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Brutalities Against PoJK and Balochistan Continue Unabated

The citizens in PoJK and GB are protesting against the growing extremism and unrestricted mobility of banned outfits in the region. Restrictions on freedom of expression and publications keep the world from knowledge of the dark underbelly of these illegally occupied territories … writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

In a shocking series of events, after PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan were discriminated against in wheat supply on account of lack of funds and economic crisis, Pakistan-occupied Jammu-Kashmir (PoJK) Prime Minister Tanveer Ilyas handed over a cheque worth PKR 480 million to Turkish envoy in Islamabad. Pakistan is more interested in diplomacy over feeding its starving folks back home.

PKR 470 million was directly derived from the salaried lot from the PoJK exchequer. For two years now the ex-servicemen, pension holders, and government employees have not been getting salaries. The government has also reduced PoJK’s developmental budget. The citizens haven’t been paid their due from the proceeds of the sale of timber, minerals, and other natural resources. But to the Pakistani government, the plight of PoJK means nothing.

Protest in Gilgit Baltistan over Air Force’s Land Grab

While making tall claims for the Kashmir cause, Pakistan is running terrorism camps on PoJK grounds raising major security concerns for its people. The citizens in PoJK and GB are protesting against the growing extremism and unrestricted mobility of banned outfits in the region. Restrictions on freedom of expression and publications keep the world from knowledge of the dark underbelly of these illegally occupied territories.

To add to their woes, the land reforms in Pakistan, unnecessary in the face of economic challenges and food storage, are a deliberate attempt to sterilize the population. Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is illegally allocating PoJK land non-state subjects to legalize the illegal takeover of its land by goons from Punjab, Pak Army, and militant organizations. The human rights activists of the region are holding protests daily against this decision will permanently dilute the identity of the territory and make Kashmiris second-class citizens of their own land.

It is quite surprising Pakistan finds the time for such mischief at its lowest point.

The leaders are busy maintaining their vote banks without inspiring much confidence in people, and the masses are numb from starvation. After hours-long public demonstrations and reams of paper blotted with ink, the nation has come full circle back to 1998-like conditions when it faced strict clauses for the restoration of the IMF program. The international rating agency Moody’s has reduced the economic rating of Islamabad from CAA to CAA3. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is living in oblivion believing he can complete the IMF program.

The preconditions set to support Pakistan’s economy include a permanent surcharge of Rs. 3.82 per unit on electricity prices, a hike in interest rates, written assurances on foreign financing, and so on. The increase in electricity rates alone will fetch the federal government PKR 14 billion by June. It is the common man who will have to make up for the national blunder.

The entire burden of the situation is on the lower class, especially in neglected regions like Balochistan. The Ministry of Petroleum stated that if the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project is not completed, Pakistan is likely to be fined USD 18 billion. The US has been asked to review the ban on procuring gas from Iran. But amidst all the tussle, it is the common Baloch that has to face the brunt. For them, the project has been hours of labor without getting paid and scarcity of gas.

Passing through the cities of Khuzdar and Sui, the controversial project is boiling the Baloch blood paired with the food crisis and the traumatic winter season which reduced the status of people to that of insects. The government sitting in Punjab cannot be bothered about the Baloch situation because they have more than enough supply of Sui gas to warm their swimming pools. This has caused serious uprisings in Balochistan. They have decided to block all national highways across Balochistan until their demands are accepted and the illegal load-shedding issue is resolved.

Added to this issue is the problem of the infiltration of Afghan refugees. They imitate the Baloch to be part of the larger society but under the guise of friendship, they have slowly taken over the trade markets, and are gaining a strong foothold. The Kalashnikova culture has penetrated the region and the hardline members of their society are imposing conservative and oppressive rule over the original inhabitants. The Pakistani government has given them the Baloch status than defining them as foreign Afghans. The government is unconcerned about the future of Balochistan as long as the gas and mineral supply keeps running.

Pakistan should take a long hard look at its governance in PoJK, GB, and Balochistan lest the territories decide to break up with the nation. The line of tolerance has been crossed years back. The human rights violations here will not go unnoticed.

Asia News Columns World News

SPECIAL: India’s Presidency Steers Ahead G-20 Amid Global Chaos

India has taken up the leadership of the G-20 at a time when the world faces multi-dimensional challenges ranging from insufficient progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, to economic slowdown, debt distress, uneven pandemic recovery, growing poverty and inequality, food and energy insecurity and global  supply chain disruptions, aggravated by geo-political tensions and conflicts … writes Dr Rakesh Sharma

G20 Foreign Ministers met on March 1-2 in New Delhi under India’s G20 Presidency, with the theme ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ in which India successfully calibrated the competing interests of all the members and peddled the idea of resolving the global problems with conversation, cooperation and mutual trust. The G20 Foreign Ministers deliberated upon current global challenges and showed consensus to find solutions despite differences persisting in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Given that at the centre stage in the global discourse at present is Ukraine[1]Russia war and different positions taken by the US and its European allies vis a vis Russia and its supposed and alleged ally China, as expected there were voices against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and two opposing positions from both the sides. But eventually, other important issues were given due place keeping in view the fact that the G-20 is a platform to foster global cooperation for economic development and not a platform to discuss security issues.

Amid differences of different sides on the Russia-Ukraine war and obdurate positions taken by Russia and China, the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting could not rich a joint statement as the two countries did not agree to sign it on the reference to Russian aggression against Ukraine which the other Western countries wanted. The lack of consensus on differing perceptions, claims and counterclaims on the Ukraine-Russia war of Russia and China and the Western alliance has been countenanced on almost all the global fora. However, the Russian and Chinese counterpart’s denial to sign the language of last year’s joint communiqué in Bali could only be seen as their own bid to defend their perceptions and national position rather than a setback to the G-20 Chair.

Despite an appeal from Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to “rise above (their) differences”, a sharp exchange of words was witnessed between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a number of Foreign Ministers. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister of India helped in finding the space for a meaningful discussion on all other issues than the Russia-Ukraine war saying that “we should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can.” Underlining that the meeting was taking place in the land of Gandhi and the Buddha, the Prime Minister of India urged the Excellencies to draw inspiration from India’s civilizational ethos of focusing not on what divides us but on what unites us all. Later, this was the spirit of the meeting which reverberated in deliberations on all other issues.

New Delhi, Mar 01 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar holds a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

In fact what needs to be celebrated is the fact that amid adrenalin running so high on the Russia-Ukraine war, India as chair was able to achieve consensus on all issues of concern to the Global South, including strengthening multilateralism, food, fuel and energy security, climate change, and other issues. The issues discussed ranged from post-pandemic and post-conflict economic challenges and economic recovery to global food, energy and health security and the use and misuse of emerging technologies and the threat of terrorism as clear from the G-20 Chair’s Summary and Outcome Document issued by India on March 2 instead of a joint statement.

India has taken up the leadership of the G-20 at a time when the world faces multi-dimensional challenges ranging from insufficient progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, to economic slowdown, debt distress, uneven pandemic recovery, growing poverty and inequality, food and energy insecurity and global supply chain disruptions, aggravated by geo-political tensions and conflicts.

The meeting assumes its importance as G20 deliberations and macro policy cooperation provides a valuable opportunity for bringing fresh perspectives and forging durable solutions to collectively respond to contemporary global challenges. The Prime Minister of India said at the outset, the world looks upon the G-20 to ease challenges of growth, development, economic resilience, financial stability, transnational crime, corruption, terrorism and food and energy security.”

The members unequivocally felt that the existing international governance architecture which has played a key role in promoting international cooperation on global issues needs to respond to dramatic changes since the Second World War due to economic growth and prosperity, decolonization, demographic dividends, technological achievements, the emergence of new economic powers and deeper international cooperation.

A major part of the discussion in the G-20 FMM was devoted to sustainable agriculture for global food security which has come under increasing threat due to current conflict and tensions as well Covid-19 pandemic-led disruption of supply chains. Eliminating hunger and malnutrition in the world was felt urgent and described as the need of the hour. The statement emphasised that food security could be achieved by promoting the availability, accessibility, affordability, sustainability, equity and transparent flow of food and agricultural products including fertilizers in all corners of the globe.

The OD also laid out a vision for global energy security. In this regard, it said that “undisrupted, sustainable, and resilient supply chains are important to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable access to energy for all.

Strengthening sustainable supply chains as well as circular approaches and promoting inclusive investments are necessary to meet growing energy demand. It is essential to advance and improve energy security and sustainable, clean, affordable, inclusive and just energy transitions; promote universal, affordable energy access; accelerate the adoption of renewable and clean energy sources; promote smart and clean energy technologies; increase energy efficiency; enhance transnational and regional grid connectivity, and support impacted workers and communities.”

On much-expected lines, the participating members also strongly agreed on the importance of multilateral cooperation. In this regard, the G-20 statement also highlighted the importance of multilateralism and global cooperation for achieving the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda as well as inclusive economic growth. On global health, the OD on G-20 FMM underscored that the threat of future pandemics is very real, and “we must work collectively to institutionalize and operationalise the multi-sectoral actions needed for health emergencies prevention, preparedness, and response.” It highlighted the necessity of strengthening key aspects of global health architecture, with the leading and coordination role of the WHO, including our support for the process to negotiate and adopt a new pandemic instrument/accord and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005), support for the Pandemic Fund, improving digital health, and working together with relevant international, regional and local organizations.

India is a global leader in the digital economy the G-20 meet was expected to include a statement on digitalisation and the knowledge economy. In this regard, the OD highlighted that the digital economy and green transitions are fundamentally changing the nature of work and leading to new jobs and tasks. Skilling, re-skilling and upskilling of the workforce, particularly under-represented workers, including women, youth and persons with disabilities, is essential for reaping the benefits of the knowledge economy and technological progress and for ensuring a just transition.

Other issues discussed included misuse of emerging technology and the need for strengthening international cooperation, through the exchange of best practices, sharing of information and effective mutual legal assistance to curb such misuse. The OD on G-20 FMM strongly condemned all terrorist acts against critical infrastructure, including critical energy facilities, and against other vulnerable targets and described all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. It also called for effective counterterrorism measures, support for the victims of terrorism and the protection of human rights.

In all India could achieve all that G-20 could do amid a challenging global environment especially when the global powers are irreconcilably divided. Although G-20 Chair did not succeed in getting a signed G-20 joint statement due to differences between Russia and China on the language of the Bali communiqué, Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State insisted that if the majority of the members has reaffirmed their commitment to the Bali declaration, it does not matter much if a few members decline to sign. However, India would try its diplomatic efforts to find a meeting ground and if possible find a way to convince the global powers to stop the Russia-Ukraine war as the suffering from the war is not confined to the warring and supporting countries, but the whole world, especially the Global South. But G-20 is not the appropriate platform for the same and therefore, the effort should also be made on other fora and through other mechanisms.

Asia News Columns India News

NAYA KASHMIR: ‘New Hopes, New Destinations’

Jammu & Kashmir’s lost glory restored and tourism revived. The enhanced tourist arrivals in the Union Territory since 2019 have generated the greatest employment in various regions, highlighting its overall development through a constructive approach, transformative initiatives, and inevitable reforms to empower J&K for its people, culture, and society … A special feature by Suhail Mir

Known for its snow-topped Himalayan mountains, fast-flowing rivers, Alpine meadows and houseboats around a beautiful Dal lake, Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory (UT) has got a boost after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 05, 2019. 

The enhanced tourist arrivals in the Union Territory since 2019 have generated the greatest employment in various regions, highlighting its overall development through a constructive approach, transformative initiatives, and inevitable reforms to empower J&K for its people, culture, and society.

The government has initiated several steps to boost adventure tourism activities across Jammu and Kashmir and already several steps are afoot to tap that potential by exploring new virgin places.  Thrilled by the inflow of tourists, various tourism activities have picked up in the valley resulting in the creation of more jobs and business opportunities for the locals.

In a bid to explore and promote tourism in hitherto unexplored tourist destinations, snow festivals are celebrated as part of the winter carnival in various parts of Kashmir Valley. 

The carnival is evoking tremendous response and triggering a wave of enthusiasm among youth and adventure lovers to visit unexplored tourist destinations. 

Recently, the event in Mund Daji area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla witnessed a huge gathering of youth with the enthusiastic participation of athletes and other stakeholders from across district. The locals were jubilant and lauded the Administration for organizing a first-of-its-kind snow festival in Mund Daji.

The event witnessed colorful cultural performances, snow sports activities like snow trekking, camping, sledge photography and display of local cuisine were the main highlights of the day.

A tourist said, “Kashmir is really a paradise and we are very lucky to visit here and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the valley. So people don’t need to go to Switzerland or any other place in Europe.”

Speaking on the occasion, DC Baramulla, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar said that MundDaji and adjoining locations will be promoted as tourist destinations which will create opportunities of employment for local youth.

The festival evoked tremendous response from not only the locals of the area but from adventure lovers as well.

To provide a unique experience to tourists and increase their footfall, the J&K government has prepared a comprehensive plan for promoting tourism sector in the UT and identifying new abundant natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes at unexplored tourist spots.

The tourism department has developed various tourist circuits across J&K, laying special focus on adventure tourism, trekking activities, pilgrimage sites, water sports and other popular ventures. The UT administration has also taken several measures to attract tourists and get a mesmerizing experience of visiting the Kashmir valley.

At Ganderbal’s Manasbal lake, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department organised a festival to promote local art and culture, food and water sports activities.

Rural tourism is the next big thing! The government is taking cognisance of  heritage sites and exploring Rural Tourism – one of the areas in which India can excel easily. In the same line, the first tourist village ‘Zoogu-Khairan’ in Central Kashmir’s Budgam was inaugurated. The Village has been brought on a tourism map and will lead to shaping the future of the village by opening various prospects in varied fields. Locals believe that tourism not only aids in boosting the local economy but it will also set out to provide employment and additional income to local communities while enhancing India’s bouquet of tourist attractions.

“Rural Tourism is not only beneficial for our village and the local community but this also serves tourists who get to explore local culture, customs, traditions, local means of transport, Kashmiri music, etc,” said Naveed Ul Haq, a local resident of Budgam.

In north Kashmir’s Bandipora, winters have remained vibrant due to the winter carnival organised by the Administration. The carnival warmed up the atmosphere and youth were seen actively participating in winter festivals at select unexplored tourist resorts of the district.

As part of the ongoing Winter Carnival, the Administration organized first of its kind Snow festival at Authwatto village. The festival evoked tremendous response from not only the locals of the area but from adventure lovers from other districts as well.

The locals were jubilant and lauded the Administration for conducting the first-ever winter festival at Authwatto.

“People from other villages would start coming to this place from May when snow melts but this year it is unusual to see huge rush of people in village despite huge snow accumulation,” said Mohd Shafi, a resident.

The festival witnessed range of activities including colorful local Gojri cultural performances, Snow sports activities like Sheen Jung (Snow fight), Snow Kabaddi, Snow Rugby, trekking, camping and photography of the scenic natural beauty covered in white blanket of Snow. The stalls erected by different departments attracted a large gathering of people too.

“Today we felt warmth despite sub-zero temperature, the positive energy in youth forced us to come out of our homes as we usually stay indoors in such cold temperature,” said another senior citizen  Ali Mohammad. 

Gurez, an ethnically distinct region in the same district (Bandipora), possesses out-of-the-ordinary beauty. Gurez is a slender valley with heart-throbbing scenes of hills, roaring rivulets, snowy mountain tops, lush landscapes, murmuring streams, and thick cloud curtains.

The picturesque valley in August (last year) bagged the best offbeat destination award at an award function organised by ‘OTM’ in Delhi.

With the constant efforts of the civil administration as well as the Indian Army, around millions of tourists have visited the Gurez valley since the summer of 2021.

Mufeed Ahmad, a local resident, said that efforts of the Indian Army played a significant role in drawing tourists to this destination.

He said that the army played a major role in the promotion of tourism in the region.

The picturesque valley has now emerged as a favourite tourist destination, attracting scores of visitors from the country and abroad.

The average temperature of Gurez valley remains lower than the rest of parts of Valley. In summer, the weather is pleasant and the maximum temperature is around 25-degree Celsius, while it gets quite cold at night. However, in winters, the temperature drops to as low as -10-degree Celsius.

Tourists from all parts of the country have been visiting J&K this year. Hoteliers, houseboat owners, taxi and shikara operators are pleased to see this since it has boosted their revenues.

Gujrat-based lecturer Savan Kalpesh, who recently traveled with 7 other family members for a leisure trip to Kashmir, said they had bought flight tickets in advance and booked hotels several months ago. Hordes of tourists from parts of the country and other states are also traveling to the Valley.

Famous for its gurgling waterfall and spell-casting mountains, Aharbal, some 27 kms from  Kulgam town is fast emerging  as one of the entrancing winter tourist destinations in south Kashmir.

With this, the Administration of Kulgam in South Kashmir in collaboration with the Department of Tourism recently organised Aharbal Mela to promote Kashmir tourism, especially at the tourist destination Aharbal waterfall. The area reverberated with the beats of drums and the songs belted out by the students.  

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Kulgam Dr. Bilal Mohi-ud-din Bhat said, “on the directions of Lieutenant Governor (LG), the district administration is making concerted and coordinated efforts to promote potential tourism destinations like Aharbal which is an offbeat tourist destination. The festival or mela is part of the Government’s initiative to promote this offbeat destination across Jammu & Kashmir.” Winter in Kashmir valley shows a positive sign for all the tourism players to keep doors open of all the hotels and restaurants all across the valley be it in Gulmarg, Pahalgam or Sonamarg as all the three tourist destinations are receiving huge snowfall in harsh winter period in Kashmir valley, thus making a merry for tourists to enjoy snowfalls round the winter season.

Asia News Columns World News

Would Pakistan Stop Throwing Kashmir Tantrums?

Pakistan’s economy is in the doldrums, youth is misguided and employed in violent services, and the socio-political atmosphere is a mawkish drama we have all watched for 70 years, the actors keep changing but the absurdity remains the same…. A special report by Ruksana Saleem

As Pakistan hangs by a thread, it should take some time out from being the flag-bearer of Kashmiris, and maintain focus on its failing governance. The failed state is tirelessly swimming in the flood waters of 2022 which has pushed nine million people to poverty, left four million children on the brink of death, and 32 million displaced.

The citizens of the nation do not have access to sanitation facilities and safe drinking water, the paramount necessities of a human’s existence. Public health facilities, schools, and cropland exist only in past. By December last year the economy was at risk of default, security has been a joke, and the unpopular government continues to face international humiliation. But despite the state’s perpetual ordeals, last week Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called up India to resolve “burning issues such as Kashmir”. Later Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari raised the Kashmir ‘issue’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but was left embarrassed when no global leaders shared his sentiment.

Pakistan secures over $ 10.5 bn in flood pledges

On a visit to J&K UT, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Micheal Rubin, declared – “Pakistan is in trouble. While Kashmiris under Pakistani control remain hobbled by a moribund economy and suppressed by Jamaat-e-Islami extremism, Kashmiris in India have security, taste freedom, and thrive.”

Today J&K UT is bubbling with developments. Youth is at the forefront of all activities. Gun culture and terror have been replaced with entrepreneurial tools and an enterprising mindset. Separatists and Pak-supporting elements are standing with begging bowls on streetcorners, unnoticed by people. Kashmiris have understood who truly cares for their well-being. They lived miserably in penury in the hands of sold-out leaders for decades. And they will not be deceived again.

In current situation, Pakistan can’t even think of Kashmir again; not just today but in the future too. While India is building a strong foundation for the youth in terms of education and self-employment opportunities paired with world-class learning centres and heavy cash inflow to jolt start-ups off ground, in Pakistan “public education is not a priority”, as published in the local daily Dawn.

64 percent of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30 and is still suffering the aftereffects of Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization of education. When extremism and sectarianisation of education are tolerated at educational institutes, which themselves are supervised by religious scholars and conservatives rather than independent thinkers, one can only imagine the condition of the country in the coming years.

A recent survey claimed that 70 percent of Pakistani youth wanted to migrate to other countries in whatever capacity they can be employed. In the local government elections in Karachi last Sunday (15th January 2023), the youth turnout was a mere 20 per cent, showing a lack of interest. A young man claimed to have voted for Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) because it is in “fashion” these days.

Many believed since “polls are already rigged”, what is the point of casting the vote?

This is the “new blood” of the nation. More than 27,000 schools have been wiped out due to the flood and with that, we can predict more than half of the school-going children will never see the inside of a classroom because the schools will not be rebuilt in at least coming ten years (parallel to the 2005 Pakistan earthquake aftermath). Their hopelessness and frustration foreshadow the doom the country will befall in absence of timely measures.

Rescuers evacuate flood-affected people in Jamshoro district, Sindh province, Pakistan, Sept. 15, 2022. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

Pakistan is running on life support, more so in recent years, living off of donations. It depends upon them to fire up the economic engine. The UAE loan of $3 billion ($2 bn existing debt and additional support of $1 bn) and $10 billion for flood recovery from Geneva, can buy time but will not keep them afloat as a nation.

Amid all this on January 17, Pakistan’s parliament amended and toughened its blasphemy law, sparking fear and unrest among minority groups who have fallen prey to its abuse throughout history. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of the rising Jammat party said it was necessary to make it stringent. Even when half the nation has no food to eat and innumerable water-borne diseases are killing hundreds daily.

The country’s economy is in the doldrums, youth is misguided and employed in violent services, and the socio-political atmosphere is a mawkish drama we have all watched for 70 years, the actors keep changing but the absurdity remains the same.

Every few years, the state falls back to a familiar place of despondency. The rouge country neither has the capacity nor the bright future to rise unless it invests its energies into itself. A false sense of stability and raising questions on Kashmir will only humiliate them further. It should focus on first standing on two feet without clutches, and forget Kashmir.

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With her brisk movements and scintillating poses, ace Indian dancer Sankari Mridha wowed the audience. Her flexibility and Balance portrayed through several sculptures like momentary freezes, was received with round after round of applause from the audience

The United Kingdom Telugu Association organised ‘SANKRANTI 2023’, an Indian festival to celebrate the transition of deity Surya (Sun) at Boothroyd Hall, London on 14th January 2023. With over 600 people in the audience and several traditional activities, Sankari Mridha’s performance was an unforgettable one.

After the ceremonial light of the lamp, Sankari began with a ‘Natesha Kauthuvam’ in Ragam Nattai set to Adhi Thalam. This Kauthuvam is a ‘Nritya’ piece (consisting of both footwork and facial expressions) in praise of the Cosmic dancer, Shiva, in the form of Lord Nataraja.

Sankari Mridha performs in London

With her brisk movements and scintillating poses, Sankari wowed the audience. Her flexibility and Balance portrayed through several sculptures like momentary freezes were received with round after round of applause from the audience. Sankari’s facial expressions and powerful ‘jathis’ (footwork sequence) revived Shiva’s dancing bells tied to his feet, as described by the song.

The highlight of the evening was a unique Keerthanam, ‘Yathi’, in Ragamalika and Talamalika. A Yathi is an arrangement of rhythmic percussive syllables to match a pattern that pictorially represents an object. Key to the Yathi is several time cycles of creative chronology. As Shiva dances his Cosmic dance represented by this Yathi, the ‘Ananda Tandava’, the whole universe yearns to witness this delightful moment. Sankari’s electrifying jathis, and apt sense of ‘Thala’ (Musical measure) portray her technical and aesthetic knowledge of Bharatanatyam. Her artistic movements varied in arithmetic combinations and grace in this Yathi brings to life the objects described by the song such as the Nandi Cow, the triangle estuary formed by the river opening into the sea, the musical instruments, Damaru and Mridanga. Sankari’s footwork was clean and sharp. Her facial expressions brought out the essence of her devotion to Shiva. This ‘one of a kind’ performance moved the audience.                                                                                                                                                                                        “I have known Sankari Mridha since 2016 when I met her for the first time at the Nehru Centre,” said Prabhakar Kaza, Director of KBC Arts and former CEO of State Bank of India –London.  “I have seen many of her performances such as Shades of India organised by the High Commission of India in London. Her performance today was portraying the story of Lord Shiva. Her dance clearly explained the story, with the help of her sharp and clean Nritya or dance steps and beautiful expressions.”

Sankari Mridha performs in London
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AID TO PAKISTAN: West! Whither Thy Wisdom?

Past favours by Pakistani GHQ be damned – it would be in every American, European, Arabian and Asian nation’s and citizen’s interest that their generous aid helps mitigate people’s suffering and does not line some Pakistani elite’s pockets and finally end up fuelling the economic and security nuisance that Pakistan perpetuates and perhaps has even come to symbolize …. writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

“We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb) … We have no other choice!” – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (C. 1970)

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s once aspirational declaration has assumed a prophetic sense with Pakistan going bankrupt again and pleading the world to extricate it out of the cesspool that it has landed itself into. Fate (ardently assisted by Pakistan’s arrogance and ineptitude) is not without a sense of irony – this time, it has fallen on Zulfikar’s own grandson to tour the world with a begging bowl.

Pakistan, since its insidious creation in 1947, has consistently demonstrated paranoid and schizophrenic behaviour in both internal governance as well as international interactions. However, owing to its geographic location and political malleability, it has been able to deceitfully extricate disproportionate leverage from the global-rich. In its short history, Pakistan perhaps holds the distinction of being able to successfully fool the West in general and Americans in particular; Russians, Muslims across the world and the Gulf-countries in particular and now China into believing that their best interests would be served by funding Pakistan’s existence and regional misadventures.

About five decades of practice has made Pakistan remarkably adept at fleecing the world’s kindness and manipulating their guilt – today the West and China both continue to pamper this malevolent post middle-aged man who just doesn’t want to get out of their basement. And yes, Pakistan has a nuclear bomb – about 165 of them by last count! 

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s stance is also emblematic of Pakistan’s priorities as a nation. Countries naturally grapple with the Guns Vs Butter dilemma whilst allocating their own hard-earned resources in their budgets. However, Pakistan appears to be faced with Guns Vs Terrorism conundrum whilst being eye-deep in debt and allocating resources begged or borrowed. The butter aspect of this dilemma has somehow become the rest of the world’s problem. Nothing exemplifies this better than the way resources have been allocated in the recent Pakistani budget. Out of the PKR 9.579 trillion outlay, Defence Affairs and Services is pegged at PKR 1,566.698 billion.   This is about 16.3% of the total budget outlay, 1.94% of GDP and 14.1% year on year increase. This, however, does not give the full picture of the actual amount being spent on the Armed Forces.

Examples of unmentioned expenditure would include, but not be limited to, PKR 395 billion which would be paid as pension to retired military personnel and would come from the civilian government’s current expenditure, military acquisitions which are funded separately, funds for the nuclear weapons programme etc. An honest declaration (and this is based on detailed study of budget documents) would show that actual expenditure for military purposes would roughly be about 47% higher than the budgetary estimate and will deplete 24% of the overall resources at the government’s disposal. Putting it another way, Pakistan’s expenditure in the current fiscal was 28% higher than previous year with 68% being spent on interest payment on loans and on defence. This translates to 20% higher expenditure on the military and 48% lesser expenditure on development as compared to the previous year.

Pakistan’s financial mismanagement and governance deficit is resulting in a preposterous situation wherein the Government is asking all elements of economy and governance to shut-down early in the day or work from home to save money and at the same time tendering out USO 257 Million worth of military procurements. This is apart from all other defence procurements, raising of new forces and international defence cooperation initiatives initiated or approved before June 2022. On one hand one has to agree that it is every sovereign nation’s prerogative to priorities its expenditures, however, on the other – This is Pakistan! – Doling out borrowed wealth to currently unmeriting and contextually irrelevant purposes.

Flood affected people are seen in Jamshoro district, Pakistan. (Xinhua/IANS)

The World bank has estimated USO 40 billion losses to Pakistan due to the recent floods impacting 33 million people. Fuel and food prices are sky-rocketing and the fundamentals of the economy inspire very little hope. Even in such desperate times, some people maybe of the view that this kind of resource allocation is, at best, political imprudence and can be tempered by mid-course corrections. In several other cases one might even agree with the premise but – This is Pakistan! – China’s serf – state, parading the OBOR flag and harmonising military technologies with China from submarines to space. It is the same state whose Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took great pride in claiming credit for illegally transferring US Tomahawk technology to China and the State suspected of permitting examination of Black Hawk wreckage by China after the Abbottabad humiliation; the State who’s chief nuclear scientist AQ Khan is proven to have illegitimately fathered more than just one nuclear bomb and nurturing instability in the Indian and the Pacific oceans; the State whose support and subsidising of Terrorism as a tool of national policy has made it the world’s largest exporter of Terrorism and Terrorists! The global security implications of such irresponsible behaviour are a cause of serious concern and require to be addressed by the donor nations and organisations with a sense of urgency and coerciveness.

There is an urgent need to hold Pakistan accountable for what it is doing with the rest of humanity’s wealth. Pakistan has a proven track record of misappropriating resources from the needy to the greedy – the embezzlement of international relief aid during 2010 floods is still fresh in global memory. It is imperative that the enlightened West apply its wisdom to the extant case and ensure that the bail-outs that they so generously provide helps sustain the human indices of Pakistan and does not end up further militarising the region.

Past favours by Pakistani GHQ be damned – it would be in every American, European, Arabian and Asian nation’s and citizen’s interest that their generous aid helps mitigate people’s suffering and does not line some Pakistani elite’s pockets and finally end up fuelling the economic and security nuisance that Pakistan perpetuates and perhaps has even come to symbolise. As Pakistan has proven to be immune to good advice, it would be prudent for the West to internalise and apply the wisdom of Hillary Clinton’s apt words – “You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. You know, eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard!”

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From North to South, Protests Rock Pakistan

All is not quiet on the western front in Pakistan. From Gilgit-Baltistan in the north to Gwadar port city in the south, its people are restive, protesting on the streets to press for their long-standing, long-ignored, demands … writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

All is not quiet on the western front in Pakistan. From Gilgit-Baltistan in the north to Gwadar port city in the south, its people are restive, protesting on the streets to press for their long-standing, long-ignored, demands.

Leaving out for once the militancy and ravages caused by rebel groups, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), this is a brief account of ongoing popular protests. Their grievances are as varied as the people residing in regions as varied from the snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas to the sand dunes along the Arabian Sea. What is common is the failure of the state to even hear them, leave alone redress them. The state institutions are elitist, run by the elite, for the elite. They use force whenever and wherever there is any trouble, any protest. And worse: the state is part of the problem, generating forces that are used to cause trouble in the neighbourhood. Some, inevitably, turn rogue and go out of control.

Protest in Gilgit Baltistan over Air Force’s Land Grab

Start with the north – Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan has refused to provide any political status to the occupied GB region and has been treating it as a colony. This is the primary problem; all other issues follow from this. An editorial in Dawn lists protests in this region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir since December 2022 in Gilgit, Skardu, Hunza and Ghizer.

“Massive protests held across Gilgit-Baltistan over the past several days have united the region’s geographically and religiously diverse communities, as well as supporters of different political parties. Moreover, traders’ bodies in the northern region have also backed the demonstrations. GB’s people have taken to the streets in freezing temperatures for a raft of reasons, which include questions about land rights, taxation, extensive power cuts as well as a reduction in the amount of subsidised wheat the centre provides the region.”

A Major issue that is agitating the GB people is the State led land acquisition. While acquisition by people outside the GB (from Pakistan) has been an issue for a long time, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the region have added a new dimension.

In an analysis (“Perennial Power Crisis in Hunza: Govt’s Failures and the Way Forward,” in the Pamir Times (December 25, 2022), Engr Abid Tashi wrote about the state of electricity in another sub-region of GB: “The Water and Power Department, since the last three to four decades, has miserably failed to fulfil the power demands of Hunza.”

Take South Waziristan next. The sit-in protest continues for the fifth day despite the talks between the administration and tribal leaders. On January 10, protestors blocked roads after talks between their leaders and the local administration seeking action against the militants failed. The protesters erected barricades on roads to disrupt traffic. Over 8,000 shops remained closed.

Take Gwadar protests at the southern end. Opposition to the CPEC is most determined. The Gwadar Rights Movement leader Maulana Hidayatur Rahman has threatened the Chinese nationals, asking them to leave port area, the Maritime Executive reported. He warned that if the government “ignores” their peaceful protests, the participants have a right “to pick up and use weapons to protect our rights.”

From north to south, Chinese citizens working on CPEC projects are facing increasing threats from different militant groups in Pakistan, with a rise in recent incidents of targeted attacks on China nationals. Beijing is worried and has sought assurances and effective policing on the ground for its personnel.

Rahman’s movement has worked in phases, highlighting local grievances that range from fishermen’s rights to the share of resources to adequate power and drinking water for the people. Entire families have joined in the protests. The Chinese are their visible targets of anger and frustration. The fishermen protest privileges to the Chinese fishing trawlers on waters they have earned their livelihood for centuries.

The protesters also want the government to ease curbs on informal border trading with Iran. While these demands are not directly linked to Chinese projects in Gwadar, experts argue that many locals believe the CPEC is part of the problem.

Although CPEC was launched back in 2015, local resistance has significantly affected its pace. The project further slowed during the administration of the previous Prime Minister Imran Khan due to friction between his government and China, but the new administration appears keen to revive CPEC, reported The Maritime Executive.

The Shehbaz Sharif Government which is too busy fighting Khan amidst economic distress has little time and vision to tackle these long-neglected issues and like all previous governments, is either firefighting or using force when things get out of control. This sums up Pakistan’s north-to-south unrest.

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Indian govt. going all out to transform Jammu and Kashmir

Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory Manoj Sinha said that his administration has removed the difficulties that had cropped up in the implementation of people-friendly governance, setting up new businesses and industries

The Indian government is making rigorous efforts to transform Jammu and Kashmir for the better. It is trying to give a better life to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as uplift the image of the union territory that was known for decades for terrorist activities.

Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory Manoj Sinha recently said that his administration has removed the difficulties that had cropped up in the implementation of people-friendly governance, setting up new businesses and industries.

“Youth are scripting J&K’s bright future. The administration has taken many steps to create supportive schemes and policies to speed up economic development and to meet the aspirations of our young population,” Sinha said.

The change, which is brought in, is perceptible from the kind of investment offers the union territory is getting.

“We have removed the difficulties that had cropped up in the implementation of people-friendly governance, setting up new businesses and industries. It is our responsibility to provide equal opportunities to all,” the LG said, reported Kashmir Observer.

The progress that UT has made in the last three years has given new hope and confidence to the people.

Following the abrogation of Article 370 the union territory has made rapid progress.

“Article 370 was the root cause of secessionism, terrorism, nepotism, discrimination & corruption and kept J&K underdeveloped. Three years after breaking from the past, it is moving forward on a new developmental journey,” he said.

Sinha underlined the reforms introduced by the government to empower every section of the society and made all the citizens, especially the youth as agents of change and provided equal opportunities to the aspirational society.

He also stated that his administration is taking decisive and stringent steps against terror ecosystems and corruption.

“Accelerated pace of development, improved socio-economic parameters, unprecedented progress in all priority sectors, massive tourist influx, and industrial investment is the testimony of peaceful and prosperous Jammu Kashmir,” he added.

In the past couple of years, the tourism industry in the UT has turned around with the curbing of terrorism activities by the government.

Sinha has also directed the revenue department to work in close coordination with Industries & Commerce department to expedite the setting up of Industrial Estates and to resolve all pending issues soon.

Sinha also spoke on the revival and promotion of Jammu Kashmir as the preferred film-shooting destination and the strong bond it shares with Bollywood.

The union territory due to its out-of-the-world scenic beauty had been historically a favourite spot for Bollywood. Several movies were shot there. But with increasing terrorist activities the number went down. Now with the abrogation of Article 370 slowly it is going back to its earlier form.

While most of the people go to Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonmarg for holidaying or even for shooting films, many rural areas of Kashmir remain relatively unexplored. To much surprise, Bollywood is now exploring rural Kashmir to discover new locations beyond Gulmarg and Pahalgam, thanks to the improved situation in the Valley in the past four years, reported Times of India.

“The world is changing. India as the world’s largest democracy has emerged as a global economic power and the achievements are inspiring J&K UT to make the country stronger and contribute in building modern India,” he added.

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Time to wind up UNMOGIP offices in Jammu & Kashmir

With the changing scenario at the global level, India too has made its pedestal high. Speculations are rife over the removal of the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP)  from Jammu & Kashmir … writes RC Ganjoo

After the abrogation of Art 370 and 35 A from Jammu & Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019, and giving it the status of Union Territory, there was hardly any displeasure from the world community.  Most of the countries described the removal of the special act from Kashmir as an internal matter of India. 

Technically Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of India since 1947 as mentioned in the J&K constitution “the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India”. The J&K State Constitutions now have been ended along with the abrogation of Art 370 and 35 A. The present status of Union Territory granted to J&K has further strengthened the relationship with India.

Tourists enjoy fresh snowfall at the upper reaches of Gulmarg, Kashmir on Wednesday.

With the changing scenario at the global level, India too has made its pedestal high. Speculations are rife over the removal of the United Nations Military Observer Group ( UNMOGIP)  from Jammu & Kashmir.  The  NDA government led by BJP, after holding the Kashmir bull by horns is planning to evacuate the offices of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India. Since its existence in 1947, the UNMOGIP    has gradually lost its authority to discharge its duty as observers for which they were introduced in both parts of Kashmir. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the two countries signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972 to define the Line of Control in Kashmir. India and Pakistan disagree on UNMOGIP’s mandate in Kashmir because India argued that the mandate of UNMOGIP has lapsed after the Shimla agreement because it was specifically established to observe a ceasefire according to the Karachi Agreement.

In August 1947, India and Pakistan became independent. Under the scheme of partition provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. Its accession to India became a matter of dispute between the two countries and fighting broke out later that year. In January 1948, the Security Council established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate and mediate the dispute. In April 1948, the Council decided to enlarge the membership of UNCIP and to recommend various measures including the use of observers to stop the fighting. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement established a ceasefire line to be supervised by the military observers…On 30 March 1951, under the command of the Military Adviser, formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) following the termination of UNCIP.  UNMOGIP’s functions were to observe and report, investigate complaints of ceasefire violations and submit its findings to each party and to the Secretary-General.

According to data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, there were no incidents of Ceasefire Violations (CFV) in 2022. In 2021 there were 670 CFV incidents, in 2020 5133 were recorded and in 2019 were 3479. After witnessing over 5,100 incidents of ceasefire violations in 2020, the violations and killings at the border in Jammu and Kashmir this year were at an all-time low in the last more than a decade.

US-based Kashmir Global Council (KGC) director Altaf Qadri on the removal of UNMOGIP  offices from Kashmir,  without mincing words, told this journalist   “we believe there is no role for Kashmiris to keep these offices or not. This is predominantly for Pakistan to do whatever it can to preserve these offices. And if they can’t do it, how can helpless Kashmiris”.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah meets Kashmiris (File)

US-based Kashmir Global Council (KGC) was founded in September 2016 in the US and headed by Farooq Siddiqi alias Farooq Pappa in  Ontario in  Canada.  Though the   KGC is carved out from the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)  but leaving aside the ideology of JKLF –  the right of self-determination, implementation of UN Resolution, and no Plebiscite. Today KGC’s sole aim is to pursue the formation of the Kashmir Senate and strive to engage India, Pakistan, and international partners.

According to Altaf Qadri, “we have proposed a ‘Jammu Kashmir Senate’ in exile in which prominent personalities from five units of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir( Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, PoK, and GB  will participate in serious deliberations which will be a vehicle to carry forward for further dialogues with India and Pakistan.”

In the process ‘Kashmir Global Conference” has been activated in the US and Canada where the Kashmir problem will be discussed to hold elections in all the five segments of Jammu and Kashmir under the United Nations after the withdrawal of forces from both India and Pakistan.

Further elaborating on the KGC proposal Qadri said: “To break the status quo, all parties will have to show flexibility and extend a political space to form the Senate across the state and engage with the Senate together.  India will engage separately within the Kashmir of the Senate, and Pakistan can engage with the PoK Senate separately. After the arrival of some understanding, there could be a grand joint meeting with India and Pakistan.”

While exposing Pakistan’s double standard on Kashmir he said “I knew very well that Pakistan army either doesn’t have the mental tools to conclude an issue (Kashmir and Afghanistan) or deliberately keeps the case alive for domestic political reasons.” 

When Qadri was asked by a few Kashmiris why didn’t they do something about it internationally? His reply to them was “we will not be a propagandist for Pakistan. We believe both constructors of resolutions have bypassed their commitments in Tashkent, Shimla, Lahore, Agra, and thousands of times clandestinely, including the abrogation of articles 370 and 35 A.    Some secret deals between India and Pakistan may be in progress in Bangkok, Dubai, Qatar, or Nepal.”  

Qadri’s rebuttal was more startling when he put counterarguments to a particular constituency “don’t we remember the Pakistan army asking Kashmiris to come out on the streets to protest and offer their boys to Indian bullets? Only after a couple of months did the Pakistan army offer India a hundred years of peace pact that India didn’t even heed about. How can one be such an idiot not to understand it? These incidents must be an awakening call for Kashmiris. To ignore them would cost them another generation. I must admit that the ignorance of our predecessors has caused tremendous suffering and pain to the present generation.   Let’s not repeat it for corruption and further complicate the chances of a solution.

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The World That Will Shape Up

Economic forecasts are a mug’s game but while there are no signs of the green shoots of recovery if people do not feel that their pockets are lighter compared to five years ago they may not want to make Rishi wish he had kept his American green card … writes Mihir Bose @mihirbose

I doubt if anyone could have predicted how 2022 would turn up. I did begin my 2022 piece for Asian Lite by saying a lot will depend on how the Russia-China relations shape up but I didn’t think President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine claiming it always belonged to Russia, all part of his longed for desire to see the return of the Russian empire, if not that ruled by Stalin certainly that by the Tsars.

Nor I must confess did I see Boris Johnson’s fall, let alone Britain suddenly transformed in a few months of the summer into more like a banana republic where three Prime Ministers waltzed in and out of No 10 Downing Street. Or should we say a case of that old Hindi saying Aya Ram, Gaya Ram. Ram Comes and Ram Goes.

The dance the Conservatives performed over who should lead them was not so much a waltz but more like the frenzied dance we used to do on Saturday nights at university gyrating to a little-known pop group hoping to emulate the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, in the hope by the end of the evening we would find a partner. That a party, which has always claimed to be the most successful political party in the world, so adept at crafting election successes, should have so suddenly lost its ability to hold on to power was astonishing.

So, can Dishy Rishi do the trick and lead them to victory when the election comes in 2024? I believe he can. My reason for saying so is that there are signs that the economy may provide us not with gloom and doom but with pleasant surprises. Already it seems the recession may not prove to be as deep, and inflation is coming down. Economic forecasts are a mug’s game but while there are no signs of the green shoots of recovery if people do not feel that their pockets are lighter compared to five years ago they may not want to make Rishi wish he had kept his American green card.

It is a common belief that elections are won or lost on how well the economy is doing. Reagan’s election-winning slogan against Carter in 1980 was, “Are you better off?”. Clinton’s election campaign had a notice up saying, “It’s the economy, stupid”. However, 1997 shows that even when the economy is doing well people may not vote for the government responsible for it. Then the Conservatives under John Major had turned the economy around but could not get away from the huge shadow cast by Black Wednesday.

The Sunny Monday that followed did not do the trick. The Conservatives had lost their own big winning card which never fails to trump their opponents. That they are better managers of the economy than Labour.  

But in 1997 Labour had Tony Blair. This, the shrewdest British politician of the last two decades, had so remodelled Labour that it was unrecognisable from Labour governments that had proved so incompetent. Blair had also crafted slogans that resonated. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Education, education, education. Keir Starmer is no Blair. He comes across as a competent apparatchik who can deliver a case on which he has been well briefed which, given he was head of the CPS, is no surprise. But Blair, also a lawyer, could write a brief. Starmer is yet to show he can do that. So far he is enjoying the fall-out from the mess the Conservatives have made. But under an election spotlight he may find it not that easy to answer the question both the Conservatives and the media will relentlessly ask him, “So, Sir Keir what will your government do?”. Just going on repeating that he is opposed to Tory policies will not work.

I appreciate it will not be easy to paint Labour as tax and spend as the Conservatives have traditionally done. After all, Tories have been Labour dressed in blue. The problem for Labour is on this issue they have little room for manoeuvre and cannot be further to the right of the Tories. And while Labour is 20 points ahead in the polls they also show that Sunak is more popular than Starmer and considered better able to manage the economy.

But where Sunak may come unstuck are two issues which few in this country are prepared to discuss. One is race and the other is wealth. There is no question the Conservatives have completely remodelled themselves on race with many of the leading Cabinet positions held by people of Asian and black origin. The Conservatives, having historically been anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim, have become very fond of Hindus and to have Diwali celebrated in No 10 tells us a lot of how the party has changed. But Labour cannot use the race card, at least not openly, more so when as a party it is still very a white party at least with those occupying senior positions.  

Even more than race what may cause Sunak greater problems is that he is rich, and his wife is even richer, the daughter of one of India’s richest men. Unlike America, where politicians can boast of their wealth and win votes as Trump did, however dubious his claim to wealth may have been, the British do not like their politicians to brag that they are wealthy. In fact, almost nobody in No 10 could do that.

Johnson was always moaning that being in Downing Street had impoverished him and he had to rely on the generosity of donors to get his Downing Street flat refurbished. Sunak has already had problems as a result of his wife’s non-dom status. He cannot go around saying that because of his wealth he will make everyone else wealthy. That would immediately make him a parvenu and a man who is not one of us. This combined with his Hindu status may mean defeat.

Of course, all this could change if Putin falls, Ukraine emerges victorious, and the energy crisis is over. Suddenly everyone is well-off and Sunak without saying he is rich could make people feel he will make them richer.

But this brings us to the great unknown. What will Putin do? The war in Ukraine, which Putin thought would last a few weeks and we hoped would be over in a few months looks like, if not quite Europe’s modern-day version of the hundred years’ war, going on long enough to cause a great deal of disruption. Sunak has limited ability to keep on saying it is not the Tories fault but the fault of Putin. Carter tried to use the energy crisis of the early 80s against Reagan but that failed. The only problem is Starmer is no Reagan. Unless he has virtues that he has kept hidden I can still see Sunak leading the Tories to another election triumph.

Mihir Bose’s latest book is Dreaming The Impossible: The Battle to Create A Non-Racial Sports World. His twitter sign is @mihirbose