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24 August 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.114

Pakistan, China and J&K



The War of Words

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Pakistan's foreign ministry rejects Indian statements regarding J&K
On 23 August, Pakistan’s Foreign Office “strongly rejected” the Indian statement on the Kashmir issue, a reaction to the recent China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. The FO’s spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri called Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava’s comments “unwarranted and irresponsible”.

According to Mr Chaudhri, India’s contentions regarding “Jammu and Kashmir being the so-called ‘integral and inalienable part’ of India and an ‘internal affair’ are a laughable fiction, totally contrary to historical and legal facts and in violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions”. He declared Indian claims to Jammu and Kashmir baseless. The statement called for an immediate end of India’s “illegal and forcible occupation of IIOJK” and an impartial plebiscite for the Kashmiris to ensure their right to self-determination. The FO “categorically rejected” India’s “malicious propaganda” against CPEC, calling it another desperate Indian attempt to deceive the international community. FO’s statement said “India has no locus standi on the issue — historical, legal or moral. The regurgitation of false claims by India can neither change facts nor divert attention from India’s state-terrorism in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and its egregious violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people”.

Previously, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Mr Srivastava had said “we (India) categorically reject the reference to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the joint press release of the Second Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue”. He upheld that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was an inalienable and integral part of India and asked the parties concerned to “not interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India”. The spokesperson said that India strongly opposed the actions by other countries to alter the status quo in PoK and “call(ed) on the parties concerned to cease such actions”. “We also reiterate our consistent position on the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India has repeatedly conveyed its concerns to both China and to Pakistan on the projects in so-called CPEC, which are in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan”, Mr Srivastava added.

China-Pakistan Statement on J&K
Mr Srivastava’s statement was following the second round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Hainan, China. The two countries had issued a joint communique declaring their decision to act “collectively” to protect mutual interests by adopting “measures to safeguard their common interests and promote peace, prosperity and development in the region”. China also reaffirmed its support for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue “through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements” and rejected India’s revocation of article 370. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had led their respective sides in the meeting. The FMs had discussed the 10th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee; agreed to continue “firm support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests”; welcomed global community to join the CPEC project “on the basis of consensus to achieve shared development”. (“Pakistan rejects India’s outburst on Jammu, Kashmir,Dawn, 24 August 2020)

(Image Source: Anadolu Agency/The Express Tribune)

Siachen is ours, writes a former Brigadier from Pakistan military, and provides four reasons
In a commentary published by the Nation, Masud Ahmad Khan a retired Pakistan Army Brigadier states that the Siachen Glacier belongs to Pakistan for four reasons.

First, Pakistan has controlled and administered this region since 1947. According to the Indian Line of Control (LoC), which extends northward beyond NJ 9842, along the Saltoro Range and up to Sia Kangri, the entire Siachen Glacier belongs to India. However, Pakistan stands with its boundary alignment beyond NJ 9842 eastward, up to the Karakoram Pass which has been controlled and administered by Pakistan since 1947, with both India and the international community recognising its de facto control in the area.

Second, trekking expeditions take places through Pakistan. Many mountaineering, trekking and hiking expeditions to the Siachen Glacier were authorised by Pakistan.

Third, maps depicting that Siachen belongs to Pakistan. Atlases produced in the US and UK by National Geographic and Encyclopaedia Britannica (1979) reflected Pakistan’s version of the Line of Control (LoC). Further, other maps produced by American Alpine Journal and Hugh Swift’s Classic Trekkers Guide to the Himalaya and the Karakoram also showed the same.

Fourth, other publications depicting that Siachen belongs to Pakistan. Other books such as Martin A Sugarman’s War Above Clouds, notes that Sir Owen Dixon, the first UN representative in Pakistan and India mentioned that the Siachen Glacier falls within the Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) of Pakistan in his report to the Security Council. In another, Ravi Rikhye’s The Fourth Round, included a map which placed Siachen Glacier inside Pakistani territory. Further, The Western Front, published in India in 1984 by Lt Gen K.P Candeth (R), also includes several maps that support Pakistan’s claims as well. (Masud Ahmad Khan, “Siachen is ours,” The Nation, 24 August 2020)

 (Image Source: The News)

In Brief
INTERNAL
PM Imran Khan declared ‘Man of the Year’ in the Muslim world
PM Imran Khan has been declared as the ‘Man of the Year’ in the Muslim world by a Jordan-based publication. The publication in its 11th annual issue, ‘The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims’ has selected PM Khan because of his various initiatives both before and after becoming prime minister, further, the publication stated, “What is particularly to his credit is that upon taking office in August 2018, Khan made it quite clear that one of his top priorities was to work for a lasting peace with India.” The publication also spoke about the PM’s various other achievements from cricket to politics. Further, the publication has declared US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib as the ‘Woman of the Year’ stating that she is the first Palestinian-American woman and joint first Muslim woman to be elected to the American Congress as member of the House of Representatives. (Kashif Abbasi, “Imran declared ‘Man of the Year’ among Muslims,” Dawn, 24 August 2020)

Khatam-Ul-Ambia another militant organisation banned by the government 
The government has banned another militant organisation, Khatam-Ul-Ambia, which is said to be an offshoot of Ansarul Hussain that was banned in late 2016 for its alleged involvement in recruiting the youth from the Shia community to fight the militant Islamic State (IS). This new addition makes it a total of 77 banned organisations since the process began in 2001 when Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Mohammad Pakistan were outlawed. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Another militant organisation banned,” Dawn, 24 August 2020)

Shibli Faraz tweeted draft proposal by the opposition, termed it as “the PML-N limited”
23 August, Shibli Faraz Federal Minister for Information posted draft proposal by the opposition as “the PML-N limited”, for bringing changes to the country’s accountability laws. He termed them as a “proof” of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claims. According to him, the opposition is seeking an end, to cases against leadership, stating “these are the documents through which the opposition sought an NRO”. He also posted, the amendment to Section25 which was suggested by the opposition. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister also the head of Special Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Business, already disclosed the details opposing proposal during National Assembly, ‘declaring that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had rejected them’.

On a similar note, the Opposition, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) refused the claims, stating “changes in the accountability laws had come under discussion at a parliamentary committee constituted by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on the legislative business”. National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was issued by Former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf after agreement with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), ‘to end all politically motivated cases against the politicians’ in 2007. (“Opposition tried to exploit govt over FATF legislation: Shibli”, Dawn, 24 August 2020)

Navy inducts its first Type-054 Class Frigate built by China into its fleet
On 23 August, the Pakistan Navy announced that it has inducted its first Type-054 Class Frigate into its fleet which was built in China. The launching ceremony was held at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard Shanghai, China. The statement issued by the navy states, “The Type-054 Class, fitted with the latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system and sensors will be one of the technologically advanced surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet,” adding that “these ships will significantly contribute to peace and security in Pakistan’s area of responsibility.”(Muhammad Anis, “Pakistan inducts Chinese built warship into its fleet,” The News International, 24 August 2020) Further, Commodore Azfar Humayun (Chief Naval Overseer, China) the chief guest for the launch termed this as “new chapter in Pakistan-China's defence relationship.” (Kashif Abbasi, “Pakistan Navy frigate launching ceremony held in China,” Dawn, 24 August 2020)

CPEC
Progress under the CPEC
The project which was valued at $46 billion is now worth $62 billion. The analysis states, since the PTI government came into power CPEC has been put on the backburner. As the government website of CPEC is termed both impressive and instructive at the same time. Impressive because ‘it shows a massive blueprint of planning and development for a struggling country’ and Instructive, because ‘one learns that only the highest level of commitment can make the projects see its benefits.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa, assured the people saying, that the government would ensure that CPEC brings dividends to the people as it enters its second phase. And will look into the neglected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan. (“CPEC: where do we stand?”, The News International, 24 August 2020)

EXTERNAL
On Afghanistan, Maleeha Lodhi states the two agenda for the future negotiations, as the peace process is expected to be long and tough with little successful conclusion 
According to Maleeha Lodhi, says the process is not only delayed but, there is a long road ahead for parties to reach a semblance of the agreement for the country’s future after the negotiations begin’. She highlights the delay by the Afghan government in release of the prisoner, as a deliberate attempt until the US presidential election. As if Joe Biden wins, ‘he may persuade administration for a change course or slow down the US military withdrawal from the country’. She also said, it presupposes that Biden would reverse the course on a process after Washington’s recent announcement, to decrease the troops to less than 5,000. And this may leave Ghani’s government in a weaker position.

The two big aims for future negotiation, first a framework agreement for which the Afghan government has already set a number of pre-negotiations ‘red lines’ for the talks such as demand for a ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire during or before the talks, no compromise on the democratic and human rights ‘gains’ made in the past decades, and ‘respect’ for the Republic’s constitution. Second, ‘comprehensive and permanent ceasefire’. On which Taliban representative said, “the historical experience of similar negotiations elsewhere indicate that a ceasefire comes after and not before agreement on other substantive issues”. (“Daunting path to Afghan peace”, Dawn, 24 August 2020)

An opinion says to pursue an independent foreign policy Pakistan needs to be economically strong, independent and politically stable 
An opinion in the Express Tribune critical of the PTI government’s foreign policy thus far argues that although many have spoken about “achievements” the many failures and hiccups have been left out. On the Kashmir debates in UNSC, the author states that although the PTI government has taken credit the fact of the matter is that the issue only came into the limelight because of PM Modi’s actions in the region. Further, adding with the current dynamics of the situation the current government seems to have no clear plan. On the afghan process, Pakistan has played a crucial role, however, PM Imran Khan has not been the only one to advocate for a political solution the author notes, adding that this stance has been the case for many former governments as well. Further, the author also highlights the recent discord in ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. However, despite these challenges, ever-growing ties with China continues to soar. The author concludes by stating that Pakistan needs to be economically strong, independent and politically stable if it wants to pursue an independent foreign policy. (Kamran Yousaf, “Two years of PTI’s foreign policy,” Dawn, 24 August 2020)

Taliban arrive Pakistan for talks 
On 23 August, A delegation from the Afghan Taliban has arrived in Pakistan for the ongoing peace process with the Pakistani leadership.  Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry Foreign Office Spokesperson said, the “delegation has been invited to Pakistan to discuss the way forward in the Afghan peace process”. In a series of tweet, Suhail Shaheen Taliban spokesman said, “A high-level Islamic Emirate [Taliban] delegation led by deputy political chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has left for Pakistan upon the invitation of the country’s Foreign Ministry to discuss the latest on the peace process, state of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, [cross-border] travel of people, and trade between the two neighbors,”

A senior official of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said, Taliban delegation is expected to meet with “Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership” on 24 August. Foreign Office also made a statement on Indian spokesperson joint statement over the Second Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. The office said, “Indian Ministry of External Affairs contentions about Jammu and Kashmir being the so-called 'integral and inalienable part' of India and an ‘internal affair’ are a laughable fiction, totally contrary to historical and legal facts and in violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions". (“Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s invitation: Taliban arrive in Pakistan for talks”, The News International, 24 August 2020)

PAKISTAN'S WORLD VIEW
Trump team’s anti-Iran rhetoric is “disastrous for world peace”, says Editorial
A Dawn editorial calls Trump administration’s Iran-policy “disastrous”. The article identifies USA’s hostile and confrontational rhetoric as means “to lure Tehran into the battlefield”. The Editorial while accusing Trump of attempting to spark an armed confrontation with Iran in the last few months, cites the 21 August development when 13 out of 15 UNSC members opposed USA’s move to re-impose crippling sanctions against Iran. As US had left the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018, the country had no legal standing to make such a move against Tehran. The article opines that it is unclear whether the UNSC members or the Europeans are “siding with the ayatollahs” as US alleges; war will not be beneficial for the Middle East; and says the Trump team’s anti-Iran maneuvers for domestic political mileage will be disastrous for global peace. (“Iran sanctions threat,” Dawn, 24 August 2020)

General Mirza Aslam Beg writes about the changing dynamics of the Middle East
An opinion article by Gen (r) Mirza Aslam Beg says that when post the assassination of General Qasim Solemani of Iran, American and Israeli forces allied to penalize Iran, Iran adopted ‘strategy of deterrence’ (forecasting an existential threat to Israel) by deploying “free flight rockets, missiles and drones from several directions to degrade the iron-dome air defense system of Israel” and suicide bombers to cause fear and panic. To counter this the US-Israeli bloc adopted the ‘Stealth Strategy’. The article opines that the Abraham accord – the UAE-Israeli deal – ruptures “decades of Arab unity” and reverses the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002’s diplomatic offensive. The General says that Arabs must not make peace with Israel “at the cost of Palestinian blood”. (“The changing dynamics of the Iran-Israel conflict,” The Nation, 24 August 2020)

 


"Reaching a framework agreement or a political settlement will pose an even greater challenge. Consensus will not be easy to evolve on vexed issues such as provisional power sharing, the Afghan constitution and human rights, and equally contentious matters relating to demobilisation of Taliban forces and their reintegration. It is hard to envision any middle ground, for example, between the Afghan government’s position to preserve the republican character of the constitution and the Taliban’s insistence on declaring Afghanistan an Emirate or Sharia state"

-  Amb Maleeha Lodhi on Afghanistan

 

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