Taliban surviving on continued Pak support, says US expert
India elected to new UN rights body
China’s strategy to dominate world
Washington, May 10
A senior US security official in Kabul has earlier said that Islamabad was not doing enough to help flush out Taliban and Al-Qaida leaders from its territory.
Pakistan has been accused of providing a safe haven to the Taliban and Al-Qaida leadership in its tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, a charge denied by Islamabad.
Marvin Weinbaum, Scholar-in-Residence, Middle East Institute, Washington, said without Pakistan’s support Taliban would not have managed to survive under such intense international pressure.
‘‘During the Jihad of the 1980s, that’s what kept the insurgency alive and that’s important today. It’s not to say the Taliban don’t have assets within Pakistan and could not manage operations as well, but they are being supplied, they are bringing in fresh volunteers and so on. This is all dependent on having free access to Pakistan and that is going on. All the denials notwithstanding, there is traffic across the border and without that there could not be an effective Taliban regime,’’ said Marvin Weinbaum.
Pakistan says it has sent 80,000 troops to tribal areas on the border to flush out foreign militants and subdue their Pakistani allies but they face stiff opposition from Pashtun tribesmen who sympathise with the militants and resent the army’s presence.
Marvin said tackling this issue was one of the biggest challenges facing the Pakistani Government. He added that the US considered the struggle in Pakistan's Baluchistan province as an internal problem of the country and Washington did not see a need to interfere.
‘‘Let me say this about Baluchistan and the US - I think the US does not take great interest in Baluchistan. It views Baluchistan as an internal problem, not when it comes to possible infiltration by the Taliban, but the fighting insurrection that’s taking place against the government where the tribesmen are opposing regular military forces from Islamabad. Here the US, to my knowledge, has informed Pakistan-this is something the US is not going to interfere in yet,’’ Marvin said.
A simmering conflict in Baluchistan flared afresh in December after tribesmen mounted a rocket attack during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf. Militants regularly blow up gas pipelines, railway lines and electricity transmission lines, and launch rocket attacks on government buildings and army bases.
Weinbaum said innocent civilians are caught in the stand-off between the central government and the Baluch insurgents, which is a serious concern for Pakistan.
To win back support in the poorest of Pakistan's four provinces, Musharraf has announced plans for major infrastructure projects in Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.
‘‘I think many Pakistanis are convinced there is no military solution. There has to be a political solution, but the problem is, even though the government has come in with some promises, particularly of economic assistance, the leadership amongst the insurgents in Baluchistan has unified as it had not been unified say in the past - the very serious insurrection was in the mid 1970s. At that time, they were not unified, (as) they are today and the population there just does not trust the central government- and that’s the problem. How do you rebuild trust so that you can negotiate?" Weinbaum said. — ANI
United Nations, May 10
The new body, which will replace Commission on Human Rights, elected 43 members of the 47-member council yesterday through secret ballot.
The other South Asian nations elected to the council were Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
India secured 173 votes out of the 191-member General Assembly, suggestive of the widespread respect it enjoys for its rights record.
One member nation abstained from the voting.
Islamabad got 149 votes, Indonesia 165, Bangladesh 160, Japan and China polled 158 and 146 votes respectively.
A minimum of 96 votes were required by a member to be elected to the body.
Hailing the outcome, the Permanent Mission of India (PMI) to the United Nations said, ''India attaches great importance to the newly established Human Rights Council and it will work to make the council a strong, effective and efficient body capable of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedom for all.''
The United States, an outspoken critic of the old human rights commission, voted against creating the council, arguing barriers were still too low to keep rights abusers from winning a seat. It then decided against seeking a seat this year.
Despite the ''no'' vote, US envoy to the UN John Bolton pledged that his country would cooperate with other member nations to make the council as effective as possible.
In the 47-member council, Asia has 13, Africa 13, Latin America and the Caribbean 8, Western and other nations 7 and Eastern Europe has 6 seats. Members in the Africa group were elected unanimously as the seats and the contesting nations were the same.
The members are given terms of one, two or three years, as determined by the drawing of lots, so that from the fourth year, one-third of the council members will be elected each subsequent year.
In the draw of lots, India's term is one year. ''But this year is crucial as during it a new human rights machinery would be shaped,'' the Indian Mission added. — UNI
China’s strategy to dominate world
The recently concluded fourth session of the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing should make people in Asia at least sit up and take note. The “Report on the Work of the Government” delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao to the session outlined the nation’s ambitions, requirements, demands and methods to achieve all these and more.
The case made by Premier Wen was that China was no longer chasing communism or socialism. What it aimed at was a strong, unitary system that would brook no criticism or opposition in its conduct both internally and externally.
The People’s Republic of China has been growing at the rate of 8 per cent in the last decade. In the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) it wants to grow at 7.5 per cent. Given China’s compulsive determination to rise as a nation to contend with the world’s only super power, the larger world is unlikely to remain untouched. Leaving aside the bubbles and quicksand in China’s economic development, the overall growth is a phenomenon not witnessed in history.
In achieving these staggering statistics over the past two decades, the country has also greatly wasted its limited national resources. Many analysts have forgotten that in order to notch impressive statistics, China’s state-owned factories devoured huge, irreplaceable resources to produce what they called “shoddy goods”, which would be ultimately destroyed each year. That phenomenon has been arrested to an extent.
Fortunately for China, however, their poor quality products have found markets in the underdeveloped and developing countries, including India. At the same time, it must be noted that foreign investment has ensured that every second toy in the world is made in China, and so is the demand for China made shoes, textiles and other light industry products. The policy-makers in Beijing are, however, stressed. Production depends on two crucial inputs — energy and raw material. Last year, 26 provinces reeled under power shortage, forcing the closure of industries.
The country is actually dependent on foreign sources for energy and raw material. A major export from India to China is of iron ore. China’s energy supply has become increasingly dependent upon imported crude oil and natural gas. Currently, 70 per cent of its energy imports pass through the Indian Ocean. Added to this is its industrial inefficiency, which is three times that of India and five times that of the developed countries.
While India’s industrial efficiency is developing, China’s industry has a long tail going back to the 1950s and 1960s. Former Premier Zhu Rongji had promised in 1987 that State-owned Enterprises (SoEs) would be reformed in three years. That was a very tall order and would take a long time to resolve.
China wants to dominate Asia first, and then challenge the USA. It has embarked on both paths simultaneously following Mao Zedong’s theory of “walking on two legs”, in a new strategic approach. Dominate Asia in a multi-pronged approach of veiled threats, subversion and placation. If the last fails, the first will be applied. The second is a constant.
In the global scenario, China’s economic powerhouse is poised to overtake most countries except Japan and the USA in the short to medium terms. In military, especially in strategic forces, it is behind the USA and Russia.
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