On 14th August, 1947 Pakistan appeared on the world map as the largest independent Muslim state of that time. Sixty-five million people out of Ninety-five million population were Muslims. Despite of the shared religion of its majority, Pakistan is still struggling to build a national identity. Earlier, linguistic and cultural diversity were a hurdle but, in the Common Era political imbalance, rivalry and groupings left Pakistan with nothing but social, political and economic crisis with no future of stability.
Division of Sub-continent into India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan was a kick start to the largest demographic movement in history. Unfortunately, Muhammad Ali Jinnah died when Pakistan was less than a year old. The politics of Pakistan has not been less than a roller coaster ride. Till date the State has been ruled by 27 different Prime Ministers where some of them ruled twice and even thrice. Adding to that, the state has been under dictatorship four times since its independence. This political chaos has badly affected the economy of Pakistan. Not that Pakistan is a barren landlocked country with no reservoirs or no beneficial source to strengthen the economy, but, the political riot has played a vital role in paralyzing the social and economic bodies. Pakistan’s politicians have obediently followed the tradition of blame game since independence. Political representatives have always considered it necessary to blame the opponents for unstable environment in rather than being united against the state issues. The truth is that none of the political party could ever succeed in fulfilling the objectives of their five-year plan.
Due to sudden change of government, corruption, fragile institutions, the country’s economy suffered harsh weather. In 1980’s the economic growth was an impressive 6.3% which had a sharp decline during 1990’s and dropped to 4.9%. By the end of dictatorship the growth decelerated to 1.7% in 2008 and political instability accelerated to -2.4%. During the regime of PPP, the Nation succeeded in nothing but increase in economic instability, rise in corruption, inflation, and unemployment. PPP has set Karachi as a portrait of their inefficiency which the city witnesses every year during monsoon season. In 2013, the biggest political parties of Pakistan, PMLN and PTI fought the elections and undesirable results ended in a 126 days long dharna in the Capital of Pakistan with the inclusion of rallies, aggressive speeches and corruption cases against the opponents to hold them responsible and throw them out. The dramatic political unrest forced the country to lose hundreds of millions, foreign trust, foreign investment as well as paralyzing the Capital of the state. Nawaz Sharif was proven guilty and sent to jail, PMLN succeeded in making the institutions fool and Nawaz Sharif flew to the UK for medical treatment. In 2018, the ineligibility of Nawaz Sharif, Panama leaks and support of the number of people of the nation gave Imran Khan a chance to win the majority vote in National assembly. Forced to habit, the opposition instead of efficiently working with the government for the welfare of state, jointly formed PDM to demolish PTI’s government. Protests, long march, boycotts became the fate of Pakistan and which couldn’t affect the government much but, to lead to vote of no confidence in April, 2022 which resulted in Imran Khan’s removal. PTI blames PDM for joining hands with US in their regime change strategy. Even during PTI’s government, the instable economy was in the destiny of Pakistan. Currently, Shahbaz Sharif is the Prime Minister of the State and the economic conditions are nowhere near to a betterment; a total chaos.
The fake promises of every government has left the nation with nothing but empty bank accounts, economic collapse, inflation, extreme foreign debt, intolerance and extremism among its own people. The prime reason to every government’s failure is more or less their self- priorities. It was and is never about the betterment of state and its people but the authority, rivalry and seat. Every government without any discrimination focused on plans which would temporarily benefit the Nation during their tenure but, later due to huge foreign debt and IMF instructions, the country suffers inflation and hurdles in development of the country. Moreover, every new government finds the work of the former useless and terminate the projects, plans and policies initiated by them. This restricts the foreign investors from huge investments as more political instability leads to more economic deceleration.
Another huge drawback is that every government demands the state’s institutions to work their way, for example; the security departments’ ultimate duty is to protect the state from internal and external threats but what they do nowadays is to arrest the opponent leaders, raid their houses, protect red zone and blindly work under government’s thumb.
The biggest threat to Pakistan is its own poisonous politics. The political parties do not find their victory in providing the Nation with excellence and betterment but, the lust of power and hatred has forced the public to witness a psychotic political behavior. Election campaigns, days of protests in Islamabad, societal unrest and cyber-attacks have become a trend which has divided the Nation into groups.
Pakistan is on the verge of losing everything. IMF and other states have either denied or are delaying in providing aid to the country and the major reason is the political unrest but, a bitter reality is that politics cannot be ignored as it plays a prime role in connecting Pakistan on national and international levels. Political stability shall be the ultimate goal as it would help in formation of beneficial policies and would allow the institutions to work in a normal way which would only make Pakistan a healthy developed state. This 75th year and the years coming ahead can be good for Pakistan if elections are truly conducted on their time and the losing parties instead of creating a chaos, aids the ruling party in running the affairs of Pakistan smoothly.
The India-Pakistan Sub-Conventional War: Democracy and Peace in South Asia -Book Review
Seventy-Five Years of India’s Independence
A student of Peace and Conflict Studies at National Defence University. Islamabad
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Kashmir as a Humanitarian Issue
Authors: Harsh Mahaseth and Niharika Goel*
When the MV X-Press Pearl cargo ship owned by a Singapore-based company caught fire near the Colombo harbour of Sri Lanka, it caused the worst catastrophe of the decade. While the coordination amongst the involved countries stood disturbed, it posed a conundrum regarding who shall be held liable for the damages involved.
The Singaporean ship set sail from Malaysia, entering service in February of 2021. However, while returning from its third journey from Qatar to Malaysia, it sunk off the coast of Sri Lanka, near the Colombo harbor, after it caught fire. The crew was attempting to tow the vessel into deeper waters when the mishappening took place. Navy Media spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said,
“The towing the ship to the deeper seas was abandoned as the stern of the ship sank to the sea bed while it was being towed 500 to 600 m westward.”
This vessel was ablaze at the Sri-Lanka’s shoreline for thirteen days. By late June, only four months after it had first headed out, the desolated transport was sitting 70 feet underneath the Indian Ocean. The spread of pellets and nurdles, surprisingly found in the gills and paunches of dead fishes, is predicted to reach the Indian coastline, Maldives, Madagascar, Thailand and Indonesia owing to the currents caused by the cyclone Yaas. Other controversial elements, including synthetic compounds like nitric corrosive, sodium dioxide, copper, and lead would also not take long to enter the human circulatory systems because of the wide utilization of fish in the concerned area.
Being a vessel registered to the flag of Singapore, manufactured by a company in China, insured by a company in the United Kingdom, enroute via India to Malaysia from Saudi Arabia, creating a catastrophe at Sri Lanka builds a jurisdictional conundrum. The crew was aware of the corrosive, toxic and flammable liquid, nitric acid when it was loaded in Dubai. Adding to the complexity, they were also denied permission by Qatar and India to dock the ship which resulted in a longer than usual route. Despite such lack of cooperation between the concerned nations, along with limited offshore capacities, the vessel progressed into Sri Lankan waters with its controversial cargo onboard.
Under United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, the limit of territorial sea of a State extends to 12 nautical miles from the baseline under Article 3, the Contiguous Zone extends to 24 nautical miles from the baseline under Article 33 and the breadth of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extends to 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured under Article 57. Location of the sinking ship or ship wreck has been within the territorial sea lesser than 12 nautical miles from the shore of Sri Lanka. Further, the commonly accepted polluter pays principle states that those who produce the pollution shall bear the cost to reduce, if not eliminate, the environmental damage caused by such catastrophe. The owner of the company and the flagged country is Singapore which thus, will be equally liable.
Article 235 and Article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982 creates general obligations on the state to protect the marine environment, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory. Article 220(6) when read with Article 211(6) of UNCLOS provides states the power to enact laws for damages and institute proceedings, in cases with evidence of a violation by a vessel causing damage or threat of damage to economic zone. While, lacunae present in the legal remedies pertaining to damages caused by hazardous noxious substances is abridged by the Hazardous and Noxious Substance (HNS) Convention and the 2010 protocol by a two-tier compensation regime but the convention is still pending ratification by the required number of states and thus has not come into force yet. To bridge the gap in the provisions regarding matters concerning hazardous substance, the definition of a harmful substance under Section 2(2) of the MARPOL Convention, provides to mean any substance which, if introduced into the sea, is liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea, and includes any substance subject to control by the Convention.
Part VIII (Prevention of Pollution – Criminal Liability) and Part IX (Prevention of Pollution – Civil Liability) of the Sri Lanka’s Marine Pollution Prevention Act, 2008 enumerate civil and criminal liability in the MV X Press Pearl case. Section 26(a) of the Act will impose criminal liability on the owner, master, or agent of the ship charging fine up to Rs. 4 Million (not exceeding Rs. 14 Million) if any oil, harmful substance, or pollutant is discharged into the territorial borders of Sri Lanka, and civil liability under Section 34 provides for unlimited recovery of any damages caused by the pollutant, costs of measures taken for the purpose of reducing/removing such pollutant from the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.
Ship owners register their vessel in a country other than that of the ship owners to avoid stringent taxes under the business practice termed Flag of convenience (FOC). For such flag states, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 (UNCLOS) enforces responsibilities ensuring that the vessels comply with the rules and standards of the registered state jurisdiction including periodic inspections of the vessels, and prohibition of vessels from flying their flags in cases of non-compliance. Keeping in consideration the cargo onboard, the Hague Visby Rules obligates a contract of carriage evidenced by the bill of lading which would invariably provide for application of. For an owner to exclude any liability under the Hague Visby Rules, they need to establish and prove that they exercised due diligence in the beginning of the voyage (Article III (1)) and they had taken continuous care of the cargo under their responsibility (Article III (2)).
The flag state, Singapore also stands liable under Article 3 of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunker Convention), 2001 which provides for strict liability of the owner under three heads of pollution damage. Damage caused in Singapore by the contamination, entire costs and expenses incurred in establishing reasonable measures to reduce the damage, and any additional damages caused to Singapore due to any such measures will also be recovered. In conclusion, the owner of the ship will not only be liable to pay for the damages caused but also for costs incurred in the restoration of such damages. As Article 3 provides for strict liability of the owner, there are limited defences available for the owner namely act of war or inevitable phenonmenon, a third party not an employee or agent of the owner, negligent act of government in exercising functions of navigations aids were the cause of discharge by the vessel. However, a strict liability arises imposed on the vessel owner and their insurers for the costs of any preventive or recovery measures. While the Convention for Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC), 1976 administers compensation amount to be paid by ship owners in such cases, the subsequently amended LLMC agreed in 1996 (the 1996 Protocol) subsequently increases the cap for compensation in direct proportion to the gross tonnage of the vessel with no prescribed defences available. The matter can also be subjected to an ad hoc arbitration agreement after due consent of the parties involved, which is preferable in claims of contracts of carriage for a more flexible and confidential settlement of the dispute.
The Centre for Environmental Justice has filed charges against the Sri Lankan Government, as well as the shipping company involved with the situation alleged that the ship-owners already knew about the concerned acid leak, and asked for both civil and criminal action with the crew being taken into custody. The vessel’s operator, X-Press Feeders paid an initial payment of $3.6 million against the $300 million USD sought to the Sri Lankan Government.
*Niharika Goel is a final-year law student who is also working as a research assistant to Assistant Professor Harsh Mahaseth.
An increasingly restless earth is producing climate anomalies in distant regions. Europe has just emerged from a severe drought only to be flooded by heavy rains. Pakistan, too, has been inundated, and as the poor possess fewer resources their suffering is worse. Its province of Balochistan is one example.
According to Pakistan’s environment minister, Sherry Rehman, the monsoon season affects the region usually in three or four waves bringing in much needed rain. This year they have already had eight waves and severe flooding is the result. Bridges have been washed out leaving many people stranded away from their homes. These, which are often constructed of mud, have not been spared.
Aid is difficult to provide quickly when many roads and bridges have become unusable. As often happens, the army has been called in and also the navy as the area has become a virtual inland sea. Also in a relatively sparsely populated region the problem of reaching everyone in need quickly is understandable.
Ths catastrophe is being called the country’s worst natural disaster on record. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that 287,412 homes have been completely destroyed and another 662,446 partially destroyed. The death toll has surpassed 1000, and the NDMA estimates that 1 in 7 of the population or 33 million people have been affected.
In addition, the floods have covered millions of acres of farmland inundating the crop fields and adding to the losses of flood victims — the tragedy is the crops were ready for harvest. The inevitable consequence is soaring prices across the country.
Cumulative infrastructure data since mid-June shows 3451km (2000 miles approximately) of roads damaged or washed away and 149 collapsed bridges leaving a colossal task of repair and restoration.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, is familiar with power plays and counterplays but is no doubt shocked at Pakistan’s neighbor India — right next door and so far immune to Pakistan’s calls for international help when a third of the country is under water.
Guterres has called it “a monsoon on steroids” and launched a $160 million appeal in aid of those affected by the disaster. He has also drawn attention to global warming: “Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it’s Pakistan; tomorrow it could be your country.” His UN appeal would supply 5.2 million people with food, water, sanitation, and continuing emergency education and health support.
Meanwhile the monsoon is set to continue according to the latest weather reports. If ‘hell or high water’ is an expression intended to express extreme difficulties, a poor South Asian country is suffering both and needs our help.
Kashmir is suffering through brutal fight of terror since 1990, but India has failed to crush the right of self-determination of Kashmir. Kashmir valley is filled with thousands of Indian forces that are trying to control the mounting sentiments of public against India by the use of force. India has imposed many inhuman laws to legitimize the use of force and repress Kashmir’s.
Without any doubt, everyone knows that the cruelty and brutality of Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir is to create fear and to suppress the Kashmiris. India has failed to suppress Kashmiris by Indian laws, which only resulted in massive violation of human rights. A lot of work has been done on the issue of Kashmir, but most work is on historical and ideological perspectives of Kashmir issue, violence caused by accession to India. There is not much work specifically on the international human right violation, which is caused by different Indian laws. To understand the specific laws, which are meant to create peace in Kashmir but unfortunately cause more destruction, and violence, which has resulted in more important step, which should be taken by the World, not for the Kashmiris struggle but for their fundamental rights to life and liberty as well.
Iffat Malik’s book “Kashmir ethnic conflict International Dispute” analyzed that Kashmir issue as an ethnic conflict and as an international dispute is closely interlinked. To resolve the Kashmir issue, it is important to understand the importance of ethnic conflict between two main groups, i.e. Muslims and Pundits. Pandits are more conscious of being Hindu whereas Kashmiri Muslims of being Muslims, both ethnic groups are strong rooted with their religion. Differences also lie in the attitudes of both these groups to India, Muslims have drawn further away from India, and Pandits have drawn closer to it. The Kashmir conflict forced Pandit to increase their fear as a minority within Kashmir, which resulted in Hindus more conscious and closer to India. An increasing number of Kashmiri Muslims want Independence. The ethnic conflict in the valley thus remains distinct from the international dispute between India and Pakistan. Pakistan is backing the Kashmiri Muslims with the intention that the state accede to it; Pakistan and the Kashmiri Muslims have a common goal of ending Indian rule in Kashmir. In Kashmir, people have real grievances against New Delhi but Indian government blame for the ethnic conflict on 11 Pakistan. Kashmir issue has been dragged so much that now both countries need strong government to handle this border dispute. Now there are three parties, Pakistan, India and Kashmir involved in this international dispute as internal politics of Kashmir has harden the situation too.
It’s very unfortunate that India who is framed to be World’s Largest Democracy not respect the freedom of expression in media. Democratic Nations should stay committed to the values of human rights moreover they should show tolerance even in the toughest and challenging times. However “Right to freedom of expression” is an inseparable element of “Democracy” and it is essential to guarantee and respect the fundamental rights of every individual which are even protected in the constitution and international instruments for the survival of democracy.
Since World War II, international political system has been dominated by the super powers and there has been great influence of United States of America and Soviet Union on South Asia, which has been a major barrier in reaching on a decision of Kashmir issue. Another reason behind the failure of United Nation has been Indian government, the non-corporative attitude, the way Indian government avoided plebiscite, because they knew that Kashmir, which is highly populated by Muslim majority, would vote in favor of Pakistan. Indian representatives never took interest in Security Council debates, as it was quite clear that India wanted to buy more time. Nehru backed out of his words of plebiscite since 1955 and reportedly offered for status quo settlement subject only to minor boundary adjustments. Actually Indian government wanted a conclusion from United Nations against Pakistan, but United Nations refused, on which Nehru refused to hold plebiscite.
Realist and Liberalist Perspective on Human Right Violation in Kashmir
Realism talks about power, main aim of state is to maximize their power. Keeping in mind state seeks power; India has the same objective in Kashmir. There are many reasons that India wants to maintain its dominance in Kashmir through its security forces. Realism is about national interest for survival, and as in anarchic environment state is the only one who has to compete for its survival. “Concept of Security” defines expertly the relation between national security and human security, as they both are interlinked, with time connection of national and human security.
Perspectives have been observed which can be understood by an example of outwardly aggressive and inwardly repressive regimes can be a major source of human insecurity. Major reason stated for promoting a human security perspective is that of an “enlightened self-interest”. A state for survival has to respect the security of its citizens, and the security of citizens of other states. This demonstrates one possible connection between human security especially aspects of livelihood security and how these interact with national security issues. Kashmir is fighting for the right of self-determination, which India is not ready to give. India for its national interest and power, is keeping dominance in Kashmir through its security force and terror of its laws to maintain its power in South Asia region. India can only keep its control on the resources of Jammu & Kashmir by power, otherwise once Kashmir freedom movement succeeds, Indian economy and agriculture will be influenced. Kashmir has a great strategic, political and economic significance, which are imperative for India and Pakistan. Water is the central and an important need of any country’s survival. It is water that India is determined or won’t be wrong to say obdurate to keep Kashmir in its territory, without the willingness of the people of Kashmir. There are six rivers under Indus Basin Rivers in which the Indus itself, Chenab, Jhelum, Beas, Sutlej and Ravi, which originate in the Jammu & Kashmir. India is very much dependent on these rivers, as well Pakistan. There is common dependency of these two countries, which is agriculture, which relies on waters of Indus Basin Rivers. Pakistan is more dependent on river waters than India. India has some other sources of water too. Indian agricultural reliance on Indus Basin River is similar and equal to Pakistan.
Production of agriculture from Kashmir, contributes large portion to the India economy, which include apple, timber and saffron. Due to India’s occupation of Kashmir, it is geography of the rivers, which gives strategic dominance to India in the issue of water. India is dependent for agriculture, generation of hydropower and irrigation on the river waters in Kashmir. In 1957, Mr. Patel, Indian irrigation minister said, that India would not wait for more than 5 years before withdrawing waters from the three eastern rivers irrespective of the resolution of the water dispute. Another on December 2001, on the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, India increased the possibility of withdrawing the 1960 Treaty, as part of a strategy of coercive diplomacy with Pakistan. Morgenthau believed that environment plays an important role in shaping the interests to determine political action. Keeping in mind realist perspective, India has same intentions on Kashmir, which is national interest for survival, because of Indus Basin Rivers, which is very important for India’s agriculture, as it supports the Indian economy. However, Liberalism talks about human rights, freedom from authority, equal rights and opportunities, and same laws for everyone. India is one of the largest democratic countries in the world. One of the important characteristics of a democratic country is to protect the basic human rights like give freedom of speech and religion to individual, equal opportunities for everyone under law and an equal chance to everyone to participate politically and economically in a society. Considering the liberalist, India, as a democratic country should provide equal opportunities to everyone, even in Jammu & Kashmir. India claims to have given democratic rights to the people of Kashmir, but by keeping their own national interests. People of Kashmir have been given right to elect the government, but since too long India has been governing in Kashmir through its security forces and have forced people to elect the pro-Indian representatives. In the same way, India has been violating human rights under the umbrella of special laws, these special laws that are implemented by the state. Under these special laws and democracy thousands of innocent people get killed and tortured. India is using Kashmir for its national interest of survival to utilize resources of Kashmir and to boost Indian economy, by claiming democracy and by giving equality under special laws.
Kashmir issue has always been in the highlight of the World, because of its freedom struggle which they are fighting since the ages, but now there is more important issue which not only needs World attention, but it desperately need immediate action by the international community. Democratic Countries are always recognized for their morals and principles, from which India has been contradicting since the partition till now by oppressing Kashmiris in every inhuman way. Unfortunately the role of international community has been seen just in speeches and only in visits. No prominent action has been taken by United Nation against India on violation of International humanitarian law. The poorer condition of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir has resulted disappointment and frustration in Kashmiri youth, but they are still honest with their cause without any fear and terror of Indian security forces and special laws. They believe in peaceful fight and know how to make their voice loud and clear for the World. India must have realized by now, that Kashmiris will never give up from their right of self-determination. Its better if India accept the reality that India will never going to get the vote of confidence from Kashmiris not even by making this chaos with the lives of Kashmiris.
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