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Indo-Pak Stalmate & The Kashmir

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The relations between India and Pakistan have always experienced the Low and High degrees with later offering strategic dialogue with full support from the People of Pakistan while the former remained aggressive showing utmost hostility and acrimony due to extremist forces within their country. The arch-rival India has never trusted Pakistan despite assurances and this mistrust has affected their bilateral relations given the existing circumstances.

The terrorism is yet another key problem that has crippled the economy of Pakistan as Pakistan has given countless sacrifices by fighting the Afghan war at the behest of America.

With extensive relations with the world especially Pakistan’s best friend China, India’s atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir have been intensified with the passage of time. The use of Chemical weapons and widespread human rights violations, defying the UN resolutions on Kashmir valley demanding a plebiscite, the Indian aggression has infinite boundaries.

Even Indian nefarious design did not stop here; they are planning to alter the article 35A of Indian Constitution to change the status of the State of Kashmir in a bid to change the disputed status of the territory. There are widespread protests in Jammu Kashmir against such move and the leaders of Kashmir Freedom movement are either detained or put on house arrest. The Indian Supreme court is hearing the case.

The constitutional provision of Article 35A does not allow people from outside the state to buy or own immovable property, seeking permanent residence, avail any state-funded scholarships or get the government jobs. It also gives power to the state legislature to define “permanent” residents. Historically, the Article 35A was added by a Presidential order to Article 370, in 1954 that applied the independent status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently, a Delhi-based NGO “We the Citizens” had filed the petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the articles 35A and 370. The application argued that the above-mentioned articles were discriminatory towards the citizens from the rest of India. The Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Former Chief Minister of State of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has warned the Indian Government that any tinkering with the aforesaid articles will result igniting violence in the valley that will be beyond the control of the security agencies.

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The people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also condemned this move and demanded from the world community to intervene and exert their pressure on India to back out from such tampering with the said provision of the Indian constitution. The Islamabad’s policy statement sent a strong message to New Delhi to refrain from such the move as Pakistan will raise this issue at UN and other International forums to win support of the world community to force India change it’s desperate trying to abrogate the articles 35A and 370 which lay the basis of Disputed Territory and stops the outsiders from buying the immovable property or seeking citizenship to turn the Muslim majority into minority through temporary settlements that may weaken the claims of Pakistan on the claims of Muslim majority as per the Independence plan of  1947.

Pakistan has always fought a defensive war be it 1965, 1971 the fall of Dhaka, Kargil war and the subsequent heated war of words and the indiscriminate firing incidents on the Line of Control from the Indian side, resulting loss of civilians lives. Though Pakistan retaliates strongly yet Indians are the first to offend and harming the peace process .

The Political leadership remained divided over building close relations with India to maintain peace in the region. Both PPP and PML-N tried to have close relations with India and start the strategic dialogue with India and signed Confidence-building measures. PPP government remained close to Rajiv and Indira Gandhi’s Indian National Congress Government while PML-N leadership maintained close relations with BJP. Though both countries started the peace talks at Foreign Secretary-level but given strong the pressure from militant or extremist forces, it was always India who cancelled the peace talks at the eleventh hour giving no solid reasons of such cancellation or rolling up dialogue process.

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The blame game for internal involvement has brought them too far but the meaningful dialogue can bring them together once again. The great nations always settle their disputes through negotiation table as wars always bring misery to people and the destruction that takes years to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

Both the Nuclear capable countries must think sensibly and restart the strategic dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir problem and end the long rivalry that has created distrust and prompts them to have heavy defence budget rather than focusing on other sectors such as infrastructural development, Education, Health, trade, commerce, IT and Sports.

It is ironic that the enmity as has also gripped the cricket and the fans are disappointed due to the refusal of India playing the series with Pakistan within India and Pakistan or at the neutral venue such as UAE. Sporting events bring the people together and play a pivot role in the normalization of circumstances but regrettably, this option was also lost by India.

It is the twenty-first century; the world is developing rapidly with advancement in science technology especially in Communication Technologies. Both the neighbours can collaborate with each other to help boost IT infrastructure as both countries have strong IT Professionals since Indian IT experts heading the leading Software giants such as Microsoft, PayPal, Google and Yahoo.

The Prime of Pakistan had envisaged his vibrant and robust foreign policy during victory speech that he intended to maintain relations with the world such as Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arab, US and India on the equality basis and even offered India to come forward by one step, he will go forward two steps to start the dialogue on the core issues.

The talks at foreign minister level between the two countries were announced at UNGA but abruptly cancelled by India succumbing to internal pressure given the upcoming General Elections of India likely in May 2019.

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Imran Khan lashed out India of being arrogant over the cancellation of talks at foreign Ministry level.

The ruling BJP eyes the 2019 General Elections and thus intended to create hype with their strong stance against Pakistan by cancelling the peace talks in order to get support from Indian people to win general elections 2019 and regain the Government for another term.

Well, India needs to change its attitude and should immediately start the dialogue to address the issues and find out peaceful solutions to the problem including the Kashmir issue by taking the Kashmiri Leadership on board. CPEC is a game-changer for Pakistan and the region. The positive outcome of the peace talks may pave the way for India to benefit from the CPEC by joining CPEC as Partner.

CPEC can be made secure if we have peace with the neighbours such as India and Afghanistan and stability in Afghanistan is in favour of Pakistan.

Let the peace have a chance, let’s learn to live like good neighbours sharing our experiences and developing resources and promoting trade through people to people contacts. To pave the way for talks, India has to take initiatives such as ending atrocities in Kashmir, demilitarizing it and involving Kashmir leadership to find out a peaceful solution that may be acceptable to People of Jammu and Kashmir. Let the people of Kashmir decide their future.

Pakistan is ready to hold consequential talks and the Indian positive response is awaited to bid adieu to this long acrimony that has hampered peace process and bilateral trade ties between two strong nuclear powers. The SAARC forum can be instrumental for the countries to include SAARC member countries in CPEC  provided that India does not backtrack from the Peace Process.

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The Right-Wing Politics in United States & The Capitol Hill Mayhem

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The radicalized right-wing politics during the Trump Administration is responsible for creating severe unrest in the US, and subsequently, in the global community. There is a dire need to change the political structure in the US to safeguard the true spirit of democracy.

The US witnessed one of the tumultuous transitions of power as the republicans shook the very roots of a model democracy in the US after the Capitol Hill mayhem.

Trump administration during the four-year Presidential Term has been worst on all fronts -be it Internal Policy, Health Policy, unemployment, Governance, Foreign Policy, security and Trade policy.

Trump, being afraid of defeat resorted to inciting voters, supporters and workers to attack Capitol Hill, and his racial tirade and overtures drowned him in last year’s most trumpeted Presidential Elections when the country appeared divided between the rightist and leftists.

Trump and his attack on democracy

The elections witnessed the bloodshed, torture, violence and sheer violation of legislative laws that warranted immediate legal action. From his election to the Presidential slot, Trump behaved like an amateur.

He ran the political affairs as a personal business rather than a statesman. He, being an actor, took the job as a mere role but the presidency demands prudence and sensible decisions to avoid any worst repercussions.

Trump’s aggressive response to matters of importance further exacerbated the situation, especially with China and Iran.

The leftists or change agents wanted a people-friendly government where the rights of people should be protected regardless of their political affiliation or association, caste, colour, creed, religion, ethnicity.

For the years, US democracy has been a model for many developing countries owing to its non-radicalized and people-friendly Governments.

All the democratic forces were stunned over the unfortunate incident of  Capitol Hill mayhem and were shocked that even developed nations like America can be enthralled, enticed and incited to the level that will shake the very roots of  Democracy i.e  Capitol Hill.

The world responded with regrets that it was unfortunate that Trumpism radicalized supporters to the extent that they were instigated and incited to influence the Presidential Elections results so that Biden’s Victory may not be validated.

America in disgrace

The world might have moved to tears when Trump supporters and workers ransacked Capitol Hill and brought disgrace for America around the world.

All experts, analysts and pro-democracy leaders condemned such act since it was against the norms of civilized nations of the world.

All the mayhem that stormed the US was orchestrated and masterminded by a Business Tycoon, Actor turned Politician Donald Trump who already lost his credibility for his election to the office of President since he was facing rigging and horse-trading charges in his first term that led to his impeachment Trial but luckily he was set free twice from impeachment during his presidency.

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Furthermore, his complete failure to tackle the issue of pandemic also contributed to his humiliating defeat since he ridiculed the pandemic by terming it China Virus owing to trade war with China.

Later, when the pandemic went out of control, he took initiative but it was too late to restrict the covid-19 infections since the US had the highest ratio of infections in the world.

Diplomatic relations ruined by Trumpism

Trump escalated the situation with Iran by killing General Qassem Suleimani in Iraq. Later, Iran attacked American Military bases in Iraq but there were no causalities reported for the incident. Iran also shot down a passenger plane by mistake and all passengers were killed.

Trump’s diplomatic relations with China worsened due to the Trade war. American relations with North Korea did not improve though both Trump and KIM met in Singapore to reach a possible peace agreement.

His amnesty or pardon for his friends also came under heavy criticism since he was afraid that they might be prosecuted as his term ended.

His blunders contributed a lot to his worst defeat though, being stubborn did not accept defeat but later, Supreme Court rejected his claims of any rigging in elections.

Republicans being a right-wing party radicalized the political workers and community to that extent that people violated law without any fear as they enjoyed the support from the white house.

The right-wing politics of Donald trump sowed the seeds of hatred and hostility that will have serious repercussions in the long run as long as the Trumpism pandemic exists among the people.

His failure to implement a deal of the century plan in the Middle East that was aimed merely on supporting Israel by giving a greater share of settlements. The deal came to a logical end as it was heavily criticized and Palestinians called it to suicide if accepted.

Despite signing the deal with the Afghan Taliban with the help of Pakistan to end 20 years longest war on terror and paving the way for US troops’ withdrawal, the law and order situation has not improved so far as the peace dialogue between the Afghan Taliban and Government yet to take place.

Biden as a saviour

Right-wing politicians led by Trumps have serious implications that will ultimately create problems for Biden to cope with during his presidency.

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Biden has to overhaul the whole system to restore the Trust and reputation in the world and strengthen the US through unity by abolishing the discriminatory approach.

The Selection of an Afro-American lady as Vice President has already laid the foundation to put the country on right track and building the trust of all the communities whether voted for him or not as he called himself the president of all Americans rather than of those who voted and supported him during his victory speech.

The Vote is the great tool of people to bring in the choice of leadership as it is the constitutional right of every American and can be exercised on free will without any pressure

The Afro-American community still recalls the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by Police, supported Joe Biden after he chose Kamala Harris as Vice President candidate.

On the other hand, though Trump was given clean chit in impeachment since he was charged with inciting the supporters to attack Capitol Hill that will be marked as a black day in American history, yet he has sown the seeds of intolerance, political victimization and radicalizing the peaceful Americans.

This aspect of populist or right-wing politics always plagues the peaceful and vibrant societies in a developed nation like the US, UK, France and Germany.

Trump promoted racism through his flowery speech that incited and enthralled mob violence to exert pressure through street power as practised in Asian states such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Japan.

How will Biden make America ‘great’ again?

Political analysts term Trump as an existential threat for Biden as he still enjoys the second largest votes in key states and may create problems especially the legislation for key issues.

Biden will have to fix diplomatic relations with all nations of the world especially Tehran and Beijing as Former President Donald Trump escalated the diplomatic relations with these countries with his insensible and aggressive attitude.

He will have to take immediate steps to clear the mess that was stalled by Trump’s radicalized and extremist approach to right-wing Politics whose price is being paid by citizens through isolation and hatred.

Biden and Kamala Harris will have to chalk out such policies that deal with communities with equality and justice and especially deal with the pandemic situation through vaccination drive to minimize the covid-19 infections. The causalities have surpassed thousands whereas long lockdowns have created unemployment and an economic crisis impacting many industries.

They need to sit with health experts and Economists to get the country out of the crisis. It will be better to take help from the nations that managed to defeat this pandemic with SOPs and measures.

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Beyond ego, the US may seek help from Russia, China, Singapore and the UK to win against the pandemic situation, though the ratio of the infections dropped worldwide as the cold winter departs.

Joe Biden will have to support Kashmiris against the unilateral move of India as he had promised in the election campaign.

He should play his role for the Middle East peace plan of the two-state solution so that Palestinians may have a state as per their wishes and the map they have in mind.

It was the sensible decision from him that troops’ withdrawal option was postponed, given the critical situation in Afghanistan. Rather, he should not jeopardize or sabotage the peace deal with the Taliban.

Biden should engage person like Zalmay Khalilzad to strengthen the dialogue process between the Afghan Taliban and other stakeholders including the existing Government of Ashraf Ghani so that peace could be restored as it will benefit all the countries and play a pivotal role in regional stability and prosperity.

The pandemic has united the world as human conscience has roused again.

Republicans and Democrats

Finally, Democrats have always saved America and promoted justice, equality and opened doors for the world for immigration but Trump wreaked havoc with all the social norms and promoted intolerance, racism and inequality that shook the very roots of the country and gave birth to happenings of Capitol Hill and distrust on the electoral system.

Biden Administration is expected and mandated by the masses to clear that mess and pave the way for his second term if he succeeds to bring change to the country.

Right-wing politics has its pros and cons but the version introduced by Republicans radicalized the whole system and divided the country even in times of emergency.

Populist leaders all around the world have impacted various governments, especially in the Asian States as they are elected on popular vote.

The version introduced by Trump may give birth to the dissent voices as left-wing whose critique may be beyond rectification whereas the ethnic divide, will promote separatism as happened in the UK, Spain, Russia and the Subcontinent when people’s rights were compromised and the freedom of expression was annulled.

The US cannot afford further isolation and division of communities on the basis of ethnicity, colour or radical thoughts since it has already paid the price during the Trump regime.

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Development

The Development of microfinance industry depends upon the resilience and risk management: SECP Chairman Amir Khan

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Islamabad : SECP Chairman, Aamir Khan emphasized that in these challenging times the development of microfinance industry depends upon the resilience and risk management, achieved through quintessential pillars of liquidity-tapped through private capital and technology embracement. Khan was addressing the Non-Bank Microfinance Companies Stakeholders Forum organized by SECP to devise a way forward and collaborate strategic response to cope the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

The SECP Chairman Amir Khan, along with Commissioner Specialized Companies Division, Farrukh Sabzwari chaired the session. Representatives of Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Limited (PMIC), Karandaaz Pakistan and multilateral donor agencies including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Department for International Development (DFID) attended the session.

 The Chairman SECP advised NBMFCs to go far product diversification to insurance solutions and saving products and build capacity of their workforce to attain business development and operational efficiency. He endorsed formation of a working group consisting of nominees from SECP, PMN, PMIC and NBMFCs to further analyze the situation. The working group will also take up the matters with relevant forums including ministry of finance, SBP and multilateral donor agencies for possible solutions.

Khan expressed SECP’s firm commitment to providing all possible support to industry not only during the current pandemic times but also in developing the industry on a strong footing. SECP Commissioner, Sabzwari highlighted the measures taken by SECP to provide relief and flexibility to the NBMFCs and their wholesale lender in managing funding requirements. He also talked about SECP’s advice to NBMFCs to defer and reschedule borrower loans.

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Participants acknowledged SECP’s timely intervention to provide regulatory relief to NBMFCs in managing their credit lines and funding requirements. However, industry representatives expressed their concerns on potential defaults by borrower and liquidity crunch that may lead to capital crisis in the industry.

They raised the need of new money injection into the industry through collaborative efforts of microfinance regulators and the government. Representatives of international donor agencies attending the Forum expressed their resolve to extend fullest possible support to Pakistan’s microfinance sector.    

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Development

Gov’t releases Rs 533.33 billion for various development projects so far

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Islamabad: The federal government has so far authorized release of Rs 533.33 billion for various ongoing and new social sector uplift projects under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20, as against the total allocation of Rs 701 billion.

Under its development programme, the government has released an amount of Rs 230.3 billion for federal ministries, Rs 175.65 billion for corporations and Rs 43.46 billion for special areas, according to a latest data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

Out of these allocations, the government released Rs 38.5 billion for security enhancement in the country for which the government had allocated Rs 53 billion during the year 2019-20.

An amount of Rs 81.37 billion has also been released for the blocks managed by finance division under the government’s 10 years development programme.

Similarly, for Higher Education Commission, the government released an amount of Rs 27.07 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 29 billion while Rs 301.47 million were released for Pakistan Nuclear Energy Authority for which the government had allocated Rs 301.48 million in the development budget.

For National Highway Authority, the government released Rs154.94 billion. Under annual development agenda, the government also released Rs 10.7 billion for Railways Division out of total allocation of Rs16 billion, Rs 7.7 billion for Interior Division, and Rs 8.38 billion for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Division.

Revenue Division received Rs 4.3 billion whereas the Cabinet Division also received Rs 30.18 billion for which an amount of Rs 39.986 billion has been allocated for the year 2019-20.

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The government also released Rs 26.9 billion for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) block and other projects out of its allocations of Rs 27.26 billion and Rs 16.54 billion for Gilgit Baltistan (Block and other projects).

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