Opinion

Opinion

Savage horror of India-China border clash serves as a warning to avoid the unthinkable

What really happened on the night of June 15 in the disputed Aksai Chin-Ladakh region in the western Himalayas?So far, all we know about the worst bloodletting between India and China in 60 years of border tensions is what Indian media reports. They are mostly unverified, nationalistic, one-sided accounts citing anonymous sources, but will have to suffice in the absence of more official details about what went down in one of the most desolate places on the planet.The showdown at 14,000 feet came after military commanders on the ground had agreed that both sides would pull their troops away to create a buffer zone above the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers.All hell broke loose when an Indian colonel took a group of soldiers back to the scene to ensure the People’s Liberation Army w
Opinion

Hundred days of arrest for a case with no evidence

It has been hundred days since Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group has been in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) detention, held behind bars.In the most recent development, a bench of the Lahore High Court adjourned the hearing in his bail petition in a 34-year-old land property case on the grounds that the bench had received the case files late. Previously, another bench hearing the case had been dissolved due to the unavailability of one of its members. The court has already sought a reply from NAB on the petition.As per the details of the case, there is no real justification for there to even be a case regarding the purchase of the land. Nevertheless, Mir Shakil still continued to cooperate with NAB. And now we have a situation where even after a hundred days, there i...
Conversion therapy wrong bait to attract conservative voters
Opinion, World

Conversion therapy wrong bait to attract conservative voters

Seven years ago, while I was researching my book on equal marriage, I interviewed a number of people who had been direct victims of homophobia. Several of them had as teenagers been exposed to what is known as “conversion therapy” — a pernicious misnomer in that it’s more oppression that conversion, and more abuse than therapy. One of them, Jim, told me of when he’d come out to his evangelical Christian parents. They took him to a “conversion therapist” and after a few weeks he felt so emptied of value and virtue that he cut his wrists in an attempt to make the world disappear. He almost succeeded but, thank God, didn’t. He showed me the slash marks from that horrific evening. His partner Steve — they’ve been together for 13 happy years now — said, “I find it hard to forgive the people w
What goes behind China’s army?
Opinion

What goes behind China’s army?

The Chinese army, or better off, the People’s Liberation Army is not a motivated one. During the time I dealt with the PLA while commanding the Nathu La Brigade, I realized how it is plagued by corruption, outdated command structures and unprofessionalism. As Nathu La was the central point for military communications for EC, I had to speak on the telephone with my counterpart every week and meet with him once a month followed by drinks and meal. Even families from both the sides joined in.My counterpart once told me that he gets only one third of what I get. However, they get “compensation” in the form of various perks like free rations, liquor, cigarettes, domestic help, and schooling for children, college fee, vehicle etc. Basically, this is how the cadre survives, and these little perks
New coercive order spreading over Muslim society is not political, but intellectual
Opinion

New coercive order spreading over Muslim society is not political, but intellectual

Professor Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, who holds a PhD in nuclear physics, and teaches physics and math at Lahore’s Forman Christian University, has been told that his contract will not be renewed in 2021. This happened in the same week the Punjab governor announced that all universities of the province would be required to teach the Holy Quran as a compulsory subject.Hoodbhoy objects to acts of state and society against reason. His book, Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality, explains the source of his trouble with the ideological state of Pakistan. It is not that he hates religion — he objects to acts of irrationality in the name of religion.He protested, however, when the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer was murdered by his police guard when he defended a Ch
Beijing should note
Opinion

Beijing should note

In pushing India to a tipping point, China is close to losing the hard-won trust of the world’s second most populous nation and a large neighbor. Keeping India’s trust, however, might look like a trivial matter to the current Chinese Communist Party leadership. India might be the world’s fifth largest economy, but it is one-fifth the size of China’s and Beijing being acutely sensitive to power differentials, sees an India that is struggling to find an effective response to the Chinese manoeuvre in Ladakh. Of course, Communist China’s disdain is not exclusively for India. Beijing, which once benchmarked itself against Washington, is now contemptuous of the US and more broadly of the West that has found it hard to cope with the COVID crisis and seems at odds with itself.The Chinese Communist
China shoots itself in the foot in the Himalayas
Opinion

China shoots itself in the foot in the Himalayas

In China, quoting a supposedly independent scholar in a media outlet is a well-worn tactic used by top leaders to get their views across without stating them publicly.So when the official mouthpiece Global Times wrote in a June 17 commentary that India would “pay a heavy price” and “face military pressure on two or even three fronts” if it retaliated for China’s killing of at least 20 Indian soldiers in a Western Himalayan border altercation, the newspaper was speaking Beijing’s mind.The newspaper also wrote somewhat cryptically that “Pakistan is a reliable strategic partner of China and Nepal also has close ties with China, and both of them are key partners under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative”, an insinuation that certain of India’s neighbors could be drawn into a conflict a
US should back India after China kills at least 20 Indian troops
Opinion

US should back India after China kills at least 20 Indian troops

As reports emerged that Chinese troops had killed at least 20 Indian soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir on the border dividing the world’s two most-populous nations, the list of outrageous actions by China grew even longer.Thanks to the Chinese regime’s increasing aggressiveness, the messy border dispute in one of the most remote and desolate places on Earth has gotten worse.Since the month of May, Chinese forces have been at loggerheads with Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas. But what had been largely restricted to spontaneous fistfights and rock-throwing has now escalated.Odds are that the confrontation between China and India – both nuclear powers – won’t spin out of control. Still, the U.S. ought to take a stand against China’s increasing bul
Decoding the real reasons behind Chinese aggression in South Asia
Asia, Opinion

Decoding the real reasons behind Chinese aggression in South Asia

The Chinese diplomacy and military strategy are largely subservient to its idea of “Century of Humiliation”- the period between 1839 and 1939, when China lost a huge territory to Western colonial powers, Russia and Japan. Although, in the last three decades it has seen unprecedented growth and development, the insecurities in the Chinese assertions are more than evident.The ‘Xi Jingping era’ saw towering Chinese territorial and economic aspirations. The ambitious Belt Road Initiative (BRI), believed to be China’s attempt to assert its strategic footprints across the world, has also revealed the true nature of Chinese hegemonistic goals. The BRI is considered to be Xi’s personal indulgence in taking China and his leadership to the status of a global power never thought of before. This, howe
As Xi Jinping takes on an offensive mode, let’s pray for China
Opinion

As Xi Jinping takes on an offensive mode, let’s pray for China

What a difference a year makes! A year ago, on June 4, Xi Jinping – the boss of China and the unelected master of the country’s fate – was confident enough to brush off the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square atrocity, and was gearing up to push back against a rampaging US President who seemed to have the roughest of touches on the delicate issues of diplomacy.Today, after a complete year, Xi is besieged due to the outright lies and cover-up of the novel coronavirus since late 2019.As in any country, it is the domestic situation that tends to be a catalyst for foreign overtures, and so is the case with China.Millions of Chinese today believe even less the lies coming out from the leadership of the Communist Party of China. They know that their leaders kept mum when hundreds of thousan