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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Pakistan India peace process at its lowest ebb

india-pak-fs

Though the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India met for more than an hour on sidelines of Heart of Asia conference, in New Delhi on April 26 , there is no visible forward movement. Earlier this month, Ambassador Gopalapuram Parthasarthy, a former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan (1998-2000) and a former spokesperson of Prime Minister’s office had written a belittling article about Pakistan-India relations: “The general, the 'spy' and no talks with India”. Interestingly trash has come from a person who once had the responsibility to ensure that this bilateral relationship does not go astray. Pakistan India peace process are at its lowest ebb, poor Pakistan-India bilateral relationship owes a lot to Parthasarathy syndrome. Any independent analyst worth his salt will be quite sceptical on G Parthasarathy’s narrative. Likelihood of attack on Indian Air Force Station Pathankot turning out as a false flag operation orchestrated by Indian intelligence agencies under the able tutelage of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Kulbhushan Jadhav saga will continue to haunt the Indian intelligence establishment for a long time. The world is now better aware about employment of terrorism as state policy by India, especially when it comes to its relationship with Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already over expended political capital in attempting to improve Pakistan-India relations, all his initiatives have been scuttled by Narendra Modi, who wears the mask of a charming guy while effectively ensuring that dialogue does not even begin. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India has rightly commented that as India is not yet ready the peace process stands “suspended”. Workable option for Pakistan is to wait for the time when people of India throw up a sensible Prime Minister.

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Afghanistan between war and peace making

During a meeting between President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief Executive of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah, on the side-lines of the OIC summit, mutual commitment to work together to address common challenges was reaffirmed. The President underlined the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and highlighted the efforts being made for the promotion of the Afghan reconciliation process, including through the Quadrilateral mechanism. Back in Afghanistan fierce offensive around Kunduz began only days after the Taliban group announced its annual spring offensive, vowing to launch large-scale attacks to drive the Western-backed government from power. Imamuddin Qureshi, chief of Kunduz's Imam Saheb district, said several security outposts had already fallen to the Taliban, and he called on the government in Kabul to send reinforcements and air support immediately. Outposts were also overrun in other districts and security forces fled to Kunduz city to regroup, Khanabad district Chief Ayatullah Amiri said. The highway between Kunduz and neighbouring Takhar province also stands blocked. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters had captured outposts in six districts and three bomb blasts had killed seven members of the Afghan security forces just outside Kunduz.Onus to secure any reduction in violence through cease fire(s) rests with the Afghan government through a package of political concessions that could, step by step, induct the Taliban into Afghanistan’s mainstream political structures. Earlier the Afghan government comes out with such a package, better it would be for the peace process. Afghan government is poised to be loser in the battlefield and each combat victory would result in further entrenching by the Taliban. Pakistan has denounced the launch of spring offensive and has announced that it would continue to play a positive role for peace in Afghanistan. But Pakistan is in no position to dictate to Taliban. Thus one has to be cautious while attaching timelines and deadlines or preconditions to the process. Rather, it is more important to keep the process on track and foil the attempts to derail it.

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Intricacies of spying via third country

iran's president and coas

Use of neighbouring soils as launching pad for hostile intelligence agencies for disruptive and subversive purposes is not uncommon. The cardinal question is whether it is in the know of the government of the neighbouring country. In Pakistan’s setting India has been using Iranian and Afghan territories for such purposes. Successive Afghan governments have been in the know of this activity, and at times, active partner in some activities of Indian intelligence outfits. While in case of Iran, in all probability, Indian intelligence agencies have been operating without the knowledge of Iranian government. In this context the message by Pakistan’s Army Chief to visiting Iranian President: “Sometimes [RAW] also uses the soil of our brother country, Iran. I request they should be told to stop these activities and allow Pakistan to achieve stability,” was appropriate. However, this message should have originated from the foreign office in the form of an ambassador level Demarche. It could have either been made public or handled discreetly. In case it was necessary to originate such signalling from Army Chief’s office, then confidentiality should have been discreetly guarded. A step back was in order after denial of discussion on this point by Iranian President. Judging by diplomatic norms, the message was strongly worded. And the standard diplomatic practice is that the text of any press statement meant to be released after such meetings is usually agreed to by both sides and then made public. Sometimes, the issues discussed are not made public due to the sensitivities involved. It was quite embarrassing for the government of Pakistan, it further strengthened the notion of much talked about parallel centre of power in Pakistan. The militarised version of diplomacy was indeed a faux pas, giving God sent opportunity to vested interests to unleash a spree of comments maligning Iran and its leadership. The issue of detained Indian spy-cum-terrorist operative Commander Kulbhushan Yadav is not linked with Iran. It has to do with India. It however does not mean that Pakistan-Iran relations are free of fault lines—mainly ethno-sectarian— that provoke violence at societal level. However, both countries have a history of prudently managing the trouble spots. Since the Islamic revolution in Iran, Pakistan is in the cross fire of sectarian based global cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the backdrop of lifting of sanctions against Iran, the visit of the Iranian president provided a unique opportunity to transform relations between the two countries into a partnership of business and trade. The two countries signed six MoUs, which would boost their bilateral trade to $5billion within the next five years, from the current $1 billion mark. Iran must look forward to the removal of non-tariff barriers and Pakistan must set mechanism to purchase oil from Iran as well. Both countries must understand each other’s importance. Pakistan and Iran are both intertwined and interdependent, sharing common grounds with similar strategic prospects and challenges. There are amazing opportunities existing between Pakistan and Iran, need is to exploit them for common good. Pakistan Iran relations are certainly not hinged on Yadav issue. As investigations by Pakistan and Iran conclude, both countries would soon come to a close on this matter. They would obviously put this behind and move forward on a path of enduring partnership.

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India between denial and despair!

Pakistan has briefed P-5 and EU on the arrest of serving Commander of Indian Navy Kulbashan Yadav employed by India in spy-state terrorist’s role, and his confession of involvement in state-terrorism and subversive activities in Pakistan. The international community is also being briefed through Pakistan’s missions abroad. His confession also confirmed what the then American defence secretary Mr Chuck Hagel had said in 2013 that India finances troubles in Pakistan from Afghanistan! Moreover, while in Bangladesh in 2015, Indian Prime Minister was fool hardy enough or comically arrogant to publicly state Indian government’s role in Pakistan’s breakup in 1971. Pakistan did well by releasing video tape of the RAW Yadav’s confession. This would make those elements in Pakistan rethink their approach of faulting Pakistan for not improving relations with India. Hopefully, the issue would not end at release of the video and Pakistani leadership would continue raising such issues forcefully with India and members of the international community.

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