Akhtar Mansoor killed: what this means for the US, Pakistan & Taliban

The killing of the Taliban Amir Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a US drone strike on 21 May in the Dalbandin area of Balochistan in Pakistan, has significant implications for US policy towards the Af-Pak region. It will also affect Pak-US relations, the Taliban, the Afghan peace process and Pakistan.

The drone strike signals a probable shift in US policy towards the Af-Pak region since this was the first American drone strike in Balochistan. The previous strikes were against (more…)


Balochistan: caught in a web of corruption

Balochistan is invariably in the news for the wrong reasons – human rights abuse by the Army, missing persons, ‘kill and dump’, etc.

It’s made headlines again. But this time for corruption rather than violence.

The arrest of the Finance Secretary of Balochistan Mushtaq Raisani on 6 May 2016 and several other officials from the Quetta Civil Secretariat was big news. An amount of Rs 73 crore in cash, and jewellery worth nearly Rs 4 crore, were recovered from (more…)

Indo-Pak Dialogue – Who Pulled The Plug?

Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, Abdul Basit’s April 7, 2016 reply to a question regarding the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries that, “There is no meeting scheduled for now. I think at present the peace process is suspended”, has led to a major analysis of “whodunit”. Most commentators have pointed out to the Pakistan Army as being the ‘culprits’ for calling off the talks while others, including the Pak Foreign Office and now the Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz, have been quick to assert that ‘suspended’ does not mean (more…)

Pak-Bangladesh Diplomatic Spat: Tip of the Iceberg

Recent months have seen Pakistan and Bangladesh expelling each other’s diplomats and ‘summoning’ each other’s envoys to lodge ‘strong’ protests. The expulsions and ‘summoning’ are just the tip of the iceberg, reflective of a deeper malaise that has bedevilled the relations between the two countries.

The process of expulsion of diplomats began in January 2015 when Pakistan had to recall its diplomatic official Mazhar Khan for his alleged links with terror financing and counterfeit currency racket. Such expulsions peaked when on December 23, 2015 Fareena Arshad, second secretary (Political) at the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka was asked to leave for her links with militant (more…)

“Cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy”: The Houbara Bustard!

If you thought the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy was managing its relations with the US, China or India, you would be wrong.

In a recent review petition before the Supreme Court of Pakistan to reverse its August 19, 2015 ban on hunting the Houbara bustard, the government of Pakistan has itself stated authoritatively that inviting Arab dignitaries to hunt the bird in Pakistan was (more…)

Pakistan & ‘evidence’: what India must learn from inaction against Lal Masjid

We are all aware of how tardily Pakistan has dealt with the evidence that India has given on the Mumbai attacks. Of how the 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was released due to ‘lack of evidence”, as was Lashkar-e-Tayyeba supremo Hafiz Saeed.

Some would like to believe there is a difference in the case of the Pathankot attacks, that there is (more…)

Ahmadis in Pakistan: Minority persecution reflects industry of intolerance

An event of considerable significance took place in Pakistan on December 29, 2015, one that went largely unreported by the Indian media. During a meeting of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) the chairman, Maulana Sherani, came to blows with Allama Tahir Ashrafi. Had the issue on which they came to blows not been extremely serious, it would have been laughable to see two maulanas disgracing themselves in this manner.

However, the issue at hand was that Sherani wanted the CII to consider declaring Ahmadis murtads or (more…)