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RAW

Dangerous Liaisons

The Soviet invasion in 1979 precipitated a large influx of Afghans into Pakistan, mainly from the Kabul elite, the affluent bought up residential homes and even small businesses, mainly in transportation. As the war reached the countryside the not so affluent started to cross over to escape being caught in the crossfire. The (mostly Pashtuns) Afghans owned residences in Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad serving as “Rest and Recreation” (R & R) facilities for whatever Afghan faction were the rebels at that time. Hayatabad and New University Town in Peshawar is full of rich Afghans. Some of Karzai’s family still lives in Quetta, one of Rashid Dostum’s wives is said to be still living in Islamabad. A few bureaucrats and Kabul elite sought refuge in the Soviet Union when the Talibaan wrested Kabul from Ahmed Shah Masood’s Northern Alliance in the early 90s.

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To Go or not to go?

There is a lot of speculation about the PM’s possible visit to New Delhi on Monday May 26 to attend Narendra Singh Modi’s inauguration as Prime Minister of India. Any exchange between Pakistan and India assumes symbolic proportions, arousing considerable comment and analysis thereof. Even though the invitation went to all SAARC member countries, Modi’s outreach initiative after the heat generated by the BJP against Pakistan during the election campaign cannot be brushed aside. The fulminations of an election campaign and the responsibilities inherent in running a state are quite different, BJP has shown this to good effect in earlier tenures.

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A Window of Opportunity

The TTP has been insisting till very recently that they represented all the groups committing terror in Pakistan. Only when the terrorist acts continued unabated after the negotiations started that the TTP (and their vocal sympathizers) changed tack and started distancing themselves from the sporadic violence. Even then only proforma regret was expressed. It took over a month for Maulana Samiul Haq to deny ever hearing of “Ahrar ul Hind”. There is certainly an indirect link and even worse, tacit encouragement.

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