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Drivers of instability in South Asia

Drivers of instability in South Asia

South Asia is an instable region; two major drivers of this situation are hegemonic designs of Indian leadership, and continued occupation of Afghanistan by the United States. Other contributory factors are inter-state territorial and resource distribution claims amongst the constituent states. With simultaneous rise of ultra-right nationalist leadership in the US and India, both leaderships have found a common ground in operationalizing Machiavellian tactics by perpetuating instability in select hotspots. This convergence of interest is resulting in prolonging the hardship of Kashmiri and Afghan people. Impeding development projects of Pakistan is another facet of Indian strategy, while the US is ganging up South China sea and East China sea littorals to bog down China in its own proximity. Then, there is second ring having heavy weights like japan, India and Australia to blunt Chinese growth. Pakistan is paying a high price for instability in Afghanistan. Presence of terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan is an established reality. Latest report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) confirms that more than 43 percent of Afghan territory is not under the control of the Afghan Government. This is alarming as it provides opportunity for all kinds of terrorist groups to use these as sanctuaries. Pakistan wishes to have friendly relations with all its neighbors. Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community believes in peace and strategic stability—in South Asia and beyond.

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Joint statement by the leaders of the Political & Parliamentary Parties

Pakistan Focus endorses the joint statement issued by the Foreign Office of Pakistan after the meeting of the leaders of political & Parliamentary Parties. “The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the leaders of the Political and Parliamentary parties including, Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Co-Chairman PPP), Syed Khurshid Ali Shah (Leader of Opposition), Moulana Fazalur Rehman (JUI-F), Mr. Mehmood Khan …

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Shifting sands of Afghan conflict

Under the dry circumstances a big supportive push for Afghan peace process came from the Chinese President Beijing—President Xi Jinping. While addressing the opening ceremony of fifth foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on April 28, he assured that his country will play pro-active role for the success of peace process in Afghanistan and to seek more international support for the country’s reconstruction. President Xi further said, China supports an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” inclusive political reconciliation process, hopes the country can realize peace, stability and development at an early date.There is need for paradigm shift if the Afghan peace process is to take a sustainable trajectory, the QCG should convince itself that the Afghan Taliban are no more an affiliate of the al Qaeda, but represent a home grown Afghan nationalist movement. Blaming Pakistan for the Afghan rulers' failure to either defeat the Taliban in the battlefield or to coax them to come over to their side is not likely to help anyone. Pakistan is in no position to unilaterally engage Haqqanis militarily and succeed. It cannot afford to open a new front with the entity that so far poses no threat to it militarily. As Haqqanis are an integral part of the Taliban under Mullah Akhtar Mansur, any attempt to engage them by the QCG either militarily or for negotiation would be a non-starter. Likewise, attempt to isolate Pakistan diplomatically is going to take nobody anywhere. For Afghanistan and the US piling public pressure on Pakistan at the moment appears to be the preferred tactic — far removed from the broader strategic needs of the region.

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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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Mainstreaming Balochistan

A number of development projects have been signed during the visit of Chinese President. Most of these mega projects shall benefit the people of Balochistan. Some of envisaged infrastructure does not suit a few neighbouring countries and a few distant countries. Their interest converge and they are, individually as well as conjointly, making effort to keep Blochistan unstable so that these development projects do not materialize on ground.Since the start of Gawadar port project, a lot of lose money has always been readily available from some of the foreign NGOs/ think tanks for sensationalizing the Balochistan situation. Such sponsors nominate speakers for such events, control the contents and throw up recommendations of their choice. Some Pakistani entities and individuals unknowingly walk into the trap; and for some it’s their bread and butter. Noble causes like freedom of speech, autonomy of academic research and Human rights are often referred to for justifying their bizarre acts.On April 11, twenty construction workers were killed and three others injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire on them in a pre-dawn attack on a labourers' camp near Turbat. The victims belonged to Sindh and Punjab. Banned Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), headed by Dr Aala Nazar, promptly claimed responsibility for the attack. Law enforcement agencies need to put their act together and arrest high profile dissidents of the like of Dr Aala Nazar and bring them to justice. This will deliver a strong message and hasten normalization of Baluchistan.

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