Opinion

Experts decry proposed 14th amendment in so-called AJK Interim Act 1974 by Pakistan
Asia, Opinion

Experts decry proposed 14th amendment in so-called AJK Interim Act 1974 by Pakistan

Political activists and experts have condemned the proposed 14th amendment Bill to the 1974 Interim Constitution of so-called Azad Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) as it further restricts the freedom of expression and opinion among the people in the occupied territory, while strengthening the grip of the Pakistani state over the region even more.In a webinar organized by the Jammu Kashmir International People’s Alliance (JKIPA), Junaid Qureshi, the director of European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) said that Pakistan has over the years been duplicitously projecting itself as a strong votary of the now near-defunct 1948 UN Resolutions that specified a referendum in the entire erstwhile Princely State of J&K.“The reality, though, is that the onus of implementing the first stage
The slow poison of Osama: A man, an organization, and the spreading of terror
Opinion

The slow poison of Osama: A man, an organization, and the spreading of terror

Since Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan fondly remembers the founder of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, as a “martyr”, it only makes sense to remember him.Osama bin Laden’s Syrian mother was one of the many wives of his millionaire Yemeni father. While his brothers went to the West for higher education, Osama preferred going to Jeddah’s Abdel Aziz University where his fondness for Islamic studies was spurred by two charismatic teachers, Muhammad Qutb and Abdallah Azzam — the first an Egyptian, a brother of the great Ikhwan leader, Syed Qutb and the second, a Palestinian who merged the Qutb doctrine of jahiliyya (ignorance) with modern jihad against the West.In 1980, Osama came to Peshawar to conduct jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.By 1984, Osama got used to spending a lot of t
Pakistani media mogul’s bizarre arrest shows how media freedom is being squeezed
Opinion

Pakistani media mogul’s bizarre arrest shows how media freedom is being squeezed

The country’s most prominent media mogul Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is detained and incarcerated. The image-conscious Prime Minister Imran Khan ignores a letter from United Nations officials about the detention. The media tycoon is held for over 100 days without charge; five bail hearings are postponed, and the bench assigned to hear his case is changed three times in as many months.Even for a nascent democracy such as Pakistan, under military rule for much of its existence, the bizarre arrest and ongoing detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is novel and tragic.The owner-editor of Jang, Pakistan’s most powerful media conglomerate, was arrested on March 12. The move was so unexpected that he didn’t obtain pre-arrest bail when responding to a summons by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office
Anxiety in China stems from the CPC’s insecurity
Opinion

Anxiety in China stems from the CPC’s insecurity

China has handled the COVID-19 outbreak better than most countries. Also, it has quickly cranked up its industries and global public diplomacy to offer testing kits and protective gear to countries across the world, including to its arch-rival, the United States, as well as to India.At the same time, Chinese territorial assertiveness continues without letup in the east, the South China Seas, and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. It is almost as if even a disruption like COVID-19 that has the rest of the world scrambling to manage public health, economic growth and political fallout, is insufficient to knock China off its stride.And yet, the Chinese people are anxious. The Communist Party of China (CPC) that governs them, even more so. Anxious that the rest of the world not...
China pillages Balochistan
Opinion

China pillages Balochistan

In 2011, the celebrated Irish journalist Declan Walsh wrote about a 70-year-old conflict about Balochistan, which has been under Pakistani occupation since March 1948. It was a topic that only a few in the West had heard off.Headlined as ‘Pakistan’s Secret Dirty War,’ Walsh, in his piece, lifted the lid on atrocities being committed by the Pakistan Army and its jihadi death squads inside Balochistan.He wrote: “In Balochistan, mutilated corpses bearing the signs of torture keep turning up, among them lawyers, students and farm workers … The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, a few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen. F
Watch China’s actions, don’t listen to its words
Opinion

Watch China’s actions, don’t listen to its words

At the moment, one of the most complex situations is the changing nature of nation-to-nation relationships with China. The words China wants us to use are telling.In the case of the US-China relationship, the Chinese Communist Party has been very keen to use words (both positive and negative) that create an impression of equality between Beijing and Washington.A few years ago, Beijing promoted the idea of China and the US being the “G2” - two equal governments, with primacy over the rest. The G2 construct allowed Beijing to imply that the world should be divided into two colonial-style spheres of influence, one for the US, and one for China.In 2008, US Navy Admiral Timothy J. Keating told the Senate Armed Services Committee about a comment a senior Chinese officer made to him: “As we devel
Is Xi’s persecution of China’s Uighur Muslims a genocide in the making?
Opinion

Is Xi’s persecution of China’s Uighur Muslims a genocide in the making?

From the mid-1970s Deng Xiaoping and his successors sought consensus at home and trade and rapprochement with the west after the abominations of Mao’s “cultural revolution”. There was a golden moment when even this one-party state might have been negotiable, but it was tragically crushed when the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989.Even then, however, it was tyranny tempered by trade, capitalism and a degree of circumspection, including term limits on communist party bosses. By contrast, XI is an unfettered emperor in the tradition of Mao.The world now faces not a pragmatic one-party state but a doctrinaire one-man dictatorship. And the dictator, into his second decade of power, is determined to stamp out latent as well as actual dissent, even at the price of western trade an
PLA veterans, hurt cadres could launch ‘armed’ action against CCP regime: Chinese dissident
China, Opinion

PLA veterans, hurt cadres could launch ‘armed’ action against CCP regime: Chinese dissident

Chinese dissident Jianli Yang has said that disgruntled retired Army veterans and serving China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) cadres, who are hurt by the treatment meted out by the government, can form a formidable force capable of challenging the leadership of Xi Jinping and launch a collective and "armed" anti-regime action.In an opinion piece, Jianli, son of a former Communist Party leader, said that Beijing, which reels under the fear that the admittance that it had lost troops, that too more in number than its opponent, could lead to such major trouble and domestic unrest, that the very regime of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could be put at stake."The PLA has long been a key pillar of the CCP's power. If the sentiments of the serving PLA cadres are hurt and they get together w...
China leverages Tibetan Plateau’s water wealth
Opinion

China leverages Tibetan Plateau’s water wealth

While the international attention remains on China’s criminal activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, Beijing is also quietly focusing its attention on the waters of rivers that originate in the Chinese-controlled territory of Tibet.For a long time now, China has pursued a broader strategy to corner natural resources. This has driven its expanding presence in places like Africa and Latin America. China’s newer obsession is freshwater, whose growing shortages are casting a cloud over Asia’s economic future.Peace and security in Asia both hinge on China’s willingness to embrace rules-based cooperation, which includes ceasing activities that threaten to turn internationally shared river-water resources into a Chinese political weapon.Most of Asia’s great rivers originate on
China is so fixed on the US, it may lose India
Opinion

China is so fixed on the US, it may lose India

Mid-June witnessed two significant events related to China's foreign relations: a deadly clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the disputed border killing soldiers on both sides, and a special meeting in Hawaii between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Foreign Affairs Commission.Indian news and public discussions have been dominated by the border clash since it happened but it barely made headlines in China. Meanwhile, the meeting between Pompeo and Yang garnered significant attention by Chinese official media and social media. This is telling of China’s diplomatic priority.China is obviously of paramount importance to India's foreign policy. China's every move is scrutinized by Indians, and every is