Welcome

Posts Tagged ‘india’

Oct
18

5805a3f56fa02-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

THE direct message from Cyril Almeida’s aborted harassment in Pakistan and the nuanced message from the BRICS summit in India have an unwitting connection, beyond their incidental Goa link. The Pakistan establishment would like to deny — though they may not succeed — that the world wants them to fix the security apparatus’s apparently stubborn need to court rabid freelancers as a policy to deal with neighbours. The message from BRICS is — though India will be in denial — that New Delhi needs to improve human rights conditions in Kashmir as elsewhere, and thereby explore a political answer to the terrorism that dogs it in different parts of the country. There is no military solution, according to the unstated message.

If anything, despite the host’s repeated decibels about Pakistan being the ‘mothership of terrorism’ reference to cross-border militancy did not figure in the summit statement.

Almeida himself admits that his story would have had a shorter shelf life but for the official denial and harassment that followed. Domestic outrage against the government’s move to block the journalist’s travel rights revealed a welcome truth. The world may be only pondering the word ‘isolation’ for Pakistan, but public opinion in Pakistan seems less tentative about what needs to be fixed and how. It is thus that Almeida’s story stands. And Pakistan has been advised by Pakistanis to find a better alternative to sending emissaries to a world already overloaded with its own deep problems — from Brexit to the sabre-rattling over Syria and the mud bath called American elections.


What happened to India’s diplomatic draftsmen? Where is the reference to the source of much of the headache?


Instead, Pakistan could be more agreeably engaged at home, confronting the threats the world faces, above all, Pakistanis themselves feel under their skin. No one seriously wants Pakistan to live in denial about dangerously armed messianic zealots roaming in the country freely, with or without state support. That’s one side of the coin.

The other was witnessed in Goa. That’s where India, host of the BRICS summit, was made aware by China, not too obliquely, to take into account the root causes of terrorism that everyone censures, and to find a political solution. Moreover, the BRICS document, which its five leaders signed, speaks of the need to observe human rights and to respect the UN Charter in dealing with terrorism. It is early days to say how the Indians will officially interpret these references. But in the public mind across the board these could mean a number of things.

Let’s refer to one of the occasions that the UN and rights are mentioned in the Goa document. “We acknowledge that international terrorism, especially the [militant Islamic State group] and affiliated terrorist groups and individuals, constitute a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security.” If the statement is a reflection of how India has isolated Pakistan internationally, it leaves much to the imagination.

Pakistan may be the ‘mothership of terrorism’ for India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored at the summit, but what happened to India’s diplomatic draftsmen? Where is the reference to the source of much of the headache? Let me put it another way. The next chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade in January will be the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. How would he see the understanding of terrorism that BRICS has highlighted, mainly with regard to Syria?

There’s more advice that may not please everyone in BRICS or outside. “Stressing UN’s central role in coordinating multilateral approaches against terrorism, we [BRICS leaders] urge all nations to undertake effective implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and reaffirm our commitment on increasing the effectiveness of the UN counterterrorism framework.”

A clause that should please India, and Pakistan should not be wary of it. “We call upon all nations to work together to expedite the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly without any further delay. We recall the responsibility of all states to prevent terrorist actions from their territories.” The last sentence makes eminent sense for all concerned and it is good advice for Pakistan in particular.

But there’s food for thought for India. “Successfully combating terrorism requires a holistic approach,” the BRICS summit counselled. “All counterterrorism measures should uphold international law and respect human rights.” Would it be fair to expect some compliance in Kashmir and the northeast, in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh? In fact, reference to human rights comes frequently in the declaration even if the idea has become utterly unfashionable or downright suspect with the rise of jingoism in the media on both sides.

(For some reason, I can’t see human rights as a watchword being the initiative of an Indian draftsman, but it is sage advice nevertheless.)

The document referred to terrorism, and the need to apply international law in tackling it. I searched for a paragraph reflecting India’s concerns over Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba and couldn’t find one. What it said, however, did not preclude a reference to either group, but such subtleties would hardly be tantamount to isolating Pakistan internationally. “While continuing the relentless pursuit against terrorist groups so designated by the UN Security Council including [the IS], Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organisations designated by the UN Security Council” the BRICS summit kept its focus primarily on the Middle East.

There was something Nehruvian in the reference to Palestine after a long time. Perhaps the drafting committee was not familiar with new India’s new allergens, its own former leaders. “We reiterate also the necessity to implement the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli [conflict] … through negotiations aimed at creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel.…” The ‘mothership of terrorism’ seems to have eluded the BRICS radar. Will a speedboat of peace be just as elusive?

, , , , , , ,

Oct
17

5803be5cb2902-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

THE textile industry is in a dilemma as cotton trade between Pakistan and India has been hit by a rise in border tension; and traders across the border, being uncertain of future developments, are not entering into new deals.

Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of trade activity is still taking place. The government has not asked importers to stop buying cotton from India but many of them are not buying on their own as a gesture of national solidarity. However, Indian exporters are refusing to sell at their government’s behest although they would be the losers.

Pakistani spinners are the biggest buyers of Indian fibre. Fewer imports by Pakistan this year could hurt Indian exports, raise their prices and help rival cotton exporters like Brazil, the United States and some African countries. For Pakistan’s industry, buying the raw material from other sources may prove costly owing to long distance freight. In fact, the situation is in a wait-and see mode. Cotton trade between the two countries is worth $822m a year.


Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah says a low quantum of cotton trade activity is still taking place


Another victim of high political temperature is vegetables. According to Times of India, traders from the Indian state of Gujarat have decided to stop supplying vegetables to Pakistan.

Gujarat used to send 50 trucks having 10 tonnes of vegetables, mainly tomatoes and chilli, to Pakistan via the Wagah border. This is the first time in almost two decades that Gujarat’s exporters have halted the supply of essential vegetables to Pakistan. The commission agents say they will not resume exports till the normalisation of relations.

The suspension in cotton trade comes at a time when Pakistan’s cotton crop has recorded an overall decrease of 15pc over the last year, adding to the industry’s woes. Pakistan, the world’s third-largest cotton consumer, starts importing from September, but this time there has been little activity so far.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year ending on March 31 in India, official trade between the two was $2.6bn with cotton being a major component. However, in the crop year that ended on September 30, Pakistan was India’s biggest cotton buyer after its own crop was hit by drought and whitefly pest. According to an estimate, Pakistan will need to import at least three million bales in 2016-17.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC), on Oct 7, estimated that the output for 2016-17 stood at 11.039m bales.Participants were informed that the lower output was mainly due to effects of climate change on the crop, besides pests like pink bollworm and whitefly. The crop output in Punjab is estimated at 7.3m bales, with each bale weighing 170 kilograms.The crop size of Sindh is estimated at 3.7m bales.

The representative of growers from Punjab agreed to the assessment whereas the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association chairman was of the opinion that the crop size in Punjab was about 7.5-8m bales. Cotton sowing has registered a decrease of 21pc in Punjab while it has risen by 2pc in Sindh. The crop size is assessed on the basis of data provided by provincial governments.

Meanwhile, Afghan President’s special envoy and Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, has refuted reports that Kabul has shut down the land route for Pakistani trucks going to Central Asian states through its territory. Ashraf Ghani had threatened, last month, to shut Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asian countries if it did not allow Afghan traders to use the Wagah border for trade with India. Pakistani trucks, the envoy says, can deliver transit goods directly to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan.

It is interesting to note that in a highly charged political atmosphere, trade in other commodity goods has not been affected. The inward flow of Indian goods into Karachi’s major commodity and grocery markets, in old city areas which form the hub of the country’s wholesale trade, continues uninterrupted without any increase in prices or shortage of goods.

Shopkeepers selling Indian cosmetics and jewellery are doing business as usual because of their smooth flow and easy availability. The war-like situation has not affected their business. Not only is the arrival of goods from India normal, even exports are taking place at the usual pace. Pulses, spices and dried fruits continue to land in Pakistan, with these items not having faced any shortage in the wholesale market so far.

Trade balance between the two countries is in favour of India. In 2015-2016, exports from Pakistan to India dropped to $400m from $415m in 2014-2015. India’s exports to Pakistan surged 27pc to $1.8bn over the same period.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Aamir Fayyaz says that since now the textile industry has become highly dependent on imported cotton, duties and taxes on import of cotton would make the entire value chain uncompetitive. The situation calls for the withdrawal of 4pc customs duty and 5pc sales tax on the import of cotton. He wants the government to resolve the textile industry’s issues and enable it to undertake investment worth $1bn per annum.

, , , , , ,

Oct
17

5804db2b052fe-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

An Indian film festival on Monday dropped a Pakistani film from its programme after protesters threatened to disrupt the screening in Mumbai.

Organisers of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival said they would not show the 1959 classic “Jago Hua Savera” (The Day Shall Dawn) following a complaint from an Indian NGO called Sangharsh.

“Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to programme ‘Jago Hua Savera’ as part of the Restored Classics Section,” said organisers of the festival in a statement released on Monday.

“Jago Hua Savera”, a black and white film, tells the story of a fishing village near Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh.

The move comes after a group of Indian cinemas said last week that they would not screen any films featuring Pakistani artists in protest at the raid on an army base in Indian-held Kashmir last month.

The ban by India’s Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association (COEA) applies to single screen cinemas in four states and is likely to affect the forthcoming release of movies “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, “Dear Zindagi” and “Raees”.

The ban came as Hindu nationalist groups pile pressure on the makers of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” to drop Pakistani actor Fawad Khan from the romantic drama film.

The fringe but noisy right-wing group Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has threatened to stall the October 28 release of the movie.

India blames Pakistan for the raid on September 18 which saw the Indian army respond with “surgical strikes”.

Following the militant attack the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, which represents a number of Hindi film industry employees, passed a motion banning Pakistani artists until relations between New Delhi and Islamabad improve.

, , , , , ,

Oct
09

I would definitely prefer to take somebody from my country for my movies, said the Happy New Year director

57f9ce9992074-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

Farah Khan doesn’t know what the big fuss about Pakistani actors is.

At a recent event in New Delhi, the Happy New Year director was asked her take on the ban on Pakistani artists and her point of view was clear.

“I think from now on, if you are saying we should not work with them, I say we have enough talent in our country and we should work with people from our country,” Farah said.

“What do we don’t have that they have? I think we are far better. So, we would work with our people. I would definitely prefer to take somebody from my country for my movies.”

However, coming to her Bollywood buds Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan’s rescue, she said that the ban should not extend to films that have completed production.

“I think there are a handful people, not even handful but may be two people we are talking about. They are not important in the scheme of things. When they did those movies, it wasn’t illegal to have Pakistani actors working in Indian movies. The movies were shot at considerable expense and hard work, I don’t think it is fair to ban those movies.”

, , , , , , ,

Oct
09

57f8ae992e930-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

SRINAGAR: Indian forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas Saturday as thousands carried the body of a young boy killed overnight during an anti-India protest in Srinagar.

Chanting slogans “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”, thousands of residents marched to the main Martyr’s Graveyard in Srinagar for the burial of the 12-year-old boy.

The boy was critically injured on Friday evening after he was hit by shotgun pellets all over his body and died at a hospital early Saturday.

Kashmiri Muslims women comfort wailing mother of Junaid Ahmed.— AP
Kashmiri Muslims women comfort wailing mother of Junaid Ahmed.— AP

Residents said the young student was hit inside his home compound, some 30 feet from clashes between protesters and government forces. Police say he was part of the clashes.

Police and paramilitary soldiers fired warning shots, pellets and tear gas, fearing the procession could become a larger rally seeking an end of Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region, said a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.

Clashes broke out as hundreds of young men hurled rocks at the troops while another group of mourners changed route to bury the dead.

On Friday, at least 50 people were injured during dozens of clashes as tens of thousands of Kashmiris protested against Indian rule.

Government forces continued firing shotguns to disperse angry crowds despite repeated warnings from India’s Home Ministry to minimise their use and widespread outcry against such weapons by local and international rights groups that have sought their ban. The pellets have killed at least six people and left hundreds of civilians with serious eye injuries, with dozens losing their eyesight.

Meanwhile, a police official was killed after suspected rebels fired at a police post in the region. Police official Reyaz Ahmed said Saturday that a group of militants appeared on the outskirts of southern Shopian town overnight and tried to snatch weapons from a police bunker.

He said the rebels sprayed gunfire after police resisted, leaving a policeman dead and two others wounded. The violence came as India-held Kashmir is experiencing its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the killing in July of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers.

The protests, and a sweeping military crackdown, have all but paralysed life in the region. More than 80 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, with hundreds among them blinded and maimed, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotgun pellets at rock-throwing protesters.

Two policemen have also been killed and hundreds of government forces injured in the clashes.

Most people in Indian-held Kashmir favour independence or a merger with Pakistan. A militant uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown since 1989 have killed more than 68,000 people.

, , , , ,

Oct
02

bbszsb3-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

Bollywood’s queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has been figuring in all the buzz thanks to her intimate scenes with Ranbir Kapoor in the upcoming film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, is now trending thanks to a supposed page out of her slam book. But before you say some serious throwback action happening here, take a pause.

It all started with the actress’ fan club posting a slambook page on its Twitter handle, which they claim to be filled by Aishwarya. They tweeted an image of the page with a post that read, “For those who don’t have it, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s handwritten slambook page,” and since then, Twitter hasn’t exhaled.

The slambook has quite a few questions and the actress seems to have answered them pretty well. On being asked what she digs, the global icon, who constantly has won million of hearts for her dignity and poise, wrote “Dignity! It’s rare hence priceless!”.

The actress will make you fall in love with her all over again — especially when you will read that she loves the idea of being in love and will fall for somebody who will lead her towards light, even in the dark.

And she did fall in love with Abhishek Bachchan, who we can assume to have become the torch bearer for this graceful lady. The slambook page further reveals that Aishwarya feels her strength comes from the honesty, love, and faith the few, but dear ones, have for her.

The page also reads that Aishwarya’s greatest necessity is not money, makeup or stardom but a hygienic environment. However, if you thought it was her personal slambook, it wasn’t.

It was actually a feature from entertainment magazine Stardust. The long-running ‘Favorite Things’ feature has interviewed most of Bollywood.

On the work front, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who made a comeback in the industry after the gap of five years with Jazbaa, is gearing up for the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which also stars Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor along with Fawad Khan, who plays an interesting cameo in the film.

The film, directed by Karan Johar, will release on October 28.

bbccqqd-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

 

, , , , , , , ,

Sep
30

57ee7d714b6b7-downloaded-with-1stbrowser

ISLAMBAD: India’s decision to derail the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit effectively contradicts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to fight against poverty in the region, said the Foreign Office (FO) on Friday.

“India’s decision to abstain from the summit on the basis of unfounded assumptions on the Uri incident is a futile effort to divert attention of the world from the atrocities perpetrated by India in occupied Kashmir,” said Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson for the Foreign Office.

The FO also said Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella and it is committed to Saarc objectives for promoting the welfare of people in the South Asian region.

“Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella can be pursued more vigorously,” added Zakaria.

Read: Modi’s new battle lines

New dates for hosting the 19th Saarc summit will be announced soon after consultation “with the Chair of Saarc”.

“Accordingly, we have conveyed the same to the Prime Minister of Nepal, the current Chair of Saarc.”

The FO spokesperson stated that all preparations for holding a successful summit had been made, and the prime minister of Pakistan was looking forward to host the delegations.

India pulls out, others follow suit

Earlier this week, India decided to pull out of the upcoming Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad. The announcement came through the Twitter account of India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

The Indian statement added that under the prevailing circumstances, India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.

Following India’s announcement, Bangladesh said it was also pulling out.

Afghanistan and Bhutan – both close India allies – also followed suit. The FO termed India’s attitude as negative.

According to the eight-member body’s charter, the conference is postponed should any member state decline to participate.

Soaring tensions

In one of the worst episodes of cross-border firing along the Line of Control, at least two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed as Indian troops opened fire on the first line of defence.

India also claimed to have performed a surgical strike by crossing the disputed boundary. The Indian claims were rubbished by Pakistan Army.

ater it emerged that an Indian soldier was captured by the Pakistan army, while Indian soldiers were also killed in the episode of firing across the LoC.

An Indian army official based in New Delhi said, “It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control”.

, , , , , , , , , , ,