Volume 20 Issue 11 November 2016
By Senator(r) Javed Jabbar

Before we can effectively address the external challenges on Kashmir such as mobilizing international support for a just and honourable solution, we should give higher priority to clearing the confusion and contradictions that mark our own internal handling of foreign policy.

By Syed Jawaid Iqbal

At last the cat is out of the bag; Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has openly attested for the first time allegations regarding Indian involvement in Balochistan. For the past many years, the government of Pakistan, its intelligence agencies and even politicians from Balochistan had been saying that India was strongly supporting the so-called separatist elements in Balochistan but India had always rejected the allegation. During his speech on Independence Day on Aug 15, 2016, the Prime Minister of India openly confessed Indian involvement in Balochistan. He said, ‘People of Balochistan, Gilgit and Azad Kashmir have thanked me a lot in past few days.’
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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Mahrukh Farooq – Faizan Usmani
Feature Writer: Khawaja Amer

S. G. Jilanee

Zeeshan Ahmed
Khawaja Amer
Zufah Ansari
Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Mahrukh Farooq
Sarah B. Haider
S. M. Hali
Dr. Ikramul Haq
Javed Jabbar
Syed Jawaid Iqbal
S.G. Jilanee
Dr. Raza Khan
Taha Kehar
Taj M Khattak
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
Talat Masood
Faizan Usmani

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Waqas Jan
Syed Ovais Akhtar
Hira Sarwar

Shehryar Zulfiqar

Danish Shahid

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



By Talat Masood

India is in an overdrive to isolate Pakistan. It is using its recent international clout to demonize Pakistan wherever and whenever it can. A glaring example of this was the recent BRICS platform. Fortunately for Pakistan, it failed to achieve its objective, as its other members did not subscribe to India’s manipulations. In fact, China praised Pakistan’s exemplary role in the fight against terrorism.

India has been raising the temperature and pressure on Pakistan thereby shrinking the space for any meaningful dialogue. Its aspirations to be a regional hegemon are obviously unacceptable. Afghanistan, regrettably, is playing second fiddle by supporting Indian designs and uses the cover for its failures by scapegoating Pakistan..

Press freedom in Pakistan took on a new meaning in the aftermath of a report published in Daily Dawn on October 6, 2016, in which details of a top level meeting held at the Prime Minister’s House were revealed. Initially, the government’s response to the story was heavy handed, to say the least, and there was even a denial on part of the government that such a meeting had taken place. However, when Dawn ‘stuck to its guns’ and said it had published the report after stringent fact-checking and cross-checking, the official reaction simmered down a bit but still then, the name of the reporter who had filed the story, Cyril Almeida, was put on the Exit Control List (ECL) and he was barred from leaving the country. It was a case of shooting the messenger for bringing bad tidings.

Whether Dawn should have or have not published the story is a moot point. Some say that in the interest of national integrity, particularly since the story gave the impression that the civilian government was telling the armed forces not to act in a manner that it isolated Pakistan at the international and diplomatic level, the newspaper should have exercised its best judgment and not carried the report. It was, however, clear that Dawn had only used its freedom as a print medium in the now liberated free media environment in Pakistan and printed the report filed by its own staffer after due checks. It was sad that the government refuted the story and subsequently banned the reporter from travelling abroad. In Pakistan’s current scenario, where media freedom has crossed many barriers and climbed many mountains, it was quite self-defeating that a democratic regime was behaving like a dictatorial one and abrogating press freedom by placing curbs on the movement of a journalist. As it turned out, the restriction amounted to only a temporary measure since it wasn’t an answer to the real source of the leaked story, if indeed it was a ‘leak’. It could also have been a deliberate effort on part of certain quarters to egg the newspaper towards publishing the story as a scoop. Even then, it would have been quite surprising had a newspaper of Dawn’s stature even considered printing the report had it not been sure of its sources.

It is still not clear as to who or what the ‘sources’ of the story were. Even then, it is quite obvious that the ‘leak’ was made on part of certain quarters to malign the armed forces. It is another matter that the ploy did not succeed because the people of Pakistan have much more faith in and respect for the armed forces than they have for the civilian rulers. It is now becoming clear that the source of the story was in the government itself somewhere and privy to the proceedings and contents of the high-powered meeting that took place at the Prime Minister’s House. Otherwise, how could have the details of the meeting been shared with the reporter? It would be in the fitness of things now if this whole episode were taken to its logical conclusion and identities of those responsible for the story in the government setup revealed.

Until our going to the press, it was perhaps being safely thought in some quarters of the government that the source of the leak need not be disclosed. The government’s thinking seemed to be on the lines that the storm would blow over once the present COAS, Gen. Raheel Sharif retired and the new COAS would be more concerned with other pressing matters. Such a line of thinking ignored the fact that the issue had a lot to do with the institution of the army and that, in any case, the army works as a homogenous body. Whoever the COAS is will not make an iota of a difference. This issue is a very sensitive one as it has serious implications for national security. It was clear that good progress was being made towards getting closer to the person or persons who leaked the story though the interior minister was not aware of any such elements in the government. For its part, the army wished to reach the bottom of the matter so that such media misadventures do not occur in future.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


Beyond Propaganda

Propaganda is considered as an inevitable part of any wartime strategy. However, recent moves taken by the Indian government and Indian Army suggest they both can use the propaganda tool, particularly when it comes to dealing with Pakistan. The notion of carrying out surgical strikes across the border can appeal to an adventurous, young mind which knows nothing more than playing Counter-Strike on PlayStation. But in reality, things are not that simple or straightforward. On the real battleground, can special forces enter silently, assail scores of militants within an hour and return safely without facing any retaliation? One wonders if it is the same army which took more than three days to evacuate a 7-storey building from a couple of militants in Pampore in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. It is a wake-up call for the Indian political and military leadership that should stop fooling its people.

J. S. Rajesh Kumar,
Nagpur, India.

Foreign Policy or Dictation?

Following the Indian Government’s move, other countries in South Asia have also decided not to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November. It is a matter of grave concern for a democratic nation like Bangladesh that always fails to act on its own, especially when it comes to forming and maintaining diplomatic relations with other countries. Bangladesh has been over-reliant on India that mostly decides crucial matters for the country. Time and again, history has proved the fallacy of sacrificing national dignity to appease bigger states. Bangladesh seems to be following the same path.

Sajida Parveen,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Poor image of IMF

This is with reference to the story on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Both institutions have been actively working to improve the socio-economic situation in underdeveloped regions. However, despite playing a supportive role, their efforts have often looked with disdain and people of the beneficiary nations consider them a ploy to take control of the entire economy in the name of providing heavy loans and financial grants. Some years before, for example, a protest against rising employment was held in Thailand, in which protesters were carrying banners and placards, which read ‘IMF: I am fired.’ Having been reduced into a kind of abusive term, the IMF, as well as the Wold Bank, need to work on their image building, particularly in those countries where the majority do not seem to hold afavourable view of them.

Ahmed Ali Khanzada,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Welcome António Guterres!

It is heartening to know that António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, is going to be the next Secretary General of the United Nations (UN). Other than being the premier of his country, he has headed the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from 2005 to 2015. During his term as a UN High Commissioner, he played a central role in providing protection to more than 58 million refugees and internally displaced people in various parts of the world. Considering the magnitude of the ongoing refugee crisis, I hope his appointment as the UN chief will help the organisation deal with the challenge in a better way. The world is also looking at him for the peaceful settlement of many regional and international disputes such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Kashmir problem. I hope he proves to be a true messenger of peace.

Robert de Souza,
Bangkok, Thailand.

Nasheed Needed

Recently, Mohamed Nasheed, former Maldivian president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) to help him contest the next presidential elections in the Maldives. As he has been in political exile in the UK for more than a year, Nasheed’s future is uncertain. In 2015, he was given a 13-year imprisonment verdict under terrorism charges and has been automatically disqualified from holding a political office. The ruling of the Maldivian Supreme Court also made it clear that he cannot lead his party or contest elections till 2031. Since he has been the main political figure in the country for more than a decade, Nasheed’s rise and fall as head of the state is not an ordinary matter. The UNHRC must think about his return to the political process of the country, which needs young educated leadership.

Shahab Ali Hamid,
Male, Maldives.
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