FALSE EQUIVALENCY IN THE “INDO-PAKISTAN” DISPUTE

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In the wake of India’s hot pursuit of militants into Myanmar, Pakistan has raised numerous alarms about Indian aggression. It has issued various warnings that no such Indian incursion into Pakistan will be tolerated. As often happens in such circumstances, the international media has raised the tocsin of the potential for yet another “Indo-Pakistan” clash. Unfortunately, much of this coverage of the so-called India-Pakistan conflict is deeply problematic in that writers, perhaps with good intentions, seek to impose a false equivalence on both nations’ conduct, giving the impression that India and Pakistan contribute equally to the fraught situation that currently exists.

This is dangerously untrue and feeds into a policy-process that has failed to come to terms with the most serious problem in South Asia: Pakistan. Such coverage also rewards Pakistan for its malfeasance by attributing blame to India in equal share and thus legitimizing Pakistan’s ill-found grievances. The only parties who benefit from such an understanding of the “Indo-Pakistan” dispute are the Pakistan military and its terrorist proxies. One such article was published by the Washington Post on June 11 by Tim Craig and Annie Gowen. In this essay, I seek to provide the necessary historical and empirical background that is required to make sense of the current situation. In doing so I directly challenge such writers as Craig and Gowen, among others, to devote more time to understanding the conflict dynamics before they inadvertently obfuscate the situation more than they illuminate it.

Pakistan’s Tired Kashmir Claims

As the article notes, the origins of the India-Pakistan dispute date back to 1947, when the two countries were tweezed out from the detritus of the British Raj. Pakistan’s founders argued that Muslims of South Asia could never be safe and secure under a Hindu majority in a unified India and thus required a separate state after the British departed. This was the crux of the so-called Two Nation Theory, which held that Muslims and Hindus are equal nations despite the fact that Muslims were far fewer in number.The Two Nation Theory was deeply problematic from beginning. First, Muslims had lived under Hindu dominion in the past with no significant diminution of their basic freedoms. Second, as independence loomed,many of the Muslims in what became West Pakistan did not want to join Pakistan in the first place. Third, during and after Partition, about one third of South Asia’s Muslims opted to remain in India rather than join Pakistan. Fourth, the 1971 secession of East Pakistan based upon ethno-nationalist mobilization against West Pakistani oppression further undermined the notion that South Asian Muslim identity was a sufficient basis for nationhood. The Two Nation Theory has remained the motivation for Pakistan’s claims upon Kashmir, without which Pakistan believes Partition can never be a complete process and the Two Nation Theory remains a dream deferred.

Partition was conducted on the basis of geographical contiguity and Hindu-Muslim demographics. Three so-called Princely States — Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir — did not cast their lot with either of the new nations even though hundreds of other such states had done so. The Muslim sovereign of Hyderabad, a large swathe of territory deep within India, governed a mostly Hindu population. He preferred to remain independent of either dominion. After a prolonged skirmish with the sovereign’s own militia and their supporters, India forcibly annexed Hyderabad. Junagarh, a Hindu majority state also deep within Indian territory, was governed by a Muslim who signed an instrument of accession to Pakistan. Pakistan initially refused to accept it because it shared no border with Junagarh. In the end, Pakistan accepted the instrument, likely in hopes of using it as a bargaining chip for the prize: Kashmir. Kashmir’s sovereign was a Hindu who presided over a Muslim majority population. While Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority state in the Raj, the polity was diverse and included Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslim communities various sects of Sunnis and Shia. Kashmir’s sovereign also sought independence. He signed a stand-still agreement with Pakistan to stave off military action while he dithered in casting his lot with either India or Pakistan.

Continue reading » WAR ON THE ROCKS
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Rangers “overstepped its authority” with SBCA office raid: CM Sindh writes to DG Rangers

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has written a letter to DG Rangers Sindh and urged the paramilitary force to work within its domain, ARY News reported.

In a letter, CM Sindh said Rangers had been given powers under Anti-Terrorism Act to stop burgeoning terrorism.

However, Rangers raid at Sindh Building Control Authority’s office was overstepping of its doman. The letter, citing CM Sindh, urged that Rangers must work within its defined boundaries.

The notification detailing Rangers domain of work was also attached with the letter.

Mr. Shah said Rangers must respect provincial autonomy.

The copy of the letter was also dispatched to Interior Ministry Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.

Read more » ARY News Tv
http://arynews.tv/en/rangers-overstepped-its-authority-with-sbca-office-raid-cm-sindh-writes-to-dg-rangers

See more » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2015/06/150617_sindh_cm_letter_to_dg_rangers_hk?ocid=socialflow_facebook

Off the plane, on to the stage

KARACHI: Shehzad Ghias didn’t seem jet-lagged as he took the stage for his comeback show Fresh Of the Plane at the Music Art Dance school. Ghias, who recently returned to the city from New York after two years, kept the audience engaged with his satire of Pakistan’s bizarre pop culture in a two-day act on June 13 and 14.

He opened by ridiculing the country’s local entertainment content for children by explaining why a show as popular as Sesame Street was unable to take off in Pakistan. “In America, you have cute characters, such as the Cookie Monster and Elmo, but in Pakistan, you have Uncle Sargam — an old, bald man. Imagine having a ‘Hug me, Uncle Sargam’ toy like the ones they have for Elmo in the United States,” he quipped.

It was an honour to perform in New York but the love you get from Pakistan is incomparable, I have a connection with Karachi, Sindh & it will stay with me no matter what. ~ Comedian Shahzad Ghias

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/904661/off-the-plane-on-to-the-stage/

Angry outburst: PPP co-chairman fires broadside at establishment

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising outburst ostensibly against the powerful security establishment, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that politicians were better suited to running the affairs of the country. “You are here for only three years,” he said in an apparent jab at the army chief.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/904947/angry-outburst-ppp-co-chairman-fires-broadside-at-establishment/

‘If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly’

ISLAMABAD: Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that he was not interested in coming into power but only wanted to serve the masses of the country.

Speaking to party workers and office bearers belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA here, he said when the ‘PPP moves it jolts all others’, adding that mid-term elections would have been held if his party put its weight behind Imran Khan’s PTI led protests against the government last year.

“We are watching the political game, political moves and waiting for the right time to arrive… let those play to whom we provided a bat and ball,” said the former president.

“Let them put the economy back on track… it will be good if they succeed, but if they don’t then those provoking us must understand that if I stand up then not only Sindh but every town from Khyber to Karachi would be shut.”

Commenting on former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, Zardari said that the former president, who he said still acts like a commando, cannot even spend three months in a Pakistani jail.

“Musharraf does not know how many threats Pakistan is facing currently, but I do,” he remarked.

He warned against character assassination of his party, saying if they started doing the same then no one would be spared including army generals. “Army is our institutions,” he added.

Zardari went on to say that army chiefs come and go every three years but the political leadership is here to stay. “I don’t want the national institutions to weaken,” he added.

“If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly,” said the aggressive looking PPP co-chairman.

Addressing the party workers, he said that they had to learn a lot and he had to teach them.

“At the time of BB’s [former prime minister Benazir Bhutto] martyrdom, I said Pakistan khappay (long live Pakistan)… but, there’s a limit to everything,” he concluded.

PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was also present on the occasion.

News courtesy: The News
Read more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-188229-If-attempts-are-made-to-agitate-us-then-well-respond-accordingly