Archive for February, 2009

Civil war?

February 17th, 2009

Civil war is a war between groups meant to take control of a region or a nation. A civil war will always have two sided violence meant to bring about a governmental change or to enforce a substantial change in the policies of an incumbent government.

The Geneva Conventions consisting of four treaties signed between 1864 and 1949 essentially deal with humanitarian concerns regarding non-combatants and POWs during a war between two or more countries. Although not explicit on what a civil war is the Geneva Conventions do identify the factors that can make situations qualify as ‘wars that are not of an international character’. Those factors are (1) that those in revolt must be in possession of a part of the territory of the violence torn country (2) that the insurgents must be able to exercise de facto civil authority in the territory that they claims to control (3) that the insurgents must have recognition as belligerents; and (4) that the legal government of that country must be compelled to take recourse to deploying its regular military forces against the belligerents.

The belligerents in Pakistan control the entire FATA as well as the settled district of Swat. Their activities largely go unchallenged by state authorities. Even with the Army deployed in Swat the political leadership cannot go to Swat and hold open courts to listen to the grievances of the people there. In Peshawar too the government is confined. In FATA the writ of the state stands entirely eroded. In short the belligerents in Pakistan do effectively hold a vast tract of Pakistani territory. The belligerents also exercise de facto civil authority over Swat and FATA to varying degrees in different areas. The belligerents exercise civil authority in parts of FATA and in all of Swat to the extent of holding courts and execution of the sentences awarded by those courts.
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Express News Siyaasi Log with Masood Sharif 12th Feb 2009

February 12th, 2009

NOTE: The following media is in the Urdu language and NOT in English.

Masood Sharif Khan Khattak on Express News Siyaasi Log 12th Feb 2009. This is an interview about the Mumbai attacks. Other people on the show include Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Central Spokesperson for PML-N Siddique-ul-Farooq.

The topics discussed are Mumbai attacks, denouncing terrorism, military, terrorism, India-Pakistan ties and the future prospects of peace and war between the two nuclear powers.

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Making peace in South Asia

February 7th, 2009

Pakistan has been focused upon intensely for having an extremist political school of thought. Are there no Hindu extremists or Jewish extremists that could be bringing about a reactionary element amongst the Muslims of the world, including Pakistan? Is there not a need for the world to control religious extremism in all religions so that reactionary extremism does not occur in different religions?

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic that is progressive and forward-looking. That Pakistan can be called an extremist country beats common sense. While the United States still awaits the first lady president the people of Pakistan elected a lady, namely Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, as their prime minister not once but twice. How could this happen if the people of this Islamic country were fanatics by nature?

As long as the Kashmir issue and the situation in Afghanistan are not resolved to expect that Pakistan can climb down on its military and intelligence-gathering capabilities is also something very misplaced. Had Pakistan not possessed the military and intelligence-gathering potential the subcontinent would experience what we see in Gaza on a regular basis. The smaller countries of the region are fortunate that Pakistan has been a military balancing factor against India.

It is now time for the world to take the spotlight off Pakistan and give a little more attention to the extremist situation in India. The focus needs to be turned to India if the rising graph of the extreme political school of thought in South Asia is to recede.
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