A man, no plan

How will Imran Khan govern?

Commenting on the outcome of Pakistan elections and emergence of Imran Khan, a former cricketer, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, as the likely Prime Minister of the country, the writer says that it is the second time in history of Pakistan, that power has been democratically transferred. The outgoing Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party may cry foul, but seem to have accepted the result. Mr. Imran Khan, needs a handful of allies, which it seems will be independents and smaller parties, but obviously not radical Islamist parties.

 Pakistan faces a balance-of-payment crisis, with foreign exchange reserves having gone down to $ 9 bn and IMF bail out looks at but inevitable. The stitching a deal together will need finesse. The terms of an IMF deal will bring a populist party down to earth – having promised an ‘Islamic welfare state’. The next challenge comes on security and foreign policy. Islamist violence is a constant threat to Pakistan. The regional situation is becoming trickier. Khan has to tackle rocky relations with America, festering sore of war-toss Afghanistan and Pakistan’s age-old and bitter animosity towards India. As it is, Khan seems ill-suited for these challenges. The commentator says that Pakistan via the generals may yet find the will to seek better Indian ties. A political analyst, Farooq Tirmizi, predicts a fight that will come down to ‘guns vs textbooks’. So it is to be seen how Khan, who seldom attended parliamentary sessions, will find a sense of dedication, and learn to work with a political class we have only slammed.

Excerpts:

  Read more

RESTORING THE CEASEFIRE

According to daily The Nation, the meeting of the Director General of Military Operations, Pakistan and his counterpart in India, is a welcome gesture of reconciliation, as they have made sincere overtures to restore the 2003 cease-fire on LOC and Working Boundary. It is the beginning of thawing a relationship between Pakistan and India. The current exchange is a refreshing change from Pak-India finger- pointing rhetoric. There have been heartening positive steps that include exchange of prisoners and progress on other bilateral agreements. It goes without saying that any tempering of Pak-Indian ties that allow for peace and stability in the region should be celebrated.

Excerpts:

Read more

REACHING OUT TO INDIA?

Commenting on British Think Thanks’ commentary, the Daily Times writes editorially that Indo-Pak peace lies at the heart of regional development and confirms that Bajwa Doctrine is fully operational. The newspaper hopes that India would reciprocate though says that Pakistan will likely have to do more to convince New Delhi of sincere commitment. As it is, Indo-Pak militaries are building on the unprecedented good will gesture by General Bajwa.

Excerpts:

Read more

IMPROVING THE RELATIONS

Pakistan’s President asserted that his country wanted peace and good relations with every country. He stressed that Pakistan was pursuing a policy of peace and amity with all its neighbours, writes Subah Kashmir editorially.

 Excerpts:

Read more

FROSTY TIES

Foreign Minister of Pakistan says that  he does not expect any improvement in ties, as the situation in LoC has become acute because of cease-fire violations, according to daily News International.  The daily writes that Pakistan High Commissioner was called to Islamabad to discuss the various complaints of harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi. But India has also complained that its diplomats face similar harassments. The continuing LoC violations are worrying, because the perception is that India is doing it to distract international attention from “brutal occupation of Kashmir”. Moreover, India seems to be disturbed by Iran’s invitation to Pakistan to participate in development of Chabahar Port.

Excerpts:

Read more

DIALOGUE ON KASHMIR IS THE ANSWER

The Express Tribune writes that Ms. Mehbooba Mufti’s assertion that the only way forward is dialogue, and not war, is a cry in wilderness. It asserts that Pakistan position has been generally conciliatory, but Indian response has been dismissive. According to the daily since the present PML-N government is preoccupied with forth coming election, it is unlikely that there is going to be any significant foreign policy moves or developments, before new government is installed. Nevertheless, the editorial describes Ms. Mehbooba’s comments as voice of reason.

Excerpts:

Read more

PAK-INDIA HOPE?

Pakistan daily Dawn editorially writes that a grim year in Pakistan – India relations appears to have ended on a positive note with a meeting of two National Security Advisors (NSA’s). The meeting might have had a specific agenda, and Kashmir may have featured in talks. But inconsistency in India’s policy towards Pakistan is striking; it has veered from aggressively maligning Pakistan to occasionally permitting unexpected and somewhat positive gestures.

 According to daily Modi and his advisors should reflect on why they have found it necessary to keep a door to dialogue open with Pakistan. There is simply no alternative. Pakistan state should not allow itself to become distracted from what ought to be the topmost national priority – continuing long fight against militancy and extremism.

Excerpts:

Read more

KASHMIR CBMS TURN 14 YEARS OLD

Shujaat Bukhari

 

The LOC bus service and trade across the Kashmir has been a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan. However, the suspension of this CBM recently created tension between the two sides. Shujaat Bukhari, tracing the history of this initiative highlights its efficacy in generating peace and prosperity.

 

Excerpts: Read more

CAN INDIA REALLY THREATEN PAKISTAN OVER WATER?

Mahim Maher

 

According to the author, the three eastern rivers, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej had a curse that brought them down into Punjab, and into Pakistan. The three Western rivers that flow to Pakistan, are Jehlum, Chenab and Indus. He further writes that at the time of partition, by a twist of Radcliffe award, the headworks of the eastern rivers were given to India. It was Indus waters Accord or Treaty, signed in 1960, guaranteed by World Bank and USA which played a role in it, that solved the dispute about distribution of river waters. In the Accord, it was decided that for the disputed rivers, allocations should be on the basis of share of river runs or courses as measured from the headwaters to their lower confluence with a larger river.

About water distribution, if a reality check is made, then it transpires that Pakistan gave up 29 MAF of water of three eastern rivers to India, a fact recorded in Indus Waters Treaty. But at the same time the three waters in rivers (Jhelum, Chenab, Indus) gave Pakistan 114 MAF. The Weekly Friday Times has carried out a brief analysis of the Treaty in an interview with the economist Jaweid Ishaque in this regard.

Excerpts:

Read more