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Friday, December 4, 2020
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Gen Pervez Musharraf has announced his decision to indefinitely postpone his decision to return to Pakistan where only about 10 years ago he was considered the ironman. A recently published book, ‘From Kargil to the Coup: Events that Shook Pakistan’ by Nasim Zehra, has in fact chronicled how General Musharraf and his senior most Army brass had hoodwinked the whole political class in Pakistan and also other sections of the Army to make believe the so-called success of Kargil intrusion by Army regulars. Now he is in a self-exile to escape the line of fire in his own country. There are thousands and thousands Muslims who fled this country,... More
For 16th year in a row, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that Pakistan should be declared a ‘‘country of particular concern’’ because of its ill-treatment of religious minorities. However, the Trump administration, like its predecessors, has refrained from doing so, ostensibly to not vitiate the social fabric when Pakistan will go to the polls end-July. The social and economic conditions are already bad and the US, which has strained ties with Pakistan, has avoided adding to the strains. The USCIRF has been making this recommendation since 2002 but successive US administrations have continued t... More
How Pak Generals remain above law
The Generals of Pakistan have not only been looting the people of Pakistan but have been brazenly manipulating the very foundation of democratic elections over the years by browbeating political leaders, bribing them and others, and raising the bogey of `Islamic takeover`. The most stunning case in the recent times was the case and the judgement delivered in the petition filed by late Air Marshal Asghar Khan in 1996. The former Pakistan Air Force officer proved beyond any doubt how the Pakistan Army and its intelligence wing, ISI, have been milking the country of its resources and manipulating politicians to fix elections. The Air Marsha... More
With its fourth depreciation of the rupee in a year, the latest taking place on Monday, June 11, Pakistan’s economy is in dire stress as the country hurtles towards an election that none appears to feel optimistic about in terms of economic recovery. This comes as its caretaker government feels helpless having no mandate to seek a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar said the interim government had no mandate to sign any new agreement or start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, stressing that any decision to that effect should b... More
Now Hazaras ask: Are we Pakistanis?
In May this year, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, posed a fundamental question to the government of Pakistan--Are the Hazaras not Pakistani citizens? This question has profound significance for the people of Pakistan, a large number of whom have recently been wondering whether they were Pakistanis at all. The question is quite similar to the one which another judge some 68 years ago had asked; his question was: Who is a muslim? The question was posed in the backdrop of a bloody clash between Sunnis and Ahmadis in Lahore and other towns in Pakistan, merely four years after the country was created as an exclusive ... More
Let danger lurks in the shadows
A little less than a decade after the brazen terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008, the terrorist group responsible for the mayhem and death of about 170 people, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), continues to thrive in Pakistan, with the active patronage of the establishment, specially Pakistan Army. With the ISIS on rapid decline and on the run, and al Qaeda merely a faint shadow of its past, LeT is undoubtedly the most dangerous terrorist group in the world. Although there has been no shortage of pledges, promises and even some talk of sanctions, the fact that LeT and all its top leaders continue to thrive in Pakistan tells a story of a c... More
Politics behind the water woes in Pakistan
Come April, there begins a battle of water between Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan. The former accuses the latter of stealing its share of water from Indus River. Punjab tries to deflect this attack on to India’s Kishenganga project in Kashmir. Pakistanis, who don’t seem to be very sure that this project will hamper the flow of water to what River Neelum on their side, have repeatedly failed to convince the World Bank, even the World Court, of the justification of their objections to the project’s design. Sindhis don’t seem to take any cognisance of what Pakistan has to say about the Kishenganga Project. They only want Punjab to stop stealing t... More
Persecution of Jinnah’s associates in Pakistan
Zealots, who as associates of Mohammad Ali Jinnah campaigned for Pakistan and gave it some shape in its formative years, are most despised, maligned and persecuted people in their dreamland which has grown into a bedlam of hate ideologies where nobody can call their souls their own unless certified to be a Muslim and Pakistani by those who had done their worst to abort this country before its birth. There is nothing new in the above statement. But one cannot help recalling it whenever there are atrocities on those who took a leading part in the campaign for the Pakistan along with Jinnah. Pakistanis especially Sunnis, who run organisatio... More
Social Injustice: Cause of Internal Insecurity in Pakistan
Pakistan is considered as a “faltering” state, blighted by civil-military disconnect and grave internal security mess, but its leaders never thought worth their while to invest in justice. The country was rendered rudderless when its creator Mohammad Ali Jinnah died within less than 13 months of its creation in September 1948. His Muslim League followers never thought of working his vision of Pakistan or, perhaps they did not bother to understand it. “The Faltering State – Pakistan’s Internal Security Landscape” is a recent book authored by Tariq Khosa, a professional who after joining public service in 1973 remained involved in law en... More
Fresh Security Risks to TAPI Gas Pipeline
There is some promising news on the long in the works, TAPI pipeline. Tie-up for funds to construct the $8 billion natural gas line to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India from Turkmenistan will be completed in the next quarter, the project´s chief executive told an industry conference held in the Turkmen resort of Avaza on 25 May. If everything goes as planned and if there is no fresh Taliban threat, the 1,814-kilometre (1,127 miles) pipeline will go into operational mode next year. The Pakistan-India stretch of the pipeline is scheduled to be ready by the beginning of 2020. Known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, the Turkmenistan–Afghanista... More
Shaid Khaqqan Abbasi, Pakistan’s technocrat-politician prime minister, heading an emasculated government, ought to be named Casabianca – the boy who stands on the burning deck of a ship that is about to sink. In this late, critical hour, he wants a “Truth Commission” to be established to “unveil hidden facts about all major incidents that took place in the country since 1947.” The bolt-from-the blue call came on May 25 as he spoke to the media at his office. Without surprise, it has taken by surprise everyone in Pakistan who cares to listen to him and Pakistan observers. For, as the initial reaction to his call goes, everyone knows what t... More
Traditionally subjected to physical violence, social boycott and enforced disappearances, Pakistan’s social workers and human rights activists face a relatively new threat: they are ‘digitized’ and damned. Latest study by the Amnesty International, the global human rights watchdog says human rights defenders are under threat from a targeted campaign of digital attacks. Their social media accounts are hacked and computers and mobile phones infected with spyware, a four-month AI investigation has revealed. The report does not identify those behind this campaign. But Pakistani media is awash with reports and petitions to the courts about the... More
Pakistan’s One Way Street: China Fixation
The talk that the Bamboo Capitalist, China, is making Pakistan its colony with the multi-billion dollar economic corridor from Gwadar, a sleepy fishermen village on the Arabian coast to Kashgar,the oasis city in Xinjiang,refuses to die down. Every denial from official quarters in Islamabad, and Beijing is met by a new assertion to the contrary with some facts and some more compelling arguments. The sub-text of every argument is the same that cooperation with China will become much less voluntary “if things go along the current trajectory”. On May 22, for instance, a blog post on The Express Tribune (ET) asked rhetorically: “Is China mak... More
China creating a `state of zombies`
This is something one has either read in science fiction or seen in sci-fi movies, with dread and awe. But the Chinese are now using techniques of mind control on its factory workers to make them work efficiently, put in more hours and desist all temptations to complain and protest, in other words make them automated machines. This is part of China’s long-term strategy to turn its citizenry into a tame, manageable people who will obey their political masters and not go out into the streets to protest against the state and party. This will ensure there will be no Tiananmen Square. No one daring to make critical comments about the party or... More
India and the PTM in Pakistan: Only Imagined Links
It is ironical that even as the Pak Army engages with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and its leaders to try and diffuse the peaceful protests the Army Chief Gen. Bajwa has been talking of “engineered protests”. Such is the state of Pakistan that at one end, the nation is witnessing social protests along the lines of the peaceful resistance along the lines initiated by Badshah Khan or Frontier Gandhi, while on the other hand assertions are made of the foreign hand without quite understanding the dynamics behind the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and its long march. It is significant that for the first time the Pashtuns have arisen in protest... More
Pakistan’s Terrorist protection programme
This could happen only in Pakistan--a terrorist, wanted by several countries in the world for acts of terrorism, gets a 24x7 security, the highest court of land asks for it to be withdrawn but a few days later, the state reinstates the security cordon. The terrorist mastermind, accused of plotting and executing the Mumbai attacks, among other terrorist attacks, is now free to move around the country, protected by the state security, as well as his own private army. This is the only country where a full-fledged terrorist protection programme has been in place for decades. This comes at a time when Pakistan is supposed to defend its case in t... More
Threatened action for not curbing money laundering and terror funding, Pakistan is racing against time to meet the June deadline. And while doing this, it has begun to make excuses and find faults with others. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has threatened action, by putting Pakistan on the “grey list” if it does not enact laws before a meeting in June. The “grey list” could be followed by “black list” and the sanctions would be severe. As a harried government whose own term ends before elections works overtime toput the finishing touches to its action plan, it is pleading for more time, till November, to leave the... More
2008 Mumbai Terror Secrets Buried in Sharif’s Chest?
In Pakistan, a Prime Minister who refuses to learn to say “Yes Boss” to the Army, his / her life and reputation as a patriot are never safer. See, for example, the fate of the country’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. He agreed to the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) call in 1948 for the ceasefire of India-Pakistan war in Kashmir defying his country’s Army. The Army conspired to overthrow his government. At the same time a campaign began to denigrate his Pakistani stature (he was a Muhajir from India) and his wife, Ra’ana Liaquat Ali’s moral character. Amid this he was shot dead at a public meeting in Rawalpindi in 1951. ... More
What after current political crisis in Pakistan?
It is confounding confusion that marks the current political scene in Pakistan. The media claims the country is going through the worst crisis of its existence. But outside Pakistan this crisis has hardly any news value. This crisis is inherent in the very existence of Pakistan. But there is a difference between the current crisis and the crises which have engulfed this country right from the beginning when it was created in 1947. In the first nine years of its existence Pakistan showed democracy was not its cup of tea. Then came: Gen Ayub Khan’s 11 years of military rule in 1958; of Gen Yahya Khan’s three years’ rule (1969-1971); o... More
National Pride on the Alter of CPEC
Between April 7 and May 3 two youths in their early 20s met their tragic end in Pakistan at the hands of the country’s high profile quests. Ateeq Baig (22) was knocked off his motorcycle when a speeding car jumping the red light hit it from behind in Islamabad. His pillion rider cousin broke his leg. The car driver was United States embassy’s Defence Attaché Col. Joseph Emmanuel Halls, who was arrested and released. The car was impounded. More horrendous was the tragic end of a 20 year old labourer Khalid Rind. He was working for a private Chinese company in Baluchistan’s Gaddani area. His Chinese employer Lao Li told him to get into the mi... More
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