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History of Pak-Afghan Ties; Afghan War End-Game; Asma Jahangir Tribute

Who was Asma Jahangir? What was her impact on Pakistani society? How did she influence political and legal discourse in Pakistan? How did she defend human rights and rule-of-law in Pakistan? Was she really a foreign agent? Was she serving Indian or western interests in Pakistan? How will she be remembered?

What is the history of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations? Did it begin only in 1980s with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Or the creation of the Taliban by Pakistan in the 1990s? Why did this relationship start off on the wrong foot back in 1947 when Pakistan was created? Why did Afghanistan cast the only vote opposing the admission to the United Nations of the newly independent state of Pakistan in 1947? What was the Pakhtoonistan movement and what was Afghanistan's and India's role in it? Are there fresh attempts by India to revive the Pakhtoonistan movement? How does this impact the situation in Afghanistan? Is there second Great Game being played, this time between India and Pakistan as pointed out by Steve Coll in his latest book "Directorate S"? How will this game end?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/-5tmzbhmCqo




Related Link:

Haq's Musings

Asma Jahangir vs Imran Khan War of Words

Checkered History of Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

Steve Coll's "Directorate S" Blames ISI in Afghanistan

India's Role in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Views: 195

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 21, 2018 at 5:15pm

#Tajik, #Uzbek say #IamnotAfghan. #Afghanistan #eTazkira

https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/afghanistan-s-identity-crisis...

It is a single word that outsiders commonly use to refer to nationals of Afghanistan. Its formal placement on the country's long-planned electronic identity card, however, has inspired a hashtag and arguments that reflect a national divide: #IAmNotAfghan.

President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani became the first citizens to apply for the new card last week. But the proposed use of the word Afghan on its face may scupper the entire multi-million dollar project.

"I am from Afghanistan, but I am not Afghan," Aslam Niazy, a young citizen from Jowzjan province, wrote in a Facebook post, in three different national languages, on Monday. His post ignited a debate about ethnicity and identity among his friends on the social network, which has since spread across the country, reflecting a schism that continues to threaten Afghanistan’s unity.

Despite its initially apparent accuracy, members of minority ethnic groups equate "Afghan" as a synonymous and historic reference of Pashtun ethnicity, a group that makes up more than a third of the population.

"Those who oppose consider that the word Afghan is a reference to one community of Afghanistan and so cannot represent the identity of all citizens," said Ghulam Ali Danishgar, a sociologist in the capital Kabul. "However, geographically we are Afghans."

Across the world, citizens of Afghanistan are also largely and commonly referred to as Afghans. The nation's full name - The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - also appears along the top of the card.

Although the country is riven by suicide attacks from the Taliban and ISIL insurgents the cards were primarily devised to help provide better access to public services rather than as a means to improve security.

Known locally as eTazkira, a reference to the existing paper identity document - needed to get water, electricity, education or housing - the electronic card's introduction has been delayed for years because of ethnic sensitivities.

"It's not just about the word, but about the appeasement of the Pashtun nationalists' groups," says Tahir Qadiry, head of Mitra TV and a senior adviser to Atta Noor, the recently ousted governor of Balkh province, who is an ethnic Tajik and opponent of the identity card scheme.

"Even though Ghani is a Pashtun himself, he has always showed himself to be democratic and not a nationalist. But now when he finds himself losing the Pashtun support, he is using the politics of identity to regain the Pashtun majority," added Mr Qadiry.

Other opponents include the infamous warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who despite reputedly being in exile in Turkey retains the title of vice president, and Mohammad Mohaqeq, another anti-Soviet era fighter turned politician. Both them and Noor are planning to boycott the identity card scheme in their constituencies.

And Afghanistan's chief executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, while not outright critical of the new cards, had called on the government to postpone the launch, pending further consultation.

There is also a broader political interest as the cards should help reduce voter fraud which is rampant in elections. The election commission lacks accurate data and fair voting and ballot counting is a subject of regular dispute, with "ghost votes" a major problem. The electronic cards would also help create a census; the last full one was in 1979 and several attempts since have fallen short.

In an attempt to avoid discord it was proposed near the end of 2017 that the ethnicity of the cardholder would be featured alongside the nationality reference. However, that amendment was also opposed and rejected by several parliamentarians.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 20, 2018 at 10:30am

WaPo on PTM

In Pakistan, a young Pashtun man was killed by police. Another has risen to lead a movement.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/a-young-man-is-sl...


(Manzoor) Pashteen and his associates, largely young and educated Pakistanis who grew up in the chaos and routine violence of war, say they seek only justice under the law and the constitution, not to provoke ethnic unrest or secession. They take inspiration from nonviolent activists of the past, especially Bacha Khan, a Pashtun independence leader who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in India before the partition that created Pakistan in 1947.

But their explosion onto the national scene has aroused suspicion and concern in some quarters, especially in the powerful state security apparatus, which has been startled and angered by Pashteen’s accusations. His most provocative slogan charges that “the uniform is behind terrorism.” Military officials insist they have worked hard to eliminate terrorism from Pakistani soil, while U.S. officials accuse Pakistan of harboring Taliban insurgents.

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Pashtun political parties in Pakistan, on the other hand, have reacted warily to the nascent movement, partly out of fear of competition and partly because of concern that it could sabotage their longtime efforts to succeed within the formal political system, especially a campaign to bring full legal and political rights to the neglected, federally controlled tribal areas by merging them with the rest of Pakistan.

The Awami National Party, the country’s largest and oldest Pashtun party, has been especially critical. It recently removed two of Pashteen’s close associates from party posts after they refused to leave his movement. One former party official has worked to bring victimized tribal women to speak at PTM rallies — both an extraordinary departure from conservative Pashtun culture and a rare threat to security forces that are widely popular with the public and have long justified mass raids and detentions in the name of quelling Islamist terrorism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 3, 2019 at 9:39am

#Pakistan’s development assistance to #Afghanistan has reached US$1 billion and the country’s development assistance is geared towards investment in #infrastructure, #education, #health, #agriculture and capacity building of Afghan professionals. https://nation.com.pk/15-Jun-2018/pakistan-s-development-assistance...

BEIJING: Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid said on Friday that Pakistan’s development assistance to Afghanistan has reached US$1 billion and the country’s development assistance is geared towards investment in infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and capacity building of Afghan professionals.

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Pakistan has made singular contribution in education by extending 6,000 fully funded scholarships to Afghan students while100 seats have been reserved for women annually, he said in an exclusive interview with a Chinese magazine “China Investment” here.

He informed this year around 750 Afghan students joined Pakistani universities to pursue their education in Pakistan.

Pakistan, he said, has setup healthcare facilities in Afghanistan including three hospitals, i.e, Jinnah Hospital Kabul, Naib Aminullah Khan Loghari Hospital and Nishtar Kidney Center in Jalalabad.

The ambassador said the Pakistan government also initiated capacity building projects for Afghan healthcare professionals, under which 59 Afghan medical professionals including doctors, nurses, and technicians successfully completed their training in 2017.

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In addition, 42 Afghan healthcare professionals will start training at Institute of Kidney Diseases Peshawar, he added.

Masood Khalid said that Pakistan is also assisting Afghanistan in capacity building in the fields of agriculture, banking, railways, military and diplomacy.

Multiple Afghan agricultural professionals have undergone training in “Quarantine and Plant Protection” in Pakistan, he said and added, 20 fully funded scholarships will be provided to officials of Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock to pursue their professional studies at Faisalabad Agricultural University.

He said a fresh batch of railway professionals will soon be trained at Pakistan’s Railway academy, Lahore.

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The ambassador said that Pakistan aims to continue providing assistance to Afghanistan in different fields for capacity building of Afghan institutions and professionals so that they contribute to the betterment of their people.

In this regard, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China are engaged closely through Practical Cooperation Dialogue. Pakistan and China have asked Afghanistan to identify areas in which the countries could provide necessary training and arrange capacity building courses for Afghan professionals.

About the achievement and significance of trilateral dialogue among China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Afghanistan and Pakistan last year in June.

He informed that the three countries agreed to establish the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Minister’s dialogue to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest, beginning with economic cooperation.

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The first meeting of the Foreign Minister’s level dialogue was held in Beijing on December 26, 2017.

He said the dialogue was focused on three major areas namely deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road initiative and fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

“The three sides reaffirmed their support for a broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. The trilateral forum will contribute to the greater connectivity, economic prosperity and peace and development of the three countries and the region,” he added.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 20, 2019 at 8:05am

#Pakistan transfers 'state-of-the-art 'Jinnah #Hospital in #Kabul to #Afghan govt. Other #health facilities gifted by Pakistan in #Afghanistan include Nishtar Kidney Center in Jalalabad and under-construction 100-bed Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital in Logar. https://www.dawn.com/news/1477343

The Government of Pakistan on Saturday officially handed over the Kabul-based Jinnah Hospital to Afghanistan, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Office.

The FO said that Afghan Vice-President Sarwar Danish, Afghan Minister of Public Health Dr Ferozuddin Feroz and Pakistani Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, jointly inaugurated the "200-bed state-of-the-art" hospital in a ceremony held in Kabul today.

Khan, the Pakistani representative, expressed hope that the Jinnah Hospital — completed at a cost of $24 million — would be a "substantial contribution" to the health sector of Afghanistan.

The minister, as per the press release, also conveyed Prime Minister Imran Khan's message that Pakistan would continue to take all possible measures for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan, adding that the premier wished to see a "stable, secure, peaceful, prosperous and sovereign Islamic Republic of Afghanistan".

Afghan minister Dr Feroz expressed his gratitude for the "generous gift" and appreciated "Pakistan’s immense assistance in the health sector," which also includes the Nishtar Kidney Center in Jalalabad and the under-construction 100-bed Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital in Logar.

Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zahid Nasrullah Khan, said that the Jinnah Hospital was a "flagship project" of the nation's US$1 billion development assistance to Afghanistan, which according to the press release, was in "in pursuance of Pakistan’s policy objective of deepening and broadening people-to-people connections between the two countries".

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 14, 2019 at 9:59pm

#India's history of going in to #Afghanistan after foreign invasions. #India supported #Soviet invasion of #Afghanistan and went into the country after 1979. Again in 2001, India found its way back into Afghanistan after #American invasion. @Diplomat_APAC http://thediplomat.com/2019/05/india-in-afghanistan-after-the-sovie...

In the UN debates during an emergency special session, India in fact broke ranks with its nonalignment partners and openly supported the Soviet position. India’s strong relations with the Soviet Union and Cold War geopolitics, where the United States alongside India’s rival Pakistan was propping up the Afghan resistance, were instrumental in prodding India to take the Soviet side in Afghanistan.

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The tide shifted yet again in 2001. With the U.S.-led war on Taliban, India found its way back into Afghanistan. However, in the overall geopolitical calculations, Pakistan emerged as an all-important country due to its proximity to the Taliban heartland and its strong leverage over the militant group. Many times it has been alleged that, to cater to Pakistani wishes, India’s active involvement in Afghanistan has been discouraged – even though India and the United States share common goals and principles in relation to democracy and development in Afghanistan. In 2001, India was not invited to the Bonn conference, where the post-Taliban order in Afghanistan was discussed. Though eventually India joined as an observer and engaged in informal negotiations, it had to move its support from its old allies like Qanooni and Abdullah from the Northern Alliance to the United States’ favored Pashtun candidate, Hamid Karzai. In helping to bring about a consensus around the Pashtun leadership of Karzai, India also lost its existing clout among the non-Pashtun leadership, its friends in the erstwhile Northern Alliance.


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In today’s Afghanistan, the Taliban form both the problem and the solution. The group has emerged as an ethno-nationalist force with various factions stitched together through tribal-ethnic allegiances rather than a mere Islamic extremist organization. There are groups and subfactions within the Taliban that do not view their overbearing dependence on Pakistan favorably.

The Taliban are players in Afghanistan and India needs to engage with them, even if only with the subfactions that may be motivated to accept the Afghan Constitution. Unlike the Taliban period, India may not avail itself of the full support of Iran and Russia, as both countries have had limited ties with the Taliban and their interests are not wholly congruent with India anymore. In a post-U.S. Afghanistan, India can safeguard its interests through an approach that is balanced, nuanced, and conciliatory in nature, but also moderately partisan when and if required. There are possibilities for India to build a stronger consensus among Afghan stakeholders (Pashtun and non-Pashtuns alike), through largely conciliatory approaches, to present a united front against the Taliban while simultaneously also engaging in or facilitating negotiations with the Taliban.

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