Friday, August 23, 2019
By Sumit Ganguly
Why Trump’s Offer to Mediate Is Dead in the Water.
INDIAS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
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.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
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.
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.
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. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/as-pak-cries-foul-over-kashmir-uae-to-honour-modi/articleshow/70800100.cms
SHAHMEER NAVEED ARSHAD
Instead of fighting a battle that Pakistan will most definitely never win, the Imran Khan government should start fixing the things it can.
Countries, including Canada and France called out China and Pakistan for the oppression of Christians, Ahmadis, Uighurs & other ethnic minorities.
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.
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.