August 03, 2002
Volume 3, #25
According to a report published by the US State Department, “very senior Saudi officials have held conversations with officials involved in the Pakistani nuclear program.”
“US studies Pakistan, Saudi N-ties: report”
The daily Frontier Post, Pakistan, has reported that Pashtuns are “very dissatisfied” with President Karzai. Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat have reportedly asked President Karzai to remove the Tajik governor Ismail Khan or risk an armed revolt. However, according to a government mediator, the cease-fire between ethnic Tajik and Pashtun fighters is holding in Herat. According to various reports, Ismail Khan’s refusal to accept Karzai’s offer of a post in the Kabul government has led to increased tension between the two men.
“Pakhtoons warn Karzai of revolt”
According to a daily Dawn report, three houses were destroyed and three people injured in a US bombing raid in eastern Paktika province. Two Afghan militiamen were killed and five US soldiers wounded when a joint reconnaissance patrol was attacked near Khost in eastern Afghanistan. The UN has decided not to publicly release a report written by a fact-finding team investigating the fatal bombing raid on a wedding party.
“Two Afghans killed, five US troops hurt in ambush”
According to a former Taliban commander recently released from an Afghan prison, a group of Taliban prisoner is being tortured and sexually abused in a jail near a US military base in southern Afghanistan. The daily Frontier Post reports that a 16 year old women accused of refusing a marriage contract made by her family when she was two years old may be given a jail term.
President Karzai has stated that it would take at least seven years to destroy an estimated 10- million land mines in Afghanistan.
Reporter Rahimullah Yusufzai (News, Pakistan) sees no merit in Yossef Bodansky’s – author of ‘Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America’ – claim that Osama bin Laden “is freely able to travel between Afghanistan and Kashmir via Pakistan with support from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).” According to a report in the daily News, two Arabic language websites supporting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have recently been shut down. President Karzai has stated that al-Qaeda is “not a military threat” to Afghanistan. A report in the daily Frontier Post, however, claims that there are still suspected al-Qaeda forces along Afghanistan’s eastern flank.
“Al Qaeda no longer a threat: Karzai”
India’s Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani has stated that infiltration of militants into Kashmir has “somewhat reduced but has not stopped.” Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, however, rejected India’s claim that Pakistan-based Muslim rebels were still crossing the border in disputed Kashmir. Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha has ruled out early dialogue with Pakistan. Ten Buddhist monks have announced a three-month march from Pakistan to central India to urge peace between the two countries. According to a daily Dawn report, three people were killed and four others wounded in the Indian shelling on Neelum valley in Kashmir.
“Incursions have declined: Advani”
“Musharraf says no more concessions on Kashmir”
“India not ready for dialogue, says Sinha”
“Three die in Indian shelling”
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has asked India to release Kashmiri “political prisoners” before the upcoming state elections in Kashmir and to allow independent observers to monitor the elections. He also stated that infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan is still continuing. Powell has expressed satisfaction with his visit to South Asia.
Leaders of Pakistan’s major political parties have criticized President Musharraf’s proposed constitutional amendments. The government has now revised some of the proposed amendments but has retained fundamental discretionary powers to be vested in the president. Farhan Bokhari of the daily News believes that these revisions “may well be a bit too little and perhaps even late.”
World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) report has outlined a $3.4 billion commitment for economic stability and religious moderation in Pakistan. The report, according to the daily News, also took note of corruption among members of the Pakistan army. A World Bank official, however, believes that the charges of corruption among the army members were “erroneously attributed” to the Bank. The CAS also notes that an estimated 15-20 per cent of the Madaris are involved in military related teachings and training. Columnist Masooda Bano (News) writes that the World Bank CAS “proves” that, in addition to losing their economic sovereignty, “now the third world countries like Pakistan .. [will also] have to surrender their cultural and religious autonomy” to the Bank.
An editorial by the Daily Times believes that the “government’s resolve to defeat religious extremism was temporary.” The Lahore High Court has extended the detention of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the defunct Jaish-i-Muhammad, while releasing four activists of another militant extremist group.
Khalid Ahmed of the Daily Times reviews news and analysis appearing in Pakistan’s Urdu newspapers.
According to the daily Dawn, Pakistan, a high-level military delegation from Iran is scheduled to visit Pakistan to explore areas of defense cooperation between the two countries. Various newspapers reported on President Musharraf’s recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.
“Sri Lanka sees closer ties with Pakistan”
“President regrets ’71 war excesses”
Maqsudul Hasan Nuri of the daily News examines the significance of the newly inaugurated Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.
Rahul Bedi’s (Frontline, India) looks at the competition between various arms manufacturers hoping to sell India new weapon systems. The Indian parliamentary opposition has criticized the government for its “submissive” attitude towards the US. In an interview published by Frontline, K. Natwar Singh, Rajya Sabha member and Congress spokesman on foreign affairs, discussed a range of issues relating to India’s foreign policy and diplomacy.
“Govt. surrendering sovereignty to U.S.”
The Election Commission (EC) has announced a four-phase schedule for elections to the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) assembly. India’s Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani has rejected any role for international observers in the J&K Assembly elections as suggested by both Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, and the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has reiterated its decision to stay away from the polls. APHC, however, has also stated that it will not have “any problems in contesting elections if they ..are the first step in a comprehensive process to resolve the dispute permanently.” Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir’s largest militant separatist group, has also rejected the elections. Pakistan has stated that elections in J&K should not be looked at “with a very great degree of hope or anything.” Meanwhile, a militant group Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen has threatened to kill anyone who takes part in the elections.
“Advani rejects role for international observers”
“APHC rules out taking part in poll”
“Hizb says polls no solution to dispute”
“Islamabad rejects Valley election plan”
“Kashmiris warned not to take part in elections”
I.K. Gujral (Hindu) warns that “that if anything goes wrong regarding the credibility of the elections, neither the Kashmiri people nor the international community will take it lightly.” Similar sentiment is expressed by Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Indian Express).
“Kashmir: no miscalculations please!”
“Dividing the Kashmir blame pie”
Akhila Raman’s article (Daily Times) examines the implications of a recent opinion poll in J&K.
Frontline (India) published a June 2001 interview with Abdul Ghani Lone, the Hurriyat leader who was assassinated in May 2002.
In their essay for Asia Times, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, authors of 1999 book Unrestricted Warfare, examined China’s position on the Kashmir dispute.
“Conflict in Kashmir: The third bald man”
In their respective articles for the daily Hindu, V.R. Raghavan and Raja Mohan examine the implications of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
“Political space in J&K”
“U.S., Kashmir and “Indo-pessimism””