests. Observers should therefore very closely monitor Russian-Iranian relations across the coming months since they might further improve in parallel with any potential changes in Russia’s ties with Israel and/or Pakistan.

Here comes China: The world rotated one more time

April 14, 2022

Source

By Amarynth

The world rotated one more time since the last report on China.

So, what do we know?

China is rock-solid behind Russia in all of Russia’s objectives, and in some instances, up ahead.

It almost seems as if an agreement was, if not stated, then understood. Russia will do the shootin’ for now, and China will keep the economic boat afloat. We see consistent commenting such as China is a consistent stabilizing force in a changing world

Overall NATO is feeling the pressure and ‘resetting’ and trying to clone itself as Aukus in the east while trying to strengthen itself in the west. We have Stoltenberg announcing: “What we see now is a new reality, a new normal for European security. Therefore, we have now asked our military commanders to provide options for what we call a reset, a more longer-term adaptation of NATO.”. In this speech, he announced that plans are being worked up to transform NATO into a major force capable of taking on an invading army and states that NATO deepens partnerships in Asia in response to a rising “security challenge” from China.

Yet, in the east, the Quad is one less, given India’s refusal to follow the U.S. regarding Russia.

Japan has been asked to join Aukus as a Japan, US, Australia, UK alliance intending to project a strong regional balance of power against China, Russia (and maybe India then?) in Asia. This Aukus will then have synergy,, they say, with Japanese technologies in areas such as hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare. Somehow I don’t see Japan as a suitable switch out for India, but then again, we’re dealing with desperate last gyrations of a world hegemon here, trying to project that it still has many friends.

A quick look at India. These days, if you see a country being threatened, you know already that they have started decoupling from so-called western democracy and Blinken has just threatened India yet again. He says the US is “monitoring rise in rights abuses in India” So, suddenly the US cares about human rights abuses in India. This bellicose rhetoric is not effective and way beyond its sell-by date.

It is clear that Russia is decoupling from Europe, and this started before sanctions. But did you know that China is decoupling from Britain, Canada, and the US? This is a brand-new trend. China’s top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd. is preparing to exit its operations in Britain, Canada, and the United States, because of concerns in Beijing that assets could become subject to Western sanctions. As it seeks to leave the West, CNOOC is looking to acquire new assets in Latin America and Africa, and also wants to prioritize the development of large, new prospects in Brazil, Guyana, and Uganda.

Apparently trying to deal with those three countries has become painful and CNOOC is seeking to sell “marginal and hard to manage” assets. Quoted are red tape and high operating costs in the western climes.

In the Asia region, we also saw the ease with which Imran Khan was relieved of his post as Prime Minister. I don’t believe this is the end of this story, because the citizens of Pakistan are truly unhappy.  https://www.rt.com/news/553734-us-involved-imran-khan-departure/

So if you were thinking that while the Ukraine war is hot, the Pacific is cool, that would be a mis judgement.

The new cry going out is if we’ve censored all the Russian voices, how can we allow the Chinese voices to carry water for Russia. We have to cancel them too! (These people deserve to go and live underground in bunkers!)

Taiwan keeps the war propaganda at a fever pitch by releasing a China Invasion Survival Guide.

Taiwan’s All-out Defense Mobilization unit has released a guide for citizens in the event of a war with Beijing, complete with comic strips and tips for survival, locating bomb shelters, and preparing food and first aid provisions.  The guide has been planned for some time, and comes as local officials look to extend military service beyond the current 4 months. https://t.me/rtnews/23455

Nancy Pelosi was planning to visit Taiwan. China made its displeasure known widely and loudly. And Pelosi immediately contracted Covid and had to suspend her trip.

From the Australian side, the propaganda is flowing strong. Here is a very fine video with Brian Berletic and Robbie Barwick, explaining exactly what happened with the contretemps in the Solomon Islands, as well as the overall trajectory and the speed thereof, of Australia’s belligerence against China. This video contains some interesting statements and supporting data. Seemingly, if Australia interacts with Island Nations like the Solomon’s the idea is to build infrastructure suitable for war, so, building a port must be suitable for US aircraft carriers, and building a road must be suitable for landing US airplanes. If China interacts with these very same Island Nations, the idea is to build infrastructure that can benefit their population and this is now clear among all.

Is it over? No, not by a long shot. Aussie minister pays ‘unprecedented coercive visit’ to Solomon Islands over China security pact. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1259266.shtml

I’ve come to enjoy China’s spokespeople. They are sharp and do not miss a trick. Acerbic and incisive commentary is the order of the day. This is a good example, and please note the tone of the Western journos .. If you have never spent time on one of these, it is an education. The western journos try and beat the spox to death with repeated questions loaded with innuendo. https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/202204/t20220411_10666750.html

It is quite clear that China is not leaving the issue of Biolabs behind. They have just about daily coverage in various media about it.

SEOUL, April 12 (Xinhua) — U.S. military biological facilities in South Korea are serious threats to local residents’ safety, said a South Korean expert, as the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) continues with a scandalous program involving experiments with living toxic samples. #GLOBALink

https://english.news.cn/20220412/a7d456ef4d5c4b7bab7fa07305aa6333/c.html

China will never forget epithets like “China Virus” and “Wuhan Flu”. Take a good look at this image titled Poison Disseminator.

China had to evacuate +- 2,000 Chinese citizens from the Ukraine. From media, it was a successful evacuation. They have also repeatedly made their stance clear on the Ukraine.

https://www.silkroadbriefing.com/news/2022/03/08/chinas-foreign-ministry-position-on-russia-ukraine/

The main focus is humanitarian. China released a five-point position statement supported by a six-point humanitarian plan

The position statement is:

  • First, we persevere in promoting peace talks in the right direction. We hold that dialogue and negotiation are the only way out, oppose adding fuel to the fire and intensifying confrontation, call for achieving a ceasefire and ending the conflict, and support Russia and Ukraine in carrying out direct dialogue.
  • Second, we persevere in upholding the basic norms governing international relations. We advocate respect for the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and oppose putting small and medium-sized countries on the front line of geopolitical games.
  • Third, we persevere in preventing the resurgence of the Cold War mentality. We do not agree with the “friend-or-foe” camp confrontation, firmly promote international solidarity, advocate the vision of common, cooperative, comprehensive and sustainable security, and respect and accommodate the legitimate and reasonable concerns of all parties.
  • Fourth, we persevere in upholding the legitimate rights and interests of all countries. We oppose unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law and call for safeguarding the international industrial and supply chains to avoid harming normal economic and trade exchanges and people’s lives.
  • Fifth, we persevere in consolidating peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We firmly uphold the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness in our neighborhood diplomacy, guard against the introduction of bloc confrontation into the region by the United States through the “Indo-Pacific strategy”, accelerate the promotion of regional integration and cooperation, and guard the hard-won development momentum in the region.

Wang Ji describes the six-point humanitarian plan:

While China is doing its best to create a level playing field and do real humanitarian work, they are not hiding the fact that they hold the US/NATO fully responsible for what they see as an action that was forced onto Russia.

Inside China, it is all about economic miracles. Taking a huge bow now in their theater of urgent needs is seeds: Chinese Seeds, Chinese developed, and Chinese local seeds. The seed companies of the west are unwelcome with the IP registration of their seeds and China will hold its ownership over its seeds.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202204/12/WS6253c2e2a310fd2b29e563d6.html

The Shanghai lockdown provided endless China-bashing opportunities for western commentators. Tucker Carlson jumped on this horse and did his part for the anti-China campaign with a litany of complaints, a bunch of pixellated videos that are propaganda material, never having spoken to anyone actually living in Shanghai, without an idea of China’s principled management of Covid and without understanding the levels of the lockdown – complete political projection of US so-called values.  As we have seen so many times from the USA’ians, trying to fight his political battles on the back of the Chinese (or anyone else, for that matter).  He also perceivably has no idea that the Chinese lockdown supports the people with food and medicines, and it is not like the west. So, he looks at this with western eyes and truly, he has no clue. It is exactly the same that the world complains about .. it is: “We are right and exceptional and we know better.” Because China makes its own rules, Carlson calls it wrong. He is totally committed to the idea of US manifest destiny and his way is the right way.  Carlson is anti a war with Russia for political purposes but show him China as a possible war partner, and he blooms with bloodlust.

It is truly better to listen to those that are actually living there and can actually speak the language.  It is so that people believe the MSM when that very same MSM says something that they like and rail against that very same MSM when they say something that they don’t like.

David Fishman tweets: So it’s CRAZY that we have to do this, it’s also incredibly fascinating from a supply chain/logistics/economics perspective. We are in the process of re-inventing the food distribution network in Shanghai. It’s all based on the newly prevalent concept of Group-Buying.

If you really want to know how people live through a 14 day lockdown, a 14 day lighter lockdown if no Covid presents itself, a closed and open-loop system, and then thereafter no lock down. I would recommend that you click on this tweet and read all the parts:

Let’s hear from someone who is actually right there:

And Jeff Brown weighed in as well. Special explanation to address the many concerns global citizens have about China’s “Zero-Covid” policy, with Shanghai now in the headlines.

https://jeffjbrown.substack.com/p/special-explanation-to-address-the

And so there are to my knowledge hundreds of people reporting that they get their food delivered, they take part in group buying, they mostly get what they want but sometimes not and we see things like this:

The lesson here is that if you want to know what is happening in China, listen to the people in China. Now, they are not brutally suppressed and silenced. Online media is bigger than ever. What is frowned upon and can get you into hot water, is if you are rude and rude to others. State your case, don’t be rude and you will be fine with social media communication.  (Somewhat like the concept of Saving Face).

No, China is not killing 25 million people in Shanghai.

There are thousands of made-up and anti-China video clips breathlessly being passed around by the usual suspects.  I saw one that purports that the Chinese are breaking down their 5G towers.  It was a clip from the umbrella riots in Hong Kong where the rioters were breaking down public infrastructure.

Is everything perfect? Of course not. Are their people struggling? Of course. Was there food distribution problems initially?  Of course.  Is it easy? Of course not. Are most people content with the decision to do a phased lock-in of a city of 25 million people? Most of the ones that I’ve regularly followed are, if not content, they understand the reason and trust the Chinese Zero-Covid policy. Westerners need to start understanding that the Chinese people are part of their government and that they actually believe the government does what is best for the people and they have evidence and proof of this, because they are part of a very inclusive system.

Cyrus Janssen is a regular commentator on China.  He does not like the Shanghai lockdown.  This is his thread, and take a look at what the Chinese actually answered.

The conversation in China is different from the conversation in the west.  Their current concern is future management of Covid.  They have concerns that their Zero-Covid strategy needs to be adjusted.  They are in the process of refining its strategy.  They do not have concerns about their strategy, because they have the numbers.

The last report that I have is as of Saturday.  The Shanghai port STILL operating smoothly, with berthing efficiency better than 2021. The average waiting time for ships in Port is under 24 hours, and all the production units at the port maintain normal 24-hour operations, except in extreme weather. In 2021, the Port moved 47 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), ranking first globally. Throughput of international containers exceeded 6 million TEUs for the first time.

Trade between Russia and China skyrocketed. Paul from the Sirius report states it as follows:  “Western experts fail to grasp that the Global South is around 87% of the world’s population, is in its ascendancy and has a myriad of vertical growth markets now in play and is embracing the multipolar world. West meanwhile is in terminal decline.”

China and Russia trade in Q1 rose 28% to $38.2bn equivalent.

In 2021, trade turnover between Russia and China hit a record high of $146.88 billion, having surged 35.8%. In December, the Russian and Chinese presidents agreed on creating infrastructure to service trade operations between the two nations without third parties.

The ASEAN surpassed the EU to become China’s largest trading partner. China’s imports and exports with ASEAN jumped 8.4% yoy to 1.35tn yuan in Q1 accounting for 14.4% of the country’s foreign trade volume.

Beijing’s economic and trade cooperation with other countries including Russia and Ukraine remains normal.

Beijing has refused to join sanctions against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, saying cooperation between China and Russia “has no limits.” The two countries have been switching from the US dollar and the euro to local currencies in trade to avoid possible sanctions.

It’s all digital currency for the years ahead for China. Make a strong distinction in your mind between CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), Cryptocurrencies and China’s digital currency. They are not all the same.

Russia is increasing its holdings in Yuan. This is explained as underscoring the falling credibility of the US dollar, as the US has been weaponizing the dollar as a financial weapon instead of a trusted international payment currency.  This via Xu Wenhong, a research fellow at the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

From the Here Comes China newsletter by Godfree Roberts, we see this:

Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm, rolled out a digital end-to-end e-commerce logistics service that includes pickup, warehousing, supply chain, customs clearance, and last-mile delivery.  You may think this is for China internally and it might well be so, but China has now something like 3,000 warehouses across the world, supporting the products that the belt and road transport, to get to the last-mile delivery.

Earlier I referred to the Quad as well as to the fact that China is doing its own selective decoupling. The Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which runs through Mongolia, is specifically aimed at reducing any Chinese dependence on Quad Members.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/China-turns-to-Russian-gas-to-curb-dependence-on-Quad-members

To conclude before we get to a lighter note, the west has no competitive edge any longer in trade, very little in war if we look at it as of today (they can still wipe us all out and turn us into glass), and have no honor left. They are not serious people and cannot be allowed to try and run our planet any longer, exclusively to their own benefit.

From Godfree’s newsletter about one of China’s minorities that I had actually never heard of. The Naxi, one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, have long been popular with anthropologists, but its folk music is routinely overlooked. A new album hopes to change that. It might not be your style, but something different and away from war is always welcome.


Many of the data points here are courtesy of Godfree Roberts’ extensive weekly newsletter: Here Comes China. You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Pakistan PM Accuses US of Funding “Conspiracy” to Topple His Gov’t

April 11, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan accused an unnamed “foreign power” – in a clear reference to the United States – of funding a “conspiracy” to topple his democratically elected government.

Addressing a large rally in the capital Islamabad on Sunday, Khan said the “foreign power” sent millions of dollars to opposition parties to launch a no-confidence vote against him in the parliament.

Khan, who had formed a coalition government after winning the election in 2018, said he was the subject of a “foreign conspiracy” aimed at dislodging his government and that “funding was being channeled into Pakistan from abroad.” 

A no-confidence motion has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly, with days of debates expected to start next week before the vote. The opposition needs a simple majority to oust Khan, after which a new prime minister would be chosen by the parliament.

“We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interests,” said Khan, who met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, the same day the Russian leader ordered a military operation in neighboring Ukraine. 

Before that, Khan visited Beijing in January, defying US President Joe Biden’s call for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

“The money is from abroad and the people that are being used are ours [Pakistan’s]. Some of them unknowingly, and some knowingly, are using this money against us,” the prime minister said.

“Attempts are being made to influence our foreign policy from abroad. We have been aware of this conspiracy for months. We also know about those who have assembled these people [the opposition parties] but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said, referring to the former prime minister of Pakistan who was allegedly threatened by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger over the country’s nuclear program.

Bhutto’s government was toppled and he was hanged by the military in 1979.

“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. We will not accept anyone’s dictation. We will have friendships with everyone but we will not submit ourselves to anyone,” Khan said.

“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” the Dawn newspaper reported.

Khan then splashed a letter and said it would prove his point. “I am placing the case of Pakistan’s independence before you. The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who doubts this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about the foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon.”

“The nation wants to know who the man sitting in London is meeting with and whose directions the characters based in Pakistan are following? I am revealing the proofs we have. I cannot talk more in detail because I have to protect the interest of my country. I cannot talk about anything that harms my country. I could have told you about it. I do not fear anyone but I care about Pakistan’s interest,” he stated.

«مصدّق» باكستان وتأميم القنبلة «الإسلاميّة»!

الإثنين 11 نيسان 2022

محمد صادق الحسيني

مثلما انبثقت معادلة الحكم في كلّ من تركيا وإيران بشكلها الحداثي من خاصرة الحرب العالمية الأولى، على قاعدة حكم العسكر باعتباره عمود الدولة كما جسّدها كمال أتاتورك في الأولى، ورضا خان في الثانية، فإنّ باكستان الدولة الجديدة الولادة كما نعرفها الآن هي الأخرى انبثقت معادلة الحكم فيها، من خاصرة الحرب العالمية الثانية على قاعدة انّ العسكر هم عمود الخيمة في الدولة، وانْ كان سياق الولادة في باكستان قد نشأ في سياق مختلف، إلا انّ القاسم المشترك بين أنظمة الحكم الحداثوية الشرقية الآنفة الذكر، هو ظهور العسكر بمثابة عمود الخيمة في النظام السياسي، لا يستقيم أمر استقراره إلا به، ولن يتغيّر الا بتغيّره.

وبعيداً عن الدخول في إشكالية استقلال باكستان «الإسلامية» بقيادة مؤسسها محمد علي جناح وهو أمر مقدّر ومحترم في وجدان الرأي العام الباكستاني والإسلامي، إلا انّ ما يهمّنا التوقف عنده هنا هو أمر آخر تماماً…

ألا وهو نشوء نخبة باكستانية «مدنية» متعلمة، واكبت حقبة الاستقلال وحكم العسكر محمّلة بنسبة عالية من مفاهيم التعايش السلمي مع ثقافة الغرب ونوع من الودّ والعطف تجاه نياته المعلنة بخصوص حقّ تقرير المصير للشعوب وما شابه من مقولات سُمّيت باختصار بالديمقراطية…!

عمران خان هو واحد من هذا الجنس الإصلاحي الهادئ واللطيف الذي نشأ في حضن هذه التركيبة.

قبله كان محمد مصدق إيران، الذي صدّق هو الآخر ثقافة الغرب الديمقراطية ووثق بها، وأراد بدافع حب الوطن، التخلص بمحبة ووداد، من هيمنة بريطانيا العظمى ومن سلطة شركة النفط البريطانية وتأميم النفط الإيراني متجرّئاً على حكم الشاه ومعادلة العسكر، مستعيناً بصدق نيات واشنطن «الإصلاحية»، التي سرعان ما كذبت عفويّته السياسية هذه وعاجلته بانقلاب عسكري أعاد تلميذها النجيب الى الحكم أيّ الشاه محمد رضا بهلوي وهيمنة الاستعمار الغربي على كلّ مقدرات إيران بقوة أكبر وقسوة أشدّ.

هذا هو ما حصل بالضبط لعمران خان المثقف الإصلاحي في اليومين الماضيين، عندما ظنّ أنّ بإمكانه التخلص «بمحبة» وبديمقراطية «عذرية» من عصابة المتشدّدين الوهابيين المرتبطين بسفارات البترودولار وأميركا الشيطان الأكبر، مستعيناً بأميركا «الديمقراطية» و«الودودة»، التي سرعان ما كذبته وتركته طريداً شريداً يئنّ من خذلان من سمّاهم بمؤسسات الدولة له، الذين هم ليسوا سوى المعادلة نفسها التي أتت به إلى السلطة.

نعم فقد ظن عمران خان في لحظة وعي ويقظة استثنائية وظروف إقليمية ودولية تحوّلية متسارعة انّ بإمكانه تغيير شكل وبنية النظام السياسي الحاكم في الباكستان منذ نشوء الدولة ـ بكلّ هدوء ولطف و«مودة» المثقف الإصلاحي لتحقيق حلمه الورديّ!

 هو لم ينتبه في الواقع أنّ عمله هذا يعني في ما يعني تأميم القنبلة «الإسلامية»، كما قام مصدق بتأميم النفط في خمسينيات القرن الماضي..!

 وهذا أمر مستحيل دون الصدام مع عمود خيمة النظام أيّ الجيش، ودون ممارسة أيّ عنف ثوري ودون إراقة دماء..!

ايّ إجراء عملية ولادة قيصرية لباكستان، لا هو يملك أدواتها الليزرية ولا يريد استخدام أدوات جراحية فيها..!

مستنداً الى مواكبة اللحظة الإقليمية والدولية المتحوّلة غير المكتملة وغير الناضجة داخل مجتمعه أصلاً…!

 وكما أحبط مصدق إيران من قبله، أحبط عمران خان أيضاً لفقدانهما أدوات التغيير وكذلك منهجيته…!

فالعالم المتحكم بموقع ودور باكستان اليوم الخارجي، ورغم كلّ التحوّلات العالمية الإيجابية المحيطة، لا يزال عالم الذئاب وفي باكستان نفسها أيضاً يبدو انّ معدل موازين القوى الداخلية لا تسمح بعد بأحلام أمثال عمران خان من دون ثورة حقيقية وجذرية!

فالذين وقفوا ويقفون بوجه حلم عمران خان هم الجيش وصنيعته «طالبان باكستان» والأوليغارشية السياسية المرتبطة بالسفارات الوهابية والغربية وفي مقدّمها السفارة الأميركية والمخابرات الأميركية «سي أي آي»، والتي لا تزال هي من تمتلك مفتاح او «كود» أو «زر» القنبلة الباكستانية «الإسلامية» التي سمح لها أصلاً لتكون صنواً للقنبلة الهندية وليس أكثر!

ألا يتذكّر عمران خان كيف تمّ وأد طموحات ذو الفقار علي بوتو في سبعينيات القرن الماضي أيضاً، وكيف تمّت محاكمته وإعدامه..!؟

نعم ما حصل في اليومين الماضيين يمكن اعتباره محطة نوعيّة مهمة في سياق مسار التحوّل والتغيير في باكستان، ونحن نشاهد لأول مرة غضب الشارع الباكستاني المسلم، ونزعته الاستقلالية والتحررية، بل وحتى الثورية المطالبة بطرد النفوذ الغربي، وقد انتقلت من الشارع الى صالونات الطبقة الحاكمة متمثلة بتململ عمران خان وغضبه…!

لكن منسوب التحوّل والتغيير المجتمعيّ العام لم يصبح بعد كافياً على ما يبدو بعد لتأميم القنبلة «الإسلامية»…!

القضية بحاجة ربما الى «شمرة عصا» إضافيّة، كما يقول المثل، بل خطوة احتجاجية جذرية «خمينيّة» من جنس الباكستان تطيح بالعفن والتأكسد المتراكم فوق صدور شعب محمد علي جناح منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية…!

خصوم عمران خان في المقابل لن يتمكنوا بعد اليوم من إقفال الباب على التغيير المقبل بقوة على باكستان…!

لعله لا بدّ لعمران خان الانتظار قليلاً ليرى ونرى سوياً مخاض أوكرانيا، وحرب بوتين المفتوحة على إمبراطورية الكذب..!

أخيراً وليس آخراً فإنّ طريق الحرير الجديد الذي يريد الباكستانيون ان ينعموا به من بوابة الصين، صار حديدياً، وبالتالي صار لا بدّ لكلّ من يريد أن يساهم فيه، ان يكون صاحب قبضة فولاذيّة..!

«لسنا عبيداً عندكم»

خطوة في الاتجاه الصحيح.

لكنها ليست كافية.

حتى تمسك زر التغيير وتصبح *قائداً أعظم* جديداً لا بدّ ان تغزوهم قبل أن يغزوك، لأنهم يعدّون لك الأسوأ.

خذ العبرة ممن سبقوك، لا مكان للموقف الرمادي في القضايا الكبرى.

اللحظة «خمينيّة « يا عمران خان بكلّ امتياز! وإلا ذهبت تحت أقدام الفيلة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Massive demonstrations in support of Imran Khan

April 11, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf supporters protest in solidarity with former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted by the Opposition that he accuses of conspiring with Washington because of his opposition to US foreign policy.

Former prime minister Imran Khan’s supporters demonstrate against his ousting.

Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters took to the streets at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk against the ouster of former prime minister and party chairman Imran Khan.

Khan was ousted by the Opposition through a no-confidence motion on Saturday. 

Other demonstrations took place in different parts of the Punjab province, including Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Vehari, Jehlum, and Gujrat districts. 

With his majority gone, Khan accused the opposition of buying support in the assembly with “open horse-trading… selling of lawmakers like goats and sheep”, further accusing them of conspiring with Washington due to his opposition to US foreign policy.

However, he accepted the motion but was “disappointed with the Supreme Court decision,” adding that he wants to “make it clear that I respect the Supreme Court and Pakistan’s judiciary.”

In a message on Twitter later in the day, the PTI chairman thanked the protestors and claimed that the agitation signaled Pakistanis’ “rejection of the foreign conspiracy”.

“Thank you to all Pakistanis for their amazing outpouring of support & emotions to protest against US-backed regime change abetted by local Mir Jafars to bring into power a coterie of pliable crooks all out on bail,” Imran wrote.

Khan also acknowledged the spontaneous protests standing with him against the Opposition’s decision. He believes that this “shows Pakistanis at home & abroad have emphatically rejected this.”

The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday that the court session be convened after it found that Khan acted illegally by dissolving parliament and calling for fresh elections following the prevention of an earlier no-confidence vote by the deputy speaker of the national assembly. 

A new prime minister will be appointed today, with centrist Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif already picked to lead the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people.

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