Role of INGOs
Reema Shaukat

SOMETIMES in developing countries, governments require the services of non-profit or non-governmental organizations to outreach masses and address the specific issues. These Non-governmental Organizations or NGOs play an important role in the social uplift and economic growth of developing countries. Their main task is to provide support to society through welfare works and help the community in developing a required sustainable system. The prime goal by NGOs is to fill in those gaps in providing services that are not undertaken by government or private sector and hence play their constructive role in rebuilding any society. NGO work or activities are not limited towards social, environmental, human rights issues or advocacy but the social sciences emphasize their importance in enhancing social integration, implementation of goals, building civil society, social dialogue and participatory democracy.

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New US special envoy’s Pak-Afghan peace overtures
S M Hali

Uphill tasks The newly appointed American special representative for Afghan peace and reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Pakistan for the second time after assuming his current assignment of special envoy of the US president to Afghanistan. His previous visit last month was in tow with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, which was an introductory one although Zalmay Khalilzad needs no introduction in Pakistan, where he was perceived as being hostile to his country of origin’s eastern neighbour.

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India’s S-400 tripwire act
S M Hali

The high point of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to New Delh, i was finalizing the $5 billion Dollars’ deal for Indian acquisition of the Russian S-400 Triumf, air defence missile system. The contract with Russia is likely to invoke American sanctions under the US administration’s domestic law, “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA), to impose sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions” with Iran, North Korea or Russia.

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International media’s unwarranted criticism
Mohammad Jamil

LOOKING at scathing criticism of judiciary and military by the media, one could say that media is free otherwise how they could use vitriolic against the institutions. The international media highlighted the court hearing against journalist Cyril Almeida along with two former PMs of Pakistan, and described it as a new pressure on Pakistani media and an attack on the freedom of speech. A few Pakistani media houses have joined the chorus alleging that country’s new government favored by military is using intimidating tactics against the media. Recently, CJP Justice Saqib Nisar’s remarks against Punjab CM and PTI parliamentarians show that Judiciary is unbiased. Anyhow, many believed that Nawaz Sharif’s interview to the journalist Cyril Almeida and earlier the Dawn Leaks were violations of the oath. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is also said to have violated the oath by disclosing the information of NSC Committee’s meeting.

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Attacks on shrines
MAEMUNA SADAF

Since Pakistan joined the war on terror with the United States and its allies, a wave of terrorist attacks entered the country. Sufi Shrines, religious places, and sectarian killings started. These attacks brought massive killings and collateral damage to the country. Looking into history, a chain of bomb attacks and suicide attacks started in 2005. The terror attacks started with the attack on Shrine of Rakhel Shah, in the remote village of Fateh pur in District Jhal Magsi. On 27 May, 2005 Bari Imam Shrine Islamabad was attacked while a Majlis was going on there. The terrorist attack was to flare up emotions of Shia community. This was a huge attack to bring in sectarian riots in the country. “Ulema” saved the country by acting right on time.

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18 INGOs asked to shut down operations after due process, EU told
Mian Abrar

—Interior minister tells EU Pakistan’s security won’t be compromised —Sources say INGOs were involved in anti-state activities ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday told the European Union (EU) that 18 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) had been asked to shut down operations in Pakistan after due process due to security concerns.

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Do we need NACTA in present form?
Iqbal Khan

A committee has been formed to suggest revision of role and task of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). Ironically while terrorist activities are almost coming to an end, this entity is yet to stand on its feet, despite being in existence for nearly a decade, in one form or the other. This is a horrible example of how difficult it is to raise and sustain an autonomous institution, notwithstanding the necessity and urgency. NACTA did not come under due focus until its strengthening was included as a formal agenda item of National Action Plan, 2014. Even then, NACTA continues to remain dormant due to dearth of quality human resource. It has become a parking place for “unwanted” police officers and other “non-cooperative” bureaucrats.

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Afghan peace longing for a Messiah
Iqbal Khan

ENSURING that upcoming parliamentary election passes off smoothly and without major occurrences of violence is the top priority for the Afghan government and its allies—foreign occupation forces. Last month Taliban representatives met an Afghan government delegation in Saudi Arabia to discuss security ahead of elections and a limited prisoner release. “They requested us to help them conduct peaceful elections,” said a Taliban official. “The Afghan delegation has agreed with us on the release of prisoners,” he said. Some prisoners facing minor charges have already been released. “Some of our senior people were not in the favour of holding talks with the Afghan government as until now we were calling them puppets and refused to meet them,” said a Qatar based Taliban leader. Reportedly, meeting in Saudi Arabia came after plans for another meeting with American officials broke down over US demand for a 90 days’ ceasefire. Ceasefire request was something Taliban leadership could not agree to.

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Sushma Swaraj chastised at home
S M Hali

For UNGA hate-speech Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who delivered her hate-filled speech targeting Pakistan at the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) 73rd Summit on behalf of India, is facing severe criticism back home by political adversaries of the government and independent intellectuals.

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Bajwa’s Beijing sojourn
S M Hali

COAS General Qamar Jawed Bajwa made a high profile three day visit to Beijing, where he was afforded the opportunity to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping. This level of protocol is normally not provided to visiting heads of militaries but an exception was made in the case of General Bajwa. The Pakistani Army Chief also held meetings with his Chinese counterpart, officials of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other senior dignitaries, with whom he held discussions on bilateral security cooperation.

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Urban Naxal of India & communal politics
Adeela Naureen

Before talking of Urban Naxals, I would take a leaf from Kauravi’s syndicate article on Nagalim and Naxalism published in the Nation in Dec last year to apprise the readers about the actual Naxals. “Naxal movement derives its strength from Maoist ideology, was started by Charu Majumdar in 60s and wants to establish the Naxal Republic with the rule of the proletariat. Naxals are organised into military platoons, wings, and battalions, ranging between 50 to 500 in strength and having a total mass of 25000-armed rebels with indirect support from almost 200 million people in 160 districts. With their heroes and fountain heads like Charu Majumdar, Jangal Santhal and Kanu Sanyal who perished in the fight for Naxalism, the new generation of young Naxalists is taking the movement to a new high. Currently, new leaders like Lakshmana Rao ‘Ganapathy’ are fighting for the cause of Naxalism. Despite all the negativism fomented by mainstream media, Charu Majumdar is still alive and adored in the forests of Eastern Indian seaboard, also called the Red corridor”.

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A resilient nation
Reema Shaukat

Pakistan if faces security defies on its external facades then it equally tackles with some domestic challenges and natural catastrophes on its ground. Oct 08 could be termed as “National Resilience Day”, not only to remember those souls who lost their lives in dreadful earthquake of 2005 in history of Pakistan. But this day also calls for preparations for any kind of natural disaster or calamity which knows no borders. After the problems and hinges faced by earthquake of 2005, it was felt that there should be some central management authority that not only maintains the database but prepare the countrymen for any kind of calamity in Pakistan. Thus National Disaster Management Authority NDMA, was established to cater not only with any kind of disaster but time to time provide necessary guidelines to people to avoid collateral damage on ground.

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At crossroads of UNGA
Reema Shaukat

FOR the past few weeks Pakistan remained usual target of Indian belligerent attitude where India took many U-turns. As the annual session of United Nations General Assembly is held at end of September every year where each member state gets a chance to speak about the challenges hindering global peace. This platform is not only a way to interact with representatives present there but a special chance for those countries who are experiencing threats and tough times and are particularly in war zone. India and Pakistan are two nuclear armed neighbours and their relationship is hop scotch since the beginning and often remains virulent. Indian policies are viewed as hostile not only for Pakistan but for region particularly where arms race, practicing Hindutva ideologies and implementing on other states by use of force and blame game continues with different tactics time and again.

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Can Imran Khan salvage the situation?
Mohammad Jamil

IMRAN Khan was indisputably the greatest cricketers to emerge from Pakistan and the world’s second-best all-rounder after Garry Sobers. He took a mediocre side and won the World Cup in 1992. Since his foray in politics in 1996, he waged consistent struggle against corruption, and it is due to his perseverance and vision that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is today the largest national party. Understanding the ground realities, he blended pragmatism with idealism and took electables and independents into party’s fold, which ensured his party’s victory, but in a way he is slightly handicapped in implementing his policies. Nevertheless, he should tread carefully, and watch parliamentarians of his party and ministers so that they do not make blunders that could be exploited by the opposition especially PML-N and the PPP who have significant presence in the assemblies. Therefore, the accountability should be across-the-board including members of PTI.

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Efforts to promote interfaith harmony
Mohammad Jamil

ON Wednesday, a discussion for promotion of interfaith harmony and coexistence in light of the Paigham-i-Pakistan narrative against terrorism and extremism was organized by the International Islamic University. A delegation comprising British Members of Parliament and members of National Commission for Human Rights graced the occasion on the new campus of the university. The speakers agreed that the Paigham-i-Pakistan narrative could prove a true harbinger of tolerance, justice, equality and protection of rights, expressed their views and lauded the efforts for interfaith harmony. In April 2018, Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) had conducted a workshop on “Engaging on freedom of faith and inter-faith harmony in Pakistan”, in Islamabad. It was attended by around 20 experts, faith leaders, and development professionals who had worked in the domain of interfaith harmony, from Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. There is a realization that interfaith harmony is imperative for peace and progress.

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