Saturday, July 8, 2017

Modi in Israel and G20; North Korean ICBM; Panama JIT

What were the objectives of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visits to US, Israel and his attendance of G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany? Is it all about India's quest for more and better weapons from the US and Israel to "bolster Indian military against arch-rival Pakistan" as CNN reported it? Is it part of his campaign to slander and isolate Pakistan? Why is Modi so obsessed with Pakistan? Is it his Hindu Nationalist mindset that drives his Islamophobia and Pakistan phobia?

What is the significance of North Korea's ICBM test demonstrating Kim Jong Un's potential ability to hit US mainland? Is the Korean peninsula the most dangerous flashpoint in the world today? Is this where the United States and China are destined war that Harvard professor and author Graham Allison has written about in his book "Destined For War"?

Why are the PMLN leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, fiercely attacking the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) appointed by the Pakistan Supreme Court to investigate allegations of corruption against the ruling Sharif family? Are the JIT proceedings going badly for them? Is there a conspiracy against the PMLN party as they claim? If so, who are the conspirators? the judiciary? the military? the ISI? Are the PMLN leaders preparing the ground to claim victimhood for political advantage in the next elections?

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler and Support Israel

"Destined For War" by Graham Allison

Massive Show of Support For Muslims in Silicon Valley

Trump, Modi and Islamophobia

Panama Leaks: Did Musharraf Steal Pakistani People's Money?

How Strategic Are China-Pakistan Ties?

Trump Cracks Down on H1B Visas

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan? 

Kulbhushan Jadhav's 2nd Confession Video

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

'3rd country' Army could enter #India Occupied #Kashmir on behalf of #Pakistan: #China ThinkTank via The Economic Times

"Indian troops invaded China's Doklam area in the name of helping Bhutan, but in fact the invasion was intended to help India by making use of Bhutan," it said, referring to the June 30 statement issued by India's External Affairs Ministry.

"under India's logic, if the Pakistani government requests, a third country's Army can enter the area disputed by India and Pakistan, including India-controlled Kashmir"

Chand said...

"under India's logic, if the Pakistani government requests, a third country's Army can enter the area disputed by India and Pakistan, including India-controlled Kashmir" - RH

Okay. Just try and see what happens!

Riaz Haq said...

Chand: "Okay. Just try and see what happens!"

It's a warning from a Chinese official think tank that all bets are off if India continues to provoke China in Bhutan.

As to Kashmir, where's the evidence that they want to stay with India?

What Pakistan wished in Kashmir in 1965 has finally happened. Kashmiris are fighting Indian occupation and tying down 700,000 Indian soldiers

Chand said...

Dream on Sir! You can spin and twist news and events but Jammu & Kashmir will ALWAYS be Indian.

But keep fighting Sir, and you may just lose Balochistan like you did East Pakistan. Good luck

Riaz Haq said...

Chand: " you may just lose Balochistan like you did East Pakistan."

I know what you are wishing. However, unlike the intensifying insurgency in Kashmir, the Baloch insurgency is dying in spite of India's best efforts.

It's a fact that has recently been described in some detail by Malik Siraj Akbar who is sympathetic to the Baloch separatist cause. Here's what Akbar wrote in December 2014 in a piece titled "The End of Pakistan's Baloch Insurgency?":

"Since its beginning in 2004, the Pakistan's Baloch insurgency is caught up in the worst infighting ever known to the general public. Different left-wing underground armed groups that had been fighting Islamabad for a free Baloch homeland have now started to attack each other's camps......Frustration, suspicion, infighting and division are the common features of the end of a guerrilla fight. Perhaps that time has come in Balochistan. "

Riaz Haq said...

Why #India Should Worry More About #China Than #Pakistan But #Modi Obsessed with Pak #Islamophobia #Hindutva #Doklam

Ask most security analysts, political observers, international relations experts or even your average layperson on the street, and they'd say India's biggest security threat is Pakistan. After all we've shared a long and fraught history since Partition, fought four wars with them and endured terror attacks emanating from their soil. Unsurprisingly, much of Indian foreign policy and defence strategy has been oriented vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Unfortunately, India's preoccupation with Pakistan could cost us since it has meant we have neglected other hostile neighbours, particularly China. The result is events such as the ongoing Sino-India border standoff, in which China has been calling for the independence of Sikkim. Another negative fallout is that the India-Pakistan conflict has literally hyphenated the two nations, bringing them on the same level as one another.

Our policymakers have not seen China as India's "peer" (unlike Pakistan). Thus, India hasn't really tried to balance out China even in South Asia.
Now, both these factors have clear disadvantages for India. Firstly, the "internationalisation" of the Indo-Pak conflict has put the two states as "equal players" on many international forums, almost to the extent where analysts of global politics take the names of these two countries in same breath. Despite being a smaller state than India, in almost every aspect, Pakistan has had the audacity to look India eye to eye. Much of this owes to the fact that India has traditionally punched "below its weight" while Pakistan has done the opposite.

The second problem is much bigger. Because India has been so engrossed in dealing with Pakistan, China's growing power goes "unchecked". There is a deeper problem behind this—our policymakers have not seen China as India's "peer" (unlike Pakistan). Thus, India hasn't really tried to balance out China even in South Asia. That is evident in the fact that China has much deeper economic ties with most of India's immediate neighbours than India does.


Indian policymakers need to also understand the fact China and Pakistan are all-weather friends. This complicates matters considerably. Yes, India does have international allies but how much can they be relied on? In 1962, when the Indo-China war happened, the then Soviet Union didn't come in support of India openly against China, despite being India's all-weather friend then.

Surely, the India of today is a much bigger power than the India of 1962. India's capabilities have increased but so have China's. India is a nuclear power state now but again, so is China. It's high time India develops home-grown defence technologies to reduce the fiscal burden of imports.

To sum up, the time has come to re-orient our defence policies. Pak-centric policies won't do much good to India in the longer run. Once India engages to maintain balance of power vis-à-vis China, it would emerge as a much stronger power than it is today. Such a feat will take time and patience but if India succeeds, its influence will grow both in its immediate as well as extended neighbourhood. It will also stymie China's march towards becoming a regional hegemon.

Riaz Haq said...

#PanamaJIT on #Pakistan PM finds huge 'disparity' between #Sharifs declared assets & lifestyles. ABC News via @ABC

An official investigation into corruption allegations against Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family has found a "significant disparity" between their declared wealth and known sources of income.

Sharif, who has previously denied allegations of abusing his authority to enrich himself, has been under pressure since documents leaked in 2016 from a Panama-based law firm disclosed that his family had offshore accounts.

Sharif and members of his family have appeared before a team appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate their offshore companies. Sharif has faced corruption allegations since coming to power in parliamentary elections in 2013.

"There exists a significant disparity between the wealth declared by the respondents and the means through which the respondents had generated income from known or declared sources," the report said, according to a partial copy released to reporters.

At one point the report refers to the "irregular movement" of cash gifts and loans from companies based in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Britain to Sharif, his son and companies linked to them.

The report suggests that the courts pursue action based on a 1999 accountability law intended to help stamp out corruption. But the final decision rests with the Supreme Court, which will take up the case next Monday.

A minister from Sharif's ruling party dismissed the report, saying its findings were "unsubstantiated."

"The report contains no substance of corruption, tax fraud or any wrongdoing," said Ahsan Iqbal, the minister for planning and development.

Talal Chaudhry, a party spokesman, denounced the probe as part of a "conspiracy" aimed at removing the premier from office.

The opposition seized on the allegations, however, with cricket legend-turned-opposition leader Imran Khan calling on Sharif to "immediately step down."

The Supreme Court meanwhile put Pakistan's leading Jang newspaper group on notice for publishing a front-page story Monday suggesting it was based on content from the report, which had not been made public when the story came out.

The head of the investigation team told judges the paper's report was false, according to several lawyers who were present at Monday's court session. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Riaz Haq said...

JIT recommends filing of reference against PM Nawaz, daughter and sons with NAB

"Significant gap/disparity among the known and declared sources of income and the wealth accumulated by the Respondent No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 have been observed," said the investigation team in its closing remarks.

In the report, Respondent 1 refers to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Respondent 6 refers to Maryam Nawaz, Respondent 7 refers to Hussain Nawaz and Respondent 8 to Hasan Nawaz.

“The financial structure and health of the companies in Pakistan having linkages to the Respondents also do not substantiate the wealth of Respondents,” added the document.

"Moreover, irregular movement of huge amounts in shape of loans and gifts from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-based company (Hill Metals Establishment), United Kingdom based companies (Flagship Investments Limited and others) and United Arab Emirates based Company (Capital FZE) to Respondent No. 1, Respondent No. 7 and Pakistan based companies of Respondent No. 1 and family have been highlighted."

"The role of off-shore companies is critically important as several offshore companies [companies mentioned by name] have been identified to be linked with their businesses in UK while conducting this investigation. These companies were mainly used for inflow of funds into UK based companies; which not only acquired expensive properties in UK from such funds but also revolve these funds amongst their companies of UK, KSA, UAE and Pakistan."

"In addition to the companies, Respondent No. 1 and 7 have been found to be recipients of these funds movement into Pakistan as gifts/loans whose purpose/reason have not justified by them before the JIT. Needless to say, these UK companies were loss-making entities with heavily engaged in revolving of funds vis-a-vis creating a smoke screen that the expensive properties of UK were due to the business operations of these UK companies," added the closing remarks.

The investigative team refers to Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 in its report, which states - "A holder of public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices [....] if he or any of his dependents or benamidars owns and possesses or has acquired right or title to any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of assets beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income...."

"In any trial of an offence punishable under clause (v) of sub-section (a) of Section 9 of this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person on his behalf, is in possession for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets and pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his conviction therefore shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption," states Section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, which was also brought forth by the report.

Riaz Haq said...

#US #Navy carrier group leads biggest yet drills with #India, #Japan off #Malabar #China #Pakistan via @Reuters

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group began naval exercises with India and Japan on Monday that the U.S. navy said would help the three countries tackle maritime threats in the Asia-Pacific region.

The annual exercises named Malabar are being held off India. They are the largest since India and the United States launched the exercise in 1992. Japan was later included.

"Malabar 2017 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific," the U.S. Pacific command said.

Military officials say the drills involving the U.S. carrier USS Nimitz, India's lone carrier Vikramaditya and Japan's biggest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo, are aimed at helping to maintain a balance of power in the Asia-Pacific against the rising weight of China.

The three countries have been concerned about China's claims to almost all of the waters of the South China Sea, and more broadly, its expanding military presence across the region.

Chinese submarines, for example, recently docked in Sri Lanka, an island just off the southern tip of India that it has long seen as squarely in its back yard.

The maritime drills are taking place as India and China are locked in a standoff on their land border in the Himalayas.

The U.S. Pacific command said in a statement the exercises would help the three countries operate together and it was learning how to integrate with the Indian navy.

India and the United States were for decades on opposite sides of a Cold War divide but have in recent years become major defense partners.

China has in the past criticized the exercises as destabilizing to the region.

India this year turned down an Australian request to join the exercises for now, for fear that would antagonize China further.

The Indian navy said the exercises would focus on aircraft carrier operations and ways to hunt submarines.

The navy has spotted more than a dozen Chinese military vessels including submarines in the Indian Ocean over the past two months, media reported days ahead of Malabar.

"Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomizes the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies," India's defense ministry said in a statement.

The border stand-off on a plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim, which borders China, has ratcheted up tension between the neighboring giants, who share a 3,500 km (2,175 miles) frontier, large parts of which are disputed.

Riaz Haq said...

#American #Military trains with #Japan and #India, while #China courts #Pakistan

The U.S. has begun a series of what has been described as the most complex war games with Asian allies India and Japan. All three are engaged in regional power struggles with rival nations.

The maritime drills, known this year as "Malabar 2017," kicked off Monday in India's Chennai and the Bay of Bengal, and mark the first time the three forces have deployed carriers to participate in regional military maneuvers. In addition to focusing on anti-submarine warfare, the U.S., India and Japan will engage in training on land involving "professional and expert exchanges" in various types of warfare and special operations. This is the second year that Japan officially joins the annual exercises, which come amid growing tensions between India and China, the latter of which has also challenged the interests of the U.S. and Japan in the Asia-Pacific and grown closer to India's greatest foe, Pakistan, an estranged U.S. ally. The Navy said the trilateral drills would strengthen naval bonds between the U.S., India and Japan.

"Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. Each iteration of this exercise helps to advance the level of understanding between our Sailors, and we hope to be able to continue this process over time," the Navy said in a statement.

"As members of Indo-Asia-Pacific nations, our maritime forces are natural partners, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our bonds and personal relationships."


In the past week, Pakistan tested an advanced version of its nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Nasr missile and China held live-fire drills near the area where it accuses India of committing a historic breach of sovereignty. Pakistan, once a staunch ally of the U.S., has found itself drifting closer to China, which provides it with arms and has agreed to make it a key part of Beijing's ongoing efforts to revitalize historic trade routes across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan PM faces pressure after damning corruption probe report

In their report, which has been leaked to media, the team alleges Sharif's family accumulated wealth far above its earnings, and says his children, including heir-apparent Maryam Sharif, signed falsified documents designed to mask the truth.

Opposition leader Imran Khan said Sharif had "lost all moral authority" and must resign immediately.

But Sharif's allies dismissed all the allegations against him and the report.

"It's trash," said Defence Minister Asif Khawaja, adding that the report was "full of flaws".

Sharif, the son of an industrialist, has denied wrongdoing and said his family's wealth was acquired legally.

In April, the Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to remove Sharif from office - by a split 2-3 verdict - but it ordered further investigations, which the JIT was set up to carry out.

Sharif's daughter Maryam was not available for comment but she also dismissed the report in a post on Twitter.

"JIT report REJECTED. Every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated in SC," she wrote, referring to the Supreme Court.

The investigation has spooked investors in Pakistan's equity market, with the benchmark index in retreat since June over fears Sharif's removal would plunge Pakistan back into chaos after years of relative stability.

The index opened sharply lower on Tuesday and fell 4.65 percent by the close to end at 44,120.58.

"After this JIT report, the prime minister’s position has weakened and becomes unpredictable. He may have to leave," Talat Masood, a political analyst, told Reuters.


Pakistan has for decades been plagued by rivalry between the military and civilian politicians and by pervasive graft.

Sharif was originally nurtured by the military and served as prime minister twice in the 1990s before he himself was ousted in a 1999 coup leading to a decade of exile.

He won a third term as prime minister in a 2013 election. Since then, periods of tension between him and the powerful military have led to questions about his prospects.

His brother, Shabaz Sharif, is chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and economically and politically most important province.

The team in its 254-page report alleges the family's businesses alone are not enough to explain its wealth, which includes upscale London flats.

The team recommended the anti-corruption National Accountancy Bureau (NAB) file a case against Sharif, according to a copy of the report seen by Reuters, as well as reporting by Dawn newspaper and other media.

That would likely undermine investor confidence even more.

"The market has taken the suggestions of an NAB investigation and the overall JIT report as a negative," said Saad Hashmey, research director at brokerage Topline Securities.

"We expect volatility," he said.

The Supreme Court will decide how to proceed and whether to call for a trial.

Sharif's term expires in June 2018 and elections are expected two months later. If he were forced to step down, his ruling PML-N party can appoint a new prime minister until the elections.

The JIT team is made up of civilians and members of military agencies, including the military's main Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Riaz Haq said...

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar: Only a miracle can save PM #Sharif in #PanamaCase. #Pakistan

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan invited ire of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he told his boss that only a miracle could save him, in an obvious reference to the situation that has arisen after the Joint Investigation Team submitted its report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

According to the inside story of the cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister, the Chaudhry from Chakri expressed his reservations over the way the ruling party handled the situation.

The embattled prime minister didn't approve of Nisar's nonchalant attitude and told him that he could have expressed his views in a private meeting.

According to Geo News, the minister said he was a man who would speak his mind instead of holding back. The minister recalled that he was affiliated with Sharif since 1985 and still stood by him.

He was of the view that the legal team of the government mishandled the situation, and also criticised the speeches that the government's representatives had been making during the proceedings of the Joint Investigation Team.

The minister said the government should find a middle ground and must avoid confrontation with state institutions. He said there was nothing he could do for the prime minister but pray.

The channel reported that Nisar Ali Khan left before the meeting was concluded.The minister did not attend the meeting of PMLN's parliamentary party that was also presided over by Sharif.

However, a statement issued by the Interior Ministry, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has dispelled the notion that he had developed differences with his party leadership.

During the meeting, the premier reiterated his resolve not to step down from office , saying he would continue to fight for the people of Pakistan "till the end".

Nawaz Sharif said he had done nothing wrong and his conscience was clear.

Riaz Haq said...

The absurd myth of an ‘unprovoked Chinese aggression’ in 1962 has fermented in India a persistent longing for revenge

15 JUL 2017

With India and China interacting over more than 3,000km of undefined frontier, friction is constant and that one day it would break back into border war has seemed inevitable. Two great Indian delusions have created this situation.

China, India border dispute bubbles over once more, but no one is quite sure why

The lesser of these was the outright falsehood spun in the shock of immediate and utter Indian defeat in 1962’s Round One border war with China, when, after the hesitant launch of an Indian offensive to drive the Chinese out of India-claimed territory on the Chinese side of the McMahon Line, the pre-emptive Chinese counter-attack had in little more than a month crushed the Indian Army. It enabled the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to vacate all the territory it had occupied with nothing more than the minatory – and humiliating – warning to India, “don’t challenge us again”.

The absurd myth of an “unprovoked Chinese aggression” which had taken India by surprise was promulgated to resurrect the broken image of “Pandit” Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister personally and pre-eminently responsible for the national disaster. Although long ago exposed and belied internationally, in India the myth has fermented in high military as well as political circles a longing for revenge.

Neville Maxwell discloses document revealing that India provoked China into 1962 border war

The underlying and greater delusion is that India’s geographical limits are set by millennial historical forces. The process of boundary formation established and required by the international community (negotiation to achieve agreement on border alignment and cooperation to demarcate the agreed alignment on the ground) thus becomes otiose for the Indian republic. India, having “discovered” the alignment of its borders through historical research, need only display them on its official maps and those would become defined international boundaries “not open to discussion with anybody”, as Nehru put it in a notorious order in 1954.

Neville Maxwell interview: the full transcript

The Sino-Indian interface along the undefined and contested frontier is consequently and constantly a source of international friction, waiting only for incidental sparks to set off martial conflagration.

Border war was narrowly averted in 1987 when a belligerent Indian Army commander, General Krishnaswamy Sundarj, having been foiled in his plan to render Pakistan a “broken-back state”, turned his attention to the China border. He massively reinforced positions there and in deliberate provocation pushed numerous posts across the established McMahon line of actual control. China reacted with matching troop concentrations and air force inductions, and warned India to desist from its aggressions, which, in the late summer of 1987, it did, probably under US pressure.


The Indian attempt to depict this confrontation as tripartite should be disregarded. Bhutan is not an independent actor, is rather an Indian glove-puppet. A brigade group of the Indian Army, permanently stationed in Bhutan and now reinforced, is an ever-present reminder to Bhutan’s ruling group of what happened to Sikkim when its ruler aspired to independence – speedy annexation.

Thus this still petty armed confrontation has a real and potentially enormous explosive potential – Round Two of Sino-Indian war. The way out, and ahead, lies where it always has been, in the opening of comprehensive, unconditional Sino-Indian boundary negotiation. What bars the way is the requirement of Indian policy reversal, which in the current bellicose mood and twisted popular sense of injury in India would require heroic bravery of leadership.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #Modi's foreign policy is in dangerous drift. #Kashmir #China #Muslims …

India will surely reject – if South Block has not done it already – the resolution passed by the Organization of Islamic Conference’s Council of Foreign Ministers on July 11 regarding the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. India’s consistent position is that it rejects such third-party role – except by the United States very selectively on a few occasions.

The OIC resolution as such isn’t unusual. Pakistan obviously mooted such a resolution, estimating its likely resonance against the backdrop of the grave situation prevailing in J&K. It is a calculated move, given the Trump administration’s inclination toward taking a “regional approach” to resolve the Afghan problem. At a minimum, the Pakistani move is intended to put pressure on India. The OIC, after all, comprises 57 member countries (56 whom also happen to be member states of the United Nations.)

However, what is extraordinary is the reaction by China to the OIC resolution. The Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Beijing on July 12: “We have noted relevant reports. The situation of Kashmir has drawn the attention of the international community. Both Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia. The conflict between the two countries along the Line of Control in Kashmir is neither conducive to their own stability and development nor regional peace and tranquility. China hopes relevant parties to do more to help with regional peace and stability and refrain from escalating the tension. China stands ready to play a constructive role to improve the relations between Pakistan and India.”

No doubt, it is a carefully-worded statement – and it is a poignant fact that Beijing has articulated on the above lines against the backdrop of the month-long military standoff on Sikkim border. The Chinese statement shows a marked shift from its traditional stance (in the post-Cold War era) on Kashmir issue and India-Pakistan relations.


The Chinese stance is strikingly similar to the United States’ but considering that China-Pakistan relationship is extremely close and mutually supportive, it is undoubtedly weighed against India. Wouldn’t China know India’s allergy toward third party mediation? Of course, it does.

To be sure, Beijing has strongly hinted that things are moving in a dangerous direction, which in turn underscores the futility of leaving the Kashmir issue to be sorted out bilaterally between India and Pakistan. Indeed, it must be factored in that China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is in a position to kickstart consultations in New York.

It will be foolhardy to overlook that this stunning shift in China’s stance comes as the culmination of the severely damaged India-China relationship during the three year period under the present government. Read my opinion piece in Strategic Culture Foundation titled India-China Standoff Sets Precedents in Regional Security.)

The birds have come to roost, finally. India’s core interests have come under challenge. The most consequential template of India’s foreign policies is breaking loose right in front of our eyes and is beginning to drift away in a perilous direction over which we may have no control.