Categories
Editorial Views

ईरान से कीजिए ‘रूहानी’ बातें

अन्य कई मुसलमान देशों की तरह ईरान भी इस्लाम से बाहर निकलकर सौदा करने को तब तैयार होगा जब उसे सौदे में आतंक से अधिक फ़ायदा नज़र आएगा; भारत को इस देश के साथ अपने रिश्तों को ऐसा ही मोड़ देना होगा

हाल ही में ईरान के राष्ट्रपति हसन रूहानी का भारतीय दौरा समाप्त हुआ जिस दौरान 9 समझौतों पर दोनों देश सहमत हुए। इतिहास में प्राचीन और मध्ययुग के समय ईरान का भारतियों के लिए विशेष महत्त्व रहा। राष्ट्रीय जनतांत्रिक गठबंधन की पहली सरकार के ज़माने में भी ईरान से भारत के विशेष सम्बन्ध थे और जलालुद्दीन मुहम्मद रूमी की पंक्तियों के सहारे कवि-प्रधानमंत्री अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी ने अपने ईरान दौरे के समय फ़ारसी भाषियों का दिल जीत लिया था। इस बार दिसंबर 2017 में उद्घाटित चाबहार बंदरगाह के ज़रिए व्यापार बढ़ाने की पेशकश के अलावा ईरान ने अपने प्राकृतिक संसाधन को आसान शर्तों पर भारत को मुहय्या करवाने की इच्छा भी ज़ाहिर की है। यह चीन-पाकिस्तान की ग्वादर बंदरगाह-केन्द्रित गतिविधियों से बिगड़े क्षेत्र के संतुलन को वापस स्थापित करने की तरफ़ एक महत्त्वपूर्ण क़दम है। मज़हब के नज़रिए से देखें तो विश्व के शिया’ समाज के साथ सुन्नियों के मुक़ाबले हिन्दुओं के बेहतर ताल्लुक़ात रहे हैं। भारत में भी शिया’ओं की छोटी सी जनसंख्या ने अब तक कोई वबाल नहीं खड़ा किया है। सर्वोपरि सांस्कृतिक एका का कारण यह है कि भारत की बोली उर्दू फ़ारसी व कई उत्तर भारतीय भाषाओँ के संमिश्रण से बनी जिसका एक रूप आधुनिक हिन्दी है। भारत के लिए चिंता का विषय बस इतना रहा कि भारत-ईरान रिश्तों की मज़बूती के इन तमाम ऐतिहासिक, भौगोलिक तथा सांस्कृतिक कारणों के बावजूद अंतर्राष्ट्रीय मंचों पर ईरान ने हमारा साथ कम दिया है और मुसलमान राष्ट्रों का साथ ज़्यादा निभाया है। भारत की सभी सरकारों की फ़िलिस्तीन के प्रति कमज़ोरी का एहतराम न करते हुए ईरान ने पाकिस्तान के कश्मीरी आलाप या प्रलाप के साथ अपना सुर मिलाया। उसने इस बात से भी सीख नहीं ली कि पाकिस्तान वही मुल्क है जहाँ आए-दिन शिया’ क़त्ल-ओ-ग़ारत का शिकार होते हैं। कहीं रूहानी भारत के प्रति अपनी ‘उदारता’ इसलिए तो नहीं दिखा रहे कि अमरीका के रवैये से ईरान परेशान है? यहाँ ईरान को नए ख़रीदार चाहिए और नए अंतर्राष्ट्रीय साथी भी। यदि हाँ तो इस विषय पर भावुक होने के बजाय भारत को ईरान के साथ एक सौदा करना चाहिए। यह सौदा शत-प्रतिशत व्यावहारिक होगा।

अगर अमरीका के दबाव में आ कर सऊदी अरब जैसा कट्टर मुसलमान देश ओसामा बिन लादेन ही नहीं बल्कि सभी उग्रवादियों को इस्लाम के गढ़ में नेस्तोनाबूद कर सकता है तो यह मानना होगा कि पैसों की ताक़त और सामरिक शक्ति के आगे मज़हबी नाते कमज़ोर पड़ जाते हैं। भारत के पास अमरीका जितना धन नहीं है और अमरीका की तरह भारत दूसरे देशों में अपनी सेना के सहारे दखलंदाज़ी नहीं करता। परन्तु भारत के पास एक अनोखी शक्ति है। अमरीका के साथ लगातार बेहतर होते भारत के रिश्तों का हवाला देते हुए हमारी सरकार ईरान से कहे कि डोनल्ड ट्रम्प प्रशासन को सद्बुद्धि देने का काम भारत की तरह विश्व की कोई ताक़त नहीं कर सकती। वैश्विक आतंकवाद के युग में भारत और अमरीका के लिए यह ज़रूरी है कि सभी मुसलमानों को एक ही कटघरे में मुल्ज़िम की तरह खड़ा न किया जाए बल्कि ईरान, सोवियत संघ से अलग हुए 20 राष्ट्रों में से अज़रबैजान, कज़ाख़स्तान, किरगिज़स्तान, ताजीकिस्तान, उज्बेकिस्तान व तुर्कमेनिस्तान और सुदूर पूर्व के इंडोनेशिया व मलेशिया जैसे शांत मुसलमान मुल्कों को अपने साथ ले कर चलें और हिन्दू पाश्चात्य के ईसाइयों एवं पूर्व की मुसलमान सभ्यताओं के बीच मध्यस्थता का काम करें। एक तरफ़ अफ्रीका के कई देश मज़हब के नाम पर विभाजित हो चुके हैं। जहाँ अभी विभाजन नहीं हुआ, वहाँ बोको हराम जैसे उग्रवादी संगठनों के मारे आम लोगों और ख़ास कर महिलाओं का जीना मुहाल है। मध्य एशिया में सीरिया में लगी आइ एस आइ एस की आग इराक़ को अपनी चपेट में ले चुकी है और इन आतंकियों की नज़र में शिया’ तो क्या नरमपंथी सुन्नी भी काफ़िर हैं जिनकी ख़ैर नहीं। इस क्षेत्र में भी अमरीका से ग़लतियाँ हुई हैं जिनमें बशर हाफ़िज़ अल असद के ख़िलाफ़ मोर्चा बांधना ग़लत था और इससे पहले बिना ख़तरनाक अस्त्रों के कारख़ाने चलाने के प्रमाण के सद्दाम हुसैन को अपदस्थ करना अन्याय था। इन दिनों मिस्र में हस्तक्षेप के दुष्परिणाम को भूल कर अमरीका ईरान के विद्रोहियों का साथ दे रहा है। ये सारी बातें भारत अमरीका से बैर न कर भी समझा सकता है जिससे ईरान को लाभ होगा। जहाँ उन्हें कोई ठोस लाभ दिखा, ईरानी कश्मीर जैसे मुद्दों पर इस्लामी गुट को छोड़ बाहर निकल आएंगे। भारत के लिए ईरान से व्यापार के बनिस्बत ईरान के कारण क्षेत्र में आ सकने वाली शांति ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है। शांति रहेगी तब तो व्यापार होगा!

Categories
World

US Senate rejects immigration bills

Washington: The US Senate today rejected a slew of immigration reform proposals, including one backed by President Donald Trump, leaving hundreds of thousands of young migrants who were brought to the country illegally as children in limbo.

The Senate also shot down a bipartisan deal on immigration offered by the Trump administration which had offered to provide citizenship to some 1.8 million American’s so-called “Dreamers” in exchange of %25 billion for construction of a wall along the Mexican border and other security measures.

Senators, in a series of votes, failed to muster enough votes for either of the immigration plan to move ahead. In fact, the bill backed by Trump lost 39-60 votes. If passed, the bill would have paved the way for permanent legal status to 1.8 million young legal immigrants and provided %25 billion towards building a wall along the Mexico border.

The White House supported the bill would have also curbed family-based immigration and ended diversity lottery visa. But the bill fell far short of 60 votes mark required to clear a filibuster.

The Senate also rejected another bipartisan bill 54-45, which was again short of the 60 votes required to clear the filibuster. Trump described the Schumer-Rounds-Collins immigration bill a “total catastrophe”. The White House threatened to veto the bill.

All four proposals put forward today failed.

“Every amendment before the Senate today failed to pass because, as I have said since our effort in 2013, the more an immigration proposal tries to do at once, the less likely it is to succeed,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said.

Rubio said he intends to keep working with other Senators on a more limited proposal that would permanently codify DACA’s renewable permits and provide meaningful border security and enforcement measures in the event a House-passed bill cannot pass the Senate.

The fate of the Dreamers has been uncertain since Trump scrapped the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September and gave Congress six months to legislate a solution.

Some 690,000 Dreamers who registered under DACA plus 1.1 million others who were eligible but did not sign up could begin to face deportation beginning 5 March if no deal is reached.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said: “The President must stop sabotaging the bipartisan compromises he’s asked for, and the Republican Congress must have the courage to pass legislation to protect Dreamers now.”

The defeat of the immigration bills, also put a pause on the efforts to remove per-country cap on the green card, a move that could have benefited a large number of highly skilled Indian professionals.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Congressman Kevin Yoder said the per-country caps on green cards for highly skilled H-1B immigrants unfairly discriminate against immigrants from a few countries, especially India.

“The caps have created a huge backlog of Indian applicants who will have to wait decades–as much as 70 years to achieve their dream of American citizenship,” he said, demanding that the per-country caps must be replaced by a merit-based system that treats everyone fairly, regardless of their country of origin.

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez cited the case of an Indian-American to push for the immigration reform.

“When we talk about Dreamers, we are talking about kids who have grown up American in every sense of the word. We are talking about 22,000 New Jerseyans like Parthiv Patel, who came to New Jersey from India when he was 5 years old,” Menendez said on the Senate floor.

“He gained DACA status in 2012. He graduated from Drexel Law School in 2016, and he became the first Dreamer admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 2018,” he said.

In his remarks, Menendez, a Democratic Senator, claimed that Trump does not have a plan for merit-based immigration.

“When President Trump professes his support for merit-based immigration, he doesn’t have a real plan for allowing a million engineers and inventors from around the world to come to the United States. He is talking about cutting legal immigration by nearly 50%,” he said.

“That is a policy with disastrous implications for the future of this country when you consider basic economic facts. Any credible economist will tell you that without steady immigration, America’s global competitiveness will suffer, and we will fall far behind much larger countries like China, Pakistan, and India. According to a Forbes magazine article, even President Donald Trump is a product of chain migration,” Menendez said.

Menendez said this is not the time to talk about a merit-based immigration reform.

Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, said there is an opportunity to address not only the anxiety and plight of DACA recipients but also to make the country safer and more secure.

PTI

Categories
World

US asks Pakistan to expel terrorists from its soil

Washington: The United States has asked Pakistan to expel terrorists, especially the Taliban leaders, operating from terror safe havens within its soil, a top Trump administration official today said.

“We’ve had a number of discussions with our Pakistani partners on expectations for change and expelling terrorists from areas in which they’ve been allowed to operate,” Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan.

He was responding to questions from lawmakers expressing concerns over Pakistan’s approach fighting terrorism.

“They (Pakistan) understand what we expect…Our suspension of security assistance continues until we see more evidence that they are in fact taking action,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the US has been in discussions with Pakistan but there has been not a “sufficient amount of action” from it against terrorists.

Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported the South Asia Policy of the Trump administration.

“This administration has rightly drawn a clear line with Pakistan, suspending security assistance of over a USD billion as long as Islamabad continues to shelter Haqqani, and other terror groups that target innocent civilians, as well as the US and allied forces,” he said.

Corker had blocked the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan during the previous Obama administration.

He said this “pointed approach” is designed to confront Pakistan’s “duplicity” and its actions to provide safe harbour to the “greatest threat to our efforts in Afghanistan”.

Senator Ben Cardin, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said such a policy might not work.

“We’ve tried it several times over the past 16 years. I have little confidence that such behavioural change is coming.

“The US is committed to doing our part to reduce tensions in the region in ways that address Pakistan’s legitimate concerns,” he said.

Sullivan said the US opposes the use of terrorist proxies by any country against another country anywhere in the world.

“The use of terrorism has no place in a rules-based international system. We hope the Pakistanis will also help to convince the Taliban to enter into a peace process,” he said.

Sullivan told lawmakers that it was the assessment of the US that Pakistan has not done enough to expel elements of the Taliban that have been operating in sanctuaries in Pakistan and easily able to cross the border into Afghanistan.

Pakistan, he said, certainly have the ability to urge the Taliban to do come to the peace talks.

“What we believe they do have the ability to do also is to expel them from sanctuaries in their country. They may not be able to actually drive them to the negotiating table, but they can help and they can eliminate sanctuaries in their country where they currently operate,” he said.

PTI

Categories
World

Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo open

Washington: President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to keep open the controversial US prison at Guantanamo Bay, paving the way to transfer new terror detainees to the infamous facility in Cuba.

Trump announced the move during his first State of the Union address, reversing his predecessor Barack Obama’s decision to close the controversial site “as soon as practicable”.

The prison on the American military base at Guantanamo Bay has been used for years to detain high-profile terror suspects and enemy combatants. The facility has been criticised for its grim conditions.

“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them,” Trump said.

“But one must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are,” he said.

Trump rued that in the past the US has “foolishly” released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader al- Baghdadi.

“So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing (Defence) Secretary (James) Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay,” Trump said.

The facility has been used since the 9/11 attacks to detain what Washington calls “enemy combatants”, but only 41 prisoners remain there.

“I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down,” he said.

PTI

Categories
Editorial Views

Kasganj Cautions

Kasganj is only an episode in the series of Muslim triggers followed by others’ retaliation; neither the fear of law nor that of retribution, neither secularism nor pluralism will succeed in bringing an end to Islamic lumpenism worldwide; talk to their leaders and ask them to restrain their followers

The audacity of a community to invite trouble despite its population being in minority in Kasganj of Uttar Pradesh, which is a mere episode in a series of innumerable communal riots in the country that were triggered by violent actions by the minority, displays the death wish with which Islamism operates across the world. Running the risk of being annihilated in retaliation, as the Muslim ghettos are always surrounded by Hindus in India and Christians in Europe, the extremist Muslims still make a political point through mayhems. The point is this: ‘Islam is in danger; the world has always been unfair to Muslims, and we are avenging the raw deal.’ From the United States to the United Kingdom to France to Germany to India, innocent people are on the line of fire because of a Muslim grievance that refuses to end. The attacks in France and Germany prove that being strictly secular or being accommodating respectively is no antidote to terrorism. The common refrain of being manipulated by the Americans after the Afghan war on Soviet occupation — which, Muslims claim, created the Taliban and its clones worldwide — is, therefore, a bogus defence of Islamism. For that matter, the US did not exist until a few centuries ago; Islam was militant in nature even in that era. In the Indian instance, there was little provocation to pelt stones at a motorcycle rally of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. The rioters did not stop at stone-pelting; they killed a minor, Chandan Gupta, and injured two in a State that is now ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party’s champion of the saffron agenda, Yogi Adityanath. The shops that were burnt in retribution offer two lessons: One, the police were not prepared to check the expected aftermath — arrests, after the storm subsides, do not impress — and, two, Godhra to Kasganj is an endless story where spine-chilling revenge has not proved a deterrent for more misadventures in the future. The guilty may not be spared by law for now and no less than the superintendent of police may be shunted out for dereliction in duty, but unfortunately, this will not be the last incident of the type in Indian history. In the meantime, while a sound-byte like “Kasganj is a blot on UP” from Governor Ram Naik is plausible, why anti-Pakistan slogans should infuriate Muslims of India is something the Muslims — and not Hindus — are answerable for, the district magistrate of Bareilly must note.

Since no community in the world, however big or small, can be wished away, it is time for a dialogue between the Muslim world and others where reasons for this endless violence on small and large scales are identified. Of course, all clichés from Palestine to Afghanistan to Kashmir will come up from the Muslim side, and Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi will be touted as villains for ‘their’ part of the humanity. But then it must be asked why they do not let the rest of the world live in peace. From the side of the rest of the world, voices will vary between advocacy for pluralism by Democrats among Americans and leftists in Europe to condemning of no less than the Islamic scriptures comprising the Qur’an, the Ahadith and the Shari’ah by Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist bodies. To them, it must be asked why they cannot unite despite all of them being at the receiving end of the Islamic onslaught. Finally, the leaders must disperse with one message for their respective followers: Restraint.

In India in general and Uttar Pradesh in particular, there has been no palpable change in governance ranging from structural reforms to economic policymaking to law enforcement. The State in question is particularly lawless for its long history of a feudal mindset of its people who attain a semblance of power. Many neighbourhoods, streets and dungeons are merely waiting to explode. The size and population of the province are nightmarish for the government. Getting votes from a cross-section of Hindus rather than specifically from Yadavs (in the case of Samajwadi Party’s wins) or Dalits (in the case of victories of the Bahujan Samaj Party) means that no particular group from society is standing rock solid in support of Adityanath. To aggravate his problem, issues where he is not quite at fault — deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital where patients from Nepal to Bihar arrive when all other doctors have given up hope, for example — are raised for the purpose of propaganda. The challenge the chief minister faces is, therefore, enormous. Even while acknowledging that, his focus must be policing. It is reassuring to know that criminals are running helter-skelter under his reign. Apparently, the antisocial elements he hasn’t been able to rein in are bigots, demagogues, rabble-rousers and their henchmen. Combating communalism should be his priority. He must begin by addressing the causes socially.

Categories
India

Lahore HC restrains Pakistan govt from arresting Saeed

Lahore: The Lahore High Court today restrained the Pakistan government from arresting Hafiz Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind, and JuD chief, till further order.

Saeed had yesterday moved the court seeking protection from arrest or action against Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) ahead of the visit of the monitoring team of the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee.

The team will be visiting Islamabad from tomorrow for an assessment of Islamabad’s compliance with the world body’s sanctions regime.

In his plea, he had said that the government wants to arrest him at the behest of US and India, whose lobby for the last many years has been trying to prove that he was “somehow involved in Mumbai attacks”.

Justice Amin Aminuddin Khan heard Saeed’s plea and refrained the government from taking any adverse action against him.

“The LHC today accepted JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s application and issued an order restraining the federal government from arresting him till further order,” a court official confirmed.

He said the court also issued a notice to the government to file its reply on 17 March.

Appearing for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder, his counsel Advocate AK Dogar told the court that the UNSC delegation was due in the country this week and the government intends to take an “adverse action” against him during the team’s stay in the country.

Saeed is the founder/chairman of JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and he had set up 142 schools and three universities and was engaged in public welfare for a long time, Dogar said.

The UN team’s visit is taking place amid increasing pressure on Pakistan from the US and Indian governments with respect to the inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Saeed and entities linked to him.

It also said that Saeed’s name was on the UN list of designated terrorists.

Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The UNSC sanctions list includes the names of JuD, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, FIF and other groups and individuals.

The UNSC monitoring committee oversees the sanctions measures imposed by the Security Council under the rules. The member states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.

Last week, Pakistan banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF and other organisations on the UNSC sanctions list.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.

PTI

Categories
Editorial Views

Shutdown No Cause For Panic

While Democrats’ leftist internationalism of accommodating infiltrators and Trump’s reluctance to offer concessions in his immigration policy and spending has brought the United States to a sorry pass of a government shutdown, the impact will not devastate Americans, let alone trouble the world

Thanks to the United States’ government shutdown caused by the face-off between Republican and Democrat legislators, a considerable section of the American bureaucracy will be off-duty until the logjam ends. The percentages of employees furloughed as a result comprise 96% from Housing and Urban Development, 95% from Environmental Protection and Education each, 87% from Commerce, 83% from labour, 80% from Interior, 55% from the Treasury, 50% each from Health & Human Services and Defence, 37% from Transportation, 17% from Justice, 16% from the Social Security Administration, 13% from Homeland Security and 4% from Veterans Affairs. Meanwhile, what few media houses are bringing to public notice is the fact that government-aided research comes to a grinding halt during a shutdown in the country that has reached the pinnacle of science and technology not owing to its famed capitalistic enterprises but due to its state-sponsored scientists. While uniformed servicemen, food inspectors and law enforcement officers will work without pay, this is an embarrassment for President Donald Trump and his Republican party at a time when they could have otherwise celebrated the first anniversary of their dispensation. Whereas November 1995, December-January 1996 and October 2013 shutdowns were caused under Democrat regimes, it is ironical that this shutdown is happening at a time when the House, the Senate, as well as the White House, are controlled by one party. It is further disconcerting for the Republicans that four of their Senators voted with the opposition. The 50-48 margin was not good enough for the ruling party to have its way, even when some Democrats cross-voted, too, as a minimum of 60 votes are needed to end the imbroglio.

From a neutral perspective, the stalemate caused by Democrats’ opposition to the president’s new immigration policy is baffling. While Third World citizens aspiring to work in America would be cursing the POTUS, a large chunk of native American politicians wanting to embrace foreigners in their country betrays the nadir of leftist, suicidal, romantic, internationalism. Worse, the Democrats support illegality! The bleeding hearts are advocating an accommodation of undocumented immigrants aka infiltrators. The advocacy of aliens is irrational also because the Democrats are not all businessmen who would be conscious of the profit margins in their trades that would reduce drastically if 7 lakh Chinese, Indian and other developing countries’ workforce were to be deported and replaced by local workers. At the same time, a situation like that in India, another country tormented by intruders, is staring Americans in the face as the country, through a Washington Post-ABC News poll, has just opined that the people would blame Trump rather than the Democrats if the shutdown does not end soon, and an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll has 38% of respondents ask for a mid-term election. This clearly means that the number of invaders is now so substantial that they can mould public sentiment — and thus government policy — in their favour. After all this, and with so much of exposure to Trump’s penchant for politically incorrect expressions, that the opposition still gets outraged by his disparaging remarks about immigrating Africans and Haitians — neglecting the job-seeking citizens — is amusing.

Money isn’t quite flowing in the US government in this duration, which means a Keynesian boost to the economy is ruled out. The spending bills have expired. Over and above the immigration issue, the shoestring budget for Pentagon and domestic agencies is a problem and the more than $80 billion worth of disaster aid hangs in the balance. This after the Republicans took their time to even out the tax bill. Thankfully, the health of modest Americans wouldn’t quite suffer because a popular healthcare programme has been extended for six years while taxes for the dreaded Obamacare has been postponed for two years. Trump’s raising of an alarm over some possible problem caused to America’s “great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border” is but hyperbole. Neither will the Army men desert their posts nor will the Navy retreat to the ports. Past experience has shown, while paycheques may get delayed, the defence department intervenes in the nick of time so that no soldier in operational duty works without pay. Overall, let alone a worldwide impact — which, in all probability, will be limited to some bureaucratic hassles for importers and exporters — even the local effect is so mitigated that the US’s AAA debt rating isn’t changing. All shutdowns end, and they end soon, with some concessions from either side. When Republicans realise that their proposed austerity measures are tough and Democrats come to terms with the fact that Trump’s proclivity to go over the top is not guarantee enough to retain public support for long, this episode will end, too. Until then, relax!

Categories
Editorial Views

Pakistan Irredeemable

The world must be concerned no less than India about the incorrigible troublemaker in the region; 70 years of Pakistan’s existence has proven time and again its intractability; the problem calls for a solution beyond compelling the rogue nation to be sane

While the state of Pakistan sanctioning a ‘fatwa’ issued by more than a thousand clerics against terrorism is the joke of the century, one sees why its government is in a state of panic. If there is one force in the world that can tame this rogue country, it’s the United States. This is not the first instance of Pakistan seeking cover with its tail tucked between the legs. From Pervez Musharraf pleading with the extremist elements of that country to stop forming outfits with names like Jaish, Ansar and Lashkar — which refer to private militias — to his act of dumping the Taliban of Afghanistan to let troops of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation launch an attack on the rocky country from its soil in the aftermath of 9/11 to allowing the US to liquidate internationally dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden from his hideout in Abbottabad to, now, first sulking and then extending the custody of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed when the American security assistance of $2 billion is called off, it’s a long list. The move impresses none as Frankenstein cannot be expected to control his monster. The nation’s birth on the basis of religious discrimination, decades of cultivation of hatred, rule by Islamic supremacists, teaching of false history to children in mainstream schools, proliferation of hate-preaching seminaries, subversion of democracy, recurrent military regimes and use of militants for a proxy war against India as an instrument of Pakistan’s state policy has brought our western neighbour to the brink. However, although Donald Trump is a US President far away from those of the Cold War years when the Americans preferred Pakistan to India as a regional partner, it is unlikely the sponsor of terrorists has drawn a permanent lesson. Until something more drastic happens, this is the maximum extent of arm-twisting the US will take recourse to in order to ensure the Islamic state behaves. Sooner or later, aid to Pakistan will resume just as the halted supplies of F-16 aircraft did more than once. And the virtual military state will be back to its mischievous ways.

Unfortunately for India, the United States cannot be the redress of its Pakistan woes. A previous editorial has, to that end, prescribed the job cut out for the Narendra Modi regime on the western front. The world must be concerned no less about the incorrigible troublemaker in the region. It’s because of Pakistan that peace, stability, rehabilitation and progress eludes a civil war-ravaged Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin will soon realise that his recent tilt towards Pakistan, frustrated by the reduction in Indian military orders to Russia, is counterproductive. Almost surrounded as the country is by several Muslim nations, the now-suppressed rebellion in Chechnya may not be its last bout with a force that is hostile to it just because it hosts a different religion. Execution of terror plots in the border areas followed by the attackers’ escaping back to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and/or Turkmenistan may appear an improbable hypothesis today, but hobnobbing with Pakistan will make India’s neighbour seek territories towards the north to expand the scope for Islamic brotherhood — if only to enjoy a large sphere of influence. Eventually one day in the future, China too will have to abandon its folly of nurturing Pakistan to contain India. The capitalist society that the communist state has fostered for the past three decades, India is certainly a better and much larger market than its current all-weather friend. With the US being geographically distant, Eurasia must find ways to keep Pakistan on leash if not Balkanise the nation that cannot live without antagonism and rancour. Even the Americans must figure out what strange reasons — other than paid lobbyism — turn some of its Congressmen pro-Pakistan. Seventy years of its existence has proven time and again its intractability. The problem called Pakistan calls for a solution beyond compelling it to be sane.

Categories
Editorial

Man Of His Words

Donald Trump impresses with his record so far of working on most of his election promises, characteristically not giving two hoots to political correctness and staying loyal to his constituency

Here’s a politician who calls a spade a spade, does not retract his statements and does not renege on pre-poll promises. Never mind the propaganda of the frustrated Democrats and their cheerleaders in the fourth estate, intelligentsia, Hollywood and beyond, which continues with more vitriol than what even Prime Minister Narendra Modi could countenance from the opposition and other detractors in India. What has caught international attention is Donald John Trump’s verbal duel with Kim Jong-un of North Korea and his act of scrapping financial aid to Pakistan. A war is never desirable and, if the economy is the priority, it shouldn’t happen. However, since the Korean dictator has always postured in a manner that suggests he is dying for a face-off, it is better for the world to see an international policeman like the United States prevail rather than a quixotic egotist get away with murder in the Pacific region. There is a greater chance of America turning the regional balance in its favour now than where the odds stood under Barack Obama. The ‘sanction’ against terror sponsor Pakistan is music to Indian ears. In the past, one noticed at best the stalling of F-16 despatches to the Islamic state, which were finally delivered. The suspension of the $1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan — which Islamabad sulked about, and took yet another tentative step against Jamaat-ud Dawa nevertheless — looks on a firmer footing. The other move that made heads turn worldwide is the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, respecting a long-held dream of followers of Judaism to move their capital to the historic city. Despite the existence of several Jew stalwarts among American policy makers, no predecessor of Trump had dared it, apprehensive of a backlash from the Islamic world that finds it an affront heaped upon Palestinians, given the holy city’s shared heritage.

Americans, his voters in particular, would be more concerned with his ability to honour election promises. The core constituency of a politician may like their representative to do things that the entire country may not approve of, but keeping the promises makes the person a man of his words, which is a significant aspect of one’s morality. And it ensures that the voter base wouldn’t turn indifferent during their next turn to exercise the franchise. With Modi looking uncertain on both the social (Hindu causes) and economic (liberalisation) front — albeit being the best bet for most — Indians wish they had got a Trump at South Block. For, the President of the United States is reportedly working on 46.5% of his poll promises while 8.9% have been fulfilled already within his first year in office. However, numbers don’t tell what part of the pledge the leader made assumes more significance for his followers. What Americans would love to see and aspirants from the developing countries wouldn’t is creation of jobs for the domestic population. This could have been an economically untenable proposition because of the substantially higher wages the local college graduates demand, reducing businesses’ profit margins, but the remarkably low degree holders the US translates to a possibility of a partial honouring of this promise. While there is little progress in policy here, manufacturing is looking up. Trump fulfilled another promise he made to millions of struggling Americans by cutting taxes for all taxable groups — the most sweeping tax overhaul by the Congress in 30 years — which will hopefully bring to the US economy at least $4 trillion, with several companies that had shunned business in that country once likely to return. More businesses means more jobs. Making the US Congress allow health insurance across the 50 States is now a possibility awaiting some changes in rules that can end monopolies and cartels of insurers. The funding for veterans’ health care has been raised. Trump has rolled back the mandate for Obamacare, though he hasn’t repealed it. The promises numbered in hundreds and this is hardly an exhaustive list. In short, a remarkable difference between Trump and Modi is that a chunk of Republican Americans have not started criticising him.

There are some serious personality issues with Trump, of course. His views on women expressed on record are disgusting. The proclivity to shoot his mouth off additionally on Twitter does not behove the head of the strongest country in the world. If he looks grumpy on television, it may matter to the people of the country that made a song and dance about Richard Milhous Nixon’s appearance during the debate with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And this is a far more intolerant, leftist America where even women have shun shame and defecated in public places to mark their protest against the election of Trump. On the first issue, Trump needs to work sincerely. On the second and third, one wishes the Americans valued content more than style.

Categories
World

US supports nationwide protests in Iran

Washington: US President Donald Trump today said it is “time for change” in Iran which is “failing at every level”, as the nationwide deadly protests against the government claimed 12 lives.

“Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years, Trump tweeted, attacking the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“They are hungry for food and for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE! Trump said.

At least 12 people have been killed in the nationwide protests in Iran. The protests began on Thursday in Mashhad over economic issues and have since spread to several cities.

A day earlier, Trump had slammed the Iranian government for shutting down the Internet amidst country-wide protests.

“Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!” Trump tweeted yesterday.

In a separate tweet, Trump said the US is watching “very closely” for human rights violations in Iran in the wake of the protests.

“Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The US is watching very closely for human rights violations!” he said.

Trump’s statements were followed by a White House statement in support of the Iranian protesters.

“We support the right of the Iranian people to express themselves peacefully. Their voices deserve to be heard,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said yesterday.

“We encourage all parties to protect this fundamental right to peaceful expression and to avoid any actions that contribute to censorship,” she said.

PTI