US SEEKS INDIAN HELP IN ‘KEEPING AN EYE’ ON PAKISTAN

That is what Nikky Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said while addressing an event. She pressed on making Pakistan accountable for its acts, demanding more from India’s neighbour. Pakistan has received billions of US dollars in the name of assisting the US in its fight against terror or to check the designs of the erstwhile USSR in the region.

But at the same time, it has harboured terror outfits that, apart from doing their routine drill – trying to destabilize and bleed India, something that makes them dear to the ruling Pakistani elite – now threaten and attack US interests, be it in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

A fact for which the US has been warning Pakistan for past some years, especially after Afghanistan based terror outfit Haqqani network was given safe haven by Pakistan and Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in the country.

And the last two instalments of the US military aid to Pakistan, tied to its action against the Haqqanis, was stopped Pakistan couldn’t convince the US of its intent and action.

“We are really going to need India’s help in Afghanistan. They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region. So having them helps not only with infrastructure and the aid that they can give towards rebuilding Afghanistan, they can also help us to keep an eye on Pakistan,” Nikky Haley said while adding the elements from US President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan and South Asia policy.

Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, unveiled in August, Trump, among other policy changes, also announced that developing a strategic partnership with India was going to be a critical part of new US’ strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in future.

While reiterating his stand on Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists, he also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and demanded that this attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.

Trump and his administration, in fact, regularly slams Pakistan for being a terror haven and has warned if Pakistan doesn’t mend its ways then the US will be forced to withdraw Pakistan’s US ally status.

Nikky Haley repeated that again slamming Pakistan for harbouring terrorists, “Pakistan has been a partner to the US at times. We value and respect that. But we cannot tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. This new approach will require understanding and restraint from both Pakistan and India.”

©SantoshChaubey

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PAKISTAN’S NEVER ENDING DRAMA OVER HAFIZ SAEED

A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Pakistan has given the government two days to file charge-sheet against Jamat-Ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four associates who are under house arrest since January 31 this year. The JuD chief has filed a plea in the LHC against his detention and the next hearing is scheduled for October 19.

During the last date of hearing on October 10, the Lahore High Court had warned the Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government, which had put Saeed under preventive detention, to submit evidence in the case otherwise it would release Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed, a UN and US designated global terrorist with a US bounty of $10 Million on his head, along with his four associates, was put under house arrest under the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 of Pakistan after increasing pressure from the US and the international community.

The US, especially, warned that Pakistan would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would have made it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions. Then there was an additional pressure element from UN’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on terror funding which was reviewing Pakistan’s commitments.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest but it was always a reluctant move Pakistan’s actions prove, like it has always been in giving Hafiz Saeed a safe haven to operate.

Hafiz Saeed had adopted the name JuD after its terror outfit, Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that basically perpetrates terror in India, was banned by Pakistan on 14 January 2002 under international pressure after the UN Security Council’s Taliban-Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee banned LeT. However, it did not affect his activities, perpetrating terror and spewing venom against India including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed over 156 including six American citizens and left scores injured.

After his name surfaced in December 2001 Parliament attack, Pakistan was forced to arrest him but he was soon set free. His detention after the multiple train bombing in Mumbai in July 2006, that killed over 200, lasted only for few weeks. The same chores was repeated after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks when Pakistan refused to press terror charges and withdrew its appeal against Saeed and the global terrorist and India’s most wanted was again a free, respectable Pakistani citizen even if India had named Saeed, JuD and LeT as masterminds and perpetrators behind the attack and had submitted many dossiers containing evidence against them, something that was even recognized the UN and the US.

Even if, in December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. All these years, it has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free.

And it seems the same is going to be repeated again. Like after the Mumbai 2008 attacks, Pakistan, this time, too has refused to level terror charges against Saeed. On October 14, Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government withdrew terror charges against Saeed and instead applied for detention of Saeed and his associates till October 24 under the milder Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO). It was the fifth extension of Saeed’s house arrest since January 31.

Now if the judicial review board doesn’t get convinced by the arguments of the authorities on why to detain Saeed for so long in spite of no serious charges being pressed against him, Hafiz Saeed may walk free after his detention expires on October 24 as authorities need judicial approval before extending the period of the detention.

Pakistan’s complicity also becomes clear from the fact that though Pakistan first detained Saeed and others for 90 days under the Anti Terrorism Act but later on switched to toothless laws on maintaining public order.

And going by the tough observations of the Lahore High Court that mere press clippings cannot be the ground for detaining a citizen for an extended period of time and that Pakistan does not seem to have substantial evidence against Saeed, it will be just a matter of time before Saeed is free, respectable Pakistani citizen again.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER IS A TERRORIST, RSS A TERROR OUTFIT: PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER

The growing international pressure, it seems, has taken over Pakistan’s ruling corridors and it utter frustration, they are now resorting even to using derogatory words for India and its ruling dispensation that has successfully worked to isolate Pakistan on its terror track record.

We just saw a frustrated Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif calling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi terrorist during a television interview.

While answering a question about India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calling Pakistan a terror exporter nation at the United Nations General Assembly recently, Asif said it was in fact India that was ruled by a terrorist prime minister and a terrorist party.

On Geo News’ Capital Talk, Asif said the Indian prime minister had blood of Gujarati Muslims on his hands. He further went on to say that India was being ruled by a terrorist party, the RSS, and the BJP was its companion.

Link to the video clip on Geo News’ website: 

https://www.geo.tv/latest/160846-conflict-among-institutes-would-harm-country-khawaja-asif

Sushma’s address to the UNGA on September 23 in New York mentioned Pakistan multiple times linking it with terror and said that “Pakistan seemed only engaged in fighting India.” Sushma speech showed mirror to Pakistan for its double-dealings and treachery and held it responsible for the aborting the peace process between the two countries.

Clearly making a distinction between the two countries and showing Pakistan its real place, Sushma said Pakistan had become a hopeless case and it had nothing to offer to the world and indeed to its own people apart from terrorism.

The fact indeed is, Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorists and uses terror as state policy tool. It exports terrorism not only to its neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan but is also increasingly becoming isolated as a terror haven for groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban who perpetrate terror globally.

US President Donald Trump has declared Pakistan a terror haven and has indicated that the US soon could end Pakistan’s US ally status. The BRICS that has China as a founding member also talked tough on terror clearly warning terror havens like Pakistan to crackdown on terrorists in its declaration issued last month.

It has created a sense of panic in Pakistan’s ruling circles, be it its civilian government or its military. Though they deny it, their contradicting responses confirm it.

A day after the BRICS Declaration, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir rejected it saying Pakistan had no terror safe havens, only to be contradicted by Khawaja Asif the next day who accepted presence of terror groups in Pakistan including India centric terror groups LeT and JeM and went on to say that his country must rein-in terror groups to avoid international embarrassment.

While Asif was trying to be straightforward, his country’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa chose to warn the US, “if Pakistan had not done enough in the war against terror, then no country in the world had done anything.” Pakistan’s parliament has also taken on its foreign minister and prime minister for letting the country down after Asif repeated the same arguments on the sidelines of the UNGA and the Pakistani PM endorsed it.

PS: We should also not forget that it was Khawaja Asif only who used to nuke India every other before surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in last September and its first anniversary just passed on September 29.

Before September 2016’s surgical strike, the favourite line of Khawaja Asif happened to be that Pakistan will eliminate India with its tactical nuclear weapons if it tried to impose war on Pakistan.

The same Khawaja Asif, after the surgical strike on the intervening night of September 28-29, was stuttering while accepting that there was an aggression by India and ‘if India tries it again, Pakistan will give befitting reply’ (and not that ‘Pakistan will nuke and eliminate India), before toeing the line of Pakistan’s army. He had gone on to say even this that ‘India and Pakistan cannot take risk of a nuclear holocaust’.

©SantoshChaubey

FROM KARGIL TO 2010 KASHMIR UNREST TO PRESENT: INDIA’S PAKISTAN NARRATIVE GETS SOME MUCH NEEDED CHANGE

It has been a much needed change in India’s diplomatic manoeuvres. The world’s largest democracy has finally broken the shackles of misplaced notions to emerge as a powerful voice in geopolitics.

And this change, if has surprised an arrogant and power blind China for its resilience, has completely decimated Pakistani propaganda in international circles, especially at multilateral platforms like the United Nations or the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

Pakistan has, for its own peril, made an anti-India stand its lifeline and has been trying to destabilize India ever since it came into existence in 1947 and what has been ironical that its propaganda even succeeded in outperforming India when it came to diplomacy and PR.

India was never outspoken in promoting its viewpoint and always lacked a sense of communication finesse to counter the Pakistani propaganda. If we go through the speeches delivered by India at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on occasions like the Kargil War or 2010 Kashmir unrest or the situation in Kashmir now, we can see this change.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

FBI REJECTS ISIS CLAIMS THAT IT WAS BEHIND LAS VEGAS MASS SHOOTING

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has rejected the ISIS claims of the Las Vegas gunman being an ISIS member. It said that the Las Vegas mass shooting incident had no terror links puncturing thus the ISIS claims that the gunman was “an ISIS solder who converted to Islam months ago.”

The American media outfits, quoting the FBI, said the gunman was not known to law enforcement agencies except the local police and the FBI did not find evidence linking him to ISIS or any other international terror group.

Earlier, on expected lines, the ISIS claimed the responsibility of the Las Vegas shootout, the deadliest mass shootout in the US history claiming so far 58 lives and injuring over 400. A gunman, from his 32nd floor hotel room, opened fire on people participating in a music festival in Las Vegas. from 32nd floor hotel room.

Several news agencies and terror monitors including AFP and SITE Intel Group quoted Amaq, ISIS propaganda wing, that the Las Vegas attacker was one from its ranks and was a converted Muslim.

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group, a US based terror monitor agency, in fact, posted Amaq’s messages on her Twitter handle. Amaq, in two separate messages, claimed that the shooter was one of its fighters and he converted to Islam months ago.

Watchers said ISIS claims were surprising and sounded fake as it didn’t provide any evidence, especially when the terror outfit that is now fighting a losing battle and is being driven out of its strongholds one after the other. Also, in spite of identifying the 64 year old gunman, who was described by his neighbours as friendly and quiet person who enjoyed gambling, no investigating agency or media outfit has been able to dig anything that can relate him to any terror group.

©SantoshChaubey

IS ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI ALIVE? ISIS RELEASES AUDIO CLIP, PURPORTEDLY OF ITS LEADER

The article originally appeared on India Today on September 29.

Al-Furqan, the media wing of the terrorist group ISIS, has released an 46-minute long audio clip purported to be of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The emergence of the clip contradicts Russian claims that Baghdadi was killed in an air strike in May, claims that many – including US Defence Secretary James Mattis – denied.

Although a Reuters report said the audio was undated, the references made in it – to the North Korean nuclear crisis and to the Islamic State’s defeat in Mosul (in July) – suggest that it was recorded recently.

Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group, thinks the man in the clip is Baghdadi.

Katz said in a series of tweets that Baghdadi can be heard “rallying his supporters inside and outside of ISIS territory,” and demanding that “lives in Mosul, Sirte, Raqqa, Ramadi and Hama not be lost in vain.” She also quotes him as saying that America is “mired in huge debt and has become politically and militarily ineffective on the world stage.”

According to a report in The Telegraph, Baghdadi said “the US was no longer the world’s only superpower and gave North Korea’s threats as evidence of American decline, as well as Russia’s domination of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan.”

A Middle East Eye report said Baghdadi “spent more than half of the clip discussing an ideological debate inside ISIS and pleaded with Syrian opposition groups to stop working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries which have provided support to anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups.”

On the Western media, he said, “Oh soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centres of the infidels, and where they wage their intellectual wars, among your targets.”

©SantoshChaubey

ISLAMIC STATE RELEASES BAGHDADI’S AUDIO MESSAGE TO QUELL RUMOURS OF HIS DEATH

In what looks to be an effort to end the speculation going on around death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Russian strike and to boost up the morale of its cadres and supporters, al-Furqan, the media wing of the world’s most dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (ISIS), has released an audio clip claiming to be Baghdadi’s latest message. Baghdadi’s last recorded message came in November last year when the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS was in initial stages.

And if we go by references made in the 46 minute long audio clip, it seems to be a recent one, especially with categorical mention of the North Korean nuclear issue. He can also be heard speaking about ISIS loss in Mosul. Iraqi forces won the ISIS stronghold in Iraq in July so we can say that the clip was recorded within the last three months.

It also counters the Russian claims that it killed Baghdadi in an air strike in May this year. The Russian claim came in July but was rejected by many including US Defence Secretary James Mattis who said Baghdadi was alive.

Also, according to Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, based on Baghdadi’s previous recordings, the voice in the latest ISIS release definitely sounds to be of him. The speech was titled “Sufficient Is Your Lord As A Guide And A Helper.”

Her Twitter thread on the purported audio clip says Baghdadi can be heard trying to “rally his supporters inside and outside of ISIS territory, demanding that lives in Mosul, Sirte, Raqqa, Ramadi and Hama not be lost in vain.” In an effort to boost up the morale of his fighters, he says that America, Europe and Russia and are living in constant fear of Mujahideen attacks.

He also says in the clip that American weakness has given Russia Syria’s control and America is “mired in huge debt and has become politically and militarily ineffective on the world stage.” A different report in The Telegraph quoted Baghdadi saying “the US was no longer the world’s only superpower and gave North Korea’s threats as evidence of American decline, as well as Russia’s domination of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan.”

The Middle East Eye in its report on the audio clip said, “Baghdadi spent more than half of the clip discussing an ideological debate inside ISIS and pleaded with Syrian opposition groups to stop working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries’ which have provided support to anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups.”

Baghdadi also threatened media outfits terming them disbelievers.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA IS NOW FORCING UIGHUR MUSLIMS TO SURRENDER THEIR QURAN COPIES

According to Daily Mail, China has taken its crackdown on the ethnic Muslims of its border province of Xinjiang to a whole new level, targeting now even the personal religious space in the intimacy of their houses. The Xinjiang region, China’s westernmost province that borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, is home to some 11 million Uighur Muslims and other small groups of ethnic Muslims among Tajik, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Mongolian communities.

The Chinese authorities of the province are forcing the Muslims to handover the copies of Quran, Islam’s central religious text, and any other related religious symbol the Daily Mail report says.

What is more disturbing is the fact that the order also includes to surrender even the prayer mats that are used to offer Namaaz (prayer). The warnings are being issued in neighbourhoods, in mosques and through social media platforms like WeChat and non-compliance means harsh punishment.

Chinese authorities of the region earlier this year started a campaign ‘Three Illegals and One Item’ to confiscate illegal religious items. Quran copies more than five year old were being seized as authorities blamed them of having extremist content. And now this new order means a blanket ban on all Koran copies.

“Officials at village, township and county level are confiscating all Quran and the special mats used for Namaaz”, the Radio Free Asia (RFA) wrote on which the Daily Mail report based.

Dilxat Raxit, World Uighur Congress’ spokesman, told RFA that “reports have emerged from Kashgar, Hotan and other regions of similar practices starting last week that every single ethnic Uighur must hand in to authorities any Islam-related items from their own home, including Qurans, prayer mats and anything else bearing the symbols of religion otherwise there will be harsh punishment.”

China has already banned its civil servants in the region from taking part in religious activities, even if it means fasting during Ramadan, a ban that was extended to students as well. Muslim attire like veils and religious symbols like keeping beard are already banned and authorities regularly come up with lists of overly religious and splittist Muslim names for newborns to be banned.

In April this year, authorities came up with a “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” that asked the Muslim parents to desist from choosing names like Muhammad, Medina, Mecca, Islam, Quran, Imam, Hajj, Jihad, Arafat and Mujahid. The directive banned over two dozen such names which could be used to fan religious and divisive agenda.

The list further expanded the one notified in 2015 which banned names like Saddam, Hussein, Laden, Fatima, Amanet, Muslime among others. The directive didn’t stop at naming the newborns only. It further said, “If your family has circumstances like this, you should change your child’s name.”

The authorities at that time had issued a warning that the Muslim families not complying with this directive would not get ‘hukou’, the registration of their households that gives them access to state benefits of childcare, health, education and employment.

Xinjiang, China’s North-western province, that is also known as Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, borders eight countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. It came on the radar of the Chinese authorities, especially after the widespread riots in its capital city Urumqi in July 2009 between the Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese that saw around 200 dead and some 2000 injured. Ethnic Han Chinese are around 40 percent of Xinxiang’s population.

China considers Islamic terrorism emanating from Xinjiang destructive enough to become a full blown separatist movement and does all to curb its spread, especially after reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) is eyeing the region to recruit fighters and expand its base.

According to Amnesty International, mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, disappearances, shooting and torture followed the Urumqi riots. China maintains a strong vigil in the region with large rallies of security forces to intimidate the minds who dare to think otherwise.

©SantoshChaubey

MATTER OF SHORT TIME BEFORE NORTH KOREA IS ABLE TO NUKE US: PENTAGON

The article originally appeared on India Today.

A top US General has said that in a very short time North Korea would be able to attack the US mainland with its nuclear weapons.

During a Congressional hearing of the Armed Services Committee of the US Senate, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said that North Korea is now capable of launching a nuclear attack on the United States.

“It is the US military’s judgement that it is a matter of a “very short time” before North Korea is able to attack the US”, a report quoted him saying. Dunford informed the Congress that as North Korea has ratcheted up its war rhetoric to unprecedented levels, the US should plan accordingly.

Dunford, who is a Marine Corps General, added that the US Defence establishment is deploying 21 more missile interceptors in addition to 44 already in place and has spruced up intelligence on North Korea. While saying so, Dunford said that despite escalating its war rhetoric, North Korea has not changed its military posturing and the US forces are watching it closely.

While speaking at the UNGA on September 19, Trump warned that if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, it would have no choice but to totally annihilate North Korea adding that the Rocket Man was on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

ROCKET-MAN WHO?

Trump invented the term ‘Rocket Man’ to describe Kim Jong-Un after a series of missile and nuclear tests by North Korea under his watch.

In response to Trump’s warning, Kim described him as a gangster fond of playing with fire and displaying an unprecedented rude nonsense one had never heard from any of his predecessors.

He further said that Trump was a mentally deranged dotard, a frightened dog who barked louder and North Korea knew how to tame him. Kim concluded his statement by saying that the North Korean fire would surely and definitely tame Donald Trump. The country later also warned that it may soon detonate its most powerful hydrogen bomb yet over the Pacific.

This prompted Trump to term Kim a madman. He said that Kim Jong-Un was a madman who didn’t mind starving or killing his own people and for his acts he would be tested and punished like never before. Trump further added that de-nuclearisation was the only acceptable future of North Korea and later on signed an Executive Order imposing more sanctions on the nation.

Earlier this month, on September 3, North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date and Pyongyang had warned of more ‘gift packages’ for Washington which came true when it test fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on September 15.

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMP’S NEW TRAVEL BAN IS AS CONVOLUTED AS THE PREVIOUS ONE

As he had ‘amply indicated’ while reacting after the terror attack on London Tube or the city’s rapid transit system on September 15, he is now there, well in advance, with new and ‘tougher’ version of his government’s favourite but highly controversial policy decision.

Trump, though had denounced the terror attack and the attackers, he made his intentions clear when he went on defaming the London Police for being inactive and made a pitch for his government’s controversial travel ban plan that puts restrictions on migrants and refugees from some Muslim majority nations.

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!
4:24 PM – Sep 15, 2017

Unlike its previous version, Donald Trump’s new travel ban will now target two more countries – Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya are the old targets with new addition of Chad, North Korea and Venezuela while Sudan’s name has been struck off – and the new, tougher measures will come into effect from October 18.

Chad is again a Muslim country so the number of Muslim countries hasn’t come down from the previous tally of six.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela have both possibilities.

The US North Korea relations have hit bottom with both countries threatening to wipe out each other. That may be a reason to put North Koreans under travel ban restrictions.

But how many North Koreans really travel to America? The US has no diplomatic relation with North Korea, no embassy, no consulate and the number of travellers between the countries are negligible.

Most North Koreans who end up in the US are those victims who somehow escape its brutal regime and concentration camps. The Trump Administration, in the zeal of its misplaced priorities, is now going to block them.

And Venezuela! The decision to include Venezuela can be termed a political one based on ideological differences. True, Venezuela is going through a phase of unrest with a communist dictator overtaking the country but then Venezuela is not going to be the first dictatorship or communist country the US would snap ties with. China is the biggest example of this dichotomy. The communist dictatorship is the largest trade partner of the US.

That leaves us to the natural conclusion then that the inclusion of North Korea and Venezuela in Trump’s scheme of things is just a cosmetic measure that falsely believes that doing so would convince the US courts and opponents – that the refurbished travel ban is aimed at broadening the travel ban from being exclusively anti-Muslim to anti-terrorism.

But the very inclusion of these two countries raises serious questions that it is again a convoluted version of a convoluted document that owes its origin to a convoluted thought process.

Donald Trump’s travel ban plan has always been controversial, right from its first introduction in January.

Following ban by various federal courts, the Trump administration was forced to dilute it but even the diluted version was rejected. It was finally given a go ahead by the US Supreme Court on June 26.

Accordingly, the travel ban plan that expired on September 24 targeted people from six Muslim majority nations for 90 days, i.e., Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. It also put restrictions on all refugees for 120 days that is set to expire on October 24. The next Supreme Court hearing, which will deliberate on the legality of the travel ban plan, is set for October 10.

©SantoshChaubey