Tuesday, August 22, 2017

India - United against triple talaq, divided on legal points

Krishnadas Rajagopal
While Chief Justice wanted to invoke Article 142 and seek legislation to end the practice, the majority verdict set it aside as ‘manifestly arbitrary’
Though he declared instant talaq a fundamental right, Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar on Tuesday employed the Supreme Court’s rare and extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 to injunct Muslim husbands from divorcing their wives for the next six months through the same instant talaq.
The issue of Chief Justice Khehar employing Article 142 was raised by another judge on the Bench. “I have serious doubts as to whether, even under Article 142, the exercise of a fundamental right can be injuncted,” Justice Kurian observed.
Chief Justice Khehar issued the direction under Article 142 after observing that even theocratic Islamic States had corrected their Shariat to banish instant talaq.
In other countries
“When the British rulers in India provided succour to Muslims by legislation, and when remedial measures have been adopted by the Muslim world, we find no reason, for an independent India, to lag behind. Measures have been adopted for other religious denominations even in India, but not for Muslims. We would, therefore, implore the legislature, to bestow its thoughtful consideration, to this issue of paramount importance,” Chief Justice Khehar observed.
Moreover, the Chief Justice, who wrote the minority judgment for himself and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, directed the government to frame a law to address the issue of Muslim women under the yoke of triple talaq, especially instant talaq. The minority verdict said social evils such as sati, infanticide and devadasi system were cast out by way of legislation and not by judicial orders.
However, the direction under Article 142 in the minority verdict failed to come alive as the majority of the judges on the Bench set aside instant talaq with immediate effect.
Gender equality
India is committed to gender equality and eradication of discrimination on the basis of sex, the minority verdict said. “We have not the least doubt, that the Indian state is committed to gender equality. This is the clear mandate of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution. India is also committed to eradicate discrimination on the ground of sex. Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, prohibit any kind of discrimination on the basis of sex.”
“There is, therefore, no reason or necessity while examining the issue of ‘talaq-e-biddat’, to fall back upon international conventions.”

How Pakistan fits into Trump’s Afghan plans

By Kathy Gannon
In announcing his strategy for Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at neighboring Pakistan, an ostensible U.S. ally, ordering it to stop giving sanctuary to “agents of chaos, violence and terror.”
His predecessors have aired similar complaints, and U.S. officials and analysts have long accused Pakistan of playing a double-game with Islamic extremists -- supporting those that threaten its rivals in India and Afghanistan while cracking down on those who target its own citizens.
Pakistan has been at war with the Pakistani Taliban and homegrown extremists for years, but it has long tolerated the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network, which are battling U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan has also struggled to combat other forms of extremism. Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death and has been known to incite mob lynchings. Around 1,000 women are murdered each year in so-called honor killings, and attacks on Shiites and other religious minorities are on the rise.
How did the U.S. come to ally itself with Pakistan, and where do they go from here? The AP explains.
The U.S. backed Pakistan during the Cold War, and in the 1980s the CIA used it as a staging area for efforts to aid the Afghan Mujahedeen, who were then fighting to drive out Soviet troops. At the time, the U.S. viewed the Mujahedeen and Pakistan’s president, Gen. Zia-ul Haq — a military dictator who promoted a harsh version of Islam — as allies. The U.S. renewed the alliance after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as Pakistan again emerged as a key staging ground and supply route in the war to overthrow the Taliban and eliminate al-Qaida. The U.S. has since given Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid.
Since the days of Zia and the Mujahideen, Pakistan’s security apparatus has supported or turned a blind eye to extremist groups in Afghanistan and the disputed Kashmir region, viewing them as a weapon against India, its main rival.
Pakistan has long feared that Afghanistan would ally with India against it, and sees the Taliban as the best tool for thwarting such an alliance. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries to recognize the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.
That approach became increasingly problematic as the U.S. waged its war on terror. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency is widely believed to maintain close ties to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Their leaders live relatively freely in Pakistan -- as long as they aren’t seen as acting against Islamabad’s political interests. The ISI has long said it has limited influence over such groups, and uses it to pursue regional stability.
Al-Qaida’s top leaders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, also found refuge in Pakistan after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, but they went into hiding. Whether Pakistan was ever able or willing to track them down remains the subject of heated debate. U.S.-Pakistan tensions came to a head in 2011 when American commandos killed Bin Laden in a secret raid in Abbottabad, just a few miles away from one of Pakistan’s premier military academies. Pakistan once again insisted it had no idea about his whereabouts, and expressed anger over the U.S. carrying out the raid without giving it prior notice. Shortly after the raid, Pakistan arrested a local doctor accused of running a fake vaccination program in order to gather DNA from Bin Laden, which he then allegedly passed on to the CIA. Pakistan has refused U.S. demands to release the man.
Relations remained chilly in the following years, as the U.S. repeatedly pushed Pakistan to do more to eliminate militant sanctuaries and trimmed military aid when it did not.
But Pakistan remains a major player in Afghanistan, and will need to be on board if Trump hopes to end America’s longest war. Pakistan has used its close ties to the Taliban to bring them to the peace table in the past and could do so again, but it will want to preserve its own interests, which appear to be in conflict with the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Donald Trump will own the Afghan war in victory, his generals will in defeat

In the first major policy address on Afghanistan during his presidency Donald Trump said that he was ready to send more US troops to the country. Here are five takeaways from President Trump's speech.
Reversal of earlier stance on Afghanistan
The most significant aspect of President Trump's speech on Afghanistanwas that it marked a U-turn in the president's thinking on the US involvement in the war in Afghanistan. At the outset of his remarks Trump said that he usually trusts his instincts, and that his instinct on Afghanistan was to get out.
But then he appealed to credibility, saying that "once he became president and studied the issues more carefully with the generals he began to think differently," according to Jennifer Mercieca, a presidential rhetoric scholar at Texas A&M University. "Usually we trust speakers who we believe are knowledgeable and have good intentions - Trump made appeals to both."
In the past Trump had repeatedly criticized the US war effort in Afghanistan. He had called for an end to US involvement there and for Washington to focus on rebuilding at home instead.
Now, by not just reversing his decision to withdraw from the country, but by signing off on an unspecified increase of troops to try to pacify it, President Trump has put his personal imprint on the 16-year war effort. Currently, there are more than 8,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan.  
Tough rhetoric, few specifics
"For a major policy address, the speech was painfully short of any real specifics about American strategy or end goals in Afghanistan," said Jason Lyall, a political scientist at Yale University with a focus on Afghanistan who also serves as director of Yale's Political Violence Fieldlab. "We never received any clear criteria for 'success,' nor a sense of what was new in this approach that hasn't been tried before. In that regard, I thought the speech was quite poor."
While Trump's remarks lacked tangible measures or figures such as troop levels, he did pepper his speech with tough-sounding rhetoric, saying that the US would now "fight to win," and calling terrorists "thugs" and "losers." But beyond those words and the promise to give commanders on the ground more freedom to make decisions on the spot and go after the enemy, the speech did not offer specifics on the precise path to victory.
For Mercieca, the Trump speech sounded at times almost Obama-esque - with one key difference: "Where he differed is in his claim that the US will no longer dictate the terms of our help - he essentially announced the end of the Wilson Doctrine that we would engage in war to help spread democracy and capitalism."  
Greater role for Pakistan and India, no mention of Russia and Iran
President Trump's Afghanistan strategy foresees an expanded role for both Pakistan and India. But while the president simply asked India to provide economic assistance, Pakistan received much harsher treatment. Trump did call Pakistan a partner of the US in his remarks, but he also accused the country of harboring people who want to kill Americans and said that this would have to stop immediately or the US would have to act militarily.
But beyond those rather general demands vis-à-vis India, and beyond the general threats against Pakistan, Trump's remarks again lacked details of what this would practically mean for the two countries.   
While Trump focused on India and Pakistan, "there was no mention at all of the growing roles played by Russia and Iran in Afghanistan and, in particular, in supporting the Taliban," said Yale's Lyall. "The war has changed considerably in the past several years; it has widened geographically to bring in other powers besides Pakistan. I don't think the speech reflected this new reality.”
Trump as presidential orator
Considering that Trump tends to shy away from deliberative policy addresses and prefers to be speaking off-the cuff at political campaign rallies (like the one scheduled on Tuesday in Arizona) rather than at official events, "I think this went well for him," said Texas A&M's Mercieca. He read his script from the teleprompter with little embellishment and did not deviate.
"The opening section of the speech made similar claims about American servicemen as Lincoln did at Gettysburg, he appealed to national values like democracy and freedom, and asked Americans to love and trust one another - appealing to national transcendent values," said Mercieca. "He needed to do that, he should have done that last week," she said, in reference to the far-right protests and violence in Charlottesville. 
Mercieca does not believe that this will make Americans more supportive of the war in Afghanistan, but she notes that this probably wasn't Trump's aim. "He did a fair job of saving face for himself about why he was pursuing the war, despite what he had previously said about it."
So what does all of this mean now?
Before the speech, there was much talk about whether Trump, after giving his address and deciding on a new strategy for Afghanistan, would then "own" the war effort in Afghanistan. But that notion was wrong to begin with, in Mercieca's view:
"As President of the United States Trump has always owned the Afghan war effort, whether he wanted to or not. This speech means that Trump has responsibility over the specific decision to escalate the war if that is what he will do."
With his Afghanistan address, the president wants to have his cake and eat it too, said Lyall:  "On the one hand, it's clear he's following his generals' advice, and so is able to wash his hands of the war in case this effort fails. On the other hand, he has positioned himself to reap the rewards in the unlikely event that this strategy does in fact turn Afghanistan around," he said. "Trump wants to own the war, but only if he wins it. If not, his generals will own the defeat."

Pakistan terrorism crackdown 'necessary' to Trump's Afghanistan strategy

Threats of pressure to get Islamabad on board with defeating the Afghan Taliban mark a potential break from the softer approach adopted under Bush and Obama.
President Donald Trump's announcement Monday that he would extend the U.S. military role in Afghanistan was accompanied by tough warnings to Pakistan – a country that U.S. officials have long viewed as a duplicitous, unreliable partner whose cooperation is nonetheless crucial to defeating the Afghan Taliban.
Trump accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” and threatened to cut financial aid if the country doesn’t do more to stop the flow of militants. Trump even appealed to Pakistan’s chief nemesis, India, to step up its involvement in Afghanistan’s economy and broader development.
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” the Republican president said. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.” Trump’s comments signal a potential break from efforts by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who, despite intense and often-voiced frustration with Islamabad, preferred to use money and diplomacy to push Pakistan to stop giving Afghan Taliban militants support and sanctuary. The speech reflected the Trump administration’s preference for the stick over the carrot. Cracking down on Pakistan was “one of the necessary changes in U.S. policy” if the latest strategy for Afghanistan is going to succeed, a senior White House aide said.
The Pakistani embassy declined to offer immediate comment.
As they reviewed their South Asia strategy over the past several months, Trump aides split into two, somewhat overlapping camps on Pakistan, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. Both groups agreed it was time to raise the pressure on Islamabad but differed in how far to go.
One group pushed measures such as cutting off all U.S. military aid and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally. The other camp argued for more incremental steps to avoid losing Islamabad’s cooperation entirely and sparking more violence by Pakistan-backed militant groups. Trump leaned more toward the more hardline camp, as did CIA director Mike Pompeo, according to a person familiar with the issue. Trump wanted to cut off all military aid to Pakistan, questioning whether the billions spent there had gained the United States anything, this person added. But several of Trump’s top aides, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, preferred a softer approach to the nuclear-armed country of 195 million. The Pentagon was especially worried about keeping U.S. access to Pakistani transportation corridors need to supply troops in Afghanistan, although the U.S. has developed alternative supply lines over the years.
“Pakistan has suffered greatly from terrorism and can be an important partner in our shared goals of peace and stability in the region,” Tillerson said in a statement sent out shortly after Trump spoke. “We look to Pakistan to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region.”
Tillerson also added: “India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in the region, and we welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan’s political and economic modernization.” In his Fort Myer remarks, Trump hinted that Pakistan would see changes in how much money it gets from the United States, though he did not offer specifics.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we have been fighting,” Trump said. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States has showered Pakistan with more than $30 billion in military and economic aid to gain its undivided loyalty in the effort to bring peace to Afghanistan. That yielded little fruit. The Taliban by some estimates now control 40 percent of Afghanistan, and Islamic State terrorists also have made inroads there.
Militants fighting in Afghanistan can still find safe havens just across the border in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Afghan Taliban leaders, as well as some Al-Qaeda leaders, are believed to operate in Pakistani cities such as Karachi. Pakistan also was where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden spent his final years until a U.S. raid killed him in the city of Abbottabad in 2011 – an episode that deeply soured U.S.-Pakistani relations.
U.S. officials accuse Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence apparatus of retaining ties to Afghan Taliban groups, including the deadly Haqqani network. Analysts say Islamabad believes that by keeping Afghanistan weak and unstable it can use the country as a staging ground in case of a future conflict with New Delhi. Pakistan and India, which also has nuclear weapons, have fought three major wars since 1947.
“Pakistan’s spoiling power in Afghanistan is really unlimited,” said Moeed Yusuf, a South Asia expert with the U.S. Institute of Peace. “They could make a mess of things much more so than they have now.”
The U.S. has long tried to avoid getting involved in resolving the decades-old Pakistan-India dispute over the Kashmir region and related subjects, and Trump’s speech offered no hint that would change. But his appeal for India to play a greater role in Afghanistan is not likely to play well in Pakistan, which fears the possibility of a future alliance between Afghanistan and India.
“We simultaneously want to work with the Indians and use our improved relationship with them in some tangible way, but we can’t encourage India to be more active in Afghanistan without playing to some of Pakistan’s worst instincts,” said Daniel Markey, a Pakistan expert at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Pakistan denies double-dealing. It points to its fight against armed groups on its own soil, including what’s known as thePakistani Taliban, as evidence of its anti-terrorist credentials. Pakistani leaders complain that U.S. officials rarely acknowledge the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis in terrorist attacks since 2001. Trump, who nodded to Pakistani sacrifices, seemed especially troubled by the region’s nuclear factor. The concern was shared by past administrations, who worried that radical elements within Pakistan’s armed forces could share nuclear material and know-how with militants.
“We must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world, for that matter,” Trump said. The Trump administration has already taken some steps to signal its displeasure with Pakistan. The Pentagon announced last month that it would withhold $50 million in military assistance to Pakistan for not taking sufficient action against the Haqqani network. The Obama administration took a similar step in its final months.
There also have been very few high-level diplomatic or other exchanges between the countries, although Trump, during the transition period, reportedly heaped praise on the country in a call with Pakistan’s prime minister. Neither Tillerson nor Mattis have visited Pakistan, though Mattis did visit Afghanistan in April.
When National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster visited the region the same month, he stopped by Pakistan. But there and in Afghanistan, he hinted that the Trump White House had less patience for Islamabad than its predecessors. Pakistan’s government has had its own political turmoil recently, which hasn’t helped the relationship with the United States. Nawaz Sharif, the man serving as prime minister when Trump was elected, was ousted from his position last month by the courts over corruption charges. “I am absolutely shocked at the abject absence of any real urge on either side to engage at the highest level,” said USIP’s Yusuf. “None of the meetings that have happened have been cordial. It’s basically ended up creating more tension.”
One potential consequence of a hardened U.S. approach to Pakistan is that Islamabad may deepen its cooperation with China. Pakistan leaders unhappy with the United States not-so-subtly describe China as an “all-weather friend.” China’s role came up during the Trump administration’s conversations about Pakistan, the person familiar with the issue said. “There was discussion about how Pakistan has become a client state of China,” the person said. Trump’s harsher stance on Pakistan also risks delaying the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government. Pakistan is believed to be a critical influence on Afghan Taliban leaders who may wish to discuss a settlement.
Markey pointed out that U.S. financial assistance to Pakistan has been decreasing in recent years anyway – in fiscal 2016 it was roughly $1 billion total for security and economic assistance and military reimbursements.
Cutting off those funds isn’t as much of a threat to Pakistan as it could be, despite the country’s economic struggles. Like other observers, Markey also stressed that unless Trump follows up his rhetoric with notable action, Pakistanis will simply shrug it off as the latest in empty American threats. One way Trump could further signal his displeasure with Pakistan is by ramping up U.S. drone strikes in the country, an option his administration has discussed. The drone program, largely operated by the CIA, is classified, and Trump did not mention it during his Monday night speech.
Obama dramatically increased the use of such drone strikes in Pakistan, especially in the early years of his presidency. The U.S. drones rained down missiles in Pakistan’s tribal regions, killing numerous Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, including Pakistani Taliban militants opposed to the government in Islamabad. But such strikes were widely unpopular in Pakistan and contributed to the deep anti-American sentiment there, leading to fears they encouraged more young Pakistanis to sign up as militants.
Ultimately, unless the United States can convince Pakistan that cutting links with Afghan Taliban fighters will benefit it in its rivalry against India, it’s not likely Islamabad will change its ways, said Christopher Kolenda, a former U.S. Army colonel who served four tours in Afghanistan and is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“As long as our policy is engaged in self-deception about our ability to change Pakistan’s strategic calculus, we’re going to continue to kick the can around the circle,” he said.

نوازشریف پارلیمنٹ کو مقتدر بنانے کے بجائے بادشاہ بن گئے، زرداری

پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی پارلیمنٹرینز کے سربراہ اور سابق صدرآصف علی زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ ہم نے میثاق جمہوریت کے ذریعے جمہوریت کومضبوط کیا اور نواز شریف نے اپنے طرز عمل کے ذریعے جمہوریت کو کمزور کیا، نوازشریف پارلیمنٹ کو مقتدر بنانے کے بجائے بادشاہ بن گئے۔
ہمارے طرق عمل سے سیکھنے کی بجائے تکبر کا راستہ اختیار کیا ، اپنے اعمال کی وجہ سے اس انجام کو پہنچے ہیں ، مسلم لیگ( ن) سے مفاہمت کاباب کب کا بند ہوچکا ،مفاہمت سے متعلق افواہیں بے بنیادہیں ، نوازشریف کا کوئی دشمن نہیں وہ اپنے دشمن خودہیں۔ان خیالات کااظہارانہوںنے گزشتہ روزبلاول ہاؤس لاہور میں پیپلز پارٹی کے سینئررہنماؤں قیوم سومرو، مخدوم احمد محمود، نیلم جبار، بشیر ریاض، عبدالقادر شاہین، عزیز الرحمان چن اور دیگر سے ملاقاتوں کے دوران کیا جس میں ملک کی موجودہ سیاسی صورتحال اور پارٹی معاملات پر تبادلہ خیال کیا گیا۔
آصف زرداری نے کہاکہ نوا زشریف اپنے اعمال کی وجہ سے اس انجام کوپہنچے ،ہم نے اقتدار میں آکر اختیارات پارلیمنٹ کو تفویض کئے جس سے جمہوریت اور پارلیمنٹ مضبوط ہوئے لیکن میاں نوازشریف نے اقتدار میں آکر غرور کیا اور بادشاہوں کا طرز حکمرانی اختیار کیا اس سے جمہوریت بہت کمزور ہوئی، پارلیمنٹ کو مقتدر بنانے کے بجائے نواز شریف خود اختیارات کا منبع بن گئے، میاں صاحب بادشاہ بن گئے۔