Farooq Yousaf

Farooq Yousaf

The author is a PhD (Politics) Candidate currently pursuing his studies in Australia. He has previously completed his Masters in Public Policy and Conflict Studies from Germany. He also consults Islamabad-based Security think tank, Centre for Research and Security Studies, and occasionally writes for various news and media sources. He is specialising in Indigenous conflict resolution and counter insurgency. He tweets at @faruqyusaf (twitter.com/faruqyusaf?lang=en)

Pakistan’s FATF grey-listing should not come as a surprise to anyone

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting in Paris has reportedly decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list; a decision that has surprised many in Pakistan. Pakistan has been kept on the so-called grey list which includes countries accused of financing or aiding terrorism. The FATF was established in 1989 – with its headquarters in Paris – and its main objectives include combating financing of terrorism, money laundering and other elements pertaining to the integrity of the international financial system. Even though Pakistan has surely not done enough to get off the grey list, the FATF failed to bring ...

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Is Trump pulling out of the Iran deal a blessing in disguise for Pakistan?

US President Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal – also known as the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – did not surprise many. However, the way in which this announcement was made was more dramatic than expected; especially how Trump simply announced the date of the decision in a tweet, creating suspense and leaving behind an air of doubt. I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018 The Iran Deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, ...

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Is Trump’s secret relationship with Putin the only thing preventing another Cold War?

The world order these days feels more like a throwback to the Cold War era, as the UK and its allies take diplomatic action against Russia for its alleged role in the nerve toxin poisoning of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. The UK’s western allies – especially the European Union (EU), the US, and members of NATO – have shown solidarity with London, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats. Skripal, a former Russian spy, was accused of selling Russian secrets to Britain, and was hence jailed. It was in 2010 that he, along with his daughter, went to ...

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Pakistan and Russia: From Cold War foes to budding allies?

It is no secret that Pak-US ties are experiencing a downward spiral. However, there is some good coming out of this mistrust between both countries. The ongoing tensions have motivated Pakistan to reach out to regional stakeholders other than China for potential partnerships, and one such partner being actively pursued by Islamabad is its former Afghan-jihad foe, Russia. Who would have thought that after almost three decades of Soviet disintegration and Pakistan’s active role in the former’s defeat in Afghanistan, both countries’ foreign ministers would be warmly embracing each other in Moscow? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif – who recently concluded a three-day visit to Russia and signed a number of ...

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The US never did and still doesn’t know what it is doing in Afghanistan

Almost a week on since I wrote on the (im)probability of peace talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan has not only seethed with violence but has further drifted into the abyss of terror. The country’s misery has continued in 2018 as a spate of major terror attacks, especially in the heavily-guarded capital of Kabul, has left its people reeling with agony, terror and fear. In the latest of these attacks, 11 soldiers were killed when five Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (MFNDU) on January 29th. This was the third major attack in just over a week, with the ...

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Waging a war against the Taliban and then calling for peace talks – the US doesn’t know what it wants

A Pakistani foreign official (FO) recently disclosed that the US administration was secretly pushing Pakistan to bring the Haqqani network to the dialogue table. This revelation was shocking as the Donald Trump administration, following the footsteps of its predecessors, has constantly asked Islamabad to crack down against the anti-US and Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network allegedly operating out of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The FO official also revealed how there were no specific demands made by the Trump administration other than facilitating Washington on the reconciliation process with the Haqqanis. Such developments are coming at a critical juncture, with Afghanistan losing ground ...

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Is the Pak-US marriage of convenience heading towards a bitter divorce?

Pentagon’s spokesperson recently acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices stating that the country has lost most number of troops in the global war on terror. However, this acknowledgement contradicted the official position that the White House has maintained over the past few years, asking Islamabad to ‘do more’, whenever Pakistan came under any security policy discussion in Washington and elsewhere. Pakistan, during US Secretary Defence James Mattis’s recent visit, has already made clear that Islamabad will no longer accept Washington’s redundant ‘do more’ mantra without evidence, and that proof of presence of terrorists in FATA should be shared before any finger pointing. This change of ...

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Who is the real winner in Af-Pak tensions?

Recently, when Pakistan decided to move heavy artillery towards the Afghan border, many wondered if a full-scale war was about to be initiated between the two countries. Surprisingly, Kabul refrained from retaliating when Pakistani forces shelled terror camps on the other side of the border. It was hard to fathom such an action as Afghanistan has always been considered “a brotherly neighbour”. Where India has always remained our nemesis, Afghanistan now might well be pilfering the former’s title of being our “arch rival”. So how did we end up in this mess where brothers have turned into fierce rivals? Firstly, since 2001, both the countries have fuelled a never-ending cycle of blame game. This ...

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Why is the Bangladeshi or Indian narrative the only acceptable narrative for 1971?

The year 2016 is ending on a somewhat positive note for Pakistan with a lower number of terror-related casualties compared to 2015. Yet there is one date that always affects Pakistanis aware of the 1971 partition of East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. That date is the December 16th. December 16th is marked as Victory Day in Bangladesh, signifying not only its independence from West Pakistan (now Pakistan), but also its apparent victory over the Pakistani military. On this day every year, social media, not only in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in neighbouring India is abuzz with different narratives, opinions, and sentiments. #16December A historical day for India, the Day ...

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Will Pakistan learn from its mistakes with Afghanistan to save its ties with Iran?

Even though tensions between Islamabad and Kabul over the Torkham border crossing are yet to be settled, Pakistan has laid the foundation of “Pakistan Gate” near the Iranian border in Taftan. The gate is said to check any illegal trade occurring via Iran, and also help the border guards effectively manage and monitor the border crossing. What makes this gate different from the one in Torkham is that it is not only built with mutual consent from both Pakistan and Iran – but also on special demand from Tehran, as it has already built a gate of its own ...

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