Stories about relations

Ethics in an unethical mirage

It is often said that national interests dictate the dynamics of international politics and that morality has no role to play in international relations. Proponents of this view are likely to argue that international politics hinges on pragmatic and practical issues. Alliances are then, the result of mutual benefit accruing to both parties; animosity is either the status quo or likely to occur where interests do not converge. On the other hand, we have Mr Woodrow Wilson, who argues that, “Interests do not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. But sympathy and understanding does unite them.” It may be conceded that ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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India does not want to invade Pakistan and the US is not our enemy!

India no longer considers Pakistan a threat. Let’s face it. India is poised to become a global economic engine; its economy is the 10th largest and third by Purchasing Power Parity. India is a member of the G4 and has recently acquired almost absolute control of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Having a G4 membership alone raises India’s global influence. Further, the day is near when India would be a permanent member in the UN Security Council. India played its cards well and is a potential super-power. It is time for Pakistan to come out of its shell of denial and recognise India’s swift ...

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The Netherlands-Belgium border: Can Pakistan have similar relations with its neighbours?

It was a hot day, by European standards at least. I took the bus and embarked on a journey of about an hour. I had a book to read but the company on my bus seemed far more interesting. I looked around and saw a couple that appeared to be Muslim, as the woman was wearing the typical headscarf. They were middle-aged and had a calmness about them. A young man entered the bus, headphones on, busy on his phone. He was cheerful and energetic and appeared to be from a Middle Eastern origin. The couple and this man knew ...

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Why Pakistan needs Israel

Hatred towards Israel and the refusal to recognise or establish diplomatic relations with this country is no new phenomenon to Muslim countries in Asia. This abomination is based on feelings of Islamic solidarity with Arab countries and a sense of religious belonging to the global Islamic community. In recent decades, Muslim countries have experienced an increase in radical thinking. A major factor for this emerging trend is the belief that Jews, Zionism, and Israel are anti-Islam, anti-Arab and pro-American. Radical Islamic circles exert pressure on their respective government to become involved in worldwide Islamic issues – above all, they want attention ...

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A good time to cultivate relations with India

On a lazy Sunday morning on April 8 this year, President Asif Ali Zardari flew into New Delhi. His host, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was waiting to receive him with open arms and on the table were not only the best delicacies of his country, but also the agenda on which the future of the region and perhaps, the world hinges on. In my opinion, the visit was crucial, not only because it enabled the top leaders of two hostile nations to come together, but also because its timing was of immense significance. It came about when the US and ...

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Protocol phobia in Punjab

During present week the Punjab government remains occupied to provide red carpet reception and protocol to visiting Turkish guests and Lahorites had to face unprecedented traffic congestion, lack of civic facilities and travel hindrance. Although Istanbul Mayor Dr. Kadir Topbas was a distinguished guest in the city, the inconvenience faced by city folks because of the elaborate protocol accorded to him was above tolerance level. Topbas was offered a VVIP protocol with signal-free movement, high security apparatus and lavish banquets. The protocol was against the stipulation of the blue book, a document which decides the level of protocol to be ...

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India and Pakistan: Sharing one soul

Recently, I was in India to attend a course on environmental journalism hosted by a renowned New Delhi-based NGO. One day, I was at one of Delhi’s social clubs and ran into a retired Indian general, Maj-Gen Ashok K Mehta, to be precise. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation. He said that he was in the Indian Army during the 1971 Pakistan-India war and that he had been in contact with several Pakistani prisoners of war. One of them, he said, was a senior officer, who on the day the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indians, wrote in ...

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Afghan pullout: Pakistan needs to revise its role

Opinion pages are full of analysis emphasising Pakistan’s role in bringing to an end the Afghan conflict, without whom, it is argued, the negotiations are bound to fail. The Pakistani establishment however continues with its short term, self defeating policies towards our neighbouring country. As a result our region will remain unstable and insecure after the United States (US) and its allies depart. Pakistan wants to ensure that the Afghan government remains pliant to its strategic needs. We want any negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict to include the Taliban, but on our own terms, keeping us in the loop. Non-Pashtun ...

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Afghan drawdown: The vultures descend

Now that the die is cast and the United States is finally stepping up the process of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the vultures are finally swooping down to ensure that they get a piece of the carcass. Pakistan, Iran, India, Russia; all seem to have a stake in Afghanistan’s future. Out of these, Pakistan and India are arch rivals and have conflicting interests in Afghanistan. Pakistan, which often views Afghanistan as an extension of its own backyard seeks to play out the game of strategic depth in the country. India, on the other hand is taking a more indirect route. ...

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