Miran Shah, the administrative headquarter of my constituency in Pakistan’s western North Waziristan tribal district, once served as the global headquarters of terrorism. Al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network and other militant organizations moved there after being routed out by the U.S. military from neighboring Afghanistan in late 2001.

As Pakistan turned a blind eye to their revival, we paid a high price for Islamabad’s misguided policies. First, we endured a decade of rule by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. After the military finally moved into North Waziristan in 2014, about 1 million of North Waziristan’s residents were displaced, and our homes and livelihoods were ruined.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Kashmiri being comforted after his house was destroyed in a battle in Tral, south of Srinagar, on Tuesday. Credit Dar Yasin/Associated Press

India and Pakistan don’t have to be on the brink of war. Negotiators painstakingly put together a way out of the crisis and a road map for resolution of the Kashmir dispute in the mid-2000s, and we need to get back to it.

Kashmir has been disputed since 1947, with India holding around two-thirds and Pakistan one-third of its territory and both claiming all of it. The unresolved future of the largely Muslim region has led to three wars between the two countries, while frustration with Indian misrule in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an insurgency supported by Pakistan in 1990.

India and Pakistan have alternated between phases of intense hostility and moments of calm since 1947.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian policemen wait for the return of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on 1 March. Photo: Getty Images.

Asia’s prominence in geopolitical theatre was on full display last week as an escalation in tensions between traditional rivals India and Pakistan unfolded simultaneously with a Hanoi summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

The nuclear summit took place against a backdrop of India’s surprise air attack across the border in Pakistan, against what it described as ‘terrorist camps’, prompting a retaliatory strike from Pakistan a day later. When two nuclear weapon states threaten to go to war, the world has to intervene.

The nuclear summit itself was a failure, prompting the US president to turn his attention to India and Pakistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian police officers in Srinagar, Kashmir, in 2016 in the wake of protests over the killing of a separatist leader. Credit Dar Yasin/Associated Press

For the past few decades, Kashmir has largely been referred to in news reports and policy papers as a “low-intensity conflict,” as if someone were leisurely making a lamb stew. But for those of us who call the region home, it means living with the constant ache of our painful history, a despair and rage about an oppressive present, and an uncertain future.

Political discontent has simmered in Kashmir since the partition of India in 1947. India and Pakistan, which each control parts of the region and claim the whole, have fought three wars over it. India eroded the autonomy of the part of Kashmir it controlled by imprisoning elected leaders and appointing puppet administrators.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students chant slogans under the shade of national flag, after Pakistan shot down two Indian military aircrafts, according to Pakistani officials, during a march in Lahore, Pakistan 28 February 2019. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

What happened exactly?

On Tuesday, 26 February, India claimed that its air force had targeted “the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed … in Balakot”. The strikes – the most significant airspace violations in nearly 50 years – followed a deadly 14 February suicide car bombing in Pulwama in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which had been claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group. India said it launched a “preventive strike” based on intelligence that Jaish intended to attack again. At a press conference, Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale said Pakistan “failed to take any concrete action against terrorists” and that the strike on the training facility had “killed a large number”.…  Seguir leyendo »

«We will surprise you. Wait for that surprise» was the message Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Pakistan Inter-Services Public Relations, had for his neighbors in India on Tuesday evening. It was a testy moment after an even testier day, one that served only to heighten existing tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Even as President Donald Trump landed in Hanoi, Vietnam, for a landmark summit intended to tame nuclear-armed North Korea, the other side of Asia seemed poised for its own potential war — and without an intervening power, such as the United States, interested in calming things down.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pakistani supporters of Pasban Democratic Party celebrate the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for shooting down Indian fighter jets, in Karachi on February 27, 2019

After 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed by a suicide attack earlier this month in Indian-controlled Kashmir, a poignant cartoon started doing rounds on Indian social media: It showed an armed Indian soldier, pressed back-to-back with a group of civilians. The civilians, giggling over their phones, appear to be pushing the soldier into battle.

It was symbolic of the power being exercised on social media: calls for blood for blood, attack for attack. With elections a couple of months away, India’s ruling party BJP needs to show its strength.

Now, as tensions escalate between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed states, even more pressure is being applied by commentators on both sides on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students in Mumbai, India, celebrated on Tuesday after the Indian Air Force claimed to have hit a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, killing 300 militants. Credit Bhushan Koyande / Hindustan Times, via Getty Images

Pakistan and India, two nuclear armed states, have fought many wars since our partition in 1947. Our militaries have faced off in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Between those wars, there have been numerous skirmishes, cross-border strikes and accusations of covert support for terrorism.

I have never seen my country at peace with its neighbor. But never before have I seen a war played out between two nuclear-armed states with Twitter accounts.

On Feb. 14, a suicide bomber hit a convoy of paramilitary forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group based in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack. India accused Pakistan of orchestrating the bombing.…  Seguir leyendo »

After Terror, Polarizing Politics in India

On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old drove a vehicle filled with explosives into a convoy of Indian paramilitary forces in Indian-administered Kashmir and killed 49 soldiers. Jaish-e-Muhammad, or the Army of Muhammad, a Pakistan-based terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Over the past five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has governed India and been part of the local government in Kashmir as well, thus controlling India’s policy approaches to the disputed, conflict-torn region.

Mr. Modi embraced a militaristic approach and shunned a political process involving dialogue with the separatists in Kashmir. Consequently, the number of civilian and security personnel killed in the region have increased, and a growing number of young Kashmiris, like Adil Dar, the 19-year-old suicide bomber, joined militant groups.…  Seguir leyendo »

People shout slogans during a protest against the attack on a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir, in Jammu 15 February 2019. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

What happened in the Pulwama attack and how has India responded?

A 14 February suicide car bombing claimed by the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed killed more than 45 security personnel in Indian-administered Kashmir’s Pulwama district, some 30 km from the state capital Srinagar. The attack, which targeted a convoy of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPC), was the deadliest terror incident in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for over three decades. Vowing revenge and accusing Pakistan of complicity, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has warned Islamabad that support for jihadist proxies will no longer be tolerated.…  Seguir leyendo »

El año pasado, en Pakistán tuvo lugar la segunda transición democrática exitosa en sus 71 años de historia, con la asunción del primer ministro Imran Khan, después de que su partido ganó la elección general presentándose con una plataforma anticorrupción. Hay muchas esperanzas cifradas en el nuevo gobierno, que parece dispuesto a trabajar con los especialistas técnicos y con los partidos opositores para resolver los muchos desafíos urgentes de Pakistán.

Pero al gobierno le aguarda una difícil agenda económica. Además de restaurar la estabilidad de la economía, también debe formular un plan audaz para lograr crecimiento inclusivo y sostenible a largo plazo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement protested the arrest of one of their leaders in January.CreditCreditShahzaib Akber/EPA, via Shutterstock

I lost my home in 2009 when a major operation by the Pakistan military forced us to leave our village in South Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Around 37 million Pashtuns live in this region that includes the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas — which have now been merged with the province — and parts of southwestern Baluchistan province. Our impoverished region has been desolated by the long war on terrorism.

When I was in high school, we moved to Dera Ismail Khan, a city around 100 miles away. Ours was yet another family among six million people who have been displaced from the region since Pakistan joined the war on terror in 2001.…  Seguir leyendo »

Podrá Pakistán subirse a la nueva ola tecnológica

En los viejos tiempos, lo que daba impulso a las economías más dinámicas del mundo era el descubrimiento de recursos naturales, por ejemplo oro o hidrocarburos. Hoy es la tecnología, la innovación y el espíritu emprendedor. Como ya es bien sabido, una startup tecnológica con una o dos personas y sin activos físicos puede convertirse en una empresa multimilmillonaria y transformar industrias enteras, casi en un abrir y cerrar de ojos.

Esta revolución tecnológica puede dar a los países en desarrollo una enorme oportunidad de acelerar la modernización de sus economías. Por ejemplo, Pakistán (que tiene 130 millones de jóvenes y una economía mayoritariamente tradicional) y otros países en desarrollo pueden buscar inspiración en China, que hace apenas dos décadas tenía unas pocas startups tecnológicas, pero hoy alberga nueve de las veinte empresas digitales más importantes del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Trump administration is considering a policy that is arguably the most significant federal attack on civil and political rights in at least a generation, one which, the New York Times reports, would define 1.4 million transgender Americans «out of existence.» The Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to legally define gender under Title IX as a «biological, immutable condition, determined by genitalia at birth,» removing federal recognition and thereby rights and protections for those who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth

This proposed policy — along with a recent proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military — stands in stark contrast to the pride many Americans have expressed over the country’s perceived world leadership on issues of LGBT rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

Working on Christmas decorations at St. Anthony Church in Lahore, Pakistan. A recent blasphemy case against a Christian has undercurrents of caste discrimination.CreditCreditK.M. Chaudary/Associated Press

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman, was picking fruit in the field of Itan Wali village in Pakistan, about 30 miles from the city of Lahore. On the landowner’s order, Bibi fetched drinking water for her co-workers, but three Muslim women among them accused her of contaminating the water by touching the bowl. An argument followed.

Later, the Muslim women accused Bibi of making blasphemous statements against the Prophet Muhammad — a charge punishable by death under Pakistani law. Despite little evidence, Bibi spent nine years in prison — eight in solitary confinement on death row — till she was finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in late October.…  Seguir leyendo »

Asia Bibi at a prison near Lahore, Pakistan, in 2010. (AP)

Asia Bibi’s life is still in danger. Despite being acquitted on Oct. 31 by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which lifted her death sentence on blasphemy charges, the Christian farmworker is unable to leave the country. After the verdict, violent mobs unleashed anger, threats and destruction. They laid siege to major cities. They blocked motorways. They torched cars, buses and buildings. They even threatened the lives of the prime minister, the chief justice and the army chief. And yet, instead of making clear that this violence won’t have a bearing on the Bibi case, the authorities bowed to the pressure.

On Wednesday night, there were reports that she might have finally left the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of Pakistan’s new religious right protesting the court decision overturning Asia Bibi’s blasphemy conviction, in Lahore on Wednesday. Irfan Chudhary/Barcroft Media, via Getty Images

After spending eight years on death row, Asia Bibi, a Christian, was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week. For many here it seemed like a good day. The country’s highest court had finally delivered justice and released a woman whose life has already been destroyed by years in solitary confinement. The court decision quoted Islamic scriptures, bits of letters by the Prophet Muhammad and a smattering of Shakespeare. A great wrong was righted.

And that’s why Pakistan’s new religious right, which has rebranded itself as the protector of the Prophet’s honor, has threatened to bring the country to a halt.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cyril Almeida, a Pakistani journalist, walking into court in Lahore, Pakistan, for a hearing on treason-related charges on Oct. 8.CreditCreditMohsin Raza/Reuters

Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest English-language newspaper, carries on its masthead the image of a man’s face and this proud claim: “founded by Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” who also founded the country itself. For the last eight years, the centerpiece of Dawn’s weekend editorial page has been commentary on national politics and national security by the assistant editor Cyril Almeida.

Almeida writes in what some call very good English, though sometimes in ways that are irreverent or annoying to his subjects; he also happens to be one of very few non-Muslims in a media landscape dominated by religious right-wing ideologues. Jinnah, a staunch secular and an Anglophile, would have approved.…  Seguir leyendo »

A juzgar por los desagradables intercambios entre los ministros de exteriores indio y pakistaní en la reciente Asamblea General de las Naciones, la ya deteriorada relación bilateral ha llegado a un nuevo mínimo.

Los antecedentes inmediatos a la sesión de la ONU ya eran malos. Menos de 24 horas tras acordar una reunión bilateral de ministros de exteriores por fuera de la Asamblea General, India la canceló citando el asesinato de tres policías indios en su frontera común y la emisión de Pakistán de un sello que homenajeaba a un terrorista cachemir abatido.

Pero tales incidentes fronterizos (tanto los asesinatos como las represalias) no son nuevos; de hecho, este año ya han ocurrido varios.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Pakistani military in Karachi this month commemorating its second war with India in 1965. Both sides claimed victory.CreditCreditAsif Hassan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Four years ago when India elected the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) to power, Pakistan’s iconic feminist poet and peace activist Fahmida Riaz recited a poem of despair, comparing new India to old Pakistan:

Turns out you were just like us,

Where were you hiding all this time, brother?

In Pakistan, Ms. Riaz is not only considered a hopeless peacenik but also a bit of an India lover. She has reason to be. In the 1980s, like many writers and activists, Ms. Riaz was made to leave Pakistan by the then military regime. While others took refuge in Western countries, Ms.…  Seguir leyendo »