Sunday, October 11, 2015

NA-122 Poll Significance; Ghulam Ali's Indian Concert; US-Pakistan Civil Nuclear Deal

Why is the Lahore NA-122 By-Election Significant? Why is it so hard fought?

How will the forced cancellation of Ghulam Ali's Mumbai concert affect India-Pakistan cultural ties?
Will it spill over into all people-people contact between the two countries? How is Indian media's intense anti-Pakistan propaganda hurting the entire region?

What are the chances of US-Pakistan civil nuclear deal? Why are Washington think tanks and US mainstream media talking about it ahead of Obama-Sharif summit scheduled for late October 2015?

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

NA-122 Poll Significance; Ghulam Ali's Indian... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

US-Pakistan Civil Nuclear Deal

Indian Media Hostility To Pakistan

Rise of 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


Riaz Haq said...

How educated are Modi's cabinet ministers?

Just days after the Narendra Modi government took charge, a major controversy erupted over the educational qualification of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. In the wake of the same, we look at the academic prowess of other ministers in the Modi cabinet.

Narendra Modi (Prime Minister): India’s 15th Prime Minister holds an extramural degree in Political Science, which was achieved through distance education from the Delhi University in the year 1978. -

Arun Jaitley (Finance and Defence Minister): Jaitley, former law minister during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA regime, holds a degree in law from the University of Delhi and has also been a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. -

Sushma Swaraj (Minister for Foreign Affairs): India’s second woman foreign minister and first woman chief minister of Delhi has her LL.B degree from the Punjab University in Chandigarh and has also practiced as a Supreme Court lawyer.

Harshvardhan (Health Minister): One of the most qualified ministers in the cabinet, India’s health minister holds an M.B.B.S as well as an M.S in otolaryngology.

Maneka Gandhi (Women and Child Development): The women and child development minister and a staunch animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi has complete her education upto the 12th grade.

Anant Geete (Heavy Industry and Public Enterprise): Geete, the leader of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party and a six time MP is currently the Union Minister for Heavy Industry and Public Enterprise. He has completed his matriculation.

Uma Bharti (Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvination): The current water resource and ‘Ganga Rejuvination’ minister is the least qualified minister in the Modi cabinet, having completed formal education only till class six.

DV Sadanand Gowda (Railways): The Union Minister for Railways has a degree in law from the Udupi Vaikunta Baliga College of Law.

Nitin Gadkari (Transport): Known as ‘Flyover Man’ during the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra, Gadkari currently holds the transport portfolio in the Modi Cabinet. He holds a degree in Law from the Nagpur University.

Smriti Irani (Human Resource Development): The minister under fire has completed her H.S.C while her earlier affidavit states that she has completed her B.Com through correspondence from Delhi University.

Najma Heptulla (Minority Affairs): The first-time cabinet minister is now incharge of the ministry of Minority Affairs. The 74 year old has a Ph.D in Cardiac Anatomy from the University of Denver.

M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs): The union minister for parliamentary affairs has his bachelor’s degree in Politics and Diplomatic studies as well as a degree in Law with a specialization in International law from the Andhra University.

Gopinath Munde (Rural Development Minister, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation): The union minister for Union Development has a BA degree in commerce.

Ramvilas Paswan (Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution): The minister of Consumer Affairs; Food and Public Distribution is an M.A, LL.B from the University of Patna.

Kalraj Mishra (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises): The union minister of the Narendra Modi cabinet has an M.A from the Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi.

Ananth Kumar (Chemicals and Fertilizers): The Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilizers and a six time MP from Bangalore is a B.A from the University of Karnataka.

Ravi Shankar Prasad (Law and Justice, Communications & Information Technology): The union minister for Communications and I.T. has a B.A, M.A in Political Science and a degree in Law from the Patna University.

Riaz Haq said...

PMLN candidate wins by a thin margin of less than 3000 votes:

PML-N candidate Ayaz Sadiq won the main battle in NA-122 Lahore securing 74,525 votes. His strongest rival, PTI candidate Abdul Aleem Khan, got 72,082 votes and was the runners up. PPP’s Barrister Aamir Hasan was at number three with a disappointing 819 votes.

Riaz Haq said...

#US-#Pakistan nuclear deal: #India should see #America is no friend … via @dailyo_

The US has until now differentiated India’s case from that of Pakistan, declaring at various times that Pakistan was not eligible for an India-like deal. But the US has not used language that categorically ruled out a deal, which might explain why Pakistan has persevered in seeking one despite its well established delinquency in nuclear matters. In its calculation the great forbearance the US has historically shown towards Pakistan’s conduct in nuclear matters leaves open the possibility of securing a nuclear deal from the US to obtain parity with India.

The US, to recall, has not applied its nonproliferation laws to disrupt the long-standing China-Pakistan nuclear and missile nexus. Even now it has not opposed China’s decision to set up addition nuclear power plants in Pakistan in violation of its NSG commitments. It prevented the full exposure of the involvement of the Pakistani civil and military authorities in the AQ Khan proliferation scandal.

Disruptive tactics

It has tolerated Pakistan’s disruptive tactics at Geneva on fissile material control negotiations. While expressing concern about South Asia being a nuclear flashpoint, it has not rebuked Pakistan for periodically threatening India with nuclear arms. The US government has officially ignored American reports that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal to potentially become the third largest holder of nuclear weapons. Pakistan has been spared sanctions that the US has robustly imposed on Iran and even Russia.

The US’s over-indulgence of Pakistan is difficult to explain. Pakistan’s terrorist affiliations are well known. The US itself has been a victim of these on its own soil and in Afghanistan. Six of its nationals were killed in the Mumbai terrorist carnage in 2008. Many Pakistanbased jihadi groups are on the UN list of terrorist entities. Osama bin Laden was given refuge in Pakistan. India has long argued that its nuclear capability gave Pakistan a sense of immunity in conducting terrorist acts against us, without the US taking cognisance of this fact and acting to curb Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and its irresponsible nuclear threats, not as a gesture to us but in pursuance of its own nonproliferation commitments.

According to the Washington Post report, the underlying US reasoning for a nuclear deal to Pakistan is astonishing. In return for an NSG waiver, Pakistan will be asked to restrict its nuclear programme to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defence needs against India’s nuclear threat, and not to deploy missiles beyond a certain range.

Nuclear threat

This implies that India poses a nuclear threat to Pakistan — not the other way round — and that Pakistan is justified in possessing weapons and delivery systems to counter India. In other words, India’s security is not of concern to the US, despite our so-called strategic partnership. The US is willing to legitimise Pakistan’s nuclear and delivery capabilities so long as India alone is the target. Pakistan has always maintained that its nuclear and delivery capability is India centric. It has sought an India-Pakistan strategic balance, omitting from the equation the China factor that India has to contend with. China, we know, opposes India’s NSG entry without Pakistan. It seems the US might be willing to accommodate both China and Pakistan if the latter limited its nuclear threat to India. Why the US would want to offer a nuclear deal to Sharif when the real reins of power in Pakistan are in the hands of army chief General Raheel Sharif and Pakistan’s nuclear programme is under military, not civilian, control, is puzzling.

Chandra said...

Much to your chagrin or not but you should avail yourself to the latest Global Hunger Index from the International Food Research Institute. You have repeatedly used stats to quite often project the state of hunger being worse in India than in Pakistan. Well that was true from 1990 to 2000. Then in 2005 India and Pakistan were the same; however in 2015, India has left behind Pakistan on the Hunger Index.

1990 2000 2005 2015
India 48.1 38.2 38.5 29.0
PAK 43.6 37.9 38.3 33.9

PAK is behind in sub-categories of UNDERNOURISHMENT, STUNTING IN CHILDREN, INFANT MORTALITY but only ahead in WASTING but the margin is getting smaller.

Riaz Haq said...

Half the Kids in This Part of #India Are Stunted due to malnutrition, open defecation. #DigitalIndia #Modi #BJP

India is a vigorous democracy that has sent an orbiter to Mars. Yet its children are more likely to starve than children in far poorer nations in Africa.

In a remarkable failure of democracy, India is the epicenter of global malnutrition: 39 percent of Indian children are stunted from poor nutrition, according to government figures (other estimates are higher). Stunting is worse in India than in Burkina Faso or Haiti, worse than in Bangladesh or North Korea.

“The average woman in India ends pregnancy weighing less than the average woman in sub-Saharan Africa begins pregnancy,” Coffey writes in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The upshot is that many children are malnourished in the uterus and never recover.

The second new theory is poor sanitation, particularly open defecation. About half of Indians defecate outside without using toilets. The result is that children pick up parasites and chronic infections that impair the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients — and 117,000 Indian children die each year from diarrhea, according to Unicef.

That may explain an anomaly: Infant mortality is lower for Indian Muslims than for Hindus, even though Muslims are poorer. One reason may be that Muslim villagers are more likely to use outhouses.

This is a life-or-death matter. Governments invest in tanks and fighter aircraft to defend their people, when the greater threat to their citizens comes from their own poop.

Still, few recognize the risk. Worldwide, far more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets. That’s because phones are seen as the higher priority. In the villages that Austin and I visited, villagers routinely had mobile phones, but very few had outhouses. Even fewer used them: It’s easy for aid groups to build latrines, harder to get people to use them.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Army threatened me for #Kashmir coverage: Veteran Journalist Shekhar Gupta - Rising Kashmir …

Noted Indian journalist, Shekhar Gupta Thursday said he would often receive threats from the Indian Army and other government establishments for covering Kashmir.
“We got a lot of flak for covering Kashmir,” he said speaking at the book release function of Aina Numa, a collection of writings of the former Member of Parliament and editor of ‘Aina’, late Shamim Ahmad Shamim.
Gupta, who remained the editor-in-chief of Indian Express for 19 years and also served as the vice chairman of the India Today Group for a while, was the chief guest on the occasion.
“When we broke the story of Pathribal fake encounter in Indian Express, and did a number of investigative follow up stories, I was getting phone calls from the Indian Army who would tell me, ‘What type of stories are you covering,’” he said.
Gupta, a recipient of Padma Bhushan award for his contribution to journalism, writes a weekly column ‘National Interest’ for India Today magazine and hosts an interview-based television show ‘Walk the Talk’ on NDTV news channel.
He said Kashmir was inextricably woven in the national security story and had been covered as a problem not as a place or people.
“National media sees it purely through the paradigm of that story – Line of Control, infiltration, gunfights, militants, and so on,” Gupta said. “This type of journalism has bedeviled the concept of Kashmir in India.”
Gupta, an author of Assam: A valley divided and India redefines its role, said it was unfortunate that journalists with very little knowledge of Kashmir were parachuted to the Valley to cover Kashmir.
“These people spend a week inside a hotel, do not even come to know about the day-to-day problems of the people like long hours of power curtailments, and return with stories of underlying danger of security increasing in Kashmir,” he said and accepted that Indian media had never been truthful with Kashmir coverage.
Gupta, who did his initial schooling from an RSS-run institution, said reporting anything truthful, embarrassing, or a setback was seen to be anti-national.
“But does it serve the national interest? We came to the conclusion that truth will never hurt the national interest,” he said. “We did a story when the GoC of the 15 Corps called DCs and SPs and told them to target people under the Public Safety Act and we did stories on fake surrender of militants, Srinagar sex-abuse scandal, and the killings of three persons allegedly by the DGP Kuldeep Khoda.”
Gupta, a keen Kashmir watcher, who has written extensively on Kashmir, said Kashmir does not need parachute journalists.
“Previously, calling an encounter a fake encounter was seen as a punishable act but it is no longer so as troops are now even punished in court martial proceedings,” he said. “There still are distortions but the coverage is much more open now.”
Gupta also criticized the Indian media for hyperbole while covering Nepal earthquake after praising Indian Army out of way during the coverage of Kashmir floods.
“We didn’t learn our lessons in Kashmir and we paid for it in Nepal,” he said.
Gupta said he had been laying a stress on reporters to report stories other than that of conflict from Kashmir.
“I tell them there is a state of Kashmir and the people there have their aspirations, they have their problems, there is a story on power cuts, shortage of jobs, how well Kashmiris are treated in different parts of India,” he said.
Gupta said Kashmir journalists working in India were serving as great ambassadors of Kashmir.
“My mother won’t believe Bangladesh had fallen until Mark Tully reported it and Rajiv Gandhi won’t believe his mother was dead till Mark Tully reported it,” he said asking Kashmiri journalists to be ambassadors of Kashmir like Mark Tully.
Gupta said there cannot be any better tribute to Shamim Ahmad Shamim than knowing that people of his profession from Kashmir were doing good.

chandra said...

{39 percent of Indian children are stunted from poor nutrition, according to government figures (other estimates are higher). Stunting is worse in India than in Burkina Faso or Haiti, worse than in Bangladesh or North Korea.}

Sir the above is true but it is also important to note the trend. Whereas in 2010-2014, 39% of children were stunted down from 62.7 in 1988-1992. Certainly, that is worth noting and good to see. In Pakistan's case in 2010-2014 the figure is 44.5% down from 54.5% in 1988-1992.

Riaz Haq said...

#Mumbai Police thrashed two young #Muslims, asked them to go to #Pakistan, accuses victims' relatives. #India @dna
Residents of Mahim, two 19-year-olds Asif Shaikh and Danish Shaikh were allegedly detained and tortured by a few Bandra police officers on suspicion of being Pakistani terrorists or ISIS agents on Saturday, a leading daily reported.

Asif who works as a gym trainer was with Danish near Bandra Reclamation on the way back home from Bhabha Hospital, when they were allegedly picked up by the police.

Victims' relatives and neighbours allege that both Asif and Danish were detained and grilled for over three hours and were beaten badly. They were even asked to "leave India and go to Pakistan" by the police, they said.

Asif was hit with belts and batons and Danish slapped and punched, after which the police finally made a call to their parents to take them back.

It is not clear whether the detention of Asif and Danish was made an official entry in police records.

Asif's photo published in the news report shows the brutality he was treated with, but the police is yet to make comment on the incident.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Dunkin Donuts franchisee offers free meals to visitors from #India to promote harmony. #Modi via @htTweets …

After a Pakistani family was denied accommodation at several hotels in Mumbai, the businessman who owns the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Pakistan has offered a free meal to all visiting Indians as a “goodwill gesture”.
Iqbal Latif, who operates 26 outlets of the international food chain in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar, took the step to show how Pakistanis welcome their neighbours while emulating Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings.
“I felt bad when I saw this family had to spend (a) part of (the) night (on a) footpath near a police station and another part at a pavement at the railway station,” Latif told the Dawn newspaper.
“It’s not a big deal, but an effort to invoke the teachings of Gandhiji who preached love and coexistence all his life.”
Last week, five members of a Pakistani family who travelled to Mumbai to pray at the Haji Ali ‘dargah’ spent the night on a pavement after they were denied accommodation by hotels because they did not have certain documents. The incident was widely condemned by rights activists.
Banners put up at Latif’s outlets across Pakistan on Friday said all short-term Indian visitors with a valid visa would be given “a free meal and a donut as a goodwill gesture” to promote peace and understanding. The banners featured the Indian and Pakistani flags.
On the first day of the offer, 17 meals were served to Indians in a Dunkin Donut outlet in the diplomatic enclave of Islamabad. Latif said he had felt “great honour (in hosting our) Indian friends”. No Indians availed the offer at outlets in Lahore and Peshawar.
Since the offer was made, the outlets served more than 2,400 customers and sales increased by 30%, Latif said.
“We’re waiting to treat Indians with a big heart and a big smile,” said Tehmina, who works at an outlet in Lahore.
Latif is elated by the response to the offer and “sees it as vital for promoting love among the people of Pakistan and India”, Dawn reported. He said he was “slightly apprehensive about the reaction in Peshawar to the display of the Indian flag, but visitors and passersby waved at the staff, a sign of approval”.
Recently, threats from the Shiv Sena forced the cancellation of two concerts by ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena activists also blackened the face of former BJP member Sudeendhra Kulkarni in Mumbai for organising an event to launch the new book by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.
Latif said his pro-peace initiative had not met any interference from Pakistan’s intelligence set-up. “No ISI, no intelligence came to us to ask about the display of the Indian flag,” he said.
“Across the border, there is no hate. We all love India, 1.4 billion people love each other. We are only marginalised by a few hate mongers on both sides. I propose such initiatives on the people-to-people level (to) help make bridges,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

No #nuke deal, say #US, #Pakistan as #NawazSharif arrives in Washington - The Hindu …

While Pakistan has always sought a deal similar to the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal, recent reports that the U.S. is negotiating a restriction of its nuclear programme has triggered a domestic reaction

Ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three-day tour of the United States, both countries ruled out the possibility of a nuclear deal between them, but Pakistan went a step further to emphasise that they were not even discussing any such deal. Mr. Sharif arrives in the U.S. on Tuesday.

“No "deal" is being discussed between the two countries. Nor has the U.S. made any demand on Pakistan,” Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in Islamabad on Monday, which appeared to be not in accord with the White House view on the issue. A White House spokesman said a deal would “not come to fruition” during the visit, but nuclear security remained a topic of conversation between the two countries.

“About the sort of reports that the United States and Pakistan were planning a [civil nuclear deal]…. I would significantly reduce your expectations about that occurring on Thursday," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. Mr Sharif and Mr Obama will meet on Thursday.

Mr. Earnest had said last week that the U.S. and Pakistan were “regularly engaged in a dialogue about the importance of nuclear security,” and the topic would figure in conversations between the leaders.

The idea of a U.S.-Pakistan civil nuclear deal, which will allow Pakistan access to civilian nuclear technology and material in a regulated manner in exchange of more transparency and restriction in its nuclear pogramme, has been around for a while. A recent newspaper article said such a deal was under discussion, drawing strong opposition from India, which reminded the U.S. of Pakistan’s bad non-proliferation track record.

Incidentally, in 2008, the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had welcomed such a deal. After the conclusion of the Indo-U.S. 123 Agreement, he had told a press conference in Washington: “In respect of civil nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and the U.S., we would like to encourage civil nuclear cooperation — its full use of nuclear energy — as we believe every country has its right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

Strategic affairs expert Stephen P Cohen feels India should support a deal with Pakistan and Pakistan must restrict its nuclear programme. "The question is what limits Pakistan agree to on its own programme, something to be negotiated with Pak. But with India as a participant in everyone's calculations, I would imagine that this is vital to India. The problem is that India and Pakistan seem to be guided by different theories of nuclear arms racing, but it is not in the interest of either to engage in an open-ended nuclear arms race. But "more is enough” seems to be the Pak philosophy,” he said.

While Pakistan has always sought a deal similar to the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal, recent reports that the Obama administration is negotiating a restriction of its nuclear programme has triggered a domestic reaction, forcing the government to harden its posturing. “History is a testimony to the fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepts no demand from any state,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Obama Calls for Closer #US Ties with #Pakistan in meeting with #NawazSharif PM talks 70 years of Pak-US ties …

U.S. President Barack Obama says he wants to deepen ties with Pakistan during a meeting Thursday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House.

"Obviously the United States and Pakistan have a long standing relationship, work and cooperate on a whole host of issues," said Obama. "We are looking forward to using this meeting as an opportunity to further deepen the relationship between the United States and Pakistan."

Sharif noted the depth of bilateral ties, saying, "the Pakistan-America relations stand over 70 years, and it is my endeavor to further strengthen and solidify this relationship."

Peace talks

Obama was expected to press Sharif to revive peace talks between Kabul and Afghanistan's former hardline Islamist rulers who have continued a relentless insurgency since being overthrown by U.S. forces in late 2001 for sheltering al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Obama announced last week that he plans to keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, breaking his long-stated pledge to bring nearly all U.S. forces out of the country by the end of next year.

The administration has also pressured Islamabad to crack down on other radical Islamic groups such as the Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan.

Nuclear stockpile

Obama was also expected to try to convince Sharif to agree to limit the scope of Pakistan's nuclear weapons stockpile. A new report published Thursday by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates that Pakistan's arsenal could expand from a current estimate of 130 warheads to 250 warheads within the next decade, making Pakistan the world's fifth largest nuclear weapons state behind the United States, Russia, China and France.

The two leaders last met at the Oval Office in October of 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

#US-#Pakistan bonhomie angers #India. #Delhi objects to ref to "strategic stability" in joint statement. TheHindu …

External Affairs Ministry says offer of F-16 fighter jets will affect regional stability in South Asia.

ndia on Friday took exception to the American appreciation for Pakistan’s anti-terror operations and the American pledge to provide eight F-16 aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force.

At a weekly press conference, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, said: “Our reservations about providing such platforms [F-16] to Pakistan are well known and all countries are aware of India’s position in such cases.” He said supply of such strategic platforms to Pakistan could not help South Asia, especially in view of reports that Pakistan had acquired tactical and miniaturised battlefield nuclear weapons.

The joint statement issued at the end of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington DC has been criticised in Indian policy circles as it entrusts Pakistan with maintaining “strategic stability” in South Asia. Experts have argued that the American decision-makers have misread Pakistani commitment to strategic stability in South Asia, especially since gifting the F-16 jets will further embolden Pakistan’s reckless nuclear establishment. “Pakistan is already the largest owner of nuclear weapons in South Asia. It is a known beneficiary of a clandestine nuclear programme. How can strategic stability in South Asia be maintained by gifting fighter jets to a country which has violated all norms of regional peace and stability,” asked Ajay Lele of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

That apart, India has also expressed reservations about the support President Barack Obama has extended to securing finances for the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams in Gilgit Baltistan which India believes cannot be built because of it is in an area under “illegal occupation of Pakistan.” The joint statement repeatedly referred to Pakistan’s need to deal with issues arising out of water and energy issues and both sides have also joined hands for researching on water to help Pakistan.

The joint statement was dissected critically by India which finds the Obama-Sharif call for dialogue on Kashmir an irritant. That apart, India has been surprised by the description of “terrorism as of mutual concern” between India and Pakistan.

“The Pakistan Prime Minister has agreed to act on the Haqqani Network, which is in keeping with the promise made by the United States in the joint statement of January 25, 2015 in New Delhi,” the spokesperson said, hinting at the fact that the Obama-Sharif joint statement makes a contradictory point by conceding Pakistani role in promoting terrorism. Mr. Sharif who promised to act on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) reaffirmed in the US that “Pakistan’s territory will not be used against any other country.”

India, however, maintains that the fighter aircraft promised to Pakistan will not immediately be handed over to the Pakistan Air Force and the U.S. Congress will examine the proposal carefully.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi must follow Vajpayee’s hand of friendship policy with Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah
Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of friendship with Pakistan to find a solution to Kashmir issue, saying he will not be able to win hearts and minds of Kashmiris merely by doling out packages. Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.

Terming the situation in Kashmir as “very dangerous”, Abdullah said that even if the Prime Minister announces a Rs one lakh crore package, it is not going to win heart and minds of people by only dishing money. “Final solution of the state has to be done with Pakistan. Otherwise we will suffer. The terrorists will keep on coming. What do we have to show other than God’s beauty that we have. And tourists don’t come when there is fear that their life is not safe. Has the Prime Minister tried to remove that fear in the mind of people of India,” Abdullah told Karan Thapar’s ‘Nothing but the Truth’ telecast on India Today. Advocating that talking to Pakistan was must, he said, “it is vital for our survival so that we can progress like other states of India. Other states have reached the moon and we are still on the ground.” And the National Conference leader’s advice for Modi was that he should follow what Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart and a former Prime Minister, did by inviting the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf despite the Kargil war as he was clear that if the nation has to progress, then friendly ties with the neighbours are must. “Vajpayee ji said that he will talk about Kashmir within realms of humanity (Insanayaat ke daayre mein) and this is what the present Government should do. “I would tell him that if he wants to be the next Mahatma Gandhi of India, then be strong to fight those forces that are trying to divide this nation, divide religion, divide areas. Fight them and become greater than Mahatma Gandhi,” Abdullah said in a veiled reference to right wing outfits which he blamed for spreading communal hatred in the country. Abdullah said that he was not worried about his state only but the whole nation. “The communal tendencies that are rising in the nation are threatening the very existence of the state and what is happening here is exactly a fall out of that. The young man who was dead in Udhampur (truck conductor) has actually flared up and people are justified. What was his fault? And People are rising against it because the whole nation is in turmoil,” he said. Talking about the beef controversy, Abdullah said what the independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid did by hosting a beef party at MLA hostel was wrong but his beating up by BJP MLAs in the state Assembly was also wrong. He asked all nationalist parties to cut across their party lines and act quickly to defuse the beef row. “Do not underestimate this. The younger mind who are educated are thinking about it. We must take steps urgently. All those who are nationalist, whether they belong to one party or the other, must take action quickly to turn the tide to a different side. Don’t sit on the edge of the disaster,” he said. He said the present communal tension was threatening the existence of the state as well. “I am afraid of another thing, the breaking of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Jammu going one way, Leh going other and the Valley going other way. This is more dangerous also. People (politicians) are not waking up to the dangers that are in front of us,” Farooq added. -

See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#India's strange preoccupation with #Pakistan. India needs to look within for homegrown extremism #Modi via @dwnews

In 2003, on a flight to Hong Kong, I had a Frenchman and an Indian sitting behind me. Both must have been in their 30s, as was I. Their conversation throughout the flight was quite audible, especially when the Frenchman begun to groan about the time that he had spent in Mumbai (in the early 1990s).
He was telling the Indian how he (and his wife) got caught up in a riot that had erupted after mobs of Hindu extremists attacked and destroyed an old mosque in the Indian city of Ayoudhia in 1992.
"It was horrific," he told the Indian. "The rioters were attacking people with sticks and I even saw some of them trying to set a Muslim man on fire."
"The rioters were Hindu?" the Indian asked.
"Well, they were attacking Muslims, so they must have been," the Frenchman replied. "My wife refuses to go back to India now," he added, laughingly.
I concentrated a bit more on the conversation because I was now eagerly waiting for the Indian's response.
And voila: "Usually such riots are funded and instigated by the Pakistanis," came the explanation.
One of my eyebrows went north and I hoped the Frenchman would ask exactly how Pakistan could be involved in starting riots in India.

He didn't. He just went on about his ordeal, and how his wife had made them take the very next flight back to Paris.
"It's worse in Pakistan!" the Indian shot back. "It (Pakistan) is destabilizing the whole region."
"Maybe, but we were in India," the Frenchman reminded him.
I couldn't help but turn around and intervene in the conversation: "Can I just pop in, and speak to my South Asian brother here?" I asked the Frenchman. He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
Addressing the Indian in Urdu (which is quite similar to Hindi), I said: "Bhai (brother), have you ever been to Pakistan?"
He replied in English: "No, but my father went back in the 1970s. Are you Pakistani?"
"Yes," I replied, "and I am flying to Hong Kong to whip up a riot among the Indian community there."
The Frenchman snickered and so did the Indian. I raised my small green can of Carlsberg, and added: "Here's to the usual mutual accusations and counter-accusations between India and Pakistan. And to the freedom of Kashmir and Khalistan!"
This time the Indian did not snicker, but the Frenchman did, knowing well that I was being entirely sarcastic. The Indian raised his paper cup full of white wine and spouted out his own toast: "And here's to Pakistan stopping being such a nuisance and becoming a part of India again."
I smiled: "Well, it all depends on how the Indian community in Hong Kong treats our French friend here after I incite them to burn a mosque in downtown Hong Kong."
The Frenchman laughed out loud: "So, it's true. This is exactly how we (in France) perceive the way Pakistanis and Indians engage with one another."
I agreed: "Absolutely!"

Riaz Haq said...

Strategic Insights from #India: The big power of #Pakistan's little Nasr tactical nuclear missile. #USA …

Aah, you little beauty, you little Nasr, you have finally brought two major powers to their knees, and that too without firing a single shot.
Out there in the US, there is real consternation that this micro-mini Pakistani tactical nuke will fall into the hands of jihadis who would then use it against the American mainland. Washington has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in securing Pakistan’s big, strategic nukes but to the Nasr it has no answers. Why?
Because the Nasr is a javelin-like structure, deployed in the battlefield against tanks, and under the operational command of a brigadier. Think of how many brigadiers there are in Pakistan’s seven hundred thousand-strong army— two hundred, three hundred, five hundred— and that would be the number of tiny Nasrs floating about in the battlefield.


On bended knees, America is imploring Pakistan to get rid of the Nasrs. But Pakistan must have its pound of flesh. Washington is abuzz with a civilian nuclear deal for the Pakistanis. The contours are faint but it seems to involve access to nuclear technology, as well as membership of the nuclear suppliers group, a facility not yet afforded India.
Pakistan insists that the Nasrs are safe and are only for use against India were the latter to implement its Cold Start Doctrine: a rapid ingress of armoured forces into Pakistan, the destruction of a few jihadi camps, and then a steep withdrawal back into India. But so high is the risk associated with a potential leak of the Nasr, that Washington has put pressure on India to talk to Pakistan about Kashmir.
An India that was only willing to talk terror with Pakistan has within the space of a couple of weeks turned turtle to not only talk Kashmir but all aspects of the relationship. Oh, how the Pakistani military must be gloating.

Riaz Haq said...

"Dark Money" is the textbook for understanding that insight. Large checks to presidential candidates by billionaires may get headlines. But this cash is just part of the broad mission the Koch brothers and other mega-buck funders represent throughout America. The mission is to plant anti-tax, anti-regulation sentiment firmly at the top of American political discourse.

Proposals to address climate change through regulations of the fossil fuel industry illustrate a successful sortie by the Kochs and their allies in coal, oil and natural gas. Nowhere have they been more effective in writing the scripts for politicians, many of whom previously had acknowledged climate change and the need for government action.

With direct or indirect aid of the Kochs and the fossil fuel industry, a few cooperative scientists, op-ed writers and conservative radio talk show hosts created enough doubt to make climate change denial eligible to be one side in "fair and balanced" reporting.

When Obama was elected in 2008, 71 percent of Americans believed the planet was warming. By 2011, it had dropped to 57 percent, according to a poll Mayer cites from Yale University and George Mason University. "Opponents of climate change reform got their wish," she writes.

Another successful thrust matched billionaires with scruffy denizens of state capitals around the country. Inspired by Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, Mayer found, mega-donors aimed unprecedented sums of cash aimed at races for state legislators and governors in 2010. After President Obama's 2008 victory, Gillespie's scheme revitalized a despondent conservative movement.

"He knew that 2011 was a year in which many state legislatures would redraw the boundaries of their congressional districts based on a new census, a process that only took place once a decade," Mayer writes. "While the mechanics of state legislative races were abstruse and deadly dull to most people, they were key to a Republican comeback."

Thanks to GOP victories in 2010, state legislators drew maps that concentrated Democratic voters in a few congressional districts while leaving the rest in Republican control. The results were scores of House districts where Republicans could not lose, unless challenged by even more conservative opponents in primary elections. Dozens of GOP House members had no reason to obey House leadership in Washington if cooperation would draw the ire of far right donors back home.