Yashfa Ahsan reflects on Pakistan’s intricate position amid the Sino-US rivalry. The South Asian state’s strategic location demands a multifaceted and balanced approach in its foreign policy and international relations. The author acknowledges the implications of India and the US’s engagement in the Indian Ocean Region for Pakistan’s security and economy. Bearing this in mind, she emphasizes that, with key players like India, Iran, and Afghanistan drawn into this rivalry, Pakistan must establish itself as a reliable economic and strategic partner for the states involved.
Jointly hosted by both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Asia Cup 2023 is the 16th edition of the men’s Asia Cup. Played in the One Day International (ODI) format, the matches leave cricket fans glued to their screens. The matches began on 30th August and will conclude with the final on 17th September.
The July 2023 edition of the Paradigm Shift magazine contains 13 handpicked pieces. These cover the French riots, the geopolitcial significance of China’s digital Silk Road, the micro hyrdopower projects as a solution to Pakistan’s energy crisis, and the comparison of the PMS and CSS exams. The July edition features two infographics: one featuring the top 10 countries in military spending, and the independence dates of the former Soviet republics. This edition also has a book review, an op-ed, two PU pieces, and an interview of Brigadier (R) Samson Simon Sharaf.
Despite being an underdeveloped country, Afghanistan seems to have gained China’s attention. China desires a stable Afghanistan so that it can safeguard its national and cross-border security. Moreover, China needs to have stability in its landlocked neighbor so that it can further its economic expansion. Muhammad Shaheer Mahmood sheds light on the importance of stability in Afghanistan for China and China’s attempts to make sure that it enjoys a stable neighborhood.
Peter Bergen’s “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al Qaeda” is a look into the conflict between Al Qaeda and the United States. It details the comprehensive history of the war from both sides as well as the strategies explored by the US government.
Ayesha Javaid discusses how Pakistan has been embroiled in politics over water resources since its independence – at both local and international levels. Pakistan and India initially had disagreements over the Indus Basin, which was finally settled by the Indus Water Treaty in 1960. However, with India now demanding modifications in the 62-year-old treaty, serious water-based conflicts between the two countries are a likely possibility. Pakistan also faces water troubles within, as provincial governments have failed to reach an agreement over the much-needed construction (& even usage) of dams.
“The Pashtuns: A Contested History” is an account of the Pashtun ethnic group, their journey through history, their struggle with foreign invaders, and internal conflicts. Tilak Devasher highlights Pakistan’s role in the rise of the Taliban and in their endurance, especially during the American invasion in the post-9/11 era.
With Afghanistan having already become the victim of immense sanctions imposed upon it by the West, the Taliban’s recent ban on women’s education will only continue to disrupt the lives of the people of Afghanistan. Myra Imran Rafiq recommends intervention and engagement by international actors to minimize the cost of human suffering.
It is difficult to understate the deadly threat of the TTP’s resurgence in Pakistan. With the country already in economic distress as it is, the growing militancy has further enfeebled the state. Sarmad Ishfaq deems three primary reasons for the TTP’s revival: the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the peace negotiations with the TTP, and Imran Khan’s ouster.
The Taliban regime came into power by overtaking the Afghan government in August 2021. Despite the fact that Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the Taliban government, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have remained contentious since then. Deadly cross-border exchanges at the Chaman border on 13th November, 11th December, and 15th December have alarmed the people of the two states who fear a dramatic escalation of the conflict.
The dynamic relationship between refugee flow, rebel groups, and civil wars are often used by states to justify the rejection and expulsion of refugees. While respecting the principle of state sovereignty, Shazeen Waseem discusses how it is necessary to establish a depoliticised and law-based framework to properly address the situation of the millions of refugees worldwide.
Hamra Tariq is unsettled by the way Afghan women have been exploited, both by the US and the Taliban. She believes that a deeper look into colonialism and the feminist ideology of the Global South has to be considered. This is needed in order to reframe the opinion about Afghan women and to unveil the stakes of larger geopolitical feminist epistemology.
The US has had a turbulent relationship with Pakistan since the country’s independence in 1947. Over the course of 75 years, minor changes have occurred in the way bilateral exchanges are conducted between the two nations. Despite the rollercoaster relationship, the US has assisted Pakistan by providing necessary loans, humanitarian aid, and military equipment during exigent situations. Moreover, the US is a major foreign direct investor in Pakistan’s economy, and its largest export partner. However, bilateral relations between the two have been deteriorating because of scathing remarks and underhanded activities.
Pakistan has a troubled history of dealing with insurgencies and terrorism. Pakistan assumed the role of a frontline state following the 9/11 tragedy and enacted both military and non-military counterterrorism strategies. The Pakistani army has been tasked with maintaining internal peace by combating militancy and insurgency in the country’s difficult tribal regions such as the area of Swat. Given the occupation by TTP, TNSM, and other fundamental religious organisations, the Pakistan Army designed and carried out two major military operations: Operation Rah-e-Haq and Operation Rah-e-Rast.
Zalmay Khalilzad contributed to the reconstruction and peace-building of Afghanistan after the USSR invaded the country – and in the post-Taliban era. In “The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey from a Turbulent World,” Khalilzad details his turbulent journey from a traditional country like Afghanistan to a modern and developed country like the US. Khalilzad also argues that the world has already moved toward disorder and chaos because of several factors including terrorism, mistrust among allies, unrest in the Middle East, the rise of China, and Russian aggression.
The 22nd annual summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held on September 15 and 16 against the backdrop of a geopolitical upheaval challenging the world order. The leaders discussed regional and global challenges and resolved to achieve common goals of climate resilience, connectivity, digital sovereignty, peace, security, and economic development, notwithstanding the conflicts among member countries. Prospects of multilateral cooperation were discussed at the Samarkand meeting, but of greater interest were the side-line meetings between heads of states, especially between Xi and Putin.
Edited by Maleeha Lodhi and several other contributors, Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ was published in 2011. The book effectively embarks beyond terrorism and natural disasters. Instead, it addresses the country’s contemporary security dynamics, demographic pressures, energy shortages, and lack of political will.