Stories about Indo-Pak relations

Power to the people: The Kartarpur corridor has done what 71 years of dialogue could not

The symbolism is too significant to be missed. When India was observing the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks on Monday, Indian leaders were cutting across party lines and laying the foundation for the Kartarpur road corridor in Gurdaspur, Punjab. This is perhaps the first time after Partition that both India and Pakistan are working together to complete one project: a corridor that connects both sides of the border and leads to the shrine of Guru Nanak Saheb. The corridor does not only have religious symbolism, it carries a lot of political weight that has the potential to rewrite the geo-political ...

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Why is the Wagah border ceremony a competition of nationalism?

It has been 70 years since India and Pakistan emerged from a single, coherent geographical unit as two sovereign nations, and both states do their best to remember and reaffirm this. Every day at around 4:30pm, the Wagah border prepares for a unique ceremony, wherein the soldiers stationed at and near the border gates on both sides re-state the identity of India and Pakistan as sovereign nations, while their people cheer for them. As the dusk sets in, it is time to lower their respective flags, but both countries do so by giving a warning to each other. The gates ...

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Why an independent Kashmir is not good news for both Pakistan and India

In a previous blog that discussed the implications of President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, I suggested that Pakistan requires a re-think of its policies towards the US and Afghanistan. It further stated that Pakistan should try to normalise relations with India, since the key to peace on the western border may lie on the eastern border. For this to happen, it is necessary for Pakistan to carry out an analysis of the continued validity of its Kashmir policy. This is not required as a concession that needs to be given to India to achieve peace, but it is necessary due ...

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Dear Rishi Kapoor, before pointing the “terrorism” finger at Pakistan, please take a look at your prime minister, army and country

Dear Rishi Kapoor, As a Pakistani, I am not ashamed to admit that I have grown up watching Bollywood movies, I have been entertained, and I have also questioned the integrity of the industry where ageing actors such as yourself would still get lead roles as heroes. Maybe it reflects the Indian mindset, maybe not. However, do you see how such a small detail can have such a lasting impression?  One of my favourite songs is ‘Dil lene Ki Rut Aye’, with you and Madhuri Dixit (an amazing actress and definitely one of a kind). Moving on, this is not about your career or acting abilities, rather it’s about ...

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After replacing Babri Masjid with Ram temple, can the Hindus of BJP claim to be the owners of India?

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to national consciousness through the Babri Masjid agitation in the 80s and 90s. Through this movement, it laid the foundation for majoritarian politics in India. The victory of the BJP in 2014, where it got a majority in the parliament for the first time in the history of independent India, is the fructification of the campaign that started in the late 80s. The Hindu right-wing party wants to build a temple on the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. They claim it was built by the Mughal ruler Babur in the early 16th century on the place which is supposed to be ...

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Why the world isn’t talking about Kashmir

Today, the trend lines for Jammu and Kashmir are quite troubling, to say the least. Nearly a year after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri militant with a large following, anger hasn’t abated. Tension has risen in recent days after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to depict Indian security forces using heavy-handed tactics against a civilian. On April 24th, assailants gunned down a local politician in Kashmir, Abdul Gani Dar. Students have regularly clashed with security forces. When Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, according to ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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Ahmed Mujtaba won the MMA Championship but the media only cares about the Indo-Pak friction

His heart was racing. His feet were rising and falling to the roar of the crowd. He was like a beast in a jungle; fighting against a worthy opponent for dominance and glory. He knew he was a few minutes away from winning, just one more kick, one more punch and he would win a fight on one of the biggest MMA platforms in Asia. He was even closer to winning the fight.Photo: Facebook Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for, the moment he had worked so hard for, had arrived – the result. He had won – and ...

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When Uncle Prem Naat Mehra finally made it across the border

There sat a man, terminally ill, writing a letter. It was a combination of intuition and denial which compelled him to write a letter to a man who was declared dead. Yet he sat there, holding onto his last wish which gave him hope that may not have any fruit to bear. Using a yellow directory, he wondered to himself if it would reach Afzal Cheema, his Muslim friend in Pakistan with whom he had enjoyed his childhood in the green fields of Lahore. Like a story of novels or thematic compilations, the journey of this friendship took a turn ...

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India: The surgical strike has damaged us more than you, Pakistan

We don’t know the truth behind the surgical operation. Pakistan denies any kind of extraordinary military intervention in its territory. On the other hand, India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control (LoC). International media, however, takes a nuanced view of the whole affair, distancing itself from the passion that grips domestic media in India and Pakistan. Not long ago, in June 2015, India claimed to have conducted a surgical operation in Myanmar against the insurgent groups that allegedly killed 18 Indians soldiers in the North Eastern state of Manipur. Myanmar denied any such military strike inside ...

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