Books and Documents

Pakistan Press (29 Aug 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Deadly Embrace By Zaigham Khan: New Age Islam's Selection, 29 August 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

29 August 2017

Deadly Embrace

By Zaigham Khan

The Real Game Begins

By Syed Talat Hussain

Pakistan’s Strategic Mess

By Obed Pasha

Stereotypical Portrayal Of Women In Media

By Shagufta Gul

Modern Day Colonialism

By Abrahim Shah

A Human Rights Evaluation

By Hammad Asif

Key Takeaways from Census Results

By Hasaan Khawar

Why US Sanctions Will Not Work This Time

By Qamar Cheema

Donald Trump’s Flawed Foreign Policy

By Munir Ahmed

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Deadly Embrace

By Zaigham Khan

August 28, 2017

Pakistan knows well how to deal with the US. What it does not know is how to deal with itself, particularly while dealing with the US. It has been a complex relationship all along. Pakistan benefitted immensely from the US friendship; it fought its proxy wars and, when needed, defied the superpower to guard its interests, as happened in the case of the nuclear programme and relations with China. The worst legacy of Pakistan’s relationship with the US is the self-inflicted wounds. Ironically, even as the nature of these relations is changing, the self-harm may continue.

Perceiving an existential threat from India, Pakistan became a close US ally soon after its creation. The embrace became tight during the height of the cold war in the 1960s. Under Ayub’s dictatorship Pakistan went through the green revolution and an unprecedented economic growth, thanks to American technical and financial support. American military hardware also enabled Pakistan to fight two wars.

However, during this period, Pakistan turned into an authoritarian state and lost its dream of turning into a modern democracy. While iron chains were the reward for politics, as Shorish Kashmiri put it, left-leaning scholars, intellectual and political activists had the worst deal. Their activities were restricted, their publications banned and many found their way to the notorious prison at Lahore’s historic fort. Hassan Nasir, the charismatic young secretary general of the banned         Communist Party of Pakistan         (CPP), was one such leader who was put in a cell in the     Lahore Fort    and brutally tortured till he died in 1960. The American-sponsored dictatorship in Pakistan also alienated its own people in East Pakistan, resulting in a military defeat and dismemberment of the country.

The best and worst period of Pakistan’s relations with the US started after the Soviet Union rolled its tanks into Afghanistan in 1979. The US found an eager partner in another military dictator, Ziaul Haq, aching to fight the CIA’s war in Afghanistan. The Afghan war gave Zia strength, legitimacy and much-needed military and economic assistance. It also enabled Pakistan to deal with a country that had promoted secessionism for three decades.

The Afghan jihad did not go wrong in Afghanistan; it went wrong in Pakistan. Remember, Afghans consider ‘their victory’ in this war a great national achievement and have even set up museums to celebrate their accomplishment. (Unfortunately, there are no statues of General Zia, Hamid Gul or Qazi Hussain Ahmad at these museums because Afghans fought and won on their own.)

While Zia promoted extremist ideologies through madrasas, textbooks and the official media, the Afghan war added small arms, narcotics and militancy to his witches’ brew. The lunatic fringe is not hard to find in any country; and, if we go by election results, Pakistan’s lunatic fringe is by no means larger than many stable and democratic countries. However, our extremists are well fed, well trained, well-armed and violent and that’s what makes them invincible. The Afghan war also marginalised Pakistan’s minorities and smaller Muslim denominations. It struck a huge blow to the diversity of the valley of Indus.

American policy towards Pakistan changed after the withdrawal of the Red Army from Afghanistan. Now that Pakistan’s services were not required, the US began to force it to abandon its nuclear programme and to sign NPT unilaterally. The Pressler Amendment, passed in 1985, was activated, disqualifying Pakistan from receiving American economic and military assistance. America banned the delivery of military equipment worth $368 million and 28 F-16 aircraft for which Pakistan had already paid. Even civil society assistance was discontinued as USAID left the country.

These sanctions were placed though Pakistan had contributed troops to the first Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991). We can partly ascribe this foreign policy achievement to the genius of Gen Aslam Baig who served as Pakistan’s army chief after Zia’s death in a plane crash. While Pakistani forces were in the Gulf, he came up with a strategy of defiance to the US because, in his opinion, the world was taking a huge shift.

Last month, Gen Baig issued a press release quoting a speech he had delivered at the GHQ as the chief of army staff in 1988. The visionary warrior had stated: “The days of hegemony of superpowers are over and now we will witness the dawn of the supremacy of Islam. The triumph of democracy is in sight...The three countries – Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan – are emerging free, strong and resilient, and are moving towards a common destiny, to unite together to form the bastion of power – the strategic depth of the Muslim World. It’s a vision which must be converted into a reality.”

During the post Afghan jihad period, our warriors returned from Afghanistan and embarked upon the mission to cleanse Pakistani society of all evils and turned their attention to Kashmir. The Jamaat-e-Islami, which had been at the forefront of the Afghan jihad, also played a major role in the Kashmir jihad. It coined a wonderful slogan to motivate its young followers: Ham Jashn-E-Kabul Mana Chukay, Ab Aao Chalo Kashmir Chalain (We have celebrated our victory in Kabul, let’s go to Kashmir now).

When Nawaz Sharif was ousted by Musharraf in 1999, Pakistan’s sectarian terrorists were guests of the Taliban government in Kabul. Many Jihadi organisations had become three-headed hydras operating simultaneously in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif had put the Taliban on notice for providing sanctuary to sectarian terrorists.

The period of US neglect and sanctions ended with the American invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. Gen Musharraf is blamed for being too keen on supporting the US, jumping the gun and selling Pakistan too cheaply. According to Shuja Nawaz, Gen Musharraf made some assumption about US involvement in Afghanistan. He believed that it would be over soon and made an informal agreement without involving the Foreign Office.

Many of the accusations may be true, but Pakistan did not get a bad deal in exchange for extending support to the US in Afghanistan. The country came out of the crippling sanctions and its status as a nuclear power was recognised, it received generous support and it got integrated into the world community. It was also able to minimise Indian involvement in Afghanistan, at least for some time.

It was again the home front that was botched by Musharraf with terrible consequences for Pakistani society. MMA and the Difa-e-Pakistan Council were unleashed on Pakistan and the TTP was born out of the womb of the Afghan Taliban that had found a sanctuary in Fata. Musharraf, the so-called liberal, succeeded in harming Pakistani society far more than the saintly Ziaul Haq.

Now that our relationship with the US has entered the Trumpian era, I am not worried about performance of our diplomats. It is the consequences of anti-Americanism on Pakistani society that are giving me nightmares. Difa-e-Pakistan has already started stuttering as the defender of our children and is issuing ‘policy statements’ on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Iran may have failed where we succeeded – that is, turning into a nuclear despite the US pressure. However, our westerly neighbour has proved better in insulating its society from the impact of its foreign policy choices. Despite its anti-Americanism, American citizens find warm hospitality in Iran and can travel throughout the country without any fear. Though Iran has also been involved in Afghanistan since 1979 and provided sanctuary to Afghan refugees, it has been able to guard against terrorism and empowerment of non-state actors. Many people don’t know that Jews are a thriving community in the Islamic republic, with 20 working synagogues in Tehran alone.

As the way forward, let me quote again from the press release of Gen Baig: “The 45 million Pakhtuns living on both sides of the Durand Line are divided between Pakistan (60 percent) and Afghanistan (40 percent). During the last three decades, they have humbled and defeated the mightiest of the mighty of the world. Our Pakhtuns have supported Afghan Pakhtuns in their struggle for freedom, and will continue to do so till the Afghans win their freedom. What means do we have to divide and separate the Pakhtun nation?” Isn’t it time for Achakzai and Asfandyar to resign and let Gen Baig take charge of Pakhtun nationalism?

Source: thenews.com.pk/print/226451-Deadly-embrace


The Real Game Begins

By Syed Talat Hussain

August 28, 2017

We are doing what we do best: cry over spilt milk. The spurt of anxiety and outrage that the country has seen in the wake of Donald Trump’s South Asia review is understandable. It is fully justified. The Trump administration, by singling out Pakistan as the mother-lode of all trouble in Afghanistan and in the region, has done a wrong thing. This can only take its policy in the wrong directions and, possibly, entail disastrous consequences. Also it is India that provided the ink to the pen that signed on this egregiously off-the-mark review of the region.

Donald Trump is an ignoramus, who, like all ignoramuses, is addicted to creating sensation. His generals and lobbyists have used his ignorance to set him on a course that has already sunk better presidents before him, but he doesn’t know that.

We do know, though – or, at least, we should have known. The shock and regret permeating our response – summed up in the press release of the National Security meeting last week – is hollow. There is little element of surprise in what has come out of the White House. Signals from the US were clear that they would lock onto Pakistan and blame it for all that ails the region: terrorism, freely operating terrorist groups and a long list of scuttled peace efforts. Not one, but dozens of US representatives struck the same chord since Trump came to power.

Not one but several messages that came from seasoned Pakistani diplomats in the US conveyed to Pakistan’s military and civilian representatives that things did not look good in the US as far this review was concerned. More recent engagement between the two countries made it clear to everyone that Trump had decided to go in the crazy direction of practically designating Pakistan as an unfriendly/enemy state.

So there was no dearth of real information as far as this policy drift of the US was concerned. But, of course, information is only as good as the capacity to process it. All the while this policy review was underway the entire focus inside Pakistan was on managing the JIT to put the government in power in a hurt-locker situation. For its part, the government – unfocussed and distracted in the best of times – became totally clueless about and uninterested in pushing Pakistan’s own narrative on the perennial problems of Afghanistan’s peace. Indian lobbyists had a field day just when we were busy lobbing bombs of shame on each other at home.

Even earlier the drag of an engineered domestic fracas in the name of ‘national interest’ inside Pakistan had caused national debate to be totally off kilter and cut off from the dangers to Pakistan’s core security that Trump had brought with him upon arriving at the Oval Office. When Trump won the election and had caused elation in some circles in Pakistan, we had argued the following in this column space:

“He may turn towards foreign policy to find short-term relief. Fighting terrorism with new vigour can become his rallying cry. Military expeditions can become his refuge from domestic disorder…There is little that can be offered to the divided Americans at this point as a middle ground. Little except the old idea that America can be made secure by creating foreign policy success. A spectacular spectacle outside the US can generate the much-needed bond to connect the two poles…Inevitably, the topmost issue in such a situation will be terrorism, which Trump and the Republicans’ warped worldview associates with all Muslim countries. Here their gaze will turn towards Afghanistan and Pakistan…In this respect he (Trump) can be like Narendra Modi who came to power by splitting his nation at the seams and is now trying to win national legitimacy by waving the threat of terrorism. A Trump in the Modi mode can be a truly dangerous thing. We better watch out.” This was end 2016.

Some months later, the following reflections on the India-US nexus under Trump and Modi were penned:

“Delhi, backed and encouraged fully by Washington, wants Pakistan to be defined as a state nurturing terrorism. It wants to dilute its credentials as a reliable international actor. And it wants to set the stage for a case for delegitimising its defence capability, which includes the nuclear arsenal, by framing it as an international threat. These are three dangerous Ds. This is the actual aim.” This was early 2017.

Almost three months ago, this was written: “Washington in its recent communications with Islamabad has been delivering blunt, Trump-like messages to Pakistan. What it is saying is this: give up support to the Haqqanis; kill them all; and those in your custody, hand them over. Pakistan’s repeated assurances that we do not protect the Haqqanis nor do we have the influence to change their behaviour cut no ice with Washington.

“American National Security Advisor H R McMaster in this recent engagement with Pakistani representatives has done extremely tough talking. He has warned of punitive measures in case the US hostages are killed or any US interest is threatened by the Haqqanis in a future event.

“We can guess what these threatened ‘punitive measures’ can be. They can range from Salala-like incidents of heavy attack on Pakistani posts to aerial raids on designated ‘camps’ a la the OBL raid. Worse still, they can use the dirty bomb whose rehearsal has already taken place inside Afghanistan with devastating effects on ground.” This was June 2017.

A few others had also pointed out in vain that we needed to pay attention to a fast-changing regional scenario and stop waging domestic wars amplified through a hijacked media and its fakesters. Yet the power of folly was too strong to be defeated by the value of logic and evidence. And now when Washington has laid bare its intentions with a made-in-India logo all over them, we are being treated to an unimpressive show of hurt pride and national honour.

Even this outcry about ‘Washington’s stupidity’ misses the crux of the matter. It is not a contest of logic, morality or who has more wounds and betrayals to show to shame the other party. It is madness on our doorstep that has already arrived. And since it is already declared and announced, there is very little scope of its declared aims to change. Trump’s generals have completely numbed his non-existent foreign policy sense. Therefore, his ownership of the policy is total, dangerously bombastic, and can be truly challenging to our core security interests. A strike inside Pakistan’s territory can practically get us embroiled in war with the US. This is not a joke. This is deadly serious business.

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of the current state of regional emergency our country is faced with is the lingering idea that somehow the US can be engaged to achieve national goals if the militaries are talking to each other. Even after being defeated repeatedly by history, the idea refuses to die. Ayub Khan was chums with Washington but in the end had to get Friends not Masters ghost-written to express his feeling of being scorned and jilted. Ziaul Haq turned Pakistan upside down for American pleasure and his own politics but weeks before his death was heard saying: deal in coals and you get a black face.

Gen Pervez Musharraf repeated Zia’s feat. In fact, he went a step ahead. He signed on US demands without even reading them properly. He too was abandoned when the hour of strategic need had passed. General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had the deepest of engagements with the US but in the end saw the Salala and OBL operations take place behind his back. Gen Raheel Sharif restored institutional links in the US only to find out that he could not stop enhanced drone strikes inland. And, yet, we believe that somehow if the military-to-military equation is stable Washington can be influenced.

It is unfortunate that nothing teaches us anything. Neither history, nor events, nor declared policies and known intentions. Dealing with Washington (or, for that matter, India or any other country) is a holistic job. It is a full-time job. It cannot become an interval in pursuit of crazy domestic agendas that are injurious to internal stability. Nor can it be reduced to moral outrage and perfunctory post-event meetings. Trump’s threats are real. We can either play domestic games or deal with the real game that has begun to unfold fast around our borders. Dealing with Washington would be a lot easier if we had our priorities straight and history-reading accurate.

Source: thenews.com.pk/print/226450-The-real-game-begins


Pakistan’s Strategic Mess

By Obed Pasha


US President Trump laid out his plans for Afghanistan last Monday, and they don’t look good for Pakistan. The President stuck to his strong-man persona and threatened to cease all monetary assistance to Pakistan if it continues to provide shelter to ‘agents of chaos, violence and terror.’ Going a step further, he praised India’s role in the region and invited it to join his new Afghan strategy. This poses a dire quagmire for Pakistan’s security establishment which considers building influence in Afghanistan as its primary objective to counter India’s clout in the region.

Some observers in Pakistan see Trump’s speech as yet another hollow threat by an American President that will never materialise. However, things seem to be different this time for several reasons. President Trump uncharacteristically read this speech form a teleprompter to give a coherent message to Pakistan, which suggests that this policy comes from a stable source like the State Department rather than the White House. These views were later echoed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, which gives the impression that this strategy is supported by the Department of State as well as the Pentagon.

Anyone following the US media during the few days leading up to Trump’s Monday speech could not miss the deliberate narrative construction to support his new strategy. The National Public Radio (NPR), for example, ran multiple stories with pro and anti-Trump commentaries encouraging the President to do something concrete about Pakistan’s duplicitous role in Afghanistan. Such stories are still dominating the news cycle, even a week after his speech.

Trump’s speech also made it clear that the Americans have no intention to leave Afghanistan anytime soon. Whether it is because of the estimated $3 trillion mineral deposits or the lure to counter China and Russia, Afghanistan is likely to remain under direct American control for decades to come. A long-term stay in the region would require peace and stability, which is not possible if the Afghan insurgents have safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan.

While Trump’s threats appear to be concrete, it is highly unlikely that our security establishment will heed to these warnings anytime soon as it has strategic priorities of its own

Holding Pakistan responsible for all problems in Afghanistan would not be fair since the country has suffered over 60,000 casualties in the war on terror over the last two decades. However, the Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to sympathise with Pakistan when they suspect the Haqqani Network to be headquartered in the town of Miramshah in FATA. An important commander of the Network was allegedly killed by a US drone in Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in June this year. A few days back, the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq lambasted Trump’s speech by asserting that Pakistan army will never act against the Haqqanis, further strengthening suspicions of Haqqani Network’s connections with Pakistan since the DPC is widely considered to be aligned with the Pakistani deep-state. The American frustration is not only limited to the Haqqanis.

The Pakistani establishment is said to have strong ties with Shafique Mengal, an Islamic militia commander in Balochistan with connections with ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Syed Salahudeen, the head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, was recently declared as Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US, but continues to reside and operate from Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir. Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed is another designated a terrorist by the United Nations with a $10 million bounty owing to his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. While he remains in and out of house arrests, his organisation launched a political party called Milli Muslim League earlier this month. Fazal-ur-Rahman Kahlil of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen is also set to launch his political party soon. Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi and Ahmad Ludhianvi of the proscribed terrorist organisation Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) also continue to operate with impunity and continue to hold public rallies even in Islamabad. International observers are forced to question the deep-state’s seriousness in dealing with these organisations, especially when it showed surprising effectiveness in banning the Altaf faction of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) from all activities in Pakistan. This sends the message that the establishment can act where it wants to.

The Pakistani establishment must have its reasons for appearing soft on extremist organisations. It might fear a violent backlash from these groups, forcing the deep-state to take a long-term approach by slowly integrating them into the mainstream society. The establishment might also be concerned about dealing with Afghanistan after the US leaves the region, trying to ensure a friendly government in Kabul which prevents its arch-nemesis India from establishing a strong foot-hold in the country. This would be a strategic nightmare for the Pakistan’s security apparatus and the US is playing on this fear to force Pakistan to either fall in line with its policies or expect a larger Indian role in Afghanistan. We should admit that our policy of harbouring religious extremists has now backfired. This policy has in fact become the cause of the crisis that it was supposed to prevent.

While Trump’s threats appear to be concrete, it is highly unlikely that our security establishment will heed to these warning anytime soon due to its own strategic priorities. More political, economic, and military pressure on a nuclear armed Pakistan will destabilise the region for everyone, but the outcome would be worst felt by the people of Pakistan who are finally seeing some economic progress. It is in our own long-term socio-economic interest that we seek solutions to prevent the conflict from escalating. It is time to alter our security ethos like a responsible modern nation and regain our respect within the international community.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-17/pakistans-strategic-mess


Stereotypical Portrayal of Women in Media

By Shagufta Gul


In the last few decades, women have contributed a great deal in the fields of education, sports, politics etc, but gender stereotypes are just as strong as they were decades ago even in the most developed countries.

A variety of stereotypes keep circulating and echoing around us when it comes to women in our society. Sometimes women who drive are seen as a sole reason for traffic jams. Then there are people who think career-oriented women can never be ‘good’ wives. Another stereotype considers unmarried women above the age of 30 as ‘un-marriageable’. A good girl is the one who always covers her head and serves the in-laws at all costs, while a divorced woman is seen as the one at fault. Not to mention the culture of victim-shaming that rape and sexual harassment victims have to go through. Why is it that despite continuous efforts by state and civil society, we are still in a state of confusion regarding gender roles and a cynical depiction of women?

The most important and key factor is the role of (electronic, social and print) media. A woman is usually present in all sorts of advertisements, regardless of the type of the product. Featuring a female model or actor in a glamorous style in advertisement of a product not related to women is equivalent to objectifying them.

There was a time when we only had PTV and STN and they were the only sources of entertainment. TV serials and plays back then were focused on family life, and dramas based on stories of joint family systems were shown in which there was respect for all sorts of relationships. We never observed very hyper or negative portrayal of women with a few exceptions. Then the cultural invasion took place and Indian plays took over Pakistan’s TV. Indian dramas mostly show both men and women of all ages involved in all sorts of malicious activities leading to break ups and business losses etc. With the arrival of Turkish TV serials, a new wave of glamour entered the local TV channels.

The themes and characters were new to the audience and had a new life style not known in Pakistan. Again, women being the key characters and both positive and negative female characters were shown. Now keeping in view the popularity of Turkish serials and themes, our own drama channels jumped into the race and started picking up the style and stories which depict the issues a very little percentage of population can relate to. If a story of one drama becomes a hit, similar stories are shown in dramas of other channels.

Religion is blended with social and cultural norms and directives in a way at times that distinctive line between the two usually vanishes and certain stereotypes are presented. Family is the very basic unit of our society and family members are the first people children come across. This is when the stereotyping begins. A girl child is always taught to think she is a weaker gender that needs protection and a male child is taught that he ought to be authoritative and strong. Girls are conditioned to think they belong in the kitchen, they need to talk softly, so and so forth. By unintentionally determining these gender roles, the parents not only make their daughter lose her inhibitions, but the boys also start thinking of women as a weaker gender. I still remember that even little boys at school would feel ashamed to sit next to a girl. Let me share that it is very common phenomenon in co-education schools and clearly reflect what the child has been absorbing from the environment, the decorum set for girls.

Why is it that despite continuous efforts by state and civil society, we are still in a state of confusion regarding gender roles and our outlook towards women remains cynical?

Media and TV channels really need to have something of their own in terms of policies and that must be in harmony with our societal needs and issue rather than blindly getting into the trail of something that doesn’t belong here. Women are contributing very positively in different walks of lives. Why can’t we have stories of real life of these women on TV screens?

Religious leaders from all faiths must start talking about the real woman and her contributions. Prayers worships services are mandatory, but they ensure an individual access to heaven or hell. Religious leaders should talk about the strong role of a woman and the rights she possess as a human being without being stereotyped. Last but not the least, early years education plus the education at secondary level needs to be looked into seriously.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-17/stereotypical-portrayal-of-women-in-media


Modern Day Colonialism

By Abrahim Shah


Donald Trump’s invective against Pakistan not only depicts the utter lack of direction in America’s new ‘strategy’, but also highlights how colonialism continues to exist in various forms today. America’s changed policy towards Pakistan — which was in reality taking shape since Barack Obama’s tenure — delineates how powerful countries or ‘superpowers’ strong-arm nations that deviate from the paths set out for them by these powerful nations.

America’s rise as a superpower in fact shows that colonialism is very much extant today. Since the dissemination of the Monroe Doctrine on the 2nd of December 1823, America has viewed the world through a prism of ‘spheres of influence’.

The Monroe Doctrine initially marked South America as America’s sphere of influence, thus keeping European powers at bay from interfering in the newly independent nations of South America.

Although the Monroe Doctrine was initially touted as preserving the independence of Latin American countries which had achieved their freedom from empires such as Spain, it soon became evident that the Monroe Doctrine was in fact meant to impose American hegemony over these nations.

This was evident in America’s dealing with Panama, and in recent times, the CIA’s not so covert missions in countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

America’s neo-colonialism has become increasingly evident since the end of the Second World War and the advent of the Cold War. From the Truman Doctrine to Eisenhower’s vision of containing communism, America has shown little regard for national sovereignty or international law as it perpetuates its control over the world.

Thus, at a time when nations like Pakistan and India were becoming independent in 1947, America was laying the foundations of an empire the likes of which have never been seen before.

America’s appeal to ‘civilisation’ and to ‘peace’ highlights how Trump’s remarks towards Pakistan are emblematic of America’s neo-colonialism

America’s imperialistic designs during the twentieth century were couched in false notions of championing liberty, freedom and democracy, while in fact, the CIA’s involvement usually replaced democratically elected leftist movements by oppressive tyrants — as was evidenced in Chile with the fall of Salvador Allende.

Trump while castigating Pakistan on its putative support for militants, claimed Pakistan must now ‘demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order and to peace.” This appeal to ‘civilisation’ and to ‘peace’, in fact, highlights how Trump’s remarks towards Pakistan are emblematic of America’s neo-colonialism.

Trump’s remarks highlight how America sells a false narrative that it fights wars for peace and for promoting freedom. America touted this as a reason while invading Afghanistan in 2001 and again while invading Iraq in 2003. The reality, however, is that these wars only perpetuate America’s control and feed its insatiable military-industrial complex.

Colonial nations have throughout the centuries employed a narrative of ‘civilising’ to justify their imperialistic policies. This narrative is perhaps best captured by famous lines such as Rudyard Kipling’s ‘white man’s burden’ which was used to justify America’s occupation of the Philippines at the start of the twentieth century.

William McKinley, the American President at the time of the Philippines-American war, in fact, claimed that American presence in the Philippines was necessary because the locals were not ‘civilised enough’ for ‘self-rule’.

Trump’s appeal to civilisation and to order is, therefore, clearly emblematic of colonial rhetoric the West has used to impose itself on the rest of the world. Moreover, America’s presence in Afghanistan is colonialism in two different forms — one direct by having a military presence in Afghanistan, and second by imposing its policies on Pakistan and this appeal to civilisation.

Instead of excoriating Pakistan, the world community must instead take America to task over its imperialistic ideals and failed policies all over the world, but especially in Afghanistan. America has simply failed to build a sound political dynamic in Afghanistan, which continues to haunt the war-torn nation.

In fact, America resorted to the same divide and rule policies of European colonial nations when it chose to align with the Northern Alliance and isolate the majority Pashtun community in Afghanistan. This only further reified ethnic fault lines in Afghanistan and exacerbated the conflict.

America adopted a similar approach in Iraq in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s overthrow when America allied with the majority yet marginalised Shiite community in Iraq. This led to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and subsequently Afghanistan — which has given America another reason to extend its presence in these nations.

The simple truth is that no military solution exists in Afghanistan. The Taliban control around forty percent of Afghani territory, and a few thousand more troops will not displace the Taliban. Instead, America must swallow its pride and look towards a peace deal with the warring factions.

The return of Gulbuddin Hekmatayar in Afghanistan’s political fold is a good start in this regard, and the efforts to bring the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Colombia’s political landscape are an international example America and Afghanistan could follow.

While Pakistan must also shoulder the blame for instability across the Durand line, it is imperative that we stand against American colonialism and imperialism in all its forms. Our allegiance should transcend national and economic interests and should instead be to oppressed peoples who suffer from the policies of superpowers who claim to be fighting for freedom. There is no other solution to the violence that grips the world today.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-17/modern-day-colonialism


A Human Rights Evaluation

By Hammad Asif

August 29, 2017

We try to find meaning in our actions. In the decisions we take we always have an obvious ending in mind. We observe outcomes and outputs to correct our actions and change directions, as though we are trying to follow a scientific process in our lives. Our desire to achieve an intended goal puts us closer to understanding the causal relationships that help organise our efforts in controlling change. Our need for evidence-based practice helps us address the problems we face.

Thus, it i valid to say that evaluation is central to human development. It assesses the effects of programmes, policies and initiatives undertaken to find their worth, provide useful feedback and guide further action. With this generic goal of evaluation in mind, each landmark in time is just another reminder of reviewing past decisions.

This August marks the 70 years of independence of both India and Pakistan. In order to evaluate where both these countries stand, we need to look back and see where we started and why we started. Back then, the people of the sub-continent were witnessing a cosmic change. The direct rule of British crown in India was ending and anticipation to this change fuelled an uprising. Deliberations on what post-colonial India will look like spanned decades and gave birth to a movement that was centred on the protection of human rights.

When Jinnah said we fought for Pakistan because there was a danger of the denial of human rights in this sub-continent, he was iterating the vision that was the soul of the partition decision. If we are interested in how far we have come since then, the only true criterion for evaluation is the status of human rights for the people of this land.

Sadly, the state of affairs today on either side of the border draws a very bleak picture.

In Pakistan, militant violence lasting over a decade has favoured the inexplicable rise in the political influence of the military. Without oversight, there is bound to be rights violations when a plan to eradicate terrorism is implemented. Addressing militancy provides a justification for authorities to muzzle dissenting voices in support of human rights. Freedoms are lost, and birthrights are denied when even parliament gives in and passes vague and overbroad legislation.

Be a part of any social minority in Pakistan and only then, you will be able to see how far we stand from the vision that created this divide in the subcontinent. Women, children, transgender and religious minorities all face violent attacks, insecurity and persecution. An overly charged bias has taken over us all that the state finds itself helpless to provide adequate protection to the vulnerable and hold perpetrators accountable.

At times even the state joins hands with the culprits and fails to ratify legislation on forced conversions, turns a blind eye to misuse of blasphemy laws and keeps up the pressure on journalists and rights activits to keep any criticism in check.

The situation in India is not much different. Their military is notorious for acting with impunity when deployed in areas of internal conflict. They also resort to communal violence to protect religious sentiments of a Hindu majority. Just like ours, authorities there are famed to use criminal defamation laws to prosecute citizens with dissenting opinions. Women there are too victims of rape, acid attacks and honour killings while the government seems powerless to ensure their safety.

Seventy years down the road an overview of the rights situation in either country reveals a serious parting from the original plan. We never arrived to the Pakistan, which Jinnah had envisioned. We became the very people who in his mind would have threatened to deny rights had there been no Pakistan. It is ironic to say that our blasphemy law is no different from their beef ban.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1493303/human-rights-evaluation/


Key Takeaways from Census Results

By Hasaan Khawar

August 29, 2017

So we are 207+ million in number, up from 132+ million back in 1998. If we keep on growing like this, we’ll be the third-largest country in the world by 2050 with 450+ million humans, behind India and China. This growth rate is outrageous. For the last 19 years, we have been adding one person to our population every eight seconds. Add in the number of deaths and we realise that we have been reproducing at a much faster pace. Population control programmes, which have consumed billions, need serious soul-searching. Even more interestingly, these results have taken many by surprise. The World Bank and UNFPA thought we should be somewhere close to 197 million, but we are off by about 10 million people. Surprisingly, the CCI projected us at somewhere near 205 million, an estimate far better than that of the development experts.

Secondly and more importantly, where have these people come from? Excluding Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the population growth has been highest in Balochistan, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). This is no surprise, as Balochistan and K-P have a much higher poverty incidence than Punjab and Sindh. Poverty and population growth have long been known to coexist and often nurture each other. On the other hand, the lowest population growth (1.81%) was witnessed in rural Punjab, but urbanisation might have had a greater role to play here.

Thirdly, the change in provincial population shares is perhaps the most consequential issue. If there were 100 people in Pakistan, 15 of them would be living in K-P, two in Fata, 53 in Punjab, 23 in Sindh, six in Balochistan and one in ICT. In 1998, K-P had 13, Punjab 56 while Balochistan had five (out of 100). The rest had the same proportion. This change will have important repercussions about distribution of resources and allocation of national assembly seats. The next NFC award will have to be announced, with Punjab compromising in favour of K-P and Balochistan. Similarly, Article 51(3) of the Constitution will have to be amended, in the light of Article 51(5), which mandates the allocation of seats based on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published. This would mean at least eight fewer seats for Punjab in 332-strong National Assembly, with 5-6 more seats for K-P and almost three more for Balochistan.

Next comes the male-to-female ratio. Using the 100 people analogy, we would have 51 males and 49 females, which is very close to world’s average. This has, however, come down since 1998, when we had 52 men out of every 100 people. This change could be a result of widening gap between female and male life expectancy at birth, which currently stands at almost two years.

Another upsetting aspect of these results relates to productivity. According to the World Bank data, Pakistan ranked 126th out of 175 countries in 2016 based on GDP per capita, a measure of the country’s workforce productivity. Even if our GDP grows by 5% this year, our GDP per capita in 2017 would only be as high as we claimed to have in 2015. We knew we were unproductive, but it’s worse than we thought.

The most striking number from census results is the transgender population. While the government must be given credit to acknowledge the so far ignored transgender population, the number looks far too small. The population of 10,418 translates into one transgender person for every 20,000 people. In India, there is one for every 2,600 individuals, with a clear realisation that the actual number may be six to seven times higher. This means that there could actually be one transgender person for every 400 citizens. Our demographics can’t be that different. Even if we assume 1/2,600 ratio, it means that we have identified only one out of every eight transgender persons in Pakistan. Considering this huge anomaly, it is critical that any policy measure to support transgender needs should not be based on these modest estimates.

Lastly, comes the urban-rural split. About 64 people out of every 100 live in rural areas, while 36 reside in urban settlements. The latter, however, may grow to 40 by 2050 with existing growth rates. We have added 30 million people to our urban population in the last 19 years and we are all set to add another 112 million by 2050, if we continue unabated. This unfortunately is not a result of any coherent strategy, which means that we are not well prepared to face this challenge neither do we have any mechanisms to reap its dividends.

Urbanisation and its associated issues are likely to force their way onto policy makers’ radar in the near future or else the population pressure is going to wipe out whatever semblance of service delivery and public order remains. Merely feeding these 450 million souls would be a nightmare, let alone educating them, providing them health services or catering to their electricity, transport and water requirements. These preliminary census results should be an eye-opener for policymakers to have a paradigm shift. We are facing an emergency and we need to attend to it now or else we are going to witness a crisis of unprecedented proportions in not very distant future

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1493372/key-takeaways-census-results/


Why US Sanctions Will Not Work This Time

By Qamar Cheema


Pakistan and US have always enjoyed a transactional relationship but what remains missing in these seventy years is a strategic partnership. The US has always viewed Pakistan from a security lens whereas governments in Pakistan have looked towards the US for internal and external legitimacy. Throughout their relationship, Pakistan and the US have actively cooperated three times in bilateral relations and all three times there they have been major issues which brought both states into an uncomfortable position. The first incident was during the Cold War from 1950 to 1960, when the US needed Pakistan as an ally against the Soviet Union and Pakistan needed an ally against India. However, an issue cropped up as the US did not want to convey any sense of animosity towards India, whilst needing Pakistan as an ally. The second time was during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the US needed Pakistan’s cooperation on Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. Pakistan cooperated, but soon the US was aggrieved at Pakistan’s covert nuclear bomb plans. More recently, the US need’s Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against terror and Pakistan has been cooperating since 9/11 but this time the irritant is the Taliban.

Since Trump announced his long expected policy on South Asia, there has been much debate on both sides. As Generals have the authority to advise the President, the State Department feels annoyed and ignored from the South Asia policy. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave the impression that Pakistan will lose its status of privileged military ally. It is likely that Pakistan and the US will both lose influence over each other if the US considers this option. Trump called Pakistan an ‘agent of chaos’ which the administration in Islamabad and Generals in Rawalpindi took very seriously. In reply, they conveyed a strong signal of defiance in the National Security Committee’s meeting on the 24th of August to President Trump’s allegations.

The $64,000 Question is will the US sanction Pakistan this time on the Haqqani Network issue even though Pakistan has taken actions against it. Options with Washington this time are not as open as they had been back in 1990s or before. Pakistanis as whole weren’t as aware of Pakistan-US relations, but now, the public has expressed consternation regarding Donald Trump’s policy on South Asia.

The US has too much to lose if it chooses to put sanctions against Pakistan. There is likely to be huge pressure from within the US as they have doled out billions of dollars in Afghanistan and lost many of their armed forces too.

Pakistan can approach more reliable forms of support such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in case sanctions are slammed on it

Meanwhile after 9/11, the US administration realized that sanctioning Pakistan after the end of the Cold War was not a wise step. The US may try to use sanctions against Pakistan however there is no guarantee of their success. China and Russia have already slammed Trump’s South Asia policy and declared that the world needs to recognize Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the war against terror. Secondly, the US may use institutional power against Pakistan like IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and WTO so that Pakistan may lose financial incentives and could be sanctioned. However, Pakistan can approach more reliable forms of support such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which has a huge potential to accommodate Pakistan if this callous attitude lingers in the US. The third way to deal with Pakistan which seems more likely, is the sanctioning of individuals and companies which are allegedly dealing with General Pasha.

Two third of US sanctions have not worked historically even with its big military machinations and huge control on global institutions. Sanctions on Pakistan are not likely not work this time. Society, opposition parties, and the media are there to support the government in case of difficulties.

Sanctions are not an option and could be counterproductive for both Pakistan and the US. Pakistan and US need to sit together and diplomats should be given a role to sort out this crisis. Generals have had enough time to bring peace in Afghanistan, its time all diplomatic tools are put on the table for peace in Afghanistan. Rather than bringing crises in Islamabad, the US should decide to sort them out in Kabul.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-17/why-us-sanctions-will-not-work-this-time


Donald Trump’s Flawed Foreign Policy

By Munir Ahmed


‘No more’ is the voice of Pakistan. It is hoped that President Donald Trump has heard loud and clear the slogans enchanted by the participants of various rallies in Pakistan against his new foreign policy for the region. This is not the first extreme tilt in the US foreign policy on Pakistan and out of proportion trust on India. Undoubtedly, Pakistan had been a best market for the cultivation of US interests over the last 70 years. It is indeed unbelievable truth that Pakistan preferred US friendship over the neighbouring countries — the arch opponents and rivals of the US in the global game of economic and political vested interests.

Before saying anything against Pakistan, the US should realistically count the sacrifices of Pakistan and the dead bodies we have buried, the loss of infrastructure and the economic recession we suffered from. Let’s not discuss the US betrayal to Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 wars against India. Shall we not speak about the US turning blind on the atrocities and human rights violations in the Indian Held Kashmir?

Pakistan is still fighting the monster of Taliban and jihadis that the US created against the USSR. The wounds of US attacks on Iraq and other countries, and the US’s active engagement in the Arab Spring for their strategic vested interest are still fresh.

Despite the fact that Pakistan is clearly aware of the hegemonic behaviour of the US and out of proportion support to India, the apologetic and soft response to the new US foreign policy in the region is not understandable. Perhaps, we lack the courage to respond in the same tone despite clear messages from China, Russia and Iran in favour of Pakistan.

It is about time Pakistan took a bold step to be trustworthy partner of the newly emerging bloc comprising the regional partners including China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran. This bloc certainly would help reduc the undue American and hegemonic influence in the region, and unbelievably boost the economic growth.

Pakistan has taken a good breathing space by ‘requesting’ the US to postpone the scheduled visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant Secretary of State for South and Asian Affairs.

Alice Wells had to reach Islamabad on Monday. This would have been the first high-profile visit by a US official since Trump’s Afghan policy speech on August 21.

The new date of the visit has not been decided, while US Embassy spokesman said that Wells’ visit to Pakistan will be rescheduled after mutual understanding of both countries.

Though the decision may be an alert to the US to check and review their new policy framework for the region, it could also be an indication that Pakistan is going to review the master-slave relations.

The fact that President Trump has been threatening every other country of significant importance for one reason or the other says a lot about his state of mind. Perhaps he deliberately wants to prove himself as a war-monger in any case

The fact that President Trump has been threatening every other country of significant importance for one reason or the other says a lot about his state of mind. Perhaps he deliberately wants to prove himself as a war-monger in any case. His aggressive plans such as clearing the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan would further escalate security concerns in the region. His act of backtracking from the promise to rapidly end America’s longest war, while pillorying ally Pakistan, would open a new plethora of doubts on the sacrifices that Pakistan has made over the years to protect and safeguard the American interest in the region.

The world never expected that the sane and wise people of the USA would select a President who would keep engaging America into conflicts with other countries. And this is not the first time, nor the last time. The realistic people worldwide think who actually selects or elects the US president, the American people or someone else? Why does the US always opt for the war-economy, why not peaceful economic coexistence? It should be the general concern of the Americans that despite all grants and aid to developing countries, America and Americans continue to be hated.

The American people cannot stay indifferent to the imposed political and strategic decisions. They need to spare some time to realise the reasons behind the hatred and accept the harsh conspicuous realities.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/29-Aug-17/donald-trumps-flawed-foreign-policy


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