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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Paradoxes of countering terror!

The evolving impasse on shooting down of a Russian military aircraft by Turkey indicates that international effort to counter terrorism is indeed a fractured. President Barack Obama vowed on November 22 that the United States and its allies would not relent in fight to combat Daesh extremists and would hunt down their leaders and cut off the group’s financing. “Destroying (Daesh) is not only a realistic goal, we are going to get it done…We will destroy them. We will take back land they are currently in, take out their financing, hunt down leadership, dismantle their networks, supply lines and we will destroy them.” he told a news conference in Malaysia. Rhetoric resembles that by George W Bush in the wake of 9/11. There is necessity and urgency for reappraisal of international counter terrorism effort since 9/11. As of now, international effort to overpower terror is showing clear signs of fatigue, whereas terrorism may itself be only at the formative stages. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, calling it a “blessed foray” in response to France’s involvement in the “Crusade Campaign”. Paris terror attacks on November 13 is one of those exceptional events which are poised to have a deep and lasting impact on international counter terrorism effort—it is necessary to monitor and ensure that such effort is not headed in the wrong direction. Political violence or terrorism has been shifting venues in the face of pressures generated by application of military instrument in countering terrorist entities. Quick ability of these outfits to morph from one politico-military brand to another indicates their better understanding of opponents alongside ability to adapt, improvise and innovate. Apparently little intellectual work has gone into devising the matching ways and means by those responsible to counter extremist violence at international level.

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Miscarriage of justice in Bangladesh

Mohammad Hossain Tuesday, November 24, 2015 – WITH the execution of Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid on the eve of the 21st of November, controversy surrounding the war crimes trials in Bangladesh has attained new dimensions. Not only did they face gross injustice, but as will be elucidated later on in this piece, the defendants were victim to …

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Saffron arrogance

India’s new found frenzy of extreme right nationalism is radiating signals of intolerance amongst various segments of Indian society as well as erratic behaviour towards neighbours. Past year or so has seen a number of setbacks for India-Pakistan relations. It still remains to be seen whether New Delhi has a clear policy on Pakistan. In contrast, political parties across the political divide in Pakistan are on the same page when it comes to making peace with India. BJP government in India has already wasted too much time, and it should now seriously move forward on all bilateral issues with Pakistan. Modi is still learning to be a statesman; whether Modi shapes India or India shapes Modi is an interesting catch 22 projection! There are as many roads to peace and stability as there are to crisis and conflict in South Asia. Modi‘s government has been anti-Pakistan from day one. It wishes to unilaterally design a bilateral framework, dictating what qualifies for dialogue, and what does not. It wants Pakistan to forget about Kashmir, water, Siachen and other important issues, and only stand accountable to India for terrorism, and that too as interpreted by India. While on the other hand, Pakistan is ready to resume a dialogue process with India simultaneously on all contentious issues. The entire world has endorsed Pakistan’s stance.Strong public consensus in Pakistan for improved relations with India is breaking down due to conditionality and stark messaging by Modi. Trade between the two sides would be favourable for both sides, but it is an unfortunate reality that economic and regional connectivity in South Asia continues to be hostage to political stalemate, largely sustained by Modi’s erratic signalling.

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We condemn acts of terrorism in Paris

Pakistan focus expresses deep shock and sorrow over gruesome  terrorist attacks in Paris. Our hearts reach out to the families of victims, and the people and the government of France.  A wholesome reappraisal of international counter terrorism effort is long overdue. International community and institutions need to focus on reasons of such attacks and try to address them.

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Afghanistan: a rudderless ship!

China has offered to host a meeting between Afghan government and Taliban, but has declined to mediate. China’s special envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun called the Taliban “one of the main forces in Afghanistan’s political arena.” Like Pakistan, China opposes a military solution to the Afghan conflict, and favours intra-Afghan dialogue. “We think dialogue is the only way out for Afghanistan to achieve lasting peace and stability,” Deng said. “We have difficulties and obstacles when we have in such kind of things. We have many problems and challenges ahead but if we sit down, if we talk with each other, then I think the future is bright”, he added. He reassured Pakistan of China’s continued support in addressing common challenges faced by the region. Both Pakistan and China have convergent interests and shared goals with regards to Afghanistan. A report by the ‘US Congressional Research Service’ published in October has revealed that India’s goals in Afghanistan are: to deny Pakistan strategic depth and the ability to block India from trade and other connections to Central Asia and beyond; India also wants to prevent militants in Afghanistan from attacking Indian targets in Afghanistan; it wants to prevent Pakistan from regaining “preponderant” influence in present day Afghanistan. Report added that “it (India) does not want to be saddled with the burden of helping secure Afghanistan” after the US departure. It says that Afghanistan also seeks close ties with India because it wants access to India’s large and rapidly growing economy – “but without alarming Pakistan.” Apparently intra-Afghan battles of turf shall gradually come to an end and the peace process shall resume. Peace in Afghanistan is vital for the stability of the entire region. The underlying factor for resumption of Murree process is how long President Ashraf Ghani takes to calibrate the extent and limits of his political outreach with Taliban. Extension in the tenure of foreign forces limits the chances that during next fighting season the Taliban could over run urban centres one after the other; while at the same time, it also limits the Taliban to not to finalize a political deal before at least end 2016, on the pretext of presence of foreign forces. Until then, pot is poised to keep simmering—patterns would will continue jockeying between fighting and talking seasons.

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Kashmir : The Forgotten Conflict

During his recent address to the UN General Assembly, PM Nawaz Sharif had said: South Asia needs strategic stability and this requires serious dialogue to achieve nuclear restraint, conventional balance and conflict resolution. He proposed a new peace initiative, comprising four specific and feasible steps: 1) Pakistan and India formalise and respect 2003 understanding of a complete ceasefire in Kashmir and LoC; 2). Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the threat of force under any circumstances; 3). Steps must be taken to demilitarise Kashmir; 4). Agree to mutually withdraw troops from Siachen. India out rightly rejected the proposals, indicating that it wishes to impose a bilateral regime unilaterally. Core issue of these four steps is the Kashmir dispute with huge humanitarian dimension. The international community is now alert to the need to normalize the situation in South Asia, and this is not possible without ending the massive Indian human rights violations in Kashmir. Kashmiri activists worldwide have intensified their contact campaign with diplomats, politicians and the media everywhere, they feel that this is the best time to convince India to end the military occupation in Kashmir; they are more optimistic today than ever. The Kashmir issue cannot be placed on the back-burner since durable peace in the region can be achieved only by addressing it “upfront”. When it comes to Kashmir, there is no backburner. If history is any guide, the dispute must be addressed upfront for a lasting peace. There are countless opportunities between India and Pakistan and they must move from conflict management to conflict resolution. A beginning could be made by starting the process of demilitarization and revocation of all draconian laws enforced in IHK.

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