US SEEKS INDIAN HELP IN ‘KEEPING AN EYE’ ON PAKISTAN

That is what Nikky Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said while addressing an event. She pressed on making Pakistan accountable for its acts, demanding more from India’s neighbour. Pakistan has received billions of US dollars in the name of assisting the US in its fight against terror or to check the designs of the erstwhile USSR in the region.

But at the same time, it has harboured terror outfits that, apart from doing their routine drill – trying to destabilize and bleed India, something that makes them dear to the ruling Pakistani elite – now threaten and attack US interests, be it in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

A fact for which the US has been warning Pakistan for past some years, especially after Afghanistan based terror outfit Haqqani network was given safe haven by Pakistan and Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in the country.

And the last two instalments of the US military aid to Pakistan, tied to its action against the Haqqanis, was stopped Pakistan couldn’t convince the US of its intent and action.

“We are really going to need India’s help in Afghanistan. They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region. So having them helps not only with infrastructure and the aid that they can give towards rebuilding Afghanistan, they can also help us to keep an eye on Pakistan,” Nikky Haley said while adding the elements from US President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan and South Asia policy.

Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, unveiled in August, Trump, among other policy changes, also announced that developing a strategic partnership with India was going to be a critical part of new US’ strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in future.

While reiterating his stand on Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists, he also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and demanded that this attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.

Trump and his administration, in fact, regularly slams Pakistan for being a terror haven and has warned if Pakistan doesn’t mend its ways then the US will be forced to withdraw Pakistan’s US ally status.

Nikky Haley repeated that again slamming Pakistan for harbouring terrorists, “Pakistan has been a partner to the US at times. We value and respect that. But we cannot tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. This new approach will require understanding and restraint from both Pakistan and India.”

©SantoshChaubey

Advertisements

PAKISTAN’S NEVER ENDING DRAMA OVER HAFIZ SAEED

A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Pakistan has given the government two days to file charge-sheet against Jamat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four associates who are under house arrest since January 31 this year. The JuD chief has filed a plea in the LHC against his detention and the next hearing is scheduled for October 19.

During the last date of hearing on October 10, the Lahore High Court had warned the Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government, which had put Saeed under preventive detention, to submit evidence in the case otherwise it would release Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed, a UN and US designated global terrorist with a US bounty of $10 Million on his head, along with his four associates, was put under house arrest under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 of Pakistan after increasing pressure from the US and the international community.

The US, especially, warned that Pakistan would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would have made it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions. Then there was an additional pressure element from UN’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on terror funding which was reviewing Pakistan’s commitments.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest but it was always a reluctant move Pakistan’s actions prove, like it has always been in giving Hafiz Saeed a safe haven to operate.

Hafiz Saeed had adopted the name JuD after its terror outfit, Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that basically perpetrates terror in India, was banned by Pakistan on 14 January 2002 under international pressure after the UN Security Council’s Taliban-Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee banned LeT. However, it did not affect his activities, perpetrating terror and spewing venom against India including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed over 156 including six American citizens and left scores injured.

After his name surfaced in December 2001 Parliament attack, Pakistan was forced to arrest him but he was soon set free. His detention after the multiple train bombing in Mumbai in July 2006, that killed over 200, lasted only for few weeks. The same chores was repeated after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks when Pakistan refused to press terror charges and withdrew its appeal against Saeed and the global terrorist and India’s most wanted was again a free, respectable Pakistani citizen even if India had named Saeed, JuD and LeT as masterminds and perpetrators behind the attack and had submitted many dossiers containing evidence against them, something that was even recognized the UN and the US.

Even if, in December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. All these years, it has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free.

And it seems the same is going to be repeated again. Like after the Mumbai 2008 attacks, Pakistan, this time, too has refused to level terror charges against Saeed. On October 14, Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government withdrew terror charges against Saeed and instead applied for detention of Saeed and his associates till October 24 under the milder Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO). It was the fifth extension of Saeed’s house arrest since January 31.

Now if the judicial review board doesn’t get convinced by the arguments of the authorities on why to detain Saeed for so long in spite of no serious charges being pressed against him, Hafiz Saeed may walk free after his detention expires on October 24 as authorities need judicial approval before extending the period of the detention.

Pakistan’s complicity also becomes clear from the fact that though Pakistan first detained Saeed and others for 90 days under the Anti Terrorism Act but later on switched to toothless laws on maintaining public order.

And going by the tough observations of the Lahore High Court that mere press clippings cannot be the ground for detaining a citizen for an extended period of time and that Pakistan does not seem to have substantial evidence against Saeed, it will be just a matter of time before Saeed is free, respectable Pakistani citizen again.

©SantoshChaubey

ATONEMENT

“I don’t go to that territory anymore yet I see its falling bricks every day.
They hit me like a fresh wound each time, exacting a cruel retribution,
When again the existentialist finds his senses wanderlust in the lost realm,
Shadows emerge from corners and voices try to add to the chaos.
I try to walk away but thoughts prefer to embrace the atonement,
In ruins of life, when pain finds itself in shambles, like it had never spoken.”

ATONEMENT

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN ARMY’S NO TO ITS FOREIGN MINISTER’S OFFER TO US FOR JOINT OPERATION AGAINST HAQQANIS

The Pakistan army has said no to the joint operation offer given by its foreign minister Khawaja Asif to the United States of America against the Haqqani Network.

Recently, while speaking in a TV interview, Khawaja Asif had said “his government had offered American authorities to visit Pakistan with evidence of Haqqani network’s safe havens in the country and if found, the Pakistani troops along with the US would destroy them once and for all.”

Asif Ghafoor, director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Pakistan army’s spokesperson said “Pakistan’s soil will not be used for joint operations”. Ghafoor said there was no concept of joint operations on the soil of Pakistan while speaking on a TV programme on the rescue of five foreigners, a Canadian, his American wife and their three children, from Pakistan’s border areas along Afghanistan.

Khawaja Asif’s offer to US for a joint operation against the Haqqani network also drew criticism from political quarters. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, former interior minister of Pakistan lashed out at Asif saying “sovereign nations never allow other countries to conduct operations inside their territory.”

Khawaja Asif was also widely criticised last month when he accepted presence of terror groups in Pakistan while he was in the US for the United Nations General Assembly. He called Haqqanis, Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other terror outfits liabilities and pressed that his country needed to put its house in order. Reacting on Asif remarks, cricketer turned politician Imran Khan said Pakistan didn’t need enemies when it had such a foreign minister.

CIVILIAN VS MILITARY

Asif Ghafoor’s comments are also emblematic of the rift between Pakistan’s civilian government and its powerful military that has ruled for most of its independent history since 1947.

By flatly rejecting a proposal of its civilian government, the army again sent out the message that who was the real boss in Pakistan even if it meant Pakistan’s desperate efforts to mend ties with the US, its historical ally and one of the largest aid donors. The US has been blaming Pakistan for double-dealings and harbouring terrorists including the Haqqanis who regularly attack US interests in Afghanistan and has warned that it may soon end Pakistan’s US ally status.

Growing US criticism has forced Pakistan’s civilian government to look for ways to placate the only super power of the world but the Pakistan army, with its narrow China centric vision, fails to see the point. Last month, when Pakistani foreign minister was talking of putting a new foreign policy in place after a meeting of Pakistan’s foreign envoys, its army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was singing a different tune with his assertion that “if Pakistan had not done enough in the war against terror, then no country in the world had done anything.”

THE SURGICAL STRIKE CHAOS

The surgical strike carried out by India last year in September inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to avenge the Uri terror attack by Pakistan based terrorists that killed our 19 soldiers, most of them sleeping, is a classic example to see this civilian-military rift in Pakistan.

After the Surgical Strikes, first reactions came from Pakistan’s civilian establishment. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had to resigns recently due to corruption charges against him, said it was an act of ‘naked aggression’ by the Indian Army. Khawaja Asif, who was Pakistan’s defence minister then, initially said yes there were such incidents over the night but if India did so again, we would give a strong reply. So they accepted the Surgical Strikes.

But after its all powerful military issued a denial, dismissing the very existence of the Surgical Strikes, in a desperate bid to save its face, Pakistan’s civilian establishment had no other option but to toe the line. And soon the whole Pakistan, including its media, started speaking in the language of its army – and the line was – no surgical strike took place and it was a mere Line of Control (LoC) aggression. But the episode caused Pakistan a great deal of embarrassment.

©SantoshChaubey

PREET BHARARA JOINS BOB CORKER IN MOCKING TRUMP FOR THREATENING NEWS NETWORKS

The article originally appeared on India Today on October 12.

Preet Bharara, former US Attorney and a known critic of US President Donald Trump, mocked him for trying to threaten news networks. Bharara was appointed by Barack Obama as US Attorney for Manhattan where he served for many years before being fired by Trump this March, a fact that Bharara has mentioned in his Twitter bio.

While replying to a tweet where Trump indicated he might challenge broadcast license of media houses, Bharara quipped, “Adult day care shift alert, please report for duty”, in an apparent reference to Republican Senator Bob Corker, a supporter-turned-critic of Trump, who has called the US president a political novice whose outbursts have become so routine that the White House has become an adult day care centre.

Bob Corker heads the powerful US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has been a strong anti-Trump voice on issues like Trump Administration’s handling of the North Korean nuclear crisis and the changes Trump is trying to make to the US tax regime. Trump and Corker are engaged in a bitter war of words these days and they routinely exchange barbs.

Bharara also questioned if it was possible to a get a ruling it happens so tagging Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates the media and communications industry in the US.

Earlier in the day, Trump had blasted the NBC News alleging it for producing a fake story which said Trump had asked for tenfold rise in US nuclear arsenal in a meeting with national security officials earlier this summer after which Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, had termed him a “moron”.

While dismissing the row if Tillerson really called him a moron, Trump said in an interview yesterday, “I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.” And today, in a series of tweets, he complained that the NBC report was “pure fiction, meant to demean.

©SantoshChaubey

IRKED BY REPORT, DONALD TRUMP ASKS: WHEN IS IT APPROPRIATE TO CHALLENGE NEWS NETWORKS’ LICENSES?

The article originally appeared on India Today on October 11.

US President Donald Trump asked when it would be “appropriate” to challenge the licenses of American media outlets like the network NBC, which he accused of carrying a fake story about him.

Quoting three sources, the NBC report in question said Trump told the US’ “highest-ranking national security leaders” that he wanted “what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase” in America’s nuclear arsenal.

It also said Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was heard calling his boss a “moron” after the meeting.

On Wednesday, Trump complained in a tweet that the report was “pure fiction, meant to demean.”

Trump says that since he won last year’s presidential polls, media outlets have run several fake stories targeting him.

He routinely blasts networks running stories he finds uncomfortable – be it CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post.

In March, Trump threatened to end White House Press briefings after a row over the ouster of former FBI director James Comey, even thought it was his press office that was at fault.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was then the White House’s deputy Press Secretary, first said Comey’s firing wouldn’t affect the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

Then, she said Comey’s removal would hasten the investigation. But Donald Trump himself later said he’d fired Comey to ensure that “the Russian meddling investigation is done absolutely properly.”

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP THREATENS TO CHALLENGE LICENSE OF NEWS NETWORKS CRITICAL OF HIM

US President Donald Trump is threatening media outfits again, this time raising a possibility that he in fact can challenge their broadcast license in future.

Blasting a NBC News investigation that said Donald Trump wanted a tenfold increase in the US nuclear stockpile, Trump wrote on his Twitter handle, “NBC News made up a story that I wanted a “tenfold” increase in U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”, declaring the whole piece fake.

The meeting with highest ranking national security officials of the US where Trump made the comment took place this summer. NBC News also reported that after Trump’s remarks, Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State, termed him a moron, something which was also called a fake news piece by Trump. While dismissing the row over Tillerson’s moron jibe, Trump, in fact, went on to say that even if Tillerson said that, he was ready for an IQ test.

While blasting NBC News, Trump further said that media networks producing fake stories was bad for country and questioned when and “at what point was it appropriate to challenge their License.”

Trump says since he won the Presidential polls, media outfits have run multiple fake stories targeting him and he routinely blasts networks running stories uncomfortable to him, be it CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post or any other one.

In March, Trump had threatened to stop the White House Press briefings after row over FBI director James Comey’s ouster even if it was his press office that was at fault.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy Press Secretary of the White House then, first said Comey’s firing would not affect at all the investigation into the Russian meddling in the US presidential election last year. Then she said Comey’s removal would hasten the investigation. But all of this was latter dumped by Donald Trump himself who said he fired Comey to ensure that “the Russian meddling investigation is done absolutely properly.”

Also, before it, several White House officials sent out messages that Comey’s firing was for mishandling the email leak issue of Hillary Clinton and was, in no way, related to the investigation into Russian hacking. The White House press briefings have been a tradition since 1929 when the first White House Press Secretary George Akerson was appointed by President Herbert Hoover.

©SantoshChaubey

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE: PAKISTAN APPOINTS ITS FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE AS AD-HOC JUDGE AT ICJ

The article originally appeared on India Today on October 11.

Pakistan has appointed Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, its former chief justice, as ad-hoc judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to represent Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case .

A report in The News International said the decision by Pakistan’s law ministry in this regard had been signed by Pakistan PM Shahid Abbasi. Tassaduq Jilani, who retired from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in July 2014, will now defend Pakistan’s side in the case which was previously being handled by Khawar Qureshi.

Qureshi, a Pakistani-origin practicing lawyer and judge in Britain, once represented India against Enron in an international arbitration case on Dabhol power plant closure. India ultimately lost that case.

The ICJ statute allows appointment of judges on its tribunal from the countries that are directly engaged in a dispute. Since India and Pakistan are involved in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan was allowed to carry this appointment.

The 12-member ICJ tribunal hearing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case has an Indian, former Supreme Court Justice Dalveer Bhandari, in the panel of judges that passed the order on May 18 putting a stay of Jadhav’s execution till final orders by the ICJ.

The government of Pakistan was criticised back home for not exercising the option to put a Pakistan judge on the panel to defend the Pakistani side.

Forced by the criticism and loss of face when India won the round one of the case, the government of Pakistan then began to seriously look for someone who could represent it at the ICJ. Kulbhushan Jadhav is an innocent Indian whom the Pakistani propaganda has declared a spy and has sentenced to death. Pakistan claims Jadhav was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and arrested Jadhav on March 3, 2016. Pakistan’s military court country sentenced him to death on April 10, 017.

India has submitted its 22-page written response in the ICJ while Pakistan will submit its reply by December 13.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN NOMINATES ITS FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE AS AD-HOC JUDGE AT ICJ IN KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE

Pakistan has nominated Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, its former chief justice, as ad-hoc judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to represent Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case and has written communicated the same to the ICJ, a Radio Pakistan report said quoting Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

The official announcement came after Prime minister of Pakistan endorsed the decision by Pakistan’s law ministry in this regard. Jilani, who retired from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in July 2014, will now defend Pakistan’s side in the case which was previously being handled by Khawar Qureshi, a Pakistani-origin practicing lawyer and judge in Britain who once represented India against Enron in an international arbitration case on Dabhol power plant closure which India eventually lost.

The ICJ Statute allows appointment of judges on its tribunal from the countries that are directly engaged in a dispute, like here India and Pakistan are in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. According to a Dawn report, Jilani served as a Judge in the Supreme Court of Pakistan from July 31, 2004 to December 11, 2013 before being elevated as the country’s 21st chief justice on December 11, 2013.

The 12-member ICJ tribunal hearing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case has an Indian, former Supreme Court of India Justice Dalveer Bhandari, in the panel of judges that passed the order on May 18 putting a stay of Jadhav’s execution till final orders by the ICJ. The government of Pakistan was criticised back home for not exercising the option to put a Pakistani judge on the panel to defend the Pakistani side.

Forced by the criticism and loss of face when India won the round one of the case, the government of Pakistan then seriously began to look for someone who could represent it at the ICJ.

Kulbhushan Jadhav is an innocent Indian whom the Pakistani propaganda has declared a spy and has sentenced to death. Pakistan claims Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Pakistan shown Jadhav’s arrest on March 3, 2016 from its restive Balochistan province though India maintains that Jadhav was on a routine business trip to Iran when he was abducted by Taliban and sold to Pakistani intelligence. A military court in Pakistan sentenced Jadhav to death on April 10, 2017.

After India’s repeated requests to consular access to Jadhav was denied, it approached the ICJ on May 8, 2017. The ICJ heard the matter on May 15 and stayed Jadhav’s execution by Pakistan till further notice in its May 18 order. India submitted to the ICJ its 22-page written plea on September 13 while Pakistan is expected to submit its written reply by December 13.

©SantoshChaubey

MAKE IN INDIA DIWALI? REPORT SAYS SALE OF CHINESE PRODUCTS MAY DECLINE BY 45%

The article originally appeared on India Today on October 9.

An Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) survey has found that the prevailing anti-China sentiment in the country can result in 40-45 per cent decline in the sale of Chinese products this Diwali when compared to their sale last year.

A quick survey by ASSOCHAM-Social Development Foundation (ASDF) has said that be it decorative items like lights, gift items, lamps, Ganesha and Laxmi idols, rangolis, wall hangings crackers or even the electronic products like mobile phones, the decline is visible across all the sectors.

The ASSOCHAM survey that was conducted across multiple cities, i.e., Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai, found that people were preferring Indian goods over Chinese products and were demanding Indian lights and earthen diyas and shopkeepers were stacking products this festive season accordingly.

According to the ASSOCHAM release, the share of Chinese products during Diwali festivities last year was estimated to be 30 per cent or around Rs 6500 crore and Rs 4500 crore of it came from only Diwali related items like toys, fancy lights, gift items, plastic ware, decorative goods etc.

The ASSOCHAM paper also found that the demand of electronic items like LCDs, mobile phones and others items made in China has also declined by 15-20%.

India-China relations are going through a rough patch especially after the 73-day long Doklam standoff, the border row between the countries in the Doklam region of the Sikkim sector that saw an abrupt end in the last week of August. Though India claims a status quo has been maintained in the region ever since then, there are conflicting reports emerging in the media that China is again scaling up its operations in the disputed border territory.

Also, some reports in August had claimed that the Doklam standoff had adversely affected business of Oppo and Vivo in India, two major mobile manufactures from China. A report in the Economic Times had said that 400 expat Chinese workers were being sent back after the sale of smartphones of these companies fell sharply in July and August months owing to the ‘anti-Beijing sentiment’.

©SantoshChaubey