Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP

Why are all of Pakistan’s top political leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gathered in London in the wake of the Panama Leaks Scandal? Is it just a coincidence? Or is it to deal with the Panama Leaks fall-out? Or is it to forge an alliance with PPP boss Asif Zardari? Or Nawaz Sharif really needs medical attention for serious heart ailment? Why is PTI leader Imran Khan there? What is he planning to do to topple the Sharif government?

Why did US Defense Secretary visit India? Is the US playing the India card against China? What deals were signed between the two nations? How will this affect Pakistan? Why were so many of the Indian media questions addressed to Sec Ashton Carter about Pakistan? Does it it not expose the Indian obsession with Pakistan while, at the same time, it also claims to want the US to de-hyphenate the two South Asian nations?

Why is US Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump so angry with his own party? Why is he attacking Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus? How will this infighting affect the race on the GOP side? Will it cause a raucous convention in July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio? Will this GOP infighting help Democrats win the White House?

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

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Panama Leaks Scandal

Zardari Corruption Probe

Pakistan's Culture of Corruption

US Defense Sec Ashton Carter's India Visit

India-Pakistan Hyphenation

Understanding Trump Phenomenon

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

The Godfather's Vito Corleone: A Metaphor for Uncle Sam?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


SHIV said...


Bilateral defence interaction between India and China has been steadily growing in consonance with other aspects of the bilateral relationship. There have been regular high level exchanges at the level of Defence Ministers and Service Chiefs, functional level exchanges and military education exchanges between India and China. Ships of the Navies of both countries have regularly made port calls, enhancing bilateral defence cooperation. India and China hold an Annual Defence Dialogue to discuss security and defence cooperation issues between the two countries. The 7th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue was held at Beijing on 10 April 2015. Peace and tranquility in the border areas is being maintained in accordance with the various mechanisms and agreements between the two countries, including the ‘Working Mechanism for Consultations and Coordination of India-China Border Affairs’ and the signing of the ‘Border Defence Cooperation Agreement’.

The year 2014 was an eventful year for India-China bilateral defence cooperation. The Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee visited China in June 2014. The Political Commissar of China’s Chengdu Military Region and India’s Eastern Army Commander led reciprocal delegations to each other’s Command/ Military Region in the months of September and November 2014 respectively. In addition to other high level and functional level exchanges, the 4th edition of Exercise HAND IN HAND, the joint anti-terrorism training exercise was conducted at Aundh, Pune, India. The Indian Naval Ship INS Shivalik participated in the multi-lateral maritime exercise held at Qingdao, China in April 2014.

Riaz Haq said...

SHIV: "Bilateral defence interaction between India and China has been steadily growing in consonance with other aspects of the bilateral relationship"

Do these China-India exchanges involve logistics sharing that India has agreed to do with the United States? Like use on Indian bases by Chinese military?

Do the exchanges involve technologies like laser targeting that India wants from the United States?

Why has India endorsed the US stand on the South China Sea islands dispute with China -- freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the South China Sea region?

Riaz Haq said...

An #Indian analyst unhappy about #China-#Pakistan alliance gaining momentum | The Japan Times #CPEC #India

The recently expanded Gwadar deepwater port in Pakistan that is part of the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is nearing completion.

According to Zhang Baozhong, chairman and CEO of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd, “The port cranes are almost ready, and we are thinking that the port will be (at) full operation by the end of this year.” The port will process about 1 million tons of cargo next year, most of which will be incoming construction materials to be used in projects related to CPEC. The port city Gwadar, in southwestern Baluchistan province, is central to the CPEC.

Pakistan’s army chief has accused regional rival India of attempting to undermine the $46 billion project with China. Speaking at a development conference on the impact of CPEC, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif, stated: “I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative. … I would like to make a special reference to Indian intelligence agency RAW, which is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan.”

Chinese-Pakistani collusion against India has taken new turns recently. Despite Modi government’s attempts to improve ties with Pakistan and China, both have responded negatively so far. The writing is very clear on the wall and has been for quite some time. The Pakistani military-intelligence complex has no interest in a rapprochement with India and they made it a point to scuttle the growing Sharif-Modi bonhomie. Last month, Pakistani authorities announced they captured a suspected Indian spy in Baluchistan, identified as Kulbhushan Jadhav. The military also aired video footage of Jadhav saying he was working out of his base in Chabahar in neighboring Iran.

The Pakistani investigation team that visited Pathankot ended up suggesting that the Pathankot attack at the end of December was in fact staged by Indian agencies. This was followed by the Pakistani high commissioner announcing the suspension of Indo-Pakistani peace talks. China then turned the screws tighter and made it a point to scuttle the nascent counterterror cooperation between Delhi and Beijing. By insisting that designation of any individual as terrorist by U.N. is a “serious issue,” China blocked the U.N. from banning Jaish-e-Mohammad chief and Pathankot strike mastermind Masood Azhar by the global body. The Jan. 2 attack at Pathankot was followed by a raid on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan that has also been linked to Jaish-e-Mohammad, or the Army of Mohammad. Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were also behind the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

The Chinese-Pakistani relationship has now moved beyond the “higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey” phase. Chinese strategists are openly talking of Pakistan as their nation’s only real ally. China’s submarine operations in the Indian Ocean and the Chinese-Pakistani naval cooperation are challenging naval supremacy and have the potential to change the regional naval power balance. China is also busy redefining the territorial status quo in the region. By deciding to construct major civil, energy and military infrastructure projects in the CPEC, which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, China has accorded de facto “legitimacy” to Pakistan’s illegal occupation of these areas.

Riaz Haq said...

#Bernie's #Israel Heresy: #Israel uses disproportionate force against people in #Palestine. #FreePalestine #Sanders

In New York, no less, days before a primary, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination declares that Israel used “disproportionate” force in Gaza in 2014, that “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity,” that the United States has to play “an even-handed role,” and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “is not right all the time.”

Wow! Sensation! Hold the presses!

That candidate, of course is Bernie Sanders, a Jew in the party that is the political home of a majority of American Jews; and the fact that his words are deemed shocking or even newsworthy reflects the degree to which, over many years, major American Jewish organizations have been able to dictate the line that says there is only one way to support Israel and win elections — and that is uncritically.

In most of the rest of the world, Sanders’ position would be uncontroversial, reflecting a broad consensus. In fact, his statement in the debate with Hillary Clinton that he is “100 percent pro-Israel in the long run” would almost certainly have caused more of a ruckus in Europe.

Many people in Brooklyn cheered Sanders. He has overwhelming support with young Democratic voters, and it is among those aged 18-29 that a sense of alienation from Netanyahu’s right-wing government and the Israel it reflects has been growing most rapidly. The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu’s heavy-handed interventions in American electoral politics, and his relentless attempt (even in extremis) to stop the Iran nuclear deal have all been factors in undergirding the view that it is no betrayal of Israel to be critical of some of its policies.

Israel, as Sanders said, has “every right in the world to destroy terrorism.” A suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Monday marked a further escalation in the simmering violence of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. No state can accept rocket attacks of the kind perpetrated against Israel by Hamas from Gaza nor random stabbings of its citizens. Hamas hides operatives among civilians. There is often something sickening about the continent — Europe — on which Jews were slaughtered reproaching the descendants of those who survived for absorbing the lesson that military might matters. Palestinian leadership is divided and weak. It condones or engages in incitement to violence.

But the backdrop to all this remains an Israeli government driving the country rightward toward intolerance, permanent dominion over another people and their perennial humiliation. An oppressed people will rise up. Jews, as no others, know the lacerating trials of statelessness.

The Iran deal, concluded last year, marked a watershed in the politics of Israel within the politics of the United States. It divided the American Jewish community, was fiercely opposed by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or Aipac) and rejected by the Israeli government. Yet in the end it won Congressional approval and the support of the vast majority of Democratic senators.

This outcome suggested a new willingness on the part of members of Congress — at least Democrats — to place some daylight between their positions and Israel’s. Jewish votes do not win American elections — although they may be important in one swing state, Florida. Jews account for about 2 percent of the United States population; most of them live in New York and California, which have voted Democratic in national elections for a quarter-century. Modest numbers concentrated in non-swing states do not on the face of it carry significant weight.

Riaz Haq said...

Corruption must be uprooted to end #terrorism: #Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif. #PanamaLeaks #NawazSharif …

“On-going war against terrorism and extremism being fought with the backing of entire nation cannot bring enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is not uprooted,” he said, adding that the military would fully support every meaningful effort in that direction, which he said would ensure a better future for next generations.

“Across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan,” the ISPR statement quoted the army chief as saying.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army sacks 2 generals, 4 other officers for #corruption. #PanamaLeaks

The Pakistani army chief on Thursday sacked six officers, including two generals, after they were convicted in a court martial for corruption, officials said.

The move involved a lieutenant-general, a major-general, three brigadiers and a colonel, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The officials declined to elaborate on the trial, the corruption charges, but confirmed that the officers have not been sentenced to prison terms. Local media reported the officers were allowed to go home after being stripping off all military benefits, except for medical and pension benefits.

The rare move comes on the heels of calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign after his family members were named in the offshore accounts mass leak from Panama’s Mossack Fonseca firm.

Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz has owned offshore companies and one of the most expensive Mayfair London properties. One of his offshore accounts in the data is worth of 5.5 million British pounds, or about $7.8 million.

Sharif has agreed to set up a commission of inquiry under a Supreme Court judge but opposition leaders — specifically the cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan — have rejected this, demanding instead that a serving judge and white collar crime experts make up the commission.

Earlier this week, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said there should be an across-the-board accountability — a statement that was taken as ramping up pressure on the government of Prime Minister Sharif, who has had a history of uneasy relations with the military establishment.

Sharif is also said to have deep differences with the army over reviving peace efforts with arch-rival neighboring India.

“By the grace of God, we’re clean,” Sharif said in a statement Thursday, referring to the calls for his resignation on corruption charges.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #PTI #PakistanArmy put huge pressure on #Pakistan PM #NawazSharif #PMLN to come clean after #PanamaLeaks

There is no doubt the leaks have left him on shaky moral ground.
The allegations of corruption have chased Mr Sharif since the 1980s. And much of what the Panama Papers have revealed now was the subject of a federal inquiry in the mid-1990s.
Mr Sharif ordered that inquiry closed when he came into power in 1997, terming it "politically motivated".
But this time he and his family have had to admit they used offshore companies to acquire foreign assets.
Also, the allegations have come at a time when his government is battling to keep some semblance of civilian control over domestic security and foreign policy issues that have been slipping into the military's control.
On Tuesday, a statement by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, that terrorism cannot be effectively curbed unless "the menace of corruption" is uprooted, has got the tongues wagging.
While many suggest the statement may be just a general remark to express solidarity with the popular sentiment, some ex-military analysts have said it may well be a statement of intent.

In a recent article, independent political and defence analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi has outlined a number of possible scenarios.
One of these could be street agitation, which he says could accelerate Pakistan's internal conflict.
It could either degenerate into a stalemated confrontation between the government and the opposition, or it could lead to an in-house change, or even the setting up of a fixed-term military-backed civilian dispensation to "clean up the stables".
A more likely scenario is that of Mr Sharif continuing in office as a weaker leader, giving even greater initiative to the military.

In a society where family and tribal links determine the distribution of jobs and official patronage, political corruption has not taken long to spread.
Politicians complain they have remained the only target of campaigns against corruption while the military and the judiciary remain outside the purview.
The military and the judiciary insist they have their own separate systems of internal accountability and do not need governmental controls.
Both have colluded in the past to oust politicians from power, but have abstained from calling each other's actions into question.
There have been instances where retired military officers accused of embezzlement in civilian sphere have been co-opted back into the military to prevent them from being tried under the mainstream laws.
More recently, a sitting chief justice was accused of receiving perks from a real estate tycoon, and at least two judges, one of them now retired, have been named in Panama Papers as owning offshore companies.
In these circumstances, as Pakistan stumbles from one phase of confusion into another, democracy, rule of law and real accountability have become cliches with a negative connotation.

Riaz Haq said...

"Speaking fee for #Musharraf in $150K-200K range for a day," says Embark USA President David B. Wheeler. #Pakistan

"The [speaking] fee for Musharraf would be in the $150,000-200,000 range for a day," says Embark President David B. Wheeler, "plus jet and other V.I.P. arrangements on the ground." Wheeler says Clinton, for whom Embark has arranged speaking engagements in the Middle East, commands up to $250,000 per appearance. "If we did multiple events in multiple cities, [Musharraf] could get closer to the $500,000 to $1,000,000 range [for a series of talks]," he said. Embark, which promises "unique experiences that educate, entertain and enlighten," has also booked speeches for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Pakistanis who know Musharraf well say this is good news for the former president, who is not believed to have salted away a fortune as some of his predecessors have done (Musharraf will only receive a modest army retirement pension). But he is a long way from the poor house. Workers are putting the finishing touches on a mansion, said to be worth some $2 million dollars, that he is building on five acres of prime land just outside Islamabad. Since his resignation he has been playing golf and tennis with friends, surrounded by heavy security, and is also planning to write a sequel to his successful 2006 autobiography, "In the Line of Fire," which could easily net him another seven-figure windfall.

Unknown said...

Of course in agreement with Riaz Haq Saheb, I would just like to add that there are exchange control regulations in force in Pakistan and Mr. Nawaz Sharif and family will be hard pressed to explain how they were able to purchase apartments worth millions of pounds in the early or mid nineties. In short how were they able to pay in Pounds Sterling for the apartments? Did the State Bank of Pakistan allow the transfer of funds from Pakistan as a "very special case"? Also Mr. Hussain Sharif is claiming that he owns the apartments which are further controlled by three companies registered in the British virgin Islands, of which, Ms. Maryam Nawaz Sharif is the sole beneficiary! Now going further,the question arises whether these assets are declared in any of these person's tax returns?

Riaz Haq said...

More #Indians have died of dog-bites & rabies than #terror attacks in 20 years. #India #Mumbai #terrorism_deaths

In March, the civic authorities in one of India's richest cities made a startling disclosure in the country's top court: dog bites in Mumbai had killed more people in 20 years than the two deadly terror attacks in the city - the 1993 serial blasts and the 26/11 attack in 2008.
According to the municipality's petition in the Supreme Court, 434 people had died from rabies - a fatal viral infection which is almost 100% preventable - transmitted by dogs between 1994 and 2015. (In comparison, the two attacks killed 422 people.) More than 1.3 million people had been bitten by dogs in the city during the same period.
Animal rights groups say the comparison with terror attacks is alarmist hyperbole. But in a country where courts are struggling with a chronic backlog of more than 30 million cases, it is intriguing that the top court has been grappling with the issue of stray - or free roaming dogs - and rabies.
Feral dogs
The reasons are simple: India has some 30 million stray mutts and more than 20,000 people die of rabies every year. Last year, Global Alliance for Rabies Control reported that India accounted for 35% of human rabies deaths, more than any other country.
India dog cull causes controversy and heartache
Why stray dogs are Kashmir's latest threat
How far will India's dog-lovers go to save strays?
Many of these deaths are blamed on the strays. Last month, the top court ordered the government in the southern state of Kerala to pay 40,000 rupees ($600; £415) to a man whose wife died after contracting rabies from a dog bite. (A third of Kerala's one million dogs are strays; and nearly half of the 23,000 people bitten by dogs last year contracted rabies, say officials.) Health officials in Kashmir reported that more than 50,000 locals had been bitten by feral strays between 2008 and 2012, and that a dozen people had died of rabies during the period.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Anti-Graft Body Seizes Currency, Gold Worth US$6.4 million From #Balochistan Official - ABC News … via @ABC

A spokesman for Pakistan's anti-graft body says its officers have seized currency and gold worth 680 million rupees, or $6.4 million, from the residence of top provincial financial official in southwestern Baluchistan province.

Abdus Shakoor says investigators from the National Accountability Bureau, or NAB, arrested provincial finance secretary Mushtaq Raisani in the provincial capital of Quetta on Friday.

He says the arrest on corruption charges was followed by a quick raid at Raisani's official residence, where investigators found bags stuffed with Pakistani and foreign currency, slabs of gold and financial bonds.

Raisani is accused of embezzling public funds during his three years as finance secretary.

The NAB has stepped up operations after the country's army chief sacked six officers, including two generals, on corruption charges in Baluchistan last month.

Riaz Haq said...

Over 400 more #Pakistanis (politicians, businessmen, media owners) named in #panamapapers #PanamaLeaks #Pakistan …

Imran’s financier, Benazir’s cousin, Zardari’s and Altaf’s close friend, Seth Abid’s son, retired admiral’s son, former MD of Port Qasim Authority and mother of Oscar Award winner Sharmeen Chinoy figure in the list; more names to appear after thorough investigations

ISLAMABAD: As the much-awaited list of Pakistanis owning offshore companies is released today, the close associates of politicians and families of celebrities are set to capture more attention than the businessmen including those who registered companies only to open accounts in Swiss banks.

Identities of some of the high-profile figures suspected to be linked with offshore companies are still being ascertained and will therefore be published after a complete investigation.

The list to be released by The News will be the most comprehensive as painstaking efforts were made to find the last Pakistani buried in the 11.5 million files of the Panama Papers shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Nevertheless, it can’t be claimed with confidence that all of them have been fished out.

Right from the family of Zulfi Bokhari, a key financier of Imran Khan, to Irfan Puri, an oil czar equally close to the PPP/MQM leadership and presently in Dubai jail; from Tariq Islam, a cousin of Benazir Bhutto, to the son of former health minister Naseer Khan; from the family of famous Seth Abid to the son of Admiral (retd) Muzaffar Hassan; and from the Port Qasim Authority’s former MD and NRO beneficiary Abdul Sattar Dero to the former president of Karachi chamber of commerce, Shaukat Ahmed, are in the list.

Mother of Oscar award winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; a billionaire owner of Sachal studio Izzat Majeed; wife of Ghous Akbar; and fashion designer Zehra Valliani along with her brother, an asset manager, Fawaz Valliani have also been identified as owners of offshore companies.

Wamiq Zuberi of the Business Recorder and his wife, former PPP senator Rukhsana Zuberi, have been identified among those invested in an offshore company, a fact Wamiq acknowledged. He explained that they stopped investing after being defrauded and that the company was owned by somebody else who was murdered in Islamabad.

Although Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI has been claiming with confidence that he didn’t figure in the Panama Papers and The News story about his offshore company was based on his assets declarations, his name is very much in the record.

As far as Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bokhari (Zulfi Bokhari) is concerned, he has been identified in connection with the offshore companies he own along with his two sisters. There are six companies owned by Zulfi family: K-Factor Limited, Bradbury Resources Ltd, Bayteck Limited, Bayla Trading Limited, Poreim Trading Limited and Ganstam Trading Limited. They could have gone unnoticed had one of his sisters not given address of Islamabad. Probe indicates the house is owned by Zulfi family. Address in London is of Zulfi’s house. Wajid Bokhari, Zulfi’s father, was caretaker minister in the interim setup installed for holding 2008 elections. One of his uncles is sitting PTI MPA from Attock.

Riaz Haq said...

Money in #Swiss banks: With 1.5 billion Swiss Francs, up 16% YoY, #Pakistan overtakes #India - The Economic Times

This included funds amounting to CHF 1,477 million held directly by Pakistani nationals and entities and CHF 36 million through fiduciaries or wealth managers.

This is the second straight year of rise in Pakistan- linked funds in Swiss banks, while the same for India has fallen for the second consecutive year and stood at CHF 1,217 million (Rs 8,392 crore) at the end of 2015 - a decline of 33 per cent.

This is the first time in the last three years that the funds linked ..

As per the SNB data, the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of CHF 3.43 billion in the year 2001, but has come down considerably since then.

By 2013, it fell to as low as CHF 1.23 billion, the lowest since 1996 since when this data is available. However, it has risen by 6 per cent and 16 per cent during the last two years 2014 and 2015, respectively.

In case of India, the quantum of such funds has fallen in the last two years.

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