KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE EFFECT? GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG SLAMS PAKISTAN

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights watchdog with eminent jurists and legal experts as its members from all over the world, has slammed Pakistan for failing to meet its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which the country ratified in 2010.

According to the ICJ, this is the first time that the UN Human Rights Committee, an independent body of experts that is mandated to monitor ICCPR’s implementation, has reviewed Pakistan’s human rights track record since it became signatory in 2010. The review was done on July 11-12 and its recommendations were released yesterday.

Though the recommendations don’t make a direct reference to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national who has been given death sentence by one of Pakistan’s military courts, it can be said that the issue was on the discussion table while carrying out a review of human rights in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s military courts have been decried by every global human rights body and they gained further global infamy with the ongoing hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in the International Court of Justice. India has appealed against Pakistan in the International Court of Justice which has stayed Jadhav’s hanging till its final decision.

Jadhav was abducted by Taliban from Iran’s border areas while on a business trip and was reportedly sold to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The government of Pakistan and its army made him, a retired Indian Navy officer, a part of their anti-India propaganda by declaring him a spy, tried him in secrecy in Pakistan’s military courts, denying every Indian request for consular access to him, and passed a judgment to hang him.

Among the recommendations made, there are specific strictures asking Pakistan to reform its military courts, “and bring them into full conformity with Articles 14 and 15 of the Covenant to ensure a fair trial”. Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR deal with ensuring transparency in legal proceeding in criminal matters which among other guidelines, require the state to provide the accused counsel of his own choosing and forbids the state from taking his forced confession.

The ICCPR does provide a provision for a private hearing but it specifically says that “any judgement rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.”

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE ASKS PAKISTAN TO REFORM MILITARY COURTS

The UN Human Rights Committee has asked Pakistan to reform its military courts as per the provisions of the Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR. It is necessary for every signatory of the ICCPR to implement the treaty and submit an implementation report on every provision. Though Pakistan had submitted its report in 2015, the review was carried out this month only, listing all the prevailing concerns regarding human rights’ violations in Pakistan with inputs from other sources.

The UN committee’s recommendations also ask Pakistan to “review legislation relating to the military courts with a view to abrogating their jurisdiction over civilians as well as their authority to impose the death penalty.” Kulbhushan Jadhav has been given death sentence under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act which is defined as “the Section for Civil Offences” and gives Pakistan’s military courts power to award capital punishments in the garb of national security.

The ICJ release, quoting Livio Zilli, its Senior Legal Adviser and UN Representative, says, “It is deeply worrying that since ratifying the ICCPR, Pakistan’s human rights situation has worsened in a number of aspects, including with the restoration of the death penalty and the introduction of military trials for civilians.”

PAKISTAN’S MILITARY COURTS

Pakistan had established military courts in 2015 with a constitutional amendment to try people for terrorism and related offences committed in civilian areas after the December 2015 Peshawar school massacre and in March 2017 its parliament voted for another two years extension to them.

Since their establishment, the military courts have an absolute record of convictions with no acquittals. According to the Pakistan’s military, the military courts have convicted 274 people in last two years, 161 of them being sentenced to death and 113 to varying prison terms.

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV’S CASE

On April 10, the Pakistan Army chief confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence given by a Pakistani military court that held Jadhav guilty of espionage. Pakistan claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Pakistan made Jadhav’s arrest public in March 2016.

India has maintained that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that Pakistsan carried out a sham, secret trial in a military court where no information on charges and evidence was given. India has warned Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’ equalling Jadhav’s death sentence with pre-meditated murder.

©SantoshChaubey

LIU XIAOBO IS NO MORE: CHINA KILLS ITS MOST RECOGNIZED DISSIDENT VOICE

Liu Xiaobo, 61, a university professor turned human rights activist, who was China’s most known figure raising voice for democracy and political reforms in a country fettered in autocratic chains of one-party dictatorial regime since 1950 has died from terminal liver cancer while in custody. He was China’s leading dissident voice and human rights activist.

Liu Xiaobo had been a cynosure for the Chinese power elite ever since 1989 when he took part in protests on the Tiananmen Square as a young academician. China had arrested him four times – the last in 2008. He was detained in December 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power.

The world tried to sent China a message by selecting him for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. China, a hell for human rights and political reform activists, responded to the decision saying the decision was totally wrong and unacceptable and started threatening countries to boycott the Award Ceremony on December 10, 2010. The Nobel Award ceremony was held with an empty chair representing him.

The power elite of the Chinese Communist Party moved swiftly to crush the every possible mention of Liu Xiaobo in China. They put Liu’s wife Liu Xia under house arrest the very day the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision, i.e., October 8, 2010. She has been languishing in such forced conditions since then amid repeated calls by the international community to release her, a call that has got a renewed urge after demise of Liu.

China systematically killed Liu by incarcerating him in tough prison conditions and denying him the medical care that he required, something that deteriorated his health to life threatening condition ultimately. Domestic protests and international outrage mean nothing for China, death of Liu from terminal liver cancer once again proves. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has termed the death as premature and saying that China bears a heavy responsibility for it.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu was first to any Chinese while still being in China and with his death in captivity, he has become also the first Nobel Peace laureate die in custody in almost eight decades. Before him, German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1935, had died in Nazi custody in 1938.

©SantoshChaubey

LIU XIAOBO IS NO MORE: CHINA HAS KILLED ITS MOST RECOGNIZED DISSIDENT VOICE

He who was China’s most known figure raising voice for democracy and political reforms in a country fettered in autocratic chains of one-party dictatorial regime since 1950.

He was China’s leading dissident voice and human rights activist.

He had been a cynosure for the Chinese power elite ever since 1989 when he took part in protests on the Tiananmen Square as a young academician. China had arrested him four times – the last in 2008. He was detained in December 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power.

The world tried to sent China a message by selecting him for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. China, a hell for human rights and political reform activists, responded to the decision saying the decision was totally wrong and unacceptable and started threatening countries to boycott the Award Ceremony on December 10, 2010. The Nobel Award ceremony was held with an empty chair representing him.

The power elite of the Chinese Communist Party moved swiftly to crush the every possible mention of Liu Xiaobo in China. They put Liu’s wife Liu Xia under house arrest the very day the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision, i.e., October 8, 2010. She has been languishing in such forced conditions since then amid repeated calls by the international community to release her, a call that has got a renewed urge after demise of Liu.

China systematically killed Liu by incarcerating him in tough prison conditions and denying him the medical care that he required, something that deteriorated his health to life threatening condition ultimately. Domestic protests and international outrage mean nothing for China, death of Liu from terminal liver cancer once again proves. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has termed the death as premature and saying that China bears a heavy responsibility for it.

I had written in article in 2010 on what a Peace Nobel to Chinese human rights and pro-democracy activist meant – for Chinese society, for China’s power elite and for China’s pro-democracy activists.

I am sharing these articles here, with a more authoritative China under a more authoritative dictator, Ji Xinping, who has declared himself a ‘core leader’ like Mao Zedong and is working to make his power absolute in China – antithesis to the core body of thought that was behind the decision to award Peace Nobel to Liu Xiaobo.

These seven years have been a letdown for human rights and political reforms in China. But the big catch is China’s economic stagnation. It’s economy is slowing down and that is forcing the Chinese government to find new markets for its companies and new markets for its huge manufacturing base back home, in order to meet the expectations of its 1.37 billion strong population.

That, in turn, is forcing China to integrate more into global economy. All its attempts to forge global trade and climate alliances and trying to push its hegemony are half-baked attempts to that. That is bound to have a cost for the Chinese power elite. Increasingly, it will become difficult for a more globally involved China to do stuff like Tiananmen Massacre or incarcerating Liu Xiaobo or Ai Weiwei because China will not be in a position to face global isolation as that may push its dissident domestic factors beyond control.

Yes, it is not going to happen in near future. But evolution is a long-term process. Silence socially doesn’t mean people are not reacting. Spiral of silence may build up for years, depending on the dynamics of a country, before it leads to explosion of people’s anger.

CHINA’S DISSIDENCE ON PEACE NOBEL TO A ‘DISSIDENT’: WHAT’S ON STAKE FOR THE STAKEHOLDERS – I

A mighty state machinery goes into thinking mode based on some media inputs and its intelligence briefing. It anticipates some mobilization and prepares a control plan. A house is cordoned off. A lady is put under virtual house arrest. A counter speech is prepared in case the intelligence input gains ground.

Welcome to China, country of 2010 Nobel peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. Liu is China’s first Nobel laureate who remained there to face the state’s wrath.

It was a day when China joined the league of Burma, Iran, cold-war era USSR or Hitler era Germany in denouncing the person honouring the most serious recognition for efforts to bring the positive change – the Peace Nobel.

It was a day when the Nobel Peace Committee didn’t throw any ‘hard to swallow surprises’ like last year decision to award Peace Nobel to Barack Obama.

It was a day when ‘aspiration’ prevailed over ‘achievement’. Less than expected performance of Obama during last one year in office is any indication?

It was a day when Gandhian values of non-violence and ‘human-first’ prevailed again.

On 8th October 2010, when the Nobel Peace Committee announced the prize for Xiaobo, a human rights activist and a cynosure for the Chinese since 1989 when he took part in protests on the Tiananmen Square as a young academician, it was on the expected line.

Dr Sima Samar, the Afghan human rights activist, Liu Xiaobo, Democratic Voice of Burma and Special Court for Sierra Leone were the most talked about contenders for this year Peace Nobel. And all these names suggested one thing, that the Nobel Peace Committee had taken note of its last year’s ‘hard to explain’ decision and was wary of inviting any controversy this year.

All these most talked about contenders this year have an inspiring tale of commitment and contribution and they give wings to aspire for more. Dr Sima Samar is head of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. She has had a long history of working on human rights issues and is considered a strong female voice in a country like Afghanistan that has virtually no female rights. It becomes important in the wake of recent reports that Taliban are in talks with the Karzai government to end the civil war there. Democratic Voice of Burma is not-for-profit organization based in Norway that equips journalists to work clandestinely and beam programmes into the iron-curtained Burma, both on radio as well as TV waves. Special Court for Sierra Leone was established court in 2002 after the Sierra Leone government requested the United Nations in 2000 to establish an independent court to try the faces responsible for the civil war in Sierra Leone that broke in 1996.

An argument doing rounds was Liu Xiaobo had lesser chances as 2008 would be the ideal year when the prize should have been announced for him, the year when China held the biggest soft power projection spectacle, the Beijing Olympics, the year when Liu Xiaobo co-authored the famed ‘Charter 08’, an ‘allegedly incriminating’ document as the China mouth organs put it. Ideally that would have given Liu more space to be heard in a country where he does not have the following he deserves except a courageous section of the intelligentsia.

But, still a Peace Nobel to Liu means many significant things for the parties involved – Liu himself, Chinese like Liu, Chinese other than the Chinese elite, China, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and the humanity.

CHINA’S DISSIDENCE ON PEACE NOBEL TO A ‘DISSIDENT’: WHAT’S ON STAKE FOR THE STAKEHOLDERS – II

For Liu Xiaobo: Liu is like a committed Gandhian soldier who employs non-violent means to pursue his larger than life efforts for humanity, to contribute to the process of change. Values like freedom of speech, human rights, democracy are its present day parameters in a post-colonial world. He has endured state sponsored hardship during the 22 years of his activist life that includes the most severe punishment meted out to anyone after ‘challenging state’s writ and inciting subversion’ was included in the Chinese Criminal Code in 1996. He is no Gandhi or Mandela, but he seems to have a vision like them.

At personal level, it will be a big boost for his moral strength to continue with his struggle. The argument, that his limited following may altogether cease to exist as the Chinese government will now ruthlessly pursue the mission to kill any perception related to the name ‘Liu Xiaobo’, may boomerang. The intense cyber activity and widespread Chinese Diaspora will make it hard for any state attempt to stop the spread of word of mouth, and that too in country that has largest number of internet surfers crossing the 400 million mark. In the changed circumstances, the possibility that the Liu Xiaobo is bound to gain ground seems more opportune. After all, we did have differing versions of the Tiananmen massacre; we did have clearer versions of the Chinese crushing of Tibetan and Uighur movement; we did have this to witness the China government on the back-foot, many a times, in the Google row; after all, we did have version of Liu Xia who has been able to express the displeasure on Chinese panic and expression of shock; after all, we did have reports of Chinese arresting Liu Xia. It’s a changed time, even for the middle kingdom.

And why call Liu a dissident. He is more of a proponent of positive change. Perhaps it is not the Charter 08 but the ghost of Charter 77 that toppled Eastern European governments in the pro-democracy wave after it was framed in 1977. The panic shown by a defiant China shows this only.

For China, democracy has a different definition: Off late, there has been much media debate, locally as well as globally about Wen Jiabao’s comments on political restructuring and democracy. But all this talk is within the realm of maintaining ‘one-party’ supremacy and here China finds people like Xiaobo difficult to assimilate in its fold who demand the universal definition of democracy to be applied. One of the demands in the ‘Charter 08’ is establishment of the multi-party system in China, a blasphemy by the standards of the Chinese elite of the day.

Though having a very narrow spectrum, the economic liberalization has started making a dent in the Chinese fortress of one way entry and government fears voices like Liu may give fuel to the unrest that is already being reported. Let’s come to some economic indicators and what they foretell about China of tomorrow.

In 1978, when China opened up its economy, its rural and urban per-capita income was $19.6 and $50.3 that shot to $606.2 and $2018.4, respectively, in 2007. According to latest World Bank figures, the current Chinese per capita income is $3,590. Though impressive growth, the perception about its prowess and mighty status, militarily as well as economically, that the world’s most populous country has been very deliberately developing since 1978, has an inherent risk and it makes people like Xiaobo even more relevant and the decision to award him Peace Nobel a proper one.

China’s per capita income was 2.52% of that of US in 1980 that improved to the level of 4.05% of US per capita income in 2005. Current per capita income of US is around $40,000. So the gap is huge. Chinese rulers are feeding its middle class base with a dream of life of luxury in the days ahead when China will be the world’s largest economy. It is already the second largest when it overtook Japan the last quarter. China’s GDP for the last quarter totalled to $1.337 trillion (compared to Japan’s $1.288 trillion) that is 90 times bigger than what China had in 1978. The dream to chase and bridge this gap is presently the prevailing nationalist sentiment among the burgeoning Chinese middle class. Their income is growing and no doubt, China has tried to distribute the gains to its rural areas too, and where its corrupt system has failed it. Here we need to remember the treatment meted out to the poor while evicting them out of Shanghai and Beijing.

Even by the most liberal estimates, here China might fail in the coming future. Once people are fed-up of what they have achieved, they look for the next level. And the problem is, the swift pace of change in recent times ($2018.4 per capita income to $3,590 in just three year) has made the middle class sentiment change even swifter. The economy growth is bound to slow down and even stagnate in coming years. But, by then China will have a middle class thriving on technological sophistication, connected more to the world and to the Diaspora, and demanding for more and more. When such a huge and aspiring middle class doesn’t get its ends met, it starts questioning the state policies. And given their large population base, it seems like an unachievable task for countries like India and China to surpass the per-capita income of developed countries, if we talk in terms of the perceivable future.

The system that China has right now cannot handle it as it has fed its people with a very glossy future, to the very same people who have survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its factory and rationing system. Anyone who is aware of China’s factory system and the social habitation built around it very well knows about its darkness. Chinese middle class will do anything to run away from it. They cannot not be treated like they were before 1978. But in a crisis situation now, they won’t have any alternatives to look for to express their dissatisfaction, like in a democracy, and that is bound to fuel the unrest. Alternative was out of question way back in 1978. But, is China of the day in a situation to adopt crushing tactics like the Tiananmen? Certainly not. It needs to give its citizens options in case of unrest and it has to decide its formations and configuration.

A crisis situation is handled well by a country when it believes in its subjects, the citizens, or to say more aptly a democracy, that China is not. It can begin a process by assimilating voices like Liu in the mainstream. It should welcome its first Nobel Prize as a way forward to propagate a healthy national debate on political reforms. Economical and political reforms have to be complimentary otherwise China may fall due to its own weight. It cannot have the definition of democracy that it is trying to propagate in the name of political reforms. It needs to have a democracy like that propounded in the ‘Charter 08’.

Otto Hermann Kahn has very rightly said: The deadliest foe of democracy is not autocracy but liberty frenzied.

CHINA’S DISSIDENCE ON PEACE NOBEL TO A ‘DISSIDENT’: WHAT’S ON STAKE FOR THE STAKEHOLDERS – III

It is 52 days; 52 days since October 8, 2010. It took 52 days for the Chinese state machinery to crush the Tiananmen Moment of 1989 culminating in June 5 bloodbath from a humble beginning as civilian gathering on April 15, 1989.

So what all China has done in these 52 days this time? Certainly it’s not another Tiananmen of 1989 but it can be precursor of something like what came out of mourning after death of Hu Yaobang in 1989.

The 52 days since the Peace Nobel announcement to Liu Xiaobo has seen a frenetic activity by the Chinese government that tells that the Chinese elite mindset has not changed since the days of the 1989 Tiananmen Movement. The uprising then had acquired a loud and potent formation with its wide outreach and was meted out with an equally crushing and demeaning spread of totalitarian tentacles subsequently. The seed of a potential uprising this time is subtle and it is there, yes the seed may take longer to germinate here because the change now is happening amidst a conundrum of economic, social and political parameters that the Chinese policymakers are still trying to understand.

Not much insight is needed but a keen observation to the response of the Chinese state machinery and of its elite since October 8.

It has virtually arrested Liu Xia – no communication means available. It has cracked down on the members of Chinese intelligentsia who dared speak positively about Liu’s Nobel, arresting some, making some pariah by clipping their wings, defaming them by using its state sponsored propaganda machinery (what else one can expect when you have the whole media acting as your mouth organ – no doubt the huge investment that the Chinese media industry saw was never to get its return), cracking down on communication and social networking means of some, threatening the country’s masses with direct and indirect consequences of even thinking about the name Liu Xiaobo, extending it to other countries through its coercive and threatening diplomacy.

How else we can have a Nobel Committee alleging a country of year’s Nobel recipient of sabotaging the Prize Ceremony as six countries including Russia (no need to mention China) have shown their inability to join the function? December 10 has still 12 more days to go and expect more muscle juggling of China’s coercive diplomacy externally and an over-alert internal security system internally.

What all these tell? Something ominous!

Yes, ominous for the Chinese elite but symbolically opportune for the Chinese masses with its emerging classes and it is interestingly foretelling for the world community.

And what are these factors? The similar ones already discussed in previous two parts of this write-up, a burgeoning middle class, new classes within the class-less Chinese society, their growing connectivity and communication freedom and hence their growing demands of a life, always to be bettered in terms of what a ‘standard quality of life’ means universally.

What all it says of what all that China has done in these 52 days for other stakeholders – – Chinese like Liu, Chinese other than the Chinese elite, the Norwegian Nobel Committee and the humanity – of the decision to award the Peace Noble to Liu Xiaobo!

Amnesty has stated – “As we’re doing right now, there’ll be increased attention paid not only to Liu Xiaobo, but also many of the dozens of other activists who have spoken out, worked really tirelessly, been jailed for promoting freedom of expression, for promoting respect for human rights. The international community will hopefully pay greater attention to the fact that Liu Xiaobo is not alone, in fact, in the activities that he’s been conducting.”

©SantoshChaubey

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV DEATH SENTENCE: PAKISTAN TO OVERRULE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE’S ORDER

The article originally appeared on India Today.

According to a Dunya News report, Pakistan is going to deny the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Kulbhushan Jadhav case, an Indian national whom Pakistan has sentenced to death alleging of espionage and sabotage in Pakistan. The Dunya News report said “Attorney General of Pakistan was reportedly briefed on Friday over Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s issue and according to the sources, Pakistan is to deny jurisdiction of International Court of Justice (ICJ) to over cases that have Pakistan’s national stability at stake.”

According to the report, the briefing states that “Pakistan does not accept international court’s jurisdiction to order the state in issue that involves its national stability.”

In another report of Daily Pakistan, “Pakistan revised its commitment to the ICJ and had withdrawn all domestic and national security related issues from the jurisdiction of the court on March 29, thus making it impossible for Modi led India to pin down Pakistan in this case.”

The Daily Pakistan report further states that Pakistan, before handing over death sentence to Jadhav, had informed the ICJ about changes it made though its UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi. “Disputes relating to or connected with any aspect of hostilities, armed conflicts, individual or collective self-defence or the discharge of any functions pursuant to any decision or recommendation of international bodies, the deployment of armed forces abroad, as well as action relating and ancillary thereto in which Pakistan is, has been or may in future be involved”, the declaration by Pakistan read.

India had approached the International Court of Justice on May 8 with its plea which requested the UN judicial body to stay Jadhav’s execution till it hears the matter and reaches to any conclusion. India in its plea had accused Pakistan of “egregious violations” of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR). Both India and Pakistan are signatory to VCCR. India had requested for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav 16 times but Pakistan denied it every time. But according to the Daily Pakistan report, the Vienna Convention cannot help India as it applies to diplomats and not spies.

After India’s application, the ICJ, using its powers under the ‘Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes of 24 April 1963’ had stayed Jadhav’s execution and had issued notice to Pakistan. The public hearing in the case by the ICJ would be held on May 15.

THE KULBHUSHAN JADHAV DEATH SENTENCE

On April 10, the Pakistan Army chief confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, which was handed down by a Pakistani military court that held Jadhav guilty of espionage. Pakistan claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Pakistan arrested Jadhav in March 2016.

The Indian government has maintained that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a formal Indian Naval officer turned businessman who was on a routine business trip to Iran when he was abducted by Pakistani intelligence. Reports say he was captured by the Taliban and later sold to the Pakistan Army.

India has also said that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that Pakistsan carried out a sham, secret trial in a military court where no information on charges and evidence was given. India has warned Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’ equalling Jadhav’s death sentence with pre-meditated murder and has time and again asked for the consular access to him.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN MILITARY FINALLY ACCEPTS DAWN LEAKS INQUIRY COMMITTEE REPORT, JOURNALISTS BEWARE!

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

After a meeting between Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and its army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa today, it seems the issue of Dawn leaks has finally settled now. According to media reports in Pakistan, its army’s public relations wing has issued a clarification that the Dawn leaks issue is closed chapter after it found the action taken by the government on the inquiry committee’s report satisfactory and withdraws its earlier tweet that had rejected a notification issued last month by the Nawaz Sharif government over action taken in the matter.

The Dawn leaks case refers to a front page story by the Daily Dawn’s columnist Cyril Almeida’s last October, quoting government sources, on rift between Pakistan’s civilian and military establishment over crackdown on Pakistan’s terrorist groups active in India and Afghanistan. The article had further written quoting government source that this dichotomy was forcing Pakistan to a diplomatic isolation. It had caused quite a stir in India’s volatile neighbourhood and had seen a standoff between its all powerful military and Nawaz Sharif’s government that threatened to snowball if something was not done to appease it.

And the action was swift. Official rebuttal were issued. Almeida was banned from travelling abroad. Pakistan’s information minister Pervaiz Rasheed was forced to step down pending an inquiry, a move that has been endorsed by the inquiry committee that was formed in November to investigate the matter. This is the only addition to the notification issued today otherwise contents of both notifications are similar.

No one knows and nobody will probably ever know what transpired in the top-level meeting between Sharif and Bajwa as the contents of the inquiry committee report that the government has decided not to make public. But its outcome is exactly opposite to the Pak army’s earlier stand after the Sharif government had announced last month its follow-up action to be taken on the inquiry committee report.

After the Sharif-Bajwa meeting today, the Ministry of Interior has issued another notification, that looks more or less same, as the one issued last month and was rejected by the army saying it was not as per the recommendations of the inquiry committee report. On April 29, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had tweeted expressing Pak army’s displeasure over the Dawn leaks report. After today’s development, the tweet has become infructuous.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor‏Verified account
@OfficialDGISPR
Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected.
3:22 PM – 29 Apr 2017

Nawaz Sharif has accepted the recommendations of the Dawn Leaks Inquiry Committee and has issued directions of disciplinary action to be taken against the daily, its editor Zaffar Abbas and its reporter and columnist Cyril Almeida. The notification issued by Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior also says that “the Dawn Leaks Inquiry Committee recommends that the role of Daily Dawn, Zaffar Abbas and Cyril Almeida may be referred to All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) with a direction to take disciplinary action against them.”

Besides this disciplinary action, the inquiry committee has also emphasized on the need to develop “a code of conduct for print media especially when dealing with issues related to security of Pakistan.”

The Dawn leaks report has cost another high profile person his office. Nawaz Sharif had to sack his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Tariq Fatemi, for leaking information of the high level civilian-military leadership meeting. Also, disciplinary action has been recommended against a the principal information officer of Pakistan’s foreign ministry.

©SantoshChaubey

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE STAYS KULBHUSHAN JADHAV DEATH SENTENCE

The article originally appeared on India Today.

In a major late night development, the International Court of Justice on Tuesday, in an interim order, placed a stay on the hanging of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage.

Jadhav’s sentencing has kicked off a diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, with New Delhi slamming Islamabad for carrying out a “farcical” trial and for refusing to allow consular access to Jadhav.

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court or The Hague, is the main judicial organ of the United Nations and operates out of the Netherlands in Europe.

In a statement (read full ICJ statement) issued on India starting proceedings against Pakistan, the ICJ said, “Republic of India instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, accusing the latter of ‘egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations’ in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan.”

HARISH SALVE REPRESENTING INDIA

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the ICJ’s decision last Tuesday night, saying that she spoke to Jadhav’s mother and informed her about the ICJ’s decision. Senior lawyer Harish Salve is representing India at the ICJ, Swaraj added in another tweet.

“I have spoken to the mother of #KulbhushanJadhav and told her about the order of President, ICJ under Art 74 Paragraph 4 of Rules of Court”, Swaraj said, adding, “Mr.Harish Salve, Senior Advocate is representing India before International Court of Justice in the #KulbhushanJadhav case.”

Responding on India’s petition, the ICJ has forbidden Pakistan from hanging Kulbhushan Jadhav until The Hague conducts a detailed hearing on the matter.

WHAT THE ICJ SAID

In a statement (full statement) issued regarding India’s claim against Pakistan, the ICJ said, “The Applicant (India) contends that it was not informed of Mr. Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights. It further alleges that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, the authorities of Pakistan are denying India its right of consular access to Mr. Jadhav, despite its repeated requests. The Applicant also points out that it learned about the death sentence against Mr. Jadhav from a press release.”

“India submits that it has information that Mr. Jadhav was “kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Baluchistan” on 3 March 2016, and that the Indian authorities were notified of that arrest on 25 March 2016. It claims to have sought consular access to Mr. Jadhav on 25 March 2016 and repeatedly thereafter,” the statement added.

“According to the Applicant, on 23 January 2017, Pakistan requested assistance in the investigation of Mr. Jadhav’s alleged ‘involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan’ and, by a Note Verbale of 21 March 2017, informed India that ‘consular access [to Mr. Jadhav would] be considered in the light of the Indian side’s response to Pakistan’s request for assistance in [the] investigation process’. India claims that ‘linking assistance to the investigation process to the grant[ing] of consular access was by itself a serious violation of the Vienna Convention’,” the statement also said.

INDIA SEEKS RELIEF

According to the ICJ statement, India has sought the following:

Relief by way of immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused.

Relief by way of restitution in interregnum by declaring that the sentence of the military court arrived at, in brazen defiance of the Vienna Convention rights under Article 36, particularly Article 36[,] paragraph 1 (b), and in defiance of elementary human rights of an accused which are also to be given effect as mandated under Article 14 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is violative of international law and the provisions of the Vienna Convention.

Restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court, and directing it to take steps to annul the decision of the military court as may be available to it under the law in Pakistan.

If Pakistan is unable to annul the decision, then this Court to declare the decision illegal being violative of international law and treaty rights and restrain Pakistan from acting in violation of the Vienna Convention and international law by giving effect to the sentence or the conviction in any manner, and directing it to release the convicted Indian National forthwith.”

India has also requested the ICJ to direct Pakistan to:

Take all measures necessary to ensure that Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is not executed.

Report to the Court the action it has taken in pursuance of the required statutes.

To ensure that no action is taken that might prejudice the rights of the Republic of India or Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav with respect of any decision the Court may render on the merits of the case”.

THE KULBHUSHAN JADHAV DEATH SENTENCE

On April 10, the Pakistan Army chief confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, which was handed down by a Pakistani military court that held Jadhav guilty of espionage.

Pakistan claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The Indian government has maintained that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a formal Indian Naval officer turned businessman who was on a routine business trip to Iran when he was abducted by Pakistani intelligence.

Reports say he was captured by the Taliban and later sold to the Pakistan Army.

India has also said that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that Pakistsan carried out a sham, secret trial in a military court where no information on charges and evidence was given.

India has warned Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’ equalling Jadhav’s death sentence with pre-meditated murder and has time and again asked for the consular access to him.

©SantoshChaubey

….HOW HISTORY IS MANIPULATED

The Holocaust is the biggest example of our recent times that shows how history is manipulated.

The world, more or less, is in agreement that the Holocaust was one of the most horrific genocides of humankind and ran though an unparalleled regime of brutality in our modern times which killed millions of humans.

They were simply wiped out from the face of the earth – as they should have never existed.

The world believes in this Holocaust and observes remembrances to revisit the horror, so as to remain on the path of sanity.

Yes, on the path of sanity – but for them only who want to remain humans. It is good for our habitat that majority of us are ‘humans’ in that sense.

But not all of us are.

Naturally, they are from the insane breed that has reddened the earth in every generation.

And has derived its sanctity by manipulating history – in order to get that high pedestal in society first – that would enable them to perpetrate terror in the garb of legitimacy and would further push them to rewrite history – as Adolf Hitler did – as his sycophants did – and as Benito Mussolini did.

We all know that a wide cross-section of Germany was complicit in Hitler’s crimes against humanity. They all benefitted from bodies and ashes of Jews and others who their mad warlords didn’t like. But when it came to trials and punishment, almost of them were let off – in order to begin the process of reconstruction. To a lesser extent, but the same was the case with Mussolini’s Italy.

True, prosecuting hundreds of thousands of Germans would be unwieldy (and time and resource consuming) for a geopolitics that was interested in slicing and dicing the world that would give us the Cold War and geopolitical camps in the future. A war gives winners and losers and winners can rewrite everything as they wish.

Those Germans (or Italians) who were let-off, yes many of them had a conscience crisis for what they had done, but many of them still justified or tried to justify their stand, going as far as to deny the whole Holocaust history as mere propaganda of winners, as some Nazis then and neo-Nazis now, among them have been doing.

Holocaust deniers have had a consistent presence for decades and their propaganda has been there all along, and they have significant number of takers, especially in non-Christian societies, or in the generation that doesn’t care to read history.

As Hitler had got the upper hand in Germany, exploiting the humiliation that Germany faced at hands of the winners of the First World War, manipulating history and records, any autocratic power would do, if it gets the throne. Yes, that is the first thing power gets autocrats to do – they scramble to capitalize on their efforts to rewrite history that they had been trying for years – in order to further legitimize their stay and further consolidate their grip on power.

Nazis, Fascists, neo-Nazis, Neo-Fascists and all other like them have revered the likes of Hitler and Mussolini and they would do all to install them on the highest pedestal of societies when they get a chance to do so. History tells us so.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA DOESN’T WANT A CHILD NAMED MUHAMMAD OR MEDINA OR ISLAM OR FATIMA

According to a report in the New York Times, the Chinese authorities have added another layer of restriction on the Muslims of the Xinjiang region, its westernmost province that borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and India and is home to some 11 million Uighur Muslims and other small groups of ethnic Muslims among Tajik, Kazakh and Mongolian communities.

The New York Times report claims to have a copy of the “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” that has asked the Muslim parents to desist from choosing names like Muhammad, Medina, Mecca, Islam, Quran, Imam, Hajj, Jihad, Arafat and Mujahid. The directive has banned over two dozen such names which may be used to fan religious and divisive agenda. The list further expands the one notified in 2015 which banned names like Saddam, Hussein, Laden, Fatima, Amanet, Muslime among others.

The New York Times report, quoting Xinjiang officials, says the directive is “part of an effort to “curb religious fervour” in Xinjiang.”

A report in the Financial Times gives more details into this. It says that the Muslim families not complying with this directive will not get ‘hukou’, the registration of their households that gives them access to state benefits of childcare, health, education and employment. According to the report, the municipal authorities in Xinjiang have issued a notice which prohibits “overly religious or splittist names” for newborns. The directive doesn’t stop at naming the newborns only. It further says that “if your family has circumstances like this, you should change your child’s name.”

Organizations like the Human Rights Watch and Uighur representatives living in exile have condemned this order. The Human Rights Watch has termed it the “latest absurd restriction imposed on people of Xinjiang” while the World Uyghur Congress has termed “China’s policies increasingly hostile”.

Xinjiang, China’s North-western province, that is also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, borders eight countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. It came on the radar of the Chinese authorities, especially after the widespread riots in its capital city Urumqi in July 2009 between the Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese that saw around 200 dead and some 2000 injured. Ethnic Han Chinese are around 40 percent of Xinxiang’s population. China now considers Islamic terrorism emanating from Xinjiang destructive enough to convert into a full blown separatist movement and does all to curb its spread, especially after reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) is eyeing the region to recruit fighters and expand its base.

According to Amnesty International, mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, disappearances, shooting and torture followed the Urumqi riots. China maintains a strong vigil in the region with large rallies of security forces to intimidate the minds who dare to think otherwise. It has banned its civil servants in the region from taking part in religious activities, even if it means fasting during Ramadan, a ban that was extended to students as well. Muslim attire like veils and symbols like keeping beard are already banned.

©SantoshChaubey

EXECUTED MAN PROVEN INNOCENT AFTER 21 YEARS: JUDICIARY’S TRIUMPH OR CHINESE PROPAGANDA?

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is a bit modified.

In China’s Hebei province, a man convicted and executed for rape and murder of a woman in 1995 has been found innocent 21 years after his sentence was upheld.

China’s Supreme People’s Court has found that evidence in the case was never sufficient and gross miscarriage of justice was done in sending the man, Nie Shubin, to the gallows. The verdict by the apex court of China is being seen as historical in China as its state run media is vigorously reporting about it.

IRONICAL OR HISTORICAL?

A man was arrested in 2005 in rape and murder cases of some women and during the interrogation, he revealed that the crime for which Nie Shubin was executed was in fact committed by him. That man was also executed in 2007.

That means Nie Shubin’s innocence was proven way back in 2005 and as China’s apex court decided to review the Nie Shubin’s verdict in the light of the 2005 revelation only, who will account for the unacceptable delay of 11 years since 2005? Nie’s mother Zhang Huanzhi and his family has been campaigning hard since then.

What about closure for the family after it lost its son at the young age of 21? What about that mother who broke in China’s Supreme People’s Court when the verdict was read out?

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN CHINA

Global Times, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) writes, “It is an implementation of rule of law and a demonstration of social progress and judicial justice, showing that China attaches great importance to human rights.”

‘China attaches great importance to human rights’ – but incarcerates the voices of dissent. Its most notable contemporary example is Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Peace Nobel Laureate who is still in jail as he has called for political reforms and an end to single party rule in China.

When we see the world view about independence and transparency of the judicial system in China, this verdict that is being much touted by the Chinese state machinery, looks ironical.

The report on judicial independence in China from the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China says, “China’s judiciary continues to be subject to a variety of internal and external controls that significantly limit its ability to engage in independent decisionmaking.”

Another report in Huffington Post analyzing judicial independence in China says, “In China, law is a mechanism for the exercise and safeguard of the Party’s power and legitimacy.”

China will dismiss them as the US propaganda but what should we say when voices from China’s judiciary oppose any reform measure based on the universal norms of human rights.

According to a report in The Guardian last year “China’s top court urged officials from the ruling Communist party to shun western-style judicial independence and reject “erroneous western thought”. Bizarre!

The Huffington Post report says that former President of the Supreme People’s Court, Xiao Yang, had said in 2007 that “the power of the courts to adjudicate independently doesn’t mean at all independence from the Party (CPC). It is the opposite, the embodiment of a high degree of responsibility vis-à-vis Party undertakings.”

China’s judiciary is not seen as independent and it wants to maintain the status quo it seems. The world view about the China’s judiciary is that it is subservient to the interests of the state and has been heavily compromised.

WHAT ABOUT THEN CASES LIKE NIE SHUBIN?

China, the world’s second largest economy and the most populous nation, is a closed country run by an autocratic party which never shares the information that can show it in some negative light, even if it is the basic need of a just society. It only highlights a matter when it serves its vast propaganda machinery.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been declared only the third ‘core leader’ Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, has emerged as the strongest political leader in China’s recent history. And he is on an image enhancement exercise with his ruthless anti-corruption purge that many say is targeted at purging voices critical of him. Allowing a judiciary that is independent enough to look pro people may be another extension of his outreach tools.

Much like Jinping’s anti-corruption crusade which has seen many high profile purges well publicized or this case as it also follows up a decision taken by the Communist Party of China during its Fourth Plenary Session in October 2014 to ‘set a new blueprint for rule of law’, as another Global Times report on Nie Shubin’s case says.

Immediately after the October 2014 Plenary, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court took cognizance of Shubin’s case in December 2014 and assigned it to a provincial higher court, started its own retrial in June 2016 and came up with the verdict by December 2016.

Chinese courts boast a conviction rate of almost 100% and though China refuses to provide data, it is believed that its judicial system executes maximum number of people in the world. Corruption runs deep in China and then there is also the pressure from authorities to provide impressive data that looks clean on paper – a practice that results in forced confessions, almost non-existent defence in criminal trials and unjust verdicts like this in China’s criminal justice system.

In jurisprudence, it said that no innocent should ever suffer even if 10 guilty persons walk away. It will be interesting to know how the Chinese judicial system interprets this.

©SantoshChaubey

WHAT DONALD TRUMP’S FIRST TWEETS SINCE NOV 9 TELL US!

Since November 9, when Republican Donald Trump started tweeting (@realDonaldTrump) again after his landslide (and stunning) victory in the US Presidential polls defeating the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a wide margin of the electoral college vote (even if Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner of the popular vote), he has tweeted 14 times.

And if we see into these tweets – they tell us how the next phase is going to be in the life of the US President Elect Donald Trump – till January 20 next year when Donald Trump will be sworn in.

And it doesn’t look good.

His first and second tweets (since November 9) were normal – saying ‘happy 241st birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps!’ and – and how his first meeting with Obamas was fantastic.

But his third and fourth tweets were aimed at media and the protests raging against him.

In one tweet, he says them professional protesters and blames media of inciting them. And he doesn’t look to do some course correction in the next tweet when he refers to them as a ‘small group of protesters’. Yes, he says that they (the protesters) have passion for their great country and they (including Trump) will come together but he clearly tries to show them as marginal players while we all know the protesters are not just a ‘small group’. Spontaneous anti-Trump protests have broken out in many US states and even in other countries.

His fifth and sixth tweet since November 9 (November 10 is a no tweet day) are again normal business like – about his team in the government and expressing gratitude on the Veterans Day.

His only tweet on November 12 is again aimed at normalizing an abnormal situation – a divided US society – saying ‘we will unite and we will win, win, win!’ That attitude is a must for him and he needs to practice it honestly if he, indeed, has to see a united America – because the truth is – his election has bitterly divided the US.

And today it looks like about visiting the old foes (and old values again).

Three of his seven tweets today (so far) are about NY Times – that how the publication ‘is losing thousands of subscribers because of its very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the “Trump phenomena”- that ‘NY Times sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change – doubt it?’ – and that ‘NY Times states today that DJT believes “more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.” How dishonest are they. I never said this!’

These three tweets and the earlier one blaming media for inciting anti-Trump protests show we should rule out a near future thaw – given the way Trump’s campaign has been – he didn’t believe in climate crisis; he believed in racial domination; he despised immigrants; he liked dictators like Vladimir Putin; he spoke against Muslims; he promoted populism at the cost of logic like his liberal nuclear doctrine or his anti-outsourcing rant and many more – all ingredients to make any media anti-Trump if Trump doesn’t work to change that.

The signals so far have been mixed.

Though before this hour, he had not said anything outrageous after winning the polls – like he used to do every other day during the campaign phase – and has indicated a ‘softened’ approach to Obamacare, something that he had said he would disband – he just sounded absurd again when he said in an interview that he would soon ‘deport 3 million immigrants’ and the US-Mexican border will be ‘partly fenced’.

These tweets indicate, together with his policy decisions like these, tell us that the days ahead are going to be tumultuous in the US.

If Trump would continue with his absurd but populist ultra-nationalist agenda of expelling immigrants (and fencing borders and so on), he will rightly be questioned by media and it will certainly propel the anti-Trump protesters who are quite a sizeable chunk (and are growing) to do more against the Republican President.

His other four tweets of the day are about thanking people and announcing his upcoming TV interaction.

©SantoshChaubey