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Her parents executed in Saudi Arabia. 8-year-old girl says they have gone to heaven but…
21.04.19 - Sohail Yafat
Her parents executed in Saudi Arabia. 8-year-old girl says they have gone to heaven but…



Little Beenish does not like to talk to people. When spoken to, she chides the person: "You love to ramble on, don’t you?”

Just eight years old, her expressions are grave, as those of a much older person. Underscored by the dupatta wound tightly around her head, Beenish is a tiny child who never smiles.

She knows only silence and solitude. She often locks herself up in a room in her maternal uncle’s house so that no one can bother her. She does not play with other kids her age and has no interest in their games.

They did not play many games in prison.

Beenish was just five years old when her parents took her with them for umrah to Saudi Arabia. Her father was over the moon, recalls his family.

One of her father’s acquaintances, who claimed to be a travel agent, had arranged their visas and travel documents. His brother, Imdad, says they didn’t even know he and his family had passports.
-----------
Last weekend, Beenish’s grandfather’s house was teeming with visitors. They had come to condole the death of her parents, beheaded by the Saudi government. Her mother was the first Pakistani female prisoner to be executed in five years.
-----------
After all, he was a poor labourer who took on whatever work he got his hands on to get by — he would be a butcher or a mason, depending on the season.

His family figured he wanted to go pray for stability, for a more comfortable life, even for affluence. Little did they know he and his wife will never return.

Related: Pakistani citizens, including children, on death row in Saudi Arabia and Iran

The family of three left their home in July with the travel agent. The extended family later found out they had departed for Saudi Arabia on July 10, 2016. Their best guess is that they boarded the plane from Multan International Airport. This is where the nightmare began.

Pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport 
 
Upon landing in Jeddah, Saudi authorities detained the family for transporting heroin to the Kingdom. The father was imprisoned separately while the mother and daughter were kept together in Jeddah’s Dhahban Prison.

Their family back home had no contact with them for the first few weeks. They only heard rumours about what happened to him, his wife and their young daughter.

Imdad says they heard so many different versions of what had happened they did not know what or who to believe. But his father recalls telling his son that he was unsure if he would ever get to see him again.

Threatened with death, the family was forced to carry heroin by the travel agent and they were arrested as soon as they landed, as the Saudis found the drugs on them. This is according to the couple's family. There is no way to verify it since the couple is dead and no independent investigation has been done by either the Pakistani or Saudi authorities.

Beenish spent the next six months with her mother in Dhahban. One cannot fathom what impact the incarceration had on the child’s development.

She started speaking less and less. Six months later, she was shifted to a facility for children. Barely old enough to attend grade school, Beenish was made to live in a room with three other girls around the same age, perhaps just a little older.

Here there was a little more freedom. They were allowed to watch television, play basketball in the compound outside and even given treats by their teacher.

She picked up Arabic and slowly started conversing with the other girls. But fear often stalked Beenish late into the night. Sometimes she would ask her friend Salma to sleep on the same bed as her.

Beenish and the other girls attended school and Quran lessons outside the facility. She says they were driven to another place in a white vehicle with sliding doors. Apart from that, she rarely left the building.

She only saw her father twice over a period of more than two years there. He was difficult to recognise. His head was shaven and the shackles binding his hands made him look unfamiliar and frightening. She refused to speak to him.

Her meetings with her mother were more frequent. They would meet every month or two. During the meetings, Beenish would not talk in front of the prison guards and her mother often took her to the toilet to coax a word or two out of her.

The mother would remind Beenish of her aunts and uncles back home. Beenish, however, only knew the prison guards at Dhahban and the police officers who visited the facility where she lived. She knew them by their uniforms. She knew that her teacher would cover her face when they arrived.

Around six months ago, Beenish's maternal aunt, whose husband worked in Saudi Arabia, looked into the possibility of bringing Beenish back to Pakistan. Her husband used his contacts and was told Beenish could return to Pakistan given that they produce valid documents to prove their close relation.

The aunt then collected the relevant paperwork and flew to Saudi Arabia to bring her niece back. They contacted the Pakistani embassy which facilitated a meeting with Beenish, who only spoke Arabic and had to be interpreted by a translator.

Her last meeting with her mother was mostly mute. The two elder women wept while Beenish braced for yet another upheaval. After spending over two years in detention in a foreign country, away from her family, she would be going back to her hometown leaving her parents behind.
-----------
One of the visitors asks Beenish about her parents: "They’ve gone to heaven,” she replies.
-----------
These past six months have been tough for Beenish and her guardians in Pakistan. They find it difficult to communicate with her. Her uncle, who already has several mouths to feed, tries to please her when he can. He says she likes to eat rice and meat and her favourite fruit are strawberries.

Last weekend, Beenish’s grandfather’s house was teeming with visitors. They had come to condole the death of her parents, beheaded by the Saudi government. Her mother was the first Pakistani female prisoner to be executed in five years.

She sits quietly with her younger brother, who did not accompany them to Saudi Arabia, in a corner.

Visitors stream in and out — some curious, others crying, all sympathetic. They inquire about the bodies. The family has no answer. They contacted the Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia, but the mission claimed to have no information about the executions.

The family has been pleading to anyone who cares to listen to bring the bodies back — for closure, a final goodbye.

One of the visitors asks Beenish about her parents: "They’ve gone to heaven,” she replies.

She has already been to hell with them.

Names have been changed to ensure anonymity. Courtesy: Dawn.com
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

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WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

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WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

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Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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Pakistan's Finance Minister resigns; Time to take difficult decisions: Asad Umar
18.04.19 - TEAM PT
Pakistan's Finance Minister resigns; Time to take difficult decisions: Asad Umar



Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar — an hour after announcing that he is stepping down as finance minister on Thursday — told a press conference that it was time to make some "difficult decisions" to stabilise the economy and that he hopes his replacement would be supported in their efforts.

Umar, via Twitter, announced earlier that he has obtained the prime minister's consent "to not take any cabinet position" days after reports of a reshuffle in the cabinet were rubbished by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

"As part of a cabinet reshuffle, [the] prime minister desired that I take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance," he said. "However, I have obtained his consent to not take any cabinet position."
  Umar ended his tweet by saying: "I strongly believe @ImranKhanPTI is the best hope for Pakistan and inshAllah will make a naya Pakistan."

During the press conference, Umar, who kept an upbeat demeanour, said he was asked to take the energy portfolio following a reshuffle in the cabinet, reported Dawn.

"I met the prime minister this morning and convinced him that I did not want to take any portfolio," he said.

"This does not mean that I am not available to forward PTI’s vision for 'Naya Pakistan'. I am and will always be available to forward the interests of this country."

In response to a question about the earlier reports of reshuffling in the cabinet, he said: "I was first told [about this portfolio change] last night."

"I think, as per my discussion with the prime minister, other changes [in the cabinet] will be announced either tonight or tomorrow morning."
 
Reports were circulating earlier this week about a possible reshuffle in the post for Minister for Finance and Minister of State for Interior held by Asad Umar and Shehryar Afridi respectively.

According to Dawn report, the government in general and the finance minister in particular have faced mounting criticism by opposition parties, members of the business community and citizens over the handling of the economic crisis.

Umar recently returned from a trip to Washington in which the details of Pakistan's next International Monetary Fund bailout were finalised, documented and signed. An IMF mission is expected to visit Islamabad before the end of the month to work out technical tables since all major issues had been settled and documented, Umar had said.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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FROM TRUMP TO BIDEN TO BARNALA TO PUNJAB UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES TO OUR POLITICS

Start talking now, or they will do this to our women
04.04.19 - S Pal
Start talking now, or they will do this to our women



WITH THE MAN who boasted how he grabbed women by their private parts and that "when you're a star, they let you do it" — Donald Trump — as President of the United States of America, a lot of the world now fondly recalls his predecessor, Barack Obama, always respectful of women and a personification of decency in public life.

And Barack Obama always said he loved Joe Biden, his vice president.

In fact, everybody loved Joe Biden.

Loving Joe Biden became the gold standard of being right in politics.

Till, on March 29, a former Nevada assembly woman, Lucy Flores (in pic with Joe Biden), published an essay in The New York Times describing how the US Vice President, who everyone loved, touched her inappropriately and kissed her on the head and made her uncomfortable.

Since then, two more women have come forth claiming the former vice president’s touches made them uncomfortable.

Joe Biden is now set to make a serious come back. He is expected to run for presidency to rid the United States of Donald Trump, a president lecherous by any standards. 

In India, where the media has put out reams of propaganda about Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugging and being touch-feely with President Trump, without raising any questions about what signal does it send to women, to decent people anywhere — "you idiot, you know the Americans elected their president, we didn't, and we have to deal with whoever is the president of the US!" (That's on behalf of those of you who can't see a point) — there has been very little coverage of the Joe Biden controversy.

My guess is that in a lot of homes and a lot of minds, you would hear words to the effect that if all that Biden did was to grab a woman by her shoulders from behind and tried clumsily to kiss her on the head, then what's the big deal? (Sure, you're right. Just do not shake my hand next time I meet you.)

He did it in public. He may be doing it in a fatherly way. He is such a decent person. She had called him to canvass support for her. He was not, you know, grabbing her the way Donald Trump described grabbing. 

After all, poor 76-years-old Biden is being thrashed around in a controversy over his longstanding habit of affectionately putting his hands all over women he meets.
-----------
Horrible tales of university and college professors exploiting or looking to exploit women colleagues and subordinates, including research students, are the stuff of everyday talk in university campuses. 
-----------
This, and seventy-nine other arguments apart, all that Joe Biden could afford in the US politics was a silence of three days. Even during those three days, his spokespersons continued to say stuff, trying to do damage control.

On Wednesday, April 3, Biden felt enough pressure to decide that he will have to address the matter. Any chance of a possible presidential bid depended on that. He made a home video, wherein he vowed to "be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”
----------
Also Read: BAD, BAD WOMAN! 
----------
Sitting on a sofa, his legs crossed, he said, "I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this’...(but) social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying.

The two-minute video was a clear and tacit admission that he did exactly what Lucy Flores had accused him of. Biden seemed to be preparing to join the race to take it away from Trump. "Folks,” he said in the beginning of his home video, "in the coming month I expect to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues, and I’ll always be direct with you.”
 
But we must talk a lot more about this issue. How do we react when a woman in India makes serious allegations about a politician, allegations much more shocking and horrendous than what Lucy Flores alleged against Biden?

Late senior Akali leader Surjit Singh Barnala's son and politician Gaganjit Singh, who was then 46, was accused by a middle-aged maid-servant in 2006 of raping her at his then official residence in Sector 3 in Chandigarh. 

Senior journalist Ramesh Vinayak, who was then working for India Today, said in his report that "(f)or the police, the victim's statement and the medical report were damning enough for them to book him under Section 376 of CrPC."

He quoted a police official as saying that "prima facie, it's an open-and-shut case of sexual assault."

Now and then Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, was in those days courting the Barnalas to lend their weight to a fledgling third front of runaway Akali factions to damage Badal's support base. But neither Amarinder nor Badal said a word about the episode. Gentlemen that they were, they decided to prefer silence. Amarinder Singh, in fact, said he "will not use this unfortunate incident to demolish the Akalis."

Three years later, Additional District and Sessions Judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi acquitted Gaganjit of rape and other charges because the woman, who, three years earlier was rushed to hospital with injuries and severe bleeding from her private parts, told the court that she had suddenly remembered how she was injured; actually, she had received injuries after falling off a bicycle. 

There was a video of her initial statements given to the police, but the woman told the judge: "I was not in a proper state of mind and have no idea about what I said."
----------
----------
It is always easy to hit back at any woman and claim it all part of a controversy to fix the person named by a woman. It is difficult to engage with a paradigm in which we render invisible even those women who dare to speak out. 

That's why it is important to see how American politicians and intelligentsia responded to the latest row. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pic), a longtime friend of Biden, has said that "people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it.”

Senior commentators, including even those sympathetic to the Democratic Party, have noted that Biden has still not offered a direct apology to the women who have come forward. 

But the problem is even more serious. Biden is framing the issue around changing social norms, saying he comes from an old world where he always had a tactile style of politics — shoulder rubs, hugs and kisses thrown in. 

"Scores, if not hundreds, of people have come up to me and reached out for solace and comfort — something, anything that may help them get through the tragedy they’re going through...It’s just who I am. I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic.

So, he hugged and kissed. 

"I worked my whole life to empower women...the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will. I will,” he said in the home video. 

So a woman tells the world that you acted funny, and then you realise that the world's idea of respect for personal space has changed? You think it all happened after #MeToo in the world? After Nirbhaya rape and death in India? 

At the 2006 G-8 summit in Russia, then US President George W. Bush came up behind German leader Angela Merkel and ran his hand on her back, a sort of back rub. Did Merkel like it? Did Biden miss that controversy?

Punjab's politicians have never ever cited the Kiranjit rape and murder case to underline how our politics failed to stand up for our women. A strong fight put up by the brave girls and boys of the Punjabi University, Patiala to stop turning women hostels into prisons and cages did not get the political backing. Worse, it finds no mention in our political discourse.

Horrible tales of university and college professors exploiting or looking to exploit women colleagues and subordinates, including research students, are the stuff of everyday talk in university campuses. Our politics is being blind to it all.

What are our politicians waiting for? For a bombastic story about when someone pulls a woman inside a secluded room and assaults her so that the issue is good enough to announce that we are for women security?

The girls and boys at the Panjab University have defeated this politics of rendering their issues invisible. They made sure to take the authorities by the scruff of their neck and made them see the issue. The women hostel gates now stay open, and the sky has not fallen! But where is the engagement of mainstream political parties?

Remember the little girl in Kathua? Why is Kathua not figuring in the conversations now when India is debating politics every night on television? If it does, a lot of us will be reminded of what our politicians and political parties said about the Kathua rape and murder of a kid. Also, we will then talking about the role of Jammu Bar Council, a group of the most educated and law knowing elite of our society, and about the political support it received.

From "Dhiyan da satikar karo, putran vaangoo pyar karo" song playing on the loop in praise more of Harsimrat Kaur Badal than of India's daughters, to the Congress' promises in its manifesto to reserve 33% central government jobs for women and have women hostels in Special Economic Zones, we see lip service and little action.

The time to make noise is when someone places his hands in a manner a woman finds offensive. If we remain silent then, we start learning how to stay silent. Then we need something as gory as a Nirbhaya case to go light candles at a traffic intersection downtown.

And we can't even do that all too frequently.

So, it's important to start talking about Joe Biden. Or we will get out own Donald Trump. 
-----------
-----------
We need to send a message to politicians that if you do not see women's issues, issues of gender justice, of access to public places, of right to a life with dignity, if you try to reduce women's issues to merely issues of women's security, if all you can offer is more CCTV cameras and bulbs atop poles, then you have lost us. 

Then you have lost the plot, and with it the votes of women, and of all decent people.

We need to stop accepting a politics in which a woman gets confused whether she was raped or if she fell off a bicycle. It wasn't the woman's fault; it wasn't the bicycle's fault, and it wasn't just the shoddy justice dispensing system. It was us who failed that woman. It is we who are failing a hell of a lot of women.

We are then the brothers of Sucha Singh Langah, an honourable citizen of Mother India who was falsely accused by a woman of repeatedly raping her and who figured in a blockbuster video clip made by the woman and handed over to the cops, but who was later found to be such an innocent man.

It's time to stop being a culprit in a rape case. It’s time to stop being the culprit’s aides. It's time to start talking.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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WhatsApp:+919667270992

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DE-ESCALATION? READ THE SCRIPT
Pak skips OIC meet in protest against invite to India’s Sushma
01.03.19 - PT Bureau
Pak skips OIC meet in protest against invite to India’s Sushma



Russia, Israel come into play

IN THE ONGOING war between India and Pakistan, some being fought via air strikes and mortar shelling and the rest in the domain of diplomacy, New Delhi can claim another victory, courtesy its clout with the UAE.

In protest against the invite to Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pakistan has opted out of the 46th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), being hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi on Friday and Saturday, March 1-2.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (pic) told the joint session of parliament on Friday that Pakistan has let the OIC know that it cannot tolerate the invite to Sushma Swaraj. Earlier, on February 27, Islamabad had officially conveyed to the OIC its threat to boycott the foreign ministers' conclave if it failed to withdraw the invitation to Swaraj to be a guest of honour.

"I requested the UAE to review the decision but the UAE said that when we extended the invitation, Pulwama had not occurred," Qureshi told the Parliament on March 1. The UAE, he said, had made it clear that "it would be hard to retract the invitation".

Meanwhile, Pakistan and much of the world, including large sections of the Indian populace, were wondering about the riddles in which New Delhi has been speaking. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is otherwise very succinct and avoids subtlety, couched his words in riddles and Indians spent the last few hours wondering if he meant belligerence or benign.

"Aap toh laboratories me zindagi guzaarne vale log hain, aur aapme pehle ‘pilot project’ karne ki parampara hoti hai. Pilot project karne ke baad scalability hoti hai. Abhi abhi ek pilot project pura ho gaya. Abhi real karna hai, pehle toh practice thi.” (You people spend your lives in laboratories. It is a custom to first make a ‘pilot project’. Scalability is done after that. Just now one pilot project has been completed. Now we have to make it real, earlier it was just practice.) Modi was speaking to scientists, a community with a natural inclination for preciseness. 

Meanwhile, Russia and Israel are now getting all over the issue. Moscow is coming into the play, and even as US President Donald Trump said American mediation was helping to defuse the crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin called up Modi to say Moscow was ready to help mediate. 

India buys large quantities of Russian military equipment, but Moscow also has warm ties with Pakistan now. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as per TASS news agency, confirmed Moscow's readyness to mediate. Lavrov also spoke to Sushma Swaraj on February 27. 

Robert Fisk (pic), who has spent a lifetime in the Arab world, covering the Middle East, said the latest spat between India and Pakistan was eerily similar to the way Israel acts. 

"For months, Israel has been assiduously lining itself up alongside India’s nationalist BJP government in an unspoken — and politically dangerous — "anti-Islamist” coalition, an unofficial, unacknowledged alliance, while India itself has now become the largest weapons market for the Israeli arms trade," Fisk wrote in The Independent on March 1.

Fisk seems to be on the point as the Indian media has been crowing about how the IAF used the Israeli-made Rafael Spice-2000 smart bombs in its air strike on the Jaish camp in Pakistan. But Fisk, known for his expertise gained in covering the war in Syria and Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions, casts a cloud of doubt about Indian claims. 

"The "300-400 terrorists” supposedly eliminated by the Israeli-manufactured and Israeli-supplied GPS-guided bombs may turn out to be little more than rocks and trees," he wrote. 

India was Israel’s largest arms client in 2017. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi share a close rapport and have exchanged multiple visits. Experts have often warned about the natural convergence of ideas between the BJP and Israel's ruling Likud party. 

Gandhian thinker Prof Apoorvanand often reminds audiences and readers about how Hindu nationalists have constructed a discourse about the majority community being a historical victim at the hands of Muslims. 

Fisk reminded that Israel, India and Pakistan all possess nuclear weapons and said it was "another good reason not to let Palestine and Kashmir get tangled up together."
 
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

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A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

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OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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PILOT’S BACK, WHITE HOUSE IS MISSING IN ACTION
What’s the US doing in India-Pak spat? Precious little, and that’s worrying!
28.02.19 - S Pal
What’s the US doing in India-Pak spat? Precious little, and that’s worrying!



WHILE PEOPLE IN India and Pakistan are breathlessly keeping pace with developments between the two countries, from air strikes to counter strikes to downed planes and captured pilot and his return, serious students of geo-strategic affairs are worried about the drivers of global affairs missing in action even as the sub-continental political bus is rolling down the gorge.

Those who have the power to apply brakes on the war trolley are either simply not there on the job, or their attention is elsewhere. Neither New Delhi nor Islamabad have caught their attention to the degree to which they think they matter in global affairs. The United States' involvement is too thin, and South Asia hasn't got the attention of Donald Trump, his stray remarks about the escalation in the region notwithstanding.

You can paint 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' on your truck, and the neighbour can play 'Dil Dil Pakistan' on loudspeakers in the gullies of Lahore till cows come home, but the fact remains that the United States continues to have a huge sway in the Indo-Pak domain and has always played a major role. It's a self-appointed SHO of the area, polices wayward regimes, brokers tiffs, nudges both capitals forward along the path of incremental mutual engagement and remains the monitor, howsoever inefficient, to whom the complainants keep running with grievances.

While Washington has been seemingly doing its bit this time, too, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing that he has spoken with the leaders of India and Pakistan and has urged them to avoid "any action that would escalate and greatly increase risk," the fact is that Washington's involvement has been insufficient.

Radical deshbhakats can thump their chests and claim they are not directed by the United States, or that India is a shaktishali nation with mahaan sanskriti, and we have little to argue with them. Since international affairs and global power games are still not decided by Mera Booth Mazboot conclaves, it is important to see how the United States is manning the forward posts of diplomacy.

Confirming the almost criminal neglect of South Asia, Tim Roemer, the former US Ambassador to India, has now come out and said the situation "can spiral up very, very quickly" because many of the key posts are unmanned. 

Shockingly, Pakistan at the moment does not have a United States Ambassador.

Roemer told BBC that while "all the attention of the United States has been on the Southern border of Mexico, here is the border that is a potential global crisis. The Trump administration needs to pay attention (to the India, Pakistan situation)."

With Michael Cohen waiving the cheques signed by Donald Trump personally in the face of the US President and testifying before the Congress about the dirty secrets of Trump's illicit affairs with porn stars and his Russia investment on live international television, this White House is busy in affairs of a nature too sordid. 

Trump's talks with N Korea have failed 
 
Trump is just back from a failed summit with North Korea that centred around de-escalating a potential nuclear hotspot, but he simply does not have the cerebral bandwidth to see a border much hotter right now between two countries that never allow their populace to forget that they have got the big one -- the N-bomb. 

"If you do not pay enough attention to the volatility of Kashmir by itself, since India and Pakistan were both born out of the fire of Partition, and Kashmir is the inflection point of that, this can spiral up very, very quickly," Roemer said.

When the BBC asked how much bandwidth White House has and is using to switch focus to the India, Pakistan situation, Roemer said, back when he was the Ambassador, he had "all hands on the deck for such a situation" but pointed out that now, Pakistan was without a US Ambassador, and Washington does not even have any Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. 

"This is a situation that worries me," he said.

Roemer said earlier, the US envoys in the two countries "could get the US President personally involved (and could reach out to) the Secretary of State (and) the Defence Secretary, (and could ensure that) the National Security Advisors in both countries coupled up and talked to each other constantly to de-escalate, resolve and show restraint on such issues."

"When you have vacancies and not even an ambassador in a key country, and so many crucial vacancies, that puts you in a very critical position and in a situation like this, it could be a neglect that puts us in a position closer to war," he said.

Former US Ambassador to India, Tim Roemer

 
Roemer welcomed the return of the Indian pilot as a "good step in the right direction after two weeks of spiral of escalation that put us on the precipice of war" and said, "Hopefully, if the US, China, the UN could show some creativity and bring up a situation of blacklisting of (terrorist) Mohammad Azhar, that might be a creative way of diffusing the situation."

"You have to have all hands on the deck, you have to make sure that all contacts in your government are reaching out to the Pakistani and the Indian governments. You have to have some creative diplomacy," he stressed.  

The glaring gaps in diplomacy were revealed by Roemer a day after Pakistan's diplomatic envoy to Washington called on the United States to play a greater role in easing tensions between the India and Pakistan.

"We would certainly like to have more, and would certainly like to see more active involvement of the United States," said Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Asad Khan.

The de-escalation efforts in the international community are being further hampered by the fact that Washington has depleted a lot of its goodwill capital with Islamabad. Pakistan is no longer on the US list of close allies. The Trump administration has suspended security assistance to Pakistan after blaming it for allowing cross-border militant attacks into Afghanistan.

As of now, the US pointsman in Pakistan is Paul Jones (pic), the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy. The US-Pakistan diplomatic engagement has been at a nadir ever since a US envoy, who was involved in a fatal road accident that resulted in the death of a 22-year-old man in April 2018, managed to sneak out of Pakistan with backroom official understanding following a public furore. Earlier, the beleaguered military attaché was not allowed to board a cargo plane sent by the US to pick him up.

In any case, Pakistani public has not forgotten Trump's tweets that Pakistan had "given us nothing but lies & deceit.” 

The role of the US diplomacy in India, Pakistan affairs becomes even more important because any efforts by Pakistan's army chief General Jawed Bajwa to reach out to Indian counterparts are stymied by a "system mismatch.”

Experts that Punjab Today spoke to said if only the Trump White House had been working as normal, the latest India, Pakistan spat was a golden opportunity for Washington to get back into the game, dominated by China so far. It has been Beijing for some time which has prodded Pakistan to stabilize its border with India. Clearly, China is pursuing its regional economic ambitions as it is investing some $62 billion in Pakistan, mostly in large infrastructure projects through what is being called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China’s global Belt and Road initiative.

China will gain better and direct access to important Western markets through C-PEC and if Pakistani troops are freed up along the border with India, they could be diverted to secure the country’s western flank, where China’s trade routes would be. 

If the US wishes to remain relevant, it has to do better than making casual, passing remarks about escalation on the India, Pakistan border. For that, it needs to first have people in position, and the White House needs to spend some bandwidth on South Asia.
 
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT




[1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 32 [next]1-5 of 156


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