The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday 31 October 2017


After fifth Robert Langdon adventure, Origin, is out!

Though adept in detailing elements of his narrative, he fails in making them thrilling enough to keep the reader hooked to an extended period of time. His are not ‘read in one sitting’ books anymore. You can visit a particular segment on any given day and can revisit the next pages, probably after two days, without feeling a hangover of the story. Yes, a thrilling work must create its hangover in the psyche of its readers.

A direct fallout of that is the perception being built around length of his adventure tales – yes, they are basically the adventure tales but lack the charisma that makes adventure tales memorable experiences, be it The Lord of the Rings or Alice in Wonderland or even Harry Potter. A 500 pages Dan Brown book can essentially wind up in 100 pages and mind you, most people do like that, even his fans. Apart from few discernible readers, no one bothers to go for and in between the lines to know the semiotics of symbols or architectural details of buildings. If needed, Google and Wikipedia do much better job at this.

Dan Brown is not an avant-garde writer and Robert Langdon is not an avant-garde character. The concoction of religion, atheism and modernity that he presented in The Da Vinci Code in 2003 has seen a consistent downward slope. The Da Vinci Code presented a worn-out subject in a new, if not fresh, flavour and people accepted it, creating a fan base for Brown’s works. But since then, it has always been an ‘I thought so’ journey with his books. One can easily guess where the plot is going. And moreover, he is sounding repetitive and thus boring.  


Monday 30 October 2017


18-23 year bracket is considered the higher education age-group and according to the data available from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), India has around 14 crore youth (14,10,46,000 to be precise) who should populate our institutes of higher learning. 

But only 24 per cent of them, i.e., 3,42,11,000 are enrolled in higher education courses, means over 10 crore youth of the country in an age-group that is considered academically most fertile, are missing from the scene. 

And when we further split this 3.42 crore figure, we come across some more disturbing facts that tell why India's higher education is in shambles and why it lags in every major global ranking. 

Research based course like Ph.D. and M.Phil. have just over 1.5 lakh (1,51,000) students enrolled the ministry data shows. That is just 0.1 per cent of the total higher education population in our country. And even their quality is questionable with corruption, political appointments and nepotism ruining the standard of teaching in almost every institution. 

Apart from few institution, we simply do not have the research culture in our universities. We can gauge the seriousness of the situation by the fact that for quality research education, it has become a common observation that one needs to look beyond India. 

Number of students in post-graduate courses in the country is 38,53,000, a little under 3 per cent (at 2.73 per cent) of the 18-23 age-group population. Only cream of them go for further higher education like carrier oriented research education or get into post-graduate professional courses like management, medicine and higher engineering and technology courses. Most of them had no other option but to look for jobs - jobs that are really not there - or jobs that have dried up. 

And maximum of them are enrolled in under-graduate courses, 2,71,72,000 of them or around 20 per cent of the country's higher education population or 80 per cent of all students enrolled in higher education. 

Now irrespective of the fact that how many of them go on to complete their under-graduate, post-graduate, M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses, something that is subject for a separate discourse, the huge difference between every successive level of higher education shows higher education in our country virtually stops at the graduation level. 

Only 38.5 lakh graduate students (around 14 per cent) out of 2.71 crore students enrolled in under-graduate courses opt for a post-graduate course, and only a handful of post-graduates (around 4 per cent) go for further higher education or research.  


Sunday 29 October 2017


India has around 10,000 engineering colleges and 5500 management institutes producing each year over 16 lakh engineers and over 5 lakh management graduates, data from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and ASSOCHAM say. 

And most of them are unemployable. 

While AICTE says some 60-70 per cent of engineers remain unemployed, an ASSOCHAM study has found that only 7 per cent of our management graduates are employable. 

Other reports by organizations like FICCI, EY and Aspire Minds quote even higher proportion of unemployable engineering graduates in the country, at 80 per cent. Studies also say that B and C category business schools are producing basically unemployable graduates and if some of them find jobs, it is mostly in the range of 8000-10,000. 

They are in oversupply. 

Estimates put 1-1.5 million Indians entering job market every month but the country could create only 1.55 lakh jobs in 2015 and 2.31 lakh in 2016. The situation is acute in case of professional education courses like engineering and management where students pay much higher but end up either jobless or with abysmally low paying sub-standard jobs.

If industry needs few lakhs of engineers every year, the proportion of management graduates is even less - at around 40,000 as some estimates put it.   

So, basically there are no jobs for most of them, especially when job creation in the country is at eight years low. 

And it is not that all the jobs created are going to them only. Others, from non-professional course, are competing for those illusive jobs as well. The Census of India 2011 put number of graduates and above at 6.8 crore. 

Six years have passed since then and so the number would certainly have gone up. Many of them would in some job. Many of them would be some sort of entrepreneurs. But most of them would be either jobless or forced to earn their livelihood by trying their luck in the unorganized sector. 


Saturday 28 October 2017


If we go by the results of the assembly constituencies that fall in the Amethi Lok Sabha seat, we can say the Congress citadel has never overwhelmingly supported Congress, especially after Rahul Gandhi took over the constituency from his mother in 2004 Lok Sabha polls that he won comfortably. 

Amethi parliamentary constituency (PC) has five assembly constituencies (ACs) – Tiloi, Salon (CS), Jagdishpur (SC), Gauriganj and Amethi. 

In fact, in his first two LS polls from the Amethi constituency, Rahul won comfortably and massively, increasing his vote share from 49.33 per cent in 2004 to 57.25 per cent in 2009 but we also need to keep this in mind that whenever it came to parliamentary polls in Amethi, Rahul almost always got walkover from the main opposition parties, SP and BSP. And BJP was nowhere in the scene as a potent political force with a consistent downward spiral in Uttar Pradesh. 

But that changed in 2017 assembly election. Stunning even the most seasoned political pundits, BJP won the assembly elections with a huge margin with 325 seats in the 403-member UP legislative assembly, so much so that no Muslim candidate could win even the minority concentration districts of western UP and their overall representation in UP assembly came down to a historically low of 25 MLAs, from a high of 68 Muslim MLAs in the UP assembly just five years ago, in 2012 assembly election. The 2017 outcome followed the massive BJP wave of 2014 LS election when the party had 71 out of the 80 LS seats in India’s most populous state. 

And it reflected even in Amethi, in 2014 and now in 2017. 

The battle for 2014 proved a tough one for Rahul Gandhi with senior BJP leader Smriti Irani as his main opponent. She gave a spirited fight and it reflected in Rahul’s winning margin coming drastically down to 12.36 per cent. And we can assume the next one in 2019 is going to be even tougher as Smriti has maintained a regular connect with Amethi, visiting the constituency like she has always been in the electoral mood.

And in assembly election earlier this year, BJP won four out of five assembly constituencies falling in the Amethi PC, the party that had failed to win even a single AC in Amethi in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls. Congress failed to open even its account with the other left seat going to SP. Moreover Congress didn’t remain even the main opposition in two ACs, ending up third in Tiloi AC and fourth in Amethi. 

TILOI (178)
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh - BJP – 96119 votes 
Mohd Saood - BSP – 52072 votes 
Vinod Kumar Mishra – Congress - 3rd - 35837 (18.55%) votes 

SALON (SC) (181)
Dal Bahadur - BJP – 78028 votes 
Suresh Chaudhary - Congress – 61973 votes 

Suresh Kumar - BJP – 84219 votes 
Radhey Shyam - Congress – 67619 votes 

Rakesh Pratap Singh - SP – 77915 votes 
Mohd Naim - Congress – 51496 votes 

AMETHI (186)
Garima Singh - BJP – 64226 votes 
Gaytri Prasad - SP – 59161 votes 
Ameeta Sinh – Congress - 4th - 20291 (10.85%) votes 
BSP - 3rd - 16.13% votes

But even earlier, in 2007 and 2012 assembly election, Amethi PC was not clearly a Congress bastion, if seen from the perspective of AC voters. 

In 2012 election, SP, the party that had won that year’s assembly polls with 224 seats overall, ended up winning three out of five ACs falling in Amethi PC including the Amethi AC while Congress could win only two. The only solace that the party could have drawn was, it remained the principal opposition in other three ACs. 

TILOI (178)
Dr Mohammad Muslim - Congress – 61249 votes 
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh - SP – 58539 votes 

SALON (SC) (181)
Ashakishore - SP – 69020 votes 
Shiv Balak Pasi - Congress – 48443 votes 

Radhey Shyam - Congress – 56309 votes 
Vijay Kumar - SP – 50912 votes 

Rakesh Pratap Singh - SP – 44287 votes 
Mohd Naim - Congress – 43784 votes

AMETHI (186)
Gayatri Prasad - SP – 58434 votes 
Ameeta Sinh - Congress – 49674 votes 

2007 was tad better for Congress when it could win three out of five seats in the parliamentary constituency. The 2008 delimitation had not affected the basic AC composition of the Amethi PC and it still consisted of the abovementioned five assembly segments – Tiloi, Salon, Jagdishpur, Gauriganj and Amethi – of which Congress won three including Amethi and remained the principal opposition in other two – out of which one went to SP and the other to BSP. 

TILOI (92)
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh - SP – 44513 votes 
Dr. Mohammad Muslim – Congress – 44056 votes 

SALON (SC) (97)
Shiv Balak Pasi - Congress – 45078 votes
Asha Kishor – SP – 31969 votes

Ram Sewak - Congress – 34563 votes 
Shri Ram - BSP – 21356 votes 

Chandra Prakash - BSP – 34386 votes
Mohd Naim – Congress – 28393 votes 

AMETHI (105)
Ameeta Sinh - Congress – 48108 votes 
Ashish - BSP – 35684 votes 


Friday 27 October 2017


Rahul Gandhi started contesting Lok Sabha polls from Amethi from 2004, the year when BJP’s India Shining campaign unexpectedly failed; ending Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rule and a coalition government led by Congress’ Manmohan Singh came to power.

Since 1967, when Amethi was carved out as a Lok Sabha constituency, it has been a Congress bastion, only briefly going to Janata Party in post-Emergency wave for three years and for a year to BJP in 1998.

And since 1980, it has been with the Nehru-Gandhi family. Sanjay Gandhi was a member of parliament from here in 1980 but his untimely death saw his brother and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi representing Amethi four times in the Lok Sabha till 1991 when he was killed in a terror attack. After Rajiv, Congress’ Satish Sharma was Amethi’s MP till 1998.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv’s wife, had joined politics and was chosen Congress president in 1998 and Amethi again came back to the Nehru-Gandhi family in 1999 when Sonia Gandhi contested from here, scoring a massive victory.

In the next Lok Sabha polls in 2004, Sonia left Amethi seat for her son Rahul Gandhi and shifted her base to Raebareli, another Nehru-Gandhi citadel and Congress fortress. Since then, Rahul has been winning the Amethi seat.

But while in his previous two terms, in 2004 and in 2009, where he almost got walkovers from other parties with successive gains in his already impressive winning margins, from 49.33 per cent of total valid votes polled in 2004 to 57.25 per cent of total valid votes polled, the battle for 2014 proved a tough one with senior BJP leader Smriti Irani as his main opponent.

She gave a spirited fight and it reflected in Rahul’s winning margin coming drastically down to 12.36 per cent. And we can assume the next one in 2019 is going to be even tougher as Smriti has maintained a regular connect with Amethi, visiting the constituency like she has always been in the electoral mood.


Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 408651 votes
Smriti Irani - BJP - 300748 votes
Margin - 107903 - 12.36% of total valid votes


Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 464195 votes
Asheesh Shukla - BSP - 93997 votes
Margin - 370198 - 57.25% of total valid votes


Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 390179 votes
Chandra Prakash Mishra - BSP - 99326 votes
Margin - 290853 - 49.33% of total valid votes

Sonia Gandhi - Congress - 418960 votes
Dr. Sanjai Singh - BJP - 118948 votes
Margin - 300012 - 48.07% of total valid votes


Thursday 26 October 2017


A senior North Korean official has warned that the world should take literally its foreign minister's warning to detonate a hydrogen bomb over Pacific Ocean. In an interview to CNN, the official, Ri Yong Pil, said the world should not dismiss the North Korean threat as "it has always brought its words into action."

"The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally," CNN quoted Ri Yong Pil saying.

The threat was issued last month by North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Ri's threat followed vitriolic outburst of his country's dictator Kim Jong-un who called US President Donald Trump a frightened dog and a mentally deranged dotard after Trump threatened to totally destroy North Korea while delivering his maiden UNGA speech.

While speaking at the UNGA on September 19, Trump had warned that if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, it would have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea adding that the Rocket Man was on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. Trump invented the term Rocket Man to describe Kim Jong Un after a series of missile and nuclear tests by North Korea under his watch.

Regular North Korean threats, its repeated missile tests and successful ICBM launch followed by a hydrogen bomb detonation in spite of global sanctions and Donald Trump's warnings of 'action on the scale of fire and fury against North Korea' has pushed the whole world to debate possibilities, ranging from a nuclear war to the Third World War.

Just yesterday, following Kim Jong-un’s declaration that North Korea was a “fully-fledged nuclear power,” the country had issued a warning that it was ready to strike at any moment in its self-defense and the attack would be on an unprecedented scale. Kim Jong-un had written an open letter addressed to different parliaments of the world to make his proclamation warning the world that “it would be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance if US President Donald Trump thought that he would bring North Korea, a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat.”

Reports have emerged that US has put its nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert to meet any emergency, a first since the Cold War days. Trump revealed in a Fox News interview recently, “You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be.”

On September 3, North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date and Pyongyang had warned of more ‘gift packages’ for Washington which came true when it test fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on September 15.


Wednesday 25 October 2017


After US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reminded Pakistan that it needed to eradicate militants and terrorists operating from its soil, Pakistan has hit back saying there are no safe havens in the country and also that they are not supporting or protecting the Haqqani Network, one of the most dreaded terror groups of Afghanistan which the US alleges operates from Pakistan.  

"Terrorist attacks are not planned on or executed from Pakistani soil, there are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said in a Geo News interview. Asif also said that "Pakistan made it clear to the US delegation that it is not protecting or supporting the Haqqani network."

Tillerson, who is on Middle-East and South Asia tour and is in Delhi today with scheduled meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, was in Pakistan yesterday after his unscheduled Afghanistan stopover on October 23 where he had reiterated the US government stand that Pakistan must rein in the terror groups operating from its soil.

Pakistan's parliament also lashed at Tillerson's comment. The Chairman of Pakistan's Senate, Raza Rabbani, called Tillerson's remarks unacceptable. "Tillerson's statement seems like that of a viceroy's before they visit a country," an acerbic Rabbani fumed.

Asif also blamed US and international forces for their "ineptitude" that he believed was responsible for prolonging the Afghanistan crisis and dismissed the US threats of curtailing economic and military aid. "Pakistan only receives "a trickle" of economic assistance from the US and does not get any military hardware from them and Pakistanis are not like in the past when they were American's proxy," Asif told the BBC News.

After US President Donald Trump called Pakistan a treacherous nation and a safe haven for terrorists, engaged in double-dealings, harbouring and protecting the very same terrorists who attack the US interests in Afghanistan, while unveiling his South Asia policy, the US has increasingly been putting more pressure on Pakistan to honour its commitment.

A fortnight ago, when Pakistan was patting its back for its so-called brilliant rescue operation to liberate a US-Canadian family who was in Haqqanis' captivity for five years, the terse response from Trump was, "the Pakistani government's cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America's wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region."

The US has taken measures including cutting military aid to Pakistan and is going to curtail its role in Afghanistan while at the same time is looking for a strategic partnership with India in Afghanistan's reconstruction process, a cornerstone of Trump's new Afghanistan policy, even if Pakistan sees an increased Indian presence in Afghanistan inimical to its interests.


Tuesday 24 October 2017


Following Kim Jong-un's declaration that North Korea is a "fully-fledged nuclear power", the country has now warned that it may strike at any moment in its self-defense and the attack would be on an unprecedented scale.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier in the day said she had received a letter from the North Korean dictator, addressed to different countries, which said, "It will be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance if US President Donald Trump thinks that he would bring North Korea, a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat."

Blaming US and its president for pushing the world towards the Third World War by his foolish acts, a KCNA released said Trump is being seen as a 'dangerous element', has aroused worldwide derision and even his key confidants are dumping him.

"As the aggressors and provokers have become all the more undisguised in their hysteric war frenzy, the DPRK's appropriate actions for self-defense will be taken any moment as a strike beyond imagination," the KCNA release announced.

Targeting the joint US-South Korea naval drills, North Korea said its repeated tough offensives had put US in despair and horror dealing a heavy blow to the world's only superpower and the US could no longer help the South Korean puppet forces.

"The South Korean puppet forces should clearly understand that already in hand are the toughest countermeasure of Korean style to cope with the US' reckless military act," the KCNA release further said. The war of words between US and North Korea has seen regular war rhetoric but its intensity has really gone up after North Korea's successful nuclear capable ICBM test and hydrogen bomb detonation.

What has irked the Trump administration even more that North Korea did all this despite a clear warning that US would never allow the country to have an ICBM or a hydrogen bomb.

Reports have emerged that US has put its nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert to meet any emergency, a first since the Cold War days. Trump revealed in a Fox News interview yesterday, "You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be."


Monday 23 October 2017


A life was in making
From his forest of thoughts
And the beauty of it was
Words were still travelling inside
Like it should have been 
Preparing for the journey 
With a silent commitment
Yes, time had stayed on
But only in some quarters
Like an important reminder
That where had to be the path 
Speaking to themselves 
Singing in unison with soul
Sometimes hammering
At times chiselling 
Thinking now consciously
Of balance and rhythm 
To stay on where it had to be
Yes, thoughts were taking shape 
And a life was in making
With elements it had craved for
From his forest of thoughts
And the beauty of it was
It came with a curious attachment 



Sunday 22 October 2017


The grey of sky had brilliant shades
Singing along a vibrant sensation
And when it took a break midway
To let us in its enchanted halls
Traversing through its dancing alleys
It was like the day was waiting for it
To speak with it’s blue to go beyond
And to mingle with shades of its grey
That had for so long stayed there
In the galleries of white and black



Saturday 21 October 2017


US President Donald Trump has had consistently low approval ratings ever since inaugural of his government on January 20 this year. A latest approval rating (Marist College Institute of Public Opinion) released two days ago found 58 per cent of its respondents strongly disapproving the Trump Administration while another 20 per cent opined that Trump would be known as an average president. 

Earlier, a poll result (Morning Consult) on October 18 had found Trump’s approval rating dipping in all of 50 US states, many of which he had won with large margins. At 37.8 per cent, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight analysis shows Trump’s approval rating are still hovering around the crisis of being historically low. And this has been the case right from Trump’s first month in the White House. No authentic poll can found him on a good standing. Polls, in fact, have found him to be the least popular US president ever since such statistical practices began to keep gauge of them. 

Another marker of people’s trust in Trump administration is the way it has handled the aftermath of three big hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria. According to a CNN poll, a September poll found Trump rating at 64 per cent after Harvey and Irma but it drastically came down to 44 per cent after Maria hurricane which ravaged Puerto Rico and millions are still looking for proper rehabilitation, after a month the hurricane hit. Trump, in fact, was panned for his inhuman comments that he made multiple times on Puerto Rican debt when the residents of the US territory in the Caribbean were staring at 

But like always happens, like Trump always dismisses such polls, and in fact anything and everything that criticises him, Trump again tweeted today to claim all such developments as fake news efforts and like he always does, tried to shield behind stock market or job creation figures though it is debatable how much of it is due to the efforts of his administration. 

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
6:14 AM - 21 Oct 2017

And people who dump Trump are right there, we can see them if we see the comment thread of Trump’s tweet. The first comment says the stock market has been “following the same trend for the past 8 years” while the next one thanks Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama for it, “When the stock market breaks the current trend-line that Obama started 8 years ago, then you can take some credit.  Until then, Thanks Obama!” The thread comment is full of views that Trump is bragging about something that ideally has been a trend for years and Trump has no claims to fame here. 

Friday 20 October 2017


If India has been found as the country with highest number of pollution related deaths or simply say pollution deaths, there are valid reasons behind it, the easily visible valid reasons. 

We are lagging on most of the social indicators. The Global Hunger Index released last week placed India at 97th among the 118 countries ranked. The latest Human Development Index puts India at 131. We are home to the largest population of illiterate, poor, malnourished and hungry people in the world. 

And so the natural corollary of it is - we are expected to top every ranking on social indicators if turned upside down - ranked highest among the worst performers - like this study on pollution deaths - done meticulously by The Lancet, the world's most familiar and reputed medical journal. 

The study done by The Lancet's "Commission on Pollution and Health" estimates 9 million people lost their lives in 2015 due to different types of pollution and India, with 2.51 million deaths or 28 per cent of the total, tops the charts. 

The study finds pollution deaths or deaths caused by the diseases due to environmental causes is now the largest global killer of humans, three times more than HIV-AIDS, Malaria and TB deaths combined and is neck to neck when deaths due to obesity (4 million), alcohol consumption (2.3 million), road accidents (1.4 million) and malnutrition and hunger (1.4 million) put together. 

One in six deaths globally and one in four deaths in India in 2015 was due to some sort of environmental pollution - air pollution, water pollution, occupational pollution, soil pollution, workplace related pollution, chemical pollution and so on - the study findings say. 

92 per cent of all pollution deaths are reported from rapidly industrialising nations like China, India and Brazil or low or middle-income countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Congo and The Philippines among others. After India, the other countries with most number of pollution deaths include China (1.83 million), Pakistan (0.31 million), Nigeria (0.25 million), Indonesia (0.21 million), Russia (0.17 million), USA (0.15 million), Congo (0.12 million), Brazil (0.1 million) and The  Philippines (0.09 million).  

Air pollution is the largest killer of all with 6.5 million worldwide deaths in 2015 while it killed 1.81 million people in India. India is followed by China (1.58 million), Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million) in maximum number of air pollution deaths.

Water pollution is the second largest killer with 1.8 million deaths. India is at top with 0.64 million water pollution deaths followed by Nigeria (0.16 million). Workplace pollutants killed 0.8 million in 2015, emerging as the third largest human killers. Occupational exposure (0.17 million deaths) and lead pollution (95000 deaths) are other major pollution death categories in India. 

Five Indians contributed to the study including Congress leader and former Environment Minister of the country Jairam Ramesh Mukesh Khare, a civil engineering professor at IIT, Delhi. The other three, Prof Niladri Basu, Bindu L Lohani and Gautam Yadama are based out of India. 


Thursday 19 October 2017


Pakistan started harbouring terror and using it as state policy to further its regional aspirations, notably to wield influence in Afghanistan and to destabilise India and fuel unrest in Kashmir. 

And now these terror elements have become so ingrained in the ruling establishments of Pakistan, its military and the civilian government that Pakistan doesn’t want to or can't think of getting rid of them.

America's strategic concerns and Pakistan's geographic advantage made it a strategic US ally, first to contain the rise of the USSR in Afghanistan and then to other parts of the Middle-East and Asia or to tame transnational terrorism that began spreading its tentacles from 90s from Islamic countries or America's war against terror post 9/11 the epicentre of which was again Afghanistan.

And Pakistan reaped its benefit while backstabbing America, especially in the post 9/11 period. 

The very forces that conspired and attack America's power in September 2001, Al Qaeda and Taliban, got sanctuaries in Pakistan after the US military action uprooted them from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda chief, was in fact killed in Pakistan and it is believed that it was due to collusion of the Pakistani establishment that he had been able to hide in Pakistan for years.

A USAID report puts US aid to Pakistan till 2012 at $60 Billion while in last five years alone, since 2011, Pakistan has received $15 Billion in aid from America. 

But Laden's location and his killing in Pakistan started changing things. The seed of mistrust was sown when the US didn't inform Pakistan that it had located Laden in Pakistani army's backyard and would eliminate him singlehandedly by breaching the Pakistani airspace.

And it further grew with increasing Haqqani Network attacks in the US. Haqqani Network is an Afghan terror group that operates from Pakistan and has carried our several attacks on the US interests in Afghanistan. The deadly attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 58 was also carried out by the Haqqani Network.

To continue.... 


Wednesday 18 October 2017


That is what Nikky Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said while addressing an event. She pressed on making Pakistan accountable for its acts, demanding more from India's neighbour. Pakistan has received billions of US dollars in the name of assisting the US in its fight against terror or to check the designs of the erstwhile USSR in the region. 

But at the same time, it has harboured terror outfits that, apart from doing their routine drill - trying to destabilize and bleed India, something that makes them dear to the ruling Pakistani elite  - now threaten and attack US interests, be it in Afghanistan or elsewhere. 

A fact for which the US has been warning Pakistan for past some years, especially after Afghanistan based terror outfit Haqqani network was given safe haven by Pakistan and Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in the country. 

And the last two instalments of the US military aid to Pakistan, tied to its action against the Haqqanis, was stopped Pakistan couldn't convince the US of its intent and action. 

"We are really going to need India's help in Afghanistan. They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region. So having them helps not only with infrastructure and the aid that they can give towards rebuilding Afghanistan, they can also help us to keep an eye on Pakistan," Nikky Haley said while adding the elements from US President Donald Trump's new Afghanistan and South Asia policy.

Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, unveiled in August, Trump, among other policy changes, also announced that developing a strategic partnership with India was going to be a critical part of new US’ strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in future. 

While reiterating his stand on Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists, he also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and demanded that this attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately. 

Trump and his administration, in fact, regularly slams Pakistan for being a terror haven and has warned if Pakistan doesn't mend its ways then the US will be forced to withdraw Pakistan's US ally status. 

Nikky Haley repeated that again slamming Pakistan for harbouring terrorists, "Pakistan has been a partner to the US at times. We value and respect that. But we cannot tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. This new approach will require understanding and restraint from both Pakistan and India."


Tuesday 17 October 2017


A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Pakistan has given the government two days to file charge-sheet against Jamat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four associates who are under house arrest since January 31 this year. The JuD chief has filed a plea in the LHC against his detention and the next hearing is scheduled for October 19.

During the last date of hearing on October 10, the Lahore High Court had warned the Pakistan's provincial Punjab government, which had put Saeed under preventive detention, to submit evidence in the case otherwise it would release Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed, a UN and US designated global terrorist with a US bounty of $10 Million on his head, along with his four associates, was put under house arrest under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 of Pakistan after increasing pressure from the US and the international community.

The US, especially, warned that Pakistan would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would have made it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions. Then there was an additional pressure element from UN's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on terror funding which was reviewing Pakistan's commitments.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest but it was always a reluctant move Pakistan's actions prove, like it has always been in giving Hafiz Saeed a safe haven to operate.  

Hafiz Saeed had adopted the name JuD after its terror outfit, Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that basically perpetrates terror in India, was banned by Pakistan on 14 January 2002 under international pressure after the UN Security Council's Taliban-Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee banned LeT. However, it did not affect his activities, perpetrating terror and spewing venom against India including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed over 156 including six American citizens and left scores injured.

After his name surfaced in December 2001 Parliament attack, Pakistan was forced to arrest him but he was soon set free. His detention after the multiple train bombing in Mumbai in July 2006, that killed over 200, lasted only for few weeks. The same chores was repeated after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks when Pakistan refused to press terror charges and withdrew its appeal against Saeed and the global terrorist and India's most wanted was again a free, respectable Pakistani citizen even if India had named Saeed, JuD and LeT as masterminds and perpetrators behind the attack and had submitted many dossiers containing evidence against them, something that was even recognized the UN and the US.

Even if, in December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. All these years, it has  been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free.

And it seems the same is going to be repeated again. Like after the Mumbai 2008 attacks, Pakistan, this time, too has refused to level terror charges against Saeed. On October 14, Pakistan's provincial Punjab government withdrew terror charges against Saeed and instead applied for detention of Saeed and his associates till October 24 under the milder Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO). It was the fifth extension of Saeed's house arrest since January 31.

Now if the judicial review board doesn't get convinced by the arguments of the authorities on why to detain Saeed for so long in spite of no serious charges being pressed against him, Hafiz Saeed may walk free after his detention expires on October 24 as authorities need judicial approval before extending the period of the detention.

Pakistan's complicity also becomes clear from the fact that though Pakistan first detained Saeed and others for 90 days under the Anti Terrorism Act but later on switched to toothless laws on maintaining public order.

And going by the tough observations of the Lahore High Court that mere press clippings cannot be the ground for detaining a citizen for an extended period of time and that Pakistan does not seem to have substantial evidence against Saeed, it will be just a matter of time before Saeed is free, respectable Pakistani citizen again. 


Monday 16 October 2017


"I don't go to that territory anymore yet I see its falling bricks every day.
They hit me like a fresh wound each time, exacting a cruel retribution,
When again the existentialist finds his senses wanderlust in the lost realm,
Shadows emerge from corners and voices try to add to the chaos.  
I try to walk away but thoughts prefer to embrace the atonement,
In ruins of life, when pain finds itself in shambles, like it had never spoken.” 



Sunday 15 October 2017


The Pakistan army has said no to the joint operation offer given by its foreign minister Khawaja Asif to the United States of America against the Haqqani Network.

Recently, while speaking in a TV interview, Khawaja Asif had said "his government had offered American authorities to visit Pakistan with evidence of Haqqani network’s safe havens in the country and if found, the Pakistani troops along with the US would destroy them once and for all."

Asif Ghafoor, director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Pakistan army's spokesperson said "Pakistan’s soil will not be used for joint operations". Ghafoor said there was no concept of joint operations on the soil of Pakistan while speaking on a TV programme on the rescue of five foreigners, a Canadian, his American wife and their three children, from Pakistan's border areas along Afghanistan. 

Dunya News‏ @DunyaNews
10:07 PM - 12 Oct 2017

Khawaja Asif's offer to US for a joint operation against the Haqqani network also drew criticism from political quarters. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, former interior minister of Pakistan lashed out at Asif saying "sovereign nations never allow other countries to conduct operations inside their territory." 

Khawaja Asif was also widely criticised last month when he accepted presence of terror groups in Pakistan while he was in the US for the United Nations General Assembly. He called Haqqanis, Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other terror outfits liabilities and pressed that his country needed to put its house in order. Reacting on Asif remarks, cricketer turned politician Imran Khan said Pakistan didn't need enemies when it had such a foreign minister. 

Imran Khan‏ @ImranKhanPTI
11:37 AM - 28 Sep 2017 


Asif Ghafoor's comments are also emblematic of the rift between Pakistan's civilian government and its powerful military that has ruled for most of its independent history since 1947. 

By flatly rejecting a proposal of its civilian government, the army again sent out the message that who was the real boss in Pakistan even if it meant Pakistan's desperate efforts to mend ties with the US, its historical ally and one of the largest aid donors. The US has been blaming Pakistan for double-dealings and harbouring terrorists including the Haqqanis who regularly attack US interests in Afghanistan and has warned that it may soon end Pakistan's US ally status.

Growing US criticism has forced Pakistan's civilian government to look for ways to placate the only super power of the world but the Pakistan army, with its narrow China centric vision, fails to see the point. Last month, when Pakistani foreign minister was talking of putting a new foreign policy in place after a meeting of Pakistan's foreign envoys, its army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was singing a different tune with his assertion that “if Pakistan had not done enough in the war against terror, then no country in the world had done anything.” 


The surgical strike carried out by India last year in September inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to avenge the Uri terror attack by Pakistan based terrorists that killed our 19 soldiers, most of them sleeping, is a classic example to see this civilian-military rift in Pakistan.  

After the Surgical Strikes, first reactions came from Pakistan’s civilian establishment. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had to resigns recently due to corruption charges against him, said it was an act of ‘naked aggression’ by the Indian Army. Khawaja Asif, who was Pakistan's defence minister then, initially said yes there were such incidents over the night but if India did so again, we would give a strong reply. So they accepted the Surgical Strikes.

But after its all powerful military issued a denial, dismissing the very existence of the Surgical Strikes, in a desperate bid to save its face, Pakistan’s civilian establishment had no other option but to toe the line. And soon the whole Pakistan, including its media, started speaking in the language of its army – and the line was – no surgical strike took place and it was a mere Line of Control (LoC) aggression. But the episode caused Pakistan a great deal of embarrassment.


Saturday 14 October 2017


Preet Bharara, former US Attorney and a known critic of US President Donald Trump, mocked him for trying to threaten news networks. Bharara was appointed by Barack Obama as US Attorney for Manhattan where he served for many years before being fired by Trump this March, a fact that Bharara has mentioned in his Twitter bio.

While replying to a tweet where Trump indicated he might challenge broadcast license of media houses, Bharara quipped, "Adult day care shift alert, please report for duty", in an apparent reference to Republican Senator Bob Corker, a supporter-turned-critic of Trump, who has called the US president a political novice whose outbursts have become so routine that the White House has become an adult day care centre.

Preet Bharara ✔@PreetBharara
Adult daycare shift alert. Please report for duty. …
7:38 PM - Oct 11, 2017

Bob Corker heads the powerful US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has been a strong anti-Trump voice on issues like Trump Administration's handling of the North Korean nuclear crisis and the changes Trump is trying to make to the US tax regime. Trump and Corker are engaged in a bitter war of words these days and they routinely exchange barbs.

Senator Bob Corker ✔@SenBobCorker
It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
8:43 PM - Oct 8, 2017

Bharara also questioned if it was possible to a get a ruling it happens so tagging Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates the media and communications industry in the US.

Preet Bharara ✔@PreetBharara
Hey @AjitPaiFCC can we get a ruling? …
8:01 PM - Oct 11, 2017

Earlier in the day, Trump had blasted the NBC News alleging it for producing a fake story which said Trump had asked for tenfold rise in US nuclear arsenal in a meeting with national security officials earlier this summer after which Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, had termed him a "moron".

While dismissing the row if Tillerson really called him a moron, Trump said in an interview yesterday, "I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win." And today, in a series of tweets, he complained that the NBC report was "pure fiction, meant to demean.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!
7:15 PM - Oct 11, 2017


Friday 13 October 2017


US President Donald Trump asked when it would be "appropriate" to challenge the licenses of American media outlets like the network NBC, which he accused of carrying a fake story about him.

Quoting three sources, the NBC report in question said Trump told the US' "highest-ranking national security leaders" that he wanted "what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase" in America's nuclear arsenal.

It also said Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was heard calling his boss a "moron" after the meeting.

On Wednesday, Trump complained in a tweet that the report was "pure fiction, meant to demean."

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!
7:15 PM - Oct 11, 2017

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!
7:25 PM - Oct 11, 2017

Trump says that since he won last year's presidential polls, media outlets have run several fake stories targeting him.

He routinely blasts networks running stories he finds uncomfortable - be it CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post.

In March, Trump threatened to end White House Press briefings after a row over the ouster of former FBI director James Comey, even thought it was his press office that was at fault.

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
...Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???
5:37 PM - May 12, 2017

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was then the White House's deputy Press Secretary, first said Comey's firing wouldn't affect the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

Then, she said Comey's removal would hasten the investigation. But Donald Trump himself later said he'd fired Comey to ensure that "the Russian meddling investigation is done absolutely properly."