Tag Archives: Kashmir

Just 7.14% polling in Srinagar seat—lowest-ever in 5 decades

12 Apr

UMER MAQBOOL
Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 10 2017 12:33AM 


Just 7.14% polling in Srinagar seat—lowest-ever in 5 decades

Amid large-scale protests and clashes, the high-profile Srinagar parliamentary segment that went to polls on Sunday recorded the lowest-ever voter turnout, with the Election Commission of India authorities putting the overall polling percentage at 7.14, considered to be worst in five decades. Regarding the killings by forces, the CEO said “it was not a good day for all of us.”

Addressing a news conference here, J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer Shantamanu said nearly 7.14 percent polling was recorded in the segment for which the by-election was necessitated following the resignation of Tariq Hamid Karra. Karra had resigned on October 17 last year over “naked brutalities” inflicted on the people by the Government during the people’s uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

Giving break-up of votes polled, the CEO said 90050 votes were polled during the day-long exercise that was marked by killing of youth by forces.

The segment spread over Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts has 12.61 lakh voters.

He said 24574 votes were polled in eight assembly segments of Srinagar district with Hazratbal recording 3483 votes, Zadibal 3280, Eidgah 383, Khanyar 2587, Habba Kadal 2058, Amira Kadal 3331, Sonwar 4777 and Batamaloo 4675.

 Similarly, he said, in five assembly segments of Budgam district, a total of 40288 votes were cast with Chadoora recording 602, Budgam 13276, Beerwah 13625, Khan Sahab 9492 and Chrar-e-Sharief 3293 votes.

In two assembly segments of Ganderbal district, a total of 24217 votes were polled that included 15199 in Kangan and 9018 in Ganderbal assembly segments, the CEO disclosed.

He said 3.84 percent polling was recorded in Srinagar, 8.82 percent in Budgam and 14.71 percent in Ganderbal districts.

“Kangan assembly segment in Ganderbal district recorded highest voter turnout of 15199, while lowest polling of 383 votes was recorded in Eidgah assembly segment,” he said.

Shantamanu also said 971 votes were also polled at the three migrant polling centres set- up at Jammu, Udhampur and New Delhi.

The Sunday’s voter turnout was the lowest-ever in the segment since elections were held for its first time in 1967.

The previous lowest voter turnout in the segment was 11.93% during the 1999 LS elections.

According to the Election Commission of India figures with Greater Kashmir, the voter turnout on the seat was 37.25 percent in 1967, 58.88 % in 1971, 69.12 % in 1977, 73.51 % in 1984, 40.94 % in 1996, 30.6% in 1998, 11.93 % in 1999, 18.57 % in 2004, 25.55% in 2009 and 25.86 % in 2014.

During the 1996 Lok Sabha election, there were massive allegations that forces and ‘Ikhawanis’ (government gunmen) coerced the people to vote and the voter turnout was inflated.

During 1980 and 1989 LS polls, Farooq Abdullah and Muhammad Shafi Bhat were respectively elected unopposed from the segment, while the 1991 LS polls could not be held in J&K due to outbreak of armed militancy.

Shantamanu, who was flanked by IGP Kashmir SJM Gilani, said the voter turnout today was much less than previous LS election when 26 percent polling percentage was recorded.

This implies that voter turnout this time was 19 percent less than previous LS elections.

The CEO said more than 200 incidents of violence were reported in the segment particularly in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, on Sunday.

“There were more than 200 incidents of stone-pelting and petrol bomb attacks. The protesters also set ablaze a polling booth and also some SRTC and private vehicles,” he said.

He said they closed polling booths in some areas after protesters tried to set them ablaze.

“The EVMs were also damaged in the process but we got them back. After receiving presiding officers’ dairies, a team comprising election observer, returning officer and presiding officer would examine all such cases and decide on what needs to be done in the cases where polling was affected,” he asked.

Asked about the number of stations where polling was affected, the CEO said the number may be 50, 100 or 150.

“I cannot give you the exact number. But I can say the number could be around 50, 100 or 150,” he said.

The CEO described the election for Anantnag parliamentary segment as a major challenge.

“I think it is a bigger challenge and we will face it. We are making preparations in this regard,” he said.

The Anantnag parliamentary segment is going to polls on April 12.

According to observers, today’s voter turnout is a matter of concern for both the ruling PDP and the opposition National Conference.

“It is definitely a set-back for mainstream parties in Kashmir,” they said.

At present, the combined strength of legislators from Central Kashmir’s three districts is 17—14 MLAs and three MLCs.

Meanwhile, J&K Government described the today’s voter turnout as “depressing”.

“It would have been preferable to lose through a heavy turnout of votes rather than win through a boycotted election,” said senior PDP leader, Naeem Akther.

Asked whether 2016 uprising was responsible for the low voter turnout, Akther said the low percentage was due to many factors.

“It is depressing that we should stay away from democratic process, although it has been established that there is no other recipe of problems except democracy. We have to de-radicalize our approach to problems,” he said.

Akther, who is Minister for R&B, also blamed Farooq Abdullah for today’s violence.

“It is unfortunate that one of the candidates (Dr Farooq Abdullah) also tried to glorify stone pelting and protests against the country for whose Parliament he is contesting the elections. This dichotomy of approach has also contributed to very sad course of events today,” he said.

At the time of addressing the presser, Shantamanu said six civilians were killed and 17 injured in poll-related violence in Central Kashmir’s parliamentary segment.

He said six deaths were caused due to firing and other similar incidents.

“More than 100 police and paramilitary personnel were also injured in the violence,” he said

 

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‘India relies on nukes build-up instead of resolving Kashmir‘

12 Apr

india nuclearIndia has always relied on nuclear arms build-up instead of resolving the longstanding dispute of Kashmir, a senior officer of Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs (ACDA) said while addressing a British think tank.

‘South Asian Strategic Stability: A Pakistani Perspective’ was the topic of a recent address at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), London where ACDA Director Brigadier Zahir Kazmi said, “The Indo-Pak Subcontinent’s nuclear powers have conflicting strategic paradigms.”

“India is distinctly revisionist and pursues global status and hegemony. Conversely, Pakistan pursues sovereign equality, undiminished security and peaceful coexistence.”

Bilateral restraint and responsibility, he said, must be exercised in nuclear, conventional and non-kinetic domains and State-terrorism should be condemned. Continuing dialogue, despite terrorist attacks, would weaken the terrorist-resolve and strengthen those, who wanted to build sustainable regional peace, he added.

He said that the international community had a stake in stabilising South Asia – that was of profiting from the unprecedented economic opportunities which the Asian Century was offering for all to seize, invest, capitalise and reap.

Strategic stability, he said was the fruit of relationship between India and Pakistan that encompassed the political conditions, security circumstances, doctrines and force postures to mutually preserve peace, prevent crisis escalation and resolve disputes to reduce the risk of war, especially a nuclear exchange.

“If peace and normalcy at the political and strategic plan remains elusive, stabilising deterrence is the next logical option and its nadir. Impasse over resolution of the bilateral disputes is the mother of all problems in the Sub-Continent,” he noted.

While recollecting historic facts, he said that nuclear weapons had always played an unlimited and central role in Indian strategic thinking.

Since the 1950s the country proliferated, made nuclear weapons for status and then created a security rationale for these, he said.

Threat from China, he said, was used as a bogey and raison d’ˆtre for India’s first nuclear bomb that was “peacefully” tested in 1974.

He said that in 1950s, Homi Bhaba, the founder of the Indian nuclear programme, had a politically backed plan for making nuclear weapons in nuclear energy’s garb. This was much before the war with China precipitated in 1962, he added.

In stark contrast, he said, Islamabad’s nuclear thinking had always been influenced by New Delhi’s doctrinal and force posture choices.

Islamabad had always endeavoured to maintain balance with proportionate and restrained responses to a dynamic threat, he added.

These disparate paradigms and lack of Indian interest in resolving bilateral disputes, he said, impacted the pursuit of strategic stability in a unique fashion.

Ironically, the diplomatic process in South Asia was sporadic and yielded little results, he said.

Islamabad faced increasing hubris, arrogance and reluctance to negotiate and resolve the disputes with its neighbour, he added.

He said that Pakistan spent 2.1 per cent of Asia’s total defence outlay, which paled in comparison to 13.9 per cent by India.

At 51.5 billion dollars, the Indian defence budget was 3.9 billion dollars more than that of France, 7.8 billion dollars less than Russia and 1.4 billion dollars less than Britain, he stated.

“India’s declaratory nuclear doctrine is incredible and destabilising.”

Indian Ambassadors and scholars, he said, had recently vindicated Pakistan that India’s force posture developments and rhetoric don’t add up.

He said that there were several hot takes on the policy of pre-emptive strike against Pakistan.

Once a scholar of Indian origin claimed at a recent nuclear fest in Washington DC that the ‘No-First Use’ pledge was a pretense, he said.

Indicating massive retaliation threat, he said that huge naval nuclear build-up and unrelenting fissile material production were some of the inconsistencies with the notion of minimalism in the nuclear doctrine in the neighbourhood of Pakistan.

Since 2013, there had been several signals that the doctrine was up for a change, he said.

Since then, some aspects had been leaked for gauging the international reactions, he added. Unlike nuclear doctrine, he said that Indian `limited war doctrine’ – alternatively called Cold Start and Proactive Defence Strategy – was credible.

“The country espouses a pre-emptive limited conventional war and hopes that it shall not escalate to nuclear level. Cold Start Doctrine was denied for 14 years till it fully matured and their Army Chief recently owned it.”

Cold Start Doctrine, he said, was operationalised at a big cost of around 182 billion dollars for the military hardware procurement, development of communication infrastructure. He said that India’s sub-conventional war or terrorism as a doctrine will create problems for Pakistan.

Ajit Doval, Indian Security Adviser, has openly professed a defensive-offensive mode of terrorism against Pakistan to remain under the country’s nuclear threshold.

He has also been explicit about targeting Balochistan.

Likewise, Prime Minister Modi had claimed that he played a part in the break-up of Pakistan in 1971, he said.

“Sub-conventional war’s latest manifestation came in 2016 once Commander Kulbhushan Yadav – a senior serving Indian intelligence naval officer – was arrested in Pakistan for abetting terrorism and fanning insurgency on his State’s orders.

“Use of State terrorism by a nuclear power to destabilise its neighbouring nuclear power is a sui generis case of the nuclear age,” he said.

The US declassified documents of 1960s, he said, provided dramatic evidence of over five decades of American ambivalence regarding their proliferation.

Top secret declassified documents revealed in 1961 that the US wanted to help India in making nuclear weapons, he said.

A State Department memo read: “It would be desirable if a friendly Asian power beat the Communist China to the punch by detonating a nuclear device first” – and India was the best candidate.” “Historically, Indian nuclear proliferation has remained a secondary American policy concern,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, the last American administration went out of the way in winning India an exceptional waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008, relegating all international non-proliferation norms that have been weaved as an apartheid over seven decades of nuclear age, he said.

There was also utter disregard to the fact that such exceptionalism can feed into strategic instability, he added.

Zahir Kazmi asked how long could the unfairness in non-proliferation regime endure if it catered to the politico-economic interests of few and created an apartheid against others based on the so-called principles.

Such exceptionalism had allowed a fast and dangerous nuclear programme fester in India, he added.

He said that a nuclear city had secretly sprouted up in Challakere, Karnataka, for building HEU stocks beyond the requirement of fuelling nuclear submarines and for making thermonuclear weapons.

There were assessments that Indian unsafeguarded nuclear reactors had a capacity of 2600 MWt, which was 13 times larger than that of Pakistan, he said.

The trophy for sporting the largest, oldest and fastest growing unsafeguarded nuclear programme in the developing world belongs to New Delhi, which currently has a total capacity of producing between 356 and 493 plutonium-based nuclear weapons, he quoted from recent open source assessments.

The developments in Indian missile and ballistic missile defence programme, he said were destabilising.

Since 1998 Pakistan had conducted 85 flight tests compared to 220 by India, which made their testing ratio 2.5 times more, he added.

Indian cyber capability, he said, was is potentially destabilizing.

“According to New Delhi’s National Cyber Security Policy of 2013, India shall have a force of half a million “cyber security professionals” by 2018. This force would be more than thrice the combined size of the entire British land, air and naval defence forces.”

Against this backdrop, he said that Pakistan saw itself cliff-hanging to maintain strategic stability in the Sub-Continent.

“Pakistan’s sincere desire for peaceful resolution of all disputes, particularly that of Jammu and Kashmir, has been a wild goose chase. Pakistan has exercised unilateral strategic restraint and takes minimum essential measures to stabilise deterrence,” he said. If India was a responsible and restrained power, it would not have played an active role in dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, he said.

It was a country that has maintained an uncomfortable peace with all its neighbours, he added. Conversely, he said, Pakistan tested nuclear deterrent 24 years after India and started its missile programme almost a decade after it. He said that Pakistan believed in maintaining strategic balance instead of gaining parity with India.

“This is achieved by maintaining strategic capabilities at a level that is minimum for the credibility of deterrence. Minimalism in Pakistani nuclear behaviour is a function of self-restraint rather than resource constraint.”

“If nuclear weapons are only `political in nature and if there is a true commitment to nuclear disarmament, the focus of our collective efforts should be on dispute resolution and building peace rather than conflict management and building sinews of war,” he added.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper of 10-Apr-2017

Our Search For a Forgotten Identity

27 Mar

Asif Haroon Raja

 Anti-Pakistan and pro-western and pro-Indian Pakistani writers keep writing aboutPakistannegatively to breed doubts and misgivings about the foundations ofPakistan, two-nation theory,Pakistan’s ideology, its identity and evenPakistan’s national anthem.

 The liberal class in particular remains in the vanguard to spread feelings of despondency. Fascinated by Indian and western cultures, this class steadfastly defends foreign cultures and their acts of omission and commission and enthusiastically sing the tutored themes to underminePakistan. The western educated intellectuals and writers among them feed half-truths and lies to confuse the youth that had neither seen British imperialism, nor the real face of bigoted Hindus, or had experienced the pangs ofPakistanmovement and travails of partition ofIndia.

 It is now an established fact that irrespective of infrequent extension of hand of friendship,Indiahas never desired to live as peaceful and friendly neighbor withPakistan. 65 years is a long period but time and tide has not mellowed down the undying hatred of Indian leaders’ forPakistan. They have neither forgiven Jinnah nor reconciled to the existence ofPakistan. They still dream of absorbingPakistaninto Indian Union so as to fulfill their age-old dream of illusive Akhand Bharat either by force of arms or through deceptive means. They have artfully used media and psy ops as tools to poison the minds of Pakistanis and to draw cleavages between various communities with a view to fomenting regionalism and weakening the very foundations ofPakistan. TheUS, Europe andIsraelharboring ill-will for Muslim Pakistan buttress Indian efforts.

 In order to weaken Islam which acts as the sole unifying factor,Indiahas been resorting to never ending tricks to undermine Islam. Apart from its own efforts, it has been making good use of the liberal brigade inPakistanwhich helps in distorting facts of history and creating sense of disillusionment and despondency among the younger generation aboutPakistanand its future. Since all the leading English newspapers like Dawn, The News, Daily Times as well as journals and publishing houses are controlled by seculars, and are funded by foreign powers; it becomes that much easier forIndiaand western powers to promote their agenda.

 India’s first major success was in formerEast Pakistanwhere Indian inspired language controversy became the cause of east-west estrangement. Subsequently real and imaginary grievances were aired on the plea that the west was prospering at the cost of east.Punjabwas projected as the chief villain to widen the gulf. After dismemberingPakistanand creatingBangladesh, Indian psy operators shifted their focus entirely towards Sindh so as to poison the minds of Sindhis. Their insidious efforts resulted in birth of several anti-Pakistan political parties/groups in interior Sindh such as Sindhu Desh led by GM Sayyed. Politics of Sindh were further vitiated after the delivery of MQM inKarachiwhich sharpened rural-urban divide. Sindh is in throes andKarachiwhere target killings have become a norm has become a wounded city.

 Indiais currently concentrating on Balochistan whereEast Pakistantype conditions have been created. Rebellious Baloch Sardars belonging to Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes in rural Balochistan fully aided by RAW and other foreign agencies are waging a separatist movement. While non-locals, Hazaras and pro-government Baloch are being routinely gunned down by shady outfits like BLA and BRA, the non-locals have migrated from Baloch held regions. The minds of Baloch youth and women are being poisoned and brainwashed to hatePakistan, particularly Army andPunjab. Neither national anthem is sung norPakistanflag flown in most Baloch controlled educational institutions.

 Although the separatist elements form a tiny minority and majority of Baloch as well as all other nationalities including largest minority of Pashtuns are patriotic Pakistanis and abhor separatists, human rights activists and some foreign paid NGOs support the cause of rebels. They feel disturbed when security forces take counter measures to safeguard national interests and to protect the lives peaceful citizens and dub their preventive acts as human rights violations.

 The pro Indian lobby working inPakistanseeks to defend the acts of Baloch rebels. They maintain that only miniscule size of population in Balochistan prevents the struggle to assert independence from succeeding. Rather than castigating non-singing of national anthem in Baloch run schools/colleges, they cast aspersion on the anthem defining it as controversial and enigmatic and make fun of it by asserting that none inPakistanunderstands its meanings since it is a mix of Persian, Arabic and Hindi.

 They also underplay Urdu saying that it is depicted as being more refined and higher in lingual hierarchy. Even English has not been spared since only a tiny minority speaks this language. If that be so, one fails to understand, which language would have been more suited for our anthem.

 Being so highly educated, one wonders why they is so ignorant about the history of Urdu which has vowels from Arabic, Persian and Hindi languages. Persian was the official language throughout the long rule of Mughals until it was axed by the British in 1835 and replaced with English so as to shatter the culture and civilization of Indian Muslims and render them uneducated. While Urdu was declared as a lingua franca for Pakistan by Quaid-e-Azam, and it continues to be so, but people like them see language crises in Punjab where according to them tens of thousands of parents do not converse in Punjabi with their children and that Punjabi is not formally taught in educational institutions. What have they to say about that category of elites which converse more in English and very less in their mother tongue?

 All these 65 years, Pakistanis have been singing national anthem with gusto. The lyrics and powerful composition is so motivating that it inculcates a sense of pride and oneness among all Pakistanis irrespective of their religion, caste, ethnic and sectarian diversities. I am nonplussed what impelled such people to harbor dark thoughts about the anthem about which none has ever raised any objection. There can be no other reason to this lunacy than to pleaseIndiaand Bloch rebels.

 To encourage separatists in Balochistan, these surrogates ofIndiaand West subtly draw a comparison by saying that todayBangladeshis much more prosperous than what it was when it was part ofPakistanand is socially and economically better thanPakistan. I may suggest to them to take a trip toBangladeshand interact with the people and gain firsthand information how they feel towardsPakistanandIndia. Majority of the older generation fondly recall the good old days of unitedPakistanand curseIndia.

 Despite Indian massive propaganda over 60% of the youth inBangladeshis pro-Pakistan. This becomes evident on the occasion of India-Pakistan cricket match played inDacca.Pakistanhas helpedBangladeshin development of its armament industry, air force, air defence and several other fields.

 Pakistanis working on foreign Psy Operators themes prick the minds of Pakistani youth by suggesting that they are confused aboutPakistan’s identity, why was it created, what it is about and what precisely was gained by seeking independence and who we are. They express doubts whetherPakistanis based around a commonality of religion or other factors. It is people like them who are befuddled and are neither here nor there. They are ashamed of their identity, culture and religion and their country of origin from which they draw all benefits and social status. Sailing in two boats, they are Pakistanis in name only but in practice are attached to western and Indian cultures. They call themselves Muslims but know little of their religion and yet censure those who are better versed with Quran and Hadiths. To please their mentors, they dub Islamists as uncouth, fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists and hold them responsible for all the ills in our society.

 Such writers blame Gen Ziaul Haq for pushing Pakistan from South Asia to Middle East by way of introducing Arabic as a subject in schools and emphasizing on Islamic teachings as in Saudi Arabia and changing the dress code from trouser to shalwar kameez (they probably prefer to call it keffiyeh to sell their point that Zia imposed Saudi culture). Great majority inPakistanhas all along preferred shalwar kameez which is affordable and comfortable. They further lament that Zia tried to mould our centuries old South Asian identity into West Asian. whereas they are oblivious to the historical fact that it was secular Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who after the 1971 debacle had scraped western pacts of SEATO and CENTO and gravitated Pakistan towards West Asia to gain greater security from aggressive India. Islamic conference hosted by him in 1974 was a step in that direction.

 Notwithstanding that 65% of our population has its origins in Central Asia; we cannot detach ourselves from our roots inArabian Peninsulafrom where Islam under Holy Prophet (pbuh) sprouted. The first brick of Islam was laid in the Indian subcontinent by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712. The Arabs made Sindh an extension of Ummayad Empire and ruled it for over 300 years. I wonder why such writers never mind Indian and western culture seeping intoPakistanbut feel unduly alarmed at the prospects of Saudi culture permeating into our society.

 Ignoring Indo-Pak antagonism and following in the footsteps of Indian sponsored group ‘Aman-ki-Asha’, these writers admonishes unnamed hawks who in their view are preventingPakistanfrom falling into Indian lap. They strongly feel that salvation ofPakistanrests in forging friendship withIndia. I hazard to ask them, starting from Jinnah which Pakistani leader espoused animosity withIndia? All our leaders, whether civilian or military, endeavored to develop close ties withIndia, but their efforts were thwarted by hawkish Indian leaders. Didn’t Musharraf go out of the way to solveKashmirdispute which is the real bone of contention between two neighbors? IsIndiaprepared to solve the dispute in accordance with UN resolutions and the aspirations of people of Indian occupiedKashmir? IsIndiaprepared to stop constructing dozens of dams over rivers flowing intoPakistanin violation of Indus Water Treaty? WillIndiaagree to build even-handed and mutually beneficial ties withPakistan? Answer to all will of course be in negative.

 While Indian historians have distorted history of Muslim rule inIndiaby undermining Muslims rulers and overplaying Hindu leaders, Indian youth is fed with fanciful myths to glorify Hindus ancient past. However,IndiapressesPakistanthat its history books lionizing Muslim rulers should be amended since it bred extremism.

 I may like to remind here that Vajpayee had signed peace treaty withPakistanin January 2004 with evil intentions. While he was signing the agreement RAW was busy giving final touches to its covert war plan to be unleashed from Afghan soil in concert with other intelligence agencies. Eastern border including Line of Control in Kashmir were made peaceful so as to launch cultural invasion inPunjab. The youth, artists of all hues and the liberal class were its targets for subversion.

 Publication of negative stories aboutPakistan’s identity and national anthem are a consequence to Indian cultural onslaught. Such views / articles devoid of judiciousness are simply nauseating.

US Has Lost Sleep for Balochistan

7 Mar

(Bossy US &Pakistan: No Love Lost)

by Ishaal Zehra

Eddie Walsh, foreign correspondent of Al Jazeera English, in his article “Should the USsupport an independent Balochistan?”  interestingly writes “Over the last few months, a small faction of congressmen, minority Afghan groups, Baloch nationalists, and their supporters have laid out the framework for an alternative US policy approach for Southwest Asia. This alternative policy centres on backing remnants of the Northern Alliance and Baloch insurgents, who seek to carve out semi-autonomous territories or independent states from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

While supporters of this new approach are motivated by a variety of interests, they appear unified in their rejection of what they see as three cornerstones of the Obama administration’s current regional policy approach: 1) Normalising relations with Pakistan’s government and military; 2) Incorporating the Taliban into the current Afghan political system; 3) Overly accommodating an emerging Iran.

 Although, things might not be evident in their favor today but they seem quite consistent in their approach. They do not (yet) have broad support for their initiative, however the campaign is maturing and garnering increased attention in Congress and beyond. The point can be proved with the three recent high-profile events: a Balochistan National Front strategy session inBerlin, aUScongressional hearing on Balochistan, and the introduction of a Baloch self-determination bill before the US Congress.

 A glimpse into Balochistan region confirms the large number of militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks in 2010. It is a region torn apart with separatist organisations attacking the state, sectarian and ethnic attacks, and crime, including kidnapping for ransom. The issue of Balochistan is turning sensitive, and this sensitivity comprises of two main reasons. One, the real and unattended grievances of the Baloch people (not the made up one by few Pakistani journalists). Second, hype created by the media, which actually seems in coherent with the greater foreign plan againstPakistan. Media is an instrument which is being exercised by every nation to mould the situations for the purpose of acquiring desired results. Unfortunately, a chunk of Pakistani media is not exercising this approach while dealing with the important and sensitive issues like Balochistan.

 Here the role of US is also an interesting point to debate. American double standards are visible as a day light. Surprisingly their lost love for Balochistan is quite evident by their documented resolution. The Representatives from California presented a resolution regarding Balochistan’s precarious condition asks for the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan on the basis of right of self rule, and the bill unexpectedly has been passed by the US Congress.

 The congressmen seem quite eager in interfering inPakistan’s internal issue while on the other hand they have closed their eyes from the real and persistent issue ofKashmir. Point to ponder is as to why Kashmiries have been denied right to independence on the basis of right of self rule? Nobody dares askIndiato let the Kashmiries exercise their right to hold free and impartial plebiscite? The reply is simple, Kashmir issue does not fall in between their plan of carving out semi-autonomous territories or independent states fromAfghanistan,Pakistan, andIran.

 To understand Balochistan, one simply cannot look at it through the Afghanistan-Pakistan (US’s AfPak) box. Mr. M. Hossein Bor, as the only witness of Baloch ethnicity to speak at the recent Balochistan public hearing before the United States Congress, agrees to this. Not only he was the lone witness able to speak as a Baloch, he also was the only one with deep subject matter expertise in foreign trade and investment inSouthwest Asia. And interestingly his testimony sheds light on the unrealized strategic and economic opportunities that an independent Baluchistan would provide to Americans, including the ability to contain a risingChinaand an emergingIran, prevent an adversarialPakistanfrom achieving strategic depth inAfghanistan, and ensure Baloch-American economic prosperity through new energy and mineral resource agreements in future.

 The Pakistani Embassy made it clear that “Balochistan’s affairs and issues are an internal matter ofPakistan, and it is for the people ofPakistanand our democratic institutions to address these [issues].”

 “We would advise those behind this resolution to reserve their concern and solicitude for problems closer to home. Needless to say, provocations such as these will seriously impact the Pakistan-US relations. We value this relationship but not at the cost of our dignity, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Embassy statement added.

 locking it up, It’s high time, foreign finger prints traced in Balochistan should be brought upon in media with concrete proves and let the Baloch people know who is playing the game at the cost of their precious blood and national prosperity. And may bePakistan,Iran&Chinashould also move a symbolic resolution on forceful acceding ofCaliforniaandTexastoMexicoabout a century back, after all they are the victims to this great game of greatAmerica.

THE OTHER FACE OF INDIA

25 Feb

Amjed Jaaved

 

            India shows the world its shiny face, a throbbing secular democracy dedicated to protection of human rights, particularly of minorities and downtrodden strata of society. The World Report 2009, prepared by Human Watch has exposed the other, the ugly face, of Indian democracy.  The Report is not up-to-date, as it takes into account human-rights violations of only the past year (2008).

            India like several other countries has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  But it takes no pains to abide by its articles. The Report laments that several states, including India, `boast strong institutional guarantees protecting rights despite committing some ongoing violations’.   It alleges that `India’s current foreign policy often would make a confirmed dictator proud’. The Report calls India’s performance on human-rights’ front as `disappointing’.  The Report focuses on rights’ abuses in various Indian states by state-sponsored groups, and government’s own forces.

The report observes that serious rights’ abuses are being committed in treatment of Naxalite insurgents, and their supporters. The Indian government and security forces have raised an anti-Naxalite, anti-Maoist force.  The vigilantes of this force, called the salwa judum are responsible for attacking, killing, and forcibly displacing tens of thousands of people in armed operations against Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh.  The Chhattisgarh state police admit that they did recruit children under age 18 as special police. These children were used to launch violent attacks against villages as part of the anti-insurgent campaign.

Based on a large number of verified-incidents reports, the Human Rights’ Watch has inferred that `there is a pattern of denial of justice and impunity’.  This pattern is well pronounced in cases of human rights violations by security forces, or the failure to protect women, children, and marginalised groups such dalits, tribal groups, and religious minorities. The failure to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible has led to continuing abuses.

The Report makes a scathing attack on India’s claim that `its national and state human rights commissions ensure protection of human rights’. It points out that `these commissions are not fully independent—their members and chair are appointed by the government—they lack sufficient resources to conduct their own investigations, and they are not empowered to investigate violations by the army’.

The Report alleges that `Indian security forces are responsible for extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, due-process violations, and ill-treatment in custody. According to the Report, `laws such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act sanction impunity’. `Failure to investigate human-rights violations transparently and prosecute those responsible remains a strong reason for public anger’.

The Report confirms that thousands of Kashmiris, “disappeared” over the last two decades, have been dumped into unmarked graves. The government has ignored calls for an independent investigation by human rights groups to determine the fate of the victims through fair investigations.

The Report has also highlighted atrocities committed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal since August 2008.  The supporters of the Hindu militant groups in Orissa attacked Christians, many of them tribal minorities or dalits. The militants burned churches, beat priests, raped nuns, and destroyed property. The Report drew attention to Indian government’s failure to secure justice for victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.  Over 2,000 Muslims were killed owing to misunderstanding that an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was engineered by Muslims.

            In the 1990s, Pakistan had raised the issue of human’s rights violations in occupied Kashmir at various fora, the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Commonwealth Heads of Government, and Organisation of Islamic Countries.  Under International pressure, India opened the Valley to diplomats and foreign press, and engaged in talks with Pakistan.  But, as of now, India has used Mumbai incident as a ploy to run away from the negotiating table.

The international community should do more than merely express sympathy with the Kashmiris.  It should pressurise India to stop human-rights violations in Kashmir and other Indian states.