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Saudi-Pakistan Bilateral Relations, Maintaining A Close Friendship                                                             By Sajjad Shaukat

   Saudi-Pakistan Bilateral Relations, Maintaining A Close Friendship

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Having a strong foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are maintaining a close friendship with each other, which covers religious, strategic, military and economic interests of a great magnitude.

 

People of Pakistan have a strong attachment to Islam. Hence, they enormously respect Saudi Arabia as the origin of Islam, where the two holiest cities Mecca and Medina are situated. Millions of Pakistanis visit Saudi Arabia each year for pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah.

 

Historically, since its inception, Pakistan has maintained cordial ties with Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has played a significant role in the overall development of Saudi Arabia. It has been training Saudi military personnel. In this regard, during the 1970s, Islamabad signed defence protocol with Saudi Arabia, under which Pakistan Armed Forces were dispatched to Saudi Arabia to impart professional training. A majority of the officials of the Armed Forces are being sent there on deputation.

 

As regard the strategic side, since the 1950s, Pakistan’s all successive governments have assured Riyadh that whenever there is a threat to Saudi security, Islamabad will come to its help. In this respect, throughout the 1970s, Pakistani troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia near the Israeli border. In 1979, the siege of Ka’aba and the Great Mosque (Al-Haram Mosque of Mecca) was ended with the assistance of Pakistan’s special military forces. During the 1980s, an extraordinary number of Pakistani troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia, especially for internal security of Saudi Arabia. Similarly, during the Gulf War of 1990-91, thousands of Pakistani troops were dispatched to Saudi Arabia for the defence of that country. At present, Pakistan is one of the 41 members of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) which is being headed by Pakistan’s former army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical depth of relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia could be judged from the pre-partition of the Sub-continent. In this connection, in April 1940 when the Crown Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz paid a visit to Karachi, he was warmly welcomed by leaders of the Muslim League, including MAH Ispahani, MA Maniar and Karim Bhai Ibrahim, that laid the foundation of Pak-Saudi ties. The Crown Prince was accompanied by a large delegation, including his five brothers, Faisal, Saad, Fahd, Mansoor and Abdullah. In 1946, Jinnah (Founder of Pakistan) sent the Pakistan movement delegation led by Ispahani, including Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz, to the United Nations. While the Indian National Congress team was obstructing Muslim League envoys’ engagements, Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, who was leading the Saudi delegation, came to their rescue. Saudi Arabia invited Ispahani and his colleagues to the official reception in honour of all other UN delegations at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Prince Faisal then introduced the members of the Pakistan Movement to other delegates, and thus, they explained their struggle for a separate homeland.

 

When Bangladesh suffered severe famine in 1943, Riyadh responded to Jinnah’s appeal for humanitarian aid. King Abdul Aziz sent the first foreign donation amounting to £10,000.

 

After the creation of Pakistan, Arab merchants who had been settled in Indian seaports of Mumbai and Calcutta migrated to Pakistan, particularly Karachi. In 1954, King Saud took Karachi, the then capital of Pakistan by naming Saudabad town in his name, while laying the foundation stone for a housing scheme there. King Faisal was equally respected by the Pakistanis and their government, naming a key Karachi road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, a vital airbase after his name. Similarly, Lyallpur, a city in central Punjab, was also named as Faisalabad in his honour. The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad was constructed after a $120 million grant from Saudi King Faisal. However, all these facts show a major interest on the part of Saudi Arabia in a non-Arabic speaking Muslim nation.

 

In 1965 and 1971, Saudi Arabia supported Pakistan in the two wars with India. It stood directly behind Pakistan on the post-1971 War-related issues like return of PoWs and non-recognition of Bangladesh. It has always favoured Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

 

During the 1970s, Saudi leadership responded to the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s request for financial assistance in order to respond to India’s nuclear ambitions after the first Pokhran test.

 

In 1980s, during the military intervention of the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Pakistan saw it as a direct threat to its own security and supported Afghan Mujahideen in their war of independence. Riyadh fully favoured Islamabad’s efforts, as it considered Pakistan’s security as its own security. Saudi Arabia delivered almost half of the multi-billion-dollar aid to Pakistan.

 

In May, 1998, when after the nuclear tests, sanctions were imposed on Pakistan by the United Sates and some other Western countries, Riyadh supplied oil to Pakistan free of cost for several years. In this regard, Saudi Arabia provided 50,000 barrels of oil per day to Pakistan for a year; amounting to about one-sixth of Pakistan’s total oil imports on deferred payment.

 

In March, 2014, Saudi Arabia donated $1.5 billion unconditionally to Pakistan as a gift to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects.

 

Apart from agreements for mutual cooperation in various fields, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed exemplary working relationships in the field of weather and climate. Pakistan decided in July, 2017 to send its two climate change experts to Saudi Arabia to help it establish a climate change centre and numerical model of predictions of severe weather.

 

Now, over two million Pakistanis employed in Saudi Arabia send home remittances amounting to nearly four billion annually. The Kingdom is the largest market of the Pakistani manpower worldwide, with its embassy in Islamabad issuing 30,000 visas every month.

 

At present, Saudi-Pakistan bilateral relations are based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s problems and peculiar circumstances. Their ties have never been a one-way relationship. Pakistan has always stood by the Saudi Arabian nation in times of war and peace and has always reciprocated in the same terms.

 

Although Pakistan is an atomic power, yet it has serious security concerns, especially due to Indian aggressive designs. In the recent past, Riyadh turned down Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a defence pact when he last visited Saudi Arabia. The trip of Kingdom’s defence minister, Mohammed bin Salman to Islamabad just four days after that of the Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir might be cited as instance, as Riyadh understood Pakistani apprehension.

 

While, terrorism and extremism are a common concern for the Kingdom and Pakistan, particularly after the emergence of the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL). Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have suffered heavily owing to terrorism. Both the countries share common goals to eliminate extremism in their countries.

 

And from time to time, visits of their countries’ leaders and top officials, including various delegations display that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia seem determined to continue their strong relations in future. In this respect, in March 2016, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif had visited Saudi Arabia. They held meetings with the Saudi rulers. Likewise, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid a visit to Riyadh on June 12, 2017, where they met Saudi leadership.

 

Nevertheless, we may conclude that Saudi-Pakistan bilateral relations have a strong foundation, as the two countries are maintaining a close friendship which is likely to be continued in future.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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The Collusion of Hindutva with Indian Media Exposed By Sajjad Shaukat

The Collusion of Hindutva with Indian Media Exposed

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the extremist party-Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition organisations, as he had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides, 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 and ban on beef and cow slaughter clearly show that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar outfits 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, by 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 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. By manipulating that false flag terror attack, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Modi has also accelerated war-hysteria against Pakistan and instructed Indian forces to continue shelling across the LoC and Working Boundary, which have killed many innocent civilians inside Pakistani side of Kashmir and other nearby villages.

 

However, the BJP-led coalition government of Modi, which is in collaboration with the preachers of Hindutva and those of ‘Bhagwa Atankwad’ (saffron terror) is relentlessly promoting their ideologies. In every state election campaign, Bhagwa philosophy based on communalism was used as a driving tool to maximize the Hindutva vote, while affecting the opposition and regional disparities. Even, Indian P.M Modi has also recently claimed that BJP has enhanced influence and made government in twenty states. To further enhance the BJP’s pursued philosophy, a supportive atmosphere is being prepared, where every stakeholder of the Indian society is expressing readiness to shore up wittingly or unwittingly for the promotion of Hindutva.

Caught On Camera : India’s Top Media Houses Including Times Of India Working For BJP !! : Cobrapost Exposes Video!!

 

 

 

 

 

In this regard, on May-June, this year, revelations of the Indian website Cobrapost.Com exposed the dark colours of Hindutva which is in connivance with Indian media.

 

Cobrapost.Com disclosed that BJP and RSS are exploiting government funds for media management to win elections all over India and are promoting Hindutva ideology. While indicating other instances of Hindutva, it pointed out the recent exposition of ‘Operation 136’ which exposed the real face of Indian media.

 

In this respect, regarding the ‘Operation 136’, Cobrapost.Com revealed on March 26, 2018:    “Cobrapost investigation exposes many Indian media houses willing to peddle Hindutva, which could lead to communal polarization for electoral gains, and to defame political rivals as part of a malicious media campaign, all for money…covert or overt attempt to misuse Social Media including Facebook to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means…Well, this is exactly what Operation 136 establishes, for the first time in the history of Independent India.”

 

Earlier, Cobrapost had come into contact with Indian TV which belongs to Rajat Sharma-an editor known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s largest Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran,  local Uttar Pradesh channel Hindi Khabar, the entertainment and news television company SAB Group, the English newspaper Daily News and Analysis DNA- owned by Zee and Dainik Bhaskar etc., including the news agency UNI, the entertainment channel 9X Tashan, the UP news channel Samachar Plus, the Uttarakhand channel HNN 24×7, the Hindi newspapers “Punjab Kesari”  and “Swatantra Bharat”, web portals ScoopWhoop and Rediff.com, IndiaWatch, Hindi newspaper Aaj and the influential Lucknow-based news channel,  Sadhna Prime News.

 

It claimed that none of the business representatives of the media houses seemed to consider it problematic that a client wanted to use their platform to influence the upcoming election to polarise voters and tarnish the reputation of opposition leaders mainly on communal grounds.

 

The portal said that the media groups agreed to play these because “Sangathan” has set aside a budget of Rs. 742 crores for the Karnataka elections alone. It was also revealed that about Rs. 8,000 crores were spent for media management in the last general elections; and that the budget for the 2019 polls will be even more.

 

In this connection, in order to win the general elections, 2019, Modi and the BJP-led coalition of the extremist parties are, again, propagating the ideology of Hindutva by targeting Muslims and Pakistan as part of the, pre-election strategy of the BJP.

 

As regards the propaganda campaign of the Indian media in support of Modi, it is notable that under the caption “Narendra Modi favourite for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, say US experts”, Indian leading newspaper Hindustan Times wrote on March 14, 2017: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a clear favourite for the 2019 general elections after the BJP’s landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, top US experts on India have said. It was a big win for the BJP. Its candidates won with a much larger margin of victory than compared to the two previous winners–BSP and Samajwadi Party.”

 

Likewise, under the title “Why Narendra Modi Should Be Elected Again the PM of India in 2019”, Mohammed Asif opined in the website Lindinden.Com on October 30, 2016, “In 2014, a history was created when Narendra Modi was elected as the prime minister of India. Since he was elected by the great mass support, he is considered among the most popular leaders ever born in India…Despite so many critics–from Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi…There is much roar…Narendra Modi could win the election in 2019.”

 

Moreover, following a well throughout plan; BJP is playing an anti-Muslim/anti-Pakistan card to gain votes of a majority of Hindus. Earlier BJP intended to create fissures in Muslim voters by blowing up “Triple Talaq” (irrevocable divorce), issue aiming to get votes of Muslim women.

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that the revelations of the Indian website Cobrapost.Com have exposed the dark colours of Hindutva which is in connivance with Indian media at the cost of Muslims, other minority groups and opposition parties such as Congress.

 

 

 

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QALB MEHN SOOZ NAHIN ROOH MEHN AHSAAS NAHIN -AATISH GALI By Rana Abdul BAQI

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Nazaryaati Dramay Baaz

Nazaryaati Dramay Baaz

Louti jaao,khaai jaao–

Jangla bus chalaai jaao–

Qatar say gas mangaai jaao–

Modi ko ghar bulaai jaao
Dozakh abhi door hai

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The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia By Sajjad Shaukat

The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

With the support of some state actors and after its defeat by the Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) is rapidly spreading its tentacles in South Asia.

 

It is also due to the dual policy of the US-led some Western powers, Israel and India that ISIS which is most dangerous terrorist group than Al-Qaeda has accelerated terrorism-related attacks in the US, Europe, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Iraq etc. and some African countries where besides Muslims, the outfit also targeted the Christians. Now, its tentacles have reached other regions of Asia, especially South Asia.  Hence, the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia needs attention.

 

In this context, the Daily Mail Online reported on February 22, 2015, “The terrifying rise of ISIS…tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan”.

 

According to online sources, “On January 26, 2015, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani chief spokesperson of the ISIS released an audio statement in which he declared the establishment of Wilayat Khorasan, a branch of the group encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nearby lands. Since then, Wilayat Khorasan has pursued a campaign of expansion and consolidation in the region, with most of its activity centring in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan.”

 

Image result for ISIS in South Asia

 

 

 

 

Some other online sources disclosed, “ISI activities in Afghanistan are known as IS’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) or an Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).”

 

These sources revealed, “ISKP’s control of territory in Nangrahar reached its peak in summer 2015 when it became the dominant insurgent group in eight of the province’s 22 districts…Since then, the Taliban have fought to take back territory…ISKP then dug in through 2016 in all its remaining districts, that is, Achin, Kot and Nazyan in the south-eastern districts…as well as Deh Bala in the south-west…ISIL-KP maintained a presence in southern Nangarhar Province despite increased military operations carried out by the United States of America and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. SIL-KP continued its attacks against the civilian population and military and foreign military targets, and unverified local sources claimed that ISIL-KP reinforcements and recruitment continued…IS Khorasan gained its new strength through forging alliances with local sectarian pro-al-Qaeda or Taliban militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami (LeJ-A), Lashkar-e Islam (LeI), or disgruntled Taliban factions like Jundallah and Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA), which have been active in the region for many years. It has also reportedly recruited operatives from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The success of this strategy is manifest in the geographical distribution of the recent attacks, which suggests a logistical penetration and influence that extends from Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Quetta and Peshawar in neighbouring Pakistan.”

 

It is mentionable that the militants attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery (Restaurant) in the diplomatic district of Dhaka-capital of Bangladesh on July 2, 2016, and killed at least 20 hostages and two police officers. It included nine Italians, seven Japanese and one American. The ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the restaurant. Top officials of Bangladesh Government claimed the existence of ISIS in the country. ISIS has also accepted responsibility for several past attacks in Bangladesh.

 

Taking cognizance of various terrorism-related assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the ISIL, as its terrorists also entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, Pakistan has, repeatedly, been expressing concerns over the growing unrest and violence in Afghanistan, reiterating support for a dialogue-based settlement of the Afghan issue. Islamabad is supportive of an Afghan dialogue, recognizing Taliban as a legitimate party in the conflict. Similar stance has been adopted by Russia, China, Iran and even the Central Asian Republics.

 

While Pakistan has expressed concerns over the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan from where it has rapidly been spreading its terror-network in other South Asian countries. Islamabad’s worry is also shared by all the countries of the region. The dreaded terror outfit is being projected by the US, India, and some Western countries as a counterweight to Taliban. Therefore, the story of ISIS in Afghanistan is viewed carefully by the regional countries. Russia has repeatedly aired concerns about the possibility of tacit US approval or her inability to control the ISIS. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and few other Afghan leaders have also aired such apprehensions.

 

In this connection, a news item was published by all the leading dailies of Pakistan on October 8, 2017 regarding the statement of Afghanistan’s former Afghan President Karzai who, while dismissing criticism of Moscow’s ties with the Taliban and echoing Russian claims of American support to the ISIS terrorists, told Voice of America (VOC) that the United States has links with terrorist ‘Islamic State’, also known as Daesh…Daesh a tool of US…After it [the US] dropped the [mother of all] bomb on Afghanistan, it did not eliminate Daesh…the terrorist group has been supplied weapons by the United States forces…The US Army helicopters and army bases are being used to provide assistance to ISIS terrorists…I do not differentiate at all between Daesh and America…Reports of American assistance to the terrorists are coming from all over the country.” (It also includes Karzai’s revelations to VOC of April 20, 2017, and Newsweek’s report of the same day). 

 

Particularly, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are in collusion, and are using the ISIS in destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of the double game of their countries.  India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which has become the centre of their covert activities against Pakistan, Russia, China, and Iran. American President Trump is also doing the same in connivance with New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the special target of these foreign intelligence agencies.

 

It is notable that Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS which are being backed by RAW, CIA and Mossad have claimed responsibility for several terror assaults inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the recent ones.

 

While, Pakistan has repeatedly pointed out ISIS’s involvement in anti-Pakistan violence and terrorism, and Islamabad has also shared credible information about the presence of ex-TTP militants inside Afghanistan, many of whom have switched sides to join ISIS. Therefore, Islamabad expects Afghanistan and the US-led forces (NATO) in Afghanistan to check the activities and projection of the ISKP activities.

 

Notably, ISIS has suffered heavily on accounts of its confrontation with the Afghan Taliban. Taliban have successfully undone ISIS influence from most of its controlled and contested areas. ISIS has lost most of its leadership in these fights and has been virtually squeezed to a few pockets of Nangarhar province. Taliban have been successful in checking ISKP’s (ISIS) ideological outreach by projecting the linkage of the brutal organization with extra-regional elements and thus discrediting them in the eyes of common Afghans. Most Afghans consider ISKP’s display of cruelties and inhuman behaviour against Afghan culture and do not buy group’s ideas of violence.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan has successfully purged FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of militants through successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasad. Lately, the country is focusing on improving border management and fencing project to address the cross-border movement of the terrorists. Pakistan is making concerted efforts to address extremism in all its forms. Recent steps by the country, including the nationwide agreed upon ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ (Message of Pakistan), are efforts to address the menace of terrorism and extremism on the ideological front.

 

In the same context, in the recent past, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Munich Security Conference was a polite reminder to the US-led international community, especially the Western powers of their past practices in the region.

 

We can conclude that reality of ISKP is well known to the regional powers. People like the ex-President Hamid Karzai and countries like Russia have been quite vocal in expressing their concerns about who supports ISKP? For ISKP in Afghanistan, the onus rests on the American- led NATO forces as well as on the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) who need to carry out a reality check. America, India, and Israel should also abandon their double game with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia in order to cope with the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia.

 

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_pak@hotmail.com

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