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...

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

Riaz Haq said...

#ICJ’s communication on #KulbhushanJadhav to #Pakistan: Is #India counting its chickens too early? #fakenews

In this case, the only action that has been reported in the media is that the president Judge Ronny Abraham of France has written to the Pakistani government on 9 May "calling upon" the Government of Pakistan "to act in such a way as will enable any order the court may make on this request to have its appropriate effects" pending the court’s decision on India’s request for the indication of provisional measures under Article 74, paragraph 4 of the Rules of the Court, 1978.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan captures #Taliban leader blamed for three bombings in #Balochistan. #CPEC #India #TTP via @ChannelNewsAsia

Pakistan has arrested a Taliban militant leader authorities describe as the "mastermind" behind three major attacks in Baluchistan, a spokesman for the government of the restive southwestern province said on Wednesday.
Militant and separatist violence has long riven Baluchistan, which has rich reserves of natural gas, copper and gold, and is at the heart of a US$57-billion Chinese-funded "Belt and Road" trade and development initiative.
Pakistan blames neighbours Afghanistan and India for fomenting an ethnic insurgency in the province, besides aiding the Pakistani Taliban, a movement separate from, but allied with, the Afghan Taliban aiming to topple the Afghan government.
The arrested man, Saeed Ahmed Badani, was among the planners of three attacks in 2016 that killed more than 180 people, the spokesman, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, told Reuters.
"He was involved with a team in all the attacks, but I can describe him as a mastermind, because he was the lynchpin in providing targets and facilitating suicide bombers," he said.

During interrogation, Badani confessed to receiving funding from Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies, the province's home minister, Safraz Bugti, told a news briefing on Tuesday.
The arrested militant leader had also encouraged an attack by a suicide bomber last year on a provincial hospital that killed at least 70 people, Kakar added.
"He encouraged and convinced the suicide bomber in the lawyers' attacks because he was his madrassa mate, he knew him since childhood," Kakar added, referring to a religious school the two attended.
A large portion of Baluchistan's small legal community was wiped out in the attack that targeted a hospital treating the president of the Baluchistan Bar Association after he was shot the same morning.


Riaz Haq said...

Chinese univ report on Pak economic corridor warns of India ‘creating trouble’
India’s strategic closeness with Afghanistan too is “destabilising” the border areas of Pakistan and creating problems for CPEC, the report contended.

India’s alleged support to separatist forces in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, its diplomatic offensive against Islamabad and involvement in Chabahar port of Iran are factors that could impact the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a report sanctioned by the Chinese government has said.

Referring to the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national who Pakistan says was apprehended in Baloshistan province, the report compiled by scholars from Renmin University said: “Apart from formally pressurising (Pakistan), India with friends and in secret supported the Balochistan separatist movement in an attempt to divert the limited military strength of Pakistan towards the western side.”

It added, “Kulbhushan Jadhav’s code name was monkey. The target of his activities are: Penetrate Balochistan National Party, deliberately increase the dispute within Pakistan on CPEC, being in contact with Balochistan separatist group and terrorist groups, aiding terror activities and providing combat training to traitor groups.”

Scholars from Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies and Caijing magazine put together the report after a two-week field trip to CPEC sites, including Gwadar port and Bin Qasim coal-fired power plant.

“India is most anxious about the construction of the CPEC and the opening and operation of the Gwadar port by China,” the report said.

“India thinks the CPEC and a strong Pakistan are huge threat to the security of India. Not only will the Chinese military forces come up on the north, east and west of India but also that Pakistan may completely cut off India from the channels to get oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf and central Asia,” the report in Chinese argued.

It claimed India was “buying” poor refugees from Afghanistan with money and training them in terror activities. “They are a huge threat to the internal stability of Pakistan,” it added.

The report also contended that India’s cooperation with Iran to develop Chabahar port was aimed at countering the CPEC.

“India’s policy in dealing with Pakistan is not just limited to being destructive on the face. At the end of May (last year), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Iran and it had an important outcome. India will undertake constructions worth $50 billion in the Chabahar port of Sistan-Balochistan province in southeast Iran,” it said.

The report argued that compared to Chabahar port, Gwadar would evolve into a better port as bigger ships will be able to dock there and because of natural mountainous protection from hurricanes.

“But Chabahar port is not without any merit. The infrastructure within Iran is far better than in Pakistan. It can easily connect to the water and electricity network of the country. It only needs investment and construction; then it can be easily connected to the transport network within Iran,” it said.