Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP

Why are all of Pakistan’s top political leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gathered in London in the wake of the Panama Leaks Scandal? Is it just a coincidence? Or is it to deal with the Panama Leaks fall-out? Or is it to forge an alliance with PPP boss Asif Zardari? Or Nawaz Sharif really needs medical attention for serious heart ailment? Why is PTI leader Imran Khan there? What is he planning to do to topple the Sharif government?

Why did US Defense Secretary visit India? Is the US playing the India card against China? What deals were signed between the two nations? How will this affect Pakistan? Why were so many of the Indian media questions addressed to Sec Ashton Carter about Pakistan? Does it it not expose the Indian obsession with Pakistan while, at the same time, it also claims to want the US to de-hyphenate the two South Asian nations?

Why is US Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump so angry with his own party? Why is he attacking Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus? How will this infighting affect the race on the GOP side? Will it cause a raucous convention in July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio? Will this GOP infighting help Democrats win the White House?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Riaz Haq ( and Ali H. Cemendtaur.

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on April 18, 2016 at 10:11am

#Bernie's #Israel Heresy: #Israel uses disproportionate force against people in #Palestine. #FreePalestine #Sanders

In New York, no less, days before a primary, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination declares that Israel used “disproportionate” force in Gaza in 2014, that “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity,” that the United States has to play “an even-handed role,” and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “is not right all the time.”

Wow! Sensation! Hold the presses!

That candidate, of course is Bernie Sanders, a Jew in the party that is the political home of a majority of American Jews; and the fact that his words are deemed shocking or even newsworthy reflects the degree to which, over many years, major American Jewish organizations have been able to dictate the line that says there is only one way to support Israel and win elections — and that is uncritically.

In most of the rest of the world, Sanders’ position would be uncontroversial, reflecting a broad consensus. In fact, his statement in the debate with Hillary Clinton that he is “100 percent pro-Israel in the long run” would almost certainly have caused more of a ruckus in Europe.

Many people in Brooklyn cheered Sanders. He has overwhelming support with young Democratic voters, and it is among those aged 18-29 that a sense of alienation from Netanyahu’s right-wing government and the Israel it reflects has been growing most rapidly. The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu’s heavy-handed interventions in American electoral politics, and his relentless attempt (even in extremis) to stop the Iran nuclear deal have all been factors in undergirding the view that it is no betrayal of Israel to be critical of some of its policies.

Israel, as Sanders said, has “every right in the world to destroy terrorism.” A suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Monday marked a further escalation in the simmering violence of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. No state can accept rocket attacks of the kind perpetrated against Israel by Hamas from Gaza nor random stabbings of its citizens. Hamas hides operatives among civilians. There is often something sickening about the continent — Europe — on which Jews were slaughtered reproaching the descendants of those who survived for absorbing the lesson that military might matters. Palestinian leadership is divided and weak. It condones or engages in incitement to violence.

But the backdrop to all this remains an Israeli government driving the country rightward toward intolerance, permanent dominion over another people and their perennial humiliation. An oppressed people will rise up. Jews, as no others, know the lacerating trials of statelessness.

The Iran deal, concluded last year, marked a watershed in the politics of Israel within the politics of the United States. It divided the American Jewish community, was fiercely opposed by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or Aipac) and rejected by the Israeli government. Yet in the end it won Congressional approval and the support of the vast majority of Democratic senators.

This outcome suggested a new willingness on the part of members of Congress — at least Democrats — to place some daylight between their positions and Israel’s. Jewish votes do not win American elections — although they may be important in one swing state, Florida. Jews account for about 2 percent of the United States population; most of them live in New York and California, which have voted Democratic in national elections for a quarter-century. Modest numbers concentrated in non-swing states do not on the face of it carry significant weight.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 19, 2016 at 7:49am
Corruption must be uprooted to end #terrorism: #Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif. #PanamaLeaks #NawazSharif
“On-going war against terrorism and extremism being fought with the backing of entire nation cannot bring enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is not uprooted,” he said, adding that the military would fully support every meaningful effort in that direction, which he said would ensure a better future for next generations.
“Across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan,” the ISPR statement quoted the army chief as saying.
Comment by Riaz Haq on April 21, 2016 at 12:28pm

#Pakistan Army sacks 2 generals, 4 other officers for #corruption. #PanamaLeaks

The Pakistani army chief on Thursday sacked six officers, including two generals, after they were convicted in a court martial for corruption, officials said.

The move involved a lieutenant-general, a major-general, three brigadiers and a colonel, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The officials declined to elaborate on the trial, the corruption charges, but confirmed that the officers have not been sentenced to prison terms. Local media reported the officers were allowed to go home after being stripping off all military benefits, except for medical and pension benefits.

The rare move comes on the heels of calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign after his family members were named in the offshore accounts mass leak from Panama’s Mossack Fonseca firm.

Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz has owned offshore companies and one of the most expensive Mayfair London properties. One of his offshore accounts in the data is worth of 5.5 million British pounds, or about $7.8 million.

Sharif has agreed to set up a commission of inquiry under a Supreme Court judge but opposition leaders — specifically the cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan — have rejected this, demanding instead that a serving judge and white collar crime experts make up the commission.

Earlier this week, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said there should be an across-the-board accountability — a statement that was taken as ramping up pressure on the government of Prime Minister Sharif, who has had a history of uneasy relations with the military establishment.

Sharif is also said to have deep differences with the army over reviving peace efforts with arch-rival neighboring India.

“By the grace of God, we’re clean,” Sharif said in a statement Thursday, referring to the calls for his resignation on corruption charges.


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