US Afghanistan: Tillerson ups pressure on Pakistan – BBC News August 23 2017


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters on Afghanistan, 22 August 2017Reuters
Mr Tillerson suggested Pakistan could lose some privileges

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has increased pressure on Pakistan over its perceived backing for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies sheltering the Taliban, but Mr Tillerson suggested it could lose US privileges if the government failed “to change their posture”.

He was speaking a day after President Donald Trump unveiled a new strategy, vowing to commit US forces to back Afghan forces fighting the insurgents.

The US is a key ally of Pakistan.

The country enjoys a special status as a non-Nato alliance partner and has received billions of dollars in aid.

But Mr Tillerson said this “could be on the table for discussion if in fact they are unwilling to change their posture or change their approach to how they are dealing with the numerous terrorist organisations that find safe haven in Pakistan.

“It is in Pakistan’s interest to take those actions.”

Nuclear power

Mr Tillerson also stressed that having a stable Pakistan was in US and other countries’ interests.

“They are a nuclear power and we have concerns about the security of their weapons. This is not a situation where the US is saying ‘this is us and you’.”

Mr Tillerson said the Taliban must be made to understand that they could not win a battlefield victory in Afghanistan. But he suggested the US might not either.

“We may not win one but neither will you,” as he put it, adding that negotiation was the way to bring the conflict to an end.

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Why India and Pakistan hate each other – The Economist Jul 22nd 2017


Three score and ten years after their acrimonious split, India and Pakistan remain at daggers drawn. Max Rodenbeck asks if they can ever make up

EVERY AFTERNOON AT sunset, at a point midway along the arrow-straight road between Amritsar and Lahore, rival squads of splendidly uniformed soldiers strut and stomp a 17th-century British military drill known as Beating Retreat (pictured). Barked commands, fierce glares and preposterously high kicks all signal violent intent. But then, lovingly and in unison, the enemies lower their national flags. Opposing guardsmen curtly shake hands, and the border gates roll shut for the night.

As India and Pakistan celebrate their twin 70th birthdays this August, the frontier post of Wagah reflects the profound dysfunction in their relations. On its side Pakistan has built a multi-tiered amphitheatre for the boisterous crowds that come to watch the show. The Indians, no less rowdy, have gone one better with a half-stadium for 15,000. But the number of travellers who actually cross the border here rarely exceeds a few hundred a week.

Wagah’s silly hats and walks serve a serious function. The cuckoo-clock regularity of the show; the choreographed complicity between the two sides; and the fact that the soldiers and crowds look, act and talk very much the same—all this has the reassuring feel of a sporting rivalry between teams. No matter how bad things get between us, the ritual seems to say, we know it is just a game. Alas, the game between India and Pakistan has often turned serious.

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Blackout: Pakistan – Vice News Published on Jun 8, 2016


Pakistan is one of the world’s least tolerant countries when it comes to homosexuality. Being gay is illegal in the Islamic republic and carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Gay men are often accused of bringing shame to their families and commonly face violence — sometimes even murder.

Gay-focused apps like Grindr, Scruff, and ManJam offer a discreet way for Pakistan’s LGBT community to connect and socialize, but they’re also risky: A man was recently arrested for allegedly using the apps to lure gay men and kill them.

VICE News went to Pakistan to unravel the country’s underground gay scene and examine the ways that technology is being used to achieve sexual freedom.

Read “Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Be Back Soon” – http://bit.ly/1t6MEo5

Crime and Punishment in Pakistan (Extra Scene From ‘The Kohistan Story: Killing for Honor’) – Published on Feb 5, 2016


Watch “The Kohistan Story: Killing for Honor” – http://bit.ly/1PCu4MR

In May 2012, a grainy cellphone video emerged in a remote and deeply conservative village in northern Pakistan. The video showed four young women singing and clapping in a room as two young men danced to the music. The village elders saw the celebration as a blatant defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at gatherings, and a decree was issued for those in the video and their families to be killed as their actions were deemed ‘dishonorable.’

The women and one of their sisters, aged just 12, were allegedly imprisoned for a month and tortured before being killed. The men went into hiding but three of their brothers were shot dead.

Every year, nearly a thousand people are known to be killed in the name of honor in Pakistan. Many more go unreported, considered a part of everyday life — but the killings in Kohistan became national news after the surviving brother of the victims made it his mission to seek justice. VICE News host Hani Taha travels to Pakistan to meet Afzal Kohistani to investigate one of the country’s most perplexing honor killing cases, three years on.

Produced by Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Saad Zuberi, VICE News finds out some of the grimmest truths about the pervasive culture of so-called honor killings in the region.

In this extra scene, VICE News travels to Karachi, Pakistan, to talk to prominent human rights activist and lawyer Maliha Zia about loopholes in the legal system that help perpetrators of honor-related crimes escape justice. She highlights the legislative changes needed to reduce the number of honor killings in the country.

Read “Killing for Honor: How Reputation Became Life and Death Currency in Pakistan” – http://bit.ly/1S2vSB3

The Kohistan Story: Killing for Honor – Vice News Published on Jan 25, 2016


In May 2012, a grainy cellphone video emerged in a remote and deeply conservative village in northern Pakistan. The video showed four young women singing and clapping in a room as two young men danced to the music. The village elders saw the celebration as a blatant defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at gatherings, and a decree was issued for those in the video and their families to be killed as their actions were deemed ‘dishonorable.’

The women and one of their sisters, aged just 12, were allegedly imprisoned for a month and tortured before being killed. The men went into hiding but three of their brothers were shot dead.

Every year, nearly a thousand people are known to be killed in the name of honor in Pakistan. Many more go unreported, considered a part of everyday life — but the killings in Kohistan became national news after the surviving brother of the victims made it his mission to seek justice. VICE News host Hani Taha travels to Pakistan to meet Afzal Kohistani to investigate one of the country’s most perplexing honor killing cases, three years on.

Produced by Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, VICE News finds out some of the grimmest truths about the pervasive culture of so-called honor killings in the region.

Watch “Sex, Slavery, and Drugs in Bangladesh” – http://bit.ly/1n52u0a

Pakistan’s Game – By Alex Vatanka January 17, 2016


Saudi Arabia is back, knocking on Pakistan’s door. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s son and deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, arrived separately in the early days of the new year to persuade Islamabad to join hands with Riyadh in confronting regional security threats. That is, the Saudis want Pakistan’s support against Iran.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at Jan 19, 2016 2.26

From Riyadh’s perspective, Pakistan, which is home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population and is the only nuclear-armed Islamic country, provides much needed critical mass. The Saudis wish to see Islamabad publicly commit itself to the 34-nation, Saudi-led antiterrorism coalition that Riyadh launched in December. But Riyadh would settle for Pakistan issuing stronger and more frequent diplomatic gestures of support for Saudi regional policies. Such support has been hard to win, however. In April 2015, when Riyadh sought Islamabad’s military assistance in its newly launched war in Yemen, Saudi officials went home empty-handed.

This time, Jubeir and bin Salman heard two different messages from Islamabad. The head of the Pakistani military, General Raheel Sharif, vowed a “strong response” to any threat to Saudi security. The other message was from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. His emphasis was on a potential role for Pakistan as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran, sensibly sidestepping the burden of having to pick sides.

Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz (2nd L) and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) attend a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, January 7, 2016.

Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz (2nd L) and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) attend a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, January 7, 2016.

History reveals that it is Sharif’s promise of neutrality—bordering on opportunism—that most likely will shape Islamabad’s attitude toward this latest Iranian-Saudi spat. Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has often found itself in a position to choose between the Iranians and the Arabs. More often than not, Islamabad has managed to wriggle free. In fact, it has repeatedly benefited from being in that position in the first place.

What history also shows is that it is cold geopolitical calculations—not sectarian sympathies—that will fashion Islamabad’s approach. Today, Pakistan has much closer ties to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and particularly Saudi Arabia, home to millions of Pakistani expatriates and a source of subsidized oil and other financial incentives. But Iran is a large immediate neighbor and a nuclear-threshold state looking to emerge from years of international isolation. These factors compel Islamabad to give Iran another look as it weighs Saudi requests for support.

TENSIONS

The mainstream narrative holds that the Iranian-Pakistani relationship ran aground after the 1979 Iranian revolution, which brought to power a revolutionary Shiite Islamist regime in Tehran and gave Sunni Arab nations an opening to court Islamabad. As Time magazine put it last week, Iranian-Pakistani relations have been “fraught since . . . Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power and Tehran drifted closer to New Delhi.” In fact, it was another Iranian leader, the secular and pro-Western Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, shah of Iran, who a decade before Khomeini came to power had already set in motion the forces that turned Tehran and Islamabad from allies to rivals.

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https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/pakistan/2016-01-17/pakistans-game

Kohistan Honor Killings (Trailer) – Vice News Published on Jan 18, 2016


In May 2012, a grainy cellphone video emerged in a remote and deeply conservative village in northern Pakistan. The video showed four young women singing and clapping in a room as two young men danced to the music. The village elders saw the celebration as a blatant defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at gatherings, and a decree was issued for those in the video and their families to be killed as their actions were deemed ‘dishonorable.’ The women and one of their sisters, aged just 12, were allegedly imprisoned for a month and tortured before being killed. The men went into hiding but three of their brothers were shot dead.

Every year, nearly a thousand people are known to be killed in the name of honor in Pakistan. Many more go unreported, considered a part of everyday life — but the killings in Kohistan became national news after the surviving brother of the victims made it his mission to seek justice.

VICE travels to Pakistan to meet Afzal Kohistani three years after the incident to investigate the story, which is still shrouded with mystery, and to find out what really happened in one of the country’s most perplexing honor killing cases. We follow Afzal after the highest court in the country turned its back on him, and along the way, find out some of the grimmest truths about the pervasive culture of so-called honor killings in the region.

Watch “Sex, Slavery, and Drugs in Bangladesh” – http://bit.ly/1n52u0a