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The crown prince should release the women’s rights activists, drop all charges against them, and allow them to continue their careers freely. That would be the best way to reassure the world that the reforms are real and remain on track. For the sake of global stability, Saudi reforms need to be saved from Mohammed bin Salman’s absolutism and heavy-handedness....

 

Ever wondered where is Afsan Ashique now? The angry stone-pelter of yesterday is a top-notch goal-keeper today determined to intercept every ball hurled at her. She is the captain of Jammu Kashmir’s women’s football team. She is under intensive coaching in Mumbai and is raring to have a go at international outings. She wants to represent India. Well! The image of stone-pelter Afsan was there everywhere. But not many know about Afsan, the goal keeper. TVs aren’t’ interested in the Afsan of today....

 

Reham Khan: A Fearless Opponent Is Impossible To Defeat, Dear Pakistani Media
Reham Khan

For months, announcements were made on my behalf and appearances booked without consulting me. Even my divorce was announced by a political party spokesperson. That was then. This is 2018.No longer am I the wife of a politician. I am not any man’s private property anymore. I am a free woman. Or so I thought....

 

Ramzan Is Raising Hopes for Peace: Ceasefires in Kashmir, Kabul May Reinforce Peace Sentiment in the Subcontinent
C. Raja Mohan

As we get closer to Ramzan celebrations this week, there is speculation that more steps could follow, for example on prisoner exchange. Both Kabul and the Taliban have called for such a move. Meanwhile, Delhi’s decision to extend the ceasefire in Kashmir could reinforce the peace sentiments across the Subcontinent. While the hopes for a durable peace might be premature, the conflicts in Kashmir and Afghanistan might be entering a new phase in their long and depressing history.....

 

Pranab Mukherjee at Nagpur: For A Healthy Democracy, It Is Essential To Have A Dialogue with Every Legal Organisation
Shashi Shekhar

Here it is important to realise that incessant criticism of the RSS over the years has only strengthened it. Today the BJP, its political arm, is ruling over 20 states as well as the country itself. How can one treat such a powerful organisation as an untouchable in perpetuity? Even earlier, Left-wing leaders as well as former presidents such as APJ Abdul Kalam and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (who went there during his tenure as president) have participated in similar programmes. Everybody knows that once you become president, you rise over party affiliations. Why create a hullaballoo then...

Ramadan, Fasting and the FIFA World Cup
Gary Meenaghan

A 2007 study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that players’ performances “declined significantly for speed, agility, dribbling and endurance” while fasting in addition, the “shift of food intake and disruption of sleep patterns affect actual and perceived physical performance.” Yet, as Algeria showed at the 2014 World Cup when they reached the knock-out stages despite the entire squad fasting, sometimes it can actually raise levels of performance. ...

 

Understanding Pranab Mukherjee’s Speech as an Answer to Mohan Bhagwat is Wrong
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

The speeches of Bhagwat and Mukherjee go a long way to show that there is a consensus on the question of nationalism between these two political formations. The difference is just about shades rather than of type. Thus the TV debates and the newspaper columns which seek to point out their essential difference is definitely out of proportion and a lazy reading of their viewpoints. More fundamentally, this laziness is also because of the assumptions of the liberal Hindu historiography itself. Is it simply a matter of coincidence that the RSS can switch between an Indira Gandhi and Modi with such ease? After all, Indira was hailed as the Durga by none other than the RSS and the congress had no objection at that time....

But why do such shifts continue to take analysts by surprise? When dealing with Iraq, a focus on political elites and sectarianism has produced an image of a society incapable of collective action against the political class. As I have found in my research, this obscures wider societal dynamics that suggest a latent potential for broad mobilization and complex strategies of resistance....

 

Kathua Trial: Uphold the Boundaries Defined By Humanity, Do Not Violate Them
Yashwant Thorat

Nations and men alike pass through dark times. So, instead of dwelling on the darkness, I listen to a favourite of mine: Janakee Jaane, a song in praise of Sri Rama, written in Sanskrit by Yusufali Kecheri, a Muslim; set to music by Naushad Ali, another Muslim, and sung by Yesudas a Christian. Hear it. Tell me whether it speaks to you....

 

Defending Human Rights: Religion and Human Rights Have Always Had an Intense, Tortured Relationship
The Economist

If that proves impossible, something will have been lost. There has been something admirable about the spectacle of distinguished Americans, both liberal and conservative, raising their voices in favour of Uighur Muslims, Tibetan  Buddhists, Pakistani Christians and Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses: not in a sectarian spirit, but in defence of universal principles....

The Dulat-Durrani Dialogue: A Conversation between India and Pakistan Is Currently a Non-Starter
Ayesha Siddiqa

There is talk about revelations and confessions, as if both gentlemen said entirely new things. That is neither true nor was it the apparent purpose of the book. For instance, Dulat’s discussion on Kashmir is not new. He is an old Kashmir hand advising Delhi to seek an out-of-the-box solution to the issue for a long time. As for Durrani, it is well known that he would rather make conciliatory moves towards India than the US....

 

Peace Initiatives on LoC Must Be Enthusiastically Welcomed, but Not Taken At Face Value
Syed Ata Hasnain

There has been destruction and loss of lives of civilians and soldiers on both sides. A few days ago in a television programme, in the wake of large-scale violations by Pakistan, I said that either there is peace or India should undertake vertical and horizontal escalation to draw Pakistan into a war of attrition at the LoC, including deploying the army at the Jammu international border (IB). We should be glad that the idea of peace has prevailed....

 

In Pakistan, Every Institution Needs an ‘Enemy' To Sustain Relevance for Itself
Bhopinder Singh

In Pakistan, everyone from the revivalist clergy, the over-fed military to the opportunistic politicians needs an ‘enemy’ to sustain relevance for itself and that is the invaluable service provided by these ‘non-state actors’ who do the Pakistani establishment’s bidding even if occasionally the embarrassing truth spills out, like it did in the case of Nawaz Sharif....

 

Whatsapp and a Tale of Two Riots
Jyoti Punwani

Past experience tells us that where police are involved, asking the government for justice is a lost cause. The only institution that would respond is the judiciary. Aurangabad’s Muslims would do well to move court with the evidence they possess. An even better move would be for Aurangabad’s Hindus to do so....

 

Pakistan’s Political Instability Stemming from Pessimism
Khaled Ahmed

Maybe it is not an accident that the rise of religion in secular India has touched off a new pessimism in an economically high-performing India. New Delhi should look at 70 years of the “religious” state in Pakistan and try to link its own current “depression” to Pakistani pessimism. The two states are well on their way to becoming “internally” troubled in varying degrees....

 

The Price of China’s Debt Diplomacy Will Be Paid by the Pakistan’s Average Citizen
Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

By June 2019, Pakistan will owe Beijing $19 billion. But the interest rate on those loans averages an astronomical 7 percent per annum, payable over 25-40 years. According to experts’ calculations, the cost of servicing the debt owed to China will average $7-8 billion per year, for the next 43 years, starting from now. To begin with at least, that will be between 0.5-1 percent of Pakistan’s GDP....

 

Right-Wing Populist Movements Represent A Yearning to Return To an Imagined Past
Dina Shehata

As more countries move in a more nationalist, conservative and authoritarian direction, individual and citizenship rights, especially those earned by women and minorities, will likely be eroded in the name of nationalist and religious ideals. Moreover, more international conflicts are likely to result from the spread of nationalist and xenophobic movements across the globe, with refugees, immigrants and minorities suffering the most....

Will Islamic Scholars' Fatwa Force Afghan Taliban To Join Talks?
Shereena Qazi

In a statement in March, the Taliban, who control or exercise influence in 13 percent of Afghanistan's 408 districts, called the conference "un-Islamic" and urged all Islamic scholars to refrain from participating. "The invaders [the foreign troops in Afghanistan] have employed various stratagems to prolong their indirect occupation, an important part of which is called the 'Peace Process' which seeks the surrender of Mujahideen...

 

Prosperity for Peace: Trade Puts an End to War Because Of the Vested Interest in Mutual Economic Advantage
Khaled Ahmed

Trade puts an end to war because of the vested interest in mutual prosperity. Nothing destroys borders more effectively than free trade, which Pakistan and India should move to as nuclear powers no longer able to wage war. Maybe the process of “becoming like the enemy you hate” in India will come to an end and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s original instinct of economic advantage will prevail....

 

Iranians May Turn To ‘Military President’ As Nuclear Deal Collapses
Rohollah Faghihi

If Britain, France and Germany stand firmly behind the nuclear deal and uphold their commitments rather than continue seeking to appease Trump by bringing up extraneous issues, an Iranian government in the hands of the pro-Reform camp may eventually come to enter further engagement....

 

Mahathir’s Back: Malaysia’s Chance To Clean Up

Malaysia is often put forward as a rare example of tolerance and democracy among countries with a Muslim majority. Both claims had been looking shaky as UMNO resorted to ever more unfair tactics, and ever more strident appeals to the country’s Malay Muslim majority, to remain in power. How much this changes depends on the good faith and efficiency of the new government....

 
What Is Wrong With Malaysia?
Umapagan Ampikaipakan

What Is Wrong With Malaysia?
Umapagan Ampikaipakan

I have never quite bought the notion that democracy delivers a government no better than what its people deserve. The phrase, often repeated in anger or haste, is clever, but it ignores political realities. We do not deserve the government we get if the government we get is the consequence of fear and uncertainty, poverty, weakened democratic institutions, systematic racism, gerrymandering and a system stacked in favour of those in power....

 

Trump’s Most Foolish Decision Yet
Susan E. Rice

The president has just made the most foolish and consequential national security decision of his tenure. Exactly what comes next is unclear, but we certainly will face a far worse situation than today. When the mess materializes, Mr. Trump, per standard procedure, will blame everyone else: his political opponents, his predecessor, the Europeans and the Iranians. But there will be only one person responsible: President Trump, our wrecking ball in chief....

 

Trump to Iran: America’s Word is Worthless
Roger Cohen

Perhaps something can be salvaged by European powers. I doubt it. Trump has done what he likes to do: express his anger, break things and hope for the best. His Iran decision is a reckless gamble, even by his standards, the shredding of a singular diplomatic achievement....

 

It goes without saying that President Trump was under mounting pressure from Saudi Arabia and Israel – Iran’s arch rivals in the Middle East – to repeal the deal. Both Riyadh and Tel Aviv have been apprehensive that the nuclear deal has allowed Tehran to capitalise on the unfreezing of billions of dollars to expand its sway in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Since Saudi Arabia is a key US arms importer, Washington could not annoy Riyadh by keeping the nuclear deal without renegotiation....

 
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