Friday, August 23, 2019

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Video Report - Exclusive Interview With President Ashraf Ghani

#Pakistan - Tabdeeli much? #PTI is perhaps the only party that has as many factions as workers

Even after a year in power, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) continues to struggle with finding the right balance between the party and the government.
Major party office bearers have been changed twice in a year to give boost to the party, but in vain. Soon after coming to power, the prime minister appointed old guard Arshad Dad from Lala Musa, Gujrat as secretary general of the party. Recently, he has been unceremoniously replaced by former federal minister Amir Mahmood Kayani, who was allegedly dropped from the cabinet over corruption charges. Arshad Dad was on a trip to US to oversee arrangements for the Arena rally for Imran Khan when he was replaced without any notice or explanation. Some critics have said that if Kayani was going to be appointed to the important office then he should have been cleared of corruption charges prior.
It seems that Amir Kayani has re-emerged with the support of Aleem Khan whose position has been weakened after his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Aleem Khan once the Punjab president of the PTI, and right-hand man of Imran Khan, has been given a cold shoulder and consigned to political oblivion. After his release from jail, he has not been restored as a minister despite his many meetings with the prime minister.
Another powerful loyalist and a loud voice, Saif Niazi, has also re-appeared on the party horizon after a year although in political wilderness. For almost a year, he remained cornered within the party although in the past he used to belong to the most powerful lobby within the PTI. Now Niazi has been made party’s chief organiser by Imran Khan. He had earlier resigned from the post of additional secretary general over policies differences. It was then rumoured that the Jehangir Khan Tareen lobby had sidelined Saif Niazi. Soon after his appointment as chief organiser, Niazi organised a well attended party convention to prove that he remains a strongman.
Arshad Dad, the former secretary general, was a blend of professional middle-class values and military discipline. A Gujjar from central Punjab’s Gujrat district, he shared the constituency with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira. Dad’s family had long been diehard PPP loyalists. His father Brig Sahibdad Khan was a member of the Punjab cabinet in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s days. Dad has been a successful businessman running a construction company which built the Lahore Expo Centre, besides other landmark buildings. Dad was sent by the party to Turkey and China to study their political models, and organise the party using their best features. He had planned to make the party popular like Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) with an organization resembling the Communist Party of China.
Because of the loose party organisation, every worker is an opinionated leader. The only binding force is the leadership of the Kaptaan, Imran Khan.
Party old guards were of the view that in the event of challenge to democracy or the party from the powers that be, nearly 70 percent of party workers will stand by Imran Khan. The rest were thought to be “migratory birds”, likely to change their nests according to the weather.
Arshad Dad said that in China six percent of the population has the membership of the Communist Party. It is this six percent of the population that runs the government. Under Dad the PTI was planning to recruit three percent of Pakistani population in order to sustain a network similar to the Communist Party of China.
With the exit of Dad and entry of Kayani, the influence of parliamentarians will increase, and party workers will be pushed back. The party has grown inactive in the Punjab and workers seem dissatisfied and angry. The running joke among workers is that the only gain they can aspire for is a “selfie”. So a selfie is the sole medal for their party work.
The Punjab party is clearly divided. There was a time when Jehangir Khan Tareen used to rule supreme. No more. With Tareen’s absence from active politics after the Supreme Court decision against him, his clout has gone down. Perhaps he is no longer taking as much interest in party affairs as he used to in the past. But he still is a powerful player. Governor Sarwar and Tareen don’t appreciate each other’s contribution to the party. The governor is also perhaps the only open ally of Tareen’s Seraiki rival Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The Sarwar-Tareen rivalry has been at work since the former became governor.  An objection to the daily iftar parties at the Governor’s House which entertained thousands of party workers was raised. It was alleged that lavish parties were being thrown at the expense of public exchequer. But the governor showed that not a penny had been spent by the government and that these were funded by his friends. Even Sarwar Foundation, the governor’s non-profit organisation came under severe fire, and he was left with no option but to step back.
At the grass roots level, the PTI is divided into parallel groups. It is perhaps the only party having as many factions as workers. Because of the loose party organisation, every worker is an opinionated leader who despises other workers. The only binding force is the leadership of the Kaptaan, Imran Khan.
As a local government minister, Aleem Khan, had a great plan to organise the party and identify a consensus leadership by holding local elections. But after his arrest and subsequent resignation from the ministry, the plan was shelved. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) had built party organisation through local bodies. It continues to accommodate its active workers in the local bodies set up. The strategy worked well for the PML-N. It might have worked well for the PTI as well.



Pakistan has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in South Asia, with nearly one in five women likely to develop complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The dangers, already pronounced due to improper nutrition and lack of trained personnel, are magnified with teen pregnancies, a particularly problematic issue for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where almost 15% of girls give birth to their first child before the age of 18.
Despite being a signatory to several global pledges to rein in child marriage, the practice remains widespread across Pakistan, largely due to poverty, traditional mindsets and social and gender inequality. Early marriage, say medical practitioners, often results in frequent and unplanned pregnancies that pose a significant threat to both the minor girls and their infants. The statistics are harrowing: UNICEF estimates that 21% of Pakistani girls are married before their 18th birthday, while 3% are married before they turn 15.
Young and horrified
Samreen Irshad was married off at the age of 15 and gave birth to her first child while she was still a legal minor. Like 70% of all births in Pakistan, her daughter was born at home with the help of a midwife. “I kept screaming throughout labor because of the pain and was repeatedly told to stop crying by the midwife,” she tells Newsweek. “The birth lasted 12 hours and left me traumatized,” she continues, adding she told her husband she was not sure she could tolerate the pain of another childbirth. “But my husband wanted more babies and I had no choice except to become a child-bearing machine for him,” she notes ruefully, adding it was ironic that men, and not women, had the final say on family planning in Pakistan.
A year after her daughter was born, Irshad became pregnant once again, a normally joyous occasion leaving her filled with dread as she recalled the terror of her first birth. A difficult labor followed, this time ending in tragedy as her son died during childbirth. This sad fate is all too common for young mothers, according to UNICEF, which notes that infant and stillborn deaths tend to occur 50% more among mothers under 20 than in women who get pregnant later in life.
Children in labor
Another victim of child marriage is Sakina Bibi. Her parents married her off when she was barely 13 to reduce the “number of mouths they had to feed.” She says she was so naïve at the time of her marriage that she thought it was just an excuse to dress up and wear jewelry; she didn’t even know what sexual intercourse entailed. Her ignorance, however, did not stop her mother-in-law from demanding she “prove” her fertility.
“I became pregnant around a month after my marriage,” she tells Newsweek. “It was a difficult pregnancy; I had severe nausea and would vomit out whatever I consumed,” she says, adding that she fainted several times due to weakness and lack of rest.
Dr. Sultana Barlas, a gynecologist and Medical Superintendent at Peshawar’s Government Maternity Hospital, says pregnancies among minor girls can have a devastating impact on their health, leaving them vulnerable to premature births and other complications. Teenage girls’ bodies are biologically incapable of managing pregnancies, she adds. Either ignorant or ambivalent to these risks, Bibi’s mother-in-law told her to stop acting out, as “you’re not the first woman to bear a child.”
Finally, Bibi gave birth to a baby boy. At 14, the child had herself become a mother. “I had a complicated childbirth and my son remains malnourished,” she says. “I’m now pregnant again.”
Bibi’s experience is still relatively mild, according to Dr. Barlas. She says adolescent pregnancies often carry several life-threatening issues, including obstetric labor, infant and maternal mortality, preterm birth, low birth weight, iron, calcium and other deficiencies in mother and child. According to the U.N., complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of deaths for 15-19-year-old girls globally, with 95 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries like Pakistan.
Toothless legislation
Qamar Naseem, the program coordinator for non-profit Blue Veins, says poverty remains the greatest reason in Pakistan for most parents seeking to marry off children at a young age. Stopping the practice is all the more difficult because of outdated child marriage laws that do not go far enough to punish violators.
Following the passage of the 18th Amendment in 2010, healthcare has been devolved to provincial governments. In the years since, both Sindh and Punjab have passed laws prohibiting child marriage—though Punjab allows girls to be married at 16, while Sindh has a minimum age of 18. Both provinces have also significantly increased the punishment for anyone involved in child marriage. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, meanwhile, has yet to pass any legislation for itself and continues to utilize the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, which punishes violators with just a month of imprisonment and a Rs. 1000 fine.
Pakistan, as a member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children, had committed to ending child marriage by 2018. However, says Naseem, practically no serious effort has been made to curb child marriage in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan. He says that in March 2014, the Council of Islamic Ideology even went so far as to rule that laws related to minimum age of marriage were against Islamic teachings and that children of any age could marry if they had attained puberty.
Fortunately, this has not stopped lawmakers from working to enact legislation that can curb child marriage. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Child Marriage Restraint Bill has been forwarded to the provincial law department and could soon be presented before the cabinet for final approval. Parliament has also passed amendments to the federal Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, despite conservative opposition, which are currently facing final approval from relevant committees. This could be a game-changer and ensure girls’ fundamental rights are protected. John F. Kennedy once said that children are the world’s most valuable resource; it is high time Pakistan ensures that any child, regardless of gender or socioeconomic concerns, gets a chance to fulfill that promise.

The United States Can’t Solve the Kashmir Dispute

By Sumit Ganguly
Why Trump’s Offer to Mediate Is Dead in the Water.
n July 22, during a White House meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise offer to mediate the long-running dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. “It is impossible to believe,” Trump said, “that two incredible countries who are very, very smart with very smart leadership can’t solve a problem like that. If you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do it.”                                     
Even more surprising, Trump claimed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought his intervention in the matter. For informed observers, this claim was hard to believe. And indeed, within hours of Trump’s statement, India’s foreign minister strenuously denied that Modi had made any such suggestion. More to the point, he reiterated India’s long-standing position that the Kashmir dispute must be solved through strictly bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan. Modi, probably wanting to avoid implying that Trump was a liar, maintained a studious silence.
Trump’s offer, however ill-advised, was hardly the first U.S. attempt to intercede in Kashmir. Over the past six decades, successive U.S. administrations have tried to make headway on the dispute. Those efforts all failed—and Trump’s is unlikely to turn out differently.


India and Pakistan have both claimed Kashmir, a majority-Muslim region in the north of the Indian subcontinent, since the two countries’ partition in 1947. India has de facto control over about 55 percent of the region and the majority of its population; Pakistan controls around 30 percent and China the remaining 15 percent. The dispute over the region has led to three wars and countless skirmishes and stands as a permanent threat to stability in South Asia—one that is especially dangerous, given that both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed.
The United States first attempted to mediate the Kashmir dispute in 1962. China and India had just fought a disastrous border war, in which the Chinese People’s Liberation Army routed a poorly armed and ill-prepared Indian Army. New Delhi turned to Washington for military assistance. At the time, Pakistan was an important Cold War ally of the United States, and Pakistani President Ayub Khan, aware of India’s vulnerable position, convinced the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy to prod India into negotiations over Kashmir. In coordination with the British, Kennedy dispatched Averell Harriman, the noted diplomat and former ambassador to the Soviet Union, to New Delhi.
The Sino-Indian war had left Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru emotionally broken and politically weak. Dependent on diplomatic goodwill and defense supplies from both the United States and the United Kingdom, he allowed himself to be cajoled into talks over Kashmir. Between 1962 and 1963, India and Pakistan held six rounds of negotiations. India was willing to make significant territorial concessions under Anglo-American pressure, but even these were not enough to meet Pakistan’s expansive demands.
Having seen these talks reach an impasse despite its willingness to compromise, India hardened its position on external interference in Kashmir, fearing that outside powers would force it to offer concessions to Pakistan, the weaker party. The last time New Delhi allowed a foreign power to restore normal Indian-Pakistani diplomatic relations came after the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, in which Pakistani forces had invaded Indian-controlled Kashmir only to be fought to a standstill. With the United States distracted by the Vietnam War, the Soviet Union helped broker a cease-fire that ultimately led to the 1966 Tashkent Agreement, restoring the prewar status quo.
After the third Indo-Pakistani war in 1971, India became fully committed to preventing external mediation. When the two sides met in 1972 to discuss the postwar settlement, negotiations were limited—at India’s insistence—to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, along with a handful of trusted aides. The resulting settlement, the Simla Agreement, stated that the two countries would “settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.”
From New Delhi’s perspective, this agreement enshrined the principle that all future discussions about Kashmir must be conducted on a strictly bilateral basis. Since 1972, no Indian government has ever evinced the slightest willingness to allow any foreign power, especially the United States, to broker an understanding with Pakistan on Kashmir. India is convinced that it can extract better terms through bilateral negotiations, and it is suspicious that Washington is too close to Islamabad.
Pakistan has resisted this particular interpretation of the Simla Agreement. Instead, recognizing its weakness vis-à-vis India, it has constantly sought to bring in the United States as a mediator. In 1999, for instance, as the fourth Indo-Pakistani war was drawing to a close, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew to Washington to seek American intercession. U.S. President Bill Clinton met with Sharif, but—much to Sharif’s dismay—he unequivocally branded Pakistan the aggressor in the conflict. At Sharif’s insistence, Clinton nevertheless offered to look into the Kashmir dispute. Yet he never followed through, dropping the subject for the brief remainder of his presidency.
Subsequent U.S. administrations have tried to revisit the Kashmir issue, despite intransigent opposition from New Delhi. In 2009, for instance, India embarked on a vigorous diplomatic offensive just as the administration of President Barack Obama was preparing to appoint Richard Holbrooke, the veteran diplomat, as the White House’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some within the administration were convinced that settling the Kashmir issue—and thus soothing Pakistan’s fear of India—would help elicit Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan. Yet New Delhi, having gotten word that Holbrooke was pushing to include Kashmir in his diplomatic portfolio, explained to the United States that such a move “smacked of interference and was unacceptable” to India. The Obama administration quietly abandoned the idea.
Trump (or some in his administration) may believe that the dramatic growth in U.S.-Indian engagement over the past two decades, combined with the president’s personal rapport with Modi, provides this White House with an opportunity to succeed where all of its predecessors have failed. Certainly, Pakistan is trying to convince Trump that this is the case. Yet there are compelling reasons to think otherwise.
India’s permanent foreign policy bureaucracy has a long institutional memory and is extremely resistant to drastic policy shifts. It is likely to advise Modi against caving to the United States, given that India’s current policy has prevented it from being forced into concessions to Pakistan for nearly five decades. India’s new foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, is a career diplomat who shares the bureaucracy’s suspicions regarding foreign, and particularly American, mediation.
No Indian government—and especially not one, like Modi’s, that has assumed a hawkish stance toward Pakistan—will yield any ground on this issue. Already the U.S. State Department seems to have acknowledged reality, stating on July 22 that it believes the Kashmir dispute is a “bilateral” issue between India and Pakistan.
Trump should heed his own State Department’s advice. Pushing New Delhi on Kashmir will get him nothing except a public failure and a damaged U.S.-Indian partnership.

Sethi Sey Sawal | 23 August 2019 | COAS EXTENSION: How, Why, What??? | Najam Sethi Official

Pakistan Should Not Again Fail ‘Honor Killing’ Victim

Saroop Ijaz

End Impunity of Family Murders of Women.

In July 2016, 26-year-old Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her brother, who said he killed her because she “brought dishonor” to their family and tribe through her flamboyant online videos and statements.Qandeel’s case received broad attention because of her celebrity. But Pakistani rights activists estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor killings” in Pakistan every year.
Convictions are rare for many reasons, yet critical is a loophole that allowed the legal heirs of the victim to pardon those responsible – who are usually also a relative.Qandeel’s killing prompted a widespread outcry in Pakistan, leading to legislative action and the promise of prompt prosecution. Parliament passed a law imposing harsher punishments for “honor killings” and partially eliminated the pardon loophole.
This raised hopes that the case would be a turning point for the Pakistani government, which has tolerated violence against – and even the murder of – women on “honor” grounds.
State prosecutors took the unusual step of charging Qandeel’s three brothers, including the one who confessed to killing her, with a crime against the state. But the trial has dragged on. On August 21, Qandeel’s parents asked the court to “forgive” her brothers, their lawyers arguing that since the anti-honor killing law was passed after Qandeel’s death, it does not apply in her case. The next day, the court rejected the parents’ pardon request.Still, “honor killings” and pressure to pardon perpetrators seem to have continued unabated since the adoption of the law. There are no credible official figures on “honor killings” because they often go unreported or are passed off as suicide or natural deaths by family members. But as an indication, in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, at least 94 women were murdered by close family members in 2017.Justice for Pakistani women requires a broader government effort, including more state prosecutions of “honor killings,” reformed criminal laws, and greater access for women and girls to safe emergency shelters and other services when they report risks from their family.
The government should end a system in which a woman’s life is considered worthless and family members can kill with impunity.
Pakistan should not fail Qandeel again.

As Pakistan cries foul over Kashmir, UAE to honour PM Narendra Modi

At a time when Pakistan is virtually begging for support from the Muslim world against India for Kashmir, it faces a huge rebuff from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the key Islamic nation set to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi and honour him with the countrys highest civilian award. This comes days after UAE's ambassador to India, Ahmad Al Banna, said his country found nothing wrong in the Modi government's decision to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir and that it was purely an internal matter of India.
The UAE does not see the decision to end special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation as some unique incident and views it as a measure aimed at reducing regional disparities. Against this backdrop, Modi will be in UAE for two days from Friday and will meet Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest. A major highlight of the visit will be the presentation of 'Order of Zayed', the highest civilian honour of the UAE, to Modi. The UAE had announced the honour for Modi in April this year for giving a boost to the bilateral relations.
The award is instituted in the name of the country's founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and is being presented to Modi in the year of his birth centenary, which adds even greater significance to it. This is the third visit by Modi to UAE in four years and has added importance considering the fact that it is taking place at a time when Pakistan is trying to garner support, particularly from the Muslim countries, against India over abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state.
In that context, it marks a major setback for Pakistan and highlights the extent of isolation it has been subjected to, even in the Islamic world. The UAE, which is the largest business hub in the Gulf region, hosts a big Indian diaspora and is a destination for a huge number of Indian tourists. India-UAE ties were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2015. In February 2018, Modi visited the UAE as Chief Guest at the World Government Summit. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2017. India-UAE bilateral trade stands at $60 billion, and the UAE is India's third-largest trade partner. The UAE is also the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India and is home to a 3.3 million-strong Indian community. The Prime Minister's visit will be marked by the launch of RuPay card, "an Indian indigenous equivalent of Mastercard or Visa", making the UAE the first country in the Middle East to have it, Indian Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri said in an interview to Emirates News Agency.
"A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to establish a technology interface between the payment platforms in India and UAE, would be exchanged between the National Payments Corporation of India and UAE's Mercury Payments Services. This will enable the RuPay card to be used at point-of-sale terminals across the UAE," Suri said in the interview on Wednesday. He said introduction of RuPay card is expected to benefit the Indian diaspora as also tourism and trade.

Pakistan’s struggle for a free Kashmir kept its own people poor


Instead of fighting a battle that Pakistan will most definitely never win, the Imran Khan government should start fixing the things it can.

Yes, India has finally annexed Kashmir. Yes, it is truly devastating for our diplomacy in the short term. It is a gross violation of international morals, treaties and human rights. But is it really our problem to begin with?
What must be explored from the outset is the influence of a movement that began gaining traction in the 1970s. The Middle Eastern countries exhibited an oil blockade against America for Palestine, Iran witnessed a popular revolution by the Islamists and Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union. These movements were exacerbated further in the aftermath of 9/11; the fall of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt inter alia, other revolutions. Yet, despite continued efforts by the Arab republics in Palestine, the Pakistani state in Kashmir and the Iranian efforts in the Middle East more broadly, pan-Islamism has been a complete and utter failure.
The only Muslim countries that turned away from this ethno-religious philosophy – namely Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Turkmenistan – have had any successes in developing their economies. While we may not like nationalism, we must accept it as the dominant philosophy of the modern state. Westphalian peace in Europe transformed small countries of the tiny continent into great colonial powers. The ability to avoid war with your neighbours was vital for the colonial project to bloom. Yet, after years of rallying around pan-Islamist concepts, Pakistan fails to appreciate the importance of regional peace.
We must understand that politics of a nation-state outside our borders, be it India, Israel or America, is of no material concern to the starving, struggling and impoverished populace of Pakistan. Despite our cry for a plebiscite in Kashmir for over seven decades, the only realistic solution to the problem was to keep the borders at their current levels. Neither India nor Pakistan was ever going to agree to a solution requiring them to cede territory that for seven decades was claimed as part of their nation-state. As far as the notion of an Independent Kashmir, pseudo-liberals must understand that a small nation such as Kashmir, being in charge of the entire Pakistani water supply, would never be acceptable to Pakistan either. Moreover, if gross violations against minority Muslim populations was really an issue, why are we silent on Turkey’s persecution of the Kurds, the Chinese atrocities against Uighur’s in Xinjiang, the annexation of Kalat, Syrian tyranny under Assad and the Hazara genocide in our own backyard? Do Muslims only get persecuted when the perpetrator is an unfriendly nation?
In Pakistan’s struggle for Kashmir, we have fought over three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1999 to no avail. In order to maintain that struggle, and our enmity against India, we spend over a fifth of our total budget on the military (the highest percentage in the world, as recorded by the World Bank). Over seventy years, this never-ending cycle has impoverished our population. On a per capita basis, we are now officially poorer than Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, and Egypt. Due to the Pakistani state’s soft hand on Kashmir, we have gained a reputation for funding terrorism, wooing away any possibility of significant foreign investment and trade. Finally, instead of imparting education, the Pakistani state has relentlessly continued a campaign of supporting militant camps under the guise of seminaries, in order to assist in an impossible war.
Finally, let us see what Kashmir ever really gained out of these actions. The average Kashmiri, residing in AJK or GB, has no memory of a united Kashmir. History of this ideal is now as ancient as the fate of the mentally retarded in Manto’sToba Tek Singh. The Kashmiri, who has unofficially been a part of Pakistan since 1947, has no right under the current Pakistani constitution – unless he moves out of Kashmir – to determine federal policy because he has no representation in the National Assembly. Kashmiris have not had the ability to develop as a province of the country by virtue of hanging in limbo, holding on to the promise of a united Kashmir. To be very candid, Kashmir was not the only province/state split up by the partition. Over 10 million Punjabi and Bengali families were separated by an artificial divide. But no one really ever brings up visitation rights to Jalandhar or Calcutta.
That said, Pakistan has a strategic interest in maintaining control over the waterways which run through Kashmir. Any effects of annexation must be neutral in their impact on the Indus Water Treaty. Since this is a real national interest concern, the Pakistani government should obtain guarantees from the international community, the United States, India and China specifically to protect the water flows which cultivate our economy. Additionally, we should appeal to the UNHCR in order to make arrangements for much-anticipated mass migrations into AJK and other parts of Pakistan. If we are serious about our commitments to help Kashmir, we cannot accomplish them without opening our borders to those fleeing Indian persecution.
In our stubborn struggle to support the pan-Islamist fight for a larger Kashmiri freedom, we have denied democracy and development to over 6 million people that have inhabited our own country. Instead of continuing to fight a battle that we will most definitely never win, let us start fixing the things that we can. While Indian annexation might be a violation of human rights, there is a huge silver lining missed in all the fuss: the possibility of long-lasting peace in the subcontinent.

US, UK target China and Pakistan at UNSC meet for persecution of religious minorities

Countries, including Canada and France called out China and Pakistan for the oppression of Christians, Ahmadis, Uighurs & other ethnic minorities.

China and Pakistan were targeted for their persecution of religious minorities, with western powers such the US and UK calling out both nations at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday for the oppression faced by Christians, Ahmadis, Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
The Arria-Formula Meeting of the Security Council on ‘Advancing the Safety and Security of Persons Belonging to Religious Minorities in Armed Conflict’ was organised by Poland, the Council President for August, to mark the first International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
Addressing the meeting, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback said religious freedom is essential for achieving peace and stability within nations and among nations. He then called out Pakistan for the persecution religious minorities in the country.
“In Pakistan, religious minorities continue to suffer from persecution, either at the hands of non-state actors or through discriminatory laws and practices, Brownback said.
Brownback voiced appreciation for Poland for inviting President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, Naveed Walter who spoke about the challenges to religious freedom in Pakistan. Brownback described Walter as a courageous advocate for the persecuted, whether Christian, Ahmadi, Hindu, or others.
In his remarks, Walter said “large groups of people are marginalised in their own societies and the biased behaviour develops in other areas also “like the minorities on basis of religious affiliation as like in Pakistan, the Ahmadiyyas having the situation.
Like China, growing number of countries use national security as a pretext of restricting religious expression and the role of religion in public domain,” he said.Brownback also voiced concern over the undue restrictions on religious freedom in China, strongly calling on Beijing to end its war on faith and to respect religious freedom for all.
It is important to note that the presence of conflict is not the only context for the oppression of religious minorities. We remain deeply concerned about the Chinese government’s escalating, widespread and undue restrictions on religious freedom in China, and we urge the Chinese government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of everyone in that nation, Brownback said.
He emphasised that many members of religious groups in China including ethnic Uighur, Kazakhs and other Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants and Falun Gong face severe persecution and repression, and we call on the Chinese government to end its war on faith and to respect religious freedom for all.”
I respectfully urge all countries, including those in Muslim majority countries, to join our calls for better treatment of Muslims and others in China, he said.
Significantly, in their remarks, UK, France and Canada also spoke out against the oppression of religious minorities in China and Pakistan. Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, said at the meeting that the UK has spoken out for the rights of religious communities and minorities across the world, from the Uighurs in China, Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan as we heard from Naveed.
Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard said we must unequivocally call out attacks whether directed at Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, Christians in Pakistan, a deepening crackdown on Uighurs and members of other religious minority groups in China.
France’s representative said that there are various examples from other regions of incitement and hatred and discrimination against Bah ‘, Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken to Twitter to say that on the first International Day for Victims of Violence based on Religion or Belief, Islamabad calls attention to the plight of millions of Kashmiris who have been deprived of all fundamental rights & freedoms.
In a thinly veiled reference to Khan’s tweet, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, Fulminations Vs Facts. Fulmination on social media by an important personality urging that the First International Day for Victims of Violence based on Religion today highlight an issue of his choice didn’t match what was repeatedly said @UN. C for yourself.
Along with his message, Akbaruddin posted a video that contained snippets from the Arria-Formula Meeting and showed Walter and other UN members voicing concern over persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan and China. Nobody at the UN meeting made reference to any Indian minority group.
Addressing the meeting, UN chief Ant nio Guterres called for an end to the persecution of religious groups. Jews have been murdered in synagogues, their gravestones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalized; Christians killed at prayer, their churches torched.
He stressed that the world must step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, the persecution of Christians and other religious groups, and all forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and incitement to violence.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, in a video message from Geneva, voiced alarm by the rise of xenophobia, racism, religious intolerance globally.

Pakistan blacklisted by FATF subgroup for terror funding

The Asia-Pacific Group (APG), a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has placed the Pakistan in the "Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist)" for its failure to meet its standard.
In its meeting in Canberra, the APG found that Pakistan was non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering, officials said. The FATF APG discussions lasted over seven hours over two days. On 11 effectiveness parameters Pakistan was adjudged as low on 10.
The APG's assessment report can indirectly impact Pakistan's position to move out of the grey list.
The assessments, represented from Pakistan by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Baqir Reza, concluded on Friday.
The Pakistani delegation had presented its 26-page report before the intergovernmental organisation regarding the measures which had been taken to prevent money laundering, terror financing and other recommendations. The report was collectively prepared by five institutions.
The delegation comprised representatives of the National Counter Terrorism Authority, the Federal Board of Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Financial Monitoring Unit.
What next?
The APG meeting will be followed by another round of mutual evaluations starting September 5 in Bangkok (Thailand), which would become a key basis for final review of Pakistan by the FATF at its plenary and working group meetings scheduled for October 13-18 in Paris.
Over 520 senior delegates from 46 jurisdictions and 13 international organisations came together in Canberra, Australia during the week of August 18-23 to convene the APG's 22nd annual meeting and annual technical assistance forum.
The event was chaired by Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close of the Australian Federal Police and Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit.