Volume 21 Issue 2 February 2017
By S.G. Jilanee

Were it not for the perpetual standoff and occasional fire-fight between Pakistani and Indian troops, the relentless efforts of both countries to go on increasing their military arsenal, while large swathes of their population wallowed in abject poverty, would have been dismissed by the world as intellectual bankruptcy. But, in the backdrop of an endless standoff, such actions are a source of common concern as a threat not only to regional, but also to world peace. This concern was voiced by outgoing US vice-president Joe Biden, in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently, when he remarked that, “the use of nuclear weapons in south Asia cannot be ruled out.”

By Lt. Gen. (R) Talat Masood

Ever since Pakistan came into being in 1947 it has been locked in a conflict with India over the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The two countries have fought three wars two specifically on J&K and one related to the secession of East Pakistan. In addition,
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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Hafiz Inam
Mukee Bano
Feature Writer: Khawaja Amer

S. G. Jilanee

Khawaja Amer
Mukee Bano
Huzaima Bukhari
AVM (R) Shahzad Chaudhry
Muhammad Ghazanfar
Dr. Ikramul Haq
S. M. Hali
Hafiz Inam
S.G. Jeelani
Saleem Khan
Dr. Raza Khan
Zehra Khawaja
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
Lt. Gen. (R) Talat Masood
K. A. Naqshbandi
S. Mubashir Noor
AVM (R) Abid Rao
Faizan Usmani

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih

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 AVM (R) Shahzad Chaudhry

Here are a few quotes to warm your heart:
U.S. President and a former general Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Forces in WWII, had this to say: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

Now that Donald Trump has become the President of the United States, it is being thought that the new president will impose his radical thinking on many internal policies impacting the life of the average American. At the same time, the president is perceived to be somewhat of a novice where US foreign policy is concerned.

Though in the days before the run-up to his taking oath of office on January 20, 2017, the president-elect must have been put through a crash course regarding US foreign policy but obviously there must have been so much to take in that it must have become a herculean task for the gentleman. He is known to be a brilliant and successful businessman and, some would say, a charismatic reality TV host, but he has never held any government or state office and, until the time when he won the US elections, he had probably never imagined that he would one day become the world’s most powerful man and hold the job of the President of the United States.

Perhaps it was his limited world view that failed to prevent him from issuing an executive order banning the nationals of seven Muslim countries and refugees from Syria to travel to the USA and wait edgily in their home countries for a process called ‘extreme vetting.’ The order provoked a very negative reaction from around the world as well as from within the United States where thousands took to the streets to protest against Trump’s decision and to find novel ways to express their anger. The unfortunate fallout was that many people in the seven Muslim countries were left stranded at airports and were unable to unite with their families in the USA or travel to the country for a host of other reasons. Now there is even more confusion as legal battles between the Trump administration and the US judiciary have erupted. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s vision did not stretch beyond what came to be known as the ‘Muslim Ban’ and reflected his abhorrence of the entire Muslim world as they were generally categorized by him as ‘Islamic Terrorists.’

In stark contrast to this approach was that of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, who has always considered the 10 million Canadian Muslims as his very own people and the doors of whose country are always open to legal immigrants as well as those refugees from war-torn Muslim states who are now not even welcome in Europe. The massacre of Muslims praying in a mosque in Quebec has been a time of great sorrow for the young Canadian Prime Minister and he has extended all support to his Muslim countrymen. He has cried with them and laughed with them with sentiments that reflect his deep humane qualities.

It is clear President Trump has failed to recognize that one, he is President of the entire United States and not only those predominantly white Americans who hate the Muslims and the people of Mexico and other similar countries and, two, the United States of America is at present the world’s sole superpower and that it must hold on to this status not only by word but also by deed. Over the years and through many administrations, the USA has played a very vital role in world affairs and has enjoyed the support of most nations on the globe, whether Muslim or otherwise. It has led many alliances and initiatives, whether these were of a military, civilian or humanitarian nature. It may have been commended for its role or otherwise but it has continued to lead the world in the true spirit of a superpower.

The underlying theme of American policy has always been peace and aid and, to this end, it has made all its sources available and has gone out of its way to give billions of dollars for such causes. Of course, the USA’s own motives have also driven this approach but that is why it is a superpower. It must also not be forgotten that both the USA and Canada are what they are today because they are nations comprising immigrants from all corners of the world. In the beginning, migrant populations from England and the rest of Europe came to the North American continent and that is why this part of the world has a predominantly white population. But over the years, the immigrants have become more diverse and provide a distinct multiplicity.

President Trump needs to revise his own views about the USA and start thinking in global terms. He must not only pay attention to various problems within America but also to the strategic global position of the USA and, instead of looking inwards, he should make efforts to further expand America’s world influence. If that does not happen, before Mr. Trump realizes it, China and Russia will have overtaken the USA both economically and militarily.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


India Post Demonetisationn

The abrupt demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes by the Indian government last year was quite a bold move. However, it mostly affected those who were daily wage earners, solely relying on hard cash to meet their needs. Besides resulting in a sizeable decline in overall earnings and spending, the demonetisation drive proved to be a deadlier exercise for most states. Even a couple of months after the demonetisation, there is a significant decline in spending, affecting both the short and long-term growth of small and medium businesses. According to a research study by LocalCircles, a citizens’ engagement platform in India, a large number of people in the country are still experiencing the aftershocks of demonetisation in terms of lower earnings, which is adversely impacting their spending power, as well as their ability to save money. Will the Indian government take the responsibility of its adventurous, but flawed policy-making?

Shruti S. Sinha,
Bengaluru, India.

Poor Workplace Safety

According to research conducted by the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) of Bangladesh, more than 1,225 workers were killed and over 500 injured at workplaces across the country in 2016, compared to a total of 951 on-the-job casualties recorded in 2015. The OSHE report reveals the current state of occupational safety and health in Bangladesh, which lags behind in the region in terms of ergonomics and safe working conditions offered to the employees. In fact, the issue of workers' safety has never been considered by the government on a priority basis. Consequently, most industries do not pay heed to the protection of labour rights, whereas the rising unemployment rate in the country compels people to keep working despite the lack of occupational safety and health related risks posed at the workplace. This is really a big concern and needs urgent attention.

Mohammad Waqar Bilal,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Shifting Power Balance

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on the current geopolitical position of Pakistan in relation to the international isolation looming over the country. I believe the overhyped threats of isolation in the international community have helped Pakistan move faster to improve its overall standing in the world. Despite the fact that the present government is not as proactive when it comes to portraying a favourable image of the country, the changing geopolitical environment in the region and international arena favours Pakistan more than ever. The balance of power is shifting in the world, opening a new room for the country to amend its previous decisions and set new priorities as a truly peace-loving and democratic country. Encircled by imminent world powers, Pakistan is well-surrounded, leaving the fear of isolation behind.

Abdul Hameed,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Time to Follow Suit

The latest move by the Sri Lankan government to remove suit and tie from the official dress code of top bureaucrats and civil servants is a welcome step. As rightly said by the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena, we must wear clothing that is comfortable and is adaptable to local weather conditions and rapidly-occurring climate changes. In fact, all South Asian countries have their own national dresses. However, the professional attire or business dress in these countries mostly consists of a suit and tie, which does not suit the tropical weather of these countries and is also a symbol of British colonial slavery. I appeal to the rest of the countries in South Asia to follow suit and adopt their national costumes as an official dress to be worn by all government employees and bureaucrats, irrespective of their grades and ranks. Thanks to Sri Lanka for setting the example.

Ruqayya Shahab,
New Delhi, India.

Goodbye Obama!

Former U.S. President, Barack Obama left the White House after an 8-year rule. His rise to the office of the President of the United States was indeed an epoch-making occasion in U.S. political history plagued by racism, discrimination and a decades-long civil war. Elected twice in a row as the U.S. President, Obama successfully led the nation in a time of crisis and introduced a number of reforms in the social sector to provide essential health care to the least advantaged. The Obama Health Care Plan is the most notable example of his commitment to the welfare of the American people. He successfully retained his popularity as a true public leader throughout his term in the office. Without a doubt, if the U.S. Constitution would have allowed Obama to run for the presidential elections again, he could have won the third term as well.

Stephen. H. Meyer,
Colorado, United States.

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