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Why India and the US Oppose the CPEC… By Sajjad Shaukat

         Why India and the US Oppose the CPEC

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

India was openly opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the US also joined New Delhi. In this context, on October 3, 2017, the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

http://cpec.gov.pk/progress-update

 

Pakistan strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC will pass through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded America that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative.

 

In this regard, again, the Indian envoy to China Vikram Mistri told Chinese state media in March, last year that a part of the CPEC shall pass through Pakistani side of Kashmir and the OBOR or BRI does not respect India’s “concerns” of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Addressing Indian concerns, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on April 15, this year, “As for the Indian comments on not participating in the BRI [Conference] for various reasons, I’d like to say that the BRI is an open and inclusive economic cooperation initiative. It does not involve territorial and maritime disputes…Whether the Indian side will participate in the Belt and Road Forum, I think you need to ask the Indian side for a more specific answer. But here I’d like to re-emphasise that the BRI is proposed by China but it is already an international public good….The belt and road cooperation since it was first proposed…has been an open and inclusive initiative for all countries…interested in this…if the relevant side would like to wait and see, we do not oppose that. And as for more international organisations in the second BRI [Conference] meaning that some countries will lose opportunities, you may need to ask the countries themselves which do not participate in the BRI.”

 

It is notable that India which has consistently kept away from BRI did not participate in its second conference which was held in Beijing from April 25 to 27, 2019 and leaders of countries including heads of state and government from nearly 40 countries attended the meeting.

 

Pakistan’ s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his speech at the opening ceremony called for greater attention to tackling poverty as Pakistan and China enter the next phase of the CPEC. He appreciated the significance of China’s BRI, elaborating, it “marks a new and distinct phase in the onward march of nations in the world along the path of globalization”.

 

However, India and the US continue opposing the CPEC. In this respect, Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centres, think tanks and so-called human rights groups utilize the media tools in defaming Pakistan internationally. Especially, Indian RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Now, CPEC is a special target of these hostile entities.

 

In this connection, much coverage was given by the external media to a report, released on April 13, 2017, by Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which is in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi International AISBL. The subject report portrayed complete Indian negative propaganda themes about Pakistan’s provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and Sindh. Based on falsehood, the report also said that the CPEC is a breach of international law and is being implemented without consultation or compensation to the people of the area.

 

Undoubtedly, GB is the gateway of CPEC into Pakistan, whereby GB’s strategic and socio-economic importance has increased manifold. Like Balochistan, the region has huge potential in trade with China, tourism, minerals, gems, precious stones, agriculture-farming and hydropower production. Therefore, GB’s people who are strengthening their association with Pakistan, pay no attention to the false propaganda.

 

While, these US-led Western entities, particularly India who also give undue coverage to the meetings and protests against the integrity of Pakistan, are especially exaggerating the statements of those Baloch separatist leaders who have taken shelter in Europe and America, and are fulfilling the agenda of their foreign masters against the CPEC.

 

The reality is that the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of the rest of the country to facilitate the transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with the rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project which is the backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, including developments in other provinces by providing thousands of employment opportunities, particularly to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by the US, India and Israeli do not want. Therefore, these entities and their media describe the CPEC in negative terms.

 

In fact, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become a centre of American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these intelligence agencies which are also in collaboration with the Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS), support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist outfits are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.

 

It is mentionable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan province.

 

But, in the recent past, blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country showed that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage especially to weaken Pakistan and to damage the Pak-China project of CPEC. Foiled terror attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi on November 23, 2018, was part of the same scheme. Nevertheless, CIA, RAW and Mossad are assisting the separatist elements of the Balochistan to thwart the CPEC project.

 

It is of particular attention that during P.M. Imran Khan’s second trip to China, on April 28, this year, Islamabad and Beijing embarked on the new phase of the CPEC by signing a memorandum of understanding-agreements on the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and socio-economic development and a new agreement on free trade. The new phase of the CPEC would be characterised by industrialization—20 factories is being set up in Rashakai, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.  In view of trade is an important element of the CPEC, the two sides concluded the second stage of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) aimed at strengthening trade ties between the two countries. Under the new FTA, China would open up 90 per cent of its market for Pakistani goods whereas Pakistan would share 65pc of its market with Chinese exports. This would also help in redressing, to a certain extent, the yawning trade imbalance between the two countries, which stood at $9.7 billion last year.

 

The two sides also signed an agreement on a technical package for upgradation of Pakistan’s main railway line-Mail Line-One (ML-1) under which a double track from Peshawar to Karachi will be built with China’s help. China who will spend $1bn on 27 projects, help Pakistan Railways in improving its capacity.

 

Nonetheless, China has clarified Indian concerns on the CPEC or OBOR. But, apart from the US, India is particularly opposing the CPEC as part of the anti-Pakistan and anti-China approach.  

 

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

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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Behind the Shinning Veil

Behind the Shinning Veil
Ishaal Zehra

 

The year 2019 started off as a promising year for Pakistan who ecstatically outdid her neighbouring countries in a phenomenal way in terms of happiness and patriotism. Interestingly, Pakistan came out as the most patriotic nation in Asia in the World Index’s latest report. Also, despite being the direct affectée of GWOT and a war-stricken country for many years, Pakistan yet managed to outwit its neighbour, the self-proclaimed Shinning India, big time with a stark difference in the happiness ranking which came as a big surprise to some emerging market observers.

 

 

The ranking puzzled the observers as India’s economy has been outperforming Pakistan’s in a number of metrics, like world competitiveness, GDP size and growth, and inflation rates. So, what have Pakistanis done better than Indians in the pursuit of happiness? It’s hard to say. The World Happiness Report combines quantitative data (such as per capita GDP growth) and qualitative data (such as social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption) to rank 156 countries. Where most of the variables included in the calculations are qualitative, and therefore, prone to specification and measurement errors. Still, the gap between the rankings of the two countries is too big to be ignored.

The report ranks Pakistan in the 67th position, and India in the 140th position nearing her to the bottom of the list of 156 countries included in the survey. Most notably, the gap between the two countries has widened compared to two years ago, when Pakistan ranked in the 80th position, and India in the 122nd position.

Udayan Roy, Professor of Economics at LIU POST, suggests that it might be other metrics, like income inequality and poverty that matters more than per capita GDP when it comes to the well-being of the masses. While in India the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

His take comes consistently to the World Inequality Report 2018 which asserts that India’s top 1 per cent earners’ share of the country’s income rose to 22 per cent meanwhile the income share of the bottom 50 per cent earners declined to 15 per cent over the last four decades. Similarly, as per the Standardized World Income Inequality data measured by the Gini coefficient of income inequality, India’s income inequality is much higher than that of both Pakistan and Bangladesh. Besides, poverty rates are higher in India than they are in Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to the World Bank.

Wait, there’s more.  It’s called economic freedom. Published by the Heritage Foundation, the Economic Freedom report measures such things as trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and the degree of property rights protection in 186 countries.  Though the two countries have ranked closely in the last couple of years, Pakistan’s ranking has consistently beaten India’s over longer periods. In fact, a closer look at the ranking components of the two countries reveals that Pakistan has fared better than India in the area of government spending, which matter a great deal when it comes to providing on welfare programs. Simply put, Pakistan has been getting ahead of India in spreading the wealth to the masses.

These statistics are from a country commonly referred to as the worlds’ emerging market. The figures actually bust the myth of Incredible and Shining India by exposing the extremely grim situation at home. India has an estimated population of about 1.2 billion people. As per SOS statistics, More than 800 million people in India are considered poor. 68.8 per cent of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. More than 200 million people including 61 million children don’t have a sufficient amount of food to eat thus making India one of the world’s top countries with regard to malnutrition. Such poverty and hunger lead to severe health issues. With 2.7 million Indians being HIV positive; about 220,000 of them are children, the tendency is on the rise. Moreover, statistics from the World Health Organization claims that India accounts for more than half of the leprosy cases which are reported every year in the world.

There’s worse. Debt and drought continue to overwhelm farmers all around India. As per recent figures, Four hundred thirty farmers and farm labourers committed suicide during last year in agriculture-rich Punjab alone. As per the Guardian report, nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers committed suicide over the past three decades. In 2015 alone, about 12,602 farmers committed suicide across India. The suicides cases are on the rise in Indian Army also with the recent 2 suicides reported 4 days back when only a day after a Sub-Inspector of Indo-Tibetan Border Police committed suicide in north Kashmir, another trooper of the paramilitary force shot himself dead in Srinagar on the next morning.

With such a miserable state of affairs, no wonder the Modi led BJP government in India needed some staged shows like border escalations with Pakistan with overt and covert hate messages instilling war hysteria in masses. This was all done in order to overcome the not so supportive statistical data at the time of elections which are scheduled from 11 April to 19 May. In the same course, a new flattering but factually questionable biopic Bollywood movie on Indian Premier Narendra Modi has recently been released. The film which portrays Modi ji as some sort of superhuman with divine powers is taken as political propaganda by the critics, with the primary intent of influencing the voters. This is the 3rd consecutive movie in the run-up to elections, glorifying the BJP party rule eras, ratcheting things up to a level haven’t seen before. Though his actions in the last five years as prime minister proves otherwise still the effects of such gimmicks on a common Indian will be seen as the elections ensue.

 

 

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India Accelerated Atrocities and Oppressive Tactics in Kashmir By Sajjad Shaukat

 

India Accelerated Atrocities and Oppressive Tactics in Kashmir

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

There is a co-relationship of Indian oppressive tactics in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and war-like posture against Pakistan, as the extremist government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led the Indian fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has directed the Indian security forces to accelerate atrocities in the IOK, want to obtain various sinister designs, especially to suppress the Kashmiris’ war of liberation and to win the general elections 2019 at the cost of Pakistan.

People of Conscience Around The World Please Wake-Up

Indian Army’s Crime Against Humanity in Indian Occupied Kashmir-Blinding of Kashmiri Kids

Indian Army Pellet Gun Blinding of Young People-Turning Normal Vision Youth to Blind Invalids

Please Read Key Article in TIME

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

Pellet guns cause severe eye injuries …
aljazeera.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

India sends eye specialists to Kashmir …
bbc.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

What pellet guns have done to …
dawn.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

Indian pellet guns in occupied Kashmir …
dawn.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

An Epidemic of ‘Dead Eyes’ in Kashmir …
nytimes.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

Pellet Gun Victims in Kashmir Suffer …
time.com

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

Scarred and blinded for life: Brutal …
India today.in

Image result for Pellets Eyes Kashmir Indian Army

Pellet Gun Victims in Kashmir Suffer …
time.com

 

Following the false flag Pulwama terror attack in the IOK, which killed 44 Indian soldiers on February 14, this year, Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir on February 27, 2018, while claiming that IAF fighters targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants—the outfit whom New Delhi blamed for the Pulwama attack. Next day, in response, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK and shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released as a gesture of peace and handed over to the Indian authorities.

 

Without any investigation and evidence, Indian high officials and media started accusing Islamabad, saying that the attackers had come from Pakistan to stage the assault.

 

Pakistan’s Prime minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal and Director General of Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor strongly rejected false allegations of Indian media and government, which linked the Pulwama terror assault to Islamabad.

 

Taking cognizance of Indian blame game and war-like posture, offering cooperation and another chance at a dialogue over the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on February 19, this year that Pakistan will take action, if New Delhi shares any actionable evidence, concerning the suicide bombing in the Pulwama area. But, Indian extremist rulers rejected any cooperation with Islamabad and have continued threatening diplomacy against Pakistan.

 

In this regard, in a televised address on February 27, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his country is ready to cooperate with New Delhi into the investigation of the February 14 suicide bombing, claimed by Pakistan-based armed group, JeM which was banned by the government. He called for talks with India and hoped better sense would prevail so that both sides could de-escalate.

 

Meanwhile, journalists who visited the targeted site of Balakot and a video released by Islamabad exposed India’s false statements that IAF fighters targeted the camp of JeM and killed 350 militants. Despite the demand of Indian opposition parties and some responsible media entities, Indian top civil and military officials have failed to provide any evidence or video regarding government’s claim in this connection.

Besides, by creating jingoism in India and war hysteria against Pakistan, Indian extremist Prime Minister Modi’s government has continued propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Indian security forces have also intensified shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) and compelled Pakistan Army to give a matching response.

 

It is notable that during the period of nature, the law of jungle was the order of the day, as the powerful could kill the weak mercilessly. In the modern era, India has been following the similar law of the jungle in its refined form by employing barbaric tactics in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) in order to suppress the war of liberation which continues unabated by the Kashmiris who are demanding their genuine right of self-determination as recognised by the UN resolutions.

 

In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, many Kashmiri people, including students have been arrested and attacked and their shops looted by the Hindu extremists. Young people have been charged with sedition for criticizing the Indian Army, and Indians are lashing out at Pakistani civilians, including Bollywood actors.

 

Since the last 71 years, the Kashmiri people have been endeavouring for an end to India’s illegal and bloody occupation. Atrocities being inflicted by the Indian forces on the Kashmiris have increased manifold particularly under the rule of Hindu fundamentalist party BJP. The amount of torture, killings and rapes perpetrated on Kashmiri people by Indian army personnel has already crossed all the thresholds of brutalities. Every day, incidents of gashing of eyes, chopping off vital body-parts, use of ever-new methods of persecution during unending curfews speak volumes for India’s state-sponsored violence on Kashmiris.

 

Even India-based human rights watchdogs and some veteran politicians in India are now fully convinced that grave acts of brutality are being committed by occupation forces in Kashmir. Recently, talking in a gathering organised under aegis of Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) South Asia, ex-external affairs minister/BJP leader Yashwant Sinha candidly termed India’s wrong policies in handling Kashmir as “bundle of confusion”. He also admitted that “India has lost people of the valley emotionally” owing to Modi’s doctrine of brutality to suppress Kashmiri people.

 

Despite complete closure of the IOK for the foreign/local human right watchdogs and international media, the sporadic clippings and footages display the Indian army’s devilish acts of torture and carnage. As a rare show of moral support, United Nations Human Rights Council, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights and human rights set-up of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation also issued reports in 2018, pointing out grave violations of human rights by the occupation forces in the IHK.

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Indian media in league with Indian deep state has been vociferously blaming Pakistan and its primary intelligence agency ISI for all the unrest in the IOK, while, the ongoing ‘Intifada’ is an entirely local uprising as retaliation from the suppressed Kashmiris against Indian occupation spanned over 70 long years. Meanwhile, Removal of Hafiz Saeed’s name by the US from its 2018-NDA list and his release orders by the Pakistani court have further frustrated the Indian media to spit fire against Pakistan and commit more atrocities on the Kashmiri Muslims.

It is mentionable that to pay homage to the martyrs in Kashmir and determination to the struggle of Kashmiri people, 5the February (2019) was observed with full support from the Kashmiris, living abroad and Pakistani media. The hallmark was the presence of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in London to lead the efforts of the international community at the international level. Protests and seminars were organized by Kashmiris and Pakistanis in Europe, North America and important capitals of the world.

 

However, under new BJP-Modi strategy being executed in the IOK, a complete genocide of the Kashmiri people is being carried out to change the demographic structure of the IOK in utter defiance of international human rights laws. More bloodshed is feared in the days ahead due to use of brutal force and extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris by Indian military and paramilitary troops.

 

Spill-over of purely indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris to the other insurgency-infested states especially Khalistan, Mizoram and Assam is very much on the cards for India.

 

Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounters.

 

Notably, in the recent past, social media proliferated the viral video of 22-year-old young woman namely Ishrat Muneer Bhat (resident of Dangerpora, Pulwama district). Her bullet-riddled body was found in Sugan, Dragged village, Shopian district on January 31, 2019. She was doing Masters at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and was killed by the Indian Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAS). Besides similar tragic events, her killing is the latest barbarity of the Indian LEAs which are now also not sparing the womenfolk in their bloody game of crushing the Kashmir movement.

 

Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.

 

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces”.

 

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report said, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has, in turn, facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

 

In this context, the European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian Held Kashmir.

 

It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves.

 

Foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW. In the recent past, more unmarked graves have been discovered.

 

Some online authentic sources suggest that recent wave of Kashmiri ‘Intifada’ has witnessed repression of Indian armed forces; large numbers of the dead and injured have been youngsters. The pellet guns used by security forces have damaged the faces of 1600 people and more than 1100 people have partially or wholly lost their eyesight making 2016 as the year of dead eyes.

 

In 2017, reports also disclosed that in the IOK, Indian security forces have also used chemical weapons against the Kashmiri civilians in violation of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In development on July 4, 2017, the Indian Army had destroyed houses in Pulwama and killed 3 Kashmiri civilians. Upon recovery of the bodies, it was discovered that they were burnt beyond recognition.

 

Sources report that the Indian Army is emulating Israeli tactics by using white phosphorus bombs to destroy houses of Kashmiris suspected of harbouring Mujahideen. The same tactics were used by Israel during its attacks on Gaza and it seems that these weapons have been provided by Israel to India for use in the IOK.

 

In fact, Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that the only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments and particularly the Modi regime are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.

 

Failed in suppressing the Kashmir movement, Indian central government imposed President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir which started from December 20, 2018. The main purpose was to accelerate atrocities on the Kashmiris who are demanding their genuine right of self-determination.

 

Taking note of the recent war-like situation between Pakistan and India, especially, Russia and some Arab countries, including Turkey and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern over tensions between the two neighbouring countries, and have offered their mediatory roles between both the nuclear countries for de-escalation.

 

Unfortunately, New Delhi which has refused the mediatory role of any country is still showing its intransigence to resolve the Kashmir issue with Islamabad by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

 

It is worth mentioning that the organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on February 26, 2019, condemned India’s incursion against Pakistan, urging the two countries to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that could endanger peace and security in the region. On the same day, in an emergency meeting, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir expressed grave concern at the rising tensions in South Asia and strongly condemned the recent wave of repression, killing of innocent civilians, and frequent incidents of rape perpetrated by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

 

In this connection, concluding the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC, held in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2, 2019, a resolution was passed, which condemned the Indian state terrorism in occupied Kashmir and reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Kashmiri people. It reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir remained the core dispute between Pakistan and India. The resolution also reminded the international community of its obligation to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The OIC member states adopted another resolution which expressed grave concern over the Indian violation of Pakistani airspace; affirmed Pakistan’s right to self-defence; and urged India to refrain from the threat or use of force. The resolution on regional peace and security in South Asia also welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s renewed offer of dialogue to India and the goodwill gesture of handing over the Indian pilot. However, it also proved Pakistan’s diplomatic victory over India.

 

It is noteworthy that Indian Prime Minister 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. Therefore, a double game has become the BJP strategy to win the Indian general elections in 2019.

 

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that by exploiting the false flag terror attack at Pulwama, Indian Prime Minister Modi has intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri ‘Intifada’, while in this regard; pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the dispute of Kashmir with Pakistan. As the struggle of Kashmiri people has entered into crucial phase with increasing frustration of New Delhi, India accelerated atrocities and oppressive tactics in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

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Indian air intrusion night 25/26 February 2019

Indian air intrusion night 25/26 February 2019

Background Information. The intelligence agencies of India USA, Israel and the puppet government in Kabul (RAW, CIA, NDS) duly supported by MI-6, Mossad and BND based in Kabul have been targeting Pakistan from Afghanistan as well as Iran from 2003 onward to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and Balkanize Pakistan. The collaborating agencies have been making use of paid proxies and hybrid war to achieve their objectives. Pakistan security forces after fighting the war on terror for 15 years finally succeeded in chucking out all terrorist groups and restoring peace. Today Pakistan is in a much stronger position to deal with internal and external challenges which have dismayed India and its strategic partners.

Pre-Pulwama Attack Situation

India is highly perturbed over the fast-changing regional scenario which is going in favour of Pakistan and is against the interest of India. Despite India’s best efforts to scuttle CPEC, it is making good progress. Game-changing CPEC has disrupted India’s plan to isolate Pakistan. The US-Taliban peace talks in which India has no role, while Pakistan is playing a key role has upset India. The US plans to strike a peace deal with the Taliban and arrive at a political settlement. The US-NATO troops intend to exit from Afghanistan, which will pave the way for the Taliban to regain power. That would mean decrease if not the termination of Indian influence and increase of Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan.

The gulf between Pakistan and the Arab Gulf States in the aftermath of the Yemen crisis in 2015 had been quickly filled up by India by getting close to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and UAE. The void has now been filled and bitterness removed after the change of government in Islamabad and quiet diplomacy of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Much to the disappointment of India, old camaraderie between Pakistan and KSA-UAE has been restored. KSA, UAE and Qatar have extended generous financial support and oil on deferred payment to help the new government led by Imran Khan to tide over its economic crisis.

China is continuing to consolidate its strategic relationship with Pakistan and to bolster CPEC. The USA found itself stuck in Afghanistan and wanting to exit safely and honourably is waving an olive oil to Pakistan and extending an offer of a free trade agreement. Amidst the happy tidings for Pakistan, planned high profile visit of Crown Prince M. Bin Salman to Pakistan and then to India and the expected Saudi investment of $20 billion together with setting up of an oil refinery at Gwadar seaport to further boost up CPEC alarmed India. Visit of Afghan Taliban to Islamabad on 17th, hearing of Kalbushan case in ICJ on 18th, crucial meeting of FATF on 18th  for which India was lobbying to put Pakistan in the blacklist, and PSL matches taking place in Karachi-Lahore were other important events in that timeframe.  

Internally, Narendra Modi is facing heavy criticism from the public since he has been unable to fulfil the tall promises he made to the people of India. Instead of uplifting the GDP above 11% as boasted by him, the GDP has dropped below 7% and devaluation of bigger currency notes and taxation have affected the small businessmen and farmers. His extremist policies against the minorities in India and craze to promote Hindutva have declined his popularity and minimized his chances to get re-elected. In Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), Kashmiris have got alienated and Kashmir is fast slipping out of the hands of India owing to oppressive policies of BJP government.

Moreover, the atrocities of Indian security forces are now being noticed with concern by the international community, the UN and even the saner elements in India. Modi is feeling frustrated that he has failed to overawe Pakistan through his aggressive tactics, keeping the Line of Control hot by carrying out repeated violations (300 in 2016, over 1900 violations in 2017 and that many in 2018), resorting to water terrorism and hurling threats to break Pakistan into four pieces. Much to his distress, the electoral loss of BJP in five states has panicked him.

 

 

 

It was in the backdrop of series of upsetting developments for Modi when seen in context with approaching elections in India in May 2019 that it was apprehended that he might resort to some sort of misadventure with a view to infuse fresh life into his election campaign, distract the attention of the world from IOK, find an excuse to further step up ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims, change the demography of Kashmir Valley, drum up old narrative that Pakistan is abetting terrorism in Kashmir and isolate Pakistan diplomatically. It became all the more crucial because of the planned visit of Crown Prince on 16-17 February.

Pulwama Attack

On 14 February, a suicide bomber rammed his car filled with explosive into the military convoy in Pulwama (part of Jammu in IOK) killing 40 Indian CRPF soldiers. Within minutes of the occurrence, India blamed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Pakistan without even carrying out preliminary investigations.

Possibilities Open

  1. False flag operation by India.
  2. Indigenous suicide attack by Mujahideen.
  3. Pakistan sponsored attack.

False Flag Operation. India has mastered the art of false flag operations and has been using it frequently to project itself as the victim of terrorism (attack on Indian Parliament in 2001, Mumbai attacks in 2008, Pathankot and Uri attacks in 2016). Indian leaders utter lies without any qualm and have been consistently cooking up fake stories to malign Pakistan. Need for engineering an attack was felt by the BJP to garner the votes of Hindu Far Right, to dampen the visit of Crown Prince in Pakistan and to colour his perceptions. Most probably.   

Indigenous Attack. The way the Kashmiris are being oppressed, killed, maimed, tortured, raped and humiliated since 1989 by Indian forces and are being denied the right of self-determination gives them a strong cause to resort to the extreme measure of suicide attacks. Even the children and girls throw stones at the Indian soldiers and do not fear them. Adil was among the many who were detained, tortured and made to rub nose on the floor. This option is probable but doesn’t suit India.

Pakistan Sponsored Attack. Pakistan draws no benefit and stands to lose on all accounts particularly when its national policy and strategy is defensive, and has shown extraordinary restraint in the face of Indian indiscriminate firing along the LoC causing deaths and injuries to a large number of civilians. Pakistan has paid a heavy price in controlling terrorism, it is making concerted efforts to get itself out of the FATF grey list and its main focus is on improving the economy. Hence this option is unviable and ruled out but suits India the most.

Orchestrated War Hysteria

From February 14 onward, Indian media stimulated a calculated hysteria duly augmented by BJP hawks. Drums of war were drummed and slogan of ‘teach Pakistan a lesson’ was loudly chanted. Options of how best to avenge the attack in Pulwama were openly discussed on Indian media channels. Kashmiris were hunted all over in Jammu and Indian cities, killed, thrashed and girls kidnapped. The state machinery backed up the goons belonging to RSS, BJP, Shiv Sena and other extremist Hindu groups. Additional 12000 troops were inducted into the already saturated Kashmir Valley to further tyrannize the Kashmiris.

It was owing to jingoism of India that the Crown Prince delayed his visit to Pakistan by one day and visit of the Taliban to Islamabad was also cancelled. Highly successful visit of the Crown Prince to Islamabad followed by failure of Modi to extract a statement from the visitor advising Pakistan to rein in Pakistan-based terrorist groups allegedly involved in Pulwama attack thoroughly disappointed him.

Failure of UNSC to blame and condemn Pakistan, rejection of Indian accusation against Pakistan in Pulwama attack by Turkey, and Trump desisting from pointing a finger at Pakistan further upset Modi. Wholehearted support of Indian Sikhs to the marooned Kashmiris added to Modi’s woes.

Since Modi had stirred up the emotions of Hindu extremists to a high pitch and they were baying for Pakistan’s blood, he was left with no option other than undertaking some kind of a token strike inside Pakistan to pacify them. Weighing the pros and cons of each option short of war and with no human cost, it was decided to opt for air option against a civilian target under the garb of striking an imaginary training camp of JeM.           

Pakistan’s Readiness

Contrary to Modi’s warmongering and irresponsible statements, PM Imran Khan gave a balanced and mature response by offering peace and dialogue and at the same time curtly stating that “Pakistan will not think to react but will react”. Chairing the NSC meeting, he authorized the military to react with full force whenever attacked. Gen Bajwa made it clear that the Pak Army’s response will be beyond Indian expectations and will stun India. The message was loud and clear; “don’t mess up with nuclear Pakistan”! In a meeting between the Army and PAF chiefs on 25 February, they expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of armed forces for a befitting response to any Indian aggression.

All the three services, as well as the air defence, carried out necessary preparations to face the possible Indian threat. The PAF started flying combat air patrols (CAP) in a rotation along the eastern and northwestern borders. 

Sensing the ugly mood, Pakistan Foreign Minister expressed his apprehensions to his counterparts of other countries that India is up to something nasty and it must be restrained from undertaking a military venture against nuclear Pakistan since it will have horrendous consequences.

Indian Air Intrusions

On the night of 25/26 February, one of the CAP observed Indian jets flying towards Lahore-Sialkot border. Although it turned back when challenged, I guess it was probably a deception to distract attention from the main strike. The next batch of jets was observed by another CAP along Okara-Bahawalpur front across the border which was also a diversion. The 3rd   heavy batch of Mirage-2000s was next spotted by the CAP approaching Muzaffarabad sector-Kiran Valley. They crossed the LoC from Tangdhar salient opposite Balakot sector and penetrated 4-5 miles at 0345 a.m. When challenged by the CAP, the jets flew back in haste at 0350 a.m. after jettisoning their payload of 4 bombs at Jabba. The bombs fell at a deserted place causing no human casualty or damage to property except for uprooting some pine trees. It was not an attack on any military target but an intrusion which sought a civilian target.

Claims made by India. True to its tradition, India has claimed that the attacking jets successfully targeted JeM camps in Balakot, each bomb weighing 1000 kg and in their 21 minutes operation, they killed 350 militants and destroyed a madrassa supposed to be a training centre of JeM. The claim is preposterous, fictitious and entirely based on a figment of imaginations. This claim is similar to the one invented after the fake surgical strike conducted in AJK in September 2016, which has not been proved to this date. Indians are foolishly celebrating the fabricated victory and deriving a vicarious pleasure.

DG ISPR Press Briefing. The DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor conducted an elaborate press briefing today and with the help of slides, he exposed the fake story woven by India. He has extended an open invitation to the local and foreign media persons as well as diplomats to accompany him to the scene of occurrence and see for themselves and to interview the locals whether any area had been bombed/strafed by jets and whether there was any trace of human blood, or any evacuation or burial of dead bodies was carried out, and whether there was a single brick found from the debris where the bombs had landed. He stated that the Pakistan military’s response will come definitely and will be different and will surprise India.

Pakistan’s Response

Indian incursion has united the divided society and the polarized political parties. A large number of rallies have taken place in various cities to denounce Indian aggression. The nation has gelled together to face the Indian challenge squarely. The National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies have censured the blatant intrusion of Indian jets and have extended their full support to the armed forces. The PM chaired the NSC meeting today in which it was decided that a credible response will soon be given at the time and place of our choosing. After the joint parliament session tomorrow, a meeting of National Command Authority will be held.

Until and unless Pakistan gives a hard-hitting response, it will encourage India to undertake similar air violations on the pattern of ground violations in Kashmir. On the diplomatic front, we should make a similar noise as is being done by Indian media and their leaders.

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

           

                      

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Equality Before Law by Col.Riaz Jafri (Ret’d)

LETTER TO EDITOR

January 3rd, 2019

Equality Before Law

One wonders at the royal treatment being meted out to a convict Nawaz Sharif. When interned in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, he asked to be transferred to Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, and pronto he was flown to Lahore the next day.

Being an epicurean he wanted food that satiates his culinary tastes and it was arranged from his Jati Umerah kitchen.  On the ‘mulaqat’ day, the number of his visitors was so great that the police had to resort to special traffic control.  And, when he complained of some illness, one after the other three medical boards were set up two declaring him not serious but the last one recommending his hospitalization, which again was done the next day. It is rumoured that soon he may be allowed to go to London to be treated by his personal physician there.  

What’s this going on?  Is such treatment also available to other Umpteen thousand, Umpteen hundred and umpteen convicts in umpteen jails of Pakistan?!

Hope we remember the saying of the Holy Prophet (SAW), “ The nations who had one set of law for the poor and common man and another set of law for the elite were condemned by Allah (swt)”  — words to that effect.

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan
Tel: (051) 5158033
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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