Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’
Guest Post by Sidrah Zaheer. Sidrah is a freelance writer who likes to blog about her thoughts. She is a curious person and can’t keep ideas to herself unless she has shared them online somewhere. She is most interested in issues of political and social importance and often writes about them in her various posts. She is a complete movie buff and likes to keep in touch with the latest technology, especially in social media. You can follow her on Twitter and join her Facebook Page.
Whenever I have entered into a chat with an Indian, there have always been feelings of goodwill and kindness for each other as people. This mutual respect between the people of India and Pakistan who communicate online tells volumes about how deeply the people of both the countries admire and appreciate each other in actuality. This fact is unlike what the media often depicts the situation between people to be. I have found Indians to get more interested in knowing better about me as a Pakistani and also about my country. This indicates an attempt on their part to bridge the gaps and understand. If you have understood another human being, you have connected.
First of all, they are amazed to see that I know Urdu and can speak it fluently as my mother tongue. Indians admire Urdu language, or so at least has been my experience when I tell them that Urdu is my first language. The heritage of Urdu literature in India has unique position in its culture and history. The second fact that strikes them is to know that I am from Karachi, which is a city they must have heard a lot of things about; some good, some bad, but always arising a sense of wonderment about Karachiites. Karachi is not much different than one of India’s own largest cities, Mumbai. Hence, many common things come to the fore when sharing experiences about life in these metropolitans. I don’t for one understand how based on similarities of backgrounds from this perspective, people can differ. Click to continue…
Under the resumed dialogue process, the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India met in Islamabad, on 23-24 June 2011 for bilateral talks on Peace and Security including Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges. In India –Pakistan relations, where atmospherics are as important as actual diplomatic agreements, the meeting was surprisingly cordial. Held in the backdrop of David Headley trial and the incident involving PNS Babar and INS Godavari in the Gulf of Aden, the meeting managed to avoid distractions. It struck out as rather routine minus the usual fireworks expected when Indian and Pakistani delegates meet. Click to continue…
The U.S. operation that led to the killing of Al-Qadea leader Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad earlier this week has stirred a hornet’s nest. While details of the operation continue to pour in each day, the sentiment that “Pakistan has some explaining to do” is gaining force. Pakistan’s Ambassador to U.S. Husain Haqqani, has appeared on more television shows that I can count and attempted to defend Pakistan. Though I may disagree with his analysis, I am much impressed by his diplomatic abilities. After all diplomacy, even in the age of nuclear weapons, is the best tool to defend a country’s interests. This led me to explore India’s diplomatic response to Operation Osama and the larger issue of fighting terrorism in the region. While there is much discussion within the country on how should India deal with the situation, here is a list of diplomatic do’s and don’ts for India.
As the attention of the Indian cricket fans moves away from Mohali to Mumbai, the India-Pakistan game earlier this week entered the Hall of Fame of Indo-Pak cricket diplomacy encounters. The unique reverence for the game in the sub-continent has been regularly used as diplomatic ice-breaker in the past. The special place accorded to cricket in India-Pakistan relations is evident from a concomitant lack of ‘nationalist’ fervor in the upcoming India-Sri Lanka World Cup Final in Mumbai on March 2. P.M. Singh has not invited his Sri Lankan counterpart or President Mahinda Rajapaksa to watch the game at Wankhede Stadium. (However, President Rajapaksa is expected to watch the game in Mumbai and he will be joined by Indian President Pratibha Patil). The game at Mohali was another occasion to witness the craze for cricket, its value in the conduct of national diplomacy and much beyond.
Matt Waldman in a recently released Paper, “The Sun is in the Sky: The relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents”, explores the extent of the ISI’s links and support to the problem of Afghan insurgency. Though Matt accepts that hosts of endogenous factors responsible for the emergence and sustenance of the Taliban, his interviews with insurgent field commanders in and around Kabul and Kandhar provide him with evidence to claim that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the movement. The research concentrates on two principal groups: the core Taliban movement lead by Mullah Omar and the Haqqani network, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani. The Paper provides elaborate details of how the strategy, funding and operations of the two groups are dominated by ISI’s priorities and interests.In Matt’s analysis Pakistan’s support for the afghan insurgency can be checked by ensuring better relations between India and Pakistan.
Much has been written about the impact of Faisal Shahzad’s failed attack in New York City’s Times Square. Most Indians thought that Faisal’s links to Pakistan would increase U.S. pressure on the ‘epicenter of terrorism’, thereby validating India’s perspective. It was hoped that Faisal would help India to get where Kasab and David Headley could not: terrorist groups within Pakistan which act as auxiliary units for the Al-Qeada against the U.S. and India. Indian media is replete with quotations like “U.S. warns Pakistan of severe consequences.” However there is little evidence to show that the nature of U.S.-Pakistan Partnership will change much in the coming days. Views of Bruce Riedel and General Petraeus also validate this contention. Click to continue…
Ajmal Kasab and Faisal Shahzad are familiar names for most Indians and Americans. Kasab was the only terrorist in the gang of ten who was arrested alive during the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Shahzad was arrested early this week for planting a car bomb in the Times Square in New York City. Kasab was arrested while operationalizing a terror strike; Shahzad was nabbed following the cues from the car which he had planted. Kasab’s connection to Pakistan was established, Shahzad Pakistani connection is evident and under scrutiny.
The 16th SAARC Summit concluded in Thimphu, Bhutan last week. Two characteristics of South Asians strike me when leaders of SAARC nations meet. First, South Asians feel more comfortable in big crowds. Second, South Asians are highly entrepreneurial. The Thimphu Summit reaffirmed the impressions. Even though the SAARC Charter prohibits discussions on contentious bilateral issues, leaders of India and Pakistan feel most comfortable in conversing at sidelines of SAARC Summits. Despite slow progress of previously agreed cooperative projects, SAARC members do not shy away from undertaking new ventures at each summit meeting.
“Today, I am a happy man and a satisfied man,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the same conference “We have listened, and we will continue to listen.”
This is what Pakistan is celebrating as a movement from relationship to partnership. Semantics in diplomacy can be a great face safer and Minister Qureshi seems to realize this fact.
[Picture Courtesy: Jim Young/Reuters]