MAP: AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN

Written by admin on Saturday, February 24th, 2018

we are out of office during the weekend

On our return on Monday we will publish our selection of articles.

Afghanistan and Pakistan

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IN THE NEWS: TAPI ‘A MILESTONE’IN THE COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT (FEBRUARY 22, 2018)

Written by admin on Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

TAPI ‘A Milestone’ In The Country’s Development
SOURCE: TOLO News
Thursday, February 22, 2018
By MIR HAIDARSHAH OMID

*Religious scholars and industrialists have said the Afghan nation needs to be mobilized to support this important project

While Afghanistan prepares for the start of construction of the Afghanistan section of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline in Herat province, economic commentators on Wednesday welcomed the project and said it was a milestone in the country’s economic development.

Residents across the nation have described TAPI project as a major breakthrough in Afghanistan’s economy along with that of the region.
They said the implementation of major projects such as TAPI will help lay the foundation for a sustainable economy.

Meanwhile, industrialists and religious scholars have also said the Afghan people in general must be mobilized to support the TAPI project.

“TAPI project is crucial for poverty alleviation and job creation in our country, we strongly support it,” said a resident of Kabul, Naqibullah.

“This project connects the countries, all people must support it, because it is in the interests of all Afghanistan,” another Kabul resident, Khairuddin, said.

“Today the industrialists and the people of Afghanistan are waiting for the inauguration of the project. This is beyond a project, this will lead to peace and stability in the region particularly in Afghanistan,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, head of Afghanistan Industrialists Union.
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IN THE NEWS: FOR PML-N, SHEHBAZ IS THE OBVIOUS CHOICE (FEBRUARY 22, 2018)

Written by admin on Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

For PML-N, Shehbaz is the obvious choice
SOURCE: The Express Tribune
Thursday, February 22, 2018
By RAMEEZ KHAN and SARDAR SIKANDER

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif is considered to be an obvious choice for PML-N president, while Senior Vice President Yaqoob Khan Naseer is expected to be elevated as acting president of the party, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Immediately after Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as party president, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz went into consultative mode.  A high-level party meeting was called in Lahore at Jati Umra presided over by the deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan and now the disqualified president of PML-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and another high-level meeting was called at Islamabad by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, both to review the situation, according to PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the decision of the court to disqualify Nawaz Sharif from party presidency was biased and against the law.

Is Nawaz League turning into a Shehbaz League?

He said that parliament has a right to draft legislation and the courts cannot take away that right. He claimed that such a decision against Nawaz Sharif was expected and will have no impact on the party. He said that Nawaz Sharif was, is, and will continue to be the leader of the party and that any leader selected to fill the top slot would follow his lead.

He said that previously when Nawaz was disqualified from party presidency, he chose Shehbaz Sharif. “Shehbaz remains the natural successor and continues to be the prime choice of the party for the slot,” he explained, adding that the decision will be ratified during a general council meeting in the next few days.

PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq said the wind was moving in Shehbaz Sharif’s direction, but no formal decision has been taken yet. He said that general council session would be called soon to ratify the party’s decision.
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IN THE NEWS: U.S. MOTION TO PUT PAKISTAN ON TERROR FINANCING WATCHLIST FAILS AMID DIVISION (FEBRUARY 21, 2018)

Written by admin on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

US motion to put Pakistan on terror financing watchlist fails amid division
SOURCE: Daily Times
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

PARIS: A US-sponsored resolution to consider placing Pakistan on a watchlist of countries that financially aid terrorism remained inconclusive after a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded on “no consensus”, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif informed late Tuesday.

The minister confirmed on Twitter that “no consensus [could be reached] for nominating Pakistan” to be added to the FATF’s list of nations that monetarily support terrorism.

Expressing gratitude at the decision, Asif said Pakistan’s efforts paid off and the convening states proposed a “three months pause” and asked for the Asia Pacific Group, which is part of FATF, to consider “another report in June”.

“Grateful to friends who helped,” the minister added.

FATF is a global body that combats terrorist financing and money laundering. Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the FATF, a measure that officials fear could hurt its economy.

FATF member states have been meeting this week in Paris, where it was expected that they would decide on the US motion, backed by Britain, France and Germany, to have Pakistan added to the so-called “grey list” of countries which are not doing enough to comply with terrorist-funding regulations.

‘FATF’s deliberations confidential until made public’

In Washington, a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, could not confirm that FATF deferred action for three months, pointing out that the organisation’s deliberations are confidential until it makes them public.
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IN THE NEWS: INDIA’S SECRET WAR (FEBRUARY 21, 2018)

Written by admin on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

India’s secret war
SOURCE”Frontline
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (Posted)
By PRAVEEN SWAMI

FOR six hours, the hired car had driven through a forest of shadows, cast by the mountains of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province—for generations, a refuge for smugglers, insurgents and spies. Heading towards Saravan, a town of 50,000 some 20 kilometres from the border with Pakistan, the car was carrying a businessman from Mumbai to a meeting. The men he wanted to meet were waiting, but there were others, too: like every spy story, this one ended in betrayal.

India knows something of what happened next: Kulbhushan Jadhav is now on death row, awaiting execution, after a hurried trial by a military court in Pakistan which found him guilty of espionage.

Early in January, Jadhav appeared on Pakistani television, insisting he was still “a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy”—a statement that contradicts the government of India’s statements and directly implicates it in his activities.

Precisely who Jadhav was and why he ended up where he did remain profoundly opaque. Basic questions remain unanswered; official documents are sealed. But interviews with over 10 diplomats and intelligence and naval officials from three countries make it clear that the governments of both India and Pakistan have been economical with the truth.

The implications of these questions go far beyond Jadhav’s fate, for behind the case lies a secret war that may claim hundreds, even thousands, of lives.

Ever since 2013, India has secretly built up a covert action programme against Pakistan, seeking to retaliate against jehadists and deter their sponsors in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and now by Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW) Anil Dhasmana, the programme has registered unprecedented success, hitting hard against organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Muhammad. But the story of the man on death row illustrates that this secret war is not risk-free. Lapses in tradecraft and judgment, inevitable parts of any human enterprise, can inflict harm far greater than the good they seek to secure.
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IN THE NEWS: CONTACTS WITH BALOCH NATIONALS – CHINA NOT BYPASSING PAKISTAN GOVT (FEBRUARY 20, 2018)

Written by admin on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Contacts with Baloch Nationals: China not bypassing Pakistan govt
SOURCE: The Nation
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
By SHAFQAT ALI

*FO says CPEC security Pakistan’s responsibility

ISLAMABAD – China is not bypassing the Pakistan government by holding talks with the Baloch nationalist leaders, top officials here said Monday.

These officials said Pakistan had no reservation, if China was in contact with Baloch or provincial leaders in other parts of the country on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that so many Chinese people were attached with the CPEC so “it is natural to be in contact.”

An official said the contacts were for discussing the CPEC rather than seeking security from the tribal leaders.

“For security, we [the government] are available. They [the Chinese] can have as many meetings with people as they like. They are our friends,” he maintained.

Another official said the Chinese people who were in contact with the Baloch leaders were normally accompanied by the Pakistani government representatives. “It’s not that they go straight and meet the Baloch nationalists. [The] CPEC is for the whole of Pakistan and everyone is involved [in discussions],” he added.

The official said the security of the CPEC projects and the people working on those projects was the responsibility of Pakistan. “We are providing best security to them [the Chinese workers],” he said.
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IN THE NEWS: AGITATOR AT LARGE – TAHIRUL QADRI (FEBRUARY 20, 2018)

Written by admin on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Agitator at large: Tahirul Qadri
SOURCE: Dawn (Herald)
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tahirul Qadri is a man of many hats. Priest, protester, politician, public orator. He wears each with the same conviction. He weaves in and out of Parliament, the country and the political landscape effortlessly.

Well, almost. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong. In 2014, the Punjab police tried to remove barriers on the road leading to the Lahore headquarters of Qadri’s Minhajul Quran educational complex. A violent clash between law enforcement and protesters resulted in over a dozen deaths in addition to over 100 people sustaining injuries. Qadri’s relationship with the Sharifs, whom he had once led in prayers in a Model Town mosque in the mid-1980s, had come full circle — the battle that had begun since their split in the late 1980s taking a bloody turn.

Born in Jhang to a respected prayer leader and preacher, Qadri – or Abdul Shakoor as he was named – got his religious spurs under the tutelage of Tahir Allauddin Al-Gilani, a Sufi saint and custodian of the shrine of Ghous-e-Azam Abdul Qadir Gilani in Baghdad. He then went on to study law at Punjab University. In 1981, he founded Minhajul Quran, a non-profit providing education, religious and cultural services. Qadri was known for his anti-jihad fatwas, a perceived antidote to the belligerence of militant Islamic outfits and their ideologies.

Qadri has also always harboured political ambitions. He founded his own political party, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, just in time for the 1990 general elections. The party managed to field popular personalities such as former Pakistani cricket team captain Fazal Mahmood. But it did not win a single seat. Disillusioned, Qadri turned his focus on his religious and scholarly endeavours before returning to the ballot in 2002. The lone seat won by the party belonged to Qadri himself.

The constituency, NA-127 in Lahore, interestingly has around 30,000 non-Muslim registered voters, mostly Christians. The Sharif brothers, in exile in Saudi Arabia at the time, would’ve done well to keep an eye on Qadri’s cajoling and alliance-making capabilities.
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IN THE NEWS: SOUTH ASIA MUST UNITE AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE (FEBRUARY 19, 2018)

Written by admin on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

South Asia must unite against climate change
SOURCE: Daily Times
Monday, February 19, 2018
By M ARSHED RAFIQ

*The emerging climate risks unfold an opportunity for cross-border cooperation and sharing of knowledge and expertise

“Ignorance is always afraid of Change”, said Jawaharlal Nehru, the founding father of modern-day India. However, ignorance is not afraid of climate change in parts of Pakistan, where beliefs rule over science and policy to deal with hazards and risks.

“We don’t know what climate is. Even if there is a change, it is due to our sins. God save us all,” says Barkat Massih in Christian Colony of Lahore, who was one of the respondents to a recent survey conducted by Urban Institute, a Washington based think tank to evaluate the effects of climate change on urban slum dwellers. Fifty percent of the survey respondents belonged to Pakistan and only seven percent of them “felt” the effects of climate change against 95 percent in Dhaka and 85 percent in Delhi.

Ashraf Ali who is a 50-year-old Rickshaw puller in Dhaka feels that seasons are not as diverse as they were in his childhood. “Rain comes earlier and so does winter. The length of winter has shortened. Sometimes, cold weather comes untimely.”

Yashpal, a 24 old slum dweller of Hanuman Camp slum in Delhi, also thinks the same. For him, summers have become hotter, and winters have become warmer and last for a shorter span of months. “The flooding of these slums has become an annual phenomenon for most residents. During rains, all our work stops for at least a month. All the water from this drain is filled up here until our knees. It causes all sorts of diseases too”, he laments. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: INDIA-IRAN SIGN 9 MoUs, AGREE ON CHABAHAR, AFGHANISTAN & MORE (FEBRUARY 19, 2018)

Written by admin on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

India-Iran Sign 9 MoUs, Agree on Chabahar, Afghanistan & More
SOURCE: Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Monday, February 19, 2018

NEW DELHI – India and Iran have agreed to expand connectivity beyond Chabahar Port, not only to link it with a Railway line to Zahidan, but to connect it with the 7,200-km-long International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) — a multi-mode network for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

In a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, it was noted that Iran will hold an early meeting of the INSTC Coordination Meeting in Tehran. In a joint statement issued by the two countries here at the end of deliberations, both sides while recognising the challenges of terrorism, also expressed the need to identify and address conditions conducive to terrorism as well as extremist ideologies.

Both countries also agreed to intensify and diversify the existing high-level engagement and decided to convene within this year the meeting of the India-Iran Joint Commission and all its working groups, Foreign Office Consultations as well as a dialogue between institutions on defence and national security of the two countries. President Rouhani also acknowledged the aspiration of India to play a greater role in international fora. (more…)

IN THE NEWS: CHASING DIRTY MONEY (FEBRUARY 18, 2018)

Written by admin on Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Chasing dirty money
SOURCE: The News on Sunday
Sunday, February 18, 2018
By ZEESHAN HAIDER

World over, crackdown on dirty money is intensifying each passing day.

It is not just the United States and its European allies which have stepped up their war on black money and are tightening their laws to stop the unbridled spread of this money into their economies, but they are also putting pressure on nations across the world, including their Gulf friends, to heavily scrutinise their exchequers for such money.

The United Arab Emirates has been regarded as one of the choicest destinations for keeping such money, but in recent years it has introduced strict laws to discourage flow of black money into the country.

Under the new laws, the Emirati banks have been authorised to quiz non-resident account holders about their tax details in their countries of origin as well as source of the money deposited in the accounts held with them.

For long, there has been talk that influential Pakistani leaders have also accumulated such money which was believed to have either been stashed into foreign bank accounts or was used to purchase expensive properties abroad.

Pakistanis could still easily recall reports about London’s Surrey Palace and Swiss bank accounts allegedly owned by Asif Ali Zardari which dominated national politics and media in the 1990s. (more…)