Tag Archives: Pakistan

The scorched corpses of Nagasaki should be a grim restraint to the chest beating in India, America and Iran

We like our anniversaries in blocks of 50 or 100 – at a push we’ll tolerate a 25. The 100th anniversary of the Somme (2016), the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (2015). Next year, we’ll remember the end of the Second World War, the first – and so far the only – nuclear war in history.

This week marks only the 74th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It doesn’t fit in to our journalistic scorecards and “timelines”. Over the past few days, I’ve had to look hard to find a headline about the two Japanese cities.

But, especially in the Middle East and what we like to call southeast Asia, we should be remembering these gruesome anniversaries every month. Hiroshima was atomic-bombed 74 years ago on Tuesday, Nagasaki 74 years ago on Friday. Given the extent of the casualty figures, you’d think they’d be unforgettable. But we don’t quite know (nor ever will) what they were.


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The World Needs a Water Treaty

During the face-off earlier this year between India and Pakistan over a terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, New Delhi made an existential threat to Islamabad. The weapon was not India’s considerable nuclear arsenal, but one still capable of inflicting ruinous destruction: water.

“Our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan,” said Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkarikin on February 21. “We will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.” India controls three major rivers that flow into Pakistan.

If India had followed through, it would have abrogated the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between the two counties, a move that could be considered an act of war.

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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


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Nothing being done to halt Hazara genocide

Pakistan’s Hazara community, which mostly consists of Shiites and most of whom reside in the province of Balochistan, again suffered a huge blow when on Friday they were targeted again by terrorists. A bomb exploded in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, in a vegetable market, claiming the lives of 20 people.

The Taliban accepted responsibility for this attack, which was exclusively carried out to kill members of the Hazara minority. This is not the first time that the Hazara community has been targeted, as in the past five years, 509 Hazaras have been slaughtered.

For this community, there is no relief. They live like third-class citizens, and they even are deemed a threat to the other people living or working beside them, because terrorists and banned outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) can also unleash their wrath upon people who accommodate the Hazara people.

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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Asia



Our Captured, Wounded Hearts: Arundhati Roy On Balakot, Kashmir And India

With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in doing for decades. Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has demonstrated to the world that Kashmir is potentially the most dangerous place on earth, the flash-point for nuclear war. Every person, country, and organisation that worries about the prospect of nuclear war has the right to intervene and do everything in its power to prevent it.

On February 14 2019, a convoy of 2,500 paramilitary soldiers was attacked in Pulwama (Kashmir) by Adil Ahmad Dar, a 20-year-old Kashmiri suicide-bomber who, it has been declared, belonged to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. The attack that killed at least 40 men was yet another hideous chapter in the unfolding tragedy of Kashmir. Since 1990, more than seventy thousand people have been killed in the conflict, thousands have “disappeared”, tens of thousands have been tortured and hundreds of young people maimed and blinded by pellet guns. The death toll over the last twelve months has been the highest since 2009. Associated Press reports that almost 570 people have lost their lives, 260 of them militants, 160 civilians and 150 Indian armed personnel who died in the line of duty.

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Posted by on March 12, 2019 in Asia


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Is war coming to South Asia?

India and Pakistan are headed towards a potential military escalation in the wake of the February 14 attack in Pulwama carried out by Pakistan-based armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which killed over 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers.

On February 26, the Indian military launched what it said were retaliatory air raids which allegedly destroyed a “terrorist” training camp in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan for its part also responded with air raids across the line of control (LoC) which separates Indian- from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and claims to have downed two Indian fighter jets.

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Posted by on March 4, 2019 in Asia


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Why the War for Kashmir Burns On

In the summer of 1998, I had a front-row seat to the border war between India and Pakistan. Following nuclear-weapons tests by both countries, the duelling Armies shelled each other for weeks along the disputed Himalayan frontier, called the Line of Control. I was staying in a shabby hotel named the Sangam, in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, not far from the border. The Sangam—its name means “place where rivers meet”—sits near the confluence of the Neelum and Jhelum Rivers. For days, I ate dinner on the terrace out back and watched the artillery fire. The raging waters of the Neelum were so cold that I had to wear a sweater. The exploding shells lit up the sky with long, yellow streaks.

The world watched with trepidation as the two nuclear-armed countries blasted away at each other. For a time, it seemed that a wider war was entirely possible—that things would escalate, either by accident or design.

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Posted by on March 1, 2019 in Asia


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Footsteps in a Marked House: The Complex Role of Women in Pakistan’s Police Force

Four policewomen look on in silence as the senior superintendent of police (SSP), who arranged the meeting, finishes telling me about his responsibilities, workload, and efforts to get more women recruited into the force. I’m not sure how to ask him to leave his own office to give us some privacy. As refreshments are served, he asks if we need help pouring tea from the thermos since its lever tends to get stuck. Rita, one of the women police officers I have just been introduced to, smiles a little. “I can defuse a time bomb, sir.” He grins, nods, and leaves.

The women are in a special police corps, the elite commandos formed in response to the terrorism that swept across Pakistan following US-led attacks of the allied forces in Afghanistan after 9/11. They are part of the police force of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa (KP), a province that shares a porous mountainous border with Afghanistan and bore the brunt of subsequent, deadly terror attacks.

The policewomen want to know if the interview will be published in Dawn, a Pakistani national newspaper for which I occasionally write. I tell them it is for Guernica, a US-based online magazine. “The Americans? Well, in that case you’ll want to know how many Taliban we have killed, won’t you?” asks Bibi Nazia. I shake my head, brushing the question off, though now I’m curious and want to ask.  Instead I pose an equally cringe-inducing query: “All these women in the police, what do they think of the Taliban?”

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Posted by on February 28, 2019 in Asia



Israel’s fingerprints are all over India’s escalating conflict with Pakistan

When I heard the first news report, I assumed it was an Israeli air raid on Gaza. Or Syria. Air strikes on a “terrorist camp” were the first words. A “command and control centre” destroyed, many “terrorists” killed. The military was retaliating for a “terrorist attack” on its troops, we were told.

An Islamist “jihadi” base had been eliminated. Then I heard the name Balakot and realised that it was neither in Gaza, nor in Syria – not even in Lebanon – but in Pakistan. Strange thing, that. How could anyone mix up Israel and India?

Well, don’t let the idea fade away. Two thousand five hundred miles separate the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv from the Indian ministry of defence in New Delhi, but there’s a reason why the usual cliché-stricken agency dispatches sound so similar.

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Posted by on February 28, 2019 in Asia


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On the road in the Karakoram

The snowed-over Khunjerab Pass, at 4,934 meters, stands eerily silent on a freezing late autumn morning.

On the Pakistani side, a wooden house serves as a small customs office fronted by “the highest ATM in the world” – though you try a foreign credit card at your peril. The Chinese side boasts an intimidating, metal-plated James Bond-esque structure with no humans in sight.The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox

This is ground zero of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the point where the revamped, upgraded Karakoram Highway – “the eighth wonder of the world” – snakes away from China’s Xinjiang all the way to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and further south to Islamabad and Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

From here it’s 420 kilometers to Kashgar and a hefty 1,890 km to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But going south is where the fun really begins.

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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy


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Pakistan in the middle of Saudi, Iran and rival pipeline plans

A tweet roared like announcing a blockbuster premiere and sanctions did engulf Iran on time – despite opposition from Russia, China and the EU-3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom), who still support the United-Nations endorsed Iran nuclear treaty.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called this an economic war waged by a “bullying power”.
The US has imposed sanctions on Iranian shipping, finance and energy exports, blacklisting 700 people. They target the EU special mechanism to facilitate purchases of Iranian oil, a sort of alternative international payment system, and threats persist about cutting Iran completely off the Swift system (although several Iranian banks are already suspended).

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Posted by on November 22, 2018 in Middle East


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