Has the decrease in terrorist violence in India come at the cost of an increase in violence in Pakistan? That is what the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) believes. I was in Pakistan last week and a retired ISI general I spoke to said that the sharp spike in violence in the country in the last decade could be attributed to the military’s decision to crack down on terror groups operating against India…..
Many of my co-religionists drill the mantra into their followers that the media demonizes Muslims, that whenever Muslims commit an act of terror, sound bites with “Islam” and “Muslim” pulse from TV and radio. When others commit atrocities, they claim, their faith is never mentioned.....
Syed Rashid Munir
Two fighters enter a ring to fight over a title. The decision has been made; or been made public, at least. The war is ours, finally. The time for talks, indeed, is over. Pakistan Army has launched an operation against the militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). After all these years, and the loss of so many dear lives, we’ve been jolted into action. …..
The mirrors of history are reflecting a wry smile. A common enemy is forcing America and Iran to restore, perhaps grudgingly, a framework that was shattered in 1979. Obama was so focused on getting his troops home to a war-weary America that he lost sight of the radical embryo he was leaving behind. In September 2011 he declared that "The tide of war is receding". It was merely recuperating. In August last year he thought that "Al Qaeda is on its heels, (it) has been decimated". Only to be replaced by a more dangerous successor…..
And the republic’s broad spaces were filled with bright idiots who said that with a strong media and an independent judiciary a new Pakistan was born in which the old power play, boots tapping away in the distance, was a thing of the past. This summer is proving a tough education for such philosophers, and a rough house for the tender plant called Pakistani democracy.....
At this point, supporters of the absentee leader refused to comply with police instructions. Soon enough, this little tête-à-tête turned into a full-fledged bloody conflict with eight people pronounced dead and over 80 injured. The fact that this incident took place is preposterous. Especially when the security situation in the country is so sensitive and the country is on high-alert due to the operation taking place in North Waziristan…..
I would have expected Mr Modi to immediately distance himself from the Kerala police action, criticise the highhanded arrests and demand the cases be dropped. Once again, that would also have been the politically astute response. But all we got was silence. Now, Mr Modi is far too accomplished a politician to knowingly forego these opportunities to send out re-assuring and badly needed messages. There has to be some other explanation. But what? The alternatives — he did not know, he was too busy, he forgot — don’t make sense…..
The accusations leveled against me and Tharoor is that we have changed. We have not! It is actually Modi who has changed, taking a 180-degree turn, and every Indian should welcome it as we do. Modi started speaking the language of inclusiveness that we understood, and the right thing to do is to appreciate it. What we offered was not blanket, wholesale praise but selective praise where he deserves it…..
When a shark is wounded, others in the school detect its blood in the water, and turn on it in a vicious feeding frenzy. It’s not a pretty sight. This is what we have been witnessing over the last month as a number of TV channels, led by ARY, have savaged Geo. So when ARY’s anchor, Mubashir Lucman, was barred from the airwaves by the Islamabad High Court, I didn’t shed any tears. But now that the Supreme Court has reinstated him, I suppose he’ll be baying for Geo’s blood again.....
From Cairo to Baghdad, vendors still have a “special discount” for visitors from Al-Hind; in Syria, mention of India invokes talk about the old Damascus-Bombay trade routes, and in Tripoli, before the air strikes in 2011, there was a building covered with a poster of pictures of Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi. That goodwill has only been enhanced by the diligent and disciplined Indian expatriate......
For India to succeed in protecting its vital energy interests in western Asia, it will need the focussed application of all elements of its national power: military, yes, but also diplomatic and economic. Hard as it may be, New Delhi will have to find ways to work with China and Japan, the two other Asian states powered by West Asian oil. Powers across the region will have to find cooperative mechanisms to finance future interventions that may become necessary…….
Who is propping up charlatans and scheming good-for-nothingers like Tahirul Qadri and the Chaudhries to put the fear of the devil in the civilian government? If the Khakis are cut up over the PML-N’s lack of resolve to take on the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, why are they treating forces of obscurantism in Punjab as bench strength?....
All these Sharifs, Asif Ali Zardaris, Imran Khans, Tahirul Quadris and others – do they give us any hope? Unfortunately they don’t. The entire arena of our politics has never been as barren as it is now. All we have in the name of leaders are not more than paper tigers and political pygmies who are in shoes too big for their small feet. They have all the potential to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory rather than leading the nation to triumph in this internal war.....
It is possible that, unable to control the various jihadis in their country or control events in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military rulers will first try to blame India for all its troubles and then launch a diversionary Jihadi attack to provoke a reaction from the Indians and bring the whole world into play. Only the weak will go around flailing their arms pretending to take retaliatory action. The strong will react too — but at a time, place and manner of their choosing. The idea is not shoot the messenger, but to hurt the person who sent the message......
Nadeem F. Paracha
And if only Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government allow themselves to detach from a strange, vacant sense of quiet Zen immobility they seem to have adopted, and if only the ruling parties in Sindh, Balochistan and KP break through the complex political cobwebs they have been caught in, they will find a huge mass of exhausted Pakistanis willing to support the implementation of whatever it takes to pull the country back from the brink……
Ironically and idiotically, the ASF still uses the ‘explosives detector’ that was proven to be a fraud run by a now-convicted British conman. These metal rods, mounted on handles, were bought by agencies around the world in an elaborate scam, but long after the fraudster was arrested and sentenced, we continue to rely on them. Time and again, terrorists have used uniforms as disguise when penetrating high-security installations. Surely it is not rocket science to counter this obvious ploy.....
They hate us for our freedoms, exclaimed former US President George W. Bush, referring to his country’s “Islamist” foes. But American freedoms do not, it appears, stretch to free admission to New York’s National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which opened at the end of May. Though the Memorial itself can be visited without charge, it is being marketed alongside the Museum (to which a gift shop is attached) as a total package, with prospective “customers” invited to book tickets online. It was George W. Bush’s White House predecessor, Calvin Coolidge, who in 1925 made the imperishable pronouncement that the “chief business of the American people is business.”…..
A shadow war does not begin with an ultimatum. It is conducted by militias, not a military. It is not fought in the name of a nation or under conventions signed at Geneva; it uses barbarism and terrorism in the pursuit of ideas that seek to destroy the existing order in the search of some fantasy. Its violence spreads across dozens of geographical dots that, in the terrorist’s mind will connect and form a picture someday……
Though claimed to be in retaliation for the November 2013 drone attack that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the raids seem to have been orchestrated by Mullah Fazlullah in response to the Army’s aerial bombardment in North Waziristan on May 21 and 23, which killed almost 60 Taliban, including some foreign militants. The Army also undertook aerial bombardment of Sunni militants in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency after the June 8 Karachi airport incident, killing 15 militants in nine hideouts.....
“Listen up,” wrote Haruki Murakami, “there’s no war to end all wars.” Dr. Singh’s generals told him much the same thing, and he heard them. “They did nothing,” said the man who has become India’s next Prime Minister, in a campaign speech centred on 26/11, “Indians died and they did — nothing.” “Talk to Pakistan in Pakistan’s language,” he went on, “because it won’t learn lessons until then.”.....
Pakistan should take the requisite steps to not just minimise the risk of a nuclear war, but also put a check on further destabilisation of nuclear deterrence in the name of balancing its asymmetry with India in conventional military capabilities…..
The most disturbing finding was the community's loss of faith in the state's willingness to protect it during riots. The community felt police were against it and felt targeted by them. While Muslims were the first to be rounded up, even the perpetrators of violence against them were not arrested. Though the community constituted 10.6 per cent of the population, it comprised 27 per cent of prisoners in the state.…..
Awami Workers Party and United Kashmir Peoples National Party have proposed the establishment of Joint constitutional Assembly for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Fair solution of Kashmir issue is the only guarantee/way out of sustainable peace in South Asia....
Prem Shankar Jha
Article 370 is not perfect. It applies to the whole of J&K when most of Jammu is indifferent to its continuance and Ladakh is itching to break away and become a UT. But to the people of the Valley, it is the last, and most important, bastion of their ethnic identity. That identity — peaceful, humane and syncretic — has been under relentless attack by both Pakistan and India. It must be respected and indeed cherished, as every other ethnic identity is cherished in our complex, multi-layered democracy. The debate we need is not over how Article 370 can be repealed but how it can be strengthened and focussed better to meet the justified demand for self-empowerment......
No doubt, honest self-introspection is important and there needs to be a serious debate over the causes of the punishing backlash that the liberal/secular establishment has suffered in the election. But we can do without self-flagellation. I am reminded of what the progressive Urdu poet Asrar-ul-Haque Majaz wrote while reflecting on his rather chaotic personal life and the failures he endured. In one of his most memorable poems, he vowed never to succumb to defeatism saying, “Ba-Een Sail-E-Gham-O-Sail-E-Hawadis; Mera Sar Hai Ki Ab Bhi Kham Nahin Hai”....