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Implications of Trump’s Victory for Muslims, India and Pakistan

How did all the pollsters and pundits read the US Presidential Elections 2016 so wrong?

Why did Hillary Clinton fail to get the majority of the electoral votes that pollsters forecast?

Who voted for Donald Trump and why?

Will America’s international image as a tolerant and inclusive society be damaged by Trump’s win?

Will President Trump follow through on his Muslim ban?

Will American Muslims be alienated or marginalized by the incoming Trump administration?

What will be President Trump’s policy vis a vis India and Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions (in English) with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

(in English) Implications of Trump's Victory for Muslims, India and... from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on November 14, 2016 at 5:31pm

The Incendiary Appeal of Demagoguery in Our Time. #Trump #Modi #Bigotry

The stink first became unmistakable in India in May 2014, when Narendra Modi, a member of an alt-right Hindu organization inspired by fascists and Nazis, was elected prime minister. Like Donald Trump, Mr. Modi rose to power demonizing ethnic-religious minorities, immigrants and the establishment media, and boasting about the size of a body part.

To paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre: If the truth remains cloaked in the motherland, in the colonies it stands naked. Before Mr. Trump’s election in America exposed the failures of democracy, they had been revealed in Mr. Modi’s India. Most disturbing, in both places, the alt-rightists were enabled by the conceits, follies and collusion of impeccably mainstream individuals and institutions.

Arguments over what precisely is to blame for Mr. Trump’s apotheosis — inequality, callous globalized elites, corruptible local legislators, zealous ideologues, a news media either toxic or complaisant — will only intensify in the coming months. Writers as various as George Packer and Thomas Frank have already identified as a culprit a professional class of bankers, lawyers, technocrats and pundits. Promoting free trade and financial deregulation around the globe, the Washington Consensus eventually produced too many victims in Washington’s own hinterland.

In the case of India, the role of institutional rot — venal legislators, a mendacious media — and the elites’ moral and intellectual truancy is clear. To see it one only has to remember that Mr. Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, was accused of supervising mass murder and gang rapes of Muslims — and consequently was barred from travel to the United States for nearly a decade — and that none of that prevented him from being elected to India’s highest office.

Mr. Modi’s ascent, like that of many demagogues today, was preordained by the garish dreams of power, wealth and glory that colonized many minds in the age of globalization. Americans are, as Mr. Frank writes, “a population brought up expecting to enjoy life in what it is often told is the richest country in the world.” In India, one of the poorest countries in the world, “the tutelage of a distant and self-satisfied elite” — to borrow from Ross Douthat, describing America — spawned a much more extravagant sense of entitlement. In that elite’s phantasmagoria, the India that embraced deregulation and privatization was a “roaring capitalist success story,” according to a 2006 cover of Foreign Affairs magazine.

The narrative went something like this: Now that the government was getting out of the way of buoyant entrepreneurs, a rising tide was lifting the boats of all Indians aspiring to the richness of the world. Suave technocrats, economists and publicists (mostly U.S.-trained) endlessly regurgitated free-market nostrums (imported from America) — what Mr. Frank calls the “liberalism of the rich.”

The fervent rhetoric about private wealth-creation and its trickle-down benefits openly mocked, and eventually stigmatized, India’s founding ideals of egalitarian and collective welfare. It is this extraordinary historical reversal, and its slick agents, that must be investigated in order to understand the incendiary appeal of demagoguery in our time.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 14, 2016 at 6:45pm

Why #India Can’t Hide Its Love For #Israel Anymore. #Modi #BJP #RivlinInIndia … via @indiatimes

India loves Israel; there is not even an iota of doubt about it. Arguably, there were several pretensions and preventions earlier, but now India and Israel are out in open to change their relationship status from ‘it’s complicated’ to ‘engaged’, and perhaps for some, even ‘married’.

With the arrival of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at Mumbai airport for a six-day visit, both Tel Aviv and Delhi will send a strong message across the world about their bilateral relations. This, for the advocates of Indo-Israeli relations, is happening quite slowly, though. While they wish Godspeed to both the states, India, on its part, has evolved its Israeli policy, gradually calculating all the factors and their implications. 
It’s been almost 25 years since India began its diplomatic relations with Israel after recognising it in 1950 two years after its creation. Now, when the two states seem closer than ever before and their leaders are meeting and reciprocating state visits, the way only takes them forward to strengthen the ties. 

Israel has always looked up to India, in order to garner support at the international forums, where it seeks support to legitimise its policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. India, however, has not been able to oblige Israel on all occasions, but voices its support for Israel’s fight against terrorism, allegedly originating from the neighbouring states. India, so far, has used the ‘abstinence card’ whenever it comes to dealing with the issues related to Israel. 
Things seem to be changing now. Earlier, the Indian leaders would try to keep the relationship with Israel as hidden as possible. The extent of diplomatic relations, economic pacts, defence ties and military deals with Israel were done in concealed manner. Even the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government in the late 1990s would not venture out to speak openly about Indo-Israel relations, although India had sought Israeli help (and received it) during Kargil War in 1999.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 15, 2016 at 7:14am

Declining private investment in #India is a danger sign for its economy. #Modi #BJP #AchheDin via @BV

India’s celebrated position as the world’s fastest-growing large economy conceals a dangerous weakness: Too few people seem to want to invest in the country. Even going by the government’s growth figures, private investment is shrinking at an increasing pace -- by 1.9 percent between January and March, and by 3.1 percent between April and June.

The government is struggling to make up for this lack of confidence with its own money. Recent reports suggest officials may seek parliamentary approval for $7.5 billion of additional spending over the next five months, which they hope will increase growth by 0.4 percentage points.

The strategy isn't new. When he entered office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi confronted a slowdown in private investment that had brought India’s growth down from near double digits in 2010 to around 5 to 6 percent in 2014. He and his economic team decided then that public spending was the answer. They hoped that boosting government expenditure would “crowd in” private investment -- that it would raise investors’ spirits, fuel optimism and lead to major private-sector activity on the ground.

But that’s simply not happened. And it’s worrying that, with half its term gone, the government seems unable or unwilling to admit that its approach isn't working.

There are two reasons for India's dangerous investment gap. First, the financial pipeline for new investment is broken. In India, funding for new projects tends to come from the banking sector, which is dominated by state-controlled banks. Unfortunately, state banks are struggling with their balance sheets. They’ve got a large number of bad debts to clean up; while many have been accounted for in the last couple years, more will no doubt emerge. The result, of course, is that credit growth has been anemic. As a matter of fact, bank lending to industry actually contracted in August for the first time in a decade.

The government has done too little to fix the pipeline. There’s only one real solution: to reduce the economy’s dependence on public sector banks, which are so vulnerable to manipulation by influential tycoons. Instead, officials have not only taken the idea of privatizing these banks off the table, but are now promising to be more “pragmatic” -- read: more lenient -- about forcing them to clean up their books.

Second, investors have been burned too often in the past by arbitrary government decisions; disputes over taxation or environmental regulations have stopped work on many projects. Infrastructure investment in particular continues to be held up -- about half of India’s large projects are delayed -- tying up capital and leading to big losses for investors.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 15, 2016 at 8:41pm

#Trump's top advisor Steve ‘Turn On the Hate’ Bannon, in #WhiteHouse. #Racism #Islamophobia #Antisemitism #Misogyny

In an ominous sign of what the Trump presidency will actually look like, the president-elect on Sunday appointed Stephen Bannon as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor, an enormously influential post.

Many if not most Americans had never heard of Mr. Bannon before this weekend, and for good reason: He has kept a low profile, even after taking over Mr. Trump’s campaign in August. Before that, he worked as the executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, parent company of the far-right website Breitbart News, which under Mr. Bannon became what the Southern Poverty Law Center has called a “white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.”

Mr. Bannon himself seems fine with that description, telling Mother Jones last summer that Breitbart was now “the platform for the alt-right,” a loosely organized group of mostly young men who believe in white supremacy; oppose immigration, feminism and multiculturalism; and delight in harassing Jews, Muslims and other vulnerable groups by spewing shocking insults on social media.

To scroll through Breitbart headlines is to come upon a parallel universe where black people do nothing but commit crimes, immigrants rape native-born daughters, and feminists want to castrate all men. Here’s a sample:

“Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage” (This headline ran two weeks after a white supremacist massacred nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C.)

“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”

“Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”

If you don’t find the headlines alarming, check the reader comments. Or take a look at who’s rejoicing over Mr. Bannon’s selection. The white nationalist Richard Spencer said on Twitter that Mr. Bannon was in “the best possible position” to influence policy, since he would “not get lost in the weeds” of establishment Washington. The chairman of the American Nazi Party said the pick showed that Mr. Trump might be “for ‘real.’” David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, called the choice “excellent” and said Mr. Bannon was “basically creating the ideological aspects of where we’re going.”

Mr. Bannon is in some ways a perplexing figure: a far-right ideologue who made his millions investing in “Seinfeld”; a former Goldman Sachs banker who has reportedly called himself a “Leninist” with a goal “to destroy the state” and “bring everything crashing down.” He has also called progressive women “a bunch of dykes” and, in a 2014 email to one of his editors, wrote of the Republican leadership, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty.”

A few conservatives have spoken out against Mr. Bannon. Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart News editor who resigned in protest last spring, said Mr. Bannon was a “vindictive, nasty figure.” Glenn Beck called him a “nightmare” and a “terrifying man.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 15, 2016 at 10:07pm

'Go back to #India b*tch': #Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant threatened for encouraging #Trump protest via @Q13FOX

A Seattle city councilwoman who called on protesters to “shutdown” Donald Trump’s inauguration has since received hundreds of angry emails and phone calls, some telling her to kill herself, her office said.

A spokesperson for Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said the office has been inundated with racist messages and threats of violence following remarks Sawant gave during a post-Election Day press conference at Seattle City Hall on Nov. 9.

“Join me, I appeal to you, today at 4 p.m. at Westlake (Park),” Sawant told a crowd. “Let’s have a massive protest and tell America we do not accept a racist agenda and let’s make sure that on Inauguration Day, on the 20th and 21st of January, let’s do a nationwide shutdown and occupy inauguration.”

Hundreds of people later showed up at an anti-Trump rally at Westlake Park, where Sawant reiterated her call for protest. A video of the speech went viral, and Sawant’s office said they fielded more than 200 calls before 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

“A (Sawant) staffer was told on phone: ‘I will come and tattoo a swastika on your head and on that bitch’s head,’” Council spokesperson Dana Robinson Slote told Q13 News in an email.

The office was also inundated with emails.

“Go back to India bitch,” one email read. “I am tired of being shamed because I’m a white male. You automatically think I’m a racist. How about you go the (expletive) back to India or wherever you came from?”

Another email accused Sawant of enticing a riot.

“We didn’t riot with Obama was elected,” the email reads. “Ever stop to think we see (Obama) as a racist? But we carried on and lived to fight another day. Stop being such a cry baby bitch and go hang yourself.”

Sawant’s call for protest is not a surprise. The socialist council-member has herself engaged in acts of civil disobedience during her time on the council and was arrested during a wage protest in 2014.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 17, 2016 at 8:39am

League of nationalists

Economist Magazine

It is troubling, then, how many countries are shifting from the universal, civic nationalism towards the blood-and-soil, ethnic sort. As positive patriotism warps into negative nationalism, solidarity is mutating into distrust of minorities, who are present in growing numbers (see chart 1). A benign love of one’s country—the spirit that impels Americans to salute the Stars and Stripes, Nigerians to cheer the Super Eagles and Britons to buy Duchess of Cambridge teacups—is being replaced by an urge to look on the world with mistrust.


In India ethnic nationalism, never far beneath the surface, is worryingly resurgent. Since 2014 the country has been ruled by Narendra Modi of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party seeks to distance itself from radical Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) groups, which criticise it as “soft” on Pakistan, Muslims and those who harm cows (which are sacred to Hindus). And Mr Modi is urbane, pro-business and friendly towards the West. But he is also a lifelong member of the RSS (National Volunteer Organisation), a 5m-strong Hindu group founded in 1925 and modelled loosely on the Boy Scouts.

Members of the RSS parade in khaki uniforms, do physical jerks in the morning, help old ladies cross the street, pick up litter—and are occasional recruits for extremist groups that beat up left-wing students. And last year Mr Modi’s minister of culture, Mahesh Sharma, said that a former president was a patriot “despite being a Muslim”. The minister remains in his job.

Hindutva purports to represent all Hindus, who are four-fifths of India’s population. It promises a national rebirth, a return to an idealised past and the retrieval of an “authentic” native identity. Its adherents see themselves as honest folk fighting corrupt cosmopolitans. They have changed India’s political language, deriding “political correctness”, and calling critical journalists “presstitutes” and political opponents “anti-national”. The RSS also exerts huge sway over education and the media. Some states and schools have adopted textbooks written by RSS scholars that play up the role of Hindutva leaders and marginalise more secular ones.

The BJP has made a big push to control the judiciary by changing rules for appointments, but has met strong resistance. It does not control most states in the east and south. Many of the educated elite despise it. And banging on too much about Hinduism and not enough about the economy is thought to have cost it a state election in Bihar last year.

So India will not slide easily into Turkish-style autocracy—but plenty of secular, liberal Indians are nervous. The police, especially, are thought to favour the ruling party. A reporter nabbed by cops for the “crime” of filming angry crowds outside a bank in Delhi this week says they threatened him with a beating and said: “Who gave you permission to film? Our government has changed; you can’t just take pictures anywhere you like any more.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 17, 2016 at 10:08am

#US exports to #Pakistan sustain 10,000 jobs in #America …

South and Central Asia: Benefits of U.S.-Pakistan Economic Cooperation
Our economic partnership with Pakistan, a growing country of over 190 million, directly benefits America by creating well-paying U.S. jobs, promoting U.S. businesses and exports, and advancing scientific progress in critical areas. The following are some examples:

Creating U.S. Jobs:

The United States exported $1.8 billion in goods to Pakistan in 2015, creating or supporting over 9,200 U.S. jobs according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. As one example, in 2016, General Electric won a contract to provide 55 locomotives to Pakistan Railways, all of which will be manufactured in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Foreign direct investment from Pakistan to the United States in 2015 supported up to 1,000 additional U.S. jobs.
Promoting U.S. Businesses and Exports:

The United States and Pakistan launched the U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership in 2015, which supports private investment in financially sound, clean energy projects in Pakistan. The Partnership aims to add at least 3,000 megawatts of clean power in Pakistan by 2020, creating opportunities for U.S. businesses across the clean energy spectrum.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a Pakistani group of Cochran and Borlaug Fellows to study the benefits of using U.S. wood products.
USDA connects U.S. and Pakistani scientists to jointly develop varieties of seeds that will resist diseases that threaten both U.S. and Pakistani cotton and wheat production.
Advancing Science and Technology Achievements:

Since 2005, grants co-financed by both countries under the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement have funded 96 research projects in a variety of scientific areas.
Researchers from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and the University of California at Davis are developing a low-cost, blood-based Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic test—more sensitive than the current World Health Organization-recommended sputum test—that is undergoing trials in Chennai, India to prepare for approval and commercial launch of the test in India. This test could eventually enable patients testing positive for TB to undergo effective treatment sooner for a highly damaging disease affecting populations across multiple TB-endemic countries.
Researchers at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Lahore are collaborating to develop air quality monitoring that can be applied to mobile and wireless devices. This new area of research aims to improve air quality in polluted urban areas in both countries, and possibly soil and water quality in future applications.
23 U.S. universities from 16 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to work with counterpart Pakistani universities in fields ranging from business development to gender studies.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 17, 2016 at 10:50am

After pink slips, #UCSF tech workers train their foreign replacements from #India. #Trump #Jobs … via @mercnews

In a move that could spread to other universities, about 80 information tech workers at UC San Francisco are facing layoffs and have begun training their replacements — lower-paid tech workers from an Indian outsourcing firm.

The outsourcing, laid out in a $50 million contract with Indian employment firm HCL Technologies, is unusual among public institutions, experts say. The school expects to save $30 million over five years.

“I don’t know of any other university that’s done this,” said Ron Hira, a Howard University professor who studies immigration and outsourcing. “At some point, you start to cross these ethical lines.”

The majority of the outsourced work will be done in India. Additional IT staff may be brought to the UCSF campus from overseas on H-1B visas, according to public documents.

Employees and advocates are criticizing the move, saying it will leave the university and the UCSF Medical Center staff with inferior service and could endanger medical data. The UCSF workers, due to lose their jobs in February, are training their replacements, sometimes via videoconferencing to India.

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren on Tuesday asked University of California President Janet Napolitano to reverse the decision. Lofgren wrote that replacing some of the workers with H-1B visa holders would be a misuse of the visa

“I think it is proper to expect our major public institutions, such as the University of California, to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law,” Lofgren said.


“They can replace just about any IT job with H-1B workers,” he said. “It’s obviously a major issue.”

UCSF offers graduate degrees in medicine, nursing, dentistry and pharmacy and has a $5.4 billion annual budget, with about two-thirds earmarked for employee salaries and benefits. Administrators say the university faces fiscal challenges. 

“We’re under a great deal of pressure,” Joe Bengfort, chief information officer at UCSF, told employees at a staff meeting earlier this year, according to a video of the meeting. “Outsourcing is not a silver bullet and we don’t treat it as such, but it’s probably the most difficult thing we’ve done.”

The cuts amount to almost 20 percent of the university’s IT staff and fall heavily on back-office operations, according to a presentation made to employees.

The school has also contracted with cybersecurity firm FireEye and Dell for other IT functions.

In a statement, the university said the new contracts “will not only increase savings but also strengthen cyber security and enhance IT quality and consistency.”

The move is similar to layoffs at Disney and Southern California Edison last year, where employees were forced to train their lower-paid replacements. Disney laid off about 250 IT workers, although some were brought back in different roles. Southern California Edison planned to pare about 500 workers through layoffs and attrition to outsource its operations.

More than a decade ago, the UCSF Medical Center contracted out its medical transcription. In 2003, a Pakastani transcriber threatened to post confidential patient records unless she received more money. The threat was eventually withdrawn.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 7, 2016 at 7:39pm
As #Trump vows to stop flow of #jobs overseas, U.S. plans to make #F16 fighter jets in #India
NEW DELHI — As a new American president bent on retaining American jobs prepares to take office, the Obama administration and the U.S. defense industry are working on a deal with the Indian government to build iconic U.S. combat aircraft in India.
In recent months, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have made proposals to the Indian government to manufacture fighter jets — the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Super Hornet — in India as the country seeks to modernize its rapidly aging fleet of largely Russian-built airplanes.
In both cases, the aviation companies would be building production facilities in India; Lockheed Martin proposes to move its entire F-16 assembly line from Texas to India, making India the sole producer of the single-engine combat aircraft.
The U.S. military is phasing out the F-16 for its own use, but other countries remain as likely customers.
The proposals have the strong backing of the Obama administration, which has sought a closer connection with the Indian military in recent years. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said she was “optimistic” about the prospect of a deal after a visit to New Delhi in August, and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is set to return to India this week, with procurement high atop the list of discussion topics.
But the election of a billionaire businessman focused on keeping jobs at home, rather than creating them overseas, has brought a measure of uncertainty to the talks.
“What will be the U.S. policy posture now that the new president-elect is in the mix?” said one high-level official at an American defense firm in India, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal negotiations. “Is he going to continue the policy of engaging in India on co-
production and co-development? All of those are unknown at this point.”
On Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump appeared at a Carrier plant in Indiana, where his team had brokered a deal to save about 1,000 jobs, and on Sunday he let fire a series of tweets that implied a new tax penalty on goods produced by companies that leave the United States.


Comment by Riaz Haq on June 23, 2017 at 10:51am

#Trump disbands #Afghanistan-#Pakistan unit in #StateDepartment.Eliminates #AfPak special rep position via @politico

The Trump administration on Friday moved to eliminate the State Department unit responsible for dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan — transferring its duties to a regional bureau whose leadership ranks have been decimated, two sources told POLITICO.

The development came with less than a day’s notice. It deeply rattled U.S. officials who say the shift leaves unclear who is responsible for handling diplomacy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan at a time when the Trump administration is considering ramping up military efforts in that region.

The phase-out of the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) was put in motion under the Obama administration. But diplomats are concerned that the Trump administration has yet to name people to lead the South and Central Asia Bureau, leaving a leadership vacuum. That State Department bureau has seen unusually high levels of senior staff departures since Trump's inauguration in January.

“The Afghanistan and Pakistan function is being dissolved and transferred into a structure that has been dissolved itself,” a U.S. diplomat familiar with the issue told POLITICO. “We’ve long planned for SRAP to go away, but the intention was for the policy to be transferred responsibly. This happened on less than 24 hours notice.”

The State Department press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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