2018 Review: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and United States

How did Pakistan's political landscape change in 2018? Have the Sharif family and the PMLN been marginalized? How was the security situation after continuing decline of terror fatalities since 2013? How has PTI done so far? Will NAB-led accountability of politicians continue or intensify in 2019? How will Imran Khan's government deal with the fact that the Zardari-led PPP rules Sind? Will President Arif Alvi impose governor's rule under the Constitution's article 234 or financial emergency under the Constitution's article 235 in Sindh province? Why is financial emergency more likely? How will PPP leadership react to such a move?

President Trump has reportedly already decided to remove US troops from Afghanistan after a similar decision on American troops pull-out from Syria. Will Trump actually pull bulk of US troops from Afghanistan? How will it affect the situation there? Can Afghan government survive without the presence of US troops? Who will rule Afghanistan when the Kabul government collapses? Taliban? Will Taliban be able to pacify Afghanistan? If the Taliban take control of Afghanistan, how will this affect the neighborhood? Will instability in Afghanistan continue? Will it hurt Pakistan?

How did President Trump's administration do in 2018? What message has the loss of the House to Democrats sent to President Trump and the Republican Party? Will the chaos continue into 2019? What problems has Trump's foreign and trade policy created for the United States and its allies? How will it affect Asia and the Middle East, particularly Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia?

Terrorism Deaths in Pakistan. Source: satp.org

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


https://youtu.be/jiXFvRVzCZ4





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America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

Can PTI Help Fix Pakistan's Financial Capital Karachi's Problems?

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MQM-RAW Link

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Trump wants 'great relationship' with #Pakistan, eyes meeting with leadership. Trump said his administration has initiated peace talks with the #Talibans. #US President announced at his his cabinet meeting he will meet PM #ImranKhan "very soon". #POTUS https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/414077-trump-wants-great-relationship-with-pakistan-eyes-meeting-with-new-leadership

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump early on Thursday said that he wants a "great relationship" with Pakistan and is looking forward to meeting the country's new leadership.

The US President underscored that his administration has initiated peace talks with the Taliban. He also announced that a meeting with the new leadership of Pakistan will take place "very soon".

Despite inviting Pakistan to play a more active role in Afghanistan, Trump was reported to have said his Cabinet colleagues in the same meeting that he cut $1.3 billion aid to the South Asian country "because they haven't been fair to us."

It is worth mentioning here that Trump, a month ago, had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Pakistan's help with stuttering Afghan peace talks and support in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year brutal war in the neighbouring country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met Prime Minister Khan in Islamabad in September last year and pressed him to take "sustained and decisive measures"against the militant groups threatening the regional peace and stability.

Earlier, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, who is considered close to President Trump, told CNN in an interview that if Pakistan helped the US in bringing the Taliban to the table for negotiations, then the US would focus on counterterrorism and the IS.


The senator wants the US to offer Pakistan a free trade agreement as an incentive for Islamabad to push the Taliban to the peace table to end the Afghan war.

While during a press conference at the White House, Trump blasted the United States's extended involvement in Afghanistan, where it has waged its longest war against the militant group. He said that Washington was currently in talks with various actors, including the Taliban, in search of peace, but then called on regional powers to step up.

"India is there, Russia is there, Russia used to be the Soviet Union, Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan," Trump said in response to questions over whether he planned to scale down US military presence in the war-torn country.
Riaz Haq said…
#Saudi #investments at #Gwadar port will soon be announced in #mining, #energy, #oil, #electricity, #renewable #energy sectors in #Pakistan. #Saudi delegation of #businessmen, #investors, members of #trade and #industry chambers visiting #Gwadar. #CPEC https://aawsat.com/node/1530696

A delegation of Saudi businessmen, investors and members of trade and industry chambers visited Wednesday Pakistan’s Gwadar port, the main hub for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor linked to the Silk Road initiative.

During the visit, the delegation reviewed investment opportunities at the port as well as in the special economic zones created by the Economic Corridor.

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf al-Maliki indicated that Gwadar has many commercial and investment benefits for Saudi investors.

He pointed out that the Pakistani government promised to provide them with incentives and services.

Maliki stressed that the Kingdom is keen to invest in the Economic Corridor, saying Saudi investments at Gwadar port will be announced soon, a move that contributes to boosting Pakistan’s economic stability.

Adviser to the Saudi Minister of Energy, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi-Pakistani Coordination Council for Economic Collaboration will inform businessmen and other government agencies in Saudi Arabia about investment opportunities in the Pakistani port.

“Saudi Arabia is seeking to find an investment opportunity in Pakistan in general and in the port (Gwadar) in particular given its strategic area,” he said.

The adviser revealed that several Saudi state projects in mining, energy, oil, electricity and renewable energy, are underway in Balochistan province.

For his part, a member of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Khalil Mansour al-Afraa, stressed that the Council’s efforts come in tandem with the search for investment opportunities in industry and infrastructure by Saudi businessmen.

Afra revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that an exhibition for businessmen from Pakistan and China will be held at the port in March.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's history of going in to #Afghanistan after foreign invasions. #India supported #Soviet invasion of #Afghanistan and went into the country after 1979. Again in 2001, India found its way back into Afghanistan after #American invasion. @Diplomat_APAC http://thediplomat.com/2019/05/india-in-afghanistan-after-the-soviet-withdrawal/

In the UN debates during an emergency special session, India in fact broke ranks with its nonalignment partners and openly supported the Soviet position. India’s strong relations with the Soviet Union and Cold War geopolitics, where the United States alongside India’s rival Pakistan was propping up the Afghan resistance, were instrumental in prodding India to take the Soviet side in Afghanistan.

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The tide shifted yet again in 2001. With the U.S.-led war on Taliban, India found its way back into Afghanistan. However, in the overall geopolitical calculations, Pakistan emerged as an all-important country due to its proximity to the Taliban heartland and its strong leverage over the militant group. Many times it has been alleged that, to cater to Pakistani wishes, India’s active involvement in Afghanistan has been discouraged – even though India and the United States share common goals and principles in relation to democracy and development in Afghanistan. In 2001, India was not invited to the Bonn conference, where the post-Taliban order in Afghanistan was discussed. Though eventually India joined as an observer and engaged in informal negotiations, it had to move its support from its old allies like Qanooni and Abdullah from the Northern Alliance to the United States’ favored Pashtun candidate, Hamid Karzai. In helping to bring about a consensus around the Pashtun leadership of Karzai, India also lost its existing clout among the non-Pashtun leadership, its friends in the erstwhile Northern Alliance.


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In today’s Afghanistan, the Taliban form both the problem and the solution. The group has emerged as an ethno-nationalist force with various factions stitched together through tribal-ethnic allegiances rather than a mere Islamic extremist organization. There are groups and subfactions within the Taliban that do not view their overbearing dependence on Pakistan favorably.

The Taliban are players in Afghanistan and India needs to engage with them, even if only with the subfactions that may be motivated to accept the Afghan Constitution. Unlike the Taliban period, India may not avail itself of the full support of Iran and Russia, as both countries have had limited ties with the Taliban and their interests are not wholly congruent with India anymore. In a post-U.S. Afghanistan, India can safeguard its interests through an approach that is balanced, nuanced, and conciliatory in nature, but also moderately partisan when and if required. There are possibilities for India to build a stronger consensus among Afghan stakeholders (Pashtun and non-Pashtuns alike), through largely conciliatory approaches, to present a united front against the Taliban while simultaneously also engaging in or facilitating negotiations with the Taliban.

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