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Trump-Kim summit: beginning of another fiasco?

North Korea will have to wait for a while to see what is more hurting: American sanctions or trusting America? It is interesting that after stampeding Iran nuclear deal only weeks ago President Trump found a willing state to ink a fresh but highly vague nuclear framework. True to his usual Madman approach towards diplomacy, Trump has declared that the North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. North Korean media has since switched over to a jubilant mode, calling it a great victory, claiming that North Korea had won major concessions as the US president said: “the World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe!” “No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research! The hostages are back home with their families. Thank you to Chairman Kim, our day together was historic!” Trump had twittered.

Kim had made great gestures prior to summit, dismantling of nuclear testing site, removal of three top military generals and letting go American hostages alongside a promise of a moratorium on missile testing as well.  On the other hand, Trump played hard, he even walked away from the summit; he reverse paddled after receiving a big letter from Kim.

Retired Admiral Harry Harris, the US ambassador designate to South Korea has challenged Trump’s claim that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat to the world, saying that “we have to continue to worry about that.” North Korea’s media said that President Trump had not only promised to end joint military drills with South Korea, but also to lift sanctions and allow a “step-by-step” denuclearization process, rather than the immediate dismantling of its nuclear program.

Independent analysts have pointed to the lack of substance in the agreement that has committed the US to unspecified security guarantees for North Korea in exchange for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Many have said that though Pyongyang had vowed in the past to denuclearize but had repeatedly broken such promises.On paper, there is nothing President Trump could extract from North Korean leader, that Kim’s father and grandfather had not already given to past American presidents. In fact, he got less, at least for now.

Did Kim play blind or he has had credible assurances through back channels. While analysts were hoping that after Iran nuclear deal fiasco, it would be Kim, walking away from the summit citing credibility issue with Trump, he was seen as dying for the summit, this eagerness surprised many. Have long biting sanctions sapped Kim’s will to resist, or there is an undercover understanding on the issue between China and the US on the final outcome of settlement? One has to only wait and see. A long march toward uncertainty has just begun!

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Selective Assessments of Human Rights Status

These times are witnessing increasingly selective assessments regarding Human Rights status across the World. And slogan of Human Rights has become a tool for furthering hidden strategic objectives. In response to the letter, written by HRW Asia Director Brad Adams to Prime Minster Imran Khan, on August 24, Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari responded: “I hope that you would also raise your voice against a massive human rights violations, carried out in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, Palestine and in some European States against Muslims citizens.” Minister also urged HRW to take up the issue of the violation of human rights by some European states against their Muslim citizens in the form of curtailing their right to practice their religion freely and in the form of abuse of Islam and its Prophet (PBUH), in direct contravention of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. “Since HRW claims to monitor human rights across the world, I would like to be informed on how you are ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states,” she added. She went on to ask that since the HRW claims to monitor human rights violations in over 90 countries, “I hope that would include the massive human rights violations being carried out as a matter of state policy by India in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Minister also said that she would like to be informed on how the NGO is “ensuring the rights of Muslim citizens to have their mosques and be able to dress and practice their religion freely and without ridicule in European states”, which have seen an upsurge of xenophobia in recent years. Pakistan government would always welcome positive suggestions, but “an NGO’s institutional credibility will rest on its commitment to ensure human rights across the globe and not just in selective states.” She added. In a blatant violation freedom of information norms, India’s home ministry abruptly withdrew the security clearance granted to Qatar’s Al Jazeera network after a documentary on Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) was aired by the channel. Now, matter is under consideration at appellate level. According to Times of India, the report leading to this action had highlighted the protests after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the brutal use of pellet guns against protesters amongst other Human Rights violations in IoK. Report was deemed by Indian government as biased. The Economic Times has added that “the television channel will be taken off air if the Home Ministry strikes down the review petition filed by Al Jazeera”. Moreover, Indian government has also rejected recent reports by Amnesty International and Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) on atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces in IoK. “Once again we find out that Kashmiris are the ones having to pay the price for the political battle”. In a related development, Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), has “urged the Indian leadership to admit that human rights violations are taking place on their side of the Line of Control (LoC), and they must work with Pakistan to find a solution that puts the interests of Kashmiris first”. She said it is about time leaders in both India and Pakistan realized that Kashmiris are living in a conflict zone and suffering human rights violations. “They must understand and acknowledge this and ensure that human rights of these people are not violated anymore. It needs to happen right now… this should be about Kashmiris who are suffering.” When asked to comment on misuse of special powers given to the Indian military, Ganguly said that not only the UN but also other groups and commissions, including those, formed under the Indian government have also appealed to the government to repeal such laws. Commenting on the role rights groups like Amnesty and OHCHR could play to make India more accountable over Kashmir issue, especially when Modi government is targeting almost all minority ethnicities in the country, she commented that the voice of dissent should not become the political tool. “Unfortunately this is what happens way too often”. Commenting on increasing communal violence by pro-BJP vigilantes against religious minorities in the country, Ganguly said the environment of an extreme form of nationalism violates religious freedom. Prime Minster Imran Khan has recently said that little noteworthy progress has been made in the past to find a solution for the Kashmir issue. He said so while meeting Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi before assuming office, adding that through the UN resolutions on Kashmir a solution must be found for this intractable issue. Now an extraordinary situation is developing in IoK in the wake of BJP government’s attempts to abrogate Article 35-A of the constitution that grants special status to the occupied territory and its citizens. India is using all cheap tactics from brute use of force to political and constitutional aggression for forcing the occupied territory completely to its fold. The Kashmiri leadership has made it clear that they will fight with full resilience to foil the nefarious designs of India. Pakistan government must approach not only the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but also the United Nations Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to prevent the Indian government from going ahead with its plans of changing demographic nature of Jammu and Kashmir.

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