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Letter to the Editor

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Formerly published on WASHINGTON POST, by Kashi N Pandit.

re: Iraq Elections

Dear Editor:
This refers to the editorial ‘Forgotten War’ (14 Sept). Any attempt to short cut forthcoming elections in Iraq like district-wise polling would be a Himalayan blunder. Only free flow of democratic process will earn credibility to the US. Moreover, seeking referendum to the presence or withdrawal of American forces from Iraq with a view to raise the stock of Al Maliki, again, will not be a healthy sign. Free and fair elections in Iraq will not only bring credibility to the US but will also provide her an excellent opportunity to wriggle out of Iraq imbroglio. But to think that free elections followed by American withdrawal will prevent Al Qaeda spreading its tentacles in Iraq is wishful thinking. Unless Taliban in Afghanistan and their cohorts in Pakistan are uprooted lock stock and barrel, Al Qaeda’s clandestine expansion cannot be blocked. The rumour of the US engaged in Track II talks with Taliban is no guarantee of containing Al Qaeda because its network is much more active outside Pak-Afghanistan region.

POK Package: Autonomy or Illusion

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By Dr. K.N. Pandita

On 29 August 2009, Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Gilani announced a political-cum administrative package for Northern Areas, which proposes replacing the existing Northern Areas Legislative Council with a representative legislative assembly, appointment of a Governor for Northern Areas, a Prime Minister heading a 6-member Council of Ministers with specific subjects to administer. Pakistani newspapers reported ten items specifying the thrust of the package in addition to noticeable change of the nomenclature of the region from Northern Areas to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pro-establishment circles and sections media called it a great and bold initiative on the part of the present government ascribing it among the achievements of PPP. They have also claimed party’s historical empathy for the people of Northern Areas since it was late Z.A Bhutto who had taken the initiative of setting up the NALC way back in 1971.  Continue Reading…