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Saturday, April 21, 2018
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The Pakhtun unrest may infect Sindh and Baluchistan
The fake encounter of a young Pakhtun, Naqeebullah Mehsud, by a policeman in a fake encounter in Karachi in January this year has kicked off Pakistan-wide Pakhtun unrest. It was not this single death that has brought Pakhtuns on streets but thousands of deaths, their malicious projection as terrorists and forced disappearances that have been happening since 9/11 in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (earlier North West Frontier Province -NWFP). The Pakistan Army suspects the common Pakhtun to be a terrorist. The senior police officer Rao Anwar who had killed the innocent Pakhtun man in Karachi was co... More
Many in Pakistan did accord an emotional welcome to Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel laureate, her brief, four-day homecoming of was turned into a tremendous public relations exercise by the government, trying to paint a better picture of itself before the world community. The Malala haters had a field day, too, which brought out the ground reality that nothing has basically changed in Pakistan so far militancy and terrorism are concerned. For one, Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), under whose orders Malala was shot at five and a half years ago, remains at large. Claims of his having been kill... More
Lies, Deceit, Bluff and Bluster Will Work No More for Pakistan
No matter what spin it puts around the week-long plenary meet of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that concluded in Paris on February 23, Pakistan will find it difficult to mislead the world about its close links with terror groups. The noose of virtual financial isolation awaits Pakistan if it fails to convince the world by June this year that it has severed its ties with all terror groups which have long been nurtured by itsArmy, and its intelligence wing,ISI, with tacit backing ofsuccessive civilian governments. FATF’s ‘grey list’ of nations financing terror will not be something new for Pakistan though. It was in that dubious hono... More
FATF sword hangs over Pakistan
Defying the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions for years, the President of Pakistan finally promulgated an ordinance just eight days before the beginning of the week-long session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on February 18-23 in Paris. The ordinance, promulgated in a hush-hush manner on February 10, was not made public for two days and when made public, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) refused to comment on it. It looked as if the government wanted to delay and dilute the angry reaction of its UNSC-proscribed friends at home while not daring to defy the UNSC anymore. Now that the United States (US) has a Preside... More
Manzoor Ahmed With a few months to go for the general elections in his country that he swears he will win, Imran Khan, the darling of Pakistan’s middle classes and the twitterati who think the world of him, has got married for the third time. The much-speculated marriage is confirmed, and with photographs, by leaders of his party, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), so there is no confusion, no ambiguity. Imran Khan is unlikely to expel those leaders – unless the marriage itself, like his second one that ,lasted barely 10 months, fails. At least, the Great Khan need not kick and protest that he is being maligned and that there is a ‘... More
In Xi Jinping’s China, a new season of repression begins
The Chinese government, which claims at every opportunity to be a great power, is acting more like a dictatorial regime with state organs going after journalists who are daring to question the government policies or point out the realities of life in Xi Jinping’s China. But, journalists are not the only ones facing the brunt of Xi Jinping’s renewed assault on liberty and free speech. There is now a `national crackdown` on organised crime but the two groups which are being specifically targeted are the Tibetans dubbed as the ``Dalai surrogates`` and Xinjiang `separatists``. Orders have gone out to the regional security forces to not to spar... More
Dark predictions about a possible military coup are being made in Pakistan as it braces to meet another round of economic difficulties in June on being placed on the ‘grey list’ for failing to curb money laundering and funding of terrorism. The ‘villain’, yet again, is the United States at whose behest the Financial Action Task Force the (FATF), meeting in Paris last week voted to place restrictions on Pakistan. The logic of this speculation is that the US may engineer the coup indirectly so that it can work with the military rulers, once the democratic government is removed. The political class is nervous and livid at these prospec... More
More than the state visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to India in mid-February, his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s air dash to Pakistan exactly a month later in mid-March was more newsy. Rouhani- Modi talks in New Delhi did not offer a headline though diplomats of the two countries described the talks as “substantive and productive”. Zarif’s talks in Islamabad, on the other hand,were front page news not only in Pakistan and Iran but also in India, China and beyond. The visit took place just when Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa has begun to articulate his own Bajwa doctrine as sure recipe for peace on Pak- Afghan border, in... More
US Displeasure – Pakistani Desperation
Notwithstanding the boastful rhetoric of its military masters and civilian leaders, the manifest US displeasure has made Pakistan desperate as it faces the twin danger of a serious setback to its already fragile economy and diplomatic isolation. It has come as no surprise therefore that Pakistan has returned to its familiar two-track diplomacy – reviving the Kashmir issue on the international stage and harassment and intimidation of Indian diplomats and their staff in Islamabad. The escalation in border firing may be seen as another Pakistani ploy to keep the Kashmiri pot boiling. The Pakistanis are, as always, wailing and sobbing over In... More
Onus for peace in Afghanistan on Pakistan and Taliban
On June 6, 2017, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani gave the Taliban “the last” chance to come to the negotiating table or face the consequences. Nine months later (February 28, 2018), he said he was willing to accept the Taliban as a political party if they came to the negotiating table. The Taliban have reacted to neither the last chance warning war nor to the offer of accepting them as a political party. To emphasise their non-recognition of what Ghani has to say they accelerate their terrorist activities in Afghanistan killing innocent children, women, men besides Afghan defence personnel and policemen in even religious gatherings and ev... More
Coming on the heels of the 37-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris last month that put Pakistan under watch list for terror financing, the Islamabad High Court set aside the Election Commission’s rejection of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s application for the registration of its Milli Muslim League (MML) as a political party. The High Court thus paved the way for the MML to fight general elections later this year. The Court apparently showed no sensitivity to the embarrassment Pakistan has been facing mainly because of Hafiz Saeed’s JuD since the FATF Pains meeting. Right thinking people in Pakistan are greatly dismayed. ... More
America’s Pakistan policy is baffling
In the aftermath of the 37-nation meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris last month the United States and Pakistan expressed their desire to change their policies about each other. But the sum total of all the statements the leaders of the two counties made, indicated that they can at best put the old wine in new bottles. No creative thinking in formulating a policy which is drastically different from what the two countries have followed for 64 years vis-á-vis each other. Pakistan’s highest civil-military forum, the National Security Committee (NSC), met in Islamabad on February 27after Pakistan was put under FATF w... More
Will China stop defending Masood Azhar after his admission to terror attack at Sunjuwan Army camp?
By Samuel Baid Any hope of relief to neighbours by putting Pakistan under the closest scrutiny of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will not be very real if the earlier experience is an indication. Terrorism business flourished in Pakistan during 2012-15 when it was already under the FATF watch list. The problem is that foreign powers, who want to wean away Pakistan from terrorism, address themselves, to the representative government which, alas, happens to be the weakest and most ineffective link in the unrepresentative, unofficial and unaccountable power structure in the country. Benazir Bhutto, after she had been sacked as... More
The Bajwa Doctrine: Old Wine in Old Bottle
About two months ago Pakistani military’s public relations wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), produced, as if from a magician’s box, a document it called Bajwa Doctrine. The authorship of the Doctrine is unclear although an impression is sought to be created that Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa fathered it. There is a suspicion that just before the general elections this year, the ISPR is at its old game of projecting the Army Chief as the promised saviour whenever Pakistan is in shambles because of civilians misrule and corruption. This doctrine has two parts: (1) foreign relations and (2) domestic issues. Gen Bajwa is shown a... More
Is Pakistan Army the real enemy of its people?
Should it surprise or shock us to learn from a Pakistani political activist that his country’s beloved army was colluding with terrorist groups to carry out ethnic cleansing of minorities in Pakistan? In real sense, the news should neither surprise nor shock because this has been known for years now. Even then, the statement of the Washington-based Pakistani activist Nadeem Nusrat, the convener of the MQM party in Pakistan, that ``in the last few decades, Pakistani Army has become radicalized and has been supporting jihadist groups to attack minorities and activists in the country,” should be taken seriously. Mr Nusrat said few other thing... More
Xi Jingping’s rise revives memories of dread
Chinese President Xi Jingping’s recent anointment as the `President for Life` has sparked old, buried memories of the horrific days of the Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Those were the days, about 52 years ago, when unruly mobs comprising students and soldiers were unleashed on all those who opposed or seen to be in opposition to Mao’s ambition fuelled by paranoia to become the unbridled leader of the country. Many today fear Xi Jingping’s decision to rewrite the country’s constitution to usurp power is no different from Mao’s megalomaniac drive to become `supreme ruler`. During the Cultural Revolution, as the violent and oppressive drive was ... More
`Taliban Centre` must be punished
The other day when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, otherwise a genial, soft-spoken person, lashed out at Pakistan calling it the Taliban Centre, it was an outburst against his neighbouring Muslim country raining bombs and deaths on the hapless citizens of his country. This is not the first time Ghani has accused Pakistan of supporting terrorists but it is the most vocal and exasperated outpouring at the loss of human lives and peace following a series of bombings carried out by the Taliban, sheltered and supported by Pakistan. On the face of it, there is nothing new in the allegations of Pakistan-supported Taliban attacking innocent civilian... More
Pak-Chinese perfidy on Afghanistan
There two things which have become clear from the Taliban’s ambulance bombing in Kabul at the end of January 2018, in which over 100 people killed. A massacre is what it was and there are no two opinions about it. The world has rightly condemned it and surprisingly, China has also done so. What China has not done is to condemn the Taliban and its obvious Pakistani links. Let us face it, Beijing knows as well as anyone else that the Haqqani Network, whose commander Sirajuddin Haqqani is a number 2 of the Taliban, is a creation of Pakistan’s ISI. It is thus clear that there is a China-Pakistan perfidy to ensure that peace and stability do not ... More
Pakistan’s sham action against Hafiz Saeed
Manzoor Ahmed There is nothing surprising about Pakistan’s knee-jerk reaction to impose restrictions on global terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, its parent body, Jamaat-udDawa (JuD), and the terrorist mastermind, Hafiz Saeed—it is merely another excuse to hoodwink the international community, and more specifically to escape strictures at the forthcoming UN-mandated Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which will review the long list of commitments made by Pakistan to stem terrorist finance. This is not the first time that Pakistan’s case is coming up for review. This time it would be eighth year in running when Pakistan’s case will be rev... More
Who will speak for Pak-enslaved Kashmir?
By Manzoor Ahmed There is always lot of talk about Kashmir in the media as well as in the political circles across the world but rarely does any of the writings or discussions venture to look into the life and times of people who live in that part of Kashmir which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. The illegally occupied territory of India, which the usurper Pakistan calls `Azad Kashmir`, has been a slave colony of the Punjabi rulers of Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, ever since Pakistan hoodwinked the international community, the UN included, in 1948. After the Pakistani intruders were pushed out of Kashmir, the UN mandated that... More
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