India-Pakistan Ties: If Goods Don’t Cross Borders, Soldiers Will

By Afaq Hussain and Riya Sinha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Paris summit followed by Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan has raised hopes about the possibility of resumption of the bilateral composite dialogue. The move signals a long-awaited thaw in bilateral relationship.

International commerce is the single most effective area that can successfully alter the bilateral foreign policy of India and Pakistan and enable them to move beyond their strained political linkages. Both conventional wisdom and empirical evidence propose that increasing levels of cross-border economic flows, defined either in terms of trade or capital movements decreases the probability of conflict.

Deliberating the very notions of peace through trade or trade through peace, can be quite intriguing. Reducing conflict helps create a globally conducive atmosphere for facilitating trade and other ties between countries; at the same time, increasing trade promotes peace through communication and transnational ties, which improves mutual understanding among societies and raises the potential for cooperation. The growing internationalisation of commerce and firms makes war less likely by increasing the costs of severing economic links.

Read more » The Quint
See more » http://www.thequint.com/opinion/2015/12/18/india-pakistan-ties-if-goods-dont-cross-borders-soldiers-will

“I don’t really think Jinnah is anyone’s hero”

By 

Author and journalist Mohammed Hanif speaks his mind about how the idea of a hero is conceived in our society

The News on Sunday: Nations tend to pick their heroes. How important are heroes for nation-building? What goes into the making of a hero?

Mohammed Hanif: I don’t know if heroes are important for nation building or not. All I know is that we have had too many heroes lately, we are fast running out of honours, medals, and clichés to bestow upon them. It seems you have to get gang raped, get shot in the head, or die at the hands of a state-employed torturer to become a hero. Why can’t we just have people who turn up for work? Why can’t we just stop thinking that we are god’s gift to this universe?

TNS: Why can’t we agree on our heroes — Jinnah or Maududi, Hakimullah or Malala? And then, each side claims its hero defines the national narrative.

MH: I don’t think there are many nations which agree on their heroes. I don’t really think Jinnah is anyone’s hero. I think a lot of people in this country don’t even know who he was and the ones who know will never agree what he said let alone what he meant by what he said. I don’t think there are many people who are going to consider anybody a hero who says: get disciplined, work hard, stand united. Sounds like your PT teacher, doesn’t really inspire anyone. Now if someone comes along and says let’s fight to liberate the Ummah, let’s go and take over the world or die trying, there is more to life than office slavery, that is the kind of stuff we expect our heroes to say. And can the national press stop using the term national narrative? Any editor who can achieve that will be my hero.

Read more » The News
See more » http://tns.thenews.com.pk/someone-never-stepped-punjab-cantonment-likely-believe-army-non-controversial-hero/#.Vn2FofkrLcs

Is Pakistan supporting Bangladeshi Islamists?

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested seven suspected militants with links to an Islamist group. The move comes a day after Pakistan recalled its diplomat from Dhaka over her alleged links with the same banned outfit.

The police raided an apartment in Mirpur, a district in the capital Dhaka, and arrested seven suspected members of the banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) organization. They also seized 16 home-made bombs, suicide vests and explosive material, which the authorities said could be used in planned attacks over the New Year period.

The suspects exploded bombs as police began their raid. No injuries were reported. Officials cordoned off the building and evacuated the residents.

Police officer Monirul Islam said at least three “important figures” of the JMB had been arrested.

The JMB was founded in 1998 by Shaikh Abdur Rahman, a religious preacher educated in Saudi Arabia. The group campaigns for the imposition of the Shariah Law in Bangladesh. Despite being banned by the government, the JMB members are trying to regroup and launch clandestine operations.

In 2007, Bangladeshi authorities executed six JMB leaders for killing two judges and masterminding a series of bombings across the country in 2005 that killed some 30 people. The militant organization has also been involved in targeting foreigners. On October 3, it shot dead a Japanese farmer in northern Bangladesh.

The Thursday raid followed information from a detained member of the Islamist group.

Terror link row

The raid comes just days after a suspected JMB member, Idris Sheikh, told a court in Dhaka that he had ties with a female Pakistani diplomat, whose name was quoted by local media as Farina Arshad. Shiekh told police detectives that he had received financial assistance from Arshad for his espionage trial.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/is-pakistan-supporting-bangladeshi-islamists/a-18941388?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

Modi makes surprise visit to Pakistan

BY MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK AND KRISHNA N. DAS

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover in Pakistan on Friday to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, the first time an Indian premier has visited the rival nation in over a decade.

Sharif hugged Modi after he landed at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore before the two boarded a helicopter for Sharif’s nearby estate, state television showed.

A spokesman at the Pakistani prime minister’s office told Reuters the two leaders would discuss a range of bilateral issues, including the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, the most contentious issue dividing the nuclear-armed rivals.

Modi was on his way home after a visit to Russia. He stopped off in the Afghanistan capital Kabul earlier on Friday.

After months of a freeze, India and Pakistan resumed high-level contacts with a brief conversation between Sharif and Modi at climate change talks in Paris late last month, part of efforts to restart a peace dialogue plagued by militant attacks and long-standing distrust.

Modi, who inaugurated a new parliament complex built with Indian help in Kabul, spoke to Sharif earlier on Friday to wish him on his 66th birthday.

“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” Modi tweeted.

The two prime ministers flew to Sharif’s estate in Lahore named Jati Umra, after his family’s ancestral home in a Punjabi village in India, Pakistan state TV reported.

Read more » Reuters
See more » http://in.reuters.com/article/india-pakistan-modi-nawaz-sharif-idINKBN0U80G020151225