Ray of false hope

As your articles on the Pakistan election illustrate, two things appear to be widely agreed upon vis-à-vis Imran Khan’s rise to the premiership of Pakistan: the army’s role in getting him there and the mountainous challenges he faces as leader. Where people differ is on his authenticity. While I would applaud his expressed desire to build a just welfare state in Pakistan, I am not convinced by a man who was once a member of the Western elite, with all that entailed – good and bad – and is now a staunch defender of values that have a more Islamist than Islamic ring. (Remember his comments in support of blasphemy laws during his election campaign.)

The politically inexperienced Khan will be left to deal with the unenviable tasks of fixing the economy, corruption and how to develop the country while the military, as usual,keeps its hand on the tiller of national security and foreign policy.  As yet another so-called ‘anti-establishment’ figure who opposes the tired old PPP and PLM-N, Imran Khan could look like a ray of hope. But I fear it is false hope.

Daniel P. Goddard


Keep your friends close

Good for The Democracy Forum and the Henry Jackson Society for drawing attention to the visa allocation situation that is causing anger among many young Indians who want to come and study in the UK (Asian Affairs August issue). I am one such, and we feel very strongly that greater restrictions on student visas for Indians is deeply unfair. Only in June this year, Britain announced a relaxation of the Tier 4 visa category for foreign students from over 25 countries, including Bahrain and Serbia, yet India was excluded from these more lenient rules.

Why is this happening? We are as ‘low risk’ as the likes of China and Canada, we have a strong historic bond and our English-language skills are excellent. Yet this situation means we continue to face rigorous checks and documentary requirements. This is insulting and unkind to a country that is one of the UK’s closest allies.The seminar hosted by The Democracy Forum and Henry Jackson Society discussed Britain’s trading opportunitiespost-Brexit, and India would seem to be a natural partner in this regard. However, the visa issue is causing bad feeling that will not be to Britain’s benefit in the long term.

Miss Seema Agarwal


Give peace (and Trump) a chance

Johnny Walsh’s comparisons between Afghanistan and North Korea (‘Lessons in peace from North Korea’, August Asian Affairs) are unusual yet valid. President Trump has a reputation as a bulldozer with no diplomatic skills, but his odd brand of negotiation is sowing small seeds of hope with Pyongyang and could do so in Kabul.

Name and address supplied

Traditional Indian Non-Alignment

Dear Sir

I was pleased to read G. Parthasarathy’s article on Indo-US relations in your July edition (‘Engaged but not dependent’). India has always maintained aloofness from Western cold-war rhetoric. From the time of Indian independence in 1947, India’s leaders have consistently refused to be drawn by America and European powers into hostile stances towards other super-powers, particularly the Soviet Union and China. The new cold-war now being generated by America and Europe against the ‘new enemy’, Russia, is motivated by the pursuit of arms sales revenues and justification for the continuation of NATO. That requires international tension to justify greater military spending and, of course, greater profits for the weapons manufacturers. Mr Modi seems to be maintaining India’s independent approach to his country’s defence needs and he is not willing to comply with sanctions and other measures designed to increase hostility around the world. He is to be commended for that wise course.

Martin Connolly





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