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Pulwama, Indian Diplomatic Offensive and Masood Azhar’s Declaration as Global Terrorist

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Authors: Tarranum Kazmi &Tahira Shabbir

It looks like this all plot was planned to get political benefits and also to ruin good image of Pakistan which Islamabad developed during its fight against the menace of terrorism and as well to put pressure on UN to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist who is heading Jaish-e-Muhammad and is suspect to involve in many terrorist attacks in India and also held responsible for Pulwama attack. The present article intends to investigate that to what extent Pulwama terror attack pay back India in its bids to declare Masood Azhar a global terror? The author argues that the attack proved a blessing for New Delhi’s endeavours to designate Masood Azhar a global terrorist and to put diplomatic pressure on China and Pakistan.

In Feb 2019 a terrorist attack consumed 40 soldiers of CPRF in Pulwama district of Indian Held Jammu & Kashmir. The incident abruptly changed the environment in both states of India and Pakistan as India instantly blamed Pakistan for the attack but Pakistan denied its involvement. The accusation of India was based on the basis that Jaish-e-Muhammad is a Pakistani originated militant group and the responsibility of this terrorist attack was claimed by said militant group whose head is Masood Azhar. As was expected both countries immediately used offensive language specially leadership of India was going beyond the thought.

The Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley had said that India would completely isolate Pakistan in the diplomatic community. Besides proclamation India took immediate steps against Pakistan by deciding to boycott the cricket world cup of 2019 though which was refused by ICC but India succeeded to get permission to wear camouflage military caps to show aggression against Pakistan. India also banned its movies being released in Pakistan.

Contrary to Indian actions, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran khan on 19th Feb 2019 publicly stated that providing safe heavens to terrorists is not in Pakistan’s interest. He asked Indian government to provide authentic evidence about Pakistan’s involvement in this attack. But India could not prove that Pakistan itself was involved in this attack but the statements of leadership provoked people against Pakistan and also media played a big hand in this attempt of leadership by showing all the offensive stuff against Pakistan.

Against this backdrop, Pakistani leadership publicly proclaimed that Islamabad would retaliate in case of any misadventure from Indian side. Later on different aims and interests of Indian leadership get exposed. It got cleared gradually that this attack was totally in Indian interest and Pakistani involvement was putting its state in total loss economically and internationally.

As internationally India tried to remove Pakistani status of MFN and also imposed trade restrictions on Pakistan. These trade restrictions effected Pakistani economy. India being a traditional and historical rival of Pakistan had already breached the water agreement and had built the dams which are affecting the water flow to Pakistan and after the Pulwama attack India once again stated that they will starve Pakistan by building more dams to stop water flow to Pakistan.

Though Jaish e Muhammad is Pakistani based terrorist group but on this base India cannot link Pakistan with this terrorist attack of Pulwama in IOK because terrorist group is non-state actor and state do not own it.

This deadly attack of Pulwama only proved a loss for Pakistan because it was to damage the image of Pakistan and also the environment at the time when the important incidents were going to happen in Pakistan. Firstly the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was going to visit Pakistan which could be cancelled due to this attack and also the PSL which is the grand event of Pakistan with the involvement of foreign cricketers and ICJ was going to hear the case of Indian Spy Jhadav.

Pakistan was going to face total loss but India on the contrary was totally going to be benefitted and to some extent it is proved. Firstly the election was on the head of Modi government and due to Modi’s extremist Hindu policies was going to lose it. Secondly the traditional rival was trying to built possibilities to ruin the image of Pakistan so it could declare it a terrorist country and also the beneficiary visit of crown prince could be cancelled and more and the biggest aim was to make an environment to declare Masood Azhar an international terrorist so it could be said that Pakistan is a country who gives shelter to the terrorists so hatred towards Pakistan could be generated. India from long ago was trying to declare Masood Azhar an international terrorist but China was a hurdle which became weak after Pulwama attack and could not resist international pressure of western alliance of U.S, France and the UK and consequently lifted its hold due to which UN Security Council under resolution 1267 declared Masood Azhar a global terrorist. India with its conspiracy of Pulwama attack got international sympathy and made itself reasonable to breach the agreement on borders and violate the international law and order on the basis of self defense like it did on the name of surgical strikes.

On the basis of so called surgical strikes Indian Air Force after Pulwama entered in the territory of Pakistan and breached its sovereignty through firing missiles on its soil. According to India government press briefing, the so called surgical strike killed some three hundred terrorists and destroyed their campus. But when it did its second attempt Pakistan shot down two Indian Jets and captured one pilot which was later released by showing goodwill gesture by Pakistan.

Indian offensive actions and coercive diplomacy though succeeded and fulfilled Indian desires of enmity with Pakistan but India should not forget that with little miscalculations or with unexpected reactions this diplomacy could have turned into full fledge war which can be fatal for two nuclear rivals. The mutual assured destruction is not only a threat for two South Asian states but it can also endanger the life of entire globe as the nuclear bombs are ten times more powerful than these were at the time of Nagasaki which was also proved disastrous even for the future generation.

Indian attempt to isolate Pakistan and U.S support for New Delhi further distanced Washington and Islamabad. The Indo-US strategic partnership aim to contain Chinese influence which is all-weather friend of Pakistan and any aggression against Islamabad can drag Beijing into it. Moreover, the Indian malicious designs cannot weaken the issue of Kashmir in UN because Kashmir is not the issue of only Pakistan but it also involved the local inhabitants of Kashmir who are the subjects of Indian genocide and mass murders.

On Kashmir issue and other problems India has always adopted the offensive policy whereas Pakistan is following the defensive one, and this strategy by both states yet balancing the situation but if both states chose the offensive policy the situation can be changed as international law is not capable to force any state for certain action and even cannot impose restrictions. So any change in present status que can be proved disastrous for both countries.

As Pakistan has cleared again and again that it is not going to start a war but against any step of India for war Pakistan has right to retaliate. Though India is successful to gain many interests and as well in getting declared Masood Azhar an international terrorist but it cannot link Pakistan. In conclusion it can be stated that Pulwama attack benefitted India and proved to be a total loss for Pakistan either in terms of economic or political gains. Pakistan lost its case in UN by accepting Masood Azhar a global terrorist.

*Authors are MSC Students of International Relations at Women University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Bagh Pakistan

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South Asia

Indian Imbalanced Balance

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A serious crisis is looming over journalism in India, which is increasingly vested in the hands of authority. On the one hand, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee asks for “discussion and dissension” for a vibrant democracy. “There should always be room for the argumentative Indian, and not the intolerant Indian. The media must be the watchdog, the mediator between the leaders and the public,” Mukherjee said while paying his regards to Ramnath Goenka – former press baron. On the other hand, Indian media has lost its credibility regionally as well as internationally owing to quality of Indian public discourse. According to criminal lawyer Rebecca Mammen, “The true test of a robust democracy is the independence of its media. Over the past few years our media has become the mouthpiece of the party in power. Coupled with the fact the corporate owners of media houses share close links with the government, the Indian media has tragically lost its voice.”

The mainstream media is vested in the hands of a selected few and refuses to question authorities.         The ‘Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index, which was released on April 20, has ranked India at 142 among 180 countries reflecting poor credibility due to pressures by government. According to the Report, the Indian media is reeling under a Hindu nationalist government, which has time and again tried to gag journalists. Moreover, India’s influential TV news channels function largely as government mouthpieces.A European non-governmental group “EU disinfo lab” had uncovered a network of 265 ‘fake’ news outlets sponsored by an Indian network to influence the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) with content against to Pakistan.

The crisis in the Indian media will have deeper impacts on Indian democracy. With a feeble opposition, weak institutions, and an inadequate media, Indians have no checks and balances. For instance, maligning Pakistan High Commission, Colombo(PAHIC) during a recent Indo-China conflict was an Indiangovernment instructed media strategy to divert public opinion from their failures in North. In other words, media strategy inadvertently defines poor political will of India to stand up to China while feel strong enough to bully the smaller neighbourhood.

The sane voices in Indian media have continuously shrinking space.Having almost 400 news channels, Indian media has failed to highlight serious matters, such as beef ban, human rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IoJK), and numerous discriminations against Indian Dalits. “Over the last few years – especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the general election of 2014 – the Indian mainstream media has allowed itself to be undermined by the transcendent political power that he represents,” said Pamela Philipose, The Wire. “A new note of muscular nationalism has crept into media discourse.  Also conspicuous is the curbing of dissent and the rise of the surveillance state – developments that bode ill for the independence of the Indian media,” says Philipose.

In a similar manner, a political scientist Giles Vernier argues that “a new note of muscular nationalism has crept into media discourse.  Also conspicuous is the curbing of dissent and the rise of the surveillance state – developments that bode ill for the independence of the Indian media.One reason why we don’t see much criticism in the media is that the government, in the person of the Prime Minister, has the ability to completely dominate the media’s agenda, by saturating the public and media sphere with the message, image, and his voice.”

Journalists should be critical of government’s handling of its internal and external matters to keep it on the right track. TV channels will call speakers of their choice, who would heavily lean to one side of discussion and pretend that it is balanced.

In the current atmosphere, with enraptured legislative issues and social perspectives, with populist political leadership, with developing bigotry against minorities and dissenters, the media can and ought to be an encouraging sign for liberal, mainstream and law based thoughts, yet additionally to guarantee that outrageous perspectives does not get into the papers or on TV. Rather, the media in India has become some portion of the issue, either excitedly partaking in preparing of contempt against the helpless, or carrying on in an insincere path by permitting the most exceedingly terrible components a free run of significant reality on their foundation. Whole ages of columnists are growing up with the possibility that they are playing out an important help; they have scarcely any good examples to gaze upward to, since their own managers, who should know better, are either sold out, ideologically dedicated to fanaticism or are indecisive, without firm feelings or just fearful. In any case, Indian reporting is in a profound emergency, all for the sake of ‘balance.’

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South Asia

This is Pakistan

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With an unprecedented progress in politico-socio-economic domains, Pakistan has a new face in the world. It has not only successfully corrected misplaced perceptions about it, but the internal and external circumstances around it have also changed, which has helped shaping Pakistan its renewed look according to changed regional and international environment. The successes at the security front has also led to the economic progress in Pakistan.

In result of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism and anti-extremism operations, it lost tens of thousands of people, including soldiers and civilians. Pakistan’s strong resolve together with sustained military operations against terrorist elements, however, brough back peace and stability in the country. According to Security Report 2019 by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), “Pakistan witnessed a further decline in the number of terrorist incidents and consequent casualties… terrorist attacks this year decreased by around 13 percent as compared to 2018.” The report clearly depicted a gradual decrease in terrorist attacks and casualties since 2009. In this regard, Pakistan’s National Action Plan (NAP) helped eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country. The improved security situation in the country resulted in the economic dividends in the shape of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pakistan is also appreciated for its nuclear material safety. In its annual report, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) – a leading United States non-proliferation watchdogdivulged that “Pakistan’s improvements in the Security and Control Measures category are significant because strengthened laws and regulations result in durable boosts in Pakistan’s score as well as provide sustainable security benefits.” While appreciating Pakistan’s further improvement in nuclear materials’ safety, Laura Kennedy, a former United States diplomat, tweeted that “one welcome bit of news reported by #NTIindex is that #Pakistan ranked as most improved in security of those countries holding nuclear materials.”

Pakistan’s fight against Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) is used as a role model by developed countries of the world. The Government of Pakistan (GoP) revealed a PKR 1.13 trillion relief package to help to the powerless and securing industry and other organizations. The concept of ‘Smart Lockdown’ also reaped its dividends and Pakistan has come out from the dangers of this deadly virus.

On the socio-economic front, Pakistan is making progress as well. For instance, the current account deficit has reduced from US$ 20 billion to US$ 3 billion together with a significant decrease in trade and fiscal account deficits. The stalled construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam has also been approved, which will result in additional water supplies for better agricultural production. There has been increase in the rights activism i.e., Transgender Pride March, Aurat March, Climate March, and Student Solidarity March. Women sports stars of Pakistan won international medals and recognitions.For instance, 8-year-old Pakistani Taekwondo star Ayesha Ayaz won a bronze medal for Pakistan at the 7thFujairah Taekwondo Open Championship in United Arab Emirates (UAE); Hajra Khan won 3 Guinness World Records; Mahnoor Shahzad won the Annapurna International Badminton Tournament; Nida Dar became the first Pakistani woman to sign a deal with an international cricket league, Sydney Thunder; Shahida Abbasi from Hazara won one of the total two gold medals for Pakistan at the South Asian Games 2019; and Mallak Faisal Zafar won first position in the Basic Novice Girls II category at the 24th International Eiscup Innsbruck 2019. Test cricket also returned to Pakistan.

Culturally, Pakistan is projecting itself more prominently. Pakistani celebrities are mamking it to international fashion weeks – Mushk Kaleem and Alicia Khan walked the ramp for Milan Fashion Week 2019. Pakistani film Laal Kabootar won the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival for the Best Feature Film Award. ActressMahira Khan was appointed National Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, strengthening the bond between the people of Pakistan and the international community. Moreover, Mehwish Hayat was appointed ambassador to UK based international humanitarian charity, Penny Appeal.

On the entrepreneurial front, 9 Pakistanis made it to Forbes’ coveted 30 under 30 Asia list: Ahmed Rauf Essa: Founder, Telemart; Karishma Ali, President, Chitral Womens Sports Club; Laila Kasuri, Water Analyst, Global Green Growth Institute; Hanaa Lakhani, Hasan Usmani,Gia Farooqi and MoneebMian, Cofounders, Roshni Rides, Zain Ashraf, Founder, Seed Out; and Zainab Bibi, Founder, Pakistan Society for Green Energy (PSGE).

Regionally, Pakistan’s foreign policy is paying its dividends. Pakistan’s relations among Iran, Afghanistan, Sri-Lanka, Russia, United States and others has improved significantly. Overall, there is many encouraging events happening in and around Pakistan.

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South Asia

Post-Pandemic Politics

Usman Ghani

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Franklin Roosevelt has rightly put it, ‘In politics, nothing happens accidentally. If anything happens, it’s palpable that it planned this way’. Numerous features have been defining pre-pandemic world politics over the years. The current situation shows that pandemic will only reinforce largely five global fault lines that have been characterizing the global environment even in the pre-pandemic phase. Form this we can extrapolate the future course of global politics. 

The first and the obvious feature is the rising multi-polarity with power being diffused vertically and horizontally between countries and within countries because citizens become more impart by accessible cheaper technologies. Therefore, global power especially economic power continues to be redistributed while the state power also continues to be eroded by the greater influence of non-state actors both good and bad. In today’s world, no single power can achieve outcomes on its own. It can only do so in conjunction or with the cooperation of other states. Since the Second World War, this pandemic is the first global crisis in which US leadership has been absent.

Secondly, the resurgence of competition and tensions between the big powers in the global environment have come into sight. US-China confrontation has become the most consequential and geopolitical development, which is going to influence and shape the world in the coming years. It can be seen that an outbreak of trade and tech war during the pre-pandemic will continue in the future. Political tensions are also at a record high. President Donald Trump of the United States has been using hostile rhetoric against China. Because of the severe actions taken by the US, China has reached its limits and started pushing back.

Thirdly, global powers are retreating from multilateralism and a rule-based international system. The renunciation of international agreements and treaties has been witnessed over the months. The irony is that the pandemic demands greater solidarity and cooperation but quite the opposite has happened, where there is an absence of international solidarity and much less collaboration. The USA has renounced a long list of treaties including the Iranian nuclear deal, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF), and recently the Open Skies agreement. It has also walked out of key multilateral institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the WHO more recently.

Another feature is the rise of populist leaders who are often described as strongmen. Although it’s debatable how much they deserve the description of strong men. Populist leaders act unilaterally with impunity as well as seek to rewrite the rules of game either in the world or their region depending upon their capability to manage. They are mostly disdainful toward international norms. In South Asia, the grimmest example is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is taking brutal and illegal actions not only in occupied Kashmir but also within India by pursuing communal politics.

Ultimately, there would be an emergence of anti-globalization sentiment due to multiple factors. The UN will be celebrating its 75th anniversary which is going to be a historic moment while American threatens to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) permanently. In this unenviable situation, the UN has been under great strain because its main agency which deals with the health crisis is under attack due to curtailment of funding by Donald Trump. Furthermore, certain leaders of the west are going to reject the existing trading regimes because they cannot compete anymore. The prevailing situation in those countries demands to remake global supply chains and they intend to reduce their dependence on China. Apart from that, plans are considered to move towards setting up local hubs of manufacture and supply.

In a nutshell, there is going to be a reversal of many aspects of globalization. Protectionism, trade wars, and to some extent travel restrictions will be a new reality. Right-wing populist leaders will use the health crisis to reinforce their policy preference for closed borders, strict immigration laws, and the ban on the free movement of labour that has been seen in recent decades. The future course of the most important bilateral relationship of our century which is between China and the United States will have a huge impact on the global economy as well as on the international order and multilateral institutions. Pandemic has further strained the relationship and resulted in trading accusations and allegations from both sides. Summarily, that has been described as the new cold war by many. The question arises whether these two global powers will arrive at modus vivendi or will there be a standoff. This has become a more enduring feature of the global landscape.

To round off the whole debate, the World is possibly at one of the history’s most unsettled periods in international relations with the atomization of the international system. This is an uncharted territory which the world has not seen before. For Pakistan, there are going to be strategic, political, and economic implications because it seeks to form good relations with both countries. Pakistan ought to understand that in the long run, its strategic future lies with China rather than the US.   

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