By questioning the legitimacy of India's sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir, Beijing may be creating a future option for questioning New Delhi's locus standi to negotiate the future of the Indian territory in the Ladakh area under Chinese occupation. China could aggressively use this option if its relations with India were to deteriorate...
India has always been estimating the approximate length of the Sino-Indian border as about 3,500 kms in all the three sectors — Eastern, middle and Western — taken together. While it is about 2,000 kms in the Eastern and the middle sectors taken together, it is another about 1,500 kms long in the Western sector in Jammu & Kashmir. China, which had never openly questioned the Indian estimate of the length of the common border before, is now unilaterally seeking to exclude from consideration during the border talks the dispute between India and China over the Chinese occupation of a large territory in the Ladakh sector of Jammu & Kashmir. In fact, it is seeking to question India’s locus standi to discuss with China the border in the Jammu & Kashmir area in view of Pakistan’s claims to this area. -- B Raman
Initiatives such as the recent all-party delegation visit to Jammu and Kashmir are the ones that generate optimism. WILL IT LAST? There has been an attempt at restoring normalcy as this recent scene in Srinagar shows. But how long will peace last? One message to emerge from this season of delegations to Srinagar is: what Kashmir wants from New Delhi is political outreach. Earlier this month, a non-official delegation of parliamentarians and civil society made a three-day visit to Srinagar in an effort to break the ice on Kashmir without involving the government and by avoiding the trappings of state protocol. Its efforts at creating the space for dialogue made an impact....
It was for the first time in the last two decades that a political dialogue had been initiated with Kashmir. Back in 1990, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had led a similar delegation to Kashmir but he and his colleagues were caged in the Centaur Hotel, with militants having taken over the streets. This time, however, the situation in Kashmir had more political space, and the delegation was warmly welcomed as being a part of a genuine initiative. It was following the visit that the government announced its eight-point package. One of these was the appointment of a three-member team of interlocutors to prepare the ground to restart the dialogue process in Kashmir. -- Shujaat Bukhari
THE Wikileaks are sprinkled with some well worn wicked portraitures and political insights about Pakistan’s weak and dependent ruling elites. But there are some surprises 1. President Asif Zardari thinks he may be assassinated or “ taken out” by the military . We know this already because Mr Zardari has often talked publicly about being taken out of the Presidency “ on a stretcher”. But we didn’t know that, in the event, he would like Bilawal Bhutto to make Mr Zardari’s sister Feryal, President of Pakistan. She was his original choice to be president of Pakistan before he decided to crown himself but we didn’t know that he still thinks she may have a role to play in the future. -- Najam Sethi
The Aasia Bibi blasphemy case has caught the world’s headlines because it is full of desperate and nasty ironies. She is a Christian mother of five children sentenced to death in a Muslim country that is notorious for making and practicing laws that persecute its minorities even as its official state religion of Islam proclaims special protection for them; whose citizens “ hate” the West even as they push and shove outside Western embassies for work, education and tourist visas; whose governments shamelessly line up for financial handouts from Western aid agencies even as they roundly condemn the “ begging- bowl syndrome”; whose military establishment provides “ safe havens” for Al- Qaeda- Taliban terrorists in North Waziristan even as it fights them in South Waziristan and Swat; whose security posture compels its strategic US ally to look upon it as both the problem and the solution for the war in Afghanistan. -- Najam Sethi
The region known as 'Azad Kashmir' in Pakistan has a population of more than three million and comprises one-third of the erstwhile princely state of J&K. At the world stage, the region has come into focus during the 2005 earthquake or as one of the bases of militant outfits like the Lashkar. However, the region's impact on South Asian politics and even outside has remained a less studied subject of contemporary scholarship, though it has one of the largest South Asian diasporas living in Britain which has played a central role in internationalising the Kashmir issue since the early 1990s. -- Luv Puri
Saudi King on Zardari, Iraq PM
The cables also disclose frank comments behind closed doors. Dispatches from early this year, for instance, quote the aging monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, as speaking scathingly about the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan. Speaking to another Iraqi official about Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, King Abdullah said, “You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not.” The king called President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan the greatest obstacle to that country’s progress. “When the head is rotten,” he said, “it affects the whole body.” -- Scott Shane and Andrew W Lehren
Photo: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
AS voters in the American state of Oklahoma went to the voting booth on Nov 2, an unusual question awaited them. State question 755, also dubbed the ‘Save our state amendment’, asked voters to amend Article 7 Section 1 of the Oklahoma state constitution such that “courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases”. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia law. -- Rafia Zakaria
Tripura, which shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh, is building a huge war memorial and friendship park to memorialise the heroes of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Work on the Bharat-Bangladesh Moitree Udyan in a border hamlet in southern Tripura was inaugurated by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on November 11.
The “friendship park” in Chottakhola has been planned in memory of the freedom fighters and Indian soldiers who died 39 years ago in the course of the struggle for Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan. The freedom fighters had their fortified base camps and launched guerrilla attacks on the Pakistan Army from Chottakhola. -- Haroon Habib
After four months of lockdown, 111 deaths of young men and women, 1,025 arrested and 3,500 injured, Geelani believes he is on the verge of pulling off a miracle - an Islamic state in Kashmir. This may be a dream too far, but it has been the principal focus of his life since he joined the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1953. He was a government teacher then, after having spent four years in Lahore, between 1940 and 1944, studying the Quran and theology. He has not returned to Pakistan after 1944, though his elder son, 47-year-old Nayeem, has been living, and is being looked after, in Islamabad for the last 10 years. -- Kaveree Bamzai
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has expressed his bitter resentment toward United States President Barack Obama and his administration for developing a strategic partnership with India while using Pakistan only for its strategic convenience. While speaking at the Atlantic Council, a Washington, DC-based think tank, Musharraf lashed out against Obama's decision not to visit Pakistan during his recent visit to Asia, the first stop of which was India where he spent three days. The former dictator-turned-president also blasted India for everything from human rights violations in Kashmir to fomenting terror against Pakistan from its (India's) consulates in Afghanistan. -- Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC
The people of Kashmir Valley, like Indians anywhere else in the country, just want to get on with their lives. They want schools and colleges to function in the interest of their children. They want to earn a living through jobs and small businesses. They now seem to have come round to the view that enough is enough and little will be achieved by toeing the separatists’ line of disrupting everyday life. It is too early to claim that the separatists have been put on the back-foot or that they stand isolated. The defiance we are witnessing may yet prove to be the proverbial exception than the rule. But if the State Government plays its cards well and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, along with other leaders and workers of the National Conference, makes a genuine effort to reach out to the masses and heal the wounds of the past few months, then the tide could turn. -- The Pioneer Edit Desk
Visiting American President Barack Obama addressed the Indian Parliament on Monday. He is just the second US President to address the House after former US President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Vice President, Madame Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, Members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and most of all, the people of India.
I thank you for the great honor of addressing the representatives of more than one billion Indians and the world's largest democracy. I bring the greetings and friendship of the world's oldest democracy - the USA, including nearly three million proud and patriotic Indian Americans.
Over the past three days, my wife Michelle and I have experienced the beauty and dynamism of India and its people. From the majesty of Humayun's Tomb to the advanced technologies that are empowering farmers and women who are the backbone of Indian society. From a Diwali celebration with schoolchildren to the innovators who are fueling India's economic rise. From the university students who will chart India's future, to you - leaders who helped to bring India to this moment of promise.
At every stop, we have been welcomed with the hospitality for which Indians have always been known. So to you and the people of India, on behalf of me, Michelle and the American people, please accept our deepest thanks. Bahoot dhanyavad.
I am not the first American president to visit India. Nor will I be the last. But I am proud to visit India so early in my presidency. It is no coincidence that India is my first stop on a visit to Asia, or that this has been my longest visit to another country since becoming President.
For in Asia and around the world, India is not simply emerging; India has already emerged. And it is my firm belief that the relationship between the United States and India - bound by our shared interests and values - will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. This is the partnership I have come here to build. This is the vision that our nations can realise together. – Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
While minutely scrutinising the events after his first address to the Muslim world, a perception can be built up that there is a significant change in the attitude of the American policy planners in post-Cairo speech or in Obama's tenure so far. We don't see any visible signs of targeting the Islamic society or the Arab World in the foreign policy of the United States though it's also true that the Muslim World at large had not seen any progress in the solutions of the issues which are in the hearts of every Muslim and in which America has a significant role to play.
Before his address in Cairo, Obama might have envisaged the slow pace of the confidence building between America and the Muslims in his post-Cairo address period which might have prompted him to caution, “no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts .There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, as the Holy Quran tells us”. -- Navaid Hamid
India: Urdu Press - Waiting for Obama
Rashtriya Sahara writes in its October 30 editorial: “Obama’s visit has extraordinary significance. All the etiquette of being a host, all diplomatic norms, have to be held as supreme. But the prudence of the Indian political leadership will be tested. The US will make a serious effort to take India along with it as it confronts international issues and problems, and enlist its active support in these matters. But we will have to ensure the preservation of our national interest in every manner. So far, friendship with the US has never been beneficial for anyone. Its tradition of taking too much and giving very little should teach us a lot. It is not necessary to experiment with everything. With all these reservations we extend a warm welcome to the head of the only superpower of the world.” -- Seema Chishti
New Delhi: Nov 1, 2010: Jamiat Ulema Hind’s Conference on the Kashmir issue held in Ram Lila Maidan here on Sunday unanimously called for the withdrawal of the army from Kashmir and putting an end to gross human rights violations by the state police and the security forces to restore peace and normalcy in the valley. It appealed to the leadership of the militants, calling them ‘mujahideen’, thus sanctifying their terrorism as Jihad, to take recourse to democratic process. No attempt was made to explain how Jihad could be waged democratically.
Most speakers displayed complete ignorance of or were willing to condone the treacherous policies pursued by Pakistan that has resulted in the present situation. Mufti Mukarram went to the extent of demanding the implementation of UN resolutions which could not be implemented in 1950s due to Pakistan’s unwillingness to withdraw its armed forces from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as the resolution demanded. The late Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had practically rescinded these resolutions in the Simla Pact of 1972 calling for resolving Kashmir issue bilaterally and former President General Musharraf said repeatedly a couple of years ago that they are no longer applicable. Journalist M J Akbar, however, clarified, to loud cheers from the audience, that he was not with Kashmiris if they wanted another division of the country, but like every other Indian, he too would support them if they demanded justice.
The conference was presided over by the President of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Syed Md Usman Mansurpuri and attended by its Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Mujtaba Farooque, Secretary Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Abdul Wahhab Khilji, Secretary Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, Film Director and human rights activist Mahesh Bhatt, Journalist Dr Aziz Burney, Journalist M J Akbar, Swami Agnivesh, Renowned Gandhian Rajiv Vohra, K K Jain, Kamal Farooqi and Professor Tahir Mehmood along with other dignitaries and intellectuals. – New Age Islam News Bureau
According to intelligence reports, about 122 Chinese companies are operating in Pakistan at present, employing approximately 11,000 Chinese engineers and workers. In fact, China is involved in a big way in infrastructure projects — right from construction of roads and bridges, telecommunication, mineral exploration, construction of dams, hydro-power projects to water diversion channels — in PoK and the northern area of Gilgit-Baltistan. -- Bharti Jain
Recently, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a powerful group of clerics from the seminary—not one to hesitate from engaging with issues of social or political significance—adopted a calibrated resolution on Kashmir. Unfortunately, it is bound to have no effect on both Islam-baiters and jehadi groups: the former will concoct conspiracy theories, the latter will ignore it altogether. But what the clerics have done is to courageously negotiate the complex and difficult space between the Indian establishment’s hawkish sentiment on the Kashmir issue, the majoritarian ‘nationalist’ sentiment, the separatist sentiment of Kashmiri Muslims, and the guardedness of Muslims in the rest of India. -- Neelabh Mishra
A CHARGESHEET filed on the 2007 Ajmer blasts, which refers to senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS) leader Indresh Kumar, exposes the role of top RSS officials in terror activities and vindicates the expose carried out by Headlines Today in July.
Given the arrests of RSS functionaries like Jharkhand Prant Pracharak Ashok Varshney and Central committee member Ashok Beri who had given shelter to main accused Devender Gupta, Sunil Joshi from Madhya Pradesh and Sandeep Dange from Maharashtra, it comes as no surprise that a top central leader like Indresh is alleged to be involved in coordinating the attack. The fact that Indresh was behind the Muslim wing of the RSS, as well as the Forum for Integrated National Security makes his involvement all the more sinister.
Instead of raising a hue and cry, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must distance itself from the RSS, or at least pressurise it into taken action against these tainted functionaries. The party must allow the investigation to take its course rather than question its credibility. Furthermore, the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat must stop dragging their feet on the investigations, as many of the absconding accused are believed to be hiding in these states. It is of paramount importance that matters of national security be kept away from political partisanship. -- Editorial in Mail Today
CHARGESHEET NAILS TOP RSS LEADER ’ S LIE
By Sudhanshu Mishra in Jaipur
‘Purohit trying to divide the Sangh Parivar at behest of Cong leaders’
By Dalip Singh in New Delhi
How have the BJP and its extended family responded to the verdict? The VHP, as the principal arm of the Ayodhya movement, has taken a maximalist position. It has sought the entirety of the territory the 60 feet by 40 feet Mir Baqi used to build his shrine; the 2.77 acres that was the mandir-masjid complex; the 67 acres of land, much of it formerly owned by Hindu groups, acquired by the Union government two decades ago for a massive Ram temple. It has said a mosque can only be built outside this space, and indeed outside Ayodhya. -- Ashok Malik
Paradoxically, the Kashmir Valley where one now hears calls for ‘azadi’ was ruled ruthlessly for over 700 years by Mongols, Afghans, Mughals, Sikhs and Dogras before people experienced democracy and freedom under India’s Constitution. Moreover, while communal harmony has prevailed in the multi-religious Jammu and Ladakh regions, it is in the Kashmir Valley alone, which boasts of a proud history of secular ‘Kashmiriyat’, that 4,00,000 members of the minority community of Pandits have been forced to flee their homes by a Pakistan-sponsored jihad backed indirectly by the All-Party Hurriyat Conference. -- G Parthasarathy
The task for the Kashmiri leadership is clear. Improved policing has brought down the killing. The lull — and it must be recognised as no more than that — must be used to bring the people of the state, and the Valley in particular, towards participation in governance, with the concomitant official accountability which the rest of India is guaranteed. As for the Union of India, the answer is incredibly simple — allow to the Kashmiris the same respect and dignity that is considered a right by every Indian citizen. If we can do this, this agitation will be remembered only as a rude aftershock to the tremor of the ’90s. Failure risks a relapse into the reckless violence that we had hoped forever gone. -- Wajahat Habibullah
The Allahabad High Court's disregard of the political nature of the Ram movement is surprising, considering the ease with which it moved beyond the boundaries of law and reason to explore issues of faith. There is another compelling factor here: The dramatic unfolding of the political story within the pages of the court's own judgment. Indeed, the legal twists and turns outlined in the judgment are not merely episodic highlights in a marathon court battle fought between warring parties; an unmistakably strong political narrative binds them together, never mind that the court itself remains oblivious to it. -- Vidya Subrahmaniam
More disclosures relating to David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba embarrassing to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have been brought out in two detailed investigative reports by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica, a public service website which specialises in investigative reporting. These two reports titled “FBI was warned years in advance of Mumbai attacker’s terror ties” and “Feds confirm Mumbai plotter trained with terrorists while working for DEA”, which were published on the website on October 15 and 16, 2010, have also been used by the Washington Post, thereby adding to their credibility. -- B Raman
With Muslims constituting 16.5 per cent of the voters in the state (of Bihar), all the parties are going all out to woo them. Besides announcing special concessions for the community, many are banking on popular Muslim leaders to get the votes. So, if the BJP has Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, its ally, the JD(U), has roped in former RJD leader Mohammed Taslimuddin. This has made the BJP uneasy as the two Simanchal Muslim leaders don’t quite see eye to eye.... Like the RJD, the Congress has also given over 30 per cent tickets to members of the minority community. Perhaps the only mainstream party which does not have a prominent Muslim face is the LJP, after Baliyawai left the party. Still, LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan has picked 25 per cent Muslim candidates. -- Santosh Singh
There is however some good news. Those who think they can still milk hysteria are blind to an extraordinary change that has come about in India. The people, Hindu or Muslim, have risen above the negative politics of communal conflict; they want the positive politics of development. Faith and worship still matter to Indians; and it is a very limited, elitist, Delhi notion that the young have moved beyond religion. They have not. But they have moved beyond violence as a means to their horizon.
The impoverished have understood a simple, important, over-riding reality: poverty is not communal. There is no shortage of places for prayer in our country. There is, however, a shortage of self-respect, since every hungry stomach in our country is a sharp slap on the face of the idea of India. 2010 is a hundred years away from 1992. -- M J Akbar
The crucial divergences and competing interests between the US and Pakistan are no secret. If Bob Woodward’s newest book Obama’s Wars is accurate, the White House regards Pakistan as “the cancer” that must be cured and on which success or failure in Afghanistan rests. Just when it seemed that things could not get worse, they did. One would have thought that given the ongoing catastrophic floods, conditions in Pakistan were at a nadir. But last week, several incidents lowered even that bar regarding US-Pakistani ties. -- Harlan Ullman