NATION FEELING BETRAYED BY US, WILL NOT SEEK REDEMPTION OF AID: PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEF

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that entire Pakistan is feeling betrayed over recent statements from the US questioning Pakistan’s credibility and commitment in the war against terror and the unanimous national response denouncing the US stand was a reflection of that.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Armed Forces media wing, General Bajwa conveyed the prevailing sentiment in Pakistan to General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command (CENTCOM) during a phone call last week. CENTCOM’s area of responsibility includes 20 nations, from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia including Afghanistan and Iraq.

General Bajwa said Pakistan will not seek resumption of US aid and will continue with counter terrorism efforts on its own but his country did expect an honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism.

General Bajwa also reiterated the routine Pakistani allegation that US was making it a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor @OfficialDGISPR
Comd USCENTCOM & a US Senator telephoned COAS to discuss security coop post POTUS tweet. “Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed on trivialising our decade old cooperation. We won’t ask for restoration of financial assistance but honourable recognition of our contributions”, COAS.
4:16 PM – 12 Jan 2018

After US President Donald Trump’s declaration of no more US aid to Pakistan and the subsequent follow up steps and statements from the US Administration calling Pakistan a liar, a deceitful country that employs terror as state policy, there has been a rush of reactions from the Pakistani leadership, both military and civilian.

They say they don’t need US aid and in fact, have spent multiple times of the US aid in the ongoing war against terrorism. They have started alleging that the US has been an ally who has always betrayed. The Pakistani leadership also sees an Indian hand in all this and warns the US from giving India a prominent role in Afghanistan. Pakistan has also suspended intelligence and military cooperation with the US.

The US, on the contrary, feels betrayed by Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery.

On many occasions, Donald Trump and his government’s senior ministers and officials have spoken openly against Pakistan that how it backstabs the US by harbouring the terror groups that harm US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The US has also described Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its official records including the Country Report on Terrorism and the Narendra Modi – Donald Trump Joint Statement last year.

Apart from economic and military aid, the US also reimburses Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund for its expenditure incurred on action against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. But of late, it has started withholding the Fund, alleging that Pakistan has not taken any concrete action against these terror groups.

The US frustration was summed up in the New Year Day tweet by Trump where he slammed Pakistan for giving safe haven to terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving more than $33 Billion in US aid over the last 15 years. He then declared that Pakistan would not receive any more US aid.

Following Trump’s tweet, US has withheld $255 Million military financial package to Pakistan for fiscal year 2016 and $900 Million Coalition Support Fund for 2017, the White House has formally asked the country to do more against terror and a US senator is bringing bill to stop all aid to Pakistan and move has been endorsed by Trump.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN ARMY REITERATES HIS STAND OF NO COMPROMISE ON KULBHUSHAN JADHAV

Pakistan’s Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa today held a conference of top army commanders at Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi (GHQ).

According to the Facebook page of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan Army’s media wing, Gen Bajwa and other commanders were briefed on Kulbhushan Jadhav issue and ‘it was concluded that that no compromise shall be made on such anti state acts’. Pakistan Army’s 201st Corps Commanders’ Conference was held to ‘review national security environment and recent developments in the region’.

It was Gen Bajwa only who had sentenced Jadhav to death. A military court in Pakistan had found Jadhav guilty of espionage and sabotage activities and of waging war against Pakistan by fomenting unrest in Balochistan and Karachi and had sentenced him to death which was confirmed by Gen Bajwa.

The first reaction by the Pakistan’s civilian government came hours letter after it was made public by the ISPR. Though Pakistan’s civilian government, including its prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has toed the military line, a Samaa TV report makes it clear that Pakistan Army acted unilaterally on Kulbhushan Jadhav.

“A meeting took place between the Prime Minister and the Chief Of Army Staff during which the latter took the former into confidence regarding the issue of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav”, the Samaa TV report said yesterday.

India alleges that Jadhav is innocent and there is no evidence against him and that’s why a sham trial was held in secrecy 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 and has again asked for the consular access to him, 14th time since his arrest on March 3, 2016.

Kulbhushan Jadhav is a formal naval officer turned businessman who was on a routine business trip to Iran when he was abducted by the Pakistani intelligence. Reports also say that he was captured by the Taliban and later sold to the Pakistan Army. Pakistani claims Jadhav, who allegedly used the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel in Pakistan, was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

©SantoshChaubey

PAK ARMY CHIEF VISITS LOC, SPEWS VENOM AGAINST INDIA

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

The Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa today visited the Line of Control (LoC). Like has been the tradition, he used the occasion to spew venom against India. He termed India terror sponsor of the region and said that the Pakistan Army is fully geared up to protect Pakistan. Seeing a pattern in the alleged cease fire violations (CFVs) by India, he repeated Pakistan’s favourite Kashmir rant vowing to save people of Kashmir, that Pakistan calls Azad Kashmir and that is in illegal occupation of Pakistan, from the Indian aggression and assured Pakistan’s continued solidarity with people of Jammu and Kashmir, the remaining bigger part of the state that is an integral part of India.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces, tweeted a video of Gen Bajwa’s LoC visit.

Pakistan is blamed for perpetrating terror in Pak-occupied-Kashmir and running it through a puppet government and pushing terrorists and promoting terrorism and unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The world recognizes its propaganda and no major power stands with Pakistan when it comes to its absurd claims on Kashmir.

In fact, there has been a growing global consensus that Pakistan is the new terror backyard of the world, harbouring and sheltering terrorists who threaten the global peace, be it Taliban and its factions or Al Qaeda or the Haqqani Network or LeT or JeM or countless others. The recent move to ban Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) front Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its chief Hafiz Saeed is most probably a drama that tells the world community how shameless Pakistan has become on this front. People say the sham crackdown on Hafiz Saeed is under the US pressure but we should not forget that the US bounty of $10 million on Saeed is in place since 2012. And then, Osama bin Laden was also hunted down and killed in Pakistan.

But continuing the tradition of Pak doublespeak on Kashmir, Gen Bajwa blamed CFVs by India as ‘efforts to divert the world attention from the so-called Indian atrocities against the Kashmiris’.

India and Pakistan consistently blame each-other for CFVs and summon each other’s High Commissions officials regularly to lodge their official protests. Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) says India committed at least 178 CFVs last year in which 19 civilians lost their lives. Hansraj Ahir, MoS Home, India stated in a written reply in the Lok Sabha that Pakistan violated cease fire some 450 times last year, with around 300 of them after India’s successful surgical strike in Pak-occupied-Kashmir in September 2016 to eliminate terror camps. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 28 people including 13 security forces personnel in Jammu and Kashmir lost their lives in CFVs by Pakistan in 2016.

Another part of Gen Bajwa’s rhetoric today was about Kulbhushan Yadav, the alleged Indian spy in Pakistan’s custody. He said that Kulbhushan Yadav is the ‘evidence of Indian designs to support terror in Pakistan and the region’. But ever since Yadav’s arrest in March 2016, that Indian intelligence agencies say was an act of abduction, Pakistan’s has denied every Indian request to provide consular access to him. Instead, Pakistan has been using every sort of propaganda, including Yadav’s coerced confessional video statement, to shed crocodile tears that it is a victim of Indian sponsored terror in Pakistan.

India has very clearly said that Kulbhushan Yadav was indeed an Indian Navy officer but after his retirement, the Indian government had no connection with him but Pakistan is hell-bent on proving him a serving Indian Navy officer. But in spite of all its grandstanding before the world, no one in the world community has bought the Pakistani claims. Pakistan’s propaganda in this case becomes clear from the fact that even its own Foreign Affairs Advisor, Sartaj Aziz, has accepted that there is no enough proof to convict Yadav and additional evidence needs to be collected.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN ARMY SAYS CHIEF DID NOT ASK OFFICERS TO LEARN FROM INDIAN DEMOCRACY

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

The Pakistani army has denied that its chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had asked his officers to emulate the values of Indian democracy. In a tweet, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, spokesman of the Pakistan armed forces, have said that the ‘news/comments quoting COAS (chief of the army staff)’ address to officers at Rawalpindi regarding book ‘Army and Nation’ is a disinformation’.

Gen Bajwa’s photograph is tagged with the tweet which further clarifies its context with an incomplete caption that reads ‘army officers should learn from Indian democracy, says Pakistan army chief Qamar J…’ – essentially a poor damage control act after Gen Bajwa’s vision for the Pakistani army was widely reported in the Indian media.

On February 13, Pakistan’s newspaper The Nation had published a piece on its new army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s vision for the Pakistan’s army as told by him during his first official address to his colleagues in December 2016.

Titled ‘Coordination, not competition, with civilians: The Army Chief’s Glasnost’, among many other things, the article had quoted the Pak army chief saying something that was so unlike Pak army that it caught immediate international attention. Gen Bajwa, in no unequivocal terms, as The Nation piece puts it, conveyed to his colleagues that the Pak army must remain within the constitutional role defined for it and must not meddle in affairs of the civilian government.

Saying a civilian Vs military dichotomy is always ‘counter-productive for a country and the army should have no ‘business in running the government’, he advised his colleagues to read “Army and Nation”, a book written by Yale University professor Steven I Wilkinson, a well received book that details how India has emerged as a successful democracy with civilian supremacy over its military establishment.

Gen Asif Ghafoor’s tweet, that is the first official denial from the Pak army on the issue, looks like a shabby, reluctant attempt to damage control. It might have been driven by this afterthought that the Pak army has always been in control in Pakistan and such views by its army chief may be seen undermining its supremacy in the society. Coming five days later of The Nation piece, the tweet clarification conveys a half-hearted attempt at best that sounds too little, too late. Had it been so alarming, we would have seen a denial the same day the article appeared, like it happened with India’s surgical strike inside Pak-occupied-Kashmir. Within hours, the Pak army had forced its political establishment to toe its line to deny any Indian surgical strike, a lame attempt to save face.

©SantoshChaubey

NAGROTA: PARTING SHOT BY GEN SHARIF OR INAUGURAL GIFT BY GEN BAJWA?

Though Pakistan’s new army chief Gen Bajwa, after taking the charge yesterday, said the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan would be normal soon, indicating a softer approach than his predecessor, developments say otherwise.

The day, when Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa took baton from the outgoing Pakistan army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif, a proven India detractor, 7 Indian soldiers including two officials were martyred in a terror attack on an army unit near Jammu.

The attack that began early morning and lasted for some 14 hours saw fierce gunbattle and a hostage like situation with terrorists targeting army officials’ mess and residential units in Nagrota, near Indian Army’s 16 Corps Headquarters.

As expected, ugly politics over the issue has pitched in. Political goalposting has started. Debates and opinions are raging on ‘whys and hows’ of this attack that is clearly an intelligence failure but, at the outset, it is clear that it will be linked with Gen. Raheel Sharif’s parting warning to India and Gen. Bajwa ascendance to the throne.

While transferring power to Gen. Bajwa, Raheel Sharif warned India of its stand on Kashmir, comparing it with ‘increased terrorism and aggression’. He said, “India should know that mistaking our policy of patience for weakness would be dangerous.”

We all know that is an empty rhetoric, especially after the fact that the all powerful army of Pakistan had no other option left but to deny the highly successful surgical strike by India deep inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. The Pakistan Army could not have accepted the Indian surgical strike as it would undermine the numero-uno position it enjoys in Pakistan, presenting its weaker character before everyone – whereas Raheel Sharif had curated a ‘hero sort of image’ for himself – riding high on anti-India acts and rhetoric.

Also, doing so, as the Pakistani civilian leadership had done initially, accepting India’s claims till the army told them to toe its line of shameless denial, would have put tremendous pressure on the Pakistani army to reply back to India in a similar manner, something that it was simply not capable of.

But incidents like Nagrota or Uri present reaffirm the clear face of danger due to Pakistan’s proxy war in India. Almost all terror attacks in any part of India are found to have Pakistani links. If Jammu & Kashmir, that was once considered heaven on earth, has now become a living hell, it is because of Pakistan’s proxy war only.

It is this proxy war that Pakistan has adopted as the mainstay of its policy. Raheel Sharif actively extended that tradition. And whatever Pakistan’s military does, its civilian government has to follow that – willingly or unwillingly –  because military is supreme in Pakistan.

So, even if we were yet to hear a word about India from its next army chief, Pakistan’s spin doctors, its politicians, were already on the job. So Sartaj Aziz had said that any dialogue process cannot go ahead with India unless Kashmir is on the table, a prospect that India has officially denied, saying if there has to be India-Pakistan dialogue, it will be on terror only. So Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif had said there will be no change in Pakistan’s military policy on Indian border under Gen. Bajwa.

Even if Pakistan’s new army chief Gen. Bajwa is yet to speak openly on his thoughts on India!

Whatever little he spoke yesterday didn’t give much – but at least, from that little – we can give him the benefit of doubt – that this cowardly act in Nagrota, targeting residential units of an Indian Army base, was a parting shot by a frustrated Raheel Sharif, who, despite all his tall claims and boastings, would have to live forever with the fact that it was during his tenure only that India conducted a highly successful surgical strike deep inside his territory of influence and owned it before the world and he could not do anything.

©SantoshChaubey