Saturday, July 27, 2019

Imran Khan's Historic Washington Rally: The Largest Ever For a Visiting Foreign Leader

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's rally drew nearly 30,000 Pakistani-Americans to Capital One Arena on Sunday, July 21, 2019. It was the largest ever public gathering of any diaspora to welcome a foreign visiting leader in the United States. Earlier record of 18,000 was set by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2014.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Addressing 30,000 Pakistani-Americans at Capital One Arena in Washington DC
Pakistani-Americans' Rally at Capital One Arena:

Coming a day prior to the prime minister's official meetings with President Donald Trump and the US Congressional leaders, the 30,000 cheering supporters at Capital One Arena boosted the confidence and the legitimacy of the Pakistani leader in the eyes of the US government leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It also put on full display the increasing numbers and the growing clout of the Pakistani-American in their adopted home.

Asians in America. Source: National Geographic

There are over half a million Pakistani-Americans and nearly 4 million Indian-Americans in the United States,  a ratio of one-to-eight. However, enthusiastic Pakistani-Americans managed to pull off a bigger rally for their leader than the Indian-Americans did for their Prime Minister back in 2018.
Prime Minister Imran Khan with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Imran Khan Meets President Trump:

On July 22, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly welcomed by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania who tweeted her pictures with visiting leader.  Prime Minister Imran Khan reminded the President that he has always believed that there is no military solution to Afghanistan. The only way to end America's longest war is through a political process involving negotiations with the Taliban.

Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and other Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Speaking with the media in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, President Trump said: "It's my honor to have the very popular and great athlete, the Prime Minister of Pakistan at White House". The President added that Pakistan was helping the US to "extricate" US troops from Afghanistan, through political negotiations.

President Trump offered to mediate in the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir. He said that he was making the offer after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that he "mediate or arbitrate" in the long running dispute between two South Asian neighbors."If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If I can do anything on that let me know."

Prime Minister Imran Khan with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill:

US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. She said US-Pakistan relations are "important" and thanked Pakistan for the "beautiful gift" of Pakistani Americans that she said the country had given to the US. She was joined by a large number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The United States House of Representatives passed resolution H. RES 506 "welcoming the inaugural visit to the United States of the 22d Prime Minister of Pakistan and continuing support and commitment to the long and enduring friendship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".

The House Resolution acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

PM Imran Khan Signing "Dil Dil Pakistan" Cricket Bat For Congressman Swalwell

Many congressmen with large numbers of Pakistani-American voters were particularly eager to have their pictures taken with Prime Minister Imran Khan. San Francisco Bay Area Rep Eric Swalwell tweeted: "Representing one of the largest Pakistani-American congressional districts in the country, it was an honor to welcome #Pakistan PM @ImranKhanPTI to #America. A former cricket star, he was kind enough to sign a bat I bought in #Islamabad."

Silicon Valley Rep Ro Khanna and Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Another Congressman, Rep Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley, tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Imran Khan at USIP:

Prime Minister Imran Khan was a guest at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a Washington DC think tank funded by the US government. He was interviewed by USIP President Nancy Lindborg in front of a live audience. In response to a question, the Prime Minister called for “a relationship as equals, of friendship,” rather than, “as it has been before,” with Pakistan “wanting aid from the U.S. and then for aid Pakistan is expected to do certain things. The reason why I'm happy leaving the U.S. this time because we have a relationship now based on a mutual interest, which is peace in Afghanistan.”

Summary:

Prime Minister Imran Khan's successful historic visit to the United States has brought into sharp focus the increasing numbers and growing clout of the half a million strong Pakistani-American community. The 30,000 Pakistani-Americans who attended the rally at Capital One Arena in Washington DC made it abundantly clear that the community has "arrived". Several Congressmen whose districts have significant numbers of Pakistani-Americans tweeted their pictures with Imran Khan. The House resolution welcoming the Prime Minister also acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

New York's Little Pakistan

Pakistan is the 3rd Largest Source of Foreign Doctors in America

Pakistani-American Stars in "Big Sick" Movie

Pakistani-American Population Growth 2nd Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Muslims in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

A Dozen British Pakistanis in UK Pariament

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OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

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Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 


21 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Time for #India and #Pakistan to walk the talk. Was what President Clinton did #mediation? Or was it intervention? #Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Abhinandan was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming. Was it mediation? #Kashmir #Balakot https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/its-time-for-india-and-pakistan-to-walk-the-talk/article28739436.ece

It took more than 10 years after Simla to group the subjects that India and Pakistan would sporadically talk about, and even then the two countries have been going around in circles. It is reasonable to assume that nowadays Pakistan talks more about India and Kashmir to the U.S. than to India. Terrorism was one of the subjects that the two nations emphasised they would bilaterally discuss, but the 2011 Mumbai blasts shattered that premise. Since then India has been talking about Pakistani terrorism not so much with Pakistan as with any country willing to listen. This is probably why U.S President Donald Trump revealed at the Oval Office on July 22 that he and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be “talking about India”. “I think maybe if we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do,” he said. “But I think it’s something that can be brought back together.”

Clinton’s role during Kargil
President Trump may have been overstating it, but when the Simla Agreement was violated in Kargil, it was an American President who helped push the Pakistani troops back into Pakistan. As the Kargil War began to get bigger, a worried President Bill Clinton, who called the region “the most dangerous place in the world”, reached out to both Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging Mr. Sharif to pull back from the Line of Control (LoC) and Vajpayee not to widen the war front.

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Was what President Clinton did mediation? Or was it intervention? Or meddling? Or was this all a shining example of bilateralism envisaged in the Simla Agreement? President Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming when he said: “We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that’s going to be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time, decades and decades. There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately. So we’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organization and some peace, and I think probably that’s going to be happening.” Was that mediation or the Simla Agreement at work? Nobody pointed out to President Trump that only the Ministry of External Affairs or the Pakistani Foreign Office or the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations were allowed to make such announcements.

We have to recognise that the world has changed since the Simla Agreement was signed. After the 1971 war, India returned land taken in battle on the western border, to create lasting peace. The LoC is now more firmly established than ever before. There is no talk any more of United Nations resolutions. Most of the subjects in the ‘composite dialogue format’ like Siachen, Sir Creek and Wullar Barrage have been discussed threadbare. Some of them have been ready for political signatures for years. If the way forward is bilateral, then surely it is time to prove it?

Riaz Haq said...

#India's false propaganda on #Kashmir: "During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. ..manipulation through #media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history." https://www.newsclick.in/Kashmir-Reality-Masked-Language-Propaganda

Mirza Waheed’s latest novel, The Collaborator, interrogates the role of the media in the conflict in Kashmir. It subtly critiques the language used in the press to reinforce propaganda on behalf of the state.

Louis Althusser talked of state control over ideological apparatus. This was a way to reinforce a repressive state that seeks overarching control. The Collaborator is loaded with close dissections of this idiom. It shows up the media for deploying language as subterfuge to cloak military oppression.

Media scholar Craig LaMay has pointed out how authoritarian rule employs strict censorship rules and journalists turn into mouthpieces of such a state. This project of control requires a language that can mislead people and manipulate facts. The purpose is to deny a struggling people their essential memories.

This process is recorded in Media Control by Noam Chomsky. During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. Manufacturing consent and manipulation through the media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history.

This holds true for the Kashmiri experience as well. The historical and political circumstances that define the narratives of the Kashmiri resistance also determine the parameters that will critically analyse the resistance itself. A falsified narrative overshadows the memories of Kashmiris and weakens their power to resist their own oppression.

Waheed’s narrative is located within this definitive context and here it is intersected by entrenched historical and political factors. The complex interplay of these factors transfigures into a struggle that stands against military siege. Recalling the bleak 1990s in Kashmir in an interview, Waheed calls the nineties “a dark, brutal decade” during which nothing about the horrific violence could reach the world outside. In those days, while Pakistan described the conflict as “Jihad”, India called it a “law and order” problem. In the novel, these two nation states adopt the posture of storytellers who control the master narrative of Kashmir. The narrator echoes this phenomenon, saying, “You know, sometimes I wonder—because for Kashmir there is always an Indian and a Pakistani version of everything.”

In many passages, The Collaborator refers to the assertions and contestations of both countries on how the Kashmir conflict is to be officially documented. In this way it drives home the point that the official accounts seldom echo what is really going on. It records the processes that have cloaked significant facets of the conflict; letting many stories remained un-rendered and pictures go unseen.

In doing so, Waheed wrests that “expropriated historicity back,” in the words of Barbara Harlow, a scholar of resistance writing. Many significant events of the early 1990s find place in his novel as it endeavours to re-describe and re-explore them, to “re-appropriate it,” in Harlow’s words.

Waheed’s narrative actively engages with how the historical memory of the oppressed Kashmiris can be restored, by tearing it from the pages of hegemonic power discourses. He lays bare how the inadequacies of the official accounts of the conflict have distorted these events or ensured that they are not fully rendered.

The references to tragic events of the 1990s include the bitter confrontation between Kashmiri militants and the Indian state’s repressive force. The (alleged) mass rapes in Poshpora, massacres of Gaw Kadal and Sopore, fake encounters along the Line of Control, which resulted in mass graveyards close to the border, are some of them.

Riaz Haq said...

After #ImranKhan's meeting with #Trump, #Pakistan's F-16 P&W engines to be upgraded with some advanced F-22 Raptor and F-35 features, according to #Indian defense/security analyst Bharat Karnad. https://bharatkarnad.com/2019/07/27/payoffs-post-trump-imran-meeting/ via @BharatKarnad

Imran returned home a hero having consolidated Pakistan’s status — surprise! surprise! — as the indispensable front line state the US desperately needs to zero out its military presence in Afghanistan at any and all cost, along with a goodies bag for the Pakistan armed services, which indubitably is the first tranche of upfront payoffs — a $125 million package to retrofit 12 PAF F-16Cs and six two-seater trainer version F-16Ds with the technologically updated Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 jet engine with 79 kiloNewton dry thrust and 129.7 kN with afterburner. Most likely, senior PAF officers accompanying the COAS General Qamar Bajwa, who was part of Imran’s delegation, wangled the EEP (Engine Enhancement Program) version.

The P&W website reveals the EEP as incorporating advances in such areas as turbine materials, cooling management techniques, compressor aerodynamics, and electronic controls, from the F-22 Raptor’s turbofan engine and from the propulsion system in the latest American combat aircraft F-35 jet power plant, thereby increasing the “Depot maintenance interval” of the warplane from 4,300 to 6,000 hours or, to put it differently, from 7 to 10 years, while easing upkeep procedures and reducing the lifetime costs by almost a third. In other words, PAF is well on its way to at once refurbishing its entire F-16 fleet, lengthening its life, and making it more affordable.

Again by design and, perhaps, to suppress any hard reaction from Delhi, the US insisted on placing 60 Lockheed representatives in Pakistan (whether on PAF air bases, is not clear) constituting a Technical Security Team (TST) to monitor the end-use of these revamped F-16s. Except, a Pentagon official told Indian news agency, PTI, that the Americans would be there to also, as he put it, protect the engine technology, presumably from being onpassed to China — one of the usual channels Beijing has used over the years to access US technologies. Pakistan, for instance, shipped an F-16 for Chinese engineers to study and reverse engineer its many technologies when it was first inducted into PAF in 1982 and, likewise, moved the high-performance, silenced, rotor system in the US helicopter that crashed during the 2011 American Operation Neptune Spear to take out Osama bin Laden, to China for a decent amount of time before returning the damaged ‘copter to America.

The fact is even with Americans exercising physical oversight of the revamped F-16s, there’s no way they can prevent these aircraft from being flown to satellite air fields ostensibly on routine exercise either for the Chinese aviation designers and engineers to closely inspect them there, or to embark them on offensive sorties (assuming the TST is really there to deter such uses, which is doubtful).

Curiously, at the same time as the F-16 deal was announced in Washington a couple of days after Imran’s departure, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency issued a statement saying that India had asked to buy spare parts and test equipment for IAF’s C-17 transport planes, and that it “is seeking personnel training, among other things, “for an estimated cost of $670 million.” India, it added, “needs this follow-on support to maintain its operational readiness and ability to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) assistance in the region…[and] will have no difficulty absorbing this support into its armed forces.” Both the press releases announcing the F-16 upgrade and the the Indian buy of C-17 support, iterated that these sales “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian Ex Diplomat: #US, #Pakistan move to end #Afghan war. #Delhi will take note that the proposed #American #military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering #nukes. #India https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/us-pakistan-move-in-tandem-to-end-afghan-war/

he US State Department chose last Friday to announce the decision to approve a $125-million aid package providing technical support to Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.

Ironically, the news reached New Delhi on the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas celebration, an anniversary that symbolizes, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it on Saturday, “India’s might, determination, capability, discipline and patience” to thwart Pakistan’s hostile acts.

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Delhi will take note that the proposed US military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Withdrawal looms
Indeed, the “big picture” emerging out of all this is that the US and Pakistan are marching ahead in tandem to implement the decisions taken by Trump and Imran Khan to end the Afghan war swiftly.

No sooner than Khan had left Washington on July 23, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, traveled to Kabul for consultations with American, NATO and Afghan officials.

Dunford said he wanted to ensure that General Austin Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, has all he needs. He added that he wanted to take the pulse of US military operations in the country. Indeed, the pulse rate is rather high, as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan looms large.

Dunford insisted that the negotiations have not changed the military mission in the country. “Day-to-day, the mission hasn’t changed for General Miller and the team, and they are still taking the fight to the Taliban and supporting the Afghan military,” he said.


Clearly, Washington has begun to “incentivize” Pakistan, after talks between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on July 22.


But that’s putting on a brave face. Evidently, the US is pushing for a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan,” as former Central Intelligence Agency deputy director Michael Morell told Axios.

The message has gone down the line in the State Department and the Pentagon that Trump wants to move quickly toward a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. Morell is deeply skeptical about whether a deal with the Taliban will secure peace.

He said: “I would bet that the US intelligence community and policymakers have a pretty good understanding of what the Taliban’s intentions are. So we’re making a deal that we know isn’t going to be kept just to save face, just to maintain honor.”


Morell repeated his past warnings that the Taliban are “ideologically not disposed to sharing power.”


However, an apocalyptic scenario cannot deter Washington anymore. On a parallel mission, the US special representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, also took off on July 23 from Washington to Kabul, where he is now speaking with members of the Afghan government, as he works to encourage inter-Afghan conversations between the Taliban and the government.

In immediate terms, Khalilzad expects Pakistan to deliver on the promise that Imran Khan made to Trump – that he plans to meet with the Taliban to persuade them to hold negotiations with the government in Afghanistan. The Taliban has welcomed such a meeting.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian analyst @PravinSawhney tweet:  Strategically, Pak is major geopolitical pivot wooed by major powers. Militarily, it is not easy to beat; rather impossible after CPEC. The way forward always was to talk with Pak & find mutually acceptable way to peace. Losing time is working to India’s disadvantage.

Riaz Haq said...

President Donald #Trump has indicated that #UnitedStates wants to increase its #trade with #Pakistan by at least four-fold following a meeting with #ImranKhan. Trump’s Pakistan Trade Aims May Need Levi, JC Penney Sourcing Strategy Help. #Garments #Textiles https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/research/trumps-pakistan-trade-aims-may-need-levi-jc-penney-sourcing-strategy-help

President Donald Trump has indicated that the U.S. wants to increase its trade with Pakistan by at least four-fold following a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Inside Trade reports. No firm policies or trade deal process has been put in place yet, though the ongoing need to secure Pakistan as a regional trade partner may give some incentive to do so ahead of the 2020 elections.

While the Trump administration will doubtless focus on increasing U.S. exports, Pakistan needs a significant boost to its export economy before it is in a position to increase its purchases significantly. Panjiva analysis of S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows that its exports contracted by 0.2% year over year in the 12 months to May 31, following a 0.9% annual decline in the prior three years to reach $23.1 billion.

The U.S. accounted for 16.6% of the total, and managed to increase by 5.8% year over year in the past 12 months, Panjiva data shows. The need for a trade deal, and closer relations, with the U.S. has also become more important since India’s decision to increase tariffs on Pakistani exports as outlined in Panjiva’s research of February 18.

The major challenge in boosting imports from Pakistan will lie in either diversifying its exports to the U.S., or significantly eating into the market share of other countries supplying the U.S. In aggregate the apparel and textile industries accounted for 37.8% and 35.1% respectively of all U.S. imports from Pakistan in the 12 months to May 31.

Given Pakistan accounted for just 1.7% of U.S. apparel imports and 8.4% of textiles there may well be room for increased market share.
From a developmental perspective it’s worth noting that shipments aside from textiles and apparel have actually fallen as a proportion of the total to 27.1% in the past 12 months compared to 38.9% in 1998. Other major import lines include cotton at 3.3%, optical equipment at 2.8% and plastics which accounted for 2.6%.

The largest importer of apparel and textiles from Pakistan in the past 12 months, aside from trade finance houses, has been Levi Strauss with 1,682 TEUs shipped. That followed a 101.5% year over year surge in shipments in 2Q. Other importers have also already been expanding their shipments. That was followed by JC Penney with 991 TEUs shipped after a 13.3% rise in 2Q while Adidas shipped 641 TEUs and grew by 9.9%.

Riaz Haq said...

WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan can further enhance bilateral trade if strategic ties between the two countries continue to improve, said a White House factsheet released on Tuesday.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1497206

The factsheet “Working toward Peace and Stability: Building Economic Prosperity” notes that the United States and Pakistan enjoy a strong economic partnership that benefits both countries.

The official document points out that Pakistan and the US traded $6.6 billion worth of goods last year, setting a new record of bilateral trade.

While the document recognises Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, US officials recently also urged Islamabad to encourage transit trade between India and Afghanistan, noting that it would benefit all by enhancing trade between South and Central Asian regions.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD
President Donald Trump also expressed his desire to increase trade with Pakistan when asked at his July 22 news briefing what his administration was willing to do to help boost the Pakistani economy.

“Yes, I see great trade with Pakistan. And I’m not talking about a little bit more. I’m talking about — we could go 10 and even 20 times what we’re doing right now,” he said.

“You know, Pakistan is a big country. It’s actually a very big country, and they have tremendous product. They make great product,” he added.

“I’ve bought from Pakistan over the years when I was in the private sector. They make incredible product. They’re brilliant people. They’re hard-working people.”

He said that he believed the US and Pakistan could “have a fantastic trade relationship. I don’t mean we’ll increase it by 20 per cent. I mean, I think we can quadruple it. I think it could go — I mean, literally, it sounds crazy — you could go 10 times more. You could go 20 times more.”

He said he believed in multiplying trade with Pakistan because he felt “what we do right now is not much, and we should do a lot.”

Trump’s statement and the White House factsheet endorse Islamabad’s claim that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit was a success, although it also highlights the key issues that need to be resolved to further enhance this relationship.

The document notes that Pakistan also purchased extensive amounts of American liquefied natural gas during the same period, about 22.8 billion cubic feet.

ExxonMobil re-established its presence in Pakistan in 2018 after 27 years and is working to increase LNG imports.

It lays greater emphasis on economic relations than did recent statements by US officials, who focused more on Pakistan’s cooperation in restoring peace to Afghanistan.

American energy producers are seeing more and more business opportunities with Pakistan and American companies are incorporating cutting-edge technologies into energy projects throughout Pakistan, the document adds.

Riaz Haq said...

U.S.-Pakistan Trade Facts

https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/south-central-asia/pakistan

In 2018, Pakistan GDP was an estimated $312.6 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 5.2%; and the population was 201 million. (Source: IMF)

Pakistan is currently our 56th largest goods trading partner with $6.6 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $2.9 billion; goods imports totaled $3.7 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods to Pakistan supported an estimated 10 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available).

Exports

Pakistan was the United States' 55th largest goods export market in 2018.

U.S. goods exports to Pakistan in 2018 were $2.9 billion, up 4.3% ($121 million) from 2017 and up 54.3% from 2008.

The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous grain, seeds, fruit (oybeans) ($694 million), cotton ($615 million), iron and steel ($225 million), machinery ($211 million), and optical and medical instruments ($117 million).

U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Pakistan totaled $1.5 billion in 2018, our 19th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($689 million), cotton ($615 million), tree nuts ($49 million), dairy products ($38 million), and planting seeds ($37 million).
Imports

Pakistan was the United States' 58th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.

U.S. goods imports from Pakistan totaled $3.7 billion in 2018, up 3.9% ($138 million) from 2017, and up 3.4% from 2008.

The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous textile articles ($1.3 billion), knit apparel ($809 million), woven apparel ($586 million), leather products ($121 million), and cotton ($112 million).

U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Pakistan totaled $126 million in 2018. Leading categories include: rice ($31 million), sugars, sweeteners, bev bases ($30 million), spices ($19 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($9 million), and snack foods ($7 million).
Trade Balance

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018, a 2.2% increase ($17 million) over 2017.
Investment

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan (stock) was $518 million in 2017, a 25.7% increase from 2016. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Pakistan.

Pakistan's FDI in the United States (stock) was $224 million in 2017. There is no information on the distribution of Pakistan FDI in the U.S.
NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.

Riaz Haq said...

10 Interesting Facts About #Pakistan
The South Asian country has given the world the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and the world’s highest ATM. 2 Nobel Laureates, First #Muslim woman PM, World's Largest #Irrigation System, World's First PC Virus https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2019-07-31/10-interesting-facts-about-pakistan

1. Two Pakistanis have won the Nobel Peace Prize: the late Abdus Salam, a theoretical physicist who in 1979 shared the Nobel Prize in physics for his contribution to electroweak unification theory, and Malala Yousafzai, a woman's education activist who in 2014 shared it with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Yousafzai was 17 when she was awarded the Nobel, making her the youngest-ever laureate.

2. The name Pakistan derives from two words, "Pak," which is Persian for holy, clean or pure, and "istan" derives from the Hindi word "isthan," which means a place.

3. Pakistan has six designated UNESCO World Heritage sites: the archeological ruins at Moenjodaro; the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and neighboring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol; the fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore; the monuments at Makli; Fort Rohtas; and the ancient ruins of Taxila.

4. Pakistan has the world's largest contiguous irrigation system, according to the United Nations.

5. If you play soccer – called football by most people around the world – it's likely you've put a boot into a product made in Pakistan. Workers in the country hand-sew many of the soccer balls distributed around the world, and as The Atlantic reports, roughly 40% of all soccer balls in the world are made in one Pakistani city: Sialkot.

6. The world's first PC virus was created by two Pakistani brothers. Basit Farooq Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi created "Brain," which was discovered in 1986 and targeted IBM PC platforms.

7. Some of the highest mountains in the world are located in Pakistan. The world's second-tallest mountain is in the country and has many names: Dapsang or Chogori locally, Mount Godwin-Austen in English and Qogir Fengin Chinese. But most people know it simply as K2, standing at 8,611 meters, or 28,251 feet.

8. The Karakoram Highway is the world's highest paved international road, according to Travel+Leisure magazine. The 800-mile highway connects Pakistan to western China, and reaches a maximum height of 15,300 feet.

9. Speaking of heights, the ATM at the world's highest elevation belongs to the National Bank of Pakistan and sits in the Khunjerab Pass, in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was established in November 2016 and is 15,397 feet above sea level.

10. The late Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.

Riaz Haq said...

Why we believe Imran Khan and PTI can put Pakistan on a lasting economic recovery

By Mattias Martinsson
Chief Investment Officer / Founding Partner på Tundra Fonder AB

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/pakistan-now-when-mattias-martinsson/

We understand the picture of Imran Khan gets blurry in international press given foreigners' traditional skepticism towards politicians in what they perceive as "third world countries". These are times of populism and this person seems to have come from nowhere. Is he a Pakistani version of Donald Trump? Is he a dictator targeting to leverage Pakistan's position as a nuclear armed country? Adding to that - The opposition has claimed, and continue to claim, foul as to how he won the election. And his accountability drive seems limitless. Pakistan has jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Zardari, both former leaders of the historically dominating two parties. Family members of them are under investigation and headlines of other former government members being targeted for misconducts seem to come on a daily basis. We are not going to vouch for all of Imran Khan's actions. We are not gonna claim that the targeting of wealthy politicans have been justified in every single case. Simply because we don't know exactly what has happened in the past. We are netither going to defend what seems to be "a bit shorter leashes" on local media. But if we are blunt enough to put aside our western version of how we believe implementation of accountability in a democracy should work, the symbolic value of starting an accountability drive with the country's past leaders should not be underestimated. 90% of the population would probably say that the targeted politicans had a baggage worthy of the public's attention. And there is most likely a background as to why one of them used to go by the nickname "Mr 10%". Ask any Pakistani about their past leaders and they would say that anyone after the 60's was corrupt. Seeing "justice" being done (again from the populations' perspective) makes the very hard austerity measures that now follows more bearable. Here is our crude interpretation of Imran Khan and why his party PTI might actually change Pakistan's boom and bust cycles and set the country on a lasting recovery:

Imran Khan is trusted by the people, and especially the youth and the educated. Among the Pakistani diaspora (8m Pakistanis live outside Pakistan) he is considered the great hope. When he entered the stage of Capital One Arena in Washington recently more than 20 000 Pakistani-Americans greeted him like a rockstar:
Even the most cynical parts of opposition would not call Imran Khan corrupt. They would call him a dictator, a naive idealist, many would frown upon his sometimes rude wording towards other politicians. But they will not say he is corrupt. That matters because as Pakistan now undertakes a massive tax reform, aiming to document its economy and make its citizens and corporates pay their taxes, the essential ingredient to succeed is trust. Far from everyone believes Imran Khan will spend their money wisely, but very few believe he will steal it. That’s a big, big first step when you want a nation to gather around a common goal - the "Naya Pakistan".
He is trusted by the military. “Selected” or “elected” the military is behind Imran Khan. For the first time you have an elected political leader who undoubtedly has the support from the political force which most citizens and political spectators believe is still the ultimate decision maker. For the meeting with Donald Trump in U.S. Imran Khan, as the first Pakistani leader, brought also the Army Chief General Bajwa. The two main opposition parties (PML-N and PPP) who used to take turns running the country always were perceived to lack actual powers in foreign policy as this area was anyway assumed to be decided by the military. I

Riaz Haq said...

Opposition unity in #Pakistan is a mirage. #PMLN's #NawazSharif #PPP's #AsifZardari must undertake a long overdue introspection on their own track record. #MoneyLaundering #Corruption 
https://gn24.ae/86d486a6618f000

by Farhan Bukhari


Exactly what happened behind the scenes that simply crumbled the Opposition’s majority in the senate remains a matter of debate, discussion and widespread speculation. Given Pakistan’s political history, it's possible that some powers prevailed in defeating the motion against the chairman.

For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle.
- Farhan Bokhari, Pakistan commentator
But the Opposition must also be made accountable for its own record in the past year, mostly spent in building pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan who was elected in 2018. That election marked the first time ever that Pakistan successfully opted for a third party, setting aside the two parties that have ruled the country. Beyond shaming Imran on still unproven charges of flaws in the last elections, the Opposition has done little to focus on real life issues.

While tough economic conditions tied to a recent loan from the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, have been at the centre of the Opposition’s ire, little has been presented by way of policy alternatives. Sweeping statements which have claimed that the Opposition could lift Pakistan from its many economic challenges remain largely unconvincing.

Pakistan’s economic history easily shows the unending slide in yesteryears that has taken the country to its present turmoil. During the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s exports crashed and there was a reckless build up of debt including on largely ill-conceived initiatives. The economic tsar during the time, former finance minister Ishaq Dar now wanted in connection with money-laundering investigations, conveniently arrived in London for a de facto exile before he could be brought to justice. Before Sharif’s tenure, Pakistan was led by former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP. Though the regime came to power on the back of a sympathy wave following the tragic assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, its goodwill was quickly squandered. Today, Zardari appears from time of time on Pakistan’s TV screens when he is summoned by Pakistan’s top anti-corruption authority to answer graft related charges.

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For Imran too, Sanjrani’s survival this week must not be reason for complacency. As the government oversees what will likely be a future period of unprecedented pain in Pakistan’s economic history, there will be a constant need to review policies and the way they are being conducted in real life. Some of the reported conditions that Imran’s government has agreed with the IMF appear to have been conceded without an apparent discussion with key stakeholders across the country. A pushback is therefore set to be the likely outcome.

Notwithstanding gaps in the government’s own house however, this week must be seen as an empowering moment for Imran and his team. The all too visible egg on the face of Pakistan’s Opposition parties has been quickly followed by promises of further defiance from the parties. But seeking to build anti-government pressure on the streets of Pakistan, for now remains a futile venture barring unexpected trends. For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle. That could be the best outcome of this week’s ill advised push that eventually came crashing down.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Shares #Market Index Sensex tumbles 418 points after #Modi revokes #Kashmir special status https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/market-live-sensex-nifty-q1-earnings-pmi-bombay-dyeing-itc-srf-119080500084_1.html#.XUhZWT2x-Mk.twitter

Tensions in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir coupled with simmering trade war concerns between the United States and China led to broad-based sell-off at D-street on Monday as benchmark indices plunged up to 675 points at the S&P BSE Sensex and 215 points at the Nifty50 intra-day. Benign corporate earnings and sluggih economic activity furter contributed to fresh-five month lows during the volatile trade.

The Sensex ended 418 points, or 1.13 per cent, lower at 36,700 levels dragged by selling across public sector banks and metal counters. YES Bank, Tata Motors, Power Grid, and Reliance Industries were the top laggards while Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra, TCS and Bajaj Auto gained the most during the day. The Nifty50, too, slipped 135 points, or 1.23 per cent, to settle at 10,863 mark. India VIX, the volatility index, rose 15 per cent intra-day.

The Narendra Modi government on Monday moved to scrap provisions under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the Union of India.

It has decided that Jammu and Kashmir would be turned into a Union Territory with a legislature, similar to Delhi and Puducherry, and the Ladakh division would be made a separate Union Territory without legislature, akin to Chandigarh and most other Union Territories. READ MORE

In the broader-market, S&P BSE Mid-cap dipped to 13,376 level, down 170 points, or 1.26 per cent. The S&P BSE Small-cap closed at 12,285 level, down 212 points, or 1.7 per cent.

Sectorally, all but Nifty IT index ended with cuts. Nifty auto, metal, PSU bank, realty, private bank, and financial services indices ended between 1.4 to 2 per cent lower. NIfty IT index settled 0.63 per cent higher at close.

GLOBAL CUES

Global stocks fell for a sixth day on Monday as an escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China spooked markets and the yuan fell to its lowest levels in over a decade.

Asian shares suffered their steepest daily drop in 10 months, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sinking 2.5% to depths not seen since late January. Japan's Nikkei ended 1.74 per cent lower while South Korea's Kospi slipped 2.56 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite index, too, shed 1.62 per cent at close.

Riaz Haq said...

Abrogation of #Indian Constitution's Article 370 on #Indian Occupied #Kashmir by #Modi: It’s the beginning of disintegration of #India, says Former Union Home Minister of India P. Chidambaram. #BJP https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article-370-its-the-beginning-of-disintegration-of-india-says-chidambaram/article28822443.ece

‘Every State in the country could be dismembered like Jammu and Kashmir’
Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the government move to amend Article 370 was “the beginning of the disintegration of India if the current government continues to be in charge.”

Monday was the worst day in the constitutional history and “the idea of India as a union of States is in grave danger,” he said at a press conference. Though he anticipated a misadventure, he didn't expect this 'catastrophic decision'.

“What they have done is a constitutional monstrosity. People of India, people of every State must wake up to the grave danger that was set as an example today by these completely unconstitutional and illegal resolutions. I want to warn every party, every State, every citizen of India that the idea of India as a union of States is in grave danger,” he said.


Mr. Chidambaram accused the government of “dismembering” Jammu and Kashmir, and claimed that every State in the country could be similarly dismembered. “They can dismember every State and break it up. This is the beginning of the disintegration of India. I am sorry to use such strong words but this is the worst day in the constitutional history of India.”

“All that they have to do is to dismiss the elected government, impose President's rule, dissolve the elected Assemblies, the Parliament takes the power of the State Assembly, the government moves a resolution and Parliament approves it and the State can be broken up,” said Mr. Chidambaram, who is also a noted constitutional lawyer.

“What have they done. They dismembered the State of Jammu and Kashmir by mischievously interpreting both Article 3 and Article 370 of the Constitution. If this can be done in J&K, then let me caution you that it can be done to every other State. Every State can be broken up into two or three or more Union Territories by mischievously misinterpreting Article 3 and Article 370 and they won't stop at that,” he said.


Riaz Haq said...

#India: Ending autonomy of Jammu and #Kashmir fans flames of existing human rights crisis & violates the rights of representation and participation guaranteed to the people of J&K under #Indian Constitution & international law. #Article370revoked @ICJ_org https://www.icj.org/india-ending-autonomy-of-jammu-and-kashmir-fans-flames-of-existing-human-rights-crisis/

“The Indian Government has pushed through these changes in contravention of domestic and international standards with respect to the rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir to participate and be adequately represented, accompanied by draconian new restrictions on freedoms of expression, assembly, and travel, and with an influx of thousands of unaccountable security personnel,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Secretary General.

“The legality of the Indian Government’s measures to eviscerate Article 370 will certainly be tested before the Indian judiciary, which should look closely at the serious violations of proper legislative and Constitutional processes,” Zarifi said. “All eyes are now on the Indian Supreme Court to fulfill its functions in defense of the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Constitution,” Zarifi said.

The procedure adopted to revoke the special status and autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir appears to be incompatible with judgments and observations of high courts and the Indian Supreme Court, who have clarified that the President of India would need the agreement of the government of Jammu and Kashmir to change its status. The amendments effectively render Article 370 inoperative in its entirety, without meeting the Constitutional requirements in spirit.

The revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir without agreement from the state government is contrary to the spirit of Article 370, which envisioned that the will of the people would be taken into account in decisions relating to state’s special status and autonomy.

“The Indian Government rushed through the amendments at a time when Jammu and Kashmir was under the direct rule of the Central Government, and the state legislature was dissolved. As the government of Jammu and Kashmir is not empowered to discharge its functions, it has not been consulted, let alone agreed to the revocation,” Zarifi said.

“The lack of consultation with the people of Kashmir is all the more troubling because the changes pushed by the Indian Government will materially affect Kashmir’s status as India’s only Muslim-majority state, including special rights for citizens of the state to own and hold land and seek education and employment,” Zarifi said.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in successive reports in 2018 and 2019 has noted that the region of Jammu and Kashmir, under dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, has been the theatre of grave human rights violations, including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture, committed with impunity by Indian security forces.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in both reports recommended to the Indian Government to “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law”.

The ICJ condemns the legislative steps taken with respect to Jammu and Kashmir, and calls on the Indian Government to implement in full the UN High Commissioner’s recommendations, including respecting the right to self-determination of people of Jammu and Kashmir, and to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

#China and #Pakistan warn #India over "unacceptable" border moves that threaten new clashes. #Kashmir #Ladakh #Article370revoked https://www.newsweek.com/china-pakistan-warn-india-border-1452896

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press briefing Tuesday that her country was "always opposed to India's inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction," referring to the Aksai Chin area that was claimed by India but was controlled by China in western Xinjiang and Tibet.

"Recently India has continued to undermine China's territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law," she added. "Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force. We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question."


In a policy statement delivered Tuesday to a joint session of his country's parliament, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan dismissed Indian allegations that Islamabad was involved in the February suicide attack in Pulwama and argued that Modi had rejected his diplomatic overtures since the Indian leader's reelection in May. With Kashmir's reclassification, he warned "there will be another Pulwama-style incident and India will again accuse Pakistan of having terrorists coming from Pakistan, while we have nothing to do with it."

Khan said he feared such a series of events could escalate into a nuclear war between the two countries of which "no one will be the winner," but argued for a need to defend Kashmiris as he accused Modi's ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the influential Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organization — of which the Indian leader was once a member — of pursuing a "racist ideology."

Riaz Haq said...

Humiliating #Kashmir is part of #Modi’s plan to remake #India. The brutal abolition of the region’s special status is another stage in the prime minister’s #Hindu nationalist project| Kapil Komireddi https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/06/narendra-modi-india-kashmir-revoke-special-status?CMP=share_btn_tw

Modi, a consummate method actor, was playing “the conservationist”. He added this role to an extensive repertoire – poet, sage, statesman, he-man, yogi – that he has deftly deployed to craft a cult of personality unrivalled in the democratic world, not least for a man who was once widely castigated as a Hindu supremacist. Within two weeks of the shoot, Modi, campaigning for re-election, ordered Indian jets to breach Pakistan’s airspace and bomb targets deep inside enemy territory. That decision, drawing south Asia’s nuclear-armed adversaries to the precipice of an all-out war, helped to seal Modi’s victory even before a vote was cast. And in the two months since his triumph, Modi has moved aggressively to consolidate his grip and establish himself as the father of what his worshippers call “New India”.

The solidification of the cult of Modi has been accompanied by an aggressive erosion of the legal and constitutional foundations on which the Indian republic stands. Last week the government arrogated to itself powers to designate individuals as terrorists. Presumption of innocence, legal representation and the right to judicial appeal – everything that distinguishes a civilised democracy from an autocracy – is severely restricted. Muslims and other minorities, favoured quarry of the lynch mobs emboldened by the regime, will be the principal targets of the new measures.

Lest there was any doubt, Amit Shah, Modi’s dreaded enforcer and the minister responsible for law and order, clarified in parliament that “urban Naxals” – a label that encompasses everyone from leftwing intellectuals to rootless cosmopolitans sceptical of the Modi regime – “will not be spared”.

Organised political opposition to Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata party is being meticulously wiped out. July ended with the collapse of a coalition government in Karnataka, one of the few states where the BJP was not in power, after opposition legislators dramatically switched sides and joined Modi’s party.

Now August has begun with the partition and abolition of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir – which acceded to India in 1947 on the assurance that it would be granted special constitutional safeguards – by a presidential decree. Kashmir is now under the thumb of the union government, and the region’s elected leaders have been thrown in jail. Communications, including land lines, have been cut off. Ordinary Kashmiris have no means of speaking to the rest of India. The most monumental redesign of Delhi’s constitutional arrangement with India’s sole Muslim-majority state, hatched in secrecy, occurred without a debate in parliament.

Riaz Haq said...

Humiliating #Kashmir is part of #Modi’s plan to remake #India. The brutal abolition of the region’s special status is another stage in the prime minister’s #Hindu nationalist project| Kapil Komireddi https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/06/narendra-modi-india-kashmir-revoke-special-status?CMP=share_btn_tw

Modi, a consummate method actor, was playing “the conservationist”. He added this role to an extensive repertoire – poet, sage, statesman, he-man, yogi – that he has deftly deployed to craft a cult of personality unrivalled in the democratic world, not least for a man who was once widely castigated as a Hindu supremacist. Within two weeks of the shoot, Modi, campaigning for re-election, ordered Indian jets to breach Pakistan’s airspace and bomb targets deep inside enemy territory. That decision, drawing south Asia’s nuclear-armed adversaries to the precipice of an all-out war, helped to seal Modi’s victory even before a vote was cast. And in the two months since his triumph, Modi has moved aggressively to consolidate his grip and establish himself as the father of what his worshippers call “New India”.

The solidification of the cult of Modi has been accompanied by an aggressive erosion of the legal and constitutional foundations on which the Indian republic stands. Last week the government arrogated to itself powers to designate individuals as terrorists. Presumption of innocence, legal representation and the right to judicial appeal – everything that distinguishes a civilised democracy from an autocracy – is severely restricted. Muslims and other minorities, favoured quarry of the lynch mobs emboldened by the regime, will be the principal targets of the new measures.

Lest there was any doubt, Amit Shah, Modi’s dreaded enforcer and the minister responsible for law and order, clarified in parliament that “urban Naxals” – a label that encompasses everyone from leftwing intellectuals to rootless cosmopolitans sceptical of the Modi regime – “will not be spared”.

Organised political opposition to Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata party is being meticulously wiped out. July ended with the collapse of a coalition government in Karnataka, one of the few states where the BJP was not in power, after opposition legislators dramatically switched sides and joined Modi’s party.

Now August has begun with the partition and abolition of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir – which acceded to India in 1947 on the assurance that it would be granted special constitutional safeguards – by a presidential decree. Kashmir is now under the thumb of the union government, and the region’s elected leaders have been thrown in jail. Communications, including land lines, have been cut off. Ordinary Kashmiris have no means of speaking to the rest of India. The most monumental redesign of Delhi’s constitutional ar

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India’s Looming Ethno-Nationalist Catastrophe. The decision to revoke #Kashmir's special status is part of a ghastly—and popular—agenda for #Delhi's hard-right #Hindu government. #BJP #Article370revoked https://newrepublic.com/article/154682/india-looming-ethno-nationalist-catastrophe

In the long list of enemies maintained by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of India (BJP), the Muslims of the northwestern state of Kashmir have always held a special place. The only Muslim-majority state in India, and one guaranteed notional autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, Kashmir is routinely depicted by the right-wing Hindu BJP as the ungrateful beneficiary of Indian munificence, accepting endless sops while returning the favor with acts of terrorism and support for Pakistan.

The BJP on Monday announced in unilateral fashion that it would dissolve Kashmir’s special status and divide the state into two parts, one of which is to be ruled directly from Delhi. The proclamation was accompanied with a curfew in the state that included the house arrest of prominent Kashmiri leaders, the severing of all internet, cellphone, and landline connections, and the deployment of thousands of additional troops in what is already, with nearly a million soldiers, one of the most militarized regions in the world.

While Kashmiris remain completely disconnected from their family and friends, their civil liberties suspended, supporters of the Hindu right have been quick to signal their delirious joy, sometimes from very far away. “I have woken up in NY to the best news of my life about Kashmir,” blowhard actor (and husband to a BJP politician) Anupam Kher wrote on Twitter, making sure in his tweet to thank God, the Indian government, BJP prime minister Narendra Modi, and Modi’s sinister consigliere, home minister Amit Shah.

This is not the first time that the Hindu right, led by Modi, has unleashed mass suffering in pursuit of its vision of Hindutva, an India that is largely or even exclusively for the Hindus. In 2002, when Modi was chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, a pogrom against Muslims left nearly a thousand dead and turned many more into refugees. Since Modi’s tenure as prime minister began in 2014, and especially since being handed a second term in resounding fashion earlier this year, such violence has percolated through the entire nation, provoking lynchings, assassinations, rapes, beatings, imprisonments, and constant abuse on airwaves and social media by Modi’s cheerleaders.

-----------------

Elsewhere in India, in the northeastern state of Assam, Modi’s party has created a different kind of misery with a similar aim, by raising the specter of a Muslim migrant influx from neighboring Bangladesh. A nightmarish system of tribunals, detention centers, and updates to India’s “national register of citizens” has sparked what might be the largest disenfranchisement project in the world, as Bengali speakers—largely Muslim and mostly poor—suddenly find themselves registered as foreigners or “doubtful” citizens, with many thrown into prison because they cannot prove their Indianness. The pattern of governance is clear.

The problems India faces are so severe that any political party would be hard-pressed to address them. There is rising inequality, poverty among hundreds of millions, and little hope for job growth. Parched by drought and disoriented by shifting monsoons, the mainland of India is sometimes burning and sometimes flooded. Capitalism has hollowed India out, and climate change is beginning to reveal its devastating face with scant regard for colonial and postcolonial borders. In response, Modi and his party are now attempting to engineer a Hindutva version of lebensraum in Kashmir. Indians, as much as Kashmiris, should hope that he fails.

Riaz Haq said...

nteresting tweets by Ejaz Haider @EH

#India. forget #Kashmiris: they were NEVER Indian, aren't Indian, NEVER WILL BE. but what Modi has done goes beyond that. it strikes at your federalism. do you get that!? or are you so blinded by the Muslim factor that you would give Modi the KY-jelly to bugger your federalism?!

amazing to see #India's federalism, its so-called secularism, the Constitutional experiment, unravel in slow motion. it's also deeply ironic, going by the reaction, to see how one needed to just scratch the skin to see that it was all about #Hindutva; all along! #ThankYouJinnah

i am also very grateful to my elders who rose up and cleared Poonch and other areas of the Dogra army; five of them laid down their lives in order for me to proudly display the AJK flag, my flag.

excellent piece by
@AsadRahim
:
Ms Mufti is wrong: India has always occupied Kashmir. Scrapping Article 370 means Modi has advanced from occupation to annexation.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498368/laws-of-occupation

Riaz Haq said...

Diplomatically, Pakistan has always had far more of an interest in internationalising Kashmir than India; what constrained it was the Simla Agreement, India’s success at maintaining credible Kashmiri Muslim voices on its side, and the restrained use of overt military force. Modi’s government has knocked out two of those pillars, and Pakistan may be tempted to take out the third and kill the Simla agreement.

https://qz.com/india/1682282/indias-article-370-move-in-kashmir-may-affect-its-global-status/

Trump has repeatedly offered to mediate in Kashmir, and the escalation of Indo-Pakistani tensions would put India in a tremendously uncomfortable position. The current US-Pakistan relationship is in some ways even better than at the heights of the Musharraf era; rather than Pakistan pretending to do what the Americans wanted in Afghanistan, Washington has come around to Pakistan’s point of view. Meanwhile the Trump Administration’s relationship with India has seen increasing friction over trade issues.

Should Trump be defeated by the Democrats in 2020, the diplomatic risks to India will likely increase. It’s unlikely that the human-rights cost of mass repression in the Kashmir Valley will be ignored. Steps like media blackouts and mass arrests of local politicians will attract rather than stifle international attention.

The current BJP treatment of minorities, intellectual dissent, parliamentary opposition and the press are all weakening India’s carefully developed reputation as a development-oriented and tolerant liberal democracy. Continued aggressive overt action across the LoC against a nuclear power like Pakistan will damage India’s reputation as a stabilising force in the region.

For those who question the impact of such reputational damage on a rising India, it’s worth thinking about the high price an over-confident Pakistani state paid when it stopped paying attention to perceptions of its behaviour. Domestic instability and criticism from the US, EU and international bodies will almost certainly generate friction that affects trade, tourism, investment, and strategic opportunities. Israel can pretend to go it alone because it has America’s unstinting support. The People’s Republic of China under Xi Jinping has taken highly aggressive positions around the world; there are serious questions as to whether its economy can sustain this approach.

Riaz Haq said...

Retired General Ghulam Mustafa


"Thanks, Modi for liberating Pakistan from useless UNSC RESOLUTIONS, SIMLA ACCORD & LAHORE DECLARATION all in one go. We are back to square one just before NEHRU begged UNSC for a ceasefire. Its no more LOC but an active war zone as in early 1948. Thank you"

https://www.facebook.com/LtGenGhulamMustafaOfficial/videos/385389878830099/