Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mardan Lynching; Jadhav Death Sentence; Trump's Early Crises

Why was Mashaal Khan, an Abdul Wali Khan University student, killed by a mob of his fellow students in Mardan? What does this lynching incident say about Pakistani state and society? Is it a failure of the state? Or is it a symptom of a larger societal problem in the country? Do extreme right-wing politicians, media, judges and bureaucrats share responsibility for this ongoing madness of vigilante justice in cases of alleged blasphemy? What can and must be done to stop this alarming slide into total anarchy in the name of religion?

Who is Kulbhushan Yadav (aka Kulbhushan Jadhav or Husain Mubarak Patel)? How did he end up in Balochistan? What was he doing there? Is he a mere spy collecting snd transmitting intelligence to his native India? or is he a covert Indian operative responsible for the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Pakistanis? Why has he been sentenced to death after a field court martial trial in Pakistan? Is Pakistan sending a strong message as a deterrent to further Indian actions to sabotage the strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)? How will it affect future India-Pakistan ties?

How is President Donald Trump dealing with Syrian and North Korean crises so early in his presidency? Are the crises changing Mr. Trump? Is he abandoning his isolationist/protectionist rhetoric to deal with the realities of governing? What message did Mr. Trump send by dropping the massive MOAB, the mother of all bombs, in Afghanistan soon after cruise missile strikes in Syria? How will this message be heard in world capitals, particularly in Pyongyang and Teheran who are believed to have weapons development programs operating in underground bunkers?

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Kulbhushan Yadav: Can ISPR Compete Against India's Spin Machine?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

US Missile Strikes in Syria

Does the US Share Responsibility For the Rise of ISIS?

Impact of Trump Appointment on US Domestic and Foreign Policy

Iran-Saudi Conflict

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

3 Options For India In Saving Kulbhushan Jadhav by Mani Shankar Aiyar

We have already spread the word around the world about how Pakistan is a global terrorism sponsor, how there is a "Deep State" in Pakistan that is unrestrained in the nefarious work it does, that the formal government is complicit in all this underhand activity, that it is not the government but the army and intelligence that determine Pakistan policy, that the whole world is threatened by this "failed state", that a peculiarly barbarous version of Islamization is Pakistan's motivating ideology, and that it is, therefore, incumbent on the international community to isolate Pakistan and, Inshallah, promote such regime change as would make Pakistan a fount of sweet good sense.

The world has politely listened. And gone about its own business. They have other interests that go back to the last phase of the twin movements for Independence and Partition. The British establishment believed their crowning achievement to have been the unification of a congeries of disparities into a single nation; the British defence authorities were, however, much more concerned with the military opportunities that a divided sub-continent would offer British global interests. They argued that British geo-political hegemony in the region stretching from Afghanistan through Iran to the Gulf to Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Israel crucially depended on granting Pakistan a separate state because that state would be happy to offer the West military facilities that Nehruvian India would doubtless deny them. The Defence view won out and Pakistan was granted. In the last 70 years, Pakistan has thwarted India and cocked its snook at us precisely because its geo-strategic position makes it vital for the West, and now, the Russian Federation, to cultivate our neighbour,

while China uses its vice-like grip on Pakistan to outwit India. It is unlikely that any of them will be moved by the brilliant forensic and persuasive diplomatic arguments of our Foreign Office to save Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (retd).

So, if neither unanimous domestic outrage in India nor the stern reach of international law nor the global outreach of our well-travelled Narendra Damodardas Modi can rescue Kulbhushan, is there no hope for him? Oddly enough, yes. For there are at least three options we have that might yet save the young, 46-year old former naval commander who has been under Pakistani incarceration since April 2016, that is, since about one whole year........ Our mission in Islamabad and our formidable bank of international law experts might perhaps be leveraged to see how our poor retired naval commander, who for a decade or more has been running an innocent business at Chahbahar and Bandar Abbas ports in Iran, might be rescued through top-class legal intervention. The excellent relations that both India and Pakistan enjoy with Iran make me inclined to believe that an outstanding Iranian law team, rather than an attempt to cobble together one in the British Inns of Court, might provide the answer.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Minister Ahsan Iqbal claims 3,600 MW #electricity will be added in May 2017 to cut #loadshedding #CPEC

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said some 3,600 megawatt (MW) electricity would be added to the national grid by next month, which would help reduce energy shortfall in the country.
Addressing a press conference here, he said total 10,000 MW electricity would be added to the grid by May 2018 bridging total gap in demand and supply.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had made record investment in the energy sector. Such investment had not been seen in the sector for the last 15 years and production of only 16,000 megawatt electricity was made possible during 66 years. After completion of projects, uninterrupted power supply would be available, which would start a new of era of development in industry, agriculture and services sectors, he added.
Responding to the criticism that the present government could not manage to overcome the energy crisis despite lapse of four years, the minister said energy projects took three to four years to complete. The projects initiated by the PML-N government were near completion and would soon start commercial operations, he added.
He said since the PML-N government came into power, the economic indicators were on the upward trajectory. “Economic growth has gone up to over 5 per cent in 2016 from 3.7 per cent in 2013, inflation rate has come down and industrial growth rate is improving,” he added.
He said the government was focusing on manufacturing high cost commodities instead of low cost ones, therefore, during last three years the export of former had increased.
To a question, he said though the public debt had increased, yet the debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio decreased to 60.5 per cent in December 2016 against 62.4 per cent in December 2015.
The minister said the opponents of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were trying to mislead the people that the project would increase the public debt and damage the local industry. In fact, it would help strengthen the country’s industrial sector, he added.
“Huge number of employment opportunities will be created for the local people as Chinese industries are being shifted to Pakistan,”, he said, adding that the Pakistani industry would also become more competitive.
He said due to the CPEC, Pakistan’s economy was now shifting from low cost agriculture industry to high value industrialization. Major development projects, which had been pending for decades, were now at the completion stage, he added.
He said the government had completed the long awaited N-85 connecting Quetta with Gwadar. It would construct over 1,000 kilometer roads across the Balochistan province, he added.
It was the current government that made the long awaited Diamir Bhasha Dam project a reality as its ground breaking was going to be held in a few months, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal rebutted an allegation levelled by scientist Dr Samar Mubarak against the government of fixing tariff rate of Rs 24 per unit of electricity produced from Thar Coal. The traiff was fixed at only Rs 8.5 per unit, he added.—APP

Riaz Haq said...

China-Pakistan economic corridor unacceptable to India: Shivshankar Menon

THE CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as it stands today, is not acceptable to India, Shivshankar Menon, a former National Security Adviser to the Government of India, said on Friday. “The sovereignty aspect of the CPEC, as proposed now, is unacceptable to us,” Menon said during a conference on The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): India’s perspectives on China’s ambitious plan. The former diplomat’s statement comes at a time when China has made a fresh attempt at inviting India’s interest in President Xi Jinping’s pet project, the BRI, of which CPEC is a part.
On March 4, Chinese diplomat Fu Ying asked India to reconsider its position on the BRI keeping in mind the “larger picture”. India has been wary of the CPEC as a part of it passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. “For India, there is an added contradiction that the CPEC passes through Indian territory under Pakistani occupation,” Menon said. By making “long-term financial investment in the initiative”, he said, China seems to “solidify and legitimise that occupation”, Menon said at the conference held in Mumbai by the Observer Research Foundation.
The conference was held to deliberate India’s position on the BRI ahead of China’s first international forum in May. Several economists, diplomats and mediapersons participated in panel discussions. While Menon acknowledged the economic benefits of the trans-continental initiative that connects 60 countries in Asia and Europe, he said that not all projects under the BRI were for economic justification, including the CPEC.
“Not all projects under the BRI are economically viable, which suggests that there is geo-strategic motivation involved,” he said, adding that most parts of the BRI passed through some of the “most insecure” regions. Menon, however, stressed that India would be more willing to join the BRI if it were more comfortable about the security in the regions concerned and the geopolitical context within which BRI is proposed.

Riaz Haq said...

Places of darkness: A “#Blasphemy killing” at a university shocks #Pakistan. #Mardan … via @TheEconomist

Allegations of blasphemy are often made by those with other grievances against the accused: the charge can be used as an excuse to knock off a business rival or someone who causes the accuser trouble. Three days before Mr Khan’s death, he had alleged that some members of the university’s staff were corrupt. Several of them, who have links with the Awami National Party, a secular Pushtun group which controls the university, have been arrested in connection with Mr Khan’s death.

The participation of so many students in Mr Khan’s murder is a sign of growing religious intolerance on campuses. Pakistan’s Islamist parties have been fanning the flames of it: since the assassination in 2011 of Salman Taseer, a governor of Punjab who had pushed for reform of blasphemy laws, support for the current ones appears only to have grown.

Student organisations sympathetic to the Islamists have taken up the cause. They often wield the threat of a blasphemy allegation in order to browbeat university departments into scrapping courses in music or comparative religion. A liberal lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University in the city of Multan was accused of blasphemy in 2013 by Islamist undergraduates; he remains in jail. His first lawyer was assassinated by unknown assailants.

Alarmingly, it took two days for the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to condemn Mr Khan’s murder. He has helped to stoke hysteria about blasphemy himself: a few weeks ago he ordered police to hunt for blasphemous content on social media. In the eyes of Huma Yusuf, a columnist, blasphemy-related violence is now a more intractable problem in Pakistan than terrorism. A campaign against militant groups has sharply reduced deaths from terrorism. But, as Ms Yusuf notes: “You can’t use the same tactics with the entire population.” What is needed is better teaching in schools, religious and secular alike, about the evils of vigilante justice; a government that is far quicker to condemn it; and, crucially, legal change. Bringing any of that about will be hard: cases like Mr Khan’s show all too clearly the perils involved.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex-Pakistan #Taliban Spokesman Ehsanullah Says #India, #Afghanistan Targeting #Pakistan via #terrorist proxies #TTP

A central leader and ex-spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has alleged Afghan security forces and their intelligence agency, NDS, together with the Indian spy agency are supporting cross-border terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

The militant leader in a video confessional statement released by the Pakistan Army, said he was also participating in anti-state activities from sanctuaries on the Afghan side of the border and surrendered himself "voluntarily" to Pakistan army.

There was no immediate reaction from the Afghan government and Indian officials to the allegation leveled by Ehsan against them, though both Kabul and New Delhi have previously denied Islamabad's allegations of funding terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil.

When Pakistani security forces unleashed counter-militancy operations in the border region of North Waziristan (in June, 2014), Ehsan said militants fled to neighboring Afghanistan where they established contacts with the Afghan intelligence agency, NDS (National Directorate of Security), and through them with operatives of the Indian spy agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

“They supported them (Pakistani Taliban), funded them, and even assigned possible targets [for attacks in Pakistan],” Eshan asserted, adding that anti-Pakistan militants have established their “special committees” in Afghanistan for maintaining contacts with the NDS.

He went on to allege that the Afghan spy agency also issued national identification cards, called ‘tazkira,’ to members of the Pakistani Taliban to facilitate their infiltration into Pakistan to undertake subversive activities in the country.

A Pakistan military spokesman announced last week that Ehsan surrendered himself to security forces but would not say where and how they got hold of the militant leader.

Pakistani officials have described his arrest/surrender as a major success in counter terrorism operations and hope information gleaned from Ehsan will help further degrade Pakistani Taliban's activities in the country.

Before surrendering to authorities, Ehsan was mainly acting as spokesman for the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Pakistan Taliban.

He claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for a number of deadly attacks in Pakistan, including an Easter suicide bombing of a crowded park in Lahore that killed killed at least 70 people, including Christians and Muslims.

It was not clear from the video whether Ehsan was speaking under duress.

The United States last year designated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar as a terrorist group for claiming responsibility for attacking a U.S. diplomatic mission in northwestern Pakistan.

#TTP's Ehsanullah Says #India & #Afghanistan Sponsor #Terrorism in #Pakistan via @YouTube