Imran Khan's Historic Washington Rally: The Largest Ever For a Visiting Foreign Leader

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's rally drew nearly 30,000 Pakistani-Americans to Capital One Arena on Sunday, July 21, 2019. It was the largest ever public gathering of any diaspora to welcome a foreign visiting leader in the United States. Earlier record of 18,000 was set by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2014.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Addressing 30,000 Pakistani-Americans at Capital One Arena in Washington DC
Pakistani-Americans' Rally at Capital One Arena:

Coming a day prior to the prime minister's official meetings with President Donald Trump and the US Congressional leaders, the 30,000 cheering supporters at Capital One Arena boosted the confidence and the legitimacy of the Pakistani leader in the eyes of the US government leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It also put on full display the increasing numbers and the growing clout of the Pakistani-American in their adopted home.

Asians in America. Source: National Geographic

There are over half a million Pakistani-Americans and nearly 4 million Indian-Americans in the United States,  a ratio of one-to-eight. However, enthusiastic Pakistani-Americans managed to pull off a bigger rally for their leader than the Indian-Americans did for their Prime Minister back in 2018.
Prime Minister Imran Khan with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Imran Khan Meets President Trump:

On July 22, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly welcomed by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania who tweeted her pictures with visiting leader.  Prime Minister Imran Khan reminded the President that he has always believed that there is no military solution to Afghanistan. The only way to end America's longest war is through a political process involving negotiations with the Taliban.

Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and other Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Speaking with the media in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, President Trump said: "It's my honor to have the very popular and great athlete, the Prime Minister of Pakistan at White House". The President added that Pakistan was helping the US to "extricate" US troops from Afghanistan, through political negotiations.

President Trump offered to mediate in the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir. He said that he was making the offer after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that he "mediate or arbitrate" in the long running dispute between two South Asian neighbors."If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If I can do anything on that let me know."

Prime Minister Imran Khan with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill:

US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. She said US-Pakistan relations are "important" and thanked Pakistan for the "beautiful gift" of Pakistani Americans that she said the country had given to the US. She was joined by a large number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The United States House of Representatives passed resolution H. RES 506 "welcoming the inaugural visit to the United States of the 22d Prime Minister of Pakistan and continuing support and commitment to the long and enduring friendship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".

The House Resolution acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

PM Imran Khan Signing "Dil Dil Pakistan" Cricket Bat For Congressman Swalwell

Many congressmen with large numbers of Pakistani-American voters were particularly eager to have their pictures taken with Prime Minister Imran Khan. San Francisco Bay Area Rep Eric Swalwell tweeted: "Representing one of the largest Pakistani-American congressional districts in the country, it was an honor to welcome #Pakistan PM @ImranKhanPTI to #America. A former cricket star, he was kind enough to sign a bat I bought in #Islamabad."

Silicon Valley Rep Ro Khanna and Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Another Congressman, Rep Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley, tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Imran Khan at USIP:

Prime Minister Imran Khan was a guest at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a Washington DC think tank funded by the US government. He was interviewed by USIP President Nancy Lindborg in front of a live audience. In response to a question, the Prime Minister called for “a relationship as equals, of friendship,” rather than, “as it has been before,” with Pakistan “wanting aid from the U.S. and then for aid Pakistan is expected to do certain things. The reason why I'm happy leaving the U.S. this time because we have a relationship now based on a mutual interest, which is peace in Afghanistan.”


Prime Minister Imran Khan's successful historic visit to the United States has brought into sharp focus the increasing numbers and growing clout of the half a million strong Pakistani-American community. The 30,000 Pakistani-Americans who attended the rally at Capital One Arena in Washington DC made it abundantly clear that the community has "arrived". Several Congressmen whose districts have significant numbers of Pakistani-Americans tweeted their pictures with Imran Khan. The House resolution welcoming the Prime Minister also acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

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Riaz Haq said…
Time for #India and #Pakistan to walk the talk. Was what President Clinton did #mediation? Or was it intervention? #Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Abhinandan was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming. Was it mediation? #Kashmir #Balakot

It took more than 10 years after Simla to group the subjects that India and Pakistan would sporadically talk about, and even then the two countries have been going around in circles. It is reasonable to assume that nowadays Pakistan talks more about India and Kashmir to the U.S. than to India. Terrorism was one of the subjects that the two nations emphasised they would bilaterally discuss, but the 2011 Mumbai blasts shattered that premise. Since then India has been talking about Pakistani terrorism not so much with Pakistan as with any country willing to listen. This is probably why U.S President Donald Trump revealed at the Oval Office on July 22 that he and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be “talking about India”. “I think maybe if we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do,” he said. “But I think it’s something that can be brought back together.”

Clinton’s role during Kargil
President Trump may have been overstating it, but when the Simla Agreement was violated in Kargil, it was an American President who helped push the Pakistani troops back into Pakistan. As the Kargil War began to get bigger, a worried President Bill Clinton, who called the region “the most dangerous place in the world”, reached out to both Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging Mr. Sharif to pull back from the Line of Control (LoC) and Vajpayee not to widen the war front.


Was what President Clinton did mediation? Or was it intervention? Or meddling? Or was this all a shining example of bilateralism envisaged in the Simla Agreement? President Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming when he said: “We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that’s going to be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time, decades and decades. There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately. So we’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organization and some peace, and I think probably that’s going to be happening.” Was that mediation or the Simla Agreement at work? Nobody pointed out to President Trump that only the Ministry of External Affairs or the Pakistani Foreign Office or the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations were allowed to make such announcements.

We have to recognise that the world has changed since the Simla Agreement was signed. After the 1971 war, India returned land taken in battle on the western border, to create lasting peace. The LoC is now more firmly established than ever before. There is no talk any more of United Nations resolutions. Most of the subjects in the ‘composite dialogue format’ like Siachen, Sir Creek and Wullar Barrage have been discussed threadbare. Some of them have been ready for political signatures for years. If the way forward is bilateral, then surely it is time to prove it?
Riaz Haq said…
#India's false propaganda on #Kashmir: "During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. ..manipulation through #media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history."

Mirza Waheed’s latest novel, The Collaborator, interrogates the role of the media in the conflict in Kashmir. It subtly critiques the language used in the press to reinforce propaganda on behalf of the state.

Louis Althusser talked of state control over ideological apparatus. This was a way to reinforce a repressive state that seeks overarching control. The Collaborator is loaded with close dissections of this idiom. It shows up the media for deploying language as subterfuge to cloak military oppression.

Media scholar Craig LaMay has pointed out how authoritarian rule employs strict censorship rules and journalists turn into mouthpieces of such a state. This project of control requires a language that can mislead people and manipulate facts. The purpose is to deny a struggling people their essential memories.

This process is recorded in Media Control by Noam Chomsky. During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. Manufacturing consent and manipulation through the media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history.

This holds true for the Kashmiri experience as well. The historical and political circumstances that define the narratives of the Kashmiri resistance also determine the parameters that will critically analyse the resistance itself. A falsified narrative overshadows the memories of Kashmiris and weakens their power to resist their own oppression.

Waheed’s narrative is located within this definitive context and here it is intersected by entrenched historical and political factors. The complex interplay of these factors transfigures into a struggle that stands against military siege. Recalling the bleak 1990s in Kashmir in an interview, Waheed calls the nineties “a dark, brutal decade” during which nothing about the horrific violence could reach the world outside. In those days, while Pakistan described the conflict as “Jihad”, India called it a “law and order” problem. In the novel, these two nation states adopt the posture of storytellers who control the master narrative of Kashmir. The narrator echoes this phenomenon, saying, “You know, sometimes I wonder—because for Kashmir there is always an Indian and a Pakistani version of everything.”

In many passages, The Collaborator refers to the assertions and contestations of both countries on how the Kashmir conflict is to be officially documented. In this way it drives home the point that the official accounts seldom echo what is really going on. It records the processes that have cloaked significant facets of the conflict; letting many stories remained un-rendered and pictures go unseen.

In doing so, Waheed wrests that “expropriated historicity back,” in the words of Barbara Harlow, a scholar of resistance writing. Many significant events of the early 1990s find place in his novel as it endeavours to re-describe and re-explore them, to “re-appropriate it,” in Harlow’s words.

Waheed’s narrative actively engages with how the historical memory of the oppressed Kashmiris can be restored, by tearing it from the pages of hegemonic power discourses. He lays bare how the inadequacies of the official accounts of the conflict have distorted these events or ensured that they are not fully rendered.

The references to tragic events of the 1990s include the bitter confrontation between Kashmiri militants and the Indian state’s repressive force. The (alleged) mass rapes in Poshpora, massacres of Gaw Kadal and Sopore, fake encounters along the Line of Control, which resulted in mass graveyards close to the border, are some of them.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian Ex Diplomat: #US, #Pakistan move to end #Afghan war. #Delhi will take note that the proposed #American #military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering #nukes. #India

he US State Department chose last Friday to announce the decision to approve a $125-million aid package providing technical support to Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.

Ironically, the news reached New Delhi on the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas celebration, an anniversary that symbolizes, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it on Saturday, “India’s might, determination, capability, discipline and patience” to thwart Pakistan’s hostile acts.


Delhi will take note that the proposed US military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Withdrawal looms
Indeed, the “big picture” emerging out of all this is that the US and Pakistan are marching ahead in tandem to implement the decisions taken by Trump and Imran Khan to end the Afghan war swiftly.

No sooner than Khan had left Washington on July 23, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, traveled to Kabul for consultations with American, NATO and Afghan officials.

Dunford said he wanted to ensure that General Austin Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, has all he needs. He added that he wanted to take the pulse of US military operations in the country. Indeed, the pulse rate is rather high, as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan looms large.

Dunford insisted that the negotiations have not changed the military mission in the country. “Day-to-day, the mission hasn’t changed for General Miller and the team, and they are still taking the fight to the Taliban and supporting the Afghan military,” he said.

Clearly, Washington has begun to “incentivize” Pakistan, after talks between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on July 22.

But that’s putting on a brave face. Evidently, the US is pushing for a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan,” as former Central Intelligence Agency deputy director Michael Morell told Axios.

The message has gone down the line in the State Department and the Pentagon that Trump wants to move quickly toward a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. Morell is deeply skeptical about whether a deal with the Taliban will secure peace.

He said: “I would bet that the US intelligence community and policymakers have a pretty good understanding of what the Taliban’s intentions are. So we’re making a deal that we know isn’t going to be kept just to save face, just to maintain honor.”

Morell repeated his past warnings that the Taliban are “ideologically not disposed to sharing power.”

However, an apocalyptic scenario cannot deter Washington anymore. On a parallel mission, the US special representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, also took off on July 23 from Washington to Kabul, where he is now speaking with members of the Afghan government, as he works to encourage inter-Afghan conversations between the Taliban and the government.

In immediate terms, Khalilzad expects Pakistan to deliver on the promise that Imran Khan made to Trump – that he plans to meet with the Taliban to persuade them to hold negotiations with the government in Afghanistan. The Taliban has welcomed such a meeting.

Riaz Haq said…
Indian analyst @PravinSawhney tweet:  Strategically, Pak is major geopolitical pivot wooed by major powers. Militarily, it is not easy to beat; rather impossible after CPEC. The way forward always was to talk with Pak & find mutually acceptable way to peace. Losing time is working to India’s disadvantage.

Riaz Haq said…
WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan can further enhance bilateral trade if strategic ties between the two countries continue to improve, said a White House factsheet released on Tuesday.

The factsheet “Working toward Peace and Stability: Building Economic Prosperity” notes that the United States and Pakistan enjoy a strong economic partnership that benefits both countries.

The official document points out that Pakistan and the US traded $6.6 billion worth of goods last year, setting a new record of bilateral trade.

While the document recognises Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, US officials recently also urged Islamabad to encourage transit trade between India and Afghanistan, noting that it would benefit all by enhancing trade between South and Central Asian regions.

President Donald Trump also expressed his desire to increase trade with Pakistan when asked at his July 22 news briefing what his administration was willing to do to help boost the Pakistani economy.

“Yes, I see great trade with Pakistan. And I’m not talking about a little bit more. I’m talking about — we could go 10 and even 20 times what we’re doing right now,” he said.

“You know, Pakistan is a big country. It’s actually a very big country, and they have tremendous product. They make great product,” he added.

“I’ve bought from Pakistan over the years when I was in the private sector. They make incredible product. They’re brilliant people. They’re hard-working people.”

He said that he believed the US and Pakistan could “have a fantastic trade relationship. I don’t mean we’ll increase it by 20 per cent. I mean, I think we can quadruple it. I think it could go — I mean, literally, it sounds crazy — you could go 10 times more. You could go 20 times more.”

He said he believed in multiplying trade with Pakistan because he felt “what we do right now is not much, and we should do a lot.”

Trump’s statement and the White House factsheet endorse Islamabad’s claim that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit was a success, although it also highlights the key issues that need to be resolved to further enhance this relationship.

The document notes that Pakistan also purchased extensive amounts of American liquefied natural gas during the same period, about 22.8 billion cubic feet.

ExxonMobil re-established its presence in Pakistan in 2018 after 27 years and is working to increase LNG imports.

It lays greater emphasis on economic relations than did recent statements by US officials, who focused more on Pakistan’s cooperation in restoring peace to Afghanistan.

American energy producers are seeing more and more business opportunities with Pakistan and American companies are incorporating cutting-edge technologies into energy projects throughout Pakistan, the document adds.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S.-Pakistan Trade Facts

In 2018, Pakistan GDP was an estimated $312.6 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 5.2%; and the population was 201 million. (Source: IMF)

Pakistan is currently our 56th largest goods trading partner with $6.6 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $2.9 billion; goods imports totaled $3.7 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods to Pakistan supported an estimated 10 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available).


Pakistan was the United States' 55th largest goods export market in 2018.

U.S. goods exports to Pakistan in 2018 were $2.9 billion, up 4.3% ($121 million) from 2017 and up 54.3% from 2008.

The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous grain, seeds, fruit (oybeans) ($694 million), cotton ($615 million), iron and steel ($225 million), machinery ($211 million), and optical and medical instruments ($117 million).

U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Pakistan totaled $1.5 billion in 2018, our 19th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($689 million), cotton ($615 million), tree nuts ($49 million), dairy products ($38 million), and planting seeds ($37 million).

Pakistan was the United States' 58th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.

U.S. goods imports from Pakistan totaled $3.7 billion in 2018, up 3.9% ($138 million) from 2017, and up 3.4% from 2008.

The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous textile articles ($1.3 billion), knit apparel ($809 million), woven apparel ($586 million), leather products ($121 million), and cotton ($112 million).

U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Pakistan totaled $126 million in 2018. Leading categories include: rice ($31 million), sugars, sweeteners, bev bases ($30 million), spices ($19 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($9 million), and snack foods ($7 million).
Trade Balance

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018, a 2.2% increase ($17 million) over 2017.

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan (stock) was $518 million in 2017, a 25.7% increase from 2016. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Pakistan.

Pakistan's FDI in the United States (stock) was $224 million in 2017. There is no information on the distribution of Pakistan FDI in the U.S.
NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.

Riaz Haq said…
Why we believe Imran Khan and PTI can put Pakistan on a lasting economic recovery

By Mattias Martinsson
Chief Investment Officer / Founding Partner på Tundra Fonder AB

We understand the picture of Imran Khan gets blurry in international press given foreigners' traditional skepticism towards politicians in what they perceive as "third world countries". These are times of populism and this person seems to have come from nowhere. Is he a Pakistani version of Donald Trump? Is he a dictator targeting to leverage Pakistan's position as a nuclear armed country? Adding to that - The opposition has claimed, and continue to claim, foul as to how he won the election. And his accountability drive seems limitless. Pakistan has jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Zardari, both former leaders of the historically dominating two parties. Family members of them are under investigation and headlines of other former government members being targeted for misconducts seem to come on a daily basis. We are not going to vouch for all of Imran Khan's actions. We are not gonna claim that the targeting of wealthy politicans have been justified in every single case. Simply because we don't know exactly what has happened in the past. We are netither going to defend what seems to be "a bit shorter leashes" on local media. But if we are blunt enough to put aside our western version of how we believe implementation of accountability in a democracy should work, the symbolic value of starting an accountability drive with the country's past leaders should not be underestimated. 90% of the population would probably say that the targeted politicans had a baggage worthy of the public's attention. And there is most likely a background as to why one of them used to go by the nickname "Mr 10%". Ask any Pakistani about their past leaders and they would say that anyone after the 60's was corrupt. Seeing "justice" being done (again from the populations' perspective) makes the very hard austerity measures that now follows more bearable. Here is our crude interpretation of Imran Khan and why his party PTI might actually change Pakistan's boom and bust cycles and set the country on a lasting recovery:

Imran Khan is trusted by the people, and especially the youth and the educated. Among the Pakistani diaspora (8m Pakistanis live outside Pakistan) he is considered the great hope. When he entered the stage of Capital One Arena in Washington recently more than 20 000 Pakistani-Americans greeted him like a rockstar:
Even the most cynical parts of opposition would not call Imran Khan corrupt. They would call him a dictator, a naive idealist, many would frown upon his sometimes rude wording towards other politicians. But they will not say he is corrupt. That matters because as Pakistan now undertakes a massive tax reform, aiming to document its economy and make its citizens and corporates pay their taxes, the essential ingredient to succeed is trust. Far from everyone believes Imran Khan will spend their money wisely, but very few believe he will steal it. That’s a big, big first step when you want a nation to gather around a common goal - the "Naya Pakistan".
He is trusted by the military. “Selected” or “elected” the military is behind Imran Khan. For the first time you have an elected political leader who undoubtedly has the support from the political force which most citizens and political spectators believe is still the ultimate decision maker. For the meeting with Donald Trump in U.S. Imran Khan, as the first Pakistani leader, brought also the Army Chief General Bajwa. The two main opposition parties (PML-N and PPP) who used to take turns running the country always were perceived to lack actual powers in foreign policy as this area was anyway assumed to be decided by the military. I

Riaz Haq said…
Opposition unity in #Pakistan is a mirage. #PMLN's #NawazSharif #PPP's #AsifZardari must undertake a long overdue introspection on their own track record. #MoneyLaundering #Corruption

by Farhan Bukhari

Exactly what happened behind the scenes that simply crumbled the Opposition’s majority in the senate remains a matter of debate, discussion and widespread speculation. Given Pakistan’s political history, it's possible that some powers prevailed in defeating the motion against the chairman.

For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle.
- Farhan Bokhari, Pakistan commentator
But the Opposition must also be made accountable for its own record in the past year, mostly spent in building pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan who was elected in 2018. That election marked the first time ever that Pakistan successfully opted for a third party, setting aside the two parties that have ruled the country. Beyond shaming Imran on still unproven charges of flaws in the last elections, the Opposition has done little to focus on real life issues.

While tough economic conditions tied to a recent loan from the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, have been at the centre of the Opposition’s ire, little has been presented by way of policy alternatives. Sweeping statements which have claimed that the Opposition could lift Pakistan from its many economic challenges remain largely unconvincing.

Pakistan’s economic history easily shows the unending slide in yesteryears that has taken the country to its present turmoil. During the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s exports crashed and there was a reckless build up of debt including on largely ill-conceived initiatives. The economic tsar during the time, former finance minister Ishaq Dar now wanted in connection with money-laundering investigations, conveniently arrived in London for a de facto exile before he could be brought to justice. Before Sharif’s tenure, Pakistan was led by former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP. Though the regime came to power on the back of a sympathy wave following the tragic assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, its goodwill was quickly squandered. Today, Zardari appears from time of time on Pakistan’s TV screens when he is summoned by Pakistan’s top anti-corruption authority to answer graft related charges.


For Imran too, Sanjrani’s survival this week must not be reason for complacency. As the government oversees what will likely be a future period of unprecedented pain in Pakistan’s economic history, there will be a constant need to review policies and the way they are being conducted in real life. Some of the reported conditions that Imran’s government has agreed with the IMF appear to have been conceded without an apparent discussion with key stakeholders across the country. A pushback is therefore set to be the likely outcome.

Notwithstanding gaps in the government’s own house however, this week must be seen as an empowering moment for Imran and his team. The all too visible egg on the face of Pakistan’s Opposition parties has been quickly followed by promises of further defiance from the parties. But seeking to build anti-government pressure on the streets of Pakistan, for now remains a futile venture barring unexpected trends. For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle. That could be the best outcome of this week’s ill advised push that eventually came crashing down.
Riaz Haq said…
Abrogation of #Indian Constitution's Article 370 on #Indian Occupied #Kashmir by #Modi: It’s the beginning of disintegration of #India, says Former Union Home Minister of India P. Chidambaram. #BJP

‘Every State in the country could be dismembered like Jammu and Kashmir’
Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the government move to amend Article 370 was “the beginning of the disintegration of India if the current government continues to be in charge.”

Monday was the worst day in the constitutional history and “the idea of India as a union of States is in grave danger,” he said at a press conference. Though he anticipated a misadventure, he didn't expect this 'catastrophic decision'.

“What they have done is a constitutional monstrosity. People of India, people of every State must wake up to the grave danger that was set as an example today by these completely unconstitutional and illegal resolutions. I want to warn every party, every State, every citizen of India that the idea of India as a union of States is in grave danger,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram accused the government of “dismembering” Jammu and Kashmir, and claimed that every State in the country could be similarly dismembered. “They can dismember every State and break it up. This is the beginning of the disintegration of India. I am sorry to use such strong words but this is the worst day in the constitutional history of India.”

“All that they have to do is to dismiss the elected government, impose President's rule, dissolve the elected Assemblies, the Parliament takes the power of the State Assembly, the government moves a resolution and Parliament approves it and the State can be broken up,” said Mr. Chidambaram, who is also a noted constitutional lawyer.

“What have they done. They dismembered the State of Jammu and Kashmir by mischievously interpreting both Article 3 and Article 370 of the Constitution. If this can be done in J&K, then let me caution you that it can be done to every other State. Every State can be broken up into two or three or more Union Territories by mischievously misinterpreting Article 3 and Article 370 and they won't stop at that,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
#China and #Pakistan warn #India over "unacceptable" border moves that threaten new clashes. #Kashmir #Ladakh #Article370revoked

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press briefing Tuesday that her country was "always opposed to India's inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction," referring to the Aksai Chin area that was claimed by India but was controlled by China in western Xinjiang and Tibet.

"Recently India has continued to undermine China's territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law," she added. "Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force. We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question."

In a policy statement delivered Tuesday to a joint session of his country's parliament, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan dismissed Indian allegations that Islamabad was involved in the February suicide attack in Pulwama and argued that Modi had rejected his diplomatic overtures since the Indian leader's reelection in May. With Kashmir's reclassification, he warned "there will be another Pulwama-style incident and India will again accuse Pakistan of having terrorists coming from Pakistan, while we have nothing to do with it."

Khan said he feared such a series of events could escalate into a nuclear war between the two countries of which "no one will be the winner," but argued for a need to defend Kashmiris as he accused Modi's ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the influential Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organization — of which the Indian leader was once a member — of pursuing a "racist ideology."
Riaz Haq said…
Retired General Ghulam Mustafa

"Thanks, Modi for liberating Pakistan from useless UNSC RESOLUTIONS, SIMLA ACCORD & LAHORE DECLARATION all in one go. We are back to square one just before NEHRU begged UNSC for a ceasefire. Its no more LOC but an active war zone as in early 1948. Thank you"

Riaz Haq said…
The India Dividend
New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia
By Robert D. Blackwill And Ashley J. Tellis

U.S. President Donald Trump has complicated this relationship. His administration has shifted from strategic altruism to a narrower and more self-centered conception of U.S. national interests. Its “America first” vision has upturned the post–World War II compact that the United States would accept asymmetric burdens for its friends with the knowledge that the collective success of democratic states would serve Washington’s interests in its struggle against greater authoritarian threats. India, of course, had been a beneficiary of this bargain since at least 2001.

In some ways, U.S.-Indian relations have changed less in the Trump era than one might expect. There are several reasons for this continuity. For one, New Delhi saw foreign policy opportunities in Trump’s victory—such as the possibility of improved U.S. relations with Russia, a longtime Indian ally, and more restraint in the use of force abroad, giving India more sway to advance its vision of a multipolar global order. It was also believed that Trump might put less pressure on India regarding its climate policies and its relations with Pakistan. 

Above all, India’s fundamental security calculus hasn’t changed. Leaders in New Delhi are still convinced that China is bent on replacing the United States as the primary power in Asia, that this outcome would be exceedingly bad for India, and that only a strong partnership with the United States can prevent it. As one senior Indian policymaker told us, China’s rise “is so momentous that it should make every other government reexamine the basic principles of its foreign policy.” 

New Delhi particularly worries that China is encircling India with a “string of pearls”—a collection of naval bases and dual-use facilities in the Indian Ocean that will threaten its security. A Chinese-funded shipping hub in Sri Lanka and a Chinese-controlled deep-water port in Pakistan have attracted particular concern. China has also invested $46 billion in a segment of its Belt and Road Initiative that crosses through Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan. China’s economic, political, and military support for Pakistan, India’s enemy of seven decades and adversary in three major wars, suggest that China is working to establish a local counterweight to India.
Riaz Haq said…
#SiliconValley's #Indian #American #Hindu Congressman Ro Khanna rejects #Hindutva, asks fellow Hindus to speak for "equal rights for #Hindus, #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Buddhist & #Christians.” via @SanJoseInside

by Amar Shergill

There was a political shift in the South Asian American community last week which arrived quietly but will have consequences for years to come. It reverberated from its origin in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with implications for the United States, India and world geopolitics.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”

The quote seems innocuous without context, therefore, a brief political summary follows.

The history of the South Asian subcontinent is complex with language, religion, ethnicity and caste that predate America by several millennia. The Indian democracy has been managing this complexity with mixed success since its colonial independence in 1947. In fact, violence against minorities has often been a path to electoral success. Although there are many examples, the most recent and infamous are the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and the 2002 Gujarat Massacre of Muslims.

In recent years, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won elections by pairing violent political rhetoric with virtual impunity for those that engage in the rape, torture, murder and oppression of Indian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ravidassias, and Hindu Dalits. (See the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Reports for detail.) Modi’s political party (BJP) and its cultural counterpart organizations (RSS, VHP, etc.) form the backbone of the Hindutva movement. However, in deference to the complexity of India, we should note that this is not simply a religious conflict. Hindutva is a fascist and supremacist movement similar to white supremacist movements in the US. It mobilizes around a virulent religious ethno-nationalism, holding that India is a homeland for only Hindus and uses violence to intimidate compliance around its economic and political policies.

Every organ of Indian democracy is in crisis under Hindutva and progressive movements across South Asia have been mobilizing to ask the world for solidarity as they continue to bravely resist the volatile conditions in the region. Further, Modi and the Hindutva movement have set upon a path to influence U.S. policy from within the American political system, which brings us to recent events.

Last month, Caravan published a longform exposé by South Asian analyst, Pieter Friedrich. The article sourced and detailed decades of Hindutva organizing in the US and their development of political allies. At the top of that list is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, also a candidate for the US presidency, who has cultivated deep ties to the Hindutva movement. She attends their events in India and the US, solicits money from American Hindutva organizers, and even invited their leaders to her intimate wedding ceremony. As an apparent term of that bargain, she does not engage in criticism of the Indian government and often advocates its positions during US policy debates.

On Aug. 12, the author of the Caravan article tweet-replied to a Gabbard campaign post, providing a link to the piece. Khanna also replied. The exchange is provided below:

Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics. He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.
Riaz Haq said…
#US-#Pakistan Relations Getting Back On Track. Pakistan to become an important U.S. key strategic partner following the U.S. troop withdrawal from #Afghanistan, says former acting special representative for AfPak Laurel Miller. #Taliban #India

Miller said, “the U.S. will look to step back up to some degree its military relationship with Pakistan. The U.S. will look to Pakistan as a significant counter-terrorism partner in the region.”

Initially, she explained the U.S. will seek “the first option for the U.S. to have a reliable and capable partner in Afghanistan,” but she said “if that is not a long term solution…. then my prediction…” she emphasized, “not a policy recommendation” the U.S. would turn to Pakistan to partner work with them in the region — as they have previously.

She added, “I suspect once a U.S. withdrawal finally happens, we will hear the pentagon say…. even those who said we need to maintain a presence will shift their narrative to – ‘we can look after this form over the horizon’.”

But she added “there will be a desire to have a relationship on the ground within the region.” That is when she predicted the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the region will be resurrected, “if the Pakistan and Afghanistan area looks to be a fertile ground for terrorist groups, “she said, “then I suspect the U.S. will look again to Pakistan.”

READ Pak-US Relationship After PM Imran Khan And President Trump Meeting Based On Dynamic Process Models
Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jarett Blanc, echoed Millers views. Blanc distinguished between the geostrategic and counterterrorism areas that were going to drive the strategic outcomes in the region.

He explained that from a geostrategic perspective U.S interests are only served by a withdrawal from Afghanistan as the U.S. military was limited in scope, “our troops are hostage to the G locks and the A lock in Pakistan…” he said, “we have no choices with our relationship with Pakistan if that becomes the necessary form of objective in our relationship.” Although if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, this opens up the possibility for a different course in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Blanc agreed with Millers “prediction” for resurrecting the U.S.-Pakistan military relationship in the region.

Eds: This event was held before President Trump cancelled the talks.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani-Americans in Biden Administration as of 1/25/21:

Ali Zaidi, Deputy Climate Change Advisor in the White House

Salman Ahmad, Director of Policy Planning in US State Department

Saima Mohsin. US Attorney in Detroit, MI in Department of Justice (DOJ)
Riaz Haq said…
#SiliconValley's #Indian-#American Congressman Ro Khanna talks of the threat of growing #Hindu nationalism. Khanna: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva" #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP

Khanna said that, having spent much of his career in Northern California's Silicon Valley, he has been immersed in Indian American issues for years. The rising tide of Hindu nationalism is on the forefront of the diaspora’s collective consciousness; from professional spheres to college campuses, reports of Islamophobia and casteism abound in South Asian spaces.

Khanna hasn’t shied away from such conversations, and his vocalness has sparked outrage from right-wing Indian Americans. In 2019, 230 Hindu and Indian American entities wrote letter criticizing Khanna for denouncing Hindu nationalism (also known as Hindutva) and for advocating religious equality on the subcontinent.

“It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians,” Khanna tweeted at the time.

They also criticized Khanna for joining the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and for speaking out against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revoking the state of Kashmir’s autonomy.

“Of course, we have to fulfill the strategic partnership and we have to respect the democratically elected leadership in India,” Khanna told NBC News. “I will work to strengthen that while also upholding these human rights values.”
Riaz Haq said…
#US Congressman Jamaal Bowman, #Democrat, #NewYork, introduces resolution in House to designate March 23 as ‘Pakistan Day’. He initiated the “landmark resolution”. It is the first such resolution introduced in the US Congress. #PakistanDay2023 #Pakistan

The resolution emphasised the importance of recognising and paying tribute to those who foster ethnic pride and enhance the profile of cultural diversity, which strengthens the fabric of the US communities.

Bowman in fact stated that it was an honour for him to introduce the resolution and stressed the importance of standing with the people of Pakistan during their time of crisis.

Bowman expressed his solidarity with Pakistan, which has been hit by a natural disaster and conveyed his message of peace and love to the people of Pakistan.

The resolution also highlighted that Pakistan Day provides an excellent opportunity for all US residents to learn more about Pakistan’s rich heritage and foster an appreciation for its ancient culture among future generations.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Masood Khan, thanked Bowman for his initiative, which would bring the two countries and their people closer to each other.

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