Politics of Agitations

This time last year, the country was awash with the PTI slogan ‘Tabdeeli aah nahi rahi tabdeeli aa gi hai’’. PTI was seen as the biggest threat to the elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Speculations were rife that his government would fold and that new elections would be called. The ‘tiger’ on top of the container would conquer the land and be elected as prime minister. Alas all of these speculations proved to be not true. In a spectacular show of being all containers and no show PTI folded ‘suddenly’ without achieving any of its goals or using the platform to push for any real reform.

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Terror funding in Pakistan: A holistic picture

Terrorist FinancingA report recently published by the US Treasury Department claimed that unidentified elements in Pakistan and Afghanistan are major sources of terrorist financing. In addition, another somewhat identical report released by the British government claims that there is ‘evidence’ that recently some funding via donations has been diverted from the above mentioned countries to terrorist groups in Syria. Going into further detail, the report predictably points out that the Haqqani Network generates funds by a wide range of sources including businesses and proceeds derived from criminal activities such as smuggling, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Similar allegations are leveled against the other thorn under the United States’ skin, the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Deescalating the tensions between Pakistan and India

(By Michael Krepon) Trend lines in the subcontinent are poor and will not improve until there is substantive dialogue between India and Pakistan. Hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would pull a “Nixon goes to China” maneuver with Pakistan have been dashed, at least for now. Modi either has no Pakistan policy or has a policy not to engage with Pakistan. It’s worth recalling, however, that President Richard Nixon didn’t pursue his China gambit early on. And that General Pervez Musharraf introduced himself to India with a land grab and ended his presidential run trying to reach a settlement over Kashmir. It’s never a good idea to type cast or pigeonhole ambitious leaders. Rather, it’s usually a good idea to look for openings to improve testy relations between states that possess nuclear weapons. Continue reading Deescalating the tensions between Pakistan and India

What Muslim parents should tell their children about Paris

Over the past decade and a half, after every horrific incident around the world, it seems as if time stops for a couple of days. Mental energy is at an all-time low, and if we’re not busy commenting and posting updates about the crisis or having passionate discussions with relatives and friends, we’re sitting on our couches, numb and mindlessly flipping through news channels, blood pressure rising and falling as we see again and again what we fear.

The first blow comes when the death toll pops up, steadily increasing. The second blow comes and we prepare ourselves for the list of condemnations.

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Modi’s lost moment to emulate Thatcher

narendra modi, narendra modi prime minister, narendra modi reforms, naredra modi tenure, narendra modi packages, modi, modi news, latest news(By Tunku Varadarajan) Watching Narendra Modi govern India, one laments a lost opportunity. His victory in May last year had offered independent India its first clear shot at a free-market conservative government. Sixteen months later, one struggles to find any sustained commitment to market reforms. His recent speech to the Delhi Economic Conclave was a mixture of complacency and platitudes. Continue reading Modi’s lost moment to emulate Thatcher

Pakistan’s political stability

Raheel-Sharif-Nawaz-SharifEver since the PML (N) government came into being it has operated against the backdrop of questions on the state of civil-military relations. This is nothing new but in the past there were situations that could and did lead to military interventions followed by prolonged military backed and dominated governments. This time after a decade of military backed rule and with an active insurgency in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) plus a declining economy the domestic and international environment was considered totally inappropriate for any sort of undemocratic dispensation especially because one elected government had completed its five year tenure and had been followed by another. In spite of this there were totally avoidable situations that threatened to create a civil-military confrontation with disastrous consequences for the country. In most cases these stemmed from inappropriate statements and actions that sent the wrong signals and encouraged speculation by those eager to see some kind of upheaval and change. That this did not happen goes to the credit of both the political and the military leadership. After all, the entire ‘container situation’ in Islamabad could have led to third party intervention — there was enough encouragement from many quarters — but Islamabad is not Tahrir Square and Pakistan is a big politically awakened country with well developed institutions and an overwhelming desire for functional democratic governance.

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Nuclear Security

Pak-US relations are now subject to circumstances dictated inversely by the ongoing war on terror: the worse the war, the better are the relations and vice versa

South Asia, where two nuclear rivals — India and Pakistan — are situated, is unique in the sense that in this region peace is enforced through the fear of nuclear strike, which is called nuclear deterrence. To sustain the quest for deterrence, a nuclear arms’ race is going on. The pile of nuclear arms and the stack of related carrying tools, such as missiles, have imperiled the region’s security. Continue reading Nuclear Security

The perils of religious discrimination flout out Jinnah’s vision


Faith based prejudices have existed in Pakistan since the birth of the country and only deepened during Gen Ziaul Haq’s missionary rule, and after the 9/11 attacks on America, reveals a recent survey of religious minorities.

A breakdown of the religious denominations in Pakistan overall, and Punjab specifically.

Titled ‘Living in fear: Pakistan’s unequal citizens’, the report was prepared by the Asia Foundation and the Pattan Development Organization and launched at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services on Tuesday.

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India going off-balance

(BY M.K. BHADRAKUMAR) At a meeting with the president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at his residence in New Delhi last Friday, the functionaries of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which mentors the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reportedly expressed “grave concern” over the mishandling of the country’s relations with Nepal. Continue reading India going off-balance

No difference between Muslims and no-Muslim violence level

Contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.

As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression.  This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model.  Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism.  But, really, how naive.  Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined.  The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least.  The Swedish church is a national church.  Spain?  Was it really unconnected to Catholicism?  Did the Church and Francisco Franco’s feelings toward it play no role in the Civil War?  And what’s sauce for the goose: much Muslim violence is driven by forms of modern nationalism, too. Continue reading No difference between Muslims and no-Muslim violence level