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Kashmir Under Indian Siege For The Last 166 Days

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As the Indian siege of occupied Kashmir enters 166th day, High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria gave an update on the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu . He was addressing the people from various Muslim countries who gathered at the High Commission to offer Juma Prayers today. Reiterating the Government of Pakistan’s policy of moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris’ legitimate right to self-determination, the High Commissioner reminded that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute with unimplemented UN Security Council’s resolutions on it.

Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris, he invited the attention of the international community towards the plight of Kashmiri people. Mr Zakaria updated the audience that crippling restrictions and military siege since Aug 5, 2019 has not only badly affected daily life of the people, deprived the children and youth of their education and destroyed livelihood of the Kashmiris but the siege has also taken toll on the innocent lives.

Blackout of media, internet and other means of communication by the Indian government remain in place in violation of basic rights, he added, says a press release received from London, here today. . Mr Zakaria quoted “Muslim Women’s Forum” report saying that around 13,000 Kashmiri youth have been arrested and their whereabouts are unknown. He warned that the international community must take immediate notice of the illegal detentions of the Kashmiri youth so that they should not end up in mass graves like thousands of their brethren whom India killed in fake encounters in the past, and they were later discovered buried in unnamed and unmarked mass graves.

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He cited International People’s Tribunal Report entitled, “Buried Alive”. (Weblink: http://www.mofa.gov.pk/documents/kashmir/BuriedEvidenceKashmir.pdf) Mr Zakaria urged the gathering to pray for the Kashmiris and create understanding of the issue of human sufferings in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

On this occasion, a collective Dua was also offered for the Kashmiri victims of Indian atrocities. The High Commissioner has been regularly expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris since the siege started on 5th August 2019 with unilateral measures by India to change the status of Kashmir in violation of UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and related international conventions.

He has also been reminding that there is a verified trail of torture and atrocities duly documented by the organisations of international repute and INGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, JKCHR, IPHRC, IPTK, etc. On the occasion, photos depicting Indian atrocities against defenceless Kashmiris were also displayed to help visitors understand the magnitude of the human rights abuses in IOK.

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Diplomacy

Is the New World Order imminent?

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Here we go folks, we’re about to step into another hostile era in all probability. The story is that amid the recent contestations between the two superpowers: America and Russia, the former’s long-held monopoly is shrivelling up as it is being met with an immediate showdown by the latter, which is all set to reassert its control over the states that once formed the Soviet Union. Apparently, a broader campaign, it purports to the expansion of the Russian sphere of influence, a concept American diplomats have already rejected. Though the animosity between the heavyweights never faded out anytime among history leaves, it never has fomented in last three decades this way as it could be seen right at this moment!

What’s going on by the way?

This is for sure that imperialism isn’t going to fade away.

Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, didn’t seem to hold back any punches. In his exact words, he goes: “We have been very clear with Russia on the costs and consequences of further military action or destabilization.” A loud and clear warning sign for Russia to hold back if it is having any such violent ideas up its sleeves!

So is this it? Do we have any chances of reconciliations, cordiality reflowing, or any resurrecting shades of settlements? Honestly, from the Russian end, it is a dead end. If you doubt us, let’s catch up with someone from the Russian high office: Deputy foreign minister, Sergei A Ryabkov, who terms the outcome of failed nexus–Europe and America–to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “dead end.” Yes, you’ve heard it right, dead-end!

If on one hand, Russia demands that NATO, an alliance founded to contain Soviet power, drastically scale back its presence near Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe, it is playing between too many contradictions to date. While tens of thousands of Russian troops already amassing over the peripheries of Ukraine, President Vladimir V Putin’s assertion of having no interest in invading Ukraine is deemed as another tactical strategy he is well known for.

The strength of Russia’s “sphere of influence” and America’s superpower status is certainly the key players here, ready to lock horns, while the background goes fading. It is said that any time warping to the 1980’s styled confrontation has been ruled out since the dynamics of contemporary wars are changed. The experts say that the power matrix has evolved more into digitals than just material. The physical invasion of 20th-century styles has either gone a bit obsolete or it might simply leave a bad taste in the mouth owing to several socio-political modifications that happened in last two decades.

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So the wars aren’t going to be fought on battlefields and rather on computers, right?

The answer is “partially yes.” The cyber attacks are on the surge. Amid Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, the cyberattacks targeting Ukraine’s government websites have gone beyond numbers. The hackers posted a message, recently, on the site of the Foreign Ministry saying, “Be afraid and expect the worst.” As expected, the provenance of the hacking could not be delineated.

Despite Putin’s prodigy at Cyberattacks to influence elections, United States’ soft-power influence in former Soviet states could not be snubbed considering the lion’s share of technology gadgets are yet to be flown in from America. Therefore, it looks quite cumbersome for Russia to beat America in a technology face-off.

Besides technology, Moscow might face a strong disagreement from former Soviet republics’ youth that is now having “a degree of liberal yearning” and impartial attributes have grown among them, contrary to what their forerunners possessed. The younger generation doesn’t want trouble and they are not as battle-hardened and rugged as their predecessors were. If Moscow ropes in with any territorial expansion adventure, the perils might wreak havoc on multiple fronts, including chances of development of insurgencies within Russian terrains, backed up by non-state actors. According to the former British ambassador to Russia, Andrew Wood, if Putin goes for the kill, it won’t be easy for him to safeguard reputation and cordiality with youth: “It’s a big mistake. Being a successful bully lasts for a time, perhaps, but it doesn’t make you love somebody.”

The United States, having actively participated in several meetings at Geneva, Brussels, and Vienna to dissuade Russia from its vehemence intentions towards Ukraine, looks all set to combat on propaganda platforms. With Washington already accusing Moscow of sending diversionists into eastern Ukraine that could provide Putin exculpation for sabotaging Ukraine, it looks like the diplomats have called it a day!

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So what would happen if no dialogues exist? Is war imminent? Who is going to be the winner?

We could just assume, forecast, and prognosticate. However, the winner might be someone just been introduced to the table! It seems China has its moment. Its humongous economic roller coaster has begun to climb the first hill and that too without any apprehensions. This is, probably, the ideal time for China to stamp its authority worldwide as a true financial leader, and boy, America wouldn’t want that. In the straits, where the Taliban surged back to power two decades after US-led forces toppled its regime in what led to the United States’ longest war, the United States wouldn’t want to open up another war field, for sure.

According to the director at the Atlantic Council, Barry Pavel, It’s the return of history, where great powers go at it and things get really bad sometimes. Expect a very tumultuous decade. Most importantly, let’s not undermine the words of Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia: “China will be watching carefully,” to see which move the United States makes. Russian success in invasion without meaningful deterrence would “prove that the U.S. is not a formidable enemy.”

This is for sure that imperialism isn’t going to fade away. However, what consequences we might counter when regional powers with growing ambitions proceed opportunistically to expand their territorial control and influence in the modern era is a point to ponder. While the whirlwind dialogues between Russia and the rest are dying out in the face of stubborn Moscow; America’s reputation, without any doubt, is at stake. In the pandemonium, the decision made by Washington shall have serious implications for not only America’s reputation but also a test for Biden’s administration.

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Afghanistan

How to Prevent Famine in Afghanistan

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As Afghanistan slides further into a devastating economic and humanitarian crisis, the United Nations is the one global actor that can help the country pull through. The international community must deliver aid where it is most needed, and support national reconciliation and peace processes for as long as necessary.

In August, the world watched in shock as the Western-backed Afghan government rapidly collapsed and the country spiralled into chaos, culminating in the Taliban’s takeover of the capital, Kabul, and return to power after nearly 20 years.

Since then, Afghanistan has faded from global view. But almost nine million Afghans are now at risk of famine, and a further 14 million are facing acute hunger, owing to a drought and an economic collapse triggered by the sudden suspension of foreign aid. The World Health Organization warns that one million Afghan children are at risk of dying this winter.

In December, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution exempting humanitarian aid from sanctions against the Taliban. But that is just one piece of the puzzle in addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan. The global community is facing an urgent challenge to prevent mass starvation and avoid a complete collapse of basic services.

The Council on State Fragility, of which I am a member alongside prominent global leaders, is calling on the international community not to abandon the people of Afghanistan, and to act now to head off imminent famine. Specifically, we urge world leaders to focus on three key imperatives.

First, as Afghanistan slides further into a devastating economic and humanitarian crisis, the UN – the one global actor that can help the country pull through – can still support Afghans, even as its member states continue to debate whether to recognize the Taliban government. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, acting with the full backing of the Security Council, should strengthen the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and send a special envoy to be based in Kabul with UN agencies’ staff. Furthermore, Guterres should task the UNAMA with maintaining clear and consistent communication channels with the Taliban leadership and ensuring an integrated approach to humanitarian, development, and peace efforts.

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The UN and its agencies are not new to such challenges. Similarly strong and coordinated UN responses have had a clear impact in other difficult contexts, including in North KoreaYemen, and Sudan. In Afghanistan, UN agencies have excellent local staff: well-trained, experienced, and devoted men and women, many of whom successfully delivered aid programs under the Taliban’s previous regime in the 1990s. They have done the same in Taliban-controlled areas in the recent past.

Second, inclusivity is essential to a stable, lasting peace. An inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan remains as necessary today as it was before the Taliban retook control of the country. Rather than writing off the Afghan peace process as dead in the water, the international community should view it as a multi-year, adaptive, and ongoing process of bringing all sides together to build bridges and reach a common understanding regarding the country’s future.

The winner-takes-all politics that has long plagued Afghanistan must be avoided at all costs, because exclusion will only fuel endless cycles of conflict. National consensus-building mechanisms, chief among them a well-prepared and well-led Loya Jirga – a traditional gathering of ethnic, tribal, and religious leaders – can help to foster agreement among the country’s communities and lead to the patient construction of the new dispensation Afghanistan needs.

Lastly, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors and near-neighbors – primarily Iran, Pakistan, China, and India, as well as key regional actors such as Qatar and Turkey – have a critical role to play in stabilizing the country. The international community should urge these countries to contribute to peace efforts in Afghanistan, and support existing constructive engagement by regional players, such as Qatar, that have established a track record as trusted interlocutors between the Taliban and the outside world.

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The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is severe, and millions of lives are at stake this winter. The international community, with strong UN leadership, can and should step up to support Afghans at this challenging time. The world must deliver aid where it is most needed, and support national reconciliation and peace processes for as long as necessary.

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Afghanistan

PM calls upon International Community to provide immediate relief to Afghans

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Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday once again called upon the international community to provide immediate humanitarian relief to the millions of Afghans who were facing an imminent danger of starvation.

In a tweet, the prime minister also reminded that providing immediate relief to impoverished Afghanistan was also obligatory under the unanimously adopted UN Principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Brown, in his article, had warned that more than 23 million people were at risk of starvation if aid did not materialize.

The former UK prime minister said: “We are witnessing a shameful but also self-defeating failure to prevent famine”, adding that the UK should urgently take a lead in resuming the delivery of aid dramatically halted after Taliban announced their government.

The UN agencies had launched a call for $4.5bn in aid for 2022, its biggest-ever international appeal. The US responded with a donation of $308m, to be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations.

Brown said that was not enough. “The 35-country, American-led coalition that ruled Afghanistan for 20 years under the banner of helping the Afghan people has still put up only a quarter of the money that would allow UN humanitarians to stop children dying this winter.”

Brown further wrote that he had written to Truss and to the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, to ask them to host an international donor conference “in January or at the latest in February” to break the impasse.

PM calls upon int’l community to provide immediate relief to Afghans

“The devastation the world was warned about months ago is no longer a distant prospect,” Brown said, adding, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths, Brown wrote, “forecasts that if we do not act, 97% of Afghans will soon be living below the poverty line”.

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