Showing posts from November, 2014

Missed opportunity

Courtesy:-   Malik Muhammad Ashraf Those who expected a formal or informal interaction between the Prime ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the SAARC summit leading to the resumption of suspended talks between the two countries, would feel utterly disappointed by the fact that the two did not even exchange greetings or pleasantries while sitting two seats away from each other on the same dais. Till the writing of this piece, there were no indications that any effort was underway by any participating nation or the host Nepal to play a facilitating role in this regard. The fact is that both leaders have missed a good opportunity to defuse rising tensions between the two countries as a result of the Indian decision to suspend secretary level talks, renewed exchange of fire along the LOC and the working boundary and bellicose blustering by the Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So the hopes rekindled at the Delhi meeting between the two Prime Min

This is not goodbye

Courtesy:- Malik Muhammad Ashraf According to a recent report in the New York Times, President Obama has signed a secret order authorising US forces to continue executing missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening US troops and Afghan government for another year, meaning thereby that the earlier announcement and pledge by Obama for ending combat role for US troops beyond 2014 stands effectively rescinded.  Reportedly, the new authorisation also allows US air strikes to support Afghan forces on combat missions and US troops to occasionally accompany Afghan troops on operations against the Taliban. The decision to extend the combat role of the US forces has ostensibly been dictated by the prevailing ground realities. And the ground realities are that after a decade-long military adventure in Afghanistan that has consumed 1,800 lives of US soldiers and 763 private contractors besides injuring 14,342 servicemen and $450 billion spent on securing and rebuilding Af

Army Chief’s visit to the United States

Courtesy:-  Iqbal Khan   General Raheel Sharif’s first visit to the US came on the heels of a Pentagon report alleging that Pakistan uses proxies in Afghanistan. Visit was not burdened by undue prospects. It will also be an over statement to call the visit a watershed; however a cautious optimism may be in order. Afghanistan dominated the meetings, with General giving assurances that stability in that country was in Pakistan’s interest. Back home, Pakistan signed an important defence deal with “Putin’s Russia”; this alongside Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs’ remarks in “historic perspective” did some reverse paddling. Moreover, President Obama called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on telephone on November 21 to inform him of his forthcoming visit to India; it has been a practice for quite some time to fore tell Pakistan about the strategic benefits American President would bestow on India during such visits and tell Pakistan not to create fuss over it.

Better Pakistanis

Courtesy:- Hajrah Mumtaz  TRAGIC irony, cruel joke or absurd contrast, it’s hard to decide what to make of the distance between several of this country’s grim realities and the self-proclaimed good intentions of those who have taken it upon themselves to do something about them — because, after all, no one was thrust into politics and everyone who sits in a position of administrative power, be it in parliament or at a lower tier, is there because they volunteered for the job. Consider a couple of gems that have appeared in the news in the recent past. On Nov 16, in its ongoing effort to improve the lot of the people of minority religions whose fate it is to struggle on in this country’s unedifying terrain, the PPP proposed that the word ‘minority’ should be replaced with ‘better Pakistani’ in all official correspondence. Yes, really. At a seminar organised by the party’s human rights wing in Lahore, PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said that “the word ‘minority’ should be replaced wit

China on the chessboard

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf Relations between Pakistan and China reached new heights with 19 agreements and MOUs signed between the two countries in Beijing. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was visiting China on the invitation of the Chinese government to participate in a dialogue on ‘Strengthening Connectivity And Partnership’. The agreements mainly relate to power-generation projects and infrastructure-building under the Pak-China Economic Corridor and are expected to attract a total investment of $42 billion.  The envisaged power projects would collectively add 16520MW electricity to the system on completion. The Chinese also promised to open the green channel for facilitating quick release of funds for the implementation of the investment in Pakistan.