Monthly Archives: September 2013

Prelude To Indus Water Treaty Part 2


Naveed Tajammul 

naveed-picOne does not find much answers as to why, the new leaders of Pakistan, which had a history etched in Time, as an entity by itself, failed to take cognizance of the fact, that without settling the water issues, they had no right to rest, as the country was than totally dependent on Water, for its revenues as the industry or Trade was hardly in name, Even though in the second week of August 1947 the Muslim League was fully aware that, something was afoot, in the way Radcliffe Commission was deliberating on the division of the boundaries, It was on this account that, Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan had asked ,Chaudhri Muhammad Ali to call on Lord. Ismay [chief of staff with the Viceroy], and convey him, that, ”If the boundary turned out to be what these reports circulating foreshadowed, this would have most serious impact,  on the future relations between Pakistan and Britain,”.

However when Ch. M. Ali  reached the office of Lord Ismay on 11 Aug 1947,he was made, to wait outside for an hour in the ante-room while, Lord Ismay was busy with Cyril Radcliffe in a meeting in his office. On hearing of the message of Mr. Jinnah, Lord Ismay said that, neither he nor the, Viceroy [Lord Mountbatten] knew what the boundary commission’s recommendations were going to be, as they both, had never discussed the matter with Radcliffe. Ch. M. Ali asked Lord Ismay to look closely at the Map on his office wall, which clearly had lines drawn showing the three eastern Tahsils of Gurdaspur awarded to India, and after seeing the Map it was unnecessary for him to explain further, because the proposed boundary had already been shown on the Map and it was in conformity with what he had come to protest about, Lord Ismay now pleaded ”innocence’ about the lines on the map.[Extracts-‘Birth of Tragedy-Kashmir 1947′[oxford] 1994-p-34 by Alastair Lamb and ”The Emergence of Pakistan[Lahore Research Society of Pakistan] 1988-Ch. Muhammad Ali-p-218-219].

If we go further backward in Time, before 11 Aug 1947, we find that on 08 Aug, there emerged from Sir Cyril Radcliffe’s establishment a provisional boundary map on which the ”southern salient” had been modified in what seemed to be in favour of Pakistan by substituting for a small portion of Lahore District..the adjacent Ferozepur and Zira Tahsils of the Ferozepur District, thus Pakistan was extended to the eastern-side of the Sutlej-thereby given Ferozepur water works. and Gurdaspur was on the Indian side.

In the Final award issued by the, Punjab Boundary Commission [Justice. M. Munir and Justice. Din Mohammad, represented as members of Punjab Boundary Commission, from the Muslim League side, and from the Military side, Colonel. M. Ayub Khan [later president of Pakistan] represented Pakistan, and Brigadier Dhigambir Singh represented India, both were under General. Reece], So we see, that on, 17 Aug 1947, Gurdaspur went to India, as well as Ajnala Muslim dominated tahsil of Amritsar, along with two-third of Kasur Tahsil, and the Ferozepur salient, though on Pakistan side was eliminated. And, sadly, no one in the higher leadership objected.

Shaukat Hyat in his book[p-182.Nation that lost its soul] states that ,I, on behalf of the Punjab immediately objected to the award, my plea was rejected, by Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, who told us that his orders were to accept whatever was awarded, He seem to have become so fond of his post of Prime minister, that, he was Not prepared, even to take a stand for areas most essential to Pakistan which had been separated from it, by pressure put on Radcliffe by Mountbatten, and even though Raja Hasan Akhtar PCS had been appointed D.C of Gurdaspur on behalf of Pakistan, and had raised the Pakistan Flag in Gurdaspur on 14 Aug.1947.

As evidence unfolds the final award of the, Punjab Boundary commission, seems to have been manipulated by Lord. Mountbatten to the detriment of Pakistan he was totally miffed on Not been made the Joint-Governor-General of both new states, as he had requested to be made on his arrival in British India, Secondly, our leaders failed to perceive that, an appointment of such a man as Sir Cyril Radcliffe, always aimed to achieve the results desired by those who made the appointment, in this case, it was Lord Mountbatten and his mentors sitting in the Whitehall- London.

Nehru was a wise man-he knew this aspect better and unfortunately our leaders failed to understand the under-currents and so offered No objection to the concentration of such power to award solely in the matter, as had been vested in Sir Cyril Radcliffe by Lord Mountbatten, Nehru had foresight and was sure that Lord Mountbatten would ensure that all things in favour of ‘His’ India.

To further study the cause of our subsequent plight, and understand the internal dynamics at play in those times before our Independence, Sikandar Hyat in his book, ‘The Nation that lost its Soul’ Jang publishers 1995.p-169 onward],states, ”When it became known that,  Lord Mountbatten, desired to be made the common Governor-General of Pakistan and India for Six months, to win a personal laurel and also as a gesture and respect for the British Crown, it alarmed, Liaqat Ali Khan, as he was planning to become the First Prime Minister of Pakistan-so he planned a Telegraphic Blitz against Mountbatten…..’.The Scheme was thrashed out in my presence it was planned to despatch telegrams to Mr. Jinnah, maligning Mountbatten, saying, that Mountbatten could Not be relied upon, as he had close relations with Nehru and his Family.

Shaukat Hayat states, that, I, Vehemently disagreed knowing Mountbatten’s Vanity. I told them, that, if Muslim league turns him down he would jump at becoming Governor-General solely of India, and create many problems and handicaps for Pakistan, I asked therefore for an interview with Quaid e Azam, which was however granted after a few days, at our meeting Quaid e Azam turned round to me and said, ‘Shaukat’ look at the thousands of telegrams i have received on the subject, you, Nawab Ismail, Nawab of Bhopal and Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar are the only exceptions”. Shaukat hayat say’s i stressed that it was a engineered ploy, and, it would be catastrophic for Pakistan, by the damage Mountbatten could inflict by remaining the sole Governor-General of India. And that beside the dividing lines, the division of defence supplies and other assets had to be done.

And it happened exactly as had been predicted Pakistan Army got over-sized old boots and other useless stores, leaving aside how Lord Mountbatten planned and executed the Srinagar airlift of troops by marshalling all BOAC [British Overseas Airways Corporation] passenger planes to transport troops to Kashmir in October 1947, in January 1948, India under Lord Mounbatten also declined to pay the agreed share of Rs.550 million in cash balance to Pakistan and stopped all supply of useless military stores as well. More pertinent being from 1st April 1948,India shut off the waters in UBDC.

All this happened because of the ghastly decision, prompted by a over ambitious Liaqat Ali Khan, in not having a common Governor-General, the Quaid, unfortunately ignored the fact that his Writ would have always prevailed in Pakistan as had Gandhi’s in India, even without his holding the office of Governor-General.

Lastly if seen, now in hindsight, One wonders at the wisdom of Liaqat Khan’s Folly. As even after 14 Aug.1947 vital posts were held by Britishers; General Douglas Gracey remained Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army till Feb.1951, Sir Francis Maudie was Governor Punjab till 02 Aug 1949,Sir Ambrose Dundas Flux ,was Governor of NWFP [KPK] and Mr. Cecil Arthur Grant Savidge remained chief commissioner Baluchistan till 18 Jan 1949.


Militants, Pakistan and 2014

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali


DP1There is a very real possibility of US and her NATO allies going in for “zero option” ie leaving no troops behind as the forces withdraw in 2014 from Afghanistan, if the significant complications of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) are not resolved. Although an obvious desire and reason for leaving behind a residue force is to train and equip Afghan security forces, yet there is an unquestionably strong concern in Washington about the neighboring nuclear Pakistan. The cascading effect on Pakistan if the Karzai’s government cannot hold and is overrun by the Taliban with the eventual American exit is an outcome one must be prepared for. It can turn into the same situation it did in Afghanistan from 1996-2001 where there was intense internal struggle that was supported by Jihadist and militant organizations. It will spill over into Pakistan and is likely to attain ethnic and sectarian dimensions. United States is well aware that Afghanistan may well end up being de facto governed in some areas by the Taliban. David E. Sanger gives yet another reason for Americans’ desire to retain bases in Afghanistan, ‘the American forces in Afghanistan had a rule “a break a glass” emergency force if Pakistan and its arsenal, appeared to be coming apart at the seam’. (Correspondent NYT, Author ‘Confront And Conceal’: Pg 46)
The Americans have spent billions to arm and equip the Afghan police and military. Reportedly in 2011 alone the amount was $12 billion. However, the question that whether or not the security forces will be prepared to ensure law and order, in absence of American forces backing them, is not a one that has figured prominently in the decision of the withdrawal date. Neither do US have any peace plan to bring an end to their adventurism in Afghanistan. Funds for “War on Terror” will be whittled down drastically. In case of an Afghan meltdown, the influx of Afghans from the Durand Line and into the FATA area and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be inevitable. From here it will trickle downwards to other provinces. This makes for a volatile country taking a hike with a combustible powder keg.
“War on Terror” has gone on for over a decade now. Though the capability of Al-Qaeda has been downgraded to attack USA and her allies, Al-Qaeda and the other militant groups are not beaten by any long shot. They are armed, they have a mission and they are not afraid to lose anything. Not even their lives. Such an enemy is formidable.
Pakistan has many a time been accused of following a “double policy” with America ; doing just enough to give the Americans a feeling of having their diktat followed and on the other hand supporting the militants; Haqqani group in particular; being a major militant group in Afghanistan-also sarcastically referred as the Pakistan’s insurance policy for post 2014. Richard Holbrooke in 2010 said, “The biggest problem is that the Pakistanis know that sooner or later we are leaving. Because that’s what we do. And that drives everything.” (David E. Sanger, Confront And Conceal: Pg 20)
Pakistan needs to think on its feet and think fast ideally dealing with this problem at two levels; with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (not those marauding disguised as members) and the militant outfits in Afghanistan. What Pakistan must do to face an Afghanistan sans America is to reach a negotiated settlement with them. This does not mean to say, Pakistan should be cowed down. What it does mean to say is; there is a time and place for everything. The time and place in face of American imminent departure from next door is to hold talks with the militants. Bad news for those who think the militants will fizzle away; they won’t!
While extending a hand to the militant right wing outfits in Afghanistan; let us not forget the multiethnic groups within. Approximately 40 percent of Afghans are Pashtun; Tajiks make up the second largest ethnic group with 25.3 percent of the population, followed by Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Qizilbash, and others. Pakistan must include all stakeholders in the across-the-board dialogue. Lest we forget, shoring up with militants in Afghanistan is very important now because of a very real danger of cross border infiltration by India via Afghanistan, also acknowledged by US Special Representative James Dobbins recently. Pakistan cannot afford to leave its western flank uncovered. Chuck Hagel suggested that India has over the years “financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.” A comment made while speaking at the Cameron University in Oklahoma in 2011.
With the US troops proposed withdrawal, it is the militants who are on a strong wicket and the Pakistan government on a weaker one. However, Pakistan can turn this disadvantage to an advantage, if it can convince America to broaden the base of those governing Afghanistan before its troops leave, with a good representation of a cross mix of its ethnic races and sell this idea to the different tribes, it may place Pakistan in a strong position to call the shots. This will be an added leverage for Pakistan in dealing with Taliban in Pakistan, though the profile of Afghan Taliban and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan diversifies at many levels. A source claims terrorists are trained and propped up by intelligence agencies from counties having a vested interest in creating chaos in Pakistan, projecting themselves as members of the organization within Pakistan. The first question this claim raises in my mind is are we really dealing with the Taliban here or with a motley of terrorists claiming to be part of the organization? The accepting of responsibility for the stunning attack that killed three Pakistan army officials including two officers in Upper Dir this Sunday at a time when “talks” just went underway, does bail out the claim. According to a report in Wall Street Journal (Published September 12, 2013) a draft of demands by the insurgents in Pakistan has already been drawn up. Many of the “demands” within are patently unacceptable. What Pakistan government must do is to put together a “doable” counter-list for the insurgents with some not so doable points too, to be bartered against points that would be unacceptable to any government. The objective is for the government to work towards developing space for mutually acceptable steps. Demands are always made, sometimes in excess to what a person demanding actually expects will come through- they also know not all will be met.
The “Taliban” however have declared that it would not negotiate with the government unless two preconditions were met; first army troops should pull out from the entire tribal area. And second, their prisoners should be released. Ideally, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan should be made to come around to the view that these suggested points should form agenda for peace talks and not a pre-condition to it. The choice of the people selected to lead Pakistan through these talks will be crucial to its success. The government may want to make two committees to deal with militants in the two countries. But first it must ensure it is indeed dealing with the Taliban and not with terrorists using a name. With terrorists, there can be no talks. For dealing with terrorists one needs to give the army a clear mandate and support them unconditionally. Irrespective of the name they use.
One cannot deny the truth of Noam Chomsky’s statement; ““Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.



Prelude to Indus Water Treaty 1960-Part One

By Naveed Tajammal

Naveed PicIn the history of old Civilizations, many have ruled and gone-very few are remembered for their good deeds and the Valiant by the way, they fought the enemies, however of those Callous who sold their souls, for a better tomorrow a special name is reserved, and the stigma would hound them, as will be seen in due course of Time when our Water Wars commence and Millions will die, some would definitely seek out the true culprits who were the cause of these Wars.

The Wanton way in which our waters by right were signed away to India is being re-visited in this article.

Though half-hearted efforts were made in the span between 1947-1960,covering 13 years by some, but, as is seen none stood up for Pakistan and its historical right over the waters of Indus Basin.

It would be interesting for all to know, that, in the division of the assets of the Punjab as an entity of British India, West Punjab which was to become Part of Pakistan was entitled to 60% of the assets of the undivided province of Punjab. The Punjab boundary line of 1947 was probably the worst from the point of irrigational system, but the attempt to thwart Pakistan comes out clearly as will be explained. As per the mechanism of the Menon Plan [V.P. Menon was the constitutional adviser to the governor-general, Mountbatten] dated 3rd June 1947, with a pointed reference to the subsequent, reasons which led to, the Indus water treaty

1960,it was given, in the Plan, that to demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of British Indian Punjab, it was too based on ascertaining the ‘Contiguous Majority’, areas of Muslims, and non-Muslims-the makers, were also instructed to keep in account,’ ‘other factors’…..

With reference to above and the ‘Contiguous majority’ rule given in the, ”Menon Plan’, which relied on Census of 1941,Ferozepur and Zira Tahsils of District Ferozepure, were Muslim in majority, especially both adjoined old District boundaries of Lahore, no river intervened in between nor any non-Muslim majority tahsil.

And coming to,”other factors’, awarding Ferozepure Tahsil by itself alone would have preserved the Sutlej valley project. Radcliffe played dirty and our lot turned a blind eye to the events. One trumped up change in the 3rd June Plan, was hyped by Radcliffe, was, that it would Not be the actual course of Sutlej that would be the dividing line between the new Provinces but, the district boundaries, Even if we went by the district boundaries of Lahore, upstream of Ferozepur Headwork ,the boundary of Lahore crossed over the southern Bank of Sutlej, and award gave Pakistan a bridgehead upstream, here Pakistan could have constructed a new Barrage to serve the Dipalpur Canal and, short circuited Ferozepur  headwork’s, placing the Bikaner & Eastern canals network of irrigating than,1,080,316 Acres of land in India, dependent upon goodwill, of Pakistan. It was this fear which drove the Indians to later divert the waters of Beas and Sutlej from Harike Barrage upstream, between 1948-1952.The point, to highlight was to bring to notice the continued Shenanigans of Indians since inception. Yet our placid lot never took notice of long term moves of Indians which were an open secret to all.

Likewise Giving to the Indians Gurdaspur,” other factors’ came into play, the cause being the same story of irrigational headwork’s as was seen in Ferozepur. Beside

the road access which India needed for Kashmir, Gurdaspur held the main headwork’s which supplied the UBDC [upper bari doab canals] network, at Madhopur

in the Pathankot tahsil, as well the bifurcations of the main Kasur and Sabraon branches, from the same canal network, though the reality and figures speak otherwise,

Gurdaspur had only 90,000 acres irrigated by this network, Amritsar had 418,000 Acres, the maximum, were in Lahore District,792,000 Acres dependent upon this

canal networks [Census of Density-water supply and crops-page 4].In other words control of UBDC system was more important to Lahore district, besides the fact that, this was further important as Lahore had its whole population of 671,659 souls dependent upon the supply of water from UBDC for its municipal water needs.

Thus if irrigation considerations were taken in combination with communal population requirements, Radcliffe, would have been amply justified in awarding the

whole Gurdaspur District, as of the four tahsils, all were of Muslim majority, but for Pathankot which had a slight majority of non-Muslims, and Tahsils of Ferozepur and Zira to Pakistan. Had this happened a check and balance would have ensured good relations by both, the countries and common needs to cooperate would have remained.

Radcliffe played dirty in cahoots with Indians, as it was only on 17 August, three days, after independence of Pakistan, That the publication of his report was made public. only Shakargarh tahsil out of four tahsils of Gurdaspur was awarded to Pakistan, rest three, Gurdaspur, Batala & Pathankot went to Indians. From Lahore side instead of awarding Ferozepur and Zira, he awarded two-thirds of eastern Kasur Tahsils to India, from the Lahore District. Presumably to keep intact the areas served by the, Kasur and Sabraon Branches of the UBDC.

In retrospect, the award does not in any way reconcile the giving of two tahsils of Ferozepur and Zira as well the eastern two-third of Kasur, and Gurdaspur to India,

either on the bases of a contiguous borders or on the bases of irrigation considerations, If the irrigation factor was strong enough at Gurdaspur to vitiate the communal majority principle to the extent of partitioning a Muslim majority district and awarding Pathankot with a slight edge in majority of  non-Muslims, as well of awarding two full tahsils of Muslim majority of Gurdaspur itself and Batala-Than for Pakistan the irrigation consideration should have prevailed as was the case for India in Gurdaspur, at the least to the extent of giving Pakistan the control of the right hand portion of the Headwork, with the intake of Dipalpur canal.

In other words if Ravi was the logical boundary in Gurdaspur, than, the Sutlej should have been in Ferozepur district as well. Such a arrangement would have forced both the parties [India & Pakistan] to cooperate from the start and there would have been no need for a Indus Water Treaty.

Here it is pertinent to note that Gurdaspur had been awarded to Pakistan, even as per earlier outline/ blueprint of the division of Punjab, and later provisionally included districts of western Punjab, as can be seen from Menon Plan of 3rd June 1947, and the Indian independence Act of 18th July 1947.It was on these grounds that on the 14 August 1947,Muslim Civil Servants of Gurdaspur had raised the Flag of Pakistan in Gurdaspur and were in process of takeover of administration when on 17August 1947 the Radcliffe award was made public, and these public servants sent across the border to Pakistan. Why Pakistan state did to react to this nor fully endorse the attack on Kashmir, knowing full well that the only route to Kashmir went through Gurdaspur, and the track, was so bad that it could not fully take military transport traffic, via the Bunial pass, to Srinagar, it was much later when Banial tunnel was made, and the road was broaden and metalled that it could take Military, vehicles, Pakistan had every right, then, to reclaim it provided the leaders knew how to do so.

The rush in which the division of irrigational networks was done, with Indians being aggressive in the follow up and our lot dwindling their thumbs if seen now in the hindsight, even though, both Partition council and the check on it, the Arbitral Tribunal continued in existence even after 14 August 1947,till 31 March 1948,The partition council dealt with matters relating to assets, liabilities, of the staff, records of revenue matters, currency & coinage, as well of foreign relations & the Armed Forces. It worked through a steering committee under which came ten experts [officials] in the dispute matters, and the last resort being the Arbitral Tribunal, which had three members, from each governments inclusive of the British.[ Ch. l.V.P. Menon the Transfer of power pp-397/98].

All disputes were to be settled by the end of the fiscal year ending 31st March 1948,as per the standstill agreement between India & Pakistan signed on 18th December 1947.The allocation of waters was to be maintained as per the pre-partition allocation of waters, in the canal networks.

[to be continued]

Cross post from:

US not at war with Syria!

Yasmeen Aftab Ali


It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward, to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path”. Excerpt from speech in Cairo, June 2009 by Obama.
In the first week of September 2013, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered Syria strikes at the Capitol Hill. The Committee approved a resolution authorizing limited U.S. military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a contentious debate in the full Senate the following week on the use of force. While presenting the point of view of the White House, John Kerry made a rather interesting statement. “President Obama is not asking America to go to war,” the secretary of state and a former chairman of the committee John Kerry stated, who denied that strikes would prelude deeper US involvement. “If Assad is arrogant enough, and I would say foolish enough, to retaliate to the consequences of his own criminal activity, the US and its allies have ample ways [of responding] … without going to war.” (The Guardian, September 3, 2013). Military strikes apparently, are not within the ambit of war according to this rhetoric. Since no boots on ground were requested by Obama in his present request to the Congress, therefore US was not going to another war. Not against Syria anyways.
This uniquely misdirected approach struck me as an extremely interesting way of defining a war. I decided therefore to look up the definition of war. John Keegan in his “History of Warfare”, states; war is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it. War is also defined as an armed conflict between nations or factions within a nation; warfare. It is also explained as; to be in a state of hostility or rivalry. Even a definitive outcome of the war may not decide upon the reason for the conflict.
War begins where diplomacy ends. In the earlier times, countries fought a war with massive standing armies. The armies of nations at conflict, met in battleground. The combat decided the fate of the outcome of the war. Modern day warfare is not just fought with standing armies. The modern day warfare has many other battlegrounds where the war is fought. Some of the grounds may be economic, trade, psychological, media, sectarian, religious and ideological. Proxy war is another well-practised method of fighting on foreign soil without “boots on ground”. For Clausewitz; (Prussian soldier and scholar) in current military conflicts raging around the globe, diplomacy, fighting, and reconstruction all go on simultaneously. Clearly, warfare is now between groups, not just states, and our terminology defining warfare must reflect this.
Irrespective of what kind or mix of kinds of war it may be, it is inevitably political. In the waging of a modern warfare, those involved cannot possibly remain apolitical. In today’s war non-state actors can inflict at least as much damage as the state actors. Attempted aerial bombing of a target with some degree of accuracy, with the aim of limiting collateral damage is known as precision bombing. This does not mean that precision bombing in exclusion to other kinds of combat tactics is not war. Destruction of an armed facility, a building, any construction, in an area causing minimal damage to the surroundings is an example of precision bombing. Ladies and gentleman and Mr John Kerry; America’s proposed measure against Syria, is very much war. Friends do not drop missiles on your country. The term precision is relative. It is relatively precise keeping in view the present technology available to man but it does not mean, by any long shot that every single missile fired will find its target but yes, it will be safe to assume most will. Therefore there will be minimal collateral damage. Yet there will be collateral damage. “Precision bombing” was notably attempted by the United States Army Air Forces over Europe during World War II, as it was believed that heavy bombers could accurately bomb targets from high altitude using the Norden bombsight.
It is also subjective whether or not war, once started on a limited scale, will continue to remain limited. Syria and her allies will react. The theater of war can expand. This possibility cannot be ruled out. It will depend upon the retaliation by the country against whom US is going to war. In wars, reactions cannot be predicted to precision. Once committed, US can and will be forced to expand the war theater as and when required. At this point in time, it may or may not have intentions of doing so, but whether or not this actually happens will depend on how events take shape over the next few weeks as there are other actors involved in this unfolding drama.
Secretary of State John Kerry opened the door to sending American troops into Syria if Bashar Assad’s regime collapses and al-Qaida-linked extremist groups stand to get their hands on his chemical weapons.( Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News) US it seems are well aware that the future of the “limited strikes” as they insist on calling this war, is at best, unpredictable. As Clausewitz states, “War in reality is never absolute because it is never final — even a defeated state may still recover. For these reasons, the dynamic that leads to extremes fades, and the political purpose which governs the conflict reasserts itself”.
The Syria Joint Resolution for Markup Section (2) (b-1) titled ‘Requirement for determination that use of military force is necessary’ states; “the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to prevent the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction by Syria.” In other words, it presupposes that all avenues of diplomacy and any other possible means that do not include the use of force have been explored, put in practice and failed to deliver before resorting to military force. However, by a 10-7 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution that authorizes a limited military response, giving Obama an initial victory in his push to win congressional approval. This in spite of the rule embedded in the UN Charter that member states cannot attack other states. Only two exceptions release them from obeying this law. The first exception is if so authorized to do so by a Security Council resolution, the second is in pure self-defense. In the case of Syria, UN Security Council has been not passed any such resolution and United States has not been attacked in any way by Syria.
How the US will restrict itself to a limited war as envisaged is anybody’s guess. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. who was elected in the tea party-fueled Republican wave of 2010, asked Kerry at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “Is the power of the executive branch so intoxicating that you have abandoned past caution in favor of pulling the trigger on a military response so quickly?” Maybe he too was reminded of the relevant provision in the Syria Joint Resolution for Markup.
Mike over to Mr John Kerry please.

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.

This is a cross post from The Nation:

The First Kalabagh Proposal of 1871

Naveed Tajammal

KB-DamKPK remained part of Punjab till end of  the year 1900,this proposal was, First envisaged, much before, keeping in view the in detail surveys and costing done, to make it a viable project, however the proposal was put in, cold storage, it was only in 1881,That it came again under Review, and, eventually put away. It was proposed that a canal for irrigation of Sindh Sagar Do-aba be made, into a canal colony,[if made it would have been the tenth canal colony in Punjab,], from the sum of [Pounds Sterling], £ 750,000/- allotted by the GOI, to Govt. of Punjab, in 1881, for productive works in Punjab, Major-General .H.W. Gulliver of Royal Engineers, was the Joint-Secretary, to Govt, of Punjab PWD, Irrigation Branch, Who had proposed the idea once again, in a letter.No.910 dt.19 Aug.1881, sent to The Secretary  Govt. of Punjab, this article deals with the arguments which were made, the merits or demerits of the project.

This proposal had been forwarded on a note submitted by Mr. Garbett in 1871,which was attached, with yet, another note on the same subject by General Crofton, then Chief Engineer of Irrigation, in Punjab, in the same year 1871.

It was stated that, there is a point on the Indus just above Kalabagh where the river is confined in a narrow gorge, Waters from Attock to Kalabagh have a rapid declivity, before the gorge the waters are received in a deep pool of some miles in length at a height of 796 feet above sea level, it was proposed to draw water required from this pool, a bed of shingle which existed at the southern end of the pool forms a natural Weir over which the water flows into this place, no works would be required in the river bed, to turn the water into the canal, the shingle bed is a permanent from its natural position, and Indus bed at Kalabagh is much higher, than Jhelum at its corresponding point in its course, so that the canal might run across the Do-aba from Kalabagh into Jhelum, at Shahpur, and thus a canal with its head at Kalabagh will command the whole area lying between the Jhelum and Indus, though the volume of outflow has not been measured at Kalabagh as it varies from time to time, but this exercise can be done, however, we can safely assume it would be ample to supply any demand which may be made upon it for Irrigation,, there is a good supply of building material & land would be cheap, and as traffic is small, few bridges would be required, so that the construction of the canal would not be costly, however the difficulties would be the deep cutting at the head works, and the height to which the head works must be carried, because of the high rise of Indus when in Flood.

The tract to be irrigated was 150 miles in length and 55 miles wide, which embraced the whole of waste land which was presently not giving any income to the state, as the ground water was 90 feet below, so wells were few and irrigation covered a few acres, from each well. The river water supply was far more in excess and would not affect the downstream farm lands, so what mattered most was fixing the dimensions of the canal keeping in view the proposed requirement, as the land to be irrigated was worked out in total to be 5,250,000 acres [Five million two hundred and fifty acres]and to irrigate one third of this area in step one, the water required as per calculations was 8,000 cubic feet per second.

The major issue under debate was that the population of the region was very scanty, and so the return on money to be invested, as the canal colonists would be very few, Here, kindly keep in mind that most of the ground work had been done in the years before 1871,So in 1881 the question was how to solve this issue, and it was necessary to consider from what quarter a population sufficient to cultivate & earn and return to the state the investment done, could be brought in from, The nine canal colonies in our Bars had been filled by canal colonists from the British East Punjab. the districts West of Delhi.

Though it was suggested that, districts which bound this tract on its west, east, north & south, could supply limited number of manpower, However the Lieut-Governor of Punjab was of view that, the greater number could be drawn from the Western-Trans-Indus regions. According to him, the Pathans beyond our borders are accustomed to frequent this tract with their sheep, camels and goats for ages, during the winter seasons, their own cultivable land is very scarce, and highly prized .And the same people would readily work in constructing the canal and cultivate the land irrigated by it after it has been constructed. As an example it was quoted that pathan were very industrious cultivators, as cultivation by them on their small plots in the Bannu valley, and in Peshawar District in the Mohmand and Khalil Tappa’s, as well in the Do-aba and Daudzai, strongly reflected their ability if given a chance. Sir R. Edgerton, the Lieutenant Governor was of a strong opinion that as had been seen since 1855 when borders had been opened for immigration of people from Kabul and Qandahar Regions in Trans-Indus regions, a very large influx had come and were settled in the districts as peaceful citizens & it would a good idea of civilizing our frontier Neighbours, according to our desires, and it would be than easy to manage them much more easily and economically than at present.

It was also assessed that present income from this vast track of land was only,Rs.2,60,344/- earned  by the Govt. through cultivation & water charges and from Grazing Tax dues,Rs.73,827/-.

The Districts through which it was to pass, and bring waste lands under cultivation were Shahpur, Jhang, Bannu, D.I. Khan and Muzzafargarh. However in the end it was the cost of the total project, which amounted to almost £ 5 million [ pounds sterling],a colossal, amount in 1881,and it was decided that for far less cost, the Bar regions could be brought under cultivation.

It should be borne in mind of the nine canal colonies introduced by the British in our, Jech, Rechna & Bari Do-a, the first one was, Sidhnai colony located in the Bari-Do-ab, Multan District, and the colonization period lasted between 1886-1888,and total area which it eventually covered was 250,000 acres. The British were keen to colonize our regions with their own loyal people, who knew the yoke well and would not create issues in recovering the Govt. Dues, therefore from the British East Punjab, came the hordes of Abad-kars used to paying the Tax.

The British undertook in detail revenue settlements in each new district they formed by addition and subtractions, of revenue circles and unwanted lot were transported out to facilitate the new canal colonists, as the income from Agriculture remained the major source of income for the crown, till it ruled our lands, The advent of British revenue system put an end to our old collective ownership by the village communities, and established the Writ of the Crown as the giver of land. The result was as the people went more in the money economy ,they fell deeper in debt, to the new class of  The Market Grain Merchants, and the Masters of all the Hindu Money-Lender, The Debt led, to mortgage of their only Asset the Land, which the Hindu Khatri would be more than willing to assess according to his, own diabolic calculations, the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon Laws, with its, Civil & Penal Code, gave exceptional powers of manipulation to the money-lenders, and with the help of the new breed of Lawyers, which they could well afford, much to the disgust of the poor land owner, who was left at the mercy or whim of the public prosecutor, the law courts became Arena of Agrarian Battles, the winners were, the new breed of Vakils and their Khatri, financiers.

Lastly before the signing of IWT 1960,as the water dispute issue continued with India, one of the proposals was, The Upper-Indus Link’ which passed through the heart of Potohar Plateau and joined Jhelum-Chenab Zone, along with enlarging link canals, and the storage facilities, India would not budge, they wanted the cheapest solution, as this was costing $ 2.3 Billion in 1956.The Indians always the masters of manipulation managed to convince our GOP, the ever gullible lot, to put forth a less expensive alternative, So our great Bureaucrats, proposed the Pakistan London Plan which eliminated the costly upper-Indus link through the Potohar plateauit proposed instead a Dam on the Jhelum, at Mangla to store water for replacement and a Dam on Indus at Tarbela to be used for development in Sindh and Via two trans-Thal links [Kalabagh-Jhelum & Taunsa-Panjnad],for replacement in the lower Punjab and Bahawalpur. The plan had also proposed three smaller storages on Indus & Jhelum tributaries and a series of link canals for bringing Jhelum water to the upper Punjab and upper Bahawalpur.

The cost of this in 1958 was much reduced to please Indians, all this was for $1.12 Billion. India objected to this too. The Kudos goes to Ayub Khan for blindly signing the final Draft of IWT 1960, at $893.5 million, of which $541 million was provided by consortium grants, India contributed $ 174 million, and Pakistan was given loans arranged by the World Bank amounting to $ 178.5 million. So Ayub Khan in reality gave the whole waters to India for $ 174 million, in 1960 that too was paid in installments, as they earned from the usage of the water, and opened up new canals, in their Punjab, and The Sikhs paid for the bulk share of the cost eventually. The Hindu pundit followed the maxim of the old British rulers who would often say, that, they were willing to defend their Durand line to the Last Sikh Soldier.

This is a cross post from :

Chahbahar “Tiz” Makran territory of Pakistan

By : Naveed Tajammal


In 1897 large quantity of arms were being smuggled into Afghanistan via the, Western Makran coast, which attracted serious attention of the British Indian Government, a naval blockade, was eventually established and it was by end of 1909,the traffic had been considerably reduced. A small field force was sent to Makran in 1911 to deal with the arms traffic on land that attacked and defeated Mir Barkat who had, since 1908, established himself as the chief of Be-aban district in the Persian Baluchistan. The conditions were such that, in the spring of 1908 Mir. Bahram khan Baranzia of Dizak, an upstart Wazir of the Buzurg’zada Hakim of Jalk and Dizak had also ejected the Persian governor of Bampur, and established his independent rule.

Chahbahar1In September 1915 the German agents entered the region with their gold coins; the whole region because of total chaos became a hotbed of warlords, and a grey area between the British Empire and Persian state. The Germans succeeded to the extent that they managed to force the shutdown of British consulate in Kirman and the British Trader community had to vacate Kirman. Seeing the conditions, Mir Bahram Khan Raided Gawattur, a sea port between Gawadar and Chahbahar; part of Makran but the Nazim of Makran drove him back from Gawattur.

In 1916 the British were forced to send in General Percy Sykes with South Persia Rifles to restore order in the current Persian Baluchistan region, though it has been part of old Makran sea coast as would be described later. The Region along the sea coast was very vital to the British as the Telegraph Posts and lines had been installed all along the coast line, as a double check a submarine cable too had been laid. In 1863 a treaty was signed between Turkey and Persia, in relation to Telegraph lines to connect, British India and England. As the borders between British Empire and Persia were still not defined, therefore a special Telegraph line was laid between Bushire and Khanikin only for international messages vide a treaty between Persia and Britain, in 1865.

The Germans were not worried of the recent set back, they renewed their efforts in later part of 1916, this region was termed as Sarhad (border) between British Indian Empire and Persia. General Dyer was dispatched with a force and Major Keyes joined him from Makran side, to pacify the tribes on the sea coast and borders of Makran. The Commandant and Adjutant of Makran levy Corps had been murdered, while operating in the Sarhad region. In 1918 on very urgent basis the Rail- line, Spezand-Nushki section of North Western Railways in British Baluchistan Agency was extended to Duzdap, to help send the supplies to the British Cordon Field Force that operated till 1931.

The point to note is from 1908 till 1928 and later after the final settlement of the borders between our Makran, and Persian Baluchistan [Sarhad Region] the Bampur Ruler remained independent, and, was well taken care of by British, to keep their vital Telegraph line post at Chahbahr operational. The other reason was that in 1915 one Khair Mohammad a Pushtun of Sirhingi, known as ‘Khalifah’ had attacked Chahbahr  and Jask Telegraph Stations. He was repulsed by British south Persia Rifles-and the lines repaired, but again in 1916, the ‘Khalifah’ returned with Fury and raided the same stations at Chahbahr and Jask, though again repulsed by the British South Persia Rifles. Keeping in view these repeated attacks, a sea-cable was laid along the sea coast of Chahbahr and Jask, as an alternative, to the land line. [Ref: A collection of Treaties/Engagements/Sanads, by C.U. Atchison, updated till 1930,volume xiii, Foreign Department, Govt. of India].

Even if we revert back in Time, and study the volume ll of the Shah Nama of Firdausi, translated with footnotes by A.G. Warner 1906,which covers the 4 main dynastic ruling houses of Iran, narrating about the second dynasty Kiani, in his footnotes, the author explains that, during the rule of Kai Kaus,[p-79/80],when the monarch decided to wage a war with the kings of  Berber, Miser [Egypt],and Hamararan, Kai Kaus marched from Nimroz to the, Makran sea coast in the south, there he built a large fleet, and sailed along the coast of Arabia, onward to his destination…and that Tiz [Chahbahr] was the only sea port which goes in antiquity ,directly in line with Zaranj the capital of Nimroz, Even later in recent times, the whole region from Chahbahar [western makran] till Northern inter-linking Nimroz [Seistan] had been a bone of contention between Persia and Mughal empire, as in the Mughal administrative set up the southern parts of Qandahar province over lapped Makran under Multan Suba, However after the fall of Qandahar fortress in 1648 AD to Persians, the Administrative boundaries are seen re-adjusted. And encroachments in Qandahar province continue under the Rule of Aurangzeb, The warden of forward marches of the Mughal empire, in the South west, were the Barrohi Khans of Kalat and of Central Marches to the west, were the Kalhora of Khudabad. As can be seen by the, Arz-dast from Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhora warden of central marches of the Multan suba [province] sent to Prince. Muizz ud din,the future Jahandar Shah of the Mughal empire, but, then the Subadar [Governor of Multan] and copies sent to the court at Delhi, dated from the proceedings of the year 1703 AD, The year Mir. Summandar Khan Barrohi attacked Qandahar fort and defeated the Persian commander in a pitched battle and killed his Son.

[Ref : Guldasta i Nauras Bahar of Sheikh abdur Rauf, compiled by Muhammad Wafa Swistani. Library of Syed Hussam ud din Rashidi Ms.p-111-113].

Even in the recent times the sovereignty of Persia over seistan [Nimroz] and lower  Western sea coast of Makran overlapping that of Persian Baluchistan remained in dispute, Hence the south Persian Rifles of the British, in the years 1862/1863,constant wars are seen between Dost Muhammad Khan and Persian court-The British diplomatically declined to interfere in the matter-and left both sides to make good the possession by force of their arms, a typical old Mughal empire policy of Watch and Wait the outcome, as both parties exhausted themselves.

In the end Persians requested the British to help them out as per the Treaty of 1857, No. xviii [signed between British and Persia], and asked the British minister at Tehran to help them out, by a arbitration to settle the borders of Nimroz with Kabul Government, and General Goldsmid gave his award in 1872,however again in 1902-The shah of Persia once again asked for a review of the same, and this time Colonel. McMahon, drew the new border lines, which was accepted.

Re-Conquest of old Khurassan geographic entity has been the favourite Dream of all past Iranian Rulers, and thereby indirectly establishing their influence across the Roh’ into the Indus Region. To put forth our claim for return of Chahbahr, in a historical perspective a glimpse of past is must. The geographic entity of Makran has always been part and parcel of the Indus valley civilization, Since ages and now forgotten Makran land routes were the main highways connecting by sea along its coast line as well through the land, East to West, It was only because of the ruthless destruction of the region by Turks and Tartars that cities were sacked and whole populations transported out, and so Makran lapsed in a mere geographical expression, However all kudos goes to the old Arab Geographers who gave full account of the region and its ports, however it were the extra-ordinary hydro-graphical changes in the last one thousand years that have changed the region, the drying up of old rivers, dependent upon certain natural laws, destruction of cities by invaders who depopulated the region, resulting in removal of guilds who maintained the ancient underground water channels, and the ever varying alterations of the sea coast line, has left large tracts mentioned in the old books not recognizable on ground, as given very graphically by the Arab Geographers.

Men like Ibn Haukal [d. 988 AD]. Istakhari [d.957 AD] and Idrisi [d.1161 AD] give graphic accounts of the fertility and greatness of the Makran region its vibrant cities and distances from each Caravan station to the next, and cities enroute towards Sindh river. The pen-picture is so vivid that it leaves little for imagination, along with maps and their general observations as they saw the route, and the traffic on the highway. The Later Great port for Arabs on the Makran coast, and old sea capital of Makran was Tiz [Chahbahr], about 100 miles west of present Gawadar port. Where lay a city, which held the Arabs spell bound by its Grandeur and Magnificence, the convenient sheltered harbour, Even till late 19th century,  as narrated by  Colonel. Sir Thomas Holdich, in his book Gates of India,1910,enormous heaps of debris were seen in the old ruins of Tiz, with broken pottery ,suggesting that old inhabitants of Tiz, had devoted a lot of time in production of Ceramics art works, and every fresh rain unsurfaced fragments of new curiosities in Glass ware and china, Here along the coast line cities, was seen a special class of pottery, of very fine texture and finished with a light sage-green glaze-said to have possessed the property of detecting poison by cracking if poisoned  food or drink was served in them.

The most obvious reason why Tiz [Chahbahr] was taken as the port of Debarkation for onward journey to Sindh river cities, was that monsoon winds did not affect the coast so far west, especially in the heavy monsoons, when all seaports of Sindh delta were rendered unapproachable in heavy rains and gales. Next in old days when Nimroz flourished in its glory it was a straight route up and onward to the Central Asia across the Oxus [ammu darya] River.

According to Idrissi, the distance between Tiz and Kiz [Kej] was 160 miles and that Kej in those times was as large as Multan, and the largest in Makran, in between lay ‘Firabuz’, Sir H. Elliot refer’s it as Kanazbun, modern, punjgur, 110 miles east of Tiz after which one of the major cities enroute was Armail [las bela] after which according to Istakhari, it took two days to reach Kambali, which has been identified as later Sonmaini port.

The fall and decline of these routes or highway has been attributed to opening up of high sea routes around the southern coast of Africa and much later in 19th century came the Suez Canal and rise of Aden seaport, which died shortly after the advent of Air travel took vogue.

Now Gawadar port once again, shows a light in this dark region once the centre of the world trade. judging from the maps attached [That in colour from the book. Fathnama i Sindh, institute of Islamic history, culture and civilization.1983] and the one in black and white, is from vol. l page-32,”History of India” by Sir H. M. Elliot]

There remains no doubt that Tiz [Chahbahar] as depicted in the Map shows clearly that it is part of Makran and Hence Pakistan.

This is a cross post from :

Syria and the ‘Greater Iran’

By: Yasmeen Ali

SyriaThe plot has gone stale: a bad government, the saviors and an ultimate invasion of sorts by US and her allies bringing down the “bad government” to install a “good government”. I would think by now, people would be fed up of the wars sprung; Iraq War, the Libyan War, Afghan War, supporting the “Egypt Spring” and now; the continued support of extremists operating within and along Syria’s borders.
Why the US and her allies feel so strongly about Assad using chemical weapons is surprising considering it gave a hand to Saddam in gassing Iran. It was also the US and Britain who sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. US & UK cannot be so naïve to think the sale would have resulted in production of children’s’ toy guns. Americans was apparently well aware that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons that he used against Iranian Army and also against his own countrymen in the 1980s. Yet America did nothing to stop or condemn.
Classified US Defence Department documents (also seen by the Sunday Herald) show that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas. (Report by Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot: The Sunday Herald – UK) Let us also not forget that cluster bombs are banned by 83 countries. This has not stopped the US military from selling $640 million worth of American-made cluster bombs to one Middle-eastern country alone. It is ironical for US to vehemently react to one country using chemical weapons while selling it to another. The Cluster Munition Coalition defines a cluster bomb as, “a weapon containing multiple explosive submunitions. These containers are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground and designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the submunitions and saturating an area that can be the size of several football fields. Anybody within that area, be they military or civilian, is very likely to be killed or seriously injured.”
Let us not forget also the use of Agent Orange in the war against Vietnam where between 1961 to 1971 an estimated 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use. Mark LeVine in his Op-Ed in Al-Jazeera News (Published August 27, 2013) poses a thought provoking question; can a government that supported the use of chemical weapons in one conflict claim any moral, political or legal authority to militarily attack another country for using the same weapons?
The questions that I pose are different; will the US target the stockpile of chemical weapons in Syria? The answer is an obvious no. Will the US attack ensure no future use of chemical weapons in Syria? The answer is it cannot ensure this. Will the “limited attacks” as envisaged by Obama continue to be limited attacks or will the scope of the war theater be enlarged once started? The answer is: there can be no such certainty. So, what exactly is the strategy that we are talking about here? What is America trying to achieve?
The atrocity of using chemical weapons notwithstanding, does the answer to proposed Syrian attacks sans UN sanction, lie in vested interests? Is the act to be seen as an obsessive anti-Iran driven policy being followed by the west? Many American strategists feel support to Syrian rebels and a subsequent downfall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will result in a roll-back on the influence Iran yields with Syria and inflicting a major casualty upon Iran. Syria has been Iran’s sole consistent ally since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It is in American strategic interest; says Michael Rubin, not to allow Iran to prevail in Syria. “The chief impediment to peace and stability in the Middle East is Iran, and it’s long past time the United States begins to realise that there will be no breakthrough on any issue of concern to US national security until the Islamic Republic no longer exists. It should be the policy of the United States to hasten that day.” (Published 6/23/2013) A friend, in a lengthy private mail commenting on the tense situation in Syria, wrote, “The west has delayed Syrian “spring” long enough.”
However, there are the religious-geographic dynamics that cannot be overlooked. Hezbollah & Iran in hands with Alawites of Syria have been aiming at reviving the Greater Iran, keeping in view their own schismatic ideology, the effects of which reflect in the current proxy war in Pakistan. The geographic link formed is Hezbollah on one end, Syria and Iraq forming the center with Iran at the other end converging to solidify a unified religious school of thought. Is the Middle East or South Asia ready for the revival of a Greater Iran? Is the World ready for it?
In a recent development, President Barack Obama has decided to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Bashar Assad’s regime. Is this a route to face saving as being claimed by some political pundits or does Obama want Congress to walk the red line he created last year when he said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for the United States? A red line that has boxed Obama in a corner.
There are many unexplored avenues through which the use of chemical weapons in Syria can be effectively checked. First; allowing the UN to conduct an inquiry and giving access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack. After initial support, Obama’s government reversed its position. The explanation given was that it was too late in the day to carry out the investigation and get valid evidence of the alleged crime. Second; to open up space for a diplomatic exchange with Syria where interests of US and its allies overlap with those of Syria. The use of “lead from behind strategy” can be instrumental in bringing Syria to the table. Third; to impose harsh economic sanctions upon Syria. It may be difficult to make Russia and China bite, but I am sure Obama can work his way around this. Fourth; to appoint observers mutually agreed upon by both Syria and the UN to observe the situation and ensure that such attacks are not repeated. Once fully satisfied; the sanctions may be removed, staggering it in two or three tiers. Fifth; stop arming the rebels. If a change has to come it must come from within, a change imposed from outside is neither long lasting nor is it accepted by the local populace. Military support to Syrian rebels was reluctantly given by Congress earlier this year. White House spokesman Jay Carney, in July 2013, talking to reporters; stated, “The aid is intended to help the opposition resist Assad and eventually prevail.”
I hope that US is not eager to repeat the same mistake it made in Afghanistan; using diplomacy not to avoid war but to ensure its allies support her with ammunition, soldiers and maybe logistics. Reverting only to the military option is in fact, the failure of any foreign policy.

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @yasmeen_9

This is a cross post from The Nation: