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Pakistani Media Admires Indian Democracy Says Expert

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 Pakistani Media Admires Indian Democracy Says Expert


Pakistani Media Admires Indian Democracy Says Expert

New Delhi: Democracy in India and the Indian elections are a major subject of interest in the Pakistani media and there is a lot of admiration in the media there for Indian democracy, a Pakistani expert said here Tuesday.

Addressing the “Eighth South Asia Dialogue on Role of Media in Promoting Regional Understanding in South Asia”, Rasul Baksh Rais, a Pakistani political scientist, said the media is of the opinion that Pakistan must learn a lesson from Indian democracy.

“There is a lot of admiration for Indian democracy in the Pakistani press,” Rais said at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here.

Pakistan has been witnessing prolonged mass protests against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, demanding its resignation.

Rais also said India’s rise regionally and its global ambitions were also a talking point as well as the rise of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which the media views as an assertion of Hindutva.

On Kashmir, the media feels it is an issue that needs to be settled, but there is also a feeling that the Kashmir issue can be pushed to the backburner and trade and economic ties allowed to blossom between the two neighbours, he said.

On the issue of Afghanistan, where international forces have begun the process of drawdown set for this year-end, there is a sense of “pessimism in the air”, which is dominant in the Pakistani media.

“There is pessimism that after the drawdown, Afghanistan may plunge into another civil war and Pakistan should be ready to face such an eventuality,” he said.

Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh countered Rais’ comments on Afghanistan, saying the Pakistani media’s reflections on his country were a “reflection of the Pakistani establishment”.

To Rais’ statement that Pakistan has a “vested interest” in the stability of Afghanistan, Saleh wondered if Pakistan has “a vested interest in our stability, or instability”.

“We require the Pakistani media to look at Afghanistan away from relations with India, like what India does. I don’t remember Indian officials ever talking about Pakistan when meeting us. Have respect and show it in bilateral relations,” Saleh said, sharing the dais with the Pakistani scholar.

Saleh said the media can be a source of building understanding and also creating misunderstanding among people and nations.

Kunda Dixit, editor-publisher of the Nepali Times, said the media, especially electronic media, has no space for major issues like infant mortality, lack of toilets and maternal deaths, but are quick to highlight any provocative content.

He said there should be a filter mechanism to scan the final content of the media as well as an open press.

Syed Badrul Ahsan of the Daily Observer, Dhaka, said the Bangladesh media has lately begun getting quiet political instructions, especially electronic media, saying that “so and so participant or journalist should be removed” from the panel or the beat.

He said while the Bangladesh media was very vocal, he hoped there would be no gagging of the press.

S.D. Muni, distinguished fellow of the IDSA, remarked that there was “very poor” regional integration with regard to the media.

“Neighbours hardly appear as neighbours (in the media)” except as a troubled entity, he said, adding that the media needs to play a greater role in integrating the South Asian neighbours.

Smruti Pattanaik of the IDSA said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Audio Visual Exchange Programme has not materialised so far and there was a need to focus more attention on the neighbourhood.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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Temple

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