The Ayodhya verdict and the veneer of Indian secularism

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour earlier in the week, Iltija Mufti, daughter of the former chief minister of occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, stated that India is “turning into a cesspool of bigotry, selective persecution, of hatred against minorities, and this is not the country I grew up in.” It appears that the Narendra Modi government has been doing its best to ensure that it continues to lend validity to these claims, however, in light of the Ayodhya verdict, it seems that the Indian Supreme Court has also joined the party.  Now, let me first preface this by saying that highlighting the great disservice ...

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What does the future hold for Kashmir?

The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act’ put forward by the Indian Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, occupies a central role in the deteriorating bilateral relations between the nuclear–armed neighbours and the worsening domestic conditions in the region. Pakistan’s demands for justice against the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) is being spearheaded by Prime Minster Imran Khan, who has termed India’s actions “a war crime” and a violation of 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions. While little headway is being made to restore the previous status quo, Imran’s efforts have materialised with six lawmakers from the United States ...

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For us Indians, the Kartarpur Corridor represents hope

The Kartarpur corridor shows that although the people of  the subcontinent may have been divided by man-made boundaries, they still share a great deal of history and culture. It also demonstrates that political hostility between the two neighbours should never become subservient to the goodwill shared by people on both sides of the border. In that sense, the corridor is a corridor of possibility and hope. This development is all the more remarkable given that it takes place at a time when the hostility between India and Pakistan is at an all-time high. Currently, even the concept of potential dialogue between the two ...

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Why the alleged spat with WWE epitomises Mohammad bin Salman as a leader

In recent news, the famous American World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is apparently in a spat with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It was initially reported that the latter had not paid the former their dues for two special events held in Saudi Arabia this year and reportedly owes WWE Chairman Vince McMahon between $300 and 500 million. Additionally, WWE wrestlers missed a show scheduled immediately after the last Saudi event after Salman ‘retaliated’ to McMahon threatening to cut off the Crown Jewel live television feed by ordering that the departee wrestlers are taken off their flight out of the ...

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The falsehood that is the ‘Persian-Arab conflict’ narrative

Discredited and archaic explanatory frameworks are superposed onto geopolitical conflicts and rivalries at the expense of an accurate appraisal of what truly drives them. The ‘Persian-Arab conflict’ narrative used to explain the nature of ties between Iran and certain Arab states is fraudulent from top to bottom, yet persists on the crutches of what increasingly seems an intentional muddying of the waters regarding what drives the rivalries seen in the Middle East. These rivalries revolve around conflict: pushing for friendly regimes in strategically placed states, outreach to sympathetic non-state actors and ideologically similar grassroots movements to counter those aligned with ...

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Is a peace deal in Afghanistan possible?

After a month-long thaw starting from last September, the Afghan peace process has now started to gain some momentum. United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul yesterday to discuss the future of peace talks with the Taliban. On Friday, Moscow hosted Khalilzad, along with Chinese and Pakistani representatives, to find a way for the resumption of the negotiations with the Taliban. Last week, Khalilzad and European Union envoy Roland Kobia, issued a comprehensive communique acknowledging that “sustainable peace can only be achieved through a negotiated political settlement.” However, these intra-Afghan negotiations between the ...

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October 22, 2019
 Sanjay Kumar
TOPICS

How an Iqbal poem got a Muslim headmaster suspended in India

It no longer shocks us in India. Prejudice and bigotry have become such a part of our existence that it no longer pricks our conscience when a lynching takes place, when a Muslim is humiliated for their way of life, when an overwhelming majority of television stations dish out jingoism all day long – it no longer baffles us. The recent suspension of a school headmaster, Furqan Ali, in the Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is only the latest demonstration of these growing hostilities. A local Hindu right wing leader belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), one of the ideological brothers of the ...

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Can Imran Khan help ease tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Acting upon a request from the United States to calm ongoing regional tensions, Imran Khan’s mission to engage in shuttle diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and Iran has presented a respectable image of neutrality, but this image alone is unlikely to facilitate peace. One would be forgiven for conflating Imran Khan’s impressive international image with productive foreign policy. A maiden visit to the United States this year, last month’s emotional United Nations General Assembly speech on Kashmir, and meetings with two of the world’s most bitter rivals – broken up only by a brief stop in Islamabad to welcome two ...

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The plight of the Uighurs

Whether you’re a Pakistani citizen living in Pakistan or in the diaspora, you must be familiar with the ongoing tussle between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Just a few weeks ago, India decided to revoke Article 370, taking away the special status of the disputed land and of the people living in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK). After India’s actions in IoK, the Pakistan government and people decided to reach out to the international community for support, using various United Nations platforms to voice their concerns and holding local protests in order to bring attention to this issue. While, as a Pakistani, I empathise ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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