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...A new churning is taking place in the region, with India announcing its first shipment to Afghanistan, via the Chabahar port in Iran, and Pakistan’s army chief taking a delegation to Iran earlier this week for a series of meetings. Has India’s Chabahar initiative caused Pakistan to re-engage with Iran? Or, is this a parallel development, addressing bilateral issues and the repercussions of Pakistan’s involvement in the Middle East? Pakistan’s Iran Predicament Since Zia ul-Haq’s time, Pakistan’s relationship with Iran has been tense, indifferent and sometimes, even hostile. Zia’s Islamisation strategies were perceived by Shia Tehran as the deepening of Sunnization, creating new stress in the bilateral relationship and emphasising sectarian faultlines inside Pakistan. High-level visits between Iran and Pakistan became the exception. ...Indian Express on Nov. 11, 2017, 3:56 p.m.
... The US Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation” and “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”. The above designation seeks to “deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks” besides blocking Hizbul’s property and interests subject to American jurisdiction and prohibiting persons from “engaging in any transactions with the group.” From an Indian perspective, what does the above designation mean? Will it affect Hizbul’s functioning and prevent further recruitment within Kashmir Valley? Will it prevent Pakistan from supporting HM and Syed Salahudin? Though the Hizbul has been projected as the largest “Kashmiri” militant group, during the last decade and half, it had lost the appeal to a more radical section such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad. ...Indian Express on Aug. 17, 2017, 2:46 p.m.