Archive | South Asia

Pakistan Shrine Attack Kills Sparks Fierce Crackdown

NOVANEWS
  • A man mourns the death of a relative who was killed in a suicide blast at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi.
    A man mourns the death of a relative who was killed in a suicide blast at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi. | Photo: Reuters
The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan’s deadliest attack for two years.

Pakistani security forces killed at least 39 suspected militants Friday, a day after the Islamic State group claimed a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 worshippers at a Sufi shrine, the biggest in a spate of attacks this week across the country.

RELATED: 4 Indian Soldiers, 4 Militants Dead in Kashmir Gun Battles

The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan’s deadliest attack for two years, killing at least 88 people and highlighting the threat of militant groups.

The security response was swift.

“Over 100 terrorists have been killed since last night and sizeable apprehensions also made,” the military said in an operations update on Friday evening.

“Terrorists will be targeted ruthlessly, indiscriminately, anywhere and everywhere. No let up,” an armed forces spokesman added in a tweet.

With authorities facing angry criticism for failing to tighten security before the shrine bomber struck, analysts warned that the wave of violence pointed to a major escalation in Islamist militants’ attempts to destabilize the region.

“This is a virtual declaration of war against the state of Pakistan,” said Imtiaz Gul, head of the independent Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad.

ANALYSIS: No Country for Women: India Enters 2017 with ‘Mass Molestation’ 

With pressure growing for action, Pakistan demanded that neighboring Afghanistan hand over 76 “terrorists” it said were sheltering over the border.

The bombings over five days have hit all four of Pakistan’s provinces and two major cities, shaking a nascent sense that the worst of the country’s militant violence may be in the past.

A series of military operations against insurgent groups operating in Pakistan had encouraged hopes that their leaders were scattered.

“But this has led to a degree of complacency within our civil-military leadership that perhaps they have completely destroyed these elements, or broken their back,” Gul said.

If so, that impression has been shattered in recent days.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

The Afghan Connection of Terrorism in Pakistan 

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today

Pakistan’s Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operation Zarb-e-Azb, which has also been extended to other provinces of the country. While, Pakistan’s law-enforcing agencies, especially primary intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. But, the new wave of terrorism which started in the beginning of this year, having connection in Afghanistan has, again, enveloped Pakistan.

In this regard, at least 88 people were martyred and 343 were injured on February 16, this year when a suicide bomber attacked the crowded Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh province of Pakistan. 

Terrorist organisation, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 15, three suicide bombers targeted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining tribal areas leaving around seven people dead. One of the incidents occurred in Peshawar where a suicide bomber riding a motorbike hit a vehicle carrying civil judges, while two other suicide bombers blew themselves up at separate locations in Mohmand Agency.

At least 13 people were killed on February 13, this year when a suicide bomber struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road in the eastern city of Lahore during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.

The affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.

Terror attack in Lahore coincided with the incident in Quetta-the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where at least one policeman was killed and five people were injured on February 13, 2017 in an explosion occurred on Sariab road.

Besides, more than 24 people had been killed in an explosion which ripped through a crowded marketplace in Parachinar Kurram tribal agency on January 21, 2017. Soon after the incident, Afghan-based TTP claimed responsibility for the blast in Parachinar.

At least 65 people were killed when a blast struck at the shrine of the Sufi saint Shah Noorani in Balochistan’s Hub Tehsil on November 12, 2016. ISIL had accepted responsibility for the attack via Amaq, its affiliated news agency.

Earlier, the affiliated group of the TTP, TTP-JA took responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Quetta, which killed at least 74 people on August 8, 2016 in a assault at the government-run Civil Hospital.

However, the suicide bombing at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is the worst single attack since the TTP militants massacred about 150 students at an army school in Peshawar in December 2014. Pakistan’s military and civil high officials strongly condemned the attack and recent terror attacks by pointing out their connection in Afghanistan.

In this respect, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that senior Afghan diplomats were summoned to the General Headquarters (Of army) over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and asked to ensure that immediate action was taken against the Pakistani terrorists living in safe havens in their country.

The army, which took the lead in dealing with Afghanistan over the terrorist sanctuaries there, had soon after the Sehwan shrine attack announced closure of the border crossings with Afghanistan citing security reasons.

According to the statement of the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, on February 17, 2017, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm by saying, “our security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed…each drop of nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately…no more restraint for anyone.”

Gen. Javed Bajwa had called Gen John Nicholson, commander of the US’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan through telephone to protest continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan perpetrated from Afghanistan, saying that they were testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.

Gen. Bajwa told Gen. Nicholson that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan had been claimed by terrorist organisations whose leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, and asked him to play his role in “disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support”.

In a terse message, during the conversation with Nicholson, Gen. Bajwa also informed him of the list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities earlier—operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism.

Taking note of the terror assault in Sehwan, including the recent ones, Pakistan Army targeted a training camp of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and militant hideouts located close to the Pak-Afghan border in areas adjacent to Mohmand and Khyber agencies.

In a similar message to Kabul, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to call for strong action against JuA and terrorist’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that Afghanistan had been asked to address concerns about presence of terrorist groups on its soil, which are behind the latest wave of terrorism in the country.

It is notable that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference on February 17, this year claimed that the suspects involved in planning and carrying out the Feb 13 suicide bombing on a protest at Lahore’s Charing Cross (Mall Road) belonged to Afghanistan. Sharif also announced the arrest of the facilitator of the attacker, Anwar-ul-Haq who he said belonged to Fata’s Bajaur Agency which neighbours Afghanistan. The suspect’s confessional statement was aired during the briefing. The suspect stated, “I was associated with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and they trained me”, adding that he has visited Afghanistan around 15 to 20 times.

The police officers involved in the investigation into the incident of Mall Road, Lahore revealed that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is an offshoot of the Tehreek-i-Taliban.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks since Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) announced its ‘Operation Ghazi’. The Afghanistan-based JuA had in the announcement also hinted at unification of TTP splinter groups.

As regards the terror assault on the Police Training College in Quetta, IG FC Major General Sher Afgun had informed the press that the attackers acted on directions from Afghanistan and the initial investigation suggested that the terrorists were affiliated with the outlawed Lashkar-e- Jhangvi Al Almi militant group. He elaborated, “We came to know from the communication intercepts that there were three militants who were getting instructions from Afghanistan.”

Notably, as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP was being prepared to carry out a fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has become center of the Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan.

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its location among South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources irritate the eyes of the US, India and Israel which intend to weaken Pakistan for their collective aims, as the latter is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.

In case of Balochistan, every Pakistani knows that the militant outfits like ISIS and separatist groups like the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and their affiliated groups, including Jundollah (God’s soldiers) and Lashkar-i-Janghvi which have been creating unrest in the Balochistan get logistic support from RAW and Mossad with the tactical assistance of CIA. In the recent years, these terrorist outfits massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. These externally-supported insurgent groups had kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan including Iranian diplomats. They have claimed responsibility for a number of terror assaults, including those on Shias in Balochsitan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan.

As a matter of fact, like Syrian war, as part of the dual strategy of their countries, CIA, RAW and Mossad are especially using ISIS terrorists who are behind the latest blasts in Balochistan to obtain the covert aims of their countries against Pakistan, China and Iran.

It is of particular attention that arrest of the Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav in Balochistan has exposed Indian undeclared war against Pakistan. While addressing a joint press conference with the then Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheeda and former Director General of 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 destabilize 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. During investigation, RAW agent Yadav admitted 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. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s security agencies uncovered another ring of Indian spies in the country, working as under covert agents, found involved in subversive activities to destabilize Pakistan. In this connection, on November 2, last year, Islamabad disclosed that five Indian diplomats who were serving at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad found to be part of the RAW spy network and were involved in subversive activities by facilitating and funding terrorism. They were declared as persona non grata and expelled from the country.

Undoubtedly, almost all the terrorists or terrorist groups and insurgency in Pakistan, especially have their connection in Afghanistan. The porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is frequently used by human and drug traffickers, criminals and terrorists. Their easy access through unguarded porous border provides opportunity to miscreants to cause havoc inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. For effective counter terrorism measures strong border, control management is vital at Pak-Afghan border. But, Afghan rulers are using delaying tactics in this respect.

Taking cognizance of the anti-Pakistan intruders, Pakistan’s army had decided to build a fence along the border, and to control the border crossings. The strategic project of 1,100-kilometre-long trench with the cost of Rs14 billion which was initiated along Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan by Frontier Corps in 2013 has been completed last year. In the next phase, the project will be extended to the entire long border with Afghanistan which had opposed this plan.

While, from time to time, controversy arises between Afghanistan and Pakistan when Afghan officials refused to recognize the Durand Line which is the 2640 kilometer long and porous border, situated between both the countries.

The issue again came to the limelight on June 12, 2016 when Afghan security forces started unprovoked firing at Torkham border crossing, resulting in injuries to more than 16 Pakistani citizens, including the martyrdom of some Pakistani security personnel. The aim was to stop Pakistan from construction of a gate.

Durand Line has not been drawn by Pakistan, but it was declared border line by British representative Sir Durand and Afghan Ameer Ghazi Amanullah Khan in 1919. People of Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA (Tribal Areas) opted to join Pakistan in 1947. So, it is a declared border line and Afghan government has no right to object on any construction along with the Durand line.

There is no doubt that escalation of tension at Pak- Afghan border is deliberately engineered by the elements opposed to peace talks and improvement of bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul.

Pakistan is committed to tackle the problem of terrorism mainly emanating from Afghanistan. Therefore, the effective border management becomes imperative to control all the terrorism-related infiltrations, drug smuggling etc.  Moreover, effective border management will also facilitate both countries to come out of blame game, as it would offer a strict check on both sides to counter the free movement of terrorists and drug mafia lords, who are the important factors of deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and its obvious backlash on Pakistan.

Besides, Afghan peace and reconciliation process is a reality despite of its slow pace and continual interruptions. The positive trajectory of constructive relations between Islamabad and Kabul raised alarm-bells amongst the US-led adversaries who are attempting to affect the progressive Pak-Afghan relations through smear and sinister scheming.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have previously suggested many initiatives to resolve their differences. However, as fast as these solutions had emerged, they have disappeared due to lack of follow-up. Afghanistan and Pakistan have no other option, but to cooperate and resolve their differences through political and diplomatic dialogue. And there is a huge lack of trust between the both sides. Hence, it is imperative for both the countries to develop a framework for strategic dialogue, focused on short, medium and long term solutions. As a trust building initiative, an effective border management mechanism will be beneficial for the two countries. Such an establishment will also plug in many loop holes, being manipulated by the terrorist outfits to conduct cross border terrorism.

We may conclude that besides the previous terror-events, the recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have connection in Afghanistan.

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Pakistan: Who is Behind Lahore Terror Attack?

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

At least 13 people were killed and 85 injured on February 13, this year when a suicide bomber

struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan

during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.

Seven police officials, including two senior officers—SSP Operations Zahid Gondal of Punjab

Police and DIG Traffic Lahore Capt (retd) Ahmad Mobin were among those killed in the attack.

The affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan

Jamaat-ur- Ahrar (TTP-JA) took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.

Terror attack in Lahore coincided with the incident in Quetta-the provincial capital of Pakistan’s

Balochistan province, where at least one policeman was killed and five people were injured on

February 13, 2017 in an explosion occurred on Sariab road.

It is mentionable that the final cricket match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL),

being played in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) was to be held in just a few weeks’ time at

Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium—nearly six kilometers away from the blast site. The return of

cricket to Pakistan was being touted as a successful demonstration of the PSL final in

Lahore—a move which could have presented the country as a safe nation to the world.

PSL chairman Najam Sethi, on many occasions, had said that foreign players participating in

the league have signed contracts which abide them to play the final in Lahore; however, they

have always quoted security as an issue. Hopefully Sethi and the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket

Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan and the Pakistani players were helping to convince the foreign

ones to come to Pakistan for the PSL final match. Hence, apart from other sinister aims,

especially India is behind the latest explosion in Lahore to sabotage the final cricket match.

Besides, at least 24 people had been killed and over 50 injured in a powerful explosion that

ripped through a crowded marketplace in Parachinar Kurram tribal agency on January 21, this

year. Soon after the incident, Afghan-based TTP claimed responsibility for the blast in

Parachinar.

At least 65 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when a blast struck at

the shrine of the Sufi saint Shah Noorani in Balochistan’s Hub Tehsil on November 12, 2016.

The Middle East-based movement of the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL)

had accepted responsibility for the attack via Amaq, its affiliated news agency. ISIS had also

claimed responsibility for a terror assault on the Police Training College in Quetta, which left at

least 60 individuals dead on October 24, 2016.

Earlier, the affiliated faction of the TTP, TTP-JA took responsibility for a deadly suicide

bombing in Quetta, which killed at least 74 people on August 8, 2016 in an attack at the

government-run Civil Hospital.

In fact, the armed forces of Pakistan have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists

by the successful military operation Zarb-e- Azb which has also been extended to other parts of

the country, including Balochistan. And Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, ISI has broken

the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of

terror attempts.

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,

peace has been restored in Balochistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, FATA (Tribal

Areas) and Karachi. But, it is due to lack of effective management mechanism at the Pak-Afghan

border that as part of the double game, the US-led India and Israel have again started acts of

sabotage in Pakistan to destabilize the latter. They are also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan

Economic Corridor (CPEC).

It was part of ploy that two terrorist groups accepted responsibility for the terror assault at the

Police Training College in Quetta to divert the attention from the US-led India and Israel.

Based in Afghanistan, operatives of CIA, Mossad and RAW which are well-penetrated in the

terrorist outfits like ISIS, TTP and their affiliated Taliban groups are using their terrorists to

destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan by

arranging the subversive activities.

As regards the terror assault on the Police Training College in Quetta, IG FC Major General Sher

Afgun had informed the press that the attackers acted on directions from Afghanistan and the

initial investigation suggested that the terrorists were affiliated with the outlawed Lashkar-e-

Jhangvi Al Almi militant group. He elaborated, “We came to know from the communication

intercepts that there were three militants who were getting instructions from Afghanistan.”

Notably, as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan

intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With

latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed

terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani Intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These

external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and

Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP was being prepared to

carry out a fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has become center of the

Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan.

Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar seaport is close to the

Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its location

among South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further

increased its strategic significance. Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources irritate the

eyes of the US, India and Israel which intend to weaken Pakistan for their collective aims, as the

latter is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.

As regards Balochistan, every Pakistani knows that the militant outfits like ISIS and separatist

groups like the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and their affiliated groups, including

Jundollah (God’s soldiers) and Lashkar-i- Janghvi which have been creating unrest in the

Balochistan get logistic support from RAW and Mossad with the tactical assistance of CIA. In

the recent years, these terrorist outfits massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb

blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. These externally-supported insurgent groups had

kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan including Iranian

diplomats. They have claimed responsibility for a number of terror assaults, including those on

Shias in Balochsitan and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan.

As a matter of fact, like Syrian war, as part of the dual strategy of their countries, CIA, RAW and

Mossad are especially using ISIS terrorists who are behind the latest blasts in Balochistan to

obtain the covert aims of their countries against Pakistan, China and Iran.

It is of particular attention that arrest of the Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav in Balochistan has

exposed Indian undeclared war against Pakistan. 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 destabilize 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. During investigation, RAW agent Yadav admitted 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.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s secret agencies uncovered another ring of Indian spies in the country,

working as under covert agents, found involved in subversive activities to destabilize Pakistan.

In this connection, on November 2, last year, Islamabad disclosed that five Indian diplomats who

were serving at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad found to be part of the RAW spy

network and were involved in subversive activities by facilitating and funding terrorism. They

were declared as persona non grata and expelled from the country.

Undoubtedly, almost all the terrorists or terrorist groups and insurgency in Pakistan, especially

have their connections in Afghanistan. The porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is

frequently used by human and drug traffickers, criminals and terrorists. Their easy access

through unguarded porous border provides opportunity to miscreants to cause havoc inside

Pakistan and Afghanistan. For effective counter terrorism measures strong border, control

management is vital at Pak-Afghan border. But, Afghan rulers are using delaying tactics in this

respect.

Taking note of the anti-Pakistan intruders, Pakistan’s army had decided to build a fence along the

border, and to control the border crossings. The strategic project of 1,100-kilometre- long trench

with the cost of Rs14 billion which was initiated along Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan by

Frontier Corps in 2013 has been completed last year. In the next phase, the project will be

extended to the entire long border with Afghanistan which had opposed this plan.

While, from time to time, controversy arises between Afghanistan and Pakistan when Afghan

officials refused to recognize the Durand Line which is the 2640 kilometer long and porous

border, situated between both the countries.

The issue again came to the limelight on June 12, 2016 when Afghan security forces started

unprovoked firing at Torkham border crossing, resulting in injuries to more than 16 Pakistani

citizens, including the martyrdom of some Pakistani security personnel. The aim was to stop

Pakistan from construction of a gate.

Durand Line has not been drawn by Pakistan, but it was declared border line by British

representative Sir Durand and Afghan Ameer Ghazi Amanullah Khan in 1919. People of

Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA (Tribal Areas) opted to join Pakistan in

1947. So, it is a declared border line and Afghan government has no right to object on any

construction along with the Durand line.

There is no doubt that escalation of tension at Pak- Afghan border is deliberately engineered by

the elements opposed to peace talks and improvement of bilateral relations between Islamabad

and Kabul.

Pakistan is committed to tackle the problem of terrorism mainly emanating from Afghanistan.

Therefore, the effective border management becomes imperative to control all the terrorism-

related infiltrations, drug smuggling etc.  Moreover, effective border management will also

facilitate both countries to come out of blame game, as it would offer a strict check on both sides

to counter the free movement of terrorists and drug mafia lords, who are the important factors of

deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and its obvious backlash on Pakistan.

Besides, Afghan peace and reconciliation process is a reality despite of its slow pace and

continual interruptions. The positive trajectory of constructive relations between Islamabad and

Kabul raised alarm-bells amongst the US-led adversaries who are attempting to affect the

progressive Pak-Afghan relations through smear and sinister scheming.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have previously suggested many initiatives to resolve their differences.

However, as fast as these solutions had emerged, they have disappeared due to lack of follow-up.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have no other option, but to cooperate and resolve their differences

through political and diplomatic dialogue. And there is a huge lack of trust between the both

sides. Hence, it is imperative for both the countries to develop a framework for strategic

dialogue, focused on short, medium and long term solutions. As a trust building initiative, an

effective border management mechanism will be beneficial for the two countries. Such an

establishment will also plug in many loop holes, being manipulated by the terrorist outfits to

conduct cross border terrorism.

Returning to our earlier discussion, with the assistance of CIA and Mossad, particularly Indian

RAW is behind the terror attack in Lahore.

 

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

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Samjhota Express Incident Revisited

NOVANEWS

Image result for India-Pakistan Samjhota Express train PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

On the midnight of 18-19 February 2007, India-Pakistan Samjhota Express train was bombed in

which 68 Pakistani nationals were killed. A Hindu extremist leader Swami Aseemanand, a leader

of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has confessed that he was involved in several bombings

incidents. He also claimed to have been a part of the incident.

In fact, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails in every field at the cost of other

minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defense forces secretly. This could be judged

from the incident, when on April 6, 2008 in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded,

a bomb went off. The investigation proved that these militants were found in the bomb-making

and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra

arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they

were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive

RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further

disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota

express, which burnt alive 70 Pakistanis.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) was convinced that Sadhu Swami Aseemanand, a

Hindu right-wing leader was directly involved in the Samjhota Express blast. Sources in NIA

further pointed out that besides Lt. Col. Purohit, other Indian army officials were also behind that

train-bombing. In this regard, a court in Panchkula, Haryana has recorded Aseemanand’s

statement which confirmed the NIA inquiry.

Aseemanand’s statement in the Samjhota Express blast case was recorded under Section 164 of

the Criminal Procedure Code before a magistrate. His earlier admission was recorded in the

Mecca Masjid case, which was being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Sadhu Aseemanand stuck to his confession that Hindutva radicals were behind the bomb attack

on the Samjhota Express. Aseemanand, Aka Naba and Kumar Sarkar, named absconding

Hindutva militants—Ramji Kaisangra and Sandeep Dange as the key plotters in that terror

attack.

Sources of the NIA also disclosed that the confession in connection with the Samjhota Express

blast practically rules out the involvement of other groups.

In the Samjhota Express case, the probe team has found that the bomb used in the train waskept

in a suitcase that was bought from a shop of Indore’s Kothari Market. The suitcase had cloth

covers stitched by an Indian local tailor. The NIA was now trying to get details of those who

bought the suitcase and covers.

It is notable that Dr. J C Batra, who is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, was

asked to give opinion on Aseemanand’s confession. He appeared very defensive and as usual

started accusing Pakistan’s its primary intelligence agency ISI—its so-called history for such

activities, alleging that even this could be an ISI plot. He further said that Swami’s statement

does not have much legal value as circumstantial evidence is also needed, while adding that RSS

is being wrongly implicated and there could be others involved who are not being exposed. In

this regard, a Pakistani parliamentarian, Mr. Mian Abdul Sattar, parliamentary secretary for

planning and development, who was accompanying him, later stated that that he was told by Mr

JC Batra that the Indian Army was involved in this case and there “are efforts to shield it from

getting exposed”.

Swami Aseemanand also confessed in the court that several RSS preachers and Sang activists

were directly involved in planning, financing and executing Malegaon, Samjhauta Express,

Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts. He stated that various leaders of Hindu communal organizations

including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram and Vanvasi

Kalyan Ashram were also behind these blasts.

It is mentionable that in various tapes, LT. Col Purohit said, “We are all on the same plane,

Hindu Rashtra (Nation)”. He even claimed that Gen. J J Singh is “with us”. (Former Singh was

Army Chief till Sept. 2007). Significantly, Purohit mentioned that “one of our own captain had

visited Israel”, and demanded “continuous supply of arms, training, an office with a saffron flag

in Tel Aviv, political asylum and support for our cause of a Hindu Nation in the UN.” The

Israelis, he added, gave “a very positive response.”

In this context, exposing the nexus between Bhartia Janta Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the then Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on

January 20, 2013 that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP

were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were behind the

Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. He added, “We will have to think

about it (Saffron terrorism) seriously…Hindu extremist parties BJP and RSS were involved

many times in Hindu Muslim violence in India, especially Gujarat and Babri masjid incident.”

The then India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid endorsed Shinde’s statement, saying

that it was based on facts. Meanwhile, Indian Home Secretary R K Singh revealed that during

investigation the government had found ten names of the Hindu extremists, associated with RSS,

who were involved in these terror attacks including Ajmer Sharif.

Similarly on July 19, 2013, the Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-

attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001

were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

While, India has always accused Pakistan’s ISI of these acts of terrorism, but it is quite silent

over Hindutva-terror which has obtained a new face, under the fundamentalist Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi, as Indian RAW, country’s high officials and fundamentalist parties

have co-relationship.

Nevertheless, despite the confessions of Swami Aseemanand, instead of taking action against the

culprits of the Samjhota Express explosion, the Supreme Court of India accepted the bail of

Swami Aseemanand after the covert interference of the Modi-led authorities who changed the

investigations in this respect in order to weaken the case.

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

Posted in India, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Maqbool Bhat: The Initiator of the Kashmir’s Struggle

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

In order to pay homage to the initiator of the Kashmir’s struggle, the 11th of February is being

celebrated as the martyrdom anniversary of Maqbool Bhat who was hanged by the then Indian

regime on February 11, 1984 in Tihar Jail as the reprisal expressed by New Delhi. He was

hanged to take the revenge of the killing of an Indian Diplomat by some unknown organization

claiming to be Kashmiri. It was an act of shame for a country called India, as even after his

death, his body was not handed over to his family and people, rather buried in Tihar Jail

complex.

People and civil society of Jammu and Kashmir do respect him for his legendary struggle for the

restoration of freedom in Kashmir. He is now a hero and pioneer of the Kashmiri nation.

So as to pay tribute to Maqbool Bhat, People of Srinagar have already built and reserve a grave

for him in Martyrs Grave Yard of Eidgah, Srinagar. However, his formal burial is still awaited.

Maqbool Bhat, also known as Maqbool Butt was a Kashmiri freedom fighter and co-founder of

the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. He was a leading voice of the struggle for freedom among

the Kashmiris. In the year of 1962, Maqbool Bhat formed a movement called Kashmir

Independence Committee (KIC). This group was later merged into the newly formed Jammu

Kashmir Mahaz-Rayee- Shumari (Plebiscite Front) in Azad Kashmir, which was a crusade for

complete independence from India. He was sentenced to death for murder by the Delhi High

Court and hanged on 11 February 1984.

Prior to the publication of ‘Shaoor e Farda’ (the vision of tomorrow) by Saeed Asad and Safeer e

Hurriyat ( the ambassador of liberation) by Khawaja Rafiq, there was little known about the

events which shaped Maqbool Bhat’s life, struggle and Political thoughts. It appears from his

letters written from various Pakistani and Indian prisons and interviews with various journalists

at different times that life became a struggle from the age when children needed to be carefree

and playing with their peers and toys.

His politics came into conflict with the state machinery of the Indian occupied Kashmir when he

led several agitations for the political rights of the people of Kashmir. Subsequently, as it appears

from his interviews and Rafiq’s narration confirmed by some his colleagues, he went

underground and then in 1958 crossed over to Pakistan along with his uncle.

Maqbool Bhat got admission in Peshawar University to do Urdu Literature and joined a local

newspaper ‘Anjaam’ to earn living. At Peshawar University, he met such people as Ahmed

Fraaz, one of the big legends of romantic and radical or commonly called progressive Urdu

poetry.

However, Maqbool Bhat formed Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF) on August

13, 1965. Maqbool Bhat, Aurangzeb, Major Amaan Ulla and Kala Khan crossed the division line

to the Indian-held Kashmr in June 1966. The purpose was to explore the feelings of Kashmiris

there with the possibilities of forming some ‘cells’ there. It appears from the writings of such

activists as F. Rehman who was among those contacted during the three-month tour of NLF

guerrillas in different towns and cities that they managed to convince some people for national

liberation type of armed struggle as the only way to liberate Kashmir.

Most of the Kashmiri record on the history of NLF and Maqbool Bhat shows that on their way

back, they were intercepted by the Indian intelligence agencies and in a clash with one of the

security teams Aurangzeb, who was from Gilgit, and the CID inspector Amar Chand was left

dead. Maqbool Bhat and Kala Khan were arrested on September 14, September 1966.

Two First Information Reports were registered against Maqbool Bhat. The first one lodged at

Police Station Sopore, Kashmir (F.I.R. 84/66) alleged that he crossed the ceasefire line without a

valid legal permit with an illegal purpose to overthrow the lawfully established government of

Jammu and Kashmir.

The second F.I.R. filed at Police Station Panzala, Kashmir (F.I.R. 38/66) charged Maqbool Bhat

with the murder of Amar Chand. It alleged that Bhat and accomplices first took cash; ornaments

and other documents from C.I.D. Inspector Amar Chand’s house then abducted and killed Amar.

He was also charged with the enemy agent.

In his defence Maqbool Bhat denied all charges except that he had without a valid legal permit

crossed the ceasefire line in June 1966. He said that he did not think it necessary to obtain a

permit for moving around in his own country.

The biased Indian court found him guilty and passed death sentenced on him, while others were

given the life sentence. It is also reported that upon announcement of the death sentence by

Judge Neil Kant Ganjo Maqbool Bhat said, “The Rope has not yet been made that can hang

Maqbool Bhat…if Indian authorities of occupation think that by hanging me, they can crush the

Kashmir struggle. They are mistaken. The struggle actually will start after my hanging.”

Nevertheless, Bhat’s execution further contributed to the sense of alienation among most

Kashmiris, and he continues to be a major source of inspiration for the Kahmiri freedom fighters.

Bhat, like Afzal, was buried inside Tihar Jail. Kashmiri activists continue to demand Maqbool

Bhat’s remains, and in fact, a grave is kept vacant in Srinagar’s martyrs’ graveyard for his mortal

remains. He was the first Kashmiri to be judicially murdered on Indian soil-making him the first

authentic martyr of the Kashmiri independence movement. His execution day is celebrated as

Martyr Day every year.

By sacrificing his life, Maqbool Bhat played a key role in the struggle of Kashmiris, which has

continued unabated, despite Indian state terrorism. He infused a new spirit into their movement.

His martyrdom anniversary provides an opportunity to ponder over the fact that various countries

of the world got independence by sacrificing their precious lives. On this vary day, the best way

to pay homage to the pioneer of Kashmir’s struggle, Maqbool Bhat is that all the Kashmiris must

renew their pledge to take the war of liberation to its logical end.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Afzal Guru: Kashmir Movement is Alive

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

Every year, the martyrdom anniversary of Muhammad Afzal Gur is being celebrated on the 9th

of February to pay homage to him, as India secretly hanged him and buried inside the Tihar jail

complex on February 9, 2013. His martyrdom resulted into protests in Kashmir and widespread

condemnations from various political and human rights organisations. Afzal Guru was convicted

in 2001 Parliament attack case and awarded death sentence. Afzal had always denied plotting the

attack, which left 14 dead, including five militants.

In the past three years, during his martyrdom anniversary, a complete shutdown was observed in

the Indian occupied Kashmir and protest demonstrations were held to demand the return of

mortal remains of Afzal Guru.

Call for the strike had been given by pro-freedom leaders and organizations to mark the

anniversary of Muhammad Afzal. Indian authorities had arrested Kashmiri leaders, Yasin Malik,

Shoukat Bakhshi, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza along with several

other Hurriyet activists and lodged them in different police stations and jails. The authorities also

placed Hurriyet leaders, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Nayeem Ahmad Khan

and Ayaz Akbar under house arrest.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement had denounced

the arrests and vowed that the Kashmiris were struggling for their basic right and would succeed

in their mission at the end of the day.

In their statements and meetings, all the leaders of the freedom movement of Kashmir paid

glowing tributes to the martyr Muhammad Afzal Guru who sacrificed his live for the Kashmir

cause.

Even, the Sikh organization, Dal Khalsa President H S Dhami, while paying tributes to

Muhammad Afzal Guru on the eve of his second martyrdom anniversary, in a statement in

Amritsar criticized India for failing to hand over his mortal remains to his wife.

In fact, the very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine

right of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and

launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to crush through various forms of brutalities.

It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its

repressive regime in the Occupied Kashmir through various machinations.

However, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian

army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been

manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted

killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation

of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989,

there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests,

1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children

orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue

these atrocities.

While, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir

Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and

Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual

for an indefinite period.

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out

grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim

majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security

forces.

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of

the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The

report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered

Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected

militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been

tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in

turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000

disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

In this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by

Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.

It is mentionable that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the

northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding

thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and

Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent

civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves.

Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves

include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake

encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

Meanwhile, like the previous year, Pakistan’s recent serious and sincere effort at the annual

session of the United Nations—the speech of Pakistan’s prime minister, highlighting the Indian

atrocities, Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit among the

Kashmiri people.

But, New Delhi is still showing its intransigence in order to resolve Kashmir dispute with

Pakistan by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the

neighbouring countries.

Nevertheless, this time, the very day has come at time when the people of Kashmir have

accelerated their legitimate struggle in the aftermath of the martyrdom of the young Kashmir

leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in wake

of continued sieges and prolonged curfews. Since July 8, 2016, Indian forces have martyred

more than 150 innocent persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan

Wani and for liberation of their land.

By manipulating the false flag terror attacks at a military base in Uri and Baramulla, the BJP-led

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. After

deployment of heavy arms and weapons at the Line of Control (LoC), Indian forces have

increased troops and continue shelling in Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. And Pakistani troops

are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC and are well-prepared

for Indian another surgical strikes, as threatened by Indian new army Chief Army Chief Gen.

Dalbir Singh Suhaag. New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international

community from the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the

Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with

Pakistan.

In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims

by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible

recurrence.

According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces

were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”

It is of particular attention that like the teror asaults at Pathonkot air base, in Mumbai and at

Indian parliament were orchestrated by the Indian security agencies to obtain several sinister

designs against Islamabad such as suspention of the process of Pak-Indian dialogue, shift of

blame game to Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency ISI etc. While, on July 19, 2013, the

Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in

November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the

Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

Nonetheless, Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds.

New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris,

demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are

trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien

rule.

Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru infused a new spirit into the Kashmir

movement keeps is alive today. His martyrdom anniversary provides an opportunity to ponder

over the fact that various countries of the world got independence by sacrificing their precious

lives. On this vary day, the best way to pay homage to the hero of Kashmir movement,

Muhammad Afzal Guru is that all the Kashmiris must renew their pledge to take the war of

liberation to its logical end.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

Thousands of US airstrikes unaccounted for in Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan

NOVANEWS

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US Central Command has been misleading the public in its assessment of the overall progress in the war on terror by failing to account for thousands of airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria, a Military Times investigation reveals.

The investigation revealed that open source data of US Air Force strikes does not contain all the missiles fired. That incomplete data, however, continues to be used by the Pentagon on multiple occasions in official reports and media publications.

The publication says that in 2016 alone, American aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded in the database maintained by the US Air Force.

The investigation also revealed discrepancies in Iraq and Syria where the Pentagon failed to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating back to 2014, when the US-led coalition has launched its first airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS,ISIL) terrorist targets.

According to the Air Force, coalition jets conducted 23,740 airstrikes through the end of 2016. The US Defense Department, however, puts the number at 17,861 until the end of January 2017.

“The Pentagon routinely cites these figures when updating the media on its operations against the Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates in Iraq and Syria,” the publication says.

Military Times remains especially puzzled by a statement made by an Air Force official in December who assured the publication that its monthly summary of activity in Iraq and Syria “specifically” represents the entire American-led coalition “as a whole, which is all 20-nations and the US branches.”

“It’s unclear whether this statement was intentionally misleading, or simply indicative of widespread internal ignorance, confusion or indifference about what’s contained in this data,” Andrew deGrandpre, Military Times’ senior editor and Pentagon bureau chief, said in the article.

Military Times says that the “most alarming” aspects of the investigation are that the discrepancies in numbers go back as far as 2001, when the US, under George W. Bush’s administration, struck Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil.

The publication reveals that the unaccounted-for airstrikes in all three war zones were allegedly conducted by US helicopters and armed drones which are overseen by US Central Command.

“The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida, and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts,” deGrandpre wrote.

The Pentagon and Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities,” the publication added, wondering whether the military wanted to mislead the American public.

READ MORE:

US report on civilian casualties in Iraq & Syria: ‘Figures plucked out of thin air’

Pentagon acknowledges just 5-10% percent of actual civilian casualties in Syria – Amnesty to RT

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Pakistani crackdown on extremists: One hand works to neutralise the other

NOVANEWS
Pakistani militant leader Hafez Saeed

By James M. Dorsey

Pakistan has put one of the world’s most wanted men under house arrest in a half-hearted crackdown on a militant group with close ties to the military and intelligence, in a bid to persuade President Donald Trump from adding the country to those whose citizens were last week banned from travelling to the United States.

Pakistani media reports and analysts said the move against Hafez Muhammad Saeed (pictured above), a leader of the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its alleged front, Jamaat-ud-Din (JuD), came after US officials days before the inauguration of Mr Trump gave Pakistan until 31 January to respond to complaints by the Bangkok-based Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) about various JuD financial transactions.

Mr Saeed is believed to be among others responsible for the 2008 attacks on 12 targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal Hotel, a train station, a café and a Jewish centre. Some 164 people were killed and more than 300 wounded. The US government has a bounty of $10 million on Mr Saeed for information leading to his capture.

Writing in The News, Pakistani investigative reporter Azaz Syed said US officials had told Pakistan’s ambassador in a meeting on 11 January that “if the objections raised in the report were not addressed, the US may put Pakistan in the blacklist of the countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG)”.

Symbolic detention

Apparently pre-warned that action may be taken against him, Mr Saeed suggested during a press conference in Islamabad three days later that JuD may start operating under a new name, a practice frequently adopted by militant groups with government acquiescence. Mr Saeed hinted that the new name would be Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Freedom Movement).

Mr Syed, in a telephone interview alongside other analysts, said the move against Mr Saeed, several other JuD leaders and the group itself, were cosmetic. The symbolism was evident in the fact that Mr Saeed was confined to his home in Lahore that was declared a sub-jail rather than carted off to prison.

The symbolism was also reflected in public displays such as the removal of JuD flags from streets and the hoisting of Pakistani flags at the group’s 81-hectare headquarters in Muridke, a city of two and three-storey pillboxes famous for its fruits and vegetables, 22 kilometres north of Lahore. The International Crisis Group has reported that the complex, which contains an ultra-conservative religious school and housing for 3,000 students and staff, was built in 1998 with Saudi funding.

Links with Saudi Arabia

Mr Saeed has had longstanding links to Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom-backed Ahle-Hadith movement, a group whose ultra-conservative religious views are most closely aligned with Saudi-supported forms of Wahhabism and Salafis. A graduate of an Ahle-Hadith madrassa and King Saud University in Riyadh, Mr Saeed, backed by Saudi money founded Islamic schools in which potential jihadis not only studied Islam but also acquired computer and communication skills.

Mr Saeed was appointed in the 1980s by General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq as a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, an advisory body of clerics and scholars established to assist the Pakistani government in bringing laws in line with the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad. He has long left that post.

While studying in Saudi Arabia, Mr Saeed reportedly met with Saudi scholars involved in the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was those scholars who launched him in his career as a militant. Abdullah Azzam, the Palestinian scholar who taught in Saudi Arabia, before founding the precursor to Al-Qaeda, is believed to have been one of LeT’s original inspirations.

“Nothing has changed”

Analysts and journalists compared the moves against Mr Saeed and JuD to an announcement in October by the State Bank of Pakistan that it had frozen the accounts of more than 2,000 people associated with political violence. Major groups like JuD, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM), which focus mainly on Kashmir, were not included in the list.

“Nothing has changed,” one analyst said.

The degree of official protection Mr Saeed and his group have enjoyed over the years has long been an issue of concern to the United States.

US Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer noted in a cable in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, published by Wikileaks, that JuD “is still operating in multiple locations in Pakistan, and that the group continues to openly raise funds. It is unclear what, if any, steps the GOP [Government of Pakistan] has taken to freeze JUD’s assets or otherwise implement UN [Resolution] 1267 sanctions, which include an asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo”.

An earlier cable warned that charities connected to LeT and JeM that had been funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had increased the local population’s dependence on extremist groups and undermined the influence of moderate Sufi religious leaders.

Mr Saeed was in recent years a familiar figure in the news and in the public eye. In December he attended, alongside other prominent militants such as HuM founder Fazlur Khalil Rehman, a solidarity rally in the Pakistani Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad.

Mr Rehman is a specially designated terrorist on the US Treasury Department’s list who counts a Saudi among his wives. He operates a madrassah [religious school] guarded by AK-47-toting guards on the outskirts of Islamabad. Mr Rehman, a signatory of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa declaring the International Front Against Jews and Crusaders, has leveraged his close ties to the Pakistani world of militancy, his advocacy of armed struggle in Kashmir and his well-established connections to the Pakistani military and intelligence to position himself as a go-between.

Mr Saeed was accorded VIP treatment two weeks after the Muzaffarabad rally on board a state-owned Pakistan International Airways flight to the Baloch capital of Quetta where he gave a news conference together with Shahzain Bugti, the government-backed grandson of killed Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Months earlier, Mr Saeed headed a pro-Kashmir Azadi or Freedom caravan of buses, trucks, and cars from Lahore to Islamabad that stretched for kilometres along the Grand Trunk road that connects the two cities. The caravan swelled as it travelled the 270-kilometre-long road under the slogan: “The cure to India is nothing but jihad,” participants shouted.

In another twist of irony, Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority has tasked an institute run by a former JuD official who left the group because of a labour dispute rather than ideological differences with research on reform of madrassas, the religious schools many of which are suspected of being breeding grounds for political violence. The issue may be one of only appearance, given that the institute’s researchers make a serious impression in interviews. It nonetheless raises questions.

Cracking down on JuD may solve Pakistan’s most immediate potential issue with the United States. However, it does little to tackle the fundamental problem represented by JuD: a belief in key branches of the state that militant groups can serve a geopolitical purpose without endangering the fabric of society, a fabric that has already been infused by ultra-conservative strands of Islam, many of which are akin to Saudi Arabia’s puritan interpretation of the religion.

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RSS Agenda: India, Again, Threatens Surgical Strikes

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

In the aftermath of the terror attack at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC)

with Pakistan, India has been deliberately increasing war hysteria against Pakistan in accordance with the agenda of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The situation developed after the Uri base assault has clearly proved that with the help of Indian

intelligence agencies, particularly RAW, India has itself arranged the attack not only to defame

Pakistan, but also to achieve a number of sinister aims.

After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including

their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who target the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir and the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba controlled by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in it. Under the mask of the Uri base

assault, India started mobilization of troops near the LoC to wage a limited war with Pakistan,

while considering surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir.

New Delhi claimed on September 29, 2016 that it carried out surgical strikes on terrorist launch

pads across the LoC in Pakistani side of Kashmir.

On the other side, in a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) rejected Indian

claims by saying, “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated by India. Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC…the notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being

deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects…to create media hype by rebranding

cross border fire as surgical strike is a fabrication of truth.”

Meanwhile, the representatives of The Washington Post and The New York Times, who visited

the villages adjoining LoC in the disputed Kashmir region have reported that the people they met

there told them that there were no surgical strikes.

Reports suggest that myth of Indian surgical strikes was exposed. Hence differences existed

between the civil and military leadership—as to how cover the falsehood. In this regard, Indian

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and country’s former Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag had

decided to prepare a ‘fake video’ of surgical strikes so as to pacify the Indian public and media.

In this context, Indian Express wrote on October 5, 2016, “Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay

Nirupam on Wednesday attacked BJP even as he continued to face flak from several quarters for

suggesting army’s surgical strikes could be “fake” Unfazed by the heat, even from within his

party, Nirupam fired a fresh salvo accusing BJP of trying to extract political mileage out of the

national security issue with eyes set on ensuing elections in the state to be held next year.”

It is mentionable that since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader

Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in wake of

continued sieges and prolonged curfews, Indian forces have martyred more than 150 innocent

persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani.

In wake of new phase of uprising in the Indian Held Kashmir, pressure on the BJP-led Indian

government of Modi has been mounting both domestically and internationally.

But, setting aside the internal and external pressure, days after being named the new Indian

Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat said on January 3, this year that so-called “surgical strikes”

against Pakistan were meant to deliver a message. While threatening Islamabad, Gen. Bipin

Rawat told NDTV in an exclusive interview that the possibility of similar action in the future

could not be ruled out by adding, “If there are terrorist bases across and if they continue to

disrupt the situation on our side of the Line of Control then we have a right to take action against

the terrorists.”

In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims

by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible

recurrence.

According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces

were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”

However, like the BJP-led Modi government, Indian new army chief is also following the RSS

agenda which is, the real controller of Indian internal and external policies, based upon anti-

Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach.

Taking cognizance of various developments such as unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism,

persecution of minorities, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on

beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum and creation of war-

like situation with Pakistan, analysts have still been opining that being the leader of the BJP,

Indian Prime Minister Modi is implementing the fundamentalist agenda of his party with the

support of other Hindu fanatic outfits. But, a Mumbai-based writer, author and lawyer, A. G.

Noorani in his article, “Modi’s loyalties,” published in a Pakistan’s leading daily, on October 10,

2015 proved with authentic events and arguments that Hindu fundamentalist party, RSS is the

real controller of India and BJP is only a show piece.

In the article, A. G. Noorani said, “It was an unprecedented journey; but caused little surprise.

On September 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Nagpur, the headquarters of the

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to present himself before the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Almost his entire council of ministers and the BJP’s parliamentary board were there to

demonstrate their accountability to the RSS. On Oct 2, a dozen or so junior ministers of state got

into a huddle with senior RSS functionaries in New Delhi in what was described as a regular

review meeting. A press release issued thereafter revealed: The prime minister said he was proud to be a Swayamsevak and he had reached where he had because of the values he had imbibed as

a member of the RSS.”

A. G. Noorani elaborated, “Modi is a lifelong RSS activist (pracharak), having left his family to

dedicate himself to the organisation. It, in turn, ensured his rise to the post of the highest

executive of the country. The entire exercise was a flagrant violation of the fundamentals of the

parliamentary system.”

The writer pointed out, “The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is an RSS man who was

seconded to the BJP along with many others—recently the RSS model is unique. It has a parivar

[family] of 40-plus organisations. The RSS is their ideological fountainhead. It is also the BJP’s

muscle; it provides the cadres and foot soldiers who are indispensable at election time. Bhagwat

disapproves of the personality cult which Modi and his men have built up ever since he became

prime minister.”

He wrote, “The stark reality is that the BJP can never be a right-wing party in the traditional

sense. Its ideology binds it to the RSS which also controls it organizationally.”

He explained, “The word ‘fascist’ was aptly chosen. As Donald E. Smith says in his classic India

as a Secular State—The leader principle, the stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural

superiority, ultra-nationalism infused religious idealism, the use of symbols of past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of the religious or ethnic minorities from the

nation-concept—all of these features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in

Europe. A responsible correspondent reported in August that the RSS membership is growing at

10,000 to 15,000 recruits every month and says it has reached every district except parts of

Kashmir and Assam. The RSS influence on governance was obvious when Atal Behari Vajpayee

was prime minister. It successfully vetoed Jaswant Singh’s appointment as finance minister. The

RSS shadow lurks ominously on issues dear to it. Ram Madhav specifically mentioned Kashmir

as one of them; which implies also relations with Pakistan.”

Nevertheless, these new revelations prove that all the extremist parties like VHP, Bajrang Dal,

Shiv Sena and other extremist outfits including his own ruling party are subsidiaries of the RSS,

while under the influence of RSS; Prime Minister Modi has been rapidly radicalizing India.

While, the constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious

minorities, but in practice, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu politics and culture dominated by the fundamentalist parties—under the control of RSS have been

propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into

unending violence against the Muslims and Christians including other minority groups.

In fact, Modi who was also a volunteer worker of the extremist Hindu terrorist outfit RSS since 8

years of age is a natural born Hindu extremist, while RSS involved in Muslim genocide, rape of

women, demolition of mosques and alive burnings of the innocent persons.

It is noteworthy that especially, on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, BJP got a

land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014, and enabled BJP hardliner, Narendra Modi to

become Indian prime minister who was so far seemed to be implementing his party’s extremist

agenda by giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism—not only against other minorities, but also

against Pakistan, as under his direction, New Delhi has intensified unprovoked firing at the Line

of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border. Now, these latest

revelations clearly indicate that the Indian Prime Minister Modi follows the instructions of the

RSS which is the main decision-making party and real controller of India.

In this respect, some reliable online sources have disclosed that a secret meeting of RSS took

place under Mohan Bhagwat, Chief of RSS which was also attended by Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi,

serving 3 rd  term as General Secretary of RSS, Sureshi Sony (Secretary), Krishna Gopat, Majoj

Biyani and Dr Subhash Bhambre (Minister of State for Defence). Important details reported

about the meeting are—RSS wants BJP to be more aggressive towards Pakistan. Across Line of

Control/Working Boundaries/International Boarder operation has been planned against Pakistan in the near future, most likely before UP election to favorably impact the outcome of elections.

These reports also revealed that RSS wants BJP to build Ayodhya Temple after forming

government in UP. Prime Minister Modi has made important appointments recently including

COAS, RAW and IB Chiefs. BJP/RSS now have their “own men” to lead these organizations.

Modi with ambitious newly appointed Chief’s and DGMO may resort to some limited action

against Pakistan which can be used for political gains through inflated projection. Possibility of a

“False Flag” act of violence followed by a limited cross LOC/WB/IB action by Special Forces or

infantry will be high until the elections are over.

Indian new army chief has been portrayed as an expert of “Surgical Strikes” to domestic

audience, as Corps had conducted “cross border strikes” against Naga rebels in Myanmar.

Para-drop practices have been conducted recently in Kishtwar in Indian Occupied Kashmir

(IOK)—Samba, Jammu and Bhatinda. Practice of “Surgical Strikes” was conducted by D Force

RRF in Batote (IOK). Possible objective of these exercises could be—make videos/ photographs

which can be used to add credibility to a future fake activity.

New Delhi can use any pretext to obtain its sinister designs against Islamabad. In this

connection, Kashmiri freedom fighters attacked on General Res Engineers Force (GREF) Camp

in Batal (Akhnoor) on January 9, 2017. In this connection, Indian media reported that 3 x GREF

employees were killed in an attack by terrorists on January 9, 2017 at GREF camp, located 2 km

from LOC in Batal village. Indian media also stated that the attackers came from across the

LOC. The exact number of attackers is still not confirmed contrary to that, actual facts are GREF

is a subordinate organization of border Roads Organization (BRO).

The Indian authorities have been quick to link them to Pakistan. Indian media is not giving it due coverage, as has been done in previous incidents. Because, Indian Army might be making the groups for launching another surgical strikes—Indian designs to use such fake incidents to

malign Pakistan and to use them as a justification for any surgical strikes may be exposed.

Nonetheless, the Modi government and its new army chief who are acting upon RSS agenda by

considering surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir or limited war in Kashmir in wake of intermittent

firing across the LoC by targeting the villages of Azad Kashmir are badly mistaken, if they

overestimate India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. Pakistan’s Armed Forces are

fully prepared to give a matching response to any such an attack by Indian forces. So, our forces

are ready to conduct a real strike on an opportune moment.

Posted in India0 Comments

KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER

NOVANEWS

KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER AND REJECT THE MOSSAD-RAW ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE THEM ON SECTARIAN LINES
by Jonathan Azaziah

Here we go! Let it rock Kashmiris! In response to RAW’s agents burning pictures of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Rouhani last Friday, Kashmiris in Srinagar gathered in massive numbers–some brothers say hundreds, others say thousands–on Sunday to counteract the hatred, sectarianism and division represented by these degenerates in the pay of Hindutva and Zionism.

The defiant demonstrators waved Hizbullah’s flags, held up Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr’s (R.A.) pictures and chanted against all forms of sedition. Shi’a, Sunnis, Sufis and even a few Sikhs were present as booming cries of “Death to India!”, “Death to ‘Israel’!” and “Death to Al-Saud!” rang throughout the Kashmiri capital’s streets. Just in case it needed to be said, and for some, clearly it does – THIS IS THE TRUE FACE OF THE KASHMIRI AZADI (FREEDOM) STRUGGLE. Unity and Resistance. And this isn’t a mere slogan either. It’s not even a way of life. It just is. That’s how Kashmiris are and this is what Kashmiris do. Being split on ethnic or sectarian lines is NOT in their nature and it is NOT going to happen; Kashmiris aren’t going to be bullied, nor will they be browbeaten into accepting something alien to their culture, history and identity.

Not by RAW’s subversion.

Not by the brutality of the Indian occupation army.

Not by the usurping Zionist entity’s thirst for expanding its global hegemony.

Not by Saudi Arabia’s petrodollar-fueled Wahhabi-Takfiri fanaticism either.

The fight for Azadi in the Vale is one that encompasses all peoples from all Islamic schools of thought and all faiths. Going on seven decades, Kashmiris have consistently rebuked every one of the Indian regime’s attempts to fracture and factionalize them. And nothing exemplifies that more than the raising of the Lebanese Islamic Resistance’s yellow banner. Hizbullah fights to unify the region. Kashmiris struggle to unify the Valley. The two go together like Wazwan followed by Kahwah on the day that the whole of Kashmir is liberated from the Indian occupation’s reign of terror.

Posted in India, Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

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