Moeed Yusuf, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace.
Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments
U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia
Saturday, September 29, 2018
5774 Mowry School Rd, Newark, CA 94560
With depth and insight, Dr. Moeed Yusuf urges the international community to rethink its approach to nuclear deterrence. All cold war nuclear crises involved one or both superpowers and were shaped by their competition. Dr. Yusuf offers an innovative theory of brokered bargaining to better understand and solve regional crises. Drawing on the history of conflicts between nuclear Pakistan and India, during the Kargil (1999), the Twin-Peaks (2002) and the Mumbai (2008) crises, Dr. Yusuf describes the potential for third-party intervention to avert nuclear war. Moving beyond the widely accepted rational deterrence model, Dr. Yusuf offers an original perspective rooted in a thoughtful analysis of the ways regional powers behave and maneuver in response to the pressures of strong global powers.
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Ms. Reham Khan discusses the dwindling media in Pakistan. How populist leadership is taking over the world. Why the opposition to those neo-nationalists is usually weak and powerless.
She also discussed how she dealt with her emotional issues after her breakup with Imran Khan.
Reham Khan, Fascism, Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer), Misbah Azam, Imran Khan, Media, Mass Communication, Pakistan Media Censorship.
Moeed W. Yusuf is the associate vice president of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Yusuf has been engaged in expanding USIP’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. His current research focuses on youth and democratic institutions in Pakistan, policy options to mitigate militancy in Pakistan and the South Asian region in general, and U.S. role in South Asian crisis management. His latest book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia, was released by Stanford University Press in May 2018. The book offers an innovative theory of brokered bargaining to better understand and solve regional nuclear crises.
Can be read in Nayadaur TV
Investigative journalism, according to one definition, is a form of journalism in which journalists/reporters deeply investigate a single topic, such as serious crimes, political corruption, frauds, corporate wrongdoings, governments’ agencies cover-up, conspiracy theories, social issues, etc. Journalists may have to spend months or even years of research, investigation, information collection, and then on the basis of the investigation and research, prepare reports and bring the truth in public knowledge.
Practitioners sometimes use the terms ‘watchdog reporting’ or ‘accountability reporting’. According to the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), investigative journalism definitions vary among professional groups. There are broad understandings and a wide range of acceptance of the major parameters of investigative journalism.
One such definition is in-depth, and systematic research and then dredging up of secrets. The originality in the research involves wide-ranging use of public records, data and insiders’ information. However, due to the severe competition among the media outlets, it is seen that largely, media persons rely on weak and speculative information which is largely based on the perceptions and reporters’ and their employers’ biases and agendas.
In countries like Pakistan, there is a sizeable number of journalists who present their analysis and reports after going through all necessary checks. However, a large number of pf journalists here are pseudo-investigative journalists (the irony is that lots of them are not even journalists). They rely on messages from government functionaries and/or agencies. They can be referred to as “WhatsApp journalists” – since most instructions are circulated via Whatsapp.
We have all heard the story about the 6 blind men and the elephant by a famous American poet, John Godfrey Saxe, who re-narrated the Indian parable “The Blind Men and the Elephant”. The six blind men were brought next to an elephant and they were asked to describe it by touching and feeling it. Because they only touched one part of the elephant, they came up with different descriptions – ranging from the tree (leg), wall (side) and spear (tusk), to fan (ear), rope (tail) and snake (trunk) – and as a consequence, they didn’t agree on any one description.
For each of them, what they touched and felt (their perception) was the correct description of the “object”. The idea of reminding the story is to explain how incorrect the stories, based on the media persons’ prejudice and perceptions can be.
On August 25, 2015, an article was published on a news site World News Daily Report, claiming that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed Osama bin Laden was living a luxurious life in the Bahamas as a guest of American Central Investigative Agency (CIA). ARY News and some other reporters and media persons started telling this story as “breaking news”.
The ARY channel had two newscasters kept on repeating the “news” published in “American Magazine”. Had they checked Wikipedia to verify this information, they would have found out that the World News Daily Report (WNDR) is a satirical fake-news website, which follows the old-school Tabloid-styled faux-journalism. This is a classic example of subjectivity.
Media houses all over the world work as a company. Just like any company which may be in the business of selling any commodity like food products, computer chips, automobiles, etc as their products and make a profit, the media houses sell news, op-eds, and stories as their products. Just like every other company, media houses also have cultures, mission statements, and visions about their goals and milestones. So the question is if the investigations are conducted to find the truth, or it is to strengthen their perceptions and prejudices towards certain issues to prove that their views towards that course are correct, and then to advertise the “product” to get more commercials and make more money.
Journalists who file such agenda-driven stories may not be incorrect or they lie in their stories, but they take up only those parts of the fact which will be consistent with their media policies. They investigate those, stretch some truths here, now and then, hide or conveniently ignore some “unwanted” facts which may contradict the debate, and publish the story.
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, several famous journalists and media persons in the corporate-controlled US media, cheerled the invasion to fulfill the agendas of their commercial interests, but the same champions and “guardians” of the “support invasion” theory, turned to the lead anti-war activists when the situation on the ground in Iraq turned against what was planned and boasted by the US and UK leaderships.
Billy Don Moyers, a well known American journalist and political commentator, had a documentary on the Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS), in which he exposed such “Platos” of the journalist community in the US media.
In Pakistan, most media owners try not to tangle their horns with security institutions. They take instructions from them and comply. Any journalist who tries to break the “rule”, is either removed from the TV screens or in some cases put in life-threatening situations like Saleem Shahzad, Wali Khan Babar et al. Others like Raza Rumi, Hamid Mir and more, were attacked, beaten and fired on by “unknown terrorists”, who are rarely caught. A large number of top TV journalists like Nusrat Javed, Syed Talat Hussain either lost their jobs or voluntarily decided to quit their networks.
Steven Butler, the head of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) Asia program, who was recently denied entry into Pakistan and deported, said, “Pakistan’s ‘Invisible Censor Board’ has gone into overdrive lately — blocking news broadcasts, forcing journalists off social media, banning opposition leaders from television, running fake viral campaigns threatening journalists”.
The media is considered the eyes of the common people which ought to keep eyes on the governments and agencies which are paid huge salaries by the taxpayers of the countries. Democracy demands the media keep their eyes on the power instead of getting dictation from them and defend their points of view in their editorial comments.
Investigation of every point of view is necessary, however.
Journalism, based on perceptions and prejudices misleads the people and drives the masses towards disasters. Once the political analysts and journalists decide to be the mouthpieces of agencies and start defending actions of governments like their “paid disciples”, they only damage their credibility as objective analysts.
In Pakistan, which is considered among the most dangerous places for the journalists, where the military spokesperson openly threatens the journalists in press conferences by showing “unlikeable” lot of journalists, the undeclared censorship is creating a generation of compliant and submissive journalists. However, there are still some strong voices who are standing up to the pressure and fighting for the right of free speech.
Why did Imran Khan not attend the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Summit that was organized by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and attended by Turkish President Erdogan and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani? Why did he yield to Saudi pressure to skip it?
What are Pakistan’s key economic and security interests in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC)? Is labor Pakistan’s biggest export earning over $20 billion a year? What is the biggest export market for Pakistan’s labor? What would happen if Pakistan joined Malaysia and Turkey in creating a new Muslim bloc competing with the Arab-led Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)? Will OIC try to live up to Pakistan’s expectation of a tougher stance against India’s Modi vis a vis Indian Occupied Kashmir and Indian Muslims?
Who makes Pakistan’s foreign and security policies? How influential is the Pakistani military in making these policies? Is Imran Khan free to pursue whatever policies he personally prefers? Would any other Prime Minister have pursued a different policy with GCC nations?
ALKS host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf (ifaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com).
Why Pakistanis never talk about the misery of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir? What will be the move of Pakistan in the Kashmir crisis? Who asked Pakistan to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Did these countries’ leaderships ask Pakistan to play the role of peace facilitator or the PM Imran Khan had given this duty to himself to hide from the real domestic problems?
Faraz Darvesh, Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) and Misbah Azam discussed these and more.
Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Hindus, Pakistan, India, Extremeism, Imran Khan, Maulana Fazur Rehman, Unilateralism, Faraz Darvesh, Sabahat Ashraf, iFaqeer, Misbah Azam
Recently, a famous Pakistani journalist, author, and TV personality (I do not have the liberty to release his name and his institution he belongs in my articles without his permission) visited the San Francisco Bay Area to record one of his TV shows. He was invited by a local businessman where I was also invited. I asked him about the situation in Pakistan and the direction where the country is drifted by the military, which is now controlling more than they ever controlled during the weak civil governments. He said that the middle class in Pakistan is growing and it is struggling to take the space in the power which is heavily controlled by the military. He said that the system in Pakistan in which the Army wants the maximum power and wants the civilian governments to work as its client is eventually going to fail because this type of system is never successful anywhere in the world. The middle class will take over control of the country and the military. He said that Imran Khan, who although represents the middle class but he is in trouble because he has relinquished the power to Army and relying on them to keep him in power. I asked what if Khan eventually fails the people who he represents? He said that in that case he will be replaced, but this struggle will continue until the middle class would takeover.
On my drive home I start analyzing my conversation with a Pakistani system’s insider and asking the question to myself that if it is all true, how long it will take for the so-called growing middle class to take over the country? What will be the threshold where one would declare the victory of the middle class over the all-powerful Army? And last but not least, would the Army ever allows the society to reach that level of power which may be the threshold? Army’s weapons are not the guns only, they even have a bigger weapon which they use effectively to encroach everywhere and cut all other stakeholders in power in size, and that weapon is the self-defined patriotism. Not only they use it on the masses to quash any demand by the people but also their cohorts and clients in the mass media use it to shake the guilts of the common people and put them on the backfoot.
I came home and went to bed and closed my eyes. I was preoccupied with the same thoughts and I don’t know when I slept.
The next day was Monday so I woke up early. I walked through my living room where my electronic calendar was showing August 5, 2019. During my breakfast, I opened my computer and start looking at my tweets. My twitter timeline was full of discussions about the annexation of Kashmir by Mr. Modi, who successfully revoked the special status of Kashmir and declared Laddakh as a union territory of India. Senior journalists and other media people were commenting on the rising tension. Everyone was speculating about the emergency meeting in the PM house, where PM Imran Khan was discussing the development with his Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, the Army, Airforce and Navy Chiefs, the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence. Pakistan Ambassador to New Delhi, Pakistani Ambassadors to other important countries, and Pakistani Ambassador to the UN were connected via the video link. The meeting was going on for the last 6-7 hours. The joint parliament was also in the emergency session which was in progress without any lunch or dinner break. All the government and opposition members and Senators were not only condemning India’s action in one voice but also assuring the government that they are all standing behind any decision the government will take. The media channels were having uninterrupted special transmissions where they were having experts, ex-military strategists and former diplomats, who were educating the people about the Kashmir issue and creating awareness about the history and about the reasons, why Pakistan should be standing behind Kashmiris.
I got to work and got busy with my daily routines. Around noon when I checked the news, I found that the meeting in the PM house was still going on but the military commanders went back to their headquarters. The big news was that the PM would address the nation from the parliament floor and tell the parliament and the people about the next step in the government’s policy. I checked again around 5 pm but there was no new development other than the announcement that the Foreign Minister has flown to China to start his tour to the world capitals to upraise the world leaders about Pakistan’s next move.
Around 9 pm Pakistan time, Prime Minister Imran Khan walked into the parliament floor. He was accompanied by the Defense Minister and the opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif and the leader of the third-largest party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The PM told the parliament that he ordered the military to move towards the Line of Control, in the forward attack position and a team of Foreign Office is already dispatched to tell Pakistan’s position and India’s accesses in Kashmir. He also told that he is leading another delegation, consisting of his close advisors and aides which is going to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, England, and the US. A parliamentary delegation led by the opposition leader would also go to the UN and protest about the Indian actions.
The next 10 days were very tough for the people of Pakistan, but slowly, the pressure on India started mounting. The strong diplomacy was begun and the Pakistan government kept pressure. The Army Chief locked himself in War-Room in the General Headquarters where he is constantly in touch with the field commanders who were commanding the units on the Line of Control, Air Force and Navy Chiefs, the DG Military Operations and the Defence Minister. The Director-General Military Operations were 24/7 connected to India’s DGMO to assure that war would not start because of some misunderstanding. The people in both countries saw their militaries eye-ball to eye-ball before also but this time things were more serious than before. Both countries are under pressure by the world leaders to move their militaries back to ceasefire lines but the PM of Pakistan made it very clear that India has to pull back from its unilateral action in Kashmir, else Pakistan will not have any choice than to move in. Now, top journalists and analysts in India also began pressuring Indian PM to reconsider the move and resolve the issues with dialogue.
On the 30th day of tension – September 5 — the Indian Supreme Court gave the verdict on the appeal filed by some quarters in India, that the sovereign assembly’s laws cannot be changed by the representative assembly so, the rescindment of the article 370 will be null and void. Lots of analysts believed that there was a secret deal where the SC of India’s verdict was used to provide the face-saving to the government. In Pakistan, PM Imran Khan addressed the nation and announced that he already ordered the Army to move back from the forward position and he gave the good news that India also agreed to do the same. The DGMOs from both India and Pakistan were overlooking the pullout. At the end of the speech, he told the people that the resolution of the issue is no one’s victory and the real victory would come when Pakistan and India would resolve the Kashmir issue, acceptable to Kashmiri people, and began the everlasting era of peace and prosperity.
That night, when the PM went to the joint session of parliament he received the stand-up ovation by the whole parliament. In his short speech, he emphasized again that this crisis is no victory or defeat for anyone, and he praised Pakistan military for its professionalism and bravery and people of Pakistan for their courage and the unconditional support by the opposition.
That night when I went to bed, I was feeling very proud of being a Pakistani. I got an answer to my question. The threshold has achieved. This was the place Pakistanis want to see their country. The leadership was demonstrated by the representative of the middle class. Why it could not be achieved before, but although late, but it is achieved now.
The next day, I woke up early to go to work. During breakfast, I looked into my twitter timeline, I found the routine political bickering, talks about growing food inflation, devaluation of Pakistani rupee, saber-rattling between the government supporters and the opposition, PM’s threats about throwing every opposition leader in jail, and the Islamabad lock-down plan of Maulana Fazalur Rehman. I finished my breakfast, walked to my living room, my electronic calendar was showing 21st October 2019.
[Also published in Nayadaur TV: Thirty Days]
Famous political commentator and public intellectual, Raza Rumi discuss the future of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s dharna in Islamabad, Pakistan’s possible moves and the miss opportunities in it handling of Kashmir and the economic condition in Pakistan, with Faraz Darvesh and Misbah Azam.
Raza Rumi, Faraz Darvesh, Misbah Azam, JUI-F, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Establishment, Pakistan Government, Pakistan Opposition, Kashmir Curfew, India’s Grip of Power, Pakistani Economy, Pakistan Government Perceptions