Tag Archives: Asia

‘Muslims are now considered internal enemies in India’

‘Hidutva is xenophobic’: Javed Jabbar argues Hindutva was fascism before Hitler and Mussolini

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) recently held a seminar on ‘The Status of Minorities in India’ . Former Senator Javed Jabbar and academic Prof Dr Mohammad Waseem were two speakers who shed light on the subject. Speaking on the occasion, Javed Jabbar articulated his thoughts brilliantly by stating at the beginning that in India there’s ‘unclear majority that imperils clear minority’. He said the three concepts of Hindu, Hinduism and Hindutva are three distinctive, separate concepts. The word Hindu does not occur in any of the three sacred texts of Hinduism. For hundreds of years there was no concept of who is a Hindu because the people living in South Asia were driven by caste. 

At the same time, another odyssey began, which was the quest for Hindu identity because Hindus now had to decide ‘we have always been a majority, how do we now acquire power and become the ruling majority over the minority that has ruled us for 800 years.’ So out of the two odysseys, the Hindu one took a regressive turn.

He argued 1857 is normally considered the tragic end of Muslim rule. “Tragic yes, but it was the end of monarchical Muslim Mughal rule due to the callous murder of the two sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar by a British officer. When that happened, 800 to 900 years of certain conditioning of the Muslim psyche had to begin a new odyssey. ‘How do we now become a minority?’ He said:

Mr Jabbar said Hindutva is not a belief in Hinduism. It is very specific. You can only be a Hindu if your parents are Hindu or if you’re born in what they consider is Hindustan. “This was fascism before Hitler and Mussolini… Hindutva is not a product of the BJP-RSS extremism alone, it incorporates the latent covert trends running through a certain segment of India’s polity for several decades.

‘Hidutva is xenophobic’

Dr Mohammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences, said elections mean that you count every citizen belonging to multiple cultures. Earlier majoritarianism in India was secular, but now it’s faith-based. The ghettoisation of Muslims has taken place in India because of the BJP. Muslims now tend to live and stick together. 

He pointed out that in India, Muslims are now considered internal enemy. As a result the minority is otherised.

Dr Waseem said that all of this has given birth to vigilante culture which is part of the neo-normal politics in India. Gao raksha incidents are an example. All nationalisms invent their sacred points. In India, the force of law has been converted into the law of force. A law enforcement agency like the police takes Hindus’ side, using the law of force against Muslims. “Muslims are labelled Pakistanis and Pakistan is enemy country.”

He said Hindutva is xenophobic in nature. Patterns of resistance have emerged, though, such as new generations of Muslims are now documenting what’s happening. He added Muslim future in India is far from right.

Earlier, Dr Masuma Hasan welcomed the guests to the seminar and introduced the speakers to them.

Published in Dawn 29 May 2022

Leave a comment

Filed under Discussion, India, Politics

50 Years Later: The Future of Pakistan-Bangladesh Relations

16 December 1971 is a historic date for Pakistan and Bangladesh, when Pakistan was dismembered and Bangladesh formally became an independent and sovereign state. The date is etched in the minds of millions of people in Pakistan and Bangladesh. History has few parallels to the events of 1971, which led to the second partition of the subcontinent and changed the political landscape of South Asia. Regarded as a civil war, there were calls for accountability in Pakistan, however it is celebrated as the war of liberation in Bangladesh. Unlike most other people who have separated, it was the majority population which chose to part ways with the minority. Looking back, 50 years later, the unusual structural configuration of the Pakistani state may have contributed to its break-up, with two wings separated by over 1000 miles of unfriendly territory.

The majority homogeneous population of the eastern wing, far distanced from the seat of government, felt marginalized and was denied power, in spite of victory in the general elections of 1970. The tragedy of 1971, steeped in violence and bloodshed, was avoidable and all informed opinion had pleaded for dialogue and a political solution. However, politicians, historians and analysts from the two sides have given opposing narratives of the tragedy, and to this day, both Pakistan and Bangladesh are dealing with the collateral damage of the trauma, both physical and emotional.

In the last 50 years, much water has flown under the bridges of the Indus and Brahmaputra. The global and regional landscape has changed, with a multi-polar world, the phenomenal rise and outreach of China, an assertive India, and the continuing role of the United States. In the regional context, rising from the ashes, Bangladesh has made remarkable economic progress.

Whatever the irritants of the past, the people of the two countries share a common historical identity, strive for the same values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and freedom of expression. Both countries are members of SAARC and other international organizations and they vote on the same side on many international issues. For the future of Pakistan- Bangladesh relations, there are many positive trends. It is a time to reflect and move forward.

Ambassador Riaz Khokhar

Speakers’ Profiles

Ambassador Riaz Khokhar is a former career diplomat who served as the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan from June 2002 to February 2005. Few Pakistani diplomats have worked on as many important assignments as Ambassador Khokhar. He was Pakistan’s envoy to Dhaka, New Delhi, Washington DC and Beijing before leading the top post of the Foreign Service of Pakistan. He also served as adviser to prime ministers Benazir Bhutto, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Nawaz Sharif and was appointed as Special Envoy on Inter-Faith Dialogue by prime minister Shaukat Aziz.

Dr Moonis Ahmar

Dr Moonis Ahmar is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, and Meritorious Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. He was also Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi and is Director, Program on Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. His field of specialization is conflict and security studies, focussing on the South and Central Asian regions. He is the author of several books on different themes of International Relations.

Syed Sikander Mehdi

Syed Sikander Mehdi is former Chairperson of the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. He has taught International Relations and Peace Studies at Dhaka University, Karachi University, and universities in Austria and Spain. He was visiting research fellow at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway; Henry Stimson Centre, Washington DC; and Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. He has published on peace education and culture, nuclear proliferation, refugees and migration, and war and conflict.

Mr M. Shahiduzzaman

Mr M. Shahiduzzaman is a former Professor of the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka. He completed his post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Center for International Affairs, in 1978 with late Prof Norman Palmer. He completed his Master’s degree in International Studies from The Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies in 1976-77 and was awarded Outstanding Foreign Student of the Year-1977. He also lectured at the Naval Post- Graduate School, Monterey, California, USA in 1976.

Dr Kaiser Bengali

Dr Kaiser Bengali is an economist with over 45 years’ experience in teaching, research and policy advice in Pakistan. He was Consultant for Economic Affairs and Head of the Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit, Government of Balochistan, Adviser to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Planning & Development, Managing Director of the Social Policy & Development Centre, Karachi, and the first head of the Benazir Income Support Programme. He has taught at the Applied Economics Research Centre, University of Karachi, and the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology.

Dr Rounaq Jahan

Professor Rounaq Jahan is a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Dhaka, former Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University (1990-2010), and Professor of Political Science at Dhaka University (1970- 1982). She headed the Women’s programs at UN Asia-Pacific Development Center, Kuala Lumpur (1982-84) and the International Labour Organisation (1985-89). She was Research Fellow at Harvard, Chicago and Boston universities and Rajni Kothari Professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, in 2010. She is the author of Pakistan: Failure in National Integration and several books on the politics of Bangladesh.

Ambassador Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui

Ambassador Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui was a career diplomat who served as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh from 2016 to 2018. He also served as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Kenya and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to UNEP & UN-Habitat. He was Director General (Afghanistan and ECO) and Additional Foreign Secretary (Europe) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. He is currently working as Adviser – Corporate Affairs at United Marine Agencies (UMA).

Dr Masuma Hasan

Dr Masuma Hasan is Chairperson of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, President of the Board of Governors of Aurat Foundation, and Syndicate member and Selection Board member of the University of Karachi. She was Cabinet Secretary to the Government of Pakistan; Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, IAEA, UNIDO, and all other international agencies in Vienna where she chaired the Group of 77; ambassador to Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia; Director of the National Institute of Public Administration Karachi.

Greetings from The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs

You are cordially invited to attend our Conference on 50 Years Later: The Future of Pakistan-Bangladesh Relations on Thursday, 16 December 2021 from 11:00 am to 4:35 pm (Pakistan Standard Time).

We welcome your physical presence at the Library of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs to participate in the event. All Covid-19 SOPs will be strictly followed. 

You may also join the conference on Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87808213923?pwd=Nnc1QjFuVTE4NGNFV1NPSUFCVlNpQT09

Webinar ID:                         878 0821 3923

Webinar Passcode:              171111

The concept note, programme, and speakers’ profiles are attached.

Dr Tanweer Khalid
Honorary Secretary (She/Her)

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs
Aiwan–e–Sadar Road
Karachi, Pakistan

50 Years Later: The Future of Pakistan-Bangladesh Relations

Thursday, 16 December 2021 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Registration 11:00 am – 11:45 am

Inaugural Session

11:45 am – 12:00 pm
Purpose of the Conference
Dr Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
Keynote Address
Ambassador Riaz Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.

Session I
A Time to Reflect

12:30 pm – 12:35 pm
Chair: Dr Moonis Ahmer, Meritorious Professor of International Relations and former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Karachi.

12:35 pm – 12:55 pm
Remembering Bangladesh in Pakistan
Syed Sikander Mehdi, former Professor and Chairperson of the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi.

12:55 pm – 01:15 pm
Removing Stereotypes for Future of Pakistan-Bangladesh Relations
Mr M. Shahiduzzaman, former Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka.

01:15 pm – 01:45 pm

Question and Answer Session

1:45 pm – 1:55 pm

Concluding remarks by the Chair

Lunch
01:55 pm – 03:00 pm

Session II
Positive Trends for the Future

03:00 pm – 03:05 pm
Chair: Dr Kaiser Bengali, Economist, former Consultant for Economic Affairs and Head of the Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit, Government of Balochistan, and Adviser to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Planning & Development.

03:05 pm – 03:25 pm
50 Years of Bangladesh: Achievements and Challenges
Dr Rounaq Jahan, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, former Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, USA, and author of Pakistan: Failure in National Integration.

03:25 pm – 03:45 pm
Memories of Bangladesh and its Transformation
Ambassador Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui, former High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, and Adviser, Corporate Affairs, United Marine Agencies (UMA).

03:45 pm – 04:15 pm

Question and Answer Session

04:15 pm – 04:25 pm

Concluding remarks by the Chair

04:25 pm – 04:35 pm

Farewell Remarks
Dr Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.

Refreshments 04:35 pm – 05:00 pm

Leave a comment

Filed under Bangladesh, Events, India, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon

Sacrifices in Kashmir will not go wasted

‘India was so afraid of Geelani that they buried the 92-year-old man clandestinely’

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) organised a webinar on the passing of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the future of the Kashmiri struggle on Wednesday. Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away on September 1. “A popular leader of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Pakistan, he was an icon of the Kashmiri struggle. Syed Ali Shah Geelani wanted Kashmir to become part of Pakistan. He was awarded Nishan-i-Pakistan by the government of Pakistan,” said the acclaimed chairperson of PIIA Dr Masuma Hasan, former Ambassador of Pakistan to IAEA, Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia and former Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan.

Sardar Masood Khan, former president, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, spoke about the legacy of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “His funeral was very symbolic because it told you all about the Kashmiri movement and fear of Kashmiri leaders in Indian-occupied Kashmir. You have this 92-year-old leader who dies and the Indian government is so afraid of him that they bury him clandestinely. The Kashmiri people wanted him buried in the martyrs’ graveyard there but it was denied to him as government forces confiscated his body which had been draped with a Pakistan flag by his family,” he said.

“Following what happened, writer Mirza Waheed has provided a sharp comparison of Geelani and Sheikh Abdullah who had gone into agreement with the Indian government. Abdullah’s grave is guarded to keep it from being attacked by the people of Kashmir who were enslaved as a result of his actions. And there is Geelani’s grave, which is guarded for reasons that are the opposite of that. The government doesn’t want them to flock there to pay tribute to their hero,” he said.

“So afraid is the Indian government of the majority of Kashmiris who hate India that they are transplanting people from other parts of India and giving them domiciles and the right to buy land there in order to change the demographics of Kashmir,” he said.

“Geelani devoted his life to the people of Kashmir and the Kashmir cause. He never abandoned his stand like the Maharaja of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah who hoodwinked the Kashmiris and compromised. He was instrumental in bringing up the group of people to which Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also belong. He said that the people of Kashmir have the right to self-determination, for Geelani was a consensus builder. His kind of clarity, conviction and sense of direction you won’t see now,” he said.

“He was a pro-Pakistan leader, an ideologue who was never confused. He believed in the ideology of Pakistan and the two-nation theory even though he did not live in Pakistan. I salute him for giving a slogan ‘Hum Pakistani hain, Pakistan hamara hai’ to the Kashmiri youth. He leaves behind a legacy and a vacuum,” he said.

Afzal Khan, a Labour Party member of the House of Commons, UK said that Geelani stood out for his consistency of thought and steadfastness. “He stood out for his struggle, for his love and commitment to Pakistan, which was evident from his wish to be draped in the Pakistani flag after his death,” he said.

“Just hours after his death, police and paramilitary forces set up check-posts and blocked phone service as his body was taken away from his family. This kind of action says a lot about India,” he said.

Speaking about what is going on in the UK as regards Kashmir, he said that Kashmir is on the high priority list of British Muslims. “The roots of conflict lie in Britain’s colonial past. The UK should help facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan and also urge India to cooperate with the United Nations. The UN resolution is already there and agreed upon. We need to push for its implementation,” he said.

‘Entire villages’ women are raped’

Naseema Wani, former member of the Legislative Assembly, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, spoke about the struggle of Kashmiri women.

“I originally belong to the India-occupied side of Kashmir. I migrated to this side as a child,” she said.

“The suffering on that side never stops. It is continuous. We are seeing the fifth generation suffer now. And in any conflict zone, women are the worst target. Women are also targeted to break the spirit of the freedom fighters. They are physically abused. There are full villages where the women are raped.

“Kashmiri women have also sacrificed their sons and daughters and their husbands. Many don’t even know if their husbands, taken away years ago, are even alive. They are known as half widows. she concluded:

They suffer politically, too, like Asiya Andrabi and Mushaal Malik.

These women lead from the front. Today even schoolgirls in India-occupied Kashmir have picked up stones along with their school bags. They are all fighters. Their sacrifices will not go wasted.

Published in Dawn 17 September 2021, minor editing by editor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discussion, Events, India, Pakistan, PIIA, UK

Experts think Taliban government will give peace to Afghans despite challenges

At a webinar on ‘Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: Past, Present and Future’, organised by the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Tuesday, experts said Pakistan will not be receiving as many Afghan refugees as it did in the past and so we should be patient and accommodating in the interest of maintaining good relations with the Afghan people in current times. Pakistan has hosted one of the world’s largest refugee populations for over four decades. In successive waves, refugees from Afghanistan have sought shelter inside Pakistan which, over the years, has hosted millions of Afghan refugees. It is estimated that three million Afghan refugees still reside in Pakistan but according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, only 1.4m are registered. 

Former ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan and former chief commissioner for Afghan refugees in Islamabad Rustam Shah Mohmand provided an analytical overview of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

“The upheaval in Afghanistan resulted in the pouring in of thousands of refugees in Pakistan and Iran in the 1980s. At the time, there was much support for them. And the military regime in Pakistan also used it as an opportunity to legalise its rule,” Ambassador Mohmand said. 

‘We shouldn’t expect more than a few thousand refugees from Afghanistan unless there is civil war there’ 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Discussion, Events, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, Politics, Refugees, UK, United States

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: Webinar on 31 August 2021

The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban after two decades has left the world stunned and the UK rushed to airlift more than 4,000 UK nationals and Afghan citizens, while Joe Biden intends to stick to the 31 August deadline. These events show that the “war on terror” has been a complete failure. Furthermore, pumping a trillion dollars in the Afghan National Army (ANA) was a complete waste of money. It appears to have been wishful thinking that the ANA would fight against Islamic militancy and its soldiers either deserted or joined the Taliban and 20 years of western efforts to build a stable state in Afghanistan quickly faded away as puppet government of Ashraf Ghani disintegrated in a matter of days. 

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) is organising a webinar on Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: Past, Present, and Future on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (PST). Joining link and details are below. Pakistan has hosted one of the world’s largest refugee populations for over four decades. In successive waves, refugees from Afghanistan have sought shelter inside Pakistan which, over the years, has hosted millions of Afghan refugees. It is estimated that 3 million Afghan refugees still reside in Pakistan but according to the UNHCR, only 1.4 million are registered and the humanitarian assistance provided by Pakistan for over four decades has made a significant impact on its economy and social life and on its strained resources.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Citizenship, Discussion, Europe, Events, ISIS, Islam, Pakistan, PIIA, Refugees, Taliban, UK, United States

‘The current Afghan state is finished’

News article: webinar on the topic ‘Afghanistan at the Crossroads’ 

Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Washington, was the first of the three main speakers. He said he was a journalist with the Mujahideen in the late 1980s and then briefly on the government side. He has visited Afghanistan intermittently since then, so his association with the country goes back 34 years. In his view what is happening seems to be in accordance with certain basic patterns of modern Afghan history; above all, the failure to establish a modern state, whether by Afghans themselves or outside forces. Mr Lieven said: “It is my sense that the current Afghan state is finished. It may last for longer than some people expect, but according to independent analysts 197 district centres have fallen to the Taliban since May.

Much will depend upon whether the US will continue airstrikes to defend the main cities, but I don’t think that will be enough. If patterns of Afghan history are anything to go by, the collapse of the state, when it comes, may come very quickly and unexpectedly. The reason is, as we saw in 1992, Afghan society is [in] a kind of process of constant conversation and negotiation. In the late 1980s it was common knowledge that there were endless negotiations between themselves and local state garrisons.”He said, on the other hand, we will see in certain areas that certain ethno-religious minority groups, notably the Hazaras and the Panjshiris, will not surrender to the Taliban. Therefore, the subsequent history of Afghanistan will be determined by the following questions:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia

PIIA Seminar on Emerging Geostrategic Contestation in the Asia-Pacific region and Pakistan: Press Coverage

Ambassador Salman Bashir said Modi has tarnished India’s reputation as a secular democracy

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs recently hosted a Seminar and Webinar titled, “Emerging Geostrategic Contestation in Asia-Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan” which was personally attended by former ambassadors, members of the armed forces of Pakistan, members of the judiciary, academicians, eminent scholars, and members of the PIIA. The event was live-streamed on Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook. We provide a roundup of the news reports on the seminar. 

Retired Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi, who inaugurated the event, said in his address that Pakistan had always punched above its weight. “We have always been involved in somebody else’s game, somebody else’s war, considering ourselves as the key player in those events. In pre-colonial times we were fighting the Russian Empire, fighting for the British or fighting for somebody or the other. After independence there were times when we were looking at CENTO and sometimes at SEATO, and then we saw ourselves in the middle of the Gulf War, in the global war on terrorism, etc … while Kashmir burns. “So what is the way? One way is that we become an island and look after ourselves or [the other way is] become part of the global discourse and be relevant. There are some things that we cannot ignore and Asia-Pacific is one such thing,” he said. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under China, Discussion, Human Rights, India, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, PIIA, Politics, United States

Emerging Geostrategic Contestation in Asia-Pacific and Pakistan

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) recently hosted a Seminar and Webinar titled, “Emerging Geostrategic Contestation in Asia-Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan” on 3 February 2021.  The event was inaugurated by Lt. General (R) Tariq Waseem Ghazi. The speakers at the Seminar included Ambassador Salman Bashir, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and High Commissioner of Pakistan to India; Rear Admiral (R) Pervaiz Asghar, Adviser and Honorary Fellow, National Centre for Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University; Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies and former Foreign Secretary; and Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. 

The two sessions of the Seminar were chaired by Dr Masuma Hasan, Chairman, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs and Ambassador Syed Hasan Habib, Senior Fellow, Centre for Area and Policy Studies, Institute of Business Management, Karachi. In her welcome address, Dr Hasan mentioned that the focus of the Seminar would be upon how Pakistan can promote its interests, the challenges it faces, and the opportunities available for Pakistan in the emerging dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Discussion, Events, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, PIIA, Policymaking, Politics

How will a Biden administration handle the Israel-Palestine conflict?

After four years of evangelical solidarity with the settler movement, How will a Biden administration handle the Israel-Palestine conflict?

As of January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden is officially the 46th President of the United States of America. So far, his first few days in office have been promising; the US has re-joined the Paris Climate Agreement, the World Health Organization, and halted construction on Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Those of us who have, over the past four years, warily watched the Trump administration throw its full weight behind the right wing government in Tel Aviv have a pressing question of our own to ask: what role will a Biden administration play in the longstanding conflict? 2020 was, by all accounts, an eventful year for Israel. Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu formed a coalition government in May 2020, after three successive elections over eighteen months repeatedly resulted in a stalemate between the former IDF general and the leader of the Likud party. But the uneasy power-sharing agreement between the former-political-adversaries-turned-coalition-partners turned out to be even more short-lived than many had expected.

As of December 22nd 2020, the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) stands dissolved, after lawmakers failed to pass the bi-annual state budget proposed in the coalition agreement signed between Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’ Blue and White. This year on March 23rd, Israeli citizens will be heading to the polls to vote in their fourth election in two years. That’s the word on Israel’s domestic front. In one of the more rabble-rousing developments of 2020, four Arab states – the UAE, Sudan, Bahrain and Morocco – took the plunge to formally recognize Israel. The peace deals, termed the “Abraham Accords” by the Trump White House, were mediated by the Trump administration during their final months in office. The name also serves as a nod to the former administration’s ties with the Evangelical community, who accounted for a sizeable portion of Trump’s vote base in 2016 and donate generously to the GOP. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Discussion, Human Rights, Iran, Israel, Pakistan Horizon, Palestine, Politics, The Middle East, Trump, United States

‘There can be Arab Spring 2.0’

The issue of Palestine cannot be ignored by having deals

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) organised a webinar on Saturday on ‘US-brokered agreement between UAE, Bahrain and Israel’. Dr Seyed Mohammed Kazem Sajjadpour, president of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the accord or deal could be analysed as ABC — A (American problematic); B (betrayal); and C (composition of forces). It’s an American project mostly oriented towards American election, a psychological ploy. There has been no achievement for Trump in the last four years in foreign policy. The accord is addressed for a special American constituency based on religious reading.

“Why are they calling it Abraham [Accords]?” They look at Israel with a Biblical sense. There’s a link between, Pompeo, Jared Kushner and that constituency. American policy in the Middle East was in limbo and the agreement is reflective of a very deep crisis of America in the region, he added. On the second point, he said there were contacts between smaller states and Zionist entity in the past, it’s nothing new. But now Palestinians have been betrayed. “Who can ignore the Palestinian plight?” He asked and highlighted that in the last 70 years, there have been 60 American and European plans to fix the Palestinian issue but they haven’t been successful because there is a real problem called Palestine. You can’t ignore it by having deals. Whoever is ignoring their plight is not seeing the reality. “Now there’s a third generation of refugees. Can they ignore their origin? The Palestinians have been betrayed.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Discussion, Human Rights, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine, The Arab Spring, The Middle East, United States