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Pakistan Focus Analysis

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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Well done People of Turkey!

Coup in Turkey

Pakistan Focus condemns the attempt of military take over in Turkey and congratulates the brave people of Turkey for quelling the coup. While wishing President Erdogan all the best, we suggest that he carries out appropriate military reforms for strengthening the supremacy of civilian rule and to eradicate chances of recurrence of such episodes.

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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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American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

Efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban for negotiations are in disorder since the United States last month killed their leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Another development has taken place, the US military has begun air attacks against Taliban targets in Afghanistan under new rules, allowing greater powers for US forces to go after the Taliban, making it easier for Afghan security forces to strike the insurgents. “There have been operations carried out with these new authorities,” Pentagon press Secretary Peter Cook said. “It’s fair to say that these strikes did target Taliban positions.” Initial strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan; and that American troops are back to combat in Afghanistan. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the largest and most effective anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world through which Pakistan has achieved substantial gains and is determined to eliminate all terrorist threats within the country. Afghan government and the international coalition need to take supplementary and complementary actions to consolidate the gains of this operation. And the Afghan government should launch similar effort against TTP in its territory; elimination of TTP sanctuaries is essential to peace and security in both countries. And finally, America should make up its mind regarding leaving or staying, because peace effort would take different trajectories for handling either of the options.

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Rewriting Afghan conflict!

In yet another rebuke to Pakistan, America has repeated the beaten line: “The US continues to be clear with Pakistan about steps it should take to improve the security environment and deny safe havens to terrorist and extremist groups,” the Pentagon said in its six-monthly report on Afghanistan sent to the Congress on June 17. The US defence secretary Ashton …

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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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America and Pakistan’s nuclear programme

Nawaz Obama Summit

Father of Pakistan's nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan said while addressing a gathering in Islamabad on the 18th anniversary of Pakistan's first nuclear tests, that: “We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984. But President General Zia-ul-Haq had opposed the move”. Presidents Zia-ul- Haq and CarterHe thought it could invoke international military intervention and curtailment of aid flow. Notwithstanding, his commitment to Pakistan's nuclear weapon programme was unwavering: as firm as iron. Progress towards comprehensive nuclear disarmament is being delayed by some countries who advocate abstinence for others but are unwilling to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons or their modernisation ambitions. Instead of fulfilling their legal disarmament obligations, these States have exclusively pursued non-proliferation with messianic zeal. The largest event of the century in the context of horizontal nuclear non-proliferation is Indo-US Agreement 123, which has set the precedent of keeping nuclear power reactors outside IAEA safeguards. The Indo-US nuclear deal provides India with fissile material for at least 50 additional warheads every year sans all other resources. Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed Senate on May 19 that Pakistan is considering to move a resolution in United Nations General Assembly in the next session, urging it to declare the Indian Ocean a “nuclear free zone”. Pakistan is planning to highlight the dangerous implications of India’s plans to nuclearize the Indian Ocean at all relevant international forums. Issue of recent test of India’s advanced air defence missile Ashwin would also be raised with all major powers ‘bilaterally and multilaterally’. Here, one could recall the fate of similar efforts by Pakistan during 1980s to declare South Asia a nuclear weapon free zone. Pakistan’s new effort of having Indian Ocean declared as nuclear free zone shall also meet similar end. Since the inception of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, America is orchestrating a smear campaign against it. Fast forward: On May 27, 2016 deputy spokesperson of US State Department Mark Toner made this tilt more clear and visible when he blatantly declared that India is entitled to and qualifies for the membership of the NSG. While trying to prove Indian credentials for the NSG membership, the deputy spokesperson totally ignored the legitimate right of Pakistan in this regard. The US is likely to continue its discriminatory policy and go an extra mile to help New Delhi become member of the NSG. This coupled with nuclearization of Indian Ocean could dangerous repercussions and is bound to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Pakistan’s policy makers must revisit and review their approach in dealing with the United States, without straining our ties with Washington. There is need to strengthen our lobbying in the United States to present our point of view more effectively.

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