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Obama drone strikes kill 17 Afghan civilians

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US airstrikes in Afghan province of Paktika have killed at least 17 civilians, local officials and elders say, rejecting official American and Afghan claims that only militants had been killed.

They were killed during three drone strikes carried out by the US in the area of Nematabad on Wednesday, former Afghan senator Hajji Muhammad Hasan said, quoted by The New York Times.

The first raid struck a vehicle carrying a local elder, Hajji Rozuddin, who was on his way to mediate a land dispute in a tribe with four bodyguards and seven other people, the report said.

“Hajji Rozuddin was strongly anti-Taliban,” said Hasan. “He carried bodyguards because the Taliban were trying to kill him.”

“The car was completely destroyed, and there was little of the bodies left,” he said.

Soon after the attack, another strike killed two people who had come to help recover the bodies from the truck after the first attack, said Hasan.

A third attack also killed three other civilians on top of a small hill. They were trying “to see what had happened and why the previous two men had not returned already,” he explained.

Governor Shaista Khan Akhtarzada also confirmed that an investigation team had determined that “the people killed were civilians.”

The US military had said on Thursday that two Wednesday airstrikes in Paktika killed 14 militants.

“There was no evidence to indicate that there were any civilian casualties at all,” Charles Cleveland, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, said.

Cleveland claimed that most of the “just under a hundred” US strikes in Afghanistan from January 1 to March 31 were focused on Daesh militants in eastern Nangarhar Province.

Officials and residents said that such airstrikes have been relatively rare in Paktika in recent months, even as the United States has intensified its air operations elsewhere in the country.

In January, US President Barack Obama authorized American forces to target Daesh terrorists emerging in Nangarhar.

Although Taliban leaders have warned Daesh against “waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan,” the Takfiri group has been trying to expand its outreach there and is reported to have between 1,000 to 3,000 terrorists on its payroll.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

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India’s Espionage System in Pakistan Proved

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By Sajjad Shaukat

Although in the past too, various agents of Indian secret agency RAW were arrested in Pakistan, yet the case of Kulbushan Yadav which has proved the presence of India’s espionage system. In this regard, on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan province. During investigation, RAW agent Kulbushan

Yadav confessed that during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).

The law enforcement agencies for the last eight months monitored Yadav’s movement and activities and captured him after collecting ample evidence. They also recovered Afghan and Pakistani SIMs as well as maps from his possession. Out of more than 15 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, the majority are located near the Pakistan border and Yadav was also stationed at On March 25, in a statement, India’s External Affairs Ministry, while admitting the RAW agent, captured by the Pakistani security forces to be Indian citizen, claimed that he was a commander in the Indian Navy, and it has sought consular access to Yadav.

In this respect, Pakistan’s Foreign Office, spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and lodged a strong protest over RAW officer’s arrest…India’s spying activities in Balochistan and Karachi…the spy was linked to separatist elements in Balochistan, as well as involved in acts of sectarian terrorism and terror attacks in Karachi…and Balochistan.”

In this context, while addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said on March 29, 2016, “Kulbushan Yadav’s arrest is a rare case that does not happen very often.” He disclosed that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.

A video was also shown during the press conference in which Yadav confessed that he spied for India. Yadav admitted that he was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan by stating, “I supported the individuals who worked to destabilise Pakistan…I promoted the criminal mindset that was there in Balochistan.” Another task assigned to him was to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also confessed funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists. He stated that he was arrested by Pakistani authorities while he was heading Iran.

Lt. Gen. Bajwa confirmed the presence of an active espionage of RAW within Pakistan. He elaborated, “Yadav’s mission included conducting of operations in Karachi and Balochistan…to target the Gawadar Port and the CPEC project…the apprehended spy is aware of the funding made regarding the attack carried out on the Mehran Base and that Yadav also tried to form a ‘Tiger force’ in Karachi which aimed towards spreading sectarianism in the city,” adding that “the spy was directly connected with RAW and the Indian authorities.”

During the recent visit of the Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in Pakistan, On March31, this year, Chief of Army Staff. Gen. Raheel Sharif raised the issue of Kulbushan Yadav with him—use of Iranian soil by India’s RAW to stoke instability in Balochistan and Karachi. In this respect, some misunderstanding was created by some media reports which misinterpreted the news by indicating that perhaps, Gen. Raheel has blamed Tehran for RAW activities in Pakistan.

However, while denouncing media reports, Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan clarified on April 2 that “Iran is not involved in any anti-state activities in Pakistan…all sections of Pakistani society are unanimous in their support for stronger Pak-Iran relations.”

A day after Islamabad formally sent a six-point letter, addressed to Iranian Ambassador in Islamabad, Mehdi Honardoost, asked Tehran to immediately arrest and hand over an individual identified as Rakesh, alias Rizwan, for interrogation; verify activities of Kulbhushan Jadhav along with records of visits to Iran; provide a record of his stay in Iran including cities visited and the duration of these visits; provide a record of people he interacted with and purpose of these interactions; share details of RAW networks on Iranian soil and share any other details related to the matter”.

In response, Iranian ambassador called on Interior Minister Nisar to assure his country’s full support in stemming incursion of Indian spies into Pakistani territory, using It is notable that in 2012, as part of the exchange of prisoners, Pakistani government released Indian spy, Surjeet Singh who was handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border crossing. He openly admitted that he was in Pakistan to spy when he was arrested in 1982, In this regard, Surjeet Singh said, “I was a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent. No one bothered about me after I got arrested.” Surjeet told reporters soon after stepping on Indian soil.

Quite opposite to the admission of Surjeet, on June 29, 2012, Indian Home Secretary RK Singh told a news conference in New Delhi, saying, “We do not accept this that Singh was Indian spy…it is completely wrong.” However, it showed Indian illogical approach as New Delhi denied facts in order to conceal the presence of other Indian spies in Pakistan.

While reaching India, Surjeet Singh again admitted before Indian reporters that he sent to Pakistan by RAW for espionage purposes.

And the Pakistan’s Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari had also commuted death sentence of another Indian spy of RAW, Sarabjit Singh into life imprisonment on June 26, 2012.

Surjeet Singh had revealed, “Sarabjit Singh is a terrorist and terrorists are not released.” On the other side, the then Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna who welcomed Surjeet Singh’s release, stated on June 25, 2012, it was now “time for Sarabjit Singh to be freed.” Like Indian home secretary, even external affairs minister was defending the Indian agents. It displayed that Indian high officials are deliberately and officially supporting RAW agents to destabilise Nevertheless, both Surjeet Singh and Sarabjit Singh were responsible for the string of blasts in Faisalabad, Lahore, and Multan in 1990 in which several innocent people were killed.

They were also behind other terror-activities in Pakistan. On June 28, 2012, BBC reported, in recent years, “several Indians returning from Pakistani jails have admitted to spying for Indian intelligence agency RAW” and some have criticised India’s government for abandoning them.”

It is mentionable that in April 2011, Gopal Das, one of Pakistan’s longest-serving Indian prisoners, was released after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari intervened in his case.

Upon his release, Das admitted that he was an Indian spy. Similarly, Kashmir Singh, sentenced to death in Pakistan in 1973 for spying, was released in March 2008. Afterwards, he also confessed that he was spying for RAW.

The fact of the matter is that admission of the Indian spies, particularly of Kulbushan Yadav clearly prove that Indian RAW has a well-organised espionage system in Pakistan.

In this respect, Indian RAW with the tactical assistance of American CIA and Israeli Mossad have well-established its espionage network in Afghanistan, and besides backing other similar terrorist groups, it has been supporting Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent one at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park (Childen Park) in Lahore on Easter Sunday (March 27, 2016), which killed at least 72 people, including 29 children and injured more than 300 persons.

A faction of the TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for this ferocious terror attack, saying Christians were their target.

Besides, India’s several secret training camps are also present in Afghanistan from where in the past years, highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons including motivated suicide bombers were being sent to Pakistan’s various places to conduct target killings, bomb blasts, attacks on civil and military installations, forced abductions and sectarian violence.

With the tactical backing of CIA and Mossad, RAW have also been assisting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist outfits and Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have committed various subversive acts in the province of Balochistan—abductions, and killings of several nationals of China and Iran. The main aims are to separate the province of Balochistan and to fail the CPEC. These agencies are also weakening Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.

It is of particular attention that in September 2013, India’s media had disclosed that on a defence ministry directive, asking for the creation of covert capability—the military intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD) was set up by the Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh (R),

which conducted covert operations in Pakistan. Besides an official of the TSD, in an Indian TV Channel, Gen. VK Singh boldly confessed that during his tenure as only one Minister of Agriculture (Ghulam Hasan Mir) was bribed, and Indian Army provided money to selected leaders in Jammu & Kashmir to crush the militancy (Kashmiri freedom fighters).

In the recent past, Pakistan’s armed forces broke the backbone of the militants by achieving successes against the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb, and particularly cleared the areas of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), while restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.

In this connection, even the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its annual report issued on April 2, 2016 pointed out, “A 40 percent decrease in violence in 2015 as compared to 2014. In 2015, 4,612 people died in violence as compared to 7,622 violence-related deaths last year. Anti-state violence dropped below 2008 levels: 706 militant attacks took place, in which 1,325 people including 619 civilians, 348 security forces personnel, 325 militants and 33 pro- government razakars were killed…provinces continued to use expanded legislative authority under the 18th Constitutional Amendment to enact several important laws…the 21st Constitutional Amendment and corresponding amendments to the Army Act 1952 gave military courts jurisdiction to try all persons, including civilians and juveniles, in offences related to terrorism under military tribunals.”

But, through its spy-network in Afghanistan which has coordination with its espionage system in Pakistan, especially RAW is again trying to conduct terror attacks and subversive activities in Pakistan’s civil and military high officials have repeatedly disclosed that Indian RAW is behind acts of sabotage in Karachi and Balochistan including sectarian violence.

Nonetheless, RAW-based espionage system in Pakistan has undoubtedly been proved after the arrest and confession of Kulbushan Yadav.

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

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Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: the Balance of Relations

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By Natalya Zamarayeva 

For the second time in 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, paid an official visit to Riyadh in March. He took part in the closing ceremony of the Northern Thunder military exercise in the Saudi desert. The intensity of the visits is dictated by the importance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the foreign policy of Pakistan, as well as the need to maintain a balanced approach to the countries of the region as a whole, given the recent intensification of relations with Iran. It is noteworthy that it is also the second time that the Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif on a foreign trip to the KSA. Much remains yet to be clarified.

Military contacts between Islamabad and Riyadh have been maintained for several decades. The first bilateral agreements were signed back in the 60’s; in the 80’s, two teams of Pakistani ground troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, the commands of the two capitals hold annual joint military exercises, for example, Al Shihab-1 in 2015.

Despite the significant financial support from the KSA of social, economic, military and other projects in Pakistan, the relationship between the royal dynasty and the military and civil administration of Islamabad were not always smooth. The most recent failure occurred in March 2016. The royal family appealed to the Prime Minister, N. Sharif (and he publicly promised) to post part of the Pakistani army in the zone of military conflict in Yemen against Huthis Shiite in support of the KSA. But after ten days under the pretext of protecting only the holy places, the National Assembly of Pakistan (the lower house of parliament) refused. The Pakistani media wrote about a certain pressure the generals applied to parliamentarians.

The latest of Riyadh’s military appeals to Islamabad, announced in December 2015 as part of an alliance of 34 countries to combat the terrorist threat in the region, once again caused a lot of questions from the military leadership of Pakistan, as well as Malaysia and Lebanon about the goals and objectives of the new military campaign, the place and role of each participating country. For a long time, issues remained unclear related to the operational strategy, antiterrorist working methods, management, control and composition of the proposed cooperation. For two months, Islamabad did not comment. Sharif’s visit to Riyadh in March lifted the veil. According to the Pakistani media, Rawalpindi (the location of the Army headquarters) plans for its participation to include the exchange of intelligence information, the supply of military equipment and the development of counter-extremist propaganda.

Pakistan once again refused to participate in the armed conflict, putting forward several arguments: first, the reluctance to get involved in a so-called “foreign” war; secondly, the desire to avoid the explosion of separatist and sectarian movements within Pakistan; and thirdly, that new and promising markets (Iran) and possibilities are opening up, given the recent geopolitical developments in the region.

In the February issue of this year’s Pakistani military magazine Hilal, the author of the article entitled ‘Balanced Approach Towards the Middle East’ underlines the importance as never before, of the diplomatic efforts to solve the “raging” conflicts. It’s hard not to agree with Mr. Masood Khan and his statement: “it is not clear, in which direction the Middle East will move in 2016 … fine balancing is required … in order to prevent a major war in the region, protect our interests and save Pakistan from sectarian faults.” Thus, in contradiction to the centrifugal tendencies conducted by KSA in the vast region, Pakistan, on the contrary, promotes and supports centripetal forces. Its policy of non-participation in armed conflict puts obstacles in the way of splits, the formation of secessionist movements and / or fragmentation of its territory. Islamabad experienced the disease of separatism in 1971, allowing the separation of the Eastern Province and the proclamation of the independent Republic of Bangladesh on the territory in 1973.

At the same time, Pakistan is aware of the need to preserve traditional solidarity with the Saudi royal family, yet maintain that the time of its leadership in the region is in the past.

Islamabad is opening itself to radically new transnational projects of the 21st century in the region. Islamabad regards rapprochement with Tehran as a positive direction, despite the fact that, in general, Teheran’s step towards the Western world has made the region “feverish” (in the words of Mr. Masood Khan). In February 2016, Pakistan also lifted sanctions against Iran, supporting the decision of the “Six” (the permanent UN Security Council members and Germany). In addition to the prospective energy and hydrocarbon supplies to the country, Pakistan is set to earn a huge profit by using its strategic geographical position. The area will act as a transport bridge from the Chinese border and further to Central Asia, Iran, and then to the West under the revived China’s Silk Road project (one belt – one road). In February 2016, Beijing and Tehran signed a series of agreements.

Despite the fact that in January 2016 the Minister of Defense of the KSA rejected the mediation efforts of Pakistan in resolving the crisis with Iran (after the rift in diplomatic relations in early January 2016), Islamabad, for various reasons, remains one of Riyadh’s few opportunities to maintain civilized dialogue with Tehran and to stabilize the situation in the region.

The position of neutrality, which Pakistan upholds, and above all, the Army generals (given that the Pakistani army is one of the strongest in the region), is a guarantee their own security.

At the same time, the Northern Thunder military exercise (participated in by 21 states), led by the KSA, is a kind of demonstration of military force of the Sunni wing of Islam to the Shiites, in particular the leadership of Iran and the Yemeni Huthis.

The non-interference policy of a number of states in the region, in particular, Islamabad, is a deterrent to the further military ambitions of the new leaders of the Saudi dynasty and thus counteracts the emerging destabilization mechanisms. The Middle East will not sustain another armed conflict.

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Lal Salaam Comrade Randhir Singh

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Eminent Marxist scholar and popular teacher of political theory Prof Randhir Singh passed away on the night of 31st January in Delhi. He was 95. Prof Randhir Singh was a founder of the Left student movement in India, during India’s freedom struggle. He is best remembered for his unwavering lifelong commitment to popularising and communicating Marxist theory widely, in the most accessible language of the people. Till very recently, he would still travel to Punjab villages and small towns to give talks on political developments as well as on Marxist thought.

In spite of his formidable academic prowess, he was always had the unassuming air that is the hallmark of the activist. He was a close friend of many Left activists, and many in the CPI(ML), young and old, will have fond memories of their rich interactions with him. Prof Randhir Singh inspired many generations to study Marxism and to study society using Marxist tools. Liberation pays tribute to him with memories shared by academicians and activists, as well as excerpts from his writings and speeches.

Comrade Randhir Singh’s Legacy

(CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya reflects on Comrade Randhir Singh’s legacy for the Left movement.)

I did not have the luck of being a student of Professor Randhir Singh. But I consider myself greatly fortunate that I had several opportunities of listening to him and discussing with him and even speaking alongside him in meetings during the last three decades since I moved to Delhi in connection with my political assignments. Had I not moved to Delhi in the late 1980s, I’d have probably known Randhir Singh only through his writings. That would have surely been inspiring and enlightening as all his readers will readily testify, but listening and talking to him was always a special experience, something so fondly remembered and cherished by all who have been his students and comrades.

When I came in contact with him during the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse, Punjab was caught in the crossfire between Khalistani insurgency and the counterinsurgency of state terrorism, the RSS, BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal were busy whipping up an aggressive communal frenzy around the Ram Mandir agenda, and the economic policy discourse and direction had begun to rapidly move away from the once dominant rhetoric of socialistic pattern and mixed economy to the glorification of the market and worship of private capital, the desi monopolies as well as foreign MNCs. In such difficult times, Randhir Singh continued to apply his profound Marxist scholarship and sharp analytical gaze to the study of the changing reality around us and help us achieve the clarity of understanding of complex social phenomena and political questions that must guide the thinking and action of every communist.

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Red Salute, Comrade AB Bardhan

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(CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya pays tribute to veteran CPI leader Comrade AB Bardhan)

As 2016 began its journey, Comrade AB Bardhan bade goodbye to his countless comrades and admirers. His long march in the communist movement had begun in the 1940s when he was a student and continued ceaselessly for nearly eight decades with youthful energy, activism and optimism till the very end. Comrade Bardhan breathed his last soon after the CPI observed a series of programmes across the country to mark the party’s 90th foundation anniversary. Comrade Bardhan’s last public appearance was in the international communist seminar held on this occasion in the CPI headquarters in Delhi followed, a few days later, by a symposium against communal fascism.

For a large part of his communist life, Comrade Bardhan worked on the trade union front. He was a communist organizer and leader of the working class who paid as much attention to the task of imparting political education and popularizing Marxist ideology among workers as to the task of defending the immediate economic interests and political rights of the working class. As the General Secretary of AITUC, he played a key role in forging a broad fighting unity of Left trade unions and other mass organisations to resist the neo-liberal policy offensive during its initial phase. Many of our trade union and other mass organization leaders have fond memories of interacting with Comrade Bardhan in joint meetings and campaigns during this period.

In the later phase after Comrade AB Bardhan took over as General Secretary of the CPI, our interaction with him became less frequent as the CPI along with CPI(M) moved towards structured coordination and cooperation with the UPA government at the centre. But after Singur and Nandigram when the LF government became hugely discredited in West Bengal Comrade Bardhan often publicly criticised the mistakes and called for course correction which however was never to happen in West Bengal. Following the UPA-Left rupture in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal, the scope of united action between the CPI and CPI(ML) again increased in Bihar. In 2009 and 2010 our two parties fought the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections together. I remember an election meeting in Begusarai during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections which we had jointly addressed. In that meeting I took the opportunity to make an open public request to Comrade Bardhan to see that the unity between our two parties continued at least in Bihar even if we had differences in some other states. Speaking just after I had finished Comrade Bardhan said the CPI was committed to Left unity not only in Bihar but in other states too.

But as it turned out the CPI moved closer to Nitish Kumar after he parted ways with the BJP and in 2014 the CPI fought the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the JDU. I had an opportunity later to remind Comrade Bardhan of his Begusarai speech and he said yes the Left must remain united in Bihar. In the 2015 Assembly elections, the CPI indeed returned to the path of Left unity in Bihar and in what would become his last public meeting in Patna, Comrade Bardhan addressed the united Left ranks in a jam-packed SK Memorial Hall and called upon the Left movement in Bihar to march together in bold and resolute steps. He was very happy that the Left had managed to get united on a big scale and asked us to nurture this great possibility with all our strength.

As we all know, the elections saw a sharp polarisation between the NDA and the newly formed RJD-JDU-Congress alliance and the Left performance was below expectation. Yet when we all met at Ajay Bhawan after the elections, I got a warm hug from Comrade Bardhan for our victory in three seats. ‘You have kept the red flag flying’, he told me with great affection and confident optimism. Despite his failing health, he sat through that meeting and insisted that we chalked out a joint programme on December 6, the Babri Masjid demolition day that coincided with the death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar.

A great orator in English and Hindi, a comrade who could always overcome the age barrier and generation gap with warm affection and witty humour, and above all, a dedicated communist who gave his all to the movement with tireless activism for decades on end, Comrade AB Bardhan will be fondly remembered for a long time to come. And it will be a memory that will continue to inspire us to keep the flag flying even in the darkest of times.

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Pakistan’s Ticking Nuclear Time Bomb

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Exclusive: Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal remains a top global security threat, as Islamic jihadists penetrate many of the nation’s political, educational and military institutions, says Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Dozens of world leaders are arriving in Washington, D. C. for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit, a biennial event dedicated to minimizing the threat of loose nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations.

The summit couldn’t be more timely in view of recent revelations that militants linked to the Islamic State recruited two employees at a Belgian nuclear plant where an insider in 2014 drained thousands of gallons of lubricating oil, severely damaging its turbines.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

The summit also comes just days after North Korea released a video threatening a nuclear first strike against Washington — an unrealistic but unsettling boast from one of the world’s most repressive and impenetrable regimes.

But an even greater threat to nuclear security lies thousands of miles from Belgium and Korea — in Pakistan. It is home to about 120 atomic weapons, making it the world’s fifth largest and fastest growing nuclear arsenal. Pakistan also has large stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for making dozens of new warheads.

No one should sleep well while the armed forces who are responsible for securing that deadly stockpile continue to collaborate openly with armed extremists at home and abroad, and adopt provocative doctrines for using nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

Pakistan is one of the last places on Earth to which you’d want to entrust nuclear weapons. The Pakistani industrialist Shakir Lakhani last year declared his country a “failed state,” noting that corruption is rampant and that terrorists “have infiltrated our institutions, our schools and colleges, our universities, our police departments, our armed forces and perhaps even our judiciary.”

The celebrated journalist Ahmed Rashid warns that Pakistan is “in the process of dissolution, facing the same fate as Syria or Somalia.”

Government collapse in Pakistan is the private worry of every nuclear security planner today. Said Gary Sanmore, former National Security Council Coordinator for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, “as we look at the sectarian violence and tensions between the government and the military and so forth — I worry that . . . even the best nuclear security measures might break down. You’re dealing with a country that is under tremendous stress internally and externally, and that’s what makes me worry.”

In words that remain as plausible as ever today, the noted American arms control expert Robert Gallucci said a decade ago that Pakistan is “the number one threat to the world … [I]f it all goes off — a nuclear bomb in a U.S. or European city — I’m sure we will find ourselves looking in Pakistan’s direction.”

The Terrorist Threat

Although Pakistan’s atomic weapons are doubtless well protected, they remain highly vulnerable to insiders motivated either by extremist ideology or corrupt inducements — both of which are in ample supply. Pakistan makes matters worse by bolstering and in some cases creating the very terrorists who threaten its nuclear stockpiles.

Pakistan has long been a sponsor of international terrorism, most notably in Afghanistan and especially India, its hated enemy. For example, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency helped spawn the notorious group Lashkar-e-Taiba to fight Indian forces in Kashmir.

Terrorist attacks on India’s parliament in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008 were spectacular outcomes of Pakistan’s malign policy. Pakistani leaders apparently also sheltered Osama bin Laden until the U.S. Navy SEAL raid in 2011, according to a former defense minister.

Days after the leaders of India and Pakistan met on Christmas Day last year in Lahore, terrorists from Pakistan attacked a major Indian airbase, preventing a thaw in the two country’s relations. That attack may have been independently planned, but Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have a long history of sponsoring such terrorist provocations to derail peace initiatives.

According to Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University, “Pakistan’s security institutions have instrumentalized a menagerie of Islamist militants to prosecute its internal as well as external policies with respect to India and Afghanistan.

“Since 2001, many of these erstwhile proxies have turned their guns and suicide devices on the state and its citizenry under the banner of the Pakistani Taliban. A lack of both will and capacity hinder the state’s ability to effectively confront this threat and secure its population.

“Most problematically, Pakistan still wants to nurture some militants who are its assets while eliminating those who fight the state. Civilians lack the ability, will, or vision to force the security forces to change tactics.”

The resulting “blowback” from Pakistan’s support of terrorism has taken a huge toll, like the suicide bombing in Lahore this Easter. Although it received less media attention than the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, the Lahore bombing a killed twice as many victims.

From 2002 to 2011, terrorists in Pakistan killed 3,700 people and wounded another 9,000. Several times that number died from other forms of political, ethnic, communal, and Islamist violence.

The attack in Lahore was carried out by a break-away faction of the government-sponsored Pakistani Taliban. Gunmen from the Pakistani Taliban previously killed 22 people at Bacha Khan University in January and 145 people, mostly children, at a school in Peshawar last year. The government has been unable or unwilling to rein in such extremist violence. Someday it may prove equally unable to rein in terrorist attacks on its nuclear installations.

The Obama administration knows this, but for the most part maintains the fiction that Pakistan’s military has its nuclear arsenal fully under control. One reason for its diplomatic language and continued military aid is to avoid a rupture that would jeopardize continued U.S. military operations in Afghanistan (as almost happened in 2012 after Pakistan closed NATO supply routes following American airstrikes on Pakistani soldiers suspected of aiding the Taliban).

Privately, however, President Obama “questions why Pakistan, which he believes is a disastrously dysfunctional country, should be considered an ally of the U.S. at all,” reports Atlantic magazine’s Jeffrey Goldberg.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama shakes hands with U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

According to David Sanger, Obama told his staff in 2011 that Pakistan’s potential disintegration — and the resulting “scramble for its (nuclear) weapons” — represented his “single biggest national security concern.”

A Question of Doctrine

In addition to having “the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal,” Pakistan “is shifting toward tactical nuclear weapons intended to be dispersed to front-line forces early in a crisis, increasing the risks of nuclear theft should such a crisis occur,” according to a new report on “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism” by experts at Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

Pakistan intends to use these smaller nuclear warheads against conventional Indian forces in case another war breaks out between the two major powers on the Asian subcontinent. Such mobile weapons are inherently vulnerable to seizure by terrorists during transit.

The intended tactical use of such weapons on the battlefield also raises the odds of any military conflict escalating rapidly to an all-out nuclear war. During a war over Kashmir in 1999, Pakistan’s government “ordered the arming of its nuclear missiles, potentially bringing the two countries to the brink of a nuclear conflict,” according to military historian Joseph Micallef.

Needless to say, an all-out nuclear war between India and Pakistan could kill, wound or sicken tens of millions of people and render much of South Asia virtually uninhabitable.

“We are really quite concerned about . . . the destabilizing aspects of their battlefield nuclear weapons program,” said the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this March. To which a senior Pakistani nuclear adviser replied, “We are not apologetic about the development of [tactical nuclear weapons] and they are here to stay.”

Washington’s Inadequate Response

The Obama administration recognizes the threat from Pakistan and other source of “loose nukes” but has failed to make them a priority. As Steve Mufson reported in the Washington Post, “in his fiscal 2017 budget, Obama has proposed deep cuts in spending on programs to stop nuclear proliferation while leaving intact military spending on a new generation of weapons. . . .

“For fiscal 2017, the Obama administration has proposed its smallest nuclear security budget ever. The proposal would slash spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s international program by roughly two-thirds, to a level last seen in the mid-1990s.”

Besides restoring funding, the administration should make collaboration with Russia on nuclear security programs a higher priority than escalating conflicts over less vital issues like the future of Crimea.

In a letter sent to President Obama on March 28, six Democratic U.S. senators also recommended that his administration lead by example, and seek to reduce the bloated nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia to 1,000 warheads and 500 delivery vehicles by 2021.

With regard to Pakistan, Washington should apply more pressure — including withholding military aid — to restrain its provocative nuclear policy toward India, and its support for terrorist organizations.

At the same time, however, the administration should avoid special favors to India that stoke Pakistan’s paranoia and resentment. For example, the Bush administration’s nuclear cooperation agreement with India, which allowed U.S. nuclear technology sales to India, contributed to the arms race between India and Pakistan and “did long-lasting damage toward both the global non-proliferation norms and the efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons,” according to Subrata Ghoshroy, a researcher at MIT.

And if Washington really wants to get serious about Pakistan, it must eliminate Islamabad’s remaining leverage over the United States. That means withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan once and for all, so Pakistan cannot unleash its proxies to kill American soldiers or cripple the U.S. logistics chains.

Once Afghanistan is off its agenda, Washington can finally focus on that region’s real threat to world security: Pakistan’s growing nuclear stockpile.

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North Korea Punished for Helping to Liberate Africa

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Soon, most likely, there will be new brutal sanctions imposed against North Korea. And there will be massive provocative military exercises held, involving the US and South Korean (ROK). In brief, it is all ‘business as usual’: the West continues to torture DPRK; it is provoking it, isolating, demonizing and dehumanizing it, making sure that it wouldn’t function normally, let alone thrive.

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A normal state ?

The submissive Western public keeps obediently swallowing all the shameless lies it is being served by its mainstream media. It is not really surprising; people of Europe and North America already stopped questioning official dogmas long time ago.

North Korea (DPRK) is depicted as some insane, starving, subnormal and underdeveloped hermit state, whose leaders are constantly boozing and whoring, murdering each other, and building some primitive but lethal nukes, in order to destroy the world.

Those of us who are familiar with DPRK know that all this is one bundle of fat, shameless lies. Pyongyang is an elegant, well functioning city with great public housing, excellent public transportation, public places and recreational facilities, theatres, sport facilities and green areas. And despite those monstrous sanctions, the countryside is much more prosperous than what one sees in the desperate Western ‘client’ states like Indonesia and Philippines.

At least there is something; there have at least been a few decent reports that have been written about those grotesque lies and the Western propaganda.

But the essential question remains: ‘Why is the West so obsessed with demonizing North Korea?’

And the answer is simple: Like Cuba, North Korea dared to step on the toes of Western colonialism and imperialism. Sacrificing its sons and daughters, it helped to liberate many African countries, and it provided assistance to the most progressive forces on the most plundered and devastated continent.

This is one thing that the West never forgives. It lives off the unbridled plunder of all continents; it essentially thrives by looting its colonies. Those countries that assisted the liberation struggles, those nations that fought for freedom of the colonized world – Soviet Union/Russia, China, Cuba and the DPRK – were designated by Western ideologues as the most ‘dangerous’ and ‘evil’ places on Earth.

In Europe and North America, conditioned masses (they have been actually profiting from the colonialism and neo-colonialism for decades and centuries), are stubbornly refusing to comprehend this main reason why the Empire has made the people of North Korea suffer so terribly for years and decades.

My comrade, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Chairperson of SDP and also a Member of the Executive Committee of Africa Left Networking Forum (ALNEF) based in Dakar Senegal, wrote for this essay:

“The Social Democratic Party of Kenya (SDP) condemns the unjustified sanctions against North Korea (DPRK) instigated by imperialism led by the United States of America. We are aware that imperialism has never stopped its cold and hot war against DPRK that through one of the greatest patriotic, heroic and revolutionary anti-colonial and anti-imperialist national liberation armed struggles succeeded in winning true independence in the northern half of Korea. When it invaded North Korea, US imperialism like Japanese colonialism earlier, suffered one of the most humiliating military defeats it will never forget in its reactionary history. We also know that the US and the West hates DPRK with venom for refusing to be a puppet of imperialism like South Korea. A dirty false propaganda war is waged against DPRK for refusing the capitalist and neo-colonial path of slavery, under-development and exploitation of person by person and instead choosing the path of development for freedom and humanity, socialism.

We in Africa will not accept to be cheated by imperialists who have always been part and parcel of our problems. Imperialism is not and has never been a friend of Africa but its enemy. African patriots and revolutionaries will never allow imperialism to tell us who our friends are. For we know whom our friends are! And North Korea has always been Africa’s true friend. When the whole of the African continent was under Western colonialism, Korea under the revolutionary leadership of comrade Kim Il Sung was fighting Japanese colonialism and showing solidarity with Africa at the same time. After DPRK, in the name of socialist internationalism increased its moral, military and other material support to African countries in their struggle for liberation from colonialism, imperialism and apartheid. Immediately after independence from colonialism in the 1960s, thousands of Africans, including Kenyans, received free higher, technical and specialised education in the DPRK. DPRK not only offered arms, finance and other material solidarity to Namibia, South Africa, Angola and Mozambique in the war against apartheid and imperialism, but it also actually sent internationalist revolutionaries to Africa to fight side by side with Africans for Africa. DPRK fought with Egypt and Africa during the 1967 war against the brutal Zionist regime of Israel supported by the Western countries. Today DPRK is together with African countries in the demand for a new just international order. In this DPRK is blamed by imperialism and imperialist puppet regimes for being in the forefront and showing by its own example that a new just international order cannot be but anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, it must be socialist.”

North Korean internationalism is legendary, just as Cuban internationalism is. And this is the least that we can do right now, when the country is facing new tremendous and brutal challenges – to recall how much it gave to the world; how much it had already sacrificed for the sake of humanity!

I spoke to people in Windhoek, who with tears in their eyes recalled North Korea’s struggle against (South African) apartheid-supported regimes in both Namibia and Angola. Naturally, South African apartheid used to enjoy the full support of the West. To repay that favor, South African troops joined the fight against North Korea and China during the Korean War.

As mentioned by Mwandawiro Mghanga, North Korea fought against Israel, its pilots flew Egyptian fighter planes in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. DPRK took part in the liberation struggle in Angola and it fought in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Lesotho, and Namibia and in the Seychelles. It provided assistance to the African National Congress and its epic struggle to liberate South Africa from apartheid. In the past, it had aided the then progressive African nations, including Guinea, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mali and Tanzania.

Arthur Tewungwa, Ugandan opposition politician from the Uganda People’s Congress Party (UPC) compares the involvement of the DPRK and the West in his country and the African Great Lakes region:

“Uganda benefited from its relationship with North Korea in the 1980s when it helped the government to fight against the Museveni rebels who were supported by the US and UK. Morally, compared to the DPRK, the latter two have no leg to stand on with all the bloodshed they triggered in the Great Lakes Region.”

Has North Korea been fully abandoned, left to its fate? Has it been ‘betrayed’?

Christopher Black, a prominent international lawyer based in Toronto, Canada:

“…The fact that the US, as part of the SC is imposing sanctions on a country it is threatening is hypocritical and unjust. That the Russians and Chinese have joined the US in this, instead of calling for sanctions against the US for its threats against the DPRK and its new military exercises, which are a clear and present danger to the DPRK, is shameful. If the Russians and Chinese are sincere why don’t they insist that the US draw down its forces there so the DPRK feels less threatened and take steps to guarantee the security of the DPRK? They do not explain their actions but their actions make them collaborators with the USA against the DPRK.”

The situation is bleak, but most likely not fatal; not fatal yet.

Jeff J Brown, a leading China expert based in Beijing, does not hide his optimism when it comes to the Sino-Russian relationship with the DPRK:

“There is not a lot that North Korea does in the international arena, that Baba Beijing does not have its hand in. They are two fraternal communist countries and 65 years ago, the Chinese spilled a lot of blood and treasure to save North Korea from the West. Mao Zedong’s son died on the Korean War battlefield, fighting against Yankee imperialism. There are two million ethnic Koreans living along the border with North Korea and another half a million Northerners living and working in China. Koreans are a recognized minority in China. No other country in the world understands North Korea like China does. This closeness is emblematic of their common border, the Yalu River, which is so shallow, you can wade across it. They also share boundaries with another key ally, Russia. China is North Korea’s very, very big brother and protector. Frankly, vis-à-vis the upcoming UNSC sanctions against North Korea, I think the West is getting played like a drum, and it is the drum that gets the crap pounded out of it.”

Of course both China and Russia have their long land borders with North Korea -roads and railroads inter-connecting all three countries. According to my sources in Moscow and Beijing, it is highly unlikely that the two closest allies of the DPRK would ever go along with the new sanctions, whether they are officially ‘supporting them’, or not.

But the logic used by Christopher Black is absolutely correct: it is the West that should be suffering from the toughest sanctions imaginable, not DPRK.

It is the West, not North Korea, which has murdered one billion human beings, throughout history. It is the West that colonized, plundered, raped and enslaved people in all corners of the planet. What moral mandate does it have to propose and impose sanctions against anyone?

We are living in a twisted, truly perverse world, where mass murderers act as judges, and actually get away with it.

North Korea spilled blood for the liberation of Africa. It showed true solidarity with robbed, tortured people, with those whom Franz Fanon used to call the “Wretched of the Earth”. That is why, according to perverse logic (which has roots in the Western religious and cultural fundamentalism), it has to be punished, humiliated, and even possibly wipe off the face of the earth.

Not because it did something objectively ‘bad’, but because the objectivity lost its meaning. Terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are now determined by only one criterion: ‘good’ is all that serves the interests of the Western Empire, ‘bad’ is what challenges its global dictatorship.

If you save the village that had been designated by the Empire as a place to be raped and pillaged, you will be punished in the most sadistic and brutal manner. North Korea did exactly that. Except that it did not save just one village, but it helped to liberate an entire continent!

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Pakistan & Nuclear Security Summit 2016

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By Sajjad Shaukat

From 31 March to 1 April, 2016, heads of more than 50 countries and the leaders of four international organizations will negotiate and finalize new commitments to improve nuclear security protocols around the world at the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, D.C.Two years ago, in Berlin, the US President Barrack Obama had formally announced his plan to host a fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016.

The NSS process has been President Obama’s flagship initiative since his first term when he underlined security of nuclear materials as a priority of his administration in Prague speech of April 5, 2009. He initiated an international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the globe within four years. This ambitious goal was not fully achieved by March 2014; however, the process has observed few successes. Since Prague speech, three nuclear security summits have taken place so far—Washington in 2010, Seoul 2012 and Hague in 2014. So, this will be concluding summit, as President Obama completes his final term this year.

The NSS process has survived two presidential terms and will become part of President Obama’s legacy.

The United States seeks a strengthened global nuclear security architecture which is comprehensive, is based on international standards, builds confidence in nations’ nuclear security implementation, and results in declining global stocks of nuclear weapons-usable materials. We cannot afford to wait for an act of nuclear terrorism before working together to collectively raise our standards for nuclear security.

As regards Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was due to participate in the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit. But, he cancelled his visit to the US in the backdrop of the deadly suicide attack at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park (Childen Park) in Lahore on Easter Sunday (March 27, 2016), which killed at least 72 people, including 29 children and injured more than 300 persons.

A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for this ferocious terror attack, saying Christians were their target. However, now, Minister of State and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Syed Tariq Fatemi will represent Pakistan at the Summit.

The conference will discuss the future of nuclear security summit process and will determine pathways to secure and build on the achievements of the whole process. In this regard, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani has said such high-level participation by Pakistan reflects its strong commitment to nuclear security. He elaborated that The US has been very appreciative of Pakistan’s participation in these meetings. It has periodically recognised Pakistan’s active engagements with global community on the issue of nuclear security.

Meanwhile, in a policy statement on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the US State Department admitted that Islamabad is well aware of its responsibilities with respect to nuclear security and has secured its nuclear arsenal accordingly.

Nevertheless, the forthcoming summit meeting will discuss future of nuclear security summit process and will determine pathways to secure and build on achievements of whole process. It will continue discussions on the evolving (nuclear terrorism) threats and highlight steps which can be taken together to minimize the use of highly-enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials, counter nuclear smuggling and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism.

In fact, terrorism is an international phenomenon and the prevailing global security landscape is characterized by instability, volatility, and the reshaping of geopolitical and geo-strategic order due to both traditional and other emerging challenges and threats. Terrorism which has long been evolved and recognized as a serious domestic and international security threat is capable of instigating a systematic crisis at the global level. The contemporary trend in terrorism is towards loosely organized, self-financed, international networks of terrorists who are usually religiously or ideologically motivated.

Notwithstanding several threats to international security, looming over the entire issue of international terrorism is the specter of proliferation of weapons of mass In this respect, the concluding Nuclear Security Summit is likely to take place in a differently characterized international strategic environment. The emergent global nuclear order being shaped is focusing on a greater role for India’s nuclear weapon status, transfer of nuclear technology and materials especially uranium, and behind the door hectic diplomatic pressure by America to convert India’s Nuclear Supplier Group(NSG) waiver into a full-fledged membership. And Government of Pakistan is being subjected to the renewed pressure to freeze its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capabilities in an internationally shifting political and geo-strategic alignment, dividing the West and India on one side of the global polarization, while Russia and China on the other.

The unstated rationale for Pakistan’s discrimination is due to its

unique position in the Muslim world, facing the increasing specter of terrorism. In these terms double standard of the US-led West is quite obvious. It is notable that Indian nuclear weapons and their related-material are unprotected, as various cases of smuggling and theft have verified.

In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation seized eight kg.of nuclear material from Arun, an engineer in Chennai, including two other engineers.It was reported that the uranium was stolen from an atomic research center.On November 7, 2000, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material.IAEA said that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts.On January 26, 2003, CNN disclosed that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd.shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipment including titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps.Indian investigators acknowledged that the company falsified customs documents to get its shipments out of India.

On June 12, 2004, Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation, an American company was fined US $ 300,000 for exporting a nuclear component to the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in India.

In December 2005, United States imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile goods and chemical arms material to a Muslim country in violation of India’s commitment to prevent proliferation.In the same year, Indian scientists, Dr.Surendar and Y S R Prasad had been blacklisted by the US due to their involvement in nuclear theft.In December, 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility It is mentionable that correspondingly, in the recent Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) report, Pakistan has been placed at the bottom in ranking for nuclear weapon usable material.

To put the records straight, this criterion ignores Islamabad’s stellar role in on-site physical protection, control and accounting procedure, and physical security during transportation. Interestingly, it is difficult to empirically measure how effective nuclear-related material control is unless theft, pilferage or sabotage is reported. Not a single such incident has ever been reported in Pakistan.

Contrary, by setting aside Indian poor records as already mentioned, Indian regulations for nuclear sites are written as guidance rather than as binding requirements.

Additionally, India lacks an independent regulatory agency even if it has vowed to establish one. Thus the said report has clearly shown biases against Pakistan, while India has been taken softly.

Conversely, Pakistan has played an active role in international nuclear security summits. Islamabad has accepted President Obama’s proposal for securing all vulnerable materials within four years (i.e. by 2014). Several safety and security measures have been put in place as part of this commitment. Pakistan acceded to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

But, it has refused to endorse the Convention’s 2005 amendments, because the original articles covered nuclear material in international transport; the amendments sought to extend it to nuclear facilities and to material in peaceful domestic use and storage. Notably, the recent statement of Pakistan’sNational Command Authority(NCA)  which carried a reference of deep satisfaction to country’s national nuclear safety and security measures, and another regarding the NSS process for which NCA members were briefed, hints toward Islamabad’s commitment to nuclear security.

The statement reads;“NCA noted with satisfaction that Pakistan has the requisite credentials which entitle it to become part of all multi-lateral export control regimes, including the NSG, for which Islamabad seeks adoption of a non-discriminatory approach. Pakistan was considering ratification of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Amended), for which NCA gave approval in principle for its ratification’. That is a pitch repeated in 2014 and has echoed in the NCA most recent meeting.

In the same vein, Islamabad has repeatedly reiterated its stance that we have revisited our safety parameters, emergency preparedness and response, and operators’ training and yet again these measures should be recounted in the upcoming international platforms.

As a matter of fact, Pakistan maintains that nuclear security within a state is a national responsibility because then the fundamental responsibility lies at the state. It is difficult that third party can be asked to come and access them, irrespective of their national or international Nonetheless Pakistan has lost nothing by joining these summits, but gained, and thus as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan will continue to contribute meaningfully towards the global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures.

While, internationally, there is an urgent need to develop a mechanism which can provide a process for sustained review and improvement of the nuclear security regime beyond 2016. This is crucial in an environment where an increasing amount of nuclear material and the terrorism threat is escalating.

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

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Pakistan Uncovers Reality of Pathankot Incident

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

Ajit Doval, the ex-spymaster who is now National Security Advisor of Indian Prime Minister Minister Narendra Modi is the real author and controller of India’s offensive-defensive doctrine.

Besides planning various terror attacks in Pakistan as part of Indian offensive-defensive doctrine, Ajit Doval also advised to arrange various subversive acts inside India and to shift the blame game to Pakistan like orchestrated drama of Gurdaspur episode, boat incident etc. The main aims behind were to defame Pakistan and its security agencies.

In this regard, on January 2, 2016, a terror attack at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot was preplanned under his directions. Without any investigation and evidence, since the first day of the incident, Indian media and top civil and military officials claimed that the attackers had arrived from Pakistani Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and had links with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But, despite Islamabad’s cooperation with India like formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consisting of professionals to investigate the Pathankot attack, crackdown against the militant group Jaish-i-Mohammad—lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) in relation to the incident, New Delhi failed in providing any proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pathankot

episode. In fact, India orchestrated that drama to postpone secretary-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, 2016.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan as a responsible member of the international community condemned the Patahankot attack and offered honest and sincere help to investigate the issue, though New Delhi itself arranged the incident. In this respect, on January 8, 2016, a high level meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was held in which chief of army staff and DG, ISI also

participated. The meeting also discussed the Pathankot incident and expressed Pakistan’s condemnation. Reiterating commitment to cooperate with India to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism in the region, it was decided to remain in touch with the Indian government—expressed the goodwill generated by the recent high level contacts, the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue

Pakistan’s stance has been appreciated and international community also asked both the countries to solve the issue through diplomacy. Therefore, the so-called offensive behaviour of Indian leadership got toned down.

Consequently, Pakistan’s JIT of experts would visit India on March 27, this year to investigate the issue. In view of the forthcoming visit, Indian negativepropaganda continues against the sincerity of Islamabad.

Security policy of Pakistan supported by all stake holders including Government and Security institutions aims at eradicating terrorists from its soil. Pakistan is sincere in investigating the Pathankot event. Islamabad is serious in addressing genuine concerns of New Delhi and international community. This was the first ever effort by India to genuinely engage Pakistan.

Pakistan’s seriousness and non-involvement is reflective from Pakistan’s willing support for a fair investigation. Now, India is to open the doors for genuine investigation and share all proves to Islamabad—sufficient enough for a tangible legal action.

In order to allow JIT to thoroughly investigate the case based on admissible evidence, Indian leadership must stop spitting venom and should not view Pakistan’s serious commitments with suspicion. However, India’s orchestrated drama of the Pathankot attack could be judged from the fact that Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that New Delhi would not allow access to the JIT into the base, while; it can undermine the seriousness of bilateral commitments to find Team has to be allowed serious access to the Indian investigations as to ascertain the reality.

In this connection, varying claims are coming from India with regards to the strength of the killed terrorists. And Pictures/photographs of only four terrorists have been shared with the media so far. Hence it is must to find about remaining two.

Indian Intelligence agencies had already alerted security agencies about the possible terror group’s planning of the assault at Pathonkot, after tracing the phone calls of the militants.

Following the alert, Western Air Command chief Air Marshal SB Deo had reached Pathankot air base on the same day of night himself to take stock of security preparations. One day before, the terrorists had also hijacked the car of Indian Superintend of Police (SP), Gurdaspur, Salwinder Singh, which was used by them to reach the base. SP, his friend Rajesh Verma, and cook Madan Gopal were abducted and afterwards released. Reports disclosed that Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has been entrusted with the attack probe, is questioning the SP, his friend and cook, deliberately connecting him with Pakistan’s banned outfit Jaish-e- Mohammad and spy agency, ISI.

Nevertheless, Pathaonkot incident cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of Indian activities against Pakistan. In this context it is of particular attention that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of Indian intelligence agency RAW in Balochistan province. During investigation, RAW agent namely Kul Bushan Yadav confessed that during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. He further revealed that he also distributed millions of rupees among the separatist elements and insurgents in the province.

The law enforcement agencies for the last eight months monitored Yadav’s movement and activities and arrested him after collecting ample evidence. They also recovered Afghan and Pakistani SIMs as well as maps from his possession. Out of more than 15 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, the majority of whom are located near the Pakistan border and Yadav was also stationed at Kandahar.

On March 25, in a statement, India’s External Affairs Ministry, while admitting the RAW agent, captured by the Pakistani security forces to be Indian citizen, claimed that he was a commander in the Indian Navy, and it has sought consular access to Yadav In this respect, Pakistan’s Foreign Office, spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and lodged a strong protest over RAW officer’s arrest…India’s spying activities in Balochistan and Karachi…the spy was linked to separatist elements in Balochistan, as well as involved in acts of sectarian terrorism and terror attacks in Karachi…and Balochistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to take up the issue of Indian captured agent and interference in Balachistan with his counterpart Modi in the meeting on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington to be held on March 30, while, the two sides are also optimistic about a foreign secretaries meeting next month. He is also set to brief US President Barrack Obama on the matter.

While, Pakistan itself is facing terrorism challenges supported by regional and extra-regional actors. Most of such acts are committed from across Pakistan’s western borders supported by various elements. Creating unrest on Pakistan’s eastern borders can only be the wish of elements against peace in Pakistan. Such elements also want to project Pakistan negatively. Therefore, involving Pakistan in Pathankot needs to be viewed in larger perspective of terrorism.

But, the arrest of RAW agent was made at a crucial hour, when Pakistani JIT is scheduled to visit India to investigate Pathankot terror attack. Nonetheless, Pakistan has uncovered the reality of Pathanko incident.

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

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23rd March Demands Selfless Unity

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

The 23rd of March 1940 was a watershed in the history of the Sub Continent, when All India Muslim League passed the Resolution in Lahore for the creation of an independent state. Now, it is popularly called as Pakistan Resolution. Earlier, in his address to the Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930, the idea of a homeland for Muslims in their majority areas had been  envisioned by the poet Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal, and had become the aspiration of Indian.

In fact, the British colonialists in connivance with majority Hindu population had manipulated and targeted Muslims through every possible way. In that background, Muslims started struggle Prior to the Lahore session of Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had specified to this historical congregation of the Muslims, the watch-words of ‘Faith, Unity and Discipline’ which were not only necessary for waging the battle for an independent homeland, but also for present Pakistan. So, while struggling against the enemies, the essence of these watch-words, is unity which is the real spirit of the Pakistan Resolution.

However, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality. But that unity started declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in 1971, as the India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.

The 23rd March which is celebrating by every Pakistani as the Pakistan Day, has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature, which are not only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating division between the rulers and the opposition parties including rival politicians, taking the country towards anarchy.

The Pakistan Day has come at a time when Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war, while enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. In these terms, Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists.

In this respect, our Armed Forces have almost obtained their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. In Balochistan, Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including tribal areas our security forces and law-enforcing agencies are coping with the terrorists. Unlike the past, peace has been restored in Balochistan and Karachi.

During this vary day, it is also of particular attention that since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province. However, civil, federal and provincial governments are making strenuous efforts to restore complete peace and order in the province. For this purpose, a paramilitary committee has also been formed by the ruling party to hold negotiations with the disgruntled elements. And Chief of Army Staff Gen.

Raheel Sharif also supports political settlement—general pardon to the insurgents in Balochistan, so that, development works including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would bring unlimited benefits to the province and its people must be completed.

Unfortunately, it is because of lack of solidarity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic

World. In the past few years, nefarious designs of some foreign secret agencies like Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad can be gauged from a number of anti-Pakistan developments such as their support to insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, separatism in Balochistan and targeted killings especially in Karachi coupled with subversive acts all over the country.

Pakistan which has become special arena of this different war has faced terror-activities such as suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, ruthless beheadings of the innocent people, assaults on security personnel and prominent religious figures. Besides blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, the terrorists, particularly of the Afghan-based Indian-backed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also targeted mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleums, temples, Churches and disgraced dead bodies.

Their pitiless acts resulted into killings of several persons in Pakistan. Although terror-attacks have been reduced, yet RAW has again started these acts of sabotage in Pakistan.

And Pakistan is also facing multi-faceted crises such as loadshedding of gas and electricity, soaring prices, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid.

Externally, Pak Army and Rangers have boldly responded to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot and other sectors. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, astaunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.

As regards the unity, no doubt, it was displayed among all segments of society, after the TTP massacred 132 school children at Army Public School and College in Peshawar on December 16, 2014—as the situation warranted bold and firm decisions to deal the menace of terrorism, especially the threat of the TTP and its banned affiliated groups which are still conducting acts of sabotage in Pakistan. In this regard, the government, encouraged by the resolve of public opinion responded prudently, and  lifted the moratorium on death penalty awarded to the criminals according to law.

Taking note of the delicate moment, on January 2, 2015, political and military leaders agreed on a draft of legislative measures which paved the way for establishment of special military trial courts. It was unanimously agreed that the 20 points (National Action Plan) enunciated in the All Parties Conference (APC) Resolution of December 24, 2014 shall be acted upon expeditiously—the bill as 22nd (Constitutional) Amendment has been enforced soon after its approval from the parliament. Now, special military courts have been established and the ruthless terrorists facing death penalty are rapidly being hanged.

But, it is not enough, because it is war of every patriot Pakistani against terrorists, as enemy is different, and it cannot leave on the security forces alone to wage this different conflict of history. In this context, Pakistan Day demands cooperation of every citizen, politician, and religious leader with the security forces and agencies to defeat these merciless terrorists.

In case of Pakistan’s war against terrorism, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif has himself started supervising the military action against terrorists, and as part of ongoing operations in Waziristan and Khyber Agency, particularly the operation, Zarb-e-Azb, several terrorists have While emphasizing national unity against terrorists, Gen. Raheel has repeatedly stated, “Our resolve has taken new height”, and added “We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.”

Today, Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external challenges and threats to the national security of the country.

At this critical moment, the 23rd March demands selfless national unity which must be shown practically. This significant day demands that our political leaders must pledge that they will not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as to grab political power. In this connection, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed

should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other. They must avoid exploiting present thorny issues in order to increase their vote-bank at the cost of the integration of the country. If any controversy arises, it can better be settled in consonance with the constitution.

For this aim, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the country, our political leaders, media and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any crisis against Pak Army and country’s primary secret agency, ISI whose image are deliberately

being tarnished by the external plotters.

True and selfless unity against the foreign enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other political parties and must create national cohesion among various segments of society.

Particularly, our electronic media should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of the US-led some western countries including India and Israel which are distorting the image of Especially, on this very day, media must also project soft image of Pakistan by highlighting national heroes and tourism sights of the county.

Nonetheless, at this crucial time, Pakistan’s survival lies in selfless unity and strong cohesion as at present, even a layman can note that our country is in chaos and it seems as if there is a “war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.”

On the occasion of Pakistan Day, we must follow the essence of the Pakistan Resolution in real terms by displaying selfless unity in practical terms, which is not possible unless the government, the opposition leaders, civil societies and media owners including all other segments of society pledge to sign a charter of integration which is very necessary to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and threats.

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

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