Tag Archives: Pakistan

Pakistanis, Afghans need food as conflict escalates

The Pakistani army is carrying out assaults against militant groups in north Waziristan. These militants include Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked forces. The fighting has also displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, some whom have fled into neighboring Afghanistan.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Pakistan Tests Nuclear Missiles as Food Aid Low on Funds

 

By 2009, almost 50 percent of the Pakistani population, or 83 million people, were food insecure, up from 38 percent in 2003. In the aftermath of the flooding, it is believed that this figure may yet have risen to upwards of 90 million. (WFP/Amjad Jamal)

Pakistan is conducting nuclear missile tests and reportedly plans to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal. While it develops these armaments flood relief efforts for its own people remain low on funding.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is urgently seeking 15 million dollars as it tries to feed flood victims. It’s part of a larger relief operation to help the hungry in Pakistan who are suffering from conflict, natural disasters and poverty.

WFP Pakistan Country director Jean-Luc Siblot says, “We could scale up our response to reach up to 250,000 families – that’s 1.7 million people. But that would mean using food stocks earmarked for relief to the displaced population in the northwest of the country and these would have to be replenished by December – that means funding is needed now.” WFP depends on voluntary donations from governments and the public.

WFP reported earlier in the month that it had to cut its school feeding program in parts of Pakistan because of low funding. It also reported that the funding shortage would cause its food supply to run out in January. Pakistan made a contribution earlier this month to the WFP operation but clearly more can be done.

Pakistan’s spending on the arms race in South Asia could be used to help the poor and suffering within its own borders. Pakistan, as well as India and other states, have a responsibility to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to fight hunger and poverty. India and Pakistan need more treaties and less arms testing. Neither country is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

A report from the Nuclear Disarmament group Global Zero says, “Pakistan does not officially reveal the cost of its secret nuclear program. In 2009, a credible assessment by an investigative journalist with expertise in the subject provided information on which we can calculate the overall nuclear program budget (weapons and missile delivery systems) to be approximately $781 million – $300 million for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and $481 million for the strategic missile delivery system. ”

Pakistan’s nuclear expenditures would easily pay for the cost of WFP’s 2013-2015 Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, which is meant to feed some 7.3 million people in Pakistan at a cost of US $514 million dollars.

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How an Idea of Ike’s Could Help Settle India/Pakistan Nuclear Tensions–And Help Us Win the War on Terrorism

India and Pakistan, two nuclear weapons states, need to build a lasting peace. The two nations suffer from extreme hunger and poverty. This will persist as long as they pour their resources into a costly arms race.

Back in 2004 I wrote about one confidence building measure the two rivals should adopt on the road to peace. Hopefully in 2012 it will take place.  Here is a copy of the article as it appeared on History News Service and History News Network.

How an Idea of Ike’s Could Help Settle India/Pakistan Nuclear Tensions–

And Help Us Win the War on Terrorism

There’s encouraging news about ending the decades-old conflict between India and Pakistan. At the United Nations, the leaders of both nations recently expressed their desire for peaceful coexistence, and called for confidence-building measures.

How crucial is this development for the United States? Extremely. The war against terrorism cannot be won without stability in South Asia. Now is the time for the United States to intensify its efforts to help establish peace between the two rivals.

India and Pakistan are both armed with nuclear weapons. The two nations have frequently exchanged gunfire in the region of Kashmir, which both claim. In 2002, when hundreds of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops massed on their respective borders, war seemed imminent. South Asia was on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. The crisis subsided but the urgent need for peace between the two adversaries remained.

How can the United States aid the Indian-Pakistani peace process? By means of an old Cold War initiative, originally proposed by the United States. In 1955, in the midst of the Cold War, President Eisenhower presented a diplomatic surprise to the Soviet Union. Why not allow both the Americans and Soviets to fly unarmed aerial observation missions over each other’s military facilities? Such a move, the president surmised, could reduce the possibility of secret military preparations and help build trust through transparency. As Eisenhower stated, “Open Skies” would have the effect of “lessening danger and relaxing tension” between the two heavily armed rivals.

The Soviets didn’t accept Eisenhower’s idea in 1955. In fact, it took nearly 40 years to implement it. In 1992 the United States, Russia and other European nations signed the Open Skies Treaty allowing unarmed aerial observation missions over the respective territories of each nation.

A similar arrangement would benefit India and Pakistan, who fear each other’s military might. Open Skies missions would provide that Indian and Pakistani officials work together on observation flights. This type of cooperation would set the groundwork for future disarmament agreements.

Increased cooperation was Eisenhower’s intention when he unveiled Open Skies. He said at the time, “What I propose, I assure you, would be but a beginning.” His proposal was not by itself going to end the Cold War. It was a confidence-building measure similar to what India and Pakistan have called for at the United Nations.

A joint Indian-Pakistani statement emphasized that such measures could develop “an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding.” This was the very basis of Eisenhower’s original Open Skies proposal during the Cold War.

The security of the United States is greatly affected by relations between India and Pakistan. A successful war on terrorism cannot be carried out without stability in South Asia. Pakistan and Afghanistan form the major front on the war against terrorists. The remnants of al-Qaida, and possibly Osama bin Laden himself, are in that area. For the international community to finish off al-Qaida, uninterrupted cooperation from Pakistan is a necessity. An escalating conflict with India would only draw Pakistani attention and resources from the war on terrorism.

The United States must use its best diplomatic tools, such as Open Skies, to assist India and Pakistan. The use of diplomatic measures, great and small, cannot be overlooked as an essential tool against terrorism. The furthering of peace and economic prosperity worldwide will make terrorism less likely to prosper.

There are other reasons for the United States to be heavily active in promoting peace between India and Pakistan. The gravest risk facing South Asia is nuclear war. Both India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and possess effective missile capability. One nuclear strike could kill millions and bring about a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. A step-by-step process toward nuclear disarmament in South Asia is imperative.

Clearly, a stable Pakistan at peace with India is in the best interests of the entire world. Adopting an Open Skies agreement will help create the atmosphere India and Pakistan need to resolve their disputes. Its successful implementation would set a formidable model for arms control and peace that other regions of the globe could emulate. The United States and NATO can offer considerable expertise to help formulate the agreement.

An Open Skies initiative will help lay the foundation for amicable relations between India and Pakistan. This is one of many steps that will be needed to achieve peace in South Asia. The stakes are high. A failure to resolve the differences between India and Pakistan will prolong tension in South Asia, increase the chance for war and rob valuable time and resources from the fight against terrorism.

Article originally distributed in 2004 by the History News Service.

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