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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 31 May 2016

26/11: Pak court issues notices to Lakhvi, govt
Wants boat used by LeT ultras to reach India examined
Islamabad, May 30
A top Pakistani court today issued notices to the seven Mumbai attack case accused, including 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, and the government over the prosecution’s plea to form a commission to examine the boat used by the 10 LeT terrorists to reach India.

“The Islamabad High Court has issued notices to the accused of Mumbai attack case and the government on the prosecution’s plea to form a commission to examine the boat at port city of Karachi,” a court official said.

He said the court had also sought record of the case from the trial court. The official said the date for hearing the case would be fixed later.

The prosecution had challenged the trial court’s decision to reject its plea to form a commission to examine the boat “Al-Fauz” used by Mumbai attack terrorists so that the vessel could be made “case property”. Al-Fauz is in the custody of the Pakistani authorities in Karachi, from where the 10 militants, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, had left for India to carry out the Mumbai attack in 2008.

According to the Federal Investigation Agency, the attackers used three boats, including Al Fauz, to reach Mumbai from Karachi. It said the security agencies had also traced the shop and its owner from where the culprits bought the engine and the boat while a bank and a money exchange company were also traced which were used for money transaction. — PTI

‘War not a solution to Indo-Pak problems’

War is not a solution between both (India-Pak) countries. Only foolish people would consider war as a solution to the problems…We hope that the dialogue process resumes, because all our issues can be resolved through talks. —BS Basit, Pak high commissioner after scientist AQ Khan said Pak can hit Delhi in five minutes
J&K: Preparing for approaching pitfalls
Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain
“Holding the periphery” is what the Army has to do in Jammu & Kashmir, without being obstructive; it has to be a facilitator in the closing stages of conflict stabilisation. Only then will it lead to a transformation that will afford the situation to quietly slip into conflict resolution.
SMART strategic leaders always plan for contingencies so that they do not find the proverbial pull of the rug under their feet. No better place to apply this maxim than Jammu and Kashmir. Currently everyone there is focused on the sudden increase in infiltration and gun battles; the military space is truly active. The hinterland semi-urban areas have rumours to discuss about Sainik Colonies and exclusive dwelling areas for Kashmiri Pandits. It is the vintage Kashmir situation encountered almost every other year. What surprises me is the ease with which rumours go viral and young people are willing to be led and manipulated. What is even more surprising is the inability of leaders, administrators and stakeholders to directly interact with the people, or through print and particularly social media to quell the rumours. Not doing so is like playing the street's strength and the state's weakness.

The above is in the realm of expectation but surely the Central and state governments, Intelligence agencies and the Army can't be misled by the still comparatively low-key situation they face. Jammu and Kashmir's sponsored proxy internal conflict has seen more than its share of dynamic “ups and downs” for the stakeholders not to be considering where the future pitfalls lie. 

Apply the mind and it starts from Afghanistan; everything there makes a difference here. Reports indicate weakening of the Taliban and the unlikelihood of a full-weight summer offensive; that is a breather for Pakistan too although it has been the Taliban's all-weather friend. Conjectures now are all pointing to Pakistan's hand in the killing of Mullah Mansoor to get the Taliban under its control and play to the US Congress, which has the F-16 issue like a pistol to its head.

Internally within Pakistan, things aren't too bad and Raheel Sharif, if he wishes to be a gentleman, will demit office in November 2016; perhaps he may wish to go on a high; the perception of that remains his choice. Between now and November 2016 is a big gap. If Afghanistan is quiet and internally things are in control in Pakistan where does the attention of Pakistan's Deep State travel? No prizes for guessing. On the face of it there is a range of issues on which the Deep State and separatists can play together. These could be, limiting pilgrims for the Shri Amarnath Yatra, various human rights issues, including the manipulated Handwara case and the ongoing Sainik Colonies issue. However, none of these will throw up passions in the street in a lasting way. There are perhaps two other issues which can emerge triggers and both also have tacit support of shades of opinion within the nation which makes them even more vitriolic for effect. The first is the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA (1990) and second is the dilution and eventual withdrawal of the Army's presence in the hinterland areas of the Valley. The AFSPA issue is a bigger ticket and will require a separate piece to address holistically. There has never been an intellectual application of mind to it by any quarter; neither by the detractors nor the supporters.

The Nexus is in search of a contentious issue which could spark the streets and wreck the coalition that forms the state government.  The latter has thus far been mature in relegating contentious issues to the back-burner and is concentrating on establishing a base for the furtherance of its governance platform. It has been a brave effort thus far. However, in J&K's bleak security landscape, “stabilisation” is a dirty word. The Nexus cannot afford to allow that to crystalise beyond a point. AFSPA offers scope to upset the applecart and will need deft handling on the part of our stakeholders to keep it from becoming a big ticket. That is what we need to prepare for, knowing that the current political constituents of the government themselves have differences about it. Avoiding this through smart legal work and finding middle ground acceptable to the political elements within Jammu and Kashmir, and actually within the nation, holds the key.

The demand for dilution of the Army's presence has often come from within mainstream media and political opinion. Some years ago, a senior editor, Shekhar Gupta, argued that a portion of the “victory dividend” be given back to the people. This triggered a discussion among veteran senior Army officers, again with shades of opinion. Mine was that firstly there is no such thing as victory against your own people. Secondly, the situation was tenuous and identifiable as being at the initial stages of conflict stabilisation. That situation has to be held if the next stage has to be achieved. There is an apparently flawed notion that the Army's presence instigates rather than stabilises. It is incidents of the Handwara type which create this perception. Tourists returning  from the Valley often have a query for me on the need for such a large presence of the Army. These are people with short-term memories and no backdrop information about what the Valley went through. The Army's presence, which I agree can be made less visible, affords the national footprint to be more effective, protects military assets and avoids a free hand to the Nexus. What some elements of the political leadership, at different levels, and media analysts fail to grasp is the opportunity the Army's robust presence brings.  It affords the ability to take positive political messaging to the grassroots; engage there and deliver on the deliverables — the development issues, the daily life issues which have been on the backburner for long because of militancy. The Army itself needs to encourage this and facilitate the administration and politicians to engage the grassroot.

“Holding the periphery” is what the Army has to do, without being obstructive; it has to be a facilitator in the closing stages of conflict stabilisation. The Army has rarely, if ever, viewed its own role from this angle because it is mostly placed on the defensive by the multiple fingers which are pointed at it in a situation which could be rightly called the "public order to law and order" transition.

The Army could do without the unprofessional diatribe within its own ranks by people who have never applied mind to the true role of soldiers in transiting stages of militancy.  It can certainly afford to get more intellectually robust to thwart the efforts of the Nexus, which will force the situation covertly through the ranks of those within mainstream India itself. The sooner the leadership at all levels understands this, the faster will resolution of internal conflict emerge.
Arundhati says Indian Army being deployed against its own people
NEW DELHI: Indian writer and social activist Arundhati Roy has said in a recent event there has not been a day since 1947 that the Indian army has not been deployed against its own people, reported in Indian media.

According to the media reports Ms. Roy was speaking at the release of the Tamil translation of her annotated book on BR Ambedkar’s essay “Annihilation of Caste.”

She said that the Indian army has been deployed in areas of Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, Goa, Junagadh, Kashmir and Chhattishgarh.  "Who are these people that the Indian army has been deployed against? It’s always Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits.”

The Man Booker Prize Winner spoke at length about the prevailing social injustice in India and said that the Indian army continues to operate ‘like a colonizer’

She went on to express her concern regarding the lack of importance given to what she called ‘the most cruel social hierarchy’ world over and what could be done to bring the discrimination of caste as a topic of discussion in the international arena.

“It is extremely important to shame this system internationally” said Roy.

She compared the American civil rights movement to the current condition in India. She spoke about the out of proportion African American prisoners in American prisons and said that the situation in India was quite similar, that the number of Muslim, Sikh and Dalit prisoners outnumbered the Hindus in jails.

“Caste is the mother of capitalism” she added as she expressed her views about the prevailing problem.
Indian Army recovers huge cache of arms in Doda, J-K
Acting on specific information, the Indian Army launched a swift and surgical joint search operation in Sunarthwa Forest near Gosti Bowl in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The team recovered a total of four weapons and war like stores, which included one AK 56 Rifle, two 9 mm Pistols, one country Made Pistol, seven AK Magazines, two 9 mm Pistol Magazines, one Pika Magazine, four UBGL Grenades, five Pakistan origin hand grenades, 1696 Rounds of 7.62 mm AK 47, 1340 Rounds of 7.62 mm CTN, 40 Belted Rounds of Pika, two Binoculars, one Telescopic Night Sight, one camera, ten recording cassettes and sustenance stores from a natural cave hideout in Sunarthwa Forest.

The Army had been getting information of suspicious unidentified movement of the personnel in the general area for the last three months and, therefore, a close watch was being maintained.

The recovered arms likely belong to one of the terrorist tanzeems of the area, active in the past, which could have been hidden for later usage.

The area due to its remoteness and rugged terrain makes it an ideal location for establishing a hideout.

The dense forest and steep gradient increased the degree of difficulty in approach to the intended target area and subsequent search.

The recovery of war like stores was possible only due to the accurate intelligence developed by the Army and launching of well synchronised joint operation with SOG in the dense jungle, in a relentless day and night operation of 36 hours.

Apart from the three columns of the Indian Army, the team also included one Head Constable with six persons of SOG from Thatri Police Station.

The recovered arms and ammunition were handed over to the Thatri Police Station, wherein a FIR has been lodged.

The recovery of a huge cache has given a major success to the Security Forces and a massive blow to the terrorists in the area, thereby preventing the arms and ammunition from falling into the hands of inimical elements, aiming at revival of militancy in Doda.

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