On Friday, July 19 2019, Dr. Syed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, President of the famous Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), visited us at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) for a roundtable on Iran’s relationship with the United States and how it is influencing the course of events in the region. He said that in order to understand the question of why Iran is the way it is today, it is important to comprehend three integral factors – the United States’ contradictory policies with Iran, the resulting state of bitterness, and an uneven assessment of the available possibilities. By laying emphasis on the contradictory policies of the United States, during very tense times, Dr. Kazem sought to explain how certain inconsistencies in the harsh policies of the United States have been a significant source of tension between the two countries, especially when pursuing negotiations and settling agreements.
The video of our event on the future of current stand-off between India and Pakistan is available below. Retired Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi and ambassador Najmuddin Shaikh were the distinguished speakers at this occasion.
Conference on Peace in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges, 15 – 16 November 2017, Address of Welcome, Dr. Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Zubair, Governor of Sindh, Ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to welcome you to this session which His Excellency Mr. Mamnoon Hussain has graced with his presence. I am extremely grateful to him for being with us today inspite of other pressing engagements. He is the symbol of the federation of Pakistan and those who are aware of the politics of our country are also aware of the positive role he has played to consolidate democracy in our country. With his wisdom he has shown a deep understanding of international politics and has represented Pakistan at many important diplomatic initiatives abroad.
The Institute has organized this Conference on Peace in South Asia to mark 70 years of its founding. We have chosen the theme of peace not only because of its contemporary relevance but also because of its historic link to the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan when he inaugurated the Institute. In his speech on that occasion he said “That so soon after the establishment of Pakistan, a Pakistan Institute of International Affairs has come into existence is a matter of gratification.” Calling for world peace, he continued, that international affairs effect not only governments; they also effect the people. What happens in one part of the world has its reactions in other parts. If peace is disturbed in one continent it has its effects in another. Continue reading
Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Address to the “Conference on Peace in South Asia” (Karachi: November 15, 2017). “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem”. Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production, Excellencies, Experts in International Relations—and Respected Ladies and Gentlemen! Assalam-o-Alaikum.
It is a matter of great pleasure for me to participate in this conference on peace in South Asia under the auspices of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA). The foundation of this institution was laid by Quaid-e-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan had a very real and deep understanding of contemporary foreign policy issues, especially about peace, stability and progress in South Asia. I still believe that best results can be achieved by following the principles enunciated by Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and other founding fathers of Pakistan in our quest for regional peace and security. It is encouraging to see deliberation on such matters in the face of modern day challenges and changes in the regional and global landscape, for which I congratulate PIIA and its team. Continue reading
The Pakistani establishment does not act as clients to USA or other international powers as portrayed in Davis’s book. Unlike many other countries in the region, for example Afghanistan, the Pakistani establishment is smart enough to look after its own interests.
There has been a history of dealing with spies in the international relations. During war times, arrested spies were exchanged with mutual consent. There has been also a practice of killing these spies brutally. Mata Hari, a Dutch spy who worked for German cause during the First World War, was executed by firing squad. The recent case of Kulbushan Yadev and Raymond Davis are two peas of the same pod. They belong to different countries but their objective was same. Both were arrested by Pakistani government and convicted in the courts and given death sentences. Raymond Davis was released dramatically the details of which have been available in his recently published book The Contractor: How I landed in a Pakistani prison and ignited a diplomatic crisis. The story of 49 days from January 27, 2011 to March 16, 2011 has been narrated by him in a novel-type style. He has described how politicians and the Army manipulated things for his safe exit from Pakistan.
The role of General Pasha, the then ISI chief has been mentioned repeatedly that how he and his ISI had pressurized the family of murdered Faizan Haider and how the lawyer Asad Manzoor Butt was kept away from the last day proceedings. The story has two dimensions: one to defame Pakistani establishment as clients to USA which has been served to some extent because there is nothing new for people to buy. Secondly, it implies that how arrested spies increase the bargaining powers of weaker states against comparatively big powers. Continue reading
If we do not have a reasonably competent, friendly government in Kabul, nothing the west achieves will last. Ignoring the Afghan nation’s needs is not an option
This week’s comment in the Observer calls for a more inclusive role for Pakistan than the one recently articulated by Washington. Comment as follows: Donald Trump’s view on the conflict in Afghanistan was highly critical in 2011 when he tweeted that the US was “wasting lives and money” there. He later termed Barack Obama’s strategy a “complete waste”, saying it was “time to come home”. Trump stood on his head last week, ordering the deployment of additional American troops and committing the US to an open-ended war that he vowed to “fight to win”. So which Trump is right – the pre-election sceptic or today’s ardent warrior? The answer is neither.
When Obama took office in 2009, he raised US troop levels to around 100,000, part of a Nato force of about 150,000. His plan was to turn around a war that had already dragged on too long, then hand over to better-trained and equipped Afghan army and police forces. The handover duly took place in 2014, but the conflict was not over. Since then, security has steadily deteriorated. Obama was right to try, and Trump wrong to prematurely scorn his efforts. But what the 2009 surge ultimately proved was that even the most modern armies, wielding the latest weaponry and backed by unchallenged air power, cannot wholly overcome the sort of unconventional, guerrilla campaign at which the Taliban excel. More than 2,400 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2001, and more than 450 British troops. But according to US estimates, government forces now control less than 60% of the country. Continue reading
This is fascinating reporting from the Observer (9 July 2017) on the unrest in Kashmir:
It started with a phone call from a dying militant that went viral. Now angry, educated youth, inspired by social media, are demonstrating in their thousands. The young militant would be dead in a few minutes. Indian security forces had the house surrounded. As they closed in, Muzamil Amin Dar made a phone call.
“There is nothing to worry about,” he is heard calmly telling his family on a tape of the call. “Sooner or later we all have to face death, isn’t that right?” He falls silent; the recording ends in a shrill chorus of women’s screams.
The killing of the commander from the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in October 2012 looked like any other death in the 27-year insurgency that has racked Indian-controlled Kashmir. What made it different was barely appreciated at the time. Days after Dar’s last conversation with his family, the recording of the call began to circulate online, spreading like wildfire across the Kashmir valley. Uploads to YouTube were played tens of thousands of times. Within months, copycat “last calls” from other dying militants began to surface. A trend was born.
It was one of the earliest interventions of social media in a conflict that has been transformed by technology. Unlike the shadowy militants of the 1990s, Kashmir’s new crop of anti-India fighters are WhatsApp warriors, achieving with selfies what they have struggled to do with guns. In the hands of young Kashmiris, the internet has become a weapon: images of dissent met by teargas and bullets in the street are flourishing online. Continue reading