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Friday, 18 September 2009

From Today's Papers - 18 Sep 09

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Firing from Pak side in Jammu, 2 BSF jawans injured

NDTV Correspondent, Thursday September 17, 2009, Jammu

There seems to be no end to India's border problems. A week after Pakistani Rangers fired near Wagah border on the Indian side, two BSF jawans were injured on Thursday night when their observation post came under fire from Pakistani side across the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir's Akhnoor sector, after which the border guards retaliated using small arms.

The injured soldiers have been shifted to Jammu medical college hospital.

According to NDTV reports there were firing on BSF's Nikkowal post at the International Border, the firing started at around 7 pm.

Fresh ceasefire violation is reported along the international border as heavy volume of fire was reported from Pakistani side.

The latest firing in Jammu many believe, could be cover fire for infiltration bid. These incidents of firing along the International Border in recent days is seen as a serious development on the borders with Pakistan.

According to sources BSF in Punjab and Jammu is on heightened alert.

The China scare: Opposition wants action

Nitin Gokhale, Thursday September 17, 2009, New Delhi

AFP image

Come clean on China, that's the message from the Opposition after reports of Chinese incursions in various parts.

The government also had to postpone a crucial meeting on China citing "media hype".

The government has come under fresh pressure on China -- this time from the Opposition.

"The government should call for a special Session on the boundary issue with China," said Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Defence Minister.

Mualayam Singh was not alone, the BJP also chipped in with its opinion.

"Government should take all the Opposition parties into confidence and bring out a white paper on the situation," said MM Joshi, senior BJP leader.

These demands came on a day when the government postponed the much anticipated meeting of the China Study Group citing media hype.

The high-level policy group that comprises senior secretaries and chiefs of intelligence agencies was supposed to formulate a comprehensive response to the increased tension with China on border incursions and aggressive patrolling by the Chinese army all along the Line of Actual Control (LaC).

The government was planning to have the meeting quietly some weeks later but now with the Opposition taking up the issue, it will have to come up with a quick response before the pressure builds again.

Meet on Chinese intrusions put off
Ashok Tuteja & Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 17
The ruling establishment appears to be divided over the policy to be adopted to deal with recent Chinese incursions into the Indian territory.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the External Affairs Ministry seem to be on one side seeking to downplay these incursions while the Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry will like India to do some posturing in the wake of the border violations.

A much-awaited high-level meeting slated for today to take stock of the situation arising from the Chinese incursions became a casualty of the differences among key ministries on the threat from China.

The meeting, convened by National Security Adviser (NSA) MK Narayanan, was to be attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar, Defence, Home and Foreign secretaries, service chiefs and top intelligence officials, was put off without assigning any reason.

Officials, who had tipped the media about the meeting, were tightlipped today. Various theories were doing rounds in official and media circles over the postponement of the meeting. There were reports that the NSA was incensed how the media came to know about the proposed meeting that was to be kept a closely guarded secret. He was reportedly of the view that such meetings should be held away from media glare.

The Defence Ministry is learnt to be in favour of India adopting an assertive approach in view of the frequency of the Chinese incursions. It also wants curbs on Army patrolling along the line of actual control (LAC) to be lifted.

Meanwhile, India has started sending some definite signals to China over the incursions. It has rejected China's opposition to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November.

Another important signal is that President Pratibha Patil's visit to China later this year has been put on hold.

The then Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon had announced in June that the President would visit China later this year. Now the officials say the visit might not take place this year because the two countries were not finding mutually convenient dates for it.

Al-Qaida wants nukes
Need for global watch on Pakistan

Pakistan's nuclear programme has become a major source of worry for the world. Reports of Al-Qaida trying to obtain nuclear secrets from it make the situation worse. As US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has stated, Al-Qaida is "publicly asking nuclear engineers to give them nuclear secrets from Pakistan". Al-Qaida's search for the technology to make weapons of mass destruction is not new. According to former CIA Director George Tenet, Osama bin Laden had "sent emissaries to establish contact" with the clandestine network run by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan as early as 1998. It was found in the aftermath of 9/11 that some Pakistani nuclear scientists did visit Afghanistan during the Taliban regime on the pretext of doing humanitarian work.

If the A.Q. Khan network could develop links with Libya, Iran and North Korea to oblige them with nuclear weapon technology, it could do so in the case of terrorist networks like Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Dr Khan can still prove to be a major threat for the proliferation of nuclear know-how once he is allowed to live as a free man. Keeping in view his track record, he must be made to live forever under house arrest, as the situation exists today. The Taliban strategy has been aimed at capturing power in Pakistan so that it gets control over the country's nuclear assets.

These are dangerous portends for world security. The international community will have to find a way to ensure that Pakistan's nuclear weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorist organisations. These elements must also not be allowed to secretly procure nuclear weapon technology. This is a major challenge before the world today. Pakistan has not been punished for its proliferation activities in the past. But it must be told bluntly that it will have to pay for its behaviour if it is not able to rein in its nuclear scientists. The world can't allow itself to slip under the nuclear blackmail of Al-Qaida.

Pakistan Gilgit Package: Self Rule or Annexation

Kashmir Watch, Sep 17

By Prof. Bhim Singh

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, on 4th September, 2009 threw a bomb shell in the name of 'empowerment' and 'self rule' governance order for 'Gilgit-Baltistan' region which Pakistan identified since occupation as 'Northern Areas'. Its intention is to silence the liberation movement of two million citizens of this occupied area of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. With the aid and abetment of Pakistani army, the Gilgit Muslim Scouts abducted Kashmir Governor, Brig. Ghansara Singh on 16th November, 1947. Indian army could not rescue the Governor and Pakistan Army took over Gilgit. Since then this region has been under illegal occupation of Pakistan's military. The Pakistan's interest in the region is obvious as the geo-strategic importance of the territory has never been in doubt. To the north-east lies the Chinese border, further north is Kazakhstan, to the north-west there is Afghanistan. The controversial Karakoram Highway runs through the region and the Siachen Glacier commands a strategic portion of it. There lies Anglo-American interest too.

The recent 'Self Rule' Package of Pakistan is 5th attempt to consolidate Pakistan's occupation in Gilgit. It was Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1994 who granted a 'Reform Package' for the Gilgit region by introducing a so-called '24 Member Council' for the occupied areas without granting civil, political or economic rights. The so-called Council was chaired by an executive officer of Pakistan. The council worked directly under the command of Pakistani army. The 'Reform Package' was described by the then Prime Minister of POK, Sardar Qayyum Khan as a joke on the people of Gilgit. In his letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he stated, "This has caused serious concern in our minds. While we study the implications and significance of the decision by the Government of Pakistan, I would urge the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, to clarify that this decision in no way affects, or is prejudicial to, the UNCIP Resolutions on Kashmir." 15 years later another Government of Pakistan led by the same party, PPP, has repeated the same bluff it did in 1994. Now 'Self Rule'.

The present move reveals Pakistan's dangerous conspiracy to annex strategic areas of Gilgit-Baltistan comprising 32,500 sq. miles of the territory of the erstwhile Dogra State of Jammu and Kashmir as its 5th province. Nearly 5,000 sq. miles out of this area were ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963 under the so-called Karachi Agreement signed by the Chou-en-Lai and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and China respectively. China since has built Karakoram Highway (KKH) which bridges China with Europe via Peshawar (Pakistan). China has also built 16 Air-strips on KKH, mostly used for military purpose. Pakistan has taken up a new project to build 6 Mega Dams in Gilgit-Baltistan with the technical and financial assistance of China. Both these decisions; ceding J&K territory to China and building 6 Mega Dams in the occupied territory of J&K seriously violate the UNCIP resolution of 13th August, 1948 on which Pakistan has been harping for 62 years. Besides, the presence of 5,000 Chinese well-equipped troops as disguised labourers and engineers and the construction of 16 Air-strips on the Highway for Jet Fighters may jeopardize peace process between India and Pakistan. It may effect peace prospects in Afghanistan and endanger India's security. Anglo-American Bloc has been showing special interest in the region because of China's presence in the region.

The 'Self Rule Package' is an improved form of 1974 Interim Constitution of the so-called 'Azad Kashmir'. A comparative study of two documents leads to the conclusion that Pakistan has decided to establish its legitimacy both in POK and Gilgit regions by legitimizing her status from an 'occupier' or 'encroacher' to a 'possessor' so that area does not figure in the list of 'disputed' territories. This is to counter Indian claim as maintained to liberate entire occupied territory from Pakistan as has been recorded in Parliament resolution of 1994 during P.V. Narasimha Rao's Prime Ministership.

'Self Rule' Package provides two Houses of the Legislature, a Legislative Assembly (without legislative powers) and a Legislative Council. The Council shall enjoy the legislative powers over all 60 odd subjects identified with municipal powers. The Assembly has no Legislative competence. The decisions of the Council are not subjected to the authority of the Assembly. Interestingly, the Council shall have 15 Members which shall be presided over by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan is a sitting Minister in the Federal Government who shall also be the Vice Chairman of the Council. Shockingly, the Prime Minister of Pakistan is also the Chairman of the Legislative Council of the so-called 'Azad Kashmir'. Half of the members in the Council shall be nominated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from amongst the citizens of Pakistan. Similar is the case with the Council of Azad Kashmir. There is a sharp contradiction between Interim Constitution of the 'Azad Kashmir', 1974 and Self Rule Package of 'Gilgit-Baltistan' 2009. The so-called 'Azad Kashmir' is headed by a President who is elected by the Assembly Members and Prime Minister heads the Government. Both have to be 'State Subjects'. Pakistan has carefully rather intriguely changed nomenclatures of these two heads in Gilgit-Baltistan. There shall be a Governor, a sitting Federal Minister of Pakistan (of course, a citizen of Pakistan) appointed by the President of Pakistan and the Chief Minister (not Prime Minister) shall be from amongst the members of the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is a clear manifestation of the future game plan of Pakistan to annex Gilgit-Baltistan as its 5th province. The judicial system makes mockery of the present Self Rule ordinance. There shall be some so-called judicial officers. The official language has not been defined. Without a High Court there shall be a Chief Judge with five judges of the so-called Appellate Court. Judges, including Members of Legislative Assembly and the Council shall have to take an oath of allegiance to be loyal to Pakistan and follow Holy Quran. It is not necessary that a candidate for the Assembly should be a state subject in Gilgit. In fact, concept of state subject has been done away with right since 1947. Qualification of a candidate for the Assembly in POK is that he should be a 'state subject' within the scope of the law which was promulgated by Maharaja Hari Singh through a Royal decree in 1927. This continues to be a strict law in J&K and in POK as well. This rule has not been followed in Gilgit package, enabling Pakistani citizens to settle in Gilgit. Naturally so, because one-third of the total population in Gilgit-Baltistan has migrated from Punjab and Blochistan in past six decades of Pakistani military rule in the area. The 'Self Rule' ordinance does not mention whether a candidate for the Assembly or Council should be a Muslim. Naturally, there are no non-Muslims in the region. Not a single non-Muslim survived in the region in 1947. They were killed or converted.

In subtle contrast, the Instrument of Accession that Maharaja Hari Singh wrote while acceding to the Dominion of India in 1947 transferred subjects including Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communication and Currency to the Dominion of India whereas Pakistan had brutally exercised its control vis--vis Defence, Foreign Affairs and all the state subjects over POK and Gilgit treating the territory as its colony. The Gilgit 'Self Rule' Package expressly provides that jurisdiction over Defence, Foreign Affairs, internal security and matters connected with these subjects shall exclusively be enjoyed by Pakistan. This amounts in international law as a stark invasion and violation of UNCIP resolution.

The package provides Constitution of a two Member Commission to settle boundary-disputes arising between Pakistan and Gilgit regions. Both members shall be appointed by the Governor as employees of Pakistan. There are huge lands in the region has been illegally encroached by Pakistan army and the settlers. The Commission may be used as instrument to regularize the illegal encroachments, instead.

A serious diagnosis of the package would reveal a calculated conspiracy to merge or annex Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan as its fifth province. This is to outwit India's claim over Gilgit-Baltistan.

The staunch opponents of this 'Package' in POK and Gilgit include Sadar Qayyum Khan, former President and Prime Minister of 'Azad Kashmir', the Gilgit liberation movement leaders like Abdul Hamid Khan, Manzoor Hussain Parwana and many others who are spearheading a mass movement within the occupied areas. They are demanding withdrawal of Pakistan armies and referendum in the area. JKLF President, Ammanullah Khan has announced to form a parallel government in Gilgit, whereas Hizbul Mujahiddin, Kashmiri Leader, Master Salahuddin has served ultimatum against the package though, for different reasons. Mr. Arif Shahid of JKNLF has formed an alliance in POK to expose Pakistan's nefarious design to change demography and cultural identity of the region.

The Gilgit-ites fear that political stooges shall be recruited to the so-called Assembly and Council who would be used as rubber stamp in its so-called election scheduled for 12th November, 2009 to serve Pak interest.

Pakistan also has managed to sound the rebels in POK with a warning shot that they may also be framed under a similar 'Package'. Pakistan intends to reconsolidate its full political supremacy over the occupied territory. The interim constitution, 1974 of 'Azad Kashmir' may fall as next causality. They may have to live with a similar doze which Pakistan has granted to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as Pakistan's sixth province.

The package deserves a serious introspection by the South and North Blocks dealing with J&K. Pakistan has admitted publicly before the international community and the United Nations that it no longer cares for the dictates or sermons incorporated in the resolutions of the Security Council proposing plebiscite in J&K after withdrawal of Pakistan armies and civilian settlers from the occupied territory. Pakistan has made it clear. 'No to withdrawal' and 'no to UN resolutions'. Pakistan has also accepted the status quo vis--vis J&K. Pakistan has expressly retained Defence, Foreign Affairs and other matters in respect of POK and Gilgit-Baltistan (which formed almost one-third of the area of the state). The subjects which Maharaja transferred to the Union of India in 1947, Pakistan has assumed the same authority over the J&K's occupied territory after 62 years by declaring, Gilgit-Baltistan as its 5th province which had been under its defacto possession since 1947. Fresh Sino-Pak strategy to grab Gilgit-Baltistan may not go quite pleasant with the Anglo-American Bloc. The US interest in the region remained to establish bases of the Pentagon to keep a watch on the expansionist designs of Communist China. British interest in the region is its 'earth wealth' it discovered during its lease period from the Dogra Maharaja in 1935. To cope with the fast changing scenario of POK and Gilgit is a real challenge for the leadership of India and a question mark on the peace prospects in South Asia.

Bhim Singh is head of Panthers Party. Email:

300-odd terrorists waiting to sneak into J-K

Agencies Posted online: Thursday , Sep 17, 2009 at 1838 hrs

New Delhi : Around 300 terrorists are waiting across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for an opportunity to infiltrate into India, prompting the Army to strengthen its anti-insurgency security grid.

The terrorists have been spotted moving in batches from place to place along the LoC, apparently in search of vulnerable spots from where they could infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Ministry sources said here on Thursday.

The attempt was to push in as many terrorists as possible before the onset of winter when snowfall will make the mountainous terrains impregnable, the sources said.

"The next two months are crucial," they said, expecting a jump in the infiltration attempts.

In the recent times, there have been a number of attempts at infiltration, many times accompanied by firing from across the LoC to provide cover to such bids.

Security forces have killed at least 25 terrorists while foiling these infiltration attempts last month and these encounters took place at points along the LoC.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an address to a conference of state police chiefs on Tuesday, had termed as worrisome secessionists and militant groups in Kashmir making common cause with "outside elements" and noted that infiltration across the LoC was going up.

The Prime Minister had also told the police chiefs that infiltration attempts and encounters with armed militants too had gone up in the recent weeks and months.

Defence Ministry sources said the 300-odd terrorists were at present camping at around 30 places all along the LoC, most of which were located in PoK.

"They are camping in concrete structures, mostly houses. These camps are not huts. These camps have been clearly identified by Indian security forces," they said.

Most of these terrorists come from anti-India terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Al Badr and Hizbul Mujahideen, they added.

Sources also put the number of terrorists currently operating in Jammu and Kashmir at 600. About 150 of these terrorists were foreign mercenaries, aided and abetted by Pakistan, they said.

In July and August this year, there were about two dozen infiltration attempts from across the LoC. The security forces have estimated that about 50 terrorists had infiltrated into the state during the period.

Last year, though, there were not a single infiltration attempt during the two months, the sources added.

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