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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Promising trajectory in Pakistan-US relations

Nothing dramatic was expected to happen, nor did it happen; yet Pak-US relationship has got a fresh impetus—courtesy Nawaz-Obama summit. It has come out of a vicious cycle of blame game and attendant negativities. The continuing volatility in the security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s battles with the terrorists, and its relations with India were broadly the three topics that dominated the discussions. Disruptive speculation triggered by American media about a nuclear deal with the US, in exchange for Pakistan limiting its nuclear weapons programme died its own death.During the last 2-3 years, Pakistan has witnessed several positive developments domestically, democracy has strengthened; terrorism is being combated; the economy has stabilized and is poised for rapid growth. Yet, it still faces external challenges: to pacify Afghanistan and normalize relations with India. Pakistan has made a strategic choice to eliminate all terrorist groups through a comprehensive strategy, involving forceful law enforcement actions and targeted military operations. Military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, the largest anywhere in the world, has produced remarkable results. The past year has seen the lowest number of terrorist attacks and suicide bombings since 2007. These indicators enabled the PM to play a comparatively firm hand. Pakistan-US Joint Statement is reflective of a higher degree of US sensitivity to Pakistani concerns, setting direction for the coming years. It also indicates a broad continuity in the US policy in South Asia.

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Global Appeal for Help in Disaster Management

Pakistan Focus expresses shock and grief over the high intensity earthquake that has hit parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. Devastation in terms of loss of life and property is likely to be colossal; it may take several days before the extent of damage could be quantified.  Respective national disaster management efforts have already been launched.  However, the extent of …

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Nawaz-Obama: Shall the twine meet!

Before leaving for the US, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had said that he would remind US President Barack Obama of former President Bill Clinton’s promise to play an active role for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Nawaz Sharif also said that he “wants to bring the Taliban back to the negotiation table.” These two issue are likely to top the agenda in Nawaz-Obama summit. Though laundry list could and would include everything under the sun.In a historic judgement, high court of IHK has declared that Jammu and Kashmir continue to retain limited sovereignty and it did not merge with the Dominion of India after partition in 1947. The court has ruled that the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is “a permanent provision” and “cannot be abrogated, repealed or even amended”. The IHK court’s judgement has shaken the very foundation on which Indians try to justify the forcible occupation of the state.The Taliban insurgents, no longer called as terrorists by Americans, are now spread through more parts of the country than at any point since 2001, according to the recent United Nations estimates. During previous weeks, the Taliban scored their biggest victory of the war, seizing the northern city of Kunduz and holding it for more than two weeks. Incidents of breaking Ghazni Jail, freeing hundreds of militant inmates and later threatening posture toward this urban centre speak for themselves. Earlier unrelenting attacks in and around Kabul had amply demonstrated the expanse of Taliban’s combat activities. And to offset the embarrassment of hitting a hospital in Kunduz, CIA has had an afterthought to implicate their “on call scapegoat”—Pakistan. Associated Press (AP) has carried a story that American special operations analysts believed that the hospital was being used by a Pakistani intelligence operative to coordinate Taliban activity. “Doctors Without Borders” a humanitarian outfit that was running the hospital has denied this. Spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign office has termed the story by the AP as baseless and unwarranted. Even if the allegations are true, the billion dollars question is: Was bombing the hospital—in a typical cowboy style— the only available option?State Department has issued a fact sheet on its ties with Pakistan, a week before Nawaz-Obama summit, which highlights co-operation between the two countries in various fields. “Pakistan has generally co-operated with the United States in counter-terrorism efforts and since 2001, has captured more than 600 Al Qaeda members and their allies,” says the statement. And that security assistance to Pakistan is focused on “strengthening the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities of the Pakistan security forces”. Through perseverance, Pakistan is bravely charting its way forward through vortices thrown up by assortment of fictions and myths. It wishes to continue its contributions for making South Asia a peaceful and stable region, and it certainly needs a break from an unrelenting fiction based bashing spree. While nothing dramatic is expected out of the summit, there may be substantive decisions on some of the issues. Hopefully, Prime Minister would put forward his point of view firmly when he meets Obama, and would shed his typical apologetic approach while discussing issues related to Afghanistan and India, especially border violations by these two countries and the core issue of Kashmir.

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Intolerant India!

Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri’s book launching in Mumbai was a purely literary event but the intolerant attitude of Shiv Sena even to such harmless events has ,yet once again, exposed claims of Indian secularism. Earlier the classical maestro Ustad Ghulam Ali had to call off his tour to India as he was not allowed to perform by Shiv Sena. Freedom and civil liberties are under threat in India. For now, India presents a rather dark image. Article 25 of Indian constitution states that: “Every person has the right to practice their faith as they choose, or no faith at all without fear or discrimination”. However, in practice such rights are flouted quite frequently. The ongoing beef controversy in India has reinforced the conviction behind creation of Pakistan.Vice President Hamid Ansari has publically called upon the BJP government to take “affirmative action” to enforce rights of Indian Muslims as Indian constitution grants special "reservation" (quota) in government jobs, educational institution etc. He said these rights were admissible in Indian state practice but denied to Muslims. He gave example of many reports commissioned by successive governments and added that India's Muslims faced issue such as identity and security, education and empowerment, equitable share in state funds and a fair share in decision making. He made these remarks at the golden jubilee celebrations of a Muslim entity, the All India Majlis-e-Mushawwarat (consultative meeting). Indian paper Business Line reported on September 04 that RSS has publically asserted its ideological supremacy and the right to “guide” the BJP government. This was amply demonstrated during the three-day Samanvay Baithak (coordination meeting) of the RSS and its affiliates. The meeting saw senior ministers making presentations with regard to performance of their respective ministries’ work before the RSS. The CPI (M) and the Congress have rightly termed it as “remote controlling” the government. Such incidents put huge question marks on the security of the minorities living in India; it could lead India towards political polarization on communal lines.

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India’s zero sum approach towards Pakistan

Pakistan has initiated a long overdue process to increase international awareness regarding prevailing Indian negativities toward Pakistan. Indian involvement in terrorism related incidents in Pakistan is a serious matter for Pakistan and credible evidence on this has been shared with the international community. With this, Pakistan-India relationship has entered an interesting phase. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his four-point peace roadmap is the only way forward: “There is no other solution, we have given a proposal for peace in the region”, and the proxy war against Pakistan from across the [Indian] border should come to an end. Tensions between the two countries are affecting regional stability, therefore, Pakistan has presented the way forward. India needs to shed its zero sum approach towards Pakistan and adopt a balanced approach to end perpetual hostility spread over nearly 70 years that has not produced any positive results.Bilateral level has all along been a weak forum for resolving disputes between India and Pakistan— courtesy perpetually escalating Indian hubris. Most of the contentious issues of yester years that now stand resolved between the two counties were made possible through third party facilitation. Process initiated by Pakistan to increase international awareness about Indian conduct with respect to Pakistan should be pursued with due perseverance. India is essentially biting more than what it could chew; this strategy is not sustainable. Sooner or later, India will feel the need and urgency of reverting back and strengthening comprehensive bilateral processes. India will not gain anything by pointing fingers at Pakistan. Animosity has only impeded the development process.

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Palestine at the UN

Pakistan Focus felicitates the government and people of Palestine, the world over, on the eve of hoisting of the flag of the State of Palestine. Pakistan Focus also urges upon all members of the UN, especially Israel and the United States  to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign State.

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