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Modi living up to his sullied reputation Asif Haroon Raja


Modi living up to his sullied reputation

Asif Haroon Raja

Hindu bigot Narendra Modi, well known for his acute animus towards Indian Muslims and Pakistan and his passion for Hindutva was elected as the PM of India in June 2014 with a heavy mandate. He was eulogized and lionized by Indian media duly backed by western media and all his past sins were pushed under the rug. He was projected as a go-getter and an economic wizard who would once again make India shining and a world power. There were some in Pakistan who went overboard applauding him and saw everything good in him. They went to the extent of saying that he would prove to be the harbinger of peace between the two archrivals since his and Nawaz’s chemistry was in sync and both would give preference to economy over conflict. They forgot about his background, his brought up and mindset which he displayed during his 13 years rule in Gujarat State. Besides the 2002 pogrom, he assiduously promoted Hindutva in his State.

Not only he was groomed by infamous RSS to wear the crown, he was backed by corporate sector and senior officers of Indian armed forces and many joined his party. He has been chosen with a specific Pakistan driven agenda since Pakistan is in the eye of the storm and is the square peg in round hole which doesn’t fit into the security calculus of US, Israel and India.

images-59Modi’s performance has been exactly what had been predicted. Unlike Nawaz’s signals of friendship, right from the time of his coronation ceremony, Modi’s acts towards Pakistan have been offensive in nature. He is on record having stated that he will cause ‘pain’ to Pakistan. Scheduled meeting of foreign secretaries to resume dialogue was abruptly and haughtily cancelled on the plea that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi had hurt the sensitivities of Indians by meeting a Hurriyat leader. Highlighting unresolved Kashmir issue in the UN by Nawaz irked Modi. Soon after, temperature along the LoC was heated up, which still persists. For the first time, Working Boundary in Sialkot Sector has been brashly brought under intense fire causing lot of human casualties and damage to property and forcing locals to shift to safer places.

Like most high profile terror attacks in Pakistan, RAW was certainly behind suicide attack on Wagah check post in November 2014 where spectators were the target. Gruesome attack on Army Public School in Peshawar was again the doing of RAW since runaway Fazlullah and Wali Muhammad (alias Omar Khalid Khurasani) take dictation from RAW and Afghan Intelligence. Mobile phone conversation between the seven-member kill-team and mastermind in Kunar who was connected with Indian Embassy in Kabul was intercepted by ISI and the whole script was taken along by Gen Raheel Sharif and DG ISI and presented to authorities in Kabul as a solid proof of RAW-Fazlullah nexus.

 

16th December was chosen with a purpose since it had great significance for India. 43 years ago, India had brutally sliced Pakistan into two. Apart from martyring 34 teenagers and injuring 125, two lady teachers were burnt to death in front of the students by the terrorists. Resort to burning of women is handiwork of Hindus who worship fire, resort to Satti, carryout marriage ritual around fire, feel no hesitation in throwing children into fire.

 

Firing upon two Punjab Rangers soldiers after inviting them for a flag meeting and then trying to carry away the injured who later succumbed to injuries was a calculated scheme to prepare a case that Pak security forces were involved in cross border terrorism in Kashmir. A Pakistani fishing boat in high seas was dubbed as a terror boat.    Indian xenophobia was timed with Operation Zarb-e-Azb, and it was not difficult to decipher that Pak Army’s success in uprooting the last bastion of TTP in North Waziristan (NW) is not to the liking of India and she seems desperate to disrupt the progress of military operation and discredit Pak Army.

India refuses to get out of Mumbai drama and insists that it had been planned by terrorists in Pakistan and wants them to be punished. This is in spite of the fact that India has been unable to produce evidence to corroborate her allegations and also the hard fact that senior officials of Manmohan regime had revealed that it was an in-house false flag operation. Bhagwan worshipping and Marhatti speaking Ajmal Kasab was quietly hanged inside the prison courtyard without anyone else meeting him. Indian Court sentenced him to death without conclusive evidence merely to cool down the tempers of Hindus. Same excuse was given after hanging Kashmiri Afzal Guru, falsely implicated in attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001.                           

Extraordinary success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in dismantling RAW trained TTP terrorist network in NW-Tirah/Bara as well as Haqqani and Hafiz Gul Bahadur networks, planned return of IDPs to NW next month, lifting of moratorium on hanging and commencement of hangings of convicts, establishment of military courts to carryout speedy trials of terrorists, Pakistani nation backing the Army to defeat and root out terrorism, withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan without achieving any objective and leaving behind a huge mess, changed perceptions of Ashraf Ghani led regime in Kabul towards Pakistan and growing Pak-Afghan military/intelligence cooperation to jointly tackle terrorism, emergent trust of the US in Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, growth of Pak-China strategic cooperation in building economic corridor/Gawadar and battling energy crisis, China, duly encouraged by USA, playing a pro-active role in  Afghanistan, Pakistan helping China’s Envoy to meet Afghan Taliban delegation in Peshawar and then facilitating a meeting in Beijing, Pak-Russia defence deal and latter’s decision to sell combat helicopters to Pakistan, and last but not least sudden demise of sit-ins are some of the recent developments which are repugnant for India.

Ongoing escalation of tension along the LoC and working boundary in Sialkot sector, sudden rise of terror activities in Balochistan (three in this month so far) and false flag operations are frantic attempts by baffled India to distract the attention of Pakistan government and Army towards eastern border. All her efforts to snare Pakistan seems to be failing and it looks like that India is falling into the pit she had dug for Pakistan.

Song of terrorism directed against Pakistan which was continuously sung in chorus by Indo-US-Afghan grouping for many years thrilled India the most. So was the ‘do more’ mantra. Modi wants to reinvent the song of Pak-bashing. Continuation of war on terror suits India the most since she can strike any sensitive target through TTP militants and also keep one-thirds of Pak Army embroiled in guerrilla war. Modi’s team was assiduously working to cook up a drama that could bring tears in the eyes of Obama during his forthcoming visit to India. India had succeeded in making Bill Clinton tearful in March 2000 on an engineered Chittisinghpura massacre in occupied Kashmir and Obama was made grief-stricken on his last visit to India in November 2010 over the concocted Mumbai drama.  

However, to the utter frustration of India, her strategic partners USA and Afghanistan are no more interested in playing the Indian dirty game against Pakistan because of their compulsions. John Kerry on his recent visit to Delhi confronted Indian leadership with concrete evidence of RAW-Fazlullah connection and asked Modi to tame Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval who had audaciously confessed using TTP terrorists to destabilize Pakistan from Afghan soil. The evidence which Kerry carried had been provided to the US by Gen Raheel on his last visit to Washington.

Gen Raheel had been forthright in reminding the US Generals and policy makers that having carried out across the board operation in NW, it was now the turn of the US to reciprocate by ‘doing more’ and showing results. He reminded them of the presence of Baloch rebel leaders based in Washington promoting separatism in Balochistan. He stopped saying that otherwise he will be compelled to say that “either the US is complicit or is inefficient’. Kerry is not the first American official to reveal India’s clandestine operations against Pakistan. Earlier on, Gen McChrystal and Chuck Hegel had also accused India of exporting terrorism to Pakistan.

Operation in Kunar by ANA against Fazlullah group and declaration of Fazlullah as a global terrorist by the US are other bombshells fallen on India. Yet another upsetting development is Gen Raheel’s meetings with top British civil/military leaders in London and he pressing them to stop foreign paid fugitives Harbyar Marri and Sulaiman Khan from fuelling terrorism in Balochistan and also help in reining in Brahamdagh Bugti in Geneva. They were also reminded of the UK based Hizbul Tahrir linked with al-Qaeda and Da’esh, which has its tentacles in Pakistan as well.      

Mercifully, baleful activities of India have not deterred Pakistan from its course of defeating terrorism. It has given a befitting reply to India’s aggressive posturing in Kashmir and has pooh-poohed her usual black mailing/coercive tactics. It is however, very important to fully expose the ugly face of India and to make all out efforts to get her subversive activities from Afghan soil closed. In this regard, efforts made by Gen Raheel and Lt Gen Rizwan should be followed up aggressively at the foreign office, diplomatic and media levels as well. The world community must be asked to hold India accountable for playing a lead role in fomenting terrorism in the region, killing well over 50,000 and injuring 200,000 Pakistanis, wanton destruction of property and strategic assets like PC-3 Orion and AWACs and made to pay the price for inflicting tens of thousands cuts on the body of Pakistan. It is high time to declare RAW a rogue outfit and to collar it.   

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Executive Director Measac Research Centre, Member Board of Directors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

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US imposed war now our own war by Brig Gen(R) Asif Haroon Raja

US imposed war now our own war

Pakistan is burning in the flames of war on terror since 2003. Fratricidal war has claimed 55, 973 human lives and the numbers of injured run into hundreds of thousands. This appalling figure of casualties owing to over 5000 bomb blasts, hundreds of suicide and terrorist attacks surpasses the total fatalities suffered in the 1948, 1965 and 1971 wars and local conflicts with India. While wars/conflicts with India were of very short duration, this war is being continuously fought for over a decade and still there are no signs of its termination. It has given birth to more than 60 terrorist groups and all have married up to fight the security forces and cause harm to Pakistan. The war has caused Pakistan an economic loss of over $80 billion while the social trauma suffered by the people is incalculable.
The war on terror was started by the US and its allies in Afghanistan in October 2001 but was treacherously shifted into Pakistan. The ISAF comprising military contingents from over 40 countries handed over the security to 350,000 strong Afghan Army and Police, trained and equipped by the US and British military trainers on December 28, 2014. Although ‘Operation Endurance’ has come to a humiliating end since it failed to achieve any of the stated objectives, the US has announced launching a fresh operation codenamed ‘Resolute’ from 01 January 2015 onwards with the help of Afghan security forces backed by 12000 residual force stationed in 8 military bases. This force is likely to stay on till end 2016 in accordance with Bilateral Security Agreement and in return the US and its allies would provide $8 billion economic/military assistance annually to bolster Ashraf Ghani’s not so stable regime and to keep Taliban out of power if they refuse to share power.
This step has been taken grudgingly in the backdrop of the wide scale criticism the US had to face on account of abandoning Afghanistan in 1989 in haste after all its objectives were achieved by the Afghan Mujahideen assisted by Pakistan. Leaving them in a lurch without forming a broad based interim government and helping in reconstruction of devastated country resulted in bloody internecine war between various Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. It is generally opined that but for the US blunder, Afghanistan may have become a peaceful and prosperous country. This great betrayal bred frustration, resentment, anger and hatred against USA.
Bloody civil war from 1990 to 1994 gave rise to war lordism, religious extremism and also gave birth to Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, who was the blue-eyed boy of CIA during Afghan Jihad. Although the Taliban stabilized the country after taking over in 1996, but the fallout effects of the nine-year war and the instability of the civil war in Afghanistan was entirely borne by Pakistan. Presence of over three million Afghan refugees added to the socio-economic burden and security problems. The democratic era from October 1988 till October 1999 remained enmeshed in internal squabbles and paid little heed to control arms smuggling, drug peddling and sectarianism duly propped up by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Economic sanctions levied by the US in 1990 had also impacted the democratic rule. When PML-N government started to deliver by dealing with sectarian threat firmly, it was axed by Gen Musharraf on October 11, 1999.
9/11 changed the geopolitics of the world. The whole focus shifted towards terrorism and Pakistan was sucked into the GWOT. After occupying Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan, the US and its strategic allies cleverly shifted the direction of terrorism towards Pakistan under a calculated program. To start with FATA which was peaceful was made restive by forcing Pakistan to break the 1948 Agreement with the tribesmen by sending regular troops into South Waziristan. Insurgency was then ignited in Balochistan which was also peaceful. Nawabs of Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes readily agreed to play the foreign game.  KP and other parts of Pakistan were subsequently made turbulent.
Whereas Pakistan was made an ally to fight GWOT in return for monetary benefits, in actuality it was a target. Pakistan was on the hit-list of India, Israel and USA after it had conducted nuclear tests in May 1988 to neutralize Indian nuclear belligerence. In fact, India considers Pakistan a thorn in its flesh. Reason of its undiminished animus is Pakistan’s principled stand to maintain good neighborly relations based on equality and refusal to accept Indian hegemony. India also resents Pakistan’s stance on disputed Kashmir, which it foolishly claims to be its integral part. Armed freedom movement in occupied Kashmir since 1989 keeps Indian leaders scared. They keep devising Chankyan strategies to maintain illegal control over occupied Kashmir. They also resort to lies and engineer false flag operations to keep Pakistan on the defensive.
indianconsulatesinafghansitan1Ever since India became a strategic partner of the US, Indian leaders have been constantly whispering into the ears of US leaders that Pakistan is abetting and aiding terrorism in Kashmir and that it should be declared a terrorist state and Kashmiri fighters seeking right of self-determination as terrorists. New laws framed on terrorism after 9/11 provided an opportunity to India to paint Kashmiri freedom movement as terrorism and to project Pakistan military/ISI as abettors of cross border terrorism.
Installation of India friendly regime under Hamid Karzai in Kabul by the US made it easy for India to undertake covert war against Pakistan from Afghan soil at a massive level. RAW duly beefed up by 17 Indian intelligence units, four Consulates and Embassy was backed by CIA, Mossad, MI-6, BND, Afghan government/intelligence to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and balkanize Pakistan. Biggest intelligence centre was set up at Sehra Neward north of Kabul where heads of six intelligence agencies sat under one roof to cook up plans to undermine Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, Middle East and also to gain influence over resource rich Central Asian region. Ironically, ISI was excluded although Pakistan is immediate neighbor of Afghanistan and was nominated as front line state. 
RAW was made the overall in-charge to conduct clandestine war against Pakistan because of the expertise it had gained in 1971 East Pakistan insurgency, Balochistan insurgency in 1970s and sabotage/subversion in Pakistan in 1980s. RAW had a hand in training militant wing of MQM and Al-Zulfiqar. TTP in FATA, BLA, BRA and BLF in Balochistan were raised, funded, equipped and trained by foreign agencies to achieve their sinister objectives. RAW established 70 training camps in Afghanistan along Pak-Afghan border. It also helped Baloch insurgents in establishing over 60 Farari camps in interior Balochistan.
In FATA, CIA and FBI established outposts on the pretext of nabbing al-Qaeda runaways. On the quiet the two agencies established an outfit called Spider Web, whose task was to kill all pro-Pakistan Maliks, elders and clerics, shunt out civil administration and create space for anti-Pakistan TTP to take control over FATA. Over 400 were gunned down. ISI was pushed to the back seat and intelligence acquisition and dissemination taken over by CIA. Even immigration on airports in major cities was taken over by FBI. In 2008, Blackwater got established in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. It became easier for RAW to outsource this outfit for performing its dirty works. While Kerry Lugar Bill facilitated large numbers of NGOs with a precise agenda to step in, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani helped thousands of CIA agents and Special Operation operatives to sneak in without ISI clearance in 2010-11.
On one hand trained and well equipped terrorists were launched to create chaos and fear in Pakistan and also hit specified targets like GHQ, ISI set ups, PC-3 Orion, AWACs, airports, on the other hand Pak Army was belittled and accused of being either complicit or not doing enough. Pakistan was repeatedly told by the US to do more and India and Afghanistan joined the chorus. To make their coercive tactics more biting, an orchestrated defamation campaign was launched by Indo-US-western-Israeli media. Pakistan was dubbed as nursery of terrorism, most dangerous place in the world and a failing state. Its nuclear program was censured on the plea that it was vulnerable to fall into wrong hands because of lack of security. Idea behind multi-pronged bashing was to exhaust Pakistan socially, politically, economically and militarily, make it vulnerable to Indian aggression and force Islamabad to abandon its nuclear program in return for survival. India’s war terrorism is also part of the overall scheme to make Pakistan subservient.      
This discriminatory attitude against an ally which had put the security of the state at stake to fight the US dictated war on its own territory and against its own people and had sacrificed the most was most unfortunate. To rub salt in Pakistan’s wounds, the US continued to bestow India with all possible goodies despite the fact that it didn’t contribute a single soldier in the GWOT and created problems for ISAF. Likewise, the US continued to support highly corrupt, inept and unpopular regime of Karzai for 13 years.
Once the stark reality dawned upon the US leadership in December 2010 that ISAF was in no position to win the war and defeat was inevitable, it not only declared its drawdown plan starting July 2011 and ending in December 2014, but also established secret contacts with Taliban to arrive at a political settlement and ensure safe exit. This effort failed because of Karzai’s fickleness and US lack of sincerity. Pentagon didn’t like Obama’s decision and started selling a fake story that Taliban had been pushed on the back foot and sooner than later the pendulum would swing in ISAF’s favor. To hide its failings, Pakistan was chosen as the scapegoat and all its failings put in Pakistan’s basket. It was in this context that intense pressure was put on Pakistan to launch a major operation in North Waziristan. When Pakistan didn’t comply, it was punished by undertaking false flag operation in Abbottabad in May 2011 and then a revengeful attack on Salala border posts in November that year.  
Unlike Soviet forces which withdrew under Geneva Accord, ISAF troops have withdrawn without an agreement and leaving everything in a state of flux. Unlike Pak military’s brilliant successes against foreign supported militants in FATA and in Balochistan, the ISAF together with ANSF couldn’t achieve single battle victory against Afghan Taliban despite two troop surges and huge resources. Pakistan and not ISAF broke the back of Al-Qaeda by nabbing 600 of its leaders/operatives. All the societal vices that were doctored by Taliban during their five year rule under insalubrious circumstances have reappeared in a big way and Afghanistan has become the biggest narcotic state in the world. Despite investing $1.4 trillion, Afghanistan continues to grind in poverty and suffer from women disempowerment, illiteracy, corruption and insecurity. 65% Americans feel the war was needless.
While the US-NATO has lost the war, Pak Army under the valiant leadership of Gen Raheel Shareef has taken up the gauntlet to root out all manifestations of extremism and terrorism from Pakistan no matter what the cost. He has stated that losing war on terror is not an option. The Army had remained handicapped because of lack of political will, failure of civilian administration to take over secured areas, too many flaws in investigative and criminal justice system to prosecute and convict terrorists, ban on hanging, heavily politicized police, unproductive dharnas and above all foreign interference. Peshawar tragedy in which 132 children were martyred by fiends has galvanized the whole nation. Moratorium on hanging has been lifted and few terrorists hanged. Political/religious leaders stand behind the Army and have resolved to collectively fight the menace. Unanimously agreed upon 20-point Action Plan has been devised and committees formed to monitor progress. Despite initial reservations, all have agreed to amend the constitution and set up special military courts for 2 years to ensure speedy justice. These are need of the nation and not that of Army. Happily, Kabul has come on board and is willing to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.  
To ensure 100% results, all concerned will have to perform on war footing. Politicians will have to display greater maturity and become role models by changing their lifestyle. Bureaucracy should shun its lethargic way of sitting over files and creating unnecessary impediments. The judiciary must come out of its hibernation and carryout in-house refurbishment to deliver evenhanded, cheap and speedy justice to all. The media should change its course and show greater patriotism and sense of responsibility. Civil administration should play its part more efficiently and honestly. Ulema and Mashaikhs should strive to bridge the religious divides. Academic circles must guide the youth towards productive channels and inculcating in them sense of nationalism. Last but not least, grievances of the have-nots must be addressed on priority.      
The writer is retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Member oard of Directors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com                   

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Gambling against Armageddon by Amb.Munir Akram, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN

Gambling against Armageddon

By

Munir Akram, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN | 

 

IN an opinion piece last year, Henry Kissinger observed that over the next couple of decades a nuclear war was likely to take place between India and Pakistan. The nuclear factor was in play in four major and one minor India-Pakistan crises: in 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2002.
 
In 1987, when an Indian army chief launched the Brasstacks military exercises along Pakistan’s exposed desert borders, Pakistan responded by deploying its forces in the north where India was vulnerable. Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s agreement to a mutual stand-down no doubt also took into account the informal threat from Islamabad to bomb India’s nuclear reactors in case Pakistan was attacked. (After the crisis ended, the Pakistan-India agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities was jointly formulated in one day.)
 
In January 1990, when the anti-Indian insurgency erupted in Kashmir and India threatened Pakistan, a conflict was forestalled by US intervention. The US acted when it learnt that Pakistan had begun to arm its nuclear-capable aircraft.

The operation of mutual deterrence between India and Pakistan is being eroded.


armageddon21During the night of 26-27 May 1998 — the night before Pakistan conducted its nuclear explosions in response to India’s tests — Pakistani radar detected unidentified aircraft flying towards its territory. Islamabad issued warnings of instant retaliation to India and relayed these to the US and Israel. This may have been a false alarm; but it illustrates the danger of accidental conflict in the absence of real-time communications.
During the 1999 Kargil war, the nuclear dimension was implicit, given that the crisis occurred a year after the India-Pakistan nuclear tests.
 
During the 2002 general mobilisation by India and Pakistan, the director general of the Pakistan Armed Forces Special Plans Division enunciated its nuclear ‘doctrine’ in a news interview. The ‘doctrine’ envisaged that Pakistan would use nuclear weapons if: it was being militarily overwhelmed; its nuclear or strategic weapons or facilities were attacked; and it was subjected to an enemy blockade.
 
The projection of this doctrine, including at a UN news conference by this writer in July 2002, sparked a fall in the Indian Stock Exchange, the evacuation of foreign personnel and embassy families from New Delhi and a demarche by Indian business leaders to prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and reportedly led to the Indian agreement for a mutual drawback of forces.
 
The operation of mutual deterrence displayed in 2002, however, is being eroded by several developments.
 
One, the conventional military balance is becoming progressively unfavourable to Pakistan. India is engaged in a major arms build-up. It is the world’s largest arms importer today. It is deploying advanced and offensive land, air and sea weapons systems. Pakistan’s conventional capabilities may not prove sufficient to deter or halt an Indian attack.
 
Two, India has adopted the Cold Start doctrine envisaging a rapid strike against Pakistan. This would prevent Pakistan from mobilising its conventional defence and thus lower the threshold at which Pakistan may have to rely on nuclear deterrence.
 
Three, Pakistan has had to deploy over 150,000 troops on the western border due to its involvement in the cross-border counterterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, reducing its conventional defence capacity against India.
 
Four, the acquisition of foreign nuclear plants and fuel, made possible by the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, will enable India to enlarge its nuclear weapons stockpile significantly. To maintain nuclear balance, Pakistan has accelerated production of fissile materials. Both nuclear arsenals are now large and growing.
 
Five, given its growing conventional disadvantage, and India’s pre-emptive war fighting doctrine, Pakistan has been obliged to deploy a larger number of nuclear-capable missiles, including so-called ‘theatre’ or tactical nuclear-capable missiles. The nuclear ‘threshold’ is now much lower.
 
Six, the Kashmir dispute — once described by former US president Bill Clinton as a nuclear flashpoint — continues to fester. Another insurgency is likely to erupt, certainly if the Bharatiya Janata Party government goes ahead with its platform promise to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution (which accords special status to Jammu & Kashmir). A renewed Kashmiri insurgency will evoke Indian accusations against Pakistan and unleash another Indo-Pakistan crisis.
 
Seven, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has obviously decided to adopt an aggressive posture towards Pakistan, no doubt to appeal to his hard-line Hindu constituency. The recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control are an ominous indication of such belligerency.
 
Eight, India is reportedly involved in supporting the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Baloch Liberation Army to destabilise Pakistan internally.
 
Nine, India has terminated the ‘composite dialogue’ with Pakistan. Its precondition for talks — an “absence of violence” — is impossible for Pakistan to meet.
 
Ten, the US and other major powers evince little interest in addressing the combustible mix of live disputes, terrorist threats, conventional arms imbalance and nuclear weapons in South Asia.
 
During the parallel dialogue initiated by the US with Pakistan and India following their 1998 nuclear explosions, Pakistan proposed a ‘strategic restraint regime’ with India which would include mechanisms to resolve disputes, including Kashmir; preserve a conventional arms balance and promote mutual nuclear and missile restraint.
India rejected the concept of a mutual restraint regime.
 
The US at first agreed to consider Pakistan’s proposal. However, as their talks with India transitioned from restricting India’s nuclear programme to building a “strategic partnership” (against China), the Americans de-hyphenated policy towards Pakistan and India, opened the doors to building India’s conventional and nuclear capabilities and disavowed any interest in the Kashmir dispute. Currently, Indian belligerence is bolstered by US pressure on Pakistan to halt fissile material production and reverse the deployment of theatre nuclear-capable missiles.
 
If a South Asian Armageddon is to be prevented, it is essential to build a structure of stable deterrence between India and Pakistan and find ways to deal with Kashmir and other outstanding disputes. Reviving consideration of a strategic restraint regime would be a good place to start.
 
The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

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Why India Continues Cross-border Shelling? By Sajjad Shaukat

                                    

 

 

 

Why India Continues Cross-border Shelling?

                                                          By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since October 6, this year, India accelerated cross-border shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB) and killed several innocent persons including their animals inside Pakistan. It compelled tens thousands of the residents of the villages to migrate to safe areas, with their livestock and other belongings.

 

In this regard, spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-General Asim Bajwa said that Pakistan Rangers and troops “befittingly” responded to “unprovoked firing” by Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and military troops. He also clarified that Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to meet any aggression.

 

Regarding these constant violations, Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest, and also raised the issue with the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan, asking for a visit of the observers to the affected areas.

 

Meanwhile, in India where Pakistan is accused of starting the skirmishes, leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is reported to have given a free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the violations. While, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff convened a meeting of the National Security Commit­te on Oct 10, this year, and discussed the recent ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and WB.

 

It is notable that by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Contrarily, on December 24, 2013, New Delhi agreed for the meeting of Directors-General Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries, who met in Pakistan, and discussed specific measures strengthening the bilateral ceasefire mechanism across the LoC.

 

While, Islamabad and India had on November 25, 2003, agreed to observe ceasefire along all areas of WB, LoC and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir. However, Pakistan military indicated that Indian hostility has gradually increased since 2010 making lives of civil population living in closer vicinity of the LoC and WB difficult. Indian troops committed 86 ceasefire violations in 2011, 230 in 2012 and 414 in 2013. But, Indians have again resorted to unprovoked firing for about 224 times on both LoC and WB and killed several people on the Pakistani side this year.

 

In this context, military officials further elaborated that Indian perennial escalation across the LoC and WB is according to a deliberate plan. So question arises as to why India continues cross-border shelling inside Pakistan.

 

In fact, by promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against Pakistan. In this context, recent upsurge in skirmishes across the LoC and WB is also linked to upcoming elections in Indian occupied Kashmir, as BJP again wants to make Pakistan a scapegoat. Therefore, the border violations, accompanying hostile statements by Indian leadership are aimed at motivating support base before the elections, and even the expected delay in polls in Kashmir would provide more time to the Indian side to hype up sentiments at the cost of Pakistan. The BJP government is looking at winning a majority in the Kashmir assembly so that it could fulfill its manifesto pledge of revoking the special status, given to Kashmir under Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to annex the area.

 

As regards Indian covert aims, BJP rulers are trying to divert attention of international community from the Kashmir dispute, while, Kashmiri leaders and Pakistan have been keeping this issue in limelight.

 

In this connection, terming the support and advocacy of the right to self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmi (J&K), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), stressed for settlement of the Kashmir issue, and offered Pakistan’s readiness to endeavor for the same through negotiations. He also reminded the international community of its pledge for holding “plebiscite” in the Indian-held Kashmir, and resolves the issue in accordance with UN Charter. The speech generated appreciations from the political circles of Pakistan and Kashmir as well. It is also acknowledged that the speech is true reflection of sentiments of the people of Pakistan, who believe that peace and prosperity in south Asia is inter- linked with solution of core dispute of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

 

Islamabad’s successful attempt at the UNGA seems to have irked Indian political, diplomatic and journalist circles. Under the growing frustration, a notoriously controversial journalist affiliated with the Indian NDTV namely Barkha Dutt engaged Pakistan’s prime minister’s special advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and managed to create a controversy through aggressive posture to make him concede that Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with the Kashmiri leadership in New Delhi was ill-timed, and affected secretary level engagements with Pakistan. No doubt, Barkha-Aziz episode has been projected, because under the pretext, India cancelled secretary level talks with Islamabad.   

 

Moreover, Indian media created an impression that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by highlighting Kashmir issue made an effort to improve relations with military establishment in the backdrop of the protesters of the sit-ins led by PTI and PAT. It also generated controversy of gray relations between political and military echelons of Pakistan. By increasing cross-border shelling, New Delhi also wants to create pressure on Islamabad and the Armed Forces in wake of present political turmoil—and military operation Zarb-e-Azb which successfully continues against terrorists in North Waziristan Agency.

 

It is of particular attention that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swami stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution. Responding to the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan.”

 

In these terms, Indian hawks think that in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO, they will keep their anti-Pakistan network in Afghanistan by harming the genuine interests of Pakistan which shares geographical, cultural and religious bonds with the former, and is determined to bring peace and stability there.

 

Now, as part of its blame game, India has intensified unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir and WB in Sialkot to delay the Pak-India peace process, without caring for latter’s nuclear weapons.

 

Undoubtedly, every Indian government due to international pressure found it easy to make false pledges that it was willing to engage in peace process to resolve all issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Water and especially main dispute of Kashmir with Islamabad. But, New Delhi earnestly endeavored to find excuses and pretexts to cancel peace talks, while shifting the blame to Pakistan. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India cancelled the ‘composite dialogue’ on the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks.

 

Particularly, on May 27, 2014 Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with Prime Minister Sharif in the oath-taking ceremony proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. He said that slow pace of trial against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case; being held in Pakistan is main hurdle.

 

But, Indian prime minister ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013 the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

 

Notably, in the recent past, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation, claiming that its role had become irrelevant.

 

It is also mentionable that Pakistani business community is agitated by the High handedness of Indian authorities in India, whenever they participate in trade exhibitions. As per visa protocols of year 2012, both India and Pakistan are bound to give business visa “Exemption from Police Reporting.” Recently, Pakistani delegation members were fined $ 40 per participant for missing Police reporting during trade exhibition (Alishan Pakistan), held at New Delhi from 11-14 September 2014. Besides this, no relaxation is being granted by Indian authorities in issuance of visa to Pakistani businessmen. Element of non-cooperation and aggressiveness towards Pakistan is significant in conduct of Indian authorities after the arrival of Modi regime in power.

 

Nonetheless, we can undoubtedly conclude that India continues cross-border shelling inside Pakistan so as to obtain multiple designs against the former.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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