Sunday, October 16, 2016

Is India's Modi Succeeding in Isolating Pakistan?

Has India succeeded in framing the Kashmir issue as "Cross-border terrorism" rather than a genuine grass-roots freedom struggle of Kashmiri people?

Prime Minister Modi with NSA Ajit Doval   
 Has the international and Pakistani media bought the Indian propaganda on Kashmir?  Have the media headlines changed from Kashmir protests to Uri attack and "surgical strikes"?

Was the Cyril Almeida story in Dawn based on truth? Or was it planted for propaganda purposes to malign Pakistan Army? Who planted it?

Is the threat of Pakistan's isolation real? If so, why are investors continuing to invest in Pakistani market to push it to new highs? Why are China and the United States rejecting India's demand to isolate Pakistan? Why did Russia do first-ever military exercises in Pakistan? Why are so many countries conducting military exercises with Pakistan? Why is Iran seeking to join CPEC projects? Why are Turkey and OIC supporting Pakistan?

Will Pakistan act against Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and the Haqqanis?  Why are the British not acting against Altaf Husain for taking money from RAW and ordering MQM militant attacks in Karachi to hurt Pakistan? Why is Bramadagh Bugti being hosted by the Swiss government in spite of his support for terror attacks in Balochistan?

Why did the Afghan government oppose Pakistan's membership of the United Nations in 1947?  Why did the Afghan governments support Pakhtunstan movement led by Wali Khan who received money from RAW as documented by India's ex intelligence official RK Yadav in "Mission R&AW".  Why have the successive Afghan governments, except the Afghan Taliban, supported proxy wars in Pakistan for decades? Why is the Afghan government allowing RAW to use its territory to launch attacks in Pakistan?

What is the possible end-game in Afghanistan with pull-out of US ground forces? Will there be a power vacuum in Afghanistan? If so, who will fill it? Taliban? ISIS? Another force?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Here's a short last 3-minute version of it:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Investors Ignore Modi's War Talk to Drive Pakistan Shares to New Highs

Planted Stories in Indian Media

Who Are the Haqqanis?


Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW's Wars in Pakistan

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

What is India Hiding From UN Human Rights Commission?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Riaz Haq said...

#China impedes #India’s attempt to mention #Pakistan-based JeM, LeT in #Goa Declaration #BRICS2016 via @timesofindia

Given China's presence, a specific mention of cross-border terrorism was never going to be possible but India was expecting the declaration to mention India-specific terror groups like Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). However, as MEA secretary Amar Sinha said, Brics nations couldn't arrive at a consensus on the issue.
"Pakistan-based outfits are focused on India. It doesn't concern them (other Brics nations) really, it affects us," Sinha said. This was disappointing for India because international terror groups like the Islamic State and Jabhat-al-Nusra found mention in the declaration.
Asked why cross-border terrorism could not be included in the declaration, Sinha said India focused on concepts and ideas and not on specific terms. "We were focused on the ideas we wanted to be included. And if you look at what the joint statement says, I think it is pretty clear that we are talking about our neighbourhood,"' he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's Singular Focus on #Terrorism, #Pakistan Not Echoed By #BRICS Partners. #BRICS2016 #Kashmir … via @thewire_in

Pakistan a ‘mother-ship’, terrorism ‘its favourite child’ – with phrases like these, the Indian side kept reminding BRICS members of what its priority at the multilateral forum really was

Benaulim/Cavelossim (Goa): Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed combating “cross-border terrorism and its supporters” a “key BRICS priority”, there was no consensus across the five-nation bloc about specifically naming Pakistan-based terror groups, with China pointedly pushing back by talking about addressing “both symptoms and root causes”.

From the restricted off-camera session in the morning to the plenary session, Modi took every opportunity to push through the message about Pakistan – no names were taken, but the reference to India’s ‘neighbour’ could not be mistaken. From describing it as a “mothership of terrorism” – a somewhat obscure reference to the language of piracy – to claiming that BRICS had shown solidarity with India’s position that those who “nurture, shelter, support and sponsor” terrorists are also a “threat”, Modi kept on hammering the point throughout Sunday.

Not surprisingly, in their statements, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa used more neutral terms while talking about terrorism.

At the BRICS plenary, Russian president Vladimir Putin made no mention of terror, but later in the evening at the outreach event he did talk of the need to “collectively” fight the menace. In his press conference with Russian journalists, his focus was on ISIL in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and on India as an important market for Russian products, especially arms – and not the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism that the Indian side had laid so much public and private stress on over the past two days.

Both Brazilian President Michel Temer and South African President Jacob Zuma – whose countries have remained unscathed from international terrorism so far – talked mainly about the need for increasing intra-BRICS investment.

In pointed remarks, Chinese president Xi Jinping first included terrorism as part of the “global challenges” which have led to a “complex and volatile external environment for BRICS countries”. “Furthermore, we have to confront complicated geopolitical factors, intertwined traditional and non-traditional security risks and also rising global challenges such as terrorism, infectious diseases and climate change,” he said.

Xi said that BRICS should step up “coordination and communication on major international issues and regional hotspots”. The five-member bloc should speak in one voice to “find political solutions to hotspots issues and take on global challenges like natural disasters, climate change, infectious diseases and terrorism,” he said, before adding his punchline: “We should also address issues on the ground with concrete efforts and a multi-pronged approach that addresses both symptoms and root causes.”

The Chinese leader’s reference of “symptom and root causes” – a dog-whistle phrase used by Pakistan to rake up Kashmir when India talks of cross-border terrorism – was a clear indication of the gulf that still separates India from China and BRICS as a group on the issue.

Xi’s words were especially notable as he immediately followed Modi, who asserted that there should be “no distinction (in fighting terrorists) based on artificial and self-serving grounds”. Just a day earlier, Modi had raised the issue of China’s ‘technical hold’ on listing Jaish-e-Mohammed supremo Masood Azhar as a terrorist with a UN Security Council panel, to which Xi had not indicated any readiness to change Beijing’s stance.

Nitin B said...

China has several times vetoed against sanctions imposed on North Korea despite its track record. Masood Azhar veto should not come as a surprise. South Korea, Japan and US have grievances against China but because of economic clout they tolerate it.

In Pakistan case, it hurts the country much more.

Riaz Haq said...

#BRICSSummit: #India's & #Modi's Failure. #China. #Russia refused to name #Pakistan on #terrorism … via @IndianExpress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just been delivered an unhappy lesson at the just-concluded BRICS summit in Goa: though nine-tenths of geopolitics is about bluff, the critical one-tenth is about knowing when to fold.
The Prime Minister proclaimed, in his closing statement at the summit, that BRICS member-states were “agreed that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such forces of violence and terror are as much a threat to us as the terrorists themselves”. The BRICS 109 paragraph summit declaration, however, doesn’t have a single sentence reflecting this purported consensus—not even the words “nurture”, “shelter” or “sponsor”.
Worse, from India’s optic, the summit declaration calls for action against all United Nations-designated terrorist organisations which include the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad but names only the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s proxy, Jabhat al-Nusra—both threats to China and Russia but not to India.

China’s President Xi Jinping, said success against terrorism made it imperative to “addresses both symptoms and root causes”—a stock-phrase Islamabad often uses to refer to the conflict over Kashmir. Russian President Vladimir Putin made no mention of terrorism emanating from Pakistan at all.
Add to this, the United States’ studied refusal to be drawn into harsh action against Pakistan and there’s a simple lesson to be drawn: less than a month after it began, the Prime Minister’s campaign to isolate Pakistan is not gaining momentum.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi Over-Played #Pakistan At #BRICSSummit and Failed in #Goa … via @ndtv

In keeping with the message the Government of India has been pushing even before the Uri attack, the Prime Minister's stream of tough words aimed at isolating Pakistan for its support to terror groups that act against India, made headlines through the two day BRICS and BIMSTEC meetings that took place in Goa on October 15 and 16. Diplomats have been quick to point the finger of blame for the predominant focus on terrorism at journalists - both from print and television. A focus that only served to highlight India's failure to include a mention of Pakistan or terms like 'safe havens' and 'cross-border terrorism' in the final Goa Declaration.

But that finger pointing is disingenuous. As leaders met in a restricted session on the morning of October 16 in Goa, the first message from the government made public was a tweet by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, quoting PM Modi as saying "the mother-ship of terrorism is in India's neighbourhood". Hard-hitting language that set the tone for what was to come in the Prime Minister's several statements through the day was a clear indication that terrorism was higher up in priority than any other agenda. PM Modi's statements were peppered with references to state-sponsored terrorism and the threat emanating from India's immediate neighbour. His closing statement after the BRICS plenary was particularly emphatic. PM Modi said all leaders had agreed that states that shelter terror groups are equally to blame.

Riaz Haq said...

#America is likely to remain cosy with #Pakistan and there is little that #India, #Modi can do about it via @qzindia

The Obama administration, now in its last phase, is unlikely to take any strong action against Pakistan even though the White House tacitly supported recent Indian military strikes against terrorists on Pakistan’s side of the Line of Control (LoC).
The Indian strikes came after a cross-border attack on an army camp in Uri, that killed 20 soldiers. The White House issued a short statement the same day, calling on Pakistan to do the right thing. But that is as far as president Barack Obama might be willing to go given the ongoing crises in Syria and Yemen and the volatile nature of the presidential election at home.
It should not surprise New Delhi even though it may disappoint many that the Obama administration does not support a bill introduced in the US Congress on Sept. 20 by congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the house subcommittee on terrorism, calling for Pakistan to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.
When asked if the administration would support the move, the state department spokesman John Kirby was more than clear. “Obviously, we don’t,” was the short answer.
The Obama administration has been more circumspect, maintaining what it deems as a necessary “balance” between India and Pakistan in its public statements. It was only after New Delhi pushed hard and pointed to the many statements of support from American lawmakers that the White House was nudged into action after Uri.
The White House issued a stronger statement on the day India launched “surgical strikes” against terrorist launch pads along the LoC, “highlighting the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region.” US national security adviser Susan Rice asked that Pakistan “take effective action to combat and delegitimize United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities.”

There are still nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s cooperation is vital for Washington.

While it’s clear that Pakistan has exhausted most of the goodwill in Washington, no one in the White House has the appetite for rocking the boat and taking the final step towards declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism. There are still nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s cooperation is vital for Washington.
In addition, South Asia is not high on Obama’s radar. His personal interest and investment in the region are arguably less than those of his predecessor. The same could be said of his national security adviser.
Pakistan plays in the little space that is left and uses US officials’ fear of a possible nuclear exchange in South Asia to its advantage. Earlier this month, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s two envoys—Mushahid Hussain Syed and Shezra Mansab Khan Ali—sent to denounce India and raise the Kashmir issue, made sure they played on those fears.
Syed reminded his audiences that it was the Clinton administration that called South Asia a potential “nuclear flashpoint.” The clear implication was that the current tensions could lead there unless the Americans intervene with India.
Then, in a gigantic leap, Syed claimed that Afghanistan would not find peace unless Kashmir is settled, bluntly saying the “road to peace in Kabul lies in Kashmir” AND that the two could not be compartmentalised. In other words, the whole region would continue to burn unless Pakistan’s wishes were honoured.
“We request the US to intervene because it has leverage with India,” he said. But even the Obama administration finds it difficult these days to take up for Pakistan, mainly because it has refused to act against the Haqqani network and done nothing to shut down UN-designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed who roam freely and hold public meetings.

Pakistan is far from being isolated and finds itself once again at the centre of geopolitics.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan thwarted #India's #Modi's attempt to block #39m UN #climatechange #GCFund for 700,000 in #GilgitBaltistan

Songdo, South Korea is not a place that would normally spring to mind as a venue for an Indo-Pak confrontation. Last week, however, the boardrooms of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) witnessed a fascinating spectacle involving the two South Asian states. What was at stake this time? 39 million dollars and the livelihood of 700,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable people of our country.

Formed in 2010 and a centrepiece of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the GCF is the primary global vehicle to finance climate change-related interventions in developing countries.

In Songdo, where it is based, the GCF board met last week to review and approve 10 projects worth $800 million that would help millions of poor people adapt to the risks of climate change.

Among these projects was one submitted by Pakistan — a crucial first for our country given that we are one of the most at-risk places when it comes to climate change.

Supported by the United Nations Development Program, the project is meant to reduce risks and impact of flooding outbursts from glacial lakes in communities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Also read: Climate change - The perfect storm

The GCF’s independent technical committee concluded that the project would provide protection to more than 700,000 people, and gave it the go-ahead.

But not before significant drama and tension, as India attempted to have the decision derailed.

In a waffling set of attacks, Indian board member Dinesh Sharma, a Special Secretary in Indian Ministry of Finance, put forth several contradictory reasons for his opposition to the Pakistani project:

The science on glacial melt was weak and hence the project itself was weak; the project risk assessment, he felt, proved that there would be no impact (he was unable to clarify what he meant by ‘no impact’); and that somehow the mitigation work in Pakistan — mostly the installation of early warning and other sensory systems and capacity building of communities — could increase the risks that Indians on the other side of the border were exposed to.

The more Mr Sharma insisted that he was challenging the project on technical rather than political grounds, the more isolated he became. As his objections grew, the true nature of his hostility became more and more obvious to everyone on the board, even though he kept on insisting that his position was only meant to safeguard the credibility of the GCF. His position backfired and ended up generating significant sympathy for Pakistan from developed and developing countries alike.

A robust project meant that the Pakistani board member did not even need to respond directly to Indian concerns. In fact, it were other board members who spoke up in Pakistan’s defence, which was a testament to the country’s case and conduct at the meeting.

Ultimately, group pressure from the entire board, including the South African co-chair, led to the Indian representative being isolated and having no choice but to go with the consensus in the room and approve the project.

And just for the record, this is not propaganda from a Pakistani patriot; the evidence is available in the documented recordings of all the proceedings on the GCF website.

Riaz Haq said...

"Isolated" #Pakistan hosts 16-nation military sports tournament #Australia #UK #China #SriLanka #SaudiArabia #Turkey

Army cricket teams from different countries have arrived at Lahore to take part in the first ever Physical Agility Combat Efficiency System (PACES) competition being hosted by Pakistan Army.

Teams from Sri Lanka, England, Saudi Arabia, China and Australia will participate in the competition.

The event is being organised by Pakistan Army, which is the first-ever such competition in the world.

Commander Lahore Corps Lt-General Sadiq Ali declared the PACES Competition Open amid a colourful ceremony at the Venue which was attended by a large crowd.

All the participating teams joined a Flag March Past, followed by Army's regimental troupes, representing all provinces of Pakistan including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammun Kashmir, which presented traditional folk dances on the tune of famous regional songs and a spectacular demonstration by the Pakistan Army band, which won thunderous applauds from the audience.

People's Liberation Army (China) and Pakistan Army dominated the opening day of the Pull-Ups contest in the First International PACES Competition-2016 that commenced at the Ayub Stadium on Tuesday.

The visiting cricket teams practised at (NCA) indoor and outdoor to prepare for the first leg of matches to be held on October 19, 21 and 22 in various grounds of Lahore. Later, the team will travel to Rawalpindi and Abbottabad to feature in the remaining matches.

On Wednesday, the participating teams will compete in 3.2-km run which will start at 9am from Askari-10 and end at the Ayub Stadium.

Players of different countries during opening ceremony of first ever Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System competition. ─APP

Riaz Haq said...

South Asian media
All hail. The Economist

India’s press is more craven than Pakistan’s
Oct 22nd 2016 | DELHI | From the print edition

most Indians assume, their media are freer. When Cyril Almeida, a Pakistani journalist, revealed earlier this month that he had been banned from travelling abroad after writing a story that embarrassed Pakistan’s security forces, India’s tabloid press gloated.

The Schadenfreude proved short-lived. To general surprise, Mr Almeida’s colleagues rallied in noisy support. Pakistani newspapers, rights groups, journalists’ clubs and social media chorused outrage at his persecution. The pressure worked; the ban got lifted.

On the Indian side of the border, however, there has not been much critical examination of the government’s actions. Instead, Indian media have vied to beat war drums the loudest.

When an army spokesman, providing very few details, announced on September 29th that India had carried out a retaliatory “surgical strike” against alleged terrorist bases along the border, popular news channels declared it a spectacular triumph and an act of subtle statecraft. Some anchors took to describing India’s neighbour as “terror state Pakistan”. One station reconfigured its newsroom around a sandbox-style military diorama, complete with flashing lights and toy fighter planes. A parade of mustachioed experts explained how “our boys” would teach Pakistan a lesson it would never forget.

Such jingoism was predictable, given the fierce competition for ratings among India’s news groups. Disturbingly, however, the diehard nationalists have gone on the offensive against fellow Indians, too.

This month NDTV, a news channel with a reputation for sobriety, advertised an interview with Palaniappan Chidambaram, a former finance minister from the opposition Congress party. Mr Chidambaram was expected to say that previous governments had also hit back at Pakistan, but with less fanfare than the present one. Abruptly, however, NDTV cancelled the show. An executive sniffed that it was “not obliged to carry every shred of drivel” and would not “provide a platform for outrageous and wild accusations”.

Arnab Goswami, the anchor of a particularly raucous talk show, has declared that critics of the government should be jailed. Extreme nationalists in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, have urged filmmakers to ban Pakistani actors. One party has threatened to vandalise cinemas that dare show a Bollywood romance, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, due for release later this month, which features Fawad Khan, a Pakistani heartthrob. The film’s director, Karan Johar, has aired a statement declaring his patriotism, explaining that the film was shot before the current trouble and promising never again to work with talent from “the neighbouring country”. One commentator described his performance as akin to a hostage pleading for mercy.

Why, asks Mr Chidambaram, are the media toeing the government line so slavishly? Some answer that they have become ever more concentrated in the hands of big corporations, many of which carry heavy debts and so are wary of offending the party in power. Others ascribe the shrinking space for dissent to the unchecked rise of chauvinist Hindu-nationalist groups. Repressive colonial-era laws on sedition and libel also play a part.

Riaz Haq said...

No Surprise in Pakistan Not Being Declared a ‘Terrorism-Sponsoring Nation’

Strategists who assumed that India could bring about such a declaration are poor students of history and do not understand how Washington works.

Our “strategists”, who had made the present leadership believe that they would be successful in declaring Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsor nation, are poor students of history. They may be good at event management by organising the prime minister’s diaspora meetings, but they don’t seem to know how Washington works. The closest India came to designating Pakistan as “terrorist nation” was in April 1993, when Narasimha Rao was prime minister. At that time, the Indian embassy and intelligence had jointly made nearly successful efforts to convince the US government of Pakistan’s role in fomenting terrorism against India and also in conniving with the drug mafia. Personal lobbying by ambassadors Abid Hussain and Siddharth Shankar Ray had almost convinced the US State Department to take a stand.

Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time. Buffeted by the then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Sharif sent his confidante, Nisar Ali Khan, to Washington DC to plead his case for “retention”. Khan met then secretary of state Warren Christopher on April 7, 1993. According to the Federal Register, he presented a 5’X 7’ silk rug as a gift to the secretary valued at $500. Although Khan described the talks as “useful”, the state department delivered an unprecedented snub that very evening, warning Pakistan that it would be designated as a “terrorist sponsoring” nation if there was no improvement. Sharif was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in July 1993. He moved the Supreme Court General Abdul Waheed Kakar, who was army chief, intervened and made both of them resign.

My personal enquiries at that time with the state department had revealed that it was Benazir Bhutto, on a private visit to Washington DC at the time, who had personally pleaded with the Clinton administration at different levels not to put Pakistan in the company of Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Cuba. Benazir had met even assistant secretary level officers in the state department, setting aside protocol as a former prime minister.

The US 9/11 National Commission has reported another move in 1998 by the state department’s counter-terrorism coordinator to designate Pakistan as a terrorist sponsor due to the ISI’s “activities in support of international terrorism” by supporting attacks “on civilian targets in Kashmir”. This was overruled by then secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who said that “putting the Pakistanis on the terrorist list would eliminate any influence the United States had over them”. Deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott had also felt that “additional sanctions would have bankrupted the Pakistanis, a dangerous move that could have brought ‘total chaos’ to a nuclear-armed country with a significant number of Islamic radicals”. This is the US’s stand even now. They need Pakistan to control Afghanistan. That India can substitute Pakistan in Afghanistan is a pipe dream.

Riaz Haq said...

Carlotta Gall in NY Times:

The political mood is shifting, too, as Afghans sense the declining American influence and start casting around for new patrons or renewing old alliances. The politicking is intense: “Hot, very hot,” as a former minister described the political climate.

For Afghans, and for many of us who have followed Afghanistan for decades — I have been visiting the country since the early 1990s — the times are reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s withdrawal in 1989 after a 10-year occupation. The Communist government and army that the Soviets left behind survived only three years before they were overthrown by the mujahedeen in 1992.

The Taliban, supported by Pakistan, seem intent on repeating that scenario, hoping to seize control of a section of territory along the Pakistani border and declare once more their Islamic Emirate. Since the Taliban temporarily overran the town of Kunduz last fall, many Afghans have lost confidence that the government can protect them.

Over the years, Afghanistan has received one of the highest amounts of foreign assistance per capita, on a par with the West Bank and Gaza and Liberia. The United States alone has spent close to $500 billion on its Afghanistan mission since 2002, most of it on military operations but roughly a fifth — $113 billion — on reconstruction, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Yet it remains one of the poorest countries in the world — more than 10 million people live below the poverty line, and three-quarters of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.

It looked easy enough at the beginning. The Taliban were swiftly defeated in 2001 and fled in disarray, as did Al Qaeda’s forces. I saw thousands of their fighters — including hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters — surrender in northern Afghanistan, and there was no doubt they were at the end of their strength and had lost popular support.

But they were allowed to regroup just over the mountains in Pakistan, and from there they still menace Afghanistan and the wider region. In Pakistan they started teaching young men how to build pressure-cooker bombs filled with ball bearings and suicide belts, and later truck bombs, and sent them out by the hundreds against targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They are still recruiting and training bombers, including Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in a series of bombings last month in New York City and New Jersey, who spent months in a madrasa in a Taliban stronghold near the Pakistani frontier town of Quetta.

Riaz Haq said...

Mark Perry in Politico:

In all, the U.S. has spent over $850 billion on the Afghanistan war, suffered nearly 2,400 dead and the Taliban is not only back in the field, they’ve made steady progress in wresting control of the country away from the U.S.-backed Afghanistan government. The Pentagon would like to convince us that the glass is half full: Two weeks ago they announced that “U.S. backed forces control 70 percent” of the country. Another way of saying this is that the Taliban controls 30 percent — a not insignificant gain from zero, which was the case only eight weeks after Bush’s air campaign began back in 2001. The Pentagon’s estimate is conservative: The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio, who tracks the conflict, recently noted that the Taliban have a heavy influence in fully half the country and their power is expanding.

Is the U.S. winning at all in Afghanistan, even if progress is glacial? For former CIA officer Milt Bearden, the answer is “a little complicated” adding that “everyone goes into Afghanistan fine, the problem is getting out.” Robert Grenier agrees, but he carefully adds his own corollary: “Who’s ‘we’?” he asks, “and what do you mean by ‘win?’” Will Afghanistan ever be a stable country again, or will Washington have to settle for what former Gen. David Petraeus used to call “Afghan Good Enough”?


That the majority of the Pashtun have sided with the Taliban against the Kabul government is not a surprise to Robert Grenier. As the Uzbek and Tajik dominated Northern Alliance descended on Kabul in 2001, Grenier hoped their offensive could be slowed enough to enable him to convince the Pashtuns to join a new government. Schroen agreed, fearing that a new conflict would start when the Pashtuns bumped up against the northern tribes. “They don’t like each other, they don’t get along well,” he said at the time. “We didn’t understand the south like we did the north so we ended up not really winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.”

And 15 long years passed. Now all that is left, apparently, is for the Afghans to figure out for themselves how to win hearts and minds.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi isolating Pakistan? Donald Trump's phone call with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif has dismayed many in India

Donald Trump has delighted Pakistan and dismayed some in India with gushing comments to Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif in which he called the country “amazing” and “fantastic” and promised a rare presidential visit.

Islamabad released details of a phone call between the two men late on Wednesday night, in which Mr Trump lavished Mr Sharif and his country with praise, striking a very different tone from comments he made on the campaign trail.

According to the release, Mr Trump said: “Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”

It continued: “On being invited to visit Pakistan by the prime minister, Mr Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.”

Mr Trump’s office confirmed the call took place, saying: “President-elect Trump noted that he is looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif.”

Officials in both New Delhi and Islamabad are now scrambling to work out what Mr Trump’s tone might mean for Pakistan — where the US will spend $860m in aid this year — and the region in general.

Riaz Haq said...

ECP declares Masroor successful in PP-78 election

Jhang—The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared official result of by-election in PP-78, held on Thursday, December 1. As per results, an independent candidate Maulana Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi has been declared successful with 48,563 votes.
A notification, issued here by District Election Commissioner/ Returning Officer Tanvirul Hassan Langah, stated that out of total 118,627 male voters 57,611 used their right to vote, while out of 97,935 female voters 37,925 voters cast their vote. 1,794 votes were rejected and total turnout remained 44.11 per cent.
The notification said that Haji Azad Naser Ansari of the Pakistan Muslim League-N got 35,471 votes, Sarfraz Rabbani of the Pakistan People’s Party secured 3,924 votes, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Arfa Majeed 2,845 votes.—APP

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia rejects #Indian, #Afghan criticism on #Pakistan. #HeartofAsia #Modi #India …

Says Heart of Asia Conference shouldn’t be used for point scoring; if Russia doesn’t complain about India-US cooperation, then why complain about Pak-Russia cooperation

AMRITSAR: Russia on Sunday lauded Pakistan's stance at the Heart of Asia conference and said the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked.

Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar on Sunday, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan criticism on Pakistan and said that Sartaj Aziz's speech at the conference was friendly and constructive. He said it is wrong to criticise Pakistan.

The Russian envoy said that Afghanistan is the pivot of Heart of Asia conference and the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked. He said being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together.He said all parties involved in the war-torn country's reconstruction must work together and that the Heart of Asia was not the platform for India and Pakistan to score brownie points.

Downplaying Russia's military exercise with Pakistan held two months ago, Zamir Kabulov, who overseas Russia's engagement in Afghanistan, referred to India's increasing cooperation with the US.

“The HoA should not be used by India and Pakistan for scoring points,” he told reporters. He said bilateral issues should not cloud forums like the Heart of Asia.

Kabulov represented Russia in the Heart of Asia conference where he articulated Moscow's position on Afghanistan's transition. He said all the major players must extend all possible support to Afghanistan in its transition.

“India has close cooperation with the US, does Moscow complain? Then why complain about much lower level of cooperation with Pakistan,” he asked when referred to the Russia-Pakistan military exercise.

India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing projects worth $2 billion to help rebuild the country's infrastructure. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi says India will work to 'isolate' Pakistan internationally
AgenciesUpdated September 24, 2016 Facebook Count
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NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a speech on Saturday in the southern Indian town of Kozhikode, vowed that India will mount a global campaign to isolate Pakistan in the world.

“We will isolate you. I will work for that,” Modi said in his first speech after the attack on an Indian army base in India-held Kashmir last Sunday that killed 18 soldiers.

He said that in the last four months, Indian security forces have killed 110 terrorists who allegedly crossed over the cease-fire line in Kashmir from Pakistani territory.

“Terrorist attacks in Bangladesh and Afghanistan were also being instigated from Pakistan.” He also accused Pakistan of trying to destabilise Asia by exporting terrorism.

Riaz Haq said...

Over the past two years, Indian and pro-Indian commentators have argued that Pakistan is “diplomatically isolated.” This claim has less to do with reality and more to do with the fact that isolating Pakistan is an Indian foreign-policy goal.

In September 2016, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, referring to Pakistan, declared: “We will isolate you. I will work for that.” Within weeks, op-eds appeared asserting that Pakistan was diplomatically isolated. Declaring “mission accomplished” is, of course, the fastest path to “victory,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean that one actually has won.

In reality, Pakistan was never quite diplomatically isolated. And it certainly isn’t today. Bilateral relationships go through ups and downs, especially in the present topsy-turvy world order. With the breakdown of unipolarity, it’s actually quite hard to isolate a country. There are just too many options in this era of diplomatic free love.

For its part, Pakistan has been adept at pivoting between various regional centers of power, building relations with Russia, bolstering ties with China and Turkey, and developing partnerships with important regional players like Jordan and Qatar. Pakistan’s move toward diversification in a post–American world order is reflected in its military hardware acquisitions (and, to a lesser extent, sales) and in its diplomatic ties.

Since the downturn in U.S.-Pakistan relations in 2011, Islamabad has actively sought to diversify its foreign partnerships. Perhaps the most successful of these ventures has been Islamabad’s relationship with Moscow, a historical ally of rival New Delhi. As the United States progressively closed space for military aid to Pakistan, Russia lifted a ban on military sales to Pakistan, enabling the sale of attack helicopters. Sales of additional advanced hardware could be on the horizon. The policies of both countries toward Afghanistan have also converged.

The visit last week of a ministerial-level Pakistani delegation to Moscow—including Pakistan army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and a representative from Pakistan’s space program—roughly coincided with the departure of a delegation from Saint Petersburg from Pakistan, where multi-sector economic cooperation was discussed. Sanctions on Russia have slowed energy sector cooperation, but defense and diplomatic cooperation has steadily grown, including joint military exercises. Russia has recognized Pakistan as a “geostrategically important country.” These are important words for Islamabad to hear after being treated as a mix of a failed state and war on terror subcontractor by Washington.

From ‘Yes, but . . .’ to ‘No, but . . .’

For much of the post–9/11-era, the U.S.-Pakistan dynamic has involved American officials telling Islamabad that it must “do more” to combat terrorist networks and their Pakistani counterparts replying with something to the effect of: “Yes, but . . .” U.S. officials came to see the qualified “yes” as a reflection of Pakistani confusion or duplicity. But the lack of clarity was at least in part the byproduct of asymmetry. Pakistan was responding to the United States from a position of weakness and had little strength to provide a downright refusal. Multipolarity has not only empowered Pakistan to say “no” to more powerful countries, it’s also enabled it to publicly articulate and adhere to a more clear and consistent foreign policy.

Riaz Haq said...

Karan Thapar broke the cardinal rule of journalism and is too entitled to admit it

Now that he has done it, the only way for Thapar to redeem his lost prestige is by apologising to those he has wronged.

I don’t know Karan Thapar that well to understand why he did what he has done: break the cardinal rule that every young journalist is taught, which is to never disclose a source, whatever be the price.

If access, or the lack of access, could define a journalist, a majority of the journalists in India today would be out of their cushy jobs. Access, especially in these times, gets one only plants or the news that the government wants to be published.

Give me one instance of an anti-government story that a minister in the current government will give a journalist. Yes, the fact that the Narendra Modi government has constructed ‘x’ number of toilets is a story. But, the bigger story is how many of these toilets remain un-operational due to the absence of water or electricity. The second story is what every journalist should be looking for and that is where their sources could point them in the right direction.

Journalism, for Thapar, seems to be all about getting the interview. He revealed his source, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, who Thapar says, told him things in confidence. Patra asked him if he “could keep a secret” and Thapar “gave him the necessary assurance”. Thapar also outed politician and former diplomat Pavan K. Varma, who had told him something (I presume) in confidence.

Pavan K. Varma has denied having had any conversation on the issue with Thapar.

Pavan K. Varma

Surprised to see Karan Thapar quoting me, and citing Prashant Kishor, in his book ‘The Devil’s Advocate’. Such a conversation with me did not take place as Karan recalls it, nor has Prashant ever spoken to me about Karan. The record must be set straight.

3:50 AM - Jul 21, 2018
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Thapar appears churlish. It is simply not done.

Now that he has done it, the only way for him to redeem his lost prestige is by apologising to those he has wronged. Even if they pardon him, fans like me, who have watched him grill his guests in his excellent Cambridge English, may not.

As a young reporter with Hindustan Times, I got embroiled in a contempt of court case when the Punjab and Haryana high court judges asked me (through my lawyer) on at least two occasions who my source was.

I refused point-blank, a decision that was backed unequivocally by my editor Kanwar Sandhu as well as the HT proprietor Shobhana Bhartia. I got away even though I refused to apologise unconditionally asserting that I had not done anything wrong. But for over two years, it proved to be a difficult period for me. It was made worse because my counsel told me to stay away from the high court – my beat – till the pendency of the case.

But, never once did the thought of giving away my source arise in my mind.

It is not the government’s job – be it a BJP-led government or a Congress-led government – to give scoops to journalists. We have to make our own rounds, cultivate sources, get information, cross-check the same and then, if there is a report worth writing, write it. Even after all this rigour, the editor may not see merit in the report and choose not to publish it.

When Thapar bemoans the loss of access (BJP ministers and spokespersons refusing to appear on his show) and also offers to apologise to Prime Minister Narendra Modi “if I [Thapar] had unwittingly done something to upset” him, he shows that he is, after all, just a wonderful interviewer.

Riaz Haq said...

45 nations, including the #UnitedStates, #Britain, #China, #Russia and #Japan, attend 5-day #naval exercise #AMAN19 in #Pakistan #FoxNews

More than 40 countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, Turkey, Japan, Russia, UK and US will take part in the 6th exercise of the naval series held every two years.

“Aman 2019 exercise with the resolve of ‘Unity for Peace’ aims at boosting the joint operational capabilities of the participating countries’ naval forces for peace and stability in the region,” according to a Pakistan Navy (PN) spokesperson. The international naval exercise is also a “manifestation of Pakistan’s commitment in promoting peace and stability in the region through harmony and collaboration.”

The idea behind exercise Aman (Urdu word for ‘peace’), which started in 2007, is to identify areas of common interest for participating countries and a shared understanding of maritime security operations, counter terrorism operations as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

The exercise, to be followed by an international maritime conference, aims to safeguard and promote regional peace, display united resolve against maritime terrorism and crimes as well as enhancing readiness and interoperability between allies.

Riaz Haq said...

In blow to #India, #EU agrees #strategic plan with #Pakistan. #EuropeanUnion foreign policy chief : “Our cooperation is very important for both parties....Pakistan-EU #trade has doubled over recent years thanks to the preferential access agreement.”

While India is making desperate efforts to seek Pakistan’s global isolation, the European Union (EU) has finalised a new ‘strategic engagement plan’ with Islamabad, laying the foundation for deepening trade and other ties.

The announcement was made on Monday at a joint news conference by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the visiting the EU Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The agreement was finalised after the fourth round of strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the EU. The visiting delegation was led by Mogherini while Qureshi led Pakistan’s negotiating team.

The development is seen as yet another blow to Indian attempts seeking Pakistan’s global isolation in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama attack on Indian troops in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

“Today, I would like to announce that Pakistan and the EU have agreed on a new strategic engagement plan. This immense achievement comes after some tedious negotiations and, once further due process is completed, I will be heading Brussels to sign the agreement,” Qureshi announced.

The EU foreign policy chief said the new strategic engagement plan would lay the foundation for further deepening ties between Pakistan and the 27-nation strong economic bloc.

A joint statement issued said the EU side welcomed the priorities of the Pakistani government, focusing on poverty alleviation, investment in human capital, good governance and the rule of law.

The Pakistan side invited the EU side to take benefit of the improved security situation as an opportunity to enhance trade and investment, and people to people contact, including tourism.

Both the sides expressed a strong political commitment towards the mutually beneficial GSP Plus preferential trade regime provided by the EU and to utilise it to its full potential.

Federica Mogherini said Pakistan’s exports to the EU member states had been doubled since 2013 thanks to the GSP plus status is given to Islamabad. She hailed Pakistan’s progress towards democratic stability and the reforms agenda of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government.

“We had very fruitful negotiations on a variety of topics. Our cooperation is very important for both parties, as evident by the fact that Pakistan-EU trade has doubled over recent years thanks to the preferential access agreement,” said Mogherini.

However, she noted that the GSP plus status is linked to Pakistan implementing certain international conventions on human rights, freedom of expression, women rights and other issues.

The two sides reaffirmed their resolve for the promotion and protection of human rights and shared their perspectives on issues related to freedom of religion or belief and the role of civil society. Pakistan and the EU agreed on the importance of further promoting inter-faith harmony.

Riaz Haq said...

S SEPE 0 1 1994.
A thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army
Command and General Staff College in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the
M.Sc., Defence Studies, Madras University, 1988

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

India's neighbors compel
them to view India as being a common foe. Pakistan which is
the only country in the region which can, to some extent,
challenge Indian hegemony, has greatly benefitted by such
perceptions of other countries. Due to the Kashmir issue,
Pakistan has viewed India as an enemy country right from the
time of partition in 1947 when they fought their first war
over Kashmir. Pakistan's claim to Kashmir is based on the
religion. Islam, a rallying point for separate statehood
for Indian Muslims during the British days, continues to be
the essential element of Pakistan's foreign policy
formulation. Therefore, the fear of militarily and
industrially powerful India representing potential Hindu
domination has remained the essence of Pakistan's South
Asian outlook. Consequently, the defence policy of Pakistan
has revolved around the central theme of containing Indian
attempts to achieve regional hegemony


No Hegemon Anymore
The unified South Asian nation would also put an end
to the present problem of India trying to acquire the status
of a hegemon among the other smaller South Asian countries.
The problem of Indian hegemony is such that it can not be
resolved easily under the present political division of
South Asia. Presently, to end this problem, it requires,
that either India become extremely strong compared to her
neighbors, so that they start acknowledging India's hegemon
status or some other state, most probably, Pakistan becoming
equally strong as India. However, there is not even a
remote possibility of either of the above occurring in a
foreseeable future. Compared to its neighbors, India's
elements of national power are much greater and it would be
extremely difficult for Pakistan to acquire status equal to
that of India.
On the other hand, despite her strong elements of
national power, India is still ridden with too many problems
to achieve an absolute hegemony in the region. In any case
such an absolute hegemony may be impossible to achieve
because of the international politics such as aid to
Pakistan from the Islamic countries, China or the USA. In
an unified South Asian nation, the people would be able to
identify themselves with the nation, more intensely, due to
its strength and size. There would not be any compulsions,
like the present, for the smaller nations to gang up to
counter the hegemonic tendencies of the big neighbor, India,
as there would be just one unified nation, of which they and
India would be parts of