New skirmishes between India and Pakistan
The situation in Kashmir has been very tense since an attack in the Indian part on February 14, 2019, in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed. A few days later, Indian warplanes attacked militant extremists in the Pakistani part of Kashmir. The next day, two Indian fighter planes were shot down by Pakistani air defense and one of the pilots was arrested. He was later released – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called this a “gesture of peace”. Tribal areas become part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
FATA becomes part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
In May 2018, the Pakistani National Assembly decided to incorporate the semi-autonomous tribal areas along the Afghan border (Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA) into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This is a major step towards constitutional governance and the restoration of peace in the area. But the transitional provisions for the FATA retain features of the previously applicable colonial law that still threaten stability. Residents complain that they are in the crossfire of Islamabad’s war against FATA-based militants. Millions of them have been displaced. FATA’s civil society is more self-confident than ever and is calling for an end to militancy in the tribal belt. If Islamabad fails, militants could exploit the resulting alienation of the population.
Which solutions are available? The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa legislature should repeal the FATA transitional provisions and lift restrictions on free movement. In consultation with the locals, both the federal and provincial governments should urgently establish an administrative and judicial system that respects civil liberties, does professional policing and provides the necessary services in the areas.
Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan
Malala Yousufzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the age of 20, spent four days visiting Pakistan. After talking to politicians and representatives of civil society, she visited her former home village. Malala has lectured around the world and advocated the right to education for girls. But it was six years before she was able to return to her home country. Because Pakistan is still unsafe for Malala. Nothing proves this more impressively than the massive security measures that were taken on their return.
In her own country she is despised by many people. Liberal Pakistanis are proud that Malala is now a symbol of the country. Nevertheless, opinions differ on the young woman. The majority of Conservatives claim that Malala acts against Islam and Pakistani sovereignty. Many Pakistanis consider the hype about the young woman in local and international media to be superfluous. Right-wing populists, on the other hand, see the so-called “campaign” to promote Malala as proof that there is an “international lobby” behind the whole matter.
Malala’s story is well known: in October 2012, she was shot by militants in the Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying that Malala had been attacked for supporting “secularism” in the country. After initial medical treatment in Pakistan, Malala was brought to the UK where she now lives with her family. Before the attack, Malala had campaigned for girls’ rights to education in Swat. She received international awards for her blog about the atrocities of the Taliban, which she ran on the BBC’s Urdu-language program.
It has now become an international symbol of commitment to women’s rights as well as the right to education. Her numerous awards include the prestigious Sakharov Human Rights Prize of the European Union. In 2016 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
According to ehealthfacts, a Pakistani court has sentenced the ten suspects of the Taliban attack on UN peace ambassador Malala Yousafzai to life imprisonment. The accused had confessed to carrying out the attack on behalf of the leader of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), according to prosecutors. The anti-terrorist court in Swat, Pakistan, found the men guilty of the “conspiracy” to want to kill Yousafzai. A life sentence in Pakistan means 25 years in prison.
USA discontinues grants
The US government has suspended financial aid to Pakistani security agencies for the time being and has withheld aid funds totaling $ 255 million since the beginning of 2018. It is not known what the amount of the grants that have now been frozen is. The US government accuses Pakistan of doing too little against Islamist fighters. Since Donald Trump took office, the already difficult relations between Washington and Islamabad have deteriorated further. Barack Obama had also criticized Pakistan’s attitude towards the radical Islamic Taliban.
As long as the Pakistani government does not take decisive measures against the Afghan Taliban with its affiliated Haqqani group, the country will be classified as “destabilizing” for the region, the US State Department spokeswoman announced. Trump had accused Pakistan in a Twitter message in January 2018 of giving refuge to terrorists.