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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

Is PTM Genuine to its Cause?

Syed Nasir Hassan

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Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) v/s Sate is a fiery tale which none can anticipate how it will end. Sparked from the extra judicial murder of model aspirant Naqeeb Ulllah Mahsud on January 13, 2018, the movement continue to get a constant hype on the political spectrum of Pakistan. Initially named Mahsud Tahafuz Movement turned into Pashtun Tahafuz Movement when the case was put forward to the court and Rao Anwar was arrested. However, things got transformed as PTM started taking a constant nudge with the state. From the protest in front of press club in Islamabad, in 2018 to different rallies across country things shifted vigorously. PTM’s defiance is mainly pointed at criticizing the military institution and falsely blaming the institution for their plight. But the question rises that is PTM another mainstream political movement subjected for the elites rather than addressing the actual issue? And are they trying to internationally politicize the issue in order to demoralize the efforts of Pakistan?

On April 29, 2019, DG ISPR Maj Gen. Asif Ghafoor, military spokesperson, addressed PTM leadership and apprised them that the time has come when legal actions is mandatory to be taken against them. He further claimed that the financial records makes the existence of PTM skeptical as they are directly being funded by the foreign factions from neighboring countries  for their protests and rallies.  He was also of the view that PTM is being used by the foreign factions to instigate instability when Pakistan has achieved relative peace. However, the fact should not be neglected that the Government of Pakistan and military establishment acknowledges the demands put forward by the leadership of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement. At various points both, government and military, tried to engage with them in a collaborative manner. Recently on April 16, 2019, Senate Special Committee met the PTM leadership along with the MNA Mohsin Dawar. Even before, when the movement was in its early phase military was the first one to engage with them. When a request was put forward by the PTM leaders to meet military in order to express their grievances, it was agreed. Meeting was held between PTM delegation of 15 members and DG, ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Feb 08, 2018, in which apart from primary demand of justice for Naqeeb Mahsud there were other 4 demands. The military showed consensus on all of them. But the duality of the PTM should not be unremembered as on one side it engages with the government and the military but at the same time the constant barraging on the state and its institutes continues through social media. Things got more complicated as the tone of PTM got discordant day by day. The relentless spewing of hate and impudent comments against the state and its institution clearly show as on whose side PTM is. Movement is kind of drifting away from the true cause when the anti-state and separatist slogans and hymns are openly vocalized in the rallies and are now directed to demoralize the standards of army rather than demanding the rights.

With constant efforts from both government and military the PTM appears reluctant to develop a consensus. Keeping this whole saga in mind One might consider that either PTM leaders are not well negotiator or they don’t want to negotiate and the picture is much larger then it seems.

In 2018, a commission was also formed to facilitate PTM which included high ranks from the military and reputable civilians. State was persistence in facilitating the PTM grievances. DG ISPR also highlighted in his briefing that in order to remove landmines, a team was formed and is currently putting every effort at their disposal. The team had cleared 45 percent of the area and in pursuit of the task 101 Jawans had lost their lives. State constantly acknowledges the demands of PTM but PTM and its virtual diaspora have failed to acknowledge the efforts made by the state.

Pashtun makes up to 15% of the total population of Pakistan. What will happen if this number of population, a province indeed is brought in confrontation with the state? It will be enough to vandalize the socioeconomic fabric of Pakistan. Pashtuns of Pakistan have always been delicate segment of Pakistan as they were in the crossfire between Pakistan’s efforts against eradicating terrorism. It makes them soft target and vulnerable to be used by animosities against Pakistan. The point to ponder is that despite the efforts, and acknowledgement of their grievances by the state why this matter is getting more intense whereas the fact should not be forgotten that both parties are on same line in terms of addressing the problem. The only way this can be resolved is when the PTM stop being patsy against Pakistan and show real concern to give solace to the Pashtun community rather than exploiting their grievances

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RSS: Grim Reality under the Secular Veil of India

Syed Nasir Hassan

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Religious extremism is not something novel to mankind. Between 132-136 CE, Romans faced the confrontation with the Jews. A Jew extremist, Simon Bar Kokhba, led the revolt against Romans known as Kokhba Revolution. He succeeded in establishing a Jew state which lasted for just three years, ultimately falling again in to Roman hands.

Under constitutional veil almost every other nation has some sort of religious or ethno extremist factions in their ranks with mass support. India too, which claims to be a true secular model in the subcontinent has their own version of extremist militia and what is worth worrying is that it is well organized and well structured.

RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is an extremist Hindu vigilante militia which is being nurtured by many political hands. It came into existence in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar – a Hindu nationalist. Initially it was established to retaliate against the British raj and Muslims and unite Hindus to devise a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation) but in post-independence scenario it became a blot on the secular veil of India. Indian Constitution makes it a secular country but RSS finds it against the norms of Hindustan. It is not the RSS which shifted its discourse but it was India which became a secular state by constitution. Even before the inception of RSS various Hindu nationalist emphasized on the existence of solely Hindu nation. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar,the founder of Hindu nationalist ideology Hindutva (an ideology which aims to form hegemony of Hindus) stated that there is a dire need of a solely Hindu nation.

RSS was banned three times in its post-independence continuity. First it was banned in 1948 after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu nationalist. The interesting fact is the man named Nathuram Godse, who murdered Gandhi, was not an active RSS member at that time but was once. In 1975 RSS came into scrutiny again when Indra Gandhi banned extremist organizations and imposed emergency across the country, and then in 1992 when dispute over Babri masjid erupted and it got demolished.

But what is making the organization function with full momentum? The organization has a fully functional website where one can recruit itself in the organization. Its proper hierarchical order makes it worth worrying as there is a National leader and then there are Regional leaders to oversee the local dealings. It also conducts daily quasi military exercises in parks and open spaces. On many occasions, the members of RSS were involved in the lynching of Muslims and lower casts Hindus. RSS’s Cow protection squad was constantly involved in various incidents during Modi’s reign.

Indian Prime minister, Narendra Modi, during an interview revealed that the personality and the discipline he has, RSS played a major role in shaping it. He also said that he became part of the organization at very young age. RSS also played major role in the putting the throne of Delhi under the Modi’s feet and is again playing a major role in running his election campaign for upcoming elections.

The institutionalized structure of the RSS makes it unique as it has a Cow protection squad, women wing, Labor union and a farmer union to outreach mass population. On its website, they claim that they have more than 50,000 shakhas, a Hindi word for branches, in villages and different cities across the country. Utar-pardesh, a city with largest population in India and major electoral club in the lower house; it is reported that there are 8000 shakahs only in UP which are there obviously to influence the elections and win majority in the house.

Embedded hate against Muslims and other minorities is not something new, in fact, it is in the core beliefs of the organization. M.S Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak (head of RSS) wrote a book named Bunch of Thoughts which comprised of the lectures he had given to shakhas over the country. In his book he wrote that internal elements pose far greater threat to national security than outside aggressor. Golwalkar than identified three major “Internal Threats: i) Muslims; ii) Christians; iii) Communists. Not just this, in an article published in THE HINDU on November 26,2006 it was revealed that the murder of Mahatma Gandhi was somehow celebrated by the RSS. Moreover, giving reference to the secret documents which he had seen the writer divulged that Golwalker had called a meeting on December 6, 1947, where RSS workers of Govardhan, a town not very far from Delhi. As per the police report regarding the meeting, assassination of the leading persons of the Congress was discussed to create terror and panic among the public and to get hold over them. Just after two days. Golwalkar again addressed several thousand RSS volunteers at the Rohtak Road Camp, Delhi. The police reporter notified that the RSS leader had clearly said that Sangh would not rest content until it finishes Pakistan and if anyone was a hindrance in their way they would not spare them either whether it was Nehru’s regime or any other.

Having such militant Hindu organizations flexibly working without any state censorship and proliferating into Indian society is a threat to Indian secular dream. Aimed at making India a purely Hindu state such far-right groups in subcontinent will make exclusive societies rather than inclusive. Intra-state tensions will continue to mount. Which will create the so-called nonpolitical groups like RSS propagating into the Indian society through political interference and can make India’s future bleak. With such intra-state terror groups Indian vision for secular and inclusive India will remain a chimera.

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IMF bailout package and public opinion

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The 22nd bailout package for Pakistan at its final stages. There exists a mix of public opinion on this package, some are in favor and some differ. Both lobbies have own reasons and strong justifications, which makes a common man even more confused.

PM Imran Khan was criticizing previous governments for seeking IMF bailout packages in the past and expressed that he will not go to IMF, and may prefer suicide over begging. In the early few months of his Government, he was hesitant to go to the IMF and tried his best to seek help from friendly countries alternatively. Some of the friendly countries extended helping hands too, which includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China.

But the economic situation was so serious and dangerous that the country was at the edge of collapse or default. Still some of his advisors of the opinion that there exist other options instead of going to IMF. The deal under consideration is US Dollars 6 billion over a period of 39 months. It means less than 2 billion a year, which it really too little. If we control our imports of luxury items and un-necessary item, we may reduce our import bill by US Dollars 5 Billion easily. Or with a little bite of our efforts, we may be able to increase our exports by US Dollars 5 Billion easily. Some experts are thinking only for US Dollars 2 billion a year, we should not accept the harsh terms and conditions of IMF.

In the 7 decades history of Pakistan, 21 prgrammes of IMF were not good enough to make Pakistan a sustainable economy. Why one should expect, this 22nd will do something good. During the previous 21 programmes, Pakistan was a very close non-NATO ally of USA. Pakistan was on the right side of the US, a partner in Cold War Era, Front Line State in War on Terror. Politically, Pakistan was one of the favorite nations of the US and secured all possible support.  But today the situation may be rather different, as, after the Abbottabad Incident and Salala Incident in 2011, Western World has almost written-off Pakistan. USA has signed Major Defense Partner (MDP) agreement with India. The USA has created the Indo-Pacific Alliance with India, Japan, and Australia, to counter China, where Pakistan is engaged with China under BRI/ CPEC.

Against the tradition, people of Pakistan have voted Imran Khan, who so ever was given ticket of PTI, the public has voted him or her blindly in good faith & trust to Imran Khan. A few of his candidates might not be having very high capabilities or very good reputation, but, the public has trusted Imran Khan blindly. Imran Khan is the third most popular leader in Pakistan, after Jinnah the father of nation, and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Former Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1970s.

Unfortunately, he failed to form his own team and was depending on a team lobbying for IMF, World Bank or Western World. They have encircled him and kept on lobbying for their agenda. They finally pushed him to a stage, where he agreed to accept IMF. Close to him, sources think, he was never convinced but was made to accept. We are afraid, if this lobby can isolate him from nationalists and patriots, may succeed in the implementation of their agenda.

PM Imran Khan, is honest, hardworking and people loving leader. He loves Pakistan and common citizens of Pakistan. He really wanted to bring a change in the Society, where common man’s welfare is a top agenda. He is sincere with the nation and wanted to establish a total comprehensive welfare state. Unfortunately, he was lobbied wrongly and opted for IMF.

People of Pakistan have blindly trusted in Imran Khan and possess very high expectations from him. I know, Imran Khan understands it very well. He is an honest, brave and visionary leader and I believe he will not disappoint his voters.

Hope PM Imran Khan may educate people of Pakistan about the details of the IMF package and try to convince the masses. The welfare of common man and all other promises made with the nation before elections may be explained to masses, this is required urgently before he loses credibility and popularity among the masses.

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