Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pakistan Military’s Latest Gear

Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan - How much is truth

Pakistani officials were fortunate to be greeted with a fresh offer of military hardware – possibly totaling as much as $2 billion over the next five years. This latest gear includes (infact likely to include) night vision goggles, and helicopter spare parts. This is not new for Pakistanis, since 9/11 Pakistan’s gotten lots of big-ticket items from the U.S. military. According to the Congressional Research Service’s tally (.pdf), that includes eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; six C-130 cargo planes; over 5000 TOW anti-armor missiles; 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; and even an Oliver Hazard Perry-class missile frigate. And by next year, Pakistan will receive 18 new F-16 combat jets from the U.S. — fighters capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

”There has been some discussion on upgrading the navy’s fleet with retired U.S. ships,” says Shuja Nawaz, a South Asia analyst at the Atlantic Council. The latest addition in Pakistan Navel Fleet is US decommisioned USS McInerney FFG-8 (PNS Alamgir for Pakistan Navy). The ship (shown) is second of Oliver Hazard Perry class of a guided missile frigate. PNS Alamgir’s mission is to provide multi-threat protection for military and merchant shipping, amphibious task forces and underway replenishment groups. This 32-year old ship was sold to Pakistan in US$65 million refurbishment including anti-submarine capability paid for with foreign military aid provided by the U.S. to friendly countries. The transfer of old Navy ships to other countries is done through the Navy’s International Programs Office, which brokers deals through its foreign military sales department. PNS ALAMGIR after necessary maintenance work and training will set sail for Pakistan in January 2011. The ship is a potent addition in Pakistan Navy Surface Fleet and with its onboard weapons and sensors will be able to effectively contribute in the maritime defence of Pakistan.

PNS Alamgir - Commissioned 3rd September 2010 to Pakistan Navy

Considering the latest gear what options does Pakistan have? According the Spencer Ackerman (Wired Magazine) puts it this way:

“Unless al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have developed an armor corps and a submarine-heavy Navy while no one was looking, these weapons have more utility against the Indians than the terrorists.”

This gear is either a treat from US for Pakistan to use against terrorists or U.S. military seeks to prevent a deepening erosion of a relationship that US can’t live with. This especially true after recent wikileaks suggesting a strong ties between Pakistan and Insurgents. WikiLeaks has freaked out the White House, though, by clearly raising questions about whether Pakistani aid to the Afghan insurgency is far deeper than typically acknowledged. How much truth is in it, I think it will be too early to say anything. However, it’s not a surprising news that the Pakistani ISI has ties to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami. How much of this money or gear will go to Afgan pockets no one knows, it is only a time who will show a true motivation behind these large spendings on US non-NATO ally. But Is there a silver lining to Pakistan’s relationship with the insurgents? Not known, at least to me. Are things still Koran, Kalashnikov and laptop or do I have to add heat seaker missiles to it as well ?

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Filed under Afghanistan, Attack helicopters, Aviation, Current Affairs, Engineering, Flight Global, ISI, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy

UAV – New Way to Wage War

UAV – Unmanned Arial Vehicle, will only exist if they offer advantage compared with manned aircraft. Contrary to advantages, disadvantages are obvious to some of us as we see and hear everyday. An old military adage (which also applies to civilian use) links the use of UAVs to roles which are dull, dirty or dangerous (DDD). To DDD add covert, diplomatic, research and environmentally critical roles. So, is this the point of UAVs ? Leaving economics of the operation aside, I guess the answer is yes.

Military and civilian applications such as extended surveillance can be a dulling experience for aircrew hence DULL, but the UAV, with high resolution colour video, low light level TV, thermal imaging cameras or radar scanning, can be more effective as well as cheaper to operate in such roles. Other than environmental monitoring over nucler contaminated areas, Crop-spraying with toxic chemicals is another DIRTY role which now is conducted very successfully by UAV.For military roles, where the reconnaissance of heavily defended areas is necessary, the attrition rate of a manned aircraft is likely to exceed that of a UAV.Due to its smaller size and greater stealth, the UAV is more difficult for an enemy air defence system to detect and more difficult to strike with anti-aircraft fire or missiles. Looking at the positive side the UAV operators are under no personal threat and can concentrate specifically, and therefore more effectively, on the task in hand. Power-line inspection and forest fire control are examples of applications in the civilian field for which experience sadly has shown that manned aircraft crew can be in significant danger.

Typically, the UAV is smaller than a manned aircraft used in the same role, and is usually considerably cheaper in first cost. Operating costs are less since maintenance costs, fuel costs and hangarage costs are all less. The labour costs of operators are usually lower and insurance may be cheaper, though this is dependent upon individual circumstances. On the assumption that the disposable load fraction of a light aircraft is typically 40% and of this 10% is fuel, then its gross mass will be typically of order 750 kg. For the UAV, on the same basis, its gross mass will be of order 35 kg. This is borne out in practice.

MQ-9 Reaper

Recently (as per 27 Oct 2010) Raytheon has tested a new UAV weapon Small Tactical Munition (STM) (0.6m-long (2ft), 13lb (5.9kg) bomb) at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The dual-mode, semi-active laser seeker and GPS inertial navigation system enable it to engage fixed and moving targets in all weather conditions.

With US army moving its concentration from Irqa to Afghanistan, and continuous use of UAVs in Pakistan tribal areas by USA the demand for small unmanned air vehicles is moving into higher gear as well. US Army plans to buy 3,000 Raven small UAVs with already 2,000 in hand.

From the CIA’s silent war in Pakistan – two UAVs extensively used, the Predator and the Reaper, both made by General Atomics, a San Diego defense contractor. The Predator is the older of the two; the first one was delivered to the Air Force in 1994. By the end of the 1990s, the CIA was using it to track bin Laden. Capable of flying for up to 40 hours without refueling, the drone was a “brilliant intelligence tool,” recalls Hank Crumpton, then the CIA’s top covert-operations man in Afghanistan. Although the CIA was keen to weaponize the drone early on, the Air Force resisted the idea until 2000. Even then, firing the weapons was another matter. The Predator’s firepower is limited, but the Reaper can deliver laser-guided 500-lb. bombs like those commonly found on the F-16 jet, together with Hellfire missiles.

But why use UAV, Times (CNN) published a report in Jun2 2009, The CIA’s Silent War in Pakistan saying:

“If we were sending F-16s into FATA–American pilots in Pakistani airspace–they might have felt very differently,” says James Currie, a military historian at the U.S.’s National Defense University.

“The basic problem with all aerial reconnaissance is that it’s subject to error,” says George Friedman, who heads the security firm Stratfor. “But in a place like Pakistan, errors have enormous political consequences.”

Critics of the drones ask if it makes sense for the U.S. to use them when every strike inflames Pakistani public opinion against a pro-U.S. government that is at the point of collapse. And yet Pakistani leaders like army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani seem to have concluded that using drones to kill terrorists in FATA is generally a good thing. This is a major change in direction; although former President Pervez Musharraf allowed drones to operate, he placed severe limits on where and when they could strike. After Musharraf resigned last summer, the shackles came off. The U.S. struck a tacit bargain with the new administration in Islamabad: Zardari and Kayani would quietly enable more drone operations while publicly criticizing the U.S. after each strike. The arrangement has worked well for the U.S.

While the drones may seem a technological marvel and strategic asset to those waging the campaign on the American side, they don’t impress the local tribesmen. Is the drone war winable ? Question yet to be answered.

Sources: CNN, Times (,8816,1900248,00.html), FlightGlobal

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Saudi Dynamics – Don’t kiss my hand

The price of oil may remain in flux, but the commitment in Riyadh to grow its military power and diversify its supplier network remains constant. Recently Saudi Arabia placed an order worth $29.4 billion 84 new F-15SAs equipped with active electronically scanned array radars and major upgrades to its fleet of 70 F-15Ss. Moreover, Saudi Arabia could acquire more than 150 new helicopters from the USA under acquisitions worth a combined $25.6 billion. Riyadh is aiming for 72 Sikorsky UH-60M (shown below) Black Hawk transports, plus 36 AH-6i light attack helicopters and 36 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbows from Boeing and 12 MD Helicopters MD530s, and 48 UH-60Ls on order.

Looking at current Saudi fleet, it already operates 12 AH-64As, and has a confirmed order for 12 D-model. Latter sale was announced the same day when former deal to buy F-15s was confirmed.

UH-60M Black Hawk

Among the Gulf states, Saudi’s military still stands apart as the only force operating airborne “command ships”. The United Arab Emirates plans to break that monopoly soon, but Riyadh clearly wants to maintain its advantage. Again, Boeing is likely to become the favoured contractor.

Credits: FlightGlobal, Airliners.NET


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How Clear are Open Skies


Singapore has concluded Open Skies Agreements (OSAs) with Barbados, Brazil, Jamaica and Rwanda, at the International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Services Negotiation Conference 2010 (ICAN 2010), held in early July in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Direct air links with Singapore will allow businesses in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbeans to access more markets by tapping on Singapore’s excellent connectivity to the Asia Pacific region. This will reinforce the growing people and trade flows between these regions and the Asia Pacific.

EU transport ministers have signed a second “open skies” agreement with the US at a meeting in Luxembourg.

BBC 24 June 2010

There exists more stories like above, the so called “Open Skies” deals are frequently appearing in news these days. 1992 and onwards brought a change, post 1992 arena airlines felt the need for further liberalisation. Put simply, open skies eases restrictions on air travel between the A and the B. Taking the example of EU and US, Any European airlines is now potentially able to fly to the US from anywhere in the EU – not just from its home nation as was previously the case. And looking it from the other way round, any US airline can launch flights to EU.

Opening Skies

All of this begin, when in 1992 the Dutch and US governments signed the first open skies agreement and inaugurated a new phase of international deregulation. Looking more closely to this deal, the key elements of this bilateral agreement includes open route access, open access for charters, multiple airline designation, unlimited frequency or capacity, code share agreement and most importantly unlimited Fifth Freedom Rights (The right of an airline from country A to carry revenue traffic between country B and other countries such as C or D on services starting or ending in its home country A).

‘‘Open skies’’ policies have also been adopted and actively pursued by a few other states. New Zealand, which signed an ‘‘open skies’’ bilateral with the United States, had secured similar deals with Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, the UAE and Chile by the end of 1999.

However, one question remain unanswered why at first stage these agreements (open skies) were necessary. Well, bypassing the political interests, they were a significant improvement on the ‘‘open market’’ agreements they replaced in several respects, most notably in relation to market access and tariff regulation They opened route access to any point in either country whereas the earlier bilaterals had tended to limit the number of points that could be served by foreign carriers in the United States (for example). Also mutual Fifth Freedom rights were granted without restraint compared to the more limited Fifth Freedom in earlier bilaterals.

But these were little different for Europeans. Unlike US-like bilateral policy In contrast to this the development of a single open aviation market in Europe was to be achieved through a comprehensive multilateral agreement by, initially, the member states of the European Union. In parallel with the liberalisation of air transport regulations, the European Commission felt that greater freedom for airlines had to be accompanied by the effective application and implementation to air transport of the European Union’’s so-called ‘‘competition rules’’. These were designed to prevent monopolistic practices or behaviour which was anti-competitive or which distorted competition to the detriment of consumers. The competition rules cover three broad areas, namely, cartels and restrictive agreements, monopolies and mergers and state aid or subsidies to producers.

The final step required is to move from ‘open skies’ to ‘clear skies’. This is the new challenge for governments and regulators.

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Aeromedics – Motion Influence on Pilots

If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes. [Pablo Picasso]

Semicircular Canals, Aeromedical Factors - Private Pilot Ground School

The human body has a remarkable set of motion sensors, which are capable of detecting linear and angular accelerations, in addition to the haptic sensors that detect tactile pressure applied to the skin. These sensors enable us to walk up a flight of stairs, jump off a chair or run after a bus, without endangering ourselves. They also provide orientation in three dimensions, for example, an athlete can jump over a 2-m bar or a diver can perform several somersaults, jumping backwards from a diving board. These same sensors detect accelerations during conventional flight and in aerobatic manoeuvres. For the flight simulator designer, an understanding of the human motion sensors is essential; it can identify the limits of the brain to detect motion and possibly exploit this information to reduce or simplify the motion applied to a simulator platform. If the dynamic responses of the human balance sensors are known, filters can be designed to match the combined response of the motion platform and pilot to the response of the aircraft and pilot. In attempting to provide realistic motion cues, the motion inputs applied to a flight simulator platform are constrained:

The structural limitations of a simulator motion platform determine the maximum forces that can be applied to the pilot in a simulator; it is necessary to establish the limits where lack of motion may affect the simulator fidelity;

Reducing the motion inputs may allow a lighter and less expensive structure to be used in a motion platform; alternatively, the mass of the platform and cabin determines the power needed from the actuators;

If acceptable platform motion can be achieved with reduced power, considerable savings can be made in the running costs of a flight simulator; the use of electrical actuation may reduce both power requirements and the environmental problems associated with hydraulic systems.

The vestibular system of the human body senses the orientation of the head and dynamic movement of the head. As the head moves, the eyes are stabilized, so that the vision is not blurred by the head movement; the vestibular system also provides signals for the eye muscles to accommodate this movement. In effect, the vestibular system provides a stabilized platform as it is capable of detecting both linear and angular accelerations about three axes. The angular accelerations are detected by semicircular canals and the linear accelerations are detected by the otoliths. One set of these sensors is located in each inner ear.

The semicircular canals are arranged as an orthogonal set of canals, in three mutually perpendicular planes. The canals are attached to the skull and filled with a fluid, known as endolymph. In each canal, there is an expanded section called the ampulla, which is sealed by a flap known as the cupula. Angular acceleration of the head about one of the three axes causes the fluid in the canal to move (with a short lag) deflecting the cupula by a small amount. The nerves in the cupula detect this movement, sending signals to both the brain and the oculomotor muscles in the eye (to stabilize eye movement)

Linear accelerations are detected by the otoliths. The sensor consists of hair cells in a gelatinous fluid containing particles of calcium carbonate. As acceleration is applied to the head, the calcium carbonate particles lag slightly behind the head movement, deflecting the hair cells. Movement of the hair cells is detected by nerve cells which transmit signals to the brain and the oculomotor muscles in the eye. Studies have shown that the otoliths detect the tangent component of applied forces.

Clearly, the pilot’s vestibular system detects accelerations before the effect of the accelerations are perceived on the aircraft instruments. In particular, attitude and altitude are second integrals of acceleration, introducing a lag before the initial acceleration takes effect. There is, arguably, an inner control loop in which the pilot detects and responds to accelerations, which occur in a full-motion simulator and also in an aircraft, but is omitted in a fixed-base flight simulator. This lack of acceleration cues in a fixed-base simulator is cited by some pilots as a potential cause of negative training transfer in transitioning from a fixed-base simulator to an aircraft. In other words, pilots apply one technique in the simulator and another technique in the aircraft. Certainly, there have been instances during in-flight refuelling exercises and also with vertical take-off aircraft, where there have been noticeable differences between the pilot’s performance in the simulator and in the aircraft. In refuelling applications, such differences can be attributed equally to the visual system (potentially the reduction of the vertical field-of-view or the projector focal length with near objects), poor turbulence modelling or incorrect aerodynamic interaction with the tanker aircraft.

Middle ear and sinus problems

Above is of prime importance especially for simulation study and significantly affect pilot behaviour under different simulation environments. However, in real flights Climbs and descents can sometimes cause ear or sinus pain and a temporary reduction in the ability to hear. This not just apply to pilots, but there are many of us who have experienced this at least once in their life. The physiological explanation for this discomfort is a difference between the pressure of the air outside the body and that of the air inside the middle ear and nasal sinuses. The middle ear is a small cavity located in the bone of the skull. It is closed off from the external ear canal by the eardrum. Normally, pressure differences between the middle ear and the outside world are equalized by a tube leading from inside each ear to the back of the throat on each side, called the eustachian tube. These tubes are usually closed, but open during chewing, yawning, or swallowing to equalize pressure. Even a slight difference between external pressure and middle ear pressure can cause discomfort.

During a climb, middle ear air pressure may exceed the pressure of the air in the external ear canal, causing the eardrum to bulge outward. Pilots become aware of this pressure change when they experience alternate sensations of “fullness” and “clearing.” During descent, the reverse happens. While the pressure of the air in the external ear canal increases, the middle ear cavity, which equalized with the lower pressure at altitude, is at lower pressure than the external ear canal. This results in the higher outside pressure, causing the eardrum to bulge inward. This condition can be more difficult to relieve due to the fact that the partial vacuum tends to constrict the walls of the eustachian tube. To remedy this often painful condition, which also causes a temporary reduction in hearing sensitivity, pinch the nostrils shut, close the mouth and lips, and blow slowly and gently in the mouth and nose.

This procedure forces air through the eustachian tube into the middle ear. It may not be possible to equalize the pressure in the ears if a pilot has a cold, an ear infection, or sore throat. A flight in this condition can be extremely painful, as well as damaging to the eardrums. If experiencing minor congestion, nose drops or nasal sprays may reduce the chance of a painful ear blockage. Before using any medication, check with an aviation medical examiner to ensure that it will not affect the ability to fly. In a similar way, air pressure in the sinuses equalizes with the pressure in the cockpit through small openings that connect the sinuses to the nasal passages. An upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or sinusitis, or a nasal allergic condition can produce enough congestion around an opening to slow equalization. As the difference in pressure between the sinus and the cockpit increases, congestion may plug the opening. This “sinus block” occurs most frequently during descent. Slow descent rates can reduce the associated pain. A sinus block can occur in the frontal sinuses, located above each eyebrow, or in the maxillary sinuses, located in each upper cheek. It will usually produce excruciating pain over the sinus area. A maxillary sinus block can also make the upper teeth ache. Bloody mucus may discharge from the nasal passages.

Sinus block can be avoided by not flying with an upper respiratory infection or nasal allergic condition. Adequate protection is usually not provided by decongestant sprays or drops to reduce congestion around the sinus openings. Oral decongestants have side effects that can impair pilot performance. If a sinus block does not clear shortly after landing, a physician should be consulted.

This is not Enough

Unfortunatly, engineers aren’t happy with above subjective descripitions of both problems, especially firt (motion factor). Thus, to quantify the influence of motion of pilot behaviour, it is best to develop mathematical model of human vestibular system, technically a general this model forms a transfer function in terms of percieved displacement and angular displacements, and can be solved by second order approximation (2nd order ODE). Under laboratory conditions, it has been shown that angular acceleration cannot be detected below a minimum acceleration, which is between 0.12 and
4.0 deg/sq.s. Threshold values of 0.5 deg/sq.s have been reported for pitch and roll under flight simulator
conditions. For example, although the maximum pitch angle of the platform might be 15deg, as the simulator motion approaches this limit, the platform can ‘leak’ 10deg of pitch in 6.3s, enabling the simulator to achieve a further (perceived) pitch up of 10deg in response to subsequent pilot input.

Further details for mathematical model can be accessed in any relevant aeromedical book, or (Allerton,2009 “Principles of Flight Simulation”) provides a brief overview of motion influence. For technical results and analysis, please keep following the space.

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Pakistan is My Responsibility

Jinnah placed great importance on the youth and gave his advice to students on several occasions. At a public meeting in Dhaka on March 21, 1948, he said:

“My young friends, students who are present here, let me tell you as one who has always had love and affection for you, who has served you for ten years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning: you will be making the greatest mistake if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or another…. Your main occupation should be — in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your parents, in fairness to the state – to devote your attention to your studies.”

Jinnah has often been referred to as brilliant and arrogant, and there is no denying the fact that he made no effort to socialise with those with whom he had little in common. He was formal and reserved in his dealings and never gave into emotions or sentiments. The overall picture of Jinnah as reflected by leaders of the subcontinent reveals that he was a man of unquestionable integrity, honesty, honour and unwavering belief in principles. His commitment to a cause he took up was definite and permanent. He spoke openly and fearlessly against discrimination, communalism, sectarianism, parochialism and believed in the separation of religion from the affairs of the state.

Addressing the Punjabi Muslim Students Federation at Lahore on October 31, 1947, Jinnah said:

“Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students who have always been in the forefront in the hour of trial and need. You are the nation’s leaders of tomorrow and you must fully equip yourself by discipline, education and training for the arduous task lying ahead of you. You should realise the magnitude of your responsibility and be ready to bear it.”

Jinnah called Pakistan a moral and intellectual achievement. He called upon Pakistanis on August 31, 1947, to build, reconstruct and re-generate our great nation. He said:

“It is in your hands, we undoubtedly have talents, Pakistan is blessed with enormous resources and potential. Providence has endowed us with all the wealth of nature and now it lies with man to make the best of it.”

In his speech at the Dhaka University in 1948, Jinnah said: “Freedom which we have achieved does not mean licence. It does not mean that you can behave as you please and do what you like irrespective of the interest of other people or of the state. A great responsibility rests on you and now more than ever, it is necessary for us to work as a united, disciplined nation. What is required of us all is a constructive spirit and not a militant spirit. It is far more difficult to construct than to have a militant spirit. It is easier to go to jail or fight for freedom than to run a government. Thwarted in their desire to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, our enemies turned their attention to finding ways to weaken and destroy us but they have been disappointed. Not only has Pakistan survived the shock of the upheaval but it has emerged stronger and better equipped than ever.”

Pakistan, with its strategic geographical location and an impressive population of 170 million people, a large majority of this being the youth of Pakistan waiting to be moulded in the right direction to peace, progress and prosperity, has been battling for its survival for quite some time. We need to develop leadership in Pakistan in the role model of Jinnah at all levels in the country.

Nations that forget or ignore the teachings and guidelines of their founding fathers are often doomed to disaster and end up as failed states. There is urgent need for our youth to read and understand the principles, ideals, values and vision of our founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and ensure that we achieve and have for all times to come “Jinnah’s Pakistan”.

Young people need models, not critics

Pakistan Zindabad

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In Pakistan, Every Morning is Monday Morning

Why is it dams or atomic power comes to the mind of those who, once in decade sit down to resolve the energy crises in Pakistan, why alternate energy resources is beyond their imagination. Years in crises, the government of Pakistan is trying to figure out how to pull the plug on Pakistan’s energy crisis. Unfortunately for them, it will take more than a bit of effort.

Pakistan’s energy requirements are increasing in geometrical ratio, and not only economic growth but political stability is directly linked with the availability of adequate energy resources. Why wait for top-down solutions? Providing energy in a bottom-up way instead has a lot to recommend it. There is no need to wait for politicians or utilities to act.

The technology in question, from solar panels to low-energy light-emitting diodes (LEDs), is rapidly falling in price. Local, bottom-up systems may be more sustainable and produce fewer carbon emissions than centralised schemes. In the rich world, in fact, the trend is towards a more flexible system of distributed, sustainable power sources. The developing world has an opportunity to leapfrog the centralised model, just as it leapfrogged fixed-line telecoms and went straight to mobile phones.

One idea is to use locally available biomass as a feedstock to generate power for a village-level “micro-grid”. Husk Power Systems, an Indian firm, uses second-world-war-era diesel generators fitted with biomass gasifiers that can use rice husks, which are otherwise left to rot, as a feedstock.

Even when new technology and models are available, the logistics of rolling them out can be daunting. The two big challenges are providing the upfront investment for energy schemes, and building and maintaining the necessary distribution systems to enable them to reach sufficient scale.

Being here means you can read this, assuming you have the capability to process the information, and most importantly to THINK. So why wait for others to act, I appeal, if you think you can contribute to society, and capable of transforming your thoughts into actions: Stop Thinking, Go in . If America’s number one energy crisis is Monday morning, then every morning is Monday morning in Pakistan, which has to go.

The stakes for Pakistan are very high. Pakistan’s diplomacy is facing its severest test. Pakistan should simultaneously intensify its diplomatic efforts to bring China on board, which given the rising cost of fuel and galloping needs of Chinese burgeoning economy may not be difficult to achieve. This is no small consideration for the sort of influence Pakistan would gain in resisting US pressure.


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