Day: March 2, 2019

What Are The Indigenous ‘Big House’ Laws That Jody Wilson-Raybould Invoked?

Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks with the media after appearing in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa.

TORONTO — Rarely are Indigenous laws invoked on Parliament Hill, but that’s exactly what happened this week when Jody Wilson-Raybould cited core values shaped by “a long line of matriarchs” in front a House of Commons justice committee.

Observers say it’s resonating deeply in Indigenous communities, with some including legal scholar Christina Gray suggesting Wilson-Raybould’s assertion of First Nation principles as her guidepost is a “pivotal” moment in Indigenous-Canadian relations.

“All lawyers are talking about this right now and definitely Indigenous people are talking about this from all different walks of life,” says the masters of law candidate at the University of Victoria, a Ts’msyen member of Lax Kw’alaams near Prince Rupert, B.C., who was born and raised in Vancouver.

“There’s not an Indigenous person that’s not thinking about this issue right now.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould appears in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa.

Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell testimony Wednesday centred on statements that the prime minister’s office employed “veiled threats” to pressure her to allow SNC-Lavalin to escape prosecution.

For his part, Trudeau said later that day that he completely disagreed with her account and insisted he and his staff “always acted appropriately and professionally.”

‘Always hold true to your core values’: Wilson-Raybould

Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general, reminded the committee of her history as a Vancouver prosecutor and her professional training to preserve “our system of order.”

But she also outlined what the rule of law means to her as an Kwakwaka’wakw woman and leader, in which she “was taught to always hold true to your core values, principles and to act with integrity.”

“These are the teachings of my parents, grandparents and my community. I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House,” said Wilson-Raybould, former British Columbia regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“This is who I am and who I will always be.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould leaves a justice committee meeting in Ottawa.

Chief Robert Joseph, a fellow member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, says Wilson-Raybould’s comments have “ignited” an important discussion that he believes will resonate beyond committee hearings.

“Politicians are probably going to be the last to awaken to this possibility (but) ordinary Canadians have a real willingness to learn about their Indigenous neighbours,” says Joseph, calling that key to the principles of reconciliation.

Big House

He acknowledges that few non-Indigenous people likely know about the concept of a Big House, which were literally large structures that in the past sheltered up to four families of a clan.

Today, they are a place for ceremonies, decision-making, discussion of economic development issues and protocols between nations and clans, says Colleen Hemphill, chief negotiator for the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations.

Carved totems and crossbeams reflect Indigenous history and ancestral connections to the land.

“Some people, including the band chiefs that I work for call it our Parliament building. It’s very, very important, very sacred, it’s the place where we come from and it shows our connections to our origins,” says Hemphill, in the midst of raising funds to build a Big House in her community north of Port of Hardy, B.C.

But when Wilson-Raybould speaks about the Big House, she does so metaphorically, because it also represents an entire worldview, says Chief Joseph.

It’s very, very important, very sacred, it’s the place where we come from and it shows our connections to our origins.Colleen Hemphill, Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Nations

“When we talk about the Big House we’re talking about all things Kwakwaka’wakw in an instant,” he says. “All of them have genesis stories and from that genesis story we talk about all of the history … we talk about the laws that evolve from that genesis and we talk about the spirituality that is inherent in all of the genesis.

Chief Joseph also lauded Wilson-Raybould for living up to her Kwak’wala name of Puglaas, which he says literally translates as “someone who is a source of fulfillment.”

“If you hold that name it (means) to be able to live out your highest consciousness, to live out all of the teachings that you’ve been told and truth is fundamental to the teachings of the Kwakwaka’wakw,” says Chief Joseph, noting this would have been ingrained in Wilson-Raybould throughout her upbringing.

“If you are untruthful you bring dishonour not only to yourself but to your family, your tribe and the nation. So the honour of all, really, rests with you.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives to testify before the House of Commons justice committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Hemphill says she was very close to Wilson-Raybould’s grandmother, who bestowed the name, and says it would have been chosen after careful consideration with the chief, the matriarchs and her parents.

“And then oftentimes they would observe the child and they would make a determination that that child would have a certain name based on that child’s behaviour. And then they’re groomed accordingly.”

Women hold particular power in their communities, adds Hemphill, in preserving traditions while presiding over feasts and ceremonies to mark milestones such as births and coming-of-age.

“Often it’s the males who are the chiefs but it is the females, the matriarchs, that are behind those chiefs that make them really, really strong. The matriarchs have an extremely important role in a community to oversee things, to uphold the kind of rule of law and to remind the chiefs of their responsibilities,” says Hemphill, whose First Nation is slightly north of Wilson-Raybould’s and culturally similar.

“The further north you go the more strongly matriarchal they are and the further south you come you move into a more patriarchal society.”

I would love to see a dialogue begin to happen and for people to admit that the Indigenous people know what the heck they’re doing.Colleen Hemphill, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations

Wilson-Raybould’s words also caught the attention of Victoria lawyer Murray Browne, who is not Indigenous but found the committee hearing “a really ironic and interesting situation historically for Canada.”

“I’m not sure if people understand the significance of this — that we have somebody like Jody Wilson-Raybould coming from a culture (that) was actually outlawed, her nation was subject to the potlatch bans that were in force in Canada from 1927 to 1951,” says Browne, a senior associate with Woodward & Company, which works exclusively for First Nations governments and organizations.

“But that culture taught her to be a leader with integrity. She gets appointed to the government, who has a past of oppressing her people and trying to erase her culture and she’s the one who’s speaking for integrity in the government.”

Jody Wilson Raybould adjusts her earpiece as she waits to appear in front of the Justice committee in Ottawa.

Hemphill, too, says she hopes Wilson-Raybould’s words hit home with all Canadians.

“I would love to see a dialogue begin to happen and for people to admit that the Indigenous people know what the heck they’re doing,” says Hemphill.

“They’ve been doing it for thousands of years so let’s take a closer look at what is being said and what is exemplified by Jody at this time.”

Also on HuffPost:

@repost Top Divorce Lawyers

Via Child Support Lawyers

source https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/01/what-are-indigenous-big-house-laws-jody-wilson-raybould_a_23682457/

By The Wall of Law March 2, 2019 Off

Sorry Beijing, the SNC-Lavalin affair is not your ace card in the Meng case

Well, isn’t this precious.

On Friday, Justice Canada announced that an “Authority to Proceed” had been issued to begin formal extradition proceedings in the explosive case of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who is facing charges in the United States on several counts of defrauding banks in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Almost simultaneously, in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be obliged to answer to the charge that he is a hypocrite for failing to intervene on behalf of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications behemoth, while at the same time apparently attempting to interfere in criminal proceedings against the Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

“Of course I think that this is a question that should be asked of the Canadian government,” Lu said. In fact, as a wisecracking rhetorical question it’sbeen making the rounds in Canada for a while. But coming from Lu Kang, of all people, the question is too clever by half. In the current China-Canada-estrangement, sparked by Meng’s arrest in Vancouver last December, it sure isn’t Canada that has any explaining to do.

RELATED: It’s time for Justin Trudeau to put his cards on the table

It’s fair to say that the whole SNC-Lavalin affair has been an international embarrassment for Canada. It has shone a harsh spotlight on the lengths to which Justin Trudeau and his palace guard were prepared to go to safeguard a favoured Canadian company infamous for its culture of payoffs, kickbacks and bribery, its wildly lucrative relationship with the criminal regime of the late Libyan mass-murderer Muammar Gadaffi, and its palm-greasing intimacies, legal and otherwise, with Trudeau’s Liberal Party. It has become what is known in liberal democracies as a scandal.

To imagine a similarly corrective uproar unfolding in Beijing, you’d have to picture an alternative universe in which one of President Xi Jinping’s many untouchable military-industrial sweatshop complexes is subjected to the impudence of an otherwise wholly unimaginable public corruption prosecution. And President Xi can’t seem to make the charges go away. And then Xi and several of his Central Committee subordinates are somehow publicly exposed in their strong-arming and bullying by a vibrant, free press that appears magically, right out of the blue. And then, owing to the exhaustively reported details, and the live broadcast of eye-witness testimonies, and Xi’s daily grilling in front of the cameras, there is such widespread public revulsion that the whole thing threatens to bring down the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

This is of course inconceivable.

Beijing’s suggestion that we should compare Meng Wanzhou’s treatment with SNC-Lavalin’s is of a piece with the brazen contempt for the intelligence of ordinary Canadians on display in January when Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, floated what is arguably the stupidest propaganda line in the dispute so far. In retaliation for merely detaining Meng on a U.S Justice Department’s extradition request, Beijing’s security and intelligence apparatus kidnapped two Canadians—diplomat-on-leave Michael Kovrig and cultural entrepreneur Michael Spavor. Ambassador Lu described Canada’s impudence in calling for their release an instance of “white supremacy.”

Kovrig and Spavor are languishing in a secret prison somewhere. A third Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, has been re-convicted on drug charges in order to produce a death sentence. Meng Wanzhou has been out on bail since December, living in one of the mansions her family owns in Vancouver, enjoying limousine escorts to wherever she would like to shop or similarly entertain herself, anywhere in Metro Vancouver.

RELATED: Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou: The world’s most wanted woman

The immediate objective of China’s fist-shaking and its threats of more reprisals to come was to cause enough of a panic in Ottawa that Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould would simply issue an order for Meng to be released. It didn’t work. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony at the Justice Committee this past week demonstrated quite plainly that she is not easily bullied. She stood her ground. Meng Wanzhou was not released.

Throughout, Trudeau took pains to persuade everyone that that he wasn’t going to be pushed around by China, either. Canada was all about the “rule of law,” and that was that. To prove the point, Trudeau went so far as to fire the openly and happily capitulationist John McCallum, the cabinet minister and Liberal Party grandee he’d appointed ambassador to China two years earlier.

On the very day the Globe and Mail reported the first sensational allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office had been improperly badgering Wilson-Reybould to intervene in the criminal fraud and bribery charges facing SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau was asked whether the Chinese should continue to take him seriously. “We have been consistent that Canada is a country of the rule of law that respects the independence of the judiciary,” Trudeau said, “and always will.”

It’s not easy to make the case that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pulling the strings when there is no evidence that he even knew about the New York District Attorney’s Office extradition request. But that hasn’t stopped Beijing from traducing Canada as Trump’s lickspittle. In any case, if Trump were to somehow intervene to get the U.S. Justice Department’s charges against Meng dropped if it served some trade-talks stratagem—a move Trump has stupidly speculated he might consider—that would not be Canada’s doing.

So far, Canada’s adherence to legal norms in the case has been beyond reproach, and Beijing was left with even less of a leg to stand on in its insinuations on Friday when the way was cleared for Meng’s extradition hearings. It turns out Canada doesn’t cave in so easily after all. And so far, for all the banner headlines and live-feed bombshell revelations, all the evidence in the SNC-Lavalin affair has weighed thoroughly against the proposition that Canada’s justice system is so malleable as to be easily subverted, either to Donald Trump’s venal trade purposes, or to Xi Jinping’s global-hegemony purposes, or to the benefit of Huawei, or to the benefit of SNC-Lavalin.

RELATED: The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau

It’s good sport to have a laugh at Trudeau’s expense now that his own devotion to the rule of law and judicial independence has been revealed as perhaps quite a bit less fervent than he has been serially and loudly proclaiming these past few weeks. After Wilson-Raybould’s Justice Committee testimony last week, there sure isn’t much cause to just take the Trudeau government at its word in these things anymore. It’s now all but certain that Wilson-Raybould was forced to forfeit the attorney general’s portfolio for refusing to acquiesce to the Prime Minister’s Office and its forceful entreaties.

The point is, there has been no direct intervention in SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution. The AG’s office did not instruct the public prosecutor to suspend the criminal charges and proceed instead by way of the court-supervised remediation agreement that SNC-Lavalin had been wanting all along. The case is proceeding, despite Trudeau’s persistent complaints.

The SNC-Lavalin story is far from over, but so is the saga of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou. There will be more Justice Committee witnesses in the SNC-Lavalin saga, and for whatever little use it’s likely to serve, there will be an ethics commissioner investigation. Meng Wanzhou’s case opens this coming Wednesday for formalities and the scheduling of hearings. The extradition proceedings could take months. Maybe years.

Just how the SNC-Lavalin scandal will resolve itself is anybody’s guess, but the Trudeau government is horribly tainted. It has left the impression that it harbours an aversion to fair and open-dealing, and that behind the scenes it’s unreliable in its avowed determination to withstand creepy corporate favour-currying.

But the case of Meng Wanzhou provides the Trudeau government with an opportunity to redeem itself. So does the decision Canada must soon make, in light of the “Five Eyes” western intelligence agencies’ consensus that Huawei poses a national security threat, about whether to permit Huawei’s further entrenchment in 5G technologies development in Canada.

In the immediate term, Meng’s extradition case provides David Lametti, Wilson-Raybould’s replacement as attorney general, with an opportunity to prove he’s not just a compliant, errand-running stooge. Lametti should stay away from the case altogether and let justice department lawyers do their jobs.

RELATED: Is America ‘unhinged’, or does its case against Meng Wanzhou have merit?

Extradition cases are not like criminal prosecutions. Eventually, if the courts clear the way for Meng’s extradition, the justice minister—for now, that’s also Lametti—must make the call. The courts expect justice ministers to make these decisions in limited consultation with their cabinet colleagues.

The hard part is going to come when the federal cabinet has to decide either to carry on with the Communications Security Establishment’s trust-us assurances that it has the means to adequately monitor Huawei’s behaviour, or to pay closer attention to intelligence analyses that cast Huawei as effectively an arm of the regime in Beijing. Until now, the Trudeau government, and its Liberal predecessors, have been happy to outsource difficult decisions like these to the Canada-China business lobby. Those days are over. Or at least they better be.

If the Liberals want voters to believe that they will always puts the public interest first, above all else, and that they will defend deeply entrenched democratic values like the rule of law no matter how much that defence might inconvenience their friends, then they’re going to have to prove it.

For Trudeau to just stand there with a phalanx of MPs like a lineup of mannequins behind him, repeating hackneyed claims about how Canada is “a rule of law country” as though he were some human algorithm, just won’t do. Not anymore.

MORE BY TERRY GLAVIN:

@repost Spousal Maintenance Agreement

Via Child Support Custodial

source https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/sorry-beijing-the-snc-lavalin-affair-is-not-your-ace-card-in-the-meng-case/

By The Wall of Law March 2, 2019 Off

What To Watch On Netflix Canada In March 2019

Ah March, the month we get excited for spring! It’s a-coming! Except it’s not! It’s snowing! Again. And again. Ah Netflix, save us from leaving our homes. Save us from our annual amnesia that March is still basically winter never leaving us. Thankfully the beloved streaming service does. Again. And again.

This month, get ready to watch new seasons of our faves: “Queer Eye,” “Jane the Virgin,” “Suits” and some Hollywood big box office hits like “La La Land” and “The Girl on the Train.”

Movies:

“La La Land” — Available March 1

Play us a tune, Ryan. Play us a tune.

While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress (a.k.a. IRL BFFs Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” — Available March 1

Set during the Second World War, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

“The Girl on the Train” — Available March 1

This is a girl on a train in "The Girl On A Train."

A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that sends shockwaves throughout her life.

“The Dark Knight Rises” — Available March 1

Eight years after the Joker’s reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

“Disney’s Christopher Robin” — Available March 1

How can you not love Eeyore, Pooh and Piglet in Disney's live-action adventure "Christopher Robin?"

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.

TV:

“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Volume 2” — Available March 3

Patriotically, Hasan Minhaj.

Hasan Minhaj returns with new episodes every Sunday, bringing his unique, unexpected comedic perspective to current global events and culture.

“Turn Up Charlie” — Available March 15

"Turn Up, Charlie." Turn it up Idris.

A down-and-out DJ plots to rebuild his music career while working as a nanny for his famous best friend’s wild 11-year-old daughter.

“Arrested Development” Season 5 — Available March 15

"Arrested Development" is back!

As the Bluths continue to make a mess of their personal and professional lives, Michael again can’t quite abandon the family that makes him miserable.

“Queer Eye” Season 3 — Available March 15

"Queer Eye" Season 3 starts today!

The Fab Five hit the road and head to Kansas City, Mo., for another season of emotional makeovers and stunning transformations.

“Jane the Virgin, Season 5” — Available March 28

"Jane the Virgin." Spoiler alert: she's a virgin no mo.

A young, devout Catholic woman discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated.

“Suits,” New Episodes from Season 7 — Available March 28

Men in "Suits."

On the run from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross, a brilliant college dropout, finds himself a job working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best lawyers.

“Santa Clarita Diet” Season 3 — Available March 29

Feast some more on the "Santa Clarita Diet."

Sheila (played by Drew Barrymore) searches for meaning, Joel investigates a secret society and Abby struggles with her feelings for Eric. Life and un-death can be so stressful.

More from HuffPost Canada:

What’s going:

We all know that a new month means some TV shows and movies will be leaving Netflix. Here’s what we’ll be saying goodbye to from Netflix Canada in March 2019:

March 5:

“A Million Ways to Die in the West”

“Bridesmaids”

“Fear”

“National Lampoon’s Animal House”

“Neighbors”

March 18:

“Beauty and the Beast”

March 31:

“Blade: Trinity”

“Clerks 2”

“Hairspray”

“Hanna”

“Lucky Number Slevin”

“Men in Black 3”

“Party of Five” Seasons 1-6

“The Back-Up Plan”

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Also on HuffPost:

@repost Divorce for Men

Via How Does Alimony Work In

source https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/01/netflix-march-2019_a_23680902/

By The Wall of Law March 2, 2019 Off

What To Watch On Netflix Canada In March 2019

Ah March, the month we get excited for spring! It’s a-coming! Except it’s not! It’s snowing! Again. And again. Ah Netflix, save us from leaving our homes. Save us from our annual amnesia that March is still basically winter never leaving us. Thankfully the beloved streaming service does. Again. And again.

This month, get ready to watch new seasons of our faves: “Queer Eye,” “Jane the Virgin,” “Suits” and some Hollywood big box office hits like “La La Land” and “The Girl on the Train.”

Movies:

“La La Land” — Available March 1

Play us a tune, Ryan. Play us a tune.

While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress (a.k.a. IRL BFFs Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” — Available March 1

Set during the Second World War, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

“The Girl on the Train” — Available March 1

This is a girl on a train in "The Girl On A Train."

A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that sends shockwaves throughout her life.

“The Dark Knight Rises” — Available March 1

Eight years after the Joker’s reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

“Disney’s Christopher Robin” — Available March 1

How can you not love Eeyore, Pooh and Piglet in Disney's live-action adventure "Christopher Robin?"

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.

TV:

“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Volume 2” — Available March 3

Patriotically, Hasan Minhaj.

Hasan Minhaj returns with new episodes every Sunday, bringing his unique, unexpected comedic perspective to current global events and culture.

“Turn Up Charlie” — Available March 15

"Turn Up, Charlie." Turn it up Idris.

A down-and-out DJ plots to rebuild his music career while working as a nanny for his famous best friend’s wild 11-year-old daughter.

“Arrested Development” Season 5 — Available March 15

"Arrested Development" is back!

As the Bluths continue to make a mess of their personal and professional lives, Michael again can’t quite abandon the family that makes him miserable.

“Queer Eye” Season 3 — Available March 15

"Queer Eye" Season 3 starts today!

The Fab Five hit the road and head to Kansas City, Mo., for another season of emotional makeovers and stunning transformations.

“Jane the Virgin, Season 5” — Available March 28

"Jane the Virgin." Spoiler alert: she's a virgin no mo.

A young, devout Catholic woman discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated.

“Suits,” New Episodes from Season 7 — Available March 28

Men in "Suits."

On the run from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross, a brilliant college dropout, finds himself a job working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best lawyers.

“Santa Clarita Diet” Season 3 — Available March 29

Feast some more on the "Santa Clarita Diet."

Sheila (played by Drew Barrymore) searches for meaning, Joel investigates a secret society and Abby struggles with her feelings for Eric. Life and un-death can be so stressful.

More from HuffPost Canada:

What’s going:

We all know that a new month means some TV shows and movies will be leaving Netflix. Here’s what we’ll be saying goodbye to from Netflix Canada in March 2019:

March 5:

“A Million Ways to Die in the West”

“Bridesmaids”

“Fear”

“National Lampoon’s Animal House”

“Neighbors”

March 18:

“Beauty and the Beast”

March 31:

“Blade: Trinity”

“Clerks 2”

“Hairspray”

“Hanna”

“Lucky Number Slevin”

“Men in Black 3”

“Party of Five” Seasons 1-6

“The Back-Up Plan”

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Also on HuffPost:

@repost Cost of Divorce In

Via Social and Domestic Agreements

source https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/01/netflix-march-2019_a_23680902/

By The Wall of Law March 2, 2019 Off

A glimmer of hope in the Pakistan-India conflict

Two weeks ago, the Pakistani militant organization, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) succeeded in carrying out its worst attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir. An SUV loaded with explosives crashed into a convoy of Indian security personnel, killing 40 police reservists in the Pulwama. The massive loss of life was one thing; the timing of the attack was another.

With Indian elections around the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, vowed to “take revenge” for the attack. The Indian media went on a feeding frenzy, tearing away at Pakistan in a way that seemed extreme even in the context of the poisoned Pakistani-Indian relationship.

On Feb. 25, India responded. Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistani airspace for the first time since the two countries officially went to war in 1971, bombing what Indian generals claimed were JeM training camps on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing Kashmir. A day later, Pakistan announced that it had shot down two jets and taken one pilot into custody.

Under normal circumstances, such an escalation would be considered a dangerous prelude to war, and indeed the world has watched events unfold with growing trepidation. Tensions between nuclear-armed rivals is not something new but in the case of India and Pakistan, they are a perennial threat and a constant source of anxiety.

But there was also something unique about this particular attack and its fallout. The JeM has been a favourite of the Pakistani military establishment since it was founded in 2000. By most expert accounts, it was the brainchild of the Pakistani intelligence services, or ISI. Unlike other militant groups based in Pakistan, it has never turned on the Pakistani state, focusing its jihad on India, nor has it carried out attacks that have raised the ire of its overseers.

This time, things appear to be different. In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the response in Pakistan has been muted. Pakistani news networks, usually eager to capitalize on any tensions with India to stir up nationalist fervour, often at the behest of the military, have played it unusually cool. Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, announced on Feb. 28 that the Indian pilot in custody would be released immediately as a goodwill gesture.

So what gives?

There are a few different ways to read Pakistan’s response. On Twitter, some have described it as a public relations coup: while Modi and the Indian media have fallen into hysterics, Pakistan’s calls for calm make it look like the adult in the room.

A more cynical view is that Pakistan is in no position to enter into a conflict with India. It is isolated internationally with an economy on the edge of collapse. As some have pointed out, even China, which has increasingly played the role of underwriter to Pakistan’s international legitimacy as the U.S. has shifted its support to India, was muted in its response to the Indian air force incursions into Pakistani airspace, calling on both sides to avoid escalation.

But as Afrasiab Khattak, a former Pakistani senator, pointed out to me in an email, there is one side to this story that is being overlooked.

“In the past, so called non-state actors [terrorist outfits] would launch an attack in Indian-held Kashmir, or even mainland India, after an initiative by the civilian government for normalizing relations with India, to subvert the initiative,” he wrote. “But the Pulwama terrorist attack was launched after an agreement on the Kartarpura Corridor that was proposed by Pak army chief, General Bajwa. By accepting the responsibility for the Pulwama attack, the JeM brazenly challenged the process midwifed by the Pakistan army chief.”

The Kartarpura Corridor is a proposed route from India to Pakistan that would allow Sikh pilgrims from both countries to visit respective Sikh shrines on both sides of the border without a visa. The Pakistani army chief has backed the project, even embracing the Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Indian chief minister for Punjab province, on Aug. 19 last year after reportedly telling him the corridor would be completed later this year to mark the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh faith.

The gesture caused a maelstrom in India, with hardline members of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government calling for Sidhu to resign. According to Khattak, it also prompted the Pulwama attack.

Is this a sign of a schism between the Pakistani army and the militants it created? Khattak believes it is.

“It appears that the jihadists are neither happy about reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan nor are they willing to allow Pak-India rapprochement,” he wrote. “It’s unfortunate that due to deep distrust between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, terror networks can play their games.”

What Khattak is ultimately inferring is that this attack in Kashmir was neither sanctioned by the Pakistani military nor was it tacitly accepted after the fact. Indeed, it suggests that one of Pakistan’s most notorious militant groups, one that has consistently tried to undermine any improvements in Indo-Pak relations, may be breaking away from the military.

Ironically, it may be a sign that there is hope for peace in one of the world’s most dangerous conflicts.

MORE BY ADNAN R. KHAN:

@repost Marriage Separation Agreement

Via Child Law Lawyers

source https://www.macleans.ca/news/world/a-glimmer-of-hope-in-the-pakistan-india-conflict/

By The Wall of Law March 2, 2019 Off