Stories about peace talks

How the Kashmir crisis threatens Russia’s interests in Pakistan and India

The world watched with bated breath as Pakistan and India narrowly escaped full-blown military conflict last week. But the Kashmir crisis demonstrates more than a bitter dispute between two nations. This volatile frontier provides a springboard from which a historic rivalry between two nuclear states could culminate, with potentially seismic consequences for its surrounding neighbours. Moscow’s readiness to mediate the tensions therefore comes as no surprise, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcoming Russian Foreign Minister Viktorovich Lavrov’s offers to host talks. As an ally of both countries, pressure mounts on Russia in particular, to abate tensions in ...

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Why India does not want any US-Afghanistan peace talks

The clearest indication of how the Indian military, intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracies (‘deep state’) truly feel about US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban can be seen in India’s Major-General (R) Harsha Kakar’s recent article on this topic written for The Statesman. Intuiting India’s interpretation India, which hasn’t shied away from sounding off about all manner of international issues ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. This led many observers to intuit that it’s extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom ...

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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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After three Indo-Pak wars, are LoC skirmishes preparing ground for another?

The Line of Control (LoC) which divides Pakistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir has been the primary source of troublesome relations between the two countries. Not being an international border, LoC is a De Facto border agreed upon by India and Pakistan and was previously known as the cease-fire line. The security situation across this region has escalated throughout the years, as India blames Pakistan for exporting terror across the LoC. This has been the case whenever an attack has been carried out in India, or for that fact, in Pakistan as well. An important point to highlight would be that two out of three wars ...

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Why now, Afghanistan?

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s revelation that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is dead — which had long been assumed yet never confirmed — a fundamental question remains. Why would the Afghan government make this announcement now? Specifically, why would Kabul jeopardise a peace process that it desperately wants to succeed and that has only recently gained steam? Surely, Kabul knew that announcing Mullah Omar’s death would bring long-festering tensions within the Taliban to the fore and trigger a deep and perhaps even existential organisational crisis — a messy, drawn-out, and possibly bloody leadership transition that will consume the Taliban’s energies and could limit its ability to focus on peace talks. So what ...

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If Iran and the US can make peace, why can’t India and Pakistan?

The nuclear deal between Iran and the West has opened up new avenues of engagements for those nations which have been in conflict for decades. It has proved that time-tested diplomacy is the only way to achieve peace in the world. Therefore, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s gesture of sending mangoes to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, holds more than just symbolic value. It is, at one hand, a reflection of the desire to normalise relationships between the two countries while at the other hand, it suggests the calming down of frayed tempers on both sides of the border which have been boiling over the ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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The cost of silence

The nation is in shock after the events of the Peshawar school attack. Even for a country that has seen its fair share of violence, the tragedy that occurred was unbelievable. After becoming aware of what had happened, I sat in silence, overcome with grief, contemplating questions such as ‘Why had this happened?’ and ‘Who would do such a thing?’ But it became clear to me that perhaps I was going about it all wrong. I was trying to make sense of a situation that could never make sense. What reason could ever justify the killing of over a hundred innocent school children? ...

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Who asked Imran Khan to address the LoC shelling?

Have you heard? There are rumours of Mr Shahid Khan Afridi poised to be the next Imran Khan. While I leave this rumoured information to be processed by cricket fans and political analysts at length, one has to question what the nation is to do with the current Imran Khan that we do have. What happens when cricketers decide that they’d be much better at life if they gave up what they had been doing all their lives, and start on a completely new career path? The result is that they’re neither good cricketers nor are they good statesmen/politicians. I am, ...

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In reality Mr Khan, no you Khan’t

There was once a man who didn’t believe in empty rhetoric but followed through with his promises. He won Pakistan the World Cup, made Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust and established a university in Mianwali. The youth idealised him, the elderly praised him, and the people adored him. And while he showed that change is achieved by the tangible, he never followed through with that in his politics. I wish he had. He was selling a dream that many Pakistanis yearned for. A Pakistan free of corruption and nepotism, where the common man would have equal opportunities, where he would have freedom ...

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