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Indian Press ( 23 Oct 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian Press on Pakistan Opposition and Army, Quad and Rape: New Age Islam's Selection, 23 October 2020

By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

23 October 2020

• Pakistan’s Opposition Is taking on the Army. India Should Just Watch

By Rezaul Laskar

• Castrate the Rapist

By Prafull Goradia

• Militarising the Quad

By Prakash Karat

• Journalism: A Demanding Profession

By Haseeb Ibn Hameed


Pakistan’s Opposition Is taking on the Army. India Should Just Watch

By Rezaul Laskar

Oct 23, 2020


Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardariat an anti-government protest rally organised by the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of political opposition parties, Karachi, Pakistan October 18, 2020(REUTERS)


Pakistan is at another of the inflection points that seem to crop up in the nation’s path every few years largely because of the imbalance in relations between the military and the civilian government. This time, the trigger is a movement launched by opposition parties with the stated aim of removing what they describe as the “selected” government of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have created the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and organised a series of “jalsas” or rallies in major cities. Latent tensions between Sharif and the military establishment exploded into the open when the PML-N leader named army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed during PDM’s first massive rally at Gujranwala on October 16, blaming them for ousting his government, pressuring judges to take up fake cases against opposition leaders, and making Khan the PM through a rigged election two years ago.

Sharif, who has lived in London for almost the past year and addresses gatherings in Pakistan via video conference, kept away from PDM’s second rally in Karachi on October 18, which too attracted a huge crowd. But the incensed military retaliated by pressuring police in the port city to arrest Sharif’s son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan the following day. After more than 50 police officers in Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital, went on leave to protest the way the provincial police chief was harassed by military intelligence agencies to order Awan’s arrest, Bajwa ordered an inquiry and spoke to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, whose PPP rules Sindh, to calm the situation.

There is already speculation in Islamabad that Sharif acted after getting signals from sections of the military upset with Bajwa — a grant of extension in service to Pakistan army chiefs, such as the one given to Bajwa last year, is usually followed by a decline in popularity — as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key background players in Pakistan’s politics with considerable sway over political alignments. This is understandable as there is little love lost between the current PM and the Saudis. There is even buzz that Sharif received discreet messages from China, which has warily watched Pakistan’s economic decline on Khan’s watch, especially in view of its immense stake in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Perhaps, a simpler explanation is that the PDM has in its fold two of Pakistan’s most astute and street-smart leaders — Sharif and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has long harboured outsized dreams of being PM. Both have their finger on the pulse of the streets and are capable of gathering large crowds. They know that public sentiment for the Khan government is at a low, with the price of wheat touching a record high, government employees protesting over salaries, galloping inflation and near-complete lack of support from the International Monetary Fund and the Saudis. Sharif and Rehman, more than anyone else, know the time is right to make efforts for a change.

For Sharif, there is also the need to remain politically relevant, after having been ignominiously removed as premier by the Supreme Court on flimsy charges of corruption and then jailed. He left the country on bail on medical grounds, and Khan, stung by the PDM’s shows of strength, has vowed to bring him back to Pakistan. Sharif’s current efforts, in a situation where he knows he has little left to lose, are also aimed at preparing the grounds for his anointed successor, daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

The Indian establishment, which has done well to keep away from political developments in Pakistan, must also distance itself from misinformation campaigns which don’t capture the complexity of the situation — no good has ever come of such moves in this digital age. One will have to wait for PDM’s moves to see whether the military jettisons those who are no longer useful to it or responds with more crackdowns.


Castrate the Rapist

By Prafull Goradia

October 22, 2020



Rape is not beastly though it certainly is barbarian; it is an indefensible crime. Yet India has not been able to prevent rape, not to speak of controlling the crime. There cannot be so many policemen watching every possible contact of a male or a female. If at all, the law courts could move much faster when a case is filed. Even that acceleration will not help to abolish the incidence of rape.

Many a punishment has been suggested, including the death sentence. Once a convict is executed, he is forgotten. All that is achieved is that the same man cannot repeat a rape. In my view, the most effective deterrence should be to punish the convicted by castration, a punishment which has been suggested by a few citizens. Its virtues are several. The state does not take the life of the guilty. The biggest motivation of the man to rape is to prove that he is virile, that he can bring a woman to instant submission and to give himself a perverse sense of triumph. The imaginary sexual satisfaction could be better achieved with the help a sex worker but the young criminal might not know. The older criminal is unquestionably a perverse maniac plus a coward.

In India, as a society, citizens feel embarrassed but not adequately ashamed. Only a few years ago in Uttar Pradesh, a father-in-law raped his daughter-in-law and the supposed compensation to the woman was to marry the old man. In the bargain, her young husband had to divorce her, which incidentally, rendered her children somewhat orphaned. According to the laws of their community, a rape is severely punishable provided the victim can produced four witnesses to the crime before the dar-ul-qaza. How practical that could be is questionable.

Over the centuries, India has faced many a conquering invasion. It was customary for the invaders and their soldiers to convert or enslave defeated enemies, rape their womenfolk and often force them into their harems. Historically, this happened often enough to reconcile society to rape being seen as disgraceful, but not abominable or inhuman. Although in the world context, we must realize that it is an unforgivable black mark on our civilization.

The sentence for rape in China for example is death in most cases. In North Korea, rapists are sentenced to death by firing squad. In Afghanistan, convicted rapists are shot in the head or hanged within four days. In Egypt, rapists are hanged, as they are in Iran, where they are occasionally put to death by stoning (Wikipedia).

It is to be hoped that the Indian conscience will be aroused enough to enable drastic action to be taken. This means not only drastic punishment to the guilty but also an enduring deterrence for others to keep away from this heinous crime.

In some African tribes, rape is heavily punished, because it is considered a violation of property rights, the women being considered belonging to either her father or her husband. Strangely enough, the Red Indians of America considered gang-rape as a means of punishment of an adulterous wife. In some countries like France, there is distinction between statutory rape and rape as is commonly understood.

Statutory rape means taking sexual advantage of a person in a subordinate or a subservient position, for example, an employer forcing himself upon his secretary. In such cases, even at 18, the victim would be considered a child. My own conclusion is that a rape convict should be punished by no other means than surgical castration so that he realizes for the rest of his life his inadequacy and suffers the lack of potency which he was so proud of. A death penalty ends with the hanging. The guilty individual does not survive to regret. The rest of the world hardly would remember the particular crime, nor the guilty or the victim.

Capital punishment has very little utility as a deterrent to other men. On the other hand, surgical castration of a young man will make him a eunuch. In the bargain, he would be a walking advertisement for society to see what happens to a rapist. Chemical castration is not recommended for our country, because it would leave open the door for mistakes or corruption.

Indonesia’s parliament in October 2016 had passed a law authorising chemical castration following a number of high profile cases of child sexual abuse in the country. The first man sentenced to chemical castration in 2019 said he would prefer an increase in prison time or even the death penalty. The Czech Republic practices surgical castration for sex offenders. The law was introduced in 1966. According to official figures, 85 people underwent surgical castration in the Czech Republic between 2000 and 2011. However, this practice has drawn strong criticism from human rights groups.

Ukraine’s parliament in July 2019 had approved a measure to chemically castrate rapists. The legislation will potentially apply to individuals aged between 18 and 65 found guilty of raping or sexually abusing minors.

Sometime ago, Nigerian lawmakers approved surgical castration as punishment for those convicted of raping children under the age of 14, which however, needs to be signed by the country’s rulers for it to become the law. The Nigerian move followed public outrage over a wave of rapes, which prompted the nation’s state governors to declare a state of emergency.

Castration as punishment has been introduced as a law even in the USA. In June 2019, the American state of Alabama enacted a law that would require, as a condition of parole, that some convicted child sex offenders undergo chemical castration. Renowned American media house The Atlantic had written: “The new law will mean that those who abused children under the age of 13 will be injected with hormone-blocking drugs before leaving prison. The state of Oklahoma too, mulled over passing a similar legislation. A similar bill was proposed last year in Oklahoma but met strong opposition.” The US newspaper had added: “Unlike castrating a bull, chemical castration does not involve removing a person’s testicles though the Alabama bill initially advocated the surgical approach. Instead, the procedure uses various drugs to render the testicles irrelevant. In most cases, medication triggers the pituitary gland to reduce testosterone to prepubescent levels.”


 Prafull Goradia is an author, thinker and former Member of Parliament


Militarising the Quad

By Prakash Karat

October 23, 2020

The forthcoming Malabar exercises in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in November will feature all the four countries of the quadrilateral grouping (Quad) – the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The Malabar exercises had begun as joint exercises of the Indian and US  navies in the early 1990s. In recent years it has became trilateral with Japanese participation.

Only once in 2007,  did Australia and Singapore join the  Malabar  exercises in the Bay of Bengal. At that time, the CPI(M) and CPI had conducted two joint jathas from Kolkata and Chennai culminating in Visakhapatnam to oppose the US-led multi-national military exercise.

The Quad which was sought  to be launched in 2007,  finally came to fruition with the Trump administration pushing  it.  From the outset, the U.S. conceived it as a grouping to contain China. In 2017, it was revived with a meeting in Manila of secretary- level representatives of the four countries.  The Quad, it was proclaimed, will strive for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” designed to check China’s rising influence.

Last year the Quad was upgraded to the ministerial level and a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries took place in September in New York. The second ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo this year on October 6.

The United States has been openly proclaiming the Quad  as an anti-China alliance. Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of sState said at the Tokyo meeting: “As partners in the Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) exploitation, corruption and coercion”.

In India, the Quad  has been vigorously advocated by various strategic experts and the corporate media after the India China stand-off at the  LAC in Ladakh. There was a chorus of demands that India strengthen ties with the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region as a necessary counter-measure to China.

However, the alliance with US strategic interests in what is now termed as the “Indo-Pacific”  region began  much before.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi  had signed onto the “Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region”  during President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015. To inveigle India further the Asia-Pacific region was rechristened as the Indo-Pacific region by the Trump administration.

India signed the logistics supply agreement in 2016 with the United States called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). This has been followed by logistics agreements with Australia (June 2020) and Japan (September 2020). These are major steps in the emerging military alliance that the Quad represents. These facilitate “inter-operability” and the use of each other’s military facilities by the armed forces of the concerned partners of the Quad. The inclusion of Australia in the Malabar exercises is a logical culmination of the quadrilateral alliance.

Japan and Australia are traditional military allies of the United States and the Americans have military bases in these two countries. Now India has joined them.

The Foreign Minister Jaishankar was being disingenuous when he stated that India would not become part of any  “alliance system” at a seminar in September.  India  has already signed two of the so-called foundational agreements with United States – LEMOA and CISMOA. The third agreement Basic Exchange and Communication Agreement (BECA) is being finalised. The 2+2 meeting of the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries which is to be held on October 26–27 in New Delhi may see an announcement in this regard.

Such agreements are signed by the military allies of the United States, whether it be NATO countries  or those in the Asia-Pacific region. India is already a “major defence partner” of the United States. The Modi government has no qualms whatsoever in compromising national sovereignty and assuming the role of a subordinate ally of the United States. There is no concern whatsoever that none of India’s neighbours or the ASEAN  countries show any inclination to join the Quad.

The reality is that the Quad is driven by the ambition to preserve US hegemony over the region; it will prove illusory and ineffective in defending India’s territorial boundaries. As for the US hope that a Quad plus can emerge and develop into an Asian NATO, it is going to remain just that, a hope.

It will be in India’s interest to engage politically and negotiate at the highest level with China to address the border stand-off. Strengthening economic and trade ties with China is vital for India’s development in the post-Covid period. Becoming a cog in the geo-political strategy of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region will only complicate efforts to resolve the border issue. It will also severely restrict India’s strategic autonomy which is so essential for the country’s progress in an increasingly multi-polar world.


Journalism: A Demanding Profession

By Haseeb Ibn Hameed

October 23, 2020

Young journalists must get back to the ways of old school journalism to regain the reputation of this profession and earn respect in the society.

Journalism is one of the a finest professions for the stories that journalists have broken, for the regimes they have dethroned, for the lives they have saved, for the grievances they have addressed, for the bravery they have showed, for the courage they possess and for the information they give. A profession like journalism does not deserve to be defamed due to some people who have chosen this field without any passion for it. It’s the passion that drives one to work on a cold morning during winters. It’s the passion that makes us write and think at mid night when everyone else is sleeping. Journalism is not for those who seek white collar jobs, neither for the weak hearts. No doubt that the introduction of social media and citizen journalism has had a major impact on the field of journalism but that doesn’t mean that passion driven journalists lose their credibility or their value decreases.

The action of copying news from the social media and wire services  has to be condemned. It is no match to the work done by those who have been in this field for decades, who did journalism when there was no internet, no mobile phones and no public relation officers in the government departments. They did a lot of leg work, read a lot, researched a lot to file a single story

One senior journalist narrating his experience said: “There was an encounter near the Press Investigation Bureau and I covered the visuals while lying on the ground for one hour. When I got back home, my abdomen was hurting but my heart was pleased.” Table stories that are done by copying lines from Google and social media accounts of wire services are not stories but only a pieces of information. These stories can’t shake the regime or the men in power, nor can they put fear in the capitalist class of our society. The new journalists must adopt the old school journalism again so that they may earn the respect of people and the ruling class, because nowadays the ruling classes see journalists as brokers. Journalists are not paid only to write but to read, research, investigate. Everyone today is aware of what is trending on twitter but only a journalist who does leg work and investigates with passion and collects facts knows the story behind the events. We need to get back to paper in order to read between the lines because the massive flow of information on the digital platform often misguides the masses and journalist must not be among them. It is important to mention that journalists while doing their job should follow the ethics principles of journalism, show respect to the people and officials they are interviewing.

In a conflict zone like Kashmir it’s easy for a journalist to make money but it takes courage, determination, passion and faith to side with the truth, burry the desires and to earn respect. To have a principle stand is as important as oxygen is for living. At the same time a journalist must know how to write in a way where he doesn’t become the target of people and of the system, but conveys his message in a well-articulated and well mannered way.

Instead of typing stories while lying in their beds journalists need to stay in newsrooms, discuss the news and try to read events between the lines, because “a noisy newsroom is an alive newsroom.” Young journalists must get back to the ways of old school journalism to regain the reputation of this profession and earn respect among the society. We have to keep in mind what great author Lord Northcliffe once said; “News is what somebody somewhere wants to burry, all the rest is advertising.” Journalists must stop acting like public relation officers and start to work as journalists. No doubt that this honourable profession is under siege for political reasons but journalists are also to blame and it’s the sole duty of a journalist to rescue it.

It’s pertinent to mention here that only a journalist can do it. Forty decades ago If Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had decided to report burglary story as only burglary story and didn’t investigate it further, preferred rest instead of doing leg work, we wouldn’t have had the Watergate story, “the greatest reporting story of all the time” and the corrupt president of United States would have never resigned. The facts, and figures are things that give life to a story, sitting at a table and browsing Internet will never lead to “the greatest story”.



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