Cross-post from Frontline, Feb 27 – Mar 12, 2010
By Praful Bidwai
India must open a broad-horizon dialogue with Pakistan on all issues including Afghanistan to achieve real progress in bilateral relations.
As New Delhi and Islamabad prepare to resume their bilateral dialogue, India’s policy towards its western neighbourhood faces an unprecedented challenge. How India crafts its response to the complex and rapidly changing situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan will influence to a major extent the fate of one of the most volatile regions of the world, indeed a part of the crucible in which global history is being made. Rising to the challenge demands a radical reorientat ion of some of the fundamental premises and priorities of India’s foreign policy. Consider Afghanistan first.
A major shift is taking place in the balance of forces in Afghanistan. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces led by the United States and troops of the Afghan National Army have launched Operation Mushtarak (“together” in Dari), one of the biggest assaults by Western troops since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. The operation, with 15,000 troops, began with the storming of Marjah (population: 80,000) in the Southern Helmand province, a stronghold of the Taliban for many years. Unlike other military missions by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Operation Mushtarak is meant to create a new model that goes beyond the clearing of the Taliban. It aims to re-establish Afghan sovereignty by installing a civilian government, which provides public services and can win popular support and legitimacy. Over the past eight years, most cities and towns cleared of the Taliban–Al Qaeda by ISAF troops have seen the militants return and re-establish themselves. This time around, the troops will bring in an Afghan government including the police and stay on to support them. As General Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander, put it: “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll in.” Continue reading
For those people both here and across the border making a big deal out of Zaid Hamid, well here is a reality check. The picture shows Al Hamra on 23rd March, 2010 for his “Takmeel” event. Zaid Hamid had promised to mass 100, 000 people first to Minar-e-Pakistan but later changed his venue to Al Hamra Open Air theatre. It was a terrific failure.
Qazi Anwar is an ANP Stalwart!
I write as a confirmed middle classia who has voted in two general elections for two different losing PPP candidates.
Something interesting happened today. Something shocked me greatly- so much that I shot up and rubbed my eyes to see whether I was asleep. But before I come to it let me give you the context.
Eversince the PPP got into an alliance with its historical foe ANP from NWFP, we have seen the emergence of a new kind of a self styled PPP worker. This PPP worker is virtually indistinguishable from an ANP worker on certain key stances which are: Continue reading