Tag Archives: border

Pakistan, India border guards abandon customary Eid greeting

Pakistan and India border guards will not exchange customary greetings and sweets on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, said a report published on Hindustan Times.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General MF Farooqui confirmed that “there will be no Eid greetings exchanged with Pakistani Rangers on Saturday”, the day Pakistan celebrated the first day of Eidul Fitr.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1195238/

India, Pakistan border fighting intensifies before Obama visit

SRINAGAR, India: (Reuters) – Pakistan accused India of killing four civilians on the border of the two nuclear powers and India said one of its border guards was killed, heightening tensions before a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

India said its forces had killed four Pakistanis planning an attack on Indian soil, although Indian media and opposition parties disputed the official account. The Pakistani army said four civilians had died in Indian shelling.

A senior Indian official with the border security forces said they had retaliated on Monday for machine gun and mortar attacks on about 60 positions strung out along more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) of the border.

“Pakistani rangers fired rocket-propelled grenades in villages near the border and our men have responded,” the officer told Reuters.

Monday’s incidents, in the Samba district south of Jammu along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, followed the killing of two Pakistani soldiers by Indian forces on New Year’s Eve.

As the hostilities intensified, India’s security agencies declared a nationwide alert last week to avoid militant strikes before visits by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama later in January.

Read more » Reuters
Learn more » http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/01/05/india-security-pakistan-idINKBN0KE14A20150105

Why India is planning a new road near the China border

India has unveiled plans to build a mountain road along the disputed border with China in the country’s remote north-east.

The $6.5bn (£4.06bn), 1,800km (1,118 miles) all-weather road will stretch from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state to where the borders of India and China meet with Myanmar.

The road will connect sparsely populated and poorly-connected hill communities living in four large frontier districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

It will also help farmers in the mountainous region to transport their organic crops and medicinal herbs to low-lying and busy markets in neighbouring Assam state.

“This road will not boost our defences but help connect far flung communities for economic development denied to them for so long,” says India’s junior home minister Khiren Rijiju, himself a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.

But Indian military officials say the road will help consolidate Indian defences.

This represents a change in Indian military thinking that has so far opposed developing roads near the border, in case it is used by the Chinese during a conflict for speedy movement inside Indian territory.

The road, however, could could ignite fresh tensions between India and China.

The world’s two most populous countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29639950

Iran issues fresh warning to Pakistan: Deal with terrorists within your borders or we will.

Iran again warns of crossing into Pakistan if border is not secured

Iran issued a veiled threat to Pakistan on Thursday that it might cross the border to contain terrorists if Pakistan fails protect its border and stop terrorists from entering into Iran, Iranian state media reported.

Second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Hossein Salami on Thursday said that border security is a common and pressing need for neighbouring countries. He warned that if any neighbouring country fails to fulfill their obligation to protect their border than Iran will have no choice but to act on its own.

We are, in principle, against intervening in the affairs of any country, but if they fail to abide by their obligations we will have [no choice but] to act,” said Salami, adding that “Terrorists, wherever they may be, even on the soil of neighbouring countries, we will find them, and if they do not give up acts of terrorism, we will deal with them without reservation.”

In May this year, Iranian border guards trespassed three kilometres into Pakistani territory and shot dead a Pakistani citizen while injuring another in the Prom tehsil of Panjgur district in Balochistan.

Iran, on many counts, has threatened to send forces into Pakistani territories.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/776867/iran-again-warns-of-crossing-into-pakistan-if-border-is-not-secured/

Our troops didn’t provoke border tension: China

BEIJING: Sticking to its stand that Chinese troops have not caused any “provocation” by violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China on Thursday said the incident will not affect bilateral ties or disrupt peace at the borders as both sides are trying to resolve it in a friendly manner.

“I do not agree with your allegation that it is the Chinese side that has caused the provocation between the border troops,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said while replying to questions about the intrusion of Chinese troops at the Depsang Valley in Ladakh.

“China’s troops have never crossed the (LAC) line. China and India are neighbours and the boundary is not demarcated yet.

“It is inevitable for problems to prop up in border areas. When there is a problem it should be resolved through friendly consultations though existing mechanisms and channels,” she said.

“We believe this incident can also be handled and will not affect the peace and stability of the border areas as well as the normal development of China and India relations,” she said.

Urging the media to be patient, she said, “We also believe that the two sides continue to solve the issue in a friendly manner and we will not let the issue affect border peace and security and normal development of China-India relations”.

“We hope relevant media can keep patience and create favourable conditions for the two countries to solve this issue through friendly consultations,” she said.

The spokesperson said the situation on the Sino-Indian border is peaceful and stable.

“Just want to tell you that the current situation in the border area is peaceful and stable. Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations.

“In the past three days I have repeatedly stressed China’s point and now I would like to reiterate that Chinese troops have always acted in strict compliance to relevant treaty and protocol between the two countries regarding the protection of security of the areas around the LAC,” she said.

China is committed to peace and security of the border areas as well as the negotiated settlement of the boundary issue left over from history, she said.

Asked about reports that the Chinese troops were insisting on Indian army to remove certain fortifications in that area, she said “since I am not in the frontier, so I do not know the latest development of the situation…Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations”.

Continue reading Our troops didn’t provoke border tension: China

Chinese Troops Set Up Post 10km Inside Ladakh – India Times

By IndiaTimes

NEW DELHI: In yet another deep incursion into Indian territory, Chinese troops apparently made inroads into the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post there this week.

Indian Army officials were, however, not too perturbed about the incursion, holding that it was a common occurrence. “In that area, patrols do have a face-off every now and then due to differing perceptions of where the Line of Actual Control lies. We resolve it through existing consultative border mechanisms,” said a senior officer.

As per reports, a platoon-strength contingent of about 50 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside Indian territory in Burthe in the DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), which mans that stretch of the border, have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.

ITBP has asked for a flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response till now.

The Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that specializes in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China. IAF has in recent years activated advanced landing grounds at DBO and two other places in eastern Ladakh as part of the policy to build military infrastructure along the LAC, in a belated move to counter strategic moves by China in the region.

Courtesy: India Times
http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/chinese-troops-set-up-post-10km-inside-ladakh-73150.html

Skyfall: Dead falcon sparks spying fears on Pakistan-India border

By

JAIPUR: Indian security forces have found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera which has sparked alarm near the country’s highly militarised border with Pakistan, an official said Monday.

The carcass was discovered near the ancient fort city of Jaisalmer in the far west of the desert state of Rajasthan where the Indian armed forces regularly conduct drills and war games.

“It was fitted with some device and an antenna,” a senior Border Security Force officer stationed in the state told AFP by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Suspicions were initially that the bird might have been used for military spying, but the camera did not appear very sophisticated and it might instead have been the work of Pakistani hunters, the official said.

“However, the possibility of it being an espionage attempt from Pakistan cannot be ruled out at this stage,” he said, adding that an investigation was being carried out.

In 2010, Indian police detained a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged spying mission.

Continue reading Skyfall: Dead falcon sparks spying fears on Pakistan-India border

US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran gas pipeline

Pipeline undermines US hegemony in the region

The US has threatened Islamabad with sanctions over Pakistan’s partnership with Iran to construct a section of a gas pipeline. Washington said that the much-delayed $7.5-billion project violates sanctions on Iran, a claim denied by Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan expect the completed pipeline will deliver 21.5 million cubic meters (760,000 million cubic feet) of gas per day to Pakistan from its giant offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf by December 2014.

Iranian contractors will construct the pipeline, which crosses Pakistani territory. Tehran has agreed to lend Islamabad $500 million, one-third of the estimated $1.5 billion cost of the 750-kilometer pipeline, according to Fars news agency.

After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari launched the project on Monday on the Iran-Pakistan Border, the US threatened to respond with sanctions if the project “actually goes forward.”

“We have serious concerns if this project actually goes forward that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, commenting on the so-called ‘peace pipeline.’

Iran has completed 900 kilometers of the pipeline’s segment on its side of the border with Pakistan. Monday’s ceremony marked the beginning of work on the Pakistani segment, which will start at the Iranian town of Chahbahar near the border.

Continue reading US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran gas pipeline

Mujh Mein Hai Tu! – the common capital of India and Pakistan

By: Khuda Bux Abro

It was not just the land that was partitioned. Hearts, minds, behaviours and emotions had been partitioned long before so the final division could be made ‘smoothly’, and it went as smoothly as expected. The ground was pulled from underneath someone’s feet, while the sky was pulled away from another’s head! Millions of people neither belonged here nor there, only those who were to lead the new states remained. The new leaders had not only been involved in dividing the state but also dreamt of ruling the new countries in the name of religion and nationalism. A single announcement managed to create a border that cannot be seen anywhere except in books, files and maps.

It was as if a wall was erected in the courtyard of a large, lively house. Those who lived and played together would sulk one moment and reconcile with each other the next. Their hearts beat together as one. If they liked a certain tune, they all sang it together. If they got drunk, they danced in harmony with each other. Their souls were fragrant with the scent of the soil; their breaths were perfumed with the same culture. But the formation of the wall of hate and treachery neither divided nor affected their breaths, their heartbeats.

It doesn’t matter whether the leaders belong to this side of the wall or to that side. They have always sowed seeds of hatred within the divided hearts of their nation in order to prevent the demolition of the wall erected within their hearts and minds so that not only their rule would be established but their sustenance is guaranteed, as well as their luxuries.

Continue reading Mujh Mein Hai Tu! – the common capital of India and Pakistan

Indian, Pakistani guards exchange Diwali sweets

Amritsar, Nov 13: Border Security Force (BSF) officials Tuesday exchanged sweets with Pakistan Rangers at the India-Pakistan land border check post to mark Diwali.

BSF officials went up to the zero line and offered sweets to their counterparts in Pakistan Rangers. The border check post lies around 30 km from Amritsar.

The Pakistani side also offered sweets to the BSF. Officials from both sides shook hands and greeted each other.

Continue reading Indian, Pakistani guards exchange Diwali sweets

Afghanistan-Pakistan border fighting erupts in Kunar

There is heavy fighting between Afghan and Pakistani forces in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, which borders Pakistan, Afghan officials say.

Fighting started at around 0400 (0030 GMT) following an attack on a border police commander’s convoy, according to border police sources. According to Afghan officials in Kunar, one border policeman was killed and five were injured.

The Afghan authorities have since sent hundreds of troops to the area. The attack was from the Pakistani side of the border in the area of Binshay, Dangam District, Afghan police say.

Afghan officials in Kunar province have told the BBC that both sides have been using heavy and small weapons and a Dangam District tribal elder said the fighting was ongoing.

Continue reading Afghanistan-Pakistan border fighting erupts in Kunar

Pakistani Hindus seek asylum in India – NewsX

NewsX@9 is a NewsX special show which debates the main news event of the day. A group of some 250 Pakistani Hindus were today allowed to cross over to India for a pilgrimage after being detained at the Wagah land border crossing due to a controversy over reports that they planned to migrate to the neighbouring country. The Hindus protested at the Wagah border crossing after they were detained for almost seven hours.

Immigration authorities finally allowed the Hindus to cross the frontier at about 2.30 pm. The kidnapping of a teenage Hindu girl, Manisha Kumari, from Jacobabad city of Sindh province on August 7 had sparked widespread concern in the minority community amidst reports of an exodus of some 250 Hindus from the region. Confusion surrounded the travel plans of the Hindus from Sindh and Balochistan. Some TV news channels reported they had decided to migrate to India because of forced conversions, extortion and kidnapping. So we debate today – Why are minorities unsafe in Pakistan? We debate the question on the show and try to evolve consensus among our panelists over the issue. Watch this NewsX special NewsX@9.

Courtesy: NewsX » YouTube

India, US learning from Israel’s border security

By YAAKOV KATZ

Growing number of countries flock to Israel to study construction of Egypt border fence;

A growing number of countries are flocking to Israel to study border security as the Defense Ministry works to complete the construction of a physical and technological barrier along the Egyptian border.

In August, a delegation from India will arrive to study the various technologies used by the IDF to secure the borders with the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Egypt, and which could be implemented as part of India’s own fence with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The interest in Israeli border security has spiked since Israel began constructing a barrier along its border with Egypt to stem terrorism and infiltrations by illegal migrants. The Defense Ministry and IDF have so far completed about 150 km, of the fence; plans are to complete the remainder by the end of the year.

The fence is 5 meters in height and layered with barbed wire. It is supported by dozens of radars that are deployed along the border to issue alerts about possible crossings while the potential infiltrators are still kilometers away.

Israel’s primary concern is with the growing number of terror attacks along the border. Last week, shots were fired at a bus carrying IDF soldiers. While there was damage to the bus, no one was wounded. On June 18, terrorists crossed into Israel from Sinai and killed an Israeli contractor working on the border fence, while last August eight Israelis were killed in a cross-border attack.

India is interested in beefing up its border security to prevent future incidents like the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

The Indian press reported Sunday on a tunnel that had been discovered under the border with Pakistan in the contested Kashmir region.

Another country closely following Israel’s decisions on border security is the US, which is building a barrier along its border with Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security is, for example, testing the ELM-2112 family of persistent ground surveillance radars, developed by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and used by the IDF to detect intruders before they reach the border.

Five different versions detect individuals at ranges from 300 m. up to 20 km., and vehicles at up to 40 km.

The radars feature four stationary antennas, each covering a 90-degree sector enabling persistent surveillance and tracking over a wide area.

Several radars can be integrated into a single network to provide an integrated picture of a border area. In addition, the command-and- control interface features icons resembling an animal, vehicle or person based on the target detected by the radar.

Courtesy: The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=279366&R=R9

Ashley Tellis: Pakistan’s Impending Defeat in Afghanistan – Rawalpindi refuses to see the writing on the wall.

Pakistan’s Impending Defeat in Afghanistan

By: Ashley J. Tellis

Pakistan’s Enduring Aim

Ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan has had one simple strategic goal on its western frontier: ensuring that Afghanistan remains a stable but subordinate entity deferential to Pakistan’s sensitivities on all matters of national security. Such deference was sought for a host of reasons. Islamabad wanted a guarantee that Kabul would not reignite the dispute over the countries’ common border (the Durand Line) and would not seek to mobilize the region’s Pashtun populations in support of either absorption into Afghanistan or the creation of a new nation. The Pakistani leadership also aimed to ensure that Afghanistan would not enter into close geopolitical affiliations with other, more powerful countries, such as the United States or India, in order to increase Kabul’s autonomy from Islamabad.

Amid the chaos that emerged after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan settled on supporting the Afghan Taliban as its strategic instrument for securing Kabul’s compliance with its objectives. Although the Taliban were not always dependable surrogates on these matters, they appeared better than other Afghan rivals, and hence Islamabad—despite its denials—has stuck by them to this day.

Whatever the intended benefits of this strategy, it has alienated both the broader Afghan populace and the government in Kabul, which now views Pakistan as a habitually hostile neighbor. It has also undermined the U.S.-led international stabilization effort in Afghanistan, as well as hopes for a peaceful security transition—not to mention infuriating Washington, which now views Pakistan as a perfidious partner. And it has provoked heightened regional rivalry involving Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Iran, India, the Central Asian republics, and Russia, all of whom are determined to prevent a Pakistani-supported Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Worst of all, Islamabad’s strategy promises to fundamentally undermine Pakistani security. Every one of the three possible outcomes of the Afghan security transition leaves Pakistan in a terrible place.

Destined for Failure

Read more » http://m.ceip.org/publications/?fa=48633

What not even a “soft apology”? Pentagon chief all but rules out apology for Pakistan

Pentagon chief all but rules out apology for Pakistan

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON: (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve U.S.-Pakistani ties, saying it was “time to move on.”

Pakistan banned trucks from carrying NATO supplies into neighboring Afghanistan after the air strike, a move that costs U.S. taxpayers $100 million a month given the need to use more expensive, longer routes to the north.

To re-open the routes, Pakistan wants to impose high tariffs on NATO supplies and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said last week that Islamabad is still seeking an unconditional apology.

But Panetta, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, suggested that past expressions of regret and condolences were enough and held out hope that troubled talks on re-opening Pakistani supply routes for the NATO war effort could succeed anyway.

Asked whether he would oppose any further apology, Panetta said: “We’ve made clear what our position is, and I think it’s time to move on.”

“If we keep going back to the past, if we keep beating up each other based on past differences, we’ll never get anywhere,” he said.

“The time now is to move forward with this relationship, on the (supply routes), on the safe havens, on dealing with terrorism — on dealing with the issues that frankly both of us are concerned about,” Panetta said. ….

Read more » Reuters

Nato helicopters intrude into Pakistan

Nato helicopters intrude into North Waziristan

MIRANSHAH: Amid mortar shelling from across the Pak-Afghan border, Nato helicopters on Tuesday violated Pakistan’s airspace and intruded into the border area of Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan, Pakistani officials said.

The government officials said two Nato helicopters intruded into the border area of North Waziristan and flew back to Afghanistan after flying over the border villages for some time.

Also, officials based in the Pak-Afghan border area said nine mortar shells were fired from across the border from Afghanistan’s Khost province that landed in the border villages of Bangidar and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan. They said the mortars landed in the villages and exploded, but did not cause human losses.

Courtesy: The News

US running out of patience with Pakistan: Panetta

AFP – The United States is running out of patience with Pakistan over safe havens for insurgents who attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday.

Panetta was speaking during a brief visit to Kabul overshadowed by Afghan fury over a NATO air strike that allegedly killed 18 civilians — an issue that the Pentagon chief did not mention at a news conference.

Panetta left for the airport just hours after his arrival, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to cut short a trip to Beijing and head home over the deaths of around 40 civilians Wednesday in the air strike and a suicide bombing.

Continue reading US running out of patience with Pakistan: Panetta

China urges Pakistan to act against East Turkistan Islamic Movement militants: Report

China has urged Pakistan to take effective measures to stop the activities of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM) militants present in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), reported BBC Urdu on Thursday.

According to the report, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi currently visiting Pakistan said that it was their belief that militants belonging to the TIM are influencing the Chinese province Xinjiang, which has a Muslim majority population.

Xinjiang, which is home to the Uighur Muslims, has faced increased terrorist activities in recent years, inviting a crackdown by Chinese forces. The restive province which shares a border with Pakistan, has been under heavy security since July 2009, when the Uighurs launched attacks on Han people in the regional capital Urumqi.

Sources within the Chinese Foreign Ministry, on condition of anonymity, told BBC that Chinese officials discussed the matter with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari along with other officials during several meetings, where the Pakistani foreign secretary was also summoned.

The BBC Urdu report added that most of those belonging to the TIM have taken refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas, from where they cross the border into China after receiving training.

Continue reading China urges Pakistan to act against East Turkistan Islamic Movement militants: Report

PPP power show at Kamu Shaheed near Sindh-Punjab border

Congratulation to Sindh Chief Minister on PPP Rally.

12 May 2012: Delaware(USA), Millions of Pakistanis (estimated to be two millions) belonging to Sindh, Sarikistan, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and other areas of Pakistan gathered in Ghotki, Sindh, to express their support for democracy, in particular for the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leaders President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Today’s public rally at Kamon Shaheed area on the Sindh-Punjab border is estimated to be one of the largest in Pakistan’s political history. The total number of people in today’s rally is estimated to be several times larger than other similar rallies organized by other political parties .

The leaders PPP USA, Shafqat Tanweer President, Mian Basharat Yousaf Chief Organizer, Shoukat Ali Bhutta Secretary General, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi Senior Vice President, Zafar Iqbal Chattha, Co ordinator Jahingeer Buttar Finance Secretary and Masood Zakria Choudhary Add’l Secretary General,PPP USA. Congratulate Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and PPP Leadership for this rally.

Jeay Bhutto, Jeay BiBi, PPP Zindabad.

Taliban Beheads Pakistani Soldiers

Taliban Kill 14 Pakistani Troops, String up Heads

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated Press

DERA ISMAIL KHAN – Taliban fighters killed 14 Pakistani soldiers in a key militant sanctuary along the Afghan border, beheaded all but one of them and hung two of the heads from wooden poles in the center of town, officials said Monday.

The killings in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area, highlight the dilemma facing the military in dealing with an area used by both the country’s fiercest enemy, the Pakistani Taliban, and Afghan and Pakistani militants believed to be close to the government who are battling U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan. …

Read more » ABC News

India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar

In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.

Both countries mean business

In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:

  • Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
  • India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
  • Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
  • The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
  • A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.

Opportunities and gains

Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.

Continue reading India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

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

President Zardari pardon Indian Spy Gopal Das

Indian spy Gopal Das returns to India

LAHORE: Indian spy Gopal Das, held in Pakistan for 27 years was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border on Thursday. Das was released on presidential orders.

The spy was transferred from the Kot Lakhpat jail to Wagah Border in a special vehicle. The notification by President Asif Ali Zardari to remit the remainder of the spy’s prison sentence was issued on March 27.

President Zardari issued the notice on humanitarian grounds following an appeal from India’s Supreme Court.

Das — who told reporters he was 26 when he was arrested — was sentenced to life in prison in June 1987 and had been due for release by the end of this year.

Pakistan’s presidency did not say why he was convicted, but Das himself confirmed reports that he had been jailed for spying.

“Yes… I went to Pakistan on a spying mission and I was arrested for espionage,” said Das, who was clearly angered by what he saw as his abandonment by the Indian authorities.

“Indian intelligence never bothered to get me released from jail in Pakistan,” he said.

“I carry a grudge against the Indian leadership because it does not bother about Indian prisoners still rotting in Pakistan prisons for many years,” he added.

He made a point of thanking the president and prime minister of Pakistan for his early release.

Read more » The Express Tribune

Summary of Musharraf’s Article: You don’t get it, the Baloch deserve to be killed by the Army.

Understanding Balochistan

By Pervez Musharraf

There is no doubt that Balochistan is the most backward and most deprived province of Pakistan. Successive governments since our independence are responsible for their share of the neglect suffered by Balochistan. But unfortunately the sardars themselves did not favour development in their areas. Notably Akbar Bugti, who despite having been chief minister and governor of the province, hardly did anything for Balochistan, or even for Dera Bugti. An anti-Pakistan, anti-army and anti-FC sentiment was planted and gradually nourished, especially among the Bugtis, Marris and Mengals, by their sardars. Some efforts made in the 1970s to open up the area through the establishment of a communication infrastructure were strongly opposed and rejected by the Marris.

Continue reading Summary of Musharraf’s Article: You don’t get it, the Baloch deserve to be killed by the Army.

DPC: a religious outfit with a political cover

By Durdana Najam

Why should the Pakistan Army borrow the mullah alliance to restore its image? Perhaps the language of Islam is the easiest to use as an exploitive tool for an emotionally charged Muslim community

The religious-politico parties have become active owing to the US’s increasing intrusion into Pakistan’s territorial precincts, the latest being the Salala checkpost attack that killed 24 soldiers in November 2011. The investigative report prepared by NATO, which revealed the determinants of the attack, termed the incident to be a joint sin committed by NATO and the Pakistan Army, suggesting that on a border as volatile as the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region, the rage of wrath can unleash itself at any time in any mode. Pakistan rejected the findings of the report, alleging it to be biased and obsessive. The attack irked even the government and, for a change, the NATO supply route was completely shut down — to this day. A parliamentary committee on national security is working to define new contours for Pak-America relations. In the meantime, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is sending strong massages to the American government about the so-called sovereignty that we guard so close to our bosoms (depending largely on our whims and wishes).

The recent collaboration of 40 religious parties going by the name of Difa-i-Pakistan Council, comprising the likes of General (retd) Hamid Gul, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, President Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq and the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, Munawar Hasan, geared towards defending Pakistan against foreign aggression, has raised national and international concerns, especially since the definition of foreign aggression from the point of view of Difa-i-Pakistan relates to none other than the US and India. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Pakistan Predictions 2012 – by Omar Ali

Punditry without predictions is like a fish without a bicycle and who would ever want that? But if one does make predictions, one’s predictions can be checked. That, perhaps, is why no paid pundit makes too many predictions. But, with nothing at stake, I will not only make predictions, I will also recall predictions from 3 years ago for criticism. And dear socialist friends, please remember these are not prescriptions, they are predictions. I don’t like them much either.

In March of 2009 I took a road trip across the Eastern United States and asked several generally well informed Pakistani friends what they thought was likely to happen in Pakistan in the days to come. I am reproducing that article unchanged below; the first few theories are what my friends proposed would happen, followed by my own predictions from 2009. I consulted two of the same friends again this week and their current predictions and my own 2012 predictions follow.  It is, of course, a very small and unrepresentative sample, biased towards liberals, infidels and leftists with no other input. And it is not expressed in University-Speak. So please, be gentle.

Continue reading Pakistan Predictions 2012 – by Omar Ali

Editorial – BSF Brutality on the border

New Delhi needs to make an unreserved apology to Bangladesh for the brutal conduct of its Border Security Force personnel who were seen in a recent video torturing a Bangladeshi man. Not surprisingly, the telltale video has caused widespread outrage in Bangladesh. A remark by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the incident must not be hyped, echoed by a Bangladeshi Minister, seems only to have provoked more anger and fuelled opposition allegations against the Sheikh Hasina government for being “pro-India”. With the Bangladesh Army claiming the other day that it averted a coup against the government by an “anti-India” section of officers, New Delhi needs to guard against becoming an unwitting cause for political instability in its eastern neighbour. Anti-India sentiment has been high in Bangladesh since the killing of three of its nationals by the BSF in two separate incidents on the border last month. A March 2011 agreement between the two countries not to use firearms in dealing with illegal activities on the border has brought down the number of such incidents, but the video is evidence that the guards feel free to use other forms of violence. It underlines the fact that such bilateral agreements on the management of their complex boundary are worth nothing unless accompanied by a change in the mindset of those responsible for it on the ground.

The distressing 11.56 minute footage, circulated through YouTube, is quite evidently a trophy video, the guards happy to pose as they strip their victim, tie his hands and feet, and beat him mercilessly while discussing among themselves other severe options of dealing with him. …..

Read more » The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article2826161.ece

PAKISTAN: Army is silent on the disappearance of Captain 33 years ago

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONUrgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-250-2011

21 December 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that an army officer of the rank of Captain was sent on a secret mission to Kashmir in 1979 and since then his whereabouts are unknown. The missing officer, who was identified as Mr. Ishtiaq Ali Khan Qaimkhani, told his wife before leaving that if he does not return from the mission within two years then she should contact General Headquarter (GHQ) of the army and the office will provide all his detail. Since 1981 his wife has been trying to get the information from the military and government but has yet to learn as to whether he is dead or alive. She has written many letters to the President, Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and Chief Justice of Pakistan but no one has replied to her or conducted an inquiry into the disappearance of the Captain.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: Army is silent on the disappearance of Captain 33 years ago

FATA, the strategic playground of Pakistan: Another school blown up by Pakistan’s strategic assets

School blown up in Khyber

By: Ahmad Nabi

KHYBER AGENCY – Bacha Khan Foundation School was blown up, as some unidentified militants planted explosive devices inside it in Khuga Khel area of tehsil Landi Kotal ….

Read more » The Nation

Jim Jones: Amb. Haqqani was not involved in memogate

By Josh Rogin

Former National Security Advisor Jim Jones has submitted a confidential affidavit, obtained by The Cable, in which he swears that he has no reason to believe that former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani had any role in the scandal known as “memogate.”

Jones was the go-between in the transmission of a secret memo from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. The memo, purportedly from the Pakistani civilian leadership, asked for U.S. government help to avoid a pending military coup in Pakistan and pledged, in return, to reorient Pakistan’s foreign and national security policy to be more in line with U.S. interests. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)