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Conviction of Hafiz Saeed by Asif Haroon Raja

Conviction of Hafiz Saeed

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Lahore under Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta convicted Hafiz Saeed on February 12 and jailed him for 11 years. His colleague Zafar Iqbal was also given 11 years jail term. 23 prosecution witnesses testified but none could provide any concrete evidence. The prosecutor maintained that Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) were two sides of the same coin and since LeT had been declared a proscribed organization vide UN resolution 1267 and put under sanctions, Pakistan being a member of the UN must take action. Despite the fact that the prosecution couldn’t prove the charge of terrorism, the two accused were declared guilty on account of being a member of a banned outfit, supporting and arranging meetings of a proscribed organization, illegal fundraising and buying properties from the raised funds. Besides Indian media, a segment of Pak media together with a handful of well-heeled liberals in Pakistan have been demonizing Hafiz Saeed and his JuD and presenting him an asset of the military establishment.   

Hafiz Saeed was the founder of LeT in the early 1990s, which was actively involved in armed Kashmiri freedom movement. Once LeT and some other Kashmir focused Jihadi groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) were banned by Gen Musharraf under pressure from India and USA in 2002/03, Hafiz Saeed detached himself from LeT and created an educational & charitable outfit at Muredke near Lahore, which he named JuD. His set-up is open to all and all activities are transparent. He, however remained on the radar of India as well as the USA.

Between 2001 and 2008, all terror attacks in India were put in the basket of Azhar Masood led JeM or LeT.  The latter was blamed for the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. India also accused ISI that it trained and backed LeT. Since then, India has been constantly pressing Pakistan to punish Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders. At the behest of India, the UN and the US declared him a global terrorist and put $10 million bounty as his head money.  

Hafiz Saeed was arrested by Pak authorities 8 times since 2011 and put on trial but the courts couldn’t find any trace of his involvement in Mumbai attacks and had to be released. Neither India could furnish any proofs. Whatever evidence it sent was too flimsy and insufficient to convict him, but India duly backed by USA clung to its stance. 

India couldn’t supply any proofs because Mumbai attacks were masterminded by RAW-Mossad combine in collusion with CIA with a view to undermine the sudden flare-up of unarmed movement in IOK in the summer of 2008, get ISI declared a rogue outfit and Pakistan a terror abetting state. To make it look real, India made hue and cry, suspended composite dialogue and conditioned recommencement of talks to the conviction of the so-called accused. The USA also kept pressing and advising Pakistan to punish the accused to ease tension, renew the process of composite dialogue to resolve of Kashmir dispute and to return to normalcy.   

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving accused was tried and hanged within the premises of jail without allowing Pakistani legal team or the Interpol to meet him. India’s claim that Kasab was a Pakistani hailing from village Faridkot was false. He had been kidnapped from Nepal by RAW sometime back and was put in a secret detention center for subsequent use.

The Mumbai drama was initially exposed by the officials of Indian Home Ministry led by Satish Sharma in 2011, who submitted affidavits in Indian Supreme Court asserting that the attacks were an in-house affair to achieve objectives against Pakistan. Fake Hindu saint Aseemanand undergoing the trial of Samjhota Express train blast in 2007 confessed that all the terror attacks in India were the handiwork of Indian terrorist group Abhinav led by Lt Col Purohit of which he was one of the members. Murdered Inspector Hemant Karkare had rounded up the gang and the case was under trial. He was murdered by unknown assassins on the night of 26 November 2008 in Mumbai and thereafter the case was closed and all the accused were set free. As if these revelations were not enough to expose India’s lies and its penchant for false flag operations, two books authored by Indian writers and one by German author spilt the beans.  

With so much incriminating material available, Pakistan was in a good position to put India on the mat and expose its ugly face. Unfortunately, PPP and PML-N governments opted to retain Pakistan’s traditional policy of appeasement. Instead of rebuking Indian bogus version, Indian narrative was agreed to. Several LeT leaders including Hafiz Saeed were arrested and put on trial. Apologetic and defensive stance emboldened India to continue whipping Pakistan under the charge of terrorism.

India under fascist Narendra Modi hardened its stance and stated that till such time Pakistan didn’t control terrorism, it will not talk on Kashmir. Modi forced Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in 2015 to exclude Kashmir from the agenda of future talks and to accord priority to the issue of terrorism. Pakistan’s meekness encouraged India, Afghanistan and USA to dub Pakistan a breeding ground and an epicentre of terrorism and most dangerous country in the world. These labels were given in spite of Pakistan security forces achieving remarkable results in fighting foreign-sponsored terrorist groups in FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and suffering the most.

Failing to suppress the liberation movement in IOK, India not only kept the Line of Control in Kashmir heated up but also broke all records of state terrorism and human rights against Kashmiris in IOK. Finding that Kashmir was slipping out of its hands, RAW conducted a false flag operation in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, which had three-fold objectives. To distract the attention of the world from its human rights abuses against Kashmiris and discredit freedom movement; secondly, to create the justification for a surgical strike inside Pakistan, and thirdly, to whip up anti-Pakistan emotions in India and enlarge the vote bank of BJP for elections in June.

Indian Mirage 2000s intruded in Balakot on February 24 last year under the pretext of taking revenge for Pulwama terror attack. The jets hurriedly released their bombs in a deserted place causing no damage or human casualty due to timely intervention of PAF jets. However, India claimed that it had destroyed a JeM camp. In reaction, PAF made a counter move on the night of 26 February by dropping missiles next to three sensitive targets inside IOK. Indian army chief Gen Bipin survived by the skin of his teeth. In the air duel, PAF pilots shot down one Su-30 and one MiG-21 and captured one pilot. India also lost one helicopter along with the crew due to its own firing. When India tried to strike 8 targets with Brahmo missiles on the night of 27th, Pakistan announced that it had marked 16 targets which took the air out of Modi’s jingoism. Smarting under series of humiliations, Modi ventured to make disputed IOK integral part of India on August 5, 2019, and is now threatening to annex AJK.         

Anguished over their failure to cow down Pakistan or to disable its nuclear program, the three strategic partners India, USA and Israel assisted by puppet regime in Kabul got further upset over the rapid progress made by CPEC. They see it as a dangerous monster capable of overturning their global ambitions. The trio is continuing with proxy war to bleed Pakistan and scuttle CPEC through random attacks. The 5th Generation Hybrid War was launched to create political destabilization, accentuate divisions in society, turn the youth against the army and spoil Pak-China relations.

Additionally, IMF and FATF were used as tools to meltdown Pakistan’s economy and to make it a compliant state. The IMF doled out $ 6 billion loans on stringent conditions forbidding it to use even a penny of the loan money on CPEC or to repay loans of China. The FATF after putting Pakistan in the grey list issued a long list of demands saying if these are not complied with, the country will be blacklisted. The list included the arrest and conviction of JeM head Azhar Masood, and Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders.

While India is leaving no stone unturned to put Pakistan in a blacklist, the US is quietly pulling the strings of FATF to keep Pakistan in the grey list for some more time. Alice Wells during her recent visit to Islamabad had admitted that the US would like to keep Pakistan under pressure through FATF till such time Pakistan agree to abide by its dictates.  She declared CPEC and friendship with China harmful for Pakistan.

The International Bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new economic and financial managers appointed on the choice of IMF carried out the heavy devaluation of the currency under the hope of boosting exports. They imposed heavy taxes, raised the prices of fuel, gas, and of daily commodities in order to generate revenues. These measures didn’t improve the health of the economy and made the lives of the people difficult. Desperate to uplift the sinking economy and to fulfil the promises made to the people, and to save from getting blacklisted, the cornered government hastened to arrest Hafiz Saeed.

After keeping him under detention for about six months, he was put on trial. The decision of the court was hailed by Alice Wells as well as Trump. India is also happy and sees it a triumph of its consistent efforts. India will now push for his trial on charges of attacks in Mumbai with a view to net ISI and Pakistan in the trap of terrorism.   

Making Hafiz Saeed a sacrificial goat just before the crucial meeting of FATF at Paris from 12-21 February in which Pakistan is hoping to get out of the grey list and become white go against principles and ethics.

For India, Hafiz Saeed has been a pain in the neck since he always raised his voice against Indian barbarities. As head of Difah Pakistan Council, he has been organizing big public meetings and rallies and has been a moving force behind the Kashmiri freedom struggle. His charity outfit Khidmat-e-Khalq provided immense assistance to the victims of natural calamities and was among the first to reach the stranded people caught in the devastating earthquake in AJK in 2005.  JuD has also been imparting free education to the poor and funds to the needy. He is held in high esteem among the Kashmiris living both sides of the divide and has a huge following in Pakistan.

His conviction has not been well received in J&K and by the majority of people in Pakistan particularly the Far Right. They view him as a philanthropist serving humanity, highly patriotic Pakistani and not a terrorist. They feel he has been jailed to please the USA and to mollify India. Already an impression is gaining currency that the government has betrayed the Kashmiris and that neither it is taking any action to provide relief to the marooned 8 million Kashmiris locked up in biggest open prison since August 5, nor it is allowing others to start a Jihad. Since Hafiz Saeed has never been convicted by courts on account of terrorism or funding terrorists, in all likelihood the decision of ATC if challenged might be overturned by Lahore High Court.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC and The Think Tank PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

       

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Opinion: Pete King Whipped Up Anti-Muslim Bigotry. Why Is Chuck Schumer Celebrating Him?

Opinion: Pete King Whipped Up Anti-Muslim Bigotry. Why Is Chuck Schumer Celebrating Him?

The Long Island Republican will leave a legacy of division and demonization. Schumer is wrong to celebrate it.

Alex Brandon / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rep. Pete King, then-chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, during one of his 2011 hearings on Islamist extremism in the United States.

It took a quarter of a century, but Rep. Pete King, a Long Island Republican, is finally retiring. King built a durable following among the Fox News coterie thanks in part to his unflinching efforts to demonize Muslims, racial justice activists, critics of torture, and victims of police violence.

King’s legacy of division makes it all the more inexplicable that Sen. Chuck Schumer — a fellow New Yorker who’s well versed in King’s abuses — would spend Monday morning praising King as standing “head and shoulders above everyone else.”

“He’s been principled and never let others push him away from his principles,” Schumer added. Given that King’s principles included slandering almost any community that didn’t look like him, it’s reasonable to ask what the leader of the Senate Democrats was thinking when he decided to celebrate King’s extremism.

Let’s take a look at a few of the “principles” King held so dearly.

To most Americans, King is best known as the representative who saw Muslim threats around every corner. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, he became a staunch advocate for expanding the national security and surveillance state into the unaccountable behemoth we know today.

King has urged police to focus on Muslim communities for potential terrorist activity. He whined that there were too many mosques in the country. And he didn’t stop there. In 2011, he led a series of hugely wasteful, McCarthy-esque trials popularly known as the “radicalization hearings.” Those congressional sideshows became fountains of anti-Muslim disinformation, where King made the risible claim that “80% of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams.”

The hearings never produced an iota of evidence to support King’s claims.

Henny Ray Abrams / AP

A protester supports Rep. Pete King’s congressional hearings on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism in New York, March 2011.

There is nothing praiseworthy in King’s tireless effort to establish himself as the United States’ leading anti-Muslim fearmonger. Schumer should explain what, precisely, he found to admire in any of King’s hatred.

Not content with only marginalizing American Muslims, King has also shown contempt for those protesting police brutality. After a New York police officer killed Eric Garner with a prohibited chokehold in 2014, King took to the media to blame not the officer but Garner’s obesity. His statement was so outrageous that even fellow Republicans criticized it.

And it wasn’t just the Garner case. Just last year, King questioned the patriotism of NFL players who chose to kneel for the national anthem, comparing their kneeling to a Nazi salute. In a tweet criticizing the New York Jets, King claimed systemic police violence was a “false narrative” created by liberal elites to sow racial distrust between communities of color and white Americans.

None of this is new information to Schumer, whose own tenure in politics overlaps every single one of King’s racist and anti-Muslim outbursts. Such divisive, hateful rhetoric runs in opposition to the culture of inclusivity and tolerance that Democrats aim to strengthen.

King’s tenure in Congress was not a noble one. His repeated attempts to strip health care from millions of Americans should not be celebrated as “sticking to principles.” It should be viewed as it is — a nakedly partisan act against the wishes of King’s own voters. Not that you’d know: King’s social media profiles censored criticism of his votes to kill Obamacare.

There is always the possibility Schumer was merely being civil. After all, politicians tend to speak well of their departing colleagues no matter how odious their records. But this is a perfect example of how the veneer of political civility minimizes the true damage caused by extremists like King. It is certainly not a courtesy King ever extended to the communities he terrorized with bogus hearings and incendiary attacks.

It is tragic that a politician whose career focused so completely on sowing distrust and enmity between fellow Americans can still be described as a fairly “moderate” Republican. By enabling King’s antics, Republicans allowed their party to swing to its current extremes. Democrats, and especially Democratic leaders like Schumer, should have no part in legitimizing this Republican march into madness.

The only silver lining of King’s tenure is that a Democrat could win his Long Island seat and begin the long process of repairing the damage King wrought. Schumer can start by apologizing to those communities revictimized by his thoughtless praise of King’s poisonous legacy.


Max Burns is a Democratic strategist, political commentator, and former director of communications for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights,an international nonprofit organization.

Reference-Courtesy = BUZZFEED

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Overview of the recent history of Sudan

Overview of the recent history of Sudan

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

General spectrum

Sudan had remained a colony of the British for 56 years after which it gained independence on January 1, 1956. Located in northeastern Africa, it shares a border with Egypt to the north, Libya to the northwest, Eritrea and Chad to the east, Central African Union to the southwest, and Chad to the west. The Red Sea is in the southeast. After the independence of South Sudan in 2011, that part has also become its 7th neighbour in the south. Sudan has had troubled relations with many of its neighbours. The internal security situation of all the neighbours of Sudan is far from satisfactory.

Sudan is a huge country between Northern and Central Africa which, prior to the independence of South Sudan, was the continent’s largest country. Its position has long drawn the attention of outsiders, and once facilitated the birth of powerful empires and city-states. Since declaring independence from the United Kingdom, Sudan has struggled to manage its expansive territories and ethnic-regional divisions. Khartoum, the country’s capital, can be viewed as a relatively isolated city-state that must command the vast spaces and people that surround it. Such a mentality helps explain Khartoum’s disastrous management of the country’s various rebellions and insurrections.

Until recently, the country’s leadership has preferred to adopt a belligerent approach to dealing with the country’s many outstanding conflicts. Since Sudan’s borders do not fully align with its various ethnic groups, its internal ethnic conflicts have fueled regional conflict as well. Ethnic groups in the western Darfur region spill over into neighbouring Chad, driving the two countries to wage proxy warfare against each other for years by arming and financing rebels’ intent on revolution.

Sudan’s proximity to the Middle East — as well as the application of Sharia by Jafar Numeri and its cultural and religious makeup — allowed it to build ties with powers there. After Osama bin Laden was banished by Saudi Arabia, he had stayed in Sudan under Gen. Omer Al-Bashir before shifting to Afghanistan in early 1991. Thereon Sudan was kept under close watch. Sudan has been viewed by USA and Egypt as extremely important to their interests in Africa and the Middle East.

First military rule. The British Parliamentary democracy in Sudan lasted until November 17, 1958, after which a group of army officers, headed by Lt Gen Ibrahim Abid established a military regime and dissolved all political parties. This regime was overthrown in the wake of the October 21 Revolution in 1964. The new government reverted to the multi-party system, but this arrangement lasted for only five years.

Rule of Jafar Numeri

Once again a group of 9 military officers led by Col Jafar Numeri proclaimed a new revolution on May 25, 1969, and outlawed all political groups. He ended the civil war in South Sudan raging since 1955 after he conceded measure of autonomy to the southern province in 1972. Southern Sudan with its capital at Juba, populated by animists and Christians held a grievance that it was marginalized by North Sudan. Christian Churches and Monks in South Sudan treated the animists as Christians and kept up with their efforts to Christianize them. Once the oil was discovered in 1978 in South Sudan, Numeri hastened to redraw provincial boundaries so as to place oilfields under the effective control of the Central Government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economic heart-burnings of the Southerners against Northerners, Sharia laws, abolishing of South Sudan’s autonomy and redrawing of boundaries by Numeri led to the second civil war in South Sudan in 1983. Col John Garang belonging to South Sudan and a Christian led the SPLM insurgency. Neighboring Ethiopia extended support and sanctuaries to SPLA and became a conduit for the supply of arms to the rebels wanting to make oil-rich South Sudan independent.

Numeri was deposed in a coup in April 1985 by Defence Minister Gen. Abdul Rahman. He was also C-in-C armed forces and had been appointed by Numeri a month earlier. He went into exile to Egypt and returned in 1999 to take part in 2000 presidential elections but lost. He died on May 30, 2009.

Rule of Gen Omar El-Bashir

Gen Omar Bashir seized power in 1989 after he led a successful coup against Gen Rahman and the elected, but increasingly unpopular, prime minister of the time, Sadiq al-Mahdi. (Mahdi had served as elected PM from 1966 to 1967, and 1986 to 1989). The country ruled by Gen Bashir remained at war in the South for over two decades and also had to contend with the foreign supported tribal war in the western state of Darfur in 2003 and the two southern states of Kordufan and Blue Nile in 2011.

Division of Sudan

The peace agreement with SPLM ended the civil war in South Sudan in 2005. Autonomy was granted and a pledge for holding a referendum on independence in next 6 years was given. John Garang was sworn in as Vice President and a new constitution framed. However, Garang couldn’t enjoy the fruits of power and he died in a plane crash in August 2005. Salva Kiir Mayardi succeeded him. In October that year, an autonomous government was formed in South Sudan with Juba as its capital. In the referendum held in January 2011, the southerners opted for full independence.

With lingering rebellion in the three states, together with Gen Omer al-Bashir getting indicted for war crimes against humanity by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Darfur had left little room for Bashir to obstruct or delay the division of the county in July 2011.

Sudan’s economyIt became weaker after Omer al-Bashir ascended to power. The economy became increasingly turbulent following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which, up until then, had represented an important source of foreign currency, because of its oil output. The devaluation of the Sudanese pound in October 2018 led to wildly fluctuating exchange rates and a shortage of cash in circulation. Removal of wheat and electricity subsidies at the behest of IMF hit the lower classes badly. Long queues for basic goods such as petrol, bread, as well as cash from ATMs became a common sight. Sudan has around 70% inflation, second only to Venezuela.

The downfall of Gen. Omer al-Bashir

On 19 December 2018, a series of demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese cities, due in part to rising costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society. The protests quickly turned from demands for urgent economic reforms into demands for President Gen. Omer al-Bashir to step down.

In January 2018, large protests started on the streets of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, in opposition to the rising prices of the basic goods including bread. The protests grew quickly and found support from different opposition parties. Youth and women’s movements also joined the protests.

In August 2018, the National Congress Party (NCP) backed Gen. Bashir’s 2020 presidential run, despite his increasing unpopularity and his previous declaration that he would not run in the upcoming elections. These measures led to rising opposition from within the party calling for respect of the constitution, which prevented Gen. Bashir from being reelected. Sudanese activists reacted on social media and called for a campaign against his nomination.

On 22 February 2019, Gen. Bashir declared a yearlong state of national emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers. The next day he appointed his chosen successor, Mohamed Tahir Ayala, as Prime Minister and former intelligence chief and Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf as first Vice President.

Amid Sudan’s ongoing economic crisis, President Bashir reshuffled the government twice and the ruling NCP endorsed him to run for another term in 2020. Sudan made no meaningful measures to provide accountability for past or current abuses in conflict zones or other serious human rights violations. It didn’t cooperate with biased ICC which had levied charges against the president and four other men, of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.

The protests reached a climax on 6 April, when demonstrators occupied the square in front of the military’s headquarters to demand that the army force the president out.

On the weekend of 6–7 April, there were massive protests for the first time since the declaration of the state of emergency. On 10 April, soldiers were seen shielding protesters from security forces, and on 11 April, the military removed Gen. Bashir from power in a coup d’état after his 30 years rule.

The takeover by Transitional Military Council (TMC)

Following Gen. Bashir’s removal from power, and takeover by a seven-member TMC led by Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf on 11 April, 2019, street protests organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) and democratic opposition groups continued, calling on the ruling TMC to “immediately and unconditionally” step aside in favor of a civilian-led transitional government, and urging other reforms in Sudan. Negotiations between the TMC and the civilian opposition to form a joint transition government took place during late April and in May but stopped when the dreaded Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other TMC security forces carried out a massacre in the capital city of Khartoum on 3 June. Unrest in Northern Sudan engulfed almost the whole of the country in turmoil.

Chain of events after April 11, 2019

On the evening of 12 April 2019, Auf announced his resignation following intense protests. He handed over his seat to Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, the army’s inspector-general, to succeed him. The protesters were “jubilant” upon hearing this announcement as he was one of the generals who reached out to the protestors during the sit-in.

On 13 April, talks between the military and the protestors officially started. This came following announcements that the curfew imposed by Auf was lifted, that an order was issued to complete the release of those who were jailed under emergency laws issued by al-Bashir. It was also announced that National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) Chief Salah Gosh had resigned. Amnesty International asked the military coalition to investigate his role in protesters’ deaths.

On 14 April it was announced that TMC had agreed to have the protestors nominate a civilian Prime Minister and have civilians run every Government ministry outside the Defense and Interior Ministries. Another announcement was made that Auf had been removed as Defense Minister and that Lt. Gen. Abu Bakr Mustafa had succeeded Gosh as chief of NISS.

On 15 April, TMC announced that “The former ruling NCP will not participate in any transitional government,” despite not being barred from future elections.

It was also announced that the TMC was undergoing restructuring, which began with the appointments of Col. Gen. Hashem Abdel Muttalib Ahmed as army chief of staff and Col. Gen. Othman al-Hussein as deputy chief of staff.

On 16 April, the TMC announced that in response to the demands of the protestors, the nation’s three top prosecutors had been sacked.

On 17 April, ousted president Gen. Bashir was transferred from house arrest in the Presidential Palace to solitary confinement at Kobar prison in Khartoum, a prison notorious for holding political prisoners during Gen. Bashir’s time in power. Two of Gen. Bashir’s brothers, Abdullah and Al-Abbas, were also arrested.

On 18 April, crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands demonstrated to demand civilian rule. The demonstration was the largest since Gen. Bashir was deposed. Protest leaders also announced plans to name their own transitional council in two days’ time if the military junta refused to step aside.

On 20 April, it was reported that officials had found suitcases full of Euros, US dollars, and Sudanese Pounds in Gen. Bashir’s home (totalling around $6.7 million). Parliament Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omar was placed under house arrest. The secretary general of the Islamic movement Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan and former parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher were also among those arrested in relation to these suitcases.

On 21 April, head of TMC promised to hand over power to the people. Nevertheless, protest leaders broke off talks with the military authorities the same day—saying that the military junta was not serious about transferring power to civilians and that the junta was composed of remnants of al-Bashir’s Islamist regime—and vowed to intensify demonstrations.

Meanwhile, as a result of strikes at oil companies in Port Sudan, landlocked South Sudan‘s oil exports were paralyzed.

On 27 April, an agreement was reached to form a transitional council made up jointly of civilians and military, though the exact details of the power-sharing arrangement were not yet agreed upon, as both sides wanted to have a majority. The military also announced the resignation of the three TMC members Lt. Gen. Omar Zain al-Abideen, Lt. Gen. Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lt. Gen. Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel, who had submitted their resignations on 24 April.

On 7 May 2019, 21 former officials who served in al-Bashir’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in South Darfur were arrested after attempting to flee the country.

The military and protesters agreed on 15 May to a three-year transition period to civilian rule. The protest movement insisted on a transition period of at least three years was needed to wash away the effects of Bashir’s rule and to ensure free and fair elections.

The two sides also agreed on the structure of a new government – including a sovereign council, a cabinet and a legislative body. But soon after, TMC scrapped all of these agreements on 3 June and said fresh elections would be held within nine months.

The TMC’s head said they had decided to “stop negotiating with the ‘Alliance for Freedom and Change’ (AFC) and to cancel what had been agreed on”.

Negotiations collapsed when a military crackdown on 3 June left dozens of protesters dead. 118 people were killed, 70 were raped and hundreds were injured in the Khartoum massacre as a result of Sudanese armed forces storming a camp and opening fire on protesters. Security forces also opened fire on protesters inside medical facilities. Security forces dumped bodies of some of the killed protesters in the river Nile. Much of the country was then shut down by an open-ended strike called by the opposition.

On 8 June, the SPA warned of a wide campaign by the TMC of arresting and disappearing political activists or threatening to kill them. The SPA called for activists to strictly follow the methods of nonviolent resistance in their campaign of civil disobedience and workplace strikes.

A 3-day general strike and nationwide civil disobedience campaign were carried out from 9–11 June. The SPA estimated 60–95% of pupils’ and teachers’ absences from primary and high schools; 67–99% closure of municipal and national bus transport; 84–99% blocking of flights; 98–100% blocking of rail transport; 64–72% bank closures; 86% closure of retail markets; 60–94% closure of electricity, heating, oil and gas stations; 57–100% non-publication of newspaper publishing; 47–90% of medical services were closed, but free emergency medical care was provided; 90–100% of private and state legal services were shut down. Internet was shut down. Women were at the forefront of the demonstrations and one named Kandaka, meaning Nubian queen, led the chants.

On 12 June, the TMC agreed to release political prisoners and the FCA agreed to suspend the general strike. The two sides also agreed “to resume talks soon” about forming a civilian government. The FCA prepared a list of eight civilian members for a 15-member transitional governmental council, including three women.

On 13 June, TMC spokesperson stated that “some” security force members had been arrested over the 3 June massacre and that eighteen persons belonging to two different groups planning coups against the TMC, had also been arrested.

On 29 June, TMC security forces raided the headquarters of the SPA.

On 30 June, the 30th anniversary of Gen. Bashir’s coup d’état, twenty thousand people protested in Khartoum and elsewhere around Sudan to call for civilian rule and justice for the 3 June massacre. Ten people were killed during the demonstrations and 181 people injured among which 27 suffered gunshot wounds. Tear gas, live ammunition and stun grenades were used against protestors in Khartoum. 10 security personnel were also wounded. The military seemed reluctant to hand over power to civilians.

On July 01, three bloodstained bodies were found in Omdurman.

International response

The violence of the government’s reaction to peaceful demonstrations sparked international concern.

Most African and western countries backed the protesters.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledged $3 billion in aid to the military authorities, which was not welcomed by the protestors. Former urged discussions between the two sides, but not directly condemned military violence. Along with UAE and Egypt, Riyadh perhaps feared the protests could inspire similar events to take place on home turf.

The TMC’s Vice President, Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, flew to Saudi Arabia last month to meet the crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman, promising to stand with the kingdom against threats and continue sending Sudanese troops to help the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The African Union (AU) suspended Sudan from its membership until a civilian-led transitional authority was established.

The UN started removing all non-essential staff from Sudan but China and Russia blocked moves to impose sanctions.

The US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, condemned the Khartoum violence, calling it “abhorrent”.

 

Ethiopian PM Abiy and AU made an effort to mediate a truce by suggesting 5-member civil majority government for a 3-year transition period. Finally, mediation of Ethiopia and AU succeeded in brokering a deal on July 5.

Landmark deal

On July 5, a landmark deal was signed between ruling TMC and the protest leaders to put an end to months of political unrest that had cost 136 lives since June 3, and had paralyzed life in the capital city. After two days of negotiations, the power-sharing deal was brokered by the mediating Ethiopia and AU. The two sides agreed to establish a sovereign council with rotating military and civil presidency for a period of 3 years and 3 months. The final draft will be inked on 8 July. The ruling body would include six civilians including five members from the protest group and five from the military. During the transition period, the first 21 months will be presided by the military and the next 18 months by the civilians. The deal sparked celebrations and the people took to the streets to rejoice the deal. The deal has been welcomed by UAE.

Other troubled areas

The civil war in South Sudan

Just two years after gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan got engulfed in a power struggle which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of the population. According to UNHCR, over 2.3 million got displaced. It has become Africa’s biggest refugee crisis. It accounts for 14 per cent of the total number of displaced persons, second only to Syria which accounts for 40 per cent.

The conflict began as a feud between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and to then-Vice President Riek Machar. It soon spiralled into fighting among several factions, engulfing the country in ethnic violence and eventually producing a devastating humanitarian crisis.

Hunger and disease racked the country and millions fled to neighbouring countries. Human rights abuses, mass rape and potential war crimes have been documented on both sides of the conflict.

An estimated 383,000 people have died as a result of five years of civil war in the world’s youngest country. The death toll was highest in 2016 and 2017 after a power-sharing agreement brokered in 2015 fell apart. Another peace agreement was signed in September 2018, but South Sudan is still the most dangerous country where aid workers dread to step in. The conflict has damaged the country’s economy, contributing to soaring inflation and there is a risk of famine.

Conflict in Darfur

The War in Sudan’s western region Darfur is a major armed conflict that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began fighting the government of Sudan. A decade after the disastrous war, there is no end in sight. The intensity of the conflict has diminished since its early years, but most of Darfur is still extremely dangerous. There are 2.5 million displaced persons in camps and 2 million affected by the conflict, all dependent upon international humanitarian assistance.

Since early 2003, Sudanese government forces and militias called “Janjaweed” have been engaged in an armed conflict with rebel groups SLM and JEM. Sudanese government forces and the Janjaweed militias have waged a systematic campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against civilians who are members of the same ethnic groups as the rebels. Hundreds of villages have been burnt and destroyed, causing tens of thousands of civilian deaths, displacing millions of people, and raping and assaulting tens of hundreds of women and girls.

Sudanese forces blocked UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur, UNAMID, peacekeepers and aid groups’ access to displaced people and conflict-affected areas on several occasions.

For more than two years, the government and JEM and SLM declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur mediated by AU. However, after the beginning of the nationwide protests against the Gen. Bashir’s regime, they declined to engage with the government and voiced their support for the popular uprising. In a meeting facilitated by Chadian President Idris Deby, the TMC and two armed groups agreed to uphold a ceasefire in Darfur.

Conflict in Kordofan and Blue Nile States

War erupted in the two southern states in 2011 soon after the independence of South Sudan. The fight is going on between RSF and Nuba mountains based rebels of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) that are better armed and adept in the fighting. There are little prospects of peace. The conflict has displaced 230,000 people to relief camps and caused heavy casualties.

Over seven years into the armed conflict in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, the government and armed opposition have failed to agree on modalities for supplying life-saving aid to civilians in need.

Refugees

Sudan hosts refugees and migrants from the region and received nearly 200,000 more refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total over 770,000. Authorities have deported Eritreans, often without giving them an opportunity to apply for asylum. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile live in camps in Chad, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The writer is a retired Brig. Gen, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of 5 books. He served as Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan from 1986 to 1989 and also was Dean of the Corps of Military attaches’ in Cairo. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Anti-Muslim Aftermath of Modi’s Election Victory

Anti-Muslim Aftermath of Modi’s Election Victory

By

Sajjad Shaukat

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist party BJP had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans. Indian election-campaign against Islam, Muslims and Pakistan enabled BJP hardliner Modi to become Indian prime minister. Whereas, the Muslim community in India had felt alienated, frightened and perturbed, as most of them were also effectively disenfranchised.

 

Muslims were already aware of Modi’s agenda to reduce the Muslim community in India to second class citizens and had felt nervous and gloomy. Their anxiety was multiplying due to the fact that during the election campaign, the BJP was also speaking of Hindu deep-seated animosity against Pakistan and Pakistani public.

 

Hence, since Prime Minister Modi came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition outfits. 

 

In this regard, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of Muslims, assaults on Muslims, including their places of worships and property by the fanatic Hindu mobs, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, forced conversion of Muslims into Hindus and ban on beef and cow slaughter clearly showed that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist groups such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which is the genesis of Hindu terrorism.

 

Besides, continuing false flag operations, on Setember18, 2016, New Delhi staged the drama of the terror attack in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who targeted the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir. India created war-hysteria against Pakistan and started mobilization of troops near the LOC while claiming surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir. But, the myth of Indian so-called surgical strikes was exposed, as Indian top civil and military officers could not prove the strikes. Meanwhile, Indian forces also accelerated violations of the LoC by shelling Pakistani side of Kashmir, which still continues.

 

 

India’s Saffron Hindutva Terrorista

 

 

 

However, BJP played the same anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan card to gain votes of a majority of Hindus in the general elections 2019. Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans and ‘anti-Pakistan’ jargons, while the incessant and unjust Indian propaganda against Pakistan was beyond anybody’s cognition, which still keeps on going.

 

Notably, very tension escalated rapidly between New Delhi and Islamabad when on February 27, this year, in response to the Indian so-called pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK.

 

In the aftermath of the false flag terror attack at Pulwama, the truth about India’s surgical strikes unmasked, when Indian top civil and military leaders failed in providing any evidence.

 

The myth of Indian surgical strikes was further exposed, when, referring to the statement of Indian India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who admitted on April 18, 2019 that no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike carried out by IAF across the border in Balakot, Director General of Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor stated on April 19, 2019: “After India finally admitted that their so-called air strike carried on February 26 in Balakot caused no deaths and casualties…Hopefully, so will be about other false Indian claims [such as] surgical strike of 2016, denial of shooting down of two Indian Air Force [IAF] jets by Pakistan Air Force and claims about F16…Better late than never.”

 

Afterwards, journalists visited the targeted site of Balakot and Islamabad also released a video which exposed the false statements of New Delhi that IAF fighters targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants.

 

In fact, the false flag terror attack in the Pulwama district of the IOK, which killed at least 44 Indian soldiers, was election stunt of the BJP. Exploiting that episode, a wave of jingoism was created by the BJP-led fanatic parties against the Muslims and Pakistan to win the general elections 2019.

 

Therefore, as regards the elections 2019, on May 23, 2019, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 352 out of 542 Lok Sabha seats, with the BJP sweeping up 303 seats on its own—21 seats more than it won in the 2014 elections. Across most of North and Central India, BJP candidates also won with bigger vote shares and wider victory margins than in 2014.

 

Owing to the huge mandate of the BJP, violence has been let loose, with “Jai Shri Ram”–a slogan that roughly translates to “Hail Lord Ram”. As Modi was named as the leader of the NDA for a second time, minority communities especially Muslims have made to live in fear by the extremist Hindus.

 

In this respect, in the aftermath of the election results, news reports have highlighted different cases in which Dalits and particularly Muslims were violently targeted for reasons as varied as allegedly possessing beef, protesting against caste-based discrimination or simply being Muslim. Especially, various incidents of arrests and violent assaults on the Muslims by the Hindus have been recorded.

 

In an incident, a Santhali teacher in Jharkhand was arrested for a two-year-old Facebook post defending the right of Adivasi communities to eat beef.

 

In Begusarai district, where Hindutva hardliner Giriraj Singh won the 2019 Lok Sabha seat, a Muslim youth Mohammed Qasim was shot at by a Hindu Yadav on May 26 after his attacker discovered his religious identity.

 

25-year-old Mohammad Barkat from Gurugram in Haryana was accosted by a group of Hindus who ordered him to take off his skullcap. According to a report of “The Hindu”, the group of men abused Barkat and told him that skullcaps were not allowed in that area. When Barkat told them that he was returning from the mosque after prayers, one of the men slapped him. Barkat told ‘The Hindu’, “When I refused, he threatened to feed me pork…The men also beat me with a stick and tore my shirt before driving away on a motorbike.”

 

Tabrez Ansari, 22, was caught by a crowd in the BJP-ruled state of Jharkhand on suspicion of stealing a motorcycle on 18 June. He was tied to a tree and beaten within an inch of his life. And while he was being thrashed, the crowd established his religion–Muslim and then began the demands for “Jai Shri Ram”. Ansari was then arrested and taken into judicial custody. On June 23, he died in a local hospital after he complained that he felt unwell.

 

In the West Bengal, a 26-year-old Muslim teacher Hafeez Mohammad Shahrukh Haldar was attacked by a group of Hindus on June 24 and was pushed off a train in Kolkata for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.

 

In the run-up to May’s general elections and after the results were declared, Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of Bengal, was constantly heckled by BJP mobs to shout, “Jai Shri Ram”.

 

Nevertheless, persecution of the Muslims continues unabated in India and the BJP-ruled central government has been largely silent in this regard.

 

In this connection, Hindu-Muslim communal tension flared up in Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi on July 1, this year after 3 or 4 Hindu boys, including 45-year-old Sanjeev Kumar Gupta tortured a Muslim boy Aas Mohammad (20) on alleged wrong parking of motorbike on night of June 30, 2019, outside his house next to the temple. Muslims of the area observed shutter down strike. During the protest, another scuffle took place between Hindus and Muslims, which resulted in increased tensions. A group of Muslims damaged two Mandirs in the area. However, no casualty took place.

 

India’s Central Reserve Police (CRPF) cordoned the areas of Darya Gunj, Pahar Gunj, Lal Kunwan, Jamia Masjid and Chandni Chowk with the unannounced curfew-like situation. New Delhi has ensured a complete black-out of the incident in print and electronic media.

 

According to India Today, “Politicians giving a communal spin to the incident: Sanjiv Kumar, man involved parking scuffle in Delhi, speaks to India Today…Reiterating that there was no intention to give the Hauz Qazi incident a communal colour…Politicians end up giving communal colour to everything. Whether it is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress or Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), there is no exception.”

 

It is notable that even foreign print and electronic media and analysts opined, “Modi’s election win is a victory for far-right Hindu nationalism…India’s secular democracy is under threat…BJP’s record in 2015-2019 has been divisive, to say the least. The party has marginalized religious minorities, especially Muslims, from public life with many, as a result, being lynched by Hindu nationalists in the name of cow protection…Jingoism and Islamophobia have propelled the BJP to an even stronger showing than in 2014. A Modi victory puts India’s 200 million Muslims in danger…Modi is part of the large Hindu supremacist family…In his home state of Odisha, he furthered India’s sectarian divide, pushed the idea of Hindu supremacy and with that, violence against Muslims, Christians and other minorities…Modi is radicalising Muslims.”

 

Undoubtedly, we can that the Constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious minorities, but in practice, the ideology of Hindutva prevails. Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the extremist Hindu parties have been propagating Hindutva agenda. After the election victory of the BJP and its coalition parties led by the fundamentalist Prime Minister Modi, Muslim anxiety in India is increasing owing to the fact that like the previous elections, during the election-campaign of 2019, Hindu majority was mobilized on the anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim slogans. 

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              

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Citizen’s Portal

LETTER TO EDITOR

June 17th, 2019

 

Citizen’s Portal

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

I sent a request for a meeting with the PM through Citizens Portal on June 12th  2019 which was given Code No. PU120619-3072879 and its Status showed as “Initiated” and “assigned” to Chief Secretary, Punjab (probably for action).  I thought the request should have been forwarded to the PM Secretariat Islamabad and, therefore, wrote on the Citizen Portal about it on June 14th, 2019.

 

Related image

 

 

However, instead of some other action taken on this  “complaint”, it was also automatically allotted Code No. 140619-3113873, Status “Initiated” and again assigned to the same Chief Secretary, Punjab.  I don’t know why something concerning the Prime Minister is being sent to the Chief Secretary, Punjab?!  I tried hard to find out any direct contact of the Citizens Portal, any phone No., any email ID, any contact of its Web Master, etc. to apprise them of what was happening to my request and to send it to the PM Sectt. and not to the CS Pb. but nothing is available either on the net or elsewhere.

 

It is 5th day now of my request and no action has been taken on it, at least I am not informed of any.  Could someone please advise what to do?    Thanks.

 

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

30, Westridge-1,

Rawalpindi Cantt.

Rawalpindi 46000

Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 

 

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