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Pakistan Affairs

Myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapon–Global Zero

Prague speech, on April 05 2009, was the first off the rails articulation by President Obama after assumption of presidency: “First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons… we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy … we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians…my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)… the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials… we will strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…” Peace loving people all over the World were pleasantly surprised. They thought the promised Messiah has become, realists scorned it off, asserting that he would become a ‘normal American President’, rather soon. It is interesting to explore the viability about myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapons. Obama would most likely go down in the history as a dubious leader, who took cover behind the noble cause of global nuclear non-proliferation to perpetuate American nuclear supremacy, and in a crazy quest to contain China, he added to his predecessor’s effort of propping up a nuclear devil—India. Obama’s successor will have a tough task of getting over the nuclear mistrust that Obama has thrust on America. However, it is doable, first step is to un-knot Indo-US nuclear nexus.

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With love from India

My mother was forced to leave behind the city of her birth, Rawalpindi, when she was just 18 because of the tumultuous ruptures of Partition. She had never returned. When she was to turn 75, I thought the best gift I could give her was to take her, if it was at all possible, to the city and to the home in which she was born. I emailed my friends in Pakistan tentatively with my plan. They were immediately very welcoming. "Just get her a visa, leave the rest to us," they said. I applied for visas. It seemed then a small miracle that we got these easily. I booked our flight tickets, and before long we were on our way. Every night we would set out looking for a wayside shop to buy fruit juice. Each night we found a new shop, and each night without exception, the shopkeeper refused to accept any money for the fruit juice. “We will not charge money from our guests from India,” they would say each time. This happened for a full week. I have travelled to many countries around the world in the 60 years of my life. I have never encountered a people as gracious as those in Pakistan. This declaration is my latest act of sedition.

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At last, Pakistan begins to own IOK!

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been ignoring saner voices within Pakistan to be cautious while dealing with Hindutva inspired and RSS powered Modi, however, he continued to ignore Modi’s brinkmanship and kept giving him benefit of doubt. Modi’s August 15 speech has compelled Nawaz to rethink his approach towards India, as Modi has shamelessly bared its teeth. While briefing the ambassadors of P-5 and the EU, on August 27, Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz expressed his regrets over the Indian decision saying Pakistan has always demonstrated willingness to hold talks with the Indian side but it has received the same response from the other side. The Adviser said the international community, has an important role to uphold the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law. The P-5 and EU Ambassadors appreciated Pakistan’s readiness for dialogue. Hopefully, concerted multidimensional efforts by the government of Pakistan would soon begin to yield results.

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Kashmir inferno continues!

The Kashmir inferno continues

Over hundred youth have lost they one or both eyes due to the pallet shooting terror. Indeed the Kashmir inferno continues unabated. Pakistan gave a shut-up call to India saying it has no right to decide the future of Kashmir. Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said, on July 24 that the “verdict on the future of Kashmir” can only be given by the “people of Kashmir not by the external affairs minister of India”. UNSC has promised them the right to determine their future. These comments came after his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj accused Islamabad of an ‘unabashed embrace of terrorism’ and warned its stated goal of detaching Kashmir from India ‘will not be realised to the end of eternity’. Sushma’s diatribe was targeted directly at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who told a rally in Azad Jammu and Kashmir that the occupied Kashmir would soon become part of Pakistan. Sushma said: “All of Kashmir belongs to India,” as the Indian forces continued to unleash a wave of terror in held Kashmir. Apparently disturbed over the recent upsurge in freedom movement in occupied Kashmir, the Indian external affairs minister repeated same untenable stance on the disputed territory which the Kashmiri people themselves have over and over again rejected. During the preceding week, Pakistan has protested against India in the United Nations and elsewhere against the blatant violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Indian government cannot ignore the fact that over 200,000 Kashmiris participated in the funeral prayers of Burhan in 50 different locations throughout IOK, despite strict curfew clamped in the Valley. Conflicts in places as diverse such as Kashmir, Palestine, Burma and sub-Saharan Africa have traumatized generations of young people and many have been dragged into war and radicalization. The key challenge for the United Nations is how we address young people with grievances and prevent them from being engaged in conflict. However, international community, OIC, UN and UNHRC will not come forward to resolve Kashmir issue unless Pakistan makes the Kashmir issue an important part of its national agenda. Pakistan government has to change its policies regarding India on trade and other matters to make the Indian government realize that we cannot compromise on the killing of innocent Kashmiris. The Kashmir inferno continues The Kashmir inferno continues During the past two years, there have been little signs of the Modi government applying its mind to the Kashmir issue. It has not taken up the larger dialogue which had been initiated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and followed up by Manmohan Singh. A durable resolution of the Kashmir issue requires a settlement between India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir. Modi Government is persisting with its policy of resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through brutal use of force, but this approach has ricocheted and produced exactly the opposite consequences – internationalization of the dispute.

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Indian Occupied Kashmir on brink

Indian occupied Kashmir on brink

Just because not as many were being killed since the uprising in the 1990s, India thought Kashmir was “normal”. The wounds of the 1990s were deep and stayed open. A whole new generation has been added to the population which is, even angrier. And life for a young man in the most militarised area in the world is a series of humiliations, some petty, some overwhelming. Even the Indian media admits that Kashmir has been on the boil since the killing of Burhan. The killing spree continues and an enraged population is getting desperate. In the wake of ongoing violence, UNSG has once again offered Pakistan and India mediation on Kashmir. Pakistan has appreciated the offer. It is the UN’s official responsibility and obligation to address the issue of Kashmir because there are UN Security Council’s resolutions on it. OIC Secretary General has deplored the use of force by the Indian security forces on innocent Kashmiris in IOK on July 13. OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) has called for an immediate end to the ongoing abrasive human rights violations. “There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career. “But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.” The IOK’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework. Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern”.

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Odd trio: Pakistan-US-Afghanistan

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Relationship between Pakistan-US-Afghanistan is of an odd trio. During the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 09, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of continuing to distinguish between ‘good and bad terrorists’. “Our regional initiatives with our neighbours are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends … with the exception of Pakistan,” Ghani said. “Pakistan’s dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice,” he claimed. Elaborating the nature of afghan conflict, he said: “it is multi-dimensional, ranging from al Qaeda and Da’ish to terrorist groups with Central Asian, Chinese, and Russian origins, to Pakistani groups classified as terrorists by Pakistan and Afghan Taliban groups.” Pakistan has expressed disappointment over these remarks. “It is unfortunate that Afghan leaders continue to make hostile statements and blame Pakistan... However, since we have a genuine interest in seeing peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan will continue to make every effort to help…We also expect cooperation of the Afghan government in our fight against terrorism through effective border management and denying sanctuaries to anti-Pakistan terrorists from TTP”, a foreign office statement said.McCain is known for keeping his feet in both boats when it comes to Pakistan-India relations. Earlier in a reaction to the US government’s approval of sale of eight F-16 to Pakistan McCain had urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on February 26, to hold a hearing on this sale. He opined that a hearing would help senators decide what to do about the proposed sale, noting that he was himself very “conflicted.” McCain was concerned about the timing of the Obama administration’s decision to approve the sale and potential consequences for US relations with India! “I would rather have seen it kicked over into the next administration,” McCain said.

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Meltdown of Post-cold war world order

Meltdown of post cold war world order

Chinese opposition to entry of non-NPT countries to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and UK’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) have set the course for changes in the prevalent US led unipolar World Order. The US wanted the UK to stay in EU as it’s “Man” and wanted India getting into the NSG as full member while keeping Pakistan out, despite latter’s better credentials. In both cases, otherwise has happened indicated meltdown of post-cold war world order.Long awaited bipolarity in the World Order may be at a fairly advanced stage. Keeping in view Pakistan’s close relations with China, the evolving situation would expose Pakistan to challenges as well as opportunities, for which it needs to brace up. Pakistan would feel incremental squeeze from American side, it needs to make a bold course correction to come out of the trap of its critical dependencies on the US—especially direct budgetary support and military hardware. Moreover, Pakistan should take robust measures for its macro-economic stability to face the bumps of politico economic changes that are on their way.

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Fallout of containment strategies in Asia

Most of terror actions in Pakistan originate from Afghanistan. Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies are working conjointly to sustain such activities. TTP runaways in Afghanistan often attack this side of international border with impunity; they enter under the garb of Afghan refugees. Pakistan has long been raising these issues with Afghan, Indian and the US governments. Pakistan has also handed …

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Complexities of Afghan chaos

American intent in Afghanistan

At this point and time killing of Mansour raises a pointed questions about on which side of peace process various actors are? Does America want peace in Afghanistan or wants to keep the pot boiling to add back more troops to Afghan theatre? Was the option of killing Mansour discussed in the QCG meeting held immediately before the drone attack? Or, Is the QCG a dummy body to gain time and America is working on bilateral channel with Afghan government to impose its own version of peace settlement by co-opting dormant militant Afghan entities? Is India instrumental in derailing the Afghan peace process? Will the Afghan Sikh community begin asserting its minority rights in Afghanistan? As of now one could have only partial answers to these tricky questions; and the content could vary hugely from respondent to respondent. One thing appears certain about Afghanistan: pro-turmoil lobby is quite strong, and peace in Afghanistan is a far cry!

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