Trump backs out of mediating Kashmir crisis

Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting in Biarritz, France on Monday on the third day of the annual G7 Summit. (AFP)
Updated 27 August 2019

Trump backs out of mediating Kashmir crisis

  • US president says India, Pakistan can resolve situation ‘mutually’

NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump said on Monday he would not mediate in the Kashmir crisis, despite having offered to do so several times in the past, saying India and Pakistan could sort it out “mutually.”

India and Pakistan both lay claim to Kashmir, which they administer in part, and the territory lies at the heart of decades of hostility between them. 

The most recent flashpoint occurred earlier this month, when India revoked the special status of its portion and brought it under direct rule.

But, ahead of a meeting between Trump and Indian Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit being held in France, the US leader seemed more nonchalant about the Kashmir standoff, which he had previously described as “explosive.”

“The US is good friends with both India and Pakistan. I think India and Pakistan can discuss among themselves and sort it (Kashmir) out mutually,” said Trump on Monday.

Modi said that all issues between the neighbors were bilateral and that India did not want to “give any pain” to a third country.

HIGHLIGHTS

• US President Donald Trump had offered to mediate in the crisis several times in the past.

• India says all issues between the two countries are bilateral and there is no need for any third-party mediation.

• India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a different tack and lobbied for foreign assistance, saying Modi had made the “biggest mistake” by annexing Kashmir, and even likened the Indian leader’s ideology to Nazism.

Harsh V. Pant, from the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think tank, said Trump’s push on Kashmir was understandable because he needed Pakistan’s help in “normalizing Afghanistan.”

“With Trump the Kashmir issue is very transactional,” Pant told Arab News. 

“He is inserting himself in Kashmir because he wants Pakistan on board for his Afghanistan endgame. By abrogating Article 370 India made a major policy change that has not taken place in the last 70 years. International players asking questions on that decision is a normal thing, not an internationalization of the issue. Internationalization would have been when the UN comes out with a formal statement or Trump says that the situation is getting out of hand and Washington wants to do this or that.”

Amnesty International said life had been “derailed” for people in Jammu and Kashmir. 

“Depriving an entire population of their right to freedom of expression, opinion and movement for an indefinite period runs squarely counter to international norms and standards. Worse, it gives the government of India a near-total control over the information coming out of the region,” said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.


Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

Updated 28 min 42 sec ago

Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

  • Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi
  • Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: A Pakistan couple have been arrested for allegedly murdering their seven-year-old maid after she was blamed for letting a pet bird escape, police said, the latest case of violence against child domestic workers in the country.
Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, to care for their son of a similar same age.
“The poor girl was subjected to torture by Siddiqui and his wife who accused her of freeing one of the four pet Macao parrots,” investigating officer Mukhtar Ahmad said on Thursday.
“Siddiqui kicked her in the lower abdomen which proved fatal.”
Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan, according to the International Labour Organization.
Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15, but it remains common practice.
Zohra was taken to hospital by the couple on Sunday, but died the following day. The incident was reported to the police by staff at the hospital.
The young girl’s body was handed over to her parents, who live in Muzaffargarh, near the city of Multan, more than 500 kilometers away from where she was working.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari confirmed the arrests in a tweet and said the ministry was in touch with police.
“Violence and physical torture against children will not be tolerated and all those involved in such incidents will be dealt with,” city police chief Muhammad Ahsan Younus added.
Domestic workers frequently face exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, with Pakistan’s patriarchal and rigid social-class structure leaving them without a voice.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and Bibi’s case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.
In December 2018, the rising number of abuse cases led the provincial legislature in Punjab to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.