Tuesday August 14, 2018
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Nuke deal with US turns out to be a reverie for Pakistan

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By Arka Mondal

New Delhi:There are obvious reasons behind the US shying away from inking the epic nuke deal with Pakistan. USA very well knows that in Pakistan the biggest debacle is not any militia like Al Qaeda or Taliban but the country’s army itself. Democracy is a rare word in the Pakistani history as on numerous occasions coups triggered by the Army chief toppled the elected government and usurped control over the militancy-ravaged nation. The Pakistan army that nurtures an innate virtue of unremitting hostility against India has ceaselessly tailed its nefarious motives over the country’s interest.

It is common in Pakistan that the army has stymied the elected government from developing a healthy relation with India. When Nawaz Sharif tried to mend ties with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi via his ‘mango diplomacy’, the Army came into the fray and literally arm-twisted Sharif and refrained him from doing a patch up.  USA does understand that Pakistan presenting dossiers on India’s alleged involvement in trying to destabilize the country is nothing but a disgruntled move to garner support. The international community is well aware of the fact that for the last forty years the army has actively backed terrorist outfits in Afghanistan which has led to death of American soldiers posted in the country. The fact that Taliban spearhead Mullah Omar and Al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden were traced in Pakistani soil had also irked US diplomats.

Back in 2014, a soft-coup engineered by the army forced Premier Nawaz Sharif to change his stance and chalk out a new foreign policy according to the directives of the armed forces. Sharif had no other options of clinging on to power but to surrender before the whims and fancies of the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Moreover, Pakistan failed miserably to justify its nuclear expansion strategy.  For long the country has been giving lame excuses of bolstering its nuclear arsenal to nullify India’s nuke program and military prowess.  Strangely, while India produces five nuclear warheads in a year, Pakistan stockpiles around 20. The American reluctance in the nuke deal can also be attributed to the fact that USA has become apprehensive of the statistics on nukes being mysteriously lost or accidentally used from Pakistan’s arsenal.

If USA okayed the nuke deal, it knew India would also beef up its nuclear prowess to thwart the challenge. This would arguably lead to a cold warlike situation in the Indian subcontinent with China, a higher nuke equipped nation, taking a stand. Moreover, USA’s military campaign in Afghanistan has drawn flak among several global quarters and Washington can ill afford to make a wrong move at this juncture.

Pakistan did try to present Kashmir as a rationale behind expanding its nuclear arsenal. But Islamabad is reluctant to accept the reality that during the partition it was the ruler of Kashmir who preferred India over Pakistan. Moreover, India has stationed over 50000 soldiers in Kashmir to neutralize any Pakistani attack.

As Pakistan continues to bicker with the Kashmir issue, it frequently ignores that each and every day the country is being torn in tatters with bomb blasts and subversive activities. Instead of grumbling and asking for favours from a superpower, it is high time for Pakistan to understand that it has to revamp its policy to deal with India who is firm on its stand that there is no possibility of a dialogue unless Pakistan ratifies the treaties.

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The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

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The-Other-Side-of-“Hindu-Pakistan”
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.