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Be mature guys; there’s a lot at stake in India, Pak

nawaz modi

The much-hyped talks between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan have been called off.

It is clear that the recent thaw in bilateral relations was illusionary as the hardened positions of the respective states remain unchanged and a greater level of distrust was reflected in the recent days.

The major roadblock came in the wake of Pakistan’s desire to engage with Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi. This was unacceptable to India, that wanted the talks to be terrorism-centric.

Issues on the table

The Ufa declaration did not preclude Kashmir, but did highlight that the talks will focus on “all issues connected with terrorism.”

Exactly a year ago the Indian government called off its Foreign Secretary’s visit to Islamabad when Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi met a group of Kashmiri separatists.

This is a pattern set by the Modi administration: Look tough, act tough when it comes to Pakistan.

The Indian position on Pakistanis talking to Hurriyat and other Kashmiri representatives is intriguing as it was a routine in the past.

Even during the time of the previous BJP government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, General Musharraf met them during his 2001 India visit. […]

A Shifting Political Landscape

By Raza Rumi:

If there is any single constant in Pakistani politics it is perennial instability. More so when fledgling democracies struggle to change the governance discourse and attempt to consolidate their hold over power which has traditionally been concentrated in the unelected ‘arms’ of the executive. The current civilian governments at the centre and the provinces are no exception
to this historical trend.

Nevertheless contemporary political dynamics in the country display both continuity and discontinuity from historical trends. This is what makes Pakistan’s evolution during the 21st century a most fascinating process of societal change and resistance by the post-colonial state which is basically fighting a serious battle for its survival; and perhaps has entered the decisive
phase of this conflict. […]

September 6th, 2011|Lahore, Published in South Asia Magazine|5 Comments

More on the Pakistan Wikileaks- US Operations Constrained by India-Pakistan Relations

My interview which has appeared on Wikileaks Central.

The Dawn Media Group in partnership with WikiLeaks has been releasing the “Pakistan Papers.” Thus far, some of the revelations include the following: US was concerned that Pakistan would oppose its policies at the United Nations; US was worried Pakistan would purchase oil from Iran, allowing them to get a foothold in Pakistan; Pakistan’s government was upset with US funding for the Pakistan military, which led to increased civil-military tensions; Pakistan’s military asked for continued drone coverage; the US has had troops deployed on Pakistan soil; Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been financing jihadist groups in Pakistan and the US did not provide Benazir Bhutto with proper security. […]

June 16th, 2011|India, Indo Pak peace, Pakistan, Personal|6 Comments

‘Reforming’ the education system

By Raza Rumi

Pakistani students sit inside and on top of a rickshaw heading to their schools in Muzaffargarh in Punjab province, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. AP Photo

The recent debates on education have also highlighted how the education sector is not receiving its due compared to say defence, infrastructure and other expenditures made by the government. However, the discussion has yet to move to the most important area i.e. quality of schools and what sort of learning are they providing?

The task of reforming the education system is huge, complex and some would say next to impossible. However, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has opened the doors to avenues for change. Firstly, education is a provincial subject and the transfer of budgets (with increased allocations through the National Finance Commission Awards) implies that there is now more flexibility and autonomy with the provinces in matters of policy and operations. Secondly, the inclusion of right to education in the fundamental rights also ensures that this is now a justiciable right as well as a paramount priority of the state. […]

April 30th, 2011|development, education, governance, published in DAWN|2 Comments

Failed prescriptions for a failing state

The cat is finally out of the bag. The MQM chief has issued a statement on how the country needs to be saved from corrupt politicians. This was followed by his arch-foe Imran Khan who assured the military of his support should they choose to rescue the country. The PPP has issued muted condemnation of this statement while the PML-N has been categorical in rejecting any extra-constitutional intervention. The ISPR has been silent (unlike its vociferous denunciation of the Kerry-Lugar Bill) and so has the apex court that is usually prompt in taking suo motu notice. Overzealous TV anchors have had a field day in proving how terrible the current ‘system’ of democracy is without indicating what the alternative is.

Several wise commentators have also pointed out public frustration over the alleged mismanagement of the floods by the civilians as a genuine reason for a no-confidence in the system of governance. Pakistan’s chatterati, especially its depoliticised, affluent classes, have perfected such an ahistorical discourse to an art form. There seems to be amnesia about the fact that although all military interventions were sought to get rid of the ‘corrupt politicians’ each of these autocratic spells weakened Pakistan. Furthermore, centralised military rule is incompatible with federalism. Pakistan’s existence was, and remains, a compact between its constituent provinces. […]

September 19th, 2010|governance, Pakistan, Published in the Express Tribune|7 Comments

Wikileaks and our fantasies

Pakistanis are not interested in what the west likes or dislikes. We are concerned for our security, especially for the burgeoning youth of this country. It is time to deepen the corrective action within, rather than looking westwards for strategic victories. It is hoped that the civil-military leadership realises this and takes corrective action against the extremists within us and who threaten our very existence

Pakistan Policy Group – logo

Here is a log for the informal network of policy practice, research, advisory and communication activities. It would be good to know the feedback of the readers.

Pakistan Policy Group – logo, originally uploaded […]

July 11th, 2010|Pakistan, Personal|3 Comments