What is all the controversy surrounding senate elections in Pakistan, especially in KP and Baluchistan?
Why has the new Saudi Arabian King Salman invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and rolled out the red carpet for him?
What are Pakistan's chances at the ICC World Cup 2015?
Why has Sri Lanka's ex-President Rajapaksa accused India and RAW of fomenting terror in Pakistan and Sri Lanka?
What will be the impact of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to US Congress on President Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran?
ViewPoint from Overseas host Sabahat Ashraf (IFaqeer) discusses these questions with special guest Javed Ellahie, Ali H Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq(www.riazhaq.com).
Pak Senate Elections; ICC World Cup; Rajapaksa on India's RAW; Netanyahu Speech from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Has Modi Stepped Up Covert War Against Pakistan?
Pakistan Helped Sri Lanka Defeat LTTE Terror
Can Pakistan Learn From Sri Lanka to End Terror?
Can Pakistan Win ICC World Cup 2015?
Can Saudi Arabia Change Peacefully?
Power of US Israel Lobby
Riaz Haq writes this data-driven blog to provide information, express his opinions and make comments on many topics. Subjects include personal activities, education, South Asia, South Asian community, regional and international affairs and US politics to financial markets. For investors interested in South Asia, Riaz has another blog called South Asia Investor at http://www.southasiainvestor.com and a YouTube video channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrIDyFbC9N9evXYb9cA_gQ
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Why Saudi Arabia Needs Pakistan
Pakistan may be Saudi Arabia’s best bet for a strong long-term security guarantee.
As the likelihood of a rapprochement between Iran and the West grows, Saudi Arabia is quietly shoring up its relationship with Pakistan.
According to various reports in the Pakistani media, Saudi Arabia requested an infusion of Pakistani soldiers following Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Riyadh last week. Despite enormous defense spending, the Saudi military is unlikely to see sustained battle or gain combat experience anytime soon. As former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates quipped, the Saudis are only willing to “fight the Iranians to the last American.” In other words, the Saudis are notoriously unwilling, or unable perhaps, due to poor training and morale, to solely use their own forces to protect their country.
This is where Pakistan, with its relatively well-trained and professional military, comes in. Pakistan has long had a close relationship with Saudi Arabia and has been involved in protecting that country and the House of Saud. Pakistan has much friendlier relations with Iran than Saudi Arabia does, but ultimately it is more dependent on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, for example, gave oil to Pakistan in 1998 to help Pakistan weather international sanctions against it for conducting a nuclear test. The Saudis also saved Nawaz Sharif after he was overthrown in a coup in 1999, and he is thus beholden to them.
There are already Pakistani troops deployed in Saudi Arabia, though the number is said to be modest. These facts are generally kept quiet to avoid undue attention, but many scholars agree that there is definitely some sort of security commitment from Pakistan toward Saudi Arabia. After all, Pakistani soldiers have previously deployed in Saudi Arabia: in 1979, after the Iranian Revolution, and to help out during the Grand Mosque siege in Mecca. The security commitment may include a “nuclear dimension.”
It is clear that Saudi Arabia is getting increasingly jittery, but cannot go public about this to avoid the impression that it is siding with Israel or sowing dissension in the Islamic world. Counting on Pakistan is one way it can shore up its own security while keeping a low profile. Saudi economic and educational strategy certainly seems to be aimed at increasing its leverage in Pakistan. There is no doubt that Pakistan will assist Saudi Arabia on security issues that are relatively minor, like preventing a militant seizure of Mecca. But it remains to be seen if Pakistan will get involved in a bigger way, other than to guarantee the continued existence of the Saudi state. Pakistanis most definitely do not want to get caught up in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, especially when they have their own pressing regional and domestic issues to worry about.
According to Pakistani sources, Sharif has reluctantly decided not to send troops to Saudi Arabia for now. Sharif promised closer counterterrorism and military cooperation but no troops for the immediate future. Pakistan also declined to move its embassy in Yemen from Sanaa to Aden as the Saudis and the Gulf Cooperation Council states have done to distance themselves from the Houthis.
The Pakistanis are arguing their military is already overstretched facing the traditional enemy, India, and the increasing threat from the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan has its own serious sectarian tensions and violence. About 20% of Pakistanis are Shiite and sectarian violence has been intensifying in recent years. Groups linked to al-Qaeda such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have targeted Shiite mosques and schools for suicide bombings. Iran also has proxies in Pakistan that have attacked Sunni targets in the past. Faced with these difficulties at home, Sharif is telling Salman not now for troops.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/saudi-pakistan-yemen-taliban-iran-sunni-salman.html##ixzz3UV5OngCw
Opinion: After #Pakistan, #India's #Modi Isolates Another Neighbour: #Nepal http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/after-pakistan-modi-isolates-another-neighbour-1223237 … via @ndtv
Modi's propaganda machine, never far behind Goebbels', swung into action when Modi visited Nepal in August 2014, proclaiming that Modi had visited neighbouring Nepal within weeks of becoming PM whereas Dr. Manmohan Singh had failed in ten years to go to Nepal even once.
Saner voices tried to explain that this was because Nepal was engaged in a delicate Constitution-building exercise and an Indian PM wandering the hills and plains of its tiny neighbour would be misunderstood and mischievously portrayed as India seeking to interfere in that country's tangled, seven-year-long Constitution-making process. But saner voices are always drowned out in the cacophony of crowing hype. And the fact that little Nepalese children (the cutest in the world) waved back at Modi as the 56-inch giant strolled barrel-chested down their roads was played up as a huge diplomatic success.
The truth took another three months to hit home. On his way to Kathmandu for the SAARC summit in November 2014, Modi sought to make a stop-over at Janakpur in the Madhesi plains to address a huge public gathering there as if he were on Indian, not Nepali, soil. The principal Constitutional gridlock was over the plains people seeking proportional representation in the proposed Nepal parliament and the hill people's demand for equitable not equal representation. Modi, by stopping-over and speaking at Janakpur, was trying to tilt the balance in favour of the Madhesis. A more blatant interference in Nepal's internal affairs could not be imagined. The Nepalese shrewdly saw through the game. And refused Modi permission to hold a public meeting in Janakpur. This was covered up in polite noises about security issues - but was an unambiguous signal from the self-respecting and sovereign Nepalese that while friendly advice might be welcomed, there could be no stepping on sensitive, sovereign corns.
Modi passed up Janakpur but remained determined to remain the final arbiter in Nepal's constitutional processes. Why this unwarranted interest in Nepal's internal affairs? Two reasons - one, ideological; two, electoral.
Instead of partisan (indeed, let's face it, racial) bickering with the Nepalese, Modi needs to recognize that there are not just two or three communities in Nepal with ethnic ties to India, such as the Madhesis, Tharus, Janjatis and Muslims: Nepal is trying to strike a just balance between 125 identified communities stretching from remote, sparsely habited mountain outposts to the teeming plains. It is doing so through a combination of 240 first-past-the-post directly elected seats and 335 proportionately elected seats; special provisions for ethnically cohesive provinces for the plains' people; 33 percent reservations for women; and other such progressive provisions that India ought to be applauding, not sulking over.
Alas, good grace is not one of Modi's virtues. The best the rest of us could do is to apologize to the Nepalese for the atrocious behaviour of our establishment and wish them all the best for a stable future. Otherwise, Nepal, like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will keep meandering for a Constitution with which it can live.
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