Ayesha Siddiqa (for Info only, not official)

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Ayesha Siddiqa

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    ... On Friday, November 25, the US State Department, and later the White House, reprimanded Pakistan for its act of freeing Hafiz Saeed from house arrest. This was stated to be a “step in the wrong direction”. Despite this being rated as a “very strong statement from the White House”, it is a step too late as it fails to impress Pakistan. Islamabad insists that it cannot take action against the LeT leader without seeing evidence that could be presented in a court of law. The Pakistan government’s consistent stand is that India never provided any concrete evidence linking Saeed or other LeT leaders with the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Moreover, in Pakistan there is no ongoing criminal case against Saeed, making it difficult for any court of law not to free him. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 28, 2017, 12:07 a.m.

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    ... In Pakistan, it is October 1990 again. Islamabad and Washington have parted ways and there is a huge gap in perception and strategy on how Afghanistan as a state and society is to be resettled. In a speech on August 23, the US President announced his policy on Afghanistan, stating greater commitment to the country’s security through an increase in the number of US troops, while pointing a finger at Pakistan with the threat that Washington would “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations”. This, indeed, is a long-standing point of contestation between Rawalpindi and Washington — that the former does not whole-heartedly help the US in rooting out terrorism and aiding in the stability of the regime in Kabul. The reaction in Pakistan is anger and frustration — a kind of déjà vu. How could the US treat Pakistan this way, especially after all the sacrifices made due to the war on terror and the help provided in catching al Qaeda leaders? ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 5, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ...Pakistan repeats history of not letting governments or prime ministers complete their term. This time around it was done through invoking the People’s Representation Act, 1976 that punishes for non-disclosure of assets and doesn’t allow a prime minister to hold an office of profit while he is the head of government. In Nawaz Sharif’s case, he had a work permit of a company registered in the UAE. However, the story doesn’t end here. The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court have also sent all cases against Sharif’s corruption to the country’s primary anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) where investigations will be conducted against Sharif and his entire family including his daughter and political heir, Maryam Nawaz and Sharif’s finance minister, Ishaq Dar, who also happens to be the father-in-law of Sharif’s other daughter. The NAB has been instructed to conduct an inquiry through a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). ...

    Indian Express on July 29, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ...He is facing a court case and a scathing media trial. A three-member Bench of the Supreme Court is yet to give a final verdict regarding his disqualification. The decision will be based on the report by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) established by the orders of the court to investigate Mr. Sharif and his family’s assets after the leak of the Panama Papers related to holdings in offshore companies. The question now is whether the Chief Justice will give a verdict based on the decision of the three judges or call for a larger Bench. The judiciary might like to get the decision popularly accepted by calling for a larger Bench. It is not as if all onlookers are convinced about the judges or the JIT being bipartisan. Odds stacked against PM It is a fact that corruption investigations are not easy, especially when the country’s main anti-corruption institutions, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), lack forensic investigation expertise. ...

    The Hindu on July 27, 2017, 11:42 p.m.

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    ...It was a cool winter morning in late December 2001 when India decided to mobilise its forces on its border with Pakistan, in retaliation to the terror attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13 that year. The reaction, which was meant to pressure the seemingly recalcitrant neighbour, was the biggest troops deployment since the war in 1971. However, no lines were crossed due to foreign intervention and a realisation around the world that a conflict between the two South Asian neighbours who had gone overtly nuclear in 1998 might result in something very ugly. It was in the backdrop of this standoff or the earlier Kargil crisis that redlines were drawn informally. Sixteen years later, the region stands on the brink of an impending conflict with little clarity regarding the threshold and even less lucidity regarding which international player will intervene. Unlike in the past, the US may not be in a position to give its advice due to its own internal chaos, lesser interest in South Asia and an inability to develop a relationship with anyone in Islamabad. ...

    Indian Express on May 10, 2017, 12:15 a.m.

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    ...Twitter/@Cyalm The media in Pakistan and outside was abuzz for some 48 hours over a story published by the English newspaper Dawn, regarding a meeting between heads of the civil government and the military. According to the story, the civilian government confronted the military leadership on the issue of Pakistan’s isolation due to the policy of continued support to terrorists; hence, the need to clean up the house. Furthermore, the scene was described as serious finger pointing of civilian leaders towards generals, including the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar, as a result of which it was agreed for the ISI chief to take a trip to all of his provincial directorates and instruct them regarding not obstructing police action against the Jaish or Lashkar e Taiba. Apparently, the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, was very candid and firm. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 14, 2016, 12:04 a.m.

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    ...Twitter/@Cyalm The media in Pakistan and outside was abuzz for some 48 hours over a story published by the English newspaper Dawn, regarding a meeting between heads of the civil government and the military. According to the story, the civilian government confronted the military leadership on the issue of Pakistan’s isolation due to the policy of continued support to terrorists; hence, the need to clean up the house. Furthermore, the scene was described as serious finger pointing of civilian leaders towards generals, including the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar, as a result of which it was agreed for the ISI chief to take a trip to all of his provincial directorates and instruct them regarding not obstructing police action against the Jaish or Lashkar e Taiba. Apparently, the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, was very candid and firm. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 14, 2016, 12:04 a.m.

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    ...On Wednesday, as my phone crackled almost endlessly with people asking for my assessment of what was likely to happen between India and Pakistan, I was reminded of a conversation I had in 1994 with Hizbul Mujahideen’s Syed Salahuddin.He was then of the view that India and Pakistan must have a war.When probed further about such an evil wish his response was that a war would weaken both countries but it would facilitate his HuM to fight a weak India.Salahuddin was probably an earlier version of Dr Strangelove.There are newer versions out there who happily talk about a nuclear war scenario in which the presence of nuclear deterrence weakens New Delhi’s resolve to launch a surprise attack on Pakistan. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 24, 2016, 12:40 a.m.