Islam Edit Bureau
05 September 2017
Indian diplomacy wins at BRICS
Pakistan is not deterred by Trump’s Afghan policy that
By Hindustan Times
Bit tragedy, empty rhetoric: To prevent more
Gorakhpurs, shake off the apathy and fix India’s broken public healthcare
By Kapil Sibal
Education for head and heart
By Firoz Bakht
Carrot to stick
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Trump Move Could Hurt 7,000 Indians
Tuesday, 05 September 2017
An estimated 7,000 young Indian-Americans could be
affected by President Donald Trump’s reported decision to scrap an Obama-era
programme that granted work permits to nearly 8,00,000 undocumented immigrants
who arrived in the United States illegally as children.
Trump, set to make an announcement on Tuesday, has
decided to phase out his predecessor Barak Obama’s Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme with a six-month pause in enforcement to
give the US Congress an opportunity to come up with an alternative, Politico
But there was no official word yet on Trump’s reported
decision, except that he would come up with an announcement on Tuesday. “A
decision is not finalized. We will make an announcement on Tuesday,” White
House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
The DACA programme unveiled by former President Barack
Obama in June 2012 by way of executive action sought to protect the 800,000-odd
“dreamers” from deportation and grant them work permits, allowing them to come
out of the shadows and work legally.
While the overwhelming majority of “dreamers” — as
much as 78 per cent — are from one country, namely Mexico, followed by some
other Central American countries, India has been ranked 11th among countries of
origin for DACA students in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
statistics as of March 31, 2017.
Under the programme, the Obama administration allowed
young migrants, who came into the US illegally along with their parents, an
opportunity to pursue their American dream, subject to meeting certain
To qualify, these migrants must have entered the US
before turning 16, have no serious criminal background and have lived continuously
in the US since June 15, 2007. The programme cleared the way for “dreamers” to
obtain driver’s licenses, work permits and, in some states, concessional
in-state tuition. Although Republicans were furious with Obama when he
unilaterally announced what was perceived to be an amnesty-type programme for
this category of illegal immigrants, party lawmakers are now divided on
“I actually do not think he (Trump) should do that. I
believe that this is something that Congress has to fix,” House Speaker Paul
Ryan said in a radio interview on Sunday.
“At the end of
the day, these kids do not know any other home. I think there is a humane way
to fix this. I think President Trump agrees with fixing this, and it is got to
be up to the legislature. I think we need some time,” Ryan said.
influential Republican Senators have also come out against scrapping DACA.
Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah cautioned Trump on such a move. Florida Senator
Marco Rubio pitched for the Congress passing a suitable law to protect the
But some other Republican lawmakers want Trump to
press ahead with the scrapping. “Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of
Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide,”
Congressman Steve King from Iowa tweeted.
Democrats are stoutly opposed to any action by Trump
that leads to deportation of the young immigrants. As House Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi put it, “Deporting patriotic, courageous young men and women who
are American in every way would be disastrous for our communities, our economy
and our nation.”
Free Press Journal
Sep 05, 2017 07:56 am
It is a measure of India’s growing clout and
acceptability among nations that the declaration adopted at the BRICS summit in
Xiamen on Monday has explicitly named Pakistan-based terror groups
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and called for joint BRICS action against
terrorism. Clearly, this is a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and India and a huge setback for Pakistan which has been persistently refusing
to accept that these are terrorist organizations. India has indeed exposed the
world’s double standards on terrorism at every multilateral forum, from the
United Nations to G20 to now BRICS.
That this declaration, signed by all five BRICS
member-states—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa— accepts the Indian
position at a summit hosted by China, which has consistently blocked Indian
moves to punish the recalcitrant Pakistanis makes the declaration particularly
path-breaking for India. It would severely damage Chinese credibility if,
despite this, China were to continue to oppose India’s bid in the UN Security
Council sanctions committee 1267 to list action against the Jaish chief Maulana
Masood Azhar. China would look extremely indefensible if it were to override a
joint declaration which has the approval of its President Xi Jinping and has
been adopted by consensus with the stamp of five heads of government.
China had put India’s bid for action against Masood
Azhar last year on technical hold. It finally expired in the end of 2016. And
again, this year, another resolution calling for action against the JeM chief
was brought forth by the US, UK and France. China has put this resolution too
on hold. When this comes up for review in October, it will stretch China’s
credibility to the limit if China were to continue to play obstructionist.
India had made a major push at last year’s Goa summit to get Pakistan and its
terror outfits find mention in the declaration but had failed. The matter was
discussed in the plenary but China is believed to have blocked a mention of LeT
and JeM. In the Goa summit last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said,
“The mothership of terrorism is in India’s neighbourhood,” but the declaration
did not mention Pakistan-related terror outfits.
The BRICS declaration expressed concern over the
security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS,
al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the
Haqqani network. It also mentioned terror groups like the Eastern Turkistan
Islamic Movement and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban and Hizb
ut-Tahrir. Not stopping at this the declaration called for “expeditious
finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International
Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.” It also called upon
the international community to establish a “genuinely broad” international
counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN’s central coordinating role in
this regard. Barring any last-minute hiccups, India should be returning from
Xiamen with satisfaction writ large on the faces of its delegates.
By Hindustan Times
Islamabad is extremely suspicious of Donald Trump’s
South Asia policy because it gives an open cheque to India for mounting a
double front against Pakistan
A unanimous parliamentary resolution in Islamabad on
August 30, which denounced United States President Donald Trump’s “complete
disregard for Pakistan’s vast sacrifices” in counter-terror efforts and called
on the government to consider suspending cooperation with the US, possibly
defined the new contours of ties with Washington. Also, the tone and tenor of
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who chaired two emergency huddles of the
National Security Committee (NSC), a forum comprising top civilian and army
officials, indicated that after a decade-and-a half of rocky ties Pakistani
civilian and military elites have decided to collectively reject Trump’s
intimidation of Pakistan while unveiling his new Afghan and South Asia
strategy, on August 20.
With this Pakistan drew the line between its own
course of anti-terror action and the demands placed by Trump. It went into an
“enough is enough” mode in unison, and foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif
put off his Washington visit, advising Alice Wells, US secretary of state for
South and Central Asia, to do the same to avoid mutual embarrassments.
Both Abbasi and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa
openly rebuked Trump for singling out Pakistan as the cause of Afghanistan’s
troubles, and instead demanded “due” recognition of its material losses (up to
$125 bn) and human sacrifices (nearly 70,000) in the anti-terror war. Abbasi
went to the extent of forecasting doom for Trump’s Afghan policy.
And there are cogent reasons for this bravado in
First, Trump and Prime Minister Modi’s ascendant views
on Pakistan have fuelled frustration and driven the political Right and Left
into believing that the “unholy collusion” comprising India, Afghanistan and
the US is aimed at hurting the interests — not only of Pakistan but also of its
political allies such as China and Russia. Even the Pakistan Peoples Party
(PPP), an ardent supporter for friendly relations with India, and Imran Khan’s
PTI, appeared incensed over the India-US synergy on Afghanistan. Raza Rabbani,
the chairman of the upper house of parliament and a former PPP stalwart, too,
openly speaks of New Delhi’s intransigence.
Second, most Pakistani officials insist, that the
Trump strategy gives an open cheque to India for mounting a double front
against Pakistan, and hence are extremely suspicious of the motives.
Third, Pakistan’s security establishment views the
Trump strategy as an excuse for long-term presence in Afghanistan with the
ultimate objectives of containment of China, a check on a resurgent Russia and
preventing both from turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a
formidable regional block.
Security officials don’t rule out economic sanctions
or intensification in kinetic attacks on targets inside Pakistan if the Trump
administration decided to ramp up pressure. However, a senior security official
dealing with policy responses argued that Pakistan was ready to face any challenge
arising out of Trump’s threats.
General (rtd) Nasir Khan Janjua, Pakistan’s national
security adviser, cautions against the use of force on either side of the
border: “One should not try to win war in Afghanistan by way of vengeance …..
this will further spread the conflict and spiral things out of control,” Janjua
said in his meeting with US ambassador David Hale.
Janjua’s message implied that responsibility for peace
in Afghanistan rested on all, who must seek the “closure of the conflict”, instead
of trying to win it through military means.
Fourth, is the message related to “bullying” by the
US. If a chance of Pakistan bending under pressure ever existed at all that
would have been before China offered its strategic embrace through the
China-Pakistan Economy Corridor (CPEC) in 2015, a multi-billion dollar
undertaking involving communication, energy and infrastructure projects.
Fifth, unlike Trump and Modi, Chinese, Russian and
Iranian leaders think differently on the chequered peace process in Afghanistan
and are more aligned with the Pakistani view on the way forward in Afghanistan.
Sixth, undeterred by Afghan objections, Pakistan is
forging ahead with its new “border management mechanism.” However displeasing
it may be for Afghans, who historically prefer to see the Durand Line as
border, Pakistan is setting up new security posts, digging protective trenches
and placing fences at critical segments of the 2,560-km border with
Afghanistan. It has also rejected demands by Afghans for “third party verification”
of Pakistan’s counter terrorism actions in the deep seated multilateral
Without confronting the US head-on, Pakistani
officials hope to blunt the Trump-led allegations of Pakistan being the “source
of violence” in Afghanistan. The silver lining lies in what US secretary of
defence James Mattis said in Washington last Thursday. “We intend to work with
Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that’s what a
responsible nation does,” Mattis said when asked as to “what kind of
relationship the US wanted to keep with Pakistan”.
By Kapil Sibal
In the wake of over 70 encephalitis-afflicted children
dying after the oxygen supply at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Hospital was cut
off following a payment dispute, the stage has been set for a rigorous debate
on criminal negligence and public health spending. Initiatives such as Swachh
Bharat and Mission Indradhanush, though commendable, advance the notion that
India’s public health landscape is positively transforming. However, it is too
soon to celebrate.
Tragedies such as the mass deaths in Gorakhpur, or
more recently in Farrukhabad which claimed 49 newborns, remind us of the
reality of India’s abysmal public health situation and raise deeply troubling
questions on India’s priorities in its run-up to becoming a superpower.
An outstanding debt of Rs 70 lakh on a prominent
state-run institution served an instant death sentence to children. The
government’s claims that it hadn’t known of the oxygen shortage until August 4
have been contradicted by a recent newspaper report, according to which UP
ministers had been made aware of the debt and the subsequent punitive cutting
off of oxygen supply in March. This continued until August 9, when chief
minister Yogi Adityanath visited the hospital and was informed of the
situation. However, no urgent action followed.
The same evening, the oxygen supply was cut. Thousands
of children have died since 1978 when the pestilence first broke out, and the
hospital management was as abysmal then as it remains today. It is time to
accept that a major overhaul in India’s public health landscape will only be
achieved with adequate budget allocations – a move only possible when we
confront our own apathy and move beyond empty rhetoric.
Since 1978, right around monsoons when encephalitis
strikes, people from in and around Gorakhpur, other neighbouring districts, and
even Bihar and Nepal, teem outside the hospital as it is the only institution
providing treatment for the disease. However, the hospital does not have enough
trained doctors, beds, or ventilators, and it hasn’t had these for a while now.
Despite the dire circumstances BRD spent Rs 426.13 crore out of its total fund
of Rs 452.35 crore and was still 27% short of clinical equipment, according to
a CAG report.
Since many people (mostly rural poor) have to travel
miles to reach the hospital – often critical cases requiring an immediate
response – many patients succumb to the disease on their way to the hospital.
In 2013, on the recommendations of an independent research team, several
treatment facilities were set up near villages to provide immediate care to
critical patients, but were unable to function as anticipated. As a result, 40
years and numerous deaths later, BRD remains the only facility catering to
patients of the deadly disease, even as it is severely under-staffed and
ill-equipped to tackle one of India’s deadliest public health challenges.
According to rural health statistics for 2015, there
was a 37.7% shortfall of doctors in UP. Doctors at BRD knew oxygen would
ultimately run out 10 days in advance when the supply was cut off, and no steps
to arrange for backup were taken. This can only be described as criminal
negligence of the highest order.
The disease is commonly referred to in India as
Japanese encephalitis. However, the term only represents select cases of
encephalitis caused by the JE pathogen. WHO has coined the broader term acute
encephalitis syndrome (AES) to refer to a cluster of illnesses with similar
Many cases in the Gorakhpur belt have displayed
symptoms common with JE albeit without the presence of the JE virus. The other
pathogens could be the West Nile virus, dengue virus, Chandipura virus and
chikungunya virus – all known to cause AES. However, over the years, India’s
focus has been on the eradication of JE while other forms of encephalitis
remain comparatively neglected.
As a result, while the number of JE cases have
reduced, the havoc of undiagnosed encephalitis continues. In 2015, the Indian
Council of Medical Research found that from over 10,000 cases of encephalitis,
only 8.4% were of the JE strain. While several independent research teams have
carried out research to understand the disease in its entirety and presented
often conflicting findings, no concrete diagnosis for the “other aetiology”
encephalitis has been found.
Without diagnosis, it is impossible to devise any
practical preventive strategies. Forty years down the line, it is high time for
a more stringent, research-driven focus on the other causes of AES.
With no significant allocation of funds towards public
health, and the poor state of health infrastructure in the country,
economically disenfranchised people are forced to turn to private healthcare
which leaves them penniless and in debt. There is a need to spend a
significantly higher proportion of our GDP on public health, make public health
more accessible to the poor by investing in more facilities, improve the
quality of healthcare by increasing human resource and training them well and
regularly, monitor the public and private health sectors to ensure quality health
services for all.
When we thump our chests and speak of development for
progress of the nation, do we forget that people make the nation and not the
other way round? If by development we mean skyscrapers, wealth, health and
privilege for some (but certainly not all), what kind of nationalism are we
buying into? So long as our medical facilities continue to languish, and our
people continue to perish due to sheer negligence, our patriotism rings hollow.
By Firoz Bakht Ahmed
September 5, 2017 | 3:24 am
Today on Teacher’s Day, a grateful nation pays its
ritualistic once-ayear tribute to the teaching community. As usual, there will
be a lot of rhetoric including traditional lectures on ideal teachers and some
mandatory awards and a dose of nostalgia.
The question is what would a talented teacher carry
home in terms of salary every month? Truth is that there are hardly any
incentives for a person who joins the teaching profession and that’s why the
best brains are not joining this stream. Besides, what is of paramount
importance is to follow a model of value-based education.
Opines, Dr Vijay Datta, Principal, Modern School,
Delhi, that the teaching system in India seems to be at an awkward crossroads
as both the teaching community and the community of the taught in schools and
colleges, talk of discontentment and also disenchantment with each other.
Students today feel that the teaching style adopted by
their lecturers is outdated. Others lament that besides teaching styles, even
the norms and values too have changed. But similar, rather more vehement, is
the grouse on the teachers’ part that values were missing in their teachers as
well as parents.
The fact is that professional development of teachers
is in the hands of bureaucrats and hence opportunities for teachers are
severely limited by the system. The Indian model of education not only
discourages experimentation in teaching but also undermines the very desire to
Fifty years ago children had ambitions about becoming
teachers and serving their nation. Today, a majority of the teachers both in
schools and colleges are either those who have opted for the profession owing
to the comfortable time calculations, or because they have not been able to
cope with the demands of other lucrative competitive careers.
In olden times, society accorded to gurus the status
of angel, guide, guardian and mentor. What’s of paramount importance for the
teachers today is to introduce ‘value education’. States the Taittarya
Upanishad: Matri Devo Bhava; Pitri Devo Bhava; Acharya Devo Bhava (Respect the
mother, the father and the teacher). The guru is seen as the preceptor, the
acharya and teacher.
All our sacred texts have mentioned how spiritual
guides and teachers, sages and saints with the strength of their character,
upright morals and strenuous practices, had remained fearless when attacked by
men of physical might.
In a treatise on value education, late Anil Wilson,
the principal of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College very authentically pointed out at
the Modern School Diaspora Initiative lecture that the conflict today is
between the obsession with the earning power of learning on the one hand and
the seeming irrelevance of pedagogical activity on the other. The natural
result is an intellectual and moral vacuum that is increasingly being filled up
by populist rhetoric in the one hand and coercion and corruption on the other.
Educational scientists have presented solutions but
myopic politicians have unfortunately acted in disregard to the same. The
Indian Brain is today recognized as the best in the world; but perhaps the same
cannot be said of the Indian Heart. This is because we have not spent as much
effort in educating the heart as we have in educating the head.
According to Jennifer Tytler, Director-Principal of JD
Tytler School, our efforts at educating the heart have not only suffered due to
a lack of understanding and direction but also because most attempts in this
direction are hijacked by power brokers who manipulate educational systems.
The need to control people is fundamental to the quest
for power. Power brokers have, over the years, instinctively realised that in
order to control people they first need to control the educational matrices
that determine a people. Dilute education of values and they have control over
This is because people with values cannot be ruled
over except by the values they hold dear. ‘Networking’ is the watchword, not
merit, to undermine the people’s sense of integrity that takes a toll of
brilliance introducing pull, not ability. Impetus towards work, improvement,
perfection and excellence is killed by setting up standards of achievement
available to the most inept. This crisis has divested education of values
Sensitising and not dehumanising should be the motto
of education that implores the study of literature is important only if it
sensitises us to the importance of human feelings and emotions. If we are
sensitised to the human condition in context of the material aspects of life,
only then will our study of economics be value based.
No study of science will be meaningful unless it
sensitises us to the humane aspect in science and all progress. Likewise, the
study of history will be rendered futile unless it sensitises us to impel the
menacing forces that endanger human life. But what is lamented is the fact that
we study these subjects not for their sensitising potential but for minting
Besides the status, the earning potential of learning
determines the importance and the ‘value’ of a subject in the eyes of a
student. Thus, commerce is a much sought after subject today whereas
philosophy, or history, or the arts, find few takers. It is obvious that the
notion of value in education has shifted from the philosophical and
transcendent sense and come to rest in the market place. That’s why criminals
are accepted, dictators admired and corrupt power mongers emulated.
The new ‘education order’ separates ‘value’ from
This has resulted in a closing not only of the human
mind but more significantly, the closing of the human heart. The intellectual
cacophony that surrounds us can only be resolved when we realize that an
education that ignores moral and spiritual values cannot qualify as a quality
Modern education has largely separated virtue and
knowledge and has severed the link between reason and virtue, between the mind
and the heart.
An adequate education cannot afford to ignore either
the mind or the heart. Together they form the vital links in the chain of
Thus, education to be truly valuecentered must move
away from ‘survival learning’ and move towards ‘generative learning’.
This implies that the aim and purpose of any and all
kinds of study is to get to the heart of what it means to be human.
By Ayesha Siddiqa
September 5, 2017
In Pakistan, it is October 1990 again. Islamabad and
Washington have parted ways and there is a huge gap in perception and strategy
on how Afghanistan as a state and society is to be resettled. In a speech on
August 23, the US President announced his policy on Afghanistan, stating
greater commitment to the country’s security through an increase in the number
of US troops, while pointing a finger at Pakistan with the threat that
Washington would “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for
terrorist organisations”. This, indeed, is a long-standing point of
contestation between Rawalpindi and Washington — that the former does not
whole-heartedly help the US in rooting out terrorism and aiding in the
stability of the regime in Kabul.
The reaction in Pakistan is anger and frustration — a
kind of déjà vu. How could the US treat Pakistan this way, especially after all
the sacrifices made due to the war on terror and the help provided in catching
al Qaeda leaders? There is a lot of noise on the streets from political parties
trying to find their way back into power like the PPP, or newer ones such as
the PTI, with the religious right and militant groups not far behind. Asad
Umar, a prominent leader of Imran Khan’s party, could not restrain himself from
saying that “he wanted to slap Trump”. These voices work in managing anxiety on
the streets regarding why relations were allowed to come to this stage or what
would happen if there is an actual conflict between the US and Pakistan. They
are also an expression of the fact that the divergence of policies today is far
sharper than in 1990.
There is little thought going into the possibility of
economic sanctions by the US and its impact on the overall economy. There is
still a belief that the US will not entirely withdraw the carrot or that China
could be an alternative source since it has already heavily invested in
Pakistan. Surely, many of the areas will get affected, such as the NGO sector,
that had burgeoned since 9/11 due to Western funding. Many of the USAID
projects are already being rolled back. The pie is certainly going to shrink
and that is likely to strengthen the establishment even more because many with
the capability would probably lean against the state rather than question the
basic policy framework.
There is no indication of any U-turn on militant
groups, on which the official position is that they are being harnessed by
mainstreaming them into society, involving them in politics, taking them away
from violence. The other perspective recently given to American
counter-terrorism experts during a US-Pakistan Track-II exercise in Washington
was that the military had indeed cleared the tribal areas of terrorists and now
it was the responsibility of politicians to de-radicalise society. Both
positions are contestable.
However, these positions go hand in hand with the
anxiety that the US is seeing just one part of the picture. Notwithstanding
that Bin Laden was captured from Pakistan or that the Quetta Shura still
operates in Pakistan’s territory, this itself is not enough for Washington to
ignore the presence of Taliban leaders like Mullah Fazlullah in Afghanistan,
who targets Pakistan. Thus far, it is turning out to be like the ending of a
painful marriage, the agony of which, in this case, seems to have been worsened
by Washington bringing New Delhi into the Afghan equation. It is like the ex
rubbing it in by getting married again even before the divorce is complete.
The India-US relationship takes the issue to another
level, which is captured by Lt. Gen (retd) Tariq Khan, who is considered in
army circles as a thinking soldier. According to Khan: “The story of the safe
havens we are accused of nurturing is so close to the engineered narrative
about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and now such a predictable US
method to madness, that is, create a false casus belli, broadcast it, respond
to it with physical force”.
Though the above position can be questioned, it also
indicates the larger threat of war coming to South Asia and turning the region
unstable. The global power equation and the position in South Asia is far more
complex today for Washington to carry out another attack like it did in 2011 on
a Pakistani military check-post. Of course, there is China in the equation,
with greater power and capacity to play a role.
Beijing is willing to provide a cushion to Pakistan
against America physically upping the ante. Washington would have to be very
careful in ratcheting up conflict in the region because it would involve
Chinese interests pertaining to the one-belt-one-road project.
The situation needs an urgent resolution through
communication, which in itself is an issue at this time as both sides, Pakistan
and the US, have little means to communicate.
While Pakistan faces the problem of a fairly
incompetent diplomatic team in Washington whose problems are further enhanced
due to political instability at home, the Trump administration has nothing to
offer either. If Trump’s ultimate goal is for Pakistan to deliver through
adopting a stick-and-carrot, rather than a carrot-and-stick policy, the problem
is that there are no communication channels to further the conversation. There
are a number of positions in the State Department that are vacant, but there is
also no right person to follow up the conversation to ensure that something is
delivered at the end of the day. Perhaps the families of key civil and military
bureaucrats and politicians that find the US a safe haven could help start a
conversation. The Trump administration would have to talk to Pakistan
especially if it plans to increase the number of troops as the country offers
the most cost-effective route for logistics. Iran could offer an alternative,
but for that Trump would have to make major adjustments in its Middle East
The tension in the region is certainly going to scale
up in the coming days. The two possible conclusions that could be drawn from
watching the situation is that any conflict would further establish Beijing’s
ownership of Pakistan and enhance its overall position as a stakeholder in
South Asian geo-politics. Secondly, a conversation ought to begin because while
Trump may light a fire and withdraw, it is the ordinary people of South Asia
who will have to deal with the heat. The instability of the Middle East coming
to South Asia is not a great proposition.