Wednesday, October 7, 2015

US-Pakistan Civil Nuclear Deal On Obama-Sharif Summit Agenda?

"The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009

Having failed to persuade, intimidate, bribe and sanction Pakistan to abandon its nuclear weapons program, there are credible reports that Washington is now ready to accept Pakistan as a legitimate nuclear weapons state in exchange for limiting the range of the country's ballistic missiles.

Washington is abuzz with the news of major think tank analyses and credible media reports indicating that the October 22, 2015 Obama-Sharif summit agenda includes US-Pakistan civil nuclear deal along the lines of India-US civilian nuclear deal.

According to a Washington Post report, the deal with Pakistan centers around a civilian nuclear agreement similar to the one the United States arrived at with India, in exchange for a Pakistani commitment that would "restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India's nuclear threat."

As part of such a deal,  the United States will support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the United States is a member. At U.S. urging, that group agreed to exempt India from rules that banned nuclear trade with countries that evaded the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This so-called “civil nuclear agreement” allowed India partial entry into the club of nuclear powers, in exchange for its willingness to apply International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to its civilian program, according to the Washington Post's veteran columnist David Ignatius.

Prior to the Washington Post report, the Washington-based Stimson Center and the Carnegie Endowment think tanks published a 20,000-word essay on Pakistan’s nuclear program and diplomatic ambitions last week. Written by Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon and titled "Nuclear Mainstream", it recommends Pakistan to agree to meet five conditions for its nuclear mainstreaming:

(1) Shift from the full spectrum deterrence to strategic deterrence

(2) Limit production of tactical weapons or short range delivery weapons

3) Become amenable to talks on the fissile material cut off treaty (FMCT)

4) Delineate civil and military nuclear programs

5) Sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Given Pakistan's growing energy needs,  the country will most likely engage with the United States to try and get a stamp of legitimacy from the NSG. However, the Washington Posts's Ignatius believes that such "negotiations would be slow and difficult, and it's not clear that Islamabad would be willing to accept the limitations that would be required." Meanwhile, the issue is being discussed quietly in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to Washington on October 22.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

US Must Accept Pakistan as Legitimate Nuclear Weapons State

Pakistan's Shaheen 3 Can Hit Deep Inside India and Israel

India-US Civilian Nuclear Deal 

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

Gen Kidwai on Pakistan 2nd Strike Capability and Nuclear Triad

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Monday, October 5, 2015

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting

Why is India summarily rejecting Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s peace overtures at the UN? Will Pakistan’s dossiers on Indian supported terrorism get the world’s attention? How’s India’s “muscular” foreign policy breeding resentment in Nepal and other countries in South Asia region?

Is the murder of an Indian Muslim for allegedly consuming beef an isolated incident? Or is it part of the Modi’s India’s sharp right turn? What can India’s Hindu Nationalists learn from the consequences of religious radicalization in Pakistan?

What does the fall of provincial capital Kunduz to the Taliban mean for the future of Afghanistan?

Will President Obama’s strong reaction to Oregon mass shooting finally help shape public opinion for gun control legislation in America?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rise of the Sangh Parivar in India

Modi's Foreign Policy Blunders

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Proxy War Against Pakistan?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

VPOS Dailymotion Channel

Sunday, October 4, 2015

India's Superpower Delusions: Modi's Flawed Policies

"If you (India) want to run with the big dogs, you have to stop pissing with the puppies".
 Robert Blackwill, Ex US Ambassador to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Top Foreign Policy Advisor Ajit Doval 

What Mr. Blackwill said about India back in 2006 still rings true with Modi's foreign policy team's poor handling of Nepal.  In a piece titled "Has Narendra Modi's foreign policy bubble burst", a BBC report summed up the situation in the following words:

"For many in India, Narendra Modi is seen as the country's best brand ambassador. That's quite apparent from his many overseas visits in his first 16 months in office - he has generated plenty of interest, airtime and drawn adulation from the extensive Indian diaspora. But that may not be enough in sustaining relationships in the neighbourhood, as he is fast finding out."

India's Regional Ties:

There seems to be emerging consensus that Prime Modi's "Neighborhood First" policy he announced at the time of his inauguration last year appears to be on the verge of collapse.

The Hindu Nationalists' foreign policy spearheaded by former RAW Chief Ajit Doval is causing rapid deterioration of India's relations with most of its neighbors ranging in size from China and Pakistan to Maldives and Nepal. Written during Prime Minister Modi's recent US visit, including a large reception given by Indian Americans in Silicon Valley, an opinion piece by policy analyst Jyoti Malhotra concludes as follows:  "So as the prime minister charms America, flanked by his two key aides Ajit Doval and S Jaishankar, the thought surfaces: Let him also spare a thought for India’s crisis-ridden neighbourhood".

India's Biggest Policy Blunder:

India threw away its substantial conventional military edge over Pakistan when the Hindu Nationalist government of Atal Bihari Vajapayee decided to carry out its nuclear tests in 1998.  It gave Pakistan the justification it needed to go nuclear a few weeks later, thereby achieving balance of terror with its much larger neighbor with a huge conventional military.

Indian analyst Krishna Kant explains his country's policymakers blunder as follows: "Nuclear weapons have reduced Pakistan defense cost while we (India) have been forced to spend tens of billions of dollars to acquire latest military hardware in a bid to retain the edge. Its shows in the defence budget of the two countries since 1999 nuclear blasts. All through 1980s and 90s, Pakistan was spending around a third of its government budget and 5-6% of its GDP on defence, or about twice the corresponding ratios for India. After going nuclear, Pakistan’s defence spending decelerated and its share in GDP is expected to be decline to around 2.5% in the current fiscal year, slightly ahead of India’s 2%. This is releasing resources for Pakistan to invest in productive sectors such as infrastructure and social services, something they couldn’t do when they were competing with India to maintain parity in conventional weapons."

Ajit Doval's Rhetoric Against Pakistan:

Kant argues that the Hindu Nationalists blunders in the past have severely limited India's policy options vis-a-vis Pakistan. Here's how how he concluded his Op Ed in Business Standard: "In this environment, a hard talk by Mr Doval followed by a high-decibel drama by the government on the National Security Advisor’s talk between the two countries seems nothing more than a show for the gallery. The audience may be applauding right now, but claps may turn to boos as the public realises the inconsistencies in the script and the pain it inflicts on the hero."


Hindu Nationalists' superpower delusions have led them to policies that are hurting India's position in South Asia region and the world. No amount of hard talk by Ajit Doval can change this fact.  Former Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh has recently said: "India and Pakistan need sustained engagement to realise the vast potential of benefits of liberalisation of trade and investment in the South Asian region." Modi and Doval need listen to Mr. Singh. India's best bet is to engage with Pakistan as well as other neighbors on a sustained basis to deal with the realities as they exist.

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses the subject with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Link:

Haq's Musings

Modi's Pakistan Policy

Modi in Silicon Valley

Rise of  the Sangh Parivar

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan

Jaswant Singh on India's Foreign Policy's "Strategic Confinement"

Ex RAW Agent Document's India's Successes in Pakistan

Friday, October 2, 2015

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

President Barack H. Obama finally asked the questions that many American Muslim victims of Islamophobia have been asking for a long time: How many Americans have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade?  And how many Americans have died in gun violence.

Here's the exact quote from Obama's speech after yet another mass shooting--this time in rural Oregon:

“I would ask news organizations – because I won’t put these facts forward – have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. “We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”

The President's question got the media attention. CNN, among others, compiled the data and put the following graph on its website:

Sources: CDC and US Security Officials Via CNN

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 316,545 people deaths by firearms on U.S. soil from 2004 to 2013. This figure is 1000 times higher than the total deaths of 313 Americans by terrorism at home and abroad in the same period.

Aided by the gun lobby and its conservative supporters, anti-terrorism and Islamophobia have emerged as major new US industries in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 911. Anti-terror industry is worth trillions of dollars. Islamophobia industry, estimated at $200 million, reinforces and promotes the fear of Islam and Muslims for its own gains. With their entrenched vested interests, the growth of these industries has served to distract attention from the 1000X bigger problem of gun violence. The National Rife Association, also know as the gun lobby, has taken full advantage of the situation by buying out the majority of US Congress which opposes even most modest gun safety regulations.

In addition to distracting Americans' attention from growing gun violence, increased spending on Islamophobia is having a significant impact on Americans' perception of Muslim Americans. Results differ by political party, with the majority of Republicans holding negative views of both Arab-Americans and Muslims. Democrats gave Arab-Americans a 30 percent unfavorable rating and Muslim-Americans a 33 percent unfavorable rating, while Republicans gave Arab-Americans a 54 percent unfavorable rating and Muslim-Americans a 63 percent unfavorable rating, according to public opinion survey conducted by Zogby Analytics.

I'm glad to see President Obama finally highlighting the issue of gun violence as the biggest public safety issue in America, far bigger than the issue of terrorism. I hope the President will continue to use his bully pulpit to highlight the problem of gun violence and persuade Americans to not vote for those to US Congress who oppose gun control legislation. I also hope that other individuals, organizations and the mass media will support Mr. Obama's campaign to bring about a sea change in American thinking about gun rights.

 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Silicon Valley Stands Against Islamophobia

US Gun Violence 

Money is Free Speech in America

King's Hypocrisy

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims

Saudi Prince Funding Hate in America

Monday, September 28, 2015

Launch of Pakistan Super League: Pakistan's T20 Cricket League

Pakistan will soon be starting its first professional sports league along the lines of for-profit sports leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB) or National Football League (NFL) in the United States.

 India's IPL (Indian Premier League) was the first such league in the cricket world. It was started by India's Lalit Modi who studied professional sports business at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Several other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Caribbean nations (West Indies), followed suit with their own versions of premier league. Pakistan is the latest country to join this movement with its own league called PSL or Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan is the 2nd largest cricket market after India in terms of viewership. It's the 4th largest market after India, England and Australia in revenue terms.

The launch of Pakistan Super League (PSL) will help significantly increase cricketing revenue and put Pakistan in second place in revenue terms. It will also help generate revue for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to promote domestic cricket in the country.

There are five categories of players being recruited to be part of PSL — Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver and Emerging.

PSL has already signed up top international cricket stars like Kevin Peterson (England), Chris Gayle (West Indies) , Brad Haddin (Australia), Grant Elliot  (New Zealand) , James Franklin (New Zealand), Brad Hogg (Australia), Shakibul Hasan (Bangladesh), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Sunil Naraine (West Indies) and Ravi Bopara (England) . Other names will soon be revealed.  Several top international coaches have also agreed to join.

The star power is attracting major broadcasters to bid for media rights in different regions of the world. Broadcasters can expect high advertising rates with many big international stars playing in each team. In addition, big businesses will provide funding as sponsors of league matches.

Each team will have a salary cap of about $1 million for about 3 weeks of work. PSL will comprise of just 24 matches, with each team playing the other twice. Each tournament will end in less than a month.

There will be 4 foreign players and 2 under-19 Pakistani players in each of the 5 team currently in the works. The rest of the teams will be made up of Pakistani players who are now playing at the national level and the first class matches.  The teams are: Islamabad Blasters, Karachi Super Stars, Lahore Warriors, Peshawar Kings, Quetta Challengers.  80% of the league's revenue will be shared among the franchisees.

Under-19 Pakistani players will receive Rs. 2.5 million fees for 3 months of play. This will encourage more talent to compete and help improve the quality of young players in the country.

Pakistan Super League is expected to be played in February 2016 in Dubai and Sharjah stadiums in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It's the best thing to happen to Pakistan cricket in a long time. Let's hope that the security situation will soon allow future tournaments to be played on Pakistani soil.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wahab Vs Watson: Cricket At Its Absolute Best

Pakistan Cricket Needs Top Sports Psychologist and World-Class Batting Coach

Pakistan Won 1992 World Cup After Losing to India and West Indies

Top Ten Sledges in Cricket

Pakistan Breaks Australia's 34-Match Winning Streak

Obama on Cricket

Case For Resuming India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Pakistan Punish Aussie 2-0 in T20 Series 

Afridi's Leadership

Pakistan In, India Out of T20 Semis

Pakistan Beat India in South Africa 

Kiwis Dash Pakistan's ICC Championship Hopes

Pakistan Crowned World T20 Champs

Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Beats Tennis Great Roger Federer

Modi's Soaring Rhetoric Amid Controversial Silicon Valley Visit

"The 21st century belongs to India', declared Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to thousands of his adoring fans at SAP Center in San Jose, California. As he spoke inside the Arena, protestors carrying anti-Modi posters condemned the presence in Silicon Valley of the person they choose to describe as the "Butcher of Gujarat".

My Invitation and Ticket:

I had received an invitation and a ticket to attend Prime Minister Modi's reception at SAP Center. I thought about attending it long and hard. I was really conflicted about attending and, in the end, I chose not to.

Modi's Soaring Rhetoric:

As Prime Minister Modi wowed almost exclusively Indian-American techie audience in Silicon Valley, there were many who compared his rhetoric to US President Barack Obama's 2008 soaring speeches promising "Change" in America which, for many, have led to a huge letdown in the last 6 years. Modi led his audience with chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Jai Baghat Singh" and the they responded by cheering the Prime Minster on with screams of "Modi! Modi".

“[India] has moved on from scriptures to satellites,” Modi said. “The world has started to believe that the 21st century belongs to India.”

"Unwelcome Modi" Rally:

As the Indian Prime Minister spoke to thousands of his adoring supporters inside San Jose Arena, a group estimated by some at 3000 staged a rally against him.

"Prime Minister Modi's 'Rock Star' visit to Silicon Valley can't make up for his rock bottom performance in human and civil rights," Virali Modi-Parekh of Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) told NBC News. "Since Modi's been in office, violence against religious minorities has spiked. But Modi turns a blind eye while churches are burned and Muslims and Christians are being forcibly converted. There is a culture of fear and victimization, especially against minorities in India, which undermines Modi's standing as a business partner."

Campaign against Modi's presence in Silicon Valley included billboards across Silicon Valley focusing attention on Modi's human rights record; hundreds of bottles of Purell hand sanitizer sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, each with a name of a person killed in the Gujarat riots; challenges from South Asian LGBTQ employees of high-tech companies of India's Penal Code 377; a "faculty statement" from 125 academics on Modi's history; a "die-in" dramatizing continuing attacks against minority groups; and social media campaigns using the hashtags #ModiFail, #ChallengeModi, #ModiLiestoUS, #ZuckWashYourHands, according to NBC News.

Academics Letter:

Over 100 US academics wrote an open letter to Silicon Valley tech executives warning them against doing business with Prime Minister who came to push his "Digital India" initiative. The US professors reminded the technology executive that Modi and his Hindu allies are using their power to censor dissident voices in India.

Hindtuva activists allied with Modi have been attacking dissidents with impunity since the Prime Minister's elevation to power in Delhi. M.M. Kalburgi, a 78-year-old professor, was assassinated by the Sangh activists recently. Hours after Kalburgi's murder, Bhuvith Shetty, a member of the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal, tweeted in celebration: "Mock Hinduism and die a dog's death. And dear K.S. Bhagwan you are next."

Two other high-profile rationalists, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, were shot point-blank 18 months apart in the western state of Maharashtra. Dabholkar, a 68-year-old activist who worked on behalf of villagers exploited by local gurus and so-called godmen, campaigned for the state government to pass an anti-superstition bill. It's been two years since he was killed in the city of Pune, and no one has been charged, according to a report in Los Angeles Times.

Digital Censorship:

Facebook has published data indicating that India leads the world in censoring Facebook posts.  Indian government demanded Facebook blocks 4,765 times in a six month period.India’s approach to Internet speech has been a flash point for years, with the government saying it wants to regulate content that is offensive to religious or ethnic groups, and companies such as Facebook and Google (GOOG) bristling at the restrictions, according to Bloomberg News.

Source: Bloomberg


There's no question that Mr. Narendra Modi is wildly popular with Indians at home and abroad. The Prime Minister has made a lot of promises to the Indian people. And the more he speaks, the higher the expectations. Meanwhile, India's exports have declined every month for the last 9 months and the corporate profits of Indian companies continue to be weak. At the same time, Mr. Modi's allies in the Sangh Parivar are stepping their activities challenging the "Secular" foundations of the Indian Constitution. So the question is:  Is the Modi phenomenon beginning to unravel already?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mina Stampede: Can Recurring Hajj Tragedies Be Prevented?

My friend Khan is in Makkah for Hajj yet again. He says he was in Mina for Ramy al-Jamarat (Ritual Stoning of the Devil) when a tragic stampede claimed nearly a thousand lives this year. Besides those killed, more than 800 were reported injured. It was the deadliest day for the Hajj since more than 1,400 pilgrims suffocated in a crowded tunnel near Mecca in 1990, also on the day of the stoning of the devil ritual, according to a National Geographic report.

Even though Hajj is required only once in a lifetime, my pious friend Khan has far exceeded this requirement. He has been to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage every year for more than a decade. He proudly announces his presence in Mecca and posts his Hajj pictures on Facebook as his Hajj count rises every year.

While I admire Khan's annual reaffirmation of faith, I also question whether he is contributing to the rising crowds and recurring tragedies in Makkah.  Let me explain:

The Problem: 

As the world's Muslim population has grown to nearly 2 billion people and the faithful enjoy rising incomes and easy access to air travel, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people performing Hajj.  The rituals associated with it require the presence of all of the pilgrims in a relatively small space within a short period of time. This requirement puts tremendous pressure on the Saudi government to ensure flawless movement of millions of pilgrims. There is very little margin for error. Even small errors of the administrators or poor judgment of only a few of the millions of pilgrims in this monumental exercise get amplified leading to major loss of life.  This has become almost a regular feature of Hajj with tragic deaths. 

Possible Solutions:

The obvious include adding more capacity to handle more pilgrims and/or limiting the number of people permitted to perform Hajj each year. 

1. Adding Capacity:

The Saudi government has been spending tens of billions of dollars to increase capacity at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the tent city in Mina and the Jamarat where the stampede occurred as pilgrims prepared to throw pebbles at three pillars representing big, medium and small Satan.  More levels have been added around the Grand Mosque for tawaf (circling around the Kaba). The height of the Jamarat has been increased and a multi-level structure built to accommodate more people simultaneously. 

Mina Tent City

A large number of cranes visible in Makkah confirm the continuing massive construction projects undertaken by the Saudi government. In fact, the earlier deaths in the Grand Mosque occurred when one of the construction cranes crashed down on the people performing Tawaf around the Kaba. 

2. Limit Pilgrims:

Since Hajj is required to be performed only once in a lifetime, it makes sense for the Saudi government to limit how often visas/permissions are granted to people to perform Hajj. In my view, the Saudis should impose once in five years restriction on issuance of Hajj visas. 

In addition, the Saudis should enlist the help of religious leaders to persuade pilgrims to stagger the pebble-throwing ritual. Many pilgrims, particularly those from South Asia region, believe that they must follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by doing Jamarat (pebble throwing) at zawal time, the time between Zuhr (high noon) and Asr (mid-afternoon). This limits the amount of time for this ritual to just a few hours. The religious leaders should issue fatwas (edicts) making it permissible to do Jamarat any time from sunrise to sunset. This will reduce the number of people present near the Jamarat and reduce the chances of tragic stampedes.

Crowd Control Examples:

Specific circumstances for each tragic incident at Hajj may vary but the underlying cause remains the same: Capacity overload with too many people in a single space at one time. There'll be more such incidents unless this underlying cause is addressed.

In more developed nations of the West, maximum capacities are posted for all venues. These are strictly enforced for safety reasons. The closest thing to Hajj crowds in California is Disneyland with maximum capacity of 65,000 people. When more than 65,000 people showed up for Disneyland's Diamond Jubilee celebration earlier this year, Disney management closed the park. When Eid crowd exceeded capacity at Santa Clara Convention Center last year, the city Fire Department ordered everyone out to  enforce the fire code.


Urgent actions are needed to prevent more and bigger Hajj tragedies with increasing Muslim population and greater demand for Hajj. Increasing capacity alone will not work; the Saudis must also limit the number of people permittec to perform Hajj each year. These actions will make Hajj safe for all in future years.   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Rise of Sangh Parivar: Modi Accelerating Total Hinduization of India?

There have been serious questions raised about India's secularism since its independence in 1947. Such questions have gained new urgency with the rapid rise of Hindu Nationalists and the election of BJP leader Narendra Modi in 2014.

Serious doubts about India's claim of secularism were articulated well by Indian journalist Kapil Komireddy in an Op Ed piece he wrote for the UK's Guardian newspaper a few years ago. Here's an excerpt of it:

"Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice. Their grievances are legion, and the list of atrocities committed against them by the Indian state is long. In 2002 at least 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu mobs in the western state of Gujarat in what was the second state-sponsored pogrom in India (Sikhs were the object of the first, in 1984). Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi, explained away the riots by quoting Newton's third law. "Every action," he said on television, "has an equal opposite reaction." The "action" that invited the reaction of the mobs was the torching of a Gujarat-bound train in which 59 Hindus pilgrims, most of them saffron-clad bigots who were returning home from a trip to the site of the Babri Mosque that they had helped demolish a decade earlier, perished. The "equal and opposite reaction" was the slaughter of 1,000 innocent Muslims for the alleged crime of their coreligionists."

Komireddy goes on to describe how India's "liberal" elite rationalize sectarianism in "secular" India:

"The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as "angry Muslims" in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus."

The Sangh Parivar's project to Hinduize India has accelerated with the landslide victory of BJP leader Narendra Modi and his inauguration as Prime Minister of India in 2014. Some of the manifestations of this phenomenon as reported by the Washington Post are as as follows:

1.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (or the World Hindu Council) launched a program called “Gharwapsi” (or Homecoming) to urge India’s Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism, which they said was the religion of their ancestors. It has resulted in many reported instances of forced mass conversions of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

2.  Beef sales have been banned in several Indian states. The most egregious of such laws is the Maharashtra state law that criminalizes possession or consumption of beef.

3. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has said the Hindu scripture Bhagwad Gita must be declared a “national scripture.” Another BJP politician, Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of the northern Haryana state has said Bhagwad Gita is considered more important than India’s secular Constitution.

4. Poor school children are being denied eggs, a cheap protein needed by growing youngsters, in their school lunches by India's vegetarian Hindu elite, according an NPR report.

The above changes are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of Hindu transformation of India with major appointments of Hindu ideologues by ruling party to key positions in education and media posts at the center and the provinces.

It's not just in India that the Hindu Nationalists are gaining strength. Their programs receive significant funding and support from non-resident Indians (NRIs). A report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" makes the following assertions regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Acceleration of "secular" India's total Hindu-ization under Prime Minister Modi represents a sea change for South Asia region and the world. It could prove to be very destabilizing for India, a much larger and far more diverse country than its neighboring Islamic Pakistan. Such instability could derail India's economic rise unless its forced Hindu-ization is checked by the country's leadership with external pressure from India's friends. And its effects will be strongly felt far outside the borders of India. It is already causing serious issues between India and Pakistan that could lead a devastating war in South Asia with severe consequences for the entire world.

Related Links:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Silicon Valley Opposes Islamophobia: Celebrates Texas Teen Ahmed

A 14-year-old Muslim teenager Ahmed Mohammad was arrested in Texas when he showed his teacher a clock he had built at home. The teacher mistook the student's invention for a bomb and called in the police who handcuffed the Sudanese-American teen and escorted him down the hallway, out the school building and to a juvenile detention center.

The incident was highlighted by the Council on American Islamic Relations, a American Muslim Civil Rights group, as another egregious manifestation of anti-Muslim bigotry that prevails in many parts of the United States.

There has been significant outpouring of support for Ahmed since the incident came to light. President Barack Obama invited Ahmed to the White House via a tweet that said: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great". It was followed by a tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton that said: "Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building.

Many top Silicon Valley technology executives also took to the social media to support Ahmed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in, inviting the Texas teen to visit the tech giant's Menlo Park campus. Google invited Mohamed to its annual youth science fair in Mountain View this weekend. And Box CEO Aaron Levie also extended an invitation. Twitter has also extended an invitation to Mohammad to visit its office in San Francisco.  Popular twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed in support of Ahmed Mohamad has been trending for several days now.

Some elite US schools, including Harvard and MIT, have invited Ahmed Mohamad to visit their campuses.

Would this story have found much traction without the social media? I doubt it. It was the growing power of the new media that led to the teen's release from custody on Wednesday after 2 days of detention.  During this time, he was elevated to the status of an American folk hero.

As we celebrate the meteoric rise of Ahmed Mohammad to celebrity status, we must not forget the long history of bigotry and violence against natives and minorities in this country. Even President Obama has been a frequent target of racists. Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump's vicious attacks on Mexican immigrants and his rapid rise in the national polls is an indication that racial and religious bigotry remain alive and well in the United States. We must support organizations such as CAIR and ACLU that stand against this tide to assure implementation of the Bill of Rights for all Americans, including women and minorities. We must also make use of social media to highlight social problems that are spun or left uncovered by the mainstream commercial media.

Watch this video apparently posted by Islamophobes on Obama's religion:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Free Speech and Islamophobia industry

Silicon Valley Pakistanis

Saudi Prince Funding Hate Against Muslims in America? 

King's Hypocrisy

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims in Phony Terror Plots?

I'm Not Charlie; I'm Ahmed

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MQM Strike Failure; Bilawal Re-Launch; Baloch Insurgency Fizzle; Hajj Tragedy

Why did the MQM strike call fail in Karachi? What’s happening in Imran Farooq murder case in London? What’s MQM’s Altaf Husain’s Future?

What is causing PPP’s flagging popularity? Can Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Revive PPP Fortunes? How far will Pakistan Rangers go to rein in corruption and violence in Sind? Will similar anti-corruption and anti-terror actions follow in Punjab?

Why is the Baloch insurgency dying? How serious is the infighting among Baloch insurgent groups? Why is Bramdagh Bugti seeking talks with Pakistan government?

What caused Makkah crane collapse? Who’s responsible for this tragedy? What actions will be taken to prevent its recurrence?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam ( discusses these questions with panelists Ali Hasan Cemendtaur ( and Riaz Haq (

MQM Strike Failure; Bilawal Re-Launch; Baloch Insurgency Fizzle; Hajj Tragedy from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gangs of Karachi

Political Corruption in Pakistan

PTI Dharna in Islamabad

Pakistan Economic History

Viewpoint From Overseas Dailymotion Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel