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Archive for February, 2010

‘Talks For The Sake Of Talks’ Useless: Delhi Loses Another Opportunity For Peace

February 28, 2010 1 comment

By Moin Ansari

The Delhi politicians wanted the talks, but only as a PR exercise–not as a vehicle to make peace with a neighbor. The Zardari Administration was too eager for talks–and should have held out. Mentioning Kashmir during the talks achieves nothing. Unless and until Delhi decides that the cost of war in South Asia is an impediment to tis regional role–Bharat will continue to play Russian Roulette with the lives of more than 1.5 billion people of South Asia.

There is no point to talking to Delhi–Pakistan has tried talking to the bigots in Bharat for 60 years. It serves no purpose at ll.

The speech from Delhi the world is waiting for

Open Letter to Indian PM: Can he bring peace to Asia?

Bharat has been unable to resolve border disputes with any of her neighbors. It has lost friendships with Nepal, Bhutan, Lanka, China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

LAHORE: Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said on Friday that unstructured ‘talks for the sake of talks’ would not produce any long-lasting results and, therefore, it was crucial that India agreed to resumption of composite dialogue to move forward.

He was talking to reporters at the Wagah border crossing on his return from New Delhi. He described his talks in Delhi as exploratory.

“There were two objectives of our meetings with Indian officials. One, we wanted to determine if there is any significant change in the Indian attitude and position or not. Two, we wanted to determine how can the two countries move forward and improve bilateral relations.”

He said the two countries agreed that regression in ties must be reversed with positive steps. Pakistan on its part, he added, had been consistently underscoring the importance of talks as the only way forward.

“But unstructured talks for the sake of talks, though important, will not produce any long-term results. It is crucial that India agrees to restore Composite Dialogue to move forward,” he emphasised.

About the atmosphere of mistrust prevailing in India Bashir said Indian officials and media held Islamabad responsible for their problems. “They want to move gradually for restoring trust and confidence between the two countries.

On the contrary, we are of the view that restoration of Composite Dialogue will immediately help reinstate the environment of trust and confidence. Indian insistence on restricting talks to terrorism alone will not solve the matters,” he said.

He observed that Indian perception about Pakistan was not based on facts. “It is in their own interest to revisit their facts. Indian politicians and media should help dispel negative perception about Pakistan. The ball is now in their court.”

Bashir said that Pakistan had suggested higher-level meetings while continuing with secretary-level talks.

However, he added, they had not decided any date for future talks. About the Kashmir issue, Bashir said: “Pakistan has made it clear to India that Kashmir is an international issue since the passage of the UN Security Council resolutions on it (in 1948) and international intervention is required for its settlement.

Bashir sought to dispel impression prevailing in India that Islamabad was desperate for resumption of talks. “Until now we have talked of dialogue and engagement. But now I have told them (the Indians) that we are not in a hurry.

If they are ready for dialogue we will also be willing for it because it is the only way forward,” he said. During his stay in New Delhi, Bashir also met Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna. The Dawn

Bharat seems to think that peace talks is some sort of reward for good behaviour. It then finds some little thing somewhere to delay and stall talks. Islamabad Delhi Peace talks on basis of equality.

Assured failure: Why talk with India?

  • Assured failure: Why talk with India?
  • Pakistan seeks peace with India as an equal partner, not as a reward for good behaviour
  • India Pakistan meet fails as expected. Why talk?
  • Islamabad Delhi Peace talks on basis of equality.
  • Pakistan should stop showing enthusiaism for resumption of meaningless dialogue with Delhi
  • ISLAMABAD: Pakistan “forced” India at the foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi to reconsider its position on the merits of the composite dialogue and implicitly accept centrality of the Kashmir dispute to Indo-Pak ties.

    A senior diplomat – who was part of the official delegation that visited New Delhi for the talks on February 25 – said Pakistan had also handed over a “dossier” on the distribution of water and made it clear to India that it would not accept “Indian water hegemony”.

    “We did a lot of tough talking during the meeting, and convincingly put forward our position on all issues of importance … [we] made it clear that we will not accept dictates on the terms of bilateral engagements,” said the diplomat.

    He said Pakistan also tabled a “roadmap” for the resumption of the peace process, persuading India to realise and publicly admit that the peace process had a lot of good things to offer.

    The diplomat said India was trying to wriggle out of the five-year composite dialogue by altering the mechanics of the terms of the peace process, but “Pakistan made it clear that it was unacceptable”.

    About the three dossiers handed over by India, the diplomat said the foreign secretary had already branded the documents “literature” which had nothing to do with evidence on the Mumbai attacks or terrorism. He said the foreign secretary also told his Indian counterpart that Islamabad would not be a party to “meaningless” dialogue or any other process “limited to photo sessions”. He said India had been told that all future engagements should be purposeful.

    Replying to a question, he accepted that the Indian delegation was “obsessed with terrorism” and tried to make the February 25 session “a one-point agenda meeting”.

    “We were well prepared, as we knew India would try to make it look like a meeting focused on terrorism, so we made well-timed interventions to make the interaction all encompassing,” he said.

    The diplomat rejected the impression that Pakistan had been trapped by India to highlight New Delhi’s concerns over terrorism, and said, “They will soon find themselves caught in their own trap … their media is already highlighting it.”

    He said India lacked seriousness and failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s honesty in discussing all issues and finding mutually acceptable solutions. Tough-talking Pakistan ‘rattled’ India

    * Pakistan ‘forced’ India at secretary-level talks to reconsider position on composite dialogue, accept centrality of Kashmir to Indo-Pak ties, By Sajjad Malik

    Rupee News

    ‘No extradition’ for Taliban chiefs held in Pakistan

    February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

    By Syed Shoaib Hasan
    BBC News, Islamabad

    The Afghan Taliban’s top military commander, who was recently detained in Pakistan, is not to be extradited, the Lahore High Court has ruled.

    Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was arrested in early February. The court also banned extraditing four other Taliban chiefs reportedly seized recently.

    But Pakistan has not confirmed the identities of any other militants held.

    The order was in response to a petition filed by a rights activist to prevent the detainees from being sent abroad.

    “The high court has ordered that none of the leaders should be handed over to the US or Afghanistan,” Tariq Asad, a lawyer handling the petition told the BBC.

    “The court has also said that none, other than Pakistan intelligence or security officials should be given access to the Taliban leaders,” he said.

    The court also ruled that the government should provide answers about the grounds on which the men were arrested.

    Taliban arrests

    Although Pakistani officials have confirmed the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, there is little clarity about the other Taliban chiefs reportedly held.

    Unnamed Pakistani officials have told US media about the arrests of several leading figures in the Afghan Taliban in recent weeks.

    They are said to be:

    • Mullah Abdul Salam, the “shadow governor” of Afghanistan’s Kunduz province
    • Mullah Mir Mohammad, the “shadow governor” of Baghlan province
    • Mullah Abdul Kabir, believed to be a senior figure in the Taliban leadership and “shadow governor” of Nangarhar province

    The petition named all of the above as well as Ameer Muawiyia, described as a senior Taliban officer based in Pakistan.

    This may be another identity for a Taliban official, Mullah Mohammed Younis, reported on 22 February to have been arrested – but there are few details on when and where he was detained.

    The decision is likely to deny the US and Afghan governments access to the detained commanders for the moment.

    Courtesy: PKKH

    Kabul Bombs deliver clear message to India: Pack bags!

    February 28, 2010 Leave a comment
    • Pulling off the attack in central Kabul — in one of the most secure neighborhoods in Afghanistan’s most secure city — was designed to send a message that the Taliban is not intimidated by the stepped-up military offensive
    • “They’re trying to up the pressure and send a message that you guys aren’t defeating us,”
    • “No matter what the coalition does, it can’t win, “It’s a very smart strategy.

    Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and New Delhi – A coordinated attack early Friday, which killed at least 16 people and targeted a hotel and guesthouse in central Kabul, underscored the shifting tactics of Taliban insurgents and their keen understanding of geopolitical implications.

    Three assailants struck at 6:30 a.m. on the first day of the Afghan weekend, when few people are on the street, in the prosperous Shahr-e-Naw residential area. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombings, the first attack in Kabul since January and the capital’s deadliest in months, police and Interior Ministry officials said.

    The destruction started with a car bombing that leveled the Arya Guesthouse […], city Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahman told reporters.

    After the blast, one of the militants set off his explosives vest in front of the ruins while the two others entered the Park Residence guesthouse across the street, which was soon surrounded by police and military. A second assailant then blew himself up, killing three policemen, while the third attacker hunkered down in the basement and was killed about 10:30 a.m. by police gunfire.

    Among the dead were six Indians, four Afghan civilians, an Italian diplomat, a French filmmaker and three police officers, officials said. Some bodies were so badly burned it will take time to identify them. At least 36 people were wounded.

    […]

    Early morning television broadcast images of a plume of black smoke rising from the area, shattered glass lining the streets and broken windows in shops and homes. Afghan police crouched behind traffic barriers as the remaining gunman remained holed up in the guesthouse basement.

    Analysts said the attack appeared to be a well-planned operation aimed at achieving several political objectives.

    Pulling off the attack in central Kabul — in one of the most secure neighborhoods in Afghanistan’s most secure city — was designed to send a message that the Taliban is not intimidated by the stepped-up military offensive in the southern city of Marja and can bring the battle to the doorstep of its adversaries.

    “They’re trying to up the pressure and send a message that you guys aren’t defeating us,” said John Harrison, a research manager at the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore. “And they’re showing they can penetrate the city and stand awhile.”

    The early morning timing on a weekend probably made it easier to get the attackers, vehicles, weapons and explosives into position since security forces presumably would be less vigilant; an early start also gives recruits less time for second thoughts. And with streets largely deserted, the attackers are less likely to kill civilians and more likely to find their principal target — foreigners — still sleeping. The insurgent group is wary of a backlash from the Afghan public over civilian deaths.

    As suicide bombings have become nearly routine, the combination of a car bombing and suicide blast followed by an armed standoff carries more shock value, providing more of the attention that militants seek. Having armed insurgents stand their ground also sends a message that the fighters are more ideologically committed than some drugged, brainwashed, poorly educated teenager pulling a detonation cord. The combination, with its drawn-out suspense, also gains better TV coverage.

    “It prolongs developments, adds to the chaos and brings more publicity,” said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “With a suicide attack, you blow yourself up, that’s it. This has much more impact.”

    The choice of the Shahr-e-Naw neighborhood frequented by foreigners and affluent Afghans sent a not-so-subtle message: foreign occupiers and those who follow their profligate ways must be eliminated.

    And that the militants targeted a guesthouse serving Indians is probably no accident, analysts said. At one level, the attack is a direct challenge to President Hamid Karzai, who has closely allied himself with India and whom the Taliban opposes for his pro-Western policies and support.

    The attack is also a bid to further drive a wedge among Western coalition member countries in the hopes that other nations will follow the Dutch in leaving, as they appear likely to do with the recent fall of their government.

    Targeting Indians […] — coming on the heels of two attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in the last two years — […] who hope to reduce India’s influence in Afghanistan as the region prepares for the likely power vacuum after the U.S.-led coalition leaves.

    […]

    “Pakistan is deeply resentful of India’s footprint in Afghanistan and would like to see it reduced,” said Sadanand Dhume, an Asia Society fellow and author of “My Friend the Fanatic,” a book on radical Islam.

    […]

    If tensions rise again between India and Pakistan just as the two have resumed formal talks after a 15-month hiatus following the 2008 Mumbai attack, it could keep more Pakistani troops on the Indian border and away from the Afghan border, where the U.S. would like to see them. The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban could gain more freedom to operate along the porous border.

    “If you get India riled up, you divert Pakistan troops,” Harrison said. “The jihadi community is trying to relieve the pressure.”

    Finally, there’s the spin that militants put on the attack.

    Analysts said that when Afghan police respond to an attack, […] foreigners are putting Afghans in danger while avoiding it themselves. If coalition troops respond to an attack, […] that the coalition doesn’t trust locals and views them as lap dogs.

    “No matter what the coalition does, it can’t win,” Harrison said. “It’s a very smart strategy.By Mark Magnier and Aimal Yaqubi February 27, 2010. “mark.magnier @latimes.com.Yaqubi is a special correspondent.

    RupeeNews