Category Archives: Kashmir

Kashmir

New Indian army chief issues warning to Pakistan on first day

By Dawn.com

The new Indian army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on the first day of holding office issued a stern warning to Pakistan referring to alleged beheading incidents of soldiers, stating that the said actions would get an “intense and immediate” response, a report published on the Times of India website said.

The alleged beheading of an Indian soldier, Lance Naik Hemraj, by Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector on January 8, 2013 came under highlight.

The newly appointed army chief upon receiving the guard of honour addressed reporters on the occasion and said that there would be timely reciprocation of such incidents.

General Dalbir was asked how the Indian side had given a ‘befitting reply’ to Pakistan over Hemraj’s alleged beheading as stated by former army chief General Bikram Singh.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1122621

How Kargil spurred India to design own GPS

 

By Ishan Srivastava,TNN

SRIHARIKOTA: When Pakistani troops took positions in Kargil in 1999, one of the first things Indian military sought was GPS data for the region. The space-based navigation system maintained by the US government would have provided vital information, but the US denied it to India. A need for an indigenous satellite navigation system was felt earlier, but the Kargil experience made the nation realise its inevitability.

On Friday, the Indian Space Research Organisation took the nation closer to the goal, which it would achieve in less than two years. The result, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will be as good as any such space-based system, as India can keep a close watch of not just its boundaries, but up to 1,500km beyond that. It works on a combination of seven satellites which would ‘look’ at the region from different angles, and, in the process, helps calculate from relative data, real-time movement of objects by as less as 10m.

Read more » The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/How-Kargil-spurred-India-to-design-own-GPS/articleshow/33254691.cms

Military blocking Pakistan-India trade deal, says Shahbaz Sharif

Security networks’ distrust of increased business dealings is counter-productive, warns Pakistani PM’s brother

By in Lahore and in Delhi, theguardian.com

The powerful brother of Pakistan‘s prime minister has warned the military establishments of both India and Pakistan not to block efforts to sweep aside trade barriers between the two distrustful neighbours.

On Indian affairs Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, is widely seen as the de facto Pakistani foreign minister, conducting diplomatic missions to Delhi on behalf of his brother Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister.

But speaking to the Guardian he warned that distrustful “security agencies” in both Pakistan and India were one of the two main “blockages” holding back plans to liberalise trade, which the Sharifs believe will provide a desperately needed boost to Pakistan’s moribund economy.

“Security agencies on both sides need to really understand that in today’s world, a security-led vision is obviously driven by economic security,” he said. “Unless you have economic security then you can’t have general security.”

While the Sharif brothers, in common with most mainstream politicians in Pakistan, are impatient for a rapprochement with India, the military is far more wary.

Read more » theguardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/13/military-block-pakistan-india-trade-deal-sharif

Indian and Pakistani troops swap gifts at LoC on Prophet’s birthday

LoC gets a sweet exchange as Indian and Pakistani troops swap gifts on Prophet’s birthday

By Mail Today Bureau

Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets and gifts to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Indian and Pakistani troops on Tuesday exchanged sweets and gifts in Kargil and Uri sectors in an effort to restore normalcy along the LoC, a Srinagar-based defence spokesman said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2539467/LoC-gets-sweet-exchange-Indian-Pakistani-troops-swap-gifts-Prophets-birthday.html#ixzz2qPja4N3F

Narendra Modi vows unity at Jammu-Kashmir rally

JAMMU: India prime ministerial candidate and Hindu hardliner Narendra Modi promised unity and development on Sunday during a rally in the restive Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi, a popular but polarising figure, told a rally of thousands of people that he would work for the good of the whole state through increased development if he wins a general election due next May.

The rally was the first for Modi in the region, racked by years of separatist violence, since he was named as candidate for the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in September.

“I am not here to talk about Hindus and Muslims. If you want progress then you need to have politics of unity and that will ensure progress,” Modi, 63, said in a speech in the Hindu-majority city of Jammu.

We should have only one religion – nation first. There should be only one religious text – our constitution,” he said to cheers.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1059800/narendra-modi-vows-unity-at-jammu-kashmir-rally

Disappearing lives: the world’s threatened tribes

Drokpa, India/Pakistan: Around 2,500 Drokpas live in three villages in the Dha-Hanu valley of Ladakh, which is situated in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. The Drokpas are completely different from the Tibeto-Burman inhabitants of most of Ladakh – tall and fair, with big, lightly coloured eyes, full lips and distinctive noses and eyebrows. Historians have identified the Drokpa people as the only authentic descendants of the Aryans left in India. For centuries, the Drokpas have been indulging in public kissing and wife-swapping without any inhibitions or consideration for marital relationships. Since the practice was banned by the authorities, the Drokpas now only conduct this passionate display in the absence of outsiders.

Read more » the gardian
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/gallery/2013/nov/08/disappearing-lives-worlds-threatened-tribes-in-pictures#/?picture=422002324&index=3

The partition story ~ Kuldip Nayar

Partition of the Indian subcontinent is 66 years’ old. On August 14, 1947, the states of India and Pakistan came into being in the wake of division. Even today they have not settled down as neighbours, much less as friends. Borders are bristling with troops and clashes are inevitable. A few days ago, five men from the Indian army were killed. The Pakistan army may not be directly involved. But it helps the jihadis and even the Taliban in their plan to destablise India. It looks the Pakistan army is not interested in conciliation between Islamabad and New Delhi. One incident or the other always takes place before the talks between the countries begin.
What surprises me is that no front-rank politician, historian or any other person of eminence has given me a cogent reason, much less a convincing one, to explain why the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, separated after having lived together for more than a thousand years.
The radicals may claim that they maintained peace because they were the rulers. Yet the fact is that Hindus and Muslims had developed a composite culture which recognized the mingling of two civilizations and which had overcome the pulls of polarization. Social contacts were regular and festivals of the two communities were celebrated jointly. Still it did not take the articulators of religious identity to tear the fabric apart from the thirties. Was pluralism only a cover to hide differences? And in reality, the two communities had never occupied the common ground and had remained distant from each other.
Had this been the case, why the exchange of population was ruled out when the separation was contemplated? Even Muslims on their own did not raise any objection that those left behind in India would number more than the ones in the Muslim homeland, Pakistan. Hindus left Pakistan and Muslims from Punjab and a few other cities in the north. It was a forced eviction.

We want PEACE, not WAR.

Aziz Narejo

By Aziz Narejo

People‬ in ‪‎India‬ & ‪Pakistan‬: Don’t be duped & deceived again by the warmonger & hate-spewing, military & civilian leadership & the ultra-patriotic media. All of them have their own agendas & vested interests. They are the ones responsible for the misery of the people of the sub-continent.

Don’t believe a word that they utter & what the media channels on both sides of the border propagate. Ask tough questions. Look for truth. Call for hard facts & proofs. Call for an impartial, international inquiry into cross border violations. Tell them to end poisonous propaganda against each other. Tell them to work for peace, reduce military budgets & invest in the people.

We want PEACE, not WAR.

Courtesy: Via Facebook

What about a Confederation between India and Pakistan!

How about Confederation!

By Saeed Qureshi

How about a loose confederation between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh? This confederation should be based upon the geographical contiguity and a common culture. For the State of Pakistan that is apprehensively heading towards the precipice of a failed status, this is the best way-out to preserve its territorial integrity and separate identity. The sentimentality dripped slogans of Pakistan ideology and two nation theory do not seem to be relevant any more. The ideology of Pakistan primarily a religio- national sentiment has been blunted by surging and strident provincialism. The Pakistani nationalism is confined to only two cities of Lahore and Karachi. In recent times, the inhabitants of other places and provinces mostly prefer to project and identify themselves with their provincial suffixes or prefixes. Urdu, the Pakistan’s national language too has not been able to bring about national unity in Pakistan. People like to converse in their local dialects and are under the impression that Urdu was the immigrants’ language.

Continue reading What about a Confederation between India and Pakistan!

Kashmir deal will make Pak a normal state: Riedel

Resolution of the Kashmir issue would go a long way towards making Pakistan a more normal state and reducing its preoccupation with India, says CIA veteran Bruce Riedel.

He also suggests a quiet American effort led by President Barack Obama to move the two countries towards an agreement.

In his new book Avoiding Armageddon, published by HarperCollins, Riedel, who was a senior adviser to four US presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues, explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America’s affairs with India and Pakistan and their toxic relationship.

Full of riveting details of what went on behind the scenes, and based on extensive research and Riedel’s experience, the book reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis.

“Resolution of the Kashmir issue would also remove a major rationale for the army’s disproportionate role in Pakistani national security affairs; that in turn would help to ensure survival of genuine civilian democratic rule in the country,” he writes.

Read more » Rediff
http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-kashmir-deal-will-make-pak-a-normal-state-riedel/20130704.htm

Living with Jihadistan – Parthasarathy reviews Avoiding Armageddon

Books by American academics, officials and journalists on India and Pakistan almost invariably portray reluctance of the authors to call a spade a spade. They underplay the serious global implications of Pakistan’s links with radical Islamist terrorist groups and the dangerous role of these groups within Pakistan and beyond its borders, particularly in India and Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel is different. He is an American specialist on the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, with 29 years’ experience in the CIA. He has also served four presidents in the White House.

Riedel’s new book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, is a colourful and interesting account of the imperatives, twists and turns of America’s policies, especially since the days of World War II and the subsequent partition of the sub-continent in August 1947. While the birth pangs of the partition, the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan conflicts of 1965 and 1971 are covered factually and impartially, it is important for all those interested in the geopolitics of India’s neighbourhood to read and absorb Riedel’s analysis of how the US cultivated Pakistan’s military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, to “bleed” the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In the process, America made Pakistan a playground for radical Islamist groups worldwide, which undermined security and stability within Pakistan and across its entire neighbourhood.

General Zia laid the foundations for Pakistan’s ambitions to make Afghanistan a radical Islamic state and the epicentre for global jihad. Over 80,000 Afghans were armed and trained by the isi during the Zia period, with an aim of ending Afghan territorial claims on Pakistan and eliminating Indian and Soviet influence there, while also making Afghanistan “a real, Islamic State, part of a pan-Islamic revival that will one day win over the Muslims of the Soviet Union”. Riedel reveals how General Zia used the Afghan conflict for carrying his enthusiasm for jihad into Jammu and Kashmir, following a secret meeting with Kashmiri Jamat-e-Islami leader Maulana Abdul Bari in 1980. Riedel also reveals Zia’s role in fomenting terrorism in Punjab in the 1980s. He exposes US duplicity in rewarding Pakistan in the 1980s, by deliberately turning a blind eye to its nuclear weapons programme.

Riedel explains how short-sighted American policies promoted Wahhabi-oriented radicalisation in a nuclear-armed Pakistan. These policies also increased the dominance of the army, weakening democratic institutions. They led to the emergence of global links between radical Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and their counterparts across the world. The Kargil conflict is discussed in detail, as is the military standoff that followed the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. Riedel is unsparing on the links of the isi with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He dwells on the nexus between isi-supported terrorist groups like the let and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, with the Taliban and with groups like the al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The book commences with the 26/11 terrorist strike on Mumbai. The actions of the let and its chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and their terrorist links are clinically analysed. Riedel describes how the tentacles of the ISI extend from the let to the Taliban and jihadi groups worldwide.

Riedel spells out two nightmare scenarios. The first is a takeover of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons by terrorists. The second nightmare he alludes to is a 26/11-type terrorist attack leading to nuclear escalation, after an angered India responds militarily.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/parthasarathy-reviews-avoiding-armageddon/1/277746.html

Why they killed Arif Shahid

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

On the evening of May 13, an assassin stepped out of a car that had just driven to the doorstep of Sardar Arif Shahid’s residence in Rawalpindi.

He waited for the 62-year-old Kashmiri leader to arrive. After pumping four bullets into him, the killer calmly got back into the car and was whisked away.

A major Kashmiri nationalist leader, chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and president of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC), had just been silenced. Mysteriously, a press that thrives on crime reporting was mum the next day. The murder still remains unreported.

My first meeting with Arif Shahid was just a few days after the October 8, 2005 earthquake. It had nothing to do with the politics of Kashmir. A team of teachers and students from Quaid-e-Azam University, using money raised by the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation, were engaged in a relief operation that was to last many months.

There were already 90,000 dead, and thousands of houses had been reduced to rubble. Winter was around the corner and countless more people would die unless they could be protected from the snow and bitter cold nights to come.

For our team, Arif Shahid was a gift from heaven because of his close familiarity with the villages around the earthquake devastated towns of Rawalakot, Bagh and Muzzafarabad. The number of shelterless families in dire need was staggering.

But how could strangers like us separate the needy from the scores of hucksters swarming around? We had enough wherewithal to construct 2,000 corrugated tin-roof shelters — a drop in the bucket, perhaps, but still significant if apportioned properly.

With perspicacity and determination, Arif Shahid set about the task of separating the needy from the greedy and patiently walked us around the worst-hit areas.

Gruff only in appearance, he was warm, caring and friendly. We noted with some amusement that, although Islamabad was just a few tens of miles away, he would invariably introduce us to groups of survivors as honourable guests from Pakistan!

Who killed him? As in the case of Saleem Shahzad, fingers will inevitably be pointed but there will be no closure. At the same time, the mystery is not impossible to fathom.

Family members, and others close to Arif Shahid, say that he had long been under observation and books that he had authored were seized.

As one who had successfully brought together fractious groups from both sides of Kashmir, he was considered especially effective as a mediator. In 2009, he had therefore been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) and his passport had been confiscated. It was later returned after he won a court battle.

Speakers at a small protest meeting that I attended in Rawalpindi a few days after the murder said that he had received threats that, for now, he had decided to ignore.

Significantly, this appears to be the first instance where a major Kashmiri nationalist leader was actually eliminated. Arousing suspicion is that there has been no condemnation of the murder by Pakistani political and military leaders, nor a demand that an investigation be launched. Instead, Amer Shahid, Arif Shahid’s son, has been threatened with dire consequences if he attempts to place the blame on any agency. He has been instructed to attribute the murder to a family feud.

Continue reading Why they killed Arif Shahid

Chinese cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

Chinese worker cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

By

MUZAFFARABAD: Authorities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday cleared a Chinese man accused of committing blasphemy by desecrating a Quran, officials said.

Lee Ping, the administration manager of a Chinese consortium building a major hydropower project, was accused on May 17 of throwing the Islamic holy book on the ground, prompting hundreds of workers to attack his company offices.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the 180 million population are Muslims. Even unproven allegations can spark a violent and sometimes deadly public response.

Police took Lee into protective custody at a secret location after protests erupted at the company offices near Muzaffarabad, the main town of the disputed Himalayan region, but on Thursday he was cleared.

“Police investigation has cleared the Chinese worker of desecration of Quran charges,” cabinet minister Matloob Inqalabi told reporters.

Continue reading Chinese cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

Pakistani prisoner attacked in Indian jail dies: hospital official

NEW DELHI: Sanaullah Haq, the Pakistani prisoner who was attacked in an India prison in Jammu last week, died in the Chandigarh Hospital on Thursday, DawnNews reported.

Read more » DAWN
http://beta.dawn.com/news/812842/pakistani-prisoner-attacked-in-indian-jail-dies-hospital-official

Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

By Ayyaz Mallick |

Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Noam Chomsky, is without doubt the most widely heard and read public intellectual alive today. Although trained in linguistics, he has written on and extensively critiqued a wide range of topics, including US foreign policy, mainstream media discourses and anarchist philosophy. Chomsky’s work in linguistics revolutionised the field and he has been described as the ‘father of modern linguistics‘. Professor Chomsky, along with other luminaries such as Howard Zinn and Dr Eqbal Ahmad, came into prominence during the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and has since spoken in support of national liberation movements (and against US imperialism) in countries such as Palestine, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In fact, his prolificacy in terms of academic and non-academic writing has earned him a spot among the ten most cited sources of all time (alongside Aristotle, Marx and Plato). Now in his mid-80s, Professor Chomsky shows no signs of slowing down and maintains an active lecturing and interview schedule. Here we caught up with him to get his views on upcoming Pakistani elections, American influence in the region and other issues.

As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another?

Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted.

Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power?

NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem.

Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important.

And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir.

And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem.

Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy?

NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development.

Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan.

In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc.

NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif’s] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism.

In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships.

As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment?

NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them.

Continue reading Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

Kashmir is a Lost Case for Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

India and Pakistan have been dueling with each other since 1947 for accession or occupation of Kashmir. Both are stuck up on the line of control ever since and presumably would remain so in the future as well. The Kashmiri nation, ethnically different from the people of Pakistan and India cannot travel across the artificial border.

India makes a legal case for her occupation of Kashmir by citing the agreement reached with the Dogra monarch Hari Singh ruling Kashmir at the time of partition. Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir is based upon the partition formula stipulating that the majority of the religious population would be basic criterion for a state to join either India or Pakistan.

In simple terms it means Muslims majority areas to join Pakistan and the Hindus majority areas with India. India’s claim for annexation of Kashmir is based upon the then monarch of Kashmir Hari Singh’s hasty accession to India.

Because of the unrelenting insurgency and continuous internal unrest in the Indian occupied part of Kashmir, India started deploying security forces through 1990s under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act ( AFSPA) that continue to remain camped on the Indian side of Kashmir ever since. Lately their number has reached 700,000. This is the highest number of armed forces deployment by any country in the post world war in the disputed territories.

The stationing of such massive military presence is a counterpoise to the Pakistan much smaller military deployment in Pakistan’s controlled Kashmir. The deployment of Indian military and para military forces is aimed at suppressing any riots and internal liberation movements launched by the freedom fighters from time to time. The Indian army has been accused of gross human right violation and perpetration of civilian casualties.

Continue reading Kashmir is a Lost Case for Pakistan

A perfect day for democracy – By Arundhati Roy

WASN’T it? Yesterday I mean. Spring announced itself in Delhi. The sun was out, and the law took its course. Just before breakfast, Afzal Guru, prime accused in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, was secretly hanged, and his body was interred in Tihar jail.

Was he buried next to Maqbool Butt? (The other Kashmiri who was hanged in Tihar in 1984. Kashmiris will mark that anniversary on Monday.)

Afzal’s wife and son were not informed. “The authorities intimated the family through speed post and registered post,” the Home Secretary told the press. “The Director General of J&K police has been told to check whether they got it or not.”

No big deal, they’re only the family of a Kashmiri terrorist.

In a moment of rare unity the nation, or at least its major political parties, the Congress, the BJP and the CPM, came together as one (barring a few squabbles about ‘delay’ and ‘timing’) to celebrate the triumph of the rule of law.

The conscience of the nation, which broadcasts live from TV studios these days, unleashed its collective intellect on us — the usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts. Even though the man was dead and gone, like cowards that hunt in packs, they seemed to need each other to keep their courage up. Perhaps because deep inside themselves they know that they all colluded to do something terribly wrong.

Continue reading A perfect day for democracy – By Arundhati Roy

The Alafis in Sindh

By Salman Rashid

he Alafi tribe of western Hejaz were among the earlier converts to Islam. Since before 680 CE, a large body of them frequently travelled back and forth between their country and Makran. Now, Makran at that time seems to have been very much like modern day Fata. Though part of the kingdom of Sindh under Raja Chach, it appears to have been only loosely held with a substantial foreign element running wild in the country.

In 684, when Abdul Malik bin Marwan took over as caliph, his deputy in Iraq, Hujaj bin Yusuf, appointed one Saeed of the family Kilabi to Makran. The man was entrusted with collecting money from this country as well as neighbouring regions wherever he could exercise pressure.

Somewhere in Kirman on his way east, Saeed met with one Safahwi Hamami. The Chachnama is not explicit about this man, but gives the understanding that while he had “no army under (him)”, he was nevertheless a man of significant social standing. The man may, therefore, have been a merchant.

Continue reading The Alafis in Sindh

‘What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India’

New Delhi: Pakistan is a “fake” country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the “bogus two-nation theory”, Press Council of India Chairman Justice (retd) Markandey Katju said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The former Chief Justice of India was confident that in next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite and a strong, powerful, secular and modern minded government would come to power.

He condemned the recent war hysteria created by media in the wake of beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistanis troops in a cross LoC attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

“First of all let me tell you one thing Pakistan is no country. It’s a fake country, it’s artificially created country by the British who had the policy of divide and rule by starting this bogus two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims have two separate nations,” he said at a panel discussion here.

“And we are fools and were taken for a ride by the Britishers. Same artificial entity Pakistan was created. What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India,” he said at the discussion on “Fuelling Indo-Pak Crisis: Mutilation or the media” at Delhi University.

Continue reading ‘What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India’

Top Pak scientist warns of extremist threat to n-weapons

By Hasan Suroor

Pakistani nuclear scientist Pervez Hoodbhoy has spoken of growing fears in Pakistan that its nuclear arsenal could be “hijacked” by extremists as a result of “increasing radicalisation” of the Army.

He said such fears were initially expressed mostly in the west but were now widely shared within Pakistan after “repeated” extremist attacks on Army installations, including the ISI headquarters in Lahore. These could not have taken place without “some sort of inside information”.

“There’s a fair degree of concern that because of increasing radicalisation of Pakistani Army, the country’s nuclear weapons could be hijacked by extremists,” he said speaking to a group of Indian journalists at the launch of his book, Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani & Indian Scientists Speak Out, a collection of essays by Indian and Pakistani scientists who believe that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the two countries was “undesirable” and had put the entire subcontinent in danger.

Mr. Hoodbhoy, who has often been a target of the Pakistani establishment, said Pakistan’s nuclear capability had given a new dimension to its campaign against India. Islamabad saw it as a “counter-force” to overcome India’s military superiority and was providing a “nuclear umbrella” to jihadis engaged in anti-India activities.

Pervez Hoodbhoy interview: The Mumbai massacres and Pakistan’s new nightmares

“If Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons, Kargil would not have happened. My contention is that it was the first instance that nuclear weapons actually caused a war, ‘’ he said.

Warning of continued jihadi threat to India, he said: “Today India is faced with a very difficult situation because jihadis are still operating in Pakistan with the sanction of the state and they are provided cover by the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons.”

Continue reading Top Pak scientist warns of extremist threat to n-weapons

Indians, Pakistanis spread ‘peace-mongering’ at global vigil

New York: Amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, people from both nations settled in the US came together here to spread the message of “peace-mongering” at a ‘global peace vigil’ where they appealed to governments to engage in dialogue to resolve disputes.

The ‘India-Pakistan Peace Now Global Vigil’ was held yesterday across cities including Boston, Karachi, Lahore, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Toronto and Washington.

In New York, the vigil was held at Union Square near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and was attended by people of Indian and Pakistani origin, who stressed on the message of “peace-mongering instead of war-mongering.”

People participating in the vigil called for the need to ratchet down tension between India and Pakistan and “toning down the war hype” in the aftermath of the killing of soldiers along the Line of Control earlier this month.

People held banners that read, ‘Hope for peace’, ‘Down with war-hype’, ‘India-Pakistan friends across LoC’ and ‘Stay the peace course.’

“It makes no sense for India and Pakistan to have the level of tension we have now. A friendlier neighbourhood would be good for both countries. It does no good for Pakistan to have tension with a neighbour like India and for India to have an unstable neighbour in Pakistan,” organiser of the vigil here Ibrahim Sajid Malick said.

Beena Sarwar, a journalist from Pakistan based in Cambridge and one of the organisers of the vigil in Boston, said people from both nations have felt a “disconnect” between the “media hype” and at the people to people level over the tension between India and Pakistan.

Nearly 50 people participated in the event organised near Harvard University by the South Asia Centre, Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia, Harvard South Asian Association and Harvard Kennedy School South Asia Caucus.

A moment of silence was held for soldiers killed on both sides of the LoC as people called for an “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” dialogue process between the two nations.

Sarwar said among messages that people sought to spread through the vigil was that it is time that the governments and armies of both nations listened to the voice of the people rather than trying to lead the people into war mongering.

People do not want war,” she said.

Continue reading Indians, Pakistanis spread ‘peace-mongering’ at global vigil

Beheading soldiers is not a Pakistani monopoly. Karan Thapar in the Hindustan Times when the Indian Army too beheaded Pakistan soldiers and displayed their heads as trophies.

The lines of control

By Karan Thapar

The beheading of an Indian soldier on the LoC and the mutilation of another were undoubtedly unacceptable and unpardonable. This was barbaric behaviour. The anger and revulsion it’s provoked is understandable. There’s no denying that. However, there’s one question we need to ask but mainly failed to raise. Have we ever been guilty of similar behaviour ourselves?

From what I can tell the answer seems to be yes. On the 10th, The Hindu reported that last year, during a skirmish at Karnah, “Indian Special Forces responded by attacking a Pakistani forward post, killing several soldiers, and by the account of one military official which The Hindu could not corroborate independently, beheaded two.”

What makes this claim credible is that it’s reported by military sources who not only ought to know but would not denigrate the reputation of Indian soldiers.

Alas, there’s more evidence. This time from eye-witnesses.

In her ‘Confessions of a War Reporter’, published in June 2001 by Himal, a well-known Nepalese magazine, Barkha Dutt recounted how she witnessed a decapitated Pakistani soldier’s head at Kargil. This is what she wrote: “I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right … “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw. It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly.”

Harinder Baweja, the editor (Investigation) of this paper, witnessed something similar. This is the account from her book A Soldier’s Diary, Kargil — The Inside Story: “The experiences of 18 Garhwal show another side of the war … one of them took out his knife and slit the head of a Pakistani soldier in one stroke. The head was sent to Brigade Headquarters at Drass and pinned to a tree trunk … the enemy head, a grisly trophy, became an exhibition piece. Major General Puri came down from Mughalpura to see it. Other officers dropped in to Brigade Headquarters to take a look. So did some journalists … it was there pinned on the tree for anyone who could bear to look at it.”

Continue reading Beheading soldiers is not a Pakistani monopoly. Karan Thapar in the Hindustan Times when the Indian Army too beheaded Pakistan soldiers and displayed their heads as trophies.

Reunification of India and Pakistan only solution to Kashmir: Markandey Katju

NEW DELHI: Press Council of India (India) chairperson justice Markandey Katju today said that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong and “modern-minded” government which will not tolerate bigotry.

“The cause of the Kashmir problem is the partition of India on a totally bogus basis – the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations….I don’t recognise Pakistan as a legitimate country because the whole basis is the two nation theory and I don’t accept the two nation theory,” he said.

Continue reading Reunification of India and Pakistan only solution to Kashmir: Markandey Katju

Islamic militants threaten war on Pakistan over Kashmir

Islamic militants fighting Indian forces in Kashmir will declare war on Pakistan if it weakens its traditional support for their jihad, their senior leader has warned.

By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

Syed Salahuddin, leader of the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of Kashmiri militant groups which includes the Lashkar e Taiba, said they had been fighting “Pakistan’s war in Kashmir” but Islamabad now cares more about trade than jihad.

“We (militants) are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir and if it withdraws its support, the war would be fought inside Pakistan,” he said in an interview with the Arab News.

His threat emerged as India and Pakistan’s leaders prepare for talks in Islamabad on Monday on proposals to withdraw their troops from the disputed Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield close to the Line of Control which divides Kashmir.

Salahuddin and other Kashmiri militant leaders fear Pakistan’s leaders will withdraw its long-standing support for the military strikes against Indian forces in Kashmir as part of its diplomatic campaign to reduce trade barriers and ease movement between the old enemies.

Pakistan’s readiness to grant ‘Most-Favoured Nation’ trading status to India and the opening of new ‘cross-border’ trade routes in Kashmir had sent a message to insurgent leaders like his Hizbul Mujahideen that “Pakistan wants business with India.” Pakistan has long used group’s like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar e Toiba as part of its proxy war with India over control of Kashmir, with military protection for their training camps in ‘Azad’ or ‘Free’ Kashmir.

Continue reading Islamic militants threaten war on Pakistan over Kashmir

Pakistan Splits: The birth of Bangladesh – By J R Saigal

About the Book

Description: Hard Bound, It is for the first time that a book has come out by a senior officer of the 1 Corps in the Western Sector, Shakargarh Region, where the Strike Corps of Indian Army fought its war. As a participant of war, Col. Saigal, analyses 1971 Indo Pak war in his book, and indirectly enables one to have the reasons for Kargil misadventure of the Pak Army. We get a good factual knowledge of Pakistan Army and why it is in the present shape. This book is unique in so far as it gives the insight into Sam Manekshaw’s personality- a fine soldier who has been misunderstood as also of the real liberator of Bangladesh, Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh, about whom very little is known. While narrating the facts of 1971 Indio-Pak war he very rightly spells out a question-Pakistan was spilt while the country had a General at the helm of state of affairs. Will the country be split again with a General at the helm of affairs-a pointer, he argues-as it is not in the interest of Pakistan and India both If a further split occurs, It will be in the interest of foreign powers.

Courtesy: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=182036138&cm_ven=Twitter&cm_cat=TYShare&cm_pla=link&cm_ite=TYShare

Why don’t the Pakistani Judiciary/ Memo Commission believe Mansoor Ijaz on Hafiz Saeed

WASHINGTON, Nov 3: A senior US official responsible for counter- terrorism on Tuesday directly accused Pakistan of supporting training of militant groups in Afghanistan as well as providing “material support” to some of the Kashmiri militants. “There are numerous Kashmiri separatist groups and sectarian groups involved in terrorism which use Pakistan as a base…We have repeatedly asked Islamabad to end support of terrorist training in Afghanistan,” Michael Sheehan, State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, told a Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee. The sub-committee hearing was called and presided over by Senator Sam Brownback and the list of experts who testified included a former CIA officer in Pakistan Milt Bearden, president of Stimson Centre Michael Krepon, John Hopkins University Central Asia Institute chairman Dr Fredrick Starr and a Pakistani- American businessman and columnist Mansoor Ijaz. …..

Read more » ChagataiKhan

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.ca/2012/02/hafiz-saeeds-memory-loss-on-osama.html

Why India can’t give up Siachen

By: Vikram Sood

The nation cannot afford to repeat the strategic mistakes of the past — like halting our advance at Uri in 1948 or not capturing Skardu; or giving up Haji Pir in 1966; or returning 93,000 troops and territory in 1972

The strategic advantage accruing to India in Siachen should not be given up for apparent short-term political gains. Giving up Siachen as a gesture of friendship would also mean that its recapture would be extremely expensive to India in men and material, says Vikram Sood.

Continue reading Why India can’t give up Siachen

Gen. Kayani rules out Pakistan’s unilateral withdrawal from Siachen

Should discuss all disputes including Siachen with India: COAS Kayani

Excerpts;

…. Talking to media, after reviewing search operation underway to bring out 139 martyred troops in Gayari sector buried under tons of snow, he said Pakistan was open to talks with India to de-militarize Siachen. ….

… COAS also made it clear that army was protecting country’s borders on Siachen. ….

…. To a question, he said Siachen was an enormous burden on the taxpayers of both the neighbours.

“Siachen consumes a mammoth amount of national exchequer, which must be diverted to the people of both countries respectively”, said Gen Kayani. ….

…. To a question, he refused to comment on PML-N’s Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement on Siahcen.

Sharif in a statement on Tuesday had exhorted Pakistan and Indian governments to withdraw their troops from Siachen sector and resolve the issue through dialogues.

Read more » Geo Tv

Curfew continues in Gilgit Kidnappers free 34 hostages

By Farooq Ahmed Khan

GILGIT, April 10: Thirty-four people kidnapped from Hunza on April 3 in the wake of violence and bloodshed in Gilgit and Chilas were released on Tuesday as a result of successful talks between kidnappers and cleric Aga Rahat ul Hussain, police said.

Member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Deedar Ali Shah said the 34 hostages had been released unconditionally.

The kidnapped men — the district health officer, a civil judge, truck drivers, cleaners and labourers working in flour mills — had been taken to Nagar valley.

On Tuesday, they were brought to Gilgit where they were received by the deputy speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, home secretary, finance secretary and the DIG. …

Read more » DAWN.COM