Farooq Yousaf

Farooq Yousaf

The author is a PhD (Politics) Candidate currently pursuing his studies in Australia. He has previously completed his Masters in Public Policy and Conflict Studies from Germany. He also consults Islamabad-based Security think tank, Centre for Research and Security Studies, and occasionally writes for various news and media sources. He is specialising in Indigenous conflict resolution and counter insurgency. He tweets at @faruqyusaf (twitter.com/faruqyusaf?lang=en)

If Pakistan acquires drone technology from the US …

Regular militant attacks have now become a norm in Pakistan. The situation on the ground suggests that tracking and hunting militants is difficult, whereas for militants, carrying out their activities at will is easier. In terms of numbers, drones have killed more militants in FATA compared to on ground operations, but these drones do not conform with legal parameters set by the Pakistani constitution. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on drones and the need for the Pakistan government and the military to come out clean on the issue. On July 8, 2013, it was reported that the Pakistani government is considering ...

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Were the Taliban really behind the Gilgit-Baltistan tourist attack?

“Pakistan suspends expeditions after tourist massacre” read the latest news headlines in Pakistan after one of the worst incidents in the country’s tourism history where nine foreign tourists, and their Pakistani tour guide, were shot at point blank range by militants on the base camp of Nanga Parbat, in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were also quick enough to claim responsibility for this high profile attack, stating that their faction, Junud-e-Hafsa, was the main perpetrator of the attack. According to them, the attack was in response to the drone strike that killed Waliur Rehman, an influential TTP ...

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Drone strikes: For better or for worse?

Drones are effective; they kill the most-wanted militants, reduce operational costs, minimise collateral damage and President Obama calls them “legal”. So where is the problem? Why are they so widely condemned? Recently, a drone attack killed another militant, Waliur Rehman, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He was supposedly the number two of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) – the only organisation that Pakistan considers inimical to its interests. The TTP is a publicly stated enemy of Pakistan as it has mostly claimed ownership of suicide bombings and IED attacks which keep killing innocent Pakistanis. Waliur Rehman’s elimination, on the face of it, means Pakistan ...

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Is Israel really Pakistan’s enemy?

Growing up in Peshawar, a slightly conservative city of Pakistan, my sentiments as a child were nothing different from those of others in most parts of the country. I had a slight disliking for India, and sheer hatred for Israel. Words such as ‘Jewish lobby’, ‘Zionists’, ‘Freemasons’, and many others – whose meanings many of us did not even know – kept ringing in our ears through religious scholars, teachers, friends and peers, and we used to associate all of them directly with Jews, especially Jews of Israel and those having major shares in US corporations. The Indian intelligence agency Research and ...

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Is Obama’s visit to Israel going to change history?

“Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this; political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.” This was one of the highlights of Obama’s speech, who was addressing Israeli students and youth in Jerusalem, during his three day trip to the holy-land, his first as a US president, where he tried to reach out to the people of the region, rather than giving the spotlight to political leadership. Although most parts of his speech came as expected, it also had chunks of surprises for the Israelis and ...

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Why all this fuss over Gwadar?

It came as no surprise when, on Monday, the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zaradri handed over the operating rights of the Gwadar port officially to China in a high profile ceremony arranged at the President house in Islamabad. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Pakistani officials and the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Liu Jian, which meant that the world renowned, yet little functional, Gwadar port was transferred from the Singapore based Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), which had initially signed a 40 year lease deal in 2007, to the Chinese state-owned China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC). Pakistan tagged it as the ...

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So, why did Putin delay his visit?

In a surprising turn of events, Russian President Vladimir Putin deferred his visit to Pakistan, scheduled on between October 2 and 3. As a result, the quadrilateral summit for the Afghan Security Situation, having Tajikistan, Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan as participants was postponed to an undisclosed date. Although Putin’s decision may raise serious concerns, the prevailing situation behind the scenes is quite different and, dare I say, positive. According to Moazzam Khan, the foreign office spokesman, Putin has written a letter to President Zardari expressing Russia’s desire to enhance cooperation with Pakistan. With this announcement, the Pakistani media outlets started to cite ...

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Af-Pak relations: Brothers at war

The Soviet war, the Taliban regime, 9/11, and now the 2014 pull out. Yes, we are talking about Afghanistan, a country that has provided  justification to the US geopolitics for interventions outside the US, and fed the world media for over three decades. Ironically though, Pakistan has played the facilitator all through ─ hosted and trained Afghan mujahideen, and also sheltered over 3.5 million Afghan refugees for over two decades. One major question that boggles many minds is why, despite the material and political sacrifice and socio-political suffering, does Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan continue to draw negative publicity. Why do our relations with ...

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Welcome to the “Islamic awakening” in Egypt

In a bid to save Egypt from further turmoil, the results of the final runoff vote for the presidential poll were declared in favour of Mohamed Mursi Eissa al-Ayat, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi won with 13,230,131 votes against Shafiq’s 12,347,380. The election, in which more than 50 million voters were eligible to cast their ballot, saw a 51.8% turnout. For quite some time there was a deadlock between the two candidates with the world media hinting towards further chaos in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters were accusing the military establishment for holding off the results in a ...

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China and Russia can free us of the US

Pakistan is looking to the East for help. We are pinning our hopes on regional cooperation through blocs such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ( SCO). This bloc boasts support from two major regional powers –Russia and China. Why should we support this alliance, one might ask. To them, I would like to state simply, we need this to free ourselves from the stranglehold of the US. We have numerous reasons to support this alliance. For instance, despite all cooperation and the consequent suffering, Pakistan continues to face immense pressure from America. The recent episode of this series of pressure came when Pakistan suspended the Nato supply ...

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