Saturday, September 23, 2017
By Aloke Tikku
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj lashed out at Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for his accusations against India in her speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
In a takedown of Pakistan for its non-stop support to terrorism, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today dismissed Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's accusations of violating human rights, telling the United Nations General Assembly, "Look who is talking". "We are completely engaged in fighting poverty; alas our neighbour Pakistan seems only engaged in fighting us," Ms Swaraj said in a hard-hitting speech that took swipes at Islamabad for exporting terror that kills hundreds of people. Ms Swaraj also asked Pakistani leaders to introspect, reminding them that though both countries became independent at the same time, India is globally known as an IT superpower, and Pakistan, "as the pre-eminent export factory for terror".
"We set up IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and ISRO. What did Pakistan make? They set up Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Haqqani Network, Hizbul Mujahiddeen," said Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who addressed the gathering of leaders from 193 countries for the second consecutive year. She spoke in Hindi.
Naming the Pakistan PM twice in her 21-minute speech, Ms Swaraj told the UN meet where reproaches of other leaders are generally less personal, that a country that has been the world's greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity had become a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium. The jibe was aimed at Pakistan Prime Minister, who had devoted much of his first address to accusing India of, what he called, was terror against Islamabad and "war crimes" in Kashmir.
Sushma Swaraj also spoke about climate change and UN reforms. But before she outlined India's vision on these points, she took Pakistan to task for its support to terror.
She had a word of advice for Pakistani politicians as well. "If Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today," she said to a loud applause at the UNGA.
Turning to world leaders at the UN meet, Ms Swaraj wondered how the world could fight terror together if there was no agreement on who the enemy was. If even the United Nations Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, how can we fight together?" she said, an oblique reference to China blocking India's request to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
Complimenting Ms Swaraj for delivering a "strong message" on the dangers of terrorism at the world meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it an "incredible" and "insightful" speech. "She has made India extremely proud at the world stage," PM Modi tweeted. The Foreign Minister also reminded the world leaders to start reviewing the progress made in the 2030 sustainable development agenda decided in 2015. "If complacency defines the next 13 years, then we are in danger of losing control. We need a sense of urgency as well as unshakeable fortitude to take decisions that can avert catastrophe," she said.
India had set the tone for Ms Swaraj's response when India exercised its right of reply to PM Abbasi's speech that caustically described Pakistan as a country whose counter-terrorism policy was to "mainstream and upstream terrorists" by either providing safe havens to terror leaders in its military town or protecting them with political careers -- a reference to Osama bin Laden. India has called Pakistan a geography synonymous with terror, Terroristan, or 'the land of pure terror', which had a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism.
Sushma Swaraj had earlier asked the BRICS grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to condemn efforts, including by states, of using religion to sponsor terrorism against other nations.
Another setback awaits the country as an international arbitration court has ruled that the government engaged in an act of ‘expropriation’ against the assets of a foreign investor when the Supreme Court took action against Karkey Karadeniz, the Turkish firm that was contracted to set up a rental power plant by the previous government.
Reportedly, the damages that have been awarded by the court are around $700m; some reports say the amount is much higher while the government insists it is much lower without disclosing the actual figure. In fact, the attorney general’s office has gone out of its way to veil the adverse award in silence, giving its first pronouncement on it only when the matter was in the news.
Whatever the size of the award, it is fair to assume that it will be substantial. And this judgement is likely to be followed up by another, even larger, award in the Reko Diq case which is also winding its way through the arbitration process of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the World Bank arm that gave the Karkey award.
It is still likely that Karkey will settle out of court rather than go through the arduous process of recovery. Nevertheless, the award should be a jolt to all those who seek to interfere in the country’s international commitments. For many years now, the global community has been tightening the protections that foreign investors can avail themselves of through arbitrary actions. Toying with the stakes acquired by foreign investors must be avoided.
Pakistan’s domestic politics is famously turbulent, and the first question any foreign investor asks is whether the present government will be in a position to deliver on the commitments it has entered into, and what is the likelihood that whoever comes into power next will try to reverse or otherwise alter the contractual terms governing long-term investments. Potential investors in the LNG sector, to take one example, are asking themselves exactly these questions as they consider entering into a long-term supply contract with Pakistan.
The political parties need to come to an understanding that they will keep foreign investors out of their own disputes. More importantly, the judicial community needs to understand that tampering with the understandings underpinning long-term foreign investments in the country carries enormous risks and costs, and can backfire resulting in a severely detrimental impact on the country.
One cannot emphasise enough the importance of treating investments, whether foreign or domestic, with due care, both at the time of signing and when delivering on the deal. There must be a limit to how far people are willing to go to settle scores arising from domestic politics. Otherwise, the country stands to pay a huge price, and nobody wins.
Uncertainty about the future of constitutional system is growing as the current civilian setup appears to be losing control over both the external and internal dimensions of the governance in Pakistan.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the newly installed Prime Minister who seemed to be quite serious in doing not only the basics in institutional functioning but was also quick in reaching out to other elements in the system has discovered the narrow limits of his power. So those who blamed Nawaz Sharif’s personalized style of governance being responsible for generating the present crises can see that the deep state would defy constitutional control whatever is the governance style of the sitting Chief Executive may be.
The veneer of civilian control was dramatically exposed over forming a national response to the deepening international isolation of the country over tackling the challenge of extremism and terrorism in the country. On August 21 President Donald Trump delivered a policy speech laying out the new US policy regarding conflict in Afghanistan and South Asia not only blamed Pakistan for providing sanctuaries to Afghan Taliban for fighting war against the Afghan state but he also threatened to take punitive measures against Pakistan if the later doesn’t change the aforementioned policy. Then came the 9th BRICS annual summit on September 3-5 in the Chinese city Xiamen.
The Summit Declaration expressed concern over the activities of Pakistan based major terrorist networks including Taliban, LeT, JuM and others and demanded action against them. The said Declaration also expressed solidarity with Afghan government which is fighting various terrorist outfits. It was pretty obvious that the country’s isolation on the question of extremism and terrorism is complete.
There emerged diametrically opposed responses to these developments from military and civilian segments of the state. For military it was straight and simple; Pakistan has already done enough against extremism and terrorism. It is for the world to do more.
It wasn’t that simple for the civilian set up though.
Had it been only US they might have gone with the military’s line.
But when it comes to telling the world, which includes China and Russia and many others, the narrative has to be more sophisticated and convincing. So it started with the statement of Khwaja Asif, the Foreign Minister of the country. After explaining the details of Pakistan’s struggle and sacrifices in fighting terrorism he in the end conceded the need for “cleaning our house”.
The position immediately came under attack from Nisar Ali Khan, the former Interior Minister and a leader of Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) who is well known for his close relations with the security establishment. The present Interior Minister, Defense Minister and even the Prime Minister upheld the position adopted by the Foreign Minister. The open civil-military division on this issue has certainly not helped Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi to look credible during his visit to US for participation in the UN General Assembly session.
As if this wasn’t enough the death of an important Afghan Taliban leader in the most recent drone US strike in Kurram Agency has belied the persistent denials of civilian and military leadership of Pakistan about the presence of Afghan Taliban leadership in Pakistan.
Internally the siege of civilian setup is augmented with the fresh onslaught of judicial action against it. NAB courts are zeroing in on Sharif family.
Even the new PM can be a possible target.
But on the other hand, acquittal of hard core terrorists in Benazir Bhutto murder case, the zero progress in investigation of hundreds of offshore companies other than those of Nawaz Sharif and the totally passive attitude of higher judiciary at Musharraf’s escape from the trail in high treason and other cases exposes the method in this judicial madness. The ruling party is desperately trying to make it to the coming Senate election to be held in March and then proceed to hold the next general elections.
That is exactly what the deep state and its political cheerleaders wouldn’t let them accomplish. The recent complaints of enforced disappearances of PML-N loyalists in Lahore shows that the deep state is prepared to go to any extent for keeping Nawaz Sharif out of not only power but also out of politics. But the result of the bye election in Lahore has demonstrated the ability of Nawaz Sharif to attract votes in the core province of Punjab. His daughter Mariam Nawaz undeterred by the strong arm tactics of the deep state has emerged as a strong political leader challenging the dead wood in the party.
But most serious aspect of the aforementioned bye election is the “mainstreaming “ of the known militant and proscribed outfits.
Instead of curbing extremist violence it is being promoted in politics. In late 1970s the deep state introduced sectarian and ethnic divisions to weaken ZA Bhutto’s Peoples Party. Building on the same strategy, and oblivious to national and international concerns, dangerous extremism is being “mainstreamed” to weaken Nawaz Sharif.
It will definitely lead to further atomization of Pakistani society. Situation on this front is already quite bleak. The political engineering by the deep state doesn’t allow the emergence of strong political parties which are important for the project of nation building and state building. Federal political parties disintegrate into provincial entities under state pressure. Deepening religious extremism and sectarianism is definitely not good news.
The worsening civil-military polarization is not only defining the internal political situation of the country but it will also determine its international standing.
Refusal to act against notorious factories of extremism and terror networks will push the country towards further isolation. Pakistan it seems is going to give serious competition to North Korea in getting itself isolated. But it will not be without serious consequences for the future.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has lashed out at former president Pervez Musharraf for accusing Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari of being involved in the assassination of Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto and dubbed the former military ruler "murderer".
"Let me state this quite clearly. Musharraf and his lapdog cronies in the establishment and the army are responsible for BBs murder," Aseefa tweeted on Friday.
She said that Musharraf was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and now he was blaming the victim.She also criticized the media houses for giving "undue" coverage to Musharraf.
"Disgusted & appalled by media houses that are giving attention to this murderer, who ran away," Aseefa stated in another tweet.
He was responding to questions about the allegations, levelled by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, in Kamalia, a city in district Toba Tek Singh, on Friday. "He (Musharraf) should appear before courts," Zardari remarked.
The PPP leader questioned why clips of Musharraf dancing in disco clubs were circulating if he really had gone abroad to seek treatment for his backache. He wondered that he (Musharraf) was doing disco dance despite his backache.
Reacting to allegations about Murtaza Bhutto murder, Zardari claimed that the murder of Murtaza was a conspiracy to topple the government of Benazir Bhutto, who was the prime minister of Pakistan at that time. Zardari said Benazir Bhutto had said that one Bhutto was murdered to topple the government of another Bhutto. "Politics of the past was based on levelling allegations against political opponents," Zardari added.
The PPP leader also criticised his political opponents, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan. He remarked: "Nawaz does not know the art of governance. Nothing is achieved by building roads."
About Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) currently, he said that Dar had fled the country. The PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said: “We condemn the false allegations levelled by Musharraf.” Referring to the party’s recent defeat in NA-120 by-poll, the PPP leader said it was an alarming situation for the party. “Bilawal is with the people and he is holding public gatherings and rallies across the country,” said Kaira while responding to a question. Arif Ghias adds: Asif Ali Zardari visited Kamalia on Friday for condoling the death of Khalid Ahmad Kharal with his son, Haider Khan Kharal. He said the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had failed to develop the province during its four-year rule.
Former federal minister for interior Faisal Saleh Hayat, ex-minister of state for textile Rana Muhammad Farooq and ex-National Assembly deputy speaker Nawaz Khokhar were also present on the occasion.
Asim Yasin adds: PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar challenged Musharraf to be a man and return to the country and face in the courts the charges of complicity in the murder of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as well as the charges of high treason. He said Musharraf had been unnerved by the admission by the LHC Rawalpindi Bench on Thursday of Asif Zardari's three appeals, one of which seeks death penalty for Musharraf for murdering Benazir Bhutto.
“As the PPP was not allowed to become a party to the case thus far, Musharraf liked to imagine that his crime will never be exposed and he will escape retribution,” he said, and added that the August 31 verdict of the Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court opened the shut doors for Zardari to enter into the field as an aggrieved party and chase Musharraf to bring him to justice.
Farhatullah Babar said the Anti-Terrorism Court verdict declared Musharraf as absconder and separated his case. “Zardari's appeal to set aside the ATC order of May 8 and judgment of August 31 has been admitted for hearing by the LHC,” he said. Farhatullah Babar said Musharraf knows well as to what it means to be chased by law and by Zardari. “This explains why the dictator who prided himself to be a commando is so shaken and unnerved,” he said. The PPP spokesman said Musharraf's warnings to Benazir Bhutto that she would risk her life if she returned to Pakistan ahead of the 2008 elections and his refusal to provide her security are already well documented and need no elaboration. “Musharraf's patronage of the extremists is also well known. While in office he sought to fool the world with his claims of 'enlightened moderation', but when out of office he admitted to having aided the Taliban,” Babar said.
He said Musharraf knows that sooner or later as the long arms of the law will reach him and he will no longer be able to seek refuge in a hospital in Rawalpindi. Meanwhile, former interior minister and PPP senior leader Senator Rehman Malik said Musharraf’s statement against Asif Zardari is a pack of lies as he is making baseless allegations to wriggle himself out of murder case of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
"Mere levelling false allegations will not help Musharraf till he doesn't dare to appear before the court of law and go through trial,” he said in a statement. Rehman Malik said if Musharraf thinks he is innocent then why he is escaping the courts. He said Musharraf will get befitting response from him based on hard facts duly sustained with evidences as soon he returns to Pakistan.
Rehman Malik denied that he left Liaquat Bagh in his car after the unfortunate blast that took Benazir Bhutto's life. He added that he was asked by his fellows to sit with them in Farhatullah Babar's car in which Farhatullah Babar, Babar Awan and General (R) Touqeer were sitting.
قومی اسمبلی میں قائد حزب اختلاف سید خورشید شاہ کا کہنا ہےکہ جنرل (ر) پرویز مشرف اتنے شیر ہیں تو بینظیر کی طرح پاکستان آئیں اور یہاں رہ کر مقابلہ کریں۔سکھر میں منعقدہ تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے خورشید شاہ نے بے نظیر کے قتل سے متعلق آصف زرداری پر الزام لگانے پر سابق صدر پرویز مشرف کو شدید تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا۔انہوں نے کہا کہ مشرف 10 سال خاموش تھے اب تیس مار خان بن گئے ہیں، وہ اتنے شیر ہیں تو پاکستان آئیں، ہماری طرح یہاں رہیں اور مقابلہ کریں، بے نظیر کی طرح ملک واپس آئیں، بھٹو کی طرح سیاست کریں اور آصف زرداری کی طرح جیل کاٹیں، تب پتا چلے گا کون شیر اور کون بکری ہے۔اپوزیشن لیڈر کا کہنا تھا کہ مشرف بے نظیر سے ڈرتے تھے، گھبراتے تھے اور ملک نہیں آنے نہیں دیتے تھے لیکن ہم نے ماضی میں سب کچھ کرکے دکھایا، دہشت گردی کے سامنے جان دی اور دیں گے۔انہوں نے کہا کہ ہماری شہادت کبھی بیرون ملک بیٹھ کر نہیں ہوئی، ہم بیرون ملک میں بیٹھ کر شیر نہیں بنتے،ہم بیرون ملک نہیں بھاگتے، جنہیں موت اور جیل کا ڈر ہو وہ کبھی عوام کی نمائندگی نہیں کرسکتے۔خورشید شاہ کا کہنا تھا کہ پاکستان مسئلوں کا بہت بڑا انبار نظر آتا ہے، ہرطرف سے کوئی نہ کوئی مسئلہ اٹھایا جارہا ہے، پارلیمنٹ اور اداروں میں ٹکراؤ کی کوشش کی جارہی ہے، ملک کے حالات اچھے نہیں، اداروں کا ٹکراؤ ہوچکا ہے، پارلیمنٹ کو کمزور کرنے والا پاکستان سے سنجیدہ نہیں۔انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ ہم عوام کے ووٹ کے تقدس کا لحاظ چاہتے ہیں، پاکستان کے عوام کو فیصلہ خود کرنے کا حق دیا جائے کیونکہ ملک میں خوشحالی تب ہوگی جب عوام فیصلہ کریں گے۔اپوزیشن لیڈر نے یہ بھی کہا کہ نظام کو بچانا ہے تو قربانیاں دینا پڑتی ہیں، گالم گلوچ سے نظام نہیں چلتا، ہمیں بھی گالیاں دینا آتی ہیں مگر ہم جمہوری لوگ ہیں لہٰذا ملک میں عوام کے حقوق کی سیاست کی جائے۔