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Pakistan Focus Analysis

Sufferings of Children: Ugly side of Afghan war

Afghan conflict is impacting the future generation in many ways. Of these, spread of polio virus and deaths through aerial bombing by occupation forces are more pronounced. In a recent telephonic interview with Reuters, Bill Gates was optimistic about the global plan to eradicate the paralysing viral disease—polio, but said Afghanistan’s conflict and power struggles hamper progress. Local Afghan Taliban leaders are hindering global efforts to end polio, but Afghanistan and Pakistan must continue their fight. Bill Gates’ multi-billion dollar philanthropic “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” is one of the biggest funders of the polio eradication campaign. The “only potential negative” in the region is instability in Afghanistan, Gates said, where Taliban leaders appear to have no single policy but “decide what they will and what they won’t allow” regarding polio vaccinations. “That’s what we don’t have predictability or control over,” he said. “Sometimes they stop the campaigns from taking place. But the ideal is when they allow house-to-house (vaccine) delivery.”The peace process in Afghanistan, jointly backed by Pakistan and the United States, is aimed at ending the longest war that the US has ever fought. Taliban and the US have negotiated a draft of the deal that revolved around the exit of US forces from Afghanistan and guarantees by the Taliban to not allow use of Afghan territory by terrorist organisations. While the peace process may take its own course, protection of children need to be taken care of by the belligerents.

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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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Kashmir solidarity day 2019

As the Kashmir solidarity day was observed the World over, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that all those who love freedom throughout the world must stand with the people of Kashmir. And President Arif Alvi demanded of Indian government to uphold the rights of the Kashmiri people instead of “justifying its terrorism” against innocent citizens. This year, the day was observed in Pakistan, both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and other parts of the world at a time when Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir have reached a new level of oppression and human rights’ denial to crush the indigenous freedom movement against the subjugating forces. Alongside Kashmiris, government of Pakistan had planned a number of activities to mark the day and expose massive human rights violations and brutality being committed by the Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir. International Conference on Kashmir in the UK Parliament was the hall mark of this year’s solidarity day celebrations. Rehman Chisti, currently, chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan (APPG-Pakistan), was the main organiser of the Conference. This conference was attended by all political parties from Pakistan and UK. AJK President and more than three dozen Pakistani parliamentarians were in attendance including opposition leaders. Dozens of Kashmiris representative groups also participated in the event.A seminar to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day was organized at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC. The event began with screening of a special video message by President Azad Jammu and Kashmir which emphasized the importance of a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions. Speaking at the occasion, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan urged the international community, specifically the United States, to play its due role in resolving this longstanding dispute. A special documentary portraying the unabated and undeterred resilience of the Kashmiri people was also screened. This year the day was observed in the backdrop of intensified atrocities by Indian occupation forces that are systematically eliminating Kashmiris physically as well as economically as part of India’s campaign of ethnic cleansing; their political rights are also being stampeded. Indian leadership is engaged in all sorts of manipulations aimed at bringing about a demographic change to the disadvantage of Muslim population of Kashmir. Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has effectively exposed the human rights abuses and brutalities by Indian occupation forces against Kashmiris in its report. Constitution of Commission of Inquiry by the UNSG is now overdue; UNSG needs to perform this duty without further delay.

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India’s Republic day

Traditionally Kashmiri people, the World over, commemorate India’s Republic day as Black day. This time the gloom had darker shades. Prime Minister Narendra Mode is all set to stampede the real mandate of the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) by holding another sham elections to the fake states assembly. Current situation in IoK is that New Delhi has totally lost the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim-majority state. First the Governor’s rule was imposed by dismissing a government of which BJP itself was a part, and then moving the IoK under Presidential rule, at least for six months. BJP has announced to field its candidates against all 87 seats. Aim is to have a BJP led government installed in IoK that could support BJP’s ongoing onslaught with regard to Supreme Court hearings on Article 370 and Article 35A of Indian constitution. And have a couple of resolutions passed by the assembly to dilute the peoples’ hype with regard to their right of self-determination.It is high time for United Nations secretary general to take a step forward and appoint a special representative to explore a viable solution to the Kashmir conflict. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in his message on the eve of Black Day said Pakistan will continue to raise the plight of oppressed Kashmiri people at every regional and international forum. He stressed the need for implementation of the United Nations Security Council's resolutions on Kashmir dispute. Referring to the Indian gross human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, the Foreign Minister said the Indian forces are bluntly victimizing the Kashmiri people and New Delhi has broken all records of atrocities.

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Afghan peace process back to Doha

Marathon talks between US Special Envoy Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban, in Doha, are concentrating on two questions: continuation of American military bases in Afghanistan, and Taliban guarantees of not letting Afghanistan’s territory be used as launching pad against any third country. Taliban are also ready to undertake that they would not support Al-Qaida and Daesh. Mullah Berader is now leading Taliban’s team. Both sides have acknowledged progress on vital points. For the first time Afghan peace process may be moving in the right direction. During the fifth trip of US Special Envoy Ambassador Zalmay to Pakistan, both sided reiterated their shared intent of an Afghan led and Afghan owned political settlement of Afghan conflict. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the dispute highlights a split that has emerged among countries with an interest in the region, with Pakistan and the US pushing Taliban to open talks with Kabul and other countries, including Iran, supporting the Taliban’s stance; “Iran and Qatar are supporting Taliban’s way but Pakistan is saying what the Afghan government and the US wanted”.Pakistan is not averse to the US’ demands but wants a ‘regional consensus’ on it since permanent presence of the US military in Afghanistan would certainly raise eyebrows in Russia, Iran and even China. These countries fear that the US may use the Afghan soil to advance its own strategic designs in the region. For this reason, Pakistan is striving to evolve a regional consensus on the possible Afghan peace deal. Guarantees and assurances aimed at promoting peace and security of both Afghanistan and other countries are understandable. However, demand for permanent military presence is indicative of the desire not only to keep Afghans subjugated but also to brow-beat other regional countries.

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India’s apartheid strategy towards Muslims

BJP is following a systematic approach to push Indian Muslims against the wall. From symbolic to substantial, countless items are part of strategy tool box. From beef ban to not fielding a single Muslim candidate in state elections of the Uttar Pradesh point towards same objective—to deprive Muslims of their legitimate political, economic and social rights.India's apartheid strategy towards Muslims is now a well thought out corner stone of BJP's overall policy framework towards India minorities. Modi government is also accused of routinely disseminating fake news, demonizing Indian Muslims. Modi is indeed creating a dangerous precedent. Minority rights crisis is getting worse in India; life is upended for those left off Indian citizenship list. Anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan sentiments are being hyped in India for the sake of capitalizing on Hindu vote.

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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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pakistan’s role in afghan peace process

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. Prime Minister Imran Khan, publicly took credit for facilitating the “peace talks,” and reiterated that his country “will do everything within its power” to further the Afghan peace process. The US spokesperson said a recent letter from President Donald Trump to Prime Minister Imran Khan "emphasized that Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US Pakistan partnership.” He added: “We welcome any actions the Pakistani government takes to advance security, stability and cooperation in South Asia, including the fostering of negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government and other Afghans”. Apparently it may appear that Afghan peace process is on fast track.

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