June 15, 2013

BALOCHISTAN: Peace linked to missing persons’ recovery: Dr. Malik

 June 15, 2013 Bari Baloch

QUETTA - Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Maalik said that efforts are being made to persuade civil and military leadership to resolve issues being faced by the province.

He expressed these views while talking to media Friday after visiting missing person’s hunger strike camp set up by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons outside the Press Club. The hunger strike camp has been established for the last 1,177 days and the CM has visited it for the first time after taking oath.

Maalik accompanied by other NP leaders assured the VBMP vice president that his government is serious in resolving missing person issue, adding that he had also taken up the matter with Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif.

“Enforced disappearances and recovery of decomposed bodies of missing persons are the serious issues of the province,” he said adding, “We have made it clear to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that recovery of missing persons is vital to restore peace in Balochistan.”

To a query, he said that every sector including health and education has been ruined. The government, he said, is facing several challenges. He called upon all sections of the society to come forward in dealing with the challenges facing Balochistan government. He stated that efforts are being made to introduce good governance in Balochistan.

On the occasion, VBMS leader Mama Abdul Qadir thanked the chief minister and his delegation for visiting the missing persons’ camp and apprised them about the issue. “We have been observing hunger strike camp for the last three years and none of the government official ever bothered to visit our camp, expressing solidarity with the missing persons’ relatives,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that more than 15 bodies of missing person were recovered since May 11, 2013 and five decomposed bodies were recovered on the day when Dr Abdul Malik was taking oath.


IRAN: High Turnout in Election Shows People's Trust in Voting System

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Iran's Basij (volunteer) Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi underlined that participation of over 70% of eligible voters in Iran's presidential election on Friday displayed that Iranian people have deep trust in the Islamic Republic's electoral process.

"The partnership of people from all walks of life (in the presidential election) showed that the Iranian people trust the electoral system of the country and consider the Islamic Republic as one of the most clean and trustworthy systems," Naqdi said in Tehran on Saturday.

His remarks came in response to the foreign media claims on election fraud in 2009 presidential election in which outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the voting but the Iranian people showed the incorrectness of such allegations by their 64% turnout in the last parliamentary election and their over 70% participation rate in yesterday's presidential election.

Naqdi stressed that the Iranians' massive turnout in the presidential election also proved the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the western sanctions against Iran which were aimed at creating division between the country's people and the ruling system.

The 11th presidential and the 4th city and village councils elections were held at 66,285 polling stations in Iran and 96 other world countries on Friday.

Campaigning for the June 14 presidential election kicked off in Iran on May 22 after the Guardian Council released the list of 8 qualified candidates, although only 6 remained in the race.

The qualified candidates represented a wide range of political streams from Principlists to reformists.

A number of 50,470,000 people were eligible to vote in the elections. 1.6 million youths came to be eligible to vote for the first time in their lives as the voting age in Iran is above 18 according to the law.

Early poll results said Hassan Rouhani, the former Iranian nuclear negotiator, is running ahead of the other candidates in Iran's 11th presidential election.

Iran's election headquarters announced on Saturday that Rouhani has 3,219,322 votes out of a total of 6,387,317 counted.

June 13, 2013

Time for Japan, India to go beyond words

By Sourabh Gupta

During the last week of May, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid a return visit to Tokyo in keeping with a tradition inaugurated by him and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in 2007 to exchange summit-level visits on an annual basis. China's cancellation of the 2013 Trilateral (Japan-China-Korea) Summit meeting, slated for late-May, opened space on the calendar for the Abe-Singh meeting.

China's equally short-notice announcement of a Premier Li Keqiang visit to New Delhi in May and its attendant engineering of a mini-crisis on the disputed China-India frontier that drained political and bureaucratic attention from preparations for the Japan visit, robbed the Abe-Singh meeting of substantive content. There

was modest progress in resuming negotiations toward a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation accord.

At first blush, Prime Ministers Singh and Abe are a study in contrasts. Of modest upbringing, calm demeanor, and apolitical technocratic bent, Singh has reigned over the world's largest democracy for nine years despite having never won a popular election. Abe, by contrast, traces his personal lineage to the economic czar of war-time Manchuria (and future prime minister), Kishi Nobusuke, and his political lineage to Choshu and its pioneering traditions of national reform, revivalism, and restoration constructed around the identity of a timeless Japanese nation. His tenure in the Diet has been as continuous (since 1993) as his first stint as prime minister in 2006-07 was short-lived.

By all accounts though, both prime ministers genuinely enjoy each other's company - a rarity among current world leaders. Neither has lost his deep affection, further, for his counterpart's country or its role in their respective world views, with Abe even reiterating his belief that the Japan-India relationship has the largest potential of any bilateral relationship, bar none. The goodwill between the two is mirrored in the state of bilateral ties and the rapid strategic strides taken over the past decade or so - at least on paper.

In April 2005, Singh and prime minister Junichiro Koizumi declared a Japan-India Partnership in a New Asian Era, inaugurating an eight-fold initiative to strengthen bilateral ties. In December 2006, the relationship was elevated to a Strategic and Global Partnership by Abe and Singh. A Roadmap to realize this strategic partnership was unveiled in August 2007 during Abe's visit to New Delhi. To embed the strategic dimension of Indo-Japanese cooperation within the larger bilateral partnership, prime minister Taro Aso and Singh issued a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in October 2008.

To reinforce the notion that the landmark change in party fortunes in Tokyo had no negative impact on the relationship, Democratic Party of Japan prime minister Yukio Hatoyama and Singh drew up an Action Plan in December 2009 to advance security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation. At the October 2010 Japan-India annual summit, prime minister Naoto Kan and Singh drew up a Vision Statement for their strategic partnership for the next decade - an Enhancement to which was agreed by prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and Singh in December 2011.

The reality of strategic cooperation has been less impressive. Aside from participation within the Tsunami Core Group relief effort in 2004, joint involvement in a flashy five-power exercise in the Bay of Bengal alongside the United States, Australia, and Singapore in 2007, and an ongoing anti-piracy convoy coordination mission in collaboration with China's PLA Navy, instances of Japan-India maritime and strategic cooperation have been relatively few.

The first bilateral exercise between the Indian and Japanese navies was conducted only in June 2012. More to the point, both countries have placed a shallow operational ceiling to their scope of strategic cooperation in Asia and beyond.

Just before the Japan-India Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation was signed (October 2008), a similar Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation was signed (March 2007) by prime ministers Abe and John Howard. Action Plans to realize those declarations were issued in 2009 by both sets of countries. The Japan-India Declaration and accompanying Action Plan, unlike its Japan-Australia counterpart, omits a reference to trilateral cooperation with the United States as well as fails to provision for bilateral logistics cooperation and classified information sharing.

Both such agreements, by contrast, were stitched up between Canberra and Tokyo in May 2010 and May 2012. A Japan-India defense relationship that is not premised in principle or letter on functionally joined common actions is likely to bump up quickly against natural limits - staff talks, ship and aircraft visits, bilateral exercises, and unit exchanges between defense divisions, by themselves, not amounting to much.

Bilateral cooperation frameworks aside, both Japan and India appear to operate within a set of self-imposed limitations that confine the practical scope of such cooperation.

On the Indian end, limits appear to be informal. In its Indian Ocean zone of core interest, New Delhi as a matter of principle seems disinclined to be appended to US and allied "coalition of the willing" missions - be it in regards to nonproliferation (Proliferation Security Initiative), anti-terrorism (Indian Ocean refueling operations) or nontraditional security (anti-piracy).

The preference rather is to participate in only blue-helmeted missions or those that come under broad-based umbrellas such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum and perhaps the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus. To avoid any hint of alignment with selective "minilateral" groupings, joint exercises across a broad range of maritime security activities, including search-and-rescue, minesweeping, tactical maneuvers and passage exercises, are likely to remain bilateral.

Overall, security collaboration in the Indian Ocean region will stay geared to cooperating with most, aligning with none, keeping the seas open to free passage and closed to great power contestation. And while New Delhi has participated in trilateral exercises with Washington and Tokyo in the waters of the East China Sea, it is by no means clear that New Delhi envisages the extension of any security obligation to these extra-regional waters.

Tokyo, on the other hand, remains hemmed in by a slew of constitutional and administrative restraints, the most notable only of which is its inability to lend support, let alone be joined in the use of force, to a fellow state actor in a combat zone even in its own backyard (defined as "areas surrounding Japan").

That Tokyo can credibly signal itself to be a significant conventional security partner in an extra-regional theater (that is, west of Malacca) would appear to be implausible - particularly at a time when its geographic horizons are retreating to its core "Far East" theater of strategic interest.

Although the Abe government can be expected to appropriately reinterpret/revise some of these constitutional restraints so as to expand the perimeter of defense cooperation with foreign partners, the scope of such exemptions is unlikely to noticeably benefit non-allied security partners like India.

Rather, the bulk of such reinterpretations or exemptions, much like the December 2011 Three Arms Sales Principles exception instituted by the Noda government, will be overwhelmingly geared to enhancing defense industrial base integration and operational joint-ness with Japan's Western alliance and security partners.

Clearly, Japan and India are not likely to be military partners in a conventional security contingency featuring China, now or any time soon. That they can be political partners though in navigating the management of China's rise will require that the security elements of their strategic cooperation be credible and meaningful - and be seen to be credible and meaningful. For that to be the case, Japan and India must find a way to engage in scenario-relevant practical cooperation on the ground and at sea such that joint actions during contingencies can adequately be planned for.

The nature of defense exchanges need to be premised on information exchange, logistics sharing, formulation of joint contingency plans for non-traditional security operations and joint exercises premised on joint response to such contingencies.

As a first step, the two countries need a basic military information exchange accord like the General Security of Military Information Agreement that New Delhi and Washington signed in 2002. Down the line, cooperation in the area of search-and-rescue, anti-submarine warfare surveillance and minesweeping can be conceived.

Second, Japan and India must agree to share equipment and supplies during United Nations blue-helmeted operations. Gradually, such logistics and equipment sharing can be extended to cover a range of other nontraditional security missions. Down the line, New Delhi will be well-served to strike up logistics cooperation arrangements with all Indian Ocean sea-lines of communications users and so restore, in time, the ocean to its historic role as a thoroughfare for all and a threatened barrier to none.

Equally, Tokyo needs to loosen its restrictive weapons-use rules so that its personnel can provide modest armed assistance to Indian and multilateral state partners in non-traditional security missions.

Third, at this time both countries need to keep their defense cooperation strictly bilateral - at best, shadowing emerging developments in security cooperation among like-minded partners. The vocabulary of a "broader Asia", an "Indo-Pacific", or an "Indo-Asia-Pacific" region has tended to run ahead of commitments and interests on the ground. Japan isn't India's security partner of choice in South Asia nor is India Japan's in East Asia, nor will this state of affairs change anytime soon. Tightly-knit Japan-India security arrangements need to be framed horizontally instead within the emerging practice of Asian security multilateralism.

Fundamentally, however, both India and Japan need to re-visit some cherished precepts of foreign policy. Although swayed by competing currents of Asia-centered or autonomy-oriented diplomacy, modern-day Japan has rarely been able to postulate an order independent of a Western-led diplomatic and alliance framework. Within this scheme of things, Tokyo's relations with distant Asian actors has been an afterthought, resting in part on the need to compensate and rebalance for its inability to forge enduring partnerships with its neighbors.

Post-independence India's foreign policy, by contrast, has never sought to articulate an identity within the framework of an alliance system - be it Western or any other, and continues even today to remain conspicuously committed to a pluralistic model of a cooperative security order. Within this scheme of things, independent-minded powers capable of exercising autonomy of judgment and decision-making are accorded a position a preference.

If Japan-India strategic cooperation is to realize its potential in Asia and beyond, both Tokyo and New Delhi will have to de-emphasize a tad-bit the virtues of alliance or autonomy, respectively, and accommodate the virtues of alignment a lot more.

Sourabh Gupta (sgupta@samuelsinternational.com) is a senior research associate at Samuels International Associates, Inc.

(Copyright 2013 PacNet)

BALOCHISTAN: Munir Mengal with Dr. Charles Graves at UNO - Bolan Times

Dr. Charles Graves with Munir Mengal by dm_51b550e5e9c89

"Create the Future" Design Contest

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Hindu lawmaker in Pakistan raises fears of his community's exodus

Monday, Jun 10, 2013, 17:09 IST | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI

Mahesh Malani, the only non-Muslim elected to the Sindh Assembly from Tharparkar, claimed discrimination against Hindus, the country's largest minority group, was forcing them to migrate to 'safer places'.

A Hindu legislator has cautioned Pakistan's new government about a possible exodus of members of his minority community and called for quick and effective legislation to safeguard their rights, according to a media report on Monday.

Mahesh Malani, the only non-Muslim elected to the Sindh Assembly from Tharparkar, claimed discrimination against Hindus, the country's largest minority group, was forcing them to migrate to "safer places".

"The increasing sense of insecurity, caused by issues like forced conversion of Hindu girls to Islam, is compelling the community members to migrate to other places (like India)," Malani was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Malani, who contested the May 11 polls as a candidate of the Pakistan People's Party, has been pushing for a proposed law seeking registration of Hindu marriages since 2008.

He said the new government should form committees in every district to deal with the problems of minorities.

These committees should comprise Muslims, non-Muslims and members of the Council of Islamic Ideology and they should take up cases related to alleged forced conversions and forced marriages.

Rampant poverty is the main reason behind such incidents, particularly in Sindh where Hindus make up a substantial chunk of the population, he said.

Some Hindu businessmen are shifting their businesses due to the lawlessness in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi, Malani said.

Since September last year, nearly 1,000 Hindu families have been struggling to migrate to India, the report claimed.

Some of them succeeded in making their way to India, a "development likely to raise questions about Pakistan's ability to protect its religious minorities", it said.

Several Hindu welfare organisations at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, which shares a border with Sindh, extended their support to Pakistani migrants, said Ramesh Jaipal of Hare Rama Foundation.

Leaders of the Hindu community had taken up the issue with Pakistan's Supreme Court,which ordered the implementation of laws to address the concerns of minorities, Jaipal said.

"The existing laws should be implemented to protect their rights – this was the court's order," said Malani, who earlier served as a parliamentarian in a seat reserved for minorities.

Nine legislators currently represent minorities in the Sindh Assembly, eight in the Punjab Assembly and three each in the legislatures of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 

Iranian presidential election: strengthening or weakening the new Mongol empire?

Contributor:  Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan Military Academy 
Posted:  06/10/2013  12:00:00 AM EDT    

Presidential election, strengthening or weakening of the new Mongol empire?
Over the past few years, Iran has moved much closer to China but also to Russia. This pragmatic alliance based on the Sino-Iranian axis is marked by mutual geopolitical support, close cooperation with the Russian energetic hinterland and the dissemination of a global vision that challenges our own stereotypes. Does Iran wish to build a new Mongol Empire with its two strategic partners? Between 1206 and 1294, the Turkish-Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan indeed extended over Central Asia before it broke up into four blocks. Beyond the debate on the huge domestic challenges of the Islamic Republic, the presidential election of 14 June 2013 will be an opportunity to consider a possible inflection of Iran's international position. Marked by an ancient cooperation with China and Russia, Iran now has the choice between strengthening or loosening its relations with its strategic partners.

The alliance of Iran with China and Russia, through the prism of history

Despite the vicissitudes that troubled their respective histories, the Empires of Iran and China have managed to maintain a continuous relationship for a long time. This can be explained by mutual commercial interests. Between the fifth century BC and the Renaissance, Persia played a fundamental commercial intermediation role between China and the West. The Silk Road, which has connected for nearly a thousand years the city of Chang'an in China to Syria, passes through Persia. Today, with the sharp increase in maritime insecurity, Iran is dreaming of regaining its traditional intermediation role. This is facilitated by the fact that Persia and China have long backed one another from a political point of view. Pressed by Western Turks on his eastern flank, the last Sassanid ruler Yazdegerd III sent an embassy to the Emperor of China in 638. Similarly, in 1987, when the rumour spread that Iran had installed missile batteries in the Strait of Hormuz, the Chinese were immediately suspected of having sold ballistic equipment to Iran. Geopolitical collusion between Iran and China is due in large part to the fact that these countries have mutually stimulated each other through the respective innovations they introduced. Despite their chaotic histories, China and Persia have managed to maintain a good relationship. Three peaks of cooperation can be mentioned: the Sassanid, Mongolian and contemporary eras. For its part, the collaboration between Russia and Iran appeared later. From the reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725) onwards, Russia expanded its influence to the south. Russian-Iranian relations, initially bearing the hallmark of the Russian search for influence, have developed into a true partnership. Does this mean that Iran, China and Russia today form a genuine tripartite alliance?

Potential and limits of the new Mongol Empire

Despite the collapse of the ancient Mongol empire, it seems that the main protagonists of this epic have reformed a new alliance. The same causes producing the same effects, it is perhaps not absurd to speak of the emergence of a new Mongol Empire. Let us consider the facts. In 2001, China and Russia founded the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. One of the main objectives of this organisation was to counter the American influence in Central Asia. Tajikistan is one of the founding members of the organisation. It was joined by Iran in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2012, which were granted observer status. This means that the entire Persian-speaking world now belongs to the alliance. Totalling 1.5 billion people on 26 million square kilometres, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization concentrates 50% of world uranium and 40% of world coal. It conducts joint military exercises and exchanges in the fields of medicine and nanotechnology. This collusion between Iran, China and Russia nevertheless remains discreet and is visible in distant conflicts such as Syria or North Korea. The new Mongol empire has a definite advantage: none of the three civilizations that compose it believes that it belongs to a common cultural sphere. Rejecting the Western chimera of the abolition of frontiers, the three states will combine in future their pragmatism with a capacity for influence drawn from their respective pasts. This explains why above all the new plastic alliance fears the dissolving potential of globalisation.

Forming a true community of interest, the new Mongol empire propounds a highly original vision of the world. It must however overcome three structural weaknesses. The first is demographic. Since 1991, the Russian population has been declining due to a simultaneous decrease in the birth rate and increase in the death rate. The efforts of the government have only partially limited the collapse. In China, the inexorable consequences of the birth limitation policy threaten future growth. As far as Iran is concerned, fertility has come down from five children per woman of childbearing age in 1979 to 1.9 today. The consequences of this demographic decline are all too predictable: China, Russia and Iran will experience a sharp decline in imagination and innovation. These states will have to increase productivity in order to make up for the manpower shortfall. If they fail to recover, they will be unable to exert influence in the long run. Second, and in contrast to the thirteenth century, these three civilizations today encircle the island of Turkish civilization that once brought them together –China continues its policy of containment of the Turkic minorities of Xinjiang, Russia strives to control Altaic peoples of the Caucasus. Iran, for its part, sees Turkey as a regional rival. Thirdly, these three continental powers suffer from a real naval deficit. Iran, which achieved world power major status when it controlled its surrounding maritime areas, has opted for nuclear energy and against sea power. China, meanwhile, has experienced a recent naval reversal. However, it takes years to build a naval policy, and at present the new Mongol empire only controls part of the Eurasian continent.

The Iranian elections and the future of the new Mongol Empire

Just as was the case with the previous election, the Iranian presidential election to be held on June 14, will be analysed carefully by Western commentators quick to imagine a competition between conservatives and reformers. Instead of waiting naively for a hypothetical "Persian Spring", the election should be considered in its broader geopolitical context. It is indeed highly unlikely that a victory of the reformers would undermine the ideological foundations of the regime. It seems more important to focus on the geopolitical inflections that could occur after the elections. Among the candidates, A. H. Rafsanjani, before his candidacy was invalidated by the Council of the Constitution, could have embodied a return to lethargy for the new Mongol empire – with Iran and the United States moving closer to each other. Conversely, Saeed Jalili symbolizes the continued shift of the Islamic Republic to the east.
The Islamic Republic will continue its Ostpolitik in order to break at any price its diplomatic isolation. Iran is clearly playing alongside Russia on the Syrian issue. Relations with China are more complicated, since Beijing has taken advantage of its position of power, paying for Iranian oil with nonconvertible yuan, and flooding the Islamic Republic with mediocre products that ruin the Iranian small and medium sized enterprises. But, much more than his political affiliation, it is the personality of the new president that will play a decisive role in the country's position in the new Mongol empire. It would indeed be necessary for the new Iranian President to have exceptional charisma if Iran wants to become the leader of this odd alliance. After all, for Iran, assuming leadership of the new Mongol empire is only a stopgap alternative compared with the potential direction of the entire Muslim world –a dream that runs up against two obstacles, Iran being neither Arab nor Sunni.

Stéphane Baudens, Cultural and political analysis
Jean-Marie Holtzinger, Russian foreign policy
Michel Makinsky, Iranian domestic policy
Jérôme Pâris, Geopolitical issues
Norbert Lacher, Foreign policy of Iran
Antoine de Prémonville, History of central Asia
Anne-Sophie Traversac, Law and institutions
Serge Auffret, Communication and Government
Thomas Flichy, Coordination

The views developed in this article are those of its authors and should not be considered an official position of the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan Military Academy or its Research Centre.

Busy Internal Security Agenda: Maoists, Police Reforms and the NCTC

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