December 22, 2001
Volume 2, #53
Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf discussed a wide range of topics in an interview with the Far Eastern Economic Review. He reiterated that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are “absolutely secure.”
The US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicated that “large and significant” documents have been discovered in Afghanistan. These documents, he said, provide evidence of al-Qaeda’s efforts to develop biological and radiation weapons. He, however, gave no details.
“Papers about WMD found, says Rumsfeld”
Raj Mohan’s report in the Hindu, a Indian daily, suggests that the US concerns about Kashmir as a “nuclear flashpoint” has worked against Pakistan and in India’s favor.
“Managing the nuclear flashpoint”
In an essay for Himal Magazine, Nepal, A.H. Nayyar and M.V. Ramana detail the history of nuclearization of South Asia. They conclude that efforts to stop nuclear proliferation should be linked with a push towards global nuclear disarmament. The essay appeared originally in Scientific American, a US magazine.
An Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) report indicated tensions between the Northern Alliance fighters and the US soldiers. As the war in Afghanistan winds down, there have been reports of fighting among Afghan warlords.
“N. Alliance captures US troops, loses town”
Afghanistan’s interim foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah wants the UN mandated multinational force in Afghanistan to be limited in size and scope. After long negotiations, the interim authority in Afghanistan agreed to allow a 3,000-strong multinational force into Kabul.
The Chief Spokesperson of the Coalition Information Service in Pakistan Kenton Keith has stated that “it is conceivable” that Osama bin Laden might have succeeded in slipping into Pakistan.
At a seminar on Afghanistan’s future, experts agreed that rebuilding of the country would require persistent efforts over a long period of time. A report in the Far Eastern Economic Review looks at hurdles that any successful reconstruction effort in Afghanistan will have to overcome. An essay in Al-Ahram, an Egyptian weekly, argues that Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts must be sensitive to the country’s partucular needs. Meanwhile, the European Commission has agreed to provide 11.6 million euros for NGO-led recovery projects for Afghanistan and the refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran.
“11.6m euros for Afghan projects pledged”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Amnesty International (AI) have raised concerns about reports of deportation of Afghan refugees by Pakistan. The UN and various humanitarian agencies have been unable to account for the majority of 300,000 Afghans displaced in eastern Afghanistan.
Following the capture of Tora Bora by the Northern Alliance some of the non-Afghan fighters may have slipped into Pakistan. The Pakistani government has deployed its troops along the country’s border with Afghanistan to capture the fleeing fighters.
Visits by the leaders of the Afghan interim government to India have raised concerns in Pakistan. Reporter Rahimullah Yusufazi, however, points out that many newly appointed Afghan ministers visit India because their families are settled there. The Daily News, Pakistan, reported the claims of two unnamed Pakistani officials that the Northern Alliance has handed over 110 captured Pakistani militants fighting alongside the Taliban to India.
A report carried by the Eurasianet examines the ongoing contraction of Saudi Arabia’s economy. The report suggests that the continuing downturn in Saudi economy might hamper efforts to contain Islamic radicalism in the region.
The Asia Times examines a report submitted to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). ICISS was established to develop guidelines for defining conditions under which UN may allow for military intervention against sovereign states.
“World panel outlines guidelines for military intervention”
A report in the Egyptian Weekly Al Ahram suggests that Muslim thinkers have “grown increasingly disquieted” by the Western demand that Muslims should engage in serious introspection The scholars quoted in the report believe that soul-searching should happen on both sides of the divide.
Indian journalist M.J. Akbar believes that that the present crisis is “too redolent of the past that we want to leave behind us.” He underlines the need for new political initiatives by the US.
“A proflict in America”
Roedad Khan, a senior retired Pakistani bureaucrat, argues that through his unilateral actions “Mr. Bush has, in effect, established an Imperial Presidency.” He calls upon the Pakistani government to resist US pressure, and foucs on its own national interests.
“The myth of independence”
The Asian Development Bank will provide Pakistan approximately one billion dollars in 2002 for carrying out civil reforms, improving provincial resource management and developing capital markets.
Kuldip Nayar, an Indian journalist who writes a regular column for the Pakistani daily the Dawn feels that India’s “glee” at “Pakistan’s travails” is misplaced. Rather, he argues, “what New Delhi and Islamabad should be worrying about is that America looks like staying in the region.”
The Pakistani government is preparing a new ordinance for the regulation of Deeni Madaris (religious schools). In the wake of attack on the Indian Parliament House that, according to India officials, was carried out by Kashmiri groups supported by Pakistan, President Musharraf’s government is reportedly rethinking its Kashmir policy. The twin threat of the Taliban slipping into Pakistan and the increased tension with India has heightened Pakistan’s security concerns.
“Pakistan rethink over support of militants”
According to a report in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf is banking on a balance of military rule and democracy to hold his country together.
According to unnamed sources, President Pervez Musharraf has accepted a US request for a long-term presence at Jacobabad air base.
In a statement issued on the eve of President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to China, President Jiang Zemin reiterated the importance of close Sino-Pakistan relations.
“Jiang stresses full Sino-Pakistan partnership”
Amnesty International believes that anti-terrorist laws proposed by the Vajpayee government would lead to hyman rights abuses. A report in the Economic and Political Weekly, an Indian journal, closely examines the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).
“Amnesty slams new Indian law”
Two US warships conducted a joint exercise with the Indian navy as part of increasing military cooperation between the two countries. The Far Eastern Economic Review reports that the US is attempting to enhance relations with India while preserving its new ties with Pakistan.
“US, India conduct naval exercise”
The Indian government believes that members of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad – militant Kashmiri separatist groups supported by Pakistan – carried out the attack on the Parliament House that killed thirteen people. The attack on the Parliament House has increased tension between India and Pakistan. Pakistani government condemned the attack and has denied any involvement. Lashkar-e-Taiba has also denied that its member carried out the attack. Since the attack, Pakistani and Indian government officials have been exchanging threats with each other. The US Secretary of State Colin Powell asked the leader of the two countries to defuse the crisis. India’s Prime Minister has indicated that his country will not “take a decision on war or peace on the spur of an emotional moment.”
“Jaish, Lashkar carried out attack with ISI guidance: police”
“Delhi blames Lashkar for attack: India wants militants’ arrest”
“New Delhi detains suspects in attack”
“Pakistan dismisses Indian allegations”
“Kashmir body sees Indian agencies’ hand in attack”
“New Delhi warns of ‘hard-hitting’ response”
“Pakistan will reply with force, says CE: India must avoid adventurism”
“Vajpayee slams party hawks for war frenzy”
“Cong. backs Govt.: CPI(M) sounds a note of caution”
“Pakistan denies troop build-up: Sattar wants terrorism defined”
“We’re watching Pak. build-up: Army Chief”
“Pakistan forces put on high alert: Storming of parliament”
“Terror tactics could backfire on India”
“On the brink of war?”
“Between war and peace”
Writing for the Economic and Political Weekly, Aswini K. Ray compares the politics of East Pakistan in the 1950s and 1960s to the present situation in Kashmir. A successful nationalist movement in East Pakistan led to its emergence as the state of Bangladesh in 1971.