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Archive for February, 1992

Economic Cooperation Organisation

The Soviet Union used relentless force in subjugating the countries in its zone of occupation post-World War II in making them communist in its own mould, Winston Churchill spoke about an “Iron Curtain” descending over Eastern Europe. To compound the human losses of the war, Stalinist purges wiped out almost the entire blue-collar segment of the skilled labour class, the rest fleeing to safer havens, in their place docile puppets subservient to their Soviet masters and dedicated to a centralized economy were installed. The Soviet brutality in Eastern Europe could not surpass the savagery employed by their Bolshevik predecessors in Central Asia post-World War I in attempting to stamp out Islam’s religious character from the population, turning them into adherents of Godless communism. At the southern frontiers of the USSR, the communists remained extremely sensitive to the unifying force of Islam throughout their occupation.

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Highway to Heaven

Mr Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Federal Minister for Communications, in answer to a Parliamentary Question during the Question Hour Session of the National Assembly stated that the Islamabad-Lahore portion of the Trans-Pakistan Motorway will cost Rs 23.686 billion for its 339 kilometre length, having a six lane highway with four pavements. The cost per kilometre thus works out to approximately Rs 70 million. An enterprising engineer has worked out that this would come to about Rs 280 per square foot, the cost of construction commensurate to a house being built with moderately luxurious finish and furnishings. At this rate it would certainly be many times costlier than the construction of a similar highway in USA, Japan or any one of the EEC countries, about as much as for a modern aircraft runway capable of taking the heaviest aircraft payloads e.g a fully loaded C-5A Galaxy.

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The strictest of codes

The German Army was often called, in the late Nineteenth century, as an Army with a country. Bismarck had set in motion a series of events that led to the unification of Germany and then onto two great World Wars in the twentieth century, the last resulting in the dismemberment of Germany into many parts and the re-drawing of Europe’s map, with ideological basis predominant over nationalistic fervour. The communist ideologies was more pronounced in theoretical lip-service rather than the spirit of the teachings espoused, net result was the obliteration of communism in Europe and the rise of a unified Germany comprising the core of a 100 million German speaking people, this in the face of recent disintegration of the artificially created European republics post-World War 2.

The Pakistan Army may not be exactly the goose-stepping model of the German Armed Forces but the discipline, training, selection and promotions procedure are modelled closely on the pattern followed by Germany post-First World War leading upto the Second World War. During this time, other modern armies had adopted more or less the same procedures, not much different from selecting the executives and promotion thereof in any corporate structure. The Pakistan Army of today and the German Army of the last century are comparable insofar because of the circumstances availing since the independence of the country 45 years ago, the Pakistan Army serves as the rock of the last resort for Pakistan as a nation during internal and external crisis. In a country where political leadership alternates between being brilliant and bankrupt or both at the same time, the Army is the one institution that has universal confidence among the masses and this an awesome responsibility that goes far beyond any Army’s charter and tends to run afoul of the letter of the constitution but not the spirit thereof in protecting the country from internal and external dangers.

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US-Pakistan relationship – Closing the growing chasm

Every nation in the world has its own set of concerns, where national concerns coincide, individual nations find it momentarily expedient to develop a mutually harmonious relationship in supersession of lesser concerns that may be diametrically opposite in perception. The US and Pakistan do not live in Utopian isolation of the rest of the world, as disparate nations their priorities coincided till very recently, making it mutually convenient to have a close association. Pakistan was the recipient of economic and military largesse for the better part of 40 years, the maximum aid flow being in the last decade.

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