PAKISTAN: US DECISION DESIGNATING HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN A TERRORIST GROUP UNJUSTIFIABLE

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Pakistan has termed the US decision designating Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) a Foreign Terrorist Organization unjustifiable. According to Radio Pakistan, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan was disappointed with the US decision and he blamed India for it.

Continuing the Pakistan’s anti-propaganda on Kashmir, which is an integral part of India and a part of which is in Pakistan’s forceful occupation, Zakaria said India was in forceful occupation of Kashmir and reiterated the worn out line that “Pakistan would continue its moral, diplomatic and political support to Kashmiri people’s struggle for their just right of self determination.”

After declaring HM chief Syed Salahuddin a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in June, the US has now proscribed his group as well. Salahuddin also heads the United Jihad Council, the umbrella outfit of terror groups operating in Kashmir.

“The Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. These designations seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks”, a US State Department release yesterday said.

Pakistan had reacted in the same expected manner when the US had designation Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist in June coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit and his first Summit with US President Donald Trump. It Foreign Office had released a statement which called the US decision on Syed Salahuddin ‘completely unjustified’.

HM is the largest terror outfit in Jammu and Kashmir. It was formed in September 1989 as Jamaat-e-Islami’s militant wing by Ahsan Dar at Pakistan’s ISI’s commands. Salahuddin was appointed its patron in 1990 and later became its chief. HM is based out of Pak-occupied-Kashmir’s Muzaffarabad and according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, its current cadre strength is around 1500.

©SantoshChaubey

AFTER SYED SALAHUDDIN, NOW HIS OUTFIT PROSCRIBED, THE US IS FINALLY COMING OUT OF ITS ‘GOOD AND BAD TERRORISTS’ MINDSET

After declaring Syed Salahuddin, the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in June, the US has now proscribed his group as well. Salahuddin also heads the United Jihad Council, the umbrella outfit of terror groups operating in Kashmir.

“The Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. These designations seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks”, a US State Department release said.

Unlike earlier, some of the recent moves by the US have been targeted against terrorists and organizations perpetrating terror in India, be it Hafiz Saeed or Salahuddin or now HM and they suggest a clear mindset change.

GOOD AND BAD TERROR

The US State Department had declared Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists five years ago, a historical study of its annual authoritative Country Report on Terrorism says. The annual report for 2012 that came out in 2013 for the first time used the term “safe haven” for Pakistan for letting terrorist groups thrive and operate from its soil.

The 2013 Country Report on Terrorism (for terror activities in the year 2012) used the line “a number of these attacks were planned and launched from these groups’ safe haven in Pakistan.” ‘These groups’ here mean “the Afghan Taliban, HQN (the Haqqani Network) and other AQ-affiliated groups” which continued to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.

From next year onwards, i.e., 2014 Country Report on Terrorism (for terror activities in the year 2013), the US chose to generalize about Afghanistan centric terror emanating from Pakistan by removing ‘these groups’ and adding ‘and other insurgent and terrorist groups’. It meant the US found many more terror outfits operating from Pakistan to perpetrate terror against US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and it was not just limited to the terror triad of Afghan Taliban, HQN and the AQ-affiliated groups.

So, first few lines of the second paragraph of Chapter 2 of the Country Report on Terrorism (on South and Central Asia) every year would be, “Afghanistan, in particular, continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, including the affiliated Haqqani Network (HQN) and other insurgent and terrorist groups. A number of these attacks were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan.”

We can see the focus of the report about describing Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists all these years have been basically about Afghanistan. But the latest report goes a step ahead in adding the much required dimension to it, i.e., recognizing Pakistan’s complicity in sponsoring terror in India.

India has long been complaining to the US on its double standards on terror emanating from Pakistan rightly arguing that it cannot differentiate between a good terrorist from a bad terrorist. All the US censure, all tough words to Pakistan have been about cracking down on the terror outfits that have shifted their base to Pakistan but continue to target Afghanistan, the US forces and interests there and the Afghanistan’s government.

The civil war, in fact, never ended in Afghanistan. The warring factions were previously centralized within Afghanistan with Taliban being the last ruling faction. Now Pakistan has become the main base for Taliban and other such groups who want to overthrow the process of democratic transition in Afghanistan. And from Pakistan, they continue to run amok in Afghanistan. How serious is situation can be gauged from the fact that even Afghanistan’s most secure area, Kabul’s diplomatic enclave that also houses the seat of its government, is not safe from terror strikes. It has seen multiple attacks.

For Pak based groups perpetrating terror in India, the US brief had not gone beyond the routine lines like ‘Pakistan should expedite the Mumbai or Pathankot terror probes’. The US continued with billions of dollars in aid even if it knew that Pakistan was harbouring terrorists who were India’s most wanted. What made it a theatre of absurd was the fact that even if many of these terrorists like Hafiz Saeed were carrying a heft US bounty on their heads, they were free to roam in Pakistan like respected citizens.

That, seems, is changing now. First, the US pressure left Pakistan with no other option but to house arrest Hafiz Saeed in January this year. Though symbolic, it suggested that the US had started putting pressure on Pakistan. It also told us that the US was coming out of its “good and bad terrorists” mindset. In June, Pakistan had to ban the new front of Hafiz Saeed’s terror outfit, Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK).

Then in June only, the US declared Syed Salahuddin, the terror lord of Pak based umbrella groups for perpetrating terror in Jammu and Kashmir, a global terrorist.

PAKISTAN A SAFE HAVEN FOR INDIA CENTRIC TERROR GROUPS

Then in July, the world’s only superpower termed Pakistan a safe haven for India centric terror groups.

The Country Report on Terrorism 2017 (for the year 2016) says, “The Pakistan government supported political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, but failed to take significant action to constrain the ability of the Afghan Taliban and HQN to operate from Pakistan-based safe havens and threaten U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.”

And then goes on to do the course-correction that was long overdue by writing specifically against the major India centric terror groups like LeT and JeM and holding Pakistan accountable for not doing enough, “The government did not take any significant action against LeT or JeM, other than implementing an ongoing ban against media coverage of their activities. LeT and JeM continued to hold rallies, raise money, recruit, and train in Pakistan.”

©SantoshChaubey

IN NEW MESSAGE, ZAWAHIRI SAYS AQIS ONE OF MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS, CONFIRMS ISLAMIC EMIRATE

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has confirmed that slain Al Qaeda commander Abu Dujana al Pasha was the main driving force behind formation of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

According to the transcript of al-Zawahiri’s new video message, released by As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s propaganda arm and available on social media platforms and Twitter handles of some terror monitors, al Pasha “united several jihadi groups belonging to the Indian Subcontinent”.

Abu Dujana al Pasha, who was also known as Abu Dujana al Basha, was son-in-law of Zawahiri and played key role in Al Qaeda’s terror operations. Reports say he was known as the “hidden commander” in Al Qaeda, because though relatively unknown to the outside world, he worked hard to establish AQIS. The US had declared him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2009.

Zawahiri had announced formation of AQIS in a video message in September 2014. Though it was widely reported that al Pasha was killed in a US drone strike before a month, in August 2014, Al Qaeda had never accepted it.

But this message from Al Qaeda chief himself has now confirmed it. Calling al Pasha a martyr, Zawahiri’s long message slams Pakistan, its rulers and its military; takes on ISIS and urges Syrian jihadis and believers across the world to unite; and describes formation of AQIS as one of the most important works.

“Allah guided him to avail his old relationships that had been formed with the Mujahideen of the Subcontinent in training camps and fronts. Allah had given him popularity amongst them, so he directed his efforts to unite these different groups in a single organization, and thus, with the blessing and favour of Allah, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent was formed, under the banner of the Islamic Emirate,” Zawahiri says.

Terrormonitor.org‏ @Terror_Monitor
#AlQaeda Leader Ayman Al-#Zawahiri Urges #Jihad|ists Unity In #SYRIA, Eulogies Slain Cmdrs In #Waziristan, Praises #AQIS Role In New Video.
3:47 PM – 3 Aug 2017

Terrormonitor.org‏ @Terror_Monitor
#AlQaeda Leader Ayman Al-#Zawahiri Urges #Jihad|ists Unity In #SYRIA, Praises #AQIS Role In New Video. #TerrorMonitor
3:44 PM – 3 Aug 2017

AQIS is trying to make its present felt in India that has virtually been non-existent so far. It recently named former Hizbul terrorist Zikar Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa chief of its India unit Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind. Before that, in June, AQIS had released a new code of conduct for its members and other terrorists, who wanted to show allegiance to Al Qaeda, to follow.

ISLAMIC EMIRATE

This latest video message by Zawahiri also confirms another important development, acceptance of establishment of an Islamic Emirate in Al Qaeda’s core ideology. Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda founder, was against the idea of establishing Islamic Emirate. But with rapid rise of ISIS, an Al Qaeda offshoot that was denounced by its parent for being too cruel or extremist, as Zawahiri says here, and its declaration of an Islamic Caliphate, Al Qaeda had to change its strategy, it seems.

Last year, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), currently considered the most dangerous Al Qaeda faction, had announced to establish an Islamic Emirate in eastern Yemen, a war torn country that has become battleground for Iran and Saudi Arab to establish their regional supremacy.

ISIS is on its way out. It has been driven out of its Iraqi stronghold Mosul and its headquarters in Syria’s Raqqa is expected to fall soon as international forces are rapidly marching ahead. Though US Defence Secretary James Mattis has doubted ISIS leader Ab Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, the Iraqi and Arabian media has declared him dead. It is only natural then for Al Qaeda to reclaim its position at top of the pyramid as the most preferred outfit of terrorists from across the world with the fall of ISIS. ISIS rise had seen terror outfits the world over shifting their allegiance from Al Qaeda to ISIS.

©SantoshChaubey

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE EFFECT? GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG SLAMS PAKISTAN

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights watchdog with eminent jurists and legal experts as its members from all over the world, has slammed Pakistan for failing to meet its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which the country ratified in 2010.

According to the ICJ, this is the first time that the UN Human Rights Committee, an independent body of experts that is mandated to monitor ICCPR’s implementation, has reviewed Pakistan’s human rights track record since it became signatory in 2010. The review was done on July 11-12 and its recommendations were released yesterday.

Though the recommendations don’t make a direct reference to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national who has been given death sentence by one of Pakistan’s military courts, it can be said that the issue was on the discussion table while carrying out a review of human rights in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s military courts have been decried by every global human rights body and they gained further global infamy with the ongoing hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in the International Court of Justice. India has appealed against Pakistan in the International Court of Justice which has stayed Jadhav’s hanging till its final decision.

Jadhav was abducted by Taliban from Iran’s border areas while on a business trip and was reportedly sold to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The government of Pakistan and its army made him, a retired Indian Navy officer, a part of their anti-India propaganda by declaring him a spy, tried him in secrecy in Pakistan’s military courts, denying every Indian request for consular access to him, and passed a judgment to hang him.

Among the recommendations made, there are specific strictures asking Pakistan to reform its military courts, “and bring them into full conformity with Articles 14 and 15 of the Covenant to ensure a fair trial”. Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR deal with ensuring transparency in legal proceeding in criminal matters which among other guidelines, require the state to provide the accused counsel of his own choosing and forbids the state from taking his forced confession.

The ICCPR does provide a provision for a private hearing but it specifically says that “any judgement rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.”

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE ASKS PAKISTAN TO REFORM MILITARY COURTS

The UN Human Rights Committee has asked Pakistan to reform its military courts as per the provisions of the Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR. It is necessary for every signatory of the ICCPR to implement the treaty and submit an implementation report on every provision. Though Pakistan had submitted its report in 2015, the review was carried out this month only, listing all the prevailing concerns regarding human rights’ violations in Pakistan with inputs from other sources.

The UN committee’s recommendations also ask Pakistan to “review legislation relating to the military courts with a view to abrogating their jurisdiction over civilians as well as their authority to impose the death penalty.” Kulbhushan Jadhav has been given death sentence under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act which is defined as “the Section for Civil Offences” and gives Pakistan’s military courts power to award capital punishments in the garb of national security.

The ICJ release, quoting Livio Zilli, its Senior Legal Adviser and UN Representative, says, “It is deeply worrying that since ratifying the ICCPR, Pakistan’s human rights situation has worsened in a number of aspects, including with the restoration of the death penalty and the introduction of military trials for civilians.”

PAKISTAN’S MILITARY COURTS

Pakistan had established military courts in 2015 with a constitutional amendment to try people for terrorism and related offences committed in civilian areas after the December 2015 Peshawar school massacre and in March 2017 its parliament voted for another two years extension to them.

Since their establishment, the military courts have an absolute record of convictions with no acquittals. According to the Pakistan’s military, the military courts have convicted 274 people in last two years, 161 of them being sentenced to death and 113 to varying prison terms.

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV’S CASE

On April 10, the Pakistan Army chief confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence given by a Pakistani military court that held Jadhav guilty of espionage. Pakistan claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Pakistan made Jadhav’s arrest public in March 2016.

India has maintained that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that Pakistsan carried out a sham, secret trial in a military court where no information on charges and evidence was given. India has warned Pakistan of ‘dire consequences’ equalling Jadhav’s death sentence with pre-meditated murder.

©SantoshChaubey

IT SEEMS US IS COMING OUT OF ITS ‘GOOD AND BAD TERRORISTS’ MINDSET

The US State Department had declared Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists five years ago, a historical study of its annual authoritative Country Report on Terrorism says. The annual report for 2012 that came out in 2013 for the first time used the term “safe haven” for Pakistan for letting terrorist groups thrive and operate from its soil.

The 2013 Country Report on Terrorism (for terror activities in the year 2012) used the line “a number of these attacks were planned and launched from these groups’ safe haven in Pakistan.” ‘These groups’ hear mean “the Afghan Taliban, HQN (the Haqqani Network) and other AQ-affiliated groups” which continued to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.

From next year onwards, i.e., 2014 Country Report on Terrorism (for terror activities in the year 2013), the US chose to generalize about Afghanistan centric terror emanating from Pakistan by removing ‘these groups’ and adding ‘and other insurgent and terrorist groups’. It meant the US found many more terror outfits operating from Pakistan to perpetrate terror against US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and it was not just limited to the terror triad of Afghan Taliban, HQN and the AQ-affiliated groups.

So, first few lines of the second paragraph of Chapter 2 of the Country Report on Terrorism (on South and Central Asia) every year would be, “Afghanistan, in particular, continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, including the affiliated Haqqani Network (HQN) and other insurgent and terrorist groups. A number of these attacks were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan.”

We can see the focus of the report about describing Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists all these years have been basically about Afghanistan. But the latest report goes a step ahead in adding the much required dimension to it, i.e., recognizing Pakistan’s complicity in sponsoring terror in India.

India has long been complaining to the US on its double standards on terror emanating from Pakistan rightly arguing that it cannot differentiate between a good terrorist from a bad terrorist. All the US censure, all tough words to Pakistan have been about cracking down on the terror outfits that have shifted their base to Pakistan but continue to target Afghanistan, the US forces and interests there and the Afghanistan’s government.

The civil war, in fact, never ended in Afghanistan. The warring factions were previously centralized within Afghanistan with Taliban being the last ruling faction. Now Pakistan has become the main base for Taliban and other such groups who want to overthrow the process of democratic transition in Afghanistan. And from Pakistan, they continue to run amok in Afghanistan. How serious is situation can be gauged from the fact that even Afghanistan’s most secure area, Kabul’s diplomatic enclave that also house the seat of its government, is not safe from terror strikes. It has seen multiple attacks.

For Pak based groups perpetrating terror in India, the US brief had not gone beyond the routine lines like ‘Pakistan should expedite the Mumbai or Pathankot terror probes’. The US continued with billions of dollars in aid even if it knows that Pakistan is harbouring terrorists who are India’s most wanted. What made it a theatre of absurd was the fact that even if many of these terrorists like Hafiz Saeed were carrying a heft US bounty on their heads, they were free to roam in Pakistan, like respectable citizens.

That, seems, is changing now. First, the US pressure left Pakistan with no other option but to house arrest Hafiz Saeed in January this year. Though symbolic, it suggested that the US had started putting pressure on Pakistan. It also told us that the US was coming out of its “good and bad terrorists” mindset. In June, Pakistan had to ban the new front of Hafiz Saeed’s terror outfit, Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK).

Then in June only, the US declared Syed Salahuddin, the terror lord of Pak based umbrella groups for perpetrating terror in Jammu and Kashmir, a global terrorist. And now in July, the world’s only superpower has termed Pakistan a safe haven for India centric terror groups.

The Country Report on Terrorism 2017 (for the year 2016) says, “The Pakistan government supported political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, but failed to take significant action to constrain the ability of the Afghan Taliban and HQN to operate from Pakistan-based safe havens and threaten U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.”

And then goes on to do the course-correction that was long overdue by writing specifically against the major India centric terror groups like LeT and JeM and holding Pakistan accountable for not doing enough, “The government did not take any significant action against LeT or JeM, other than implementing an ongoing ban against media coverage of their activities. LeT and JeM continued to hold rallies, raise money, recruit, and train in Pakistan.”

©SantoshChaubey

US KEEPING PAKISTAN ON SAFE HAVEN OF TERRORISTS LIST IS EXTENSION OF MODI-TRUMP’S JOINT STATEMENT

The article originally appeared on India Today.

For the first time, the US has directly termed Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its annual ‘Country Reports on Terrorism’ released by the US State Department. The report analysing terror activities in 2016 says various terrorist groups including Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, LeT and JeM continue to operate from Pakistan-based safe havens.

The line taken by the US in its annual authoritative report, a first, is a clear extension from the joint statement issued after the summit between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s US visit in June this year.

In the joint statement, Modi and Trump had asserted that the terrorist safe havens should be rooted out from every part of the world. The joint statement mentioned Pakistan thrice and called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory isn’t used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, and to “expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups.”

When seen in comparison to Modi-Obama joint statements, it was a clear departure.

The three joint statements after Modi-Obama summits in September 2014, January 2015 and June 2016 mentioned routine themes like expediting trials in the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks and cracking down on terror outfits including Al-Qaeda, ISIS, JeM, LeT, they stopped short of calling these terror groups as even Pakistan-based, let along calling Pakistan directly a safe haven for terrorists, even if Pakistan indeed is a terror state.

The optics that was missing due to diplomatic hesitations got its first clear shot that hesitations were going away in Modi-Trump joint statement. The joint statement, coupled with the US declaring Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist, went miles ahead when it specifically wrote “cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups”. It was a clear indication of US’ toughening line on Pakistan on support of terror infrastructure in country.

And if we see more tough measures by the US on Pakistan in future, we should not be surprised. Ted Poe, an influential US Congressman and a Republican, has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to declare “Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism” citing its pro-terror activities like harbouring Osama bin Laden or many other terror groups. Ted Poe is the chairman of the important “House Subcommittee on Terrorism”.

This is not the first time that Ted Poe has brought a legislation for approval on declaring Pakistan a terror state. In September 2016, after the cowardly Uri attack by Pakistan based JeM terrorists on September 18 that killed 17 sleeping Indian soldiers, Ted Poe had introduced “the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act” calling Pakistan “an untrustworthy ally”. And it is not just Ted Poe. There are many other influential Congressmen and politicians who have been voicing to declare Pakistan a terror state or to curb down military aid to the country.

Add to it the well known hostility of Donald Trump, who is a Republican Party politician like Ted Poe, towards Pakistan and writing on the wall is becoming clear now. In Past, Trump has described Pakistan with terms like ‘Pakistan is not our friend’ and “when it will apologize for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden”. In May, when, during his first Presidential foreign tour, Trump had named India as a terror victim along with China, Russia, Australia, European, African and South American countries, while ignoring any Pakistan mention altogether in his first overseas speech, it was a clear message that Pakistan was fast losing its credibility in Washington’s strategic circles.

In fact, in its ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community’ report released in May, the US Government had blamed Pakistan for deteriorating India-Pakistan ties batting for India’s growing intolerance over Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism and in April, Gen HR McMaster, the US National Security Advisor, who was in Pakistan, had bluntly told Pakistan to stop using terror as state policy.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA ASKS NORTH KOREA TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR AND BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMMES

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Joining the US and its allies in condemning North Korea on its International Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test launch, India has called upon “North Korea to refrain from such actions that undermine international peace and stability.”

“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and stability,” a strongly worded MEA release on the issue said adding that “they have also adversely impacted India’s national security.”

“India also urges the international community to work together to hold accountable all those parties that have supported these programmes,” the MEA release further added.

North Korea successfully test fired its first ever ICBM, that can also carry nuclear warheads, on July 4 which, according to experts, is a new type unlike the previous North Korean missile tests and with a range of over 8000 Kms, can easily reach the American mainland. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un taunted that the successful ICBM launch was a gift to America on its Independence Day that also falls on July 4.

Yesterday, Enna Park, South Korea’s Ambassador for Public Diplomacy who, had requested India to become a party of the global effort to deal with North Korea. Enna Park is in India as special representative of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korea’s ICBM has left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft when it put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.

Trump who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, reacted strongly saying US was drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response. The US, with South Korea, held military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN BANS HAFIZ SAEED’S NEW TERROR FRONT TEHREEK-E-AZAD-JAMMU KASHMIR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

After placing Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s Hafiz Saeed under house arrest on January 30, Pakistan has now banned his new terror front Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK).

JuD was declared a terrorist outfit by the US in 2014 and and was again put under the watch list on January 27. The Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) put TAJK on the list of proscribed organisations on June 8, forcing Saeed to run his activities under the TAJK banner. 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.

However, it did not affect him. In December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. India had named Hafiz Saeed, LeT and JuD as the perpetrators of the series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. Since then there has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free even if the US declared a bounty of USD 10 million on his head in 2012.

Things took a turn after Donald Trump was elected president in the United States. The US clearly told Pakistan to act against JuD after its name prominently figured in the report of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering. If Pakistan failed to comply to this it would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would make it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest on January 30. Even if symbolic, it made a huge difference that we can see now with TAJK ban, as Donald Trump is completing six months in office. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump in a joint statement, during Indian PM’s US tour, labeled Pakistan a terror haven. Not to mention the US has designated Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.

Pakistan, probably, was expecting all this to happen, and therefore would have decided to act on Hafiz Saeed’s new terror front before it became another international rallying point against it.

©SantoshChaubey

HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN CHIEF SYED SALAHUDDIN IS AN ISIS TERRORIST ACCORDING TO THE US

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The Donald Trump administration has sent out a stern message to Pakistan by designating Syed Salahuddin, the Hizbul Mujahideen chief, a global terrorist. The US Department of State’s website says he is an ISIS operative.

The US government’s release on declaring Salahuddin a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) says “he is the senior leader of the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and has vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, has threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and has vowed to turn the Kashmir valley into a graveyard for Indian forces”.

But the updates list on the website of the US Department of State shows its newest entrant as an ISIS terrorist while Hizb and Salahuddin have been vocal opponents of the world’s most dreaded terrorist group.

According to the reports in the local media of Kashmir, Salahuddin says that outfits like Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS have no place in Kashmir. His propaganda includes foolish claims like the ISIS is a western brainchild to crush Islam and India is planning to launch ISIS in Kashmir to take on groups like his.

The US government is yet to clarify on why the Hizb chief has been designated as an ISIS man but it may be an unintentional error on the website.

Salahuddin has been charged under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (EO) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

THE CHARGE AGAINST SALAHUDDIN

As a consequence of this designation, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Salahuddin and all of Salahuddin’s property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.

Mohammad Yusuf Shah, AKA Syed Salahuddin, is the senior leader of the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.

In September, 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir Valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces.”

Under Salahuddin’s tenure as senior Hizbul leader, Hizbul has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people.

Today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that Mohammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin, has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.

Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other nations.

©SantoshChaubey

US DECLARES AN ISIS OPERATIVE FROM INDIA A GLOBAL TERRORIST

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Mohammad Shafi Armar, an ISIS operative and recruiter of Indian origin, has been declared global terrorist by the US State Department.

“Mohammad Shafi Armar is a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, ISIS. He has cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathizers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps,” the US State Department release said.

Shafi Armar is from Bhatkal, Karnataka. He is considered close to ISIS chief Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi and has recruited at least 30 Indians to join the ISIS and is said to be in touch with over 700.

He became ISIS’ main recruiter for India after his elder brother Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar, who was heading ISIS in India, was killed in March 2015. Their names cropped up during interrogation of Yasin Bhatkal who was arrested from Nepal border in 2013.

Intelligence sources say he was planning to establish ISIS units in each Indian state and had started Junud AlKhalifa-e-Hind as ISIS’ India wing for this purpose.

According to intelligence sources, before joining ISIS, Shafi Armar was member of banned outfit Indian Mujahideen and had fled to Pakistan in 2009 along with top leadership of the group.

There were reports last year that Shafi Armar was killed in US air strike but he was later confirmed alive. Shafi Armar has made Syria his base and uses social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to contract and recruit potential ISIS terrorists.

©SantoshChaubey