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Archive for February, 2018

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse By Umair Haque

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State

By Umair Haque

 

February 15, 2018 

You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has the history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.

Let me give you just five examples of what I’ll call the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

Image result for The Fall of American Empire

 

 

 

 

America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the phenomenon of regular school shootings appears to be a unique feature of American collapse — it just doesn’t happen in any other country — and that is what I mean by “social pathologies of collapse”: a new, bizarre, terrible disease striking society.

Why are American kids killing each other? Why doesn’t their society care enough to intervene? Well, probably because those kids have given up on life — and their elders have given up on them. Or maybe you’re right — and it’s not that simple. Still, what do the kids who aren’t killing each other do? Well, a lot of them are busy killing themselves.

So there is of course also an “opioid epidemic”. We use that phrase too casually, but it much more troubling than it appears at first glance. Here is what is really curious about it. In many countries in the world — most of Asia and Africa — one can buy all the opioids one wants from any local pharmacy, without a prescription. You might suppose then that opioid abuse as a mass epidemic would be a global phenomenon. Yet we don’t see opioid epidemics anywhere but America — especially not ones so vicious and widespread they shrink life expectancy. So the “opioid epidemic” — mass self-medication with the hardest of hard drugs — is again a social pathology of collapse: unique to American life. It is not quite captured in the numbers, but only through comparison — and when we see it in global perspective, we get a sense of just how singularly troubled American life really is.

Why would people abuse opioids en masse unlike anywhere else in the world? They must be living genuinely traumatic and desperate lives, in which there is little healthcare, so they have to self-medicate the terror away. But what is so desperate about them? Well, consider another example: the “nomadic retirees”. They live in their cars. They go from place to place, season after season, chasing whatever low-wage work they can find — spring, an Amazon warehouse, Christmas, Walmart.  Now, you might say — “well, poor people have always chased seasonal work!” But that is not really the point: absolute powerlessness and complete indignity is. In no other country I can see do retirees who should have been able to save up enough to live on now living in their cars in order to find work just to go on eating before they die — not even in desperately poor ones, where at least families live together, share resources, and care for one another. This is another pathology of collapse that is unique to America — utter powerlessness to live with dignity. Numbers don’t capture it — but comparisons paint a bleak picture.

How did America’s elderly end up cheated of dignity? After all, even desperately poor countries have “informal social support systems” — otherwise known as families and communities. But in America, there is the catastrophic collapse of social bonds. Extreme capitalism has blown apart American society so totally that people cannot even care for one another as much as they do in places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Social bonds, relationships themselves, have become unaffordable luxuries, more so than even in poor countries: this is yet another social pathology unique to American collapse.

Yet those once poor countries are making great strides. Costa Ricans now have higher life expectancy than Americans — because they have public healthcare. American life expectancy is falling, unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, save the UK — because it doesn’t.

And that is my last pathology: it is one of the soul, not one of the limbs, like the others above. Americans appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don’t appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity, or having to numb the pain of it all away.

If these pathologies happened in any other rich country — even in most poor ones — people would be aghast, shocked, and stunned, and certainly moved to make them not happen. But in America, they are, well, not even resigned. They are indifferent, mostly.

So my last pathology is a predatory society. A predatory society doesn’t just mean oligarchs ripping people off financially. In a truer way, it means people nodding and smiling and going about their everyday business as their neighbours, friends, and colleagues die early deaths in shallow graves. The predator in American society isn’t just its super-rich — but an invisible and insatiable force: the normalization of what in the rest of the world would be seen as shameful, historic, generational moral failures, if not crimes, becoming mere mundane everyday affairs not to be too worried by or troubled about.

Perhaps that sounds strong to you. Is it?

Now that I’ve given you a few examples — there are many more — of the social pathologies of collapse, let me share with you the three points that they raise for me.

These social pathologies are something like strange and gruesome new strains of the disease infecting the body social. America has always been a pioneer — only today, it is host not just to problems not just rarely seen in healthy societies — it is pioneering novel social pathologies have never been seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period. What does that tell us?

American collapse is much more severe than we suppose it is. We are underestimating its magnitude, not overestimating it. American intellectuals, media, and thought does not put any of its problems in global or historical perspective — but when they are seen that way, America’s problems are revealed to be not just the everyday nuisances of a declining nation, but something more like a body suddenly attacked by unimagined diseases.

Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel. And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special — the treatment will have to be novel, too. The uniqueness of these social pathologies tells us that American collapse is not like a reversion to any mean or the downswing of a trend. It is something outside the norm. Something beyond the data. Past the statistics. It is like the meteor that hit the dinosaurs: an outlier beyond outliers, an event at the extreme of the extremes. That is why our narratives, frames, and theories cannot really capture it — much less explain it. We need a whole new language — and a new way of seeing — to even begin to make sense of it.

But that is America’s task, not the world’s. The world’s task is this. Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.

This article was originally published by “Medium” – Jan 25, 2018

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Baluchistan is not East-Pakistan nor Sikkim By Ishaal Zehra

Baluchistan is not East-Pakistan nor Sikkim

Ishaal Zehra

 

Balochistan Is The Heart Of Pakistan: Speaker Balochistan Assembly

 

 

Switzerland has rejected the request of the exiled leader of the banned Baloch Republican Party (BRP) Brahumdagh Bugti to seek political asylum after more than seven years. A week earlier, she also imposed a lifetime entry ban on the prominent exiled Baloch leader and Bugti’s brother-in-law, Mehran Marri. A source in the Swiss government confirmed that Brahumdagh Bugti’s asylum application was turned down because of his links with the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA). The rejection letter clearly illustrates these allegations with reference to the “incidents of terrorism, violence and militant activities”.

At the same time, some two hundred Baloch separatists, including 15 commanders, renounced violence and laid down their arms at the hands of Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa at a ceremony held at FC Headquarters Turbat last month, taking the toll of those ‘shunning the violence’ and submitting to the writ of the state, to a high figure of eight thousand.

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistani Map 1947

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India has been lately obsessed with the idea of liberating Baluchistan. For the same, she is found supporting any and every source she can find. Though practically she knows she can’t, still by giving inflated hype to their paid agents like Naila Baloch and Mama Qadeer they try to diverge attention from their own misfortunate afflictions of on-going freedom movements of Khalistan, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam and specially Kashmir which has gained universal attention in the near past.

Bugti had been living in Afghanistan prior to leaving the country for a Middle Eastern state and from there he flew to Geneva. It was also reported that Bugti had, on September 19, 2016, formally asked the Indian government to grant him an asylum and Indian nationality so that he could live in India and move around the world to campaign against Pakistan.

The report was later denied by India and the BRP, but, just four days later, the news turned out to be correct and Bugti officially announced that he would apply for Indian citizenship for himself and his family.

To tell the truth, Modi cannot create an independent Baluchistan no matter how hard he tries.  Maximum what India can do is to create some unrest with his spies from intelligence agency like Kulbhushan, who is already in Pakistani custody and is being prosecuted against the charges of fomenting terrorism and sabotage in Baluchistan. Ignoring all pieces of evidence, India, still maintains that Jhadav was kidnapped from Iran last year, however, Pakistan upholds the claim that the RAW agent was caught inside the boundary of the country and is found guilty of conducting espionage activities in Pakistan. To make her point India has propagated the interview of Mama Qadeer as an evidence, where he parroted that Kulbhushan was kidnapped from Iran by some criminal gang and later handed over to Pakistan. Interestingly, this Mama Qadeer himself was never deemed a patriot unlike most of the Baluch people, many of whom are the greatest patriots Pakistan has ever known.

Mama Qadeer Baloch is a Baloch separatist leader who rose to prominence in 2013 when he marched from Quetta to Islamabad to highlight disappearances in Balochistan and was in the news for a few years till around 2015. Ironically, his only achievement in life was also given an Indian perspective when he was referred to as the Gandhi of Baluchistan for this long march. Though he did not went missing like the people he did the effort for, however, he’s been unheard of since then. Living in a self-exile in Afghanistan, Mama Qadeer isn’t renowned or too well-known in Pakistan even. Sponsored by India, he is infamously acknowledged for bashing the government in his separatist speeches. He belongs to the sort of people who sell themselves to cheap popularity by doing about anything just to stay in the news.

What he and his controller, Modi, both have to realize is that Baluchistan is not East Pakistan, moreover, unlike East Pakistan, there’s no separatist movement in Baluchistan. Historically, a lot of things went horribly wrong in Baluchistan which we do understand. The royal Baloch tribes disapproved the ordinary Baloch population to progress in education, enlightenment and socio-economic uplift. The reason behind this cruel approach was the fear that education, enlightenment and economic progress would end their Sardari system, but that was the past. Today’s Baloch is broad-minded, intelligent and progressive. He loves education, he loves his country and he loves his country mates. Though there is a widespread discontentment, there is no popular support for the breakaway movement.

 

The chances of Baluchistan breaking away are slim for many reasons and CPEC is one of them. China has already invested heavily in Gwadar, while Russia also considers Gwadar as the channel to exert her influence in the Indian Ocean. With this international attention, the chances of Indian dream coming to reality becomes quite grim. The chief minister of Baluchistan best represented the desires of thousands of Baloch people when he said that “Citizens of Baluchistan do not want any more bloodshed. They are patriots and want development”. These historical words were said by him while addressing the ceremony organized by Baloch insurgents who laid down their arms in Turbat.

 

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 Poisonous Propaganda Against Russia-China-Pakistan By Sajjad Shaukat

 Poisonous Propaganda Against

Russia-China-Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become a centre of the intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran.

 

Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) support the militants of Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the double game of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Balochistan through subversive activities.

 

America, India and puppet rulers of Afghanistan shift the blame game of terror attacks in Afghanistan towards Pakistan. Especially, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the unending war in Afghanistan but also to fulfil the secret strategic designs against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

 

It is notable that in order to divert attention from NATO’s defeatism in Afghanistan, at a news conference in Kabul, on April 24, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. John Nicholson, the American commander in Afghanistan supposedly stated that Russia was providing weapons to the Taliban. But, Moscow denied these false allegations.

 

It is of particular attention that, a news item was published by all the leading dailies of Pakistan on October 8, 2017 regarding the statement of Afghanistan’s Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai who, while dismissing criticism of Moscow’s ties with the Taliban and echoing Russian claims of American support to the ISIS terrorists, told Voice of America (VOC) that the United States has links with terrorist ‘Islamic State’, also known as Daesh…Daesh a tool of US…After it [the US] dropped the [mother of all] bomb on Afghanistan, it did not eliminate Daesh…the terrorist group has been supplied weapons by the United States forces…The US Army helicopters and army bases are being used to provide assistance to ISIS terrorists…I do not differentiate at all between Daesh and America…Reports of American assistance to the terrorists are coming from all over the country.” (It also includes Karzai’s revelations to VOC of April 20, 2017, and Newsweek’s report of the same day). 

 

Notably, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.

 

But, these foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Pakistan became the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, the United States, India and Israel started acting upon their collective agenda to destabilize it. After the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan, the country has become a special target of CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in collaboration in supporting various terror-related attacks in various cities, including separatist elements in Balochistan province.  

 

In this respect, terror-attacks coincide with a poisonous propaganda of the US-led entities against Russia-China-Pakistan axis and their interests in the region.

 

In this connection, a news item captioned “Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers Resolve to Step Up Counter-Terror Cooperation” was published in New Delhi based RAW front Organization titled “A Publication of Bureau of Political Research and Analysis” on December 21, 2017, on the website www.livemint. In the publication, India has tried to portray Pakistan in a bad light as for as her relation with China and Russia are concerned.

 

In the news item, while criticizing the joint statement of the RIC meeting, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said, “While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organisations like Taliban, Daesh (ISIS), Al Qaeda…directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development.”

 

However, under the pretext of counterterrorism, the major aim of the publication was to thwart Pakistan’s cordial relations with China and Russia in a bid to neutralize Indian negative and subversive themes against Pakistan.

 

It is noteworthy that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan. During investigation and in a video, shown on Pakistan’s TV channels, RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav confessed that “he was the agent of RAW” and “during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project.

In fact, Baloch Sardars (Feudal lords) have never wanted the ordinary Baloch population to progress in education, enlightenment and socio-economic uplift. The reason behind this cruel approach of the royal Baloch tribes was the fear that education, enlightenment and economic progress would be an end to their Sardari (Lordship). Now, when God is showing His mercy on the miseries of poor Baloch and an opportunity of such progress has been signalled for them from abroad, the same is also not being digested by these merciless Sardars. However, the dissident Baloch Sardars may be cowered and shameless to play in the hand of hostile powers against their own motherland just for the sake of money and lust for power, but not the ordinary Baloch who is brave and patriotic, always ready to die for his beloved country. Today’s Baloch is broad-minded, intelligent and progressive. He loves education, he loves his country and he loves his army. To halt progress on CPEC, the evil nexus of CIA, RAW, Mossad and NDS is active to sponsor the dissident BSNs (Baloch Sub-Nationalists) to destabilize Pakistan and to run the malicious propaganda campaign against Pak-China strategic and economic partnership. 

It is mentionable that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined New Delhi. In this context, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

 

Islamabad strongly dismissed the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

 

It worth mentioning that Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centres, think tanks and so-called human rights groups utilize the media tools in defaming Pakistan internationally. Especially, RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan.

 

In this regard, much coverage was given by the external media to a report, released on April 13, 2017, by Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which is in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi International AISBL. The subject report portrayed complete Indian negative propaganda themes about the provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and Sindh. Based on falsehood, the report also said that the CPEC is a breach of international law and is being implemented without consultation or compensation to the people of the areas.

 

Undoubtedly, GB is the gateway of CPEC into Pakistan, whereby GB’s strategic and socio-economic importance has increased manifold. Like Balochistan, the region has huge potential in the trade with China, tourism, minerals, gems, precious stones, agriculture-farming and hydropower production. Therefore, GB’s people who are strengthening their association with Pakistan pay no attention to the false propaganda.

 

In this context, a blog under the caption, “Why Pakistan and China must pay heed to the growing local resistance to CPEC—Communities that are being displaced by the project are anxious–and angry” appeared on a website on July 18, 2017, written by Dr. Amiera and Dr. Nausheen H. Anwar. The blog was also republished by the Asia Times (Online) on August 8, 2017. As part of the negative coverage of the CPEC, it was reproduced several times under various titles like “CPEC: The growing resentment and resistance among poor Pakistanis can cost China dearly”, “For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs” etc.

Anyhow, this blog indicates as to how poisonous propaganda techniques are being employed by the foreign media to make the CPEC controversial.

 

While, these external media-propagandists who also give undue coverage to the meetings and protests against the integrity of Pakistan, are particularly exaggerating the statements of those Baloch leaders who have taken shelter abroad and are fulfilling the agenda of their foreign masters against the CPEC.

 

In this respect, RAW and CIA arranged a meeting of Baloch Sub-Nationalists, SSNs (Sindhi-Sub- Nationalists) and the USNs (Uyghur Sub-Nationalists of China) on the termination of 35th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva from 12-14 June 2017. The agenda was; planning against the CPEC/Pak-China’s interests in the region. Mehran Marri attended the conference and delivered a speech (reportedly prepared by RAW) alleging CPEC as exploitation projects and Baloch cultural genocide by Pakistan and China. Representatives of World Sindh Congress (WSC), Uyghur human rights activists, Rebiya Kadeer and Dolikun Aeysa were also present in the said conference.

 

As a matter of fact, since April 20, 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to the CPEC, gloomy coverage of the project had already started in the external media.

 

The reality is that the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project which is the backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, including developments in other provinces by providing thousands of employment opportunities, especially to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by the US, India and Israeli do not want. Therefore, their media describe the CPEC in negative terms.

 

It is noteworthy that the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by the killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in a CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government. While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 16 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

 

During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to the secret diplomacy of Washington, New Delhi and Kabul owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against Islamabad.

 

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together.

 

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016, and discussed regional stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. 

 

In the recent past, using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

As regards Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump said, “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with Afghanistan.”

 

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a condition to do more against terrorism.

 

According to the statement of the ISPR (Army Spokesman), “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from the USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

 

Nevertheless, America and India, including puppet rulers of Afghanistan have always blamed Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan to divert attention from the acts of sabotage, which they have been arranging in Pakistan.

 

In wake of Modi’s aggressive diplomacy, India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

 

And various other developments such as Russia-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

 

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, while praising military operations against terrorism, but covertly, they continue destabilizing it, especially with the assistance of India as part of the anti-Pakistan, anti-China and anti-Russia diplomacy.

 

Taking note of the US double game, Islamabad which has already strengthened its relations with Beijing has also been cultivating its ties with Russia. In the recent past, Pakistan’s top officials have paid a visit to Moscow. In this connection, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has openly stated that Islamabad will prefer Russia over America.

 

It is worth mentioning that in an interview to the “The Wall Street Journal” on January 5, 2018, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said, “He sees his country’s alliance with the US as over after the Trump administration announced the suspension of U.S. security-related aid to Pakistan…This is not how allies behave.”

 

Pakistan is also improving its relations with Iran. In the end of last year, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a visit to Tehran where he met Iranian civil and military high officials.

 

While new Cold War has been accelerated between Washington and Moscow in relation to the Syrian civil war and Afghanistan, in these circumstances, owing to Trump’s pro-Israeli policy and anti-Iran rhetoric, while taking cognizance of the unsuccessful US-Indian partnership which is based on extremism, Tehran will abandon the American-backed Chabahar project and will prefer to align with Russian-led China-Pakistan axis.

 

Nonetheless, poisonous propaganda of the US-led entities against Russia-China-Pakistan axis will not succeed in future due to the faulty strategy of America, which is likely to culminate into America’s downfall or disintegration, as present internal and external crises of the US indicate.

 

 

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Fading Popularity of Modi Gone Wasted by Ishaal Zehra

Davos: Another Shot to Upkeep the Fading Popularity of Modi Gone Wasted

by

Ishaal Zehra

 

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his Davos debut at this year’s World Economic Forum’s (WEF) opening session. Speaking in Hindi, he touted the ease of doing business in India to world leaders and global CEOs, also calling for countries to unite to tackle what he called the three big challenges that the world faces – “climate change, terrorism and a rising threat to globalization with powers of protectionism”.

“Come to India,” said Modi, “If you want wellness along with wealth, wholeness along with health and peace with prosperity.” In India, he said, “democracy, demography and dynamism” are shaping development and growth that is inclusive.

But all the ostentatious speech impelled by huge words and even bigger promises went vain. To his dismay, hours before Modi’s Davos spiel, WEF published its Inclusive Development Index-2018 findings which actually rated India far below her neighbours Pakistan and China.

The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is an annual assessment of 103 countries’ economic performance that measured how countries performed on eleven dimensions of economic progress in addition to the GDP. India was accordingly ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies, much below China’s 26th position and Pakistan’s 47th.

The IDI is a project of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Economic Progress. It aims to inform and enable sustained and inclusive economic progress through deepened public-private cooperation, thought leadership and analysis, strategic dialogue and concrete cooperation. In simpler terms, it actually indicates whether growth is actually leading to broader equality and improved quality of life for households.

Indian media claims that Modi had quite a packed visit, presenting investment opportunities to every tom, dick and harry he happened to meet. Though Modi elaborated well his speech or what may be called a success story, typically one used by a salesperson, the data given by the WEF proves the economic conditions in India otherwise.

As if the IDI report wasn’t enough to hamper the investors ‘would be’ temptations after hearing what heaven India will prove to them, a periodic report by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the WEF ranked India among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018, stooping down 36 places from 141 in 2016. While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says that India’s low scores are influenced by poor performance in her Environmental Health policy objectives. Deaths attributed to PM2.5, a dangerous particulate in the air, have risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1.6 million annually. These PM2.5 particles are known to produce severe respiratory and cardiovascular illness.

Further, the annual Oxfam survey revealed that 67 crore Indians, comprising the population’s poorest half, saw their wealth rise by just 1% in 2017. As stated in a new survey report ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ by international rights group Oxfam, India’s richest 1% garnered as much as 73% of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017. CEO of Oxfam India, Nisha Agrawal believed that it is rather alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands. “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system… The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism”, she said.

The report’s findings are in line with those of similar studies including the one published by renowned economists Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty last July. These reports actually give credence to the theory that the rich have disproportionately benefited from liberalization while others have been left struggling, observes The Wire, an Indian web publication.

Some argue that this brandishing by Modi at the WEF was deemed necessary both, to portray India as a growing and promising economy to the world as well as to lift his own moral as the circumstances at home are definitely not backing him. Though like all Indian leaders before him, he spoke of his country’s diversity – of how democracy was its strength, of how it sought consensus and unity in politics at home and abroad – in reality, the Modi government has consistently fallen short of these goals which he bragged about at the Davos.

All the success stories and brags about being the business heaven is spurious and fabricated. Prime Minister Modi is faking it out and loud. Just like his popularity in the social media. Bloomberg, the US media company, did an investigative piece on how the Facebook’s political unit is enabling the dark art of digital propaganda. It claims that the company helped develop the online presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who now has more Facebook followers than any other world leader. India is arguably Facebook’s most important market, with the nation recently edging out the US as the company’s biggest. The number of users there is growing twice as fast as in the US, it further states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The authors observed that India has become a hotbed for fake news, with one hoax story last year that circulated on WhatsApp lead to two separate mob beatings resulting in seven deaths. The nation has also become an increasingly dangerous place for opposition parties and reporters. In the past year alone, several journalists critical of the ruling party have been killed. Hindu extremists who back Modi’s party have used social media to issue death threats against Muslims or critics of the government, they wrote.

Interestingly, hoax news is used by Prime Minister Modi and his board of advisories to come up with any plan they want to. It actually gives them room to generate a raw public appeal. This appeal really works at the times when his aura gets weak and he needs a good public support. Likewise, some bad incident is always blamed at Pakistan to arouse public feelings at home and then some sort of drama is orchestrated to make them believe that PM Modi is the only “Macho Man” who can teach Pakistan a lesson and withstand China’s bullies effectively. May it be the spurious claims that India’s Special Forces had conducted some surgical strikes across the Line of Control, inside Pakistan to avenge the URI attacks (which again was fabricated a while ago) or the swaggering of Doklam standoff with China.

Modi’s popularity has declined and needs a boost before the next general elections in India. The damage done is far too serious that a plan was hatched to overdose the public with an orchestrated media campaign to arouse their patriotic spirits. The latest in the sequence was the book launch by Nitin Gokhale, who happened to be a confidant of Ajit Doval – Modi’s NSA. The book called, “Securing India- The Modi way” tried hard to sensationalize the supposed surgical strikes through fiction by code-naming the activity as “Op X”. The writer claimed so many weird things about this hypothetical operation which actually never happened thus was not verified by any independent source. The book also touches Doklam episode, so-called revamping of New Delhi’s policy towards China and Pakistan, India’s renewed global policy focus on the Middle East and Modi’s focus on Indian diaspora worldwide. In a nutshell, the book is an engineered attempt on the part of Ajit Doval through Nitin Gokhale’s flatterer pen to lionize Mr Modi as a “brand India product” for upcoming elections.

The media campaign was further extended with the release of a documentary on these imaginary surgical strikes. Interestingly, Modi and his aides are thriving their success story on something so lame which even their own countrymen and colleagues never validated, leave Pakistan and international community aside. So much so that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other politicians and actors were dubbed “anti-national” for raising valid demands of incriminating evidence of such strikes.

Abraham Lincoln

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

 

Modi may have been so far able to goof up his own people with such gimmicks and foul plays but the international community is not gullible Indians, a majority of whom are living below the poverty line and are probably not educated enough to distinguish dark from sunny. All the recent reports are vocal of Modi’s misleading promises and tall claims about how India has been converted into a haven for foreign investors and businessmen. May it is the recent report by Human Rights Watch or the WEF findings, all are sceptical to Modi’s gigantic claims. So far, he has been successful with his media campaign at home, but it’s time to see if he can manage to fool the world with his fallacious aura.

 

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India’s bid to isolate Pakistan Asif Haroon Raja, Defence Analyst

 

India’s bid to isolate Pakistan

Asif Haroon Raja

Defence Analyst

 

 

After the false flag operation in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, India blamed Pakistan, ISI and Hafiz Saeed led Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks (1), and suspended composite dialogue with Pakistan that had been renewed in February 2004 as a consequence to Indo-Pakistan peace treaty and a commitment to resolve all disputes including Kashmir issue through talks. Since then, India pushed aside Kashmir dispute and made terrorism as the core issue. Without providing any proof, it forced Pakistan to arrest and punish the alleged culprits involved in Mumbai attacks. In fact, India cleverly built a narrative of terrorism against Pakistan from the time of engineered terror attack on December 13, 2001, in which the Indian Parliament in New Delhi was attacked by a handful of terrorists(1). After blaming Pakistan and Jaish-e- Muhammad, India deployed its entire military strength along its western border and remained in confrontation mode for next ten months.

Thereon, all terror attacks in India were put in the basket of Pakistan. The purpose of building this narrative was to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state and ISI a rogue outfit. Its strategic partners USA and Afghanistan substantiated Indian stance. Indian attitude became more aggressive after Narendra Modi took over power in June 2014. From August 2014 onward, the Indian military has kept the Line of Control and working boundary in Kashmir sector hot and hardly a day has passed without unprovoked firing by India. The upsurge in the uprising in IOK after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2016 was also placed at the doorsteps of Pakistan. Pakistan was blamed for the militants’ attacks in Udhampur and Pathankot airbase. The militant attack on Uri military camp in April 2016(1a) further incensed India and it started hurling threats of surgical strikes and limited war. Intruding Indian drone was shot down by Pakistan Army, while Indian submarine on a spying mission was forced to retreat by Pak Navy. 

Besides political, diplomatic and military posturing to overawe and isolate Pakistan, India has also been trying to ease out Pakistan from its membership of SAARC. The 19th SAARC summit scheduled at Islamabad in November 2016 had to be cancelled due to India refusing to attend it and Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan the following suit to boycott the summit. (2)     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After sabotaging the Summit, India also tried to halt the appointment of the New Secretary-General, Amjad Hussian B Sial. India justified its actions by stating that the nominee had to be ratified by the Council of Ministers conference in Islamabad. Something which could not take place due to the postponement of the Summit. (3)

 

Soon after the appointment of the New Secretary-General in March 2017, India hosted a meeting on March 21, 2017, of security chiefs from the seven member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) The meeting was a first for the BIMSTEC group, which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.(4) This meeting focused on terrorism, cyber and maritime security challenges facing the region. It was decided at the meeting to establish a track 1.5 dialogue forum focused on security. Given the importance of cooperating on security-related matters, it was also decided to hold such meetings annually. It was no surprise that Pakistan was again left out of this meeting. (5)

 

Another meeting was held in the month of October 2017 in which India again tried to push back SAARC and attempted to boost the significance of BIMSTEC. In his remarks during the meeting, Foreign Secretary of India S. (6) In an implicit reference to Pakistan, he also said that “as one country” is not, and since the other seven-nation regional grouping BIMSTEC has members that are “broadly aligned” and “articulate similar aspirations”, and are connected to the other members of the South Asian regional bloc on the key issue of terrorism, it was unlikely that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) could be revived.(7)

 

India has also tried to marginalize Pakistan on other forums as well. For instance, when Sushma Swaraj met SAARC foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September 2017, India’s disinterest in the summit was evident. This added to the downgrading of the entire organization. With India-Pakistan bilateral relations on the downturn, the domino impact on the South Asian body has only worsened. (8)

 

During her speech, Swaraj did not refer to the uncertainties surrounding the SAARC Summit but stressed the primacy given to the removal of terrorism which in implicit terms was actually taking a jab at Islamabad: “Regional prosperity, connectivity and cooperation can take place only in an atmosphere of peace and security.(9) It, however, remains at serious risk in the region. It is necessary for our region’s survival that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support.”(10)

 

On January 2, 2018, India excluded Pakistan from the list of SAARC member countries with which it will be connecting its state-of-the-art National Knowledge Network (NKN) for sharing scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.(11)

 

NKN will extend global research and education networks to six SAARC member states — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is the only SAARC nation that has been left out of this initiative. (12)

NKN is a multi-gigabit pan-India network which facilitates the development of India’s communications infrastructure, stimulates research and creates next-generation applications and services. (13) This new initiative will enable collaboration among researchers from different educational networks such as TEIN4, GARUDA, CERN and Internet2. It also enables sharing of scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.(14)

NKN will be connected from Afghanistan to Delhi or Mumbai, from Bangladesh to Kolkata or Delhi, from Bhutan to Kolkata or Delhi, from Nepal to Kolkata or Delhi, from the Maldives to Chennai or Mumbai and from Sri Lanka to Chennai or Mumbai. (15) A state-of-the-art management centre and network operations centre will also be set up to run the NKN network. The connection from Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka to India would be through a submarine cable for international connectivity. (16)

 

It is evident that it is not Pakistan that is creating hurdles in the way of successful implementation of SAARC’s agenda, but in fact, it is India which is trying to isolate Pakistan by using underhand tactics. India has used terrorism as a basis for suspension of official talks with Pakistan due to alleged terrorist attacks launched by groups from across the border. The chill in relations has spread out to other sectors such as research and scientific development as well – something, which negatively affects the entire region.

 

On the question of terrorism, it is again very clear that it is not Pakistan which is sponsoring terrorism. On the contrary, it is India funding radicalization in South Asia – especially in Pakistan. Kulbhushan Jadhav is a prime example of this.

 

India should also realize that it is not the only country in SAARC that can dominate all the other members. Instead, Delhi should remember the agenda of regional cooperation on which SAARC was formed and countries should use this forum for regional cooperation, not for a rivalry. SAARC should not be the organization to prolong the rivalry among regional states, rather it should serve for greater regional cooperation and economic integration. If the region is thrown into negativity, India will suffer along with the others as well. This is something Delhi needs to keep in mind. After all, what goes around comes around. India must also not forget that CPEC has taken off and sooner than later, SAARC members will gravitate toward this profit making project and leave India which is opposed to CPEC in a lurch.

 

  • The News, December 14, 2001

(1a)       “Uri Attack: India, Pakistan’s Kashmir Dispute Flares Again.” Time. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://time.com/4498891/kashmir-uri-attack-india-pakistan-military-conflict/

 

 (2)       Baqir Sajjad Syed | Jawed Naqvi. “SAARC summit in doldrums after India pulls out.” DAWN.COM September 28, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://www.dawn.com/news/1286609

 (3)       Kathmandu Anil Giri Hindustan. “Appointment of SAARC secretary general hit by India-Pakistan tensions.” Times. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/appointment-of-SAARC-secretary-general-hit-by-india-pakistan-tensions/story-1b1wlC1CrEbquDvQRuQZkN.html

 (4)     Gurjar, Sankalp. “Is SAARC Doomed?” The Diplomat. April 01, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2017/04/is-SAARC-doomed/

 (5)     Ibid.

 (6)     Bagchi, Indrani. “Question mark over SAARC summit again” The Times of India. September 23, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/question-mark-over-SAARC-summit-again/articleshow/60801709.cms

 (7)     Ibid.

 (8)     Bagchi, Indrani. “Question mark over SAARC summit again .” The Times of India. September 23, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/question-mark-over-SAARC-summit-again/articleshow/60801709.cms

 (9)     Ibid.

(10)     Ibid.

 (11)       “India excludes Pakistan from SAARC initiative.” Pakistan Today. Accessed January 25, 2018.

        https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/01/03/india-excludes-pakistan-from-SAARC-initiative/

 

 (12)       “India excludes Pakistan from a SAARC initiative.” The Economic Times. January 03, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2018. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-excludes-pakistan-from-a-SAARC-initiative/articleshow/62345991.cms

 (13)       Ibid.

 (14)       Ibid.

 (15)       “India excludes Pakistan from SAARC initiative”, Pakistan Today. Accessed January 25, 2018.

        https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/01/03/india-excludes-pakistan-from-SAARC-initiative/

 (16)       “Modi Government excludes Pakistan from the list of SAARC nations for its State-of-the-Art National Knowledge Network Initiative.” Postcard. January 09, 2018. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://postcard.news/modi-government-excludes-pakistan-list-SAARC-nations-state-art-national-knowledge-network-initiative/

                                                                          

 

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