By Usman Khan Khalil, The Orient News

Last week, on (November 19, 2020) in the dawn hours of Thursday there a fake encounter held between securities forces and four suspected persons  were carrying in a truck near ban toll plaza in the Nagrota area of Jammu and Kashmir. In which these persons were decimated and killed by Indian army, who according to Indian government were planning for sabotage activates to disrupt the upcoming district council elections there in the union territory. It is an established fact that whenever elections are in offing in India the politicians of India starts to blame Pakistan to get the sympathies of their voters and in order to win the elections by adopting and harping anti Pakistan slogans.    

Later on, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly blamed as part of their sinister campaign that Pakistan-based terror group, Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack, and there after the Indian external affairs ministry tried to bring a storm in a cup of tea. India’s diplomatic offensive on the fake Nagrota incident exactly took place a week after Pakistani establishment provided a strong dossier to p5 countries regarding Indian involvement in side Kashmir and other parts of Pakistan. The prime minster of India went on to say in a tweet by exaggerating that “Neutralizing of 4 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed and the presence of large cache of weapons and explosives with them indicate that their efforts to wreak major havoc and destruction have once again been thwarted.”He further boosted to say that “Our security forces have once again displayed utmost bravery and professionalism. Thanks to their alertness, they have defeated a nefarious plot to target grassroots-level democratic exercises in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Indian government had  in retaliation escalated its anti-Pakistan campaign — marked by false narratives, concocted evidence and orchestration of false flag operations — after Islamabad dossier to p5 containing "irrefutable proof" of India involvement in side Pakistan. . Now the real face of India has been fully exposed through the dossier given by Pakistan to the heads of mission and the world can see the reality and assess of India easily – one blackened by its decades-long state-terrorism in IIOJK and state-sponsored terrorism and destabilization efforts in Pakistan,” The most familiar and undeniable face of India’s state-sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan, was Indian spy — caught red-handed in March 2016.

Masterminds of Mecca MASJID, Ajmer Dargah, and Samjhota Express terrorist cases, like Swami Aseeman and, have been granted full state protection and acquitted in complete travesty of justice after having confessed to India’s National Investigation Agency. These subversive activities are open threats to Pakistan by Indian civilian and military leaders. In addition to of all this India’s sinister design  want to target  and subvert and derail CPEC the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a mega co- project of Pakistan and china and its intelligence agencies had formed a cell to disrupt CPEC projects.

By showing the “ forged information docket” and a list of  recovered AK47 rifles and other items, and ammunitions which can easily be made by Indian government to show it  to the  top envoys of key nations including the US, Russia, France and Japan. The Foreign Secretary of India tried an attempt to implicate Pakistan in this gory drama by one or other way to divert the world attention and hide the stark reality inside IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir) that what’s happing inside (IOK) in order to legitimize its illegal and terror acts inside (IOK) Kashmir to fulfill its vested interests and hegemonic designs. The Indian government burnt the truck which was used in the fake encounter to remove all kinds of evidences from world eyes and through its entire responsibly on the shoulders of Pakistan.

It is the part and parcel of India government state policy to not only malign Pakistan and settle its score with it  but to isolate it internationally also.

On Monday, evening (Nov 23, 2020), Foreign Secretary of India briefed to mislead selected group of Heads of Missions (HOMs) on the planned terrorist attack in Nagrota district in Jammu last week. The envoys were told about the foiled attack on Nov 19, and how the incident could have an impact on not only security but also on the fight against terrorism and diplomacy. They were handed over a docket which had detailed information of the incident as it transpired. And it also had evidence on the ammunition of Pak origin.”The Indian secretary foreign misguided the foreign envoys and them briefed wrongly about how the terrorists from Pakistan had entered India through a tunnel in Samba sector.

 Now it is a right time that the international community and other watch dog’s organizations should take a serious notice of it and should not be deceived by this messy and nasty propaganda of Indian state because projecting a bleak, distorted and wrong picture of the facts is no service to humanity. Instead, the Indian government should emphasize towards the plight of its citizens to upgrade their level of living. And live peacefully in co existence with neighboring countries.

 

By Usman Khan Khalil

It is  a good omen  not only for  Afghanistan and  Afghan people  but also for its bordering countries  to see that that an international  mega event Afghan peace- conference 2020 is being held in collaboration with the government of Afghanistan, Finland and the united nations .The impact of this quadrilateral pledging conference would  be far-reaching results and  significant development for the Afghan Government and the international community to bring together a common objective for promoting sustainable development, peace, harmony and prosperity in Afghanistan.

The prime goal of the conference is to commit the Afghan government in collaboration of the international community to shared development objectives for 2021-24, to coordinate development cooperation, and to ensure financial support for the Afghan administration. In addition to the pledges of financial support, a joint political declaration and new aid architecture are the anticipated outcomes of the conference.

This ministerial level conference is anticipated to bring together over 70 countries as well as international organizations and agencies. It was last held in 2016 in Brussels and in Tokyo in 2012.  After a long pace of time it is initiated, the 2020 Afghanistan Conference is commencing on 23-24 November, 2020 in Geneva is big milestone in the history of Afghanistan’s and will open new avenues of peace, harmony, prosperity and self-reliance in this neglected part of the world.

The quadrennial ministerial level pledging conference is jointly organized by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of Finland and the United Nations.

The prime objective and aim of the conference is to revive the international and Afghan goals to streamline the policy of development and stability of Afghanistan, to agree the joint development for 2021-24 and to work on jointly development pledges, commitments regarding the financial support for Afghanistan by international community. Afghanistan is indeed standing on the threshold of its historic moment of pursuing and achieving its national. The commencement of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations is new chapter of opportunities for development in this neglected area of the world. Strengthened partnership and sustained international support are vital for Afghanistan and the Afghan people taking on the uphill task of building and sustaining peace after decades of inflicting war and suffering.

”Afghanistan is passing through at very critical juncture at the moment. Long lasting durable peace and desirability of feasibility and credibility is the need of hour to build Afghanistan on the right footing because the Afghan people already rendered precious lives and other unmatchable sacrifices during the Afghan war. When we look into the future, we must remain united in our vision and ambition to realize a progressive, prosperous, democratic, free and stable Afghanistan in peace with itself, its neighbors and the world. On development, while maintaining emphasis on high-level planning, the focus must shift to delivery and implementation. The Afghan government and its international development partners must work together on getting this visionary goal for demonstrable reduction in poverty that is realistic well-defined and well-targeted. Investment in peace and development must provide sufficient guarantees for gender equity, protection of human rights, women’s rights and the rights of minorities as well as democratic principles. The Republic is a true embodiment of Afghanistan’s diversity and must be strengthened. Corruption, which drains Afghanistan’s valuable resources and interrupts the process of realizing self-reliance, must be fought in all its forms,”

“Finland looks committed along with the united nations” in support of Afghanistan and its people  in respect of sustainable development, prosperity and a lasting peace and wants to ensure the women's meaningful participation at all parts  of the peace process to bring them at par with  quality life,” .

 Since, 2001 it has progressed and improved a lot the political, social and economic outlook in Afghanistan. Yet it has to be decided by the untiring efforts which are required for Afghanistan to reach its potential as a stable, peaceful and self-reliant society during the last years of its Transformation Decade up to 2024.

“By embarking upon Afghanistan Peace Negotiations to end the more than four decades-long conflicting and war ravaged policy between the various warring and political factions of Afghanistan .The urging and hope of the international community is not less on this occasion in Geneva to reaffirm its firm and steadfast support to Afghanistan's development, in parallel with the peace process. The worrisome factor of the whole episode is that the anti Taliban forces don’t to see these talks success full because with the restoration of these peace talks the comeback of Taliban is inevitable that’s why they are attacking in twenty three provinces in one guise or other to shatter the dream of peace and harmony in this country.  Despite this fact, the UN is committed to working with the Afghan Government, Finland, and the donor community to deliver the best possible outcome for the benefit of all Afghans,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan is also a commendable step and must be praised. Although the conference is under way but the hopes are being pined for yielding positive results for the participating countries.

“Finland is looking forward to co-hosting the pledging conference together with the Government of Afghanistan and the UN. Solving the multifaceted challenges in Afghanistan require joint efforts and long-term commitment from Afghanistan and the international community. Together with the partners they are committed to reshape and rebuild  the aid architecture while ensuring that it will preserve the progress achieved over the past decades and strengthen the further realization of human rights and democratic principles,”

The event is currently taking place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, in a hybrid format where delegates may also participate virtually. More than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan Government officials, as well as civil society representatives are expected to participate in the mega conference.

Keeping in view, the above mentioned facts in mind let’s pray and hope for the best.

 

 

By Halima Akter, Research Associate The Orient News, Bangladesh

On 21 November, on Armed Forces Day 2020, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina  revealed her expectation to the Armed Force to improve upon their professional skills by the spirit of patriotism to contribute more for nation-building. Already, the Bangladeshi Army participating in United Nations Peacee Keeping Missions stood first in the world.

In this virtual based attending occasion, the prime minister tried to give the messages on the Armed Forces' formation, modernization, contribution, and the current government role to equip the armed forces.

In the history of the Bangladesh liberation war, this is a glorious day; on this day, 1971, the courageous Muktibahini with the of help American advisors and a massive involvement with local Bengali launched a joint isolated attacks against the West Pakistani occupation forces. This was the first time when Indian agents in plain clothes started battling on with West Pakistani forces on Eastern part of Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The final success was achieved on 16 – 21 December 1971, recognized as Armed Forces Day for the commemoration of the significance of the day.

The Bangladeshi Prime Minister said the Armed Forces, which were a small scale in the beginning level from the liberation war, now are a vast institution. The nation will remember the sacrifice of the Armed Force during the liberation war in 1971.

The Prime Minister said that vital role of the Armed Force in any crisis of the country is praiseworthy. She highlighted their devotion and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this ongoing juncture, the Armed Forces have accomplished the lock-down process, created awareness among people to maintain hygiene and set up quarantine centers for the infected people and returnees from abroad.

Also, the Bangladeshi Navy has worked for tackling the coronavirus situation to instruct people to maintain social distance, make sure obligatory home quarantine, and given relief to the helpless families. The Bangladesh government-provided medical supplies for the Maldives recently which were sent by the naval ship. Along with the naval ship, 'Vijay' is utilized to send food and relief for Bangladeshi living in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the role of the Air Force is to relocate a significant number of patients including doctors' teachers and eminent persons from a remote area to Dhaka for advanced treatment through helicopters.

The primer also said the Armed Forces are contributing to the UN peacekeeping missions and upholding the positive image of the country.

She added after independence, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the father of the nation, realized the need for a well-developed and professional armed force to re-build the war-torn country. Then the Bangabandhu started his journey with limited resources to set up the Bangladesh military Academy, Combined Arms School, and a separate training center for each corps of the Army in 1972.

The premier mentioned Bangabandhu initiated the three bases of Bangladesh Navy in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Khulna as well as brought warship for the force from India and Yugoslavia. In 1973, Bangabandhu advanced the air force by adding sophisticated supersonic MiG-21 fighter jets helicopters and transport aircraft and air defense radar, she said. Today's Bangladesh Armed Forces strong foundation with professionalism and efficiency is on the model of the National Defense Police drafted by the Father of the nation which has crossed the territory of the country.

"This government developed all branches of the Armed Forces with modern military weapons and equipment for one decade. No government could not do this," the Prime Minister said.We had taken the initiative to fulfill the goal 'Forces Goal-2030' based on the Defense Policy 1974, in which the force would be restructured, imparted improved training, and equipped with specialized defense hardware, the Prime Minister said. During this government, the women members are appointed in the armed forces and the air forces.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for the Armed Forces to be always ready to protect the sovereignty of the country and marking the country's faith in coexistence with all according to the foreign policy adopted by the father of the nation.

By Aroosa Hafeez, TON Research Section

After Partition, north-east part has been India’s unrelenting insurgency threat. The intensity and focus of the Indian separatist movements have changed over the year. But the battle cry of Indiahas remained a popular option with the ethnicities of the north-east. Today Nagaland and Manipur conflicts are one of the world’s longest running conflicts. These separatist movementshave come to greatly challenge India's security and internal stability with the more rebellious groups demanding no less than secession from union of Indian state. The time-frame of the insurgency movements appears to have no limits. Since the early 1950's to the present day, there has been very limited break in the continuous growth of insurgency.

The root causes of the separatist movements of Northeast are to be found in many areas of political, social and economic realm. To a great degree, past also tosses significant light on the overall dissatisfaction and criticisms of the people towards the Indian Government. The deep seated grievances of the people with Indian government over the years, coupled with other factors has given rise to the innumerable problems and separatist movements today.

During British rule the north-east was almost isolated from the events leading to independence. After independence the people of the northeast, mostly in Nagaland saw this as an opportunity to revert back to their old ways of independent living. People from these states never felt to be a part of India even under the British rule, and after independence, they saw no reason to be under the Indian government. Thus, when India attained independence, the tribal leaders raised the demand for autonomy to preserve. The threat perception to their culture and customs under Indian rule added significance with the imminent transfer of power to the new Indian government.

The Naga National Council (NNC) declared their independence before the British left India, but they were forcefully integrated into the republic of India in 1947. On 29 June 1947, Sir Akbar Hyderi, then Governor of Assam signed a 9-point agreement with the Naga moderates. In the said agreement the Nagas’ right to develop themselves freely was recognized. Clause 9 of the agreement stated that after a period of 10 years the NNC will be asked whether the agreement be extended or a new agreement arrived at. This clause was interpreted by Nagas as achievement of sovereignty whereas the Indian government interpreted it as the signing of new agreement with Indian Union. This is the root cause of the Naga conflict. The Indian government deployed military forces in the region in April 1956.

The ethnic conflict in Nagaland, in north-east India, is an ongoing conflict fought between the ethnic Nagas and the governments of India and Myanmar.The state has a strong ethnic mix, all communities are deeply committed to preserving their own cultural autonomy. Its people have also always tended to look towards eastin their search for cultural links.The predominant religion of Nagaland is Christianity. Thosepeople who migrated from Nagaland to different cities of India for better economic opportunities have reported frequent discrimination, while others feel alienated by the current Hindu nationalist government. This also contributed to the separatist movements in India. People of different religion other than Hindu, are fighting against the discrimination by the state which does not recognize the ground reality that Christians along with Muslims are still persecuted in the Indian society.

Delhi views Nagaland as a "disturbed area" and has kept the state under a draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The act extends wide-ranging powers to the army, including the use of force and arrests without warrants.Violence has been part of daily life for decades in Manipur, with a strong presence of the Indian military. Naga Hoho comprising various Naga tribes, has asked for removal of AFSPA from entire Nagaland.Indian government took its first steps toward resolving the dispute in 2015 by signing a peace accord with a Naga nationalist group called the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM).In August 2019, Modi government wanted to conclude talks with NSCN-IM and sign a final agreement to end the conflict within three months but a year has been passed and there is still no end in sight for the conflict. Tensions grew in July when the Indian army and paramilitary forces started cracking down on NSCN-IM soldiers.

Thuingaleng Muivah, the Chief of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NCNS), has said with no clouding of issue that “Ours is ours and there is theirs; we are not asking for anything from India as Nagas were never part of Indian Union, even under the British.”

He added “There will be only one choice, Nagas will have to stand their ground, we will never surrender our history to India, we have fought them before and if forced upon us, we will not surrender, sorry.”

On 29th Oct 2019 political leaders from the Indian state of Manipur said they were unilaterally declaring independence from India and forming a government-in-exile in Britain, a day before India’s 73rd Independence Day. The Naga Students Federation (NSF) declared independence by hoisting the Nagaland flag across the north eastern states as well as the Naga areas in Myanmar. Nagaland has also released its own National Anthem and declared Kohima as its capital.

In India today 135 Separatist Movement are present. So called biggest democracy failed to give basic rights to its own citizens.Despite promises of settlement, armed tension continues.The Indian government has denied self-determination in Kashmir as well, in accordance with United Nations resolutions for ever since partition. Manipur and Nagaland demands for greater autonomy and bringing Nagas of India into a single political entity, a demand which surely needs to be met with an equal amount of regard to both sides.

Delhi can't ignore the facts of the history of the Nagas, the most important one of which is that they had declared they were not a part of the map India inherited from the British. For this reason, the Nagaland and Manipurcontinues their struggle for separation from India. The Nagas are in continuous armed conflict against India to establish a sovereign independent state.

Naga’s distinct identity and culture along with its leadership will not compromise on anything less than a separate constitution and a separate flag. However, it will be interesting to see if Modi doctrine is able to deals with this daunting challenge or not.

India’s geographical lands, foreign policy, security handling, all are in varying crisis today. India seems to be a pale shadow of its former self. It will not be wrong in saying that India has now become the sick man of South Asia. Today it stands isolated in the region, its divisive policies, illegal occupationsand its erroneous thinking has markdownIndia in neighbour countries.

By Umme Sayeda, The Orient News, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated Joe Biden on 8th November 2020 for electing as 46th President of the United States of America. She wished him to perform the American presidency excellently and desired to cooperate in the future. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh expressed hope for a new epoch of international peace and security, especially in prosperity and harmony in encountering the challenges of environmental degradation. In the congratulation letter, the PM mentioned the close and friendly relationship between the USA and Bangladesh since 1971 and highlighted her belief to reach newer passages with a continuous relationship in the coming days. The PM also invited the new President Joe Biden and First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to visit Bangladesh and evaluate how the country whirled to an Asian Tiger and a developing one.

The PM Sheikh Hasina expressed her dedication to work closely with President Joe Biden to confront terrorism, violent extremism, hatred, forced displacement of the Rohingya population and to build a morally better and secured world. The PM has excellent experience of working approximately with Joe Biden. The United Nations Peace Conference 2014 was co-chaired by then US Vice President Joe Biden, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and then Rwandan President Paul Kagame. At the conference, both of the leaders of Bangladesh and American pointed out new challenges to world peace. The miserable conditions of the innocent population of various world regions, including the African countries because of violence was considered a major and complex obstacle to global peace and security.

Political analysts and leaders affirmed that the Biden Administration will be proven as remarkably full of new probabilities for Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be more significant for economic and geopolitical reasons for Biden's America. Indian continuous support towards Donald Trump and it's extreme policy undertaking will ultimately bring benefits and fortunes to Bangladesh after the political shift in the USA, according to some experts.

Bangladesh is an extremely climate endangered country. Joe Biden promised the realization of the Paris Climate Agreement which is incredibly beneficial to Bangladesh. His environmental strategies will strengthen Bangladesh's representations in the global environmental policy implementation and recommendations.

Biden safeguarded the eradication of the anti-Muslim immigration policy in the US. This undertaking will increase the immigration facilities for Bangladeshi people. Security and peace can be maintained within the US living Bangladeshi people. Students will be able to get more facilities for higher studies in the US. International relations analysts expected an opportunity for Bangladesh to GSP facility under the liberal and South-friendly leadership of President Joe Biden. Bangladesh garment and other industries will obtain easy export assistance in case of trade in the US.

Rohingya crisis will reach a new international status in the coming days. As a great power, the American government can lead the crisis to its solution. It is hoped that new Democratic President Joe Biden who supports Bangladesh in the Rohingya issue will be remarkably important in getting to a solid solution to this problem. We can conclude that the consequences of the present election of the US are ultimately will renew the probabilities of Bangladesh in world politics and other international aspects.

By Usman Khan Khalil 

Research Section

Time and again the western countries spew their venom against the Hazart Muhammad (S.A.W) the most Magnificent, scared, pious and most honorable person of human history for all the times and ages to come. The western print and electronic media left no efforts in order to malign the last and final messenger of ALMIGHTY ALLAH in the past and even now too. France, Norway and Denmark are the forefront countries. The recent blasphemy actions in France is also a chain and sequence of it. In this regard the role of Government of France is highly condemnable which shows their bias and malicious intentions towards Islam. For getting their nefarious designs and ulterior motives they run such sinister campaign against the noblest person of mankind. Using the excuse of freedom of expression for such obnoxious things become the tools of western countries. They always played the religious sentiments of Muslim world by publishing blasphemes sketches, caricatures in order to instigate and provoke Muslims intentionally for agitation, attacking government building, properties in these countries to malign and distort the image of Muslims throughout the world and to show that look the Muslims are miscreants, extremists and terrorists.

It is the norm and tradition and the beauty of our beloved religion Islam that bestowed to us by ALMIGHTY ALLAH through his universal messenger that it never allows his followers to look down and disrepute the other religions. Islam is the last divine religion of ALMIGHTY ALLAH on earth. That’s why the Muslims honor and respect the prophets of other past religions and the denial of one of them is like the denial of all according to Islam but contrary to it, these countries always support brewing and hatching conspiracies against not only the most holiest and truest prophet Hazart Muhammad (S.A.W) and but Islam also. By protecting and patronizing these culprits and criminals they proved that they are themselves the real terrorists and by doing so, they want to disturb and perturb the peace and harmony of Muslim world in particular and create chaos and anarchy in the world at large in order to pave the ways and means of terrorism to get their vested interests. Freedom of right of expression does not mean to hit the and mock the religious emotions and sentiments of Muslims by the west. It is highly intolerable; however the Muslims world should adopt a unified stance to foil their evil designs by completely boycotting their commodities, joint ventures of economic and military pacts in Muslim countries and should call back their envoys and ambassadors from these countries to teach them lesson in befitting manner. The OIC is a best forum to discuss this sensitive issue at large scale among the Muslim countries to devise a joint strategy to cope and counter the curse and menace of blasphemy.

Muslims in Europe always faced discrimination on the basis of religion. Here are some international declarations on the freedom of right to expression, although the ground reality is altogether different from these declarations in Europe. The freedom of expression and opinion is a complex right that includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through any media. The exercise of this right ‘carries with it special duties and responsibilities’. Therefore, in general, certain restrictions or limitations on the freedom of expression are permitted under human rights law. Thus, Article 20(2) of the ICCPR requires states parties to prohibit ‘advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.’ CERD also requires states parties to prohibit certain hostile expressions. Article 19 ICCPR stipulates that these limitations ‘shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: a) for respect of the rights or reputations of others; b) for the protection of national security or public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals’.  (Article 13(4) ACHR) and for the restriction of any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar illegal action against any person or group of persons on any grounds including those of race, colour, religion, language, or national origin .The OSCE framework also addresses freedom of thought and religion. For instance, Principle VII of the OSCE Helsinki Final Act (1975) stipulates that the participating states ‘will recognize and respect the freedom of the individual to profess and practice, alone or in community with others, religion or belief, acting in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience’.

Another example is Article 16 of the Vienna Document (1989), which stipulates that states will take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination against individuals and communities on the grounds of religion or belief, and that they have to foster a climate of mutual tolerance and respect between believers of different communities, the international supervisory bodies have dealt with a number of communications regarding violations of the freedom of thought and religion. For instance, the Committee has found forbidding prisoners and even common wearing a beard, religious dress and worshipping at religious services and taking away their prayers and holy books is a violation of this human right. Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights held that refusing a Muslim medical student entry into classes and examinations in accordance with a school ban on head scarves upheld the principles of secularism and equality between men and women and was necessary in a democratic society is also direct interference into the religious matters of a Muslim. The OIC can play highly significant role by announcing a unified and join declarations from its forum to defend the rights of Muslims in all corners of the non-Muslims countries. 

By Aroosa Hafeez, TON Research Section

Drawing a picture of France intervention in Mali in 2013 is fallacious and just a myth. Mali was never a focus for France before colonialism but when Mali’s government declared its independence and also asserted its freedom from colonial power, France offered military cooperation accords with Mali but the new Mali government refused to sign the accord.   France has been intervening in Africa since 1830 when it invaded Algeria. By 1900, France conquered Northwest Africa defeating a number of militarily proficient kingdoms in the Sahel.

From 1960 France maintained its military position in Northwest Africa and started its military interventions in the region, which they claim was for the support of government and was also a sign of neo-colonialism. Algerian military did not permitted Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) from taking power after elections in 1991, which gave rise of civil war and the emergence of Al-Qaeda. France fully supported Algerian military.

In the late 1990s, Neo-colonialism began to fade away as threats to France interests were not as great with the end of the Cold War. After 9/11, France agreed to US Security cooperation programs with U.S. security assistance to its former colonies in the Sahel but U.S. was cautious not to intervene very closely as it was considered by Europeans as realm of France.  French people were willing to accept risk as they were convinced that national interests are at stake and were not concerned about fatalities.

As a result of war in Libya in 2011, the spread of conflict into Sahel, ongoing civil war in Central African Republics and takeover of most Mali by Azawad led France to launch Serval and Barkhane operations. The ongoing Mali war is an armed conflict between northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa, started in January 2012.  Several groups started a campaign against Malian government for independence of northern Mali, which they called Azawad. This organization (Azawad) took control of the region by April 2012. Malian Government took foreign military help to re-take the region.

On January 2013, France launched a military operation against these groups and with the help of international coalition this territory was re-taken on February 8th, 2013. A peace deal was signed on June 2013 but both the parties singled out of the peace agreement. Another formal peace accord was signed on February 19th, 2015. Officially the “Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali resulting from the Algiers Process” has failed to fulfill its promise of legitimate ceasefire. At first, French military intervened in Mali on 2013 as part of “Operation Serval” and after that “Operation Barkhane’ was launched in August 1, 2014. French authorities claim that this operation was to provide stability in the wider Sahel region by helping the regions various governments’ to combat terrorism and to prevent the region from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups as claimed by France.

France has about 4,500 soldiers in Africa's Sahel region conducting Operation Barkhane. According to United Nations Human Rights watch 589 civilians have been killed so far this year in central Mali, as a deteriorating security situation.  On February 7th, 2020, French soldiers killed more than 30 fighters in Mali in two days of operations.  French armed forces claimed that they were ISIL (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda linked groups. On April 6, 2020, an attack on a military camp in Mali left at least 23 dead, while several others injured. From 24 April - 27 August, a series of attacks took place in Mopti Region. In July 2020, unidentified gunmen opened fire on civilians on multiple villages of Mali and killed at least 31 civilians and 9 soldiers. Mali has long been plagued by instability, armed conflict, violence and widespread unrest.

On September 7th, 2020 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) renewed calls for the quick return of civilian rule. Members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) met with civilian and political leaders in order to establish a transitional civilian government by September 15. The National Committee for the Salvation of the People proposed a transitional government led by a president appointed by the military for two years. The CNSP agrees to an 18-month political transition period. Over 100 jihadists were released as part of negotiations to secure the release of French aid worker.

However the intervention of France military in Africa in 2013, the latest expression “Françafrique (French African policy)” is hence ambiguous. One might wonder that

Is France really only trying to control a terrorist threat, as they claim? As France and Mali have relations from post –colonial period but the economic interests of France were also at stake, which interested Europeans. It needs to be understood; above all that France continues to attach to Africa because of its interests in the region. What’s happening in Mali can also be viewed as “Islam vs. the West interests.”

Undoubtedly, Africa is of core importance for France in geostrategic terms. France has major economic and political interests in West and Central Africa as Mali is among Africa’s top gold producers as well as rock salt, which was a valuable commodity for African traders. Petroleum (Gabon, Congo, Gulf of Guinea), uranium (Niger), trade in cocoa and coffee (Côte d’Ivoire), as well as banking, transport and other services (water, communications, telephony) throughout the region are of main interest for France. This could not be denied that war in Mali is primarily about natural resources but the socio-political dimension of the repeated crises which has beat Northern Mali requires a solution.

By Sadia Kousar, TON Research Section

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former Afghan Prime Minister and a Hizb-e-Islami Mujahideen commander was on a three-day visit to Pakistan. The Afghan leader, who also met the top leadership of Pakistan said that he had held talks with Pakistani officials on the issue of peace in Afghanistan put forward many suggestions and said that Afghans had invested about $20 billion in other countries, including Turkey and the Gulf states, during the war and suggested the Pakistan government to facilitate Afghan investors and businessmen to enable them to bring their investment in Pakistan. The facilities essential in this regard, he said, included permission to open bank accounts, buy property on the basis of Afghan passports and issuance of long-term visas like those provided by certain European countries. In this regard, he said he was hopeful that his suggestion would be implemented.

The decades’ long war in Afghanistan has made the situation in the South Asia region fragile. Peace and stability in the region are linked to long-lasting peace in Afghanistan. In the same regard, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister said peace and stability in the region is linked to long-lasting peace in Afghanistan, adding that the Afghan leadership has an opportunity in the form of intra-Afghan talks to restore peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan attaches high importance to its ties with Afghanistan and has consistently supported an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was the most recent among Afghan legislators welcomed to visit Pakistan as a component of Islamabad's new strategy to connect with significant partners in the Afghan harmony measure - in its offer to improve respective relations.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar expressed his willingness to form an alliance with the Taliban in Afghanistan and said, “Hezb-e-Islami is ready for direct talks with the Taliban, as well as for partnership and cooperation. We believe that if these two groups join hands, the crisis in Afghanistan will end soon and no force will be able to stand against it,”  

Hekmatyar claimed the Afghan government was looking to delay the peace process until November’s US presidential election. On the role of other regional countries, he said India, due to its rivalry with Pakistan, was dissatisfied with the peace push and had started supporting local militias to act as spoilers. Nineteen years since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban, Afghanistan's war still kills dozens of people daily and the country's economy has been devastated, pushing millions into poverty.

The current talks during Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s visit was attended by dozens of Afghan political leaders to pave the way for further Afghan-to-Afghan dialogue. The conference is to be followed by meetings and working sessions over the next two days, all of which come in the run-up to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan. Ghani, his political opponents, and a broad swath of Afghan civil society have been holding meetings in recent days with the United States’ special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who continues to press for talks between the Afghan government, the opposition, and the Taliban.

In many ways, Pakistan was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the two-phase structure of the peace process - the Taliban refused to negotiate with Kabul until a US-Taliban deal was signed - because of Pakistan’s relationships with both the US and the Taliban. It seems to have done so masterfully, producing Mullah Baradar, the deputy leader of the Taliban who had been in Pakistani custody, and engaging in behind-the-scenes maneuvering that the U.S. has repeatedly acknowledged (and appreciated). Pakistan helped bring the Taliban to the table, ultimately resulting in a deal.

By Sadia Kousar, TON Research Section

It was on this day in 1947 when Indian troops invaded Jammu and Kashmir and subjugated it in blatant violation of partition plan of the subcontinent and against the will and aspirations of Kashmiris. This year's day is of special significance as it is being observed in the backdrop of illegal and unilateral step of India to annex Kashmir on 5th of August.

The day highlights the 73 years of struggle of Kashmiris in their quest to right to self-determination. 27th October is remembered as a day in history when Kashmir was vended and India forcibly took over the land. Kashmir is a long standing dispute between Pakistan and India, which originated when the people of Jammu and Kashmir State were denied the right of self-determination in 1947. When India and Pakistan became independent on August 1947, it was generally assumed that Kashmir, as an adjoining state with a predominantly Muslim population, would accede to Pakistan. Its ruler, the Maharaja, however, on 27 October 1947 acceded to India through an improper and illegal Instrument of Accession and on the same day, India winched its forces to Srinagar and occupied the valley. It is for this reason that Kashmiris and supporters of Kashmir celebrate every year 27th of October as Black Day. It is the darkest day in history of Kashmir as Kashmiris were sold to India regardless of Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan.

History reveals that conferring to the Partition Plan, the then princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography, but New Delhi illegally occupied three States of Hyderabad, Junagarh and Jammu and Kashmir. Hyderabad and Junagarh were Hindu-majority States but their rulers were Muslims. Being a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. But, tactlessly, the then Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, destroyed the future of Kashmiri people by announcing its accession to India under a controversial document, Instrument of Accession. Even the neutral spectators contradict the existence of such a document. In a bid to punish the Kashmiris for their desire to join Pakistan and with the intent to change the demographic structure and turn the results in favour of India in any plebiscite in future, Indian troops, the Dogra forces and  Hindu fanatics massacred over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of two months in Jammu division. It is a historical fact that if the partition had been done on the principles of justice then India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir. But the so-called Boundary Commission headed by Redcliff which demarcated partition line, secretly gave Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority area to India thus providing it land access to the desired area.

The people of Kashmir rejected illegal Indian occupation since day one and they resisted against Indian forces. India, however, took the matter to UN Security Council on 1 January 1948, to stop Kashmiris to take over Jammu and Kashmir State by ingenious armed struggle. Consecutive resolutions passed by the Security Council invalidated Indian invasion in Occupied Kashmir. Through the resolutions passed on 13 August 1948, and 5 January 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the State and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body. However demilitarisation of IOK and plebiscite still remain unfulfilled. Today the geopolitical positioning of Kashmir has made it a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. In 1954, Josef Korbel, father of Madeleine Albright (former US Secretary of State) in his book “Danger in Kashmir” said, “For today, as in past seven years, the two great nations of subcontinent, India and Pakistan, continue to dissipate their wealth, their strength and their energy on a near fratricidal struggle in which the hitherto almost unknown State of Kashmir has become the physical battleground”.

Today after many decades and India’s exhaustion on Kashmir in every aspect, it is unable to break the will of Kashmiris to adjoin Pakistan. Since the death of Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri leader a new wave of uprising in Kashmir has emerged. Till today India is trying to suppress Kashmir freedom movement by all means. Unfortunately despite driving attention of world community and reminding India time and again of its barbarism in Kashmir, India only vowed to take tougher action against Kashmir’s protestors. The ruthless killings have led to spontaneous protests across the state against the continued brutalities of the Indian armed forces which has impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Instead of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and opening communication channels India often locks down the Kashmir valley through curfews. Even they are not allowed to offer Eid prayers, schools, shops, markets are forcibly shut down by Indian forces on any of the incident and Indian authorities often cripple all communications; jamming mobile and internet services, and seize offices of local newspapers and detain staff members. Many hospitals and ambulances have reportedly been damaged by security personnel and it still continues today whenever Indian army gets a chance to suppress protestors. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kashmir currently is not a one off. It has been an integral part of how India continues to rule over Kashmir. Such events have repeatedly occurred throughout the past three decades, with India continuing to look away from the writing on the wall. The current protests, and those in the three bloody summers of 2008-10, only reflect the resilience of the Kashmiri people and their demand for right to self-determination, which not only is guaranteed by UNSC resolutions, but was also promised by the Indian Parliament in 1948.

The massive suppression by India is clearly designed to silence the people of Jammu and Kashmir through sheer brutality bordering on genocide and ethnic cleansing. Presently every Kashmiri particularly the youth is adamant for their Kashmir to be part of Pakistan despite huge losses. Pakistan has always and will continue to support Kashmir freedom movement and every year 27th of October is marked as Black Day to give entire world a loud and clear message that Kashmiris will continue struggle for their right of self-determination despite Indian draconian laws and ruthlessness. Words of Abraham Lincoln, certainly is a reminder for India that: Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it. 

By Aroosa Hafeez, TON Research Section

It was 27 October 1947, when India forcibly invaded large portion of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian military’s invasion of Jammu and Kashmir was in a flagrant violation of the aspirations of people of Kashmir. This day bears special importance as it is being observed when India took a further unilateral step on 5th August, 2019 by abrogatingArticle 370 and 35A and permanently incorporating disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir in Indian Union.

Partition of subcontinent is hopscotch of blunders. On this day, the 27th of October1947, people of Kashmir were denied their right of self-determination. After the independence of Pakistan and India it was assumed that Jammu and Kashmir, as an adjoining state with majority Muslim population will accede to Pakistan but inverse happened. The Maharaja Hari Singh, Hindu ruler of Kashmir acceded to India through inappropriate and illegal instrument of accession, which was stage-managed by India. India deployed its armed forces in Srinagar and occupied the valley whereas “Indo-Pak Partition” allowed Kashmir to decide their own fate but to date; the right of self-determination has not been extended to them.

Since day one people of Kashmir resisted against Indian forces and rejected their illegitimate occupation. On 1st January, 1948, India took Kashmir issue to United Nations Security Council, consecutive resolutions passed and UNSC invalidated Indian invasion in Kashmir. UN approved a ceasefire, demilitarization of the State and unbiased plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body. In the years ahead, India thwarted all the UNSC’s efforts to hold the plebiscite on one pretext or the other, as India knew that if an impartial plebiscite was held, Muslim majority population of Jammu and Kashmir will vote for accession to Pakistan.

India is playing old game with new tactics. The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill but India is taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic. India is constantly massacring Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) and is beating around the bush. Extra Judicial killing, rape, mass arrest, firing of tear gas shells, disappearances, pellet gun shootings, all other methods of torturing people of Kashmir have become obsolete. There was a shift in demography of the region when India forcibly annexed Kashmir as thousands of Hindus gets residency, jobs and land. Now Indian troops kill Kashmiris saying they have COVID and use corona as a weapon to change region’s Muslim majority status to settle Hindus in the region.

India has been indulged in killing the people of IOJK with indemnity ever since their launch of freedom fight. From the start of corona virus pandemic Indian forces are martyring Kasmiris and are refusing to hand over dead bodies to their relatives. Indian Security forces are burying these martyrs secretly in army-managed graveyards saying they are infected by corona virus because they have a fear that if they will hand over dead bodies, mass protests will be started in the region. India is committing grave breach of human rights and international laws but the world is numb. Continued communications restrictions and no access to medical and other necessary supplies are making the Covid-19 situation worse for the Kashmiris in IOJK. Indian authorities turned Kashmir into “Ghost Town”.

Regardless of the massive suppression of the Indian forces to silence and subdue Kashmiris, the Kashmiris have been fighting for self-determination for hundreds of years. The real face of Kashmir Freedom fight is Burhan Wani, who gathered militants to promote freedom struggle against illegal Indian rule in IOJK. Another name Maqbool Bhat, the founder of Kashmir Liberation front, promoted armed struggle for Kashmir freedom. He was hanged to death by Indian state. Up till now, India is suppressing Kashmir freedom fight through every possible way. The Human Rights violations and genocide in the Kashmir valley with full impunity under the protection of “draconian laws” like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) by Indian security forces grows every passing day.

Unfortunately despite driving attention of world community to Kashmir issue, everyone kept a mystifying silence. The gross massacre of Kashmiris continues from ages. United Nations Organization, Eurpeon Union, Human Right organizations even Islamic countries and their organizations have just become spectators and are showing stiffness to the issue. UN seems to be helpless in having myriad of its resolutions implemented. 

Since the day of partition, India and Pakistan fought wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971, two of them were on Kashmir but the issue has only grown more chaotic. The split state of Kashmir has been morphed into a Gordian knot, with its ends tied with both India and Pakistan. This Gordian knot cannot be untied unless and until both nations pull on each end. Today Kashmir has a long dreary past that is filled with missed opportunities. In the present day the geopolitical position of Kashmir has made it a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. Only time has the answer that will Kashmiris ever get their right to self-determination? 

No matter what, years of struggle and sloganeering have made this sure that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Every year 27th of October is observed as Black Day to give loud and clear message to the whole world that Kashmiris will continue to fight for their right despite Indian’s brutality and Draconian Laws. This day highlights the 72 years of struggle of Kashmiris and their hunt for freedom.

Featuring usual suspects of Kashmir cause, public holidays, occasional talk shows, highlighting the ‘plight of Kashmiri brothers’ kept it alive but these acts work no more… now it is the need of the hour that Pakistan legally fights for its jugular vein Kashmir with logic based on facts from history and expose India’s illegal occupation. 

By Aroussa Hafeez, Research Section

A group, largely comprising women started peaceful protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) under the Jaffrabad Metro Station on 22nd February. There was no suspicion that it would follow a deadliest violence.

The CAB amends the 64-year-old Indian Citizenship law, which prohibits the illegal immigrants from becoming Indian citizens. Illegal immigrants shall be those foreigners who entered India with no valid travel documents and passport and can be jailed or deported. The new bill amends a provision that a person can apply for Indian citizenship if he/she lived in India or worked for federal government for minimum 11 years. There will be exception for six religious communities: Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian - if they can prove that they are from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. They will only have to live or work in India for six years to be eligible for citizenship. The Bill also says that people holding Overseas Citizen of India  (OCI) cards, an immigration status that permits a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India for ever. They can lose their status if they violate local laws for offences and violations.

All over the country Indians of all faith, ethnic, religious and racial identification have protested against the law, which commits to secular and equality. What is playing out in India is not a simple religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims but a political struggle between two visions who see it as an open, secular nation and those who wish to create Hindu state. The passage of the law last December triggered nationwide protests mostly led by Muslims who say the law discriminates against them.

On 23rd February a rally was organized by BJP leader Kapil Mishra in which he demanded that anti-CAA protesters to be removed within three days and warned that if they weren’t, his people would not even listen to police. Soon after that stone pelting started in the area and heavy police was deployed to the area. Violence erupted right on the next day, 24th February. Two communities were blaming each other for the wave of violence.

The Ministry of Home Affairs refused to bring in the Army to control the riots and stated that the number of central forces and policemen on the ground was adequate. More than 6,000 police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in the area. However New Delhi government did not do much for protestors and was strongly criticized.

From the start till the end the police forces deployed were merely bystanders while the riots were going on. The ability to maintain the law and order and bring the peace back was questioned by many sources. Many said it is the failure of Delhi police which is most well-resourced in India. The rioters operated with impunity in the end. The victims were left to their fate.

Protestors demanded to pass a resolution against the contentious citizenship law and National Register of Citizen(NRC) in Parliament, and revoke the amendments to the Act. But on the other hand the police charge sheet claimed that the anti-CAA protests were planned and the organizers engineered the riots to bring a “bad name to the government”.

In result of the deadliest riots in New Delhi 53 died, including a policeman and an intelligence officer. More than 300 civilians were injured. BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) supporters vandalized and torched mosques and houses. Later on a tire market with mainly Muslim business was set afire.  Mosques were destroyed and countless vehicles, tire markets, petrol pumps were set on fire during the three day riots. Many journalists who were reporting about the riots were beaten, police snatched their mobile phones and cameras even some of them were questioned by the mobs about their religious identity. Hindustan Times reported that a group tried to set a building on fire where Muslims were living.

Two of the Special Investigation Teams (SIT) was formed to probe the violence, and so far, 630 people have been arrested and 123 FIRs lodged. More than 80 charge sheets have been filed naming those allegedly responsible for inciting violence and riots in country. Among those charged are one of India’s most prominent human rights activists, two members of a feminist student collective, a councillor from the progressive political party, three student activists from the Muslim-majority university Jamia Milia Islamia, and a Sikh man. A number of have been detained under terrorism laws and denied bail. Delhi police have been accused of filing false and politically motivated charges against pro-democracy activists to blame them for the riots but did not arrested any ruling party figures and police officers for their role in the violence.

The Delhi High Court, while hearing petitions about the riots in February, interrogated the Delhi police decision to not file cases against BJP leaders advocating violence, saying it will send wrong message and will spread impunity. Instead of responding to court orders, the government fast-tracked orders transferring the presiding judge to another state and took the riot-related cases away from him.

Hindus make up some 80% of the population in India, and Muslims, the country’s largest minority make up 14 to 16% of population which will decrease to 9% after the implementation of the law. Undoubtedly the amendments in Citizenship law were deliberately done by Indian government just to reduce Muslims in the country. The violence in Delhi was not a ‘riot’, it was a targeted anti-Muslim brutality by Indian government who wish to create India a “Hindu” state.

The attempt to exclude Muslims reveals the ideology of the BJP, which centers on national uprisingof “Hindu first” agenda. In past Muslims of India were struggling for respect and acceptance but now there struggle took a turn after the Citizenship amendment law, reduced to mere survival as a Muslim. Muslims of India are stuck between compromising cultural identity for survival and their citizenship rights.

By Aroussa Hafeez, Research Section

On 13th September, 2020, under India’s principal counterterrorism law Delhi police arrested Umar Khalid, an activist as one of the “main conspirators,” for his suspected role in Communal violence in February in which 53 people were killed and hundreds were injured. The National Investigation Agency arrested three members of Dalits cultural group on September 7th, for giving speeches in January 2018, allegedly stirring up caste-based violence in Bhima Koregaon, Maharashtra state. Police in Delhi also named other suspects which belong to academics, opposition leaders and activists. Supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were involved in violence in both the cases.

So far, a great number of Human Right activists, defenders, and academics are in jail on politically motivated charges. The Delhi police said that they have also identified others whose names came up during the investigation, including: Sitaram Yechury, a well-known opposition politician; Jayati Ghosh, an economist; Yogendra Yadav, an activist and academic; Apoorvanand, a Delhi University professor; and Rahul Roy, a documentary filmmaker who set off a storm on social media by asking "some bright young people" to make a list of all those defending #Urban Naxals. The term “Urban Naxals” has since been used to describe people critical of PM Modi and his government. The arrests have been largely condemned in India as well as other countries. More than 1,000 activists, journalists, academics, and others condemned the Delhi police’s alleged practice of coercing “confessional” statements to falsely associate people with the February violence.

Since June 2018, in a coordinated crackdown across six states in India, Police raided the homes of several activists and arrested five prominent Indian political activists over their alleged Maoist links that sparked a national conversation in 2018. Some have called it an attack on freedom of speech, while others have justified the arrests in the name of national security. According to the investigations all of them are leftists and are sympathizers of Maoists. They have been speaking against successive Indian governments, which include current Indian government of Narendra Modi and his BJP. The Maoists ally themselves with communist rule and greater rules for tribal people and poor people from rural areas. The inquiry further led to the arrest of five more activists in June 2018. 

The United Nations which not only monitors human rights but also ensure freedom of opinion and expressions was much concerned about the serious violations by the Indian government with regard to strict monitoring of International Non-Governmental Organizations and other aid bodies.  In the recent statement on 20 September, 2020 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed her disappointment at restrictions and arrest of human rights NGOs, including the application of vaguely worded laws that limit NGOs' activities and restrict foreign funding. Bachelet appealed to the Government of India to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs.

Most recently, Amnesty International was forced to close its offices in India after its bank accounts were frozen over alleged violation of the FCRA. Amnesty International India said it came to know that all its bank accounts were completely frozen by the Enforcement Directorate on September 10. Bachelet cited as worrying the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which a number of UN human rights bodies have also expressed concern is vaguely worded and overbroad in its objective. The Act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds "for any activities prejudicial to the public interest."

This act was adopted in 2010 and is amended last month in Lok Sabha on September 20, 2020. This act regulates the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution by individuals, associations and companies.  Foreign contribution is the donation or transfer of any currency by a foreign source. Certain people are prohibited to accept foreign contribution under this Act. These include Public servant (as defined under the Indian Penal Code), who are currently in service or are paid by the government for any public duty. New amendments in the Bill will likely create even more administrative and practical hurdles for such advocacy-based NGOs.

Bachelet said, "The FCRA has been invoked over the years to justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including of civil society organizations that have engaged with UN human rights bodies."

She also said "I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined 'public interest' leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature. Constructive criticism is the lifeblood of democracy. Even if the authorities find it uncomfortable, it should never be criminalized or outlawed in this way."

Human right activists and defenders are under intense pressure due to their engagement in recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that took place in country earlier this year. Reportedly more than 1500 people were arrested in the protests, with many charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Recently Catholic Priest Stan Swamy, an activist engaged in defending the rights of marginalized groups was charged and is in detention despite of his poor health.

Despite these statements of UN, the Indian government seems hardly pushed to review its accountability and monitoring standards, which has limited the move of foreign aid workers. It seems that the Fundraising model is portrayed as money-laundering by Indian government. The UN High Commissioner, although has demanded from Indian authorities to review the FCRA for its compliance with international human rights standards and to release people arrested but we need to appreciate that certain INGOs were involved in malpractices and other violations. Monitoring and accountability is not bad. Where there is requirement for India to revisit FCRA, there is also need for the International Organizations and the UN to allow New Delhi to enforce accountability and transparency process.

By Aroosa Hafeez

On 6 August 2020, eleven members of Hindu immigrant family died in mysterious circumstances in district Jodhpur, India. Pakistan through Pakistan’s High Commission in India handed over a note verbale to Indian authorities demanding India to share the details of investigation into the incident that took place in September and also the copy of First Information Report (FIR) by the Jodhpur police, which is still pending. In a recent statement Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in a statement said, that the government was seriously considering taking up the issue of mysterious murder of eleven Pakistani Hindu nationals in Jodhpur with international human rights organizations. He said writ petition in this regard had also been filed in the Islamabad High Court. Pakistan demanded India to share the details of investigation into the incident that took place in September and also the copy of First Information Report (FIR) by the Jodhpur police which is still pending.

He said the eleven members of Hindu community belonged to Bheel tribe and were residents of Sanghar district.  In 2012, they went to India for to perform religious rituals but they were lured for incentives and persuaded to apply for settlement. The deceased included his parents, three sisters, brother, daughter, two sons, and 75 year old Budha Ram (head of family).  Shrimati Mukhi, wife of Bhontrio Bheel registered an FIR 219/2020. According to the complaint 11 of her family members were murdered on August 6th, 2020 at Jodhpur town. Mukhi held responsible Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for killing her father BudhaRam(80), Raivya(35), Shamoon (25), Antari (75), Shrimati Lakshmi (39), Shrimati Devi (28), and their children Mukadas (16),  Zain (12), Dayaal (12), Danish (10), and Diya (5) through  RSS goons after the agency failed to persuade them to spy on Pakistan.

Mukhi said that her family went to India in 2012 to perform religious rituals. They started living in Rajasthan where they were trapped by the RAW and given various favors to make anti-Pakistan statements and when her father decided to furtively go back to Pakistan along with his family to expose RAW, whole family was murdered. Mukhi claimed that she had a credible source who told her that RAW wanted to use her father as a spy against Pakistan but they failed to persuade him. Shrimati Mukhi also did a press conference in which she said that after coming to Rajashtan her family was trapped by Indian intelligence agency.  

A preliminary investigator Rahul Bharat, superintendent police (rural) said, "We are yet to ascertain the cause and means of death. They appeared to have committed suicide by consuming some chemical in the night. However,  Police said, “There was neither any injury mark on the bodies nor any evidences of any foul play but we have roped in a forensic team and a dog squad before arriving at any conclusion." A family member was found alive outside the hut in Lodta village of Dechu area but he claimed to have no idea about the incident. Kewal Ram (37) is the only surviving member of the victim family who is in the custody of Indian police because of murder charges upon him. Initial investigations revealed that Kewal Ram and his brother are married to the girls from same family and is accusing his in-laws of the deaths of his family members. According to a police officer in Jodhpur, the victims were living under threat from the family of their daughter-in-law who is the wife of Kewal Ram. Police officer added that from past six months she was living with her family in Jodhpur due to some family dispute, which can be a possible trigger for their suicide. 

According to the investigations Police also founded evidence of abuse. The local DSP was giving threats to the family that he will send them back to Pakistan. There are also allegations on a female constable that she abused the family. Jodhpur, Inspector General of police says that case is sensitive and the family committed suicide. A family member Lakshmi made a video and wrote everything in her diary before her death, which is used as evidence in the investigation.

Pakistan Hindu Council chief Ramesh Kumar called on foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday to discuss the murder of 11 members of Pakistan immigrant family. Foreign Minister said that Pakistan had taken up the issue forcefully with the Indian side through diplomatic channels and assured MNA Dr. Kumar Pakistan will continue pushing India to provide the requisite information without any delay. Pakistan minority Hindus also rallied outside Indian High Commission in Islamabad on September 24th to protest the death of family.

Islamabad High Court also issued notice to the federal government and Foreign office on the murder of 11 members of immigrant family. Mukhi appealed Pakistani government and International Court of Justice (ICJ) to make sure a forensic investigation is conducted into death of her family members. She also said that her family members were killed because Indian government failed to achieve its evil and immoral goals.

Indian institutions have fallen in a spiral of silence. The suspect of case, RAW has always been involved in such activities. Existence of RAW is no less than a threat for peace of region and if RAW is involved in the matter, proper investigations should be done. The matter should not be overlooked as no justice in such cases creates more violence and hatred in society.

Freedom of expression is merely a myth in India. Indian government as well as their media doesn’t appreciate different views. Mostly Indians don’t even see that they share common religion, they torture every person who goes against government, and Citizens who are not pro-government are deemed as anti-national and are accused of being pro- Pakistani. Within Modi’s India, decisions at the top reflect and amplify rhetoric at the individual level, which no one can oppose. Modi has positioned India against Pakistan through his fascist policies.

India has always proved it wrong in being a secular country and has a conflict-ridden societal structure which only allows few to be part of significant society who supports their policies. India has no boundaries andlimits for gender, religion, race they don't even see that they share common religion, the only thing that matters for Indian government is to be anti-Pakistani. Question arises that how many more people will be killed in India because of hatred towards Pakistan. The way forward is to understand the situation and give basic human rights to every citizen and not to be killed because of hatred between both countries. This matter will not be solved unless Indian authorities will kept aside abhorrence towards Pakistan and will ensure a forensic investigation without any delay. If gruesome killing of Pakistani immigrant family was a murder, it should not be painted as suicide.

 

On 29 August 1996, the Government of Pakistan published notification in theGazette of Pakistanwhich included a listing of geographic coordinates defining the straight baselines for Pakistan. From these straight baselines Pakistan will measure the breadth of its territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf. These baselines are claimed by authorization given in the 1976 Pakistan law on Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act.

Pakistan claim is based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention)whichreflects customary international law for the principles that underlie the proper and legal establishment of baselines. The purpose of authorizing the use of straight baselines is to allow the coastal State, at its discretion, to enclose those waters which have, as a result of their close interrelationship with the land, the character of internal waters. According to the LOS Convention, "the sea areas lying within the lines must be sufficiently closely linked to the land domain to be subject to the regime of internal waters".

It is interesting to note that proper straight baselines usually have a number of segments each composed of several legsin which the length of individual legs is short and the baseline is rarely more than 24 nautical miles from an exposed coast. Pakistan's coastline does not meet either of the two LOS Convention geographic conditions required for applying straight baselines. And, for the most part, the waters enclosed by the new straight baseline system do not have the close relationship with the land, but rather reflect the characteristics of the territorial sea or high seas. In these areas it would be appropriate to use the normal baseline, the low-water mark. Neither theLOS Convention nor the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone place a specific distance limit on the length of a straight baseline. However, several analysis have suggested limits ranging from24 to 48 miles. The position of the United States is that as a general rule baseline segments should not exceed 24 miles. It is difficult to envision a situation where international waters (beyond 12 miles from the appropriate low-water line) could be somehow 'sufficiently closely linked' as to be subject to conversion to internal waters.

This implication guarantees the right of innocent passage in areas converted to internal waters by straight baselines. Innocent passage is a regime applicable to the territorial sea (with a maximum breadth of 12 miles). Preservation of innocent passage carries over pre-existing rights in waters that were territorial in nature before the application of straight baselines. Given this theme of linkage to territorial waters, it follows that, as a rule, no straight baseline segment should exceed 24 miles.

Iran terminates on the coast to Sonmiani Bay, just north of Karachi, Pakistan's coast extends in a general west to east direction for about 250 miles. From this bay to the Pakistan-India land boundary terminus, the general direction of the coast is northwest -southeast, for a distance of approximately 140 miles. While there are several locations along the coast where river or bay closing lines may be drawn -- along the many creeks of the Indus River system. The coastline itself generally is relatively smooth and void of deep indentions. There are no areas off the Pakistani coast that could be characterized as "fringed with islands".

Pakistan's baseline claim creates nine baseline segments that extend along the coast for 396 miles. The segments range in length from 10 miles to 85 miles. There are only two segments less than 24 miles in length, with the average being 44 miles. The lengths of the seven baseline segments that exceed 30 miles are indicative of the overall judgement that this baseline does not meet the criteria set forth in the LOS Convention.

The Gazette of Pakistan defining the straight baselines for Pakistan. From the straight baselines Pakistan will measure the breadth of its territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf. In August 1996 publication represents the first claim made by Pakistan for straight baselines. In addition, on September 9, 1996, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry published a statement in Islamabad on the same subject but Pakistan's coastline does not meet either of the two LOS Convention geographic conditions required for applying straight baselines.As straight baseline are a system of straight lines joining specified or discrete points on the low water line.This implication guarantees the right of innocent passage in areas converted to internal waters by straight baselines. Innocent passage is a concept in the law of the sea that allows for the vessel to pass through the territorial water of another state. Thus, for thevast majority of the Pakistani coastline, the low-water line would be the appropriate baseline. There are many areas where bay and river closing lines could be employed. Only in a couple of local areas could straight baselines be justified.

The waters within the aforesaid straight baselines shall form the internal waters of Pakistan. This was part of the process of delimiting the maritime boundaries with countries with adjacent (India and Iran) and opposite (Oman) coasts. It was essential for Pakistan to first establish the baseline as all the zones of sovereignty and national jurisdictions shall be measured from the baseline to be established by Pakistanof the territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act 1976.

India fell into the category of countries whose claims had been challenged “multiple times” for the “excessive claim” of requiring countries to seek prior consent for military exercises and maneuver’s in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The US began formally protesting India’s position in 1976 and fitfully thereafter, but the “operational challenges” have been a feature since 2008. What the Indian Navy did in response to this is unclear. In ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), New Delhi had declared that in its understanding the treaty did not authorize other states to carry out military exercises on its EEZ without India’s permission.

Since, The government of India has said little or nothing about this, is that it challenges India’s stance that the US Navy cannot conduct exercises within the Indian EEZ without India’s permission, since the whole idea is to cock a snook at New Delhi’s “excessive claims”.

This is somewhat puzzling since India and the US are also the best of the friends, and conduct a lot of military exercises together, such as the well-known Malabar exercise. In recent months, we have also come to know that the two sides were readying to conduct joint patrols, although the Indian defense minister subsequently clarified that it would not happen ‘for now’. The obvious question would be whether we could be a party to military exercises without the permission in an EEZ of a coastal State elsewhere, when we object to other states doing so in our EEZ.

 The relation between Pakistan and Iran, dates back to the early stages of Pakistan independence in 1947. These two neighbours in the South Asia exploited their natural resources and located in Indian Ocean Region to foster unity in the region and sub-region, essentially for the attainment of their natural interests. However, convergence and divergence of interests affected the cordial relation between Pakistan and Iran. These concerns were broadly categorized as economic, political defence imperatives. The changing international environment where a nation’s geographical boundary was no longer a restriction to international trade has necessitated the need for Pakistan and Iran to improve their relations in order for the benefit for the international system. Pakistan straight baseline will help to develop good relation with coastline state.

As Indian’s relationship with Iran has been uneven owing to external factors that’s a positive point for Pakistan.

The purpose of authorizing the use of straight baselines is to allow the coastal State, at its discretion, to enclose those waters which, as a result of their close interrelationship with the land, have the character of internal waters. By using straight baselines, a State may also eliminate complex patterns, including enclaves, in its territorial sea, that would otherwise result from the use of normal baselines.I6 Properly drawn straight baselines do not result in extending the limits of the territorial sea significantly seaward from those that would result from the use of normal baselines With the advent of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the original reason for straight baselines (protection of coastal fishing interests) has all but disappeared. Their use in a manner that prejudices international navigation, overflight, and communications interests runs counter to the thrust of the Convention's strong protection of these interests. In light of the modernization of the law of the sea in the Convention, it is reasonable to conclude that, as the Convention states, straight baselines are not normal baselines, should be used sparingly, and, where used, should be drawn conservatively to reflect the one rationale for their use that is consistent with the Convention, namely the simplification and rationalization of the measurement of the territorial sea and other maritime zones off highly irregular coasts. 

The case for extension in maritime boundaries was presented in UN on 10 March 2015, UN Maritime Commission accepted the claim of Pakistan regarding rise in its territorial waters. With approval of UN, Pakistan’s sea boundaries have gone beyond 200 nautical miles, reaching to 350 nautical miles while making Pakistan the first country in the region whose sea limits has increased.

One more Kashmiri falls to bullet. 35 year old lawyer, Babar Qadri, a prime time TV panelist and debater was brutally murdered in his home on Thursday, exactly three days after he tweeted about threat to his life. Two unknown gunman came to his residence at Hawal and killed him on spot. Babar Qadri was basically from Tangmarg in district Baramulla.

Babar Qadri was a prominent lawyer who studied law at Kashmir University and was practicing law at High court of Kashmir for more than a decade. He started practicing law in 2008 and was very well known to take up cases for juvenile justice. He along with some young lawyer founded a forum known as Lawyers Club Kashmir (LCK) in 2012 to provide legal support to pro resistance State Citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and to those who were against the policies of Indian government. According to him this was the very first organization which has its root in all the divisions of Jammu and Kashmir and was a ray of hope for those people especially youth, who were disappointed with the status quo. 

Babar Qadri actively took part in student politics and during his time in University of Kashmir, he led anti-establishment protest within the campus. He started his political career as a student leader and laid the foundation of Kashmir University student union and also represented a political party “All Jammu and Kashmir People’s Justice Party (AJKPJP)” as its first president.  

Babar Qadri was a fistic voice arguing for his native Kashmiri’s and was vocal critic of Modi’s government policies in Jammu and Kashmir. He even criticized Mehbooba Mufti leader of PDP for joining hands with BJP to form her own government in Jammu and Kashmir. On every forum he stressed the need to resolve the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir through UN resolutions and laws as well as by the aspiration of Kashmiris. Babar Qadri strongly condemned Indian atrocities and human right violations in the region. He openly supported Burhan Wani, who was dubbed  as a militant by India authorities and was killed by Indian army.  He said that death of Burhan Wani made a drastic shift in the mindset and operational thinking of youth.

After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, Babar Qadri said that the response of international community is disappointing and heart wrenching as the world has given priority to its economic interest over humanitarian crisis. Since last year, when the Indian government revoked region’s semi autonomy, Babar Qadri strongly criticized human rights violation by India in Kashmir and India’s fascist regime. He tweeted that “Kashmir is a trilateral dispute and it needs amicable resolution through trilateral dialogue.”

Babar Qadri was a prominent figure because of debates on Kashmir. He almost regularly appeared on TV and on Indian news channels and was writing columns on regular basis in Newspapers of Jammu and Kashmir. Recently he has been a part of Indian Prime time debate show hosted by Arnab Goswami in which he chanted slogan, “Hindustan Murdabad”. In TV debates he was accused of being a “Pakistani agent”.  In an interview with New York Times he said that “both India and Pakistan are playing with the dead bodies of Kashmiri’s”. He sharply criticized Indian army for human rights violation and never hesitated speaking truth.

He was pleading cases of Hurriyat leaders and activists in different courts and was known for his ability to win the freedom of children in particular. Recently Babar Qadri was suspended from the Bar Association. He wanted to revoke his suspension after the release of Bar Association president from his detention but the Bar Association refused to revoke suspension.

Murder of Babar Qadri is tragic that has shaken not only Jammu and Kashmir but whole region. Political activists and lawyers in Srinagar claims that he was receiving life threats from Indian intelligence agencies and he also warned of these threats to his life from the last few days. Alas, Kashmir has lost one more roaring voice for peace.

No doubt, the grotesque genocide of Kashmiris continues since ages but cannot stir any change in the numbness of European Union, United Nations Organization and Human Rights Organization. World has kept a mysterious silence over brutalities in the region and has merely become spectators. Mere statements on Kashmir are not enough, now is the time to take practical action should be taken to provide right of self determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. International community should immediately take actions for this inhuman and barbaric act. Killings in Kashmir can never be concluded until and unless they are given the right of self-determination. Kashmir Conflict is only considered by the world as dispute between Pakistan and India but the real picture is not being presented.

 

Today, India intends bring demographic change by settling Indian nationality holder Hindu in Jammu and Kashmir as well as other States and wipe off the Muslim communities with a horrifying efficiency, on the lines they had been practicing in the past. To this day, no serious reckoning has taken place and the world stays silent on the killing of defenseless people of Kashmir on such a large scale.

People of Kashmir are yearning for freedom. While the leaders of Muslim Ummah are numb, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan steps in for the second year at United Nations General Assembly and raised the voice for the people of Kashmir and showed his clear stance on Jammu and Kashmir.

As earlier Erdogan was criticized globally for changing Hagia Sophia previously a museum into mosque. Many countries urged him to reverse his decision. He rejected all the criticism and changed the status of landmark Hagia Sophia into mosque. He took a firm stand and said that it is our sovereign right to use country’s will. However Muslim leaders welcomed his decision. President Erdogan got immense love and respect from Muslim people and leaders around the globe.  

Erdogan never overlooked the situation of Muslim nations. He always took stand for Muslim nations. When all the flag bearers of Islam remained silent Tayab Erdogan was the only one who fully supported Kashmir. Once again Racep Tayyip Erdogan at United Nations General Assembly backed Kashmir and showed his strong support for Pakistan which also reflected the depth of relations between both the countries. Turkey and Pakistan have historically good relations. Both countries expanded their support for each other during the most difficult times. Turkey had continued supporting Pakistan over the years and now Turkey is openly supporting Pakistan on Kashmir conflict.

Erdogan in his address through video link at UNGA said that “The issue must be resolved through dialogue between both Pakistan and India. The Kashmir conflict is the key for lasting stability and peace in South Asia, is still a burning issue". Turkish President Erdogan emphasized on resolving the dispute through UN resolutions and laws.  He also said many times that Kashmir dispute should be resolved with the aspirations of Kashmiri people.

Its more than a year now that India keeps Kashmir under lockdown. Indian forces escalate violence and brutality against civilians. According to some Human right organizations thousands of Kashmiri people have been killed since 1989. It is our moral responsibility to protect Kashmiri people and advocate their right to freedom and sovereignty. India started demographic flooding in Muslim majority region by abrogating article 370 and 35a and announced new set of laws for Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir but Muslim nations and international community is failing in paying attention to Kashmir conflict. Erdogan statement on Kashmir at UNGA once again revived Kashmir issue.

Muslim countries should put up a unified front against the violations done by India in Kashmir. Collective effort of Muslim countries could possibly resolve the Kashmir dispute. However
It wouldn’t be wrong in saying that Erdogan is the most influential leader of the century for Muslims of the world. Kashmiris will always consider Erdogan as their great friend who supported them at every forum of the world but question still remains that will Kashmiri’s ever get a chance to decide their own fate?

Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani foreign minister and delegate to the United Nations made it clear on January 16, 1948 during the 228th meeting of the Security Council that Gilgat-Baltistan is the part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Here is the part of his eloquent speech: “The population of Kashmir is distributed communally as follows: In Kashmir proper, apart from Jammu, 93.5 percent are Muslims. Sixty-two percent of the population of Jammu are Muslims. Gilgat, which is the high mountain region is entirely Muslim. The total area of the state, which is largely composed of high mountains and barren hills, is 82,000 square miles.

Now, if it is true that Pakistan plans to elevate Gilgat-Baltistan (G-B) to a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, it will unwittingly disturb the disputed nature of the State of the Jammu & Kashmir. It will be akin to the unilateral action taken by Narendra Modi on August 5, 2019 when Article 370 & 35 A were abrogated. Both these actions will be in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions # 91 of 1951 and 122 and 126 of 1957.

These resolutions categorically state: “Affirming that the convening of a Constituent Assembly as recommended by the General Council of the ‘All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference’ and any action that Assembly might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle.”

So as bottom lines go, say what you want about Gilgat Baltistan.  Do as you wish.  It will not affect the status of what constitutes the whole of Jammu and Kashmir or its parts as a disputed territory. 

The plan was announced by Ali Amin Gandapur, Minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgat – Baltistan on September 17, 2020. He further said that people of GB would be given representation in the Senate and the national Assembly of Pakistan.

Obviously, if Pakistan makes Gilgat Baltistan the province of Pakistan, then India has all the right, perhaps not legal but as a matter of principle, to justify her stand that Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. And on what justification will Pakistan protest? As the saying goes, what is good for the goose may also be good for the gander.

Mr. Gandapur’s intentions are not questionable but his statement is. He is a seasoned politician, coming from a province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), which has historically made lot of sacrifices for the cause of Kashmir.

Pakistan has continually made Indian-occupied Kashmir an international issue and brought it frequently to the attention of the UN for human rights abuses, and rightly so. Just this week, on September 14, 2020, Ambassador Munir Akram said, "He (Imran Khan) is expected once again to project the just cause of the Kashmiri people and call for action by the international community to halt India’s massive violations of human rights, rescind the unilateral measures imposed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir since 5 August 2019 and promote a solution in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people." 

India’s Ambassador to the United Nations, T S Tirumurti  has asked the UN Security Council to take off  the "outdated agenda item" of the "India-Pakistan question'', from the Council.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram responded, “Indian representatives are either deluding themselves, or deluding their public, by asserting that they will remove Kashmir from the Security Council’s agenda.”

“Indian indulgence into coercive diplomacy has no future. It cannot override the express commitments of permanent and non-permanent members of UN Security Council.” Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani, President, Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights.

Summary statement by Mr. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General of matters of which the Security Council is seized, was issued on January 2, 2020. 56 items have been considered by the Council at a formal meeting during the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019, while, as 13 items were not. However, all 69 agenda items were identified “as matters of which Security Council was currently seized,”  including “The India-Pakistan Question.”

It is worth mentioning here that an item can be removed from the agenda only in accordance with the basic rules of procedure governing the function of the Security Council. The removal can take place if the conflict has been resolved or there is a consensus among all 15 members of the Security Council to remove a particular agenda item. In case of Kashmir, none of these conditions apply. As we know that the presence of  the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), in Srinagar (The Capitol City of Jammu & Kashmir), affirms that the Kashmir dispute is a matter seized by the Security Council.

India calls Kashmir dispute “Outdated agenda item.” Much is being made of the fact that seven decades have passed since the principled solution for Kashmir was formulated by the United Nations with almost universal support. Mere passage of time or the flight from realities cannot alter the fact that these resolutions remain unimplemented until today. The United Nations resolutions can never become outdated or obsolete, or over taken by events or changed circumstances. The passage of time cannot invalidate an enduring and irreplaceable principle – the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. If passage of time were allowed to extinguish solemn international agreements, then the United Nations Charter should  suffer the same fate as the resolutions on Kashmir. If non-implementation were to render an agreement defunct, then the Geneva Convention in twenty-first century in many countries is in no better state than these resolutions.

The UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir are not of a routine nature. Their text was meticulously negotiated between India and Pakistan and it is after each provision was accepted by the two governments concerned that they were adopted by the Security Council. The assent of the two Governments was conveyed in writing to the Security Council. They thus not only embody a solemn international  agreement, but have been endorsed repeatedly by the Security Council and by successive United Nations representatives.

They explicitly recognize the right of the people of  Kashmir to determine the future status of their homeland. This right remains unaffected by the non-performance by either side of the provisions of the resolutions.

The idea that the dispute over the status of Jammu and Kashmir can be settled only in accordance with the will of the people, which can be ascertained through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, was the stand taken by India. It was supported without any dissent by the United Nations Security Council and prominently championed by the United States, Britain and other democratic states.

India’s Ambassador to the UN, Sir Gopalaswamy Ayyangar while presenting his government's case to the Council on 15 January 1948, stated, "The question … whether she [Kashmir] should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent with a right to claim admission as a member of the United Nations - all this we have recognized to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir." 

Mahatma Gandhi is known for his statement that “The will of Kashmiris is the supreme law in Kashmir."

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the founding prime minister of India said, “We have declared the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it.” November 2, 1947.

Ambassador Warren Austin of the United States stated during Security Council meeting # 235 on January 24, 1948, “…When India accepted the accession of Kashmir, it made its act stand for a great principle by stating as a part of the acceptance, that it was conditional on fair plebiscite being held to determine the will of the people of Kashmir with respect to accession. I think an example was made in history at that point.”

United States, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles stated on 5 February 1957 that: "We continue to believe that unless the parties are able to agree upon some other solution, the solution which was recommended by the Security Council should prevail, which is that there should be a plebiscite;

India, however, was soon undeceived of its delusions over Kashmir's political yearning.  Recognizing that its people would never freely vote accession to India, it contrived excuse after excuse to frustrate a plebiscite.  When the United Nations proposed arbitration, a reference to the World Court, or any other method of resolving minor demilitarization quarrels, India nixed them all.  After a few years, it dropped all pretense of acceding to a referendum by unilaterally proclaiming its annexation of Kashmir. And on August 5, 2019, in violation of all international agreements, India abrogated Article 370 and 35A. India's proclamation has never been accepted by the United Nations, which continues to list Kashmir as disputed territory and subject to the Security Council's self-determination resolutions.

The people of Jammu & Kashmir are thankful to Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN for stating the principled position that the Kashmir conflict should be resolved under the UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council resolutions. He has been consistent in urging both India and Pakistan to initiate a process leading to a resolution of Kashmir problem and to avail of his assistance towards that end. Until now, India has made no constructive response to this offer, instead India has cautioned the Secretary General not to interfere in her ‘internal matters.’

 The Secretary General is empowered by the Charter of the United Nations to bring a matter of this nature to the attention of the Security Council. We fully realize, however, that, in the present circumstances and, given the policies and attitudes of the permanent members, this right and power of the Secretary General might advisably be held in reserve. Short of invoking Article 99, the Secretary General could help turn the situation towards a cessation of human rights violations and beginning of a dialogue among the three parties – the people of Jammu & Kashmir, India and Pakistan – by sending a ‘Special Envoy’ to the region to explore all possible options to settle the Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. Such a mission could visit all parts of Jammu & Kashmir as well as the capitols of both India and Pakistan and verify the truth of allegations from either side. The matter is much too urgent to be relegated to the routine mechanism of the Human Rights Council and the various bodies established to monitor various conventions.

 The Secretary General should also alert the P5 that the existing confrontation between India and china, and constant hostilities between India and Pakistan – all nuclear powers and share borders with Kashmir – will lead the whole region to the nuclear catastrophe with immense consequences for the whole world if Kashmir conflict remains unresolved.

We trust that the world powers in general and the United Nations in particular will bring immense moral and political influence to bear on initiating a peace process which will lead to a speedy, just and honorable settlement of the dispute and restore to the people of Kashmir their inalienable right to self-determination.

 Dr. Fai is the Secretary General of Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum

Shariful Islam, a Bangladeshi national, was shot dead charging by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in Baliadangi Upazila of Thakurgaon on 10th September 2020 when he was fishing on the Nagor river.

This incident again is showing the reality of border killing occurrence by BSF. It's time to consider the promise of the Indian government not to kill any Bangladeshi people in the border what was just the talks.

Many reports have presented the previous border killing issue where Bangladeshi national killed by BSF in recent years are utmost high. Reports also have highlighted the torture of Bangladeshi nationals to death in the border area what is inhuman.

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) shows that 15 Bangladeshi people had been killed along the Indo-Bangla border in 2018. The number rose to 43 last year. In this year, to date, 29 people were killed.

According to rights defenders, since 2000, more than 1000 Bangladeshis have been killed in the border areas and described the Indo-Bangla border as killing fields.

The torture scenarios of the victims are such as to pour petrol into the victim's mouth and rectum and to pull out all fingernails of the victims.

 The annual border guard director general-level talks will hold upcoming from the September 13th to18th at the BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) Pilkhana headquarters.

BGB DG Major General Md Shafeenul Islam will lead the Bangladesh side while DG of BSF Rakesh Asthana will lead his country at the meeting.

According to information, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will talk about the issue of Bangladeshi people killing in the border by BSF. BGB officials said border killings would be the primary topic of discussion at the meeting.

Jatiya Sangsad committee on foreign affairs has discussed the border killing issue. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said that India assured Bangladesh about the border killing issue, which would be discussed further.

Contributed by: Halima Akter, Department of International Relations, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Bangladesh and Pakistan both retain a closer and bilateral relationship with Palestine. Both country support Palestine in the context of the war of Israel. These countries have criticized the brutality of Israel towards the Palestinian people.

From the view of Bangladesh, during the war of independence in 1971, Palestine and its leaders, including Yaseer Arafat, had opposed it. That time Palestine was too against Bangladesh and had supported Pakistan by blaming Bengali as "terrorists."

Time had gone, and the relations had turned to affinity during the October War in 1973 when the Palestinian's fight against Israel happened. At that moment, Bangladesh assisted by sending a medical team and relief supplies for Palestinians. Bangladesh was opposed to Israel's occupation in Palestine, as well as its massacres. Bangladesh is one of the 137 countries to recognize Palestine as a State since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988. The most notably high-level meeting between the two countries took place in 1974 at the Second OIC summit, where Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Yaseer Arafat were present. Then Yasser Arafat visited Bangladesh in 1981 and 1987. A relationship with PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) became established at that period for which Bangladesh allowed the opening of a PLO office in the capital, Dhaka. Besides, a report as per the US Library of Congress, the Bangladeshi government reported in 1987 that – 8,000 Bangladeshi youths had volunteered to fight for the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Embassy of the State of Palestine is in Dhaka, which represents the excellent relationship between Bangladesh and Palestine. Overall, In the context of Palestinians, Bangladesh is committed to supporting it. Bangladesh does not maintain a direct or indirect diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Moreover, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Grand Mufti of Al Aqsa Mosque and State of Palestine Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed Hossain at her official residence Gonobhaban. She said,"Bangladesh will continue to support the cause of Palestine and always stand by its people."

Still, now, Bangladesh supports Palestinians after the fact of the UAE (United Arab Emirate) agreement with Israel.

It has been remarked that Palestine supports Pakistan during the War of Independence, and it can be easily guessed that their relations are strong and entrenched. Pakistan is always a side of  Palestine. Pakistan is against Israel’s injustice occupation.

Very recently, after the UAE agreement with Israel, Pakistani Prime Minister said, His country will not recognize Israel.”“Whatever any country does, our position is very clear. And our position was made clear by (Pakistan’s founder) Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1948 that we cannot ever accept Israel as long as Palestinians are not given their rights and there is no just settlement”. He also mentioned that If Pakistan consented Israel and denied the Palestinians, they will lose Kashmir. He also believes if Pakistan supports Israel, they have to be responsible for it to Allah.

So there is a good relationship between Bangladesh and Pakistan with Palestine undoubtedly. Both countries are devoted supporters toward Palestine.

Halima Akter, Department of International Relations, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

In March 2020, US President Trump tweeted that the Coronavirus was not as perilous as the flu. He calculated the confirmed cases and deaths from Corona-virus. He said, “Last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year and asked people to think about that. Animal rights groups fear that that if the actual causes of Corona-virus disease made public, the people around the world might kill whole of the pig population in the world. On 15th March, President Trump extended travel ban on UK and Ireland as World Health Organization declared Europe the center of the pandemic beside China. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, eating of pig’s flesh has been forbidden. Deuteronomy 14:8 says about pig, “It is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses”.

From August 2018, China increased meat imports from the United States, Europe and Brazil as half of its pigs died of swine flu. China also eased restrictions on US beef imports and in November 2018 lifted a ban on US poultry and other meat shipments. China stared receiving meat shipments in refrigerated containers from US and other above countries. Officials of USA Poultry and Egg Export Council disclosed on the condition of anonymity that US had fair idea of Swine fever in most of the pig population in American farms but these pigs were culled and exported to China in refrigerated containers.

On 26 September 2018, the European Parliament (PE624.115v01-00 B8-0398/2018) passed resolution that African swine fever only affects pigs and wild boar and it not possible to treat or vaccinate against this disease. The parliament recognized that European Union is the world’s second largest exporter of pork, after China and number of cases of African swine fever came to light in Europe in mid-September 2018. The European Parliament thus calls on the Member States to apply the precautionary principle.

The World Health Organization (WHO) report regarding assessment of risk associated with influenza A(H5N8) virus dated 17 November 2016 revealed that human infection with the A(H5N8) virus cannot be excluded, although the likelihood is low, based on the limited information obtained to date. It should be noted that human infection with A(H5N6) of related clad 2.3.4.4 has already occurred. In its report dated 13 November 2018, WHO reveled that humans can be infected with avian, swine and other Zoonotic influenza viruses, such as avian influenza virus subtypes A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2) and swine influenza virus subtypes A(H1N1), A(H1N2) and A(H3N2).

It is important to recall that a decade back, extensive Media coverage of H1N1 contributed to creating deep public fears in Egypt and other countries. Egyptian parliament discussed a law to prohibit raising pigs and argued rising of pigs in Islamic country. Egypt's lower house of parliament on 28 April 2009 called for the pigs to be slaughtered to resolve the issue of viruses once for all. Accordingly, after the approval from parliament, President Hosni Mubarak ordered the immediate culling of the country's 250,000 to 300,000 pigs while each farmer was to be given compensation of about 600 pounds (105 dollars) per animal. Mass protests by Christians and international NGOs in Egypt put a lot of international pressure that later led to toppling of President Hosni Mubarak’s government. Hosni Mubarak resigned and formally handed over power to the Army's supreme command.

In 2018:  259 million pigs were slaughtered in the European Union. Pork exports represented 59% European Union’s total meat exports, and were valued at EUR 7.2 billion EUR. African Swine Fever (ASF) was declared in China in August 2018. The European Commission implemented  Decision (EU) 2020/281 of 27 February 2020 amending the Annex to Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/47 on took protective measures in relation to highly pathogenic avian influenza of subtype H5N8 in certain Member States (notified under document C(2020) 1248). In January 2020, Italian Police in Padua destroyed some 10 tons of pork infected with Swine fever. Italy has banned the import of Chinese pork in hopes of stopping the spread of the disease. In February 2020, Taiwan imposed a ban on alive pigs and pork product imports from Italy in response to the corona-virus outbreak and Taiwan's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine deleted Italy from the list of Swine Fever free country. 

Despite the fact that Judaism, Christianity and Islam orders followers that pigs and its flesh are unclean and forbidden to eat or touch but people are still hiding that the “pigs” are root cause of corona-virus as also proved above. The announcement, “Europe the center of the pandemic” by World Health Organization, which is authority on health matters, is being overlooked and despite large number of Corona-virus positive cases in US, Europe and China, media is only focusing of cases surfaced in Muslim countries in Asia and Africa, especially Middle East. One wonders the world organization and world powers eliminated millions of humans around the world in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir and elsewhere only because they held fundamentalist views but the epicenter and root case of Coronavirus disease is being patronized.  

17th March, 1920 was the birth date of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Hischildhood spent in the ever greenand peaceful nature of village which was full of beauty and purity. The seed of great leadership was planted in the early stage of his student life. The combination of excellence of leadership and purity of soul is the key what made Sheikh Mujib our ‘Bangabandhu’ and our father of nation. That was his liberalism and love which was convinced Fidel Castro to declare that he had never seen Himalayan but Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He taught the world how to love a nation and country people, how to remain at the core position of peoples’ heart. He became the power of the gravity for Bangali nation but never misused the power to achieve political power.

Every successful teacher has successful students. Bangabandhu’s home-tutor, Kazi Abdul Hamid was the real inspiration and enlightener for him. From his school life, he became a great lover politics and country people. And Hossain Shohid Shohorawardy was Sheikh Mujib’s political idol for the entire life. He was incomplete without his family’s support. His father advised him that if he could work with sincerity of purpose and honesty of purpose, he would never be defeated in life. His wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa was the mental support for him who played both the role of father and mother for their children, as Mujibur Rahman had to spend almost his entire life in imprisonment. Sometimes he had to face hardline situations financially also but he never stopped working for our nation.

Of course that was not the era of globalization and information but voiced against famine and political deprivation. So it is surprising that it is the issue of our present day masses but how every people from every class knew Sheikh Mujib. The rickshaw pullers, fishermen and boatmen, for everyone he was ‘Mujib Bhai’ all over the country. That was nothing but his love made it possible not any technology. And our people in return loved, love and will love him forever.

The word ‘freedom’ to Bangali nation means nothing but the commemoration of the rhythm of Joy Bangla. As spell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and presently her Mujibur Rehman’s daughter,they are able to achieve, secure and preserve Bangla freedom. No one can deny Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s ‘patriotism’ and it was, indeed, the only ornament with which he had decorated his entire life. Whenever Bangladesh and Bangalis will gain real freedom and freedom in life only then the dream of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman will come true. To materialize this dream, the elder daughter of Bangabandhiu Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been transforming and decorating Bangladesh and its people in a new form. She is moving ahead with unmatchable bravery like her father.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the fortune-creator of Bangali nation. In pursuit to loving his country and people of the country, he faced life-long imprisonment. People of this country fought against every restriction and sacrificed themselves to win freedom. In the path to freedom, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, thought that the creation of Pakistan would be the only way to gain liberty. But he had to surrender before British imperialism and diplomacy. The map of ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Hindustan’ which were created by Lord Clive, breaking of ethical brotherhood, the unveiling of religious politics are the revenges of English towards the entire India. But the Bangalis could not realize the diplomacy and fought for the partition and independence of Pakistan. Unfortunately Pakistan appeared as the newly created prison for them. Ruling authorities were busy in occupying power in the name of governance. How many Bangalis died in the process was not headache of the government rather their headache was that how the remaining surviving population could be crushed.

At this juncture, Mujibur Rehman noticed that leaders and individuals who struggled for the freedom and attainment of Pakistan were changing to gain power, however, Mujibur Rehman never changed. He was imprisoned without any crime and was compelled to stay far away from loving family was his close friend. But he never gave up. During that period of political crisis he was successful in building up a powerful opposition party ‘Awami League’ but had to suffer in the conspiracy of ‘Jukto Front’. However, despite all odds, Bandabandhu was strongly determined to attain liberty. He inspired Bangalis and managed to turn the 26 March’s genocide into War of Liberation. At last, Bangladesh achieved freedom. It was great sorrow that Sheikh Mujibur Rehman had to surrender in front of death in the blackest day of Bangalis' history. He was killed but his dreams never died. Now his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to make those dreams into a reality and is successful in her mission.

At least 19 attempts were made to kill her but all failed and she survived by the grace of Almighty Allah. All these attempts on her life made her stronger and unbeatable. She has been awarded ‘Deshrotno’ for her service to country and people of Bangladesh. As she has also contributed a lot for environment protection and the earth, she was awarded as ‘Champion of The Earth-2015’.She is considered ‘Mother of Humanity’ worldwide as she did not sacrifice her conscience in order to secure national interest. Today the majority of Bangladeshis are bounded into the chain of ‘information technology’. This new form of geopolitics has emerged in which Great powers are leading the whole world not by war or trade but by social media. It is neo-Imperialism. Whenever Bangali nation would win real freedom from the political chain and would be able to learn how to utilize any new innovations perfectly, on that day the dream of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman will come into reality and Bangali nation win real freedom.

 

Addressing joint press conference at Brussels, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said,  Albania will not change its position on giving shelter to members of an Iranian opposition group. He said, “Albania is proud of granting asylum to thousands of people whose lives were threatened by the Iranian government".

Since 2018 Albania has expelled an Iranian ambassador and several diplomats for activities against the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and others. In middle January this year Albanian Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj declared two Iranian diplomats namely, Mohammad Ali Arzpeima Nemati and Ahmad Hosseini Alast, as persona non grata and asked to leave Albania. Albania is also promoting Sufism including Bektashi group that remained target of Iran.

Earlier, in a casual talk, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was talking about regime change in Iran. NATO countries including Albania are hosting the members of Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization. Besides US and UK, Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization has its members in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.  

Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems) who also served as General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Srinagar, called on Governor N.N. Vohra in Jammu on 30 January 2017. He discussed with the governor about the strategy to shift freedom movement in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir from Islam to Azadi. If we recall,

By Afshain Afzal

Sixteenth December is a dark day in the history, which Pakistani nation will never forget due to separation of Eastern wing of Pakistan from its Western wing.

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