Pakistan’s prime minister Iran Khan was ousted through a vote of no confidence. Since his removal, he has been crying hoarse that his unceremonious ouster was an upshot of US regime change policy. The US punished him through his proxies for daring to visit Russia and also for trying to forge an independent policy.
The public opinion in Pakistan is divided. His supporters trust his words at face value while his opponents take his claims with a pinch of salt. The USA was initially so embarrassed that it denied any intervention in Pakistan’s internal politics. The USA’s stance was fortified by Pakistan’s Supreme Court’s judgment that smelt no rat behind the no-confidence move.
But, then, the US’s “principled” stance has been debilitated by another instance. At the conclusion of the two-plus-two dialogue, the US over-ebulliently mentioned Pakistan in the communiqué. The joint statement stated:
. The Ministers strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and Pathankot attack, to be brought to justice. They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul Mujahideen. The Ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks. The Ministers committed to continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, countering violent radicalism, use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and cross-border movement of terrorists. The Ministers also emphasized the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with FATF recommendations.
The skewed remarks concerning Pakistan (as also about Afghanistan) were unwarranted. The dialogue was essentially meant to take stock of the situation emerging from role of critical and emerging technologies in the new world order. Or to examine how to further strengthen the QUAD as a bulwark against China.
India’s nexus with the US as a “partner in arms” against China is no secret. In 2020, India’s Ministry of External Affairs announced the establishment of the New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies Division, which will engage in technology diplomacy and deal with foreign policy and international legal aspects of the critical and emerging technologies. The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, in its October 2020 report, asked the State Department and Defence Department to formally negotiate with India on developing cooperation in emerging technologies. It urged the administration to create a US-India Strategic Tech Alliance with an objective to make India a focal point of the American foreign policy and an overarching Indo-Pacific strategy focused on emerging technology and India’s increasingly important geo-political role.
In March 2021, the two sides launched the US-India Artificial Intelligence Initiative to scale up science and technology cooperation. The two countries also joined the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) in June 2020 as founding members to support the responsible and human centric development and use of AI.
In 2016 meanwhile, for advancing defence and strategic technology cooperation, the US recognised India as a Major Defence Partner .The two sides have also signed the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), which protects classified information and technology being used in the defence transfers of co-production involving private companies, and the Statement of Intent on science and technology cooperation. The two sides also completed the signing of the foundational agreements, that is, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement in 2018, and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) for Geo-Spatial Cooperation in 2020 which will further facilitate defence and strategic technology cooperation. During the first Quad Leadership Summit in March 2021, the leaders of Australia, Japan, India and the US launched a working group on critical and emerging technologies
Indo US bonhomie boosts trade
India-US trade has increased from $19 billion in 2000 to $146.1 billion in 2019. India-US defence trade increased from almost negligible volume before 2008 to over $21 billion in 2021. The US export to India reached $27.4 billion in 2020. Only 1.9 per cent of India’s exports were subject to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry Security (BIS)-licence requirement. The US exported 9.2 per cent under BIS no licence required and 1.2 per cent under a BIS licence exception. As such, the US emerged as a key
A point to ponder
At the end of the dialogue, a joint press briefing was held. It was attended by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishanker and India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh. At this briefing the US spokesperson, Blinken said:
“We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values (of human rights) and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials”.
Blinker’s sentiments are not incorporated not the communiqué. Besides, India did not bother to even address the concern expressed though without mention of specific instances.
Blinker’s remarks came days after US Representative Ilhan Omar questioned the alleged reluctance of the U.S. government to criticize Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on human rights.
Omar, who belongs to President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party, said last week, “What does Modi need to do to India’s Muslim population before we will stop considering them a partner in peace?”
Since Modi came to power, right-wing Hindu groups have launched attacks on minorities. The BJP government passed anti-conversion laws, lynched Muslim prayer goers, banned hijab, and even petitioned the court against use of loudspeakers by mosques. The disputed Kashmir was annexed as a union territory to be controlled by the centre after divesting it of statehood.
India is habitual of blaming Pakistan for all its terrorist incidents. Investigation in almost all the cases is slipshod and evidence porous. The US and India see Lashkar-e-Tyyaba behind every `terror’ act in Kashmir or elsewhere in India. For instance, documentary analysis shows secretive Mumbai trials were translucent (Davidson, Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence).
Several questions, given heretofore come to mind about India’s `charge sheet’ on Pakistan about Pulwama incident: (a) Why did India bank on the FBI when it already possessed all communications from Pakistan? Isn’t there collusion between the FBI and India? (b) Why did India blame Pakistan even before the forensic-lab and National Investigation Agency investigation report? (c) Why are there differing reports about the weight of the RDX used? The Indian Express speculated `High-grade RDX explosive, weighing about 80 kilograms, was used in the suicide attack’. The Hindu estimated 100-150 kg. (d) Why was a private vehicle allowed to approach the scene of an incident in violation of the CRPF Standing Operating Procedures? The CRPF’s Standing Operating Procedure required movement of up to 100 persons in a convoy. Why has the CRPF been moving such convoys, comprising more than 2,500 personnel each, on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. In the past fortnight, two such convoys had moved from Jammu to Srinagar. The latest was on February 4, with a convoy of 91 vehicles and 2,871 personnel’. (e) Why could the convoy not spot the lonely suicide vehicle trailing behind? (f) How did the terrorists know the convoy movement was delayed by two days? (g) How did they remain undetected while loading the vehicle with explosives the whole day? (h) Not only WhatsApp but also landlines have never been accessible even in Hindu-majority Jammu (occupied Kashmir). Then how come the FBI has told the NIA about the WhatsApp group operated by a member of the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad who was in contact with the people who carried out the attack on Pulwama? (i) According to the FBI, a man called Mohammed Hussain was operating the WhatsApp group, from Muzaffarabad. But the number was registered under the name of Jameela from Budgam’ (INDIA NEWS NETWORK, August 27).
Despite ups and downs, the Pak-US relations have sustained. The USA still needs Pakistan’s cooperation to steer its policies in Afghanistan. Imran khan is a charismatic leader. Till general elections are held in Pakistan after a year and half, the ousted prime minister will have turned a majority of Pakistanis into a USA-hating mob. Such an eventuality would set at naught the US efforts to stay dear with the majority of the Pakistani population.
The Imran Debacle and Challenges for Pakistan’s Foreign Policy
Pakistan: The Maturing of a Banana Democracy
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law.
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Political stability to economic stability
Political stability is a very important variable for a country’s economic growth to induce consistent development in all sectors. Unless there is political stability in the country, there can be no economic stability and despite this awareness, the country seems to be failing to bring political and economic stability. Have we ever considered the reason why our beloved country has always been in a state of instability and uncertainty in terms of politics and economy? A few wondrous years passed by and then another such accident or tragedy appears that all good hopes are shattered to dust and the country begins the journey backward.
There is no doubt that only a few years have passed since the formation of Pakistan when the clouds of despair and hopelessness have dissipated and we have seen the sun shining on our land embracing the spectrum of progress and prosperity. Our political system seems to be the driving force behind all the failures and decline, which for one reason or another is always in a state of instability and uncertainty. This is sometimes due to the actions of undemocratic astrologers and occasionally due to the mutual animosity of our politicians or may be an incompetent and ignorant government who is bent on uprooting and canceling all the actions and plans of their predecessors because of their stubbornness and arrogance. No matter how much work has been done in the national interest because of these attitudes of ours, in spite of the bountiful blessings of Allah Almighty, Pakistan has not been able to achieve development and prosperity nor have we been able to bring political and economic stability to the country.
There has been an outcry for political and economic stability in every government but in practice, no progress has been made. The first political priority of every incoming government here has been blaming opponents and obtaining loans financially. Political and economic stability permanently has not been a priority in any government in this country. This is why the country is indebted to the outside world instead of being self-sufficient in every field. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also continues to claim the Charter of Economy and Grand Dialogue, but no practical steps have been taken so far. Until the government reaches the root of all crises and ensures practical steps, it is not possible to get rid of successive crises.
It is no secret that the country’s economy does not belong to any one party or government but is directly linked to the internal political stability, which is why there is always a national consensus on such issues in developed countries and it does not matter if there is a change of government while the nations that put their differences ahead of national interests have lagged far behind in the race for development. It seems that the present government instead of dealing with economic problems per established methods and laws is trying to resolve complex issues in unconventional ways, even though the current situation is enough to mirror all political parties, including the government which is not ready to look in the mirror.
It has been a tragedy of our political leadership that first, they blame each other for coming to power and then they resort to accusations to save power. In this country sometimes dictators and sometimes political leadership have sabotaged democracy. If fortunately, a government completes its term, the newcomer must consider all its actions to be rolled back even if it is not in the interest of this country and nation. Our leaders sporadically give many examples of China and Turkey but they forget how much time their nation and institutions have given them to work to cross this milestone of success and prosperity, unlike here when some signs of political and economic improvement begin to appear then some astrologers turn the whole system upside down. Political stability is very important for economic stability in the country. Both of these are necessary and inseparable. Let the nation know that unless political stability is possible in our country, there will be no economic stability.
We as a nation have to think about where we are heading and what our destiny is? These are the questions that the political leadership along with the Pakistani people have to think about, because the lack of rights across the country, the storm of inflation, and the unjust distribution, are pushing the people towards despair and uncertainty. It breeds unrest in the society, then the same unrest drives the society towards genocide by inciting hatred. Thus, we have to think that Pakistan has to be taken towards genocide and civil war or move from political stability to economic stability.
The farmer’s protest began, initially, with the sole aim to get the new farm laws repealed. The laws which were bone of contention were the: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The farmers perceived these laws as a surreptitious and predatory attempt by crony “capitalism “to take away their lands, their single source of livelihood. But, the government infatuated by the hubris of the parliamentary majority shrugged off the farmers’ demand. They thought that the farmers lacked the capacity to mobilize their minuscule protest into a mass movement. Surprisingly, the farmers across several states, irrespective of their religious beliefs joined the protest, braving Police baton charges and water torrents on elderly farmers, besides inclement weather, sometimes becoming freezing. Farmers’ local and Diaspora sympathizers flooded them with food, fruit and even quintals of American almonds (from US-based toot brethren). The government is trying tooth and nail to sow seeds of discord among the Kisan unions. Formidable Jat Kisan leader, Rakesh Tikait, now on hunger strike, declared to continue the strike until his death.
The altered complexion of the protest
To express solidarity with the farmers, 18 opposition parties decided to boycott the Indian president’s address (January 29, 2021) to a joint sitting of the parliament at the start of the budget session (The Hindu January 28, 2021). They criticised the government for obduracy when 155 farmers, braving water cannons, tear gas and lathi charges, had already lost their lives. The government-sponsored media published stories that the movement was being backed up by Khalistani and Pakistani elements. Pakistani drones allegedly dropped hand-grenade through drones in East Punjab which eerily never exploded or displayed to the media. The government even drooped to filing an affidavit in Supreme Court to affirm its allegation of foreign aid to the peace movement.
The protest went on showing singular interfaith harmony where the non-Muslim human shielded the Muslims offering prayers.
To `strongman’ Modi’s chagrin, the protest assumed an all-Indian dimension as Bhim-army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad, founder of azad samaj party (open-society party) joined the protesters with declaration `ek juth ho kar larna hai’ we have to fight united).
Soon Azad’s harangues became viral on social media. He taunted the government that it prevented the peaceful farmers to reach Delhi, but it could not stop the Chinese from building 110 houses in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The media blacked out pictures of farmers’ martyrs including the Sikh saints (sants) who committed suicides to express solidarity with the protesters.
Emergence of oppressed people’s joint movement
It was a nightmare for Narendra Modi to observe people from all walks of life joining the movement. The 41.73 percent “oppressed-people” wave appeared to have turned against him (Muslim 14.23%, Christians 2.3%, the Scheduled castes (numbering 1108)16.6%, and Scheduled Tribes (744) 8.6%.Modi’s fears were unfounded. despite rhetoric, the protesters could not turn their movement into a future-electoral alliance.
What prevented coalescence of protesters?
The caste factor militated against unity of lower castes with the upper castes. Even sikhs have an iron-clad caste structure. Besides the caste hierarchy, religions, languages and cultures put people’s poles apart. India’s 1.3 billion populations (2014) include Hindus (80 per cent including those who eat beef), Muslims 11 per cent, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Parsis and Jews seven per cent (combined). Hindi language dominates in Dravidian South India and Indo-European North India that are recognised under India’s constitution, besides 780 minor languages and dialects.
Dalit religion in the Indian Punjab
Most of the protesting farmers hailed from the Indian state of the Punjab or adjoin states. The sikhs are believed to be the most liberal community in India. Yet, even they, like Muslims are not immune from caste influence (arzal, ashraf ajlaf, etc).
Brahmins in the Punjab
Brahmins (priests) are regarded as custodians of religious Hindu traditions in the whole of India. But, so is not the case in the Punjab. They are pejoratively called mang khani jat (a community or caste living simply on alms). But degradation of the traditional Brahmans does not signify elimination of sikh caste hierarchy. Caste based discrimination in the Punjab has a different complexion. Sikh community replaced Brahmins with affluent jat sikhs with material strength possessing agricultural land as and enjoying hegemony over gurudwara and other panths (sikh holy organisations and institutions).
Dalits who convert to Sikhism are disappointed. They are excluded fromthe management of committees and gurudwara. The landowning sikhs dominate landless dalits.
Besides, under the local customary scheme of patron-client relationship popularly known as razat nama, they are even denied ownership rights to the plots of land on which they had built houses in segregated colonies in vicinity of the mainstream villages.
Dalits are the second largest community in the Punjab state. Numerically, they are almost equal to strength of the Jat Sikhs. Yet, their share in the land holdings is just 4.82 per cent. And they occupy only 2.34 per cent of the total area under cultivation. Being landless, dalits are deined their due share in management committees of sikh gurudwaras (shrines). Ravidassia dharma
The frustrated Punjabi dalits tried to seek upward social mobility through religious conversion to a different sikh dharma, Ravidassia Dharma.
This dharma was formally announced by Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia in a declaration made by the Sants of dera Sachkhand Balan on January 30, 2010. The pre-partition Ad Dharam movement has its roots in this dharma. This movement is the only movement of its kind in north western region of India that aimed at securing a dignified place for dalits through religious reformation cultural transformation and political clout rather than seeking emancipation through conversion and sanskritization.
Dalits regard Guru Ravidas as as their savior. His teachings exhort dalits to stand up for themselves.
The exclusion of dalits in the sikh caste system obstructed amalgamation of sikhs with dalits and other minorities to shape an oppressed people’s joint movement in Indian Punjab.
That India has had waves of newcomers is historical. And now the original inhabitants of the country comprise only five percent of the population.
Known as Adivasis, they inhabit mostly parts of Central India as well as the northeast to which they were taken by the British for agricultural work. They also, particularly the women, harvest tea carefully picking the suitable leaves until they have met their daily quotas. Powerless people are frequently abused as are they.
Owners of the tea gardens hire out the harvesting and pay little attention to the working conditions or wages of the tea pickers. Minimum wage laws are flouted so much so that the workers often resort to their hunter/gatherer origins, picking roots, mushrooms and wild-edible plants to supplement their diet and fill their bellies.
Among the very early waves of migration to India, steppe farmers left their mark. In waves they came to Iran then to India bringing herding and farming to the native peoples. They introduced wheat to the northwest, a particularly nourishing crop though not ideally suited to the rest of India. Known for their Indus Valley Civilization, they thrived for millennia from 3300 to 1300 BC. Over this extended period naturally there was mixing with the extant Indian populations.
Groups fanned out eastward and continued to mix with locals, the aborigine Indians, and formed eventually a homogenized population comprising 25 percent Iranian farmer and 75 percent aboriginal Indian. Thus the Dravidian people.
This mixture, called “Ancestral South Indian” by scientists, is now found predominantly in peninsular India.
Next to come were the Indo-Aryans, a Central Asian people who spread west to Europe and the Middle East, and also south towards India; first to Iran and Afghanistan and eventually through the Hindu Kush mountain passes to India.
They are responsible for what became known as the Vedic religion, the ancestor of Hinduism. They introduced the Indo-Aryan languages and also the division of society into four groups based on occupation, the forerunner of modern castes. DNA studies have validated their presence. Thus in the Swat valley, tests on remains prior to 1200 BC do not have steppe ancestry but later ones do — confirming the mixing of the migrants with locals.
Yet despite the DNA evidence, the ruling BJP party in India has tried to give these people a native Indian origin.
The Muslims were to come later and in the centuries that they ruled India, they became Indian themselves, and their culture, architecture, religion and languages were swallowed up and absorbed. From the Red Fort in Delhi to the Taj Mahal in Agra and even Rajput palaces, their imprint now defines India.
To marginalize the oldest Indian peoples and the newest is to deny India’s rich heritage.
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