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Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

In A G-0 World, Can BRICS Show Leadership?

February 19, 2013 1 comment

For the world now, instead of ‘G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0’ – per Joseph Stiglitz. Can BRICS offer that leadership – starting Afghanistan.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan?  |  Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer - 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan? | Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer – 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With NATO turning tail and leaving, Afghanistan is not much better off than before America’s invasion.

Pakistan, as the sole Islāmic nuclear power, has assigned itself the role of an arbiter of Afghan destiny – a hold over Afghanistan’s future. With its dubious distinction of being a failed State, should Pakistan have any role in Afghanistan?

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico - 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico – 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

The West, under NATO’s military command, is walking away from Afghanistan with nothing to show for this invasion.

After billions in dollars, with more than a million Afghans affected by death, combat injuries, manifold increase in corruption, and a Saudi-Pakistan financed Taliban is on the rise, Afghanistan is West’s biggest failure after Vietnam. Never before in the last 200 years has West’s leadership been in question so much.

In the current State of the world, in the memorable words of Joseph Stiglitz, why ‘talk about the G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0.’

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago - as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man's land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ - 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago – as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man’s land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ – 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan will be the test of BRICS.

Till 1980s, the Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan. Today, while Soviet Union’s successor, Russia no longer shares a border with Afghanistan, as a part of BRICS grouping, it may continue to play a role in post-NATO Afghanistan.

Will China-India tensions come in the way of BRICS to do what is good for Afghanistan? Will China work with BRICS to keep Pakistan out of Afghanistan? When it matters, can BRICS nations put aside their differences and work on common problems – like Afghanistan?

Straightening Pakistan is a matter of hours. What will take time is building capacity among BRICS nations to work together on common problems – and put aside differences, when these differences are not directly relevant.

One thing is for sure.

If BRICS cam make an Afghan solution stick, a new age will dawn in global diplomacy. The current void in global leadership will start getting filled.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years.  |  Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com - 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years. | Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com – 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With the US and the UK apparently conceding to Pakistan the lead role in reconciliation with Taliban, India is set to hold talks with Russia and China on emerging scenarios in Afghanistan ahead of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force’s withdrawal from the conflict-ravaged country by 2014.

New Delhi is also expected to air its concern over Pakistan’s role in the peace-process in Afghanistan during British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to India scheduled on Monday. Cameron recently hosted Afghan and Pakistan presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari at his country residence Chequers Court. India will get another opportunity to discuss the issues when it will have a trilateral talk with the US and Afghanistan in New Delhi next week.

Sources said India is expected to drive home the point that Pakistan continues to be “a part of the problem” and it cannot yet be seen as “a part of the solution” in Afghanistan. Any hasty careless move to launch the peace process would in fact give an opportunity to Taliban to crawl back to power after 2014. New Delhi is likely to point out that the US itself, in 2011, publicly slammed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence for its role in fomenting terrorism in Afghanistan.

What worries India is the Afghan High Peace Council’s five-step draft roadmap to 2015, would ultimately give Pakistan the “strategic depth” it always aspired to have in Afghanistan. New Delhi is apprehensive about Washington outsourcing to Islamabad the peace-process with Taliban, before and after the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan.

The “draft road map” also seeks to give some key positions in post-2014 Afghanistan to the leaders of Taliban, including that of provincial governors, police chiefs and cabinet ministers.

To facilitate the peace-process, Pakistan, since November, released 26 Taliban prisoners from its jails, ostensibly on request from Afghanistan but without any oversight, triggering fear that some of them might go back to extremism.

When Menon broached the issue during a meeting of the BRICS high representatives for security in New Delhi last month, it was agreed that he and his counterparts from Russia and China would have a separate meeting to exchange views on the peace-process with Taliban and discuss the emerging scenarios in Afghanistan. Sources said the meeting might take place later this month.

New Delhi has made it clear that it is in favour an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process towards peace in Afghanistan but insisted that the “Red Lines” agreed in London Conference in 2010 were strictly adhered to and the extremists entering the process were made to severe all links with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

via India to talk to China, Russia on Pak role in Afghanistan.


 

Change Idols – And Continue Withe Killings, Jails, Taxes, Wars

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

When it is so easy to kill in the name of democracy, peace, freedom, progress, why do the Taliban in Af-Pak region kill in the name of religion.

Unable to handle either Islam or Westernization, Pakistan's leadership should think of the people more - and less of the State | Cartoon on March 7, 2004 by Zahoor; source & courtesy - paksir.blogspot.in | Click for image.

Unable to handle either Islam or Westernization, Pakistan’s leadership should think of the people more – and less of the State | Cartoon on March 7, 2004 by Zahoor; source & courtesy – paksir.blogspot.in | Click for image.

The Malala incident is déjà vu times million. You have religious ‘extremists’ manifesting brutality; the ‘educated’ class calls the act heinous, the ‘intellectuals’ label the offenders as beasts, the ‘liberals’ protest against the ‘cowardly act’ and while everyone is condemning the act, they remain shushed about the root cause of it all: the ideology. Throughout the past every single person who has denounced the Taliban has acted as an apologetic, justifying the religious ideology and claiming how those ‘uneducated morons’ have ‘unfortunately’ misinterpreted the teachings of peace and tranquility – no, they haven’t, ‘unfortunately’.

It is so painfully amusing to note how the ‘moderates’ and armchair revolutionaries, would sit there with a glass of vine in their hands, uninhibitedly hanging out with the opposite sex, not having offered a prayer or fasted for ages, claiming how the Taliban – who lead their lives strictly according to the Shariah – are infesting their religion of harmony. The poor chaps are only doing what their scriptures – the ones that the pseudo intellectuals extol, or don’t have the cojones to criticize – tell them to do. When you are being taught, through the scriptures that are universally recognized by the followers as ‘authentic’, that all the non-believers or threats to the grandeur of your ideology should be killed, you will kill them, where is the misinterpretation here?

Finding slaves or slave girls, repulsive; physically assaulting women, disgusting; cutting off hands for theft, inhuman; stoning people to death, beastly and then venerating the ideology that permits this at the same time is hypocrisy of the very highest order. You sit there, criticize and mock the Taliban that follow your religion in its true form while you live in oblivion with your extremely palatable, but simultaneously blatantly fallacious, brand of religion and then claim that the Taliban are misinterpreting and misapprehending your ideology? Oh, the irony.

Let’s stop carving out quasi religions, or defending ideologies that we’ve all grown up blindly following as the truth. Let’s call a spade a spade instead and realize that at the end of the day as much as you might have a cardiac arrest admitting it, the root cause of religious extremism is: religion – especially in its raw crude form, which again is the only ‘authentic’ form.

The fact that groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi exist is because Islam is still traversing its Dark Ages while other religions have gone through Reformation, resulting in a collective Renaissance – and that too half a millennium ago.

Note the deep longing expression in both faces  |  Cartoon by - by Zahoor (May 2012); source & courtesy - tribune.com.pk  |  Click for image.

Note the deep longing expression in both faces | Cartoon by – by Zahoor (May 2012); source & courtesy – tribune.com.pk | Click for image.

via Don’t blame the Taliban | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia.

How to stop religious extremism?

Promote Reformation, Renaissance.

Instead of killing people in the name of Mohammed or Jesus, kill in the name of Progress, Liberty, Freedom, Democracy, Communism.

Simple really.


Saving Private Pakistan: Can it be Saved? Why and for Whom should Pakistan be saved?

July 29, 2012 4 comments

 

Pakistan has become the private club of the perverse military, conspiring secret police, battling Taliban warlords, scheming politicians and a regressive mullah community. Each wants Pakistan for their own faction. What of the Common Pakistani?

Back to do what, Parvezbhai? Loot again?  |  Zahoor cartoon of May 4, 2010; source & courtesy - paksir.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

Back to do what, Parvezbhai? Loot again? | Zahoor cartoon of May 4, 2010; source & courtesy – paksir.blogspot.in | Click for image.

No! Pakistan cannot be saved.

Unless you save Pakistanis first. A Pakistani life is the cheapest in the world today. Every power-centre in Pakistan is waging war against Pakistanis.

To gain control and influence Pakistan for their own benefit.

Why should Pakistan be saved?

  1. So that its sad military can continue with its fun and games?
  2. To let mad mullahs drive Pakistanis into a regressive ditch?
  3. Or, that the Taliban warlords can become modern clones of ancient raiders and looters like Mohammed Ghori or Mahmud of Ghazni?
  4. Maybe for rich oligarchs to stay feudal, own the land, control the labour and economy for their private benefit?
  5. At the mercy of rich politicians and bureaucrats who promise a modern state. A modern State that will be able to do deals with Western Masters. Deals that ‘benefit’ Pakistani – but not Pakistanis?

Pakistan’s intellectuals, of late have become very protective about social media. See the future of Pakistan in social media. Nothing less than the capacity to ‘save’ Pakistan.

Tied to the West, but is that helping the Common Pakistani?  |  October 29, 2009, by ZAHOOR; source & courtesy - paksir.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

Tied to the West, but is that helping the Common Pakistani? | October 29, 2009, by ZAHOOR; source & courtesy – paksir.blogspot.in | Click for image.

They claim

Social media needs to be protected because it is the only safe space for intellectual discussion in Pakistan.

Imagine that you are a person of independent thought in Pakistan. Now imagine further that you would like to discuss your thoughts with other people. Where can you go?

In the real world, the short answer is ‘nowhere’.

The liberation of the electronic press by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf changed everything. Prior to the advent of cable television, the entire English press in Pakistan probably had a combined readership of less than 100,000. The Urdu press probably accounted for a million people more. Compared with the population of the country, print circulation was nothing. On the other hand, the audience for cable television was in the tens of millions. Suddenly, people were no longer getting their news just from PTV but also from Geo and ARY.

At the same time, the liberation of the electronic press changed very little. The same talking heads that wrote columns in the press started fulminating on talk shows. At the end of the day, the number of people actually involved in public conversation remained very limited. If you weren’t a talk show host or a talk show guest, then your options for expressing or discussing opinions remained nil. It was all extremely parochial and elitist.

The arrival of social media is revolutionary. Back to the example I started with. The young independent thinker out in the virtual world, it’s a different story. As a cartoon in The New Yorker once put it, “On the Internet, no one knows you are a dog”.

Pakistan’s sharpest wit at this time is an anonymous individual who delivers one-liners under the name of “majorlyprofound”. If the good major were to present his one-liners before a physical audience, he would probably require medical attention. But (on) the internet, he is free to deliver his barbs.

More importantly, social media not only provides true freedom of speech but it also allows a public space where people with ideas can not only present their ideas to acclaim but also to criticism. In a country like Pakistan where decision-makers live their lives in cocoons of silence and sycophancy, this is incredibly important.

Obviously, social media is no panacea. Members of the social world are reasonably polite. The result is that people are not just talking to one another in the virtual world, they are getting to know one another as well.

Many people — even people who should know better — think of Facebook and Twitter as time wasting fripperies. That is why periodic efforts to ban either Facebook or Twitter are met normally with a shrug.

Unable to handle either Islam or Westernization, Pakistan's leadership should think of the people more - and less of the State  |  Cartoon on March 7, 2004 by Zahoor; source & courtesy - paksir.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

Unable to handle either Islam or Westernization, Pakistan’s leadership should think of the people more – and less of the State | Cartoon on March 7, 2004 by Zahoor; source & courtesy – paksir.blogspot.in | Click for image.

We all hear about how Pakistan is sinking into a Talibanised abyss of enforced ignorance. If we are to avoid that awful future, it is vital to preserve intellectual freedom. And at this point, there is nothing more essential to that quest than embracing and protecting social media.(via Saving Pakistan, one tweet at a time – The Express Tribune; original text edited for brevity. Linking text in parenthesis supplied).

Every one is trying to save Pakistan for his own faction.

But where does this leave the Common Pakistani.

As usual Nowhere.

With Nothing!


 

The cost of American attention

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment
President Gerald R. Ford and the Shah of Iran confer over a map during the Shah's May 1975 visit to Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sits in the background. (Photo courtesy of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)

President Gerald R. Ford and the Shah of Iran confer over a map during the Shah's May 1975 visit to Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sits in the background. (Photo courtesy of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)

Gratitude – the heaviest burden

Policy mavens in India, the print and visual media, all ‘gratefully’ acknowledge US role in the de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan. Indians have also become grateful to the USA, for ‘allowing’ India to play a role in Afghanistan.

So, India was at pains to justify its own policy, when Obama called on India to re-look at support to the regimes in Iran and Myanmar (Obama still calls it Burma).

India would do well to look at some facts and history. I will not use the indefensible and well-known US record in Pakistan.

Look back in anger

Instead, let us look at Iran itself. Shri Obamaji, can you without cringing, recall American involvement in Iran? Iran, under the Shah of Iran? A more totalitarian and repressive regime the people of Iran have not seen. A regime that the US installed, supported, promoted and shoved down the throats of Iranians.

Regime change

Are you forgetting Chile-General Pinochet, Bhai Obama? The military junta of Chile, that the USA supported, promoted, aided, propped up – and installed. After murdering the democratically elected President of Chile. Hint – his name was Salvador Allende. Choosing between Chile’s generals, the Shah of Iran and the Myanmarese junta is a no-brainer. Lessons we don’t need, Shri Obama? At least, not from America!

India may soon have a nuclear China, Pakistan, Iran at its borders. (Cartoonist - Patrick Chappatte in "International Herald Tribune"; cartoon courtesy - sinotrading.us). Click for larger image.

India may soon have a nuclear China, Pakistan, Iran at its borders. (Cartoonist - Patrick Chappatte in "International Herald Tribune"; cartoon courtesy - sinotrading.us). Click for larger image.

Oh! And by the way

You should know something about Afghanistan. Something which your State Department probably has not informed you.

India and Afghanistan was India.Till the British Raj lost Afghanistan.

Americans and Obama do no favor to India by accepting India’s interest, role and influence in Afghanistan. We Indians still remember that Afghanistan was an essential part off India – as do the Afghans. Without taking recourse to Ashoka, Mauryans and the Gupta kingdoms, which ruled over Afghanistan. Indian TV shows still rule over Afghanistan.

From 14th-18th century, it was the Afghan Indians who ruled over North India and Delhi. Ranjit Singh’s Sikh kingdom ruled over Afghanistan till about 170 years ago.

Coming back to Iran

Any regime is better than the American-installed Shah’s misrule. The reactionary Islamic regime in Iran is a result of the US-sponsored nightmare under the Shah. Some 30 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini, returning from exile, seemed like deliverance, after the Shah fled Iran.

The cost of American attention and lessons of Pakistan are not lost. The people of Iran, I am sure, will do well without American attention. I have no doubt that the pendulum of politics in Iran will swing towards sanity and balance – soon. Unlike Pakistan, an American client-State.

Americans and Bourbons – learn nothing , forget nothing

What I seriously doubt is the American ability to learn or forget. The USA cannot forget Haiti, or learn from the Cuba. Even 200 years after Haiti’s independence. And a 100 years after America failed to ‘purchase’ Cuba.

The Pakistan conundrum

This may soon come to pass ...

This may soon come to pass ...

I had asked this of a former high-ranking defence official in the Clinton administration at a conference at Harvard in late 2001. Without blinking an eyelid he said, “We would help the Indians take out the nuclear arms.” After the US intelligence failures in Iraq, I would not be too sanguine about this possibility. I would be more confident if Mossad makes a similar offer! In any case, I do hope our security analysts have an answer to this question, and that the ongoing elections yield a government which is able and willing to deal with what is no longer an implausible existential threat to India. (via Deepak Lal: The Pakistan conundrum).

Deepak … Deepak … Deepak …

Deepak Lal (currently employed with a US University) feels rather reassured by the US generals who have promised assistance to India for taking out Pakistani nukes in the likely event of Pakistan falling to Taliban hands. He truthfully, admits that he would be happy, if the Mossad were to give him such an assurance.

The tragedy of Indian bureaucrats

Do the IFS types understand the ramifications of a ‘relationship’ with a state like Israel, which is a proxy for the Western Oil interests in the Middle East. The only logic for Israeli policy is the probable Israeli intention. Is it that they are not staying in the neighbourhood after (or when, if you prefer) American aid ceases? Israelis, mostly transplanted Jews from Europe, will just get up and go, after Western support for their destructive regime ends.

The State of Israel will last as long as oil prices are high in the Middle East. What happens when Indian oil demand stabilizes with increasing domestic production? What will happen to oil prices production after Cuban oil fields go into production? And the Caspian oil and the Central Asian oil comes into the market?

Indian disengagement with neighbours

While Deepak Lal and his ilk from the Indian Foreign Service are busy attending conferences and gab-fests in the US, what is their level of engagement with Islamabad? How much are they in touch with the Pakistani establishment on managing this real ‘risk’ – and its fallout!

More importantly, how many such meetings and conferences do Deepak Lal and his ilk attend in Beijing. After all, China is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistani defense establishment – or at least, the invisible half of the equation, along with the USA. Any solution in Pakistan will come with Chinese support and consensus. With each new hand of cards, after each round of the play, the Chinese hand only gets stronger – and the Western hand is getting weaker.

A foreign affairs columnist, writing for financial daily, Jyoti Malhotra says,

How should Delhi treat its smaller and economically weak neighbours? There are many answers to that, but one thought remains central. The rest of the world will never take India seriously until it is able to bring the rest of South Asia on its side. Going out of your way to be nice to old friends could be one way of doing it.

India’s preoccupation with the West comes at a cost. For instance, of improving intra-Third World trade, which will yield more benefits than the Doha round. Intra-Third World trade is more stable is less prone to non-tariff barrier tactics that the Western world usually resorts to. Instead of a Doha round, there could be a Third World trade round.

The IFS and the IAS carry a colonial hangover – and their entire frame of reference is based on Western discourse. And this has to end.

What irony …

Of course, Deepak Lal sees no irony in India needing Mossad assistance, assurances and comfort – to tackle problems at Indian doorstep.For Mossad Pakistan half a continent away.

Pak and Afghanistan hold ‘mini-jirga’ on violence | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

October 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Pak and Afghanistan hold ‘mini-jirga’ on violence | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

Pakistani and Afghan officials and tribal leaders met for talks in Islamabad on Monday to find ways to end mounting Taliban and Al-Qaeda violence along their troubled border. The two-day meeting has been dubbed a “mini-jirga” as it is a smaller follow-up to a traditional “jirga” or tribal meeting held between the two feuding neighbours in August 2007. “Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are faced with terrorism and together they need to face the challenge,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the start of the session. The meeting features 50 members 25 from each side including government officials, representatives of political parties and members of the ethnic Pashtun tribes that straddle the Afghan-Pakistan border. Afghanistan’s hardline Islamist Taliban militia, which ruled that country from 1996-2001, and a newer grouping of Pakistani Taliban militants are both effectively Pashtun groups.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan with JN Nehru

The first step

On February 22nd, 2008, the Deoband Seminary, the most respected Islamic seminary in South and South East Asia, issued a anti-terrorism declaration at a huge public meeting attended by hundreds and thousands of people. This set up a new direction in Islamic social dialogue – where a non-establishment, Islamic theological group came out against terrorism. Subsequently, some other ‘liberals’ jumped onto this bandwagon.

And then …

Pakistan was sent on a cold turkey … by Saudi Arabia, China and the US. Pakistan has been forced to go to IMF which is prescribing a heavy cut back in defence spending.

But most interestingly …

Suddenly the world has been reminded about Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan. The LA Times recently ran an column on him.

As the 2ndlook post ‘Behind The Web of terror’, on December 17th, 2007, pointed out, the answer to the Pakistani problems in the North West tribal areas was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. On October 3rd, 2008, the Frontier Gandhi’s grandson was the target of suicide bomber. The terrorists are obviously worried that Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan’s sensibility may make a comeback.

Hopefully, this a new beginning for Pakistan …

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