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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 04 Aug 2015

26/11: Pak may not re-challenge bail to attack mastermind Lakhvi
Lahore, August 3
Pakistan may not re-challenge the bail to Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a senior official said today citing the government’s “own weakness” for not seeking bail revocation, even as the deadline to conclude the 26/11 case ended over a month ago.

The Islamabad High Court had set a two-month deadline last April for conclusion of the Mumbai attack case while disposing of the government’s plea to cancel Lakhvi’s bail. The High Court had also declared that it would cancel Lakhvi’s bail if the trial court failed to conclude the case within two months around mid-June.

However, one-and-a-half month has passed from the period of the High Court’s deadline but there is no official word about the government’s plan to re-challenge Lakhvi’s bail.

“The government is unlikely to re-challenge the bail to Lakhvi. Basically, the HC had also observed while disposing of the government’s plea that if the defence lawyers of Lakhvi were found responsible for delay in the case then the court will cancel his bail but the situation on ground is altogether different,” a senior official said. He said the delay in the case was on the part of some members of the prosecution team who were being paid by the government. — PTI
Chinese military wants more teeth
Bracketing India along with the US, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam as “threats” to China’s airspace, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a study has sought the broadening of its air surveillance and attack capabilities with high-speed cruise missiles and a new generation of bombers.

China’s Air Force Command Academy in its report last year identified the United States, Japan, Taiwan, India and Vietnam as “threats” to its military airspace until the year 2030, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

While the massive expansion of Chinese navy with a second aircraft carrier and a new bomber to operate from its decks attracted worldwide attention, the new study showed that the air force has started developing a similar expansion strategy, the report said.

The Beijing-based academy, a think-tank of an air force leadership training organisation, prepared the report in November last year.

Studies by the academy have previously served as policy guidelines, the report said.

The academy report proposes broadening the scope of surveillance from a “first island chain” linking Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines and one of China’s defence lines in the open ocean to a “second island chain” linking the Izu Island chain, Guam and New Guinea.

The study affords a glimpse into the Chinese military’s confidence in thwarting the US military, which is critical of China’s controversial land-reclamation in the South China Sea.

It mentions enhancing the ability to attack US bases on Chinese side of the second archipelago line with strategic bombers and “deter US military intervention” in the event of a defence operation involving Chinese islands.

The academy report proposed cooperation between air force and navy to enhance air-defence capability in the Air Defence Identification Zone China established over the East China Sea two years ago, and stresses the need to boost joint training. — PTI
7 Indians in IS ranks; 6 others dead
New Delhi, August 3
Only seven Indians are currently with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, just one in a combat role, while six from the country who had joined the dreaded terror network have gone down fighting.

Official sources said of the seven Indians with IS — two are from Mumbai’s outskirts Kalyan, and an Australia-based Kashmiri. Four others joined the Jihadist group from Telangana, Karnataka capital Bengaluru, Oman and Singapore.

Among the six Indians, who fought alongside the IS and got killed were three Indian Mujahideen terrorists, including Sultan Ajmer Shah and Bada Sajid, who had joined its ranks after being in Pakistan, two from Maharashtra and one from Telangana.

Quoting intelligence inputs, sources said, except for one, none of the six other Indians currently with IS are allowed to go for combat duty and mostly assist the fighters, serving as cooks, drivers and helpers. The only Indian, who has been given an assault rifle and is deployed for combat, hails from Mumbai outskirts Kalyan, they said. So far, 17 young men, mostly from Telangana, have been prevented from travelling to Syria, ostensibly to join ISIS. — PTI
AFT orders: SC takes up plea on HC’s jurisdiction
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Supreme Court today agreed to take up a petition seeking reconsideration of its order on the jurisdiction for appeals against orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).

In March, an Apex court Bench had ordered that all appeals against orders passed by the AFT would lie with it and not with the High Courts. Consequently, the High Courts had found their hands tied by the SC order and petitions filed by serving and retired armed forces personnel to them were accordingly disposed off. It had affected a large number of ex-servicemen, disabled soldiers and widows since obtaining legal remedy in the SC is monetarily and physically difficult.

Section 31 of the AFT Act provides that appeals before the SC cannot be filed unless the case involves a “point of law of general public importance” and the SC has also held that issues such as pension, promotions, pay scales, etc., do not fall in this category.

Taking up two special leave petitions filed by Dakshina Devi, the widow of an Army jawan, and Krishan Nanda Mishra, a disabled soldier whose appeals against AFT orders were disposed off by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in May, a Division Bench of the SC comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana today issued notices to the Centre. Petitioners’ advocates Aishwarya Bhati and Arvind P Datar today contended in the court that the current state left litigants without any remedy against orders of the AFT.
Pak targets Indian posts in Poonch, Jammu sectors
Machine gun fire hits houses in Saujian, villagers flee to safety
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, August 3
Pakistani soldiers opened automatic weapon fire on several Indian posts along the Line of Control in four sectors of Poonch and Jammu districts through Sunday night, prompting the Indian side to retaliate in equal measure. In Poonch, Pakistani soldiers targeted forward villages as well.

“Pakistani soldiers violated the ceasefire agreement again last night and targeted Indian posts and villages in Krishna Ghati and Saujian sectors. The Pakistani army opened unprovoked firing at Kranti, Kirpan and Chaku posts from their Roza, Rashid and adjoining posts in Krishna Ghati sector,” said an Intelligence source.

The Krishna Ghati sector is being manned by the 22 Sikh Regiment on the Indian side. The 655 mujahid regiment of the Pakistani army guards the other side of the border in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“In the Saujian sector of Mandi tehsil, Pakistani soldiers opened fire on Abad and other adjoining posts. They opened fire on forward villages as well,” he added.

Pakistani soldiers started unprovoked firing in the Krishna Ghati sector around 9:30 pm on Sunday and continued it till 3 am on Monday.

In the Saujian sector, the Pakistani side used heavy machine gun fire, triggering panic among villagers, who took refuge at safer places.

Mir Gulam Mohammed, a resident of Saujian village, said, “We heard some rounds of firing around 10:15 pm. In no time, the Pakistani army started targeting our village. We rushed to our bunkers in the basement to save ourselves. The firing continued till 3 am. Pakisani bullets hit our doors and iron sheets on rooftops.”

Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta said the Pakistani side opened unprovoked small arms and automatic weapon fire on Indian posts in Krishna Ghati, Saujian, Balakote and Pallanwala sectors of Poonch and Jammu districts.

“The firing began in all sectors between 9 pm and 9:30 pm and lasted till 3 am,” he said. He added that there was Pakistani firing in Balakote and Pallanwala sectors in Poonch and Jammu districts as well.

He said the Indian side responded in equal measure. He said there was no loss of life or injury on the Indian side in the latest round of skirmishes.

In their continued attempts to push terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani army and Rangers had been regularly opening unprovoked fire and mortar shelling along the Line of Control in Poonch and Pallanwalla, Pargwal and RS Pura sectors along the international border since July 15.

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