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By Afshain Afzal

Yesterday was 26 November, I was watching patiently Indian media and official statements about attack on Indian Mumbai on 26 November. If we recall, the moment Indian authorities came to know through media that Mumbai has been attacked at different locations on 26 November, New Delhi did not waste any time in leveling allegations that all attackers were Pakistanis. Later all attacker were killed leaving lone attacker Ajmal Amir Kasab, whose parents were Indian national who migrated to Pakistan decades after partition, to dance on the tune of Indian Intelligence agencies. Without giving any regard to the country’s law and court procedure, those statements of Kasab which he reportedly furnished to unidentified Intelligence officers during interrogation sessions, even before his case was admitted in the court, were regarded as evidence against groups living in other countries, thousands of miles away. Isn’t it the height of stupidly on the part of world powers and the United Nations to over react on the Mumbai attacks by banning a Muslim organization namely Jamaat-ud-Daawa without even looking at on ground evidences against this unfortunate organization? Ironically, when the case of Ajmal Kasab was pending before Mumbai court and there were possibilities that he may come out as an innocent but India executed him only to justify its own Intelligence plot. One wonders that if this is the criteria of the world governments and organizations like United Nations, there is very dark future of this world.

It is on record that Ajmal Amir Kasab denied all charges before the Mumbai court as well as his alleged links with Lashkar-e-Tayyiaba or Pakistan. One cannot say with confidence if Kasab is guilty in Mumbai attacks or otherwise but who would undo the United Nations Security Council Resolutions which banned Lashkar-e-Tayyiaba and Jamaat-ud-Dawah. If we recall, Jonathan Evans, the Director General of British MI 5 said that his organization had investigated Mumbai attackers communications and uncovered connections between the Mumbai attackers and Britain. MI 5 analysts, who claim to be experts at picking clues from phrases and communications, feel that there could be connection of the militant group which carried out Mumbai attacks with Indian Hyderabad. It reminds that a similar incident which happened five years back in India when four Muslim terrorists linked with Lashkar-e-Tayyiaba as claimed by Indian agencies, who had planned to launch a massive terrorist attack on the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun were arrested in 2005. The terrorist included Maulana Dilawar Khan of Imdad-ul-Uloom Madrassa in Delhi's Welcome area and Imam Masood Ahmed, an Imam at the Baghwali Masjid in the same area, Haroon Rashid, a former mechanical engineer at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Muhammad Iftikhar Ahsan Malik, a second year student of Biotechnology at Dehradun's Dolphin Institute of Biomedical & Natural Sciences. Police was quick enough to put recovery of a grenade and a Chinese pistol with 24 bullets on them. Ironically, all the four so called terrorists were acquitted and released in the light of Patiala House Court judgment of 8 January 2010, which set them free for want of evidence. So everyone despite Indian media’s hype would have not been surprised if the case of Ajmal Amir Kasab and his links with Laskar-e-Tayyiaba also turned out to be fake story.

If we recall, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested 36 Indian nationals who were behind Mumbai attacks. In the same regard, a remand application was submitted by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria before the MCOCA court on 15 December 2008 to allow investigate if the Indian Mujahideen (IM) militants had any links with those behind the Mumbai attacks. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ashok Duraphe who had drafted the remand application confirmed that they filed an application to verify if the 20 alleged members of Indian Mujahideen in their custody had links with Mumbai attacks. Mumbai Police filed a second remand application for additional suspects before the same MCOCA court on 2 January 2009 but under the pressure of Indian Intelligence agencies they filed a corrigendum next day, requesting the court to delete that point from the application. Donald Van Duyn, Chief Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, National Security Branch of FBI disclosed that his organization is conducting an independent probe of Mumbai attacks and has sought permission from New Delhi to interrogate more suspects locked up with Indian Police. The FBI interviewed suspects in Indian custody and collected critical information on attack planning and group leadership of militants involved in Mumbai attacks. The concluded western link as well as Indian home grown terrorism.

Our memories are still sharp to recall that Kavita, wife of slain ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) Chief Hemant Karkare and their daughter had asked the Indian government pardon Ajmal Amir Kasab on humanitarian grounds. What made Kavita and her daughter to make such an unusual request indicate that Ajmal Amir Kasab had nothing to do with killing of Hemant Karkare. Kasab himself in a statement immediately after his arrest disclosed that he did not open fire on any Police officer as he was twice hit by Police bullets on his hand before he could do anything. Probably Hemant Karkare had discussed with his wife about his extinction plans by RAW and Mossad, before leaving for operation on 26 November. It is on record that Hemant Karkare, soon after receiving the word of warning from the RAW, personally called the managers of the Taj and Oberoi-Trident Hotels, which were later attacked and asked them to scale up the security at their hotels. He specifically told the managers that he had received a warning that the militants had been planning an attack on the hotels. Indian renowned industrialists Ratan Tata told reporters after Mumbai attacks that Karkare had asked hotel management two days before the attacks to scale up security at hotels. Hemant Karkare’s wife stance of letting off Ajmal Kasab is not shared by many Hindus on the plea that it would be insulting to their martyr Hemant Karkare, if he is let off on humanitarian grounds without any punishment. Whatever the case may be, any sane person can make out that Mumabi attacks were an attempt to cover up Indian Military Intelligence (MI) terrorists, who were caught red-handed in terrorist activities like Malegaon, Nanded and Samjhaota Express blasts, Pathankot attack.

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By Afshain Afzal

WASHINGTON, 14 November 2020, (TON): Republican Party, also known as Grand Old Party (GOP) led by President Donald Trump has rightly announced that he would not leave White House and Oval Office till Election results are properly investigated for the frauds. It is, of course, not a big demand from the American tax payers to exactly know what happened to their votes casted in favour of Republican leader, President Trump. So far in some of the State election results have been challenged in courts, where some successes and some procedural set aside has been witnessed.

Usability laboratory study in the past for electronic voting systems and audit systems found differences among their evaluations and traces of relevance mistakes and casting vote which changes result of vote due to automatic advancing, mechanical navigation and a full-face ballot. Systems also differed in the automatic corrections. Although generally voters properly casted their votes and results were satisfactory but several types of errors were found, including automatic voting for an opposing candidate. More so, digital divide had an impact on their voting experiences and certain numbers of votes were not accepted or became invalid.  COVID-19 was another factor that hindered the transparency of the voting and ultimately affecting the overall results.  

As per an authentic report, there are five areas which are doubtful. Firstly, the Postal ballots which has quite a small percentage if compared to overall votes needs testing for the system to check genuinity of the signatures, has become important to detect fraud. There are reports certain organizations are involved in casting Postal ballots of the persons who never participated in the voting and have no knowledge of their vote casted. More so, machine created signatures for frauds are usually undetectable to a naked eye and even can defeat many checking systems.

The second area is double voting while third is voting against un-casted votes.  Certain electronic voting machines were programmed to act as instructed in the software by the vendors or the hackers to cast automatically the non-casted votes during the last minutes of the election 2020.

Another dangerous area is that certain people are in possession of personal voting machines. Would someone believe that American voters used their personal voting machines which they purchased from commercial websites?  This has seriously put security vulnerabilities to at high risk-level. It is open secret that hackers were successful in carrying out cyber interference in Election-2020 to make changes that resulted in someone win or lose.

What is now required that full investigation into US Election-2020 as internal and foreign hackers as well as institutions had access to election database which can be proved from the fact that media announcing the election results even before the votes counting was completed. Despite media and institutional propaganda, the fact cannot be denied that popular American leader like US President Donald Trump cannot lose and is still the US President.

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By Afshain Afzal

The role and contribution of journalists in every society is immense and unprecedented with regard to overall awareness in making general public as well as the authorities realize their rights and obligations. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2nd of November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. The date was commemorate with assassination of two French journalists in African Republic of Mali on 2 November 2013.

With these words of peace by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “If we do not protect journalists, our ability to remain informed and make evidence-based decisions is severely hampered.  When journalists cannot do their jobs in safety; we lose an important defence against the pandemic of misinformation and disinformation that has spread online,” there is a hope in tomorrow. However, often it is seen that States and Nations in order to build upon their good international reputation and improve international rating with regarding to freedom of speech and expression, allow journalist and media persons violate other international law, moral ethics and value esteem to others. Our greatest challenge today is, as also pointed out by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “Defence against the pandemic of misinformation and disinformation that has spread online.”

The day we are observing commemorates with assassination of two French journalists in African Republic of Mali on 2 November 2013. For a while we need to peep the truth to find out what Secretary-General António Guterres is looking for “informed and make evidence-based decisions” for decisions at United Nations. No dout, these journalists were killed when Mali was in the state of war where forces of France, United Kingdom, US and many African countries were occupying Mali and waging war against the Muslims of the North. If we recall, in March 2012, Western-backed National Committee for the Reinstatement of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDRE) carried out military coup to oust long-serving democratic leader, President Amadou Toumani Touré. The coup leader, Amadou Sanogo, made an announcement that coup was staged in retaliation for Amadou Toumani Touré's poor handling of a Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.  Afterwards there was mass massacre of Muslims in the North due to which millions of people crossed over into neighbouring Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania to save their lives.

Mali being former French colony, France had military presence here and made open announcement of military intervention by deploying additional forces on 11 January 2013. Muslims resisted to prevent the foreign forces occupying Mali and tried to reclaim lost territory. The attacks from US drone base in Niger and French Fighter Jets inside Mali as well as attacks from African ground forces were quite effective in killing thousands of Malian Muslims in the North of Mali. In the name of counter terrorism US launched war on Islam, claiming presence of National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and other Islamic groups. West wanted to bring Mahmoud Dicko in power in Mali, who soon after the coup against Amadou Toumani Touré visited Europe along with Chérif Ousmane Madani Haïdara, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bamako, Jean Zerbo in July 2012, to discuss important matters and aid packages. 

On the International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, the United Nations need to seriously consider that  if France can demand suspension of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Twitter account on the social media platform only because they believe that tweet was controversial, glorifying violence, what about violence against Mulims killing millions of people in Mali alone. In fact, this is what Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said, “Muslims have a right to be angry and kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” but probably France failed to appreciate that Muslims did not take revenge and pardoned them. Should United Nations, allow nations sending journalist to self created war zones to get killed there, where already millions have been killed? Should a sovereign democratic country be ruled coercively by other countries and if they do not listen, foreign forces and air attacks are carried out to create chaos, hunger and poverty to be covered by journalist… should we expect that such journalist be treated as Red Cross volunteers? This is high time that Secretary-General António Guterres take notices of such self-created war zone which become a breeding ground for suppressing the rights of the journalist and endangers their lives.

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By Afshain Afzal, The Orient News Research Section

Indian media has quoted proceedings of session of Pakistan’s Parliament, in which Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ayaz Sadiq during speech in the National Assembly on 28 October 2020 said, "I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for God's sake let Abhinandan go, India's about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm."

Indian media channels and social media platforms have started a new wave of black propaganda against the Pakistan Armed Forces, especially Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff. As per the details, Indian media including NDTV, Times of India have started a new campaign to malign Pakistan Army in which Pakistan compliance to the International law and Statues have been projected as Pakistan’s cowardice. If we recall, Pakistan shot down Indian fighter aircraft on 26 February 2019, and arrested an Indian pilot alive, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force. Under the Geneva Convention, Pakistan returned the pilot to India through Wagah border.

Armed Forces of Pakistan are one of the best in the world and Pakistan acted as a responsible member of United Nations Organization by complying with the United Nations Resolutions and other International Conventions and Statues.  However, the Indian media is playing obnoxious role against Pakistan’s compliance with International obligations. There can be no doubt that Pakistan’s gesture in freeing an apprehended Indian pilot should have been admired and respected. If we peep into the reasons behind Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s release, everyone would appreciate that he was a serving officer of Indian Air Forces and was dealt according to the rules of Geneva Convention as well as in Additional Protocol I of 1977. The rules provide that POWs cannot be prosecuted for taking a direct part in hostilities and must be released and repatriated without delay after the end of hostilities. It is quite clear that the detaining power may prosecute them for possible war crimes, but not for acts of violence that are lawful       under law.

Regarding the live telecast and coverage by Indian media, Pakistan Parliamentary rules for the National Assembly and Senate provide that it is the responsibility of the Speaker to stop the live broadcasting of the session, whenever there is an issue that may create embarrassment for the country watching MNAs agitating over an emergent issue. In India both the Houses of Parliament, broadcast and telecast is through Lok Sabha TV, owned by the Lok Sabha itself. All open sittings are telecast live from the House throughout the period of business. Live telecast is stopped whenever the House adjourns or when the presiding officer orders the cameras to be switched off in order to save the country from the embarrassment of watching unruly MPs agitating over an important issue.  

There is no doubt, the Assemblies and Parliaments throughout the world discuss eminent issues and there are heated discussions take place rather at times there is tug of war between the government and opposition. However, such discussions are never leaked to the press or media. The code of ethics for attending the assembly sessions for live telecast as well as the journalists are quite clear and are spelled out to each and every attendee of the session. So how such confidential discussion reached the Indian media? If it was live telecast, then why Speaker did not interrupt and stopped the telecast. There should be an inquiry into the incident with focus on mere one point that how and why the substance of the discussion was leaked to the Indian media. In the past, the scope and objective of such inquiries were made general which could not reach to any conclusion. This time, the mandate of the inquiry should not be why Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ayaz Sadiq discussed such a sensitive issue in the Parliament as these houses are meant for it but the focus should remain how it leaked to unauthorized Indian media and how same can be stopped in the future. In a nutshell, defaming Pakistan on international level has been an old tactic of Indian media and Indian government. However, the statement regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan by representative of hundreds of Pakistani also require a review and beside tarnishing Pakistan’s image it has created a gulf between Army and Government of Pakistan.

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By Afshain Afzal, The Orient News Research Section

On the arrival of Muharram this year, an order was issued by Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat which said, “There are sufficient grounds for proceedings under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898, to prohibit the use of motorcycles for pillion riding to avoid any threats to public peace and tranquility within the jurisdiction of Islamabad on 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram. This was done to facilitate Mattami Jaloos and Processions as the authorities apprehended terrorist attack on Shia during Muharram. Accordingly, all roads were closed through long vehicles and containers and traffic was totally paralyzed in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as other cities while heavy contingent of law enforcement and police was deployed to allow all rituals complete unhindered.  For the successful execution, beside road closure by Traffic Police like Rawalpindi – Murree Hill station, all the internat / mobile service and transport was closed.

This year, on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, as the birthday as well as death anniversary of Prophet Muhammad Alhe Salam (Sal Allah Ho Alhe Wassalam) will be observed from 29 to 30 October 2020.  The same Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, Muhammed Hamza Shafqaat, has issued a confusing order communicated through tweet, which has also been covered by all national and international media. The official tweet emitting from Twitter of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad says, DC Islamabad notified the public regarding the enactment of Section U/S 144 CrPc 1898 on the compulsory use of facemasks in public places, adding that anyone not adhering to the directive can be apprehended by the ICT Police.”

Business Recorder reported in its issue 29 October 2020, “Section 144 was imposed in Islamabad on Wednesday for ensuring strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to the Covid-19 among the general public and to stop further spread of the virus in the community. Following imposition of Section 144 in the city, wearing mask in public places has been made mandatory and anyone who is seen without a face mask will be prosecuted under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). This order shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force for a period of two months.”

The official news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan reports, “The district administration on Wednesday imposed Section 144 in the Federal Capital for a period of two months, making wearing face mask at public places mandatory to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). District Magistrate Hamza Shafqaat, in a notification, said the Section-144 had been enforced to ensure compliance of COVID-19 SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) among the general public, following the advice of epidemiologists of DC COVID Nerve Center. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat said on his Twitter handle that anyone seen without a face mask would be arrested by the ICT Police. He also shared the notification along with his tweet.” 

One wonders who is responsible for such orders for Muharram, Chelums, Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Shab-e-Baraat etc. Can Pakistani authorities in all cities and cantonments officially seal main and link roads with huge containers and trucks, jam mobile & internet services, cancel leaves of security forces and deploy them everywhere while prevent other religious occasions to take place? Why authorities ordered closer of Mosques and Madrassas and prevented congregational prayers in the name of COVID-19 this year but lifted all restrictions during Muharram and Chelums, however, ordered strict restrictions on all other occasions. It is high time that the authorities including Supreme Court of Pakistan take Suo Moto notice of the grave disparity and ensure that every Pakistani individually and collectively is treated equally with same yard stick.

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By Afshain Afzal

When it is time to make Indian atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir internationalize and make world’s focus on disappearances of civilians, fake encounters by Indian security forces, custodial deaths, extra judicial killings and instances of rape, kidnapping, torture and extortion, something new emerged as the headlines of international and national media. It is being claimed that Pakistan, in a foreign policy shift has placed Kashmiris on the negotiation table as “Principal Party”. The new development is linked with Dr. Moeed Yousuf, Special Advisor to Prime Minister of Pakistan for National Security and Strategic Policy disclosure in an interview with senior Indian journalist, Karan Thapar on 13 October 2020, that there are three parties to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute; Pakistan, India and there is a principal party, called Kashmiris and the only thing that matters is the wishes of the people of Kashmir.

Let us see what Dr Moeed Yousaf said during an interview with Karan Thapar, “The practical problem is there are three parties to the Kashmir dispute – there is Pakistan, there is India, and there is the principal party – the humans called Kashmiris. Now, if the Kashmiris can’t stand the sight of India, can’t bear to be in the same room as Indians“. Again he said, “Let’s take Kashmir, three parties to the conflict – India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris – one party does not want to sit in the same room as another party. So, that…” In another place, he said, “There are two steps to this process, there’s a plebiscite where India and Pakistan – the two options that are given under the UN resolutions Then there’s a second step, which you are not aware of – let me just answer your question. There’s an Article 257 of the Pakistani Constitution that says that after the plebiscite, Pakistan and the Kashmiris will decide what kind of arrangement they want.”

It is matter of disappointment that Dr Moeed Yousaf is not clear about Kashmir issue as there are only two parties and not three, which he tried to preach India. The dispute is between two countries, i.e. Pakistan and India so there are two parties, same is authenticated in the United Nations Resolutions. Indeed, Kashmir is not a country! Dr Moeed Yousuf is even not clear about Article 257 of the Constitution, regarding provisions relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which provides, “Provision relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir-When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.” One wonders how Dr Moeed Yousuf is able to conclude, “after the plebiscite, Pakistan and the Kashmiris will decide what kind of arrangement they want” when the Article 257, clearly means that when State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the wishes of the people of that State will be honored.

Some of the Kashmiri leaders attached to various think tanks abroad welcoming the statement of Dr. Moeed Yousuf is of the view that people of Kashmir want that as the dispute involves three parties –Government of India, Government of Pakistan, all of three stakeholders should be included in future negotiations.  Many Kashmiris has taken the statement of Dr. Moeed Yousuf as Pakistan’s new policy to include the Kashmiri leadership as a principal party in the talks. They are fighting with each other over the issue that which genuine leadership of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should take part in future negotiations. There are a lot many articles being published in line with Dr. Moeed Yousuf’s new policy statement that allows unidentified Kashmiri leadership at par with India and Pakistan. They are voicing against the previous agreement between India and Pakistan, as Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai also pointed out in his recent statement, “The agreements between India and Pakistan, like Tashkent Declaration and Shimla Agreement failed because they sought to bypass the Kashmiri leadership”.

India is definitely boxing clever as Pakistan is diverting from the main issue which was pending before 5 August 2019, Government’s abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, which were pending for decision before the Supreme Court of India. The fact can also be not denied that on 1st January, 2018, the Indian Union Ministry of Defense received requests from the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir Government for sanction to prosecute defense personnel in the 50 cases that occurred in-between 2001-2016. While the requests were pending in three cases, the Government had denied sanction to prosecute the accused. The case was in the Supreme Court to be decided upon, when in a 180-degree shift, Indian Government on 5th August 2019, announced revocation Article 370 and 35 A of the constitution, scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, in clear violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Interestingly, the Kashmiris have always received unequal and discriminatory treatment. The Supreme Court’s observation made in July 2016 that indefinite deployment of armed forces in the name of restoring normalcy under AFSPA “would mock at our democratic process “the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1990 and its predecessor, the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978. If we recall, in ordering a probe against fake encounters in Manipur, the Supreme Court, in its landmark judgment delivered in July 2016, remarked that, “ordinarily our armed forces should not be used against our countrymen and women” and that “every person carrying a weapon in a disturbed area cannot be labeled as a terrorist or insurgent.” In another development, India, a comprehensive job plan has been worked out for the youth of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir involving a cost of Rs 2100 crore and separate pledges from a number of foreign countries, including the US, Britain, Canada, Italy, France, etc. It is hoped by New Delhi that it will shut the desire of Kashmiris to join Pakistan once for all.

New Delhi is mistaken that Kashmiris are demanding union with Pakistan due to economic conditions and that improvement in social conditions as well as lifestyle would turn them into loyal Indians. The demand of the Kashmiris for right of self-determination would remain a burning issue till the time plebiscite is not held in entire state on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Had economic reasons or unemployment was the case, those Kashmiris who is well settled abroad would not have been active supporters of freedom movement and armed struggle against Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir state. No doubt, New Delhi is being misguided by its intelligence agencies and foreign experts that Kashmiris can be won by the introduction of reforms and allocation of huge funds. One wonder why the Indian authorities are unable to read the slogans on the wall everywhere in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir that only independence from India is the demand of Kashmiris. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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KABUL, 19 October 2020, (TON): Taliban, in a new development has given warning to the US of dire consequences if violation of their signed agreement continued.

Taliban have accused Washington of violating their signed agreement by carrying out air strikes in support of Afghan security forces in the province of Helmand.

Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi said in a statement on Sunday, “American forces have violated the Doha agreement in various forms by carrying out excessive air strikes following the new developments in Helmand province and the responsibility and consequences from continuation of such actions shall fall fall on the shoulders of the American side.”

It was quite encouraging that some groups of Taliban made an agreement with the US, signed in Doha, that provides withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees and a pledge waring faction would sit down with the Kabul administration to find a peaceful settlement to Afghan war.

Against the assurances from Washington, Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan tweeted that the strikes violated the agreement as “The entire world has witnessed the Taliban’s offensive operations in Helmand - attacks which injured and displaced thousands of innocent Afghan civilians.” He called all sides to reduce violence.

Earlier this month, the Taliban welcomed US President Donald Trump’s tweet that all American troops should be “home by Christmas” but the other stakeholders are not in favour of US withdrawal as they fear that it will allow the Taliban to come into power. Abdullah Abdullah is in Tehran since yesterday on his three days visit to work out formula against Taliban. It is a common observance that sine the talks appear to be successful, the incidents of terrorism and attacks on Afghan security forces have increased manifolds to put blame of attacks on Taliban.

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By Afshain Afzal

9 October 2020

President Trump’s 7th October tweet saying all US troops in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas need not to be taken in letter and spirit. It seems more to be a political statement and does not appear to be US’ official policy. A welcome note by the Taliban, terming tweet as a positive step is but natural. If we go by the wordings of President Trump’s tweet, it read, “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!” Trump tweeted at 7:28 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.  Interestingly, the policy of Robert O’Brien reflects United States would reduce troops to 2500 troops in Afghanistan early next year.

What are the ground realities  and how the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will be unfolded is early to comment but there are very less possibility that complete withdrawal can be planned by the Christmas this year. The fact, however, cannot be ignored that bulk of combatants have been withdrawn many years back and only handful of American combatants are there in Afghanistan, protecting American vital projects and investments in the country. There is no doubt that the Afghan forces have almost full control while Americans are only involved in neutralizing few Counter Terrorisms threats.

As the date of 18 October is approaching nearer, many changes are rapidly taking place on the world chess board. Exactly, five years from the JCPOA’s adoption day, Resolution 2231 allows lifting of UN restrictions on countries selling conventional arms to Iran or buying Iranian weaponry from 18 October 2020. In the backdrop, new frictions have already taken roots in Africa and Middle East ranging from Mali to Iraq and Syria to the shores of Caspian Sea, which is likely to challenge and endanger the existence of present leadership at Ankara and Tehran. In Afghanistan, where efforts are in hand to include Iran and India in the make and break as well as future negotiation of Afghanistan, anti Taliban groups have displayed show of force launching attacks in 24 province of Afghanistan in a single day. Instead of an atmosphere of peace and tranquility to rebuild lost trust in the region, the strings have been released to generate new hostilities.

Back at the White House and Pentagon there is much is cooking up for regime changes in Turkey and Iran as well as Saudi Arabia. Washington is not ready to engage its troops in these bloody operations, due to fear of back-fire from American taxpayers. In a preplanned lobbied move, the United Nations Security Council’s members rejected United States of America’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attempt of 20 August to impose sanctions on Iran due to violations of  JCPOA’s Agreement. France, Germany and the UK the U.S. notification was not “effective”.

In a new development, the US is repositioning its non-combats from Afghanistan to locations in Middle East and Central Asian Republics (CARs). We have witnessed in the past and will experience it again that in order to win Tehran as most favorite and permanent ally, Washington would attempt to given enough room to Iran to operate but at the same time look for a regime change in Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The strategy involves, making Iran more powerful despite sanctions and restrictions and finally support Shah of Iran era style government to establish top relationship between Washington and Tehran.

Washington is all due to help Tehran in war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh to weaken Turkey and Saudi Arabia and to develop new rift between Arabs and non-Arabs and at the same time US will use its proxies against Turkey and Saudi Arbaia through open media war and stationing its troops to help anti Turkish forces in Armenia and Azerbaijan conflict and Syria where Russia has already established its military might in this area to help Iran against other stakeholders.

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Last month, US President Donald Trump reaffirmed that he planned to pull all troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. Accordingly, General McKenzie issued a statement quoted in the media, "In recognition of the great progress the Iraqi forces have made and in consultation and co-ordination with the government of Iraq and our coalition partners, the United States has decided to reduce our troop presence in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000 troops during the month of September."  He added he is quite certain that the Iraqi Security Forces has ability to operate independently and to deal with the continuing threat of IS, which once controlled huge portion of Iraq. These troops will be repositioned in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Central Asian Republic and Germany as well as at choke points.  

Meanwhile, in the new development, there were reported of increased US drones targeting against Yazidis and other Kurds in northern Iraq including elements of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The locals of the affected areas claims that it was sort of show of forces as they never saw drones flying at low flight, visible to the necked eye. Interesting, these are the same Kurds, which had protection of Washington since decades and US had been protecting and patronizing. Many a times, US also issued statements for the independence of Kurdish areas. Locals of Iraq in various localities said that US, all these years empowered Kurds and pro-Iran elements in Iraq to make it their second home so that there is balance of power between Arab Muslims and non-Arab centrifugal forces, who is establishing a different identity of nationalities from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Pakistan. The US F-16 Fighter aircrafts and drones have become a constant feature to mix it with Turkish operations in Libya and Syria. In fact, an attempt is being made to malign Turkey for every attack in Northern Iraq.

If we recall, MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missile at Baghdad International Airport at the convey of General Qassim Soleimani, Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander  when he was planning to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad. However, despite the fact that neither his dead body nor any concrete confirmation was there, it is widely believed that General Qasem Soleimani  along with members of his convey were all killed and turned into ashes. In reaction, the Iraqi parliament passed bill urging the government to cancel the request for help it presented to the international coalition. US claimed that Iran launched ballistic missile attack at two Iraqi military bases hosting US forces.

An Iraqi former military officer who retired last year said on the condition of atomicity, “It is a game plan knitted by apparent two enemies i.e. the US and Iran, whose military commanders collaborates against Turkey. American equipment is used to attack Kurds areas to create hatred against the Turkish forces in various countries of Middle East.” He added, Iran based Kurdistan elements, US-settled Iraqis, Iranians living here and other nationalities living in Iraq are destined to play a crucial role in regime change in Iran, in the near future. He said, “Threats to Iran and Turkey for regime change should not be taken lightly.” There is, no doubt, as the moves are being unfolded on world chess board, the Western players have this time planned to target Turkey and Iran for the Government (regime) changes to build strategic partners and allies in Istanbul and Tehran.

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Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation along with Mohammad UmerDaudzai, President Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan’s capital reached Islamabad on 28 September 2020, a three-day official visit. The delegation met Prime Minister as well as other Pakistani military and non-military officials. The development surfaced as Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in an op-ed published in the Washington Post said that “Peace is within reach in Afghanistan, and all those who have invested in the Afghan peace process should resist the temptation for setting unrealistic timelines. A hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan would be unwise. We should also guard against regional spoilers who are not invested in peace and see instability in Afghanistan as advantageous for their own geopolitical ends.”The statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed some criticism from Afghan elements who were adamant that there should be no further delay in announcement of political solution of Afghanistan.

If we recall, Pakistan being an important stakeholder facilitated Afghan peace process that resulted in the US-Taliban Peace Agreement on 29 February 2020. Statement issued by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 25 September 2020, reflect apparent shift in Pakistan foreign policy. There is, no doubt, as also identified by Pakistan to UNGA that conflicts are proliferating and intensifying military occupation and illegal annexations are suppressing the rights of human beings to self-determination. Pakistani Prime Minister said, “there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan; the only way forward was and is a political settlement which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors”. Pakistan views that through the Intra-Afghan negotiations that commenced on 12 September, stakeholders must work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. The process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and without any interference or outside influence.

Early this month, talks held between Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami and his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, in Tehran on 5 September 2020, on peace process among the Afghan government and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Both countries also discussed development of the port, which links India as gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan. India and Iran are of the views that for a strong and prosperous Afghanistan, there should be no role of Taliban. India and Iran are, therefore, deeply concerned about US-Taliban negotiations, fearing the agreement reached on the drawdown of US forces and would leave its Afghan partners to lose prominent place in future Afghanistan.

In the present scenario. certain stakeholders, who pretended to be factions of Afghan Taliban engaged Afghan security forces and carried attacks in every province of Afghanistan. On the day Abdullah Abdullah planned to visit Pakistan mere twenty four hours, 24 provinces of Afghanistan were attacked as per the statement of Afghan Ministry of Defense. Representative of the Defence Ministry added, Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman, Nuristan, Kapisa, MaidanWardak, Ghazni, Logar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah, Badghis, Ghor, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Helmand, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Baghlan are among the provinces which saw security incidents and attacks within 24 hours. The New York Times, published a story, “In Proud Corners of Afghanistan, New Calls for Autonomy”, 28 September 2020, Thomas Gibbons and Fatima Faizi which highlighted Keram, Shamsudin Hamid (57 years of age), a former fighter who fought under Ahmed Shah Massoud of Hizb-e-Wadhatin both the Soviet-Afghan war and the civil war against Taliban says “This peace process is an American project… The Americans want Taliban to come back to the country. But we are going to fight them. We won’t sacrifice the last 19 years of progress - that is nonnegotiable.”

All this being done to impress the United Nations (UN), European Union (UC), NATO and other foreign elements engaged in Afghanistan, to present a gloomy picture of Afghanistan and to pressurize delay in decision of withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. The dirty politics being played in Afghanistan from the last two decades has cost over 1.6 million death of innocent men, women and children, and many more will always remain unaccounted. Proud Afghans are living in miserable condition all around the world as refugees and illegal immigrants. Our conscience should not allow Afghanistan to bleed further. Taliban or no Taliban, there should be an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan, followed by elections in the country on democratic lines. The notorious concept of broad-based government or puppet regimes are against the principles of democracy. It is high time that we all must contribute for peace in Afghanistan.

 

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LADAKH, 27 September, 2020, (TON): India Army claims that intends to combat China in the low temperatures, snow warfare at Line of Actual Control (LAC).  Although, armour does not operate on snow but commanders at Indian Army Headquarters at New Delhi are adamant that they have moved T-90 and T-72 Tanks along with BMP infantry vehicles in the Chumar-Demchok area of Eastern Ladakh.

In the past, it was a routine affair that after the first snow fall, which has already taken place on 26 September at Ladakh, the troops are withdrawn, leaving symbolic representation. These winter vacated posts are again redeployed next year at the start of summer. The Indian commanders’ claims that they have military type vehicles which can easily operate at temperatures up to minus 40 degree Celsius.

In a statement to media, Major General Arvind Kapoor, Chief of Staff,14 Corps said, “The Fire and Fury Corps is the only formation of the Indian Army and also in the world to have actually deployed mechanized forces in such harsh terrain”.

The elements of 6 Mountain Division and 9 Mountain Brigade, when approached had no idea of any such deployment or move in the near future.

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Coverage of target killing of Advocate Babar Qadri by Indian State agencies has been headlines of media including, “The Orient News”. The shocking cold blooded target killing by Indian agencies has taken another turn as Jammu and Kashmir Police has claimed that “c had been cautioned about threat to his life.”

Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar disclosed. “Advocate Babar Qadri’s brother-in-law, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the Jammu and Kashmir Police, had advised the lawyer to leave his residence for a few days but he refused.”

Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, on Friday said that Advocate Babar Qadri had been cautioned about threat to his life. Qadri was shot dead by gunmen at his residence on Thursday.

CCTV footage from a camera installed in the vicinity reflects that four persons were seen but later two persons went to the residence of Advocate Babar Qadri where they had some discussion after which they shot Advocate Babar at his head, killing him on spot. Without any fear they moved away holding pistol in open.

It is strange that a game of fire and blood is going on in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir State by Indian authorities, which has intensified since 5 August last but the United Nations Organization (UNO) and human Rights Organizations, European Union (EU) and other peace organization are silent spectators. Every day two or three Kashmiri youth are either killed in fake encounters and extra judicial killings, target killings or they simply disappear for good. How long this will go unchecked.

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