Will Doha peace deal bring prosperity in Afghanistan?

By NP Upadhyaya

The Swedish Professor of Indian origin Ashok Swain has rightly observed through his Twitter account dated February 29/2020 that “While Imran Khan’s Pakistan is renovating 400 Hindu temples to handover to the minority Hindus, in Narendra Modi’s India the Mosques of minority Muslims are under regular attacks.
The Professor who is taken in India as a sharp critique of Modi’s steering of Indian administration further adds in his Twitter from Dubai that “In New India, a Muslim must surrender himself to die when a Hindutwa mob comes attacking. If he resists and tries to survive, Modi-Shah’s police will put him behind bars. There is no escape for a Muslim under PM Modi”.
Professor Swain is correct in his blunt saying as the entire civilized world saw for itself the brutal attack on the minority Muslims last week and that too at a time that coincided with the visit of the President of the free world, Donald Trump to Delhi on a two day India visit.
In a fresh press interview granted to the Press TV dated 25 February the same veteran professor from Sweden Ashok Swain says, I quote him, “As the world battles a devastating refugee crisis, this part of the planet is also struggling with yet another form of issue. India has been witnessing a growing environment of fear and panic among the citizens specially the Muslims in the last few months”.
He further says that a newly enacted citizenship law which many call confusing has widened at an atmosphere of mistrust towards Indian Prime Minister Modi Narendra and his Bharatiya Janata Party-BJP.
Sensible observers in South Asia, Nepal included, claim that the new citizenship law has raised worries abroad that PM Modi wants to remold secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalizing the country’s 200 million Muslims, a claim that PM Modi and his team denied.
The law has reportedly expedited the citizenship applications for persecuted minorities from India’s three Muslim majority neighboring countries, but not if they were Muslims”.
Nepal though is a majority Hindu country, however, tolerance factor is unimaginably high in this India tortured nation.
While US senators like Bob Menendez and Bernie Sanders took their own President Trump to task for not uttering even a single word against the calculated attacks on the minority Muslims during his visit to India, however, international leaders took the Indian brutalities to notice and criticized India to the hilt.
Apart from the sharp comments from the US senators, on February 27, the Indian government faced statements from the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and several Democrat and Republican leaders in addition to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and notably the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Communal violence since February 24 that has left at least 38 plus people dead.
Let’s presume that the OIC which is under the inside pocket of the Saudi Arabia’s MBS must have very reluctantly issued the statement condemning the Delhi violence at time when President Trump was in town.
Is it that Saudi Arabia fears India? Or is it the commercial transaction that compels Saudis to abide by the dictates of the Indian Union?
Who else better knows this than the MBS?
In the meanwhile, the NDTV reports dated March 1/2020 that demonstrations and sit-ins were organized by members of the Indian community in more than eighteen cities across Europe on Saturday February 29/2020 to express solidarity with the victims of the clashes in Delhi and to demand immediate action against those responsible.
The protests, attended by around 1500 people, were held in cities including Brussels, Geneva, Helsinki, Cracow (Poland), The Hague, Stockholm, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Glasgow and London, adds the NDTV.
And Bangladesh too joined these countries and condemned the Delhi’s communal violence.
India’s new protectorate Nepal has no courage to deride at India as Delhi is Nepal’s political Mecca.
Nepali leaders fear Delhi’s wrath.
Notably, in Berlin, the protestors marched towards the Indian embassy raising slogans against the police atrocities on the victims and the inaction by the Indian government.
Interestingly, the protestors in Berlin also placed flowers in front of the Indian embassy as a gesture of condolence to the Delhi victims mainly the Muslims.
“The brutality and extent of violence that was witnessed in Delhi recently has shaken us all. It is high time we stand against this hate-filled ideology that has divided India right down the middle”, said an Organizer in Krakow, Poland.
The climax of it all was seen in the French capital, Paris wherein the local French people joined Indian nationals to observe a minute of silence. They also laid white roses, a symbol of anti-Fascist resistance in Europe, near the Indian consular office in Paris, reported the NDTV.
These demonstrations apparently tempted the CNN to Tweet which says in part, “Violent communal clashes killed dozens in New Delhi during President Trump’s visit to India”. All this was happening at the same time as President Trump was…telling the world that Modi has got everything in control”, adds the CNN Tweets dated March 1/2020.
To recall, for months the Indians have been protesting over the controversial law which gives Indian citizenship to asylum seekers from three neighboring countries, as mentioned in earlier paragraphs,…a number of people in India have died as part of the ongoing clashes.
However, India remains undeterred. Though for the moment the attack on Muslims have come down but yet the fear factor among the minorities living in India remain as high as had never been before.
The Turkish President Erdogan was among a few International leaders who scathingly criticized for having threatened the lives of the Muslims in India.
Thanks, better late than never, the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) that has been tentatively under the tight control of the Saudi regime, better say under Prince MBS’s tight fist, issued a statement condemning the Delhi violence.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said of Delhi violence that” whenever a racist ideology based on hatred takes over, it leads to bloodshed.
While the US President was busy in his India trip (which saw the Delhi’s dangerous violence and was much similar to the calculated Sikh genocide of the fateful year of 1984 initiated by the then Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. (RIP).
Beant Singh, a Sikh by birth who was the personal security aide of Madame Indira Gandhi shot her dead in the garden. Mrs. Gandhi breathed her last the next moment-within fraction of a second.
The then frightened Sikh community still has not forgotten the horrifying days (the genocide in fact) in India for the Sikh community.
Interestingly, when US President Trump was on a two-day official trip, clandestine bids were going on in between Pakistan, the US special envoy of Afghanistan and the Taliban forces for signing a peace deal which was slated to be held on February 29/2020 and the venue was chosen the Qatari Capital, Doha.
India tried hard to impress the US guest so that India too could be taken as a prime stakeholder in the Doha peace process, however, the clever US President had understood by then that Abdullah Abdullah and even Ashraf Ghani under the secret instigation of the Indian establishment may create disturbances prior or after the signing of the peace deal with the Afghani-Taliban and thus ignored the Indian plea that she be honored at time of the signing of the peace deal with the warring Talibans.
This should not mean that the election-declared President Ashraf Ghani possessed inner sympathies for the Pakistani establishment. It is not that. President Ghani is on record to have pointed out fingers at Pakistani establishment stating that his country is being destabilized by the regime close to its border.
President Ghani presumably is a man close to the Indian regime but circumstances forced him to visit Pakistan many a times in the recent past to appeal the host country be of substantial support in maintaining and restoring peace in the troubled country.
The last one being the Lahore process which brought both the US dignitaries and the top level Taliban leaders including Mullah Ghani Baradari to a common table.
The Lahore process was perhaps very important in that it was this peace venue that may have, presumably, facilitated both the US and the Talibans to inch close to the deal that has just been signed in Doha, February 29/2020.
While Delhi was under the grip of deadly communal violence, in far flung Qatari Capital Doha, President Trump being himself in Delhi was busy in receiving information(s) from Doha on the approaching “peace deal” developments from the US special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who briefed the President in Delhi that “everything” was going smoothly and that the much awaited peace deal would be signed on the slated date.
And the deal between the US and the Taliban was signed on Saturday in Qatar, Doha as had been scheduled amidst a function witnessed by several leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan which is expected to pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops from troubled Afghanistan.
On behalf of the US, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the peace deal representing the Taliban forces respectively.
After the signing of this amity deal in Doha, it is widely believed that it will bring to an end to the United States’ longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001.
Nepali observers believe that with this agreement signed in Qatar’s capital, Doha, could facilitate the US troops leaving Afghanistan within 14 months or so, writes a media veteran. Shereena Qazi.
According to BBC dated February 29, the US President Trump said that it is “time to bring our people back home” after the US signed a deal with the Taliban aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump said, the BBC reports, 5,000 US troops would leave Afghanistan by May and he would meet Taliban leaders in the near future, without specifying where.
(President Trump is likely to meet the Taliban leaders right in America soon.)
The US and NATO allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months provided the militants uphold the historic deal.
Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow as per the agreed upon deal.
Under the agreement, the militants also have agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control at the moment.
Similarly, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who also arrived at the peace deal venue in Doha spoke cautiously in front of Taliban leaders.
He took the just signed agreement a “true test” of their (Talibans) commitment to peace.
“We will closely watch the Taliban’s compliance with their commitments and calibrate the pace of our withdrawal to their actions. This is how we will ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a base for international terrorists,” the US Secretary of State Pompeo said.
It would not be out of place in registering to what Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said of the Doha deal. Look what he says, ” we welcome the Doha Accord signed between the US and the Taliban. This is the start of a peace and reconciliation process to end decades of war and suffering of the Afghani people. I have always maintained that a political solution, no matter how complex, is the only meaningful path to peace”.
He Tweeted the same day upon the signing of the peace deal in Doha where he was physically present as a distinguished guest of Qatari government.
PM Khan further warned through his Twitter handle all and sundry that “Now all the stakeholders have to ensure that spoilers are kept at bay, my prayers for peace for the Afghanistan people who have suffered for decades of bloodshed. Pakistan is committed to playing its role in ensuring the agreement holds and succeeds in bringing peace to Afghanistan.
Replying to a query made to the Pakistani foreign minister Qureshi (who witnessed the signing of the peace agreement) after the signing the peace pact as to what role did Pakistan played in signing the peace deal, the Minister replied” The deal would not have been signed if Pakistan had not its support from the very beginning of the US-Taliban talks”.
Qureshi further added that the agreement carried immense importance –both in symbolism and substance –for Afghanistan, the region and much beyond.
“The peace agreement reflected a significant step forward by the US and the Taliban in advancing the ultimate aim of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan”, Minister Qureshi said in an official statement after the peace deal was signed in Doha.
Similarly, when an Indian journalist asked a Russian diplomat as to what role did India play in signing the Doha peace deal in between the US and the Taliban, the Russian diplomat said “India seemed nowhere” in the dialogue scene.
The Russian diplomats blunt answer must have embarrassed the entire Indian Union.
It is only China, Russia, Pakistan, the US who played active role behind the scene that made the US-Taliban agreement possible on 29 February, added the same Russian diplomat.
The diplomat from Russia however, told the Indian journalist that India must be brought on board.
So rightly says the Pakistani foreign minister that “Khan’s vision has consistently championed diplomacy over military solution”.
This Minister Qureshi stated on march 1/2020 just a day after the signing of the Doha peace deal.
He has also vowed to keep leading, sustaining efforts for peace in the region.
But will India allow him to stretch his diplomatic legs? India’s long time chum Ashraf Ghani has already taken some steps to thwart the peace deal, it is widely believed. Then Abdullah Abdullah is very much there to kill the entire process if he is denied his due chunk of share in Afghan power structure. The US has to tame the Indian hegemony in South Asia. That’s all.


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