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Pakistan & regional undercurrents   by Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan & regional undercurrents  

Asif Haroon Raja

Global upheavals

 

 

Recent times have seen upheavals at the global, regional and domestic levels. At the global level, much against the expectations of a thaw in the strained relations between the US under Joe Biden and China-Russia, ego and arrogance have come in the way of the change. The US considers China to be the chief threat to its global monopoly since China’s rise has brought about a ‘tectonic’ shift in the global balance of power’. The world order has transitioned to a new power equation where the US and China are two poles with other centres of power adjusting to co-exist. Shifting power alliances and realignments currently underway portend a new power structure whose shape is yet to evolve. The pivot of geo-economics has shifted from the West to the East, where China in concert with Russia would play a key role. The Indo-Pacific policy of containment of China by the QUAD (USA, Japan, Australia, and India) is bound to fail. Similar will be the fate of the US desire to make India the policeman of South Asia through multiple defence pacts. Far-Right has gained strength in the western world while fascism and racism have heightened in the USA, Israel and India. The US policy of military adventurism has narrowed its circle of friends, while the policy of peace, friendship and shared dividends pursued by China has helped it in enhancing its influence and circle of friends.

Unresolved Palestinian issue

Gaza was once again viciously bombarded and the Al-Aqsa mosque desecrated by the Israeli forces in the holy month of Ramadan. During the 11-day slaughter and destruction, 265 Palestinians including 66 children were killed and hundreds wounded, while only 12 people were killed in Israel by the rockets fired by Hamas. The homemade rockets, however, for the first time dodged the invincible Iron Dom, which has become a cause of concern for Israel. Except for some token condemnations and protest marches, the Muslim world stood aloof. The two-state solution as envisaged in the Oslo Accord still remains a forlorn hope. 

Turbulence in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)

Although the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K has been quietened after the secretive understanding arrived at between the DGMOs of the two arch-rivals, no breakthrough has been achieved at the state level. India is not prepared to restore the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), or to lift the lockdown and stop persecuting the Kashmiris. The Modi regime has intensified its efforts to change the demography of IOK. Like the Palestinian issue, the Kashmir issue is the oldest unresolved dispute lying pending in the tray of the UN since 1948.

Cross border terrorism

Cross border terrorism against Pakistan by RAW-NDS from Afghan soil continues unceasingly. Apart from striking targets in Waziristan and Baluchistan, Johar Town in Lahore was also targeted by the combined nexus of RAW-NDS-CIA-Mossad to kill interned Hafiz Saeed who has always been viewed by India as a big threat to its security particularly in IOK because of his huge followings both sides of the LoC as well as in Punjab. Objectives were to get rid of this threat and also trigger religious Far Right backlash in Punjab. Within four days the whole network was rounded up and the masterminds identified by Punjab Police.  

Various anti-Pakistan terrorist groups like TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar Lashkar-e-Islam based in Afghanistan, Baloch rebel groups (BLA, BRA, BLF) and Sindh based separatist groups have been unified by these agencies to create trouble in provinces. At the same time, the PDM has been instigated to recommence rallies to foment political instability. The hybrid war is targeting the Pak Army and the ISI to tarnish their image.

India’s penchant for falsehood

False narratives and stories are still being woven by India’s Chronicles which was busted by the Disinformation Lab in Brussels last year. The sole purpose of India’s media war is to disrepute Pakistan and its institutions. The latest cooked up story is the imaginary plot of some senior Pak Army officers to assassinate Gen Qamar Bajwa. It’s a clear indication that Indian military leadership is fearful of him and see him as a big threat to their sinister plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other woolly story circulated by Indian media is about the drone attacks on the Indian airbase in Jammu, which have been pinned on Pakistan. Logically the two bombs allegedly dropped on the airbase should have destroyed it including the warplanes and helicopters parked in the aprons and on the runway. Interestingly, the bombs could only make two small holes in one of the barracks and didn’t cause any human or material damage which itself speaks of the lunacy of the allegation made. The purpose was to deflect the attention of the world from its fiasco in Lahore where RAW was caught with its pants down, to create another sensation, hide its atrocities in IOK, and to win the sympathies of the world. It backfired since India once again failed to substantiate its accusations.

Yet another bizarre concoction that was floated by India was about the spy drone flying over Indian Embassy in Islamabad. For argument sake, even if it is accepted as true, what was so strange about the drone flying within its own territory? While levelling this wonky complaint, India forgot that its spy drones have been repeatedly crossing deep inside AJK to photograph our posts and deployments along the LoC and in depth, and every intruding drone was shot down. This year, three intrusions were carried out.           

India’s quandaries

The belligerence of Modi and his hawks against Pakistan have considerably mellowed down because of multiple factors. Its venture of integrating disputed IOK and promulgation of anti-Indian Muslim laws have backfired. The Sikh movement together with Kissan Tehriq and the Naxalite movement has become existential threats. Covid-19 has spun out of control and the daily death rate is the highest in the world. It has plummeted India’s rising economy into negative and BJP’s popularity has declined as gauged from the results of recent by-elections.  Seculars in India have joined hands with the minorities to confront BJP’s fascism and racism.

Externally, India has suffered several setbacks. India’s plan to annex Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was disrupted by China by taking control of important heights across the LAC in the Himalayas from where the PLA dominates the lone supply route to the KKH and GB. It is now faced with a twin threat for the first time. While Afghanistan has slipped out of its hands, it has also lost Iran after its ouster from Chahbahar and railway projects.

Both the US and Israel are unhappy with India over its poor performance against China, and its failure to accomplish any of the objectives against Pakistan. More and more voices of criticism are now heard in the West after exposure of scandal of India’s Chronicles, Goswami WhatsApp chat, continued lockdown of Kashmiris since August 5, 2019, denial of basic rights and demographic change.

Other regional countries

Iran has snuggled away from India and has come into the loop of China after the latter signed a $480 billion long term agreement with Iran.

While there is a thaw in Pak-Iran relations, Saudi Arabia and UAE have restored old ties with Pakistan and the former plans to install an oil refinery at Gwadar.

Pakistan has got closer to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, some Central Asian States and is fast improving its relations with Russia and African countries.  

Situation in Afghanistan

The US has been forced to end the 20 years’ war in Afghanistan, which is a telling reminder of its failed policies. Pakistan played a pivotal role in bringing the Taliban and the US to the negotiating table and signing the historic Doha agreement as well as in starting an intra-Afghan dialogue to arrive at a political settlement. While Trump was keen to pull out occupying troops by May 1 this year, Biden, influenced by the spoilers of peace, had second thoughts and was inclined to extend the date of exit. In the face of a rise in attacks by the Taliban, he had to announce in April that the withdrawal would be completed by Sept 11. The bulk of US-NATO troops have already withdrawn, and 7 military bases including Bagram vacated and handed over to the ANSF. Reportedly, the withdrawal will be completed by end of August if not earlier, but the US intends to keep a small contingent of about 650 personnel in the Kabul military base for the protection of its diplomats in the US Embassy and probably for technical support to the ANA.

The Taliban will not accept the presence of a single foreign soldier and have also not welcomed Turkey’s offer of taking over the security of Kabul airport. Washington has requested Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to temporarily house around 9000 Afghan drivers, translators and workers employed in Bagram airbase and their families. The Biden administration has pledged to expedite immigration visas for the Afghans who worked with the US forces, but the visa seekers are desperate to fly to safe havens at the earliest. To support the shaky regime in Kabul and the vacillating ANSF which lacks the capacity to confront the Taliban, Biden promised financial assistance to the visiting Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah.

The US is also urgently in need of a military base outside Afghanistan, supposedly for counterterrorism against Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Taliban. With the fizzling out of Ladakh as a base, the US persuaded Pakistan to provide a military base and besides promising some goodies, it used coercive tactics with the help of FATF and IMF but Pakistan firmly refused. Imran Khan stated that Pakistan is ready to cooperate with the US for peace and development of Afghanistan but not for war and conflict. Air corridor and land routes have been made available till the completion of the withdrawal of US-NATO troops. The three Central Asian states have also refused to provide military bases to the US because of Russian influence.

The desire for a military base outside Afghanistan after losing the war and the stated purpose of counter-terrorism is ludicrous. Al-Qaeda and ISIS were CIA creations. Obama had made a declaration in 2012 that the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan had been effectively disrupted, dismantled and destroyed. Factually, the bulk of Al-Qaeda operatives had shifted to Arabian Peninsula in 2004 after the Bush administration opened the second front in Iraq in March 2003. More than 600 Al-Qaeda leaders and operatives were caught by Pak security forces and handed over to the CIA who were shifted to Gitmo. So, against which Al-Qaeda the new US administration want to carry out counter-terrorism?

As regards ISIS, after using it in Iraq and Syria, sizeable numbers of its fighters were airlifted in helicopters from the Middle East by CIA-RAW to Nangarhar in Afghanistan in 2014. After marrying them with Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of TTP, they were pitched against the Taliban and also launched into Baluchistan and Karachi. After the Doha agreement, most of the attacks on civil targets were the doings of Daesh, but the spoilers blamed the Taliban to disrepute them and the peace agreement. Lastly, the US has no moral right to carry out counter-terrorism against the victorious Taliban with whom it has signed a peace agreement and the Taliban are restraining themselves from attacking the foreign targets.  

Having lost the war and forced to withdraw, and failing to acquire a military base, the only option left with the spoilers of peace is to resort to dirty tricks to keep war-torn Afghanistan simmering in the cauldron of instability and insecurity. India and the puppet regime in Kabul whose days are numbered are fully involved in the game of USA. This is the only way to lessen their pangs of shame and humiliation. They will make all-out efforts to create as many hurdles and problems for the Taliban to ensure that they fail in restoring peace and order in the country.

With this aim in mind, the losers are frenetically circulating frightening scenarios and painting the Taliban as man-eating beasts, once again on the verge of snatching power. They are scaring the regional countries that in case of takeover by the Taliban and establishment of Islamic Emirate, all hell will break loose and it will spell disaster for the people of Afghanistan and for its neighbours. Influenced by the propaganda, Russia, China, Central Asian States, Iran as well as Pakistan are keen that a broad-based Republic regime is established in Kabul and are uncomfortable with the idea of Islamic Emirate.   

While upholding this stance, seemingly they ignore certain historical facts and ground realities. Soon after toppling the Taliban regime led by Mulla Omar in Nov 2001, the US spent $ 3 billion to form a Northern Alliance heavy regime in Kabul led by President Hamid Karzai. It accommodated all the notorious warlords and drug barons. The puppet regime ruled at a stretch till Aug 2016, after which an unnatural unity regime of Ashraf Ghani-Dr. Abdullah was formed, in spite of their incompetence and corruption are still in power, and wants to remain in power in future as well. The two regimes completely failed to bring peace and prosperity to the country, which had remained peaceful, stable and crime-free during the 5-year rule of the Taliban.  The Taliban achieved this feat because of the imposition of the Islamic system based on justice.

Stability couldn’t be achieved by the US-installed regimes in spite of the US spending $ 1.5 trillion. Throughout the period of occupancy, the country saw bloodshed, death and destruction. The US never made sincere efforts to build Afghanistan, eliminate poverty and illiteracy, provide jobs and make the lives of the people comfortable. Peace talks with the Taliban in 2011 and the opening of a political office in Doha in 2013 were ruses to divide the Taliban movement and not to restore peace. Even after the Doha agreement in Feb 2019, the spoilers have been stoking instability in Afghanistan to find an excuse to delay the exit of occupying forces.

The US-NATO-ANA forces were not showering flowers on the Afghans during their longest war, but raining molten lava causing over 5 lacs civil casualties. About 5000 ill-clad, ill-equipped ragtag resistance forces were kept on the run for 20 years at a stretch. It was a nightmare for them and they tried to survive in hell. Pakistan which was forced to fight the US war suffered the most, but India as well as those in power drew maximum benefits from the US largesse.

With this background, what greater calamity can befall upon the Afghan Pashtuns in general and the Taliban in particular after the departure of occupying forces whose three generations have seen nothing but war? How will it become more unstable, lawless and insecure under the rule of the Taliban which has learnt lessons, gained maturity and experience, and know the pitfalls of a civil war?

In 1990, there were 7 Mujahideen groups of various ethnicities with no unity of command under one ruler. Conversely, the Taliban movement has remained united and focused, and it saw three Ameers, Mullah Omar, Mullah Mansour and incumbent Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada succeeding each other with no discord. Haqqanis under Sirajuddin remain loyal to the Ameer.

It is befuddling that Pakistan is toeing the US line to let the Ghani-Abdullah regime share power with the Taliban under a Republic despite having suffered the most in the US imposed war on terror due to the perverse role of ANA heavy regime in Kabul which is in collusion with India.                        

White House and the Pentagon once again tried to win over Pakistani leaders and officials. Given her long-term strategic interest as well as past experience, Pakistan cannot afford to even think of aligning herself with a power that is openly at loggerheads with China, Russia and Iran, and strategically aligned with India. Pakistan’s nuclear program and the CPEC are eyesores for the US. More than that, it will be a mortal sin to betray the people of Afghanistan once again. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the U.S still has unfinished business in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s contrasting relations with the USA and China

Our Western friends never provided a security umbrella against expansionist India, and wasted our precious seven decades by making Pakistan run on a treadmill and obstructed its economic take-off. Pakistan-US relations overshadowed by mistrust and unequal partnership are still transactional in nature. The sword of the FATF hangs over the head in spite of Pakistan fulfilling 26 of its 27 points. Pakistan Foreign Minister rightly questioned whether the FATF is a technical forum or political? The IMF loan has become more burdensome after Saudi Arabia and UAE at the behest of the US took back their loans and facility of deferred oil payment.

Conversely, the spectrum of the Pakistan-China relationship spread over 70 years has become multifaceted. The CPEC which is the flagship of $ 1.3 trillion BRI has elevated the relationship to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. The CPEC which is equally beneficial to both has bound China to help in safeguarding Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Successful completion of the CPEC by 2030 will realise the dream of Pakistanis for a prosperous, secure and self-reliant country.  

Domestic squabbling

Internally, the ruling PTI regime is up against formidable challenges. So far it has not been able to steady the dwindling economy or fulfil any of its lofty promises. Notwithstanding slight improvements made in the macro-economics, at the micro-level, no relief has been provided to the masses. Inflation and price hike are at a new high which has frustrated the people. Its lack of performance has diminished the charisma of Imran Khan as could be seen from the results in the by-elections in all the four provinces. It gave space to the PDM to push the government against the wall, but its disunity has given a welcome breather to the rulers who are also faced with internal cracks because of the emergence of a new group under Jahangir Tareen. This group has made the position of the PTI in Punjab and in the Centre tenuous.

Political polarization has blocked the government’s efforts to carry out essential reforms and it is left with no choice but to rule by presidential ordinances. Sharif family continues to pose a political threat since the PML-N vote bank in Punjab remains intact. The PPP under Bilawal in Sindh is exploiting the provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment and has adopted a posture of non-cooperation. Bilawal and Sindh Chief Minister are flying to Washington to offer their good services if brought to power. Disturbing law and order in rural-urban Sindh and in Baluchistan where the foreign paid proxies have again stepped up terrorism, and negativism of social media are causes of consternation for the government.    

Covid-19 is another big challenge for the ruling regime which has slowed down its development and socio-economic programs. It handled the first and second waves of the pandemic intelligently and is handling the third wave skillfully. The fourth wave is reportedly round the corner. China has extended full support to tackle the disease and provided vaccines free of cost. Now Pakistan has started manufacturing the vaccines locally, which will speed up the vaccination campaign. But the majority of the people living in rural areas are averse to vaccination and see it as a ploy of Dajjali forces to depopulate the world.

What is encouraging is fast track construction of the hydel power projects including the Mohmand dam which would greatly help in ridding the nation from the curse of the IPPs and would provide cheap electricity and overcome water crisis. It will be very satisfying if the GDP rises to 3.8% to 4% as assured by the new Finance Minister. The graph of exports, revenue collection and remittances from the expatriates are on the increase.

Pakistan needs to learn from China and take concrete steps to eradicate corruption, crimes and poverty, to increase exports, improve governance, reform the state institutions, boost up agriculture and industry, and encourage the private sector.

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, he took part in the epic battle of Hilli, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, his sixth book is under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com       

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Indian warmongering & Pakistan’s enhanced deterrence By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan

Indian warmongering & Pakistan’s enhanced deterrence

Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRIME Minister of Pakistan and the COAS General Qamar Bajwa have seriously highlighted constant “warmongering” and “imminent” martial “escalations” of India to the regional as well as international countries. Both leaders warned India for its “covert” designs and war preparedness against Pakistan and assured a “crushing” and “befitting” response in any case of aggression and violation of “territorial” and “national” sovereignty. In this time of need, the government of Pakistan has once again secured a firm “assurance” from its biggest “strategic” partner China during the closing ceremony of Pak-China Air Force Joint Drill “Shaheen IX” “The enemy of Pakistan is the enemy of China and attack on Pakistan is an attack on China”. It showed depth of Pak-China iron friendship to deter any external aggression and to maintain “equitable” regional peace and harmony. This announcement has destabilized Indian hegemonic dreams of strategic expansion.

On its part, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), being custodian of Pakistan’s skies, has now showcased extended production of the most advanced variant of JF-17 Thunder Block-III, a 4.5 generation aircraft with far more advanced technology than Indian Air Force Rafael jets. The PAF’s announcement has serious regional repercussions. It will further strengthen and enhance Pakistan’s air defence, tactical and operational preparedness and, above all, much needed martial diversity and maneuverability in the days to come. It will equalize Indian so called Air Force supremacy or obsession of Rafael war jet. Most recently, the Pakistan Air Force has received 14 state-of-the-art indigenously developed dual seat JF-17B Thunder Block-II fighter jets to the air force which further consolidated national deterrence. The handing over ceremony was held in Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra graced by Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and newly appointed Chinese Ambassador H E Nong Rong along with high officials of Chinese Aviation authorities and industry.

While addressing the ceremony, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan termed the inclusion of JF-17 Thunder Block-II as “significant” milestone achieved in the national history of Pakistan. He labelled it one of the most tested battles aircraft having modern avionics and electronics much superior than Indian borrowed French Rafael war jets. He assured that JF-17 Block-III will create PAF supremacy over IAF. He also announced “serial” production of PAF’s most advanced 4.5 generation JF-17 Thunder Block-III jets. He appreciated tireless efforts of the members of Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) and the PAC involvement in the development of the advanced generation of the dual seater JF-17B Thunder and Block-III jets versions. He rightly pinpointed constant onslaught of COVID-19 in the completion of JF-17 Block-II and delay of JF-17 Thunder Block-III during 2020. The Air Chief Marshal highly appreciated valuable contribution of PAC Kamra in developing the JF-17 Thunder Block-II despite all odds during 2020. He hailed joint working and unfading commitment of the PAC and Chinese engineers, technicians and designers for timely completion of the JF-17 Thunder Block-II. He commended the entire team and PAC leadership including PAC Managing Director (AMF) for their concerted efforts to meet the project deadlines. He rightly termed the PAC the “backbone” of PAF operationalization and channelization which also displayed their capabilities to meet challenges with limited resources at the optimum level.
The Air Chief also thanked the Ministry of Defence Production and Chinese Aviation industry for their continuous support. He was of the opinion that dual seater of JF-17 Thunder Block-II and the production of its extended Block-III mark the achievement of a significant milestone as it will play an important role on the rapidly changing geostrategic dimensions of the region and beyond. He assured that JF-17 Thunder Block-III would be a state-of-the-art war jet to cope with any external aggression from IAF in the days to come. He said that development of further progress of the JF-17 Thunders would not be possible without the help of Chinese experts, technicians, designers and planners which has definitely further solidified Pak-China defence cooperation and, of course, iron friendship. To conclude he highly appreciated befitting, active, positive and productive role of the mass media in the projection of the CPEC and development of the JF-17 Thunder. He advised the mass media to continue their positive role in this regard. He resolved that PAF has already vividly reflected its capabilities having every ready response against any aggression of the enemy with a crushing magnitude.
On his part, PAC Chairman Air Marshal Syed Nauman Ali briefed the participants about the JF-17 Thunder Block-II and start of production of its Block-III. He termed it shining symbol of cooperation between Pakistan and China. He highlighted diversified but integrated rich expertise of PAC technicians and experts in the timely completion of the said project against all odds. He appreciated Chinese experts’ positive and contributory role in the development of the JF-17 Thunder Block-II. He thanked extraordinary support of the Chinese Aviation Industry and its associated sectors for the further development of PAC in terms of innovations, modern technologies and, above all, exchange programmes. He resolved that PAC would stand committed to fulfil the sacred duty of augmenting fighting force and strengthen to defend the country’s aerial sovereignty.
On his part the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador H.E. Nong Rong highly appreciated achievements of the PAC in terms of JF-17 Thunder Block-II and defence cooperation. He termed it a perfect model of Pak-China Friendship due to which Pakistan is now self-sufficient to produce modern war jets in the country. He upheld that inclusion of latest version of JF-17 Thunder 17 will further strengthen the PAF capabilities and start of production of its futuristic version Block-III would bring paradigm shift in the region. Most recently, Pakistan Navy Air Defence Units have also demonstrated their combat readiness through live firing of surface to air missiles (SAMs) which showcased its modern persuasion of the Pakistan Navy.
Interestingly, Chinese media has also reported supply of 50 Wing Loong-II armed drones to Pakistan which would be nightmare for Indian ground formations in high altitude areas as Indian military does not have the ability to respond to the modern weaponry. The Wing Loong-II armed drone has the ability to decimate the enemy defences and conventional armour due to which Indian ground formations would be unable to parry an attack by a large number of armed drones. Being a prominent regional expert of China I foresee that in case of any Indian aggression the PAF would be front line of national defence in which patriotic spirits, unmatched human capital and last but not the least ever readiness of the PAF and armed forces of Pakistan would play a vital role.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics Member Board of Experts, CGSS.

Courtesy –Pakistan Observer

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Pakistan’s Victory in 1965 War

Pakistan won 65 War with national unity, heroic battlefield performances: Brig. Mahmood

Senior defence analyst and former Secretary Security Fata, Brigadier (Retd), Mahmood Shah said here Tuesday that Pakistan won the 1965 War against India due to national unity and heroic battlefield performance of the armed forces

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 1st Sep, 2020 ):Senior defence analyst and former Secretary Security FATA (now KPK province), Brigadier (Retd), Mahmood Shah said here Tuesday that Pakistan won the 1965 War against India due to national unity and heroic battlefield performance of the armed forces.

Talking to APP, he said 6th September was being celebrated as defence day of Pakistan every year with national enthusiasm as on this day in 1965, India had attacked Pakistan in darkness, which was repulsed by our valiant armed forces with support of the nation.

He said the day reminds us of the matchless sacrifices rendered by our armed forces and unprecedented unity demonstrated by the nation that repulsed the enemy attack and safeguarded the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the homeland.

He said the whole nation along with their valiant military forces stood up when India attacked Pakistan in darkness on September 6, 1965 without a warning or a declaration of war.

He said India’s attack was a complete violation of UN charter, all international laws, conventions and bilateral peace agreements.

Brigadier Mahmood Shah recalled that the enemy had launched attacks on West Pakistan on a wide front, from Sialkot, Lahore to Kasur aimed at to disperse Pakistani forces to achieve its nefarious objectives. But India completely failed in its aims.

He said although we were outnumbered by the Indian forces that comprises armored, artillery and infantry divisions backed by Indian Air Force, yet Pakistani forces had successfully repulsed all attacks of the Indian ground forces with unprecedented chivalry and indomitable courage.

He said the invaders appeared to have been under the impression that they would not meet much opposition in securing their nefarious objectives including occupation of the historic city of Lahore.

He said the promise, which an Indian general made to his officers that he would meet them at Lahore Gymkhana Club, had been thwarted by Pakistan armed forces.

He said Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (Nishan-i-Haider) fought bravely and defended the strategic BRB canal near Lahore for five days before he embraced shahadat when he was hit by a shell of the enemy tank on 10th September 1965.

 

Brig Mahmood Shah said officers and Jawans of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force besides our artillery fought bravely and defeated the enemy in the 1965 War.

He recalled that most of the Indian officers of 1965 war had served with Pakistani commanders during the second World War before partition and we knew about their so called fighting abilities and wars skills that helped our forces to foil their evil designs in the 1965 War.

During the War, Pakistan had occupied about 1,617 square miles of Indian territory and we were in strong position to occupy Delhi as well if the war had continued for few more days as morale of the enemy troops were completely shattered after repeated defeats on all fronts, he recalled.

He said Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmood Alam shot down two enemy hunter aircraft and damaged three others on 6th September and destroyed five more enemy hunter aircraft in less than a minute on 7th September, which was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan Air Force.

He said the motivational songs of the legendary Madam Noor Jehan such as “Ay Watan ke Sajelay Jawano” and “Rang Laye Ga Shaheedo ka Laho” aired by Radio Pakistan had infused the spirit of patriotism and national fervor amongst Pakistanis regardless to their ethnicity, religion, caste, colour or political affiliation during the 1965 War.

He said on February 27, 2019, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighting jets shot down two Indian warplanes inside the Line of Control, one crashed in Azad Kashmir while the other in Indian Illegally Occupied Jummu and Kashmir besides, capturing the Indian pilot, which proved the high-level of preparedness, professionalism and strength of PAF.

He said the February 27 successful action of PAF had clearly testified that Pakistan armed forces were fully capable to give a befitting response to India, in case of any misadventure by it in the future.

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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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Pakistan and French Rafale Aircraft deal with IAF – Big Development

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