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Swami Aseemanand Acquitted!

Seeing the pattern of justice delivery system of India currently it seems getting justice, punishing the guilty is not easy. The judgments come as an outcome of the evidence produced by the executive, police in front of the magistrates. The attitude of the ruling dispensation matters a lot in matters of the crimes related to the ideology being propounded and defended by the ruling party. Sometimes the assertion and strength of the ideologies, which are dominant but not in power also influence the delivery of justice. Times and over again this cruel fact has been staring at our face. In Mumbai violence of 1992-93 nearly one thousand persons was done to death, not too many convictions took place related to the heinous crimes committed during this carnage. In the aftermath of this carnage the bomb blasts took place, orchestrated by the underworld . In these blasts nearly two hundred people died. In these cases some have been hanged to death for the crime, many have got life imprisonment and many others got other punishments. This is what should happen in a democracy. The most glaring case has been the contrast between Rubina Memon who is in prison for life for being the formal owner of the car which was used In Mumbai blasts, while Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, whose motor cycle was used for Malegaon blast got the bail. All this comes to one’s mind yet again when the NIA Court has acquitted Swami Aseemanand in case of Samjhauta Express blast in which 68 people (43 of them from Pakistan) died. Incidentally Swami was granted bail in the Mecca Masjid blast case earlier and the factors influencing justice delivery became obvious as the main file, a key document containing the disclosure by Aseemanand, went missing from the Court’s custody. With this the question comes up who is responsible for the death of those 68 people, as usual it seems nobody did the blast leading to Samjhauta express tragedy! What we are witnessing is a sustained effort to undermine the process of justice in pursuit of sectarian nationalism.

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New Zealand Massacre: ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis Stalks the World!

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The horrific massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15th March, Friday 2019 has shaken the World. The killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, is an Australian citizen. Nearly 50 People died in the attack as two mosques were attacked. Those killed include nine from India. Tarrant had fixed the camera on his head so as to live stream the massacre. What prompted him to undertake this violence was his ideology which holds that today Europe is facing the threat of Muslim immigration and violence. The Christchurch terrorist was consumed by intense racism and hatred of Muslims. He posted a long statement, “manifesto” on ‘white nationalism’ before undertaking the dastardly act. All over the World there were diverse reactions to this horrific act. New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern, who at 38 years of age is also among the youngest heads of government in the world, declared that the victims, many of whom may be migrants or refugees, “are us” and the shooter “is not”. The overriding theme of the Prime Minister’s statements was that her country represents “diversity, compassion and refuge”. “I want to assure people… that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way that includes at our borders.” The Pope in a very touching speech said, “In these days, in addition to the pain of wars and conflicts that do not cease to afflict humanity, there have been the victims of the horrible attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand… I am close to our Muslim brothers and all that community… ”Today we are facing the times where American politics of control over oil wells led to the formations like Al Qaeda and after 9/11 twin tower attacks; US media popularized the phrase Islamic terrorism. What we are witnessing today is the fall out of the policy which has been pursued to control oil wealth. The aftermath of this has been the White Nationalism which has resulted in Islam-Muslim phobia, which needs to be countered ideologically by promoting the inherent global tendency of alliance between diverse cultures. What is noteworthy is that there is strong parallels between Breivik’s manifesto and ideology of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of nature of Islam—Muslims and coexistence with Muslims. Much like European mainstream rightwing parties BJP in India does condemn the violence for name sake but does not condemn the underlying ideology which is based on Islam phobia.

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Afghan Peace Process: Pulls and Pushes

US and Afghan Taliban Negotiation The US and Afghan Taliban negotiators wrapped up their latest round of marathon peace talks on March 12 with “real strides” made but no agreement on a timetable for troop withdrawal, the US special envoy Ambassador  Zalmay Khalilzad said. He divulged that the next step would be discussions in Washington, adding that “there is no …

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Narendra Modi’s psyche of overreach

India’s intrusion into Pakistan’s Balakote enclave and China’s Doklam bulge will go down the annals of history as fiascos that cumulatively brought down the stature of India from a near global power to a sub-state pygmy. India’s foreign policy and electoral campaigning is pegged around arousing and cashing anti-Pakistan and anti-China sentiment. It is a bipartisan malice but is far more pronounced in case of BJP. Probably Congress has been duly humbled by the outcomes of Indo-China war of 1962 and India-Pakistan war of 1965. BJP is still on learning curve. Each of these fiascos was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s equivalent of Napoleon’s Waterloo. War hysteria is now visibly on down slide. Respective High Commissioners are returning to New Delhi and Islamabad after ‘consultation’. Resumption of international train— Samjhota Express— and barter trade alongside forward movement on Kartarpur Corridor initiative and continuation of weekly communication at Military Operations Directorate level are the steps indicating de-escalation. As of now, Pakistan-India relationship is erratic; it needs an urgent and bold course correction. It needs to be managed in a professional way, circumventing the emotive pitfalls and historic baggage. Relationship is rather complex, and while suggesting a way forward there is always a risk of either over-simplification or overstatement. Overall, there is a need to enhance the crisis management capacity at bilateral level, focused on how can dialogue be made the sole and continuous method and how can its derailment by single, unexpected event, be avoided. A task easier said than done! Prime Minster Narendra Modi is poised to commit more follies to mitigate the impact of earlier stupidities hoping that same thing done over and over again may someday produce a different result. So let’s keep our fingers crossed at least till Indian general elections.

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Pulwama Fall out

One only hopes that the present action by Indian armed forces does not escalate further. The national sentiments have been roused, trade with Pakistan has been curtailed by withdrawing the most favored nation’ status to Pakistan. As such we need to introspect, can this region afford violence over and over again? The underlying factors leading to India-Pakistan-Kashmir discord need to be tackled through a process of dialogue. The hope and prayer is that this limited strike, also being called as ‘surgical strike two’ remains just that and not no more. Imran Khan in the face of aggressive postures has offered to take action if proper evidence is given to Pakistan. He has also shown his willingness for talks. Meanwhile United Nations General Secretary has offered to mediate in the process to bring peace and amity in the region. These are the olive branches we need to grab to see that decade long problem is sorted out. India as a country direly needs to bring the issues related to development, corruption, jobs and agrarian crisis back on the table. It is resolution of these issues which will bring in peace and prosperity in the region, away from the smell of gunpowder on the soil and hate for minorities in the air.

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Modi! Still Itchy?

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Narendra Modi's agony of the day is that he cannot disown the burning Indian aircraft inside Pakistani territory and captivity of a living Wing Commander by Pakistan. Reinforcement of fault lines within Indian state and society are not leading Narendra Modi anywhere. He wants to win elections merely by arousing anti Pakistan sentiment. India got the befitting reply within a day when the PAF struck six targets inside India without crossing the line of control, and also shot down two Indian Air Force aircraft, one of the pilot, a senior IAF officer is now a Prisoner of War. Earlier cowardly incursion into Pakistan airspace by the IAF on February 26 bespeaks of how Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi is entrapped into self-imposed stupidities. Having failed to deliver on many accounts, Modi wants to win another term through mere rhetoric; and anti-Pakistan sentiment that generally goes down well with hard-line rural Hindu populace. Now India will remain on the edge as Pakistan takes its own time to pay back in the same coin. Longer the pause, higher the frustration in Indian political and military circles. Tensions would any way prevail till the general elections in India. Having failed to deliver on many accounts, Modi wants to win another term through mere rhetoric; and anti-Pakistan sentiment that generally goes down well with hard-line rural Hindu populace. Now India will remain on the edge as Pakistan takes its own time to pay back in the same coin. Longer the pause, higher the frustration in Indian political and military circles. Tensions would any way prevail till the general elections in India. Pakistan’s response to the IAF strike would be measured. But the question is will India’s leadership be able to stomach it and whether will it jump up a couple of additional rungs on escalation ladder from where it with neither be able to move up, nor slide down without loss of face.

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Together for Peace: Aman 2019

Together for Peace: Aman 2019 Aman 2019 was the 6th exercise of a multinational naval initiative hosted biennially by Pakistan Navy since 2007. Twenty eight countries had participated in the first Aman exercise in 2007; number rose to 46 in Aman-2019. Exercise radiated a strong message to Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who has been dreaming of isolating Pakistan internationally …

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Kashmiri Americans demonstrate near White House

Hundreds of Kashmiri Americans and friends of Kashmir staged a huge demonstration in front of the White House. Raising slogans: “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”, “No justice: No Peace” , “Freedom for all: Freedom for Kashmir”, “India State of Fear: Not Fair”, demonstrators urged the United States to help persuade India and Pakistan to initiate peace process along with the leadership of the people of Kashmir. India has defied United Nations Security Council resolutions for more than 71 years because she knows Kashmiris will never vote in her favor. Kashmir dispute is about the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The people should be the makers of their destiny and not an alien power – India. Given a chance, Kashmiris could be instrumental to encourage peace and stability not only in the subcontinent but in Afghanistan as well. As many experts of international relations now publicly say that the key to peace and stability in Afghanistan lies in Kashmir. Indian army is responsible for many untold atrocities but one thing is quite clear that she could not break the will of the people for their right of self-determination.India has defied United Nations Security Council resolutions for more than 71 years because she knows Kashmiris will never vote in her favor.

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Afghan peace process in disarray

President Trump is tasting the real power these days. Taliban have the military prowess to attack the places of their liking at the timing of their choosing. In the diplomacy domain, Taliban dictate the venue and agenda. And when they meet Americans, they field Guantanamo hardened Taliban negotiators to stare in the eyes of top American diplomats. Of late, peace talks between Taliban and US officials were cancelled over agenda disagreement. Senior Taliban members based in Afghanistan said “both sides have agreed to not meet.” Three meetings have already taken place between Taliban leaders and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE took part in the last round of talks in December. Reports last month about US President Trump’s plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan has triggered uncertainty. However, Afghan peace process is in disarray.Interestingly, as an afterthought, the US has taken a step back from the earlier hype of pulling out 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. An Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) representative has declared that if Taliban insist on not meeting Afghan government delegation, then, HPC won’t participate in Saudi Arabia session of talks. With these firmly grounded irritants and posturing, Afghan peace my not just be around the corner.

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Afghan peace process oscillations

The Trump administration is aiming to strike a deal with the Taliban before the Afghan presidential elections, for which new schedule shall be announced in due course. The Taliban, who control over 60 per cent of the Afghan territory, want the US forces to leave Afghanistan. Representatives of the Taliban, the US and several Asian countries gathered in the UAE on December 17-18. The talks were supposed to last three days, as per earlier official announcements, but neither side explained what prompted them to abruptly end the process. Afghan government officials also travelled to the UAE, but were not invited into the meeting. They met with other delegations and said that efforts to join the discussions continued. Afghan peace process in a a state of perpetual oscillations. Taliban, say the presence of international forces in Afghanistan is the main obstacle to peace. Even as the peace process gathers momentum, fighting has continued with heavy casualties on both sides. President Ashraf Ghani’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, stated that Afghan government had not taken part directly in the talks, however a team from Kabul met US and Saudi officials in the UAE. Pakistan Foreign office welcomed a new round of talks between the Afghan Taliban and other international stakeholders: “Along with international community and other stakeholders, Pakistan is committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” said FO Spokesperson on Twitter: “Talks are being held in UAE. We hope this will end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region.” Notwithstanding the optimism, Afghan peace may stay elusive unless occupation forces offer concrete concessions including firm timeframe for the departure of last foreign soldier and substantial restructuring of Afghan constitution.

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