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Monday, 12 January 2009

From Today's Papers - 12 Jan 09







From Lt Col (Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

When ever Pakistan feels cornered on its role in Mumbai terrorist attack its leaders try to distract world opinion by talking about war. Pakistan's disgraced former President Gen Musharraf too is talking about India threatening to launch surgical operation. He has even hinted to use nuclear weapon against India. He is talking of Pakistan Army's ability to fight back the Indian Army as if he is still in command. India has not mentioned war as an option because we feel that the war being too destructive we have so much to loose. We have the ability to defeat Pakistan completely like we did in 1971 provided we are prepared to pay the price. We are on path to rapid development which will get derailed in case of war. Pakistan on the other hand has been left with nothing more to loose. It is a failed state and is unable to sustain itself without out side help. They have already lost control on part of their country. They however feel that as a nuclear power they can hold the world to ransom with fear of nuclear war. It is surprising that Mr. Gilani is comparing Mumbai terrorist attack with Marriott. Marriott was an attack planned and executed by terrorist alone where as Mumbai attack was planned and executed with total support from Pakistan state elements including ISI.. Gilani's comparison of loss of human lives in Palestine with that in Mumbai is deliberately trying to confuse the situation. There is nothing in common between the two. Some of our political leaders from opposition too are not helping the nation by suggesting war as an option and trying to corner the Government for not opting for war. All efforts are being made to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to act. It was as a result of this pressure that their NSA, Mr. Durrani accepted Kasab as a Pakistan national. His sacking however shows division with in Pakistan. A serious power tussle is on with in Pakistan. The reply to the dossier sent to Pakistan through USA is awaited. It is important that India continues to insist on the world powers for sustained pressure on Pakistan to fall in line. It must take immediate action to wind up terrorist infrastructure and bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice. While no time frame can be set for Pakistan to act the world has to realize that Pakistan is not likely to act till their Military feels the heat of world power. This will happen only when it stops getting complete help including military supplies from all countries. It is high time that Pakistan realizes the futility of their policy of thousand cuts to India. India will continue to progress in spite of Pakistan policy but it is not difficult to fore see what will happen to Pakistan in case it does not change its course.

Lt Col (Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

Pak deploys additional troops along border

Poonch, January 11
Pakistan has deployed several Army Brigades along the Indo-Pak border in Jehlum-Chenab and Chenab-Ravi corridors in the recent days sparking concern in the Indian security forces, defence sources said here today.

Sources said: "Several brigades involved in the war against Taliban in north-western tribal belt have been withdrawn and deployed along the Jehlum-Chenab corridor in the past one week." Some troops have also been deployed at the Chinab-Ravi corridor.

"Pakistan wants to put pressure on the US by shifting troops from anti-Taliban operations. They are deploying them on border in the name of safeguarding its frontiers with India" by taking advantage of the tensions following the Mumbai terror attacks, they said.

Pakistan has deployed several brigades (each comprising 4,000 to 6,000 personnel), including 33 brigade, 27 brigade, 7 brigade, 28 brigade, 331 brigade, two battalions (with 1,000 personnel each) of 37 Punjab and 39 Punjab Rawalkote in Hajira, Mandol, Hajipeer, Uri, Bhimber, Nikial, Kotli, Sailkote, Zafarwal, Neelam valley and other areas, sources said.

"The deployment has been a surprising move. It is an area of concern for us," they said adding that the Pakistani side has already cleaned the bunkers along the borderline. — PTI

BSF reviews IB security
Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 11
Amid reports of the heavy deployment of troops along the border and the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pakistani side, senior officers of the BSF today paid a visit to various positions along the International Border in the state.

Additional Director General (ADG) of the BSF UK Bansal along with Inspector General, BSF, Jammu frontier, AK Sarolia visited the forward areas along the International Border to take stock of the situation there.

According to official sources, the ADG reviewed the security situation at the forward Octroi Border outpost in the RS Pura border sector and also interacted with the jawans there.

The officer was briefed over the security measures taken by the BSF on the ground along the border.

This gift is simply 'unbeerable'
Shariq Majeed
Tribune News Service

Poonch, January 11
In an unusual event, 13 Sector of the Army gave beer bottles to students for winning various competitions during a function held to mark the theme of this year's Army Day — The Nation Above All — in Thannamandi area of Rajouri district.

The Army Day is to be celebrated on January 15.

Local sources told The Tribune that the Army's Thanamandi-based 13 Sector gave beer bottles to students of various schools who won in different competitions, including ring contest and National Anthem competition.

They added that the senior officer of the Army reportedly gave "Golden Eagle" beer bottles as a winning prize to 25 students. Interestingly, the winning students, reportedly, also comprised 11 girls.

"I participated in a ring competition in the function organised by the Army and won a prize. After I opened it, I found it was a liquor bottle. When I told my parents about the same, they got really furious and also abused me," a student said on the condition on anonymity.

"This is shocking. They shouldn't have distributed beer as a prize. What message do they want to convey by this gesture?" the mother of a winner asked.

"This will definitely not go well with these tender brains. They (Army) should not have done this," she added.

A senior police officer confirmed to The Tribune that incident had happened. However, he was quick to add that this did not constitute any offence as beer is not covered under the Drugs Act.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Jammu-based Defence spokesperson told The Tribune over the phone that "no such prize was given to the students".

Defence forces alarmed by deployment of additional Pak troops

PTI | January 11, 2009 | 18:21 IST

Pakistan has deployed several army brigades along the Indo-Pak border in Jehlum-Chenab and Chenab-Ravi corridors in the recent days, sparking concern in the Indian armed forces, defence sources said on Sunday.

The forces have been withdrawn from Pakistan's troubled north-western tribal belt where they were battling the Taliban to put pressure on the United States, which has been pressing Islamabad to act against terrorists operating from its soil, and diverted to the border with India, they said.

Pakistan has deployed several brigades (each comprising 4,000 to 6,000 personnel), including 33 brigade, 27 brigade, 7 brigade, 28 brigade, 331 brigade, two battalions (with 1,000 personnel each) of 37 Punjab and 39 Punjab Rawalkote in Hajira, Mandol, Hajipeer, Uri, Bhimber, Nikial, Kotli, Sailkote, Zafarwal, Neelam valley and other areas, sources said.

"The deployment has been a surprising move. It is an area of concern for us," they said, adding that the Pakistani side has already cleaned the bunkers along the borderline.

The sources said, "Several brigades involved in the war against Taliban in north-western tribal belt have been withdrawn and deployed along the Jehlum-Chenab corridor in the past one week."

Some troops have also been deployed in the Chinab-Ravi corridor.

"Pakistan wants to put pressure on the US by shifting troops from anti-Taliban operations. They are deploying them on the border in the name of safeguarding its frontiers with India by taking advantage of the tensions following the Mumbai terror attacks," they said.

One of the two divisions (with approximately 13,000 to 15,000 men) deployed in Waziristan was withdrawn, they said, quoting intelligence inputs and added that over 400 to 500 vehicles carrying troops have pulled out from Bajaur, Mohmmad and Waziristan during the past one week.

Army troops are keeping a close watch over the situation on the Line of Control on the border side, they said adding that troops of 19 division have also been moved closer to the Indo-Pak border.

Pakistani Rangers have cleared their bunkers and given them a face lift during the last fortnight, the sources said adding that there is also increase in the number of Pak rangers on the international border from Akhnoor to Pathankote.

Pak troops have also 'activated their special operational intelligence units and put SOIU detachment in various forward areas along the border line,' they said.

"The troops are maintaining a tight vigil along the border. They are patrolling the area round the clock. They are alert," the defence sources said.

Betrayed Afghan girl takes on Indian Army Major

Rupashree Nanda

CNN-IBN

New Delhi: The story of Sabra, a 20-year-old Afghan interpreter, is all about extraordinary willpower.

Sabra hasn't studied beyond class XII, but she is in India taking on her estranged Major Chandrasekhar Pant, who, she alleges, deceived and deserted her three weeks after marrying her in Kabul.

The Afghan girl was barely 18 when she married Major Pant. She says they met at the Indian Medical Mission hospital in Kabul, where she was working as an interpreter, and he, as a doctor.

Sabra claims that he even changed his religion to convince her parents. However, Major Pant left for India three weeks after the marriage and in six months the frequent phone rings went silent.

"People in my country taunt me that I have been deceived by a doctor. He married me and went away. The local boys tease they don't mind marrying me for 20 days," Sabra says.

Two years later, Sabra set out for Pithorgarh in Uttarakhand looking for her husband, only to discover that he is already married and has two children.

All that he could offer by way of compensation was money, but Sabra wanted justice and therefore she lodged an FIR in the Pithorgarh police station.

"God will punish him for the wrong he has done to my life," she says.

Sabra is now lodged in Delhi with the Jawaharlal Nehru University students union and has approached Home Minister P Chidambaram and the National Commission for Women.

"I want to meet Defence Minister AK Antony," Sabra adds.

Sources at the Army Medical Corps say, "Army Court of inquiry has found a prima facie case against Major Chandrasekhar Pant. A summary of evidence was conducted and the report has been submitted to the Central Army Commander. He is likely to be charged on two counts — bigamy and changing his religion without taking prior permission."

Sabra means patience and resilience. It also means one who is without a blemish but the young Afghan girl is willing to fight it out for as long as necessary.

India should not commit mistake of considering Pakistan as Gaza strip or Afghanistan: Military leadership

ISLAMABAD: Military leadership has made it clear that the neighboring country should not commit the mistake to consider Pakistan Gaza strip or Afghanistan nor it should regard itself US or Israel as Pakistan was a nuclear power and its armed forces were fully prepared to counter any aggression.

Well-placed sources said Saturday top military leadership had told peace relations between Pakistan and India were adversely affected following Mumbai incident. The statements being given by Indian leadership were triggering provocation and these could pose a threat to the peace in the region.

They reiterated Pakistan did not want war in the region. However movement of Indian troops and situation at eastern borders was being monitored. Strategy was being evolved keeping in view Indian steps, they added.

They underlined all the institutions of national security were ever ready for the sake of security and defence of country and a befitting reply will be given to any aggression.

They further told if India resorted to first strike then it could first of all target key institutions of the country so that no blame could be placed on it.

Military leadership acknowledged India had gained edge over Pakistan in the field of technology owing to increase in its defence budget while Pakistan had also set targets to meet its crucial requirements. Pakistan would soon achieve these targets and come at par with India on this count, they added.

Al-Qaeda found a safe haven in Pak: US

Press Trust of India

Monday, January 12, 2009 (Washington)

Driven out of Afghanistan by the US-led international forces, Al-Qaeda has found a safe haven in Pakistan, the US Vice President, Dick Cheney has said.

"Al-Qaeda, I believe for the most part, has been driven out of Afghanistan. What they have done now is found a safe haven, a refuge... in Pakistan," Cheney told the CNN in an interview telecast on Sunday.

While Taliban continues to be focused on Afghanistan and operate back and forth from across the border in Pakistan, they are not as strong as they were once, Cheney said.

"I don't believe that they're any stronger than they were on 9/11, but they're still actively involved," Cheney said, adding considerable progress has been made in Afghanistan, even though there is a long way to go.

When asked about Osama bi Laden, who has still not been captured, Cheney said he would like him to be captured in the remaining days of the Bush Administration.

"My guess is at this point he's operating in an area that's very difficult, very hard to get to; that he's not an effective leader at this stage, he can't really engage with his organization without coming out of whatever hole he's hiding in. And the key thing for us, even if we got bin Laden tomorrow, is to take down his organisation. And that's what we've been actively doing," Cheney said.

"I'd like very much to get Osama bin Laden. I'm sure the hunt will go on after we leave," he said.

Pak attack: 40 Taliban, 6 soldiers killed

Press Trust of India

Sunday, January 11, 2009 (Islamabad)

Forty pro-Taliban militants and six Pakistani paramilitary personnel were killed when security forces repulsed a daring attack by over 600 rebels in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The large group of militants, most of them foreigners who came from the Afghan border, attacked paramilitary personnel at several locations in Mohmand Agency late on Saturday night, said a statement issued by the Frontier Corps.

The fighting continued till the early hours of Sunday.

The foreign fighters, who were backed by local militants, used heavy weapons like mortars and rockets to attack a Frontier Corps camp and a check post.

After a fierce exchange of fire, the Frontier Corps troops repulsed the "massive attack", the statement said.

"In the intense exchange of fire that continued all night, the Frontier Corps troops threw back the attackers, (inflicting) major casualties with 40 miscreants confirmed dead," the statement said.

Gun battles were continuing with the militants in "some pockets of resistance", it said. Some of the militants had surrendered while seven Frontier Corps personnel were injured in the action.

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