World
Bleeding Balochistan: An aspiration to be free from Pakistan
A simple reference towards the end of his Independence Day speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown open Pakistan's festering Balochistan wound, rattling a neighbour India has for decades blamed for stoking trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Modi, in tit-for-tat tactics, has thrown open a Pandora's Box that has geopolitical implications and holds the potential of changing the direction of India's foreign policy. Balochistan has been as troubling for Pakistan as Kashmir has been for India.
 
But Pakistan's largest province has not received as much international attention as Kashmir -- mostly because the region, often described as a "black hole", is "no-go area" for journalists -- unlike Kashmir. On the other hand, Pakistan has always raked up the Kashmir issue globally and spoken about the alleged rights violations in India's only Muslim-majority state.
 
The Pakistani province -- almost the size of France -- is rich in gas, gold, copper, oil and uranium, but it has been plagued by an unending cycle of violence and underdevelopment since the 1947 division of the sub-continent and the formation of India and Pakistan as separate nations.
 
The restive province, spread over 40 per cent of Pakistan's total land mass but consisting of less than four per cent of its population, has never made global headlines despite activists alleging that security forces have been committing alleged genocide of Balochis to kill their aspirations for a free, sovereign nation.
 
The history of the region is that of broken promises, rights abuses, induced poverty and repressive rule of elite Punjabis.
 
Pakistan has been alleging that India's spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), has been stoking trouble in the region by sponsoring the separatist campaign there. India has always denied such allegations.
 
Historically, Balochistan has never been part of the sub-continent and consisted of four princely states -- Kalat, Lasbela, Kharan and Makran -- under the British Raj. The region finds more similarities with Afghanistan and Iran than India or Pakistan.
 
It is generally believed that Pakistan's first governor-general Mohammad Ali Jinnah coerced the last independent Baloch ruler Mir Ahmad Yar Khan to sign an instrument of accession.
 
Some historical accounts, disputed by critics, says that three months before Pakistan was formed Jinnah had negotiated the freedom of Balochistan from the British.
 
In fact, a communiqué dated August 11, 1947, stated that a standstill agreement had been made between Pakistan and the region, and discussions would take place between Pakistan and Khan with a view to reaching agreements on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.
 
Despite the standstill agreement, the Pakistan Army, on March 26, 1948, moved into Baloch coastal regions. Days later, it was announced in Karachi that Khan has agreed to merge his state with Pakistan.
 
What followed is a chronicle of bloodshed, denial of basic rights and acute deprivation amid military operations to crush any voice raised for freedom of the region.
 
"The human rights situation in Balochistan is drastically deteriorating, with the region's respective governments failing at their most basic duty -- to protect the safety of their citizens and enforce the rule of law," says a report compiled after a last year Geneva conference titled "Balochistan in the Shadows".
 
Angry over Pakistan's exploitation of the resources and its repressive rule, Balochis have so far launched five low-intensity armed insurgencies since 1948.
 
A prominent Baloch activist, Naela Quadri, in an interview to IANS in April, accused Pakistan of resorting to "genocide" in response to the "political, democratic and secular" freedom struggle.
 
"They have killed some 200,000 Balochis in the last decade. The Pakistan Army has participated in enforced disappearance of 25,000 people, including men and women," Quadri said.
 
"They are using all the eight UN indicators of genocide, including dehumanisation, polarisation, extermination and denial."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Bapoo Malcolm

5 months ago

What do I think? Nothing. We are surrounded by peoples we "freed" and who are now a major pain in the neck. Do we need one more?

Banks face tough capitalisation challenges to meet Basel III
Mumbai: Bankers, particularly from public sector banks (PSBs), on Wednesday voiced concern on the formidable challenges in raising the amount of capital required under Basel III norms, given the timeline of its implementation by March 31, 2019.
 
"The formidable challenges in raising the amount of capital required under Basel III norms stares the Indian banking sector in the face, given the timeline of implementation of Basel III norms by March 31, 2019," the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said in a statement here.
 
According to the industry chamber, this issue was discussed by senior bank professionals and credit analysts at a session on "Capitalisation challenges and new Basel norms for the new frontiers in risk" on the second day of the annual FICCI-IBA Conference here.
 
According to estimates earlier, PSBs would need additional capital of up to Rs 240,000 crore by 2018 to meet the Basel III capital adequacy norms, put in place to guard against a repeat of the situation following the 2008 US financial crisis.
 
"The panellists agreed that the net worth of many public sector banks stands eroded because of non-performing assets (NPAs)," or bad loans, the statement said.
 
"The Asset Quality Review (of banks) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has led to increase in provisioning to as high as 15 per cent compared with 0.4 per cent provisioning for standard assets.
 
"Provisioning for NPAs has taken a toll of profits and internal accruals and investors have shied away from investing in shares of public sector banks," it said.
 
"In such a scenario, the last two years has hardly seen any programme for raising of capital. The situation could worsen as the requirement for capitalisation will grow as demand for credit increases to fuel growth," the statement added.
 
According to Ficci, the panellists were of the view that banks would have to address the shortage of risk management staff, hone risk management skills, strengthen the relationship manager operating model and create a common information sharing model, especially for recovery of large credits.
 
Presenting in parliament the union budget proposals in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 25,000 crore towards their recapitalisation in the current fiscal.
 
Jaitley plans to provide Rs 25,000 crore capital each in the previous and current fiscal years, while Rs 20,000 crore would be provided during 2017-18 and 2018-19.
 
In July last, the government had presented to Parliament a supplementary demand for grants to provide for Rs 12,000 crore towards recapitalisation of PSBs.
 
The quantum of exposure of Indian scheduled banks in terms of gross non-productive assets, re-cast loans and write-offs was Rs 9.5 lakh crore as of September last year.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Bankers to strike next month against anti-labour measures
Chennai: Around five lakh bankers will go on strike on September 2 protesting against the central government's economic polices and anti-labour reform measures, the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said on Thursday.
 
In a statement, the AIBEA said at the call for the National General Strike was taken at a National Trade Union Convention organised by the central trade unions.
 
"In the name of 'cleaning Balance Sheets', all these huge bad loans are sought to be taken out of public glare to silently write them off. On an average about Rs 50,000 crore of bad loans are being written off per year," C.H.Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA said in the statement.
 
He said while public sector banks are sought to be merged on the plea that they are small and hence not viable, private corporates on the other hand are given licence to start small banks.
 
According to Venkatachalam, the central government is amending laws giving unfettered rights to corporate to hire and fire workers and stripping the workers of their trade union rights.
 
Employees and officers working public sector banks, private banks, foreign banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks will join the strike.

Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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