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On perpetual Indo-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]nyone who closely watches Indian news and debates over TV channels, especially in English and Hindi would attest an ugly truth: India does not at all seek peace with Pakistan, Bangladesh, and it is still determined to kill the remaining Kashmir Muslims. Indian TV channels in English are fully devoted to terrorism, cricket and anti-Pakistanism.

India promotes cross-fire dramas as part of 11/9 in order to advance it national interest abroad. It is therefore not sure if India would any time end hostilities and hate politics with Pakistan over Kashmir even if all Kashmiris accept Indian sovereignty in a referendum if held. Indian military congestion in Kashmir would not be reduced as forces would continue to control the Muslims there and for which Indian regime would, like USA and Israel, discover new threats, meant to terrorize and attack Muslims. After all, Manipur in India continues facing military atrocities endorsed by New Delhi with extra powers. India would curtail all basic freedom to Indians as well and if anybody opposes they are tracked brutally.

India and Israel though are not strange bed partners but who promote trade-in terror goods. None in the world media is allowed to criticize Israel and India as both track world media reports and opinions and pay to say no articles appear in the press or internet criticising colonialist crimes being perpetrated by Indi and Israel. They are among the fast emerging strategic partners globally coordinating their colonialist operations. .

India thrives on anti-Pakistani and anti-Muslim and terror victim planks, though it also plays a premier role in spreading terrorism.

Indian media and political parties hate Kashmiris for the issue an international one thanks to Pakistani efforts to take to international forums the Indian techniques of committing genocides in Kashmir. In main India both national political outfits – and secret allies on anti-Islamism – BJP and Congress, having to end the struggle in Kashmir, have one agenda now: to somehow pacify Kashmiri Muslims with some false promises and also to delete the historic case against Hindu criminals, who pulled down the Historic Babri Mosque on 06 December 1992 on a deep rooted Indian conspiracy against Indian Muslims and Islam. This destructive politics has got the backup, guidance and help from Indian state and successive governments. Indian corporate media lords work very closely with military-intelligence organizations to promote Islamophobia in media so that India looks somewhat democratic and”safe”.

India committed a gracious crime by annexing Jammu Kashmir even if on the advice of former colonial master Britain and now anti-Islamic trends have come handy to perpetrate crimes against Muslims in Kashmir. It is therefore not difficult to comprehend the reason for this collective anti-Pakistani and anti-Muslim mindset of Indian regime, military, media and intelligence is the simple colonialist calculation that any peace with Pakistan would force India to shelve official tensions and try to be good to Indian Muslims albeit with a pinch of salt ,

Further, the promotion of bilateral ties with Pakistan would make India slowly lose global sympathy as a major “terror victim” and would eventually its nukes and military advantages to threaten the neighbors. In short, if it promotes peace and friendship with Muslims neighbors, India would lose its big brother status it enjoys now arrogantly. Many strategic guys think India cannot afford to lose its “strategic” advantages by mending ways with regional Muslim nations and Kashmiri and Muslims. India does not seek to end communal politics.

Above all, both India and Pakistan would lose Jammu Kashmir which both jointly occupy- while India does it brutally by targeting Muslims in Kashmir and India proper sending s warning to UK (and USA indirectly) for occupying India for centuries before granting independence in 1947, while Pakistan make Kashmiris “love” Pakistan as a “reliable” defender of Kashmiris Muslims, while it keeps killing Muslims indoors as per instructions of USA and also from India received through Washington along with service charges in dollars.

Wars, conflict, crisis and disruption of diplomatic relations and bogus talks or dialogues between the two nuclearized South Asian states are a central part of history of the region. India as well as Pakistan promotes tensions and both are not scared of them for many more years so that they continue to occupy Jammu Kashmir with backing from China, Russia and USA – all veto powers. Both are eager to escalate the tension by cross border fires, terrorizing the besieged Kashmiris.

Kashmir has been a contested area of South Asia since the partition of British India in 1947. The region is claimed by both India and Pakistan; the Indian-controlled part has periodically been convulsed by protests.

Tensions between the two nations have run high since India forces killed a Kashmiri militant commander. Then, last month, 19 soldiers were killed on an army base in India. At least 19 people have been killed as a result of India-Pakistan border disputes in Kashmir that have occurred in recent weeks, prompting some to wonder if the conflict could escalate into a drastic war over control of the region. Both nations have denied responsibility for bringing the first strike, and leaders in each country have accused the other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement that curbed violence in the area.

As Pakistan remains focused on Kashmir, India has been alertly pursuing an objective of maligning Pakistan in the world alleging that it is a terrorist state and it manufactures and exports terrorism. This allegation makes USA and Israel happy as India has not blamed these two fascism nations of inventing and popularizing terrorism. India does not do that because it wants their active help in targeting Muslims in Indi and Kashmir.

This summer in Kashmir saw some of the worst conflict – and worst challenge for Indian military – since 2010. Massive numbers have turned out in public demonstrations against often oppressive Indian rule and endorsement of a new age of militancy. Some 85 civilians have been killed, and at least 11,000 injured, hundreds of them by pellet guns, weapons that have become controversial symbols of this summer’s turmoil for the serious eye injuries they have inflicted. Schools and commercial establishments have been periodically closed under curfews, and the internet cut off in an effort to prevent protests. Thousands of protesters have also been arrested in the ongoing crackdown, including Abyad’s older brother, who was detained on July 8 and continues to be held in a police station.

India, like USA, Israel and Russia, has no concern for the murder of Muslims in Kashmiris because as Hindu majority India is eager to retain it illegal occupation at all costs even by paying huge resources to USA.

South Asian nuclear powers with a lot of poverty, Pakistan and India have not signed NPT and there seems less possibility for regional cooperation in the nuclear field By following the Israeli and American strategies against Arab world and Russia, respectively, India is keen to maintain superiority over Pakistani military postures. But Pakistan’s maintenance and advancement of minimum credible deterrence at the moment discourages India to go for misadventure by launching a missile war against Pakistan. After having the full spectrum deterrence, Pakistan now has the capability to cover all kinds of threats. India has very aggressive strategic posture to contain Pakistani military, aiming at the nuclearization of Indian Ocean and projecting military power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. However, they not allow the situation to escalate into a full-fledged war.

Voicing its concern over India’s nuclear capabilities, Pakistan called on the member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to make a well-considered decision over including India, keeping in view the long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in the region “This build-up has been facilitated by the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia,” said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya at a weekly press briefing, reports the Dawn.

Pakistan has been asserting that India’s rapidly expanding military nuclear program poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond. The FO spokesman warned that another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption. “It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region,” he said.

India says that seven civilians, including two children, died following cross-border firings. Officials have evacuated several civilian villages along the disputed border region and moved them into government-operated shelters for their protection. In Pakistan, more than 10 people were killed over the weekend and Monday. “It appears as if a full blown war is going on between India and Pakistan,” Mohammad Saeed, a resident of the village of Mohra in the region, told Reuters. “Please have mercy and stop it.” Armies from each nation patrol the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into two separately governed regions. Cross-border firings between officials of the two nations continued, officials confirmed.

Such disputes have led to two of the three wars between the nations in the last 70 years. As decades of tension continue to mount, some young Kashmiri men are joining militant forces to fight India, seeking a route to self-determination for the region after years of frustration and oppression. This time the uprising has spread to every artery and vein of Kashmir. This is the third generation of Kashmiris since 1947, and their anger is such that they don’t want to budge.

Now, some worry that the stakes have become so high and the region so volatile that conflict could escalate into a nuclear exchange over the territory.

But other nonviolent tactics are at play in the conflict as well. India has threatened to skirt the provisions of a water treaty that regulates how the two nations share resources from three rivers by constructing two hydropower plants that would divert more water to India. Experts have criticized the tactic, and Pakistan has responded by saying it would consider a violation of the treaty to be “an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan.” “It’s highly irresponsible on part of India to even consider revocation of the Indus Water Treaty,” Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said last month. “Threats of a water war are part of a military, economic and diplomatic campaign to build pressure on Pakistan.”

Each nation also expelled diplomats last week when tensions rose to a government level. The decades-old conflict has left those in Kashmir disenchanted with politics between the two nations and apt to support rogue militant causes. As protests continue in the region, some say militant groups, and local support for them, could continue to grow in response to government actions. “People have lost faith in the political struggle,” Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir said: “I’m not saying everyone in Kashmir is a militant. But everyone sympathizes with the militancy, and that is a new reality.” He fondly remembers the 1970s and ’80s in his native Kashmir – a place that was peaceful and verdant, where the now 63-year-old artist could interact with visiting artists from around the world and paint landscapes.

For Khytul Abyad, such an artist’s paradise seems an elusive dream. Born in 1993, the 23-year-old artist watched as Kashmir’s beauty was overshadowed by political crackdowns, torture, Army bunkers on every street, and long waits in traffic as Army convoys passed by. For her, growing up in Kashmir mainly meant negotiating the ongoing conflict between Kashmiris opposed to India’s occupation of their land. Mr. Hussain and Ms. Abyad are working to document the conflict they have seen explode around them this summer, as tensions over India’s occupation of Kashmir soared after the killing of the popular militant rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

For both of them, Kashmir’s brutal history has become the canvas, their art their channel of dissent, protest, frustration, and hope. And they see others choosing the same path. “In 2008, 2010, and 2016 uprising, we’ve been seeing new artists emerging, either as musicians, rappers, poets, or painters,” says Abyad. “Being in a curfew for months, not being able to go out of home … this is the perfect time for art to emerge because there’s so much going on inside and the frustration becomes internal, rather than external,” she adds.

Abyad and Hussain’s perspectives are shaped by their very different experiences: While Hussain knew Kashmir before the armed rebellion started in 1988, Abyad was just 18 months old when unknown gunmen assassinated her father, Mirwaiz Qazi Nissar, a popular pro-freedom leader and a Muslim cleric. As she grew older, words like azaadi (Freedom) and tehreek (movement) became familiar rallying cries.

It was during the 2008 unrest that Abyad took up her paintbrush in protest. Nearly 80 people were shot dead and many injured in the uprising sparked by government land being transferred to a Hindu shrine board, where the board wanted to construct concrete structures. “I had never seen so much anger in people,” says Abyad, who has exhibited her work publicly and is participating in upcoming exhibitions and biennales. “It was tehreek, I thought. I saw people being beaten up inhumanely. I saw people who weren’t ready to go home even after teargas shells were fired at them, people who wouldn’t stop shouting ‘We want freedom’ until police would take them away.”

Like everyone, Abyad also experienced intense fear that she hadn’t known before. “This fear turned into sadness and brought anger,” she says. When she couldn’t go out and throw stones at the soldiers, it was art that became her outlet. Without being able to speak about her anger and frustration, art showed her the way to communicate the harshest of emotions in the gentlest manner. Her work is mostly a reflection of life in Kashmir and the events that have changed its history over the years. In her sketches, these days, she has been drawing short stories about various elements of the ongoing uprising, based on her own experience. “Wherever there is conflict, there’s discomfort, and discomfort gives rise to art,” she says.

Hussain’s early work was shaped by much more quotidian experiences. As a student at Mumbai’s JJ Institute of Applied Arts from 1971 to 1976, he would often visit home for vacation. After his education, he returned to Kashmir to introduce the graphic designer course in the Institute of Music and Fine Arts (IMFA). “Life was peaceful, and there was so much to do as a graphic designer,” says Hussain, now a highly acclaimed artist. “I used to paint as well. We had art camps every year and artists from across the world used to visit these camps. We had great fruitful interactions with them. It would not be an understatement to say that it truly was an artist’s paradise.”

At the IMFA, opportunities were many, including the highly creative and culturally diverse environment when artists from all regions and religions would work together. “My works talked about our rich cultural heritage, expressed my admiration for the natural beauty through landscapes, photo documentation of our vernacular architecture, especially the lattice work,” he says.

Then the conflict broke out; Hussain lost all the artwork he had created in 1993 amid protests. What he managed to salvage was then lost to floods in 2014. But that has just spurred him to do more paintings like “Death and Resurrection,” a series in the form of painted relief in mixed media that shows the conflict he has witnessed. He mourns the younger generation’s lack of awareness of an earlier Kashmir – one of his paintings, “Look Behind the Canvas,” depicts three generations of women in Kashmir – showing Mughli, whose son was forcibly disappeared, and Rafiqa, whose husband is also disappeared, and his own daughter. In the painting, he has also incorporated cuttings from the newspapers during 2010 mass uprising as a small collage.

After the work was finished, however, Hussain tore it apart, as a metaphor for Kashmir’s situation.v “I was so scared to see the situation of young boys dying in 2010. I found that there is no end to this violence and situation will not be better,” he says. “We are waiting for somebody to come, who can feel our wounds. I tore apart this painting but somebody will come who will put this painting back together again.”

Similarly, in July, when Abyad, a recent graduate of the IMFA, read about lead pellets being fired at civilians, the reaction came out on paper. More than 1.3 millions pellets have been fired in the first 43 days of the uprising. The hospitals are filled with young men wearing blackout glasses after undergoing operations to get out the pellets and then try to restore sight. “We have been confined to our homes for the past 52 days with violence all around us,” says Hussain, who has also been making digital art on pellet survivors. “It’s heartbreaking to see children losing their eye sight to pellets,” he says. “Digital media is the quickest means of depicting the plight of these children to the world. Such brutal acts must be stopped.”

On July 9, the capital of Indian-occupied Jammu Kashmir went unexpectedly quiet. Police barriers and barbed wire blocked the streets of Srinigar as military helicopters passed over blue skies crowded by mountains. Thousands of protesters were rioting in the streets 24 miles south. The sudden shutdown came after Indian Army forces killed 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a popular Hizb ul Mujahideen Kashmiri militant with a 1 million rupee ($15,000) Indian-issued bounty, late Friday evening in southern Kashmir. Outrage over Wani’s death turned the militant into a martyr overnight, and by Wednesday, the death toll reached 35, with hundreds more injured in clashes between separatist protesters and Indian troops.

As is routine when fighting breaks out in the Valley, which has been disputed between India and Pakistan since 1947, anti-Indian separatist leaders called for a four-day shutdown of the city. Shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and fruit sellers were closed in solidarity. The mood was grim, and few dared venture out of their homes.

But on the edge of the city, it was as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Dal Lake is Srinagar’s prized “jewel,” an economic powerhouse for a struggling region that draws tourists with its staggering mountains and serene waters. Nearly 70,000 locals reside near its shores, and depend entirely on tourism and fishing for their livelihood. And Dal’s façade of normalcy in recent days speaks to the tensions here as Kashmiris both chafe against Indian control and at the same time try to keep their shaky economy going. “Every Kashmiri wants to protect Dal Lake,” explains Asif Qureshi, bureau chief of a local news station in Srinagar. “It is the jewel of Kashmir. It’s a safe zone, blocked in from Dal Gate to the Boulevard near the Army Cantonment.”

On Sunday, as the rest of Srinagar remained on tense lockdown, water-skiers glided blissfully across Dal Lake. Fruit and souvenir sellers rowed in brightly-painted shikara boats around the silky blue water looking for tourists. Shikara boat owners offered rides to Indian families on vacation. “It’s our first time on Dal Lake,” said Sagar Choudri, a tourist visiting from Maharashtra who’d just finished water-skiing. “We feel good here. People are very nice to us. We heard a little about the strike, but we feel safe.”

Nearly 10 miles wide, Dal hosts some 880 wood-carved houseboats, leftover from the British before partition when the Dogra Maharaja of Kashmir prohibited them from building houses on land. Now, the Dal economy supports thousands of families across Srinagar – from taxi drivers to houseboat owners to cooks to fruit-sellers. It is one of the only areas that remains immune to fighting that can break out on short notice in Kashmir, which remains one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world. Green and white signs across Srinagar read: “Dal is our identity. Let us join our hands to preserve it.” “There is no tension, there is no military here. Dal Lake is peaceful, Dal Lake is safe, Dal Lake depends 90 percent on tourists,” says Latif Ahamed, a young shikara boat owner who stayed open during the strike, hoping to catch a few stray tourists. He sounded weary of talking about the recent fighting.

But it is not an easy topic to avoid. Dressed in the uniform blue kurta worn by shikara union workers, Mr. Ahamed explained that in addition to the economic difficulties of working as a shikara guide, his work carried the added burden of political pressure: Could he afford to follow suit and shut down his business? He had decided to stay open over the weekend, despite pressure to remain shut. “People are angry with us, the city people,” he said, referring to shopkeepers in other neighborhoods in Srinagar. “They come to us they say, ‘Why are you open?’ And I say, ‘Our family, we’re poor people. We earn only 500 rupees.’ You strike four to five days. What will I eat?”

Nearly every shop in Srinagar obeyed a statewide motion by Syed Geelani, the “father” of Kashmir’s separatist movement, to go on a five-day strike in protest of the killings. It has become a customary symbol of expressing discontent against the government – and is hard to defy. But it is often Kashmir’s urban poor who bears the brunt of these strikes. Ashiq Ahmad Kulo, a brass and silver jewelry seller, felt similar tensions as he rowed around Dal over the weekend looking for tourists. “Burhan Wani was a good person,” Kulo says from his shikara. “He was our Muslim brother, so we’re feeling sad about this. We are feeling totally bad. We want freedom. I am also hating the politics. But we have no shops, no regular salary. We people are depending only of the tourism.”

The costs of unrest are well known here, and lurk in recent memory. Fighting was so extreme in 2008, and later in 2010, that tourists stopped coming in entirely – Dal Lake was forced to shut down, more than 200 people were killed, and many youths were unemployed. The periodic unrest has meant that Jammu and Kashmir has one of the highest unemployment rates in India, with roughly 600,000 unable to find work.

But in the past five years, tourism has revived, with more Indians once again venturing north. During peak season, food and jewelry sellers can earn as much as 10,000 rupees ($148) in a single day. But during days of lockdown, which frighten off many tourists, the daily income ranges from zero to roughly 1,000 rupees, depending on the business. After fighting broke out this weekend, many tourists left early; Air India offered its customers outside Kashmir free cancellations for trips booked to Srinagar. “I stay open because everywhere nothing is open,” says Rafi Kulo, a local drink seller who sold water, juice, and soda. “But tourists suffer from thirst. I prefer to give people food, drinks. When protests happen, business always goes down. Before this situation we could earn 10,000 per day.

Most floating businesses on Dal Lake remained open over the weekend for tourists: Kashmiri silk and scarf shops, coat sellers, fruit and vegetable sellers, and even floating restaurants advertising popular Indian fast food like vegetable biryani, methi pakoora, zeera rice, dum aloo, and “Italian pasta.” “We people depend 100 percent on the tourists,” said Firdous Ahamed, owner of the floating restaurant Mango Bango. “In 2008, there was a killing on the road, local people got killed by police, in front of Dal Lake. And we people came out, we said, ‘We never fight for anything. Why is this happening here?’ ”

For Mr. Ahamed, the region’s dependency on India is clear. Many here wonder if an independent Kashmir would be able to survive, even if some current constraints on its economy were lifted. “We don’t think we have anything here to be independent. We don’t have nothing here, economically,” Ahamed adds. “We’re a small matchbox. Like India, if it stops, we can’t burn anything. We can’t have any factories here. We are depending on India. We say just give us democracy. That’s it. If we get democracy, like a right to talk, that’s the main thing.”

Observation

Whereas Pakistan has been internationalize the Kashmir issue so far now India, after its “surgical attacks on Kashmir on some bogus reason to weaken the Kashmiri struggle for freedom has got the opportunity to belittle Pakistan by internationalizing the Uri event.

RSS controlled Modi’s government tried its best to isolate Pakistan but failed miserably. it to be India proposed to BRICS Summit to declare Pakistan a terror state but China stood with Pakistan and rejected Indian claim.

India media are so happy that Indo-Pakistani ties are further straining and go complicated indefinitely as Uri provided the much waited chance to thrash Pakistani embassy officals.

For the sake of peace, stability and tranquility the UNSC must step in and push them to agree for a peace deal while releasing Jammu Kashmir under their joint occupation while China would also do the same as it also occupies a part of Azad Kashmir without striking secret deals with India and Pakistan. .

In order to retain occupational parts of Palestine, Israel also supports India directly and Pakistan does it passively. It is therefore necessary to clip the terror clip of the Zionist regime in Mideast and dismantle all its WMD obtained illegally form the west.

Indi a as well as Pakistan must now realize that they cannot occupy Jammu Kashmir indefinitely and must, therefore, wake up the protest calls of Kashmiris. The usual cross border firing dramas must end.

So long as India and Pakistan continue to cross fire to terrorize Kashmiris, the perpetual Indo-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir would not end especially when the UN and UNSC allow India to go on regular rampages in Kashmir and expand secret graveyards in the valley.

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Pakistan PM’s Saudi affair likely to backfire

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Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia flourished during the previous government headed by Nawaz Sharif, primarily due to his personal business interests in the Kingdom and friendly association with members of the Saudi royal family. Despite the criticism at home, Sharif never missed an opportunity to eulogize the Saudi rulers and support their wrongs.

During Sharif’s tenure as Prime Minister, while Pakistan’s ‘love affair’ with Riyadh blossomed, relations with Tehran plummeted. When the ambitious gas pipeline project was shelved by the Sharif government in 2015 under the Saudi pressure, some experts couldn’t resist the temptation of reading the obituary of Iran-Pakistan friendship. It seemed game over.

But the political transition in Islamabad this year rekindled hopes of a new foreign policy taking shape in Islamabad under the populist premier Imran Khan.

In his victory speech, Khan made it categorically clear that he would like to strengthen ties with allies in the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia. During his first meeting with the Iranian envoy to Islamabad, Khan reiterated his desire to bolster ties with Tehran and revive important projects that had been put on the backburner by the previous political dispensation, including the gas pipeline.

Experts termed it a “significant shift” in Pakistan’s foreign policy as his predecessor was seen overtly inclined towards stronger Pakistan-Saudi relations than Pakistan-Iran relations. Writing in The New Arab, Dr. Fazzur Rahman Siddiqui, a fellow at Indian Council of World Affairs, said with the exit of Nawaz Sharif, Saudi Arabia had lost a reliable ally who never concealed his affection for the Gulf states in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular “for both personal and strategic reasons.”

It was widely believed that Khan’s approach will be different from Sharif and he will not yield to covert pressures from Washington or Riyadh. At least that is what appeared.
When Khan embarked on his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, keeping alive the tradition set by his predecessors, he sought to underscore that Riyadh will remain a priority for Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pertinently, it was President Hasan Rouhani of Iran, not King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who first extended an invitation to him.

But the faith in his leadership or his vision for ‘Naya Pakistan’ (new Pakistan) was not yet dented. The massive army of his followers on Twitter ensured that the public opinion, or at least the opinion of netizens, was firmly in favor of his leadership and policies.

As the country’s fiscal deficit inflated to 6.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2017-2018 financial year, Khan panicked. He boarded the plane to Riyadh again, this time to seek funds. To woo the Saudi rulers, Khan said Riyadh had “always stood with Pakistan in difficult times and the Pakistani government and its people highly acknowledge it.”
Speculation had been put to rest. Khan was walking in the footsteps of his predecessor.

Following his second visit to Riyadh, Saudi regime announced $6 billion in financial support to Islamabad. It corresponded with the international outrage over the cold-blooded murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Even as many world leaders boycotted a Saudi investment conference, the so-called ‘Davos in the desert’, over Khashoggi’s death, Khan attended the event.

On asked why he attended the conference when many other world leaders had turned down the invitation, Khan said Pakistan was “desperate” for Saudi loans to shore up the flailing economy.

“Unless we get loans from friendly countries or the IMF, we actually won’t have in another two or three months enough foreign exchange to service our debts or to pay for our imports. So we’re desperate at the moment,” he was quoted saying by the Middle East Eye.

Khan conceded that his immediate foreign policy priority was maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia despite unprecedented outrage over Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi officials or the outcry over Saudi’s horrendous war crimes in Yemen.

Pakistan, which had previously maintained a neutral stance on Yemen war, might now be forced to support the Saudi onslaught there, some observers fear. If Khan can ignore a reprehensible crime like the killing of Khashoggi because of Saudi petrodollars, it can be expected that he will support the Saudi war crimes in Yemen also, although he has so far resisted doing that.

While Khan has adopted a strong and unwavering stance against the US, he seems to have succumbed to the temptation of being subservient to the Saudi Kingdom, for funds. That is where he risks losing the goodwill he has earned back in Pakistan and in the international community.

At a time when the world is saying ‘no’ to Saudi Arabia, Khan is part of a tiny minority that is going against the tide. This approach will only isolate Pakistan and it has isolated Riyadh and Washington.

Being subservient to Saudi interests also means that Khan will be forced to toe his predecessor’s line on Iran. If that happens, Islamabad will again be forced to shelve the gas pipeline project, which is being described as critical to Pakistan’s energy requirements.

Khan is walking a tightrope. Wisdom lies in taking informed decisions in the best interests of Pakistan keeping in view long-term goals. In the cricketing terminology, the cricketer-turned-prime minister could do well by playing the forward defensive shot rather than the mistimed stroke in the air.

First published in our partner MNA

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Pakistan a peace loving nation

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Muslims when meeting each other greet “Peace be upon you”. Islam is the religion of Peace and Love, Islamophobia is the creation of a few minds only. There is no doubt that there exists few criminals in every society, every religion, and every country, but such exceptions, may not be used to blame the whole nation, religion or country. Since its independence Pakistan has been promoting peace and stability around the world. Pakistan’s Peace-keeping missions have been playing important roles around the world to maintain peace in troubled areas. We are major contributor to Peace-Keeping Force and have been part of almost all of UN Peace-Missions, during the history of 7 decades. Pakistan is supportive of any efforts by any nation towards promotion or maintenance of peace.

Recently, UNGA’s Disarmament Committee adopted Pakistan’s resolutions with an overwhelming support, in New York on 9th November 2018. Three resolutions proposed by Pakistan were adopted by the UN General Assembly’s First Committee with an overwhelming support. The whole world supported Pakistan’s resolution while India was the only country to oppose them.

In fact, the resolutions highlight the importance of regional approaches to disarmament, which complement global disarmament efforts and stress the need to promote confidence building measures for enhancing regional and international peace and security. The resolution on conventional arms control was adopted by a large majority of 179 countries. India was the sole country to vote against the resolution.

Earlier, a big victory for Pakistan came, on November 1stwhen the Committee also adopted Pakistan’s resolution on assuring non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by 122 votes. The First Committee of the UN General Assembly which meets annually deals with disarmament, global challenges, and threats to peace that affect the international community and is mandated to seek solutions to global security challenges by considering all disarmament and international security matters within the scope of the UN Charter. Pakistan’s role in disarmament was admired and non-proliferation of uranium. We strongly condemn biological and chemical weapons and strictly adhere to UN decisions.

Pakistan is a responsible country and always exploring the opportunities of peace. Pakistan has always initiated the peace process with India and sincerely tried best to resolve all issues with India, including Jammu and Kashmir, by a peaceful dialogue. Pakistan respects UN, Respect UN mandate, Respect UN Charter, and wants others to do the same. It believes in diplomacy, and there is precedence that some of the more complicated issues around the world, has been resolved by diplomacy, then why not Pakistan-India issues be resolved by dialogue too.

We support the supremacy of UN and all nations must respect the UN. We always stand with the oppressed and raise voice for the victims. Our struggle for justice and righteousness is always admired. We keep on struggling for global peace and be part of any peace process around the world.

The Indian opposition to Pakistani resolution and persistent refusal to leave Kashmir has exposed the true Indian face. The recent International Amnesty report on Human Right violation in Kashmir was a big blow to India. Indian atrocities against its own minorities and lower caste Hindus is condemned widely. Indian opposition to the UN resolution on Palestine is also an example of India’s international position.

It is time that serious notice is taken by the UN, International Community and all conscious individuals to stand up for International Peace, Justice and Human Rights.  We all should keep on struggling for a better world for our next generation. We should be united for “Peace, Stability and Prosperity” for humanity globally.

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The Making of Modern Maldives: A Look at Maumoon Gayoom

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Authors: Srimal Fernando and Pooja Singh

Former Maldivian President Maumoon Gayoom occupies an important place in Maldivian political history largely because he guided this equatorial island nation to unprecedented levels of economic growth and also through tough times when democracy was challenged. Gayoom has a national as well as international reputation that made his name familiar to the rest of the South Asian countries. It was after his return from Nigeria’s Ahmadu Bello University as a lecturer, Gayoom commenced his political journey as a close aid of prime minister Ahmed Zaki in mid-70’s and later as a cabinet minister under Ibrahim Nasir. Gayoom’s leadership embarked on a more reformist approach in the first two terms during his presidency. He was able to take credit for the rise of the tourism sector and an increase in the fish productivity. In Male, as well as in the rest of the Maldivian islands, building of small fisheries harbors were accelerated under the rapid development programs initiated under his presidency. When one looks at the Maldivian foreign policy, Maumoon was credited as one of the key founders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985. Hence, he raised global awareness on climate change on the international arena. In this context, especially the awareness on small island nations facing rise in sea water levels which affects the livelihood of the islanders was a key theme which brought international attention. On the development side, the Hulhulemale reclamation project and the upgrading of roads and other infrastructure initiatives that he implemented are highly credited for by the Maldivians. In fact, the people’s president who visits the islands regularly was named as “A Man for All Islands” by the famous author in his book about Gayoom’s biography.

Early in his administration, former president introduced socio-economic experiments in reawakening the islands. His administration accelerated the economic growth in the twenty Atolls from Northern Haa Atoll to Southern Seenu Atoll instilling a degree of optimism and enthusiasm among the Maldivians. Yet another economic achievement in the tourism sector was the increase of luxury resorts from two in 1978 to hundred by 2008. Gayoom’s career is most relevant due to his performance and for changing the country’s political system to a multi-party democratic system where the power is vested on the citizens.

Another milestone during his tenure was to expand the average income of Maldivians from US$ 377 in 1978 to US$3,654 in 2008. However, towards the end of his presidency, the first signs of irreconcilable difficulties with the Maldivian opposition led by Mohamed Nasheed, the leader of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) started emerging in 2000. The Maldivian pro-democracy movement started in Male in 2003 and then moved to other Islands. As a result, Maldives adopted a multi-party political system and in 2008. In the same year the presidential campaign came to a climax where in the second phase of the presidential elections, the confident president had felt a constant sense of uncertainty since most of the opposition presidential candidates supported Mohamed Nasheed, the leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party. Gayoom lost the election and Nasheed the opposition leader assumed presidency.  The courageous former president Gayoom transferred the presidential powers to the newly elected president smoothly.

In fact, the reformist former president Gayoom formed the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party and later, he was one of the key founders of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) where his half-brother, Yameen Abdul Gayoom shared powers within the party. Hence, Qasim Ibrahim, a former finance minister under Nasheed’s government and also close confidant of president Gayoom led the Jumhooree Party (JP) which combined with PPM in 2013 presidential elections.

Unfortunately, in 2012 the overthrow of president Nasheed one of New Delhi’s closest allies in South Asia shocked the diplomatic circles on both sides of Asia as well as in the west. It took more than five years for Gayoom’s PPM party under the presidency of Yameen to return to power. However, due to widespread corruption and authoritative rules under Yameen’s presidency, many of the opposition party members such as former Maldivian president Nasheed, Jumhooree Party leader Qasim Ibrahim and many other political leaders who opposed the undemocratic rule were prisoned through unlawful means.

During the darkest period of the Maldivian politics from 2017 to September 2018, the lone voice of the public opposition belonged to a few opposition leaders such as, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih cannot be forgotten. In the same period, former president Gayoom, Nasheed and several opposition members created a united opposition to unseat president Yameen and his majority party rule through democratic non-violent means. One of the major reasons for this change by Gayoom in Yameen’s leadership was the widespread corruption and the authoritative rule. Finally, president Yameen prisoned former president Gayoom and his son, Faris Maumoon. This was one of the main reasons where large number of Gayoom supporters broke away from PPM led by president Yameen. This reason influenced the 23rd September 2018 presidential elections where opposition common candidate Ibrahim Solih saw a massive victory margin against president Yameen.

One could argue that, Gayoom, the president who guided Maldives to economic prosperity was the same charismatic leader who guided the South Asian Island nation towards democratic maturity. Maumoon Gayoom has been the most unpredictable political influencer in the modern political making of Maldives.

*Pooja Singh, a scholar of Masters in Diplomacy, Law, Business at Jindal School of International Affairs, India.

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