Pakistani unsatisfied with US relations

Lack of enthusiasm of Obama has been causing discontent in Pakistan

There has been a discontent over the inability of United States to improve their relations with Pakistan. It seems that the bilateral relationship matters less now to the United States. During the visit of President Barack Obama to India, many Pakistani officials are both jealous and upset over the extreme closeness of Obama and Modi. Obama’s concerted efforts to court India as part of Washington’s own shifting foreign policy objectives, coupled with the end of its military operations in Afghanistan, has tremendous implications for the security and economy of South Asia. Pakistan’s singular foreign policy objective is parity with India. But with neither the size nor the capital, Pakistan has recognized that it needs American assistance. Therefore, for much of its history, Pakistan has relied on American military and economic aid to maintain a bloated military disproportionate to its size. That same military has maintained a grip on Pakistani politics, either directly under a dictatorship or indirectly through rigging elections, coercing governments, and intimidation.

Pakistan has been relying on United States

For the most part, the United States hasn’t especially minded. As the U.S. experimented with state building in Afghanistan, it required Pakistan’s help, given the influence Pakistan had with Afghan militias and warlords. But Pakistan had other ideas, and played what critics call a “double game.” It only fought militants that it thought posed a direct threat to the Pakistani state, and continued to fund, train and support militant groups that the Pakistani state thought would give it influence outside its border: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad in Indian-held Kashmir, and the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan. The 2009 Kerry-Lugar Bill, officially known as the Enhanced Partnership With Pakistan Act, authorized $1.5 billion in aid for five years, but was met with derision and anger from the Pakistani military because the aid was contingent on strengthening civilian institutions. The Pakistani military conducted a smear campaign in the local media and organized anti-American protests to air their disapproval.

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Nepotism in Pakistan

The controversial appointment by Prime Minister Shariff exposes nepotism in government

The current problem faced by the Pakistani is the growing nepotism in the society. Just recently the government was said to be planning on handing a key post in Canada to a non-career diplomat. This news comes after the revelation that a Pakistani ambassador to the United States has successfully maneuvered his way into getting a two-year extension. Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff has said to finalized the name of Dr. Yousaf Junaid for a key diplomatic assignment in Pakistan’s High Commission in Canada without properly observing Foreign Services rules. Dr. Junaid is known as an officer from the Commerce and Trade. He is serving as the consul general in Istanbul since 2010. “Dr Junaid can replace Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Canada Gul Akbar Zaib,” a senior diplomat said. Akbar Zaib, who has been in the Foreign Service since 1979, has already completed his service, explained the diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Dr. Janaid is said to be not meeting the standards of Foreign Ministry

The decision to appoint Dr. Junaid as a commissioner shows the growing nepotism in Pakistani government. According to the former ambassador B A Malik. “Foreign Service rules clearly state that a person who serves in a foreign mission for at least three years is supposed to resume duties in his or her parent department for at least two years first before being eligible to join another foreign mission,” he explained. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should have chosen senior diplomats for key stations as there is no death of career diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added.

Asked to comment about the said issue, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said: “I don’t have any such information readily available. I will have to check.” Many information officers have already gone to court against postings of officials aboard accused of being appointed based on nepotism, senior foreign ministry officials said. The superior judiciary has also laid down very clearly the defined limits on the exercise of discretion by public functionaries including the prime minister, they added.

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Demands for Policy Shift in Pakistan

Rallying against the Taliban

Rallying against the Taliban

Pakistan is still recovering from the brazen massacre that occurred at a Peshawar school that claimed 149 lives. Despite the event happening a month ago, Pakistan is still limping back to life. Since the attack occurred, thousands of protesters demand to get justice for the people killed in the massacre. The attack that happened was deemed to be the deadliest in the country’s history. Protesters rally outside the parliament house and wanting for affirmative action from the government. They are chanting “Those who support the Taliban, they are traitors, they are traitors!”. The groups are mainly composed of rights activists, political party workers and citizens. The group has in fact expanded its network and garnered support from protesters based on London, Washington DC, New York, Perth, Nairobi and Berlin. They simultaneously rally on their own country wanting the same thing, which is justice for the victims of the Taliban attack. Some of this countries are also in support of the Asian Women’s Fund. Protesters are also chanting at the rally the need for military operations against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its allies in North Waziristan. Although people feel unsatisfied over the actions of the government, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his staff are working hard in trying to seek out justice. In fact ever since the attack, the government has brought in a draft of policy changes and also making the military stepped up its ongoing operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the TTP and its allies are based.

Many are still devastated from the attacks in Peshawar

Many are still devastated from the attacks in Peshawar

The reason why TTP did the killing spree in a Peshawar school is the alleged killing of women and children in army operation. According to them “We targeted the [older children] so that we could kill them today before they became soldiers tomorrow”. The Pakistani military responded by killing at least 157 people in air strikes and ground operations in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas.

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Fighting off Taliban

Pakistani army battle against Taliban forces

Pakistani army battle against Taliban forces

As Taliban increases their presence, Pakistani military ensures that they constantly ward them off. The military has in fact did Aeriel strikes in Khyber Agency wherein it is suspected as a Pakistani Taliban stronghold. The military has increased its efforts in battling Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan after the group claimed the attack on a school in Peshwar last December 15. The attack caused severe damage in the area and even killing 148 people wherein majority are children. The military did air strikes and ground operations targeting fighter hideouts in the Khyber Agency.

 

Pakistani military has been trying to eliminate the Taliban forces

Pakistani military has been trying to eliminate the Taliban forces

According to the reports of the intelligence unit of the army, the mastermind of the school attack may be one of the 21 suspected Taliban fighters killed in an air strike. Such claims have still not been verified by other sources. In a video released online by the Taliban, Omar Khalifa had announced that he was responsible for the attack. Such situation angered the international community and they called for action against the Taliban. Eve since, the army had been on the offensive in locating the Taliban. In fact they had been fighting off the rebel group in the Afghanistan border for the last six months. The killing of innocent children in Peshwar sparked the military’s will to eliminate Taliban.

The rebel group has been causing political instability in the area and it disrupts the ability of Pakistan to grow. The attack happened after Pakistan hanged two convicted men in the first executions since 2008 after the government ended a moratorium on the death penalty. Despite the state showing off decisive action, some experts believe that it is simply just not enough to rely on the military efforts. The government needs to step up and win the support of the public. This could stop the Taliban through the prevention of the recruitment of soldiers of Taliban and even gain sentiments from other possible supporters.

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Pakistan-Japan Relations

Ambassador Hiroshi Inomata was a speaker in Pakistan-Japan Business Forum

Ambassador Hiroshi Inomata was a speaker in Pakistan-Japan Business Forum

In the recently concluded Pakistan-Japan Business Forum, Japanese Ambassador in Pakistan Hiroshi Inomata spoke and mentioned how there has been an improvement in Pakistan’s economic policies. He further discussed how there is a necessity to try to improve the misconceptions that Japanese has towards the security situation in Pakistan. He admitted how there are Japanese who believe the various portrayal of media that Pakistan is unsafe and a violent place to live in. Ambassador Hiroshi proposed that there should be actions made in order to further improve the trade and investment between two countries. He said how there should be more attention towards improving this particular area.

 

There are many Japanese automobile companies investing in Pakistan

There are many Japanese automobile companies investing in Pakistan

Japan is also suffering from misconceptions thrown towards them. This is due to the fact that the Japanese government refuses its role in trying to historically correct information about Japanese comfort women. Due to such accusations, Japan is now suffering from cold relations towards other countries. This quite stifled their economy thus finding ways in trying to improve their economic status and tries to meet their goal of reducing unemployment rate and trying to attract more businesses to have relations with them. Ambassador Hiroshi discussed in the Business Forum how there had been an improvement in security and government incentives in attracting Japanese businessmen to invest in Pakistan. However the portrayal of media quite hampers their ability to explore the option of further increasing business activities between the Japanese and Pakistanis. Hiroshi Inomata stated how there has been a long historical relation between Japan and Pakistan. In fact Japanese investment in Pakistan amounted to $818 million during the financial year of 2012. Majority of the businesses that invested in the area is the automobile industry. There is a total of 73 Japanese companies, 45 found in Karachi, 7 each in Lahore and Islamabad.

Factors such as lack of energy and infrastructures and even inconsistent government policies negatively affect the relation of Pakistan to Japan. Although it was deemed to be bad for Japanese companies to invest last year, it did not stop them from still continuing their business in Pakistan. The Japanese are hoping for the further improvement on government to government level policy directed towards businesses.

Images by Dilena Takeyama Center and Pakistan Herald

 

Solution to Pakistan’s problem

Pakistan is suffering from a crisis

Pakistan is suffering from a crisis

Pakistan’s state of affairs can be clearly seen that it is unjustifiable while it keeps with time. The path of political and social development in Pakistan is not a bright one. The two main parties of Pakistan have failed in modernizing, industrializing, educating and developing Pakistan’s education for 6 decades already. The political elite in Pakistan is largely to blame for disrupting the political development of Pakistan. The political elite is a westernized group that caters more on their own agenda rather than the holistic development of their own country, Pakistan. The country of Pakistan that has a large population of 200 million has its education economy going down. It also suffers from other factors such as riots like bombings and shootings. The main root of all this is that the Pakistani government has no will or capacity to solve the country’s problems.

Majority of people in Pakistan are Sunni

Majority of people in Pakistan are Sunni

A stable political solution for Pakistan would be to transform to a Iranian style Islamic state. There would be limitations to this solution due to the fact that Pakistan and Iran differ greatly. They differ in both their history and culture, also Pakistani is mainly Sunni. This idea has come to light because of the many actors that continue about implementing Islamic fundamentalisms. To institutionalize what is already dominant is what can be done to deal with the current issue. Also Islamic fundamentalism is largely accepted by different forms of people in Pakistan like the ethnic groups and the swathes of the political elite and the military. With all the problems that are sure to arise in this method, like international isolation this may make Pakistani stronger because it would have the whole country struggling together. According to Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi “an Islamic state it the best way for an Islamic society tomanage the transition between traditionalism and modernism”. Islamic states seem to have a great effect on education on countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. With a solution like this there are bound to be obstacles in the way but it is the best for Pakistan in the long run.

Images by Women’s View on News and Anjum Naveed

Amir Dogar won Multan elections

Multan Elections

Multan Elections

An independent candidate supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged victorious in the elections held last October 17. Malik Amir Dogar was able to outrank Makhdoom Javed Hashmi from National Assembly and Javed Siddiqi of the Pakistan People’s Party. Amir was able to win with a margin of 14,000 votes but gathered an overall vote of 52,231. Hashmi only had 38,893 votes with Siddiqi getting 6,289 votes. The election conducted was for the NA-149 (Multan) after Javed Hashmi retired from the position. During Hashmi’s resignation he exposed the plan of the army to overthrow the government by using violent protests as a pretext. He was known to be giving his support to the PTI’s anti-government demonstrations in Islamabad. The army denied the allegations of Hashmi.

Amir Dogar defeated political heavyweight Javed Hashmi

Amir Dogar defeated political heavyweight Javed Hashmi

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi has been in the political sphere for quite some time now. He immediately held press conference before his impending defeat. He congratulated Amir Dogar for winning the by-election. The victory was memorable for Dogar because of his history of receiving of about one fourth of Hashmi’s votes. Mr. Dogar was backed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf which helped him claim the victory against his opponents. After Dogar’s win, he thanked Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood support for his campaign. He pledged for fighting over the rights of his people. Due to the overwhelming support given by the PTI he decided to join the party. He benefitted from his father’s (Salahuddin Dogar) political career as well.

The election result shows the will of the Pakistanis in trying to reform the government. They have experienced poor governance, corruption issues and a lot more for a long time now. It is quite ironic though how PTI still managed to win despite their disdain towards the system that they speak against. There is a necessity for the party to respond to the votes and start delivering to the constituents.

 

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Fight over Indian border

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan’s Prime Minister is under pressure to do actions over the situation in Pakistan border. In fact Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi already issued a statement wherein he’s forcing Nawaz Sharif to immediately do something. Despite the harsh words of Narendra Modi, this is still insufficient in making Sharif to have a response.

In October 9 there was a fight between Pakistani military and India near the border of India. It left at least 50 people wounded and 30 lives claimed. This was in fact one of the worst fight between India and Pakistan since 1947. It has in fact worsen when an Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistani forces in January 2013. Narendra Modi has increased its animosity towards Pakistan when Pakistan still refuses to hold talks with them. In fact India has tried to engage on a discussion with the Pakistani officials last May but they decided to cancel it because of the news that the Pakistani government briefed with Kashmiri leaders. There has been a series of pinpointing by both parties on who was responsible over the fight in the Indian border.

Imran Khan leading the rally in Islamabad

Imran Khan leading the rally in Islamabad

Sharif’s silence is criticized by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan. In his statement against the current Prime Minister, he said that Nawaz Sharif’s son is doing business in India. This means that the relations between India hampers him in trying to issue a statement against his Indian counterpart. This statement was issued in a rally organized by Khan’s party in Gujrat district, 200 kilometers from Lahore.

The former cricketer Khan has organized several protests in the country since mid-August. Imran Khan is joined by his cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri in their fight to oust the Pakistani Prime Minister. They have in fact vowed they will stay in Islamabad until Nawaz Sharif gets removed from the government. Imran Khan has in fact vowed that he will not end the sit-in which will take place in November 30 if Sharif does not resign.

Images by The Hindu and The Express Tribune

Pakistani General Elections

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan or simply referred to as Pakistan is a sovereign country in South Asia. The population of Pakistan is known to be more than one hundred eighty million people. Because of its high number of population, it is listed as the sixth most populous country in the world, joining another Asian country, China.

A Map of Pakistan

A Map of Pakistan

The Republic of Pakistan is under the leadership of Mamnoon Hussain, the President, and Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister. Other leaders in the country include a Chief Justice, a Chairman of the Senate, and a Speaker of National Assembly. Nasir ul-Mulk, Nayyar Hussain Bukhharri, and Ayaz Sadiq hold the said positions, respectively.

Last May 11, 2013, the Pakistani General Elections were held. This was done in order to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly, as well as the four provincial assemblies of the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Kyhber Pakthunkhwa. On each province, elections were held. The remaining two territories of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were ineligible to vote due to their disputed status. The legacy of the elections has been marred by allegations of rigging along with tampering within the bureaucracy. The election commission itself admitted that there had been serious rigging in the elections and in its report it blamed the Returning officers of the lower judiciary.

The total numbers of registered voters during the Pakistani General Elections were approximately eighty seven million. The province of Punjab which is the biggest province in Pakistan had the largest percentage of population. The overall turnout of voters was fifty five percent, as reported by the Election Commission of Pakistan. This is reported to be the highest voter’s turnout in the history of Pakistani elections.

There were various issues of rigging, cheating, fraud, etc. during the Pakistani General Elections. However, media still considered it peaceful until Election Day. Unfortunately, On 17 May 2013, the Vice-president of the PTI, Zahra Hussain, was shot and killed in Karachi just before he was set to sworn into power.

Election Fraud in the Elections

Election Fraud in the Elections

Images from CNN and Infoplease