China has developed and successfully tested a highly accurate laser defense system against light drones. The homemade machine boasts a two-kilometer range and can down “various small aircraft” within five seconds of locating its target.
RAF Typhoon jets are scrambled to a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft carrying 297 passengers and escort it to Stansted.
RAF fighter jets have escorted a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft from Manchester Airport to Stansted Airport. The airline has confirmed it is for security reasons. There are understood to be 297 passengers on board who were travelling from Lahore.
The plane was heading west towards Manchester when it was suddenly re-routed near York and headed back out to the North Sea, before travelling south to Stansted. It is believed to have now landed at the airport. An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “An incident has occurred on an aircraft. Police and partners are responding.”
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ISLAMABAD: Six JF-17 Thunder fighters of the Pakistan Air Force will escort the aircraft of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as it enters Pakistani air space on Wednesday, at the start of his two-day State visit.The JF-17s — a symbol of deep Sino-Pakistan friendship – will guide the special Air China Boeing 747 aircraft of the Chinese dignitary to the Nur Khan Air Base, where a 21-gun salute will herald his arrival.
ATTOCK: Unknown militants launched an armed attack on Kamrah airbase in the wee hours of Thursday where fierce gun-battle is underway while blasts are also being heard intermittently at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) facility, Geo News reported.
There is a report of loss of life from both sides in the incident but it still remains unconfirmed.
According to Geo News correspondent, Saleh Zafir the army has been called out while the Pak army’s 111-brigade has already made it to the site of the incident to take part in the operation.
Sources told Geo News that the militants stormed the base from Pind Salman Makhan at 2:30 AM Thursday.
The sound of loud blasts at the base suggests that the militants are making use of the hand grenades they had on them as they made their way into the facility.
Sources also said that the security forces have managed to stop further advancement of the assailants into the base and presently an armed encounter between the two sides is underway.
The possible aim of the attack could be to cause damage to the parked aircraft of Pakistan Air Force or to hold the personnel present at the base hostage.
The attack is similar to that of Karachi Naval Base, PNS Mehran which took place on May 22, 2011. The militants had killed several Naval personnel besides destroying two P-3C Orion aircraft.
Reports claim American supership USS Enterprise is in Pak territorial waters
By Shafqat Ali
US moves its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, into Pakistani territorial waters near Gwadar, media reports said.
“The US has moved its biggest aircraft carrier 65 to 70 nautical miles away from Gwadar in the second week of June”, a Pakistani television channel reported.
The USS Enterprise, which holds a crew of over 4,000, had taken part in several wars.
The move comes as relations between Pakistan and the US have touched new lows. Pakistan has refused to reopen Nato supply through infuriating the US.
The Pak-US relations have never recovered to normal since the killing of Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year. The killing of 26 Pakistani soldiers by the Nato forces in November further dented the ties.
“After the deployment of the aircraft in Pakistani sea the country’s security agencies are now investigating into the matter. The movement apparently shows the increasing interest of the US in Balochistan province of Pakistan”, another channel reported.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon plans to soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy.
The move to introduce new small drones seeks to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, the report said.
Errant drone strikes have been blamed for killing and injuring scores of civilians throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, giving the US government a black eye as it targets elusive terrorist groups, the newspaper said.
The Predator and Reaper drones deployed in these regions typically carry 100-pound laser-guided Hellfire missiles or 500-pound GPS-guided smart bombs that can reduce buildings to smouldering rubble.
The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets much more quickly by eliminating the need to call in a strike from large drones that may be hundreds of miles away.
“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible”, said William I. Nichols, who led the Army’s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.
The Obama administration, notably the CIA, has long been lambasted by critics for its use of combat drones and carelessly killing civilians in targeted strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
In Islamabad, on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Muazzam Khan said that efforts were underway to mend the strained relationship between Pakistan and the US.
Speaking to reporters at a weekly news briefing, Mr Khan said that the decision to restore the Nato supply route would be made by the political leadership.
The FO spokesman dispelled the impression that Pakistan was raising the tariff on the supply route adding that there were several other issues involved.
“Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used as terrorist safe havens”, he added.
Courtesy: Decan Chronicle
By Shahid Abbasi
Islamabad: Brigadier Ali Khan has been charged with conspiring to launch a strike with F-16 on GHQ during a Core Commanders Conference.
According to TheNewsTribe’s country owned Media Outlet BBC “Ali Khan has been charged on the basis of a claim by Major Sohail Akbar, an eyewitness in the case, in which he claimed the brigadier and some members of Hizb-ut-Tehrir had told him that the General Headquarters would be attacked with F-16 during the Core Commanders Conference or Formation Commanders meeting”
Major Sohail, in his written statement, told the army court that an F-16 pilot deployed at an airbase near Rawalpindi was also involved in the plot.
He added that a plan had also been made to attack US bases and installations of American security company Blackwater inside Pakistan with the same fighter aircraft.
The major admitted that he had been in contact with the members of Hizb-ut-Tehrir for the last seven years. He said that he first met with Brigadier Ali Khan during a meeting with Hizb-ut-Tehrir in July 2010. After that meeting I came to know that Hizb-ut-Tehrir with the help of Brigadier Ali Khan wanted to revolt against civilian and military leadership.
Major Sohail further claims Ali Khan told him that he would lead the array of armed people.
Major Sohail added that he had refused to take part in the conspiracy due to violence in the plan as Hizb-ut-Tehrir declared bloodshed as ‘haram’.
Earlier, Pakistan Army has begun court martial against its five officers, including Brigadier Ali Khan for their alleged links with a banned organisation Hizb-ut-Tehreer.
Sources said that the Court Martial proceedings against Brig Khan and four other officers started at the Sialkot Garrison on charges of having links with the proscribed outfit.
The sources said that the Court Martial was ordered after completion of summery of evidence against the army officers. Brig Ali Khan was arrested four months ago .
Courtesy: The News Tribe
The leading Israeli manufacturer of tankers, aircraft refuelers, fire fighting trucks, armored vehicles and special purpose trailers, Hatehof Ltd., reportedly provides Pakistan’s Air Force with military equipment under a clandestine contract.
Nearly a month ago, 11 aircraft refueling trucks departed Hatehof’s plant in the Tzippori industrial zone in Galilee region, situated 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) northwest of Nazareth, for the Port of Ashdod, located about 40 kilometers (24 miles) south of Tel Aviv, in the dead of the night.
The trucks were later boarded on a cargo ship in the Ashdod Port and dispatched to Turkey from where they were transported to Pakistan, according to a recent report aired on Israel’s Channel 2 television network.
The report comes as the Israeli firm has sent several convoys of aircraft refueling trucks to Pakistan in order to equip the Muslim states’ Air Force.
Under an agreement reached between Hatehof Ltd. and BMC — one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in Turkey, truck chassis are sent to Israel to be converted into aircraft refueling trucks for Pakistan’s Air Force.
Courtesy: Press Tv
Time to teach those around South China Sea a lesson
By Long Tao
No South China Sea issue existed before the 1970s. The problems only occured after North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1976 and China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands then became the new country’s target.
Unfortunately, though hammered by China in the 1974 Xisha Island Battle and later the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, Vietnam’s insults in the South China Sea remained unpunished today. It encouraged nearby countries to try their hands in the “disputed” area and attracted the attention of the US so that a regional conflict gradually turned international.
China, concentrating on interior development and harmony, has been ultimately merciful in preventing such issue turning into a global affair so that regional peace and prosperity can be secured.
But it is probably the right time for us to reason, think ahead and strike first before things gradually run out of hands.
It seems all the countries around the area are preparing for an arms race.
Singapore brings home high-end stealth aircraft while Australia, India and Japan are all stockpiling arms for a possible “world-class” battle. ….
Read more » Global Times
– by Harris Bin Munawar
When America’s top military official hinted at direct US action in the tribal region where it believes Pakistan shelters and works with the anti-American Haqqani Network, among the first to respond was the network’s top leader. “The US would suffer more losses in the North Waziristan Agency than they did in Afghanistan,” Sirajuddin Haqqani said, daring the US to send its troops into the tribal region that the Pakistani army itself has refused to enter.
This means: 1. His network is entrenched in North Waziristan 2. It is their responsibility to defend the agency 3. They would prefer to do so over several years in Afghanistan-style guerrilla warfare
Pakistan Army says it is not ready to take on the influential pro-Taliban leader, effectively giving up a claim on the territory he controls.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani says a raid on the Haqqani Network would be an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty, as if the defence of North Waziristan has been outsourced to the Haqqanis.
Prone to the drone:
If Pakistan Army indeed lacks capacity, or will, to reclaim North Waziristan where Afghan insurgents are believed to hide, regroup and plan new attacks, that means it has no effective control over the region.
Pakistan says that: 1. Its army does not have the means or resources to control that territory 2. The government will lose political credibility if it orders an operation in the North Waziristan 3. Taliban reaction to such an operation will destabilize the entire country
If that is correct, Pakistan has lost de facto control over the area and it cannot claim sovereignty. That gives the US a justification to go after its enemies itself. And that is what the US does with missile attacks by unmanned aircraft.
A government that has been holding tribes collectively responsible for violations committed by their individual members has no moral authority to suddenly invoke modern notions of justice or mourn the death of innocent civilians who shelter the Taliban.
So little leverage:
If Pakistan is collaborating with, or supporting, or merely avoiding confrontation with a group it has long-standing ties with, a group it believes or hopes will have a significant role in the post-US Afghanistan, there is no reason it will stop doing that for an ally that is about to leave the battlefield.
Washington wants to put its foot down. It wants Pakistan to stop supporting its enemies. But “the problem is”, security analyst Caroline told Reuters, “we have so little leverage”. Because:
1. America cannot engage in a long-term battle inside Pakistan with its economy worsening, troops thinning, and a complete withdrawal from the region already announced
2. It has no identifiable target in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network does not have too much of a stationary central command that it could attack
3. Now that they are expecting an attack, members of the group will disperse
4. If the IsI is supporting the Haqqani Network, killing one or two of its leaders will not significantly hurt the group’s capability to attack US interests
What can America do?
1. The US can make a May 2 style incursion into Pakistan and go after the top leader of the Haqqani Network. After his father Jalaluddin Haqqani’s retirement, Sirajuddin the most influential insurgent figure in that region. But the impact of his killing might not be more than that of the killing of Osama bin Laden
2. It can make a number of simultaneous raids under air cover on several key targets in North Waziristan – people or buildings that might include Pakistan Army’s check-posts. Like the May 2 raid, the legitimacy of the operation will depend on how successful it is
3. The US can carry out a series of individual strikes followed by periods of calm. That way it will continue to meet its goals and embarrass the Pakistan Army, while making sure the tipping point is never reached
4. Washington can impose an economic embargo on Pakistan, stop all aid, freeze its accounts and declare the ISI a terrorist organisation. It can also use its influence on international agencies to end all aid and loan programs to Pakistan. That will be deathblow to Pakistan’s ailing economy
5. It can increase drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and take out targets with virtual impunity
Neither of these steps is new or extraordinary, and neither of these steps will dramatically reverse the US predicament in Afghanistan.
What can Pakistan do?
Any US move against Pakistan does not have to be new or extraordinary to hurt Pakistan. Pakistan Army has influenced public opinion in the past to create an anti-America feeling that it can then cite to seek concessions from the US. In doing that, it has entrenched itself into a position where it will have no choice but to respond to a US strike.
As an immediate response, Pakistan can:
1. Retaliate and fire at intruding US aircraft or men. Claims have been made that Pakistan can shoot down predator drones, but it is less likely Pakistan can detect and attack US fighter aircraft. The Osama bin Laden raid has also raised doubts about Pakistan’s ability to detect and attack intruding helicopters
2. Carry out a delayed but full-fledged counter-attack on US bases in Afghanistan that it believes were used in attacks on its soil. That may lead to a US counter-counter-attack and an all out war. How long can Pakistan sustain that war is an important question
3. Increase attacks on US interests through any Taliban factions or other insurgent groups that are ready to support Pakistan. If Sirajuddin Haqqani has made an offer to defend North Waziristan, the Pakistani military might take them up on that. Sooner or later, the US will withdraw anyway. But is there a guarantee these groups will not go rogue like many in the past? Can a modern Pakistani republic reconcile with their version of the Muslim faith?
4. Step back and start an operation in North Waziristan. But with the US leaving, will Pakistan want to alienate its supporters in Afghanistan? One way to deal with the problem is to continue the policy Pakistan is accused of. The army can hide key figures of the network and then conduct a fake operation for several months until the US is pressured by its politics or economics to leave the region. But then, how will Pakistan deal with the network and reclaim its territory after the US leaves?
5. Not retaliate with a military move, and just end diplomatic ties with the US, losing a key source of aid. Closing down NATO supply routes will hurt the US immediately. But if the supplies are stopped for too long, the US will find new, although more expensive, ways to get supplies to Kabul. If that happens, Pakistan would have burned up a very important advantage.
6. Go to China for help. China’s key security officials came to Pakistan last week. Pakistani analysts saw that as a sign of support. But the Chinese delegation is on a scheduled visit to discuss terrorists hiding in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas that fight against China in its Xinjiang province. It is not likely China support Pakistan on some of the possible plans we have discussed. Nor is it in China’s interest to jump into a US-Pakistan conflict.
Can Pakistan sustain a war?
Opinion leaders in Pakistan believe the resource-rich republic can sustain confrontation with a defeated US empire. Such self-deception has cost Pakistan dearly in the past. Let us look at the key resources needed in a war:
Troops: Pakistan does not have enough troops to guard both the Indian and Afghan border. We have grouped India with the US as a matter of policy, and will have to pay for that by being sandwiched between two hostile neighbours
Weapons: The weapons and equipment used by Pakistan Army come from the US and its allies. That means we will soon run out of ammunition and cannot repair or service the equipment
Money: Pakistan’s economy cannot pay for a war, especially after an embargo by the US. Hit by floods two years in a row, suffering from an energy crisis, cash-strapped because of huge government spending, and dependent on foreign aid, how long will its money last?
Communications network: Pakistan’s communication system can not bear the burden of war with a dysfunctional railways. With engine shortages and trains stopped half way for up to 20 hours because there is no diesel, how will Pakistan fight a war?
Intelligence: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are to be believed, they had no clue about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in Pakistan, a planned US raid to kill him, or even about the activities of Raymond Davis and CIA contractors like him. On the contrary, it is accused of targeting journalists who there is a general consensus are not American agents. Pakistan’s intelligence network does not look like it is ready to fight a war
Diplomatic support: Every single country in this region was hurt when Pakistan had influence in Afghanistan the last time. Insurgents from China and Central Asia were sheltered and trained in Afghanistan, Iran was unhappy because tens of thousands of Shias were massacred, and India was among the victims of guerrilla warriors too. The International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is asking for former ISI chief Gen Javed Nasir. Who in the region will support Pakistan in its battle to control Afghanistan?
Domestic politics: Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic and political battles in the crime-infested economic hub Karachi, Punjab is suffering from a new epidemic, Sindh is submerged in floods, Balochistan is fighting an insurgency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dysfunctional because of terrorism. Pakistan’s domestic situation is less than ideal for a war.
by Selig S. Harrison
China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.
Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.
In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …
Read more : The National Interest
Pakistan plans to buy more F-16s
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: Pakistan is trying to purchase used F-16 fighter jets from the United States to enhance its air capabilities, diplomatic sources told.
“We will take as many as they are willing to give,” said a diplomatic source when asked how many of these aircraft Pakistan was seeking.
In 2006, the US Congress agreed to give Pakistan 28 F-16C/Ds under its EDA or excess defence articles initiative. Fourteen of these aircraft have already been delivered. …
Read more : DAWN
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While the Security Establishment is blowing up money on F-16s and tanks, here is the current status of Education in Pakistan – Click here
Bin Yameen negotiated peace deal before American missile killed him
Notorious as the ”Butcher of Swat” in the Pakistani military circles for his merciless nature, Al-Qaeda commander Bin Yameen (also known as Ibn-e-Amin) was ready to strike a ceasefire deal with the Pakistani security forces to divert fighting to neighbouring Afghanistan when he was killed last week in an attack by US drone aircraft.
Yameen, the chief of operations in northwest Pakistan’s Awat Valley and the chief of the Tora Bora Brigade, one of the six brigades in Al-Qaeda’s Shadow Army called a meeting of other insurgent commanders but his movement was tracked by American intelligence.
His aim was to broaden operations in the Khyber district as well as in the Afghan province of Nangarhar to close down the NATO supply route.
Bin Yameen’s death has indicated a strange dimension in the South Asian war on terror theatre where American drones have successfully eliminated the big number of the vertical command of Al-Qaeda and its affiliated group leaders, but has developed a new situation in which thousands of freshly trained men have split in to small cliques, after the killings of their commanders. This is the most little known aspect behind the much boasted American drone strike successes in the AfPak war theatre. …
Read more : Asia Despatch